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Differential replication efficiencies between Japanese encephalitis virus genotype I and III in avian cultured cells and young domestic ducklings

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 18 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Changguang Xiao, Chenxi Li, Di Di, Julien Cappelle, Lihong Liu, Xin Wang, Linlin Pang, Jinpeng Xu, Ke Liu, Beibei Li, Donghua Shao, Yafeng Qiu, Weijie Ren, Frederik Widén, Véronique Chevalier, Jianchao Wei, Xiaodong Wu, Zhiyong Ma

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) genotype dominance has shifted to genotype I (GI) from genotype III (GIII) in China as demonstrated by molecular epidemiological surveillance. In this study, we performed a serological survey in JEV-non-vaccinated pigs to confirm JEV genotype shift at the sero-epidemiological level. The average ratio of GI/GIII infection was 1.87, suggesting co-circulation of GI and GIII infections with GI infection being more prevalent in pigs in China. To gain an insight into the reasons for this JEV genotype shift, the replication kinetics of seven recently-isolated JEV isolates including three GI strains and four GIII strains were compared in mosquito C6/36 cells, chicken fibroblast cells (DF-1) and porcine iliac artery endothelial cells (PIEC). We observed that GI strains replicated more efficiently than GIII strains in DF-1 and PIEC cells, particularly in DF-1 cells with titers reaching 22.9–225.3 fold higher than GIII strains. This shows an enhanced replication efficiency of GI viruses in avian cells. To examine this enhanced replication efficiency in vivo, young domestic ducklings were used as the animal model and inoculated with GI and GIII strains at day 2 post-hatching. We observed that GI-inoculated ducklings developed higher viremia titers and displayed a comparatively longer viremic duration than GIII-inoculated ducklings. These results conform to the hypothesis of an enhanced replication efficiency for GI viruses in birds. There are 36 amino acid differences between GI and GIII viruses, some of which may be responsible for the enhanced replication efficiency of GI viruses in birds. Based on these findings, we speculated that the enhanced replication of GI viruses in birds would have resulted in higher exposure and therefore infection in mosquitoes, which could result in an increased transmission efficiency of GI viruses in the birds-mosquitoes-birds enzootic transmission cycle, thereby contributing to JEV genotype shift.

NMR metabolomics of cerebrospinal fluid differentiates inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Caitlin D. French, Rodney E. Willoughby, Amy Pan, Susan J. Wong, John F. Foley, L. Joseph Wheat, Josefina Fernandez, Rafael Encarnacion, Joanne M. Ondrush, Naaz Fatteh, Andres Paez, Dan David, Waleed Javaid, Ioana G. Amzuta, Anne M. Neilan, Gregory K. Robbins, Andrew M. Brunner, William T. Hu, Darya O. Mishchuk, Carolyn M. Slupsky

Background

Myriad infectious and noninfectious causes of encephalomyelitis (EM) have similar clinical manifestations, presenting serious challenges to diagnosis and treatment. Metabolomics of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was explored as a method of differentiating among neurological diseases causing EM using a single CSF sample.

Methodology/Principal findings

1H NMR metabolomics was applied to CSF samples from 27 patients with a laboratory-confirmed disease, including Lyme disease or West Nile Virus meningoencephalitis, multiple sclerosis, rabies, or Histoplasma meningitis, and 25 controls. Cluster analyses distinguished samples by infection status and moderately by pathogen, with shared and differentiating metabolite patterns observed among diseases. CART analysis predicted infection status with 100% sensitivity and 93% specificity.

Conclusions/Significance

These preliminary results suggest the potential utility of CSF metabolomics as a rapid screening test to enhance diagnostic accuracies and improve patient outcomes.

Widespread circulation of West Nile virus, but not Zika virus in southern Iran

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Mazyar Ziyaeyan, Mohammad Amin Behzadi, Victor Hugo Leyva-Grado, Kourosh Azizi, Gholamreza Pouladfar, Hedayat Dorzaban, Atoosa Ziyaeyan, Sanaz Salek, Aghyl Jaber Hashemi, Marzieh Jamalidoust

West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are mosquito-borne viral infections. Over the past few decades, WNV has been associated with several outbreaks involving high numbers of neuroinvasive diseases among humans. The recent re-emergence of ZIKV has been associated with congenital malformation and also with Guillain–Barre syndrome in adults. The geographic range of arthropod-borne viruses has been rapidly increasing in recent years. The objectives of this study were to determine the presence of IgG specific antibodies and the genome of WNV and ZIKV in human samples, as well as WNV and ZIKV genomes in wild-caught mosquitoes in urban and rural areas of the Hormozgan province, in southern Iran. A total of 494 serum samples were tested for the presence of WNV and ZIKV IgG antibodies using ELISA assays. One hundred and two (20.6%) samples were reactive for WNV IgG antibodies. All serum samples were negative for ZIKV IgG antibodies. Using the multivariable logistic analysis, age (45+ vs. 1–25; OR = 3.4, 95% C.I.: 1.8–6.3), occupation (mostly outdoor vs. mostly indoor; OR = 2.4, 95% C.I.: 1.1–5.2), and skin type(type I/II vs. type III/IV and type V/VI; OR = 4.3, 95% C.I.: 1.7–10.8 and OR = 2.7, 95% C.I.: 1.3–5.5 respectively, skin types based on Fitzpatrick scale) showed significant association with WNV seroreactivity. We collected 2,015 mosquitoes in 136 pools belonging to 5 genera and 14 species. Three pools of Culex pipiens complex were positive for WNV RNA using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rtRT-PCR). ZIKV RNA was not detected in any of the pools. All WNV ELISA reactive serum samples were negative for WNV RNA. In conclusion, we provided evidence of the establishment of WNV in southern Iran and no proof of ZIKV in serum samples or in mosquito vectors. The establishment of an organized arbovirus surveillance system and active case finding strategies seems to be necessary.

Diisopropylphenyl-imidazole (DII): A new compound that exerts anthelmintic activity through novel molecular mechanisms

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by María Gabriela Blanco, María Soledad Vela Gurovic, Gustavo Fabián Silbestri, Andrés Garelli, Sebastián Giunti, Diego Rayes, María José De Rosa

Nematode parasites cause substantial morbidity to billions of people and considerable losses in livestock and food crops. The repertoire of effective anthelmintic compounds for treating these parasitoses is very limited, as drug development has been delayed for decades. Moreover, resistance has become a global concern in livestock parasites and is an emerging issue for human helminthiasis. Therefore, anthelmintics with novel mechanisms of action are urgently needed. Taking advantage of Caenorhabditis elegans as an established model system, we here screened the nematicidal potential of novel imidazolium and imidazole derivatives. One of these derivatives, diisopropylphenyl-imidazole (DII), is lethal to C. elegans at both mature and immature stages. This lethal effect appears to be specific because DII concentrations which prove to be toxic to C. elegans do not induce significant lethality on bacteria, Drosophila melanogaster, and HEK-293 cells. Our analysis of DII action on C. elegans mutant strains determined that, in the adult stage, null mutants of unc-29 are resistant to the drug. Muscle expression of this gene completely restores DII sensitivity. UNC-29 has been largely reported as an essential constituent of the levamisole-sensitive muscle nicotinic receptor (L-AChR). Nevertheless, null mutants in unc-63 and lev-8 (essential and non-essential subunits of L-AChRs, respectively) are as sensitive to DII as the wild-type strain. Therefore, our results suggest that DII effects on adult nematodes rely on a previously unidentified UNC-29-containing muscle AChR, different from the classical L-AChR. Interestingly, DII targets appear to be different between larvae and adults, as unc-29 null mutant larvae are sensitive to the drug. The existence of more than one target could delay resistance development. Its lethality on C. elegans, its harmlessness in non-nematode species and its novel and dual mechanism of action make DII a promising candidate compound for anthelmintic therapy.

Robustness of the reproductive number estimates in vector-borne disease systems

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Warren Tennant, Mario Recker

Background

The required efforts, feasibility and predicted success of an intervention strategy against an infectious disease are partially determined by its basic reproduction number, R0. In its simplest form R0 can be understood as the product of the infectious period, the number of infectious contacts and the per-contact transmission probability, which in the case of vector-transmitted diseases necessarily extend to the vector stages. As vectors do not usually recover from infection, they remain infectious for life, which places high significance on the vector’s life expectancy. Current methods for estimating the R0 for a vector-borne disease are mostly derived from compartmental modelling frameworks assuming constant vector mortality rates. We hypothesised that some of the assumptions underlying these models can lead to unrealistic high vector life expectancies with important repercussions for R0 estimates.

Methodology and principal findings

Here we used a stochastic, individual-based model which allowed us to directly measure the number of secondary infections arising from one index case under different assumptions about vector mortality. Our results confirm that formulas based on age-independent mortality rates can overestimate R0 by nearly 100% compared to our own estimate derived from first principles. We further provide a correction factor that can be used with a standard R0 formula and adjusts for the discrepancies due to erroneous vector age distributions.

Conclusion

Vector mortality rates play a crucial role for the success and general epidemiology of vector-transmitted diseases. Many modelling efforts intrinsically assume these to be age-independent, which, as clearly demonstrated here, can lead to severe over-estimation of the disease’s reproduction number. Our results thus re-emphasise the importance of obtaining field-relevant and species-dependent vector mortality rates, which in turn would facilitate more realistic intervention impact predictions.

<i>Acanthamoeba</i> profilin elicits allergic airway inflammation in mice

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by So Myung Song, Shin Ae Kang, Hye Kyung Park, Dong Hee Kim, So Young Park, Se Bok Jang, Hak Sun Yu

Background

In previous studies, we suggested that Acanthamoeba is a new aero-allergen and that patients who showed positive results for the skin-prick test response to Acanthamoeba cross-reacted with several pollen allergens. Additionally, patients with common antibodies reacted to the 13–15 kDa Acanthamoeba unknown allergen.

Objective

We examined whether profilin of Acanthamoeba is a human airway allergic agent because of its molecular weight.

Methods

We expressed recombinant Ac-PF (rAc-PF) protein using an Escherichia coli expression system and evaluated whether Ac-PF is an airway allergic agent using an allergic airway inflammation animal model.

Results

Airway hyperresponsiveness was increased in rAc-PF-inoculated mice. The number of eosinophils and levels of Th2 cytokines, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-5, and IL-13 were increased in the bronchial alveolar lavage fluid of rAc-PF-treated mice. The lungs of the rAc-PF-treated mice group showed enhanced mucin production and metaplasia of lung epithelial cells and goblet cells.

Conclusion

In this study, we demonstrated that rAc-PF may be an allergen in Acanthamoeba, but further studies needed to identify the mechanisms of allergenic reactions induced by Ac-PF.

Protective versus pathologic pre-exposure cytokine profiles in dengue virus infection

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 17 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Heather Friberg, Coreen M. Beaumier, Sangshin Park, Pamela Pazoles, Timothy P. Endy, Anuja Mathew, Jeffrey R. Currier, Richard G. Jarman, Kathryn B. Anderson, Steven Hatch, Stephen J. Thomas, Alan L. Rothman

Background

Hyperendemic circulation of all four types of dengue virus (DENV-1-4) has expanded globally, fueling concern for increased incidence of severe dengue. While the majority of DENV infections are subclinical, epidemiologic studies suggest that type-cross-reactive immunity can influence disease outcome in subsequent infections. The mechanisms controlling these differential clinical outcomes remain poorly defined.

Methodology/Principal findings

Blood samples were collected from a cohort of school-aged Thai children who subsequently experienced a subclinical DENV infection or developed dengue illness. PBMC collected prior to infection were stimulated in vitro with DENV and the secretion of 30 cytokines was measured using a multiplexed, bead-based array. Significant differences were found in cytokine production based on both the type of DENV used for stimulation and the occurrence of clinical illness. Secretion of IL-15 and MCP-1 was significantly higher by PBMC of subjects who later developed symptomatic DENV infection. In addition, IL-6 was produced by PBMC from all subjects who subsequently developed symptomatic infection, versus 59% of subjects who had subclinical infection. Secretion of IL-12, IL-2R, MIP-1α, RANTES, GM-CSF, and TNFα was significantly lower by PBMC from subjects with symptomatic infection.

Conclusions/Significance

These data demonstrate significant differences in pre-existing immune responses to DENV associated with the clinical outcome of subsequent infection. The finding of higher levels of some cytokines in subjects with symptomatic infection and higher levels of other cytokines in subjects with subclinical infection supports the existence of both protective and pathologic immune profiles. Clinical-immunological correlations identified in the context of natural DENV infection may be useful for evaluating immune responses to dengue vaccines.

Serological and PCR-based markers of ocular <i>Chlamydia trachomatis</i> transmission in northern Ghana after elimination of trachoma as a public health problem

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Laura G. Senyonjo, Oscar Debrah, Diana L. Martin, Adwoa Asante-Poku, Stephanie J. Migchelsen, Sarah Gwyn, Dzeidzom K. deSouza, Anthony W. Solomon, David Agyemang, Nana Biritwum-Kwadwo, Benjamin Marfo, Didier Bakajika, Ernest O. Mensah, Agatha Aboe, Joseph Koroma, James Addy, Robin Bailey

Background

Validation of elimination of trachoma as a public health problem is based on clinical indicators, using the WHO simplified grading system. Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection and anti-Ct antibody responses (anti-Pgp3) have both been evaluated as alternative indicators in settings with varying levels of trachoma. There is a need to evaluate the feasibility of using tests for Ct infection and anti-Pgp3 antibodies at scale in a trachoma-endemic country and to establish the added value of the data generated for understanding transmission dynamics in the peri-elimination setting.

Methodology/Principal findings

Dried blood spots for serological testing and ocular swabs for Ct infection testing (taken from children aged 1–9 years) were integrated into the pre-validation trachoma surveys conducted in the Northern and Upper West regions of Ghana in 2015 and 2016. Ct infection was detected using the GeneXpert PCR platform and the presence of anti-Pgp3 antibodies was detected using both the ELISA assay and multiplex bead array (MBA). The overall mean cluster-summarised TF prevalence (the clinical indicator) was 0.8% (95% CI: 0.6–1.0) and Ct infection prevalence was 0.04% (95%CI: 0.00–0.12). Anti-Pgp3 seroprevalence using the ELISA was 5.5% (95% CI: 4.8–6.3) compared to 4.3% (95%CI: 3.7–4.9) using the MBA. There was strong evidence from both assays that seropositivity increased with age (p<0.001), although the seroconversion rate was estimated to be very low (between 1.2 to 1.3 yearly events per 100 children).

Conclusions/Significance

Infection and serological data provide useful information to aid in understanding Ct transmission dynamics. Elimination of trachoma as a public health problem does not equate to the absence of ocular Ct infection nor cessation in acquisition of anti-Ct antibodies.

A high throughput neutralization test based on GFP expression by recombinant rabies virus

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Jillybeth Burgado, Lauren Greenberg, Mike Niezgoda, Amrita Kumar, Victoria Olson, Xianfu Wu, Panayampalli Subbian Satheshkumar

The effectiveness of rabies vaccination in both humans and animals is determined by the presence of virus neutralizing antibodies (VNAs). The Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test (RFFIT) is the method traditionally used for detection and quantification of VNAs. It is a functional in vitro test for assessing the ability of antibodies in serum to bind and prevent infection of cultured cells with rabies virus (RABV). The RFFIT is a labor intensive, low throughput and semi-quantitative assay performed by trained laboratorians. It requires staining of RABV-infected cells by rabies specific fluorescent antibodies and manual quantification of fluorescent fields for titer determination. Although the quantification of fluorescent fields observed in each sample is recorded, the corresponding images are not stored or captured to be used for future analysis. To circumvent several of these disadvantages, we have developed an alternative, automated high throughput neutralization test (HTNT) for determination of rabies VNAs based on green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression by a recombinant RABV and compared with the RFFIT. The HTNT assay utilizes the recombinant RABV ERA variant expressing GFP with a nuclear localization signal (NLS) for efficient quantification. The HTNT is a quantitative method where the number of RABV-infected cells are determined and the images are stored for future analysis. Both RFFIT and HTNT results correlated 100% for a panel of human and animal positive and negative rabies serum samples. Although, the VNA titer values are generally agreeable, HTNT titers tend to be lower than that of RFFIT, probably due to the differences in quantification methods. Our data demonstrates the potential for HTNT assays in determination of rabies VNA titers.

Interventions to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis in children: A systematic review

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Andrés Uribe-Restrepo, Alexandra Cossio, Mayur M. Desai, Diana Dávalos, María del Mar Castro

Background

Case management in children with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is mainly based on studies performed in adults. We aimed to determine the efficacy and harms of interventions to treat CL in children.

Methods

We conducted a systematic review of clinical trials and cohort studies, assessing treatments of CL in children (≤12 years old). We performed structured searches in PubMed, CENTRAL, LILACS, SciELO, Scopus, the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), clinicaltrials.gov and Google Scholar. No restrictions regarding ethnicity, country, sex or year of publication were applied. Languages were limited to English, Spanish and Portuguese. Two reviewers screened articles, completed the data extraction and assessment of risk of bias. A qualitative summary of the included studies was performed.

Results

We identified 1092 records, and included 8 manuscripts (6 Randomized Clinical Trials [RCT] and 2 non-randomized studies). Most of the articles excluded in full-text review did not report outcomes separately for children. In American CL (ACL), 5 studies evaluated miltefosine and/or meglumine antimoniate (MA). Their efficacy varied from 68–83% and 17–69%, respectively. In Old-World CL (OWCL), two studies evaluated systemic therapies: rifampicin and MA; and one study assessed efficacy of cryotherapy (42%, Per Protocol [PP]) vs intralesional MA (72%, PP). Few studies (4) provided information on adverse events (AEs) for children, and no serious AEs were reported in participants. Risk of bias was generally low to unclear in ACL studies, and unclear to high in OWCL studies.

Conclusion

Information on efficacy of treatment for CL in children is scarce. There is an unmet need to develop specific formulations, surveillance of AEs, and guidelines both for the management of CL and clinical trials involving the pediatric population.

Registration

The protocol of this review was registered in the PROSPERO International register of systematic reviews, number CRD42017062164.

Novel mass spectrometry based detection and identification of variants of rabies virus nucleoprotein in infected brain tissues

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Matthew Reed, Olga Stuchlik, William C. Carson, Lillian Orciari, Pamela A. Yager, Victoria Olson, Yu Li, Xianfu Wu, Jan Pohl, Panayampalli Subbian Satheshkumar

Human rabies is an encephalitic disease transmitted by animals infected with lyssaviruses. The most common lyssavirus that causes human infection is rabies virus (RABV), the prototypic member of the genus. The incubation period of RABV in humans varies from few weeks to several months in some instances. During this prodromal period, neither antibodies nor virus is detected. Antibodies, antigen and nucleic acids are detectable only after the onset of encephalitic symptoms, at which point the outcome of the disease is nearly 100% fatal. Hence, the primary intervention for human RABV exposure and subsequent post-exposure prophylaxis relies on testing animals suspected of having rabies. The most widely used diagnostic tests in animals focus on antigen detection, RABV-encoded nucleoprotein (N protein) in brain tissues. N protein accumulates in the cytoplasm of infected cells as large and granular inclusions, which are visualized in infected brain tissues by immuno-microscopy using anti-N protein antibodies. In this study, we explored a mass spectrometry (MS) based method for N protein detection without the need for any specific antibody reagents or microscopy. The MS-based method described here is unbiased, label-free, requires no amplification and determines any previously sequenced N protein available in the database. The results demonstrate the ability of MS/MS based method for N protein detection and amino acid sequence determination in animal diagnostic samples to obtain RABV variant information. This study demonstrates a potential for future developments of rabies diagnostic tests based on MS platforms.

Translating preventive chemotherapy prevalence thresholds for <i>Schistosoma mansoni</i> from the Kato-Katz technique into the point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen diagnostic test

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Oliver Bärenbold, Amadou Garba, Daniel G. Colley, Fiona M. Fleming, Ayat A. Haggag, Reda M. R. Ramzy, Rufin K. Assaré, Edridah M. Tukahebwa, Jean B. Mbonigaba, Victor Bucumi, Biruck Kebede, Makoy S. Yibi, Aboulaye Meité, Jean T. Coulibaly, Eliézer K. N’Goran, Louis-Albert Tchuem Tchuenté, Pauline Mwinzi, Jürg Utzinger, Penelope Vounatsou

Background

Intervention guidelines against Schistosoma mansoni are based on the Kato-Katz technique. However, Kato-Katz thick smears show low sensitivity, especially for light-intensity infections. The point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA) is a promising rapid diagnostic test detecting antigen output of living worms in urine and results are reported as trace, 1+, 2+, and 3+. The use of POC-CCA for schistosomiasis mapping, control, and surveillance requires translation of the Kato-Katz prevalence thresholds into POC-CCA relative treatment cut-offs. Furthermore, the infection status of egg-negative but antigen-positive individuals and the intensity-dependent sensitivity of POC-CCA should be estimated to determine its suitability for verification of disease elimination efforts.

Methodology

We used data from settings in Africa and the Americas characterized by a wide range of S. mansoni endemicity. We estimated infection intensity-dependent sensitivity and specificity of each test at the unit of the individual, using a hierarchical Bayesian egg-count model that removes the need to define a ‘gold’ standard applied to data with multiple Kato-Katz thick smears and POC-CCA urine cassette tests. A simulation study was carried out based on the model estimates to assess the relation of the two diagnostic tests for different endemicity scenarios.

Principal findings

POC-CCA showed high specificity (> 95%), and high sensitivity (> 95%) for moderate and heavy infection intensities, and moderate sensitivity (> 75%) for light infection intensities, and even for egg-negative but antigen-positive infections. A 10% duplicate slide Kato-Katz thick smear prevalence corresponded to a 15–40% prevalence of ≥ trace-positive POC-CCA, and 10–20% prevalence of ≥ 1+ POC-CCA. The prevalence of ≥ 2+ POC-CCA corresponded directly to single slide Kato-Katz prevalence for all prevalence levels.

Conclusions/significance

The moderate sensitivity of POC-CCA, even for very light S. mansoni infections where the sensitivity of Kato-Katz is very low, and the identified relationship between Kato-Katz and POC-CCA prevalence thresholds render the latter diagnostic tool useful for surveillance and initial estimation of elimination of S. mansoni. For prevalence below 10% based on a duplicate slide Kato-Katz thick smear, we suggest using POC-CCA including trace results to evaluate treatment needs and propose new intervention thresholds that need to be validated in different settings.

Economic impact of dengue in Mexico considering reported cases for 2012 to 2016

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Adriana Zubieta-Zavala, Malaquias López-Cervantes, Guillermo Salinas-Escudero, Adrian Ramírez-Chávez, José Ramos Castañeda, Sendy Isarel Hernández-Gaytán, Juan Guillermo López Yescas, Luis Durán-Arenas

Background

Given that dengue disease is growing and may progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), data on economic cost and disease burden are important. However, data for Mexico are limited.

Methodology/Principal findings

Burden of dengue fever (DF) and DHF in Mexico was assessed using official databases for epidemiological information, disabilities weights from Shepard et al, the reported number of cases and deaths, and costs. Overall costs of dengue were summed from direct medical costs to the health system, cost of dengue to the patient (out-of-pocket expenses [medical and non-medical], indirect costs [loss of earnings, patient and/or caregiver]), and other government expenditures on prevention/surveillance. The first three components, calculated as costs per case by a micro-costing approach (PAATI; program, actions, activities, tasks, inputs), were scaled up to overall cost using epidemiology data from official databases. PAATI was used to calculate cost of vector control and prevention, education, and epidemiological surveillance, based on an expert consensus and normative construction of an ideal scenario.Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for Mexico in 2016 were calculated to be 2283.46 (1.87 per 100,000 inhabitants). Overall economic impact of dengue in Mexico for 2012 was US$144 million, of which US$44 million corresponded to direct medical costs and US$5 million to the costs from the patient’s perspective. The estimated cost of prevention/surveillance was calculated with information provided by federal government to be US$95 million. The overall economic impact of DF and DHF showed an increase in 2013 to US$161 million and a decrease to US$133, US$131 and US$130 million in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Conclusions/Significance

The medical and economic impact of dengue were in agreement with other international studies, and highlight the need to include governmental expenditure for prevention/surveillance in overall cost analyses given the high economic impact of these, increasing the necessity to evaluate its effectiveness.

Schistosomiasis is associated with incident HIV transmission and death in Zambia

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 13 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Kristin M. Wall, William Kilembe, Bellington Vwalika, Cecile Dinh, Paul Livingston, Yeuk-Mui Lee, Shabir Lakhi, Debi Boeras, Htee Khu Naw, Ilene Brill, Elwyn Chomba, Tyronza Sharkey, Rachel Parker, Erin Shutes, Amanda Tichacek, W. Evan Secor, Susan Allen

Background

We examined relationships between schistosome infection, HIV transmission or acquisition, and all-cause death.

Methods

We retrospectively tested baseline sera from a heterosexual HIV-discordant couple cohort in Lusaka, Zambia with follow-up from 1994–2012 in a nested case-control design. Schistosome-specific antibody levels were measured by ELISA. Associations between baseline antibody response to schistosome antigens and incident HIV transmission, acquisition, and all-cause death stratified by gender and HIV status were assessed. In a subset of HIV- women and HIV+ men, we performed immunoblots to evaluate associations between Schistosoma haematobium or Schistosoma mansoni infection history and HIV incidence.

Results

Of 2,145 individuals, 59% had positive baseline schistosome-specific antibody responses. In HIV+ women and men, baseline schistosome-specific antibodies were associated with HIV transmission to partners (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.8, p<0.005 and aHR = 1.4, p<0.05, respectively) and death in HIV+ women (aHR = 2.2, p<0.001). In 250 HIV- women, presence of S. haematobium-specific antibodies was associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition (aHR = 1.4, p<0.05).

Conclusion

Schistosome infections were associated with increased transmission of HIV from both sexes, acquisition of HIV in women, and increased progression to death in HIV+ women. Establishing effective prevention and treatment strategies for schistosomiasis, including in urban adults, may reduce HIV incidence and death in HIV+ persons living in endemic areas.

Development of <i>Onchocerca volvulus</i> in humanized NSG mice and detection of parasite biomarkers in urine and serum

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 12 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by John B. Patton, Sasisekhar Bennuru, Mark L. Eberhard, Jessica A. Hess, April Torigian, Sara Lustigman, Thomas B. Nutman, David Abraham

Background

The study of Onchocerca volvulus has been limited by its host range, with only humans and non-human primates shown to be susceptible to the full life cycle infection. Small animal models that support the development of adult parasites have not been identified.

Methodology/Principal findings

We hypothesized that highly immunodeficient NSG mice would support the survival and maturation of O. volvulus and alteration of the host microenvironment through the addition of various human cells and tissues would further enhance the level of parasite maturation. NSG mice were humanized with: (1) umbilical cord derived CD34+ stem cells, (2) fetal derived liver, thymus and CD34+ stem cells or (3) primary human skeletal muscle cells. NSG and humanized NSG mice were infected with 100 O. volvulus infective larvae (L3) for 4 to 12 weeks. When necropsies of infected animals were performed, it was observed that parasites survived and developed throughout the infection time course. In each of the different humanized mouse models, worms matured from L3 to advanced fourth stage larvae, with both male and female organ development. In addition, worms increased in length by up to 4-fold. Serum and urine, collected from humanized mice for identification of potential biomarkers of infection, allowed for the identification of 10 O. volvulus-derived proteins found specifically in either the urine or the serum of the humanized O. volvulus-infected NSG mice.

Conclusions/Significance

The newly identified mouse models for onchocerciasis will enable the development of O. volvulus specific biomarkers, screening for new therapeutic approaches and potentially studying the human immune response to infection with O. volvulus.

The disabling consequences of Mycetoma

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 10 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Mustafa Abbas, Peter Siordet Scolding, Abubaker Ahmed Yosif, Roa Fath EL Rahman, Melka O. EL-Amin, Mohamed Kamal Elbashir, Nora Groce, Ahmed Hassan Fahal

Mycetoma is a neglected tropical disease endemic in tropical and subtropical countries, particularly Sudan. The disease is characterised by the triad of painless subcutaneous mass, multiple sinuses and discharge that contain grains. It is a chronic, debilitating disease most commonly affecting the feet or hands and leads to substantial morbidity, loss of function and even amputation. It predominantly affects poor, rural populations and patients typically present late with advanced disease and complications. In this descriptive cross-sectional study, we characterise the disabling consequences of mycetoma. The study included 300 patients; 228 (76%) male and 72 (24%) female with confirmed mycetoma seen at the Mycetoma Research Centre, University of Khartoum, Sudan in the period May 2016 and January 2017. The study design was based upon the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, examining the impact of mycetoma on eight life domains. Our major finding is that mycetoma is a significantly disabling disease. Over 60% of the study population (181 patients) had moderate impairment or difficulty in at least one domain variable. The important disability was mobility impairment and walking difficulty that was reported in 119 patients (39.7%). There was significant pain associated with mycetoma lesions in 103 patients (34%), challenging the traditional view of mycetoma as a painless disease. The economic burden was also found to be substantial, with 126 patients (46.7%) reporting barriers to their ability to sustain themselves. This is the first study evaluating the disabling consequences of mycetoma and shows clear areas for intervention and further research. Options for mitigating social and economic impacts include routine integration of analgesia and physiotherapy into treatment protocols, and adapting educational provision and working practices based on disability assessment. Our data show that mycetoma is a public health issue with direct implications on quality of life.

Potential inconsistencies in Zika surveillance data and our understanding of risk during pregnancy

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 10 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by James A. Hay, Pierre Nouvellet, Christl A. Donnelly, Steven Riley

Background

A significant increase in microcephaly incidence was reported in Northeast Brazil at the end of 2015, which has since been attributed to an epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) infections earlier that year. Further incidence of congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) was expected following waves of ZIKV infection throughout Latin America; however, only modest increases in microcephaly and CZS incidence have since been observed. The quantitative relationship between ZIKV infection, gestational age and congenital outcome remains poorly understood.

Methodology/Principle findings

We characterised the gestational-age-varying risk of microcephaly given ZIKV infection using publicly available incidence data from multiple locations in Brazil and Colombia. We found that the relative timings and shapes of ZIKV infection and microcephaly incidence curves suggested different gestational risk profiles for different locations, varying in both the duration and magnitude of gestational risk. Data from Northeast Brazil suggested a narrow window of risk during the first trimester, whereas data from Colombia suggested persistent risk throughout pregnancy. We then used the model to estimate which combination of behavioural and reporting changes would have been sufficient to explain the absence of a second microcephaly incidence wave in Bahia, Brazil; a population for which we had two years of data. We found that a 18.9-fold increase in ZIKV infection reporting rate was consistent with observed patterns.

Conclusions

Our study illustrates how surveillance data may be used in principle to answer key questions in the absence of directed epidemiological studies. However, in this case, we suggest that currently available surveillance data are insufficient to accurately estimate the gestational-age-varying risk of microcephaly from ZIKV infection. The methods used here may be of use in future outbreaks and may help to inform improved surveillance and interpretation in countries yet to experience an outbreak of ZIKV infection.

Asymptomatic carriage of <i>Streptococcus pneumoniae</i> detected by qPCR on the palm of hands of populations in rural Senegal

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 10 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Codou Ndiaye, Hubert Bassene, Jean-Christophe Lagier, Didier Raoult, Cheikh Sokhna

Aside from malaria, infectious diseases are an important cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa and continue to pose major public health problems in African countries, notably pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae remains the most common bacterial cause of pneumonia in all age groups. The skin is one of the main infection sites followed by the oropharynx. The skin carriage of certain pathogenic bacteria such as S. pneumoniae is often ignored or under-diagnosed. Finally, the mode of transmission of these infections remains uncertain. Here, we hypothesized that skin could play a role in the transmission of these infections. We collected 649 cotton swabs from a healthy population in Dielmo and Ndiop, rural Senegal. The sampling was carried out on the palm of the hands. After DNA extraction and actin control, qPCR targeting eight different bacteria was performed on 614 skin samples. We detected Streptococcus pneumoniae in 33.06% (203/614), Staphylococcus aureus in 18.08% (111/614) and Streptococcus pyogenes in 1.95% (12/614) of samples. A skin S. pneumoniae carriage was detected in more than a third of a rural population in rural Africa, highlighting the need to develop hand disinfection programs in order to reduce the burden of infections.

Urban yellow fever outbreak—Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2016: Towards more rapid case detection

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 7 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Brecht Ingelbeen, Nadine A. Weregemere, Harold Noel, Gaston P. Tshapenda, Mathias Mossoko, Justus Nsio, Axelle Ronsse, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, Sandra Cohuet, Benoît I. Kebela

Background

Between December 2015 and July 2016, a yellow fever (YF) outbreak affected urban areas of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We described the outbreak in DRC and assessed the accuracy of the YF case definition, to facilitate early diagnosis of cases in future urban outbreaks.

Methodology/Principal findings

In DRC, suspected YF infection was defined as jaundice within 2 weeks after acute fever onset and was confirmed by either IgM serology or PCR for YF viral RNA. We used case investigation and hospital admission forms. Comparing clinical signs between confirmed and discarded suspected YF cases, we calculated the predictive values of each sign for confirmed YF and the diagnostic accuracy of several suspected YF case definitions. Fifty seven of 78 (73%) confirmed cases had travelled from Angola: 88% (50/57) men; median age 31 years (IQR 25–37). 15 (19%) confirmed cases were infected locally in urban settings in DRC. Median time from symptom onset to healthcare consultation was 7 days (IQR 6–9), to appearance of jaundice 8 days (IQR 7–11), to sample collection 9 days (IQR 7–14), and to hospitalization 17 days (IQR 11–26). A case definition including fever or jaundice, combined with myalgia or a negative malaria test, yielded an improved sensitivity (100%) and specificity (57%).

Conclusions/Significance

As jaundice appeared late, the majority of cases were diagnosed too late for supportive care and prompt vector control. In areas with known local YF transmission, a suspected case definition without jaundice as essential criterion could facilitate earlier YF diagnosis, care and control.

Vector competence of biting midges and mosquitoes for Shuni virus

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 7 December 2018 - 10:00pm

by Tim W. R. Möhlmann, Judith Oymans, Paul J. Wichgers Schreur, Constantianus J. M. Koenraadt, Jeroen Kortekaas, Chantal B. F. Vogels

Background

Shuni virus (SHUV) is an orthobunyavirus that belongs to the Simbu serogroup. SHUV was isolated from diverse species of domesticated animals and wildlife, and is associated with neurological disease, abortions, and congenital malformations. Recently, SHUV caused outbreaks among ruminants in Israel, representing the first incursions outside the African continent. The isolation of SHUV from a febrile child in Nigeria and seroprevalence among veterinarians in South Africa suggests that the virus may have zoonotic potential as well. The high pathogenicity, extremely broad tropism, potential transmission via both biting midges and mosquitoes, and zoonotic features warrants prioritization of SHUV for further research. Additional knowledge is essential to accurately determine the risk for animal and human health, and to assess the risk of future epizootics and epidemics. To gain first insights into the potential involvement of arthropod vectors in SHUV transmission, we have investigated the ability of SHUV to infect and disseminate in laboratory-reared biting midges and mosquitoes.

Methodology/Principal findings

Culicoides nubeculosus, C. sonorensis, Culex pipiens pipiens, and Aedes aegypti were orally exposed to SHUV by providing an infectious blood meal. Biting midges showed high infection rates of approximately 40–60%, whereas infection rates of mosquitoes were lower than 2%. SHUV successfully disseminated in both species of biting midges, but no evidence of transmission in orally exposed mosquitoes was found.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this study show that different species of Culicoides biting midges are susceptible to infection and dissemination of SHUV, whereas the two mosquito species tested were found not to be susceptible.

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