Bovine Tuberculosis: Borne to be Wild?

Disseminated bovine tuberculosis lesions seen with chronic infection throughout lungs of a wild deer
Disseminated bovine tuberculosis lesions seen with chronic infection throughout lungs of a wild deer. Credits: Deer Alliance

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) is generally viewed as a disease of cattle and domesticated bovines. However, there are cycles of spillover of the agent which function in certain niches, especially in peri-sylvatic ecosystems where interactions between domesticated bovines and wild cervids (deer) or other wild bovines (wildbeeste) may create vulnerabilities. Since it is especially difficult to monitor the disease in wild populations, such spillovers may be difficult to detect and have extensive impact before effective interventions are implemented. The identification of bTB in wild cervids in South Eastern Indiana in the United States thus serves as a reminder of this difficult issue.


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Does E. ewingii Cause More Cases of Ehrlichiosis Than Previously Thought?

This figure shows the incidence of ehrlichicosis cases by state in 2010 per million persons. Ehrlichiosis was not notifiable in Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota or Montana. The incidence rate was zero for Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Incidence ranged between 0.03 to 1 case per million persons for California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Texas. Annual incidence ranged from 1 to 3.3 cases per million persons in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, South Carolina and West Virginia. The highest incidence rates, ranging from 3.3 to 26 cases per million persons were found in Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Image and text credit: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage on Statistics and Epidemiology of Ehrlichiosis. Link

Ehrlichiosis is caused by three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Ehrlichia: E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii and the provisionally named E. muris like (EML). A recent article in the CDC’s EID indicates that the proportion of cases attributable to E. ewingii may be higher than what we initially knew it to be.


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Ritual Slaughter: A Potential Route for Transmission of Brucellosis

Syrian_Bedouin_ShepherdRitual slaughter of animals has a special place in the socio-cultural matrix of several countries. A recent correspondence from Israel, published by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases highlights a small case series where the only identifiable route of transmission was the contact shared by the exposed individuals during a ritual slaughter of sheep purchased from Bedouins. Israel has been experiencing a rapid rise in the number of cases of brucellosis owing to the scrapping of “test, slaughter and compensate” policies for small ruminants in 1997, in addition to some other contributory factors. This article highlights the unusual route of transmission through ritual slaughter of infected animals.

Image Credit: Syrian Bedouin Shepherd via Wikimedia


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Myiasis Associated Septicemia with Wohlfartiimonas: Innocent Bystander or Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

w magnifica flyThe recent issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), has published a couple of cases of septicemia in two elderly people with Wohlfartiimonas chitiniclastica, of whom one had succumbed to the infection. This comes as an addition to a growing body of evidence about this rare infection, associated with the fly Wohlfartiimonas magnifica, which has been most commonly been associated with myiasis. Image Credit: CDC EID via Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Wikimedia Commons.


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Mycobacterium bovis: Possible Person-to-Person Airborne Transmission

medscape btb

A recent article from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), describes the results of an intensive contact tracing program initiated after it was suspected that a Nebraska man, who had pulmonary tuberculosis attributable to Mycobacterium bovis, had acted as the primary focus for person-to-person transmission to other susceptible people, through airborne routes.


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Novel Zoonotic Bartonellosis

BartonellosisThe CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal reports the finding of novel zoonotic species of Bartonella, the organism responsible for several chronic infectious diseases in man. This adds to the increasing awareness and growing evidence that there is more than what meets the eye when it comes to understanding the zoonotic potential and pathogen emergence as more and more microbes, traditionally thought to be disease causing in animals, are easily jumping across the species barriers to affect man.


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