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Type 1-skewed neuroinflammation and vascular damage associated with <i>Orientia tsutsugamushi</i> infection in mice

24 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Lynn Soong, HeThomas R. Shelite, Yan Xing, Harica Kodakandla, Yuejin Liang, Brandon J. Trent, Paulina Horton, Kathryn C. Smith, Zhenyang Zhao, Jiaren Sun, Donald H. Bouyer, Jiyang Cai


Scrub typhus is a life-threatening disease, due to infection with O. tsutsugamushi, a Gram-negative bacterium that preferentially replicates in endothelial cells and professional phagocytes. Meningoencephalitis has been reported in scrub typhus patients and experimentally-infected animals; however, the neurological manifestation and its underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. To address this issue, we focused on Orientia tsutsugamushi Karp strain (OtK), and examined host responses in the brain during lethal versus self-healing scrub typhus disease in our newly established murine models.

Principle findings

Following inoculation with a lethal dose of OtK, mice had a significant increase in brain transcripts related to pathogen-pattern recognition receptors (TLR2, TLR4, TLR9), type-1 responses (IFN-γ, TNF-α, CXCL9, CXCR3), and endothelial stress/damage such as angiopoietins, but a rapid down-regulation of Tie2. Sublethal infection displayed similar trends, implying the development of type 1-skewed proinflammatory responses in infected brains, independent of time and disease outcomes. Focal hemorrhagic lesions and meningitis were evident in both infection groups, but pathological changes were more diffuse and frequent in lethal infection. At 6–10 days of lethal infection, the cortex and cerebellum sections had increased ICAM-1-positive staining in vascular cells, as well as increased detection of CD45+ leukocytes, CD3+ T cells, IBA1+ phagocytes, and GFAP+ astrocytes, but a marked loss of occludin-positive tight junction staining, implying progressive endothelial activation/damage and cellular recruitment in inflamed brains. Orientia were sparse in the brains, but readily detectable within lectin+ vascular and IBA-1+ phagocytic cells. These CNS alterations were consistent with type 1-skewed, IL-13-suppressed responses in lethally-infected mouse lungs.


This is the first report of type 1-skewed neuroinflammation and cellular activation, accompanied with vascular activation/damage, during OtK infection in C57BL/6 mice. This study not only enhances our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of scrub typhus, but also correlates the impact of immune and vascular dysfunction on disease pathogenesis.

Molecular and MALDI-TOF identification of ticks and tick-associated bacteria in Mali

24 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Adama Zan Diarra, Lionel Almeras, Maureen Laroche, Jean-Michel Berenger, Abdoulaye K. Koné, Zakaria Bocoum, Abdoulaye Dabo, Ogobara Doumbo, Didier Raoult, Philippe Parola

Ticks are considered the second vector of human and animal diseases after mosquitoes. Therefore, identification of ticks and associated pathogens is an important step in the management of these vectors. In recent years, mass spectrometry of the laser disorder / matrix assisted ionization (MALDI-TOF MS) has been reported as a promising method for the identification of arthropods including ticks. The objective of this study was to improve the conditions for the preparation of tick samples for their identification by MALDI-TOF MS from field-collected ethanol-stored Malian samples and to evaluate the capacity of this technology to distinguish infected and uninfected ticks. A total of 1,333 ticks were collected from mammals in three distinct sites from Mali. Morphological identification allowed classification of ticks into 6 species including Amblyomma variegatum, Hyalomma truncatum, Hyalomma marginatum rufipes, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, Rhipicephalus evertsi eversti and Rhipîcephalus sanguineus sl. Among those, 471 ticks were randomly selected for molecular and proteomic analyses. Tick legs submitted to MALDI-TOF MS revealed a concordant morpho/molecular identification of 99.6%. The inclusion in our MALDI-TOF MS arthropod database of MS reference spectra from ethanol-preserved tick leg specimens was required to obtain reliable identification. When tested by molecular tools, 76.6%, 37.6%, 20.8% and 1.1% of the specimens tested were positive for Rickettsia spp., Coxiella burnetii, Anaplasmataceae and Borrelia spp., respectively. These results support the fact that MALDI-TOF is a reliable tool for the identification of ticks conserved in alcohol and enhances knowledge about the diversity of tick species and pathogens transmitted by ticks circulating in Mali.

