[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) share several important viral
and bacterial pathogens. Therefore, direct and indirect contacts between domestic
pigs and wild boar present a risk of pathogen spillover and can lead to long-term
perpetuation of infection. Biological indicators could be a powerful tool to
understand and characterize contacts between wild boar and domestic pigs. Here,
faecal Escherichia coli and Hepatitis E virus (HEV) were explored as potential
biological indicators under experimental conditions. The data gained in our pilot
study suggest that faecal E. coli can be used as biological indicator of contact
between wild boar and domestic pig. For HEV, faecal transmission was also
confirmed. However, molecular studies on full-genome basis did not reveal
markers that would allow tracing of transmission direction. Based on these
promising results, future field studies will especially target the practicability of
E. coli microbiome molecular typing as surrogate of contacts at the wildlife–livestock
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever is a highly contagious disease that affects domestic and wild pigs worldwide. The causative agent of the disease is Classical swine fever virus (CSFV), which belongs to the genus
within the family
. On the genome level, CSFV can be divided into three genotypes with three to four sub-genotypes. Those genotypes can be assigned to distinct geographical regions. Knowledge about CSFV diversity and distribution is important for the understanding of disease dynamics and evolution, and can thus help to design optimized control strategies. For this reason, the geographical pattern of CSFV diversity and distribution are outlined in the presented review. Moreover, current knowledge with regard to genetic virulence markers or determinants and the role of the quasispecies composition is discussed.
Animal Health Research Reviews 06/2015; 16(1):33-9. DOI:10.1017/S1466252315000109
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF), a disease notifiable to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), is characterized by severe, unspecific clinical signs and high mortality rates. Hosts for ASF virus (ASFV) are only members of the family Suidae and soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros. Currently, no vaccine is available and therefore, the control is primarily based on strict sanitary measures. The most important part is the early detection of the disease within affected animal holdings and the fast and reliable confirmation by laboratory diagnosis. Infections of domestic pigs and European wild boar with recent Armenian, Sardinian, Lithuanian or Kenyan ASFV isolates lead to severe, acute disease courses with the predominant symptom of high fever (> 41 degrees C) accompanied by further unspecific clinical signs such as lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, respiratory symptoms, and an increased bleeding tendency. In experimental infection studies the mortality rate reached 100%. The most prominent pathomorphological findings included ebony-colored gastrohepatic lymph nodes, lung oedema, petechiae in the renal cortex, and oedema of the gallbladder wall. In the light of the current epidemiological situation with endemic ASFV infections on Sardinia, outbreaks in Russia and several Eastern EU Member States there is a risk for an introduction in further, previously unaffected EU countries including Germany. Hence, appropriate sample materials (serum, blood, spleen) of domestic pigs with unspecific clinical symptoms or pathomorphological findings should be examined for both ASFV and classical swine fever virus.
Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 05/2015; 128(5-6):169-76. · 0.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2007, African swine fever virus (ASFV) was introduced into the Transcaucasian countries and Russia. Since then, it has spread alarmingly and reached the European Union. ASFV strains are highly virulent and lead to almost 100 % mortality under experimental conditions. However, the possibility of dose-dependent disease courses has been discussed. For this reason, a study was undertaken to assess the risk of chronic disease and the establishment of carriers upon low-dose oronasal infection of domestic pigs and European wild boar. It was demonstrated that very low doses of ASFV are sufficient to infect especially weak or runted animals by the oronasal route. Some of these animals did not show clinical signs indicative of ASF, and they developed almost no fever. However, no changes were observed in individual animal regarding the onset, course and outcome of infection as assessed by diagnostic tests. After amplification of ASFV by these animals, pen- and stablemates became infected and developed acute lethal disease with similar characteristics in all animals. Thus, we found no indication of prolonged or chronic individual courses upon low-dose infection in either species. The scattered onset of clinical signs and pathogen detection within and among groups confirms moderate contagiosity that is strongly linked with blood contact. In conclusion, the prolonged course at the "herd level" together with the exceptionally low dose that proved to be sufficient to infect a runted wild boar could be important for disease dynamics in wild-boar populations and in backyard settings.
Archives of Virology 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00705-015-2430-2 · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 2013, highly virulent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has caused considerable economic losses in the United States. To determine the relation of US strains to those recently causing disease in Germany, we compared genomes and found that the strain from Germany is closely related to variants in the United States.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is the causative agent of a severe multi-systemic disease of pigs. While several aspects of virus-host-interaction are known, the early steps of infection remain unclear. For the closely related bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), a cellular receptor is known: bovine complement regulatory protein CD46. Given that these two pestiviruses are closely related, porcine CD46 is also a candidate receptor for CSFV. In addition to CD46, cell-culture-adapted CSFV strains have been shown to use heparan sulfates as an additional cellular factor. In the present study, the interaction of field-type and cell-culture-adapted CSFV with a permanent porcine cell line or primary macrophages was assessed using anti-porcine CD46 monoclonal antibodies and a heparan-sulfate-blocking compound, DSTP-27. The influence of receptor blocking was assessed using virus titration and quantitative PCR. Treatment of cells with monoclonal antibodies against porcine CD46 led to a reduction of viral growth in both cell types. The effect was most pronounced with field-type CSFV. The blocking could be enhanced by addition of DSTP-27, especially for cell-culture-adapted CSFV. The combined use of both blocking agents led to a significant reduction of viral growth but was also not able to abolish infection completely. The results obtained in this study showed that both porcine CD46 and heparan sulfates play a major role in the initial steps of CSFV infection. Additional receptors might also play a role for attachment and entry; however, their impact is obviously limited in vitro in comparison to CD46 and heparan sulfates.
Archives of Virology 01/2015; 160(3). DOI:10.1007/s00705-014-2313-y · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs with tremendous socio-economic impact. Vaccines are available for disease control. However, most industrialized countries are implementing stamping out strategies to eliminate the disease to avoid trade restrictions. These restrictions could be avoided through the use of marker vaccines such as CP7_E2alf. Marker vaccines have to be accompanied by reliable and robust discriminatory assays. In this context, a multiplex microsphere immunoassay for serological differentiation of the CSFV infected from CP7_E2alf vaccinated animals (DIVA) was developed. To this end, three viral proteins, namely CSFV E2, CSFV E(rns) and BVDV E2, were produced in insect cells using a baculovirus expression system and used as antigens in a microsphere immunoassay, which was further evaluated by testing a large panel of pig sera and compared to a well characterized commercial CSFV E2 Antibody ELISA and a "test" version of an improved CSFV E(rns) antibody ELISA. Under a cut-off median fluorescence intensity value of 5522, the multiplex microsphere immunoassay had a sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 98.9% for detection of antibodies against CSFV E2. Both the microsphere immunoassay and the CSFV E(rns) ELISA gave the same results for 155 out of 187 samples (82.8%) for the presence of CSFV E(rns) antibodies. This novel multiplex immunoassay is a valuable tool for measuring and differentiating immune responses to vaccination and/or infection in animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In view of the fact that African swine fever (ASF) was recently introduced into the wild boar population of the European Union and that classical swine fever (CSF) keeps reoccurring, targeted surveillance is of utmost importance for early detection. Introduction of both diseases is usually accompanied by an increased occurrence of animals found dead. Thus, fallen wild boar are the main target for passive surveillance. However, encouraging reporting by hunters and sampling of these animals is difficult. Partly, these problems could be solved by providing a pragmatic sampling approach. For this reason, we assessed the applicability of three different dry/semi-dry blood swabs, namely a cotton swab, a flocked swab, and a forensic livestock swab, for molecular swine fever diagnosis. After nucleic acid extraction using manual and automated systems, routine quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) were carried out. Results obtained from swabs or their fragments were compared to results generated from EDTA blood.
