Invasive Species, Fellow Travelers, Zoonoses

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Invasive Species, Fellow Travelers, Zoonoses

elokuu 3, 2020, 1:57 pm

Invasive Species, Fellow Travelers, Zoonoses:
Prevention, Containment, Eradication & Management

Preventing a pandemic is 500 times cheaper than responding to one
Timothy Huzar | July 31, 2020

New research indicates that responding to a pandemic, such as the current spread of COVID-19, is 500 times more expensive than taking preventive measures...a worldwide shift toward preventive action is necessary if we are to avoid the profound damage wrought by the global spread of disease

Zoonotic disease...spread from nonhuman animals to humans...

Points of contact...Prime among these is land conversion, which can involve the deforestation of rainforests...The policy brief also highlights that the global trade in wild animals is a significant driver of human and nonhuman animal contact...

Prevention outweighs response...preventive measures could include expanding programs that monitor the trade in wildlife, ending the wild meat trade, reducing deforestation by 50%, and investing in programs to reduce the transmission of disease from wildlife to domestic, farmed animals...


Andrew P. Dobson et al. 2020. Ecology and economics for pandemic prevention (policy brief). Science 24 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6502, pp. 379-381. DOI: 10.1126/science.abc3189

For a century, two new viruses per year have spilled from their natural hosts into humans... The MERS, SARS, and 2009 H1N1 epidemics, and the HIV and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemics, testify to their damage. Zoonotic viruses infect people directly most often when they handle live primates, bats, and other wildlife (or their meat) or indirectly from farm animals such as chickens and pigs. The risks are higher than increasingly intimate associations between humans and wildlife disease reservoirs accelerate the potential for viruses to spread globally. Here, we assess the cost of monitoring and preventing disease spillover driven by the unprecedented loss and fragmentation of tropical forests and by the burgeoning wildlife trade. Currently, we invest relatively little toward preventing deforestation and regulating wildlife trade, despite well-researched plans that demonstrate a high return on their investment in limiting zoonoses and conferring many other benefits. As public funding in response to COVID-19 continues to rise, our analysis suggests that the associated costs of these preventive efforts would be substantially less than the economic and mortality costs of responding to these pathogens once they have emerged...

Reducing Deforestation...
Wildlife Trade Spillover...
Early Detection and Control...
Farmed Animal Spillover...

Muokkaaja: elokuu 3, 2020, 2:45 pm

China is also blatantly sending seeds to citizens which so far seem to be innocuous but could just as easily be threatening. If you've received them please don't plant them!

ETA - I know this sounds like a hoax but it is not. This is an article from NPR and there are plenty more from other sources.

elokuu 3, 2020, 3:53 pm

>2 mamzel: I can't find the article but according to what I read the seed packets may be a case of what is termed "brushing".

The deal is that if I am a less than honest seller on something like Amazon I can just send you something (you haven't been hacked or scammed and you don't wind up paying for whatever is sent), provide proof to the hosting site that I did send something to you and then, because you "bought" my item, I can post a fake review of whatever it is that I'm selling raving about whatever it is that I'm selling (it doesn't have to be seeds it can be anything I claim) and attach your name to the review as a verified purchaser. According to the article, a number of people who have reported receiving these seeds have stated the "purchase" label attached to the seed packets indicates a purchase of things like jewelry.

elokuu 3, 2020, 11:50 pm

Americans are planting mystery seeds the government has warned against (Guardian)

Americans have been planting mystery seeds which appeared to be sent from China, unaware of government warnings to dispose of the suspicious shipments. Four people who have come forward after apparently randomly receiving the seeds have since contacted their local agricultural departments to collect the resulting mystery plants – or in some cases, fruitless seeds...

elokuu 4, 2020, 3:02 am

elokuu 5, 2020, 7:35 am

The pet trade is increasingly responsible for introduction of new species (and their pathogens)--everywhere, but especially in Florida because of the wholesale trade and the accommodating environment.

Below is story on pet turtles. I once kept aquaria and the last fish to pass was a Mexican blind cavefish, a characin. That little guy must have been ancient in fish-years by the time he passed, allowing me to finally shut down my operation. I offered him at one point to Toledo Zoo, which had a great display of the species, but, of course, they declined, fearing pathogens... I fish, but somehow couldn't dispatch my pet, certainly couldn't release him to the wild, and so I waited...and waited...

Turtle dumping: Red-eared sliders are invading native turtle habitats in Ontario
The turtles we keep as pets don’t belong in the wild
Madigan Cotterill | July 19, 2020

...In Ontario, seven of the eight native turtle species are considered to be at risk by the federal government. So the last thing our turtles need is another threat — like an invader — but here one is.

The red-eared slider is the most common non-native species of turtle in Ontario, and they are being increasingly found in wetlands and waterways, says the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre (OTCC). Originally from central and south-central areas of the United States, the red-eared slider is now a common sighting throughout Ontario, especially in the Greater Toronto Area. So how did they get here? Turtle dumping.

...As the most common species of turtle to have as a pet, red-eared sliders are often purchased when they are about the size of a Canadian toonie ($2 coin). Not all owners are aware of the commitment needed to properly take care of a turtle, or mindful of how large they can be. In captivity, red-eared sliders can live up to 40 years and reach 12 inches in length.

...When the turtle becomes too big, or the owner no longer wants to keep it, individuals seek out ways to get rid of their pet. Surrendering a turtle properly, however, can be difficult.

...Now found in every state in the U.S., all provinces in Canada and 64 countries, (conservation biologist Marc) Dupuis-Desormeaux says that red-eared sliders are being released constantly into the wild.

..Kristen Janke, a veterinarian at the OTCC says there has been at least one confirmed case of herpes virus in a red-eared slider brought into the centre. “Whenever we have a new species coming into an area the question is always, ‘What are you bringing with you?...Usually the answer is disease and parasite.”

...“We know they are invading the natural habitat here in Ontario because we are actually seeing them being brought into the centre after being hit by cars or injuries out in the wild,” says Janke. “Because they are adults, we know that they have either been released or are successfully living years out there, like our native turtles.”

...the goal is to maintain healthy populations of the native turtles we already have. “By introducing a new one (turtle), we are just adding more threat that could reduce our native populations even more than we already have,” says Janke. She says that the OTCC is making a real difference for native species, and attention needs to be put on reducing the threats native turtles already face, not introducing new ones...

elokuu 5, 2020, 5:54 pm

They'red invasive in Europe too.

Ontario's fairly close to their "natural" distribution area though. Gotta wonder why they couldn't spread there on their own.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 6, 2020, 9:23 am

>7 Kuiperdolin: Though they could survive our summers, I suspect cold winters in n US and Canada (= ice and snow cover) have kept released Red-eared Sliders at bay until recently: "Red-eared sliders do not hibernate, but actually brumate; while they become less active, they do occasionally rise to the surface for food or air. ... In the wild, red-eared sliders brumate over the winter at the bottoms of ponds or shallow lakes. (Wikipedia)

Reportedly, northern turtle species are better able to survive long periods under ice and snow, e.g., breathe through skin (incl. "butt-breathe") and hard-shelled spp even buffer built-up acids with calcium from their shells. "Under the water there is no respite until the spring thaw. Oxygen continues to be depleted with no replenishment while painted and snapping turtles continue to mobilize calcium reserves in their shells to buffer acids. Winter becomes a marathon endurance trial, and only the hardiest survive it." ( )

USGS has a nice page on distribution of the Red-eared Slider, whose "indigenous range broadly covers the midwestern states and extending as far east as West Virginia and a disjunct (relict) population in southern Ohio, as far west as eastern New Mexico, and as far south as south of the Rio Grande River into northeastern Mexico...(see map)

elokuu 12, 2020, 7:55 am

>1 margd: contd.

Why deforestation and extinctions make pandemics more likely
Researchers are redoubling efforts to understand links between biodiversity and emerging diseases — and use that information to predict and stop future outbreaks.
Jeff Tollefson | 07 August 2020

...Last week, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) hosted an online workshop on the nexus between biodiversity loss and emerging diseases. The organization’s goal now is to produce an expert assessment of the science underlying that connection ahead of a United Nations summit in New York that’s planned for September, where governments are expected to make new commitments to preserve biodiversity.

Others are calling for a more wide-ranging course of action. On 24 July, an interdisciplinary group of scientists, including virologists, economists and ecologists, published an essay in Science2, arguing that governments can help reduce the risk of future pandemics by controlling deforestation and curbing the wildlife trade, which involves the sale and consumption of wild — and often rare — animals that can host dangerous pathogens.

Most efforts to prevent the spread of new diseases tend to focus on vaccine development, early diagnosis and containment, but that’s like treating the symptoms without addressing the underlying cause, says Peter Daszak, a zoologist at the non-governmental organization EcoHealth Alliance in New York, who chaired the IPBES workshop. He says COVID-19 has helped to clarify the need to investigate biodiversity’s role in pathogen transmission.

...One message that the IPBES’s upcoming report is likely to deliver is that scientists and policymakers need to treat the rural frontier more holistically, addressing issues of public health, the environment and sustainable development in tandem. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many scientists and conservationists have emphasized curbing the wildlife trade — an industry worth an estimated US$20 billion annually in China, where the first coronavirus infections appeared. China has temporarily suspended its trade. But (Peter Daszak, a zoologist at the non-governmental organization EcoHealth Alliance in New York, who chaired the IPBES workshop and co-authored the Science essay >1 margd:) says the industry is just one piece in a larger puzzle that involves hunting, livestock, land use and ecology.

“Ecologists should be working with infectious-disease researchers, public-health workers and medics to track environmental change, assess the risk of pathogens crossing over and reduce risky human activities,” he says.

Daszak was an author of last month’s essay in Science, which argued that governments could substantially reduce the risk of future pandemics such as COVID-19 by investing in efforts to curb deforestation and the wildlife trade, as well as in efforts to monitor, prevent and control new virus outbreaks from wildlife and livestock. The team estimated that the cost of these actions would ring in at $22 billion to $33 billion annually, including $19.4 billion for ending trade in wild meat in China — a step that not all experts think is desirable or necessary — and up to $9.6 billion to help curb tropical deforestation. The total investment would be two orders of magnitude less than the $5.6-trillion price tag estimated for the COVID-19 pandemic, the team estimates...

elokuu 13, 2020, 2:03 am

Christopher J O'Bryan et al. 2020. Conservation epidemiology of predators and scavengers to reduce zoonotic risk (comment). The Lancet Planetary Health. Volume 4, ISSUE 8, e304-e305, August 01, 2020. DOI:

...decline (of predators and scavengers), coupled with expanding environmental destruction, is known to be a strong driver of zoonotic spillover.

...Predator and scavenger populations are declining and it is predicted that their numbers will continue to drop in the next 20 years due to overharvesting, habitat loss, and conflict with humans.

The reduction in the number of predators can increase the risk of zoonotic transmission by maximising the prevalence of infection when transmission depends on the contact rate within the prey population...

Moreover, zoonotic risk in humans is likely to be amplified in areas that are shared with wildlife....

The decline of predator and scavenger numbers can also increase disease risk in humans through a reduction in competitive exclusion, the act of outcompeting disease hosts for resources.

While predators and scavengers play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystem structure and reducing disease risk, human activities amplify risk when handling these species and reducing their populations in natural environments. This points to a dire need to not only uphold increasing review and regulation of markets and medicines that contain wildlife, but also to promote predator and scavenger conservation and habitat retention in shared landscapes...a conservation epidemiological approach that embraces the integration of ecology and the measurement of the downstream effect of conservation action on disease transmission dynamics at the human-wildlife interface.

Conservation epidemiological research will enable discovery on the impact of predator and scavenger conservation action on the epidemiology of zoonotic spillover at the human, wildlife, and livestock interface. Targeted to different stages of the wildlife market chain, conservation epidemiology will inform risk-based surveillance and control of pathogens of zoonotic potential and deliver an evidence base for public health policy that considers the preservation and protection of wildlife known to be reservoirs or regulators of zoonoses to reduce the risk of human exposure.

elokuu 19, 2020, 9:35 am

Global map of newly emerging, re-emerging/resurging, deliberately emerging(!) diseases:

David M.Morens and Anthony S.Fauci. 2020. Emerging Pandemic Diseases: How We Got To COVID-19. Cell (online 15 August 2020,

In Press, Journal Pre-proof.


Infectious diseases prevalent in humans and animals are caused by pathogens that once emerged from other animal hosts. In addition to these established infections, new infectious diseases periodically emerge. In extreme cases they may cause pandemics such as COVID-19; in other cases, dead end infections or smaller epidemics result. Established diseases may also re-emerge, for example by extending geographically or by becoming more transmissible or more pathogenic. Disease emergence reflects dynamic balances and imbalances, within complex globally-distributed ecosystems comprised of humans, animals, pathogens, and the environment. Understanding these variables is a necessary step in controlling future devastating disease emergences.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 20, 2020, 8:03 am

Sure hope African countries in home range approved introduction of genetically modified mosquito in US. Because males survive, I assume some day it will get back to home range. African countries should have opportunity to consent, or not, after weighing benefits to human health against ecological effects, if any. (Australia similarly proposed daughterless carp. Carp are a major source of protein in Asia. Any permanent change in germline of an invasive species should have consent of authorities in home range, IMHO.)

Map: predicted range of Africa's mosquito, Aedes aegypti and Asia's Aedes albopictus in the United States, 2017

750 million genetically engineered (daughterless A. aegypti) mosquitoes approved for release in Florida Keys
Sandee LaMotte | August 19, 2020

A plan to release over 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes into the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022 received final approval from local authorities, against the objection of many local residents and a coalition of environmental advocacy groups. The proposal had already won state and federal approval.

...The mosquito, named OX5034, has been altered to produce female offspring that die in the larval stage, well before hatching and growing large enough to bite and spread disease. Only the female mosquito bites for blood, which she needs to mature her eggs. Males feed only on nectar, and are thus not a carrier for disease.

The mosquito is also approved to be released into Harris County, Texas, beginning in 2021...

elokuu 21, 2020, 5:29 pm

Munyaradzi Makoni. 2020. Africa's invasive species problem. The Lancet Planetary Health. Volume 4, ISSUE 8, e317-e319, August 01, 2020. DOI:

Invasive species are among the top threats to biodiversity globally and are reported to be affecting livelihoods in 70% of African countries. How much progress is being made in their control and eradication in African nations?

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) Aichi Target 9 was signed by all African nations in 2011. Signatory countries committed to identify and prioritise control and eradication measures for priority invasive species. However, as the world, gears up to adopt a post-2020 Biodiversity Framework this year, invasive species are reported to be adversely affecting livelihoods in more than 70% of African countries.

...Diverse native communities sometimes function as 'enemy reservoirs' for parasites and diseases that keep down the numbers of invaders...

Muokkaaja: elokuu 22, 2020, 11:15 am

Genomic analysis reveals many animal species may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection
Lisa Howard, UC Davis | August 21, 2020

...scientists used genomic analysis to compare the main cellular receptor for the virus in humans—angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2—in 410 different species of vertebrates, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

...About 40 percent of the species potentially susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 are classified as "threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and may be especially vulnerable to human-to-animal transmission...

...Several critically endangered primate species, such as the Western lowland gorilla, Sumatran orangutan and Northern white-cheeked gibbon, are predicted to be at very high risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2 via their ACE2 receptor.

Other animals flagged as high risk include marine mammals such as gray whales and bottlenose dolphins, as well as Chinese hamsters.

...Because of the potential for animals to contract the novel coronavirus from humans, and vice versa, institutions including the National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo, which both contributed genomic material to the study, have strengthened programs to protect both animals and humans...


Joana Damas et al. 2020. Broad host range of SARS-CoV-2 predicted by comparative and structural analysis of ACE2 in vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2010146117 ,

(See Fig 1 and 2)

syyskuu 22, 2020, 4:10 pm

‘Mussel-bola’ Could Be Spreading. Maybe Now You’ll Pay Attention.
Marion Renault | Sept. 22, 2020

New findings suggest a previously unknown virus may play a role in the sudden death of many freshwater mussels in recent years.

...In a study published earlier this month in Scientific Reports, the research group used genetic testing to identify viruses in healthy and diseased mussels. One novel virus, they found, was 11 times more likely to be present in sick mussels.

...Federal estimates suggest more than 70 percent of North America’s freshwater mussels have been driven to endangerment or extinction. While pollution, habitat destruction and other human-caused hazards can explain some of that loss, the sudden die-offs have remained thoroughly unexplained.

Jordan C. Richard et al. 2020. Mass mortality in freshwater mussels (Actinonaias pectorosa) in the Clinch River, USA, linked to a novel densovirus. Vol.:(0123456789) Scientific Reports | (2020) 10:14498 | 10 p.

Freshwater mussels (order Unionida) are important members of freshwater biomes, providing ecosystem services such as water filtration, nutrient cycling and deposition, physical habitat stabilization, and food web enhancement. Mussels filter-feed on bacteria, suspended algae, detritus, phytoplankton and zooplankton, removing suspended particulate matter from the water column and from interstitial spaces within the substrate. During periods of low summer discharge in small rivers, mussel assemblages are capable of circulating water as it flows over them, leading to multiple cycles of filtration that can strongly influence ecosystem processes, even at moderate mussel densities4. Unionids are also gaining attention for their ability to filter out chemical contaminants and water-borne pathogens.Unfortunately, the order Unionida contains an exceptional number of imperiled taxa.

...Densoviruses cause lethal epidemic disease in invertebrates, including shrimp, cockroaches, crickets, moths, crayfish, and sea stars...filter feeding bivalves can remove viral pathogens from suspension in the water column ...introductions of exotic species and their pathogens, climate change, and ecologically induced physiological stressors have all been implicated as predisposing factors for infectious disease in wildlife...

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 9, 2020, 9:11 am

Hundreds of mink die from coronavirus at Wisconsin farm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deployed a team to ensure it is contained.
WISN Updated: 5:16 PM CDT Oct 8, 2020

...Medford, in Taylor County...There are dozens of mink farms in Wisconsin.

...The UW-Madison Veterinary Diagnostic Lab was on the lookout for COVID spreading to farm animals -- especially mink and ferrets, appear to be very susceptible to catching the virus from humans...Dr. Keith Paulson with the UW-Madison Veterinary School Diagnostic Laboratory. "There's significant mortality in the mink. The people that work on the farm, there's three people that work on the farm, they've seemed to recover, they had mild to moderate clinical signs."

Farm workers are composting the dead mink on site...The farm is now under quarantine.

Last month, as many as 8,000 mink died from the coronavirus at a farm in Utah.

Veterinary medicine researchers are working on a COVID vaccine for mink, as well as one for dogs and cats.

They said the best way to keep animals from contracting the virus is to keep humans from getting it in the first place.


COVID-19 outbreak kills thousands of minks on Utah fur farms
Vincent Barone | October 9, 2020

A coronavirus outbreak has killed (8,000) minks in Utah fur farms over a ten-day window beginning in late September, forcing cautionary quarantines at nine farms in the state.

The virus was likely transferred from workers to the animals, though there are no signs that the minks have infected any humans, according to Dr. Dean Taylor, the state veterinarian investigating the outbreak.

“We genuinely don’t feel like there is much of a risk going from the mink to the people,” Taylor told the Associated Press.

As many as 8,000 minks have perished during the outbreak. Fur from the dead infected minks is still used commercially. The pelts are processed to remove the virus before being used for coats or other clothing accessories, according to the Fur Commission USA, a trade group.

No animals have been euthanized over their infections, according to Taylor...

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 9, 2020, 5:37 am

Sounds like mink and sheep farmers should be concerned?
Zoos, where significant human-mammal interaction, e.g., great apes?
Maybe in wild, endangered colonial species? Again, great apes?

SARS-CoV-2 may be able to infect a significant number of mammals
Timothy Huzar | October 8, 2020

...There are already reports of infections in domestic cats, as well as lions and tigers.

...In total, the researchers found evidence that 26 animal species that regularly come into contact with people may be susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.

In particular, they found that the binding process between the virus and the host ACE2 protein in sheep and great apes is likely to be as strong as it is in humans.

Sheep are a particular concern, given their prevalence in agricultural settings in many parts of the world.

The study also found that most fish, birds, and reptiles are unlikely to be susceptible to the virus.

...Given the likelihood of the virus transmitting to far more species than it is currently known to infect, the researchers call for new guidance on the monitoring and handling of animals by humans...


S. D. Lam et al. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein predicted to form complexes with host receptor protein orthologues from a broad range of mammals.
Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 16471 (Oct 5, 2020)


SARS-CoV-2 has a zoonotic origin and was transmitted to humans via an undetermined intermediate host, leading to infections in humans and other mammals. To enter host cells, the viral spike protein (S-protein) binds to its receptor, ACE2, and is then processed by TMPRSS2. Whilst receptor binding contributes to the viral host range, S-protein:ACE2 complexes from other animals have not been investigated widely. To predict infection risks, we modelled S-protein:ACE2 complexes from 215 vertebrate species, calculated changes in the energy of the complex caused by mutations in each species, relative to human ACE2, and correlated these changes with COVID-19 infection data. We also analysed structural interactions to better understand the key residues contributing to affinity. We predict that mutations are more detrimental in ACE2 than TMPRSS2. Finally, we demonstrate phylogenetically that human SARS-CoV-2 strains have been isolated in animals. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can infect a broad range of mammals, but few fish, birds or reptiles. Susceptible animals could serve as reservoirs of the virus, necessitating careful ongoing animal management and surveillance.

...In general we see a high infection risk for most mammals, with a notable exception for all non-placental mammals. (e.g., kangaroos, possums)

...As shown in previous studies, and supported by experimental data, many primates are predicted to be at high risk... In agricultural settings, camels, cows, sheep, goats and horses... In domestic settings, dogs..., cats..., hamsters..., and rabbits... Whilst, zoological animals that come into contact with humans, such as pandas, leopards and bears, are also at risk of infection...Importantly, mice and rats do not appear to be hamsters and ferrets are being used as model organisms for human COVID-19. Of the 35 birds tested only a handful, including the blue tit, show an infection risk. Similarly, out of 72 fish in this study,...most have no susceptibility to infection. Those susceptible include the common carp, turbot and Nile tilapia. Of the 14 reptiles and amphibians investigated, only turtle and crocodile show any risk.

...Fig 6. Mammals that humans come into contact with that are at risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2. Twenty-six mammals are categorised into domestic, agricultural or zoological settings. Numbers represent the change in binding energy (ΔΔG) of the S-protein:ACE2.

...Humans are likely to come into contact with 26 of these species in domestic, agricultural or zoological settings (Fig. 6). Of particular concern are these animals are farmed and come into close contact with humans. Indeed, SARS-CoV-2 is already responsible for infections in various animal species. SARS-CoV-2 genomes... have been isolated from natural infections in zoo lions and tigers..., companion animals including cats and dogs...and following widespread outbreaks in multiple mink farms in the Netherlands resulting in mass culling... In most cases natural infections have been linked to human infections supporting cross-species transmission and high levels of exposure.... To date, minks provide the only well supported example of sustained intraspecies transmission with secondary zoonotic transmission back to humans. Consistently, we predict American mink to be at risk of infection by SARS-CoV-2... Since we performed this analysis, in vivo studies have confirmed that cows... and rabbits... are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, in agreement with our predictions.

...In summary, our work is not aiming to provide an absolute measure of risk of infection. Rather, it should be considered an efficient method to screen a large number of animals and suggest possible susceptibility, and thereby guide further studies. Any predictions of possible risk should be confirmed by experimental studies and computationally expensive, but more robust methods, like molecular dynamics.

The ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect host cells and cause COVID-19, sometimes resulting in severe disease, ultimately depends on a multitude of other host-virus protein interactions40. While we do not investigate them all in this study, our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could indeed infect a broad range of mammals. As there is a possibility of creating new reservoirs of the virus, we should now consider how to identify such transmission early and to mitigate against such risks. In particular, farm animals and other animals living in close contact with humans could be monitored, protected where possible and managed accordingly

lokakuu 12, 2020, 5:14 am

>16 margd: Good luck with containing the COVID-19 in mink. Danish authorities are currently in the process of killing hundred of thousands of mink in affected mink farms.

lokakuu 12, 2020, 5:42 am

The rats evicted from paradise (BBC)

Palmyra had been an isolated and tranquil Pacific atoll, until a 20th-Century invasion of black rats arrived, setting the whole atoll’s ecology hurtling down a different path...

lokakuu 12, 2020, 7:59 am

>18 bnielsen: Apparently, veterinarians are working on vaccines, so I suspect mink, sheep, (and companion animals?) will have protection sooner rather than later. (Fish hatcheries use vaccines against a number of pathogens, when they are serious and common.)

