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Dynamic spatiotemporal analysis of indigenous dengue fever at street-level in Guangzhou City, China

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 21 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Kangkang Liu, Yanshan Zhu, Yao Xia, Yingtao Zhang, Xiaodong Huang, Jiawei Huang, Enqiong Nie, Qinlong Jing, Guoling Wang, Zhicong Yang, Wenbiao Hu, Jiahai Lu

Background

This study aimed to investigate the spatiotemporal clustering and socio-environmental factors associated with dengue fever (DF) incidence rates at street level in Guangzhou City, China.

Methods

Spatiotemporal scan technique was applied to identify the high risk region of DF. Multiple regression model was used to identify the socio-environmental factors associated with DF infection. A Poisson regression model was employed to examine the spatiotemporal patterns in the spread of DF.

Results

Spatial clusters of DF were primarily concentrated at the southwest part of Guangzhou City. Age group (65+ years) (Odd Ratio (OR) = 1.49, 95% Confidence Interval = 1.13 to 2.03), floating population (OR = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.15), low-education (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.16) and non-agriculture (OR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.11) were associated with DF transmission. Poisson regression results indicated that changes in DF incidence rates were significantly associated with longitude (β = -5.08, P<0.01) and latitude (β = -1.99, P<0.01).

Conclusions

The study demonstrated that social-environmental factors may play an important role in DF transmission in Guangzhou. As geographic range of notified DF has significantly expanded over recent years, an early warning systems based on spatiotemporal model with socio-environmental is urgently needed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of dengue control and prevention.

Antimony susceptibility of <i>Leishmania</i> isolates collected over a 30-year period in Algeria

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 21 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Naouel Eddaikra, Khatima Ait-Oudhia, Ihcen Kherrachi, Bruno Oury, Farida Moulti-Mati, Razika Benikhlef, Zoubir Harrat, Denis Sereno

Background

In Algeria, the treatment of visceral and cutaneous leishmanioses (VL and CL) has been and continues to be based on antimony-containing drugs. It is suspected that high drug selective pressure might favor the emergence of chemoresistant parasites. Although treatment failure is frequently reported during antimonial therapy of both CL and VL, antimonial resistance has never been thoroughly investigated in Algeria. Determining the level of antimonial susceptibility, amongst Leishmania transmitted in Algeria, is of great importance for the development of public health policies.

Methodology/Principal findings

Within the framework of the knowledge about the epidemiology of VL and CL amassed during the last 30 years, we sampled Leishmania isolates to determine their susceptibility to antimony. We analyzed a total of 106 isolates including 88 isolates collected between 1976 and 2013 in Algeria from humans, dogs, rodents, and phlebotomines and 18 collected from dogs in France. All the Algerian isolates were collected in 14 localities where leishmaniasis is endemic. The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of potassium antimony tartrate (the trivalent form of antimony, Sb(III)) and sodium stibogluconate (the pentavalent form of antimony, Sb(V)) were determined in promastigotes and intramacrophage amastigotes, respectively. The epidemiological cutoff (ECOFF) that allowed us to differentiate between Leishmania species causing cutaneous or visceral leishmaniases that were susceptible (S+) or insusceptible (S-) to the trivalent form of antimony was determined. The computed IC50 cutoff values were 23.83 μg/mL and 15.91 μg/mL for VL and CL, respectively. We report a trend of increasing antimony susceptibility in VL isolates during the 30-year period. In contrast, an increase in the frequency of S- phenotypes in isolates causing CL was observed during the same period. In our study, the emergence of S- phenotypes correlates with the inclusion of L. killicki (syn: L. tropica) isolates that cause cutaneous leishmaniasis and that have emerged in Algeria during the last decade.

Conclusion/Significance

Our results provide insight into the spatiotemporal dynamics of Leishmania antimony susceptibility in Algeria. We highlight the need for the future implementation of an effective methodology to determine the antimony susceptibility status of Leishmania isolates to detect the emergence of and prevent the dissemination of drug-resistant strains.

