PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News

Subscribe to PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News feed PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News
A Peer-Reviewed Open-Access Journal
Updated: 18 hours 45 min ago

Zika virus displacement by a chikungunya outbreak in Recife, Brazil

6 November 2017 - 10:00pm

by Tereza Magalhaes, Cynthia Braga, Marli T. Cordeiro, Andre L. S. Oliveira, Priscila M. S. Castanha, Ana Paula R. Maciel, Nathalia M. L. Amancio, Pollyanne N. Gouveia, Valter J. Peixoto-da-Silva Jr., Thaciana F. L. Peixoto, Helena Britto, Priscilla V. Lima, Andreza R. S. Lima, Kerstin D. Rosenberger, Thomas Jaenisch, Ernesto T. A. Marques

Background

Several arboviruses, including dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV) and chikungunya virus (CHIKV), transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, circulate in northeast Brazil. Diseases caused by these viruses are of great public health relevance, however, their epidemiological features in areas where the three viruses co-circulate are scarce. Here, we present analyses of molecular and serological diagnostics in a prospective study of acute febrile patients recruited from May 2015 to May 2016 in Recife, Brazil.

Methods

Two hundred sixty-three acute febrile patients with symptoms suggestive of an arboviral disease who attended an urgent heath care clinic in the Recife Metropolitan Region in northeast Brazil were enrolled. Acute and convalescent blood samples were collected and tested using molecular and serological assays for infection with DENV, ZIKV and CHIKV.

Results

Quantitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reactions (qRTPCR) performed on acute phase sera detected no patients positive for DENV, but 26 (9.9%) positive for ZIKV and 132 (50.2%) positive for CHIKV. There were a few suspected and only one confirmed dengue case. Specific serological assays for ZIKV and CHIKV confirmed the qRTPCR data. Analyses of DENV IgM and IgG ELISAs in the context of qRTPCR results suggested high levels of cross reactive antibodies in ZIKV-positive samples. Results from neutralization assays highly corroborated those from qRTPCR and ZIKV ELISA, indicating very few positive DENV cases. ZIKV infections were temporally clustered in the first months of the study and started to decrease concomitantly with an increase in CHIKV infections in August 2015. The proportion of CHIKV infections increased significantly in September 2015 and remained high until the end of the study period, with an average of 84.7% of recruited patients being diagnosed from August 2015 to May 2016. ZIKV infections exhibited a female bias and the cases were spread over the study site, while CHIKV cases had a male bias and were spatially clustered in each month.

Conclusions

In 2015–2016 in the Recife Metropolitan Region, we detected the tail end of a Zika epidemic, which was displaced by a chikungunya epidemic. Few dengue cases were identified despite a high number of official dengue notifications in the area during this period. We show here important epidemiological features of these cases.

Evidence of increased exposure to <i>Toxoplasma gondii</i> in individuals with recent onset psychosis but not with established schizophrenia

6 November 2017 - 10:00pm

by Robert Yolken, E. Fuller Torrey, Faith Dickerson

A possible role for Toxoplasma gondii in the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia is supported by epidemiological studies and animal models of infection. However, recent studies attempting to link Toxoplasma to schizophrenia have yielded mixed results. We performed a nested case-control study measured serological evidence of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in a cohort of 2052 individuals. Within this cohort, a total of 1481 individuals had a psychiatric disorder and 571 of were controls without a psychiatric disorder. We found an increased odds of Toxoplasma exposure in individuals with a recent onset of psychosis (OR 2.44, 95% Confidence Interval 1.4–4.4, p < .003). On the other hand, an increased odds of Toxoplasma exposure was not found in individuals with schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorder who did not have a recent onset of psychosis. By identifying the timing of evaluation as a variable, these findings resolve discrepancies in previous studies and suggest a temporal relationship between Toxoplasma exposure and disease onset.

Distribution and identification of sand flies naturally infected with <i>Leishmania</i> from the Southeastern Peruvian Amazon

6 November 2017 - 10:00pm

by Victor Zorrilla, Maxy B. De Los Santos, Liz Espada, Rocío del Pilar Santos, Roberto Fernandez, Albino Urquia, Craig A. Stoops, Sarah-Blythe Ballard, Andres G. Lescano, Gissella M. Vásquez, Hugo O. Valdivia

Background

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is an important health problem in the New World affecting civilian and military populations that are frequently exposed in endemic settings. The Peruvian region of Madre de Dios located near the border with Brazil is one of the most endemic CL regions in South America with more than 4,451 reported cases between 2010 and 2015 according to the Peruvian epidemiology directorate. However, little is known regarding the diversity and distribution of sand fly vectors in this region. In this study, we aimed to characterize the sand fly fauna in this endemic setting and identify sand fly species naturally infected with Leishmania possibly involved in pathogen transmission.

