Long-term #wildlife #mortality surveillance in northern #Congo: a model for the detection of #Ebola virus disease #epizootics (Philos Trans R Soc B., abstract)

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

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2019 Sep 30;374(1782):20180339. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0339. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Long-term wildlife mortality surveillance in northern Congo: a model for the detection of Ebola virus disease epizootics.

Kuisma E1, Olson SH2, Cameron KN2, Reed PE2, Karesh WB3, Ondzie AI1, Akongo MJ1, Kaba SD1, Fischer RJ4, Seifert SN4, Muñoz-Fontela C5, Becker-Ziaja B6, Escudero-Pérez B5, Goma-Nkoua C7, Munster VJ4, Mombouli JV7.

Author information: 1 Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Health Program, 151 Avenue du General de Gaulle, BP14537 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. 2 Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Health Program, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York, NY 10460, USA. 3 Health and Policy, EcoHealth Alliance, 460 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA. 4 Laboratory of Virology, Virus Ecology Unit, Division of Intramural Research, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, 903s 4th street, Hamilton, MT, USA. 5 Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and German Center for Infection Research DZIF, Bernhard Nocht Strasse 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany. 6 Robert Koch-Institut, Seestraße 10, 13353 Berlin, Germany. 7 Service d’Epidémiologie Moléculaire, Laboratoire National de Santé Publique, Avenue du General de Gaulle, BP120 Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.



Ebolavirus (EBOV) has caused disease outbreaks taking thousands of lives, costing billions of dollars in control efforts and threatening great ape populations. EBOV ecology is not fully understood but infected wildlife and consumption of animal carcasses have been linked to human outbreaks, especially in the Congo Basin. Partnering with the Congolese Ministry of Health, we conducted wildlife mortality surveillance and educational outreach in the northern Republic of Congo (RoC). Designed for EBOV detection and to alert public health authorities, we established a low-cost wildlife mortality reporting network covering 50 000 km2. Simultaneously, we delivered educational outreach promoting behavioural change to over 6600 people in rural northern RoC. We achieved specimen collection by training project staff on a safe sampling protocol and equipping geographically distributed bases with sampling kits. We established in-country diagnostics for EBOV testing, reducing diagnostic turnaround time to 3 days and demonstrated the absence of EBOV in 58 carcasses. Central Africa remains a high-risk EBOV region, but RoC, home to the largest remaining populations of great apes, has not had an epidemic since 2005. This effort continues to function as an untested early warning system in RoC, where people and great apes have died from past Ebola virus disease outbreaks. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Dynamic and integrative approaches to understanding pathogen spillover’.

KEYWORDS: Ebola spillover; One Health; carcass; community outreach; great ape; surveillance

PMID: 31401969 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0339

Keywords: Ebolavirus; Wildlife: Rep. of Congo.



#Ecological #indicators of #mammal exposure to #Ebolavirus (Philos Trans R Soc B., abstract)

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

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2019 Sep 30;374(1782):20180337. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0337. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Ecological indicators of mammal exposure to Ebolavirus.

Schmidt JP1, Maher S2, Drake JM1, Huang T3, Farrell MJ1, Han BA3.

Author information: 1 Odum School of Ecology and Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. 2 Department of Biology, Missouri State University, 901 S. National Ave, Springfield, MO 65897, USA. 3 Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, 2801 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook, NY 12545, USA.



Much of the basic ecology of Ebolavirus remains unresolved despite accumulating disease outbreaks, viral strains and evidence of animal hosts. Because human Ebolavirus epidemics have been linked to contact with wild mammals other than bats, traits shared by species that have been infected by Ebolavirus and their phylogenetic distribution could suggest ecological mechanisms contributing to human Ebolavirus spillovers. We compiled data on Ebolavirus exposure in mammals and corresponding data on life-history traits, movement, and diet, and used boosted regression trees (BRT) to identify predictors of exposure and infection for 119 species (hereafter hosts). Mapping the phylogenetic distribution of presumptive Ebolavirus hosts reveals that they are scattered across several distinct mammal clades, but concentrated among Old World fruit bats, primates and artiodactyls. While sampling effort was the most important predictor, explaining nearly as much of the variation among hosts as traits, BRT models distinguished hosts from all other species with greater than 97% accuracy, and revealed probable Ebolavirus hosts as large-bodied, frugivorous, and with slow life histories. Provisionally, results suggest that some insectivorous bat genera, Old World monkeys and forest antelopes should receive priority in Ebolavirus survey efforts. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Dynamic and integrative approaches to understanding pathogen spillover’.

KEYWORDS: Ebola; boosted regression trees; comparative analysis; frugivory; host

PMID: 31401967 DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2018.0337

Keywords: Ebolavirus; Wildlife; Bats.


