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Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases
Fifth symposium of the Belgian Wildlife Disease
18 October 2013, CODA-CERVA, Tervuren
Organizing and Scientific Committee:
Paul Tavernier
Stefan Roels
Paul Heyman
Alexandre Dobly
Leen Claes
Kristof Baert
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases
Welcome address: "Spatial approach of wildlife

This year the Belgian Wildlife Disease Society celebrates its 10th anniversary. We can look back on a sequence of successful activities during the past ten years, including four well-attended biennial Symposia, and each year two to three general meetings covering a wide range of subjects. In 2009, joined to the 3rd BWDS Symposium, we hosted the 2nd EWDA wildlife health surveillance network meeting and a meeting of the European WILDTECH project. We assisted the Belgian veterinary authorities in starting up the yearly notification of wildlife diseases to the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) and we carried out a Federal Government funded two year project, called WILDSURV (2008-2010), during which a prototype of a first-line risk assessment tool for wildlife-borne diseases was developed. Maybe less visible but not less important are the many spontaneous thematic collaborations that were started up between different institutes and individuals within the BWDS context. The theme of the 5th BWDS Symposium held today is "the spatial approach of wildlife diseases". A "spatial" approach means essentially mapping of disease outbreaks and the factors that may be related to an outbreak. Topographical information is usually processed by means of powerful software, called Geographical Information Systems (GIS), allowing to store, analyze, reorder, and access the information. Mapping is an important aid in identifying the cause and understanding the epidemiological course of a disease outbreak. Strong indications to identify the causes of disease outbreaks can be obtained by describing the spatial pattern of an outbreak (e.g. a random, clustered or regular distribution) or by linking the outbreak location with factors such as vegetation (e.g. Hantavirus outbreaks with seed fall), climate (e.g. vector-borne diseases), atmospheric pollution (e.g. presumed links with immune suppression in amphibians), animal migration patterns (e.g. pasteurellosis with bird migration flyways), noise (e.g. dolphin stranding with acoustic disturbance), occupational exposure (e.g. swimmers itch), management and husbandry practices (e.g. forest management and tick abundance). Mapping also helps to predict the occurrence of an outbreak (e.g. small water bodies in areas with few wetlands could favor avian influenza exposure), and to support the management of an outbreak (e.g. landscape heterogeneity in the US affects rabies vaccination efficiency in raccoons). For these reasons the spatial aspects of wildlife diseases are an essential approach to get insight into the interactions between natural and anthropogenic phenomena, of which infectious and non-infectious "diseases" are often only a consequence. Studying wildlife-borne diseases in non-wildlife species cannot disregard the ecological context in which disease problems originate. The "One Health" concept illustrates plainly that medical and veterinary professionals share the same interests with conservationists in advocating ecosystem health at a global scale. At this 5th BWDS Symposium our invited speakers present a number of wildlife disease problems with a strong spatial rationale. Next to the invited speakers we have for the first time reserved four slots for "free oral communications", not necessarily reflecting the general Symposium theme. Furthermore, a series of posters is displayed as usual. At the start of the second decade of existence of the BWDS, the board members confirm their intention to continue enhancing the awareness about threats to biodiversity, impacting on human and animal health. Together with many others worldwide concerned in conservation, we hope this awareness will reach the interest groups behind the main activities implicated in anthropogenic threats to the environment. We wish you a very instructive, constructive and pleasant Symposium day. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Programme
Moderators: Tim Adriaens (INBO) & Sophie Roelandt (CODA/CERVA)
09:00 - 09:30 Registration & coffee
09:30 - 09:35 Welcome (P. Kerkhofs - CODA/CERVA - Be) 09:35 - 09:45 Opening (S. Roels - CODA/CERVA - BWDS - Be) 09:45 - 10:15 Spatial organization of badger populations and their influence on disease dynamics (R. Delahay - FERA - UK) 10:15 - 10:45 Vector mapping (E. Ducheyne - AviaGis - Be) 10:45 - 11:00 Sources of tuberculous-like lesions in Belgian wild boars (M. Govaerts - Ulg - Be) 11:00 - 11:30 Break
11:30 - 12:00 Spatial spread and maintenance of Border Disease Virus Infection in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) (I. Marco - SEFAS,UAB - Sp) 12:00 - 12:30 Schmallenbergvirus (B. Cay - CODA/CERVA - Be) 12:30 - 12:45 Muskrats as wildlife reservoir of human leptospirosis (M. Mori - CODA/CERVA- Be) 12:45 - 14:00 Lunch & poster session
14:00 - 14:30 Ecological factors driving Avian Influenza Virus dynamics in Spanish wetlands (U. Höfle - SaBio, IREC - Sp) 14:30 - 15:00 Influence of forest changes on ticks (W. Tack - AviaGis - Be) 15:00 - 15:15 E. multilocularis in red foxes in the Netherlands (M. Maas - RIVM - Nl) 15:15 - 15:45 Break
15:45 - 16:15 Spatial approach of pathogen transmission in wild boar (H. H. Thulke - UFZ - Ge) 16:15 - 16:45 Predictive model for Hantavirus outbreaks in Western Europe (K. Tersago - UA - Be) 16:45 - 17:00 Zoonotic transfer of Chlamydia psittaci (I. Kalmar - UG - Be) 17:00 Closing remarks & poster awards
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Table of contents
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases

Sponsor: CODA – CERVA
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases

Sponsor: INBO
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases

Sponsor: Ministry of Defence
5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Sponsor: Bayer
Oral presentations


5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Spatial organization of badger populations: implications for
disease dynamics and management.

