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by Tyler M. Sharp, Elizabeth Hunsperger, Gilberto A. Santiago, Jorge L. Muñoz-Jordan, Luis M. Santiago, Aidsa Rivera, Rosa L. Rodríguez-Acosta, Lorenzo Gonzalez Feliciano, Harold S. Margolis, Kay M. TomashekBackground
Dengue is a potentially fatal acute febrile illness (AFI) caused by four mosquito-transmitted dengue viruses (DENV-1–4) that are endemic in Puerto Rico. In January 2010, the number of suspected dengue cases reported to the passive dengue surveillance system exceeded the epidemic threshold and an epidemic was declared soon after.Methodology/Principal Findings
To characterize the epidemic, surveillance and laboratory diagnostic data were compiled. A suspected case was a dengue-like AFI in a person reported by a health care provider with or without a specimen submitted for diagnostic testing. Laboratory-positive cases had: (i) DENV nucleic acid detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in an acute serum specimen; (ii) anti-DENV IgM antibody detected by ELISA in any serum specimen; or (iii) DENV antigen or nucleic acid detected in an autopsy-tissue specimen. In 2010, a total of 26,766 suspected dengue cases (7.2 per 1,000 residents) were identified, of which 46.6% were laboratory-positive. Of 7,426 RT-PCR-positive specimens, DENV-1 (69.0%) and DENV-4 (23.6%) were detected more frequently than DENV-2 (7.3%) and DENV-3 (<0.1%). Nearly half (47.1%) of all laboratory-positive cases were adults, 49.7% had dengue with warning signs, 11.1% had severe dengue, and 40 died. Approximately 21% of cases were primary DENV infections, and 1–4 year olds were the only age group for which primary infection was more common than secondary. Individuals infected with DENV-1 were 4.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7–9.8) and 4.0 (95% CI: 2.4–6.5) times more likely to have primary infection than those infected with DENV-2 or -4, respectively.Conclusions/Significance
This epidemic was long in duration and yielded the highest incidence of reported dengue cases and deaths since surveillance began in Puerto Rico in the late 1960's. This epidemic re-emphasizes the need for more effective primary prevention interventions to reduce the morbidity and mortality of dengue.
Genetic Diversity and Geographic Distribution of Genetically Distinct Rabies Viruses in the Philippines
by Mariko Saito, Hitoshi Oshitani, Jun Ryan C. Orbina, Kentaro Tohma, Alice S. de Guzman, Taro Kamigaki, Catalino S. Demetria, Daria L. Manalo, Akira Noguchi, Satoshi Inoue, Beatriz P. QuiambaoBackground
Rabies continues to be a major public health problem in the Philippines, where 200–300 human cases were reported annually between 2001 and 2011. Understanding the phylogeography of rabies viruses is important for establishing a more effective and feasible control strategy.Methods
We performed a molecular analysis of rabies viruses in the Philippines using rabied animal brain samples. The samples were collected from 11 of 17 regions, which covered three island groups (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). Partial nucleoprotein (N) gene sequencing was performed on 57 samples and complete glycoprotein (G) gene sequencing was performed on 235 samples collected between 2004 and 2010.Results
The Philippine strains of rabies viruses were included in a distinct phylogenetic cluster, previously named Asian 2b, which appeared to have diverged from the Chinese strain named Asian 2a. The Philippine strains were further divided into three major clades, which were found exclusively in different island groups: clades L, V, and M in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, respectively. Clade L was subdivided into nine subclades (L1–L9) and clade V was subdivided into two subclades (V1 and V2). With a few exceptions, most strains in each subclade were distributed in specific geographic areas. There were also four strains that were divided into two genogroups but were not classified into any of the three major clades, and all four strains were found in the island group of Luzon.Conclusion
We detected three major clades and two distinct genogroups of rabies viruses in the Philippines. Our data suggest that viruses of each clade and subclade evolved independently in each area without frequent introduction into other areas. An important implication of these data is that geographically targeted dog vaccination using the island group approach may effectively control rabies in the Philippines.
