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Host outdoor exposure variability affects the transmission and spread of Zika virus: Insights for epidemic control

14 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Marco Ajelli, Imelda K. Moise, Tricia Caroline S. G. Hutchings, Scott C. Brown, Naresh Kumar, Neil F. Johnson, John C. Beier

Background

Zika virus transmission dynamics in urban environments follow a complex spatiotemporal pattern that appears unpredictable and barely related to high mosquito density areas. In this context, human activity patterns likely have a major role in Zika transmission dynamics. This paper examines the effect of host variability in the amount of time spent outdoors on Zika epidemiology in an urban environment.

Methodology/Principal findings

First, we performed a survey on time spent outdoors by residents of Miami-Dade County, Florida. Second, we analyzed both the survey and previously published national data on outdoors time in the U.S. to provide estimates of the distribution of the time spent outdoors. Third, we performed a computational modeling evaluation of Zika transmission dynamics, based on the time spent outdoors by each person. Our analysis reveals a strong heterogeneity of the host population in terms of time spent outdoors–data are well captured by skewed gamma distributions. Our model-based evaluation shows that in a heterogeneous population, Zika would cause a lower number of infections than in a more homogenous host population (up to 4-fold differences), but, at the same time, the epidemic would spread much faster. We estimated that in highly heterogeneous host populations the timing of the implementation of vector control measures is the major factor for limiting the number of Zika infections.

Conclusions/Significance

Our findings highlight the need of considering host variability in exposure time for managing mosquito-borne infections and call for the revision of the triggers for vector control strategies, which should integrate mosquito density data and human outdoor activity patterns in specific areas.

Access to benznidazole for Chagas disease in the United States—Cautious optimism?

14 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Jonathan D. Alpern, Rogelio Lopez-Velez, William M. Stauffer

Drugs for neglected tropical diseases (NTD) are being excessively priced in the United States. Benznidazole, the first-line drug for Chagas disease, may become approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and manufactured by a private company in the US, thus placing it at risk of similar pricing. Chagas disease is an NTD caused by Trypanosoma cruzi; it is endemic to Latin America, infecting 8 million individuals. Human migration has changed the epidemiology causing nonendemic countries to face increased challenges in diagnosing and managing patients with Chagas disease. Only 2 drugs exist with proven efficacy: benznidazole and nifurtimox. Benznidazole has historically faced supply problems and drug shortages, limiting accessibility. In the US, it is currently only available under an investigational new drug (IND) protocol from the CDC and is provided free of charge to patients. However, 2 companies have stated that they intend to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) for FDA approval. Based on recent history of companies acquiring licensing rights for NTD drugs in the US with limited availability, it is likely that benznidazole will become excessively priced by the manufacturer—paradoxically making it less accessible. However, if the companies can be taken at their word, there may be reason for optimism.

Global health policy and neglected tropical diseases: Then, now, and in the years to come

14 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Thomas Fürst, Paola Salari, Laura Monzón Llamas, Peter Steinmann, Christopher Fitzpatrick, Fabrizio Tediosi

Melioidosis in lower provincial Cambodia: A case series from a prospective study of sepsis in Takeo Province

13 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Kevin L. Schully, Catherine M. Berjohn, Angela M. Prouty, Amitha Fitkariwala, Tin Som, Darith Sieng, Michael J. Gregory, Andrew Vaughn, Sim Kheng, Vantha Te, Christopher A. Duplessis, James V. Lawler, Danielle V. Clark

Melioidosis is a severe infectious disease caused by the gram-negative soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Melioidosis is well known to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand. However, melioidosis remains underreported in surrounding areas such as Cambodia. We report a case series of melioidosis in seven patients from Takeo Province, Cambodia. The patients, aged 24–65 years, were enrolled from May 2014 to May 2015 during a one year prospective study of sepsis at Takeo Provincial Hospital. They presented with fever, rigors, dyspnea, fatigue, diaphoresis, productive cough, and skin abscesses. Six of the seven patients were also hyponatremic. B. pseudomallei was cultured from the blood of six patients and the sputum of one patient. In this manuscript, we provide a detailed description of the clinical presentation, case management and laboratory confirmation of B. pseudomallei, as well as discuss the difficulties of identifying and treating melioidosis in low resource settings.

