Bluetongue, Epizootic Haemorrhagic Disease, and Other Emerging Orbiviruses

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 4058

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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: arboviroses
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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise G. Caporale, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Interests: arboviroses

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Guest Editor
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, Italy
Interests: arboviroses

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Orbivirus is the largest genus of the new named Sedoreoviridae family. It contains 22 species and more than 130 serotypes.  Most of the species that belong to this genus are arboviruses. Their biological transmission involves three essential actors: viruses, vectors, and vertebrates. Orbiviruses occur globally and infect a wide variety of arthropods and vertebrate hosts. Vectors include ticks, mosquitoes, sand flies, and biting midges; while vertebrate hosts include bats, birds, marsupials, rodents, sloths, equids, wild and domestic ruminants, human and non-human primates. Although some species like Lebombo and Orungo viruses are regarded as mild human pathogens, the importance of this genus is mostly associated with those species, which can cause severe diseases in livestock. Bluetongue (BTV), Epizootic Haemorrhagic disease (EHDV), and African horse sickness viruses (AHSV) are considered major animal pathogens. BTV, EHDV, and AHSV can seriously affect animal welfare and the international trade of livestock, producing severe economic losses to the livestock production and pastoral economy of the affected countries. Over the last decades, due to globalization and climate change, the distribution and activity of arthropod vectors have been exacerbated, facilitating the spread of arthropod-borne viruses in general, and of the Orbiviruses in particular. These new scenarios provided the basis for the occurrence of new emerging disease problems in many countries, as evidenced by recent incursions and outbreaks of BTV-3 and EHDV-8 in Europe.

The continual occurrence of new scenarios and evolution of the Orbivirus species pose a substantial challenge to the research community. Within this context, this Special Issue intends to collect reviews or original contributions from researchers involved in the multidisciplinary aspects that the interactions between viruses, hosts, and vectors inevitably imply. To this extent, contributions enlightening the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and diagnosis of these viruses are welcome, as well as those studies that provide further insights into the critical role played by control strategies and propose new and more efficacious control methods.

Dr. Giovanni Savini
Dr. Massimo Spedicato
Dr. Soufien Sghaier
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • bluetongue virus
  • epizootic haemorragic disease
  • orbivirus
  • arbovirus
  • culicoides
  • vectors
  • climate
  • livestock
  • virus–host–vector interactions
  • pathogenesis
  • immunology
  • vaccines
  • diagnostics
  • epidemiology
  • cattle
  • sheep
  • goats
  • ruminants
  • wildlife animals
  • drivers
  • risk pathway
  • risk analysis
  • modelling
  • control
  • prevention
  • surveillance
  • economic impact
  • antiviral agents and related resistance

