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: 1 day 54 min ago

Susceptibility of spotted doves (<i>Streptopelia chinensis</i>) to experimental infection with the severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome phlebovirus

5 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Zhifeng Li, Changjun Bao, Jianli Hu, Chengfeng Gao, Nan Zhang, Huo Xiang, Carol J. Cardona, Zheng Xing

Background

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV), an emerging human pathogen naturally transmitted by ticks, has spread widely since it was first detected in 2010. Although SFTSV-specific antibodies have been detected in wild birds, these natural reservoir and amplifying hosts for the virus have not been well studied.

Methodology/Principle findings

Here we report an experimental infection of spotted doves (Streptopelia chinensis) with two strains of SFTSV, JS2010-14, a Chinese lineage strain, and JS2014-16, a Japanese lineage strain, which represent the main viral genotypes currently circulating in East Asia. In these studies, we have determined that spotted doves are susceptible to SFTSV and the severity of the viremia is dose-dependent. When challenged with 107 and 105 PFU, all doves developed viremia which peaked 3–5 days post infection (dpi). Only a subset (25–62.5%) of the birds developed viremia when challenged at 103 PFU. Virulence of SFTSV in spotted doves was strain dependent. Infection with 107 PFU of strain JS2014-16 resulted in 12.5% mortality over 6.8 days and mean peak viremia titers of 106.9 PFU/mL in experimentally inoculated birds. All doves inoculated with 107 PFU of the JS2010-14 strain survived infection with relatively lower mean viremia titers (105.6 PFU/mL at peak) over 6.1 days.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results suggest that spotted doves, one of the most abundant bird species in China, could be a competent amplifying host for SFTSV and play an important role in its ecology. Between the two SFTSV strains, the strain of the Japanese lineage caused mortality, higher viremia titers in infected birds over a longer time period than did the Chinese strain. Our observations shed light on the ecology of SFTSV, which could benefit the implementation of surveillance and control programs.

Concerns for efficacy of a 30-valent M-protein-based <i>Streptococcus pyogenes</i> vaccine in regions with high rates of rheumatic heart disease

3 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Philip M. Giffard, Steven Y. C. Tong, Deborah C. Holt, Anna P. Ralph, Bart J. Currie

The prevalence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in the Aboriginal population of the Australian Northern Territory is high, and Streptococcus pyogenes skin infections likely contribute to this. A promising candidate S. pyogenes “30mer” vaccine is composed of 30 pharyngitis associated type-specific antigens from the S. pyogenes M protein. Cross opsonisation experiments suggest that 30mer vaccine protection may extend to non-cognate emm types. A new “emm cluster” scheme for classifying M protein is based on the full-length coding sequence, and correlates with functional and immunological properties, and anatomical tropism. Twenty-seven years of research in the Northern Territory has yielded 1810 S. pyogenes isolates with clinical and emm type data. The primary aim was to analyse these data with reference to the emm cluster scheme and cross opsonisation information, to inform estimation of 30mer vaccine efficacy in the Northern Territory. The isolates encompass 101 emm types. Variants of cluster A-C were enriched in throat isolates, and variants of emm cluster D enriched in skin isolates. Throat isolates were enriched for 30mer vaccine cognate emm types in comparison with skin isolates of which only 25% were vaccine emm types. While cross opsonisation data indicates potential for enhancing 30mer vaccine coverage, more than one third of skin isolates were within 38 emm types untested for cross opsonisation. Emm cluster D variants, in particular emm cluster D4, were not only all non-cognate with the vaccine, but were abundant and diverse, and less likely to be cross-opsonisation positive than other emm clusters. Long term persistence of many emm types in the study area was revealed. It was concluded that the 30mer vaccine efficacy in the Northern Territory will likely require both cross protection, and additional measures to elicit immunity against variants of emm cluster D.