First insights in the variability of <i>Borrelia recurrentis</i> genomes

13 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Durdica Marosevic, Gabriele Margos, Reinhard Wallich, Andreas Wieser, Andreas Sing, Volker Fingerle

Background

Borrelia recurrentis is the causative agent of louse-borne relapsing fever, endemic to the Horn of Africa. New attention was raised in Europe, with the highest number of cases (n = 45) reported among migrants in 2015 in Germany and sporadically from other European countries. So far only one genome was sequenced, hindering the development of specific molecular diagnostic and typing tools. Here we report on modified culture conditions for B. recurrentis and the intraspecies genome variability of six isolates isolated and cultured in different years in order to explore the possibility to identify new targets for typing and examine the molecular epidemiology of the pathogen.

Methodology/Principal findings

Two historical isolates from Ethiopia and four isolates from migrants from Somalia (n = 3) and Ethiopia (n = 1) obtained in 2015 were cultured in MPK-medium supplemented with 50% foetal calf serum. Whole DNA was sequenced using Illumina MiSeq technology and analysed using the CLC Genomics Workbench and SPAdes de novo assembler. Compared to the reference B. recurrentis A1 29–38 SNPs were identified in the genome distributed on the chromosome and plasmids. In addition to that, plasmids of differing length, compared to the available reference genome were identified.

Conclusions/Significance

The observed low genetic variability of B. recurrentis isolates is possibly due to the adaptation to a very conserved vector-host (louse-human) cycle, or influenced by the fastidious nature of the pathogen and their resistance to in vitro growth. Nevertheless, isolates obtained in 2015 were bearing the same chromosomal SNPs and could be distinguished from the historical isolates by means of whole genome sequencing, but not hitherto used typing methods. This is the first study examining the molecular epidemiology of B. recurrentis and provides the necessary background for the development of better diagnostic tools.

Clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of dengue and other etiologic agents among patients with acute febrile illness, Puerto Rico, 2012–2015

13 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Kay M. Tomashek, Olga D. Lorenzi, Doris A. Andújar-Pérez, Brenda C. Torres-Velásquez, Elizabeth A. Hunsperger, Jorge Luis Munoz-Jordan, Janice Perez-Padilla, Aidsa Rivera, Gladys E. Gonzalez-Zeno, Tyler M. Sharp, Renee L. Galloway, Mindy Glass Elrod, Demetrius L. Mathis, M. Steven Oberste, W. Allan Nix, Elizabeth Henderson, Jennifer McQuiston, Joseph Singleton, Cecilia Kato, Carlos García Gubern, William Santiago-Rivera, Jesús Cruz-Correa, Robert Muns-Sosa, Juan D. Ortiz-Rivera, Gerson Jiménez, Ivonne E. Galarza, Kalanthe Horiuchi, Harold S. Margolis, Luisa I. Alvarado

Identifying etiologies of acute febrile illnesses (AFI) is challenging due to non-specific presentation and limited availability of diagnostics. Prospective AFI studies provide a methodology to describe the syndrome by age and etiology, findings that can be used to develop case definitions and multiplexed diagnostics to optimize management. We conducted a 3-year prospective AFI study in Puerto Rico. Patients with fever ≤7 days were offered enrollment, and clinical data and specimens were collected at enrollment and upon discharge or follow-up. Blood and oro-nasopharyngeal specimens were tested by RT-PCR and immunodiagnostic methods for infection with dengue viruses (DENV) 1–4, chikungunya virus (CHIKV), influenza A and B viruses (FLU A/B), 12 other respiratory viruses (ORV), enterovirus, Leptospira spp., and Burkholderia pseudomallei. Clinical presentation and laboratory findings of participants infected with DENV were compared to those infected with CHIKV, FLU A/B, and ORV. Clinical predictors of laboratory-positive dengue compared to all other AFI etiologies were determined by age and day post-illness onset (DPO) at presentation. Of 8,996 participants enrolled from May 7, 2012 through May 6, 2015, more than half (54.8%, 4,930) had a pathogen detected. Pathogens most frequently detected were CHIKV (1,635, 18.2%), FLU A/B (1,074, 11.9%), DENV 1–4 (970, 10.8%), and ORV (904, 10.3%). Participants with DENV infection presented later and a higher proportion were hospitalized than those with other diagnoses (46.7% versus 27.3% with ORV, 18.8% with FLU A/B, and 11.2% with CHIKV). Predictors of dengue in participants presenting <3 DPO included leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, headache, eye pain, nausea, and dizziness, while negative predictors were irritability and rhinorrhea. Predictors of dengue in participants presenting 3–5 DPO were leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, facial/neck erythema, nausea, eye pain, signs of poor circulation, and diarrhea; presence of rhinorrhea, cough, and red conjunctiva predicted non-dengue AFI. By enrolling febrile patients at clinical presentation, we identified unbiased predictors of laboratory-positive dengue as compared to other common causes of AFI. These findings can be used to assist in early identification of dengue patients, as well as direct anticipatory guidance and timely initiation of correct clinical management.

