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Multi-drug resistant non-typhoidal <i>Salmonella</i> associated with invasive disease in western Kenya

12 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Adam Akullian, Joel M. Montgomery, Grace John-Stewart, Samuel I. Miller, Hillary S. Hayden, Matthew C. Radey, Kyle R. Hager, Jennifer R. Verani, John Benjamin Ochieng, Jane Juma, Jim Katieno, Barry Fields, Godfrey Bigogo, Allan Audi, Judd Walson

Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) is a leading cause of bloodstream infections in Africa, but the various contributions of host susceptibility versus unique pathogen virulence factors are unclear. We used data from a population-based surveillance platform (population ~25,000) between 2007–2014 and NTS genome-sequencing to compare host and pathogen-specific factors between individuals presenting with NTS bacteremia and those presenting with NTS diarrhea. Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 and Salmonella Enteritidis ST11 were the most common isolates. Multi-drug resistant strains of NTS were more commonly isolated from patients presenting with NTS bacteremia compared to NTS diarrhea. This relationship was observed in patients under age five [aOR = 15.16, 95% CI (2.84–81.05), P = 0.001], in patients five years and older, [aOR = 6.70 95% CI (2.25–19.89), P = 0.001], in HIV-uninfected patients, [aOR = 21.61, 95% CI (2.53–185.0), P = 0.005], and in patients infected with Salmonella serogroup B [aOR = 5.96, 95% CI (2.28–15.56), P < 0.001] and serogroup D [aOR = 14.15, 95% CI (1.10–182.7), P = 0.042]. Thus, multi-drug-resistant NTS was strongly associated with bacteremia compared to diarrhea among children and adults. This association was seen in HIV-uninfected individuals infected with either S. Typhimurium or S. Enteritidis. Risk of developing bacteremia from NTS infection may be driven by virulence properties of the Salmonella pathogen.

Harmonized clinical trial methodologies for localized cutaneous leishmaniasis and potential for extensive network with capacities for clinical evaluation

12 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Piero Olliaro, Max Grogl, Marina Boni, Edgar M. Carvalho, Houda Chebli, Mamoudou Cisse, Ermias Diro, Gláucia Fernandes Cota, Astrid C. Erber, Endalamaw Gadisa, Farhad Handjani, Ali Khanesipour, Alejandro Llanos-Cuentas, Liliana López Carvajal, Lise Grout, Badre Eddine Lmimouni, Mourad Mokni, Mohammad Sami Nahzat, Afif Ben Salah, Yusuf Ozbel, Juan Miguel Pascale, Nidia Rizzo Molina, Joelle Rode, Gustavo Romero, José Antonio Ruiz-Postigo, Nancy Gore Saravia, Jaime Soto, Soner Uzun, Vahid Mashayekhi, Ivan Dario Vélez, Florian Vogt, Olga Zerpa, Byron Arana

Introduction

Progress with the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) has been hampered by inconsistent methodologies used to assess treatment effects. A sizable number of trials conducted over the years has generated only weak evidence backing current treatment recommendations, as shown by systematic reviews on old-world and new-world CL (OWCL and NWCL).

Materials and methods

Using a previously published guidance paper on CL treatment trial methodology as the reference, consensus was sought on key parameters including core eligibility and outcome measures, among OWCL (7 countries, 10 trial sites) and NWCL (7 countries, 11 trial sites) during two separate meetings.

Results

Findings and level of consensus within and between OWCL and NWCL sites are presented and discussed. In addition, CL trial site characteristics and capacities are summarized.

Conclusions

The consensus reached allows standardization of future clinical research across OWCL and NWCL sites. We encourage CL researchers to adopt and adapt as required the proposed parameters and outcomes in their future trials and provide feedback on their experience. The expertise afforded between the two sets of clinical sites provides the basis for a powerful consortium with potential for extensive, standardized assessment of interventions for CL and faster approval of candidate treatments.

<i>Burkholderia pseudomallei</i> modulates host iron homeostasis to facilitate iron availability and intracellular survival

12 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Imke H. E. Schmidt, Claudia Gildhorn, Martha A. L. Böning, Vera A. Kulow, Ivo Steinmetz, Antje Bast

Background

The control over iron homeostasis is critical in host-pathogen-interaction. Iron plays not only multiple roles for bacterial growth and pathogenicity, but also for modulation of innate immune responses. Hepcidin is a key regulator of host iron metabolism triggering degradation of the iron exporter ferroportin. Although iron overload in humans is known to increase susceptibility to Burkholderia pseudomallei, it is unclear how the pathogen competes with the host for the metal during infection. This study aimed to investigate whether B. pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, modulates iron balance and how regulation of host cell iron content affects intracellular bacterial proliferation.

