Browsing by Subject "Zoonosis"

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  • Loikkanen, Emil; Oristo, Satu; Hämäläinen, Natalia; Jokelainen, Pikka; Kantala, Tuija; Sukura, Antti; Maunula, Leena (2020)
    The main animal reservoirs of zoonotic hepatitis E virus (HEV) are domestic pigs and wild boars, but HEV also infects cervids. In this study, we estimated the prevalence of HEV in Finnish cervid species that are commonly hunted for human consumption. We investigated sera from 342 European moose (Alces alces), 70 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and 12 European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). The samples had been collected from legally hunted animals from different districts of Finland during 2008–2009. We analysed the samples for total anti-HEV antibodies using a double-sandwich ELISA assay. Seropositive sera were analysed with RT-qPCR for HEV RNA. HEV seroprevalence was 9.1% (31/342) in moose and 1.4% (1/70) in white-tailed deer. None of the European roe deer were HEV seropositive (0/12). No HEV RNA was detected from samples of seropositive animals. HEV seropositive moose were detected in all districts. Statistically, HEV seroprevalence in moose was significantly higher (p 
  • Pietikainen, Risto; Nordling, Stig; Jokiranta, Sakari; Saari, Seppo; Heikkinen, Petra; Gardiner, Chris; Kerttula, Anne-Marie; Kantanen, Tiina; Nikanorova, Anna; Laaksonen, Sauli; Lavikainen, Antti; Oksanen, Antti (2017)
    Background: The spread of vector-borne diseases to new regions has become a global threat due to climate change, increasing traffic, and movement of people and animals. Dirofilaria repens, the canine subcutaneous filarioid nematode, has expanded its distribution range northward during the last decades. The northernmost European locations, where the parasite life-cycle has been confirmed, are Estonia and the Novgorod Region in Russia. Results: Herein, we describe an autochthonous D. repens infection in a Finnish woman. We also present two cases of D. repens infection in imported dogs indicating the life-cycle in the Russian Vyborg and St Petersburg areas, close to the Finnish border. Conclusions: The most obvious limiting factor of the northern distribution of D. repens is the summer temperature, due to the temperature-dependent development of larvae in vectors. With continuing climate change, further spread of D. repens in Fennoscandia can be expected.
  • Pietikäinen, Risto; Nordling, Stig; Jokiranta, Sakari; Saari, Seppo; Heikkinen, Petra; Gardiner, Chris; Kerttula, Anne-Marie; Kantanen, Tiina; Nikanorova, Anna; Laaksonen, Sauli; Lavikainen, Antti; Oksanen, Antti (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract Background The spread of vector-borne diseases to new regions has become a global threat due to climate change, increasing traffic, and movement of people and animals. Dirofilaria repens, the canine subcutaneous filarioid nematode, has expanded its distribution range northward during the last decades. The northernmost European locations, where the parasite life-cycle has been confirmed, are Estonia and the Novgorod Region in Russia. Results Herein, we describe an autochthonous D. repens infection in a Finnish woman. We also present two cases of D. repens infection in imported dogs indicating the life-cycle in the Russian Vyborg and St Petersburg areas, close to the Finnish border. Conclusions The most obvious limiting factor of the northern distribution of D. repens is the summer temperature, due to the temperature-dependent development of larvae in vectors. With continuing climate change, further spread of D. repens in Fennoscandia can be expected.