by Melinda Hergert, Louis H. NelThe objective of this paper is to report evaluated observations from survey records captured through a cross-sectional observational study regarding canine populations and dog owners in rabies enzootic KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Our aim was to evaluate respondent knowledge of canine rabies and response to dog bite incidents towards improved rabies control. Six communities consisting of three land use types were randomly sampled from September 2009 to January 2011, using a cluster design. A total of 1992 household records were analyzed using descriptive statistics and regression modeling to evaluate source of rabies knowledge, experiences with dog bites, and factors affecting treatment received within respective households that occurred within the 365 day period prior to the surveys. 86% of the population surveyed had heard of rabies. Non-dog owners were 1.6 times more likely to have heard of rabies than dog owners; however, fear of rabies was not a reason for not owning a dog. Government veterinary services were reported most frequently as respondent source of rabies knowledge. Nearly 13% of households had a member bitten by a dog within the year prior to the surveys with 82% of the victims visiting a clinic as a response to the bite. 35% of these clinic visitors received at least one rabies vaccination. Regression modeling determined that the only response variable that significantly reflected the likelihood of a patient receiving rabies vaccination or not was the term for the area surveyed. Overall the survey showed that most respondents have heard of dog associated rabies and seek medical assistance at a clinic in response to a dog bite regardless of offending dog identification. An in-depth study involving factors associated within area clinics may highlight the area dependency for patients receiving rabies post exposure prophylaxis shown by this model.
Introgressive Hybridization of Schistosoma haematobium Group Species in Senegal: Species Barrier Break Down between Ruminant and Human Schistosomes
by Bonnie L. Webster, Oumar T. Diaw, Mohmoudane M. Seye, Joanne P. Webster, David RollinsonBackground
Schistosomes are dioecious parasitic flatworms, which live in the vasculature of their mammalian definitive hosts. They are the causative agent of schistosomiasis, a disease of considerable medical and veterinary importance in tropical and subtropical regions. Schistosomes undergo a sexual reproductive stage within their mammalian host enabling interactions between different species, which may result in hybridization if the species involved are phylogenetically close. In Senegal, three closely related species in the Schistosoma haematobium group are endemic: S. haematobium, which causes urogenital schistosomiasis in humans, and S. bovis and S. curassoni, which cause intestinal schistosomiasis in cows, sheep and goats.Methodology/Principal Findings
Large-scale multi-loci molecular analysis of parasite samples collected from children and domestic livestock across Senegal revealed that interactions and hybridization were taking place between all three species. Evidence of hybridization between S. haematobium/S. curassoni and S. haematobium/S. bovis was commonly found in children from across Senegal, with 88% of the children surveyed in areas of suspected species overlap excreting hybrid miracidia. No S. haematobium worms or hybrids thereof were found in ruminants, although S. bovis and S. curassoni hybrid worms were found in cows. Complementary experimental mixed species infections in laboratory rodents confirmed that males and females of each species readily pair and produce viable hybrid offspring.Conclusions/Significance
These data provide indisputable evidence for: the high occurrence of bidirectional hybridization between these Schistosoma species; the first conclusive evidence for the natural hybridisation between S. haematobium and S. curassoni; and demonstrate that the transmission of the different species and their hybrids appears focal. Hybridization between schistosomes has been known to influence the disease epidemiology and enhance phenotypic characteristics affecting transmission, morbidity and drug sensitivity. Therefore, understanding and monitoring such inter-species interactions will be essential for optimizing and evaluating control strategies across such potential hybrid zones.
