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Chlamydia spp. are a group of obligate intracellular pathogens causing a number of diseases in animals and humans. Avian chlamydiosis (AC), caused by Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) as well as new emerging C. avium, C. gallinacea and C. ibidis, have been described in nearly 500 avian species worldwidely. The Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) is a world endangered avian species with limited population and vulnerable for various infections. To get a better understanding of the prevalence of Chlamydia spp. in the endangered Crested Ibis, faecal samples were collected and analysed. The results confirmed that 20.20% (20/99) of the faecal samples were positive for Chlamydiaceae and were identified as C. ibidis with co-existence of C. psittaci in one of the 20 positive samples. In addition, ompA sequence of C. psittaci obtained in this study was classified into the provisional genotype Matt116, while that of C. ibidis showed high genetic diversity, sharing only 77% identity with C. ibidis reference strain 10-1398/6. We report for the first time the presence of C. ibidis and C. psittaci in the Crested Ibis, which may indicate a potential threat to the endangered birds and should be aware of the future protection practice.
Lassa fever (LF) is increasingly recognised as an important rodent-borne viral haemorrhagic fever presenting a severe public health threat to sub-Saharan West Africa. In 2017–18, LF caused an unprecedented epidemic in Nigeria and the situation was worsening in 2018–19. This work aims to study the epidemiological features of epidemics in different Nigerian regions and quantify the association between reproduction number (R) and state rainfall. We quantify the infectivity of LF by the reproduction numbers estimated from four different growth models: the Richards, three-parameter logistic, Gompertz and Weibull growth models. LF surveillance data are used to fit the growth models and estimate the Rs and epidemic turning points (τ) in different regions at different time periods. Cochran's Q test is further applied to test the spatial heterogeneity of the LF epidemics. A linear random-effect regression model is adopted to quantify the association between R and state rainfall with various lag terms. Our estimated Rs for 2017–18 (1.33 with 95% CI 1.29–1.37) was significantly higher than those for 2016–17 (1.23 with 95% CI: (1.22, 1.24)) and 2018–19 (ranged from 1.08 to 1.36). We report spatial heterogeneity in the Rs for epidemics in different Nigerian regions. We find that a one-unit (mm) increase in average monthly rainfall over the past 7 months could cause a 0.62% (95% CI 0.20%–1.05%)) rise in R. There is significant spatial heterogeneity in the LF epidemics in different Nigerian regions. We report clear evidence of rainfall impacts on LF epidemics in Nigeria and quantify the impact.
Cervids represent a mammal group which plays an important role in the maintenance of ecological balance. Recent studies have highlighted the role of these species as reservoirs for several arthropods-borne pathogens. Globally, hemotropic mycoplasmas (haemoplasmas) are emerging or remerging bacteria that attach to red blood cells of several mammals species causing hemolytic anaemia. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence and assess the phylogenetic positioning of Mycoplasma ovis in free-ranging deer from Brazil. Using a polymerase chain reaction targeting the 16S rRNA region, 18 (40%) out of 45 sampled deer were positive to M. ovis. Among the nine sequences analysed, four distinct genotypes were identified. The sequences detected in the present study were closely related to sequences previously identified in deer from Brazil and the USA. On the other hand, the Neighbour-Net network analysis showed that the human-associated M. ovis genotypes were related to genotypes detected in sheep and goats. The present study shows, for the first time, the occurrence of M. ovis in Mazama gouazoubira and Mazama bororo deer species, expanding the knowledge on the hosts harbouring this haemoplasma species. Once several deer species have your population in decline, additional studies are needed to evaluate the pathogenicity of M. ovis among deer populations around the world and assess its potential as reservoir hosts to human infections.