Analysis of patient data from laboratories during the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Liberia, April 2014 to March 2015

21 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Yuki Furuse, Mosoka Fallah, Hitoshi Oshitani, Ling Kituyi, Nuha Mahmoud, Emmanuel Musa, Alex Gasasira, Tolbert Nyenswah, Bernice Dahn, Luke Bawo

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Liberia began in March 2014 and ended in January 2016. Epidemiological information on the EVD cases was collected and managed nationally; however, collection and management of the data were challenging at the time because surveillance and reporting systems malfunctioned during the outbreak. EVD diagnostic laboratories, however, were able to register basic demographic and clinical information of patients more systematically. Here we present data on 16,370 laboratory samples that were tested between April 4, 2014 and March 29, 2015. A total of 10,536 traceable individuals were identified, of whom 3,897 were confirmed cases (positive for Ebola virus RNA). There were significant differences in sex, age, and place of residence between confirmed and suspected cases that tested negative for Ebola virus RNA. Age (young children and the elderly) and place of residence (rural areas) were the risk factors for death due to the disease. The case fatality rate of confirmed cases decreased from 80% to 63% during the study period. These findings may help support future investigations and lead to a fuller understanding of the outbreak in Liberia.

Drivers for Rift Valley fever emergence in Mayotte: A Bayesian modelling approach

21 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Raphaëlle Métras, Guillaume Fournié, Laure Dommergues, Anton Camacho, Lisa Cavalerie, Philippe Mérot, Matt J. Keeling, Catherine Cêtre-Sossah, Eric Cardinale, W. John Edmunds

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a major zoonotic and arboviral hemorrhagic fever. The conditions leading to RVF epidemics are still unclear, and the relative role of climatic and anthropogenic factors may vary between ecosystems. Here, we estimate the most likely scenario that led to RVF emergence on the island of Mayotte, following the 2006–2007 African epidemic. We developed the first mathematical model for RVF that accounts for climate, animal imports and livestock susceptibility, which is fitted to a 12-years dataset. RVF emergence was found to be triggered by the import of infectious animals, whilst transmissibility was approximated as a linear or exponential function of vegetation density. Model forecasts indicated a very low probability of virus endemicity in 2017, and therefore of re-emergence in a closed system (i.e. without import of infected animals). However, the very high proportion of naive animals reached in 2016 implies that the island remains vulnerable to the import of infectious animals. We recommend reinforcing surveillance in livestock, should RVF be reported is neighbouring territories. Our model should be tested elsewhere, with ecosystem-specific data.

Effects of liver-stage clearance by Primaquine on gametocyte carriage of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> and <i>P</i>. <i>falciparum</i>

21 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Rahel Wampfler, Natalie E. Hofmann, Stephan Karl, Inoni Betuela, Benson Kinboro, Lina Lorry, Mariabeth Silkey, Leanne J. Robinson, Ivo Mueller, Ingrid Felger


Primaquine (PQ) is the only currently licensed antimalarial that prevents Plasmodium vivax (Pv) relapses. It also clears mature P. falciparum (Pf) gametocytes, thereby reducing post-treatment transmission. Randomized PQ treatment in a treatment-to-reinfection cohort in Papua New Guinean children permitted the study of Pv and Pf gametocyte carriage after radical cure and to investigate the contribution of Pv relapses.


Children received radical cure with Chloroquine, Artemether-Lumefantrine plus either PQ or placebo. Blood samples were subsequently collected in 2-to 4-weekly intervals over 8 months. Gametocytes were detected by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR targeting pvs25 and pfs25.


PQ treatment reduced the incidence of Pv gametocytes by 73%, which was comparable to the effect of PQ on incidence of blood-stage infections. 92% of Pv and 79% of Pf gametocyte-positive infections were asymptomatic. Pv and to a lesser extent Pf gametocyte positivity and density were associated with high blood-stage parasite densities. Multivariate analysis revealed that the odds of gametocytes were significantly reduced in mixed-species infections compared to single-species infections for both species (ORPv = 0.39 [95% CI 0.25–0.62], ORPf = 0.33 [95% CI 0.18–0.60], p<0.001). No difference between the PQ and placebo treatment arms was observed in density of Pv gametocytes or in the proportion of Pv infections that carried gametocytes. First infections after blood-stage and placebo treatment, likely caused by a relapsing hypnozoite, were equally likely to carry gametocytes than first infections after PQ treatment, likely caused by an infective mosquito bite.


Pv relapses and new infections are associated with similar levels of gametocytaemia. Relapses thus contribute considerably to the Pv reservoir highlighting the importance of effective anti-hypnozoite treatment for efficient control of Pv.