Methods

Sand fly collections were carried out during 2014 and 2015 in the communities of Flor de Acre, Villa Primavera, Mavila and Arca Pacahuara using CDC light traps and Shannon traps. Collected specimens were identified and non-blood-fed females were selected for Leishmania infection screening using kinetoplastid DNA-PCR (kDNA-PCR) and nested Real time PCR for species identification.

Results

A total of 10,897 phlebotomines belonging to the genus Lutzomyia (58 species) and Brumptomyia (2 species) were collected. Our study confirmed the widespread distribution and abundance of Lutzomyia (Trichophoromyia) spp. (24%), Lu. whitmani (19.4%) and Lu. yucumensis (15.8%) in the region. Analysis of Shannon diversity index indicates variability in sand fly composition across sites with Villa Primavera presenting the highest sand fly diversity and abundance. Leishmania screening by kDNA-PCR resulted in 45 positive pools collected from Flor de Acre (34 pools), Mavila (10 pools) and Arca Pacahuara (1 pool) and included 14 species: Lu. yucumensis, Lu. aragoi, Lu. sallesi, Lu. sherlocki, Lu. shawi, Lu. walkeri, Lu nevesi, Lu. migonei, Lu. davisi, Lu. carrerai, Lu. hirsuta, Lu. (Trichophoromyia) spp., Lu. llanosmartinsi and Lu. whitmani. Lutzomyia sherlocki, Lu. walkeri and Lu. llanosmartinsi had the highest infection rates (8%, 7% and 6%, respectively). We identified Leishmania guyanensis in two Lu. whitmani pools, and L. braziliensis in two Lu. llanosmartinsi pools and one Lu. davisi pool.

Conclusions

Based on our collections there is high sand fly diversity in Madre de Dios, with differences in sand fly abundance and species composition across sites. We identified 14 sand fly species naturally infected with Leishmania spp., having detected natural infection with L. (V.) guyanensis and L. (V.) braziliensis in three sand fly species. These results suggest the presence of several potential vectors that vary in their spatial and geographical distribution, which could explain the high prevalence of CL cases in this region.

Status of soil-transmitted helminth infections in schoolchildren in Laguna Province, the Philippines: Determined by parasitological and molecular diagnostic techniques

6 November 2017 - 10:00pm

by Mary Lorraine S. Mationg, Catherine A. Gordon, Veronica L. Tallo, Remigio M. Olveda, Portia P. Alday, Mark Donald C. Reñosa, Franziska A. Bieri, Gail M. Williams, Archie C. A. Clements, Peter Steinmann, Kate Halton, Yuesheng Li, Donald P. McManus, Darren J. Gray

Background

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are the most common parasitic infections in impoverished communities, particularly among children. Current STH control is through school-based mass drug administration (MDA), which in the Philippines is done twice annually. As expected, MDA has decreased the intensity and prevalence of STH over time. As a result, the common Kato Katz (KK) thick smear method of detecting STH is less effective because it lacks sensitivity in low intensity infections, making it difficult to measure the impact of deworming programs.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cross-sectional study was carried out over a four-week period from October 27, 2014 until November 20, 2014 in Laguna province, the Philippines. Stool samples were collected from 263 schoolchildren, to determine the prevalence of STH and compare diagnostic accuracy of multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with the KK. A large discrepancy in the prevalence between the two techniques was noted for the detection of at least one type of STH infection (33.8% by KK vs. 78.3% by qPCR), Ascaris lumbricoides (20.5% by KK vs. 60.8% by qPCR) and Trichuris trichiura (23.6% by KK vs. 38.8% by qPCR). Considering the combined results of both methods, the prevalence of at least one type of helminth infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 83.3%, 67.7%, and 53.6%, respectively. Sensitivity of the qPCR for detecting at least one type of STH infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 94.1%, 89.9%, and 72.3% respectively; whereas KK sensitivity was 40.6%, 30.3%, and 44.0%, respectively. The qPCR method also detected infections with Ancylostoma spp. (4.6%), Necator americanus (2.3%), and Strongyloides stercoralis (0.8%) that were missed by KK.

