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The Molecular Epidemiology and Evolution of Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus: Recent Emergence of Distinct Sub-lineages of the Dominant Genotype 1
by David T. Williams, Sinéad M. Diviney, Aziz-ur-Rahman Niazi, Peter A. Durr, Beng Hooi Chua, Belinda Herring, Alyssa Pyke, Stephen L. Doggett, Cheryl A. Johansen, John S. MackenzieBackground
Recent increased activity of the mosquito-borne Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) in Australia has renewed concerns regarding its potential to spread and cause disease.Methodology/Principal Findings
To better understand the genetic relationships between earlier and more recent circulating strains, patterns of virus movement, as well as the molecular basis of MVEV evolution, complete pre-membrane (prM) and Envelope (Env) genes were sequenced from sixty-six MVEV strains from different regions of the Australasian region, isolated over a sixty year period (1951–2011). Phylogenetic analyses indicated that, of the four recognized genotypes, only G1 and G2 are contemporary. G1 viruses were dominant over the sampling period and found across the known geographic range of MVEV. Two distinct sub-lineages of G1 were observed (1A and 1B). Although G1B strains have been isolated from across mainland Australia, Australian G1A strains have not been detected outside northwest Australia. Similarly, G2 is comprised of only Western Australian isolates from mosquitoes, suggesting G1B and G2 viruses have geographic or ecological restrictions. No evidence of recombination was found and a single amino acid substitution in the Env protein (S332G) was found to be under positive selection, while several others were found to be under directional evolution. Evolutionary analyses indicated that extant genotypes of MVEV began to diverge from a common ancestor approximately 200 years ago. G2 was the first genotype to diverge, followed by G3 and G4, and finally G1, from which subtypes G1A and G1B diverged between 1964 and 1994.Conclusions/Significance
The results of this study provides new insights into the genetic diversity and evolution of MVEV. The demonstration of co-circulation of all contemporary genetic lineages of MVEV in northwestern Australia, supports the contention that this region is the enzootic focus for this virus.
Establishment of a Canine Rabies Burden in Haiti through the Implementation of a Novel Surveillance Program
by Ryan M Wallace, Hannah Reses, Richard Franka, Pierre Dilius, Natael Fenelon, Lillian Orciari, Melissa Etheart, Apollon Destine, Kelly Crowdis, Jesse D Blanton, Calvin Francisco, Fleurinord Ludder, Victor Del Rio Vilas, Joseph Haim, Max MillienThe Republic of Haiti is one of only several countries in the Western Hemisphere in which canine rabies is still endemic. Estimation methods have predicted that 130 human deaths occur per year, yet existing surveillance mechanisms have detected few of these rabies cases. Likewise, canine rabies surveillance capacity has had only limited capacity, detecting only two rabid dogs per year, on average. In 2013, Haiti initiated a community-based animal rabies surveillance program comprised of two components: active community bite investigation and passive animal rabies investigation. From January 2013 –December 2014, 778 rabies suspect animals were reported for investigation. Rabies was laboratory-confirmed in 70 animals (9%) and an additional 36 cases were identified based on clinical diagnosis (5%), representing an 18-fold increase in reporting of rabid animals compared to the three years before the program was implemented. Dogs were the most frequent rabid animal (90%). Testing and observation ruled out rabies in 61% of animals investigated. A total of 639 bite victims were reported to the program and an additional 364 bite victims who had not sought medical care were identified during the course of investigations. Only 31% of people with likely rabies exposures had initiated rabies post-exposure prophylaxis prior to the investigation. Rabies is a neglected disease in-part due to a lack of surveillance and understanding about the burden. The surveillance methods employed by this program established a much higher burden of canine rabies in Haiti than previously recognized. The active, community-based bite investigations identified numerous additional rabies exposures and bite victims were referred for appropriate medical care, averting potential human rabies deaths. The use of community-based rabies surveillance programs such as HARSP should be considered in canine rabies endemic countries.