Trial registration NCT02143934

Disease severity in patients with visceral leishmaniasis is not altered by co-infection with intestinal parasites

21 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Fitsumbrhan Tajebe, Mulusew Getahun, Emebet Adem, Asrat Hailu, Mulualem Lemma, Helina Fikre, John Raynes, Aschalew Tamiru, Zemenay Mulugeta, Ermias Diro, Frederic Toulza, Ziv Shkedy, Tadesse Ayele, Manuel Modolell, Markus Munder, Ingrid Müller, Yegnasew Takele, Pascale Kropf

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease that affects the poorest communities and can cause substantial morbidity and mortality. Visceral leishmaniasis is characterized by the presence of Leishmania parasites in the spleen, liver and bone marrow, hepatosplenomegaly, pancytopenia, prolonged fever, systemic inflammation and low body mass index (BMI). The factors impacting on the severity of VL are poorly characterized. Here we performed a cross-sectional study to assess whether co-infection of VL patients with intestinal parasites influences disease severity, assessed with clinical and haematological data, inflammation, cytokine profiles and BMI. Data from VL patients was similar to VL patients co-infected with intestinal parasites, suggesting that co-infection of VL patients with intestinal parasites does not alter disease severity.

Small subunit ribosomal metabarcoding reveals extraordinary trypanosomatid diversity in Brazilian bats

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Maria Augusta Dario, Ricardo Moratelli Mendonça da Rocha, Philipp Schwabl, Ana Maria Jansen, Martin S. Llewellyn


Bats are a highly successful, globally dispersed order of mammals that occupy a wide array of ecological niches. They are also intensely parasitized and implicated in multiple viral, bacterial and parasitic zoonosis. Trypanosomes are thought to be especially abundant and diverse in bats. In this study, we used 18S ribosomal RNA metabarcoding to probe bat trypanosome diversity in unprecedented detail.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Total DNA was extracted from the blood of 90 bat individuals (17 species) captured along Atlantic Forest fragments of Espírito Santo state, southeast Brazil. The 18S ribosomal RNA was amplified by standard and/or nested PCR, then deep sequenced to recover and identify Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) for phylogenetic analysis. Blood samples from 34 bat individuals (13 species) tested positive for infection by 18S rRNA amplification. Amplicon sequences clustered to 14 OTUs, of which five identified as Trypanosoma cruzi I, T. cruzi III/V, Trypanosoma cruzi marinkellei, Trypanosoma rangeli, and Trypanosoma dionisii, and seven identified as novel genotypes monophyletic to basal T. cruzi clade types of the New World. Another OTU was identified as a trypanosome like those found in reptiles. Surprisingly, the remaining OTU was identified as Bodo saltans–closest non-parasitic relative of the trypanosomatid order. While three blood samples featured just one OTU (T. dionisii), all others resolved as mixed infections of up to eight OTUs.


This study demonstrates the utility of next-generation barcoding methods to screen parasite diversity in mammalian reservoir hosts. We exposed high rates of local bat parasitism by multiple trypanosome species, some known to cause fatal human disease, others non-pathogenic, novel or yet little understood. Our results highlight bats as a long-standing nexus among host-parasite interactions of multiple niches, sustained in part by opportunistic and incidental infections of consequence to evolutionary theory as much as to public health.

A cross-sectional seroepidemiological survey of typhoid fever in Fiji

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Conall H. Watson, Stephen Baker, Colleen L. Lau, Kitione Rawalai, Mere Taufa, Jerimaia Coriakula, Nga Tran Vu Thieu, Tan Trinh Van, Dung Tran Thi Ngoc, Niel Hens, John Lowry, Ruklanthi de Alwis, Jorge Cano, Kylie Jenkins, E. Kim Mulholland, Eric J. Nilles, Mike Kama, W. John Edmunds