Principal findings

Upon infection of primary macrophages with B. pseudomallei, expression of ferroportin was downregulated resulting in higher iron availability within macrophages. Exogenous modification of iron export function by hepcidin or iron supplementation by ferric ammonium citrate led to increased intracellular iron pool stimulating B. pseudomallei growth, whereas the iron chelator deferoxamine reduced bacterial survival. Iron-loaded macrophages exhibited a lower expression of NADPH oxidase, iNOS, lipocalin 2, cytokines and activation of caspase-1. Infection of mice with the pathogen caused a diminished hepatic ferroportin expression, higher iron retention in the liver and lower iron levels in the serum (hypoferremia). In vivo administration of ferric ammonium citrate tended to promote the bacterial growth and inflammatory response, whereas limitation of iron availability significantly ameliorated bacterial clearance, attenuated serum cytokine levels and improved survival of infected mice.

Conclusions

Our data indicate that modulation of the cellular iron balance is likely to be a strategy of B. pseudomallei to improve iron acquisition and to restrict antibacterial immune effector mechanisms and thereby to promote its intracellular growth. Moreover, we provide evidence that changes in host iron homeostasis can influence susceptibility to melioidosis, and suggest that iron chelating drugs might be an additional therapeutic option.

Cognitive deficits and educational loss in children with schistosome infection—A systematic review and meta-analysis

12 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Amara E. Ezeamama, Amaya L. Bustinduy, Allan K. Nkwata, Leonardo Martinez, Noel Pabalan, Michael J. Boivin, Charles H. King

Background

By means of meta-analysis of information from all relevant epidemiologic studies, we examined the hypothesis that Schistosoma infection in school-aged children (SAC) is associated with educational loss and cognitive deficits.

Methodology/Principal findings

This review was prospectively registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42016040052). Medline, Biosis, and Web of Science were searched for studies published before August 2016 that evaluated associations between Schistosoma infection and cognitive or educational outcomes. Cognitive function was defined in four domains—learning, memory, reaction time, and innate intelligence. Educational outcome measures were defined as attendance and scholastic achievement. Risk of bias (ROB) was evaluated using the Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale. Standardized mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to compare cognitive and educational measures for Schistosoma infected /not dewormed vs. uninfected/dewormed children. Sensitivity analyses by study design, ROB, and sequential exclusion of individual studies were implemented. Thirty studies from 14 countries, including 38,992 SAC between 5–19 years old, were identified. Compared to uninfected children and children dewormed with praziquantel, the presence of Schistosoma infection and/or non-dewormed status was associated with deficits in school attendance (SMD = -0.36, 95%CI: -0.60, -0.12), scholastic achievement (SMD = -0.58, 95%CI: -0.96, -0.20), learning (SMD = -0.39, 95%CI: -0.70, -0.09) and memory (SMD = -0.28, 95%CI: -0.52, -0.04) tests. By contrast, Schistosoma-infected/non-dewormed and uninfected/dewormed children were similar with respect to performance in tests of reaction time (SMD = -0.06, 95%CI: -0.42, 0.30) and intelligence (SMD = -0.25, 95%CI: -0.57, 0.06). Schistosoma infection-associated deficits in educational measures were robust among observational studies, but not among interventional studies. The significance of infection-associated deficits in scholastic achievement was sensitive to ROB. Schistosoma infection-related deficits in learning and memory tests were invariant by ROB and study design.

Conclusion/Significance

Schistosoma infection/non-treatment was significantly associated with educational, learning, and memory deficits in SAC. Early treatment of children in Schistosoma-endemic regions could potentially mitigate these deficits.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov CRD42016040052

Soil-transmitted helminth infection, loss of education and cognitive impairment in school-aged children: A systematic review and meta-analysis

12 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Noel Pabalan, Eloisa Singian, Lani Tabangay, Hamdi Jarjanazi, Michael J. Boivin, Amara E. Ezeamama

Background

Evidence of an adverse influence of soil transmitted helminth (STH) infections on cognitive function and educational loss is equivocal. Prior meta-analyses have focused on randomized controlled trials only and have not sufficiently explored the potential for disparate influence of STH infection by cognitive domain. We re-examine the hypothesis that STH infection is associated with cognitive deficit and educational loss using data from all primary epidemiologic studies published between 1992 and 2016.

Methods

Medline, Biosis and Web of Science were searched for original studies published in the English language. Cognitive function was defined in four domains (learning, memory, reaction time and innate intelligence) and educational loss in two domains (attendance and scholastic achievement). Pooled effect across studies were calculated as standardized mean differences (SMD) to compare cognitive and educational measures for STH infected/non-dewormed children versus STH uninfected /dewormed children using Review Manager 5.3. Sub-group analyses were implemented by study design, risk of bias (ROB) and co-prevalence of Schistosoma species infection. Influential studies were excluded in sensitivity analysis to examine stability of pooled estimates.

