Tropical Medicine publications 2013
BACKGROUND: Māori and Pacific Island people have significantly higher smoking rates compared to the rest of the New Zealand population. The main aim of this paper is to describe how knowledge of Indigenous people's practices and principles can be combined with proven effective smoking cessation support into a cessation intervention appropriate for Indigenous people. METHODS/DESIGN: A literature review was conducted to identify what cultural principles and practices could be used to increase salience, and what competition elements could have an impact on efficacy of smoking cessation. The identified elements were incorporated into the design of a cessation intervention. DISCUSSION: Cultural practices incorporated into the intervention include having a holistic family or group-centred focus, inter-group competitiveness, fundraising and ritual pledging. Competition elements included are social support, pharmacotherapy use, cash prize incentives and the use of a dedicated website and iPad application. A pre-test post-test will be combined with process evaluation to evaluate if the competition results in triggering mass-quitting, utilisation of pharmacotherapy and in increasing sustained smoking cessation and to get a comprehensive understanding of the way in which they contribute to the effect. The present study is the first to describe how knowledge about cultural practices and principles can be combined with proven cessation support into a smoking cessation contest. The findings from this study are promising and further more rigorous testing is warranted.
BACKGROUND: Each year an estimated four million neonates die, the majority in the first week of life. One of the major causes of death is sepsis. Proving the incidence and aetiology of neonatal sepsis is difficult, particularly in resource poor settings where the majority of the deaths occur. METHODS: We conducted a three year observational study of clinically diagnosed early onset (<7 days of age) neonatal sepsis (EONS) in infants born to mothers following antenatal care at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit clinic in Maela camp for displaced persons on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Episodes of EONS were identified using a clinical case definition. Conventional and molecular microbiological techniques were employed in order to determine underlying aetiology. RESULTS: From April 2009 until April 2012, 187 infants had clinical signs of EONS, giving an incidence rate of 44.8 per 1000 live births (95% CI 38.7-51.5). One blood culture was positive for Escherichia coli, E. coli was detected in the cerebrospinal fluid specimen in this infant, and in an additional two infants, by PCR. Therefore, the incidence of bacteriologically proven EONS was 0.7 per 1000 live births (95% CI 0.1-2.1). No infants enrolled in study died as a direct result of EONS. CONCLUSION: A low incidence of bacteriologically proven EONS was seen in this study, despite a high incidence of clinically diagnosed EONS. The use of molecular diagnostics and nonspecific markers of infection need to be studied in resource poor settings to improve the diagnosis of EONS and rationalise antibiotic use.
MALARIA JOURNAL, 12 (1), pp. 456-456. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the WHO: conclusions and recommendations of September 2013 meeting
In 2003 the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a working group and published a set of standard methods for studies measuring nasopharyngeal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). The working group recently reconvened under the auspices of the WHO and updated the consensus standard methods. These methods describe the collection, transport and storage of nasopharyngeal samples, as well as provide recommendations for the identification and serotyping of pneumococci using culture and non-culture based approaches. We outline the consensus position of the working group, the evidence supporting this position, areas worthy of future research, and the epidemiological role of carriage studies. Adherence to these methods will reduce variability in the conduct of pneumococcal carriage studies undertaken in the context of pneumococcal vaccine trials, implementation studies, and epidemiology studies more generally so variability in methodology does not confound the interpretation of study findings.
Acidosis is an important cause of mortality in severe falciparum malaria. Lactic acid is a major contributor to metabolic acidosis, but accounts for only one-quarter of the strong anion gap. Other unidentified organic acids have an independent strong prognostic significance for a fatal outcome. In this study, a simultaneous bio-analytical method for qualitative and quantitative assessment in plasma and urine of eight small organic acids potentially contributing to acidosis in severe malaria was developed and validated. High-throughput strong anion exchange solid-phase extraction in a 96-well plate format was used for sample preparation. Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) coupled to negative mass spectroscopy was utilized for separation and detection. Eight possible small organic acids; l-lactic acid (LA), α-hydroxybutyric acid (aHBA), β-hydroxybutyric acid (bHBA), p-hydroxyphenyllactic acid (pHPLA), malonic acid (MA), methylmalonic acid (MMA), ethylmalonic acid (EMA) and α-ketoglutaric acid (aKGA) were analyzed simultaneously using a ZIC-HILIC column with an isocratic elution containing acetonitrile and ammonium acetate buffer. This method was validated according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines with additional validation procedures for endogenous substances. Accuracy for all eight acids ranged from 93.1% to 104.0%, and the within-day and between-day precisions (i.e. relative standard deviations) were lower than 5.5% at all tested concentrations. The calibration ranges were: 2.5-2500μg/mL for LA, 0.125-125μg/mL for aHBA, 7.5-375μg/mL for bHBA, 0.1-100μg/mL for pHPLA, 1-1000μg/mL for MA, 0.25-250μg/mL for MMA, 0.25-100μg/mL for EMA, and 30-1500μg/mL for aKGA. Clinical applicability was demonstrated by analyzing plasma and urine samples from five patients with severe falciparum malaria; five acids had increased concentrations in plasma (range LA=177-1169μg/mL, aHBA=4.70-38.4μg/mL, bHBA=7.70-38.0μg/mL, pHPLA=0.900-4.30μg/mL and aKGA=30.2-32.0) and seven in urine samples (range LA=11.2-513μg/mL, aHBA=1.50-69.5μg/mL, bHBA=8.10-111μg/mL, pHPLA=4.30-27.7μg/mL, MMA=0.300-13.3μg/mL, EMA=0.300-48.1μg/mL and aKGA=30.4-107μg/mL). In conclusion, a novel bioanalytical method was developed and validated which allows for simultaneous quantification of eight small organic acids in plasma and urine. This new method may be a useful tool for the assessment of acidosis in patients with severe malaria, and other conditions complicated by acidosis.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7 (12), pp. e2320-e2320. | Read more2013. Dengue Research Funded by the European Commission-Scientific Strategies of Three European Dengue Research Consortia
BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance is a major contemporary public health threat. Strategies to contain antimicrobial resistance have been comprehensively set forth, however in developing countries where the need for effective antimicrobials is greatest implementation has proved problematic. A better understanding of patterns and determinants of antibiotic use and resistance in emerging economies may permit more appropriately targeted interventions.Viet Nam, with a large population, high burden of infectious disease and relatively unrestricted access to medication, is an excellent case study of the difficulties faced by emerging economies in controlling antimicrobial resistance. METHODS: Our working group conducted a situation analysis of the current patterns and determinants of antibiotic use and resistance in Viet Nam. International publications and local reports published between 1-1-1990 and 31-8-2012 were reviewed. All stakeholders analyzed the findings at a policy workshop and feasible recommendations were suggested to improve antibiotic use in Viet Nam.Here we report the results of our situation analysis focusing on: the healthcare system, drug regulation and supply; antibiotic resistance and infection control; and agricultural antibiotic use. RESULTS: Market reforms have improved healthcare access in Viet Nam and contributed to better health outcomes. However, increased accessibility has been accompanied by injudicious antibiotic use in hospitals and the community, with predictable escalation in bacterial resistance. Prescribing practices are poor and self-medication is common - often being the most affordable way to access healthcare. Many policies exist to regulate antibiotic use but enforcement is insufficient or lacking.Pneumococcal penicillin-resistance rates are the highest in Asia and carbapenem-resistant bacteria (notably NDM-1) have recently emerged. Hospital acquired infections, predominantly with multi-drug resistant Gram-negative organisms, place additional strain on limited resources. Widespread agricultural antibiotic use further propagates antimicrobial resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Future legislation regarding antibiotic access must alter incentives for purchasers and providers and ensure effective enforcement. The Ministry of Health recently initiated a national action plan and approved a multicenter health improvement project to strengthen national capacity for antimicrobial stewardship in Viet Nam. This analysis provided important input to these initiatives. Our methodologies and findings may be of use to others across the world tackling the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.
Fluoroquinolones (FQ) are the recommended antimicrobial treatment for typhoid, a severe systemic infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. FQ-resistance mutations in S. Typhi have become common, hindering treatment and control efforts. Using in vitro competition experiments, we assayed the fitness of eleven isogenic S. Typhi strains with resistance mutations in the FQ target genes, gyrA and parC. In the absence of antimicrobial pressure, 6 out of 11 mutants carried a selective advantage over the antimicrobial-sensitive parent strain, indicating that FQ resistance in S. Typhi is not typically associated with fitness costs. Double-mutants exhibited higher than expected fitness as a result of synergistic epistasis, signifying that epistasis may be a critical factor in the evolution and molecular epidemiology of S. Typhi. Our findings have important implications for the management of drug-resistant S. Typhi, suggesting that FQ-resistant strains would be naturally maintained even if fluoroquinolone use were reduced. © Dellas et al.
BACKGROUND: Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is a viral zoonosis that historically affects livestock production and human health in sub-Saharan Africa, though epizootics have also occurred in the Arabian Peninsula. Whilst an effective live-attenuated vaccine is available for livestock, there is currently no licensed human RVF vaccine. Replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAd) vectors are an ideal platform for development of a human RVF vaccine, given the low prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against them in the human population, and their excellent safety and immunogenicity profile in human clinical trials of vaccines against a wide range of pathogens. METHODS: Here, in BALB/c mice, we evaluated the immunogenicity and efficacy of a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector, ChAdOx1, encoding the RVF virus envelope glycoproteins, Gn and Gc, which are targets of virus neutralizing antibodies. The ChAdOx1-GnGc vaccine was assessed in comparison to a replication-deficient human adenovirus type 5 vector encoding Gn and Gc (HAdV5-GnGc), a strategy previously shown to confer protective immunity against RVF in mice. RESULTS: A single immunization with either of the vaccines conferred protection against RVF virus challenge eight weeks post-immunization. Both vaccines elicited RVF virus neutralizing antibody and a robust CD8+ T cell response. CONCLUSIONS: Together the results support further development of RVF vaccines based on replication-deficient adenovirus vectors, with ChAdOx1-GnGc being a potential candidate for use in future human clinical trials.
Background:Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is increasingly recommended for antimalarial treatment in many endemic countries; however, concerns have been raised over its potential under dosing in young children. We investigated the influence of different dosing schedules on DP's clinical efficacy.Methods and Findings:A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify all studies published between 1960 and February 2013, in which patients were enrolled and treated with DP. Principal investigators were approached and invited to share individual patient data with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Data were pooled using a standardised methodology. Univariable and multivariable risk factors for parasite recrudescence were identified using a Cox's regression model with shared frailty across the study sites. Twenty-four published and two unpublished studies (n = 7,072 patients) were included in the analysis. After correcting for reinfection by parasite genotyping, Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were 97.7% (95% CI 97.3%-98.1%) at day 42 and 97.2% (95% CI 96.7%-97.7%) at day 63. Overall 28.6% (979/3,429) of children aged 1 to 5 years received a total dose of piperaquine below 48 mg/kg (the lower limit recommended by WHO); this risk was 2.3-2.9-fold greater compared to that in the other age groups and was associated with reduced efficacy at day 63 (94.4% [95% CI 92.6%-96.2%], p < 0.001). After adjusting for confounding factors, the mg/kg dose of piperaquine was found to be a significant predictor for recrudescence, the risk increasing by 13% (95% CI 5.0%-21%) for every 5 mg/kg decrease in dose; p = 0.002. In a multivariable model increasing the target minimum total dose of piperaquine in children aged 1 to 5 years old from 48 mg/kg to 59 mg/kg would halve the risk of treatment failure and cure at least 95% of patients; such an increment was not associated with gastrointestinal toxicity in the ten studies in which this could be assessed.Conclusions:DP demonstrates excellent efficacy in a wide range of transmission settings; however, treatment failure is associated with a lower dose of piperaquine, particularly in young children, suggesting potential for further dose optimisation.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary. © 2013 Price et al.
Journal of the International AIDS Society, 16 (4(Suppl 3)), | Read more2013. Experiences of Kenyan healthcare workers providing services to men who have sex with men: qualitative findings from a sensitivity training programme
As malaria transmission declines, it becomes increasingly important to monitor changes in malaria incidence rather than prevalence. Here, a spatio-temporal model was used to identify constituencies with high malaria incidence to guide malaria control. Malaria cases were assembled across all age groups along with several environmental covariates. A Bayesian conditional-autoregressive model was used to model the spatial and temporal variation of incidence after adjusting for test positivity rates and health facility utilisation. Of the 144,744 malaria cases recorded in Namibia in 2009, 134,851 were suspected and 9893 were parasitologically confirmed. The mean annual incidence based on the Bayesian model predictions was 13 cases per 1000 population with the highest incidence predicted for constituencies bordering Angola and Zambia. The smoothed maps of incidence highlight trends in disease incidence. For Namibia, the 2009 maps provide a baseline for monitoring the targets of pre-elimination.
As avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses continue to circulate in Asia and Africa, global concerns of an imminent pandemic persist. Recent experimental studies suggest that efficient transmission between humans of current H5N1 viruses only requires a few genetic changes. An essential step is alteration of the virus hemagglutinin from preferential binding to avian receptors for the recognition of human receptors present in the upper airway. We have identified receptor-binding changes which emerged during H5N1 infection of humans, due to single amino acid substitutions, Ala134Val and Ile151Phe, in the hemagglutinin. Detailed biological, receptor-binding, and structural analyses revealed reduced binding of the mutated viruses to avian-like receptors, but without commensurate increased binding to the human-like receptors investigated, possibly reflecting a receptor-binding phenotype intermediate in adaptation to more human-like characteristics. These observations emphasize that evolution in nature of avian H5N1 viruses to efficient binding of human receptors is a complex multistep process. © 2013 The Authros.
The causes of antibiotic resistance are complex and include human behaviour at many levels of society; the consequences affect everybody in the world. Similarities with climate change are evident. Many efforts have been made to describe the many different facets of antibiotic resistance and the interventions needed to meet the challenge. However, coordinated action is largely absent, especially at the political level, both nationally and internationally. Antibiotics paved the way for unprecedented medical and societal developments, and are today indispensible in all health systems. Achievements in modern medicine, such as major surgery, organ transplantation, treatment of preterm babies, and cancer chemotherapy, which we today take for granted, would not be possible without access to effective treatment for bacterial infections. Within just a few years, we might be faced with dire setbacks, medically, socially, and economically, unless real and unprecedented global coordinated actions are immediately taken. Here, we describe the global situation of antibiotic resistance, its major causes and consequences, and identify key areas in which action is urgently needed.
Objective: To assess the proportion of, and reasons for, households not utilising the policy of free healthcare for children under 6 years of age (FCCU6) for hospitalisation with diarrhoea, and assess the risk of catastrophic expenditure for households that forgo FCCU6 and pay out of pocket. Methods: Invoices detailing insurance information and charges incurred from 472 hospitalised diarrhoeal cases in one paediatric hospital in Ho Chi Minh City were retrieved. Hospital charges and the utilisation of elective services were analysed for patients utilising and not utilising FCCU6. Associations between socio-economic factors with non-utilisation of FCCU6 were evaluated. Results: Overall, 29% of patients were FCCU6 non-users. The FCCU6 non-users paid a median hospital charge of $29.13 (interquartile range, IQR: $18.57-46.24), consuming no more than 1.4% of a medium-income household's annual income. Seventy per cent of low-income FCCU6 non-users utilised less-expensive elective services, whereas only 43% of medium income patients and 21% of high-income patients did (P = 0.036). Patients from larger households and those with a parent working in government were more likely to use FCCU6. Conclusions: The rate of FCCU6 non-usage in this study population was 29%. A significant proportion of those that did not use FCCU6 was from lower income households and may perceive a justifiable cost-benefit ratio when forgoing FCCU6. Although a single diarrhoeal hospitalisation is unlikely to induce a catastrophic expenditure, FCCU6 non-usage may disproportionately increase the risk of catastrophic expenditure for lower income households over multiple illnesses. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Assessment of antibody responses to pneumococcal colonization in early childhood may aid our understanding of protection and inform vaccine antigen selection. Serum samples were collected from mother-infant pairs during a longitudinal pneumococcal colonization study in Burmese refugees. Maternal and cord sera were collected at birth and infants were bled monthly (1-24 months of age). Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken monthly to detect colonization. Serum IgG titres to 27 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured in 2624 sera and IgG to dominant serotypes (6B, 14, 19F, 19A and 23F) were quantified in 864 infant sera. Antibodies to all protein antigens were detectable in maternal sera. Titres to four proteins (LytB, PcpA, PhtD and PhtE) were significantly higher in mothers colonized by pneumococci at delivery. Maternally-derived antibodies to PiuA and Spr0096 were associated with delayed pneumococcal acquisition in infants in univariate, but not multivariate models. Controlling for infant age and previous homologous serotype exposure, nasopharyngeal acquisition of serotypes 19A, 23F, 14 or 19F was associated significantly with a ≥2-fold antibody response to the homologous capsule (OR 12.84, 7.52, 6.52, 5.33; p < 0.05). Acquisition of pneumococcal serotypes in the nasopharynx of infants was not significantly associated with a ≥2-fold rise in antibodies to any of the protein antigens studied. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal colonization in young children resulted in demonstrable serum IgG responses to pneumococcal capsules and surface/virulence proteins. However, the relationship between serum IgG and the prevention of, or response to, pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization remains complex. Mechanisms other than serum IgG are likely to have a role but are currently poorly understood. ©2013 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Despite significant advances in the search for potential dengue vaccines and new therapeutic schemes for malaria, the control of these diseases remains difficult. In Thailand, malaria incidence is falling whereas that of dengue is rising, with an increase in the proportion of reported severe cases. In the absence of antiviral therapeutic options for acute dengue, appropriate case management reduces mortality. However, the interruption of transmission still relies on vector control measures that are currently insufficient to curtail the cycle of epidemics. Drug resistance in malaria parasites is increasing, compromising malaria control and elimination. Deficiencies in our knowledge of vector biology and vectorial capacity also hinder public health efforts for vector control. Challenges to dengue and malaria control are discussed, and research priorities identified. © 2013.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 68 (12), pp. 2964-2965. | Read more2013. One hundred and twelve infected arthroplasties treated with 'DAIR' (debridement, antibiotics and implant retention): antibiotic duration and outcome
Bone and joint infections (BJI) are serious. They may be life-threatening or, more commonly, associated with long-term disability and reduced quality of life. The spectrum of disease has changed over time and the proportion of iatrogenic disease caused by prosthetic joints is increasing annually. Osteomyelitis is caused when bacteria colonize bone, usually a sterile tissue, via direct inoculation from trauma or operation, haematogenous seeding from bloodstream infection or contiguous spread from another infected site. The pathophysiology of biofilm formation leads to a chronic infection that is not readily accessible to either host immunity or antibiotics. Presentation is with pain, swelling, lack of mobility and systemic symptoms. Diagnosis requires clinical symptoms, appropriate radiological imaging and microbiological sampling. Early or very limited osteomyelitis may be managed with antibiotics alone, but surgical debridement is key for many infections. Therapy should be undertaken by multidisciplinary teams including infection specialists, surgeons, radiologists and other medical professionals. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Infectious diarrhoea is a major public health concern worldwide. Bacteria, the focus of this review, are responsible for 20-40% of diarrhoeal episodes, contributing to high rates of childhood mortality in developing regions, and substantial morbidity and economic losses in developed regions. The epidemiology is changing with salmonellosis decreasing in industrialized countries and diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli contributing to an increasing burden of disease worldwide. Molecular diagnostics have improved our understanding of the epidemiology, aetiology and pathogenesis of bacterial gastroenteritis, and have revealed new pathogenic agents, although widespread introduction of such diagnostics into clinical practice will require careful cost-benefit analyses. The development of antimicrobial resistance in gastrointestinal pathogens has implications for treatment options. We review the epidemiology of infectious diarrhoea, the principal aetiological agents and their clinical features, and the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of bacterial gastroenteritis; we also propose an investigation and management algorithm. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The currently available malaria control tools have allowed malaria elimination in many regions but there remain many regions where malaria control has made little progress. A safe and protective malaria vaccine would be a huge asset for malaria control. Despite the many challenges, efforts continue to design and evaluate malaria vaccine candidates. These candidates target different stages in the life cycle of Plasmodia. The most advanced vaccine candidates target the pre-erythrocytic stages in the life cycle of the parasite and include RTS, S/AS01, which has progressed through clinical development to the stage that it may be licensed in 2015. Attenuated whole-parasite vaccine candidates are highly protective, but there are challenges to manufacture and to administration. Cellular immunity is targeted by the prime-boost approach. Priming vectors trigger only modest responses but these are focused on the recombinant antigen. Boosting vectors trigger strong but broad non-specific responses. The heterologous sequence produces strong immunological responses to the recombinant antigen. Candidates that target the blood stages of the parasite have to result in an immune response that is more effective than the response to an infection to abort or control the infection of merozoites and hence disease. Finally, the sexual stages of the parasite offer another target for vaccine development, which would prevent the transmission of malaria. Today it seems unlikely that any candidate targeting a single antigen will provide complete protection against an organism of the complexity of Plasmodium. A systematic search for vaccine targets and combinations of antigens may be a more promising approach.
BACKGROUND: The burden of anemia attributable to non-falciparum malarias in regions with Plasmodium co-endemicity is poorly documented. We compared the hematological profile of patients with and without malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Clinical and laboratory data were linked for all patients presenting to a referral hospital between April 2004 and December 2012. Data were available on patient demographics, malaria diagnosis, hemoglobin concentration, and clinical outcome, but other potential causes of anemia could not be identified reliably. Of 922,120 patient episodes (837,989 as outpatients and 84,131 as inpatients), a total of 219,845 (23.8%) were associated with a hemoglobin measurement, of whom 67,696 (30.8%) had malaria. Patients with P. malariae infection had the lowest hemoglobin concentration (n = 1,608, mean = 8.93 [95% CI 8.81-9.06]), followed by those with mixed species infections (n = 8,645, mean = 9.22 [95% CI 9.16-9.28]), P. falciparum (n = 37,554, mean = 9.47 [95% CI 9.44-9.50]), and P. vivax (n = 19,858, mean = 9.53 [95% CI 9.49-9.57]); p-value for all comparisons <0.001. Severe anemia (hemoglobin <5 g/dl) was present in 8,151 (3.7%) patients. Compared to patients without malaria, those with mixed Plasmodium infection were at greatest risk of severe anemia (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.25 [95% CI 2.99-3.54]); AORs for severe anaemia associated with P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae were 2.11 (95% CI 2.00-2.23), 1.87 (95% CI 1.74-2.01), and 2.18 (95% CI 1.76-2.67), respectively, p<0.001. Overall, 12.2% (95% CI 11.2%-13.3%) of severe anemia was attributable to non-falciparum infections compared with 15.1% (95% CI 13.9%-16.3%) for P. falciparum monoinfections. Patients with severe anemia had an increased risk of death (AOR = 5.80 [95% CI 5.17-6.50]; p<0.001). Not all patients had a hemoglobin measurement, thus limitations of the study include the potential for selection bias, and possible residual confounding in multivariable analyses. CONCLUSIONS: In Papua P. vivax is the dominant cause of severe anemia in early infancy, mixed P. vivax/P. falciparum infections are associated with a greater hematological impairment than either species alone, and in adulthood P. malariae, although rare, is associated with the lowest hemoglobin concentration. These findings highlight the public health importance of integrated genus-wide malaria control strategies in areas of Plasmodium co-endemicity.
BACKGROUND: Survivors of neonatal infections are at risk of neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI), a burden not previously systematically quantified and yet important for program priority setting. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were undertaken and applied in a three-step compartmental model to estimate NDI cases after severe neonatal bacterial infection in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America in neonates of >32 wk gestation (or >1,500 g). METHODS: We estimated cases of sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, or no severe bacterial infection from among estimated cases of possible severe bacterial infection ((pSBI) step 1). We applied respective case fatality risks ((CFRs) step 2) and the NDI risk among survivors (step 3). For neonatal tetanus, incidence estimates were based on the estimated deaths, CFRs, and risk of subsequent NDI. RESULTS: For 2010, we estimated 1.7 million (uncertainty range: 1.1-2.4 million) cases of neonatal sepsis, 200,000 (21,000-350,000) cases of meningitis, 510,000 cases (150,000-930,000) of pneumonia, and 79,000 cases (70,000-930,000) of tetanus in neonates >32 wk gestation (or >1,500 g). Among the survivors, we estimated moderate to severe NDI after neonatal meningitis in 23% (95% confidence interval: 19-26%) of survivors, 18,000 (2,700-35,000) cases, and after neonatal tetanus in 16% (6-27%), 4,700 cases (1,700-8,900). CONCLUSION: Data are lacking for impairment after neonatal sepsis and pneumonia, especially among those of >32 wk gestation. Improved recognition and treatment of pSBI will reduce neonatal mortality. Lack of follow-up data for survivors of severe bacterial infections, particularly sepsis, was striking. Given the high incidence of sepsis, even minor NDI would be of major public health importance. Prevention of neonatal infection, improved case management, and support for children with NDI are all important strategies, currently receiving limited policy attention.
Malaria, an infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus, is one of the world's major public health concerns causing up to a million deaths annually, mostly because of P. falciparum infections. All of the clinical symptoms are associated with the blood stage of the disease, an obligate part of the parasite life cycle, when a form of the parasite called the merozoite recognizes and invades host erythrocytes. During erythrocyte invasion, merozoites are directly exposed to the host humoral immune system making the blood stage of the parasite a conceptually attractive therapeutic target. Progress in the functional and molecular characterization of P. falciparum merozoite proteins, however, has been hampered by the technical challenges associated with expressing these proteins in a biochemically active recombinant form. This challenge is particularly acute for extracellular proteins, which are the likely targets of host antibody responses, because they contain structurally critical post-translational modifications that are not added by some recombinant expression systems. Here, we report the development of a method that uses a mammalian expression system to compile a protein resource containing the entire ectodomains of 42 P. falciparum merozoite secreted and cell surface proteins, many of which have not previously been characterized. Importantly, we are able to recapitulate known biochemical activities by showing that recombinant MSP1-MSP7 and P12-P41 directly interact, and that both recombinant EBA175 and EBA140 can bind human erythrocytes in a sialic acid-dependent manner. Finally, we use sera from malaria-exposed immune adults to profile the relative immunoreactivity of the proteins and show that the majority of the antigens contain conformational (heat-labile) epitopes. We envisage that this resource of recombinant proteins will make a valuable contribution toward a molecular understanding of the blood stage of P. falciparum infections and facilitate the comparative screening of antigens as blood-stage vaccine candidates.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 68 (12), pp. 2964-2965. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Erratum to One hundred and twelve infected arthroplasties treated with 'DAIR' (debridement, antibiotics and implant retention): Antibiotic duration and outcome [J Antimicrob Chemother, 63, (2009), 1264-71]
Assessment of antibody responses to pneumococcal colonization in early childhood may aid our understanding of protection and inform vaccine antigen selection. Serum samples were collected from mother-infant pairs during a longitudinal pneumococcal colonization study in Burmese refugees. Maternal and cord sera were collected at birth and infants were bled monthly (1–24 months of age). Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken monthly to detect colonization. Serum IgG titres to 27 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured in 2624 sera and IgG to dominant serotypes (6B, 14, 19F, 19A and 23F) were quantified in 864 infant sera. Antibodies to all protein antigens were detect ablein maternal sera. Titres to four proteins (LytB, PcpA, PhtD and PhtE) were significantly higher in mothers colonized by pneumococci at delivery. Maternally-derived antibodies to PiuA and Spr0096 were associated with delayed pneumococcal acquisition in infants in univariate,but not multivariate models. Controlling for infant age and previous homologous serotype exposure, nasopharyngeal acquisition of serotypes 19A, 23F, 14 or 19F was associated significantly with a ≥2-fold antibody response to the homologous capsule (OR 12.84, 7.52,6.52, 5.33; p <0.05). Acquisition of pneumococcal serotypes in the nasopharynx of infants was not significantly associated with a ≥2-fold rise in antibodies to any of the protein antigens studied. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal colonization in young children resulted in demonstrable serum IgG responses to pneumococcal capsules and surface/virulence proteins. However, the relationship between serum IgG and the prevention of, or response to, pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization remains complex. Mechanisms other than serum IgG are likely to have a role but are currently poorly understood.
