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Correction: Environmental Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in the Hawaiian Islands

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Jennifer R. Honda, Nabeeh A. Hasan, Rebecca M. Davidson, Myra D. Williams, L. Elaine Epperson, Paul R. Reynolds, Terry Smith, Elena Iakhiaeva, Matthew J. Bankowski, Richard J. Wallace Jr., Edward D. Chan, Joseph O. Falkinham III, Michael Strong

Clinical and Pharmacological Investigation of Myotoxicity in Sri Lankan Russell’s Viper (<i>Daboia russelii</i>) Envenoming

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Anjana Silva, Christopher Johnston, Sanjaya Kuruppu, Daniela Kneisz, Kalana Maduwage, Oded Kleifeld, A. Ian Smith, Sisira Siribaddana, Nicholas A. Buckley, Wayne C. Hodgson, Geoffrey K. Isbister


Sri Lankan Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) envenoming is reported to cause myotoxicity and neurotoxicity, which are different to the effects of envenoming by most other populations of Russell’s vipers. This study aimed to investigate evidence of myotoxicity in Russell’s viper envenoming, response to antivenom and the toxins responsible for myotoxicity.

Methodology and Findings

Clinical features of myotoxicity were assessed in authenticated Russell’s viper bite patients admitted to a Sri Lankan teaching hospital. Toxins were isolated using high-performance liquid chromatography. In-vitro myotoxicity of the venom and toxins was investigated in chick biventer nerve-muscle preparations. Of 245 enrolled patients, 177 (72.2%) had local myalgia and 173 (70.6%) had local muscle tenderness. Generalized myalgia and muscle tenderness were present in 35 (14.2%) and 29 (11.8%) patients, respectively. Thirty-seven patients had high (>300 U/l) serum creatine kinase (CK) concentrations in samples 24h post-bite (median: 666 U/l; maximum: 1066 U/l). Peak venom and 24h CK concentrations were not associated (Spearman’s correlation; p = 0.48). The 24h CK concentrations differed in patients without myotoxicity (median 58 U/l), compared to those with local (137 U/l) and generalised signs/symptoms of myotoxicity (107 U/l; p = 0.049). Venom caused concentration-dependent inhibition of direct twitches in the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation, without completely abolishing direct twitches after 3 h even at 80 μg/ml. Indian polyvalent antivenom did not prevent in-vitro myotoxicity at recommended concentrations. Two phospholipase A2 toxins with molecular weights of 13kDa, U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a (19.2% of venom) and U1-viperitoxin-Dr1b (22.7% of venom), concentration dependently inhibited direct twitches in the chick biventer cervicis nerve-muscle preparation. At 3 μM, U1-viperitoxin-Dr1a abolished twitches, while U1-viperitoxin-Dr1b caused 70% inhibition of twitch force after 3h. Removal of both toxins from whole venom resulted in no in-vitro myotoxicity.


The study shows that myotoxicity in Sri Lankan Russell’s viper envenoming is mild and non-life threatening, and due to two PLA2 toxins with weak myotoxic properties.

Different Mutations in a P-type ATPase Transporter in <i>Leishmania</i> Parasites are Associated with Cross-resistance to Two Leading Drugs by Distinct Mechanisms

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Christopher Fernandez-Prada, Isabel M. Vincent, Marie-Christine Brotherton, Mathew Roberts, Gaétan Roy, Luis Rivas, Philippe Leprohon, Terry K. Smith, Marc Ouellette

Leishmania infantum is an etiological agent of the life-threatening visceral form of leishmaniasis. Liposomal amphotericin B (AmB) followed by a short administration of miltefosine (MF) is a drug combination effective for treating visceral leishmaniasis in endemic regions of India. Resistance to MF can be due to point mutations in the miltefosine transporter (MT). Here we show that mutations in MT are also observed in Leishmania AmB-resistant mutants. The MF-induced MT mutations, but not the AmB induced mutations in MT, alter the translocation/uptake of MF. Moreover, mutations in the MT selected by AmB or MF have a major impact on lipid species that is linked to cross-resistance between both drugs. These alterations include changes of specific phospholipids, some of which are enriched with cyclopropanated fatty acids, as well as an increase in inositolphosphoceramide species. Collectively these results provide evidence of the risk of cross-resistance emergence derived from current AmB-MF sequential or co-treatments for visceral leishmaniasis.