Fiji, an upper-middle income state in the Pacific Ocean, has experienced an increase in confirmed case notifications of enteric fever caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi). To characterize the epidemiology of typhoid exposure, we conducted a cross-sectional sero-epidemiological survey measuring IgG against the Vi antigen of S. Typhi to estimate the effect of age, ethnicity, and other variables on seroprevalence. Epidemiologically relevant cut-off titres were established using a mixed model analysis of data from recovering culture-confirmed typhoid cases. We enrolled and assayed plasma of 1787 participants for anti-Vi IgG; 1,531 of these were resident in mainland areas that had not been previously vaccinated against S. Typhi (seropositivity 32.3% (95%CI 28.2 to 36.3%)), 256 were resident on Taveuni island, which had been previously vaccinated (seropositivity 71.5% (95%CI 62.1 to 80.9%)). The seroprevalence on the Fijian mainland is one to two orders of magnitude higher than expected from confirmed case surveillance incidence, suggesting substantial subclinical or otherwise unreported typhoid. We found no significant differences in seropositivity prevalences by ethnicity, which is in contrast to disease surveillance data in which the indigenous iTaukei Fijian population are disproportionately affected. Using multivariable logistic regression, seropositivity was associated with increased age (odds ratio 1.3 (95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) per 10 years), the presence of a pit latrine (OR 1.6, 95%CI 1.1 to 2.3) as opposed to a septic tank or piped sewer, and residence in settlements rather than residential housing or villages (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.7). Increasing seropositivity with age is suggestive of low-level endemic transmission in Fiji. Improved sanitation where pit latrines are used and addressing potential transmission routes in settlements may reduce exposure to S. Typhi. Widespread unreported infection suggests there may be a role for typhoid vaccination in Fiji, in addition to public health management of cases and outbreaks.

Analytical sensitivity and specificity of a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) kit prototype for detection of <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> DNA in human blood samples

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Susana A. Besuschio, Mónica Llano Murcia, Alejandro F. Benatar, Severine Monnerat, Israel Cruz Mata, Albert Picado de Puig, María de los Ángeles Curto, Yutaka Kubota, Diana P. Wehrendt, Paula Pavia, Yasuyoshi Mori, Concepción Puerta, Joseph M. Ndung'u, Alejandro G. Schijman

This study aimed to assess analytical parameters of a prototype LAMP kit that was designed for detection of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA in human blood. The prototype is based on the amplification of the highly repetitive satellite sequence of T.cruzi in microtubes containing dried reagents on the inside of the caps. The reaction is carried out at 65°C during 40 minutes. Calcein allows direct detection of amplified products with the naked eye. Inclusivity and selectivity were tested in purified DNA from Trypanosoma cruzi stocks belonging to the six discrete typing units (DTUs), in DNA from other protozoan parasites and in human DNA. Analytical sensitivity was estimated in serial dilutions of DNA samples from Sylvio X10 (Tc I) and CL Brener (Tc VI) stocks, as well as from EDTA-treated or heparinized blood samples spiked with known amounts of cultured epimastigotes (CL Brener). LAMP sensitivity was compared after DNA extraction using commercial fiberglass columns or after “Boil & Spin” rapid preparation. Moreover, the same DNA and EDTA-blood spiked samples were subjected to standardized qPCR based on the satellite DNA sequence for comparative purposes. A panel of peripheral blood specimens belonging to Chagas disease patients, including acute, congenital, chronic and reactivated cases (N = 23), and as well as seronegative controls (N = 10) were evaluated by LAMP in comparison to qPCR. LAMP was able to amplify DNAs from T. cruzi stocks representative of the six DTUs, whereas it did not amplify DNAs from Leishmania sp, T. brucei sp, T. rangeli KPN+ and KPN-, P. falciparum and non-infected human DNA. Analytical sensitivity was 1x10-2 fg/μL of both CL Brener and Sylvio X10 DNAs, whereas qPCR detected up to 1x 10−1 fg/μL of CL Brener DNA and 1 fg/μl of Sylvio X10 DNA. LAMP detected 1x10-2 parasite equivalents/mL in spiked EDTA blood and 1x10-1 par.eq/mL in spiked heparinized blood using fiberglass columns for DNA extraction, whereas qPCR detected 1x10-2 par.eq./mL in EDTA blood. Boil & Spin extraction allowed detection of 1x10-2 par.eq /mL in spiked EDTA blood and 1 par.eq/ml in heparinized blood. LAMP was able to detect T.cruzi infection in peripheral blood samples collected from well-characterised seropositive patients, including acute, congenital, chronic and reactivated Chagas disease. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a prototype LAMP kit with appropriate analytical sensitivity for diagnosis of Chagas disease patients, and potentially useful for monitoring treatment response.

