Swiss Federal Veterinary Office

Muri, Switzerland

Swiss Federal Veterinary Office

Muri, Switzerland
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Dupuy C.,Unite Epidemiologie | Dupuy C.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Bronner A.,Unite Epidemiologie | Watson E.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency AHVLA Weybridge | And 7 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2013

Within the current context that favours the emergence of new diseases, syndromic surveillance (SyS) appears increasingly more relevant tool for the early detection of unexpected health events. The Triple-S project (Syndromic Surveillance Systems in Europe), co-financed by the European Commission, was launched in September 2010 for a three year period to promote both human and animal health SyS in European countries. Objectives of the project included performing an inventory of current and planned European animal health SyS systems and promoting knowledge transfer between SyS experts. This study presents and discusses the results of the Triple-S inventory of European veterinary SyS initiatives. European SyS systems were identified through an active process based on a questionnaire sent to animal health experts involved in SyS in Europe. Results were analyzed through a descriptive analysis and a multiple factor analysis (MFA) in order to establish a typology of the European SyS initiatives. Twenty seven European SyS systems were identified from twelve countries, at different levels of development, from project phase to active systems. Results of this inventory showed a real interest of European countries for SyS but also highlighted the novelty of this field. This survey highlighted the diversity of SyS systems in Europe in terms of objectives, population targeted, data providers, indicators monitored. For most SyS initiatives, statistical analysis of surveillance results was identified as a limitation in using the data. MFA results distinguished two types of systems. The first one belonged to the private sector, focused on companion animals and had reached a higher degree of achievement. The second one was based on mandatory collected data, targeted livestock species and is still in an early project phase. The exchange of knowledge between human and animal health sectors was considered useful to enhance SyS. In the same way that SyS is complementary to traditional surveillance, synergies between human and animal health SyS could be an added value, most notably to enhance timeliness, sensitivity and help interpreting non-specific signals. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Chaignat V.,Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis | Schwermer H.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Casati S.,Cantonal Institute of Microbiology | Planzer J.,Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis | And 6 more authors.
Small Ruminant Research | Year: 2010

Recently, a new member of the Bluetongue virus (BTV) serogroup named Toggenburg Orbivirus (TOV) in goats from Switzerland has been described. The epidemiology and host range of TOV are currently unknown. Since TOV causes cross-reactions in laboratory tests used for BTV diagnosis, this study was carried out in order to determine the spatial and temporal spread of TOV. Therefore, serum samples from a national survey in goats, collected during winter and spring 2008 in Switzerland, were serologically examined. Additionally, cattle and sheep from holdings with seropositive goats were tested for the presence of viral RNA and antibodies against BTV and TOV. All goat samples analysed within routine diagnostics at the Institute of Virology and Immunoprophylaxis from 2008 to 2009 were also tested for the presence of TOV. Finally, goat sera collected 1998 in the Canton of Ticino (TI) were analysed.Although the TOV index cases had been identified in flocks north of the Alps, no additional TOV-positive herds were found by serological testing in this region. In contrast, south of the Alps, i.e. in the Canton of Ticino (TI), an apparent seroprevalence of 49% in goats was found at animal and 60% at herd level. In the eastern and western part of the Swiss Alps 15.2% and 10% of tested goats were serologically positive, respectively. A within-herd prevalence of up to 100% was found in some of the positive flocks. The positive flocks in TI were mainly found in three of the five districts, but seropositive animals were identified in each district. Certain selected seropositive flocks were investigated virologically. By RT-qPCR and genome sequencing, the presence of TOV could be confirmed in all investigated seropositive flocks.By testing the goats within routine diagnostics, TOV genome was detected in one goat showing BT-like clinical symptoms from the central Alps and in three healthy animals imported from Germany.Although 3.8% of the sheep from flocks with TOV-positive goats or in contact with these animals showed a positive antibody reaction, TOV-specific RNA was not found in any of the tested sheep and also not in cattle from flocks with TOV-positive goats.Serological and virological test results from archived Swiss goat samples collected in 1998 indicated the presence of TOV already at that time, prior to any Bluetongue disease outbreak in this part of Europe. The results of this study demonstrate that TOV is widespread in certain parts of Switzerland and suggests that this virus has been present in the goat population for at least a decade, albeit without causing any disease signs. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Salman M.,Colorado State University | Silano V.,European Food Safety Authority EFSA | Heim D.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Kreysa J.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2012

