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We have obtained some electron micrographs showing what appears to be developmental stages of some type of small eukaryotic organism colonizing/parasitizing the tissues of mammalian hosts. Samples tested included sterile deep needle aspirate of subcutaneous nodules, filtered lysed whole blood, and urine sediment. The hosts may have a unique genetic defect allowing them to become infected with eukaryotic parasites, or, the putative parasite may have efficient strategies for suppressing the hosts immune response.
We are curious about the identity of this possibly novel organism. None of us in the research group have more than basic knowledge of invertebrate taxonomy, but based on the presence of organized calcified “tube or shell”-like structures, we are hypothesizing that it may be some type of polychaete or mollusk? The opinion or thoughts of anyone skilled in such classification would be very appreciated. Thanks!
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ربما يوجد ذلك
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We are examining tissue from a cluster of human and canine patients with a similar pattern of systemic illness of unknown cause. All members of the cluster have evidence of motile zoospore-like objects in their blood and other tissue aspirates. Control wet-mount preps from healthy relatives of these patients do not show the presence of such motile objects.
Despite the tiny size of these motile objects, the “swimming” motion seems more consistent with the “falling leaf” forward motility pattern associated with a eukaryotic flagella than with bacterial motility patterns. Also, the staining patterns and SEM appearance of these objects appears more consistent with a eukaryote.
Preliminary sequencing studies have suggested sequence homology with stramnopile-type organisms. We are attempting to sequence cultured colonies of the organism but are having extremely low DNA yields despite robust growth of the organism in culture.
We would appreciate the opinion of those familiar with the morphology and zoospore motility of oomycete and related type organisms about the similarities and differences seen in these movies of motility in unstained, aseptically collected adipose tissue nodules from a patient in this cluster, suspected to be infected with a novel or emerging type of eukaryotic pathogen.
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sure, I'd like to see the pictures - philageis@aol.com
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Hello, Our background is explained in the profile section- but we are a group of veterinarians/other scientists working on an unexpected research project that arose from observations of a cluster of illnesses among dogs and their owners in our veterinary practice. After thorough traditional work-up, we ruled out known causes of this constellation of symptoms and because of the seemingly transmissible nature of the illness, we began looking for perhaps a rare infection. We did find unexplainable objects in urine, cyst fluid, and subcutaneous nodules from the affected animals/humans- and did not see those same objects in blinded control studies using spouses/housemates of the affected individuals. It has taken a while to characterize the shape/properties of these objects since we were seeing them in the context of semi-degraded in tissue or tangled/broken up in urine samples. But now, we have retrieved enough reasonably intact samples to realize that they are large shell-shaped objects, resembling bivalves slightly, that contain long thin complex fibers as structural elements. The hinge/latch-like objects along the length of the fiber appear to bind to other elements in the internal contents of the "shell" and help keep them packaged and organized. I'm quoting "shell" because despite the marked resemblance to some bivalve shells, the shell portion is more dynamic. It can stretch and when the shell opens and the internal contents unfurl, the majority of the tissue forming the "shell" shape actually comes away in plumes of sheets of tissue that unfold in a very organized manner. Intriguingly, these sheets of tissue appear to contain a middle layer with a non-staining fibrous semi-liquid filling that may be mesoglea. The sheets of tissue are made up of connected small versions of almost exactly the same shell body plan as the larger organisms, and these small objects appear connected by a series of tubes that resemble stolons- leading us to wonder if the organism could be some type of hydrozoa or even myxozoan? I've attached a few new photos to demonstrate. We would appreciate any opinions at all about what the identity of these objects may be, and how we can optimize staining protocols +/- DNA extraction techniques to be able to get an identifying sequence for these probable organisms- though there will undoubtedly be some contamination with human/canine DNA.
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Yes..it seems some invertebrates
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I am a member of a group of veterinarians who all became ill within about a years time of each other, and who all were employed in the same physical location. Some of the affected veterinarians also had human and/or canine family members who also went on to develop a very similar illness to that seen in the cluster of veterinarians. The practice facility was inspected by OSHA and traditional medical work-up was done on all of those affected. No unifying etiology could be determined for the "syndrome" of illness described by those affected, but environmental chemicals and psychiatric causes were ruled out. As veterinarians and other types of scientists (affected family members), we recognized that the pattern of illness development appeared most consistent with some type of infectious process (possibly with genetic predispositions to resistance/succeptibility to the agent). The illness appeared to develop in unrelated people who worked at a common site initially, then multiple family members of some affected veterinarians developed a similar illness. Our familiarity with collecting/interpreting FNA/cytology samples allowed us to do some diagnostic tests that are not available in human reference laboratories, and with the encouragement of infectious disease physicians at Mayo and UCD medical centers we began some carefully controlled cytology tests on samples provided by those affected with the "syndrome" of illness, as well as samples from healthy control family members/colleagues.
