Journal Articles

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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral disease, which can cause up to 100% mortality among domestic pigs. In Uganda there is paucity of information on the epidemiology of the disease hence a study was carried out to elucidate the patterns of ASF outbreaks. Spatial and temporal analyses were performed with data collected monthly by the District Veterinary Officers (DVOs) and sent to the Central administration at MAAIF from 2001–2012. Additionally, risk factors and the associated characteristics related to the disease were assessed based on semi-structured questionnaires sent to the DVOs. A total of 388 ASF outbreaks were reported in 59 districts. Of these outbreaks, 201 (51.8%) were reported in districts adjacent to the National Parks, while 80 (20.6%) were adjacent to international borders. The number of reported ASF outbreaks changed over time and by geographical regions, however, no outbreak was reported in the North Eastern region. ASF was ranked as second most important disease of pigs and it occurred mostly during the dry season (p= 0.01). Pig movements due to trade (OR 15.5, CI 4.9 – 49.1) and restocking (OR 6.6, CI 2.5 – 17.3) were the major risk factors. ASF control strategies should focus on limiting pig movements in Uganda.
    Journal of Veterinary Medicine. 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Porcine bocaviruses (PoBoVs) are small linear ssDNA viruses belonging to the genus bocavirus in the family Parvoviridae. The genome encodes four proteins-the non-structural protein 1 (NS1), the NP1 protein (unknown function) and the two structural proteins VP1 and VP2. In recent years, a number of different highly divergent PoBoV species have been discovered. PoBoVs have been shown to be present in pig populations in Europe, Asia and in the United States of America. In this study, we present the first data of the presence of PoBoV in Africa, specifically in Uganda. A PCR targeting a PoBoV species that have previously been detected in both Sweden and China was used to screen 95 serum samples from domestic pigs in Uganda. Two pigs were found to be positive for this specific PoBoV and the complete coding region was amplified from one of these samples. The amino acid sequence comparison of all these proteins showed a high identity (98-99 %) to the published Chinese sequences (strains: H18 and SX) belonging to the same PoBoV species. The same was true for the Swedish sequences from the same species. To the other PoBoV species the divergence was higher and only a 28-43 % protein sequence identity was seen comparing the different proteins.
    Virus Genes 12/2012; · 1.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As a result of rapidly growing human populations, intensification of livestock production and increasing exploitation of wildlife habitats for animal agriculture, the interface between wildlife, livestock and humans is expanding, with potential impacts on both domestic animal and human health. Wild animals serve as reservoirs for many viruses, which may occasionally result in novel infections of domestic animals and/or the human population. Given this background, we used metagenomics to investigate the presence of viral pathogens in sera collected from bushpigs (Potamochoerus larvatus), a nocturnal species of wild Suid known to move between national parks and farmland, in Uganda. Application of 454 pyrosequencing demonstrated the presence of Torque teno sus virus (TTSuV), porcine parvovirus 4 (PPV4), porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV), a GB Hepatitis C-like virus, and a Sclerotinia hypovirulence-associated-like virus in sera from the bushpigs. PCR assays for each specific virus combined with Sanger sequencing revealed two TTSuV-1 variants, one TTSuV-2 variant as well as PPV4 in the serum samples and thereby confirming the findings from the 454 sequencing. Using a viral metagenomic approach we have made an initial analysis of viruses present in bushpig sera and demonstrated for the first time the presence of PPV4 in a wild African Suid. In addition we identified novel variants of TTSuV-1 and 2 in bushpigs.
    Virology Journal 09/2012; 9:192. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of antibodies against African swine fever (ASF), a complex fatal notifiable OIE disease of swine, is always indicative of previous infection, since there is no vaccine that is currently used in the field. The early appearance and subsequent long-term persistence of antibodies combined with cost-effectiveness make antibody detection techniques essential in control programmes. Recent reports appear to indicate that the serological tests recommended by the OIE for ASF monitoring are much less effective in East and Southern Africa where viral genetic and antigenic diversity is the greatest. We report herein an extensive analysis including more than 1000 field and experimental infection sera, in which the OIE recommended tests are compared with antigen-specific ELISAs and immuno-peroxidase staining of cells (IPT). The antibody detection results generated using new antigen-specific tests, developed in this study, which are based on production of antigen fractions generated by infection and virus purification from COS-1 cells, showed strong concordance with the OIE tests. We therefore conclude that the lack of success is not attributable to antigenic polymorphism and may be related to the specific characteristics of the local breeds African pigs.