Conclusion/Significance

qPCR may provide new and important diagnostic information to improve assessment of the effectiveness and impact of integrated control strategies particularly in areas where large-scale STH control has led to low prevalence and/or intensity of infection.

<i>Schistosoma</i>, other helminth infections, and associated risk factors in preschool-aged children in urban Tanzania

6 November 2017 - 10:00pm

by Khadija Said, Jerry Hella, Stefanie Knopp, Tatu Nassoro, Neema Shija, Fatma Aziz, Francis Mhimbira, Christian Schindler, Upendo Mwingira, Anna M. Mandalakas, Karim Manji, Marcel Tanner, Jürg Utzinger, Lukas Fenner

Background

Despite the high prevalence of helminth infections among preschool-aged children, control programs in sub-Saharan countries primarily focus on school-aged populations. We assessed the prevalence of helminth infections and determined risk factors for infection among preschool-aged children in the urban setting of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Methodology

Starting in October 2015, we conducted a 12-month prospective study among tuberculosis (TB)-exposed children under the age of 5 years and unexposed controls from neighboring households. At the time of recruitment, we collected medical histories, assessed development and cognitive functions, and performed medical examinations. We performed full blood cell counts and screened for HIV and malaria. Point-of-care circulating cathodic antigen (POC-CCA), urine filtration, Kato-Katz, FLOTAC, and Baermann tests were employed to detect helminth infections in urine and stool. Helminth infections were stratified for Schistosoma and other helminths to identify risk factors, using logistic regression.

Principal findings

We included 310 children with a median age of 26 months (inter quartile range 17–42 month) in the study. Among these, 189 were TB-exposed and 121 TB-unexposed. Two thirds of the children were anemic (hemoglobin level <11 g/dl) and the HIV prevalence was 1.3%. Schistosoma spp. was the predominant helminth species (16.0%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 12.1–20.3%). Other helminth infections were less frequent (9.0%, 95% CI 6.3–12.8%). Poor hygiene, use of household water sources, and TB-exposure were not associated with helminth infection. Development and cognitive scores did not significantly differ in helminth-infected and uninfected peers, but hemoglobin levels were significantly lower in helminth-infected children (10.1 g/dlvs. 10.4 g/dl, p = 0.027).

Conclusions/significance

In Dar es Salaam, a city with more than 4 million people, the prevalence of Schistosoma spp. infection among preschool-aged children was surprisingly high. Setting-specific interventions that target preschool-aged children and urban settlements should be considered to reduce the transmission of Schistosoma and other helminth infections and to improve children’s health.

A review of the global epidemiology of scrub typhus

3 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Guang Xu, David H. Walker, Daniel Jupiter, Peter C. Melby, Christine M. Arcari

Scrub typhus is a serious public health problem in the Asia-Pacific area. It threatens one billion people globally, and causes illness in one million people each year. Caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, scrub typhus can result in severe multiorgan failure with a case fatality rate up to 70% without appropriate treatment. The antigenic heterogeneity of O. tsutsugamushi precludes generic immunity and allows reinfection. As a neglected disease, there is still a large gap in our knowledge of the disease, as evidenced by the sporadic epidemiologic data and other related public health information regarding scrub typhus in its endemic areas. Our objective is to provide a systematic analysis of current epidemiology, prevention and control of scrub typhus in its long-standing endemic areas and recently recognized foci of infection.

Molecular discrimination of <i>Opisthorchis</i>-like eggs from residents in a rural community of central Thailand

2 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Saiwasan Buathong, Saovanee Leelayoova, Mathirut Mungthin, Toon Ruang-areerate, Tawee Naaglor, Picha Suwannahitatorn, Phunlerd Piyaraj, Paanjit Taamasri, Peerapan Tan-ariya

Background

Opisthorchis viverrini infection is a major public health problem in northern and northeastern Thailand. The chronic infection of O. viverrini is related to cholangiocarcinoma which causes high mortality in endemic areas. Therefore, the diagnosis, treatment, control and prevention of O. viverrini infection are necessary. The morphology of the egg is very similar to that of other species of human liver flukes (Opisthorchis felineus and Clonorchis sinensis) as well as that of small intestinal flukes in the family Heterophyidae. Thus, molecular characterization is crucially required to discriminate species of Opisthorchis-like eggs in fecal examination.

