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Hoffmann B.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | Tappe D.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute | Tappe D.,German Center for Infection Research | Hoper D.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | And 15 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2015

Between 2011 and 2013, three breeders of variegated squirrels (Sciurus variegatoides) had encephalitis with similar clinical signs and died 2 to 4 months after onset of the clinical symptoms. With the use of a metagenomic approach that incorporated next-generation sequencing and real-time reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), the presence of a previously unknown bornavirus was detected in a contact squirrel and in brain samples from the three patients. Phylogenetic analyses showed that this virus, tentatively named variegated squirrel 1 bornavirus (VSBV-1), forms a lineage separate from that of the known bornavirus species. Copyright © 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society.


PubMed | Institute of Epidemiology, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Fachdienst Veterinarwesen und Verbraucherschutz, Institute of Diagnostic Virology and The Saints
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Experimental & applied acarology | Year: 2016

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne virus, which causes a serious illness with case-fatality rates of up to 80% in humans. CCHFV is endemic in many countries of Africa, Asia and Southeastern Europe. Next to the countries with endemic areas, the distribution of CCHFV is unknown in Southeastern Europe. As the antibody prevalence in animals is a good indicator for the presence or absence of the virus in a region, seroepidemiological studies can be used for the definition of risk areas for CCHFV. The aim of the present study was to reveal which ruminant species is best suited as indicator for the detection of a CCHFV circulation in an area. Therefore, the prevalence rates in sheep, goats and cattle in different regions of Albania and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were investigated. As there are no commercial tests available for the detection of CCHFV-specific antibodies in animals, two commercial tests for testing human sera were adapted for the investigation of sera from sheep and goats, and new in-house ELISAs were developed. The investigation of serum samples with these highly sensitive and specific assays (94-100%) resulted in an overall prevalence rate of 23% for Albania and of 49% for Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Significant lower seroprevalence rates for CCHFV were found in cattle than in small ruminants in given areas. These results indicate that small ruminants are more suitable indicator animals for CCHFV infections and should therefore be tested preferentially, when risk areas are to be identified.


PubMed | Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Institute of Molecular Virology and Cell Biology, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Institute of Immunology and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: Antiviral research | Year: 2016

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) circulates in many countries of Asia, Africa, and Europe. CCHFV can cause a severe hemorrhagic fever in humans with case-fatality rates of up to 80%. CCHF is considered to be one of the major emerging diseases spreading to and within Europe. Ticks of the genus Hyalomma function as vector as well as natural reservoir of CCHFV. Ticks feed on various domestic animals (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats) and on wildlife (e.g. hares, hedgehogs). Those animal species play an important role in the life cycle of the ticks as well as in amplification of CCHFV. Here we present a competitive ELISA (cELISA) for the species-independent detection of CCHFV-specific antibodies. For this purpose nucleocapsid (N) protein specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were generated against an Escherichia coli (E.coli) expressed CCHFV N-protein. Thirty-three mAbs reacted with homologous and heterologous recombinant CCHFV antigens in ELISA and Western blot test and 20 of those 33mAbsreacted additionally in an immunofluorescence assay with eukaryotic cells expressing the N-protein. Ten mAbs were further characterized in a prototype of the cELISA and nine of them competed with positive control sera of bovine origin. The cELISA was established by using the mAb with the strongest competition. For the validation, 833 sera from 12 animal species and from humans were used. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the cELISA was determined to be 95% and 99%, respectively, and 2% of the sera gave inconclusive results. This cELISA offers the possibility for future large-scale screening approaches in various animal species to evaluate their susceptibility to CCHFV infection and to identify and monitor the occurrence of CCHFV.


Schmidt K.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Dressel K.M.,Sine Institute gGmbH | Niedrig M.,Robert Koch Institute | Mertens M.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | And 2 more authors.
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2013

Summary: Public Health is defined as an interdisciplinary multilevel approach that deals with questions of preventing diseases at the population level. In this context, this paper focuses on vector-borne diseases as an important threat with an increasing impact on human and animal health. Emphasis is laid on an integrated health approach ('One-Health' initiative) as it recognizes the interrelated nature of both human and animal health. The importance of vector-borne diseases to new and emerging diseases in Europe was demonstrated, for example, by the recent outbreak of West Nile virus infections in Greece, Northern Italy and Hungary; the spread of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus across Turkey, south-western countries of the former USSR and the Balkans; the dramatic increase in hantavirus infections in Germany in 2012; and the dengue virus outbreak in Portugal in the same year. This paper provides a systematic approach for the analysis, assessment and governance of emerging health risks attributed to vector-borne diseases by using a holistic approach developed by the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), called the 'IRGC Risk Governance Framework'. It can be used by decision-makers and general Public Health authorities in order to evaluate the situation regarding any specific pathogen or Public Health risk and to decide if additional measures should be implemented. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.


PubMed | Institute of Epidemiology, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases and Mansoura University
Type: | Journal: Transboundary and emerging diseases | Year: 2017

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) causes consistently severe outbreaks with high public health impacts and economic losses in livestock in many African countries and has also been introduced to Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Egypt with its four large outbreaks in the last 40years represents the northernmost endemic area of RVFV. The purpose of this study was to provide an insight into the current anti-RVFV antibody status in immunized as well as non-immunized dairy cattle from the Nile Delta of Egypt. During 2013-2015, a total of 4,167 dairy cattle from four governorates including Dakahlia, Damietta, Gharbia and Port Said were investigated. All cattle were born after 2007 and therewith after the last reported Egyptian RVFV outbreak in 2003. The samples derived from vaccinated animals from 26 different dairy farms as well as non-immunized cattle from 27 different smallholding flocks. All samples were examined following a three-part analysis including a commercially available competition ELISA, an in-house immunofluorescence assay and a virus neutralization test. Additionally, a subset of samples was analysed for acute infections using IgM ELISA and real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. The results indicated that the RVFV is still circulating in Egypt as about 10% of the non-immunized animals exhibited RVFV-specific antibodies. Surprisingly, the antibody prevalence in immunized animals was not significantly higher than that in non-vaccinated animals which points out the need for further evaluation of the vaccination programme. Due to the substantial role of livestock in the amplification and transmission of RVFV, further recurrent monitoring of the antibody prevalence in susceptible species is highly warranted.


Wernike K.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | Breithaupt A.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute FLI | Keller M.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Hoffmann B.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Schmallenberg virus (SBV), a novel orthobunyavirus, was discovered in Europe in late 2011. It causes mild and transient disease in adult ruminants, but fetal infection can lead to abortion or severe malformations. There is considerable demand for SBV research, but in vivo studies in large animals are complicated by their long gestation periods and the cost of high containment housing. The goal of this study was to investigate whether type I interferon receptor knock-out (IFNAR-/-) mice are a suitable small animal model for SBV. Twenty IFNAR-/- mice were inoculated with SBV, four were kept as controls. After inoculation, all were observed and weighed daily; two mice per day were sacrificed and blood, brain, lungs, liver, spleen, and intestine were harvested. All but one inoculated mouse lost weight, and two mice died spontaneously at the end of the first week, while another two had to be euthanized. Real-time RT-PCR detected large amounts of SBV RNA in all dead or sick mice; the controls were healthy and PCR-negative. IFNAR-/- mice are susceptible to SBV infection and can develop fatal disease, making them a handy and versatile tool for SBV vaccine research. © 2012 Wernike et al.


Priemer G.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Balkema-Buschmann A.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Hills B.,Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Secretariat | Groschup M.H.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Besides the classical form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) that has been known for almost three decades, two atypical forms designated H-type and L-type BSE have recently been described. While the main diagnostic feature of these forms is the altered biochemical profile of the accumulated PrPSc, it was also observed in the initial analysis that L-type BSE displays a distribution pattern of the pathological prion protein (PrPSc), which clearly differs from that observed in classical BSE (C-type). Most importantly, the obex region in the brainstem is not the region with the highest PrPSc concentrations, but PrPSc is spread more evenly throughout the entire brain. A similar distribution pattern has been revealed for H-type BSE by rapid test analysis. Based on these findings, we performed a more detailed Western blot study of the anatomical PrPSc distribution pattern and the biochemical characteristics (molecular mass, glycoprofile as well as PK sensitivity) in ten different anatomical locations of the brain from cattle experimentally challenged with H- or L-type BSE, as compared to cattle challenged with C-type BSE. Results of this study revealed distinct differences in the PrPSc deposition patterns between all three BSE forms, while the biochemical characteristics remained stable for each BSE type among all analysed brain areas. © 2013 Priemer et al.