Prevalence of signs of trachoma, ocular <i>Chlamydia trachomatis</i> infection and antibodies to Pgp3 in residents of Kiritimati Island, Kiribati

12 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Anaseini Cama, Andreas Müller, Raebwebwe Taoaba, Robert M. R. Butcher, Iakoba Itibita, Stephanie J. Migchelsen, Tokoriri Kiauea, Harry Pickering, Rebecca Willis, Chrissy H. Roberts, Ana Bakhtiari, Richard T. Le Mesurier, Neal D. E. Alexander, Diana L. Martin, Rabebe Tekeraoi, Anthony W. Solomon, for the Global Trachoma Mapping Project

Objective

In some Pacific Island countries, such as Solomon Islands and Fiji, active trachoma is common, but ocular Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection and trachomatous trichiasis (TT) are rare. On Tarawa, the most populous Kiribati island, both the active trachoma sign “trachomatous inflammation—follicular” (TF) and TT are present at prevalences warranting intervention. We sought to estimate prevalences of TF, TT, ocular Ct infection, and anti-Ct antibodies on Kiritimati Island, Kiribati, to assess local relationships between these parameters, and to help determine the need for interventions against trachoma on Kiribati islands other than Tarawa.

Methods

As part of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project (GTMP), on Kiritimati, we examined 406 children aged 1–9 years for active trachoma. We collected conjunctival swabs (for droplet digital PCR against Ct plasmid targets) from 1–9-year-olds with active trachoma, and a systematic selection of 1–9-year-olds without active trachoma. We collected dried blood spots (for anti-Pgp3 ELISA) from all 1–9-year-old children. We also examined 416 adults aged ≥15 years for TT. Prevalence of TF and TT was adjusted for age (TF) or age and gender (TT) in five-year age bands.

Results

The age-adjusted prevalence of TF in 1–9-year-olds was 28% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 24–35). The age- and gender-adjusted prevalence of TT in those aged ≥15 years was 0.2% (95% CI: 0.1–0.3%). Twenty-six (13.5%) of 193 swabs from children without active trachoma, and 58 (49.2%) of 118 swabs from children with active trachoma were positive for Ct DNA. Two hundred and ten (53%) of 397 children had anti-Pgp3 antibodies. Both infection (p<0.0001) and seropositivity (p<0.0001) were strongly associated with active trachoma. In 1–9-year-olds, the prevalence of anti-Pgp3 antibodies rose steeply with age.

Conclusion

Trachoma presents a public health problem on Kiritimati, where the high prevalence of ocular Ct infection and rapid increase in seropositivity with age suggest intense Ct transmission amongst young children. Interventions are required here to prevent future blindness.

Effectiveness and economic assessment of routine larviciding for prevention of chikungunya and dengue in temperate urban settings in Europe

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Giorgio Guzzetta, Filippo Trentini, Piero Poletti, Frederic Alexandre Baldacchino, Fabrizio Montarsi, Gioia Capelli, Annapaola Rizzoli, Roberto Rosà, Stefano Merler, Alessia Melegaro

In the last decades, several European countries where arboviral infections are not endemic have faced outbreaks of diseases such as chikungunya and dengue, initially introduced by infectious travellers from tropical endemic areas and then spread locally via mosquito bites. To keep in check the epidemiological risk, interventions targeted to control vector abundance can be implemented by local authorities. We assessed the epidemiological effectiveness and economic costs and benefits of routine larviciding in European towns with temperate climate, using a mathematical model of Aedes albopictus populations and viral transmission, calibrated on entomological surveillance data collected from ten municipalities in Northern Italy during 2014 and 2015.We found that routine larviciding of public catch basins can limit both the risk of autochthonous transmission and the size of potential epidemics. Ideal larvicide interventions should be timed in such a way to cover the month of July. Optimally timed larviciding can reduce locally transmitted cases of chikungunya by 20% - 33% for a single application (dengue: 18–22%) and up to 43% - 65% if treatment is repeated four times throughout the season (dengue: 31–51%). In larger municipalities (>35,000 inhabitants), the cost of comprehensive larviciding over the whole urban area overcomes potential health benefits related to preventing cases of disease, suggesting the adoption of more localized interventions. Small/medium sized towns with high mosquito abundance will likely have a positive cost-benefit balance. Involvement of private citizens in routine larviciding activities further reduces transmission risks but with disproportionate costs of intervention. International travels and the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases are increasing worldwide, exposing a growing number of European citizens to higher risks of potential outbreaks. Results from this study may support the planning and timing of interventions aimed to reduce the probability of autochthonous transmission as well as the nuisance for local populations living in temperate areas of Europe.

