Tropical Medicine publications 2008
An assay for the analysis for the quantification of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in human plasma using high-throughput zwitterionic (ZIC) hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) solid-phase extraction (SPE) in a 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The ZIC-HILIC SPE efficiently removed sources of interference present in the supernatant after protein precipitation of plasma proteins. The main advantage of the ZIC-HILIC SPE sample preparation step was that it allowed load and elution conditions to be optimised to extract only peramivir and minimize co-extraction of lipophilic phospholipids. The method was validated according to published US Food and Drugs Administration guidelines and showed excellent performance. The assay was validated over two calibration ranges (0.952-500 and 50-50,000 ng/mL) to support analysis of peramivir after intra-venous administration. The lower limit of quantification for peramivir in plasma was 1 ng/mL and the upper limit of quantification was 50,000 ng/mL. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 8% at all tested quality control concentrations and below 11% at the lower limit of quantification. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range.
BACKGROUND: To date no comparative trials have been done, to our knowledge, of fixed-dose artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy. Evidence on the safety and efficacy of ACTs in pregnancy is needed as these drugs are being used increasingly throughout the malaria-affected world. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of artemether-lumefantrine, the most widely used fixed ACT, with 7 d artesunate monotherapy in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. METHODS AND FINDINGS: An open-label randomised controlled trial comparing directly observed treatment with artemether-lumefantrine 3 d (AL) or artesunate monotherapy 7 d (AS7) was conducted in Karen women in the border area of northwestern Thailand who had uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The primary endpoint was efficacy defined as the P. falciparum PCR-adjusted cure rates assessed at delivery or by day 42 if this occurred later than delivery, as estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Infants were assessed at birth and followed until 1 y of life. Blood sampling was performed to characterise the pharmacokinetics of lumefantrine in pregnancy. Both regimens were very well tolerated. The cure rates (95% confidence interval) for the intention to treat (ITT) population were: AS7 89.2% (82.3%-96.1%) and AL 82.0% (74.8%-89.3%), p = 0.054 (ITT); and AS7 89.7% (82.6%-96.8%) and AL 81.2% (73.6%-88.8%), p = 0.031 (per-protocol population). One-third of the PCR-confirmed recrudescent cases occurred after 42 d of follow-up. Birth outcomes and infant (up to age 1 y) outcomes did not differ significantly between the two groups. The pharmacokinetic study indicated that low concentrations of artemether and lumefantrine were the main contributors to the poor efficacy of AL. CONCLUSION: The current standard six-dose artemether-lumefantrine regimen was well tolerated and safe in pregnant Karen women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but efficacy was inferior to 7 d artesunate monotherapy and was unsatisfactory for general deployment in this geographic area. Reduced efficacy probably results from low drug concentrations in later pregnancy. A longer or more frequent AL dose regimen may be needed to treat pregnant women effectively and should now be evaluated. Parasitological endpoints in clinical trials of any antimalarial drug treatment in pregnancy should be extended to delivery or day 42 if it comes later. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN86353884.
Toxicon, 52 (8), pp. 833-835. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Proatheris superciliaris: the deadly venom of a rare and elusive snake revealed.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a pressing global health problem. A previous study of the malaria vaccine RTS,S (which targets the circumsporozoite protein), given with an adjuvant system (AS02A), showed a 30% rate of protection against clinical malaria in children 1 to 4 years of age. We evaluated the efficacy of RTS,S given with a more immunogenic adjuvant system (AS01E) in children 5 to 17 months of age, a target population for vaccine licensure. METHODS: We conducted a double-blind, randomized trial of RTS,S/AS01E vaccine as compared with rabies vaccine in children in Kilifi, Kenya, and Korogwe, Tanzania. The primary end point was fever with a falciparum parasitemia density of more than 2500 parasites per microliter, and the mean duration of follow-up was 7.9 months (range, 4.5 to 10.5). RESULTS: A total of 894 children were randomly assigned to receive the RTS,S/AS01E vaccine or the control (rabies) vaccine. Among the 809 children who completed the study procedures according to the protocol, the cumulative number in whom clinical malaria developed was 32 of 402 assigned to receive RTS,S/AS01E and 66 of 407 assigned to receive the rabies vaccine; the adjusted efficacy rate for RTS,S/AS01E was 53% (95% confidence interval [CI], 28 to 69; P<0.001) on the basis of Cox regression. Overall, there were 38 episodes of clinical malaria among recipients of RTS,S/AS01E, as compared with 86 episodes among recipients of the rabies vaccine, with an adjusted rate of efficacy against all malarial episodes of 56% (95% CI, 31 to 72; P<0.001). All 894 children were included in the intention-to-treat analysis, which showed an unadjusted efficacy rate of 49% (95% CI, 26 to 65; P<0.001). There were fewer serious adverse events among recipients of RTS,S/AS01E, and this reduction was not only due to a difference in the number of admissions directly attributable to malaria. CONCLUSIONS: RTS,S/AS01E shows promise as a candidate malaria vaccine. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00380393.)
N Engl J Med, 359 (24), pp. 2601-2603. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Real-world therapies and the problem of vivax malaria.
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd, 152 (49), pp. 2667-2671. | Show Abstract2008. [Optimisation of the antibiotic policy in the Netherlands. XII. The SWAB guideline for antimicrobial eradication of MRSA in carriers].
The 'Stichting Werkgroep Antibioticabeleid' (SWAB; Dutch Working Party on Antibiotics Policy) has developed evidence-based guidelines for the antimicrobial treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers for the eradication of MRSA. A distinction was made between uncomplicated and complicated carriage depending on the presence or absence of an active MRSA infection, skin lesions, foreign body material, mupirocin resistance and/or extranasal carriage. The indication for treatment is determined by the consequences of carriage for the carrier and his/her environment, the adverse events of treatment, and the likelihood of a successful treatment. The first choice of treatment in uncomplicated carriers is a combination of mupirocin nasal ointment and disinfectant soap for 5 days, along with hygiene advice. If treatment fails, sources in the vicinity of the patient must be sought. Complicated carriers receive a combination of 2 oral antibiotics, in addition to mupirocin nasal ointment and disinfectant soap, for at least 7 days.
Repeated measures data for rotavirus infection in children within 14 day care centres (DCCs) in the Oxfordshire area, UK, are used to explore aspects of rotavirus transmission and immunity. A biologically realistic model for the transmission of infection is presented as a set of probability models suitable for application to the data. Two transition events are modelled separately: incidence and recovery. The complexity of the underlying mechanistic model is reflected in the choice of the fixed variables in the probability models. Parameter estimation was carried out using a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo method. We use the parameter estimates obtained to build a profile of the natural history of rotavirus reinfection in an individual child. We infer that rotavirus transmission in children in DCCs is dependent on the DCC prevalence, with symptomatic infection of longer duration, but no more infectious per day of infectious period, than asymptomatic infection. There was evidence that a recent previous infection reduces the risk of disease and, to a lesser extent, reinfection, but not duration of infection. The results provide evidence that partial immunity to rotavirus infection develops over several time scales.
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify and compare factors associated with Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage in three regions of differing malaria endemicity. METHODS: Retrospective data from Thailand, The Gambia and Tanzania were used. The data came from large prospective field-based clinical trials, which investigated gametocyte carriage after different anti-malarial drug treatments. RESULTS: Gametocytaemia was detected during the observation period in 12% of patients (931 out of 7548) in Thailand, 34% (683 out of 2020) in The Gambia, and 31% (430 out of 1400) in Tanzania (p < 0.001). Approximately one third (33%, 680/2044) of the patients with gametocytaemia during the observation period, already had patent gametocytaemia at enrolment (day 0 or day 1): 35% (318/931) in Thailand, 37% (250/683) in The Gambia, 26% (112/430) in Tanzania. Maximum gametocytaemia was usually observed on or before the seventh day after starting treatment (93% in Thailand, 70% in Tanzania and 78% in The Gambia). Lowest gametocyte carriage rates were observed following treatment with artemisinin derivatives, while sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was associated with significantly greater development of gametocytaemia than other drug treatments (p < 0.001). The duration of gametocyte carriage was shorter in Thailand by 86% and Tanzania by 65% than in The Gambia. Gametocyte carriage was 27% longer among people presenting with anaemia, and was shorter in duration among patients who received artemisinin derivatives, by 27% in Thailand and by 71% in Tanzania and The Gambia. CONCLUSION: This study confirms the independent association of gametocytaemia with anaemia, and the significantly lower prevalence and duration of gametocyte carriage following treatment with an artemisinin derivative. The large differences in gametocyte carriage rates between regions with different levels of malaria transmission suggest that drug interventions to prevent transmission will have different effects in different places.
SUMMARY: Refugee and migrant populations are considered to be at high risk from sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV. Cross-sectional surveys for syphilis and HIV were conducted in antenatal clinics (ANCs) on the Thai-Burmese border. In Mae La refugee camp, the seroprevalence of HIV and syphilis were 0.2% (one of 500) (95% CI 0-1.1) and 0% (0 of 404) (95% CI 0-0.9) in 1997; and 0.4% (two of 500) (95% CI 0.1-1.4) and 0.4% (three of 741) (95% CI 0.1-1.2) in 2005, respectively; syphilis seroprevalence in migrant women in 2005 was 0 (0 of 234) (95% CI 0-1.6). The seroprevalence was lower than that reported from surrounding ANCs for Thai or Burmese women. Focus group discussions with HIV-negative and -positive pregnant refugee women established that aspects of Karen culture and isolation (geographical and political) had a significant protective role from HIV and STI. This survey has resulted in programmatic changes in services to pregnant women in this area.
A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate (ARS) and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in human plasma using protein precipitation and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy was developed. The method was validated according to published US FDA-guidelines and showed excellent performance. However, when it was applied to clinical pharmacokinetic studies in malaria, variable degradation of the artemisinins introduced an unacceptable large source of error, rendering the assay useless. Haemolytic products related to sample collection and malaria infection degraded the compounds. Addition of organic solvents during sample processing and even low volume addition of the internal standard in an organic solvent caused degradation. A solid phase extraction method avoiding organic solvents eliminated problems arising from haemolysis induced degradation. Plasma esterases mediated only approximately 20% of ex vivo hydrolysis of ARS into DHA. There are multiple sources of major preventable error in measuring ARS and DHA in plasma samples from clinical trials. These various pitfalls have undoubtedly contributed to the large inter-subject variation in plasma concentration profiles and derived pharmacokinetic parameters for these important antimalarial drugs.
A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma using high throughput solid-phase extraction in the 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations including the lower limit of quantification. Using 50 microl plasma the calibration range was 1.19-728 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.5 ng/ml for artesunate and 1.96-2500 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.6 ng/ml for dihydroartemisinin. Using 250 microl of plasma sample the lower limit of quantification was decreased to 0.119 ng/ml for artesunate and 0.196 ng/ml dihydroartemisinin. Validation of over-curve samples in plasma ensured that accurate estimation would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. The method was free from matrix effects as demonstrated both graphically and quantitatively.
We present a loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay (LAMP) targeting the groEL gene, which encodes the 60kDa heat shock protein of Orientia tsutsugamushi. Evaluation included testing of 63 samples of contemporary in vitro isolates, buffy coats and whole blood samples from patients with fever. Detection limits for LAMP were assessed by serial dilutions and quantitation by real-time PCR assay based on the same target gene: three copies/microl for linearized plasmids, 26 copies/microl for VERO cell culture isolates, 14 copies/microl for full blood samples and 41 copies/microl for clinical buffy coats. Based on a limited sample number, the LAMP assay is comparable in sensitivity with conventional nested PCR (56kDa gene), with limits of detection well below the range of known admission bacterial loads of patients with scrub typhus. This inexpensive method requires no sophisticated equipment or sample preparation, and may prove useful as a diagnostic assay in financially poor settings; however, it requires further prospective validation in the field setting.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E43-E43. | Read more2008. Different Clinical Expression of Murine Typhus and Scrub Typhus
Functional studies have demonstrated an interaction between the stimulatory G protein alpha subunit (G-alpha-s) and the malaria parasite at a cellular level. Obstruction of signal transduction via the erythrocyte G-alpha-s subunit reduced invasion by Plasmodium falciparum parasites. We sought to determine whether this signal pathway had an impact at the disease level by testing polymorphisms in the gene encoding G-alpha-s (GNAS) for association with severe malaria in a large multi-centre study encompassing family and case-control studies from The Gambia, Kenya and Malawi, and a case-control study from Ghana. We gained power to detect association using meta-analysis across the seven studies, with an overall sample size approximating 4,000 cases and 4,000 controls. Out of 12 SNPs investigated in the 19 kb GNAS region, four presented signals of association (P < 0.05) with severe malaria. The strongest single-locus association demonstrated an odds ratio of 1.13 (1.05-1.21), P = 0.001. Three of the loci presenting significant associations were clustered at the 5-prime end of the GNAS gene. Accordingly, haplotypes constructed from these loci demonstrated significant associations with severe malaria [OR = 0.88 (0.81-0.96), P = 0.005 and OR = 1.12 (1.03-1.20), P = 0.005]. The evidence presented here indicates that the influence of G-alpha-s on erythrocyte invasion efficacy may, indeed, alter individual susceptibility to disease.
Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of >38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by >2- and >5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB.
Malaria in Asia is thought to be grossly under-reported and this is evident from previously published statistics from Bangladesh. Malaria screening data from four Upazillas was analysed alongside census data to assess the trends in malaria incidence over time and distribution of malaria by age and gender. Malaria incidence in this area has decreased by around two thirds since 2003, although control measures were not significantly increased until 2005. Malaria occurred in people of all ages with the highest incidence being in young adults. This is consistent with higher occupational exposure in this group. The probability of being screened for malaria decreased with age suggesting significant numbers of adults with malaria may be being missed.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E50-E50. | Read more2008. Human Chromosome 17q11.2-q22 Contains Typhoid Fever Susceptibility Genes
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E117-E118. | Read more2008. Prevalence of qnr and aac(6 ')-Ib-cr Genes in Community-Acquired Enterobacteriaceae Isolated in Healthy Volunteers in Hochiminh City
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E120-E120. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Antimicrobial Drug Resistance of Salmonella Typhi in Asia
J R Army Med Corps, 154 (4 Suppl), pp. 2-40.2008. Management of venomous bites and stings in British Military Personnel deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus.
Severe malaria is associated with decreased nitric oxide (NO) production and low plasma concentrations of L-arginine, the substrate for NO synthase. Supplementation with L-arginine has the potential to improve NO bioavailability and outcomes. We developed a pharmacokinetic model for L-arginine in moderately severe malaria to explore the concentration-time profile and identify important covariates. In doses of 3, 6, or 12 g,L-arginine was infused over 30 min to 30 adults with moderately severe malaria, and plasma concentrations were measured at 8 to 11 time points. Patients who had not received L-arginine were also assessed and included in the model. The data were analyzed using a population approach with NONMEM software. A two-compartment linear model with first-order elimination best described the data, with a clearance of 44 liters/h (coefficient of variation [CV] = 52%) and a volume of distribution of 24 liters (CV = 19%). The natural time course of L-arginine recovery was described empirically by a second-order polynomial with a time to half recovery of 26 h. The half-life of exogenous L-arginine was reduced in patients with malaria compared with that for healthy adults. Weight and ethnicity were significant covariates for clearance. MATLAB simulations of dosing schedules for use in future studies predicted that 12 g given over 6, 8, or 12 h will provide concentrations above the K(m) of endothelial cell CAT-1 transporters in 90%, 75%, and 60% of patients, respectively.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E81-E81. | Read more2008. Fatal Lower Respiratory Tract Infections with Rhinovirus A in Infants in Vietnam
PLoS Med, 5 (12), pp. e241. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. What is the future for global case management guidelines for common childhood diseases?
BACKGROUND: Malnutrition is common in the developing world and associated with disease and mortality. Because malnutrition frequently occurs among children in the community as well as those with acute illness, and because anthropometric indicators of nutritional status are continuous variables that preclude a single definition of malnutrition, malnutrition-attributable fractions of admissions and deaths cannot be calculated by simply enumerating individual children. OBJECTIVE: We determined the malnutrition-attributable fractions among children admitted to a rural district hospital in Kenya, among inpatient deaths and among children with the major causes of severe disease. DESIGN: We analyzed data from children between 6 and 60 mo of age, comprising 13,307 admissions, 674 deaths, 3068 admissions with severe disease, and 562 community controls by logistic regression, using anthropometric z scores as the independent variable and admission or death as the outcome, to calculate the probability of admission as a result of "true malnutrition" for individual cases. Probabilities were averaged to calculate attributable fractions. RESULTS: Z scores < -3 were insensitive for malnutrition-attributable deaths and admissions, and no single threshold was both specific and sensitive. The overall malnutrition-attributable fraction for in-hospital deaths was 51% (95% CI: 42%, 61%) with midupper arm circumference. Similar malnutrition-attributable fractions were seen for the major causes of severe disease (severe malaria, gastroenteritis, lower respiratory tract infection, HIV, and invasive bacterial disease). CONCLUSIONS: Despite global improvements, malnutrition still underlies half of the inpatient morbidity and mortality rates among children in rural Kenya. This contribution is underestimated by using conventional clinical definitions of severe malnutrition.
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) causes sporadic disease outbreaks in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). As the Lao PDR is a major thoroughfare for transboundary animal movements, regular FMD outbreaks occur, causing economic hardship for farmers and their families. In this review of the recent history of FMD in the Lao PDR between 1997 and 2006, the authors examine the virological and epidemiological aspects of the disease and appropriate control measures, including the distribution of outbreaks, causative serotypes and the molecular epidemiology of the viruses, as well as large-scale vaccination programmes. The dominant serotype, type O, was reported every year from 1998 to 2005. The majority of outbreaks occurred in Vientiane Capital (n = 42; 28%) and the highest number of outbreaks were reported in cattle (n = 94; 61%); followed by buffalo (n = 41; 27%) and pigs (n = 18; 12%). All type A outbreaks occurred in cattle. Type Asia 1 outbreaks were reported in the central provinces around Vientiane Capital between 1996 and 1998.
An examination of the seroprevalence of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus was conducted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from 1996 to 2005, using structured surveillance and abattoir-based studies. Under structured surveillance, seropositivity ranged from 65.7% (Vientiane Capital, 1996) to 3% (Houaphan, 2005) for cattle and buffalo; and from 2.8% (Vientiane Capital, 1998) to 0% in separate studies of pigs. In each study, species composition was significantly associated with seroprevalence rates. For abattoir surveys, the majority of samples (60.5%) came from Vientiane Capital (33.0%), Savannakhet (14.0%) and Champasak (13.5%) provinces. The overall proportion of animals testing positive for the presence of antibodies against the FMD virus was 18.7% (ranging from 50.8% in Vientiane Province to 1% in Phongsali). Generally, antibodies against serotype O were the most prevalent. Cattle and buffalo that tested as seropositive were significantly older than the seronegative animals (p < 0.00005). The overall proportional seropositivity was significantly different for different species, as was the case with the antibodies against serotypes O, A and Asia 1. Some 22% of cattle, 55% of buffalo and 23% of pigs demonstrated seropositivity but this varied significantly between provinces.
In the United Kingdom (UK), government policy urges involvement of patients in their care and in health-related research. Women prisoners have considerable health needs and constitute an important "patient" group. This study explores women prisoners' perceptions of health and illness to consider the extent to which they differed from those of lay people. Thirty-seven women participated in six focus groups across two prisons in England. They spoke about their views of health and what it was to be healthy. Women prisoners' concepts of health and well-being were similar to those of lay people and they demonstrated a good understanding of the key health issues faced by women prisoners. This group have much to contribute to the research process and researchers should attempt to overcome the existing barriers in order to involve prisoners more fully in line with UK Government policy.
There is a high background seroprevalence of antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei in Thailand that limits its use as a diagnostic tool. It is believed that this results from childhood exposure to the bacterium in mud and surface water. The increasing prevalence of antibodies with age is a marker of the intensity of exposure. A susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) model was calibrated with data on seroprevalence in children (<15 years) in Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani (n=2214). In this mathematical model, children were assumed to gain antibodies at a constant rate related to exposure events, and waning antibody response occurred at a constant rate. The intensity of exposure appeared to be higher in Udon Thani than in Ubon Ratchathani, with 24% vs. 11% of patients becoming seropositive each year. In Udon Thani children, antibodies appeared to be long-lasting, compared with those in Ubon Ratchathani, where the mean duration was 5.2 years. Based on an estimated paediatric disease incidence in Ubon Ratchathani of 4.15 per 100,000 population, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 4600 antibody-producing exposures results in clinical infection. Childhood seroprevalence can be used as a marker of intensity of exposure. Further work to separate the effect of exposure to B. thailandensis and cross-reactivity to B. pseudomallei is proposed.
While Southeast Asia and northern Australia are well recognized as the major endemic regions for melioidosis, recent reports have expanded the endemic zone. Severe weather events and environmental disasters such as the 2004 Asian tsunami have unmasked locations of sporadic cases and have reconfirmed endemicity in Indonesia. The endemic region now includes the majority of the Indian subcontinent, southern China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Sporadic cases have occurred in Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas and in island communities such as New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean, and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Some of the factors that are critical to further elucidating the global distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei and melioidosis include improved access to diagnostic laboratory facilities and formal confirmation of the identity of bacterial isolates from suspected cases.
Dengue Bulletin, 32 pp. 162-166. | Show Abstract2008. Increased utilization of treatment centre facilities during a dengue fever outbreak in Kolkata, India
An outbreak of febrile illness occurred in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India, which led to an increased utilization of treatment centre facilities during August - September 2005. The etiological agent was confirmed to be dengue by analysing 308 acute-phase clinical specimens for virus-specific IgM antibodies.
The genetic characteristics of Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains isolated in 2004 and 2005 in Mozambique were assessed in this study to determine whether the pandemic clone of V. parahaemolyticus O3 : K6 and O4 : K68 serotypes has spread to Mozambique. Fifty-eight V. parahaemolyticus strains isolated from hospitalized diarrhoea patients in Beira, Mozambique, were serotyped for O : K antigens and genotyped for toxR, tdh and trh genes. A group-specific PCR, a PCR that detects the presence of ORF8 of the filamentous phage f237, arbitrarily primed PCR, PFGE and multilocus sequence typing were performed to determine the pandemic status of the strains and their ancestry. All strains of serovars O3 : K6 (n=38) and O4 : K68 (n=4) were identified as a pandemic clonal group by these analyses. These strains are closely related to the pandemic reference strains of O3 : K6 and O4 : K68, which emerged in Asia in 1996 and were later found globally. The pandemic serotypes O3 : K6 and O4 : K68 including reference strains grouped into a single cluster indicating emergence from a common ancestor. The O3 : K58 (n=8), O4 : K13 (n=6), O3 : KUT (n=1) and O8 : K41 (n=1) strains showed unique characteristics different from the pandemic clone.
Geographic and ecological analysis may provide investigators useful ecological information for the control of shigellosis. This paper provides distribution of individual Shigella species in space, and ecological covariates for shigellosis in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Data on shigellosis in neighborhoods were used to identify ecological covariates. A Bayesian hierarchical model was used to obtain joint posterior distribution of model parameters and to construct smoothed risk maps for shigellosis. Neighborhoods with a high proportion of worshippers of traditional religion, close proximity to hospital, or close proximity to the river had increased risk for shigellosis. The ecological covariates associated with Shigella flexneri differed from the covariates for Shigella sonnei. In contrast the spatial distribution of the two species was similar. The disease maps can help identify high-risk areas of shigellosis that can be targeted for interventions. This approach may be useful for the selection of populations and the analysis of vaccine trials.
BACKGROUND: By having unprotected heterosexual contact in both The Netherlands and their homeland, migrants who travel to their homeland might form a bridge population for HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission. We studied the determinants for such a population in two large migrant communities in The Netherlands. METHODS: From 2003 to 2005, 1938 people of Surinamese and Antillean origin were recruited at social venues in two large cities, interviewed and their saliva samples tested for HIV antibodies. We used multivariate multinomial logistic regression to explore characteristics of groups with four risk levels (no, low, moderate and high) for cross-border transmission. RESULTS: 1159/1938 (60%) participants had travelled from The Netherlands to their homeland in the previous 5 years and 1092 (94%) of them reported partnerships and condom use in both countries. Of these 9.2% reported having unprotected sex with partners in both countries. People in this high-risk or bridge population group were more likely to be male, frequent travellers and older compared with people who had no sex or had sexual contact solely in one country in the past 5 years. CONCLUSIONS: Older male travellers of Surinamese and Antillean origin are at high risk for cross-border heterosexual transmission of HIV/STIs. They should be targeted by prevention programmes, which are focused on sexual health education and HIV/STI testing, to raise their risk awareness and prevent transmission.
Antiviral Therapy, 13 (8), pp. 1129.2008. Erratum: The status of HIV-1 resistance to antiretroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa (Antiviral Therapy vol. 13 (625-639))
PLoS Med, 5 (11), pp. e231. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Mathematical models for a new era of malaria eradication.
BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant strains of Plasmodium vivax are emerging in Southeast Asia. METHODS: In vitro drug susceptibility and pvmdr1 genotype were determined in P. vivax field isolates from Indonesia and Thailand. RESULTS: Increased pvmdr1 copy number was present in 21% of isolates from Thailand (15/71) and none from Indonesia (0/114; P < .001). Compared with Indonesian isolates, the median IC(50) of Thai isolates was lower for chloroquine (36 vs. 114 nmol/L; P < .001) but higher for amodiaquine (34 vs. 13.7 nmol/L; P = .032), artesunate (8.33 vs. 1.58 nmol/L; P < .001), and mefloquine (111 vs. 9.87 nmol/L; P < .001). In 11 cryopreserved Thai isolates, those with increased pvmdr1 copy number had a higher IC(50) for mefloquine (78.6 vs. 38 nmol/L for single-copy isolates; P = .006). Compared with isolates with the wild-type allele, the Y976F mutation of pvmdr1 was associated with reduced susceptibility to chloroquine (154 nmol/L [range, 4.6-3505] vs. 34 nmol/L [range, 6.7-149]; P < .001) but greater susceptibility to artesunate (1.8 vs. 9.5 nmol/L; P = .009) and mefloquine (14 vs. 121 nmol/L; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Amplification of pvmdr1 and single-nucleotide polymorphisms are correlated with susceptibility of P. vivax to multiple antimalarial drugs. Chloroquine and mefloquine appear to exert competitive evolutionary pressure on pvmdr1, similar to that observed with pfmdr1 in Plasmodium falciparum.
Plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) are significantly raised in malaria infection and TNF-alpha is thought to inhibit intestinal iron absorption and macrophage iron release. This study investigated putative functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes across the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class III region, including TNF and its immediate neighbors nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells (lkappaBL), inhibitor-like 1 and lymphotoxin alpha (LTA), in relation to nutritional iron status and anemia, in a cohort of 780 children across a malaria season. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) increased over the malaria season (P < .001). The TNF(-308) AA genotype was associated with an increased risk of iron deficiency (adjusted OR 8.1; P = .001) and IDA (adjusted OR 5.1; P = .01) at the end of the malaria season. No genotypes were associated with IDA before the malaria season. Thus, TNF appears to be a risk factor for iron deficiency and IDA in children in a malaria-endemic environment and this is likely to be due to a TNF-alpha-induced block in iron absorption.
Counterfeit antimalarial drugs are found in many developing countries, but it is challenging to differentiate between genuine and fakes due to their increasing sophistication. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a powerful tool in pharmaceutical forensics, and we tested this technique for discriminating between counterfeit and genuine artesunate antimalarial tablets. Using NIRS, we found that artesunate tablets could be identified as genuine or counterfeit with high accuracy. Multivariate classification models indicated that this discriminatory ability was based, at least partly, on the presence or absence of spectral signatures related to artesunate. This technique can be field-portable and requires little training after calibrations are developed, thus showing great promise for rapid and accurate fake detection.
Adherence of parasitized erythrocytes to activated endothelium causes microvascular obstruction, tissue ischemia, and clinical complications in severe malaria (SM); however, the mechanisms leading to endothelial activation remain unclear. The angiogenic factors, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are modulators of endothelial activation, with Ang-2 release from Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) being regulated by endothelial nitric oxide (NO). We explored the relationships between endothelial NO bioavailability, Ang-2, VEGF, tissue perfusion, and clinical outcomes in SM. We measured plasma Ang-2 and VEGF, together with biomarkers of severity from 146 adults with and without SM, in parallel with longitudinal measures of endothelial function by using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (a measure of endothelial NO bioavailability). Regression was used to relate concentrations of Ang-2/VEGF with malaria disease severity, biomarkers of perfusion, endothelial activation, and parasite biomass. The longitudinal relationship between Ang-2 and endothelial function was assessed by using a mixed-effects model. Ang-2 concentrations were elevated in SM and associated with increased venous lactate, plasma intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 concentrations, parasite biomass, and mortality. In contrast, VEGF concentrations were inversely associated with these biomarkers. Ang-2 concentrations were significantly better predictors of death than venous lactate (P = 0.03). Recovery of endothelial function was associated with falling concentrations of Ang-2. Ang-2 release from endothelial cells with reduced NO bioavailability is likely to contribute to endothelial activation, sequestered parasite biomass, impaired perfusion, and poor outcome in severe falciparum malaria. Agents that improve endothelial NO, reduce WPB exocytosis, and/or antagonize Ang-2 may have therapeutic roles in SM.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (5), pp. 662-669. | Citations: 25 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Characterization of "Yaa Chud" Medicine on the Thailand-Myanmar border: selecting for drug-resistant malaria and threatening public health.
Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a severe public health problem on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Many villagers buy packets of 4-5 mixed medicines ("yaa chud") from shops without medical assessment as their first-line malaria treatment. In 2000-2001 a local researcher purchased 50 yaa chud from 44 shops around Mae Sot, Thailand and Myawaddy, Myanmar (Burma), for his wife who was said to be pregnant with fever and drowsiness. The tablets/capsules were provisionally identified by appearance and active ingredients determined in a subset by using mass and atomic spectrometry. The most frequently detected active ingredients were acetaminophen (22%), chlorpheniramine (13.4%), chloroquine (12.6%), tetracycline/doxycycline (11.4%), and quinine (5.1%). Only seven bags contained potentially curative medicine for malaria. A total of 82% of the bags contained medicines contraindicated in pregnancy. Inappropriate, ineffective antimalarial drugs on the Thailand-Myanmar border are likely to increase malaria morbidity, mortality and health costs and engender the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance.
Chromobacterium violaceum is a proteobacterium found in soil and water in tropical regions which rarely causes infection in humans. Here, we report a fatal bacteremia caused by Chromobacterium violaceum in Vietnam. We describe a number of clinical, microbiological, and molecular aspects associated with this bacterial infection.
PLoS Med, 5 (11), pp. e227. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Revisiting the design of phase III clinical trials of antimalarial drugs for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
BACKGROUND: As efforts to control malaria are expanded across the world, understanding the role of transmission intensity in determining the burden of clinical malaria is crucial to the prediction and measurement of the effectiveness of interventions to reduce transmission. Furthermore, studies comparing several endemic sites led to speculation that as transmission decreases morbidity and mortality caused by severe malaria might increase. We aimed to assess the epidemiological characteristics of malaria in Kilifi, Kenya, during a period of decreasing transmission intensity. METHODS: We analyse 18 years (1990-2007) of surveillance data from a paediatric ward in a malaria-endemic region of Kenya. The hospital has a catchment area of 250 000 people. Clinical data and blood-film results for more than 61 000 admissions are reported. FINDINGS: Hospital admissions for malaria decreased from 18.43 per 1000 children in 2003 to 3.42 in 2007. Over 18 years of surveillance, the incidence of cerebral malaria initially increased; however, malaria mortality decreased overall because of a decrease in incidence of severe malarial anaemia since 1997 (4.75 to 0.37 per 1000 children) and improved survival among children admitted with non-severe malaria. Parasite prevalence, the mean age of children admitted with malaria, and the proportion of children with cerebral malaria began to change 10 years before hospitalisation for malaria started to fall. INTERPRETATION: Sustained reduction in exposure to infection leads to changes in mean age and presentation of disease similar to those described in multisite studies. Changes in transmission might not lead to immediate reductions in incidence of clinical disease. However, longitudinal data do not indicate that reductions in transmission intensity lead to transient increases in morbidity and mortality.
In a prospective study of snake bites involving 10 hospitals in Sri Lanka, 302 (35%) of 860 patients with bites by identified snakes proved to have been bitten by hump-nosed pit vipers (301 by Hypnale hypnale and 1 by H. nepa). Most victims were males aged between 11 years and 50 years who had been bitten on their feet or ankles while walking at night close to their homes. There was local swelling in 276 (91%) and local necrosis in 48 (16%). Eleven (4%) required amputation of fingers or toes and 12 (4%) received skin grafts. In 117 patients (39%) blood incoagulability was first detected between 15 min and 48 h after the bite, and in 116 of them this was present on admission to hospital. Spontaneous systemic bleeding was observed in 55 patients (18%). Acute renal failure developed in 10%, five of whom died to give an overall case fatality rate of 1.7%. Thus, bites by hump-nosed pit vipers can cause debilitating local and fatal systemic envenoming. In Sri Lanka and southwestern India where bites by these snakes are common, the only available antivenoms (raised against cobra, krait, Russell's viper and saw-scaled viper venoms) are ineffective and carry a high risk of reactions.
A man bitten by a large coral snake (Micrurus lemniscatus helleri) in the Amazon basin of Ecuador developed persistent excruciating pain in the bitten arm. On admission to hospital less than 30 min later, he had a polymorphonuclear leucocytosis, thrombocytopenia and mildly prolonged prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time. Not until 14 h after the bite did he develop the first signs of neurotoxicity. Despite treatment with specific antivenom 50 h after the bite, he required oxygen for respiratory failure 60 h, and 6 h of mechanical ventilation 72 h, after the bite. Over the next 38 h, he required two further intubations and periods of assisted ventilation before being airlifted to a tertiary referral hospital. Complications included bacterial pneumonia, pneumothorax, bronchial obstruction by mucus plugs and mild rhabdomyolysis. He was discharged from hospital 15 days after the bite with persistent limb weakness and urinary incontinence but eventually recovered. The interesting and unusual features of this case (severe local pain, very slow evolution of neurotoxic envenoming, persistent thrombocytopenia and mild coagulopathy) are discussed in the context of what is known of the composition of Micrurus venoms and the small clinical literature on envenoming from their bites.
INTRODUCTION: Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) and von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein (VHL) are hypoxia sensors that control cellular responses to hypoxia. Although many Sherpas live at high altitudes for their entire lives, some of them manifest symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) during mountaineering at extremely high altitudes. We hypothesize that the two hypoxia sensor genes might associate with the occurrence of AMS symptoms in Sherpas at extremely high altitude. METHODS: In a village at an altitude of 3440 m, 104 Sherpas who had mountaineered at extremely high altitudes (over 5000 m) were divided into two groups: Sherpas with (N = 45) and without (N = 59) histories of AMS symptoms. The rs11549465 SNP in the HIF-1alpha gene (HIF1A) and the rs28940298, rs779805, rs779808, rs1678607, and 1149A > G SNPs in the VHL gene (VHL) were identified in the two Sherpa groups using PCR following RFLP. RESULTS: There were no significant differences in ei-ther the genotype distributions or the allele frequencies of the HIF1A and VHL genetic variants between the two Sherpa groups. CONCLUSION: These genetic variants of HIF1A and VHL are not associated with AMS symptoms that occur in Sherpas at extremely high altitudes. It seems unlikely that HIF1A and VHL are associated with hypoxic sensing sensitivity in Sherpas.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) genotypes in Thailand were studied in pigs and mosquitoes collected near houses of confirmed human JEV cases in 2003-2005. Twelve JEV strains isolated belonged to genotype I, which shows a switch from genotype III incidence that started during the 1980s.
BACKGROUND: Since the mid-1990s, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased and appear to be related to more risky sexual behavior. We compare trends in hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, and shigellosis with the trends of gonorrhea and infectious syphilis in Amsterdam MSM more than a period of 15 years. METHODS: We used data of all reported hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, and shigellosis, and from all patients newly diagnosed with gonorrhea and infectious syphilis who visited the Public Health Service STI outpatient department in Amsterdam between January 1, 1992 and December 31, 2006. RESULTS: Hepatitis A incidence remained unchanged in MSM (mean 0.97 per 1000 MSM, range 0.04-2.27), who had 21% of all 1697 infections. Hepatitis B likewise remained unchanged in MSM (mean 0.47 per 1000 MSM, range 0.19-0.77), who had 41% of all 448 infections. Most shigellosis is travel-related (657/974), and 16% of the infections occurred in MSM. Its incidence dropped in general, but not in MSM. Both gonorrhea and infectious syphilis in MSM show a steep increase, mainly after 1998. DISCUSSION: Hepatitis A, B, and shigellosis do not follow the rising trends of conventional STI in MSM, which are believed to result from increased risky sexual behavior. This disparity in trends implies differences in transmission dynamics. Recent molecular epidemiologic studies suggest that clustered transmission in social MSM networks plays a major role.
OBJECTIVES: The risk of a subsequent exacerbation after treatment of an exacerbation with oral corticosteroids without (OS) or with (OSA) antibiotics was evaluated in a historical population based cohort study comprising patients using maintenance medication for obstructive lung disease. METHODS: The Pharmo database includes drug dispensing records of more than 2 million subjects in The Netherlands. Eligible were patients >or=50 years who in 2003 were dispensed >or=2 prescriptions of daily used inhaled beta(2) agonists, anticholinergics and/or corticosteroids, and experienced at least one exacerbation before 1 January 2006. Exacerbation was defined as a prescription of OS or OSA. The times to the second and third exacerbations were compared using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Independent determinants of new exacerbations were identified using multivariable Cox recurrent event survival analysis. RESULTS: Of 49,599 patients using maintenance medication, 18 928 had at least one exacerbation; in 52%, antibiotics had been added. The OS and OSA groups were comparable for potential confounding factors. Median time to the second exacerbation was 321 days in the OS group and 418 days in the OSA group (p<0.001); and between the second and third exacerbation 127 vs 240 days (p<0.001). The protective effect of OSA was most pronounced during the first 3 months following treatment (hazard ratio (HR) 0.62; 99% CI 0.60 to 0.65). In the OSA group, mortality during follow-up was lower (HR 0.82; 99% CI 0.66 to 0.98). CONCLUSION: Treatment with antibiotics in addition to oral corticosteroids was associated with a longer time to the next exacerbation, and a decreased risk of developing a new exacerbation.
BACKGROUND: Antibodies that inhibit the growth of blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum may play an important role in acquired and vaccine-induced immunity in humans. However, the acquisition and activity of these antibodies is not well understood. METHODS: We tested dialysed serum and purified immunoglobulins from Kenyan children and adults for inhibition of P. falciparum blood-stage growth in vitro using different parasite lines. Serum antibodies were measured by ELISA to blood-stage parasite antigens, extracted from P. falciparum schizonts, and to recombinant merozoite surface protein 1 (42 kDa C-terminal fragment, MSP1-42). RESULTS: Antibodies to blood-stage antigens present in schizont protein extract and to recombinant MSP1-42 significantly increased with age and were highly correlated. In contrast, growth-inhibitory activity was not strongly associated with age and tended to decline marginally with increasing age and exposure, with young children demonstrating the highest inhibitory activity. Comparison of growth-inhibitory activity among samples collected from the same population at different time points suggested that malaria transmission intensity influenced the level of growth-inhibitory antibodies. Antibodies to recombinant MSP1-42 were not associated with growth inhibition and high immunoglobulin G levels were poorly predictive of inhibitory activity. The level of inhibitory activity against different isolates varied. CONCLUSIONS: Children can acquire growth-inhibitory antibodies at a young age, but once they are acquired they do not appear to be boosted by on-going exposure. Inhibitory antibodies may play a role in protection from early childhood malaria.
