- Malaria Research
- Schisto Research
- Toxoplasma Research
- Tuberculosis Research
- General Open Research
- Getting Started
- Resources Needed
RSS news feeds
by Paul R. Torgerson, José E. Hagan, Federico Costa, Juan Calcagno, Michael Kane, Martha S. Martinez-Silveira, Marga G. A. Goris, Claudia Stein, Albert I. Ko, Bernadette Abela-RidderBackground
Leptospirosis, a spirochaetal zoonosis, occurs in diverse epidemiological settings and affects vulnerable populations, such as rural subsistence farmers and urban slum dwellers. Although leptospirosis can cause life-threatening disease, there is no global burden of disease estimate in terms of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) available.Methodology/Principal Findings
We utilised the results of a parallel publication that reported global estimates of morbidity and mortality due to leptospirosis. We estimated Years of Life Lost (YLLs) from age and gender stratified mortality rates. Years of Life with Disability (YLDs) were developed from a simple disease model indicating likely sequelae. DALYs were estimated from the sum of YLLs and YLDs. The study suggested that globally approximately 2·90 million DALYs are lost per annum (UIs 1·25–4·54 million) from the approximately annual 1·03 million cases reported previously. Males are predominantly affected with an estimated 2·33 million DALYs (UIs 0·98–3·69) or approximately 80% of the total burden. For comparison, this is over 70% of the global burden of cholera estimated by GBD 2010. Tropical regions of South and South-east Asia, Western Pacific, Central and South America, and Africa had the highest estimated leptospirosis disease burden.Conclusions/Significance
Leptospirosis imparts a significant health burden worldwide, which approach or exceed those encountered for a number of other zoonotic and neglected tropical diseases. The study findings indicate that highest burden estimates occur in resource-poor tropical countries, which include regions of Africa where the burden of leptospirosis has been under-appreciated and possibly misallocated to other febrile illnesses such as malaria.
Use of Pentamidine As Secondary Prophylaxis to Prevent Visceral Leishmaniasis Relapse in HIV Infected Patients, the First Twelve Months of a Prospective Cohort Study
by Ermias Diro, Koert Ritmeijer, Marleen Boelaert, Fabiana Alves, Rezika Mohammed, Charles Abongomera, Raffaella Ravinetto, Maaike De Crop, Helina Fikre, Cherinet Adera, Robert Colebunders, Harry van Loen, Joris Menten, Lutgarde Lynen, Asrat Hailu, Johan van GriensvenBackground
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has become an important opportunistic infection in persons with HIV-infection in VL-endemic areas. The co-infection leads to profound immunosuppression and high rate of annual VL recurrence. This study assessed the effectiveness, safety and feasibility of monthly pentamidine infusions to prevent recurrence of VL in HIV co-infected patients.Methods
A single-arm, open-label trial was conducted at two leishmaniasis treatment centers in northwest Ethiopia. HIV-infected patients with a VL episode were included after parasitological cure. Monthly infusions of 4mg/kg pentamidine-isethionate diluted in normal-saline were started for 12months. All received antiretroviral therapy (ART). Time-to-relapse or death was the primary end point.Results
Seventy-four patients were included. The probability of relapse-free survival at 6months and at 12 months was 79% and 71% respectively. Renal failure, a possible drug-related serious adverse event, occurred in two patients with severe pneumonia. Forty-one patients completed the regimen taking at least 11 of the 12 doses. Main reasons to discontinue were: 15 relapsed, five died and seven became lost to follow-up. More patients failed among those with a CD4+cell count ≤ 50cells/μl, 5/7 (71.4%) than those with counts above 200 cells/μl, 2/12 (16.7%), (p = 0.005).Conclusion
Pentamidine secondary prophylaxis led to a 29% failure rate within one year, much lower than reported in historical controls (50%-100%). Patients with low CD4+cell counts are at increased risk of relapse despite effective initial VL treatment, ART and secondary prophylaxis. VL should be detected and treated early enough in patients with HIV infection before profound immune deficiency installs.