Richard (Dez) Delahay
Centre for Wildlife Management, Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency,
Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire, UK

Management of disease in wildlife populations is challenging, not least because host behaviour and ecological conditions present substantial practical constraints and can influence the outcome of interventions in unpredictable ways. Understanding the spatial organisation and behaviour of host populations, and of infected individuals in particular, may provide valuable insights into how to more effectively target management interventions. In parts of the UK European badgers (Meles meles) are infected with Mycobacterium bovis and constitute an important source infection for cattle. Long term studies indicate how the organisation of badger populations into discrete territorial social groups mitigates disease transmission, with movement of animals being implicated in disease spread. Hence disease appeared to remain spatially aggregated in the population for a period of several years. However, subsequent demographic change and enhanced immigration in part of the study area preceded a departure from this epidemiological pattern. Furthermore, at the individual level intensive radio-tracking studies have revealed variations in socio-spatial behaviour related to infection status. Similar variation in behaviour has also been identified by social network analyses which describe patterns of contact amongst badgers. A better understanding of the relationships between host infection status and social behaviour may provide valuable information on where and when intervention measures are likely to be most effective. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Vector mapping
Els Ducheyne, Veerle Versteirt, Guy Hendrickx
Avia-GIS Belgium
In order to assess the risk of diseases transmitted by vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks and midges, it is important to know the spatio-temporal distribution patterns of these vectors. Remote sensing and GIS tools are now commonly available and permit to map these vectors through the use of either statistical (such as logistic regression) or data mining (such as random forests) techniques. In the presentation we first show how the Belgian Modirisk inventory of mosquitoes was designed and how this resulted in spatial distribution maps of multiple mosquito species. In the next part we demonstrate how you can move on from the presence/absence mapping towards abundance mapping showing examples in Spain and the Netherlands. The Central Veterinary Institute in the Netherlands for disease transmission models used the abundance mosquito and Culicoides maps. All the previous research was combined to generate presence/absence and abundance maps of mosquitoes at the European level for the European Food Safety Agency. These maps served as input data for disease transmission risk models for Rift Valley Fever into Europe. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Sources of tuberculous-like lesions in Belgian wild boars
Marc Govaerts1, Rosario Volpe2, Aloïs Vionnet2, Fabien Gregoire2, Virginie
Ceuleers2, Ludovic Jouant2, Julien Paternostre2, Michael den Haerynck1, Dominique
Cassart3, Annick Linden2

1 Mycobacteria Unit, CODA-CERVA, Groeselenberg 99, Uccle, Belgium; 2 Wildlife
Health and Pathology Unit, Ulg, Sart-Tilman, Belgium; 3 Department of morphology
and pathology, Ulg, Sart-Tilman, Belgium

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) control programmes in cattle are hampered by the presence of wildlife reservoirs. Emerging wildlife maintenance hosts in our neighbour countries, and the associated growing incidence in breakdown herds, sparked interest in a closer surveillance of wildlife for bTB in Belgium. During the 2011 hunting season, 229 hunter-killed wild boars were sampled in the 4 provinces of Wallonia. Carcasses were subjected to a systematic post mortem inspection, and all sub-mandibular lymph nodes showing gross lesions were processed for bacteriological, histopathological, and mycobacterial examination. 49 out of the 229 submandibular lymph nodes (21 %) showed gross lesions, either abscesses (43) or merely hypertrophy (6). A variety of abscess types were found : purulent (8), caseous (33), calcified (1), fibrous (11), multifocal (12), or any combinations thereof. Microscopically, lesions of necrosis (21), mineralisation (14), encapsulation (18), fibrosis (8), and the presence of eosinophils (16), macrophages (2) or giant cells (1), were found. Besides commensal bacteria isolated on generic media (9 x Staphylococcus aureus, 8 x coliforms, 5 x Proteus spp., 4 x Streptococcus porcinus etc.), no Mycobacterium bovis were isolated from the lesioned organs. Using selective media, M. avium subsp. avium was isolated from 1 among the 8 multifocal caseous lymph nodes, M. celatum from 4 out of 14 necrotic, mineralised and encapsulated lymph nodes, and a co-infection with Rhodococcus equi was found in one of the latter. These 3 actinomycetal species are known to induce granulomatous adenitis lesions in slaughter pigs, undistinguishable from true M. bovis lesions. The prospective cross-reactivity to be expected from such atypical infections in the serosurveillance of bTB in wild boar, and the challenges of the competitive isolation and correct identification of M. bovis in wild boar will be discussed. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Spatial spread and maintenance of Border Disease Virus
Infection in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica)

Ignasi Marco
Servei d'Ecopatologia de Fauna Salvatge (SEFaS),Departament de Medicina i
Cirurgia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193-Bellaterra, Spain

Since 2001 several outbreaks of a previously unreported disease associated to Border Disease Virus (BDV) infection have been described in Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) in Spain, France and Andorra. This process has decimated several Pyrenean chamois populations, with mortalities ranging from 42% to 86%. Unexpectedly, however, the epidemic waves have followed an erratic pattern that may be explained by ecological and epidemiological factors. A retrospective study described the detection and isolation of a BDV in two chamois sampled in 1996 in the Eastern Pyrenees, 5 years before the first outbreak of disease. These two chamois did not show clinical symptoms and lesions consistent with BDV infection. Interestingly, the Eastern Pyrenees comprises one of the few chamois populations that have not been affected by the severe epidemic episodes associated to BDV infection. After the severe BDV outbreaks, different epidemiological scenarios have appeared in the Pyrenees, some of which are having a negative impact on host population dynamics. Thus, management of chamois populations affected by these epizootics should be designed according to the epidemiological status and no generalizations should be made. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Schmallenberg virus
Brigitte Cay1, Nick De Regge1 and Thierry van den Berg1
1CODA-CERVA, Groeselenberg 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
After the emergence of bluetongue virus serotype 8 in 2006, another vector-transmitted pathogen was introduced in Northern Europe in 2011. This pathogen was characterized as an novel orthobunyavirus and named "Schmallenberg virus" (SBV) after the town where it was first discovered. An acute SBV infection causes no or only mild disease in adult cattle including fever, reduced milk production or diarrhoea for a few days. However, infection of naïve cows, ewes and goats during a critical phase of pregnancy can provoke abortions and severe foetal malformations. Since 2011 SBV has spread extremely rapid all over Europe and has reached the Asian borders. This fast spread is probably caused by the transmission of the virus by insect vectors. Based on the detection of SBV RNA in biting midges, several Culicoides species are regarded as putative vectors although other unknown vectors may not be excluded. In Belgium more than 99 % of the cattle herds were serological positive after the first year. Although the genome of SBV has also been found in bull semen, until today the possible role of semen in the dissemination of the virus is still unclear. Besides the susceptibility of domestic ruminants to SBV, different species from wildlife such as wild red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and mouflon were found to be serological positive for SBV, while the presence of SBV viral genome was demonstrated in a bison and elk (Alces alces). Antibodies to SBV have also been found in New World camelids (alpacas and lamas) and a dog. The role of these species in the SBV epidemiology is unknown. Two years after the introduction of this new virus into Europe, the exact origin and way of introduction remains unknown, but the region of first detection and initial spread was highly similar for SBV and BTV. What's next ?. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Role of ondatra zibethicus as wildlife reservoir in an outbreak
of human leptospirosis following a boy scout camp, Belgium

summer 2012
Marcella Mori1, Marjan Van Esbroeck2, Raïssa Bakinahe1, Sylvia Depoorter3,Wim
Decaluwe3, Stefaan Vandecasteele3, David Fretin1, Marijke Reynders3

1Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Center, VAR-CODA-CERVA, Brussels,
Belgium; 2Tropical Medicine Institute, ITM, Antwerp, Belgium; 3AZ Sint-Jan Brugge-
Oostende AV, Campus Sint-Jan, Bruges, Belgium

Leptospirosis is a pandemic zoonosis largely distributed in tropical areas, where warm climate conditions are favorable for Leptospira spp. maintenance in the environment. People may contract the disease by direct or indirect contact with infected urine of reservoir animals and show signs of Weil's disease. In Europe, the last famous endemic case dates back to 2010 with the death of the double Olympic champion Andy Holmes, who contracted Weil's disease during canoeing (prolonged exposure to contaminated waters). In Belgium, reported cases are associated with outdoor activities, travelling abroad or farming. We here report upon an outbreak of leptospirosis that occurred in the South of Belgium, during the month of August 2012, involving 10 teenagers who participated to Scout camps near the Semois River (Luxembourg province). Clinical symptoms included general malaise, fever, vomiting, myalgia and bilateral conjunctivitis. Three of the Boy Scouts had severe complications, including compromised renal function. The three severe cases were laboratory confirmed by serology or Lipl32 RT-PCR. Risk factors were direct contact with Ondrata zibethicus (muskrat) and daily bathing in the river. Environmental investigation included water analysis and capturing of wild muskrats from the three nests located in the area. Five out of 9 captured muskrats (56%) presented antibodies against pathogenic Leptospira serovars. Kidney and liver tissue from 2 muskrats were additionally found positive with Lipl32 RT-PCR. The present study highlights the role of wild animals in the maintenance and spreading of Leptospira spp. in the environment. It is therefore important to monitor wild animals as carriers for leptospirosis as a preventive measure for public and veterinary health. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Ecological factors driving avian influenza virus dynamics in
Spanish wetland ecosystems

U. Höfle1, E. Pérez-Ramírez1, P. Acevedo2, N. Busquets2, N. Majó2,3; A. Allepuz2, 3, A.
Alba2, X. Gerrikagoitia4, M. Barral4,

1Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM, JCCM),
Ciudad Real, Spain; 2Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal CReSA, Universitat
Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; 3Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia
animals, Facultad de Veterinària (UAB), Barcelona (Spain); 4Instituto Vasco de
Investigación Agraria, NEIKER, Derio, Spain

There is currently limited scientific information about the basic epidemiology of avian influenza viruses (AIV) in wild birds in natural ecosystems, including the role of the environment itself and the effect of bird population ecology on transmission and persistence of AIV. The aim of this work was to study the contribution of environmental and host factors in the occurrence of the low pathogenic AIV (LPAIV) in Spanish wetlands under field conditions. For this purpose five different Spanish wetlands were studied during two consecutive years. Fresh faeces and water were periodically collected for viral detection, and the association of LPAIV prevalence with climatic conditions, vegetation, physical properties of surface water and density and diversity of wild birds of the wetlands was assessed. Mean LPAIV prevalence detected in fresh faeces was 1.7%±0.4, with significant temporal and spatial variation. Using variation partitioning procedures it could be concluded that the combination of space and time variables (locality, year and season), independently to other factors, explained the largest proportion of the variation (36.8%), followed by the meteorological factor (21.5%), and finally the combined effect of vegetation structure and wild bird community data, accounting for 21% of the variation. The results obtained are useful to generate hypotheses about ecological factors that may be associated with a higher occurrence of LPAIV in wetlands. This work may contribute to identify more efficient strategies of surveillance that target hotspots thus favouring early detection of AIV. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases The impact of forest changes on ticks
Wesley Tack1, Maxime Madder2, Kris Verheyen1
1Ghent University, Belgium; 2Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp, Belgium,
By altering the tree species composition and vertical structure, forest management may have a considerable impact on the suitability of forests for ticks and their hosts, thus influencing the dynamics of tick-borne diseases.This is particularly important in the context of ongoing projects that aim to convert pine plantations into semi-natural deciduous forests to optimize their economic, ecological and social/recreational functions. The impact of forest conversion on Ixodes ricinus populations was investigated in the Campine region (BE). Two observational studies – a large-scale survey and a local longitudinal study – were carried out in forest stands varying in tree species (pine vs. oak) and shrub cover to investigate the effect of landscape and local habitat on tick abundance. Also, a moderate thinning and shrub removal experiment were carried out to verify the influence of vertical forest structure on ticks. Finally, we studied the effect of a seed-addition experiment and an oak mast year on the abundances of rodents and their tick parasites to assess the importance of abundant food resources. At the landscape level, a positive effect was found for forest edge length (i.e. fragmentation) on the abundance of nymphs and adults. At the local level, the abundances of larvae, nymphs and adults were higher in oak stands compared to pine stands, and increased with increasing shrub cover. Thinning had no effect on tick abundances, while shrub clearing had an adverse affect on the abundances of all life stages up to two years post-clearing. Finally, rodent abundance and the abundance of questing nymphs showed a lagged positive response to acorn mast. Our results provide more insight into the role of forest composition, forest structure, and landscape configuration on the spatiotemporal variation in the abundance of I. ricinus ticks. We conclude that forest conversion might create suitable habitats for ticks by altering the dynamics between ticks and their key hosts. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Notable increase of E. multilocularis in red foxes (Vulpes
vulpes) in South Limburg, the Netherlands

Miriam Maas1, Cecile Dam-Deisz1, Katsuhisa Takumi1, Annika van Roon2, Joke van
der Giessen1,

1RIVM, The Netherlands; 2WUR, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Echinococcus multilocularis, the small fox tape worm, is considered the most pathogenic zoonotic parasite in Europe. If eggs of E. multilocularis are ingested by humans the disease alveolar echinococcosis (AE) can develop, which may be fatal if left untreated. E. multilocularis was first detected in the Netherlands in 1996 in the south of Limburg and the east of Groningen. Subsequent studies detected no other infected areas in the Netherlands. However, a spread northwards of E. multilocularis infection was found in Limburg (2.7 km/year), as well as an increase in worm burden of infected foxes. R0 was 1.6 (95% CI 1.1–3.5). Regular monitoring of E. multilocularis in this area is important to assess public health risks. To determine the current prevalence of E. multilocularis in the eastern suburban and rural areas of the city Maastricht (South Limburg), 37 foxes in this area were hunted in the winter of 2012-2013. They were examined by the Intestinal Scraping Technique and by a nested PCR on colon contents. Foxes were considered infected when either or both of the tests was/were positive. A prevalence of 57% (21/37; 95% CI 41-71%) was found. This is a notable increase compared to a similar study in 2005-2006, when 11% ((13/115; 95% CI 7-18%) of the foxes was infected. Worm burdens of foxes ranged from 1 to 500-1000 worms per fox, with four foxes having worm burdens higher than 100 worms per fox. The current prevalence in South-Limburg is comparable to the prevalence found in endemic areas in Central Europe, where the parasite has been present for many decades. The high prevalence will increase the zoonotic risk. Predictive models about the number of cases of AE will be adapted with this new prevalence to estimate the public health risks. Interventions measures need to be studied to determine the best control strategy for E. multilocularis in South Limburg. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Spatial approach of pathogen transmission in wild boar
Hans-Hermann Thulke
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
The pragmatic approach to infectious diseases of wild boar populations refers to large numbers, proportions thereof being infected, and quotas of the population for removal or protection to achieve control aims. This simplified world comprises few dynamics and spatial heterogeneities. Under field conditions the world often is less simple and research is forced to consider the spatially dynamic nature of disease transmission and host ecology. The wild boar occurs ubiquitous across the continents and may harbour a list of pathogens and parasites. Thus the wildlife host allows elaboration of spatial approaches using lessons learned from various incidents in European populations. We combined GIS data of landscape determinants of wild boar habitat with spatially structured population models to assess the risk associated with reintroduction of the species into depopulated areas in Denmark. We show how the static spatial approach was incomplete when understanding the very nature of Aujeszky infection spreading within East German populations. Using a dynamic approach we predict the most rewarding spatial design for wild boar vaccination against Classical Swine Fever. We illustrate how disregarding the spatial dimension in disease data was misleading our model validation. We highlight how the spatial view on African Swine Fever outbreaks in Russia, together with simulation of hypothetic spread of an infection in real landscapes, may be applied to determine characteristics of an emerging disease. The spatially explicit and dynamic approach will be visualised with appropriate means. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Nephropathia epidemica in Western Europe: can we improve
predictions by including space-time dependence?

Katrien Tersago1, Luigi Sedda2, Sophie Quoilin3, Jean-Marc Reynes4, Mirko Faber5,
Chantal Reusken6, William Wint7, Markus Metz8, Els Ducheyne9, Herwig Leirs1

1Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Antwerp, Belgium; 2Department of
Zoology, University of Oxford, UK; 3Epidemiology Infectious Diseases Unit,
Scientific Institute of Public health, Belgium; 4Centre National de Référence des
Hantavirus, Unité de Biologie des Infections Virales Emergentes, Institut Pasteur,
France; 5Robert Koch-Institute, Department for infectious disease epidemiology,
Germany; 6Dept Virology, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute
for Public Health and the Environment, The Netherlands; 7Environmental Research
Group Oxford, EDENext DMT, UK; 8GIS and Remote Sensing Platform, Biodiversity
and Molecular Ecology Department, Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione
Edmund Mach, Italy; 9AVIA-GIS, Belgium

The most common hantavirus in Europe, Puumala virus (PUUV), is specifically hosted by bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and causes a mild form of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome, called nephropathia epidemica (NE) in humans. In the last decade, significant changes in incidence patterns of NE have been described in Western Europe. A sudden increase in NE incidence and changes in epidemic periodicity ask for models allowing early prediction of local NE outbreaks in this region. There is however explicit space-time variation in terms of local clusters with varying NE incidence in humans. Spatial variation in NE risk has been associated mainly with human behavioural patterns, preferred bank vole habitat and local physicochemical or climate conditions that affect both vole ecology and virus survival. Temporal variation is driven by bank vole population dynamics where peaks in bank vole abundance and consequent PUUV epizootics are followed by NE epidemics in humans. In the presented study we hypothesize that a single set of explanatory variables can describe the observed space-time patterns found in Western Europe. Hence, we aim to construct an ecological-based regression model for NE, allowing prediction of local NE outbreaks in the coming year throughout the West-European region. A Bayesian Mixed model is used, which is based on long-term NE occurrence datasets from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands where geo-referenced NE cases were registered at NUTS3 or NUTS4 resolution, with varying time series between 2000 and 2012. Explanatory variables (climate, land use, soil texture variables and remote sensing derivatives) have been selected based on previous modelling work and explored in their spatio-temporal dependence structure. First results point out a single set of explanatory variables for the observed spatio-temporal trend in NE occurrence in Western Europe. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Zoonotic transfer of Chlamydia psittaci from avian wildlife to
staff of a Belgian bird rehabilitation centre

Isabelle D. Kalmar, Veerle Dicxk, Liesbeth Dossche, Daisy Vanrompay
Ghent University, Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Belgium
Chlamydia (C.) psittaci, a gram-negative obligatory intracellular bacterium, is a zoonotic pathogen with a wide host range and worldwide geographical spread. The objective of the current study was to investigate the occurrence of C. psittaci infections in Belgian avian wildlife and its zoonotic transmission to staff of a bird rehabilitation centre. Throat swabs of 10 human caretakers and pharyngeal swabs of 42 randomly sampled birds of 8 orders were examined for presence of viable C. psittaci by isolation in buffalo green monkey cells and direct immunofluorescene staining (IMAGEN, DK). All isolates were characterized using an ompA based genotype-specific real-time PCR. Eleven of 42 wild birds were culture positive. Isolates were characterised as genotype A, B, D, and E/B. Only four infected birds were generally ill and two of seven infected but clinically healthy birds were being trained for release. Viable C. psittaci genotype B was detected in 3 of 10 sampled caretakers. A 66-year-old male was sub clinically infected, a 31-year-old male reported sneezing for the past two weeks and a 33-year-old male suffered from sneezing, sore throat, headache, arthralgia, fatigue, fever and light-headedness for 3 days during the last two weeks. Heightened surveillance and control measures should be implemented in bird rehabilitation centres to prevent zoonotic transmission and pathogen (re)-introduction into the wild. In addition, increased general awareness of the zoonotic risk of C. psittaci through contact with avian wildlife is warranted to facilitate early diagnosis and adequate treatment of psittacosis. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Poster presentations


5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Brucella surveillance in stranded marine mammals from the
North Sea

Elena Isabel Alonso-Velasco1, Thierry Jauniaux2, Patrick Michel1, Jaques Godfroid3,
David Fretin1

1Unit of Bacterial Zoonoses of Livestock, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research
Center, Brussels, Belgium; 2Department of General Pathology, University of Liège ,
Liège, Belgium; 3Norvegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of Food
Safety and Infection Biology, Belgium; Section for Arctic Veterinary Medicine,
Tromsø, Norway.

