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by Stefan W. Metz, Joy Gardner, Corinne Geertsema, Thuy T. Le, Lucas Goh, Just M. Vlak, Andreas Suhrbier, Gorben P. PijlmanThe emerging arthritogenic, mosquito-borne chikungunya virus (CHIKV) causes severe disease in humans and represents a serious public health threat in countries where Aedes spp mosquitoes are present. This study describes for the first time the successful production of CHIKV virus-like particles (VLPs) in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses. This well-established expression system is rapidly scalable to volumes required for epidemic responses and proved well suited for processing of CHIKV glycoproteins and production of enveloped VLPs. Herein we show that a single immunization with 1 µg of non-adjuvanted CHIKV VLPs induced high titer neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete protection against viraemia and joint inflammation upon challenge with the Réunion Island CHIKV strain in an adult wild-type mouse model of CHIKV disease. CHIKV VLPs produced in insect cells using recombinant baculoviruses thus represents as a new, safe, non-replicating and effective vaccine candidate against CHIKV infections.
by Tamsyn Derrick, Chrissy h. Roberts, Megha Rajasekhar, Sarah E. Burr, Hassan Joof, Pateh Makalo, Robin L. Bailey, David C. W. Mabey, Matthew J. Burton, Martin J. HollandPurpose
Trachoma is a fibrotic disease of the conjunctiva initiated by Chlamydia trachomatis infection. This blinding disease affects over 40 million people worldwide yet the mechanisms underlying its pathogenesis remain poorly understood. We have investigated host microRNA (miR) expression in health (N) and disease (conjunctival scarring with (TSI) and without (TS) inflammation) to determine if these epigenetic differences are associated with pathology.Methods
We collected two independent samples of human conjunctival swab specimens from individuals living in The Gambia (n = 63 & 194). miR was extracted, and we investigated the expression of 754 miR in the first sample of 63 specimens (23 N, 17 TS, 23 TSI) using Taqman qPCR array human miRNA genecards. Network and pathway analysis was performed on this dataset. Seven miR that were significantly differentially expressed between different phenotypic groups were then selected for validation by qPCR in the second sample of 194 specimens (93 N, 74 TS, 22 TSI).Results
Array screening revealed differential expression of 82 miR between N, TS and TSI phenotypes (fold change >3, p<0.05). Predicted mRNA targets of these miR were enriched in pathways involved in fibrosis and epithelial cell differentiation. Two miR were confirmed as being differentially expressed upon validation by qPCR. miR-147b is significantly up-regulated in TSI versus N (fold change = 2.3, p = 0.03) and miR-1285 is up-regulated in TSI versus TS (fold change = 4.6, p = 0.005), which was consistent with the results of the qPCR array.Conclusions
miR-147b and miR-1285 are up-regulated in inflammatory trachomatous scarring. Further investigation of the function of these miR will aid our understanding of the pathogenesis of trachoma.
Microbiological, Histological, Immunological, and Toxin Response to Antibiotic Treatment in the Mouse Model of Mycobacterium ulcerans Disease
by Fred Stephen Sarfo, Paul J. Converse, Deepak V. Almeida, Jihui Zhang, Clive Robinson, Mark Wansbrough-Jones, Jacques H. GrossetMycobacterium ulcerans infection causes a neglected tropical disease known as Buruli ulcer that is now found in poor rural areas of West Africa in numbers that sometimes exceed those reported for another significant mycobacterial disease, leprosy, caused by M. leprae. Unique among mycobacterial diseases, M. ulcerans produces a plasmid-encoded toxin called mycolactone (ML), which is the principal virulence factor and destroys fat cells in subcutaneous tissue. Disease is typically first manifested by the appearance of a nodule that eventually ulcerates and the lesions may continue to spread over limbs or occasionally the trunk. The current standard treatment is 8 weeks of daily rifampin and injections of streptomycin (RS). The treatment kills bacilli and wounds gradually heal. Whether RS treatment actually stops mycolactone production before killing bacilli has been suggested by histopathological analyses of patient lesions. Using a mouse footpad model of M. ulcerans infection where the time of infection and development of lesions can be followed in a controlled manner before and after antibiotic treatment, we have evaluated the progress of infection by assessing bacterial numbers, mycolactone production, the immune response, and lesion histopathology at regular intervals after infection and after antibiotic therapy. We found that RS treatment rapidly reduced gross lesions, bacterial numbers, and ML production as assessed by cytotoxicity assays and mass spectrometric analysis. Histopathological analysis revealed that RS treatment maintained the association of the bacilli with (or within) host cells where they were destroyed whereas lack of treatment resulted in extracellular infection, destruction of host cells, and ultimately lesion ulceration. We propose that RS treatment promotes healing in the host by blocking mycolactone production, which favors the survival of host cells, and by killing M. ulcerans bacilli.