In January 2012, an inpatient in a ward of a psychiatric hospital with nearly 300 beds in Kanagawa, Japan, was diagnosed with sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Here we characterise the TB outbreak cases and identify the population at risk. TB was diagnosed when a person tested bacteriologically positive for TB or was determined to have TB by a physician. A latent TB infection (LTBI) case was defined as a person tested positive by interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA). A total of 125 contacts were screened via IGRA and chest X-ray. In all, 15 TB and 15 LTBI cases were found by the end of October 2012, and thereafter no additional TB case was found. Of the 15 TB cases, eight were culture-positive and all the isolates had identical variable number tandem repeat patterns. Twenty-four of the 56 (42.9%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 29.7–56.8) inpatients in the ward had either TB or LTBI with a relative risk of 8.6 (95% CI 1.2–59.3), compared to the staff members who did not work full-time in the ward (one of 20 (5.0%, 95% CI 0.0–24.9)). We recommend that psychiatric hospitals conduct periodic screening of staff members and inpatients for TB to prevent nosocomial TB outbreaks.
Anxiety and depression continue to be significant comorbidities for people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression disorder among HIV patients at Conakry, Guinea. In this cross-sectional study, we described socio-demographic, clinical and psychosocial data related to anxiety and depression in 160 HIV patients of the University Teaching Hospital, Conakry, Guinea. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used for measuring depression and anxiety in the prior month. The HADS score of ⩾8 was used to identify possible cases of depression and anxiety. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The prevalence of comorbid depression and anxiety among HIV patients was 8.1% and the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among HIV-infected patients was 13.8% and 16.9%, respectively. Multivariate analysis showed that individuals having BMI ⩽ 18 (AOR = 3.62, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37–9.57) and who did not receive antiretroviral treatment (AOR = 18.93, 95% CI 1.88–188.81) were significantly more likely to have depressive symptoms. Similarly, having age <40 years (AOR = 2.81, 95% CI 1.04–7.58) was also significantly associated with anxiety. Prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression was high in these HIV patients. This suggests a need for training on the screening and management of anxiety and depression among HIV patients.
A cross-sectional survey was carried out to estimate the seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetii in extensively grazed cattle and sheep from central Italy and to identify the related risk factors. Data on notified human Q fever cases in the area were also collected and described. A two-stage cluster sampling was performed. A total of 5083 animals (2210 cattle; 2873 sheep) belonging to 186 farms (92 herds; 94 flocks) were tested for the presence of antibodies against C. burnetii using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. The prevalence at the animal-level resulted three times higher in sheep compared to cattle (37.8% vs. 12.0%; χ2 = 270.10, P < 0.001). The prevalence at the herd-level was also higher in sheep than in cattle (87.2% vs. 68.5%; χ2 = 9.52, P < 0.01). The multivariate analysis showed a higher risk of seropositivity for cattle aged 67–107 months (OR 2.79, 95% CI 1.86–4.18), cattle >107 months of age (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.36–3.14) and mixed breed cattle (OR 1.74, 95% CI 1.11–2.72). A herd size >92 animals was recognized as herd-level risk factor in cattle (OR 6.88, 95% CI 1.67–28.37). The risk of being seropositive was double in sheep belonging to flocks >600 animals (odds ratio (OR) 2.04, 95% CI 1.63–2.56). Sheep were confirmed to be the most exposed species. Nevertheless, the prevalence observed in cattle also suggests the potential involvement of this species in the circulation of the pathogen in the area. Seven confirmed human Q fever cases were reported. In five out of seven cases there was at least one exposed herd within a 5 km buffer. Even though the source of the infection was not identified, the possibility of C. burnetii circulating in the livestock and human population in the study area cannot be overlooked. The integration between veterinary and human surveillance will be crucial to understand the spread of this zoonosis and to support the adoption of appropriate control measures.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases. China has a high burden of TB and accounted for almost 13% of the world's cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. Spinal TB is one reason for the resurgence of TB in China. Few large case studies of MDR spinal TB in China have been conducted. The aim of this research was to observe the epidemiological characteristics of inpatients with MDR spinal TB in six provinces and cities of China from 1999–2015. This is a multicentre retrospective observational study. Patients' information was collected from the control disease centre and infectious disease database of hospitals in six provinces and cities in China. A total of 3137 patients with spinal TB and 272 patients with MDR spinal TB were analysed. The result showed that MDR spinal TB remains a public health concern and commonly affects patients 15–30 years of age (34.19%). The most common lesions involved the thoracolumbar spine (35.66%). Local pain was the most common symptom (98.53%). Logistic analysis showed that for spinal TB patients, reside in rural district (OR 1.79), advanced in years (OR 1.92) and high education degree (OR 2.22) were independent risk factors for the development of MDR spinal TB. Women were associated with a lower risk of MDR spinal TB (OR 0.48). The most common first-line and second-line resistant drug was isoniazid (68.75%) and levofloxacin (29.04%), respectively. The use of molecular diagnosis resulted in noteworthy clinical advances, including earlier initiation of MDR spinal TB treatment, improved infection control and better clinical outcome. Chemotherapy and surgery can yield satisfactory outcomes with timely diagnosis and long-term treatment. These results enable a better understanding of the MDR spinal TB in China among the general public.
