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Control of <i>Phlebotomus argentipes</i> (Diptera: Psychodidae) sand fly in Bangladesh: A cluster randomized controlled trial

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Rajib Chowdhury, Shyla Faria, M. Mamun Huda, Vashkar Chowdhury, Narayan Prosad Maheswary, Dinesh Mondal, Shireen Akhter, Sakila Akter, Rajaul Karim Khan, Shah Golam Nabi, Axel Kroeger, Daniel Argaw, Jorge Alvar, Aditya Prasad Dash, Qamar Banu

Background

A number of studies on visceral leishmaniasis (VL) vector control have been conducted during the past decade, sometimes came to very different conclusion. The present study on a large sample investigated different options which are partially unexplored including: (1) indoor residual spraying (IRS) with alpha cypermethrin 5WP; (2) long lasting insecticide impregnated bed-net (LLIN); (3) impregnation of local bed-nets with slow release insecticide K-O TAB 1-2-3 (KOTAB); (4) insecticide spraying in potential breeding sites outside of house using chlorpyrifos 20EC (OUT) and different combinations of the above.

Methods

The study was a cluster randomized controlled trial where 3089 houses from 11 villages were divided into 10 sections, each section with 6 clusters and each cluster having approximately 50 houses. Based on vector density (males plus females) during baseline survey, the 60 clusters were categorized into 3 groups: (1) high, (2) medium and (3) low. Each group had 20 clusters. From these three groups, 6 clusters (about 300 households) were randomly selected for each type of intervention and control arms. Vector density was measured before and 2, 4, 5, 7, 11, 14, 15, 18 and 22 months after intervention using CDC light traps. The impact of interventions was measured by using the difference-in-differences regression model.

Results

A total of 17,434 sand flies were collected at baseline and during the surveys conducted over 9 months following the baseline measurements. At baseline, the average P. argentipes density per household was 10.6 (SD = 11.5) in the control arm and 7.3 (SD = 8.46) to 11.5 (SD = 20.2) in intervention arms. The intervention results presented as the range of percent reductions of sand flies (males plus females) and rate ratios in 9 measurements over 22 months. Among single type interventions, the effect of IRS with 2 rounds of spraying (applied by the research team) ranged from 13% to 75% reduction of P. argentipes density compared to the control arm (rate-ratio [RR] ranged from 0.25 to 0.87). LLINs caused a vector reduction of 9% to 78% (RR, 0.22 to 0.91). KOTAB reduced vectors by 4% to 73% (RR, 0.27 to 0.96). The combination of LLIN and OUT led to a vector reduction of 26% to 86% (RR, 0.14 to 0.74). The reduction for the combination of IRS and OUT was 8% to 88% (RR, 0.12 to 0.92). IRS and LLIN combined resulted in a vector reduction of 13% to 85% (RR, 0.15 to 0.77). The IRS and KOTAB combination reduced vector densities by 16% to 86% (RR, 0.14 to 0.84). Some intermediate measurements for KOTAB alone and for IRS plus LLIN; and IRS plus KOTAB were not statistically significant. The bioassays on sprayed surfaces or netting materials showed favourable results (>80% mortality) for 22 months (IRS tested for 12 months). In the KOTAB, a gradual decline was observed after 6 months.

Conclusions

LLIN and OUT was the best combination to reduce VL vector densities for 22 months or longer. Operationally, this is much easier to apply than IRS. A cost analysis of the preferred tools will follow. The relationship between vector density (males plus females) and leishmaniasis incidence should be investigated, and this will require estimates of the Entomological Inoculation Rate.

Temporal phylogeography of <i>Yersinia pestis</i> in Madagascar: Insights into the long-term maintenance of plague

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Amy J. Vogler, Voahangy Andrianaivoarimanana, Sandra Telfer, Carina M. Hall, Jason W. Sahl, Crystal M. Hepp, Heather Centner, Genevieve Andersen, Dawn N. Birdsell, Lila Rahalison, Roxanne Nottingham, Paul Keim, David M. Wagner, Minoarisoa Rajerison

Background

Yersinia pestis appears to be maintained in multiple, geographically separate, and phylogenetically distinct subpopulations within the highlands of Madagascar. However, the dynamics of these locally differentiated subpopulations through time are mostly unknown. To address that gap and further inform our understanding of plague epidemiology, we investigated the phylogeography of Y. pestis in Madagascar over an 18 year period.