Plasmodium vivax causes over 100 million clinical infections each year. Primarily because of the lack of a suitable culture system, our understanding of the biology of this parasite lags significantly behind that of the more deadly species P. falciparum. Here, we present the complete transcriptional profile throughout the 48-h intraerythrocytic cycle of three distinct P. vivax isolates. This approach identifies strain specific patterns of expression for subsets of genes predicted to encode proteins associated with virulence and host pathogen interactions. Comparison to P. falciparum revealed significant differences in the expression of genes involved in crucial cellular functions that underpin the biological differences between the two parasite species. These data provide insights into the biology of P. vivax and constitute an important resource for the development of therapeutic approaches.
BACKGROUND: Haematological changes associated with malaria in pregnancy are not well documented, and have focused predominantly on anaemia. Examined here is thrombocytopaenia in pregnant women infected with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax in a low transmission area on the north-western border of Thailand. METHODS: In this observational study we reviewed the platelet counts from routine complete blood count (CBC) in a cohort of healthy and malaria infected Karen pregnant women attending weekly antenatal clinics. A platelet count of 75,000/microL was the threshold at 2 standard deviations below the mean for healthy pregnant women used to indicate thrombocytopenia. Differences in platelet counts in non-pregnant and pregnant women were compared after matching for age, symptoms, malaria species and parasitaemia. RESULTS: In total 974 pregnant women had 1,558 CBC measurements between February 2004 and September 2006. The median platelet counts (/microL) were significantly lower in patients with an episode of falciparum 134,000 [11,000-690,000] (N = 694) or vivax malaria 184,000 [23,000-891,000] (N = 523) compared to healthy pregnant women 256,000 [64,000-781,000] (N = 255), P < 0.05 for both comparisons. Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax caused a 34% (95% CI 24-47) and 22% (95% CI 8-36) reduction in platelet count, respectively. Pregnant compared to non pregnant women were at higher risk OR = 2.27 (95%CI 1.16-4.4) P = 0.017, for thrombocytopaenia. Platelets counts were higher in first compared with subsequent malaria infections within the same pregnancy. Malaria associated thrombocytopaenia had a median [range] time for recovery of 7 234567891011121314 days which did not differ by antimalarial treatment (P = 0.86), or species (P = 0.63) and was not associated with active bleeding. CONCLUSION: Pregnant women become more thrombocytopenic than non-pregnant women with acute uncomplicated malaria. Uncomplicated malaria associated thrombocytopaenia is seldom severe. Prompt antimalarial treatment resulted in normalization of platelet counts within a week.
Antibodies against the 19 kDa C-terminal fragment of merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP1(19)) are a major component of the invasion-inhibitory response in individuals immune to malaria. We report here the acquisition of MSP1(19)-specific invasion-inhibitory antibodies in a group of transmigrants who experienced their sequential malaria infections during settlement in an area of Indonesia where malaria is highly endemic. We used 2 transgenic Plasmodium falciparum parasite lines that expressed either endogenous MSP1(19) or the homologous region from P. chabaudi to measure the MSP1(19)-specific invasion-inhibitory antibodies. The results revealed that the acquisition of MSP1(19)-specific invasion-inhibitory antibodies required 2 or more P. falciparum infections. In contrast, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays on the same serum samples showed that MSP1(19)-specific antibodies are present after the first malaria infection. This delay in the acquisition of functional antibodies by residents of areas where malaria is endemic is consistent with the observation that multiple malaria infections are required before clinical immunity is acquired.
N Engl J Med, 359 (15), pp. 1621-1623. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Insights into inflammation and influenza.
Following infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria, children in endemic areas develop antibodies specific to antigens on the parasite-infected red cell surface of the infecting isolate, antibodies associated with protection against subsequent infection with that isolate. In some circumstances induction of antibodies to heterologous parasite isolates also occurs and this has been suggested as evidence for cross-reactivity of responses against the erythrocyte surface. The role of these relatively cross-reactive antibodies in protection from clinical malaria is currently unknown. We studied the incidence of clinical malaria amongst children living on the coast of Kenya through one high transmission season. By categorising individuals according to their pre-season parasite status and antibody response to the surface of erythrocytes infected with four parasite isolates we were able to identify a group of children, those who failed to make a concomitant antibody response in the presence of an asymptomatic parasitaemia, at increased susceptibility to clinical malaria in the subsequent 6 months. The fact that this susceptible group was identified regardless of the parasite isolate tested infers a cross-reactive or conserved target is present on the surface of infected erythrocytes. Identification of this target will significantly aid understanding of naturally acquired immunity to clinical malaria amongst children in endemic areas.
PURPOSE: We compared the pharmacokinetics of chloroquine in pregnant and nonpregnant women treated for Plasmodium vivax malaria. METHODS: Twelve pregnant women and 15 nonpregnant women of child-bearing age with acute P. vivax malaria were treated with 25 mg chloroquine base/kg over 3 days on the northwestern border of Thailand. Blood concentrations of chloroquine and desethylchloroquine were measured using hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled with fluorescence detection. Twenty-five women completed the pharmacokinetic study. RESULTS: Although increasing gestational age was associated with reduced chloroquine AUC0-->infinity, there was no significant difference overall in the pharmacokinetics of chloroquine between pregnant and nonpregnant women. Fever was associated with lower chloroquine AUC0-->infinity values. Desethylchloroquine area under the curve (AUC) values were not significantly affected by pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnancy did not significantly affect blood concentrations of chloroquine or its metabolite, desethylchloroquine, in women with P. vivax malaria.
Copy number polymorphism (CNP) is ubiquitous in eukaryotic genomes, but the degree to which this reflects the action of positive selection is poorly understood. The first gene in the Plasmodium folate biosynthesis pathway, GTP-cyclohydrolase I (gch1), shows extensive CNP. We provide compelling evidence that gch1 CNP is an adaptive consequence of selection by antifolate drugs, which target enzymes downstream in this pathway. (1) We compared gch1 CNP in parasites from Thailand (strong historical antifolate selection) with those from neighboring Laos (weak antifolate selection). Two percent of chromosomes had amplified copy number in Laos, while 72% carried multiple (2-11) copies in Thailand, and differentiation exceeded that observed at 73 synonymous SNPs. (2) We found five amplicon types containing one to greater than six genes and spanning 1 to >11 kb, consistent with parallel evolution and strong selection for this gene amplification. gch1 was the only gene occurring in all amplicons suggesting that this locus is the target of selection. (3) We observed reduced microsatellite variation and increased linkage disequilibrium (LD) in a 900-kb region flanking gch1 in parasites from Thailand, consistent with rapid recent spread of chromosomes carrying multiple copies of gch1. (4) We found that parasites bearing dhfr-164L, which causes high-level resistance to antifolate drugs, carry significantly (p = 0.00003) higher copy numbers of gch1 than parasites bearing 164I, indicating functional association between genes located on different chromosomes but linked in the same biochemical pathway. These results demonstrate that CNP at gch1 is adaptive and the associations with dhfr-164L strongly suggest a compensatory function. More generally, these data demonstrate how selection affects multiple enzymes in a single biochemical pathway, and suggest that investigation of structural variation may provide a fast-track to locating genes underlying adaptation.
The threat of avian influenza A (H5N1) infection in humans remains a global health concern. Current influenza vaccines stimulate antibody responses against the surface glycoproteins but are ineffective against strains that have undergone significant antigenic variation. An alternative approach is to stimulate pre-existing memory T cells established by seasonal human influenza A infection that could cross-react with H5N1 by targeting highly conserved internal proteins. To determine how common cross-reactive T cells are, we performed a comprehensive ex vivo analysis of cross-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cell responses to overlapping peptides spanning the full proteome of influenza A/Viet Nam/CL26/2005 (H5N1) and influenza A/New York/232/2004 (H3N2) in healthy individuals from the United Kingdom and Viet Nam. Memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells isolated from the majority of participants exhibited human influenza-specific responses and showed cross-recognition of at least one H5N1 internal protein. Participant CD4+ and CD8+ T cells recognized multiple synthesized influenza peptides, including peptides from the H5N1 strain. Matrix protein 1 (M1) and nucleoprotein (NP) were the immunodominant targets of cross-recognition. In addition, cross-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells recognized target cells infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing either H5N1 M1 or NP. Thus, vaccine formulas inducing heterosubtypic T cell-mediated immunity may confer broad protection against avian and human influenza A viruses.
QJM, 101 (10), pp. 801-806. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Neurotoxicity and hypertension following European adder (Vipera berus berus) bites in Hungary: case report and review.
The venom proteomes of the snakes Bothrops caribbaeus and Bothrops lanceolatus, endemic to the Lesser Antillean islands of Saint Lucia and Martinique, respectively, were characterized by reverse-phase HPLC fractionation, followed by analysis of each chromatographic fraction by SDS-PAGE, N-terminal sequencing, MALDI-TOF mass fingerprinting, and collision-induced dissociation tandem mass spectrometry of tryptic peptides. The venoms contain proteins belonging to seven ( B. caribbaeus) and five ( B. lanceolatus) types of toxins. B. caribbaeus and B. lanceolatus venoms contain phospholipases A 2, serine proteinases, l-amino acid oxidases and zinc-dependent metalloproteinases, whereas a long disintegrin, DC-fragments and a CRISP molecule were present only in the venom of B. caribbaeus, and a C-type lectin-like molecule was characterized in the venom of B. lanceolatus. Compositional differences between venoms among closely related species from different geographic regions may be due to evolutionary environmental pressure acting on isolated populations. The venoms of these two species differed in the composition and the relative abundance of their component toxins, but they exhibited similar toxicological and enzymatic profiles in mice, characterized by lethal, hemorrhagic, edema-forming, phospholipase A 2 and proteolytic activities. The venoms of B. caribbaeus and B. lanceolatus are devoid of coagulant and defibrinogenating effects and induce only mild local myotoxicity in mice. The characteristic thrombotic effect described in human envenomings by these species was not reproduced in the mouse model. The toxicological profile observed is consistent with the abundance of metalloproteinases, PLA 2s and serine proteinases in the venoms. A polyvalent (Crotalinae) antivenom produced in Costa Rica was able to immunodeplete approximately 80% of the proteins from both B. caribbaeus and B. lanceolatus venoms, and was effective in neutralizing the lethal, hemorrhagic, phospholipase A 2 and proteolytic activities of these venoms.
OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate the value of routine, basic sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening at enrolment into an HIV-1 vaccine feasibility cohort study and to highlight the importance of soliciting a history of receptive anal intercourse (RAI) in adults identified as "high risk". METHODS: Routine STI screening was offered to adults at high risk of HIV-1 upon enrolment into a cohort study in preparation for HIV-1 vaccine trials. Risk behaviours and STI prevalence were summarised and the value of microscopy assessed. Associations between prevalent HIV-1 infection and RAI or prevalent STI were evaluated with multiple logistic regression. RESULTS: Participants had a high burden of untreated STI. Symptom-directed management would have missed 67% of urethritis cases in men and 59% of cervicitis cases in women. RAI was reported by 36% of male and 18% of female participants. RAI was strongly associated with HIV-1 in men (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.8; 95% CI 2.0 to 6.9) and independently associated with syphilis in women (aOR 12.9; 95% CI 3.4 to 48.7). CONCLUSIONS: High-risk adults recruited for HIV-1 prevention trials carry a high STI burden. Symptom-directed treatment may miss many cases and simple laboratory-based screening can be done with little cost. Risk assessment should include questions about anal intercourse and whether condoms were used. STI screening, including specific assessment for anorectal disease, should be offered in African research settings recruiting participants at high risk of HIV-1 acquisition.
East Afr Med J, 85 (10), pp. 500-504. | Show Abstract2008. Sensitivity and specificity of HIV rapid tests used for research and voluntary counselling and testing.
BACKGROUND: HIV rapid tests (RT) are a quick and non-technically demanding means to perform HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) but understanding their limitations is vital to delivering quality VCT. OBJECTIVE: To determine the sensitivity and specificity of HIV rapid tests used for research and voluntary counselling and testing at four sites in East Africa. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Masaka District, Uganda; a sugar plantation in Kakira, Uganda; Coastal Villages in the Kilifi District of Kenya; and the Urban slum of Kangemi located West of Nairobi, Kenya. SUBJECTS: Six thousands two hundred and fifty five consenting volunteers were enrolled into the study, and 675 prevalent HIV infections were identified. RESULTS: The RT sensitivity tended to be high for all assays at all sites (97.63-100%) with the exception of the Uni-Gold assay (90.24% in Kangemi, 96.58% in Kilifi). Twenty four RT results were recorded as 'weak positives', 22 (92%) of which were negative by ELISA. There was a high rate of RT false positives in Uganda (positive predictive values ranging from 45.70% to 86.62%). CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity and specificity of the RT varied significantly across sites. The rate of RT misclassification in Uganda suggests that a multiple test algorithm may be preferable to a single test as screener for HIV VCT.
Tanzan J Health Res, 10 (4), pp. 253-266. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Challenges in malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa: the vaccine perspective.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease of public health importance, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. It is estimated that about 500 million cases of malaria occur annually and among these 1 million die annually. Children below five years and pregnant women are the most vulnerable groups. Several malaria control measures have been applied such as environmental improvements, use of insecticide impregnated nets, residual indoor spraying, early case detection and treatment with effective antimalarial drugs. However, the adaptation of vector and parasite has so far limited the effect of these interventions. The emergence of resistance against drugs and insecticides requires in response a steady stream of new interventions. Up to the beginning of this millennium, most sub-Saharan African countries have been using chloroquine (CQ) as the first-line antimalarial drug, which had to be replaced with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) after resistant parasites had rendered CQ ineffective. Currently the first line treatment of malaria consists of combination therapy which includes an artemisinin derivative. The current approach appears robust but history has taught us to be alert and to expect resistance to emerge. There is a pressing need to develop and deploy complimentary strategies. Adding a protective vaccine to the existing control tools for malaria holds great promise yet no malaria vaccine has ever been licensed despite a large number of attempts. The complexity of malaria parasites and the ability of the parasite to suppress and evade immune responses are formidable challenges. Fortunately, there are several promising antimalarial vaccine candidates in the development pipeline. The most promising vaccine candidate is RTSS which is currently tested in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including two sites in Tanzania. There is a hope that malaria vaccines could be developed and deployed in malaria endemic communities. This article highlights the challenges of developing and deploying malaria vaccines.
Murine typhus was diagnosed by PCR in 50 (7%) of 756 adults with febrile illness seeking treatment at Patan Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Of patients with murine typhus, 64% were women, 86% were residents of Kathmandu, and 90% were unwell during the winter. No characteristics clearly distinguished typhus patients from those with blood culture-positive enteric fever.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 161 (2), pp. 124-129. | Read more2008. Identification, expression and characterisation of a Babesia bovis hexose transporter
In clinical trials recombinant-modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing the Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85A (MVA85A) induces approximately 10 times more effector T cells than any other recombinant MVA vaccine. We have found that in BCG primed subjects MVA85A vaccination reduces transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta1) mRNA in peripheral blood lymphocytes and reduces TGF-beta1 protein in the serum, but increases IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses to the recall antigen SK/SD. TGF-beta1 is essential for the generation of regulatory T cells and we see a correlation across vaccinees between CD4+CD25hiFoxP3+ cells and TGF-beta1 serum levels. This apparent ability to counteract regulatory T cell effects suggests a potential use of MVA85A as an adjuvant for less immunogenic vaccines.
BACKGROUND: Case-management with artemether-lumefantrine (AL) is one of the key strategies to control malaria in many African countries. Yet, the reports on translation of AL implementation activities into clinical practice are scarce. Here the quality of AL case-management is reported from Uganda; approximately one year after AL replaced combination of chloroquine and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (CQ+SP) as recommended first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey, using a range of quality of care assessment tools, was undertaken at all government and private-not-for-profit facilities in four Ugandan districts. Main outcome measures were AL prescribing, dispensing and counseling practices in comparison with national guidelines, and factors influencing health workers decision to 1) treat for malaria, and 2) prescribe AL. RESULTS: 195 facilities, 232 health workers and 1,763 outpatient consultations were evaluated. Of 1,200 patients who needed treatment with AL according to guidelines, AL was prescribed for 60%, CQ+SP for 14%, quinine for 4%, CQ for 3%, other antimalarials for 3%, and 16% of patients had no antimalarial drug prescribed. AL was prescribed in the correct dose for 95% of patients. Only three out of seven AL counseling and dispensing tasks were performed for more than 50% of patients. Patients were more likely to be treated for malaria if they presented with main complaint of fever (OR = 5.22; 95% CI: 3.61-7.54) and if they were seen by supervised health workers (OR = 1.63; 95% CI: 1.06-2.50); however less likely if they were treated by more qualified health workers (OR = 0.61; 95% CI: 0.40-0.93) and presented with skin problem (OR = 0.29; 95% CI: 0.15-0.55). AL was more likely prescribed if the appropriate weight-specific AL pack was in stock (OR = 6.15; 95% CI: 3.43-11.05) and when CQ was absent (OR = 2.16; 95% CI: 1.09-4.28). Routine AL implementation activities were not associated with better performance. CONCLUSION: Although the use of AL was predominant over non-recommended therapies, the quality of AL case-management at the point of care is not yet optimal. There is an urgent need for innovative quality improvement interventions, which should be rigorously tested. Adequate availability of ACTs at the point of care will, however, ultimately determine the success of any performance interventions and ACT policy transitions.
BMJ, 337 (7669), pp. 564-569. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Managing drug resistant tuberculosis
As artemether/lumefantrine is now deployed as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh, information on its efficacy and adherence to its use is important. A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial comparing directly observed treatment (DOT) and non-directly observed treatment (NDOT) was conducted in 320 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bandarban Hill Tract District, Bangladesh. Both regimens showed similar high levels of PCR-corrected 42-day parasitological and clinical cure rates (99.3% in the NDOT group and 100% in the DOT group; P=0.49). Survival analysis for the time to recurrence of infection showed no difference between treatment groups (log rank, P=0.98). Adherence, as assessed by counting remaining tablets and oral interviews, was 93% in the NDOT group and was confirmed by Day 7 lumefantrine concentrations. Adherence was independent of educational level. Patients with plasma lumefantrine concentrations < 280 ng/ml at Day 7 were at greater risk for re-infection (relative risk 5.62; P=0.027). The efficacy of artemether/lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh is high and is similar for DOT and NDOT. Adherence to therapy is high.
Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (9), pp. 1483-1485. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Genotyping of Orientia tsutsugamushi from humans with scrub typhus, Laos.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (3), pp. 378-384. | Citations: 31 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Effects of different antimalarial drugs on gametocyte carriage in P. vivax malaria.
The gametocytocidal and asexual stage activities of eight antimalarial and eight antibiotic-containing regimens were evaluated in 349 adult patients with P. vivax malaria. Gametocytemia was found in 63% of patients (22% before and 41% after treatment). The median (range) gametocyte clearance time was 24 hours (range, 2-504 hours) and correlated with asexual parasite clearance time (r = 0.52, P < 0.001). Gametocytemia in vivax malaria was more common in patients with admission parasitemia > 10,000/microL and after treatment with drugs which have weak antimalarial activity, and was also associated with an increased rate of vivax reappearance (29.4% versus 14.1%, P = 0.002). Sexual stage activities corresponded with asexual stage activity for all tested regimens. Treatment with potent antimalarial drugs reduces the transmission potential of P. vivax.
Individual informed consent is a key ethical obligation for clinical studies, but empirical studies show that key requirements are often not met. Common recommendations to strengthen consent in low income settings include seeking permission from community members through existing structures before approaching individuals, considering informed consent as a process rather than a single event, and assessing participant understanding using questionnaires. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study exploring community understanding and perceptions of a malaria vaccine trial (MVT) conducted in a rural setting on the Kenyan Coast. The MVT incorporated all of the above recommendations into its information-giving processes. The findings support the importance of community level information-giving and of giving information on several different occasions before seeking final individual consent. However, an emerging issue was that inter-personal interactions and relationships between researchers and community members, and within the community, play a critical role in participants' perceptions of a study, their decisions to consent or withdraw, and their advice to researchers on study practicalities and information to feedback at the end of the trial. These relationships are based on and continually tested by information-giving processes, and by context specific concerns and interests that can be difficult to predict and are well beyond the timescale and reach of single research activities. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that the current move towards increasingly ambitious and stringent formal standards for information-giving to individuals be counter-balanced with greater attention to the diverse social relationships that are essential to the successful application of these procedures. This may be assisted by emphasising respecting communities as well as persons, and by recognising that current guidelines and regulations may be an inadequate response to the complex, often unpredictable and ever shifting ethical dilemmas facing research teams working 'in the field'.
There is wide acknowledgement of the need for community engagement in biomedical research, particularly in international settings. Recent debates have described theoretical approaches to identifying situations where this is most critical and potential mechanisms to achieve it. However, there is relatively little published experience of community engagement in practice. A major component of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme is centred on Kilifi District General Hospital and surrounding community of 240,000 local residents. Documented community perceptions of the research centre are generally positive, but many indicate a low understanding of research and therapeutic misconceptions of its activities. As in other settings, these misunderstandings have contributed to concerns and rumours, and potentially undermine ethical aspects of research and local trust in the institution. Through a series of consultative activities, a community engagement strategy has been developed in Kilifi to strengthen mutual understanding between community members and the Centre. One important component is the establishment of a representative local resident network in different geographic locations commonly involved in research, to supplement existing communication channels. Early implementation of the strategy has provided new and diverse opportunities for dialogue, interaction and partnership building. Through the complex social interactions inherent in the community engagement strategy, the centre aims to build context specific ethical relations with local residents and to strengthen understanding of how ethical principles can be applied in practice. Evaluations over time will assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these strategies, provide generalisable information for similar research settings, and contribute to debates on the universality of ethical principles for research. This paper aims to summarise the rationale for community engagement in research, drawing on published literature and local findings, to outline the process of community engagement in Kilifi and to describe issues emerging from its development and early implementation.
The ethics of research continue to attract considerable debate, particularly when that research is sponsored by partners from the North and carried out in the South. Ethical research should contribute to social value in the country where research is being carried out, but there is significant debate around how this might be achieved and who is responsible. The literature suggests that researchers might employ two inter-related strategies to maximise social value: collaborative partnerships with policy makers and communities from the outset of research, and dissemination of research results to participants, policy makers and implementers once the research is over. These areas have received relatively little empirical attention. In this study, we carried out 40 in-depth interviews to explore the role of collaborative partnerships in health research priority setting, and the way in which research findings are disseminated to aid policy making and implementation in Kenya. Interviewees included policy makers, researchers, policy implementers and representatives of organisations funding health reforms in Kenya. Two policy issues were drawn upon as tracers wherever possible: (1) the introduction of Artemesinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs), an anti-malarial treatment policy; and (2) Haemophilus influenzae (Hib) vaccine for the prevention of pneumococcal diseases among children. The findings point to significant gaps in the 'research to policy to practice' pathway, particularly for national research institutions with a focus on clinical/biomedical research. These gaps reflect poorly effective partnerships among stakeholders and limit the potential social value of much research. While more investment is needed to establish strong structures for promoting and directing collaboration and partnership, how to target this investment is not entirely clear, especially in the context of the considerable power of the global health agenda and the research financing tied to it.
The ethics of medical research have grown as an area of expertise and debate in recent years, with two broad approaches emerging in relation to transnational research: (1) the refinement of guidelines and strengthening of review, processes primarily to protect the right of individual research participants and strengthen interpersonal relations at the micro-level; and (2) considering more centrally, as crucial ethical concerns, the wider interests of whole populations, the functioning of research institutions, the processes of collaboration, and the ethics of inequitable international relations. We see the two areas of debate and action as complementary, and believe that social science conducted in and around transnational medical research environments can bring these two perspectives together in a more 'situated ethics' of research. To explore this idea for medical research in Africa, we organized a conference in December 2005 in Kilifi, Kenya. In this introduction we outline the two emerging approaches to medical ethics, summarise each of seven papers selected from the conference for inclusion in this special issue on ethics and ethnography, and finally highlight two areas of lively debate at the conference itself: the appropriateness and value of ethics guidelines and review boards for medical research; and the ethical review of social science research. Together, the papers and debates point to the importance of focusing on the ethics of relationships and on justice in both biomedicine and social science research, and on giving greater voice and visibility to the field staff who often play a crucial and under-supported role in 'doing ethics' in the field. They also point to the potential value of social science research on the range of relationships operating at different levels and time scales in medical research, including those surrounding community engagement activities, and the role and functioning of ethics review boards. We conclude by highlighting the ethical priority of capacity strengthening in medical research, social science and research ethics in Africa to ensure that local and national priorities and concerns are considered at both the micro and macro levels.
The report describes successful management of 10 women in 2nd and 3rd pregnancy trimesters with EchiTab IgG antivenom after carpet viper (Echis ocellatus) envenoming. All women survived but foetal loss in a victim with delayed presentation and a case of mild hypersensitivity reaction were recorded. Excellent outcomes can be achieved in rural and semi-nomadic populations without specialized care and immediate access and provision of effective antivenoms is paramount in curtailing snakebite maternal morbidity, mortality and foetal loss.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (3), pp. 458-462. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Distinctive epidemiologic and clinical features of common krait (Bungarus caeruleus) bites in Sri Lanka.
A prospective study was designed to define epidemiologic and clinical features of krait bites to improve diagnosis, management, and prevention. Among 762 cases of venomous snake bites admitted to 10 Sri Lankan hospitals in which the snake responsible was brought and identified, 88 (11.5%) were caused by common kraits (Bungarus caeruleus). Bites were: most frequent in September through November. Distinctive features of B. caeruleus bites (compared with bites by other species in parentheses) were bitten while sleeping on the ground, 100% (1%); indoors, 100% (49%); between 2300 and 0500 hours, 100% (3%). Only 13% of krait victims were bitten on their lower limbs (82%), only 9% had local swelling (in all cases mild) at the site of the bite (93%), 64% developed respiratory paralysis (2%), and 91% experienced (often severe) abdominal pain (10%). Case fatality was 6% (3%). This distinctive pattern of epidemiology and symptoms will aid clinical recognition (syndromic diagnosis) and prevention of krait bite envenoming.
Taeniasis and cysticercosis are important but underreported parasitic zoonoses in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Reports of human and pig cysticercosis are rather limited and based largely on anecdotal evidence. To date, no structured surveys of disease prevalence or incidence have been reported. However, one unpublished pilot survey of pig cysticercosis in a slaughterhouse in northern Laos estimated prevalence to be 1.7%, without speciation of parasite cysts. Over the past 20 years, nine surveys of intestinal helminthic infection have been conducted; the prevalence of human taeniasis ranged from 0 to 14.0%. The study designs and sample sizes varied greatly, however a high degree of spatial and age variation in taeniasis prevalence was evident. These results are however inconclusive as the species of tapeworm infecting the people was not determined. To further our knowledge of taeniasis and cysticercosis in Lao PDR, structured community-based surveys in high-risk areas are required in combination with the use of sensitive and specific diagnostic tests capable of identifying the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. This will enable the development and implementation of control measures that are both appropriate and sustainable if T. solium is shown to be a public health threat.
BACKGROUND: The development of primary care services within prisons has been central to improvements in the provision of health care in this setting over the past decade. Despite national imperatives to involve patients in the development of services and numerous policy initiatives, there has been no systematic evaluation of changes in the delivery of primary care and little published evidence of consultation with prisoners. AIM: To explore women prisoners' experiences of primary healthcare provision in prison. DESIGN OF STUDY: Qualitative study using focus groups and interviews. SETTING: Two women's prisons in southern England. METHOD: Six focus groups involving 37 women were conducted, as well as 12 semi-structured individual interviews. Focus groups and interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. RESULTS: Women prisoners' perceptions of the quality of prison health care were mixed. There were accounts of good-quality care where practitioners were regarded as knowledgeable and respectful, but many perceived that the quality of care was poor. They complained about difficulties accessing care or medication, disrespectful treatment, and breaches of confidentiality by practitioners. They voiced the belief that staff were less qualified and competent than their counterparts in the community. CONCLUSION: The prison environment presents unique challenges to those providing health care, and much work has been done recently on modernizing prison health care and improving professional standards of practice. However, the accounts of women prisoners in this study suggest that there is a gap between patient experience and policy aspirations.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (3), pp. 471-472. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Taking photographs with a microscope.
We describe a simple, economical, and highly practical technique for taking digital photographs of specimens visualized through a light microscope. Most models of light microscope and compact digital camera, and even some cameraphones, can be used. The technique is quick to learn and can easily be performed in a resource-poor setting. It can be used to assist with diagnosis in remote areas and can be extremely useful for teaching.
Arch Dis Child, 93 (9), pp. 799-804. | Citations: 46 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Developing and introducing evidence based clinical practice guidelines for serious illness in Kenya.
The analysis of nosocomial infection data for communicable pathogens is complicated by two facts. First, typical pathogens more commonly cause asymptomatic colonization than overt disease, so transmission can be only imperfectly observed through a sequence of surveillance swabs, which themselves have imperfect sensitivity. Any given set of swab results can therefore be consistent with many different patterns of transmission. Second, data are often highly dependent: the colonization status of one patient affects the risk for others, and, in some wards, repeated admissions are common. Here, the authors present a method for analyzing typical nosocomial infection data consisting of results from arbitrarily timed screening swabs that overcomes these problems and enables simultaneous estimation of transmission and importation parameters, duration of colonization, swab sensitivity, and ward- and patient-level covariates. The method accounts for dependencies by using a mechanistic stochastic transmission model, and it allows for uncertainty in the data by imputing the imperfectly observed colonization status of patients over repeated admissions. The approach uses a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm, allowing inference within a Bayesian framework. The method is applied to illustrative data from an interrupted time-series study of vancomycin-resistant enterococci transmission in a hematology ward.
Understanding the optimal treatment of uncomplicated malaria in children is challenging because of the availability of new drugs and the shift to combination therapies. This is a review of the guiding principles for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, the essential anti-malarial drugs for children, and the treatment regimens currently recommended.
To evaluate sex differences in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression before (pre-1997) and after (1997-2006) introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, the authors used data from a collaboration of 23 HIV seroconverter cohort studies from Europe, Australia, and Canada restricted to the 6,923 seroconverters infected through injecting drug use and sex between men and women. Within a competing risk framework, they used Cox proportional hazards models allowing for late entry to evaluate sex differences in time from HIV seroconversion to death, to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and to each first AIDS-defining disease and death without AIDS. While no significant sex differences were found before 1997, from 1997 onward, women had a lower risk of AIDS (adjusted cumulative relative risk (aCRR) = 0.76, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.63, 0.90) and death (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.82) than men did. Compared with men, women also had lower risks of AIDS dementia complex (aCRR = 0.23, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.74), tuberculosis (aCRR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.39, 0.92), Kaposi's sarcoma (aCRR = 0.27, 95% CI: 0.07, 0.99), lymphomas (aCRR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.96), and death without AIDS (aCRR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.98). Sex differences in HIV disease progression have become larger and statistically significant in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, supporting a stronger impact of health interventions among women.
Antivir Ther, 13 (5), pp. 625-639. | Citations: 41 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. The status of HIV-1 resistance to antiretroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for persons infected with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa has greatly improved over the past few years. However, data on long-term clinical outcomes of Africans receiving HAART, patterns of HIV resistance to antiretroviral drugs and implications of HIV type-1 (HIV-1) subtype diversity in Africa for resistance, are limited. In resource-limited settings, concerns have been raised that deficiencies in health systems could create the conditions for accelerated development of resistance. Coordinated surveillance systems are being established to assess the emergence of resistance and the factors associated with resistance development, and to create the possibility for adjusting treatment guidelines as necessary. The purpose of this report is to review the literature on HIV-1 resistance to antiretroviral drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, in relation to the drug regimens used in Africa, HIV-1 subtype diversity and overall prevalence of resistance. The report focuses on resistance associated with treatment, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and transmitted resistance. It also outlines priorities for public health action and research.
BACKGROUND: Maps of malaria distribution are vital for optimal allocation of resources for anti-malarial activities. There is a lack of reliable contemporary malaria maps in endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This problem is particularly acute in low malaria transmission countries such as those located in the horn of Africa. METHODS: Data from a national malaria cluster sample survey in 2005 and routine cluster surveys in 2007 were assembled for Somalia. Rapid diagnostic tests were used to examine the presence of Plasmodium falciparum parasites in finger-prick blood samples obtained from individuals across all age-groups. Bayesian geostatistical models, with environmental and survey covariates, were used to predict continuous maps of malaria prevalence across Somalia and to define the uncertainty associated with the predictions. RESULTS: For analyses the country was divided into north and south. In the north, the month of survey, distance to water, precipitation and temperature had no significant association with P. falciparum prevalence when spatial correlation was taken into account. In contrast, all the covariates, except distance to water, were significantly associated with parasite prevalence in the south. The inclusion of covariates improved model fit for the south but not for the north. Model precision was highest in the south. The majority of the country had a predicted prevalence of < 5%; areas with > or = 5% prevalence were predominantly in the south. CONCLUSION: The maps showed that malaria transmission in Somalia varied from hypo- to meso-endemic. However, even after including the selected covariates in the model, there still remained a considerable amount of unexplained spatial variation in parasite prevalence, indicating effects of other factors not captured in the study. Nonetheless the maps presented here provide the best contemporary information on malaria prevalence in Somalia.
The R1 plasmid employs ATP-driven polymerisation of the actin-like protein ParM to move newly replicated DNA to opposite poles of a bacterial cell. This process is essential for ensuring accurate segregation of the low-copy number plasmid and is the best characterised example of DNA partitioning in prokaryotes. In vivo, ParM only forms long filaments when capped at both ends by attachment to a centromere-like region parC, through a small DNA-binding protein ParR. Here, we present biochemical and electron microscopy data leading to a model for the mechanism by which ParR-parC complexes bind and stabilise elongating ParM filaments. We propose that the open ring formed by oligomeric ParR dimers with parC DNA wrapped around acts as a rigid clamp, which holds the end of elongating ParM filaments while allowing entry of new ATP-bound monomers. We propose a processive mechanism by which cycles of ATP hydrolysis in polymerising ParM drives movement of ParR-bound parC DNA. Importantly, our model predicts that each pair of plasmids will be driven apart in the cell by just a single double helical ParM filament.
BACKGROUND: Antibodies targeting variant antigens expressed on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum infected erythrocytes have been associated with protection from clinical malaria. The precise target for these antibodies is unknown. The best characterized and most likely target is the erythrocyte surface-expressed variant protein family Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1). METHODS: Using recombinant proteins corresponding to five domains of the expressed A4 var gene, A4 PfEMP1, the naturally occurring antibody response was assessed, by ELISA, to each domain in serum samples obtained from individuals resident in two communities of differing malaria transmission intensity on the Kenyan coast. Using flow cytometry, the correlation in individual responses to each domain with responses to intact A4-infected erythrocytes expressing A4 PfEMP1 on their surface as well as responses to two alternative parasite clones and one clinical isolate was assessed. RESULTS: Marked variability in the prevalence of responses between each domain and between each transmission area was observed, as wasa strong correlation between age and reactivity with some but not all domains. Individual responses to each domain varied strikingly, with some individuals showing reactivity to all domains and others with no reactivity to any, this was apparent at all age groups. Evidence for possible cross-reactivity in responses to the domain DBL4gamma was found. CONCLUSION: Individuals acquire antibodies to surface expressed domains of a highly variant protein. The finding of potential cross-reactivity in responses to one of these domains is an important initial finding in the consideration of potential vaccine targets.
Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has become a significant public health problem worldwide and new, rapid, user-friendly, reliable and inexpensive methods for drug quality screening are needed. This work illustrates the chemical characterization of genuine and fake artesunate antimalarial tablets by portable Raman spectroscopy and validation by FT-Raman spectroscopy and ambient mass spectrometry. The applicability of a compact and robust portable Raman spectrometer (TruScan) for the in situ chemical identification of counterfeit tablets is reported.
The pathogenesis of severe dengue is not well understood. Maternally derived subneutralizing levels of dengue virus-reactive IgG are postulated to be a critical risk factor for severe dengue during infancy. In this study, we found that, in healthy Vietnamese infants, there was a strong temporal association between the Fc-dependent, dengue virus infection-enhancing activity of neat plasma and the age-related epidemiology of severe dengue. We then postulated that disease severity in infants with primary infections would be associated with a robust immune response, possibly as a consequence of higher viral burdens in vivo. Accordingly, in infants hospitalized with acute dengue, the activation phenotype of peripheral-blood NK cells and CD8+ and CD4+ T cells correlated with overall disease severity, but HLA-A*1101-restricted NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells were not measurable until early convalescence. Plasma levels of cytokines/chemokines were generally higher in infants with dengue shock syndrome. Collectively, these data support a model of dengue pathogenesis in infants whereby antibody-dependent enhancement of infection explains the age-related case epidemiology and could account for antigen-driven immune activation and its association with disease severity. These results also highlight potential risks in the use of live attenuated dengue vaccines in infants in countries where dengue is endemic.
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be enhanced by heterologous vaccination strategies that boost the BCG-primed immune response. One leading booster vaccine, MVA85A (where "MVA" denotes "modified vaccinia virus Ankara"), has shown promising safety and immunogenicity in human trials performed in the United Kingdom. We investigated the safety and immunogenicity of MVA85A in mycobacteria-exposed--but Mycobacterium tuberculosis-uninfected--healthy adults from a region of South Africa where TB is endemic. METHODS: Twenty-four adults were vaccinated with MVA85A. All subjects were monitored for 1 year for adverse events and for immunological assessment. RESULTS: MVA85A vaccination was well tolerated and induced potent T cell responses, as measured by interferon (IFN)-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assay, which exceeded prevaccination responses up to 364 days after vaccination. BCG-specific CD4+ T cells boosted by MVA85A were comprised of multiple populations expressing combinations of IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-17, as measured by polychromatic flow cytometry. IFN-gamma-expressing and polyfunctional IFN-gamma+TNF-gamma+IL-2+ CD4+ T cells were boosted during the peak BCG-specific response, which occurred 7 days after vaccination. CONCLUSION: The excellent safety profile and quantitative and qualitative immunogenicity data strongly support further trials assessing the efficacy of MVA85A as a boosting vaccine in countries where TB is endemic. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00460590.
BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is characterized by microvascular obstruction, endothelial dysfunction, and reduced levels of L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO). L-Arginine infusion improves endothelial function in moderately severe malaria. Neither the longitudinal course of endothelial dysfunction nor factors associated with recovery have been characterized in severe malaria. METHODS: Endothelial function was measured longitudinally in adults with severe malaria (n = 49) or moderately severe malaria (n = 48) in Indonesia, using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT). In a mixed-effects model, changes in RH-PAT index values in patients with severe malaria were related to changes in parasitemia, lactate, acidosis, and plasma L-arginine concentrations. RESULTS: Among patients with severe malaria, the proportion with endothelial dysfunction fell from 94% (46/49 patients) to 14% (6/42 patients) before discharge or death (P < .001). In severe malaria, the median time to normal endothelial function was 49 h (interquartile range, 20-70 h) after the start of antimalarial therapy. The mean increase in L-arginine concentrations in patients with severe malaria was 11 micromol/L/24 h (95% confidence interval [CI], 9-13 micromol/L/24 h), from a baseline of 49 micromol/L (95% CI, 37-45 micromol/L). Improvement of endothelial function in patients with severe malaria correlated with increasing levels of L-arginine (r = 0.56; P = .008) and decreasing levels of lactate (r = -0.44; P = .001). CONCLUSIONS: Recovery of endothelial function in severe malaria is associated with recovery from hypoargininemia and lactic acidosis. Agents that can improve endothelial NO production and endothelial function, such as L-arginine, may have potential as adjunctive therapy early during the course of severe malaria.
PLoS Med, 5 (8), pp. e169. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Assessing antimalarial efficacy in a time of change to artemisinin-based combination therapies: the role of Médecins Sans Frontières.
BACKGROUND: Multidrug resistance has emerged to both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum and yet the comparative epidemiology of these infections is poorly defined. METHODS: All laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria in Timika, Papua, Indonesia, presenting to community primary care clinics and an inpatient facility were reviewed over a two-year period. In addition information was gathered from a house-to-house survey to quantify the prevalence of malaria and treatment-seeking behaviour of people with fever. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and December 2005, 99,158 laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria were reported, of which 58% (57,938) were attributable to P. falciparum and 37% (36,471) to P. vivax. Malaria was most likely to be attributable to pure P. vivax in children under one year of age (55% 2,684/4,889). In the household survey, the prevalence of asexual parasitaemia was 7.5% (290/3,890) for P. falciparum and 6.4% (248/3,890) for P. vivax. The prevalence of P. falciparum infection peaked in young adults aged 15-25 years (9.8% 69/707), compared to P. vivax infection which peaked in children aged 1 to 4 years (9.5% 61/642). Overall 35% (1,813/5,255) of people questioned reported a febrile episode in the preceding month. Of the 60% of people who were estimated to have had malaria, only 39% would have been detected by the surveillance network. The overall incidence of malaria was therefore estimated as 876 per 1,000 per year (Range: 711-906). CONCLUSION: In this region of multidrug-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum, both species are associated with substantial morbidity, but with significant differences in the age-related risk of infection.
PLoS Med, 5 (8), pp. e175. | Citations: 55 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Strategies to reduce mortality from bacterial sepsis in adults in developing countries.
This study aimed to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine in the rat after intravenous and oral administration, and to identify and characterize the main piperaquine metabolites in rat plasma, urine, faeces and bile after intravenous administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered piperaquine as an emulsion orally or as a short-term intravenous infusion. Venous blood for pharmacokinetic evaluation was frequently withdrawn up to 90 h after dose. Urine, bile and faeces were collected after an infusion in rats kept in metabolic cages or in anesthetized rats. Pharmacokinetic characterization was done by compartmental modeling and non-compartmental analysis using WinNonlin. Piperaquine disposition was best described by a 3-compartment model with a rapid initial distribution phase after intravenous administration. The pharmacokinetics of piperaquine was characterized by a low clearance, a large volume of distribution and a long terminal half-life. Piperaquine displayed a low biliary clearance and less than 1% of the total dose was recovered in urine. The absolute oral bioavailability was approximately 50%. The main metabolite after intravenous administration of piperaquine was a carboxylic acid product identical to that reported in humans. The similarity with results in humans indicates the rat to be a suitable species for nonclinical in vivo piperaquine studies.
We have developed a duplex real-time PCR for the rapid diagnosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection from culture-negative clinical samples with the simultaneous determination of penicillin susceptibility. The assay amplifies a lytA gene target and a penicillin binding protein 2b (pbp2b) gene target in penicillin-susceptible organisms. The assay was shown to be sensitive (detects 0.5 CFU per PCR) and specific for the detection of S. pneumoniae DNA. The assay was validated by comparing pbp2b PCR results with MIC data for 27 S. pneumoniae isolates. All 5 isolates with penicillin MICs of > 1.0 mg/liter were pbp2b real-time PCR negative, as were 9 of the 10 isolates with penicillin MICs of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter. One isolate with a penicillin MIC of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter gave an equivocal pbp2b real-time PCR result. Twelve isolates were penicillin susceptible (MICs of < or = 0.06 mg/liter) and pbp2b real-time PCR positive. These data were used to establish an algorithm for the interpretation of penicillin susceptibility from the duplex PCR result. pbp2b real-time PCR results were also compared to an established PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method previously applied to these 27 isolates and 46 culture-negative clinical samples (containing S. pneumoniae DNA by broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR). Discordant results were seen for four isolates and six culture-negative clinical samples, as PCR-RFLP could not reliably detect penicillin MICs of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter. We report prospective application of the duplex PCR assay to the diagnosis of S. pneumoniae infection from 200 culture-negative clinical specimens sent to the laboratory for diagnostic broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR. One hundred six were negative in the duplex PCR. Ninety-four were lytA PCR positive, and 70 of these were also pbp2b PCR positive and interpreted as penicillin susceptible. Fourteen were pbp2b PCR negative and interpreted as having reduced susceptibility to penicillin. For the remaining 10 samples, susceptibility to penicillin was not determined.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (2), pp. 185-191. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Relationship between exposure, clinical malaria, and age in an area of changing transmission intensity.
The relationship between malaria transmission intensity and clinical disease is important for predicting the outcome of control measures that reduce transmission. Comparisons of hospital data between areas of differing transmission intensity suggest that the mean age of hospitalized clinical malaria is higher under relatively lower transmission, but the total number of episodes is similar until transmission drops below a threshold, where the risks of hospitalized malaria decline. These observations have rarely been examined longitudinally in a single community where transmission declines over time. We reconstructed 16 years (1991-2006) of pediatric hospital surveillance data and infection prevalence surveys from a circumscribed geographic area on the Kenyan coast. The incidence of clinical malaria remained high, despite sustained reductions in exposure to infection. However, the age group experiencing the clinical attacks of malaria increased steadily as exposure declined and may precede changes in the number of episodes in an area with declining transmission.
WIENER KLINISCHE WOCHENSCHRIFT, 120 pp. 143-143.2008. Human IgG response to experimental colonization with S. aureus
Isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Typhi), a human-restricted bacterial pathogen that causes typhoid, show limited genetic variation. We generated whole-genome sequences for 19 Typhi isolates using 454 (Roche) and Solexa (Illumina) technologies. Isolates, including the previously sequenced CT18 and Ty2 isolates, were selected to represent major nodes in the phylogenetic tree. Comparative analysis showed little evidence of purifying selection, antigenic variation or recombination between isolates. Rather, evolution in the Typhi population seems to be characterized by ongoing loss of gene function, consistent with a small effective population size. The lack of evidence for antigenic variation driven by immune selection is in contrast to strong adaptive selection for mutations conferring antibiotic resistance in Typhi. The observed patterns of genetic isolation and drift are consistent with the proposed key role of asymptomatic carriers of Typhi as the main reservoir of this pathogen, highlighting the need for identification and treatment of carriers.
Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate and polysaccharide vaccines into the United Kingdom's routine immunization programmes is expected to change the epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). We have documented the epidemiology of IPD in an English region (South West) with high-quality surveillance data before these programmes were established. We analysed data on isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood and CSF between 1996 and 2005 from microbiology laboratories in the South West that were reported and/or referred for serotyping to the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections. The mean annual incidence of IPD increased from 11.2/100 000 in 1996 to 13.6/100 000 in 2005 (P<0.04). After adjusting for annual blood-culture sampling rates in hospitals serving the same catchment populations, an increase in annual incidence of IPD was no longer observed (P=1.0). Variation in overall incidence between laboratories could also be explained by variation in blood culture rates. The proportion of disease caused by serotypes 6B, 9V and 14 decreased significantly (P=0.001, P=0.007, and P=0.027 respectively) whereas that caused by serotype 4, 7F and 1 increased (P=0.001, P=0.003, and P<0.001 respectively) between 2000 and 2005. The level of penicillin non-susceptibility and resistance to erythromycin remained stable (2% and 12% respectively). This study provides an important baseline to assess the impact of changing vaccination programmes on the epidemiology of IPD, thus informing future use of pneumococcal vaccines.
Drug Benefits and Risks: International Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology, pp. 521-548.2008. A: Treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases
2008. A: Treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases pp. 521-548.
BACKGROUND: Clinical practice guidelines bridge the gap between the evidence from literature and clinical practice, and they may provide guidance in ethical, legal and societal dilemmas. To explore the potentials for future international guideline development within the field of human reproduction and embryology, we assessed the quality of existing guidelines produced by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). METHODS: We systematically searched for the ESHRE guidelines produced after 1996 in electronic databases and on the Internet. Subsequently, we assessed the methodological quality of these guidelines using the validated Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation (AGREE) Instrument. RESULTS: The overall methodological quality of most of the 11 selected ESHRE guidelines was poor. Most of the guidelines scored <30% in the domains of 'stakeholder involvement', 'rigour of development', 'applicability' and 'editorial independence'. Only one guideline was rated 'strongly recommended'. CONCLUSIONS: The methodological quality of the guidelines produced under the auspices of ESHRE can be improved. We suggest a systematic, up-to-date methodology, investment in guideline development specialists, systematic quality control and the incorporation of indicator development. Furthermore, attention should be paid to the document nomenclature, and an ESHRE guidelines' summary on a special part of the ESHRE website would be a good initiative.
BACKGROUND: T-cell immunity is thought to play an important role in controlling HIV infection, and is a main target for HIV vaccine development. HIV-specific central memory CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells producing IFNgamma and IL-2 have been associated with control of viremia and are therefore hypothesized to be truly protective and determine subsequent clinical outcome. However, the cause-effect relationship between HIV-specific cellular immunity and disease progression is unknown. We investigated in a large prospective cohort study involving 96 individuals of the Amsterdam Cohort Studies with a known date of seroconversion whether the presence of cytokine-producing HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells early in infection was associated with AIDS-free survival time. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The number and percentage of IFNgamma and IL-2 producing CD8(+) T cells was measured after in vitro stimulation with an overlapping Gag-peptide pool in T cells sampled approximately one year after seroconversion. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazard models showed that frequencies of cytokine-producing Gag-specific CD8(+) T cells (IFNgamma, IL-2 or both) shortly after seroconversion were neither associated with time to AIDS nor with the rate of CD4(+) T-cell decline. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that high numbers of functional HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells can be found early in HIV infection, irrespective of subsequent clinical outcome. The fact that both progressors and long-term non-progressors have abundant T cell immunity of the specificity associated with low viral load shortly after seroconversion suggests that the more rapid loss of T cell immunity observed in progressors may be a consequence rather than a cause of disease progression.
BACKGROUND: The international financing of malaria control has increased significantly in the last ten years in parallel with calls to halve the malaria burden by the year 2015. The allocation of funds to countries should reflect the size of the populations at risk of infection, disease, and death. To examine this relationship, we compare an audit of international commitments with an objective assessment of national need: the population at risk of stable Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission in 2007. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The national distributions of populations at risk of stable P. falciparum transmission were projected to the year 2007 for each of 87 P. falciparum-endemic countries. Systematic online- and literature-based searches were conducted to audit the international funding commitments made for malaria control by major donors between 2002 and 2007. These figures were used to generate annual malaria funding allocation (in US dollars) per capita population at risk of stable P. falciparum in 2007. Almost US$1 billion are distributed each year to the 1.4 billion people exposed to stable P. falciparum malaria risk. This is less than US$1 per person at risk per year. Forty percent of this total comes from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Substantial regional and national variations in disbursements exist. While the distribution of funds is found to be broadly appropriate, specific high population density countries receive disproportionately less support to scale up malaria control. Additionally, an inadequacy of current financial commitments by the international community was found: under-funding could be from 50% to 450%, depending on which global assessment of the cost required to scale up malaria control is adopted. CONCLUSIONS: Without further increases in funding and appropriate targeting of global malaria control investment it is unlikely that international goals to halve disease burdens by 2015 will be achieved. Moreover, the additional financing requirements to move from malaria control to malaria elimination have not yet been considered by the scientific or international community.
BACKGROUND: The reported case-fatality rate associated with severe malaria varies widely. Whether age is an independent risk factor is uncertain. METHODS: In a large, multicenter treatment trial conducted in Asia, the presenting manifestations and outcome of severe malaria were analyzed in relation to age. RESULTS: Among 1050 patients with severe malaria, the mortality increased stepwise, from 6.1% in children (age, <10 years) to 36.5% in patients aged >50 years (P<0.001). Compared with adults aged 21-50 years, the decreased risk of death among children (adjusted odds ratio, 0.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.23; P<0.001) and the increased risk of death among patients aged >50 years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.88; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.52; P<0.001) was independent of the variation in presenting manifestations. The incidence of anemia and convulsions decreased with age, whereas the incidence of hyperparasitemia, jaundice, and renal insufficiency increased with age. Coma and metabolic acidosis did not vary with age and were the strongest predictors of a fatal outcome. The number of severity signs at hospital admission also had a strong prognostic value. CONCLUSION: Presenting syndromes in severe malaria depend on age, although the incidence and the strong prognostic significance of coma and acidosis are similar at all ages. Age is an independent risk factor for a fatal outcome of the disease.
Plasmodium vivax mdr1 gene amplification, quantified by real-time PCR, was significantly more common on the western Thailand border (6 of 66 samples), where mefloquine pressure has been intense, than elsewhere in southeast Asia (3 of 149; P = 0.02). Five coding mutations in pvmdr1, independent of gene amplification, were also found.
Recent studies using laboratory clones have demonstrated that several antiretroviral protease inhibitors (PIs) inhibit the growth of Plasmodium falciparum at concentrations that may be of clinical significance, especially during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and malaria coinfection. Using clinical isolates, we now demonstrate the in vitro effectiveness of two HIV-1 aspartic PIs, saquinavir (SQV) and ritonavir (RTV), against P. vivax (n = 30) and P. falciparum (n = 20) from populations subjected to high levels of mefloquine and artesunate pressure on the Thailand-Myanmar border. The median 50% inhibitory concentration values of P. vivax to RTV and SQV were 2,233 nM (range, 732 to 7,738 nM) and 4,230 nM (range, 1,326 to 8,452 nM), respectively, both within the therapeutic concentration range commonly found for patients treated with these PIs. RTV was fourfold more effective at inhibiting P. vivax than it was at inhibiting P. falciparum, compared to a twofold difference in SQV sensitivity. An increased P. falciparum mdr1 copy number was present in 33% (3/9) of isolates and that of P. vivax mdr1 was present in 9% of isolates (2/22), but neither was associated with PI sensitivity. The inter-Plasmodium sp. variations in PI sensitivity indicate key differences between P. vivax and P. falciparum. PI-containing antiretroviral regimens may demonstrate prophylactic activity against both vivax and falciparum malaria in HIV-infected patients who reside in areas where multidrug-resistant P. vivax or P. falciparum is found.
INFECTION GENETICS AND EVOLUTION, 8 (4), pp. S11-S11.2008. Phylogenetic and antigenic analysis of Orientia tsutsugamushi isolated from scrub typhus patients in Thailand
Scrub typhus is responsible for a large proportion of undifferentiated fevers in south-east Asia. The cellular tropism and pathophysiology of the causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, remain poorly understood. We measured endothelial and leucocyte activation by soluble cell adhesion molecule enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 242 Lao and Thai patients with scrub or murine typhus, leptospirosis, dengue, typhoid and uncomplicated falciparum malaria on admission to hospital. Soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) levels were lowest in dengue, sL-selectin highest in scrub typhus with a high sE-selectin to sL-selectin ratio in leptospirosis patients. In scrub typhus patients elevated sL-selectin levels correlated with the duration of skin rash (P = 0.03) and the presence of eschar (P = 0.03), elevated white blood cell (WBC) count (P = 0.007), elevated lymphocyte (P = 0.007) and neutrophil counts (P = 0.015) and elevated levels of sE-selectin correlated with the duration of illness before admission (P = 0.03), the presence of lymphadenopathy (P = 0.033) and eschar (P = 0.03), elevated WBC (P = 0.005) and neutrophil counts (P = 0.0003). In comparison, soluble selectin levels in murine typhus patients correlated only with elevated WBC counts (P = 0.03 for sE-selectin and sL-selectin). Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 levels were not associated significantly with any clinical parameters in scrub or murine typhus patients. The data presented suggest mononuclear cell activation in scrub typhus. As adhesion molecules direct leucocyte migration and induce inflammatory and immune responses, this may represent O. tsutsugamushi tropism during early dissemination, or local immune activation within the eschar.
Evidence from autopsy and in vitro binding studies suggests that adhesion of erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium falciparum to the human host intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 receptor is important in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Previous association studies between polymorphisms in the ICAM1 gene and susceptibility to severe malarial phenotypes have been inconclusive and often contradictory. We performed genetic association studies with 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) around the ICAM1 locus. All SNPs were screened in a family study of 1071 trios from The Gambia, Malawi and Kenya. Two key non-synonymous SNPs with previously reported associations, rs5491 (K56M or 'ICAM-1(Kilifi)') and rs5498 (K469E), were tested in an additional 708 Gambian trios and a case-control study of 4058 individuals. None of the polymorphisms were associated with severe malaria phenotypes. Pooled results across our studies for ICAM-1(Kilifi) were, in severe malaria, odds ratio (OR) 1.02, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.96-1.09, P=0.54, and cerebral malaria OR 1.07, CI 0.97-1.17, P=0.17. We assess the available epidemiological, population genetic and functional evidence that links ICAM-1(Kilifi) to severe malaria susceptibility.
Severe tetanus is characterised by muscle spasms and autonomic dysfunction. We recently reported the results of a randomised placebo controlled trial of magnesium sulphate infusions for the treatment of severe tetanus which showed magnesium was associated with improved muscle spasm and cardiovascular control. We hypothesised that magnesium controlled autonomic dysfunction by reducing catecholamine release and thus urinary excretion. Urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations were measured during the first 24 h of therapy in 180 adults with severe tetanus randomised to treatment with magnesium (n = 92) or placebo (n = 88). Magnesium therapy was associated with lower urinary adrenaline excretion and higher urinary noradrenaline excretion. High urinary adrenaline concentrations were associated with documented autonomic dysfunction. Patients given magnesium had significantly less autonomic dysfunction, required less cardiovascular stabilising drugs, and had lower urinary concentrations of adrenaline. These findings suggest adrenaline is important in the pathophysiology of severe tetanus and magnesium controls autonomic dysfunction by reducing adrenaline release.
BACKGROUND: Rotavirus, predominantly of group A, is a major cause of severe diarrhoea worldwide, with the greatest burden falling on young children living in less-developed countries. Vaccines directed against this virus have shown promise in recent trials, and are undergoing effectiveness evaluation in sub-Saharan Africa. In this region limited childhood data are available on the incidence and clinical characteristics of severe group A rotavirus disease. Advocacy for vaccine intervention and interpretation of effectiveness following implementation will benefit from accurate base-line estimates of the incidence and severity of rotavirus paediatric admissions in relevant populations. The study objective was to accurately define the incidence and severity of group A rotavirus disease in a resource-poor setting necessary to make informed decisions on the need for vaccine prevention. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Between 2002 and 2004 we conducted prospective surveillance for group A rotavirus infection at Kilifi District Hospital in coastal Kenya. Children < 13 y of age were eligible as "cases" if admitted with diarrhoea, and "controls" if admitted without diarrhoea. We calculated the incidence of hospital admission with group A rotavirus using data from a demographic surveillance study of 220,000 people in Kilifi District. Of 15,347 childhood admissions 3,296 (22%) had diarrhoea, 2,039 were tested for group A rotavirus antigen and, of these, 588 (29%) were positive. 372 (63%) rotavirus-positive cases were infants. Of 620 controls 19 (3.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9-4.7) were rotavirus positive. The annual incidence (per 100,000 children) of rotavirus-positive admissions was 1,431 (95% CI 1,275-1,600) in infants and 478 (437-521) in under-5-y-olds, and highest proximal to the hospital. Compared to children with rotavirus-negative diarrhoea, rotavirus-positive cases were less likely to have coexisting illnesses and more likely to have acidosis (46% versus 17%) and severe electrolyte imbalance except hyponatraemia. In-hospital case fatality was 2% among rotavirus-positive and 9% among rotavirus-negative children. CONCLUSIONS: In Kilifi > 2% of children are admitted to hospital with group A rotavirus diarrhoea in the first 5 y of life. This translates into over 28,000 vaccine-preventable hospitalisations per year across Kenya, and is likely to be a considerable underestimate. Group A rotavirus diarrhoea is associated with acute life-threatening metabolic derangement in otherwise healthy children. Although mortality is low in this clinical research setting this may not be generally true in African hospitals lacking rapid and appropriate management.
BACKGROUND: Merozoite surface protein (MSP) 5 is a candidate antigen for a malaria vaccine. In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, we measured MSP5 antibody responses in Papuans with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Plasmodium vivax malaria, and mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria and in those with past exposure. METHODS: Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) was used to quantitate antibody responses to P. falciparum MSP5 (PfMSP5) and P. vivax MSP5 (PvMSP5) in 82 subjects with P. falciparum infection, 86 subjects with P. vivax infection, 85 subjects with mixed infection, and 87 asymptomatic individuals. Longitudinal responses through day 28 were tested in 20 persons. Cross-reactivity was tested by competition ELISA. RESULTS: PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 immunoglobulin (Ig)Gwas detected in 39%-52% of subjects, and IgM was detected in 44%-72%. IgG responses were distributed equally between IgG3 and IgG1 for PfMSP5 but were predominantly IgG3 for PvMSP5. Although IgG responses were generally specific for PfMSP5 or PvMSP5, cross-species reactivity was found in 7 of 107 dual-positive responders. No significant difference was seen in the magnitude, frequency, or subclass of PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 IgG antibodies between groups. There was no significant association between antibody responses and therapeutic response. CONCLUSION: PfMSP5 and PvMSP5 were frequently recognized by short-lived, species-specific antibodies. Although infrequent, the cross-reactive MSP5 antibodies indicate that an appropriately formulated vaccine may elicit and/or enhance cross-species recognition, which may be very useful in areas where both parasites are endemic.
In this study we investigate the ability of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) surface structures to influence invasion and adhesion in epithelial cell assay systems. In general, S. Typhi was found to be less adherent, invasive and cytotoxic than S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium). Culture conditions had little effect on adhesion of S. Typhi to cultured cells but had a marked influence on invasion. In contrast, bacterial growth conditions did not influence S. Typhi apical invasion of polarized cells. The levels of S. Typhi, but not S. Typhimurium, invasion were increased by application of bacteria to the basolateral surface of polarized cells. Expression of virulence (Vi) capsule by S. Typhi resulted in a modest reduction in adhesion, but profoundly reduced levels of invasion of non-polarized cells. However, Vi capsule expression had no affect on invasion of the apical or basolateral surfaces of polarized cells. Mutation of the staA, tcfA or pilS genes did not affect invasion or adhesion in either the presence or the absence of Vi capsule.
Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 12 (7), pp. 736-742. | Citations: 41 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Fluoroquinolone resistance detection in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with locked nucleic acid probe real-time PCR.
SETTING: Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital for Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. OBJECTIVE: Fluoroquinolones (FQs) are increasingly used in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) and are the second-line drugs of choice for treatment of multidrug-resistant TB. We aimed to set up a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assay to detect the most common FQ-resistance-associated mutations in gyrase A (gyrA) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. DESIGN: A total of 42 FQ-resistant and 40 FQ-susceptible isolates were collected in 2005-2006 and sequenced in gyrA. Using sequencing results as gold standard, a real-time PCR using three locked nucleic acid probes (LNA-PCR) was designed to detect mutations at positions 90, 91 and 94 (97% of gyrA FQ-resistance-associated mutations) and evaluated. RESULTS: Sequencing of 42 FQ-resistant isolates revealed no gyrA mutations in 10 isolates, 20 isolates had a single mutation and 12 isolates showed double peaks at resistance-associated alleles, suggesting a heterogeneous population. With LNA-PCR, all wild-type and 19/20 mutant isolates were correctly identified. Eleven of 12 heterogeneous isolates were correctly identified as resistant mutants. Overall, 71% ([19 + 11]/42) of phenotypically FQ-resistant isolates were detected. Specificity was 100% on 40 FQ-susceptible isolates. CONCLUSION: This assay provides a simple and rapid means to reliably detect FQ-resistance-associated gyrA mutations in M. tuberculosis.
The human parasite Plasmodium falciparum has the potential to express a vast repertoire of variant proteins on the surface of the infected red blood cell (iRBC). Variation in the expression pattern of these proteins is linked to antigenic variation and thereby evasion of host antibody-mediated immunity. The genes in the stevor multigene family code for small variant antigens that are expressed in blood-stage parasites where they can be detected in membranous structures called Maurer's clefts (MC). Some studies have indicated that STEVOR protein may also be trafficked to the iRBC membrane. To address the location of STEVOR protein in more detail, we have analyzed expression in several cultured parasite lines and in parasites obtained directly from patients. We detected STEVOR expression in a higher proportion of parasites recently isolated from patients than in cultured parasite lines and show that STEVOR is trafficked in schizont-stage parasites from the MC to the RBC cytosol and the iRBC membrane. Furthermore, STEVOR protein is also detected at the apical end of merozoites. Importantly, we show that culture-adapted parasites do not require STEVOR for survival. These findings provide new insights into the role of the stevor multigene family during both the schizont and merozoite stages of the parasite and highlight the importance of studying freshly isolated parasites, rather than parasite lines maintained in culture, when investigating potential mediators of host-parasite interactions.
Malaria is one of the main health problems facing developing countries today. At present, preventative and treatment strategies are continuously hampered by the issues of the ever-emerging parasite resistance to newly introduced drugs, considerable costs and logistical problems. The main hope for changing this situation would be the development of effective malaria vaccines. An important part of this process is understanding the mechanisms of naturally acquired immunity to malaria. This review will highlight key aspects of immunity to malaria, about which surprisingly little is known and which will prove critical in the search for effective malaria vaccines.
Acute bacterial meningitis is more common in resource-poor than resource-rich settings. Survival is dependent on rapid diagnosis and early treatment, both of which are difficult to achieve when laboratory support and antibiotics are scarce. Diagnostic algorithms that use basic clinic and laboratory features to distinguish bacterial meningitis from other diseases can be useful. Analysis of the CSF is essential, and simple techniques can enhance the yield of diagnostic microbiology. Penicillin-resistant and chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria are a considerable threat in resource-poor settings that go undetected if CSF and blood can not be cultured. Generic formulations of ceftriaxone are becoming more affordable and available, and are effective against meningitis caused by penicillin-resistant or chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria. However, infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae with reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone is reported increasingly, and alternatives are either too expensive (eg, vancomycin) or can not be widely recommended (eg, rifampicin, which is the key drug to treat tuberculosis) in resource-poor settings. Additionally, improved access to affordable antibiotics will not overcome the problems of poor access to hospitals and the fatal consequences of delayed treatment. The future rests with the provision of effective conjugate vaccines against S pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitides to children in the poorest regions of the world.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the persistence of bactericidal antibody titres following immunisation with serogroup C meningococcal glycoconjugate vaccine at age 6-15 years in order to examine changes in persistence of antibodies with age. DESIGN: Observational study. SETTING: Secondary and tertiary educational institutions in the United Kingdom. PARTICIPANTS: Healthy adolescents aged 11-20 years previously immunised between 6 and 15 years of age with one of the three serogroup C meningococcal vaccines. INTERVENTION: Serum obtained by venepuncture. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percentage of participants with (rabbit complement) serum bactericidal antibody titres of at least 1:8; geometric mean titres of serogroup C meningococcal serum bactericidal antibody. RESULTS: Five years after immunisation, 84.1% (95% confidence interval 81.6% to 86.3%) of 987 participants had a bactericidal antibody titre of at least 1:8. Geometric mean titres of bactericidal antibody were significantly lower in 11-13 year olds (147, 95% confidence interval 115 to 188) than in 14-16 year olds (300, 237 to 380) and 17-20 year olds (360, 252 to 515) (P<0.0001 for both comparisons). Within these age bands, no significant difference in geometric mean titres of bactericidal antibody between recipients of the different serogroup C meningococcal vaccines was seen. More than 70% of participants had received a vaccine from one manufacturer; in this cohort, geometric mean titres were higher in those immunised at aged 10 years or above than in those immunised before the age of 10. CONCLUSIONS: Higher concentrations of bactericidal antibody are seen five years after immunisation with serogroup C meningococcal vaccine at age 10 years or above than in younger age groups, possibly owing to immunological maturation. This provides support for adolescent immunisation programmes to generate sustained protection against serogroup C meningococcal disease not only for the vaccine recipients but also, through the maintenance of herd immunity, for younger children.
Science, 320 (5884), pp. 1718. | Read more2008. The verbosity epidemic.
Complete blood counts are used frequently by physicians to assess and manage the development of complications of diseases. We studied 100 patients bitten by Bothrops jararaca snakes, and correlated their haematological values with the severity of envenoming and the development of complications. Patients who developed both local and systemic bleeding showed a greater drop in packed cell volume, red blood cell (RBC) count and haemoglobin concentration than those with who did not bleed. No morphological changes in RBCs were seen in blood films. Total white blood cell (WBC) counts were significantly higher in the clinically "more severe" group than in the "less severe" group on admission. Neutrophilic leucocytosis with left shift was present on admission, concurrently with a decrease in eosinophil and lymphocyte counts. These changes tend to become more marked 6h after antivenom therapy, and are greatest in "more severe" envenoming. Thrombocytopenia on admission is positively associated with the development of systemic bleeding and the severity of envenoming. Thrombocytopenia may also be a useful prognostic indicator for the development of local complications, such as necrosis. The intensity of neutrophilia and eosinopenia might be used to follow the progression of necrosis in victims of snake bite.
BACKGROUND: L-arginine infusion improves endothelial function in malaria but its safety profile has not been described in detail. We assessed clinical symptoms, hemodynamic status and biochemical parameters before and after a single L-arginine infusion in adults with moderately severe malaria. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: In an ascending dose study, adjunctive intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride was infused over 30 minutes in doses of 3 g, 6 g and 12 g to three separate groups of 10 adults hospitalized with moderately severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in addition to standard quinine therapy. Symptoms, vital signs and selected biochemical measurements were assessed before, during, and for 24 hours after infusion. No new or worsening symptoms developed apart from mild discomfort at the intravenous cannula site in two patients. There was a dose-response relationship between increasing mg/kg dose and the maximum decrease in systolic (rho = 0.463; Spearman's, p = 0.02) and diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.42; Pearson's, p = 0.02), and with the maximum increment in blood potassium (r = 0.70, p<0.001) and maximum decrement in bicarbonate concentrations (r = 0.53, p = 0.003) and pH (r = 0.48, p = 0.007). At the highest dose (12 g), changes in blood pressure and electrolytes were not clinically significant, with a mean maximum decrease in mean arterial blood pressure of 6 mmHg (range: 0-11; p<0.001), mean maximal increase in potassium of 0.5 mmol/L (range 0.2-0.7 mmol/L; p<0.001), and mean maximal decrease in bicarbonate of 3 mEq/L (range 1-7; p<0.01) without a significant change in pH. There was no significant dose-response relationship with blood phosphate, lactate, anion gap and glucose concentrations. All patients had an uncomplicated clinical recovery. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Infusion of up to 12 g of intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride over 30 minutes is well tolerated in adults with moderately severe malaria, with no clinically important changes in hemodynamic or biochemical status. Trials of adjunctive L-arginine can be extended to phase 2 studies in severe malaria. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00147368.
OBJECTIVES: An effective vaccine against cholera has been used for public health purposes in Vietnam since the 1990s. This vaccine was reformulated to meet WHO requirements. We assessed the safety and immunogenicity of the reformulated bivalent (Vibrio cholerae 01 and 0139) killed whole cell oral vaccine in a cholera endemic area in Kolkata, India. DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. SETTING: The trial was conducted in the clinical trial ward of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kolkata, India. PARTICIPANTS: The participants were 101 healthy adults (males and non-pregnant females) aged 18-40 years and 100 healthy children (males and non-pregnant females) aged 1-17 years. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomized to receive either the bivalent killed whole cell oral cholera vaccine or placebo (killed oral Escherichia coli K12). OUTCOME MEASURES: For safety: proportion of subjects with adverse events during the duration of study participation. For immunogenicity: Proportion of subjects who had a > or = 4-fold rise in serum vibriocidal antibody titers 14 days after the second dose of vaccine or placebo. RESULTS: Adverse reactions were observed with similar frequency among vaccine and placebo recipients in both age groups. Among adults 4% of vaccine and 8% of placebo recipients and among children 4% of vaccine and 2% of placebo recipients had at least one adverse event within 28 days of the first dose of the vaccine. Following immunization, 53% of adult and 80% of children vaccinees showed a > or = 4 fold rise in serum V. cholerae O1 vibriocidal antibody titers. A less pronounced response to V. cholerae O139 vibriocidal antibody titers post-immunization was noted among vaccinees. CONCLUSIONS: We found the vaccine to be safe and immunogenic in a cholera-endemic area in India. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00119197.
Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) is a potentially important family of immune targets, encoded by an extremely diverse gene family called var. Understanding of the genetic organization of var genes is hampered by sequence mosaicism that results from a long history of non-homologous recombination. Here we have used software designed to analyse social networks to visualize the relationships between large collections of short var sequences tags sampled from clinical parasite isolates. In this approach, two sequences are connected if they share one or more highly polymorphic sequence blocks. The results show that the majority of analysed sequences including several var-like sequences from the chimpanzee parasite Plasmodium reichenowi can be either directly or indirectly linked together in a single unbroken network. However, the network is highly structured and contains putative subgroups of recombining sequences. The major subgroup contains the previously described group A var genes, previously proposed to be genetically distinct. Another subgroup contains sequences found to be associated with rosetting, a parasite virulence phenotype. The mosaic structure of the sequences and their division into subgroups may reflect the conflicting problems of maximizing antigenic diversity and minimizing epitope sharing between variants while maintaining their host cell binding functions.
PLoS Med, 5 (6), pp. e133. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. New medicines for tropical diseases in pregnancy: catch-22.
The quantification of malaria transmission for the classification of malaria risk has long been a concern for epidemiologists. During the era of the Global Malaria Eradication Programme, measurements of malaria endemicity were institutionalised by their incorporation into rules outlining defined action points for malaria control programmes. We review the historical development of these indices and their contemporary relevance. This is at a time when many malaria-endemic countries are scaling-up their malaria control activities and reconsidering their prospects for elimination. These considerations are also important to an international community that has recently been challenged to revaluate the prospects for malaria eradication.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (6), pp. 878-883. | Citations: 38 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Blood-stage challenge for malaria vaccine efficacy trials: a pilot study with discussion of safety and potential value.
There is increasing interest in malaria vaccines targeting the asexual blood stage of Plasmodium falciparum. Without accepted immunologic correlates of clinical protection, challenge studies are useful for assessing the efficacy of candidate vaccines in vivo in healthy volunteers. We report a pilot study of a safe and robust challenge protocol using a blood-stage inoculum. We have applied well-validated trial endpoints and twice daily real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction monitoring of parasitemia to blood-stage challenge, which enabled direct comparison with sporozoite challenge. We found that greater accuracy in quantification of blood-stage growth rates can be achieved with blood-stage challenge. This finding may provide greater power to detect partial efficacy of many blood-stage candidate vaccines. We discuss the potential utility of blood-stage challenge studies in accelerating malaria vaccine development.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (6), pp. 884-891. | Citations: 23 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Modeling the financial and clinical implications of malaria rapid diagnostic tests in the case-management of older children and adults in Kenya.
Using data on clinical practices for outpatients 5 years and older, test accuracy, and malaria prevalence, we model financial and clinical implications of malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) under the new artemether-lumefantrine (AL) treatment policy in one high and one low malaria prevalence district in Kenya. In the high transmission district, RDTs as actually used would improve malaria treatment (61% less over-treatment but 8% more under-treatment) and lower costs (21% less). Nonetheless, the majority of patients with malaria would not be correctly treated with AL. In the low transmission district, especially because the treatment policy was new and AL was not widely used, RDTs as actually used would yield a minor reduction in under-treatment errors (36% less but the base is small) with 41% higher costs. In both districts, adherence to revised clinical practices with RDTs has the potential to further decrease treatment errors with acceptable costs.
Salmonella pathogenicity island 7 (SPI-7) in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi appears to be related to other genomic islands. Evidence suggests that SPI-7 is susceptible to spontaneous circularization, loss, and transposition. Here, we demonstrate that a region within SPI-7 has the ability to mobilize the small incQ plasmid R300B.
OBJECTIVE: The recent change of treatment policy for uncomplicated malaria from sulfadoxine-pyrime-thamine to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in Kenya was accompanied by revised malaria diagnosis recommendations promoting presumptive antimalarial treatment in young children and parasitological diagnosis in patients 5 years and older. We evaluated the impact of these age-specific recommendations on routine malaria treatment practices 4-6 months after AL treatment was implemented. METHODS: Cross-sectional, cluster sample survey using quality-of-care assessment methods in all government facilities in four Kenyan districts. Analysis was restricted to the 64 facilities with malaria diagnostics and AL available on the survey day. Main outcome measures were antimalarial treatment practices for febrile patients stratified by age, use of malaria diagnostic tests, and test result. RESULTS: Treatment practices for 706 febrile patients (401 young children and 305 patients > or =5 years) were evaluated. 43.0% of patients > or =5 years and 25.9% of children underwent parasitological malaria testing (87% by microscopy). AL was prescribed for 79.7% of patients > or =5 years with positive test results, for 9.7% with negative results and for 10.9% without a test. 84.6% of children with positive tests, 19.2% with negative tests, and 21.6% without tests were treated with AL. At least one antimalarial drug was prescribed for 75.0% of children and for 61.3% of patients > or =5 years with a negative test result. CONCLUSIONS: Despite different recommendations for patients below and above 5 years of age, malaria diagnosis and treatment practices were similar in the two age groups. Parasitological diagnosis was under-used in older children and adults, and young children were still tested. Use of AL was low overall and alternative antimalarials were commonly prescribed; but AL prescribing largely followed the results of malaria tests. Malaria diagnosis recommendations differing between age groups appear complex to implement; further strengthening of diagnosis and treatment practices under AL policy is required.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (6), pp. 856-861. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Fatal diffuse thrombotic microangiopathy after a bite by the "Fer-de-Lance" pit viper (Bothrops lanceolatus) of Martinique.
In Martinique, a man bitten two days earlier by a pit viper (Bothrops lanceolatus) was hospitalized with impaired consciousness and tetraplegia. Investigations confirmed cerebral and myocardial infarctions. Resolving thrombocytopenia was associated with virtually normal blood prothrombin time/activated partial thromboplastin time but increasing hyperfibrinogenemia. Despite specific antivenom treatment, he developed fatal left ventricular failure six days after the bite. At autopsy, multiple cerebral, myocardial and mesenteric infarctions were found. Rupture of mitral chordae tendinae was the likely cause of death. Histopathologic examination showed multi-focal thrombotic microangiopathy with intimal-medial dissection by thrombi extending from foci of endothelial damage in small cerebral, myocardial, pulmonary, mesenteric, and interlobular renal arteries and arterioles. These findings were the causes of infarctions. There was intense angiogenesis in organizing cerebral infarcts. Immunohistochemical analysis showed platelet aggregates and endothelial cells within microthrombi. Viperidae venoms contain vascular endothelial toxins, notably metalloproteinase hemorrhagins, but von Willebrand factor activators or vascular endothelial growth factor-type factors are more likely to have been implicated in this case.
