Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join Today
West Nile Virus AZA Surveillance Protocol 2001

To : All AZA Zoo Directors

Subject: Protocol for the Surveillance for West Nile Virus in Zoological Institutions

Date : September 3, 2001

Dear Director,

Lincoln Park Zoo, in conjunction with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hosted a meeting on June 21-22, 2001 which included representatives for the CDC, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), United States Geologic Survey (USGS), state and local public health, agriculture and wildlife departments, American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) and American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV). This meeting was held to discuss the feasibility of incorporating West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance data from zoos into the national public health database. Systematic surveillance for WNV at zoos had not previously been implemented due to issues of confidentiality, diagnostic testing limitations in exotic species and the financial burden of additional testing. These issues were all addressed in detail at this meeting.

 After an initial session of talks where each stakeholder group presented its perspective to the others, a roundtable discussion was held in order to determine what is needed to accomplish the goals of: 1) zoos having increased (affordable) access to WNV testing and 2) public health’s wish to incorporate these "sentinel” data into the national surveillance database. Three working groups (sampling, diagnostics and reporting structure) were formed and all came together in the plenary session in the afternoon to present and discuss recommendations from each group and the feasibility of creating a national zoo surveillance plan. The complete workshop report entitled Surveillance for West Nile Virus in Zoological Institutions is available for review at www.aza.org and www.aazv.org. If a printed copy of the report is preferred, contact the project coordinators and one will be forwarded immediately.

 As a result of the meeting, it was determined that the CDC would fund a pilot project in 2001. Cornell Diagnostic Laboratory was chosen as the site for zoo sample submission and testing in the pilot project, with the possibility of adding other labs in the future. A centralized database will be created for the AZA community in order to summarize and communicate results to the zoo world. A standardized plan for WNV surveillance in zoos, with support from both the AZA and AAZV, will be created as a result of this meeting and provided to all institutions.  This plan, given continued support, could lead to a standardized protocol for zoo surveillance with respect to emerging zoonotic infectious diseases of importance to animal and human health.

 At this time, we are ready to proceed with Phase I of this project and we invite your participation.  Phase I will include the testing of samples from:

 §          Systemically ill or deceased outdoor collection birds and mammals from all AZA accredited institutions in the USA.

§          Non-collection wildlife found deceased on zoological properties

§          Healthy outdoor birds and mammals as part of routine pre-shipment screening (Virus isolation or viral RNA detection in these samples can determine if an animal is currently viremic at the point of testing. Detection of WNV-specific antibodies in serum (or plasma) will indicate past infection with WNV).  It is important to note that no shipping restrictions are recommended as a result of this testing as long as the ten-day pre-shipment quarantine is enforced as stated in the report.

 

Samples will be tested for the presence of WNV and will be performed at no cost to participating zoos.

 The second phase of the project will consist of retrospective serosurveys therefore, zoos are urged to bank sera on all healthy at risk (outdoor) species for later testing. In addition, this portion of the project will include a WN risk factor survey of all AZA institutions. Details on Phase II will be distributed at a later date.

 It is important to note that by participating in this program funded by the CDC, you are agreeing to share pertinent information with your local public health department.  This involves creating a relationship with local public health officials in order to balance the data that is needed for public health surveillance and response with the confidentiality needs of the institution.  Information reported to the local health department will be included in reports at the state and national levels.  Guidelines for confidentiality in reporting are included in the meeting report entitled Surveillance for West Nile Virus in Zoological Institutions mentioned above.

 This project is endorsed by the CDC, AZA and AAZV.  Should you wish to participate, please use the following protocol for sample collection and submission.

 Sincerely,

 Sydney J. Butler                                                               Wilbur Amand

E1xecutive Director                                                            Executive Director

American Zoo and Aquarium Association                       American Association of Zoo

                                                                                         Veterinarians

 

Project Coordinator                                                        Project Co-Coordinator

 Tracey S.McNamara, D.V.M.                                       Dominic Travis, D.V.M., M.S.

Diplomate, A.C.V.P.                                                       Veterinary Epidemiologist

Head, Department of Pathology                                       Lincoln Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Society                                          Email : epi@lpzoo.org

Email: tmacnamara@wcs.org                                           Phone : (312 )742- 7225

Phone: (718) 220-7105

Protocol for AZA Zoo West Nile Virus Surveillance Pilot Project

PHASE 1 of PILOT PROJECT:

 Phase I will include the testing of samples from systemically ill or deceased outdoor collection birds and mammals from all AZA accredited institutions in the USA. In addition, blood or tissue samples from any non-collection wildlife found deceased on zoological properties are also solicited. Samples will be tested for the presence of WNV using all available means, including virus isolation, RT-PCR, and serology. Testing will be performed at no cost to participating zoos.

