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by Giorgi Babuadze, Jorge Alvar, Daniel Argaw, Harry P. de Koning, Merab Iosava, Merab Kekelidze, Nikoloz Tsertsvadze, David Tsereteli, Giorgi Chakhunashvili, Tamar Mamatsashvili, Nino Beria, Irine Kalandadze, Mikhail Ejov, Paata ImnadzeThis study investigated the transmission and prevalence of Leishmania parasite infection of humans in two foci of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) in Georgia, the well known focus in Tbilisi in the East, and in Kutaisi, a new focus in the West of the country. The seroprevalence of canine leishmaniasis was investigated in order to understand the zoonotic transmission. Blood samples of 1575 dogs (stray and pet) and 77 wild canids were tested for VL by Kalazar Detect rK39 rapid diagnostic tests. Three districts were investigated in Tbilisi and one in Kutaisi. The highest proportions of seropositive pet dogs were present in District #2 (28.1%, 82/292) and District #1 (26.9%, 24/89) in Tbilisi, compared to 17.3% (26/150) of pet dogs in Kutaisi. The percentage of seropositive stray dogs was also twice as high in Tbilisi (16.1%, n = 670) than in Kutaisi (8%, n = 50); only 2/58 wild animals screened were seropositive (2. 6%). A total of 873 Phlebotomine sand flies were collected, with 5 different species identified in Tbilisi and 3 species in Kutaisi; 2.3% of the females were positive for Leishmania parasites. The Leishmanin Skin Test (LST) was performed on 981 human subjects in VL foci in urban areas in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. A particularly high prevalence of LST positives was observed in Tbilisi District #1 (22.2%, 37.5% and 19.5% for ages 5–9, 15–24 and 25–59, respectively); lower prevalence was observed in Kutaisi (0%, 3.2% and 5.2%, respectively; P<0.05). This study shows that Tbilisi is an active focus for leishmaniasis and that the infection prevalence is very high in dogs and in humans. Although exposure is as yet not as high in Kutaisi, this is a new VL focus. The overall situation in the country is alarming and new control measures are urgently needed.
Shifts in Geographic Distribution and Antimicrobial Resistance during a Prolonged Typhoid Fever Outbreak — Bundibugyo and Kasese Districts, Uganda, 2009–2011
by Maroya Spalding Walters, Janell Routh, Matthew Mikoleit, Samuel Kadivane, Caroline Ouma, Denis Mubiru, Ben Mbusa, Amos Murangi, Emmanuel Ejoku, Absalom Rwantangle, Uziah Kule, John Lule, Nancy Garrett, Jessica Halpin, Nikki Maxwell, Atek Kagirita, Fred Mulabya, Issa Makumbi, Molly Freeman, Kevin Joyce, Vince Hill, Robert Downing, Eric MintzBackground
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi is transmitted by fecally contaminated food and water and causes approximately 22 million typhoid fever infections worldwide each year. Most cases occur in developing countries, where approximately 4% of patients develop intestinal perforation (IP). In Kasese District, Uganda, a typhoid fever outbreak notable for a high IP rate began in 2008. We report that this outbreak continued through 2011, when it spread to the neighboring district of Bundibugyo.Methodology/Principal Findings
A suspected typhoid fever case was defined as IP or symptoms of fever, abdominal pain, and ≥1 of the following: gastrointestinal disruptions, body weakness, joint pain, headache, clinically suspected IP, or non-responsiveness to antimalarial medications. Cases were identified retrospectively via medical record reviews and prospectively through laboratory-enhanced case finding. Among Kasese residents, 709 cases were identified from August 1, 2009–December 31, 2011; of these, 149 were identified during the prospective period beginning November 1, 2011. Among Bundibugyo residents, 333 cases were identified from January 1–December 31, 2011, including 128 cases identified during the prospective period beginning October 28, 2011. IP was reported for 507 (82%) and 59 (20%) of Kasese and Bundibugyo cases, respectively. Blood and stool cultures performed for 154 patients during the prospective period yielded isolates from 24 (16%) patients. Three pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern combinations, including one observed in a Kasese isolate in 2009, were shared among Kasese and Bundibugyo isolates. Antimicrobial susceptibility was assessed for 18 isolates; among these 15 (83%) were multidrug-resistant (MDR), compared to 5% of 2009 isolates.Conclusions/Significance
Molecular and epidemiological evidence suggest that during a prolonged outbreak, typhoid spread from Kasese to Bundibugyo. MDR strains became prevalent. Lasting interventions, such as typhoid vaccination and improvements in drinking water infrastructure, should be considered to minimize the risk of prolonged outbreaks in the future.
