Long-term dynamics of Mycoplasma conjunctivae at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Pyrenees.

Fernández-Aguilar, Xavier; Cabezón, Oscar; Frey, Joachim; Velarde, Roser; Serrano, Emmanuel; Colom-Cadena, Andreu; Gelormini, Giuseppina; Marco, Ignasi; Mentaberre, Gregorio; Lavín, Santiago; López-Olvera, Jorge Ramón (2017). Long-term dynamics of Mycoplasma conjunctivae at the wildlife-livestock interface in the Pyrenees. PLoS ONE, 12(10), e0186069. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0186069

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Functional roles of domestic and wild host populations in infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) epidemiology have been extensively discussed claiming a domestic reservoir for the more susceptible wild hosts, however, based on limited data. With the aim to better assess IKC epidemiology in complex host-pathogen alpine systems, the long-term infectious dynamics and molecular epidemiology of Mycoplasma conjunctivae was investigated in all host populations from six study areas in the Pyrenees and one in the Cantabrian Mountains (Northern Spain). Detection of M. conjunctivae was performed by qPCR on 3600 eye swabs collected during seven years from hunted wild ungulates and sympatric domestic sheep (n = 1800 animals), and cluster analyses of the strains were performed including previous reported local strains. Mycoplasma conjunctivae was consistently detected in three Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyrenaica) populations, as well as in sheep flocks (17.0% of sheep) and occasionally in mouflon (Ovis aries musimon) from the Pyrenees (22.2% in one year/area); statistically associated with ocular clinical signs only in chamois. Chamois populations showed different infection dynamics with low but steady prevalence (4.9%) and significant yearly fluctuations (0.0%- 40.0%). Persistence of specific M. conjunctivae strain clusters in wild host populations is demonstrated for six and nine years. Cross-species transmission between chamois and sheep and chamois and mouflon were also sporadically evidenced. Overall, independent M. conjunctivae sylvatic and domestic cycles occurred at the wildlife-livestock interface in the alpine ecosystems from the Pyrenees with sheep and chamois as the key host species for each cycle, and mouflon as a spill-over host. Host population characteristics and M. conjunctivae strains resulted in different epidemiological scenarios in chamois, ranging from the fading out of the mycoplasma to the epidemic and endemic long-term persistence. These findings highlight the capacity of M. conjunctivae to establish diverse interactions and persist in host populations, also with different transmission conditions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Host-Pathogen Interaction
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology

UniBE Contributor:

Frey, Joachim and Gelormini, Giuseppina


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Public Library of Science




Achim Braun Parham

Date Deposited:

22 May 2018 14:48

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 09:27

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






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