What we have found is an incredibly consistent pattern of fibers/filaments, copiously present in the urine of those affected individuals, and completely absent in the healthy controls. Initially we suspected the filaments to be a possible nematode, but further tests demonstrated that there were also more fragile yeast-like objects and highly organized fruiting-body-like structures associated with the filaments. We also found the filaments and "spores" in subcutaneous nodules, cyst fluid, sputum, and blood cultures from those affected. These details, along with positive staining for chitin by lactophenol cotton blue and calcofluor-white, and positive staining for a thick mucopolysaccharide coat by Alacian Blue- led us to modify the hypothesis and consider that these objects could indicate a fungal or pseudofungal infection.
Many permutations of cytology tests (always coupled with control studies of the same tissues in healthy counterparts) have led us to suspect that we may be seeing some type of oomycete, somewhat similar to Pythium or Lagenisma. We have attempted sequencing, but not gotten consistent results and/or have gotten reports of sequences that are either truncated or reported as different types of fungi, none of which are obviously close relatives of oomycetes. Since this research is unfunded, we have not been able to pursue as much molecular testing as would be ideal. The UCD infectious disease physician did agree that the images were compelling, but not his primary field of study. He/we filed a report with the CDC about the possiblity of this being an emerging/novel human pathogen, but the CDC has not replied to his follow-up requests for assistance in characterizing the findings.
I realize our involvement in this research is both non-traditional and that those of us doing it have motivations beyond that which drives most research. However, we have had enough independent scientists/physicians corroborate our perception that we are seeing something "not normal" in the tissues/fluids of those affected compared to the healthy controls, and encourage us to continue to try to find answers, that I feel compelled to post our findings thus far and ask for opinions and advice. We are hoping that someone, much more expert in mycology/protistology than us might be willing to review these images and offer their perspective. Also, if there is anyone actively pursuing ( or wanting to pursue) this line of research, we are happy to share all of our data gathered thus far, in hopes that it may lead to faster and more thorough characterization of what we have found, and hopefully application to determine which chronic diseases may have this putative infection as a component of their etiology.
Thanks!
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Dear Dr.Melinda,
I am attaching PDF of our Review article to your reference with a hope that it will be useful to you.
Please confirm receipt of the review on Pythiosis.
With best wishes and good luck,
Prof.Dr.Mahendra Pal
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Before the outbreak of ebola In West Africa, dead bodies are usually given a befitting burial using the traditional system (rectangular hole about 6-8 feet deep, 2-4 feet wide). During the peak of the outbreak in Liberia, dead bodies were burn as a process of disposal. In Sierra Leone all dead bodies have been buried by dressing them as demanded by law and tradition. I am concern about the negative impact of these two methods of disposing dead bodies of victims of the dreadful disease ebola. What are some of the short term and long impacts of these practices on:
1. Agriculture (food supply and safety).
2. Health status of people residing close to cemeteries or burning sites. 
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Two questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.
First. Do you think that the statistics being released by your country’s health authorities are [unreliable], [somewhat reliable] or [quite reliable]?
Second. Has your country (or municipality, etc.) adopted any kind of social distancing as a procedure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’m a Brazilian biologist and writer. I write about science and would like to know the opinion of colleagues from other countries (from any field of scientific knowledge).
My own analysis of the statistics for March leads me to say that the pandemic is losing strength (on a global scale). For details, see ‘Initial Evidence That the COVID-19 Pandemic May Be Weakening’ (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340438940_Initial_Evidence_That_the_COVID-19_Pandemic_May_Be_Weakening).
[The previous discussion – ‘The driver of biological evolution: genetics or ecology?’ – is here https://www.researchgate.net/post/The_driver_of_biological_evolution_genetics_or_ecology.]