Contrasting the value of targeted versus area-wide mosquito control scenarios to limit arbovirus transmission with human mobility patterns based on different tropical urban population centers

3 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Chris M. Stone, Samantha R. Schwab, Dina M. Fonseca, Nina H. Fefferman

Vector control is still our primary intervention for both prevention and mitigation of epidemics of many vector-borne diseases. Efficiently targeting control measures is important since control can involve substantial economic costs. Targeting is not always straightforward, as transmission of vector-borne diseases is affected by various types of host movement. Here we assess how taking daily commuting patterns into consideration can help improve vector control efforts. We examine three tropical urban centers (San Juan, Recife, and Jakarta) that have recently been exposed to Zika and/or dengue infections and consider whether the distribution of human populations and resulting commuting flows affects the optimal scale at which control interventions should be implemented. We developed a stochastic, spatial model and investigated four control scenarios. The scenarios differed in the spatial extent of their implementation and were: 1) a response at the level of an individual neighborhood; 2) a response targeted at a neighborhood in which infected humans were detected and the one with which it was most strongly connected by human movement; 3) a limited area-wide response where all neighborhoods within a certain radius of the focal area were included; and 4) a collective response where all participating neighborhoods implemented control. The relative effectiveness of the scenarios varied only slightly between different settings, with the number of infections averted over time increasing with the scale of implementation. This difference depended on the efficacy of control at the neighborhood level. At low levels of efficacy, the scenarios mirrored each other in infections averted. At high levels of efficacy, impact increased with the scale of the intervention. As a result, the choice between scenarios will not only be a function of the amount of effort decision-makers are willing to invest, but largely epend on the overall effectiveness of vector control approaches.

Development and validation of an <i>Onchocerca ochengi</i> adult male worm gerbil model for macrofilaricidal drug screening

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Fidelis Cho-Ngwa, Glory Enjong Mbah, Rene Bilingwe Ayiseh, Emmanuel Menang Ndi, Elvis Monya, Irene Memeh Tumanjong, Evans Ngandung Mainsah, Judy Sakanari, Sara Lustigman

Background

Onchocerciasis currently afflicts an estimated 15 million people and is the second leading infectious cause of blindness world-wide. The development of a macrofilaricide to cure the disease has been hindered by the lack of appropriate small laboratory animal models. This study therefore, was aimed at developing and validating the Mongolian gerbil, as an Onchocerca ochengi (the closest in phylogeny to O. volvulus) adult male worm model.

Methodology/Principal findings

Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) were each implanted with 20 O. ochengi male worms (collected from infected cattle), in the peritoneum. Following drug or placebo treatments, the implanted worms were recovered from the animals and analyzed for burden, motility and viability. Worm recovery in control gerbils was on average 35%, with 89% of the worms being 100% motile. Treatment of the gerbils implanted with male worms with flubendazole (FBZ) resulted in a significant reduction (p = 0.0021) in worm burden (6.0% versus 27.8% in the control animals); all recovered worms from the treated group had 0% worm motility versus 91.1% motility in control animals. FBZ treatment had similar results even after four different experiments. Using this model, we tested a related drug, oxfendazole (OFZ), and found it to also significantly (p = 0.0097) affect worm motility (22.7% versus 95.0% in the control group).

Conclusions/Significance

We have developed and validated a novel gerbil O. ochengi adult male worm model for testing new macrofilaricidal drugs in vivo. It was also used to determine the efficacy of oxfendazole in vivo.

<i>Leishmania major</i> degrades murine CXCL1 – An immune evasion strategy

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Matthew S. Yorek, Barun Poudel, Lalita Mazgaeen, R. Marshall Pope, Mary E. Wilson, Prajwal Gurung

Leishmaniasis is a global health problem with an estimated report of 2 million new cases every year and more than 1 billion people at risk of contracting this disease in endemic areas. The innate immune system plays a central role in controlling L. major infection by initiating a signaling cascade that results in production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and recruitment of both innate and adaptive immune cells. Upon infection with L. major, CXCL1 is produced locally and plays an important role in the recruitment of neutrophils to the site of infection. Herein, we report that L. major specifically targets murine CXCL1 for degradation. The degradation of CXCL1 is not dependent on host factors as L. major can directly degrade recombinant CXCL1 in a cell-free system. Using mass spectrometry, we discovered that the L. major protease cleaves at the C-terminal end of murine CXCL1. Finally, our data suggest that L. major metalloproteases are involved in the direct cleavage and degradation of CXCL1, and a synthetic peptide spanning the CXCL1 cleavage site can be used to inhibit L. major metalloprotease activity. In conclusion, our study has identified an immune evasion strategy employed by L. major to evade innate immune responses in mice, likely reservoirs in the endemic areas, and further highlights that targeting these L. major metalloproteases may be important in controlling infection within the reservoir population and transmittance of the disease.

