[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The risk to die from an infectious disease in Germany has been continuously decreasing over the last century. Since infections are, however, not only causes of death but risk factors for diseases like cardiovascular diseases, it is essential to monitor and analyze their prevalence and frequency, especially in consideration of the increased life expectancy. To gain more knowledge about infectious diseases as risk factors and their implications on the condition and change of the immune status, the German National Cohort (GNC), a population-based prospective cohort study, will recruit 200,000 subjects between 2014 and 2017. In Pretest 1, a feasibility study for the GNC, we evaluated a self-administered and self-report questionnaire on infectious diseases and on the use of health care facilities (hereinafter called "ID Screen") for feasibility and validity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cats and dogs live in more than 20 % of German households and the contact between these pets and their owners can be very close. Therefore, a transmission of zoonotic pathogens may occur. To investigate whether zoonotic research questions can be examined in the context of population-based studies like the German National Cohort (GNC), two studies on different study populations were conducted as part of the feasibility tests of the GNC. The aim of the first study was to quantify the actual exposure of participants of the GNC to cats and dogs. In the second study summarised here the feasibility of the sampling of cats and dogs by their owners was tested. To quantify the exposure of participants of the GNC to cats and dogs 744 study participants of the Pretests of the GNC were asked whether they had contact with animals. Currently 10 % have a dog and 14 % have a cat in their household. These figures confirm that a large proportion of the German population has contact with pets and that there is a need for further zoonoses research. To establish the collection of biological samples from cats and dogs in the context of large-scale population-based studies feasible methods are needed. Therefore, a study was conducted to test whether pet owners can take samples from their cats and dogs and whether the quality of these samples is comparable to samples taken by a qualified veterinarian. A total of 82 dog and 18 cat owners were recruited in two veterinary practices in Hannover and the Clinic for Small Animals at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover. Sampling instructions and sample material for nasal and buccal swabs, faecal samples and, in the case of cat owners, a brush for fur samples, were given to the pet owners. The pet owners were asked to take the samples from their pets at home and to send the samples by surface mail. Swab samples were cultured and bacterial growth was quantified independent of bacterial species. The growth of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria from samples taken by the veterinarian and the pet owners were compared. For Gram-positive bacteria the agreement of laboratory results was 71 % for nasal swabs and 78 % for oral swabs while for Gram-negative bacteria the agreement of laboratory results was 55 % for nasal swabs and 87 % for oral swabs. In conclusion it has been shown that participants of the GNC are exposed to cats and dogs and that the sampling of cats and dogs by their owners is a feasible method which can be a useful tool for zoonoses research in population-based studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional study concerning farm prevalence and risk factors for the count of cefotaxime resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) (CREC) positive samples per sampling group on German fattening pig farms was performed in 2011 and 2012. Altogether 48 farms in four agricultural regions in the whole of Germany were investigated. Faecal samples, boot swabs and dust samples from two sampling groups per farm were taken and supplemental data were collected using a questionnaire. On 85% of the farms, at least one sample contained cefotaxime resistant E. coli colonies. Positive samples were more frequent in faeces (61%) and boot swabs (54%) than in dust (11%). Relevant variables from the questionnaire were analysed in a univariable mixed effect Poisson regression model. Variables that were related to the number (risk) of positive samples per sampling group with a p-value < 0.2 were entered in a multivariable mixed effect Poisson regression model via backward selection. Factors that increased the risk for positive samples involved farm management and hygienic aspects. Farms that had a separate pen for diseased pigs had a 2.8 higher mean count of positive samples (95%-CI [1.71; 4.58], p = 0.001) than farms without an extra pen. The mean count was increased on farms with under-floor exhaust ventilation compared to farms with over-floor ventilation (2.22 [1.43; 3.46], p = 0.001) and more positive samples were observed on farms that controlled flies with toxin compared to farms that did not (1.86 [1.24; 2.78], p = 0.003). It can be concluded, that CREC are wide spread on German fattening pig farms. In addition the explorative approach of the present study suggests an influence of management strategies on the occurrence of cefotaxime resistant E. coli.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 09/2014; · 2.