by Rebuma Firdessa, Liam Good, Maria Cecilia Amstalden, Kantaraja Chindera, Nor Fadhilah Kamaruzzaman, Martina Schultheis, Bianca Röger, Nina Hecht, Tobias A. Oelschlaeger, Lorenz Meinel, Tessa Lühmann, Heidrun MollBackground
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a neglected tropical disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. CL causes enormous suffering in many countries worldwide. There is no licensed vaccine against CL, and the chemotherapy options show limited efficacy and high toxicity. Localization of the parasites inside host cells is a barrier to most standard chemo- and immune-based interventions. Hence, novel drugs, which are safe, effective and readily accessible to third-world countries and/or drug delivery technologies for effective CL treatments are desperately needed.Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we evaluated the antileishmanial properties and delivery potential of polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB; polyhexanide), a widely used antimicrobial and wound antiseptic, in the Leishmania model. PHMB showed an inherent antileishmanial activity at submicromolar concentrations. Our data revealed that PHMB kills Leishmania major (L. major) via a dual mechanism involving disruption of membrane integrity and selective chromosome condensation and damage. PHMB’s DNA binding and host cell entry properties were further exploited to improve the delivery and immunomodulatory activities of unmethylated cytosine-phosphate-guanine oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODN). PHMB spontaneously bound CpG ODN, forming stable nanopolyplexes that enhanced uptake of CpG ODN, potentiated antimicrobial killing and reduced host cell toxicity of PHMB.Conclusions
Given its low cost and long history of safe topical use, PHMB holds promise as a drug for CL therapy and delivery vehicle for nucleic acid immunomodulators.
Classification of Rhinoentomophthoromycosis into Atypical, Early, Intermediate, and Late Disease: A Proposal
by Christian G. Blumentrath, Martin P. Grobusch, Pierre-Blaise Matsiégui, Friedrich Pahlke, Rella Zoleko-Manego, Solange Nzenze-Aféne, Barthélemy Mabicka, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Peter G. Kremsner, Frieder SchaumburgBackground
Rhinoentomophthoromycosis, or rhino-facial conidiobolomycosis, is a rare, grossly disfiguring disease due to an infection with entomophthoralean fungi. We report a case of rhinoentomophthoromycosis from Gabon and suggest a staging system, which provides information on the prognosis and duration of antifungal therapy.Methods
We present a case of rhinoentomophthoromycosis including the histopathology, mycology, and course of disease. For the suggested staging system, all cases on confirmed rhinoentomophthoromycosis published in the literature without language restriction were eligible. Exclusion criteria were missing data on (i) duration of disease before correct diagnosis, (ii) outcome, and (iii) confirmation of entomophthoralean fungus infection by histopathology and/or mycology. We classified cases into atypical (orbital cellulitis, severe pain, fever, dissemination), early, intermediate, and late disease based on the duration of symptoms before diagnosis. The outcome was evaluated for each stage of disease.Findings
The literature search of the Medpilot database was conducted on January 13, 2014, (updated on January 18, 2015). The search yielded 8,333 results including 198 cases from 117 papers; of these, 145 met our inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. Median duration of treatment was 4, 3, 4, and 5 months in atypical, early, intermediate, and late disease, respectively. Cure rates were clearly associated with stage of disease and were 57%, 100%, 82%, and 43% in atypical, early, intermediate, and late disease, respectively.Conclusion
We suggest a clinical staging system that underlines the benefit of early case detection and may guide the duration of antifungal treatment. The scientific value of this classification is its capacity to structure and harmonize the clinical and research approach towards rhinoentomophthoromycosis.