The maxim 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' finds few better demonstrations than with malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax. Thoroughly neglected over the past 60 years, the chemotherapy of this complex infection has been dangerous and ineffective until the present. Work is at last being done, but seeing that translate to real improvements at the periphery of care delivery will take years of deliberate effort. In the meantime, patients face substantial risk of debilitating, threatening, and fatal courses of illness associated with a diagnosis of vivax malaria. For some of the most vulnerable to such outcomes--pregnant women and infants--repeated attacks of acute vivax malaria from a single infectious anopheline bite is now not preventable. One of the few measures than can be immediately applied with rigor is vector control, thereby effectively preventing as many of these difficult and dangerous infections as possible. This commentary emphasizes the dire consequences of infection by P. vivax and the real difficulty of dealing with them. That, in turn, emphasizes the many benefits to be derived by preventing them in the first place.
Vietnam has experienced unprecedented economic and social development in recent years, and the livestock sector is undergoing significant transformations. Although food animal production is still dominated by small-scale 'backyard' enterprises with mixed crop-livestock or livestock-aquatic systems, there is a trend towards more intensive and vertically integrated operations. Changes in animal production, processing and distribution networks for meat and animal products, and the shift from wet markets to supermarkets will undoubtedly impact food safety risks in Vietnam in unforeseen and complex ways. Here, we review the available published literature on bacterial and parasitic foodborne zoonoses (FBZ) in Vietnam. We report on clinical disease burden and pathogen prevalence in animal reservoirs for a number of important FBZ, and outline opportunities for future research. © 2013 International Association for Ecology and Health.
PATHOGENS AND GLOBAL HEALTH, 107 (8), pp. 400-400.2013. THE HUMAN LIVER AS A RESERVOIR OF INFECTION: THE EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CONTROL OF MALARIA CAUSED BY PLASMODIUM VIVAX
Thiamine is metabolized into an essential cofactor for several enzymes. Here we show that oxythiamine, a thiamine analog, inhibits proliferation of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in vitro via a thiamine-related pathway and significantly reduces parasite growth in a mouse malaria model. Overexpression of thiamine pyrophosphokinase (the enzyme that converts thiamine into its active form, thiamine pyrophosphate) hypersensitizes parasites to oxythiamine by up to 1,700-fold, consistent with oxythiamine being a substrate for thiamine pyrophosphokinase and its conversion into an antimetabolite. We show that parasites overexpressing the thiamine pyrophosphate-dependent enzymes oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and pyruvate dehydrogenase are up to 15-fold more resistant to oxythiamine, consistent with the antimetabolite inactivating thiamine pyrophosphate-dependent enzymes. Our studies therefore validate thiamine utilization as an antimalarial drug target and demonstrate that a single antimalarial can simultaneously target several enzymes located within distinct organelles.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: In the Netherlands, transmission of hepatitis B virus occurs mainly within behavioural high-risk groups, such as in men who have sex with men. Therefore, a vaccination programme has targeted these high-risk groups. This study evaluates the impact of the vaccination programme targeting Amsterdam's large population of men who have sex with men from 1998 through 2011. METHODS: We used Amsterdam data from the national database of the vaccination programme for high-risk groups (January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2011). Programme and vaccination coverage were estimated with population statistics. Incidence of acute hepatitis B was analyzed with notification data from the Amsterdam Public Health Service (1992-2011). Mathematical modelling accounting for vaccination data and trends in sexual risk behaviour was used to explore the impact of the programme. RESULTS: At the end of 2011, programme coverage was estimated at 41% and vaccination coverage from 30% to 38%. Most participants (67%) were recruited from the outpatient department for sexually transmitted infections and outreach locations such as saunas and gay bars. Incidence of acute hepatitis B dropped sharply after 2005. The mathematical model in which those who engage most in high-risk sex are vaccinated, best explained the decline in incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Transmission of hepatitis B virus among Amsterdam's men who have sex with men has decreased, despite ongoing high-risk sexual behaviour. Vaccination programmes targeting men who have sex with men do not require full coverage; they may be effective when those who engage most in high-risk sex are reached.
Achieving the goal of malaria elimination will depend on targeting Plasmodium pathways essential across all life stages. Here we identify a lipid kinase, phosphatidylinositol-4-OH kinase (PI(4)K), as the target of imidazopyrazines, a new antimalarial compound class that inhibits the intracellular development of multiple Plasmodium species at each stage of infection in the vertebrate host. Imidazopyrazines demonstrate potent preventive, therapeutic, and transmission-blocking activity in rodent malaria models, are active against blood-stage field isolates of the major human pathogens P. falciparum and P. vivax, and inhibit liver-stage hypnozoites in the simian parasite P. cynomolgi. We show that imidazopyrazines exert their effect through inhibitory interaction with the ATP-binding pocket of PI(4)K, altering the intracellular distribution of phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate. Collectively, our data define PI(4)K as a key Plasmodium vulnerability, opening up new avenues of target-based discovery to identify drugs with an ideal activity profile for the prevention, treatment and elimination of malaria.
Background: The 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10) was introduced in Kenya in 2011. Introduction of any PCV will perturb the existing pneumococcal population structure, thus the aim was to genotype pneumococci collected in Kilifi before PCV10. Methods and Findings: Using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), we genotyped > 1100 invasive and carriage pneumococci from children, the largest collection genotyped from a single resource-poor country and reported to date. Serotype 1 was the most common serotype causing invasive disease and was rarely detected in carriage; all serotype 1 isolates were members of clonal complex (CC) 217. There were temporal fluctuations in the major circulating sequence types (STs); and although 1-3 major serotype 1, 14 or 23F STs co-circulated annually, the two major serotype 5 STs mainly circulated independently. Major STs/CCs also included isolates of serotypes 3, 12F, 18C and 19A and each shared ≤2 MLST alleles with STs that circulate widely elsewhere. Major CCs associated with non-PCV10 serotypes were predominantly represented by carriage isolates, although serotype 19A and 12F CCs were largely invasive and a serotype 10A CC was equally represented by invasive and carriage isolates. Conclusions: Understanding the pre-PCV10 population genetic structure in Kilifi will allow for the detection of changes in prevalence of the circulating genotypes and evidence for capsular switching post-vaccine implementation. © 2013 Brueggemann et al.
BACKGROUND: Elucidating the mechanisms of naturally acquired immunity to Plasmodium falciparum infections would be highly valuable for malaria vaccine development. Asymptomatic multiclonal infections have been shown to predict protection from clinical malaria in a transmission-dependent manner, but the mechanisms underlying this are unclear. We assessed the breadth of antibody responses to several vaccine candidate merozoite antigens in relation to the infecting parasite population and clinical immunity. METHODS: In a cohort study in Tanzania, 320 children aged 1-16 years who were asymptomatic at baseline were included. We genotyped P. falciparum infections by targeting the msp2 gene using polymerase chain reaction and capillary electrophoresis and measured antibodies to 7 merozoite antigens using a multiplex assay. We assessed the correlation between the number of clones and the breadth of the antibody response, and examined their effects on the risk of malaria during 40 weeks of follow-up using age-adjusted multivariate regression models. RESULTS: The antibody breadth was positively correlated with the number of clones (RR [risk ratio], 1.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32-2.02). Multiclonal infections were associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the risk of malaria in the absence of antibodies (RR, 0.83; 95% CI, .29-2.34). The breadth of the antibody response was significantly associated with a reduced risk of malaria in the absence of infections (RR, 0.25; 95% CI, .09-.66). In combination, these factors were associated with a lower risk of malaria than they were individually (RR, 0.14; 95% CI, .04-.48). CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that malaria vaccines mimicking naturally acquired immunity should ideally induce antibody responses that can be boosted by natural infections.
BACKGROUND: Primaquine is essential for malaria control and elimination since it is the only available drug preventing multiple clinical attacks by relapses of Plasmodium vivax. It is also the only therapy against the sexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum infectious to mosquitoes, and is thus useful in preventing malaria transmission. However, the difficulties of diagnosing glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDd) greatly hinder primaquine's widespread use, as this common genetic disorder makes patients susceptible to potentially severe and fatal primaquine-induced haemolysis. The risk of such an outcome varies widely among G6PD gene variants. METHODS: A literature review was conducted to identify surveys of G6PD variant frequencies among representative population groups. Informative surveys were assembled into two map series: (1) those showing the relative proportions of the different variants among G6PDd individuals; and (2) those showing allele frequencies of G6PD variants based on population surveys without prior G6PDd screening. RESULTS: Variants showed conspicuous geographic patterns. A limited repertoire of variants was tested for across sub-Saharan Africa, which nevertheless indicated low genetic heterogeneity predominated by the G6PD A(-202A) mutation, though other mutations were common in western Africa. The severe G6PD Mediterranean variant was widespread across western Asia. Further east, a sharp shift in variants was identified, with high variant heterogeneity in the populations of China and the Asia-Pacific where no single variant dominated. CONCLUSIONS: G6PD variants exhibited distinctive region-specific distributions with important primaquine policy implications. Relative homogeneity in the Americas, Africa, and western Asia contrasted sharply with the heterogeneity of variants in China, Southeast Asia and Oceania. These findings will inform rational risk assessments for primaquine in developing public health strategies for malaria control and elimination, and support the future development of regionally targeted policies. The major knowledge gaps highlighted here strongly advocate for further investigation of G6PD variant diversity and their primaquine-sensitivity phenotypes.
BACKGROUND: The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins in Southeast Asia threatens the control of malaria worldwide. The pharmacodynamic hallmark of artemisinin derivatives is rapid parasite clearance (a short parasite half-life), therefore, the in vivo phenotype of slow clearance defines the reduced susceptibility to the drug. Measurement of parasite counts every six hours during the first three days after treatment have been recommended to measure the parasite clearance half-life, but it remains unclear whether simpler sampling intervals and frequencies might also be sufficient to reliably estimate this parameter. METHODS: A total of 2,746 parasite density-time profiles were selected from 13 clinical trials in Thailand, Cambodia, Mali, Vietnam, and Kenya. In these studies, parasite densities were measured every six hours until negative after treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). The WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE) tool was used to estimate "reference" half-lives from these six-hourly measurements. The effect of four alternative sampling schedules on half-life estimation was investigated, and compared to the reference half-life (time zero, 6, 12, 24 (A1); zero, 6, 18, 24 (A2); zero, 12, 18, 24 (A3) or zero, 12, 24 (A4) hours and then every 12 hours). Statistical bootstrap methods were used to estimate the sampling distribution of half-lives for parasite populations with different geometric mean half-lives. A simulation study was performed to investigate a suite of 16 potential alternative schedules and half-life estimates generated by each of the schedules were compared to the "true" half-life. The candidate schedules in the simulation study included (among others) six-hourly sampling, schedule A1, schedule A4, and a convenience sampling schedule at six, seven, 24, 25, 48 and 49 hours. RESULTS: The median (range) parasite half-life for all clinical studies combined was 3.1 (0.7-12.9) hours. Schedule A1 consistently performed the best, and schedule A4 the worst, both for the individual patient estimates and for the populations generated with the bootstrapping algorithm. In both cases, the differences between the reference and alternative schedules decreased as half-life increased. In the simulation study, 24-hourly sampling performed the worst, and six-hourly sampling the best. The simulation study confirmed that more dense parasite sampling schedules are required to accurately estimate half-life for profiles with short half-life (≤ three hours) and/or low initial parasite density (≤ 10,000 per μL). Among schedules in the simulation study with six or fewer measurements in the first 48 hours, a schedule with measurements at times (time windows) of 0 (0-2), 6 (4-8), 12 (10-14), 24 (22-26), 36 (34-36) and 48 (46-50) hours, or at times 6, 7 (two samples in time window 5-8), 24, 25 (two samples during time 23-26), and 48, 49 (two samples during time 47-50) hours, until negative most accurately estimated the "true" half-life. For a given schedule, continuing sampling after two days had little effect on the estimation of half-life, provided that adequate sampling was performed in the first two days and the half-life was less than three hours. If the measured parasitaemia at two days exceeded 1,000 per μL, continued sampling for at least once a day was needed for accurate half-life estimates. CONCLUSIONS: This study has revealed important insights on sampling schedules for accurate and reliable estimation of Plasmodium falciparum half-life following treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). Accurate measurement of short half-lives (rapid clearance) requires more dense sampling schedules (with more than twice daily sampling). A more intensive sampling schedule is, therefore, recommended in locations where P. falciparum susceptibility to artemisinins is not known and the necessary resources are available. Counting parasite density at six hours is important, and less frequent sampling is satisfactory for estimating long parasite half-lives in areas where artemisinin resistance is present.
Background: Estimates of the sensitivity and specificity for new diagnostic tests based on evaluation against a known gold standard are imprecise when the accuracy of the gold standard is imperfect. Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) can be helpful under these circumstances, but the necessary analysis requires expertise in computational programming. Here, we describe open-access web-based applications that allow non-experts to apply Bayesian LCMs to their own data sets via a user-friendly interface. Methods/Principal Findings: Applications for Bayesian LCMs were constructed on a web server using R and WinBUGS programs. The models provided (http://mice.tropmedres.ac) include two Bayesian LCMs: the two-tests in two-population model (Hui and Walter model) and the three-tests in one-population model (Walter and Irwig model). Both models are available with simplified and advanced interfaces. In the former, all settings for Bayesian statistics are fixed as defaults. Users input their data set into a table provided on the webpage. Disease prevalence and accuracy of diagnostic tests are then estimated using the Bayesian LCM, and provided on the web page within a few minutes. With the advanced interfaces, experienced researchers can modify all settings in the models as needed. These settings include correlation among diagnostic test results and prior distributions for all unknown parameters. The web pages provide worked examples with both models using the original data sets presented by Hui and Walter in 1980, and by Walter and Irwig in 1988. We also illustrate the utility of the advanced interface using the Walter and Irwig model on a data set from a recent melioidosis study. The results obtained from the web-based applications were comparable to those published previously. Conclusions: The newly developed web-based applications are open-access and provide an important new resource for researchers worldwide to evaluate new diagnostic tests. © 2013 Lim et al.
INTRODUCTION: In low-income countries, Surgical Site Infection (SSI) is a common form of hospital-acquired infection. Antibiotic prophylaxis is an effective method of preventing these infections, if given immediately before the start of surgery. Although several studies in Africa have compared pre-operative versus post-operative prophylaxis, there are no studies describing the implementation of policies to improve prescribing of surgical antibiotic prophylaxis in African hospitals. METHODS: We conducted SSI surveillance at a typical Government hospital in Kenya over a 16 month period between August 2010 and December 2011, using standard definitions of SSI and the extent of contamination of surgical wounds. As an intervention, we developed a hospital policy that advised pre-operative antibiotic prophylaxis and discouraged extended post-operative antibiotics use. We measured process, outcome and balancing effects of this intervention in using an interrupted time series design. RESULTS: From a starting point of near-exclusive post-operative antibiotic use, after policy introduction in February 2011 there was rapid adoption of the use of pre-operative antibiotic prophylaxis (60% of operations at 1 week; 98% at 6 weeks) and a substantial decrease in the use of post-operative antibiotics (40% of operations at 1 week; 10% at 6 weeks) in Clean and Clean-Contaminated surgery. There was no immediate step-change in risk of SSI, but overall, there appeared to be a moderate reduction in the risk of superficial SSI across all levels of wound contamination. There were marked reductions in the costs associated with antibiotic use, the number of intravenous injections performed and nursing time spent administering these. CONCLUSION: Implementation of a locally developed policy regarding surgical antibiotic prophylaxis is an achievable quality improvement target for hospitals in low-income countries, and can lead to substantial benefits for individual patients and the institution.
Despite significant advances in the search for potential dengue vaccines and new therapeutic schemes for malaria, the control of these diseases remains difficult. In Thailand, malaria incidence is falling whereas that of dengue is rising, with an increase in the proportion of reported severe cases. In the absence of antiviral therapeutic options for acute dengue, appropriate case management reduces mortality. However, the interruption of transmission still relies on vector control measures that are currently insufficient to curtail the cycle of epidemics. Drug resistance in malaria parasites is increasing, compromising malaria control and elimination. Deficiencies in our knowledge of vector biology and vectorial capacity also hinder public health efforts for vector control. Challenges to dengue and malaria control are discussed, and research priorities identified.
Malaria elimination will be possible only with serious attempts to address asymptomatic infection and chronic infection by both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Currently available drugs that can completely clear a human of P. vivax (known as "radical cure"), and that can reduce transmission of malaria parasites, are those in the 8-aminoquinoline drug family, such as primaquine. Unfortunately, people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency risk having severe adverse reactions if exposed to these drugs at certain doses. G6PD deficiency is the most common human enzyme defect, affecting approximately 400 million people worldwide.Scaling up radical cure regimens will require testing for G6PD deficiency, at two levels: 1) the individual level to ensure safe case management, and 2) the population level to understand the risk in the local population to guide Plasmodium vivax treatment policy. Several technical and operational knowledge gaps must be addressed to expand access to G6PD deficiency testing and to ensure that a patient's G6PD status is known before deciding to administer an 8-aminoquinoline-based drug.In this report from a stakeholder meeting held in Thailand on October 4 and 5, 2012, G6PD testing in support of radical cure is discussed in detail. The focus is on challenges to the development and evaluation of G6PD diagnostic tests, and on challenges related to the operational aspects of implementing G6PD testing in support of radical cure. The report also describes recommendations for evaluation of diagnostic tests for G6PD deficiency in support of radical cure.
Veterinary Record, 173 (17), pp. 422-422. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Risk factors for antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli found in GB turkey flocks
The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature. The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation.
Hydroxyurea is widely used in high-income countries for the management of sickle cell disease (SCD) in children. In Kenyan clinical guidelines, hydroxyurea is only recommended for adults with SCD. Yet many deaths from SCD occur in early childhood, deaths that might be prevented by an effective, disease modifying intervention. The aim of this review was to summarise the available evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of hydroxyurea in the management of SCD in children below 5 years of age to support guideline development in Kenya. We undertook a systematic review and used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system to appraise the quality of identified evidence. Overall, available evidence from 1 systematic review (n=26 studies), 2 randomised controlled trials (n=354 children), 14 observational studies and 2 National Institute of Health reports suggest that hydroxyurea may be associated with improved fetal haemoglobin levels, reduced rates of hospitalisation, reduced episodes of acute chest syndrome and decreased frequency of pain events in children with SCD. However, it is associated with adverse events (eg, neutropenia) when high to maximum tolerated doses are used. Evidence is lacking on whether hydroxyurea improves survival if given to young children. Majority of the included studies were of low quality and mainly from high-income countries. Overall, available limited evidence suggests that hydroxyurea may improve morbidity and haematological outcomes in SCD in children aged below 5 years and appears safe in settings able to provide consistent haematological monitoring.
Current, widely accepted guidelines for the management of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningoencephalitis (CM) recommend amphotericin B combined with flucytosine (5-FC) for ≥2 weeks as the initial induction treatment of choice. However, access to flucytosine in Africa and Asia, where disease burden is greatest, is inadequate at present. While research into identifying effective and well-tolerated antifungal combinations that do not contain flucytosine continues, an ever-increasing body of evidence from in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies points to the benefits of flucytosine in the treatment of CM in both intravenous combinations with amphotericin B and oral combinations with high-dose fluconazole. This article provides an up-to-date review of this evidence, and the current issues and challenges regarding increasing access to this key component of combination antifungal therapy for cryptococcosis.
Understanding global influenza migration and persistence is crucial for vaccine strain selection. Using 240 new human influenza A virus whole genomes collected in Vietnam during 2001-2008, we looked for persistence patterns and migratory connections between Vietnam and other countries. We found that viruses in Vietnam migrate to and from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Cambodia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. We attempted to reduce geographic bias by generating phylogenies subsampled at the year and country levels. However, migration events in these phylogenies were still driven by the presence or absence of sequence data, indicating that an epidemiologic study design that controls for prevalence is required for robust migration analysis. With whole-genome data, most migration events are not detectable from the phylogeny of the hemagglutinin segment alone, although general migratory relationships between Vietnam and other countries are visible in the hemagglutinin phylogeny. It is possible that virus lineages in Vietnam persisted for >1 year.
UNLABELLED: Received 29 November 2012; returned 20 February 2013; revised 16 May 2013; accepted 18 May 2013 OBJECTIVES: Raised vancomycin MICs have been associated with poor outcomes for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia in the USA and mainland Europe. We investigated if this also applies in the UK, where EMRSA-15 (clonal complex 22) dominates. METHODS: Isolates from UK patients receiving vancomycin therapy for MRSA bacteraemia in 2008-10 were collected, along with clinical details. Outcomes (i.e. patient survival or bacteraemia resolution) were reported 28 days after vancomycin therapy ended. The relationship between clinical outcome and MIC--as determined by CLSI and BSAC agar dilution methods--was assessed. RESULTS: Among 228 MRSA bacteraemias, 82% were caused by EMRSA-15; 65% of the patients were male and the median age was 70.5 years. MICs correlated between methods, but CLSI agar dilution testing gave a mode at 1 mg/L with only 12% of results either side, whereas the BSAC method gave a mode straddling 0.7-1 mg/L with <4% outliers. Twenty-three percent of patients died, with MRSA contributory in half; another 17% had unresolved bacteraemia at 28 days. Neither death nor unresolved bacteraemia was significantly associated with higher vancomycin MICs by either method. Rifampicin co-therapy had no quantifiable effect on outcome. The patient's age was the only significant correlate of patient outcome (P < 0.01); the underlying medical condition of the patient was important for the resolution of bacteraemia (P < 0.01), though not for overall mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Subtle vancomycin MIC differences did not correlate with worse outcomes for vancomycin monotherapy or for vancomycin/rifampicin co-therapy in MRSA bacteraemia. Regardless of the exact MIC-outcome relationship, detecting such small MIC differences seems unlikely to be reliable in routine laboratories.
The 21st century saw a shift in the cholera burden from Asia to Africa. The risk factors for cholera outbreaks in Africa are incompletely understood, and the traditional emphasis on providing safe drinking water and improving sanitation and hygiene has proven remarkably insufficient to contain outbreaks. Current killed whole-cell oral cholera vaccines (OCVs) are safe and guarantee a high level of protection for several years. OCVs have been licensed for >20 years, but their potential for preventing and control cholera outbreaks in Africa has not been realized. Although each item in the long list of technical reasons why cholera vaccination campaigns have been deferred is plausible, we believe that the biggest barrier is that populations affected by cholera outbreaks are underprivileged and lack a strong political voice. The evaluation and use of OCVs as a tool for cholera control will require a new, more compassionate, less risk-averse generation of decision makers.
Infectious micro-organisms may be transmitted by a variety of routes, and some may be spread by more than one route. Respiratory and facial protection is required for those organisms that are usually transmitted via the droplet/airborne route, or when airborne particles have been artificially created, such as during 'aerosol-generating procedures'. A range of personal protective equipment that provides different degrees of facial and respiratory protection is available. It is apparent from the recent experiences with severe acute respiratory syndrome and pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza that healthcare workers may have difficulty in choosing the correct type of facial and respiratory protection in any given clinical situation. To address this issue, the Scientific Development Committee of the Healthcare Infection Society established a short-life working group to develop guidance. The guidance is based upon a review of the literature, which is published separately, and expert consensus.
J Assoc Physicians India, 61 (11), pp. 846-848. | Show Abstract2013. High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) in an Indian pilgrim.
Increasing number of Hindu pilgrims visit the Himalayas where some of them suffer from high altitude illness including the life threatening forms, high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral oedema. Compared to tourists and trekkers, pilgrims are usually ignorant about altitude illness. This is a case of a pilgrim who suffered from HAPE on his trip to Kailash-Mansarovar and is brought to a tertiary level hospital in Kathmandu. This report emphasises on how to treat a patient with HAPE, a disease which is increasingly being seen in the high altitude pilgrim population.
Journal of Association of Physicians of India, 61 (NOV), pp. 846-848. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2013. High altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) in an Indian pilgrim
Increasing number of Hindu pilgrims visit the Himalayas where some of them suffer from high altitude illness including the life threatening forms, high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral oedema. Compared to tourists and trekkers, pilgrims are usually ignorant about altitude illness. This is a case of a pilgrim who suffered from HAPE on his trip to Kailash-Mansarovar and is brought to a tertiary level hospital in Kathmandu. This report emphasises on how to treat a patient with HAPE, a disease which is increasingly being seen in the high altitude pilgrim population. © JAPI.
New England Journal of Medicine, 369 (17), pp. 1664-1667. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Acute High-Altitude Illnesses
Vietnam has experienced unprecedented economic and social development in recent years, and the livestock sector is undergoing significant transformations. Although food animal production is still dominated by small-scale 'backyard' enterprises with mixed crop-livestock or livestock-aquatic systems, there is a trend towards more intensive and vertically integrated operations. Changes in animal production, processing and distribution networks for meat and animal products, and the shift from wet markets to supermarkets will undoubtedly impact food safety risks in Vietnam in unforeseen and complex ways. Here, we review the available published literature on bacterial and parasitic foodborne zoonoses (FBZ) in Vietnam. We report on clinical disease burden and pathogen prevalence in animal reservoirs for a number of important FBZ, and outline opportunities for future research.
N Engl J Med, 369 (17), pp. 1666. | Read more2013. Acute high-altitude illnesses.