Semiaquatic #mammals might be intermediate #hosts to spread #avian #influenza viruses from avian to #human (Sci Rep., abstract)

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

Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 12;9(1):11641. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-48255-5.

Semiaquatic mammals might be intermediate hosts to spread avian influenza viruses from avian to human.

Zhao P1,2, Sun L1,2, Xiong J3, Wang C4, Chen L5, Yang P6, Yu H7, Yan Q6, Cheng Y7, Jiang L1,2, Chen Y8, Zhao G1,2, Jiang Q1,2, Xiong C9,10.

Author information: 1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. 2 School of Public Health, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China. 3 College of Marine Science, Shandong University, Weihai, China. 4 The First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China. 5 State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China. 6 Huai’an Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Huai’an, China. 7 Hongze Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Hongze, China. 8 School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. 9 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China. chenglongxiong@vip.sina.com. 10 School of Public Health, Fudan University, Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety, Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China. chenglongxiong@vip.sina.com.



Avian influenza A viruses (AIVs) can occasionally transmit to mammals and lead to the development of human pandemic. A species of mammal is considered as a mixing vessel in the process of host adaptation. So far, pigs are considered as a plausible intermediate host for the generation of human pandemic strains, and are labelled ‘mixing vessels’. In this study, through the analysis of two professional databases, the Influenza Virus Resource of NCBI and the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), we found that the species of mink (Neovison vison) can be infected by more subtypes of influenza A viruses with considerably higher α-diversity related indices. It suggested that the semiaquatic mammals (riverside mammals), rather than pigs, might be the intermediate host to spread AIVs and serve as a potential mixing vessel for the interspecies transmission among birds, mammals and human. In epidemic areas, minks, possibly some other semiaquatic mammals as well, could be an important sentinel species for influenza surveillance and early warning.

PMID: 31406229 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-48255-5

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Wildlife.


#Hantavirus host assemblages and #human disease in the #Atlantic #Forest (PLoS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

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


Hantavirus host assemblages and human disease in the Atlantic Forest

Renata L. Muylaert , Ricardo Siqueira Bovendorp, Gilberto Sabino-Santos Jr, Paula R. Prist, Geruza Leal Melo, Camila de Fátima Priante, David A. Wilkinson, Milton Cezar Ribeiro, David T. S. Hayman

Published: August 12, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007655 / This is an uncorrected proof.



Several viruses from the genus Orthohantavirus are known to cause lethal disease in humans. Sigmodontinae rodents are the main hosts responsible for hantavirus transmission in the tropical forests, savannas, and wetlands of South America. These rodents can shed different hantaviruses, such as the lethal and emerging Araraquara orthohantavirus. Factors that drive variation in host populations may influence hantavirus transmission dynamics within and between populations. Landscape structure, and particularly areas with a predominance of agricultural land and forest remnants, is expected to influence the proportion of hantavirus rodent hosts in the Atlantic Forest rodent community. Here, we tested this using 283 Atlantic Forest rodent capture records and geographically weighted models that allow us to test if predictors vary spatially. We also assessed the correspondence between proportions of hantavirus hosts in rodent communities and a human vulnerability to hantavirus infection index across the entire Atlantic Forest biome. We found that hantavirus host proportions were more positively influenced by landscape diversity than by a particular habitat or agricultural matrix type. Local small mammal diversity also positively influenced known pathogenic hantavirus host proportions, indicating that a plasticity to habitat quality may be more important for these hosts than competition with native forest dwelling species. We found a consistent positive effect of sugarcane and tree plantation on the proportion of rodent hosts, whereas defaunation intensity did not correlate with the proportion of hosts of potentially pathogenic hantavirus genotypes in the community, indicating that non-defaunated areas can also be hotspots for hantavirus disease outbreaks. The spatial match between host hotspots and human disease vulnerability was 17%, while coldspots matched 20%. Overall, we discovered strong spatial and land use change influences on hantavirus hosts at the landscape level across the Atlantic Forest. Our findings suggest disease surveillance must be reinforced in the southern and southeastern regions of the biome where the highest predicted hantavirus host proportion and levels of vulnerability spatially match. Importantly, our analyses suggest there may be more complex rodent community dynamics and interactions with human disease than currently hypothesized.


Author summary

Hantaviruses cause disease in people, mainly following transmission from wild rodents to people through contact with infected excreta. Wild rodents use different habitats, and many survive even in anthropogenically changed environments, but to an unknown extent. The objective of our study was to understand how these rodents respond to habitat change in the landscape, to biodiversity and to climate. We measured the proportion of pathogenic hantavirus hosts in the rodent community. We then investigated the spatial correspondence between this proportion and a vulnerability to pathogenic hantavirus infection index in humans within the Atlantic Forest. We found 12 well represented species of rodents that can carry at least one hantavirus genotype. Despite high variation in the host proportion data, the peaks of human vulnerability to disease occurs at higher levels of habitat diversity in the landscape, intermediate levels of rainfall, and areas with less than 15 species in the local small mammal community. Our results suggest hantavirus surveillance and prevention measures are needed in the south and south-east regions of Brazil where highest host proportions and levels of vulnerability spatially match.