The Effect of Deworming on Growth in One-Year-Old Children Living in a Soil-Transmitted Helminth-Endemic Area of Peru: A Randomized Controlled Trial
by Serene A. Joseph, Martín Casapía, Antonio Montresor, Elham Rahme, Brian J. Ward, Grace S. Marquis, Lidsky Pezo, Brittany Blouin, Mathieu Maheu-Giroux, Theresa W. GyorkosBackground
Appropriate health and nutrition interventions to prevent long-term adverse effects in children are necessary before two years of age. One such intervention may include population-based deworming, recommended as of 12 months of age by the World Health Organization in soil-transmitted helminth (STH)-endemic areas; however, the benefit of deworming has been understudied in early preschool-age children.Methodology/Principal Findings
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to determine the effect of deworming (500 mg single-dose crushed mebendazole tablet) on growth in one-year-old children in Iquitos, Peru. Children were enrolled during their routine 12-month growth and development clinic visit and followed up at their 18 and 24-month visits. Children were randomly allocated to: Group 1: deworming at 12 months and placebo at 18 months; Group 2: placebo at 12 months and deworming at 18 months; Group 3: deworming at both 12 and 18 months; or Group 4: placebo at both 12 and 18 months (i.e. control group). The primary outcome was weight gain at the 24-month visit. An intention-to-treat approach was used. A total of 1760 children were enrolled between September 2011 and June 2012. Follow-up of 1563 children (88.8%) was completed by July 2013. STH infection was of low prevalence and predominantly light intensity in the study population. All groups gained between 1.93 and 2.05 kg on average over 12 months; the average difference in weight gain (kg) compared to placebo was: 0.05 (95% CI: -0.05, 0.17) in Group 1; -0.07 (95%CI: -0.17, 0.04) in Group 2; and 0.04 (95%CI: -0.06, 0.14) in Group 3. There was no statistically significant difference in weight gain in any of the deworming intervention groups compared to the control group.Conclusions
Overall, with one year of follow-up, no effect of deworming on growth could be detected in this population of preschool-age children. Low baseline STH prevalence and intensity and/or access to deworming drugs outside of the trial may have diluted the potential effect of the intervention. Additional research is required to overcome these challenges and to contribute to strengthening the evidence base on deworming.Trial Registration
Trends of Mycobacterium bovis Isolation and First-Line Anti-tuberculosis Drug Susceptibility Profile: A Fifteen-Year Laboratory-Based Surveillance
by Miriam Bobadilla-del Valle, Pedro Torres-González, Miguel Enrique Cervera-Hernández, Areli Martínez-Gamboa, Brenda Crabtree-Ramirez, Bárbara Chávez-Mazari, Narciso Ortiz-Conchi, Luis Rodríguez-Cruz, Axel Cervantes-Sánchez, Tomasa Gudiño-Enríquez, Carmen Cinta-Severo, José Sifuentes-Osornio, Alfredo Ponce de LeónBackground
Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in humans; however, in developing countries, human TB caused by M. bovis may be frequent but undetected. Human TB caused by M. bovis is considered a zoonosis; transmission is mainly through consumption of unpasteurized dairy products, and it is less frequently attributed to animal-to-human or human-to-human contact. We describe the trends of M. bovis isolation from human samples and first-line drug susceptibility during a 15-year period in a referral laboratory located in a tertiary care hospital in Mexico City.Methodology/Principal Findings
Data on mycobacterial isolates from human clinical samples were retrieved from the laboratory’s database for the 2000–2014 period. Susceptibility to first-line drugs: rifampin, isoniazid, streptomycin (STR) and ethambutol was determined. We identified 1,165 isolates, 73.7% were M. tuberculosis and 26.2%, M. bovis. Among pulmonary samples, 16.6% were M. bovis. The proportion of M. bovis isolates significantly increased from 7.8% in 2000 to 28.4% in 2014 (X2trend, p<0.001). Primary STR resistance was higher among M. bovis compared with M. tuberculosis isolates (10.9% vs.3.4%, p<0.001). Secondary multidrug resistance (MDR) rates were 38.5% and 34.4% for M. bovis and M. tuberculosis, respectively (p = 0.637). A rising trend of primary STR monoresistance was observed for both species (3.4% in 2000–2004 vs. 7.6% in 2010–2014; p = 0.02).Conclusions/Significance
There is a high prevalence and a rising trend of M. bovis isolates in our region. The proportion of pulmonary M. bovis isolates is higher than in previous reports. Additionally, we report high rates of primary anti-tuberculosis resistance and secondary MDR in both M. tuberculosis and M. bovis. This is one of the largest reports on drug susceptibility of M. bovis from human samples and shows a significant proportion of first-line anti-tuberculosis drug resistance.