Prevalence and Risk Factors Associated with Human Taenia Solium Infections in Mbozi District, Mbeya Region, Tanzania
by Gloria Mwanjali, Charles Kihamia, Deodatus Vitalis Conatus Kakoko, Faustin Lekule, Helena Ngowi, Maria Vang Johansen, Stig Milan Thamsborg, Arve Lee WillinghamBackground
Taenia solium cysticercosis/taeniosis is emerging as a serious public health and economic problem in many developing countries. This study was conducted to determine prevalence and risk factors of human T. solium infections in Mbeya Region, Tanzania.Methods and Findings
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 13 villages of Mbozi district in 2009. Sera of 830 people (mean 37.9±11.3 years (SD); 43% females) were tested for circulating cysticerci antigen (Ag-ELISA) and antibody (Ab-ELISA). A subset of persons found seropositive by Ag-ELISA underwent computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain for evidence of neurocysticercosis. Stool samples from 820 of the same participants were tested for taeniosis by copro-antigens (copro-Ag-ELISA) and formol-ether concentration technique. Cases of T. solium taeniosis were confirmed serologically by EITB assay (rES38). A questionnaire was used for identification of risk factors. Active cysticercosis by positive Ag-ELISA was found in 139 (16.7%) persons while anti-cysticercal antibodies were detected in 376 (45.3%) persons by Ab-ELISA. Among 55 persons positive for Ag-ELISA undergoing CT scan, 30 (54.6%) were found to have structures in the brain suggestive of neurocysticercosis. Using faecal analysis, 43 (5.2%) stool samples tested positive for taeniosis by copro-Ag-ELISA while Taenia eggs were detected in 9 (1.1%) stool samples by routine coprology. Antibodies specifically against adult T. solium were detected in 34 copro-Ag-ELISA positive participants by EITB (rES38) indicating T. solium taeniosis prevalence of 4.1%. Increasing age and hand washing by dipping in contrast to using running water, were found associated with Ag-ELISA seropositivity by logistic regression. Gender (higher risk in females) and water source were risk factors associated with Ab-ELISA seropositivity. Reported symptoms of chronic severe headaches and history of epileptic seizures were found associated with positive Ag-ELISA (p≤0.05).Conclusion
The present study indicates T. solium infection in humans is highly endemic in the southern highlands of Tanzania.
by October M. Sessions, Ying Tan, Kenneth C. Goh, Yujing Liu, Patrick Tan, Steve Rozen, Eng Eong OoiDengue viruses 1–4 (DENV1-4) rely heavily on the host cell machinery to complete their life cycle, while at the same time evade the host response that could restrict their replication efficiency. These requirements may account for much of the broad gene-level changes to the host transcriptome upon DENV infection. However, host gene function is also regulated through transcriptional start site (TSS) selection and post-transcriptional modification to the RNA that give rise to multiple gene isoforms. The roles these processes play in the host response to dengue infection have not been explored. In the present study, we utilized RNA sequencing (RNAseq) to identify novel transcript variations in response to infection with both a pathogenic strain of DENV1 and its attenuated derivative. RNAseq provides the information necessary to distinguish the various isoforms produced from a single gene and their splice variants. Our data indicate that there is an extensive amount of previously uncharacterized TSS and post-transcriptional modifications to host RNA over a wide range of pathways and host functions in response to DENV infection. Many of the differentially expressed genes identified in this study have previously been shown to be required for flavivirus propagation and/or interact with DENV gene products. We also show here that the human transcriptome response to an infection by wild-type DENV or its attenuated derivative differs significantly. This differential response to wild-type and attenuated DENV infection suggests that alternative processing events may be part of a previously uncharacterized innate immune response to viral infection that is in large part evaded by wild-type DENV.
