Work package 3 (WP3)
To generate information on the practical feasibility and added value of the harmonized methods developed in WP1 and WP2 by field-validating them on selected wildlife host-pathogen pairs in Europe that are of broad interest to APHAEA partners and to European countries in general: wild boar, red fox, and rodents.
Subobjective 1: To test the harmonized methods for estimating species abundance and for diagnosing pathogens on the red fox in Europe. We chose red fox (Vulpes vulpes) because its abundance has increased substantially in recent decades. It therefore poses an increased risk of disease transmission to humans and domestic animals. Red fox samples will be tested in the first place for Echinococcus multilocularis. This pathogen causes alveolar echinococcosis in humans, a potentially lethal disease that is expanding its geographical range in Europe. Other pathogens of interest will include rabies virus and Trichinella spp., which are still endemic in red foxes in southern and eastern Europe.
Subobjective 2: To test the harmonized methods for estimating species abundance and for diagnosing pathogens on the wild boar in Europe. We chose wild boar (Sus scrofa) because both its population numbers and geographical range are expanding rapidly in Europe. Wild boar samples will be tested in the first place for Aujeszky's disease virus, which is widespread among wild boar. Other pathogens of interest will be African and classical swine fever viruses, hepatitis E virus, Mycobacterium bovis, and Trichinella spp., all of which are highly relevant for the livestock industry and human health (Ruiz-Fons et al. 2008, Meng and Lindsay 2009).
Subobjective 3: To test the harmonized methods for estimating species abundance and for diagnosing pathogens on selected rodent species in Europe. We chose selected rodent species (specifically, Arvicola amphibius, Arvicola sapidus, Microtus arvalis, Myodes glareolus, Apodemus sylvaticus, Apodemus flavicollis, Mus musculus, Mus spretus, Rattus rattus, and Rattus norvegivus) because they are important reservoirs of several zoonotic bacteria, nematodes and viruses. Rodent samples will be tested in the first place for Francisella tularensis (Cowan et al. 2003).
Milestones and Deliverables:
After field and laboratory work and in silico simulations when appropriate, we will report on the advantages and disadvantages of the chosen methods from work packages 1 and 2, and make modifications if and where required.