Understanding Heterogeneity in the Impact of National Neglected Tropical Disease Control Programmes: Evidence from School-Based Deworming in Kenya
by Birgit Nikolay, Charles S. Mwandawiro, Jimmy H. Kihara, Collins Okoyo, Jorge Cano, Mariam T. Mwanje, Hadley Sultani, Dorcas Alusala, Hugo C. Turner, Caroline Teti, Josh Garn, Matthew C. Freeman, Elizabeth Allen, Roy M. Anderson, Rachel L. Pullan, Sammy M. Njenga, Simon J. BrookerBackground
The implementation of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) treatment programmes occurs in varied environmental, social and economic contexts. Programme impact will be influenced by factors that affect the reduction in the prevalence and intensity of infections following treatment, as well as the subsequent rate of reinfection. To better understand the heterogeneity of programme impact and its underlying reasons, we investigated the influence of contextual factors on reduction in STH infection as part of the national school based deworming (SBD) programme in Kenya.Materials and Methods
Data on the prevalence and intensity of infection were collected within the monitoring and evaluation component of the SBD programme at baseline and after delivery of two annual treatment rounds in 153 schools in western Kenya. Using a framework that considers STH epidemiology and transmission dynamics, capacity to deliver treatment, operational feasibility and financial capacity, data were assembled at both school and district (county) levels. Geographic heterogeneity of programme impact was assessed by descriptive and spatial analyses. Factors associated with absolute reductions of Ascaris lumbricoides and hookworm infection prevalence and intensity were identified using mixed effects linear regression modelling adjusting for baseline infection levels.Principal Findings
The reduction in prevalence and intensity of A. lumbricoides and hookworms varied significantly by county and within counties by school. Multivariable analysis of factors associated with programme impact showed that absolute A. lumbricoides reductions varied by environmental conditions and access to improved sanitation at schools or within the community. Larger reduction in prevalence and intensity of hookworms were found in schools located within areas with higher community level access to improved sanitation and within counties with higher economic and health service delivery indicator scores.Conclusions
The study identifies factors associated with the impact of school-based deworming and in particular highlights how access to water, sanitation and hygiene and environmental conditions influence the impact of deworming programmes.
Effect of Poor Access to Water and Sanitation As Risk Factors for Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infection: Selectiveness by the Infective Route
by Adriana Echazú, Daniela Bonanno, Marisa Juarez, Silvana P. Cajal, Viviana Heredia, Silvia Caropresi, Ruben O. Cimino, Nicolas Caro, Paola A. Vargas, Gladys Paredes, Alejandro J. KrolewieckiBackground
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are a public health problem in resource-limited settings worldwide. Chronic STH infection impairs optimum learning and productivity, contributing to the perpetuation of the poverty-disease cycle. Regular massive drug administration (MDA) is the cardinal recommendation for its control; along with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions. The impact of joint WASH interventions on STH infections has been reported; studies on the independent effect of WASH components are needed to contribute with the improvement of current recommendations for the control of STH. The aim of this study is to assess the association of lacking access to water and sanitation with STH infections, taking into account the differences in route of infection among species and the availability of adequate water and sanitation at home.Methods and Findings
Cross-sectional study, conducted in Salta province, Argentina. During a deworming program that enrolled 6957 individuals; 771 were randomly selected for stool/serum sampling for parasitological and serological diagnosis of STH. Bivariate stratified analysis was performed to explore significant correlations between risk factors and STH infections grouped by mechanism of entry as skin-penetrators (hookworms and Strongyloides stercoralis) vs. orally-ingested (Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura). After controlling for potential confounders, unimproved sanitation was significantly associated with increased odds of infection of skin-penetrators (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.9; 95% CI: 2.6–5.9). Unimproved drinking water was significantly associated with increased odds of infection of orally-ingested (aOR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.3–3.7).Conclusions
Lack of safe water and proper sanitation pose a risk of STH infections that is distinct according to the route of entry to the human host used by each of the STH species. Interventions aimed to improve water and sanitation access should be highlighted in the recommendations for the control of STH.