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I am from India, and the statistics released by authorities are reliable. Further, Indian Government has adopted lock down as well as ceiling, a kind of social distancing, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Hello, there is more background in our overview page, but briefly- we are a group of veterinarians who came across unusual microscopic findings in a group of dogs and their owners (who happened to also be veterinarians) with an otherwise unexplained syndrome involving hematuria, chronic fibrosis of deep connective tissues, chronic cough, fatigue, and neuropathy. Both the dogs and their owners had a thorough medical work-up in which the cause of illness cold not be determined. Several other close human contacts of the original humans/dogs affected also developed similar symptoms over the following year. Some of the humans have had plateau of their symptoms while others have continued to worsen. The structures shown in attached images were found in the urine, blood, needle aspirates of subcutaneous nodules, and sometimes sputum of the affected individuals (canine and human) and not in healthy family members (matched controls)- this finding was confirmed by blinded readings of the affected vs. control cytology samples. CDC has been informed of these findings and may begin an investigation, though they are hobbled by the current COVID crisis and also relayed that they do not have a pathologist on staff trained to read this type of cytology!? So, we are asking your help in determining if the objects shown do seem to match the criteria for some type of protist (or other organism?), or if they are some type of unusual artifact. We have attempted sequencing without success, but this may be hampered by a thick glue-like mucus that seems to be produced by the organisms binding everything in the near vicinity tightly together. As veterinarians, our knowledge of invertebrate zoology is limited- but collectively, we thought that the objects seemed to resemble cysts of amoebae or perhaps ciliates, or even myxozoans. They are protected by a very stain-resistant outer "shell" (test?) that seems made of aggregates of regional debris. However, some layers stain well with Alcian Blue/Aniline Blue and negative staining with Nigrosan helped to clarify the appearance of some of the objects. The white surface is very birefringent, so we were only able to get clear micrographs when stacking software was used to improve focal range. Some features seemed similar to entamoeba histolytic, but the outer cyst wall is too thick in many examples. Some resembled Blastocystis- with a large central vacuole, but again, there were inconsistencies with that identification as well. If anyone can point out specific details/features that suggest real organism vs artifact, and/or label any of the details for us to give us some landmarks to follow (we though we were seeing distinct nuclei, but were not certain...) that would be extremely helpful.
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Hi
Photos show artifacts and no structures seen at all related to a protozoan, all protozoa usually have regular structures in various forms. Search the slide again carefully and also with high magnification!
good luck
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It's only for academic purpose, I want to discuss this topic on class and its relevance as a new emergence disease.
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Please take a look at the following PDF attachment.
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Hi everyone! My lab is in the process of establishing a new project involving the use of field-caught mosquitoes. Does anyone have any highly-recommended traps for catching mosquitoes in the field?
Our lab is located in a relatively swampy and humid area in South Carolina, so we have a large variety of mosquito species available.
Since we mainly use molecular techniques, we really need both the DNA and RNA of the captured mosquito specimens to remain intact.
Thus far, the most promising traps appear to be either the EVS 2801A CO2 trap (BioQuip Products Inc.) or a simple 2L cylindrical, insulated container with a CO2-baited miniature light, as was used by Paul DR Johnson et al. (2007).
Any information or recommendations would be immensely appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
Johnson, P., et al. (2007). Mycobacterium Ulcerans In Mosquitoes Captured During Outbreak of Buruli Ulcer, Southeastern Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases 13(11): 1653-1660.
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Hi Lisa,
In Yucatan, Mexico (humid and warm state) we have used BG-Sentinel traps with octenol plus CO2 as attractants with very well results, collecting Culex spp., Ae. aegypti, Ae. taeniorhynchus and others in urban and sub urbans areas. Beside we used BG’s and CDC traps in different vegetation types in NPAs of Yucatan collecting 8 genera and 24 species of mosquitoes during 3 months sampling.
Regarding to DNA and RNA preservation you can use RNAlater™ just after you finish your sampling, add about 1 mL of RNAlater in an 1.5 mL Eppendorf tube along with the mosquito and storage it at -20 C or -80 C. Using this way the DNA and RNA of the mosquitoes could be stable for several months.
best wishes
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Have recently published two papers which describe a new type of infectious-like outbreak. First describes spread of increased GP referral and second describes spread of excess deaths. Use the website address on second paper to get to the first one (GP referral). Any comments or suggestions welcome.
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Oh, thanks Dr. Jones. Its a great work.
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Currently writing a research paper on if dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, is more common due to urbanization of human populations. I believe an effective and accurate spatial analysis technique will help my research because it will allow me to track and record the areas that are affected by dengue.
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Thank you for the answer mr. Georganos!
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I want any suggestions for online websites which contain updated information concerning emerging infectious diseases.
Thanks in advance 
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I find ProMED (the Program for Monitoring Emerging Disease) the best up to date source of information. You can sign up for emails or follow them on twitter etc. ProMED-mail. It is managed by the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
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Is there any dataset for ZIKA for now?
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Perhaps this a a good source.
Good luck.
