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1.
Viruses ; 15(1)2022 Dec 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2229091

ABSTRACT

From July−November 2020, mink (Neogale vison) on 12 Utah farms experienced an increase in mortality rates due to confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We conducted epidemiologic investigations on six farms to identify the source of virus introduction, track cross-species transmission, and assess viral evolution. Interviews were conducted and specimens were collected from persons living or working on participating farms and from multiple animal species. Swabs and sera were tested by SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and serological assays, respectively. Whole genome sequencing was attempted for specimens with cycle threshold values <30. Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected by rRT-PCR or serology in ≥1 person, farmed mink, dog, and/or feral cat on each farm. Sequence analysis showed high similarity between mink and human sequences on corresponding farms. On farms sampled at multiple time points, mink tested rRT-PCR positive up to 16 weeks post-onset of increased mortality. Workers likely introduced SARS-CoV-2 to mink, and mink transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to other animal species; mink-to-human transmission was not identified. Our findings provide critical evidence to support interventions to prevent and manage SARS-CoV-2 in people and animals on mink farms and emphasizes the importance of a One Health approach to address emerging zoonoses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , One Health , Animals , Humans , Cats , Dogs , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Mink , Farms , Utah/epidemiology
2.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 20936, 2022 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2151090

ABSTRACT

The human-pathogenic Kasokero virus (KASV; genus Orthonairovirus) has been isolated from the sera of Egyptian rousette bats (ERBs; Rousettus aegyptiacus) captured in Uganda and unengorged Ornithodoros (Reticulinasus) faini ticks collected from the rock crevices of ERB colonies in South Africa and Uganda. Although evidence suggests that KASV is maintained in an enzootic transmission cycle between O. (R.) faini ticks and ERBs with potential for incidental virus spillover to humans through the bite of an infected tick, the vertebrate reservoir status of ERBs for KASV has never been experimentally evaluated. Furthermore, the potential for bat-to-bat and bat-to-human transmission of KASV is unknown. Herein, we inoculate two groups of ERBs with KASV; one group of bats is serially sampled to assess viremia, oral, fecal, and urinary shedding and the second group of bats is serially euthanized to assess virus-tissue tropism. Throughout the study, none of the bats exhibit overt signs of clinical disease. Following the detection of high KASV loads of long duration in blood, oral, fecal, and urine specimens collected from ERBs in the serial sampling group, all bats seroconvert to KASV. ERBs from the serial euthanasia group exhibit high KASV loads indicative of virus replication in the skin at the inoculation site, spleen, and inguinal lymph node tissue, and histopathology and in situ hybridization reveal virus replication in the liver and self-limiting, KASV-induced lymphohistiocytic hepatitis. The results of this study suggest that ERBs are competent, natural vertebrate reservoir hosts for KASV that can sustain viremias of appropriate magnitude and duration to support virus maintenance through bat-tick-bat transmission cycles. Viral shedding data suggests that KASV might also be transmitted bat-to-bat and highlights the potential for KASV spillover to humans through contact with infectious oral secretions, feces, or urine.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera , Nairovirus , Ornithodoros , Humans , Animals , Zoonoses , Feces , Viremia
3.
Viruses ; 14(10)2022 09 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066542

ABSTRACT

Zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from infected humans to other animals has been documented around the world, most notably in mink farming operations in Europe and the United States. Outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on Utah mink farms began in late July 2020 and resulted in high mink mortality. An investigation of these outbreaks revealed active and past SARS-CoV-2 infections in free-roaming and in feral cats living on or near several mink farms. Cats were captured using live traps, were sampled, fitted with GPS collars, and released on the farms. GPS tracking of these cats show they made frequent visits to mink sheds, moved freely around the affected farms, and visited surrounding residential properties and neighborhoods on multiple occasions, making them potential low risk vectors of additional SARS-CoV-2 spread in local communities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cats , Animals , Humans , Mink , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Farms , Utah/epidemiology
4.
Vet Pathol ; 59(4): 681-695, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714567

