Foto del docente

Antonietta Di Francesco

Associate Professor

Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences

Academic discipline: VET/05 Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals


Keywords: leishmaniosis polymerase chain reaction zoonoses chlamydiosis bartonellosis epidemiology diagnosis veterinary public health

Research activities (60 publications in journals and 50 in proceedings of national and international meetings) mainly concerned topics of animals infectious diseases and veterinary public health: chlamydiosis, leishmaniosis, ehrlichiosis, occupational zoonoses, bartonellosis, circovirosis.

Main research subjects:
1. Tick-borne infectious diseases. Seroepidemiological surveys were carried out on canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (in owned and stray dogs). The prevalence of antibodies to Bartonella henselae in dogs in Italy was evaluated.

2. Chlamydiosis. Seroepidemiological surveys and molecular analysis of isolates were performed about Chlamydia suis and Chlamydia felis. The circulation of C. felis in human beings with and without contact with cats was assessed. The sensitivity of C. suis and C. felis to tetracicline and cathelicidin peptides was studied. Molecular analysis was performed to detect plasmid sequences in C. suis and C. felis isolates and their identity with plasmid sequences of reference strains. A sequencing project of C. suis complete genome is in progress. The seroprevalence against chlamydiae in red deer and wild boar populations has been evaluated and additional molecular investigation allowed the first detection of Parachlamydia spp. DNA from wild boar samples. Molecular analysis of C. trachomatis isolates and comparison studies between C. trachomatis and C. suis have been performed. The prevalence of C. pneumoniae in horses was also evaluated.

3. Occupational zoonoses. Surveys on biological risks in zootechnical and related activities were performed. A two-year seroepidemiological study on some zoonoses, involving two groups of workers of the Bologna University, was carried out. Research has been now extended to persons attending to dog pounds and stray cat homes and to small animals pratictioners.

4. Canine leishmaniosis. Serological, parassitological and entomological investigations have been carried out to assess the spread of CanL and vectors in the Emilia-Romagna Region (ERR). New autochtonous foci by Leishmania infantum have been identified in some areas of the Region, with the first autochthonous human visceral leishmaniosis cases.

5. Swine pathology. A study was carried-out to evaluate the clinical and pathological consequences of an infection with porcine circovirus type 2 in combination with porcine parvovirus in conventional 3-week-old pigs with maternal serum antibodies towards both viruses. The effect of an immunostimulation induced by the administration of a commercial inactivated vaccine against porcine pleuropneumonia on the outcome of the infection was also evaluated, together with the effects of the infection on the growth rate of the pigs.

6. Serological investigations have been carried out to assess the prevalence of canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), canine distemper virus, Ehrlichia canis, Leishmania infantum in free-ranging shepherd dogs.