by Esmael Habtamu, Tariku Wondie, Sintayehu Aweke, Zerihun Tadesse, Mulat Zerihun, Zebideru Zewdie, Kelly Callahan, Paul M. Emerson, Hannah Kuper, Robin L. Bailey, David C. W. Mabey, Saul N. Rajak, Sarah Polack, Helen A. Weiss, Matthew J. BurtonBackground
Trachoma is widely considered a disease of poverty. Although there are many epidemiological studies linking trachoma to factors normally associated with poverty, formal quantitative data linking trachoma to household economic poverty within endemic communities is very limited.Methodology/Principal Findings
Two hundred people with trachomatous trichiasis were recruited through community-based screening in Amhara Region, Ethiopia. These were individually matched by age and gender to 200 controls without trichiasis, selected randomly from the same sub-village as the case. Household economic poverty was measured through (a) A broad set of asset-based wealth indicators and relative household economic poverty determined by principal component analysis (PCA, (b) Self-rated wealth, and (c) Peer-rated wealth. Activity participation data were collected using a modified ‘Stylised Activity List’ developed for the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Survey. Trichiasis cases were more likely to belong to poorer households by all measures: asset-based analysis (OR = 2.79; 95%CI: 2.06–3.78; p<0.0001), self-rated wealth (OR, 4.41, 95%CI, 2.75–7.07; p<0.0001) and peer-rated wealth (OR, 8.22, 95% CI, 4.59–14.72; p<0.0001). Cases had less access to latrines (57% v 76.5%, p = <0.0001) and higher person-to-room density (4.0 v 3.31; P = 0.0204) than the controls. Compared to controls, cases were significantly less likely to participate in economically productive activities regardless of visual impairment and other health problems, more likely to report difficulty in performing activities and more likely to receive assistance in performing productive activities.Conclusions/Significance
This study demonstrated a strong association between trachomatous trichiasis and relative poverty, suggesting a bidirectional causative relationship possibly may exist between poverty and trachoma. Implementation of the full SAFE strategy in the context of general improvements might lead to a virtuous cycle of improving health and wealth. Trachoma is a good proxy of inequality within communities and it could be used to target and evaluate interventions for health and poverty alleviation.
by Esmael Habtamu, Tariku Wondie, Sintayehu Aweke, Zerihun Tadesse, Mulat Zerihun, Zebideru Zewudie, Wondimu Gebeyehu, Kelly Callahan, Paul M. Emerson, Hannah Kuper, Robin L. Bailey, David C. W. Mabey, Saul N. Rajak, Sarah Polack, Helen A. Weiss, Matthew J. BurtonBackground
Trachomatous trichiasis is thought to have a profound effect on quality of life (QoL), however, there is little research in this area. We measured vision and health-related QoL in a case-control study in Amhara Region, Ethiopia.Methodology/Principal Findings
We recruited 1000 adult trichiasis cases and 200 trichiasis-free controls, matched to every fifth trichiasis case on age (+/- two years), sex and location. Vision-related quality of life (VRQoL) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) were measured using the WHO/PBD-VF20 and WHOQOL-BREF questionnaires. Comparisons were made using linear regression adjusted for age, sex and socioeconomic status. Trichiasis cases had substantially lower VRQoL than controls on all subscales (overall eyesight, visual symptom, general functioning and psychosocial, p<0.0001), even in the sub-group with normal vision (p<0.0001). Lower VRQoL scores in cases were associated with longer trichiasis duration, central corneal opacity, visual impairment and poor contrast sensitivity. Trichiasis cases had lower HRQoL in all domains (Physical-health, Psychological, Social, Environment, p<0.0001), lower overall QoL (mean, 34.5 v 64.6; p<0.0001) and overall health satisfaction (mean, 38.2 v 71.7; p<0.0001). This association persisted in a sub-group analysis of cases and controls with normal vision. Not having a marriage partner (p<0.0001), visual impairment (p = 0.0068), daily labouring (p<0.0001), presence of other health problems (p = 0.0018) and low self-rated wealth (p<0.0001) were independently associated with lower overall QoL scores in cases. Among cases, trichiasis caused 596 (59%) to feel embarrassed, 913 (91.3%) to worry they may lose their remaining eyesight and 681 (68.1%) to have sleep disturbance.Conclusions/Significance
Trachomatous trichiasis substantially reduces vision and health related QoL and is disabling, even without visual impairment. Prompt trichiasis intervention is needed both to prevent vision loss and to alleviate physical and psychological suffering, social exclusion and improve overall well-being. Implementation of the full SAFE strategy is needed to prevent the development of trachomatous trichiasis.
