Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Volume 20, Number 9—September 2014

Letter

Spread of Vaccinia Virus to Cattle Herds, Argentina, 2011

On This Page

Tables

Technical Appendicies

Suggested citation for this article

To the Editor: Since 1999, several zoonotic outbreaks of vaccinia virus (VACV) infection have been reported in cattle and humans in rural areas of Brazil. The infections have caused exanthematous lesions on cows and persons who milk them, and thus are detrimental to the milk industry and public health services (1,2). In Brazil during the last decade, VACV outbreaks have been detected from the north to the extreme south of the country (14). Because Brazil shares extensive boundaries with other South American countries, humans and cattle on dairy and beef-producing farms in those countries may be at risk of exposure to VACV. To determine if VACV has spread from Brazil to Argentina, we investigated the presence of VACV in serum samples from cattle in Argentina.

During 2011, we obtained serum samples from 100 animals (50 dairy and 50 beef cattle) on farms in Córdoba, Corrientes, Entre Ríos, and Santa Fe Provinces in Argentina (Technical Appendix [PDF - 611 KB - 2 pages], panel A). No VACV cases had been reported in humans or cattle in these provinces. However, Corrientes Province borders the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, where VACVs (Pelotas 1 and Pelotas 2 viruses) were isolated during an outbreak affecting horses in 2008 (2).

To determine the presence of neutralizing antibodies in the serum samples, we used an orthopoxvirus 70% plaque-reduction neutralization test as described (4). On the basis of previous studies that detected viral DNA in serum samples (46), we used real-time PCR to amplify the highly conserved orthopoxvirus vaccinia growth factor (vgf) gene DNA (P.A. Alves, unpub. methods).

To amplify the hemagglutinin (HA) gene DNA from the serum samples, we used real-time PCR with primers as described by de Souza Trindade et al. 2008 (7). The HA PCR products were directly sequenced in both orientations by using specific primers and capillary electrophoresis (Genetic Analyzer 3130; Applied Biosystems, Grand Island, NY, USA). We used ClustalW (http://www.clustal.org) and MEGA4 software (http://megasoftware.net/) to align nucleotide sequences and construct a phylogenetic tree (neighbor-joining method, 1,000 bootstraps) from the obtained HA fragment.

Of the 50 dairy cattle samples, 4 (8.0%) had neutralizing antibodies against orthopoxvirus; of these, 3 (75.0%) had titers of 100 neutralizing units (NU)/mL, and 1 (25.0%) had a titer of 400 NU/mL. Of the 50 beef cattle, 8 (16.0%) had antibodies to orthopoxvirus, 1 (12.5%) of which had a titer of 800 NU/mL. Most of the positive samples were from cattle in Corrientes and Entre Ríos Provinces (Table).

Of the 100 serum samples, 5 (3 from beef and 2 from dairy cattle) were positive for vgf by real-time PCR. HA DNA was amplified from 2 of the 3 vgf PCR–positive beef cattle samples; plaque-reduction neutralization test results were also positive for the 2 samples (Table).

Alignment of the HA fragment nucleotide sequence of the isolates from Argentina showed that the sequence was highly similar to that of the homologous gene of VACV isolates from Brazil. Furthermore, the sequences showed a signature deletion that is also present in the sequences of VACV isolates from Brazil. Compared with sequences for other VACV isolates, those from Argentina had 2 polymorphisms (Technical Appendix [PDF - 611 KB - 2 pages], panel C). The HA sequences from the isolates from Argentina demonstrated 100% identity among themselves and exhibited higher identity with group 1 (98.2% identity) versus group 2 (93.6% identity) isolates from Brazil (Technical Appendix [PDF - 611 KB - 2 pages], panel D). In the phylogenetic tree based on the HA nucleotide sequences (Technical Appendix [PDF - 611 KB - 2 pages], panel B), the VACVs from Argentina clustered with several group 1 VACVs detected during outbreaks in Brazil.

Although no outbreaks of exanthematous VACV infection have been described in cattle or humans in Argentina, we detected neutralizing antibodies against orthopoxvirus and detected VACV DNA in serum samples from cattle in the country. Most of the seropositive samples were from cattle in Entre Ríos Province, which shares a border with Uruguay, and Corrientes Province, which shares a border with Rio Grande do Sul State in Brazil, where Pelotas VACVs have been isolated (2).