(Creepy that pelts were harvested from euthanized mink. I can't imagine that would be a selling point for any garment!)

lokakuu 13, 2020, 8:23 am

In the face of a global pandemic, how can conservation efforts reduce the chance that poaching will spread disease?
As the Covid-19 pandemic decimates tourism, poaching is on the rise in Africa. The search is on for alternative ways to meet communities' basic needs.
Wendee Nicole | Oct 9, 2020

Wild Animals and Zoonotic Disease
...“Many people don’t know dangers of eating wildlife off the forest,” says Philip Muruthi, AWF’s vice president for species conservation and science. “This is how Ebola came; this is how we are told Covid came. It is our duty to educate people.” And often, when someone snares or traps a wild animal, it gets sold on the market — putting more people at risk...

Are Bans the Answer?
...those who work closely with frontline communities say bans are reactionary, short-sighted and extremely inequitable to local and indigenous people whose livelihoods have already suffered greatly from the loss of tourism dollars and who depend on hunting for food. Bans on wet markets not only won’t work, they say, but will push wildlife trade underground, where it’s harder to track.

Involving Local Communities
...Where wildlife populations provide other economic and social benefits — whether tourism or a legal game meat trade — locals are motivated to engage in efforts to combat poaching and illicit trade.

...“(Bushmeat) in a protected area has a fairly high value. It’s still going to be an asset someone else will exploit if you don’t protect it,” adds (Peter Lindsey, director of Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund). “You need a combination of carrot and stick approaches. … It’s about trying to develop projects that tackle this issue from multiple sides. One side is protecting the resource. Another side is making sure that your immediate neighbors are allied with conservation efforts and that their basic needs are covered.”

Poacher or Protector
...Reinventing African conservation with little to no tourism, at least for the foreseeable future, will be no small feat. Governments are scrambling to find replacement income to keep past gains and not lose ground — not only with wildlife, but also with communities who had, up to now, benefited from wildlife and tourism. By all accounts, things will likely get worse before they get better. “Some of the wildlife agencies and NGOs had some funding reserves, but those are going to start running out pretty quickly,” says Lindsey. “We do expect that while 2020 has been tough, that 2021 will be tougher.”

...“The solution to addressing poaching lies in communities — involving them as game guards, making sure they benefit from wildlife, that the costs of living with wildlife are minimized, and ensuring they have alternative ways of making a living other than poaching,” says (Dilys Roe, a principal researcher for the International Institute for Environment and Development). Because in the end, she says, “whether they are a poacher or a protector of wildlife comes down to the balance of incentives.”

lokakuu 15, 2020, 12:43 pm

Daniel G. Streicker and Amy T. Gilbert. 2020. Contextualizing bats as viral reservoirs (Perspective). Science 09 Oct 2020: Vol. 370, Issue 6513, pp. 172-173. DOI: 10.1126/science.abd4559

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the latest in a distressing tally of viral infections—including Ebola, Nipah, rabies, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)—that have evolutionary origins or epidemiological associations with bats. This seeming preponderance of zoonoses has propelled bats from biomedical obscurity to the forefront of global health. Immunological traits have been proposed to allow bats to control viruses differently from other animals...

...Viral emergence from bats is largely unpredictable and unpreventable. Solutions require qualitative and quantitative expansions over current practice in bat research, which rarely considers heterogeneities among individuals, populations, and species. This variability can reveal the drivers and phenotypic importance of bat-virus interactions as well as whether they generalize in ways that might aid surveillance or management of zoonotic threats. Given the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for an ambitious research agenda is more evident now than ever.

marraskuu 5, 2020, 7:11 am

Canada's first case of rare H1N2 swine flu variant confirmed in central Alberta
Ashley Joannou | Nov 04, 2020

Canada’s first case of a rare H1N2 swine flu variant in humans has been confirmed in central Alberta.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, and Dr. Keith Lehman, the chief provincial veterinarian, issued a statement Wednesday morning confirming a person tested positive for the rare Influenza A (H1N2)v version of the virus in mid-October but said it appears to be one isolated case and there is no increased risk to Albertans at this time.

H1N2 influenza is known to occur in swine herds around the world, according to the Alberta government website, but is not a food-borne illness associated with eating pork.

...Hinshaw said officials are still investigating the source of the virus but there is no link to slaughterhouses.

She said the virus is not passed easily from person to person and while there have been cases of transmission from close contact between two people, it has not been found to spread in the wider community.

The case is the first of this swine flu variant to be detected in Canada and only the 27th globally since 2005, Hinshaw and Lehman said.


Florian Krammer @florian_krammer | 6:37 AM · Nov 5, 2020:
H1N2 in Alberta: I don't think we need to worry about that.
However, I would feel better if they would find out where the virus came from (e.g. contact to swine).

marraskuu 5, 2020, 8:51 am

Denmark plans to cull up to 17 million mink to stop mutated coronavirus
Reuters and James Fraser, CNN | November 5, 2020

(CNN)Denmark, the world's largest producer of mink furs, plans to cull all mink in the country to contain a mutated form of novel coronavirus.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday the decision had been made with a "heavy heart," but it was necessary based on the recommendation of health authorities.

"The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans," Frederiksen said.

Statens Serum Institut, the Danish authority based in Copenhagen which deals with infectious diseases, had found five cases of the virus in mink farms and 12 examples in humans that showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies, she said. Allowing the virus to spread could potentially limit the effectiveness of future vaccines...

marraskuu 14, 2020, 8:12 am

Paper posted in extinction thread estimated ~10% of parasites may become extinct due to climate change, but some will move into new or vacated niches, sometimes to detriment of human health. WTO Information Note (below) discusses how human trade can assist movement of pathogens (and parasites).

5 November 2020

The WTO Secretariat has published a new information note about trade issues associated with the spread of diseases of animal origin. The note maps out the international framework in place to address these issues, along with ongoing efforts to ensure safe trade in animals and animal products, including in wildlife.

Key points:

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the risk that animal diseases pose to human health. A 2012 study estimated that some 56 zoonoses (i.e. diseases affecting human health that originate in animals) were together responsible for around 2.5 billion cases of human illness and 2.7 million human deaths a year. The impact of COVID-19 has far eclipsed that of other recent outbreaks of such diseases. Experts warn that zoonotic pandemics may become more frequent due to factors including further environmental degradation, intensive farming practices, and the effects of climate change.

WTO rules recognize the right of WTO members to take measures to protect human, animal and plant health. The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) underscores their right to take measures to address the health risks arising from the spread of zoonoses through international trade in animals and animal products, including wildlife, while aiming to avoid unjustified trade barriers.

The SPS Agreement strongly encourages WTO members to base their SPS measures on certain international standards. In the area of animal health and zoonoses, it recognizes the standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

According to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and OIE, the COVID-19 pandemic is being sustained through human-to-human transmission and not through international trade in animals and animal products. Based on currently available information, and with the support of expert advisory groups, the OIE does not recommend that any COVID-19-related sanitary measures be applied to the international movement of live animals or animal products without a justifying risk analysis. Trade in animals and animal products can take place safely if risk reduction measures are applied based on international standards.

Risks associated with trade in animals and animal products, including wildlife, may increase when animal disease risks are not monitored and controlled. The OIE Working Group on Wildlife and other international organizations are examining how better to address sanitary risks linked to wildlife trade. Efforts are also being made to address illegal wildlife trade.

Around 20 per cent of livestock production is lost due to animal diseases every year — leading to an estimated annual economic loss within the sector of about US$ 300 billion. The impact of COVID-19, which primarily affects people, has already dwarfed these figures. Global economic output is projected to shrink by 4.5% in 2020 because of the pandemic, according to estimates by the IMF. As of 6 October 2020, WTO economists expect global trade to contract by 9.2 per cent in 2020.

Recognizing that managing risks related to emerging diseases of animal origin requires multi-sectoral and multi-institutional cooperation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), OIE and WHO are collaborating on a One Health approach, while the WTO houses the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), a global partnership which helps developing countries to engage in safe trade. Trade in animals and animal products was worth US$ 367.5 billion in 2018, with important implications for livelihoods, food security and nutrition worldwide.

The SPS Committee and other WTO committees provide fora for members to discuss trade measures adopted to address the risk of COVID-19 and other zoonoses, thus helping to ensure that trade measures contribute to enhancing future resilience and prevention. Specific trade concerns related to animal diseases and zoonoses, including emerging diseases, and their effects on trade, account for 35 per cent of all trade concerns raised in the SPS Committee.

...The report concludes that implementing existing guidance and developing more detailed standards and guidance for particular risk factors requires engagement at the international level, and investment to ensure that domestic, regional and global public, veterinary and environmental health systems are well prepared and have a solid basis for collaboration.


World Trade Organization | 3 November 2020.

joulukuu 19, 2020, 6:43 am

First case of the coronavirus detected in the wild
An infected wild mink was found in the “immediate vicinity” of a Utah fur farm that had an outbreak, officials say.
Dina Fine Maron | December 14, 2020

....The strain of the virus in the wild mink is “indistinguishable” from that in infected mink on farms around the state, according to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory, the USDA division that conducted the tests.

In the U.S., coronavirus outbreaks have been documented at 16 mink farms in Utah, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Michigan, with the most cases in Utah. But until now, no wild mink cases had been detected, despite ongoing testing of mink, raccoons, skunks, and other animals around farms with infections.

This mink was trapped in the “immediate vicinity of one of the affected farms,” says Utah state veterinarian Dean Taylor, and was the only animal caught in the area to test positive.

“There is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is circulating or has been established in wild populations surrounding the infected mink farms,” the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) wrote in its alert, using the official name for the virus.

...The USDA says further efforts to prevent spread within the large North American wild mink population are warranted, though it has not announced a strategy for doing so...

helmikuu 1, 2021, 10:09 am

Florian Krammer et al. 2021. Pandemic Vaccines: How Are We Going to Be Better Prepared Next Time? Med (N Y). 2020 Dec 18; 1(1): 28–32. Published online 2020 Dec 5. doi: 10.1016/j.medj.2020.11.004

In response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we are currently witnessing the fastest vaccine development in history. While these vaccines will now make a significant impact on ending the pandemic, they were needed much earlier. Here I discuss how to ensure that vaccines will become available within 3-4 months after a new outbreak.

Overall Strategy
Surveillance and Understanding Pathogenesis
Vaccine Development and Clinical Trials
Correlates of Protection
Vaccine Production Capacity
Phase III Trials and Rollout
Regulatory Considerations

Many measures need to be taken to mitigate or even prevent the next pandemic. These include better surveillance systems, global pandemic response plans that are executed, development of broadly acting antivirals, and further development of diagnostics and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Here, I have focused on the contribution that vaccine development can make on pandemic preparedness. Many points made above might sound familiar. We have implemented some of them for influenza viruses. We have good surveillance systems for influenza viruses, we stockpile vaccines for zoonotic subtypes, we test those vaccines in clinical trials, and we do have a correlate of protection. I strongly believe, and this might be controversial, that if this pandemic had been caused by an influenza virus strain, we would be in a much better position. However, even for influenza virus the system needs to be scaled up and alternative solutions—for example, universal influenza virus vaccines like the ones currently developed by the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs)—need to be added to the arsenal. In 2017, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was founded with the goal to develop, produce, and trial vaccines against emerging viruses. CEPI supported a strong portfolio including vaccines against MERS-CoV and many new vaccine platforms. CEPI catalyzed the quick development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and had the organization been founded 10 years earlier, we would likely already have vaccines on the market now. But CEPIs funding and mandate are limited. The US only recently contributed to it, and the amount was roughly equivalent to the cost of buying one fighter jet. CEPI would be an ideal vehicle for implementing a plan as outlined above, but this would require massive increases in funding and a mandate to create an Über-CEPI. Of course, plans similar to the one outlined above could be implemented using many other platforms and organizational structures as well.

The above plan has many flaws, would cost billions of dollars to implement, and might be entirely unfeasible from a regulatory, political, or technical perspective. It is meant to initiate discussions about how we can protect ourselves better in the future. It is unclear how much its implementation would cost and if governments would be able and willing to pay for it. However, it would not be unreasonable to assume that large international corporations would also have an interest in financing better preparedness, since inevitably they will also suffer huge financial losses from another pandemic. We know that influenza virus pandemics roughly occur four times every hundred years. In addition, we have recently seen the emergence of SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV, Nipah virus, and now a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Close contact with wild animals or livestock is required for zoonotic infections, and the increase in animal farming, hunting, and ecosystem destruction will likely lead to an increase in spillovers in the future. It is clear that the viruses will keep coming, likely at a faster pace. We need to be prepared for the next one.

helmikuu 9, 2021, 10:22 am

Interesting read:

The Wild World of Mink and Coronavirus
Mink on the lam and corona’s reverse spillover
Kate Golden | Jan 7 2021

...Maybe mink are better at pandemics than we are?

(Arnold Groehler, president of the Wisconsin Trappers Association) worries about what SARS-CoV-2 might do among thousands of captive mink. “It can mutate from the mink, and what will it turn into next? What other animal species will it affect next? I don’t think anybody knows yet.”

The animals most at risk right now are the mink on farms—and perhaps their fellow captive mustelids, the endangered black-footed ferret.

These ferrets, once spread across much of the American West, have been reintroduced from near-extinction over the past 40 years through a painstaking captive breeding program, which includes artificial insemination and even training the kits how to hunt.

In northern Colorado, the National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center, which houses about 170 adult ferrets, or two-thirds of the captive breeding population, has locked down like a mink farm—no nonessential visitors allowed; handwashing, PPE, temperature checks, disinfection of cages. The population of ferrets has been split into pods, much like American schoolchildren.

Before SARS-CoV-2, the ferrets’ biggest threat was another zoonotic disease: sylvatic plague, from the same bacterium that causes bubonic plague. It was also introduced by people, via ships.

For mink or ferrets, people are the disease reservoir. Though perhaps there is relief in sight. Three companies are presently working on mink vaccines that may be ready by the spring, Hildebrandt said. Some mink will be vaccinated before many of us are. About 120 black-footed ferrets at the Colorado captive center have already been inoculated with an experimental vaccine created at the National Wildlife Health Center.

There are also some reasons for hope in the nature of the virus and the mink. As infectious as it is, SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t seem to stick around long outside its hosts—unlike Aleutian mink disease virus, which lasts for months, or the chronic wasting disease-causing prions that can persist in soil for years.

The wild American mink, too, naturally follows CDC guidelines better than many of us have, preferring solitude to the company of its conspecifics.

As Groehler, the trapper, put it: “Wild mink socially distance very well.”

maaliskuu 3, 2021, 12:01 pm

A research group proposes six guidelines for managing the impacts of invasive species
José Tadeu Arantes

... the forage grass genus Brachiaria, originally African (was) introduced to Brazil to form cattle pasture. It has become a major threat to the survival of native species and biodiversity at several spatial scales.

Complete eradication of invasive species is often impracticable. Attempts to do so have had undesirable consequences and even been damaging because merely withdrawing an invasive species does not restore the original environment, as in the areas of Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) invaded by pines. Instead of eradication, therefore, the goal should be continuous management, according to many experts. This is the line taken by researchers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom, who have agreed on a strategic approach focusing on impact mitigation rather than elimination.

..."We propose six criteria for planning to mitigate their impacts. The first three comprise a detailed survey of the situation: mapping their presence and spatial distribution, finding out how long each invasive species has been present and compiling the available data on their impacts," (Alessandra Fidelis, a professor in UNESP's Rio Claro Institute of Biosciences) said. "The next three relate to the recommended responses to the situation: the kinds of intervention that are technically, socially, and economically feasible, the potential negative consequences of these interventions, and a cost-benefit analysis of the interventions and their consequences."...

Pablo García-Díaz et al, Management Policies for Invasive Alien Species: Addressing the Impacts Rather than the Species, BioScience (2020). DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biaa139

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 2021, 10:29 am

Uh oh, there goes a food chain?

Emerging Risk Notice
July 2020
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Type 2

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 23, 2021, 1:46 pm

Heart Problems in Pets Could Be Linked to COVID Variant. Here's What You Must Know

..."We report a sudden increased number of domestic dogs and cats presented with myocarditis at the Cardiology Department of The Ralph Veterinary Referral Centre (RVRC), based on the outskirts of London (UK), between December 2020 and February 2021, with an unexpected rise in incidence from 1.4 to 12.8 percent...This sudden surge of cases appeared to mimic the curve and timeline of the COVID-19 human pandemic in the UK due to the B117 variant, starting in mid-December 2020, peaking at the end of January 2021, before returning to the historical rate by mid-February 2021."

Although we've only confirmed a limited number of COVID-19 cases in pets so far, none of the animals had classic COVID-19 symptoms such as mild digestive or respiratory issues.

But the rise in myocarditis cases is, at the very least, an interesting coincidence - the surge was only 18 animals in total, but it was 10 times as many as a normal period. All bar one of the animals survived the ordeal.

The team also found that most of the owners and handlers of these sick pets had COVID-19 symptoms 3-6 weeks before their pets became ill, and some tested positive for the disease...


Luca Ferasin et al. 2021. Myocarditis in naturally infected pets with the British variant of COVID-19. BioRxiv (March 16, 2021)

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review

Domestic pets can contract SARS-CoV-2 infection but, based on the limited information available to date, it is unknown whether the new British B.1.1.7 variant can more easily infect certain animal species or increase the possibility of human-to-animal transmission. In this study, we report the first cases of infection of domestic cats and dogs by the British B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosed at a specialist veterinary hospital in the South-East of England. Furthermore, we discovered that many owners and handlers of these pets had developed Covid-19 respiratory symptoms 3-6 weeks before their pets became ill and had also tested PCR positive for Covid-19. Interestingly, all these B.1.1.7 infected pets developed atypical clinical manifestations, including severe cardiac abnormalities secondary to myocarditis and a profound impairment of the general health status of the patient but without any primary respiratory signs. Together, our findings demonstrate for the first time the ability for companion animals to be infected by the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 and raise questions regarding its pathogenicity in these animals. Moreover, given the enhanced infectivity and transmissibility of B.1.1.7 variant for humans, these findings also highlights more than ever the risk that companion animals may potentially play a significant role in SARS-CoV-2 outbreak dynamics than previously appreciated.


Major coronavirus variant found in pets for first time
David Grimm | Mar. 19, 2021

maaliskuu 23, 2021, 9:05 am

Leap from bats to humans was easy for SARS-CoV-2 — study
James Kingsland | March 20, 2021

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is part of a lineage of “generalist” viruses that infect many mammal species.

Its transition to humans was relatively easy, and there were few significant changes in its genome during the early months of the pandemic.

By the end of 2020, however, there was increased selection pressure on the virus as a result of the large numbers of people who had contracted it and were immune.

As the proportion of vaccinated individuals rises, selection pressure on the virus to evade its hosts’ immune defenses will increase further...


MacLean OA, Lytras S, Weaver S, Singer JB, Boni MF, Lemey P, et al. (2021) Natural selection in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in bats created a generalist virus and highly capable human pathogen. PLoS Biol 19(3): e3001115. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001115

Virus host shifts are generally associated with novel adaptations to exploit the cells of the new host species optimally. Surprisingly, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has apparently required little to no significant adaptation to humans since the start of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to October 2020. Here we assess the types of natural selection taking place in Sarbecoviruses in horseshoe bats versus the early SARS-CoV-2 evolution in humans. While there is moderate evidence of diversifying positive selection in SARS-CoV-2 in humans, it is limited to the early phase of the pandemic, and purifying selection is much weaker in SARS-CoV-2 than in related bat Sarbecoviruses. In contrast, our analysis detects evidence for significant positive episodic diversifying selection acting at the base of the bat virus lineage SARS-CoV-2 emerged from, accompanied by an adaptive depletion in CpG composition presumed to be linked to the action of antiviral mechanisms in these ancestral bat hosts. The closest bat virus to SARS-CoV-2, RmYN02 (sharing an ancestor about 1976), is a recombinant with a structure that includes differential CpG content in Spike; clear evidence of coinfection and evolution in bats without involvement of other species. While an undiscovered “facilitating” intermediate species cannot be discounted, collectively, our results support the progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 being capable of efficient human–human transmission as a consequence of its adaptive evolutionary history in bats, not humans, which created a relatively generalist virus.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 5, 2021, 5:16 pm

"we ranked the spillover potential of 887 wildlife viruses"

Zoë L. Grange et al. 2021. Ranking the risk of animal-to-human spillover for newly discovered viruses (Research article). PNAS April 13, February 8, 2021 118 (15) e2002324118;

The recent emergence and spread of zoonotic viruses, including Ebola virus and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, demonstrate that animal-sourced viruses are a very real threat to global public health. Virus discovery efforts have detected hundreds of new animal viruses with unknown zoonotic risk. We developed an open-source risk assessment to systematically evaluate novel wildlife-origin viruses in terms of their zoonotic spillover and spread potential. Our tool will help scientists and governments assess and communicate risk, informing national disease prioritization, prevention, and control actions. The resulting watchlist of potential pathogens will identify targets for new virus countermeasure initiatives, which can reduce the economic and health impacts of emerging diseases.

The death toll and economic loss resulting from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic are stark reminders that we are vulnerable to zoonotic viral threats. Strategies are needed to identify and characterize animal viruses that pose the greatest risk of spillover and spread in humans and inform public health interventions. Using expert opinion and scientific evidence, we identified host, viral, and environmental risk factors contributing to zoonotic virus spillover and spread in humans. We then developed a risk ranking framework and interactive web tool, SpillOver, that estimates a risk score for wildlife-origin viruses, creating a comparative risk assessment of viruses with uncharacterized zoonotic spillover potential alongside those already known to be zoonotic. Using data from testing 509,721 samples from 74,635 animals as part of a virus discovery project and public records of virus detections around the world, we ranked the spillover potential of 887 wildlife viruses. Validating the risk assessment, the top 12 were known zoonotic viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Several newly detected wildlife viruses ranked higher than known zoonotic viruses. Using a scientifically informed process, we capitalized on the recent wealth of virus discovery data to systematically identify and prioritize targets for investigation. The publicly accessible SpillOver platform can be used by policy makers and health scientists to inform research and public health interventions for prevention and rapid control of disease outbreaks. SpillOver is a living, interactive database that can be refined over time to continue to improve the quality and public availability of information on viral threats to human health.

huhtikuu 5, 2021, 5:10 pm

Dennis R. Burton & Eric J. Topol. 2021. Variant-proof vaccines — invest now for the next pandemic: COVID’s evolution signals the importance of rational vaccine design based on broadly neutralizing antibodies(Comment). Nature 590, 386-388 (2021) doi:

...We call for an alternative approach to pandemic preparedness.

A special class of protective antibodies called broadly neutralizing antibodies (see ‘Pan-virus vaccines’) acts against many different strains of related virus — for example, of HIV, influenza or coronavirus. Such antibodies could be used as first-line drugs to prevent or treat viruses in a given family, including new lineages or strains that have not yet emerged. More importantly, they could be used to design vaccines against many members of a given family of viruses.
Pan-virus vaccines. Graphic showing how different antibodies bind to specific viruses. Some antibodies can bind to more.

Such pan-virus vaccines could be made in advance and deployed before the next emerging infection becomes a pandemic. We call for an investment now in basic research leading to the stockpiling of broadly effective vaccines. As we’ve seen for influenza, one virus strain can cause more deaths than a world war and result in trillions of dollars of economic damage. Surely, global governments that together spend US$2 trillion a year on defence can find a few hundred million dollars to stop the next pandemic?...

Evasion tactics
Priority viruses
If not now, when?
Cost and investors

huhtikuu 5, 2021, 5:14 pm

Wayne C. Koff, Seth F. Berkley. 2021. A universal coronavirus vaccine (EDITORIAL). Science 19 Feb 2021: Vol. 371, Issue 6531, pp. 759. DOI: 10.1126/science.abh0447

"More virulent and deadly coronaviruses are waiting in the wings.”

huhtikuu 19, 2021, 10:15 am

Asian Small-Clawed Otters at Georgia Aquarium Test Positive for COVID-19
Georgia Aquarium (Press Release) | April 18, 2021

The Asian small-clawed otters at Georgia Aquarium have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They began exhibiting mild respiratory symptoms including sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and coughing. While the Asian small-clawed otters are geriatric, they are already improving and expected to make a full recovery. They are off exhibit and being cared for behind-the-scenes by the Aquarium’s expert animal health and animal care teams.