  • Fevola, Cristina; Forbes, Kristian M.; Makela, Satu; Putkuri, Niina; Hauffe, Heidi C.; Kallio-Kokko, Hannimari; Mustonen, Jukka; Jaaskelainen, Anne J.; Vaheri, Antti (2016)
    Background: The emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases are increasing in Europe. Prominent rodent-borne zoonotic viruses include Puumala hantavirus (PUUV; the causative agent of nephropathia epidemica, NE), lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), and orthopoxviruses (OPV). In addition, Ljungan virus (LV) is considered a potentially zoonotic virus. Objective: The aim of this study was to compare clinical picture between acute PUUV patients with and without additional rodent-borne viral infections, to investigate if concurrent infections influence disease severity. Study design: We evaluated seroprevalence of and seroconversions to LCMV, LV and OPV in 116 patients hospitalized for NE. Clinical and laboratory variables were closely monitored during hospital care. Results: A total of five LCMV, 15 LV, and one OPV seroconversions occurred. NE patients with LCMV seroconversions were younger, and had lower plasma creatinine concentrations and platelet counts than patients without LCMV seroconversions. No differences occurred in clinical or laboratory findings between patients with and without seroconversions to LV and OPV. We report, for the first time, LCMV seroprevalence in Finland, with 8.5% of NE patients seropositive for this virus. Seroprevalences for LV and OPV were 47.8% and 32.4%, respectively. Conclusion: Cases with LCMV seroconversions were statistically younger, had milder acute kidney injury and more severe thrombocytopenia than patients without LCMV. However, the low number of seroconversion cases precludes firm conclusions. Concurrent LV or OPV infections do not appear to influence clinical picture for NE patients. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • VIZIONS Consortium; Nguyen Thi Kha Tu; Ngo Tri Tue; Vapalahti, Olli; Virtala, Anna-Maija K.; Le Van Tan; Rabaa, Maia A.; Carrique-Mas, Juan; Thwaites, Guy E.; Baker, Stephen (2019)
    Despite the global zoonotic disease burden, the underlying exposures that drive zoonotic disease emergence are not understood. Here, we aimed to assess exposures to potential sources of zoonotic disease and investigate the demographics, attitudes, and behavior of individuals with sustained occupational animal contact in Vietnam. We recruited 581 animal workers (animal-raising farmers, slaughterers, animal health workers, and rat traders) and their families in southern and central Vietnam into a cohort. Cohort members were followed for 3 years and interviewed annually regarding (1) demography and attitudes regarding zoonotic disease, (2) medical history, (3) specific exposures to potential zoonotic infection sources, and (4) socioeconomic status. Interview information over the 3 years was combined and analyzed as cross-sectional data. Of the 297 cohort members interviewed, the majority (79.8%; 237/297) reported raising livestock; almost all (99.6%; 236/237) reported being routinely exposed to domestic animals, and more than a quarter (28.7%; 68/237) were exposed to exotic animals. Overall, 70% (208/297) reported slaughtering exotic animals; almost all (99.5%; 207/208) reported consuming such animals. The consumption of raw blood and meat was common (24.6%; 73/297 and 37%; 110/297, respectively). Over half (58.6%; 174/297) reported recent occupational animal-induced injuries that caused bleeding; the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was limited. Our work demonstrates that individuals working with animals in Vietnam are exposed to a wide range of species, and there are limited procedures for reducing potential zoonotic disease exposures. We advocate better education, improved animal security, and enforced legislation of PPE for those with occupational animal exposure in Vietnam.
  • Tonteri, Elina; Jokelainen, Pikka; Matala, Juho; Pusenius, Jyrki; Vapalahti, Olli (2016)
    Background: The incidence of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in humans has increased in Finland, and the disease has emerged in new foci. These foci have been investigated to determine the circulating virus subtype, the tick host species and the ecological parameters, but countrywide epidemiological information on the distribution of TBEV has been limited. Methods: In this study, we screened sera from hunter-harvested wild cervids for the presence of antibodies against tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) with a hemagglutination inhibition test. The positive results were confirmed by a neutralisation assay. Results: Nine (0.74 %) of 1213 moose, one (0.74 %) of 135 white-tailed deer, and none of the 17 roe deer were found seropositive for TBEV. A close geographical congruence between seropositive cervids and recently reported human TBE cases was observed: nine of the ten seropositive animals were from known endemic areas. Conclusions: Our results confirm the local circulation of TBEV in several known endemic areas. One seropositive moose had been shot in an area where human TBE cases have not been reported, suggesting a possible new focus. Moose appear to be a useful sentinel animal for the presence of TBEV in the taiga region.
