Molecular #Detection of #Toxoplasma gondii in the #Slaughter #Sheep and #Goats from #Shandong Province, Eastern #China (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Molecular Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in the Slaughter Sheep and Goats from Shandong Province, Eastern China

Kang Ai, Cui-Qin Huang, Jing-Jing Guo, Hua Cong, Shen-Yi He, Chun-Xue Zhou, and Wei Cong

Published Online: 23 Sep 2019 / DOI:



It is generally recognized that sheep are susceptible to Toxoplasma gondii and play a very important role in the transmission of toxoplasmosis to humans. In China, sheep toxoplasmosis has been reported in some regions based on serological investigations. However, little is known about sheep toxoplasmosis in Shandong province, eastern China. Thus, this study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of T. gondii infection in the slaughter sheep and goats from three cities (Weihai, Yantai, and Rizhao) of Shandong province, eastern China. From November 2016 to March 2018, a total of 692 meat samples (438 sheep and 254 goats) were collected and detected by a seminested PCR-targeted T. gondii B1 gene. The overall prevalence of T. gondii in sheep and goats were 9.84% and 10.73%, respectively. Meat collected from rural markets (16.04%) had a significantly higher T. gondii prevalence than those collected from supermarkets (6.84%) (p < 0.001). Moreover, sheep and goats raised in backyard were more easily to be infected by T. gondii compared with those raised in farms (p < 0.001). This is the first report of the molecular prevalence of T. gondii infection in sheep and goats in Shandong province, eastern China, which would provide effective data for prevention and control of sheep and human toxoplasmosis in China.

Keywords: Toxoplasmosis; Food Safety; Goats; Sheeps; Shandong; China.


#MERS #coronavirus infection in non-camelid domestic #mammals (Emerg Microbes Infect., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Emerg Microbes Infect. 2019;8(1):103-108. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2018.1560235.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in non-camelid domestic mammals.

Kandeil A1, Gomaa M1, Shehata M1, El-Taweel A1, Kayed AE1, Abiadh A2, Jrijer J2, Moatasim Y1, Kutkat O1, Bagato O1, Mahmoud S1, Mostafa A1,3, El-Shesheny R1,4, Perera RA5, Ko RL5, Hassan N6, Elsokary B6, Allal L7, Saad A7, Sobhy H7, McKenzie PP4, Webby RJ4, Peiris M5, Ali MA1, Kayali G8,9.

Author information: 1 a Center of Scientific Excellence for Influenza Virus , National Research Centre , Giza , Egypt. 2 b Nature Link , Sfax , Tunisia. 3 c Institute of Medical Virology , Justus Liebig University Giessen , Giessen , Germany. 4 d St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital , Memphis , TN , USA. 5 e School of Public Health , University of Hong Kong , Sandy Bay , Hong Kong. 6 f General Organizations of Veterinary Services , Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation , Giza , Egypt. 7 g Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases , Giza , Egypt. 8 h Human Link , Baabda , Lebanon. 9 i University of Texas Health Sciences Center , Houston , TX , USA.



Dromedary camels are natural host of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). However, there are limited studies of MERS-CoV infection of other domestic mammals exposed to infected dromedaries. We expanded our surveillance among camels in Egypt, Tunisia, and Senegal to include other domestic mammalian species in contact with infected camels. A total of 820 sera and 823 nasal swabs from cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, buffaloes, mules, and horses were collected. Swabs were tested using RT-PCR and virus RNA-positive samples were genetically sequenced and phylogenetically analysed. Sera were screened using virus microneutralization tests and positive sera (where available) were confirmed using plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT). We detected 90% PRNT confirmed MERS-CoV antibody in 35 (55.6%) of 63 sera from sheep collected from Senegal, two sheep (1.8%) of 114 in Tunisia and a goat (0.9%) of 107 in Egypt, with titres ranging from 1:80 to ≥1:320. We detected MERS-CoV RNA in swabs from three sheep (1.2%) of 254 and five goats (4.1%) of 121 from Egypt and Senegal, as well as one cow (1.9%) of 53 and three donkeys (7.1%) of 42 from Egypt. Partial sequences of the RT-PCR amplicons confirmed specificity of the results. This study showed that domestic livestock in contact with MERS-CoV infected camels may be at risk of infection. We recommend expanding current MERS-CoV surveillance in animals to include other livestock in close contact with dromedary camels. The segregation of camels from other livestock in farms and live animal markets may need to be considered.