Brucella infections have been recognized in sea mammals. Two different species, B. pinnipedialis and B.ceti, have been described in pinnipeds and cetaceans, respectively. Brucellosis in marine mammals is recognized as a zoonotic disease. Three cases of marine Brucella infection in humans have been reported without any direct contact with marine mammals. This suggests that the infection may have been acquired by the consumption of see food. Transmission of Brucella in marine mammals is poorly understood, but both vertical and food chain transmission have been suggested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Brucella infection among marine mammals, in order to assess the potential zoonotic risk of marine mammal Brucella in the North Sea. A Brucella surveillance program of stranded marine mammals on the coast of Belgium, France and Netherlands has been monitored since 1999. A total of 341 organ samples from 131 marine mammals, recovered between 1999 and 2011, have been cultured in Farrell medium for Brucella detection. Isolates were identified and typed by MLVA (Multi Locus Variable Tandem Repeats Analysis) on the basis of 16 different markers. Brucella spp. was isolated in 8.4%, (11/131), of the stranded animals. The isolates were recovered from harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) (n=6), harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) (n=3) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) (n=2). As expected, B. pinnipedialis and B.ceti were detected in pinnipeds and cetaceans, respectively. Brucella was mainly found in lungs (n=7) and bronchial lymph nodes (n=4) among the positive animals, showing the importance of these organs as targets for Brucella detection. Different genetic profiles were identified by MLVA, demonstrating strain variability of Brucella spp. circulating in marine mammals in the North Sea. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Swimmer's itch in Belgium: first recorded outbreak at the Lacs
de l'Eau d'Heure

Yannick Caron, Françoise Maréchal, Elodie Renard, Bertrand Losson
University of Liège, Belgium
Swimmer's itch is a skin condition in humans due to the larval forms of the bird schistosomes of the genus Trichobilharzia. The life cycle of these schistosomes requires freshwater snails and waterfowls. In humans engaged in water activities, repeated exposures to cercariae can lead to skin sensitization with the induction of pruritic skin lesions. Thus swimmer's itch is considered essentially not harmful but very unpleasant. Consequently, outbreaks can lead to financial losses for touristic recreational areas. We describe here an outbreak of cercarial dermatitis at the Eau d'Heure dams, Belgium. The Eau d'Heure and Platte Taill dams were built in the 70's. The Platte Taille dam is used for power supply and consequently the depth of the lake can vary considerably which is not the case at Falemprise. In the early 2000 a recreational area comprising a series of cottages and touristic facilities was built up at the Platte Taille. Two small shallow swimming areas are available for the tourists. On July 27th 2012 the weather was hot and sunny and the swimming area at Platte Taille was crowded. A total of 78 people reported a sudden skin rash accompanied by itching. Initially cyanobacteria (algal bloom) were suspected as aetiological agents and the swimming area was closed. However, the samples were fond negative for cyanobacteria toxins and the swimming area was reopened on August 2nd. On August 19th there was a second outbreak involving 10 people. No cases were reported at Falemprise. On September 21th several thousand of snails (mainly of the genus Lymnaea and Radix) were collected, transported to the lab and cercarial shedding was stimulated through light exposure. A massive emergence of ocellate cercariae was recorded at the Platte Taille indicating that the skin condition was due to cercarial exposure. Infected snails and cercariae were kept for molecular identification. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Exotic vector and pathogen surveillance programme in

Isra Deblauwe, Julie Demeulemeester, Maxime Madder
Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium
Several vector-borne diseases (e.g. Babesiosis, Bluetongue Virus (BTV), Schmallenberg Virus (SBV), West-Nile Virus (WNV)) are emerging in Belgium or in other European countries and some are now endemic. The increase in international transport, the removal of quarantine measures within the EU zone and the growing tourism contribute to the increasing risk of spread of pathogens and vectors. Strengthening surveillance of exotic vectors (mosquitoes, Culicoides and ticks) and their pathogens in areas at risk of importation or spread and risk of virus transmission is therefore required. Following the implementation of invasive mosquito surveillance in Belgium in 2012, to evaluate the guidelines of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the surveillance continued in 2013 and also included that of exotic biting midges and ticks, and their most important pathogens: Passive and active sampling of mosquitoes and passive sampling of Culicoides from April till November 2013 at shelters for imported cutting plants, fruits and vegetables, main parking lots along highways originating from colonised areas, ports, airports and/or platforms of imported used tyres. Passive sampling of endemic Culicoides from April till November 2013 at a private site in rural area (Betekom). Active sampling of the invasive tick Dermacentor reticulatus (and also of endemic tick species) from January till June and from September till December 2013 at two colonised sites (De Panne & Moen) and at sites where its presence is suspected (Nature Reserves where cattle or horses are imported from colonised sites). Screening for pathogens in invasive mosquitoes (WNV), exotic and endemic Culicoides (BTV, SBV) and invasive and endemic ticks (Theileria equi, Babesia canis, Babesia caballi, Borrelia, Tick Borne Encephalitis Virus (TBE)). Until now only endemic mosquitoes and biting midges were collected at the points of entry, while the tick Dermacentor reticulatus was caught between December 2012 and May 2013 in De Panne and Moen. The screening for pathogens is ongoing. Seven pools (2 to 5 ticks/pool) of Dermacentor reticulatus were negative for Babesia and Theileria. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases The Belgian protocol for ranking alien animals: the role of
wildlife diseases

Bram, D'hondt1, Sophie Roelandt2, Sonia Vanderhoeven1, Etienne Branquart3
1Belgian Biodiversity Platform, Belgium; 2Veterinary and Agrochemical Research
Centre (CODA-CERVA), Belgium, 3Service Public de Wallonie, Belgium