LANCET, 382 pp. 14-14. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite)2013. Barriers and enablers of locally led clinical trials in Ethiopia and Cameroon: a prospective, qualitative study
LANCET, 382 pp. 5-5.2013. Sharing methods for global health research: an assessment of methodology
RATIONALE: α2-Antiplasmin (A2AP) is a major inhibitor of fibrinolysis by virtue of its capacity to inhibit plasmin. Although the fibrinolytic system is strongly affected by infection, the functional role of A2AP in the host response to sepsis is unknown. OBJECTIVES: To study the role of A2AP in melioidosis, a common form of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia caused by the gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. METHODS: In a single-center observational study A2AP was measured in patients with culture-proven septic melioidosis. Wild-type and A2AP-deficient (A2AP(-/-)) mice were intranasally infected with B. pseudomallei to induce severe pneumosepsis (melioidosis). Parameters of inflammation and coagulation were measured, and survival studies were performed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patients with melioidosis showed elevated A2AP plasma levels. Likewise, A2AP levels in plasma and lung homogenates were elevated in mice infected with B. pseudomallei. A2AP-deficient (A2AP(-/-)) mice had a strongly disturbed host response during experimental melioidosis as reflected by enhanced bacterial growth at the primary site of infection accompanied by increased dissemination to distant organs. In addition, A2AP(-/-) mice showed more severe lung pathology and injury together with an increased accumulation of neutrophils and higher cytokine levels in lung tissue. A2AP deficiency further was associated with exaggerated systemic inflammation and coagulation, increased distant organ injury, and enhanced lethality. CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to identify A2AP as a protective mediator during gram-negative (pneumo)sepsis by limiting bacterial growth, inflammation, tissue injury, and coagulation.
BACKGROUND: International health research in malaria-endemic settings may include screening for sickle cell disease, given the relationship between this important genetic condition and resistance to malaria, generating questions about whether and how findings should be disclosed. The literature on disclosing genetic findings in the context of research highlights the role of community consultation in understanding and balancing ethically important issues from participants' perspectives, including social forms of benefit and harm, and the influence of access to care. To inform research practice locally, and contribute to policy more widely, this study aimed to explore the views of local residents in Kilifi County in coastal Kenya on how researchers should manage study-generated information on sickle cell disease and carrier status. METHODS: Between June 2010 and July 2011, we consulted 62 purposively selected Kilifi residents on how researchers should manage study-generated sickle cell disease findings. Methods drew on a series of deliberative informed small group discussions. Data were analysed thematically, using charts, to describe participants' perceptions of the importance of disclosing findings, including reasoning, difference and underlying values. Themes were derived from the underlying research questions and from issues emerging from discussions. Data interpretation drew on relevant areas of social science and bioethics literature. RESULTS: Perceived health and social benefits generated strong support for disclosing findings on sickle cell disease, but the balance of social benefits and harms was less clear for sickle cell trait. Many forms of health and social benefits and harms of information-sharing were identified, with important underlying values related to family interests and the importance of openness. The influence of micro and macro level contextual features and prioritization of values led to marked diversity of opinion. CONCLUSIONS: The approach demonstrates a high ethical importance in many malaria endemic low-to-middle income country settings of disclosing sickle cell disease findings generated during research, alongside provision of effective care and locally-informed counselling. Since these services are central to the benefits of disclosure, health researchers whose studies include screening for sickle cell disease should actively promote the development of health policy and services for this condition in situations of unmet need, including through the prior development of collaborative partnerships with government health managers and providers. Community consultation can importantly enrich ethical debate on research practice where in-depth exploration of informed views and the potential for difference are taken into account.
OBJECTIVE: Newer antiretroviral drugs provide substantial benefits but are expensive. The cost-effectiveness of using antiretroviral drugs in combination for patients with multidrug-resistant HIV disease was determined. DESIGN: A cohort state-transition model was built representing treatment-experienced patients with low CD4 counts, high viral load levels, and multidrug-resistant virus. The effectiveness of newer drugs (those approved in 2005 or later) was estimated from published randomized trials. Other parameters were estimated from a randomized trial and from the literature. The model had a lifetime time horizon and used the perspective of an ideal insurer in the United States. The interventions were combination antiretroviral therapy, consisting of 2 newer drugs and 1 conventional drug, compared with 3 conventional drugs. Outcome measures were life-years, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness. RESULTS: Substituting newer antiretroviral drugs increased expected survival by 3.9 years in advanced HIV disease. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of newer, compared with conventional, antiretroviral drugs was $75,556/QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses showed that substituting only one newer antiretroviral drug cost $54,559 to $68,732/QALY, depending on assumptions about efficacy. Substituting 3 newer drugs cost $105,956 to $117,477/QALY. Cost-effectiveness ratios were higher if conventional drugs were not discontinued. CONCLUSIONS: In treatment-experienced patients with advanced HIV disease, use of newer antiretroviral agents can be cost-effective, given a cost-effectiveness threshold in the range of $50,000 to $75,000 per QALY gained. Newer antiretroviral agents should be used in carefully selected patients for whom less expensive options are clearly inferior.
BACKGROUND: In a large cluster randomized control trial of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) in Western Myanmar the malaria protective effect of ITN was found to be highly variable and, in aggregate, the effect was not statistically significant. A coincident entomological investigation measured malaria vector abundance and biting behaviour and the human population sleeping habits, factors relevant to ITN effectiveness. METHODS: Entomological surveys were carried out using different catching methods to identify potential malaria vector species and characterise their biting habits. The salivary glands were dissected from all female anophelines caught to identify sporozoites by microscopy. FINDINGS: Between 1995 and 2000 a total of 4,824 female anopheline mosquitoes were caught with various catching methods. A total of 916 person nights yielded 3,009 female anopheline mosquitoes between 6 pm and 6 am. Except for Anopheles annularis, which showed no apparent preference (51% outdoor biting), all major species showed a strong preference for outdoor biting; Anopheles epiroticus (79%), Anopheles subpictus (72%), Anopheles maculatus (92%), Anopheles aconitus (85%) and Anopheles vagus (72%). Most human biting occurred in the early evening with the peak biting time between 6 pm and 7 pm (35%). Overall 51% (1447/2837) of all bites recorded were between 6 pm and 8 pm. A large proportion of children were not sleeping under an ITN during peak biting times. Only one An. annularis mosquito (0.02%) had malaria sporozoites identified in the salivary glands. CONCLUSIONS: Peak vector biting occurred early in the evening and mainly occurred outdoors. The limited efficacy of ITN in this area of Western Myanmar may be explained by the biting behaviour of the prevalent Anopheles mosquito vectors in this area.
BACKGROUND: Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN) reduce malaria morbidity and mortality consistently in Africa, but their benefits have been less consistent in Asia. This study's objective was to evaluate the malaria protective efficacy of village-wide usage of ITN in Western Myanmar and estimate the cost-effectiveness of ITN compared with extending early diagnosis and treatment services. METHODS: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in Rakhine State to assess the efficacy of ITNs in preventing malaria and anaemia in children and their secondary effects on nutrition and development. The data were aggregated for each village to obtain cluster-level infection rates. In total 8,175 children under 10 years of age were followed up for 10 months, which included the main malaria transmission period. The incidence and prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections, and the biting behaviour of Anopheles mosquitoes in the area were studied concurrently. The trial data along with costs for current recommended treatment practices were modelled to estimate the cost-effectiveness of ITNs compared with, or in addition to extending the coverage of early diagnosis and treatment services. RESULTS: In aggregate, malaria infections, spleen rates, haemoglobin concentrations, and weight for height, did not differ significantly during the study period between villages with and without ITNs, with a weighted mean difference of -2.6 P. falciparum episodes per 1,000 weeks at risk (95% Confidence Interval -7 to 1.8). In areas with a higher incidence of malaria there was some evidence ITN protective efficacy. The economic analysis indicated that, despite the uncertainty and variability in their protective efficacy in the different study sites, ITN could still be cost-effective, but not if they displaced funding for early diagnosis and effective treatment which is substantially more cost-effective. CONCLUSION: In Western Myanmar deployment of ITNs did not provide consistent protection against malaria in children living in malaria endemic villages. Early diagnosis and effective treatment is a more cost effective malaria control strategy than deployment of ITNs in this area where the main vector bites early in the evening, often before people are protected by an ITN.
BACKGROUND: Community participation in peripheral public health facilities has in many countries focused on including community representatives in Health Facility Management Committees (HFMCs). In Kenya, HFMC roles are being expanded with the phased implementation of the Health Sector Services Fund (HSSF). Under HSSF, HFMCs manage facility funds which are dispersed directly from central level into facility bank accounts. We assessed how prepared HFMCs were to undertake this new role in advance of HSSF roll out, and considered the implications for Kenya and other similar settings. METHODS: Data were collected through a nationally representative sample of 248 public health centres and dispensaries in 24 districts in 2010. Data collection included surveys with in-charges (n = 248), HFMC members (n = 464) and facility users (n = 698), and record reviews. These data were supplemented by semi-structured interviews with district health managers in each district. RESULTS: Some findings supported preparedness of HFMCs to take on their new roles. Most facilities had bank accounts and HFMCs which met regularly. HFMC members and in-charges generally reported positive relationships, and HFMC members expressed high levels of motivation and job satisfaction. Challenges included users' low awareness of HFMCs, lack of training and clarity in roles among HFMCs, and some indications of strained relations with in-charges. Such challenges are likely to be common to many similar settings, and are therefore important considerations for any health facility based initiatives involving HFMCs. CONCLUSION: Most HFMCs have the basic requirements to operate. However to manage their own budgets effectively and meet their allocated roles in HSSF implementation, greater emphasis is needed on financial management training, targeted supportive supervision, and greater community awareness and participation. Once new budget management roles are fully established, qualitative and quantitative research on how HFMCs are adapting to their expanded roles, especially in financial management, would be valuable in informing similar financing mechanisms in Kenya and beyond.
OBJECTIVE: To describe immunologic, virologic, and clinical HIV disease progression by HIV-1 subtype among Africans with well documented estimated dates of HIV infection (EDIs). DESIGN: Prospective cohort. METHODS: Adults and youth with documented HIV-1 infection in the past 12 months were recruited from seroincidence cohorts in East and Southern Africa and followed at 3-6 month intervals. Blood for lymphocyte subset and viral load determination was collected at each visit. Pol was sequenced from the first positive specimen to ascertain subtype. Preantiretroviral therapy disease progression was measured by three time-to-event endpoints: CD4 cell count 350 cells/μl or less, viral load measurement at least 1 × 10 copies/ml, and clinical AIDS. RESULTS: From 2006 to 2011, 615 participants were enrolled at nine research centers in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia; 579 (94.1%) had viral subtyping completed. Predominant subtypes were C (256, 44.2%), A (209, 36.1%), and D (84, 14.5%). After adjustment for age, sex, and human leukocyte antigen alleles in Cox regression analyses, subtype C-infected participants progressed faster than subtype A to all three endpoints [CD4 hazard ratio 1.60, 95% (confidence interval) CI 1.16, 2.20; viral load hazard ratio 1.59, 95% CI 1.12, 2.25; and AIDS hazard ratio 1.60, 95% CI 1.11, 2.31). Subtype D-infected participants reached high viral load more rapidly (hazard ratio 1.61, 95% CI 1.01, 2.57) and progressed nearly twice as fast to AIDS compared to subtype A (hazard ratio 1.93, 95% CI 1.21, 3.09). CONCLUSION: Subtype-specific differences in HIV disease progression suggest that the local subtype distribution be considered when planning HIV programs and designing and defining clinical endpoints for HIV prevention trials.
INTRODUCTION: Economic evaluations of interventions in the hospital setting often rely on the estimated long-term impact on patient survival. Estimates of mortality rates and long-term outcomes among patients discharged alive from the intensive care unit (ICU) are lacking from lower- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to assess the long-term survival and life expectancy (LE) amongst post-ICU patients in Thailand, a middle-income country. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, data from a regional tertiary hospital in northeast Thailand and the regional death registry were linked and used to assess patient survival time after ICU discharge. Adult ICU patients aged at least 15 years who had been discharged alive from an ICU between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2005 were included in the study, and the death registry was used to determine deaths occurring in this cohort up to 31st December 2010. These data were used in conjunction with standard mortality life tables to estimate annual mortality and life expectancy. RESULTS: This analysis included 10,321 ICU patients. During ICU admission, 3,251 patients (31.5%) died. Of 7,070 patients discharged alive, 2,527 (35.7%) were known to have died within the five-year follow-up period, a mortality rate 2.5 times higher than that in the Thai general population (age and sex matched). The mean LE was estimated as 18.3 years compared with 25.2 years in the general population. CONCLUSIONS: Post-ICU patients experienced much higher rates of mortality than members of the general population over the five-year follow-up period, particularly in the first year after discharge. Further work assessing Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in both post-ICU patients and in the general population in developing countries is needed.
Laboratory-confirmed cases of subclinical infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus in humans are rare, and the true number of these cases is unknown. We describe the identification of a laboratory-confirmed subclinical case in a woman during an influenza A(H5N1) contact investigation in northern Vietnam.
We investigated whether dried cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) conserved on filter paper can be used as a substrate for accurate PCR diagnosis of important causes of bacterial meningitis in the Lao PDR. Using mock CSF, we investigated and optimized filter paper varieties, paper punch sizes, elution volumes and quantities of DNA template to achieve sensitive and reliable detection of bacterial DNA from filter paper specimens. FTA Elute Micro Card™ (Whatman, Maidstone, UK) was the most sensitive, consistent and practical variety of filter paper. Following optimization, the lower limit of detection for Streptococcus pneumoniae from dried mock CSF spots was 14 genomic equivalents (GE)/μL (interquartile range 5.5 GE/μL) or 230 (IQR 65) colony forming units/mL. A prospective clinical evaluation for S. pneumoniae, S. suis and Neisseria meningitidis was performed. Culture and PCR performed on fresh liquid CSF from patients admitted with a clinical diagnosis of meningitis (n = 73) were compared with results derived from dried CSF spots. Four of five fresh PCR-positive CSF samples also tested PCR positive from dried CSF spots, with one patient under the limit of detection. In a retrospective study of S. pneumoniae samples (n = 20), the median (IQR; range) CSF S. pneumoniae bacterial load was 1.1 × 10 4 GE/μL (1.2 × 10 5 ; 1 to 6.1 × 10 6 DNA GE/μL). Utilizing the optimized methodology, we estimate an extrapolated sensitivity of 90%, based on the range of CSF genome counts found in Laos. Dried CSF filter paper spots could potentially help us to better understand the epidemiology of bacterial meningitis in resource-poor settings and guide empirical treatments and vaccination policies. © 2013 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease.
Tuberculous meningitis is especially common in young children and people with untreated HIV infection, and it kills or disables roughly half of everyone affected. Childhood disease can be prevented by vaccination and by giving prophylactic isoniazid to children exposed to infectious adults, although improvements in worldwide tuberculosis control would lead to more effective prevention. Diagnosis is difficult because clinical features are non-specific and laboratory tests are insensitive, and treatment delay is the strongest risk factor for death. Large doses of rifampicin and fluoroquinolones might improve outcome, and the beneficial effect of adjunctive corticosteroids on survival might be augmented by aspirin and could be predicted by screening for a polymorphism in LTA4H, which encodes an enzyme involved in eicosanoid synthesis. However, these advances are insufficient in the face of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV co-infection. Many questions remain about the best approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat tuberculous meningitis, and there are still too few answers.
Tuberculosis caused 20% of all human deaths in the Western world between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries and remains a cause of high mortality in developing countries. In analogy to other crowd diseases, the origin of human tuberculosis has been associated with the Neolithic Demographic Transition, but recent studies point to a much earlier origin. We analyzed the whole genomes of 259 M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains and used this data set to characterize global diversity and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this pathogen. Coalescent analyses indicate that MTBC emerged about 70,000 years ago, accompanied migrations of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and expanded as a consequence of increases in human population density during the Neolithic period. This long coevolutionary history is consistent with MTBC displaying characteristics indicative of adaptation to both low and high host densities.
Consent and community engagement (CE) in health research are two aspects of a single concern-that research is carried out in a respectful manner where social value is maximized. There are important overlaps and interdependencies between consent and CE; for example, CE can provide insights into how best to tailor consent to context and can be an important component of consent processes. Engaging communities can also have intrinsic and instrumental value beyond consent; for example, as a means of showing respect and identifying appropriate ways of working respectfully. In this paper we critically examine how CE and consent processes are characterized, conducted, and evaluated in diverse health research contexts, and propose a preliminary research agenda to support future learning in these critical areas.
Despite environmental, social and ecological dependencies, emergence of zoonotic viruses in human populations is clearly also affected by genetic factors which determine cross-species transmission potential. RNA viruses pose an interesting case study given their mutation rates are orders of magnitude higher than any other pathogen--as reflected by the recent emergence of SARS and Influenza for example. Here, we show how feature selection techniques can be used to reliably classify viral sequences by host species, and to identify the crucial minority of host-specific sites in pathogen genomic data. The variability in alleles at those sites can be translated into prediction probabilities that a particular pathogen isolate is adapted to a given host. We illustrate the power of these methods by: 1) identifying the sites explaining SARS coronavirus differences between human, bat and palm civet samples; 2) showing how cross species jumps of rabies virus among bat populations can be readily identified; and 3) de novo identification of likely functional influenza host discriminant markers.
BACKGROUND: Impaired glomerular function is one of the health problems affecting childhood cancer survivors (CCS). It is unclear whether glomerular function deteriorates or recovers. We investigated time trends and predictors of glomerular function in CCS. METHODS: We evaluated repeated observations of estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and glomerular dysfunction (GFR <90 mL/min/1.73 m(2)) among adult five-year CCS treated in the EKZ/AMC between 1966 and 2003. Ifosfamide, cisplatin, carboplatin, high-dose (HD) methotrexate, HD-cyclophosphamide, radiotherapy to the kidney region, and nephrectomy (i.e., potentially nephrotoxic therapy) were investigated as predictors of glomerular function patterns over time in multivariable longitudinal analyses. RESULTS: At a median follow-up of 21 years after diagnosis, glomerular function was assessed in 1,122 CCS aged ≥18 years. CCS treated with potentially nephrotoxic therapy had a significantly lower GFR and higher glomerular dysfunction probability up to 35 years after cancer diagnosis compared with CCS treated without nephrotoxic therapy (P < 0.001). Especially ifosfamide, cisplatin, and nephrectomy were associated with worse glomerular function that persisted during the entire follow-up period (P < 0.001). Glomerular function deteriorated over time in all CCS (P < 0.001). CCS treated with higher doses of cisplatin seem to have a higher deterioration rate as compared with other CCS (P < 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: The loss in glomerular function starts early, especially for CCS treated with ifosfamide, higher doses of cisplatin, and nephrectomy, and seems to be persistent. We have an indication that CCS treated with higher doses of cisplatin experience faster decline than other CCS. IMPACT: As glomerular function continues to deteriorate, CCS are at risk for premature chronic renal failure.
BACKGROUND: This study assessed HIV-hepatitis B virus (HBV) coinfection in southern Africa in terms of prevalence, viral characteristics, occult HBV, and the effect of lamivudine- versus tenofovir-containing first-line combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) on HBV-related outcomes. METHODS: A multicenter prospective cohort of HIV-infected adults in Zambia and South Africa who initiated cART. Outcomes by month 12 on cART were immunological recovery, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss, viral suppression, and drug resistance. We used descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and linear mixed models. RESULTS: Of the 1087 participants, 92 were HBsAg seropositive, yielding a sample-weighted prevalence of 7.4% (95% confidence interval: 5.6 to 9.2), with 76% genotype HBV-A1. The estimated CD4 recovery on cART was similar between HIV monoinfection and HIV-HBV coinfection groups and between lamivudine- and tenofovir-treated participants. HBsAg loss was documented in 20% (4/20) of lamivudine-treated and 18% (3/17) of tenofovir-treated participants (P = 0.305). Viral suppression (HBV-DNA < 20 IU/mL) was achieved in 61.5% (16/26) of lamivudine-treated and 71.4% (15/21) of tenofovir-treated participants (P = 0.477). HBV pol sequencing demonstrated M204I (n = 3) and N236T (n = 1) resistance-associated mutations in 4 of 8 (50%) lamivudine-treated participants and none in tenofovir-treated participants. Occult HBV infection was present in 13.3% before cART, but by month 12, HBV-DNA was below the limit of detection (<15 IU/mL) in 90.5% (19/21) of lamivudine-treated and 100% (18/18) of tenofovir-treated participants (P = 0.179). CONCLUSIONS: Tenofovir-containing first-line cART is preferred for HIV-HBV coinfection in Africa because of a superior resistance profile relative to lamivudine monotherapy. Extended follow-up will be needed to determine long-term complications of occult HBV coinfection. Improved access to HBsAg screening and tenofovir is needed.
Shigella sonnei is a human-adapted pathogen that is emerging globally as the dominant agent of bacterial dysentery. To investigate local establishment, we sequenced the genomes of 263 Vietnamese S. sonnei isolated over 15 y. Our data show that S. sonnei was introduced into Vietnam in the 1980s and has undergone localized clonal expansion, punctuated by genomic fixation events through periodic selective sweeps. We uncover geographical spread, spatially restricted frontier populations, and convergent evolution through local gene pool sampling. This work provides a unique, high-resolution insight into the microevolution of a pioneering human pathogen during its establishment in a new host population.
OBJECTIVES: Analyse the effect of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), a wage-for-employment policy of the Indian Government, on infant malnutrition and delineate the pathways through which MGNREGA affects infant malnutrition. HYPOTHESIS: MGNREGA could reduce infant malnutrition through positive effects on household food security and infant feeding. METHOD: Mixed methods using cross-sectional study and focus group discussions conducted in Dungarpur district, Rajasthan, India. PARTICIPANTS: Infants aged 1 to <12 months and their mothers/caregivers. Final sample 528 households with 1056 participants, response rate 89.6%. Selected households were divided into MGNREGA-households and non-MGNREGA-households based on participation in MGNREGA between August-2010 and September-2011. OUTCOMES: Infant malnutrition measured using anthropometric indicators - underweight, stunting, and wasting (WHO criteria). RESULTS: We included 528 households with 1,056 participants. Out of 528, 281 households took part in MGNREGA between August'10, and September'11. Prevalence of wasting was 39%, stunting 24%, and underweight 50%. Households participating in MGNREGA were less likely to have wasted infants (OR 0·57, 95% CI 0·37-0·89, p = 0·014) and less likely to have underweight infants (OR 0·48, 95% CI 0·30-0·76, p = 0·002) than non-participating households. Stunting did not differ significantly between groups. We did 11 focus group discussions with 62 mothers. Although MGNREGA reduced starvation, it did not provide the desired benefits because of lower than standard wages and delayed payments. Results from path analysis did not support existence of an effect through household food security and infant feeding, but suggested a pathway of effect through low birth-weight. CONCLUSION: Participation in MGNREGA was associated with reduced infant malnutrition possibly mediated indirectly via improved birth-weight rather than by improved infant feeding. Addressing factors such as lack of mothers' knowledge and inappropriate feeding practices, over and above the social and economic policies, is key in efforts to reduce infant malnutrition.
We present a seminested PCR method that specifically discriminates between Plasmodium ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri with high sensitivity. The test is based on species-specific amplification of a size-polymorphic fragment of the tryptophan-rich antigen gene, potra, which also permits discrimination of intraspecific sequence variants at this locus.
The clinical and radiological features of pulmonary melioidosis can mimic tuberculosis. We prospectively evaluated 118 patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis who were acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear negative at Udon Thani Hospital, northeast Thailand. Culture of residual sputum from AFB testing was positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei in three patients (2.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5-7.3%). We propose that in melioidosis-endemic areas, residual sputum from AFB testing should be routinely cultured for B. pseudomallei.
Substantial development assistance has been directed towards reducing the high malaria burden in Malawi over the past decade. We assessed changes in transmission over this period of malaria control scale-up by compiling community Plasmodium falciparum rate (PfPR) data during 2000-2011 and used model-based geostatistical methods to predict mean PfPR2-10 in 2000, 2005, and 2010. In addition, we calculated population-adjusted prevalences and populations at risk by district to inform malaria control program priority setting. The national population-adjusted PfPR2-10 was 37% in 2010, and we found no evidence of change over this period of scale-up. The entire population of Malawi is under meso-endemic transmission risk, with those in districts along the shore of Lake Malawi and Shire River Valley under highest risk. The lack of change in prevalence confirms modeling predictions that when compared with lower transmission, prevalence reductions in high transmission settings require greater investment and longer time scales.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative environmental bacterium found in tropical climates that causes melioidosis. Culture remains the diagnostic gold standard, but isolation of B. pseudomallei from heavily contaminated sites, such as fecal specimens, can be difficult. We recently reported that B. pseudomallei is capable of infecting the gastrointestinal tract of mice and suggested that the same may be true in humans. Thus, there is a strong need for new culture techniques to allow for efficient detection of B. pseudomallei in fecal and other specimens. We found that the addition of norfloxacin, ampicillin, and polymyxin B to Ashdown's medium (NAP-A) resulted in increased specificity without affecting the growth of 25 B. pseudomallei strains. Furthermore, recovery of B. pseudomallei from human clinical specimens was not affected by the three additional antibiotics. Therefore, we conclude that NAP-A medium provides a new tool for more sensitive isolation of B. pseudomallei from heavily contaminated sites.
The currently available malaria control tools have allowed malaria elimination in many regions but there remain many regions where malaria control has made little progress. A safe and protective malaria vaccine would be a huge asset for malaria control. Despite the many challenges, efforts continue to design and evaluate malaria vaccine candidates. These candidates target different stages in the life cycle of Plasmodia. The most advanced vaccine candidates target the pre-erythrocytic stages in the life cycle of the parasite and include RTS,S/AS01, which has progressed through clinical development to the stage that it may be licensed in 2015. Attenuated whole-parasite vaccine candidates are highly protective, but there are challenges to manufacture and to administration. Cellular immunity is targeted by the prime-boost approach. Priming vectors trigger only modest responses but these are focused on the recombinant antigen. Boosting vectors trigger strong but broad non-specific responses. The heterologous sequence produces strong immunological responses to the recombinant antigen. Candidates that target the blood stages of the parasite have to result in an immune response that is more effective than the response to an infection to abort or control the infection of merozoites and hence disease. Finally, the sexual stages of the parasite offer another target for vaccine development, which would prevent the transmission of malaria. Today it seems unlikely that any candidate targeting a single antigen will provide complete protection against an organism of the complexity of Plasmodium. A systematic search for vaccine targets and combinations of antigens may be a more promising approach.
As avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses continue to circulate in Asia and Africa, global concerns of an imminent pandemic persist. Recent experimental studies suggest that efficient transmission between humans of current H5N1 viruses only requires a few genetic changes. An essential step is alteration of the virus hemagglutinin from preferential binding to avian receptors for the recognition of human receptors present in the upper airway. We have identified receptor-binding changes which emerged during H5N1 infection of humans, due to single amino acid substitutions, Ala134Val and Ile151Phe, in the hemagglutinin. Detailed biological, receptor-binding, and structural analyses revealed reduced binding of the mutated viruses to avian-like receptors, but without commensurate increased binding to the human-like receptors investigated, possibly reflecting a receptor-binding phenotype intermediate in adaptation to more human-like characteristics. These observations emphasize that evolution in nature of avian H5N1 viruses to efficient binding of human receptors is a complex multistep process.
