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Depuy W.,University of Georgia | Depuy W.,University of Michigan | Benka V.,University of Michigan | Massey A.,University of Michigan | And 11 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2014

Two hundred fourteen serosamples were collected from four livestock species across five ranches in Laikipia County, Kenya. Serological analysis for Coxiella burnetii (the causative agent for Q fever) showed a distinct seroprevalence gradient: the lowest in cattle, higher in sheep and goats, and the highest in camels. Laikipia-wide aerial counts show a recent increase in the camel population. One hundred fifty-five stakeholder interviews revealed concern among veterinary, medical, ranching, and conservation professionals about Q fever. Local pastoralists and persons employed as livestock keepers, in contrast, revealed no knowledge of the disease. This work raises questions about emerging Q fever risk in Laikipia County and offers a framework for further integrative disease research in East African mixed-use systems. © 2014 International Association for Ecology and Health.


Deem S.L.,Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine | Fevre E.M.,University of Liverpool | Fevre E.M.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Kinnaird M.,Mpala Research Center | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a recently identified virus causing severe viral respiratory illness in people. Little is known about the reservoir in the Horn of Africa. In Kenya, where no human MERS cases have been reported, our survey of 335 dromedary camels, representing nine herds in Laikipia County, showed a high seroprevalence (46.9%) to MERS-CoV antibodies. Between herd differences were present (14.3%- 82.9%), but was not related to management type or herd isolation. Further research should focus on identifying similarity between MERS-CoV viral isolates in Kenya and clinical isolates from the Middle East and elsewhere. © 2015 Deem 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.


Jandegian C.M.,Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine | Jandegian C.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Jandegian C.M.,University of Missouri | Deem S.L.,Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine | And 14 more authors.
General and Comparative Endocrinology | Year: 2015

Environmental chemicals can disrupt endocrine signaling and adversely impact sexual differentiation in wildlife. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic chemical commonly found in a variety of habitats. In this study, we used painted turtles (. Chrysemys picta), which have temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), as an animal model for ontogenetic endocrine disruption by BPA. We hypothesized that BPA would override TSD and disrupt sexual development. We incubated farm-raised turtle eggs at the male-producing temperature (26. °C), randomly assigned individuals to treatment groups: control, vehicle control, 17β-estradiol (E2, 20. ng/g-egg) or 0.01, 1.0, 100. μg. BPA/g-egg and harvested tissues at hatch. Typical female gonads were present in 89% of the E2-treated "males", but in none of the control males (. n=. 35). Gonads of BPA-exposed turtles had varying amounts of ovarian-like cortical (OLC) tissue and disorganized testicular tubules in the medulla. Although the percentage of males with OLCs increased with BPA dose (BPA-low. =. 30%, BPA-medium. =. 33%, BPA-high. =. 39%), this difference was not significant (. p=. 0.85). In all three BPA treatments, SOX9 patterns revealed disorganized medullary testicular tubules and β-catenin expression in a thickened cortex. Liver vitellogenin, a female-specific liver protein commonly used as an exposure biomarker, was not induced by any of the treatments. Notably, these results suggest that developmental exposure to BPA disrupts sexual differentiation in painted turtles. Further examination is necessary to determine the underlying mechanisms of sex reversal in reptiles and how these translate to EDC exposure in wild populations. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Manshack L.K.,University of Missouri | Conard C.M.,University of Missouri | Johnson S.A.,University of Missouri | Alex J.M.,University of Missouri | And 7 more authors.
Hormones and Behavior | Year: 2016

Developmental exposure of turtles and other reptiles to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including bisphenol A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE2, estrogen present in birth control pills), can induce partial to full gonadal sex-reversal in males. No prior studies have considered whether in ovo exposure to EDCs disrupts normal brain sexual differentiation. Yet, rodent model studies indicate early exposure to these chemicals disturbs sexually selected behavioral traits, including spatial navigational learning and memory. Thus, we sought to determine whether developmental exposure of painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) to BPA and EE2 results in sex-dependent behavioral changes. At developmental stage 17, turtles incubated at 26⁰C (male-inducing temperature) were treated with 1) BPA High (100 μg /mL), 2) BPA Low (0.01 μg/mL), 3) EE2 (0.2 μg/mL), or 4) vehicle or no vehicle control groups. Five months after hatching, turtles were tested with a spatial navigational test that included four food containers, only one of which was baited with food. Each turtle was randomly assigned one container that did not change over the trial period. Each individual was tested for 14 consecutive days. Results show developmental exposure to BPA High and EE2 improved spatial navigational learning and memory, as evidenced by increased number of times spent in the correct target zone and greater likelihood of solving the maze compared to control turtles. This study is the first to show that in addition to overriding temperature sex determination (TSD) of the male gonad, these EDCs may induce sex-dependent behavioral changes in turtles. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


