Research Topic

Immunoserological Diagnosis of Zoonoses and Emerging Infectious Diseases

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Zoonoses are infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans. They may be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and prions. As many as 60% of all communicable diseases and 75% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are caused by microorganisms that have an animal (most often wildlife) ...

Zoonoses are infectious diseases transmissible from animals to humans. They may be caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses and prions. As many as 60% of all communicable diseases and 75% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are caused by microorganisms that have an animal (most often wildlife) reservoir. Emerging diseases are those that have recently emerged or were recently discovered, but also previously known diseases whose incidence, geographical distribution, or spectrum of hosts or vectors have recently extended (also referred as reemerging diseases). A number of major modern diseases, especially those with a huge potential for globalization, are emerging zoonotic diseases (e.g., Ebola, avian flu and SARS virus diseases). Zoonotic diseases may have a well-known significant impact in human health (e.g., toxoplasmosis and salmonellosis). In contrast, others remain underdiagnosed and are often referred as neglected zoonotic diseases (e.g., anthrax, leptospirosis, rickettsioses, cysticercosis, and rabies.). In order to better control the emergence and worldwide spread of zoonotic diseases, the concept "one health" proposes to take into account the global impact of each of these pathogens on the set of potential hosts. Controlling infections in the animal reservoir can drastically reduce the impact of these diseases in humans.

The usual difficulties encountered in diagnosing zoonotic and/or emerging diseases in humans and animals constitute a major limitation in their surveillance. The clinical manifestations caused by these pathogens are often poorly specific. Many zoonotic agents are intracellular pathogens and fastidious growth microorganisms. Their isolation in culture from clinical samples is tedious and often hazardous for the laboratory personnel (e.g., viruses, parasites and intracellular bacteria belonging to the genera Rickettsia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Coxiella, Leptospira, Borrelia, etc.). PCR-based methods are helpful, but often of poor sensitivity and thus can rarely be considered gold standard methods. Immunoserological methods remain the most frequently used diagnostic methods because they are cheap, easy to implement, and highly sensitive. Traditional serologic methods (e.g., microagglutination, complement fixation tests) have been progressively replaced by more specific methods allowing titration of IgM- and IgG-type antibodies, such as the indirect immunofluorescence assay and enzyme immunoassays. However, serological diagnosis still has some limitations, including a delay of 2-3 weeks for detection of significant antibody titers after infection and serological cross reactions that may lead to false positive results.

The present topic deals with non-specific and specific (antibody-based) markers used for diagnosis of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases in humans, either caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, viruses or prions. We seek Original Research articles, Methods articles, Reviews, Brief Research Reports, and Mini Reviews that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:

1) Development and evaluation of immunoserological methods for zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases.
2) Novel specific and unspecific immunoserological markers and methods to verify immunity in patients with zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases.
3) Seroepidemiological studies of zoonoses and emerging infectious diseases.


Keywords: Zoonoses, Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases, Immunoserology, Diagnosis, Seroepidemiology


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