Methodology/Principal findings

We generated whole genome sequences for 31 strains and discovered new SNPs that we used in conjunction with previously identified SNPs and variable-number tandem repeats (VNTRs) to genotype 773 Malagasy Y. pestis samples from 1995 to 2012. We mapped the locations where samples were obtained on a fine geographic scale to examine phylogeographic patterns through time. We identified 18 geographically separate and phylogenetically distinct subpopulations that display spatial and temporal stability, persisting in the same locations over a period of almost two decades. We found that geographic areas with higher levels of topographical relief are associated with greater levels of phylogenetic diversity and that sampling frequency can vary considerably among subpopulations and from year to year. We also found evidence of various Y. pestis dispersal events, including over long distances, but no evidence that any dispersal events resulted in successful establishment of a transferred genotype in a new location during the examined time period.

Conclusions/Significance

Our analysis suggests that persistent endemic cycles of Y. pestis transmission within local areas are responsible for the long term maintenance of plague in Madagascar, rather than repeated episodes of wide scale epidemic spread. Landscape likely plays a role in maintaining Y. pestis subpopulations in Madagascar, with increased topographical relief associated with increased levels of localized differentiation. Local ecological factors likely affect the dynamics of individual subpopulations and the associated likelihood of observing human plague cases in a given year in a particular location.

Photo-affinity labelling and biochemical analyses identify the target of trypanocidal simplified natural product analogues

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Lindsay B. Tulloch, Stefanie K. Menzies, Andrew L. Fraser, Eoin R. Gould, Elizabeth F. King, Marija K. Zacharova, Gordon J. Florence, Terry K. Smith

Current drugs to treat African sleeping sickness are inadequate and new therapies are urgently required. As part of a medicinal chemistry programme based upon the simplification of acetogenin-type ether scaffolds, we previously reported the promising trypanocidal activity of compound 1, a bis-tetrahydropyran 1,4-triazole (B-THP-T) inhibitor. This study aims to identify the protein target(s) of this class of compound in Trypanosoma brucei to understand its mode of action and aid further structural optimisation. We used compound 3, a diazirine- and alkyne-containing bi-functional photoaffinity probe analogue of our lead B-THP-T, compound 1, to identify potential targets of our lead compound in the procyclic form T. brucei. Bi-functional compound 3 was UV cross-linked to its target(s) in vivo and biotin affinity or Cy5.5 reporter tags were subsequently appended by Cu(II)-catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition. The biotinylated protein adducts were isolated with streptavidin affinity beads and subsequent LC-MSMS identified the FoF1-ATP synthase (mitochondrial complex V) as a potential target. This target identification was confirmed using various different approaches. We show that (i) compound 1 decreases cellular ATP levels (ii) by inhibiting oxidative phosphorylation (iii) at the FoF1-ATP synthase. Furthermore, the use of GFP-PTP-tagged subunits of the FoF1-ATP synthase, shows that our compounds bind specifically to both the α- and β-subunits of the ATP synthase. The FoF1-ATP synthase is a target of our simplified acetogenin-type analogues. This mitochondrial complex is essential in both procyclic and bloodstream forms of T. brucei and its identification as our target will enable further inhibitor optimisation towards future drug discovery. Furthermore, the photo-affinity labeling technique described here can be readily applied to other drugs of unknown targets to identify their modes of action and facilitate more broadly therapeutic drug design in any pathogen or disease model.

An ImmunoSignature test distinguishes <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i>, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and West Nile virus seropositivity among asymptomatic blood donors

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Michael Rowe, Jonathan Melnick, Robert Gerwien, Joseph B. Legutki, Jessica Pfeilsticker, Theodore M. Tarasow, Kathryn F. Sykes

Background

The complexity of the eukaryotic parasite Trypanosoma (T.) cruzi manifests in its highly dynamic genome, multi-host life cycle, progressive morphologies and immune-evasion mechanisms. Accurate determination of infection or Chagas’ disease activity and prognosis continues to challenge researchers. We hypothesized that a diagnostic platform with higher ligand complexity than previously employed may hold value.

Methodology

We applied the ImmunoSignature Technology (IST) for the detection of T. cruzi-specific antibodies among healthy blood donors. IST is based on capturing the information in an individual’s antibody repertoire by exposing their peripheral blood to a library of >100,000 position-addressable, chemically-diverse peptides.

