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Prediction of leprosy in the Chinese population based on a weighted genetic risk score

19 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Na Wang, Zhenzhen Wang, Chuan Wang, Xi'an Fu, Gongqi Yu, Zhenhua Yue, Tingting Liu, Huimin Zhang, Lulu Li, Mingfei Chen, Honglei Wang, Guiye Niu, Dan Liu, Mingkai Zhang, Yuanyuan Xu, Yan Zhang, Jinghui Li, Zhen Li, Jiabao You, Tongsheng Chu, Furong Li, Dianchang Liu, Hong Liu, Furen Zhang

Genome wide association studies (GWASs) have revealed multiple genetic variants associated with leprosy in the Chinese population. The aim of our study was to utilize the genetic variants to construct a risk prediction model through a weighted genetic risk score (GRS) in a Chinese set and to further assess the performance of the model in identifying higher-risk contact individuals in an independent set. The highest prediction accuracy, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.743 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.729–0.757), was achieved with a GRS encompassing 25 GWAS variants in a discovery set that included 2,144 people affected by leprosy and 2,671 controls. Individuals in the high-risk group, based on genetic factors (GRS > 28.06), have a 24.65 higher odds ratio (OR) for developing leprosy relative to those in the low-risk group (GRS≤18.17). The model was then applied to a validation set consisting of 1,385 people affected by leprosy and 7,541 individuals in contact with leprosy, which yielded a discriminatory ability with an AUC of 0.707 (95% CI: 0.691–0.723). When a GRS cut-off value of 22.38 was selected with the optimal sensitivity and specificity, it was found that 39.31% of high risk contact individuals should be screened in order to detect leprosy in 64.9% of those people affected by leprosy. In summary, we developed and validated a risk model for the prediction of leprosy that showed good discrimination capabilities, which may help physicians in the identification of patients coming into contact with leprosy and are at a higher-risk of developing this condition.

Improved methods to capture the total societal benefits of zoonotic disease control: Demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of an integrated control programme for <i>Taenia solium</i>, soil transmitted helminths and classical swine fever in northern Lao PDR

19 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Walter O. Okello, Anna L. Okello, Phouth Inthavong, Tassilo Tiemann, Ammaly Phengsivalouk, Brecht Devleesschauwer, Alexandra Shaw, John Allen

Background

Control and elimination of zoonotic diseases requires robust information about their effect on both human and livestock health in order to enable policy formulation and the allocation of resources. This study aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of controlling Taenia solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in both humans and pigs, and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) in humans by integrating their control to on-going human and animal health control programmes in northern Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

Method

A cross-sectional study was carried out in 49 households, focusing on the prevalence of T. solium taenias/cysticercosis and soil transmitted helminths before and after a twelve month intervention. The village data was collected using a semi-structured questionnaire through a door-to-door survey. The village data was then projected to the wider northern Lao PDR population using stochastic modelling and cost-effectiveness ratio (after aggregating the net cost to capture both human and animal health parameters) and GDP per capita as a threshold, to determine the cost-effectiveness of the integrated control of T. solium taeniasis/ cysticercosis and STH, assuming linear scaling out of the intervention. The zoonotic DALY (zDALY) approach was also used as an alternative method of estimating the cost-effectiveness ratio of controlling T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in humans and pigs.

Findings

Using cost-effectiveness analysis after aggregating the net cost and control of T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis alone as the base case, the study found that simultaneous control of T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in humans and pigs, STH in humans and Classical Swine Fever (CSF) in pigs was USD 14 per DALY averted and USD 234 per zDALY averted using zDALY method hence considered highly cost-effective whereas controlling T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis without incorporating STH and CSF was the least cost-effective (USD 3,672 per DALY averted). Additionally, the cost-effectiveness of controlling T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in people and pigs using zDALY as an alternative method was USD 3,662 per zDALY averted which was quite close to our findings using the aggregate net cost method.

Conclusion

The study showed that control of T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis alone in humans and pigs is not cost-effective in northern Lao PDR whereas control of STH is. Consequently, integrating T. solium taeniasis/cysticercosis control with other cost-effective programmes such as STH and CSF markedly improved the cost-effectiveness of the intervention. This is especially important in low resource countries where control of zoonotic neglected tropical diseases could be integrated with the human and animal health sectors to optimize use of the limited resources.

Trial registration

Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) ACTRN12614001067662.