Model-based inference from multiple dose, time course data reveals <i>Wolbachia</i> effects on infection profiles of type 1 dengue virus in <i>Aedes aegypti</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 20 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Caetano Souto-Maior, Gabriel Sylvestre, Fernando Braga Stehling Dias, M. Gabriela M. Gomes, Rafael Maciel-de-Freitas

Infection is a complex and dynamic process involving a population of invading microbes, the host and its responses, aimed at controlling the situation. Depending on the purpose and level of organization, infection at the organism level can be described by a process as simple as a coin toss, or as complex as a multi-factorial dynamic model; the former, for instance, may be adequate as a component of a population model, while the latter is necessary for a thorough description of the process beginning with a challenge with an infectious inoculum up to establishment or elimination of the pathogen. Experimental readouts in the laboratory are often static, snapshots of the process, assayed under some convenient experimental condition, and therefore cannot comprehensively describe the system. Different from the discrete treatment of infection in population models, or the descriptive summarized accounts of typical lab experiments, in this manuscript, infection is treated as a dynamic process dependent on the initial conditions of the infectious challenge, viral growth, and the host response along time. Here, experimental data is generated for multiple doses of type 1 dengue virus, and pathogen levels are recorded at different points in time for two populations of mosquitoes: either carrying endosymbiont bacteria Wolbachia or not. A dynamic microbe/host-response mathematical model is used to describe pathogen growth in the face of a host response like the immune system, and to infer model parameters for the two populations of insects, revealing a slight—but potentially important—protection conferred by the symbiont.

Rabies in the Americas: 1998-2014

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 20 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Mary Freire de Carvalho, Marco A. N. Vigilato, Julio A. Pompei, Felipe Rocha, Alexandra Vokaty, Baldomero Molina Flores, Ottorino Cosivi, Victor J. Del Rio Vilas

Through national efforts and regional cooperation under the umbrella of the Regional Program for the Elimination of Rabies, dog and human rabies have decreased significantly in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries over the last three decades. To achieve this decline, LAC countries had to develop national plans, and consolidate capabilities such as regular mass dog vaccination, opportune post-exposure prophylaxis and sensitive surveillance. This paper presents longitudinal data for 21 LAC countries on dog vaccination, PEP and rabies surveillance collected from the biannual regional meeting for rabies directors from 1998–2014 and from the Regional Epidemiologic Surveillance System for Rabies (SIRVERA). Differences in human and dog rabies incidence rates and dog vaccination rates were shown between low, middle and high-income countries. At the peak, over 50 million dogs were vaccinated annually in national campaigns in the countries represented. The reported number of animal exposures remained fairly stable during the study period with an incidence rate ranging from 123 to 191 reported exposures per 100,000 people. On average, over 2 million doses of human vaccine were applied annually. In the most recent survey, only 37% of countries reported that they had sufficient financial resources to meet the program objectives. The data show a sufficient and sustained effort of the LAC countries in the area of dog vaccination and provide understanding of the baseline effort required to reduce dog-mediated rabies incidence.

Wound healing: Natural history and risk factors for delay in Australian patients treated with antibiotics for <i>Mycobacterium ulcerans</i> disease

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Daniel P. O’Brien, N. Deborah Friedman, Anthony McDonald, Peter Callan, Andrew Hughes, Aaron Walton, Eugene Athan

Background

Healing times following treatment with antibiotics, and factors that influence healing, have not been reported in Australian patients with Mycobacterium ulcerans.

Methodology/Principal findings

Healing times were determined for all M. ulcerans cases treated by a single physician with antibiotics at Barwon Health, Victoria, from 1/1/13-31/12/16. Lesions were categorised by induration size: category A ≤ 400mm2, Category B 401-1600mm2 and Category C ≥1601mm2. A logistic regression analysis was performed to determine risk factors for prolonged wound healing (>150 days from antibiotic commencement).163 patients were included; 92 (56.4%) were male and median age was 58 years (IQR 39–73 years). Baseline lesion size [available in 145 (89.0%) patients] was categorised as A in 46 (31.7%), B in 67 (46.2%) and C in 32 (22.1%) patients. Fifty (30.7%) patients had surgery. In those treated with antibiotics alone, 83.0% experienced a reduction in induration size after 2 weeks, then 70.9% experienced an increase in induration size from the lowest point, and 71.7% experienced an increase in ulceration size. A linear relationship existed between the time induration resolved and wound healing began.Median time to heal was 91 days (IQR 70–148 days) for category A lesions; significantly shorter than for category B lesions (128 days, IQR 91–181 days, p = 0.05) and category C lesions (169 days, IQR 159–214 days, p<0.001). Fifty-seven (35.0%) patients experienced a paradoxical reaction. Of those treated with antibiotics alone, lesions experiencing a paradoxical reaction had longer healing times [median time to heal 177 days (IQR 154–224 days) compared to 107 days (IQR 79–153 days), p<0.001]. On multivariable logistic regression, lesion size at baseline (p<0.001) and paradoxical reactions (p<0.001) were independently associated with prolonged healing times.For category A and B lesions, healing time was significantly shorter with antibiotics plus excision and direct closure compared with antibiotics alone [Category A lesions median 55 days (IQR 21–63 days) compared with 91 days (IQR 70–148 days), p<0.001; Category B lesions median 74 days (IQR 21–121 days) compared to 128 days (IQR 97–181 days), p<0.001].

