Thursday, 10 December 2015

Uus: First report of highly pathogenic Echinococcus granulosus genotype G1 in dogs in a European urban environment

Echinococcus granulosus and E. multilocularis are tapeworm parasites of major medical and veterinary importance, causing cystic and alveolar echinococcosis, respectively. Both diseases are listed among the most severe parasitic diseases in humans, representing 2 of the 17 neglected diseases prioritised by the World Health Organisation. However, little is known about the role of urban animals in transmission of both parasite species.

A sensitive non-invasive genetic method was used to monitor E. granulosus and E. multilocularis infection among dog faecal samples collected from an urban area in Estonia in 2012-13. Out of 181 dog faecal samples analysed, 2.2% tested positive for E. granulosus, determined by sequencing as genotype G1. None of the samples tested positive for E. multilocularis.

We report contamination of an urban environment with highly pathogenic E. granulosus G1 disseminated by dogs, and a potential risk to human health.

Full article:
Laurimaa L, Davison J, Süld K, Plumer L, Oja R, Moks E, Keis M, Hindrikson M, Kinkar L, Laurimäe T, Abner J, Remm J, Anijalg P, Saarma U. First report of highly pathogenic Echinococcus granulosus genotype G1 in dogs in a European urban environment. Parasit Vectors. 2015 Mar 26;8:182. doi: 10.1186/s13071-015-0796-3.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Uus: Systemic acute phase proteins response in calves experimentally infected with Eimeria zuernii

Acute phase proteins (APPs) have been demonstrated to be useful in evaluating general health stress and diseases in cattle. Serum amyloid A (SAA) and haptoglobin (Hp) are APPs that are produced during inflammation, and likely play a role in host immunological defence against Eimeria infection and the associated intestinal tissue damage. We investigated the involvement of SAA and HP in an experimental study, including three groups of calves: a control group (group 0, n=11), and two groups infected with either 150,000 or 250,000 Eimeria zuernii oocysts (group 1 (n=11) and group 2 (n=12), respectively). The calves were monitored for 28 days and data was collected on oocyst excretion, faecal score, animal weight, and SAA and Hp serum concentrations. Generalized linear mixed models showed that the clinical symptoms, indicated by an increase in the number of oocysts in the faeces and severe diarrhoea, manifested at patency for group 1 and 2. Serum Hp and SAA levels also increased during this period. Hp appeared to be a more sensitive marker than SAA, and differences between groups 1 and 2 were observed only for Hp. Linear regression models showed a negative association between weight gain and Hp concentrations, calculated as the area under the curve (AUC) during the overall experimental period and the patency period. A similar result was seen for SAA only during the patency period. This result supports the assumption that reduced weight gain due to E. zuernii infection is an immunologically driven process that involves an increase in APPs. A random intercept regression model of oocyst shedding groups showed that calves shedding 1-500 oocysts had reduced concentrations of Hp, indicating that a different immunological reaction occurs during mild shedding of E. zuernii oocysts than during more intensive shedding. A similar model was used to examine associations between faecal scores and Hp concentrations for each group. Group 2 calves with haemorrhagic diarrhoea displayed higher Hp levels than calves in that group with lower faecal scores, which may be in response to an increased demand for Hp in the repair process as a result of haemolysis. APPs seem to play an important role in determining the course of E. zuernii infection in calves, which may enhance our understanding of the immunological reaction and development of this disease.

Full article: 
Lassen B, Bangoura B, Lepik T, Orro T. Systemic acute phase proteins response in calves experimentally infected with Eimeria zuernii. Vet Parasitol. 2015 Sep 15;212(3-4):140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.06.024. Epub 2015 Jul 8.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Uus: Echinococcus infections in the Baltic region

In the Baltic countries, the two zoonotic diseases, alveolar echinococcosis (AE) caused by Echinococcus multilocularis, and cystic echinococcosis (CE) caused by Echinococcus granulosus, are of increasing public health concern. Observations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania indicate that the distribution of both parasites is wider in the Baltics than previously expected. In this paper, we review and discuss the available data, regarding both parasitoses in animals and humans, from the Baltic countries and selected adjacent regions. The data are not easily comparable but reveal a worrisome situation as the number of human AE and CE cases is increasing. Despite improvements in diagnostics and treatment, AE has a high morbidity and mortality in the Baltic region. For the control of both zoonoses, monitoring transmission patterns and timely diagnosis in humans as well as the development of local control programs present major challenges.

Full article: 
Marcinkutė A, Šarkūnas M, Moks E, Saarma U, Jokelainen P, Bagrade G, Laivacuma S, Strupas K, Sokolovas V, Deplazes P. Echinococcus infections in the Baltic region. Vet Parasitol. 2015 Jul 31. pii: S0304-4017(15)00372-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2015.07.032. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Uus: Seasonal recovery of Eimeria oocysts from soil on naturally contaminated pastures

Though Eimeria is an important parasite of cattle, research is lacking on how the parasite persist in the pasture soils. In this study, feces samples were collected from three pastures in June and October 2010 and soil samples in April 2011. Coordinates of sampling locations were recorded with Global Positioning System together with information about grass cover, shade, and elevation. All soil samples were collected from the same locations as the fecal samples and used in model evaluating the possible factors influencing the concentration of oocysts in the soil. Feces and soil samples were investigated using a quantitative flotation technique. Eimeria oocysts were found in 95.6% of fecal samples collected in summer and 84.5% of samples in fall. In contrast, the same locations soil samples were positive for Eimeria oocysts in 37.3% (summer) and 44.3% (fall). Despite larger numbers of oocysts in fecal samples shed during summer compared to fall, there was no difference in the concentration of oocysts in soil samples the following spring. The odds of higher numbers of oocysts in soil samples in spring were higher if fecal samples collected in summer were in shade or if containing Eimeria alabamensis during the fall. Factors other than the concentrations of oocysts shed in feces appear to affect whether oocysts persist between grazing seasons.