Intestinal parasitic infection alters bone marrow derived dendritic cell inflammatory cytokine production in response to bacterial endotoxin in a diet-dependent manner

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Stacey L. Burgess, Akihiko Oka, Bo Liu, David T. Bolick, David Noah Oakland, Richard L. Guerrant, Luther Bartelt

Giardia lamblia is a common intestinal parasitic infection that although often acutely asymptomatic, is associated with debilitating chronic intestinal and extra-intestinal sequelae. In previously healthy adults, a primary sporadic Giardia infection can lead to gut dysfunction and fatigue. These symptoms correlate with markers of inflammation that persist well after the infection is cleared. In contrast, in endemic settings, first exposure occurs in children who are frequently malnourished and also co-infected with other enteropathogens. In these children, Giardia rarely causes symptoms and associates with several decreased markers of inflammation. Mechanisms underlying these disparate and potentially enduring outcomes following Giardia infection are not presently well understood. A body of work suggests that the outcome of experimental Giardia infection is influenced by the nutritional status of the host. Here, we explore the consequences of experimental Giardia infection under conditions of protein sufficiency or deficiency on cytokine responses of ex vivo bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) to endotoxin stimulation. We show that BMDCs from Giardia- challenged mice on a protein sufficient diet produce more IL-23 when compared to uninfected controls whereas BMDCs from Giardia challenged mice fed a protein deficient diet do not. Further, in vivo co-infection with Giardia attenuates robust IL-23 responses in endotoxin-stimulated BMDCs from protein deficient mice harboring enteroaggregative Escherichia coli. These results suggest that intestinal Giardia infection may have extra-intestinal effects on BMDC inflammatory cytokine production in a diet dependent manner, and that Giardia may influence the severity of the innate immune response to other enteropathogens. This work supports recent findings that intestinal microbial exposure may have lasting influences on systemic inflammatory responses, and may provide better understanding of potential mechanisms of post-infectious sequelae and clinical variation during Giardia and enteropathogen co-infection.

Evaluation of methods for detection of asymptomatic individuals infected with <i>Leishmania infantum</i> in the state of Piauí, Brazil

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Gabriane Nascimento Porcino, Kátia Silene Souza Carvalho, Débora Cavalcante Braz, Vladimir Costa Silva, Carlos Henrique Nery Costa, Isabel Kinney Ferreira de Miranda Santos

Background

Visceral Leishmaniasis in humans presents with fever, anemia, and splenomegaly and can be lethal if not treated. Nevertheless, the majority of Leishmania infantum-infected individuals does not manifest symptoms and remain so provided they are not immunosuppressed. In this work, the performance of different tests was evaluated to detect asymptomatic individuals who were living in Teresina, Piauí state, Brazil, an endemic area for VL.

Methodology

L. infantum-specific antibodies were detected by ELISA and two different rapid immunochromatographic (IC) diagnostic tests, Kalazar Detect and OnSite, and parasitic loads were detected by real time PCR [qPCR]. Additionally, we measured levels of the biomarkers monokine induced by IFN-γ (MIG) and IFN-γ-induced protein 10 (IP-10) before and after stimulation of whole blood with soluble Leishmania antigen [SLA].

Principal findings

Kalazar Detect and OnSite detected, respectively, 76% and 64% of patients presenting with active Visceral Leishmaniasis; 50% and 57% of patients remained positive in these tests, respectively, after treatment. Of the healthy participants in the study who were living in the endemic area, only 1.7% were positive with both of the IC tests. On the other hand, reactivity in ELISA tests revealed that 13% of these individuals presented asymptomatic infections; among VL patients, 84% presenting with active disease were reactive in ELISA, and after treatment, 55.5% were seropositive. L. infantum DNA was present in the blood of 37.9% of infected individuals living in the endemic area, while IP-10 and MIG biomarkers were detected in 26.7% of them. The greatest concordance of positivity occurred between ELISA and qPCR.

Conclusion

The association of different techniques can detect asymptomatic infections, however, more research is necessary to develop ideal biomarkers that are simple to use in the clinic and in field studies in areas endemic for Visceral Leishmaniasis.

