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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: László Fodor, Katalin Jánosi, László Makrai, and Miklós Gyuranecz

A total of 860 serum samples collected at 86 cattle farms in different parts of Hungary were screened for the presence of antibodies to Mycoplasma bovis using an ELISA test with a recombinant M. bovis membrane protein as antigen. Antibodies to M. bovis were detected in sera collected on all farms, and no farms negative for M. bovis were found. In 88.38% of the herds more than 50% of the sampled animals were infected by M. bovis. A total of 82.91% of the animals had antibodies to M. bovis. The proportion of seropositive animals was higher in the older age groups, and a significant difference was seen in the level of seropositivity between young and older age groups. The results show that M. bovis infection is widespread on Hungarian dairy farms, and its prevalence has increased in the recent decade. The high infection rate of Hungarian cattle herds with M. bovis shows that special attention should be paid to evaluating the aetiological role of M. bovis in bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) cases because M. bovis has an immunosuppressive effect and can predispose cattle to other respiratory infections, too.

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Francisella tularensis is a Gram-negative bacterium, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease tularaemia. The bacterium has developed several extracellular and intracellular strategies to evade the hosts’ innate and adaptive immune responses. The aims of the study were to examine complement sensitivity of wild and attenuated F. tularensis ssp. holarctica strains in animal hosts of distinct sensitivity to the bacterium, to compare the complement-evading ability of wild strains of different phylogeographic background, and to examine the role of factor H in the host–pathogen interactions. Complement sensitivity assays were carried out on various F. tularensis ssp. holarctica wild strains and on the attenuated live vaccine strain (LVS) with sera of the highly sensitive house mouse (Mus musculus), the moderately sensitive European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) and the relatively resistant cattle (Bos taurus). Specific binding of complement regulator factor H to bacterial membrane proteins was examined by Western blot assays. All wild strains interacted with the hosts’ complement system and showed no significant differences in their survivability. The attenuated LVS was resistant to serum killing in mouse, but was lysed in the sera of hare and cattle. Direct binding of factor H to F. tularensis membrane proteins was not detected.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Dorottya Földi, Zsuzsa Kreizinger, Katinka Bekő, Nikolett Belecz, Krisztián Bányai, Krisztián Kiss, Imre Biksi, and Miklós Gyuranecz

Abstract

The control of Mycoplasma hyorhinis infection relies mainly on antimicrobial therapy. However, the antibiotic susceptibility testing of the bacteria is usually not performed before applying the treatment, and thus therapeutic failures are not uncommon. In the case of M. hyorhinis, several antibiotic-resistance-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are known but assays for their detection have not been described yet. The aims of the present study were to investigate macrolide- and lincomycin-resistance-related SNPs in Hungarian M. hyorhinis isolates and to develop mismatch amplification mutation assays (MAMA) to detect the identified resistance markers. Minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of different drugs and whole genome sequences of 37 M. hyorhinis isolates were used to find the resistance-related mutations. One MAMA assay was designed to detect the mutation of the 23S rRNA gene at nucleotide position 2058 (Escherichia coli numbering). For further evaluation, the assay was challenged with 17 additional isolates with available MIC data and 15 DNA samples from clinical specimens. The genotypes of the samples were in line with the MIC test results. The developed assay supports the practice of targeted antibiotic usage; hence it may indirectly reduce some bacterial resistance-related public health concerns.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Zsuzsa Kreizinger, Kinga Mária Sulyok, László Makrai, Zsuzsanna Rónai, László Fodor, Szilárd Jánosi, and Miklós Gyuranecz

The susceptibility of 29 Bacillus anthracis strains, collected in Hungary between 1933 and 2014, was tested to 10 antibiotics with commercially available minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) test strips. All strains were susceptible to amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, doxycycline, gentamicin, penicillin, rifampicin, and vancomycin. Intermediate susceptibility to erythromycin and cefotaxime was detected in 17.2% (5/29) and 58.6% (17/29) of the strains, respectively. Correlations were not observed between the isolation date, location, host species, genotype, and antibiotic susceptibility profile of strains.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Sándor Hornok, Maria Mulvihill, Krisztina Szőke, Enikő Gönczi, Kinga M. Sulyok, Miklós Gyuranecz, and Regina Hofmann-Lehmann

