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Mullins J.C.,University of Florida | Garofolo G.,Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale Dellabruzzo E Del Molise G Caporale | Garofolo G.,Anthrax Reference Institute of Italy | Van Ert M.,University of Florida | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

We modeled the ecological niche of a globally successful Bacillus anthracis sublineage in the United States, Italy and Kazakhstan to better understand the geographic distribution of anthrax and potential associations between regional populations and ecology. Country-specific ecological-niche models were developed and reciprocally transferred to the other countries to determine if pathogen presence could be accurately predicted on novel landscapes. Native models accurately predicted endemic areas within each country, but transferred models failed to predict known occurrences in the outside countries. While the effects of variable selection and limitations of the genetic data should be considered, results suggest differing ecological associations for the B. anthracis populations within each country and may reflect niche specialization within the sublineage. Our findings provide guidance for developing accurate ecological niche models for this pathogen; models should be developed regionally, on the native landscape, and with consideration to population genetics Further genomic analysis will improve our understanding of the genetic-ecological dynamics of B. anthracis across these countries and may lead to more refined predictive models for surveillance and proactive vaccination programs. Further studies should evaluate the impact of variable selection of native and transferred models. © 2013 Mullins et al.


PubMed | Anthrax Reference Institute of Italy
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The new microbiologica | Year: 2010

Anthrax is a disease of humans and animals caused by the encapsulated, spore-forming Bacillus anthracis. In Italy, anthrax is normally a sporadic disease. During the summer 2004, anthrax broke out in the Basilicata, in southern Italy, a region with a low prevalence of anthrax in which vaccination had been suspended since 1998. The disease involved several animals in few weeks and in a large area. Over 41 days, 81 cattle died, as well as 15 sheep, 9 goats, 11 horses and 8 deer. The Multiple-locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeats Analysis (MLVA) showed that all the 53 isolates belonged to the Cluster Ala, genotype 1. The results of the Single Nucleotide Repeats (SNRs) Analysis showed that 48/53 B. anthacis strains belonged to a single clonal lineage, the sub-genotype sgt - eB. Two sporadic mutants, sgt - eB,m1 and sgt - eB,m2, were isolated, only one managing to infect other herds. Factors that could have contributed to the spread of infection, such as the transmission of spores by insect vectors and the favourable weather conditions were evaluated.

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