Principal findings

Initially, samples from two Chagas cohorts declared positive or negative by bank testing were studied. With the first cohort, library-peptides displaying differential binding signals between T. cruzi sero-states were used to train an algorithm. A classifier was fixed and tested against the training-independent second cohort to determine assay performance. Next, samples from a mixed cohort of donors declared positive for Chagas, hepatitis B, hepatitis C or West Nile virus were assayed on the same library. Signals were used to train a single algorithm that distinguished all four disease states. As a binary test, the accuracy of predicting T. cruzi seropositivity by IST was similar, perhaps modestly reduced, relative to conventional ELISAs. However, the results indicate that information beyond determination of seropositivity may have been captured. These include the identification of cohort subclasses, the simultaneous detection and discerning of other diseases, and the discovery of putative new antigens.

Conclusions & significance

The central outcome of this study established IST as a reliable approach for specific determination of T. cruzi seropositivity versus disease-free individuals or those with other diseases. Its potential contribution for monitoring and controlling Chagas lies in IST’s delivery of higher resolution immune-state readouts than obtained with currently-used technologies. Despite the complexity of the ligand presentation and large quantitative readouts, performing an IST test is simple, scalable and reproducible.

SisLeish: A multi-country standardized information system to monitor the status of Leishmaniasis in the Americas

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Ana N. S. Maia-Elkhoury, Samantha Y. O. B. Valadas, Lia Puppim-Buzanovsky, Felipe Rocha, Manuel J. Sanchez-Vazquez

Background

In the Americas, leishmaniasis is endemic in 18 countries, and from 2001 through 2015, 17 countries reported 843,931 cases of cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, and 12 countries reported 52,176 cases of visceral leishmaniasis. A Regional Information System (SisLeish) was created in order to provide knowledge of the distribution and tendency of this disease to analyze and monitor the leishmaniasis status. This article analyses the performance and progress of SisLeish from 2012–2015.

Methodology

The performance of SisLeish was evaluated by country adhesion, data completeness and delay in entering the data, and also by the SWOT technique. Furthermore, we outlined the structure and modus operandi of the system and indicators utilized.

Results

In 2012, only 18% of the countries entered the data in SisLeish before the deadline, where 66.7% and 50% of the countries with autochthonous CL/ML and VL reported their cases to the system, respectively. Whereas in 2015, 59% of the countries reached the deadline, where 94.4% and 58.3% of the countries reported their CL/ML and VL data, respectively. Regarding data completeness, there was great progress for different variables since its launch, such as gender, which had an approximately 100% improvement from 2012 to 2015. The SWOT analysis of SisLeish showed 12 strengths, 11 opportunities, seven weaknesses and six threats.

Conclusions

From 2012–2015 there has been an improvement in the adhesion, quality and data completeness, showing the effort of the majority of the countries to enhance their national database. The SWOT analysis demonstrated that strengths and opportunities exceed weaknesses and threats; however, it highlighted the system frailties and challenges that need to be addressed. Furthermore, it has stimulated several National Programs to advance their surveillance system. Therefore, SisLeish has become an essential tool to prioritize areas, assist in decision-making processes, and to guide surveillance and control actions.

High prevalence of thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency in early childhood among a nationally representative sample of Cambodian women of childbearing age and their children

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Kyly C. Whitfield, Geoffry Smith, Chhoun Chamnan, Crystal D. Karakochuk, Prak Sophonneary, Khov Kuong, Marjoleine Amma Dijkhuizen, Rathavuth Hong, Jacques Berger, Tim J. Green, Frank Tammo Wieringa

Background

Thiamine deficiency is thought to be an issue in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia due to frequent clinical reports of infantile beriberi. However the extent of this public health issue is currently unknown due to a lack of population-representative data. Therefore we assessed the thiamine status (measured as erythrocyte thiamine diphosphate concentrations; eThDP) among a representative sample of Cambodian women of childbearing age (15–49 y) and their young children (6–69 mo).

Methodology/Principle findings

Samples for this cross-sectional analysis were collected as part of a national micronutrient survey linked to the Cambodian Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) 2014. One-sixth of households taking part in the CDHS were randomly selected and re-visited for additional blood sampling for eThDP analysis (719 women and 761 children). Thiamine status was assessed using different cut-offs from literature.Women were mean (SD) 30 (6) y, and children (46% girls) were 41 (17) mo. Women had lower mean (95% CI) eThDP of 150 nmol/L (146–153) compared to children, 174 nmol/L (171–179; P < 0.001). Using the most conservative cut-off of eThDP < 120 nmol/L, 27% of mothers and 15% of children were thiamine deficient, however prevalence rates of deficiency were as high as 78% for mothers and 58% for children using a cut-off of < 180 nmol/L. Thiamine deficiency was especially prevalent among infants aged 6–12 mo: 38% were deficient using the most conservative cut-off (< 120 nmol/L).