We believe that the seropositive cattle in this study may have been exposed to VACV, the only orthopoxvirus known to be circulating in South America (14,810). Despite veterinary surveillance efforts of border control organizations, VACV control may be hampered by the circulation of infected rural workers and the misdiagnosis of VACV infection; misdiagnoses occur because VACV lesions resemble those of other exanthematous diseases. Moreover, peridomestic rodents have been hypothesized to act as VACV hosts, and could facilitate the spread of VACV in border areas (10). In addition, we could not rule out the circulation of autochthonous VACV in Argentina, but this is a less likely explanation. Our findings suggest that cattle herds in areas of Argentina near the border with Brazil may be exposed to VACV from Brazil and, thus, may be at risk for VACV infection. Further research is needed to determine the risk factors for VACV infection and to assess the circulation of VACV in South America

Ana Paula Moreira Franco-Luiz, Alexandre Fagundes-Pereira, Galileu Barbosa Costa, Pedro Augusto Alves, Danilo Bretas Oliveira, Cláudio Antônio Bonjardim, Paulo César Peregrino Ferreira, Giliane de Souza Trindade, Carlos Javier Panei, Cecilia Mónica Galosi, Jônatas Santos Abrahão, and Erna Geessien KroonComments to Author 
Author affiliations: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (A.P.M. Franco-Luiz, A. Fagundes-Pereira, G.B. Costa, P.A. Alves, D.B. Oliveira, C.A. Bonjardim, P.C.P. Ferreira, G.S. Trindade, J.S. Abrahão, E.G. Kroon); Universidad Nacional de la Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina (C.J. Panei, C.M. Galosi); Consejo Nacional Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Buenos Aires (C.J. Panei); Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas Provincia de Buenos Aires,, Buenos Aires (C.M. Galosi)

Acknowledgments

We thank João Rodrigues dos Santos, Ângela Sana Lopes, Ilda Gama, and colleagues from the Laboratório de Vírus for their excellent technical support.

Financial support was provided by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), and Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento (MAPA). A.P.M. F.-L. was the recipient of a fellowships from CAPES, and E.G.K., C.A.B., G.S.T., and P.C.P.F. were recipients of fellowships from CNPq.

References

  1. Trindade GS, Lobato ZIP, Drumond BP, Leite JA, Trigueiro RC, Guedes MIMC, Isolation of two vaccinia virus strains from a single bovine vaccinia outbreak in rural area from Brazil: implications on the emergence of zoonotic orthopoxviruses. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2006;75:48690 .PubMed
  2. Campos RK, Brum MC, Nogueira CE, Drumond BP, Alves PA, Siqueira-Lima L, Assessing the variability of Brazilian vaccinia virus isolates from a horse exanthematic lesion: coinfection with distinct viruses. Arch Virol. 2011;156:27583. DOIPubMed
  3. Mota BEF, Trindade GS, Diniz TC, da Silva-Nunes M, Braga EM, Urbano-Ferreira M, Seroprevalence of orthopoxvirus in an Amazonian rural village, Acre, Brazil. Arch Virol. 2010;155:113944. DOIPubMed
  4. Abrahão JS, Silva-Fernandes AT, Lima LS, Campos RK, Guedes MI, Cota MM, Vaccinia virus infection in monkeys, Brazilian Amazon. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010;16:9769. DOIPubMed
  5. Cohen JI, Hohman P, Preuss JC, Li L, Fischer SH, Fedorko DP, Detection of vaccinia virus DNA, but not infectious virus, in the blood of smallpox vaccine recipients. Vaccine. 2007;25:45714. DOIPubMed
  6. Savona MR, Dela Cruz WP, Jones MS, Thornton JA, Xia D, Hadfield TL, Detection of vaccinia DNA in the blood following smallpox vaccination. JAMA. 2006;295:1895900. DOIPubMed
  7. de Souza Trindade G, Li Y, Olson VA, Emerson G, Regnery RL, da Fonseca FG, Real-time PCR assay to identify variants of vaccinia virus: implications for the diagnosis of bovine vaccinia in Brazil. J Virol Methods. 2008;152:6371. DOIPubMed
  8. Damon IK. Poxviruses. In: Knipe DM, Howley PM, Griffin DE, Lamb RA, Martin MA, Roizman B, et al., editors. Fields virology. Vol II. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2007. p. 2947–75.
  9. Trindade GS, Emerson GL, Carroll DS, Kroon EG, Damon IK. Brazilian vaccinia viruses and their origins. Emerg Infect Dis. 2007;13:96572. DOIPubMed
  10. Abrahão JS, Guedes MI, Trindade GS, Fonseca FG, Campos RK, Mota BF, One more piece in the VACV ecological puzzle: could peridomestic rodents be the link between wildlife and bovine vaccinia outbreaks in Brazil? PLoS ONE. 2009;4:e7428. DOIPubMed

Table

Technical Appendix

Suggested citation for this article: A.P.M. Franco-Luiz, A. Fagundes-Pereira, G.B. Costa, P.A. Alves, D.B. Oliveira, C.A. Bonjardim, et al. Spread of vaccinia virus to cattle herds, Argentina, 2011 [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Sep [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2009.140154

DOI: 10.3201/eid2009.140154

Related Links

Table of Contents – Volume 20, Number 9—September 2014

Comments to the Authors

Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Erna G. Kroon, Laboratório de Vírus, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627, Caixa Postal 486, CEP 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

character(s) remaining.

Comment submitted successfully, thank you for your feedback.

Comments to the EID Editors

Please contact the EID Editors via our Contact Form.

TOP