Increasing incidence of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis on Crete, Greece.
ABSTRACT: To determine whether the incidence of canine leishmaniasis has increased on Crete, Greece, we fitted infection models to serodiagnostic records of 8,848 dog samples for 1990-2006. Models predicted that seroprevalence has increased 2.4% (95% confidence interval 1.61%-3.51%) per year and that incidence has increased 2.2- to 3.8-fold over this 17-year period.
Project description:Canine pathogens transmitted by blood-sucking arthropods are of significant importance for veterinary and, in some cases, human health. However, they are still underestimated and rarely investigated in many parts of the Mediterranean region, mostly due to financial reasons. Therefore, in the present paper, we investigated the occurrence of blood-associated pathogens affecting dogs in Crete, Greece. For this purpose, blood samples from 103 shelter dogs were screened for the pathogens by PCR and serological tests. Overall, samples from 43 dogs scored positive for at least one pathogen (41.8%). In particular, antibodies to Leishmania infantum were detected in 26 dogs (25.2%), and 15 and 11 animals were positive for Hepatozoon canis (14.6%) and Mycoplasma haemocanis (10.7%) by PCR, respectively. Co-infections were recorded in nine animals. Clinical signs indicative of infection (alterations of skin or coat or reduced body condition) were detected in 10 animals, four of which were infected with one pathogen, three with two pathogens. Based on the results obtained, dogs from Crete appear to be frequently exposed to several blood-borne pathogens, including agents of zoonotic concern. Given that some of the pathogens were reported for the first time in this area, results presented in our study should improve the awareness of the local veterinarians and of dog rescue organisations in order to reduce disease burden on stray and owned dogs and to control the spread of canine vector-borne diseases from Greece to non-endemic areas by travelling or exported infected dogs.
Project description:Global urbanization is a major force that causes alteration and loss of natural habitats. Urban ecosystems are strongly affected by humans and there is a gradient of decreasing human influence from city centers to natural habitats. To study ecological changes along this continuum, researchers introduced the urban-rural gradient approach. The responses of centipedes to an urbanization gradient (urban-suburban-rural areas) were studied using pitfall traps in and near the city of Heraklion, in the island of Crete, Greece, from November 2010 to November 2011. Our results do not support the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, in which suburban areas located in the transitional zone between urban and rural habitats failed to indicate significant increase in terms of species richness and diversity.
Project description:Members of the genus Scutellonema can cause substantial crop losses to ornamental and cultivated plants directly by feeding ectoparasitically on plant roots (Bridge et al., 2005; Coyne et al., 2006). In May 2015, a soil sample from a house garden from Heraklion city in Crete, Greece, was sent for diagnosis of plant-parasitic nematodes. In this place, there had been cactus (Opuntia sp.) plants (probably imported), which were uprooted 3 to 4 years earlier. After that, the area was cropped with cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) in spring-summer and leaf vegetables such as spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) and chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) in autumn-winter. The soil was collected 1 mon after the end of chicory crop. A population density (ca. 30 individuals/100 cm(3) of soil) of spiral nematodes (Scutellonema sp.) was found by extracting soil with the wet sieving and decanting method (Cobb, 1918). Morphological and molecular analyses of females identified the species as Scutellonema brachyurus (Steiner, 1938) Andrássy, 1958. The morphology of females was characterized by a hemispherical lip region with four to six annuli, morphometric data for 12 females were L, 640 to 760 ?m; a, 24.6 to 30.6; b, 5.8 to 7.4; c, 69.1 to 99.3; c´ 0.5 to 0.6; stylet, 24.5 to 27.5 ?m with anterior part shorter than posterior; and spermatheca nonfunctional and male absent. The morphology agreed with the description of S. brachyurus (van den Berg et al., 2013). Alignment indicated that the D2-D3 and ITS sequences (KU059494 and KU059495, respectively) showed 99% and 100% to 99% similarity, respectively, to other sequences of S. brachyurus (type A) deposited in GenBank from the United States, Italy, and Korea (JX472037-JX472046, DQ328753, FJ485643; and JX472069, JX472070, JX472071, respectively), differing from one to six nucleotides. Phylogenetic analyses using Bayesian inference of these sequences placed the Scutellonema sp. in a highly supported (100%) clade that included all S. brachyurus (type A) sequences deposited in GenBank (van den Berg et al., 2013). All identification methods were consistent with S. brachyurus. To our knowledge, this is the first report of S. brachyurus for Greece. As the cucumbers and the leaf vegetables cultivated in the area were seed planted, we consider that the nematode originated most probably from the cactus plants which had been previously root ball planted. Scutellonema brachyurus may represent a threat for ornamental and cultivated plants production in Crete, Greece. The nematode has been already reported, mainly in greenhouses of six European countries (CABI and EPPO, 2006). In most of these cases, it is hypothesized that the nematode was introduced by imported plant material.
