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Tick-borne apicomplexan haemoparasites infect wild and domestic animals, but studies on their distribution among free-living animals are comparatively fewer. Tissues from 241 wild carnivores of eight Mustelidae, two Canidae, one Viverridae and one Felidae species were collected in Northern Spain, and analysed by real-time PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene and sequencing. Babesia vulpes (formerly known as Theileria annae) was the only piroplasm detected in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Badgers (Meles meles) were shown to harbour two novel Babesia sp. sequence types (A and B) that only shared 96.7% homology between them and were closely related (ca. 97–98%) to, but distinct from B. vulpes and other babesia from carnivores. Analysis of PCR-derived sequences also revealed the presence of Cystoisospora sp. and Hepatozoon sp. in badgers and showed that wild cats (Felis silvestris catus) were infected with Cytauxzoon sp. Forty-two per cent of the animals subjected to a detailed external examination were parasitized by ixodid ticks, being Ixodes hexagonus and Ixodes ricinus the most abundant species. This study provided novel data on the different haemoparasites that can infect European wild carnivores and showed that they can be hosts for a range of haemoparasites and pose a potential risk for transmission to domestic animals.
ENTRAP comprises a pan-European cooperation of leading scientific institutions and regulatory bodies in the field of nuclear-waste characterization and its quality assurance for the safe disposal of radioactive waste. Here, the scope of this cooperation is presented and explained and links or interfaces for a potential collaboration with partners fulfilling tasks of IDG-TP are pursued.
The effect of insect vectors on avian exposure to infection by pathogens remains poorly studied. Here, we used an insect repellent treatment to reduce the number of blood-sucking flying insects in blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus nests and examined its effect on nestling health status measured as body mass, nestling phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) response and blood parasite prevalence. We found that (i) the insect repellent treatment significantly reduced the number of blood-sucking flying insects in nests and (ii) the number of blood-sucking flying insects had a significant effect on the prevalence of the blood parasite Trypanosoma independently of the treatment. In addition, we found support for an adverse effect of parasite infections on nestling PHA response. Nestlings infected by Trypanosoma mounted a weaker response against PHA than non-parasitized ones. In addition, the number of blowflies in the nest was negatively associated with nestling PHA response. Overall, we found support for the hypothesis that blood-sucking flying insects attacking nestlings increase their exposure to parasite infections. Our results further substantiate the adverse effect of parasites on nestling condition.
Avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus parasites are easily detected by DNA analyses of infected samples but only correctly assigned to each genus by sequencing and use of a phylogenetic approach. Here, we present a restriction site to differentiate between both parasite genera avoiding the use of those analyses. Alignments of 820 sequences currently listed in GenBank encoding a particular cytochrome B region of avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus show a shared restriction site for both genera using the endonuclease Hpy CH4III. An additional restriction site is present in Plasmodium sequences that would initially allow differentiation of both genera by differential migration of digested products on gels. Overall 9 out of 326 sequences containing both potential restriction sites do not fit to the general rule. We used this differentiation of parasite genera based on Hpy CH4III restriction sites to evaluate the efficacy of 2 sets of general primers in detecting mixed infections. To do so, we used samples from hosts infected by parasites of both genera. The use of general primers was only able to detect 25% or less of the mixed infections. Therefore, parasite DNA amplification using general primers to determine the species composition of haemosporidian infections in individual hosts is not recommended. Specific primers for each species and study area should be designed until a new method can efficiently discriminate both parasites.
In 1999, the US Food and Nutrition Board revised the Adequate Intake (AI) for calcium in pregnancy and recommended 1000 mg/day for adult pregnant women and 1300 mg/day for adolescent women (<19 years). Our interest, from the perspective of an international health organization, was to assess if pregnant women globally meet those requirements. This is particularly important because, among the various biological functions of calcium, the potential protective effect of adequate calcium intake in pregnancy on the risk of pre-eclampsia may have major public health implications, pre-eclampsia being one of the most important causes of maternal and perinatal mortality world-wide. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of studies, published from 1991 to 2004, that assessed calcium dietary intake in pregnant women. In addition, we conducted a multicentre survey of calcium dietary intake during pregnancy among nulliparous women attending antenatal care in developing countries. This survey was conducted before starting a large calcium supplementation multicentre trial: the WHO Calcium Supplementation Trial in Low Calcium Intake Women for the Prevention of Pre-eclampsia. This article presents the results of the systematic review and of the multicentre survey.
We present experimental data for the Pm3m-I4/mcm phase transitions in the perovskite crystals KMn1-xCaxF3 and SrTiO3. Comparison of calorimetric data (latent heat and specific heat) with order parameter data (measured with X-ray rocking methods) indicates that these transitions follow mean-field behaviour, and may be described using Landau potentials where the free energy expansion includes terms up to Q6. This potential is characteristic of transitions close to the tricritical point. Comparison of the behaviour of SrTiO3 and KMnF3 indicates that KMnF3 is closer to the tricritical point; a small amount of substitution of Ca for Mn causes the transition to cross the tricritical point from first order to second order behaviour.
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