  • Olsen, A.; Berg, R.; Tagel, M.; Must, K.; Deksne, G.; Enemark, H.L.; Alban, L.; Johansen, M.V.; Nielsen, H.V.; Sandberg, M.; Lundén, A.; Stensvold, C.R.; Pires, S.M.; Jokelainen, P. (2019)
    Background: Toxoplasma gondii is an important foodborne zoonotic parasite. Meat of infected animals is presumed to constitute a major source of human infection and may be a driver of geographical variation in the prevalence of anti-T. gondii antibodies in humans, which is substantial in the Nordic-Baltic region in northern Europe. However, data on seroprevalence of T. gondii in different animal species used for human consumption are scattered. Methods: We conducted a systematic review of seroprevalence studies and meta-analysis to estimate the seroprevalence of T. gondii in five animal species that are raised or hunted for human consumption in the Nordic-Baltic region: domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus), sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), wild boars (Sus scrofa), and moose (Alces alces). We searched for studies that were conducted between January 1990 and June 2018, and reported in articles, theses, conference abstracts and proceedings, and manuscripts. Subgroup analyses were performed to identify variables influencing the seroprevalence. Findings: From a total of 271 studies identified in the systematic review, 32 were included in the meta-analysis. These comprised of 13 studies on domestic pigs, six on sheep, three on cattle, six on wild boars, and four on moose. The estimated pooled seroprevalence of T. gondii was 6% in domestic pigs (CI 95% : 3–10%), 23% in sheep (CI 95% : 12–36%), 7% in cattle (CI 95% : 1–21%), 33% in wild boars (CI 95% : 26–41%), and 16% in moose (CI 95% : 10–23%). High heterogeneity was observed in the seroprevalence data within each species. In all host species except wild boars, the pooled seroprevalence estimates were significantly higher in animals >1 year of age than in younger animals. Not all studies provided information on animal age, sensitivity and specificity of the serological method employed, and the cut-off values used for defining an animal seropositive. Conclusions: A substantial proportion of animals raised or hunted for human consumption in the region had tested positive for T. gondii. This indicates widespread exposure to T. gondii among animals raised or hunted for human consumption in the region. Large variations were observed in the seroprevalence estimates between the studies in the region; however, studies were too few to identify spatial patterns at country-level. © 2019
  • Jokelainen, Pikka; Velström, Kaisa; Lassen, Brian (2015)
    Background: Although the prevalence of human Toxoplasma gondii infections is high in Estonia, no information is available on the prevalence of infections in the local animal populations. Wild boars are a good indicator species for estimating the prevalence and spread of T. gondii and were thus investigated in this nationwide cross-sectional study. Volunteer hunters sampled cardiac or skeletal muscle of 471 wild boars legally hunted for human consumption in Estonia during the hunting season of 2012-2013. Serosanguineous meat juice samples were obtained from thawed tissue samples, diluted 1: 40, and screened for specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies with a commercial direct agglutination test. Results: Almost one-quarter (113; 24%) of the wild boars examined were seropositive for T. gondii. The seroprevalence did not differ significantly between age groups or sexes. The seroprevalence was lowest in Viljandimaa, which is located in the southern part of Estonia. In other counties, the infection was evenly prevalent. Conclusions: In Estonia, wild boars are commonly exposed to T. gondii, which is endemic and widespread. The consumption of raw or undercooked meat of Estonian wild boars may pose an infection risk to humans and other hosts.