Correction: Bacillus anthracis Diversity and Geographic Potential across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad: Further Support of a Novel West African Lineage
by Jason K. Blackburn, Moses Ode Odugbo, Matthew Van Ert, Bob O’Shea, Jocelyn Mullins, Vincent Perreten, Angaya Maho, Martin Hugh-Jones, Ted Hadfield
Correction: Short-term Forecasting of the Prevalence of Trachoma: Expert Opinion, Statistical Regression, versus Transmission Models
by Fengchen Liu, Travis C. Porco, Abdou Amza, Boubacar Kadri, Baido Nassirou, Sheila K. West, Robin L. Bailey, Jeremy D. Keenan, Anthony W. Solomon, Paul M. Emerson, Manoj Gambhir, Thomas M. Lietman
Assessment of Efficacy and Quality of Two Albendazole Brands Commonly Used against Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections in School Children in Jimma Town, Ethiopia
by Sileshi Belew, Mestawet Getachew, Sultan Suleman, Tesfaye Mohammed, Habetewold Deti, Matthias D'Hondt, Evelien Wynendaele, Zeleke Mekonnen, Jozef Vercruysse, Luc Duchateau, Bart De Spiegeleer, Bruno LeveckeBackground
There is a worldwide upscale in mass drug administration (MDA) programs to control the morbidity caused by soil-transmitted helminths (STHs): Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworm. Although anthelminthic drugs which are used for MDA are supplied by two pharmaceutical companies through donation, there is a wide range of brands available on local markets for which the efficacy against STHs and quality remain poorly explored. In the present study, we evaluated the drug efficacy and quality of two albendazole brands (Bendex and Ovis) available on the local market in Ethiopia.Methodology/Principal Findings
A randomized clinical trial was conducted according to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to assess drug efficacy, by means of egg reduction rate (ERR), of Bendex and Ovis against STH infections in school children in Jimma, Ethiopia. In addition, the chemical and physicochemical quality of the drugs was assessed according to the United States and European Pharmacopoeia, encompassing mass uniformity of the tablets, amount of active compound and dissolution profile. Both drugs were highly efficacious against A. lumbricoides (>97%), but showed poor efficacy against T. trichiura (~20%). For hookworms, Ovis was significantly (p < 0.05) more efficacious compared to Bendex (98.1% vs. 88.7%). Assessment of the physicochemical quality of the drugs revealed a significant difference in dissolution profile, with Bendex having a slower dissolution than Ovis.Conclusion/Significance
The study revealed that differences in efficacy between the two brands of albendazole (ABZ) tablets against hookworm are linked to the differences in the in-vitro drug release profile. Differences in uptake and metabolism of this benzimidazole drug among different helminth species may explain that this efficacy difference was only observed in hookworms and not in the two other species. The results of the present study underscore the importance of assessing the chemical and physicochemical quality of drugs before conducting efficacy assessment in any clinical trials to ensure appropriate therapeutic efficacy and to exclude poor drug quality as a factor of reduced drug efficacy other than anthelminthic resistance. Overall, this paper demonstrates that “all medicines are not created equal”.
