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Muellner P.,Epi interactive | Stark K.D.C.,Royal Veterinary College | Stark K.D.C.,SAFOSO AG | Dufour S.,University of Montreal | And 2 more authors.
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2016

Advances in the availability and affordability of molecular and genomic data are transforming human health care. Surveillance aimed at supporting and improving food safety and animal health is likely to undergo a similar transformation. We propose a definition of ‘molecular surveillance’ in this context and argue that molecular data are an adjunct to rather than a substitute for sound epidemiological study and surveillance design. Specific considerations with regard to sample collection are raised, as is the importance of the relation between the molecular clock speed of genetic markers and the spatiotemporal scale of the surveillance activity, which can be control- or strategy-focused. Development of standards for study design and assessment of molecular surveillance system attributes is needed, together with development of an interdisciplinary skills base covering both molecular and epidemiological principles. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH Source

Fereidouni S.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute | Fereidouni S.,A+ Network | Munoz O.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie | Von Dobschuetz S.,Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO | And 3 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2016

Interspecies transmission may play a key role in the evolution and ecology of influenza A viruses. The importance of marine mammals as hosts or carriers of potential zoonotic pathogens such as highly pathogenic H5 and H7 influenza viruses is not well understood. The fact that influenza viruses are some of the few zoonotic pathogens known to have caused infection in marine mammals, evidence for direct transmission of influenza A virus H7N7 subtype from seals to man, transmission of pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses to seals and also limited evidence for long-term persistence of influenza B viruses in seal populations without significant genetic change, makes monitoring of influenza viruses in marine mammal populations worth being performed. In addition, such monitoring studies could be a great tool to better understand the ecology of influenza viruses in nature. © 2014 International Association for Ecology and Health. Source

Munoz O.,viale dellUniversita 10 | De Nardi M.,viale dellUniversita 10 | De Nardi M.,SAFOSO AG | Van Der Meulen K.,Ghent University | And 22 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2015

In December 2011, the European Food Safety Authority awarded a Grant for the implementation of the FLURISK project. The main objective of FLURISK was the development of an epidemiological and virological evidence-based influenza risk assessment framework (IRAF) to assess influenza A virus strains circulating in the animal population according to their potential to cross the species barrier and cause infections in humans. With the purpose of gathering virological data to include in the IRAF, a literature review was conducted and key findings are presented here. Several adaptive traits have been identified in influenza viruses infecting domestic animals and a significance of these adaptations for the emergence of zoonotic influenza, such as shift in receptor preference and mutations in the replication proteins, has been hypothesized. Nonetheless, and despite several decades of research, a comprehensive understanding of the conditions that facilitate interspecies transmission is still lacking. This has been hampered by the intrinsic difficulties of the subject and the complexity of correlating environmental, viral and host factors. Finding the most suitable and feasible way of investigating these factors in laboratory settings represents another challenge. The majority of the studies identified through this review focus on only a subset of species, subtypes and genes, such as influenza in avian species and avian influenza viruses adapting to humans, especially in the context of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. Further research applying a holistic approach and investigating the broader influenza genetic spectrum is urgently needed in the field of genetic adaptation of influenza A viruses. © 2015 International Association for Ecology and Health Source

Sjolund M.,National Veterinary Institute | Sjolund M.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Postma M.,Ghent University | Collineau L.,SAFOSO AG | And 14 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2016

Data on sales of antimicrobials using a standardised methodology have shown that there are vast differences between countries in amounts of antimicrobials sold for food-producing animals, but these data do not provide insight on how sales are distributed by species and age groups. The aim of this study was to compare herd level antimicrobial usage for pigs by age category, antimicrobial class and administration route for farrow-to-finish herds in four EU countries. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 227 farrow-to-finish pig herds with at least 100 sows and 500 finishing pigs in Belgium (n = 47), France (n = 60), Germany (n = 60) and Sweden (n = 60). Detailed information about the antimicrobial consumption for breeding and growing pigs was collected. Antimicrobial usage was quantified as active substance expressed as mg and then converted to treatment incidence (TI) based on Defined Daily Doses Animal per 1000 pig-days at risk. TIs varied between and within countries, herds and age groups. The Swedish herds had the lowest and the German herds the highest overall use. Most treatments were applied to weaned piglets except in the Swedish herds where treatments of suckling piglets were most frequent. Antimicrobials were most often applied through feed or water except in the Swedish herds where parenteral treatments were most frequent. Aminopenicillins was the antimicrobial class most commonly used. Use of third and fourth generation cephalosporins constituted 11% of use for the Belgian herds, which was higher compared to the other countries. There was a significant (p < 0.01) association between the within-herd antimicrobial use across different age categories. This study has shown that there were large differences in antimicrobial use for pigs between countries, herds and age groups in farrow-to-finish herds of similar size when actual consumption data were compared. Collecting detailed usage data can be used to efficiently target high users in order to reduce antimicrobial consumption. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. Source

Postma M.,Ghent University | Backhans A.,National Veterinary Institute | Backhans A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Collineau L.,SAFOSO AG | And 9 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2015

Disease prevention through biosecurity measures is believed to be an important factor for improvement of the overall health status in animal production. This study aimed at assessing the levels of implementation of biosecurity measures in pig production in four European Union (EU) countries and to describe possible associations between the biosecurity level and farm and production characteristics. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 232 farrow-to-finish pig herds in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden between December 2012 and December 2013. The biosecurity status in each of these herds was described and quantified by using the risk-based scoring tool Biocheck.UGentTM (www.biocheck.ugent.be). Production and management characteristics, obtained from the herd management system and by interviewing the farmer, were analysed for their association with the biosecurity level. A causal path was designed to study statistical associations. The results showed that there was substantial room for improvement in the biosecurity status on many pig farms. Significant differences (P<0.01) both in internal and external biosecurity levels were observed between countries. The external biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent disease introduction into the herd, was highest in Germany and lowest in France. The internal biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent within herd disease transmission, was highest in Sweden and lowest, with a large variation, in Belgium. External biosecurity scores were in general higher compared to internal biosecurity scores. The number of pathogens vaccinated against was significantly associated with internal biosecurity status, suggesting an overall more preventive approach towards the risk of disease transmission. A higher external biosecurity was associated with more weaned piglets per sow per year. Furthermore also the weaning age and the mortality till weaning were highly associated with the number of weaned piglets per sow per year. The negative association observed between the biosecurity level and the estimated frequency of treatment against certain clinical signs of disease as a proxy for disease incidence is consistent with the hypothesis that a higher biosecurity level results in healthier animals. These findings promote an improved biosecurity status at pig farms and are of relevance in the discussion on alternative ways to keep animals healthy with a reduced necessity of antimicrobials; Prevention is better than cure! © The Animal Consortium 2015. Source

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