Antimicrobial Resistance in Invasive Non-typhoid Salmonella from the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Emergence of Decreased Fluoroquinolone Susceptibility and Extended-spectrum Beta Lactamases
by Octavie Lunguya, Veerle Lejon, Marie-France Phoba, Sophie Bertrand, Raymond Vanhoof, Youri Glupczynski, Jan Verhaegen, Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, Jan JacobsBackground
Co-resistance against the first-line antibiotics ampicillin, chloramphenicol and trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole or multidrug resistance (MDR) is common in non typhoid Salmonella (NTS). Use of alternative antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones or third generation cephalosporins is threatened by increasing resistance, but remains poorly documented in Central-Africa.Methodology/Principal findings
As part of a microbiological surveillance study in DR Congo, blood cultures were collected between 2007 and 2011. Isolated NTS were assessed for serotype and antimicrobial resistance including decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production. In total, 233 NTS isolates (representing 23.6% of clinically significant organisms) were collected, mainly consisting of Salmonella Typhimurium (79%) and Salmonella Enteritidis (18%). The majority of NTS were isolated in the rainy season, and recovered from children ≤2 years old. MDR, decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility, azithromycin and cefotaxime resistance were 80.7%, 4.3%, 3.0% and 2.1% respectively. ESBL production was noted in three (1.3%) isolates. Decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility was associated with mutations in codon 87 of the gyrA gene, while ESBLs all belonged to the SHV-2a type.Conclusions/Significance
Presence of almost full MDR among NTS isolates from blood cultures in Central Africa was confirmed. Resistance to fluoroquinolones, azithromycin and third generation cephalosporins is still low, but emerging. Increased microbiological surveillance in DR Congo is crucial for adapted antibiotic therapy and the development of treatment guidelines.
Impact of Community-Based Lymphedema Management on Perceived Disability among Patients with Lymphatic Filariasis in Orissa State, India
by Philip J. Budge, Kristen M. Little, Katherine E. Mues, Erin D. Kennedy, Aiysha Prakash, Jonathan Rout, LeAnne M. FoxBackground
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) infects approximately 120 million people worldwide. As many as 40 million have symptoms of LF disease, including lymphedema, elephantiasis, and hydrocele. India constitutes approximately 45% of the world's burden of LF. The Indian NGO Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) has been conducting a community-based lymphedema management program in Orissa State since 2007 that aims to reduce the morbidity associated with lymphedema and elephantiasis. The objective of this analysis is to evaluate the effects of this program on lymphedema patients' perceived disability.Methodology/Principal Findings
For this prospective cohort study, 370 patients ≥14 years of age, who reported lymphedema lasting more than three months in one or both legs, were recruited from villages in the Bolagarh sub-district, Khurda District, Orissa, India. The World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II was administered to participants at baseline (July, 2009), and then at regular intervals through 24 months (July, 2011), to assess patients' perceived disability. Disability scores decreased significantly (p<0.0001) from baseline to 24 months. Multivariable analysis using mixed effects modeling found that employment and time in the program were significantly associated with lower disability scores after two years of program involvement. Older age, female gender, the presence of other chronic health conditions, moderate (Stage 3) or advanced (Stage 4–7) lymphedema, reporting an adenolymphangitis (ADL) episode during the previous 30 days, and the presence of inter-digital lesions were associated with higher disability scores. Patients with moderate or advanced lymphedema experienced greater improvements in perceived disability over time. Patients participating in the program for at least 12 months also reported losing 2.5 fewer work days per month (p<0.001) due to their lymphedema, compared to baseline.Significance
These results indicate that community-based lymphedema management programs can reduce disability and prevent days of work lost. These effects were sustained over a 24 month period.