by Camille Escadafal, Oumar Faye, Amadou Alpha Sall, Ousmane Faye, Manfred Weidmann, Oliver Strohmeier, Felix von Stetten, Josef Drexler, Michael Eberhard, Matthias Niedrig, Pranav PatelBackground
Yellow fever (YF) is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The causative agent, the yellow fever virus (YFV), is found in tropical and subtropical areas of South America and Africa. Although a vaccine is available since the 1930s, YF still causes thousands of deaths and several outbreaks have recently occurred in Africa. Therefore, rapid and reliable diagnostic methods easy to perform in low-resources settings could have a major impact on early detection of outbreaks and implementation of appropriate response strategies such as vaccination and/or vector control.Methodology
The aim of this study was to develop a YFV nucleic acid detection method applicable in outbreak investigations and surveillance studies in low-resource and field settings. The method should be simple, robust, rapid and reliable. Therefore, we adopted an isothermal approach and developed a recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assay which can be performed with a small portable instrument and easy-to-use lyophilized reagents. The assay was developed in three different formats (real-time with or without microfluidic semi-automated system and lateral-flow assay) to evaluate their application for different purposes. Analytical specificity and sensitivity were evaluated with a wide panel of viruses and serial dilutions of YFV RNA. Mosquito pools and spiked human plasma samples were also tested for assay validation. Finally, real-time RPA in portable format was tested under field conditions in Senegal.Conclusion/Significance
The assay was able to detect 20 different YFV strains and demonstrated no cross-reactions with closely related viruses. The RPA assay proved to be a robust, portable method with a low detection limit (<21 genome equivalent copies per reaction) and rapid processing time (<20 min). Results from real-time RPA field testing were comparable to results obtained in the laboratory, thus confirming our method is suitable for YFV detection in low-resource settings.
Relationships between IgE/IgG4 Epitopes, Structure and Function in Anisakis simplex Ani s 5, a Member of the SXP/RAL-2 Protein Family
by María Flor García-Mayoral, Miguel Angel Treviño, Teresa Pérez-Piñar, María Luisa Caballero, Tobias Knaute, Ana Umpierrez, Marta Bruix, Rosa Rodríguez-PérezBackground
Anisakiasis is a re-emerging global disease caused by consumption of raw or lightly cooked fish contaminated with L3 Anisakis larvae. This zoonotic disease is characterized by severe gastrointestinal and/or allergic symptoms which may misdiagnosed as appendicitis, gastric ulcer or other food allergies.The Anisakis allergen Ani s 5 is a protein belonging to the SXP/RAL-2 family; it is detected exclusively in nematodes. Previous studies showed that SXP/RAL-2 proteins are active antigens; however, their structure and function remain unknown.The aim of this study was to elucidate the three-dimensional structure of Ani s 5 and its main IgE and IgG4 binding regions.Methodology/Principal Findings
The tertiary structure of recombinant Ani s 5 in solution was solved by nuclear magnetic resonance. Mg2+, but not Ca2+, binding was determined by band shift using SDS-PAGE. IgE and IgG4 epitopes were elucidated by microarray immunoassay and SPOTs membranes using sera from nine Anisakis allergic patients.The tertiary structure of Ani s 5 is composed of six alpha helices (H), with a Calmodulin like fold. H3 is a long, central helix that organizes the structure, with H1 and H2 packing at its N-terminus and H4 and H5 packing at its C-terminus. The orientation of H6 is undefined. Regarding epitopes recognized by IgE and IgG4 immunoglobulins, the same eleven peptides derived from Ani s 5 were bound by both IgE and IgG4. Peptides 14 (L40-K59), 26 (A76-A95) and 35 (I103-D122) were recognized by three out of nine sera.Conclusions/Significance
This is the first reported 3D structure of an Anisakis allergen. Magnesium ion binding and structural resemblance to Calmodulin, suggest some putative functions for SXP/RAL-2 proteins. Furthermore, the IgE/IgG4 binding regions of Ani s 5 were identified as segments localized on its surface. These data will contribute towards a better understanding of the interactions that occur between immunoglobulins and allergens and, in turn, facilitate the design of novel diagnostic tests and immunotherapeutic strategies.
