Pervasive #Arctic #lead #pollution suggests substantial #growth in #medieval #silver production modulated by #plague, #climate, and #conflict (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Pervasive Arctic lead pollution suggests substantial growth in medieval silver production modulated by plague, climate, and conflict

Joseph R. McConnell, Nathan J. Chellman, Andrew I. Wilson, Andreas Stohl, Monica M. Arienzo, Sabine Eckhardt, Diedrich Fritzsche, Sepp Kipfstuhl, Thomas Opel, Philip F. Place, and Jørgen Peder Steffensen

PNAS first published July 8, 2019 / DOI:

Edited by Eric W. Wolff, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and accepted by Editorial Board Member A. R. Ravishankara June 13, 2019 (received for review March 15, 2019)



Detailed lead pollution measurements in an array of 13 ice cores spanning nearly half the Arctic showed surprisingly similar temporal variability during the past 2 millennia until the Industrial Revolution. Lead pollution increased by 250- to 300-fold from the Early Middle Ages to the 1970s industrial peak, reflecting large-scale emissions changes from ancient European silver production, recent fossil fuel burning, and other industrial activities. Pronounced decadal-scale increases coincided with exploitation of new mining districts, technology development, and periods of economic prosperity, while decreases coincided with climate disruptions, famines, major wars, and plagues. Despite midlatitude pollution abatement policies that reduced Arctic lead pollution by >80% since the 1970s, recent levels remain 60-fold higher than at the start of the Middle Ages.



Lead pollution in Arctic ice reflects large-scale historical changes in midlatitude industrial activities such as ancient lead/silver production and recent fossil fuel burning. Here we used measurements in a broad array of 13 accurately dated ice cores from Greenland and Severnaya Zemlya to document spatial and temporal changes in Arctic lead pollution from 200 BCE to 2010 CE, with interpretation focused on 500 to 2010 CE. Atmospheric transport modeling indicates that Arctic lead pollution was primarily from European emissions before the 19th-century Industrial Revolution. Temporal variability was surprisingly similar across the large swath of the Arctic represented by the array, with 250- to 300-fold increases in lead pollution observed from the Early Middle Ages to the 1970s industrial peak. Superimposed on these exponential changes were pronounced, multiannual to multidecadal variations, marked by increases coincident with exploitation of new mining regions, improved technologies, and periods of economic prosperity; and decreases coincident with climate disruptions, famines, major wars, and plagues. Results suggest substantial overall growth in lead/silver mining and smelting emissions—and so silver production—from the Early through High Middle Ages, particularly in northern Europe, with lower growth during the Late Middle Ages into the Early Modern Period. Near the end of the second plague pandemic (1348 to ∼1700 CE), lead pollution increased sharply through the Industrial Revolution. North American and European pollution abatement policies have reduced Arctic lead pollution by >80% since the 1970s, but recent levels remain ∼60-fold higher than at the start of the Middle Ages.

ice core – lead pollution – Arctic  – plague – Middle Ages



1 To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email:

Author contributions: J.R.M. designed research; J.R.M., N.J.C., A.S., M.M.A., S.E., D.F., S.K., T.O., P.F.P., and J.P.S. performed research; J.R.M., N.J.C., A.I.W., and A.S. analyzed data; and J.R.M., N.J.C., A.I.W., and A.S. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. E.W.W. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.

This article contains supporting information online at

Published under the PNAS license.

Keywords: Arctic; Environmental Pollution; Middle Age; Plague; Wars.



Circulation of a #novel strain of #dolphin #morbillivirus (DMV) in stranded #cetaceans in the #Mediterranean Sea (Sci Rep., abstract)

[Source: Scientific Reports, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Article | OPEN | Published: 05 July 2019

Circulation of a novel strain of dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) in stranded cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea

Francesco Mira, Consuelo Rubio-Guerri, Giuseppa Purpari, Roberto Puleio, Giulia Caracappa, Francesca Gucciardi, Laura Russotto, Guido Ruggero Loria & Annalisa Guercio

Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 9792 (2019)



Dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) has been responsible for several outbreaks of systemic infection and has resulted in cetacean strandings in the Mediterranean. In August-October 2016, seven striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) stranded on the Sicilian coastline (Italy) tested positive for DMV. Tissue samples from brain, lung, pulmonary lymph nodes, heart, spleen, liver, stomach, intestine, kidneys and urinary bladder, as well as blowhole swabs, were collected during necropsy for molecular diagnostics and pathology studies. Extracted tissue RNA was screened for DMV by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Some tissues exhibited microscopic lesions that were consistent with DMV infection on histopathological and immunohistochemical grounds. Conventional reverse transcription PCR to target partial nucleoprotein and phosphoprotein genes yielded sequences used to genetically characterize the associated DMV strain. DMV RNA was detected by both PCR assays in all tested tissues of the seven dolphins, which suggests systemic infections, but was absent from another dolphin stranded on the Sicilian coastline during the same period. The partial phosphoprotein and nucleoprotein gene sequences from the positive dolphins were 99.7% and 99.5% identical, respectively, to the DMV sequences recently observed in cetaceans stranded on the Spanish Mediterranean. Our study suggests that this DMV strain is circulating in the Mediterranean.

Keywords: Morbillivirus; Dolphins; Wildlife; European Region.


#Trends and prediction of #antimicrobial susceptibility in #urinary #bacteria isolated in #European emergency departments: the #EuroUTI 2010-2016 Study (J Antimicrob Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Trends and prediction of antimicrobial susceptibility in urinary bacteria isolated in European emergency departments: the EuroUTI 2010-2016 Study

Alice Quaegebeur, Loïc Brunard, François Javaudin, Marie-Anne Vibet, Pascale Bemer, Quentin Le Bastard, Eric Batard, Emmanuel Montassier, EuroUTI 2010-2016 Study Group

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, dkz274,

Published: 30 June 2019




To assess recent trends in susceptibility to antibiotics among urinary isolates isolated in European emergency departments (EDs) and to identify isolates with a high (90% or more) predicted probability of susceptibility to fluoroquinolones or third-generation cephalosporins (3GCs).


In this cross-sectional study, we included urine cultures obtained from adult patients between 2010 and 2016 in 24 European EDs. Temporal trends were assessed using time-series analysis and multivariate logistic models. Multivariate logistic models were also used to predict susceptibility to fluoroquinolones or 3GCs from patient age and sex, year, month and ED.


We included 88 242 isolates. Time-series analysis found a significant increase in susceptibility to fluoroquinolones and no significant trend for susceptibility to 3GCs. Adjusting for patient age and sex, ED and organism, multivariate models showed that susceptibility to 3GCs decreased from 2014 to 2016, while susceptibility to fluoroquinolones increased in 2015 and 2016. Among isolates from 2016, multivariate models predicted high probability of susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in 11% of isolates (positive predictive value 91%) and a high probability of susceptibility to 3GCs in 35% of isolates (positive predictive value 94%).


Susceptibility of ED urinary isolates to fluoroquinolones increased from 2014, while susceptibility to 3GCs decreased from 2015. Predictive models identified isolates with a high probability of susceptibility to fluoroquinolones or 3GCs. The ability of such models to guide the empirical treatment of pyelonephritis in the ED remains to be determined.

Topic: antibiotics – cephalosporins – adult – emergency service, hospital – fluoroquinolones – pyelonephritis – urinary tract – bacteria – urine culture – antimicrobial susceptibility


© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Fluoroquinolones; Cephalosporins; UTI; European Region.


Associations between #antimicrobial use and the #faecal #resistome on #broiler #farms from nine #European countries (J Antimicrob Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Associations between antimicrobial use and the faecal resistome on broiler farms from nine European countries

Roosmarijn E C Luiken, Liese Van Gompel, Patrick Munk, Steven Sarrazin, Philip Joosten, Alejandro Dorado-García, Rasmus Borup, Hansen Berith E Knudsen, Alex Bossers, Jaap A Wagenaar, Frank M Aarestrup, Jeroen Dewulf, Dik J Mevius, Dick J J Heederik, Lidwien A M Smit, Heike Schmitt, EFFORT consortium

Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, dkz235,

Published: 14 June 2019




To determine associations between farm- and flock-level antimicrobial usage (AMU), farm biosecurity status and the abundance of faecal antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) on broiler farms.