Methodology/Principal findings

We aimed to determine the prevalence of O. viverrini infection among villagers living in Sanamchaikate District, Chachoengsao Province, in central Thailand, where O. viverrini infection has previously been reported. A total of 2,609 fecal samples were examined for Opisthorchis-like eggs using microscopic examination. PCR-RFLP analysis of the ITS2 region was used to discriminate Opisthorchis-like eggs. The genetic structure of O. viverrini infection was demonstrated using nucleotide sequencing of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (cox1) and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 (nad1). Testing of evolutionary neutrality of the cox1 and nad1 sequences of O. viverrini was performed using Tajima's D tests and Fu's Fs tests. Moreover, the haplotype networks and phylogenetic trees were constructed to study the relationships of O. viverrini isolated from different endemic areas. A high prevalence of O. viverrini infection is still observed in a rural community of Chachoengsao Province, central Thailand. The overall prevalence of Opisthorchis-like eggs using microscopic examination was 16.8%. PCR-RFLP profiles showed the predominant infection of O. viverrini (9.6%) including very low infections of other small intestinal flukes, Haplorchis taichui (0.08%) and Euparyphium albuferensis (0.08%). The genetic structure of O. viverrini populations in central Thailand was also described and revealed a non-significant difference in genetic diversity. In addition, the genetic background of the O. viverrini populations was closely related to the isolate from Lao PDR.

Conclusions/Significance

Our study highlighted the prevalence of O. viverrini infection in central Thailand indicating that control programs and health education regarding opisthorchiasis is still required in this endemic area. Additionally, the study demonstrated the genetic structure of O. viverrini, in central Thailand which could provide information on the molecular epidemiology of this parasite.

Dynamics of American tegumentary leishmaniasis in a highly endemic region for <i>Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis</i> infection in northeast Brazil

2 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Juliana Silva, Adriano Queiroz, Izabella Moura, Rosana S. Sousa, Luiz Henrique Guimarães, Paulo Roberto Lima Machado, Marcus Lessa, Ednaldo Lago, Mary E. Wilson, Albert Schriefer

Background

American Tegumentary Leishmaniasis (ATL) caused by Leishmania braziliensis is endemic in Corte de Pedra, Northeast Brazil. Most L. braziliensis infections manifest as localized cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). Disseminated manifestations include mucosal leishmaniasis (ML), present at a low constant level for several decades, and newly emerging disseminated leishmaniasis (DL). Surprisingly, DL has recently surpassed ML in its spatial distribution. This led us to hypothesize that distinct forms of ATL might spread in different patterns through affected regions.

Methodology/Principal findings

We explored the incidence and geographic dispersion of the three clinical types of ATL over a span of nearly two decades in Corte de Pedra. We obtained the geographic coordinates of the homes of patients with ATL during 1992–1996, 1999–2003 and 2008–2011. The progressive dispersion of ML or DL in each time period was compared to that of CL in 2008–2011 with the Cusick and Edward’s geostatistical test. To evaluate whether ATL occurred as clusters, we compared each new case in 2008–2011 with the frequency of and distance from cases in the previous 3 to 12 months. The study revealed that DL, ML and CL actively spread within that region, but in distinct patterns. Whereas CL and DL propagated in clusters, ML occurred as sporadic cases. DL had a wider distribution than ML until 2003, but by 2011 both forms were distributed equally in Corte de Pedra. The incidence of ML fluctuated over time at a rate that was distinct from those of CL and DL.

Conclusions/Significance

These findings suggest that CL and DL maintain endemic levels through successive outbreaks of cases. The sporadic pattern of ML cases may reflect the long and variable latency before infected patients develop clinically detectable mucosal involvement. Intimate knowledge of the geographic distribution of leishmaniasis and how it propagates within foci of active transmission may guide approaches to disease control.

“Omic” investigations of protozoa and worms for a deeper understanding of the human gut “parasitome”

2 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Valeria Marzano, Livia Mancinelli, Giorgia Bracaglia, Federica Del Chierico, Pamela Vernocchi, Francesco Di Girolamo, Stefano Garrone, Hyppolite Tchidjou Kuekou, Patrizia D’Argenio, Bruno Dallapiccola, Andrea Urbani, Lorenza Putignani

The human gut has been continuously exposed to a broad spectrum of intestinal organisms, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites (protozoa and worms), over millions of years of coevolution, and plays a central role in human health. The modern lifestyles of Western countries, such as the adoption of highly hygienic habits, the extensive use of antimicrobial drugs, and increasing globalisation, have dramatically altered the composition of the gut milieu, especially in terms of its eukaryotic “citizens.” In the past few decades, numerous studies have highlighted the composition and role of human intestinal bacteria in physiological and pathological conditions, while few investigations exist on gut parasites and particularly on their coexistence and interaction with the intestinal microbiota. Studies of the gut “parasitome” through “omic” technologies, such as (meta)genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, are herein reviewed to better understand their role in the relationships between intestinal parasites, host, and resident prokaryotes, whether pathogens or commensals. Systems biology–based profiles of the gut “parasitome” under physiological and severe disease conditions can indeed contribute to the control of infectious diseases and offer a new perspective of omics-assisted tropical medicine.