Citation: Muylaert RL, Bovendorp RS, Sabino-Santos G Jr, Prist PR, Melo GL, Priante CdF, et al. (2019) Hantavirus host assemblages and human disease in the Atlantic Forest. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 13(8): e0007655. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007655

Editor: Colleen B. Jonsson, University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Memphis, UNITED STATES

Received: January 17, 2019; Accepted: July 24, 2019; Published: August 12, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Muylaert 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: The input data is provided in S2 Table. All relevant data are within the manuscript, its Supporting Information files and in the ATLANTIC series files. The data underlying the results presented in the study is available at: https://github.com/LEEClab/Atlantic_series/tree/master/ATLANTIC_SMALL_MAMMALS. Atlantic Forest data is available at: https://github.com/LEEClab/ATLANTIC-limits.

Funding: This work was supported by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo FAPESP to RLM (https://bv.fapesp.br/pt/pesquisador/176171/renata-de-lara-muylaert/) (2015/17739-4, 2017/21816-0), GSSJ (https://bv.fapesp.br/pt/pesquisador/79234/gilberto-sabino-dos-santos-junior/) (2017/21816-0), RSB (https://bv.fapesp.br/pt/pesquisador/76113/ricardo-siqueira-bovendorp/) (2013/25441-0), PRP (2017/11666-0), and MCR (https://bv.fapesp.br/pt/pesquisador/176172/milton-cezar-ribeiro/) (2013/50421-2); Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to DTSH (https://royalsociety.org.nz/what-we-do/funds-and-opportunities/rutherford-discovery-fellowships/rutherford-discovery-fellowship-recipients/david-hayman/) (RDF-MAU1701); Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico CNPQ to MCR (425746/2016-0); Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior CAPES to MCR (312045/2013-1; 312292/2016-3) and RLM (33004137); and New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre (https://www.nzfssrc.org.nz/) to DW (2019). 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: Orthohantavirus; Hantavirus; Rodents; Human; Brazil.


#Urban brown #rats (Rattus norvegicus) as possible #source of #MDR #Enterobacteriaceae and #MRSA, Vienna, #Austria, 2016 and 2017 (Euro Surveill., abstract)

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

Urban brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) as possible source of multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus spp., Vienna, Austria, 2016 and 2017

Amélie Desvars-Larrive1, Werner Ruppitsch2, Sarah Lepuschitz2, Michael P Szostak1, Joachim Spergser1, Andrea T Feßler3, Stefan Schwarz3, Stefan Monecke4,5,6, Ralf Ehricht4,6, Chris Walzer1,7, Igor Loncaric1

Affiliations: 1 University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria; 2 Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, Vienna, Austria; 3 Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany; 4 Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT), Jena, Germany; 5 Technische Universität, Dresden, Germany; 6 InfectoGnostics Research Campus, Jena, Germany; 7 Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, United States

Correspondence: Amélie Desvars-Larrive amelie.desvarsvetmeduni.ac.at

Citation style for this article: Desvars-Larrive Amélie, Ruppitsch Werner, Lepuschitz Sarah, Szostak Michael P, Spergser Joachim, Feßler Andrea T, Schwarz Stefan, Monecke Stefan, Ehricht Ralf, Walzer Chris, Loncaric Igor. Urban brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) as possible source of multidrug-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus spp., Vienna, Austria, 2016 and 2017. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(32):pii=1900149. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.32.1900149

Received: 25 Feb 2019;   Accepted: 03 Jun 2019




Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) are an important wildlife species in cities, where they live in close proximity to humans. However, few studies have investigated their role as reservoir of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.


We intended to determine whether urban rats at two highly frequented sites in Vienna, Austria, carry extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae, fluoroquinolone-resistant Enterobacteriaceae and meticillin-resistant (MR) Staphylococcus spp. (MRS).


We surveyed the presence of antimicrobial resistance in 62 urban brown rats captured in 2016 and 2017 in Vienna, Austria. Intestinal and nasopharyngeal samples were cultured on selective media. We characterised the isolates and their antimicrobial properties using microbiological and genetic methods including disk diffusion, microarray analysis, sequencing, and detection and characterisation of plasmids.