BACKGROUND: Dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is a severe manifestation of dengue virus infection that particularly affects children and young adults. Despite its increasing global importance, there are no prospective studies describing the clinical characteristics, management, or outcomes of DSS. METHODS: We describe the findings at onset of shock and the clinical evolution until discharge or death, from a comprehensive prospective dataset of 1719 Vietnamese children with laboratory-confirmed DSS managed on a single intensive care unit between 1999 and 2009. RESULTS: The median age of patients was 10 years. Most cases had secondary immune responses, with only 6 clear primary infections, and all 4 dengue virus serotypes were represented during the 10-year study. Shock occurred commonly between days 4 and 6 of illness. Clinical signs and symptoms were generally consistent with empirical descriptions of DSS, although at presentation 153 (9%) were still febrile and almost one-third had no bleeding. Overall, 31 (2%) patients developed severe bleeding, primarily from the gastrointestinal tract, 26 of whom required blood transfusion. Only 8 patients died, although 123 of 1719 (7%) patients had unrecordable blood pressure at presentation and 417 of the remaining 1596 (26%) were hypotensive for age. The majority recovered well with standard crystalloid resuscitation or following a single colloid infusion. All cases were classified as severe dengue, while only 70% eventually fulfilled all 4 criteria for the 1997 World Health Organization classification of dengue hemorrhagic fever. CONCLUSIONS: With prompt intervention and assiduous clinical care by experienced staff, the outcome of this potentially fatal condition can be excellent.
BACKGROUND: Pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world. Viruses contribute significantly to pneumonia burden, although data for low-income and tropical countries are scarce. The aim of this laboratory-enhanced, hospital-based surveillance was to characterise the epidemiology of respiratory virus infections among refugees living on the Thailand-Myanmar border. METHODS: Maela camp provides shelter for ~45,000 refugees. Inside the camp, a humanitarian organisation provides free hospital care in a 158-bed inpatient department (IPD). Between 1st April 2009 and 30th September 2011, all patients admitted to the IPD with a clinical diagnosis of pneumonia were invited to participate. Clinical symptoms and signs were recorded and a nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) collected. NPAs were tested for adenoviruses, human metapneumovirus (hMPV), influenza A & B, and RSV by PCR. RESULTS: Seven hundred eight patient episodes (698 patients) diagnosed as pneumonia during the enhanced surveillance period were included in this analysis. The median patient age was 1 year (range: < 1-70), and 90.4% were aged < 5 years. At least one virus was detected in 53.7% (380/708) of episodes. Virus detection was more common in children aged < 5 years old (<1 year: OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4, p = 0.01; 1-4 years: OR 1.4, 95% CI 0.8-2.3, p = 0.2). RSV was detected in 176/708 (24.9%); an adenovirus in 133/708 (18.8%); an influenza virus in 68/708 (9.6%); and hMPV in 33/708 (4.7%). Twenty-eight episodes of multiple viral infections were identified, most commonly adenovirus plus another virus. RSV was more likely to be detected in children <5 years (OR 12.3, 95% CI 3.0-50.8, p = 0.001) and influenza viruses in patients ≥5 years (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5-5.4, p = 0.002). IPD treatment was documented in 702/708 cases; all but one patient received antimicrobials, most commonly a beta-lactam (amoxicillin/ampicillin +/-gentamicin in 664/701, 94.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Viral nucleic acid was identified in the nasopharynx in half the patients admitted with clinically diagnosed pneumonia. Development of immunisations targeting common respiratory viruses is likely to reduce the incidence of pneumonia in children living refugee camps and similar settings.
The clinical course and eventual outcome, or prognosis, of complex diseases varies enormously between affected individuals. This variability critically determines the impact a disease has on a patient's life but is very poorly understood. Here, we exploit existing genome-wide association study data to gain insight into the role of genetics in prognosis. We identify a noncoding polymorphism in FOXO3A (rs12212067: T > G) at which the minor (G) allele, despite not being associated with disease susceptibility, is associated with a milder course of Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis and with increased risk of severe malaria. Minor allele carriage is shown to limit inflammatory responses in monocytes via a FOXO3-driven pathway, which through TGFβ1 reduces production of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNFα, and increases production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-10. Thus, we uncover a shared genetic contribution to prognosis in distinct diseases that operates via a FOXO3-driven pathway modulating inflammatory responses.
Resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend changes in national drug policies. The time between policy changes and their implementation profoundly affects program impact. We developed a model based on data on antimalarial treatments, extracted from household surveys and national antimalarial policy information from the literature. Drug use in each country during the time period 1999-2011 and the trend in reduction of CQ use after policy change were estimated. The SP use estimates were correlated with the prevalence of a molecular marker associated with SP resistance. There was no spatial pattern in the country-level rate of reduction of CQ use, after policy change. In East Africa SP drug use was strongly correlated to resistance. If artemisinin resistance spreads to, or emerges in, Africa this methodology will be a valuable tool to estimate actual drug use and its impact on changes in drug efficacy.
Melioidosis is a severe bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. Rapid antimicrobial therapy is necessary to improve patient outcome, which is aided by direct detection of B. pseudomallei in clinical samples. A drawback for all antigen assays is that the number of B. pseudomallei in blood usually falls below the achievable level of detection. We performed a prospective cohort study of 461 patients with 541 blood cultures to evaluate the utility of a pre-incubation step prior to detection of B. pseudomallei using a monoclonal antibody-based immunofluorescent assay (Mab-IFA). The Mab-IFA was positive in 74 of 76 patients with melioidosis (sensitivity = 97.4%), and negative in 385 patients who did not have blood cultures containing B. pseudomallei (specificity = 100%). The Mab-IFA could be a valuable supplementary tool for rapid detection. We recommend the use of the Mab-IFA to test blood cultures that flag positive in regions where melioidosis is endemic.
Leptospirosis and scrub typhus are major causes of acute febrile illness in rural Asia, where co-infection is reported to occur based on serologic evidence. We re-examined whether co-infection occurs by using a molecular approach. A duplex real-time polymerase chain reaction was developed that targeted a specific 16S ribosomal RNA gene of pathogenic Leptospira spp. and Orientia tsutsugamushi. Of 82 patients with an acute febrile illness who had dual infection on the basis of serologic tests, 5 (6%) had polymerase chain reaction results positive for both pathogens. We conclude that dual infection occurs, but that serologic tests may overestimate the frequency of co-infections.
Floodwater samples (N = 110) collected during the 2011 Bangkok floods were tested for Leptospira using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR); 65 samples were PCR-positive for putatively non-pathogenic Leptospira species, 1 sample contained a putatively pathogenic Leptospira, and 6 samples contained Leptospira clustering phylogenetically with the intermediate group. The low prevalence of pathogenic and intermediate Leptospira in floodwater was consistent with the low number of human leptospirosis cases reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology in Thailand. This study provides baseline information on environmental Leptospira in Bangkok together with a set of laboratory tests that could be readily deployed in the event of future flooding.
Antimalarial drugs have usually been first deployed in areas of malaria endemicity at doses which were too low, particularly for high-risk groups such as young children and pregnant women. This may accelerate the emergence and spread of resistance, thereby shortening the useful life of the drug, but it is an inevitable consequence of the current imprecise method of dose finding. An alternative approach to dose finding is suggested in which phase 2 studies concentrate initially on pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) characterization and in vivo calibration of in vitro susceptibility information. PD assessment is facilitated in malaria because serial parasite densities are readily assessed by microscopy, and at low densities by quantitative PCR, so that initial therapeutic responses can be quantitated accurately. If the in vivo MIC could be characterized early in phase 2 studies, it would provide a sound basis for the choice of dose in all target populations in subsequent combination treatments. Population PK assessments in phase 2b and phase 3 studies which characterize PK differences between different age groups, clinical disease states, and human populations can then be combined with the PK-PD observations to provide a sound evidence base for dose recommendations in different target groups.
BACKGROUND: The benefits of universal meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) admission screening, compared with screening targeted patient groups and the additional impact of discharge screening, are uncertain. AIMS: To quantify the impact of MRSA screening plus decolonization treatment on MRSA infection rates. To compare universal with targeted screening policies, and to evaluate the additional impact of screening and decolonization on discharge. METHODS: A stochastic, individual-based model of MRSA transmission was developed that included patient movements between general medical and intensive care unit (ICU) wards, and between the hospital and community, informed by 18 months of individual patient data from a 900-bed tertiary care hospital. We simulated the impact of universal and targeted [for ICU, acute care of the elderly (ACE) or readmitted patients] MRSA screening and decolonization policies, both on admission and discharge. FINDINGS: Universal admission screening plus decolonization resulted in 77% (95% confidence interval: 76-78) reduction in MRSA infections over 10 years. Screening only ACE specialty or ICU patients yielded 62% (61-63) and 66% (65-67) reductions, respectively. Targeted policies reduced the number of screens by up to 95% and courses of decolonization by 96%. In addition to screening on admission, screening on discharge had little impact, with a maximum 7% additional reduction in infection. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with universal screening, targeted screening substantially reduced the amount of screening and decolonization required to achieve only 12% lower reduction in infection. Targeted screening and decolonization could lower the risk of resistance emerging as well as offer a more efficient use of resources.
BACKGROUND: The global impact of the 2009 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic (H1N1pdm) is not well understood. OBJECTIVES: We estimate overall and age-specific prevalence of cross-reactive antibodies to H1N1pdm virus and rates of H1N1pdm infection during the first year of the pandemic using data from published and unpublished H1N1pdm seroepidemiological studies. METHODS: Primary aggregate H1N1pdm serologic data from each study were stratified in standardized age groups and evaluated based on when sera were collected in relation to national or subnational peak H1N1pdm activity. Seropositivity was assessed using well-described and standardized hemagglutination inhibition (HI titers ≥ 32 or ≥ 40) and microneutralization (MN ≥ 40) laboratory assays. The prevalence of cross-reactive antibodies to the H1N1pdm virus was estimated for studies using sera collected prior to the start of the pandemic (between 2004 and April 2009); H1N1pdm cumulative incidence was estimated for studies in which collected both pre- and post-pandemic sera; and H1N1pdm seropositivity was calculated from studies with post-pandemic sera only (collected between December 2009-June 2010). RESULTS: Data from 27 published/unpublished studies from 19 countries/administrative regions - Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Reunion Island, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam - were eligible for inclusion. The overall age-standardized pre-pandemic prevalence of cross-reactive antibodies was 5% (95%CI 3-7%) and varied significantly by age with the highest rates among persons ≥ 65 years old (14% 95%CI 8-24%). Overall age-standardized H1N1pdm cumulative incidence was 24% (95%CI 20-27%) and varied significantly by age with the highest in children 5-19 (47% 95%CI 39-55%) and 0-4 years old (36% 95%CI 30-43%). CONCLUSIONS: Our results offer unique insight into the global impact of the H1N1 pandemic and highlight the need for standardization of seroepidemiological studies and for their inclusion in pre-pandemic preparedness plans. Our results taken together with recent global pandemic respiratory-associated mortality estimates suggest that the case fatality ratio of the pandemic virus was approximately 0.02%.
Phylogenetic analyses of 169 influenza A(H5N1) virus genomes were conducted for samples collected through active surveillance and outbreak responses in Vietnam between September 2010 and September 2012. While clade 1.1 viruses persisted in southern regions, three genetically distinct subgroups of clade 126.96.36.199 were found in northern and central Vietnam. The identification of each subgroup corresponded with detection of novel reassortants, likely due to their overlapping circulation throughout the country. While the previously identified clade 1.1 and A/Hubei/1/2010-like 188.8.131.52 genotypes remained the predominant viruses detected, four viruses were found to be reassortants between A/Hubei/1/2010-like (HA, NA, PB2, PB1, PA, NP) and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like (M, NS) viruses and one virus was identified as having A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like HA, NA, PB1, and NP with A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA genes. Additionally, clade 184.108.40.206 A/Hong Kong/6841/2010-like viruses, first detected in mid-2012, were identified as reassortants comprised of A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like PB1, NP, NA, M, NS genes. © 2013.
Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (9), pp. 736-737. | Read more2013. Studies of selective decontamination.
TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 18 pp. 53-54. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite)2013. Dengue shock syndrome in children: clinical features and a prognostic model for profound shock
TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 18 pp. 7-7.2013. Causes of fever - hoof beats are rarely from zebras
TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 18 pp. 20-20.2013. Building bridges between law enforcement and public health communities to combat pharmaceutical crime
The pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β is a key mediator of inflammation and plays an important role in the host resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. To date, most studies have examined the mechanisms of IL-1β secretion using laboratory strains of M. tuberculosis and the findings may not be widely applicable to contemporary clinical strains. Here, we investigated the primary pathways of IL-1β secretion in macrophages infected with a panel of 17 clinical M. tuberculosis isolates, representing Euro-American, Indo-Oceanic and East-Asian/Beijing lineages. Our aim was to dissect the pathways involved in M. tuberculosis induced IL-1β secretion and to determine whether they are common to all clinical isolates. We found that the isolates were capable of eliciting variable concentrations of IL-1β from infected murine macrophages, but this phenomenon could not be attributed to differential IL-1β mRNA transcription or pro-IL-1β accumulation. We demonstrate that viable bacteria are required to induce IL-1β secretion from macrophages, but IL-1β secretion was only partially abrogated by caspase-1 inhibition. Almost complete IL-1β secretion inhibition was produced with combined caspase-1 and some serine protease inhibitors. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that clinical strains of M. tuberculosis employ a unique caspase-1 independent pathway to stimulate IL-1β secretion from macrophages.
BACKGROUND: Because of reductions in the incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Laos, identification of the causes of fever in people without malaria, and discussion of the best empirical treatment options, are urgently needed. We aimed to identify the causes of non-malarial acute fever in patients in rural Laos. METHODS: For this prospective study, we recruited 1938 febrile patients, between May, 2008, and December, 2010, at Luang Namtha provincial hospital in northwest Laos (n=1390), and between September, 2008, and December, 2010, at Salavan provincial hospital in southern Laos (n=548). Eligible participants were aged 5-49 years with fever (≥38°C) lasting 8 days or less and were eligible for malaria testing by national guidelines. FINDINGS: With conservative definitions of cause, we assigned 799 (41%) patients a diagnosis. With exclusion of influenza, the top five diagnoses when only one aetiological agent per patient was identified were dengue (156 [8%] of 1927 patients), scrub typhus (122 [7%] of 1871), Japanese encephalitis virus (112 [6%] of 1924), leptospirosis (109 [6%] of 1934), and bacteraemia (43 [2%] of 1938). 115 (32%) of 358 patients at Luang Namtha hospital tested influenza PCR-positive between June and December, 2010, of which influenza B was the most frequently detected strain (n=121 [87%]). Disease frequency differed significantly between the two sites: Japanese encephalitis virus infection (p=0·04), typhoid (p=0·006), and leptospirosis (p=0·001) were more common at Luang Namtha, whereas dengue and malaria were more common at Salavan (all p<0·0001). With use of evidence from southeast Asia when possible, we estimated that azithromycin, doxycycline, ceftriaxone, and ofloxacin would have had significant efficacy for 258 (13%), 240 (12%), 154 (8%), and 41 (2%) of patients, respectively. INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that a wide range of treatable or preventable pathogens are implicated in non-malarial febrile illness in Laos. Empirical treatment with doxycycline for patients with undifferentiated fever and negative rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and dengue could be an appropriate strategy for rural health workers in Laos. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, WHO-Western Pacific Region, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, 303 pp. 75-75.2013. Environmental presence of Burkholderia pseudomallei in rice fields as determined by direct PCR from soil samples
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is very common at altitudes above 2500 m. There are few treatment options in the field where electricity availability is limited, and medical assistance or oxygen is unavailable or difficult to access. Positive airway pressure has been used to treat AMS at 3800 m. We hypothesized that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) could be used under field conditions powered by small rechargeable batteries. Methods Part 1. 5 subjects trekked to 3500 m from 2800 m in one day and slept there for one night, ascending in the late afternoon to 3840 m, where they slept using CPAP 6-7 cm via mask. The next morning they descended to 3500 m, spent the day there, ascended in late afternoon to 3840 m, and slept the night without CPAP. Continuous overnight oximetry was recorded and the Lake Louise questionnaire for AMS administered both mornings. Methods Part 2. 14 trekkers with symptoms of AMS were recruited at 4240 m. All took acetazolamide. The Lake Louise questionnaire was administered, oximetry recorded, and CPAP 6-7 cm was applied for 10-15 min. CPAP was used overnight and oximetry recorded continuously. In the morning the Lake Louise questionnaire was administered, and oximetry recorded for 10-15 min. The equipment used in both parts was heated, humidified Respironics RemStar® machines powered by Novuscell™ rechargeable lithium ion batteries. Oximetry was recorded using Embletta™ PDS. Results Part 1. CPAP improved overnight Sao2 and eliminated AMS symptoms in the one subject who developed AMS. CPAP was used for 7-9 h and the machines operated for >8 h using the battery. Results Part 2. CPAP use improved Sao2 when used for 10-15 min at the time of recruitment and overnight CPAP use resulted in significantly reduced AMS symptoms. Conclusion. CPAP with rechargeable battery may be a useful treatment option for trekkers and climbers who develop AMS.
High Alt Med Biol, 14 (3), pp. 219. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Rebuttal to pro statements.
High Alt Med Biol, 14 (3), pp. 214-215. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Con: All dwellers at high altitude are persons of impaired physical and mental powers: the view from the Himalayas.
This study is the first comparative trial of sleep medications at high altitude. We performed a randomized, double-blind trial of temazepam and acetazolamide at an altitude of 3540 meters. 34 healthy trekkers with self-reports of high-altitude sleep disturbance were randomized to temazepam 7.5 mg or acetazolamide 125 mg taken at bedtime for one night. The primary outcome was sleep quality on a 100 mm visual analog scale. Additional measurements were obtained with actigraphy; pulse oximetry; and questionnaire evaluation of sleep, daytime drowsiness, daytime sleepiness, and acute mountain sickness. Sixteen subjects were randomized to temazepam and 18 to acetazolamide. Sleep quality on the 100 mm visual analog scale was higher for temazepam (59.6, SD 20.1) than acetazolamide (46.2, SD 20.2; p=0.048). Temazepam also demonstrated higher subjective sleep quality on the Groningen Sleep Quality Scale (3.5 vs. 6.8, p=0.009) and sleep depth visual analog scale (60.3 vs. 41.4, p=0.028). The acetazolamide group reported significantly more awakenings to urinate (1.8 vs. 0.5, p=0.007). No difference was found with regards to mean nocturnal oxygen saturation (84.1 vs. 84.4, p=0.57), proportion of the night spent in periodic breathing, relative desaturations, sleep onset latency, awakenings, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, Stanford Sleepiness Scale scores, daytime drowsiness, or change in self-reported Lake Louise Acute Mountain Sickness scores. We conclude that, at current recommended dosing, treatment of high-altitude sleep disturbance with temazepam is associated with increased subjective sleep quality compared to acetazolamide.
Journal of Clinical Virology, 58 (1), pp. 216-220. | Read more2013. Patient characteristics and severity of human rhinovirus infections in children
Hydroxyurea is widely used in high-income countries for the management of sickle cell disease (SCD) in children. In Kenyan clinical guidelines, hydroxyurea is only recommended for adults with SCD. Yet many deaths from SCD occur in early childhood, deaths that might be prevented by an effective, disease modifying intervention. The aim of this review was to summarise the available evidence on the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of hydroxyurea in the management of SCD in children below 5 years of age to support guideline development in Kenya. We undertook a systematic review and used the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation system to appraise the quality of identified evidence. Overall, available evidence from 1 systematic review (n=26 studies), 2 randomised controlled trials (n=354 children), 14 observational studies and 2 National Institute of Health reports suggest that hydroxyurea may be associated with improved fetal haemoglobin levels, reduced rates of hospitalisation, reduced episodes of acute chest syndrome and decreased frequency of pain events in children with SCD. However, it is associated with adverse events (eg, neutropenia) when high to maximum tolerated doses are used. Evidence is lacking on whether hydroxyurea improves survival if given to young children. Majority of the included studies were of low quality and mainly from high-income countries. Overall, available limited evidence suggests that hydroxyurea may improve morbidity and haematological outcomes in SCD in children aged below 5 years and appears safe in settings able to provide consistent haematological monitoring.
BACKGROUND: RTS,S is the most advanced candidate malaria vaccine but it is only partially protective and the causes of inter-individual variation in efficacy are poorly understood. Here, we investigated whether peripheral blood monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratios (ML ratio), previously shown to correlate with clinical malaria risk, could account for differences in RTS,S efficacy among phase II trial participants in Africa. METHODS: Of 11 geographical sites where RTS,S has been evaluated, pre-vaccination ML ratios were only available for trial participants in Kilifi, Kenya (N = 421) and Lambarene, Gabon (N = 189). Using time to first clinical malaria episode as the primary endpoint we evaluated the effect of accounting for ML ratio on RTS,S vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria by Cox regression modeling. RESULTS: The unadjusted efficacy of RTS,S in this combined dataset was 47% (95% confidence interval (CI) 26% to 62%, P <0.001). However, RTS,S efficacy decreased with increasing ML ratio, ranging from 67% (95% CI 64% to 70%) at an ML ratio of 0.1 to 5% (95% CI -3% to 13%) at an ML ratio of 0.6. The statistical interaction between RTS,S vaccination and ML ratio was still evident after adjustment for covariates associated with clinical malaria risk in this dataset. CONCLUSION: The results suggest that stratification of study participants by ML ratio, easily measured from full differential blood counts before vaccination, might help identify children who are highly protected and those that are refractory to protection with the RTS,S vaccine. Identifying causes of low vaccine efficacy among individuals with high ML ratio could inform strategies to improve overall RTS,S vaccine efficacy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.Gov numbers NCT00380393 and NCT00436007.
BACKGROUND - : HIV infection continues to be endemic worldwide. Although treatments are successful, it remains controversial whether patients receiving optimal therapy have structural, functional, or biochemical cardiac abnormalities that may underlie their increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to characterize myocardial abnormalities in a contemporary group of HIV-infected individuals undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy. METHODS AND RESULTS - : Volunteers with HIV who were undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy and age-matched control subjects without a history of cardiovascular disease underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy for the determination of cardiac function, myocardial fibrosis, and myocardial lipid content. A total of 129 participants were included in this analysis. Compared with age-matched control subjects (n=39; 30.23%), HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy (n=90; 69.77%) had 47% higher median myocardial lipid levels (P < 0.003) and 74% higher median plasma triglyceride levels (both P < 0.001). Myocardial fibrosis, predominantly in the basal inferolateral wall of the left ventricle, was observed in 76% of HIV-infected subjects compared with 13% of control subjects (P < 0.001). Peak myocardial systolic and diastolic longitudinal strain were also lower in HIV-infected individuals than in control subjects and remained statistically significant after adjustment for available confounders. CONCLUSIONS - : Comprehensive cardiac imaging revealed cardiac steatosis, alterations in cardiac function, and a high prevalence of myocardial fibrosis in a contemporary group of asymptomatic HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy. Cardiac steatosis and fibrosis may underlie cardiac dysfunction and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in subjects with HIV. © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND: District level health system governance is recognised as an important but challenging element of health system development in low and middle-income countries. Accountability is a more recent focus in health system debates. Accountability mechanisms are governance tools that seek to regulate answerability between the health system and the community (external accountability) and/or between different levels of the health system (bureaucratic accountability). External accountability has attracted significant attention in recent years, but bureaucratic accountability mechanisms, and the interactions between the two forms of accountability, have been relatively neglected. This is an important gap given that webs of accountability relationships exist within every health system. There is a need to strike a balance between achieving accountability upwards within the health system (for example through information reporting arrangements) while at the same time allowing for the local level innovation that could improve quality of care and patient responsiveness. METHODS: Using a descriptive literature review, this paper examines the factors that influence the functioning of accountability mechanisms and relationships within the district health system, and draws out the implications for responsiveness to patients and communities. We also seek to understand the practices that might strengthen accountability in ways that improve responsiveness--of the health system to citizens' needs and rights, and of providers to patients. RESULTS: The review highlights the ways in which bureaucratic accountability mechanisms often constrain the functioning of external accountability mechanisms. For example, meeting the expectations of relatively powerful managers further up the system may crowd out efforts to respond to citizens and patients. Organisational cultures characterized by supervision and management systems focused on compliance to centrally defined outputs and targets can constrain front line managers and providers from responding to patient and population priorities. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that it is important to limit the potential negative impacts on responsiveness of new bureaucratic accountability mechanisms, and identify how these or other interventions might leverage the shifts in organizational culture necessary to encourage innovation and patient-centered care.
BACKGROUND: Nitric oxide (NO), a key macrophage antimycobacterial mediator that ameliorates immunopathology, is measurable in exhaled breath in individuals with pulmonary tuberculosis. We investigated relationships between fractional exhale NO (FENO) and initial pulmonary tuberculosis severity, change during treatment, and relationship with conversion of sputum culture to negative at 2 months. METHODS: In Papua, we measured FENO in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at baseline and serially over 6 months and once in healthy controls. Treatment outcomes were conversion of sputum culture results at 2 months and time to conversion of sputum microscopy results. RESULTS: Among 200 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and 88 controls, FENO was lower for patients with pulmonary tuberculosis at diagnosis (geometric mean FENO, 12.7 parts per billion [ppb]; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11.6-13.8) than for controls (geometric mean FENO, 16.6 ppb; 95% CI, 14.2-19.5; P = .002), fell further after treatment initiation (nadir at 1 week), and then recovered by 6 months (P = .03). Lower FENO was associated with more-severe tuberculosis disease, with FENO directly proportional to weight (P < .001) and forced vital-capacity (P = .001) and inversely proportional to radiological score (P = .03). People whose FENO increased or remained unchanged by 2 months were 2.7-fold more likely to achieve conversion of sputum culture than those whose FENO decreased (odds ratio, 2.72; 95% CI, 1.05-7.12; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, impaired pulmonary NO bioavailability is associated with more-severe disease and delayed mycobacterial clearance. Measures to increase pulmonary NO warrant investigation as adjunctive tuberculosis treatments.
J Med Microbiol, 62 (Pt 11), pp. 1772-1773. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Total lactate dehydrogenase in cerebrospinal fluid for identification of bacterial meningitis.
BACKGROUND: Vitamin D (vitD) and L-arginine have important antimycobacterial effects in humans. Adjunctive therapy with these agents has the potential to improve outcomes in active tuberculosis (TB). METHODS: In a 4-arm randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled factorial trial in adults with smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) in Timika, Indonesia, we tested the effect of oral adjunctive vitD 50,000 IU 4-weekly or matching placebo, and L-arginine 6.0 g daily or matching placebo, for 8 weeks, on proportions of participants with negative 4-week sputum culture, and on an 8-week clinical score (weight, FEV1, cough, sputum, haemoptysis). All participants with available endpoints were included in analyses according to the study arm to which they were originally assigned. Adults with new smear-positive PTB were eligible. The trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00677339. RESULTS: 200 participants were enrolled, less than the intended sample size: 50 received L-arginine + active vitD, 49 received L-arginine + placebo vit D, 51 received placebo L-arginine + active vitD and 50 received placebo L-arginine + placebo vitD. According to the factorial model, 99 people received arginine, 101 placebo arginine, 101 vitamin D, 99 placebo vitamin D. Results for the primary endpoints were available in 155 (4-week culture) and 167 (clinical score) participants. Sputum culture conversion was achieved by week 4 in 48/76 (63%) participants in the active L-arginine versus 48/79 (61%) in placebo L-arginine arms (risk difference -3%, 95% CI -19 to 13%), and in 44/75 (59%) in the active vitD versus 52/80 (65%) in the placebo vitD arms (risk difference 7%, 95% CI -9 to 22%). The mean clinical outcome score also did not differ between study arms. There were no effects of the interventions on adverse event rates including hypercalcaemia, or other secondary outcomes. CONCLUSION: Neither vitD nor L-arginine supplementation, at the doses administered and with the power attained, affected TB outcomes. REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov. Registry number: NCT00677339.