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes respiratory disease in mink similar to human COVID-19. We characterized the pathological findings in 72 mink from US farms with SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks, localized SARS-CoV-2 and its host cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in mink respiratory tissues, and evaluated the utility of various test methods and specimens for SARS-CoV-2 detection in necropsy tissues. Of SARS-CoV-2-positive animals found dead, 74% had bronchiolitis and diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Of euthanized SARS-CoV-2-positive animals, 72% had only mild interstitial pneumonia or minimal nonspecific lung changes (congestion, edema, macrophages); similar findings were seen in SARS-CoV-2-negative animals. Suppurative rhinitis, lymphocytic perivascular inflammation in the lungs, and lymphocytic infiltrates in other tissues were common in both SARS-CoV-2-positive and SARS-CoV-2-negative animals. In formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) upper respiratory tract (URT) specimens, conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (cRT-PCR) was more sensitive than in situ hybridization (ISH) or immunohistochemistry (IHC) for detection of SARS-CoV-2. FFPE lung specimens yielded less detection of virus than FFPE URT specimens by all test methods. By IHC and ISH, virus localized extensively to epithelial cells in the nasal turbinates, and prominently within intact epithelium; olfactory mucosa was mostly spared. The SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 was extensively detected by IHC within turbinate epithelium, with decreased detection in lower respiratory tract epithelium and alveolar macrophages. This study expands on the knowledge of the pathology and pathogenesis of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in mink and supports their further investigation as a potential animal model of SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Mink , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Epithelial Cells , Lung , Macrophages, Alveolar , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization
5.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463837

ABSTRACT

In summer 2020, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detected on mink farms in Utah. An interagency One Health response was initiated to assess the extent of the outbreak and included sampling animals from on or near affected mink farms and testing them for SARS-CoV-2 and non-SARS coronaviruses. Among the 365 animals sampled, including domestic cats, mink, rodents, raccoons, and skunks, 261 (72%) of the animals harbored at least one coronavirus. Among the samples that could be further characterized, 127 alphacoronaviruses and 88 betacoronaviruses (including 74 detections of SARS-CoV-2 in mink) were identified. Moreover, at least 10% (n = 27) of the coronavirus-positive animals were found to be co-infected with more than one coronavirus. Our findings indicate an unexpectedly high prevalence of coronavirus among the domestic and wild free-roaming animals tested on mink farms. These results raise the possibility that mink farms could be potential hot spots for future trans-species viral spillover and the emergence of new pandemic coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Alphacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Alphacoronavirus/classification , Alphacoronavirus/genetics , Animals , Animals, Domestic/virology , Animals, Wild/virology , Cats , Disease Hotspot , Female , Male , Mephitidae/virology , Mice , Mink/virology , Raccoons/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Utah/epidemiology
6.
PLoS Pathog ; 16(9): e1008758, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-742547

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the substantial public health, economic, and societal consequences of virus spillover from a wildlife reservoir. Widespread human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also presents a new set of challenges when considering viral spillover from people to naïve wildlife and other animal populations. The establishment of new wildlife reservoirs for SARS-CoV-2 would further complicate public health control measures and could lead to wildlife health and conservation impacts. Given the likely bat origin of SARS-CoV-2 and related beta-coronaviruses (ß-CoVs), free-ranging bats are a key group of concern for spillover from humans back to wildlife. Here, we review the diversity and natural host range of ß-CoVs in bats and examine the risk of humans inadvertently infecting free-ranging bats with SARS-CoV-2. Our review of the global distribution and host range of ß-CoV evolutionary lineages suggests that 40+ species of temperate-zone North American bats could be immunologically naïve and susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2. We highlight an urgent need to proactively connect the wellbeing of human and wildlife health during the current pandemic and to implement new tools to continue wildlife research while avoiding potentially severe health and conservation impacts of SARS-CoV-2 "spilling back" into free-ranging bat populations.


Subject(s)
Animals, Wild/virology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Animals , COVID-19 , Chiroptera/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Host Specificity/physiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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