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Real-time PCR as a surveillance tool for the detection of Trichinella infection in muscle samples from wildlife

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Cuttell, L., Corley, S. W., Gray, C. P., Vanderlinde, P. B., Jackson, L. A. and Traub, R. J. (2012) Real-time PCR as a surveillance tool for the detection of Trichinella infection in muscle samples from wildlife. Veterinary Parasitology, 188 (3-4). pp. 285-293. ISSN 0304-4017

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.03.054


Trichinella nematodes are the causative agent of trichinellosis, a meat-borne zoonosis acquired by consuming undercooked, infected meat. Although most human infections are sourced from the domestic environment, the majority of Trichinella parasites circulate in the natural environment in carnivorous and scavenging wildlife. Surveillance using reliable and accurate diagnostic tools to detect Trichinella parasites in wildlife hosts is necessary to evaluate the prevalence and risk of transmission from wildlife to humans. Real-time PCR assays have previously been developed for the detection of European Trichinella species in commercial pork and wild fox muscle samples. We have expanded on the use of real-time PCR in Trichinella detection by developing an improved extraction method and SYBR green assay that detects all known Trichinella species in muscle samples from a greater variety of wildlife. We simulated low-level Trichinella infections in wild pig, fox, saltwater crocodile, wild cat and a native Australian marsupial using Trichinella pseudospiralis or Trichinella papuae ethanol-fixed larvae. Trichinella-specific primers targeted a conserved region of the small subunit of the ribosomal RNA and were tested for specificity against host and other parasite genomic DNAs. The analytical sensitivity of the assay was at least 100 fg using pure genomic T. pseudospiralis DNA serially diluted in water. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assay was evaluated by spiking log of each host muscle with T. pseudospiralis or T. papuae larvae at representative infections of 1.0, 0.5 and 0.1 larvae per gram, and shown to detect larvae at the lowest infection rate. A field sample evaluation on naturally infected muscle samples of wild pigs and Tasmanian devils showed complete agreement with the EU reference artificial digestion method (k-value = 1.00). Positive amplification of mouse tissue experimentally infected with T. spiralis indicated the assay could also be used on encapsulated species in situ. This real-time PCR assay offers an alternative highly specific and sensitive diagnostic method for use in Trichinella wildlife surveillance and could be adapted to wildlife hosts of any region. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:Cuttell, Leigh Corley, Sean W. Gray, Christian P. Vanderlinde, Paul B. Jackson, Louise A. Traub, Rebecca J.
Subjects:Veterinary medicine > Veterinary parasitology
Live Archive:01 Nov 2013 06:43
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:49

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