Full article: 
Lassen B, Lepik T, Järvis T. Seasonal recovery of Eimeria oocysts from soil on naturally contaminated pastures. Parasitol Res. 2014 Mar;113(3):993-9. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3731-6. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Uus: [The resistance status of gastrointestinal strongyles against anthelmintics in three Estonian sheep flocks]

Poor efficacy of anthelmintic drugs in sheep due to infections with resistant gastrointestinal strongyles is reported worldwide. The aim of this pilot study was to gain an insight into the current situation of anthelmintic efficacy in Estonian sheep flocks. From September to November 2012, faecal egg count reduction tests (FECRT) were carried out in three Estonian sheep farms, evaluating the efficacy of albendazole and ivermectin. Individual faecal samples were taken at the day of treatment and 10 to 14 days later and examined by a modified McMaster technique. Anthelmintic treatment was carried out with ivermectin (Bimectin 10 mg/ml, Bimeda Chemicals Export) subcutaneously with a dose rate of 0.2 mg/kg of body weight in the IVM group (n = 20 animals/farms 1 and 2; n = 5 for farm 3) or albendazol (Endospec 10%, Bimeda Chemicals Export) orally in the dose of 5 mg/kg of body weight in the ALB group (n = 20 animals/ farm); animals in the control group (n = 20 animals for farms 1 and 3, n = 18 for farm 2) were left untreated. The FECRT was carried out according to the WAAVP guidelines. On farm 1 the efficacy of albendazole and ivermectin was reduced with 66% and 65% FECR, respectively. With a FECR of 26% the results of farm 2 showed a pronounced albendazole resistance while ivermectin was still sufficiently efficient (99% reduction). Farm 3 showed nearly 100% efficacy of albendazole and ivermectin, but earlier problems with high endoparasite burden and mortality may indicate a possible developing albendazole resistance which could not be detected with the FECRT yet. The results of this study show that in Estonia resistance against benzimidazoles and macrocyclic lactones does occur, indicating that close countrywide monitoring is advisable.

Full article: 
Anupöld AM, Hinney B, Joachim A. [The resistance status of gastrointestinal strongyles against anthelmintics in three Estonian sheep flocks]. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2014 Jan-Feb;127(1-2):50-5.
[Article in German]

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Uus: Seroprevalence of and Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Cats in Estonia

In Estonia, northeastern Europe, Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in humans has not declined, in contrast to many other countries. The reasons for this are unknown. Domestic cats are important hosts in the epidemiology of the parasite, but information on local feline T. gondii infections has been lacking. An epidemiological cross-sectional study was conducted to estimate the seroprevalence of T. gondii and the risk factors associated with seropositivity in cats in Estonia. Surplus from blood samples that had been collected for unrelated diagnostic purposes from 306 pet cats and 184 shelter cats were analyzed for anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G antibodies by using a direct agglutination test. Two questionnaires were designed to reveal relevant risk factors for seropositivity. The overall seroprevalence of T. gondii in cats in Estonia was 60.8%. Older age, outdoor access, hunting, living outside the city in the countryside, and not being a purebred cat were among the risk factors associated with seropositivity. T. gondii is highly prevalent in domestic cats in Estonia. This suggests that the environment has been contaminated with T. gondii. Seropositivity indicates previous oocyst shedding, and most of the cats had outdoor access. The increase in T. gondii seroprevalence with age indicates acquired infections, and most of the risk factors were lifestyle-related. Cat owners could diminish the risk of T. gondii infection and also limit the spread of the parasite by not allowing their cats to roam free.

Full article:
Must K, Lassen B, Jokelainen P. Seroprevalence of and Risk Factors for Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Cats in Estonia. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2015 Oct;15(10):597-601. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2015.1809. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Uus: Persistence of Eimeria bovis in soil

Eimeriosis is a disease that occurs globally and often affects cattle grazing on pastures contaminated with oocysts of the pathogenic species Eimeria bovisEimeria zuernii or Eimeria alabamensis, respectively. Nonetheless, little is understood regarding oocyst persistence on the pasture. The study was performed in the temperate climate zone. Soil samples were spiked with 100,000 E. bovis oocysts in July 2010 or with 50,000 oocysts in October 2010, respectively, both either with our without addition of cattle faeces. The soil samples were exposed to natural environmental conditions until April 2011. A subset of the samples was analysed immediately after spiking as positive control. The oocysts were recovered by a flotation method and counted in a reading chamber. On average, 23 % of the oocysts could be recovered from the positive control. The recovery of oocysts dropped to 0.30 % of the original level in the samples prepared in July independent of the addition of faeces, whereas the oocyst count was higher in the samples prepared in October, both without (2.05 %) and with (2.64 %) faecal material. No differences were observed between presence of oocysts or oocyst counts recovered in the presence or absence of faeces. Presence of faeces had a positive influence on oocyst integrity. During the winter season, the number of oocysts in the soil was lowered under the detection limit in most samples. On the other hand, the comparatively short 3-month summer period had a significant influence on the number of persisting oocysts too.

Full article: 
Lassen B, Lepik T, Bangoura B. Persistence of Eimeria bovis in soil. Parasitol Res. 2013 Jul;112(7):2481-6. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3413-4. Epub 2013 Apr 7.