Induction of allopurinol resistance in <i>Leishmania infantum</i> isolated from dogs

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Daniel Yasur-Landau, Charles L. Jaffe, Adi Doron-Faigenboim, Lior David, Gad Baneth

Resistance to allopurinol in zoonotic canine leishmaniasis has been recently shown to be associated with disease relapse in naturally-infected dogs. However, information regarding the formation of resistance and its dynamics is lacking. This study describes the successful in-vitro induction of allopurinol resistance in Leishmania infantum cultured under increasing drug pressure. Allopurinol susceptibility and growth rate of induced parasites were monitored over 23 weeks and parasite clones were tested at selected time points and compared to their parental lines, both as promastigotes and as amastigotes. Allopurinol resistance was formed in strains from two parasite stocks producing a 20-fold rise in IC50 along three distinct growth phases. In addition, characteristic differential clustering of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) was found in drug sensitive and resistant parasite clones. Results confirm that genetic polymorphism, as well as clonal heterogeneity, contribute to in-vitro resistance to allopurinol, which is likely to occur in natural infection.

Knowledge and attitude towards Ebola and Marburg virus diseases in Uganda using quantitative and participatory epidemiology techniques

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Luke Nyakarahuka, Eystein Skjerve, Daisy Nabadda, Doreen Chilolo Sitali, Chisoni Mumba, Frank N. Mwiine, Julius J. Lutwama, Stephen Balinandi, Trevor Shoemaker, Clovice Kankya

Background

Uganda has reported five (5) Ebola virus disease outbreaks and three (3) Marburg virus disease outbreaks from 2000 to 2016. Peoples’ knowledge and attitude towards Ebola and Marburg virus disease impact on control and prevention measures especially during outbreaks. We describe knowledge and attitude towards Ebola and Marburg virus outbreaks in two affected communities in Uganda to inform future outbreak responses and help in the design of health education and communication messages.

Methods

The study was a community survey done in Luweero, Ibanda and Kamwenge districts that have experienced outbreaks of Ebola and Marburg virus diseases. Quantitative data were collected using a structured questionnaire and triangulated with qualitative participatory epidemiology techniques to gain a communities’ knowledge and attitude towards Ebola and Marburg virus disease.

Results

Out of 740 respondents, 48.5% (359/740) were categorized as being knowledgeable about Ebola and Marburg virus diseases, whereas 60.5% (448/740) were having a positive attitude towards control and prevention of Ebola and Marburg virus diseases. The mean knowledge and attitude percentage scores were 54.3 (SD = 23.5, 95%CI = 52.6–56.0) and 69.9 (SD = 16.9, 95%CI = 68.9–71.1) respectively. People educated beyond primary school were more likely to be knowledgeable about Ebola and Marburg virus disease than those who did not attain any formal education (OR = 3.6, 95%CI = 2.1–6.1). Qualitative data revealed that communities describe Ebola and Marburg virus diseases as very severe diseases with no cure and they believe the diseases spread so fast. Respondents reported fear and stigma suffered by survivors, their families and the broader community due to these diseases.

Conclusion

Communities in Uganda affected by filovirus outbreaks have moderate knowledge about these diseases and have a positive attitude towards practices to prevent and control Ebola and Marburg viral diseases. The public health sector should enhance this community knowledge gap to empower them more by supplying educational materials for epidemic preparedness in future using appropriate communication channels as proposed by the communities.

Cost-effectiveness of a national enterovirus 71 vaccination program in China

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Wenjun Wang, Jianwen Song, Jingjing Wang, Yaping Li, Huiling Deng, Mei Li, Ning Gao, Song Zhai, Shuangsuo Dang, Xin Zhang, Xiaoli Jia

Background and aims

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has caused great morbidity, mortality, and use of health service in children younger than five years in China. Vaccines against EV71 have been proved effective and safe by recent phase 3 trials and are now available in China. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the health impact and cost-effectiveness of a national EV71 vaccination program in China.