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Escherichia (E.) coli producing extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) are an increasing problem for public health. The success of ESBLs may be due to spread of ESBL-producing bacterial clones, transfer of ESBL gene-carrying plasmids or exchange of ESBL encoding genes on mobile elements. This makes it difficult to identify transmission routes and sources for ESBL-producing bacteria. The objectives of this study were to compare the distribution of genotypic and phenotypic properties of E. coli isolates from different animal and human sources collected in studies in the scope of the national research project RESET. ESBL-producing E. coli from two longitudinal and four cross-sectional studies in broiler, swine and cattle farms, a cross-sectional and a case–control study in humans and diagnostic isolates from humans and animals were used. In the RESET consortium, all laboratories followed harmonized methodologies for antimicrobial susceptibility testing, confirmation of the ESBL phenotype, specific PCR assays for the detection of blaTEM, blaCTX, and blaSHV genes and sequence analysis of the complete ESBL gene as well as a multiplex PCR for the detection of the four major phylogenetic groups of E. coli. Most ESBL genes were found in both, human and non-human populations but quantitative differences for distinct ESBL-types were detectable. The enzymes CTX-M-1 (63.3% of all animal isolates, 29.3% of all human isolates), CTX-M-15 (17.7% vs. 48.0%) and CTX-M-14 (5.3% vs. 8.7%) were the most common ones. More than 70% of the animal isolates and more than 50% of the human isolates contained the broadly distributed ESBL genes blaCTX-M-1, blaCTX-M-15, or the combinations blaSHV-12 + blaTEM or blaCTX-M-1 + blaTEM. While the majority of animal isolates carried blaCTX-M-1 (37.5%) or the combination blaCTX-M-1 + blaTEM (25.8%), this was the case for only 16.7% and 12.6%, respectively, of the human isolates. In contrast, 28.2% of the human isolates carried blaCTX-M-15 compared to 10.8% of the animal isolates.
When grouping data by ESBL types and phylogroups blaCTX-M-1 genes, mostly combined with phylogroup A or B1, were detected frequently in all settings. In contrast, blaCTX-M-15 genes common in human and animal populations were mainly combined with phylogroup A, but not with the more virulent phylogroup B2 with the exception of companion animals, where a few isolates were detectable.
When E. coli subtype definition included phylogenetic grouping and antimicrobial susceptibility data, the proportion of isolates allocated to common clusters was markedly reduced. Nevertheless, relevant proportions of same subtypes were detected in isolates from the human and livestock and companion animal populations included in this study, suggesting exchange of bacteria or bacterial genes between these populations or a common reservoir. In addition, these results clearly showed that there is some similarity between ESBL genes, and bacterial properties in isolates from the different populations. Finally, our current approach provides good insight into common and population-specific clusters, which can be used as a basis for the selection of ESBL-producing isolates from interesting clusters for further detailed characterizations, e.g. by whole genome sequencing.
International Journal of Medical Microbiology 08/2014; · 4.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY We conducted a case-control study based on 884 laboratory-confirmed sporadic Salmonella cases reported to the German infectious disease notification system. For controls, we recruited 510 rotavirus cases via the same system. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed separately for children aged 0-3 years and 4-14 years. In both age groups, the highest odds ratios (OR) were found for raw ground pork consumption [0-3 years: OR 8·6, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2·4-30·8; 4-14 years: OR 4·5, 95% CI 1·1-19]. Further risk factors were exposure to animals (OR 1·6, 95% CI 1·1-2·1), consumption of poultry (OR 1·5, 95% CI 1·1-2·1), food items containing eggs (OR 1·5, 95% CI 1·1-2) and black pepper (OR 1·7, 95% CI 1·1-3·5) in children aged 0-3 years, and consumption of uncooked pork sausage (OR 3·6, 95% CI 1·4-9·3) in children aged 4-14 years. This study highlights the significance of raw pork products ('Mett' in German) as risk factors for sporadic salmonellosis in children in Germany.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although 65% of recent major disease outbreaks throughout the world have a zoonotic origin, there is still a sharp division among the disciplines into the human and animal health sectors. In the last few decades, a global integrative concept, often referred to as ‘One Health’, has been strongly endorsed. Surveillance and monitoring efforts are major components for effective disease prevention and control. As human health and animal health are inextricably linked, it is assumed that a cross-sectoral data interpretation of zoonotic disease information will improve their prevention, prediction and control. To provide an overview of existing systems throughout the world which integrate information from humans and animals on zoonotic diseases, a literature review was conducted. Twenty projects were identified and described regarding their concepts and realization. They all vary widely depending on their surveillance purpose, their structure and the source of information they use. What they have in common is that they quite often use data which have already been collected for another purpose. Therefore, the challenges of how to make use of such secondary data are of great interest.