Clinical manifestations of dengue in relation to dengue serotype and genotype in Malaysia: A retrospective observational study

18 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Jeyanthi Suppiah, Siew-Mooi Ching, Syafinaz Amin-Nordin, Lailatul-Akmar Mat-Nor, Naematul-Ain Ahmad-Najimudin, Gary Kim-Kuan Low, Manisya-Zauri Abdul-Wahid, Ravindran Thayan, Hui-Yee Chee

Background

Malaysia experienced an unprecedented dengue outbreak from the year 2014 to 2016 that resulted in an enormous increase in the number of cases and mortality as compared to previous years. The causes that attribute to a dengue outbreak can be multifactorial. Viral factors, such as dengue serotype and genotype, are the components of interest in this study. Although only a small number of studies investigated the association between the serotype of dengue virus and clinical manifestations, none of these studies included analyses on dengue genotypes. The present study aims to investigate dengue serotype and genotype-specific clinical characteristics among dengue fever and severe dengue cases from two Malaysian tertiary hospitals between 2014 and mid-2017.

Methodology and principal findings

A total of 120 retrospective dengue serum specimens were subjected to serotyping and genotyping by Taqman Real-Time RT-PCR, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. Subsequently, the dengue serotype and genotype data were statistically analyzed for 101 of 120 corresponding patients’ clinical manifestations to generate a descriptive relation between the genetic components and clinical outcomes of dengue infected patients. During the study period, predominant dengue serotype and genotype were found to be DENV 1 genotype I. Additionally, non-severe clinical manifestations were commonly observed in patients infected with DENV 1 and DENV 3. Meanwhile, patients with DENV 2 infection showed significant warning signs and developed severe dengue (p = 0.007). Cases infected with DENV 2 were also commonly presented with persistent vomiting (p = 0.010), epigastric pain (p = 0.018), plasma leakage (p = 0.004) and shock (p = 0.038). Moreover, myalgia and arthralgia were highly prevalent among DENV 3 infection (p = 0.015; p = 0.014). The comparison of genotype-specific clinical manifestations showed that DENV 2 Cosmopolitan was significantly common among severe dengue patients. An association was also found between genotype I of DENV 3 and myalgia. In a similar vein, genotype III of DENV 3 was significantly common among patients with arthralgia.

Conclusion

The current data contended that different dengue serotype and genotype had caused distinct clinical characteristics in infected patients.

Outbreak of human brucellosis in Southern Brazil and historical review of data from 2009 to 2018

18 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Tamilly Silva Lemos, Juliana Clelia Cequinel, Tania Portela Costa, Amanda Boni Navarro, Andressa Sprada, Flávia Kazumi Shibata, Regina Gondolfo, Felipe Francisco Tuon

Background

Human brucellosis (HB) is a bacterial zoonosis that is more frequent in low income and middle-income countries; it is sometimes associated with outbreaks. The aim of this study was to describe the largest outbreak of HB in Brazil.

Methods

A retrospective cohort study of patients suspected of having contracted HB in the state of Paraná, Southern Brazil from January 2009 to January 2017. Following an outbreak of 51 cases of HB in a slaughterhouse at Paiçandu in 2014, HB was defined as an obligatory reportable disease in the State. Diagnostic tests for HB included serum agglutination, ELISA (IgG or IgM) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clinical, laboratorial and epidemiological data were analyzed. A P value of 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results

Out of a total of 3,941 patients, 754 presented with a positive test result for HB. After 2014, there was a significant increase in the number of cases, exceeding 100 cases per trimester. In the beginning of 2015, the workgroup of HB started several actions for prevention and treatment, and the number of cases progressively diminished to fewer than 20 cases per trimester. Of 191 reported cases, an occupational risk was found in 84.7%; most cases occurred in farmers (60.0%), veterinarians (17.6%) and slaughterhouse workers (14.7%). Manipulation of animals and unpasteurized milk consumption were associated with positive Brucella IgM ELISA with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.42 (1.09–1.84) and 1.48 (1.01–2.15), respectively.

Conclusions

HB outbreaks can occur in low to middle-income countries and are associated with slaughterhouse work, handling of unpasteurized milk and animal manipulation. Intensive programs for control of HB are important to reduce the number of cases.

Impact of repeated annual community directed treatment with ivermectin on loiasis parasitological indicators in Cameroon: Implications for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis elimination in areas co-endemic with <i>Loa loa</i> in Africa

18 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Samuel Wanji, Winston Patrick Chounna Ndongmo, Fanny Fri Fombad, Jonas Arnaud Kengne-Ouafo, Abdel Jelil Njouendou, Yolande Flore Longang Tchounkeu, Benjamin Koudou, Moses Bockarie, Grace Fobi, Jean Baptiste Roungou, Peter A. Enyong

Background

Loiasis is a filarial infection endemic in the rainforest zone of west and central Africa particularly in Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Repeated treatments with ivermectin have been delivered using the annual community directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) approach for several years to control onchocerciasis in some Loa loa-Onchocerca volvulus co-endemic areas. The impact of CDTI on loiasis parasitological indicators is not known. We, therefore, designed this cross sectional study to explore the effects of several rounds of CDTI on parasitological indicators of loiasis.