Neisseria meningitidis, a gram-negative diplococcus, is typically an asymptomatic coloniser of the oropharynx and nasopharynx. Passage of N. meningitidis into the bloodstream can cause invasive meningococcal disease (IMD), a potentially life-threatening illness with rapid onset that generally presents as meningitis, septicemia or both. Serogroup W IMD has been increasing in prevalence in recent years, and observations suggest that it may present with atypical signs and symptoms. Herein, a literature search was performed to identify trends in atypical serogroup W IMD presentation in order to review those that are most prevalent. Findings indicate that the most prevalent atypical presentations of serogroup W IMD include acute gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, septic arthritis and bacteremic pneumonia or severe upper respiratory tract infection, notably epiglottitis. Atypical clinical presentation is associated with higher case fatality rates and can lead to misdiagnoses. Such risks highlight the need for clinicians to consider IMD in their differential diagnoses of patients with acute GI symptoms, septic arthritis or bacteremic pneumonia, primarily in regions where serogroup W is prevalent.
In December 2016, Public Health England investigated an outbreak of campylobacteriosis in North West England, with 69 cases in total. Epidemiological, microbiological and environmental investigations associated the illness with the consumption of unpasteurised cows' milk from Farm X, where milk was predominantly sold from a vending machine. Campylobacter was detected in milk samples which, when sequenced, were identical in sequence type as pathogens isolated from cases (Clonal Complex ST-403, Sequence Type 7432). The farm was served with a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order to prevent further cases. To our knowledge, this is the first outbreak of campylobacter associated with unpasteurised milk in England since 1996. Our findings highlighted several important lessons, including that the current testing regime in England for unpasteurised milk is not fit for purpose and that the required warning label should include additional wording, underscoring the risk to vulnerable groups. There has been a substantial increase in both the volume of unpasteurised milk consumed in England and the use of vending machines to sell unpasteurised milk over the last 10 years, making unpasteurised milk more readily accessible to a wider population. The evidence generated from outbreaks like this is therefore critical and should be used to influence policy development.
There is world-wide increasing interest in the consumption of unprocessed, natural food commodities including fresh (unpasteurised) milk and milk products. Consumers are actively seeking out raw milk, partly due to health reasons, but also for taste, freshness, closeness to the producer and to support local agriculture. The need for high levels of hygiene and safety in farms producing raw milk for direct consumption has long been recognised and has led to federal and industry-initiated systems for safe raw milk production. Raw milk producers in North America and Europe have demonstrated that raw milk, intended for direct consumption, can be produced safe and hygienic. The aim of this paper is to describe practices that have been developed for safe raw milk production. The German Vorzugsmilch is a federally regulated programme for legal raw milk production that was established already in the 1930s to provide raw milk with high hygienic standards controlled for zoonotic diseases to consumers. The Raw Milk Institute is a non-profit organisation established in California that has developed a voluntary safe raw milk programme in North America. RAWMI has developed a risk analysis and management system for raw milk dairy farmers to assist farmers in making individually tailored solutions for various production systems. In British Colombia, Canada, small herd share farms have employed good manufacturing practices, a risk management approach and performed monthly samples for pathogens and indicator bacteria to demonstrate safety and consistency. The major components of the raw milk systems applied, and the results of regular milk microbial indicator bacteria are presented. For the German system, the results from standard monthly pathogen tests are compared to zoonotic pathogen tests from other milk sources. The overall results indicate that raw milk can be produced with a high level of hygiene and safety in various systems.