Henning A.-K.,Institute of Molecular Biology | Henning A.-K.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Groschup M.H.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Mettenleiter T.C.,Institute of Molecular Biology | Karger A.,Institute of Molecular Biology
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2014

In this study, the bovine plasma proteome was analysed using a three step protocol: (1) plasma was treated with a combinatorial peptide ligand library (CPLL) to assimilate the differences in concentrations of different proteins in raw plasma; (2) CPLL-treated material was fractionated by three standard electrophoretic separation techniques, and (3) samples were analysed by nano-liquid chromatography (nLC) matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation (MALDI) time-of-flight tandem (TOF/TOF) mass spectrometry. The efficiencies of three fractionation protocols for plasma proteome analysis were compared.After size fractionation by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), resolution of proteins was better and yields of identified proteins were higher than after charge-based fractionation by preparative gel-free isoelectric focussing. For proteins with isoelectric points >6 and molecular weights ≥63. kDa, the best results were obtained with a 'shotgun' approach, in which the CPLL-treated plasma was digested and the peptides, rather than the proteins, were fractionated by gel-free isoelectric focussing. However, the three fractionation techniques were largely complementary, since only about one-third of the proteome was identified by each approach. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Klaus C.,Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses | Ziegler U.,Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases | Kalthoff D.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | Hoffmann B.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology | Beer M.,Institute of Diagnostic Virology
BMC Veterinary Research | Year: 2014

Background: By using animal sera as sentinels, natural TBEV foci could be identified and further analyses including investigations of ticks could be initiated. However, antibody response against TBEV-related flaviviruses might adversely affect the readout of such a monitoring. Therefore, the cross-reactivity of the applied TBEV serology test systems - enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and virus neutralization test (VNT) - as well as the longevity of TBEV antibody titres in sheep and goats were investigated in this study.Results: Cross-reactivity of the TBEV antibody test systems with defined antibody-positive samples against selected members of the Flaviviridae family (e.g. Louping ill virus, West Nile virus) was observed for Louping-ill-positive sera only. In contrast, the commercial West Nile virus (WNV) competitive ELISA showed a high level of cross-reactivity with TBEV-specific positive sera.To assess the longevity of TBEV antibody titres, sera from two sheep and two goats, which had been immunized four times with a commercially available TBEV vaccine, were tested routinely over 28 months. In three of the four animals, TBEV-specific antibody titres could be detected over the whole test period.In addition, sera from the years 2010 and 2011 were collected in flocks in different villages of Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia to allow re-examination two to four years after the initial analysis. Interestingly, in most cases the results of the former investigations were confirmed, which may be caused by steadily existing natural TBEV foci.Conclusion: Cross-reactivity must be taken into consideration, particularly for TBEV serology in regions with a prevalence of Louping ill virus and for serological testing of WNV by cross-reactive ELISAs. Furthermore, over-interpretation of single TBEV-positive serological results should be avoided, especially in areas without a TBEV history. © 2014 Klaus et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases and Institute of Diagnostic Virology
Type: | Journal: Vaccine | Year: 2016

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an emerging zoonosis of major public health concern in Africa and Arabia. Previous outbreaks attributed camelids a significant role in the epidemiology of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), making them an important target species for vaccination. Using three alpacas as model-organisms for dromedary camels, the safety, immunogenicity and pathogenicity of the MP-12 vaccine were evaluated in this study. To compare both acute and subacute effects, animals were euthanized at 3 and 31days post infection (dpi). Clinical monitoring, analysis of liver enzymes and hematological parameters demonstrated the tolerability of the vaccine, as no significant adverse effects were observed. Comprehensive analysis of serological parameters illustrated the immunogenicity of the vaccine, eliciting high neutralizing antibody titers and antibodies targeting different viral antigens. RVFV was detected in serum and liver of the alpaca euthanized 3dpi, whereas no virus was detectable at 31dpi. Viral replication was confirmed by detection of various RVFV-antigens in hepatocytes by immunohistochemistry and the presence of mild multifocal necrotizing hepatitis. In conclusion, results indicate that MP-12 is a promising vaccine candidate but still has a residual pathogenicity, which requires further investigation.

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