Methodology/Principal findings

The study was conducted in the East, Northwest and Southwest 2 CDTI projects of Cameroon. Individuals who consented to participate were interviewed for ivermectin treatment history and enrolled for parasitological screening using thick smears. Ivermectin treatment history was correlated with loiasis prevalence/intensity. A total of 3,684 individuals were recruited from 36 communities of the 3 CDTI projects and 900 individuals from 9 villages in a non-CDTI district. In the East, loiasis prevalence was 29.3% (range = 24.2%–34.6%) in the non-CDTI district but 16.0% (3.3%–26.6%) in the CDTI district with 10 ivermectin rounds (there were no baseline data for the latter). In the Northwest and Southwest 2 districts, reductions from 30.5% to 17.9% (after 9 ivermectin rounds) but from 8.1% to 7.8% (not significantly different after 14 rounds) were registered post CDTI, respectively. Similar trends in infection intensity were observed in all sites. There was a negative relationship between adherence to ivermectin treatment and prevalence/intensity of infection in all sites. None of the children (aged 10–14 years) examined in the East CDTI project harboured high (8,000–30,000 mf/ml) or very high (>30,000 mf/ml) microfilarial loads. Individuals who had taken >5 ivermectin treatments were 2.1 times more likely to present with no microfilaraemia than those with less treatments.

Conclusion

In areas where onchocerciasis and loiasis are co-endemic, CDTI reduces the number of, and microfilaraemia in L. loa-infected individuals, and this, in turn, will help to prevent non-neurological and neurological complications post-ivermectin treatment among CDTI adherents.

A Delphi consultation to assess indicators of readiness to provide quality health facility-based Lymphoedema management services

18 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Victoria L. Walsh, LeAnne M. Fox, Molly Brady, Jonathan King, Caitlin M. Worrell

Background

The World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with partners is developing a toolkit of resources to guide lymphatic filariasis (LF) morbidity management and disability prevention (MMDP) implementation and evaluation. Direct health facility inspection is the preferred method for documenting the readiness of a country programme to provide quality lymphoedema management services, one of the three MMDP criteria used to demonstrate the elimination of LF as a public health problem.

Methodology/Principal findings

As component of tool development, a Delphi consultation was implemented to gain consensus on six proposed domains and fourteen proposed tracer indicators to measure national programme readiness to provide quality health facility-based lymphoedema management services. A seven-point Likert-type scale was used to rank the importance of proposed domains and tracer indicators. Consensus for inclusion of the indicator was defined a priori as 70% or more of respondents ranking the proposed indicator in the top three tiers (5–7). Purposive sampling was used to select 43 representative experts including country representatives, programme implementers, and technical experts. A 55.8% response rate (n = 24) was achieved for the survey. Analysis of the responses demonstrated that consensus for inclusion had been reached for all proposed domains including trained staff (mean = 6.9, standard deviation (SD) = 0.34), case management and education materials (mean = 6.1, SD = 0.65), water infrastructure (mean = 6.3, SD = 0.81), medications and commodities (mean = 6.3, SD = 0.69), patient tracking system (mean = 6.3, SD = 0.85), and staff knowledge (mean = 6.5, SD = 0.66).

Significance

The Delphi consultation provided an efficient and structured method for gaining consensus among lymphatic filariasis experts around key lymphoedema management quality indicators. The results from this analysis were used to refine the indicators included within the direct inspection protocol tool to ensure its ability to assess health facility readiness to provide quality lymphoedema management services.

Estimating the efficacy of community-wide use of systemic insecticides in dogs to control zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis: A modelling study in a Brazilian scenario

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Sonia A. Gomez, Lloyd A. C. Chapman, Erin Dilger, Orin Courtenay, Albert Picado