Comparative Study of Transcriptome Profiles of Mechanical- and Skin-Transformed Schistosoma mansoni Schistosomula
by Anna V. Protasio, David W. Dunne, Matthew BerrimanSchistosome infection begins with the penetration of cercariae through healthy unbroken host skin. This process leads to the transformation of the free-living larvae into obligate parasites called schistosomula. This irreversible transformation, which occurs in as little as two hours, involves casting the cercaria tail and complete remodelling of the surface membrane. At this stage, parasites are vulnerable to host immune attack and oxidative stress. Consequently, the mechanisms by which the parasite recognises and swiftly adapts to the human host are still the subject of many studies, especially in the context of development of intervention strategies against schistosomiasis infection. Because obtaining enough material from in vivo infections is not always feasible for such studies, the transformation process is often mimicked in the laboratory by application of shear pressure to a cercarial sample resulting in mechanically transformed (MT) schistosomula. These parasites share remarkable morphological and biochemical similarity to the naturally transformed counterparts and have been considered a good proxy for parasites undergoing natural infection. Relying on this equivalency, MT schistosomula have been used almost exclusively in high-throughput studies of gene expression, identification of drug targets and identification of effective drugs against schistosomes. However, the transcriptional equivalency between skin-transformed (ST) and MT schistosomula has never been proven. In our approach to compare these two types of schistosomula preparations and to explore differences in gene expression triggered by the presence of a skin barrier, we performed RNA-seq transcriptome profiling of ST and MT schistosomula at 24 hours post transformation. We report that these two very distinct schistosomula preparations differ only in the expression of 38 genes (out of ∼11,000), providing convincing evidence to resolve the skin vs. mechanical long-lasting controversy.
Active Surveillance of Hansen's Disease (Leprosy): Importance for Case Finding among Extra-domiciliary Contacts
by Maria L. N. Moura, Kathryn M. Dupnik, Gabriel A. A. Sampaio, Priscilla F. C. Nóbrega, Ana K. Jeronimo, Jose M. do Nascimento-Filho, Roberta L. Miranda Dantas, Jose W. Queiroz, James D. Barbosa, Gutemberg Dias, Selma M. B. Jeronimo, Marcia C. F. Souza, Maurício L. NobreHansen's disease (leprosy) remains an important health problem in Brazil, where 34,894 new cases were diagnosed in 2010, corresponding to 15.3% of the world's new cases detected in that year. The purpose of this study was to use home visits as a tool for surveillance of Hansen's disease in a hyperendemic area in Brazil. A total of 258 residences were visited with 719 individuals examined. Of these, 82 individuals had had a previous history of Hansen's disease, 209 were their household contacts and 428 lived in neighboring residences. Fifteen new Hansen's disease cases were confirmed, yielding a detection rate of 2.0% of people examined. There was no difference in the detection rate between household and neighbor contacts (p = 0.615). The two groups had the same background in relation to education (p = 0.510), household income (p = 0.582), and the number of people living in the residence (p = 0.188). Spatial analysis showed clustering of newly diagnosed cases and association with residential coordinates of previously diagnosed multibacillary cases. Active case finding is an important tool for Hansen's disease control in hyperendemic areas, enabling earlier diagnosis, treatment, decrease in disability from Hansen's disease and potentially less spread of Mycobacterium leprae.
Twenty Years of DENV-2 Activity in Brazil: Molecular Characterization and Phylogeny of Strains Isolated from 1990 to 2010
by Nieli Rodrigues da Costa Faria, Rita Maria Ribeiro Nogueira, Ana Maria Bispo de Filippis, Jaqueline Bastos Santos Simões, Fernanda de Bruycker Nogueira, Monique da Rocha Queiroz Lima, Flavia Barreto dos SantosIn Brazil, dengue has been a major public health problem since its introduction in the 1980s. Phylogenetic studies constitute a valuable tool to monitor the introduction and spread of viruses as well as to predict the potential epidemiological consequences of such events. Aiming to perform the molecular characterization and phylogenetic analysis of DENV-2 during twenty years of viral activity in the country, viral strains isolated from patients presenting different disease manifestations (n = 34), representing six states of the country, from 1990 to 2010, were sequenced. Partial genome sequencing (genes C/prM/M/E) was performed in 25 DENV-2 strains and full-length genome sequencing (coding region) was performed in 9 strains. The percentage of similarity among the DENV-2 strains in this study and reference strains available in Genbank identified two groups epidemiologically distinct: one represented by strains isolated from 1990 to 2003 and one from strains isolated from 2007 to 2010. No consistent differences were observed on the E gene from strains isolated from cases with different clinical manifestations analyzed, suggesting that if the disease severity has a genetic origin, it is not only due to the differences observed on the E gene. The results obtained by the DENV-2 full-length genome sequencing did not point out consistent differences related to a more severe disease either. The analysis based on the partial and/or complete genome sequencing has characterized the Brazilian DENV-2 strains as belonging to the Southeast Asian genotype, however a distinction of two Lineages within this genotype has been identified. It was established that strains circulating prior DENV-2 emergence (1990–2003) belong to Southeast Asian genotype, Lineage I and strains isolated after DENV-2 emergence in 2007 belong to Southeast Asian genotype, Lineage II. Furthermore, all DENV-2 strains analyzed presented an asparagine (N) in E390, previously identified as a probable genetic marker of virulence observed in DHF strains from Asian origin. The percentage of identity of the latter with the Dominican Republic strain isolated in 2001 combined to the percentage of divergence with the strains first introduced in the country in the 1990s suggests that those viruses did not evolve locally but were due to a new viral Lineage introduction in the country from the Caribbean.