Heterologous Protection against Asian Zika Virus Challenge in Rhesus Macaques

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Matthew T. Aliota, Dawn M. Dudley, Christina M. Newman, Emma L. Mohr, Dane D. Gellerup, Meghan E. Breitbach, Connor R. Buechler, Mustafa N. Rasheed, Mariel S. Mohns, Andrea M. Weiler, Gabrielle L. Barry, Kim L. Weisgrau, Josh A. Eudailey, Eva G. Rakasz, Logan J. Vosler, Jennifer Post, Saverio Capuano III, Thaddeus G. Golos, Sallie R. Permar, Jorge E. Osorio, Thomas C. Friedrich, Shelby L. O’Connor, David H. O’Connor


Zika virus (ZIKV; Flaviviridae, Flavivirus) was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2016, because of the evidence linking infection with ZIKV to neurological complications, such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome in adults and congenital birth defects including microcephaly in the developing fetus. Because development of a ZIKV vaccine is a top research priority and because the genetic and antigenic variability of many RNA viruses limits the effectiveness of vaccines, assessing whether immunity elicited against one ZIKV strain is sufficient to confer broad protection against all ZIKV strains is critical. Recently, in vitro studies demonstrated that ZIKV likely circulates as a single serotype. Here, we demonstrate that immunity elicited by African lineage ZIKV protects rhesus macaques against subsequent infection with Asian lineage ZIKV.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Using our recently developed rhesus macaque model of ZIKV infection, we report that the prototypical ZIKV strain MR766 productively infects macaques, and that immunity elicited by MR766 protects macaques against heterologous Asian ZIKV. Furthermore, using next generation deep sequencing, we found in vivo restoration of a putative N-linked glycosylation site upon replication in macaques that is absent in numerous MR766 strains that are widely being used by the research community. This reversion highlights the importance of carefully examining the sequence composition of all viral stocks as well as understanding how passage history may alter a virus from its original form.


An effective ZIKV vaccine is needed to prevent infection-associated fetal abnormalities. Macaques whose immune responses were primed by infection with East African ZIKV were completely protected from detectable viremia when subsequently rechallenged with heterologous Asian ZIKV. Therefore, these data suggest that immunogen selection is unlikely to adversely affect the breadth of vaccine protection, i.e., any Asian ZIKV immunogen that protects against homologous challenge will likely confer protection against all other Asian ZIKV strains.

Comparison of the Estimated Incidence of Acute Leptospirosis in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania between 2007–08 and 2012–14

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Michael J. Maze, Holly M. Biggs, Matthew P. Rubach, Renee L. Galloway, Shama Cash-Goldwasser, Kathryn J. Allan, Jo E. B. Halliday, Julian T. Hertz, Wilbrod Saganda, Bingileki F. Lwezaula, Sarah Cleaveland, Blandina T. Mmbaga, Venance P. Maro, John A. Crump


The sole report of annual leptospirosis incidence in continental Africa of 75–102 cases per 100,000 population is from a study performed in August 2007 through September 2008 in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania. To evaluate the stability of this estimate over time, we estimated the incidence of acute leptospirosis in Kilimanjaro Region, northern Tanzania for the time period 2012–2014.

Methodology and Principal Findings

Leptospirosis cases were identified among febrile patients at two sentinel hospitals in the Kilimanjaro Region. Leptospirosis was diagnosed by serum microscopic agglutination testing using a panel of 20 Leptospira serovars belonging to 17 separate serogroups. Serum was taken at enrolment and patients were asked to return 4–6 weeks later to provide convalescent serum. Confirmed cases required a 4-fold rise in titre and probable cases required a single titre of ≥800. Findings from a healthcare utilisation survey were used to estimate multipliers to adjust for cases not seen at sentinel hospitals. We identified 19 (1.7%) confirmed or probable cases among 1,115 patients who presented with a febrile illness. Of cases, the predominant reactive serogroups were Australis 8 (42.1%), Sejroe 3 (15.8%), Grippotyphosa 2 (10.5%), Icterohaemorrhagiae 2 (10.5%), Pyrogenes 2 (10.5%), Djasiman 1 (5.3%), Tarassovi 1 (5.3%). We estimated that the annual incidence of leptospirosis was 11–18 cases per 100,000 population. This was a significantly lower incidence than 2007–08 (p<0.001).