Conclusions

In Australian patients treated with antibiotics M. ulcerans lesions usually initially improve, then clinically deteriorate with increased induration and ulceration, before healing after the inflammation associated with lesions resolves. The time to complete healing of lesions is generally long, and is further prolonged in those with larger initial lesion size or who develop paradoxical reactions. For small lesions (<4cm2), excisional surgery may reduce healing times.

Are the London Declaration’s 2020 goals sufficient to control Chagas disease?: Modeling scenarios for the Yucatan Peninsula

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Bruce Y. Lee, Sarah M. Bartsch, Laura Skrip, Daniel L. Hertenstein, Cameron M. Avelis, Martial Ndeffo-Mbah, Carla Tilchin, Eric O. Dumonteil, Alison Galvani

Background

The 2020 Sustainable Development goals call for 100% certified interruption or control of the three main forms of Chagas disease transmission in Latin America. However, how much will achieving these goals to varying degrees control Chagas disease; what is the potential impact of missing these goals and if they are achieved, what may be left?

Methods

We developed a compartmental simulation model that represents the triatomine, human host, and non-human host populations and vector-borne, congenital, and transfusional T. cruzi transmission between them in the domestic and peridomestic settings to evaluate the impact of limiting transmission in a 2,000 person virtual village in Yucatan, Mexico.

Results

Interruption of domestic vectorial transmission had the largest impact on T. cruzi transmission and prevalence in all populations. Most of the gains were achieved within the first few years. Controlling vectorial transmission resulted in a 46.1–83.0% relative reduction in the number of new acute Chagas cases for a 50–100% interruption in domestic vector-host contact. Only controlling congenital transmission led to a 2.4–8.1% (30–100% interruption) relative reduction in the total number of new acute cases and reducing only transfusional transmission led to a 0.1–0.3% (30–100% reduction). Stopping all three forms of transmission resulted in 0.5 total transmission events over five years (compared to 5.0 with no interruption); interrupting all forms by 30% resulted in 3.4 events over five years per 2,000 persons.

Conclusions

While reducing domestic vectorial, congenital, and transfusional transmission can successfully reduce transmission to humans (up to 82% in one year), achieving the 2020 goals would still result in 0.5 new acute cases per 2,000 over five years. Even if the goals are missed, major gains can be achieved within the first few years. Interrupting transmission should be combined with other efforts such as a vaccine or improved access to care, especially for the population of already infected individuals.

Group A Streptococcus pharyngitis and pharyngeal carriage: A meta-analysis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Jane Oliver, Erandi Malliya Wadu, Nevil Pierse, Nicole J. Moreland, Deborah A. Williamson, Michael G. Baker

Objective

Antibiotic treatment of Group A Streptococcus (GAS) pharyngitis is important in acute rheumatic fever (ARF) prevention, however clinical guidelines for prescription vary. GAS carriers with acute viral infections may receive antibiotics unnecessarily. This review assessed the prevalence of GAS pharyngitis and carriage in different settings.

Methods

A random-effects meta-analysis was performed. Prevalence estimates for GAS+ve pharyngitis, serologically-confirmed GAS pharyngitis and asymptomatic pharyngeal carriage were generated. Findings were stratified by age group, recruitment method and country income level. Medline and EMBASE databases were searched for relevant literature published between 1 January 1946 and 7 April 2017. Studies reporting prevalence data on GAS+ve or serologically-confirmed GAS pharyngitis that stated participants exhibited symptoms of pharyngitis or upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) were included. Included studies reporting the prevalence of asymptomatic GAS carriage needed to state participants were asymptomatic.