Rapidly Boosted Plasma IL-5 Induced by Treatment of Human Schistosomiasis haematobium Is Dependent on Antigen Dose, IgE and Eosinophils
by Shona Wilson, Frances M. Jones, Hassan K. M. Fofana, Aissata Doucouré, Aly Landouré, Gachuhi Kimani, Joseph K. Mwatha, Moussa Sacko, Birgitte J. Vennervald, David W. DunneBackground
IgE specific to worm antigen (SWA) and pre-treatment eosinophil number, are associated with human immunity to re-infection with schistosomes after chemotherapeutic treatment. Treatment significantly elevates circulating IL-5 24-hr post-treatment of Schistosoma mansoni. Here we investigate if praziquantel treatment of human schistosomiasis haematobium also boosts circulating IL-5, the immunological and parasitological factors that predispose to this, and the relationship between these and subsequent immunity to post-treatment re-infection.Methodology/Principle Findings
The relationship between pre-treatment SWA-IgE, eosinophil number and infection intensity and the 24-hr post-treatment IL-5 boost was investigated in a Malian cohort (aged 5–40 yrs), exposed to S. haematobium. Eotaxin levels were measured at 24-hr post-treatment as a proxy of eosinophil migration. The relationship between the 24-hr post-treatment IL-5 boost and later eosinophil numbers and SWA-IgE levels (9-wk post-treatment) was examined, then investigated in the context of subsequent levels of re-infection (2-yr post-treatment). Circulating IL-5 levels increased 24-hr post-treatment and were associated with pre-treatment infection intensity, SWA-IgE levels, eosinophil number, as well as 24-hr post-treatment eotaxin levels. 24-hr IL-5 levels were, in turn, significantly associated with eosinophil number and elevated SWA-IgE 9-wk later. These SWA-IgE levels were significantly associated with immunity to re-infection.Conclusions/Significance
Early IL-5 production after treatment-induced exposure to S. haematobium worm antigen is positively associated with antigen dose (infection intensity), IgE availability for arming of effector cells at time of treatment and subsequent eosinophil migration response (as indicated by eotaxin levels). The IL-5 produced is positively associated with increased downstream eosinophil number and increases in specific IgE levels, implicating this cytokine boost and its down-stream consequences in the production and maintenance of IgE, and subsequent re-infection immunity.
A Wolbachia wMel Transinfection in Aedes albopictus Is Not Detrimental to Host Fitness and Inhibits Chikungunya Virus
by Marcus S. C. Blagrove, Camilo Arias-Goeta, Cristina Di Genua, Anna-Bella Failloux, Steven P. SinkinsBackground
Wolbachia inherited intracellular bacteria can manipulate the reproduction of their insect hosts through cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), and certain strains have also been shown to inhibit the replication or dissemination of viruses. Wolbachia strains also vary in their relative fitness effects on their hosts and this is a particularly important consideration with respect to the potential of newly created transinfections for use in disease control.Methodology/Principal Findings
In Aedes albopictus mosquitoes transinfected with the wMel strain from Drosophila melanogaster, which we previously reported to be unable to transmit dengue in lab challenges, no significant detrimental effects were observed on egg hatch rate, fecundity, adult longevity or male mating competitiveness. All these parameters influence the population dynamics of Wolbachia, and the data presented are favourable with respect to the aim of taking wMel to high population frequency. Challenge with the chikungunya (CHIKV) virus, for which Ae. albopictus is an important vector, was conducted and the presence of wMel abolished CHIKV dissemination to the saliva.Conclusions/significance
Taken together, these data suggest that introducing wMel into natural Ae. albopictus populations using bidirectional CI could be an efficient strategy for preventing or reducing the transmission of arboviruses by this species.
