A novel H7N9 influenza A virus has been discovered as the causative identity of the emerging acute respiratory infection cases in Shanghai, China. This virus has also been identified in cases of infection in the neighboring area Hangzhou City in Zhejiang Province. In this study, epidemiologic, clinical, and virological data from three patients in Hangzhou who were confirmed to be infected by the novel H7N9 influenza A virus were collected and analyzed. Human respiratory specimens and chicken feces from a contacted free market were tested for influenza virus by real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and sequencing. The clinical features of the three cases were similar featured with high fever and severe respiratory symptoms; however, only one of the patients died. A certain degree of diversity was observed among the three Hangzhou viruses sequenced from human samples compared with other reported H7N9 influenza A viruses. The sequences of the novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza viruses from Hangzhou City contained important amino acid substitutions related to human adaptation. One of the Hangzhou viruses had gained a novel amino acid substitution (Q226I) in the receptor binding region of hemagglutinin. More importantly, the virus sequenced from the chicken feces had a 627E substitution in the PB2 protein instead of the mammalian-adapted 627K substitution that was found in the PB2 proteins from the Hangzhou viruses from the three patients. Therefore, the newly-emerging H7N9 virus might be under adaptation pressure that will help it "jump" from avian to human hosts. The significance of these substitutions needs further exploration, with both laboratory experiments and extensive field surveillance.
H7N9 influenza A virus, human adaptation, epidemiology, substitution
Citation:Li J, Yu X F, Pu X Y, et al. Environmental connections of novel avian-origin H7N9 influenza virus infection and virus adaptation to the human. Sci China Life Sci, 2013, 56: 485-492,
Background: Enterocytozoon bieneusi, a common opportunistic fungal pathogen, has a wide range of hosts. Limited epidemiological data on E. bieneusi intestinal infections in companion animals (dogs and cats) in China exists. In this study, fecal samples (651 from dogs and 389 from cats) in Guangzhou city, Guangdong Province, China, were collected, and the ribosomal internal transcribed (ITS) spacer region from the DNA extracted from them was Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-amplified and sequenced. Results: Based on the sequencing data, E. bieneusi was identified in the fecal samples collected from 149 (22.9%) and 79 (20.3%) dogs and cats. Of the factors investigated, poor living conditions appeared to be the major risk factor for contracting the pathogen. Eleven E. bieneusi genotypes, six known (PtEb IX, GD1, D, CD9, EbpC, I) and five novel (designated here as GD2-GD6), were found in dogs. Eight genotypes, six known (PtEb IX, GD1, D, CD9, EbpC, Type IV) and two novel (GD2 and GC1), were identified in cats. Genotype PtEb IX was most common in both dogs and cats, followed by genotype GD1. Conclusions: Although PtEb IX was the most common E. bieneusi genotype in dogs, this is the first report of this genotype dominating in cats. The same genotype distribution of the pathogen between the two different companion animals species in the same geographic area indicates that inter-species transmission is probable. The widespread existence of zoonotic E. bieneusi genotypes (D, EbpC, Type IV) in companion animals indicates that they are potential sources of environmental contamination and infections in humans.
A novel strain of Bacillus thuringiensis Bt11, isolated from soil samples in China, was classified and characterized in terms of its crystal proteins, cry genes content. The Bt11 strain showed high toxicity against Spodoptera exigua and Helicoverpa armigera neonates. Bt11 strain shares morphological and biochemical characteristics with the previously described Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that crystals were composed of several polypeptides ranging from 20 to 130 kDa, of which the 35, 80, and 130 kDa proteins were the major components. PCR-RFLP with total DNA from strain Bt11 and specific primers for cry1, cry2, cry3, cry4/10, cry7, cry8, cry9, and cry11 genes revealed that cry1Aa, cry1Ab, cry1Ia, and cry9Ea genes were present.
Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis, and Blastocystis sp. are common intestinal protozoans that infect humans and animals worldwide. A survey that assessed the prevalence, molecular characteristics, and zoonotic potential of these pathogens was conducted on a variety of dogs in Guangzhou, southern China. A total of 651 canine stool samples from household (n = 199), shelter (n = 149), breeding (n = 237), and pet market dogs (n = 66) were collected from eight districts in Guangzhou. Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia duodenalis, and Blastocystis sp. were detected by PCR amplification of the SSU rRNA gene. Giardia duodenalis-positive specimens were further assigned into assemblages using the glutamate dehydrogenase gene. Cryptosporidium spp., G. duodenalis, and Blastocystis sp. were found in 21 (3.2%), 20 (3.1%), and 35 (5.4%) samples, respectively. The overall prevalence of shelter dogs (40.28%, 60/149) was significantly higher than that of household (3.0%, 6/199), breeding (2.1%, 5/237), and pet market dogs (7.5%, 5/66) (χ2 = 154.72, df = 3, P < 0.001). Deworming in the past 12 months had a strong protective effect on the risk of contracting parasite infections (P < 0.001). No significant differences were detected between age or sex groups (P > 0.05). Dog-specific C. canis (n = 19) and zoonotic C. parvum (n = 2) were the only two Cryptosporidium species. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of three G. duodenalis assemblages: dog-specific assemblages D (n = 14) and C (n = 5), and cat-specific F (n = 1). Zoonotic Blastocystis ST3 (n = 28) was the dominant subtype, followed by ST1 (n = 6) and ST10 (n = 1). To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale investigation on the occurrence and molecular characteristics of Blastocystis sp. in dogs in China. Our results indicated that the dogs seemed to play a negligible role as reservoirs for Cryptosporidium spp. and G. duodenalis transmission to humans, but they are potential novel suitable hosts of Blastocystis sp. A strict sentinel surveillance system of dogs should be established to minimise the zoonotic risk of spreading blastocystosis among humans and dogs.
To develop a Tm-shift method for detection of dog-derived Ancylostoma ceylanicum and A. caninum, three sets of primers were designed based on three SNPs (ITS71, ITS197, and ITS296) of their internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) sequences. The detection effect of the Tm-shift was assessed through the stability, sensitivity, accuracy test, and clinical detection. The results showed that these three sets of primers could distinguish accurately between A. ceylanicum and A. caninum. The coefficient of variation in their Tm values on the three SNPs was 0.09% and 0.15% (ITS71), 0.18% and 0.14% (ITS197), and 0.13% and 0.07% (ITS296), respectively. The lowest detectable concentration of standard plasmids for A. ceylanicum and A. caninum was 5.33 × 10−6 ng/μL and 5.03 × 10−6 ng/μL. The Tm-shift results of ten DNA samples from the dog-derived hookworms were consistent with their known species. In the clinical detection of 50 fecal samples from stray dogs, the positive rate of hookworm detected by Tm-shift (42%) was significantly higher than that by microscopic examination (34%), and the former can identify the Ancylostoma species. It is concluded that the Tm-shift method is rapid, specific, sensitive, and suitable for the clinical detection and zoonotic risk assessment of the dog-derived hookworm.
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