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Volume 14, Number 12—December 2008

Volume 14, Number 12—December 2008   PDF Version [PDF - 11.81 MB - 159 pages]


  • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1) Infection in Red Foxes Fed Infected Bird Carcasses PDF Version [PDF - 311 KB - 7 pages]
    L. A. Reperant et al.
       View Abstract

    Eating infected wild birds may put wild carnivores at high risk for infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus (H5N1). To determine whether red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are susceptible to infection with HPAI virus (H5N1), we infected 3 foxes intratracheally. They excreted virus pharyngeally for 3–7 days at peak titers of 103.5–105.2 median tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) per mL and had severe pneumonia, myocarditis, and encephalitis. To determine whether foxes can become infected by the presumed natural route, we fed infected bird carcasses to 3 other red foxes. These foxes excreted virus pharyngeally for 3–5 days at peak titers of 104.2–104.5 TCID50/mL, but only mild or no pneumonia developed. This study demonstrates that red foxes fed bird carcasses infected with HPAI virus (H5N1) can excrete virus while remaining free of severe disease, thereby potentially playing a role in virus dispersal.

  • Influenza Infection in Wild Raccoons PDF Version [PDF - 229 KB - 7 pages]
    J. S. Hall et al.
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    Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are common, widely distributed animals that frequently come into contact with wild waterfowl, agricultural operations, and humans. Serosurveys showed that raccoons are exposed to avian influenza virus. We found antibodies to a variety of influenza virus subtypes (H10N7, H4N6, H4N2, H3, and H1) with wide geographic variation in seroprevalence. Experimental infection studies showed that raccoons become infected with avian and human influenza A viruses, shed and transmit virus to virus-free animals, and seroconvert. Analyses of cellular receptors showed that raccoons have avian and human type receptors with a similar distribution as found in human respiratory tracts. The potential exists for co-infection of multiple subtypes of influenza virus with genetic reassortment and creation of novel strains of influenza virus. Experimental and field data indicate that raccoons may play an important role in influenza disease ecology and pose risks to agriculture and human health.

  • Enzootic Rabies Elimination from Dogs and Reemergence in Wild Terrestrial Carnivores, United States PDF Version [PDF - 299 KB - 6 pages]
    A. Velasco-Villa et al.
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    To provide molecular and virologic evidence that domestic dog rabies is no longer enzootic to the United States and to identify putative relatives of dog-related rabies viruses (RVs) circulating in other carnivores, we studied RVs associated with recent and historic dog rabies enzootics worldwide. Molecular, phylogenetic, and epizootiologic evidence shows that domestic dog rabies is no longer enzootic to the United States. Nonetheless, our data suggest that independent rabies enzootics are now established in wild terrestrial carnivores (skunks in California and north-central United States, gray foxes in Texas and Arizona, and mongooses in Puerto Rico), as a consequence of different spillover events from long-term rabies enzootics associated with dogs. These preliminary results highlight the key role of dog RVs and human–dog demographics as operative factors for host shifts and disease reemergence into other important carnivore populations and highlight the need for the elimination of dog-related RVs worldwide.

  • Genetic Characterization of Toggenburg Orbivirus, a New Bluetongue Virus, from Goats, Switzerland PDF Version [PDF - 323 KB - 7 pages]
    M. A. Hofmann et al.
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    A novel bluetongue virus (BTV) termed Toggenburg orbivirus (TOV) was detected in goats from Switzerland by using real-time reverse transcription–PCR. cDNA corresponding to the complete sequence of 7 of 10 double-stranded RNA segments of the viral genome was amplified by PCR and cloned into a plasmid vector. Five clones for each genome segment were sequenced to determine a consensus sequence. BLAST analysis and dendrogram construction showed that TOV is closely related to BTV, although some genome segments are distinct from the 24 known BTV serotypes. Maximal sequence identity to any BTV ranged from 63% (segment 2) to 79% (segments 7 and 10). Because the gene encoding outer capsid protein 2 (VP2), which determines the serotype of BTV, is placed within the BTV serogroup, we propose that TOV represents an unknown 25th serotype of BTV.

  • Sentinel-based Surveillance of Coyotes to Detect Bovine Tuberculosis, Michigan PDF Version [PDF - 408 KB - 8 pages]
    K. C. VerCauteren et al.
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    Bovine tuberculosis (TB) is endemic in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the northeastern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Bovine TB in deer and cattle has created immense financial consequences for the livestock industry and hunting public. Surveillance identified coyotes (Canis latrans) as potential bio-accumulators of Mycobacterium bovis, a finding that generated interest in their potential to serve as sentinels for monitoring disease risk. We sampled 175 coyotes in the bovine TB–endemic area. Fifty-eight tested positive, and infection prevalence by county ranged from 19% to 52% (statistical mean 33%, SE 0.07). By contrast, prevalence in deer (n = 3,817) was lower (i.e., 1.49%; Mann-Whitney U4,4 = 14, p<0.001). By focusing on coyotes rather than deer, we sampled 97% fewer individuals and increased the likelihood of detecting M. bovis by 40%. As a result of reduced sampling intensity, sentinel coyote surveys have the potential to be practical indicators of M. bovis presence in wildlife and livestock.

  • African Swine Fever Virus Isolate, Georgia, 2007 PDF Version [PDF - 149 KB - 5 pages]
    R. J. Rowlands et al.
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    African swine fever (ASF) is widespread in Africa but is rarely introduced to other continents. In June 2007, ASF was confirmed in the Caucasus region of Georgia, and it has since spread to neighboring countries. DNA fragments amplified from the genome of the isolates from domestic pigs in Georgia in 2007 were sequenced and compared with other ASF virus (ASFV) isolates to establish the genotype of the virus. Sequences were obtained from 4 genome regions, including part of the gene B646L that encodes the p72 capsid protein, the complete E183L and CP204L genes, which encode the p54 and p30 proteins and the variable region of the B602L gene. Analysis of these sequences indicated that the Georgia 2007 isolate is closely related to isolates belonging to genotype II, which is circulating in Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zambia. One possibility for the spread of disease to Georgia is that pigs were fed ASFV-contaminated pork brought in on ships and, subsequently, the disease was disseminated throughout the region.

  • Medscape CME Activity
    Clinical Characteristics and Molecular Subtyping of Vibrio vulnificus Illnesses, Israel PDF Version [PDF - 296 KB - 8 pages]
    R. Zaidenstein et al.
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    During 1996–1997, a new Vibrio vulnificus biotype 3, which caused severe soft tissue infection after fishbone injury, emerged in Israel. We conducted a follow-up study from 1998 through 2005 to assess changing trends, outcomes, and molecular relatedness of the implicated strains. A total of 132 cases (71% confirmed and 29% suspected) of V. vulnificus biotype 3 infection were found. Most infections (95%) were related to percutaneous fish exposure, mainly tilapia (83%) or common carp (13%). Bacteremia, altered immune status, and history of ischemic heart disease were identified as independent risk factors for death, which reached a prevalence of 7.6%. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns of strains from 1998 through 2005 and from 1996 through 1997 showed a high degree of homogeneity and were distinct from those of V. vulnificus biotype 1. Infections caused by V. vulnificus biotype 3 continue affect the public’s health in Israel.


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