by Henry Tabel, Guojian Wei, Harold J. Bull
Phylogeographic Reconstruction of African Yellow Fever Virus Isolates Indicates Recent Simultaneous Dispersal into East and West Africa
by Andrew Beck, Hilda Guzman, Li Li, Brett Ellis, Robert B. Tesh, Alan D. T. BarrettYellow fever virus (YFV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is a major public health problem in tropical areas of Africa and South America. There have been detailed studies on YFV ecology in West Africa and South America, but current understanding of YFV circulation on the African continent is incomplete. This inadequacy is especially notable for East and Central Africa, for which the unpredictability of human outbreaks is compounded by limitations in both historical and present surveillance efforts. Sparse availability of nucleotide sequence data makes it difficult to investigate the dispersal of YFV in these regions of the continent. To remedy this, we constructed Bayesian phylogenetic and geographic analyses utilizing 49 partial genomic sequences to infer the structure of YFV divergence across the known range of the virus on the African continent. Relaxed clock analysis demonstrated evidence for simultaneous divergence of YFV into east and west lineages, a finding that differs from previous hypotheses of YFV dispersal from reservoirs located on edges of the endemic range. Using discrete and continuous geographic diffusion models, we provide detailed structure of YFV lineage diversity. Significant transition links between extant East and West African lineages are presented, implying connection between areas of known sylvatic cycling. The results of demographic modeling reinforce the existence of a stably maintained population of YFV with spillover events into human populations occurring periodically. Geographically distinct foci of circulation are reconstructed, which have significant implications for studies of YFV ecology and emergence of human disease. We propose further incorporation of Bayesian phylogeography into formal GIS analyses to augment studies of arboviral disease.
The Sequential Aerosol Technique: A Major Component in an Integrated Strategy of Intervention against Riverine Tsetse in Ghana
by Yahaya Adam, Giuliano Cecchi, Patrick M. Kgori, Tanguy Marcotty, Charles I. Mahama, Martin Abavana, Benita Anderson, Massimo Paone, Raffaele Mattioli, Jérémy BouyerBackground
An integrated strategy of intervention against tsetse flies was implemented in the Upper West Region of Ghana (9.62°–11.00° N, 1.40°–2.76° W), covering an area of ≈18,000 km2 within the framework of the Pan-African Tsetse and Trypanosomosis Eradication Campaign. Two species were targeted: Glossina tachinoides and Glossina palpalis gambiensis.Methodology/Principal Findings
The objectives were to test the potentiality of the sequential aerosol technique (SAT) to eliminate riverine tsetse species in a challenging subsection (dense tree canopy and high tsetse densities) of the total sprayed area (6,745 km2) and the subsequent efficacy of an integrated strategy including ground spraying (≈100 km2), insecticide treated targets (20,000) and insecticide treated cattle (45,000) in sustaining the results of tsetse suppression in the whole intervention area. The aerial application of low-dosage deltamethrin aerosols (0.33–0.35 g a.i/ha) was conducted along the three main rivers using five custom designed fixed-wings Turbo thrush aircraft. The impact of SAT on tsetse densities was monitored using 30 biconical traps deployed from two weeks before until two weeks after the operations. Results of the SAT monitoring indicated an overall reduction rate of 98% (from a pre-intervention mean apparent density per trap per day (ADT) of 16.7 to 0.3 at the end of the fourth and last cycle). One year after the SAT operations, a second survey using 200 biconical traps set in 20 sites during 3 weeks was conducted throughout the intervention area to measure the impact of the integrated control strategy. Both target species were still detected, albeit at very low densities (ADT of 0.27 inside sprayed blocks and 0.10 outside sprayed blocks).Conclusions/Significance
The SAT operations failed to achieve elimination in the monitored section, but the subsequent integrated strategy maintained high levels of suppression throughout the intervention area, which will contribute to improving animal health, increasing animal production and fostering food security.
