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Molecular evidence of sequential evolution of DDT- and pyrethroid-resistant sodium channel in <i>Aedes aegypti</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 3 June 2019 - 9:00pm

by Mengli Chen, Yuzhe Du, Shaoying Wu, Yoshiko Nomura, Guonian Zhu, Boris S. Zhorov, Ke Dong

Background

Multiple mutations in the voltage-gated sodium channel have been associated with knockdown resistance (kdr) to DDT and pyrethroid insecticides in a major human disease vector Aedes aegypti. One mutation, V1016G, confers sodium channel resistance to pyrethroids, but a different substitution in the same position V1016I alone had no effect. In pyrethroid-resistant Ae. aegypti populations, V1016I is often linked to another mutation, F1534C, which confers sodium channel resistance only to Type I pyrethroids including permethrin (PMT), but not to Type II pyrethroids including deltamethrin (DMT). Mosquitoes carrying both V1016G and F1534C exhibited a greater level of pyrethroid resistance than those carrying F1534C alone. More recently, a new mutation T1520I co-existing with F1534C was detected in India. However, whether V1016I or T1520I enhances pyrethroid resistance of sodium channels carrying F1534C remains unknown.

Methodology/Principal findings

V1016I, V1016G, T1520I and F1534C substitutions were introduced alone and in various combinations into AaNav1-1, a sodium channel from Aedes aegypti. The mutant channels were then expressed in Xenopus oocytes and examined for channel properties and sensitivity to pyrethroids using the two-electrode voltage clamping technique. The results showed that V1016I or T1520I alone did not alter the AaNav1-1 sensitivity to PMT or DMT. However, the double mutant T1520I+F1534C was more resistant to PMT than F1534C, but remained sensitive to DMT. In contrast, the double mutant V1016I+F1534C was resistant to DMT and more resistant to PMT than F1534C. Furthermore, V1016I/G and F1534C channels, but not T1520I, were resistant to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT). Cryo-EM structures of sodium channels suggest that T1520I allosterically deforms geometry of the pyrethroid receptor site PyR1 in AaNav1-1. The small deformation does not affect binding of DDT, PMT or DMT, but in combination with F1534C it increases the channel resistance to PMT and DDT.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data corroborated the previously proposed sequential selection of kdr mutations in Ae. aegypti. We proposed that mutation F1534C first emerged in response to DDT/pyrethroids providing a platform for subsequent selection of mutations V1016I and T1520I that confer greater and broader spectrum of pyrethroid resistance.

Oral immunization with a probiotic cholera vaccine induces broad protective immunity against <i>Vibrio cholerae</i> colonization and disease in mice

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Brandon Sit, Ting Zhang, Bolutife Fakoya, Aklima Akter, Rajib Biswas, Edward T. Ryan, Matthew K. Waldor

Oral cholera vaccines (OCVs) are being increasingly employed, but current killed formulations generally require multiple doses and lack efficacy in young children. We recently developed a new live-attenuated OCV candidate (HaitiV) derived from a Vibrio cholerae strain isolated during the 2010 Haiti cholera epidemic. HaitiV exhibited an unexpected probiotic-like activity in infant rabbits, preventing intestinal colonization and disease by wild-type V. cholerae before the onset of adaptive immunity. However, it remained unknown whether HaitiV would behave similarly to other OCVs to stimulate adaptive immunity against V. cholerae. Here, we orally immunized adult germ-free female mice to test HaitiV’s immunogenicity. HaitiV safely and stably colonized vaccinated mice and induced known adaptive immune correlates of cholera protection within 14 days of administration. Pups born to immunized mice were protected against lethal challenges of both homologous and heterologous V. cholerae strains. Cross-fostering experiments revealed that protection was not dependent on vaccine colonization in or transmission to the pups. These findings demonstrate the protective immunogenicity of HaitiV and support its development as a new tool for limiting cholera.

Formative research to inform development of a new diagnostic for soil-transmitted helminths: Going beyond the laboratory to ensure access to a needed product

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Helen L. Storey, Neha Agarwal, Jason Cantera, Allison Golden, Kerry Gallo, Tara Herrick, Vicente Belizario Jr., Jimmy Kihara, Charles Mwandawiro, Bill Cadwallader, Tala de los Santos

Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) affect more than 1.5 billion people. The global strategy to control STH infections requires periodic mass drug administration (MDA) based on prevalence among populations at risk determined by diagnostic testing. Widely used copromicroscopy methods to detect infection, however, have low sensitivity as the prevalence and intensity of STH infections decline with repeated MDA. More sensitive diagnostic tools are needed to inform program decision-making. Using an integrated product development process, PATH conducted qualitative and quantitative formative research to inform the design and development of a more sensitive test for STH infections. The research, grounded in a conceptual framework for ensuring access to health products, involved stakeholder analysis, key opinion leader interviews, observational site visits of ongoing STH surveillance programs, and market research including market sizing, costing and willingness-to-pay analyses. Stakeholder analysis identified key groups and proposed strategic engagement of stakeholders during product development. Interviews highlighted features, motivations and concerns that are important for guiding design and implementation of new STH diagnostics. Process mapping outlined current STH surveillance workflows in Kenya and the Philippines. Market sizing in 2016 was estimated around half a million tests for lower STH burden countries, and 1–2 million tests for higher STH burden countries. The cost of commodities per patient for a molecular STH diagnostic may be around $10, 3–4 times higher than copromicroscopy methods, though savings may be possible in time and staffing requirements. The market is highly price sensitive as even at $5 per test, only 27% of respondents thought the test would be used by surveillance programs. A largely subsidized STH control strategy and a semi-functional Kato-Katz test may have created few incentives for manufacturers to innovate in STH diagnostics. Diverse partnerships, as well as balancing needs and expectations for new STH diagnostics are necessary to ensure access to needed products.

Rapid immunochromatographic tests for the diagnosis of chronic Chagas disease in at-risk populations: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Andrea Angheben, Dora Buonfrate, Mario Cruciani, Yves Jackson, Julio Alonso-Padilla, Joaquim Gascon, Federico Gobbi, Giovanni Giorli, Mariella Anselmi, Zeno Bisoffi

Background

Despite of a high disease burden, mainly in Latin America, Chagas disease (CD) is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) might improve the access to diagnosis. The aim of this study is to review the accuracy of commercially available RDTs used in field conditions for the diagnosis of chronic CD in populations at risk, in endemic and non-endemic countries.

Methods/Principal findings

We undertook a comprehensive search of the following databases: PubMed, SCOPUS, LILACS (last up-date on the 01st July, 2017), without language or date limits. Non-electronic sources have been also searched. This review included clinical studies with cohort recruitment of individuals at risk of T. cruzi exposure, without age limits; adequate reference standards for the diagnosis of CD. We excluded case-control studies and those testing RDTs during acute CD. Data on test accuracies were pooled through a bivariate random-effects model. Only one index test was evaluated separately. Geographical area, commercial brand, disease prevalence, study size, and risk of bias were explored as possible source of heterogeneity. Values of sensitivity and specificity were computed to obtain summary positive/negative likelihood ratios, and summary diagnostic odds ratio. Ten studies were included on six different immunochromatographic RDTs. The pooled sensitivity and specificity of the RDTs resulted 96.6% (95% CI 91.3–98.7%) and 99.3% (95% CI 98.4–99.7%), respectively. Test accuracy was particularly good in endemic areas (98.07%/99.03% of sensitivity/specificity, respectively). One test (Stat-Pak) showed an overall sensitivity of 97% (95% CI 87.6–99.3) and specificity of 99.4% (95% CI 98.6–99.8).

Conclusions/Significance

RDTs demonstrated to be sufficiently accurate to recommend their use for screening in endemic areas, even as stand-alone tests. This approach might increase the accessibility to the diagnosis. However, an additional confirmatory test in case of positive result remains a prudent approach.

Leptospirosis in sugarcane plantation and fishing communities in Kagera northwestern Tanzania

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 31 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Georgies F. Mgode, Maulid M. Japhary, Ginethon G. Mhamphi, Ireen Kiwelu, Ivan Athaide, Robert S. Machang’u

Background

Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonotic disease of worldwide importance, though relatively neglected in many African countries including sub Saharan Africa that is among areas with high burden of this disease. The disease is often mistaken for other febrile illnesses such as dengue, malaria, rickettsioses and enteric fever. Leptospirosis is an occupational disease likely to affect people working in environments prone to infestation with rodents which are the primary reservoir hosts of this disease. Some of the populations at risk include: sugarcane plantation workers, wetland farmers, fishermen and abattoir workers. In this study we investigated the prevalence of antibodies against Leptospira among sugarcane plantation and factory workers, fishing communities as well as among rodents and shrews in domestic and peridomestic environments within the study areas.

Methods

The study was conducted in Kagera region, northwestern Tanzania and it involved sugarcane plantation workers (cutters and weeders), sugar factory workers and the fishing community at Kagera Sugar Company in Missenyi district and Musira island in Lake Victoria, Kagera, respectively. Blood was collected from consenting human adults, and from rodents and shrews (insectivores) captured live using Sherman traps. Serological detection of leptospiral antibodies in blood serum was carried out by the microscopic agglutination test (MAT).

Results

A total of 455 participants were recruited from the sugarcane plantation (n = 401) and fishing community (n = 54) while 31 rodents and shrews were captured. The overall prevalence of antibodies against Leptospira in human was 15.8%. Sugarcane cutters had higher seroprevalence than other sugar factory workers. Prevalent antibodies against Leptospira serovars in humans were against serovars Lora (6.8%), Sokoine (5.3%), Pomona (2.4%), Hebdomadis (1.1%) and Kenya (0.2%). Detected leptospiral serovars in reservoir hosts were Sokoine (12.5%) and Grippotyphosa (4.2%). Serovar Sokoine was detected both in humans and small mammals.