Early identification of acute kidney injury in Russell’s viper (<i>Daboia russelii</i>) envenoming using renal biomarkers

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Indira Ratnayake, Fahim Mohamed, Nicholas A. Buckley, Indika B. Gawarammana, Dhammika M. Dissanayake, Umesh Chathuranga, Mahesh Munasinghe, Kalana Maduwage, Shaluka Jayamanne, Zoltan H. Endre, Geoffrey K. Isbister

Background

Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a major complication of snake envenoming, but early diagnosis remains problematic. We aimed to investigate the time course of novel renal biomarkers in AKI following Russell’s viper (Daboia russelii) bites.

Methodology/Principal findings

We recruited a cohort of patients with definite Russell’s viper envenoming and collected serial blood and urine samples on admission (<4h post-bite), 4-8h, 8-16h, 16-24h, 1 month and 3 months post-bite. AKI stage (1–3) was defined using the Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria. AKI stages (1–3) were defined by the Acute Kidney Injury Network (AKIN) criteria. There were 65 Russell’s viper envenomings and 49 developed AKI: 24 AKIN stage 1, 13 stage 2 and 12 stage 3. There was a significant correlation between venom concentrations and AKI stage (p = 0.007), and between AKI stage and six peak biomarker concentrations. Although most biomarker concentrations were elevated within 8h, no biomarker performed well in diagnosing AKI <4h post-bite. Three biomarkers were superior to serum creatinine (sCr) in predicting AKI (stage 2/3) 4-8h post-bite: serum cystatin C (sCysC) with an area under the receiver operating curve (AUC-ROC), 0.78 (95%CI:0.64–0.93), urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL), 0.74 (95%CI:0.59–0.87) and urine clusterin (uClu), 0.81 (95%CI:0.69–0.93). No biomarker was better than sCr after 8h. Six other urine biomarkers urine albumin, urine beta2-microglobulin, urine kidney injury molecule-1, urine cystatin C, urine trefoil factor-3 and urine osteopontin either had minimal elevation, and/or minimal prediction for AKI stage 2/3 (AUC-ROC<0.7).

Conclusions/Significance

AKI was common and sometimes severe following Russell’s viper bites. Three biomarkers uClu, uNGAL and sCysC, appeared to become abnormal in AKI earlier than sCr, and may be useful in early identification of envenoming.

Model-based assessment of public health impact and cost-effectiveness of dengue vaccination following screening for prior exposure

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Guido España, Yutong Yao, Kathryn B. Anderson, Meagan C. Fitzpatrick, David L. Smith, Amy C. Morrison, Annelies Wilder-Smith, Thomas W. Scott, T. Alex Perkins

The tetravalent dengue vaccine CYD-TDV (Dengvaxia) is the first licensed vaccine against dengue, but recent findings indicate an elevated risk of severe disease among vaccinees without prior dengue virus (DENV) exposure. The World Health Organization currently recommends CYD-TDV only for individuals with serological confirmation of past DENV exposure. Our objective was to evaluate the potential health impact and cost-effectiveness of vaccination following serological screening. To do so, we used an agent-based model to simulate DENV transmission with and without vaccination over a 10-year timeframe. Across a range of values for the proportion of vaccinees with prior DENV exposure, we projected the proportion of symptomatic and hospitalized cases averted as a function of the sensitivity and specificity of serological screening. Scenarios about the cost-effectiveness of screening and vaccination were chosen to be representative of Brazil and the Philippines. We found that public health impact depended primarily on sensitivity in high-transmission settings and on specificity in low-transmission settings. Cost-effectiveness could be achievable from the perspective of a public payer provided that sensitivity and the value of a disability-adjusted life-year were both high, but only in high-transmission settings. Requirements for reducing relative risk and achieving cost-effectiveness from an individual perspective were more restricted, due to the fact that those who test negative pay for screening but receive no benefit. Our results predict that cost-effectiveness could be achieved only in high-transmission areas of dengue-endemic countries with a relatively high per capita GDP, such as Panamá (13,680 USD), Brazil (8,649 USD), México (8,201 USD), or Thailand (5,807 USD). In conclusion, vaccination with CYD-TDV following serological screening could have a positive impact in some high-transmission settings, provided that screening is highly specific (to minimize individual harm), at least moderately sensitive (to maximize population benefit), and sufficiently inexpensive (depending on the setting).