CLINICAL TOXICOLOGY, 46 (5), pp. 380-380. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite)2008. A randomised controlled trial of multiple dose activated charcoal in acute self-poisoning
BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax (Pv) is widespread in eastern Indonesia, and emerging elsewhere in Asia-Pacific and South America, but is generally regarded as a benign disease. The aim of the study was to review the spectrum of disease associated with malaria due to Pv and P. falciparum (Pf) in patients presenting to a hospital in Timika, southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data were prospectively collected from all patients attending the outpatient and inpatient departments of the only hospital in the region using systematic data forms and hospital computerised records. Between January 2004 and December 2007, clinical malaria was present in 16% (60,226/373,450) of hospital outpatients and 32% (12,171/37,800) of inpatients. Among patients admitted with slide-confirmed malaria, 64% of patients had Pf, 24% Pv, and 10.5% mixed infections. The proportion of malarial admissions attributable to Pv rose to 47% (415/887) in children under 1 y of age. Severe disease was present in 2,634 (22%) inpatients with malaria, with the risk greater among Pv (23% [675/2,937]) infections compared to Pf (20% [1,570/7,817]; odds ratio [OR] = 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.32], p = 0.001), and greatest in patients with mixed infections (31% [389/1,273]); overall p < 0.0001. Severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 5 g/dl) was the major complication associated with Pv, accounting for 87% (589/675) of severe disease compared to 73% (1,144/1,570) of severe manifestations with Pf (p < 0.001). Pure Pv infection was also present in 78 patients with respiratory distress and 42 patients with coma. In total 242 (2.0%) patients with malaria died during admission: 2.2% (167/7,722) with Pf, 1.6% (46/2,916) with Pv, and 2.3% (29/1260) with mixed infections (p = 0.126). CONCLUSIONS: In this region with established high-grade chloroquine resistance to both Pv and Pf, Pv is associated with severe and fatal malaria particularly in young children. The epidemiology of P. vivax needs to be re-examined elsewhere where chloroquine resistance is increasing.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the performance and feasibility of tuberculosis diagnosis by sputum microscopy after bleach sedimentation, compared with by conventional direct smear microscopy, in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. METHODS: In a community-based study in Kenya (a population in which 50% of individuals with tuberculosis are infected with HIV), individuals with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis submitted 3 sputum specimens during 2 consecutive days, which were examined by blind evaluation. Ziehl-Neelsen-stained smears were made of fresh specimens and of specimens that were processed with 3.5% household bleach followed by overnight sedimentation. Two different cutoffs for acid-fast bacilli (AFB) per 100 high-power fields (HPF) were used to define a positive smear: >10 AFB/100 HPF and 1 AFB/100 HPF. Four smear-positive case definitions, based on 1 or 2 positive smears with the 1 AFB or 10 AFB cutoff, were used. RESULTS: Of 1879 specimens from 644 patients, 363 (19.3%) and 460 (24.5%) were positive by bleach sedimentation microscopy, compared with 301 (16.0%) and 374 (19.9%) by direct smear microscopy, with use of the 10 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) and 1 AFB/100 HPF (P < .001) cutoffs, respectively. Regardless of the case definition used, bleach sedimentation microscopy detected significantly more positive cases than did direct smear microscopy: 26.7% (172 of 644) versus 21.7% (140 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 1 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001), and 21.4% (138 of 644) versus 18.6% (120 of 644), respectively, with the case definition of 1 positive smear and the 10 AFB/100 HPF cutoff (P < .001). Inter- and intrareader reproducibility were favorable, with kappa coefficients of 0.83 and 0.91, respectively. Bleach sedimentation was relatively inexpensive and was not time consuming. CONCLUSIONS: Bleach sedimentation microscopy is an effective, simple method to improve the yield of smear microscopy in a setting of high prevalence of HIV. Further evaluation of this method, under operational conditions, is urgently needed to determine its potential as a tool for tuberculosis control.
Bull World Health Organ, 86 (6), pp. 494-496. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Read more2008. The global epidemiology of childhood pneumonia 20 years on.
Mutations in the chloroquine resistance (CQR) transporter gene of Plasmodium falciparum (Pfcrt; chromosome 7) play a key role in CQR, while mutations in the multidrug resistance gene (Pfmdr1; chromosome 5) play a significant role in the parasite's resistance to a variety of antimalarials and also modulate CQR. To compare patterns of genetic variation at Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 loci, we investigated 460 blood samples from P. falciparum-infected patients from four Asian, three African, and three South American countries, analyzing microsatellite (MS) loci flanking Pfcrt (five loci [approximately 40 kb]) and Pfmdr1 (either two loci [approximately 5 kb] or four loci [approximately 10 kb]). CQR Pfmdr1 allele-associated MS haplotypes showed considerably higher genetic diversity and higher levels of subdivision than CQR Pfcrt allele-associated MS haplotypes in both Asian and African parasite populations. However, both Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 MS haplotypes showed similar levels of low diversity in South American parasite populations. Median-joining network analyses showed that the Pfcrt MS haplotypes correlated well with geography and CQR Pfcrt alleles, whereas there was no distinct Pfmdr1 MS haplotype that correlated with geography and/or CQR Pfmdr1 alleles. Furthermore, multiple independent origins of CQR Pfmdr1 alleles in Asia and Africa were inferred. These results suggest that variation at Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 loci in both Asian and African parasite populations is generated and/or maintained via substantially different mechanisms. Since Pfmdr1 mutations may be associated with resistance to artemisinin combination therapies that are replacing CQ, particularly in Africa, it is important to determine if, and how, the genetic characteristics of this locus change over time.
MALAWI MEDICAL JOURNAL, 20 (2), pp. 37-41. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Why do individuals agree to enrol in clinical trials? A qualitative study of health research participation in Blantyre, Malawi
Current literature suggests that therapeutic misconception - a belief by participants in a clinical trial that they are in fact simply being given clinical care - is common, especially among illiterate populations in developing countries. Therapeutic misconception reflects problems in informed consent, as people agree to participate in clinical trials without being aware that the trial procedures and test products may not in fact benefit them. In this study of Malawian adults who had participated in research projects of various kinds during the preceding years, we found that the majority participated in research for the sake of obtaining better quality treatment made available through the clinical trials as ancillary care. Their consent to participate was not due to a belief that the actual procedures of the trial would directly benefit their health. Respondents indicated that, government hospitals being crowded and commonly lacking drugs, they agreed to take part in research projects in the hope of obtaining access to ancillary care provided by clinical trials. We conclude that in this environment, possibly owing to inadequacy of routine health services, people make rational decisions to participate in research. We question whether the term 'therapeutic misconception' accurately describes participants' motivation under conditions of limited resources. We also discuss the relevance of these findings for understanding undue inducement in clinical trials.
Small hospitals sit at the apex of the pyramid of primary care in the health systems of many low-income countries. If the Millennium Development Goal for child survival is to be achieved, hospital care for referred severely ill children will need to be improved considerably in parallel with primary care in many countries. Yet little is known about how to achieve this. This article describes the evolution and final design of an intervention study that is attempting to improve hospital care for children in Kenyan district hospitals. It illustrates many of the difficulties involved in reconciling epidemiological rigour and feasibility in studies at a health system, rather than an individual, level and the importance of the depth and breadth of analysis when trying to provide a plausible answer to the question: does it work? Although there are increasing calls for more health systems research in low-income countries, the importance of strong, broadly based local partnerships and long-term commitment even to initiate projects is not always appreciated.
Little is known about the health needs of detained juvenile females, yet there is emerging concern regarding substance misuse, mental health problems, poor sexual health and poorer general physical health on a range of indicators. This study sought to identify health needs from the perspective of imprisoned young women themselves and key professionals working with them to inform healthcare provision. We conducted semi-structured interviews and focus groups with detained juvenile women and adult professionals in four specialist female young offender institutions. The study presents new qualitative findings on the profound impact of social exclusion and multiple forms of abuse and victimisation on the health of juvenile women prisoners. Concerns regarding substance misuse, mental health problems, self-harm and poor sexual health are reinforced by this study. Young women tended to focus on their immediate health needs in contrast to the professionals who emphasised longer-term issues. The study identified the need for priority interventions in relation to mental health, substance misuse, self-harm and sexual health and tentatively suggests that 'compensatory care' may offer some scope to redress health inequalities experienced by these young women.
Chemtracts, 21 (6), pp. 231-232. | Show Abstract2008. Bacterial actin: Architecture of the ParMRC plasmid DNA partitioning complex
During eukaryotic cell division, the DNA molecules are partitioned to opposite poles of the cell, ensuring accurate distribution of chromosomes between the dividing cells. In prokaryotes, the mechanism for accurate segregation is unknown. Previous studies have focused on partitioning of a plasmid, Rl, which encodes a stability operon, par, that is required for proper segregation of this low-copy-number plasmid. The par operon of Rl encodes three components: ParM, an actin-like ATPase, ParR, a DNA-bind- ing protein, and parC, a centromere-like DNA sequence element to which ParR binds. In the presence of ATP, ParM polymerizes and then disassembles. Disassembly is prevented, however, by the binding of ParR to parC, which stabilizes the ParM filaments. In the current model for DNA segregation, the ATP-dependent polymerization of ParM is believed to move newly replicated plasmids to the opposite poles. This study therefore determined how the ParM filaments are formed and stabilized and ascertained the sites involved to effect both mechanisms. Mutational studies, pull-down and gel- shift assays for point and deletion mutants of Rl ParR, and electron microscopy at varying concentrations of labeled parC established that the ParR- parC complex forms the clamp that binds at both the C-terminal ends of ParM, forming ring structures that bind ATP and stabilize the ParM filaments. ParR binds through its N-terminus to parC, forming a rigid scaffold of protein (ParR) wrapped by a DNA helix (parC). This binding does not include the Rl promoter region within the parC domain, because the promoter region extends out as a loop from the ParR binding region. Additionally, studies with mutants of ParM also identified the binding sites of the ParR-parC complex on ParM. A model for ParM polymerization consistent with electron micrograph images was thus proposed whereby ATP binding polymerizes ParM. Binding of the ParR-parC complex clamps the C-terminal ParM-ATP complex stabilizing filament formation. Hydrolysis of ATP to ADP dislocates ParR-parC and translocates ParR to one side to allow binding of a new ParM-ATP monomer. ParR translocates back, rocking the clamp, and the cycle of hydrolysis, translocation, and monomer addition is repeated until elongation is completed (Fig. 1). © 2008 Data Trace Publishing Company.
BMJ, 336 (7655), pp. 1240-1240. | Read more2008. On the nose
BACKGROUND: Malaria-endemic countries are switching antimalarial drug policy to artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) and the global community are considering the setting up of a global subsidy mechanism in order to make them accessible and affordable. However, specific interventions may be needed to reach remote at-risk communities and to ensure that they are used appropriately. This analysis documents the coverage with ACTs versus artemisinin monotherapies, and the effectiveness of malaria outreach teams (MOTs) and Village Malaria Workers (VMWs) in increasing access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment with ACTs in Cambodia, the first country to switch national antimalarial drug policy to an ACT of artesunate and mefloquine (A+M) in 2000. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in three different types of intervention area: with VMWs, MOTs and no specific interventions. Individuals with a history of fever in the last three weeks were included in the study and completed a questionnaire on their treatment seeking and drug usage behaviour. Blood was taken for a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and data on the household socio-economic status were also obtained. RESULTS: In areas without specific interventions, only 17% (42/251) of respondents received a biological diagnosis, 8% (17/206) of respondents who received modern drug did so from a public health facility, and only 8% of them (17/210) received A+M. Worryingly, 78% (102/131) of all artemisinin use in these areas was as a monotherapy. However, both the VMW scheme and MOT scheme significantly increased the likelihood of being seen by a trained provider (Adjusted Odds Ratios (AOR) of 148 and 4 respectively) and of receiving A+M (AORs of 2.7 and 7.7 respectively). CONCLUSION: The coverage rates of appropriate diagnosis and treatment of malaria were disappointingly low and the use of artemisinin monotherapy alarmingly high. This reflects the fragmented nature of Cambodia's health system in remote areas and the reliance placed by these communities on informal vendors from whom artemisinin monotherapies are widely available. However VMWs in particular are an effective means of improving access to malaria diagnosis and treatment. The VMW scheme and the social marketing of RDTS and blister-packaged artesunate and mefloquine have both been scaled up nationally. Case management in the public sector has also reportedly improved. Given recent concerns regarding the development of artemisinin drug resistance on the Thai-Cambodia border, the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the use of artemisinin monotherapy needs to be urgently re-evaluated.
BACKGROUND: It may be assumed that patterns of clinical malaria in children of similar age under the same level of exposure would follow a Poisson distribution with no over-dispersion. Longitudinal studies that have been conducted over many years suggest that some children may experience more episodes of clinical malaria than would be expected. The aim of this study was to identify this group of children and investigate possible causes for this increased susceptibility. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using Poisson regression, we chose a group of children whom we designated as 'more susceptible' to malaria from 373 children under 10 years of age who were followed up for between 3 to 5 years from 1998-2003. About 21% of the children were categorized as 'more susceptible' and although they contributed only 23% of the person-time of follow-up, they experienced 55% of total clinical malaria episodes. Children that were parasite negative at all cross-sectional survey were less likely to belong to this group [AOR = 0.09, (95% CI: 0.14-0.61), p = 0.001]. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: The pattern of clinical malaria episodes follows a negative binomial distribution. Use of lack of a clinical malaria episode in a certain time period as endpoints for intervention or immunological studies may not adequately distinguish groups who are more or less immune. It may be useful in such studies, in addition to the usual endpoint of the time to first episode, to include end points which take into account the total number of clinical episodes experienced per child.
BACKGROUND: Malaria-endemic countries are switching antimalarial drug policy from cheap ineffective monotherapies to artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and the global community are considering setting up a global subsidy to fund their purchase. However, in order to ensure that ACTs are correctly used and are accessible to the poor and remote communities who need them, specific interventions will be necessary and the additional costs need to be considered. METHODS: This paper presents an incremental cost analysis of some of these interventions in Cambodia, the first country to change national antimalarial drug policy to an ACT of artesunate and mefloquine. These costs include the cost of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), the cost of blister-packaging the drugs locally and the costs of increasing access to diagnosis and treatment to remote communities through malaria outreach teams (MOTs) and Village Malaria Workers (VMW). RESULTS: At optimum productive capacity, the cost of blister-packaging cost under $0.20 per package but in reality was significantly more than this because of the low rate of production. The annual fixed cost (exclusive of RDTs and drugs) per capita of the MOT and VMW schemes was $0.44 and $0.69 respectively. However because the VMW scheme achieved a higher rate of coverage than the MOT scheme, the cost per patient treated was substantially lower at $5.14 compared to $12.74 per falciparum malaria patient treated. The annual cost inclusive of the RDTs and drugs was $19.31 for the MOT scheme and $11.28 for the VMW scheme given similar RDT positivity rates of around 22% and good provider compliance to test results. CONCLUSION: In addition to the cost of ACTs themselves, substantial additional investments are required in order to ensure that they reach the targeted population via appropriate delivery systems and to ensure that they are used appropriately. In addition, differences in local conditions, in particular the prevalence of malaria and the pre-existing infrastructure, need to be considered in choosing appropriate diagnostic and delivery strategies.
BACKGROUND: There have been resurgent efforts in Africa to estimate the public health impact of malaria control interventions such as insecticide treated nets (ITNs) following substantial investments in scaling-up coverage in the last five years. Little is known, however, on the effectiveness of ITN in areas of Africa that support low transmission. This hinders the accurate estimation of impact of ITN use on disease burden and its cost-effectiveness in low transmission settings. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using a stratified two-stage cluster sample design, four cross-sectional studies were undertaken between March-June 2007 across three livelihood groups in an area of low intensity malaria transmission in South Central Somalia. Information on bed net use; age; and sex of all participants were recorded. A finger prick blood sample was taken from participants to examine for parasitaemia. Mantel-Haenzel methods were used to measure the effect of net use on parasitaemia adjusting for livelihood; age; and sex. A total of 10,587 individuals of all ages were seen of which 10,359 provided full information. Overall net use and parasite prevalence were 12.4% and 15.7% respectively. Age-specific protective effectiveness (PE) of bed net ranged from 39% among <5 years to 72% among 5-14 years old. Overall PE of bed nets was 54% (95% confidence interval 44%-63%) after adjusting for livelihood; sex; and age. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: Bed nets confer high protection against parasite infection in South Central Somalia. In such areas where baseline transmission is low, however, the absolute reductions in parasitaemia due to wide-scale net use will be relatively small raising questions on the cost-effectiveness of covering millions of people living in such settings in Africa with nets. Further understanding of the progress of disease upon infection against the cost of averting its consequent burden in low transmission areas of Africa is therefore required.
J Obstet Gynaecol, 28 (4), pp. 463. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Symptomatic malaria in pregnancy.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infection exerts a considerable burden on pregnant women, but less is known about the adverse consequences of Plasmodium vivax infection. METHODS: In Papua, Indonesia, where multiple drug resistance to both species has emerged, we conducted a cross-sectional hospital-based study to quantify the risks and consequences of maternal malaria. RESULTS: From April 2004 through December 2006, 3046 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of parasitemia at delivery was 16.8% (432 of 2570 women had infections), with 152 (35.2%) of these 432 infections being associated with fever. The majority of infections were attributable to P. falciparum (250 [57.9%]); 146 (33.8%) of the infections were attributable to P. vivax, and 36 (8.3%) were coinfections with both species. At delivery, P. falciparum infection was associated with severe anemia (hemoglobin concentration, <7 g/dL; odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.0-4.0) and a 192 g (95% CI, 119-265) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.001). P. vivax infection was associated with an increased risk of moderate anemia (hemoglobin concentration, 7-11 g/dL; OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.9; P=.01) and a 108 g (95% CI, 17.5-199) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.019). Parasitemia was associated with preterm delivery (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0; P=.02) and stillbirth (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.1; P=.007) but was not associated with these outcomes after controlling for the presence of fever and severe anemia, suggesting that malaria increases the risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth through fever and contribution to severe anemia rather than through parasitemia per se. CONCLUSIONS: These observations highlight the need for novel, safe, and effective treatment and prevention strategies against both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and multidrug-resistant P. vivax infections in pregnant women in areas of mixed endemicity.
High-throughput epidemiological typing systems that provide phylogenetic and genotypic information are beneficial for tracking bacterial pathogens in the field. The incidence of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi infection in Indonesia is high and is associated with atypical phenotypic traits such as expression of the j and the z66 flagellum antigens. Utilizing a high-throughput genotyping platform to investigate known nucleotide polymorphisms dispersed around the genome, we determined the haplotypes of 140 serovar Typhi isolates associated with Indonesia. We identified nine distinct serovar Typhi haplotypes circulating in Indonesia for more than 30 years, with eight of these present in a single Jakarta suburb within a 2-year period. One dominant haplotype, H59, is associated with j and z66 flagellum expression, representing a potential pathotype unique to Indonesia. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that H59 z66(+), j(+) isolates emerged relatively recently in terms of the origin of serovar Typhi and are geographically restricted. These data demonstrate the potential of high-throughput genotyping platforms for analyzing serovar Typhi populations in the field. The study also provides insight into the evolution of serovar Typhi and demonstrates the value of a molecular epidemiological technique that is exchangeable, that is internet friendly, and that has global utility.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 78 (5), pp. 847-847.2008. Effects of malaria heme products on red blood cell deformability (vol 77, pg 617, 2007)
The selection and spread of antimalarial drug resistance pose enormous challenges to the health of people living in tropical countries. Most antimalarial drugs are slowly eliminated and so, following treatment in areas of endemicity, provide a gradient of concentrations to which newly acquired parasites are exposed. There is a variable period during which a new blood-stage infection with resistant malaria parasites can emerge from the liver and subsequently produce gametocyte densities sufficient for transmission while reinfection by sensitive parasites is still suppressed. This "window of selection" drives the spread of resistance. We have examined the factors which determine the duration of this window and, thus, the resistance selection pressure. The duration ranges from zero to several months and is dependent on the degree of parasite resistance, the slope of the concentration-effect relationship, and the elimination kinetics of the antimalarial drug. The time at which the window opens and the duration of opening are both linear functions of the terminal elimination half-life. Because of competition from sibling susceptible parasites, the greater risks of extinction with low starting numbers, and opening of the window only when blood concentrations have fallen below the MIC, the window of selection for de novo resistance is narrower than that for resistance acquired elsewhere. The windows were examined for the currently available antimalarials. Drugs with elimination half-lives of less than 1 day, such as the artemisinins and quinine, do not select for resistance during the elimination phase.
Snake bite envenoming, mainly caused by the saw-scaled or carpet viper (Echis ocellatus), is a neglected disease of West Africa. Specific antivenoms can save life and limb but, for various reasons, supply of these essential drugs to Africa has dwindled to less than 2% of estimated requirements. Other problems include maldistribution, inadequate conservation and inappropriate clinical use of antivenoms. In the face of this crisis, several promising new antivenoms have been developed. However, some dangerously inappropriate products of Indian origin are being marketed by unscrupulous manufacturers or distributors in Africa and Papua New Guinea, with disastrous results. A major source of confusion is labelling antivenom with ambiguous snake names that fail to distinguish the Asian species whose venoms are used in their production from the local snakes whose venoms are antigenically dissimilar.
Individuals living in areas where malaria is endemic are repeatedly exposed to many different malaria parasite antigens. Studies on naturally acquired antibody-mediated immunity to clinical malaria have largely focused on the presence of responses to individual antigens and their associations with decreased morbidity. We hypothesized that the breadth (number of important targets to which antibodies were made) and magnitude (antibody level measured in a random serum sample) of the antibody response were important predictors of protection from clinical malaria. We analyzed naturally acquired antibodies to five leading Plasmodium falciparum merozoite-stage vaccine candidate antigens, and schizont extract, in Kenyan children monitored for uncomplicated malaria for 6 months (n = 119). Serum antibody levels to apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) and merozoite surface protein antigens (MSP-1 block 2, MSP-2, and MSP-3) were inversely related to the probability of developing malaria, but levels to MSP-1(19) and erythrocyte binding antigen (EBA-175) were not. The risk of malaria was also inversely associated with increasing breadth of antibody specificities, with none of the children who simultaneously had high antibody levels to five or more antigens experiencing a clinical episode (17/119; 15%; P = 0.0006). Particular combinations of antibodies (AMA1, MSP-2, and MSP-3) were more strongly predictive of protection than others. The results were validated in a larger, separate case-control study whose end point was malaria severe enough to warrant hospital admission (n = 387). These findings suggest that under natural exposure, immunity to malaria may result from high titers antibodies to multiple antigenic targets and support the idea of testing combination blood-stage vaccines optimized to induce similar antibody profiles.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (5), pp. 736-740. | Citations: 50 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. High-dose primaquine regimens against relapse of Plasmodium vivax malaria.
Plasmodium vivax causes debilitating but usually non-lethal malaria in most of Asia and South America. Prevention of relapse after otherwise effective therapy for the acute attack requires a standard daily dose of primaquine administered over 14 days. This regimen has < 90% efficacy in Thailand, and is widely regarded as ineffective because of poor compliance over the relatively long duration of dosing. We evaluated the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of alternative primaquine dosing regimens combined with artesunate among 399 Thai patients with acute, symptomatic P. vivax malaria. Patients were randomly assigned to one of six treatment groups: all patients received artesunate, 100 mg once a day for 5 days. Groups 1-5 then received primaquine, 30 mg a day for 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14 days, respectively. Group 6 received primaquine, 30 mg twice a day for 7 days. The 28-day cure rates were 85%, 89%, 94%, 100%, and 96%, respectively. Treatment of P. vivax malaria with artesunate for 5 days followed by high-dose primaquine, 30 mg twice a day for 7 days, was highly effective, well-tolerated, and equivalent or superior to the standard regimen of primaquine therapy.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate health facility and health worker readiness to deliver new artemether-lumefantrine (AL) treatment policy for uncomplicated malaria in Kenya. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Health facilities in four sentinel districts in Kenya. PARTICIPANTS: All government facilities in study districts (n = 211) and all health workers performing outpatient consultations (n = 654). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Availability of antimalarial drugs on the survey day, stock-outs in past six months, presence of AL wall charts, health worker's exposure to in-service training on AL and access to new national malaria guidelines. RESULTS: The availability of any tablets of AL, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine was nearly universal on the survey day. However, only 61% of facilities stocked all four weight-specific packs of AL. In the past six months, 67% of facilities had stock-out of at least one AL tablet pack and 15% were out of stock for all four packs at the same time. Duration of stock-out was substantial for all AL packs (median range: 27-39% of time). During the same period, the stock-outs of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine and amodiaquine were rare. Only 19% of facilities had all AL wall charts displayed, AL in-service training was provided to 47% of health workers and 59% had access to the new guidelines. CONCLUSION: Health facility and health worker readiness to implement AL policy is not yet optimal. Continuous supply of all four AL pack sizes and removal of not recommended antimalarials is needed. Further coordinated efforts through the routine programmatic activities are necessary to improve delivery of AL at the point of care.
A 43-year-old diplomat was diagnosed with probable hepatitis C while vacationing in Europe. However, on return to her post in Nepal, she was actually found to have hepatitis E. The differential diagnosis, importance, and prevention of hepatitis E are highlighted.
OBJECTIVE: Reducing viral load, highly active antiretroviral therapy has the potential to limit onwards transmission of HIV-1 and thus help contain epidemic spread. However, increases in risk behaviour and resurgent epidemics have been widely reported post-highly active antiretroviral therapy. The aim of this study was to quantify the impact that highly active antiretroviral therapy had on the epidemic. DESIGN: We focus on the HIV-1 epidemic among men who have sex with men in the Netherlands, which has been well documented over the past 20 years within several long-standing national surveillance programs. METHODS: We used a mathematical model including highly active antiretroviral therapy use and estimated the changes in risk behaviour and diagnosis rate needed to explain annual data on HIV and AIDS diagnoses. RESULTS: We show that the reproduction number R(t), a measure of the state of the epidemic, declined early on from initial values above two and was maintained below one from 1985 to 2000. Since 1996, when highly active antiretroviral therapy became widely used, the risk behaviour rate has increased 66%, resulting in an increase of R(t) to 1.04 in the latest period 2000-2004 (95% confidence interval 0.98-1.09) near or just above the threshold for a self-sustaining epidemic. Hypothetical scenario analysis shows that the epidemiological benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy and earlier diagnosis on incidence have been entirely offset by increases in the risk behaviour rate. CONCLUSION: We provide the first detailed quantitative analysis of the HIV epidemic in a well defined population and find a resurgent epidemic in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy, most likely predominantly caused by increasing sexual risk behaviour.
BACKGROUND: Several studies found associations between higher plasma calcium and phosphorus and mortality in dialysis patients. However, different predefined categories and reference values were applied and the precise shape of these relationships remains unclear. METHODS: We evaluated 1,621 patients from NECOSAD, a prospective multicenter cohort study of incident dialysis patients (60 +/- 15 years, 61% male, 64% hemodialysis). We used multivariate Cox regression and restricted cubic spline regression to study the effects of time-updated plasma concentrations on mortality in a flexible manner. RESULTS: 486 patients (30%) died during follow-up. Elevated phosphorus concentration was associated with higher mortality (p = 0.0009). The association of high calcium with mortality was borderline significant (p = 0.07). Within the studied ranges, we could not identify a threshold where an appreciable change in mortality risk occurred. CONCLUSIONS: Mortality risk started to increase at a relatively low phosphorus concentration (4.5 mg/dl). Low-normal calcium combined with low-normal phosphorus concentration was associated with the lowest mortality.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 48 (1), pp. 116-118. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Diagnostic accuracy of 2 oral fluid-based tests for HIV surveillance in Namibia.
BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil-dwelling saprophyte and the cause of melioidosis. Horizontal gene transfer contributes to the genetic diversity of this pathogen and may be an important determinant of virulence potential. The genome contains genomic island (GI) regions that encode a broad array of functions. Although there is some evidence for the variable distribution of genomic islands in B. pseudomallei isolates, little is known about the extent of variation between related strains or their association with disease or environmental survival. RESULTS: Five islands from B. pseudomallei strain K96243 were chosen as representatives of different types of genomic islands present in this strain, and their presence investigated in other B. pseudomallei. In silico analysis of 10 B. pseudomallei genome sequences provided evidence for the variable presence of these regions, together with micro-evolutionary changes that generate GI diversity. The diversity of GIs in 186 isolates from NE Thailand (83 environmental and 103 clinical isolates) was investigated using multiplex PCR screening. The proportion of all isolates positive by PCR ranged from 12% for a prophage-like island (GI 9), to 76% for a metabolic island (GI 16). The presence of each of the five GIs did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p > 0.05 for all five islands). The cumulative number of GIs per isolate for the 186 isolates ranged from 0 to 5 (median 2, IQR 1 to 3). The distribution of cumulative GI number did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p = 0.27). The presence of GIs was defined for the three largest clones in this collection (each defined as a single sequence type, ST, by multilocus sequence typing); these were ST 70 (n = 15 isolates), ST 54 (n = 11), and ST 167 (n = 9). The rapid loss and/or acquisition of gene islands was observed within individual clones. Comparisons were drawn between isolates obtained from the environment and from patients with melioidosis in order to examine the role of genomic islands in virulence and clinical associations. There was no reproducible association between the individual or cumulative presence of five GIs and a range of clinical features in 103 patients with melioidosis. CONCLUSION: Horizontal gene transfer of mobile genetic elements can rapidly alter the gene repertoire of B. pseudomallei. This study confirms the utility of a range of approaches in defining the presence and significance of genomic variation in natural populations of B. pseudomallei.
Artemisinin and its derivatives have become essential components of antimalarial treatment. These plant-derived peroxides are unique among antimalarial drugs in killing the young intraerythrocytic malaria parasites, thereby preventing their development to more pathological mature stages. This results in rapid clinical and parasitological responses to treatment and life-saving benefit in severe malaria. Artemisinin combination treatments (ACTs) are now first-line drugs for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but access to ACTs is still limited in most malaria-endemic countries. Improved agricultural practices, selection of high-yielding hybrids, microbial production, and the development of synthetic peroxides will lower prices. A global subsidy would make these drugs more affordable and available. ACTs are central to current malaria elimination initiatives, but there are concerns that tolerance to artemisinins may be emerging in Cambodia.
PLoS Med, 5 (4), pp. e89. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Research in complex humanitarian emergencies: the Médecins Sans Frontières/Epicentre experience.
Lancet, 371 (9620), pp. 1305-1307. | Citations: 74 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Case management of HIV-infected severely malnourished children: challenges in the area of highest prevalence.
BACKGROUND: The treatment options for acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria are based on the clinician classifying the patient as uncomplicated or severe according to the clinical and parasitological findings. This process is not always straightforward. CASE PRESENTATION: An adult male presented to a clinic on the western border of Thailand with a physical examination and P. falciparum trophozoite count (1.2% of infected red blood cells, IRBC) from malaria blood smear, consistent with a diagnosis of uncomplicated P. falciparum infection. However, the physician on duty treated the patient for severe malaria based on the reported P. falciparum schizont count, which was very high (0.3% IRBC), noticeably in relation to the trophozoite count and schizont:trophozoite ratio 0.25:1. On intravenous artesunate, the patient deteriorated clinically in the first 24 hours. The trophozoite count increased from 1.2% IRBC at baseline to 20.5% IRBC 18 hours following the start of treatment. By day three, the patient recovered and was discharged on day seven having completed a seven-day treatment with artesunate and mefloquine. CONCLUSION: The malaria blood smear provides only a guide to the overall parasite biomass in the body, due to the ability of P. falciparum to sequester in the microvasculature. In severe malaria, high schizont counts are associated with worse prognosis. In low transmission areas or in non-immune travelers the presence of schizonts in the peripheral circulation is an indication for close patient supervision. In this case, an unusually high schizont count in a clinically uncomplicated patient was indicative of potential deterioration. Prompt treatment with intravenous artesunate is likely to have been responsible for the good clinical outcome in this case.
We have recently described 95 predicted alpha-helical coiled-coil peptides derived from putative Plasmodium falciparum erythrocytic stage proteins. Seventy peptides recognized with the highest level of prevalence by sera from three endemic areas were selected for further studies. In this study, we sequentially examined antibody responses to these synthetic peptides in two cohorts of children at risk of clinical malaria in Kilifi district in coastal Kenya, in order to characterize the level of peptide recognition by age, and the role of anti-peptide antibodies in protection from clinical malaria. Antibody levels from 268 children in the first cohort (Chonyi) were assayed against 70 peptides. Thirty-nine peptides were selected for further study in a second cohort (Junju). The rationale for the second cohort was to confirm those peptides identified as protective in the first cohort. The Junju cohort comprised of children aged 1-6 years old (inclusive). Children were actively followed up to identify episodes of febrile malaria in both cohorts. Of the 70 peptides examined, 32 showed significantly (p<0.05) increased antibody recognition in older children and 40 showed significantly increased antibody recognition in parasitaemic children. Ten peptides were associated with a significantly reduced odds ratio (OR) for an episode of clinical malaria in the first cohort of children and two of these peptides (LR146 and AS202.11) were associated with a significantly reduced OR in both cohorts. LR146 is derived from hypothetical protein PFB0145c in PlasmoDB. Previous work has identified this protein as a target of antibodies effective in antibody dependent cellular inhibition (ADCI). The current study substantiates further the potential of protein PFB0145c and also identifies protein PF11_0424 as another likely target of protective antibodies against P. falciparum malaria.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 552-555. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Impaired clinical response in a patient with uncomplicated falciparum malaria who received poor-quality and underdosed intramuscular artemether.
We describe an adult with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria who did not improve clinically despite 5 days of intramuscular artemether therapy. He was prescribed a lower dose (kg body weight) than that recommended, and a vial from the packet contained only 74% of the artemether dose as stated by the manufacturer. The combination of underdosing, poor-quality drug, and the intrinsic low bioavailability of artemether may have contributed to his poor clinical response. Analysis of the packaging and chemical "fingerprinting" of the artemether suggested that the drug was genuine but was either substandard or had deteriorated after manufacture.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 539-542. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Noma in Laos: stigma of severe poverty in rural Asia.
Noma, or cancrum oris, is a debilitating necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis that destroys the mouth and face. It usually starts in early childhood and is associated with severe poverty, malnutrition, and infections. It is most frequently described from sub-Saharan Africa but is under-reported. There have been very few reports from Asia. We describe the clinical and social features of a series of 12 patients with noma from remote poor villages in rural Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos). Noma is an ominous stigma of severe poverty and the description of this disease emphasizes the importance of poverty reduction and nutritional improvement in Lao development. In the meantime, more awareness of the problem and the importance of early therapy in acute noma by primary health care workers may reduce mortality and prevent progression to severe disfigurement.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 543-545. | Citations: 32 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine rescue treatment of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy: a preliminary report.
Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) is a promising new artemisinin combination treatment. There are no published data on the intentional use of the drug in pregnancy. Between June 2006 and January 2007, 50 Karen pregnant women with recurrent P. falciparum infections, despite 7-day treatments with quinine or artesunate (+/-clindamycin) or both, were treated with DHA-PPQ. This rescue treatment was effective and well tolerated and there was no evidence of toxicity for the mothers or the fetus. The PCR adjusted cure rate by Kaplan Meier analysis at day 63 was 92.2% (95% CI: 76.9-97.4).
Orientia tsutsugamushi is the causative agent of scrub typhus, a major cause of febrile illness in the rural areas of Southeast Asia. Twenty-three strains of O. tsutsugamushi were isolated from patients with scrub typhus in north-east (Udorn Thani province) and western Thailand (Tak province) between 2003 and 2005. The isolates were characterized by sequencing the entire ORF of the 56-kDa-type-specific antigen gene, followed by phylogenetic analysis. The majority (15/23) of isolates clustered with the Karp-type strain, six with a Gilliam-type strain and one each with the TA716- and TA763-type strains. Overall, there was considerable diversity in sequence, comparable to that seen in strains from across the rest of the scrub typhus-endemic world. There was no significant difference in the distributions of strains between the two provinces (P=0.08, Fisher's exact) nor a temporal change in distribution with year of isolation (P=0.80, Fisher's exact). Within this diversity there were also examples of isolates with identical 56-kDa genotypes that were cultured from patients from the same geographical areas.
We describe and validate a novel PCR assay to detect the pandemic hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) lineage ST 239. Results based on previously uncharacterized isolates from a hospital in northeast Thailand support the view that at least 90% of HA-MRSA isolates in mainland Asia correspond to ST 239 or close relatives.
Dengue is a member of the Flaviviridae, a large group of related viruses some of which co-circulate in certain regions (e.g. dengue and Yellow fever in South America). Immune responses cross-reactive between different dengue serotypes are important in the pathogenesis of dengue disease but it is not known whether previous infection with one flavivirus might affect the clinical course of subsequent infections with other members of the family. CD4+ T cells have been shown to be important in the production of cytokines in response to dengue infection and can demonstrate significant epitope cross-reactivity. Here, we describe the generation and characterisation of CD4+ T cell clones from a patient experiencing acute dengue infection. These clones were DRB1*15+ and recognised epitope variants not only within other dengue viruses but certain other flaviviruses. This cross-reactivity was dependent upon the presence of a five-amino acid core region, consistent with structural observations of class II MHC binding to TCR demonstrating that only a subset of residues within an epitope bound to a class II molecule are "read out" by the TCR. This capacity of CD4+ T cell clones to recognise a given epitope despite considerable variation between viruses may be of pathological significance, particularly in regions where related viruses co-circulate.
Basic health system data such as the number of patients utilising different health facilities and the types of illness for which they are being treated are critical for managing service provision. These data requirements are generally addressed with some form of national Health Management Information System (HMIS) which coordinates the routine collection and compilation of data from national health facilities. HMIS in most developing countries are characterised by widespread under-reporting. Here we present a method to adjust incomplete data to allow prediction of national outpatient treatment burdens. We demonstrate this method with the example of outpatient treatments for malaria within the Kenyan HMIS. Three alternative modelling frameworks were developed and tested in which space-time geostatistical prediction algorithms were used to predict the monthly tally of treatments for presumed malaria cases (MC) at facilities where such records were missing. Models were compared by a cross-validation exercise and the model found to most accurately predict MC incorporated available data on the total number of patients visiting each facility each month. A space-time stochastic simulation framework to accompany this model was developed and tested in order to provide estimates of both local and regional prediction uncertainty. The level of accuracy provided by the predictive model, and the accompanying estimates of uncertainty around the predictions, demonstrate how this tool can mitigate the uncertainties caused by missing data, substantially enhancing the utility of existing HMIS data to health-service decision-makers.