The tradition algorithm approach underestimates the prevalence of serodiagnosis of syphilis in HIV-infected individuals

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Bin Chen, Xiuming Peng, Tiansheng Xie, Changzhong Jin, Fumin Liu, Nanping Wu

Currently, there are three algorithms for screening of syphilis: traditional algorithm, reverse algorithm and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) algorithm. To date, there is not a generally recognized diagnostic algorithm. When syphilis meets HIV, the situation is even more complex. To evaluate their screening performance and impact on the seroprevalence of syphilis in HIV-infected individuals, we conducted a cross-sectional study included 865 serum samples from HIV-infected patients in a tertiary hospital. Every sample (one per patient) was tested with toluidine red unheated serum test (TRUST), T. pallidum particle agglutination assay (TPPA), and Treponema pallidum enzyme immunoassay (TP-EIA) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The results of syphilis serological testing were interpreted following different algorithms respectively. We directly compared the traditional syphilis screening algorithm with the reverse syphilis screening algorithm in this unique population. The reverse algorithm achieved remarkable higher seroprevalence of syphilis than the traditional algorithm (24.9% vs. 14.2%, p < 0.0001). Compared to the reverse algorithm, the traditional algorithm also had a missed serodiagnosis rate of 42.8%. The total percentages of agreement and corresponding kappa values of tradition and ECDC algorithm compared with those of reverse algorithm were as follows: 89.4%,0.668; 99.8%, 0.994. There was a very good strength of agreement between the reverse and the ECDC algorithm. Our results supported the reverse (or ECDC) algorithm in screening of syphilis in HIV-infected populations. In addition, our study demonstrated that screening of HIV-populations using different algorithms may result in a statistically different seroprevalence of syphilis.

An attenuated <i>Shigella</i> mutant lacking the RNA-binding protein Hfq provides cross-protection against <i>Shigella</i> strains of broad serotype

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Jiro Mitobe, Ritam Sinha, Soma Mitra, Dhrubajyoti Nag, Noriko Saito, Ken Shimuta, Nobuo Koizumi, Hemanta Koley

Few live attenuated vaccines protect against multiple serotypes of bacterial pathogen because host serotype-specific immune responses are limited to the serotype present in the vaccine strain. Here, immunization with a mutant of Shigella flexneri 2a protected guinea pigs against subsequent infection by S. dysenteriae type 1 and S. sonnei strains. This deletion mutant lacked the RNA-binding protein Hfq leading to increased expression of the type III secretion system via loss of regulation, resulting in attenuation of cell viability through repression of stress response sigma factors. Such increased antigen production and simultaneous attenuation were expected to elicit protective immunity against Shigella strains of heterologous serotypes. Thus, the vaccine potential of this mutant was tested in two guinea pig models of shigellosis. Animals vaccinated in the left eye showed fewer symptoms upon subsequent challenge via the right eye, and even survived subsequent intestinal challenge. In addition, oral vaccination effectively induced production of immunoglobulins without severe side effects, again protecting all animals against subsequent intestinal challenge with S. dysenteriae type 1 or S. sonnei strains. Antibodies against common virulence proteins and the O-antigen of S. flexneri 2a were detected by immunofluorescence microscopy. Reaction of antibodies with various strains, including enteroinvasive Escherichia coli, suggested that common virulence proteins induced protective immunity against a range of serotypes. Therefore, vaccination is expected to cover not only the most prevalent serotypes of S. sonnei and S. flexneri 2a, but also various Shigella strains, including S. dysenteriae type 1, which produces Shiga toxin.

Climate change and sugarcane expansion increase Hantavirus infection risk

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Paula Ribeiro Prist, María Uriarte, Katia Fernandes, Jean Paul Metzger

Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS) is a disease caused by Hantavirus, which is highly virulent for humans. High temperatures and conversion of native vegetation to agriculture, particularly sugarcane cultivation can alter abundance of rodent generalist species that serve as the principal reservoir host for HCPS, but our understanding of the compound effects of land use and climate on HCPS incidence remains limited, particularly in tropical regions. Here we rely on a Bayesian model to fill this research gap and to predict the effects of sugarcane expansion and expected changes in temperature on Hantavirus infection risk in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The sugarcane expansion scenario was based on historical data between 2000 and 2010 combined with an agro-environment zoning guideline for the sugar and ethanol industry. Future evolution of temperature anomalies was derived using 32 general circulation models from scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 (Representative greenhouse gases Concentration Pathways adopted by IPCC). Currently, the state of São Paulo has an average Hantavirus risk of 1.3%, with 6% of the 645 municipalities of the state being classified as high risk (HCPS risk ≥ 5%). Our results indicate that sugarcane expansion alone will increase average HCPS risk to 1.5%, placing 20% more people at HCPS risk. Temperature anomalies alone increase HCPS risk even more (1.6% for RCP4.5 and 1.7%, for RCP8.5), and place 31% and 34% more people at risk. Combined sugarcane and temperature increases led to the same predictions as scenarios that only included temperature. Our results demonstrate that climate change effects are likely to be more severe than those from sugarcane expansion. Forecasting disease is critical for the timely and efficient planning of operational control programs that can address the expected effects of sugarcane expansion and climate change on HCPS infection risk. The predicted spatial location of HCPS infection risks obtained here can be used to prioritize management actions and develop educational campaigns.