We estimated a much lower incidence of acute leptospirosis than previously, with a notable absence of cases due to the previously predominant serogroup Mini. Our findings indicate a dynamic epidemiology of leptospirosis in this area and highlight the value of multi-year surveillance to understand leptospirosis epidemiology.

DNA Microarray Detection of 18 Important Human Blood Protozoan Species

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Mu-Xin Chen, Lin Ai, Jun-Hu Chen, Xin-Yu Feng, Shao-Hong Chen, Yu-Chun Cai, Yan Lu, Xiao-Nong Zhou, Jia-Xu Chen, Wei Hu


Accurate detection of blood protozoa from clinical samples is important for diagnosis, treatment and control of related diseases. In this preliminary study, a novel DNA microarray system was assessed for the detection of Plasmodium, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Toxoplasma gondii and Babesia in humans, animals, and vectors, in comparison with microscopy and PCR data. Developing a rapid, simple, and convenient detection method for protozoan detection is an urgent need.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The microarray assay simultaneously identified 18 species of common blood protozoa based on the differences in respective target genes. A total of 20 specific primer pairs and 107 microarray probes were selected according to conserved regions which were designed to identify 18 species in 5 blood protozoan genera. The positive detection rate of the microarray assay was 91.78% (402/438). Sensitivity and specificity for blood protozoan detection ranged from 82.4% (95%CI: 65.9% ~ 98.8%) to 100.0% and 95.1% (95%CI: 93.2% ~ 97.0%) to 100.0%, respectively. Positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) ranged from 20.0% (95%CI: 2.5% ~ 37.5%) to 100.0% and 96.8% (95%CI: 95.0% ~ 98.6%) to 100.0%, respectively. Youden index varied from 0.82 to 0.98. The detection limit of the DNA microarrays ranged from 200 to 500 copies/reaction, similar to PCR findings. The concordance rate between microarray data and DNA sequencing results was 100%.


Overall, the newly developed microarray platform provides a convenient, highly accurate, and reliable clinical assay for the determination of blood protozoan species.

Transfected <i>Babesia bovis</i> Expressing a Tick GST as a Live Vector Vaccine

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Daiane P. Oldiges, Jacob M. Laughery, Nelson Junior Tagliari, Ronaldo Viana Leite Filho, William C. Davis, Itabajara da Silva Vaz Jr, Carlos Termignoni, Donald P. Knowles, Carlos E. Suarez

The Rhipicephalus microplus tick is a notorious blood-feeding ectoparasite of livestock, especially cattle, responsible for massive losses in animal production. It is the main vector for transmission of pathogenic bacteria and parasites, including Babesia bovis, an intraerythrocytic apicomplexan protozoan parasite responsible for bovine Babesiosis. This study describes the development and testing of a live B. bovis vaccine expressing the protective tick antigen glutathione-S-transferase from Haemaphysalis longicornis (HlGST). The B. bovis S74-T3B parasites were electroporated with a plasmid containing the bidirectional Ef-1α (elongation factor 1 alpha) promoter of B. bovis controlling expression of two independent genes, the selectable marker GFP-BSD (green fluorescent protein–blasticidin deaminase), and HlGST fused to the MSA-1 (merozoite surface antigen 1) signal peptide from B. bovis. Electroporation followed by blasticidin selection resulted in the emergence of a mixed B. bovis transfected line (termed HlGST) in in vitro cultures, containing parasites with distinct patterns of insertion of both exogenous genes, either in or outside the Ef-1α locus. A B. bovis clonal line termed HlGST-Cln expressing intracellular GFP and HlGST in the surface of merozoites was then derived from the mixed parasite line HlGST using a fluorescent activated cell sorter. Two independent calf immunization trials were performed via intravenous inoculation of the HlGST-Cln and a previously described control consisting of an irrelevant transfected clonal line of B. bovis designated GFP-Cln. The control GFP-Cln line contains a copy of the GFP-BSD gene inserted into the Ef-1α locus of B. bovis in an identical fashion as the HIGST-Cln parasites. All animals inoculated with the HlGST-Cln and GFP-Cln transfected parasites developed mild babesiosis. Tick egg fertility and fully engorged female tick weight was reduced significantly in R. microplus feeding on HlGST-Cln-immunized calves. Collectively, these data show the efficacy of a transfected HlGST-Cln B. bovis parasite to induce detectable anti-glutathione-S-transferase antibodies and a reduction in tick size and fecundity of R. microplus feeding in experimentally inoculated animals.