The blood concentration profiles of most antimalarial drugs vary considerably between patients. The interpretation of antimalarial drug trials evaluating efficacy and effectiveness would be improved considerably if the exposure of the infecting parasite population to the antimalarial drug treatment could be measured. Artemisinin combination treatments are now recommended as first-line drugs for the treatment of falciparum malaria. Measurement of the blood, serum or plasma concentration of the slowly eliminated partner antimalarial drug on day 7 of follow-up is simpler and might be a better determinant of therapeutic response than the area under the concentration-time curve. Measurement of the day-7 drug level should be considered as a routine part of antimalarial drug trials.
Lancet, 371 (9622), pp. 1392-1394. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Person-to-person transmission of influenza A (H5N1).
OBJECTIVES: To examine access to, timing and use of artemisinin-based combination therapy among rural Kenyan febrile children before and following the introduction of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) as first-line antimalarial drug policy. METHODS: In August 2006, a cohort was established within 72 rural clusters in four sentinel districts to monitor the period prevalence of fever and treatment in children aged 0-4 years through four repeat cross-sectional surveys (one prior to introduction of AL and three post-AL introduction: January-June 2007). Mothers/guardians of children were asked about fever in the last 14 days and related treatment actions including the timing, drugs used, dosing and adherence supported by visual aids of commonly available drug products. RESULTS: A total of 2526 child-observations were recorded during the four survey rounds. The period prevalence of fever was between 20% and 26% with little variation between survey rounds. The overall proportion of children with fever receiving antimalarial drugs for their fever was 31 % (95% CI, 26-36%) and the proportion of febrile children receiving antimalarial drugs within 48 h was 23.3% (95% CI, 18.6-28.0%). The proportion of febrile children who received first-line recommended AL within 48 h was 10.2% (95% CI, 7.0-13.4%), compared to only 4.6% (95% CI, 3.8-5.4%) of children receiving sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine first-line therapy in 2001. CONCLUSIONS: Although Kenya was less than a year into the new policy implementation and AL is restricted to the public formal sector, access to antimalarial drugs among children within 48 h and to the first-line therapy has improved. But it remains well below national and international targets. The continued use of amodiaquine and artemisinin monotherapies constrains effective implementation of artemisinin-based combination therapy policy in Kenya.
Intensified malaria control efforts among young African children may increase disease risks among older children who attend school and whose education may be impaired by malaria. However, there is currently no consensus as to the approach to malaria control in schools, with relevant intervention strategies varying according to patterns of malaria transmission. Life skills messages regarding prevention and accessing prompt treatment are important everywhere. Providing free bed nets to schoolchildren may bring individual and community benefits and should be widely promoted. New approaches to school-based chemoprevention and treatment may also be able to play an important role in school-based malaria control, although these require further investigation.
We used large sequence polymorphisms to determine the genotypes of 397 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected Vietnamese adults with pulmonary (n = 235) or meningeal (n = 162) tuberculosis. We compared the pretreatment radiographic appearances of pulmonary tuberculosis and the presentation, response to treatment, and outcome of tuberculous meningitis between the genotypes. Multivariate analysis identified variables independently associated with genotype and outcome. A higher proportion of adults with pulmonary tuberculosis caused by the Euro-American genotype had consolidation on chest X-ray than was the case with disease caused by other genotypes (P = 0.006). Multivariate analysis revealed that meningitis caused by the East Asian/Beijing genotype was independently associated with a shorter duration of illness before presentation and fewer cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytes. Older age, fewer CSF leukocytes, and the presence of hemiplegia (but not strain lineage) were independently associated with death or severe disability, although the East Asian/Beijing genotype was strongly associated with drug-resistant tuberculosis. The genotype of M. tuberculosis influenced the presenting features of pulmonary and meningeal tuberculosis. The association between the East Asian/Beijing lineage and disease progression and CSF leukocyte count suggests the lineage may alter the presentation of meningitis by influencing the intracerebral inflammatory response. In addition, increased drug resistance among bacteria of the East Asian/Beijing lineage might influence the response to treatment. This study suggests the genetic diversity of M. tuberculosis has important clinical consequences.
Some bacteriophages target potentially pathogenic bacteria by exploiting surface-associated virulence factors as receptors. For example, phage have been identified that exhibit specificity for Vi capsule producing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Here we have characterized the Vi-associated E1-typing bacteriophage using a number of molecular approaches. The absolute requirement for Vi capsule expression for infectivity was demonstrated using different Vi-negative S. enterica derivatives. The phage particles were shown to have an icosahedral head and a long noncontractile tail structure. The genome is 45,362 bp in length with defined capsid and tail regions that exhibit significant homology to the S. enterica transducing phage ES18. Mass spectrometry was used to confirm the presence of a number of hypothetical proteins in the Vi phage E1 particle and demonstrate that a number of phage proteins are modified posttranslationally. The genome of the Vi phage E1 is significantly related to other bacteriophages belonging to the same serovar Typhi phage-typing set, and we demonstrate a role for phage DNA modification in determining host specificity.
PLoS Med, 5 (4), pp. e86. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. What are the implications for childhood pneumonia of successfully introducing Hib and pneumococcal vaccines in developing countries?
Pneumonia is an illness, usually caused by infection, in which the lungs become inflamed and congested, reducing oxygen exchange and leading to cough and breathlessness. It affects individuals of all ages but occurs most frequently in children and the elderly. Among children, pneumonia is the most common cause of death worldwide. Historically, in developed countries, deaths from pneumonia have been reduced by improvements in living conditions, air quality, and nutrition. In the developing world today, many deaths from pneumonia are also preventable by immunization or access to simple, effective treatments. However, as we highlight here, there are critical gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology, etiology, and pathophysiology of pneumonia that, if filled, could accelerate the control of pneumonia and reduce early childhood mortality.
Sex Transm Dis, 35 (4), pp. 355-356. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Understanding HIV risks among men who have sex with men in Africa.
JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 56 (4), pp. 299-299. | Read more2008. Plasmodium falciparum Icam-1-based cytoadherence-related signalling in endothelical cells
Trop Med Int Health, 13 (4), pp. 444-447. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Debating the quality and performance of health systems at a global level is not enough, national debates are essential for progress.
Estimates for the year 2000 suggested that there were approximately 21.5 million infections and 200,000 deaths from typhoid fever globally each year, making the disease one of the most serious infectious disease threats to public health on a global scale. However, these estimates were based on little data, especially from Africa. Global prominence and high-profile outbreaks have created the perception in Kenya that typhoid is a common cause of febrile illness. The Widal test is used widely in diagnosis. We have reviewed recent literature, taking the perspective of a healthcare provider, to collate information on the prevalence of typhoid in children particularly, and to explore the role of clinical diagnosis and diagnosis based on a crude, but common, interpretation of the Widal test. Data suggest that typhoid in children in rural Africa is uncommon, perhaps 100 times or 250 times less common than invasive disease because of Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus pneumoniae, respectively. Frequent use of the Widal test may result in many hundreds of over-treatment episodes for every true case treated and may perpetuate the perception that typhoid is common. Countries such as Kenya need better bacterial disease surveillance systems allied to better information for healthcare providers to promote appropriate decision-making on prevention and treatment strategies.
Rab genes encode a subgroup of small GTP-binding proteins within the ras super-family that regulate targeting and fusion of transport vesicles within the secretory and endocytic pathways. These genes are of particular interest in the protozoan phylum Apicomplexa, since a family of Rab GTPases has been described for Plasmodium and most putative secretory pathway proteins in Apicomplexa have conventional predicted signal peptides. Moreover, peptide motifs have now been identified within a large number of secreted Plasmodium proteins that direct their targeting to the red blood cell cytosol, the apicoplast, the food vacuole and Maurer's clefs; in contrast, motifs that direct proteins to secretory organelles (rhoptries, micronemes and microspheres) have yet to be defined. The nature of the vesicle in which these proteins are transported to their destinations remains unknown and morphological structures equivalent to the endoplasmic reticulum and trans-Golgi stacks typical of other eukaryotes cannot be visualised in Apicomplexa. Since Rab GTPases regulate vesicular traffic in all eukaryotes, and this traffic in intracellular parasites could regulate import of nutrient and drugs and export of antigens, host cell modulatory proteins and lactate we compare and contrast here the Rab families of Apicomplexa.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to see if structured treatment interruption (STI) could be supported safely with the use of two cycles of IL-2 (4.5 MIU q12h subcutaneously 5 days) before STI to prolong the time before therapy restarted. METHODS: Subjects were randomly allocated to either A - continuous ART; B - continue for 9 weeks, then STI; restart with the same ART when the CD4 count falls below 200 cells; or C - two cycles of IL-2, 8 weeks apart, while still on ART; at week 9 stop ART and use a new cycle of IL-2 alone whenever the CD4 count falls < 300 cells. Patients were followed until week 105. RESULTS: 86 mostly white middle aged homosexual men with a baseline median CD4 count of 754 cells/ml (range 240-1400) and a nadir CD4 count of 268 cells/ml (range 62-822) enrolled. By 96 weeks there was a 66% probability of having restarted ART in arm B compared with 34% in arm C (p = 0.002; log rank test). New drugs were used in 60% in arm A, 57% in arm B and 45% in arm C. 4 subjects had a dose modification in the first cycle due to toxicity with 2 interrupting. There were 39 SAEs with 21 in arm C. There were no deaths. CONCLUSIONS: The primary aim of the trial was to gain experience in using IL-2. IL-2 delayed restarting drugs and fewer new drugs were used.
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 358 (13), pp. 1400-1401.2008. Corticosteroids for bacterial meningitis - Reply
New England Journal of Medicine, 358 (13), pp. 1400-1401.2008. Dr. Mai and Colleagues reply
BACKGROUND: Vaccination against hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is safe and effective; however, vaccine-induced antibody level wanes over time. Peak vaccine-induced anti-HBs level is directly related to antibody decay, as well as risk of infection and persistent carriage despite vaccination. We investigated the role of host genetic factors in long-term immunity against HBV infection based on peak anti-HBs level and seroconversion to anti-HBc. METHODS: We analyzed 715 SNP across 133 candidate genes in 662 infant vaccinees from The Gambia, assessing peak vaccine-induced anti-HBs level and core antibody (anti-HBc) status, whilst adjusting for covariates. A replication study comprised 43 SNPs in a further 393 individuals. RESULTS: In our initial screen we found variation in IFNG, MAPK8, and IL10RA to affect peak anti-HBs level (GMTratio of < 0.6 or > 1.5 and P < or = 0.001) and lesser associations in other genes. Odds of core-conversion was associated with variation in CD163. A coding change in ITGAL (R719V) with likely functional relevance showed evidence of association with increased peak anti-HBs level in both screens (1st screen: s595_22 GMTratio 1.71, P = 0.013; 2nd screen: s595_22 GMTratio 2.15, P = 0.011). CONCLUSION: This is to our knowledge the largest study to date assessing genetic determinants of HBV vaccine-induced immunity. We report on associations with anti-HBs level, which is directly related to durability of antibody level and predictive of vaccine efficacy long-term. A coding change in ITGAL, which plays a central role in immune cell interaction, was shown to exert beneficial effects on induction of peak antibody level in response to HBV vaccination. Variation in this gene does not appear to have been studied in relation to immune responses to viral or vaccine challenges previously. Our findings suggest that genetic variation in loci other than the HLA region affect immunity induced by HBV vaccination.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 152 (11), pp. 654.2008. Treatment of AIDS in Africa (2)
BACKGROUND: A characteristic of Plasmodium falciparum infections is the gradual acquisition of clinical immunity resulting from repeated exposures to the parasite. While the molecular basis of protection against clinical malaria remains unresolved, its effects on epidemiological patterns are well recognized. Accumulating epidemiological data constitute a valuable resource that must be intensively explored and interpreted as to effectively inform control planning. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: Here we apply a mathematical model to clinical data from eight endemic regions in sub-Saharan Africa. The model provides a quantitative framework within which differences in age distribution of clinical disease are assessed in terms of the parameters underlying transmission. The shorter infectious periods estimated for clinical infections induce a regime of bistability of endemic and malaria-free states in regions of mesoendemic transmission. The two epidemiological states are separated by a threshold that provides a convenient measure for intervention design. Scenarios of eradication and resurgence are simulated. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In regions that support mesoendemic transmission, intervention success depends critically on reducing prevalence below a threshold which separates endemic and malaria-free regimes.
The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in adults and children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria treated with two different dosage regimens of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were characterized. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics in 98 Burmese and Karen patients aged 3 to 55 years were described by a two-compartment disposition model with first-order absorption and interindividual random variability on all parameters and were similar with the three- and four-dose regimens. Children had a lower body weight-normalized oral clearance than adults, resulting in longer terminal elimination half-lives and higher total exposure to piperaquine (area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 63 days [AUC day 0-63]). However, children had lower plasma concentrations in the therapeutically relevant posttreatment prophylactic period (AUC day 3-20) because of smaller body weight-normalized central volumes of distribution and shorter distribution half-lives. Our data lend further support to a simplified once-daily treatment regimen to improve treatment adherence and efficacy and indicate that weight-adjusted piperaquine doses in children may need to be higher than in adults.
Lancet Infect Dis, 8 (3), pp. 208. | Read more2008. Not all that is malaria is falciparum.
The factors that govern the development of tuberculosis disease are incompletely understood. We hypothesized that some strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) are more capable of causing disseminated disease than others and may be associated with polymorphisms in host genes responsible for the innate immune response to infection. We compared the host and bacterial genotype in 187 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and 237 Vietnamese adults with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis. The host genotype of tuberculosis cases was also compared with the genotype of 392 cord blood controls from the same population. Isolates of M. tuberculosis were genotyped by large sequence polymorphisms. The hosts were defined by polymorphisms in genes encoding Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) and Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2). We found a significant protective association between the Euro-American lineage of M. tuberculosis and pulmonary rather than meningeal tuberculosis (Odds ratio (OR) for causing TBM 0.395, 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) 0.193-0.806, P = 0.009), suggesting these strains are less capable of extra-pulmonary dissemination than others in the study population. We also found that individuals with the C allele of TLR-2 T597C allele were more likely to have tuberculosis caused by the East-Asian/Beijing genotype (OR = 1.57 [95% C.I. 1.15-2.15]) than other individuals. The study provides evidence that M. tuberculosis genotype influences clinical disease phenotype and demonstrates, for the first time, a significant interaction between host and bacterial genotypes and the development of tuberculosis.
The contribution of underdosing to antimalarial treatment failure has been underappreciated. Most recommended dosage regimens are based on studies in non-pregnant adult patients. Young children and pregnant women, who bear the heaviest malaria burden, have the highest treatment failure rates. This has been attributed previously to lower immunity, although blood concentrations of many antimalarial drugs are significantly lower in pregnant women and young children than in non-pregnant adults. Nevertheless, there have been no studies of higher dosages. Sub-therapeutic concentrations will certainly contribute to poorer responses to treatment and will fuel the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance. There is an urgent need for studies to optimise antimalarial dosage regimens in infants, young children and pregnant women, both to improve cure rates and to prolong the useful therapeutic lives of antimalarial drugs.
Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol, 26 (1), pp. 37-45. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Host vascular endothelial growth factor is trophic for Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells.
Plasmodium falciparum, the protozoan parasite responsible for severe malaria infection, undergoes a complex life cycle. Infected red blood cells (iRBC) sequester in host cerebral microvessels, which underlies the pathology of cerebral malaria. Using immunohistochemistry on post mortem brain samples, we demonstrated positive staining for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on iRBC. Confocal microscopy of cultured iRBC revealed accumulation of VEGF within the parasitophorous vacuole, expression of host VEGF-receptor 1 and activated VEGF-receptor 2 on the surface of iRBC, but no accumulation of VEGF receptors within the iRBC. Addition of VEGF to parasite cultures had a trophic effect on parasite growth and also partially rescued growth of drug treated parasites. Both these effects were abrogated when parasites were grown in serum-free medium, suggesting a requirement for soluble VEGF receptor. We conclude that P. falciparum iRBC can bind host VEGF-R on the erythrocyte membrane and accumulate host VEGF within the parasitophorous vacuole, which may have a trophic effect on parasite growth.
In Papua, Indonesia, the antimalarial susceptibility of Plasmodium vivax (n = 216) and P. falciparum (n = 277) was assessed using a modified schizont maturation assay for chloroquine, amodiaquine, artesunate, lumefantrine, mefloquine, and piperaquine. The most effective antimalarial against P. vivax and P. falciparum was artesunate, with geometric mean 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) (95% confidence intervals [CI]) of 1.31 nM (1.07 to 1.59) and 0.64 nM (0.53 to 0.79), respectively. In contrast, the geometric mean chloroquine IC50 for P. vivax was 295 nM (227 to 384) compared to only 47.4 nM (42.2 to 53.3) for P. falciparum. Two factors were found to significantly influence the in vitro drug response of P. vivax: the initial stage of the parasite and the duration of the assay. Isolates of P. vivax initially at the trophozoite stage had significantly higher chloroquine IC50s (478 nM [95% CI, 316 to 722]) than those initially at the ring stage (84.7 nM [95% CI, 45.7 to 157]; P < 0.001). Synchronous isolates of P. vivax and P. falciparum which reached the target of 40% schizonts in the control wells within 30 h had significantly higher geometric mean chloroquine IC50s (435 nM [95% CI, 169 to 1,118] and 55.9 nM [95% CI, 48 to 64.9], respectively) than isolates that took more than 30 h (39.9 nM [14.6 to 110.4] and 36.9 nM [31.2 to 43.7]; P < 0.005). The results demonstrate the marked stage-specific activity of chloroquine with P. vivax and suggest that susceptibility to chloroquine may be associated with variable growth rates. These findings have important implications for the phenotypic and downstream genetic characterization of P. vivax.
LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 8 (3), pp. 208-208. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Not all that is malaria is falciparum
BACKGROUND: Systemic antibiotics are routinely prescribed for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). However, there is no consensus regarding the most suitable regimen. In a therapeutic feeding centre in Khartoum, Sudan, a randomised, unblinded, superiority-controlled trial was conducted, comparing once daily intramuscular injection with ceftriaxone for 2 days with oral amoxicillin twice daily for 5 days in children aged 6-59 months with SAM. METHODS: Commencing with the first measured weight gain (WG) following admission, the risk difference and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for children with a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day were calculated over a 14-day period. The recovery rate and case fatality ratio (CFR) between the two groups were also calculated. RESULTS: In an intention-to-treat analysis of 458 children, 53.5% (123/230) in the amoxicillin group and 55.7% (127/228, difference 2.2%, 95% CI -6.9-11.3) in the ceftriaxone group had a WG > or = 10 g/kg/day during a 14-day period. Recovery rate was 70% (161/230) in the amoxicillin group and 74.6% (170/228) in the ceftriaxone group (p=0.27). CFR was 3.9% (9/230) and 3.1% (7/228), respectively (p=0.67). Most deaths occurred within the 1st 2 weeks of admission. CONCLUSION: In the absence of severe complications, either ceftriaxone or amoxicillin is appropriate for malnourished children. However, in ambulatory programmes, especially where there are large numbers of admissions, ceftriaxone should facilitate the work of medical personnel.
BACKGROUND: Dengue is re-emerging throughout the tropical world, causing frequent recurrent epidemics. The initial clinical manifestation of dengue often is confused with other febrile states confounding both clinical management and disease surveillance. Evidence-based triage strategies that identify individuals likely to be in the early stages of dengue illness can direct patient stratification for clinical investigations, management, and virological surveillance. Here we report the identification of algorithms that differentiate dengue from other febrile illnesses in the primary care setting and predict severe disease in adults. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 1,200 patients presenting in the first 72 hours of acute febrile illness were recruited and followed up for up to a 4-week period prospectively; 1,012 of these were recruited from Singapore and 188 from Vietnam. Of these, 364 were dengue RT-PCR positive; 173 had dengue fever, 171 had dengue hemorrhagic fever, and 20 had dengue shock syndrome as final diagnosis. Using a C4.5 decision tree classifier for analysis of all clinical, haematological, and virological data, we obtained a diagnostic algorithm that differentiates dengue from non-dengue febrile illness with an accuracy of 84.7%. The algorithm can be used differently in different disease prevalence to yield clinically useful positive and negative predictive values. Furthermore, an algorithm using platelet count, crossover threshold value of a real-time RT-PCR for dengue viral RNA, and presence of pre-existing anti-dengue IgG antibodies in sequential order identified cases with sensitivity and specificity of 78.2% and 80.2%, respectively, that eventually developed thrombocytopenia of 50,000 platelet/mm(3) or less, a level previously shown to be associated with haemorrhage and shock in adults with dengue fever. CONCLUSION: This study shows a proof-of-concept that decision algorithms using simple clinical and haematological parameters can predict diagnosis and prognosis of dengue disease, a finding that could prove useful in disease management and surveillance.
Previous studies have shown that cost of illness (COI) measures are lower than the conceptually correct willingness-to-pay (WTP) measure of the economic benefits of disease prevention. We compare COI with stated preference estimates of WTP associated with shigellosis in a rural area of China. COI data were collected through face-to-face interviews at 7 and 14 days after culture-confirmed diagnosis. WTP to avoid an episode similar to the one the respondent just experienced was elicited using a sliding-scale payment card. In contrast to previous studies' findings, average COI estimates (2002 PPP adjusted US dollars 28.2) approximate an upper bound estimate of WTP, rather than a lower bound. One explanation for the similarity between COI and WTP is that preventive expenditures and disutility due to pain and suffering are low for shigellosis. WTP to avoid additional cases in children aged 0-5 years is higher than in adults. Also, average COI (2002 PPP adjusted US dollars 28.4) for children is similar to a lower bound estimate of WTP (2002 PPP adjusted US dollars 16.4) and lies within the WTP range. Because the monetary loss associated with another episode in children is small, caregivers' higher WTP may be attributable to the disutility of illness due to the children's pain and suffering. These findings suggest that for some diseases, COI may approximate more comprehensive measures of economic benefits.
BACKGROUND: The case-fatality for intentional self-poisoning in the rural developing world is 10-50-fold higher than that in industrialised countries, mostly because of the use of highly toxic pesticides and plants. We therefore aimed to assess whether routine treatment with multiple-dose activated charcoal, to interrupt enterovascular or enterohepatic circulations, offers benefit compared with no charcoal in such an environment. METHODS: We did an open-label, parallel group, randomised, controlled trial of six 50 g doses of activated charcoal at 4-h intervals versus no charcoal versus one 50 g dose of activated charcoal in three Sri Lankan hospitals. 4632 patients were randomised to receive no charcoal (n=1554), one dose of charcoal (n=1545), or six doses of charcoal (n=1533); outcomes were available for 4629 patients. 2338 (51%) individuals had ingested pesticides, whereas 1647 (36%) had ingested yellow oleander (Thevetia peruviana) seeds. Mortality was the primary outcome measure. Analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN02920054. FINDINGS: Mortality did not differ between the groups. 97 (6.3%) of 1531 participants in the multiple-dose group died, compared with 105 (6.8%) of 1554 in the no charcoal group (adjusted odds ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.70-1.33). No differences were noted for patients who took particular poisons, were severely ill on admission, or who presented early. INTERPRETATION: We cannot recommend the routine use of multiple-dose activated charcoal in rural Asia Pacific; although further studies of early charcoal administration might be useful, effective affordable treatments are urgently needed.
There is growing epidemiological and molecular evidence that ABO blood group affects host susceptibility to severe Plasmodium falciparum infection. The high frequency of common ABO alleles means that even modest differences in susceptibility could have a significant impact on the health of people living in malaria endemic regions. We performed an association study, the first to utilize key molecular genetic variation underlying the ABO system, genotyping >9000 individuals across three African populations. Using population- and family-based tests, we demonstrated that alleles producing functional ABO enzymes are associated with greater risk of severe malaria phenotypes (particularly malarial anemia) in comparison with the frameshift deletion underlying blood group O: case-control allelic odds ratio (OR), 1.2; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-1.32; P = 0.0003; family-studies allelic OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.08-1.32; P = 0.001; pooled across all studies allelic OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.11-1.26; P = 2 x 10(-7). We found suggestive evidence of a parent-of-origin effect at the ABO locus by analyzing the family trios. Non-O haplotypes inherited from mothers, but not fathers, are significantly associated with severe malaria (likelihood ratio test of Weinberg, P = 0.046). Finally, we used HapMap data to demonstrate a region of low F(ST) (-0.001) between the three main HapMap population groups across the ABO locus, an outlier in the empirical distribution of F(ST) across chromosome 9 (approximately 99.5-99.9th centile). This low F(ST) region may be a signal of long-standing balancing selection at the ABO locus, caused by multiple infectious pathogens including P. falciparum.
BACKGROUND: Birth asphyxia kills 0.7 to 1.6 million newborns a year globally with 99% of deaths in developing countries. Effective newborn resuscitation could reduce this burden of disease but the training of health-care providers in low income settings is often outdated. Our aim was to determine if a simple one day newborn resuscitation training (NRT) alters health worker resuscitation practices in a public hospital setting in Kenya. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted a randomised, controlled trial with health workers receiving early training with NRT (n = 28) or late training (the control group, n = 55). The training was adapted locally from the approach of the UK Resuscitation Council. The primary outcome was the proportion of appropriate initial resuscitation steps with the frequency of inappropriate practices as a secondary outcome. Data were collected on 97 and 115 resuscitation episodes over 7 weeks after early training in the intervention and control groups respectively. Trained providers demonstrated a higher proportion of adequate initial resuscitation steps compared to the control group (trained 66% vs control 27%; risk ratio 2.45, [95% CI 1.75-3.42], p<0.001, adjusted for clustering). In addition, there was a statistically significant reduction in the frequency of inappropriate and potentially harmful practices per resuscitation in the trained group (trained 0.53 vs control 0.92; mean difference 0.40, [95% CI 0.13-0.66], p = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Implementation of a simple, one day newborn resuscitation training can be followed immediately by significant improvement in health workers' practices. However, evidence of the effects on long term performance or clinical outcomes can only be established by larger cluster randomised trials. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN92218092.
Although vaccination has almost eliminated measles in parts of the world, the disease remains a major killer in some high birth rate countries of the Sahel. On the basis of measles dynamics for industrialized countries, high birth rate regions should experience regular annual epidemics. Here, however, we show that measles epidemics in Niger are highly episodic, particularly in the capital Niamey. Models demonstrate that this variability arises from powerful seasonality in transmission-generating high amplitude epidemics-within the chaotic domain of deterministic dynamics. In practice, this leads to frequent stochastic fadeouts, interspersed with irregular, large epidemics. A metapopulation model illustrates how increased vaccine coverage, but still below the local elimination threshold, could lead to increasingly variable major outbreaks in highly seasonally forced contexts. Such erratic dynamics emphasize the importance both of control strategies that address build-up of susceptible individuals and efforts to mitigate the impact of large outbreaks when they occur.
INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH, 47 (3), pp. 585-590. | Citations: 47 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2008. Prevalence and detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals: A mini review
BACKGROUND: Kenya recently changed its antimalarial drug policy to a specific artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), artemether-lumefantrine (AL). New national guidelines on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention were developed and disseminated to health workers together with in-service training. METHODS: Between January and March 2007, 36 in-depth interviews were conducted in five rural districts with health workers who attended in-service training and were non-adherent to the new guidelines. A further 20 interviews were undertaken with training facilitators and members of District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) to explore reasons underlying health workers' non-adherence. RESULTS: Health workers generally perceived AL as being tolerable and efficacious as compared to amodiaquine and sulphadoxine-pyremethamine. However, a number of key reasons for non-adherence were identified. Insufficient supply of AL was a major issue and hence fears of stock outs and concern about AL costs was an impediment to AL prescription. Training messages that contradicted the recommended guidelines also led to health worker non-adherence, compounded by a lack of follow-up supervision. In addition, the availability of non-recommended antimalarials such as amodiaquine caused prescription confusion. Some health workers and DHMT members maintained that shortage of staff had resulted in increased patient caseload affecting the delivery of the desirable quality of care and adherence to guidelines. CONCLUSION: The introduction of free efficacious ACTs in the public health sector in Kenya and other countries has major potential public health benefits for Africa. These may not be realized if provider prescription practices do not conform to the recommended treatment guidelines. It is essential that high quality training, drug supply and supervision work synergistically to ensure appropriate case management.
A bioanalytical method for the analysis of piperaquine in human plasma using off-line solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. It was found that a mobile phase with high pH (i.e. 10) led to better sensitivity than mobile phase combinations with low pH (i.e. 2.5-4.5) despite the use of positive electrospray and a basic analyte. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as R.S.D., were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations (4.5, 20, 400 and 500ng/mL) and below 10% at the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) (1.5ng/mL). The calibration range was 1.5-500ng/mL with a limit of detection (LOD) at 0.38ng/mL. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. Matrix effects were thoroughly evaluated both graphically and quantitatively. Matrix effects originating from the sample clean-up (i.e. solid-phase extraction) procedure rather than the plasma background were responsible for the ion suppression seen in this study. Salts remaining from the buffers used in the solid-phase extraction suppressed the signals for both piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard. This had no effect on the quantification of piperaquine. Triethylamine residues remaining after evaporation of the solid-phase extraction eluate were found to suppress the signals for piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard differently. It was found that this could lead to an underestimation of the true concentration with 50% despite the use of a deuterated internal standard.
The high incidence of rickettsial diseases in Southeast Asia necessitates rapid and accurate diagnostic tools for a broad range of rickettsial agents, including Orientia tsutsugamushi (scrub typhus) and Rickettsia typhi (murine typhus), but also spotted fever group infections, which are increasingly reported. We present an SYBR-Green-based, real-time multiplex PCR assay for rapid identification and differentiation of scrub typhus group, typhus group and spotted fever group rickettsiae using 47kDa, gltA and ompB gene targets. Detection limits for amplification of these genes in reference strains ranged from 24 copies/microl, 5 copies/microl and 1 copy/microl in multiplex and 2 copies/microl, 1 copy/microl and 1 copy/microl in single template format, respectively. Differentiation by melt-curve analysis led to distinct melt temperatures for each group-specific amplicon. The assay was subjected to 54 samples, of which all cell-culture and 75% of characterised clinical buffy coat samples were correctly identified. Real-time PCR has the advantage of reliably detecting and differentiating rickettsial and orientia cell-culture isolates in a single-template assay, compared with the more time-consuming and laborious immunofluorescence assay. However, further optimisation and validation on samples taken directly from patients to assess its clinical diagnostic utility is required.
Melioidosis is a severe infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. The timely implementation of effective antimicrobial treatment requires rapid diagnosis. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) targeting the TTS1 gene cluster was developed for the detection of B. pseudomallei. LAMP was sensitive and specific for the laboratory detection of this organism. The lower limit of detection was 38 genomic copies per reaction, and LAMP was positive for 10 clinical B. pseudomallei isolates but negative for 5 B. thailandensis and 5 B. mallei isolates. A clinical evaluation was conducted in northeast Thailand to compare LAMP to an established real-time PCR assay targeting the same TTS1 gene cluster. A total of 846 samples were obtained from 383 patients with suspected melioidosis, 77 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with culture-confirmed melioidosis. Of these 77 patients, a positive result was obtained from one or more specimens by PCR in 26 cases (sensitivity, 34%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23.4 to 45.4%) and by LAMP in 34 cases (sensitivity, 44%; 95% CI, 32.8 to 55.9%) (P = 0.02). All samples from 306 patients that were culture negative for B. pseudomallei were negative by PCR (specificity, 100%; 95% CI, 98.8 to 100%), but 5 of 306 patients (1.6%) were positive by LAMP (specificity, 98.4%; 95% CI, 96.2 to 99.5%) (P = 0.03). The diagnostic accuracies of PCR and LAMP were 86.7% (95% CI, 82.9 to 89.9%) and 87.5% (95% CI, 83.7 to 90.6%), respectively (P = 0.47). Both assays were very insensitive when applied to blood samples; PCR and LAMP were positive for 0 and 1 of 44 positive blood cultures, respectively. The PCR and LAMP assays evaluated here are not sufficiently sensitive to replace culture in our clinical setting.
BACKGROUND: Since 1998 the serious public health problem in South East Asia of counterfeit artesunate, containing no or subtherapeutic amounts of the active antimalarial ingredient, has led to deaths from untreated malaria, reduced confidence in this vital drug, large economic losses for the legitimate manufacturers, and concerns that artemisinin resistance might be engendered. METHODS AND FINDINGS: With evidence of a deteriorating situation, a group of police, criminal analysts, chemists, palynologists, and health workers collaborated to determine the source of these counterfeits under the auspices of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Western Pacific World Health Organization Regional Office. A total of 391 samples of genuine and counterfeit artesunate collected in Vietnam (75), Cambodia (48), Lao PDR (115), Myanmar (Burma) (137) and the Thai/Myanmar border (16), were available for analysis. Sixteen different fake hologram types were identified. High-performance liquid chromatography and/or mass spectrometry confirmed that all specimens thought to be counterfeit (195/391, 49.9%) on the basis of packaging contained no or small quantities of artesunate (up to 12 mg per tablet as opposed to approximately 50 mg per genuine tablet). Chemical analysis demonstrated a wide diversity of wrong active ingredients, including banned pharmaceuticals, such as metamizole, and safrole, a carcinogen, and raw material for manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('ecstasy'). Evidence from chemical, mineralogical, biological, and packaging analysis suggested that at least some of the counterfeits were manufactured in southeast People's Republic of China. This evidence prompted the Chinese Government to act quickly against the criminal traders with arrests and seizures. CONCLUSIONS: An international multi-disciplinary group obtained evidence that some of the counterfeit artesunate was manufactured in China, and this prompted a criminal investigation. International cross-disciplinary collaborations may be appropriate in the investigation of other serious counterfeit medicine public health problems elsewhere, but strengthening of international collaborations and forensic and drug regulatory authority capacity will be required.
Antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei were detected in 16% of children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This organism was isolated from 30% of rice paddies in the surrounding vicinity. Despite the lack of reported indigenous cases, melioidosis is likely to occur in Cambodia.
BACKGROUND: The efficient allocation of financial resources for malaria control using appropriate combinations of interventions requires accurate information on the geographic distribution of malaria risk. An evidence-based description of the global range of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and its endemicity has not been assembled in almost 40 y. This paper aims to define the global geographic distribution of P. falciparum malaria in 2007 and to provide a preliminary description of its transmission intensity within this range. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The global spatial distribution of P. falciparum malaria was generated using nationally reported case-incidence data, medical intelligence, and biological rules of transmission exclusion, using temperature and aridity limits informed by the bionomics of dominant Anopheles vector species. A total of 4,278 spatially unique cross-sectional survey estimates of P. falciparum parasite rates were assembled. Extractions from a population surface showed that 2.37 billion people lived in areas at any risk of P. falciparum transmission in 2007. Globally, almost 1 billion people lived under unstable, or extremely low, malaria risk. Almost all P. falciparum parasite rates above 50% were reported in Africa in a latitude band consistent with the distribution of Anopheles gambiae s.s. Conditions of low parasite prevalence were also common in Africa, however. Outside of Africa, P. falciparum malaria prevalence is largely hypoendemic (less than 10%), with the median below 5% in the areas surveyed. CONCLUSIONS: This new map is a plausible representation of the current extent of P. falciparum risk and the most contemporary summary of the population at risk of P. falciparum malaria within these limits. For 1 billion people at risk of unstable malaria transmission, elimination is epidemiologically feasible, and large areas of Africa are more amenable to control than appreciated previously. The release of this information in the public domain will help focus future resources for P. falciparum malaria control and elimination.
Reduced microcirculatory flow is a fundamental feature in the pathophysiology of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria and sequestration of red blood cells containing mature parasites is considered a central cause of this. Direct microscopic observation of the microcirculation in the living patient with severe malaria has enabled us to quantify this phenomenon and link it to severity of disease, supporting the findings of pathology studies. Moreover, the sequestered parasite biomass, calculated from parasite derived plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, strongly correlates with disease severity. Artesunate prevents sequestration by killing ring form parasites, aborting their maturation, which can explain the mortality benefit of this drug compared to quinine in the treatment of adult severe malaria. Levamisole is currently tried as adjunctive treatment in severe malaria targeting sequestration.
Immunity against the bovine intracellular protozoan parasite Theileria parva has been shown to be mediated by CD8 T cells. Six antigens targeted by CD8 T cells from T. parva-immune cattle of different major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genotypes have been identified, raising the prospect of developing a subunit vaccine. To facilitate further dissection of the specificity of protective CD8 T-cell responses and to assist in the assessment of responses to vaccination, we set out to identify the epitopes recognized in these T. parva antigens and their MHC restriction elements. Nine epitopes in six T. parva antigens, together with their respective MHC restriction elements, were successfully identified. Five of the cytotoxic-T-lymphocyte epitopes were found to be restricted by products of previously described alleles, and four were restricted by four novel restriction elements. Analyses of CD8 T-cell responses to five of the epitopes in groups of cattle carrying the defined restriction elements and immunized with live parasites demonstrated that, with one exception, the epitopes were consistently recognized by animals of the respective genotypes. The analysis of responses was extended to animals immunized with multiple antigens delivered in separate vaccine constructs. Specific CD8 T-cell responses were detected in 19 of 24 immunized cattle. All responder cattle mounted responses specific for antigens for which they carried an identified restriction element. By contrast, only 8 of 19 responder cattle displayed a response to antigens for which they did not carry an identified restriction element. These data demonstrate that the identified antigens are inherently dominant in animals with the corresponding MHC genotypes.
BACKGROUND TO THE DEBATE: Demographic surveillance--the process of monitoring births, deaths, causes of deaths, and migration in a population over time--is one of the cornerstones of public health research, particularly in investigating and tackling health disparities. An international network of demographic surveillance systems (DSS) now operates, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Thirty-eight DSS sites are coordinated by the International Network for the Continuous Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH). In this debate, Daniel Chandramohan and colleagues argue that DSS data in the INDEPTH database should be made available to all researchers worldwide, not just to those within the INDEPTH Network. Basia Zaba and colleagues argue that the major obstacles to DSS sites sharing data are technical, managerial, and financial rather than proprietorial concerns about analysis and publication. This debate is further discussed in this month's Editorial.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate barriers preventing pregnant women from using insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and intermittent presumptive treatment (IPT) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) 5 years after the launch of the national malaria strategy promoting these measures in Kenya. METHODS: All women aged 15-49 years were interviewed during a community survey in four districts between December 2006 and January 2007. Women pregnant in the last 12 months were asked about their age, parity, education, use of nets, ITN, antenatal care (ANC) services and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) (overall and for IPT) during pregnancy. Homestead assets were recorded and used to develop a wealth index. Travel time to ANC clinics was computed using a geographic information system algorithm. Predictors of net and IPT use were defined using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Overall 68% of pregnant women used a net; 52% used an ITN; 84% attended an ANC clinic at least once and 74% at least twice. Fifty-three percent of women took at least one dose of IPT-SP, however only 22% took two or more doses. Women from the least poor homesteads (OR = 2.53, 1.36-4.68) and those who used IPT services (OR = 1.73, 1.24-2.42) were more likely to sleep under any net. Women who used IPT were more likely to use ITNs (OR = 1.35, 1.03-1.77), while those who lived more than an hour from an ANC clinic were less likely (OR = 0.61, 0.46-0.81) to use ITN. Women with formal education (1.47, 1.01-2.17) and those who used ITN (OR: 1.68, 1.20-2.36) were more likely to have received at least one dose of IPT-SP. CONCLUSION: Although the use of ITN had increased 10-fold and the use of IPT fourfold since last measured in 2001, coverage remains low. Provider practices in the delivery of protective measures against malaria must change, supported by community awareness campaigns on the importance of mothers' use of IPT.
