Date: Tue 4 Apr 2017
Source: Parasites & Vectors [edited]
<https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-017-2104-x>

Klun I, Uzelac A, Villena I et al. The first isolation and molecular characterization of _Toxoplasma gondii_ from horses in Serbia. Parasit Vectors. 2017;10(1):167. doi: 10.1186/s13071-017-2104-x.

Abstract
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Background
Consumption of undercooked or insufficiently cured meat is a major risk factor for human infection with _Toxoplasma gondii_. Although horsemeat is typically consumed rare or undercooked, information on the risk of _T. gondii_ from infected horse meat to humans is scarce. Here, we present the results of a study to determine the presence of _T. gondii_ infection in slaughter horses in Serbia, and to attempt to isolate viable parasites.

Methods
The study included horses from all regions of Serbia slaughtered at 2 abattoirs between June 2013 and June 2015. Blood sera were tested for the presence of specific IgG _T. gondii_ antibodies by the modified agglutination test (MAT), and samples of trypsin-digested heart tissue were bioassayed in mice. Cyst-positive mouse brain homogenates were subjected to DNA extraction and _T. gondii_ strains were genotyped using 15 microsatellite markers (MS).

Results
A total of 105 slaughter horses were sampled. At the 1:6 cut-off 48.6 percent of the examined horses were seropositive, with the highest titre being 1:400. Viable parasites were isolated from 2 grade type mares; both parasite isolates (RS-Eq39 and RS-Eq40) were _T. gondii_ type III, and both displayed an increased lethality for mice with successive passages. These are the 1st cases of isolation of _T. gondii_ from horses in Serbia. When compared with a worldwide collection of 61 type III and type III-like strains, isolate RS-Eq39 showed a combination of MS lengths similar to a strain isolated from a duck in Iran, and isolate RS-Eq40 was identical in all markers to 3 strains isolated from a goat from Gabon, a sheep from France and a pig from Portugal. Interestingly, the source horses were 1 seronegative and 1 weakly seropositive.

Conclusions
The isolation of viable _T. gondii_ parasites from slaughter horses points to horsemeat as a potential source of human infection, but the fact that viable parasites were isolated from horses with only a serological trace of _T. gondii_ infection presents further evidence that serology may not be adequate to assess the risk of toxoplasmosis from horsemeat consumption. Presence of _T. gondii_ type III in Serbia sheds more light into the potential origin of this archetypal lineage in Europe.
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[_Toxoplasma gondii_ are able to infect all mammals and birds. A very high infection rate which is reported in horses in this study. Horses are not carnivores and infection most probably comes from pastures contaminated with _T.gondii_ oocysts shed by felines. The study underlines the importance of eating meat which has been thoroughly cooked. - ProMED Mod.EP]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/79>.]
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2016 13:28:52 +0200

Guca, Serbia, Aug 13, 2016 (AFP) - A small town in western Serbia is hosting the world's largest trumpet festival, a raucous annual celebration of brass bands that draws crowds of hundreds of thousands.   Now in its 56th year, the Guca festival brings together dozens of Serbian bands who compete for prestigious awards and entertain revellers in a turbocharged street party.

The five-day event, which ends Sunday, usually attracts around 200,000 to 300,000 music-lovers from Serbia and abroad, according to festival organiser Marija Pavlovic.   "We have every year more and more foreign tourists coming here, so we are very happy," she told AFP.   Brass band music is symbolic of Serbian culture and Pavlovic said the festival began "spontaneously" outside Guca's church back 1961, growing in
popularity each year.

A three-hour drive from the capital Belgrade and home to just a few thousand people, Guca is now famed for its yearly festivities and a statue of a trumpeter stands in its centre.   Following preliminary heats held throughout the year, the best bands compete on Guca's main stages while others play for tips on the streets and in cafes, as whole pigs and lambs are roasted on spits.   Beer and rakija, the local brandy, are drunk in abundance at what is officially called the Dragacevo Assembly of Trumpet Players, after the region in which it is held.

Among the first-time visitors this year is Danish tourist Anders Vold, 25, who has attended Denmark's leading Roskilde music festival several times but said Guca was in a different league.   "It's like Roskilde on steroids, with Balkan brass," he said.   "Everyone has to experience this because it's crazy and it's very good, and the people are so nice."
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:49:45 +0200

Belgrade, June 21, 2016 (AFP) - Five people -- three Slovaks and two Czechs -- were killed and more than 20 others were injured on Tuesday when their bus swerved off the road in Serbia, officials said.

The accident happened at about 0130 GMT near the town of Aleksinac, around 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Belgrade, on the motorway from the Balkan country's south to the capital, according to local media.   "We are still working to identify the victims, but we can say that three Slovak citizens were most likely killed in the accident," a Slovak foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.

In Prague, Czech foreign ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova said two Czech women were killed and eight other nationals were injured.   The bus was carrying 29 tourists, most of them elderly, who were returning home from the Greek island of Corfu.   Twenty-three passengers were hospitalised, including one in serious condition, Serbian police said.    Serbian state television had earlier said five Slovaks had been killed.   Nearly 600 people died last year in accidents on the roads in Serbia, which is a transit country for hundreds of thousands of overland travellers.
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:17:30 +0100

Belgrade, March 10, 2016 (AFP) - Serbia declared a state of emergency Thursday amid widespread flooding as it was deluged by heavy rains triggered by unusually high temperatures in eastern Europe and freezing conditions elsewhere.   More than 700 homes were flooded across a vast area of the Balkan country with 170 people needing to be moved for their safety, police said in a statement.

Further heavy rain was expected in the coming days, forecasters warned.   More than 50 people died and tens of thousands were displaced in spring 2014 when Serbia and its neighbours were hit by some of the worst floods in living memory.   Flood damage was estimated to have cost the country as much as 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Date: Wed 22 Apr 2015
Source: Tanjug (Serbian News Agency) [edited]
<http://www.b92.net/eng/news/society.php?yyyy=2015&amp;mm=04&amp;dd=22&amp;nav_id=93883>

Another person with salmonellosis is being treated at the hospital in Cacak [Morava], central Serbia, director Dr Radoslav Milosevic said on Wed 22 Apr 2015. However, the new patient, an 85 year old man, did not come from a nursing home in the village of Vranici where 5 elderly people died of this form of foodborne illness during the past week. According to Milosevic, the patient is "a neighbor" of the Dvoje nursing home. He added that the condition of 2 other patients the hospital is treating for the same disease has deteriorated.

Currently, the Cacak hospital is treating 9 salmonellosis patients, while one more has been admitted to the Uzice Health Care Center. The nursing home salmonellosis epidemic was reported on 16 Apr 2015. 41 people have been infected, among them the staff and 2 locals. Five people have passed away.

Labor Ministry's Social Protection Inspection chief Biljana Zekavica told the media that "shortcomings have been identified in the work of the nursing home's employees," but that those shortcomings would not have been grave enough "to cause this kind of epidemic". She told Tanjug that "the entire facility has not yet been inspected", and that results of microbiological tests are also pending. According to Zekavica, the nursing home's license could be revoked, but the outcome will be known "once all relevant institutions submit their reports that will determine any deviations from the norm."

The police in Cacak have formed a team to investigate the salmonellosis outbreak, said chief Predrag Pavlovic, and added that autopsy reports for the 5 victims have not yet been completed.
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[The elderly represent a significant cohort of those acquiring salmonellosis because of higher incidence of morbidity and mortality, along with the very young and those who are immunocompromised. The report offers no information regarding the potential food source of the outbreak, and we would appreciate further information from informed sources. - ProMED Mod.LL]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/79>.]
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