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Concept: Brucellosis


To investigate the epidemiological relationship of isolates from different Portuguese geographical regions and to assess the diversity among isolates, the MLVA16(Orsay) assay (panels 1, 2A and 2B) was performed with a collection of 126 Brucella melitensis (46 human and 80 animal isolates) and 157 B. abortus field isolates, seven vaccine strains and the representative reference strains of each species. The MLVA16(Orsay) showed a similar high discriminatory power (HGDI 0.972 and 0.902) for both species but panel 1 and 2A markers displayed higher diversity (HGDI 0.693) in B. abortus compared to B. melitensis isolates (HGDI 0.342). The B. melitensis population belong to the “Americas” (17%) and “East Mediterranean” (83%) groups. No isolate belonged to the “West Mediterranean” group. Eighty-five percent of the human isolates (39 in 46) fit in the “East-Mediterranean” group where a single lineage known as MLVA11 genotype 116 is responsible for the vast majority of Brucella infections in humans. B. abortus isolates formed a consistent group with bv1 and bv3 isolates in different clusters. Four MLVA11 genotypes were observed for the first time in isolates from S. Jorge and Terceira islands from Azores. From the collection of isolates analysed in this study we conclude that MLVA16(Orsay) provided a clear view of Brucella spp. population, confirming epidemiological linkage in outbreak investigations. In particular, it suggests recent and ongoing colonisation of Portugal with one B. melitensis lineage usually associated with East Mediterranean countries.

Concepts: Evolution, Biology, Mediterranean Sea, Portugal, Europe, Brucellosis, Brucella melitensis, Brucella


Abstract. Acute and convalescent serum samples were collected from febrile inpatients identified at two hospitals in Moshi, Tanzania. Confirmed brucellosis was defined as a positive blood culture or a ≥ 4-fold increase in microagglutination test titer, and probable brucellosis was defined as a single reciprocal titer ≥ 160. Among 870 participants enrolled in the study, 455 (52.3%) had paired sera available. Of these, 16 (3.5%) met criteria for confirmed brucellosis. Of 830 participants with ≥ 1 serum sample, 4 (0.5%) met criteria for probable brucellosis. Brucellosis was associated with increased median age (P = 0.024), leukopenia (odds ratio [OR] 7.8, P = 0.005), thrombocytopenia (OR 3.9, P = 0.018), and evidence of other zoonoses (OR 3.2, P = 0.026). Brucellosis was never diagnosed clinically, and although all participants with brucellosis received antibacterials or antimalarials in the hospital, no participant received standard brucellosis treatment. Brucellosis is an underdiagnosed and untreated cause of febrile disease among hospitalized adult and pediatric patients in northern Tanzania.

Concepts: Participation, Hospital, Blood type, Physician, Brucellosis, Fever, Blood culture, Received Pronunciation


Molecular approaches have been investigated to overcome difficulties in identification and differentiation of Brucella spp. using conventional phenotypic methods. In this study, high-resolution melt (HRM) analysis was used for rapid identification and differentiation of members of Brucella genus. A total of 41 Brucella spp. isolates from human brucellosis were subjected to HRM analysis using 4 sets of primers, which identified 40 isolates as Brucella melitensis and 1 as Brucella canis. The technique utilized low DNA concentration and was highly reproducible. The assay is shown to be a useful diagnostic tool, which can rapidly differentiate Brucella up to species level.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Evolution, Species, Cellular differentiation, Brucellosis, Brucella melitensis, Brucella


Brucellosis is the most common bacterial zoonoses worldwide. Bovine brucellosis caused by Brucella abortus has far reaching animal health and economic impacts at both the local and national levels. Alongside traditional veterinary epidemiology, the use of molecular typing has recently been applied to inform on bacterial population structure and identify epidemiologically-linked cases of infection. Multi-locus variable number tandem repeat VNTR analysis (MLVA) was used to investigate the molecular epidemiology of a well-characterised Brucella abortus epidemic in Northern Ireland involving 387 herds between 1991 and 2012.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Microbiology, Demography, Brucellosis, Variable number tandem repeat, Brucella


Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization – time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) sample preparation methods including the direct, on-plate formic acid, and ethanol/formic acid tube extraction were evaluated for their ability to render highly pathogenic organisms non-viable and safe for handling in a Biosafety Level-2 laboratory. Of these, the tube extraction procedure was the most successful, with none of the tested strains surviving this sample preparation method. Tube extracts from several agents of bioterrorism and their near neighbors were analyzed in an eight laboratory study to examine the utility of the Bruker Biotyper and Vitek MS MALDI-TOF MS systems and their IVD, research use only, and Security-Relevant databases, as applicable, to accurately identify these agents. Forty-six distinct strains of Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Clostridium botulinum, Brucella melitensis, Brucella abortus, Brucella suis, and Brucella canis were extracted and distributed to participating labs for analysis. A total of 35 near neighbor isolates were also analyzed.

