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  • 1. Andersson, M. G.
    et al.
    Tomuzia, K.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Appel, B.
    Bano, L.
    Keremidis, H.
    Knutsson, R.
    Leijon, M.
    Lövgren, S. E.
    De Medici, D.
    Menrath, A.
    Van Rotterdam, B. J.
    Wisselink, H. J.
    Barker, G. C.
    Separated by a common language: Awareness of term usage differences between languages and disciplines in biopreparedness2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S276-S285Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Preparedness for bioterrorism is based on communication between people in organizations who are educated and trained in several disciplines, including law enforcement, health, and science. Various backgrounds, cultures, and vocabularies generate difficulties in understanding and interpretating terms and concepts, which may impair communication. This is especially true in emergency situations, in which the need for clarity and consistency is vital. The EU project AniBioThreat initiated methods and made a rough estimate of the terms and concepts that are crucial for an incident, and a pilot database with key terms and definitions has been constructed. Analysis of collected terms and sources has shown that many of the participating organizations use various international standards in their area of expertise. The same term often represents different concepts in the standards from different sectors, or, alternatively, different terms were used to represent the same or similar concepts. The use of conflicting terminology can be problematic for decision makers and communicators in planning and prevention or when handling an incident. Since the CBRN area has roots in multiple disciplines, each with its own evolving terminology, it may not be realistic to achieve unequivocal communication through a standardized vocabulary and joint definitions for words from common language. We suggest that a communication strategy should include awareness of alternative definitions and ontologies and the ability to talk and write without relying on the implicit knowledge underlying specialized jargon. Consequently, cross-disciplinary communication skills should be part of training of personnel in the CBRN field. In addition, a searchable repository of terms and definitions from relevant organizations and authorities would be a valuable addition to existing glossaries for improving awareness concerning bioterrorism prevention planning. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • 2. Anniballi, F.
    et al.
    Fiore, A.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Skarin, H.
    Auricchio, B.
    Woudstra, C.
    Bano, L.
    Segerman, B.
    Koene, M.
    Båverud, V.
    Hansen, T.
    Fach, P.
    Åberg, A.T.
    Hedeland, M.
    Engvall, E. O.
    De Medici, D.
    Management of animal botulism outbreaks: From clinical suspicion to practical countermeasures to prevent or minimize outbreaks2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S191-S199Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Botulism is a severe neuroparalytic disease that affects humans, all warm-blooded animals, and some fishes. The disease is caused by exposure to toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum and other botulinum toxin-producing clostridia. Botulism in animals represents a severe environmental and economic concern because of its high mortality rate. Moreover, meat or other products from affected animals entering the food chain may result in a public health problem. To this end, early diagnosis is crucial to define and apply appropriate veterinary public health measures. Clinical diagnosis is based on clinical findings eliminating other causes of neuromuscular disorders and on the absence of internal lesions observed during postmortem examination. Since clinical signs alone are often insufficient to make a definitive diagnosis, laboratory confirmation is required. Botulinum antitoxin administration and supportive therapies are used to treat sick animals. Once the diagnosis has been made, euthanasia is frequently advisable. Vaccine administration is subject to health authorities' permission, and it is restricted to a small number of animal species. Several measures can be adopted to prevent or minimize outbreaks. In this article we outline all phases of management of animal botulism outbreaks occurring in wet wild birds, poultry, cattle, horses, and fur farm animals. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • 3. Hansen, T.
    et al.
    Skånseng, B.
    Hoorfar, J.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Evaluation of Direct 16S rDNA sequencing as a metagenomics-based approach to screening bacteria in bottled water2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S158-S165Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Deliberate or accidental contamination of food, feed, and water supplies poses a threat to human health worldwide. A rapid and sensitive detection technique that could replace the current labor-intensive and time-consuming culture-based methods is highly desirable. In addition to species-specific assays, such as PCR, there is a need for generic methods to screen for unknown pathogenic microorganisms in samples. This work presents a metagenomics-based direct-sequencing approach for detecting unknown microorganisms, using Bacillus cereus (as a model organism for B. anthracis) in bottled water as an example. Total DNA extraction and 16S rDNA gene sequencing were used in combination with principle component analysis and multicurve resolution to study detection level and possibility for identification. Results showed a detection level of 10 5 to 106 CFU/L. Using this method, it was possible to separate 2 B. cereus strains by the principal component plot, despite the close sequence resemblance. A linear correlation between the artificial contamination level and the relative amount of the Bacillus artificial contaminant in the metagenome was observed, and a relative amount value above 0.5 confirmed the presence of Bacillus. The analysis also revealed that background flora in the bottled water varied between the different water types that were included in the study. This method has the potential to be adapted to other biological matrices and bacterial pathogens for fast screening of unknown bacterial threats in outbreak situations. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • 4. Karlsson, O. E.
    et al.