Prevalence of and Factors Associated with Human Cysticercosis in 60 Villages in Three Provinces of Burkina Faso
by Hélène Carabin, Athanase Millogo, Assana Cissé, Sarah Gabriël, Ida Sahlu, Pierre Dorny, Cici Bauer, Zekiba Tarnagda, Linda D Cowan, Rasmané GanabaBackground
Taenia solium, a zoonotic infection transmitted between humans and pigs, is considered an emerging infection in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet individual and community-level factors associated with the human infection with the larval stages (cysticercosis) are not well understood. This study aims to estimate the magnitude of association of individual-level and village-level factors with current human cysticercosis in 60 villages located in three Provinces of Burkina Faso.Methodology/Principal Findings
Baseline cross-sectional data collected between February 2011 and January 2012 from a large community randomized-control trial were used. A total of 3609 individuals provided serum samples to assess current infection with cysticercosis. The association between individual and village-level factors and the prevalence of current infection with cysticercosis was estimated using Bayesian hierarchical logistic models. Diffuse priors were used for all regression coefficients. The prevalence of current cysticercosis varied across provinces and villages ranging from 0% to 11.5%. The results obtained suggest that increased age, being male and consuming pork as well as a larger proportion of roaming pigs and percentage of sand in the soil measured at the village level were associated with higher prevalences of infection. Furthermore, consuming pork at another village market had the highest increased prevalence odds of current infection. Having access to a latrine, living in a household with higher wealth quintiles and a higher soil pH measured at the village level decreased the prevalence odds of cysticercosis.Conclusions/Significance
This is the first large-scale study to examine the association between variables measured at the individual-, household-, and village-level and the prevalence odds of cysticercosis in humans. Factors linked to people, pigs, and the environment were of importance, which further supports the need for a One Health approach to control cysticercosis infection.
Shaking the Tree: Multi-locus Sequence Typing Usurps Current Onchocercid (Filarial Nematode) Phylogeny
by Emilie Lefoulon, Odile Bain, Jérôme Bourret, Kerstin Junker, Ricardo Guerrero, Israel Cañizales, Yuriy Kuzmin, Tri Baskoro T. Satoto, Jorge Manuel Cardenas-Callirgos, Sueli de Souza Lima, Christian Raccurt, Yasen Mutafchiev, Laurent Gavotte, Coralie MartinDuring the past twenty years, a number of molecular analyses have been performed to determine the evolutionary relationships of Onchocercidae, a family of filarial nematodes encompassing several species of medical or veterinary importance. However, opportunities for broad taxonomic sampling have been scarce, and analyses were based mainly on 12S rDNA and coxI gene sequences. While being suitable for species differentiation, these mitochondrial genes cannot be used to infer phylogenetic hypotheses at higher taxonomic levels. In the present study, 48 species, representing seven of eight subfamilies within the Onchocercidae, were sampled and sequences of seven gene loci (nuclear and mitochondrial) analysed, resulting in the hitherto largest molecular phylogenetic investigation into this family. Although our data support the current hypothesis that the Oswaldofilariinae, Waltonellinae and Icosiellinae subfamilies separated early from the remaining onchocercids, Setariinae was recovered as a well separated clade. Dirofilaria, Loxodontofilaria and Onchocerca constituted a strongly supported clade despite belonging to different subfamilies (Onchocercinae and Dirofilariinae). Finally, the separation between Splendidofilariinae, Dirofilariinae and Onchocercinae will have to be reconsidered.
Modeling and Validation of Environmental Suitability for Schistosomiasis Transmission Using Remote Sensing
by Yvonne Walz, Martin Wegmann, Stefan Dech, Penelope Vounatsou, Jean-Noël Poda, Eliézer K. N'Goran, Jürg Utzinger, Giovanna RasoBackground
Schistosomiasis is the most widespread water-based disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Transmission is governed by the spatial distribution of specific freshwater snails that act as intermediate hosts and human water contact patterns. Remote sensing data have been utilized for spatially explicit risk profiling of schistosomiasis. We investigated the potential of remote sensing to characterize habitat conditions of parasite and intermediate host snails and discuss the relevance for public health.Methodology
We employed high-resolution remote sensing data, environmental field measurements, and ecological data to model environmental suitability for schistosomiasis-related parasite and snail species. The model was developed for Burkina Faso using a habitat suitability index (HSI). The plausibility of remote sensing habitat variables was validated using field measurements. The established model was transferred to different ecological settings in Côte d’Ivoire and validated against readily available survey data from school-aged children.Principal Findings
Environmental suitability for schistosomiasis transmission was spatially delineated and quantified by seven habitat variables derived from remote sensing data. The strengths and weaknesses highlighted by the plausibility analysis showed that temporal dynamic water and vegetation measures were particularly useful to model parasite and snail habitat suitability, whereas the measurement of water surface temperature and topographic variables did not perform appropriately. The transferability of the model showed significant relations between the HSI and infection prevalence in study sites of Côte d’Ivoire.Conclusions/Significance
A predictive map of environmental suitability for schistosomiasis transmission can support measures to gain and sustain control. This is particularly relevant as emphasis is shifting from morbidity control to interrupting transmission. Further validation of our mechanistic model needs to be complemented by field data of parasite- and snail-related fitness. Our model provides a useful tool to monitor the development of new hotspots of potential schistosomiasis transmission based on regularly updated remote sensing data.
