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Nipah virus (NiV) is an emerging bat-borne pathogen. It was first identified 20 years ago in Malaysia and has since caused outbreaks in other parts of South and Southeast Asia. It causes severe neurological and respiratory disease which is highly lethal. It is highly infectious and spreads in the community through infected animals or other infected people. Different strains of the virus show differing clinical and epidemiological features. Rapid diagnosis and implementation of infection control measures are essential to contain outbreaks. A number of serological and molecular diagnostic techniques have been developed for diagnosis and surveillance. Difficulties in diagnosis and management arise when a new area is affected. The high mortality associated with infection and the possibility of spread to new areas has underscored the need for effective management and control. However, no effective treatment or prophylaxis is readily available, though several approaches show promise. Given the common chains of transmission from bats to humans, a One Health approach is necessary for the prevention and control of NiV infection.
Dromedary camels have been shown to be the main reservoir for human Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) infections. This systematic review aims to compile and analyse all published data on MERS-coronavirus (CoV) in the global camel population to provide an overview of current knowledge on the distribution, spread and risk factors of infections in dromedary camels. We included original research articles containing laboratory evidence of MERS-CoV infections in dromedary camels in the field from 2013 to April 2018. In general, camels only show minor clinical signs of disease after being infected with MERS-CoV. Serological evidence of MERS-CoV in camels has been found in 20 countries, with molecular evidence for virus circulation in 13 countries. The seroprevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies increases with age in camels, while the prevalence of viral shedding as determined by MERS-CoV RNA detection in nasal swabs decreases. In several studies, camels that were sampled at animal markets or quarantine facilities were seropositive more often than camels at farms as well as imported camels vs. locally bred camels. Some studies show a relatively higher seroprevalence and viral detection during the cooler winter months. Knowledge of the animal reservoir of MERS-CoV is essential to develop intervention and control measures to prevent human infections.
Urbanisation and climate change are altering the pattern of California serogroup viruses in North America. As La Crosse virus (LACV) is the most pathogenic of the California serogroup, it is important to identify changes in distribution, transmission and pathogenesis. A scoping review (ScR) was prioritised to summarise the global evidence on LACV. A comprehensive search strategy was used, identified references were screened for relevance and relevant articles were characterised. Each step was conducted by two independent reviewers using pre-tested forms. Analysis identified areas of research saturation and gaps. The ScR included 481 research articles that were mostly journal articles (78.2%) conducted in North America (90.9%) from 1969 to 2016. Most evidence focused on epidemiology (44.9%), virus characteristics (25.8%), transmission conditions (18.7%) and pathogenesis of LACV in hosts (18.3%). Fewer studies evaluated the accuracy of diagnostic tests (8.7%), the efficacy of treatments (3.5%), prevention and control strategies (3.1%), the economic burden of infection (0.6%) and social impact (0.2%) of LACV. None of the literature predicted the impact of climate change on LACV, nor were any cases reported in Canada. These findings are intended to guide research to close knowledge gaps and inform evidence-based decisions surrounding activities for the prevention and control of LACV.
A growing number of infectious pathogens are spreading among geographic regions. Some pathogens that were previously not considered to pose a general threat to human health have emerged at regional and global scales, such as Zika and Ebola Virus Disease. Other pathogens, such as yellow fever virus, were previously thought to be under control but have recently re-emerged, causing new challenges to public health organisations. A wide array of new modelling techniques, aided by increased computing capabilities, novel diagnostic tools, and the increased speed and availability of genomic sequencing allow researchers to identify new pathogens more rapidly, assess the likelihood of geographic spread, and quantify the speed of human-to-human transmission. Despite some initial successes in predicting the spread of acute viral infections, the practicalities and sustainability of such approaches will need to be evaluated in the context of public health responses.
Mycobacterium ulcerans is recognised as the third most common mycobacterial infection worldwide. It causes necrotising infections of skin and soft tissue and is classified as a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, despite extensive research, the environmental reservoir of the organism and mode of transmission of the infection to humans remain unknown. This limits the ability to design and implement public health interventions to effectively and consistently prevent the spread and reduce the incidence of this disease. In recent years, the epidemiology of the disease has changed. In most endemic regions of the world, the number of cases reported to the WHO are reducing, with a 64% reduction in cases reported worldwide in the last 9 years. Conversely, in a smaller number of countries including Australia and Nigeria, reported cases are increasing at a rapid rate, new endemic areas continue to appear, and in Australia cases are becoming more severe. The reasons for this changing epidemiology are unknown. We review the epidemiology of M. ulcerans disease worldwide, and document recent changes. We also outline and discuss the current state of knowledge on the ecology of M. ulcerans, possible transmission mechanisms to humans and what may be enabling the spread of M. ulcerans into new endemic areas.
Almost the full range of 16 haemagglutinin (HA) and nine neuraminidase subtypes of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) has been detected either in waterfowl, land-based poultry or in the environment in Bangladesh. AIV infections in Bangladesh affected a wide range of host species of terrestrial poultry. The highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) H5N1 and low pathogenic AI H9N2 were found to co-circulate and be well entrenched in the poultry population, which has caused serious damage to the poultry industry since 2007. By reviewing the available scientific literature, the overall situation of AIVs in Bangladesh is discussed. All Bangladeshi (BD) H5N1 and H9N2 AIV sequences available at GenBank were downloaded along with other representative sequences to analyse the genetic diversity among the circulating AIVs in Bangladesh and to compare with the global situation. Three different H5N1 clades, 2.2.2, 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11, have been detected in Bangladesh. Only 18.104.22.168a is still present. The BD LP H9N2 viruses mostly belonged to the H9 G1 lineage but segregated into many branches, and some of these shared internal genes with HP viruses of subtypes H7N3 and H5N1. However, these reassortment events might have taken place before introduction to Bangladesh. Currently, H9N2 viruses continue to evolve their HA cleavage, receptor binding and glycosylation sites. Multiple mutations in the HA gene associated with adaptation to mammalian hosts were also observed. Strict biosecurity at farms and gradual phasing out of live-bird markets could be the key measures to better control AIVs, whereas stamping out is not a practicable option in Bangladesh. Vaccination also could be an additional tool, which however, requires careful planning. Continuous monitoring of AIVs through systematic surveillance and genetic characterisation of the viruses remains a hallmark of AI control.