Invasive alien species are species that newly enter a region and spread so rapidly that their presence becomes problematic. The pathogens they carry play an essential role in such invasion events. First, pathogens can act as a driver contributing to the host species' success. Second, the pathogens themselves can directly lead to harm of human health, production loss of livestock, or decline of wildlife animals. Tools that wish to screen the invasion potential of newly emerging alien species therefore need to take wildlife diseases into account. The Belgian HARMONIA system makes such an attempt, but also calls for an increased effort in studying wildlife disease dynamics for alien species. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Transmission dynamics of Borrelia bacteria in an European
bird tick community

Dieter Heylen1, Hein Sprong2, Erik Matthysen1
1University of Antwerp, Belgium; 2National Institute for Public Health and
Environment (RIVM), the Netherlands

We examined the Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. circulation in a tick community consisting of three species (Ixodes ricinus, I. frontalis, I. arboricola) with contrasting ecologies, but sharing a common host: the great tit (Parus major), one of the most common birds of gardens and woodlands. While this bird is the principal host for the specialized nidicolous tick I. arboricola, it is one of many hosts for the generalists I. frontalis and I. ricinus. We found evidence that all the three tick species have a potential to contribute to the maintenance of Borrelia infections in P. major. Field data show that the birds hosted Borrelia-infected larvae of both I. frontalis and I. ricinus, indicating the facilitation of Borrelia transmission by the bird. The low, but significant numbers of Borrelia in unfed I. arboricola ticks collected from bird nest boxes, provide the first field data showing that it is competent in maintaining Borrelia over long periods of time. Aside from the known avian genospecies (B. garinii and B. valaisiana), several less dominant genospecies were observed in all three ticks, including mammalian genospecies (B. afzelii, B. burgdorferi s.s. and B. spielmanii) and a first record of B. turdi for North-Western Europe. In a laboratory experiment, we show that P. major selectively facilitates the transmission of different Borrelia strains. We imitated the natural situation during the bird's post-fledging period, in which juvenile birds are repeatedly exposed to infected I. ricinus nymphs. Birds developed systemic infections of the avian genospecies, while they showed a low transmission competence for the mammalian genospecies. However, a low number of birds were permissive for B. afzelii strains. In a second experiment, we also show successful Borrelia infection and trans-stadial transmission in the bird-specialized I. frontalis and I. arboricola, however, the infected ticks were not able to transmit the Borrelia to a next host. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Seroprevalence of Mycoplasma gallisepticum in wild crows
and geese in Belgium

Tinne Michiels1, Bénédicte Lambrecht2, An Martel3, Patrick Butaye1,3
1Department of Foodborne bacterial zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance,
Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre, Brussels , Belgium; 2Department of
Avian Virology and Immunology viral diseases, Veterinary and Agrochemical
Research Centre, Brussels, Belgium; 3Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and
Avian diseases, Faculty of Veterinary medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke,

Mycoplasma gallisepticum is the causative agent of chronic respiratory disease (CRD) in chickens. CRD is characterized by coughing, nasal discharge, sinusitis and severe lesions on the air sacs. Economic losses, due to a decrease in weight gain and egg production, are significant. Moreover, breeder flocks that are infected with M. gallisepticum have to be culled. Mycoplasma species are host restricted but infections with M. gallisepticum, which occur mostly in chickens, also have been detected in other bird species (reservoirs) such as pheasants, partridges, peacocks, ducks, wild turkeys, and house finches. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there were other reservoirs for M. gallisepticum in wildlife. Therefor we analyzed serum samples of wild crows and geese for the presence of antibodies against M. gallisepticum. In 2012, blood samples of wild geese were collected in Belgium. Samples from Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and Greylag geese (Anser anser) were tested. Samples from carrion crows (Corvus corone) were also collected in 2012. We obtained a total of 192 blood samples of acceptable quality to analyze the presence of antibodies against M. gallisepticum. Ninety-six samples were from crows and 96 were from geese. Antibodies were detected using a Blocking Enzyme Immunosorbent Assay (Svanovir® MG-Ab). Results were read using a photometer at 450 nm. All samples of both wild crows and geese were negative. In this study, it seems like wild crows and geese do not play an important role in the spread of M. gallisepticum in Belgium. However, further investigation in other wild birds is ongoing. Acks: T. Michiels is supported by the Federal Public Service of Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (RCO-6752 MYCOPLASMA). The study was funded by the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain. The authors thank Didier Vangeluwe (Belgian Ringing Centre, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Belgium) for providing the samples. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Spatial descriptive analysis of 2012 winter colony mortality in
Belgian honeybees

Sophie Roelandt1, Estelle Meroc1, Flavien, Riocreux1, Dirk de Graaf2, Kim Bach
Nguyen3, Bénédicte Verhoeven4, Marc Dispas1, Stefan Roels1, Yves Van der Stede1

1Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre (CODA-CERVA), Belgium;
2Laboratory of Zoophysiology, Deptartment of Physiology, University of Ghent,
Belgium; 3Deptartment of Functional and Evolutionary Entomology, Gembloux
Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liege, Belgium; 4Federal Agency for the Safety of the
Food Chain (FASFC), Belgium

Over the last 6 years, increases in honeybee mortality have been reported in several countries within and outside the EU. In 2011, the EC set up and co-financed a standardized and Europe-wide voluntary surveillance program to obtain reliable and accurate measures of honeybee colony losses and health. The Belgian surveillance program was based on the study by Nguyen et al. (2011), which documented recent Belgian bee-pathogen prevalence. The EU guidelines were adapted for a small-scale Belgian beekeeping scenario. The sampling strategy was multi-stage (apiary/colony levels) and stratified by province: 150 apiaries were selected from a sampling frame of 3000 registered beekeepers. These apiaries were visited twice - in autumn 2012 and spring 2013 - and questionnaires were completed, collecting info on potential risk factors and mortality. Honeybee samples, systematically taken at the first visit, were screened for Varroa destructor by mite counts. Subsequently, the samples were then stored (frozen at -80°C) until spring 2013. Once winter colony mortality was recorded at the second visit, stored samples were selected in a case control design (dead versus live colonies) and screened for 6 bee-specific RNA-viruses by MLPA-PCR, as developed by De Smet et al. (2012). Within ArcGIS® software, several data layers from the apiary visit questionnaires (such as mortality, management practices, and surrounding landscapes) as well as the obtained laboratory test results, will be visualized on maps in relation to the associated spatial data (GPS coordinates, postal codes). Within SatScan® software, the spatial scan statistic will be used to highlight potential clusters in these spatial data. The available data, procedures and maps will be presented. This descriptive spatial analysis of honeybee winter colony mortality will generate hypotheses for in depth risk factor and GIS analyses. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae isolated from the faeces
of Falconidae, Accipitridae and Laridae in bird rescue centres

in Belgium
Lieze Oscar Rouffaer, Freddy Haesebrouck , An Martel
Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