In the cross-sectional pan-European EFFORT study, conventional broiler farms were visited and faeces, AMU information and biosecurity records were collected. The resistomes of pooled faecal samples were determined by metagenomic analysis for 176 farms. A meta-analysis approach was used to relate total and class-specific ARGs (expressed as fragments per kb reference per million bacterial fragments, FPKM) to AMU (treatment incidence per DDD, TIDDDvet) per country and subsequently across all countries. In a similar way, the association between biosecurity status (Biocheck.UGent) and the resistome was explored.


Sixty-six (38%) flocks did not report group treatments but showed a similar resistome composition and roughly similar ARG levels to antimicrobial-treated flocks. Nevertheless, we found significant positive associations between β-lactam, tetracycline, macrolide and lincosamide, trimethoprim and aminoglycoside antimicrobial flock treatments and ARG clusters conferring resistance to the same class. Similar associations were found with purchased products. In gene-level analysis for β-lactams and macrolides, lincosamides and streptogramins, a significant positive association was found with the most abundant gene clusters blaTEM and erm(B). Little evidence was found for associations with biosecurity.


The faecal microbiome in European broilers contains a high diversity of ARGs, even in the absence of current antimicrobial selection pressure. Despite this, the relative abundance of genes and the composition of the resistome is positively related to AMU in European broiler farms for several antimicrobial classes.

Topic: feces – genes – lactams – trimethoprim – macrolides – tetracycline – aminoglycosides – antimicrobials – gene clusters  – farming environment


© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Poultry; European Region.


The #introduction and #dispersal of #Sindbis virus from central #Africa to #Europe (J Virol., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Virology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

The introduction and dispersal of Sindbis virus from central Africa to Europe

Jiaxin Ling, Teemu Smura, Jan O. Lundström, John H.-O. Pettersson, Tarja Sironen, Olli Vapalahti, Åke Lundkvist, Jenny C. Hesson

DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00620-19



Bird-hosted viruses have the potential to be transported over large areas of the world and to be transmitted in distant geographical regions. Sindbis virus (SINV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that is locally amplified in a bird-mosquito enzootic cycle and distributed all over the Old World and Australia/Oceania. Sindbis virus genotype I (SINV-I) is the cause of disease outbreaks in humans in South Africa as well as in northern Europe. To trace the evolutionary history and potential strain-disease association of SINV-I, we sequenced 36 complete genomes isolated from field material in Europe as well as in Africa and the Middle-East, collected over 58 years. These were analysed together with 30 additional published whole SINV-I genomes using Bayesisan analysis. Our results suggested that SINV-I was introduced only once to northern Europe from central Africa, in the 1920s. After its first introduction to Sweden, it spread east and southwards on two separate occasions in the 1960s and 1970s. Another introduction from central Africa seems to have occurred to southern/central Europe, and where these two introductions meet, one recombination event was detected in central Europe. In addition, another recombinant strain was found in central Africa, where also the most divergent SINV-I viruses originated.



This study shows that only a single introduction of SINV into a new geographical area is required for the spread and establishment, provided that the requisite vector(s) and reservoir(s) of epizootological and epidemiological importance, are present. Further, we present the first report of recombination between two strains of SINV in nature. Our study increases the knowledge on new introductions and dispersal of arboviruses in general, and on SINV in particular.

Copyright © 2019 Ling et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Keywords: Arbovirus; Alphavirus; Sindbis virus; Wild Birds; Africa; Europe.


#Lyme #neuroborreliosis and #bird #populations in northern #Europe (Proc Roy Soc B., abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B., full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Lyme neuroborreliosis and bird populations in northern Europe

Atle Mysterud, Dieter J. A. Heylen, Erik Matthysen, Aïda Lopez Garcia, Solveig Jore and Hildegunn Viljugrein

Published: 29 May 2019 / DOI:



Many vector-borne diseases are transmitted through complex pathogen–vector–host networks, which makes it challenging to identify the role of specific host groups in disease emergence. Lyme borreliosis in humans is now the most common vector-borne zoonosis in the Northern Hemisphere. The disease is caused by multiple genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensulato bacteria transmitted by ixodid (hard) ticks, and the major host groups transmit Borrelia genospecies with different pathogenicity, causing variable clinical symptoms in humans. The health impact of a given host group is a function of the number of ticks it infects as well as the pathogenicity of the genospecies it carries. Borrelia afzelii, with mainly small mammals as reservoirs, is the most common pathogen causing Lyme borreliosis, and it is often responsible for the largest proportion of infected host-seeking tick nymphs in Europe. The bird-borne Borrelia garinii, though less prevalent in nymphal ticks, is more likely to cause Lyme neuroborreliosis, but whether B. garinii causes disseminated disease more frequently has not been documented. Based on extensive data of annual disease incidence across Norway from 1995 to 2017, we show here that 69% of disseminated Lyme borreliosis cases were neuroborreliosis, which is three times higher than predicted from the infection prevalence of B. garinii in host-seeking ticks (21%). The population estimate of migratory birds, mainly of thrushes, explained part of the annual variation in cases of neuroborreliosis, with a one-year time lag. We highlight the important role of the genospecies’ pathogenicity and the host associations for understanding the epidemiology of disseminated Lyme borreliosis.

Keywords: Lyme’s Disease; Borrelia spp.; Wild Birds; European Region; Lyme’s Neuroborreliosis.


An #international #outbreak of #Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis linked to #eggs from #Poland: a microbiological and epidemiological study (Lancet Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

An international outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis linked to eggs from Poland: a microbiological and epidemiological study

Roan Pijnacker, MSc  *, Timothy J Dallman, PhD *, Aloys S L Tijsma, PhD, Gillian Hawkins, MBChB, Lesley Larkin, BVSc, Saara M Kotila, MSc, Giusi Amore, PhD, Ettore Amato, PhD, Pamina M Suzuki, MSc, Sarah Denayer, PhD, Sofieke Klamer, MSc, Judit Pászti, Jacquelyn McCormick, MPH, Hassan Hartman, PhD, Gareth J Hughes, PhD, Lin C T Brandal, PhD, Derek Brown, MSc, Joël Mossong, PhD, Cecilia Jernberg, PhD, Luise Müller, MSc, Daniel Palm, PhD, Ettore Severi, MSc, Joannna Gołębiowska, DVM, Blaženka Hunjak, PhD, Slawomir Owczarek, MSc, Simon Le Hello, PhD, Patricia Garvey, PhD, Kirsten Mooijman, MSc, Ingrid H M Friesema, PhD, Coen van der Weijden, BSc, Menno van der Voort, PhD, Valentina Rizzi, PhD, Eelco Franz, PhD on behalf of theInternational Outbreak Investigation Team †

Published: May 24, 2019 / DOI:




Salmonella spp are a major cause of food-borne outbreaks in Europe. We investigated a large multi-country outbreak ofSalmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).


A confirmed case was defined as a laboratory-confirmed infection with the outbreak strains of S Enteritidis based on whole-genome sequencing (WGS), occurring between May 1, 2015, and Oct 31, 2018. A probable case was defined as laboratory-confirmed infection withS Enteritidis with the multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis outbreak profile. Multi-country epidemiological, trace-back, trace-forward, and environmental investigations were done. We did a case-control study including confirmed and probable cases and controls randomly sampled from the population registry (frequency matched by age, sex, and postal code). Odds ratios (ORs) for exposure rates between cases and controls were calculated with unmatched univariable and multivariable logistic regression.


18 EU and EEA countries reported 838 confirmed and 371 probable cases. 509 (42%) cases were reported in 2016, after which the number of cases steadily increased. The case-control study results showed that cases more often ate in food establishments than did controls (OR 3·4 [95% CI 1·6–7·3]), but no specific food item was identified. Recipe-based food trace-back investigations among cases who ate in food establishments identified eggs from Poland as the vehicle of infection in October, 2016. Phylogenetic analysis identified two strains of S Enteritidis in human cases that were subsequently identified in salmonella-positive eggs and primary production premises in Poland, confirming the source of the outbreak. After control measures were implemented, the number of cases decreased, but increased again in March, 2017, and the increase continued into 2018.


This outbreak highlights the public health value of multi-country sharing of epidemiological, trace-back, and microbiological data. The re-emergence of cases suggests that outbreak strains have continued to enter the food chain, although changes in strain population dynamics and fewer cases indicate that control measures had some effect. Routine use of WGS in salmonella surveillance and outbreak response promises to identify and stop outbreaks in the future.


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission; and National Public Health and Food Safety Institutes of the authors’ countries (see Acknowledgments for full list).

Keywords: Food Safety; EU; European Region; Samonella spp.