Defining the target and the effect of imatinib on the filarial c-Abl homologue

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Elise M. O’Connell, Olena Kamenyeva, Sara Lustigman, Aaron Bell, Thomas B. Nutman


Previously we demonstrated the micro- and macrofilaricidal properties of imatinib in vitro. Here we use electron and multiphoton microscopy to define the target of imatinib in the adult and microfilarial stages of Brugia malayi, and assess the effects of pharmacologically relevant levels of imatinib on the adult parasites.


After fixation of adult B. malayi males and females, sections were stained with polyclonal rabbit anti-c-Abl antibody (or isotype control) and imaged with multiphoton fluorescent microscopy. Microfilariae were fixed and labeled with rabbit anti-c-Abl IgG primary antibody followed by anti-rabbit gold conjugated secondary antibody and imaged using transmission electron microscopy (TEM; immunoEM). In addition, adult B. malayi males and females were exposed to 0 or 10μM of imatinib for 7 days following which they were prepared for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to assess the drug’s effect on filarial ultrastructure.


Fluorescent localization of anti-c-Abl antibody demonstrated widespread uptake in the adult filariae, but the most intense signal was seen in the reproductive organs, muscle, and intestine of both male and female worms. Fluorescence was significantly more intense in the early microfilarial stage (i.e. early morula) compared with later development stages (i.e. pretzel). Anti-c-Abl antibody in the microfilariae localized to the nuclei. Based on TEM assessment following imatinib exposure, imatinib appeared to be detrimental to embryogenesis in the adult female B. malayi.


At pharmacologically achievable concentrations of imatinib, embryogenesis is impaired and possibly halted in adult filariae. Imatinib is likely a slow microfilaricide due to interference in intra-nuclear processes, which are slowly detrimental to the parasite and not immediately lethal, and thus may be used to lower the levels of L. loa microfilariae before they are treated within the context of conventional mass drug administration.

Contemporary status of insecticide resistance in the major <i>Aedes</i> vectors of arboviruses infecting humans

20 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Catherine L. Moyes, John Vontas, Ademir J. Martins, Lee Ching Ng, Sin Ying Koou, Isabelle Dusfour, Kamaraju Raghavendra, João Pinto, Vincent Corbel, Jean-Philippe David, David Weetman

Both Aedes aegytpi and Ae. albopictus are major vectors of 5 important arboviruses (namely chikungunya virus, dengue virus, Rift Valley fever virus, yellow fever virus, and Zika virus), making these mosquitoes an important factor in the worldwide burden of infectious disease. Vector control using insecticides coupled with larval source reduction is critical to control the transmission of these viruses to humans but is threatened by the emergence of insecticide resistance. Here, we review the available evidence for the geographical distribution of insecticide resistance in these 2 major vectors worldwide and map the data collated for the 4 main classes of neurotoxic insecticide (carbamates, organochlorines, organophosphates, and pyrethroids). Emerging resistance to all 4 of these insecticide classes has been detected in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Target-site mutations and increased insecticide detoxification have both been linked to resistance in Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus but more work is required to further elucidate metabolic mechanisms and develop robust diagnostic assays. Geographical distributions are provided for the mechanisms that have been shown to be important to date. Estimating insecticide resistance in unsampled locations is hampered by a lack of standardisation in the diagnostic tools used and by a lack of data in a number of regions for both resistance phenotypes and genotypes. The need for increased sampling using standard methods is critical to tackle the issue of emerging insecticide resistance threatening human health. Specifically, diagnostic doses and well-characterised susceptible strains are needed for the full range of insecticides used to control Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus to standardise measurement of the resistant phenotype, and calibrated diagnostic assays are needed for the major mechanisms of resistance.