A Systematic Approach to Capacity Strengthening of Laboratory Systems for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Sri Lanka
by Janet Njelesani, Russell Dacombe, Tanith Palmer, Helen Smith, Benjamin Koudou, Moses Bockarie, Imelda BatesBackground
The lack of capacity in laboratory systems is a major barrier to achieving the aims of the London Declaration (2012) on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). To counter this, capacity strengthening initiatives have been carried out in NTD laboratories worldwide. Many of these initiatives focus on individuals' skills or institutional processes and structures ignoring the crucial interactions between the laboratory and the wider national and international context. Furthermore, rigorous methods to assess these initiatives once they have been implemented are scarce. To address these gaps we developed a set of assessment and monitoring tools that can be used to determine the capacities required and achieved by laboratory systems at the individual, organizational, and national/international levels to support the control of NTDs.Methodology and principal findings
We developed a set of qualitative and quantitative assessment and monitoring tools based on published evidence on optimal laboratory capacity. We implemented the tools with laboratory managers in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. Using the tools enabled us to identify strengths and gaps in the laboratory systems from the following perspectives: laboratory quality benchmarked against ISO 15189 standards, the potential for the laboratories to provide support to national and regional NTD control programmes, and the laboratory's position within relevant national and international networks and collaborations.Conclusion
We have developed a set of mixed methods assessment and monitoring tools based on evidence derived from the components needed to strengthen the capacity of laboratory systems to control NTDs. Our tools help to systematically assess and monitor individual, organizational, and wider system level capacity of laboratory systems for NTD control and can be applied in different country contexts.
Resource Planning for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Programs: Feasibility Study of the Tool for Integrated Planning and Costing (TIPAC)
by Olivier J. Wouters, Philip W. Downs, Kathryn L. Zoerhoff, Kathryn R. Crowley, Hannah Frawley, Jennifer Einberg, Brian K. Chu, Molly A. Brady, Roland Oscar, Mireille Jeudi, Anne-Marie Desormeaux, Karleen Coly, Abdel N. Direny, Garib D. Thakur, Raj K. Pokharel, Shekhar Sharma, Dharmpal P. Raman, Santigie Sesay, Mustapha Sonnie, Bernard Kilembe, Upendo Mwingira, Aya Yajima
by Melody Tan, Rita Kusriastuti, Lorenzo Savioli, Peter J. Hotez
by Theo Mota, Ana C. R. Vitta, Alicia N. Lorenzo-Figueiras, Carla P. Barezani, Carlos L. Zani, Claudio R. Lazzari, Liléia Diotaiuti, Lynne Jeffares, Björn Bohman, Marcelo G. LorenzoBackground
Triatomine bugs are the insect vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease. These insects are known to aggregate inside shelters during daylight hours and it has been demonstrated that within shelters, the aggregation is induced by volatiles emitted from bug feces. These signals promote inter-species aggregation among most species studied, but the chemical composition is unknown.Methodology/Principal Findings
In the present work, feces from larvae of the three species were obtained and volatile compounds were identified by solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS). We identified five compounds, all present in feces of all of the three species: Triatoma infestans, Panstrongylus megistus and Triatoma brasiliensis. These substances were tested for attractivity and ability to recruit insects into shelters. Behaviorally active doses of the five substances were obtained for all three triatomine species. The bugs were significantly attracted to shelters baited with blends of 160 ng or 1.6 µg of each substance.Conclusions/Significance
Common compounds were found in the feces of vectors of Chagas disease that actively recruited insects into shelters, which suggests that this blend of compounds could be used for the development of baits for early detection of reinfestation with triatomine bugs.