Conclusion

Leptospirosis is a public health threat affecting populations at risk, such as sugarcane plantation workers and fishing communities. Public awareness targeting risk occupational groups is much needed for mitigation of leptospirosis in the study areas and other vulnerable populations in Tanzania and elsewhere.

A therapeutic vaccine prototype induces protective immunity and reduces cardiac fibrosis in a mouse model of chronic <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> infection

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Meagan A. Barry, Leroy Versteeg, Qian Wang, Jeroen Pollet, Bin Zhan, Fabian Gusovsky, Maria Elena Bottazzi, Peter J. Hotez, Kathryn M. Jones

Chagas disease, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, develops into chronic Chagas’ cardiomyopathy in ~30% of infected individuals, characterized by conduction disorders, arrhythmias, heart failure, and even sudden cardiac death. Current anti-parasitic treatments are plagued by significant side effects and poor efficacy in the chronic phase of disease; thus, there is a pressing need for new treatment options. A therapeutic vaccine could bolster the protective TH1-mediated immune response, thereby slowing or halting the progression of chronic Chagas’ cardiomyopathy. Prior work in mice has demonstrated therapeutic efficacy of a Tc24 recombinant protein vaccine in the acute phase of Chagas disease. However, it is anticipated that humans will be vaccinated therapeutically when in the chronic phase of disease. This study investigates the therapeutic efficacy of a vaccine prototype containing recombinant protein Tc24, formulated with an emulsion containing the Toll-like receptor 4 agonist E6020 as an immunomodulatory adjuvant in a mouse model of chronic T. cruzi infection. Among outbred ICR mice vaccinated during chronic T. cruzi infection, there is a significant increase in the number of animals with undetectable systemic parasitemia (60% of vaccinated mice compared to 0% in the sham vaccine control group), and a two-fold reduction in cardiac fibrosis over the control group. The vaccinated mice produce a robust protective TH1-biased immune response to the vaccine, as demonstrated by a significant increase in antigen-specific IFNγ-production, the number of antigen-specific IFNγ-producing cells, and IgG2a antibody titers. Importantly, therapeutic vaccination significantly reduced cardiac fibrosis in chronically infected mice. This is a first study demonstrating therapeutic efficacy of the prototype Tc24 recombinant protein and E6020 stable emulsion vaccine against cardiac fibrosis in a mouse model of chronic T. cruzi infection.

Ticks and serosurvey of anti-<i>Rickettsia</i> spp. antibodies in wild boars (<i>Sus scrofa</i>), hunting dogs and hunters of Brazil

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Louise B. Kmetiuk, Felipe S. Krawczak, Fernanda P. Machado, Igor A. D. Paploski, Thiago F. Martins, Pedro I. Teider-Junior, Maria C. A. Serpa, Amália R. M. Barbieri, Renato V. W. Bach, Ivan R. Barros-Filho, Leandro C. Lipinski, Andrea P. dos Santos, Marcelo B. Labruna, Alexander W. Biondo

Background

Rickettsia bacteria are responsible for diseases in humans and animals around the world, however few details are available regarding its ecology and circulation among wild animals and human populations at high transmission risk in Brazil. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of ticks and Rickettsia spp. in wild boars, corresponding hunting dogs and hunters.

Methods

Serum samples and ticks were collected from 80 free-range wild boars, 170 hunting dogs and 34 hunters from southern and central-western Brazil, from the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes, respectively, between 2016 and 2018. Serum samples were tested by indirect immunofluorescent-antibody assay (IFA) to detect IgG antibodies against Rickettsia rickettsii, Rickettsia parkeri, Rickettsia bellii, Rickettsia rhipicephali and Rickettsia amblyommatis. Tick species were identified by morphological taxonomic keys, as previously described. A total of 164 ticks including A. sculptum, A. brasiliense and A. aureolatum were tested in PCR assays for Spotted Fever Group (SFG) Rickettsia spp.

Results

A total of 58/80 (72.5%) wild boars, 24/170 (14.1%) hunting dogs and 5/34 (14.7%) hunters were positive (titers ≥ 64) to at least one Rickettsia species. A total of 669/1,584 (42.2%) ticks from wild boars were identified as Amblyomma sculptum, 910/1,584 (57.4%) as Amblyomma brasiliense, 4/1,584(0.24%) larvae of Amblyomma spp. and 1/1,584 (0.06%) nymph as Amblyolmma dubitatum. All 9 ticks found on hunting dogs were identified as Amblyomma aureolatum and all 22 ticks on hunters as A. sculptum. No tested tick was positive by standard PCR to SFG Rickettsia spp.

