3 years ago

Neuropathological survey reveals underestimation of the prevalence of neuroinfectious diseases in cattle in Switzerland

Neuroinfectious diseases in livestock represent a severe threat to animal health, but their prevalence is not well documented and the etiology of disease often remains unidentified. The aims of this study were to generate baseline data on the prevalence of neuroinfectious diseases in cattle in Switzerland by neuropathological survey, and to identify disease-associated pathogens. The survey was performed over a 1-year period using a representative number of brainstem samples (n=1816) from fallen cattle. In total, 4% (n=73) of the animals had significant lesions, the most frequent types of which were indicative of viral (n=27) and bacterial (n=31) etiologies. Follow-up diagnostics by immunohistochemistry, PCR protocols and next-generation sequencing identified infection with Listeria monocytogenes (n=6), ovine herpesvirus 2 (n=7), bovine astrovirus CH13 (n=2), bovine herpesvirus 6 (n=6), bovine retrovirus CH15 (n=2), posavirus 1 (n=2), and porcine astroviruses (n=2). A retrospective questionnaire-based investigation indicated that animals’ owners observed clinical signs of neurological disease in about one-third of cases with lesions, which was estimated to correspond to approximately 85 cases per year in the adult fallen cattle population in Switzerland. This estimate stands in sharp contrast to the number of cases reported to the authorities and reveals a gap in disease surveillance. Systematic neuropathological examination and follow-up molecular testing of neurologically diseased cattle could significantly enhance the efficiency of disease detection for the purposes of estimating the prevalence of endemic diseases, identifying new or re-emerging pathogens, and providing “early warnings” of disease outbreaks.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S037811351730593X

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