BACKGROUND: The agreement between self-reported and proxy measures of health status in ill children is not well established. This study aimed to quantify the variation in health-related quality of life (HRQOL) derived from young patients and their carers using different instruments. METHODS: A hospital-based cross-sectional survey was conducted between August 2010 and March 2011. Children with meningitis, bacteremia, pneumonia, acute otitis media, hearing loss, chronic lung disease, epilepsy, mild mental retardation, severe mental retardation, and mental retardation combined with epilepsy, aged between five to 14 years in seven tertiary hospitals were selected for participation in this study. The Health Utilities Index Mark 2 (HUI2), and Mark 3 (HUI3), and the EuroQoL Descriptive System (EQ-5D) and Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS) were applied to both paediatric patients (self-assessment) and caregivers (proxy-assessment). RESULTS: The EQ-5D scores were lowest for acute conditions such as meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia, whereas the HUI3 scores were lowest for most chronic conditions such as hearing loss and severe mental retardation. Comparing patient and proxy scores (n = 74), the EQ-5D exhibited high correlation (r = 0.77) while in the HUI2 and HUI3 patient and caregiver scores were moderately correlated (r = 0.58 and 0.67 respectively). The mean difference between self and proxy-assessment using the HUI2, HUI3, EQ-5D and EQ-VAS scores were 0.03, 0.05, -0.03 and -0.02, respectively. In hearing-impaired and chronic lung patients the self-rated HRQOL differed significantly from their caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: The use of caregivers as proxies for measuring HRQOL in young patients affected by pneumococcal infection and its sequelae should be employed with caution. Given the high correlation between instruments, each of the HRQOL instruments appears acceptable apart from the EQ-VAS which exhibited low correlation with the others.
In 2008, dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-piperaquine (PPQ) became the first-line treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in western Cambodia. Recent reports of increased treatment failure rates after DHA-PPQ therapy in this region suggest that parasite resistance to DHA, PPQ, or both is now adversely affecting treatment. While artemisinin (ART) resistance is established in western Cambodia, there is no evidence of PPQ resistance. To monitor for resistance to PPQ and other antimalarials, we measured drug susceptibilities for parasites collected in 2011 and 2012 from Pursat, Preah Vihear, and Ratanakiri, in western, northern, and eastern Cambodia, respectively. Using a SYBR green I fluorescence assay, we calculated the ex vivo 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) of 310 parasites to six antimalarials: chloroquine (CQ), mefloquine (MQ), quinine (QN), PPQ, artesunate (ATS), and DHA. Geometric mean IC50s (GMIC50s) for all drugs (except PPQ) were significantly higher in Pursat and Preah Vihear than in Ratanakiri (P ≤ 0.001). An increased copy number of P. falciparum mdr1 (pfmdr1), an MQ resistance marker, was more prevalent in Pursat and Preah Vihear than in Ratanakiri and was associated with higher GMIC50s for MQ, QN, ATS, and DHA. An increased copy number of a chromosome 5 region (X5r), a candidate PPQ resistance marker, was detected in Pursat but was not associated with reduced susceptibility to PPQ. The ex vivo IC50 and pfmdr1 copy number are important tools in the surveillance of multidrug-resistant (MDR) parasites in Cambodia. While MDR P. falciparum is prevalent in western and northern Cambodia, there is no evidence for PPQ resistance, suggesting that DHA-PPQ treatment failures result mainly from ART resistance.
We conducted a prospective hospital based study from February 2009-April 2011 to identify the possible pathogens of central nervous system (CNS) infections in adults admitted to a tertiary referral hospital (Patan Hospital) in Kathmandu, Nepal. The pathogens of CNS infections were confirmed in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using molecular diagnostics, culture (bacteria) and serology. 87 patients were recruited for the study and the etiological diagnosis was established in 38% (n = 33). The bacterial pathogens identified were Neisseria meningitidis (n = 6); Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 5) and Staphylococcus aureus (n = 2) in 13/87(14%). Enteroviruses were found in 12/87 (13%); Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) in 2/87(2%). IgM against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) was detected in the CSF of 11/73 (15%) tested samples. This is the first prospective molecular and serology based CSF analysis in adults with CNS infections in Kathmandu, Nepal. JEV and enteroviruses were the most commonly detected pathogens in this setting.
White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the brain are important markers of aging and small-vessel disease. WMHs are rare in healthy children and, when observed, often occur with comorbid neuroinflammatory or vasculitic processes. Here, we describe a complex 4 kb deletion in 2q36.3 that segregates with early childhood communication disorders and WMH in 15 unrelated families predominantly from Southeast Asia. The premature brain aging phenotype with punctate and multifocal WMHs was observed in ∼70% of young carrier parents who underwent brain MRI. The complex deletion removes the penultimate exon 3 of TM4SF20, a gene encoding a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Minigene analysis showed that the resultant net loss of an exon introduces a premature stop codon, which, in turn, leads to the generation of a stable protein that fails to target to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm. Finally, we report this deletion to be enriched in individuals of Vietnamese Kinh descent, with an allele frequency of about 1%, embedded in an ancestral haplotype. Our data point to a constellation of early language delay and WMH phenotypes, driven by a likely toxic mechanism of TM4SF20 truncation, and highlight the importance of understanding and managing population-specific low-frequency pathogenic alleles. © 2013 The American Society of Human Genetics.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax infections in pregnancy are associated with low birth weight and anaemia. This parasites species is also characterised by relapses, erythrocytic infections initiated by the activation of the dormant liver stages, the hypnozoites, to mature. Genotyping of P. vivax using microsatellite markers has opened the way to comparative investigations of parasite populations. The aim of the study was to assess whether there were any differences between the parasites found in pregnant and non-pregnant patients, and/or between the admission infections and recurrent episodes during follow-up. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 18 pregnant and 18 non-pregnant patients, who had at least two recurrent episodes during follow-up, that were recruited in two previous trials on the efficacy of chloroquine treatment of P. vivax infections on the Thai-Myanmar border. DNA was purified and the P. vivax populations genotyped with respect to eight polymorphic microsatellite markers. Analyses of the genetic diversity, multiplicity of infection (MOI), and a comparison of the genotypes in the samples from each patient were conducted. RESULTS: The P. vivax parasites present in the samples exhibited high genetic diversity (6 to 15 distinct allelic variants found for the 8 loci). Similar expected heterozygosity (He) values were obtained for isolates from pregnant (0.837) and non-pregnant patients (0.852). There were modest differences between the MOI values calculated for both admission and recurrence samples from the pregnant patients (2.00 and 2.05, respectively) and the equivalent samples from the non-pregnant patients (1.67 and 1.64, respectively). Furthermore, the mean number of distinct alleles enumerated in the admission samples from the pregnant (6.88) and non-pregnant (7.63) patients were significantly lower than that found in the corresponding recurrent episodes samples (9.25 and 9.63, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The P. vivax populations circulating in inhabitants along the Thai-Myanmar border, an area of low malaria transmission, displayed high genetic diversity. A subtle increase in the multiplicity of P. vivax infections in pregnant patients suggests a higher susceptibility to infection. The higher allelic diversity in the relapse as compared to the admission samples in both patient groups is consistent with the hypothesis that a febrile episode promotes the activation of hypnozoites.
BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax in Indonesia has shifted first-line treatment to artemisinin-based combination therapies, combined with primaquine (PQ) for radical cure. Which combination is most effective and safe remains to be established. METHODS: We conducted a prospective open-label randomized comparison of 14 days of PQ (0.25 mg base/kg) plus either artesunate-amodiaquine (AAQ + PQ) or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP + PQ) for the treatment of uncomplicated monoinfection P. vivax malaria in North Sumatera, Indonesia. Patients were randomized and treatments were given without prior testing for G6PD status. The primary outcome was parasitological failure at day 42. Patients were followed up to 1 year. RESULTS: Between December 2010 and April 2012, 331 patients were included. After treatment with AAQ + PQ, recurrent infection occurred in 0 of 167 patients within 42 days and in 15 of 130 (11.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 6.6%-18.3%) within a year. With DHP + PQ, this was 1 of 164 (0.6%; 95% CI, 0.01%-3.4%) and 13 of 143 (9.1%; 95% CI, 4.9%-15.0%), respectively (P > .2). Intravascular hemolysis occurred in 5 patients, of which 3 males were hemizygous for the G6PD-Mahidol mutation. Minor adverse events were more frequent with AAQ + PQ. CONCLUSIONS: In North Sumatera, Indonesia, AAQ and DHP, both combined with PQ, were effective for blood-stage parasite clearance of uncomplicated P. vivax malaria. Both treatments were safe, but DHP + PQ was better tolerated. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01288820.
Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many drugs used in the treatment of malaria, usually resulting in lower drug exposures. This increases the risks of treatment failure, adverse outcomes for the fetus, and the development of resistance. The pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its principal metabolite dihydroartemisinin (n = 21), quinine (n = 21), and lumefantrine (n = 26) in pregnant Ugandan women were studied. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics in a nonpregnant control group (n = 17) were also studied. Frequently sampled patient data were evaluated with noncompartmental analysis. No significant correlation was observed between estimated gestational age and artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, or quinine exposures. Artemether/dihydroartemisinin and quinine exposures were generally low in these pregnant women compared to values reported previously for nonpregnant patients. Median day 7 lumefantrine concentrations were 488 (range, 30.7 to 3,550) ng/ml in pregnant women compared to 720 (339 to 2,150) ng/ml in nonpregnant women (P = 0.128). There was no statistical difference in total lumefantrine exposure or maximum concentration. More studies with appropriate control groups in larger series are needed to characterize the degree to which pregnant women are underdosed with current antimalarial dosing regimens.
This study aimed to describe the burden of infectious disease within one immigration removal centre (IRC) in southern England using available data. We conducted a review of existing databases used to record cases of infectious disease and extracted health information from a random sample of 50 % of detainee medical notes. We found that there was poor correlation between routine databases and that no systematic infectious disease screening is undertaken within the IRC. However, infectious diseases were an important public health issue in the IRC: 2 % of detainees were recorded as being hepatitis B virus positive, 1 % were HIV positive, and 3 % had a diagnosis of Tuberculosis. This study's quantification of the burden of infectious diseases relies upon self-disclosure and therefore underestimates true prevalence. Consideration should be given to screening for infectious diseases in the IRC. Where disease is identified, systems for case-tracking are poorly aligned between services. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (2), pp. 301-307. | Citations: 67 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Unresolved problems related to scrub typhus: a seriously neglected life-threatening disease.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (2), pp. 202-204. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Purnomo Projodipuro (April 11, 1934-May 10, 2013).
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (2), pp. 198-201. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Dogma in classifying dengue disease.
Indian Journal of Medical Research, 138 (JUL 2013), pp. 38-59. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2013. New approaches & technologies of venomics to meet the challenge of human envenoming by snakebites in India
The direct estimate of 46,000 snakebite deaths in India in 2005 (1 for every 2 HIV/AIDS deaths), based on verbal autopsies, renders unrealistic the total of only 47,000 snakebite deaths in the whole world in 2010, obtained indirectly as part of the "Global Burden of Disease 2010" study. Persistent underestimation of its true morbidity and mortality has made snakebite the most neglected of all the WHO's "neglected tropical diseases", downgrading its public health importance. Strategies to address this neglect should include the improvement of antivenom, the only specific antidote to envenoming. To accommodate increased understanding of geographical intraspecific variation in venom composition and the range of snake species that are medically important in India, the design of antivenoms (choice of venom sources and species coverage) should be reconsidered. Methods of preclinical and clinical testing should be improved. The relatively new science of venomics involves techniques and strategies for assessing the toxin composition of snake venoms directly through proteomics-centred approaches or indirectly via high-throughput venom gland transcriptomics and bioinformatic analysis. Antivenomics is translational venomics: a proteomics-based protocol to quantify the extent of cross-reactivity of antivenoms against homologous and heterologous venoms. These approaches could revolutionize the preclinical assessment of antivenom efficacy, leading to a new generation of antivenoms that are clinically more effective.
Trends in Parasitology, 29 (8), pp. 359-360. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Artemisinin resistance is a clear and present danger
In the Lao PDR (Laos), urban dengue is an increasingly recognised public health problem. We describe a dengue-1 virus outbreak in a rural northwestern Lao forest village during the cool season of 2008. The isolated strain was genotypically "endemic" and not "sylvatic," belonging to the genotype 1, Asia 3 clade. Phylogenetic analyses of 37 other dengue-1 sequences from diverse areas of Laos between 2007 and 2010 showed that the geographic distribution of some strains remained focal overtime while others were dispersed throughout the country. Evidence that dengue viruses have broad circulation in the region, crossing country borders, was also obtained. Whether the outbreak arose from dengue importation from an urban centre into a dengue-naïve community or crossed into the village from a forest cycle is unknown. More epidemiological and entomological investigations are required to understand dengue epidemiology and the importance of rural and forest dengue dynamics in Laos.
Purpose There are only a few studies of incidence of epilepsy in low and middle income countries (LMICs). These are often small and conducted in specific age groups or areas where the prevalence of risk factors is high; therefore, these studies are not representative of the wider populations. We determined the incidence of convulsive epilepsy (CE) in a large rural population in Kenya. Methods We conducted two cross-sectional surveys 5 years apart within a health and demographic surveillance system. Initially we identified residents without epilepsy who were then reexamined in the follow-up survey to determine incidence. We estimated the overall incidence of CE and incidence by age-group, sex, and by administrative location. Estimates were adjusted for attrition during case identification and for the sensitivity of the screening method. Key Findings In a cohort of 151,408 people, 194 developed CE over the 5 years. The minimum crude incidence rate was 37.6/100,000 persons per year (95% confidence interval (CI) 32.7-43.3) and adjusted for loss to follow-up, and the sensitivity of the survey methodology was 77.0/100,000 persons per year (95% CI 67.7-87.4). Incidence was highest in children 6-12 years (96.1/100,000 persons per year; 95% CI 78.4-117.9), and was lowest in the 29-49 year age group (37.4/100,000 persons per year; 95% CI 25.7-54.7). Significance We estimated a high incidence of convulsive epilepsy in this population. Incidence was highest early and late in life, suggesting that preventive interventions should target exposures that occur in these age groups. Incidence of focal epilepsy was more than twice that of generalized epilepsy, suggesting that etiologies that are amenable to intervention were most important in this population. It is likely that incidence is underestimated because of the early mortality of incident cases. © 2013 The Authors. Epilepsia published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND: Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi can colonize and persist in the biliary tract of infected individuals, resulting in a state of asymptomatic chronic carriage. Chronic carriers may act as persistent reservoirs of infection within a community and may introduce infection to susceptible individuals and new communities. Little is known about the interaction between the host and pathogen in the biliary tract of chronic carriers, and there is currently no reliable diagnostic assay to identify asymptomatic S. Typhi carriage. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To study host-pathogen interactions in the biliary tract during S. Typhi carriage, we applied an immunoscreening technique called in vivo-induced antigen technology (IVIAT), to identify potential biomarkers unique to carriers. IVIAT identifies humorally immunogenic bacterial antigens expressed uniquely in the in vivo environment, and we hypothesized that S. Typhi surviving in the biliary tract of humans may express a distinct antigenic profile. Thirteen S. Typhi antigens that were immunoreactive in carriers, but not in healthy individuals from a typhoid endemic area, were identified. The identified antigens included a number of putative membrane proteins, lipoproteins, and hemolysin-related proteins. YncE (STY1479), an uncharacterized protein with an ATP-binding motif, gave prominent responses in our screen. The response to YncE in patients whose biliary tract contained S. Typhi was compared to responses in patients whose biliary tract did not contain S. Typhi, patients with acute typhoid fever, and healthy controls residing in a typhoid endemic area. Seven of 10 (70%) chronic carriers, 0 of 8 bile culture-negative controls (0%), 0 of 8 healthy Bangladeshis (0%), and 1 of 8 (12.5%) Bangladeshis with acute typhoid fever had detectable anti-YncE IgG in blood. IgA responses were also present. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Further evaluation of YncE and other antigens identified by IVIAT could lead to the development of improved diagnostic assays to identify asymptomatic S. Typhi carriers.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (8), pp. e2163. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Concurrent Infection with murine typhus and scrub typhus in southern Laos--the mixed and the unmixed.
Background: Pneumonia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world. Viruses contribute significantly to pneumonia burden, although data for low-income and tropical countries are scarce. The aim of this laboratory-enhanced, hospital-based surveillance was to characterise the epidemiology of respiratory virus infections among refugees living on the Thailand-Myanmar border.Methods: Maela camp provides shelter for ~45,000 refugees. Inside the camp, a humanitarian organisation provides free hospital care in a 158-bed inpatient department (IPD). Between 1st April 2009 and 30th September 2011, all patients admitted to the IPD with a clinical diagnosis of pneumonia were invited to participate. Clinical symptoms and signs were recorded and a nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) collected. NPAs were tested for adenoviruses, human metapneumovirus (hMPV), influenza A & B, and RSV by PCR.Results: Seven hundred eight patient episodes (698 patients) diagnosed as pneumonia during the enhanced surveillance period were included in this analysis. The median patient age was 1 year (range: < 1-70), and 90.4% were aged < 5 years. At least one virus was detected in 53.7% (380/708) of episodes. Virus detection was more common in children aged < 5 years old ( < 1 year: OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4, p = 0.01; 1-4 years: OR 1.4, 95% CI 0.8-2.3, p = 0.2). RSV was detected in 176/708 (24.9%); an adenovirus in 133/708 (18.8%); an influenza virus in 68/708 (9.6%); and hMPV in 33/708 (4.7%). Twenty-eight episodes of multiple viral infections were identified, most commonly adenovirus plus another virus. RSV was more likely to be detected in children < 5 years (OR 12.3, 95% CI 3.0-50.8, p = 0.001) and influenza viruses in patients ≥5 years (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5-5.4, p = 0.002). IPD treatment was documented in 702/708 cases; all but one patient received antimicrobials, most commonly a beta-lactam (amoxicillin/ampicillin +/-gentamicin in 664/701, 94.7%).Conclusions: Viral nucleic acid was identified in the nasopharynx in half the patients admitted with clinically diagnosed pneumonia. Development of immunisations targeting common respiratory viruses is likely to reduce the incidence of pneumonia in children living refugee camps and similar settings. © 2013 Turner et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Non-typhoid Salmonella serovars other than Salmonella enterica serovars S. Enteritidis (SE) and S.Typhimurium (ST) are isolated throughout the world with huge variations in prevalence. Besides the more generally occurring serovars, such as S. Infantis and S. Hadar, there are many examples of serovars that are principally reported from the regions and are most probably associated with local reservoirs. In most countries of the world, no formal surveillance systems for human salmonellosis are in place and data are limited to ad hoc studies. Data on animals, food and animal feed are even more scarce. The identification of non-SE/ST serovars may be hampered by a lack of experience in serotyping and the availability of quality-assured antisera. Subtyping Salmonella remains important to identify sources of human infections and to target interventions and control measurements. However, in the future, there will be an increasing use of culture-independent diagnostic assays, with the consequence that epidemiological subtyping and antimicrobial susceptibility data will no longer be generated. The validation of these assays for all serovars, particularly the rare ones, needs attention. Although current subtyping based on the Kauffmann-White scheme is well established, and has been shown to be robust, a new generation of subtyping methods will replace it in the near future.
Interleukin-10 (IL-10) plays a key role in regulating proinflammatory immune responses to infection but can interfere with pathogen clearance. Although IL-10 is upregulated throughout HIV-1 infection in multiple cell subsets, whether this is a viral immune evasion strategy or an appropriate response to immune activation is unresolved. Analysis of IL-10 production at the single cell level in 51 chronically infected subjects (31 antiretroviral (ART) naïve and 20 ART treated) showed that a subset of CD8(+) T cells with a CD25(neg) FoxP3(neg) phenotype contributes substantially to IL-10 production in response to HIV-1 gag stimulation. The frequencies of gag-specific IL-10- and IFN-γ-producing T cells in ART-naïve subjects were strongly correlated and the majority of these IL-10(+) CD8(+) T cells co-produced IFN-γ; however, patients with a predominant IL-10(+) /IFN-γ(neg) profile showed better control of viraemia. Depletion of HIV-specific CD8(+) IL-10(+) cells from PBMCs led to upregulation of CD38 on CD14(+) monocytes together with increased IL-6 production, in response to gag stimulation. Increased CD38 expression was positively correlated with the frequency of the IL-10(+) population and was also induced by exposure of monocytes to HIV-1 in vitro. Production of IL-10 by HIV-specific CD8(+) T cells may represent an adaptive regulatory response to monocyte activation during chronic infection.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have prompted an expansion in approaches to deriving health metrics to measure progress toward their achievement. Accurate measurements should take into account the high degrees of spatial heterogeneity in health risks across countries, and this has prompted the development of sophisticated cartographic techniques for mapping and modeling risks. Conversion of these risks to relevant population-based metrics requires equally detailed information on the spatial distribution and attributes of the denominator populations. However, spatial information on age and sex composition over large areas is lacking, prompting many influential studies that have rigorously accounted for health risk heterogeneities to overlook the substantial demographic variations that exist subnationally and merely apply national-level adjustments.Here we outline the development of high resolution age- and sex-structured spatial population datasets for Africa in 2000-2015 built from over a million measurements from more than 20,000 subnational units, increasing input data detail from previous studies by over 400-fold. We analyze the large spatial variations seen within countries and across the continent for key MDG indicator groups, focusing on children under 5 and women of childbearing age, and find that substantial differences in health and development indicators can result through using only national level statistics, compared to accounting for subnational variation.Progress toward meeting the MDGs will be measured through national-level indicators that mask substantial inequalities and heterogeneities across nations. Cartographic approaches are providing opportunities for quantitative assessments of these inequalities and the targeting of interventions, but demographic spatial datasets to support such efforts remain reliant on coarse and outdated input data for accurately locating risk groups. We have shown here that sufficient data exist to map the distribution of key vulnerable groups, and that doing so has substantial impacts on derived metrics through accounting for spatial demographic heterogeneities that exist within nations across Africa.
Ex vivo antimalarial sensitivity testing in human malaria parasites has largely depended on microscopic determination of schizont maturation. While this microscopic method is sensitive, it suffers from poor precision and is laborious. The recent development of portable, low-cost cytometers has allowed us to develop and validate a simple, field-optimized protocol using SYBR green and dihydroethidium for the accurate and objective determination of antimalarial drug sensitivity in freshly isolated Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum.
Malaria remains one of the greatest human health burdens in Indonesia. Although Indonesia has a long and renowned history in the early research and discoveries of malaria and subsequently in the successful use of environmental control methods to combat the vector, much remains unknown about many of these mosquito species. There are also significant gaps in the existing knowledge on the transmission epidemiology of malaria, most notably in the highly malarious eastern half of the archipelago. These compound the difficulty of developing targeted and effective control measures. The sheer complexity and number of malaria vectors in the country are daunting. The difficult task of summarizing the available information for each species and/or species complex is compounded by the patchiness of the data: while relatively plentiful in one area or region, it can also be completely lacking in others. Compared to many other countries in the Oriental and Australasian biogeographical regions, only scant information on vector bionomics and response to chemical measures is available in Indonesia. That information is often either decades old, geographically patchy or completely lacking. Additionally, a large number of information sources are published in Dutch or Indonesian language and therefore less accessible. This review aims to present an updated overview of the known distribution and bionomics of the 20 confirmed malaria vector species or species complexes regarded as either primary or secondary (incidental) malaria vectors within Indonesia. This chapter is not an exhaustive review of each of these species. No attempt is made to specifically discuss or resolve the taxonomic record of listed species in this document, while recognizing the ever evolving revisions in the systematics of species groups and complexes. A review of past and current status of insecticide susceptibility of eight vector species of malaria is also provided.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum has repeatedly evolved resistance to first-line anti-malarial drugs, thwarting efforts to control and eliminate the disease and in some period of time this contributed largely to an increase in mortality. Here a mathematical model was developed to map the spatiotemporal trends in the distribution of mutations in the P. falciparum dihydropteroate synthetase (dhps) gene that confer resistance to the anti-malarial sulphadoxine, and are a useful marker for the combination of alleles in dhfr and dhps that is highly correlated with resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). The aim of this study was to present a proof of concept for spatiotemporal modelling of trends in anti-malarial drug resistance that can be applied to monitor trends in resistance to components of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) or other anti-malarials, as they emerge or spread. METHODS: Prevalence measurements of single nucleotide polymorphisms in three codon positions of the dihydropteroate synthetase (dhps) gene from published studies of dhps mutations across Africa were used. A model-based geostatistics approach was adopted to create predictive surfaces of the dhps540E mutation over the spatial domain of sub-Saharan Africa from 1990-2010. The statistical model was implemented within a Bayesian framework and hence quantified the associated uncertainty of the prediction of the prevalence of the dhps540E mutation in sub-Saharan Africa. CONCLUSIONS: The maps presented visualize the changing prevalence of the dhps540E mutation in sub-Saharan Africa. These allow prediction of space-time trends in the parasite resistance to SP, and provide probability distributions of resistance prevalence in places where no data are available as well as insight on the spread of resistance in a way that the data alone do not allow. The results of this work will be extended to design optimal sampling strategies for the future molecular surveillance of resistance, providing a proof of concept for similar techniques to design optimal strategies to monitor resistance to ACT.
BACKGROUND: Prospective efficacy monitoring of anti-malarial treatments is imperative for timely detection of resistance development. The in vivo efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) fixed-dose combination (FDC) was compared to that of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) among children aged six to 59 months in Nimba County, Liberia, where Plasmodium falciparum malaria is endemic and efficacy data are scarce. METHODS: An open-label, randomized controlled non-inferiority trial compared the genotyping adjusted day 42 cure rates of ASAQ FDC (ASAQ Winthrop®) to AL (Coartem®) in 300 children aged six to 59 months with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Inclusion was between December 2008 and May 2009. Randomization (1:1) was to a three-day observed oral regimen (ASAQ: once a day; AL: twice a day, given with fatty food). Day 7 desethylamodiaquine and lumefantrine blood-concentrations were also measured. RESULTS: The day 42 genotyping-adjusted cure rate estimates were 97.3% [95% CI: 91.6-99.1] for ASAQ and 94.2% [88.1-97.2] for AL (Kaplan-Meier survival estimates). The difference in day 42 cure rates was -3.1% [upper limit 95% CI: 1.2%]. These results were confirmed by observed proportion of patients cured at day 42 on the per-protocol population. Parasite clearance was 100% (ASAQ) and 99.3% (AL) on day 3. The probability to remain free of re-infection was 0.55 [95% CI: 0.46-0.63] (ASAQ) and 0.66 [0.57-0.73] (AL) (p = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: Both ASAQ and AL were highly efficacious and ASAQ was non-inferior to AL. The proportion of patients with re-infection was high in both arms in this highly endemic setting. In 2010, ASAQ FDC was adopted as the first-line national treatment in Liberia. Continuous efficacy monitoring is recommended. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocols were registered with Current Controlled Trials, under the identifier numbers ISRCTN51688713, ISRCTN40020296.