Findings

We included 36 studies of 12,920 children. STH infected/non-dewormed children had small to moderate deficits in three domains—learning, memory and intelligence (SMD: -0.44 to -0.27, P<0.01–0.03) compared to STH-uninfected/dewormed children. There were no differences by infection/treatment status for reaction time, school attendance and scholastic achievement (SMD: -0.26 to -0.16, P = 0.06–0.19). Heterogeneity of the pooled effects in all six domains was high (P<0.01; I2 = 66–99%). Application of outlier treatment reduced heterogeneity in learning domain (P = 0.12; I2 = 33%) and strengthened STH-related associations in all domains but intelligence (SMD: -0.20, P = 0.09). Results varied by study design and ROB. Among experimental intervention studies, there was no association between STH treatment and educational loss/performance in tests of memory, reaction time and innate intelligence (SMD: -0.27 to 0.17, P = 0.18–0.69). Infection-related deficits in learning persisted within design/ROB levels (SMD: -0.37 to -52, P<0.01) except for pre-vs post intervention design (n = 3 studies, SMD = -0.43, P = 0.47). Deficits in memory, reaction time and innate intelligence persisted within observational studies (SMD: -0.23 to -0.38, all P<0.01) and high ROB strata (SMD:-0.37 to -0.83, P = 0.07 to <0.01). Further, in Schistosoma infection co-prevalent settings, associations were generally stronger and statistically robust for STH-related deficits in learning, memory and reaction time tests(SMD:-0.36 to -0.55, P = 0.003–0.02). STH-related deficits in school attendance and scholastic achievement was noted in low (SMD:-0.57, P = 0.05) and high ROB strata respectively.

Interpretation

We provide evidence of superior performance in five of six educational and cognitive domains assessed for STH uninfected/dewormed versus STH infected/not-dewormed school-aged children from helminth endemic regions. Cautious interpretation is warranted due to high ROB in some of the primary literature and high between study variability in most domains. Notwithstanding, this synthesis provides empirical support for a cognitive and educational benefit of deworming. The benefit of deworming will be enhanced by strategically employing, integrated interventions. Thus, multi-pronged inter-sectoral strategies that holistically address the environmental and structural roots of child cognitive impairment and educational loss in the developing world may be needed to fully realize the benefit of mass deworming programs.

<i>Mansonella perstans</i> microfilaremic individuals are characterized by enhanced type 2 helper T and regulatory T and B cell subsets and dampened systemic innate and adaptive immune responses

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Manuel Ritter, Winston Patrick Chounna Ndongmo, Abdel Jelil Njouendou, Nora Nganyewo Nghochuzie, Lucy Cho Nchang, Dizzle Bita Tayong, Kathrin Arndts, Norman Nausch, Marc Jacobsen, Samuel Wanji, Laura E. Layland, Achim Hoerauf

The filarial nematode Mansonella perstans is endemic throughout Africa, northern South America and the Caribbean. Interestingly, M. perstans-infected individuals present no distinct clinical picture associated with certain pathology. Due to its relatively silent nature, research on this tropical disease has been neglected, especially M. perstans-driven immune responses. A hindrance in obtaining data on M. perstans-specific responses has been the inability to obtain adult worms since their habitats in serous cavities are difficult to access. Thus, in this study, for the first time, we used Mansonella perstans worm antigen extract as stimulant to obtain filarial-specific recall and immunoglobulin responses from M. perstans microfilaremic individuals (Mp MF+) from Cameroon. Moreover, systemic immune profiles in sera and immune cell composition in peripheral blood from Mp MF+ and amicrofilaremic individuals (Mp MF-) were obtained. Our data reveal that Mp MF+ individuals showed significantly reduced cytokine (IL-4, IL-6 and IL-12p70) and chemokine levels (IL-8 and RANTES), but significantly higher MIP-1β as well as increased M. perstans-specific IgG4 levels compared to Mp MF- individuals. In contrast, upon re-stimulation with worm antigen extract, IFN-γ, IL-13, IL-10 and IL-17A secretion was enhanced in cell cultures from Mp MF+ individuals when compared to those from cultures of healthy European individuals. Moreover, analysis of immune cell composition in peripheral blood from Mp MF+ individuals revealed increased type 2 helper T (Th2), natural killer (NK), regulatory B and T cell (Breg and Treg) subsets but decreased type 1 regulatory T (Tr1) cells. In summary, this study deciphers for the first time, M. perstans-specific immune responses using worm antigen extract and shows that patent M. perstans infections have distinct Th2, Breg and Treg subsets accompanied with reduced systemic innate and adaptive immune responses and dominant filarial-specific IgG4 levels.

