Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae--a primary cause of severe pneumonia epizootics in the Norwegian Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) population.
ABSTRACT: The Norwegian muskox (Ovibos moschatus) population lives on the high mountain plateau of Dovre and originates from animals introduced from Greenland. In the late summers of 2006 and 2012, severe outbreaks of pneumonia with mortality rates of 25-30% occurred. During the 2012 epidemic high quality samples from culled sick animals were obtained for microbiological and pathological examinations. High throughput sequencing (pyrosequencing) of pneumonic lung tissue revealed high concentrations of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in all six animals examined by this method and Pasteurella multocida subsp. multocida in four animals, whereas no virus sequences could be identified. Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae and P. multocida multocida were also isolated by culture. Using real time PCR on lung swabs, M. ovipneumoniae was detected in all of the 19 pneumonic lungs examined. Gross pathological examination revealed heavy consolidations primarily in the cranial parts of the lungs and it also identified one case of otitis media. Histologically, lung lesions were characterized as acute to subacute mixed exudative and moderately proliferative bronchoalveolar pneumonia. Immunohistochemical (IHC) examination revealed high load of M. ovipneumoniae antigens within lung lesions, with particularly intensive staining in the neutrophils. Similar IHC finding were observed in archived lung tissue blocks from animals examined during the 2006 epidemic. An M. ovipneumoniae specific ELISA was applied on bio-banked muskox sera from stray muskoxen killed in the period 2004-2013 and sick muskoxen culled, as well as sera from wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) on Dovre and muskoxen from Greenland. Serology and mycoplasma culturing was also carried out on sheep that had been on pasture in the muskox area during the outbreak in 2012. Our findings indicated separate introductions of M. ovipneumoniae infection in 2006 and 2012 from infected co-grazing sheep. Salt licks shared by the two species were a possible route of transmitting infection.
Project description:Epizootic pneumonia of bighorn sheep is a devastating disease of uncertain etiology. To help clarify the etiology, we used culture and culture-independent methods to compare the prevalence of the bacterial respiratory pathogens Mannheimia haemolytica, Bibersteinia trehalosi, Pasteurella multocida, and Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in lung tissue from 44 bighorn sheep from herds affected by 8 outbreaks in the western United States. M. ovipneumoniae, the only agent detected at significantly higher prevalence in animals from outbreaks (95%) than in animals from unaffected healthy populations (0%), was the most consistently detected agent and the only agent that exhibited single strain types within each outbreak. The other respiratory pathogens were frequently but inconsistently detected, as were several obligate anaerobic bacterial species, all of which might represent secondary or opportunistic infections that could contribute to disease severity. These data provide evidence that M. ovipneumoniae plays a primary role in the etiology of epizootic pneumonia of bighorn sheep.
Project description:Bronchopneumonia is a population-limiting disease in bighorn sheep in much of western North America. Previous investigators have isolated diverse bacteria from the lungs of affected sheep, but no single bacterial species is consistently present, even within single epizootics. We obtained high-quality diagnostic specimens from nine pneumonic bighorn sheep in three populations and analyzed the bacterial populations present in bronchoalveolar lavage specimens of seven by using a culture-independent method (16S rRNA gene amplification and clone library analyses). Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae was detected as a predominant member of the pneumonic lung flora in lambs with early lesions of bronchopneumonia. Specific PCR tests then revealed the consistent presence of M. ovipneumoniae in the lungs of pneumonic bighorn sheep in this study, and M. ovipneumoniae was isolated from lung specimens of five of the animals. Retrospective application of M. ovipneumoniae PCR to DNA extracted from archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded lung tissues of historical adult bighorn sheep necropsy specimens supported the association of this agent with bronchopneumonia (16/34 pneumonic versus 0/17 nonpneumonic sheep were PCR positive [P < 0.001]). Similarly, a very strong association was observed between the presence of one or more M. ovipneumoniae antibody-positive animals and the occurrence of current or recent historical bronchopneumonia problems (seropositive animals detected in 9/9 versus 0/9 pneumonic and nonpneumonic populations, respectively [P < 0.001]). M. ovipneumoniae is strongly associated with bronchopneumonia in free-ranging bighorn sheep and is a candidate primary etiologic agent for this disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Muskoxen are a key species of Arctic ecosystems and are important for food security and socio-economic well-being of many Indigenous communities in the Arctic and Subarctic. Between 2009 and 2014, the bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae was isolated