Economic performance and cost-effectiveness of using a DEC-salt social enterprise for eliminating the major neglected tropical disease, lymphatic filariasis

1 July 2019 - 9:00pm

by Swarnali Sharma, Morgan E. Smith, James Reimer, David B. O’Brien, Jean M. Brissau, Marie C. Donahue, Clarence E. Carter, Edwin Michael

Background

Salt fortified with the drug, diethylcarbamazine (DEC), and introduced into a competitive market has the potential to overcome the obstacles associated with tablet-based Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) elimination programs. Questions remain, however, regarding the economic viability, production capacity, and effectiveness of this strategy as a sustainable means to bring about LF elimination in resource poor settings.

Methodology and principal findings

We evaluated the performance and effectiveness of a novel social enterprise-based approach developed and tested in Léogâne, Haiti, as a strategy to sustainably and cost-efficiently distribute DEC-medicated salt into a competitive market at quantities sufficient to bring about the elimination of LF. We undertook a cost-revenue analysis to evaluate the production capability and financial feasibility of the developed DEC salt social enterprise, and a modeling study centered on applying a dynamic mathematical model localized to reflect local LF transmission dynamics to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using this intervention versus standard annual Mass Drug Administration (MDA) for eliminating LF in Léogâne. We show that the salt enterprise because of its mixed product business strategy may have already reached the production capacity for delivering sufficient quantities of edible DEC-medicated salt to bring about LF transmission in the Léogâne study setting. Due to increasing revenues obtained from the sale of DEC salt over time, expansion of its delivery in the population, and greater cumulative impact on the survival of worms leading to shorter timelines to extinction, this strategy could also represent a significantly more cost-effective option than annual DEC tablet-based MDA for accomplishing LF elimination.

Significance

A social enterprise approach can offer an innovative market-based strategy by which edible salt fortified with DEC could be distributed to communities both on a financially sustainable basis and at sufficient quantity to eliminate LF. Deployment of similarly fashioned intervention strategies would improve current efforts to successfully accomplish the goal of LF elimination, particularly in difficult-to-control settings.

The E3 ligase TRIM56 is a host restriction factor of Zika virus and depends on its RNA-binding activity but not miRNA regulation, for antiviral function

28 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Darong Yang, Nan L. Li, Dahai Wei, Baoming Liu, Fang Guo, Husni Elbahesh, Yunzhi Zhang, Zhi Zhou, Guo-Yun Chen, Kui Li

Infection by Zika virus (ZIKV) is linked to microcephaly and other neurological disorders, posing a significant health threat. Innate immunity is the first line of defense against invading pathogens, but relatively little is understood regarding host intrinsic mechanisms that guard against ZIKV. Here, we show that host tripartite motif-containing protein 56 (TRIM56) poses a barrier to ZIKV infection in cells of neural, epithelial and fibroblast origins. Overexpression of TRIM56, but not an E3 ligase-dead mutant or one lacking a short C-terminal portion, inhibited ZIKV RNA replication. Conversely, depletion of TRIM56 increased viral RNA levels. Although the C-terminal region of TRIM56 bears sequence homology to NHL repeat of TRIM-NHL proteins that regulate miRNA activity, knockout of Dicer, which abolishes production of miRNAs, had no demonstrable effect on ZIKV restriction imposed by TRIM56. Rather, we found that TRIM56 is an RNA-binding protein that associates with ZIKV RNA in infected cells. Moreover, a recombinant TRIM56 fragment comprising the C-terminal 392 residues captured ZIKV RNA in cell-free reactions, indicative of direct interaction. Remarkably, deletion of a short C-terminal tail portion abrogated the TRIM56-ZIKV RNA interaction, concomitant with a loss in antiviral activity. Altogether, our study reveals TRIM56 is an RNA binding protein that acts as a ZIKV restriction factor and provides new insights into the antiviral mechanism by which this E3 ligase tackles flavivirus infections.

Correction: Growing evidence of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> across malaria-endemic Africa

28 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by The PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Staff

Elucidating diversity in the class composition of the minicircle hypervariable region of <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i>: New perspectives on typing and kDNA inheritance

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Fanny Rusman, Nicolás Tomasini, Noelia Floridia Yapur, Andrea F. Puebla, Paula G. Ragone, Patricio Diosque

Background

Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan causative of Chagas disease, is classified into six main Discrete Typing Units (DTUs): TcI-TcVI. This parasite has around 105 copies of the minicircle hypervariable region (mHVR) in their kinetoplastic DNA (kDNA). The genetic diversity of the mHVR is virtually unknown. However, cross-hybridization assays using mHVRs showed hybridization only between isolates belonging to the same genetic group. Nowadays there is no methodologic approach with a good sensibility, specificity and reproducibility for direct typing on biological samples. Due to its high copy number and apparently high diversity, mHVR becomes a good target for typing.