Yukon Territory (YT) is a remote region in northern Canada with ongoing spread of tuberculosis (TB). To explore the utility of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for TB surveillance and monitoring in a setting with detailed contact tracing and interview data, we used a mixed-methods approach. Our analysis included all culture-confirmed cases in YT (2005–2014) and incorporated data from 24-locus Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) genotyping, WGS and contact tracing. We compared field-based (contact investigation (CI) data + MIRU-VNTR) and genomic-based (WGS + MIRU-VNTR + basic case data) investigations to identify the most likely source of each person's TB and assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of programme personnel around genotyping and genomics using online, multiple-choice surveys (n = 4) and an in-person group interview (n = 5). Field- and genomics-based approaches agreed for 26 of 32 (81%) cases on likely location of TB acquisition. There was less agreement in the identification of specific source cases (13/22 or 59% of cases). Single-locus MIRU-VNTR variants and limited genetic diversity complicated the analysis. Qualitative data indicated that participants viewed genomic epidemiology as a useful tool to streamline investigations, particularly in differentiating latent TB reactivation from the recent transmission. Based on this, genomic data could be used to enhance CIs, focus resources, target interventions and aid in TB programme evaluation.
Campylobacteriosis is the most common notifiable disease in New Zealand. While the risk of campylobacteriosis has been found to be strongly associated with the consumption of undercooked poultry, other risk factors include rainwater-sourced drinking water, contact with animals and consumption of raw dairy products. Despite this, there has been little investigation of raw milk as a risk factor for campylobacteriosis. Recent increases in demand for untreated or ‘raw’ milk have also raised concerns that this exposure may become a more important source of disease in the future. This study describes the cases of notified campylobacteriosis from a sentinel surveillance site. Previously collected data from notified cases of raw milk-associated campylobacteriosis were examined and compared with campylobacteriosis cases who did not report raw milk consumption. Raw milk campylobacteriosis cases differed from non-raw milk cases on comparison of age and occupation demographics, with raw milk cases more likely to be younger and categorised as children or students for occupation. Raw milk cases were more likely to be associated with outbreaks than non-raw milk cases. Study-suggested motivations for raw milk consumption (health reasons, natural product, produced on farm, inexpensive or to support locals) were not strongly supported by cases. More information about the raw milk consumption habits of New Zealanders would be helpful to better understand the risks of this disease, especially with respect to increased disease risk observed in younger people. Further discussion with raw milk consumers around their motivations may also be useful to find common ground between public health concerns and consumer preferences as efforts continue to manage this ongoing public health issue.
In Hungary, between February 2017 and July 2019, 70 confirmed measles cases were reported, raising questions about the adequacy of population-level immunity. Although the assumed vaccination coverage is ≥99%, in a recent study, we detected potential gaps in the anti-measles humoral immunity. In Hungary, according to a decree by the Ministry of Public Welfare, beginning from 2021, the healthcare provider should conduct a serosurvey of anti-measles protection levels of healthcare professionals. To facilitate the compliance with this requirement, we developed a quick ‘three-in-one’ or ‘triple’ MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) indirect ELISA (IgG); an assay format that is currently not available commercially. High throughput applicability of the ‘three-in-one’ ELISA was verified using 1736 sera from routine laboratory residual samples, using an automated platform (Siemens BEP 2000 Advance). Assay verification was performed by comparing the full antigen repertoire-based ‘target’ assay with in-house ‘control’ assays using recombinant viral antigen coatings, and by validated commercially available kits. Indirect immunofluorescence was used as an independent reference method. Data were analysed using OriginLab, IBM SPSS, RStudio and MedCalc. In case of measles, we combined our current results with previously published data (Ntotal measles = 3523). Evaluation of anti-mumps and anti-rubella humoral antibody levels was based on the measurement of 1736 samples. The lowest anti-measles seropositivity (79.3%) was detected in sera of individuals vaccinated between 1978 and 1987. Considering the antigen-specific seropositivity ratios of all samples measured, anti-measles, -mumps and -rubella IgG antibody titres were adequate in 89.84%, 91.82% and 92.28%, respectively. Based on the virus-specific herd immunity threshold (HIT) values (HITMeasles = 92–95%, HITMumps = 75–86%, HITRubella = 83–86), it can be stated that regarding anti-measles immunity, certain age clusters of the population may have inadequate levels of humoral immunity. Despite the potential gaps in herd immunity, the use of MMR vaccine remains an effective and low-cost approach for the prevention of measles, mumps and rubella infections.