Head Lice of Pygmies Reveal the Presence of Relapsing Fever Borreliae in the Republic of Congo

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 2 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Nadia Amanzougaghene, Jean Akiana, Géor Mongo Ndombe, Bernard Davoust, Nardiouf Sjelin Nsana, Henri-Joseph Parra, Florence Fenollar, Didier Raoult, Oleg Mediannikov


Head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis, occur in four divergent mitochondrial clades (A, B, C and D), each having particular geographical distributions. Recent studies suggest that head lice, as is the case of body lice, can act as a vector for louse-borne diseases. Therefore, understanding the genetic diversity of lice worldwide is of critical importance to our understanding of the risk of louse-borne diseases.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Here, we report the results of the first molecular screening of pygmies’ head lice in the Republic of Congo for seven pathogens and an analysis of lice mitochondrial clades. We developed two duplex clade-specific real-time PCRs and identified three major mitochondrial clades: A, C, and D indicating high diversity among the head lice studied. We identified the presence of a dangerous human pathogen, Borrelia recurrentis, the causative agent of relapsing fever, in ten clade A head lice, which was not reported in the Republic of Congo, and B. theileri in one head louse. The results also show widespread infection among head lice with several species of Acinetobacter. A. junii was the most prevalent, followed by A. ursingii, A. baumannii, A. johnsonii, A. schindleri, A. lwoffii, A. nosocomialis and A. towneri.


Our study is the first to show the presence of B. recurrentis in African pygmies’ head lice in the Republic of Congo. This study is also the first to report the presence of DNAs of B. theileri and several species of Acinetobacter in human head lice. Further studies are needed to determine whether the head lice can transmit these pathogenic bacteria from person to another.

A Phosphorylcholine-Containing Glycolipid-like Antigen Present on the Surface of Infective Stage Larvae of <i>Ascaris</i> spp. Is a Major Antibody Target in Infected Pigs and Humans

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Johnny Vlaminck, Dries Masure, Tao Wang, Peter Nejsum, Cornelis H. Hokke, Peter Geldhof


The pig parasite Ascaris suum plays and important role in veterinary medicine and represents a suitable model for A. lumbricoides, which infects over 800 million people. In pigs, continued exposure to Ascaris induces immunity at the level of the gut, protecting the host against migrating larvae. The objective of this study was to identify and characterize parasite antigens targeted by this local immune response that may be crucial for parasite invasion and establishment and to evaluate their protective and diagnostic potential.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Pigs were immunized by trickle infection for 30 weeks, challenged with 2,000 eggs at week 32 and euthanized two weeks after challenge. At necropsy, there was a 100% reduction in worms recovered from the intestine and a 97.2% reduction in liver white spots in comparison with challenged non-immune control animals. Antibodies purified from the intestinal mucus or from the supernatant of cultured antibody secreting cells from mesenteric lymph nodes of immune pigs were used to probe L3 extracts to identify antibody targets. This resulted in the recognition of a 12kDa antigen (As12) that is actively shed from infective Ascaris L3. As12 was characterized as a phosphorylcholine-containing glycolipid-like antigen that is highly resistant to different enzymatic and chemical treatments. Vaccinating pigs with an As12 fraction did not induce protective immunity to challenge infection. However, serological analysis using sera or plasma from experimentally infected pigs or naturally infected humans demonstrated that the As12 ELISA was able to detect long-term exposure to Ascaris with a high diagnostic sensitivity (98.4% and 92%, respectively) and specificity (95.5% and 90.0%) in pigs and humans, respectively.