Case-control Studies on the Relationship between Onchocerciasis and Epilepsy: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
by Christoph Kaiser, Sébastien D. S. Pion, Michel BoussinesqObjective
A systematic review and meta-analysis of all available case-control studies on the relationship between onchocerciasis and epilepsy. Because age and level of onchocerciasis endemicity in the area of residence are major determinants for infection, an additional analysis was performed, restricted to studies achieving control of these confounding factors.Data sources
Medical databases, the “African Neurology Database, Institute of Neuroepidemiology and Tropical Neurology, Limoges,” reference lists of relevant articles, commercial search engines, up to May 2012.Methods
We searched for studies examining infection status with Onchocerca volvulus in persons with epilepsy (PWE) and without epilepsy (PWOE) providing data suitable for the calculation of pooled odds ratios (ORp) and/or standardized mean differences (SMD) using random-effects models.Results
Eleven studies providing data of qualitative skin biopsies for diagnosis of onchocerciasis were identified. Combined analysis on the total sample of 876 PWE and 4712 PWOE resulted in an ORp of 2.49 (95% confidence interval (95%CI): 1.61–3.86, p<0.001). When this analysis was restricted to those studies achieving control for age, residence and sex (367 PWE, 624 PWOE), an ORp of 1.29 (95% CI: 0.93–1.79; p = 0.139) was found. Presence of nodules for diagnosis of onchocerciasis was analyzed in four studies (225 PWE, 189 PWOE; ORp 1.74; 95%CI: 0.94–3.20; p<0.076), including two studies of the restricted analysis (106 PWE, 106 PWOE; ORp 2.81; 95%CI: 1.57–5.00; p<0.001). One study examined quantitative microfilariae counts in patients without preceding microfilaricidal treatment and demonstrated significantly higher counts in PWE than in PWOE.Interpretation
Our results strengthen the hypothesis that, in onchocerciasis foci, epilepsy and infection with O. volvulus are associated. Analysis of indicators giving information on infection intensity, namely nodule palpation and quantitative microfilaria count in untreated patients, support the hypothesis that intensity of infection with O. volvulus is involved in the etiology of epilepsy.
by Mario A. Rodríguez-Pérez, Alfredo Domínguez-Vázquez, Thomas R. Unnasch, Hassan K. Hassan, Juan I. Arredondo-Jiménez, María Eugenia Orozco-Algarra, Kristel B. Rodríguez-Morales, Isabel C. Rodríguez-Luna, Francisco Gibert Prado-VelascoBackground
The Southern Chiapas focus of onchocerciasis in Southern Mexico represents one of the major onchocerciasis foci in Latin America. All 559 endemic communities of this focus have undergone semi-annual mass treatment with ivermectin since 1998. In 50 communities of this focus, ivermectin frequency shifted from twice to four times a year in 2003; an additional 113 communities were added to the quarterly treatment regimen in 2009 to achieve a rapid suppression of transmission.Methodology/Principal findings
In-depth epidemiologic and entomologic assessments were performed in six sentinel communities (which had undergone 2 rounds of ivermectin treatment per year) and three extra-sentinel communities (which had undergone 4 rounds of ivermectin treatment per year). None of the 67,924 Simulium ochraceum s.l. collected from this focus during the dry season of 2011 were found to contain parasite DNA when tested by polymerase chain reaction-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PCR-ELISA), resulting in an upper bound of the 95% confidence interval (95%-ULCI) of the infective rate in the vectors of 0.06/2,000 flies examined. Serological assays testing for Onchocerca volvulus exposure conducted on 4,230 children 5 years of age and under (of a total population of 10,280 in this age group) revealed that 2/4,230 individuals were exposed to O. volvulus (0.05%; one sided 95% confidence interval = 0.08%).Conclusions/Significance
The in-depth epidemiological and entomological findings from the Southern Chiapas focus meet the criteria for interruption of transmission developed by the international community.