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Dear all,
For our current study of Amphibiocystidium in Palmate Newts in the Netherlands we need to weigh the animals. Spring scales are a tad bit inaccurate and we do not have the budget for more accurate digital scales. As an intermediate solution we are using so called weighing spoons (see photo). For a study in Midwife Toads (where I assisted in) I have used these before. They are a bit sensitive for wind and need to be on a level surface but other than that they seem quite usefull. 
I am interested in your experiences with these scales in term of battery life in the field, accuracy and so forth. In the picture I have used one of my Triturus carnifex to do some testing.
Many thanks! 
Tariq
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Hi Tariq
I have no experience particularly with "spoons" but I have used miniature top loading scales that I assume would have similar accuracy.  These are low budget and use button batteries that I have found to last months in the field.  I have used them for small mammals with masses up to around 50g, and have calibrated them against lab balances, finding them to be accurate enough for the data sets I have been working with.
Considering they are more robust and less trouble than small spring balances, I think they should be fine for your task.
Well that's my limited opinion, 
Kind regards
Tony
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Based on recent literature I am under the impression that the genome-wide comparison of prehistoric and modern pathogen DNA is significant for the following reasons:
  1. Prehistoric human microbiomes can be screened for novel vaccine targets
  2. Reconstructed draft genomes may be used to identify close relatives of modern pathogens
  3. Reference genomes can provide clues that may aid in the timeous and appropriate management of contemporary disease threats
Is this correct? In which other ways can one express the contemporary significance of prehistoric pathogen research?
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I feel that the study of prehistoric pathogen genomes may provide some insight into the development and progression of pathogenesis over time. Although not considered prehistoric, the genomic research and subsequent reverse genetic analysis conducted on samples of the 1918 flu taken from the lungs of individuals that died led to several conclusions regarding the role of specific non-structural proteins that serve as pathogenicity factors. It will be essential, however, that studies conducted look not just at single prehistoric samples, but paint a continuous history to the modern age. By having a historical reference for genetic modifications, the relevance and persistence of such changes may identify selected conserved epitopes associated with infectivity and pathogenicity. 
In regards to the use of past microbiomes as novel vaccine targets, I feel that this approach may be far more difficult. The microflora including the prominent pathogenic species afflicting human and other animal species have likely changed dramatically since prehistoric times. From a standpoint of vaccine design, the key question is whether the antigenicity of prehistoric populations would overlap at all with modern pathogens and be able to confer any protective immunity. Depending upon the pathogen, it may, however for many microbes including most viruses which undergo rapid evolution there is good chance that it will not.
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Whether it be in bathing or drinking settings, are there any pathogenic organisms which we have little knowledge as to the lethal disinfection doses (using various techniques)?
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In case of Bangladesh, as I think Shigella, Salmonella, Rahnella, Leclercia, Proteus 
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Unexplained periods of higher death and medical admissions have been characterised in the UK. Both deaths and medical admissions appear to show spatial spread indicating a potential infectious aetiology.
A quick overview of this research is available at:
The actual analysis is relatively simple and is not time consuming and the spatiotemporal spread of the agent is best demonstrated using very small area data.
If you are interested in conducting research outside of the UK I have a draft paper which demonstrates the current approach and the type of results which can be observed. If you contact me by email (hcaf_rod@yahoo.co.uk)I will send a copy of this draft paper and hopefully these outbreaks can be demonstrated far more widely than the UK.
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Hi Terri, I think this is possibly the first example of a new generation of more subtle diseases. The kinetics of spread are relatively slow and highly granular and this explains why these outbreaks have gone hidden for so long. Also this is not a 'silo' disease with a simple diagnosis, the effects are complex and can probably be best described as exacerbation of existing conditions. Hence it hides behind other recognisable diseases. Have just submitted a big review attempting to show that something like cytomegalovirus could cause such disease types. Still many questions to be answered which was why I asked for help. Cheers
Rod
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Since the MERS Coronavirus infection is endemic on the Arabic peninsula and now transfered by single patient to South Korea: Do you defer travelers coming back from these regions for a specific period (e.g. 4 weeks after return) from donating blood in your country? 
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In response to colleagues’ inquiries about any relevance to blood donors of recent MERS-CoV spread to the Korean peninsula, the following reflects what recently came from colleagues in the US and Europe. So far, there has been no evidence of parenteral transmission published. No specific intervention related to blood donors has been recommended, and there are no new recommendations related to ongoing transmission in the Middle East or the outbreak in South Korea at this time. Donors must be well on the day of donation, and in the unlikely event that a history of MERS-CoV infection is provided by a donor, they should be fully recovered before being accepted for phlebotomy.
