BrucMedNet - Improvement of epidemiological and serological tools for diagnosis and control of Brucellosis in the Mediterranean region
Manuela Tittarelli, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise "G. Caporale", Italy
Brucellosis, Molecular epidemiology, MLVA, Proteomic, DIVA
Despite Brucellosis eradicated from most of the developed Countries, it still causes a Public Health impact and economic losses in animal husbandry in the Mediterranean area. In the last years brucellosis is remerging as a new challenge with new foci of both human and animal disease. The design of adequate strategies for preventing animal brucellosis and consequently human brucellosis requires a detailed understanding of disease epidemiology. Molecular epidemiology greatly enhances traditional epidemiology contributing to the development of more rational approaches for disease prevention with the improving of public health. On the other hand current indirect diagnostic tests still suffer of specificity problems and are not suitable for differentiating infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) when vaccination policies based on the use of Brucella smooth live attenuated vaccines (B. melitensis Rev.1) are adopted. To date few multicenter Mediterranean projects have been conducted on brucellosis and this kind of approach is paramount to tackle this dangerous disease.
Thus, the main objectives of the project are to implement molecular epidemiology based on VNTRs within the Mediterranean region and to improve the indirect diagnosis by developing diagnostic test suitable for a DIVA strategy.
We expect to develop a web based server for VNTRs data useful for epidemiological investigations and for tracing back the sources of brucellosis of domestic ruminants (sheep, goats, cattle, water buffaloes and camels) living in Mediterranean countries.
The system will be freely accessible and hosted by the IZSAM partner server where users (mostly supposed to be stakeholders or researchers worldwide), will compare the profile of their Brucella isolates with reference and field strains previously isolated and characterized in order to correctly assign species, lineages, and genotypes. This epidemiological tool will serve as free access bank for Brucella VNTRs data and using a self-feeding approach all the stakeholders worldwide will contribute to define a detailed picture of Brucella epidemiology.
As a second task we want to carry out a detailed characterization of B. melitensis proteome and immunoproteome that will further extend current knowledge on Brucella biology, host-pathogen interaction and immunogenic antigens. All the results achieved will be applied to improve indirect diagnosis by developing a novel serological test suitable for a DIVA strategy. In addition results obtained will serve a scientific bases for development of promising recombinant vaccines.
Prevention of human brucellosis depends on control of the disease in animals, as well as proper handling and treatment of animal products. According to this view, BrucMednet project wants to impact on Brucella control strategies in the Mediterranean region and over focusing on improvement of animal health for a disease prevention in humans. This will be achieved by through a multi country approach and in the framework of sustainable research cooperation dynamics.