Conclusions/Significance

There is a lack of consensus on thiamine status cut-offs; more research is required to set clinically meaningful cut-offs. Despite this, there is strong evidence of suboptimal thiamine status among Cambodian mothers and their children, with infants <12 mo at the highest risk. Based on eThDP from this nationally-representative sample, immediate action is required to address thiamine deficiency in Cambodia, and likely throughout Southeast Asia.

Systematic review of clinical trials assessing the therapeutic efficacy of visceral leishmaniasis treatments: A first step to assess the feasibility of establishing an individual patient data sharing platform

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Jacob T. Bush, Monique Wasunna, Fabiana Alves, Jorge Alvar, Piero L. Olliaro, Michael Otieno, Carol Hopkins Sibley, Nathalie Strub Wourgaft, Philippe J. Guerin

Background

There are an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) annually. A variety of factors are taken into account when considering the best therapeutic options to cure a patient and reduce the risk of resistance, including geographical area, malnourishment and HIV coinfection. Pooled analyses combine data from many studies to answer specific scientific questions that cannot be answered with individual studies alone. However, the heterogeneity of study design, data collection, and analysis often makes direct comparison difficult. Individual Participant Data (IPD) files can be standardised and analysed, allowing detailed analysis of this merged larger pool, but only a small fraction of systematic reviews and meta-analyses currently employ pooled analysis of IPD. We conducted a systematic literature review to identify published studies and studies reported in clinical trial registries to assess the feasibility of developing a VL data sharing platform to facilitate an IPD-based analysis of clinical trial data. Studies conducted between 1983 to 2015 that reported treatment outcome were eligible.

Principal findings

From the 2,271 documents screened, 145 published VL clinical trials were identified, with data from 26,986 patients. Methodologies varied for diagnosis and treatment outcomes, but overall the volume of data potentially available on different drugs and dose regimens identified hundreds or possibly thousands of patients per arm suitable for IPD pooled meta-analyses.

Conclusions

A VL data sharing platform would provide an opportunity to maximise scientific use of available data to enable assessment of treatment efficacy, contribute to evidence-based clinical management and guide optimal prospective data collection.

"We need people to collaborate together against this disease": A qualitative exploration of perceptions of dengue fever control in caregivers' of children under 5 years, in the Peruvian Amazon

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 5 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Amy L. Frank, Emily R. Beales, Gilles de Wildt, Graciela Meza Sanchez, Laura L. Jones

Background

Dengue Fever presents a significant and growing burden of disease to endemic countries, where children are at particular risk. Worldwide, no effective anti-viral treatment has been identified, thus vector control is key for disease prevention, particularly in Peru where no vaccine is currently available. This qualitative study aimed to explore the perceptions of dengue control in caregivers’ of children under 5 years in Peru, to help direct future mosquito control programmes and strategy.

Methods

Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted in one health centre in Iquitos, Peru. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and translated by an independent translator. Data were analysed using an inductive thematic approach.

Findings

Three core analytic themes were interpreted: (1) awareness of dengue and its control, (2) perceived susceptibility of children, rural riverside communities and city inhabitants, and (3) perceived responsibility of vector control. Participants were aware of dengue symptoms, transmission and larvae eradication strategies. Misconceptions about the day-time biting behaviour of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and confusion with other mosquito-borne diseases influenced preventative practice. Community-wide lack of cooperation was recognised as a key barrier. This was strengthened by attitudes that the government or health centre were responsible for dengue control and a belief that the disease cannot be prevented through individual actions. Participants felt powerless to prevent dengue due to assumed inevitability of infection and lack of faith in preventative practices. However, children and rural communities were believed to be most vulnerable.

Conclusions

Perceptions of dengue control amongst caregivers to under 5’s were important in shaping their likelihood to participate in preventative practices. There is a need to address the perceived lack of community cooperation through strategies creating a sense of ownership of community control and enhancing social responsibility. The belief that dengue cannot be prevented by individual actions in a community also warrants attention. Specific misconceptions about dengue should be addressed through the community health worker system and further research directed to identify the needs of certain vulnerable groups.

Genotypic characterization directly applied to sputum improves the detection of <i>Mycobacterium africanum</i> West African 1, under-represented in positive cultures

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by C. N’Dira Sanoussi, Dissou Affolabi, Leen Rigouts, Séverin Anagonou, Bouke de Jong

Background

This study aimed to compare the prevalence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBc) lineages between direct genotyping (on sputum) and indirect genotyping (on culture), to characterize potential culture bias against difficult growers.