These findings show the presence of a highly stage specific, glycolipid-like component (As12) that is actively secreted by infectious Ascaris larvae and which acts as a major antibody target in infected humans and pigs.

Archival Isolates Confirm a Single Topotype of West Nile Virus in Australia

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Bixing Huang, Natalie A Prow, Andrew F. van den Hurk, Richard J. N. Allcock, Peter R. Moore, Stephen L. Doggett, David Warrilow

West Nile virus is globally wide-spread and causes significant disease in humans and animals. The evolution of West Nile virus Kunjin subtype in Australia (WNVKUN) was investigated using archival samples collected over a period of 50 years. Based on the pattern of fixed amino acid substitutions and time-stamped molecular clock analyses, a single long-term lineage (or topotype) was inferred. This implies that a bottleneck exists such that regional strains eventually die out and are replaced with strains from a single source. This was consistent with current hypotheses regarding the distribution of WNVKUN, whereby the virus is enzootic in northern Australia and is disseminated to southern states by water-birds or mosquitoes after flooding associated with above average rainfall. In addition, two previous amino acid changes associated with pathogenicity, an N-Y-S glycosylation motif in the envelope protein and a phenylalanine at amino acid 653 in the RNA polymerase, were both detected in all isolates collected since the 1980s. Changes primarily occurred due to stochastic drift. One fixed substitution each in NS3 and NS5, subtly changed the chemical environment of important functional groups, and may be involved in fine-tuning RNA synthesis. Understanding these evolutionary changes will help us to better understand events such as the emergence of the virulent strain in 2011.

Using Community-Level Prevalence of <i>Loa loa</i> Infection to Predict the Proportion of Highly-Infected Individuals: Statistical Modelling to Support Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis Elimination Programs

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Daniela K Schlüter, Martial L Ndeffo-Mbah, Innocent Takougang, Tony Ukety, Samuel Wanji, Alison P Galvani, Peter J Diggle

Lymphatic Filariasis and Onchocerciasis (river blindness) constitute pressing public health issues in tropical regions. Global elimination programs, involving mass drug administration (MDA), have been launched by the World Health Organisation. Although the drugs used are generally well tolerated, individuals who are highly co-infected with Loa loa are at risk of experiencing serious adverse events. Highly infected individuals are more likely to be found in communities with high prevalence. An understanding of the relationship between individual infection and population-level prevalence can therefore inform decisions on whether MDA can be safely administered in an endemic community. Based on Loa loa infection intensity data from individuals in Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo we develop a statistical model for the distribution of infection levels in communities. We then use this model to make predictive inferences regarding the proportion of individuals whose parasite count exceeds policy-relevant levels. In particular we show how to exploit the positive correlation between community-level prevalence and intensity of infection in order to predict the proportion of highly infected individuals in a community given only prevalence data from the community in question. The resulting prediction intervals are not substantially wider, and in some cases narrower, than the corresponding binomial confidence intervals obtained from data that include measurements of individual infection levels. Therefore the model developed here facilitates the estimation of the proportion of individuals highly infected with Loa loa using only estimated community level prevalence. It can be used to assess the risk of rolling out MDA in a specific community, or to guide policy decisions.

Population Density, Climate Variables and Poverty Synergistically Structure Spatial Risk in Urban Malaria in India

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Mauricio Santos-Vega, Menno J Bouma, Vijay Kohli, Mercedes Pascual


The world is rapidly becoming urban with the global population living in cities projected to double by 2050. This increase in urbanization poses new challenges for the spread and control of communicable diseases such as malaria. In particular, urban environments create highly heterogeneous socio-economic and environmental conditions that can affect the transmission of vector-borne diseases dependent on human water storage and waste water management. Interestingly India, as opposed to Africa, harbors a mosquito vector, Anopheles stephensi, which thrives in the man-made environments of cities and acts as the vector for both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum, making the malaria problem a truly urban phenomenon. Here we address the role and determinants of within-city spatial heterogeneity in the incidence patterns of vivax malaria, and then draw comparisons with results for falciparum malaria.