“Our Asian small-clawed otters are under very close monitoring by veterinarians and animal care team members. They have displayed only mild symptoms and we expect them all to make a full recovery,” said Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium. “We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover.”

The decision to test the Asian small-clawed otters for COVID-19 was made based on the clinical signs in the entire group. Georgia Aquarium veterinarians consulted with the state veterinarians’ office and the department of health.

Despite following all recommended health and safety protocols, it is suspected the otters may have acquired the infection from an asymptomatic staff member. Out of an abundance of caution, all staff who have been in contact with the otters have been tested. The risk of animal-to-human transmission is incredibly rare. The Asian small-clawed otters at the Aquarium do not have direct contact with guests and have always been behind acrylic barriers, separating them from guests. The otters will continue to be monitored and once they are no longer positive for COVID-19, it will then be determined when they will go back on exhibit.

Information on the impact of COVID-19 in otter species is unknown. Based on other zoological facility animals and the Aquarium’s small-clawed otters’ health status, it is anticipated there will not be any long-term health issues from COVID-19. Any additional updates on the otters will be provided as it becomes available.

For more information on COVID-19 and animals visit the CDC or the American Veterinary Medical Association. For more information on Asian small-clawed otters visit the Aquarium’s Animal Guide.

huhtikuu 21, 2021, 6:14 am

Florida Keys to see release of first genetically modified mosquitoes
The project was devised to fight insect-borne diseases but has stirred controversy
Julia Musto | April 19, 2021

toukokuu 5, 2021, 12:14 pm

Researchers analyze the host origins of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses
University of North Carolina at Charlotte | May 4, 2021

(See tree diagram at website.)

...The study's major conclusions are:

1) Bats have been ancestral hosts of human coronaviruses in the case of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Bats also were the ancestral hosts of MERS-CoV infections in dromedary camels that spread rapidly to humans.

2) Transmission of MERS-CoV among camels and their herders evolved after the transmission from bats to these hosts. Similarly, there was transmission of SARS-CoV after the bat to human transmission among human vendors and their civets. These events are similar to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by fur farmers to their minks. The evolutionary analysis in this study helps to elucidate that these events occurred after the original human infection from lineages of coronaviruses hosted in bats. Therefore, these secondary transmissions to civet or mink did not play a role in the fundamental emergence of human coronaviruses.

3) The study corroborates the animal host origins of other human coronaviruses, such as HCoV-NL63 (from bat hosts), HCoV-229E (from camel hosts), HCoV-HKU1 (from rodent hosts) and HCoV-OC43 and HECV-4408 (from cow hosts).

4) Transmission of coronaviruses from animals to humans occurs episodically. From 1966 to 2020, the scientific community has described eight human-hosted lineages of coronaviruses. Although it is difficult to predict when a new human hosted coronavirus could emerge, the data indicate that we should prepare for that possibility...


Denis Jacob Machado et al, Fundamental evolution of all Orthocoronavirinae including three deadly lineages descendent from Chiroptera‐hosted coronaviruses: SARS‐CoV, MERS‐CoV and SARS‐CoV‐2, Cladistics (2021). DOI: 10.1111/cla.12454

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS‐CoV) emerged in humans in 2002. Despite reports showing Chiroptera* as the original animal reservoir of SARS‐CoV, many argue that Carnivora**‐hosted viruses are the most likely origin. The emergence of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) in 2012 also involves Chiroptera‐hosted lineages. However, factors such as the lack of comprehensive phylogenies hamper our understanding of host shifts once MERS‐CoV emerged in humans and . Since 2019, the origin of SARS‐CoV‐2, causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19), added to this episodic history of zoonotic transmission events. Here we introduce a phylogenetic analysis of 2006 unique and complete genomes of different lineages of Orthocoronavirinae***. We used gene annotations to align orthologous sequences for total evidence analysis under the parsimony optimality criterion. Deltacoronavirus and Gammacoronavirus were set as outgroups to understand spillovers of Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus among ten orders of animals. We corroborated that Chiroptera‐hosted viruses are the sister group of SARS‐CoV, SARS‐CoV‐2 and MERS‐related viruses. Other zoonotic events were qualified and quantified to provide a comprehensive picture of the risk of coronavirus emergence among humans. Finally, we used a 250 SARS‐CoV‐2 genomes dataset to elucidate the phylogenetic relationship between SARS‐CoV‐2 and Chiroptera‐hosted coronaviruses.

* Chiroptera--17 families of bats (one plant-eating, 16 insectivores)

**Carnivora is an order of placental mammals that have specialized in primarily eating flesh. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, though some species are omnivorous, such as raccoons and bears, and quite a few species such as pandas are specialized herbivores. (Wikipedia)

***Orthocoronavirinae: A subfamily of related human coronaviruses. (Most coronaviruses sicken animals.) Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus are grouped by categories known as alpha (human coronaviruses that cause some colds), beta (SARS, SARS-CoV-2, MERS), gamma and delta. (Hartford Healthcare)

toukokuu 21, 2021, 3:22 pm

New Coronavirus Detected In Patients At Malaysian Hospital; The Source May Be Dogs
Michaeleen Doucleff | May 20, 20211:07 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition

Anastasia N Vlasova et al. 2021. Novel Canine Coronavirus Isolated from a Hospitalized Pneumonia Patient, East Malaysia.
Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciab456, . Published: 20 May 2021

During the validation of a highly sensitive pan-species coronavirus (CoV) semi-nested RT-PCR assay, we found canine CoV (CCoV) RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs from eight (2.5%) of 301 patients hospitalized with pneumonia during 2017-18 in Sarawak, Malaysia. Most patients were children living in rural areas with frequent exposure to domesticated animals and wildlife.

This is the first report of a novel canine-feline recombinant alphacoronavirus isolated from a human pneumonia patient. If confirmed as a pathogen, it may represent the eighth unique coronavirus known to cause disease in humans. Our findings underscore the public health threat of animal CoVs and a need to conduct better surveillance for them....

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 30, 2021, 7:12 am

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly swine disease that can affect both farm-raised and feral (wild) pigs. ASF doesn’t infect people, but it is readily passed from one pig to another by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig. The practice of feeding uncooked food waste (that has not been appropriately heat treated) to pigs can also result in transmission of the virus if the food waste being fed to pigs contains contaminated pork products...

Friedemann Weber (academic virologist) @Friedemann1 | 6:03 PM · Jul 29, 2021:
Just a question of time (before virus reaches US). This virus is really hard-boiled

Florian Krammer (Icahn virologist) @florian_krammer | 6:08 PM · Jul 29, 2021:
Yep, no vaccines, only failed ones so far. And very deadly (for pigs). And super stable, even in salami.....

After 40 years, ASF is back in the Dominican Republic
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that African Swine Fever (ASF) has been found in samples from pigs in the Dominican Republic, the agency said on Wednesday July 28.
Pig Progress | July 29, 2021

Muokkaaja: elokuu 8, 2021, 1:13 pm

Cross-posted from "SARS-CoV-2 and COVID 19 (23)"

Minks, ferrets, apes, now deer...
7% deer tested in Illinois in 2020 had COVID-19 antibodies.
18% in NY.
34% in Pennsylvania.
60% in Michigan.

USDA says the deer appear asymptomatic, and they pose little risk to people. (Few reports from China of COVID in frozen fish(?) and in US meat plants (workers), but I don't recall any confirmed cases from consumption(?))

Always a risk, though, that the virus will learn new tricks in a new species...

Not known how wild deer came to be infected, but my guess would be like apes and mink, via an infected caretaker of domestic animals.

USDA - Covid White Tailed Deer Study
Caleb Holloway


Mitchell V Palmer et al. 2021. Susceptibility of white-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus) to SARS-CoV-2. J Virol. 2021 Mar 10;95(11):e00083-21. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00083-21.


The origin of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing the global coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, remains a mystery. Current evidence suggests a likely spillover into humans from an animal reservoir. Understanding the host range and identifying animal species that are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection may help to elucidate the origin of the virus and the mechanisms underlying cross-species transmission to humans. Here we demonstrated that white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), an animal species in which the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) - the SARS-CoV-2 receptor - shares a high degree of similarity to humans, are highly susceptible to infection. Intranasal inoculation of deer fawns with SARS-CoV-2 resulted in established subclinical viral infection and shedding of infectious virus in nasal secretions. Notably, infected animals transmitted the virus to non-inoculated contact deer. Viral RNA was detected in multiple tissues 21 days post-inoculation (pi). All inoculated and indirect contact animals seroconverted and developed neutralizing antibodies as early as day 7 pi. The work provides important insights into the animal host range of SARS-CoV-2 and identifies white-tailed deer as a susceptible wild animal species to the virus.

IMPORTANCEGiven the presumed zoonotic origin of SARS-CoV-2, the human-animal-environment interface of COVID-19 pandemic is an area of great scientific and public- and animal-health interest. Identification of animal species that are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2 may help to elucidate the potential origin of the virus, identify potential reservoirs or intermediate hosts, and define the mechanisms underlying cross-species transmission to humans. Additionally, it may also provide information and help to prevent potential reverse zoonosis that could lead to the establishment of a new wildlife hosts. Our data show that upon intranasal inoculation, white-tailed deer became subclinically infected and shed infectious SARS-CoV-2 in nasal secretions and feces. Importantly, indirect contact animals were infected and shed infectious virus, indicating efficient SARS-CoV-2 transmission from inoculated animals. These findings support the inclusion of wild cervid species in investigations conducted to assess potential reservoirs or sources of SARS-CoV-2 of infection.

Did Study Find Coronavirus Antibodies in 40% of US Wild Deer Populations?
The pilot program compared serum samples taken from four states.
Madison Dapcevich | 7 August 2021

elokuu 1, 2021, 7:15 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 1, 2021, 7:45 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 1, 2021, 7:46 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

elokuu 5, 2021, 2:32 am

"potential diagnostic strategy for the early stage of future pandemics"

Shelley Klompus et al. 2021. Cross-reactive antibodies against human coronaviruses and the animal coronavirome suggest diagnostics for future zoonotic spillovers. Science Immunology 29 Jul 2021:Vol. 6, Issue 61, eabe9950
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abe9950

The spillover of animal coronaviruses (aCoVs) to humans has caused SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. While antibody responses displaying cross-reactivity between SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal/common cold human coronaviruses (hCoVs) have been reported, potential cross-reactivity with aCoVs and the diagnostic implications are incompletely understood. Here, we probed for antibody binding against all seven hCoVs and 49 aCoVs represented as 12,924 peptides within a phage-displayed antigen library. Antibody repertoires of 269 recovered COVID-19 patients showed distinct changes compared to 260 unexposed pre-pandemic controls, not limited to binding of SARS-CoV-2 antigens but including binding to antigens from hCoVs and aCoVs with shared motifs to SARS-CoV-2. We isolated broadly reactive monoclonal antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients that bind a shared motif of SARS-CoV-2, hCoV-OC43, hCoV-HKU1, and several aCoVs, demonstrating that interspecies cross-reactivity can be mediated by a single immunoglobulin. Employing antibody binding data against the entire CoV antigen library allowed accurate discrimination of recovered COVID-19 patients from unexposed individuals by machine learning. Leaving out SARS-CoV-2 antigens and relying solely on antibody binding to other hCoVs and aCoVs achieved equally accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ability to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection without knowledge of its unique antigens solely from cross-reactive antibody responses against other hCoVs and aCoVs suggests a potential diagnostic strategy for the early stage of future pandemics. Creating regularly updated antigen libraries representing the animal coronavirome can provide the basis for a serological assay already poised to identify infected individuals following a future zoonotic transmission event.

elokuu 19, 2021, 12:43 pm

>41 margd: contd.

Jeffrey C. Chandler et al. 2021. SARS-CoV-2 exposure in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). BioRxiv (July 29, 2021) doi:

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review.

Widespread human SARS-CoV-2 infections combined with human-wildlife interactions create the potential for reverse zoonosis from humans to wildlife. We targeted white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) for serosurveillance based on evidence these deer have ACE2 receptors with high affinity for SARS-CoV-2, are permissive to infection, exhibit sustained viral shedding, can transmit to conspecifics, and can be abundant near urban centers. We evaluated 624 pre- and post-pandemic serum samples from wild deer from four U.S. states ( MI, PA, IL, and NY ) for SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Antibodies were detected in 152 samples (40%) from 2021 using a surrogate virus neutralization test. A subset of samples was tested using a SARS-CoV-2 virus neutralization test with high concordance between tests. These data suggest white-tailed deer in the populations assessed have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2...

syyskuu 1, 2021, 9:30 am

Nothing Can Eat Australia’s Cane Toads—So They Eat Each Other
The species' relentless invasion of the continent has taken a turn toward cannibalism.
John Timmer | 08.29.2021

...Native to South America, it has been introduced to many other ecosystems in the hope it would chow down on agricultural pests. Instead, the toad has become a pest itself, most notably in Australia. Free from the predators and parasites in its native range, the toad's poison glands have turned out to be a hazard for most species that try to eat it where it has been introduced.

...Australian cane toad tadpoles have been observed feeding on their fellow cane toad offspring.

...High levels of predation tend to produce evolutionary responses to limit vulnerability, and cannibalism is no different. The researchers found that Australian toads were simply spending less of their developmental time in the vulnerable hatchling stage in order to avoid some of the impact of cannibalism.

...If you can develop this quickly anyway, why aren't all cane toads rushing through the hatchling stage? The researchers found that growth and development of Australian tadpoles was slower than it was in South American populations. Thus, rushing through the hatchling stage exacts a cost that's paid off by slower growth and development later...

lokakuu 22, 2021, 7:57 am

Factory farms of disease: how industrial chicken production is breeding the next pandemic

At least eight types of bird flu, all of which can kill humans, are circulating around the world’s factory farms – and they could be worse than Covid-19

John Vidal | 18 Oct 2021

...southern Russia...a relatively new strain of lethal avian flu known as H5N8 was circulating...Anna Popova, chief consumer adviser to the Russian Federation, went on TV to warn “with a degree of probability” that human-to-human transmission of H5N8 would evolve soon and that work should start immediately on developing a vaccine.

... China...another type of avian flu known as H5N6...The spread of the H5N6 virus is now a “serious threat” to the poultry industry and human health, said Gao Fu, CDC director, and Shi Weifeng, dean of public health at Shandong First Medical University.

...According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO): “Avian influenza viruses are evolving into a large, diverse virus gene pool … A pathogen may turn into a hyper-virulent disease agent; in monocultures involving mass rearing of genetically identical animals that are selected for high feed conversion, an emerging hyper-virulent pathogen will rapidly spread within a flock or herd.”

Wild birds are routinely blamed by governments and industry for spreading avian flu along migratory routes, but evidence is mounting that intensive farms are potential “mixing pots” for new, deadly viruses.

“Blaming migratory waterfowl … is clearly no longer a tenable position,” says Rob Wallace, an American virologist who argues that the new strains of flu emerging are adapting to industrial poultry production. “Influenza’s infiltration into industrial livestock and poultry is so complete that these farms now act as their own reservoirs of disease,” he says. “They are their own source.”

With more than 20 billion chickens and nearly 700 million pigs being farmed at any one time, Wallace says the chances of new flu strains and variants emerging and spilling over to humans are high.

He is backed by Sam Sheppard, a biologist at Bath University, who says overuse of antibiotics, overcrowding and the genetic similarity between animals provide ideal conditions for many bacteria, viruses and other pathogens to merge, mutate, spread and then jump into humans.

Sheppard researches how keeping animals penned together triggers genetic changes in common bugs such as campylobacter, which are now widespread in poultry, pigs and cattle. “These first emerged in the 20th century, coinciding with large increases in the number of farmed cattle. The bugs are now resistant to antibiotics as a result of overuse of medicine,” he says.

Nor is it just poultry and pigs. The emergence of respiratory diseases such as Mers in camels, coronaviruses in mink farms and BSE in cattle suggests that the intensive breeding of any animal increases the risks of infection...

lokakuu 29, 2021, 6:29 am

Maria D. Van Kerkhove et al. 2021. Preparing for “Disease X” (Editorial). Science • 13 Oct 2021 • Vol 374, Issue 6566 • p. 377 •
DOI: 10.1126/science.abm7796

...COVID-19 will not be the last Disease X. We need scientific collaboration, data sharing, and implementation of a robust “one health” approach that brings together the human, animal, and environmental spheres to boost risk identification, reduction, and surveillance in animals and at the human-animal-environment interface. This must be linked to early action to investigate, characterize, and contain threats. In parallel, the world needs systematic processes to study the emergence of these pathogens and their routes of transmission from natural reservoirs to humans. Laboratory protocols around the world must be monitored and strengthened.

Globally, at least 4.8 million people have died from COVID-19. They and their families are owed answers as to where and how the virus originated. It’s in everyone’s interest to better prepare for the next Disease X.

Muokkaaja: lokakuu 31, 2021, 6:16 am

Disease-carrying mosquitoes in the Keys might arguably be a good target for the technology, but sooner or later a Strangelove amongst us is going to mess up and gene-drive an important species to extirpation, if not extinction, e.g., carp, invasive in many places, but an important food in its native Asia.

First genetically modified mosquitoes released in the United States
Biotech firm Oxitec launches controversial field test of its insects in Florida after years of push-back from residents and regulatory complications.
Emily Waltz | 03 May 2021

marraskuu 2, 2021, 6:18 am

Connor Grady (cancer stat analysis) @connorbgrady | 11:06 PM · Nov 1, 2021:
This isn’t the first coronavirus pandemic we’ve experienced, and it’s not going to be the last.”
-Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster (viral immunologist & asst prof at NW U)

2003: SARS
2012: MERS
2020: COVID
20XX: ?

Eric Topol @EricTopol | 10:48 PM · Nov 1, 2021:
A universal vaccine vs "every coronavirus," or at least the sarbecovirus family, would protect vs all future #SARCoV2 variants. There was been steady progress by many groups, but there's no coordination and it hasn't been made a national priority

The Race Is On to Develop a Vaccine Against Every Coronavirus
A “universal” shot would protect against every branch of Covid’s viral family tree—even future ones. But getting there won’t be easy.
Maryn McKenna | 11.01.2021

...It is a complex project, and no group is close to reaching the goal. Universal vaccines against other recurrent, genetically variable diseases—see, especially, influenza—have been pursued unsuccessfully for years. But researchers think one for coronaviruses might be more achievable, both because this virus is less genetically complex than the one that causes the flu, and also because the threat of another coronavirus pandemic feels uncomfortably real...

marraskuu 3, 2021, 5:43 am

Cross-posted on COVID (25) thread,
Iowa deer: 82.5% had detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA (Nov 23, 2020 - January 10, 2021):

New study suggests SARS-CoV-2 spreading widely within wild deer population
Hunting season came as human cases were spiking, which may have been a bad combo.
John Timmer - 11/2/2021

...The research team found a dozen different SARS-CoV-2 lineages in the deer population. The most common of these was also the most common among the strains circulating in humans in Iowa at the same time.

...deer from the same location were almost always infected by the same variant, and in some cases, the genomes of the viruses were identical. This finding provides strong evidence that the virus spreads among deer in the wild. The fact that different locations saw different variants present suggests that the cases were the product of separate inter-species infection events. Thus, it seems that the virus can regularly spread from humans to deer.

...we've yet to determine whether the virus can move from deer back to humans. ...That said, deer could provide a substantial reservoir for the virus.

...COVID is likely to spread unchecked among deer, which could provide a route for the virus to re-enter human populations where infections are rare.

In addition, the virus could evolve to thrive in its new hosts—with consequences for humans that are difficult to predict. The virus could become more specialized for deer, reducing the risk it poses to humans. Or the virus could evolve in ways that heighten either its spread or the symptoms it causes in human hosts. Finally, either of these changes could alter its immune profile in a way that limits the protection provided by vaccines or prior infection.

All of this means that we need to learn more about the risk of this form of interspecies infection as soon as we can.

Suresh V Kuchipudi et al. 2021. Multiple spillovers and onward transmission of SARS-Cov-2 in free-living and captive White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). BioRxiv (Nov 1, 2021) doi:

marraskuu 8, 2021, 12:03 pm

New coronavirus, likely from dogs, infects people in Malaysia and Haiti
Michaeleen Doucleff | November 5, 2021

...On the surface, these new findings sound like horrible news. The last thing the world needs right now is another coronavirus — one that may trigger pneumonia in children. But Jonna Mazet says it's actually good news because it means scientists have caught this virus before it has caused a big problem.

...By finding this virus early, scientists now have time to study it, create tools to diagnose it and understand what it might take to stop it. Although it's not a cause for deep concern at this time, there's always the risk the virus could evolve and become a bigger problem, (epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis and the founding executive director of the One Health Institute there) says, as was likely the case with SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

"Almost certainly, SARS-CoV-2 was circulating for quite some time and making people either a tiny bit sick or not sick enough to be noticed," she says. If scientists had detected it at this stage, perhaps the world would have had time to develop a test for it, some promising treatments and even a preliminary vaccine. Perhaps the pandemic would have taken a much different — perhaps less deadly course.

"We need to find these novel viruses well before they fully adapt to humans and become a pandemic problem," writes epidemiologist Gregory Gray, from the University of Texas Medical Branch, in an email to NPR. "Fortunately, today we have the tools to both detect and evaluate the risk of such novel viruses. We just need the political will and financial support to do so."...

John A Lednicky et al. 2021. Isolation of a Novel Recombinant Canine Coronavirus from a Visitor to Haiti: Further Evidence of Transmission of Coronaviruses of Zoonotic Origin to Humans. Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciab924, Published:
28 October 2021.

We isolated a novel coronavirus from a medical team member presenting with fever and malaise after travel to Haiti. The virus showed 99.4% similarity with a recombinant canine coronavirus recently identified in a pneumonia patient in Malaysia, suggesting that infection with this virus and/or recombinant variants occurs in multiple locations.

marraskuu 18, 2021, 1:53 pm

Eric Topol @EricTopol | 1:04 PM · Nov 18, 2021:
Well beyond mink and deer reservoirs:
"The World Organisation for Animal Health, known as OIE, has recorded
598 Covid outbreaks in animals affecting 14 species in 30 countries"*
World map ( )

*How widespread is Covid in animals and what are the risks to humans?
Zoologists fear wildlife may become reservoir of infection that could be transmitted to people
Clive Cookson in London 5 hours ago

joulukuu 4, 2021, 1:48 pm

OIE Statement on monitoring white-tailed deer for SARS-CoV-2
Office International des Epizooties World Organisation for Animal Health | 3 December 2021

Recent scientific research has shown a high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection within white-tailed deer populations in North America. This is the first time that the virus has been detected at population levels in wildlife. This discovery requires further research to determine if white-tailed deer could become a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 and to assess other animal or public health implications. As they do not show clinical signs of infection, white-tailed deer should be monitored for the possibility of becoming a silent reservoir.

While there is currently no evidence of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from white tailed-deer to humans, there appears to have been multiple introductions of the virus into white-tailed deer populations by humans. We encourage countries to raise awareness with both hunters, and those living or working with wildlife, to avoid unnecessary interactions with wildlife and to avoid leaving any human waste or objects in forested areas that may be ingested or touched by deer and other wildlife.

Despite the broad circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer populations, the virus does not appear to have significantly mutated. While this lessens concerns for the emergence of new virus strains that may be harmful to humans, more information must be gathered to understand the effects of the virus’ introduction to wildlife on the ecosystem. Therefore, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) calls on countries and other concerned parties to:

1. Encourage collaboration between national Veterinary Services and national wildlife authorities, whose partnership is key to promoting animal health and safeguarding human and environmental health.

2. Inform the OIE of current wildlife surveillance and monitoring efforts for SARS-CoV-2, including relevant scientific studies concerning white-tailed deer or other cervids through .

3. Monitor, and where possible, test cervids populations in all regions to further understand the spread of infection within the while-tailed deer population and among other deer and wildlife species.