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Given the relatively rapid progression in areas of Brazil (8 states until yesterday) in approximately one month, how faster or when would be expect to have cases of Zika in other countries of the region? Would be similar to chikungunya?, when ending 2013 cases were reported in some Caribbean islands and some months later we received in other countries in the region. I felt we, as region, were not prepared for CHIK. Not even yet, physicians and research groups are doing properly in the most efficient way, even those working in dengue, and now we will face Zika.
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You might already have cases of Zika and not know it.  The huge difference between Zika and chikungunya is the percentage of people who get sick.  Actually Zika seems like dengue in that both viruses are unlikely to cause someone to be so sick as to present at a clinic.  If you look at the statistics from some longer studies it seems like with Zika maybe less than 20% of people present.  This and the fact that it seems similar to chikungunya and dengue there was a great probability that Zika was being missed over the last year or so.
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Many countries across Europe experienced an unexpected increase in mortality in 2012. Has anyone done any further research into this issue? Was this issue wider than Europe?
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Thanks Simon,
I tend to agree. Have since published further analysis on this topic which suggests an infectious aetiology. See link.
Incidentally just had a paper accepted showing these periods of unexplained higher death in Australia.
Cheers
Rod
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I have documented small area spread of a new type of infectious agent across Berkshire in the UK. The agent seems to be relatively difficult to transmit but has quite dramatic impact on medical admissions.
A short article is attached, however, background studies can be accessed via www.hcaf.biz in the 'Emergency Admissions' web page.
Much appreciated. Rod
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Dear Dr. Jones,
It appears to me that you have performed the first step in a long series of tasks to identify a potential infectious disease problem.  Unfortunately, piecing together the entire puzzle is a difficult process requiring the coordination of multiple disciplines.  I speak from the experience of having worked with exotic infectious diseases in a laboratory setting with BSL-4 type agents as a veterinary (immuno)pathologist in the USA. Take for example the identification of Hantaviruses as the cause of Korean Hemorrhagic fever and Four-Corners disease.  Sorting the specific details to isolate and identify a specific agent became an exercise in epidemiology, marrying the environment with clinical and post mortem findings and the specific situations in which the clinical events occurred.  There are numerous other examples with the Arenaviruses (Lassa, Junin, Macho, Guanarito) of the southern hemisphere, yellow fever, dengue viruses, and lately chikungunya virus as well as Ebolavirus.  For guidelines, see the attached reference by the Institute of Medicine. This should provide you with some of the necessary guidance.
Kind regards,
William C. Hall, VMD, PhD
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I am working on plasmacytoid dendritic cells and many references suggest that flu PR8 is best for stimulation of pDC...can anyone tell me if I plan to use this virus what kind of biosafety should be followed?
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Time has changed and so are the need & demand. I personally feel one need BSL- 3. This will safeguard all.
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In the last 10 years we have seen an increase in published cases of proliferative sparganosis and/or proliferative Mesocestoides tetrathyridiosis reported from several host species in many parts of the world.  These are tapeworm metacestodes that normally are not asexually proliferative, but seem to become so under some circumstances.  It is possible that this is an emerging infectious disease group, but perhaps more likely increasing awareness, better surveillance and more robust field surveys are resulting in more reporting.  We continue to work on this in my lab, and I would like to hear perspectives on this, as well as information from those who have observed unpublished cases.
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Dear David Conn
I think this may be explained by several factors, namely increase of wild carnivore populations, higher intertransmissibility between wild and domestic carnivores, high degree of ingestion of small vertebrates (paratenic hosts) by both, misdiagnosis in faecal exams (lack of knowledge on this kind of cestode eggs) in carnivores and lack of attention in differential diagnosis regarding small animal peritonitis (see attached file on this issue written by american colleagues). Besides and still regarding domestic carnivores, the only drugs 100% effective against these cestodes are praziquantel and epsiprantel. Therefore, a thorough coprological exam (to assess infection and the degree of endemicity of the area) and a regular deworming with those products it's essential for a good control.
In what concerns the human part, the higher contact with these cestode eggs shed in carnivore faecal samples in the wild (namely during outdoor activities or while grabbing wild berries), may contribute a great deal to this scenario.
Finally, these cestodes are commonly neglected in practice, but this has to change due to their zoonotic potential and consequences on animal health.
Best regards
Luis Manuel Madeira de Carvalho
Associate Professor of Veterinary Parasitology and Parasitice Diseases
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I am looking to read comprehensive texts in Physical Oceanography and in the Evolution and Ecology of Infectious Diseases and am looking for direction into which texts may be the best to acquire.