Methodology/Principal findings

Around 22 million reads, obtained by amplicon sequencing of the mHVR, were analyzed for nine strains belonging to six T. cruzi DTUs. The number and diversity of mHVR clusters was variable among DTUs and even within a DTU. However, strains of the same DTU shared more mHVR clusters than strains of different DTUs and clustered together. In addition, hybrid DTUs (TcV and TcVI) shared similar percentages (1.9–3.4%) of mHVR clusters with their parentals (TcII and TcIII). Conversely, just 0.2% of clusters were shared between TcII and TcIII suggesting biparental inheritance of the kDNA in hybrids. Sequencing at low depth (20,000–40,000 reads) also revealed 95% of the mHVR clusters for each of the analyzed strains. Finally, the method revealed good correlation in cluster identity and abundance between different replications of the experiment (r = 0.999).

Conclusions/Significance

Our work sheds light on the sequence diversity of mHVRs at intra and inter-DTU level. The mHVR amplicon sequencing workflow described here is a reproducible technique, that allows multiplexed analysis of hundreds of strains and results promissory for direct typing on biological samples in a future. In addition, such approach may help to gain knowledge on the mechanisms of the minicircle evolution and phylogenetic relationships among strains.

The Shan people’s health beliefs, knowledge and perceptions of dengue in Eastern Shan Special Region IV, Myanmar

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Jian-Wei Xu, Hui Liu, Zadan Ai, Yan Yu, Bian Yu

Sustainable dengue intervention requires the participation of communities. Therefore, understanding the health beliefs, knowledge and perceptions of dengue among the local people can help to design locally appropriate strategies for effective interventions. A combination of qualitative semi-structured in-depth interviews (SDIs) and quantitative household questionnaire surveys (HHSs) was used to investigate the beliefs, knowledge and perceptions of dengue among the Shan people in Eastern Shan Special Region IV (ESSR4), Myanmar. The SDI was administered to 18 key informants, and the HHS was administered to 259 respondents. Only 14.7% (95% CI: 10.6–19.6%) of the HHS respondents could confirm that mosquitoes transmit dengue; 14.3% (95% CI: 10.3–19.1%) knew that piebald or Aedes mosquitoes transmit dengue; and 24.3% (95% CI: 19.2–30.0%) believed that dengue-transmitting mosquitoes mainly lived in small ponds. Merely ten (0.4%) of the 259 respondents of the HHS thought that dengue-transmitting mosquitoes bite in the day time. The people in the villages where there were outbreaks of dengue had more knowledge about dengue. This study demonstrates that the health beliefs of the Shan people were closely associated with their lifestyles, social and natural environments. To stay healthy, the Shan people clean their houses and surroundings regularly. However, their knowledge about dengue was not adequate for effective dengue control because it was mostly learned from previous dengue experiences and in a context that lacks systematic health education. Thus, in this setting, with a weak public health structure, more international support should be provided to promote the knowledge of the Shan people about dengue and to increase their sensitive awareness to dengue, which might be beneficial for social mobilization and community participation during future dengue prevention.

Risk of disability among adult leprosy cases and determinants of delay in diagnosis in five states of India: A case-control study

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Govindarajulu Srinivas, Thirumugam Muthuvel, Vivek Lal, Kanagasabapathy Vaikundanathan, Eva-Maria Schwienhorst-Stich, Christa Kasang

Introduction

A high proportion of grade 2 disability (visible deformity) is indicative of delay in detection of leprosy and leprosy is one of the major causes of preventable disability. We conducted this study to determine the risk factors associated with disability (G2D and G1D) among adult new leprosy cases and to measure their strength of association.

Methods

A multi-centric case-control study was undertaken in five states of India i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal). Among new adult patients, cases were defined as those with disability (G2D and G1D) at the time of diagnosis and controls were defined as those without any disability (G0D). Delays were quantified based on patient recall across a timeline. Patient delay defined as the time period between first noticed symptom by the patient and the first visit to any health care provider (HCP); HCP delay defined as the time period between patient’s first visit to any HCP and the confirmation of diagnosis of leprosy; and total delay defined as the sum of both patient and HCP delays.