Memantine, an Antagonist of the NMDA Glutamate Receptor, Affects Cell Proliferation, Differentiation and the Intracellular Cycle and Induces Apoptosis in Trypanosoma cruzi
by Flávia Silva Damasceno, María Julia Barisón, Elisabeth Mieko Furusho Pral, Lisvane Silva Paes, Ariel Mariano SilberChagas' disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and affects approximately 10 million people in endemic areas of Mexico and Central and South America. Currently available chemotherapies are limited to two compounds: Nifurtimox and Benznidazole. Both drugs reduce the symptoms of the disease and mortality among infected individuals when used during the acute phase, but their efficacy during the chronic phase (during which the majority of cases are diagnosed) remains controversial. Moreover, these drugs have several side effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Memantine, an antagonist of the glutamate receptor in the CNS of mammals, on the life cycle of T. cruzi. Memantine exhibited a trypanocidal effect, inhibiting the proliferation of epimastigotes (IC50 172.6 µM). Furthermore, this compound interfered with metacyclogenesis (approximately 30% reduction) and affected the energy metabolism of the parasite. In addition, Memantine triggered mechanisms that led to the apoptosis-like cell death of epimastigotes, with extracellular exposure of phosphatidylserine, increased production of reactive oxygen species, decreased ATP levels, increased intracellular Ca2+ and morphological changes. Moreover, Memantine interfered with the intracellular cycle of the parasite, specifically the amastigote stage (IC50 31 µM). Interestingly, the stages of the parasite life cycle that require more energy (epimastigote and amastigote) were more affected as were the processes of differentiation and cell invasion.
Comparative Analysis of Salivary Gland Transcriptomes of Phlebotomus orientalis Sand Flies from Endemic and Non-endemic Foci of Visceral Leishmaniasis
by Michaela Vlkova, Michal Sima, Iva Rohousova, Tatiana Kostalova, Petra Sumova, Vera Volfova, Erin L. Jaske, Kent D. Barbian, Teshome Gebre-Michael, Asrat Hailu, Alon Warburg, Jose M. C. Ribeiro, Jesus G. Valenzuela, Ryan C. Jochim, Petr VolfBackground
In East Africa, Phlebotomus orientalis serves as the main vector of Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Phlebotomus orientalis is present at two distant localities in Ethiopia; Addis Zemen where VL is endemic and Melka Werer where transmission of VL does not occur. To find out whether the difference in epidemiology of VL is due to distant compositions of P. orientalis saliva we established colonies from Addis Zemen and Melka Werer, analyzed and compared the transcriptomes, proteomes and enzymatic activity of the salivary glands.Methodology/Principal Findings
Two cDNA libraries were constructed from the female salivary glands of P. orientalis from Addis Zemen and Melka Werer. Clones of each P. orientalis library were randomly selected, sequenced and analyzed. In P. orientalis transcriptomes, we identified members of 13 main protein families. Phylogenetic analysis and multiple sequence alignments were performed to evaluate differences between the P. orientalis colonies and to show the relationship with other sand fly species from the subgenus Larroussius. To further compare both colonies, we investigated the humoral antigenicity and cross-reactivity of the salivary proteins and the activity of salivary apyrase and hyaluronidase.Conclusions
This is the first report of the salivary components of P. orientalis, an important vector sand fly. Our study expanded the knowledge of salivary gland compounds of sand fly species in the subgenus Larroussius. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, we showed that P. orientalis is closely related to Phlebotomus tobbi and Phlebotomus perniciosus, whereas Phlebotomus ariasi is evolutionarily more distinct species. We also demonstrated that there is no significant difference between the transcriptomes, proteomes or enzymatic properties of the salivary components of Addis Zemen (endemic area) and Melka Werer (non-endemic area) P. orientalis colonies. Thus, the different epidemiology of VL in these Ethiopian foci cannot be attributed to the salivary gland composition.