Methodology/principal findings

Statistical analyses and a phenomenological transmission model are applied to an extensive spatio-temporal dataset on cases of Plasmodium vivax in the city of Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India) that spans 12 years monthly at the level of wards. A spatial pattern in malaria incidence is described that is largely stationary in time for this parasite. Malaria risk is then shown to be associated with socioeconomic indicators and environmental parameters, temperature and humidity. In a more dynamical perspective, an Inhomogeneous Markov Chain Model is used to predict vivax malaria risk. Models that account for climate factors, socioeconomic level and population size show the highest predictive skill. A comparison to the transmission dynamics of falciparum malaria reinforces the conclusion that the spatio-temporal patterns of risk are strongly driven by extrinsic factors.


Climate forcing and socio-economic heterogeneity act synergistically at local scales on the population dynamics of urban malaria in this city. The stationarity of malaria risk patterns provides a basis for more targeted intervention, such as vector control, based on transmission ‘hotspots’. This is especially relevant for P. vivax, a more resilient parasite than P. falciparum, due to its ability to relapse and the operational shortcomings of delivering a “radical cure”.

Development of a PCR Assay to Detect Low Level <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> in Blood Specimens Collected with PAXgene Blood DNA Tubes for Clinical Trials Treating Chagas Disease

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Bo Wei, Lei Chen, Miho Kibukawa, John Kang, Hetty Waskin, Matthew Marton

Chagas disease is caused by the parasitic infection of Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). The STOP CHAGAS clinical trial was initiated in 2011 to evaluate posaconazole in treating Chagas disease, with treatment success defined as negative qualitative PCR results of detecting the parasites in blood specimens collected post-treatment. PAXgene Blood DNA tubes were utilized as a simple procedure to collect and process blood specimens. However, the PAXgene blood specimens challenged published T. cruzi PCR methods, resulting in poor sensitivity and reproducibility. To accurately evaluate the treatment efficacy of the clinical study, we developed and validated a robust PCR assay for detecting low level T. cruzi in PAXgene blood specimens. The assay combines a new DNA extraction method with a custom designed qPCR assay, resulting in limit of detection of 0.005 and 0.01 fg/μl for K98 and CL Brener, two representative strains of two of T. cruzi’s discrete typing units. Reliable qPCR standard curves were established for both strains to measure parasite loads, with amplification efficiency ≥ 90% and the lower limit of linearity ≥ 0.05 fg/μl. The assay successfully analyzed the samples collected from the STOP CHAGAS study and may prove useful for future global clinical trials evaluating new therapies for asymptomatic chronic Chagas disease.

Human IgG Antibody Response to <i>Aedes</i> Nterm-34kDa Salivary Peptide, an Epidemiological Tool to Assess Vector Control in Chikungunya and Dengue Transmission Area

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Emmanuel Elanga Ndille, Souleymane Doucoure, Anne Poinsignon, François Mouchet, Sylvie Cornelie, Eric D’Ortenzio, Jean Sébastien DeHecq, Franck Remoue


Arboviral diseases are an important public health concerns. Vector control remains the sole strategy to fight against these diseases. Because of the important limits of methods currently used to assess human exposure to Aedes mosquito bites, much effort is being devoted to develop new indicators. Recent studies have reported that human antibody (Ab) responses to Aedes aegypti Nterm-34kDa salivary peptide represent a promising biomarker tool to evaluate the human-Aedes contact. The present study aims investigate whether such biomarker could be used for assessing the efficacy of vector control against Aedes.

Methodology/Principal findings

Specific human IgG response to the Nterm-34kDa peptide was assessed from 102 individuals living in urban area of Saint-Denis at La Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, before and after the implementation of vector control against Aedes mosquitoes. IgG response decreased after 2 weeks (P < 0.0001), and remained low for 4 weeks post-intervention (P = 0.0002). The specific IgG decrease was associated with the decline of Aedes mosquito density, as estimated by entomological parameters and closely correlated to vector control implementation and was not associated with the use of individual protection, daily commuting outside of the house, sex and age. Our findings indicate a probable short-term decrease of human exposure to Aedes bites just after vector control implementation.