A 38-year-old woman with zosteriform skin lesions

2 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Daniel Camprubí, Ana Requena-Méndez, Natalia Rodríguez, M. Eugenia Valls, Adriana García-Herrera, Teresa Estrach, Xavier Fustà, Juan García-Bernalt Diego, Pedro Fernández-Soto, Jose Muñoz

The regulation of autophagy differentially affects <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> metacyclogenesis

1 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by María Cristina Vanrell, Antonella Denisse Losinno, Juan Agustín Cueto, Darío Balcazar, Laura Virginia Fraccaroli, Carolina Carrillo, Patricia Silvia Romano

Autophagy is a cellular process required for the removal of aged organelles and cytosolic components through lysosomal degradation. All types of eukaryotic cells from yeasts to mammalian cells have the machinery to activate autophagy as a result of many physiological and pathological situations. The most frequent stimulus of autophagy is starvation and the result, in this case, is the fast generation of utilizable food (e.g. amino acids and basic nutrients) to maintain the vital biological processes. In some organisms, starvation also triggers other associated processes such as differentiation. The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi undergoes a series of differentiation processes throughout its complex life cycle. Although not all autophagic genes have been identified in the T. cruzi genome, previous works have demonstrated the presence of essential autophagic-related proteins. Under starvation conditions, TcAtg8, which is the parasite homolog of Atg8/LC3 in other organisms, is located in autophagosome-like vesicles. In this work, we have characterized the autophagic pathway during T. cruzi differentiation from the epimastigote to metacyclic trypomastigote form, a process called metacyclogenesis. We demonstrated that autophagy is stimulated during metacyclogenesis and that the induction of autophagy promotes this process. Moreover, with exception of bafilomycin, other classical autophagy modulators have similar effects on T. cruzi autophagy. We also showed that spermidine and related polyamines can positively regulate parasite autophagy and differentiation. We concluded that both polyamine metabolism and autophagy are key processes during T. cruzi metacyclogenesis that could be exploited as drug targets to avoid the parasite cycle progression.

Neutralizing antibodies for orthobunyaviruses in Pantanal, Brazil

1 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Alex Pauvolid-Corrêa, Zilca Campos, Raquel Soares, Rita Maria Ribeiro Nogueira, Nicholas Komar

The Pantanal is a hotspot for arbovirus studies in South America. Various medically important flaviviruses and alphaviruses have been reported in domestic and wild animals in the region. To expand the knowledge of local arbovirus circulation, a serosurvey for 14 Brazilian orthobunyaviruses was conducted with equines, sheep and free-ranging caimans. Sera were tested for specific viral antibodies using plaque-reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Monotypic reactions were detected for Maguari, Xingu, Apeu, Guaroa, Murutucu, Oriboca, Oropouche and Nepuyo viruses. Despite the low titers for most of the orthobunyaviruses tested, the detection of monotypic reactions for eight orthobunyaviruses suggests the Pantanal as a region of great orthobunyavirus diversity. The present data, in conjunction with previous studies that detected a high diversity of other arboviruses, ratify the Pantanal as an important natural reservoir for sylvatic and medically important arboviruses in Brazil.

After the epidemic: Zika virus projections for Latin America and the Caribbean

1 November 2017 - 9:00pm

by Felipe J. Colón-González, Carlos A. Peres, Christine Steiner São Bernardo, Paul R. Hunter, Iain R. Lake

Background

Zika is one of the most challenging emergent vector-borne diseases, yet its future public health impact remains unclear. Zika was of little public health concern until recent reports of its association with congenital syndromes. By 3 August 2017 ∼217,000 Zika cases and ∼3,400 cases of associated congenital syndrome were reported in Latin America and the Caribbean. Some modelling exercises suggest that Zika virus infection could become endemic in agreement with recent declarations from the The World Health Organisation.