by Rosalind E. Howes, Robert C. Reiner Jr., Katherine E. Battle, Joshua Longbottom, Bonnie Mappin, Dariya Ordanovich, Andrew J. Tatem, Chris Drakeley, Peter W. Gething, Peter A. Zimmerman, David L. Smith, Simon I. HayMalaria in sub-Saharan Africa has historically been almost exclusively attributed to Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). Current diagnostic and surveillance systems in much of sub-Saharan Africa are not designed to identify or report non-Pf human malaria infections accurately, resulting in a dearth of routine epidemiological data about their significance. The high prevalence of Duffy negativity provided a rationale for excluding the possibility of Plasmodium vivax (Pv) transmission. However, review of varied evidence sources including traveller infections, community prevalence surveys, local clinical case reports, entomological and serological studies contradicts this viewpoint. Here, these data reports are weighted in a unified framework to reflect the strength of evidence of indigenous Pv transmission in terms of diagnostic specificity, size of individual reports and corroboration between evidence sources. Direct evidence was reported from 21 of the 47 malaria-endemic countries studied, while 42 countries were attributed with infections of visiting travellers. Overall, moderate to conclusive evidence of transmission was available from 18 countries, distributed across all parts of the continent. Approximately 86.6 million Duffy positive hosts were at risk of infection in Africa in 2015. Analysis of the mechanisms sustaining Pv transmission across this continent of low frequency of susceptible hosts found that reports of Pv prevalence were consistent with transmission being potentially limited to Duffy positive populations. Finally, reports of apparent Duffy-independent transmission are discussed. While Pv is evidently not a major malaria parasite across most of sub-Saharan Africa, the evidence presented here highlights its widespread low-level endemicity. An increased awareness of Pv as a potential malaria parasite, coupled with policy shifts towards species-specific diagnostics and reporting, will allow a robust assessment of the public health significance of Pv, as well as the other neglected non-Pf parasites, which are currently invisible to most public health authorities in Africa, but which can cause severe clinical illness and require specific control interventions.
Deltamethrin Resistance Mechanisms in Aedes aegypti Populations from Three French Overseas Territories Worldwide
by Isabelle Dusfour, Pilar Zorrilla, Amandine Guidez, Jean Issaly, Romain Girod, Laurent Guillaumot, Carlos Robello, Clare StrodeBackground
Aedes aegypti is a cosmopolite mosquito, vector of arboviruses. The worldwide studies of its insecticide resistance have demonstrated a strong loss of susceptibility to pyrethroids, the major class of insecticide used for vector control. French overseas territories such as French Guiana (South America), Guadeloupe islands (Lesser Antilles) as well as New Caledonia (Pacific Ocean), have encountered such resistance.Methodology/Principal Findings
We initiated a research program on the pyrethroid resistance in French Guiana, Guadeloupe and New Caledonia. Aedes aegypti populations were tested for their deltamethrin resistance level then screened by an improved microarray developed to specifically study metabolic resistance mechanisms. Cytochrome P450 genes were implicated in conferring resistance. CYP6BB2, CYP6M11, CYP6N12, CYP9J9, CYP9J10 and CCE3 genes were upregulated in the resistant populations and were common to other populations at a regional scale. The implication of these genes in resistance phenomenon is therefore strongly suggested. Other genes from detoxification pathways were also differentially regulated. Screening for target site mutations on the voltage-gated sodium channel gene demonstrated the presence of I1016 and C1534.Conclusion /significance
This study highlighted the presence of a common set of differentially up-regulated detoxifying genes, mainly cytochrome P450 genes in all three populations. GUA and GUY populations shared a higher number of those genes compared to CAL. Two kdr mutations well known to be associated to pyrethroid resistance were also detected in those two populations but not in CAL. Different selective pressures and genetic backgrounds can explain such differences. These results are also compared with those obtained from other parts of the world and are discussed in the context of integrative research on vector competence.