by Paul J. Brindley, Peter J. Hotez
Antigenicity and Protective Efficacy of a Leishmania Amastigote-specific Protein, Member of the Super-oxygenase Family, against Visceral Leishmaniasis
by Vivian T. Martins, Miguel A. Chávez-Fumagalli, Lourena E. Costa, Adriana M. C. C. Martins, Paula S. Lage, Daniela P. Lage, Mariana C. Duarte, Diogo G. Valadares, Rubens D. M. Magalhães, Tatiana G. Ribeiro, Ronaldo A. P. Nagem, Wanderson D. DaRocha, Wiliam C. B. Régis, Manuel Soto, Eduardo A. F. Coelho, Ana Paula Fernandes, Carlos A. P. TavaresBackground
The present study aimed to evaluate a hypothetical Leishmania amastigote-specific protein (LiHyp1), previously identified by an immunoproteomic approach performed in Leishmania infantum, which showed homology to the super-oxygenase gene family, attempting to select a new candidate antigen for specific serodiagnosis, as well as to compose a vaccine against VL.Methodology/Principal Findings
The LiHyp1 DNA sequence was cloned; the recombinant protein (rLiHyp1) was purified and evaluated for its antigenicity and immunogenicity. The rLiHyp1 protein was recognized by antibodies from sera of asymptomatic and symptomatic animals with canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL), but presented no cross-reactivity with sera of dogs vaccinated with Leish-Tec, a Brazilian commercial vaccine; with Chagas' disease or healthy animals. In addition, the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of rLiHyp1 plus saponin was evaluated in BALB/c mice challenged subcutaneously with virulent L. infantum promastigotes. rLiHyp1 plus saponin vaccinated mice showed a high and specific production of IFN-γ, IL-12, and GM-CSF after in vitro stimulation with the recombinant protein. Immunized and infected mice, as compared to the control groups (saline and saponin), showed significant reductions in the number of parasites found in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and in the paws' draining lymph nodes. Protection was associated with an IL-12-dependent production of IFN-γ, produced mainly by CD4 T cells. In these mice, a decrease in the parasite-mediated IL-4 and IL-10 response could also be observed.Conclusions/Significance
The present study showed that this Leishmania oxygenase amastigote-specific protein can be used for a more sensitive and specific serodiagnosis of asymptomatic and symptomatic CVL and, when combined with a Th1-type adjuvant, can also be employ as a candidate antigen to develop vaccines against VL.
by Kateřina Pomajbíková, Miroslav Oborník, Aleš Horák, Klára J. Petrželková, J. Norman Grim, Bruno Levecke, Angelique Todd, Martin Mulama, John Kiyang, David ModrýBalantidiasis is considered a neglected zoonotic disease with pigs serving as reservoir hosts. However, Balantidium coli has been recorded in many other mammalian species, including primates. Here, we evaluated the genetic diversity of B. coli in non-human primates using two gene markers (SSrDNA and ITS1-5.8SDNA-ITS2). We analyzed 49 isolates of ciliates from fecal samples originating from 11 species of captive and wild primates, domestic pigs and wild boar. The phylogenetic trees were computed using Bayesian inference and Maximum likelihood. Balantidium entozoon from edible frog and Buxtonella sulcata from cattle were included in the analyses as the closest relatives of B. coli, as well as reference sequences of vestibuliferids. The SSrDNA tree showed the same phylogenetic diversification of B. coli at genus level as the tree constructed based on the ITS region. Based on the polymorphism of SSrDNA sequences, the type species of the genus, namely B. entozoon, appeared to be phylogenetically distinct from B. coli. Thus, we propose a new genus Neobalantidium for the homeothermic clade. Moreover, several isolates from both captive and wild primates (excluding great apes) clustered with B. sulcata with high support, suggesting the existence of a new species within this genus. The cysts of Buxtonella and Neobalantidium are morphologically indistinguishable and the presence of Buxtonella-like ciliates in primates opens the question about possible occurrence of these pathogens in humans.