Results

A total of 1400 new leprosy patients (700 G2D/G1D and 700 G0D) across five states were interviewed. Among G2D/G1D, the median patient delay was 8 months compared with 4 months among G0D. The median HCP delay was 2 months for G2D/G1D and 1 month for G0D. The median total delay was 14 months for G2D/G1D and 6.2 months for G0D; observed median difference between groups was statistically significant (p<0.001). When patient delay was more than 3 months, odds of G2D/G1D at diagnosis were 1.6 times higher compared to when patient delay was less than 3 months. When the HCP delay was more than one month, the odds of G2D/G1D were 1.4 times higher compared to when the HCP delay was less than one month. When the patient had multi-bacillary type leprosy the odds of G2D/G1D at the time of diagnosis was nine times higher compared to pauci-bacillary type leprosy.

Conclusion

Patient delay is the major reason for risk of disability (G2D/G1D) among adult leprosy patients. A patient delay of more than 3 months from the notice of first symptom is a significant indicator for the disabilities among adult leprosy patients. Early case detection campaigns like active surveys in endemic spots should be done periodically as this can reduce delays and promote early diagnosis. Additionally, the program should lay greater emphasis on raising community awareness regarding the disease. Also, health care provider delay of more than 1 month have been significant risk factors for disability among adult leprosy cases. Hence, periodical capacitation of all HCPs including private practitioners would significantly contribute to reduce diagnostic delay and promote timely referral and early detection.

“It’s just a fever”: Gender based barriers to care-seeking for visceral leishmaniasis in highly endemic districts of India: A qualitative study

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Beulah Jayakumar, Nirmala Murthy, Kingsuk Misra, Sakib Burza

Introduction

Diagnosis and treatment for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is considered to be delayed amongst poor, rural women in highly endemic districts of Bihar and Jharkhand. The objective of this study was to assess and understand barriers to VL diagnosis and treatment for women in endemic districts with a high burden of VL.

Methods

The study used a stratified and purposive sample of 33 female patients with VL, 11 health staff, 11 local (unqualified) health providers and 12 groups of community elders drawn from ten districts in Bihar and four in Jharkhand with high burdens of VL. The study was conducted within an exploratory and inductive framework, using semi-structured in-depth interviews and discussions.

Results

Women accessing treatment more quickly tended to move faster from treating their symptoms on their own to seeking care from local providers. Perception among female patients of the illness being not serious (owing to initially non-specific and mild symptoms), lack of money, prioritisation of household chores over their need to seek care and the absence of a male guardian to accompany them in seeking care at facilities worked together to drive these choices. Most patients and their families did not suspect VL as the cause for their non-specific symptoms, but when VL was suspected, treatment shopping ended. Lack of prioritization of women’s health issues appears to be a pervasive underlying factor. Public health facilities were not an early treatment choice for the majority, but where it was, the diagnosis of VL was often not considered when presenting with under 2 weeks of symptoms, nor were appropriate follow-up plans instituted.

Conclusion

The insidious presentation of VL and the low prioritisation of women’s health need to be jointly addressed through messages that emphasise the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of disease, which is low-cost in time and money when managed in public health facilities. Clear messages that project prioritising women’s care-seeking over household work as a smart choice and the need for rallying male support are needed. Additionally, efforts to reduce missed opportunities through early case suspicion and engaging private providers to better counsel women with suspected VL could close critical gaps in the continuum of care.

One hypervirulent clone, sequence type 283, accounts for a large proportion of invasive <i>Streptococcus agalactiae</i> isolated from humans and diseased tilapia in Southeast Asia

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Timothy Barkham, Ruth N. Zadoks, Mohammad Noor Amal Azmai, Stephen Baker, Vu Thi Ngoc Bich, Victoria Chalker, Man Ling Chau, David Dance, Rama Narayana Deepak, H. Rogier van Doorn, Ramona A. Gutierrez, Mark A. Holmes, Lan Nguyen Phu Huong, Tse Hsien Koh, Elisabete Martins, Kurosh Mehershahi, Paul Newton, Lee Ching Ng, Nguyen Ngoc Phuoc, Ornuma Sangwichian, Pongpun Sawatwong, Uraiwan Surin, Thean Yen Tan, Wen Ying Tang, Nguyen Vu Thuy, Paul Turner, Manivanh Vongsouvath, Defeng Zhang, Toni Whistler, Swaine L. Chen