Q fever (caused by Coxiella burnetii) is thought to have an almost world-wide distribution, but few countries have conducted national serosurveys. We measured Q fever seroprevalence using residual sera from diagnostic laboratories across Australia. Individuals aged 1–79 years in 2012–2013 were sampled to be proportional to the population distribution by region, distance from metropolitan areas and gender. A 1/50 serum dilution was tested for the Phase II IgG antibody against C. burnetii by indirect immunofluorescence. We calculated crude seroprevalence estimates by age group and gender, as well as age standardised national and metropolitan/non-metropolitan seroprevalence estimates. Of 2785 sera, 99 tested positive. Age standardised seroprevalence was 5.6% (95% confidence interval (CI 4.5%–6.8%), and similar in metropolitan (5.5%; 95% CI 4.1%–6.9%) and non-metropolitan regions (6.0%; 95%CI 4.0%–8.0%). More males were seropositive (6.9%; 95% CI 5.2%–8.6%) than females (4.2%; 95% CI 2.9%–5.5%) with peak seroprevalence at 50–59 years (9.2%; 95% CI 5.2%–13.3%). Q fever seroprevalence for Australia was higher than expected (especially in metropolitan regions) and higher than estimates from the Netherlands (2.4%; pre-outbreak) and US (3.1%), but lower than for Northern Ireland (12.8%). Robust country-specific seroprevalence estimates, with detailed exposure data, are required to better understand who is at risk and the need for preventive measures.
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) is characterised by a vast genetic diversity classified into distinct phylogenetic strains and recombinant forms. We describe the HIV-1 molecular epidemiology and evolution of 129 consecutive HIV-1 positive migrants living in Milan (northern Italy). Polymerase gene sequences of 116 HIV-1 subtype-B positive patients were aligned with HIV-1 reference sequences (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) by using MAFFT alignment and edited by using Bioedit software. A maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic tree was performed by MEGA7 and was visualised by using FigTree v1.4.3. Of 129 migrants, 35 were born in Europe (28 in Eastern Europe), 70 in the Americas (67 in South America), 15 in Africa and nine in Asia; 76.4% were men who have sex with men (MSM). The serotype HIV-1-B prevailed (89.9%), followed by -C, -F1, -D and -A. Compared with 116 HIV-B patients, the 13 with HIV-non-B showed lower Nadir of CD4+ cell/mmc (P = 0.043), more frequently had sub Saharan origin (38.5 vs. 1.72%, P = 0.0001) and less frequently were MSM (40 vs. 74.5%, P = 0.02). The ML phylogenetic tree of the 116 HIV-1 subtype-B positive patients showed 13 statistically supported nodes (bootstrap > 70%). Most of the sequences included in these nodes have been isolated from male patients from the Americas and the most common risk factor was MSM. The low number of HIV-1 non-B subtype patients did not allow to perform this analysis. These results suggest a shift of HIV-1 prevention projects' focus and a continuous monitoring of HIV-1 molecular epidemiology among entry populations. Prevention efforts based on HIV molecular epidemiology may improve public health surveillance setting.
Infectious diseases, such as Helicobacter pylori, which produce systemic inflammation may be one key factor in the onset of autoimmunity. The association between H. pylori and antinuclear antibodies (ANA), a marker of autoimmunity, has been understudied. Data from the 1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to evaluate the cross-sectional association between H. pylori seroprevalence and ANA positivity in US adults aged ≥20 years. ANA was measured in a 1:80 dilution of sera by indirect immunofluorescence using HEp-2 cells (positive ⩾3). H. pylori immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to categorise individuals as seropositive or seronegative. H. pylori seropositivity and ANA positivity were common in the adult US population, with estimated prevalences of 33.3% and 9.9%, respectively. Both were associated with increasing age. H. pylori seropositivity was associated with higher odds of ANA (prevalence odds ratio = 1.89, 95% confidence interval = 1.08–3.33), adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational attainment and body mass index. H. pylori infection may be one key factor in the loss of self-tolerance, contributing to immune dysfunction.