4. Share all genetic sequence data from animal surveillance studies through publicly available databases.

5. Report confirmed animal cases of SARS-CoV-2 to the OIE through World Animal Health Information System (OIE-WAHIS)

Additional information :

– OIE Wildlife Health Framework

– OIE Guidelines for working with free-ranging wild mammals in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic

– OIE Guidance on working with farmed animals of species susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2

– Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 and Free-ranging White-Tailed Deer (...Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2021, 7:16 am

A coronavirus (zoonotic?) epidemic 20,000 years ago left its mark on genome of East Asians, e.g., "anti- and proviral functions". (Similarly, malaria has marked Africans, cholera (and TB) marked Brits, etc.)

Although "adaptation to ancient viral epidemics in specific human populations does not necessarily imply any difference in genetic susceptibility between different human populations, and the current evidence points toward an overwhelming impact of socioeconomic factors in the case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)", "our evolutionary genomics analyses have identified several new candidate genes that might provide novel drug targets".

Selective pressure works by affecting reproductive success, so SARS-CoV-2, which affects oldsters more than young people may leave minimal effect on OUR genome? i.e., death of grandparents and a few people of reproductive age will affect reproductive success incl survival of young 'uns, but not as much as it would have if it targeted young 'uns directly?

Yassine Souilmi et al. 2021. An ancient viral epidemic involving host coronavirus interacting genes more than 20,000 years ago in East Asia. Curr Biol. 2021 Aug 23; 31(16): 3504–3514.e9. Published online 2021 Jun 24. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.05.067

The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has emphasized the vulnerability of human populations to novel viral pressures, despite the vast array of epidemiological and biomedical tools now available. Notably, modern human genomes contain evolutionary information tracing back tens of thousands of years, which may help identify the viruses that have impacted our ancestors—pointing to which viruses have future pandemic potential. Here, we apply evolutionary analyses to human genomic datasets to recover selection events involving tens of human genes that interact with coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, that likely started more than 20,000 years ago. These adaptive events were limited to the population ancestral to East Asian populations. Multiple lines of functional evidence support an ancient viral selective pressure, and East Asia is the geographical origin of several modern coronavirus epidemics. An arms race with an ancient coronavirus, or with a different virus that happened to use similar interactions as coronaviruses with human hosts, may thus have taken place in ancestral East Asian populations. By learning more about our ancient viral foes, our study highlights the promise of evolutionary information to better predict the pandemics of the future. Importantly, adaptation to ancient viral epidemics in specific human populations does not necessarily imply any difference in genetic susceptibility between different human populations, and the current evidence points toward an overwhelming impact of socioeconomic factors in the case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

We identified a set of 42 CoV-VIPs exhibiting a coordinated adaptive response that likely emerged more than 20,000 years ago (Figure 2). This pattern was unique to East Asian populations (as classified by the 1000 Genomes Project). We show that this selection pressure produced a strong response across the 42 CoV-VIP genes that gradually waned and resulted in the selected loci plateauing at intermediate frequencies. Further, we demonstrate that this adaptive response is likely the outcome of a viral epidemic, as attested by the clustering of putatively selected loci around variants that regulate tissues known to exhibit COVID-19-related pathologies, and the enrichment of variants associated with SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and severity, as well as anti- and proviral functions, among the 42 CoV-VIP genes selected starting around 900 generations ago.

An important limitation is that some of our analyses rely upon comparative datasets that were generated in contemporary human populations that have different ancestries than the East Asian populations where the selected CoV-VIP genes were detected. In particular, both of the eQTL and GWAS datasets come from large studies that are focused on contemporary populations from Europe and none of the five European populations in our study exhibit the selection signals observed in East Asia. More direct confirmation of the causal role of 42 CoV-VIP genes in COVID-19 etiology will require the appropriate GWAS to be conducted in East Asian populations. The detection of genetic associations among the 42 CoV-VIPs in a GWAS on contemporary East Asians would provide further evidence that one or more coronaviruses, or another virus using similar interactions, comprised the selection pressure that drove the observed adaptive response. Moreover, a high-powered GWAS in East Asian populations would be required to identify the loci that currently impact individual variation in COVID-19 etiology in East Asian individuals. Because of these limitations, and because it would be extremely difficult to control for all the other factors that differ across the world (including socioeconomic factors), our results do not represent evidence for any difference in either increased or decreased genetic susceptibility in any human population.

Insights into ancient viral epidemics from modern human genomes
A particularly salient feature of the adaptive response observed for the 42 CoV-VIPs is that selection appears to be acting continuously over an ∼20,000 years period. The profile of selection in the host East Asian populations is consistent with a new viral pressure that ancestral populations had never experienced previously but that subsequently remained present for a very long period of time. As this manuscript was in the final stages of preparation, the first host-virus interactomes were published for SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV,49 which exhibit an extensive overlap with the SARS-CoV-2 interactome used in the present study.19 This suggests that coronaviruses share a broad set of host proteins that they interact with, which should apply to ancient coronaviruses. These patterns are consistent with one or more coronaviruses driving selection that produced the signals reported here. Still, we cannot exclude that another currently unknown type of viruses might have been responsible, which used the same interactions as coronaviruses with human proteins.

Further validation of the historical trajectories of the causal mutations at selected genes is still needed, including more finely resolved temporal and geographic patterns that could be derived from ancient DNA sampled from across East Asia; however, the requisite ancient samples are currently lacking. Nonetheless, we note the geographic origin of several modern outbreaks of coronaviruses in East Asia point to East Asia being a likely location where these ancient populations came into contact with the virus. Our results suggest that East Asia might have also been a natural range for coronavirus reservoir species during the last 25,000 years.50

Applied evolutionary medicine: Using evolutionary information to combat COVID-19
The net result of the ancient selection patterns on the CoV-VIPs in ancient human populations is the creation of genetic differences among individuals now living in East Asia and between East Asians and populations distributed across the rest of the world. As we demonstrate in this study, this evolutionary genetic information can be exploited by statistical analyses to identify loci potentially involved in the epidemiology of modern diseases—COVID-19 in the present case. Such evolutionary information may ultimately assist in the development of future drugs and therapies by complementing information obtained from more traditional epidemiological and biomedical research. While such studies provide information on a specific gene, the evolutionary approach adopted here leverages evolutionary information in modern genomes to identify candidate genomic regions of interest. This is similar to the information provided by GWAS—i.e., lists of variants or genes that are potentially associated with a particular trait or disease—though we note that the information provided by evolutionary analyses comes with an added understanding about the historical processes that created the underlying population genetic patterns.

The current limitation shared by population genomic approaches, such as GWAS and the evolutionary analyses presented here, is that they identify statistical associations rather than causal links. Further evidence of causal relationships between the CoV-VIPs and COVID-19 etiology could be obtained by examining which viral proteins the selected CoV-VIPs interact with, thus establishing the specific viral functions that are affected.

The ultimate confirmation of causality requires functional validation. It remains to be established whether the genes we have identified in this study might help drug-repurposing efforts and provide a basis for future drug and therapeutic development.

By leveraging the evolutionary information contained in publicly available human genomic datasets, we were able to infer ancient viral epidemics impacting the ancestors of contemporary East Asian populations. Importantly, our evolutionary genomics analyses have identified several new candidate genes that might provide novel drug targets (Data S1). More broadly, our findings highlight the utility of thinking about the possible contribution of evolutionary genomic approaches into standard medical research protocols. Indeed, by revealing the identity of our ancient pathogenic foes, evolutionary genomic methods may ultimately improve our ability to predict—and thus prevent—the epidemics of the future.

joulukuu 26, 2021, 8:07 am

Extended interview with home tests' biggest proponent. (He recently left Harvard, but continues his quest.)

Michael Mina: Rapid Testing, Viruses, and the Engineering Mindset | Lex Fridman Podcast #146 (2:14:10)
Dec 18, 2020

Michael Mina is an immunologist, epidemiologist, and physician at Harvard.

joulukuu 26, 2021, 8:24 am

Op-Ed: How can we avoid second winter of despair with Omicron ($1 pay wall)
Should we offer HCW an emergency 4th booster to get us through an Omicron surge?
Peter Hotez* | Dec 17, 2021

* Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD @PeterHotez --
Vaccine Scientist-Author-Combat Antiscience @bcmhouston
Professor Pediatrics Molecular Virology, @bcm_tropmed
Dean, TexasChildrens
Chair in Tropical Pediatrics

joulukuu 27, 2021, 2:30 pm

Massive New Bird Flu Outbreak Could Be 2022’s Deadly Pandemic
Noga Tarnopolsky | Dec. 27, 2021

In the Galilee, migrating cranes infected with H5N1 are dying by the thousand, raising fears of a global pandemic.

...The virus can be deadly if it infects people. The World Health Organization says more than half of the confirmed 863 human cases it has tracked since 2003 proved fatal. Most strains or variants of avian flu, H5N1, are relatively difficult to transmit to people.

...So far, at least 5,400 wild cranes have died infected with the new H5N1 avian flu, which Israeli authorities fear could expand into a global emergency.

Of the 30,000 Eurasian cranes passing this winter at the Hula Nature Reserve, 17 percent are dead, and scientists fear the worst for their surviving brethren, at least 10,000 of which appear to be ailing. The infection of the cranes is the same strain of avian flu which infected chicken coops throughout northern Israel, and led to the cull in recent days of nearly 1 million birds...

...So far, at least 5,400 wild cranes have died infected with the new H5N1 avian flu, which Israeli authorities fear could expand into a global emergency.

Of the 30,000 Eurasian cranes passing this winter at the Hula Nature Reserve, 17 percent are dead, and scientists fear the worst for their surviving brethren, at least 10,000 of which appear to be ailing. The infection of the cranes is the same strain of avian flu which infected chicken coops throughout northern Israel, and led to the cull in recent days of nearly 1 million birds.

...For now, no Israeli is known to be infected with H5N1, but Israelis who were exposed to wild birds are taking the antiviral Tamiflu...

tammikuu 9, 2022, 11:05 am

Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases @CEZD_CMEZ | 11:30 AM · Jan 6, 2022:
Canada has reported the detection of High Path Avian Influenza H5N1 in a single great black backed gull on the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland

Link to OIE report here:
Map ( )
Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System and WesternCanadianAnimalHealthNetwork

tammikuu 21, 2022, 9:09 am

Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases
Weekly Intelligence Report | January 10th – January 16th 2022

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
 The USA has confirmed Eurasian HPAI H5 in a wild American wigeon in Colleton County, South Carolina
 In Canada, HPAI H5N1 was detected at a second premises, a non-commercial backyard flock located in the same geographical area as the exhibition farm, in the Avalon Peninsula, N.L.

African Swine Fever
 In Italy, additional wild boar have tested positive for ASF in Piedmont and Liguria, there is an increase in cases in Liguria, particularly in the area around the A7 motorway
 Thailand has reported its first official cases of ASF in three pet pigs that displayed clinical signs in late November; ASF was also found in a surface swab sample collected from a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom

Skunk Adenovirus 1
 Three porcupines in Maine have died as a result of infection with SkAdV-1

Illegal meat products
 In New York city, federal agents have seized and destroyed more than 1,900 pounds of prohibited pork, poultry andruminant products (originating from China) from city retailers in the past three months...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 26, 2022, 6:44 am

>61 margd: contd.
"Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
 The USA has confirmed two additional findings of HPAI H5N1 in wild birds – one in Colleton
County, South Carolina and one in Hyde County, North Carolina"

CEZD Weekly Intelligence Report 17-23 January 2022 includes:
HPAI, H5N6 and H9N2 in China,
Powassan virus in Pennsylvania ticks,
Undiagnosed bird deaths in PEI Canada,
Pig mortality in Mexico,
ASF in Europe and Asia,
SARS-CoV2 in pet hamsters

- Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases @CEZD_CMEZ | 5:15 PM · Jan 25, 2022
Canadian Animal Health Surveillance System and WesternCanadianAnimalHealthNetwork

tammikuu 27, 2022, 9:38 am

Wild birds and avian influenza – Handling guidelines

Information for Members of the Public and Hunters
Members of the Public
Hunters Safety
Food Safety
Precautions for Bird Banders, Aviculturists and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres
Aviculturists and wildlife rehabilitation centres

tammikuu 29, 2022, 8:22 am

Interesting, but didn't look at mice, hamsters, bats--nor other critters in the Wuhan wet market(?)

"minimal adaptation was required for human-to-animal spillover and subsequent onward transmission in mink and deer, highlighting the ′generalist′ nature of SARS-CoV-2 as a pathogen of mammalian hosts."

Prof Francois Balloux (Genetics, U College London ) @BallouxFrancois | 1:24 AM · Jan 29, 2022:
Spillover events of SARSCoV2 from humans to animals have been reported for many species, including mink, white-tailed deer, dogs, as well as small and big cats (lions, tigers). We looked for SARSCoV2 genomic adaptations to transmission in animals.* 1/
Fig 1. Multiple emergences and onward transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in animals ( )

Essentially any SARSCoV2 lineage seems equally likely to infect dogs, cats, lions/tigers, mink and deer. Host jumps into cats and dogs are dead ends. Dogs do not transmit well and domestic cats don't have much opportunity to infect other cats, and zoo animals are a bit stuck. 2/

We found a minimum of 24 and 20 distinct clusters of SARSCoV2 in mink and deer caused by independent spillover events of viral strains circulating in humans. Subsequent animal-to-animal transmission may lead the virus to adapt to its new host. 3/

We searched for candidate mutations associated to host jumps, and for those that may emerge and rise in frequency after the host jump. No mutations seems required for a host jump into mink/deer, but some mutations show evidence for positive selection once in mink/deer . 4/
Fig 2. Homoplasy and allele frequency analysis ( )

We identified six candidate mutations for animal-specific adaptation in mink (NSP9_G37E, Spike_F486L, Spike_N501T, Spike_Y453F, ORF3a_T229I, ORF3a_L219V), and one in deer (NSP3a_L1035F). None of those mutations is expected to increase viral fitness in humans. 5/
Fig 3 Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic ( )

All in all, circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in mink and deer has caused only moderate changes to the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 thus far. We also do not observe evidence for accelerated evolution in animals (i.e. higher mutation rate).
Fig 4. Host-specific substitution rate variation

Taken together, our results suggest that minimal adaptation was required for human-to-animal spillover and subsequent onward transmission in mink and deer, highlighting the ‘generalist’ nature of SARS-CoV-2 as a pathogen readily infecting a wide number of mammals. 7/

The results suggest that spill-back events of SARSCoV2 from animal reservoirs into humans are to be anticipated. This has already happened with mink in Denmark (before they were all culled). 8/

Though, based on the current evidence, viral strains making a detour through an animal reservoir are not expected to transmit better in humans, to be more virulent or better at escaping immune recognition. 9/

This work is an update on previous analyses with improved methods and a larger number of genomes analysed. We also teamed up with colleagues from Penn State who sequenced 96% of the available SARSCoV2 genomes from white-tailed deer. 10/

The work was single-handedly driven by @cedriccstan , in collaboration with many wonderful colleagues, with a special mention to @LucyvanDorp and the amazing Pen State crew (Meera, Suresh and Kapur). 11/

Also a heartfelt thank you to the many colleagues who collected the samples, sequenced the viral genomes and shared them on GISAID. 12/

* Cedric CS Tan...Francois Balloux. 2022. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to animals and potential host adaptation. BioRxiv 27 Jan 2022. doi:

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review

SARS-CoV-2, the agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, can infect a wide range of mammals. Since its spread in humans, secondary host jumps of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to a variety of domestic and wild populations of mammals have been documented. The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in different host species is of fundamental interest while also providing indication of how SARS-CoV-2 may have adapted to human hosts soon after the initial host jump, a time window for which there are no genome sequences available. Moreover, the study of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals is critical to assess the risk that the transmission of animal-adapted viral lineages back into humans (i.e., spillback) may pose. Here, we compared the genomic landscapes of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from animal species relative to that in humans, profiling the mutational biases indicative of potentially different selective pressures in animals. We focused on viral genomes collected in infected mink (Neovison vison) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) for which reports of multiple independent spillover events and subsequent animal-to-animal transmission are available. We identified six candidate mutations for animal-specific adaptation in mink (NSP9_G37E, Spike_F486L, Spike_N501T, Spike_Y453F, ORF3a_T229I, ORF3a_L219V), and one in deer (NSP3a_L1035F), though these mutations appear to confer minimal advantage for circulation in humans. Additionally, circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in mink and deer has not caused considerable changes to the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 thus far. Finally, our results suggest that minimal adaptation was required for human-to-animal spillover and subsequent onward transmission in mink and deer, highlighting the ′generalist′ nature of SARS-CoV-2 as a pathogen of mammalian hosts.

...Overall, our findings indicate that the mutational load required for efficient SARS-CoV-2 transmission in novel hosts is low, highlighting the ‘generalist’ nature of SARS-CoV-2 as a mammalian pathogen. In light of this, human-to-animal and spillback events are both a realised and likely outcome of widespread SARS-CoV-2 transmission in human populations. The establishment of SARS-CoV-2 in animal reservoirs further challenge adoption of a suppression/elimination strategy to pandemic mitigation since back-spill to human populations, as seen in association with Danish and Dutch mink farms, seem to be inevitable. Our results indicate that putatively animal-adaptive mutations have emerged in the short time that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating in mink and deer, but that these mutations do not appear to confer a significant advantage for circulation in humans. Nevertheless, mutational surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in human and animal populations remain important to document the adaptive potential of the virus and its consequences in human and animal hosts.


helmikuu 4, 2022, 11:13 pm

This paleontologist says animals — including humans — are just 'guests in a microbial world' (CBC)

I think dinosaurs are great, too … but they existed for only a short time in the whole history of the Earth. And, in fact, animals have only existed for the last 15 per cent of our planet's history. Fundamentally, Earth was a microbial planet, and it still is... There are more bacteria in your body than there are human cells. And that's true, pretty much, of all animals. So I'm not kidding when I say that animals are guests in a microbial world...

helmikuu 8, 2022, 10:24 am

New York Deer Infected With Omicron, Study Finds
Emily Anthes and Sabrina Imbler | Feb. 7, 2022

...The coronavirus has now been found in deer in 15 states...Research suggests that deer are getting the virus from humans and then spreading it to other deer, and there is no evidence yet that they are spreading it back to people...

White-tailed deer on Staten Island have been found carrying the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus, marking the first time the variant has been reported in wild animals...

helmikuu 12, 2022, 12:30 pm

Highly pathogenic' bird flu hits U.S. farm
Nicoletta Lanese | Feb 11, 2022

...A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu was detected in a commercial turkey flock in Dubois County, Indiana, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on Wednesday (Feb. 9). State officials said that 29,000 turkeys have now been culled to prevent the virus's spread...

Avian influenza, or bird flu, can infect poultry, such as chickens and turkeys, as well as free-flying waterfowl like ducks, geese and shorebirds, the USDA statement notes. The highly pathogenic strain detected in Indiana turkeys is known as H5N1 and was first spotted in wild bird populations in North and South Carolina last month, according to the Des Moines Register. Wild birds in eastern Canada also tested positive for the virus around that time, MPR News reported...

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 12, 2022, 12:54 pm

Whew for humans! A caution for minks & ferrets...

Jie Zhou et al. 2022. Mutations that adapt SARS-CoV-2 to mink or ferret do not increase fitness in the human airway. Cell Reports Article| Volume 38, ISSUE 6, 110344, February 08, 2022

• Y453F, F486L, and N501T often arise in SARS-CoV-2 spike during ferret/mink adaptation
• These mutations specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use ferret ACE2
• Common ferret or mink adaptations attenuate the virus in human airway cells
• SARS-CoV-2 variants can use ferret ACE2 with any adaptation

SARS-CoV-2 has a broad mammalian species tropism infecting humans, cats, dogs, and farmed mink. Since the start of the 2019 pandemic, several reverse zoonotic outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred in mink, one of which reinfected humans and caused a cluster of infections in Denmark. Here we investigate the molecular basis of mink and ferret adaptation and demonstrate the spike mutations Y453F, F486L, and N501T all specifically adapt SARS-CoV-2 to use mustelid ACE2. Furthermore, we risk assess these mutations and conclude mink-adapted viruses are unlikely to pose an increased threat to humans, as Y453F attenuates the virus replication in human cells and all three mink adaptations have minimal antigenic impact. Finally, we show that certain SARS-CoV-2 variants emerging from circulation in humans may naturally have a greater propensity to infect mustelid hosts and therefore these species should continue to be surveyed for reverse zoonotic infections.

helmikuu 15, 2022, 12:08 pm

Highly lethal bird flu found in Ky. and Va. flocks, raising fear of wider outbreak in poultry farms
Andrew Jeong | Feb 15, 2022

...Poultry operations in Kentucky and Virginia were confirmed to have birds infected with a highly lethal form of avian flu, federal agriculture officials said Monday, days after a flock of turkeys in Indiana tested positive, raising worries about a wider outbreak in the country...

helmikuu 17, 2022, 7:53 am

9 out of 10 ticks in this Pennsylvania park carried a potentially fatal neurological virus
Cameron Duke | Feb 16, 2022

...A site in Pennsylvania recently recorded the highest-ever concentration of ticks carrying a variant of potentially fatal Powassan virus called deer-tick virus (DTV). This rare virus has the potential to cause deadly infections with lasting neurological effects, and officials fear it and other serious tick-borne illnesses may become more common in the future...Between 2008 and 2017, most of the cases were diagnosed in and around the Great Lakes region.

The virus, which has two lineages — one of which is DTV — was first identified in 1952. While many cases of Powassan virus are asymptomatic, those that are symptomatic can be deadly...Roughly 1 in 10 neuroinvasive cases of Powassan virus are fatal, and about half of the survivors of these cases experience long-term neurological health impacts.

...The virus can be transmitted within 15 minutes of a tick bite, which is much faster than the time from bite to infection for many other tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, in which a tick needs to be latched onto a person for more than 24 hours to transmit the disease. Because Powassan virus historically has been rare, there are no specific treatments, although a vaccine is in development

Between 2016 and 2020, 134 cases of Powassan virus were reported in the U.S. compared with 44 cases between 2011 and 2015...likely vastly underreported, at least for Lyme disease.

This increase in infection rates is likely due to the expansion of the black-legged tick, the vector for both Powassan virus and Lyme disease. In a 2019 study in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, researchers predicted that "the number of Lyme disease cases in the United States will increase by over 20 percent in the coming decades." Increased temperatures and humidity are likely to contribute to increased reproduction, survival and expansion of ticks. A 2021 review in the journal Insects predicts that black-legged ticks will continue to expand farther northward across Minnesota, the Dakotas and Alaska by 2050.

...However, climate change is just one part of the problem; changes in land use across North America also may play a role...a growing population of deer and mice, which are used by the ticks for blood meals, and that in turn increases the tick population."

Hyeree Choi et al. 2020. A novel synthetic DNA vaccine elicits protective immune responses against Powassan virus. PLOS x Published: October 29, 2020.

Igor Dumic and Edson Severnini. 2018. “Ticking Bomb”: The Impact of Climate Change on the Incidence of Lyme Disease. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, vol. 2018, Article ID 5719081, 10 pages, 24 Oct 2018.

helmikuu 17, 2022, 12:05 pm

Stuart Neil (virology prof) | 12:48 PM · Feb 16, 2022
Bat coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 and infectious for human cells | Nature
The Laotian BANAL virus paper now out in Nature. Now with isolation of live BANAL-236.
Remember these viruses carry an RBD ‘perfectly adapted’ to human ACE2 - but in the wild

Sarah Temmam et al. 2022. Bat coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 and infectious for human cells. Nature (16 Feb 2022)

unedited version of accepted manuscript

The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 is unknown despite reports of various SARS-CoV-2-related viruses in Asian Rhinolophus bats..., including the closest virus from R. affinis, RaTG135,6 and in pangolins... SARS-CoV-2 presents a mosaic genome, to which different progenitors contribute. The spike sequence determines the binding affinity and accessibility of its receptor-binding domain (RBD) to the cellular angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and is responsible for host range10–12. SARS-CoV-2 progenitor bat viruses genetically close to SARS-CoV-2 and able to enter human cells through a human ACE2 pathway have not yet been identified, though they would be key in understanding the origin of the epidemics. Here we show that such viruses indeed circulate in cave bats living in the limestone karstic terrain in North Laos, within the Indochinese peninsula. We found that the RBDs of these viruses differ from that of SARS-CoV-2 by only one or two residues at the interface with ACE2, bind more efficiently to the hACE2 protein than the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain isolated in early human cases, and mediate hACE2-dependent entry and replication in human cells, which is inhibited by antibodies neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. None of these bat viruses harbors a furin cleavage site in the spike. Our findings therefore indicate that bat-borne SARS-CoV-2-like viruses potentially infectious for humans circulate in Rhinolophus spp. in the Indochinese peninsula.

helmikuu 20, 2022, 6:02 pm

Florian Krammer (Icahn virologist) @florian_krammer | 6:02 AM · Feb 19, 2022:
Great paper by @edwardcholmes and colleagues. All kinds of viruses detected in game animals in China.
Including influenza B virus in a bamboo rat. Eddie, do you think that was a limited reverse zoonosis event?