Systemic insecticides in dogs have been suggested as a public health intervention to prevent human cases of Zoonotic Visceral Leishmaniasis (ZVL). But, currently there are no systemic insecticides for dogs registered against zoo-anthropophilic pool blood feeding phlebotomine flies. We predict the impact of community-wide use of systemic insecticide in dog populations as a public health measure to control transmission of Leishmania infantum to humans using a mathematical model. We developed a Susceptible-Exposed-Infected (SEI) compartmental model to describe L. infantum transmission dynamics in dogs, with a vectorial capacity term to represent transmission between L. infantum-hosting dogs via phlebotomine flies. For Infected (I) dogs two levels of infectiousness were modelled, high infectiousness and low infectiousness. Human incidence was estimated through its relationship to infection in the dog population. We evaluated outcomes from a wide range of scenarios comprising different combinations of initial insecticide efficacy, duration of insecticide efficacy over time, and proportion of the dog population treated (60%, 70% & 80%). The same reduction in human infection incidence can be achieved via different combinations of insecticide efficacy, duration and dog coverage. For example, a systemic insecticide with an initial efficacy of 80% and 6 months above 65% efficacy would require treating at least 70% of the dogs to reduce the human infection incidence by 50%. Sensitivity analysis showed that the model outcome was most sensitive to baseline values of phlebotomine fly daily survival rate and insecticide coverage. Community-wide use of systemic insecticides applied to the “L. infantum canine reservoir” can significantly reduce human incidence of L. infantum infection. The results of this mathematical model can help defining the insecticide target product profile and how the insecticide should be applied to maximise effectiveness.

Phospho-proteomic analysis of primary human colon epithelial cells during the early <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> infection phase

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Shankar Suman, Girish Rachakonda, Sammed N. Mandape, Shruti S. Sakhare, Fernando Villalta, Siddharth Pratap, Maria F. Lima, Pius N. Nde

The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, causes severe morbidity and mortality in afflicted individuals. About 30% of T. cruzi-infected individuals present with cardiac, gastrointestinal tract, and/or neurological disorders. Megacolon, one of the major pathologies of Chagas disease, is accompanied by gastrointestinal motility disorders. The molecular mechanism of T. cruzi-mediated megacolon in Chagas disease is currently unknown. To decipher the molecular mechanism of T. cruzi-induced alteration in the colon during the early infection phase, we exposed primary human colonic epithelial cells (HCoEpiC) to invasive T. cruzi trypomastigotes at multiple time points to determine changes in the phosphoprotein networks in the cells following infection using proteome profiler Human phospho-kinase arrays. We found significant changes in the phosphorylation pattern that can mediate cellular deregulations in colonic epithelial cells after infection. We detected a significant increase in the levels of phosphorylated heat shock protein (p-HSP) 27 and transcription factors that regulate various cellular functions, including c-Jun and CREB. Our study confirmed significant upregulation of phospho (p-) Akt S473, p-JNK, which may directly or indirectly modulate CREB and c-Jun phosphorylation, respectively. We also observed increased levels of phosphorylated CREB and c-Jun in the nucleus. Furthermore, we found that p-c-Jun and p-CREB co-localized in the nucleus at 180 minutes post infection, with a maximum Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.76±0.02. Increased p-c-Jun and p-CREB have been linked to inflammatory and profibrotic responses. T. cruzi infection of HCoEpiC induces an increased expression of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), which is fibrogenic at elevated levels. We also found that T. cruzi infection modulates the expression of NF-kB and JAK2-STAT1 signaling molecules which can increase pro-inflammatory flux. Bioinformatics analysis of the phosphoprotein networks derived using the phospho-protein data serves as a blueprint for T. cruzi-mediated cellular transformation of primary human colonic cells during the early phase of T. cruzi infection.

Corneal complications following Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis treatment

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Shomik Maruf, Proggananda Nath, Muhammad Rafiqul Islam, Fatima Aktar, Azim Anuwarul, Dinesh Mondal, Ariful Basher

Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a sequel of Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL). The patients act as a reservoir for the causative parasite (i.e. Leishmania donovani) and thus should be diagnosed and treated with the utmost urgency to prevent the transmission of the disease. In this study, we tried to report the first instances of corneal complications supposedly associated with Miltefosine (MF), in PKDL patients and the probable pathophysiology of such events. The recently rejuvenated National Kala-azar Elimination Program in Bangladesh has put great emphasis on monitoring all the leishmaniasis patients to investigate possible adverse drug reactions (ADR). A total of 194 patients have received Miltefosine for the treatment of Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis. So far five patients were found to have developed unilateral ophthalmic complications during the periods from May 2016 to October 2017, after being treated with MF for PKDL. Unfortunately, one of whom had to go through complete evisceration of the affected eyeball. Despite the fact that MF is the only oral formulation of choice to treat PKDL, occurrences of such unexpected ADRs after MF administration urges the exploration of the pathogenesis of such incidents and determine measures to avert such occurrences from happening in future.

