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Avian influenza surveillance with FTA cards: field methods, biosafety, and transportation issues solved.

Kraus RH, van Hooft P, Waldenström J, Latorre-Margalef N, Ydenberg RC, Prins HH - J Vis Exp (2011)

Bottom Line: This necessitates strict cold chains with deep freezers and heavy biosafety procedures to be in place during transport.This study showed that FTA cards can be used to detect AIV RNA in reverse-transcription PCR and that the resulting cDNA could be sequenced and virus genes and determined.It allows collection and analysis of samples from anywhere in the world, without the need to maintaining a cool chain or safety regulations with respect to shipping of hazardous reagents, such as alcohol or guanidine.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University. robert.kraus@senckenberg.de

ABSTRACT
Avian Influenza Viruses (AIVs) infect many mammals, including humans(1). These AIVs are diverse in their natural hosts, harboring almost all possible viral subtypes(2). Human pandemics of flu originally stem from AIVs(3). Many fatal human cases during the H5N1 outbreaks in recent years were reported. Lately, a new AIV related strain swept through the human population, causing the 'swine flu epidemic'(4). Although human trading and transportation activity seems to be responsible for the spread of highly pathogenic strains(5), dispersal can also partly be attributed to wild birds(6, 7). However, the actual reservoir of all AIV strains is wild birds. In reaction to this and in face of severe commercial losses in the poultry industry, large surveillance programs have been implemented globally to collect information on the ecology of AIVs, and to install early warning systems to detect certain highly pathogenic strains(8-12). Traditional virological methods require viruses to be intact and cultivated before analysis. This necessitates strict cold chains with deep freezers and heavy biosafety procedures to be in place during transport. Long-term surveillance is therefore usually restricted to a few field stations close to well equipped laboratories. Remote areas cannot be sampled unless logistically cumbersome procedures are implemented. These problems have been recognised(13, 14) and the use of alternative storage and transport strategies investigated (alcohols or guanidine)(15-17). Recently, Kraus et al.(18) introduced a method to collect, store and transport AIV samples, based on a special filter paper. FTA cards(19) preserve RNA on a dry storage basis(20) and render pathogens inactive upon contact(21). This study showed that FTA cards can be used to detect AIV RNA in reverse-transcription PCR and that the resulting cDNA could be sequenced and virus genes and determined. In the study of Kraus et al.(18) a laboratory isolate of AIV was used, and samples were handled individually. In the extension presented here, faecal samples from wild birds from the duck trap at the Ottenby Bird Observatory (SE Sweden) were tested directly to illustrate the usefulness of the methods under field conditions. Catching of ducks and sample collection by cloacal swabs is demonstrated. The current protocol includes up-scaling of the work flow from single tube handling to a 96-well design. Although less sensitive than the traditional methods, the method of FTA cards provides an excellent supplement to large surveillance schemes. It allows collection and analysis of samples from anywhere in the world, without the need to maintaining a cool chain or safety regulations with respect to shipping of hazardous reagents, such as alcohol or guanidine.

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Avian influenza surveillance with FTA cards: field methods, biosafety, and transportation issues solved.

Kraus RH, van Hooft P, Waldenström J, Latorre-Margalef N, Ydenberg RC, Prins HH - J Vis Exp (2011)

© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3211123&req=5

Bottom Line: This necessitates strict cold chains with deep freezers and heavy biosafety procedures to be in place during transport.This study showed that FTA cards can be used to detect AIV RNA in reverse-transcription PCR and that the resulting cDNA could be sequenced and virus genes and determined.It allows collection and analysis of samples from anywhere in the world, without the need to maintaining a cool chain or safety regulations with respect to shipping of hazardous reagents, such as alcohol or guanidine.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University. robert.kraus@senckenberg.de

ABSTRACT
Avian Influenza Viruses (AIVs) infect many mammals, including humans(1). These AIVs are diverse in their natural hosts, harboring almost all possible viral subtypes(2). Human pandemics of flu originally stem from AIVs(3). Many fatal human cases during the H5N1 outbreaks in recent years were reported. Lately, a new AIV related strain swept through the human population, causing the 'swine flu epidemic'(4). Although human trading and transportation activity seems to be responsible for the spread of highly pathogenic strains(5), dispersal can also partly be attributed to wild birds(6, 7). However, the actual reservoir of all AIV strains is wild birds. In reaction to this and in face of severe commercial losses in the poultry industry, large surveillance programs have been implemented globally to collect information on the ecology of AIVs, and to install early warning systems to detect certain highly pathogenic strains(8-12). Traditional virological methods require viruses to be intact and cultivated before analysis. This necessitates strict cold chains with deep freezers and heavy biosafety procedures to be in place during transport. Long-term surveillance is therefore usually restricted to a few field stations close to well equipped laboratories. Remote areas cannot be sampled unless logistically cumbersome procedures are implemented. These problems have been recognised(13, 14) and the use of alternative storage and transport strategies investigated (alcohols or guanidine)(15-17). Recently, Kraus et al.(18) introduced a method to collect, store and transport AIV samples, based on a special filter paper. FTA cards(19) preserve RNA on a dry storage basis(20) and render pathogens inactive upon contact(21). This study showed that FTA cards can be used to detect AIV RNA in reverse-transcription PCR and that the resulting cDNA could be sequenced and virus genes and determined. In the study of Kraus et al.(18) a laboratory isolate of AIV was used, and samples were handled individually. In the extension presented here, faecal samples from wild birds from the duck trap at the Ottenby Bird Observatory (SE Sweden) were tested directly to illustrate the usefulness of the methods under field conditions. Catching of ducks and sample collection by cloacal swabs is demonstrated. The current protocol includes up-scaling of the work flow from single tube handling to a 96-well design. Although less sensitive than the traditional methods, the method of FTA cards provides an excellent supplement to large surveillance schemes. It allows collection and analysis of samples from anywhere in the world, without the need to maintaining a cool chain or safety regulations with respect to shipping of hazardous reagents, such as alcohol or guanidine.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus