RSS news feeds

G6PD Deficiency at Sumba in Eastern Indonesia Is Prevalent, Diverse and Severe: Implications for Primaquine Therapy against Relapsing Vivax Malaria

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 6 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Ari Winasti Satyagraha, Arkasha Sadhewa, Vanessa Baramuli, Rosalie Elvira, Chase Ridenour, Iqbal Elyazar, Rintis Noviyanti, Farah Novita Coutrier, Alida Roswita Harahap, J. Kevin Baird

Safe treatment of Plasmodium vivax requires diagnosis of both the infection and status of erythrocytic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) activity because hypnozoitocidal therapy against relapse requires primaquine, which causes a mild to severe acute hemolytic anemia in G6PD deficient patients. Many national malaria control programs recommend primaquine therapy without G6PD screening but with monitoring due to a broad lack of G6PD deficiency screening capacity. The degree of risk in doing so hinges upon the level of residual G6PD activity among the variants present in any given area. We conducted studies on Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia in order to assess the potential threat posed by primaquine therapy without G6PD screening. We sampled 2,033 residents of three separate districts in western Sumba for quantitative G6PD activity and 104 (5.1%) were phenotypically deficient (<4.6U/gHb; median normal 10U/gHb). The villages were in two distinct ecosystems, coastal and inland. A positive correlation occurred between the prevalence of malaria and G6PD deficiency: 5.9% coastal versus inland 0.2% for malaria (P<0.001), and 6.7% and 3.1% for G6PD deficiency (P<0.001) at coastal and inland sites, respectively. The dominant genotypes of G6PD deficiency were Vanua Lava, Viangchan, and Chatham, accounting for 98.5% of the 70 samples genotyped. Subjects expressing the dominant genotypes all had less than 10% of normal enzyme activities and were thus considered severe variants. Blind administration of anti-relapse primaquine therapy at Sumba would likely impose risk of serious harm.

Toxocariasis Diagnosed in International Travelers at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, from 2000 to 2013

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 6 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Steven Van Den Broucke, Kirezi Kanobana, Katja Polman, Patrick Soentjens, Marc Vekemans, Caroline Theunissen, Erika Vlieghe, Marjan Van Esbroeck, Jan Jacobs, Erwin Van Den Enden, Jef Van Den Ende, Alfons Van Gompel, Jan Clerinx, Emmanuel Bottieau

Although infection with Toxocara canis or T. catis (commonly referred as toxocariasis) appears to be highly prevalent in (sub)tropical countries, information on its frequency and presentation in returning travelers and migrants is scarce. In this study, we reviewed all cases of asymptomatic and symptomatic toxocariasis diagnosed during post-travel consultations at the reference travel clinic of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. Toxocariasis was considered as highly probable if serum Toxocara-antibodies were detected in combination with symptoms of visceral larva migrans if present, elevated eosinophil count in blood or other relevant fluid and reasonable exclusion of alternative diagnosis, or definitive in case of documented seroconversion. From 2000 to 2013, 190 travelers showed Toxocara-antibodies, of a total of 3436 for whom the test was requested (5.5%). Toxocariasis was diagnosed in 28 cases (23 symptomatic and 5 asymptomatic) including 21 highly probable and 7 definitive. All but one patients were adults. Africa and Asia were the place of acquisition for 10 and 9 cases, respectively. Twelve patients (43%) were short-term travelers (< 1 month). Symptoms, when present, developed during travel or within 8 weeks maximum after return, and included abdominal complaints (11/23 symptomatic patients, 48%), respiratory symptoms and skin abnormalities (10 each, 43%) and fever (9, 39%), often in combination. Two patients were diagnosed with transverse myelitis. At presentation, the median blood eosinophil count was 1720/μL [range: 510–14160] in the 21 symptomatic cases without neurological complication and 2080/μL [range: 1100–2970] in the 5 asymptomatic individuals. All patients recovered either spontaneously or with an anti-helminthic treatment (mostly a 5-day course of albendazole), except both neurological cases who kept sequelae despite repeated treatments and prolonged corticotherapy. Toxocariasis has to be considered in travelers returning from a (sub)tropical stay with varying clinical manifestations or eosinophilia. Prognosis appears favorable with adequate treatment except in case of neurological involvement.

Exposure of Trypanosoma brucei to an N-acetylglucosamine-Binding Lectin Induces VSG Switching and Glycosylation Defects Resulting in Reduced Infectivity

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 6 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Víctor M. Castillo-Acosta, Luis M. Ruiz-Pérez, Els J. M. Van Damme, Jan Balzarini, Dolores González-Pacanowska

Trypanosoma brucei variant surface glycoproteins (VSG) are glycosylated by both paucimannose and oligomannose structures which are involved in the formation of a protective barrier against the immune system. Here, we report that the stinging nettle lectin (UDA), with predominant N-acetylglucosamine-binding specificity, interacts with glycosylated VSGs and kills parasites by provoking defects in endocytosis together with impaired cytokinesis. Prolonged exposure to UDA induced parasite resistance based on a diminished capacity to bind the lectin due to an enrichment of biantennary paucimannose and a reduction of triantennary oligomannose structures. Two molecular mechanisms involved in resistance were identified: VSG switching and modifications in N-glycan composition. Glycosylation defects were correlated with the down-regulation of the TbSTT3A and/or TbSTT3B genes (coding for oligosaccharyltransferases A and B, respectively) responsible for glycan specificity. Furthermore, UDA-resistant trypanosomes exhibited severely impaired infectivity indicating that the resistant phenotype entails a substantial fitness cost. The results obtained further support the modification of surface glycan composition resulting from down-regulation of the genes coding for oligosaccharyltransferases as a general resistance mechanism in response to prolonged exposure to carbohydrate-binding agents.

Molecular Characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. among Children in Rural Ghana

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 6 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Daniel Eibach, Ralf Krumkamp, Hassan M. Al-Emran, Nimako Sarpong, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Yaw Adu-Sarkodie, Egbert Tannich, Jürgen May

Background

The relevance of Cryptosporidium infections for the burden of childhood diarrhoea in endemic settings has been shown in recent years. This study describes Cryptosporidium subtypes among symptomatic and asymptomatic children in rural Ghana to analyse subtype-specific demographic, geographical, seasonal and clinical differences in order to inform appropriate control measures in endemic areas.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Stool samples were collected from 2232 children below 14 years of age presenting with and without gastrointestinal symptoms at the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital in the rural Ashanti region of Ghana between May 2007 and September 2008. Samples were screened for Cryptosporidium spp. by PCR and isolates were classified into subtypes based on sequence differences in the gp60 gene. Subtype specific frequencies for age, sex, location and season have been determined and associations with disease symptoms have been analysed within a case-control study.Cryptosporidium infections were diagnosed in 116 of 2232 (5.2%) stool samples. Subtyping of 88 isolates revealed IIcA5G3 (n = 26, 29.6%), IbA13G3 (n = 17, 19.3%) and IaA21R3 (n = 12, 13.6%) as the three most frequent subtypes of the two species C. hominis and C. parvum, known to be transmitted anthroponotically. Infections peak at early rainy season with 67.9% and 50.0% of infections during the months April, May and June for 2007 and 2008 respectively. C. hominis infection was mainly associated with diarrhoea (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–4.9) whereas C. parvum infection was associated with both diarrhoea (OR = 2.6; CI: 1.2–5.8) and vomiting (OR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.5–6.1).

Conclusions/Significance

Cryptosporidiosis is characterized by seasonal anthroponotic transmission of strains typically found in Sub-Saharan Africa. The infection mainly affects young infants, with vomiting and diarrhoea being one of the leading symptoms in C. parvum infection. Combining molecular typing and clinical data provides valuable information for physicians and is able to track sources of infections.

Recombinant NAD-dependent SIR-2 Protein of Leishmania donovani: Immunobiochemical Characterization as a Potential Vaccine against Visceral Leishmaniasis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 6 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Rajendra K Baharia, Rati Tandon, Tanuj Sharma, Manish K Suthar, Sanchita Das, Mohammad Imran Siddiqi, Jitendra Kumar Saxena, Shyam Sunder, Anuradha Dube

Background

The development of a vaccine conferring long-lasting immunity remains a challenge against visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Immunoproteomic characterization of Leishmania donovani proteins led to the identification of a novel protein NAD+-dependent Silent Information regulatory-2 (SIR2 family or sirtuin) protein (LdSir2RP) as one of the potent immunostimulatory proteins. Proteins of the SIR2 family are characterized by a conserved catalytic domain that exerts unique NAD-dependent deacetylase activity. In the present study, an immunobiochemical characterization of LdSir2RP and further evaluation of its immunogenicity and prophylactic potential was done to assess for its possible involvement as a vaccine candidate against leishmaniasis.

Methodology/Principal Findings

LdSir2RP was successfully cloned, expressed and purified. The gene was present as a monomeric protein of ~45 kDa and further established by the crosslinking experiment. rLdSir2RP shown cytosolic localization in L. donovani and demonstrating NAD+-dependent deacetylase activity. Bioinformatic analysis also confirmed that LdSir2RP protein has NAD binding domain. The rLdSir2RP was further assessed for its cellular response by lymphoproliferative assay and cytokine ELISA in cured Leishmania patients and hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) in comparison to soluble Leishmania antigen and it was observed to stimulate the production of IFN-γ, IL-12 and TNF-α significantly but not the IL-4 and IL-10. The naïve hamsters when vaccinated with rLdSir2RP alongwith BCG resisted the L. donovani challenge to the tune of ~75% and generated strong IL-12 and IFN-γ mediated Th1 type immune response thereof. The efficacy was further supported by remarkable increase in IgG2 antibody level which is indicative of Th1 type of protective response. Further, with a possible implication in vaccine design against VL, identification of potential T-cell epitopes of rLdSir2RP was done using computational approach.

Conclusion/Significance

The immunobiochemical characterization strongly suggest the potential of rLdSir2RP as vaccine candidate against VL and supports the concept of its being effective T-cell stimulatory antigen.

The Effect of Meteorological Variables on the Transmission of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Four Major Cities of Shanxi Province, China: A Time Series Data Analysis (2009-2013)

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Junni Wei, Alana Hansen, Qiyong Liu, Yehuan Sun, Phil Weinstein, Peng Bi

Increased incidence of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has been recognized as a critical challenge to communicable disease control and public health response. This study aimed to quantify the association between climate variation and notified cases of HFMD in selected cities of Shanxi Province, and to provide evidence for disease control and prevention. Meteorological variables and HFMD cases data in 4 major cities (Datong, Taiyuan, Changzhi and Yuncheng) of Shanxi province, China, were obtained from the China Meteorology Administration and China CDC respectively over the period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013. Correlations analyses and Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA) models were used to identify and quantify the relationship between the meteorological variables and HFMD. HFMD incidence varied seasonally with the majority of cases in the 4 cities occurring from May to July. Temperatures could play important roles in the incidence of HFMD in these regions. The SARIMA models indicate that a 1° C rise in average, maximum and minimum temperatures may lead to a similar relative increase in the number of cases in the 4 cities. The lag times for the effects of temperatures were identified in Taiyuan, Changzhi and Yuncheng. The numbers of cases were positively associated with average and minimum temperatures at a lag of 1 week in Taiyuan, Changzhi and Yuncheng, and with maximum temperature at a lag of 2 weeks in Yuncheng. Positive association between the temperature and HFMD has been identified from the 4 cities in Shanxi Province, although the role of weather variables on the transmission of HFMD varied in the 4 cities. Relevant prevention measures and public health action are required to reduce future risks of climate change with consideration of local climatic conditions.

Circulation of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Revealed by Screening of Cattle Sera Using a Novel Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Marc Mertens, Zati Vatansever, Slavcho Mrenoshki, Kiril Krstevski, Jovana Stefanovska, Igor Djadjovski, Iskra Cvetkovikj, Robert Farkas, Isolde Schuster, Fabien Donnet, Loic Comtet, Noël Tordo, Mohamed Ben Mechlia, Anne Balkema-Buschmann, Dine Mitrov, Martin H. Groschup

Background

There are only few assays available for the detection of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV)-specific antibodies in animals, and data about diagnostic sensitivity and specificity are incompletely documented for most of these tests. This is unfortunate since CCHFV antibodies in animals can be used as indicator for virus circulation in a geographic area and therewith potential risk of human exposure. This paper therefore reports on a novel ELISA for the detection of CCHFV-specific antibodies in cattle and on its application for testing ruminant sera from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Principal Findings

A highly sensitive and specific ELISA was developed to detect CCHFV-specific IgG antibodies in cattle. The assay was validated by using 503 negative serum samples from a country where CCHFV has never been detected until now, and by using 54 positive serum samples. The positive sera were verified by using two commercially available assays (for testing human serum) which we have adapted for use in animals. The sensitivity of the novel ELISA was 98% and its specificity 99%. The presence of Hyalomma ticks was demonstrated in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and depending on the region antibody prevalence rates up to 80% were detected in the cattle population.

Conclusion

This article describes a fully validated, highly sensitive and specific ELISA for the detection of CCHFV-specific IgG antibodies in cattle. Using this assay, CCHFV-specific antibodies were detected for the first time in cattle in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, giving evidence for an active circulation of this virus in the country. Supporting this conclusion, the occurrence of the main vector of CCHFV was demonstrated in the present work for the first time in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Raising the Political Profile of the Neglected Zoonotic Diseases: Three Complementary European Commission-Funded Projects to Streamline Research, Build Capacity and Advocate for Control

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Anna L. Okello, Iona Beange, Alexandra Shaw, Ignacio Moriyón, Sarah Gabriël, Kevin Bardosh, ICONZ , Maria Vang Johansen, Christopher Saarnak, Samson Mukaratirwa, ADVANZ , Dirk Berkvens, OH-NEXTGEN , Susan C. Welburn

In-vitro Activity of Avermectins against Mycobacterium ulcerans

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Till F. Omansen, Jessica L. Porter, Paul D. R. Johnson, Tjip S. van der Werf, Ymkje Stienstra, Timothy P. Stinear

Mycobacterium ulcerans causes Buruli ulcer (BU), a debilitating infection of subcutaneous tissue. There is a WHO-recommended antibiotic treatment requiring an 8-week course of streptomycin and rifampicin. This regime has revolutionized the treatment of BU but there are problems that include reliance on daily streptomycin injections and side effects such as ototoxicity. Trials of all-oral treatments for BU show promise but additional drug combinations that make BU treatment safer and shorter would be welcome. Following on from reports that avermectins have activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, we tested the in-vitro efficacy of ivermectin and moxidectin on M. ulcerans. We observed minimum inhibitory concentrations of 4–8 μg/ml and time-kill assays using wild type and bioluminescent M. ulcerans showed a significant dose-dependent reduction in M. ulcerans viability over 8-weeks. A synergistic killing-effect with rifampicin was also observed. Avermectins are well tolerated, widely available and inexpensive. Based on our in vitro findings we suggest that avermectins should be further evaluated for the treatment of BU.

Development of a pHrodo-Based Assay for the Assessment of In Vitro and In Vivo Erythrophagocytosis during Experimental Trypanosomosis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Benoit Stijlemans, Jennifer Cnops, Peter Naniima, Axel Vaast, Viki Bockstal, Patrick De Baetselier, Stefan Magez

Extracellular trypanosomes can cause a wide range of diseases and pathological complications in a broad range of mammalian hosts. One common feature of trypanosomosis is the occurrence of anemia, caused by an imbalance between erythropoiesis and red blood cell clearance of aging erythrocytes. In murine models for T. brucei trypanosomosis, anemia is marked by a very sudden non-hemolytic loss of RBCs during the first-peak parasitemia control, followed by a short recovery phase and the subsequent gradual occurrence of an ever-increasing level of anemia. Using a newly developed quantitative pHrodo based in vitro erythrophagocytosis assay, combined with FACS-based ex vivo and in vivo results, we show that activated liver monocytic cells and neutrophils as well as activated splenic macrophages are the main cells involved in the occurrence of the early-stage acute anemia. In addition, we show that trypanosomosis itself leads to a rapid alteration of RBC membrane stability, priming the cells for accelerated phagocytosis.

Why Latrines Are Not Used: Communities’ Perceptions and Practices Regarding Latrines in a Taenia solium Endemic Rural Area in Eastern Zambia

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Séverine Thys, Kabemba E. Mwape, Pierre Lefèvre, Pierre Dorny, Tanguy Marcotty, Andrew M. Phiri, Isaak K. Phiri, Sarah Gabriël

Taenia solium cysticercosis is a neglected parasitic zoonosis occurring in many developing countries. Socio-cultural determinants related to its control remain unclear. Studies in Africa have shown that the underuse of sanitary facilities and the widespread occurrence of free-roaming pigs are the major risk factors for porcine cysticercosis. The study objective was to assess the communities’ perceptions, practices and knowledge regarding latrines in a T. solium endemic rural area in Eastern Zambia inhabited by the Nsenga ethno-linguistic group, and to identify possible barriers to their construction and use. A total of 21 focus group discussions on latrine use were organized separately with men, women and children, in seven villages of the Petauke district. The themes covered were related to perceived latrine availability (absence-presence, building obstacles) and perceived latrine use (defecation practices, latrine management, socio-cultural constraints).The findings reveal that latrines were not constructed in every household because of the convenient use of existing latrines in the neighborhood. Latrines were perceived to contribute to good hygiene mainly because they prevent pigs from eating human feces. Men expressed reluctance to abandon the open-air defecation practice mainly because of toilet-associated taboos with in-laws and grown-up children of the opposite gender. When reviewing conceptual frameworks of people’s approach to sanitation, we found that seeking privacy and taboos hindering latrine use and construction were mainly explained in our study area by the fact that the Nsenga observe a traditionally matrilineal descent. These findings indicate that in this local context latrine promotion messages should not only focus on health benefits in general. Since only men were responsible for building latrines and mostly men preferred open defecation, sanitation programs should also be directed to men and address related sanitary taboos in order to be effective.

Relationship between Antibody Susceptibility and Lipopolysaccharide O-Antigen Characteristics of Invasive and Gastrointestinal Nontyphoidal Salmonellae Isolates from Kenya

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Robert S. Onsare, Francesca Micoli, Luisa Lanzilao, Renzo Alfini, Chinyere K. Okoro, Anne W. Muigai, Gunturu Revathi, Allan Saul, Samuel Kariuki, Calman A. MacLennan, Simona Rondini

Background

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae (NTS) cause a large burden of invasive and gastrointestinal disease among young children in sub-Saharan Africa. No vaccine is currently available. Previous reports indicate the importance of the O-antigen of Salmonella lipopolysaccharide for virulence and resistance to antibody-mediated killing. We hypothesised that isolates with more O-antigen have increased resistance to antibody-mediated killing and are more likely to be invasive than gastrointestinal.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We studied 192 NTS isolates (114 Typhimurium, 78 Enteritidis) from blood and stools, mostly from paediatric admissions in Kenya 2000–2011. Isolates were tested for susceptibility to antibody-mediated killing, using whole adult serum. O-antigen structural characteristics, including O-acetylation and glucosylation, were investigated. Overall, isolates were susceptible to antibody-mediated killing, but S. Enteritidis were less susceptible and expressed more O-antigen than Typhimurium (p<0.0001 for both comparisons). For S. Typhimurium, but not Enteritidis, O-antigen expression correlated with reduced sensitivity to killing (r = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.10-0.45, p = 0.002). Both serovars expressed O-antigen populations ranging 21–33 kDa average molecular weight. O-antigen from most Typhimurium were O-acetylated on rhamnose and abequose residues, while Enteritidis O-antigen had low or no O-acetylation. Both Typhimurium and Enteritidis O-antigen were approximately 20%–50% glucosylated. Amount of S. Typhimurium O-antigen and O-antigen glucosylation level were inversely related. There was no clear association between clinical presentation and antibody susceptibility, O-antigen level or other O-antigen features.

Conclusion/Significance

Kenyan S. Typhimurium and Enteritidis clinical isolates are susceptible to antibody-mediated killing, with degree of susceptibility varying with level of O-antigen for S. Typhimurium. This supports the development of an antibody-inducing vaccine against NTS for Africa. No clear differences were found in the phenotype of isolates from blood and stool, suggesting that the same isolates can cause invasive disease and gastroenteritis. Genome studies are required to understand whether invasive and gastrointestinal isolates differ at the genotypic level.

Proteomics Profiling of Chikungunya-Infected Aedes albopictus C6/36 Cells Reveal Important Mosquito Cell Factors in Virus Replication

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Regina Ching Hua Lee, Justin Jang Hann Chu

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is the only causative agent of CHIKV fever with persistent arthralgia, and in some cases may lead to neurological complications which can be highly fatal, therefore it poses severe health issues in many parts of the world. CHIKV transmission can be mediated via the Aedes albopictus mosquito; however, very little is currently known about the involvement of mosquito cellular factors during CHIKV-infection within the mosquito cells. Unravelling the neglected aspects of mosquito proteome changes in CHIKV-infected mosquito cells may increase our understanding on the differences in the host factors between arthropod and mammalian cells for successful replication of CHIKV. In this study, the CHIKV-infected C6/36 cells with differential cellular proteins expression were profiled using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) coupled with the use of matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). 2DE analysis on CHIKV-infected C6/36 cells has shown 23 mosquito cellular proteins that are differentially regulated, and which are involved diverse biological pathways, such as protein folding and metabolic processes. Among those identified mosquito proteins, spermatogenesis-associated factor, enolase phosphatase e-1 and chaperonin-60kD have been found to regulate CHIKV infection. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated gene knockdown of these proteins has demonstrated the biological importance of these host proteins that mediate CHIKV infection. These findings have provided an insight to the importance of mosquito host factors in the replication of CHIKV, thus providing a potential channel for developing novel antiviral strategies against CHIKV transmission.

Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrheal Disease in Ghanaian Infants and Children: An Outpatient Case-Control Study

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Ralf Krumkamp, Nimako Sarpong, Norbert Georg Schwarz, Julia Adelkofer, Wibke Loag, Daniel Eibach, Ralf Matthias Hagen, Yaw Adu-Sarkodie, Egbert Tannich, Jürgen May

Introduction

Diarrheal diseases are among the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide, especially in resource-poor areas. This case-control study assessed the associations between gastrointestinal infections and diarrhea in children from rural Ghana.

Methods

Stool samples were collected from 548 children with diarrhea and from 686 without gastrointestinal symptoms visiting a hospital from 2007–2008. Samples were analyzed by microscopy and molecular methods.

Results

The organisms most frequently detected in symptomatic cases were Giardia lamblia, Shigella spp./ enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC), and Campylobacter jejuni. Infections with rotavirus (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 8.4; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 4.3–16.6), C. parvum/hominis (aOR = 2.7; 95% CI: 1.4–5.2) and norovirus (aOR = 2.0; 95%CI: 1.3–3.0) showed the strongest association with diarrhea. The highest attributable fractions (AF) for diarrhea were estimated for rotavirus (AF = 14.3%; 95% CI: 10.9–17.5%), Shigella spp./EIEC (AF = 10.5%; 95% CI: 3.5–17.1%), and norovirus (AF = 8.2%; 95% CI 3.2–12.9%). Co-infections occurred frequently and most infections presented themselves independently of other infections. However, infections with E. dispar, C. jejuni, and norovirus were observed more often in the presence of G. lamblia.

Conclusions

Diarrheal diseases in children from a rural area in sub-Saharan Africa are mainly due to infections with rotavirus, Shigella spp./EIEC, and norovirus. These associations are strongly age-dependent, which should be considered when diagnosing causes of diarrhea. The presented results are informative for both clinicians treating gastrointestinal infections as well as public health experts designing control programs against diarrheal diseases.

Scabies and Impetigo Prevalence and Risk Factors in Fiji: A National Survey

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Lucia Romani, Josefa Koroivueta, Andrew C. Steer, Mike Kama, John M. Kaldor, Handan Wand, Mohammed Hamid, Margot J. Whitfeld

Background

Scabies is recognised as a major public health problem in many countries, and is responsible for significant morbidity due to secondary bacterial infection of the skin causing impetigo, abscesses and cellulitis, that can in turn lead to serious systemic complications such as septicaemia, kidney disease and, potentially, rheumatic heart disease. Despite the apparent burden of disease in many countries, there have been few large-scale surveys of scabies prevalence or risk factors. We undertook a population-based survey in Fiji of scabies and impetigo to evaluate the magnitude of the problem and inform public health strategies.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A total of 75 communities, including villages and settlements in both urban and rural areas, were randomly selected from 305 communities across the four administrative divisions, and all residents in each location were invited to participate in skin examination by trained personnel. The study enrolled 10,887 participants. The prevalence of scabies was 23.6%, and when adjusted for age structure and geographic location based on census data, the estimated national prevalence was 18.5%. The prevalence was highest in children aged five to nine years (43.7%), followed by children aged less than five (36.5%), and there was also an indication of prevalence increasing again in older age. The prevalence of scabies was twice as high in iTaukei (indigenous) Fijians compared to Indo-Fijians. The prevalence of impetigo was 19.6%, with a peak in children aged five to nine years (34.2%). Scabies was very strongly associated with impetigo, with an estimated 93% population attributable risk.

Conclusions

As far as we are aware, this is the first national survey of scabies and impetigo ever conducted. We found that scabies occurs at high levels across all age groups, ethnicities, and geographical locations. Improved strategies are urgently needed to achieve control of scabies and its complications in endemic communities.

Pyrethroid Treatment of Cattle for Tsetse Control: Reducing Its Impact on Dung Fauna

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Glyn A. Vale, John W. Hargrove, Andrew Chamisa, Ian F. Grant, Stephen J. Torr

Background

African trypansomiases of humans and animals can be controlled by attacking the vectors, various species of tsetse fly. Treatment of cattle with pyrethroids to kill tsetse as they feed is the most cost-effective method. However, such treatments can contaminate cattle dung, thereby killing the fauna which disperse the dung and so play an important role in soil fertility. Hence there is a need to identify cost-effective methods of treating cattle with minimal impact on dung fauna.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We used dung beetles to field bioassay the levels of dung contamination following the use of spray and pour-on formulations of deltamethrin, applied to various parts of the body of cattle in Zimbabwe. Results suggested that dung was contaminated by contact with insecticide on the body surface as the cattle defecated, and by ingestion of insecticide as the cattle licked themselves. Death of dung beetles was reduced to negligible levels by using only the spray and applying it to the legs and belly or legs alone, i.e., places where most tsetse feed.

Conclusion/Significance

The restricted applications suitable for minimising the impact on dung fauna have the collateral benefits of improving the economy and convenience of cattle treatments for tsetse control. The demonstration of collateral benefits is one of the surest ways of promoting environmentally friendly procedures.

Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli Carrying Supplementary Virulence Genes Are an Important Cause of Moderate to Severe Diarrhoeal Disease in Mexico

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Sandra Patzi-Vargas, Mussaret Bano Zaidi, Iza Perez-Martinez, Magda León–Cen, Alba Michel-Ayala, Damien Chaussabel, Teresa Estrada-Garcia

Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) cause acute and persistent diarrhoea worldwide, but little is known about their epidemiology in Mexico. We determined the prevalence of bacterial enteropathogens in 831 children with acute diarrhoea over a four-year period in Yucatan, Mexico. Six DEC supplementary virulence genes (SVG), mainly associated with enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), were sought in 3100 E. coli isolates. DEC was the most common bacterial enteropathogen (28%), surpassing Salmonella (12%) and Shigella (9%). Predominant DEC groups were diffusely adherent E. coli (DAEC) (35%), EAEC (24%), and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) (19%). Among children with DEC infections, 14% had severe illness mainly caused by EPEC (26%) and DAEC (18%); 30% had moderate diarrhoea mainly caused by DAEC (36%), mixed DEC infections (33%) and EAEC (32%). DAEC was most prevalent during spring, while ETEC, EAEC and EPEC predominated in summer. EAEC was more frequent in children 6–24 months old than in those younger than 6 months of age (P = 0.008, OR = 4.2, 95% CI, 1.3–13.9). The presence of SVG dispersin, (aatA), dispersin-translocator (aatA), enteroaggregative heat-stable toxin 1 (astA), plasmid encoded toxin (pet), cytolethal distending toxin (cdt) was higher in DEC than non-DEC strains, (36% vs 26%, P <0.0001, OR = 1.5, 95% CI, 1.3–1.8). 98% of EAEC-infected children harboured strains with SVG; 85% carried the aap-aatA gene combination, and 33% of these also carried astA. 28% of both EPEC and ETEC, and 6% of DAEC patients had strains with SVG. 54% of EPEC patients carried pet-positive strains alone or in combination with astA; only this DEC group harboured cdt-positive isolates. All ETEC patients carried astA- or astA-aap-positive strains. astA and aap were the most common SVG in DAEC (3% and 2%) and non-DEC strains (21% and 13%). DEC carrying SVG are an important cause of moderate to severe bacterial diarrhoea in Mexican children.

Coinjection with TLR2 Agonist Pam3CSK4 Reduces the Pathology of Leishmanization in Mice

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 4 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Lu Huang, Meleana Hinchman, Susana Mendez

Cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major is an emergent, uncontrolled public health problem and there is no vaccine. A promising prophylactic approach has been immunotherapy with Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists to enhance parasite-specific immune responses. We have previously reported that vaccination of C57BL/6 mice with live L. major plus the TLR9 agonist CpG DNA prevents lesion development and confers immunity to reinfection. Our current study aims to investigate whether other TLR agonists can be used in leishmanization without induction of lesion formation. We found that live L. major plus the TLR2 agonist Pam3CSK4 reduced the pathology in both genetically resistant (C57BL/6) and susceptible (BALB/c) mouse strains. The addition of Pam3CSK4 activated dermal dendritic cells and macrophages to produce greater amounts of proinflammatory cytokines in both mouse strains. Both Th1 and Th17 responses were enhanced by leishmanization with L. major plus Pam3CSK4 in C57BL/6 mice; however, Th17 cells were unchanged in BALB/c mice. The production of IL-17 from neutrophils was enhanced in both strains infected with L. major plus Pam3CSK4. However, the sustained influx of neutrophils in sites of infection was only observed in BALB/c mice. Our data demonstrate that the mechanism behind leishmanization with TLR agonists may be very different depending upon the immunological background of the host. This needs to be taken into account for the rational development of successful vaccines against the disease.

Prospective Study in a Porcine Model of Sarcoptes scabiei Indicates the Association of Th2 and Th17 Pathways with the Clinical Severity of Scabies

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Kate E. Mounsey, Hugh C. Murray, Helle Bielefeldt-Ohmann, Cielo Pasay, Deborah C. Holt, Bart J. Currie, Shelley F. Walton, James S. McCarthy

Background

Understanding of scabies immunopathology has been hampered by the inability to undertake longitudinal studies in humans. Pigs are a useful animal model for scabies, and show clinical and immunologic changes similar to those in humans. Crusted scabies can be readily established in pigs by treatment with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (Dex).

Methodology/ Principal Findings

Prospective study of 24 pigs in four groups: a) Scabies+/Dex+, b) Scabies+/Dex-, c) Scabies-/Dex+ and d) Scabies-/Dex-. Clinical symptoms were monitored. Histological profiling and transcriptional analysis of skin biopsies was undertaken to compare changes in cell infiltrates and representative cytokines. A range of clinical responses to Sarcoptes scabiei were observed in Dex treated and non-immunosuppressed pigs. An association was confirmed between disease severity and transcription of the Th2 cytokines IL-4 and IL-13, and up-regulation of the Th17 cytokines IL-17 and IL-23 in pigs with crusted scabies. Immunohistochemistry revealed marked infiltration of lymphocytes and mast cells, and strong staining for IL-17.

Conclusions/ Significance

While an allergic Th2 type response to scabies has been previously described, these results suggest that IL-17 related pathways may also contribute to immunopathology of crusted scabies. This may lead to new strategies to protect vulnerable subjects from contracting recurrent crusted scabies.

Arsenic Exposure and Outcomes of Antimonial Treatment in Visceral Leishmaniasis Patients in Bihar, India: A Retrospective Cohort Study

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 March 2015 - 10:00pm

by Meghan R. Perry, Vijay K. Prajapati, Joris Menten, Andrea Raab, Joerg Feldmann, Dipankar Chakraborti, Shyam Sundar, Alan H. Fairlamb, Marleen Boelaert, Albert Picado

Background

In the late twentieth century, emergence of high rates of treatment failure with antimonial compounds (SSG) for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused a public health crisis in Bihar, India. We hypothesize that exposure to arsenic through drinking contaminated groundwater may be associated with SSG treatment failure due to the development of antimony-resistant parasites.

Methods

A retrospective cohort design was employed, as antimony treatment is no longer in routine use. The study was performed on patients treated with SSG between 2006 and 2010. Outcomes of treatment were assessed through a field questionnaire and treatment failure used as a proxy for parasite resistance. Arsenic exposure was quantified through analysis of 5 water samples from within and surrounding the patient’s home. A logistic regression model was used to evaluate the association between arsenic exposure and treatment failure. In a secondary analysis survival curves and Cox regression models were applied to assess the risk of mortality in VL patients exposed to arsenic.

Results

One hundred and ten VL patients treated with SSG were analysed. The failure rate with SSG was 59%. Patients with high mean local arsenic level had a non-statistically significant higher risk of treatment failure (OR = 1.78, 95% CI: 0.7–4.6, p = 0.23) than patients using wells with arsenic concentration <10 μg/L. Twenty one patients died in our cohort, 16 directly as a result of VL. Arsenic levels ≥ 10 μg/L increased the risk of all-cause (HR 3.27; 95% CI: 1.4–8.1) and VL related (HR 2.65; 95% CI: 0.96–7.65) deaths. This was time dependent: 3 months post VL symptom development, elevated risks of all-cause mortality (HR 8.56; 95% CI: 2.5–29.1) and of VL related mortality (HR 9.27; 95% CI: 1.8–49.0) were detected.

Discussion/Conclusion

This study indicates a trend towards increased treatment failure in arsenic exposed patients. The limitations of the retrospective study design may have masked a strong association between arsenic exposure and selection for antimonial resistance in the field. The unanticipated strong correlation between arsenic exposure and VL mortality warrants further investigation.

Pages