Risk Factors for Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections during the First 3 Years of Life in the Tropics; Findings from a Birth Cohort
by Stefanie K. Menzies, Alejandro Rodriguez, Martha Chico, Carlos Sandoval, Nely Broncano, Irene Guadalupe, Philip J. CooperBackground
Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) infect more than 2 billion humans worldwide, causing significant morbidity in children. There are few data on the epidemiology and risk factors for infection in pre-school children. To investigate risk factors for infection in early childhood, we analysed data prospectively collected in the ECUAVIDA birth cohort in Ecuador.Methods and Findings
Children were recruited at birth and followed up to 3 years of age with periodic collection of stool samples that were examined microscopically for STH parasites. Data on social, demographic, and environmental risk factors were collected from the mother at time of enrolment. Associations between exposures and detection of STH infections were analysed by multivariable logistic regression. Data were analysed from 1,697 children for whom a stool sample was obtained at 3 years. 42.3% had at least one STH infection in the first 3 years of life and the most common infections were caused by A. lumbricoides (33.2% of children) and T. trichiura (21.2%). Hookworm infection was detected in 0.9% of children. Risk of STH infection was associated with factors indicative of poverty in our study population such as Afro-Ecuadorian ethnicity and low maternal educational level. Maternal STH infections during pregnancy were strong risk factors for any childhood STH infection, infections with either A. lumbricoides or T. trichiura, and early age of first STH infection. Children of mothers with moderate to high infections intensities with A. lumbricoides were most at risk.Conclusions
Our data show high rates of infection with STH parasites during the first 3 years of life in an Ecuadorian birth cohort, an observation that was strongly associated with maternal STH infections during pregnancy. The targeted treatment of women of childbearing age, in particular before pregnancy, with anthelmintic drugs could offer a novel approach to the prevention of STH infections in pre-school children.
by Christian Julián Villabona-Arenas, Jessica Luana de Oliveira, Carla de Sousa Capra, Karime Balarini, Mauricio Loureiro, Celso Ricardo Theoto P. Fonseca, Saulo Duarte Passos, Paolo Marinho de Andrade Zanotto
by Dirk F. van Helden, Paul A. Thomas, Peter J. Dosen, Mohammad S. Imtiaz, Derek R. Laver, Geoffrey K. IsbisterBackground
This study examines the use of topical pharmacological agents as a snakebite first aid where slowing venom reaching the circulation prevents systemic toxicity. It is based on the fact that toxin molecules in most snake venoms are large molecules and generally first enter and traverse the lymphatic system before accessing the circulation. It follows on from a previous study where it was shown that topical application of a nitric oxide donor slowed lymph flow to a similar extent in humans and rats as well as increased the time to respiratory arrest for subcutaneous injection of an elapid venom (Pseudonaja textilis, Ptx; Eastern brown snake) into the hind feet of anaesthetized rats.Methodology/Principal Findings
The effects of topical application of the L-type Ca2+ channel antagonist nifedipine and the local anesthetic lignocaine in inhibiting lymph flow and protecting against envenomation was examined in an anaesthetized rat model. The agents significantly increased dye-measured lymph transit times by 500% and 390% compared to controls and increased the time to respiratory arrest to foot injection of a lethal dose of Ptx venom by 60% and 40% respectively. The study also examined the effect of Ptx venom dose over the lethal range of 0.4 to 1.5 mg/kg finding a negative linear relationship between increase in venom dose and time to respiratory arrest.Conclusions/Significance
The findings suggest that a range of agents that inhibit lymphatic flow could potentially be used as an adjunct treatment to pressure bandaging with immobilization (PBI) in snakebite first aid. This is important given that PBI (a snakebite first aid recommended by the Australian National Health and Medical research Council) is often incorrectly applied. The use of a local anesthetic would have the added advantage of reducing pain.