Quality of Reporting and Adherence to ARRIVE Guidelines in Animal Studies for Chagas Disease Preclinical Drug Research: A Systematic Review
by Julián Ernesto Nicolás Gulin, Daniela Marisa Rocco, Facundo García-BournissenPublication of accurate and detailed descriptions of methods in research articles involving animals is essential for health scientists to accurately interpret published data, evaluate results and replicate findings. Inadequate reporting of key aspects of experimental design may reduce the impact of studies and could act as a barrier to translation of research findings. Reporting of animal use must be as comprehensive as possible in order to take advantage of every study and every animal used. Animal models are essential to understanding and assessing new chemotherapy candidates for Chagas disease pathology, a widespread parasitic disease with few treatment options currently available. A systematic review was carried out to compare ARRIVE guidelines recommendations with information provided in publications of preclinical studies for new anti-Trypanosoma cruzi compounds. A total of 83 publications were reviewed. Before ARRIVE guidelines, 69% of publications failed to report any macroenvironment information, compared to 57% after ARRIVE publication. Similar proportions were observed when evaluating reporting of microenvironmental information (56% vs. 61%). Also, before ARRIVE guidelines publication, only 13% of papers described animal gender, only 18% specified microbiological status and 13% reported randomized treatment assignment, among other essential information missing or incomplete. Unfortunately, publication of ARRIVE guidelines did not seem to enhance reporting quality, compared to papers appeared before ARRIVE publication. Our results suggest that there is a strong need for the scientific community to improve animal use description, animal models employed, transparent reporting and experiment design to facilitate its transfer and application to the affected human population. Full compliance with ARRIVE guidelines, or similar animal research reporting guidelines, would be an excellent start in this direction.
by Wolfgang W. Leitner, Tonu Wali, Randall Kincaid, Adriana Costero-Saint Denis
Bihar’s Pioneering School-Based Deworming Programme: Lessons Learned in Deworming over 17 Million Indian School-Age Children in One Sustainable Campaign
by Lesley J. Drake, Sarman Singh, C. K. Mishra, Amarjeet Sinha, Sanjay Kumar, Rajesh Bhushan, T. Deirdre Hollingsworth, Laura J. Appleby, Rakesh Kumar, Kriti Sharma, Yogita Kumar, Sri Raman, Stalin Chakrabarty, Jimmy H. Kihara, N. K. Gunawardena, Grace Hollister, Vandana Kumar, Anish Ankur, Babul Prasad, Sushma Ramachandran, Alissa Fishbane, Prerna Makkar
Simple, Rapid Mycobacterium ulcerans Disease Diagnosis from Clinical Samples by Fluorescence of Mycolactone on Thin Layer Chromatography
by Anita Wadagni, Michael Frimpong, Delphin Mavinga Phanzu, Anthony Ablordey, Emmanuel Kacou, Mirabelle Gbedevi, Estelle Marion, Yalan Xing, Vaddela Sudheer Babu, Richard Odame Phillips, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Yoshito Kishi, Kingsley AsieduIntroduction
Mycobacterium ulcerans infection, known as Buruli ulcer, is a disease of the skin and subcutaneous tissues which is an important but neglected tropical disease with its major impact in rural parts of West and Central Africa where facilities for diagnosis and management are poorly developed. We evaluated fluorescent thin layer chromatography (f-TLC) for detection of mycolactone in the laboratory using samples from patients with Buruli ulcer and patients with similar lesions that gave a negative result on PCR for the IS2404 repeat sequence of M. ulceransMethodology/Principal findings
Mycolactone and DNA extracts from fine needle aspiration (FNA), swabs and biopsy specimen were used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of f-TLC when compared with PCR for the IS2404. For 71 IS2404 PCR positive and 28 PCR negative samples the sensitivity was 73.2% and specificity of 85.7% for f-TLC. The sensitivity was similar for swabs (73%), FNAs (75%) and biopsies (70%).Conclusions
We have shown that mycolactone can be detected from M. ulcerans infected skin tissue by f-TLC technique. The technique is simple, easy to perform and read with minimal costs. In this study it was undertaken by a member of the group from each endemic country. It is a potentially implementable tool at the district level after evaluation in larger field studies.