Conclusions

The present study was the concomitant report of wild boar, hunting dog and hunter exposure to SFG rickettsiae agents, performed in two different Brazilian biomes. Wild boar hunting may increase the risk of human exposure and consequently tick-borne disease Wild boars may be carrying and spreading capybara ticks from their original habitats to other ecosystems. Further studies can be required to explore the ability of wild boars to infecting ticks and be part of transmission cycle of Rickettsia spp.

Whole genome sequence of <i>Vibrio cholerae</i> directly from dried spotted filter paper

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Angèle H. M. Bénard, Etienne Guenou, Maria Fookes, Jerome Ateudjieu, Watipaso Kasambara, Matthew Siever, Stanislas Rebaudet, Jacques Boncy, Paul Adrien, Renaud Piarroux, David A. Sack, Nicholas Thomson, Amanda K. Debes

Background

Global estimates for cholera annually approximate 4 million cases worldwide with 95,000 deaths. Recent outbreaks, including Haiti and Yemen, are reminders that cholera is still a global health concern. Cholera outbreaks can rapidly induce high death tolls by overwhelming the capacity of health facilities, especially in remote areas or areas of civil unrest. Recent studies demonstrated that stool specimens preserved on filter paper facilitate molecular analysis of Vibrio cholerae in resource limited settings. Specimens preserved in a rapid, low-cost, safe and sustainable manner for sequencing provides previously unavailable data about circulating cholera strains. This may ultimately provide new information to shape public policy response on cholera control and elimination.

Methodology/Principal findings

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) recovered close to a complete sequence of the V. cholerae O1 genome with satisfactory genome coverage from stool specimens enriched in alkaline peptone water (APW) and V. cholerae culture isolates, both spotted on filter paper. The minimum concentration of V. cholerae DNA sufficient to produce quality genomic information was 0.02 ng/μL. The genomic data confirmed the presence or absence of genes of epidemiological interest, including cholera toxin and pilus loci. WGS identified a variety of diarrheal pathogens from APW-enriched specimen spotted filter paper, highlighting the potential for this technique to explore the gut microbiome, potentially identifying co-infections, which may impact the severity of disease. WGS demonstrated that these specimens fit within the current global cholera phylogenetic tree, identifying the strains as the 7th pandemic El Tor.

Conclusions

WGS results allowed for mapping of short reads from APW-enriched specimen and culture isolate spotted filter papers this provided valuable molecular epidemiological sequence information on V. cholerae strains from remote, low-resource settings. These results identified the presence of co-infecting pathogens while providing rare insight into the specific V. cholerae strains causing outbreaks in cholera-endemic areas.

<i>Chaetomium atrobrunneum</i> causing human eumycetoma: The first report

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Najwa A. Mhmoud, Antonella Santona, Maura Fiamma, Emmanuel Edwar Siddig, Massimo Deligios, Sahar Mubarak Bakhiet, Salvatore Rubino, Ahmed Hassan Fahal

Author summary: In this communication, a case of black grain eumycetoma produced by the fungus C. atrobrunneum is reported. The patient was initially misdiagnosed with M. mycetomatis eumycetoma based on the grains’ morphological and cytological features. However, further aerobic culture of the black grains generated a melanised fungus identified as C. atrobrunneum by conventional morphological methods and by internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. This is the first-ever report of C. atrobrunneum as a eumycetoma-causative organism of black grain eumycetoma. It is essential that the causative organism is identified to the species level, as this is important for proper patient management and to predict treatment outcome and prognosis.

Estimating the impact of city-wide <i>Aedes aegypti</i> population control: An observational study in Iquitos, Peru

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 30 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Robert C. Reiner Jr., Steven T. Stoddard, Gonzalo M. Vazquez-Prokopec, Helvio Astete, T. Alex Perkins, Moises Sihuincha, Jeffrey D. Stancil, David L. Smith, Tadeuz J. Kochel, Eric S. Halsey, Uriel Kitron, Amy C. Morrison, Thomas W. Scott

During the last 50 years, the geographic range of the mosquito Aedes aegypti has increased dramatically, in parallel with a sharp increase in the disease burden from the viruses it transmits, including Zika, chikungunya, and dengue. There is a growing consensus that vector control is essential to prevent Aedes-borne diseases, even as effective vaccines become available. What remains unclear is how effective vector control is across broad operational scales because the data and the analytical tools necessary to isolate the effect of vector-oriented interventions have not been available. We developed a statistical framework to model Ae. aegypti abundance over space and time and applied it to explore the impact of citywide vector control conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Iquitos, Peru, over a 12-year period. Citywide interventions involved multiple rounds of intradomicile insecticide space spray over large portions of urban Iquitos (up to 40% of all residences) in response to dengue outbreaks. Our model captured significant levels of spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal variation in Ae. aegypti abundance within and between years and across the city. We estimated the shape of the relationship between the coverage of neighborhood-level vector control and reductions in female Ae. aegypti abundance; i.e., the dose-response curve. The dose-response curve, with its associated uncertainties, can be used to gauge the necessary spraying effort required to achieve a desired effect and is a critical tool currently absent from vector control programs. We found that with complete neighborhood coverage MoH intra-domicile space spray would decrease Ae. aegypti abundance on average by 67% in the treated neighborhood. Our framework can be directly translated to other interventions in other locations with geolocated mosquito abundance data. Results from our analysis can be used to inform future vector-control applications in Ae. aegypti endemic areas globally.