The Association of Parasitic Infections in Pregnancy and Maternal and Fetal Anemia: A Cohort Study in Coastal Kenya
by Elizabeth M. McClure, Steven R. Meshnick, Peter Mungai, Indu Malhotra, Christopher L. King, Robert L. Goldenberg, Michael G. Hudgens, Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Arlene E. DentBackground
Relative contribution of these infections on anemia in pregnancy is not certain. While measures to protect pregnant women against malaria have been scaling up, interventions against helminthes have received much less attention. In this study, we determine the relative impact of helminthes and malaria on maternal anemia.Methods
A prospective observational study was conducted in coastal Kenya among a cohort of pregnant women who were recruited at their first antenatal care (ANC) visit and tested for malaria, hookworm, and other parasitic infections and anemia at enrollment. All women enrolled in the study received presumptive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, iron and multi-vitamins and women diagnosed with helminthic infections were treated with albendazole. Women delivering a live, term birth, were also tested for maternal anemia, fetal anemia and presence of infection at delivery.Principal Findings
Of the 706 women studied, at the first ANC visit, 27% had moderate/severe anemia and 71% of women were anemic overall. The infections with highest prevalence were hookworm (24%), urogenital schistosomiasis (17%), trichuria (10%), and malaria (9%). In adjusted and unadjusted analyses, moderate/severe anemia at first ANC visit was associated with the higher intensities of hookworm and P. falciparum microscopy-malaria infections. At delivery, 34% of women had moderate/severe anemia and 18% of infants' cord hemoglobin was consistent with fetal anemia. While none of the maternal infections were significantly associated with fetal anemia, moderate/severe maternal anemia was associated with fetal anemia.Conclusions
More than one quarter of women receiving standard ANC with IPTp for malaria had moderate/severe anemia in pregnancy and high rates of parasitic infection. Thus, addressing the role of co-infections, such as hookworm, as well as under-nutrition, and their contribution to anemia is needed.
by Syed Shahid Abbas, Manish Kakkar, Elizabeth Tacket Rogawski, on behalf of the Roadmap to Combat Zoonoses in India (RCZI) initiativeThe study aimed to determine costs to the state government of implementing different interventions for controlling rabies among the entire human and animal populations of Tamil Nadu. This built upon an earlier assessment of Tamil Nadu's efforts to control rabies. Anti-rabies vaccines were made available at all health facilities. Costs were estimated for five different combinations of animal and human interventions using an activity-based costing approach from the provider perspective. Disease and population data were sourced from the state surveillance data, human census and livestock census. Program costs were extrapolated from official documents. All capital costs were depreciated to estimate annualized costs. All costs were inflated to 2012 Rupees. Sensitivity analysis was conducted across all major cost centres to assess their relative impact on program costs. It was found that the annual costs of providing Anti-rabies vaccine alone and in combination with Immunoglobulins was $0.7 million (Rs 36 million) and $2.2 million (Rs 119 million), respectively. For animal sector interventions, the annualised costs of rolling out surgical sterilisation-immunization, injectable immunization and oral immunizations were estimated to be $ 44 million (Rs 2,350 million), $23 million (Rs 1,230 million) and $ 11 million (Rs 590 million), respectively. Dog bite incidence, health systems coverage and cost of rabies biologicals were found to be important drivers of costs for human interventions. For the animal sector interventions, the size of dog catching team, dog population and vaccine costs were found to be driving the costs. Rabies control in Tamil Nadu seems a costly proposition the way it is currently structured. Policy makers in Tamil Nadu and other similar settings should consider the long-term financial sustainability before embarking upon a state or nation-wide rabies control programme.