  • Santoro, Azzurra; Tagel, Maarja; Must, Kart; Laine, Miia; Lassen, Brian; Jokelainen, Pikka (2017)
    Background: Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread occurring parasite infecting warm-blooded animals, including pigs and humans. The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of anti-T. gondii antibodies and to evaluate risk factors for T. gondii seropositivity in breeding pigs raised in Estonia. Sera from 382 pigs were tested with a commercial direct agglutination test, using a cut-off titer of 40 for seropositivity, for the presence of anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G antibodies. Results: Twenty-two (5.8%) of the 382 pigs tested seropositive for T. gondii, and 6 of the 14 herds had at least one seropositive pig. The proportion of seropositive pigs within the herds ranged between 0 and 43%. Gender appeared as a significant factor, with sows having 5.6 times higher odds to be seropositive to T. gondii than boars. Seroprevalence did not increase with age. Conclusions: Anti-T. gondii antibodies were present in a substantial proportion of breeding pig herds in Estonia. On the other hand, the presence of herds without seropositive pigs illustrates that porcine T. gondii infections can be avoided even in a country where the parasite is endemic and common in several other host species.
  • Santoro, Azzurra; Tagel, Maarja; Must, Kärt; Laine, Miia; Lassen, Brian; Jokelainen, Pikka (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract Background Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread occurring parasite infecting warm-blooded animals, including pigs and humans. The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of anti-T. gondii antibodies and to evaluate risk factors for T. gondii seropositivity in breeding pigs raised in Estonia. Sera from 382 pigs were tested with a commercial direct agglutination test, using a cut-off titer of 40 for seropositivity, for the presence of anti-T. gondii immunoglobulin G antibodies. Results Twenty-two (5.8%) of the 382 pigs tested seropositive for T. gondii, and 6 of the 14 herds had at least one seropositive pig. The proportion of seropositive pigs within the herds ranged between 0 and 43%. Gender appeared as a significant factor, with sows having 5.6 times higher odds to be seropositive to T. gondii than boars. Seroprevalence did not increase with age. Conclusions Anti-T. gondii antibodies were present in a substantial proportion of breeding pig herds in Estonia. On the other hand, the presence of herds without seropositive pigs illustrates that porcine T. gondii infections can be avoided even in a country where the parasite is endemic and common in several other host species.
  • Laforet, Celine Kaae; Deksne, Gunita; Petersen, Heidi Huus; Jokelainen, Pikka; Johansen, Maria Vang; Lassen, Brian (2019)
    Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite of worldwide importance. In this study, we estimated T. gondii seroprevalence in extensively farmed wild boars in Denmark, where little is known about T. gondii in animal hosts. Our study focused on wild boars because they are considered good indicator species for the presence of T. gondii, and wild boar meat is used for human consumption. Serum samples from 101 wild boars collected in 2016-2018 from five different locations from the continental part of Denmark, Jutland, were screened for anti-T. gondii antibodies. The samples were analysed using a commercial indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Samples from 28 (27.7%) of the 101 wild boars tested positive with the ELISA. The odds for a wild boar to test seropositive were higher if it was sampled during the hunting season 2017-2018 than during 2016-2017 and if it was reported to be at least 1year old than if it was younger (logistic regression model with the two variables: odds ratios 17.5 and 3.9, respectively). A substantial proportion of the investigated extensively farmed wild boars had been exposed to T. gondii. Moreover, the parasite appeared widespread, at least in the continental part of Denmark, Jutland, as seropositive wild boars were found from all five sampled locations. Assuming seropositivity indicates hosting viable parasites, consumption of undercooked wild boar meat from Denmark is a potential source of T. gondii infections to other hosts, including humans.
