Benítez Rico, Laura

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First Name
Last Name
Benítez Rico
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Biológicas
Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología
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Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Prevalence and genetic diversity of avipoxvirus in house sparrows in Spain
    (2016-12-22) Ruiz Martínez, Jorge; Ferraguti, Martina; Figuerola, Jordi; Martínez de la Puente, Josué; Williams, Richard Alexander John; Herrera Dueñas, Amparo; Aguirre de Miguel, José Ignacio; Soriguer, Ramón; Escudero, Clara; Moens, Michaël André Jean; Pérez Tris, Javier; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avipoxvirus (APV) is a fairly common virus affecting birds that causes morbidity and mortality in wild and captive birds. We studied the prevalence of pox-like lesions and genetic diversity of APV in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in natural, agricultural and urban areas in southern Spain in 2013 and 2014 and in central Spain for 8 months (2012–2013). Overall, 3.2% of 2,341 house sparrows visually examined in southern Spain had cutaneous lesions consistent with avian pox. A similar prevalence (3%) was found in 338 birds from central Spain. Prevalence was higher in hatch-year birds than in adults. We did not detect any clear spatial or temporal patterns of APV distribution. Molecular analyses of poxvirus-like lesions revealed that 63% of the samples were positive. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of 29 DNA sequences from the fpv167 gene, detected two strains belonging to the canarypox clade (subclades B1 and B2) previously found in Spain. One of them appears predominant in Iberia and North Africa and shares 70% similarity to fowlpox and canarypox virus. This APV strain has been identified in a limited number of species in the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco and Hungary. The second one has a global distribution and has been found in numerous wild bird species around the world. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of avian poxvirus disease in the broadly distributed house sparrow and strongly supports the findings that Avipox prevalence in this species in South and central Spain is moderate and the genetic diversity low.
  • Publication
    Natural history of avian papillomaviruses
    (Elsevier, 2018-05-17) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Williams, Richard Alexander John; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Papillomaviruses (Family: Papillomaviridae) are small non-enveloped viruses that cause skin and mucosa infections in diverse vertebrates. The vast majority have been detected in mammals. However, the number of papillomaviruses described in birds is growing, especially because of metagenomic studies. Seven complete genomes and one partial sequence have been described, corresponding to five papillomavirus genera. These have been detected from various sample types, including skin, internal epithelium, and faecal material, from seven highly diverse wild and captive avian species. This review summarizes the molecular epidemiology of avian papillomaviruses, their genomic organization, evolutionary history and diagnostic techniques used for detection. The most commonly detected avian papillomavirus lesions are cauliflower-shaped papillomas, or warts, found on the tarsus and digits of common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) and occasionally brambling (Fringilla montifringilla). Similar warty growths have been detected in African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) and northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), on the head and the foot, respectively. Papillomavirus has also been detected in avian tissue with no apparent lesions, similar to findings in humans and other mammals. Papillomavirus involvement was initially suspected to cause other types of lesions, such as internal papillomatosis of parrots (IPP) and proliferative pododermatitis in waterfowl. However, determined efforts failed to demonstrate papillomavirus presence. We briefly describe avian papillomavirus genomic organization and viral gene diversity. Furthermore, we performed a detailed analysis of avian papillomavirus non-coding regions and a preliminary computational analysis of their E9 proteins.
  • Publication
    Emerging and Novel Viruses in Passerine Birds
    (MDPI, 2023-09-20) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Christian J. Sánchez-Llatas; Domenech Gómez, Ana María; Madrid González, Ricardo; Sergio Fandiño; Pablo Cea-Callejo; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Benítez Rico, Laura
    There is growing interest in emerging viruses that can cause serious or lethal disease in humans and animals. The proliferation of cloacal virome studies, mainly focused on poultry and other domestic birds, reveals a wide variety of viruses, although their pathogenic significance is currently uncertain. Analysis of viruses detected in wild birds is complex and often biased towards waterfowl because of the obvious interest in avian influenza or other zoonotic viruses. Less is known about the viruses present in the order Passeriformes, which comprises approximately 60% of extant bird species. This review aims to compile the most significant contributions on the DNA/RNA viruses affecting passerines, from traditional and metagenomic studies. It highlights that most passerine species have never been sampled. Especially the RNA viruses from Flaviviridae, Orthomyxoviridae and Togaviridae are considered emerging because of increased incidence or avian mortality/morbidity, spread to new geographical areas or hosts and their zoonotic risk. Arguably poxvirus, and perhaps other virus groups, could also be considered "emerging viruses". However, many of these viruses have only recently been described in passerines using metagenomics and their role in the ecosystem is unknown. Finally, it is noteworthy that only one third of the viruses affecting passerines have been officially recognized.