by Rebecca Tave Gluskin, Michael A. Johansson, Mauricio Santillana, John S. BrownsteinDengue is a common and growing problem worldwide, with an estimated 70–140 million cases per year. Traditional, healthcare-based, government-implemented dengue surveillance is resource intensive and slow. As global Internet use has increased, novel, Internet-based disease monitoring tools have emerged. Google Dengue Trends (GDT) uses near real-time search query data to create an index of dengue incidence that is a linear proxy for traditional surveillance. Studies have shown that GDT correlates highly with dengue incidence in multiple countries on a large spatial scale. This study addresses the heterogeneity of GDT at smaller spatial scales, assessing its accuracy at the state-level in Mexico and identifying factors that are associated with its accuracy. We used Pearson correlation to estimate the association between GDT and traditional dengue surveillance data for Mexico at the national level and for 17 Mexican states. Nationally, GDT captured approximately 83% of the variability in reported cases over the 9 study years. The correlation between GDT and reported cases varied from state to state, capturing anywhere from 1% of the variability in Baja California to 88% in Chiapas, with higher accuracy in states with higher dengue average annual incidence. A model including annual average maximum temperature, precipitation, and their interaction accounted for 81% of the variability in GDT accuracy between states. This climate model was the best indicator of GDT accuracy, suggesting that GDT works best in areas with intense transmission, particularly where local climate is well suited for transmission. Internet accessibility (average ∼36%) did not appear to affect GDT accuracy. While GDT seems to be a less robust indicator of local transmission in areas of low incidence and unfavorable climate, it may indicate cases among travelers in those areas. Identifying the strengths and limitations of novel surveillance is critical for these types of data to be used to make public health decisions and forecasting models.
Immunoepidemiological Profiling of Onchocerciasis Patients Reveals Associations with Microfilaria Loads and Ivermectin Intake on Both Individual and Community Levels
by Kathrin Arndts, Sabine Specht, Alexander Y. Debrah, Francesca Tamarozzi, Ute Klarmann Schulz, Sabine Mand, Linda Batsa, Alexander Kwarteng, Mark Taylor, Ohene Adjei, Coralie Martin, Laura E. Layland, Achim HoeraufMass drug administration (MDA) programmes against Onchocerca volvulus use ivermectin (IVM) which targets microfilariae (MF), the worm's offspring. Most infected individuals are hyporesponsive and present regulated immune responses despite high parasite burden. Recently, with MDA programmes, the existence of amicrofilaridermic (a-MF) individuals has become apparent but little is known about their immune responses. Within this immunoepidemiological study, we compared parasitology, pathology and immune profiles in infection-free volunteers and infected individuals that were MF+ or a-MF. The latter stemmed from villages in either Central or Ashanti regions of Ghana which, at the time of the study, had received up to eight or only one round of MDA respectively. Interestingly, a-MF patients had fewer nodules and decreased IL-10 responses to all tested stimuli. On the other hand, this patient group displayed contrary IL-5 profiles following in vitro stimulation or in plasma and the dampened response in the latter correlated to reduced eosinophils and associated factors but elevated neutrophils. Furthermore, multivariable regression analysis with covariates MF, IVM or the region (Central vs. Ashanti) revealed that immune responses were associated with different covariates: whereas O. volvulus-specific IL-5 responses were primarily associated with MF, IL-10 secretion had a negative correlation with times of individual IVM therapy (IIT). All plasma parameters (eosinophil cationic protein, IL-5, eosinophils and neutrophils) were highly associated with MF. With regards to IL-17 secretion, although no differences were observed between the groups to filarial-specific or bystander stimuli, these responses were highly associated with the region. These data indicate that immune responses are affected by both, IIT and the rounds of IVM MDA within the community. Consequently, it appears that a lowered infection pressure due to IVM MDA may affect the immune profile of community members even if they have not regularly participated in the programmes.
A Polarized Cell Model for Chikungunya Virus Infection: Entry and Egress of Virus Occurs at the Apical Domain of Polarized Cells
by Pei Jin Lim, Justin Jang Hann ChuChikungunya virus (CHIKV) has resulted in several outbreaks in the past six decades. The clinical symptoms of Chikungunya infection include fever, skin rash, arthralgia, and an increasing incidence of encephalitis. The re-emergence of CHIKV with more severe pathogenesis highlights its potential threat on our human health. In this study, polarized HBMEC, polarized Vero C1008 and non-polarized Vero cells grown on cell culture inserts were infected with CHIKV apically or basolaterally. Plaque assays, viral binding assays and immunofluorescence assays demonstrated apical entry and release of CHIKV in polarized HBMEC and Vero C1008. Drug treatment studies were performed to elucidate both host cell and viral factors involved in the sorting and release of CHIKV at the apical domain of polarized cells. Disruption of host cell myosin II, microtubule and microfilament networks did not disrupt the polarized release of CHIKV. However, treatment with tunicamycin resulted in a bi-directional release of CHIKV, suggesting that N-glycans of CHIKV envelope glycoproteins could serve as apical sorting signals.