Bionomics of <i>Phlebotomus argentipes</i> in villages in Bihar, India with insights into efficacy of IRS-based control measures

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by David M. Poché, Rajesh B. Garlapati, Shanta Mukherjee, Zaria Torres-Poché, Epco Hasker, Tahfizur Rahman, Aakanksha Bharti, Vishnu P. Tripathi, Suman Prakash, Rahul Chaubey, Richard M. Poché

Background

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a deadly vector-borne disease. Approximately 90% of Indian VL cases occur in Bihar, where the sand fly, Phlebotomus argentipes, is the principal vector. Sand fly control in Bihar consists of indoor residual spraying (IRS), the practice of spraying the inner walls of village dwellings with insecticides. Prior researchers have evaluated success of IRS-control by estimating vector abundance in village houses, but the number of sampling periods (n = 2–3) were minimal, and outdoor-resting P. argentipes were neglected. We describe a large-scale field study, performed in 24 villages within two Bihari districts, during which P. argentipes were collected biweekly over 47-weeks, in cattle enclosures, houses, and outdoors in peri-domestic vegetation. The objectives of this study were to provide updated P. argentipes ecological field data, and determine if program-initiated IRS-treatment had led to noticeable differences in vector abundance.

Principal findings

P. argentipes (n = 126,901) relative abundance was greatest during the summer months (June-August) when minimum temperatures were highest. P. argentipes were most frequently collected from cattle enclosures (~46% total; ~56% blood fed). Many sand flies were found to have taken blood from multiple sources, with ~81% having blood fed on humans and ~60% blood feeding on bovines. Nonparametric statistical tests were determined most appropriate for evaluating IRS-treatment. Differences in P. argentipes abundance in houses, cattle enclosures and vegetation were detected between IRS-treated and untreated villages in only ~9% of evaluation periods occurring during the peak period of human-vector exposure (June-August) and in ~8% of the total observations. No significant differences were detected between the numbers of P. argentipes collected in vegetation close to the experimental villages.

Conclusion

The results of this study provide updated data regarding P. argentipes seasonal abundance, spatial distribution, and host preferances, and suggest vector abundance has not significantly declined in IRS-treated villages. We suggest that IRS be supplemented with vector control strategies targeting exophagic, exophilic P. argentipes, and that disease surveillance be accompanied by rigorous vector population monitoring.

Population structure analysis of the neglected parasite <i>Thelazia callipaeda</i> revealed high genetic diversity in Eastern Asia isolates

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Xi Zhang, Ya Li Shi, Lu Lu Han, Chen Xiong, Shi Qi Yi, Peng Jiang, Zeng Xian Wang, Ji Long Shen, Jing Cui, Zhong Quan Wang

Background

Thelazia callipaeda is the causative agent of thelaziasis in canids, felids and humans. However, the population genetic structure regarding this parasite remains unclear.

Methodology/principal findings

In this study, we first explored the genetic variation of 32 T. callipaeda clinical isolates using the following multi-molecular markers: cox1, cytb, 12S rDNA, ITS1 and 18S rDNA. The isolates were collected from 13 patients from 11 geographical locations in China. Next, the population structure of T. callipaeda from Europe and other Asian countries was analyzed using the cox1 sequences collected during this study and from the GenBank database. In general, the Chinese clinical isolates of T. callipaeda expressed high genetic diversity. Based on the cox1 gene, a total of 21 haplotypes were identified. One only circulated in European countries (Hap1), while the other 20 haplotypes were dispersed in Korea, Japan and China. There were five nucleotide positions in the cox1 sequences that were confirmed as invariable among individuals from Europe and Asia, but the sequences were distinct between these two regions. Population differences between Europe and Asian countries were greater than those among China, Korea and Japan. The T. callipaeda populations from Europe and Asia should be divided into two separate sub-populations. These two groups started to diverge during the middle Pleistocene. Neutrality tests, mismatch distribution and Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) analysis all rejected possible population expansion of T. callipaeda.

Conclusions

The Asian population of T. callipaeda has a high level of genetic diversity, but further studies should be performed to explore the biology, ecology and epidemiology of T. callipaeda.

Barriers of attendance to dog rabies static point vaccination clinics in Blantyre, Malawi

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Stella Mazeri, Andrew D Gibson, Natascha Meunier, Barend M.deC Bronsvoort, Ian G Handel, Richard J Mellanby, Luke Gamble

Rabies is a devastating yet preventable disease that causes around 59,000 human deaths annually. Almost all human rabies cases are caused by bites from rabies-infected dogs. A large proportion of these cases occur in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Annual vaccination of at least 70% of the dog population is recommended by the World Health Organisation in order to eliminate rabies. However, achieving such high vaccination coverage has proven challenging, especially in low resource settings. Despite being logistically and economically more feasible than door-to-door approaches, static point (SP) vaccination campaigns often suffer from low attendance and therefore result in low vaccination coverage. Here, we investigated the barriers to attendance at SP offering free rabies vaccinations for dogs in Blantyre, Malawi. We analysed data for 22,924 dogs from a city-wide vaccination campaign in combination with GIS and household questionnaire data using multivariable logistic regression and distance estimation techniques. We found that distance plays a crucial role in SP attendance (i.e. for every km closer the odds of attending a SP point are 3.3 times higher) and that very few people are willing to travel more than 1.5 km to bring their dog for vaccination. Additionally, we found that dogs from areas with higher proportions of people living in poverty are more likely to be presented for vaccination (ORs 1.58-2.22). Furthermore, puppies (OR 0.26), pregnant or lactating female dogs (OR 0.60) are less likely to be presented for vaccination. Owners also reported that they did not attend an SP because they were not aware of the campaign (27%) or they could not handle their dog (19%). Our findings will inform the design of future rabies vaccination programmes in SSA which may lead to improved vaccination coverage achieved by SP alone.