Methodology/Principal findings

We produced high-resolution spatially-explicit projections of Zika cases, associated congenital syndromes and monetary costs for Latin America and the Caribbean now that the epidemic phase of the disease appears to be over. In contrast to previous studies which have adopted a modelling approach to map Zika potential, we project case numbers using a statistical approach based upon reported dengue case data as a Zika surrogate. Our results indicate that ∼12.3 (0.7–162.3) million Zika cases could be expected across Latin America and the Caribbean every year, leading to ∼64.4 (0.2–5159.3) thousand cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and ∼4.7 (0.0–116.3) thousand cases of microcephaly. The economic burden of these neurological sequelae are estimated to be USD ∼2.3 (USD 0–159.3) billion per annum.

Conclusions/Significance

Zika is likely to have significant public health consequences across Latin America and the Caribbean in years to come. Our projections inform regional and federal health authorities, offering an opportunity to adapt to this public health challenge.

Systematic review of studies generating individual participant data on the efficacy of drugs for treating soil-transmitted helminthiases and the case for data-sharing

31 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Julia B. Halder, Joanne Benton, Amélie M. Julé, Phillipe J. Guérin, Piero L. Olliaro, María-Gloria Basáñez, Martin Walker

Background

Preventive chemotherapy and transmission control (PCT) by mass drug administration is the cornerstone of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s policy to control soil-transmitted helminthiases (STHs) caused by Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm), Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) and hookworm species (Necator americanus and Ancylostama duodenale) which affect over 1 billion people globally. Despite consensus that drug efficacies should be monitored for signs of decline that could jeopardise the effectiveness of PCT, systematic monitoring and evaluation is seldom implemented. Drug trials mostly report aggregate efficacies in groups of participants, but heterogeneities in design complicate classical meta-analyses of these data. Individual participant data (IPD) permit more detailed analysis of drug efficacies, offering increased sensitivity to identify atypical responses potentially caused by emerging drug resistance.

Methodology

We performed a systematic literature review to identify studies concluding after 2000 that collected IPD suitable for estimating drug efficacy against STH. We included studies that administered a variety of anthelmintics with follow ups less than 60 days after treatment. We estimated the number of IPD and extracted cohort- and study-level meta-data.

Principal findings

We estimate that there exist individual data on approximately 35,000 participants from 129 studies conducted in 39 countries, including 34 out of 103 countries where PCT is recommended. We find significant heterogeneity in diagnostic methods, times of outcome assessment, and the reported measure of efficacy. We also quantify cohorts comprising pre-school age children, pregnant women, and co-infected participants, including with HIV.

Conclusions

We argue that establishing a global IPD repository would improve the capacity to monitor and evaluate the efficacy of anthelmintic drugs, respond to changes and safeguard the ongoing effectiveness of PCT. Establishing a fair, transparent data governance policy will be key for the engagement of the global STH community.

Exploratory metabolomics study of the experimental opisthorchiasis in a laboratory animal model (golden hamster, <i>Mesocricetus auratus</i>)

31 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Daria A. Kokova, Sarantos Kostidis, Judit Morello, Nataly Dementeva, Ekaterina A. Perina, Vladimir V. Ivanov, Ludmila M. Ogorodova, Aleksey E. Sazonov, Irina V. Saltykova, Oleg A. Mayboroda

Background

Opisthorchiasis is a parasitic infection caused by the liver flukes of the Opisthorchiidae family. Both experimental and epidemiological data strongly support a role of these parasites in the etiology of the hepatobiliary pathologies and an increased risk of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Understanding a functional link between the infection and hepatobiliary pathologies requires a detailed description a host-parasite interaction on different levels of biological regulation including the metabolic response on the infection. The last one, however, remains practically undocumented. Here we are describing a host response on Opisthorchiidae infection using a metabolomics approach and present the first exploratory metabolomics study of an experimental model of O. felineus infection.

Methodology and Principal findings

We conducted a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) based longitudinal metabolomics study involving a cohort of 30 animals with two degrees of infection and a control group. An exploratory analysis shows that the most noticeable trend (30% of total variance) in the data was related to the gender differences. Therefore further analysis was done of each gender group separately applying a multivariate extension of the ANOVA—ASCA (ANOVA simultaneous component analysis). We show that in the males the infection specific time trends are present in the main component (43.5% variance), while in the females it is presented only in the second component and covers 24% of the variance. We have selected and annotated 24 metabolites associated with the observed effects and provided a physiological interpretation of the findings.

