Project: Brucellosis in wildlife and domestic animals: development of a direct diagnostic method and assessment of genetic diversity of Brucella melitensis and B. suis biovar 2 strains in the EU.

Brucellosis is of serious public health concern (one of the 'top-ten' neglected zoonoses) and causes huge economical losses in the animal industry. There-emergence in several EU countries of both porcine and ruminant brucellosis caused, respectively, by Brucella suis biovar 2 and B. melitensis, highlights the importance of maintaining or even increasing the surveillance and of clarifying the epidemiology of these infections, including their human impact. Current diagnostic testing is based on serological methods with many specificity issues, particularly in swine. Direct diagnostic methods with improved diagnostic performance are therefore required. The design of adequate strategies for preventing animal brucellosis and identifying sources of human cases requires the understanding of the epidemiology the disease, which can vary according the different EU countries. However, few multicenter studies have been conducted to characterise the Brucella strains within the different countries. Thus, the main objectives of the project would be (i) to improve the direct diagnosis of disease and (ii) to identify the main B. melitensis and B. suis genotypes circulating in the EU. We expect to develop an improved direct diagnosis strategy, based on a suitable selective enrichment culture medium and an associated-direct PCR, to isolate and identify Brucella from field specimens. Taking the advantage of the important collections of Brucella strains (of both animal and human origin) available in the three laboratories involved, and as a second task, we will determine, using modern molecular tools, the genetic diversity of the B. melitensis and B. suis bv. 2 strains at EU level in both wildlife and domestic animals then identify the potential epidemiological links existing between these strains. In summary, this project would allow a better diagnosis of animal brucellosis and clarify essential epidemiological aspects of brucellosis in domestic ruminants and pigs in Europe.

Acronym Bru-EPIDIA
Network ANIHWA
Call First ANiHWA Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise ‘G. Caporale’ Italy
Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator France
Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragon Spain