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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Cell. Infect. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00089

Cross sectional study and risk factors analysis of Francisella tularensis in soil samples in Punjab province of Pakistan

 Javed Muhammad1, 2*,  Masood Rabbani1*,  Muhammad Z. Shabbir1, Khushi Muhammad1,  Tasleem Ghori3,  Haroon R. Chaudhry3, Malik Z. Ul Hassnain1,  Tariq Jamil1,  Tariq Abbas3, Muhammad H. Chaudhry4, Muhammad Haisem1,  Muhammaduhammad A. Ali1, Muhammad Nisar1,  Girish S. Kirimanjeswara5 and  Bhushan M. Jayarao5
  • 1University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Pakistan
  • 2University of Swabi, Pakistan
  • 3Islamia University, Pakistan
  • 4University of the Punjab, Pakistan
  • 5Pennsylvania State University, United States

Tularemia is an endemic zoonotic disease in many parts of the world including Asia. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine genome-based prevalence of Francisella tularensis (Ft) in soil, assess an association between its occurrence in soil and likely predictors i.e. macro and micro-nutrients and several categorical variables, and determine seroconversion in small and large ruminants. The study included a total of 2280 soil samples representing 456 villages in eight districts of the Punjab Province of Pakistan followed by an analysis of serum antibodies in 707 ruminants. The genome of Ft was detected in 3.25% (n = 74, 95% CI: 2.60 – 4.06) of soil samples. Soluble salts (OR: 1.276, 95% CI: 1.043-1.562, p =0.015), Ni (OR: 2.910, 95%CI: 0.795-10.644, p=0.106), Mn (OR: .733, 95% CI: .565-.951, p =0.019), Zn (OR: 4.922, 95% CI:.929-26.064, p =0.061) and nutrients clustered together as PC-1 (OR: 4.76, 95% CI: 2.37-9.54, p =0.000) and PC-3 (OR: 0.357, 95% CI: 0.640, p =0.001) were found to have a positive association for the presence of Ft in soil. The odds of occurrence of Ft DNA in soil were higher at locations close to a water source, including canals, streams or drains, [χ2 = 6.7, OR = 1.19, 95% CI:1.05-3.09, p = 0.004] as well as places where animals were present [χ2 = 4.09, OR = 2.06, 95% CI: 1.05-4.05, p=0.02]. The seroconversion was detected in 6.22% (n=44, 95% CI: 4.67 – 8.25) of domestic animals. An occurrence of Ft over a wide geographical region indicates its expansion to enzootic range, and demonstrates the need for further investigation among potential disease reservoirs and at-risk populations, such as farmers and veterinarians.

Keywords: Francisella tularensis, Soil, domestic animals, Punjab Province, Pakistan

Received: 20 Aug 2018; Accepted: 12 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Marina Santic', University of Rijeka, Croatia

Reviewed by:

Ronald M. Wooten, College of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Toledo, United States
Kuldeep Dhama, Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), India
Umer Naveed Chaudhry, Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2019 Muhammad, Rabbani, Shabbir, Muhammad, Ghori, Chaudhry, Ul Hassnain, Jamil, Abbas, Chaudhry, Haisem, Ali, Nisar, Kirimanjeswara and Jayarao. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Javed Muhammad, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, 54000, Punjab, Pakistan,
Prof. Masood Rabbani, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, 54000, Punjab, Pakistan,