Temperature modulates dengue virus epidemic growth rates through its effects on reproduction numbers and generation intervals

19 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Amir S. Siraj, Rachel J. Oidtman, John H. Huber, Moritz U. G. Kraemer, Oliver J. Brady, Michael A. Johansson, T. Alex Perkins

Epidemic growth rate, r, provides a more complete description of the potential for epidemics than the more commonly studied basic reproduction number, R0, yet the former has never been described as a function of temperature for dengue virus or other pathogens with temperature-sensitive transmission. The need to understand the drivers of epidemics of these pathogens is acute, with arthropod-borne virus epidemics becoming increasingly problematic. We addressed this need by developing temperature-dependent descriptions of the two components of r—R0 and the generation interval—to obtain a temperature-dependent description of r. Our results show that the generation interval is highly sensitive to temperature, decreasing twofold between 25 and 35°C and suggesting that dengue virus epidemics may accelerate as temperatures increase, not only because of more infections per generation but also because of faster generations. Under the empirical temperature relationships that we considered, we found that r peaked at a temperature threshold that was robust to uncertainty in model parameters that do not depend on temperature. Although the precise value of this temperature threshold could be refined following future studies of empirical temperature relationships, the framework we present for identifying such temperature thresholds offers a new way to classify regions in which dengue virus epidemic intensity could either increase or decrease under future climate change.

Evolution of anti-<i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> antibody production in patients with chronic Chagas disease: Correlation between antibody titers and development of cardiac disease severity

19 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Ingebourg Georg, Alejandro Marcel Hasslocher-Moreno, Sergio Salles Xavier, Marcelo Teixeira de Holanda, Eric Henrique Roma, Maria da Gloria Bonecini-Almeida

Chagas disease is one of the most important endemic infections in Latin America affecting around 6–7 million people. About 30–50% of patients develop the cardiac form of the disease, which can lead to severe cardiac dysfunction and death. In this scenario, the identification of immunological markers of disease progression would be a valuable tool for early treatment and reduction of death rates. In this observational study, the production of anti-Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies through a retrospective longitudinal follow-up in chronic Chagas disease patients´ cohort and its correlation with disease progression and heart commitment was evaluated. Strong inverse correlation (ρ = -0.6375, p = 0.0005) between anti-T. cruzi IgG1 titers and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC) patients were observed after disease progression. Elevated levels of anti-T. cruzi IgG3 titers were detected in all T. cruzi-infected patients, indicating a lack of correlation of this IgG isotype with disease progression. Furthermore, low levels of anti-T. cruzi IgG2, IgG4, and IgA were detected in all patients through the follow-up. Although without statistical significance anti-T. cruzi IgE tends to be more reactive in patients with the indeterminate form (IND) of the disease (p = 0.0637). As this study was conducted in patients with many years of chronic disease no anti-T. cruzi IgM was detected. Taken together, these results indicate that the levels of anti-T. cruzi IgG1 could be considered to seek for promising biomarkers to predict the severity of chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy.

Impact of mass drug administration for elimination of lymphatic filariasis in Nepal

19 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Chet Raj Ojha, Basant Joshi, Khagendra Prakash KC, Shyam Prakash Dumre, Keshav Kumar Yogi, Bandana Bhatta, Tulasi Adhikari, Kathryn Crowley, Babu Ram Marasaini


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a neglected tropical disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Nepal has implemented a national effort to eliminate LF by 2020 through mass drug administration (MDA) using diethylcarbamazine (DEC) and albendazole (ALB). We assessed the impact of MDAs on LF in selected districts of Nepal after the recommended six MDA rounds had been completed.

Methodology and principal findings

Baseline surveys were conducted in seven districts and mapping data were used as baseline in the other three districts before starting MDA in 2009. LF antigen (Ag) prevalence ranged from 1.06% to 20% among districts included in the baseline and mapping study. The number of people who received DEC and ALB were recorded during each MDA round and population-based cluster surveys were conducted at least once in each district during the life of the program. The reported MDA coverage in five districts was consistently at least 65%. Two districts achieved the targeted coverage in four out of five rounds and the rest three districts achieved the target only in the first round. A pre-transmission assessment survey (pre-TAS) was conducted in one sentinel site and at least one spot check site in each of the districts after five MDA rounds. In pre-TAS, all the sites of five districts (Pyuthan, Arghakhanchi, Kaski, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu) and all but one spot check site of Lalitpur district had LF Ag < 2% (ranging from 0.0% to 1.99%). Transmission assessment survey (TAS) was conducted in six evaluation units (EUs) consisting of six districts qualified on pre-TAS. Though MDA coverage of 65% was not achieved in three districts (Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur), Nepal government in consultation with World Health Organization (WHO) decided to conduct TAS. All six EUs achieved the LF Ag threshold required to stop MDA in TAS, despite the low reported MDA coverage in those three districts.