Although Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamases (ESBLs) and Klebsiella pneumoniae Carbapenemases (KPCs) have been investigated widely, little is known about their presence in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from wild birds in bird rescue centres in Western Europe. Faeces, choanal and cloacal swabs of 181 birds (Columbiformes, Passeriformes, Charadriiformes, Falconiformes, Accipitriformes and Strigiformes) were inoculated onto MacConkey agar supplemented with 8mg/l ceftiofur. Colonies suspected to be Escherichia coli or Klebsiella pneumoniae were purified and identified using biochemical tests and sequencing of the 16S rRNA-gene. To confirm resistance, a disk diffusion test was done using 30µg ceftiofur, 30µg-15µg amoxicillin-clavunate and 15µg imipenem tablets. PCR and sequencing was performed to detect the genes coding for the CTX-M, TEM, SHV and CMY enzymes. E. coli resistant to ceftiofur, was isolated from the faeces of two Falco tinnunculus' and a Buteo buteo. A ceftiofur resistant Citrobacter freundii was isolated from a pooled faecal sample from a group of gulls (including a Larus marinus, Larus fuscus and Larus argentatus'). BlaCTX-M-1, blaCTX-M-15 and blaCTX-M-32 genes coded for the resistance. BlaTEM-1 and blaTEM-135 genes, beta-lactamases, although no ESBL's, were also recovered. Imipenem resistant bacteria were not isolated. ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae were found in the faeces of a small number of hospitalised birds. Spread of the genes encoding this type of resistance among the enteric microbiota of birds in these centres appears to be limited. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Racing Pigeons: a Reservoir for Nitro-Imidazole-Resistant
Trichomonas gallinae

Lieze Oscar Rouffaer1, Connie Adriaensen1, Cindy De Boeck1, Edwin Claerebout2, An

1Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium;
2Department of Virology, Parasitology and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium

Trichomonas gallinae, the cause of avian trichomonosis, is most commonly found in the order of the Columbiformes. Racing pigeons are often treated preventively with nitro-imidazoles which could result in the emergence of resistant strains. These strains can be a threat to wildlife when exchange of strains would occur. The sequence type of 16 T. gallinae strains isolated from racing pigeons and 15 strains from wild pigeons was determined based on the ITS1/5.8S rRNA/ITS2 region sequence. Besides, the resistance profile of these strains against five different nitro-imidazoles (metronidazole, dimetridazole, ronidazole, tinidazole and carnidazole) was determined. Two different Trichomonas sequence types were isolated. Sequence type A strains were isolated out of racing and wild pigeons, in contrast to sequence type B which was only recovered from wild pigeons. Strains with sequence type B were all susceptible to the tested nitro-imidazoles, except for tinidazole where three resistant isolates were isolated. Resistance to the nitro-imidazoles was more frequently observed in strains isolated from racing pigeons than from wild pigeons, with most strains belonging to sequence type A. A higher percentage of the sequence types A isolated from racing pigeons, in comparison with those isolated from the wild pigeons, were resistant to the nitro-imidazoles and displayed higher MLC values. Two isolates belonging to the same sequence type A, one recovered from a racing pigeon and one from a wild pigeon, displayed a similar resistance pattern. This could be an indication of exchange of resistant strains between racing pigeons and wild pigeons. This study shows that resistant T. gallinae strains occur frequently in racing pigeons and exchange of these resistant strains between domestic and wild birds can occur. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Antibodies against Schmallenberg virus in Flemish Roe Deer
(Capreolus capreolus
Paul Tavernier1, Nick De Regge2, Dennis Kozlowski2, Stanislas Sys3, Stefan Roels4,
Brigitte Cay2

1WILDPAD, Polbroek 17, B 9520 St-Lievens-Houtem, Belgium; 2 Operational
Direction Enzootic and (Re)Emerging Diseases, CODA/CERVA, Groeselenberg 99, B
1180 Brussels, Belgium; 3Department of Large Animal Internal Medicine, Veterinary
Faculty, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, B 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium;
4Operational Direction Interactions and Surveillance, CODA/CERVA, Groeselenberg
99, B 1180 Brussels, Belgium

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) infection in domestic ruminants, causing atypical disease in adults and congenital malformations in newborn animals, was first recorded in Belgium at the end of 2011, after the causative agent of the emerging epidemic had been identified in Germany. SBV is transmitted by insect vectors, biting midges of the genus Culicoides. The massive circulation of the virus in 2011 in Belgium was evidenced by a between-herd seroprevalence of almost 100 % in sheep and cattle at the end of the first vector season. In wild cervids, a high seroprevalence was found in Wallonia and in the Netherlands using ELISA and virusneutralization (VNT) tests respectively. Signs of disease are difficult to observe in wild cervids but have not been reported so far. In Flanders, 112 roe deer sera, collected from 02/2009 to 09/2011 (period 1) and from 01/2012 to 03/2013 (period 2), were tested for SBV antibodies with VNT. All the sera from the period 1 were negative. In the sera from period 2, the percentage of positives (63 %: 95% confidence interval 48-77%) was comparable to that from roe deer sera collected from October to December 2011 in Wallonia (46 %). In Flanders, the circulation of SBV in its Culicoides vectors was reported from September 2011 on. It appears probable that seroconversion in Flemish roe deer took place between October and December 2011, corresponding to the Walloon observations. However, due to the legal hunting periods in Flanders, roe deer sera from October to December 2011 were not available. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Serologic findings in Roe Deer in Flanders
Paul Tavernier1, Stanislas Sys2, Paul Heyman3, Marc Govaerts4, David Frétin4, Els
Goossens4, Brigitte Cay4, Kris De Clerq4, Ilse De Leeuw4, Sophie Roelandt4,
Alexandre Dobly4, Daisy Van Rompaey5, Isabelle Kalmar5, Stéphane De Craeye6,
Bernard Brochier6, Stefan Roels4

1WILDPAD, Polbroek 17, 9520 St-Lievens-Houtem, Belgium; 2Department of Large
Animal Internal Medicine, Veterinary Faculty, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133,
B 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium; 3ACOS WB,
Ministry of Defence, Bruynstraat 1,
Brussels, Belgium; 4CODA/CERVA/VAR, Groeselenberg 99, 1180 Brussels, Belgium;
5Faculty of Bioengineering, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium; 6WIV/ISP/IPH,
Engelandstraat 642, B 1180 Brussels, Belgium