BACKGROUND: Safety surveillance of widely used artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is essential, but tolerability data in the over five years age group are largely anecdotal. METHODS: Two open-label, randomized trials were conducted in Nimba County, Liberia: i) the main tolerability trial with 1,000 Plasmodium falciparum malaria patients aged over five years (Study-T), and, ii) an efficacy trial with a secondary objective of collecting tolerability data among 300 children age six to 59 months (Study-E). In both studies patients were randomized to fixed-dose artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ Winthrop®) or artemether-lumefantrine (AL, Coartem®), respectively. Clinical- and laboratory-adverse events (AEs) were recorded until day 28. RESULTS: Study-T: most patients experienced at least one AE. Severe AEs were few, primarily asymptomatic blood system disorders or increased liver enzyme values. No treatment or study discontinuation occurred. Mild or moderate fatigue (39.8% vs 16.3%, p < 0.001), vomiting (7.1% vs 1.6%, p < 0.001), nausea (3.2% vs 1.0%, p = 0.01), and anaemia (14.9% vs 9.8%, p = 0.01) were more frequently recorded in the ASAQ versus AL arm. Study-E: mild or moderate AEs were common, including anaemia, fatigue, vomiting or diarrhoea. The few severe events were asymptomatic blood system disorders and four clinical events (pneumonia, malaria, vomiting and stomatitis). CONCLUSION: Both ASAQ and AL were well tolerated in patients of all age groups. No unexpected AEs occurred. Certain mild or moderate AEs were more frequent in the ASAQ arm. Standardised safety surveillance should continue for all forms of ACT. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocols were registered with Current Controlled Trials, under the identifier numbers ISRCTN40020296, ISRCTN51688713, (http://www.controlled-trials.com).
BACKGROUND: Despite the increasing interest in using non-physician clinicians in many low-income countries, little is known about the roles they play in typical health system settings. Prior research has concentrated on evaluating their technical competencies compared to those of doctors. This work explored perceptions of the roles of Kenyan non-physician clinicians (Clinical Officers (COs). METHODS: Qualitative methods including in-depth interviews (with COs, nurses, doctors, hospital management, and policymakers, among others), participant observation and document analysis were used. A nomothetic-idiographic framework was used to examine tensions between institutions and individuals within them. A comparative approach was used to examine institutional versus individual notions of CO roles, how these roles play out in government and faith-based hospital (FBH) settings as well as differences arising from three specific work settings for COs within hospitals. RESULTS: The main finding was the discrepancy between policy documents that outline a broad role for COs that covers both technical and managerial roles, while respondents articulated a narrow technical role that focused on patient care and management. Respondents described a variety of images of COs, ranging from 'filter' to 'primary healthcare physician', when asked about CO roles. COs argued for a defined role associated with primary healthcare, feeling constrained by their technical role. FBH settings were found to additionally clarify CO roles when compared with public hospitals. Tensions between formal prescriptions of CO roles and actual practice were reported and coalesced around lack of recognition over COs work, role conflict among specialist COs, and role ambiguity. CONCLUSIONS: Even though COs are important service providers their role is not clearly understood, which has resulted in role conflict. It is suggested that their role be redefined, moving from that of 'substitute clinician' to professional 'primary care clinician', with this being supported by the health system.
The contribution of inadequate health worker numbers and emigration have been highlighted in the international literature, but relatively little attention has been paid to absenteeism as a factor that undermines health-care delivery in low income countries. We therefore aimed to review the literature on absenteeism from a health system manager's perspective to inform needed work on this topic. Specifically, we aimed to develop a typology of definitions that might be useful to classify different forms of absenteeism and identify factors associated with absenteeism. Sixty-nine studies were reviewed, only four were from sub-Saharan Africa where the human resources for health crisis is most acute. Forms of absenteeism studied and methods used vary widely. No previous attempt to develop an overarching approach to classifying forms of absenteeism was identified. A typology based on key characteristics is proposed to fill this gap and considers absenteeism as defined by two key attributes, whether it is: planned/unplanned, and voluntary/involuntary. Factors reported to influence rates of absenteeism may be broadly classified into three thematic categories: workplace and content, personal and organizational and cultural factors. The literature presents an inconsistent picture of the effects of specific factors within these themes perhaps related to true contextual differences or inconsistent definitions of absenteeism.
Abs that inhibit Plasmodium falciparum invasion of erythrocytes form an important component of human immunity against malaria, but key target Ags are largely unknown. Phenotypic variation by P. falciparum mediates the evasion of inhibitory Abs, contributing to the capacity of P. falciparum to cause repeat and chronic infections. However, Ags involved in mediating immune evasion have not been defined, and studies of the function of human Abs are limited. In this study, we used novel approaches to determine the importance of P. falciparum erythrocyte-binding Ags (EBAs), which are important invasion ligands, as targets of human invasion-inhibitory Abs and define their role in contributing to immune evasion through variation in function. We evaluated the invasion-inhibitory activity of acquired Abs from malaria-exposed children and adults from Kenya, using P. falciparum with disruption of genes encoding EBA140, EBA175, and EBA181, either individually or combined as EBA140/EBA175 or EBA175/EBA181 double knockouts. Our findings provide important new evidence that variation in the expression and function of the EBAs plays an important role in evasion of acquired Abs and that a substantial amount of phenotypic diversity results from variation in expression of different EBAs that contributes to immune evasion by P. falciparum. All three EBAs were identified as important targets of naturally acquired inhibitory Abs demonstrated by differential inhibition of parental parasites greater than EBA knockout lines. This knowledge will help to advance malaria vaccine development and suggests that multiple invasion ligands need to be targeted to overcome the capacity of P. falciparum for immune evasion.
Heme oxygenase 1 expression is increased in pediatric patients with malaria. The carboxyhemoglobin level (a measure of heme oxygenase 1 activity) has not been assessed in adult patients with malaria. Results of pulse co-oximetry revealed that the mean carboxyhemoglobin level was elevated in 29 Indonesian adults with severe falciparum malaria (10%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 8%-13%) and in 20 with severe sepsis (8%; 95% CI, 5%-12%), compared with the mean levels in 32 patients with moderately severe malaria (7%; 95% CI, 5%-8%) and 36 controls (3.6%; 95% CI, 3%-5%; P < .001). An increased carboxyhemoglobin level was associated with an increased odds of death among patients with severe malaria (odds ratio, 1.2 per percentage point increase; 95% CI, 1.02-1.5). While also associated with severity and fatality, methemoglobin was only modestly increased in patients with severe malaria. Increased carboxyhemoglobin levels during severe malaria and sepsis may exacerbate organ dysfunction by reducing oxygen carriage and cautions against the use of adjunctive CO therapy, which was proposed on the basis of mouse models.
We evaluated the University of North Carolina-Malawi Risk Screening Score (UMRSS) for detection of acute and early HIV-1 infection (AEHI) in a cohort of Kenyan MSM with approximately 8% annual HIV-1 incidence. Three components of the UMRSS (fever, diarrhea, and discordant rapid HIV tests) were also independent predictors of AEHI in our cohort. The predictive ability (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, AUC) of the UMRSS was 0.79. A cohort-derived risk score consisting of six characteristics (fever, diarrhea, discordant rapid HIV tests, fatigue, age <30 years, and symptomatic sexually transmitted disease) had a higher AUC of 0.85. Screening for AEHI will have substantial transmission prevention benefits.
BACKGROUND: Severe malaria remains a major cause of death and morbidity amongst adults in the Asiatic tropics. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of the clinical and laboratory data of 988 adult patients, hospitalized with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and prospectively recruited to malaria studies in western Thailand between 1986 and 2002, was performed to assess the factors associated with a fatal outcome. Different severity scores and classifications for defining severe malaria were compared and, using multiple logistic regression, simple models for predicting mortality developed. RESULTS: The proportion of patients fulfilling the WHO 2000 definition of severe malaria was 78.1%, and their mortality was 10%. Mortality in patients given parenteral artesunate or artemether (16/317, 5%) was lower than in those given parenteral quinine (59/442, 13%) (P < 0.001). Models using parameter sets based on WHO 1990, 2000 and Adapted AQ criteria plus blood smear parasite-stage assessment gave the best mortality prediction. A malaria prognostic index (MPI), derived from the dataset using five clinical or laboratory variables gave similar prognostic accuracy. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality of severe malaria in adults has fallen and the switch from quinine to artesunate has probably been an important contributor. Prognostic indices based on WHO 2000 definitions, and other simpler indices based on fewer variables, provide clinically useful predictions of outcome in Asian adults with severe malaria.
BACKGROUND: Antibodies to P. falciparum apical membrane protein 1 (AMA1) may contribute to protective immunity against clinical malaria by inhibiting blood stage growth of P. falciparum, and AMA1 is a leading malaria vaccine candidate. Currently, there is limited knowledge of the acquisition of strain-specific and cross-reactive antibodies to AMA1 in humans, or the acquisition of invasion-inhibitory antibodies to AMA1. METHODOLOGY/FINDINGS: We examined the acquisition of human antibodies to specific polymorphic invasion-inhibitory and non-inhibitory AMA1 epitopes, defined by the monoclonal antibodies 1F9 and 2C5, respectively. Naturally acquired antibodies were measured in cohorts of Kenyan children and adults. Antibodies to the invasion-inhibitory 1F9 epitope and non-inhibitory 2C5 epitope were measured indirectly by competition ELISA. Antibodies to the 1F9 and 2C5 epitopes were acquired by children and correlated with exposure, and higher antibody levels and prevalence were observed with increasing age and with active P. falciparum infection. Of note, the prevalence of antibodies to the inhibitory 1F9 epitope was lower than antibodies to AMA1 or the 2C5 epitope. Antibodies to AMA1 ectodomain, the 1F9 or 2C5 epitopes, or a combination of responses, showed some association with protection from P. falciparum malaria in a prospective longitudinal study. Furthermore, antibodies to the invasion-inhibitory 1F9 epitope were positively correlated with parasite growth-inhibitory activity of serum antibodies. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Individuals acquire antibodies to functional, polymorphic epitopes of AMA1 that may contribute to protective immunity, and these findings have implications for AMA1 vaccine development. Measuring antibodies to the 1F9 epitope by competition ELISA may be a valuable approach to assessing human antibodies with invasion-inhibitory activity in studies of acquired immunity and vaccine trials of AMA1.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid fever, is highly clonal and genetically conserved, making isolate subtyping difficult. We describe a standardized multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) genotyping scheme targeting 11 key phylogenetic markers of the S. Typhi genome. The MLPA method demonstrated 90% concordance with single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) typing, the gold standard for S. Typhi genotyping, and had the ability to identify isolates of the H58 haplotype, which is associated with resistance to multiple antimicrobials. Additionally, the assay permitted the detection of fluoroquinolone resistance-associated mutations in the DNA gyrase-encoding gene gyrA and the topoisomerase gene parC with a sensitivity of 100%. The MLPA methodology is simple and reliable, providing phylogenetically and phenotypically relevant genotyping information. This MLPA scheme offers a more-sensitive and interpretable alternative to the nonphylogenetic subgrouping methodologies that are currently used in reference and research laboratories in areas where typhoid is endemic.
Research is discussed in the areas of venomous snake taxonomy, epidemiology, species diagnosis, defining the clinical phenotype of human envenoming, pathophysiological mechanisms of envenoming, clinical testing of antivenoms and prevention of snake-bite through community education. This work was carried out over the past 40 years in many countries in four tropical continents. The help and friendship of a large number of collaborators is gratefully acknowledged. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Non-front-fanged colubroid snakes (NFFC; formerly and artificially taxonomically assembled as " colubrids" ) comprise about 70% of extant snake species and include several taxa now known to cause lethal or life threatening envenoming in humans. Although the medical risks of bites by only a handful of species have been documented, a growing number of NFFC are implicated in medically significant bites. The majority of these snakes have oral products (Duvernoy's secretions, or venoms) with unknown biomedical properties and their potential for causing harm in humans is unknown. Increasingly, multiple NFFC species are entering the commercial snake trade posing an uncertain risk. Published case reports describing NFFC bites were assessed for evidence-based value, clinical detail and verified species identification. These data were subjected to meta-analysis and a hazard index was generated for select taxa. Cases on which we consulted or personally treated were included and subjected to the same assessment criteria. Cases involving approximately 120 species met the selection criteria, and a small subset designated Hazard Level 1 (most hazardous), contained 5 species with lethal potential. Recommended management of these cases included antivenom for 3 species, Dispholidus typus, Rhabdophis tiginis, Rhabdophis subminiatus, whereas others in this subset without commercially available antivenoms (Thelotornis spp.) were treated with plasma/erythrocyte replacement therapy and supportive care. Heparin, antifibrinolytics and/or plasmapheresis/exchange transfusion have been used in the management of some Hazard Level 1 envenomings, but evidence-based analysis positively contraindicates the use of any of these interventions. Hazard Level 2/3 species were involved in cases containing mixed quality data that implicated these taxa (e.g. Boiga irregularis, Philodryas olfersii, Malpolon monspessulanus) with bites that caused rare systemic effects. Recommended management may include use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (e.g. neostigmine) and wound care on a case-by-case basis. Hazard level 3 species comprised a larger group capable of producing signifi cant local effects only, often associated with a protracted bite (eg Heterodon nasicus, Borikenophis (Alsophis) portoricensis, Platyceps (Coluber) rhodorachis). Management is restricted to wound care. Bites by Hazard level 4 species comprised the majority of surveyed taxa and these showed only minor effects of no clinical importance. This study has produced a comprehensive evidence-based listing of NFFC snakes tabulated against medical significance of bites, together with best-practice management recommendations. This analysis assumes increasing importance, as there is growing exposure to lesser-known NFFC snakes, particularly in captive collections that may uncover further species of significance in the future. Careful and accurate documentation of bites by verified species of NFFC snakes is required to increase the evidence base and establish the best medical management approach for each species. © 2013.
In West Africa, response to specific, geographically appropriate, antivenom is often dramatic following carpet viper (Echis ocellatus) envenoming with rapid restoration of blood coagulability and resolution of spontaneous haemorrhage. Envenoming from Australasian snakes causing similar coagulopathies may respond less dramatically and the effectiveness of antivenom is being questioned. Here we have reviewed and re-analysed all published preclinical and clinical studies on envenoming and antivenom therapy conducted in West Africa to determine the effectiveness of antivenom. 22 studies provided relevant information: 12 observational studies, 4 RCTs and 6 preclinical studies. Four comparative studies confirmed statistically significant protection against mortality ranging from 57 to 87% using specific antivenoms compared to non-specific or no antivenoms. Meta-analysis estimated combined Odds Ratio (95% CI) of 0.25 (0.14-0.45) of dying among those treated with specific antivenom or 75% (95% CI: 55-86%) protection against death. Mortality more than doubled during times when stocks of reliable antivenoms ran out, with Relative Risk (95% CI)] of 2.33 (1.26-4.06). Serum kinetics of venom antigen/antivenom levels also confirmed that decline of venom antigen levels coincided with resolution of coagulopathy while decline of antivenom levels was associated with venom antigen reappearance and recurrence of coagulopathy. Preclinical and antivenomics analysis confirmed efficacy of regionally appropriate antivenoms against E. ocellatus and related species' venoms in Sub-Saharan Africa but not against Asian Echis carinatus venom. Antivenoms raised against E. carinatus were ineffective in human studies. In West Africa, specific antivenom is effective in managing carpet viper envenoming. A centralized hub-and-spoke strategy is suggested for broadening antivenom access to endemic rural areas together with instituting quality assurance, standardization and manpower training. Benefits, risks, cost-effectiveness and feasibility of the approach should be formally assessed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
BACKGROUND: There are frequent reports of intensive care unit (ICU) outbreaks due to transmission of particular antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Less is known about the burden of outbreaks of resistance due to horizontal transfer of mobile genetic elements between species. Moreover, the potential of existing statistical software as a preliminary means for detecting such events has never been assessed. This study uses a software package to determine the burden of species and resistance outbreaks in 2 adjacent ICUs and to look for evidence of clustering of resistance outbreaks consistent with interspecies transmission of resistance elements. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of data from 2 adjacent 15-bed adult ICUs between 2002 and 2009 was undertaken. Detection of bacterial species-groups and resistance outbreaks was conducted using SaTScan and WHONet-SaTScan software. Resampling and permutation methods were applied to investigate temporal clustering of outbreaks. RESULTS: Outbreaks occurred for 69% of bacterial species-groups (18/26), and resistance outbreaks were detected against 63% of antibiotics (10/16). Resistance outbreaks against 7 of 10 antibiotics were observed in multiple species-groups simultaneously and there was evidence of inter-species-group dependence for 4 of 7 antibiotics; background temporal changes in resistance did not explain the temporal aggregation of outbreaks in 3 of 7 antibiotics. CONCLUSIONS: Species outbreaks occurred for the majority of bacteria commonly identified in the ICU. There was evidence for frequent temporal clustering of resistance outbreaks consistent with interspecies transmission of resistance elements. Wider application of outbreak detection software combined with targeted sequencing of bacterial genomes is needed to understand the contribution of interspecies gene transfer to resistance emergence.
Pediatr Infect Dis J, 32 (7), pp. 801-802. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Topical umbilical cord care.
BACKGROUND: HIV infection continues to be endemic worldwide. Although treatments are successful, it remains controversial whether patients receiving optimal therapy have structural, functional, or biochemical cardiac abnormalities that may underlie their increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. The purpose of this study was to characterize myocardial abnormalities in a contemporary group of HIV-infected individuals undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy. METHODS AND RESULTS: Volunteers with HIV who were undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy and age-matched control subjects without a history of cardiovascular disease underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy for the determination of cardiac function, myocardial fibrosis, and myocardial lipid content. A total of 129 participants were included in this analysis. Compared with age-matched control subjects (n=39; 30.23%), HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy (n=90; 69.77%) had 47% higher median myocardial lipid levels (P <0.003) and 74% higher median plasma triglyceride levels (both P<0.001). Myocardial fibrosis, predominantly in the basal inferolateral wall of the left ventricle, was observed in 76% of HIV-infected subjects compared with 13% of control subjects (P<0.001). Peak myocardial systolic and diastolic longitudinal strain were also lower in HIV-infected individuals than in control subjects and remained statistically significant after adjustment for available confounders. CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive cardiac imaging revealed cardiac steatosis, alterations in cardiac function, and a high prevalence of myocardial fibrosis in a contemporary group of asymptomatic HIV-infected subjects undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy. Cardiac steatosis and fibrosis may underlie cardiac dysfunction and increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in subjects with HIV.
BACKGROUND: Pediatric bacterial bloodstream infections (BSIs) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Epidemiological data from resource-limited settings in southeast Asia, such as Cambodia, are sparse but have important implications for treatment and public health strategies. METHODS: We retrospectively investigated BSI in children at a pediatric hospital and its satellite clinic in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from January 1, 2007, to July 31, 2011. The range of bacterial pathogens and their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns were analyzed in conjunction with demographic, clinical and outcome data. RESULTS: Of 7682 blood cultures with results (99.9% of cultures taken), 606 (7.9%) episodes of BSI were identified in 588 children. The incidence of BSI increased from 14 to 50/1000 admissions (P < 0.001); this was associated with an increased sampling rate. Most BSI were community acquired (89.1%). Common pathogens included Salmonella Typhi (22.8% of all isolates), Staphylococcus aureus (12.2%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (10.0%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (6.4%) and Escherichia coli (6.3%). 21.5% of BSI were caused by a diverse group of uncommon organisms, the majority of which were environmental Gram-negative species. No Listeria monocytogenes or Group B streptococcal BSI were identified. Antimicrobial resistance, particularly among the Enterobacteriaceae, was common. Overall mortality was substantial (19.0%), higher in neonates (36.9%) and independently associated with meningitis/meningoencephalitis and K. pneumoniae infection. CONCLUSIONS: BSI is a common problem in Cambodian children attending hospital and associated with significant mortality. Further studies are needed to clarify the epidemiology of neonatal sepsis, the contribution of atypical organisms and the epidemiology of pneumococcal disease before the introduction of vaccine.
How international research might contribute to justice in global health has not been substantively addressed by bioethics. This article describes how the provision of ancillary care can link internationalclinicalresearch to the reduction of global health disparities. It identifies the ancillary care obligations supported by a theory of global justice, showing that Jennifer Ruger's health capability paradigm requires the delivery of ancillary care to trial participants for a limited subset of conditions that cause severe morbidity and mortality. Empirical research on the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit's (SMRU) vivax malaria treatment trial was then undertaken to demonstrate whether and how these obligations might be upheld in a resource-poor setting. Our findings show that fulfilment of the ancillary care obligations is feasible where there is commitment from chief investigators and funders and is strongly facilitated by SMRU's dual role as a research unit and medical non-governmental organization.
Influenza virus defective interfering (DI) particles are naturally occurring noninfectious virions typically generated during in vitro serial passages in cell culture of the virus at a high multiplicity of infection. DI particles are recognized for the role they play in inhibiting viral replication and for the impact they have on the production of infectious virions. To date, influenza virus DI particles have been reported primarily as a phenomenon of cell culture and in experimentally infected embryonated chicken eggs. They have also been isolated from a respiratory infection of chickens. Using a sequencing approach, we characterize several subgenomic viral RNAs from human nasopharyngeal specimens infected with the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus. The distribution of these in vivo-derived DI-like RNAs was similar to that of in vitro DIs, with the majority of the defective RNAs generated from the PB2 (segment 1) of the polymerase complex, followed by PB1 and PA. The lengths of the in vivo-derived DI-like segments also are similar to those of known in vitro DIs, and the in vivo-derived DI-like segments share internal deletions of the same segments. The presence of identical DI-like RNAs in patients linked by direct contact is compatible with transmission between them. The functional role of DI-like RNAs in natural infections remains to be established.
BACKGROUND: The endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) enhances anticoagulation by accelerating activation of protein C to activated protein C (APC) and mediates anti-inflammatory effects by facilitating APC-mediated signaling via protease activated receptor-1. We studied the role of EPCR in the host response during pneumonia-derived sepsis instigated by Burkholderia (B.) pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, a common form of community-acquired Gram-negative (pneumo)sepsis in South-East Asia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Soluble EPCR was measured in plasma of patients with septic culture-proven melioidosis and healthy controls. Experimental melioidosis was induced by intranasal inoculation of B. pseudomallei in wild-type (WT) mice and mice with either EPCR-overexpression (Tie2-EPCR) or EPCR-deficiency (EPCR(-/-)). Mice were sacrificed after 24, 48 or 72 hours. Organs and plasma were harvested to measure colony forming units, cellular influxes, cytokine levels and coagulation parameters. Plasma EPCR-levels were higher in melioidosis patients than in healthy controls and associated with an increased mortality. Tie2-EPCR mice demonstrated enhanced bacterial growth and dissemination to distant organs during experimental melioidosis, accompanied by increased lung damage, neutrophil influx and cytokine production, and attenuated coagulation activation. EPCR(-/-) mice had an unremarkable response to B. pseudomallei infection as compared to WT mice, except for a difference in coagulation activation in plasma. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Increased EPCR-levels correlate with accelerated mortality in patients with melioidosis. In mice, transgenic overexpression of EPCR aggravates outcome during Gram-negative pneumonia-derived sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei, while endogenous EPCR does not impact on the host response. These results add to a better understanding of the regulation of coagulation during severe (pneumo)sepsis.
Indian J Med Res, 138 pp. 38-59. | Show Abstract2013. New approaches & technologies of venomics to meet the challenge of human envenoming by snakebites in India.
The direct estimate of 46,000 snakebite deaths in India in 2005 (1 for every 2 HIV/AIDS deaths), based on verbal autopsies, renders unrealistic the total of only 47,000 snakebite deaths in the whole world in 2010, obtained indirectly as part of the "Global Burden of Disease 2010" study. Persistent underestimation of its true morbidity and mortality has made snakebite the most neglected of all the WHO's "neglected tropical diseases", downgrading its public health importance. Strategies to address this neglect should include the improvement of antivenom, the only specific antidote to envenoming. To accommodate increased understanding of geographical intraspecific variation in venom composition and the range of snake species that are medically important in India, the design of antivenoms (choice of venom sources and species coverage) should be reconsidered. Methods of preclinical and clinical testing should be improved. The relatively new science of venomics involves techniques and strategies for assessing the toxin composition of snake venoms directly through proteomics-centred approaches or indirectly via high-throughput venom gland transcriptomics and bioinformatic analysis. Antivenomics is translational venomics: a proteomics-based protocol to quantify the extent of cross-reactivity of antivenoms against homologous and heterologous venoms. These approaches could revolutionize the preclinical assessment of antivenom efficacy, leading to a new generation of antivenoms that are clinically more effective.
INDIAN JOURNAL OF MEDICAL RESEARCH, 138 pp. 37-58. | Citations: 31 (Web of Science Lite)2013. New approaches & technologies of venomics to meet the challenge of human envenoming by snakebites in India
The Delphi Screener is a novel cervicovaginal lavage self-sampling device. Sixty women in Kigali (Rwanda) assessed the Screener at 2 consecutive visits. Between the visits, ease of use improved, reported difficulties decreased, and the collected sample weight increased. Most women preferred self-collection over a speculum examination.
BACKGROUND: The increasing frequency and intensity of dengue outbreaks in endemic and non-endemic countries requires a rational, evidence based response. To this end, we aimed to collate the experiences of a number of affected countries, identify strengths and limitations in dengue surveillance, outbreak preparedness, detection and response and contribute towards the development of a model contingency plan adaptable to country needs. METHODS: The study was undertaken in five Latin American (Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru) and five in Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam). A mixed-methods approach was used which included document analysis, key informant interviews, focus-group discussions, secondary data analysis and consensus building by an international dengue expert meeting organised by the World Health Organization, Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR). RESULTS: Country information on dengue is based on compulsory notification and reporting ("passive surveillance"), with laboratory confirmation (in all participating Latin American countries and some Asian countries) or by using a clinical syndromic definition. Seven countries additionally had sentinel sites with active dengue reporting, some also had virological surveillance. Six had agreed a formal definition of a dengue outbreak separate to seasonal variation in case numbers. Countries collected data on a range of warning signs that may identify outbreaks early, but none had developed a systematic approach to identifying and responding to the early stages of an outbreak. Outbreak response plans varied in quality, particularly regarding the early response. The surge capacity of hospitals with recent dengue outbreaks varied; those that could mobilise additional staff, beds, laboratory support and resources coped best in comparison to those improvising a coping strategy during the outbreak. Hospital outbreak management plans were present in 9/22 participating hospitals in Latin-America and 8/20 participating hospitals in Asia. CONCLUSIONS: Considerable variation between countries was observed with regard to surveillance, outbreak detection, and response. Through discussion at the expert meeting, suggestions were made for the development of a more standardised approach in the form of a model contingency plan, with agreed outbreak definitions and country-specific risk assessment schemes to initiate early response activities according to the outbreak phase. This would also allow greater cross-country sharing of ideas.