Man-made barriers are well known for their effects on ecosystems. Habitat fragmentation, for instance, is a recognised consequence of modern-day infrastructure. The aim of the present study was to investigate the diversity and abundance of tick species, as well as the risks of acquiring tick-borne infections in habitats adjacent to a freeway. Therefore, ixodid ticks were collected from the vegetation at two-week intervals (in the main tick season, from March to June) in eight habitats of different types (forest, grove, grassland) along both sides of a freeway. Ixodes ricinus females were molecularly screened for three species of tick-borne bacteria. In the study period, 887 ixodid ticks were collected. These included 704 I. ricinus (79.4%), 51 Dermacentor reticulatus (5.7%), 78 D. marginatus (8.8%), 35 Haemaphysalis inermis (3.9%) and 19 H. concinna (2.1%). There was no significant difference in the abundance of tick species between similar habitats separated by the freeway, except for the absence of Dermacentor spp. on one side. In I. ricinus females, the overall prevalence of Anaplasma phagocytophilum was low, and (in part due to this low rate) did not show significant difference between the two sides of the freeway. Rickettsia helvetica had significantly different overall prevalence between two distant habitats along the same side of the freeway (12.3% vs. 31.4%), but not between habitats on the opposite sides. Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. showed significantly different overall prevalence between habitats both on the same and on the opposite sides of the freeway (8.6–35.9%), and the difference was higher if relevant habitats were also separated by the freeway. Importantly, the prevalence rate of the Lyme disease agent was highest in a forested resting area of the freeway, and was significantly inversely proportional to the prevalence of A. phagocytophilum (taking into account all evaluated habitats), apparently related to deer population density. Prevalence rates of these bacteria also differed significantly on single sampling occasions between: (1) closely situated habitats of different types; (2) distant and either similar or different habitat types; and (3) habitats on the opposite sides of the freeway. In conclusion, the findings of the present study show that a fenced freeway may contribute to differences in tick species diversity and tick-borne pathogen prevalence along its two sides, and this effect is most likely a consequence of its barrier role preventing deer movements.

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Abstract

Q fever is a disease of high zoonotic potential, but interest in its causative agent is rather low although it causes some public health problems in Hungary. The prevalence of Q fever is highly variable by country. The main reservoirs of the disease are the same domestic ruminant species everywhere, but the epidemiological profile depends on the features of the specific reservoir. The aim of this large-scale study was to demonstrate the importance of Q fever in different species as a possible source for human infection in most regions of Hungary. A total of 851 serum samples from 44 dairy farms, 16 sheep flocks, 4 goat farms and 3 zoos located in different parts of Hungary were tested. The presence of antibodies to Coxiella burnetii was surveyed in dairy cattle (n = 547), goats (n = 71), sheep (n = 200) and zoo animals (n = 33). The animal species tested in Hungary showed different seroprevalence values of C. burnetii infection. Seropositivity by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was found in 258 out of 547 (47.2%) cows and in 69 out of 271 (25.5%) small ruminants, among them in 47 out of 200 (23.5%) sheep and in 22 out of 71 (31.0%) goats. Antibodies to C. burnetii were not detected in zoo animals. Seropositivity was demonstrated in 44 out of 44 (100%) dairy cattle farms, with at least one serum sample found to be positive on each farm. The seropositivity rate of small ruminant farms was 55.0% (11 positive out of 20 tested), with 9 out of 16 (56.3%) sheep flocks and 2 out of 4 (50.0%) goat herds showing seropositivity.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Katalin Jánosi, László Stipkovits, Róbert Glávits, Tamás Molnár, László Makrai, Miklós Gyuranecz, János Varga, and László Fodor

