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OUCRU Photographer in Residence Pearl Gan has been awarded the International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases (ISNTD) Festival Award for her submission to the ISNTD Festival Showcase. Pearl submission included seven photographs, and was recognised for its impact on tropical diseases and its broader development goals.
Diagnostic accuracy of an in-house Scrub Typhus enzyme linked immunoassay for the detection of IgM and IgG antibodies in Laos
Scrub typhus is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia. Diagnosis of scrub typhus is difficult due to a lack of accessible validated diagnostic tools. Despite its objectivity, the diagnostic accuracy of ELISA tests is influenced by methodological and patient factors. This study aims to evaluate the performance of a novel in-house ELISA developed in the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) for anti-scrub typhus group IgM and IgG compared to the “gold standard” reference IFA and PCR, and to determine whether the in-house ELISA can be used as a seroepidemiological screening tool and/or stand-alone test for scrub typhus. A total of 1,976 admission and 1,438 participant follow-up sera collected in the Lao PDR (Laos) were tested with ELISA for IgM and IgG. Samples with an ELISA OD≥0.50 were tested with IFA for IgM and/or IgG. A strong positive relationship was present between ELISA ODs and IFA titers for admission IgM (r2: 0.70, p <0.005) and IgG (r2: 0.76, p<0.005), and for follow-up IgM and IgG (both r2: 0.76, p<0.005) samples. The best compromise between sensitivity and specificity for the ELISA OD cut-off is likely to be between 0.8–1.0 for IgM antibodies and 1.2–1.8 for IgG antibodies. These results demonstrate that the diagnostic accuracy of the MORU in-house scrub typhus group ELISA is comparable to that of IFA, with similar results as reported for the commonly used InBios Scrub Typhus Detect ELISA, validating the use of the in-house ELISA. The optimal ELISA cut-off would depend on the use of the test, and the desired sensitivity and specificity. Further studies are required to authenticate the use of these cut-offs in other endemic regions. This in-house ELISA has the potential to replace the imperfect IFA, which could ultimately reduce the burden of scrub typhus by improving the rate of scrub typhus diagnoses in endemic low-resource areas.
Outcome of Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV) Infection in Pediatric and Adult Patients at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Although Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection is an important cause of acute febrile illness in Lao PDR (Laos), patient outcome has not been evaluated. We prospectively followed up 123 JEV-infected patients (70 children ≤ 15 years and 53 adults ≥ 15 years) admitted at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, from 2003 to 2013. Japanese encephalitis virus infection was diagnosed by the detection of anti-JEV IgM in cerebrospinal fluid and/or IgM seroconversion. Neurological sequelae were assessed using the Liverpool Outcome Score (LOS), total (maximum score = 75), and final (maximum score = 5). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of the patients was 12.0 (7.5-18.8) years, and 57% were male. The median (IQR) duration of patients' follow-up was 4.5 (3.2-7.3) years. Of all patients, 10/123 (8.1%) died during hospitalization, and 13/123 (10.6%) died at home after discharge, giving a mortality of 18.7% (23/123) (33 [26.8%] patients were lost to follow-up). The frequency of neurological sequelae at the last follow-up was 61.2% (48.4% in adults and 69.4% in children, P = 0.135). The proportion of patients with severe and moderate functional impairment at the last follow-up was significantly higher in children (25%) than adults (6.5%), P = 0.042. Half of the patients who were still alive at the last follow-up (67) and for whom LOS data were available (22) had improvements in their total and final LOS between discharge and the last follow-up. The total and final LOS at discharge were not significantly different between children and adults, but total LOS at the last follow-up was significantly higher in adults than children (median [IQR]: 74.5 [73-75] versus 73.0 [73-75], P = 0.019).
Short maternal stature and gestational weight gain among refugee and migrant women birthing appropriate for gestational age term newborns: a retrospective cohort on the Myanmar-Thailand border, 2004-2016.