  • Publication
    A Multiplex PCR for Detection of Poxvirus and Papillomavirus in Cutaneous Warts from Live Birds and Museum Skins
    (American Association of Avian Pathologists, 2011-05-31) Pérez Tris, Javier; Williams, Richard Alexander John; Abel-Fernandez, F; Barreiro, Jose; Conesa, J J; Figuerola, Jordi; Martinez-Martınez, M; Ramírez García, Álvaro; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Viral cutaneous lesions are frequent in some bird populations, though we are generally ignorant of the causal agent. In some instances, they represent a threat to livestock and wildlife health. We present here a multiplex PCR which detects and distinguishes infection by two such agents, avipoxviruses and papillomaviruses, in avian hosts. We assayed biopsies and superficial skin swabs from field and preserved museum skin specimens. Ninety-three percent of samples from symptomatic specimens tested positive for the presence of avipox (n  =  23) or papillomavirus (n  =  5). Sixteen and five sequences, corresponding to the P4b and L1 genes, were obtained from avipox and papillomavirus, respectively. One museum specimen, of Fringilla coelebs (chaffinch), was apparently infected with both viruses. Although papillomavirus sequences proved identical to previously published sequences, four novel avipox sequences were generated and used to build a neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree. Our tree recovered a similar topology to that of several recent authors; however, we also propose here two new minor avipox clades (B1b and B3). This multiplex PCR technique shows improved sensitivity compared to other avipox and papillomavirus assays, is able to detect a wide range of avipox and papillomavirus types (it amplifies all three avian-derived papillomavirus genera described thus far and sequences from both major avipox clades), and was even able to detect ancient viral DNA contained in museum specimens of greater than 75 years antiquity for both viruses.
  • Publication
    Spatio-temporal dynamics and aetiology of proliferative leg skin lesions in wild British finches
    (Springer, 2018-10-10) Becki Lawson; Robert A. Robinson; Julia Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez; Shinto K. John; Conny Tolf; Kate Risely; Mike P. Toms; Andrew A. Cunningham; Benítez Rico, Laura; Williams, Richard Alexander John
    Proliferative leg skin lesions have been described in wild finches in Europe although there have been no large-scale studies of their aetiology or epizootiology to date. Firstly, disease surveillance, utilising public reporting of observations of live wild finches was conducted in Great Britain (GB) and showed proliferative leg skin lesions in chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) to be widespread. Seasonal variation was observed, with a peak during the winter months. Secondly, pathological investigations were performed on a sample of 39 chaffinches, four bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), one greenfinch (Chloris chloris) and one goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) with proliferative leg skin lesions and detected Cnemidocoptes sp. mites in 91% (41/45) of affected finches and from all species examined. Fringilla coelebs papillomavirus (FcPV1) PCR was positive in 74% (23/31) of birds tested: a 394 base pair sequence was derived from 20 of these birds, from all examined species, with 100% identity to reference genomes. Both mites and FcPV1 DNA were detected in 71% (20/28) of birds tested for both pathogens. Histopathological examination of lesions did not discriminate the relative importance of mite or FcPV1 infection as their cause. Development of techniques to localise FcPV1 within lesions is required to elucidate the pathological significance of FcPV1 DNA detection.
  • Publication
    A review on the prevalence of Avipoxvirus and pox-like lesions in free-living and captive wild birds
    (MDPI, 2021-04-30) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avian pox is a widespread infection in birds caused by genus Avipoxvirus pathogens. It is a noteworthy, potentially lethal disease to wild and domestic hosts. It can produce two different conditions: cutaneous pox, and diphtheritic pox. Here, we carry out an exhaustive review of all cases of avian pox reported from wild birds to analyze the effect and distribution in different avian species. Avian poxvirus strains have been detected in at least 374 wild bird species, a 60% increase on a 1999 review on avian pox hosts. We also analyze epizootic cases and if this disease contributes to wild bird population declines. We frequently observe very high prevalence in wild birds in remote island groups, e.g., Hawaii, Galapagos, etc., representing a major risk for the conservation of their unique endemic avifauna. However, the difference in prevalence between islands and continents is not significant given the few available studies. Morbidity and mortality can also be very high in captive birds, due to high population densities. However, despite the importance of the disease, the current detection rate of new Avipoxvirus strains suggests that diversity is incomplete for this group, and more research is needed to clarify its real extent, particularly in wild birds.
  • Publication
    Polymerase chain reaction detection of avipox and avian papillomavirus in naturally infected wild birds: comparisons of blood, swab and tissue samples
    (Taylor & Francis Online, 2014-02-13) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Escudero Duch, Clara; Pérez Tris, Javier; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avian poxvirus (avipox) is widely reported from avian species, causing cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Mortality rates of up to 100% are recorded in some hosts. Three major avipox clades are recognized. Several diagnostic techniques have been reported, with molecular techniques used only recently. Avipox has been reported from 278 different avian species, but only 111 of these involved sequence and/or strain identification. Collecting samples from wild birds is challenging as only few wild bird individuals or species may be symptomatic. Also, sampling regimes are tightly regulated and the most efficient sampling method, whole bird collection, is ethically challenging. In this study, three alternative sampling techniques (blood, cutaneous swabs and tissue biopsies) from symptomatic wild birds were examined. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect avipoxvirus and avian papillomavirus (which also induces cutaneous lesions in birds). Four out of 14 tissue samples were positive but all 29 blood samples and 22 swab samples were negative for papillomavirus. All 29 blood samples were negative but 6/22 swabs and 9/14 tissue samples were avipox-positive. The difference between the numbers of positives generated from tissue samples and from swabs was not significant. The difference in the avipox-positive specimens in paired swab (4/6) and tissue samples (6/6) was also not significant. These results therefore do not show the superiority of swab or tissue samples over each other. However, both swab (6/22) and tissue (8/9) samples yielded significantly more avipox-positive cases than blood samples, which are therefore not recommended for sampling these viruses.