Chronic wasting disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of deer, elk, and moose, is the only prion disease affecting free-ranging animals. Since the disease was first identified in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming in 1967, new epidemic foci of the disease have been identified in 20 additional states, as well as two Canadian provinces and the Republic of South Korea. Identification of CWD-affected animals currently requires postmortem analysis of brain or lymphoid tissues using immunohistochemistry (IHC) or an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), with no practical way to evaluate potential strain types or to investigate the epidemiology of existing or novel foci of disease. Using a standardized real-time (RT)-quaking-induced conversion (QuIC) assay, a seeded amplification assay employing recombinant prion protein as a conversion substrate and thioflavin T (ThT) as an amyloid-binding fluorophore, we analyzed, in a blinded manner, 1,243 retropharyngeal lymph node samples from white-tailed deer, mule deer, and moose, collected in the field from areas with current or historic CWD endemicity. RT-QuIC results were then compared with those obtained by conventional IHC and ELISA, and amplification metrics using ThT and thioflavin S were examined in relation to the clinical history of the sampled deer. The results indicate that RT-QuIC is useful for both identifying CWD-infected animals and facilitating epidemiological studies in areas in which CWD is endemic or not endemic.
Respiratory swab samples were collected from 5 pet ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) exhibiting influenza-like illness. The ferrets represented 3 households in 2 states. In each case, the owners reported influenza-like illness in themselves or family members prior to the onset of a similar illness in the ferrets. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays designed for the detection of the 2009 H1N1 Influenza A virus were conducted in the state animal health laboratories. The assays included detection of the matrix gene of Influenza A virus and neuraminidase gene specific for 2009 H1N1 virus. Samples were positive for both screening assays. The samples were confirmed positive by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories. The history of illness in family members prior to illness in the ferrets suggests that Influenza A virus was transmitted from humans to the ferrets.
Seven juveniles and 3 adults from a closed group of 19 rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) housed in a zoos indoor rock exhibit died or were euthanized after developing blepharoconjunctivitis and orofacial ulcers over a 2-week period. Histopathologic examination of dermal ulcers and ulcerated tongues revealed amphophilic to basophilic intranuclear inclusion bodies in epithelial cells bordering ulcers. Epithelial cells with inclusion bodies were often characterized by cytomegaly and karyomegaly, and many cells had formed syncytia. Examination of inclusion bodies in tongue epithelium by transmission electron microscopy revealed icosahedral nucleocapsids, approximately 80-95 nm in diameter, with morphologic features consistent with herpesvirus. Cytopathic effect (CPE) typical of alphaherpesvirus infection was seen in bovine turbinate, equine dermal, and Vero cell monolayers after inoculation with homogenates of the skin lesions, but CPE was not seen after inoculation onto Madin-Darby canine kidney or swine testicle cell monolayers. Polymerase chain reaction analysis using degenerate primers that targeted a portion of the herpesvirus polymerase gene generated a product of approximately 227 base pairs. The product was cloned, sequenced, and then analyzed using BLAST. At the nucleotide level, there was 86%, 77%, and 76% shared identity with Eidolon herpesvirus 1, Human herpesviruses 1 and 2, and Cercopithecine herpesvirus 2, respectively. Herpesvirus infections in rock hyraxes have not been characterized. The data presented in the current study suggest that a novel alphaherpesvirus caused the lesions seen in these rock hyraxes. The molecular characteristics of this virus would tentatively support its inclusion in the genus Simplexvirus.
The precision of a Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) oral fluid antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was evaluated by calculating reliability coefficients for assay repeatability (within laboratory) and assay reproducibility (between laboratories). Randomly ordered oral fluid samples of known (n = 39) and unknown (n = 224) PRRSV antibody status were tested in 12 diagnostic laboratories. Each laboratory tested the samples twice, first using an antibody ELISA kit and reagents provided to them (phase 1) and then using an ELISA kit and reagents configured in their respective laboratory (phase 2). Repeatability (within laboratory) reliability coefficients calculated using results from samples of known PRRSV antibody status ranged from 0.724 to 0.997 in phase 1 and from 0.953 to 0.998 in phase 2. Reproducibility (between laboratories) reliability coefficients were calculated for 3 conditions: case 1--samples of unknown status (n = 224); case 2--samples of known status (n = 39), and case 3--all samples (n = 263). Among the 3 cases, reliability coefficients ranged from 0.937 to 0.964 in phase 1 and from 0.922 to 0.935 in phase 2. For case 3, it was estimated that 96.67% of the total variation in phase 1 and 93.21% in phase 2 could be attributed to the oral fluid samples themselves. Overall, the PRRSV oral fluid antibody ELISA was highly repeatable and reproducible. The current study supports the routine use of this test in laboratories providing diagnostic service to pig producers.
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