Comparative Genomics of Field Isolates of Mycobacterium bovis and M. caprae Provides Evidence for Possible Correlates with Bacterial Viability and Virulence
by José de la Fuente, Iratxe Díez-Delgado, Marinela Contreras, Joaquín Vicente, Alejandro Cabezas-Cruz, Raquel Tobes, Marina Manrique, Vladimir López, Beatriz Romero, Javier Bezos, Lucas Dominguez, Iker A. Sevilla, Joseba M. Garrido, Ramón Juste, Guillermo Madico, Edward Jones-López, Christian GortazarMycobacteria of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) greatly affect humans and animals worldwide. The life cycle of mycobacteria is complex and the mechanisms resulting in pathogen infection and survival in host cells are not fully understood. Recently, comparative genomics analyses have provided new insights into the evolution and adaptation of the MTBC to survive inside the host. However, most of this information has been obtained using M. tuberculosis but not other members of the MTBC such as M. bovis and M. caprae. In this study, the genome of three M. bovis (MB1, MB3, MB4) and one M. caprae (MB2) field isolates with different lesion score, prevalence and host distribution phenotypes were sequenced. Genome sequence information was used for whole-genome and protein-targeted comparative genomics analysis with the aim of finding correlates with phenotypic variation with potential implications for tuberculosis (TB) disease risk assessment and control. At the whole-genome level the results of the first comparative genomics study of field isolates of M. bovis including M. caprae showed that as previously reported for M. tuberculosis, sequential chromosomal nucleotide substitutions were the main driver of the M. bovis genome evolution. The phylogenetic analysis provided a strong support for the M. bovis/M. caprae clade, but supported M. caprae as a separate species. The comparison of the MB1 and MB4 isolates revealed differences in genome sequence, including gene families that are important for bacterial infection and transmission, thus highlighting differences with functional implications between isolates otherwise classified with the same spoligotype. Strategic protein-targeted analysis using the ESX or type VII secretion system, proteins linking stress response with lipid metabolism, host T cell epitopes of mycobacteria, antigens and peptidoglycan assembly protein identified new genetic markers and candidate vaccine antigens that warrant further study to develop tools to evaluate risks for TB disease caused by M. bovis/M.caprae and for TB control in humans and animals.
Prevention of Malaria Resurgence in Greece through the Association of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) to Immigrants from Malaria-Endemic Regions and Standard Control Measures
by Maria Tseroni, Agoritsa Baka, Christina Kapizioni, Georges Snounou, Sotirios Tsiodras, Maria Charvalakou, Maria Georgitsou, Maria Panoutsakou, Ioanna Psinaki, Maria Tsoromokou, George Karakitsos, Danai Pervanidou, Annita Vakali, Varvara Mouchtouri, Theano Georgakopoulou, Zissis Mamuris, Nikos Papadopoulos, George Koliopoulos, Evangelos Badieritakis, Vasilis Diamantopoulos, Athanasios Tsakris, Jenny Kremastinou, Christos Hadjichristodoulou, MALWEST ProjectGreece was declared malaria-free in 1974 after a long antimalarial fight. In 2011–2012, an outbreak of P. vivax malaria was reported in Evrotas, an agricultural area in Southern Greece, where a large number of immigrants from endemic countries live and work. A total of 46 locally acquired and 38 imported malaria cases were detected. Despite a significant decrease of the number of malaria cases in 2012, a mass drug administration (MDA) program was considered as an additional measure to prevent reestablishment of the disease in the area. During 2013 and 2014, a combination of 3-day chloroquine and 14-day primaquine treatment was administered under direct observation to immigrants living in the epicenter of the 2011 outbreak in Evrotas. Adverse events were managed and recorded on a daily basis. The control measures implemented since 2011 continued during the period of 2013–2014 as a part of a national integrated malaria control program that included active case detection (ACD), vector control measures and community education. The MDA program was started prior to the transmission periods (from May to December). One thousand ninety four (1094) immigrants successfully completed the treatment, corresponding to 87.3% coverage of the target population. A total of 688 adverse events were recorded in 397 (36.2%, 95% C.I.: 33.4–39.1) persons, the vast majority minor, predominantly dizziness and headache for chloroquine (284 events) and abdominal pain (85 events) for primaquine. A single case of primaquine-induced hemolysis was recorded in a person whose initial G6PD test proved incorrect. No malaria cases were recorded in Evrotas, Laconia, in 2013 and 2014, though three locally acquired malaria cases were recorded in other regions of Greece in 2013. Preventive antimalarial MDA to a high-risk population in a low transmission setting appears to have synergized with the usual antimalarial activities to achieve malaria elimination. This study suggests that judicious use of MDA can be a useful addition to the antimalarial armamentarium in areas threatened with the reintroduction of the disease.