Project description:Nematode samplings in cultivated and wild olive in Crete, Greece, yielded the presence of Bitylenchus hispaniensis , Helicotylenchus microlobus , Helicotylenchus vulgaris , Merlinius brevidens , and Pratylenchoides alkani . With the exception of H. microlobus and M. brevidens , reports of these plant-parasitic nematode species constitute new records for Greece. Bitylenchus hispaniensis is also reported for first time in a country outside of Spain, where it was originally described. Pratylenchoides alkani is herein reported for the second time in the Mediterranean area and for the first time in association with olive. Two further populations of H. microlobus and H. vulgaris , from walnut and goji berry from Greece, were identified. Molecular data for all of these nematode species are provided, resulting in the first integrative identification of these Greek populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women and a leading cause of death from cancer in women in Europe. Although breast cancer incidence is on the rise worldwide, breast cancer mortality over the past 25 years has been stable or decreasing in some countries and a fall in breast cancer mortality rates in most European countries in the 1990s was reported by several studies, in contrast, in Greece have not reported these favourable trends. In Greece, the age-standardised incidence and mortality rate for breast cancer per 100.000 in 2006 was 81,8 and 21,7 and although it is lower than most other countries in Europe, the fall in breast cancer mortality that observed has not been as great as in other European countries. There is no national strategy for screening in this country. This study reports on the use of mammography among middle-aged women in rural Crete and investigates barriers to mammography screening encountered by women and their primary care physicians. METHODS: DESIGN: Semi-structured individual interviews. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Thirty women between 45-65 years of age, with a mean age of 54,6 years, and standard deviation 6,8 from rural areas of Crete and 28 qualified primary care physicians, with a mean age of 44,7 years and standard deviation 7,0 serving this rural population. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Qualitative thematic analysis. RESULTS: Most women identified several reasons for not using mammography. These included poor knowledge of the benefits and indications for mammography screening, fear of pain during the procedure, fear of a serious diagnosis, embarrassment, stress while anticipating the results, cost and lack of physician recommendation. Physicians identified difficulties in scheduling an appointment as one reason women did not use mammography and both women and physicians identified distance from the screening site, transportation problems and the absence of symptoms as reasons for non-use. CONCLUSION: Women are inhibited from participating in mammography screening in rural Crete. The provision of more accessible screening services may improve this. However physician recommendation is important in overcoming women's inhibitions. Primary care physicians serving rural areas need to be aware of barriers preventing women from attending mammography screening and provide women with information and advice in a sensitive way so women can make informed decisions regarding breast cancer screening.
Project description:Lasiustapinomoides sp. n. from Crete, Greece, is described and illustrated. It belongs to L.turcicus complex and is well characterized by very small body, extremely shallow metanotal groove and presence of suberect to erect setae on the apical part of scape. New records of Cretan members of the genus Lasius Fabricius, 1804 are provided, their checklist is updated, and the key to their determination is presented.
