Work package 2 (WP2)

Harmonized methods for sample collection and diagnosis for wildlife pathogens in Europe


The main objective is to develop harmonized methods for collecting and analyzing samples to diagnose key wildlife pathogens in Europe. The choice of key wildlife pathogens is based largely on an extensive analysis performed by another EU-funded project, WildTech ( Anaplasma spp., African swine fever virus, Aujeszky’s disease virus, Bacillus anthracis, Bluetongue virus, Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, Brucella suis, Campylobacter jejuni, Classical swine fever virus, Coxiella burnetii, Echinococcus multilocularis, Encephalomyocarditis virus, European brown hare syndrome virus, Francisella tularensis, Hantavirus, Hepatitis E virus, Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, Leptospira spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, Neospora caninum, Pasteurella multocida, Pathogenic Escherichia coli, Rabies virus, Salmonella enteridis, Salmonella typhimurium, Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella spp., and West Nile virus.

The status of wildlife disease surveillance in different countries of Europe varies substantially (Kuiken et al. 2011, Figure 1). There are several reasons for this variation: countries in Europe differ in their effort to survey diseases in wildlife, in the choice of wildlife host species surveyed, in sampling strategy, and in methods of diagnosis. An additional complication is that many diagnostic tests used in domestic animals have not been validated for use in wildlife, so that they need to be used with caution. As a result, a Europe-wide overview of the occurrence of important pathogens in wildlife is lacking.

Milestones and Deliverables:

This objective will be reached in two steps. First, we will review the literature and solicit information from members of the European wildlife disease network (see work package 4) to obtain both published and unpublished data on current methods of sample collection and laboratory diagnosis for above pathogens. Second, we will assess these methods for different criteria, including sensitivity, specificity, required laboratory equipment and technical expertise, efficiency, speed, and cost. Based on this assessment, we will choose—and, if necessary, modify—a harmonized method of sampling and laboratory diagnosis for each key wildlife pathogen.