BACKGROUND: Helminth infection is common in malaria endemic areas, and an interaction between the two would be of considerable public health importance. Animal models suggest that helminth infections may increase susceptibility to malaria, but epidemiological data has been limited and contradictory. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a vaccine trial, we studied 387 one- to six-year-old children for the effect of helminth infections on febrile Plasmodium falciparum malaria episodes. Gastrointestinal helminth infection and eosinophilia were prevalent (25% and 50% respectively), but did not influence susceptibility to malaria. Hazard ratios were 1 for gastrointestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.6-1.6) and 0.85 and 0.85 for mild and marked eosinophilia, respectively (95% CI 0.56-1.76 and 0.69-1.96). Incident rate ratios for multiple episodes were 0.83 for gastro-intestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.5-1.33) and 0.86 and 0.98 for mild and marked eosinophilia (95% CI 0.5-1.4 and 0.6-1.5). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: There was no evidence that infection with gastrointestinal helminths or urinary schistosomiasis increased susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this study. Larger studies including populations with a greater prevalence of helminth infection should be undertaken.
BACKGROUND: Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) is the most common neurological emergency in childhood and is often associated with fever. In sub-Saharan Africa, the high incidence of febrile illnesses might influence the incidence and outcome of CSE. We aimed to provide data on the incidence, causes, and outcomes of childhood CSE in this region. METHODS: Between March, 2006, and June, 2006, we studied all children who had been admitted with CSE to a Kenyan rural district hospital in 2002 and 2003. Confirmed CSE had been observed directly; probable CSE was inferred from convulsions on arrival, requirement for phenobarbital or phenytoin, or coma with a recent history of seizures. We estimated the incidence with linked demographic surveillance, and risk factors for death and neurological sequelae were analysed by multivariable analysis. FINDINGS: Of 388 episodes of CSE, 155 (40%) were confirmed CSE and 274 (71%) were caused by an infection. The incidence of confirmed CSE was 35 (95% CI 27-46) per 100,000 children per year overall, and was 52 (21-107) and 85 (62-114) per 100,000 per year in children aged 1-11 months and 12-59 months, respectively. The incidence of all CSE was 268 (188-371) and 227 (189-272) per 100,000 per year in these age-groups. 59 (15%) children died in hospital, 81 (21%) died during long-term follow-up, and 46 (12%) developed neurological sequelae. Mortality of children with confirmed CSE while in hospital was associated with bacterial meningitis (adjusted relative risk [RR]=2.6; 95% CI 1.4-4.9) and focal onset seizures (adjusted RR=2.4; 1.1-5.4), whereas neurological sequelae were associated with hypoglycaemia (adjusted RR=3.5; 1.8-7.1) and age less than 12 months (adjusted RR=2.5; 1.2-5.1). INTERPRETATION: Prevention of infections and appropriate early management of seizures might reduce the incidence and improve the outcome of CSE in children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (2), pp. 208-209. | Show Abstract2008. Consensus guidelines for dosing of amoxicillin-clavulanate in melioidosis.
Melioidosis is an infectious disease endemic to northern Australia and Southeast Asia. In response to clinical confusion regarding the appropriate dose of amoxicillin-clavulanate, we have developed guidelines for the appropriate dosing of this second-line agent. For eradication therapy for melioidosis, we recommend 20/5 mg/kg orally, three times daily.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 78 (2), pp. 208-209. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Short report: Consensus guidelines for dosing of amoxicillin-clavulanate in melioidosis
Melioidosis is an infectious disease endemic to northern Australia and Southeast Asia. In response to clinical confusion regarding the appropriate dose of amoxicillin-clavulanate, we have developed guidelines for the appropriate dosing of this second-line agent. For eradication therapy for melioidosis, we recommend 20/5 mg/kg orally, three times daily. Copyright © 2008 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
BACKGROUND: Cholera remains an important public health problem. Yet there are few reliable population-based estimates of laboratory-confirmed cholera incidence in endemic areas around the world. METHODS: We established treatment facility-based cholera surveillance in three sites in Jakarta (Indonesia), Kolkata (India), and Beira (Mozambique). The annual incidence of cholera was estimated using the population census as the denominator and the age-specific number of cholera cases among the study cohort as the numerator. FINDINGS: The lowest overall rate was found in Jakarta, where the estimated incidence was 0.5/1000 population/year. The incidence was three times higher in Kolkata (1.6/1000/year) and eight times higher in Beira (4.0/1000/year). In all study sites, the greatest burden was in children under 5 years of age. CONCLUSION: There are considerable differences in cholera incidence across these endemic areas but in all sites, children are the most affected. The study site in Africa had the highest cholera incidence consistent with a growing impression of the large cholera burden in Africa. Burden estimates are useful when considering where and among whom interventions such as vaccination would be most needed.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 8 (1), pp. 105-110. | Read more2008. Detection of H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus from Mosquitoes Collected in an Infected Poultry Farm in Thailand
BACKGROUND: Progression of liver-related disease is accelerated in individuals coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Because the life expectancy of HIV-infected drug users (DUs) improved after the widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HCV-related death is likely to become more important. To disentangle the effects of HCV and HIV, we compared the overall and cause-specific mortality between HCV/HIV-infected DUs and HCV-infected DUs and DUs without HCV or HIV, followed up between 1985 and 2006. METHODS: A total of 1295 participants in the Amsterdam Cohort Study were included. Cause-specific hazard ratios (CHRs) were estimated for the eras before (<1997) and since HAART (> or =1997) within and among serologic groups. RESULTS: The risk of dying decreased for most causes of death > or =1997; this decrease was not the same for the different serologic groups. Among HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs, the risk of hepatitis/liver-related death did not substantially change over time (CHR = 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.21 to 3.58), whereas the risk of AIDS-related mortality decreased. Compared with DUs solely infected with HCV, HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs were at increased risk of dying from hepatitis/liver-related disease (CHR = 7.15, 95% CI: 1.98 to 25.8), other natural causes (CHR = 3.09, 95% CI: 1.41 to 6.79), and nonnatural causes (CHR = 2.30, 95% CI: 1.07 to 4.95) in the HAART era. CONCLUSIONS: HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs remain at increased risk of dying from hepatitis/liver-related death in the HAART era compared with HCV-monoinfected DUs. This risk did not change in HCV/HIV-coinfected DUs after HAART was introduced, suggesting that in the HAART era, HIV continues to accelerate HCV disease progression. Efforts should be made to establish effective treatment for HCV infection in HCV/HIV-coinfected individuals.
BACKGROUND: Following the recognition that morbidity and mortality due to malaria had dramatically increased in the last three decades, in 2002 the government of Zambia reviewed its efforts to prevent and treat malaria. Convincing evidence of the failing efficacy of chloroquine resulted in the initiation of a process that eventually led to the development and implementation of a new national drug policy based on artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). METHODS: All published and unpublished documented evidence dealing with the antimalarial drug policy change was reviewed. These data were supplemented by the authors' observations of the policy change process. The information has been structured to capture the timing of events, the challenges encountered, and the resolutions reached in order to achieve implementation of the new treatment policy. RESULTS: A decision was made to change national drug policy to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in the first quarter of 2002, with a formal announcement made in October 2002. During this period, efforts were undertaken to identify funding for the procurement of AL and to develop new malaria treatment guidelines, training materials, and plans for implementation of the policy. In order to avoid a delay in implementation, the policy change decision required a formal adoption within existing legislation. Starting with donated drug, a phased deployment of AL began in January 2003 with initial use in seven districts followed by scaling up to 28 districts in the second half of 2003 and then to all 72 districts countrywide in early 2004. CONCLUSION: Drug policy changes are not without difficulties and demand a sustained international financing strategy for them to succeed. The Zambian experience demonstrates the need for a harmonized national consensus among many stakeholders and a political commitment to ensure that new policies are translated into practice quickly. To guarantee effective policies requires more effort and recognition that this becomes a health system and not a drug issue. This case study attempts to document the successful experience of change to ACT in Zambia and provides a realistic overview of some of the painful experiences and important lessons learnt.
OBJECTIVE: Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria seem cost effective in standard analyses, but these do not take account of clinicians' response to test results. This study tested the impact of clinicians' response to rapid diagnostic test or microscopy results on the costs and benefits of testing at different levels of malaria transmission and in different age groups. DESIGN: Cost-benefit analysis using a decision tree model and clinical data on the effectiveness of diagnostic tests for malaria, their costs, and clinicians' response to test results. SETTING: Tanzania. METHODS: Data were obtained from a clinical trial of 2425 patients carried out in three settings of varying transmission. RESULTS: At moderate and low levels of malaria transmission, rapid diagnostic tests were more cost beneficial than microscopy, and both more so than presumptive treatment, but only where response was consistent with test results. At the levels of prescription of antimalarial drugs to patients with negative tests that have been found in observational studies and trials, neither test methodis likely to be cost beneficial, incurring costs 10-250% higher, depending on transmission rate, than would have been the case with fully consistent responses to all test results. Microscopy becomes more cost beneficial than rapid diagnostic tests when its sensitivity under operational conditions approaches that of rapid diagnostic tests. CONCLUSIONS: Improving diagnostic methods, including rapid diagnostic tests, can reduce costs and enhance the benefits of effective antimalarial drugs, but only if the consistency of response to test results is also improved. Investing in methods to improve rational response to tests is essential. Economic evaluations of diagnostic tests should take into account whether clinicians' response is consistent with test results.
BACKGROUND: Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is common among patients with sepsis. Leptospirosis is an important cause of sepsis in tropical areas, and pulmonary hemorrhage associated with thrombocytopenia is the major cause of death, but the coagulopathy in severe leptospirosis has not been further characterized. The aim of this study was to evaluate coagulation factors and the presence of DIC in patients with leptospirosis in northeast Thailand. METHODS: We measured plasma concentrations of fibrinogen, D-dimer, thrombin-antithrombin III complexes, and prothrombin fragment 1,2 and evaluated the DIC score in 79 patients with culture-confirmed and/or serologically confirmed leptospirosis and in 33 healthy Thai control subjects. RESULTS: The median concentrations of fibrinogen, D-dimer, thrombin-antithrombin III complexes, and prothrombin fragment 1,2 were significantly elevated in a cohort of 79 patients with leptospirosis, compared with healthy control subjects (P<or=.001 for all tests). Patients with leptospirosis had significantly longer prothrombin times, longer activated partial thromboplastin times, and lower platelet counts. Thrombocytopenia was present in 38% of case patients and occurred more frequently among patients with culture-negative leptospirosis; in multivariate analysis, it was the only hemostasis factor independently associated with clinical bleeding. Patients who were culture-negative for Leptospira species had higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II and Sepsis-Related Organ Failure Assessment scores and more bleeding complications. Nearly one-half of patients with leptospirosis had overt DIC as defined by an International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis DIC score. CONCLUSIONS: Activation of the coagulation system is an important feature of leptospirosis. Thrombocytopenia is an indicator of severe disease and risk of bleeding.
Clin Infect Dis, 46 (2), pp. 172-173. | Citations: 170 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Plasmodium knowlesi: the fifth human malaria parasite.
BACKGROUND: Malaria is a very important cause of anaemia in tropical countries. Anaemia is assessed either by measurement of the haematocrit or the haemoglobin concentration. For comparisons across studies, it is often necessary to derive one measure from the other. METHODS: Data on patients with slide-confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria were pooled from 85 antimalarial drug trials conducted in 25 different countries, to assess the haemoglobin/haematocrit relationship at different time points in malaria. Using a linear random effects model, a conversion equation for haematocrit was derived based on 3,254 measurements from various time points (ranging from day 0 to day 63) from 1,810 patients with simultaneous measurements of both parameters. Haemoglobin was also estimated from haematocrit with the commonly used threefold conversion. RESULTS: A good fit was obtained using Haematocrit = 5.62 + 2.60 * Haemoglobin. On average, haematocrit/3 levels were slightly higher than haemoglobin measurements with a mean difference (+/- SD) of -0.69 (+/- 1.3) for children under the age of 5 (n = 1,440 measurements from 449 patients). CONCLUSION: Based on this large data set, an accurate and robust conversion factor both in acute malaria and in convalescence was obtained. The commonly used threefold conversion is also valid.
Recent studies delineating bacterial causes of fever in rural Asia indicate a major role for several previously under-recognized pathogens, including Rickettsia and Leptospira. The use of blood culture for the first time to investigate patients with febrile illness in rural Asia has also revealed some unexpected findings, e.g. Staphylococcus aureus is the major cause of bacteraemia in children aged <1 year in Laos. The spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens such as MRSA into rural Asia has already occurred and requires monitoring. These factors have major implications for empirical therapy of fever. Initiatives are urgently needed to strengthen the infrastructure of microbiology in rural Asia.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (1), pp. 40-44. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. A major trichinellosis outbreak suggesting a high endemicity of Trichinella infection in northern Laos.
Trichinellosis is an important and under-recognized food-borne zoonosis in Southeast Asia. After 30 years of no reports, a small outbreak was described in Central Lao PDR (Laos) in 2003. Here we report a large outbreak of at least 650 estimated patients in Udomxay (northern Laos) in June 2005. Trichinella ELISA assays on serum from 133 patients and Western blot assays on 16 patients were positive in 67.6% and 81.2%, respectively. No deaths were recorded. Consumption of uncooked or fermented pork at funeral and wedding ceremonies was the main source of infection. Larvae of Trichinella spiralis were found in 1 of 11 local pigs not involved in this outbreak. The results suggest that trichinellosis may be an under-recognized but important endemic disease in Laos and reinforces the need to urgently implement veterinary and educational programs.
BACKGROUND: Human infections with non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae have been described from Laos. Elsewhere, non cholera-toxin producing, non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae have been described from blood cultures and ascitic fluid, although they are exceedingly rare isolates. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a farmer who died with Vibrio cholerae O21 bacteremia and peritonitis in Vientiane, Laos, after eating partially cooked apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata) and mussels (Ligumia species). The cultured V. cholerae were non-motile. PCR detected ompW and toxR gene regions but not the ctxA, ompU, omp K and TCP gene regions. Although the organisms lacked flagellae on scanning electron microscopy, they possessed the Vibrio flagellin flaA gene. CONCLUSION: Severe bacteremic non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae is reported from Laos. The organisms were unusual in being non-motile. They possessed the Vibrio flagellin flaA gene. Further research to determine the reasons for the non-motility and virulence is required.
We evaluated 2 commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the diagnosis of dengue infection; one a serologic test for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies, the other based on detection of dengue virus nonstructural 1 (NS1) antigen. Using gold standard reference serology on paired sera, 41% (38/92 patients) were dengue confirmed, with 4 (11%) acute primary and 33 (87%) acute secondary infections (1 was of indeterminate status). Sensitivity of the NS1-ELISA was 63% (95% confidence interval [CI], 53-73) on admission samples but was much less sensitive (5%; 95% CI, 1-10) on convalescent samples. The IgM capture ELISA had a lower but statistically equivalent sensitivity compared with the NS1-ELISA for admission samples (45%; 95% CI, 35-55) but was more sensitive on convalescent samples (58%; 95% CI, 48-68). The results of the NS1 and IgM capture ELISAs were combined using a logical OR operator, increasing the sensitivity for admission samples (79%; 95% CI, 71-87), convalescent samples (63%; 95% CI, 53-73), and all samples (71%; 95% CI, 65-78).
In the absence of a parenteral drug, oral oseltamivir is currently recommended by the WHO for treating H5N1 influenza. Whether oseltamivir absorption is adequate in severe influenza is unknown. We measured the steady state, plasma concentrations of nasogastrically administered oseltamivir 150 mg bid and its active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate (OC), in three, mechanically ventilated patients with severe H5N1 (male, 30 yrs; pregnant female, 22 yrs) and severe H3N2 (female, 76 yrs). Treatments were started 6, 7 and 8 days after illness onset, respectively. Both females were sampled while on continuous venovenous haemofiltration. Admission and follow up specimens (trachea, nose, throat, rectum, blood) were tested for RNA viral load by reverse transcriptase PCR. In vitro virus susceptibility to OC was measured by a neuraminidase inhibition assay. Admission creatinine clearances were 66 (male, H5N1), 82 (female, H5N1) and 6 (H3N2) ml/min. Corresponding AUC(0-12) values (5932, 10,951 and 34,670 ng.h/ml) and trough OC concentrations (376, 575 and 2730 ng/ml) were higher than previously reported in healthy volunteers; the latter exceeded 545 to 3956 fold the H5N1 IC(50) (0.69 ng/ml) isolated from the H5N1 infected female. Two patients with follow-up respiratory specimens cleared their viruses after 5 (H5N1 male) and 5 (H3N2 female) days of oseltamivir. Both female patients died of respiratory failure; the male survived. 150 mg bid of oseltamivir was well absorbed and converted extensively to OC. Virus was cleared in two patients but two patients died, suggesting viral efficacy but poor clinical efficacy.
BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in East Asia. Recurrent melioidosis occurs in around 10% of patients following treatment either because of relapse with the same strain or re-infection with a new strain of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Distinguishing between the two is important but requires bacterial genotyping. The aim of this study was to develop a simple scoring system to distinguish re-infection from relapse. METHODS: In a prospective study of 2,804 consecutive adult patients with melioidosis presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, NE Thailand, between 1986 and 2005, there were 141 patients with recurrent melioidosis with paired strains available for genotyping. Of these, 92 patients had relapse and 49 patients had re-infection. Variables associated with relapse or re-infection were identified by multivariable logistic regression and used to develop a predictive model. Performance of the scoring system was quantified with respect to discrimination (area under receiver operating characteristic curves, AUC) and categorization (graphically). Bootstrap resampling was used to internally validate the predictors and adjust for over-optimism. FINDINGS: Duration of oral antimicrobial treatment, interval between the primary episode and recurrence, season, and renal function at recurrence were independent predictors of relapse or re-infection. A score of < 5 correctly identified relapse in 76 of 89 patients (85%), whereas a score > or = 5 correctly identified re-infection in 36 of 52 patients (69%). The scoring index had good discriminative power, with a bootstrap bias-corrected AUC of 0.80 (95%CI: 0.73-0.87). CONCLUSIONS: A simple scoring index to predict the cause of recurrent melioidosis has been developed to provide important bedside information where rapid bacterial genotyping is unavailable.
BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, which is caused by infection with the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of sepsis in South-East Asia with a mortality of up to 40%. Knowledge of the involvement of coagulation and fibrinolysis in the pathogenesis of melioidosis is highly limited. OBJECTIVE: To define the involvement of the coagulation and fibrinolytic systems in patients with severe melioidosis. METHODS: Parameters of coagulation and fibrinolysis were measured in 34 patients with culture proven septic melioidosis and 32 healthy controls. RESULTS: Patients demonstrated strong activation of the coagulation system, as reflected by high plasma levels of soluble tissue factor, the prothrombin fragment F(1+2) and thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TATc), and consumption of coagulation factors resulting in a prolonged prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time. Concurrently, anticoagulant pathways were downregulated in patients: protein C, protein S, and antithrombin levels were all decreased when compared to controls. Patients also demonstrated evidence of activation and inhibition of fibrinolysis, as reflected by elevated concentrations of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1, plasmin-alpha2-antiplasmin complexes (PAPc) and D-dimer. High TATc/PAPc ratios in patients pointed to a predominance of the prothrombotic pathway in melioidosis. Furthermore, soluble thrombomodulin levels were increased. The extent of coagulation activation correlated with mortality; patients who went on to die had higher TATc, F(1+2), tPA and PAPc and lower protein C and antithrombin levels on admission than patients who survived. CONCLUSIONS: The coagulation system is strongly activated during melioidosis. A high degree of activation of the coagulation system is an indicator of poor outcome in patients with melioidosis.
BACKGROUND: The use of artemisinin derivatives has increased exponentially with the deployment of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) in all malarious areas. They are highly effective and are considered safe, but in animal studies artemisinin derivatives produce neurotoxicity targeting mainly the auditory and vestibular pathways. The debate remains as to whether artemisinin derivatives induce similar toxicity in humans. METHODS: This prospective study assessed the effects on auditory function of a standard 3-day oral dose of artesunate (4 mg/kg/day) combined with mefloquine (25 mg/kg) in patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, on the Thai-Burmese border. A complete auditory evaluation with tympanometry, audiometry and auditory brainstem responses (ABR) was performed before the first dose and seven days after initiation of the antimalarial treatment. RESULTS: Complete auditory tests at day 0 (D0) and day 7 (D7) were obtained for 93 patients. Hearing loss (threshold > 25 dB) on admission was common (57%) and associated with age only. No patient had a threshold change exceeding 10 dB between D0 and D7 at any tested frequency. No patient showed a shift in Wave III peak latency of more than 0.30 msec between baseline and D7. CONCLUSION: Neither audiometric or the ABR tests showed clinical evidence of auditory toxicity seven days after receiving oral artesunate and mefloquine.
BACKGROUND: The soil dwelling Gram-negative pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei is the cause of melioidosis. The diversity and population structure of this organism in the environment is poorly defined. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We undertook a study of B. pseudomallei in soil sampled from 100 equally spaced points within 237.5 m(2) of disused land in northeast Thailand. B. pseudomallei was present on direct culture of 77/100 sampling points. Genotyping of 200 primary plate colonies from three independent sampling points was performed using a combination of pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Twelve PFGE types and nine sequence types (STs) were identified, the majority of which were present at only a single sampling point. Two sampling points contained four STs and the third point contained three STs. Although the distance between the three sampling points was low (7.6, 7.9, and 13.3 meters, respectively), only two STs were present in more than one sampling point. Each of the three samples was characterized by the localized expansion of a single B. pseudomallei clone (corresponding to STs 185, 163, and 93). Comparison of PFGE and MLST results demonstrated that two STs contained strains with variable PFGE banding pattern types, indicating geographic structuring even within a single MLST-defined clone. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the implications of this extreme structuring of genotype and genotypic frequency in terms of micro-evolutionary dynamics and ecology, and how our results may inform future sampling strategies.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is a major cause of malaria and is still primarily treated with chloroquine. Chloroquine inhibits the polymerization of haem to inert haemozoin. Free haem monomers are thought to catalyze oxidative damage to the Plasmodium spp. trophozoite, the stage when haemoglobin catabolism is maximal. However preliminary in vitro observations on P. vivax clinical isolates suggest that only ring stages (early trophozoites) are sensitive to chloroquine. In this study, the stage specific action of chloroquine was investigated in synchronous cryopreserved isolates of P. vivax. METHODS: The in vitro chloroquine sensitivity of paired ring and trophozoite stages from 11 cryopreserved P. vivax clinical isolates from Thailand and two Plasmodium falciparum clones (chloroquine resistant K1 and chloroquine sensitive FC27) was measured using a modified WHO microtest method and fluorometric SYBR Green I Assay. The time each stage was exposed to chloroquine treatment was controlled by washing the chloroquine off at 20 hours after the beginning of treatment. RESULTS: Plasmodium vivax isolates added to the assay at ring stage had significantly lower median IC50s to chloroquine than the same isolates added at trophozoite stage (median IC50 12 nM vs 415 nM p < 0.01). Although only 36% (4/11) of the SYBR Green I assays for P. vivax were successful, both microscopy and SYBR Green I assays indicated that only P. vivax trophozoites were able to develop to schizonts at chloroquine concentrations above 100 nM. CONCLUSION: Data from this study confirms the diminished sensitivity of P. vivax trophozoites to chloroquine, the stage thought to be the target of this drug. These results raise important questions about the pharmacodynamic action of chloroquine, and highlight a fundamental difference in the activity of chloroquine between P. vivax and P. falciparum.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in in Dawei District, southern Myanmar. METHODS: Enrolled patients at Sonsinphya clinic >6 months of age were assessed clinically and parasitologically every week for 28 days. To differentiate new infections from recrudescence, we genotyped pre- and post-treatment parasitaemia. Blood chloroquine was measured to confirm resistant strains. RESULTS: Between December 2002 and April 2003, 2661 patients were screened, of whom 252 were included and 235 analysed. Thirty-four per cent (95% CI: 28.1-40.6) of patients had recurrent parasitaemia and were considered treatment failures. 59.4% of these recurrences were with a different parasite strain. Two (0.8%) patients with recurrences on day 14 had chloroquine concentrations above the threshold of 100 ng/ml and were considered infected with chloroquine resistant parasites. 21% of failures occurred during the first 3 weeks of follow-up: early recurrence and median levels of blood chloroquine comparable to those of controls suggested P. vivax resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine seems to be emerging in Dawei, near the Thai-Burmese border. While chloroquine remains the first-line drug for P. vivax infections in this area of Myanmar, regular monitoring is needed to detect further development of parasite resistance.
BACKGROUND: Most malaria-endemic countries are implementing a change in anti-malarial drug policy to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). The impact of different drug choices and implementation strategies is uncertain. Data from many epidemiological studies in different levels of malaria endemicity and in areas with the highest prevalence of drug resistance like borders of Thailand are certainly valuable. Formulating an appropriate dynamic data-driven model is a powerful predictive tool for exploring the impact of these strategies quantitatively. METHODS: A comprehensive model was constructed incorporating important epidemiological and biological factors of human, mosquito, parasite and treatment. The iterative process of developing the model, identifying data needed, and parameterization has been taken to strongly link the model to the empirical evidence. The model provides quantitative measures of outcomes, such as malaria prevalence/incidence and treatment failure, and illustrates the spread of resistance in low and high transmission settings. The model was used to evaluate different anti-malarial policy options focusing on ACT deployment. RESULTS: The model predicts robustly that in low transmission settings drug resistance spreads faster than in high transmission settings, and treatment failure is the main force driving the spread of drug resistance. In low transmission settings, ACT slows the spread of drug resistance to a partner drug, especially at high coverage rates. This effect decreases exponentially with increasing delay in deploying the ACT and decreasing rates of coverage. In the high transmission settings, however, drug resistance is driven by the proportion of the human population with a residual drug level, which gives resistant parasites some survival advantage. The spread of drug resistance could be slowed down by controlling presumptive drug use and avoiding the use of combination therapies containing drugs with mismatched half-lives, together with reducing malaria transmission through vector control measures. CONCLUSION: This paper has demonstrated the use of a comprehensive mathematical model to describe malaria transmission and the spread of drug resistance. The model is strongly linked to the empirical evidence obtained from extensive data available from various sources. This model can be a useful tool to inform the design of treatment policies, particularly at a time when ACT has been endorsed by WHO as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria worldwide.
BACKGROUND: This study sought to describe and quantify microcirculatory changes in the mucosal surfaces of patients with severe malaria, by direct in vivo observation using orthogonal polarization spectral (OPS) imaging. METHODS: The microcirculation in the rectal mucosa of adult patients with severe malaria was assessed by use of OPS imaging, at admission and then daily. Comparison groups comprised patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, patients with bacterial sepsis, and healthy individuals. RESULTS: Erythrocyte velocities were measured directly in 43 adult patients with severe falciparum malaria, of whom 20 died. Microcirculatory blood flow was markedly disturbed, with heterogeneous obstruction that was proportional to severity of disease. Blocked capillaries were found in 29 patients (67%) and were associated with concurrent hyperdynamic blood flow (erythrocyte velocity, >750 mm/s) in adjacent vessels in 27 patients (93%). The proportion of blocked capillaries correlated with the base deficit in plasma and with the concentration of lactate. Abnormalities disappeared when the patients recovered. In healthy individuals and in patients with uncomplicated malaria or sepsis, no stagnant erythrocytes were detected, and, in patients with sepsis, hyperdynamic blood flow was prominent. CONCLUSION: Patients with severe falciparum malaria show extensive microvascular obstruction that is proportional to the severity of the disease. This finding underscores the prominent role that microvascular obstruction plays in the pathophysiology of severe malaria and illustrates the fundamental difference between the microvascular pathophysiology of malaria and that of bacterial sepsis.
Slowly eliminated antimalarial drugs suppress malaria reinfections for a period of time determined by the dose, the pharmacokinetic properties of the drug, and the susceptibility of the infecting parasites. This effect is called post-treatment prophylaxis (PTP). The clinical benefits of preventing recrudescence (reflecting treatment efficacy) compared with preventing reinfection (reflecting PTP) need further assessment. Antimalarial drug resistance shortens PTP. While blood concentrations are in the terminal elimination phase, the degree of shortening may be estimated from measurements of in-vitro susceptibility and the terminal elimination half-life. More information is needed on PTP following intermittent preventive treatments, and on the relationship between the duration of PTP and immunity, so that policy recommendations can have a firmer evidence base.
BACKGROUND: Previous research indicates that a combination vaccine targeting different stages of the malaria life cycle is likely to provide the most effective malaria vaccine. This trial was the first to combine two existing vaccination strategies to produce a vaccine that induces immune responses to both the pre-erythrocytic and blood stages of the P. falciparum life cycle. METHODS: This was a Phase I/IIa study of a new combination malaria vaccine FFM ME-TRAP+PEV3A. PEV3A includes peptides from both the pre-erythrocytic circumsporozoite protein and the blood-stage antigen AMA-1. This study was conducted at the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. The participants were healthy, malaria naïve volunteers, from Oxford. The interventions were vaccination with PEV3A alone, or PEV3A+FFM ME-TRAP. The main outcome measure was protection from malaria in a sporozoite challenge model. Other outcomes included measures of parasite specific immune responses induced by either vaccine; and safety, assessed by collection of adverse event data. RESULTS: We observed evidence of blood stage immunity in PEV3A vaccinated volunteers, but no volunteers were completely protected from malaria. PEV3A induced high antibody titres, and antibodies bound parasites in immunofluorescence assays. Moreover, we observed boosting of the vaccine-induced immune response by sporozoite challenge. Immune responses induced by FFM ME-TRAP were unexpectedly low. The vaccines were safe, with comparable side effect profiles to previous trials. Although there was no sterile protection two major observations support an effect of the vaccine-induced response on blood stage parasites: (i) Lower rates of parasite growth were observed in volunteers vaccinated with PEV3A compared to unvaccinated controls (p = 0.012), and this was reflected in the PCR results from PEV3A vaccinated volunteers. These showed early control of parasitaemia by some volunteers in this group. One volunteer, who received PEV3A alone, was diagnosed very late, on day 20 compared to an average of 11.8 days in unvaccinated controls. (ii). Morphologically abnormal parasites were present in the blood of all (n = 24) PEV3A vaccinated volunteers, and in only 2/6 controls (p = 0.001). We describe evidence of vaccine-induced blood stage efficacy for the first time in a sporozoite challenge study.
Streptococcus suis infection is an emerging zoonosis in Southeast Asia. We report a fatal case of S. suis serotype 16 infection in a Vietnamese man in 2001.
BACKGROUND: The identification of mutations that confer unique properties to a pathogen, such as host range, is of fundamental importance in the fight against disease. This paper describes a novel method for identifying amino acid sites that distinguish specific sets of protein sequences, by comparative analysis of matched alignments. The use of mutual information to identify distinctive residues responsible for functional variants makes this approach highly suitable for analyzing large sets of sequences. To support mutual information analysis, we developed the AVANA software, which utilizes sequence annotations to select sets for comparison, according to user-specified criteria. The method presented was applied to an analysis of influenza A PB2 protein sequences, with the objective of identifying the components of adaptation to human-to-human transmission, and reconstructing the mutation history of these components. RESULTS: We compared over 3,000 PB2 protein sequences of human-transmissible and avian isolates, to produce a catalogue of sites involved in adaptation to human-to-human transmission. This analysis identified 17 characteristic sites, five of which have been present in human-transmissible strains since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Sixteen of these sites are located in functional domains, suggesting they may play functional roles in host-range specificity. The catalogue of characteristic sites was used to derive sequence signatures from historical isolates. These signatures, arranged in chronological order, reveal an evolutionary timeline for the adaptation of the PB2 protein to human hosts. CONCLUSION: By providing the most complete elucidation to date of the functional components participating in PB2 protein adaptation to humans, this study demonstrates that mutual information is a powerful tool for comparative characterization of sequence sets. In addition to confirming previously reported findings, several novel characteristic sites within PB2 are reported. Sequence signatures generated using the characteristic sites catalogue characterize concisely the adaptation characteristics of individual isolates. Evolutionary timelines derived from signatures of early human influenza isolates suggest that characteristic variants emerged rapidly, and remained remarkably stable through subsequent pandemics. In addition, the signatures of human-infecting H5N1 isolates suggest that this avian subtype has low pandemic potential at present, although it presents more human adaptation components than most avian subtypes.
BACKGROUND: The explosive growth of biological data provides opportunities for new statistical and comparative analyses of large information sets, such as alignments comprising tens of thousands of sequences. In such studies, sequence annotations frequently play an essential role, and reliable results depend on metadata quality. However, the semantic heterogeneity and annotation inconsistencies in biological databases greatly increase the complexity of aggregating and cleaning metadata. Manual curation of datasets, traditionally favoured by life scientists, is impractical for studies involving thousands of records. In this study, we investigate quality issues that affect major public databases, and quantify the effectiveness of an automated metadata extraction approach that combines structural and semantic rules. We applied this approach to more than 90,000 influenza A records, to annotate sequences with protein name, virus subtype, isolate, host, geographic origin, and year of isolation. RESULTS: Over 40,000 annotated Influenza A protein sequences were collected by combining information from more than 90,000 documents from NCBI public databases. Metadata values were automatically extracted, aggregated and reconciled from several document fields by applying user-defined structural rules. For each property, values were recovered from >/=88.8% of records, with accuracy exceeding 96% in most cases. Because of semantic heterogeneity, each property required up to six different structural rules to be combined. Significant quality differences between databases were found: GenBank documents yield values more reliably than documents extracted from GenPept. Using a simple set of semantic rules and a reasoner, we reconstructed relationships between sequences from the same isolate, thus identifying 7640 isolates. Validation of isolate metadata against a simple ontology highlighted more than 400 inconsistencies, leading to over 3,000 property value corrections. CONCLUSION: To overcome the quality issues inherent in public databases, automated knowledge aggregation with embedded intelligence is needed for large-scale analyses. Our results show that user-controlled intuitive approaches, based on combination of simple rules, can reliably automate various curation tasks, reducing the need for manual corrections to approximately 5% of the records. Emerging semantic technologies possess desirable features to support today's knowledge aggregation tasks, with a potential to bring immediate benefits to this field.
BACKGROUND: Immunity to malaria develops naturally in endemic regions, but the protective immune mechanisms are poorly understood. Many vaccination strategies aim to induce T cells against diverse pre-erythrocytic antigens, but correlates of protection in the field have been limited. The objective of this study was to investigate cell-mediated immune correlates of protection in natural malaria. Memory T cells reactive against thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP) and circumsporozoite (CS) protein, major vaccine candidate antigens, were measured, as were frequencies of CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, which may suppress immunity, and CD56(+) NK cells and gammadelta T cells, which may be effectors or may modulate immunity. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: 112 healthy volunteers living in rural Kenya were entered in the study. Memory T cells reactive against TRAP and CS were measured using a cultured IFNgamma ELISPOT approach, whilst CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, CD56(+) NK cells, and gammadelta T cells were measured by flow cytometry. We found that T cell responses against TRAP were established early in life (<5 years) in contrast to CS, and cultured ELISPOT memory T cell responses did not correlate with ex-vivo IFNgamma ELISPOT effector responses. Data was examined for associations with risk of clinical malaria for a period of 300 days. Multivariate logistic analysis incorporating age and CS response showed that cultured memory T cell responses against TRAP were associated with a significantly reduced incidence of malaria (p = 0.028). This was not seen for CS responses. Higher numbers of CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells, potentially regulatory T cells, were associated with a significantly increased risk of clinical malaria (p = 0.039). CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate a role for central memory T cells in natural malarial immunity and support current vaccination strategies aimed at inducing durable protective T cell responses against the TRAP antigen. They also suggest that CD4(+) CD25(high) T cells may negatively affect naturally acquired malarial immunity.
BACKGROUND: Drug resistant typhoid fever is a major clinical problem globally. Many of the first line antibiotics, including the older generation fluoroquinolones, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin, are failing. OBJECTIVES: We performed a randomised controlled trial to compare the efficacy and safety of gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) versus azithromycin (20 mg/kg/day) as a once daily oral dose for 7 days for the treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever in children and adults in Vietnam. METHODS: An open-label multi-centre randomised trial with pre-specified per protocol analysis and intention to treat analysis was conducted. The primary outcome was fever clearance time, the secondary outcome was overall treatment failure (clinical or microbiological failure, development of typhoid fever-related complications, relapse or faecal carriage of S. typhi). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled 358 children and adults with suspected typhoid fever. There was no death in the study. 287 patients had blood culture confirmed typhoid fever, 145 patients received gatifloxacin and 142 patients received azithromycin. The median FCT was 106 hours in both treatment arms (95% Confidence Interval [CI]; 94-118 hours for gatifloxacin versus 88-112 hours for azithromycin), (logrank test p = 0.984, HR [95% CI] = 1.0 [0.80-1.26]). Overall treatment failure occurred in 13/145 (9%) patients in the gatifloxacin group and 13/140 (9.3%) patients in the azithromycin group, (logrank test p = 0.854, HR [95% CI] = 0.93 [0.43-2.0]). 96% (254/263) of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and 58% (153/263) were multidrug resistant. CONCLUSIONS: Both antibiotics showed an excellent efficacy and safety profile. Both gatifloxacin and azithromycin can be recommended for the treatment of typhoid fever particularly in regions with high rates of multidrug and nalidixic acid resistance. The cost of a 7-day treatment course of gatifloxacin is approximately one third of the cost of azithromycin in Vietnam. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN67946944.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 39 (1), pp. 146-153. | Show Abstract2008. Quantitation of cell-derived microparticles in plasma using flow rate based calibration.
Activation of vascular endothelium and blood cells can result in the formation of microparticles (MPs), which are membrane vesicles with a diameter < 1 microm which can play a pathogenetic role in a variety of infectious and other diseases. In this study, we validated a modified quantitative method called "flow rate based calibration", to measure circulating MPs in plasma of healthy subjects and malaria patients using FACSCalibur flow cytometry. MPs counts obtained from "flow rate based calibration" correlated closely with the standard method (R2 = 0.9, p = 0.001). The median (range) number of MPs in healthy subjects was 163/microl (81-375/microl). We demonstrated a flow rate based calibration for the quantitation of MPs in P. falciparum malaria-infected patients. The median (range) number of MPs was 2,051/microl (222-6,432/microl), n = 28 in patients with falciparum malaria. The number of MPs in plasma from patients with severe falciparum malaria was significantly higher than in uncomplicated falciparum malaria (2,567/microl (366-6,432/microl), n = 18 versus [1,947/microl (222-4,107/microl), n = 10, p < 0.01]. Cellular origin of MPs in malaria patients were mainly derived from red blood cells (35%), platelets (10%), and endothelial cells (5%). There was no significant correlation between the total number of MPs and parasitemia. Flow rate based calibration is a simple, reliable, reproducible method and more affordable to quantitate MPs.