Methodology/Principal findings

Smear-positive sputa from consecutive new tuberculosis patients diagnosed in Cotonou, (Benin) were included, before patients had started treatment. An aliquot of decontaminated sputum was used for direct spoligotyping, and another aliquot was cultured on Löwenstein Jensen (LJ) medium (90 days), for indirect spoligotyping. After DNA extraction, spoligotyping was done according to the standard method for all specimens, and patterns obtained from sputa were compared versus those from the derived culture isolates. From 199 patient’s sputa, 146 (73.4%) yielded a positive culture. In total, direct spoligotyping yielded a pattern in 98.5% (196/199) of the specimens, versus 73.4% (146/199) for indirect spoligotyping on cultures. There was good agreement between sputum- and isolate derived patterns: 94.4% (135/143) at spoligotype level and 96.5% (138/143) at (sub)lineage level. Two of the 8 pairs with discrepant pattern were suggestive of mixed infection in sputum. Ancestral lineages (Lineage 1, and M. africanum Lineages 5 and 6) were less likely to grow in culture (OR = 0.30, 95%CI (0.14 to 0.64), p = 0.0016); especially Lineage 5 (OR = 0.37 95%CI (0.17 to 0.79), p = 0.010). Among modern lineages, Lineage 4 was over-represented in positive-culture specimens (OR = 3.01, 95%CI (1.4 to 6.51), p = 0.005).

Conclusions/ Significance

Ancestral lineages, especially M. africanum West African 1 (Lineage 5), are less likely to grow in culture relative to modern lineages, especially M. tuberculosis Euro-American (Lineage 4). Direct spoligotyping on smear positive sputum is effective and efficient compared to indirect spoligotyping of cultures. It allows for a more accurate unbiased determination of the population structure of the M. tuberculosis complex.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02744469

Spatial distribution and risk factors of <i>Schistosoma haematobium</i> and hookworm infections among schoolchildren in Kwale, Kenya

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 1 September 2017 - 9:00pm

by Evans Asena Chadeka, Sachiyo Nagi, Toshihiko Sunahara, Ngetich Benard Cheruiyot, Felix Bahati, Yuriko Ozeki, Manabu Inoue, Mayuko Osada-Oka, Mayuko Okabe, Yukio Hirayama, Mwatasa Changoma, Keishi Adachi, Faith Mwende, Mihoko Kikuchi, Risa Nakamura, Yombo Dan Justin Kalenda, Satoshi Kaneko, Kenji Hirayama, Masaaki Shimada, Yoshio Ichinose, Sammy M. Njenga, Sohkichi Matsumoto, Shinjiro Hamano

Background

Large-scale schistosomiasis control programs are implemented in regions with diverse social and economic environments. A key epidemiological feature of schistosomiasis is its small-scale heterogeneity. Locally profiling disease dynamics including risk factors associated with its transmission is essential for designing appropriate control programs. To determine spatial distribution of schistosomiasis and its drivers, we examined schoolchildren in Kwale, Kenya.

Methodology/Principal findings

We conducted a cross-sectional study of 368 schoolchildren from six primary schools. Soil-transmitted helminths and Schistosoma mansoni eggs in stool were evaluated by the Kato-Katz method. We measured the intensity of Schistosoma haematobium infection by urine filtration. The geometrical mean intensity of S. haematobium was 3.1 eggs/10 ml urine (school range, 1.4–9.2). The hookworm geometric mean intensity was 3.2 eggs/g feces (school range, 0–17.4). Heterogeneity in the intensity of S. haematobium and hookworm infections was evident in the study area. To identify factors associated with the intensity of helminth infections, we utilized negative binomial generalized linear mixed models. The intensity of S. haematobium infection was associated with religion and socioeconomic status (SES), while that of hookworm infection was related to SES, sex, distance to river and history of anthelmintic treatment.

Conclusions/Significance

Both S. haematobium and hookworm infections showed micro-geographical heterogeneities in this Kwale community. To confirm and explain our observation of high S. haematobium risk among Muslims, further extensive investigations are necessary. The observed small scale clustering of the S. haematobium and hookworm infections might imply less uniform strategies even at finer scale for efficient utilization of limited resources.

Neurosyphilis in Africa: A systematic review

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Michael Marks, Joseph N. Jarvis, William Howlett, David C. W. Mabey

Introduction

Neurological involvement is one of the most important clinical manifestations of syphilis and neurological disease occurs in both early and late syphilis. The impact of HIV co-infection on clinical neurosyphilis remains unclear. The highest prevalence of both syphilis and HIV is in Africa. Therefore it might be expected that neurosyphilis would be an important and not uncommon manifestation of syphilis in Africa and frequently occur in association with HIV co-infection; yet few data are available on neurosyphilis in Africa. The aim of this study is to review data on neurosyphilis in Africa since the onset of the HIV epidemic.