Results

285 eligible studies were identified. The prevalence of GAS+ve pharyngitis was 24.1% (95% CI: 22.6–25.6%) in clinical settings (which used ‘passive recruitment’ methods), but less in sore throat management programmes (which used ‘active recruitment’, 10.0%, 8.1–12.4%). GAS+ve pharyngitis was more prevalent in high-income countries (24.3%, 22.6–26.1%) compared with low/middle-income countries (17.6%, 14.9–20.7%). In clinical settings, approximately 10% of children swabbed with a sore throat have serologically-confirmed GAS pharyngitis, but this increases to around 50–60% when the child is GAS culture-positive. The prevalence of serologically-confirmed GAS pharyngitis was 10.3% (6.6–15.7%) in children from high-income countries and their asymptomatic GAS carriage prevalence was 10.5% (8.4–12.9%). A lower carriage prevalence was detected in children from low/middle income countries (5.9%, 4.3–8.1%).

Conclusions

In active sore throat management programmes, if the prevalence of GAS detection approaches the asymptomatic carriage rate (around 6–11%), there may be little benefit from antibiotic treatment as the majority of culture-positive patients are likely carriers.

The incubation period of Buruli ulcer (<i>Mycobacterium ulcerans</i> infection) in Victoria, Australia – Remains similar despite changing geographic distribution of disease

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Michael J. Loftus, Jason A. Trubiano, Ee Laine Tay, Caroline J. Lavender, Maria Globan, Janet A. M. Fyfe, Paul D. R. Johnson

Background

Buruli ulcer (BU) is a geographically-restricted infection caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans; contact with an endemic region is the primary risk factor for disease acquisition. Globally, efforts to estimate the incubation period of BU are often hindered as most patients reside permanently in endemic areas. However, in the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria, a significant proportion of people who acquire BU are visitors to endemic regions. During a sustained outbreak of BU on the Bellarine peninsula we estimated a mean incubation period of 4.5 months. Since then cases on the Bellarine peninsula have declined but a new endemic area has developed centred on the Mornington peninsula.

Method

Retrospective review of 443 cases of BU notified in Victoria between 2013 and 2016. Telephone interviews were performed to identify all cases with a single visit to an endemic region, or multiple visits within a one month period. The incubation period was defined as the time between exposure to an endemic region and symptom onset. Data were subsequently combined with those from our earlier study incorporating cases from 2002 to 2012.

Results

Among the 20 new cases identified in short-term visitors, the mean incubation period was 143 days (4.8 months), very similar to the previous estimate of 135 days (4.5 months). This was despite the predominant exposure location shifting from the Bellarine peninsula to the Mornington peninsula. We found no association between incubation period and age, sex, location of exposure, duration of exposure to an endemic region or location of BU lesion.

Conclusions

Our study confirms the mean incubation period of BU in Victoria to be between 4 and 5 months. This knowledge can guide clinicians and suggests that the mode of transmission of BU is similar in different geographic regions in Victoria.

Thai-Lepto-on-admission probability (THAI-LEPTO) score as an early tool for initial diagnosis of leptospirosis: Result from Thai-Lepto AKI study group

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Theerapon Sukmark, Nuttha Lumlertgul, Sadudee Peerapornratana, Kamol Khositrangsikun, Kriang Tungsanga, Visith Sitprija, Nattachai Srisawat, Thai-Lepto AKI study group

Background

Leptospirosis is one of the most important zoonosis in the tropics. Currently, specific laboratory diagnostic test for leptospirosis such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or direct culture cannot be applied at the primary care setting especially in the resource- limited countries. Therefore, clinical presentation and laboratory examination are still the primary diagnostic tools for leptospirosis.

Objectives

To detect clinical factors for predicting leptospirosis in suspected cases, and to create a clinical prediction score (THAI-LEPTO) that is practical and easy to use in general practice while awaiting laboratory results.

Materials & methods

We performed a prospective multicenter study with a development and a validation cohort of patients presenting with clinical suspicion of leptospirosis as per the WHO clinical criteria. The development cohort was conducted at 11 centers in 8 provinces around Thailand. The validation cohort was conducted at 4 centers in 1 province from the Northeastern part of Thailand. Leptospirosis confirmed cases were defined if any one of the tests were positive: microscopic agglutination test, direct culture, or PCR technique. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify predictors of leptospirosis. The clinical prediction score was derived from the regression coefficients (original) or from the odds ratio values (simplified). We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis to evaluate the diagnostic ability of our score and to find the optimal cutoff values of the score. We used a validation cohort to evaluate the accuracy of our methods.