    Hansen, T.
    Knutsson, R.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Granberg, F.
    Berg, M.
    Metagenomic detection methods in biopreparedness outbreak scenarios2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S146-S157Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the field of diagnostic microbiology, rapid molecular methods are critically important for detecting pathogens. With rapid and accurate detection, preventive measures can be put in place early, thereby preventing loss of life and further spread of a disease. From a preparedness perspective, early detection and response are important in order to minimize the consequences. During the past 2 decades, advances in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology have changed the playing field of molecular methods. Today, it is within reach to completely sequence the total microbiological content of a clinical sample, creating a metagenome, in a single week of laboratory work. As new technologies emerge, their dissemination and capacity building must be facilitated, and criteria for use, as well as guidelines on how to report results, must be established. This article focuses on the use of metagenomics, from sample collection to data analysis and to some extent NGS, for the detection of pathogens, the integration of the technique in outbreak response systems, and the risk-based evaluation of sample processing in routine diagnostics labs. The article covers recent advances in the field, current debate, gaps in research, and future directions. Examples of metagenomic detection, as well as possible applications of the methods, are described in various biopreparedness outbreak scenarios. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • 5. Skarin, H.
    et al.
    Tevell Åberg, A.
    Woudstra, C.
    Hansen, T.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Koene, M.
    Bano, L.
    Hedeland, M.
    Anniballi, F.
    De Medici, D.
    Olsson Engvall, E.
    The workshop on animal botulism in europe2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S183-S190Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A workshop on animal botulism was held in Uppsala, Sweden, in June 2012. Its purpose was to explore the current status of the disease in Europe by gathering the European experts in animal botulism and to raise awareness of the disease among veterinarians and others involved in biopreparedness. Animal botulism is underreported and underdiagnosed, but an increasing number of reports, as well as the information gathered from this workshop, show that it is an emerging problem in Europe. The workshop was divided into 4 sessions: animal botulism in Europe, the bacteria behind the disease, detection and diagnostics, and European collaboration and surveillance. An electronic survey was conducted before the workshop to identify the 3 most needed discussion points, which were: prevention, preparedness and outbreak response; detection and diagnostics; and European collaboration and surveillance. The main conclusions drawn from these discussions were that there is an urgent need to replace the mouse bioassay for botulinum toxin detection with an in vitro test and that there is a need for a European network to function as a reference laboratory, which could also organize a European supply of botulinum antitoxin and vaccines. The foundation of such a network was discussed, and the proposals are presented here along with the outcome of discussions and a summary of the workshop itself. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

  • 6. Woudstra, C.
    et al.
    Tevell Åberg, A.
    Skarin, H.
    Anniballi, F.
    De Medici, D.
    Bano, L.
    Koene, M.
    Löfström, Charlotta
    DTU Technical University of Denmark, Denmark.
    Hansen, T.
    Hedeland, M.
    Fach, P.
    Animal botulism outcomes in the ani bio threat project2013In: Biosecurity and bioterrorism, ISSN 1538-7135, E-ISSN 1557-850X, Vol. 11, no SUPPL. 1, p. S177-S182Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Botulism disease in both humans and animals is a worldwide concern. Botulinum neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum and other Clostridium species are the most potent biological substances known and are responsible for flaccid paralysis leading to a high mortality rate. Clostridium botulinum and botulinum neurotoxins are considered potential weapons for bioterrorism and have been included in the Australia Group List of Biological Agents. In 2010 the European Commission (DG Justice, Freedom and Security) funded a 3-year project named AniBioThreat to improve the EU's capacity to counter animal bioterrorism threats. A detection portfolio with screening methods for botulism agents and incidents was needed to improve tracking and tracing of accidental and deliberate contamination of the feed and food chain with botulinum neurotoxins and other Clostridia. The complexity of this threat required acquiring new genetic information to better understand the diversity of these Clostridia and develop detection methods targeting both highly specific genetic markers of these Clostridia and the neurotoxins they are able to produce. Several European institutes participating in the AniBioThreat project collaborated on this program to achieve these objectives. Their scientific developments are discussed here. © 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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