It was shown that reliable detection of both pathogens was possible by qPCR. Shifts in genome copy numbers were observed, but they did not change the qualitative results. In general, all swabs were suitable, but the forensic swab showed slight advantages, especially in terms of cutting and further storage. Robustness of the method was confirmed by the fact that different extraction methods and protocols as well as storage at room temperature did not have an influence on the final outcome. Taken together, swab samples could be recommended as a pragmatic approach to sample fallen wild boar.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Classical Swine Fever is one of the most important infectious diseases for the pig industry worldwide due to its economic impact. Vaccination is an effective means to control disease, however within the EU its regular use is banned owing to the inability to differentiate infected and vaccinated animals, the so called DIVA principle. This inability complicates monitoring of disease and stops international trade thereby limiting use of the vaccine in many regions. The C-strain vaccine is safe to use and gives good protection. It is licensed for emergency vaccination in the EU in event of an outbreak. Two genetic assays that can distinguish between wild type virus and C-strain vaccines have recently been developed. Here the results from a comparison of these two real-time RT-PCR assays in an interlaboratory exercise are presented. Both assays showed similar performance.
Research in Veterinary Science 10/2014; 97(2). DOI:10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.06.010 · 1.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of cytokine responses plays a major role in the pathogenesis of severe and life-threatening infectious diseases like septicemia or viral hemorrhagic fevers. In pigs, diseases like African and classical swine fever are known to show exaggerated cytokine releases. To study these responses and their impact on disease severity and outcome in detail, reliable, highly specific and sensitive methods are needed. For cytokine research on the molecular level, real-time RT-PCRs have been proven to be suitable. Yet, the currently available and most commonly used SYBR Green I assays or heterogeneous gel-based RT-PCRs for swine show a significant lack of specificity and sensitivity. The latter is however absolutely essential for an accurate quantification of rare cytokine transcripts as well as for detection of small changes in gene expressions. For this reason, a harmonized TaqMan-based triplex real-time RT-PCR protocol for the quantitative detection of normalized gene expression profiles of seven porcine cytokines was designed and validated within the presented study. Cytokines were chosen to represent different immunological pathways and targets known to be involved in the pathogenesis of the above mentioned porcine diseases, namely interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-α. Beta-Actin and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) served as reference genes for normalization. For absolute quantification a synthetic standard plasmid was constructed comprising all target cytokines and reference genes within a single molecule allowing the generation of positive control RNA. The standard as well as positive RNAs from samples, and additionally more than 400 clinical samples, which were collected from animal trials, were included in the validation process to assess analytical sensitivity and applicability under routine conditions. The resulting assay allows the reliable assessment of gene expression profiles and provides a broad applicability to any kind of immunological research in swine.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108910. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108910 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is a highly lethal viral disease of domestic pigs and wild boar. ASF was introduced into the southern Russian Federation in 2007 and is now reported to be spreading in populations of wild and domestic suids. An endemic situation in the local wild boar population would significantly complicate management of the disease in the livestock population. To date no sound method exists for identifying the characteristic pattern of an endemic situation, which describes infection persisting from generation to generation in the same population. To support urgent management decisions at the wildlife-livestock interface, a new algorithm was constructed to test the hypothesis of an endemic disease situation in wildlife on the basis of case reports. The approach described here uses spatial and temporal associations between observed diagnostic data to discriminate between endemic and non-endemic patterns of case occurrence. The algorithm was validated with data from an epidemiological simulation model and applied to ASF case data from southern Russia. Based on the algorithm and the diagnostic data available, the null hypothesis of an endemic situation of ASF in wild boar of the region was rejected.