Eight multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli and two extensively drug-resistant New Delhi metallo-β-lactamases-1 (NDM-1)-producing Enterobacter xiangfangensis ST114 (En. cloacae complex) were isolated from nine of 62 rats. Nine Enterobacteriaceae isolates harboured the blaCTX-M gene and one carried a plasmid-encoded ampC gene (blaCMY-2). Forty-four MRS were isolated from 37 rats; they belonged to seven different staphylococcal species: S. fleurettii, S. sciuri, S. aureus, S. pseudintermedius, S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus (all mecA-positive) and mecC-positive S. xylosus.


Our findings suggest that brown rats in cities are a potential source of multidrug-resistant bacteria, including carbapenem-resistant En. xiangfangensis ST114. Considering the increasing worldwide urbanisation, rodent control remains an important priority for health in modern cities.

© This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; MRSA; Enterobacteriaceae; Wildlife; Austria.


#Zoonotic #Pathogens in the #American #Mink in Its Southernmost Distribution (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

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

Zoonotic Pathogens in the American Mink in Its Southernmost Distribution

Francisco Ramírez-Pizarro, Carolina Silva-de la Fuente, Claudio Hernández-Orellana, Juana López, Verónica Madrid, Ítalo Fernández, Nicolás Martín, Daniel González-Acuña, Daniel Sandoval, René Ortega, and Carlos Landaeta-Aqueveque

Published Online: 17 Jul 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2019.2445



The American mink, Neovison vison, is an invasive species in Chile. Its impact on native fauna and public health has not been studied in depth in the country. In this study, we searched for gastrointestinal parasites, including helminths and zoonotic Cryptosporidium sp., the presence of Trichinella sp. in muscle, and the renal carriage of pathogenic Leptospira sp. in minks caught on Navarino Island, “Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena” Region, and Maullín and Ancud, “Los Lagos” Region, Chile. A total of 58, 15, and 21 minks from Navarino Island, Maullín, and Ancud, respectively, were examined for Trichinellasp. (artificial digestion of muscle). A total of 36, 11, and 17 minks from Navarino Island, Maullín, and Ancud, respectively, were examined for pathogenic Leptospira species (molecular detection of LipL32 gen fragment in renal tissue) infection. Finally, 45, 11, and 17 minks from Navarino Island, Maullín, and Ancud, respectively, were analyzed to detect gastrointestinal parasites (by optical inspection of the digestive tract for helminths, and by both Ziehl-Neelsen stain and molecular detection of small subunit-ribosomal DNA for Cryptosporidium species). Trichinella larvae were not observed. Pathogenic Leptospirasp. was detected in 22 samples: 15 from Navarino Island, 3 from Maullín, and 4 from Ancud. Two nematodes, belonging to Ascaridinae (subfamily) and Pterygodermatites (Paucipectines) sp., were found in samples of two minks from Navarino Island. Oocysts and DNA of Cryptosporidium sp. were detected in three fecal samples from Navarino Island. Further studies could determine the zoonotic potential of Cryptosporidium sp., as well as the potential impact of the zoonotic Leptospira sp. on the human population of the Navarino Island, Maullín, and Ancud districts. The enemy release theory could explain the low helminth species richness in the minks. In addition, we did not find evidence of parasite transmission from native fauna.

Keywords: Southern America; Wildlife; Zoonoses.


#Lassa Virus in Pygmy #Mice, #Benin, West Africa, 2016–2017 (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 10—October 2019 / Research Letter

Lassa Virus in Pygmy Mice, Benin, West Africa, 2016–2017

Anges Yadouleton, Achaz Agolinou, Fodé Kourouma, Raoul Saizonou, Meike Pahlmann, Sonia Kossou Bedié, Honoré Bankolé, Beate Becker-Ziaja, Fernand Gbaguidi, Anke Thielebein, N’Faly Magassouba, Sophie Duraffour, Jean-Pierre Baptiste, Stephan Günther, and Elisabeth Fichet-Calvet

Author affiliations: Laboratoire des Fièvres Hémorragiques Virales, Cotonou, Benin (A. Yadouleton, A. Agolinou); Ministry of Health, Cotonou (A. Yadouleton, H. Bankolé, F. Gbaguidi); Laboratoire des Fièvres Hémorragiques Virales, Conakry, Guinea (F. Kourouma, N. Magassouba); World Health Organization, Cotonou (R. Saizonou, S.K. Bedié, J.-P. Baptiste); Bernhard-Nocht Institute of Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany (M. Pahlmann, B. Becker-Ziaja, A. Thielebein, S. Duraffour, S. Günther, E. Fichet-Calvet)



Lassa virus has been identified in 3 pygmy mice, Mus baoulei, in central Benin. The glycoprotein and nucleoprotein sequences cluster with the Togo strain. These mice may be a new reservoir for Lassa virus in Ghana, Togo, and Benin.

Keywords: Lassa fever; Wildlife; Togo; Benin; Ghana.