Methods

Using Microsoft Excel, a decision model was built to calculate the net clinical and economic outcomes of EV71 vaccination compared with no EV71 vaccination in a birth cohort of 1,000,000 Chinese children followed for five years. Model parameters came from published epidemiology, clinical and cost data.

Results

In the base-case, vaccination would annually avert 37,872 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), 2,629 herpangina cases, 72,900 outpatient visits, 6,363 admissions to hospital, 29 deaths, and 945 disability adjusted life years. The break-even price of the vaccine was $5.2/dose. When the price was less than $8.3 or $14.6/dose, the vaccination program would be highly cost-effective or cost-effective, respectively (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio less than or between one to three times China GDP per capita, respectively). In one-way sensitivity analyses, the HFMD incidence was the only influential parameter at the price of $5/dose.

Conclusions

Within the price range of current routine vaccines paid by the government, a national EV71 vaccination program would be cost-saving or highly cost-effective to prevent EV71 related morbidity, mortality, and use of health service among children younger than five years in China. Policy makers should consider including EV71 vaccination as part of China’s routine childhood immunization schedule.

Naturally acquired antibody responses to more than 300 <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> proteins in three geographic regions

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Rhea J. Longley, Michael T. White, Eizo Takashima, Masayuki Morita, Bernard N. Kanoi, Connie S. N. Li Wai Suen, Inoni Betuela, Andrea Kuehn, Piyarat Sripoorote, Camila T. Franca, Peter Siba, Leanne J. Robinson, Marcus Lacerda, Jetsumon Sattabongkot, Takafumi Tsuboi, Ivo Mueller

Plasmodium vivax remains an important cause of malaria in South America and the Asia-Pacific. Naturally acquired antibody responses against multiple P. vivax proteins have been described in numerous countries, however, direct comparison of these responses has been difficult with different methodologies employed. We measured antibody responses against 307 P. vivax proteins at the time of P. vivax infection, and at 2–3 later time-points in three countries. We observed that seropositivity rates at the time of infection were highest in Thailand, followed by Brazil then PNG, reflecting the level of antigenic input. The majority of sero-reactive antigens in all sites induced short-lived antibody responses with estimated half-lives of less than 6 months, although there was a trend towards longer-lived responses in PNG children. Despite these differences, IgG seropositivity rates, magnitude and longevity were highly and significantly rank-correlated between the different regions, suggesting such features are reflective of the individual protein.

Quality control methods for <i>Aedes albopictus</i> sterile male production

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Fabrizio Balestrino, Arianna Puggioli, Marco Carrieri, Jérémy Bouyer, Romeo Bellini

The capacity of the released sterile males to survive, disperse, compete with wild males and inseminate wild females is an essential prerequisite to be evaluated in any area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programs including a sterile insect release method. Adequate quality control tests supported by standardized procedures need to be developed to measure these parameters and to identify and correct potential inappropriate rearing or handling methods affecting the overall male quality. In this study, we report results on the creation and validation of the first quality control devices designed to infer the survival and mating capacity of radio-sterilized Aedes albopictus males through the observation of their flight capacity under restricted conditions (flight organ device) and after stress treatment (aspirator device). Results obtained consistently indicate comparable flight capacity and quality parameters between untreated and 35 Gy irradiated males while a negative impact was observed with higher radiation doses at all observation time performed. The male flight capacity registered with the proposed quality control devices can be successfully employed, with different predictive capacities and response time, to infer the adult male quality. These simple and cost-effective tools provide a valuable method to detect and amend potentially sub-standard procedures in the sterile male production line and hence contribute to maintaining optimal quality and field performance of the mosquitoes being released.

Target product profiles for the diagnosis of <i>Taenia solium</i> taeniasis, neurocysticercosis and porcine cysticercosis

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Meritxell Donadeu, Anna S. Fahrion, Piero L. Olliaro, Bernadette Abela-Ridder

Target Product Profiles (TPPs) are process tools providing product requirements to guide researchers, developers and manufacturers in their efforts to develop effective and useful products such as biologicals, drugs or diagnostics. During a WHO Stakeholders Meeting on Taenia solium diagnostics, several TPPs were initiated to address diagnostic needs for different stages in the parasite’s transmission (taeniasis, human and porcine cysticercosis). Following the meeting, draft TPPs were completed and distributed for consultation to 100 people/organizations, including experts in parasitology, human and pig cysticercosis, diagnostic researchers and manufacturers, international organizations working with neglected or zoonotic diseases, Ministries of Health and Ministries of Livestock in some of the endemic countries, WHO regional offices and other interested parties. There were 53 respondents. All comments and feedback received were considered and discussions were held with different experts according to their area of expertise. The comments were consolidated and final TPPs are presented here. They are considered to be live documents which are likely to undergo review and updating in the future when new knowledge and technologies become available.

Enhancing case definitions for surveillance of human monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of Congo

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Lynda Osadebe, Christine M. Hughes, Robert Shongo Lushima, Joelle Kabamba, Beatrice Nguete, Jean Malekani, Elisabeth Pukuta, Stomy Karhemere, Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, Emile Wemakoy Okitolonda, Mary G. Reynolds, Andrea M. McCollum

Background

Human monkeypox (MPX) occurs at appreciable rates in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV) has a similar presentation to that of MPX, and in areas where MPX is endemic these two illnesses are commonly mistaken. This study evaluated the diagnostic utility of two surveillance case definitions for MPX and specific clinical characteristics associated with laboratory-confirmed MPX cases.

Methodology/Principal findings

Data from a cohort of suspect MPX cases (identified by surveillance over the course of a 42 month period during 2009–2014) from DRC were used; real-time PCR diagnostic test results were used to establish MPX and VZV diagnoses. A total of 333 laboratory-confirmed MPX cases, 383 laboratory-confirmed VZV cases, and 36 cases that were determined to not be either MPX or VZV were included in the analyses. Significant (p<0.05) differences between laboratory-confirmed MPX and VZV cases were noted for several signs/symptoms including key rash characteristics. Both surveillance case definitions had high sensitivity and low specificities for individuals that had suspected MPX virus infections. Using 12 signs/symptoms with high sensitivity and/or specificity values, a receiver operator characteristic analysis showed that models for MPX cases that had the presence of ‘fever before rash’ plus at least 7 or 8 of the 12 signs/symptoms demonstrated a more balanced performance between sensitivity and specificity.

Conclusions

Laboratory-confirmed MPX and VZV cases presented with many of the same signs and symptoms, and the analysis here emphasized the utility of including 12 specific signs/symptoms when investigating MPX cases. In order to document and detect endemic human MPX cases, a surveillance case definition with more specificity is needed for accurate case detection. In the absence of a more specific case definition, continued emphasis on confirmatory laboratory-based diagnostics is warranted.

Strong interferon-gamma mediated cellular immunity to scrub typhus demonstrated using a novel whole cell antigen ELISpot assay in rhesus macaques and humans

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Manutsanun Sumonwiriya, Daniel H. Paris, Piyanate Sunyakumthorn, Tippawan Anantatat, Kemajittra Jenjaroen, Suchintana Chumseng, Rawiwan Im-erbsin, Ampai Tanganuchitcharnchai, Suthatip Jintaworn, Stuart D. Blacksell, Fazle R. Chowdhury, Barbara Kronsteiner-Dobramysl, Prapit Teparrukkul, Robin L. Burke, Eric D. Lombardini, Allen L. Richards, Carl J. Mason, James W. Jones, Nicholas P. J. Day, Susanna J. Dunachie

Scrub typhus is a febrile infection caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi, which causes significant morbidity and mortality across the Asia-Pacific region. The control of this vector-borne disease is challenging due to humans being dead-end hosts, vertical maintenance of the pathogen in the vector itself, and a potentially large rodent reservoir of unclear significance, coupled with a lack of accurate diagnostic tests. Development of an effective vaccine is highly desirable. This however requires better characterization of the natural immune response of this neglected but important disease. Here we implement a novel IFN-γ ELISpot assay as a tool for studying O. tsutsugamushi induced cellular immune responses in an experimental scrub typhus rhesus macaque model and human populations. Whole cell antigen for O. tsutsugamushi (OT-WCA) was prepared by heat inactivation of Karp-strain bacteria. Rhesus macaques were infected intradermally with O. tsutsugamushi. Freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from infected (n = 10) and uninfected animals (n = 5) were stimulated with OT-WCA, and IFN-γ secreting cells quantitated by ELISpot assay at five time points over 28 days. PBMC were then assayed from people in a scrub typhus-endemic region of Thailand (n = 105) and responses compared to those from a partially exposed population in a non-endemic region (n = 14), and to a naïve UK population in UK (n = 12). Mean results at Day 0 prior to O. tsutsugamushi infection were 12 (95% CI 0–25) and 15 (2–27) spot-forming cells (SFC)/106 PBMC for infected and control macaques respectively. Strong O. tsutsugamushi-specific IFN-γ responses were seen post infection, with ELISpot responses 20-fold higher than baseline at Day 7 (mean 235, 95% CI 200–270 SFC/106 PBMC), 105-fold higher at Day 14 (mean 1261, 95% CI 1,097–1,425 SFC/106 PBMC), 125-fold higher at Day 21 (mean 1,498, 95% CI 1,496–1,500 SFC/106 PBMC) and 118-fold higher at Day 28 (mean 1,416, 95% CI 1,306–1,527 SFC/106 PBMC). No significant change was found in the control group at any time point compared to baseline. Humans from a scrub typhus endemic region of Thailand had mean responses of 189 (95% CI 88–290) SFC/106 PBMC compared to mean responses of 40 (95% CI 9–71) SFC/106 PBMC in people from a non-endemic region and 3 (95% CI 0–7) SFC/106 PBMC in naïve controls. In summary, this highly sensitive assay will enable field immunogenicity studies and further characterization of the host response to O. tsutsugamushi, and provides a link between human and animal models to accelerate vaccine development.