Structure-Activity Relationship Studies on the Macrolide Exotoxin Mycolactone of Mycobacterium ulcerans
by Nicole Scherr, Philipp Gersbach, Jean-Pierre Dangy, Claudio Bomio, Jun Li, Karl-Heinz Altmann, Gerd PluschkeBackground
Mycolactones are a family of polyketide-derived macrolide exotoxins produced by Mycobacterium ulcerans, the causative agent of the chronic necrotizing skin disease Buruli ulcer. The toxin is synthesized by polyketide synthases encoded by the virulence plasmid pMUM. The apoptotic, necrotic and immunosuppressive properties of mycolactones play a central role in the pathogenesis of M. ulcerans.Methodology/Principal Findings
We have synthesized and tested a series of mycolactone derivatives to conduct structure-activity relationship studies. Flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and Alamar Blue-based metabolic assays were used to assess activities of mycolactones on the murine L929 fibroblast cell line. Modifications of the C-linked upper side chain (comprising C12–C20) caused less pronounced changes in cytotoxicity than modifications in the lower C5-O-linked polyunsaturated acyl side chain. A derivative with a truncated lower side chain was unique in having strong inhibitory effects on fibroblast metabolism and cell proliferation at non-cytotoxic concentrations. We also tested whether mycolactones have antimicrobial activity and found no activity against representatives of Gram-positive (Streptococcus pneumoniae) or Gram-negative bacteria (Neisseria meningitis and Escherichia coli), the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisae or the amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum.Conclusion
Highly defined synthetic compounds allowed to unambiguously compare biological activities of mycolactones expressed by different M. ulcerans lineages and may help identifying target structures and triggering pathways.
by Tamrat Abebe, Yegnasew Takele, Teklu Weldegebreal, Tom Cloke, Ellen Closs, Camille Corset, Asrat Hailu, Workagegnehu Hailu, Yifru Sisay, Karina Corware, Margaux Corset, Manuel Modolell, Markus Munder, Fabienne Tacchini-Cottier, Ingrid Müller, Pascale KropfThe underlying mechanisms resulting in the profound immune suppression characteristic of human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) are not fully understood. Here, we tested the hypothesis that arginase, an enzyme associated with immunosuppression, is higher in patients with VL and contributes to impaired T cell responses. We recruited patients with VL before and after treatment and healthy controls and measured the arginase metabolism in the blood of these individuals. Our results show that arginase activity is significantly higher in the blood of patients with active VL as compared to controls. These high levels of arginase decline considerably once the patients are successfully treated. We identified the phenotype of arginase-expressing cells among PBMCs as neutrophils and show that their frequency was increased in PBMCs of patients before treatment; this coincides with reduced levels of L-arginine in the plasma and decreased expression levels of CD3ζ in T cells.
by K. D. RamaiahHuman population migration is a common phenomenon in developing countries. Four categories of migration—endemic to nonendemic areas, rural to urban areas, non-MDA areas to areas that achieved lymphatic filariasis (LF) control/elimination, and across borders—are relevant to LF elimination efforts. In many situations, migrants from endemic areas may not be able to establish active transmission foci and cause infection in local people in known nonendemic areas or countries. Urban areas are at risk of a steady inflow of LF-infected people from rural areas, necessitating prolonged intervention measures or leading to a prolonged “residual microfilaraemia phase.” Migration-facilitated reestablishment of transmission in areas that achieved significant control or elimination of LF appears to be difficult, but such risk can not be excluded, particularly in areas with efficient vector-parasite combination. Transborder migration poses significant problems in some countries. Listing of destinations, in endemic and nonendemic regions/countries, and formulation of guidelines for monitoring the settlements and the infection status of migrants can strengthen the LF elimination efforts.
by Kabemba E. Mwape, Isaac K. Phiri, Nicolas Praet, Niko Speybroeck, John B. Muma, Pierre Dorny, Sarah GabriëlA community-based longitudinal study was performed in the Eastern Province of Zambia, in which repeated serological samplings were done to determine the incidence of human cysticercosis. Three sampling rounds were carried out at six months intervals. A total of 867 participants presented for all three samplings. All samples were tested for the presence of cysticercus antigens using a monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (sero-Ag-ELISA), while a randomly selected sub-sample of 161 samples from each sampling round was tested for specific antibodies using a commercial enzyme-linked immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB) assay. Stool samples (n = 226) were also collected during the final round of sampling for taeniosis diagnosis by coprology and coproantigen ELISA. Cysticercosis seroprevalence varied from 12.2% to 14.5% (sero-Ag) and from 33.5% to 38.5% (sero-Ab) during the study period. A taeniosis prevalence of 11.9% was determined. Incidence rates of 6300 (sero-Ag, per 100000 persons-year) and 23600 (sero-Ab, per 100000 persons-year) were determined. Seroreversion rates of 44% for sero-Ag and 38.7% for sero-Ab were recorded over the whole period. In conclusion, this study has shown the dynamic nature of T. solium infections; many of the people at risk become (re)infected due to the high environmental contamination, with a high number turning seronegative within a year after infection. An important number of infections probably never fully establish, leading to transient antibody responses and short-term antigen presence.