He, W.-T., Hou, X., Zhao, J., Sun, J., He, H., Si, W., Wang, J., Jiang, Z., Yan, Z., Xing, G., Lu, M., Suchard, M.A., Ji, X., Gong, W., He, B., Li, J., Lemey, P., Guo, D., Tu, C., Holmes, E.C., Shi, M., Su, S., Virome characterization of game animals in China reveals a spectrum of emerging pathogens, Cell (16 Feb 2022), 50 p. doi:

In press. Journal pre-proof.

· 1941 game animals from five mammalian orders were surveyed for viruses
· 102 mammalian-infecting viruses were discovered, 21 posing a potential risk to humans
· Civets carried a relatively higher number of potentially ‘high risk’ viruses
· Human-infecting viruses were also identified in game animals

Game animals are wildlife species traded and consumed as food, and potential reservoirs for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. We performed a meta-transcriptomic analysis of 1941 game animals, representing 18 species and five mammalian orders, sampled across China. From this we identified 102 mammalian-infecting viruses, with 65 described for the first time. Twenty-one viruses were considered as potentially high risk to humans and domestic animals. Civets (Paguma larvata) carried the highest number of potentially high-risk viruses. We inferred the transmission of Bat coronavirus HKU8 from bats to civets, as well as cross-species jumps of coronaviruses from bats to hedgehogs, from birds to porcupines, and from dogs to raccoon dogs. Of note, we identified avian Influenza A virus H9N2 in civets and Asian badgers, with the latter displaying respiratory symptoms, as well as cases of likely human-to-wildlife virus transmission. These data highlight the importance of game animals as potential drivers of disease emergence.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 2022, 12:58 pm

The Coronavirus Menagerie
With the virus widespread in white-tailed deer, scientists wonder which animals might be next.
Sabrina Imbler and Emily Anthes | Feb. 22, 2022
Foxes, but not coyotes, can be infected w COVID in the lab...

Stephanie M. Porter et al. 2022. Susceptibility of wild canids to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
BioRxiv Jan 21, 2022. doi:

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has proven to be a promiscuous virus, capable of infecting a variety of different animal species, but much work remains in determining the susceptibility of common wildlife species to the virus. Here, we demonstrate that following experimental inoculation with SARS-CoV-2, red fox (Vulpes vulpes) become infected and can shed virus in oral and respiratory secretions. Conversely, experimentally challenged coyotes (Canis latrans) did not become infected or shed virus. Our results add red fox to the animal species known to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and suggest that they may contribute to continued maintenance and transmission of the virus.

helmikuu 22, 2022, 2:01 pm

Maybe the only way to end it is to spread it to the animal from whence it came in the first place and close the loop.

maaliskuu 2, 2022, 3:32 pm

Dr. Syra Madad (ID Epi NYC) @syramadad | 9:45 PM · Feb 28, 2022:
H5N6 avian flu infects 4 more people in China, with 1 death

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 2022, 8:17 am

Verena @viralemergence | 9:34 AM · Mar 23, 2022
Could the "SARS-CoV-2 in deer" story happen again? We found nearly 100 cases where humans gave wildlife a new disease, and describe a framework to assess the risk that "spillback" poses for conservation and human health. Out now in @Ecology_Letters

"One of the greatest unknowns concerning zooanthroponotic transmission is its symmetry: that is, do the same processes govern transmission from humans to animals as those governing animal-to-human transmission?"

Anna C. Fagre et al. 2022. Assessing the risk of human-to-wildlife pathogen transmission for conservation and public health. Ecology Letters. 2022;0 0:1–16 (Accepted 2 March 2022.) DOI: 10.1111/ele.14003

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to increased concern over transmission of pathogens from humans to animals, and its potential to threaten conservation and public health. To assess this threat, we reviewed published evidence of human- to-wildlife transmission events, with a focus on how such events could threaten animal and human health. We identified 97 verified examples, involving a wide range of pathogens; however, reported hosts were mostly non-human primates or large, long-lived captive animals. Relatively few documented examples resulted in morbidity and mortality, and very few led to maintenance of a human pathogen in a new reservoir or subsequent “secondary spillover” back into humans. We discuss limitations in the literature surrounding these phenomena, including strong evidence of sampling bias towards non-human primates and human-proximate mammals and the possibility of systematic bias against reporting human parasites in wildlife, both of which limit our ability to assess the risk of human-to-wildlife pathogen transmission. We outline how researchers can collect experimental and observational evidence that will expand our capacity for risk assessment for human- to- wildlife pathogen transmission.

Pathways detailing the two general scenarios in which pathogen transmission from humans to wildlife is problematic. We separate these scenarios into concerns for 1) conservation and 2) public health. In both pathways, spillover into humans (a) results in successful zoonotic establishment; humans, which are competent transmitters of the pathogen, then transmit it onto a new animal population in an instance of “spillback” (b or d). In Pathway 1, the pathogen causes morbidity or mortality, potentially presenting a conservation risk (c). In Pathway 2, the new animal species proves a competent reservoir (d), maintaining the pathogen within the population. This population presents a spillover risk, potentially creating numerous novel infections in humans (e). This maintenance population, or additional wildlife species it shares pathogens with, may also suffer substantial morbidity and mortality, creating concerns for conservation (c). NB the sequence of events represents an idealised and simplified time-structured scenario, comprising only one of a number of possible transmission paths through a complex metapopulation of hosts; transmission may occur in either direction between the depicted hosts, and the suggested hosts may represent a single species or a community or reservoir complex composed of multiple species. Silhouettes are taken from

FIGURE 2 Options for investigating and understanding human-to-wildlife pathogen spillback. Although there is currently a limited evidence base on spillback (a–c), further investigation in the future may allow the formation of spillback datasets and the training of predictive models

FIGURE 3 Asymmetry in transmission between humans and wildlife. Many studies that investigate animals’ susceptibility to human pathogens rest on the implicit assumption that interspecific pathogen transmission is symmetrical—that is, that pathogens go through the same series of hurdles in transmitting from humans to animals as they do in the reverse direction. One of the greatest unknowns concerning zooanthroponotic transmission is its symmetry: that is, do the same processes govern transmission from humans to animals as those governing animal-to-human transmission? A great many processes could create asymmetry in this relationship. For example, host immune cells often use cell surface proteins such as glycans to identify self from non-self; when one species encounters a virus that has just budded off another species’ cells, its immune response may be able to more easily identify the glycans of the other species, and the propensity to identify other species’ glycans may not be equally effective in both directions. Several mechanisms act on humans specifically—most notably non-pharmaceutical interventions (e.g. disinfectant, face masks, bednets, etc)—to lower incidence and transmission of infectious disease, both between humans and to/from animals. We suggest that the symmetry of transmission between humans and wildlife is likely to depend on the pathogen's transmission mode. For example, humans may be less likely to inhabit areas that involve concentrated animal waste, whereas a great many animal species are subjected to human sewage or runoff, exposing them more readily to human faecal-oral pathogens (a). Similarly, it is unlikely that humans will bite wild animals, but relatively more likely that the opposite will happen; consequently humans are regularly exposed to rabies from animals, but the reverse is not true (b). Relatively few humans are eaten by animals, but many humans eat animals, which provides a well- established spillover route for pathogen transmission during handling, slaughter, and consumption (c). However, there are some transmission modes that are likely to be more-or-less symmetrical—most notably vector-borne transmission, provided the arthropod does not have narrow host-feeding preferences, and feeds on both humans and non-human vertebrates (d). Animal silhouettes are from

maaliskuu 24, 2022, 8:19 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 24, 2022, 10:50 am

Map of North America showing locations of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) detections, 2021/2022.
Updated March 23, 2022.

Map ( )

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 11:17 am

Science Magazine @ScienceMagazine | 11:00 PM · Mar 25, 2022:
Antibodies isolated from patients can protect rodents from multiple types of #hantavirus—a discovery that could inform vaccine development and address the critical lack of therapeutics for these emerging infections.

Eva Mittler et al. 2022. Human antibody recognizing a quaternary epitope in the Puumala virus glycoprotein provides broad protection against orthohantaviruses. Science Translational Medicine • 16 Mar 2022 • Vol 14, Issue 636 • DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abl5399

huhtikuu 6, 2022, 12:19 pm

Into the wild: Animals the latest frontier in COVID fight
Laura Ungar | March 30, 2022

...Ultimately, experts say the only way to stop viruses from jumping back and forth between animals and humans—extending this pandemic or sparking a new one—is to tackle big problems like habitat destruction and illegal wildlife sales...

huhtikuu 30, 2022, 11:08 am

(Also posted at climate thread.)

Scientists Warn That Climate Change Could Spark the Next Major Pandemic
Georgetown University Medical Center | April 30, 2022

...the first comprehensive assessment of how climate change will restructure the global mammalian virome. The work focuses on geographic range shifts—the journeys that species will undertake as they follow their habitats into new areas. As they encounter other mammals for the first time, the study projects they will share thousands of viruses.

Map: In 2070, human population centers in equatorial Africa, south China, India, and Southeast Asia will overlap with projected hotspots of cross-species viral transmission in wildlife. ...

They argue that these shifts provide greater opportunity for viruses such as Ebola or coronaviruses to emerge in new places, making them more difficult to track, and into new types of animals, making it easier for viruses to jump across a “stepping stone” species into humans...

Colin J. Carlson et al. 2022. “Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk”. Nature, 28 April 2022. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-04788-w

toukokuu 12, 2022, 1:32 pm

Florian Krammer (Ican virologist) liked

Stephen Goldstein (U Utah) @stgoldst | 12:12 PM · May 12, 2022:

Interesting - first report of a MERS-related virus in pangolins. Closely related to bat virus HKU4 which can infect human cells. Hopefully published soon.

Image ( )

toukokuu 13, 2022, 7:43 am

Pigs can pass deadly superbugs to people, study reveals
Research into C difficile found antibiotic resistance is growing as a result of overuse on farm stock
Robin McKie 24 Apr 2022

...Scientists have uncovered evidence that dangerous versions of superbugs can spread from pigs to humans. The discovery underlines fears that intensive use of antibiotics on farms is leading to the spread of microbes resistant to them.

The discovery of the link has been made by Semeh Bejaoui and Dorte Frees of Copenhagen University and Soren Persson at Denmark’s Statens Serum Institute and focuses on the superbug Clostridioides difficile, which is considered one of the world’s major antibiotic resistance threats.

“Our finding indicates that C difficile is a reservoir of antimicrobial resistance genes that can be exchanged between animals and humans,” said Bejaoui, who is due to present her study at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases in Lisbonon Sunday. “This alarming discovery suggests that resistance to antibiotics can spread more widely than previously thought, and confirms links in the resistance chain leading from farm animals to humans.”...

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 2022, 9:50 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

toukokuu 16, 2022, 9:43 am

Michelle Wille and Ian G. Barr. 2022. Resurgence of avian influenza virus (Perspective). Science • 26 Apr 2022 • Vol 376, Issue 6592 • pp. 459-460 • DOI: 10.1126/science.abo1232

Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIv) have recently been detected on the East coast of Canada (December 2021) and the United States (January 2022) and have been found in both wild birds and poultry (1). This comes after the same strain (known as H5N1) swept through Asia, Africa, and Europe in late 2021, replacing the previous HPAIv and causing widespread outbreaks and millions of deaths in poultry and wild birds. These HPAIv are of concern not only to birds but also to humans because they pose a potential pandemic risk. How has this virus emerged and spread so rapidly, and what does it mean for poultry, wild birds, and humans?

Map--spread of H5Nx avian influenza ( )

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 2022, 10:03 am

Portugal confirms 5 cases of monkeypox, Spain finds 8 suspicious cases
Not likely that monkeypox will be widely transmitted, but we can’t rule it out, says Spain’s chief epidemiologist
Alyssa McMurtry | 18.05.2022

...The first known transmission of monkeypox on the Iberian peninsula comes as the UK studies its largest outbreak.

So far, UK authorities have identified seven cases of monkeypox in little more than a month.

The UK Health Security Agency has emphasized that the virus does not spread easily between people.

However, the British agency has asked gay and bisexual men “to be alert” to possible symptoms such as rashes or lesions on their bodies because the four most recent cases were identified within those groups.

Spain’s Simon explained that historically the virus has been limited to Africa and the outbreaks have been small.

“The outbreaks didn’t have more than a second generation of transmission, but in recent years, scientists have detected up to three or four generations of transmission,” explained the Spanish epidemiologist.

Monkeypox can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the symptoms of monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. After a few days, patients can develop a rash that goes through different stages before scabbing.

The illness typically lasts between two to four weeks.

While generally mild, in Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 10% of those who contract the disease...

Infectious Diseases @InfectiousDz | 6:56 AM · May 18, 2022:
Infectious Diseases and their global story, now dominated by COVID and the effects of violence and war. NYC

Monkeypox is now suspected or confirmed in 3 European metropolitan areas, with transmission to 4 in London, 5 confirmed in Lisbon with 20 suspected, and 8 suspected in Madrid.
🧵 ( )

Monkeypox is a virus, often seen in the DRC, Nigeria as well as other parts of Central and Western Africa, that is usually transmitted from rodents, but can spread person to person (respiratory spread through the air and direct contact with lesions or persons's clothing/bedding).

Mortality rates can range between 1% and 15% in case series, but with good supportive care mortality is much lower and would be expected to be much lower in Europe. Higher mortality often reflects lack of access to care and limited available resources.

There is not a specific known and effective treatment for monkeypox but there is a vaccine. In fact, the first vaccine we used - for smallpox - works against monkeypox. It's thought to be at least 85% effective

The smallpox vaccine should be given by 4 days after exposure (so anyone who was nearby the person diagnosed, including healthcare workers).
If the vaccine is given between 4 and 14 days it can reduce the symptoms but not entirely prevent you from getting sick.

Immunoglobulin developed for smallpox and various antivirals have been given and continue to be studied for their effectiveness
More (from WHO) on Monkeypox:

The countries with the most knowledge and experience stopping monkeypox outbreaks have been Nigeria and the DRC. The NCDC has public health response guidelines that are very useful on monkeypox:

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 19, 2022, 10:00 am

>86 margd: contd.

Variole du singe : au moins 13 cas en cours d’examen à Montréal
Des éclosions similaires ont récemment été recensées dans plusieurs pays d’Europe.
Jérôme Labbé, René Saint-Louis | 2022-05-18

(Google translate) Montreal public health confirms that several cases of monkeypox are being studied in the metropolis. Just like what is happening right now in Europe, this outbreak mainly affects the homosexual community, at least for now.

Monkeypox is a viral disease, ... which usually manifests as fever, headache or back pain, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and skin rashes similar to those caused by chickenpox.

Endemic in West Africa, this disease is rather rare in Europe and North America. It is usually transmitted through contact with infected animals, but it can also be spread by humans. No treatment exists, but it usually heals on its own.

However, outbreaks have recently been recorded in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. In all, more than 50 suspected or confirmed cases have been reported so far. And the homosexual and bisexual communities would be particularly affected...

U.S. confirms monkeypox case in man who recently travelled to Canada
Sean Boynton & Jamie Mauracher | May 18, 2022

...The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement that an adult male tested positive for the virus on Tuesday, which was confirmed Wednesday by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The department did not say where in Canada the man travelled to or when. The case does not pose any risk to the public, officials added, but contact tracing is ongoing...

Bill Hanage @BillHanage | 9:47 PM · May 18, 2022:
Assoc Prof at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

I am no kind of specific expert in monkeypox (or orthopoxviruses). That being said, given what I know about disease transmission the clusters of monkeypox infections that are turning up should be treated with the utmost seriousness 1/n

(Thread at )

Dr. Lisa Iannattone @lisa_iannattone | 10:52 PM · May 18, 2022:
Assistant Professor of Dermatology @med_umontreal. Adjunct Clinical Professor @McGillMed. Former Harvard derm fellow. Focus: complex medical dermatology.

Simultaneous outbreaks of monkeypox in multiple countries like this is unprecedented. So either the virus changed or we changed.
Infectious Diseases @InfectiousDz | 7:56 AM · May 19, 2022
Monkeypox, metropolitan areas:

- London, GB: 9 confirmed
- Lisbon, Portugal: 14 confirmed, 6 suspected
- Madrid, Spain: 23+ suspected (1 ex-Canary Islands)
- Quebec, Canada: 13 suspected
- Boston, MA, USA: 1 confirmed
- Stockholm, Sweden: 1 confirmed
- Rome, Italy: 1 identified

toukokuu 20, 2022, 8:07 am

Adam Kucharski @adamjkucharski | 11:39 PM · May 19, 2022:
Co-director @LSHTM_CEPR ( Centre for Epidemic Preparedness & Response, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). @WellcomeTrust fellow and @TEDFellow. Author of The Rules of Contagion.

Every year, we run an MSc session on the dynamics of monkeypox transmission, and our team have worked a lot on contact tracing & transmission chain analysis for a range of infections. So a few thoughts on current MPX outbreak… 1/13

When MPX was first reported in the 1970s, it spread against a background of cross-protective immunity from smallpox vaccination, so the reproduction number R was initially very small ( &… 2/13

But remember R = R0 x S, where R0 is transmissibility in fully susceptible population and S is proportion susceptible. So R has increased in the years since discontinuation of smallpox vaccination and hence increase in S ( 3/

Even if R is below 1 in mostly susceptible population, can still see large 'stuttering' outbreaks occasionally. So important to disentangle effects of:
A) chance events
B) change in virus characteristics (e.g. via evolution)
C) change in population in which virus spreading.

For both Ebola in 2014 and Zika in 2016 we saw viruses that had circulated for decades finding new niches and exhibiting novel features (e.g. larger urban outbreaks, new transmission routes). 5/13

Estimation of transmissibility can be further hindered by potential for superspreading, which may skew early estimates, and fact that the group at risk of initial spillover is often not same as group most at risk of human-to-human transmission (e.g. 6/13

So what about potential for rapid outbreak control? It's useful to refer to this classic paper by @ChristoPhraser @SRileyIDD et al: Adapted version of key figure below - based on historical patterns we'd expect MPX to sit at 'easier to control' end. 7/13
Fig. -

In particular, historical evidence of distinctive symptoms, long-ish serial interval (i.e. delay between symptoms appearing in case & people they infect), and transmission mostly after symptoms suggest isolation + contact tracing can be very effective for MPX. 8/13

In which case, the main variable influencing control would be the % of contacts of cases that can be traced. And if targeted vaccination planned (e.g. in a ring strategy like smallpox eradication), effectiveness of this approach will also depend on % contacts traced... 9/13

For Ebola, we found narrow window where ring vaccination would give large extra benefit - if contact tracing working well, vaccination would have limited extra impact; if not working, could get continued transmission among missed contacts. More:

In discussions of vaccination as measure for MPX, it's also worth referring to this piece from 2003 by @bugwonk on smallpox planning (using earlier generation vaccines), and the importance of considering potential for containment via other means: 11/13

Also, despite a longer MPX incubation period being useful for contact tracing, can hinder symptom screening (e.g. at travel hubs), because cases less likely to be symptomatic at arrival. More in analysis with KatieMG and others from a few years ago: 12/13

Incoming data will soon help firm up estimates of current MPX incubation period, per-contact transmission risk and symptom profile relative to infectiousness - which will help distinguish reasons for unusual pattern of cases, and implications for containment. 13/13

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 21, 2022, 1:03 pm

🇺🇦 Meaghan Kall @kallmemeg | 10:33 AM · May 21, 2022
Epidemiologist @UKHSA , PhD student, mom, wife. Born 🇺🇸 Migrated to 🇬🇧. Tweet about HIV & COVID-19. #Nature10 scientist.

Correction to #monkeypox PSA 🦠
Claims that people were infected on a plane are false. (margd: premature?)

Flight contacts of cases are being monitored for symptoms. If any become positive, it would indeed be concerning but that has not been confirmed yet.
On the upside, monkeypox is a DNA virus--less likely to mutate than RNA viruses like SARS?
Smallpox vaccine is available(?).
Monkeypox rash LOOKs bad, so possibly less anti-vaxx sentiment?
If airborne, masks, ventilation, filtration etc. protective?

Andre Watson 🧬 @nanogenomic | 3:40 AM · May 21, 2022:
CEO @Ligandal 🧬 Biomedical engineer & nanoscientist solving cell-specific delivery for gene therapy + editing + biodefense tech. Forbes 30u30 in Healthcare.

#monkeypox PSA 🦠

—Early indications that 6 people from a single flight caught it from 1 other person.
—If R0 is consistently above 2, we have another global pandemic on our hands.
—After smallpox was eradicated, smallpox vaccines were no longer standard care for millennials.