Development of risk reduction behavioral counseling for Ebola virus disease survivors enrolled in the Sierra Leone Ebola Virus Persistence Study, 2015-2016

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Neetu Abad, Tasneem Malik, Archchun Ariyarajah, Patricia Ongpin, Matthew Hogben, Suzanna L. R. McDonald, Jaclyn Marrinan, Thomas Massaquoi, Anna Thorson, Elizabeth Ervin, Kyle Bernstein, Christine Ross, William J. Liu, Karen Kroeger, Kara N. Durski, Nathalie Broutet, Barbara Knust, Gibrilla F. Deen, on behalf of the Sierra Leone Ebola Virus Persistence Study Group

Background

During the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic, the public health community had concerns that sexual transmission of the Ebola virus (EBOV) from EVD survivors was a risk, due to EBOV persistence in body fluids of EVD survivors, particularly semen. The Sierra Leone Ebola Virus Persistence Study was initiated to investigate this risk by assessing EBOV persistence in numerous body fluids of EVD survivors and providing risk reduction counseling based on test results for semen, vaginal fluid, menstrual blood, urine, rectal fluid, sweat, tears, saliva, and breast milk. This publication describes implementation of the counseling protocol and the key lessons learned.

Methodology/Principal findings

The Ebola Virus Persistence Risk Reduction Behavioral Counseling Protocol was developed from a framework used to prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The framework helped to identify barriers to risk reduction and facilitated the development of a personalized risk-reduction plan, particularly around condom use and abstinence. Pre-test and post-test counseling sessions included risk reduction guidance, and post-test counseling was based on the participants’ individual test results. The behavioral counseling protocol enabled study staff to translate the study’s body fluid test results into individualized information for study participants.

Conclusions/Significance

The Ebola Virus Persistence Risk Reduction Behavioral Counseling Protocol provided guidance to mitigate the risk of EBOV transmission from EVD survivors. It has since been shared with and adapted by other EVD survivor body fluid testing programs and studies in Ebola-affected countries.

Towards Chagas disease elimination: Neonatal screening for congenital transmission in rural communities

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Pamela Marie Pennington, José Guillermo Juárez, Margarita Rivera Arrivillaga, Sandra María De Urioste-Stone, Katherine Doktor, Joe P. Bryan, Clara Yaseli Escobar, Celia Cordón-Rosales

Chagas disease is a neglected tropical disease that continues to affect populations living in extreme poverty in Latin America. After successful vector control programs, congenital transmission remains as a challenge to disease elimination. We used the PRECEDE-PROCEED planning model to develop strategies for neonatal screening of congenital Chagas disease in rural communities of Guatemala. These communities have persistent high triatomine infestations and low access to healthcare. We used mixed methods with multiple stakeholders to identify and address maternal-infant health behaviors through semi-structured interviews, participatory group meetings, archival reviews and a cross-sectional survey in high risk communities. From December 2015 to April 2016, we jointly developed a strategy to illustratively advertise newborn screening at the Health Center. The strategy included socioculturally appropriate promotional and educational material, in collaboration with midwives, nurses and nongovernmental organizations. By March 2016, eight of 228 (3.9%) pregnant women had been diagnosed with T. cruzi at the Health Center. Up to this date, no neonatal screening had been performed. By August 2016, seven of eight newborns born to Chagas seropositive women had been parasitologically screened at the Health Center, according to international standards. Thus, we implemented a successful community-based neonatal screening strategy to promote congenital Chagas disease healthcare in a rural setting. The success of the health promotion strategies developed will depend on local access to maternal-infant services, integration with detection of other congenital diseases and reliance on community participation in problem and solution definition.