    Veterinary Microbiology 08/2012; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever virus (ASFV) causes one of the most dreaded transboundary animal diseases (TADs) in Suidae. African swine fever (ASF) often causes high rates of morbidity and mortality, which can reach 100% in domestic swine. To date, serological diagnosis has the drawback of not being able to differentiate variants of this virus. Previous studies have identified the 22 genotypes based on sequence variation in the C-terminal region of the p72 gene, which has become the standard for categorizing ASFVs. This article describes a genotyping assay developed using a segment of PCR-amplified genomic DNA of approximately 450 bp, which encompasses the C-terminal end of the p72 gene. Complementary paired DNA probes of 15 or 17 bp in length, which are identical except for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the central position, were designed to either individually or in combination differentiate between the 22 genotypes. The assay was developed using xMAP technology; probes were covalently linked to microspheres, hybridized to PCR product, labelled with a reporter and read in the Luminex 200 analyzer. Characterization of the sample was performed by comparing fluorescence of the paired SNP probes, that is, the probe with higher fluorescence in a complementary pair identified the SNP that a particular sample possessed. In the final assay, a total of 52 probes were employed, 24 SNP pairs and 4 for general detection. One or more samples from each of the 22 genotypes were tested. The assay was able to detect and distinguish all 22 genotypes. This novel assay provides a powerful novel tool for the simultaneous rapid diagnosis and genotypic differentiation of ASF.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 07/2012; · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Torque teno sus virus 1 (TTSuV1) and 2 (TTSuV2) are small, single-stranded circular DNA viruses belonging to the Anelloviridae family. Available studies clearly show that both viruses are widely distributed in the pig populations in America, Europe and Asia, although the impact of the infection is still unclear. Currently, the situation in domestic pig populations on the African continent is not known. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the possible presence of the two viruses in domestic pigs in Uganda, and describe the phylogenetic relationships to those in the rest of the world. Ninety-five serum samples from six districts in Uganda were used, and PCR using TTSuV1 and 2 specific primers for the UTR region was run for viral nucleic acid detection. The positive samples were sequenced, and phylogenetic analyses performed in order to compare the Ugandan sequences with sequences from other parts of the world. The prevalence of TTSuV1 and 2 in the selected domestic pigs were estimated at 16.8% and 48.4% respectively, with co-infection found in 13.7%. The sequence identity was 90-100% between the Ugandan TTSuV1; and 63-100% between the Ugandan TTSuV2 sequences. This is the first report on the presence of TTSuV1 and 2 in domestic pigs in Uganda. These results highlight the importance of screening for emerging viruses given the globalisation of human activities.
    Virology Journal 02/2012; 9:39. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patterns of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Uganda were elucidated from spatial and temporal retrospective data retrieved from monthly reports from District Veterinary Officers (DVOs) to the central administration for the years spanning 2001-2008. An assessment of perceived FMD occurrence, risk factors and the associated characteristics was made based on semi-structured questionnaires administered to the DVOs. During this period, a total of 311 FMD outbreaks were reported in 56 (70%) out of Uganda's 80 districts. The number of reported FMD outbreaks changed over time and by geographical regions. Occurrence of FMD was significantly associated with the dry season months (p = 0.0346), the time when animals movements are more frequent. The average number of FMD outbreaks was higher for some sub-counties adjacent to national parks than for other sub-counties, whilst proximity to international border only seemed to play a role at the southern border. DVOs believed that the major risk factor for FMD outbreaks was animal movements (odds ratio OR 50.8, confidence interval CI 17.8-144.6) and that most outbreaks were caused by introduction of sick animals.