KEYWORDS: Egypt; MERS-CoV; Senegal; Tunisia; serology; sheep; surveillance

PMID: 30866764 DOI: 10.1080/22221751.2018.1560235

Keywords: MERS-CoV; Sheeps; Goats; Senegal; Tusinia; Egypt.


Potential Intermediate #Hosts for #Coronavirus Transmission: No Evidence of Clade 2c Coronaviruses in Domestic #Livestock from #Ghana (Trop Med Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Trop Med Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 10;4(1). pii: E34. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed4010034.

Potential Intermediate Hosts for Coronavirus Transmission: No Evidence of Clade 2c Coronaviruses in Domestic Livestock from Ghana.

El-Duah P1,2, Sylverken A3,4, Owusu M5,6, Yeboah R7,8, Lamptey J9,10, Frimpong YO11,12, Burimuah V13,14, Antwi C15, Folitse R16, Agbenyega O17, Oppong S18, Adu-Sarkodie Y19.

Author information: 1 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 2 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 3 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 4 Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 5 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 6 Department of Medical Laboratory Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 7 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 8 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 9 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 10 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 11 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 12 Department of Animal Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 13 Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 14 School of Veterinary Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 15 Department of Animal Science, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 16 School of Veterinary Medicine, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 17 Department of Agroforestry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 18 Department of Wildlife and Range Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana. 19 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, PMB, UPO, Kumasi 00233, Ghana.



The emergence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), nearly a decade ago with worldwide distribution, was believed to be of zoonotic origin from bats with dromedary camels as intermediate hosts. There is a likelihood of other domestic livestock serving as intermediate hosts for this virus. The presence of coronaviruses, closely related to MERS-CoV in Ghanaian bats, presented the opportunity to test the hypothesis of transmissibility of this virus through domestic livestock species. The possible interactions between livestock and bats in 31 household farms were accessed by observation and interviews with farmers. Rectal swabs and serum from cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and swine from commercial and household farms were tested for MERS-CoV and a Nycteris sp. bat coronavirus, previously detected in Ghana. A pan-PCR assay to detect clade 2c viruses and recombinant immunofluorescence assay to detect anti-spike IgG antibodies against the target viruses were used. Likely contact between livestock and bats was determined for 13 farms (41.9%) that reported confining their livestock and also observing bats in their homes. Livestock were left unconfined on eight farms (25.8%) that also observed bats roosting in trees close to their homes. No viral RNA or antibodies against the two coronaviruses were detected in any of the livestock species tested. Cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, and swine are not likely hosts of clade 2c coronaviruses.

KEYWORDS: bats; coronavirus; intermediate host; livestock

PMID: 30744201 DOI: 10.3390/tropicalmed4010034 Free full text

Keywords: Coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Bats; Cattle; Pigs; Ghana.


The #EU #summary #report on #surveillance for the presence of transmissible spongiform #encephalopathies (#TSEs) in 2017 (EFSA, abstract)

[Source: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Scientific Report  / Open Access

The European Union summary report on surveillance for the presence of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in 2017

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) / First published: 28 November 2018 / DOI:


Requestor: European Commission

Question number: EFSA‐Q‐2017‐00753

Acknowledgements: EFSA wishes to thank for the support provided to this scientific output to the EFSA staff members: Yves Van der Stede, Angel Ortiz Pelaez, Valentina Rizzi, Pietro Stella and Frank Boelaert, and to the EFSA contractor: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta (Unit BEAR – Biostatistica Epidemiologia e Analisi del Rischio and staff: Giuseppe Ru, Francesco Ingravalle, Cristina Bona, Rosanna Desiato, Cristiana Maurella and Eleonora Aiassa).