BACKGROUND: Genetic variation and rapid evolution are hallmarks of RNA viruses, the result of high mutation rates in RNA replication and selection of mutants that enhance viral adaptation, including the escape from host immune responses. Variability is uneven across the genome because mutations resulting in a deleterious effect on viral fitness are restricted. RNA viruses are thus marked by protein sites permissive to multiple mutations and sites critical to viral structure-function that are evolutionarily robust and highly conserved. Identification and characterization of the historical dynamics of the conserved sites have relevance to multiple applications, including potential targets for diagnosis, and prophylactic and therapeutic purposes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe a large-scale identification and analysis of evolutionarily highly conserved amino acid sequences of the entire dengue virus (DENV) proteome, with a focus on sequences of 9 amino acids or more, and thus immune-relevant as potential T-cell determinants. DENV protein sequence data were collected from the NCBI Entrez protein database in 2005 (9,512 sequences) and again in 2007 (12,404 sequences). Forty-four (44) sequences (pan-DENV sequences), mainly those of nonstructural proteins and representing approximately 15% of the DENV polyprotein length, were identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences. Of these 44 sequences, 34 ( approximately 77%) were present in >or=95% of sequences of each DENV type, and 27 ( approximately 61%) were conserved in other Flaviviruses. The frequencies of variants of the pan-DENV sequences were low (0 to approximately 5%), as compared to variant frequencies of approximately 60 to approximately 85% in the non pan-DENV sequence regions. We further showed that the majority of the conserved sequences were immunologically relevant: 34 contained numerous predicted human leukocyte antigen (HLA) supertype-restricted peptide sequences, and 26 contained T-cell determinants identified by studies with HLA-transgenic mice and/or reported to be immunogenic in humans. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Forty-four (44) pan-DENV sequences of at least 9 amino acids were highly conserved and identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences, and the majority were found to be immune-relevant by their correspondence to known or putative HLA-restricted T-cell determinants. The conservation of these sequences through the entire recorded DENV genetic history supports their possible value for diagnosis, prophylactic and/or therapeutic applications. The combination of bioinformatics and experimental approaches applied herein provides a framework for large-scale and systematic analysis of conserved and variable sequences of other pathogens, in particular, for rapidly mutating viruses, such as influenza A virus and HIV.
BACKGROUND: Population health is linked closely to poverty. To assess the effectiveness of health interventions it is critical to monitor the spatial and temporal changes in the health indicators of populations and outcomes across varying levels of poverty. Existing measures of poverty based on income, consumption or assets are difficult to compare across geographic settings and are expensive to construct. Remotely sensed data on artificial night time lights (NTL) have been shown to correlate with gross domestic product in developed countries. METHODS: Using national household survey data, principal component analysis was used to compute asset-based poverty indices from aggregated household asset variables at the Administrative 1 level (n = 338) in 37 countries in Africa. Using geographical information systems, mean brightness of and distance to NTL pixels and proportion of area covered by NTL were computed for each Administrative1 polygon. Correlations and agreement of asset-based indices and the three NTL metrics were then examined in both continuous and ordinal forms. RESULTS: At the Administrative 1 level all the NTL metrics distinguished between the most poor and least poor quintiles with greater precision compared to intermediate quintiles. The mean brightness of NTL, however, had the highest correlation coefficient with the asset-based wealth index in continuous (Pearson correlation = 0.64, p < 0.01) and ordinal (Spearman correlation = 0.79, p < 0.01; Kappa = 0.64) forms. CONCLUSION: Metrics of the brightness of NTL data offer a robust and inexpensive alternative to asset-based poverty indices derived from survey data at the Administrative 1 level in Africa. These could be used to explore economic inequity in health outcomes and access to health interventions at sub-national levels where household assets data are not available at the required resolution.
Effective anti-malarial drug treatment reduces malaria transmission. This alone can reduce the incidence and prevalence of malaria, although the effects are greater in areas of low transmission where a greater proportion of the infectious reservoir is symptomatic and receives anti-malarial treatment. Effective treatment has greater effects on the transmission of falciparum malaria, where gametocytogenesis is delayed, compared with the other human malarias in which peak gametocytaemia and transmissibility coincides with peak asexual parasite densities. Mature Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes are more drug resistant and affected only by artemisinins and 8-aminoquinolines. The key operational question now is whether primaquine should be added to artemisinin combination treatments for the treatment of falciparum malaria to reduce further the transmissibility of the treated infection. Radical treatment with primaquine plays a key role in the eradication of vivax and ovale malaria. More evidence is needed on the safety of primaquine when administered without screening for G6PD deficiency to inform individual and mass treatment approaches in the context of malaria elimination programmes.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the quality of outpatient paediatric malaria case-management approximately 4-6 months after artemether-lumefantrine (AL) replaced sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) as the nationally recommended first-line therapy in Kenya. METHODS: Cross-sectional survey at all government facilities in four Kenyan districts. Main outcome measures were health facility and health worker readiness to implement AL policy; quality of antimalarial prescribing, counselling and drug dispensing in comparison with national guidelines; and factors influencing AL prescribing for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in under-fives. RESULTS: We evaluated 193 facilities, 227 health workers and 1533 sick-child consultations. Health facility and health worker readiness was variable: 89% of facilities stocked AL, 55% of health workers had access to guidelines, 46% received in-service training on AL and only 1% of facilities had AL wall charts. Of 940 children who needed AL treatment, AL was prescribed for 26%, amodiaquine for 39%, SP for 4%, various other antimalarials for 8% and 23% of children left the facility without any antimalarial prescribed. When AL was prescribed, 92% of children were prescribed correct weight-specific dose. AL dispensing and counselling tasks were variably performed. Higher health worker's cadre, in-service training including AL use, positive malaria test, main complaint of fever and high temperature were associated with better prescribing. CONCLUSIONS: Changes in clinical practices at the point of care might take longer than anticipated. Delivery of successful interventions and their scaling up to increase coverage are important during this process; however, this should be accompanied by rigorous research evaluations, corrective actions on existing interventions and testing cost-effectiveness of novel interventions capable of improving and maintaining health worker performance and health systems to deliver artemisinin-based combination therapy in Africa.
BACKGROUND: The need for economical rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is increasing in developing countries. Implementation of the two currently approved economical intradermal (ID) vaccine regimens is restricted due to confusion over different vaccines, regimens and dosages, lack of confidence in intradermal technique, and pharmaceutical regulations. We therefore compared a simplified 4-site economical PEP regimen with standard methods. METHODS: Two hundred and fifty-four volunteers were randomly allocated to a single blind controlled trial. Each received purified vero cell rabies vaccine by one of four PEP regimens: the currently accepted 2-site ID; the 8-site regimen using 0.05 ml per ID site; a new 4-site ID regimen (on day 0, approximately 0.1 ml at 4 ID sites, using the whole 0.5 ml ampoule of vaccine; on day 7, 0.1 ml ID at 2 sites and at one site on days 28 and 90); or the standard 5-dose intramuscular regimen. All ID regimens required the same total amount of vaccine, 60% less than the intramuscular method. Neutralising antibody responses were measured five times over a year in 229 people, for whom complete data were available. FINDINGS: All ID regimens showed similar immunogenicity. The intramuscular regimen gave the lowest geometric mean antibody titres. Using the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test, some sera had unexpectedly high antibody levels that were not attributable to previous vaccination. The results were confirmed using the fluorescent antibody virus neutralisation method. CONCLUSIONS: This 4-site PEP regimen proved as immunogenic as current regimens, and has the advantages of requiring fewer clinic visits, being more practicable, and having a wider margin of safety, especially in inexperienced hands, than the 2-site regimen. It is more convenient than the 8-site method, and can be used economically with vaccines formulated in 1.0 or 0.5 ml ampoules. The 4-site regimen now meets all requirements of immunogenicity for PEP and can be introduced without further studies. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN 30087513.
BACKGROUND: Neisseria meningitidis serogroup A is the main causative pathogen of meningitis epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa. In recent years, serogroup W135 has also been the cause of epidemics. Mass vaccination campaigns with polysaccharide vaccines are key elements in controlling these epidemics. Facing global vaccine shortage, we explored the use of fractional doses of a licensed A/C/Y/W135 polysaccharide meningococcal vaccine. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a randomized, non-inferiority trial in 750 healthy volunteers 2-19 years old in Mbarara, Uganda, to compare the immune response of the full dose of the vaccine versus fractional doses (1/5 or 1/10). Safety and tolerability data were collected for all subjects during the 4 weeks following the injection. Pre- and post-vaccination sera were analyzed by measuring serum bactericidal activity (SBA) with baby rabbit complement. A responder was defined as a subject with a > or =4-fold increase in SBA against a target strain from each serogroup and SBA titer > or =128. For serogroup W135, 94% and 97% of the vaccinees in the 1/5- and 1/10-dose arms, respectively, were responders, versus 94% in the full-dose arm; for serogroup A, 92% and 88% were responders, respectively, versus 95%. Non-inferiority was demonstrated between the full dose and both fractional doses in SBA seroresponse against serogroups W135 and Y, in total population analysis. Non-inferiority was shown between the full and 1/5 doses for serogroup A in the population non-immune prior to vaccination. Non-inferiority was not shown for any of the fractionate doses for serogroup C. Safety and tolerability data were favourable, as observed in other studies. CONCLUSIONS: While the advent of conjugate A vaccine is anticipated to largely contribute to control serogroup A outbreaks in Africa, the scale-up of its production will not cover the entire "Meningitis Belt" target population for at least the next 3 to 5 years. In view of the current shortage of meningococcal vaccines for Africa, the use of 1/5 fractional doses should be considered as an alternative in mass vaccination campaigns. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00271479.
J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (6), pp. 461-465. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Kathmandu, Nepal: still an enteric fever capital of the world.
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, has been previously coined an enteric fever capital of the world. Several studies have poignantly emphasized the significant burden of enteric fever within the local population and in travellers visiting the area. The population of Kathmandu is increasing and available figures suggest that enteric fever caused by Salmonella serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A show no significant signs of decreasing. Furthermore, our recent research demonstrates that the ratio of disease caused by these two organisms is shifting towards S. Paratyphi A. Here, we outline some of the major features of enteric fever in Kathmandu, including diagnosis, seasonal variation, transmission, and some characteristics of the infecting organisms. Our findings highlight the requirement for better understanding of the disease within the city; in turn, this will aid development of a targeted control strategy.
BACKGROUND: Transmission and nasopharyngeal colonization are necessary steps en route to invasive pneumococcal or Haemophilus influenzae disease but their patterns vary geographically. In East Africa we do not know how these pathogens are transmitted between population subgroups nor which serotypes circulate commonly. METHODS: We did 2 cross-sectional nasopharyngeal swab surveys selecting subjects randomly from a population register to estimate prevalence and risk-factors for carriage in 2004. H. influenzae type b vaccine was introduced in 2001. RESULTS: Of 450 individuals sampled in the dry season, 414 were resampled during the rainy season. Among subjects 0-4, 5-9, and 10-85 years old pneumococcal carriage prevalence was 57%, 41%, and 6.4%, respectively. H. influenzae prevalence was 26%, 24%, and 3.0%, respectively. Prevalence of H. influenzae type b in children <5 years was 1.7%. Significant risk factors for pneumococcal carriage were rainy season (odds ratio [OR]: 1.65), coryza (OR: 2.29), and coculture of noncapsulate H. influenzae (OR: 7.46). Coryza was also a risk factor for H. influenzae carriage (OR: 1.90). Of 128 H. influenzae isolates, 113 were noncapsulate. Among 279 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae, 40 serotypes were represented and the distribution of serotypes varied significantly with age; 7-valent vaccine-types, vaccine-related types, and nonvaccine types comprised 47%, 19%, and 34% of strains from children aged <5 years. Among older persons they comprised 25%, 28%, and 47%, respectively (P = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: The study shows that pneumococcal carriage is common up to 9 years of age and that the majority of serotypes carried at all ages are not covered specifically by the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
BACKGROUND: Few large-scale studies of epilepsy have been done in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of, treatment gap in, and possible risk factors for active convulsive epilepsy in Kenyan people aged 6 years or older living in a rural area. METHODS: We undertook a three-phase screening survey of 151,408 individuals followed by a nested community case-control study. Treatment gap was defined as the proportion of cases of active convulsive epilepsy without detectable amounts of antiepileptic drugs in blood. FINDINGS: Overall prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy was 2.9 per 1000 (95% CI 2.6-3.2); after adjustment for non-response and sensitivity, prevalence was 4.5 per 1000 (4.1-4.9). Substantial heterogeneity was noted in prevalence, with evidence of clustering. Treatment gap was 70.3% (65.9-74.5), with weak evidence of a difference by sex and area. Adjusted odds of active convulsive epilepsy for all individuals were increased with a family history of non-febrile convulsions (odds ratio 3.3, 95% CI 2.4-4.7; p<0.0001), family history of febrile convulsions (14.6, 6.3-34.1; p<0.0001), history of both seizure types (7.3, 3.3-16.4; p<0.0001), and previous head injury (4.1, 2.1-8.1; p<0.0001). Findings of multivariable analyses in children showed that adverse perinatal events (5.7, 2.6-12.7; p<0.0001) and the child's mother being a widow (5.1, 2.4-11.0; p<0.0001) raised the odds of active convulsive epilepsy. INTERPRETATION: Substantial heterogeneity exists in prevalence of active convulsive epilepsy in this rural area in Kenya. Assessment of prevalence, treatment use, and demographic variation in screening response helped to identify groups for targeted interventions. Adverse perinatal events, febrile illness, and head injury are potentially preventable associated factors for epilepsy in this region.
Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 39 (1), pp. 146-153. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Quantitation of cell-derived microparticles in plasma using flow rate based calibration
Activation of vascular endothelium and blood cells can result in the formation of microparticles (MPs), which are membrane vesicles with a diameter < 1 μm which can play a pathogenetic role in a variety of infectious and other diseases. In this study, we validated a modified quantitative method called "flow rate based calibration", to measure circulating MPs in plasma of healthy subjects and malaria patients using FACSCalibur flow cytometry. MPs counts obtained from "flow rate based calibration" correlated closely with the standard method (R 2 =0.9, p=0.001). The median (range) number of MPs in healthy subjects was 163/μl (81-375/μl). We demonstrated a flow rate based calibration for the quantitation of MPs in P. falciparum malaria-infected patients. The median (range) number of MPs was 2,051/μl (222-6,432/μl), n=28 in patients with falciparum malaria. The number of MPs in plasma from patients with severe falciparum malaria was significantly higher than in uncomplicated falciparum malaria (2,567/μl (366-6,432/μl), n=18 versus [1,947/μl (222-4,107/μl), n=10, p < 0.01]. Cellular origin of MPs in malaria patients were mainly derived from red blood cells (35%), platelets (10%), and endothelial cells (5%). There was no significant correlation between the total number of MPs and parasitemia. Flow rate based calibration is a simple, reliable, reproducible method and more affordable to quantitate MPs.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 39 (4), pp. 649-655. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Rheumatological manifestations in patients with melioidosis.
Melioidosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, has a wide range of clinical manifestations. Here, we describe rheumatological melioidosis (involving one or more of joint, bone or muscle), and compare features and outcome with patients without rheumatological involvement. A retrospective study of patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis admitted to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani during 2002 and 2005 identified 679 patients with melioidosis, of whom 98 (14.4%) had rheumatological melioidosis involving joint (n=52), bone (n = 5), or muscle (n = 12), or a combination of these (n=29). Females were over-represented in the rheumatological group, and diabetes and thalassemia were independent risk factors for rheumatological involvement (OR; 2.49 and 9.56, respectively). Patients with rheumatological involvement had a more chronic course, as reflected by a longer fever clearance time (13 vs 7 days, p = 0.06) and hospitalization (22 vs 14 days, p < 0.001), but lower mortality (28% vs 44%, p = 0.005). Patients with signs and symptoms of septic arthritis for longer than 2 weeks were more likely to have extensive infection of adjacent bone and muscle, particularly in diabetic patients. Surgical intervention was associated with a survival benefit, bur not a shortening of the course of infection.
PLoS Medicine, 5 (6), pp. 0843-0844. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Read more2008. New medicines for tropical diseases in pregnancy: Catch-22
BACKGROUND: An understanding of the health of potential volunteers in Africa is essential for the safe and efficient conduct of clinical trials, particularly for trials of preventive technologies such as vaccines that enroll healthy individuals. Clinical safety laboratory values used for screening, enrolment and follow-up of African clinical trial volunteers have largely been based on values derived from industrialized countries in Europe and North America. This report describes baseline morbidity during recruitment for a multi-center, African laboratory reference intervals study. METHODS: Asymptomatic persons, aged 18-60 years, were invited to participate in a cross-sectional study at seven sites (Kigali, Rwanda; Masaka and Entebbe, Uganda; Kangemi, Kenyatta National Hospital and Kilifi, Kenya; and Lusaka, Zambia). Gender equivalency was by design. Individuals who were acutely ill, pregnant, menstruating, or had significant clinical findings were not enrolled. Each volunteer provided blood for hematology, immunology, and biochemistry parameters and urine for urinalysis. Enrolled volunteers were excluded if found to be positive for HIV, syphilis or Hepatitis B and C. Laboratory assays were conducted under Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP). RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Of the 2990 volunteers who were screened, 2387 (80%) were enrolled, and 2107 (71%) were included in the analysis (52% men, 48% women). Major reasons for screening out volunteers included abnormal findings on physical examination (228/603, 38%), significant medical history (76, 13%) and inability to complete the informed consent process (73, 13%). Once enrolled, principle reasons for exclusion from analysis included detection of Hepatitis B surface antigen (106/280, 38%) and antibodies against Hepatitis C (95, 34%). This is the first large scale, multi-site study conducted to the standards of GCLP to describe African laboratory reference intervals applicable to potential volunteers in clinical trials. Approximately one-third of all potential volunteers screened were not eligible for analysis; the majority were excluded for medical reasons.
Dengue is a major global disease which, in its severe form, affects up to 500,000 people worldwide each year, most of whom are children. The development of a safe and effective vaccine is a clear priority, together with public health measures to prevent the spread of infection. However, while major epidemics continue to occur, clinicians must also focus on optimising management. Although no specific treatment is available at present, with good supportive care, mortality for children with DHF can be reduced to well below 1%. In patients without signs of shock, fluid replacement can be attempted orally, but in children with DSS parenteral treatment is essential. Very careful titration of fluid therapy is necessary combined with frequent reassessment for signs of worsening shock or the development of fluid overload. In most DSS cases isotonic crystalloid solutions are as effective as colloid solutions, but the question whether early intervention with colloid solutions improves outcome in more advanced shock requires further investigation. The outcome of studies to address this question, together with further research to examine the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the plasma leakage, will hopefully result in better management of children with severe dengue but may also provide useful insights into other diseases that affect endothelial function.
OBJECTIVE: Several co-infections have been shown to impact the progression of HIV-1 infection. We sought to determine if treatment of helminth co-infection in HIV-1-infected adults impacted markers of HIV-1 disease progression. DESIGN: To date, there have been no randomized trials to examine the effects of soil-transmitted helminth eradication on markers of HIV-1 progression. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of albendazole (400 mg daily for 3 days) in antiretroviral-naive HIV-1-infected adults (CD4 cell count >200 cells/microl) with soil-transmitted helminth infection was conducted at 10 sites in Kenya (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00130910). CD4 and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels at 12 weeks following randomization were compared in the trial arms using linear regression, adjusting for baseline values. RESULTS: Of 1551 HIV-1-infected individuals screened for helminth infection, 299 were helminth infected. Two hundred and thirty-four adults were enrolled and underwent randomization and 208 individuals were included in intent-to-treat analyses. Mean CD4 cell count was 557 cells/microl and mean plasma viral load was 4.75 log10 copies/ml at enrollment. Albendazole therapy resulted in significantly higher CD4 cell counts among individuals with Ascaris lumbricoides infection after 12 weeks of follow-up (+109 cells/microl; 95% confidence interval +38.9 to +179.0, P = 0.003) and a trend for 0.54 log10 lower HIV-1 RNA levels (P = 0.09). These effects were not seen with treatment of other species of soil-transmitted helminths. CONCLUSION: Treatment of A. lumbricoides with albendazole in HIV-1-coinfected adults resulted in significantly increased CD4 cell counts during 3-month follow-up. Given the high prevalence of A. lumbricoides infection worldwide, deworming may be an important potential strategy to delay HIV-1 progression.
BACKGROUND: Prior to 2007, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses isolated from poultry and humans in Vietnam were consistently reported to be clade 1 viruses, susceptible to oseltamivir but resistant to amantadine. Here we describe the re-emergence of human HPAI H5N1 virus infections in Vietnam in 2007 and the characteristics of the isolated viruses. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Respiratory specimens from patients suspected to be infected with avian influenza in 2007 were screened by influenza and H5 subtype specific polymerase chain reaction. Isolated H5N1 strains were further characterized by genome sequencing and drug susceptibility testing. Eleven poultry outbreak isolates from 2007 were included in the sequence analysis. Eight patients, all of them from northern Vietnam, were diagnosed with H5N1 in 2007 and five of them died. Phylogenetic analysis of H5N1 viruses isolated from humans and poultry in 2007 showed that clade 2.3.4 H5N1 viruses replaced clade 1 viruses in northern Vietnam. Four human H5N1 strains had eight-fold reduced in-vitro susceptibility to oseltamivir as compared to clade 1 viruses. In two poultry isolates the I117V mutation was found in the neuraminidase gene, which is associated with reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir. No mutations in the M2 gene conferring amantadine resistance were found. CONCLUSION: In 2007, H5N1 clade 2.3.4 viruses replaced clade 1 viruses in northern Vietnam and were susceptible to amantadine but showed reduced susceptibility to oseltamivir. Combination antiviral therapy with oseltamivir and amantadine for human cases in Vietnam is recommended.
A 15-year-old Nepalese boy with fever was thought to have enteric fever and started on cefixime. His blood culture grew Salmonella paratyphoid A. On the sixth day, he developed gastrointestinal bleeding, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and later, acute respiratory distress syndrome. He succumbed to his illness despite treatment in the intensive care unit with ceftriaxone, intravenous fluids, and mechanical ventilation. Salmonella paratyphoid A, for which there is no commercial vaccine, may not be a benign disease as perceived, and cefixime that is recommended for enteric fever may be an ineffective choice.
OBJECTIVE: To inform policy-makers about introduction of preventive interventions against typhoid, including vaccination. METHODS: A population-based prospective surveillance design was used. Study sites where typhoid was considered a problem by local authorities were established in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Viet Nam. Standardized clinical, laboratory, and surveillance methods were used to investigate cases of fever of >or= 3 days' duration for a one-year period. A total of 441,435 persons were under surveillance, 159,856 of whom were aged 5-15 years. FINDINGS: A total of 21,874 episodes of fever were detected. Salmonella typhi was isolated from 475 (2%) blood cultures, 57% (273/475) of which were from 5-15 year-olds. The annual typhoid incidence (per 100,000 person years) among this age group varied from 24.2 and 29.3 in sites in Viet Nam and China, respectively, to 180.3 in the site in Indonesia; and to 412.9 and 493.5 in sites in Pakistan and India, respectively. Altogether, 23% (96/413) of isolates were multidrug resistant (chloramphenicol, ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). CONCLUSION: The incidence of typhoid varied substantially between sites, being high in India and Pakistan, intermediate in Indonesia, and low in China and Viet Nam. These findings highlight the considerable, but geographically heterogeneous, burden of typhoid fever in endemic areas of Asia, and underscore the importance of evidence on disease burden in making policy decisions about interventions to control this disease.
METHODS: The aim of this prospective, observational cohort study was to determine the clinical and microbiological features, outcome, and baseline variables predictive of death, in Vietnamese adults with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis (TBM). 58 patients were admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City and underwent routine clinical and laboratory assessments. Treatment was with standard antituberculous therapy and adjunctive dexamethasone; antiretroviral therapy was not routinely available. Patients were followed up until the end of TB treatment or death. RESULTS: The median symptom duration was 11 days (range 2-90 days), 21.8% had a past history of TB, and 41.4% had severe (grade 3) TBM. The median CD4 count was 32 cells/mm(3). CSF findings were as follows: median leucocyte count 438 x 10(9)cells/l (63% neutrophils), 69% smear positive and 87.9% culture positive. TB drug resistance rates were high (13% mono-resistance 32.6% poly-resistance 8.7% multidrug resistance). 17% patients developed further AIDS-defining illnesses. 67.2% died (median time to death 20 days). Three baseline variables were predictive of death by multivariate analysis: increased TBM grade [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 1.73, 95% CI 1.08-2.76, p = 0.02], lower serum sodium (AHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.98, p = 0.002) and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage (AHR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97 to 0.99, p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: HIV-associated TBM is devastating disease with a dismal prognosis. CSF findings included CSF neutrophil predominance, high rates of smear and culture positivity, and high rates of antituberculous drug resistance. Three baseline variables were independently associated with death: increased TBM grade; low serum sodium and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (3), pp. 388-392. | Citations: 40 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. A randomized controlled pilot study of artesunate versus triclabendazole for human fascioliasis in central Vietnam.
Human fascioliasis caused by Fasciola hepatica or Fasciola gigantica is an increasing global problem. The mainstay of current treatment is triclabendazole, but resistance in animals has been described, and it is not available in many countries. The antimalarial artesunate has an excellent safety profile, and there is increasing evidence of its efficacy against other parasites both in vitro and in vivo. We performed a study to investigate the usefulness of artesunate in symptomatic human fascioliasis; 100 patients were enrolled. Patients treated with artesunate were significantly more likely to be free of abdominal pain at hospital discharge (50/50 versus 44/50, P = 0.027, relative risk 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.26), but the complete response rate at 3 months was lower than for patients treated with triclabendazole (38/50 versus 46/50, P = 0.05, RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.69-0.98, artesunate versus triclabendazole). There may be a role for artesunate in fascioliasis.
BACKGROUND: Streptococcus suis infection is an emerging zoonosis in Asia. We determined the detailed epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological characteristics of S. suis meningitis in adults. METHODS: We prospectively studied 450 patients with suspected bacterial meningitis. Four hundred thirty-five (96.7%) of the patients participated in a trial to determine the effect of adjunctive dexamethasone treatment. For patients with S. suis infection, bacterial DNA load at hospital admission and during treatment was analyzed in cerebrospinal fluid specimens using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. S. suis strains were characterized using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. Putative virulence factors, including extracellular protein factor, suilysin, and muramidase released protein, were detected using polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assay. Predictors of outcome were identified using logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: S. suis was the most common pathogen and was detected in 151 (33.6%) of the patients. Fifty (33.1%) of these 151 patients reported exposure to pigs or pork. Mortality was low (2.6%; 4 of 151 patients died), but mild to severe hearing loss occurred in 93 (66.4%) of 140 patients. Severe deafness at hospital discharge was associated with age >50 years (odds ratio, 3.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-11.6), a strain carrying the epf gene (odds ratio, 3.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-11.4), and dexamethasone therapy (odds ratio, 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.06-0.78) but was not associated with cerebrospinal fluid bacterial DNA load. Bacterial DNA was still detectable in 58 (63%) of 92 cerebrospinal fluid samples after 6-10 days of antimicrobial treatment. Ninety-one of 92 S. suis strains had serotype 2. Thirty-three (36%) of these epidemiologically unrelated strains belonged to 1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis cluster of multilocus sequence type 1, indicating clonal spread. CONCLUSION: S. suis serotype 2 is the most frequent cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in southern Vietnam and is associated with substantial morbidity attributable to hearing loss.
This was a retrospective study in an urban hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal to determine the changing burden of salmonella septicaemia, the proportion of Salmonella paratyphi A, and the emergence of drug-resistant organisms. The participants were outpatients and inpatients over the period 1993-2003, and the main outcome measures were blood culture isolates and antibiotic sensitivity testing. The results showed that of 82467 blood cultures performed, a bacterium was isolated from 12252. Salmonella accounted for 9124 (74.5%) of the positive blood cultures: 6447 (70.7%) were Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. typhi) and 2677 (29.3%) were Paratyphi A (S. paratyphi A). In comparing the period 1997-2000 to the period 2001-2003, we found that, as a proportion of total blood cultures taken, salmonella septicaemia more than doubled, from 6.2 to 13.6% (P<0.001). From the first half of the study (1993-1998) to the second half (1999-2003), S. paratyphi A as a proportion of all salmonella isolates rose from 23 to 34% (P<0.001), which paralleled its increased resistance to ciprofloxacin. Despite the introduction of new antibiotics, enteric fever continues to grow as a cause for hospital presentation in Nepal. Salmonella paratyphi A contributes an increasingly large proportion of cases, and ciprofloxacin resistance is also emerging more rapidly in S. paratyphi A.
Large-scale studies of genomic variation could assist efforts to eliminate malaria. But there are scientific, ethical and practical challenges to carrying out such studies in developing countries, where the burden of disease is greatest. The Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (MalariaGEN) is now working to overcome these obstacles, using a consortial approach that brings together researchers from 21 countries. © 2008 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of > 38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by > 2- and > 5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB. © 2008 Thuong et al.
Background: Helminth infection is common in malaria endemic areas, and an interaction between the two would be of considerable public health importance. Animal models suggest that helminth infections may increase susceptibility to malaria, but epidemiological data has been limited and contradictory. Methodology/Principal Findings: In a vaccine trial, we studied 387 one- to six-year-old children for the effect of helminth infections on febrile Plasmodium falciparum malaria episodes. Gastrointestinal helminth infection and eosinophilia were prevalent (25% and 50% respectively), but did not influence susceptibility to malaria. Hazard ratios were 1 for gastrointestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.6-1.6) and 0.85 and 0.85 for mild and marked eosinophilia, respectively (95% CI 0.56-1.76 and 0.69-1.96). Incident rate ratios for multiple episodes were 0.83 for gastro-intestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.5-1.33) and 0.86 and 0.98 for mild and marked eosinophilia (95% CI 0.5-1.4 and 0.6-1.5). Conclusions/Significance: There was no evidence that infection with gastrointestinal helminths or urinary schistosomiasis increased susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this study. Larger studies including populations with a greater prevalence of helminth infection should be undertaken. © 2008 Bejon et al.
Background: The efficient allocation of financial resources for malaria control using appropriate combinations of interventions requires accurate information on the geographic distribution of malaria risk. An evidence-based description of the global range of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and its endemicity has not been assembled in almost 40 y. This paper aims to define the global geographic distribution of P. falciparum malaria in 2007 and to provide a preliminary description of its transmission intensity within this range. Methods and Findings: The global spatial distribution of P. falciparum malaria was generated using nationally reported case-incidence data, medical intelligence, and biological rules of transmission exclusion, using temperature and aridity limits informed by the bionomics of dominant Anopheles vector species. A total of 4,278 spatially unique cross-sectional survey estimates of P. falciparum parasite rates were assembled. Extractions from a population surface showed that 2.37 billion people lived in areas at any risk of P. falciparum transmission in 2007. Globally, almost 1 billion people lived under unstable, or extremely low, malaria risk. Almost all P. falciparum parasite rates above 50% were reported in Africa in a latitude band consistent with the distribution of Anopheles gambiae s.s. Conditions of low parasite prevalence were also common in Africa, however. Outside of Africa, P. falciparum malaria prevalence is largely hypoendemic (less than 10%), with the median below 5% in the areas surveyed. Conclusions: This new map is a plausible representation of the current extent of P. falciparum risk and the most contemporary summary of the population at risk of P. falciparum malaria within these limits. For 1 billion people at risk of unstable malaria transmission, elimination is epidemiologically feasible, and large areas of Africa are more amenable to control than appreciated previously. The release of this information in the public domain will help focus future resources for P. falciparum malaria control and elimination. © 2008 Guerra et al.
Background to the debate: Demographic surveillance - the process of monitoring births, deaths, causes of deaths, and migration in a population over time - is one of the cornerstones of public health research, particularly in investigating and tackling health disparities. An international network of demographic surveillance systems (DSS) now operates, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Thirty-eight DSS sites are coordinated by the International Network for the Continuous Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH). In this debate, Daniel Chandramohan and colleagues argue that DSS data in the INDEPTH database should be made available to all researchers worldwide, not just to those within the INDEPTH Network. Basia Żaba and colleagues argue that the major obstacles to DSS sites sharing data are technical, managerial, and financial rather than proprietorial concerns about analysis and publication. This debate is further discussed in this month's Editorial. © 2008 Chandramohan et al.
BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus permanently colonizes the vestibulum nasi of one-fifth of the human population, which is a risk factor for autoinfection. The precise mechanisms whereby S. aureus colonizes the nose are still unknown. The staphylococcal cell-wall protein clumping factor B (ClfB) promotes adhesion to squamous epithelial cells in vitro and might be a physiologically relevant colonization factor. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We define the role of the staphylococcal cytokeratin-binding protein ClfB in the colonization process by artificial inoculation of human volunteers with a wild-type strain and its single locus ClfB knock-out mutant. The wild-type strain adhered to immobilized recombinant human cytokeratin 10 (CK10) in a dose-dependent manner, whereas the ClfB(-) mutant did not. The wild-type strain, when grown to the stationary phase in a poor growth medium, adhered better to CK10, than when the same strain was grown in a nutrient-rich environment. Nasal cultures show that the mutant strain is eliminated from the nares significantly faster than the wild-type strain, with a median of 3 +/- 1 d versus 7 +/- 4 d (p = 0.006). Furthermore, the wild-type strain was still present in the nares of 3/16 volunteers at the end of follow-up, and the mutant strain was not. CONCLUSIONS: The human colonization model, in combination with in vitro data, shows that the ClfB protein is a major determinant of nasal-persistent S. aureus carriage and is a candidate target molecule for decolonization strategies.
Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 152 (49), pp. 2667-2671. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Optimisation of the antibiotic policy in the Netherlands. XII. The SWAB guideline for antimicrobial eradication of MRSA in carriers
- The 'Stichting Werkgroep Antibioticabeleid' (SWAB; Dutch Working Party on Antibiotics Policy) has developed evidence-based guidelines for the antimicrobial treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers for the eradication of MRSA. - A distinction was made between uncomplicated and complicated carriage depending on the presence or absence of an active MRSA infection, skin lesions, foreign body material, mupirocin resistance and/or extranasal carriage. - The indication for treatment is determined by the consequences of carriage for the carrier and his/her environment, the adverse events of treatment, and the likelihood of a successful treatment. - The first choice of treatment in uncomplicated carriers is a combination of mupirocin nasal ointment and disinfectant soap for 5 days, along with hygiene advice. - If treatment fails, sources in the vicinity of the patient must be sought. - Complicated carriers receive a combination of 2 oral antibiotics, in addition to mupirocin nasal ointment and disinfectant soap, for at least 7 days.
Since their emergence as avian (1996) and zoonotic human pathogens (1997), H5N1 influenza viruses have become endemic among poultry in large parts of Asia, but outbreaks have also been seen in Africa and Europe. Transmission from animals to humans remains sporadic, but mortality of human infection is high (63%). To date, reported cases of human to human transmission have been rare. Patient and laboratory data suggest that highly efficient viral replication and the resulting intensified immune response of the human host are the determining factors in H5N1 pathogenesis and case fatality rate. Therefore, in the management of H5N1 disease (early) suppression of viral replication is key. The underlying biochemistry and cell biology of H5N1 pathogenesis and treatment are briefly discussed in this review.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Since the start of the HIV pandemic, systemic infection with Penicillium marneffei has developed from a very rare diagnosis to the third most common opportunistic infection in HIV co-infected patients in South East Asia. HIV patients who have travelled to or lived in Asia may present with this infection in nonendemic countries, and it has therefore become important for all those working in the field of HIV to recognize, understand and treat this emerging disease. RECENT FINDINGS: The clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of this infection are reviewed. Recent data exploring antigen-based serodiagnostics, the role of newer antifungals such as voriconazole, and the possibility of discontinuation of secondary prophylaxis after immune restoration from highly active antiretrovirals are discussed. SUMMARY: Large series from endemic areas and case reports from nonendemic regions have been published and provide insights into clinical features and presentation. Novel diagnostics are evolving, with galactomannan and other assays looking promising. Present therapy is largely based on noncontrolled studies, and further research into optimal therapy and the potential to discontinue secondary itraconazole prophylaxis is required.
The pathogenesis of the neurological complications of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is unclear. We measured proteins and amino acids in paired plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples in children with severe falciparum malaria, to assess the integrity of the blood brain barrier (BBB), and look for evidence of intrathecal synthesis of immunoglobulins, excitotoxins and brain damage. METHODS: Proteins of different molecular sizes and immunoglobulins were measured in paired CSF and plasma samples in children with falciparum malaria and either impaired consciousness, prostrate, or seizures. RESULTS: The ratio of CSF to plasma albumin (Q(alb)) exceeded the reference values in 42 (51%) children. The CSF concentrations of the excitotoxic amino acid aspartate and many non-polar amino acids, except alanine, were above the reference value, despite normal plasma concentrations. IgM concentrations were elevated in 21 (46%) and the IgM index was raised in 22 (52%). Identical IgG oligoclonal bands were found in 9 (35%), but only one patient had an increase in the CSF IgG without a concomitant increase in plasma indicating intrathecal synthesis of IgG. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the BBB is mildly impaired in some children with severe falciparum malaria, and this impairment is not confined to cerebral malaria, but also occurs in children with prostrate malaria and to a lesser extent the children with malaria and seizures. There is evidence of intrathecal synthesis of immunoglobulins in children with malaria, but this requires further investigation. This finding, together with raised level of excitotoxic amino acid aspartate could contribute to the pathogenesis of neurological complications in malaria.
J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (6), pp. 469-474. | Citations: 23 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2008. Specimens and culture media for the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever.
BACKGROUND: Culture of S. Typhi is necessary for the definitive diagnosis of typhoid fever and provides isolates for antibiotic susceptibility testing and epidemiological studies. However, current methods are not fully optimised and sourcing culture media and bottles for culture media may be problematic. METHODOLOGY: In two hospital laboratories in Viet Nam, comparisons of media for blood and stool culture were conducted. The effect of the volume of blood or stool on culture positivity rate was examined and direct plating of the blood buffy coat was trialed. RESULTS: For 148 suspected typhoid fever cases, ox bile broth (58 positive) and brain-heart infusion broth containing saponin (63 positive), performed equally well. For 69 confirmed adult typhoid fever cases, large-volume (15 ml) blood culture gave the same sensitivity as 1 ml of bone marrow culture. For 44 confirmed typhoid fever cases, the direct plating of the buffy coat was positive in 28 cases. For 263 positive stool cultures, selenite F and selenite mannitol performed equally well and culturing 2 g rather than 1g increased the isolation rate by 10.5%. CONCLUSIONS: For the diagnosis of typhoid fever by blood culture the medium should be a rich nutrient broth containing a lysing agent. In adults 1 ml bone marrow or 15 ml blood culture gave similar results. Where isolates are needed for susceptibility testing or epidemiological studies, but resources for culture are scarce, direct plating of the blood buffy coat can be used with a 50% fall in sensitivity compared to standard blood culture.
Antivir Ther, 13 Suppl 2 (SUPPL. 2), pp. 115-121. | Citations: 44 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. HIV drug resistance threshold survey using specimens from voluntary counselling and testing sites in Hanoi, Vietnam.
