Identification of Disease Causing Agents


Bats are loaded with all kinds of viruses, no matter where in the world you sample them.  However, the bats themselves are for the most part very healthy.  When they fly they generate a lot of oxidative radicals, that allows them to tolerate a lot of viruses as well.  Adenovirus infected monkeys sometime die from alveolar infection.  Adenovirus infects the alveoli and saturates the lung sacs of these monkeys.  They ultimately die from pneumonia.  Adenovirus has been shown to cross species, from monkeys to humans.  Leptospiros has a large genome, approximately 3.5 million bases.  Leptospirosis has been around a long time.  It’s transmitted in urine and canine leptospirosis can be transmitted to soil, where it can remain infectious for up to six months.  Dogs pick up the disease through cuts or by drinking from contaminated water.

Leptospirosis causes problems for breathing in dogs and may cause lung hemorrhage.    Humans coming in contact with infected dog urine may become infected themselves.  The treatment for leptospirosis in humans is IV penicillin.  A dead dog is an alert that leptospiros may be in the area; such as in Puerto Rico.  Up to 25% of the time, the cause of pneumonia remains unknown; and in even up to 70% of meningitis cases the cause remains unknown.  If sequences taken from patient blood samples can be compared to that of all known bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites the identification of causative agents may be easier.  A positive control of a minimum titer of pathogen is added to the samples to avoid getting false negative results.  Otherwise the sequence of the disease causing agent of the animal will be identified.