Hare-to-Human Transmission of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Germany - Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 21, Number 1—January 2015
Hare-to-Human Transmission of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Germany
Tularemia is a zoonotic disease caused by the gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis (1). Currently, there are 4 validly published subspecies. F. tularensis subsp. tularensis is the most virulent subspecies and occurs only in North America. F. tularensis subsp. holarctica is less virulent and occurs throughout the Northern hemisphere. F. tularensis subsp. mediasiatica was isolated in central Asia, and F. tularensis subsp. novicida, which has low virulence in humans, seems to be distributed globally (2).
Various PCR-based assays have been established for the detection of F. tularensis or for the diagnosis of tularemia. An accurate population structure has been defined by using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertion/deletion mutations (INDELs) with potential canonical properties. Currently, this population is divided into 4 major genetic clades: B.4, B.6, B.12, and B.16 (3–6). The taxonomic nomenclature of major clades inF. tularensis subsp. holarctica is based on clade-specific canonical SNP markers (3,4). In Europe, the strains of clades B.12 and B.6 dominate (6). The latter is found particularly in large areas in northern, western, and central Europe, including Germany (5–9).
Figure. Area of Germany where hares were hunted on November 2, 2012: Rüthen-Meiste (black star; latitude 51.512890, longitude 8.487493, altitude 380 m), Soest district (white) of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia...
Dr. Otto is the head of the working group, Noro- and Rotaviruses, and an employee of the National Reference Laboratory of Tularemia at the Federal Institute of Bacterial Infections and Zoonoses of the Federal Research Institute of Animal Health, Friedrich Loeffler Institut, Jena, Germany. His interests are focused on the development of diagnostic methods, the incidence and epidemiology of Francisella spp., and other bacterial zoonotic agents in wild animals.
We thank Kerstin Cerncic, Renate Danner, Anja Hackbart, Byrgit Hofmann, Wolfram Maginot, Petra Sippach, and Karola Zmuda for their excellent technical assistance; and Franz-Josef Röper for accurate documentation of the data of hunting and the disease outbreak.
- Petersen JM, Schriefer ME. Tularemia: emergence/re-emergence. Vet Res. 2005;36:455–67.
- Keim P, Johansson A, Wagner DM. Molecular epidemiology, evolution, and ecology of Francisella. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007;1105:30–66 .
- Svensson K, Granberg M, Karlsson L, Neubauerova V, Forsman M, Johannson A. A real-time PCR assay for hierarchical identification of Francisellaisolates. PLoS ONE. 2009;4:e8360 .
- Vogler AJ, Birdsell D, Price LB, Bowers JR, Beckstrom-Sternberg SM, Auerbach RK, Phylogeography of Francisella tularensis: global expansion of a highly fit clone. J Bacteriol. 2009b;191:2474–84.
- Karlsson E, Svensson K, Lindgren P, Byström M, Sjödin A, Forsman M, The phylogeographic pattern of Francisella tularensis in Sweden indicates a Scandinavian origin of Eurosiberian tularaemia. Environ Microbiol. 2013;15:634–45.
- Gyuranecz M, Birdsell DN, Splettstoesser M, Seibold E, Beckstrom-Sternberg SM, Makrai L, Phylogeography of Francisella tularensis subsp.holarctica, Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;18:290–3.
- Dempsey MP, Dobson M, Zhang C, Zhang M, Lion C, Gutiérrez CB, Genomic deletion marking an emerging subclone of Francisella tularensis subsp.holarctica in France and the Iberian Peninsula. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007;73:7465–70.
- Müller W, Hotzel H, Otto P, Karger A, Bettin B, Bocklisch H, German Francisella tularensis isolates from European brown hares (Lepus europaeus) reveal genetic and phenotypic diversity. BMC Microbiol. 2013;13:61.
- Vogler AJ, Birdsell DN, Lee J, Vaissaire J, Doujet CL, Lapalus M, Phylogeography of Francisella tularensis ssp. holarctica in France. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2011;52:177–80.
- Grunow R, Priebe HS. Tularemia— occurrence in Germany, the analysis based on the data reporting 1949 to 2006 [in German]. Epidemiologisches Bulletin. 2007;7:51–6. https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Archiv/2007/Ausgabenlinks/07_07.pdf?__blob=publicationFile [cited 2014 Nov 18]
- Robert-Koch-Institut. Tularemia—two cases of disease after processing and consumption of a hare [in German]. Epidemiologisches Bulletin.2002;9:71–2. https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Archiv/2002/Ausgabenlinks/09_02.pdf?__blob=publicationFile [cited 2014 Nov 18]
- Hofstetter I, Eckert J, Splettstoesser W, Hauri A. Tularaemia outbreak in hare hunters in the Darmstadt-Dieburg district, Germany. Euro Surveill.2006;11:E060119.3 .
- Robert-Koch-Institut. Annual report on zoonoses in 2002 [in German]. Epidemiologisches Bulletin. 2003;46:379.https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt/EpidBull/Archiv/2003/Ausgabenlinks/46_03.pdf?__blob=publicationFile [cited 2014 Nov 18]
- Forsman M, Sandström G, Sjöstedt A. Analysis of 16S ribosomal DNA sequences of Francisella strains and utilization for determination of the phylogeny of the genus and for identification of strains by PCR. Int J Syst Bacteriol. 1994;44:38–46.
- Petersen JM, Molins CR. Subpopulations of Francisella tularensis ssp. tularensis and holarctica: identification and associated epidemiology. Future Microbiol. 2010;5:649–61 .
Suggested citation for this article: Otto P, Kohlmann R, Müller W, Julich S, Geis G, Gatermann SG, et al. Hare-to-human transmission of Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica, Germany. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Jan [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2101.131837