for the first time in this species in association with multiple mortality events in Canada and Alaska, raising questions regarding the spatiotemporal occurrence of the pathogen and its potential impact on muskox populations. MATERIALS AND METHODS:We adapted a commercial porcine E. rhusiopathiae enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to test 958 blood samples that were collected from muskoxen from seven regions in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic between 1976 and 2017. The cut-off between negative and positive results was established using mixture-distribution analysis, a data-driven approach. Based on 818 samples for which a serological status could be determined and with complete information, we calculated trends in sample seroprevalences in population time-series and compared them with population trends in the investigated regions. RESULTS:Overall, 219/818 (27.8%, 95% Confidence Interval: 24.7-31.0) samples were classified as positive for exposure to E. rhusiopathiae. There were large variations between years and regions. Seropositive animals were found among the earliest serum samples tested; 1976 in Alaska and 1991 in Canada. In Alaskan muskoxen, sample seroprevalence increased after 2000 and, in two regions, peak seroprevalences occurred simultaneously with population declines. In one of these regions, concurrent unusual mortalities were observed and E. rhusiopathiae was isolated from muskox carcasses. In Canada, there was an increase in sample seroprevalence in two muskox populations following known mortality events that had been attributed to E. rhusiopathiae. CONCLUSION:Our results indicate widespread exposure of muskoxen to E. rhusiopathiae in western Canada and Alaska. Although not new to the Arctic, we documented an increased exposure to the pathogen in several regions concurrent with population declines. Understanding causes for the apparent increased occurrence of this pathogen and its association with large scale mortality events for muskoxen is critical to evaluate the implications for wildlife and wildlife-dependent human populations in the Arctic.
Project description:Varestrongylus eleguneniensis (Nematoda; Protostrongylidae) is a recently described species of lungworm that infects caribou (Rangifer tarandus), muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) and moose (Alces americanus) across northern North America. Herein we explore the geographic distribution of V. eleguneniensis through geographically extensive sampling and discuss the biogeography of this multi-host parasite. We analyzed fecal samples of three caribou subspecies (n = 1485), two muskox subspecies (n = 159), and two moose subspecies (n = 264) from across northern North America. Protostrongylid dorsal-spined larvae (DSL) were found in 23.8%, 73.6%, and 4.2% of these ungulates, respectively. A portion of recovered DSL were identified by genetic analyses of the ITS-2 region of the nuclear rDNA or the cytochrome oxidase c subunit I (COI) region of the mtDNA. We found V. eleguneniensis widely distributed among caribou and muskox populations across most of their geographic prange in North America but it was rare in moose. Parelaphostrongylus andersoni was present in caribou and moose and we provide new geographic records for this species. This study provides a substantial expansion of the knowledge defining the current distribution and biogeography of protostrongylid nematodes in northern ungulates. Insights about the host and geographic range of V. eleguneniensis can serve as a geographically extensive baseline for monitoring current distribution and in anticipating future biogeographic scenarios under a regime of accelerating climate and anthropogenic perturbation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The modern wildherd of the tundra muskox (Ovibos moschatus) is native only to the New World (northern North America and Greenland), and its genetic diversity is notably low. However, like several other megafaunal mammals, muskoxen enjoyed a holarctic distribution during the late Pleistocene. To investigate whether collapse in range and loss of diversity might be correlated, we collected mitochondrial sequence data (hypervariable region and cytochrome b) from muskox fossil material recovered from localities in northeastern Asia and the Arctic Archipelago of northern North America, dating from late Pleistocene to late Holocene, and compared our results to existing databases for modern muskoxen. RESULTS: Two classes of haplotypes were detected in the fossil material. "Surviving haplotypes" (SHs), closely similar or identical to haplotypes found in modern muskoxen and ranging in age from approximately 22,000 to approximately 160 yrbp, were found in all New World samples as well as some samples from northeastern Asia. "Extinct haplotypes" (EHs), dating between approximately 44,000 and ~18,000 yrbp, were found only in material from the Taimyr Peninsula and New Siberian Islands in northeastern Asia. EHs were not found in the Holocene muskoxen specimens available for this study, nor have they been found in other studies of extant muskox populations. CONCLUSION: We provisionally interpret this evidence as showing that genetic variability was reduced in muskoxen after the Last Glacial Maximum but before the mid-Holocene, or roughly within the interval 18,000-4,000 yrbp. Narrowing this gap further will require the recovery of more fossils and additional genetic information from this interval.