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) rapidly evolved into an issue of major public concern particularly when, in 1996, evidence was provided that this disease had crossed the species barrier and infected humans in the UK with what has become known as " variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease" (vCJD). The aim of this paper is to describe the European Geographical BSE risk assessment (GBR) that was successfully used for assessing the qualitative likelihood that BSE could be present in a country where it was not yet officially recognized. It also discusses how this can lead to risk-based and therefore preventive management of BSE at national and international levels.The basic assumption of the GBR method is that the BSE agent is initially introduced into a country's domestic cattle production system through the importation of contaminated feedstuffs or live cattle. This is referred to as an " external challenge" . The ability of the system to cope with such a challenge is, in turn, referred to as its " stability" : a stable system will not allow the BSE agent to propagate and amplify following its introduction, while an unstable system will.The BSE-status of a country assessed by this system was used by the European Commission as the basis for trade legislation rules for cattle and their products.The GBR was an invaluable tool in evaluating the potential global spread of BSE as it demonstrated how a disease could be transferred through international trade. This was shown to be a critical factor to address in reducing the spread and amplification of BSE throughout the world. Furthermore, GBR resulted in the implementation of additional measures and management activities both to improve surveillance and to prevent transmission within the cattle population. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Bahler C.,University of Bern | Regula G.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Stoffel M.H.,Vetsuisse Faculty Bern | Steiner A.,University of Bern | von Rotz A.,Vetsuisse Faculty Bern
Research in Veterinary Science | Year: 2010

Non-perforating abomasal lesions are a considerable problem affecting more than half the population of veal calves. The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence of pyloric and fundic abomasal lesions in Swiss veal calves at slaughter and to compare the occurrence of non-perforating abomasal lesions between two different production programs ('Naturafarm' and 'conventional'). 'Conventional'-production settings met the minimal standards as defined by the Swiss animal welfare legislation, whereas 'Naturafarm' production complied with increased animal welfare requirements. In order to identify risk factors for the development of abomasal lesions, information on management, housing, and feeding was obtained by a questionnaire. A total of 125 abomasa were randomly selected in one large abattoir. They were examined macroscopically, and the occurence of lesions in either the fundic or pyloric region of the abomasum was recorded separately. Animals raised in the 'conventional'-production setting revealed a significantly higher prevalence of lesions in the fundic part. Factors significantly affecting the prevalence of non-perforating lesions in the fundic part were the 'conventional'-production environment, including missing access to an outside pen, missing access to water and straw as the only roughage, feeding by bucket and the liquid milk by-product Protofit in combination with the powder Sprayfit. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Nathues C.,University of Bern | Zimmerli U.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Hauser R.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Nathues H.,Lane College | And 2 more authors.
Transboundary and Emerging Diseases | Year: 2014

Switzerland is currently porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) free, but semen imports from PRRSV-infected European countries are increasing. As the virus can be transmitted via semen, for example, when a free boar stud becomes infected, and the risk of its import in terms of PRRSV introduction is unknown, the annual probability to accidentally import the virus into Switzerland was estimated in a risk assessment. A quantitative stochastic model was set up with data comprised by import figures of 2010, interviews with boar stud owners and expert opinion. It resulted in an annual median number of 0.18 imported ejaculates (= imported semen doses from one collection from one donor) from PRRSV-infected boars. Hence, one infected ejaculate would be imported every 6 years and infect a mean of 10 sows. These results suggest that under current circumstances, there is a substantial risk of PRRSV introduction into Switzerland via imported boar semen and that measures to enhance safety of imports should be taken. The time from infection of a previously negative boar stud to its detection had the highest impact on the number of imported 'positive' ejaculates. Therefore, emphasis should be placed on PRRSV monitoring protocols in boar studs. Results indicated that a substantial increase in safety could only be achieved with much tighter sampling protocols than currently performed. Generally, the model could easily be customized for other applications like other countries or regions or even sow farms that want to estimate their risk when purchasing semen from a particular boar stud. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Switzerland had been affected by the bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) epidemic in Europe in the years 2007 to 2009. After three years of mandatory vaccination and comprehensive surveillance, Switzerland showed to be free of BTV-8 in 2012. In the future Elisa testing of bulk-tank milk (BTM) samples as a very sensitive and cost-effective method should be used for the surveillance of all serotypes of BTV. To determine the prevalence of seropositive herds, BTM from 240 cattle herds was sampled in July 2012. The results showed an apparent seroprevalence of 98.7% in the investigated dairy herds. Most plausible, the high prevalence was caused by the vaccination campaigns rather than by infections with BTV-8. In the outbreak the cumulative number of BTV-8 cases in Switzerland had been 75. Thus it is very likely that the used inactivated vaccines induced long-term antibody titres. Due to the high seroprevalence, investigating for BT-antibodies cannot be used for early recognition of a new introduction of BTV at the moment. Nonetheless, testing of BTM samples is appropriate for an annual evaluation of the seroprevalence and especially as an instrument for early recognition for incursions as soon as the antibody prevalence declines. To determine this decline the BTM testing scheme should be conducted each year as described in this work. © 2014 Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG.