Results

In the development cohort, we enrolled 221 leptospirosis suspected cases and analyzed 211. Among those, 105 (50%) were leptospirosis confirmed cases. In logistic regression adjusted for age, gender, day of fever, and one clinical factor at a time, leptospirosis group had more hypotension OR = 2.76 (95% CI 1.07–7.10), jaundice OR = 3.40 (95%CI 1.48–8.44), muscle pain OR = 2.12 (95%CI 1.06–4.26), acute kidney injury (AKI) OR = 2.90 (95%CI 1.31–6.15), low hemoglobin OR = 3.48 (95%CI 1.72–7.04), and hypokalemia with hyponatremia OR = 3.56 (95%CI 1.17–10.84) than non-leptospirosis group. The abovementioned factors along with neutrophilia and pulmonary opacity were used in the development of the score. The simplified score with 7 variables was the summation of the odds ratio values as follows: hypotension 3, jaundice 2, muscle pain 2, AKI 1.5, low hemoglobin 3, hypokalemia with hyponatremia 3, and neutrophilia 1. The score showed the highest discriminatory power with area under the curve (AUC) 0.82 (95%CI 0.67–0.97) on fever day 3–4. In the validation cohort we enrolled 96 leptospirosis suspected cases and analyzed 92. Of those, 69 (75%) were leptospirosis confirmed cases. The performance of the simplified score with 7 variables at a cutoff of 4 was AUC 0.78 (95%CI 0.68–0.89); sensitivity 73.5; specificity 73.7; positive predictive value 87.8; negative predictive value 58.3.

Conclusions

THAI-LEPTO score is a newly developed diagnostic tool for early presumptive diagnosis of leptospirosis in patients presenting with severe clinical suspicion of the disease. The score can easily be applied at the point of care while awaiting confirmatory laboratory results. Each predictor used has been supported by evidence of clinical and pathophysiological correlation.

Temporal trends in Human T-Lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) incidence in Martinique over 25 years (1986-2010)

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 19 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Stephane Olindo, Severine Jeannin, Martine Saint-Vil, Aissatou Signate, Mireille Edimonana-Kaptue, Julien Joux, Harold Merle, Pascale Richard, Samuel Granjeaud, Philippe Cabre, Didier Smadja, Raymond Cesaire, Agnes Lezin

Background

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has been discovered in 1980 and has been linked to tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) in 1985 in Martinique. There is no data on HAM/TSP incidence trends. We report, in the present work, the temporal trends incidence of HAM/TSP in Martinique over 25 years.

Methods

Martinique is a Caribbean French West Indies island deserved by a unique Neurology Department involved in HAM/TSP diagnosis and management. A registry has been set up since 1986 and patients diagnosed for a HAM/TSP were prospectively registered. Only patients with a definite HAM/TSP onset between 1986 and 2010 were included in the present study. The 25-year study time was stratified in five-year periods. Crude incidence rates with 95% confidence interval (95%CI) were calculated using Poisson distribution for each period. Age-standardized rates were calculated using the direct method and the Martinique population census of 1990 as reference. Standardized incidence rate ratios with 95% CIs and P trends were assessed from simple Poisson regression models. Number of HTLV-1 infection among first-time blood donors was retrospectively collected from the central computer data system of the Martinique blood bank. The HTLV-1 seroprevalence into this population has been calculated for four 5-year periods between 1996 and 2015.

Results

Overall, 153 patients were identified (mean age at onset, 53+/-13.1 years; female:male ratio, 4:1). Crude HAM/TSP incidence rates per 100,000 per 5 years (95%CI) in 1986–1990, 1991–1995, 1996–2000, 2001–2005 and 2006–2010 periods were 10.01 (6.78–13.28), 13.02 (9.34–16.70), 11.54 (8.13–14.95), 4.27 (2.24–6.28) and 2.03 (0.62–3.43). Age-standardized 5-year incidence rates significantly decreased by 69% and 87% in 2001–2005 and 2006–2010 study periods. Patients characteristics did not differ regarding 1986–2000 and 2001–2010 onset periods. Between 1996–2000 and 2011–2015 study periods, the HTLV-1 seroprevalence significantly decreased by 63%.

Conclusion

Martinique faces a sudden and rapid decline of HAM/TSP incidence from 2001 in comparison to 1986–2000 periods. Reduction of HTLV-1 seroprevalence, that may result from transmission prevention strategy, could account for HAM/TSP incidence decrease.