Vaccination of hamsters with <i>Opisthorchis viverrini</i> extracellular vesicles and vesicle-derived recombinant tetraspanins induces antibodies that block vesicle uptake by cholangiocytes and reduce parasite burden after challenge infection

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 28 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Sujittra Chaiyadet, Javier Sotillo, Watchara Krueajampa, Sophita Thongsen, Paul J. Brindley, Banchob Sripa, Alex Loukas, Thewarach Laha

Background

The liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini infects several million people in Southeast Asia. Adult flukes live in the bile ducts of humans, where they cause hepatobiliary pathology, including cholangiocarcinoma. Here, we investigated the potential of extracellular vesicles (EVs) secreted by the fluke and defined recombinant proteins derived from EVs to generate protective immunity in a hamster vaccination-challenge model.

Methodology/Principal findings

EVs isolated from the excretory-secretory products of O. viverrini and two recombinant EV surface proteins encoding the large extracellular loops (LEL) of Ov-TSP-2 (rOv-TSP-2) and Ov-TSP-3 (rOv-TSP-3) were adjuvanted and used to vaccinate hamsters intraperitoneally followed by challenge infection with O. viverrini metacercariae. The number of adult flukes recovered from hamsters immunized with EVs, rOv-TSP-2, rOv-TSP-3 and rOv-TSP-2+rOv-TSP-3 were significantly reduced compared to control animals vaccinated with adjuvant alone. The number of eggs per gram feces was also significantly reduced in hamsters vaccinated with rOv-TSP-2 compared to controls, but no significant differences were found in the other groups. The average length of worms recovered from hamsters vaccinated with EVs, rOv-TSP-2 and rOv-TSP-3 was significantly shorter than that of worms recovered from the control group. Anti-EV IgG levels in serum and bile were significantly higher in hamsters vaccinated with EVs compared to control hamsters both pre- and post-challenge. In addition, levels of anti-rOv-TSP antibodies in the serum and bile were significantly higher than control hamsters both pre- and post-challenge. Finally, antibodies against rOv-TSP-2 and rOv-TSP-3 blocked uptake of EVs by human primary cholangiocyte in vitro, providing a plausible mechanism by which these vaccines exert partial efficacy and reduce the intensity of O. viverrini infection.

Conclusion/Significance

Liver fluke EVs and recombinant tetraspanins derived from the EV surface when administered to hamsters induce antibody responses that block EV uptake by target bile duct cells and exert partial efficacy and against O. viverrini challenge.

Preexisting chronic conditions for fatal outcome among SFTS patients: An observational Cohort Study

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 28 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Shao-Fei Zhang, Zhen-Dong Yang, Mao-Lin Huang, Zhi-Bo Wang, Yuan-Yuan Hu, Dong Miao, Ke Dai, Juan Du, Ning Cui, Chun Yuan, Hao Li, Xiao-Kun Li, Xiao-Ai Zhang, Pan-He Zhang, Xian-Miao Mi, Qing-Bin Lu, Wei Liu

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease that is caused by a novel bunyavirus SFTSV. Currently our knowledge of the host-related factors that influence the pathogenesis of disease is inadequate to allow prediction of fatal outcome. Here we conducted a prospective study of the largest database on the SFTS patients, to identify the presence of comorbidities in SFTS, and estimate their effect on the fatal outcome. Among 2096 patients eligible for inclusion, we identified nine kinds of comorbidities, from which hyperlipidemia (12.2%; 95% CI: 10.8%–13.6%), hypertension (11.0%; 95% CI: 9.6%–12.3%), chronic viral hepatitis (CVH) (9.3%; 95% CI: 8.1%–10.5%), and diabetes mellitus (DM) (6.8%; 95% CI: 5.7%–7.9%) were prevalent. Higher risk of death was found in patients with DM (adjusted OR = 2.304; 95% CI: 1.520–3.492; P<0.001), CVH (adjusted OR = 1.551; 95% CI: 1.053–2.285; P = 0.026) and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) (adjusted OR = 2.170; 95% CI: 1.215–3.872; P = 0.009) after adjusting for age, sex, delay from disease onset to admission and treatment regimens. When analyzing the comorbidities separately, we found that the high serum glucose could augment diseases severity. Compared to the group with max glucose < 7.0 mmol/L, patients with glucose between 7.0–11.1 mmol/L and glucose ≥11.1 mmol/L conferred higher death risk, with the adjusted OR to be 1.467 (95% CI: 1.081–1.989; P = 0.014) and 3.443 (95% CI: 2.427–4.884; P<0.001). Insulin therapy could effectively reduce the risk of severe outcome in DM patients with the adjusted OR 0.146 (95% CI: 0.058–0.365; P<0.001). For CVH patients, severe damage of liver and prolongation of blood coagulation time, as well as high prevalence of bleeding phenotype were observed. These data supported the provocative hypothesis that treating SFTS related complications can attain potentially beneficial effects on SFTS.