Methods

We searched the literature for references on neurosyphilis in Africa for studies published between the 1st of January 1990 and 15th February 2017. We included case reports, case series, and retrospective and prospective cohort and case-control studies. We did not limit inclusion based on the diagnostic criteria used for neurosyphilis. For retrospective and prospective cohorts, we calculated the proportion of study participants who were diagnosed with neurosyphilis according to the individual study criteria. Depending on the study, we assessed the proportion of patients with syphilis found to have neurosyphilis, and the proportion of patients with neurological syndromes who had neurosyphilis. Due to heterogeneity of data no formal pooling of the data or meta-analysis was undertaken.

Results

Amongst patients presenting with a neurological syndrome, three studies of patients with meningitis were identified; neurosyphilis was consistently reported to cause approximately 3% of all cases. Three studies on stroke reported mixed findings but were limited due to the small number of patients undergoing CSF examination, whilst neurosyphilis continued to be reported as a common cause of dementia in studies from North Africa. Ten studies reported on cases of neurosyphilis amongst patients known to have syphilis. Studies from both North and Southern Africa continue to report cases of late stage syphilis, including tabes dorsalis and neurosyphilis, in association with ocular disease.

Discussion

This is the first systematic review of the literature on neurosyphilis in Africa since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. Neurosyphilis continues to be reported as a manifestation of both early and late syphilis, but the methodological quality of the majority of the included studies was poor. Future well-designed prospective studies are needed to better delineate the incidence and clinical spectrum of neurosyphilis in Africa and to better define interactions with HIV in this setting.

Community effectiveness of indoor spraying as a dengue vector control method: A systematic review

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Moody Samuel, Dorit Maoz, Pablo Manrique, Tara Ward, Silvia Runge-Ranzinger, Joao Toledo, Ross Boyce, Olaf Horstick

Background

The prevention and control of dengue rely mainly on vector control methods, including indoor residual spraying (IRS) and indoor space spraying (ISS). This study aimed to systematically review the available evidence on community effectiveness of indoor spraying.

Methods

A systematic review was conducted using seven databases (PubMed, EMBASE, LILACS, Web of Science, WHOLIS, Cochrane, and Google Scholar) and a manual search of the reference lists of the identified studies. Data from included studies were extracted, analysed and reported.

Results

The review generated seven studies only, three IRS and four ISS (two/three controlled studies respectively). Two IRS studies measuring human transmission showed a decline. One IRS and all four ISS studies measuring adult mosquitoes showed a very good effect, up to 100%, but not sustained. Two IRS studies and one ISS measuring immature mosquitoes, showed mixed results.

Conclusions

It is evident that IRS and also ISS are effective adulticidal interventions against Aedes mosquitoes. However, evidence to suggest effectiveness of IRS as a larvicidal intervention and to reduce human dengue cases is limited–and even more so for ISS. Overall, there is a paucity of studies available on these two interventions that may be promising for dengue vector control, particularly for IRS with its residual effect.

The francophone network on neglected tropical diseases

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Jean Jannin, Philippe Solano, Isadora Quick, Patrice Debre

Exploring virulence and immunogenicity in the emerging pathogen <i>Sporothrix brasiliensis</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Paula Portella Della Terra, Anderson Messias Rodrigues, Geisa Ferreira Fernandes, Angela Satie Nishikaku, Eva Burger, Zoilo Pires de Camargo