Levin I.I.,University of Missouri-St. Louis | Levin I.I.,WildCare Institute | Zwiers P.,University of Missouri-St. Louis | Zwiers P.,Francis Marion University | And 16 more authors.
Conservation Biology | Year: 2013

Haemosporidian parasites in the genus Plasmodium were recently detected through molecular screening in the Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus). We summarized results of an archipelago-wide screen of 3726 endemic birds representing 22 species for Plasmodium spp. through a combination of molecular and microscopy techniques. Three additional Plasmodium lineages were present in Galapagos. Lineage A-infected penguins, Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia aureola), and one Medium Ground Finch (Geospiza fortis) was detected at multiple sites in multiple years. The other 3 lineages were each detected at one site and at one time; apparently, they were transient infections of parasites not established on the archipelago. No gametocytes were found in blood smears of infected individuals; thus, endemic Galapagos birds may be dead-end hosts for these Plasmodium lineages. Determining when and how parasites and pathogens arrive in Galapagos is key to developing conservation strategies to prevent and mitigate the effects of introduced diseases. To assess the potential for Plasmodium parasites to arrive via migratory birds, we analyzed blood samples from 438 North American breeding Bobolinks (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), the only songbird that regularly migrates through Galapagos. Two of the ephemeral Plasmodium lineages (B and C) found in Galapagos birds matched parasite sequences from Bobolinks. Although this is not confirmation that Bobolinks are responsible for introducing these lineages, evidence points to higher potential arrival rates of avian pathogens than previously thought. © 2013 Society for Conservation Biology.


Palmer J.L.,Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine | Blake S.,WildCare Institute | Blake S.,Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Radolfzell) | Blake S.,University of Missouri-St. Louis | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2016

Mycoplasma species, which can cause upper respiratory tract disease (URTD), are significant pathogens of birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles. Mycoplasmosis is of high concern for chelonian conservation, with the most welldocumented cases in gopher and desert tortoises. Mycoplasma sp. infections have been reported in captive and free-living box turtles (Terrapene spp.). We documented URTD associated with Mycoplasma sp. in two free-living, three-toed box turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis) in Missouri, US. Both turtles were Mycoplasma sp. positive by PCR and had URTD-like clinical signs, including nasal and ocular discharge, palpebral edema, lethargy, and weight loss, during a 6–8-wk period between June and September 2014. © Wildlife Disease Association 2016.


Adamovicz L.,North Carolina State University | Bronson E.,Maryland Zoo in Baltimore | Barrett K.,Maryland Zoo in Baltimore | Deem S.L.,Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine | Year: 2015

Health data for free-living eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore were analyzed. One hundred and eighteen turtles were captured on or near zoo grounds over the course of 15 yr (1996-2011), with recapture of many individuals leading to 208 total evaluations. Of the 118 individuals, 61 were male, 50 were female, and 7 were of undetermined sex. Of the 208 captures, 188 were healthy, and 20 were sick or injured. Complete health evaluations were performed on 30 turtles with physical examination records, complete blood counts (CBCs), and plasma biochemistry profiles. Eight animals were sampled more than once, yielding 40 total samples for complete health evaluations of these 30 individuals. The 40 samples were divided into healthy (N = 29) and sick (N = 11) groups based on clinical findings on physical examination. Samples from healthy animals were further divided into male (N = 17) and female (N = 12) groups. CBC and biochemistry profile parameters were compared between sick and healthy groups and between healthy males and females. Sick turtles had lower albumin, globulin, total protein (TP), calcium, phosphorous, sodium, and potassium than healthy animals. Sick turtles also had higher heterophil to lymphocyte ratios. Healthy female turtles had higher leukocyte count, eosinophil count, total solids, TP, globulin, cholesterol, calcium, and phosphorous than healthy males. Banked plasma from all 40 samples was tested for antibodies to Mycoplasma agassizii and Mycoplasma testudineum via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. One sample from a clinically healthy female was antibody positive for M. agassizii; none were positive for M. testudineum. This study provides descriptive health data for eastern box turtles and CBC and biochemistry profile information for T. carolina carolina at and near the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. It also reports low serologic evidence of exposure to mycoplasmosis. Copyright 2015 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.


PubMed | National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Massey University, Kenya International Livestock Research Institute, Erasmus Medical Center and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a recently identified virus causing severe viral respiratory illness in people. Little is known about the reservoir in the Horn of Africa. In Kenya, where no human MERS cases have been reported, our survey of 335 dromedary camels, representing nine herds in Laikipia County, showed a high seroprevalence (46.9%) to MERS-CoV antibodies. Between herd differences were present (14.3%- 82.9%), but was not related to management type or herd isolation. Further research should focus on identifying similarity between MERS-CoV viral isolates in Kenya and clinical isolates from the Middle East and elsewhere.

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