by Christine E. Ferragine, Colleen D. Walls, Stephen J. DaviesSchistosomes are intravascular helminths that infect over 200 million people worldwide. Deposition of eggs by adult schistosomes stimulates Th2 responses to egg antigens and induces granulomatous pathology that is a hallmark of schistosome infection. Paradoxically, schistosomes require host immune function for their development and reproduction and for egress of parasite eggs from the host. To identify potential mechanisms by which immune cells might influence parasite development prior to the onset of egg production, we assessed immune function in mice infected with developing schistosomes. We found that pre-patent schistosome infection is associated with a loss of T cell responsiveness to other antigens and is due to a diminution in the ability of innate antigen-presenting cells to stimulate T cells. Diminution of stimulatory capacity by schistosome worms specifically affected CD11b+ cells and did not require concomitant adaptive responses. We could not find evidence for production of a diffusible inhibitor of T cells by innate cells from infected mice. Rather, inhibition of T cell responsiveness by accessory cells required cell contact and only occurred when cells from infected mice outnumbered competent APCs by more than 3∶1. Finally, we show that loss of T cell stimulatory capacity may in part be due to suppression of IL-12 expression during pre-patent schistosome infection. Modulation of CD4+ T cell and APC function may be an aspect of host immune exploitation by schistosomes, as both cell types influence parasite development during pre-patent schistosome infection.
by Clémentine Schilte, Frédérik Staikovsky, Thérèse Couderc, Yoann Madec, Florence Carpentier, Somar Kassab, Matthew L. Albert, Marc Lecuit, Alain MichaultBackground
Arthritogenic alphaviruses, including Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), are responsible for acute fever and arthralgia, but can also lead to chronic symptoms. In 2006, a Chikungunya outbreak occurred in La Réunion Island, during which we constituted a prospective cohort of viremic patients (n = 180) and defined the clinical and biological features of acute infection. Individuals were followed as part of a longitudinal study to investigate in details the long-term outcome of Chikungunya.Methodology/Principal Findings
Patients were submitted to clinical investigations 4, 6, 14 and 36 months after presentation with acute CHIKV infection. At 36 months, 22 patients with arthralgia and 20 patients without arthralgia were randomly selected from the cohort and consented for blood sampling. During the 3 years following acute infection, 60% of patients had experienced symptoms of arthralgia, with most reporting episodic relapse and recovery periods. Long-term arthralgias were typically polyarthralgia (70%), that were usually symmetrical (90%) and highly incapacitating (77%). They were often associated with local swelling (63%), asthenia (77%) or depression (56%). The age over 35 years and the presence of arthralgia 4 months after the disease onset are risk factors of long-term arthralgia. Patients with long-term arthralgia did not display biological markers typically found in autoimmune or rheumatoid diseases. These data helped define the features of CHIKV-associated chronic arthralgia and permitted an estimation of the economic burden associated with arthralgia.Conclusions/Significance
This study demonstrates that chronic arthralgia is a frequent complication of acute Chikungunya disease and suggests that it results from a local rather than systemic inflammation.