Mapping the geographical distribution of podoconiosis in Cameroon using parasitological, serological, and clinical evidence to exclude other causes of lymphedema

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Kebede Deribe, Amuam Andrew Beng, Jorge Cano, Abdel Jelil Njouendo, Jerome Fru-Cho, Abong Raphael Awah, Mathias Esum Eyong, Patrick W. Chounna Ndongmo, Emanuele Giorgi, David M. Pigott, Nick Golding, Rachel L. Pullan, Abdisalan M. Noor, Fikre Enquselassie, Christopher J. L. Murray, Simon J. Brooker, Simon I. Hay, Peter Enyong, Melanie J. Newport, Samuel Wanji, Gail Davey

Background

Podoconiosis is a non-filarial elephantiasis, which causes massive swelling of the lower legs. It was identified as a neglected tropical disease by WHO in 2011. Understanding of the geographical distribution of the disease is incomplete. As part of a global mapping of podoconiosis, this study was conducted in Cameroon to map the distribution of the disease. This mapping work will help to generate data on the geographical distribution of podoconiosis in Cameroon and contribute to the global atlas of podoconiosis.

Methods

We used a multi‐stage sampling design with stratification of the country by environmental risk of podoconiosis. We sampled 76 villages from 40 health districts from the ten Regions of Cameroon. All individuals of 15-years old or older in the village were surveyed house-to-house and screened for lymphedema. A clinical algorithm was used to reliably diagnose podoconiosis, excluding filarial-associated lymphedema. Individuals with lymphoedema were tested for circulating Wuchereria bancrofti antigen and specific IgG4 using the Alere Filariasis Test Strips (FTS) test and the Standard Diagnostics (SD) BIOLINE lymphatic filariasis IgG4 test (Wb123) respectively, in addition to thick blood films. Presence of DNA specific to W. bancrofti was checked on night blood using a qPCR technique.

Principal findings

Overall, 10,178 individuals from 4,603 households participated in the study. In total, 83 individuals with lymphedema were identified. Of the 83 individuals with lymphedema, two were found to be FTS positive and all were negative using the Wb123 test. No microfilaria of W. bancrofti were found in the night blood of any individual with clinical lymphedema. None were found to be positive for W. bancrofti using qPCR. Of the two FTS positive cases, one was positive for Mansonella perstans DNA, while the other harbored Loa loa microfilaria. Overall, 52 people with podoconiosis were identified after applying the clinical algorithm. The overall prevalence of podoconiosis was found to be 0.5% (95% [confidence interval] CI; 0.4–0.7). At least one case of podoconiosis was found in every region of Cameroon except the two surveyed villages in Adamawa. Of the 40 health districts surveyed, 17 districts had no cases of podoconiosis; in 15 districts, mean prevalence was between 0.2% and 1.0%; and in the remaining eight, mean prevalence was between 1.2% and 2.7%.

Conclusions

Our investigation has demonstrated low prevalence but almost nationwide distribution of podoconiosis in Cameroon. Designing a podoconiosis control program is a vital next step. A health system response to the burden of podoconiosis is important, through case surveillance and morbidity management services.

Canine visceral leishmaniasis: Diagnosis and management of the reservoir living among us

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Bruno L. Travi, Anabela Cordeiro-da-Silva, Filipe Dantas-Torres, Guadalupe Miró

This article reviews essential topics of canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) due to Leishmania infantum infection. It focuses on the current serological and molecular diagnostic methods used in epidemiological research and veterinary clinics to diagnose CVL and includes new point-of-care (POC) tests under development. The efficacy of different treatment regimens on the clinical improvement and infectiousness of dogs is also addressed. In the last section, the review provides a critical appraisal of the effectiveness of different control measures that have been implemented to curb disease transmission.

Experimental transmission of West Nile Virus and Rift Valley Fever Virus by <i>Culex pipiens</i> from Lebanon

11 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Renée Zakhia, Laurence Mousson, Marie Vazeille, Nabil Haddad, Anna-Bella Failloux