Results provided in the present study indicate that IgG Ab response to Aedes aegypti Nterm-34kDa salivary peptide could be a relevant short-time indicator for evaluating the efficacy of vector control interventions against Aedes species.

Atypical Manifestations of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in a Region Endemic for <i>Leishmania braziliensis</i>: Clinical, Immunological and Parasitological Aspects

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Luiz Henrique Guimarães, Adriano Queiroz, Juliana A. Silva, Silvana C. Silva, Viviane Magalhães, Ednaldo L. Lago, Paulo Roberto L. Machado, Olívia Bacellar, Mary E. Wilson, Stephen M. Beverley, Edgar M. Carvalho, Albert Schriefer


Atypical cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) has become progressively more frequent in Corte de Pedra, Northeast Brazil. Herein we characterize clinical presentation, antimony response, cytokine production and parasite strains prevailing in ACL.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Between 2005 and 2012, 51 ACL (cases) and 51 temporally matched cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) subjects (controls) were enrolled and followed over time in Corte de Pedra. Clinical and therapeutic data were recorded for all subjects. Cytokine secretion by patients’ peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) stimulated with soluble parasite antigen in vitro, and genotypes in a 600 base-pair locus in chromosome 28 (CHR28/425451) of the infecting L. (V.) braziliensis were compared between the two groups. ACL presented significantly more lesions in head and neck, and higher rate of antimony failure than CL. Cytosine–Adenine substitutions at CHR28/425451 positions 254 and 321 were highly associated with ACL (p<0.0001). In vitro stimulated ACL PBMCs produced lower levels of IFN-γ (p = 0.0002) and TNF (p <0.0001), and higher levels of IL-10 (p = 0.0006) and IL-17 (p = 0.0008) than CL PBMCs.


ACL found in Northeast Brazil is caused by distinct genotypes of L. (V.) braziliensis and presents a cytokine profile that departs from that in classical CL patients. We think that differences in antigenic contents among parasites may be in part responsible for the variation in cytokine responses and possibly immunopathology between CL and ACL.

Tracking Insecticide Resistance in Mosquito Vectors of Arboviruses: The Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN)

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 December 2016 - 10:00pm

by Vincent Corbel, Nicole L. Achee, Fabrice Chandre, Mamadou B. Coulibaly, Isabelle Dusfour, Dina M. Fonseca, John Grieco, Waraporn Juntarajumnong, Audrey Lenhart, Ademir J. Martins, Catherine Moyes, Lee Ching Ng, João Pinto, Kamaraju Raghavendra, Hassan Vatandoost, John Vontas, David Weetman, Florence Fouque, Raman Velayudhan, Jean-Philippe David

Selective Inhibitor of Nuclear Export (SINE) Compounds Alter New World Alphavirus Capsid Localization and Reduce Viral Replication in Mammalian Cells

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 November 2016 - 10:00pm

by Lindsay Lundberg, Chelsea Pinkham, Cynthia de la Fuente, Ashwini Brahms, Nazly Shafagati, Kylie M. Wagstaff, David A. Jans, Sharon Tamir, Kylene Kehn-Hall

The capsid structural protein of the New World alphavirus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), interacts with the host nuclear transport proteins importin α/β1 and CRM1. Novel selective inhibitor of nuclear export (SINE) compounds, KPT-185, KPT-335 (verdinexor), and KPT-350, target the host’s primary nuclear export protein, CRM1, in a manner similar to the archetypical inhibitor Leptomycin B. One major limitation of Leptomycin B is its irreversible binding to CRM1; which SINE compounds alleviate because they are slowly reversible. Chemically inhibiting CRM1 with these compounds enhanced capsid localization to the nucleus compared to the inactive compound KPT-301, as indicated by immunofluorescent confocal microscopy. Differences in extracellular versus intracellular viral RNA, as well as decreased capsid in cell free supernatants, indicated the inhibitors affected viral assembly, which led to a decrease in viral titers. The decrease in viral replication was confirmed using a luciferase-tagged virus and through plaque assays. SINE compounds had no effect on VEEV TC83_Cm, which encodes a mutated form of capsid that is unable to enter the nucleus. Serially passaging VEEV in the presence of KPT-185 resulted in mutations within the nuclear localization and nuclear export signals of capsid. Finally, SINE compound treatment also reduced the viral titers of the related eastern and western equine encephalitis viruses, suggesting that CRM1 maintains a common interaction with capsid proteins across the New World alphavirus genus.

