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Lab Overview

The Infectious Diseases Lab (IDL) is organized in two different units:

African Swine Fever (ASF) Unit

Conducting studies related to the host response to relevant pathogens, namely African swine fever (ASF) aiming the modulation of host immunological responses towards development of vaccines, diagnostic and therapeutic tools;

Epidemiology Unit

Conducting epidemiological evaluation of infectious diseases namely zoonosis and emergent diseases affecting livestock species, companion animals and wildlife, mechanisms of disease resistance, development of animal health information systems and risk analysis assessments

The current and future research objectives of the lab are summarized as:

- Characterization of the biological role of several non assigned ASFV genes involved in viral replication and transcription; Identify ASFV-host cell interactions at molecular level aiming at designing effective strategies for the development of vaccines against the disease;

- Development of risk-based surveillance strategies for infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, presently of bluetongue and wild boar tuberculosis; characterization of epidemiological risk factors such as the wild fauna-livestock-environment interface at the ecosystem level and its role on the maintenance or reappearance of pathogens relevant in public health such as Mycobaterium bovis and Brucella melitensis; ecology and vectorial competence of Ornithodoros erraticus and Culicoides; development of diagnostic tools, including rapid and sensitive diagnostic molecular methods, for the detection of Mycobacterium bovis in wild ungulates; epidemiological evaluation of national control and eradication programs of several infectious diseases, namely, the field use of vaccination against bovine brucellosis and the monitoring of Salmonella prevalence and of antimicrobial resistance on swine and pig meat; implementation of a swine health information system (SIRO) at national level in close collaboration with the National Livestock Directorate (DGVA).


 Selected Publications


Caetano, M.C., Afonso, F., Ribeiro, R., Fonseca, A.P., Abernethy, D.A., Boinas, F. 2014. Control of Bovine Brucellosis from Persistently Infected Holdings Using RB51 Vaccination with Test-and-Slaughter: A Comparative Case Report from a High Incidence Area in Portugal. Transbound Emerg. Dis. (In Press).

Ramilo, D.W., Diaz, S., Pereira da Fonseca, I., Delécolle, J.C., Wilson, A., Meireles, J., Lucientes, J., Ribeiro, R., Boinas, F. 2012. First report of 13 species of Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in mainland Portugal and Azores by morphological and molecular characterization. PLoS One. 7:e34896. 

Simões, M., Martins, C., Ferreira, F. 2013. Host DNA Damage Response facilitates African Swine Fever Virus infection. Vet. Microbiol. 165: 140-147. 

Leitão, A., Cartaxeiro, C., Coelho, R., Cruz, B. R., Parkhouse, M. E., Castro Portugal, F., Vigário, J. D. and Martins, C. L. V. 2001. The non-haemadsorbing African swine fever virus isolate ASFV/NH/P68 provides a model for defining the protective anti-virus immune response. J .Gen. Virol. 82: 513-523.

Martins, C.L.V., Lawman, M.J.P., Scholl, T., Mebus, C. A. Lunney, J. K. 1993. African swine fever virus specific porcine cytotoxic T cell activity. Arch. Virol. 129: 211 225.