by Anne-Claire Andries, Veasna Duong, Sowath Ly, Julien Cappelle, Kim Srorn Kim, Patrich Lorn Try, Sopheaktra Ros, Sivuth Ong, Rekol Huy, Paul Horwood, Marie Flamand, Anavaj Sakuntabhai, Arnaud Tarantola, Philippe BuchyBackground
Dengue laboratory diagnosis is essentially based on detection of the virus, its components or antibodies directed against the virus in blood samples. Blood, however, may be difficult to draw in some patients, especially in children, and sampling during outbreak investigations or epidemiological studies may face logistical challenges or limited compliance to invasive procedures from subjects. The aim of this study was to assess the possibility of using saliva and urine samples instead of blood for dengue diagnosis.Methodology/Principal Findings
Serial plasma, urine and saliva samples were collected at several time-points between the day of admission to hospital until three months after the onset of fever in children with confirmed dengue disease. Quantitative RT-PCR, NS1 antigen capture and ELISA serology for anti-DENV antibody (IgG, IgM and IgA) detection were performed in parallel on the three body fluids. RT-PCR and NS1 tests demonstrated an overall sensitivity of 85.4%/63.4%, 41.6%/14.5% and 39%/28.3%, in plasma, urine and saliva specimens, respectively. When urine and saliva samples were collected at the same time-points and tested concurrently, the diagnostic sensitivity of RNA and NS1 detection assays was 69.1% and 34.4%, respectively. IgG/IgA detection assays had an overall sensitivity of 54.4%/37.4%, 38.5%/26.8% and 52.9%/28.6% in plasma, urine and saliva specimens, respectively. IgM were detected in 38.1% and 36% of the plasma and saliva samples but never in urine.Conclusions
Although the performances of the different diagnostic methods were not as good in saliva and urine as in plasma specimens, the results obtained by qRT-PCR and by anti-DENV antibody ELISA could well justify the use of these two body fluids to detect dengue infection in situations when the collection of blood specimens is not possible.
Neglect of a Neglected Disease in Italy: The Challenge of Access-to-Care for Chagas Disease in Bergamo Area
by Ernestina Carla Repetto, Rony Zachariah, Ajay Kumar, Andrea Angheben, Federico Gobbi, Mariella Anselmi, Ahmad Al Rousan, Carlota Torrico, Rosa Ruiz, Gabriel Ledezma, Maria Chiara Buoninsegna, Mohammed Khogali, Rafael Van den Bergh, Gianfranco De Maio, Ada Maristella Egidi, Barbara Maccagno, Silvia GarelliObjectives
Chagas disease (CD) represents a growing problem in Europe; Italy is one of the most affected countries but there is no national framework for CD and access-to-care is challenging. In 2012 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started an intervention in Bergamo province, where many people of Latin American origin (PLAO) are resident. A new model-of-care for CD, initiated by Centre for Tropical Diseases of Sacro Cuore Hospital, Negrar (CTD), the NGO OIKOS and the Bolivian community since 2009 in the same area, was endorsed. Hereby, we aim to describe the prevalence of CD and the treatment management outcomes among PLAO screened from 1st June 2012 to 30th June 2013.Methods
Retrospective cohort study using routine program data. Screening sessions were done in Bergamo at OIKOS outpatient service and serological confirmation, staging and treatment for CD was offered at the CTD. MSF provided health education on CD, awareness generation prior to screening days, pre-test and post-test counselling through cultural mediators of Latin American origin.Results
Of 1305 PLAO screened, 223(17%) had CD. Among 210 patients eligible for treatment, 102(49%) were lost-to-follow-up before treatment. The median delay from diagnosis to treatment was 4 months (range 0.7–16.6 months). Among 108 started on treatment, 63(58%) completed treatment, 36(33%) interrupted treatment, (33 for drug side-effects, two for patients decision and one due to pregnancy), 6(6%) were lost-to-follow-up and 3(3%) were on treatment at study censuring.Conclusion
In this first study focusing on process of care for CD in Italy, less than 30% of patients completed treatment with drop-outs along the cascade of care. There is an urgent need to involve affected communities and local regional health authorities to take part to this model-of-care, adapting it to the local epidemiology. The Italian health authorities should take steps in advocating for a change in the current paradigm.
by David Quarcoo, Dörthe Brüggmann, Doris Klingelhöfer, David A. GronebergThe current Ebola outbreak poses a threat to individual and global public health. Although the disease has been of interest to the scientific community since 1976, an effective vaccination approach is still lacking. This fact questions past global public health strategies, which have not foreseen the possible impact of this infectious disease. To quantify the global research activity in this field, a scientometric investigation was conducted. We analyzed the research output of countries, individual institutions and their collaborative networks. The resulting research architecture indicated that American and European countries played a leading role regarding output activity, citations and multi- and bilateral cooperations. When related to population numbers, African countries, which usually do not dominate the global research in other medical fields, were among the most prolific nations. We conclude that the field of Ebola research is constantly progressing, and the research landscape is influenced by economical and infrastructural factors as well as historical relations between countries and outbreak events.