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 3971 KiB  
Article
Culicoides Midge Abundance across Years: Modeling Inter-Annual Variation for an Avian Feeder and a Candidate Vector of Hemorrhagic Diseases in Farmed Wildlife
by Jamie S. Benn, Jeremy P. Orange, Juan Pablo Gomez, Emily T. N. Dinh, Bethany L. McGregor, Erik M. Blosser, Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, Samantha M. Wisely and Jason K. Blackburn
Viruses 2024, 16(5), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16050766 - 11 May 2024
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Abstract
(1) Background: Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV) are orbiviruses that cause hemorrhagic disease (HD) with significant economic and population health impacts on domestic livestock and wildlife. In the United States, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are particularly susceptible [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) and bluetongue virus (BTV) are orbiviruses that cause hemorrhagic disease (HD) with significant economic and population health impacts on domestic livestock and wildlife. In the United States, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are particularly susceptible to these viruses and are a frequent blood meal host for various species of Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) that transmit orbiviruses. The species of Culicoides that transmit EHDV and BTV vary between regions, and larval habitats can differ widely between vector species. Understanding how midges are distributed across landscapes can inform HD virus transmission risk on a local scale, allowing for improved animal management plans to avoid suspected high-risk areas or target these areas for insecticide control. (2) Methods: We used occupancy modeling to estimate the abundance of gravid (egg-laden) and parous (most likely to transmit the virus) females of two putative vector species, C. stellifer and C. venustus, and one species, C. haematopotus, that was not considered a putative vector. We developed a universal model to determine habitat preferences, then mapped a predicted weekly midge abundance during the HD transmission seasons in 2015 (July–October) and 2016 (May–October) in Florida. (3) Results: We found differences in habitat preferences and spatial distribution between the parous and gravid states for C. haematopotus and C. stellifer. Gravid midges preferred areas close to water on the border of well and poorly drained soil. They also preferred mixed bottomland hardwood habitats, whereas parous midges appeared less selective of habitat. (4) Conclusions: If C. stellifer is confirmed as an EHDV vector in this region, the distinct spatial and abundance patterns between species and physiological states suggest that the HD risk is non-random across the study area. Full article
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10 pages, 1728 KiB  
Article
Spatial Transmission Characteristics of the Bluetongue Virus Serotype 3 Epidemic in The Netherlands, 2023
by Gert-Jan Boender, Thomas J. Hagenaars, Melle Holwerda, Marcel A. H. Spierenburg, Piet A. van Rijn, Arco N. van der Spek and Armin R. W. Elbers
Viruses 2024, 16(4), 625; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16040625 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 950
Abstract
A devastating bluetongue (BT) epidemic caused by bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) has spread throughout most of the Netherlands within two months since the first infection was officially confirmed in the beginning of September 2023. The epidemic comes with unusually strong suffering of [...] Read more.
A devastating bluetongue (BT) epidemic caused by bluetongue virus serotype 3 (BTV-3) has spread throughout most of the Netherlands within two months since the first infection was officially confirmed in the beginning of September 2023. The epidemic comes with unusually strong suffering of infected cattle through severe lameness, often resulting in mortality or euthanisation for welfare reasons. In total, tens of thousands of sheep have died or had to be euthanised. By October 2023, more than 2200 locations with ruminant livestock were officially identified to be infected with BTV-3, and additionally, ruminants from 1300 locations were showing BTV-associated clinical symptoms (but not laboratory-confirmed BT). Here, we report on the spatial spread and dynamics of this BT epidemic. More specifically, we characterized the distance-dependent intensity of the between-holding transmission by estimating the spatial transmission kernel and by comparing it to transmission kernels estimated earlier for BTV-8 transmission in Northwestern Europe in 2006 and 2007. The 2023 BTV-3 kernel parameters are in line with those of the transmission kernel estimated previously for the between-holding spread of BTV-8 in Europe in 2007. The 2023 BTV-3 transmission kernel has a long-distance spatial range (across tens of kilometres), evidencing that in addition to short-distance dispersal of infected midges, other transmission routes such as livestock transports probably played an important role. Full article
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12 pages, 670 KiB  
Article
Development and Validation of Three Triplex Real-Time RT-PCR Assays for Typing African Horse Sickness Virus: Utility for Disease Control and Other Laboratory Applications
by Rubén Villalba, Cristina Tena-Tomás, María José Ruano, Marta Valero-Lorenzo, Ana López-Herranz, Cristina Cano-Gómez and Montserrat Agüero
Viruses 2024, 16(3), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16030470 - 20 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 740
Abstract
The African horse sickness virus (AHSV) belongs to the Genus Orbivirus, family Sedoreoviridae, and nine serotypes of the virus have been described to date. The AHSV genome is composed of ten linear segments of double-stranded (ds) RNA, numbered in decreasing size order (Seg-1 [...] Read more.
The African horse sickness virus (AHSV) belongs to the Genus Orbivirus, family Sedoreoviridae, and nine serotypes of the virus have been described to date. The AHSV genome is composed of ten linear segments of double-stranded (ds) RNA, numbered in decreasing size order (Seg-1 to Seg-10). Genome segment 2 (Seg-2) encodes outer-capsid protein VP2, the most variable AHSV protein and the primary target for neutralizing antibodies. Consequently, Seg-2 determines the identity of the virus serotype. An African horse sickness (AHS) outbreak in an AHS-free status country requires identifying the serotype as soon as possible to implement a serotype-specific vaccination program. Considering that nowadays ‘polyvalent live attenuated’ is the only commercially available vaccination strategy to control the disease, field and vaccine strains of different serotypes could co-circulate. Additionally, in AHS-endemic countries, more than one serotype is often circulating at the same time. Therefore, a strategy to rapidly determine the virus serotype in an AHS-positive sample is strongly recommended in both epidemiological situations. The main objective of this study is to describe the development and validation of three triplex real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) methods for rapid AHSV serotype detection. Samples from recent AHS outbreaks in Kenia (2015–2017), Thailand (2020), and Nigeria (2023), and from the AHS outbreak in Spain (1987–1990), were included in the study for the validation of these methods. Full article
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13 pages, 3565 KiB  
Article
Epidemiological Analyses of the First Incursion of the Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Serotype 8 in Tunisia, 2021–2022
by Thameur Ben Hassine, José-María García-Carrasco, Soufien Sghaier, Sarah Thabet, Alessio Lorusso, Giovanni Savini and Salah Hammami
Viruses 2024, 16(3), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16030362 - 27 Feb 2024
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Abstract
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is a non-contagious arthropod-transmitted viral disease and a World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH)-listed disease of domestic and wild ruminants since 2008. EHDV is transmitted among susceptible animals by a few species of midges of genus Culicoides. During [...] Read more.
Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is a non-contagious arthropod-transmitted viral disease and a World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH)-listed disease of domestic and wild ruminants since 2008. EHDV is transmitted among susceptible animals by a few species of midges of genus Culicoides. During the fall of 2021, a large outbreak caused by the epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), identified as serotype 8, was reported in Tunisian dairy and beef farms with Bluetongue virus (BTV)-like clinical signs. The disease was detected later in the south of Italy, in Spain, in Portugal and, more recently, in France, where it caused severe infections in cattle. This was the first evidence of EHDV-8 circulation outside Australia since 1982. In this study, we analyzed the epidemiological situation of the 2021–2022 EHDV outbreaks reported in Tunisia, providing a detailed description of the spatiotemporal evolution of the disease. We attempted to identify the eco-climatic factors associated with infected areas using generalized linear models (GLMs). Our results demonstrated that environmental factors mostly associated with the presence of C. imicola, such as digital elevation model (DEM), slope, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and night-time land surface temperature (NLST)) were by far the most explanatory variables for EHD repartition cases in Tunisia that may have consequences in neighboring countries, both in Africa and Europe through the spread of infected vectors. The risk maps elaborated could be useful for disease control and prevention strategies. Full article
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