Distribution and Potential Indicators of Hospitalized Cases of Neurocysticercosis and Epilepsy in Ecuador from 1996 to 2008
by Lenin Ron-Garrido, Marco Coral-Almeida, Sarah Gabriël, Washington Benitez-Ortiz, Claude Saegerman, Pierre Dorny, Dirk Berkvens, Emmanuel Nji AbatihBackground
Epilepsy is one of the most common signs of Neurocysticercosis (NCC). In this study, spatial and temporal variations in the incidence of hospitalized cases (IHC) of epilepsy and NCC in Ecuadorian municipalities were analyzed. Additionally, potential socio-economic and landscape indicators were evaluated in order to understand in part the macro-epidemiology of the Taenia solium taeniasis/cysticercosis complex.Methodology
Data on the number of hospitalized epilepsy and NCC cases by municipality of residence were obtained from morbidity-hospital systems in Ecuador. SatScan software was used to determine whether variations in the IHC of epilepsy and NCC in space and time. In addition, several socio-economic and landscape variables at municipality level were used to study factors intervening in the macro-epidemiology of these diseases. Negative Binomial regression models through stepwise selection and Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) were used to explain the variations in the IHC of epilepsy and NCC.Principal findings
Different clusters were identified through space and time. Traditional endemic zones for NCC and epilepsy, recognized in other studies were confirmed in our study. However, for both disorders more recent clusters were identified. Among municipalities, an increasing tendency for IHC of epilepsy, and a decreasing tendency for the IHC of NCC were observed over time. In contrast, within municipalities a positive linear relationship between both disorders was found. An increase in the implementation of systems for eliminating excrements would help to reduce the IHC of epilepsy by 1.00% (IC95%; 0.2%–1.8%) and by 5.12% (IC95%; 3.63%-6.59%) for the IHC of NCC. The presence of pig production was related to IHC of NCC.Conclusion/Significance
Both disorders were related to the lack of an efficient system for eliminating excrements. Given the appearance of recent epilepsy clusters, these locations should be studied in depth to discriminate epilepsies due to NCC from epilepsies due to other causes. Field studies are needed to evaluate the true prevalence of cysticercosis in humans and pigs in different zones of the country in order to better implement and manage prevention and/or control campaigns.
Molecular Characterisation of Chikungunya Virus Infections in Trinidad and Comparison of Clinical and Laboratory Features with Dengue and Other Acute Febrile Cases
by Nikita Sahadeo, Hamish Mohammed, Orchid M. Allicock, Albert J. Auguste, Steven G. Widen, Kimberly Badal, Krishna Pulchan, Jerome E. Foster, Scott C. Weaver, Christine V. F. CarringtonLocal transmission of Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) was first documented in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in July 2014 preceding a large epidemic. At initial presentation, it is difficult to distinguish chikungunya fever (CHIKF) from other acute undifferentiated febrile illnesses (AUFIs), including life-threatening dengue disease. We characterised and compared dengue virus (DENV) and CHIKV infections in 158 patients presenting with suspected dengue fever (DF) and CHIKF at a major hospital in T&T, and performed phylogenetic analyses on CHIKV genomic sequences recovered from 8 individuals. The characteristics of patients with and without PCR-confirmed CHIKV were compared using Pearson’s χ2 and student’s t-tests, and adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined using logistic regression. We then compared signs and symptoms of people with RT-qPCR-confirmed CHIKV and DENV infections using the Mann-Whitney U, Pearson’s χ2 and Fisher’s exact tests. Among the 158 persons there were 8 (6%) RT-qPCR-confirmed DENV and 30 (22%) RT-qPCR-confirmed CHIKV infections. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the CHIKV strains belonged to the Asian genotype and were most closely related to a British Virgin Islands strain isolated at the beginning of the 2013/14 outbreak in the Americas. Compared to persons who were RT-qPCR-negative for CHIKV, RT-qPCR-positive individuals were significantly more likely to have joint pain (aOR: 4.52 [95% CI: 1.28–16.00]), less likely to be interviewed at a later stage of illness (days post onset of fever—aOR: 0.56 [0.40–0.78]) and had a lower white blood cell count (aOR: 0.83 [0.71–0.96]). Among the 38 patients with RT-qPCR-confirmed CHIKV or DENV, there were no significant differences in symptomatic presentation. However when individuals with serological evidence of recent DENV or CHIKV infection were included in the analyses, there were key differences in clinical presentation between CHIKF and other AUFIs including DF, which can be used to triage patients for appropriate care in the clinical setting.