Monkeypox goes global: why scientists are on alert
Scientists are trying to understand why the virus, a less lethal relative of smallpox, has cropped up in so many populations around the world.
Max Kozlov | 20 May 2022

toukokuu 21, 2022, 12:37 pm

Muge Cevik @mugecevik | 11:05 AM · May 21, 2022:
Clinician Scientist • Infectious Diseases / Virology @univofstandrews • publichealth, TB, HIV
Links & discussion at

As the monkeypox virus (MPX) outbreak continues, a lot of data emerging in real-time & being rapidly disseminated (as well as misinformation). I complied the unfolding scientific data (with direct links to papers and threads) on what we (don’t) know so far. #IDTwitter 🧵(1/n)

First, MPXV is not a novel virus. It is a viral zoonosis first discovered in 1958, with the first human infection reported in 1970. It is classified as a high priority pathogen by WHO, cases mostly identified in central & western Africa until now. (2/n) (\)

Confirmed and suspected cases of #MonkeyPox now reached 145 among 13 countries with 20 cases in the UK. The main concern is that there are non-travel associated cases in Europe, meaning there is likely unnoticed community transmission. (3/n)

The first case detected was in London on 7 May related to travel from Nigeria, followed by additional cases across England & is the first outbreak of community transmission in Europe. The global reach of transmission for this outbreak is beyond that previously experienced. (4/n)

The precise drivers & ongoing global risk is not entirely well defined. However, we have now learned a few things, which provide crucial answers. Normally, MXP doesn’t spread efficiently h2h (human to human). So, one of the concerns was whether this a new & more transmissible strain of MPX. (5/n)

Full genome sequence of a MPX case in Belgium shows that the protein coding sequence appears identical to that of a sequence from 2018 from the UK (linked to Nigeria). This preliminary data argue against evolutionary adaptation. (6/n)

But sequencing is ongoing - although these are closely related to 2018 MXP we can’t completely rule out a mutation conferring enhanced transmissibility. Sequencing to greater depth will improve quality of the consensus genomes. See A Rambaut et al. (cont)

If MXP didn’t suddenly become better at infecting people and our previous knowledge in regard to its transmission dynamics remain the same, why are we seeing a lot of cases all of a sudden? There are some clues in the epidemiological data gathered so far. (7/n)

~65% of cases are identified in 4 countries - UK (20), Portugal (34), Spain (53) & Canada (22), and clusters of cases include many men who have sex with men (MSM). This has raised Qs about a new route of transmission, but prolonged close contact is how MXP normally spreads. (8/n)

MPX primarily presents as a vesicular-pustular illness (skin lesions), preceded by fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. MXP is transmissible from the time when skin lesions appear, throughout the entire course of illness i.e. all lesions have healed. (9/n)

While we still need to estimate the incubation period of the current outbreak, from the historical evidence, MXP has a long-ish incubation period. So, cases we are seeing at the moment relates to an event or events that happened a few weeks ago. (10/n)

Throughout the covid19 pandemic, my main research focused on transmission dynamics. And network dynamics are the most important factor that define how a virus spreads. Network related factors include network size, density of connections, & link to high-risk activities. (11/n)

Sexual networks can allow linkage of seemingly isolated outbreaks. For instance, Spanish researchers are investigating a linkage to sauna as a common exposure setting, which fits within close contact definition. (12/n) (\)

Larger, more densely connected networks, closer to the core, can be associated with steep rises in incidence. For instance, introduction to MSM networks and connection to recent event(s) in Western Europe may explain the current outbreak. (13/n)

This is not very surprising as historical data suggest that MXP tends to spread very well within households with 9% secondary attack rate in unvaccinated populations. So, this does not only relate to sexual networks, close and prolonged contact is definitely an issue. (14/n)

Majority of the cases were not admitted to hospital & no deaths so far. This is reassuring and fits with historical data as the current outbreak is caused by the MXP West Africa clade, which has a CFR of 1- 3.6% (\) (15/n)

This is the biggest outbreak outside of Africa, and there will be more cases to come. The concern is not necessarily a global pandemic like what we’ve seen w/ coronaviruses or influenza. But a growing & large MXP epidemic is a concern especially if PH measures are delayed. (16/n)

Especially given the apparent symptoms of MXP and transmission mostly after symptoms suggest that isolation + contact tracing can be very effective to control MPX. With the help from smallpox ring vaccination, I hope that it very much can be contained. (17/n)

However, the biggest challenge in my opinion is the delayed identification of cases, which may have profound implications not only on communities, but on healthcare workers, from risk of exposure or prolonged isolation, adding strains on healthcare systems during outbreaks.(18/n)

For instance, the case in Belgium was initially only tested for HSV & Syphilis. Upon international alerts was then tested for MXP. This is also due limited published literature on MXP due to the challenges faced by colleagues in global South (19/n)

So, the most important thing is to inform our communities & healthcare workers about the clinical presentation, incubation period, so that people can be diagnosed at an earlier possibility, isolated and contacts are protected. This is the range of skin lesions. (20/n)
Photo lesions ( )

In conclusion, #monkeypox is not really a rare disease & is a PH concern. According to prelim evidence there is no indication that current outbreak is due to a new MXP variant & epi data suggest that it’s been introduced to MSM ( Men Who Have Sex with Men ) networks, likely sometime in late-April. (21/n)

We have observed MXP outbreaks in many countries mainly in Africa, this is the first time that we are observing wide transmission in Europe. MXP remains an under-recognized and underreported emerging disease. Good clinical management can limit disease severity or death. (22/n)

We are in an unknown territory as individuals who have prior smallpox vaccination do have some degree of protection against monkeypox, but we don’t really know the degree of protection it provides to individuals who had vaccination 50, 60 years prior. (23/n)

For further reading, I will link some useful threads here in addition to the ones in my thread...

toukokuu 22, 2022, 3:56 am

Cross-posted in climate change:

Colin J. Carlson et al. 2022. Climate change increases cross-species viral transmission risk. Nature (28 April 2022)

unedited version of manuscript

At least 10,000 virus species have the capacity to infect humans, but at present, the vast majority are circulating silently in wild mammals... However, climate and land use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated species of wildlife... In some cases, this will facilitate zoonotic spillover—a mechanistic link between global environmental change and disease emergence. Here, we simulate potential hotspots of future viral sharing, using a phylogeographic model of the mammal-virus network, and projections of geographic range shifts for 3,139 mammal species under climate change and land use scenarios for the year 2070. We predict that species will aggregate in new combinations at high elevations, in biodiversity hotspots, and in areas of high human population density in Asia and Africa, driving the novel cross-species transmission of their viruses an estimated 4,000 times. Because of their unique dispersal capacity, bats account for the majority of novel viral sharing, and are likely to share viruses along evolutionary pathways that will facilitate future emergence in humans. Surprisingly, we find that this ecological transition may already be underway, and holding warming under 2 °C within the century will not reduce future viral sharing. Our findings highlight an urgent need to pair viral surveillance and discovery efforts with biodiversity surveys tracking species’ range shifts, especially in tropical regions that harbor the most zoonoses and are experiencing rapid warming.

toukokuu 25, 2022, 10:25 am

Monkeypox outbreak is primarily spreading through sex, WHO officials say
Dawn Kopecki | May 23 2022

European nations have confirmed dozens of cases in what’s become the largest outbreak of monkeypox ever on the Continent, according to the German military.

The U.S. has confirmed at least two cases and Canada has confirmed at least five so far. Belgium just introduced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients.

...While the virus itself is not a sexually transmitted infection, which are generally spread through semen and vaginal fluids, the most recent surge in cases appears to have been spread among men who have sex with other men, WHO officials said, emphasizing that anyone can contract monkeypox.

“Many diseases can be spread through sexual contact. You could get a cough or a cold through sexual contact, but it doesn’t mean that it’s a sexually transmitted disease,” said Andy Seale, who advises the WHO on HIV, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted infections.

The virus is spread through close contact with people, animals or material infected with the virus. It enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose and mouth. Though human-to-human transmission is believed to occur through respiratory droplets as well, that method requires prolonged face-to-face contact because the droplets cannot travel more than a few feet, according to the CDC.

“This is a virus that is super stable outside the human host, so it can live on objects like blankets and things like that,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC in a separate interview Monday on “Squawk Box.” “And so you can see situations where people become reluctant to try on clothing, things like that, where it could become disruptive in areas where this is spreading, like New York City.”...

Highly anecdotal and speculative but tweet belo and discussion that followed suggests that recent uptick in "syphilis" in west may have been atypical monkeypox? Monkeypox MAY have been circulating longer than thought?

Sébastien Poulin @sebpoule | 11:16 PM · May 24, 2022:
Medical microbiology & Infectious diseases MD MSc @ St-Jérôme & Montréal 🔝 Interests #HBV #HCV #HIV (#IDtwitter #HIVtwitter geek & French 🇨🇦)
with comments at

My patient with MonkeyPox suspicion is now confirmed by PCR.
I can share with you some important details that I could not before.
➡️ The bottom line of this tweet will be; «We must have a high index of suspicion for ‘atypical’ MonkeyPox cases»

~20-30y man
-May 6-7 ; sexual contacts with positive cases
-May 15; single ~0,5 cm macule ➡️ papule ➡️ vesicle/pustule on the penis. Not painful (❗️)
-May 16; painful left inguinal lymphadenopathy
-May 17; Progression of the single penis lesion. Small crust at the center. Not painful (❗️)
-May 19; Lesion is now ~1,3 cm and mostly crusted with vesicle borders. + 2 or 3 small vesicular «satellite lesions» around it.
-May 24; mostly crusted lesion(s)

❗️Never had other rash/lesion elsewhere
❗️Never had fever/ prodrome etc.

➡️ Warning; ANECDOTAL n=1..
But I think it’s important to know that there’s a spectrum of disease manifestations and keep a high index of suspicion.

toukokuu 25, 2022, 2:06 pm

Snow-Covered Tires Help Invasive Mosquitoes Survive Cold Winters
John P. Roche | 5/24 /2022
Entomology Today

A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have discovered that Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) can survive winter above the latitude where temperatures drop below the species’ lower temperature limit by taking refuge in abandoned car tires, which provided a warmer microhabitat than the external air. This effect was even more pronounced with tires insulated by snow cover greater than 100 millimeters.

The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a vector of dangerous diseases including Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya... Previous research established that the Asian tiger mosquito has a lower temperature limit of minus 0.5 degrees Celsius to minus 2.5 C, and the prediction was that they could not survive north of the latitudinal line in the U.S. that has that minimum temperature in January. But the species is indeed sometimes seen north of this line. ...

toukokuu 27, 2022, 6:09 pm

UK Risk Assessment Regarding Spillback of Monkeypox into Domestic Animals
Scott Weese on May 27, 2022

kesäkuu 3, 2022, 9:26 am

Monkeypox is a new global threat. African scientists know what the world is up against
Cases in West and Central Africa have been on the rise for decades
Jon Cohen | 1 Jun 2022

...The virus got its name after it was first identified in a colony of Asian monkeys in a Copenhagen, Denmark, laboratory in 1958, but it has only been isolated from a wild monkey—in Africa—once. It appears to be more common in squirrel, rat, and shrew species, occasionally spilling over into the human population, where it spreads mainly through close contact, but not through breathing. Isolating infected people typically helps outbreaks end quickly.

Cases have steadily increased in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 3 decades, driven largely by a medical triumph. The vaccine against smallpox, a far deadlier and more transmissible virus, also protects against monkeypox, but the world stopped using it in the 1970s, shortly before smallpox was declared eradicated. As a result, “There’s a huge, huge number of people who are now susceptible to monkeypox,” says Placide Mbala, a virologist who heads the genomics lab at the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa, DRC.

Mbala says demographic shifts have fueled the rise as well. “People are more and more moving to the forest to find food and to build houses, and this increases the contact between the wildlife and the population,” he says. Studies in the CAR showed cases spike after villagers move into the forest during the rainy season to collect caterpillars that are sold for food. “When they stay in the bush they get in contact easily with the animal reservoir,” says virologist Emmanuel Nakouné, scientific director at the Pasteur Institute of Bangui, which in 2018 launched a program named Afripox with French investigators to better understand and fight monkeypox.

Outbreaks outside Africa, including the current one, have all involved the West African strain, which kills about 1% of those it infects. The Congo Basin strain, found in the DRC and the CAR, is 10 times more lethal, yet despite the relatively high disease burden in the DRC, it has never left Africa. But it has never caused a serious outbreak in a Congolese city either, which underscores the isolation of the areas where it is endemic. “It’s kind of a self-quarantine,” Mbala says. “Those people don’t move from DRC to other countries.”...

kesäkuu 6, 2022, 6:46 am

Case Definitions† for Use in the 2022 Monkeypox Response
CDC | Page last reviewed: June 3, 2022

Suspect Case
Probable Case
Confirmed Case
Epidemiologic Criteria
Exclusion Criteria

kesäkuu 9, 2022, 6:48 am

Via Florian Krammer, Professor at the Department of Microbiology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:

New coronavirus from same family as COVID spreading among rodents in Sweden
Rob Waugh | 6 June 2022

...Researchers examined red-backed voles caught around Grimsö between 2015 and 2017 and tested them for coronavirus.

Using an RNA sequencing method, they identified a new coronavirus known as the 'Grimsö virus' belonging to the betacoronavirus family that also includes SARS-CoV, MERS and SARS-CoV-2.

...(Åke Lundkvist, professor in virology and head of the Zoonosis Science Center (ZSC) at Uppsala University) said: "Between 2015 and 2017, we consistently found what we have called the 'Grimsö virus' in 3.4% of these voles, which would suggest that the virus is widespread and common in Sweden's bank voles...We still do not know what potential threats the Grimsö virus may pose to public health. However, based on our observations and previous coronaviruses identified among bank voles, there is good reason to continue monitoring the coronavirus amongst wild rodents.”...

Anishia Wasberg et al. 2022. Discovery of a novel coronavirus in Swedish bank voles (Myodes glareolus). BioRxiv 22 Feb 2022. 10 p. doi:

kesäkuu 11, 2022, 8:18 am

Multi-country monkeypox outbreak: situation update
WHO | 4 June 2022

...WHO risk assessment
Currently, the public health risk at the global level is assessed as moderate considering this is the first time that many monkeypox cases and clusters are reported concurrently in non-endemic and endemic countries in widely disparate WHO geographical areas.

Cases were initially and mainly identified amongst men self-identified as part of extended sexual networks. The sudden appearance and wide geographic scope of many cases that initially appeared to be sporadic cases indicate that extended human-to-human transmission was facilitated by frequent encounters between persons in close proximity and/or with physical contact. Some countries are reporting that new generations of cases are no longer appearing only among known contacts of previously confirmed cases, suggesting that chains of transmission are being missed through undetected circulation of the virus.

Additionally, as epidemiological and laboratory information are still limited, the actual number of cases is likely an underestimate. This may in part be due to the lack of early clinical recognition of an infection previously known to occur mostly in West and Central Africa, limited surveillance, and a lack of widely available diagnostics in some countries. Given the number of countries across several WHO regions reporting cases of monkeypox, it is highly likely that other countries will identify cases and there will be further spread of the virus.

Human-to-human transmission occurs through close proximity or direct physical contact (e.g., face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, mouth-to-skin contact including during sex) with skin or mucous membranes that may have recognized or unrecognized infectious lesions such as mucocutaneous ulcers, respiratory droplets (and possibly short-range aerosols), or contact with contaminated materials (e.g., linens, bedding, electronics, clothing).

Although the current risk to human health and for the general public remains low, the public health risk could become high if this virus exploits the opportunity to establish itself in non-endemic countries as a widespread human pathogen. There is also a risk to health workers if they are not using adequate infection prevention and control (IPC) measures or wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary, to prevent transmission. Though not reported in this current outbreak, the risk of health care associated infections has been documented in the past in both endemic and non-endemic areas. There is the potential for increased health impact with wider dissemination in vulnerable groups, as the risk of severe disease and mortality is recognized to be higher among children and immunocompromised individuals. There is limited data among people living with HIV, but those who take antiretrovirals and have a robust immune system have not reported a more severe course; those people living with HIV who are not on treatment or remain immunosuppressed may have a more severe course, as documented in the literature. Infection with monkeypox in pregnancy is poorly understood, although limited data suggest that infection may lead to adverse outcomes for the foetus.

To date, all cases identified in non-endemic countries whose samples were confirmed by PCR have been identified as being infected with the West African clade. There are two known clades of monkeypox, one endemic to West Africa (WA) and one to the Congo Basin (CB) region. The WA clade has in the past been associated with an overall lower mortality rate of

kesäkuu 15, 2022, 1:57 pm

Written in governmentese, but #7 (best practices) will be useful product.

Strengthening A One Health Approach to Emerging Zoonoses
An RSC Policy Briefing
Executive Summary | June 2022

Time for a Paradigm Shift

Strategic Recommendations
1. *Establish a One Health Council to develop, coordinate and implement a One Health Action Plan for Canada with immediate focus on emerging zoonotic pathogens.
2. Appoint a Special Advisor on One Health
3. *Establish a Global One Health Security Office
4. *Develop and implement an Indigenous Engagement and Knowledge Policy
Framework for One Health

Technical Leadership and Operational Recommendations
5. *Implement and sustainably fund the Pan-Canadian Approach to Wildlife Health
6. *Expand and coordinate existing human, other animal, and environmental emerging pathogens surveillance and biomonitoring activities through Centres of Excellence in One Health
7. Develop best practices for the collection, analysis, and sharing of surveillance data, and characterization of emerging pathogens.
8. Commit to Other Effective Conservation Measures, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, and Indigenous-led surveillance activities

Equity Recommendations
9. Engage community groups and communication scholars
10. Collect consistent and disaggregated social and demographic health data
11. *Ensure that Canada’s commitment to social equality is advanced by applying gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)

Education and Research Recommendations
12. Develop and implement One Health curricula
13. Introduce One Health at all stages of education
14. *Prioritize domestic and international research on emerging zoonoses using a One Health approach as part of Canada’s One Health Action Plan.
15. Provide sustained funding, including through the Tri-Agency, for One Health
16. Embed research as a critical element of a Centres of Excellence in One Health program

kesäkuu 26, 2022, 1:38 pm

Monkeypox may have undergone 'accelerated evolution,' scientists say
Ben Turner | 25 June 2022

The virus is mutating up to 12 times faster than expected.

...The virus, which has infected more than 3,500 people in 48 countries since its detection outside Africa in May, may be more infectious due to dozens of new mutations. In all, the virus carries 50 new mutations not seen in previous strains detected from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study published June 24 in the journal Nature Medicine.* Scientists usually don't expect viruses like monkeypox to gain more than one or two mutations each year...

* Isidro, J. . et al. Phylogenomic characterization and signs of microevolution in the 2022 multi-country outbreak of monkeypox virus. Nature Medicine s41591-022-01907-y (2021).

heinäkuu 8, 2022, 1:16 pm

NOAA Fisheries NE/MA @NOAAFish_GARFO | 5:08 PM · Jul 3, 2022:
USDA has confirmed recent seal deaths in ME linked to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. For info:

Recent Increase in Seal Deaths in Maine Linked to Avian Flu
NOAA Fisheries | July 03, 2022

If you see a sick, injured, or dead seal, call the ME Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 1-800-532-9551.

elokuu 5, 2022, 8:46 am

White House declares monkeypox a public health emergency
Will Stone, Jane Greenhalgh | August 4, 2022

...A public health emergency can trigger grant funding and open up more resources for various aspects of a federal response. It also allows the Secretary to enter into contracts for treatments and other necessary medical supplies and equipment, as well as support emergency hospital services, among other things. Public health emergencies last for 90 days but can be extended by the (HHS) Secretary.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, said the declaration will provide resources and increase access to care. She also said it will expand the CDC's ability to share data...

...Governors in California, New York and Illinois have already declared state of emergencies in response to the monkeypox outbreak. Some cities, including New York City and San Francisco, have also made their own emergency declarations.

...The World Health Organization has already declared the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. There are currently more than 26,000 cases worldwide (6,116 in US).

elokuu 17, 2022, 7:57 pm

Are Humans an Invasive Species?
Nikita Shukla | Aug 15th 2022

Anthony Ricciardi (McGill U) @EcoInvasions · May 21, 2020
Attachments at

1/7 If you define 'nonnative' in evolutionary terms (as I do), then humans are properly viewed as nonnative outside of Africa. If you define 'invasive' as being superabundant, spreading rapidly & causing ecological disruption, then the human species fits that definition as well.…

2/7 The invasion pattern is obvious. A species evolved in Africa, spreads into new biogeographic regions where it adapts, proliferates, becomes superabundant, and alters the native flora & fauna...

3/7 This invading species encountered biota that had no evolutionary experience with functionally similar animals. Mass extinctions of megafauna followed human colonization on every continent. Least affected was subsaharan Africa, where humans & large mammals co-evolved...

4/7 Hunting (overkill) is likely responsible for most of the Late Pleistocene/early Holocene extinctions beyond Africa, owing to an evolutionary mismatch. This is consistent with the general pattern of strong impacts of nonnative predators on naive prey...

5/7 The dispersal patterns, colonization dynamics, and impacts of this global invasion can be explained using the same models, theories, concepts developed for invasive species in general. #invasionscience...

6/7 Invasions, like extinctions & climate change, have occurred throughout Earth's history - but have accelerated to rates orders of magnitude beyond background levels. We can recognize that fact without having to define these phenomena differently under human influence...

7/7 Humans are both invaders and superfacilitators of other invaders. Recognizing humans as an invasive species may be uncomfortable politically & philosophically, but it is consistent with ecology and evolutionary science.

Nicolas Bierne @nbierne · May 22, 2020
Humans are present in Eurasia for a while (neanderthals denisovans erectus ..), the last demographic wave from Africa is standard expansion and has not been facilitated by another species (but some technological innovations) Environmental damages: surely yes, nonnative: likely no

Anthony Ricciardi @EcoInvasions · Jul 7, 2021
My late response: I'm referring to H. sapiens sapiens as the species that spread globally beyond Africa & shown invasive traits. Facilitation by another species isn't relevant to the evolutionary definition of nonnative. It seems arbitrary to exclude humans as invaders otherwise.

syyskuu 3, 2022, 6:55 am

Infectious Diseases @InfectiousDz | 6:57 AM · Sep 2, 2022
Infectious Diseases and their global story

San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina
- 8 healthcare workers and 1 patient ill
- Symptoms:
fever, myalgia (muscle aches/pains, abdominal pain, dyspnea (difficult/labored breathing)
- 6 cases with bilateral pneumonia
- Multiple requiring technical ventilation
- 3 of 9 have died

So what could this be?

Map ( )

{See thread for all the pathogens tested for thus far: }

syyskuu 3, 2022, 3:11 pm

>104 margd:
Tulio de Oliveira @Tuliodna | 11:24 AM · Sep 3, 2022
Director of CERI (Centre for Epidemic Response & innovation) @StellenboschUni and KRISP (KZN Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform) @UKZN .

Argentina health department confirmed the ‘unknown pathogen’ of the pneumonia cases as Legionela pneumonia bacteria today. Fast action and transparency to fight outbreaks. Genomes should follow in the next few days 🇦🇷

El Malbrán confirmó qué bacteria produjo el brote de neumonía y Vizzotti llega a Tucumán -

Gerald Evans 🇺🇦 @skepticalIDdoc · 2h
From what I’ve gleaned from reports this makes sense. Clustering like this is a known feature of the epidemiology of Legionelloses. Good to have confirmation to help reduce people’s anxiety.

{Apparently, there are at least three antibiotics to use against Legionnaire's Disease.}

syyskuu 22, 2022, 6:32 pm

Will the Next Pandemic Start With Chickens?
This spring, a virulent strain of bird flu ripped through U.S. farms. The public hardly noticed. That we could ignore the disease shows just how little we’ve learned about the origin of new viruses.
Boyce Upholt | September 19, 2022

...The expansion of U.S.-style industrial agriculture across the globe has driven the spread of viruses. It’s more than possible that the next Covid, or something far worse, could emerge on our own farms...

...Virologists now believe that {Spanish flu} emerged from birds on a farm in Kansas, then spread to a nearby military base, whose soldiers helped carry it across the world. It’s a reminder, Carlson noted, that a pandemic can start anywhere, even here in the United States. It’s also a reminder of why flu is so troubling: It can infect the domesticated animals we raise. The biomass of the world’s poultry is three times that of all the wild birds combined. Pigs, which can also carry the flu, make up even more biomass. That’s a massive stockpile of virus, no bushmeat needed.

...The great fear in 1997 {Hong Kong} was that this savage new virus would reassort {avian flu + seasonal flu exchange genes} once more, and gain the superpower of easy human-to-human spread. Thankfully, that has not happened. Still, the past quarter-century has been plenty eventful when it comes to avian influenza: More than 800 people have contracted the virus, and more than half of those have died. Other strains of bird flu have proved capable of jumping to humans, too, and humans have passed the disease among themselves, though never in high numbers. But the strain of influenza first identified after the Hong Kong outbreak is still out there, morphing and changing its genetic code, spreading through more and more birds, further across the globe...

...The first infected birds to reach the United States this year—or at least the first birds we know about—were an American wigeon and a blue-winged teal. Both were shot down in the marshes along the Edisto River, just southwest of Charleston, South Carolina, this January {2022}. We expected these birds, really: Europe was already in the midst its worst-ever outbreak of bird flu, and in late 2021, the disease reached Canada, too...

lokakuu 21, 2022, 9:50 am

Community for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases
October 10th – October 16th 2022

...Pre-print: Increased public health threat of avian-origin H3N2 influenza virus during evolution in dogs...

Mingyue Chen et al. 2022. Increased public health threat of avian-origin H3N2 influenza virus during evolution in dogs. BioRxiv 10 Oct 2022. doi:

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review .

...H3N2 avian influenza viruses transmitted to dogs around 2006 and have formed stable lineages. The long-term epidemic of avian-origin H3N2 virus in canine offers the best models to investigate the effect of dogs on the evolution of influenza viruses. Here, we carried out a systematic and comparative identification of the biological characteristics of H3N2 canine influenza viruses (CIVs) isolated in the worldwide over 10 years. We found that during the adaptation of H3N2 CIVs to dogs, H3N2 CIVs became to recognize the human-like SAα2,6-Gal receptor, gradually increased HA acid stability and replication ability in human airway epithelial cells, and acquired a 100% transmission rate via respiratory droplet in ferret model, which were essential hallmarks of being adapted to humans. We also identified that the frequency of substitutions related to human adaptation has gradually increased in H3N2 CIVs, and determined four cumulative molecular changes responsible for the increased airborne transmission ability in ferrets. Our results suggested that canine may serve as an intermediate for the adaptation of avian influenza virus to human. Continuous surveillance coordinated with risk assessment for CIVs is necessary...

joulukuu 17, 2022, 4:33 pm

How deadly bird flu sparked explosive outbreaks in 2022 — and why it matters for global health
4.7 million domestic birds caught virus this year amid massive worldwide outbreaks
Lauren Pelley · CBC News · Posted: Dec 17, 2022

...This year, a highly contagious strain of avian influenza tore across {Canada}, hitting close to 270 farms and production facilities, sparking concerns over poultry shortages and exposing workers from coast to coast to a potentially deadly pathogen.