Project description:The olive tree of Vouves in Crete, is considered the oldest producing olive tree in the world with an estimated age exceeding 4000 years. In the present study, we sequenced two samples (from the bottom and the top of the tree) to elucidate the genetic relation of this ancient tree with other olive cvs as well as to gain some insights about its origin. Our results showed that both samples have different genetic origins, proving that this ancient tree has been grafted at least one time. On the basis of whole genome sequences the sample from the top of the Vouves tree showed relation of the same order than half-siblings to one accession corresponding to the present-day Greek cv 'Mastoidis'. Nevertheless, in the framework of a microsatellite analysis it was found to cluster with the 'Mastoidis' samples. The Vouves rootstock (bottom sample) showed a clear grouping with the oleaster samples in a similar way to that of 'Megaritiki' Greek cv although it does not show any signal of introgression from them. The genomic analyses did not show a strong relation of this sample with the present-day Greek cvs analyzed in this study so it cannot be proved that it has been used as a source for cultivated olive tree populations represented by available genome sequences. Nevertheless, on the basis of microsatellite analyses, the Vouves rootstock showed affinity with two present-day Greek cvs, one "ancient" rootstock from continental Greece as well as monumental trees from Cyprus. The analysis of the impact of the variants in the gene space revealed an enrichment of genes associated to pathways related with carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. This is in agreement with what has been found before in the sweep regions related with the process of domestication. The absence of oleaster gene flow, its old age and its variant profile, similar to other cultivated populations, makes it an excellent reference point for domestication studies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The burden of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) on the general health and well-being of the population has been documented in various studies. The objective of this study was to explore the association between MSD and the quality of life and mental health of patients and to discuss issues concerning care seeking patterns in rural Greece.<h4>Methods</h4>Patients registered at one rural Primary Care Centre (PCC) in Crete were invited to complete the Nordic Musculoskeletal Questionnaire (NMQ) for the analysis of musculoskeletal symptoms, together with validated instruments for measuring health related quality of life (SF-36) and mental distress (GHQ-28).<h4>Results</h4>The prevalence rate of MSD was found to be 71.2%, with low back and knee pain being the most common symptoms. Most conditions significantly impaired the quality of life, especially the physical dimensions of SF-36. Depression was strongly correlated to most MSD (p < 0.001). Multiple logistic analyses revealed that patients who consulted the PCC due to MSD were likely to have more mental distress or impaired physical functioning compared to those who did not.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Musculoskeletal disorders were common in patients attending the rural PCC of this study and were associated with a poor quality of life and mental distress that affected their consultation behaviour.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Cognitive impairment is known to have a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals and their caregivers, yet it is often underdiagnosed. The objective of this study is to assess the extent of cognitive impairment among elders visiting primary healthcare (PHC) practice settings, to explore associated risk factors and discuss current care challenges for PHC providers. DESIGN:A cross-sectional study was conducted between March 2013 and May 2014. SETTING:Fourteen PHC units located in rural and urban areas of the Heraklion district in Crete, Greece. PARTICIPANTS:Consecutive visitors aged at least 60 years attending selected PHC practices. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) was used to indicate cognitive status. Associations of low MMSE scores (?23/24, adjusted for education level) with 12 socio-demographic factors, comorbidities and lifestyle factors were assessed. RESULTS:A total of 3140 PHC patients met inclusion criteria (43.2% male; mean age 73.7±7.8 years). The average MMSE score was 26.0±3.8; 26.7±3.5 in male and 25.4±3.9 in female participants (p<0.0001). Low MMSE scores were detected in 20.2% of participants; 25.9% for females vs 12.8% for males; p<0.0001. Female gender (adjusted OR (AOR)=2.72; 95% CI 2.31 to 3.47), age (AOR=1.11; 95% CI 1.10 to 1.13), having received only primary or no formal education (AOR=2.87; 95% CI 2.26 to 3.65), alcohol intake (AOR=1.19; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.37), reporting one or more sleep complaints (AOR 1.63; 95% CI 1.14 to 2.32), dyslipidaemia (AOR=0.80; 95% CI 0.65 to 0.98) and history of depression (AOR=1.90; 95% CI 1.43 to 2.52) were associated with low MMSE scores. CONCLUSIONS:This study identified a relatively high prevalence of low MMSE scores among persons attending PHC practices in a southern European community setting and associations with several known risk factors.
Project description:Sea turtles are vulnerable to climate change impacts in both their terrestrial (nesting beach) and oceanic habitats. From 1982 to 2012, air and sea surface temperatures at major high use foraging and nesting regions (n = 5) of loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) nesting in Greece have steadily increased. Here, we update the established relationships between sea surface temperature and nesting data from Zakynthos (latitude: 37.7°N), a major nesting beach, while also expanding these analyses to include precipitation and air temperature and additional nesting data from two other key beaches in Greece: Kyparissia Bay (latitude: 37.3°N) and Rethymno, Crete (latitude: 35.4°N). We confirmed that nesting phenology at Zakynthos has continued to be impacted by breeding season temperature; however, temperature has no consistent relationship with nest numbers, which are declining on Zakynthos and Crete but increasing at Kyparissia. Then using statistically downscaled outputs of 14 climate models assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we projected future shifts in nesting for these populations. Based on the climate models, we projected that temperature at the key foraging and breeding sites (Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Crete, Gulf of Gabès and Zakynthos/Kyparissia Bay; overall latitudinal range: 33.0°-45.8°N) for loggerhead turtles nesting in Greece will rise by 3-5°C by 2100. Our calculations indicate that the projected rise in air and ocean temperature at Zakynthos could cause the nesting season in this major rookery to shift to an earlier date by as much as 50-74 days by 2100. Although an earlier onset of the nesting season may provide minor relief for nest success as temperatures rise, the overall climatic changes to the various important habitats will most likely have an overall negative impact on this population.