West Nile virus (WNV) and Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) are two emerging arboviruses transmitted by Culex pipiens species that includes two biotypes: pipiens and molestus. In Lebanon, human cases caused by WNV and RVFV have never been reported. However, the introduction of these viruses in the country is likely to occur through the migratory birds and animal trades. In this study, we evaluated the ability of Cx. pipiens, a predominant mosquito species in urban and rural regions in Lebanon, to transmit WNV and RVFV. Culex egg rafts were collected in the West Bekaa district, east of Lebanon and adult females of Cx. pipiens were experimentally infected with WNV and RVFV Clone 13 strain at titers of 1.6×108 and 1.33×107 plaque forming units (PFU)/mL, respectively. We estimated viral infection, dissemination and transmission at 3, 7, 14 and 19 days post infection (dpi). Results showed that infection was higher for WNV than for RVFV from 3 dpi to 19 dpi. Viral dissemination and transmission started from 3 dpi for WNV; and only from 19 dpi for RVFV. Moreover, Cx. pipiens were able to excrete in saliva a higher number of viral particles of WNV (1028 ± 405 PFU/saliva at 19 dpi) than RVFV (42 PFU/saliva at 19 dpi). Cx. pipiens from Lebanon are efficient experimental vectors of WNV and to a lower extent, RVFV. These findings should stimulate local authorities to establish an active entomological surveillance in addition to animal surveys for both viruses in the country.

The glutamine synthetase of <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> is required for its resistance to ammonium accumulation and evasion of the parasitophorous vacuole during host-cell infection

10 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Marcell Crispim, Flávia Silva Damasceno, Agustín Hernández, María Julia Barisón, Ismael Pretto Sauter, Raphael Souza Pavani, Alexandre Santos Moura, Elizabeth Mieko Furusho Pral, Mauro Cortez, Maria Carolina Elias, Ariel Mariano Silber

Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, consumes glucose and amino acids depending on the environmental availability of each nutrient during its complex life cycle. For example, amino acids are the major energy and carbon sources in the intracellular stages of the T. cruzi parasite, but their consumption produces an accumulation of NH4+ in the environment, which is toxic. These parasites do not have a functional urea cycle to secrete excess nitrogen as low-toxicity waste. Glutamine synthetase (GS) plays a central role in regulating the carbon/nitrogen balance in the metabolism of most living organisms. We show here that the gene TcGS from T. cruzi encodes a functional glutamine synthetase; it can complement a defect in the GLN1 gene from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and utilizes ATP, glutamate and ammonium to yield glutamine in vitro. Overall, its kinetic characteristics are similar to other eukaryotic enzymes, and it is dependent on divalent cations. Its cytosolic/mitochondrial localization was confirmed by immunofluorescence. Inhibition by Methionine sulfoximine revealed that GS activity is indispensable under excess ammonium conditions. Coincidently, its expression levels are maximal in the amastigote stage of the life cycle, when amino acids are preferably consumed, and NH4+ production is predictable. During host-cell invasion, TcGS is required for the parasite to escape from the parasitophorous vacuole, a process sine qua non for the parasite to replicate and establish infection in host cells. These results are the first to establish a link between the activity of a metabolic enzyme and the ability of a parasite to reach its intracellular niche to replicate and establish host-cell infection.

Polymorphisms in voltage-gated sodium channel gene and susceptibility of <i>Aedes albopictus</i> to insecticides in three districts of northern West Bengal, India

8 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Moytrey Chatterjee, Sudeep Ballav, Ardhendu K. Maji, Nandita Basu, Biplab Chandra Sarkar, Pabitra Saha

Background

The control and prevention of dengue largely depends on vector control measures, environmental management, and personal protection. Dengue control programmes are facing great challenges due to development of insecticide resistance among vector mosquitoes. Information on susceptibility status to different insecticides is important for national programmes to formulate vector control strategies.

Methods

We have studied the larval susceptibility of Aedes albopictus to temephos and adult susceptibility to 4% DDT, 0.05% deltamethrin, and 5% malathion as per WHO protocols in the northern districts of West Bengal. Polymorphisms in the VGSC gene were studied by direct sequencing of PCR products.

Results

The Ae. albopictus larval population showed sensitive [Resistance Ratio (RR99)<3] to moderate levels of resistance (599>10) to temephos at different study sites. Adult bioassay results revealed that Ae. albopictus was highly resistant to DDT [Corrected Mortality (CM) < 90%] in all the study sites and susceptible to deltamethrin and malathion (CM > 98%), except in Dhupguri where a low level of resistance to deltamethrin (CM = 96.25%) was recorded. None of the six important kdr mutations (S953P, I975M/V, L978, V980G, F1474C, D1703Y) were found in the VGSC of studied mosquitoes, but we identified 11 synonymous and 1 non-synonymous mutation in the VGSC gene.

Conclusion

The higher susceptibility level to deltamethrin and malathion, along with the absence of important kdr mutations indicates that these two insecticides are still effective against Ae. albopictus in the study areas. The susceptibility status of temephos should be monitored closely as low to moderate levels of resistance were observed in few sites. A similar study is recommended for monitoring and early detection of insecticide resistance in other parts of the country.