So far, roughly 4.7 million domestic birds have caught the virus. That's not counting untold numbers of wild birds falling ill, whose numbers are far tougher to track.'s a brewing crisis on two fronts, both to global bird populations and potentially to human health, if this highly infectious form of the influenza virus eventually evolves to better transmit between people in the decades ahead.

More than 70 countries have reported cases, said Gregorio Torres, head of the science department at the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH). This severe form of the disease also spread further south this year into regions where infections weren't previously reported, including Colombia and Peru.

The other element making this outbreak different from prior ones isn't just the sheer numbers of birds being killed, but the number of species affected, {Louise Moncla, an assistant professor of pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania school of veterinary medicine} said.

On farms, turkeys and chickens are being impacted. But cases have also been reported among cranes in Israel and hawks and bald eagles in parts of Canada and the U.S.. In Stratford, Ont., the virus likely claimed the lives of several of the theatre city's iconic swans.

"And then we've also had more infections in mammals," said Moncla..."So we have what appears to be widespread transmission in seals, which is unusual for this type of influenza. We've had detections in bears and foxes, and {some} human infections. So it's been bigger in scope, more species infected, and then it hasn't stopped."

Put together, all those factors make it likely that bird flu will become endemic — more commonplace — in North American bird species going forward.

...After a recent spike in bird flu outbreaks on commercial farms, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control sent out a communicable disease advisory in early December asking doctors to be on the lookout for any instances of bird flu spreading to humans.

"Exposure to novel influenza viruses is concerning because of the potential for human adaptation and associated pandemic risk. Such risk may be considered a 'low probability, high impact' event," the advisory said.

Long-term, this influenza strain would also need to gain the ability to transmit swiftly person-to-person before it posed a true threat to human health.

For now, it only appears capable of infecting people in sporadic instances, and hasn't adapted to transmit efficiently among human populations...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 20, 7:40 am

People who follow eminent virologist's tweets were alarmed by his expression of concern below re Jan 2023 report of mink-mink spread of HPAI H5N1 in 52,000-mink Spanish fur farm (Oct 2022). They remember his 31 Dec 2019 tweet with respect to SARS-CoV2, "This is not good": "SARS fears in China as 27 patients are struck down with 'unidentified' type of pneumonia similar to the killer virus of the early 2000s" ( ).

I don't like this. Mammal to mammal transmission is worrisome.
- Florian Krammer @florian_krammer | 4:29 PM · Jan 19, 2023:
Viruses, viruses, viruses and vaccines...
Professor at the Department of Microbiology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

Quote Tweet
First known epidemic of highly pathogenic avian #influenza #H5N1 in farmed #mink (52,000 animals) in #Spain, with evidence for mink-to-mink spread of virus. Weekly mortality rate reached up to 4.3%. Clinical picture included bloody snout & nervous signs. *
- Thijs Kuiken @thijskuiken | 12:50 PM · Jan 19, 2023:
Professor of Comparative Pathology. Host-pathogen co-evolution. Emerging diseases. One Health. Rapid transition to a sustainable society. The Netherlands

* Montserrat Agüero et al. 2023. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection in farmed minks, Spain, October 2022 (Rapid communication). Eurosurveillance Volume 28, Issue 3, 19/Jan/2023

Despite the criticism fur farming has recently received following SARS-CoV-2 cases in farmed minks and the spillover/spillback SARS-CoV-2 transmission events reported between minks and humans, this production sector is still common worldwide with an important economic impact 15. For this reason, and given the concerns caused by the susceptibility of minks to emerging viruses such as HPAI H5N1 viruses and SARS-CoV-2, it is necessary to strengthen the culture of biosafety and biosecurity in this farming system and promote the implementation of ad hoc surveillance programs for influenza A viruses and other zoonotic pathogens at a global level. These interventions are instrumental to prevent contact between minks and wild animals, and to control disease transmission events from minks to farm workers and vice versa.

tammikuu 20, 6:54 am

‘We dubbed it Toadzilla’: giant cane toad believed to be the largest of its species found in Australia (Guardian)

She’s toxic, weighs as much as some newborn babies and was found in the wilds of Australia’s far north. A giant cane toad, dubbed “Toadzilla”, that was found by rangers in Queensland’s Conway national park on Thursday, is believed to be the largest of her species ever found... Cane toads, which can normally grow to around 15cm (5.9in) in size, are one of Australia’s most notorious invasive species and are considered a threat to native wildlife. They have colonised a wide variety of habitats across north-eastern Australia after they were introduced into Queensland in 1935 to control the cane beetle. The brown, warty toads can be fatally poisonous to wildlife and have caused local extinctions of some of their predators. They also compete with native species for shelter and resources...

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 21, 10:08 am

>109 margd: :(

Researchers detail H5N1 avian flu outbreak at mink farm in Spain
{Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, U Minnesota} News brief
Lisa Schnirring | January 20, 2023

...The scientists found that the H5N1 virus has an uncommon mutation that was seen only once before in a European polecat and that it could have arisen on its own in the mink. They said the mutation in the PB2 gene may have public health implications, given that it is present in the avian-like PB2 gene of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu virus and has characteristics that enable recognition by human airway receptor cells.

The virus was involved in wild bird deaths in Galicia in the weeks leading up to the mink farm outbreak, and the birds could have introduced the virus to the farm, given that the barns were partially open. The researchers said, however, that more sequencing is needed to confirm the connection. They added that no avian flu outbreaks had been reported at poultry farms that supplied byproducts to the mink farm.

No related human infections were found at the farm. Spanish mink farm workers are required to wear masks because of the risks of SARS-CoV-2 in those setting. The authors said more studies are under way to look at virulence and transmissibility of the virus. Since mink have been suggested as a possible mixing vessel for respiratory viruses, the group emphasized that interventions are needed to prevent contact between mink and wild animals and to control transmission between farm workers and mink...

tammikuu 25, 3:53 pm

>111 margd: contd.

‘Incredibly concerning’: Bird flu outbreak at Spanish mink farm triggers pandemic fears
Spread among captive mink could give the H5N1 strain opportunities to evolve and adapt to mammals
Kai Kupferschmidt | 24 Jan 2023

...Because the receptors the virus binds to in the upper airways of birds are less common in mammalian upper airways, H5N1 largely spares mammals. But this time around many mammalian species have become infected, including foxes, cats, ferrets, seals, and dolphins, presumably through contact with infected birds. On 17 January, Montana authorities said three juvenile grizzly bears euthanized in the fall after becoming very sick were infected with H5N1 as well. People have caught it, too. So far there have been six confirmed human infections in the current global wave, including one death.

There are some signs that is less pathogenic in humans than earlier versions, which killed roughly half of those infected, says Thomas Mettenleiter, head of the Friedrich Loeffler Institute. “Of course that can be bad news, too, because it might make it easier for the virus to start spreading under the radar, giving it more opportunity to evolve,” he says. The more often the virus infects mammals, the greater the risk, Webby says. “It’s a numbers game.” ...

tammikuu 28, 9:38 am

Jayson Lusk (food & ag economist) @JaysonLusk | 6:07 PM · Jan 27, 2023:

Much being written on egg prices, so, I thought I'd do a data-driven deep dive. My conclusion: basic economics goes a long way toward explaining the observed price hike.

Over 2022, we {US} lost over 44.7 million egg laying hens to avian influenza (aka bird flu), but the current flock size is "only" down 18.4 million hens. Egg prices could have been much higher had the industry not built back

Egg Prices and Avian Influenza - A Deep Dive — Jayson Lusk

tammikuu 30, 5:25 am

9 diseases that keep epidemiologists up at night
Sheila Mulrooney Eldred | January 29, 20237:01 AM ET

Nipah virus
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
Lassa fever
Rift Valley fever
Ebola and Marburg virus disease
MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome)
SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)
Disease X

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 30, 11:48 am

Louise Moncla @LouiseHMoncla | 10:41 AM · Jan 30, 2023:
Assistant Professor of Pathobiology @pennvet using trees to study RNA virus evolution and transmission. viruses, sequencing, phylogenetics, pop gen.

For those following along with the H5N1 outbreak in mink, we've updated the H5Nx and H5N1 @nextstrain
builds with the mink sequences from Spain. These sequences nest within the diversity of the ongoing outbreak in Europe, which has caused infections in mammals in Europe and North America. Take a look at the sequences here:

See Agüero et al for the original paper describing the outbreak
this article for a great summary (>112 margd:).

tammikuu 31, 4:33 pm

Avian influenza virus infects a cat

In late December, a sick cat in the Deux-Sèvres département (France) tested positive for the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1....

ANSES, the national reference laboratory, confirmed the contamination of a cat by the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 in late 2022. The cat, which lived near a duck farm affected by the virus, suffered severe neurological symptoms due to the viral infection and had to be euthanised.

The susceptibility of cats to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses has been known since 2004, and had already been demonstrated in Thailand and Germany in 2006...

The virus detected in this cat had genetic characteristics of adaptation to mammals...

Genetic investigations carried out by ANSES confirmed that only the cat was a carrier of this mutant virus and that this mutation was not present, at this stage, in the ducks on the farm where contamination occurred.

Contamination of pets such as cats could make it easier for the virus to cross into humans. It is therefore essential to keep them away from contaminated farms and from operations to cull infected ducks...

tammikuu 31, 4:57 pm

Eastern Washington Bobcat tests positive for avian influenza
Eli Francovich | Jan. 27, 2023

...this is the first time avian influenza has been found in a bobcat (on the Spokane Indian Reservation), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman said.

“It’s not unexpected,” she said. “We know it has transferred to mammals. (But) we only had {3} raccoons till now..."don’t touch dead things"...

helmikuu 4, 9:44 am

The U.S. Government is Developing A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) Bird Flu Vaccines in Case they are Needed
CDC | Visited 4 Feb 2023

The U.S. federal government maintains a stockpile of vaccines, including vaccines against A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) bird flu viruses. These vaccines could be used if similar viruses were to begin spreading easily from person to person. Since flu viruses change constantly, CDC continues to make candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) as needed. Creating a CVV is the first step in producing a flu vaccine. More information about Making a candidate Vaccine Virus (CVV) for a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Virus is available: .

If you’re a clinician, laboratorian, or public health worker
Avian Influenza: Information for Health Professionals and Laboratorians for the latest guidance: .

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 11, 8:28 am

Víctor Gamarra-Toledo et al. 2023. First Mass Mortality of Marine Mammals Caused by Highly Pathogenic Influenza Virus
(H5N1) in South America. bioRxiv preprint. 12 p. February 10, 2023.

We report the first worldwide infection and massive mortality {634 sea lions} associated with a Highly Pathogenic Influenza Virus (H5N1) in sea lions of Peru. The transmission pathway of H5N1 may have been through the close contact of sea lions with infected wild birds. We cannot rule out direct transmission among sea lions.

Caitlin Rivers, PhD @cmyeaton | 9:03 AM · Feb 8, 2023
Infectious disease epidemiologist @JHSPH_CHS {Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security}. Writing about outbreaks and public health at

The concern with large clusters like this is it's unlikely that all 585 had a shared exposure, which brings to mind the possibility that it's spreading mammal to mammal.

Quote Tweet
BNO News @BNOFeed | 3:43 PM · Feb 7, 2023:
At least 585 sea lions in Peru have died of H5N1 bird flu, the environment ministry says
Photo ( )

helmikuu 23, 3:07 pm

SUSPECTED cases. Tests aren't back yet. The one 11YO girl who died did test positive for HPAI... :(

Infectious Disease Tracker @HmpxvT | 12:09 PM · Feb 23, 2023:
⚠️ Breaking:

12 suspected cases of H5N1 bird flu have been detected in Prey Veng province, Cambodia 🇰🇭

❗️4 of the affected began to show symptoms. The samples have been taken for analysis and the results will be released tomorrow.

Photo ( )

helmikuu 24, 9:03 am

Flu experts gather with H5N1 risk on the agenda
Jennifer Rigby | February 24, 2023

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The world's leading experts on influenza met this week to discuss the threat posed to humans by a strain of H5N1 avian flu that has caused record numbers of bird deaths around the world in recent months.

The group of scientists, regulators and vaccine manufacturers meets twice a year to decide which strain of seasonal flu to include in the vaccine for the upcoming winter season, in this case for the northern hemisphere.

But it is also a chance to discuss the risk of animal viruses spilling over to humans and causing a pandemic. At this week's meeting, H5N1 clade was a key topic, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global flu experts told Reuters. They will brief reporters on both the seasonal flu vaccine composition and spillover risks later on Friday.

"We are more prepared (than for COVID), but even if we are more prepared, we are not yet prepared enough," Sylvie Briand, WHO director of global infectious hazard preparedness, said ahead of the meeting. "We need to really continue the efforts for a flu pandemic."

World Health Organization (WHO)
LIVE: Virtual Press Conference on #Influenza Vaccine Composition for Northern Hemisphere (2023-2024) and Zoonotic Influenza.
54:39 ( )

helmikuu 27, 7:40 am

Helen Branswell 🇺🇦 @HelenBranswell | 2:21 PM · Feb 26, 2023:
Sr writer infectious diseases @statnews. 2020 Polk winner.

1. WHO has issued an update on the #H5N1 situation in Cambodia. It confirms what has come out over the past few days. 2 confirmed cases, an 11 yo girl who died & her father who remains asymptomatic. 11 other contacts tested negative. A couple of noteworthy points....

2. The #H5N1 virus was from a strain of H5 viruses that has been circulating in southeast Asia since 2014. This is a different strain from the one that has swept across the Americas in the past couple of years. Different strain could equal slightly different behavior.

3. The father remains asymptomatic. Given he and his daughter would have shared contact with infected birds, he could be a true case (and lucky). I do wonder whether he was truly infected or whether the swabbing just picked up virus in his nose.

4. So, what to make of the Cambodian cases? If they'd happened a yr ago, they'd have been reported by Cambodia & WHO, but the wider world probably wouldn't have blinked. But the media is on high alert for #H5N1 right now — which isn't a bad thing — so they got tons of attention.

5. Cambodia has sporadic #H5N1 cases. These two bring to 58 the country's total since 2003. WHO
says more are likely to happen sporadically, because of virus in poultry. The situation is unsettling, but unchanged, it seems.

Avian Influenza A (H5N1) - Cambodia
WHO | 26 February 2023

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 14, 7:43 am

Oh, great... (NOT!)

Michelle Wille @DuckSwabber | 10:50 PM · Mar 13, 2023:
Interested in avian viruses | "Expert in Ducks" | Nature lover, bird nerd, scuba diver, photographer, scientist

Fascinating - via metagenomics HPAI H5N6 found in rats in China. Rats may have been exposed from local poultry market.* SNPs** for mammalian infection detected.
Bona fide infection, or detection of HPAI in diet following eating infected poultry scraps?

Image ( )

* Jian-Wei Shao et al. 2023. Infection of wild rats with H5N6 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in China.
Journal of Infection. Available online 7 March 2023. In Press, Journal Pre-proof.

** What are single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)?
Single nucleotide polymorphisms, frequently called SNPs (pronounced "snips"), are the most common type of genetic variation among people. Each SNP represents a difference in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide. For example, a SNP may replace the nucleotide cytosine (C) with the nucleotide thymine (T) in a certain stretch of DNA.
( › genetics › understanding › genomicresearch › snp )

maaliskuu 14, 3:22 pm

Michelle Wille @DuckSwabber | 10:17 PM · Mar 13, 2023:
Interested in avian viruses | "Expert in Ducks" | Nature lover, bird nerd, scuba diver, photographer, scientist

New report of H7N9 avian influenza in camels. Other than humans (2013-2017), H7N9 has never caused mammalian infections (that we know of). The virus had mammalian adaptations (e.g. PB2 mutation), higher SA-α2 binding and mammalian cell replication.
Image ( )

Yuncong Yina et al. 2023. Characterization of an H7N9 Influenza Virus Isolated from Camels in Inner Mongolia, China
Microbiology Spectrum. Ahead of print.

The H7N9 subtype of influenza virus can infect birds and humans, causing great losses in the poultry industry and threatening public health worldwide. However, H7N9 infection in other mammals has not been reported yet. In the present study, one H7N9 subtype influenza virus, A/camel/Inner Mongolia/XL/2020 (XL), was isolated from the nasal swabs of camels in Inner Mongolia, China, in 2020. Sequence analyses revealed that the hemagglutinin cleavage site of the XL virus was ELPKGR/GLF, which is a low-pathogenicity molecular characteristic. The XL virus had similar mammalian adaptations to human-originated H7N9 viruses, such as the polymerase basic protein 2 (PB2) Glu-to-Lys mutation at position 627 (E627K) mutation, but differed from avian-originated H7N9 viruses. The XL virus showed a higher SA-α2,6-Gal receptor-binding affinity and better mammalian cell replication than the avian H7N9 virus. Moreover, the XL virus had weak pathogenicity in chickens, with an intravenous pathogenicity index of 0.01, and intermediate virulence in mice, with a median lethal dose of 4.8. The XL virus replicated well and caused clear infiltration of inflammatory cells and increased inflammatory cytokines in the lungs of mice. Our data constitute the first evidence that the low-pathogenicity H7N9 influenza virus can infect camels and therefore poses a high risk to public health.

IMPORTANCE H5 subtype avian influenza viruses can cause serious diseases in poultry and wild birds. On rare occasions, viruses can cause cross-species transmission to mammalian species, including humans, pigs, horses, canines, seals, and minks. The H7N9 subtype of the influenza virus can also infect both birds and humans. However, viral infection in other mammalian species has not been reported yet. In this study, we found that the H7N9 virus could infect camels. Notably, the H7N9 virus from camels had mammalian adaption molecular markers, including altered receptor-binding activity on the hemagglutinin protein and an E627K mutation on the polymerase basic protein 2 protein. Our findings indicated that the potential risk of camel-origin H7N9 virus to public health is of great concern.

maaliskuu 21, 10:19 am

It makes sense to send bird flu vaxx to ground zero in an outbreak? Though it would no doubt spread quickly...

Vaccine makers prep bird flu shot for humans 'just in case' as rich nations lock in supplies
Scientists raise concerns over potential vaccine hoarding should a human outbreak occur
Thomson Reuters | Mar 20, 2023

...Executives at three vaccine manufacturers — GSK Plc Moderna Inc and CSL Seqirus, owned by CSL Ltd — told Reuters they are already developing or about to test sample human vaccines that better match the circulating subtype, as a precautionary measure against a future pandemic.

Others, like Sanofi, said they "stand ready" to begin production if needed, with existing H5N1 vaccine strains in stock.

...Most of the potential human doses are earmarked for wealthy countries in long-standing preparedness contracts, global health experts and the companies said.

Many countries' pandemic plans say flu shots should go first to the most vulnerable while supply is limited. But during COVID-19, many vaccine-rich countries inoculated large proportions of their populations before considering sharing doses...

the WHO is seeking guarantees of 20 per cent of the global supply for other types of pandemic in the wake of COVID.

The UN agency said it has signed legally binding agreements with 14 manufacturers for 10 per cent of their pandemic flu vaccine "as it comes off the production line," in a mix of donated doses and doses to be bought by the agency at an affordable price. The agreements include six of the largest seasonal flu manufacturers, such as GSK, Sanofi and CSL Seqirus, the WHO said...

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 9:01 am

Emmanuel @ejustin46 | 11:32 PM · Mar 25, 2023:

It all started with an article (unfortunately on paywall), where having been contaminated with H5N1, wild mammals began to behave strangely, certainly because of brain infections and were no longer afraid of humans.

PAYWALL: Bird flu may be making foxes and other animals behave in unusual ways
Analysis of wild mammals infected with H5N1 bird flu in the US found that many had brain infections and neurological symptoms, including lack of fear of people
Michael Le Page | 21 March 2023

2) It was the 2nd article in a few months that could suggest that something was happening.

"Bird flu (H5N1) detected in a fox with neurological symptoms"

3) The subject is not new and studies had already established a link between H5N1 and neurological symptoms.

"Evolution of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A virus in the central nervous system of ferrets"

4) What is mentioned in some articles, and in a recent study, is that the increase in neurological disorders in mammals, could be due to a recent mutation of H5N1, which would be worrying.

5) " Zoonotic Mutation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Virus Identified in the Brain of Multiple Wild Carnivore Species"


Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 29, 6:27 pm

Infectious Disease Tracker @HmpxvT | 5:02 PM · Mar 29, 2023:

📌 The (H5N1) case is a 51-year-old man in stable, but severe (northern) Chile.

An investigation regarding the source of infection and contact tracing is ongoing.

29 de marzo de 2023
MINSAL informa primer caso humano de gripe aviar en Chile

huhtikuu 1, 6:23 am

Vera M. Warmuth et al. 2023. Human disturbance increases coronavirus prevalence in bats. Science Advances 31 Mar 2023. Vol 9, Issue 13. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add0688

Human land modification is a known driver of animal-to-human transmission of infectious agents (zoonotic spillover). Infection prevalence in the reservoir is a key predictor of spillover, but landscape-level associations between the intensity of land modification and infection rates in wildlife remain largely untested. Bat-borne coronaviruses have caused three major disease outbreaks in humans: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We statistically link high-resolution land modification data with bat coronavirus surveillance records and show that coronavirus prevalence significantly increases with the intensity of human impact across all climates and levels of background biodiversity. The most significant contributors to the overall human impact are agriculture, deforestation, and mining. Regions of high predicted bat coronavirus prevalence coincide with global disease hotspots, suggesting that infection prevalence in wildlife may be an important factor underlying links between human land modification and zoonotic disease emergence.

{See global maps at webpage}

Our findings show that land modification increases infection prevalence in the global bat population and that this effect appears to be driven by activities that reduce available bat habitats, food sources, and roosting spaces. In a recent review, deforestation and agriculture were identified as the top two most important anthropogenic threats to global bat diversity, each directly affecting more than 50% of threatened bat species (31). Globally, forests are the most important habitats for bats. The large effect of stressors in the category agriculture and biological harvesting of forests (Ag) likely reflects the loss of important forest habitats either directly through logging or through conversion to agricultural lands. Agricultural practices such as the use of insecticides or pest-resistant crop varieties additionally reduce foraging resources for insectivorous bats (32). The significant effect of stressors in the category energy production and mining (En) may reflect the destruction of both above-ground foraging habitats and subterranean roosting places as a consequence of mining activities and other means of energy production including wind turbines. Wind turbines not only cause high rates of mortality (33) but also further reduce available foraging habitat for bats shown to actively avoid foraging near them (34).

The destruction and/or reduction of key resources may expose bats to physiological stress (3). The immunosuppressive effects of chronic stress are well known (6), and mounting evidence shows that human disturbance is a source of chronic stress in wild animals (7, 10, 35). In bats, stress, including ecological stress, has been linked to (re)activation of latent viruses and increased viral shedding (36–38). By revealing a significant association between anthropogenic stressors and pathogen prevalence in a major viral reservoir, our results suggest that ecological stress is a major factor linking human land modification and zoonotic disease emergence...

...To predict and mitigate spillover risk of potential zoonotic pathogens, our findings emphasize the necessity to monitor not only their presence but also their prevalence in wildlife populations. Our analyses reveal that hotspots of coronavirus prevalence coincide with regions under intense human pressure, suggesting that prevalence data may become increasingly important as human impact expands. Our results also identify a handful of regions, notably including the Eastern United States and India, where increased surveillance efforts may be especially critical.

huhtikuu 7, 7:00 am

Cat in Wyoming tests positive for bird flu
BNO News | April 6, 2023

The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory said in a brief statement that a barn cat tested positive for bird flu near Thermopolis, a small town in Hot Springs County, about 110 miles southeast of Casper.

“This is the first report of HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) in a domestic cat in Wyoming, and it likely became infected from ingesting meat from wild waterfowl,” the lab’s statement said.

The statement provided no details about the cat’s condition.

It’s believed to be the first time that a cat in the U.S. has been infected with the new strain of H5N1, which emerged in late 2021. In December, a cat living near a duck farm in southern France also tested positive for H5N1. The cat became severely ill and had to be euthanised.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Public Health Agency confirmed that a dog in {Oshawa, east of Toronto} Ontario had died of H5N1 after chewing on a dead goose. It was the first time a dog tested positive for the new strain of the virus.

In addition to the cat, Wyoming also reported that four mountain lions and a fox have recently died of bird flu.