Concepts: Bacteria, Mass spectrometry, Brucellosis, Burkholderia mallei, Burkholderia, Brucella, Burkholderia pseudomallei


The facultative intracellular Gram-negative bacterium Brucella melitensis causes brucellosis in domestic and wild mammals. Brucella melitensis QH61 was isolated from a yak suffering from abortion in 2015 in Qinghai, China. Here, we report the whole-genome sequence of B. melitensis strain QH61.

Concepts: Microbiology, Escherichia coli, Sequence, Brucellosis, Brucella melitensis, Brucella, Chloramphenicol, Tibet


This review presents an overview of the most important rodent-borne hemorrhagic fever pathogens directly transmitted from rodents to humans, namely Leptospira and hantaviruses, together with the New- and Old-World arenaviruses. These zoonotic diseases frequently share clinical symptoms, transmission routes and other epidemiological features and often have an emerging pattern. Differential diagnostics could benefit from a syndrome-based approach grouping these pathogens. In this review extensive descriptions of the epidemiology, clinical symptoms, diagnostics and treatment are provided including a practical overview, listing clinical features, diagnostics and risk factors for each selected rodent-borne hemorrhagic fever pathogen.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Disease, Infectious disease, Medical terms, Malaria, Brucellosis, Fever, Viral hemorrhagic fever


The gram-negative bacteria of the genus Brucella are facultative intracellular parasites that cause brucellosis, a worldwide-distributed zoonotic disease that represents a serious problem for animal and human health. There is no human-to-human contagion and, since there is no human vaccine, animal vaccination is essential to control brucellosis. However, current vaccines (all developed empirically) do not provide 100% protection and are infectious in humans. Attempts to generate new vaccines by obtaining mutants lacking the lipopolysaccharide O-polysaccharide, in purine metabolism or in Brucella type IV secretion system have not been successful. Here we propose a new approach to develop brucellosis vaccines based on the concept that Brucella surface molecules evade efficient detection by innate immunity, thus delaying protective Th1 responses and opening a time window to reach sheltered intracellular compartments. We showed recently that a branch of the core oligosaccharide section of Brucella lipopolysaccharide hampers recognition by TLR4-MD2. Mutation of glycosyltransferase WadC, involved in the synthesis of this branch, results in a lipopolysaccharide that, while keeping the O-polysaccharide essential for optimal protection, shows a truncated core, is more efficiently recognized by MD2 and triggers an increased cytokine response. In keeping with this, the wadC mutant is attenuated in dendritic cells and mice. In the mouse model of brucellosis vaccines, the B. abortus wadC mutant conferred protection similar to that provided by S19, the best cattle vaccine available. The properties of the wadC mutant provide the proof of concept for this new approach and open the way for more effective brucellosis vaccines.

Concepts: Immune system, HPV vaccine, Microbiology, Vaccination, Secretion, Lipid, Brucellosis, Smallpox


Erythritol has been considered as an important factor for the pathogenesis of Brucella abortus 2308 and its ability to cause abortion in ruminants. There is a lack of laboratory models to study the Brucella-erythritol relationship, as commonly used murine models do not have erythritol. We tested the effect of exogenous erythritol on the growth of Brucella in iron minimal medium (IMM), in infected macrophage culture and in infected mice to determine if these models can be used to study the relationship between Brucella and erythritol. An effect of erythritol on Brucella growth was only seen in IMM. There appear to be no effect of erythritol on Brucella growth in macrophage cell cultures or in mice. This shows that administration of erythritol to the mice or macrophages cannot mimic the environment in ruminants during pregnancy and thus cannot be used as models to understand the effect of erythritol on Brucella pathogenesis.

Concepts: Immune system, Pregnancy, Cell biology, Macrophage, Culture, Abortion, Brucellosis, Brucella


Many episodes of canine brucellosis in dog kennels have been reported but recently an outbreak that involved pets and their owners has been described. The purpose of this study was to confirm that the outbreak had a common source and evaluate the evolution of 4 dogs involved in this outbreak after the measures implemented that included a survey of 41 animals from the same area. The variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) analysis indicated that the B. canis isolated from the human clustered together with the isolates collected from the canine pups. Two dogs continued with bacteremia after the first antibiotic therapy and from one of them B. canis was also isolated from urine showing the importance of the later in the infection dissemination. In an effort to protect the public, stray dogs should be controlled and educational programs about the risk of this zoonotic disease should be implemented.

Concepts: Infection, Brucellosis, Variable number tandem repeat, Dog, Pet, Zoonosis, Gray Wolf, Zoonoses