The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate an aerosol infection method with Histophilus somni that closely resembles the natural way of infection of calves. Another aim was to compare the virulence of two H. somni strains by collecting clinical and postmortem data of experimentally infected and control animals. Seventeen conventionally reared 3-month-old calves were divided into three groups. Two groups of six animals each were exposed to suspensions containing H. somni on three consecutive days using a vaporiser mask. The third group of five animals was used as control. The data of individual clinical examination were recorded daily. All animals were exterminated, and gross pathology of all lungs was evaluated on the 15th day after the first infection. Both H. somni strains caused an increase of rectal temperature, respiratory signs, decrease of weight gain, and severe catarrhal bronchopneumonia in both infected groups. Although some chronic lesions were detected in the lungs of the control animals as well, the histopathological findings in the infected and control groups were different. H. somni was recultured from all lungs in the challenged groups but it could not be reisolated or detected by PCR examination in the control group. This is the first paper on aerosol challenge of calves with H. somni using repeated infection and verified by detailed pathological, bacteriological and histopathological examination. The infection method proved to be successful. There was no difference in the virulence of the two H. somni strains used in the trial.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Sándor Hornok, Getachew Abichu, Nóra Takács, Miklós Gyuranecz, Róbert Farkas, Isabel G. Fernández De Mera, and José De La Fuente

Hard ticks and tsetse flies are regarded as the most important vectors of disease agents in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the aim of screening these blood-sucking arthropods for vector-borne pathogens belonging to the family Anaplasmataceae in South-Western Ethiopia, four species of tsetse flies (collected by traps) and seven species of ixodid ticks (removed from cattle) were molecularly analysed. DNA was extracted from 296 individual ticks and from 162 individuals or pools of tsetse flies. Besides known vector–pathogen associations, in Amblyomma cohaerens ticks sequences of Anaplasma marginale and A. phagocytophilum were detected, the latter for the first time in any ticks from cattle in Africa. In addition, part of the gltA gene of Ehrlichia ruminantium was successfully amplified from tsetse flies (Glossina pallidipes). First-time identification of sequences of the above pathogens in certain tick or tsetse fly species may serve as the basis of further epidemiological and transmission studies.

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Babesia vesperuginis is the only piroplasm known to infect bats. Unlike most members of the genus Babesia, it is probably transmitted by a soft tick species (i.e. Argas vespertilionis). Recently, two studies have been conducted to clarify the phylogenetic status of this species, and both agreed on placing it into a basal position among Babesia sensu stricto (s.s.). However, several important groups of piroplasms were not included in the already reported phylogenetic trees of B. vesperuginis isolates. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to amplify an approx. 950-bp fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene of B. vesperuginis from A. vespertilionis specimens, and to compare its sequences with those from other piroplasmid groups in a broader phylogenetic context. Sequence comparisons focusing on either 18S rRNA or cox1 genes, as well as phylogenetic analyses involving separate and concatenated 18S rRNA and cox1 sequences indicate that B. vesperuginis is more closely related to the phylogenetic group of Theileriidae than to Babesia s.s. In particular, B. vesperuginis clustered closest to Cytauxzoon felis and the ‘prototheilerid’ B. conradae. The results of this study highlight that B. vesperuginis is a unique and taxonomically important species, which should be included in future studies aimed at resolving the comprehensive phylogeny of Piroplasmida.

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Acta Veterinaria Hungarica
Authors: Attila Dobos, György Gábor, Enikő Wehmann, Béla Dénes, Bettina Póth-Szebenyi, Áron B. Kovács, and Miklós Gyuranecz

Abstract

Q fever is one of the commonest infectious diseases worldwide. A Coxiella burnetii prevalence of 97.6% has been found by ELISA and PCR tests of the bulk tank milk in dairy cattle farms of Hungary. The herd- and individual-level seroprevalence rates of C. burnetii in the examined dairy cows and farms have dramatically increased over the past ten years. Three high-producing industrial dairy farms were studied which had previously been found ELISA and PCR positive for C. burnetii by bulk tank milk testing. Coxiella burnetii was detected in 52% of the 321 cows tested by ELISA. Pregnancy loss was detected in 18% of the cows between days 29–35 and days 60–70 of gestation. The study found a higher seropositivity rate (80.5%) in the cows that had lost their pregnancy and a seropositivity of 94.4% in the first-bred cows that had lost their pregnancy at an early stage. The ELISA-positive pregnant and aborted cows were further investigated by the complement fixation test (CFT). In dairy herds an average of 66.6% individual seropositivity was detected by the CFT (Phase II) in previously ELISA-positive animals that had lost their pregnancy and 64.5% in the pregnant animals. A higher (Phase I) seropositivity rate (50.0%) was found in the cows with pregnancy loss than in the pregnant animals (38.5%). The high prevalence of C. burnetii in dairy farms is a major risk factor related to pregnancy loss.

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