IntroductionTo examine the interactions between short maternal stature, body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) among appropriate for gestational age (AGA) term newborns in a population of refugees and migrants in Southeast Asia.MethodsThis is a retrospective cohort study from 2004 to 2016, including women delivering term, singleton newborns, with first trimester height, weight and gestation dated by ultrasound and a last body weight measured within 4 weeks of birth. AGA newborns were those not classified as small for gestational age or large for gestational age by either INTERGROWTH-21st or Gestation Related Optimal Weight standards. The influence of maternal stature on GWG in delivering an AGA newborn was analysed, with GWG compared with existing National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recommendations.Results4340 women delivered AGA newborns. Mean maternal height (SD) was 151.5 cm (5.13), with 58.5% of women considered too short by INTERGROWTH-21st standards. Only one in four women (26.5%, 1150/4340) had GWG within NAM recommendations. Women of shorter stature had a significantly lower mean GWG compared with taller women in underweight and normal BMI categories (p<0.001 for both BMI categories). Mean GWG of overweight and obese women did not differ by height (p=1.0 and p=0.85, respectively) and fell within the lower range of NAM recommendations.ConclusionThese results suggest that short maternal stature can be an important predictor of GWG and should be considered with prepregnancy BMI. Limited-resource settings and special populations need robust GWG recommendations that reflect height and BMI.
A randomized controlled trial of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artesunate-mefloquine and extended artemether-lumefantrine treatments for malaria in pregnancy on the Thailand-Myanmar border.
BackgroundArtemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) partner drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum have spread across the Greater Mekong Subregion compromising antimalarial treatment. The current 3-day artemether-lumefantrine regimen has been associated with high treatment failure rates in pregnant women. Although ACTs are recommended for treating Plasmodium vivax malaria, no clinical trials in pregnancy have been reported.MethodsPregnant women with uncomplicated malaria on the Thailand-Myanmar border participated in an open-label randomized controlled trial comparing dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP), artesunate-mefloquine (ASMQ) and a 4-day artemether-lumefantrine regimen (AL+). The primary endpoint for P. falciparum infections was the PCR-corrected cure rate and for P. vivax infections was recurrent parasitaemia, before delivery or day 63, whichever was longer, assessed by Kaplan-Meier estimate.ResultsBetween February 2010 and August 2016, 511 pregnant women with malaria (353 P. vivax, 142 P. falciparum, 15 co-infections, 1 Plasmodium malariae) were randomized to either DP (n=170), ASMQ (n=169) or AL+ (n=172) treatments. Successful malaria elimination efforts in the region resulted in premature termination of the trial. The majority of women had recurrent malaria (mainly P. vivax relapses, which are not prevented by these treatments). Recurrence-free proportions (95% confidence interval [95% CI]) for vivax malaria were 20.6% (5.1-43.4) for DP (n=125), 46.0% (30.9-60.0) for ASMQ (n=117) and 28.7% (10.0-50.8) for AL+ (n=126). DP and ASMQ provided longer recurrence-free intervals. PCR-corrected cure rates (95% CI) for falciparum malaria were 93.7% (81.6-97.9) for DP (n=49), 79.6% (66.1-88.1) for AMSQ (n=55) and 87.5% (74.3-94.2) for AL+ (n=50). Overall 65% (85/130) of P. falciparum infections had Pfkelch13 propeller mutations which increased over time and recrudescence occurred almost exclusively in them; risk ratio 9.42 (95% CI 1.30-68.29). Among the women with falciparum malaria, 24.0% (95% CI 16.8-33.6) had P. vivax parasitaemia within 4 months. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sleep disturbance were more frequent with ASMQ. Miscarriage, small-for-gestational-age and preterm birth did not differ significantly among the treatment groups, including first trimester exposures (n=46).ConclusionsDP was well tolerated and safe, and was the only drug providing satisfactory efficacy for P. falciparum-infected pregnant woman in this area of widespread artemisinin resistance. Vivax malaria recurrences are very common and warrant chloroquine prophylaxis after antimalarial treatment in this area.Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01054248 , registered on 22 January 2010.