Towards elimination of lymphatic filariasis in southeastern Madagascar: Successes and challenges for interrupting transmission

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Andres Garchitorena, Estelle M. Raza-Fanomezanjanahary, Sedera A. Mioramalala, Cedric Chesnais, Claude A. Ratsimbasoa, Herinirina Ramarosata, Matthew H. Bonds, Holivololona Rabenantoandro

Introduction

A global strategy of mass drug administration (MDA) has greatly reduced the burden of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in endemic countries. In Madagascar, the National Programme to eliminate LF has scaled-up annual MDA of albendazole and diethylcarbamazine across the country in the last decade, but its impact on LF transmission has never been reported. The objective of this study was to evaluate progress towards LF elimination in southeastern Madagascar.

Methods

Three different surveys were carried out in parallel in four health districts of the Vatovavy Fitovinany region in 2016: i) a school-based transmission assessment survey (TAS) in the districts of Manakara Atsimo, Mananjary, and Vohipeno (following a successful pre-TAS in 2013); ii) a district-representative community prevalence survey in Ifanadiana district; and iii) a community prevalence survey in sentinel and spot-check sites of these four districts. LF infection was assessed using the Alere Filariasis Test Strips, which detect circulating filarial antigens (CFA) of adult worms. A brief knowledge, attitudes and practices questionnaire was included in the community surveys.

Principal findings

None of the 1,825 children sampled in the TAS, and only one in 1,306 children from sentinel and spot-check sites, tested positive to CFA. However, CFA prevalence rate in individuals older than 15 years was still high in two of these three districts, at 3.5 and 9.7% in Mananjary and Vohipeno, respectively. Overall CFA prevalence in sentinel and spot-check sites of these three districts was 2.80% (N = 2,707), but only two individuals had detectable levels of microfilaraemia (0.06%). Prevalence rate estimates for Ifanadiana were substantially higher in the district-representative survey (15.8%; N = 545) than in sentinel and spot-check sites (0.8%; N = 618). Only 51.2% of individuals surveyed in these four districts reported taking MDA in the last year, and 42.2% reported knowing about LF.

Conclusions

Although TAS results suggest that MDA can be stopped in three districts of southeastern Madagascar, the adult population still presents high CFA prevalence levels. This discordance raises important questions about the TAS procedures and the interpretation of their results.

PCR-RFLP screening of polymorphisms associated with benzimidazole resistance in <i>Necator americanus</i> and <i>Ascaris lumbricoides</i> from different geographical regions in Brazil

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Luciana Werneck Zuccherato, Luis Fernando Furtado, Celi da Silva Medeiros, Carina da Silva Pinheiro, Élida M. Rabelo

Ascaris lumbricoides and Necator americanus are soil-transmitted parasites with global geographic distribution, and they represent some of the most common and neglected infections in the world. Periodic treatment with mass drug administration (MDA) in endemic areas is the recommended action put forth by the World Health Organization. However, MDA can cause the selection of subpopulations that possess the genetic ability to overcome the mechanism of drug action. In fact, beta-tubulin gene mutations (codons 167, 198 and 200) are correlated with benzimidazole resistance in nematodes of veterinary importance. It is possible that these SNPs also have strong correlation with treatment resistance in the human geohelminths A. lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and hookworms. Here, we aimed to investigate the presence of some of these canonical molecular markers associated with parasite resistance to benzimidazole in N. americanus and A. lumbricoides collected from six Brazilian states. Nested-PCR and PCR-RFLP were used to detect mutations at codons 167 and 198 in 601 individual eggs of A. lumbricoides collected from 62 human stool samples; however, no mutations were found. Codons 198 and 200 were tested in 552 N. americanus eggs collected from 48 patients using the same methodology, which presented a relative frequency of 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively. The presence of these SNPs in N. americanus eggs is an important finding, indicating that with high benzimidazole drug pressure there is potential for benzimidazole resistance to be selected in this hookworm. However, at these low frequencies it does not indicate that there is at present any benzimidazole resistance problem. This is the first systematic study performed in South America, and the study yielded a landscape of the genetic variants in the beta-tubulin gene and anthelmintic resistance to soil-transmitted parasites detected by a simple, rapid and affordable genotyping assay of individual eggs.

The association of rainfall and Buruli ulcer in southeastern Australia

17 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Arvind Yerramilli, Ee Laine Tay, Andrew J. Stewardson, Janet Fyfe, Daniel P. O’Brien, Paul D. R. Johnson

Background

Buruli ulcer has been increasing in incidence in southeastern Australia with unclear transmission mechanisms. We aimed to investigate the link between rainfall and case numbers in two endemic areas of the state of Victoria; the Bellarine and Mornington Peninsulas.