Development and evaluation of a novel high-throughput image-based fluorescent neutralization test for detection of Zika virus infection

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Andrea Cristine Koishi, Andréia Akemi Suzukawa, Camila Zanluca, Daria Elena Camacho, Guillermo Comach, Claudia Nunes Duarte dos Santos

Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arbovirus belonging to the genus flavivirus that comprises other important public health viruses, such as dengue (DENV) and yellow fever (YFV). In general, ZIKV infection is a self-limiting disease, however cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and congenital brain abnormalities in newborn infants have been reported. Diagnosing ZIKV infection remains a challenge, as viral RNA detection is only applicable until a few days after the onset of symptoms. After that, serological tests must be applied, and, as expected, high cross-reactivity between ZIKV and other flavivirus serology is observed. Plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) is indicated to confirm positive samples for being more specific, however it is laborious intensive and time consuming, representing a major bottleneck for patient diagnosis. To overcome this limitation, we developed a high-throughput image-based fluorescent neutralization test for ZIKV infection by serological detection. Using 226 human specimens, we showed that the new test presented higher throughput than traditional PRNT, maintaining the correlation between results. Furthermore, when tested with dengue virus samples, it showed 50.53% less cross reactivity than MAC-ELISA. This fluorescent neutralization test could be used for clinical diagnosis confirmation of ZIKV infection, as well as for vaccine clinical trials and seroprevalence studies.

Q fever in Spain: Description of a new series, and systematic review

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Vanesa Alende-Castro, Cristina Macía-Rodríguez, Ignacio Novo-Veleiro, Xana García-Fernández, Mercedes Treviño-Castellano, Sergio Rodríguez-Fernández, Arturo González-Quintela

Background

Forms of presentation of Q fever vary widely across Spain, with differences between the north and south. In the absence of reported case series from Galicia (north-west Spain), this study sought to describe a Q-fever case series in this region for the first time, and conduct a systematic review to analyse all available data on the disease in Spain.

Methods

Patients with positive serum antibodies to Coxiella burnetii from a single institution over a 5-year period (January 2011-December 2015) were included. Patients with phase II titres above 1/128 (or documented seroconversion) and compatible clinical criterial were considered as having Q fever. Patients with clinical suspicion of chronic Q-fever and IgG antibodies to phase I-antigen of over 1/1024, or persistently high levels six months after treatment were considered to be cases of probable chronic Q-fever. Systematic review: We conducted a search of the Pubmed/Medline database using the terms: Q Fever OR Coxiella burnetii AND Spain. Our search yielded a total of 318 studies: 244 were excluded because they failed to match the main criteria, and 41 were discarded due to methodological problems, incomplete information or duplication. Finally, 33 studies were included.

Results

A total of 155 patients, all of them from Galicia, with positive serological determination were located during the study period; 116 (75%) were deemed to be serologically positive patients without Q fever and the remaining 39 (25%) were diagnosed with Q fever. A potential exposure risk was found in 2 patients (5%). The most frequent form of presentation was pneumonia (87%), followed by isolated fever (5%), diarrhoea (5%) and endocarditis (3%). The main symptoms were headache (100%), cough (77%) and fever (69%). A trend to a paucisymptomatic illness was observed in women. Hospital admission was required in 37 cases, and 6 patients died while in hospital. Only 2 patients developed chronic Q-fever. Systematic review: Most cases were sporadic, mainly presented during the winter and spring, as pneumonia in 37%, hepatitis in 31% and isolated fever in 29.6% of patients. In the north of Spain, 71% of patients had pneumonia, 13.2% isolated fever and 13% hepatitis. In the central and southern areas, isolated fever was the most frequent form of presentation (40%), followed by hepatitis (38.4%) and pneumonia (17.6%). Only 31.7% of patients reported risk factors, and an urban-environment was the most frequent place of origin. Overall mortality was 0.9%, and the percentage of patients with chronic forms of Q-fever was 2%.

Conclusions

This is the first study to report on a Q-fever case series in Galicia. It shows that in this region, the disease affects the elderly population -even in the absence of risk factors- and is linked to a higher mortality than reported by previous studies. While pneumonia is the most frequent form of presentation in the north of the country, isolated fever and hepatitis tend to be more frequent in the central and southern areas. In Spain, 32% of Q-fever cases do not report contact with traditional risk factors, and around 58% live in urban areas.