Roe deer numbers have increased steadily in the last twenty years in Flanders and are estimated at 20,000 with the highest densities in the eastern provinces. Contacts between roe deer and domestic ruminants are probable, due to the small-scale Flemish landscape structure. A preliminary serologic screening on hunter-collected roe deer sera (N = 131) was carried
out from May 2008 to September 2011, in order to detect the circulation of relevant viruses,
bacteria and parasites in roe deer. Using different methods, the sera were examined for
antibodies to twelve infectious agents (percent positives and suspects in brackets):
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (5.22 %; susp. 2.61 %), Brucella abortus (0
%), Coxiella burnetii (0.87 %), Leptospira sp. (2.54 %), Chlamydia abortus (1.65 %; susp.
1.65 %), Anaplasma phagocytophilum (56.1 %), Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus (BVD) (1.85
%), Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis virus (IBR) (0 %), Bluetongue virus (BTV) (0%; susp.
3.48 %), Tick-borne Encephalitis virus (TBE) ( 0 %), Toxoplasma gondii (47.50 %) and
Neospora caninum (6.72%).
Like in Belgian cattle and southern Belgian cervids, paratuberculosis appears enzootic in Flemish roe deer. Except for A.phagocytophilum ,T.gondii and N.caninum, exposure to the other pathogens is low or non-existent. No difference in seroprevalence was found between sexes, ages and geographical origin of the sera. The quality of hunter-collected samples and the determination of the cut-off values in roe deer are main challenges for the interpretation of the results. The samples will be further tested for Schmallenberg virus antibodies. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Emergence of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
coronavirus: are bats to blame?

Steven Van Gucht, Françoise Wuillaume, Karim El Kadaani, Aurélie Francart,
Bernard Brochier, Florence Nazé, Isabelle Thomas

Viral Diseases and Infectious Diseases Unit, Scientific Institute of Public Health
(WIV-ISP), Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14, 1050 Brussels, Belgium

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (CoV) is a newly emerging beta-coronavirus that causes a severe acute respiratory infection. The first human cases were identified in April 2012. Up to the 4th of September 2013, 111 cases were identified, with 51 deaths (46%). All cases originate directly or indirectly from the Middle East. Sporadic cases continue to emerge, family or hospital clusters occur, but there is no evidence of sustained transmission. The virus has several characteristics in common with the SARS CoV, which emerged in China in 2002. It is not possible to predict the future epidemiology. Considering the continuous emergence of sporadic cases, the high genetic variability of coronaviruses and the occurrence of milder or subclinical cases, there seems to be some epidemic potential. Thanks to lessons learned from the SARS pandemic, affected countries have adopted appropriate surveillance, infection prevention and control measures. The epidemiological pattern suggests a zoonotic source, but the animal vector or reservoir remain unidentified. If the animal source can be located, sporadic transmission to humans may be controlled, reducing the epidemic potential. Hence, the importance to invest in surveillance systems in wildlife and domestic animals. Data on MERS CoV in animals remain scarce. Cross-neutralizing antibodies have been detected in dromedary camels in Egypt, Oman and Spain, but the virus was not demonstrated. Bats are recognized as the ancestral host of many mammalian coronaviruses, SARS CoV had a bat reservoir and a close relative of MERS CoV was isolated from a Pipistrellus bat in the Netherlands in 2008. Related viruses were detected in 15% faecal samples of Pipistrellus bats in Ukraine, Romania, Germany and the Netherlands. MERS CoV might therefore have diverged from European bat coronaviruses. A CoV with 100% homology in a 181 basepair fragment was recently detected in faeces of 1 insectivorous bat (Taphozous perforatus) in Saudi Arabia. In Belgium, sick or dead-found bats are collected for rabies analysis. The National Reference Centre of Rabies (WIV-ISP, Brussels) holds a collection of cadavers since 2006. Lungs and intestines are currently being tested for the presence of MERS-like CoV. The work is ongoing, but no positive bats have been found thus far in Belgium. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases Pseudorabies virus isolates originating from Belgian domestic
pigs and wild boar: genetic characterization and evaluation of

their in vitro virulence
Sara Verpoest, Brigitte Cay,Nick De Regge
CODA-CERVA, Brussels, Belgium
Aujeszky's disease is an economical important disease caused by the porcine alphaherpesvirus, pseudorabies virus (PRV). The disease has been eradicated in domestic pigs in a large part of Europe due to vaccination programs. Serological studies however show that the virus is still present in wild boar. To get first insights in the variability and virulence of Belgian wild boar strains, five PRV strains were genetically characterized and their in vitro virulence was compared with strains isolated from Belgian domestic pigs and the virulent NIA3 strain. Genetic characterization by BamHI restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis showed that all wild boar isolates and three of the oldest domestic swine isolates have RFLP pattern type I, typically seen in wild boar and older PRV strains. The other domestic pig strains were characterized as type II, commonly found in European domestic pigs. Phylogenetic analysis based on the sequence of a fragment of the glycoprotein C gene revealed that four wild boar isolates are identical apart from one nucleotide substitution and belong to clade B (Muller et al. 2010). The other wild boar isolate and all domestic pig isolates belong to clade A. Concerning the in vitro virulence, one step growth kinetics on continuous swine testical (ST) cells and primary porcine cells showed no obvious differences in the in vitro growth capacity between isolates from wild boar and domestic pigs. Also, no difference in sensitivity to interferon alpha and gamma was observed between the different isolates on ST cells. Our results indicate that Belgian wild boar strains show many similarities with other European isolates and that the in vitro virulence is not reduced when compared to isolates from domestic pigs. 5th Symposium BWDS: Spatial Approach of Wildlife Diseases


Lichen planus

clinical practice Laurence Le Cleach, M.D., and Olivier Chosidow, M.D., Ph.D. This Journal feature begins with a case vignette highlighting a common clinical problem. Evidence supporting various strategies is then presented, followed by a review of formal guidelines, when they exist. The article ends with the authors' clinical recommendations.

T xas Node Newsletter Trivedi's Thoughts Dear Texas Node, This is the time where we all have undoubtedly reflected upon our accomplishments of the past year and are now in the midst of working Volume 2, Issue 1 toward our goals for this year. I'd like to take this opportunity to provide a ‘State of the Node' update. Last year was eventful and productive on many fronts. Study