Methodology

We created yearly and monthly graphs comparing rainfall with local Buruli ulcer incidence for the period 2004–2016 by endemic region and then considered a range of time lag intervals of 0–24 months to investigate patterns of correlation.

Conclusions

Optimal positive correlation for the Bellarine Peninsula occurred with a 12-month prior rainfall lag, however, no significant correlation was observed on the Mornington Peninsula for any time lag. These results provide an update in evidence to further explore transmission mechanisms which may differ between these geographically proximate endemic regions.

Rural youths' understanding of gene x environmental contributors to heritable health conditions: The case of podoconiosis in Ethiopia

13 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Kibur Engdawork, Colleen M. McBride, Desta Ayode, Caitlin G. Allen, Gail Davey, Getnet Tadele

Objectives

Assess the feasibility of engaging youth to disseminate accurate information about gene by environmental (GxE) influences on podoconiosis, a neglected tropical lymphedema endemic in southern Ethiopia.

Methods

A cross sectional survey was conducted with 377 youth randomly selected from 2 districts of Southern Ethiopia. Measures included GxE knowledge (4 true/false statements), preventive action knowledge (endorse wearing shoes and foot hygiene), causal misconceptions (11 items related to contagion) and confidence to explain GxE (9 disagree/agree statements).

Results

Over half (59%) accurately endorsed joint contributions of gene and environment to podoconiosis and preventive mechanisms (e.g., wearing protective shoes and keeping foot hygiene). Multivariable logistic regression showed that youth with accurate understanding about GxE contributors reported having: some education, friends or kin who were affected by the condition, and prior interactions with health extension workers. Surprisingly, higher accurate GxE knowledge was positively associated with endorsing contagion as a causal factor. Accuracy of GxE and preventive action knowledge were positively associated with youth’s confidence to explain podoconiosis-related information.

Conclusions

Youth have the potential to be competent disseminators of GxE information about podoconiosis. Interventions to foster confidence among youth in social or kin relationships with affected individuals may be most promising. Efforts to challenge youth’s co-existing inaccurate beliefs about contagion could strengthen the link of GxE explanations to preventive actions.

Bacterial community composition in the salivary glands of triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)

13 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Michele Souza Lima, Marinella Silva Laport, Elias Seixas Lorosa, José Jurberg, Kátia Regina Netto dos Santos, Mário Alberto Cardoso da Silva Neto, Caio Tavora Coelho da Costa Rachid, Georgia Correa Atella

Background

Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is transmitted through triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). In the last year, many studies of triatomine gut microbiota have outlined its potential role in modulating vector competence. However, little is known about the microbiota present in the salivary glands of triatomines. Bacterial composition of salivary glands in selected triatomine species was investigated, as well as environmental influences on the acquisition of bacterial communities.

Methodology/Principal findings

The diversity of the bacterial communities of 30 pairs of salivary glands of triatomines was studied by sequencing of the V1- V3 variable region of the 16S rRNA using the MiSeq platform (Illumina), and bacteria isolated from skin of three vertebrate hosts were identified based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis (targeting the V3–V5 region). In a comparative analysis of microbiota in the salivary glands of triatomine species, operational taxonomic units belonging to Arsenophonous appeared as dominant in Triatoma spp (74% of the total 16S coverage), while these units belonging to unclassified Enterobacteriaceae were dominant in the Rhodnius spp (57% of the total 16S coverage). Some intraspecific changes in the composition of the triatomine microbiota were observed, suggesting that some bacteria may have been acquired from the environment.

Conclusions and significance

Our study revealed the presence of a low-diversity microbiota associated to the salivary glands of the evaluated triatomines. The predominant bacteria genera are associated with triatomine genera and the bacteria can be acquired in the environment in which the insects reside. Further studies are necessary to determine the influence of bacterial communities on vector competence.

Isolation of pathogenic <i>Leptospira</i> strains from naturally infected cattle in Uruguay reveals high serovar diversity, and uncovers a relevant risk for human leptospirosis

13 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Leticia Zarantonelli, Alejandra Suanes, Paulina Meny, Florencia Buroni, Cecilia Nieves, Ximena Salaberry, Carolina Briano, Natalia Ashfield, Caroline Da Silva Silveira, Fernando Dutra, Cristina Easton, Martin Fraga, Federico Giannitti, Camila Hamond, Melissa Macías-Rioseco, Clara Menéndez, Alberto Mortola, Mathieu Picardeau, Jair Quintero, Cristina Ríos, Víctor Rodríguez, Agustín Romero, Gustavo Varela, Rodolfo Rivero, Felipe Schelotto, Franklin Riet-Correa, Alejandro Buschiazzo, on behalf of the Grupo de Trabajo Interinstitucional de Leptospirosis Consortium