Sporotrichosis is a polymorphic chronic infection of humans and animals classically acquired after traumatic inoculation with soil and plant material contaminated with Sporothrix spp. propagules. An alternative and successful route of transmission is bites and scratches from diseased cats, through which Sporothrix yeasts are inoculated into mammalian tissue. The development of a murine model of subcutaneous sporotrichosis mimicking the alternative route of transmission is essential to understanding disease pathogenesis and the development of novel therapeutic strategies. To explore the impact of horizontal transmission in animals (e.g., cat-cat) and zoonotic transmission on Sporothrix fitness, the left hind footpads of BALB/c mice were inoculated with 5×106 yeasts (n = 11 S. brasiliensis, n = 2 S. schenckii, or n = 1 S. globosa). Twenty days post-infection, our model reproduced both the pathophysiology and symptomology of sporotrichosis with suppurating subcutaneous nodules that progressed proximally along lymphatic channels. Across the main pathogenic members of the S. schenckii clade, S. brasiliensis was usually more virulent than S. schenckii and S. globosa. However, the virulence in S. brasiliensis was strain-dependent, and we demonstrated that highly virulent isolates disseminate from the left hind footpad to the liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, heart, and brain of infected animals, inducing significant and chronic weight loss (losing up to 15% of their body weight). The weight loss correlated with host death between 2 and 16 weeks post-infection. Histopathological features included necrosis, suppurative inflammation, and polymorphonuclear and mononuclear inflammatory infiltrates. Immunoblot using specific antisera and homologous exoantigen investigated the humoral response. Antigenic profiles were isolate-specific, supporting the hypothesis that different Sporothrix species can elicit a heterogeneous humoral response over time, but cross reaction was observed between S. brasiliensis and S. schenckii proteomes. Despite great diversity in the immunoblot profiles, antibodies were mainly derived against 3-carboxymuconate cyclase, a glycoprotein oscillating between 60 and 70 kDa (gp60-gp70) and a 100-kDa molecule in nearly 100% of the assays. Thus, our data broaden the current view of virulence and immunogenicity in the Sporothrix-sporotrichosis system, substantially expanding the possibilities for comparative genomic with isolates bearing divergent virulence traits and helping uncover the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary pressures underpinning the emergence of Sporothrix virulence.

Decoding the similarities and differences among mycobacterial species

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Sony Malhotra, Sundeep Chaitanya Vedithi, Tom L. Blundell

Mycobacteriaceae comprises pathogenic species such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, M. leprae and M. abscessus, as well as non-pathogenic species, for example, M. smegmatis and M. thermoresistibile. Genome comparison and annotation studies provide insights into genome evolutionary relatedness, identify unique and pathogenicity-related genes in each species, and explore new targets that could be used for developing new diagnostics and therapeutics. Here, we present a comparative analysis of ten-mycobacterial genomes with the objective of identifying similarities and differences between pathogenic and non-pathogenic species. We identified 1080 core orthologous clusters that were enriched in proteins involved in amino acid and purine/pyrimidine biosynthetic pathways, DNA-related processes (replication, transcription, recombination and repair), RNA-methylation and modification, and cell-wall polysaccharide biosynthetic pathways. For their pathogenicity and survival in the host cell, pathogenic species have gained specific sets of genes involved in repair and protection of their genomic DNA. M. leprae is of special interest owing to its having the smallest genome (1600 genes and ~1300 psuedogenes), yet poor genome annotation. More than 75% of the pseudogenes were found to have a functional ortholog in the other mycobacterial genomes and belong to protein families such as transferases, oxidoreductases and hydrolases.

Increased rates of Guillain-Barré syndrome associated with Zika virus outbreak in the Salvador metropolitan area, Brazil

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Ashley R. Styczynski, Juliane M. A. S. Malta, Elisabeth R. Krow-Lucal, Jadher Percio, Martha E. Nóbrega, Alexander Vargas, Tatiana M. Lanzieri, Priscila L. Leite, J. Erin Staples, Marc X. Fischer, Ann M. Powers, Gwong-Jen J. Chang, P. L. Burns, Erin M. Borland, Jeremy P. Ledermann, Eric C. Mossel, Lawrence B. Schonberger, Ermias B. Belay, Jorge L. Salinas, Roberto D. Badaro, James J. Sejvar, Giovanini E. Coelho

In mid-2015, Salvador, Brazil, reported an outbreak of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), coinciding with the introduction and spread of Zika virus (ZIKV). We found that GBS incidence during April–July 2015 among those ≥12 years of age was 5.6 cases/100,000 population/year and increased markedly with increasing age to 14.7 among those ≥60 years of age. We conducted interviews with 41 case-patients and 85 neighborhood controls and found no differences in demographics or exposures prior to GBS-symptom onset. A higher proportion of case-patients (83%) compared to controls (21%) reported an antecedent illness (OR 18.1, CI 6.9–47.5), most commonly characterized by rash, headache, fever, and myalgias, within a median of 8 days prior to GBS onset. Our investigation confirmed an outbreak of GBS, particularly in older adults, that was strongly associated with Zika-like illness and geo-temporally associated with ZIKV transmission, suggesting that ZIKV may result in severe neurologic complications.