Although Nepal has achieved significant progress towards LF elimination, five rounds of MDA were not sufficient to disrupt the transmission cycle in all districts, probably because of high baseline prevalence.

CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells provide immune protection against murine disseminated endotheliotropic <i>Orientia tsutsugamushi</i> infection

19 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Guang Xu, Nicole L. Mendell, Yuejin Liang, Thomas R. Shelite, Yenny Goez-Rivillas, Lynn Soong, Donald H. Bouyer, David H. Walker

Scrub typhus, caused by a Gram-negative obligately intracellular coccobacillus, Orientia tsutsugamushi, is a long neglected but important tropical disease. Orientia tsutsugamushi causes illness in one million people each year, and 1 billion people are at risk. Without appropriate diagnosis and treatment, the disease can cause severe multiorgan failure with a case fatality rate of 7–15%. The current gaps in knowledge of immunity include the unknown mechanisms of host immunity to O. tsutsugamushi. Using an intravenous (i.v.) disseminated infection mouse model, we observed that more CD8+ T cells than CD4+ T cells were present in the spleen of infected mice at 12 dpi. We also determined that Treg cells and the proportion of T cells producing IL-10 were significantly increased from 6 dpi, which correlated with the onset of illness, body weight loss, and increased bacterial loads. We further studied CD8-/-, MHC I-/- and wild type control (WT) C57BL/6J mice to determine the importance of CD8+ T cells and MHC I molecules. After infection with an ordinarily sub-lethal dose of O. tsutsugamushi, all CD8-/- and MHC I-/- mice were moribund between 12 and 15 dpi, whereas all WT mice survived. Bacterial loads in the lung, kidney, liver and spleen of CD8-/- and MHC I-/- mice were significantly greater than those in WT mice. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and granzyme B mRNA levels in the liver of CD8-/- and MHC I-/- mice were significantly greater than in WT mice. In addition, more severe histopathologic lesions were observed in CD8-/- mice. Finally, adoptive transfer confirmed a major role of immune CD8+ T cells as well as a less effective contribution by immune CD8 T cell-depleted splenocytes in protection against O. tsutsugamushi infection. These studies demonstrated the critical importance of CD8+ T cells in the host immune response during O. tsutsugamushi infection.

2b-RAD genotyping for population genomic studies of Chagas disease vectors: <i>Rhodnius ecuadoriensis</i> in Ecuador

19 July 2017 - 9:00pm

by Luis E. Hernandez-Castro, Marta Paterno, Anita G. Villacís, Björn Andersson, Jaime A. Costales, Michele De Noia, Sofía Ocaña-Mayorga, Cesar A. Yumiseva, Mario J. Grijalva, Martin S. Llewellyn


Rhodnius ecuadoriensis is the main triatomine vector of Chagas disease, American trypanosomiasis, in Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru. Genomic approaches and next generation sequencing technologies have become powerful tools for investigating population diversity and structure which is a key consideration for vector control. Here we assess the effectiveness of three different 2b restriction site-associated DNA (2b-RAD) genotyping strategies in R. ecuadoriensis to provide sufficient genomic resolution to tease apart microevolutionary processes and undertake some pilot population genomic analyses.

Methodology/Principal findings

The 2b-RAD protocol was carried out in-house at a non-specialized laboratory using 20 R. ecuadoriensis adults collected from the central coast and southern Andean region of Ecuador, from June 2006 to July 2013. 2b-RAD sequencing data was performed on an Illumina MiSeq instrument and analyzed with the STACKS de novo pipeline for loci assembly and Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) discovery. Preliminary population genomic analyses (global AMOVA and Bayesian clustering) were implemented. Our results showed that the 2b-RAD genotyping protocol is effective for R. ecuadoriensis and likely for other triatomine species. However, only BcgI and CspCI restriction enzymes provided a number of markers suitable for population genomic analysis at the read depth we generated. Our preliminary genomic analyses detected a signal of genetic structuring across the study area.


Our findings suggest that 2b-RAD genotyping is both a cost effective and methodologically simple approach for generating high resolution genomic data for Chagas disease vectors with the power to distinguish between different vector populations at epidemiologically relevant scales. As such, 2b-RAD represents a powerful tool in the hands of medical entomologists with limited access to specialized molecular biological equipment.