Zoonoses and Public Health 04/2014; · 2.09 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the context of assessing the impact of management and environmental factors on animal health, behaviour or performance it has become increasingly important to conduct (epidemiological) studies in the field. Hence, the number of investigated farms per study is considerably high so that numerous observers are needed for investigation. In order to maintain the quality and validity of study results calibration meetings where observers are trained and the current level of agreement is assessed have to be conducted to minimise the observer effect. When study animals were rated independently by the same observers by a categorical variable the exclusion test can be performed to identify disagreeing observers. This statistical test compares for each variable and each observer the observer-specific agreement with the overall agreement among all observers based on kappa coefficients. It accounts for two major challenges, namely the absence of a gold-standard observer and different data type comprising ordinal, nominal and binary data. The presented methods are applied on a reliability study to assess the agreement among eight observers rating welfare parameters of laying hens. The degree to which the observers agreed depended on the investigated item (global weighted kappa coefficients: 0.37 to 0.94). The proposed method and graphical description served to assess the direction and degree to which an observer deviates from the others. It is suggested to further improve studies with numerous observers by conducting calibration meetings and accounting for observer bias.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within a feasibility study the use of antibiotics in pigs and cattle was determined in 24 veterinary practices in Lower Saxony and on 66 farms in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Focus was laid on the comparison of the Used Daily Doses (UDD) (dose per animal and day prescribed by the veterinarians) with the Defined Animal Daily Doses (ADD) (dose per animal and day calculated by means of recommended dosages and estimated live weights).
For piglets and calves most of the UDD (50% and 46% of nUDD, respectively) were above the ADD (i.e. UDD/ADD-ratio above 1.25). Regarding sows, fattening pigs, dairy and beef cattle, most of the UDDs (49% to 65% of nUDD) were lower than the respective ADD (i.e. UDD/ADD-ratio below 0.8). In pigs, the UDDs of beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins, and in cattle, those of macrolides and beta-lactams were often below the ADDs. Tetracyclines were frequently used above the recommended dose.Enteric diseases were more often treated below the recommended dose than respiratory diseases, possibly due to overestimation of the live weight (diarrhea in young animals, respiratory diseases in elder animals) and consequently overestimation of the recommended dose.
Comparisons between UDD and ADD can be used to observe differences between antimicrobials and trends in the usage of antibiotics. But individual treatment comparisons of UDD and ADD must be interpreted carefully, because they may be due to lower live weights than estimated. Correlating such data with data on the occurrence of resistant bacteria in future may help to improve resistance prevention and control.
BMC Veterinary Research 01/2014; 10(1):7. · 1.86 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY A collection of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates obtained from sporadic salmonellosis cases in humans from Lower Saxony, Germany between June 2008 and May 2010 was used to perform an exploratory risk-factor analysis on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) using comprehensive host information on sociodemographic attributes, medical history, food habits and animal contact. Multivariate resistance profiles of minimum inhibitory concentrations for 13 antimicrobial agents were analysed using a non-parametric approach with multifactorial models adjusted for phage types. Statistically significant associations were observed for consumption of antimicrobial agents, region type and three factors on egg-purchasing behaviour, indicating that besides antimicrobial use the proximity to other community members, health consciousness and other lifestyle-related attributes may play a role in the dissemination of resistances. Furthermore, a statistically significant increase in AMR from the first study year to the second year was observed.
Epidemiology and Infection 12/2013; · 2.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Campylobacter spp., Salmonella enterica, and Yersinia enterocolitica are common causes of foodborne infections in humans with pork as a potential source. Monitoring programs at farm level are, to date, only implemented for S. enterica, while epidemiological knowledge of the other two pathogens is still lacking. This study aimed to assess the pathogen load (in the pigs' environment) in fattening pig herds, their simultaneous occurrence, and the occurrence of Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica in herds in different Salmonella risk categories. In 50 fattening pig herds in northern Germany, four pooled fecal samples and 10 swab samples from the pigs' direct environment (pen walls, nipple drinkers), indirect environment (hallways, drive boards), and flies and rodent droppings were collected from each herd and submitted for cultural examination. Campylobacter spp. were detected in 38.1% of fecal, 32.7% of direct environment, 5.3% of indirect environment, and 4.6% of flies/pests samples collected, and Y. enterocolitica in 17.1, 8.1, 1.2, and 3.1% and S. enterica in 11.2, 7.7, 4.1, and 1.5%, respectively. For Campylobacter spp., Y. enterocolitica, and S. enterica, 80, 48, and 32% of herds were positive, respectively; 22 herds were positive for both Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica, 12 for Campylobacter spp. and S. enterica, and 7 for Y. enterocolitica and S. enterica. There was no significant association between the pathogens at herd level. Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica were found more often in samples from the low Salmonella risk category (odds ratio, 0.51; confidence interval, 0.36 to 0.73, and 0.3, 0.17 to 0.57), and this was also the case for Y. enterocolitica at herd level (odds ratio, 0.08; confidence interval, 0.02 to 0.3). This study provides evidence that the pigs' environment should be accounted for when implementing control measures on farms against Campylobacter spp. and Y. enterocolitica. An extrapolation from the current Salmonella monitoring to the other two pathogens does not seem feasible.