A tetravalent virus-like particle vaccine designed to display domain III of dengue envelope proteins induces multi-serotype neutralizing antibodies in mice and macaques which confer protection against antibody dependent enhancement in AG129 mice

8 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Viswanathan Ramasamy, Upasana Arora, Rahul Shukla, Ankur Poddar, Rajgokul K. Shanmugam, Laura J. White, Melissa M. Mattocks, Rajendra Raut, Ashiya Perween, Poornima Tyagi, Aravinda M. de Silva, Siddhartha K. Bhaumik, Murali Krishna Kaja, François Villinger, Rafi Ahmed, Robert E. Johnston, Sathyamangalam Swaminathan, Navin Khanna

Background

Dengue is one of the fastest spreading vector-borne diseases, caused by four antigenically distinct dengue viruses (DENVs). Antibodies against DENVs are responsible for both protection as well as pathogenesis. A vaccine that is safe for and efficacious in all people irrespective of their age and domicile is still an unmet need. It is becoming increasingly apparent that vaccine design must eliminate epitopes implicated in the induction of infection-enhancing antibodies.

Methodology/principal findings

We report a Pichia pastoris-expressed dengue immunogen, DSV4, based on DENV envelope protein domain III (EDIII), which contains well-characterized serotype-specific and cross-reactive epitopes. In natural infection, <10% of the total neutralizing antibody response is EDIII-directed. Yet, this is a functionally relevant domain which interacts with the host cell surface receptor. DSV4 was designed by in-frame fusion of EDIII of all four DENV serotypes and hepatitis B surface (S) antigen and co-expressed with unfused S antigen to form mosaic virus-like particles (VLPs). These VLPs displayed EDIIIs of all four DENV serotypes based on probing with a battery of serotype-specific anti-EDIII monoclonal antibodies. The DSV4 VLPs were highly immunogenic, inducing potent and durable neutralizing antibodies against all four DENV serotypes encompassing multiple genotypes, in mice and macaques. DSV4-induced murine antibodies suppressed viremia in AG129 mice and conferred protection against lethal DENV-4 virus challenge. Further, neither murine nor macaque anti-DSV4 antibodies promoted mortality or inflammatory cytokine production when passively transferred and tested in an in vivo dengue disease enhancement model of AG129 mice.

Conclusions/significance

Directing the immune response to a non-immunodominant but functionally relevant serotype-specific dengue epitope of the four DENV serotypes, displayed on a VLP platform, can help minimize the risk of inducing disease-enhancing antibodies while eliciting effective tetravalent seroconversion. DSV4 has a significant potential to emerge as a safe, efficacious and inexpensive subunit dengue vaccine candidate.

Clinical and microbiologic efficacy of the piperazine-based drug lead MMV665917 in the dairy calf cryptosporidiosis model

8 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Erin Stebbins, Rajiv S. Jumani, Connor Klopfer, John Barlow, Peter Miller, Mary A. Campbell, Marvin J. Meyers, David W. Griggs, Christopher D. Huston

Cryptosporidiosis causes life-threatening diarrhea in infants, but the best available treatment is only modestly efficacious. Rodents infected with relevant Cryptosporidium species do not develop diarrhea, which complicates drug development. Cryptosporidium parvum infection of dairy calves, however, causes an illness like that seen in infants. Here, the clinical and microbiologic anti-Cryptosporidium efficacy of the piperazine-based compound MMV665917 was demonstrated in neonatal calves. Oral administration of MMV665917 (22 mg/kg once daily) was begun two days after the onset of severe diarrhea and continued for seven days. Treatment resulted in prompt resolution of diarrhea, and reduced total fecal oocyst shedding by ~94%. MMV665917 was useful for treatment, rather than just prophylaxis, since it was safe and effective when administered well after the onset of diarrhea. Furthermore, even though all animals received intensive supportive care, there was a strong trend towards improved secondary health outcomes, including general health, appetite, and dehydration measures amongst treated animals. These data establish MMV665917 as an outstanding lead compound for Cryptosporidium drug development.

Tungiasis-related life quality impairment in children living in rural Kenya

8 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Susanne Wiese, Lynne Elson, Hermann Feldmeier

Background

Tungiasis (sand flea disease) is a neglected tropical skin disease caused by female sand fleas (Tunga spp.) embedded in the skin of the host. The disease is common in sub-Saharan Africa and predominantly affects children living in impoverished rural communities. In these settings tungiasis is associated with important morbidity. Whether tungiasis impairs life quality has never been studied.

Methods

The study was performed in 50 children with tungiasis, living in resource-poor communities in coastal Kenya. Based on the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) a tool was developed to determine life quality impairment associated with tungiasis in children, the tungiasis-related Dermatology of Life Quality Index (tungiasis-related-DLQI). Pain and itching were assessed using visual scales ranging from 0–3 points. The intensity of infection and the acute and chronic severity of tungiasis were determined using standard methods.

Results

Seventy eight percent of the patients reported a moderate to very large effect of tungiasis on life quality at the time of the diagnosis. The degree of impairment correlated with the number of viable sand fleas present in the skin (rho = 0.64, p < 0.001), the severity score of acute clinical pathology (rho = 0.74, p < 0.001), and the intensity of pain (rho = 0.82, p < 0.001). Disturbance of sleep and concentration difficulties were the most frequent restriction categories (86% and 84%, respectively). Four weeks after curative treatment, life quality had improved significantly. On the individual level the amelioration of life quality correlated closely with the regression of clinical pathology (rho = 0.61, p < 0.001).