Implementation of a study to examine the persistence of Ebola virus in the body fluids of Ebola virus disease survivors in Sierra Leone: Methodology and lessons learned

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Gibrilla Fadlu Deen, Suzanna L. R. McDonald, Jaclyn E. Marrinan, Foday R. Sesay, Elizabeth Ervin, Anna E. Thorson, Wenbo Xu, Ute Ströher, Patricia Ongpin, Neetu Abad, Archchun Ariyarajah, Tasneem Malik, Hongtu Liu, Christine Ross, Kara N. Durski, Philippe Gaillard, Oliver Morgan, Pierre Formenty, Barbara Knust, Nathalie Broutet, Foday Sahr, on behalf of the Sierra Leone Ebola Virus Persistence Study Group

Background

The 2013–2016 West African Ebola virus disease epidemic was unprecedented in terms of the number of cases and survivors. Prior to this epidemic there was limited data available on the persistence of Ebola virus in survivors’ body fluids and the potential risk of transmission, including sexual transmission.

Methodology/Principal findings

Given the urgent need to determine the persistence of Ebola virus in survivors’ body fluids, an observational cohort study was designed and implemented during the epidemic response operation in Sierra Leone. This publication describes study implementation methodology and the key lessons learned. Challenges encountered during implementation included unforeseen duration of follow-up, complexity of interpreting and communicating laboratory results to survivors, and the urgency of translating research findings into public health practice. Strong community engagement helped rapidly implement the study during the epidemic. The study was conducted in two phases. The first phase was initiated within five months of initial protocol discussions and assessed persistence of Ebola virus in semen of 100 adult men. The second phase assessed the persistence of virus in multiple body fluids (semen or vaginal fluid, menstrual blood, breast milk, and urine, rectal fluid, sweat, saliva, tears), of 120 men and 120 women.

Conclusion/Significance

Data from this study informed national and global guidelines in real time and demonstrated the need to implement semen testing programs among Ebola virus disease survivors. The lessons learned and study tools developed accelerated the implementation of such programs in Ebola virus disease affected countries, and also informed studies examining persistence of Zika virus. Research is a vital component of the public health response to an epidemic of a poorly characterized disease. Adequate resources should be rapidly made available to answer critical research questions, in order to better inform response efforts.

A multi-center field study of two point-of-care tests for circulating <i>Wuchereria bancrofti</i> antigenemia in Africa

11 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Cédric B. Chesnais, Naomi-Pitchouna Awaca-Uvon, Fatoma K. Bolay, Michel Boussinesq, Peter U. Fischer, Lincoln Gankpala, Aboulaye Meite, François Missamou, Sébastien D. Pion, Gary J. Weil

Background

The Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis uses point-of-care tests for circulating filarial antigenemia (CFA) to map endemic areas and for monitoring and evaluating the success of mass drug administration (MDA) programs. We compared the performance of the reference BinaxNOW Filariasis card test (ICT, introduced in 1997) with the Alere Filariasis Test Strip (FTS, introduced in 2013) in 5 endemic study sites in Africa.

Methodology

The tests were compared prior to MDA in two study sites (Congo and Côte d'Ivoire) and in three sites that had received MDA (DRC and 2 sites in Liberia). Data were analyzed with regard to % positivity, % agreement, and heterogeneity. Models evaluated potential effects of age, gender, and blood microfilaria (Mf) counts in individuals and effects of endemicity and history of MDA at the village level as potential factors linked to higher sensitivity of the FTS. Lastly, we assessed relationships between CFA scores and Mf in pre- and post-MDA settings.

Principal findings

Paired test results were available for 3,682 individuals. Antigenemia rates were 8% and 22% higher by FTS than by ICT in pre-MDA and in post-MDA sites, respectively. FTS/ICT ratios were higher in areas with low infection rates. The probability of having microfilaremia was much higher in persons with CFA scores >1 in untreated areas. However, this was not true in post-MDA settings.

Conclusions/Significance

This study has provided extensive new information on the performance of the FTS compared to ICT in Africa and it has confirmed the increased sensitivity of FTS reported in prior studies. Variability in FTS/ICT was related in part to endemicity level, history of MDA, and perhaps to the medications used for MDA. These results suggest that FTS should be superior to ICT for mapping, for transmission assessment surveys, and for post-MDA surveillance.

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