Journal of food protection 10/2013; 76(10):1704-1711. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To establish which factors influence performance and bird welfare during a fattening period and to identify those factors to be investigated during routine monitoring of farms by veterinary authorities, a questionnaire-based field study was conducted in districts of Lower Saxony, Germany, with the highest density of broiler chickens. Mortality and BW of farms with different stocking densities (≤33, 33.1-39, and >39 kg/m(2)) were investigated. Analyses of 79 farms with 176 stables and 634 fattening periods revealed that flock mortality and BW appeared to be greatly influenced by weather conditions and litter material. In general, it is an advantage to grow broilers under warm weather conditions. However, the longer the fattening period lasts the more important it becomes that the outside weather conditions are not too warm. Therefore, weather conditions should be considered when determining the length of the fattening period, especially before the background of the growing demands of broilers regarding ventilation, absorption of feces by the litter material, and so on. Apart from the length of the fattening period, the weather conditions determine the choice of the litter material, as well. Under cold-humid weather conditions, it is better to use litter material other than wood shavings. In particular in older buildings it is not possible to provide the required conditions, which results in a lower weight gain the longer the fattening period lasts. The study identified differences in the final BW of flocks, which indicate different (farm) management policies. Regardless of the underlying policy, the performance of a fattening period can be improved by optimizing the farm management according to the prevalent conditions. Future routine monitoring, which should be cost effective regarding personnel and finance, should be generally risk based and consider weather conditions, litter material, the age of the building, and the length of the fattening period.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinically healthy homing pigeons may serve as an unnoticed reservoir for zoonotic bacteria. Hence, healthy pigeons from 172 different racing pigeon lofts were examined for Salmonella serovars, Campylobacter spp. and Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) psittaci. Two samplings were performed during the racing season in summer (1242 adult and 1164 juvenile pigeons) and two during winter (1074 adult pigeons). Each sampling was accompanied by a questionnaire to identify risk factors for positive lofts. Between 0.9 and 3.7%, 13.1 and 23.7%, and 12.8 and 42.6% of lofts were tested positive by cultural methods or polymerase chain reaction for Salmonella Typhimurium var. Copenhagen, Campylobacter jejuni and C. psittaci, respectively. The detection rate of C. psittaci was twice as high in samples from juvenile pigeons (29.1%) compared with samples from adult pigeons (15.0%, P <0.001). No other influence of age or season was detected. For the first time, pigeon-derived C. jejuni isolates (n=15) were characterized for their ability to invade human enterocytes in vitro. All isolates were invasive with an invasion index between 0.4 and 34.1 (human reference strain: average 11.3). Of 50 C. jejuni isolates tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, 46.0% were resistant to ciprofloxacin. All isolates were sensitive to erythromycin and tetracycline. The analysis of risk factors in association with the infection status of lofts for C. jejuni and C. psittaci suggested that biosecurity measures reduce the risk of infection. This study indicated a zoonotic potential of pigeon-derived C. jejuni. However, clinically healthy homing pigeons pose only a low risk for transmission of the investigated pathogens to humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the intention to deepen the knowledge of the vertical transmission of particular subtypes of Salmonella enterica from "the stable to the table" a case1-case2 analysis in Lower Saxony, Germany, was conducted. The data collection was based on standardised telephone interviews with 1741 Salmonella case persons. Single-factor-analyses revealed statistically significant associations between S. Typhimurium infections and animal keeping (odds ratio (OR): 1.4; 95%-Confidence-interval (CI): 1.2-1.7), especially rodents (OR 1.5; CI 1.2-2.1), and with consumption of meat (OR 1.9; CI 1.3-2.8), raw ground pork (OR 3.0; CI 2.1-4.2) and uncooked pork sausage (OR 2.1; CI 1.6-2.9). The S. Typhimurium phage type DT 104 was associated most with consumption of uncooked pork sausage (OR 3.6; CI 1.3-8.5). Multiple logistic regression analyses confirmed the associations between S. Typhimurium infection and consumption of raw ground pork and with animal contact. The results circumstantiate the assumption of raw pork products still being a relevant source for S. Typhimurium infections in Germany. Therefore, it is recommended to intensify efforts to reduce salmonella infections caused by raw pork products. S. Enteritidis infection was associated statistically significantly with travelling abroad (OR 2.1; CI 1.6-3.3), consumption of raw tomatoes (OR 1.8; CI 1.5-2.1), dried herbs (OR 2.1; CI 1.0-1.8), and undercooked eggs (OR 1.3; CI 1.1-1.6) compared with other serovars. These results were confirmed in multiple logistic regression analyses, as well.