Leptospirosis is a neglected zoonosis with worldwide distribution. The causative agents are spirochete bacteria of the Leptospira genus, displaying huge diversity of serovars, the identity of which is critical for effective diagnosis and vaccination purposes. Among many other mammalian species, Leptospira infects cattle, eliciting acute signs in calves, and chronic disease in adult animals often leading to abortions. In South America, and including in Uruguay, beef and dairy export are leading sources of national income. Despite the importance of bovine health, food safety, and bovine-related dissemination of leptospirosis to humans, extremely limited information is available as to the identity of Leptospira species and serovars infecting cattle in Uruguay and the South American subcontinent. Here we report a multicentric 3-year study resulting in the isolation and detailed characterization of 40 strains of Leptospira spp. obtained from infected cattle. Combined serologic and molecular typing identified these isolates as L. interrogans serogroup Pomona serovar Kennewicki (20 strains), L. interrogans serogroup Canicola serovar Canicola (1 strain), L. borgpetersenii serogroup Sejroe serovar Hardjo (10 strains) and L. noguchii (9 strains). The latter showed remarkable phenotypic and genetic variability, belonging to 6 distinct serogroups, including 3 that did not react with a large panel of reference serogrouping antisera. Approximately 20% of cattle sampled in the field were found to be shedding pathogenic Leptospira in their urine, uncovering a threat for public health that is being largely neglected. The two L. interrogans serovars that we isolated from cattle displayed identical genetic signatures to those of human isolates that had previously been obtained from leptospirosis patients. This report of local Leptospira strains shall improve diagnostic tools and the understanding of leptospirosis epidemiology in South America. These strains could also be used as new components within bacterin vaccines to protect against the pathogenic Leptospira strains that are actually circulating, a direct measure to reduce the risk of human leptospirosis.

Misconceptions and paradoxes in soil-transmitted helminthiases control as a public health problem

13 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Alejandro J. Krolewiecki

Soil-transmitted helminthiases (STHs) constitute a public health problem that requires immediate action to resolve the morbidity of those harboring the parasites in their guts, to prevent infection in all those at risk, and to interrupt the vicious circle of poverty and disease in the affected communities, structural poverty being the main determinant of this group of infectious diseases. Since the times of the Rockefeller initiatives over a hundred years ago, the strategy has been viewed as one requiring community-wide efforts rather than pure individual case management. The World Health Organization (WHO) and its regional offices, as the governing institutions endorsed by the countries and their governments, have been the leaders in stating the actual executive measures to reach the goals and endpoints for the management of the problem. With the task of setting a group of activities that could be launched, monitored, and measured, these actions were established with the available resources since this public health problem had to be launched immediately, resources were those available at the moment and not those appearing on a wish list. Considerable progress has been made in the establishment of policies for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), later followed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through WHO-lead actions for the control of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). With an initial goal of morbidity control, there are already discussions and proposals for elimination of STH if support is sustained and empiric facts confirm data emerging from modeling and small-scale studies. The aim of these comments is to describe and question instances of currently accepted concepts, theories, and practices that conform to the dogmatic status quo that serves as the foundation on top of which the new elimination aspirations are supposed to be built on, which might not be serving the desired purpose if taken unrevised.

Innovative digital technologies for quality assurance of diagnosis of human African trypanosomiasis

13 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Epco Hasker, Jean Kwete, Raquel Inocencio da Luz, Alain Mpanya, Nicolas Bebronne, Jacquies Makabuza, Yves Claeys, Jérémie Ilunga, Veerle Lejon, Dieudonné Mumba Ngoyi, Philippe Büscher, Marleen Boelaert, Erick Mwamba Miaka

Isometamidium chloride and homidium chloride fail to cure mice infected with Ethiopian <i>Trypanosoma evansi</i> type A and B

12 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Gebrekrustos Mekonnen, Elmi Fahiye Mohammed, Weldu Kidane, Awol Nesibu, Hagos Yohannes, Nick Van Reet, Philippe Büscher, Hadush Birhanu

Background

Trypanosoma evansi is mechanically transmitted by biting flies and affects camels, equines, and other domestic and wild animals in which it causes a disease called surra. At least two types of Trypanosoma evansi circulate in Ethiopia: type A, which is present in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and type B, which is prevalent in Eastern Africa. Currently, no information is available about the drug sensitivity of any Ethiopian T. evansi type.