Association between gastrointestinal tract infections and glycated hemoglobin in school children of poor neighborhoods in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Nan Shwe Nwe Htun, Peter Odermatt, Ivan Müller, Peiling Yap, Peter Steinmann, Christian Schindler, Markus Gerber, Rosa Du Randt, Cheryl Walter, Uwe Pühse, Jürg Utzinger, Nicole Probst-Hensch

Background

Low- and middle-income countries are facing a dual disease burden with infectious diseases (e.g., gastrointestinal tract infections) and non-communicable diseases (e.g., diabetes) being common. For instance, chronic parasite infections lead to altered immune regulatory networks, anemia, malnutrition, and diarrhea with an associated shift in the gut microbiome. These can all be pathways of potential relevance for insulin resistance and diabetes. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between common gastrointestinal tract infections and glycemia in children from non-fee paying schools in South Africa.

Methodology

We conducted a cross-sectional survey among 9- to 14-year-old school children in Port Elizabeth. Stool and urine samples were collected to assess infection status with parasitic worms (e.g., Ascaris lumbricoides, Enterobius vermicularis, and Trichuris trichiura), intestinal protozoa (e.g., Cryptosporidium parvum and Giardia intestinalis), and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) was measured in finger prick derived capillary blood. All children at schools with a high prevalence of helminth infections and only infected children at the schools with low infection rates were treated with albendazole. The association of anthelmintic treatment with changes in HbA1c 6 months after the drug intervention was also investigated.

Findings

A high prevalence of 71.8% of prediabetes was measured in this group of children, with only 27.8% having HbA1c in the normal range. Helicobacter pylori was the predominant infectious agent and showed an independent positive association with HbA1c in a multivariable regression analysis (β = 0.040, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.006–0.073, p<0.05). No association of HbA1c with either any other infectious agent or albendazole administration was found.

Conclusion

The role of H. pylori in diabetes needs confirmation in the context of longitudinal treatment interventions. The specific effect of other gastrointestinal tract infections on glycemia remains unclear. Future studies should integrate the measurement of biomarkers, including immunological parameters, to shed light on the potential mediating mechanisms between parasite infections and diabetes.

Spatio-temporal coherence of dengue, chikungunya and Zika outbreaks in Merida, Mexico

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Donal Bisanzio, Felipe Dzul-Manzanilla, Hector Gomez-Dantés, Norma Pavia-Ruz, Thomas J. Hladish, Audrey Lenhart, Jorge Palacio-Vargas, Jesus F. González Roldan, Fabian Correa-Morales, Gustavo Sánchez-Tejeda, Pablo Kuri Morales, Pablo Manrique-Saide, Ira M. Longini, M. Elizabeth Halloran, Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec

Response to Zika virus (ZIKV) invasion in Brazil lagged a year from its estimated February 2014 introduction, and was triggered by the occurrence of severe congenital malformations. Dengue (DENV) and chikungunya (CHIKV) invasions tend to show similar response lags. We analyzed geo-coded symptomatic case reports from the city of Merida, Mexico, with the goal of assessing the utility of historical DENV data to infer CHIKV and ZIKV introduction and propagation. About 42% of the 40,028 DENV cases reported during 2008–2015 clustered in 27% of the city, and these clustering areas were where the first CHIKV and ZIKV cases were reported in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Furthermore, the three viruses had significant agreement in their spatio-temporal distribution (Kendall W>0.63; p<0.01). Longitudinal DENV data generated patterns indicative of the resulting introduction and transmission patterns of CHIKV and ZIKV, leading to important insights for the surveillance and targeted control to emerging Aedes-borne viruses.

The seasonal influence of climate and environment on yellow fever transmission across Africa

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Arran Hamlet, Kévin Jean, William Perea, Sergio Yactayo, Joseph Biey, Maria Van Kerkhove, Neil Ferguson, Tini Garske

Background

Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a vector-borne flavivirus endemic to Africa and Latin America. Ninety per cent of the global burden occurs in Africa where it is primarily transmitted by Aedes spp, with Aedes aegypti the main vector for urban yellow fever (YF). Mosquito life cycle and viral replication in the mosquito are heavily dependent on climate, particularly temperature and rainfall. We aimed to assess whether seasonal variations in climatic factors are associated with the seasonality of YF reports.

Methodology/Principal findings

We constructed a temperature suitability index for YFV transmission, capturing the temperature dependence of mosquito behaviour and viral replication within the mosquito. We then fitted a series of multilevel logistic regression models to a dataset of YF reports across Africa, considering location and seasonality of occurrence for seasonal models, against the temperature suitability index, rainfall and the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) as covariates alongside further demographic indicators. Model fit was assessed by the Area Under the Curve (AUC), and models were ranked by Akaike’s Information Criterion which was used to weight model outputs to create combined model predictions. The seasonal model accurately captured both the geographic and temporal heterogeneities in YF transmission (AUC = 0.81), and did not perform significantly worse than the annual model which only captured the geographic distribution. The interaction between temperature suitability and rainfall accounted for much of the occurrence of YF, which offers a statistical explanation for the spatio-temporal variability in transmission.