Prevalence of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Districts of High and Low Endemicity in Mali

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 29 November 2016 - 10:00pm

by Bourama Traoré, Fabiano Oliveira, Ousmane Faye, Adama Dicko, Cheick A. Coulibaly, Ibrahim M. Sissoko, Samake Sibiry, Nafomon Sogoba, Moussa Brema Sangare, Yaya I. Coulibaly, Pierre Traore, Sekou F. Traore, Jennifer M. Anderson, Somita Keita, Jesus G. Valenzuela, Shaden Kamhawi, Seydou Doumbia

Historically the western sahelian dry regions of Mali are known to be highly endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) caused by Leishmania major, while cases are rarely reported from the Southern savanna forest of the country. Here, we report baseline prevalence of CL infection in 3 ecologically distinct districts of Mali (dry sahelian, north savanna and southern savanna forest areas). We screened 195 to 250 subjects from 50 to 60 randomly selected households in each of the 6 villages (four from the western sahelian district of Diema in Kayes region, one from the central district of Kolokani and one from the southern savanna district of Kolodieba, region of Sikasso). The screening consisted of: 1] A Leishmanin Skin Test (LST) for detection of exposure to Leishmania parasites; 2] clinical examination of suspected lesions, followed by validation with PCR and 3] finger prick blood sample to determine antibody levels to sand fly saliva. LST positivity was higher in the western district of Diema (49.9%) than in Kolokani (24.9%) and was much lower in Kolondieba (2.6%). LST positivity increased with age rising from 13.8% to 88% in Diema for age groups 2–5 years and 41–65 years, respectively. All eight PCR-confirmed L. major CL cases were diagnosed in subjects below 18 years of age and all were residents of the district of Diema. Exposure to sand fly bites, measured by anti-saliva antibody titers, was comparable in individuals living in all three districts. However, antibody titers were significantly higher in LST positive individuals (P<0.0001). In conclusion, CL transmission remains active in the western region of Mali where lesions were mainly prevalent among children under 18 years old. LST positivity correlated to higher levels of antibodies to sand fly salivary proteins, suggesting their potential as a risk marker for CL acquisition in Mali.

Diet-Induced Nutritional Stress and Pathogen Interference in <i>Wolbachia</i>-Infected <i>Aedes aegypti</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 28 November 2016 - 10:00pm

by Eric Pearce Caragata, Fernanda Oliveira Rezende, Taynãna César Simões, Luciano Andrade Moreira

The pathogen interference phenotype greatly restricts infection with dengue virus (DENV) and other pathogens in Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti, and is a vital component of Wolbachia-based mosquito control. Critically, the phenotype’s causal mechanism is complex and poorly understood, with recent evidence suggesting that the cause may be species specific. To better understand this important phenotype, we investigated the role of diet-induced nutritional stress on interference against DENV and the avian malarial parasite Plasmodium gallinaceum in Wolbachia-infected Ae. aegypti, and on physiological processes linked to the phenotype. Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes were fed one of four different concentrations of sucrose, and then challenged with either P. gallinaceum or DENV. Interference against P. gallinaceum was significantly weakened by the change in diet however there was no effect on DENV interference. Immune gene expression and H2O2 levels have previously been linked to pathogen interference. These traits were assayed for mosquitoes on each diet using RT-qPCR and the Amplex Red Hydrogen Peroxide/Peroxidase Assay Kit, and it was observed that the change in diet did not significantly affect immune expression, but low carbohydrate levels led to a loss of ROS induction in Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. Our data suggest that host nutrition may not influence DENV interference for Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, but Plasmodium interference may be linked to both nutrition and oxidative stress. This pathogen-specific response to nutritional change highlights the complex nature of interactions between Wolbachia and pathogens in mosquitoes.