International journal of hygiene and environmental health 07/2013; 216(4):428-434. · 2.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antimicrobial resistance of E. coli, to modern beta-lactam antibiotics due to the production of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) and/or plasmid-mediated AmpC-beta-lactamases (AmpC) represent an emerging and increasing resistance problem dramatically limiting therapeutic options in both human and veterinary medicine. The presence of ESBL/AmpC-genes in commensal E. coli from food-producing animals like broilers may pose a human health hazard. However, there are no data available concerning the prevalence of ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli in German broiler flocks using selective methods. In this longitudinal study, samples were taken from seven conventional broiler fattening farms at three different times within one fattening period. Various samples originating from the animals as well as from their direct environment in the barn were investigated for the occurrence of ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli.Average detection levels of 51 %, 75 % and 76 % in animal samples collected during the three samplings in the course of the fattening period demonstrate a colonization of even one-day-old chicks as well as a continuous significant (p<0.001) increase in prevalence thereafter. The detection frequencies in housing environmental samples were relatively high with an increase over time and ranged between 54.2 % and 100 %. A total of 359 E. coli isolates were characterized by PCR and partly via the disc diffusion method. This study shows that prevalence of ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli increases during the fattening period of broiler flocks examined. Both colonized day old chicks and contaminated farm environment could represent significant sources introducing ESBL/AmpC- producing E. coli in German broiler fattening farms.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 06/2013; · 3.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was to identify risk factors for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) by means of individual case-control data. 43 BSE cases in a defined region in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein were compared with 84 control animals. Purchase of new breeding stock and cross contamination between feed on the farm did not seem to have influence on the BSE incidence in these regions. The results indicate independent risk patterns. Pattern 1: Cows with high milk yield seemed to be at risk on big farms with adjacent pig production and when they were not fed milk replacer. Pattern 2: Milk replacer (esp. from certain producers) is a risk factor for Non-Red Holstein cattle, low yielding cows and farms without pig production. Pattern 3: Red Holstein cattle not being fed milk replacer have a higher BSE risk than other breeds when they have a low milk yield and live on small farms with pig production. This study, like findings in Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, strengthens the hypothesis that BSE in Germany was caused by a feed mediated ubiquitous exposure to PrP(sc) during a confined time period. Producers, in need of buying animal derived feed components during that time slot, were more likely to spread the PrP(sc) than others. Their increased risk is not necessarily due to an inadequate purchasing policy, but can also be coincidental. The breed Red Holstein is not the risk factor itself but represents the risk from concentrated feed for animals during a susceptible age period (calves). Therefore, the authors suggest a continuous exclusion of animal-derived fat components from milk replacers.
Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 05/2013; 126(5-6):220-9. · 0.89 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to identify and assess recent risk factors for sporadic human infections with Salmonella enterica, we conducted a case-control study in Lower Saxony, Germany. The data collection was based on standardized telephone interviews with 1017 cases and 346 controls aged >14 years. Odds ratios were calculated in single-factor and multi-factor analyses for Salmonella cases and two different control groups, i.e. population controls and controls with rotavirus infection. Multi-factor analysis revealed associations between sporadic Salmonella infections for two exposures by both sets of controls: consumption of raw ground pork [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2·38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·27-4·44] and foreign travel (aOR 2·12, 95% CI 1·00-4·52). Other exposures included consumption of food items containing eggs (aOR 1·43, 95% CI 0·80-2·54), consumption of chicken meat (aOR 1·77, 95% CI 1·26-2·50), outdoor meals/barbecues (aOR 3·96, 95% CI 1·41-11·12) and taking gastric acidity inhibitors (aOR 2·42, 95% CI 1·19-4·92), all were significantly associated with respect to one of the two control groups. The impact of consuming food items containing eggs or chicken meat was lower than expected from the literature. This might be a consequence of Salmonella control programmes as well as increased public awareness of eggs and chicken products being a risk factor for salmonellosis. Efforts to reduce Salmonella infections due to raw pork products should be intensified.
Epidemiology and Infection 02/2013; 141(2):284-292. · 2.87 Impact Factor