Electrophysiological Studies into the Safety of the Anti-diarrheal Drug Clotrimazole during Oral Rehydration Therapy
by Willem S. Lexmond, Paul A. Rufo, Edda Fiebiger, Wayne I. LencerBackground and Aims
Morbidity and mortality from acute diarrheal disease remains high, particularly in developing countries and in cases of natural or man-made disasters. Previous work has shown that the small molecule clotrimazole inhibits intestinal Cl- secretion by blocking both cyclic nucleotide- and Ca2+-gated K+ channels, implicating its use in the treatment of diarrhea of diverse etiologies. Clotrimazole, however, might also inhibit transporters that mediate the inwardly directed electrochemical potential for Na+-dependent solute absorption, which would undermine its clinical application. Here we test this possibility by examining the effects of clotrimazole on Na+-coupled glucose uptake.Materials and Methods
Short-circuit currents (Isc) following administration of glucose and secretagogues were studied in clotrimazole-treated jejunal sections of mouse intestine mounted in Ussing chambers.Results
Treatment of small intestinal tissue with clotrimazole inhibited the Cl- secretory currents that resulted from challenge with the cAMP-agonist vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) or Ca2+-agonist carbachol in a dose-dependent fashion. A dose of 30 μM was effective in significantly reducing the Isc response to VIP and carbachol by 50% and 72%, respectively. At this dose, uptake of glucose was only marginally affected (decreased by 14%, p = 0.37). There was no measurable effect on SGLT1-mediated sugar transport, as uptake of SGLT1-restricted 3-O-methyl glucose was equivalent between clotrimazole-treated and untreated tissue (98% vs. 100%, p = 0.90).Conclusion
Treatment of intestinal tissue with clotrimazole significantly reduced secretory responses caused by both cAMP- and Ca2+-dependent agonists as expected, but did not affect Na+-coupled glucose absorption. Clotrimazole could thus be used in conjunction with oral rehydration solution as a low-cost, auxiliary treatment of acute secretory diarrheas.
Development and Validation of a Novel Leishmania donovani Screening Cascade for High-Throughput Screening Using a Novel Axenic Assay with High Predictivity of Leishmanicidal Intracellular Activity
by Andrea Nühs, Manu De Rycker, Sujatha Manthri, Eamon Comer, Christina A. Scherer, Stuart L. Schreiber, Jean-Robert Ioset, David W. GrayVisceral leishmaniasis is an important parasitic disease of the developing world with a limited arsenal of drugs available for treatment. The existing drugs have significant deficiencies so there is an urgent need for new and improved drugs. In the human host, Leishmania are obligate intracellular parasites which poses particular challenges in terms of drug discovery. To achieve sufficient throughput and robustness, free-living parasites are often used in primary screening assays as a surrogate for the more complex intracellular assays. We and others have found that such axenic assays have a high false positive rate relative to the intracellular assays, and that this limits their usefulness as a primary platform for screening of large compound collections. While many different reasons could lie behind the poor translation from axenic parasite to intracellular parasite, we show here that a key factor is the identification of growth slowing and cytostatic compounds by axenic assays in addition to the more desirable cytocidal compounds. We present a screening cascade based on a novel cytocidal-only axenic amastigote assay, developed by increasing starting density of cells and lowering the limit of detection, and show that it has a much improved translation to the intracellular assay. We propose that this assay is an improved primary platform in a new Leishmania screening cascade designed for the screening of large compound collections. This cascade was employed to screen a diversity-oriented-synthesis library, and yielded two novel antileishmanial chemotypes. The approach we have taken may have broad relevance to anti-infective and anti-parasitic drug discovery.