Methodology/principal findings

This study was conducted with the objective of determining the in vivo drug sensitivity of two T. evansi type A and two type B stocks that were isolated from camels from the Tigray and Afar regions of Northern Ethiopia. We investigated the efficacy of four trypanocidal drugs to cure T. evansi infected mice: melarsamine hydrochloride (Cymelarsan), diminazene diaceturate (Veriben and Sequzene), isometamidium chloride (Veridium) and homidium chloride (Bovidium). Per experimental group, 6 mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with trypanosomes, treated at first peak parasitemia by daily drug injections for 4 consecutive days and followed-up for 60 days. Cymelarsan at 2 mg/kg and Veriben at 20 mg/kg cured all mice infected with any T. evansi stock, while Sequzene at 20 mg/kg caused relapses in all T. evansi stocks. In contrast, Veridium and Bovidium at 1 mg/kg failed to cure any T. evansi infection in mice.

Conclusions/significance

We conclude that mice infected with Ethiopian T. evansi can be cured with Cymelarsan and Veriben regardless of T. evansi type. In contrast, Veridium and Bovidium are not efficacious to cure any T. evansi type. Although innate resistance to phenanthridines was previously described for T. evansi type A, this report is the first study to show that this phenomenom also occurs in T. evansi type B infections.

Implementing active community-based surveillance-response system for Buruli ulcer early case detection and management in Ghana

12 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Collins S. K. Ahorlu, Daniel Okyere, Edwin Ampadu

Background

Buruli Ulcer (BU) is one of the most neglected debilitating tropical diseases caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans, which causes considerable morbidity and disability. Building on earlier findings that community-based interventions could enhance case detection and reduce treatment dropout and defaulter rates, we established an active surveillance-response system in an endemic sub-district in the Ga West municipality of Ghana to enhance early case detection, diagnosis and treatment to reduce or eliminate severe ulcers and its related disabilities.

Methods

We established surveillance response system, implemented in collaboration with the sub-district disease control officers, selected clinical staff and trained community-based volunteers. The active community-based surveillance- response system was implemented for 12 months. Also, pre and post intervention surveys were conducted to document any change in perceptions on BU in the study population over the period. The baseline and endline surveys were conducted in August 2016 and August 2017 respectively.

Results

On average, each person was seen 11 times in 12 months. In all 75 skin lesions were detected during surveillance rounds, out of which 17 were suspected to be BU and 12 out of the 17 were confirmed as BU using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Out of the 12, five, three and four were categories I, II and III lesions respectively. Physical examination was done on 94% of the people seen during the surveillance rounds. Knowledge on BU has also increased in the communities at the end of the study.

Conclusion

The findings from this study have demonstrated that it is possible to establish surveillance-response system for BU and by extension, other neglected tropical diseases to enhance control and elimination efforts through the use of community-based volunteers.

Contact tracing performance during the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, 2014-2015

12 September 2018 - 9:00pm

by Krista C. Swanson, Chiara Altare, Chea Sanford Wesseh, Tolbert Nyenswah, Tashrik Ahmed, Nir Eyal, Esther L. Hamblion, Justin Lessler, David H. Peters, Mathias Altmann

Background

During the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in Liberia, contact tracing was implemented to rapidly detect new cases and prevent further transmission. We describe the scope and characteristics of contact tracing in Liberia and assess its performance during the 2014–2015 EVD epidemic.

Methodology/Principal findings

We performed a retrospective descriptive analysis of data collection forms for contact tracing conducted in six counties during June 2014–July 2015. EVD case counts from situation reports in the same counties were used to assess contact tracing coverage and sensitivity. Contacts who presented with symptoms and/or died, and monitoring was stopped, were classified as “potential cases”. Positive predictive value (PPV) was defined as the proportion of traced contacts who were identified as potential cases. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify characteristics among potential cases.We analyzed 25,830 contact tracing records for contacts who had monitoring initiated or were last exposed between June 4, 2014 and July 13, 2015. Contact tracing was initiated for 26.7% of total EVD cases and detected 3.6% of all new cases during this period. Eighty-eight percent of contacts completed monitoring, and 334 contacts were identified as potential cases (PPV = 1.4%). Potential cases were more likely to be detected early in the outbreak; hail from rural areas; report multiple exposures and symptoms; have household contact or direct bodily or fluid contact; and report nausea, fever, or weakness compared to contacts who completed monitoring.

Conclusions/Significance

Contact tracing was a critical intervention in Liberia and represented one of the largest contact tracing efforts during an epidemic in history. While there were notable improvements in implementation over time, these data suggest there were limitations to its performance—particularly in urban districts and during peak transmission. Recommendations for improving performance include integrated surveillance, decentralized management of multidisciplinary teams, comprehensive protocols, and community-led strategies.

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