Persistent transmission of <i>Plasmodium malariae</i> and <i>Plasmodium ovale</i> species in an area of declining <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> transmission in eastern Tanzania

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 28 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Victor Yman, Grace Wandell, Doreen D. Mutemi, Aurelie Miglar, Muhammad Asghar, Ulf Hammar, Mattias Karlsson, Ingrid Lind, Cleis Nordfjell, Ingegerd Rooth, Billy Ngasala, Manijeh Vafa Homann, Anna Färnert

A reduction in the global burden of malaria over the past two decades has encouraged efforts for regional malaria elimination. Despite the need to target all Plasmodium species, current focus is mainly directed towards Plasmodium falciparum, and to a lesser extent P. vivax. There is a substantial lack of data on both global and local transmission patterns of the neglected malaria parasites P. malariae and P. ovale spp. We used a species-specific real-time PCR assay targeting the Plasmodium 18s rRNA gene to evaluate temporal trends in the prevalence of all human malaria parasites over a 22-year period in a rural village in Tanzania.We tested 2897 blood samples collected in five cross-sectional surveys conducted between 1994 and 2016. Infections with P. falciparum, P. malariae, and P. ovale spp. were detected throughout the study period, while P. vivax was not detected. Between 1994 and 2010, we found a more than 90% reduction in the odds of infection with all detected species. The odds of P. falciparum infection was further reduced in 2016, while the odds of P. malariae and P. ovale spp. infection increased 2- and 6-fold, respectively, compared to 2010. In 2016, non-falciparum species occurred more often as mono-infections. The results demonstrate the persistent transmission of P. ovale spp., and to a lesser extent P. malariae despite a continued decline in P. falciparum transmission. This illustrates that the transmission patterns of the non-falciparum species do not necessarily follow those of P. falciparum, stressing the need for attention towards non-falciparum malaria in Africa. Malaria elimination will require a better understanding of the epidemiology of P. malariae and P. ovale spp. and improved tools for monitoring the transmission of all Plasmodium species, with a particular focus towards identifying asymptomatic carriers of infection and designing appropriate interventions to enhance malaria control.

<i>Salmonella</i> Typhi, Paratyphi A, Enteritidis and Typhimurium core proteomes reveal differentially expressed proteins linked to the cell surface and pathogenicity

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 24 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Sara Saleh, Sandra Van Puyvelde, An Staes, Evy Timmerman, Barbara Barbé, Jan Jacobs, Kris Gevaert, Stijn Deborggraeve

Background

Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica contains more than 2,600 serovars of which four are of major medical relevance for humans. While the typhoidal serovars (Typhi and Paratyphi A) are human-restricted and cause enteric fever, non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars (Typhimurium and Enteritidis) have a broad host range and predominantly cause gastroenteritis.

Methodology/Principle findings

We compared the core proteomes of Salmonella Typhi, Paratyphi A, Typhimurium and Enteritidis using contemporary proteomics. For each serovar, five clinical isolates (covering different geographical origins) and one reference strain were grown in vitro to the exponential phase. Levels of orthologous proteins quantified in all four serovars and within the typhoidal and non-typhoidal groups were compared and subjected to gene ontology term enrichment and inferred regulatory interactions. Differential expression of the core proteomes of the typhoidal serovars appears mainly related to cell surface components and, for the non-typhoidal serovars, to pathogenicity.

Conclusions/Significance

Our comparative proteome analysis indicated differences in the expression of surface proteins between Salmonella Typhi and Paratyphi A, and in pathogenesis-related proteins between Salmonella Typhimurium and Enteritidis. Our findings may guide future development of novel diagnostics and vaccines, as well as understanding of disease progression.

The effects of <i>trans</i>-chalcone and chalcone 4 hydrate on the growth of <i>Babesia</i> and <i>Theileria</i>

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 24 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Gaber El-Saber Batiha, Amany Magdy Beshbishy, Dickson Stuart Tayebwa, Oluyomi Stephen Adeyemi, Hazem Shaheen, Naoaki Yokoyama, Ikuo Igarashi

Background

Chemotherapy is a principle tool for the control and prevention of piroplasmosis. The search for a new chemotherapy against Babesia and Theileria parasites has become increasingly urgent due to the toxic side effects of and developed resistance to the current drugs. Chalcones have attracted much attention due to their diverse biological activities. With the aim to discover new drugs and drug targets, in vitro and in vivo antibabesial activity of trans-chalcone (TC) and chalcone 4 hydrate (CH) alone and combined with diminazene aceturate (DA), clofazimine (CF) and atovaquone (AQ) were investigated.