BACKGROUND: In countries where antiretroviral therapy has been available or is being rapidly expanded, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends surveillance for transmitted HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) by threshold surveillance methods using specimens from antenatal clinics or voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) sites. The aim of this study was to implement the HIVDR threshold survey in VCT sites in Vietnam, where HIV prevalence is high. Estimating transmitted resistance in the infected population will enable the appropriateness of current antiretroviral drug regimens to be assessed and will inform plans for future HIVDR surveillance. METHODS: Consecutive blood specimens were collected from 70 newly diagnosed HIV-positive clients 18-24 years of age at two sites in Hanoi, Vietnam. Informed consent and serum specimens were obtained from each eligible client, with serum frozen at -70 degrees C until shipping to Thailand for resistance testing using the TruGene system. RESULTS: From February until August 2006, 559 clients were eligible to participate in this survey. Of the 535 clients (95.7%) who agreed to participate, 70 (13%) were HIV-positive and were included in the survey. Of the 70 specimens sent for genotyping, 52 consecutive samples were amplified, 49 of which could be genotyped. Only 1 of 49 genotyped specimens had mutations associated with drug resistance (L74V and Y181C) in the reverse transcriptase gene, indicating that the prevalence of transmitted HIVDR to all drugs and drug classes evaluated was <5%. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of transmitted HIVDR was low in Hanoi as determined using threshold surveillance methods. The Ministry of Health plans to repeat this survey methodology in one more province and to confirm these findings by expanded HIVDR surveillance.
Malaria eradication raises many economic, financial and institutional challenges. This paper reviews these challenges, drawing on evidence from previous efforts to eradicate malaria, with a special focus on resource-poor settings; summarizes more recent evidence on the challenges, drawing on the literature on the difficulties of scaling-up malaria control and strengthening health systems more broadly; and explores the implications of these bodies of evidence for the current call for elimination and intensified control. Economic analyses dating from the eradication era, and more recent analyses, suggest that, in general, the benefits of malaria control outweigh the costs, though few studies have looked at the relative returns to eradication versus long-term control. Estimates of financial costs are scanty and difficult to compare. In the 1960s, the consolidation phase appeared to cost less than $1 per capita and, in 1988, was estimated to be $2.31 per capita (both in 2006 prices). More recent estimates for high coverage of control measures suggest a per capita cost of several dollars. Institutional challenges faced by malaria eradication included limits to the rule of law (a major problem where malaria was concentrated in border areas with movement of people associated with illegal activities), the existence and performance of local implementing structures, and political sustainability at national and global levels. Recent analyses of the constraints to scaling-up malaria control, together with the historical evidence, are used to discuss the economic, financial and institutional challenges that face the renewed call for eradication and intensified control. The paper concludes by identifying a research agenda covering: issues of the allocative efficiency of malaria eradication, especially using macro-economic modelling to estimate the benefits and costs of malaria eradication and intensified control, and studies of the links between malaria control and economic development, the costs and consequences of the various tools and mixes of tools employed in control and eradication, issues concerning the extension of coverage of interventions and service delivery approaches, especially those that can reach the poorest, research on the processes of formulating and implementing malaria control and eradication policies, at both international and national levels, research on financing issues, at global and national levels.
BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria are increasingly being considered for routine use in Africa. However, many RDTs are available and selecting the ideal test for a particular setting is challenging. The appropriateness of RDT choice depends in part on patient population and epidemiological setting, and on decision makers' priorities. The model presented (available online) can be used by decision makers to evaluate alternative RDTs and assess the circumstances under which their use is justified on economic grounds. METHODS: An interactive model based on a decision-tree structure and a cost-benefit framework was designed to compare different diagnostic strategies. Variables included in the model can be modified by users, including RDT and treatment costs, test accuracies (sensitivity and specificity), probabilities for developing severe illness, case-fatality rates, and clinician response to negative test results. To illustrate how the model can be used, a comparison is made of presumptive treatment with two available RDTs, one detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP2) and one detecting Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH). Data inputs were obtained from a study comparing the RDTs at seven sites in Uganda. RESULTS: Applying the model in the illustrative Ugandan context demonstrates that if only direct expenditures are considered, the pLDH test is the preferred option for adult patients except in high transmission settings, while young children are best treated presumptively in all settings. When health outcomes are considered, the HRP2 test gains an advantage in almost all settings and for all age groups. Introducing possible adverse consequences of using an antimalarial into the analysis, such as adverse drug reactions, or the development of resistance, considerably strengthens the case for using RDTs. When the model is adjusted to account for less than complete adherence to test results, the efficiency of using RDTs drops sharply. CONCLUSION: Model output demonstrates that which test is preferable varies by location, depending on factors such as malaria transmission intensity and the costs and accuracies of the RDTs under consideration. Despite the uncertainties and complexities involved, adaptable models such as the one presented here can serve as a practical tool to assist policy makers in efficient deployment of new technologies.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a biothreat agent and an important natural pathogen, causing melioidosis in humans and animals. A type III secretion system (TTSS-3) has been shown to be critical for virulence. Because TTSS components from other pathogens have been used successfully as diagnostic agents and as experimental vaccines, it was investigated whether this was the case for BipB, BipC and BipD, components of B. pseudomallei's TTSS-3. The sequences of BipB, BipC and BipD were found to be highly conserved among B. pseudomallei and B. mallei isolates. A collection of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for each Bip protein was obtained. Most recognized both native and denatured Bip protein. Burkholderia pseudomallei or B. mallei did not express detectable BipB or BipD under the growth conditions used. However, anti-BipD mAbs did recognize the TTSS needle structures of a Shigella strain engineered to express BipD. The authors did not find that BipB, BipC or BipD are protective antigens because vaccination of mice with any single protein did not result in protection against experimental melioidosis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) studies showed that human melioidosis patients had antibodies to BipB and BipD. However, these ELISAs had low diagnostic accuracy in endemic regions, possibly due to previous patient exposure to B. pseudomallei.
BACKGROUND: Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) afflicts 2%-10% of adult men. Available therapies offer little or no proven benefit. Because acupuncture represents an attractive "natural" therapy, we compared the efficacy of acupuncture to sham acupuncture for CP/CPPS. METHODS: Participants met US National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus criteria for CP/CPPS, were aged > or = 20 years old, and had a total score > or = 15 on the NIH Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) and symptoms for at least 3 of the preceding 6 months. They were randomized 1:1 to acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Treatment consisted of twice-weekly 30-minute sessions for 10 weeks (20 sessions total) without needle stimulation, herbs, or adjuvants. The primary response criterion was a 6-point decrease from baseline to week 10 in NIH-CPSI total score (range 0-43). RESULTS: Thirty-two (73%) of 44 participants responded in the acupuncture group compared with 21 (47%) of 45 sham group participants (relative risk 1.81, 95% confidence interval, 1.3-3.1, P = .02). Long-term responses 24 weeks after completing therapy without additional treatment occurred in 14 (32%) of 44 acupuncture group participants and in 6 (13%) of 45 sham group participants (relative risk 2.39, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-5.6, P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: After 10 weeks of treatment, acupuncture proved almost twice as likely as sham treatment to improve CP/CPPS symptoms. Participants receiving acupuncture were 2.4-fold more likely to experience long-term benefit than were participants receiving sham acupuncture.
The gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei is a saprophyte and the cause of melioidosis. Natural infection is most commonly reported in northeast Thailand and northern Australia but also occurs in other parts of Asia, South America, and the Caribbean. Melioidosis develops after bacterial inoculation or inhalation, often in relation to occupational exposure in areas where the disease is endemic. Clinical infection has a peak incidence between the fourth and fifth decades; with diabetes mellitus, excess alcohol consumption, chronic renal failure, and chronic lung disease acting as independent risk factors. Most affected adults ( approximately 80%) in northeast Thailand, northern Australia, and Malaysia have >/=1 underlying diseases. Symptoms of melioidosis may be exhibited many years after exposure, commonly in association with an alteration in immune status. Manifestations of disease are extremely broad ranging and form a spectrum from rapidly life-threatening sepsis to chronic low-grade infection. A common clinical picture is that of sepsis associated with bacterial dissemination to distant sites, frequently causing concomitant pneumonia and liver and splenic abscesses. Infection may also occur in bone, joints, skin, soft tissue, or the prostate. The clinical symptoms of melioidosis mimic those of many other diseases; thus, differentiating between melioidosis and other acute and chronic bacterial infections, including tuberculosis, is often impossible. Confirmation of the diagnosis relies on good practices for specimen collection, laboratory culture, and isolation of B. pseudomallei. The overall mortality rate of infected persons is 50% in northeast Thailand (35% in children) and 19% in Australia.
PURPOSE: We determined the clinical efficacy and safety of terazosin in the treatment of patients with female lower urinary tract symptoms. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 100 females 20 to 70 years old who met the inclusion criteria of total International Prostate Symptom Score 8 or greater, symptom duration 1 or more months, and did not meet any exclusion criteria were entered into the study. Subjects were randomized to receive terazosin or placebo in titrated dose from 1 mg od, 1 mg twice daily to 2 mg twice daily during 14 weeks. Successful treatment outcomes use primary end point of International Prostate Symptom Score quality of life 2 or less and secondary end point of total International Prostate Symptom Score 7 or less. Other outcome measures included International Prostate Symptom Score individual item scores, King's Health Questionnaire quality of life domains, objective assessment parameters of 24-hour frequency volume chart, maximum flow rate and post-void residual urine. RESULTS: Using a primary end point, 32 of 40 (80%) evaluable terazosin subjects responded in contrast to 22 of 40 (55%) evaluable placebo subjects (p <0.02). The secondary end point revealed a successful outcome in 85% of terazosin subjects vs 55% in placebo (p <0.01). Of the 7 International Prostate Symptom Score individual item scores, only item scores of frequency and straining showed statistically significant reductions with terazosin (p <0.01). All King's Health Questionnaire quality of life domains except domain of severity measures showed statistically significant improvement with terazosin (p <0.05). There were no differences between treatment groups in all objective assessment parameters. Of all evaluable subjects 23 of 40 (58%) on placebo experienced adverse events vs 16 of 40 (40%) on terazosin (p >0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Terazosin proved to be more effective and safe than placebo in patients with female lower urinary tract symptoms.
BACKGROUND: Prostatitis describes a combination of infectious diseases (acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis), chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We employed evidence-based methods to review the epidemiology of prostatitis syndromes. RESULTS: The prevalence of prostatitis symptoms could be compared in five studies surveying 10,617 men. Overall, 873 participants met various criteria for prostatitis, representing an overall rate of 8.2%, with prevalence ranging from 2.2 to 9.7%. A history of sexually transmitted diseases was associated with an increased risk for prostatitis symptoms. Men reporting a history of prostatitis symptoms had a substantially increased rate of benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms and prostate cancer. In one study, the incidence of physician-diagnosed prostatitis was 4.9 cases per 1000 person-years. Two studies suggest that about one-third of men reporting prostatitis symptoms had resolution after 1 year. Patients with previous episodes and more severe symptoms are at higher risk for chronic pelvic pain. DISCUSSION: The prevalence of prostatitis symptoms is high, comparable to rates of ischaemic heart disease and diabetes. Clinical evaluation appears necessary to verify that prostatitis is responsible for patients' symptoms. Prostatitis symptoms may increase a man's risk for benign prostate hypertrophy, lower urinary tract symptoms and prostate cancer. We need to define natural history and consequences of prostatitis, develop better algorithms for diagnosis and treatment, and develop strategies for prevention.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of sexual dysfunction in our primary care referral population. METHODS: Participants seeking treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) were recruited from general urology clinics. The subjects completed the National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index, International Index of Erectile Function-5, and selected questions from the University of Washington Symptom Score. Additional information on demographics and medical and treatment history were also obtained. Sexual dysfunction was defined as self-reported erectile dysfunction (ED) or ejaculatory difficulty, or both. RESULTS: Of 296 participants with CP/CPPS, 214 (72.3%) reported sexual dysfunction. The National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index total score averaged 22.5 +/- 6.9 for participants with sexual dysfunction compared with 20.4 +/- 7.8 for participants who did not report sexual dysfunction (P = 0.03). Of the 214 participants with sexual dysfunction, 54 (25.0%) complained of ED only, 71 (33.4%) complained of ejaculatory difficulties only, and 89 (41.6%) complained of both ED and ejaculatory difficulties. Men reporting both ED and ejaculatory difficulty reported worse CP/CPPS symptoms (analysis of variance, P = 0.042) and worse quality of life (analysis of variance, P = 0.006) than men without sexual dysfunction. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual dysfunction was reported by almost three quarters of patients with CP/CPPS. Patients with CP/CPPS and sexual dysfunction experienced substantially worse symptoms, particularly worse quality of life, than other patients with CP/CPPS. Sexual dysfunction merits consideration as an important aspect of CP/CPPS and a potential outcome measure.
BACKGROUND: In developing countries, there are few data that characterize the disease burden attributable to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and clearly define which age group to target for vaccine intervention. METHODS: Six hundred thirty-five children, recruited during the period 2002-2003, were intensively monitored until each experienced 3 epidemics of RSV infection. RSV infection was diagnosed using immunofluorescence of nasal washing specimens collected at each episode of acute respiratory infection. Incidence estimates were adjusted for seasonality of RSV exposure. RESULTS: For 1187 child-years of observation (CYO), a total of 409 (365 primary and 82 repeat) episodes of RSV infection were identified. Adjusted incidence estimates of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), severe LRTI, and hospital admission were 90 cases per 1000 CYO, 43 cases per 1000 CYO, and 10 cases per 1000 CYO, respectively, and corresponding estimates among infants were 104 cases per 1000 CYO, 66 cases per 1000 CYO, and 13 cases per 1000 CYO, respectively. The proportion of cases of all-cause LRTI, and severe LRTI and hospitalizations attributable to RSV in the cohort was 13%, 19%, and 5%, respectively. Fifty-five percent to 65% of RSV-associated LRTI and severe LRTI occurred in children aged >6 months. The risk of RSV disease following primary symptomatic infection remained significant beyond the first year of life, and one-quarter of all reinfections were associated with LRTI. CONCLUSIONS: RSV accounts for a substantial proportion of the total respiratory disease in this rural population; we estimate that 85,000 cases of severe LRTI per year occur in infants in Kenya. The majority of this morbidity occurs during late infancy and early childhood--ages at which the risk of disease following infection remains significant. Disease resulting from reinfection is common. Our results inform the debate on the target age group and effectiveness of a vaccine.
Antibodies that inhibit Plasmodium falciparum invasion of erythrocytes are believed to be an important component of immunity against malaria. During blood-stage infection, P. falciparum can use different pathways for erythrocyte invasion by varying the expression and/or utilization of members of 2 invasion ligand families: the erythrocyte-binding antigens (EBAs) and reticulocyte-binding homologs (PfRhs). Invasion pathways can be broadly classified into 2 groups based on the use of sialic acid (SA) on the erythrocyte surface by parasite ligands. We found that inhibitory antibodies are acquired by malaria-exposed Kenyan children and adults against ligands of SA-dependent and SA-independent invasion pathways, and the ability of antibodies to inhibit erythrocyte invasion depended on the pathway used by P. falciparum isolates. Differential inhibition of P. falciparum lines that varied in their use of specific EBA and PfRh proteins pointed to these ligand families as major targets of inhibitory antibodies. Antibodies against recombinant EBA and PfRh proteins were acquired in an age-associated manner, and inhibitory antibodies against EBA175 appeared prominent among some individuals. These findings suggest that variation in invasion phenotype might have evolved as a mechanism that facilitates immune evasion by P. falciparum and that a broad inhibitory response against multiple ligands may be required for effective immunity.
African Journal of Neurological Sciences, 27 (1), | Show Abstract2008. Biphasic clinical course among Kenyan children with cerebral malaria
Background: Cerebral malaria is the most severe neurological complication of Falciparum malaria. It is associated with a significant risk of death and neurological sequelae. A biphasic clinical picture is associated with an even greater risk of neurological sequelae. Objective: To examine the incidence and clinical characteristics of a biphasic clinical course in children with cerebral malaria and to study its relationship with outcome Method: We undertook a retrospective study of children admitted to Kilifi District Hospital with a history of impaired consciousness and Falciparum infection between January 1994 and December 2004. We identified children with a biphasic clinical course and examined their clinical characteristics and outcome against that of those with a single clinical course. Results: Out of 587 children with cerebral malaria, 11 were found to have a biphasic clinical course often heralded by recurrence of seizures. This clinical pattern was associated with a greater incidence of neurological sequelae but no death. Conclusion: We speculate that a biphasic clinical course may occur due to recurrent seizures, co-morbidity and reperfusion of cerebral areas previously clogged by parasitized red blood cells. A prospective examination of this group may shed more light on causality and enlighten further on pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. © 2002 African Journal of Neurological Sciences. All rights reserved.
PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 2 (1), | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Helminth infection and eosinophilia and the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in 1- to 6-year-old children in a malaria endemic area.
BACKGROUND: Helminth infection is common in malaria endemic areas, and an interaction between the two would be of considerable public health importance. Animal models suggest that helminth infections may increase susceptibility to malaria, but epidemiological data has been limited and contradictory. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a vaccine trial, we studied 387 one- to six-year-old children for the effect of helminth infections on febrile Plasmodium falciparum malaria episodes. Gastrointestinal helminth infection and eosinophilia were prevalent (25% and 50% respectively), but did not influence susceptibility to malaria. Hazard ratios were 1 for gastrointestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.6-1.6) and 0.85 and 0.85 for mild and marked eosinophilia, respectively (95% CI 0.56-1.76 and 0.69-1.96). Incident rate ratios for multiple episodes were 0.83 for gastro-intestinal helminth infection (95% CI 0.5-1.33) and 0.86 and 0.98 for mild and marked eosinophilia (95% CI 0.5-1.4 and 0.6-1.5). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: There was no evidence that infection with gastrointestinal helminths or urinary schistosomiasis increased susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this study. Larger studies including populations with a greater prevalence of helminth infection should be undertaken.
There is wide acknowledgement of the need for community engagement in biomedical research, particularly in international settings. Recent debates have described theoretical approaches to identifying situations where this is most critical and potential mechanisms to achieve it. However, there is relatively little published experience of community engagement in practice. A major component of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) Wellcome Trust Research Programme is centred on Kilifi District General Hospital and surrounding community of 240,000 local residents. Documented community perceptions of the research centre are generally positive, but many indicate a low understanding of research and therapeutic misconceptions of its activities. As in other settings, these misunderstandings have contributed to concerns and rumours, and potentially undermine ethical aspects of research and local trust in the institution. Through a series of consultative activities, a community engagement strategy has been developed in Kilifi to strengthen mutual understanding between community members and the Centre. One important component is the establishment of a representative local resident network in different geographic locations commonly involved in research, to supplement existing communication channels. Early implementation of the strategy has provid ed new and diverse opportunities for dialogue, interaction and partnership building. Through the complex social interactions inherent in the community engagement strategy, the centre aims to build context specific ethical relations with local residents and to strengthen understanding of how ethical principles can be applied in practice. Evaluations over time will assess the effectiveness and sustainability of these strategies, provide generalisable information for similar research settings, and contribute to debates on the universality of ethical principles for research. This paper aims to summarise the rationale for community engagement in research, drawing on published literature and local findings, to outline the process of community engagement in Kilifi and to describe issues emerging from its development and early implementation. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The ethics of medical research have grown as an area of expertise and debate in recent years, with two broad approaches emerging in relation to transnational research: (1) the refinement of guidelines and strengthening of review, processes primarily to protect the right of individual research participants and strengthen interpersonal relations at the micro-level; and (2) considering more centrally, as crucial ethical concerns, the wider interests of whole populations, the functioning of research institutions, the processes of collaboration, and the ethics of inequitable international relations. We see the two areas of debate and action as complementary, and believe that social science conducted in and around transnational medical research environments can bring these two perspectives together in a more 'situated ethics' of research. To explore this idea for medical research in Africa, we organized a conference in December 2005 in Kilifi, Kenya. In this introduction we outline the two emerging approaches to medical ethics, summarise each of seven papers selected from the conference for inclusion in this special issue on ethics and ethnography, and finally highlight two areas of lively debate at the conference itself: the appropriateness and value of ethics guidelines and review boards for medical research; and the ethical review of social science research. Together, the papers and debates point to the importance of focusing on the ethics of relationships and on justice in both biomedicine and social science research, and on giving greater voice and visibility to the field staff who often play a crucial and under-supported role in 'doing ethics' in the field. They also point to the potential value of social science research on the range of relationships operating at different levels and time scales in medical research, including those surrounding community engagement activities, and the role and functioning of ethics review boards. We conclude by highlighting the ethical priority of capacity strengthening in medical research, social science and research ethics in Africa to ensure that local and national priorities and concerns are considered at both the micro and macro levels. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In this randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial our objectives were to determine if acetazolamide is capable of preventing high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) in trekkers traveling between 4250 m (Pheriche)\4350 m (Dingboche) and 5000 m (Lobuje) in Nepal; to determine if acetazolamide decreases pulmonary artery systolic pressures (PASP) at high altitude; and to determine if there is an association with PASP and signs and symptoms of HAPE. Participants received either acetazolamide 250 mg PO BID or placebo at Pheriche\Dingboche and were reassessed in Lobuje. The Lake Louise Consensus Criteria were used for the diagnosis of HAPE, and cardiac ultrasonography was used to measure the velocity of tricuspid regurgitation and estimate PASP. Complete measurements were performed on 339 of the 364 subjects (164 in the placebo group, 175 in the acetazolamide group). No cases of HAPE were observed in either study group nor were differences in the signs and symptoms of HAPE found between the two groups. Mean PASP values did not differ significantly between the acetazolamide and placebo groups (31.3 and 32.6 mmHg, respectively). An increasing number of signs and symptoms of HAPE was associated with elevated PASP (p < 0.01). The efficacy of acetazolamide against acute mountain sickness, however, was significant with a 21.9% incidence in the placebo group compared to 10.2 % in the acetazolamide group (p < 0.01). Given the lack of cases of HAPE in either group, we can draw no conclusions about the efficacy of acetazolamide in preventing HAPE, but the absence of effect on PASP suggests that any effect may be minor possibly owing to partial acclimatization during the trek up to 4200 m.
J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (4), pp. 308-312. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Antibodies to the Vi capsule of Salmonella Typhi in the serum of typhoid patients and healthy control subjects from a typhoid endemic region.
BACKGROUND: There is very little published data on the antibody response to the Vi capsular polysaccharide (Vi-CPS) of S. Typhi during naturally acquired typhoid fever in an endemic area. METHODOLOGY: An indirect ELISA, using tyraminated, purified Vi-CPS, was used to assay anti-Vi-CPS antibodies from typhoid fever cases and controls living in the Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta region of Viet Nam. RESULTS: Antibody response to Vi-CPS is significantly higher in typhoid patients who have been ill for more than two weeks than those who are in the first two weeks of illness. The anti-Vi-CPS response is similar for adults and children. Anti-Vi-CPS antibodies can be detected in the sera of non-typhoid patients. The frequency with which this occurs increases with age, probably reflecting increased exposure to S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: Anti-Vi_CPS is elicited in persons infected with S. Typhi but only after a prolonged duration of illness. Vaccine trials have shown anti-Vi-CPS antibodies to be protective; thus early treatment of typhoid patients, i.e. in the first two week of illness before the Vi-CPS response is elicited, may inhibit the development of this protective immune response.
Med J Aust, 189 (11-12), pp. 672. | Show Abstract2008. Hospitals are dangerous places.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of day of the week on the odds of being discharged alive from an intensive care unit (ICU). DESIGN: A longitudinal analysis of risk of discharge by day of the week. SETTING AND PATIENTS: 4569 patients admitted to the ICU of St Thomas' Hospital, London, from 2002 to 2006. RESULTS: The odds of being discharged alive were lowest on the weekend and literally climbed during the week. CONCLUSION: Our results show a frightening pattern of discharge from an ICU ward, most likely caused by a complex web of specialist availability and patient demand.
BACKGROUND: An ideal computer keyboard for clinical use would be easily cleanable and cleaned by staff, meet acceptable levels of usability, and not attract hospital bacteria. METHODS: In vitro studies were performed to demonstrate bacterial transfer between keyboard surfaces and gloves. This was followed by a usability study and a controlled trial of keyboard contamination in an intensive care unit both with and without an alarm to indicate the need for cleaning. Eight cleanable keyboards were placed at random beds and compared with standard keyboards. RESULTS: Bacteria were most easily removed from a flat silicone-coated surface. The total viable count on flat keyboards with an alarm was lower than that on standard or other cleanable keyboards (median, 19 colony-forming units [cfu] (interquartile range, 7 to 40 cfu), n = 34; 65 cfu (33 to 140 cfu), n = 50; and 40 cfu (21 to 57 cfu), n = 80). Compliance with hand hygiene before touching the standard keyboard was 27%, but the alarmed keyboard was cleaned on 87% of occasions on which the alarm was triggered. The usability study found the flat profile of the cleanable keyboard did not interfere with routine use, except for touch-typing. CONCLUSION: The flat keyboard with an alarm is easy to clean, and it use is associated with better cleaning compliance.
There are several new treatments and vaccine technologies in clinical development for childhood malaria that have arrived in the clinical phase of evaluation during the past 5-10 years. This is a long-awaited change as until this time there had been little in the pipeline. As these products progress, evaluating them in the populations for whom they are being developed is becoming increasingly challenging. Many more capable trial sites are required and thousands of children and their parents need to be willing to take part in all the clinical trials that will be necessary if even a handful of these products make it through to obtaining a marketing approval license. Then, beyond licensure, these products will need to be assessed in more 'real-life' phase IV trials to establish whether they can truly impact the high level of mortality that malaria brings to the under-five population in Africa. Here we explore the issues that face both the trial sites and the product developers and present how this opportunity should be utilised to develop experienced African clinical researchers and facilities alongside getting these products through into public health use.
The foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic of 2001 was used to investigate herd breakdown (HBD) with bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in totally restocked herds of cattle. By August 2004, 2941 restocked cattle herds, with cattle movements from before and after 2001, had been tested for bTB for the first time since restocking. A total of 6% (177) of these herds broke down at the first bTB test. A binomial logistic regression model with HBD (at least one reactor bovine) at the first test after restocking as the outcome was used to investigate risks associated with HBD. The final model contained three risk factors. There was an increased risk for HBD in restocked herds with every log increase in herd size with an OR=1.38 (CI 1.16-1.64) to a maximum OR of 10.75. When there was a history of bTB on the restocked farm before 2001 the OR, with CI not including unity, were 5.92, 4.63, 3.8 and 2.9 for last HBD in 2000, 1999, 1998 and 1997, respectively, indicating a persistence in increased risk for restocked herds from farms with a history of HBD in the previous herd before restocking, i.e. a different population of cattle. Finally, for every log increase in the number of cattle purchased from herds with a greater than biennial frequency of testing for bTB in the previous 8 years (i.e. perceived high risk herds for bTB) there was an OR=1.35 (95% CI 1.22-1.49). The maximum OR was 9.27. These results indicate that both introduction of bTB through the purchase of cattle from farms with a high perceived risk of bTB infection and persistence of bTB on the restocked farm, (not the farm's original herd), were associated with an increased risk of HBD in the newly formed herds after restocking.
OBJECTIVE: As residents of sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk for HIV and cholera, it is biologically plausible that immune suppression caused by HIV infection predisposes to cholera. Our aim was to assess the potential association between both diseases. METHODS: We conducted a case-control study in Beira, Mozambique, a high-risk area for HIV and cholera. Between 1 January 2005 and 30 June 2006, experienced counsellors invited 132 suspected cholera cases and 528 age- and sex-matched controls to an HIV counselling and testing centre. RESULTS: Forty (30%) of the invited cases and 127 (24%) of the invited controls came for HIV testing. No significant differences in demographic and socio-economic baseline characteristics were detected between participants and non-participants. Twenty five of 167 (15%) individuals who underwent testing were found HIV-positive. The probability of a positive HIV-test was highest in participants between 40 and 49 years; 6 of 14 (43%) tested HIV-positive. Nine of 40 (23%) cholera cases were found to be HIV-infected compared with 16 of 127 (13%) controls (adjusted odds ratio 2.6; 95% CI 0.9-7.5; P = 0.08). DISCUSSION: The findings suggest that in a cholera-endemic area, HIV infection is associated with an increased risk for cholera. More research in HIV endemic settings is needed to confirm the findings and to explore the effect of HIV-related immunosuppression on the transmission of cholera.
Surveillance data for Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis incidents and isolations from food animals in Great Britain from 1990 to 2005 were analysed to detect any trends and provide the basis for a comparison between phage types (pt) and antimicrobial sensitivity patterns in human beings and animals. During 2001 to 2005 there was a decrease in incidents involving most species except ducks. Only the numbers of incidents involving pts 6, 6a, 9b and 14b (in ducks) and pts 6a and 13a (in mammals) increased significantly during this period, whereas there were 93 per cent fewer incidents involving pt 4 than in 1990 to 2000. After adjustment for pt, the isolates from ducks were more resistant to nalidixic acid, tetracyclines and sulfonamides, and were more likely to be multiresistant than isolates from chickens. Isolates from turkeys tended to be more resistant to sulfonamides than isolates from chickens. pts 1, 5a, 6, 6a and 35 had the highest level of resistance after adjusting for species. During 2001 to 2005 there was an increase in resistance among pts 1, 6 and 7, in most cases involving nalidixic acid.
Revista Brasileira de Ciência Avícola, 10 (1), pp. 1-9. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Salmonella Enteritidis in commercial layer flocks in Europe: legislative background, on-farm sampling and main challenges
A follow-on study was carried out on 23 holdings identified as Salmonella positive in the 2004/2005 European Union (EU) baseline survey of Salmonella in laying hens. Eleven of 13 cage and 4/7 floor houses remained positive for Salmonella when the new flock was tested, and from 10/13 cage and 3/7 floor houses a Salmonella of the same serovar/phage type as found in the EU survey was isolated. There was a high correlation between the level of contamination in the houses at the time of the EU survey and in the follow-on flock. On seven occasions the house identified as positive in the EU survey was sampled after cleaning and disinfection but before a new flock was placed, and in all of them Salmonella could be isolated from the houses. The observed number of infected houses in infected holdings suggests that the holding-level prevalence in the United Kingdom would be about 21% higher than the results obtained in the EU survey.
AIMS: To investigate the performance of the Salmonella National Control Programme (NCP) sampling/testing methods in laying flocks of domestic fowl. METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty-five visits were made to 69 flocks representative of the main production systems (cage, barn and free-range) infected with Salmonella. In each visit, three methodologies were compared: (i) the European Union (EU) baseline survey method (five faeces and two dust samples); (ii) an in-house (Veterinary Laboratories Agency, VLA) 'wet' method that involved collecting 10 dust and 10 faeces samples into jars with buffered peptone water; and (iii) a method involving two samples of pooled faeces and one of dust (cultured as one sample of each type), which has been adopted for the NCP for laying flocks across the EU. CONCLUSIONS: The 'wet' method was the most sensitive, and the NCP the least, although individual NCP samples were the most sensitive ones. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: The apparent lower sensitivity of the NCP method may be compensated by repeated sampling of flocks (twice during rear and several times during lay). Sampling using VLA methodology should be advocated for farms aiming to disclose low-level Salmonella before restrictions on the sale of eggs from Salmonella Enteritidis or Salmonella Typhimurium-infected flocks are in place.
Between October 2005 and September 2006, all European Union member states were required to carry out standardised surveys of the prevalence of Salmonella in broiler flock holdings to establish baseline data from which to derive national targets for disease reduction. In the uk 382 holdings were sampled, 41 of which were positive for Salmonella, giving an estimated weighted prevalence of 10.7 per cent (95 per cent confidence interval [ci] 8.1 to 13.1 per cent). The serotype most frequently isolated was Salmonella Ohio, with a weighted prevalence of 2.2 per cent (95 per cent ci 1.2 to 3.7 per cent), followed by Salmonella Kedougou at 1.7 per cent (95 per cent ci 0.9 to 3.2 per cent). There were no isolates of Salmonella Enteritidis and only a single isolation of Salmonella Typhimurium (0.2 per cent, 95 per cent ci 0.0 to 1.6 per cent). Of the three other serotypes given top priority by the eu owing to their public health significance, Salmonella Virchow was isolated from one holding, but Salmonella Hadar and Salmonella Infantis were not detected on any of the holdings.
The detection of Salmonella in primary poultry production is an issue of great concern in the European Union (EU), since control of this zoonotic disease is in part based on the reduction of the prevalence at the farm level. Success of detection is likely to be highly dependent on the choice of an adequate sampling procedure combined with a sensitive culture method. In poultry farms 'naturally pooled' faeces/litter and dust are the matrices of choice. In floor systems boot swabs are the preferred method for the collection of faeces. A wide range of culture methods is available, but ISO 6579:2002 (Annex D) is currently the standard for poultry environmental samples in the EU. In this review, the authors discuss in detail the range of sampling and culture methodologies for Salmonella in poultry farms. The review also covers sampling and testing of poultry hatcheries, live birds and poultry carcasses.
The detection of Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (SE) in eggs is hampered by a typically low prevalence of contaminated eggs, the low number of SE organisms in such eggs, and the presence of inhibitory substances in the egg albumin. For these reasons, the analysis of large pools of eggs is normally necessary, which presents logistic and microbiological challenges associated with a low number of target organisms from a large volume of sample matrix. In some studies using artificially inoculated eggs the standard procedure for Salmonella culture consisting of pre-enrichment, followed by selective enrichment and plating has been replaced by incubation of the egg pools at 25 degrees C to 37 degrees C followed by direct plating. However, in most cases using pools of naturally contaminated eggs, it may be necessary to enhance the traditional three-step method by addition of antibiotics or iron supplements.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,2008. Simple, rapid and sensitive detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi by loop-isothermal DNA amplification
This case-control study detected and characterized Shigella and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) types among Vietnamese children less than 5 years old. In 249 children with diarrhea and 124 controls, Shigella spp. was an important cause of diarrhea (P < 0.05). We used multiplex PCR and DNA probes to detect enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), attaching and effacing E. coli (A/EEC), verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). The prevalences of DEC in the diarrhea and control groups were 25.7 and 10.5%, respectively. In 62 children with diarrhea, 64 DEC strains included 22 EAggEC (8.8%), 2 EIEC (0.8%), 23 A/EEC (9.2%), 7 EPEC (2.8%), and 10 ETEC strains (4.0%). Among controls, 13 DEC strains included 5 EAggEC strains (4.0%), 7 A/EEC strains (5.6%), and 1 EPEC strain. The characterization of DEC by serotypes, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, virulence genes, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed the occurrence of many different and highly heterogenic DEC subtypes, but common serotypes were found among ETEC, EIEC and EPEC, respectively. Serotyping was used to distinguish between A/EEC and EPEC. However, A/EEC, EPEC, and EAggEC were isolated at high frequency from both cases and controls. Further in-depth studies are needed to better understand important virulence factors of DEC, especially A/EEC, EPEC, and EAggEC.
BMJ, 337 (aug28 1), pp. a1110. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Managing drug resistant tuberculosis.
BACKGROUND: Intermittent preventive (or presumptive) treatment of infants (IPTi), the administration of a curative anti-malarial dose to infants whether or not they are known to be infected, is being considered as a new strategy for malaria control. Five of the six trials using sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) for IPTi showed protective efficacies (PEs) against clinical malaria ranging from 20.1 - 33.3% whilst one, the Ifakara study, showed a protective efficacy of 58.6%. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The possible mechanisms that could explain the differences in the reported PE of IPTi were examined by comparing output from a mathematical model to data from the six published IPTi trials. RESULTS: Under stable transmission, the PE of IPTi predicted by the model was comparable with the observed PEs in all but the Ifakara study (ratio of the mean predicted PE to that observed was 1.02, range 0.39 - 1.59). When a reduction in the incidence of infection during the study was included in the model, the predicted PE of IPTi increased and extended into the second year of life, as observed in the Ifakara study. CONCLUSION: A decrease in malaria transmission during the study period may explain part of the difference in observed PEs of IPTi between sites and the extended period of protection into the second year of life observed in the Ifakara study. This finding of continued benefit of interventions in settings of decreasing transmission may explain why rebound of clinical malaria was absent in the large scale trials of insecticide-treated bed nets.
High Alt Med Biol, 9 (4), pp. 349. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more2008. Low-dose acetylsalicylic Acid analog and acetazolamide for prevention of acute mountain sickness.
OBJECTIVE: Sherpas are well-known for their physical strength at high altitudes. They adapt to high altitude so well that little acute or chronic mountain sickness has been documented in them. The possible genetic basis for this adaptation is, however, unclear. The objective of this study was to elucidate the genetic background underlying this characteristic among Sherpas with respect to the angiotension-converting enzyme (ACE) gene. METHODS: We enrolled 105 Sherpa volunteers in Namche Bazaar (3440 meters) and 111 non-Sherpa Nepalese volunteers in Kathmandu Valley (1330 meters) in Nepal. Information about high-altitude exposure and physiological phenotypes was obtained via fieldwork investigation. The genotype of the insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the ACE gene was identified by polymerase chain reaction. Serum ACE activity was also measured. RESULTS: The distribution of the I dominant genotype (II & ID) and the I allelic frequency were significantly more prevalent in Sherpas (II & ID: 94.3%, I allele: 73.3%) than in non-Sherpas (II & ID: 85.6%, P = .035; I allele: 64.0%, P = .036). Moreover, despite residing at high altitude, the circulating ACE levels of Sherpas were statistically similar to those of non-Sherpas at low altitudes (Sherpas: 14.5 +/- 0.4 IU/L/37 degrees C; non-Sherpas: 14.7 +/- 0.4 IU/L/37 degrees C; P = .755). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the overrepresented I allele of the ACE gene in Sherpas might be one of the fundamental genetic factors responsible for maintaining physiological low-altitude ACE activity at high altitude, which may have an advantageous physiological role in adapting to a high-altitude environment.
Journal of Rural Development, 27 (1), pp. 149-176. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2008. Sericulture-based micro enterprise as a source of rural livelihood and poverty alleviation: A case study of Anantapur District (Andhra Pradesh)
Sericulture is one of the integral parts of Indian agriculture. Being an agro-based industry it is highly suitable to the Indian rural people where large number of people are jobless, landless and labourers. It is mainly a labour-intensive programme requiring relatively low investment and acting as a source of survival and high profit earner. And it also accounts for a sizable quantum of foreign exchange earnings. An attempt was made to study the contributions of a Silk production Micro-Enterprise, for livelihood of rural people of select villages in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh State. Sericulture is an important economic activity of margainal and landless farmers (rural poor) in the Anantapur region. A farmer on an average, on a two and half acres piece of land with a total cost of Rs. 53250 (61 per cent of which is labour cost) can realise Rs. 93600 (76 per cent return on total cost) from sericulture cultivation whereas with a total cost of Rs. 23680 (49 per cent of which is labour cost) only Rs. 27000 (14 per cent return on cost) can be realised from paddy cultivation. As the area is drought-prone, the poor farmers preferring sericulture to paddy, and the other supply chain members like weavers and other value adders especially women, who are largely involved in the supply chain are, in need of financial and capacity building (for maintaining quality and effective designing) assistance, hence all possible assistance should be extended by the concerned agencies. A large chunk of consumer price spread ranging from 33.3 to 66.7 per cent, is accounted for middlemen with minimum risk, measures should be initiated to ensure that farmers and weavers who are also more risk bearers get their due share. Most of the weavers cannot access the banks for loans for entrepreneurial activities due to lack of physical collateral. Hence interventions like promotion of SHGs to meet the micro-financial requirement for value additions and provision for sophisticated cost-efficient value addition technology, should be initiated by Government and NGO agencies. Market linkages through weaver cluster formation etc., will enhance the benefits to the weavers.
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