by Patricia L. Schirmer, Cynthia A. Lucero-Obusan, Stephen R. Benoit, Luis M. Santiago, Danielle Stanek, Achintya Dey, Mirsonia Martinez, Gina Oda, Mark HolodniyBackground
Although dengue is endemic in Puerto Rico (PR), 2007 and 2010 were recognized as epidemic years. In the continental United States (US), outside of the Texas-Mexico border, there had not been a dengue outbreak since 1946 until dengue re-emerged in Key West, Florida (FL), in 2009–2010. The objective of this study was to use electronic and manual surveillance systems to identify dengue cases in Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare facilities and then to clinically compare dengue cases in Veterans presenting for care in PR and in FL.Methodology
Outpatient encounters from 1/2007–12/2010 and inpatient admissions (only available from 10/2009–12/2010) with dengue diagnostic codes at all VA facilities were identified using VA's Electronic Surveillance System for Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE). Additional case sources included VA data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BioSense and VA infection preventionists. Case reviews were performed. Categorical data was compared using Mantel-Haenszel or Fisher Exact tests and continuous variables using t-tests. Dengue case residence was mapped.Findings
Two hundred eighty-eight and 21 PR and FL dengue cases respectively were identified. Of 21 FL cases, 12 were exposed in Key West and 9 were imported. During epidemic years, FL cases had significantly increased dengue testing and intensive care admissions, but lower hospitalization rates and headache or eye pain symptoms compared to PR cases. There were no significant differences in clinical symptoms, laboratory abnormalities or outcomes between epidemic and non-epidemic year cases in FL and PR. Confirmed/probable cases were significantly more likely to be hospitalized and have thrombocytopenia or leukopenia compared to suspected cases.Conclusions
Dengue re-introduction in the continental US warrants increased dengue surveillance and education in VA. Throughout VA, under-testing of suspected cases highlights the need to emphasize use of diagnostic testing to better understand the magnitude of dengue among Veterans.
Podoconiosis and Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STHs): Double Burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Wolaita Zone, Rural Southern Ethiopia
by Bineyam Taye, Bereket Alemayehu, Asaye Birhanu, Kassu Desta, Sisay Addisu, Beyene Petros, Gail Davey, Aster TsegayeBackground
Both podoconiosis and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections occur among barefoot people in areas of extreme poverty; however, their co-morbidity has not previously been investigated. We explored the overlap of STH infection and podoconiosis in Southern Ethiopia and quantified their separate and combined effects on prevalent anemia and hemoglobin levels in podoconiosis patients and health controls from the same area.Methods and Principal Findings
A two-part comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in Wolaita zone, southern Ethiopia. Data were collected from adult patients presenting with clinically confirmed podoconiosis, and unmatched adult neighborhood controls living in the same administrative area. Information on demographic and selected lifestyle factors was collected using interviewer-administered questionnaires. Stool samples were collected and examined qualitatively using the modified formalin-ether sedimentation method. Hemoglobin level was determined using two different methods: hemoglobinometer and automated hematology analyzer. A total of 913 study subjects (677 podoconiosis patients and 236 controls) participated. The prevalence of any STH infection was 47.6% among patients and 33.1% among controls (p<0.001). The prevalence of both hookworm and Trichuris trichiura infections was significantly higher in podoconiosis patients than in controls (AOR 1.74, 95% CI 1.25 to2.42, AOR 6.53, 95% CI 2.34 to 18.22, respectively). Not wearing shoes and being a farmer remained significant independent predictors of infection with any STH. There was a significant interaction between STH infection and podoconiosis on reduction of hemoglobin level (interaction p value = 0.002).Conclusions
Prevalence of any STH and hookworm infection was higher among podoconiosis patients than among controls. A significant reduction in hemoglobin level was observed among podoconiosis patients co-infected with hookworm and ‘non-hookworm STH’. Promotion of consistent shoe-wearing practices may have double advantages in controlling both podoconiosis and hookworm infection in the study area.