Conclusions

The first exploratory metabolomics study an experimental model of O. felineus infection is presented. Our data show that at early stage of infection a response of an organism unfolds in a gender specific manner. Also main physiological mechanisms affected appear rather nonspecific (a status of the metabolic stress) the data provides a set of the hypothesis for a search of the more specific metabolic markers of the Opisthorchiidae infection.

Reassessment of areas with persistent Lymphatic Filariasis nine years after cessation of mass drug administration in Sri Lanka

30 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Ramakrishna U. Rao, Sandhya D. Samarasekera, Kumara C. Nagodavithana, Tharanga D. M. Dassanayaka, Manjula W. Punchihewa, Udaya S. B. Ranasinghe, Gary J. Weil

Background

Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to initiate a lymphatic filariasis (LF) elimination program based on WHO guidelines. The Anti-Filariasis Campaign provided 5 annual rounds of mass drug administration (MDA) with diethylcarbamazine plus albendazole in all 8 endemic districts from 2002–2006. Microfilaremia (Mf) prevalences have been consistently <1% in all sentinel and spot-check sites since 2006, and all evaluation units passed school-based transmission assessment surveys (TAS) in 2013. We previously reported results from comprehensive surveillance studies conducted in 2011–2013 that documented low-level persistence of Wuchereria bancrofti in 19 high risk areas in 8 endemic districts. We now present results from repeat surveys conducted 3 to 4 years later in 6 areas that had the strongest LF signals in the prior study.

Methodology and principal findings

The surveys assessed prevalence of filarial antigenemia (CFA) and Mf in communities, CFA and anti-filarial antibody in school children (ages 6–8), and filarial DNA in Culex mosquitoes (molecular xenomonitoring, MX). Three study areas had significantly improved infection parameters compared to the prior study, but three other areas had little change. MX was more sensitive for detecting W. bancrofti persistence, and it was a better predictor than other parameters. Adult males accounted for more than 80% of infections detected in the study.

Conclusions

These results suggest that W. bancrofti transmission was near the break point in some of the areas studied in 2011–13. LF is likely to decline to zero without further intervention in these areas, while other areas may require further intervention. Long term surveillance may be needed to verify W. bancrofti elimination in areas like Sri Lanka with efficient transmission by Culex. Test and treat or other programs targeting adult males plus bed net promotion may be more effective than MDA for clearing remaining hotspots of transmission in Sri Lanka.

Darker eggs of mosquitoes resist more to dry conditions: Melanin enhances serosal cuticle contribution in egg resistance to desiccation in <i>Aedes</i>, <i>Anopheles</i> and <i>Culex</i> vectors

30 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Luana C. Farnesi, Helena C. M. Vargas, Denise Valle, Gustavo L. Rezende

Mosquito vectors lay their white eggs in the aquatic milieu. During early embryogenesis water passes freely through the transparent eggshell, which at this moment is composed of exochorion and endochorion. Within two hours the endochorion darkens via melanization but even so eggs shrink and perish if removed from moisture. However, during mid-embryogenesis, cells of the extraembryonic serosa secrete the serosal cuticle, localized right below the endochorion, becoming the third and innermost eggshell layer. Serosal cuticle formation greatly reduces water flow and allows egg survival outside the water. The degree of egg resistance to desiccation (ERD) at late embryogenesis varies among different species: Aedes aegypti, Anopheles aquasalis and Culex quinquefasciatus eggs can survive in a dry environment for ≥ 72, 24 and 5 hours, respectively. In some adult insects, darker-body individuals show greater resistance to desiccation than lighter ones. We asked if egg melanization enhances mosquito serosal cuticle-dependent ERD. Species with higher ERD at late embryogenesis exhibit more melanized eggshells. The melanization-ERD hypothesis was confirmed employing two Anopheles quadrimaculatus strains, the wild type and the mutant GORO, with a dark-brown and a golden eggshell, respectively. In all cases, serosal cuticle formation is fundamental for the establishment of an efficient ERD but egg viability outside the water is much higher in mosquitoes with darker eggshells than in those with lighter ones. The finding that pigmentation influences egg water balance is relevant to understand the evolutionary history of insect egg coloration. Since eggshell and adult cuticle pigmentation ensure insect survivorship in some cases, they should be considered regarding species fitness and novel approaches for vector or pest insects control.