    Tropical Animal Health and Production 10/2010; 42(7):1547-59. · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Uganda had an unusually large number of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in 2006, and all clinical reports were in cattle. A serological investigation was carried out to confirm circulating antibodies against foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) by ELISA for antibodies against non-structural proteins and structural proteins. Three hundred and forty-nine cattle sera were collected from seven districts in Uganda, and 65% of these were found positive for antibodies against the non-structural proteins of FMDV. A subset of these samples were analysed for serotype specificity of the identified antibodies. High prevalences of antibodies against non-structural proteins and structural proteins of FMDV serotype O were demonstrated in herds with typical visible clinical signs of FMD, while prevalences were low in herds without clinical signs of FMD. Antibody titres were higher against serotype O than against serotypes SAT 1, SAT 2 and SAT 3 in the sera investigated for serotype-specific antibodies. Only FMDV serotype O virus was isolated from one probang sample. This study shows that the majority of the FMD outbreaks in 2006 in the region studied were caused by FMDV serotype O; however, there was also evidence of antibodies to both SAT 1 and SAT 3 in one outbreak in a herd inside Queen Elizabeth national park area.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 10/2010; 57(5):365-74. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In East Africa, the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus (FMDV) isolates have over time included serotypes O, A, C, Southern African Territories (SAT) 1 and SAT 2, mainly from livestock. SAT 3 has only been isolated in a few cases and only in African buffalos (Syncerus caffer). To investigate the presence of antibodies against FMDV serotypes in wildlife in Uganda, serological studies were performed on buffalo serum samples collected between 2001 and 2003. Thirty-eight samples from African buffalos collected from Lake Mburo, Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks were screened using Ceditest FMDV NS to detect antibodies against FMDV non-structural proteins (NSP). The seroprevalence of antibodies against non-structural proteins was 74%. To characterize FMDV antibodies, samples were selected and titrated using serotype-specific solid phase blocking enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISAs). High titres of antibodies (> or =1 : 160) against FMDV serotypes SAT 1, SAT 2 and SAT 3 were identified. This study suggests that African buffalos in the different national parks in Uganda may play an important role in the epidemiology of SAT serotypes of FMDV.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 08/2010; 57(4):286-92. · 2.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To study the role of African buffalos (Syncerus caffer) in the maintenance of foot-and-mouth disease in Uganda, serum samples were collected from 207 African buffalos, 21 impalas (Aepyceros melampus), 1 giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), 1 common eland (Taurotragus oryx), 7 hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus) and 5 waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) from four major National Parks in Uganda between 2005 and 2008. Serum samples were screened to detect antibodies against foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) non-structural proteins (NSP) using the Ceditest® FMDV NS ELISA. Solid Phase Blocking ELISAs (SPBE) were used to determine the serotype-specificity of antibodies against the seven serotypes of FMDV among the positive samples. Virus isolation and sequencing were undertaken to identify circulating viruses and determine relatedness between them. Among the buffalo samples tested, 85% (95% CI = 80-90%) were positive for antibodies against FMDV non-structural proteins while one hartebeest sample out of seven (14.3%; 95% CI = -11.6-40.2%) was the only positive from 35 other wildlife samples from a variety of different species. In the buffalo, high serotype-specific antibody titres (≥ 80) were found against serotypes O (7/27 samples), SAT 1 (23/29 samples), SAT 2 (18/32 samples) and SAT 3 (16/30 samples). Among the samples titrated for antibodies against the four serotypes O, SAT 1, SAT 2 and SAT 3, 17/22 (77%; CI = 59.4-94.6%) had high titres against at least two serotypes.FMDV isolates of serotypes SAT 1 (1 sample) and SAT 2 (2 samples) were obtained from buffalo probang samples collected in Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) in 2007. Sequence analysis and comparison of VP1 coding sequences showed that the SAT 1 isolate belonged to topotype IV while the SAT 2 isolates belonged to different lineages within the East African topotype X. Consistent detection of high antibody titres in buffalos supports the view that African buffalos play an important role in the maintenance of FMDV infection within National Parks in Uganda. Both SAT 1 and SAT 2 viruses were isolated, and serological data indicate that it is also likely that FMDV serotypes O and SAT 3 may be present in the buffalo population. Detailed studies should be undertaken to define further the role of wildlife in the epidemiology of FMDV in East Africa.
    BMC Veterinary Research 01/2010; 6:54. · 1.86 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Health. 01/2010; 2(4):46-54.

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