Project description:The Bashbay sheep (Ovis aries), an indigenous breed of Xinjiang, China, has many excellent characteristics. It is resistant to Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae infection, the causative agent of mycoplasma ovipneumonia, a chronic respiratory disease that is harmful to the sheep industry. To date, knowledge regarding the mechanisms responsible for M. ovipneumoniae pathogenesis in scant. Herein, we report the results of transcriptome profiling of lung tissues from Bashbay sheep experimentally infected with an M. ovipneumoniae strain at 4 and 14 days post-infection, in comparison to mock-infected animals (0 d). Transcriptome profiling was performed by deep RNA sequencing, using the Illumina platform. The analysis of differentially expressed genes was performed to determine concomitant gene-specific temporal patterns of mRNA expression in the lungs after M. ovipneumoniae infection. We found 1048 differentially expressed genes (575 up-regulated, 473 down-regulated) when comparing transcriptomic data at 4 and 0 days post-infection, and 2823 (1362 up-regulated, 1461 down-regulated) when comparing 14 versus 0 days post-infection. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis showed that the differentially expressed genes at 4 and 14 versus 0 days post-infection were enriched in 245 and 287 pathways, respectively, and the Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway was considered most closely related to MO infection (p < 0.01). Two pathways (LAMP-TLR2/TLR6-MyD88-MKK6-AP1-IL1B and LAMP-TLR8MyD88-IRF5-RANTES) were identified based on the TLR signaling pathway from differentially expressed genes related M. ovipneumoniae infection. Gene Ontology analysis showed that differentially expressed genes in different groups were enriched for 1580 and 4561 terms, where those most closely related to M. ovipneumoniae infection are positive regulators of inflammatory responses (p < 0.01). These results could aid in understanding how M. ovipneumoniae infection progresses in the lungs and may provide useful information regarding key regulatory pathways.
Project description:Background and Aim:Different species of Mycoplasma are associated with many pathological problems in small ruminants including respiratory manifestation, this problem results in significant losses, especially in African countries. This study aimed to (I) study some epidemiological aspects of Mycoplasma species infections in Egyptian sheep and goats at Giza Governorate, (II) diagnosis of Mycoplasma species affections using bacterial isolation and identification, (III) apply the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for typing of different Mycoplasma species, and (IV) illustrate the phylogenetic tree for the isolated Mycoplasma species and other species from GenBank using the purified PCR product. Materials and Methods:A total of 335 samples were collected from sheep and goats from Giza Governorate in Egypt as 142 nasal swabs from clinically affected animals, 167 pneumonic lungs, 18 samples from tracheal bifurcation, and 8 samples by bronchial wash were cultured on pleuropneumonia-like organisms (PPLOs) media for cultivation of Mycoplasma species. PCR and sequencing and phylogenetic analysis were adopted to identify and classify the isolated Mycoplasma species. Results:A total of 24 Mycoplasma isolates were isolated on PPLO media, identified by biochemical tests, and confirmed and typed by PCR using specific primers. 10 isolates were confirmed as Mycoplasma arginini, four isolates as Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae by PCR, and 10 isolates as undifferentiated Mycoplasma species. A purified isolate of M. arginini and M. ovipneumoniae was sequenced and phylogenetic analysis was illustrated. Conclusion:M. arginini and M. ovipneumoniae are prevalent in Egyptian sheep and goats. Further studies on M. arginini are required due to its high frequency of isolation from pneumonic sheep and goats and also from animals suffer from different respiratory manifestations.