Methodology/Principal findings

The fluorescence-based assay was used for evaluating the inhibitory effect of TC and CH on four Babesia species, including B. bovis, B. bigemina, B. divergens, B. caballi, and T. equi, the combination with DA, CF, and AQ on in vitro cultures, and on the multiplication of a B. microti–infected mouse model. The cytotoxicity of compounds was tested on Madin–Darby bovine kidney (MDBK), mouse embryonic fibroblast (NIH/3T3), and human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) cell lines. The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of TC and CH against B. bovis, B. bigemina, B. divergens, B. caballi, and T. equi were 69.6 ± 2.3, 33.3 ± 1.2, 64.8 ± 2.5, 18.9 ± 1.7, and 14.3 ± 1.6 μM and 138.4 ± 4.4, 60.9 ± 1.1, 82.3 ± 2.3, 27.9 ± 1.2, and 19.2 ± 1.5 μM, respectively. In toxicity assays, TC and CH affected the viability of MDBK, NIH/3T3, and HFF cell lines the with half maximum effective concentration (EC50) values of 293.9 ± 2.9, 434.4 ± 2.7, and 498 ± 3.1 μM and 252.7 ± 1.7, 406.3 ± 9.7, and 466 ± 5.7 μM, respectively. In the mouse experiment, TC reduced the peak parasitemia of B. microti by 71.8% when administered intraperitoneally at 25 mg/kg. Combination therapies of TC–DA and TC–CF were more potent against B. microti infection in mice than their monotherapies.

Conclusions/Significance

In conclusion, both TC and CH inhibited the growth of Babesia and Theileria in vitro, and TC inhibited the growth of B. microti in vivo. Therefore, TC and CH could be candidates for the treatment of piroplasmosis after further studies.

Leptospirosis as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease: A systematic review of observational studies

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 23 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Rodrigo M. Carrillo-Larco, Carlos Altez-Fernandez, J. Gonzalo Acevedo-Rodriguez, Karol Ortiz-Acha, Cesar Ugarte-Gil

Background

Leptospirosis is a worldwide prevalent zoonosis and chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a leading global disease burden. Because of pathophysiological changes in the kidney, it has been suggested that these conditions may be associated. However, the extent of this interaction has not been synthetized. We aimed to systematically review and critically appraise the evidence on the association between leptospirosis and CKD.

Methodology/Principal findings

Observational studies with a control group were selected. Leptospirosis, confirmed with laboratory methods, and CKD also based on a laboratory assessment, were the exposures and outcomes of interest. The search was conducted in EMBASE, MEDLINE, Global Health, Scopus and Web of Science. Studies selected for qualitative synthesis were assessed for risk of bias following the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. 5,981 reports were screened, and 2 (n = 3,534) were included for qualitative synthesis. The studies were conducted in Taiwan and Nicaragua; these reported cross-sectional and longitudinal estimates. In the general population, the mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was lower (p<0.001) in people testing positive for antileptospira antibodies (eGFR = 98.3) than in negative controls (eGFR = 100.8). Among sugarcane applicants with high creatinine, those who were seropositive had lower eGFR (mean difference: -10.08). In a prospective analysis, people with high antileptospira antibodies titer at baseline and follow-up, had worse eGFR (p<0.05).

Conclusion

Although the available evidence suggests there may be a positive association between leptospirosis and CKD, whereby leptospirosis could be a risk factor for CKD, it is still premature to draw conclusions. There is an urgent need for research on this association.

Insecticide resistance levels and mechanisms in <i>Aedes aegypti</i> populations in and around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 23 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Athanase Badolo, Aboubacar Sombié, Patricia M. Pignatelli, Aboubakar Sanon, Félix Yaméogo, Dimitri W. Wangrawa, Antoine Sanon, Hirotaka Kanuka, Philip J. McCall, David Weetman

Background

Recent outbreaks of dengue and other Aedes aegypti-borne arboviruses highlight the importance of a rapid response for effective vector control. Data on insecticide resistance and underlying mechanisms are essential for outbreak preparedness, but are sparse in much of Africa. We investigated the levels and heterogeneity of insecticide resistance and mechanisms of Ae. aegypti from contrasting settings within and around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Methodology/Principal findings