Polyfunctional Specific Response to Echinococcus Granulosus Associates to the Biological Activity of the Cysts
by Linda Petrone, Valentina Vanini, Elisa Petruccioli, Giuseppe Maria Ettorre, Vincenzo Schininà, Elisa Busi Rizzi, Alessandra Ludovisi, Angela Corpolongo, Giuseppe Ippolito, Edoardo Pozio, Antonella Teggi, Delia GolettiBackground
Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a complex disease caused by Echinococcus granulosus (E.granulosus), and its immunophatogenesis is still not clearly defined. A peculiar feature of chronic CE is the coexistence of Th1 and Th2 responses. It has been suggested that Th1 cytokines are related to disease resistance, whereas Th2 cytokines are related to disease susceptibility and chronicity. The aim of this study was to evaluate, by multi-parametric flow cytometry (FACS), the presence of CE specific immune signatures.Methodology/Principal Findings
We enrolled 54 subjects with suspected CE; 42 of them had a confirmed diagnosis, whereas 12 were classified as NO-CE. Based on the ultrasonography images, CE patients were further categorized as being in "active stages" (25) and "inactive stages" (17). The ability of CD4+ T-cells to produce IFN-γ, IL-2, TNF-α, Th2 cytokines or IL-10 was assessed by FACS on antigen-specific T-cells after overnight stimulation with Antigen B (AgB) of E.granulosus. Cytokine profiles were evaluated in all the enrolled subjects. The results show that none of the NO-CE subjects had a detectable AgB-specific response. Among the CE patients, the frequency and proportions of AgB-specific CD4+ T-cells producing IL-2+TNF-α+Th2+ or TNF-α+Th2+ were significantly increased in the “active stages” group compared to the “inactive stages” group. Moreover, an increased proportion of the total polyfunctional subsets, as triple-and double-functional CD4 T-cells, was found in CE patients with active disease. The response to the mitogen, used as a control stimulus to evaluate the immune competence status, was characterized by the same cytokine subsets in all the subjects enrolled, independent of CE.Conclusions
We demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, that polyfunctional T-cell subsets as IL-2+TNF-α+Th2+ triple-positive and TNF-α+Th2+ double-positive specific T-cells associate with cyst biological activity. These results contribute to increase knowledge of CE immunophatogenesis and the disease outcome in terms of control and persistence.
by Genevieve Housman, Joanna Malukiewicz, Vanner Boere, Adriana D. Grativol, Luiz Cezar M. Pereira, Ita de Oliveira e Silva, Carlos R. Ruiz-Miranda, Richard Truman, Anne C. StoneZoonotic pathogens that cause leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae) and tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, MTBC) continue to impact modern human populations. Therefore, methods able to survey mycobacterial infection in potential animal hosts are necessary for proper evaluation of human exposure threats. Here we tested for mycobacterial-specific single- and multi-copy loci using qPCR. In a trial study in which armadillos were artificially infected with M. leprae, these techniques were specific and sensitive to pathogen detection, while more traditional ELISAs were only specific. These assays were then employed in a case study to detect M. leprae as well as MTBC in wild marmosets. All marmosets were negative for M. leprae DNA, but 14 were positive for the mycobacterial rpoB gene assay. Targeted capture and sequencing of rpoB and other MTBC genes validated the presence of mycobacterial DNA in these samples and revealed that qPCR is useful for identifying mycobacterial-infected animal hosts.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) on Rift Valley Fever among Pastoralist Communities of Ijara District, North Eastern Kenya
by Ismail H. Abdi, Hippolyte D. Affognon, Anthony K. Wanjoya, Washington Onyango-Ouma, Rosemary SangOutbreaks of Rift Valley fever (RVF), a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis, have previously been associated with unusually heavy rainfall and extensive flooding. The disease is a serious public health problem in Africa and the Middle East, and is a potential global health threat. In Kenya, outbreaks of the disease have disproportionately affected impoverished pastoralist communities. This study sought to assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) regarding RVF among the pastoralists of North Eastern Kenya, and to establish the determinants of KAP on RVF. A cross-sectional study involving 392 pastoralists living in Ijara district (Masalani and Ijara wards) was carried out using an interview questionnaire. All respondents interviewed (100%) had heard about RVF disease. They recognized that the disease is dangerous (99%), and had a positive attitude towards vaccination of animals (77%). However, few respondents knew that abortion (11%) and high mortality of young animals (10%) were key signs of RVF in animals. Very few (4%) use any form of protection when handling sick animals to avoid infection. Significant factors associated with knowledge were being in a household with a history of RVF infection (OR = 1.262, 95% CI = 1.099–1.447), having more livestock (OR = 1.285, 95% CI = 1.175–1.404) and the place of residence, Masalani (OR = 0.526, 95% CI = 0.480–0.576). Overall knowledge score on RVF was found to be a significant predictor of good preventive practice of the disease (OR = 1.073, 95% CI = 1.047–1.101). Despite the positive attitude that pastoralist communities have towards the prevention of RVF, there exist gaps in knowledge and good practices on the disease. Therefore there is need for public health education to address these gaps, and to identify and facilitate the removal of barriers to behavioural change related to the prevention of RVF.