Niederer L.,University of Bern | Kuhnert P.,University of Bern | Egger R.,University of Bern | Buttner S.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | And 2 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2012

Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) extended with flaB typing of 425 Campylobacter jejuni isolates and 42 Campylobacter coli isolates revealed quite a low overlap between human isolates from travel-associated and domestic cases in Switzerland. Men were more frequently affected by Campylobacter than women, but strains from women and, overall, from travel-associated cases showed mutations conferring quinolone resistance more frequently than strains from men and domestic cases, respectively. © 2012, American Society for Microbiology.

Presi P.,University of Bern | Struchen R.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Knight-Jones T.,Lane College | Scholl S.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | Heim D.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2011

A national eradication programme was designed with the aim of achieving total freedom from bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) infection in the Swiss cattle population. The eradication programme consisted of testing every Swiss bovine for antigen, culling virus-positive animals and applying movement restrictions. Starting in 2008, the campaign achieved the goal of reducing the proportion of newborn calves that were virus-positive from 1.8% to under 0.2% within two years (situation in September 2010). Both good data flow between the parties involved as well as speed and efficiency (e.g. concerning the application of tests, movement restrictions and slaughter) are central to the success of the programme. Since the beginning of the programme 2.85 million cattle have been tested for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV).The BVD-prevalence in cattle at the individual and herd levels following the implementation of the eradication programme was assessed. Using data collected during this campaign a risk factor analysis was conducted in order to identify factors associated with the appearance of virus positive newborn calves in herds where BVD had not previously been detected; these risk factors would allow targeting of future surveillance. Herd size, early death rate (i.e. the number of animals that either die before 15 days of age or are stillborn per number of newborns per year), buying in stock, using communal summer grazing, production type, age structure and management strategy were factors associated with the appearance of new cases of infection. Testing of newborn calves for antigen will continue to be conducted until the end of 2011, this is combined with outbreak investigation of newly infected herds (consisting of re-testing dams of virus-positive calves and if necessary all cattle on or that recently left the farm). This process is done to identify infected animals that may have been missed during prior testing (false negatives), it also serves to identify other factors that may be responsible for the introduction of BVDV onto the farm. Since October 2009, testing of calves for antigen combined with outbreak investigation has led to the detection of 55 infected animals that had tested negative (presumably false negative) during previous rounds of testing. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Burri C.,University of Neuchatel | Vial F.,University of Bern | Ryser-Degiorgis M.-P.,University of Bern | Schwermer H.,Swiss Federal Veterinary Office | And 7 more authors.
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2014

Summary: Hepatitis E is considered an emerging human viral disease in industrialized countries. Studies from Switzerland report a human seroprevalence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) of 2.6-21%, a range lower than in adjacent European countries. The aim of this study was to determine whether HEV seroprevalence in domestic pigs and wild boars is also lower in Switzerland and whether it is increasing and thus indicating that this zoonotic viral infection is emerging. Serum samples collected from 2,001 pigs in 2006 and 2011 and from 303 wild boars from 2008 to 2012 were analysed by ELISA for the presence of HEV-specific antibodies. Overall HEV seroprevalence was 58.1% in domestic pigs and 12.5% in wild boars. Prevalence in domestic pigs was significantly higher in 2006 than in 2011. In conclusion, HEV seroprevalence in domestic pigs and wild boars in Switzerland is comparable with the seroprevalence in other countries and not increasing. Therefore, prevalence of HEV in humans must be related to other factors than prevalence in pigs or wild boars. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

Efficiency of animal waste sterilization prescribed by the European Union and Switzerland was verified using a pork-based ELISA and two PCR assays (tRNA(Glu)/cytochrome b specific for vertebrates; bovine species-specific cytochrome b mitochondrial genome). A total of 204 samples of feedingstuffs were analysed including reference materials subjected to known heat treatments. Both ELISA and PCR assays were able to detect poorly heat-treated feedingstuffs if there was enough pork-based material present. The proposed species-specific PCR test, however, showed a higher sensitivity and specificity as it specifically detected bovine material. Nevertheless, the PCR assay will not detect bovine material in properly heat-treated feeds as the DNA is too fragmented. It is, however, very useful as a rapid, sensitive, and specific method for the routine screening of animal meals with regard to prophylaxis of BSE.

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