Outcomes for 298 breastfed neonates whose mothers received ketamine and diazepam for postpartum tubal ligation in a resource-limited setting
Abstract Background Anesthesia in lactating women is frequently indicated for time-sensitive procedures such as postpartum tubal ligation. Ketamine and diazepam are two of the most commonly used anesthetic agents in low resource settings, but their safety profile in lactating women has not been established. Methods Medical records of post-partum tubal ligations between 2013 and 2018 at clinics of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit were reviewed for completeness of key outcome variables. Logistic regression identified presence or absence of associations between drug doses and adverse neonatal outcomes: clinically significant weight loss (≥95th percentile) and neonatal hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy. Results Of 358 records reviewed, 298 were lactating women with singleton, term neonates. There were no severe outcomes in mothers or neonates. On the first postoperative day 98.0% (290/296) of neonates were reported to be breastfeeding well and 6.4% (19/298) had clinically significant weight loss. Phototherapy was required for 13.8% (41/298) of neonates. There was no association between either of the outcomes and increasing ketamine doses (up to 3.8 mg/kg), preoperative oral diazepam (5 mg), or increasing lidocaine doses (up to 200 mg). Preoperative oral diazepam resulted in lower doses of intraoperative anesthetics. Doses of intravenous diazepam above 0.1 mg/kg were associated with increased risk (adjusted odds ratio per 0.1 mg/kg increase, 95%CI) of weight loss (1.95, 95%CI 1.13–3.35, p = 0.016) and jaundice requiring phototherapy (1.87, 95%CI 1.11–3.13, p = 0.017). Conclusions In resource-limited settings ketamine use appears safe in lactating women and uninterrupted breastfeeding should be encouraged and supported. Preoperative oral diazepam may help reduce intraoperative anesthetic doses, but intravenous diazepam should be used with caution and avoided in high doses in lactating women.
Prognostic models for predicting in-hospital paediatric mortality in resource-limited countries: a systematic review.
ObjectivesTo identify and appraise the methodological rigour of multivariable prognostic models predicting in-hospital paediatric mortality in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).DesignSystematic review of peer-reviewed journals.Data sourcesMEDLINE, CINAHL, Google Scholar and Web of Science electronic databases since inception to August 2019.Eligibility criteriaWe included model development studies predicting in-hospital paediatric mortality in LMIC.Data extraction and synthesisThis systematic review followed the Checklist for critical Appraisal and data extraction for systematic Reviews of prediction Modelling Studies framework. The risk of bias assessment was conducted using Prediction model Risk of Bias Assessment Tool (PROBAST). No quantitative summary was conducted due to substantial heterogeneity that was observed after assessing the studies included.ResultsOur search strategy identified a total of 4054 unique articles. Among these, 3545 articles were excluded after review of titles and abstracts as they covered non-relevant topics. Full texts of 509 articles were screened for eligibility, of which 15 studies reporting 21 models met the eligibility criteria. Based on the PROBAST tool, risk of bias was assessed in four domains; participant, predictors, outcome and analyses. The domain of statistical analyses was the main area of concern where none of the included models was judged to be of low risk of bias.ConclusionThis review identified 21 models predicting in-hospital paediatric mortality in LMIC. However, most reports characterising these models are of poor quality when judged against recent reporting standards due to a high risk of bias. Future studies should adhere to standardised methodological criteria and progress from identifying new risk scores to validating or adapting existing scores.Prospero registration numberCRD42018088599.
BackgroundFew studies have assessed the seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among Health Care Workers (HCWs) in Africa. We report findings from a survey among HCWs in three counties in Kenya.MethodsWe recruited 684 HCWs from Kilifi (rural), Busia (rural) and Nairobi (urban) counties. The serosurvey was conducted between 30th July 2020 and 4th December 2020. We tested for IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using ELISA. Assay sensitivity and specificity were 93% (95% CI 88-96%) and 99% (95% CI 98-99.5%), respectively. We adjusted prevalence estimates using Bayesian modeling to account for assay performance.ResultsCrude overall seroprevalence was 19.7% (135/684). After adjustment for assay performance seroprevalence was 20.8% (95% CrI 17.5-24.4%). Seroprevalence varied significantly (p<0.001) by site: 43.8% (CrI 35.8-52.2%) in Nairobi, 12.6% (CrI 8.8-17.1%) in Busia and 11.5% (CrI 7.2-17.6%) in Kilifi. In a multivariable model controlling for age, sex and site, professional cadre was not associated with differences in seroprevalence.ConclusionThese initial data demonstrate a high seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among HCWs in Kenya. There was significant variation in seroprevalence by region, but not by cadre.