by Nelesh P. Govender, Tsidiso G. Maphanga, Thokozile G. Zulu, Jaymati Patel, Sibongile Walaza, Charlene Jacobs, Joy I. Ebonwu, Sindile Ntuli, Serisha D. Naicker, Juno ThomasBackground
The largest outbreak of sporotrichosis occurred between 1938 and 1947 in the gold mines of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Here, we describe an outbreak of lymphocutaneous sporotrichosis that was investigated in a South African gold mine in 2011.Methodology
Employees working at a reopened section of the mine were recruited for a descriptive cross-sectional study. Informed consent was sought for interview, clinical examination and medical record review. Specimens were collected from participants with active or partially-healed lymphocutaneous lesions. Environmental samples were collected from underground mine levels. Sporothrix isolates were identified by sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer region of the ribosomal gene and the nuclear calmodulin gene.Principal Findings
Of 87 male miners, 81 (93%) were interviewed and examined, of whom 29 (36%) had skin lesions; specimens were collected from 17 (59%). Sporotrichosis was laboratory-confirmed among 10 patients and seven had clinically-compatible lesions. Of 42 miners with known HIV status, 11 (26%) were HIV-infected. No cases of disseminated disease were detected. Participants with ≤3 years’ mining experience had a four times greater odds of developing sporotrichosis than those who had been employed for >3 years (adjusted OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.2–13.1). Isolates from 8 patients were identified as Sporothrix schenckii sensu stricto by calmodulin gene sequencing while environmental isolates were identified as Sporothrix mexicana.Conclusions/Significance
S. schenckii sensu stricto was identified as the causative pathogen. Although genetically distinct species were isolated from clinical and environmental sources, it is likely that the source was contaminated soil and untreated wood underground. No cases occurred following recommendations to close sections of the mine, treat timber and encourage consistent use of personal protective equipment. Sporotrichosis is a potentially re-emerging disease where traditional, rather than heavily mechanised, mining techniques are used. Surveillance should be instituted at sentinel locations.
Correction: Reconstructing Colonization Dynamics of the Human Parasite Schistosoma mansoni following Anthropogenic Environmental Changes in Northwest Senegal
by Frederik Van den Broeck, Gregory E. Maes, Maarten H. D. Larmuseau, David Rollinson, Ibrahima Sy, Djibril Faye, Filip A. M. Volckaert, Katja Polman, Tine Huyse
Correction: Lutzomyia longipalpis Presence and Abundance Distribution at Different Micro-spatial Scales in an Urban Scenario
by The PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Staff
Investigation of the First Case of Dengue Virus Infection Acquired in Western Australia in Seven Decades: Evidence of Importation of Infected Mosquitoes?
by Michael D. A. Lindsay, Andrew Jardine, Carolien Giele, Paul Armstrong, Suzi McCarthy, Amanda Whittle, Naru Pal, Heather Lyttle, Sue Harrington, Jay Nicholson, David SmithIn October 2013, a locally-acquired case of dengue virus (DENV) infection was reported in Western Australia (WA) where local dengue transmission has not occurred for over 70 years. Laboratory testing confirmed recent DENV infection and the case demonstrated a clinically compatible illness. The infection was most likely acquired in the Pilbara region in the northwest of WA. Follow up investigations did not detect any other locally-acquired dengue cases or any known dengue vector species in the local region, despite intensive adult and larval mosquito surveillance, both immediately after the case was notified in October 2013 and after the start of the wet season in January 2014. The mechanism of infection with DENV in this case cannot be confirmed. However, it most likely followed a bite from a single infected mosquito vector that was transiently introduced into the Pilbara region but failed to establish a local breeding population. This case highlights the public health importance of maintaining surveillance efforts to ensure that any incursions of dengue vectors into WA are promptly identified and do not become established, particularly given the large numbers of viraemic dengue fever cases imported into WA by travellers returning from dengue-endemic regions.