The global spread of H5N1 clade – and the recent spread to a growing number of mammals – has raised concern about the possibility of a future variant which could lead to human-to-human transmission. So far, only a few human cases have been found after contact with infected birds.

“The global H5N1 situation is worrying given the wide spread of the virus in birds around the world and the increasing reports of cases in mammals, including in humans,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, a WHO official, said on February 24. “WHO takes the risk from this virus seriously and urges heightened vigilance from all countries.”

huhtikuu 9, 8:08 am

Study of H5N1 avian flu seal deaths reveals multiple lineages
Lisa Schnirring | March 15, 2023

Low species barrier in seals
No definitive answer on seal-to-seal spread
H5N1 in Senegalese wild birds

Wendy Puryea et al. 2023. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus Outbreak in New England Seals, United States (Dispatch). CDC: Emerging Infectious Diseases Volume 29, Number 4—April 2023.

We report the spillover of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) into marine mammals in the northeastern United States, coincident with H5N1 in sympatric wild birds. Our data indicate monitoring both wild coastal birds and marine mammals will be critical to determine pandemic potential of influenza A viruses.

huhtikuu 14, 8:32 am

A rare and lethal virus is spreading in Europe, prompting hunt for tests and cures
Anthony King | April 14, 2023

...Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a disease spread by ticks that starts with flu-like symptoms and often can end in organ failure.

"The ticks are moving up through Europe due to climate change, with longer and drier summers," said Professor Ali Mirazimi, a virologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden...

...It is caused by a virus in a type of tick that feeds on small animals when it's a juvenile and then moves to larger ones, including livestock, as an adult.

CCHF was first described during an outbreak in 1944 among soldiers in Crimea on the northern coast of the Black Sea and sporadic outbreaks are still recorded today, especially in Africa, eastern Europe, Turkey, central Asia and India. The disease is spreading globally.

The avian link allows the ticks to hitch a ride and the virus to colonize new areas.

One infected tick can produce thousands of infected eggs. The young ticks feed on small mammals such as rabbits as well as on birds...

..."We don't have good medical cures," said Mirazimi. "There is no good antiviral, no approved vaccine and knowledge of the disease is not complete."

This means that doctors have no choice but to rely on general medical treatment, which consists of fluids, medication and intensive care if needed.

Another challenge is that a person infected with the hemorrhagic fever can spread it to close contacts through saliva and sweat. That poses a risk to family members as well as to the doctors and nurses treating the person.

So the sooner a patient is diagnosed, the better it is for everyone, because rapid diagnosis allows patients to be properly isolated....

huhtikuu 16, 8:22 am

Jiaying Li et al. 2023. A global aircraft-based wastewater genomic surveillance network for early warning of future pandemics. The Lancet Global Health. Open Access Published:May, 2023. DOI:

International airports can have a key role in screening, detecting, and mitigating cross-border transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and potentially other infectious diseases. With aircraft passengers representing a subpopulation of a country or region, aircraft-based wastewater surveillance can be a promising approach to effectively identifying emerging viruses, tracing their evolution, and mapping global spread with international flights. Therefore, we propose the development of a global aircraft-based wastewater genomic surveillance network, with the busiest international airports as central nodes and continuing air travel journeys as vectors. This surveillance programme requires routinely collecting aircraft wastewater samples for microbiological analysis and sequencing and linking the resulting data with associated international air traffic information. With the creation of a strong international alliance between the airline industry and health authorities, this surveillance network will potentially complement public health systems with a true early warning ability to inform decision making for new variants and future global health risks.

Fig 1. top 10 intel airports and # variants ( )

...although potentially feasible approaches were proposed, this guidance emphasised the necessity of harmonising the knowledge and experience gained through the expansion of surveillance activities to establish best practice methods. In the meantime, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada, and health authorities and an airline company in Australia are initiating aircraft wastewater sampling programmes to detect emerging variants of concern entering the country, track variants of international origin, and strengthen the global surveillance capacity. Aircraft wastewater testing, especially in combination with NGS {next-generation sequencing}, is a potentially cost-effective, efficient, and robust surveillance approach to support public health decision making. Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic period, the capacity of wastewater surveillance for infectious disease surveillance could be further enhanced, including to track influenza virus, monkeypox virus, and antimicrobial resistance, and NGS could be used to discover new microbes in untreated sewage, as shown in previous studies....

huhtikuu 18, 7:48 am

Despite risk-management gaps, countries press ahead with new labs that study deadly pathogens
Matt Field | January 5, 2023

huhtikuu 21, 2:40 pm

Flu edges closer to spilling from dogs into humans
Some H3N2 strains of influenza infecting dogs in Asia have developed ominous mutations.
21 April 2023


huhtikuu 26, 7:45 am

Dr. Deepti Gurdasani @dgurdasani1 | 6:17 PM · Apr 25, 2023:
Clinical epidemiology, machine learning, NLP, global health. {Australia}

V concerning study showing the first evidence of avian influenza transmission between mammals occurring efficiently between ferrets in contact in the study, & potentially also via the airborne route. H5N1 appears to be mutating towards higher virulence & more efficient transmission {via Infectious Disease Tracker @HmpxvT }

Darwyn Kobasa et al. 2023. Transmission of lethal H5N1 clade avian influenza in ferrets. Research Square 21 April 2023.

Preprint. Not reviewed.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses of the H5N1 subtype are highly lethal in many avian species. Since 2014, viruses of the genetically distinct clade have been circulating in Eurasia, Africa and briefly in North America, killing millions of wild and domestic birds. In December, 2021 clade H5N1 viruses were first isolated from poultry and wild birds in Canada. Further spread of H5N1 viruses has since led to infection in many terrestrial and aquatic mammalian species. Some of the H5N1 viruses isolated from mammals have acquired adaptations previously shown to increase viral replication in mammals as well as novel patterns of reassortment of internal gene segments with North American (NA) lineage influenza A viruses (IAVs). While there have been few human cases of infection with clade viruses reported to date, the potential for spillover, particularly of viruses harboring mammalian adaptation signatures remains a critical concern. Here we show that multiple naturally circulating reassortant H5N1 viruses can replicate in primary human airway epithelial cells and cause lethal disease in multiple mammalian species. One isolate, A/Red Tailed Hawk/ON/FAV-0473-4/2022, efficiently transmitted by direct contact between ferrets, resulting in lethal outcomes. Historically, H5 subtype viruses do not transmit effectively between mammals, and recent studies of currently circulating H5N1 viruses showed mild infection outcome in ferrets without detectable transmission. While known specific mutations within the Eurasian lineage H5Nx viruses have allowed for increased viral fitness in mammals, reassortment of H5N1 viruses with NA lineage avian IAVs may be unpredictably (unexpectedly) contributing to further enhancements in virulence and transmissibility in mammals, with potential increased risk to humans. Our research has determined that certain, as yet uncharacterized, genetic signatures may be important determinants of mammalian adaptation and pathogenicity of these viruses. Ongoing surveillance of circulating HPAI A(H5N1) viruses across species, including humans, should be a top priority so as to promptly identify viruses that may have pandemic or outbreak potential in mammals.

huhtikuu 30, 8:41 am

Marion Koopmans , virology; emerging infections @MarionKoopmans | 7:39 AM · Apr 30, 2023
Head of Viroscience Department , WHO collaborating centre EID {Rotterdam}

thread on this new paper: New study from large group of authors, almost all from China (including Hongkong), focusing on virus discovery. Group reflect veterinary/agriculture and wildlife expertise.

Xinyuan Cui et al. 2023. Virus diversity, wildlife-domestic animal circulation and potential zoonotic viruses of small mammals, pangolins and zoo animals. Nature Communications volume 14, Article number: 2488 (29 April 2023)


Wildlife is reservoir of emerging viruses. Here we identified 27 families of mammalian viruses from 1981 wild animals and 194 zoo animals collected from south China between 2015 and 2022, isolated and characterized the pathogenicity of eight viruses. Bats harbor high diversity of coronaviruses, picornaviruses and astroviruses, and a potentially novel genus of Bornaviridae. In addition to the reported SARSr-CoV-2 and HKU4-CoV-like viruses, picornavirus and respiroviruses also likely circulate between bats and pangolins. Pikas harbor a new clade of Embecovirus and a new genus of arenaviruses. Further, the potential cross-species transmission of RNA viruses (paramyxovirus and astrovirus) and DNA viruses (pseudorabies virus, porcine circovirus 2, porcine circovirus 3 and parvovirus) between wildlife and domestic animals was identified, complicating wildlife protection and the prevention and control of these diseases in domestic animals. This study provides a nuanced view of the frequency of host-jumping events, as well as assessments of zoonotic risk.

Fig. 1: Overall view of the viral reads in the meta-transcriptomic data.

New or recurrent zoonotic infectious diseases continue to pose a serious threat to public health and global economies... The surveillance of pathogens at the wildlife-domestic animal-human interface should form the basis for the prevention and control of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases....

The continual outbreaks caused by emerging and reemerging viruses raises considerable concern over the roles of wildlife, especially in those species that frequently contact humans and domestic animals. This study has revealed the diversity of mammalian viruses in some important mammals, and identified a series of novel genera and species of viruses with some of them having potential for cross-species transmission. More surveillance of wildlife-borne viruses, particularly at the wildlife-domestic animal-human interface, is needed to prevent outbreaks of emerging and reemerging viral diseases.

toukokuu 8, 6:15 am

J Scott Weese @weese_scott | 2:05 PM · May 7, 2023
Infectious diseases vet, ... @uofg, @ontvetcollege

I'm slow commenting on this but H5N1 avian flu has been found in a feral cat in Canada (Toronto, Ontario). More details to follow. This is another concerning but unsurprising spillover event...something we're going to see more of.

World Organisation for Animal Health
Canada - Influenza A viruses of high pathogenicity (Inf. with) (non-poultry including wild birds) (2017-) - Follow up report 9

toukokuu 17, 11:33 am

Press release
Avian flu detected in 2 individuals taking part in testing programme

UKHSA has detected influenza A (H5) virus in 2 poultry workers, following the introduction of an asymptomatic testing programme for people who have been in contact with infected birds.

UK Health Security Agency | 16 May 2023

heinäkuu 17, 8:09 am

Pikka Jokelainen @PikkaJokelainen | 6:03 AM · Jul 17, 2023:
Head of Secretariat for Infectious Disease Preparedness @SSI_dk | President @_SBSP_ | President @WorldFedPara | Chair @FINepidemiology

HPAI H5N1 in #cats in Poland, update: As of 11 July, 47 samples from 46 cats and 1 captive caracal tested, of which 29 positive. As of 12 July, no human contacts of positive cats have reported symptoms
Screenshot of the WHO website ( )

heinäkuu 20, 9:56 am

>1 margd: "responding to a pandemic, such as the current spread of COVID-19, is 500 times more expensive than taking preventive measures"

Thomas P. Peacock and Wendy S. Barclay 2023. Mink farming poses risks for future viral pandemics (Opinion). PNAS July 19, 2023. 120 (30) e2303408120.

...We strongly urge governments to...consider the mounting evidence suggesting that fur farming, particularly mink, be eliminated in the interest of pandemic preparedness. Fur farming should be in the same category of high-risk practices as the bushmeat trade and live animal markets. These activities all increase the likelihood of future pandemics. At the very least, biosecurity practices and active surveillance at fur farms must be reviewed, greatly enhanced, and closely enforced.

heinäkuu 22, 9:56 am

Tom Peacock @PeacockFlu | 6:16 AM · Jul 22, 2023
Virologist. Viruses, Influenza, Coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.
Thread Reader ( )

There have been some interesting developments with the panzootic (aka a pandemic of animals) H5N1 in mammals over the last few months.
Though(t) I'd write a brief thread covering Polish cats, South American sealions and European fur farms.
Diagram interspecific spread Influenza A ( )

...Firstly, the cats in Poland. This is a very unusual outbreak - over 30 cats with H5N1 infections throughout Poland, sequences are incredibly similar (no regional differences). All viruses share a pair of mammalian adaptations

Something atypical has likely happened here. There has been suggestion of a shared food source (frozen raw meat?) which i think is very possible, however its harder to explain why every cat has the same mammalian adaptation...

I think there are 2 potential explanations here.
1) there are viruses circulating in birds that somehow have these adaptations. This wouldnt be unprecidented and has happened in the past - sequences from wild birds in Poland partially supports this...

The second explanation is somehow meat or byproducts from infected mammals has somehow got into the pet foodchain (either directly, or as fodder for poultry).
Details of this investigation have been pretty sparse but I hope the source of this outbreak can be resolved quickly...

Secondly Sealions: Since H5N1 has entered South America there have been reports of mass mortality in both wild birds but also sealion colonies. Particularly on the Eastern coasts of Peru and Chile...

Genomic data has now been shared from both Chile and Peru. An unusual combination of mammalian adaptations suggests that there may be some stable transmission between sealions. In fact this same combination is also found in the Chilean human sequence...

This isnt the first potential case of sustained transmission of avian influenza in seals/sealions. I think theres fairly good evidence to suggest this 2011 North American outbreak might have done the same. This would be the first example with H5 though...

Final point, fur farms - we need to have a serious conversation about whether it is a good idea to continue farming carnivores for fur during an H5N1 panzootic. @wendybarclay11 recently wrote an opinion piece for PNAS arguing its a really bad idea.

...Mink (and foxes) are highly susceptible to H5N1. Normally wild foxes or mustelids (the family of animals that contains mink, polecats, ferrets, stoats etc) are fairly solitary.

...Fur farming puts thousands of these animals together in close proximity, creating the perfect conditions for mammalian transmission and adaptation

For an H5 virus to become a human pandemic it would need to gain changes in the H5 haemagglutinin protein that enabled binding to human-like receptors, and allowed to to stay stable in airborne droplets ...

We believe that very few mammals strongly select for these properties, but one that does is ferrets - ferrets are widely used as models for human influenza virus transmission, and for risk assessing emerging influenza viruses

Mink are close relatives to ferrets. They are much less well studied than ferrets but the evidence out there suggests they may similarly select for properties that could lead to efficient human to human transmission....

Therefore, uncontrolled transmission of H5N1 through mink is a feasable pathway to the emergence of a human-transmissible, pandemic H5N1.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demosntrated repeatedly, biosecurity on these farms is extremely weak - humans infect mink with SARS-CoV-2, mink re-infect humans. Mink also repeatedly get infected by H5N1, as well as human influenza strains...

the 3 last influenza pandemics arose from mixing between avian and human influenza viruses (sometimes within a swine host). Mink, being highly susceptible to both H5N1 and seasonal influenza could act as mixing vessels for these viruses

As the outbreaks in mink farms in Spain, and most recently Finland show, H5N1 is not particularly deadly in these animals, therefore it is possible this can go under the radar (or be swept under the carpet). Unlike in birds, H5N1 in fur farms is not notifiable in many places...

To summarise - there have been some concerning developments with H5N1 recently - its still incredibly unclear how much of a pandemic threat this virus poses but there are real policy changes we can make to reduce that risk...

elokuu 3, 4:13 pm

Rapid communication Open Access

Erika Lindh et al. 2023. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection on multiple fur farms in the South and Central Ostrobothnia regions of Finland, July 2023. Eurosurveillance Volume 28, Issue 31, 03/Aug/2023

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus belonging to clade has since the end of April 2023 caused widespread outbreaks in wild and domestic birds in 25 countries in Europe... In wild birds, black-headed gulls have been heavily affected, with mass deaths observed in many places, including in Finland. First reported on 14 July, an outbreak of avian influenza among farmed foxes, minks and raccoon dogs occurred in the regions of South and Central Ostrobothnia and is still ongoing. Up to 27 July, animals on 20 farms have been affected. Here, we provide an initial description of the outbreak and control measures taken, and discuss the source, potential reasons for and consequences of the outbreak...


The HPAI H5N1 outbreak on fur farms in South and Central Ostrobothnia in Finland, which was detected in July 2023, is not over yet. Active control measures appear to be effective, while culling of the animals is underway. The ongoing epizootic of HPAI H5N1 among gulls and other birds poses a risk of re-introduction in the current farm settings. It is clear that current conditions on the majority of farms cannot prevent bird access and much more rigorous biosecurity measures would have to be put in place at the industry level to eliminate these risks.

The sequence data indicate that, at least originally, transmission likely occurred from birds to the fur animals, most probably through contacts in the shade houses. Birds have easy access to the interior of the shade houses and gulls have frequently been observed in the vicinity of the farms. Mass deaths of gulls have also occurred in the same general region. Other potential exposure possibilities have been investigated, such as contamination of fur animal feed by birds or indirect spread by the workers while handling or feeding the fur animals. In addition, direct contacts between farms through personnel or animal movements, have been investigated and excluded as a cause of spread. In theory, an infected human could have transmitted the disease to the animals, but no evidence exists to support such a scenario.

At present, it appears likely that transmission among fur animals is contributing to the evolution of the outbreak, and PB2 mutations associated with improved replication in mammalian cells have been detected in a subset of the fur animal cases. A well-recognised concern exists that prolonged replication of the HPAI H5N1 virus in a high-density mammalian population, such as the fur farms, might lead to viral forms that could more easily spread among humans ... As there is little prior experience of outbreaks similar to the one described here, it is not possible to predict the outcome. Thus, no firm conclusions can yet be drawn on the current risks for fur animal-to-human or human-to-human transmission.

No human infections have been detected thus far in the current fur farm outbreak in Finland and, globally, there is no verified transmission of HPAI H5N1 virus infection from another mammal to humans. However, this outbreak does raise concerns for the future, not only in Finland but in the global context. Thus, very rigorous monitoring of the situation at fur farms in Finland is being implemented in close cooperation among national authorities and in consultation with relevant international public health agencies. More detailed analyses of the outbreak are planned to be published as sequencing and potentially also serological data become available.

elokuu 7, 4:44 pm

Wonder what, if anything is going on with Cypriot cats?

Cyprus cat deaths
Scott Weese* on August 7, 2023

* Infectious diseases vet, @cphaz Director, @uofg , @ontvetcollege {Ontario Veterinary College, U of Guelph}

elokuu 31, 10:40 am


Cats With Bird Flu? The Threat Grows (Opinion)
Zeynep Tufekci (Princeton) | Aug. 31, 2023

...Not enough has been done about an out-of-control H5N1 outbreak at fur farms in Finland, or a mystery outbreak among domestic cats in Poland.

...a sizable outbreak of H5N1 among pet cats in Poland this summer killed at least 29 animals, though cat owners have compiled lists with as many as 89 sick animals. The outbreak has many unusual features that makes it especially concerning, and yet there still hasn’t been an explanation to how exactly it happened, or a vigorous investigation.

The affected cats lived in different areas of Poland, yet their viruses had almost identical genetic sequences. They obviously couldn’t have infected one another. Wild birds are unlikely to be the source, especially since some of the cats never went outside and the outbreak was not detected in Poland’s neighbors. It seems clear that the outbreak originated from a source in Poland.

Scientists and cat owners suspect cat food...

...the virus from all the sick cats in Poland had two specific genetic mutations found almost exclusively among mammals

...Scientists in Poland were able to test only five samples of food, and a single sample — chicken meat meant for human consumption that was also being fed to the cat — turned out to be positive for H5N1. However, as the scientific report notes, it’s only one sample, which could have been contaminated after the animal got sick in the household.

...Poland is the European Union’s biggest exporter of poultry, so anything implicating the poultry food chain would be economically concerning.

Poland is also the E.U.’s biggest operator of mink farms.

Gift link:

Author's tweet, text highlighted

syyskuu 1, 2:35 am

Majority of US dog owners now skeptical of vaccines, including for rabies: study
Rachel Scully - 08/29/23

...a sustained vaccination of at least 70 percent of dogs could nearly eliminate human rabies cases in high-risk regions. However, the authors warned vaccination rates could eventually drop below 70 percent if CVH continues to rise.

The study also warned that the “phenomenon could have deleterious health consequences for both human and animal populations,” as dogs, on a global scale, are responsible for 99 percent of rabies transmission to humans.

Rabies is fatal once clinical signs appear and is estimated to cause 59,000 human deaths annually...

Matt Motta et al. 2023. Sick as a dog? The prevalence, politicization, and health policy consequences of canine vaccine hesitancy (CVH): Short communication. Vaccine. Available online 26 August 2023. In Press, Corrected Proof.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 14, 8:22 am

As fall migrations ensue, increasingly important to report, and to not handle sick/dead birds and scavengers that one may encounter...

Mariana Leguia et al. 2023. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) in marine mammals and seabirds in Peru. Nature Communications volume 14, Article number: 5489 (7 Sept 2023)

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A/H5N1 viruses (lineage are rapidly invading the Americas, threatening wildlife, poultry, and potentially evolving into the next global pandemic. In November 2022 HPAI arrived in Peru, triggering massive pelican and sea lion die-offs. We report genomic characterization of HPAI/H5N1 in five species of marine mammals and seabirds (dolphins, sea lions, sanderlings, pelicans and cormorants). Peruvian viruses belong to lineage, but they are 4:4 reassortants where 4 genomic segments (PA, HA, NA and MP) position within the Eurasian lineage that initially entered North America from Eurasia, while the other 4 genomic segments (PB2, PB1, NP and NS) position within the American lineage (clade C) that circulated in North America. These viruses are rapidly accruing mutations, including mutations of concern, that warrant further examination and highlight an urgent need for active local surveillance to manage outbreaks and limit spillover into other species, including humans.

syyskuu 16, 10:22 am

Dr. Syra Madad @syramadad | 8:49 PM · Sep 15, 2023:
Epidemiologist▪️Biosecurity Advisor/NSABB▪️Sr Director Special Pathogens @NYCHealthSystem
▪️Faculty @TheNETEC @BUCEID
▪️Fellow @BelferCenter

What is Nipah virus?* India rushes to contain outbreak.

“The WHO estimates the Nipah virus’s fatality rate to be between 40 and 75% and has listed it as a priority disease because of its epidemic potential. The strain identified in Kerala, known as the Bangladesh strain, has a high mortality but is less infectious”

“Kerala is a tropical state of 35 million people on the southwest coast of India that has seen deforestation and rapid urbanization, creating conditions in which people and animals — such as bats that can carry the virus — have closer contact”

* Nipah virus is a bat-borne, zoonotic virus that causes Nipah virus infection in humans and other animals, a disease with a high mortality rate. Numerous disease outbreaks caused by Nipah virus have occurred in North East Africa and South-Southeast Asia. (Wikipedia)

syyskuu 19, 2:16 pm

Lovely, humans catch Eurasian tapeworm from dogs, wild canids (rare now):

Alberta particularly hit by new cases of disease spread by coyotes, dogs and foxes
Madeleine Cummings · CBC News · Posted: Sep 19, 2023

Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is an infection caused by the parasite Echinococcus multilocularis, which is carried by coyotes, dogs and foxes. The tapeworm common in Europe was first detected in wildlife in Western Canada in 2012; one year later, the first human case of AE was found in a woman in rural Alberta.

Since then, 30 more people in Alberta alone have received the same diagnosis, including more than a dozen cases since 2020... there have been four cases reported in Ontario since 2017.

{Dr. Dave Waldner, an infectious diseases doctor at the University of Alberta who cares for patients with the condition} said it's not easy to determine how people were infected but the majority of his patients have been dog owners. About two-thirds of his patients have been individuals who live in rural areas, the rest have been found among people in the Edmonton area.

....Animals pass infectious eggs in their stool, which humans can inadvertently ingest... In the vast majority of cases, Waldner said, the infection goes to the liver and forms a mass. ...There's an urgency in getting a diagnosis as soon as possible, Waldner said. Surgery is the only way to completely remove the mass but it can't be attempted if the mass becomes too large or invasive.

Left untreated, the disease can be fatal but medical therapies can control the infection, he said.

...urban coyotes were more likely to be infected with the parasite than rural ones and that more than half of Edmonton's coyote population is infected with the parasite...{} Not only is compost and garbage unhealthy for coyotes, but it also attracts the parasite-carrying rodents, like voles and mice, which coyotes happily eat.

...According to information from Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, routine handwashing, washing wild-picked foods before eating them, keeping pets clean, and preventing them from eating rodents are some of the best prevention strategies.

Waldner recommends dog owners talk to their veterinarians about routine deworming and Sugden suggests securing compost and garbage so coyotes can't find it.

Alberta particularly hit by new cases of disease spread by coyotes, dogs and foxes
Madeleine Cummings · CBC News · Posted: Sep 19, 2023