Regula Wäckerlin

Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Griefswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

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Publications (7)19.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Bluetongue (BT) is a major disease of ruminant livestock that can have a substantial impact on income and animal welfare. In South American camelids (SAC), fatalities related to bluetongue virus (BTV) infection were reported in Germany and France during the recent BTV-8 and BTV-1 epizootics, which raised concern about the role of SAC in the epidemiology of BTV. Therefore, a large-scale serological and virological study was conducted in Germany from autumn 2008 to spring 2009. Risk factors associated with BTV infection were analysed by multiple logistic regression. These included age, species, gender and housing arrangements of SAC as well as the location of the herds and the presence of ruminants on farms.Altogether, 249 (14.3%) of 1742 SAC were found seropositive by BTV ELISA, and 43 (47.3%) of the 91 herds had at least one BTV-seropositive SAC. However, no BTV RNA was detected in any of the seropositive samples. Seroprevalence depended on the sampling region and probably on age, but not on any other analysed risk factors associated with BTV infection in ruminants. The highest seroprevalence was found in the west of Germany where the BTV-8 epizootic started in 2006. Recorded BTV-8 related disease and fatalities are discussed. Although the prevalence of BTV-8 antibodies was high in some regions, the virological results indicate that SAC play a negligible role in the epidemiology of this virus infection.
    Veterinary Microbiology 05/2012; 160(1-2):35-42. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Even though Newcastle disease virus (NDV) live vaccine strains can be applied to 1-day-old chickens, they are pathogenic to chicken embryos when given in ovo 3 days before hatch. Based on the reverse genetics system, we modified recombinant NDV (rNDV) established from lentogenic vaccine strain Clone 30 by introducing specific mutations within the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) proteins, which have recently been suggested as being responsible for attenuation of selected vaccine variants (Mast et al. Vaccine 24:1756-1765, 2006) resulting in rNDV49. Another recombinant (rNDVGu) was generated to correct sequence differences between rNDV and vaccine strain NDV Clone 30. Recombinant viruses rNDV, rNDV49, and rNDVGu have reduced virulence compared with NDV Clone 30, represented by lower intracerebral pathogenicity indices and elevated mean death time. After in ovo inoculation, hatchability was comparable for all infected groups. However, only one chicken from the NDV Clone 30 group survived a 21-day observation period; whereas, the survival rate of hatched chicks from groups receiving recombinant NDV was between 40% and 80%, with rNDVGu being the most pathogenic virus. Furthermore, recombinant viruses induced protection against challenge infection with virulent NDV 21 days post hatch. Differences in antibody response of recombinant viruses indicate that immunogenicity is correlated to virulence. In summary, our data show that point mutations can reduce virulence of NDV. However, alteration of specific amino acids in F and HN proteins of rNDV did not lead to further attenuation as indicated by their pathogenicity for chicken after in ovo inoculation.
    Avian Diseases 03/2012; 56(1):208-17. · 1.73 Impact Factor
  • The Veterinary record. 06/2011; 168(24):643.
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    ABSTRACT: Five cattle and five sheep that had never been exposed to bluetongue virus (BTV), as well as ten animals that had been experimentally infected with BTV-8, were inoculated with BTV-1. Previous exposure to BTV-8 did not prevent a second infection with another serotype. After the experiment, the BTV-1 preparation was found to be contaminated with BTV-15. The inoculum and blood samples taken during the experiment were analysed by serotype-specific real-time RT-PCR. There was 100-fold less BTV-15 than BTV-1 in the inoculum. Unexpectedly, BTV-15 dominated the infection in cattle that had previously been exposed to BTV-8. In sheep of both groups, on the other hand, BTV-1 prevailed over the contaminant. Regardless of the outcome, the incident demonstrates the need for a thorough contamination screening of virus preparations. For this purpose, two type-specific RT-PCR primer sets for each of the 24 established BTV serotypes as well as Toggenburg Orbivirus were designed.
    Vaccine 06/2011; 29(26):4299-301. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) currently recommends using infectious ruminant blood as challenge inoculum in bluetongue virus (BTV) vaccination and challenge experiments. The use of virus grown in cultured cells is discouraged because culture passages can lead to changes in virus phenotype, including reduced replication efficiency and virulence in the host, while the OIE considers clinical disease in control animals indispensable evidence of successful infection. In the present study, two groups of five sheep were inoculated with either infectious calf blood lysate or culture-grown bluetongue virus of serotype 8 (BTV-8) (2 × 10(4)TCID(50) and 5 × 10(5)TCID(50), respectively). No pronounced difference in the induction and progression of viraemia as determined by real-time RT-PCR, which is the most objective parameter in the evaluation of vaccine efficacy, was observed. In a second experiment, the virulence of both inocula was confirmed by fatal infection of interferon receptor-deficient mice. The recent availability of highly sensitive molecular methods for the detection of BTV can finally shift the focus away from clinical disease. For the sake of objective and repeatable BTV challenge experiments, the OIE should reconsider its policy on culture-grown virus.
    Veterinary Microbiology 11/2010; 146(1-2):150-4. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The long-term efficacy of three commercially available inactivated vaccines against bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) (BLUEVAC) 8, Zulvac 8, and BTVPUR AlSap 8) was evaluated in a seroprevalence study and challenge experiments. Seroprevalences 1 year after vaccination ranged from 75% to 100%. In two infection experiments, groups of vaccinated sheep and cattle selected either randomly or for low antibody levels were challenged with a European BTV-8 strain 12 months after vaccination. With two exceptions, all animals, including those with low antibody levels prior to challenge, were protected from viral replication and clinical disease even at low initial antibody levels. Vaccination of susceptible ruminants in yearly intervals is thus considered an adequate scheme for BTV-8 control in Europe.
    Vaccine 06/2010; 28(27):4348-55. · 3.77 Impact Factor
  • Vaccine 11/2009; 28(4):881-2. · 3.77 Impact Factor