Bioassays were performed on larvae and adults to diagnose prevalence of resistance, and to assess levels where resistance was detected. Investigation of resistance mechanisms was performed using synergist bioassays, knockdown resistance (kdr) target site mutation genotyping and quantitative PCR expression analysis of candidate P450 genes.Larval dose-response assays indicated susceptibility to the organophosphates tested. Adult females were also susceptible to organophosphates, but resistance to carbamates was suspected in urban and semi-urban localities. Females from all localities showed resistance to pyrethroids but resistance prevalence and level were higher in urban and especially in semi-urban areas, compared to the rural population. Environment was also associated with susceptibility: adults reared from larvae collected in tires from the semi-urban site were significantly less resistant to pyrethroids than those collected from large outdoor drinking water containers (‘drums’). Susceptibility to both pyrethroids tested was largely restored by pre-exposure to Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO), suggesting a strong metabolic basis to resistance.The 1534C kdr mutation was nearly fixed in semi-urban and urban areas but was far less common in the rural area, where the 1016I kdr mutation frequency was also significantly lower. P450 gene analysis detected limited over-expression of single candidates but significantly elevated average expression in the semi-urban site compared to both a susceptible laboratory colony, and females from the other collection sites.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results reveal pyrethroid resistance and paired kdr mutations in both urban and semi-urban sites at levels that are unprecedented for mainland Africa. The combination of target site and metabolic mechanisms is common in Ae. aegypti populations from other continents but is a worrying finding for African populations. However, organophosphate insecticides are still active against both larvae and adults of Ae. aegypti, providing useful insecticidal options for control and resistance management.

<i>Wuchereria bancrofti</i>-infected individuals harbor distinct IL-10-producing regulatory B and T cell subsets which are affected by anti-filarial treatment

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 23 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Manuel Ritter, Jubin Osei-Mensah, Linda Batsa Debrah, Alexander Kwarteng, Yusif Mubarik, Alexander Y. Debrah, Kenneth Pfarr, Achim Hoerauf, Laura E. Layland

Despite worldwide mass drug administration, it is estimated that 68 million individuals are still infected with lymphatic filariasis with 19 million hydrocele and 17 million lymphedema reported cases. Despite the staggering number of pathology cases, the majority of LF-infected individuals do not develop clinical symptoms and present a tightly regulated immune system characterized by higher frequencies of regulatory T cells (Treg), suppressed proliferation and Th2 cytokine responses accompanied with increased secretion of IL-10, TGF-β and infection-specific IgG4. Nevertheless, the filarial-induced modulation of the host`s immune system and especially the role of regulatory immune cells like regulatory B (Breg) and Treg during an ongoing LF infection remains unknown. Thus, we analysed Breg and Treg frequencies in peripheral blood from Ghanaian uninfected endemic normals (EN), lymphedema (LE), asymptomatic patent (CFA+MF+) and latent (CFA+MF-) W. bancrofti-infected individuals as well as individuals who were previously infected with W. bancrofti (PI) but had cleared the infection due to the administration of ivermectin (IVM) and albendazole (ALB). In summary, we observed that IL-10-producing CD19+CD24highCD38dhigh Breg were specifically increased in patently infected (CFA+MF+) individuals. In addition, CD19+CD24highCD5+CD1dhigh and CD19+CD5+CD1dhighIL-10+ Breg as well as CD4+CD127-FOXP3+ Treg frequencies were significantly increased in both W. bancrofti-infected cohorts (CFA+MF+ and CFA+MF-). Interestingly, the PI cohort presented frequency levels of all studied regulatory immune cell populations comparable with the EN group. In conclusion, the results from this study show that an ongoing W. bancrofti infection induces distinct Breg and Treg populations in peripheral blood from Ghanaian volunteers. Those regulatory immune cell populations might contribute to the regulated state of the host immune system and are probably important for the survival and fertility (microfilaria release) of the helminth.

A single dose of antibody-drug conjugate cures a stage 1 model of African trypanosomiasis

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases News - 23 May 2019 - 9:00pm

by Paula MacGregor, Andrea L. Gonzalez-Munoz, Fatoumatta Jobe, Martin C. Taylor, Steven Rust, Alan M. Sandercock, Olivia J. S. Macleod, Katrien Van Bocxlaer, Amanda F. Francisco, Francois D’Hooge, Arnaud Tiberghien, Conor S. Barry, Philip Howard, Matthew K. Higgins, Tristan J. Vaughan, Ralph Minter, Mark Carrington

Infections of humans and livestock with African trypanosomes are treated with drugs introduced decades ago that are not always fully effective and often have severe side effects. Here, the trypanosome haptoglobin-haemoglobin receptor (HpHbR) has been exploited as a route of uptake for an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that is completely effective against Trypanosoma brucei in the standard mouse model of infection. Recombinant human anti-HpHbR monoclonal antibodies were isolated and shown to be internalised in a receptor-dependent manner. Antibodies were conjugated to a pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) toxin and killed T. brucei in vitro at picomolar concentrations. A single therapeutic dose (0.25 mg/kg) of a HpHbR antibody-PBD conjugate completely cured a T. brucei mouse infection within 2 days with no re-emergence of infection over a subsequent time course of 77 days. These experiments provide a demonstration of how ADCs can be exploited to treat protozoal diseases that desperately require new therapeutics.

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