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 08/2014; 117(2). DOI:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.08.012 · 2.51 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the attitudes and beliefs of pig farmers and hunters in Germany, Bulgaria and the western part of the Russian Federation towards reporting suspected cases of African swine fever (ASF). Data were collected using a web-based questionnaire survey targeting pig farmers and hunters in these three study areas. Separate multivariable logistic regression models identified key variables associated with each of the three binary outcome variables whether or not farmers would immediately report suspected cases of ASF, whether or not hunters would submit samples from hunted wild boar for diagnostic testing and whether or not hunters would report wild boar carcasses. The results showed that farmers who would not immediately report suspected cases of ASF are more likely to believe that their reputation in the local community would be adversely affected if they were to report it, that they can control the outbreak themselves without the involvement of veterinary services and that laboratory confirmation would take too long. The modelling also indicated that hunters who did not usually submit samples of their harvested wild boar for ASF diagnosis, and hunters who did not report wild boar carcasses are more likely to justify their behaviour through a lack of awareness of the possibility of reporting. These findings emphasize the need to develop more effective communication strategies targeted at pig farmers and hunters about the disease, its epidemiology, consequences and control methods, to increase the likelihood of early reporting, especially in the Russian Federation where the virus circulates.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Classical swine fever (CSF) is one of the most important viral diseases of pigs. Clinical signs may vary from almost inapparent infection to a hemorrhagic fever like illness. Among the host factors leading to different disease courses are age, breed, and immune status. The aim of this study was to compare host responses of different pig breeds upon infection with a recent moderately virulent CSF virus (CSFV) strain, and to assess their impact on the clinical outcome and the efficiency of immune responses. To this means, two domestic pig types (German Landrace and hybrids), were compared to European wild boar. Along with clinical and pathological assessments and routine virological and serological methods, kinetics of immune-cellular parameters were evaluated.
All animals were susceptible to infection and despite clinical differences, virus could be detected in all infected animals to similar amounts. All but one animal developed an acute disease course, two landrace animals recovered after a transient infection. One wild boar got chronically infected. Changes in the percentages of lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood did not show a clear correlation with the clinical outcome. High and early titers of neutralizing antibodies were especially detected in wild boar and German Landrace pigs.
While differences among breeds did not have the expected impact on course and outcome of CSFV infection, preload with facultative pathogens and even small differences in age seemed to be more relevant. Future studies will target the characterization of responses observed during different disease courses including cytokine reactions and further analyses of lymphocyte subsets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is among the most devastating viral diseases of pigs. In recent years, the disease has spread alarmingly. Despite intensive research activities, promising vaccine candidates are still lacking. For this reason, a study was undertaken to re-assess inactivated ASFV preparations with state-of-the-art adjuvants. Inactivated preparations of ASF virus (ASFV) “Armenia08” were adjuvanted with either Polygen™ or Emulsigen®-D, respectively, and used to immunize six weaner pigs two times with a three-week interval. Six weeks after the first immunization, animals were challenged with the homologues highly virulent ASFV. Although ASFV-specific antibodies were detectable in all but one vaccinated animal prior to challenge, no protective effect of immunization was observed. All animals developed acute-lethal ASF and had to be euthanized within eleven days post challenge. A slightly accelerated clinical course in vaccinees could even indicate an antibody dependent enhancement, which could also influence efficacy of other vaccine approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is among the most devastating viral diseases of pigs. In recent years, the disease has spread alarmingly. Despite intensive research activities, promising vaccine candidates are still lacking. For this reason, a study was undertaken to re-assess inactivated ASFV preparations with state-of-the-art adjuvants. Inactivated preparations of ASF virus (ASFV) "Armenia08" were adjuvanted with either Polygen™ or Emulsigen(®)-D, respectively, and used to immunize six weaner pigs two times with a three-week interval. Six weeks after the first immunization, animals were challenged with the homologues highly virulent ASFV. Although ASFV-specific antibodies were detectable in all but one vaccinated animal prior to challenge, no protective effect of immunization was observed. All animals developed acute-lethal ASF and had to be euthanized within eleven days post challenge. A slightly accelerated clinical course in vaccinees could even indicate an antibody dependent enhancement, which could also influence efficacy of other vaccine approaches.