Project description:Bronchopneumonia is a population limiting disease of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). The cause of this disease has been a subject of debate. Leukotoxin expressing Mannheimia haemolytica and Bibersteinia trehalosi produce acute pneumonia after experimental challenge but are infrequently isolated from animals in natural outbreaks. Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, epidemiologically implicated in naturally occurring outbreaks, has received little experimental evaluation as a primary agent of bighorn sheep pneumonia.In two experiments, bighorn sheep housed in multiple pens 7.6 to 12 m apart were exposed to M. ovipneumoniae by introduction of a single infected or challenged animal to a single pen. Respiratory disease was monitored by observation of clinical signs and confirmed by necropsy. Bacterial involvement in the pneumonic lungs was evaluated by conventional aerobic bacteriology and by culture-independent methods. In both experiments the challenge strain of M. ovipneumoniae was transmitted to all animals both within and between pens and all infected bighorn sheep developed bronchopneumonia. In six bighorn sheep in which the disease was allowed to run its course, three died with bronchopneumonia 34, 65, and 109 days after M. ovipneumoniae introduction. Diverse bacterial populations, predominantly including multiple obligate anaerobic species, were present in pneumonic lung tissues at necropsy.Exposure to a single M. ovipneumoniae infected animal resulted in transmission of infection to all bighorn sheep both within the pen and in adjacent pens, and all infected sheep developed bronchopneumonia. The epidemiologic, pathologic and microbiologic findings in these experimental animals resembled those seen in naturally occurring pneumonia outbreaks in free ranging bighorn sheep.
Project description:For free-ranging animals living in seasonal environments, hypometabolism (lowered metabolic rate) and hypothermia (lowered body temperature) can be effective physiological strategies to conserve energy when forage resources are low. To what extent such strategies are adopted by large mammals living under extreme conditions, as those encountered in the high Arctic, is largely unknown, especially for species where the gestation period overlaps with the period of lowest resource availability (i.e. winter). Here we investigated for the first time the level to which high arctic muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus) adopt hypothermia and tested the hypothesis that individual plasticity in the use of hypothermia depends on reproductive status. We measured core body temperature over most of the gestation period in both free-ranging muskox females in Greenland and captive female muskoxen in Alaska. We found divergent overwintering strategies according to reproductive status, where pregnant females maintained stable body temperatures during winter, while non-pregnant females exhibited a temporary decrease in their winter body temperature. These results show that muskox females use hypothermia during periods of resource scarcity, but also that the use of this strategy may be limited to non-reproducing females. Our findings suggest a trade-off between metabolically-driven energy conservation during winter and sustaining foetal growth, which may also apply to other large herbivores living in highly seasonal environments elsewhere.
Project description:Respiratory disease has been a persistent problem for the recovery of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), but has uncertain etiology. The disease has been attributed to several bacterial pathogens including Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae and Pasteurellaceae pathogens belonging to the Mannheimia, Bibersteinia, and Pasteurella genera. We estimated detection probability for these pathogens using protocols with diagnostic tests offered by a fee-for-service laboratory and not offered by a fee-for-service laboratory. We conducted 2861 diagnostic tests on swab samples collected from 476 bighorn sheep captured across Montana and Wyoming to gain inferences regarding detection probability, pathogen prevalence, and the power of different sampling methodologies to detect pathogens in bighorn sheep populations. Estimated detection probability using fee-for-service protocols was less than 0.50 for all Pasteurellaceae and 0.73 for Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae. Non-fee-for-service Pasteurellaceae protocols had higher detection probabilities, but no single protocol increased detection probability of all Pasteurellaceae pathogens to greater than 0.50. At least one protocol resulted in an estimated detection probability of 0.80 for each pathogen except Mannheimia haemolytica, for which the highest detection probability was 0.45. In general, the power to detect Pasteurellaceae pathogens at low prevalence in populations was low unless many animals were sampled or replicate samples were collected per animal. Imperfect detection also resulted in low precision when estimating prevalence for any pathogen. Low and variable detection probabilities for respiratory pathogens using live-sampling protocols may lead to inaccurate conclusions regarding pathogen community dynamics and causes of bighorn sheep respiratory disease epizootics. We recommend that agencies collect multiples samples per animal for Pasteurellaceae detection, and one sample for Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae detection from at least 30 individuals to reliably detect both Pasteurellaceae and Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae at the population-level. Availability of PCR diagnostic tests to wildlife management agencies would improve the ability to reliably detect Pasteurellaceae in bighorn sheep populations.