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Using shared needles for subcutaneous inoculation can transmit bluetongue virus mechanically between ruminant hosts

Darpel, Karin E, Barber, James, Hope, Andrew, Wilson, Anthony J, Gubbins, Simon, Henstock, Mark, Frost, Lorraine, Batten, Carrie, Veronesi, Eva, Moffat, Katy, Carpenter, Simon, Oura, Chris, Mellor, Philip S and Mertens, Peter P C (2016) 'Using shared needles for subcutaneous inoculation can transmit bluetongue virus mechanically between ruminant hosts'. Scientific Reports, Vol 6, Issue 20627.

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Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an economically important arbovirus of ruminants that is transmitted by Culicoides spp. biting midges. BTV infection of ruminants results in a high viraemia, suggesting that repeated sharing of needles between animals could result in its iatrogenic transmission. Studies defining the risk of iatrogenic transmission of blood-borne pathogens by less invasive routes, such as subcutaneous or intradermal inoculations are rare, even though the sharing of needles is common practice for these inoculation routes in the veterinary sector. Here we demonstrate that BTV can be transmitted by needle sharing during subcutaneous inoculation, despite the absence of visible blood contamination of the needles. The incubation period, measured from sharing of needles, to detection of BTV in the recipient sheep or cattle, was substantially longer than has previously been reported after experimental infection of ruminants by either direct inoculation of virus, or through blood feeding by infected Culicoides. Although such mechanical transmission is most likely rare under field condition, these results are likely to influence future advice given in relation to sharing needles during veterinary vaccination campaigns and will also be of interest for the public health sector considering the risk of pathogen transmission during subcutaneous inoculations with re-used needles.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QW Microbiology and Immunology > Viruses > QW 160 Viruses (General). Virology
QW Microbiology and Immunology > Immunotherapy and Hypersensitivity > QW 806 Vaccination
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 505 Diptera
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2016 11:15
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:12


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