BackgroundMelioidosis, infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, is a common cause of sepsis with high associated mortality in Southeast Asia. Identification of patients at high likelihood of clinical deterioration is important for guiding decisions about resource allocation and management. We sought to develop a biomarker-based model for 28-day mortality prediction in melioidosis.MethodsIn a derivation set (N = 113) of prospectively enrolled, hospitalized Thai patients with melioidosis, we measured concentrations of interferon-γ, interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, interleukin-10, tumor necrosis factor-ɑ, granulocyte-colony stimulating factor, and interleukin-17A. We used least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression to identify a subset of predictive biomarkers and performed logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis to evaluate biomarker-based prediction of 28-day mortality compared with clinical variables. We repeated select analyses in an internal validation set (N = 78) and in a prospectively enrolled external validation set (N = 161) of hospitalized adults with melioidosis.ResultsAll 8 cytokines were positively associated with 28-day mortality. Of these, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 were selected by LASSO regression. A model consisting of interleukin-6, interleukin-8, and clinical variables significantly improved 28-day mortality prediction over a model of only clinical variables [AUC (95% confidence interval [CI]): 0.86 (.79-.92) vs 0.78 (.69-.87); P = .01]. In both the internal validation set (0.91 [0.84-0.97]) and the external validation set (0.81 [0.74-0.88]), the combined model including biomarkers significantly improved 28-day mortality prediction over a model limited to clinical variables.ConclusionsA 2-biomarker model augments clinical prediction of 28-day mortality in melioidosis.
Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Progress and Challenges in Eight South Asian and Southeast Asian Countries
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a serious global health threat and is predicted to cause significant health and economic impacts, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). AMR surveillance is critical in LMICs due to high burden of bacterial infections; however, conducting AMR surveillance in resource-limited settings is constrained by poorly functioning health systems, scarce financial resources, and lack of skilled personnel. In 2015, the United Nations World Health Assembly endorsed the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan to tackle AMR; thus, several countries are striving to improve their AMR surveillance capacity, including making significant investments and establishing and expanding surveillance networks.
sTREM-1 predicts mortality in hospitalized patients with infection in a tropical, middle-income country.
BackgroundFew studies of biomarkers as predictors of outcome in infection have been performed in tropical, low- and middle-income countries where the burden of sepsis is highest. We evaluated whether selected biomarkers could predict 28-day mortality in infected patients in rural Thailand.MethodsFour thousand nine hundred eighty-nine adult patients admitted with suspected infection to a referral hospital in northeast Thailand were prospectively enrolled within 24 h of admission. In a secondary analysis of 760 patients, interleukin-8 (IL-8), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (sTNFR-1), angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2), and soluble triggering receptor expressed by myeloid cells 1 (sTREM-1) were measured in the plasma. Association with 28-day mortality was evaluated using regression; a parsimonious biomarker model was selected using the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) method. Discrimination of mortality was assessed by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and verified by multiple methods.ResultsIL-8, sTNFR-1, Ang-2, and sTREM-1 concentrations were strongly associated with death. LASSO identified a three-biomarker model of sTREM-1, Ang-2, and IL-8, but sTREM-1 alone provided comparable mortality discrimination (p = 0.07). sTREM-1 alone was comparable to a model of clinical variables (area under receiver operating characteristic curve [AUC] 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77-0.85 vs AUC 0.79, 95% CI 0.74-0.84; p = 0.43). The combination of sTREM-1 and clinical variables yielded greater mortality discrimination than clinical variables alone (AUC 0.83, 95% CI 0.79-0.87; p = 0.004).ConclusionssTREM-1 predicts mortality from infection in a tropical, middle-income country comparably to a model derived from clinical variables and, when combined with clinical variables, can further augment mortality prediction.Trial registrationThe Ubon-sepsis study was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov ( NCT02217592 ), 2014.
Antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative colonization in infants from a neonatal intensive care unit in Thailand.
Antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacteria are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized neonates in South and South-East Asia. This study aimed to determine the dynamics of colonization with antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacteria amongst patients in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Thailand. From 97 enrolled patients, 52% were colonized by an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) organism at some point during their stay and 64% were colonized by a carbapenem-resistant organism. Rapid acquisition of ESBL-positive and carbapenem-resistant organisms was found. Once colonized with an antibiotic-resistant organism, patients remained colonized for the remainder of their NICU stay.
ABSTRACT Community-acquired (CA) sepsis is a major public health problem worldwide, yet the etiology remains unknown for >50% of the patients. Here we applied metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) to characterize the human virome in 492 clinical samples (384 sera, 92 pooled nasal and throat swabs, 10 stools, and 6 cerebrospinal fluid samples) from 386 patients (213 adults and 173 children) presenting with CA sepsis who were recruited from 6 hospitals across Vietnam between 2013 and 2015. Specific monoplex PCRs were used subsequently to confirm the presence of viral sequences detected by mNGS. We found sequences related to 47 viral species belonging to 21 families in 358 of 386 (93%) patients, including viruses known to cause human infections. After PCR confirmation, human viruses were found in 52 of 386 patients (13.4%); picornavirus (enteroviruses [n = 14], rhinovirus [n = 5], and parechovirus [n = 2]), hepatitis B virus (n = 10), cytomegalovirus (n = 9), Epstein-Barr virus (n = 5), and rotavirus A (n = 3) were the most common viruses detected. Recently discovered viruses were also found (gemycircularvirus [n = 5] and WU polyomavirus, Saffold virus, salivirus, cyclovirus-VN, and human pegivirus 2 [HPgV2] [n, 1 each]), adding to the growing literature about the geographic distribution of these novel viruses. Notably, sequences related to numerous viruses not previously reported in human tissues were also detected. To summarize, we identified 21 viral species known to be infectious to humans in 52 of 386 (13.4%) patients presenting with CA sepsis of unknown cause. The study, however, cannot directly impute sepsis causation to the viruses identified. The results highlight the fact that it remains a challenge to establish the causative agents in CA sepsis patients, especially in tropical settings such as Vietnam.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious global health problem currently affecting over 450 million people worldwide. Defining its interaction with major global infections is an international public health priority. Melioidosis is caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, an exemplar pathogen for studying intracellular bacterial infection in the context of DM due to the 12-fold increased risk in this group. We characterized immune correlates of survival in peripheral blood of acute melioidosis patients with and without DM and highlight different immune response patterns. We demonstrate the importance of circulating NK cells and show that CX3CR1 expression on lymphocytes is a novel correlate of survival from acute melioidosis. Furthermore, excessive serum levels of IL-15 and IL-18BP contribute to poor outcome independent of DM comorbidity. CD8+ T cells and granzyme B expression in NK cells are important for survival of non-DM patients, whereas high antibody titers against B. pseudomallei and double-negative T cells are linked to survival of DM patients. Recall responses support a role of γδ T-cell-derived IFN-γ in the establishment of protective immunity in the DM group. Defining the hallmarks of protection in people with DM is crucial for the design of new therapies and vaccines targeting this rapidly expanding risk group.
In 2013, a Lancet Infectious Diseases Commission described the state of antimicrobial resistance worldwide. Since then, greater awareness of the public health ramifications of antimicrobial resistance has led to national actions and global initiatives, including a resolution at the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly in 2016. Progress in addressing this issue has ranged from a ban on irrational drug combinations in India to commitments to ban colistin as a growth promoter in animals, improve hospital infection control, and implement better antimicrobial stewardship. Funds have been mobilised, and regulatory barriers to new antibiotic development have been relaxed. These efforts have been episodic and uneven across countries, however. Sustained funding for antimicrobial resistance and globally harmonised targets to monitor progress are still urgently needed. Except for in a few leading countries, antimicrobial resistance has not captured the sustained focus of national leaders and country-level actors, including care providers.