Will Dengue Vaccines Be Used in the Public Sector and if so, How? Findings from an 8-country Survey of Policymakers and Opinion Leaders
by Don L. Douglas, Denise A. DeRoeck, Richard T. Mahoney, Ole WichmannBackground
A face-to-face survey of 158 policymakers and other influential professionals was conducted in eight dengue-endemic countries in Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam) and Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua) to provide an indication of the potential demand for dengue vaccination in endemic countries, and to anticipate their research and other requirements in order to make decisions about the introduction of dengue vaccines. The study took place in anticipation of the licensure of the first dengue vaccine in the next several years.Methods/Principal Findings
Semi-structured interviews were conducted on an individual or small group basis with government health officials, research scientists, medical association officers, vaccine producers, local-level health authorities, and others considered to have a role in influencing decisions about dengue control and vaccines. Most informants across countries considered dengue a priority disease and expressed interest in the public sector use of dengue vaccines, with a major driver being the political pressure from the public and the medical community to control the disease. There was interest in a vaccine that protects children as young as possible and that can fit into existing childhood immunization schedules. Dengue vaccination in most countries surveyed will likely be targeted to high-risk areas and begin with routine immunization of infants and young children, followed by catch-up campaigns for older age groups, as funding permits. Key data requirements for decision-making were additional local dengue surveillance data, vaccine cost-effectiveness estimates, post-marketing safety surveillance data and, in some countries vaccine safety and immunogenicity data in the local population.Conclusions/Significance
The lookout for the public sector use of dengue vaccines in the eight countries appears quite favorable. Major determinants of whether and when countries will introduce dengue vaccines include whether WHO recommends the vaccines, their price, the availability of external financing for lower income countries, and whether they can be incorporated into countries' routine immunization schedules.
by Corin L. Dorfmeier, Evgeni P. Tzvetkov, Anthony Gatt, James P. McGettiganOver two-thirds of the world's population lives in regions where rabies is endemic, resulting in over 15 million people receiving multi-dose post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and over 55,000 deaths per year globally. A major goal in rabies virus (RABV) research is to develop a single-dose PEP that would simplify vaccination protocols, reduce costs associated with RABV prevention, and save lives. Protection against RABV infections requires virus neutralizing antibodies; however, factors influencing the development of protective RABV-specific B cell responses remain to be elucidated. Here we used a mouse model of IL-21 receptor-deficiency (IL-21R−/−) to characterize the role for IL-21 in RABV vaccine-induced immunity. IL-21R−/− mice immunized with a low dose of a live recombinant RABV-based vaccine (rRABV) produced only low levels of primary or secondary anti-RABV antibody response while wild-type mice developed potent anti-RABV antibodies. Furthermore, IL-21R−/− mice immunized with low-dose rRABV were only minimally protected against pathogenic RABV challenge, while all wild-type mice survived challenge, indicating that IL-21R signaling is required for antibody production in response to low-dose RABV-based vaccination. IL-21R−/− mice immunized with a higher dose of vaccine produced suboptimal anti-RABV primary antibody responses, but showed potent secondary antibodies and protection similar to wild-type mice upon challenge with pathogenic RABV, indicating that IL-21 is dispensable for secondary antibody responses to live RABV-based vaccines when a primary response develops. Furthermore, we show that IL-21 is dispensable for the generation of Tfh cells and memory B cells in the draining lymph nodes of immunized mice but is required for the detection of optimal GC B cells or plasma cells in the lymph node or bone marrow, respectively, in a vaccine dose-dependent manner. Collectively, our preliminary data show that IL-21 is critical for the development of optimal vaccine-induced primary but not secondary antibody responses against RABV infections.