 In addition , blood samples collected from healthy outdoor birds and mammals as part of routine pre-shipment exams will be accepted for testing. It is important to note that no shipping restrictions are recommended as a result of this testing as long as the ten-day pre-shipment quarantine is enforced as stated in the report.  Virus isolation or viral RNA detection in these samples can determine if an animal is currently viremic at the point of testing. Detection of WNV-specific antibodies in serum (or plasma) will indicate past infection with WNV.

 Samples

 Blood Samples:

 0.5 ml of citrated (preferred) or heparinized whole blood

                             or

0.250 ml of heparinized plasma (birds)

                             or

0.250 ml of serum(mammals)

 

*For small birds, a minimal ELISA can be done with 50 microliters of heparinized whole blood. However, the ELISA screening is not specific for WNV. In the event of a positive result, it would be necessary to re-bleed the bird for confirmatory tests.

 

Tissue Samples:

 Necropsy protocols and tissue check lists are available in the complete report however, minimal submissions should include sections of brain, heart and kidney stored at –70C or in liquid nitrogen . If an ultracold freezer is not available, tissues will still be suitable for testing for up to 2-3 weeks if kept at –20C, especially if combined with a preservative (Appendix V of the workshop report). Virus isolation will be performed using Vero cells and a species-appropriate primary cell line.

 

 Cloacal/Nasopharyngeal Swabs:

 Cloacal and nasopharyngeal swabs should be placed in viral transport media and shipped on ice packs or retained at –70C and shipped on dry ice for testing. Viral transport media will be provided at no cost to participants by Cornell University. Requests for media should be made to Dr.A.Glaser at email: alg8@cornell.edu or, by phone: (607) 253-3900.

 

* The virus isolation strategy may result in the isolation of alternate etiologic or adventitious agents. Results of additional testing requested by a submitter or identification of infectious agents other than WNV will be reported only to the submitting organization. There will be no charge for the identification of alternate infectious agents isolated in the course of testing procedures to identify WNV, but normal laboratory charges will be assesses for additional testing requested by the submitter ( ie. bacteriology)

Sample Submission

 Submission Forms - Several Zoo WNV Pilot Project submission forms are included in this mailing.( In the future, submission forms will be available for downloading at the Cornell Diagnostic Laboratory website ). Samples should be listed on the accession form and include a description of the sample, species of animal, and date collected. Containers with samples should be clearly labeled to correspond with the sample list on the accession form.

 Shipping Labels – Free shipping is available to project participants. Several labels are included in this mailing. Submitters should contact Dr. A. Glaser by email or by phone in advance of shipment and to request additional labels.

 Any institution choosing to use a different courier will do so at their own expense. In that event, samples should be shipped to :

 

Dr.Amy Glaser

New York State Diagnostic Laboratory

College of Veterinary Medicine

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York, 14852

Shipping Containers – Use only durable containers. Seal specimen containers tightly. Wrap specimen containers in absorbent material and pack them in leak proof containers. Specimens for virus isolation must be sent on enough dry ice to insure that they remain frozen until receipt. Specimens for serologic testing can be shipped on gel-ice and need not remain frozen. Samples should be shipped to arrive on Tuesday –Friday.

Reporting Structure

 Results of WNV testing will be reported to the submitting institution and to the central zoo database at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Submitting institutions will be responsible for informing local public health officials of test results in a timely manner as outlined in the reporting section of the surveillance plan.  It is important to note that by participating in this program you are agreeing to share pertinent information with local public health officials. Testing will take approximately 10 days. In that time, zoos are urged to contact their local public health authorities to discuss confidentiality guidelines as outlined in the reporting section of the surveillance plan.  The project coordinators can help facilitate contacts with state public health veterinarians or epidemiologists.  Other resources include workshop attendees as outlined at the end of the meeting report.

PHASE II of PILOT PROJECT:

 The second phase of the project will consist of retrospective serosurveys therefore, zoos are urged to bank sera on all healthy at risk (outdoor) species for later testing. In addition, this portion of the project will include a WN risk factor survey of all AZA institutions. Details on Phase II will be distributed at a later date.

 

 Should have any questions about this project or protocol, the project coordinators will be able to provide assistance.

 

Project Coordinator                                                           Project Co-Coordinator

 Tracey S.McNamara, D.V.M.                                           Dominic Travis, D.V.M., M.S.

Diplomate, A.C.V.P.                                                        Veterinary Epidemiologist

Head, Department of Pathology                                        Lincoln Park Zoo

Wildlife Conservation Society                                          Email : epi@lpzoo.org

Email:tmcnamara@wcs.org                                              Phone : (312 )742- 7225

Phone: (718) 220-7105

 

 

 

 

Location

581705 White Oak Road
Yulee, FL 32097 USA

Contact Us

Local: (904) 225-3275
Fax: (904) 225-3289
Email:Admin@AAZV.org