Conclusion

The parasitic skin disease tungiasis considerably impairs life quality in children in rural Kenya. After effective treatment, life quality improves rapidly.

Establishing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) diagnostics using GeneXpert technology at a mobile laboratory in Liberia: Impact on outbreak response, case management and laboratory systems strengthening

5 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Philomena Raftery, Orla Condell, Christine Wasunna, Jonathan Kpaka, Ruth Zwizwai, Mahmood Nuha, Mosoka Fallah, Maxwell Freeman, Victoria Harris, Mark Miller, April Baller, Moses Massaquoi, Victoria Katawera, John Saindon, Philip Bemah, Esther Hamblion, Evelyn Castle, Desmond Williams, Alex Gasasira, Tolbert Nyenswah

The 2014–16 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa highlighted the necessity for readily available, accurate and rapid diagnostics. The magnitude of the outbreak and the re-emergence of clusters of EVD cases following the declaration of interrupted transmission in Liberia, reinforced the need for sustained diagnostics to support surveillance and emergency preparedness. We describe implementation of the Xpert Ebola Assay, a rapid molecular diagnostic test run on the GeneXpert platform, at a mobile laboratory in Liberia and the subsequent impact on EVD outbreak response, case management and laboratory system strengthening. During the period of operation, site coordination, management and operational capacity was supported through a successful collaboration between Ministry of Health (MoH), World Health Organization (WHO) and international partners. A team of Liberian laboratory technicians were trained to conduct EVD diagnostics and the laboratory had capacity to test 64–100 blood specimens per day. Establishment of the laboratory significantly increased the daily testing capacity for EVD in Liberia, from 180 to 250 specimens at a time when the effectiveness of the surveillance system was threatened by insufficient diagnostic capacity. During the 18 months of operation, the laboratory tested a total of 9,063 blood specimens, including 21 EVD positives from six confirmed cases during two outbreaks. Following clearance of the significant backlog of untested EVD specimens in November 2015, a new cluster of EVD cases was detected at the laboratory. Collaboration between surveillance and laboratory coordination teams during this and a later outbreak in March 2016, facilitated timely and targeted response interventions. Specimens taken from cases during both outbreaks were analysed at the laboratory with results informing clinical management of patients and discharge decisions. The GeneXpert platform is easy to use, has relatively low running costs and can be integrated into other national diagnostic algorithms. The technology has on average a 2-hour sample-to-result time and allows for single specimen testing to overcome potential delays of batching. This model of a mobile laboratory equipped with Xpert Ebola test, staffed by local laboratory technicians, could serve to strengthen outbreak preparedness and response for future outbreaks of EVD in Liberia and the region.

Household expenditure on leprosy outpatient services in the Indian health system: A comparative study

4 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Anuj Tiwari, Pramilesh Suryawanshi, Akash Raikwar, Mohammad Arif, Jan Hendrik Richardus

Background

Leprosy is a major public health problem in many low and middle income countries, especially in India, and contributes considerably to the global burden of the disease. Leprosy and poverty are closely associated, and therefore the economic burden of leprosy is a concern. However, evidence on patient’s expenditure is scarce. In this study, we estimate the expenditure in primary care (outpatient) by leprosy households in two different public health settings.

Methodology / principal findings

We performed a cross-sectional study, comparing the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli with the Umbergaon block of Valsad, Gujrat, India. A household (HH) survey was conducted between May and October, 2016. We calculated direct and indirect expenditure by zero inflated negative binomial and negative binomial regression. The sampled households were comparable on socioeconomic indicators. The mean direct expenditure was USD 6.5 (95% CI: 2.4–17.9) in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and USD 5.4 (95% CI: 3.8–7.9) per visit in Umbergaon. The mean indirect expenditure was USD 8.7 (95% CI: 7.2–10.6) in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and USD 12.4 (95% CI: 7.0–21.9) in Umbergaon. The age of the leprosy patients and type of health facilities were the major predictors of total expenditure on leprosy primary care. The higher the age, the higher the expenditure at both sites. The private facilities are more expensive than the government facilities at both sites. If the public health system is enhanced, government facilities are the first preference for patients.

Conclusions/significance

An enhanced public health system reduces the patient’s expenditure and improves the health seeking behaviour. We recommend investing in health system strengthening to reduce the economic burden of leprosy.

Madagascar can build stronger health systems to fight plague and prevent the next epidemic

4 January 2018 - 10:00pm

by Matthew H. Bonds, Mohammed A. Ouenzar, Andres Garchitorena, Laura F. Cordier, Meg G. McCarty, Michael L. Rich, Benjamin Andriamihaja, Justin Haruna, Paul E. Farmer

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