by Tapan Bhattacharyya, Duncan E. Bowes, Sayda El-Safi, Shyam Sundar, Andrew K. Falconar, Om Prakash Singh, Rajiv Kumar, Osman Ahmed, Marleen Boelaert, Michael A. MilesBackground
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a widely distributed systemic disease caused by infection with the Leishmania donovani complex (L. donovani and L. infantum), is almost always fatal if symptomatic and untreated. A rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for anti-Leishmania antibodies, the rK39-immunochromatographic test (rK39-ICT), has high sensitivity and specificity in South Asia but is less sensitive in East Africa. One of the underlying reasons may be continent-specific molecular diversity in the rK39 antigen within the L. donovani complex. However, a second reason may be differences in specific IgG anti-Leishmania levels in patients from different geographical regions, either due to variable antigenicity or immunological response.Methodology/Principal Findings
We determined IgG titres of Indian and Sudanese VL patients against whole cell lysates of Indian and Sudanese L. donovani strains. Indian VL patients had significantly higher IgG titres against both L. donovani strains compared to Sudanese VL patients (p<0.0001). Mean reciprocal log10 50% end-point titres (1/log10t50) were i) 3.80 and 3.88 for Indian plasma and ii) 2.13 and 2.09 for Sudanese plasma against Indian and Sudanese antigen respectively (p<0.0001). Overall, the Indian VL patients therefore showed a 46.8–61.7 -fold higher mean ELISA titre than the Sudanese VL patients. The higher IgG titres occurred in children (<16 years old) and adults of either sex from India (mean 1/log10t50: 3.60–4.15) versus Sudan (mean 1/log10t50: 1.88–2.54). The greatest difference in IgG responses was between male Indian and Sudanese VL patients of ≥ 16 years old (mean 1/log10t50: 4.15 versus 1.99 = 144-fold (p<0.0001).Conclusions/Significance
Anti-Leishmania IgG responses among VL patients in Sudan were significantly lower than in India; this may be due to chronic malnutrition with Zn2+ deficiency, or variable antigenicity and capacity to generate IgG responses to Leishmania antigens. Such differential anti-Leishmania IgG levels may contribute to lower sensitivity of the rK39-ICT in East Africa.
Deletion of Ubiquitin Fold Modifier Protein Ufm1 Processing Peptidase Ufsp in L. donovani Abolishes Ufm1 Processing and Alters Pathogenesis
by Sreenivas Gannavaram, Sonya Davey, Ines Lakhal-Naouar, Robert Duncan, Hira L. NakhasiPreviously, we showed Leishmania donovani Ufm1 has a Gly residue conserved at the C-terminal region with a unique 17 amino acid residue extension that must be processed prior to conjugation to target proteins. In this report, we describe for the first time the isolation and characterization of the Leishmania Ufm1-specific protease Ufsp. Biochemical analysis of L. donovani Ufsp showed that this protein possesses the Ufm1 processing activity using sensitive FRET based activity probes. The Ufm1 cleavage activity was absent in a mutant Ufsp in which the active site cysteine is altered to a serine. To examine the effects of abolition of Ufm1 processing activity, we generated a L. donovani null mutant of Ufsp (LdUfsp−/−). Ufm1 processing activity was abolished in LdUfsp−/− mutant, and the processing defect was reversed by re-expression of wild type but not the cys>ser mutant in the LdUfsp−/− parasites. Further LdUfsp−/− mutants showed reduced survival as amastigotes in infected human macrophages but not as promastigotes. This growth defect in the amastigotes was reversed by re-expression of wild type but not the cys>ser mutant in the Ufsp−/− indicating the essential nature of this protease for Leishmania pathogenesis. Further, mouse infection experiments showed deletion of Ufsp results in reduced virulence of the parasites. Additionally, Ufsp activity was inhibited by an anti-leishmanial drug Amphotericin B. These studies provide an opportunity to test LdUfsp−/− parasites as drug and vaccine targets.