A dynamic model for estimating adult female mortality from ovarian dissection data for the tsetse fly <i>Glossina pallidipes</i> Austen sampled in Zimbabwe

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Sarah F. Ackley, John W. Hargrove

Human and animal trypanosomiasis, spread by tsetse flies (Glossina spp), is a major public health concern in much of sub-Saharan Africa. The basic reproduction number of vector-borne diseases, such as trypanosomiasis, is a function of vector mortality rate. Robust methods for estimating tsetse mortality are thus of interest for understanding population and disease dynamics and for optimal control. Existing methods for estimating mortality in adult tsetse, from ovarian dissection data, often use invalid assumptions of the existence of a stable age distribution, and age-invariant mortality and capture probability. We develop a dynamic model to estimate tsetse mortality from ovarian dissection data in populations where the age distribution is not necessarily stable. The models correspond to several hypotheses about how temperature affects mortality: no temperature dependence (model 1), identical temperature dependence for mature adults and immature stages, i.e., pupae and newly emerged adults (model 2), and differential temperature dependence for mature adults and immature stages (model 3). We fit our models to ovarian dissection data for G. pallidipes collected at Rekomitjie Research Station in the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe. We compare model fits to determine the most probable model, given the data, by calculating the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) for each model. The model that allows for a differential dependence of temperature on mortality for immature stages and mature adults (model 3) performs significantly better than models 1 and 2. All models produce mortality estimates, for mature adults, of approximately 3% per day for mean daily temperatures below 25°C, consistent with those of mark-recapture studies performed in other settings. For temperatures greater than 25°C, mortality among immature classes of tsetse increases substantially, whereas mortality remains roughly constant for mature adults. As a sensitivity analysis, model 3 was simultaneously fit to both the ovarian dissection and trap data; while this fit also produces comparable mortality at temperatures below 25°C, it is not possible to obtain good fits to both data sources simultaneously, highlighting the uncertain correspondence between trap catches and population levels and/or the need for further improvements to our model. The modelling approach employed here could be applied to any substantial time series of age distribution data.

Spatial distribution, <i>Leishmania</i> species and clinical traits of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis cases in the Colombian army

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 29 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Luz H. Patino, Claudia Mendez, Omaira Rodriguez, Yanira Romero, Daniel Velandia, Maria Alvarado, Julie Pérez, Maria Clara Duque, Juan David Ramírez

In Colombia, the cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common manifestation across the army personnel. Hence, it is mandatory to determine the species associated with the disease as well as the association with the clinical traits. A total of 273 samples of male patients with CL were included in the study and clinical data of the patients was studied. PCR and sequencing analyses (Cytb and HSP70 genes) was performed to identify the species and the intra-specific genetic variability. A georeferenced database was constructed to identify the spatial distribution of Leishmania species isolated. The identification of five species of Leishmania that circulate in the areas where army personnel are deployed is described. Predominant infecting Leishmania species corresponds to L. braziliensis (61.1%), followed by Leishmania panamensis (33.5%), with a high distribution of both species at geographical and municipal level. The species L. guyanensis, L. mexicana and L. lainsoni were also detected at lower frequency. We also showed the identification of different genotypes within L. braziliensis and L. panamensis. In conclusion, we identified the Leishmania species circulating in the areas where Colombian army personnel are deployed, as well as the high intra-specific genetic variability of L. braziliensis and L. panamensis and how these genotypes are distributed at the geographic level.

The elimination of the dengue vector, <i>Aedes aegypti</i>, from Brisbane, Australia: The role of surveillance, larval habitat removal and policy

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 28 August 2017 - 9:00pm

by Brendan J. Trewin, Jonathan M. Darbro, Cassie C. Jansen, Nancy A. Schellhorn, Myron P. Zalucki, Tim P. Hurst, Gregor J. Devine

Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) is a highly invasive mosquito whose global distribution has fluctuated dramatically over the last 100 years. In Australia the distribution of Ae. aegypti once spanned the eastern seaboard, for 3,000 km north to south. However, during the 1900s this distribution markedly reduced and the mosquito disappeared from its southern range. Numerous hypotheses have been proffered for this retraction, however quantitative evidence of the mechanisms driving the disappearance are lacking. We examine historical records during the period when Ae. aegypti disappeared from Brisbane, the largest population centre in Queensland, Australia. In particular, we focus on the targeted management of Ae. aegypti by government authorities, that led to local elimination, something rarely observed in large cities. Numerous factors are likely to be responsible including the removal of larval habitat, especially domestic rainwater tanks, in combination with increased mosquito surveillance and regulatory enforcement. This account of historical events as they pertain to the elimination of Ae. aegypti from Brisbane, will inform assessments of the risks posed by recent human responses to climate change and the reintroduction of 300,000 rainwater tanks into the State over the past decade.

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