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Regarding the "evolution of infectious diseases" there are quite numerous papers in the field of palaeoparasitology, but nearly exclusively on material from archaeological and Quaternary contexts. Some recent review papers are:
Araújo, A., Reinhard, K., Leles, D., Sianto, L., Iñiguez, A., Fugassa, M., Arriaza, B., Orellana, N., Ferreira, L.F. 2011. Paleoepidemiology of intestinal parasites and lice in pre-Columbian South America. Chungara, Revista de Antropología Chilena: 43(2): 303-313.
Beltrame, M.O., Souza, M.V., Araújo, A., Sardella, N.H. 2014, in press. Review of the rodent paleoparasitological knowledge from South America. Quaternary International.
Bryant, V.M., Reinhard, K.J. 2012. Coprolites and archaeology: the missing links in understanding human health. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 57: 379-387.
Frías, L., Leles, D., Araújo, A. 2013. Studies on protozoa in ancient remains - A Review. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 108(1): 1-12.
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In case you are interested in pre-Quaternary parasites, this is the reference list (not textbook or review-type papers):
da Silva, P.A., Borba, V.H., Dutra, J.M.F., Leles, D., da-Rosa, A.A.S., Ferreira, L.F., Araujo, A. 2014. A new ascarid species in cynodont coprolite dated of 240 million years. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 86(1): 265–269.
Dentzien-Dias, P.C., Poinar, G.Jr., de Figueiredo, A.E.Q., Pacheco, A.C.L., Horn, B.L.D., Schultz, C.L. 2013. Tapeworm Eggs in a 270 Million-Year-Old Shark Coprolite. PLoS ONE 8(1): e55007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055007
Hugot, J.P., Gardner, S.L., Borba, V., Araujo, P., Leles, D., Da-Rosa, Á., Dutra, J., Ferreira, L.F., Araújo, A. 2014. Did the dinosaurs have pinworms? Discovery of a 240 million year old nematode parasite egg in a cynodont coprolite sheds light on the early origin of nematode parasites in vertebrates. Parasites & Vectors 11-2014.
Poinar, G., Boucot, A.J. 2006. Evidence of intestinal parasites of dinosaurs. Parasitology. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1017/S0031182006000138
Tweet, Chin, K., Murphy, N. 2006. Paleobiological implications of diminutive invertebrate burrows within probable gut contents of a hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (Middle Campanian) Judith River Formation of Montana. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs 38(7), p. 476. https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2006AM/finalprogram/abstract_112739.htm
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Some recent review papers on palaeovirology:
Aswad, A., Katzourakis, A. 2012. Paleovirology and virally derived immunity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27(11): 627-636.
Feschotte, C., Gilbert, C. 2012. Endogenous viruses: insights into viral evolution and impact on host biology. Nature Reviews / Genetics 13, April 2012: 283-296.
Katzourakis, A. 2013. Paleovirology: inferring viral evolution from host genome sequence data. Phil Trans R Soc B 368: 20120493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2012.0493
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Sadly, a number of journals seem to have done away with the option of publishing short commentaries or insights, unless they are a direct response to a paper published recently in a journal. Our lab has been generating some interesting ideas about the current ebola epidemic and ways forward in understanding the natural history of ebola viruses and are looking for a venue with which to share them with the scientific community.
So far we have found the following potential options but any additional suggestions would be greatly appreciated:
Emerging infectious diseases - Commentaries, but need to be invited,
EcoHealth - Forum
Trends in Ecology & Evolution - Letter
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May be this blog will help : http://blog.f1000research.com/
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I want to be able to tell when a gene reassortment event (observed after DNA sequencing of genes of pathogens) occured.
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It is possible that it was happened. There are processes which indicate re assortment, as genes of body color are expressed due to change in the environment, they appear only due to switch on gene activity. when temperature and ecological factors they again become normal a silent copy of gene which can not be traced by molecular methods appear. As use of drug making the insects and micro-organisms resistant only due to exposure. If exposure is not provided then they come back to their normal position. Alienation and de-alienation always happen with the chance and frequency of mutations in important genes which are highly susceptible to  environmental changes.  
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Two patients infected with Ebola virus have now entered the U.S. for treatment, but they are in a highly controlled environment.  However, while the press and the public have been very aware of this, we still have black market transfer of "bush meat", fresh animal flesh from Africa to other parts of the world, outside any regulation for potential disease transmission.  Could it be that while the media and public focus on a contained and controlled situation that is unlikely to result in an Ebola outbreak outside Africa, we are largely ignoring a more significant Ebola threat via other means of introduction?