Background

In 2015, Singapore had the first and only reported foodborne outbreak of invasive disease caused by the group B Streptococcus (GBS; Streptococcus agalactiae). Disease, predominantly septic arthritis and meningitis, was associated with sequence type (ST)283, acquired from eating raw farmed freshwater fish. Although GBS sepsis is well-described in neonates and older adults with co-morbidities, this outbreak affected non-pregnant and younger adults with fewer co-morbidities, suggesting greater virulence. Before 2015 ST283 had only been reported from twenty humans in Hong Kong and two in France, and from one fish in Thailand. We hypothesised that ST283 was causing region-wide infection in Southeast Asia.

Methodology/Principal findings

We performed a literature review, whole genome sequencing on 145 GBS isolates collected from six Southeast Asian countries, and phylogenetic analysis on 7,468 GBS sequences including 227 variants of ST283 from humans and animals. Although almost absent outside Asia, ST283 was found in all invasive Asian collections analysed, from 1995 to 2017. It accounted for 29/38 (76%) human isolates in Lao PDR, 102/139 (73%) in Thailand, 4/13 (31%) in Vietnam, and 167/739 (23%) in Singapore. ST283 and its variants were found in 62/62 (100%) tilapia from 14 outbreak sites in Malaysia and Vietnam, in seven fish species in Singapore markets, and a diseased frog in China.

Conclusions

GBS ST283 is widespread in Southeast Asia, where it accounts for a large proportion of bacteraemic GBS, and causes disease and economic loss in aquaculture. If human ST283 is fishborne, as in the Singapore outbreak, then GBS sepsis in Thailand and Lao PDR is predominantly a foodborne disease. However, whether transmission is from aquaculture to humans, or vice versa, or involves an unidentified reservoir remains unknown. Creation of cross-border collaborations in human and animal health are needed to complete the epidemiological picture.

Prioritizing surveillance of Nipah virus in India

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Raina K. Plowright, Daniel J. Becker, Daniel E. Crowley, Alex D. Washburne, Tao Huang, P. O. Nameer, Emily S. Gurley, Barbara A. Han

The 2018 outbreak of Nipah virus in Kerala, India, highlights the need for global surveillance of henipaviruses in bats, which are the reservoir hosts for this and other viruses. Nipah virus, an emerging paramyxovirus in the genus Henipavirus, causes severe disease and stuttering chains of transmission in humans and is considered a potential pandemic threat. In May 2018, an outbreak of Nipah virus began in Kerala, > 1800 km from the sites of previous outbreaks in eastern India in 2001 and 2007. Twenty-three people were infected and 21 people died (16 deaths and 18 cases were laboratory confirmed). Initial surveillance focused on insectivorous bats (Megaderma spasma), whereas follow-up surveys within Kerala found evidence of Nipah virus in fruit bats (Pteropus medius). P. medius is the confirmed host in Bangladesh and is now a confirmed host in India. However, other bat species may also serve as reservoir hosts of henipaviruses. To inform surveillance of Nipah virus in bats, we reviewed and analyzed the published records of Nipah virus surveillance globally. We applied a trait-based machine learning approach to a subset of species that occur in Asia, Australia, and Oceana. In addition to seven species in Kerala that were previously identified as Nipah virus seropositive, we identified at least four bat species that, on the basis of trait similarity with known Nipah virus-seropositive species, have a relatively high likelihood of exposure to Nipah or Nipah-like viruses in India. These machine-learning approaches provide the first step in the sequence of studies required to assess the risk of Nipah virus spillover in India. Nipah virus surveillance not only within Kerala but also elsewhere in India would benefit from a research pipeline that included surveys of known and predicted reservoirs for serological evidence of past infection with Nipah virus (or cross reacting henipaviruses). Serosurveys should then be followed by longitudinal spatial and temporal studies to detect shedding and isolate virus from species with evidence of infection. Ecological studies will then be required to understand the dynamics governing prevalence and shedding in bats and the contacts that could pose a risk to public health.

The European Medicines Agency’s scientific opinion on oral fexinidazole for human African trypanosomiasis

27 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Eric Pelfrene, Martin Harvey Allchurch, Nsengi Ntamabyaliro, Victoria Nambasa, Fátima V. Ventura, Nithyanandan Nagercoil, Marco Cavaleri

Pages