Conclusions/Significance

The description of seasonality offers an explanation for heterogeneities in the West-East YF burden across Africa. Annual climatic variables may indicate a transmission suitability not always reflected in seasonal interactions. This finding, in conjunction with forecasted data, could highlight areas of increased transmission and provide insights into the occurrence of large outbreaks, such as those seen in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil.

House screening with insecticide-treated netting provides sustained reductions in domestic populations of <i>Aedes aegypti</i> in Merida, Mexico

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Azael Che-Mendoza, Anuar Medina-Barreiro, Edgar Koyoc-Cardeña, Valentín Uc-Puc, Yamili Contreras-Perera, Josué Herrera-Bojórquez, Felipe Dzul-Manzanilla, Fabian Correa-Morales, Hilary Ranson, Audrey Lenhart, Philip J. McCall, Axel Kroeger, Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, Pablo Manrique-Saide

Background

There is a need for effective methods to control Aedes aegypti and prevent the transmission of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika viruses. Insecticide treated screening (ITS) is a promising approach, particularly as it targets adult mosquitoes to reduce human-mosquito contact.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluated the entomological efficacy of ITS based intervention, which consisted of the installation of pyrethroid-impregnated long-lasting insecticide-treated netting material fixed as framed screens on external doors and windows. A total of 10 treatment and 10 control clusters (100 houses/cluster) were distributed throughout the city of Merida, Mexico. Cross-sectional entomological surveys quantified indoor adult mosquito infestation at baseline (pre-intervention) and throughout four post-intervention (PI) surveys spaced at 6-month intervals corresponding to dry/rainy seasons over two years (2012–2014). A total of 844 households from intervention clusters (86% coverage) were protected with ITS at the start of the trial. Significant reductions in the indoor presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti adults (OR = 0.48 and IRR = 0.45, P<0.05 respectively) and the indoor presence and abundance of Ae. aegypti female mosquitoes (OR = 0.47 and IRR = 0.44, P<0.05 respectively) were detected in intervention clusters compared to controls. This high level of protective effect was sustained for up to 24 months PI. Insecticidal activity of the ITS material declined with time, with ~70% mortality being demonstrated in susceptible mosquito cohorts up to 24 months after installation.

Conclusions/Significance

The strong and sustained entomological impact observed in this study demonstrates the potential of house screening as a feasible, alternative approach to a sustained long-term impact on household infestations of Ae. aegypti. Larger trials quantifying the effectiveness of ITS on epidemiological endpoints are warranted and therefore recommended.

The diagnosis and treatment introspection of the first imported case of atypical cerebral schistosomiasis in Guangzhou city

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 15 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Yuehong Wei, Na Huang, Shouyi Chen, Dehao Chen, Xiaoning Li, Jianmin Xu, Zhicong Yang

Host gene expression profiles in ferrets infected with genetically distinct Henipavirus strains

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 14 March 2018 - 9:00pm

by Alberto J. Leon, Viktoriya Borisevich, Nahal Boroumand, Robert Seymour, Rebecca Nusbaum, Olivier Escaffre, Luoling Xu, David J. Kelvin, Barry Rockx

Henipavirus infection causes severe respiratory and neurological disease in humans that can be fatal. To characterize the pathogenic mechanisms of henipavirus infection in vivo, we performed experimental infections in ferrets followed by genome-wide gene expression analysis of lung and brain tissues. The Hendra, Nipah-Bangladesh, and Nipah-Malaysia strains caused severe respiratory and neurological disease with animals succumbing around 7 days post infection. Despite the presence of abundant viral shedding, animal-to-animal transmission did not occur. The host gene expression profiles of the lung tissue showed early activation of interferon responses and subsequent expression of inflammation-related genes that coincided with the clinical deterioration. Additionally, the lung tissue showed unchanged levels of lymphocyte markers and progressive downregulation of cell cycle genes and extracellular matrix components. Infection in the brain resulted in a limited breadth of the host responses, which is in accordance with the immunoprivileged status of this organ. Finally, we propose a model of the pathogenic mechanisms of henipavirus infection that integrates multiple components of the host responses.

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