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David's question is valid. It is true that certain types of bat appear to act as a vector, and indeed, the possibility of bats being a reservoir (as with SARS) cannot be ruled out.  Meanwhile, 'person-to-person' transmission must include 'primate-to-primate' and that is where bushmeat presents a viable pathway. Bushmeats include the partially dried/ cooked/ smoked carcasses of many species, but monkey, ape, and bat are common. Importation is of course illegal, but large quantities still seem to arrive in London, New York, and probably any large city with West African ex-pats, a suitcase at a time. Still-bloody specimens, noted not infrequently, would strongly suggest that the viability of the virus may have survived the preparation/cooking process.      
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In regard to vector borne diseases and their transmission cycle, from your previous experience in general where is the weakest point in this cycle? Is it the vector or the pathogens or maybe the presence of the host?
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Designing and using safe insecticides; novel, safe as well as effective vaccines; protective antipathogen antibodies (natural, recombinant or humanized) all contribute towards eradication of vectors as well as vector-borne pathogens. 
 
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I need to retrieve about 1000 hits from the GenBank to use for my analysis.
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Dear Chantal,
In the algorithm parameters
1.Set the Max target sequences to 5000
2. Set Expect threshold to 15
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We see much discussion of global spread and potential pandemics from zoonotic infectious threats (e.g. Ebola, MERS, cryptosporidiosis) and vector-borne threats (e.g., Chikungunya, dengue). Some of these are both zoonotic and vector-borne (e.g., West Nile virus, Chagas', leishmaniasis, Rift-Valley fever). However, there seems to be less emphasis on the potential for geographical spread, or even global spread, of sapronotic infectious agents (e.g., melioidosis, legionellosis, flesh-eating bacteria) that are not vector-borne or specifically associated with other animals, but which tend to build up in certain environments and could be introduced into similar distant environments by internationally transported contaminants. A good discussion of potential sapronotic threats might raise awareness of potential threats and encourage more vigilance in surveillance and preparedness.
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I think the spore-forming organisms from soil would most likely fit into this category. Although anthrax is primarily associated with herbivores, it has been imported into the U.S. on goat skin drums made in Africa. For that matter, we still have naturally occurring anthrax in buffalo and occasionally in cattle in the U.S. Anthrax spores are notoriously hardy and can remain in a viable state in soil for 100 yrs. or more. Another dangerous soil spore-former is Clostridium botulinum, perfringens and tetani. In addition their are molds and other saprophytes that are very toxic for humans that can build up under certain environmental conditions. You will find others if you "Google" agroterrorism.
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We have made major progress toward elimination of polio as a major threat in most of the world. Yet coxsackieviruses and other enteroviruses, some causing symptoms similar to those of polio, may become emerging threats. I welcome broad participation of a discussion on this topic, especially as news media are currently reporting on polio-like illnesses among children in California, USA, and elsewhere.
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This is not a topic in my experience.
But in Cameroon, my country, major effors are done to eradicate cases of poliomyelitis. Vaccinations against poliomyelitis are performed in children, systematically at birth, and during childhood vaccinations. Vaccination campaigns are systematically done in children aged from 2 years.
In Centre Pasteur du Cameroun, a national laboratory, researchers focus on this topics and manyresearches and publications are made.
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Aedes albopictus continues to expand geographically as an invasive species in various parts of the world, where it may alter the epidemiological profile of viral diseases such as dengue and Chikungunya. As Zika virus continues to emerge in new locations, diversity of competent vectors besides Aedes aegypti will be a matter of concern. I am seeking input about unpublished data as well as speculation by entomologists and other scientists with relevant experience.
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There is no reason to assume that Ae. albopictus is not a competent vector of Zika virus. Laboratory experiments has shown that south east Asian populations of Ae. albopictus secrete the virus in their saliva. Due to this and given the multicompetency of albopictus there is, in my opinion, no doubt that the European and North American populations will be competent as well. I do not know what temperatures the virus require to replicate within the arthropod host though, this may act as a barrier if the threshold is high.
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Emerging Infectious disease involve interactions among species, pathogen and the host species. But understanding the dynamics of any particular disease system, involves understanding a complex system of interactions among the organisms.
Infectious Disease Ecology. 2008. Richard Ostfeld, FelisiaKeesing y Valerie Eviner. Pricenton University Press. 506 pág.