by Dries Masure, Johnny Vlaminck, Tao Wang, Koen Chiers, Wim Van den Broeck, Jozef Vercruysse, Peter GeldhofThe aim of this study was to explore the mechanisms of resistance against invading Ascaris suum larvae in pigs. Pigs received a low dose of 100 A. suum eggs daily for 14 weeks. This resulted in a >99% reduction in the number of larvae that could migrate through the host after a challenge infection of 5000 A. suum eggs, compared to naïve pigs. Histological analysis at the site of parasite entry, i.e. the caecum, identified eosinophilia, mastocytosis and goblet cell hyperplasia. Increased local transcription levels of genes for IL5, IL13, eosinophil peroxidase and eotaxin further supported the observed eosinophil influx. Further analysis showed that eosinophils degranulated in vitro in response to contact with infective Ascaris larvae in the presence of serum from both immune and naïve animals. This effect was diminished with heat-inactivated serum, indicating a complement dependent mechanism. Furthermore, eosinophils were efficient in killing the larvae in vitro when incubated together with serum from immune animals, suggesting that A. suum specific antibodies are required for efficient elimination of the larvae. Together, these results indicate an important role for eosinophils in the intestinal defense against invading A. suum larvae.
by Janna M. Schurer, Momar Ndao, Stuart Skinner, James Irvine, Stacey A. Elmore, Tasha Epp, Emily J. JenkinsWe report the results of a joint human-animal health investigation in a Dene community in northern Saskatchewan, where residents harvest wildlife (including moose, bear, elk, and fish), live in close contact with free roaming dogs, and lack access to permanent veterinary services. Fecal analysis of owned and free-roaming dogs over two consecutive years (N = 92, 103) identified several parasites of public health concern, including Toxocara canis, Diphyllobothrium spp., Echinococcus/Taenia, Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. Administration of pyrantel pamoate to a subset of dogs (N = 122) in the community in the first year was followed by reduced shedding of T. canis and other roundworms in the second year, demonstrating the potential utility of canine de-worming as a public health intervention. Using direct agglutination tests with confirmatory indirect fluorescent antibody test, 21% of 47 dogs were sero-positive for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) sero-prevalence rates in 201 human volunteers were as follows: Toxoplasma gondii (14%), Echinococcus granulosus (48%), Toxocara canis (13%) and Trichinella spp. (16%). Overall 65% of participants were sero-positive for at least one parasite. A survey administered to volunteers indicated few associations between widely accepted risk factors for parasite exposure and serological status, emphasizing the importance of environmental transmission of these parasites through soil, food, and waterborne routes.
by Gabriel Zorello Laporta, Paulo Inácio Knegt Lopez de Prado, Roberto André Kraenkel, Renato Mendes Coutinho, Maria Anice Mureb SallumBackground
Plasmodium vivax is a widely distributed, neglected parasite that can cause malaria and death in tropical areas. It is associated with an estimated 80–300 million cases of malaria worldwide. Brazilian tropical rain forests encompass host- and vector-rich communities, in which two hypothetical mechanisms could play a role in the dynamics of malaria transmission. The first mechanism is the dilution effect caused by presence of wild warm-blooded animals, which can act as dead-end hosts to Plasmodium parasites. The second is diffuse mosquito vector competition, in which vector and non-vector mosquito species compete for blood feeding upon a defensive host. Considering that the World Health Organization Malaria Eradication Research Agenda calls for novel strategies to eliminate malaria transmission locally, we used mathematical modeling to assess those two mechanisms in a pristine tropical rain forest, where the primary vector is present but malaria is absent.Methodology/Principal Findings
The Ross–Macdonald model and a biodiversity-oriented model were parameterized using newly collected data and data from the literature. The basic reproduction number () estimated employing Ross–Macdonald model indicated that malaria cases occur in the study location. However, no malaria cases have been reported since 1980. In contrast, the biodiversity-oriented model corroborated the absence of malaria transmission. In addition, the diffuse competition mechanism was negatively correlated with the risk of malaria transmission, which suggests a protective effect provided by the forest ecosystem. There is a non-linear, unimodal correlation between the mechanism of dead-end transmission of parasites and the risk of malaria transmission, suggesting a protective effect only under certain circumstances (e.g., a high abundance of wild warm-blooded animals).Conclusions/Significance
To achieve biological conservation and to eliminate Plasmodium parasites in human populations, the World Health Organization Malaria Eradication Research Agenda should take biodiversity issues into consideration.