<i>Wolbachia</i> effects on Rift Valley fever virus infection in <i>Culex tarsalis</i> mosquitoes

30 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Brittany L. Dodson, Elizabeth S. Andrews, Michael J. Turell, Jason L. Rasgon

Innovative tools are needed to alleviate the burden of mosquito-borne diseases, and strategies that target the pathogen are being considered. A possible tactic is the use of Wolbachia, a maternally inherited, endosymbiotic bacterium that can (but does not always) suppress diverse pathogens when introduced to naive mosquito species. We investigated effects of somatic Wolbachia (strain wAlbB) infection on Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) in Culex tarsalis mosquitoes. When compared to Wolbachia-uninfected mosquitoes, there was no significant effect of Wolbachia infection on RVFV infection, dissemination, or transmission frequencies, nor on viral body or saliva titers. Within Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, there was a modest negative correlation between RVFV body titers and Wolbachia density, suggesting that Wolbachia may slightly suppress RVFV in a density-dependent manner in this mosquito species. These results are contrary to previous work in the same mosquito species, showing Wolbachia-induced enhancement of West Nile virus infection rates. Taken together, these results highlight the importance of exploring the breadth of pathogen modulations induced by Wolbachia.

Ecological niche modeling and distribution of <i>Ornithodoros hermsi</i> associated with tick-borne relapsing fever in western North America

30 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Kylie M. Sage, Tammi L. Johnson, Michael B. Teglas, Nathan C. Nieto, Tom G. Schwan

Tick-borne relapsing fever in western North America is a zoonosis caused by the spirochete bacterium, Borrelia hermsii, which is transmitted by the bite of infected Ornithodoros hermsi ticks. The pathogen is maintained in natural cycles involving small rodent hosts such as chipmunks and tree squirrels, as well as the tick vector. In order for these ticks to establish sustained and viable populations, a narrow set of environmental parameters must exist, primarily moderate temperatures and moderate to high amounts of precipitation. Maximum Entropy Species Distribution Modeling (Maxent) was used to predict the species distribution of O. hermsi and B. hermsii through time and space based on current climatic trends and future projected climate changes. From this modeling process, we found that the projected current distributions of both the tick and spirochete align with known endemic foci for the disease. Further, global climate models predict a shift in the distribution of suitable habitat for the tick vector to higher elevations. Our predictions are useful for targeting surveillance efforts in areas of high risk in western North America, increasing the efficiency and accuracy of public health investigations and vector control efforts.

Molecular characterization and phylogenetic relatedness of dog-derived Rabies Viruses circulating in Cameroon between 2010 and 2016

30 October 2017 - 9:00pm

by Serge Alain Sadeuh-Mba, Jean Blaise Momo, Laura Besong, Sévérin Loul, Richard Njouom

Rabies is enzootic among dog populations in some parts of Cameroon and the risk of human rabies is thought to be steadily high in these regions. However, the molecular epidemiology of circulating Rabies Virus (RABV) has been hardly considered in Cameroon as well as in most neighboring central African countries. To address this fundamental gap, 76 nucleoprotein (N) gene sequences of dog-derived RABV were obtained from 100 brain specimens sampled in Cameroon from 2010 to 2016. Studied sequences were subjected to molecular and phylogenetic analyses with reference strains retrieved from databases. The 71 studied Africa-1 isolates displayed 93.5–100% nucleotide (nt) and 98.3–100% amino-acid (aa) identities to each other while, the 5 studied Africa-2 isolates sheared 99.4–99.7% sequence similarities at nt and aa levels. Maximum Likelihood based phylogenies inferred from nucleotide sequences confirmed all studied RABV isolates as members of the dog-related species 1 of the Lyssavirus genus. Individual isolates could be unambiguously assigned as either the Africa-1 subclade of the Cosmopolitan clade or the Africa 2 clade. The Africa-1 subclade appeared to be more prevalent and diversified. Indeed, 70 studied isolates segregated into 3 distinct circulating variants within Africa-1a lineage while a unique isolate was strikingly related to the Africa-1b lineage known to be prevalent in the neighboring Central African Republic and eastern Africa. Interestingly, all five Africa-2 isolates fell into the group-E lineage even though they appeared to be loosely related to databases available reference RABV; including those previously documented in Cameroon. This study uncovered the co-circulation of several Africa-1 and Africa-2 lineages in the southern regions of Cameroon. Striking phylogenetic outcasts to the geographic differentiation of RABV variants indicated that importation from close regions or neighboring countries apparently contributes to the sustainment of the enzootic cycle of domestic rabies in Cameroon.

Pages