Approved: 6 November 2018



This report presents the results of surveillance on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) in bovine animals, sheep, goats, cervids and other animal species, as well as genotyping in sheep, carried out in 2017 in the European Union (EU) according to Regulation (EC) 999/2001, and in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. In total, 1,312,714 cattle were tested by the 28 EU Member States (MSs) which is a decrease of 3% compared with 2016; 18,526 were tested by the three non‐MSs. For the first time since bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been reported, no cases of classical BSE were reported in 2017. Six atypical BSE cases were reported by three different MSs: Spain 1 H‐BSE/2 L‐BSE; France 1 H‐BSE/1 L‐BSE; and Ireland 1 L‐BSE. Over the year, 314,547 sheep and 117,268 goats were tested in the EU. In sheep, 933 cases of scrapie were reported: 839 classical and unknown (145 index cases) by eight MSs and 94 atypical (89 index cases) by 13 MSs. Fourteen ovine scrapie cases were reported by Iceland and Norway. Of all classical scrapie cases, 98.2% occurred in sheep with genotypes of susceptible groups. The genotyping of a random sample in 21 MSs showed that 26.5% of the genotyped sheep carried genotypes of the susceptible groups. In goats 567 cases of scrapie were reported: 558 classical (42 index cases) by seven MSs and nine atypical (seven index cases) by five MSs. In total, 3,585 cervids were tested for TSE by ten MSs, mostly by Romania. All results were negative. Eleven cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) cases were reported in cervids by Norway: nine wild reindeer, one moose and, for the first time ever, one red deer. In total, 185 animals from five species other than cattle, small ruminants and cervids were tested by three MSs, with negative results.

Keywords: Prions; TSE; Mad Cow; Scrapie; Chronic Wasting Disease; Cattle; Cervids; Sheeps; EU.


#Serological Epidemiological #Investigation of Tibetan #Sheep (Ovis aries) #Plague in #Qinghai, #China (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Serological Epidemiological Investigation of Tibetan Sheep (Ovis aries) Plague in Qinghai, China

Ruixia Dai, Meiying Qi, Haoming Xiong, Xiaoyan Yang, Jian He, Zhikai Zhang, Hanqing Yang, Juan Jin, Xiang Li, Youquan Xin, Yonghai Yang, Cunxiang Li, Zhenjun Li, Jianguo Xu, Zuyun Wang, Wei Li, and Baiqing Wei

Published Online: 25 Sep 2018 / DOI:



The plague, which is caused by the Gram-negative coccobacillus bacterium Yersinia pestis, has been classified as a reemerging infectious disease by the World Health Organization. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau natural plague focus is the largest plague focus in China, and Marmota himalayana is the primary host of the plague. Tibetan sheep (Ovis aries) were first identified as naturally infected hosts of Y. pestis based on etiological evidence in 1975, and activities such as slaughtering or skinning Tibetan sheep that have been infected by Y. pestis or died from Y. pestis infection had caused severe human plague in Qinghai. Tibetan sheep are important domestic livestock in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Knowledge regarding the infection rate of Y. pestis in Tibetan sheep is important for understanding the range of infection and improving measures to control plague epidemics in this area. In this study, a serological survey involving 12,710 Tibetan sheep in all 44 counties in Qinghai Province was conducted. The total positive rate of indirect hemagglutination assay for Y. pestis in Tibetan sheep in Qinghai was 0.68% (86/12,710). Serological positivity to the Y. pestis F1 antibody was found in Tibetan sheep in all prefectures, except the Haidong and Haibei prefectures in Qinghai, with the seropositive rate in different counties ranging from 0.33% to 5.2% and the titers in the positive sera ranging from 1:20 to 1:5120. In addition, the seropositive rates in animal plague focus counties were higher than the rates in non-animal plague counties. Such results indicated a widespread infection of Tibetan sheep with Y. pestis in Qinghai, even though only sporadic epidemics of Tibetan sheep plague have been reported in Qinghai.

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Plague; Sheeps; China; Tibet; Qinghai.


#Human #plague associated with Tibetan #sheep originates in #marmots (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Human plague associated with Tibetan sheep originates in marmots

Ruixia Dai , Baiqing Wei , Haoming Xiong, Xiaoyan Yang, Yao Peng, Jian He, Juan Jin, Yumeng Wang, Xi Zha, Zhikai Zhang, Ying Liang, Qingwen Zhang, Jianguo Xu, Zuyun Wang, Wei Li

Published: August 16, 2018 / DOI:



The Qinghai-Tibet plateau is a natural plague focus and is the largest such focus in China. In this area, while Marmota himalayana is the primary host, a total of 18 human plague outbreaks associated with Tibetan sheep (78 cases with 47 deaths) have been reported on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau since 1956. All of the index infectious cases had an exposure history of slaughtering or skinning diseased or dead Tibetan sheep. In this study, we sequenced and compared 38 strains of Yersinia pestis isolated from different hosts, including humans, Tibetan sheep, and M. himalayana. Phylogenetic relationships were reconstructed based on genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms identified from our isolates and reference strains. The phylogenetic relationships illustrated in our study, together with the finding that the Tibetan sheep plague clearly lagged behind the M. himalayana plague, and a previous study that identified the Tibetan sheep as a plague reservoir with high susceptibility and moderate sensitivity, indicated that the human plague was transmitted from Tibetan sheep, while the Tibetan sheep plague originated from marmots. Tibetan sheep may encounter this infection by contact with dead rodents or through being bitten by fleas originating from M. himalayanaduring local epizootics.