Assessing the Effect of an Integrated Control Strategy for Schistosomiasis Japonica Emphasizing Bovines in a Marshland Area of Hubei Province, China: A Cluster Randomized Trial
by Xi-Cheng Hong, Xing-Jian Xu, Xi Chen, Yue-Sheng Li, Chuan-Hua Yu, Yi Yuan, Yan-Yan Chen, Ren-Dong Li, Juan Qiu, Zong-Chuan Liu, Ping Yi, Guang-Hui Ren, Hong-Bin HeIntroduction
More than 80% of schistosomiasis patients in China live in the lake and marshland regions. The purpose of our study is to assess the effect of a comprehensive strategy to control transmission of Schistosoma japonicum in marshland regions.Methodology/Principal Findings
In a cluster randomized controlled trial, we implemented an integrated control strategy in twelve villages from 2009 through 2011 in Gong'an County, Hubei Province. The routine interventions included praziquantel chemotherapy and controlling snails, and were implemented in all villages. New interventions, mainly consisting of building fences to limit the grazing area for bovines, building safe pastures for grazing, improving the residents' health conditions and facilities, were only implemented in six intervention villages. Results showed that the rate of S. japonicum infection in humans, bovines, snails, cow dung and mice in the intervention group decreased from 3.41% in 2008 to 0.81% in 2011, 3.3% to none, 11 of 6,219 to none, 3.9% to none and 31.7% to 1.7%, respectively (P<0.001 for all comparisons). In contrast, there were no statistically significant reductions of S. japonicum infection in humans, bovines and snails from 2008 to 2011 in the control group (P>0.05 for all comparisons). Moreover, a generalized linear model showed that there was a higher infection risk in humans in the control group than in the intervention group (OR = 1.250, P = 0.001) and an overall significant downward trend in infection risk during the study period.Conclusions/Significance
The integrated control strategy, designed to reduce the role of bovines and humans as sources of S. japonicum infection, was highly effective in controlling the transmission of S. japonicum in marshland regions in China.Trial Registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR-PRC-12002405.
Characterization of Phlebotomus papatasi Peritrophins, and the Role of PpPer1 in Leishmania major Survival in its Natural Vector
by Iliano V. Coutinho-Abreu, Narinder K. Sharma, Maricela Robles-Murguia, Marcelo Ramalho-OrtigaoThe peritrophic matrix (PM) plays a key role in compartmentalization of the blood meal and as barrier to pathogens in many disease vectors. To establish an infection in sand flies, Leishmania must escape from the endoperitrophic space to prevent excretion with remnants of the blood meal digestion. In spite of the role played regarding Leishmania survival, little is known about sand fly PM molecular components and structural organization. We characterized three peritrophins (PpPer1, PpPer2, and PpPer3) from Phlebotomus papatasi. PpPer1 and PpPer2 display, respectively, four and one chitin-binding domains (CBDs). PpPer3 on the other hand has two CBDs, one mucin-like domain, and a putative domain with hallmarks of a CBD, but with changes in key amino acids. Temporal and spatial expression analyses show that PpPer1 is expressed specifically in the female midgut after blood feeding. PpPer2 and PpPer3 mRNAs were constitutively expressed in midgut and hindgut, with PpPer3 also being expressed in Malpighian tubules. PpPer2 was the only gene expressed in developmental stages. Interestingly, PpPer1 and PpPer3 expression are regulated by Le. major infection. Recombinant PpPer1, PpPer2 and PpPer3 were obtained and shown to display similar biochemical profiles as the native; we also show that PpPer1 and PpPer2 are able to bind chitin. Knockdown of PpPer1 led to a 44% reduction in protein, which in spite of producing an effect on the percentage of infected sand flies, resulted in a 39% increase of parasite load at 48 h. Our data suggest that PpPer1 is a component for the P. papatasi PM and likely involved in the PM role as barrier against Le. major infection.
Evaluation of the European Foundation Initiative into African Research in Neglected Tropical Diseases by the African Fellows
by Hester G. O'Neill, Themba Mzilahowa, Nilsa de Deus, Sammy M. Njenga, Elia J. Mmbaga, Thomas M. Kariuki