  • Laforet, Celine K; Deksne, Gunita; Petersen, Heidi H; Jokelainen, Pikka; Johansen, Maria V; Lassen, Brian (BioMed Central, 2019)
    Abstract Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite of worldwide importance. In this study, we estimated T. gondii seroprevalence in extensively farmed wild boars in Denmark, where little is known about T. gondii in animal hosts. Our study focused on wild boars because they are considered good indicator species for the presence of T. gondii, and wild boar meat is used for human consumption. Serum samples from 101 wild boars collected in 2016–2018 from five different locations from the continental part of Denmark, Jutland, were screened for anti-T. gondii antibodies. The samples were analysed using a commercial indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Samples from 28 (27.7%) of the 101 wild boars tested positive with the ELISA. The odds for a wild boar to test seropositive were higher if it was sampled during the hunting season 2017–2018 than during 2016–2017 and if it was reported to be at least 1 year old than if it was younger (logistic regression model with the two variables: odds ratios 17.5 and 3.9, respectively). A substantial proportion of the investigated extensively farmed wild boars had been exposed to T. gondii. Moreover, the parasite appeared widespread, at least in the continental part of Denmark, Jutland, as seropositive wild boars were found from all five sampled locations. Assuming seropositivity indicates hosting viable parasites, consumption of undercooked wild boar meat from Denmark is a potential source of T. gondii infections to other hosts, including humans.
  • Kärssin, Age; Häkkinen, Liidia; Niin, Enel; Peik, Katrin; Vilem, Annika; Jokelainen, Pikka; Lassen, Brian (2017)
    Background: Raccoon dogs and red foxes are well-adapted hosts for Trichinella spp. The aims of this study were to estimate Trichinella infection prevalence and biomass and to investigate which Trichinella species circulated in these indicator hosts in Estonia. Methods: From material collected for evaluating the effectiveness of oral vaccination program for rabies eradication in wildlife, samples from 113 raccoon dogs and 87 red foxes were included in this study. From each animal, 20 g of masseter muscle tissue was tested for the presence of Trichinella larvae using an artificial digestion method. The Trichinella larvae were identified to species level by multiplex polymerase chain reaction method. Results: The majority of tested animals were infected with Trichinella spp. The parasite species identified were T. nativa and T. britovi. The apparent infection prevalence was 57.5% in raccoon dogs and 69.0% in red foxes, which were higher than previous estimates. In addition, the larval burden had also increased in both hosts. We estimated that in 2011-2012, the Trichinella spp. biomass was more than 15 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost two times higher in red foxes than in 1992-2000 (based on mean larval burden), and almost 20 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost five times higher in red foxes than in 2000-2002 (based on median larval burden). Conclusions: Raccoon dogs and red foxes are relevant reservoirs for Trichinella spp. in Estonia. The biomass of Trichinella circulating in sylvatic cycles was substantial and had increased: there is substantial infection pressure in the sylvatic cycle.
  • Kärssin, Age; Häkkinen, Liidia; Niin, Enel; Peik, Katrin; Vilem, Annika; Jokelainen, Pikka; Lassen, Brian (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract Background Raccoon dogs and red foxes are well-adapted hosts for Trichinella spp. The aims of this study were to estimate Trichinella infection prevalence and biomass and to investigate which Trichinella species circulated in these indicator hosts in Estonia. Methods From material collected for evaluating the effectiveness of oral vaccination program for rabies eradication in wildlife, samples from 113 raccoon dogs and 87 red foxes were included in this study. From each animal, 20 g of masseter muscle tissue was tested for the presence of Trichinella larvae using an artificial digestion method. The Trichinella larvae were identified to species level by multiplex polymerase chain reaction method. Results The majority of tested animals were infected with Trichinella spp. The parasite species identified were T. nativa and T. britovi. The apparent infection prevalence was 57.5% in raccoon dogs and 69.0% in red foxes, which were higher than previous estimates. In addition, the larval burden had also increased in both hosts. We estimated that in 2011–2012, the Trichinella spp. biomass was more than 15 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost two times higher in red foxes than in 1992–2000 (based on mean larval burden), and almost 20 times higher in raccoon dogs and almost five times higher in red foxes than in 2000–2002 (based on median larval burden). Conclusions Raccoon dogs and red foxes are relevant reservoirs for Trichinella spp. in Estonia. The biomass of Trichinella circulating in sylvatic cycles was substantial and had increased: there is substantial infection pressure in the sylvatic cycle.