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Hi Jose, I think the most important thing I can say is that transmission dynamics of parasites are really dependent on the system - it varies widely, and there is no over-arching generality that is universally true. However, it is generally true that the more specific the parasite is (i.e., the fewer hosts it has), the less pathogenic it tends to be. This is because when there are few alternative hosts to jump to, the parasite cannot risk killing its only host! Conversely, generalists parasite tend to evolve greater pathogenicity, because rapid transmission to any of the freely available hosts becomes more important than host survival. Also in general, transmission dynamics of parasites tend to follow phylogenetically conserved pathways in hosts. So closely related hosts are more likely to share parasites than distantly related hosts. I hope this helps!
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I am trying to find a new way for DNA extraction of intestinal Microsporidia spp.
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Its simple simple my friend. Take any stool sample, which is PCR-negative for spores. Spike it with different number of spores, extract DNA and do PCR.
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Dengue virus, similar to Chikungunya in many clinical and epidemiological aspects, is already well established in Mexico and has occurred recently in the United States. Dengue is also well established in other areas of both North and South America.
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A large outbreak of Chikungunya virus occurred for the first time in Italy in the late summer 2007, with a huge number of cases of febrile illness in an area of the Emilia-Romagna region, near the Adriatic Sea. Aedes albopictus, the main vector of the virus, was introduced in Italy in the late '80s or in 1990-1991. A warehouse of a tyre retreading company importing used tyres infested with mosquito eggs from Atlanta, Georgia, USA was the first recognized source of infestation.... and in the end: "despite efforts made to control the spread of A albopictus mosquitoes, they rapidly colonised almost the entire country, showing a high degree of fitness". See the paper http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607617796.
Viraemic travellers from endemic areas were identified as the virus source for the initial transimission cycle.
So, prevent the introduction of the virus in areas of the USA where competent vectors are abundant, will be really challenging. Mild febrile illnesses in travellers from endemic/epidemic areas are not easily detectable, and special effort is needed in terms of "risk-based surveillance". Probably, modelling dynamics of the infection including also other risk factors for the introduction of the virus would be of further help (e. g. infected mosquitoes transported by aircrafts, transovarial transmission, demonstrated in some experimental conditions etc...) for risk assessment and decision-making.
Once a transmission cycle starts, it is very, very hard to face the problem through "control measures" (including population control of mosquitoes...)
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The attached article is about to be published in Biomedicine International in early 2014 and shows evidence of a unique type of infectious spread. Does anyone know of suitable people who could analyse the spread to draw conclusions regarding the possible identity or mode of transmission of the agent responsible?
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Thanks Michael. Have sent an email containing some more detail. Your kind offer is very much appreciated. Rod
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The two attached papers indicate that the trends in Engalnd are driven by factors than the demographic shift. Comments and observations welcome.
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Hi Enno, Got the paper. Any chance you can do similar analysis of German data, even if it is only deaths in hospital?
Cheers Rod
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Outbreaks of a new type of infectious disease can be discerned in western health care systems at around 5-6 years apart. Each outbreak is associated with an increase in emergency medical admissions, deaths and wider costs. Could these outbreaks be due to cytomegalovirus or are there other alternatives?
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Since CMV is a latent virus in humans, with a percentage of 50-90% being infected! an epidemic caused by this virus is actually not likely, not possible even. Diseases by CMV can be with newborns and transplant patients. The first group because the mother has had an infection during pregnancy, often a primary infection. The second group due to immuno suppression. However, treatment options are available.
Outbreaks are actually rather frequent, like pandemic influenza, now also the potential threat of influenza H7N9 or MERS corona virus.
What do you mean with alternatives?
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I tried to suspend the bacterial pallet with PBS-glycerol solution but Mycobacterium bovis seems to be waxy in nature and does not mix with the solution.
What is the best method to freeze them so I can use them in my ongoing experiment?
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Not sure if this will help, but I have frozen other bacterial colonies in a 50:50 PBS:Glycerol solution before, so increasing the % glycerol in the solution may help.
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Hi, I'd like to know which institutes in and around London, or other regions in the UK are intimately involved in research on emerging infectious diseases, especially those with wildlife origins (thinking bats, rodents, primates etc.) I'm particularly interested in knowing if any of these institutes are taking PhD students, as I'm looking to do mine in the near future. My personal interest is those diseases which are primarily of zoonotic significance, and if possible, I'd like to study whether diseases such as Hendra, Nipah or other paramyxoviral diseases occur or have occurred in parts of India, where I'm from, and from where there is a dearth of info. Which is not to say that I'm unwilling to work elsewhere in the world! :) Thanks in advance.
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The University of Edinburgh has a few great programs. Here is a link to the vet school.