Author summary

Plague is mainly a disease of wild rodents, and their parasitic fleas are considered the transmitting vectors. However, human plague originating from Ovis aries (Tibetan sheep) is found in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in China, where Marmota. himalayana is the primary plague host. Tibetan sheep-related human plague infection is always associated with slaughtering or skinning diseased or dead Tibetan sheep. The plague in Tibetan sheep clearly lags that in M. himalayana. In this study, we performed a genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of Tibetan sheep-related plague events, including pathogens isolated from humans, Tibetan sheep, and marmots. Through genomic analysis, together with the epidemiological connections, we confirmed that human plague came from Tibetan sheep, and the Tibetan sheep plague originated from marmots. Tibetan sheep account for about 1/3 of the total number of sheep in China. Tibetan sheep and goats are important domestic livestock on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Therefore, the hazards of Tibetan sheep plague should not be underestimated.


Citation: Dai R, Wei B, Xiong H, Yang X, Peng Y, He J, et al. (2018) Human plague associated with Tibetan sheep originates in marmots. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 12(8): e0006635.

Editor: Didier Raoult, Faculté de Médecine,Aix-Marseille Université, FRANCE

Received: April 21, 2018; Accepted: June 25, 2018; Published: August 16, 2018

Copyright: © 2018 Dai et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81260438 and 81290340), a Provincial Applied Basic Research Project of Qinghai (2016-ZJ-789), and a National Priority Development Project on Key Science Instruments (2012YQ09019706). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Yersinia Pestis; Plague; Human; Sheep; Wildlife; China; Tibet.


#Virological and #Serological Responses of #Sheep and #Cattle to Experimental #Schmallenberg Virus #Infection (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Virological and Serological Responses of Sheep and Cattle to Experimental Schmallenberg Virus Infection

Abaineh D. Endalew, Igor Morozov, A. Sally Davis, Natasha N. Gaudreault, Kerstin Wernike, Bhupinder Bawa, Mark G. Ruder, Barbara S. Drolet, D. Scott McVey, Vinay Shivanna, Wenjun Ma, Bonto Faburay, William C. Wilson, and Juergen A. Richt

Published Online: 15 Aug 2018 / DOI:



Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is an orthobunyavirus in the Simbu serogroup that emerged in Germany in late 2011 and was mostly associated with a mild transient disease of sheep and cattle. SBV is transmitted by biting midges (Culicoidesspecies) and causes abortions, stillbirths, and congenital defects in naïve pregnant ruminants. Two separate studies were conducted with a primary objective of better understanding the virological and serological responses of sheep and cattle to different SBV isolates after experimental infection. The second objective was to produce immunoreagents and challenge materials for use in future vaccine and diagnostics research. These studies were carried out using the following infectious inocula: (i) infectious serum (IS) (ii) cell culture-grown virus, and (iii) infectious lamb brain homogenate. The responses were assessed in both species throughout the course of the experiment. SBV RNA in serum (RNAemia) was detected as early as 2 (in sheep) and 3 (in cattle) days postinfection (dpi) and peaked on 3 and 4 dpi in cattle and sheep, respectively. Cattle had higher levels of RNAemia compared with sheep. Experimental infection with IS resulted in the highest level of RNAemia in both species followed by cell culture-grown virus. A delayed, low level RNAemia was detected in cattle inoculated with infectious sheep brain. Isolation of SBV was only possible from 4 dpi sera from all cattle inoculated with IS and one sheep inoculated with cell culture-derived virus. SBV neutralizing antibodies were first detected on 14 dpi in both species. No specific gross and microscopic lesions were observed in either study. In conclusion, these studies highlight not only the difference in viremia and anti-SBV antibody level against the different SBV isolates, but also the extent of the response in the two host species.

Keywords: Schmallenberg virus; Orthobunyavirus; Cattle; Sheep; Animal Models.