BACKGROUND: The GAVI Alliance supported 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10) introduction in Kenya. We estimated the cost-effectiveness of introducing either PCV10 or the 13-valent vaccine (PCV13) from a societal perspective and explored the incremental impact of including indirect vaccine effects. METHODS: The costs and effects of pneumococcal vaccination among infants born in Kenya in 2010 were assessed using a decision analytic model comparing PCV10 or PCV13, in turn, with no vaccination. Direct vaccine effects were estimated as a reduction in the incidence of pneumococcal meningitis, sepsis, bacteraemic pneumonia and non-bacteraemic pneumonia. Pneumococcal disease incidence was extrapolated from a population-based hospital surveillance system in Kilifi and adjustments were made for variable access to care across Kenya. We used vaccine efficacy estimates from a trial in The Gambia and accounted for serotype distribution in Kilifi. We estimated indirect vaccine protection and serotype replacement by extrapolating from the USA. Multivariable sensitivity analysis was conducted using Monte Carlo simulation. We assumed a vaccine price of US$ 3.50 per dose. FINDINGS: The annual cost of delivering PCV10 was approximately US$14 million. We projected a 42.7% reduction in pneumococcal disease episodes leading to a US$1.97 million reduction in treatment costs and a 6.1% reduction in childhood mortality annually. In the base case analysis, costs per discounted DALY and per death averted by PCV10, amounted to US$ 59 (95% CI 26-103) and US$ 1,958 (95% CI 866-3,425), respectively. PCV13 introduction improved the cost-effectiveness ratios by approximately 20% and inclusion of indirect effects improved cost-effectiveness ratios by 43-56%. The break-even prices for introduction of PCV10 and PCV13 are US$ 0.41 and 0.51, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Introducing either PCV10 or PCV13 in Kenya is highly cost-effective from a societal perspective. Indirect effects, if they occur, would significantly improve the cost-effectiveness.
Antibodies to selected Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens are often reported to be associated with protection from malaria in one epidemiological cohort, but not in another. Here, we sought to understand this paradox by exploring the hypothesis that a threshold concentration of antibodies is necessary for protection. We analyzed data from two independent cohorts along the Kenyan coast, one in which antibodies to AMA1, MSP-2 and MSP-3 were associated with protection from malaria (Chonyi) and another in which this association was not observed (Junju). We used a malaria reference reagent to standardize antibody measurements across both cohorts, and applied statistical methods to derive the threshold concentration of antibodies against each antigen that best correlated with a reduced risk of malaria (the protective threshold), in the Chonyi cohort. We then tested whether antibodies in Junju reached the protective threshold concentrations observed in the Chonyi cohort. Except for children under 3 years, the age-matched proportions of children achieving protective threshold concentrations of antibodies against AMA1 and MSP-2 were significantly lower in Junju compared to Chonyi (Fishers exact test, P<0.01). For MSP-3, this difference was significant only among 4-5 year olds. We conclude that although antibodies are commonly detected in malaria endemic populations, they may be present in concentrations that are insufficient for protection. Our results have implications for the analysis and interpretation of similar data from immuno-epidemiological studies.
MALARIA JOURNAL, 12 (1), pp. 213-213. | Read more2013. Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the WHO: conclusions and recommendations of March 2013 meeting
Antiretroviral treatment (ART) is expanding to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected persons in low-middle income countries, thanks to a public health approach. With 3 available drug classes, 2 ART sequencing lines are programmatically foreseen. The emergence and transmission of viral drug resistance represents a challenge to the efficacy of ART. Knowledge of HIV-1 drug resistance selection associated with specific drugs and regimens and the consequent activity of residual drug options are essential in programming ART sequencing options aimed at preserving ART efficacy for as long as possible. This article determines optimal ART sequencing options for overcoming HIV-1 drug resistance in resource-limited settings, using currently available drugs and treatment monitoring opportunities. From the perspective of drug resistance and on the basis of limited virologic monitoring data, optimal sequencing seems to involve use of a tenofovir-containing nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor-based first-line regimen, followed by a zidovudine-containing, protease inhibitor (PI)-based second-line regimen. Other options and their consequences are explored by considering within-class and between-class sequencing opportunities, including boosted PI monotherapies and future options with integrase inhibitors. Nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor resistance pathways in HIV-1 subtype C suggest an additional reason for accelerating stavudine phase out. Viral load monitoring avoids the accumulation of resistance mutations that significantly reduce the activity of next-line options. Rational use of resources, including broader access to viral load monitoring, will help ensure 3 lines of fully active treatment options, thereby increasing the duration of ART success.
BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines recommend phasing-out stavudine because of its risk of long-term toxicity. There are two mutational pathways of stavudine resistance with different implications for zidovudine and tenofovir cross-resistance, the primary candidates for replacing stavudine. However, because resistance testing is rarely available in resource-limited settings, it is critical to identify the cross-resistance patterns associated with first-line stavudine failure. METHODS: We analyzed HIV-1 resistance mutations following first-line stavudine failure from 35 publications comprising 1,825 individuals. We also assessed the influence of concomitant nevirapine vs. efavirenz, therapy duration, and HIV-1 subtype on the proportions of mutations associated with zidovudine vs. tenofovir cross-resistance. RESULTS: Mutations with preferential zidovudine activity, K65R or K70E, occurred in 5.3% of individuals. Mutations with preferential tenofovir activity, ≥ two thymidine analog mutations (TAMs) or Q151M, occurred in 22% of individuals. Nevirapine increased the risk of TAMs, K65R, and Q151M. Longer therapy increased the risk of TAMs and Q151M but not K65R. Subtype C and CRF01_AE increased the risk of K65R, but only CRF01_AE increased the risk of K65R without Q151M. CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of concomitant nevirapine vs. efavirenz, therapy duration, or subtype, tenofovir was more likely than zidovudine to retain antiviral activity following first-line d4T therapy.
BACKGROUND: Identifying unwell neonates, particularly in the first week of life, is often subjective. If normal values are known, calculating the weight lost or gained from birth weight can be a useful adjunct in the evaluation of the health of a neonate. METHODS: Serial body weights of well, term, breast fed infants who were attending for routine follow up, were recorded at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit clinic in Maela Camp for displaced persons on the Thailand Myanmar border. Newborn examination was routine. Weight loss, expressed as percent weight lost from birth weight, and weight gain, expressed as a velocity (g/kg/day), was calculated for the first seven days of life. The results from normal birth weight infants, low birth weight infants (<2.5 kg) and small for gestational age infants (SGA) were examined. RESULTS: In the first week of life there were no significant differences in weight gained or lost across the three study groups. The maximum weight lost was 4.4% (95% CI 4.1 - 4.6%), which occurred on day three. Weight gain ranged from 13 g/kg/day [95% CI 10 - 16] on day four to 18 g/kg/day [95% CI 15 - 20] on days six and seven. CONCLUSIONS: Use of these normal values for weight gain and loss, allows infants falling outside of the expected range (95% CI) to be easily identified and subsequently highlighted as needing further medical review.
BACKGROUND: In affluent countries, the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is often higher in certain ethnic minorities than in the majority population. In The Netherlands, we examined why CT prevalence is higher in Surinamese/Antilleans, the largest minority in the country. METHODS: Heterosexuals were recruited for a cross-sectional survey from May through August 2010 at the sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinic in Amsterdam. Participants completed a questionnaire and were tested for STI. A causal directed acyclic graph was assumed to investigate whether the association between ethnicity and CT could be explained by differences in sexual risk behaviour and socio-economic status. RESULTS: Subjects included 1044 with Dutch background and 335 with Surinamese/Antillean background. Median age for the combined population was 25 (IQR 22-30) years, and 55.4% was female. Sexual risk behaviour did not differ significantly between the two groups. CT was diagnosed in 17.9% of Surinamese/Antilleans and in 11.4% of Dutch. Surinamese/Antilleans were significantly more likely to have CT (OR 1.70; 95% CI 1.21-2.38). The association between ethnicity and CT remained statistically significant after adjusting for sexual risk behaviour, age, sex, and ethnic mixing (aOR 1.48; 95% CI 1.00-2.18), but not after adjusting for education and neighbourhood, markers of socio-economic status (aOR 1.08; 95% CI 0.71-1.64). CONCLUSION: The difference in CT prevalence between the minority and majority groups was not explained by differences in sexual risk behaviour. The higher CT prevalence found among Surinamese/Antilleans appeared to reflect their lower educational level and neighbourhood, two markers of lower socio-economic status. We hypothesise that the effect results from lower health-seeking behaviour.
BACKGROUND: Designing interventions that will reduce transmission of vivax malaria requires knowledge of Plasmodium vivax gametocyte dynamics. METHODS: We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial in northwestern Thailand and 2 trials in Papua, Indonesia, to identify and compare risk factors for vivax gametocytemia at enrollment and following treatment. RESULTS: A total of 492 patients with P. vivax infections from Thailand and 476 patients (162 with concurrent falciparum parasitemia) from Indonesia were evaluable. Also, 84.3% (415/492) and 66.6% (209/314) of patients with monoinfection were gametocytemic at enrollment, respectively. The ratio of gametocytemia to asexual parasitemia did not differ between acute and recurrent infections (P = .48 in Thailand, P = .08 in Indonesia). High asexual parasitemia was associated with an increased risk of gametocytemia during follow-up in both locations. In Thailand, the cumulative incidence of gametocytemia between day 7 and day 42 following dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine (DHA + PIP) was 6.92% vs 29.1% following chloroquine (P < .001). In Indonesia, the incidence of gametocytemia was 33.6% following artesunate + amodiaquine (AS + AQ), 7.42% following artemether + lumefantrine, and 6.80% following DHA + PIP (P < .001 for DHA + PIP vs AS + AQ). CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax gametocyte carriage mirrors asexual-stage infection. Prevention of relapses, particularly in those with high asexual parasitemia, is likely the most important strategy for interrupting P. vivax transmission.
BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite the availability of effective pneumococcal vaccines. Understanding the molecular interactions between the bacterium and the host will contribute to the control and prevention of pneumococcal disease. RESULTS: We used a combination of adherence assays, mutagenesis and functional genomics to identify novel factors involved in adherence. By contrasting these processes in two pneumococcal strains, TIGR4 and G54, we showed that adherence and invasion capacities vary markedly by strain. Electron microscopy showed more adherent bacteria in association with membranous pseudopodia in the TIGR4 strain. Operons for cell wall phosphorylcholine incorporation (lic), manganese transport (psa) and phosphate utilization (phn) were up-regulated in both strains on exposure to epithelial cells. Pneumolysin, pili, stress protection genes (adhC-czcD) and genes of the type II fatty acid synthesis pathway were highly expressed in the naturally more invasive strain, TIGR4. Deletion mutagenesis of five gene regions identified as regulated in this study revealed attenuation in adherence. Most strikingly, ∆SP_1922 which was predicted to contain a B-cell epitope and revealed significant attenuation in adherence, appeared to be expressed as a part of an operon that includes the gene encoding the cytoplasmic pore-forming toxin and vaccine candidate, pneumolysin. CONCLUSION: This work identifies a list of novel potential pneumococcal adherence determinants.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the validity of recommendations in treatment guidelines to use higher than approved doses of oseltamivir in patients with severe influenza. DESIGN: Double blind randomised trial. SETTING: Thirteen hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥ 1 year admitted to hospital with confirmed severe influenza. INTERVENTIONS: Oral oseltamivir at double dose (150 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent) versus standard dose (75 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Viral status according to reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for influenza RNA in nasal and throat swabs on day five. RESULTS: Of 326 patients (including 246 (75.5%) children aged <15), 165 and 161 were randomised to double or standard dose oseltamivir, respectively. Of these, 260 (79.8%) were infected with influenza virus A (133 (40.8%) with A/H3N2, 72 (22.1%) with A/H1N1-pdm09, 38 (11.7%) with seasonal A/H1N1, 17 (5.2%) with A/H5N1) and 53 (16.2%) with influenza virus B. A further 3.9% (13) were false positive by rapid antigen test (negative by RT-PCR and no rise in convalescent haemagglutination inhibition titers). Similar proportions of patients were negative for RT-PCR on day five of treatment: 115/159 (72.3%, 95% confidence interval 64.9% to 78.7%) double dose recipients versus 105/154 (68.2%, 60.5% to 75.0%) standard dose recipients; difference 4.2% (-5.9 to 14.2); P=0.42. No differences were found in clearance of virus in subgroup analyses by virus type/subtype, age, and duration of illness before randomisation. Mortality was similar: 12/165 (7.3%, 4.2% to 12.3%) in double dose recipients versus 9/161 (5.6%, 3.0% to 10.3%) in standard dose recipients. No differences were found between double and standard dose arms in median days on supplemental oxygen (3 (interquartile range 2-5) v 3.5 (2-7)), in intensive care (4.5 (3-6) v 5 (2-11), and on mechanical ventilation (2.5 (1-16) v 8 (1-16)), respectively. No important differences in tolerability were found. CONCLUSIONS: There were no virological or clinical advantages with double dose oseltamivir compared with standard dose in patients with severe influenza admitted to hospital. REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials NCT00298233.
The role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the African HIV epidemic is gaining recognition yet capacity to address the HIV prevention needs of this group is limited. HIV testing and counselling is not only a critical entry point for biomedical HIV prevention interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, rectal microbicides and early treatment initiation, but is also an opportunity for focused risk reduction counselling that can support individuals living in difficult circumstances. For prevention efforts to succeed, however, MSM need to access services and they will only do so if these are non-judgmental, informative, focused on their needs, and of clear benefit. This study aimed to understand Kenyan providers' attitudes towards and experiences with counselling MSM in a research clinic targeting this group for HIV prevention. We used in-depth interviews to explore values, attitudes and cognitive and social constructs of 13 counsellors and 3 clinicians providing services to MSM at this clinic. Service providers felt that despite their growing experience, more targeted training would have been helpful to improve their effectiveness in MSM-specific risk reduction counselling. They wanted greater familiarity with MSM in Kenya to better understand the root causes of MSM risk-taking (e.g., poverty, sex work, substance abuse, misconceptions about transmission, stigma, and sexual desire) and felt frustrated at the perceived intractability of some of their clients' issues. In addition, they identified training needs on how to question men about specific risk behaviours, improved strategies for negotiating risk reduction with counselling clients, and improved support supervision from senior counsellors. This paper describes the themes arising from these interviews and makes practical recommendations on training and support supervision systems for nascent MSM HIV prevention programmes in Africa.
PLoS ONE, 8 (6), | Read more2013. Correction: Clinical and Epidemiological Features of Typhoid Fever in Pemba, Zanzibar: Assessment of the Performance of the WHO Case Definitions
BACKGROUND: Viral upper respiratory tract infections are associated with increased colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae but the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear. The objective of this study is to describe a comprehensive picture of the cellular interaction between the adhering bacteria and host cells in the presence or absence of a viral co-infection. RESULTS: Gene expression profiles of Detroit-562 pharyngeal cells, which were either mock-infected or infected with human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3), were analyzed using human microarrays. Transcription response of S. pneumoniae strain TIGR4 (serotype 4) in the presence of either mock- or viral-infected cells was analyzed by pneumococcal microarray. Significantly regulated genes were identified by both significance analysis of microarray (SAM) and a ≥ 2-fold change ratio cut-off. The adherence of S. pneumoniae to human pharyngeal cells was significantly augmented in the presence of RSV or HPIV3 infection. Global gene expression profiling of the host cells during infection with RSV or HPIV3 revealed increased transcription of carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAM1), CD47, fibronectin, interferon-stimulated genes and many other host cell adhesion molecules. Pneumococci increased transcription of several genes involved in adhesive functions (psaA, pilus islet), choline uptake and incorporation (lic operon), as well as transport and binding. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a core transcriptome that represents the basic machinery required for adherence of pneumococci to D562 cells infected or not infected with a virus. These bacterial genes and cell adhesion molecules can potentially be used to control pneumococcal adherence occurring secondary to a viral infection.
One hundred and eighty febrile patients were analyzed in a prospective evaluation of Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia spp. real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for early diagnosis of rickettsial infections. By paired serology, 3.9% (7 of 180) and 6.1% (11 of 180) of patients were confirmed to have acute scrub or murine typhus, respectively. The PCR assays for the detection of O. tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia spp. had high specificity (99.4% [95% confidence interval (CI): 96.8-100] and 100% [95% CI: 97.8-100], respectively). The PCR results were also compared with immunoglobulin M (IgM) immunofluorescence assay (IFA) on acute sera. For O. tsutsugamushi, PCR sensitivity was twice that of acute specimen IgM IFA (28.6% versus 14.3%; McNemar's P = 0.3). For Rickettsia spp., PCR was four times as sensitive as acute specimen IgM IFA (36.4% versus 9.1%; P = 0.08), although this was not statistically significant. Whole blood and buffy coat, but not serum, were acceptable specimens for these PCRs. Further evaluation of these assays in a larger prospective study is warranted.
We performed a case-control investigation to identify risk factors for norovirus infections among children in Vietnam. Of samples from 1,419 children who had diarrhea and 609 who were asymptomatic, 20.6% and 2.8%, respectively, were norovirus positive. Risk factors included residential crowding and symptomatic contacts, indicating person-to-person transmission of norovirus.
An improved understanding of heterogeneities in dengue virus transmission might provide insights into biological and ecologic drivers and facilitate predictions of the magnitude, timing, and location of future dengue epidemics. To investigate dengue dynamics in urban Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring rural provinces in Vietnam, we analyzed a 10-year monthly time series of dengue surveillance data from southern Vietnam. The per capita incidence of dengue was lower in Ho Chi Minh City than in most rural provinces; annual epidemics occurred 1-3 months later in Ho Chi Minh City than elsewhere. The timing and the magnitude of annual epidemics were significantly more correlated in nearby districts than in remote districts, suggesting that local biological and ecologic drivers operate at a scale of 50-100 km. Dengue incidence during the dry season accounted for 63% of variability in epidemic magnitude. These findings can aid the targeting of vector-control interventions and the planning for dengue vaccine implementation.
It is 10 years since severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) emerged, and East and Southeast Asia retain a reputation as a hot spot of emerging infectious diseases. The region is certainly a hot spot of socioeconomic and environmental change, and although some changes (e.g., urbanization and agricultural intensification) may reduce the probability of emerging infectious diseases, the effect of any individual emergence event may be increased by the greater concentration and connectivity of livestock, persons, and products. The region is now better able to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases than it was a decade ago, but the tools and methods to produce sufficiently refined assessments of the risks of disease emergence are still lacking. Given the continued scale and pace of change in East and Southeast Asia, it is vital that capabilities for predicting, identifying, and controlling biologic threats do not stagnate as the memory of SARS fades.
A case of human melioidosis caused by a novel sequence type of Burkholderia pseudomallei occurred in a child in Malawi, southern Africa. A literature review showed that human cases reported from the continent have been increasing.
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 38 (4), pp. 427-428. | Read more2013. Melioidosis: An unusual cause of recurrent buttock abscesses
In the absence of replication of wells, empirical criteria for enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) positivity use fixed differences or ratios between spot forming units (SFU) counts between test and control. We propose an alternative approach which first identifies the optimally variance-stabilizing transformation of the SFU counts, based on the Bland-Altman plot of the test and control wells. The second step is to derive a positivity threshold from the difference in between-plate distribution functions of the transformed test and control SFU counts. This method is illustrated using 1309 assay results from a cohort study of influenza in Vietnam in which some, but not all, of the peptide pools have clear tendencies for SFU counts to be higher in test than control wells. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Infection control for hospital pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) often takes the form of a package of interventions, including the use of patient isolation and decolonization treatment. Such interventions, though widely used, have generated controversy because of their significant resource implications and the lack of robust evidence with regard to their effectiveness at reducing transmission. The aim of this study was to estimate the effectiveness of isolation and decolonization measures in reducing MRSA transmission in hospital general wards. Prospectively collected MRSA surveillance data from 10 general wards at Guy's and St. Thomas' hospitals, London, United Kingdom, in 2006-2007 were used, comprising 14,035 patient episodes. Data were analyzed with a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm to model transmission dynamics. The combined effect of isolation and decolonization was estimated to reduce transmission by 64% (95% confidence interval: 37, 79). Undetected MRSA-positive patients were estimated to be the source of 75% (95% confidence interval: 67, 86) of total transmission events. Isolation measures combined with decolonization treatment were strongly associated with a reduction in MRSA transmission in hospital general wards. These findings provide support for active methods of MRSA control, but further research is needed to determine the relative importance of isolation and decolonization in preventing transmission.
BACKGROUND: In many rural areas at risk for enteric fever, there are few data on Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhi (S. Typhi) and Paratyphi (S. Paratyphi) incidence, due to limited laboratory capacity for microbiologic culture. Here, we describe an approach that permits recovery of the causative agents of enteric fever in such settings. This approach involves the use of an electricity-free incubator based upon use of phase-change materials. We compared this against conventional blood culture for detection of typhoidal Salmonella. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Three hundred and four patients with undifferentiated fever attending the outpatient and emergency departments of a public hospital in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal were recruited. Conventional blood culture was compared against an electricity-free culture approach. Blood from 66 (21.7%) patients tested positive for a Gram-negative bacterium by at least one of the two methods. Sixty-five (21.4%) patients tested blood culture positive for S. Typhi (30; 9.9%) or S. Paratyphi A (35; 11.5%). From the 65 individuals with culture-confirmed enteric fever, 55 (84.6%) were identified by the conventional blood culture and 60 (92.3%) were identified by the experimental method. Median time-to-positivity was 2 days for both procedures. The experimental approach was falsely positive due to probable skin contaminants in 2 of 239 individuals (0.8%). The percentages of positive and negative agreement for diagnosis of enteric fever were 90.9% (95% CI: 80.0%-97.0%) and 96.0% (92.7%-98.1%), respectively. After initial incubation, Salmonella isolates could be readily recovered from blood culture bottles maintained at room temperature for six months. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A simple culture approach based upon a phase-change incubator can be used to isolate agents of enteric fever. This approach could be used as a surveillance tool to assess incidence and drug resistance of the etiologic agents of enteric fever in settings without reliable local access to electricity or local diagnostic microbiology laboratories.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (6), pp. e2162. | Citations: 49 (Scopus) | Read more2013. The need for full integration of snakebite envenoming within a global strategy to combat the neglected tropical diseases: the way forward.
Background: Influenza can exacerbate chronic coronary heart diseases (CHD) and health policy recommends influenza vaccination in this population group. However, cost effectiveness of influenza vaccination in protecting CHD population has not been, to our knowledge, well studied before especially in CHD patients with different disease severities. Objectives: To assess life-time cost utility of influenza vaccination in CHD patients either with angina and/or cardiac arrest/myocardial infarction (CA/MI) and to identify the most cost-effective influenza vaccination strategies. Method: The Markov model of CHD progression concurrent with the influenza infection was developed to quantify life-time costs and health effects of the three influenza vaccination strategies compared with no influenza vaccination (base case): (1) influenza vaccination in all CHD patients, (2) influenza vaccination in CA/MI patients-only, and (3) influenza vaccination in angina patients-only. The cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) was based on the societal perspective. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to identify variables that influence the sensitivity of the results and examine the effects of model parameters uncertainty, respectively. Results: For the base case, the expected value (EV) results of no influenza vaccination, influenza vaccination in all CHD groups, influenza vaccination in angina patients, and influenza vaccination in CA/MI are 346,437 Thai baht (THB) yielded 18.26 Quality adjusted life year (QALYs), 454,664 THB yielded 21.46 QALYs, 360,786 THB yielded 19.96 QALYs, and 437,901 THB yielded 19.72 QALYs; respectively. CEA graph comparing all influenza vaccination strategies shows that vaccination in all CHD patients groups and angina patients are in the costeffectiveness frontier, but not influenza vaccination in CA/MI patients. The cost-effectiveness rankings report shows that the willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold (100,000 THB) is greater than the incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) of vaccination in all CHD groups (ICER = 33,813 THB per QALY gained) and angina group (8,420 THB per QALY gained) and therefore the vaccination in all CHD groups, which is more expensive, but more effective would be recommended. The deterministic sensitivity analysis shows the most influential parameters driving the cost-effectiveness of vaccination strategies are the effect of influenza vaccination on CHD both for acute myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death, respectively. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis shows the same influenza strategy recommendation (vaccination in all CHD groups) as the base case analysis. Conclusion: From a societal perspective, influenza vaccination in all CHD groups is recommended. The information from economic modeling should be confirmed by primary economic research.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) saves lives, but current laboratory diagnostic tests lack sensitivity and the best treatment regimens are uncertain. This article reviews the advances towards better TBM diagnosis and treatments made over the last 2 years. RECENT FINDINGS: A modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain, interferon-gamma release assays and Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen detection assays have all shown promise as new TBM diagnostic tests. HIV-associated TBM carries an especially grave prognosis and there are new data describing the optimal timing of antiretroviral treatment initiation and the clinical predictors of TBM immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of different fluoroquinolones for TBM treatment have been compared, and there are intriguing new data to suggest higher doses of rifampicin given intravenously may improve the survival. Finally, there are preliminary data to suggest that the beneficial effect of adjunctive corticosteroids on TBM survival may be augmented by aspirin and predicted by a polymorphism in a gene responsible for eicosanoid synthesis. SUMMARY: Much remains to be done to improve the outcome from TBM. There have been important advances in the treatment, which may influence treatment guidelines in the near future, but there remains an urgent need for better diagnostic tests.
Wilderness Environ Med, 24 (2), pp. 178-179. | Read more2013. In reply to "ibuprofen for prevention of acute mountain sickness-is bigger really better?".
OBJECTIVES: Genotypic HIV drug-resistance testing is typically 60%-65% predictive of response to combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) and is valuable for guiding treatment changes. Genotyping is unavailable in many resource-limited settings (RLSs). We aimed to develop models that can predict response to ART without a genotype and evaluated their potential as a treatment support tool in RLSs. METHODS: Random forest models were trained to predict the probability of response to ART (≤400 copies HIV RNA/mL) using the following data from 14 891 treatment change episodes (TCEs) after virological failure, from well-resourced countries: viral load and CD4 count prior to treatment change, treatment history, drugs in the new regimen, time to follow-up and follow-up viral load. Models were assessed by cross-validation during development, with an independent set of 800 cases from well-resourced countries, plus 231 cases from Southern Africa, 206 from India and 375 from Romania. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was the main outcome measure. RESULTS: The models achieved an AUC of 0.74-0.81 during cross-validation and 0.76-0.77 with the 800 test TCEs. They achieved AUCs of 0.58-0.65 (Southern Africa), 0.63 (India) and 0.70 (Romania). Models were more accurate for data from the well-resourced countries than for cases from Southern Africa and India (P < 0.001), but not Romania. The models identified alternative, available drug regimens predicted to result in virological response for 94% of virological failures in Southern Africa, 99% of those in India and 93% of those in Romania. CONCLUSIONS: We developed computational models that predict virological response to ART without a genotype with comparable accuracy to genotyping with rule-based interpretation. These models have the potential to help optimize antiretroviral therapy for patients in RLSs where genotyping is not generally available.
Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (6), pp. 476. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Pretreatment HIV-1 drug resistance in Africa.
HIV-infected children are at high risk of acquiring drug-resistant viruses, which is of particular concern in settings where antiretroviral drug options are limited. We aimed to assess resistance patterns and predict viral drug susceptibility among children with first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) failure in Uganda. A cross-sectional analysis of children switching ART regimens due to first-line failure was performed at three clinical sites in Uganda. HIV-RNA determination and genotypic resistance testing on all specimens with HIV-RNA >1,000 copies/ml were performed. Major drug resistance mutations were scored using the 2011 International Antiviral Society-USA list. The Stanford algorithm was used to predict drug susceptibility. At the time of switch, 44 genotypic resistance tests were available for 50 children. All children harbored virus with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance [95% confidence interval (CI) 92-100%] and NRTI resistance was present in 98% (95% CI 88-100%). Forty-six percent (95% CI 30-61%) of children harbored ≥2 thymidine analog mutations. M184V was identified as the only NRTI mutation in 27% (95% CI 15-43%). HIV susceptibility to NRTIs, with the exception of tenofovir, was reduced in ≥60% of children. Ugandan children experiencing first-line ART failure in our study harbored high rates of dual-class and accumulated HIV drug resistance. Methods to prevent treatment failure, including adequate pediatric formulations and alternative second-line treatment options, are urgently needed.
The capacity of CD8+ T cells to inhibit HIV-1 replication in vitro strongly correlates with virus control in vivo. Post-hoc evaluations of HIV-1 vaccine candidates suggest that this immunological parameter is a promising benchmark of vaccine efficacy. Large-scale analysis of CD8+ T cell antiviral activity requires a rapid, robust and economical assay for accurate quantification of HIV-1 infection in primary CD4+ T cells. Detection of intracellular HIV-1 p24 antigen (p24 Ag) by flow cytometry is one such method but it is thought to be less sensitive and quantitative than p24 Ag ELISA. We report that fixation and permeabilisation of HIV-infected cells using paraformaldehyde/50% methanol/Nonidet P-40 instead of a co nventional paraformaldehyde/saponin-based protocol improved their detection across multiplicities of infection (MOI) ranging from 10 -2 to 8×10 -5 , and by nearly two-fold (p < 0.001) at the optimal MOI tested (10 -2 ). The frequency of infected cells was strongly correlated with p24 Ag release during culture, thus validating its use as a measure of productive infection. We were also able to quantify infection with a panel of HIV-1 isolates representing the major clades. The protocol described here is rapid and cost-effective compared with ELISA and thus could be a useful component of immune monitoring of HIV-1 vaccines and interventions to reduce viral reservoirs. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
Assessment of antibody responses to pneumococcal colonisation in early childhood may aid our understanding of protection and inform vaccine antigen selection. Serum samples were collected from mother-infant pairs during a longitudinal pneumococcal colonisation study in Burmese refugees. Maternal and cord sera were collected at birth and infants were bled monthly (1-24 months of age). Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken monthly to detect colonisation. Serum IgG titres to 27 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured in 2,624 sera and IgG to dominant serotypes (6B,14,19F,19A,23F) were quantified in 864 infant sera. Antibodies to all protein antigens were detectable in maternal sera. Titres to four proteins (LytB,PcpA,PhtD,PhtE) were significantly higher in mothers colonised by pneumococci at delivery. Maternally-derived antibodies to PiuA and Spr0096 were associated with delayed pneumococcal acquisition in infants in univariate, but not multivariate models. Controlling for infant age and previous homologous serotype exposure, nasopharyngeal acquisition of serotypes 19A, 23F, 14, or 19F were associated significantly with a ≥2-fold antibody response to the homologous capsule (OR 12.84, 7.52, 6.52, 5.33; p<0.05). Acquisition of pneumococcal serotypes in the nasopharynx of infants was not significantly associated with a ≥2-fold rise in antibodies to any of the protein antigens studied. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal colonisation in young children resulted in demonstrable serum IgG responses to pneumococcal capsules and surface/virulence proteins. However, the relationship between serum IgG and the prevention of, or response to, pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonisation remains complex. Mechanisms other than serum IgG are likely to have a role but are currently poorly understood. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Dengue is the most prevalent arboviral disease of humans. The host and virus variables associated with dengue virus (DENV) transmission from symptomatic dengue cases (n = 208) to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes during 407 independent exposure events was defined. The 50% mosquito infectious dose for each of DENV-1-4 ranged from 6.29 to 7.52 log10 RNA copies/mL of plasma. Increasing day of illness, declining viremia, and rising antibody titers were independently associated with reduced risk of DENV transmission. High early DENV plasma viremia levels in patients were a marker of the duration of human infectiousness, and blood meals containing high concentrations of DENV were positively associated with the prevalence of infectious mosquitoes 14 d after blood feeding. Ambulatory dengue cases had lower viremia levels compared with hospitalized dengue cases but nonetheless at levels predicted to be infectious to mosquitoes. These data define serotype-specific viremia levels that vaccines or drugs must inhibit to prevent DENV transmission.
The diagnosis of melioidosis depends on the culture of Burkholderia pseudomallei, which takes at least 48 hours. We used a polyclonal-FITC-based immunofluorescence microscopic assay (Pab-IFA) on clinical samples to provide a rapid presumptive diagnosis. This has limitations including photobleaching and batch-to-batch variability. This study evaluated an IFA based on a monoclonal antibody specific to B. pseudomallei (Mab-IFA) and Alexa Fluor 488. A diagnostic evaluation was performed on a prospective cohort of 951 consecutive patients with suspected melioidosis. A total of 1,407 samples were tested. Test accuracy was defined against culture as the gold standard, and was also compared against Pab-IFA. A total of 88 samples from 64 patients were culture positive for B. pseudomallei. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the Mab-IFA was comparable to the Pab-IFA (48.4% versus 45.3% for sensitivity, and 99.8% versus 98.8% for specificity). We have incorporated the Mab-IFA into our routine practice.
INTRODUCTION: Studies suggest that the HIV-1 epidemic in the Netherlands may have become more virulent, leading to faster disease progression if untreated. Analysis of CD4 cell count decline before antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, a surrogate marker for disease progression, may be hampered by informative censoring as ART initiation is more likely with a steeper CD4 cell count decline. METHODS: Development of CD4 cell count from 9 to 48 months after seroconversion was analyzed using a mixed-effects model and 2 models that jointly modeled CD4 cell counts and time to censoring event (start ART, <100 CD4 cells/mm³, or AIDS) among therapy-naïve MSM HIV-1 seroconverters in the Netherlands. These models make different assumptions about the censoring process. RESULTS: All 3 models estimated lower median CD4 cell counts 9 months after seroconversion in later calendar years (623, 582, and 541 cells/mm³ for 1984-1995 [n = 111], 1996-2002 [n = 139], and 2003-2007 seroconverters [n = 356], respectively, shared-parameter model). Only the 2 joint-models found a trend for a steeper decline of CD4 cell counts with seroconversion in later calendar years (overall p-values 0.002 and 0.06 for the pattern-mixture and the shared-parameter model, respectively). In the shared-parameter model the median decline from 9 to 48 months was 276 cellsmm³ for 1984-1995 seroconverters and 308 cells/mm³ for 2003-2007 seroconverters (difference in slope, p = 0.045). CONCLUSION: Mixed-effects models underestimate the CD4 cell decline prior to starting ART. Joint-models suggest that CD4 cell count declines more rapidly in patients infected between 2003 and 2007 compared to patients infected before 1996.
BACKGROUND: While bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important cofactors for HIV transmission, STI control has received little attention in recent years. The aim of this study was to assess STI treatment and HIV testing referral practices among health providers in Kenya. METHODS: In 2011 we assessed quality of case management for male urethritis at pharmacies, private clinics and government health facilities in coastal Kenya using simulated visits at pharmacies and interviews at pharmacies and health facilities. Quality was assessed using Ministry of Health guidelines. RESULTS: Twenty (77%) of 26 pharmacies, 20 (91%) of 22 private clinics and all four government facilities in the study area took part. The median (IQR) number of adult urethritis cases per week was 5 (2-10) at pharmacies, 3 (1-3) at private clinics and 5 (2-17) at government facilities. During simulated visits, 10% of pharmacies prescribed recommended antibiotics at recommended dosages and durations and, during interviews, 28% of pharmacies and 27% of health facilities prescribed recommended antibiotics at recommended dosages and durations. Most regimens were quinolone-based. HIV testing was recommended during 10% of simulated visits, 20% of pharmacy interviews and 25% of health facility interviews. CONCLUSIONS: In an area of high STI burden, most men with urethritis seek care at pharmacies and private clinics. Most providers do not comply with national guidelines and very few recommend HIV testing. In order to reduce the STI burden and mitigate HIV transmission, there is an urgent need for innovative dissemination of up-to-date guidelines and inclusion of all health providers in HIV/STI programmes.
There are no contemporary data available describing human immunity to novel influenza A/H7N9. Using 1723 prospectively collected serum samples in southern Vietnam, we tested for antibodies to 5 avian influenza virus antigens, using a protein microarray. General-population antibody titers against subtype H7 virus are higher than antibody titers against subtype H5 and lower than titers against H9. The highest titers were observed for human influenza virus subtypes. Titers to avian influenza virus antigens increased with age and with geometric mean antibody titer to human influenza virus antigens. There were no titer differences between the urban and the rural location in our study.
BACKGROUND: The rapid growth in mobile phone penetration and use of Short Message Service (SMS) has been seen as a potential solution to improve medical and public health practice in Africa. Several studies have shown effectiveness of SMS interventions to improve health workers' practices, patients' adherence to medications and availability of health facility commodities. To inform policy makers about the feasibility of facility-based SMS interventions, the coverage data on mobile phone ownership and SMS use among health workers and patients are needed. METHODS: In 2012, a national, cross-sectional, cluster sample survey was undertaken at 172 public health facilities in Kenya. Outpatient health workers and caregivers of sick children and adult patients were interviewed. The main outcomes were personal ownership of mobile phones and use of SMS among phone owners. The predictors analysis examined factors influencing phone ownership and SMS use. RESULTS: The analysis included 219 health workers and 1,177 patients' respondents (767 caregivers and 410 adult patients). All health workers possessed personal mobile phones and 98.6% used SMS. Among patients' respondents, 61.2% owned phones and 71.4% of phone owners used SMS. The phone ownership and SMS use was similar between caregivers of sick children and adult patients. The respondents who were male, more educated, literate and living in urban area were significantly more likely to own the phone and use SMS. The youngest respondents were less likely to own phones, however when the phones were owned, younger age groups were more likely to use SMS. Respondents living in wealthier areas were more likely to own phones; however when phones are owned no significant association between the poverty and SMS use was observed. CONCLUSIONS: Mobile phone ownership and SMS use is ubiquitous among Kenyan health workers in the public sector. Among patients they serve the coverage in phone ownership and SMS use is lower and disparities exist with respect to gender, age, education, literacy, urbanization and poverty. Some of the disparities on SMS use can be addressed through the modalities of mHealth interventions and enhanced implementation processes while further growth in mobile phone penetration is needed to reduce the ownership gap.
BACKGROUND: Quality of patient care in hospitals has been shown to be inconsistent during weekends and night-time hours, and is often associated with reduced patient monitoring, poor antibiotic prescription practices and poor patient outcomes. Poorer care and outcomes are commonly attributed to decreased levels of staffing, supervision and expertise and poorer access to diagnostics. However, there are few studies examining this issue in low resource settings where mortality from common childhood illnesses is high and health care systems are weak. METHODS: This study uses data from a retrospective cross-sectional study aimed at "evaluating the uptake of best practice clinical guidelines in a tertiary hospital" with a pre and post intervention approach that spanned the period 2005 to 2009. We evaluated a primary hypothesis that mortality for children with pneumonia and/or dehydration aged 2-59 months admitted on weekends differed from those admitted on weekdays. A secondary hypothesis that poor quality of care could be a mechanism for higher mortality was also explored. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between mortality and the independent predictors of mortality. RESULTS: Our analysis indicates that there is no difference in mortality on weekends compared to weekdays even after adjusting for the significant predictors of mortality (OR = 1.15; 95% CI 0.90 -1.45; p = 0.27). There were similarly no significant differences between weekends and weekdays for the quality of care indicators, however, there was an overall improvement in mortality and quality of care through the period of study. CONCLUSION: Mortality and the quality of care does not differ by the day of admission in a Kenyan tertiary hospital, however mortality remains high suggesting that continued efforts to improve care are warranted.
BACKGROUND: In many parts of the world, livestock production is undergoing a process of rapid intensification. The health implications of this development are uncertain. Intensification creates cheaper products, allowing more people to access animal-based foods. However, some practices associated with intensification may contribute to zoonotic disease emergence and spread: for example, the sustained use of antibiotics, concentration of animals in confined units, and long distances and frequent movement of livestock. OBJECTIVES: Here we present the diverse range of ecological, biological, and socioeconomic factors likely to enhance or reduce zoonotic risk, and identify ways in which a comprehensive risk analysis may be conducted by using an interdisciplinary approach. We also offer a conceptual framework to guide systematic research on this problem. DISCUSSION: We recommend that interdisciplinary work on zoonotic risk should take into account the complexity of risk environments, rather than limiting studies to simple linear causal relations between risk drivers and disease emergence and/or spread. In addition, interdisciplinary integration is needed at different levels of analysis, from the study of risk environments to the identification of policy options for risk management. CONCLUSION: Given rapid changes in livestock production systems and their potential health implications at the local and global level, the problem we analyze here is of great importance for environmental health and development. Although we offer a systematic interdisciplinary approach to understand and address these implications, we recognize that further research is needed to clarify methodological and practical questions arising from the integration of the natural and social sciences.
South Korea is one of many countries with endemic Plasmodium vivax malaria. Here we report the evaluation of four rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for diagnosis of this disease. A total of 253 subjects were enrolled in the study. The sensitivities, specificities and agreement frequencies were estimated by comparing the four RDTs against the standard of nested-PCR and microscopic examination. The CareStart(TM) and SD Bioline had higher test sensitivities (99.4 and 98.8%, respectively) compared with the NanoSign and Asan Easy tests (93.0 and 94.7%, respectively). The CareStart(TM) and SD Bioline tests could detect P. vivax in samples with parasite densities <150/μl, which was a slightly better performance than the other two RDTs. The quantitative accuracy of the four RDTs was also estimated by comparing results with P. vivax counts from blood samples. Lower test price would result in increased use of these RDTs in the field. The results of this study contribute valuable information that will aid in the selection of a diagnostic method for the detection of malaria.
We investigated whether dried cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) conserved on filter paper can be used as a substrate for accurate PCR diagnosis of important causes of bacterial meningitis in the Lao PDR. Using mock CSF, we investigated and optimized filter paper varieties, paper punch sizes, elution volumes and quantities of DNA template to achieve sensitive and reliable detection of bacterial DNA from filter paper specimens. FTA Elute Micro Card™ (Whatman, Maidstone, UK) was the most sensitive, consistent and practical variety of filter paper. Following optimization, the lower limit of detection for Streptococcus pneumoniae from dried mock CSF spots was 14 genomic equivalents (GE)/μL (interquartile range 5.5 GE/μL) or 230 (IQR 65) colony forming units/mL. A prospective clinical evaluation for S. pneumoniae, S. suis and Neisseria meningitidis was performed. Culture and PCR performed on fresh liquid CSF from patients admitted with a clinical diagnosis of meningitis (n = 73) were compared with results derived from dried CSF spots. Four of five fresh PCR-positive CSF samples also tested PCR positive from dried CSF spots, with one patient under the limit of detection. In a retrospective study of S. pneumoniae samples (n = 20), the median (IQR; range) CSF S. pneumoniae bacterial load was 1.1 × 10(4) GE/μL (1.2 × 10(5) ; 1 to 6.1 × 10(6) DNA GE/μL). Utilizing the optimized methodology, we estimate an extrapolated sensitivity of 90%, based on the range of CSF genome counts found in Laos. Dried CSF filter paper spots could potentially help us to better understand the epidemiology of bacterial meningitis in resource-poor settings and guide empirical treatments and vaccination policies.
Combining data from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) conducted at different locations, using genotype imputation and fixed-effects meta-analysis, has been a powerful approach for dissecting complex disease genetics in populations of European ancestry. Here we investigate the feasibility of applying the same approach in Africa, where genetic diversity, both within and between populations, is far more extensive. We analyse genome-wide data from approximately 5,000 individuals with severe malaria and 7,000 population controls from three different locations in Africa. Our results show that the standard approach is well powered to detect known malaria susceptibility loci when sample sizes are large, and that modern methods for association analysis can control the potential confounding effects of population structure. We show that pattern of association around the haemoglobin S allele differs substantially across populations due to differences in haplotype structure. Motivated by these observations we consider new approaches to association analysis that might prove valuable for multicentre GWAS in Africa: we relax the assumptions of SNP-based fixed effect analysis; we apply Bayesian approaches to allow for heterogeneity in the effect of an allele on risk across studies; and we introduce a region-based test to allow for heterogeneity in the location of causal alleles.
BACKGROUND: Many older people living in care homes (long term residential care or nursing homes) are depressed. Exercise is a promising non-drug intervention for preventing and treating depression in this population. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of a 'whole-home' intervention, consisting of training for residential and nursing home staff backed up with a twice-weekly, physiotherapist-led exercise class on depressive symptoms in care home residents. DESIGN: A cluster randomised controlled trial with a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare (1) the prevalence of depression in intervention homes with that in control homes in all residents contributing data 12 months after homes were randomised (cross-sectional analysis); (2) the number of depressive symptoms at 6 months between intervention and control homes in residents who were depressed at pre-randomisation baseline assessment (depressed cohort comparison); and (3) the number of depressive symptoms at 12 months between intervention and control homes in all residents who were present at pre-randomisation baseline assessment (cohort comparison). SETTING: Seventy-eight care homes in Coventry and Warwickshire and north-east London. PARTICIPANTS: Care home residents aged ≥ 65 years. INTERVENTIONS: Control intervention: Depression awareness training programme for care home staff. Active intervention: A 'whole-home' exercise intervention, consisting of training for care home staff backed up with a twice-weekly, physiotherapist-led exercise group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Geriatric Depression Scale-15, proxy European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), cost-effectiveness from an National Health Service perspective, peripheral fractures and death. RESULTS: We recruited a total of 1054 participants. Cross-sectional analysis: We obtained 595 Geriatric Depression Scale-15 scores and 724 proxy EQ-5D scores. For the cohort analyses we obtained 765 baseline Geriatric Depression Scale-15 scores and 776 proxy EQ-5D scores. Of the 781 who we assessed prior to randomisation, 765 provided a Geriatric Depression Scale-15 score. Of these 374 (49%) were depressed and constitute our depressed cohort. Resource-use and quality-adjusted life-year data, based on proxy EQ-5D, were available for 798 residents recruited prior to randomisation. We delivered 3191 group exercise sessions with 31,705 person attendances and an average group size of 10 (5.3 study participants and 4.6 non-study participants). On average, our participants attended around half of the possible sessions. No serious adverse events occurred during the group exercise sessions. In the cross-sectional analysis the odds for being depressed were 0.76 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.53 to 1.09] lower in the intervention group at 12 months. The point estimates for benefit for both the cohort analysis (0.13, 95% CI -0.33 to 0.60) and depressed cohort (0.22, 95% CI -0.52 to 0.95) favoured the control intervention. There was no evidence of differences in fracture rates or mortality (odds ratio 1.07, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.48) between the two groups. There was no evidence of differences in the other outcomes between the two groups. Economic analysis: The additional National Health Service cost of the OPERA intervention was £374 per participant (95% CI -£655 to £1404); the mean difference in quality-adjusted life-year was -0.0014 (95% CI -0.0728 to 0.0699). The active intervention was thus dominated by the control intervention, which was more effective and less costly. CONCLUSION: The results do not support the use of a whole-home physical activity and moderate-intensity exercise programme to reduce depression in care home residents. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43769277. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 17, No. 18. See the Health Technology Assessment programme website for further project information.
The use of whole-genome sequencing as a tool for the study of infectious bacteria is of growing clinical interest. Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for sexually transmitted infections and the blinding disease trachoma, which affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Recombination is widespread within the genome of C. trachomatis, thus whole-genome sequencing is necessary to understand the evolution, diversity, and epidemiology of this pathogen. Culture of C. trachomatis has, until now, been a prerequisite to obtain DNA for whole-genome sequencing; however, as C. trachomatis is an obligate intracellular pathogen, this procedure is technically demanding and time consuming. Discarded clinical samples represent a large resource for sequencing the genomes of pathogens, yet clinical swabs frequently contain very low levels of C. trachomatis DNA and large amounts of contaminating microbial and human DNA. To determine whether it is possible to obtain whole-genome sequences from bacteria without the need for culture, we have devised an approach that combines immunomagnetic separation (IMS) for targeted bacterial enrichment with multiple displacement amplification (MDA) for whole-genome amplification. Using IMS-MDA in conjunction with high-throughput multiplexed Illumina sequencing, we have produced the first whole bacterial genome sequences direct from clinical samples. We also show that this method can be used to generate genome data from nonviable archived samples. This method will prove a useful tool in answering questions relating to the biology of many difficult-to-culture or fastidious bacteria of clinical concern.
Parenteral artesunate (ARS) is the drug of choice for the treatment of severe malaria. Pharmacokinetics data on intramuscular ARS are limited with respect to the main treatment group that carries the highest mortality, namely, critically ill children with severe malaria. A population pharmacokinetic study of ARS and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) was conducted from sparse sampling in 70 Tanzanian children of ages 6 months to 11 years. All the children had been admitted with severe falciparum malaria and were treated with intramuscular ARS (2.4 mg/kg at 0, 12, and 24 h). Venous plasma concentration-time profiles were characterized using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling (NONMEM). A one-compartment disposition model accurately described first-dose population pharmacokinetics of ARS and DHA. Body weight significantly affected clearance and apparent volume of distribution (P < 0.001), resulting in lower ARS and DHA exposure levels in smaller children. An adapted dosing regimen including a practical dosing table per weight band is proposed for young children based on the pharmacokinetic model.
Patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria are treated with primaquine to prevent relapse infections. We report primaquine failure in a patient with 3 relapses without any possibility of re-infection. Using whole genome sequencing of the relapsing parasite isolates, we identified single nucleotide variants as candidate molecular markers of resistance.
BACKGROUND: Penicillium marneffei is an emerging dimorphic mycosis endemic in Southeast Asia, and a leading cause of mortality among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people in the region. Factors governing the seasonal incidence of P. marneffei infection are unknown, and may yield critical insights into possible reservoirs or modes of acquisition. METHODS: This study included HIV-infected patients presenting with P. marneffei (n = 719) and Cryptococcus neoformans (n = 1598) infection to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 2004 to 2010, and temperature, humidity, wind, precipitation, and HIV-related admissions data for the corresponding period. We used multivariate regression modeling to identify factors associated with P. marneffei and C. neoformans admissions. We estimated the P. marneffei incubation period by considering profile likelihoods for different exposure-to-admission delays. RESULTS: We found that P. marneffei admissions were strongly associated with humidity (P < .001), and that precipitation, temperature, and wind did not add explanatory power. Cryptococcus neoformans admissions were not seasonal, and P. marneffei admissions were more common relative to C. neoformans admissions during months of high (≥85%) humidity (odds ratio, 1.49; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.10-2.01). Maximum likelihood estimation suggested a P. marneffei incubation period of 1 week (95% CI, 0-3 weeks). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that humidity is the most important environmental predictor of P. marneffei admissions, and may drive exposure by facilitating fungal growth or spore release in the environment. In addition, it appears that a high proportion of penicilliosis patients present to the hospital with primary disseminated infection within 3 weeks of exposure.
A questionnaire was used to collect data on small poultry farm management and wild bird observed in poultry keeping areas to identify putative risk factors for infection with HPAI H5N1. The study was conducted in 2008 in four subdistricts of central Thailand that had experienced outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in poultry. Descriptive and inferential analyses including univariable analyses and multivariable logistic regression were used to identify putative risk factors. Risk factors included purchasing native chickens/fighting cocks from commercial hatcheries, replacing or restocking birds individually, and observing lesser whistling ducks (Dendrocygna javanica) on the farm daily. Selecting healthy animals when purchasing animals to ensure that they were disease free was a protective factor. To fully understand the epidemiology of infection of small poultry farms with HPAI H5N1, control of movement of domestic poultry and serological and virological testing of the poultry population should be applied. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 68 (5), pp. 992-999. | Read more2013. Selection for qacA carriage in CC22, but not CC30, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection isolates during a successful institutional infection control programme
It is the mature gametocytes of Plasmodium that are solely responsible for parasite transmission from the mammalian host to the mosquito. They are therefore a logical target for transmission-blocking antimalarial interventions, which aim to break the cycle of reinfection and reduce the prevalence of malaria cases. Gametocytes, however, are not a homogeneous cell population. They are sexually dimorphic, and both males and females are required for parasite transmission. Using two bioassays, we explored the effects of 20 antimalarials on the functional viability of both male and female mature gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. We show that mature male gametocytes (as reported by their ability to produce male gametes, i.e., to exflagellate) are sensitive to antifolates, some endoperoxides, methylene blue, and thiostrepton, with submicromolar 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s), whereas female gametocytes (as reported by their ability to activate and form gametes expressing the marker Pfs25) are much less sensitive to antimalarial intervention, with only methylene blue and thiostrepton showing any significant activity. These findings show firstly that the antimalarial responses of male and female gametocytes differ and secondly that the mature male gametocyte should be considered a more vulnerable target than the female gametocyte for transmission-blocking drugs. Given the female-biased sex ratio of Plasmodium falciparum (∼3 to 5 females:1 male), current gametocyte assays without a sex-specific readout are unlikely to identify male-targeted compounds and prioritize them for further development. Both assays reported here are being scaled up to at least medium throughput and will permit identification of key transmission-blocking molecules that have been overlooked by other screening campaigns.
We describe an analysis of genome variation in 825 P. falciparum samples from Asia and Africa that identifies an unusual pattern of parasite population structure at the epicenter of artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia. Within this relatively small geographic area, we have discovered several distinct but apparently sympatric parasite subpopulations with extremely high levels of genetic differentiation. Of particular interest are three subpopulations, all associated with clinical resistance to artemisinin, which have skewed allele frequency spectra and high levels of haplotype homozygosity, indicative of founder effects and recent population expansion. We provide a catalog of SNPs that show high levels of differentiation in the artemisinin-resistant subpopulations, including codon variants in transporter proteins and DNA mismatch repair proteins. These data provide a population-level genetic framework for investigating the biological origins of artemisinin resistance and for defining molecular markers to assist in its elimination.
Due to the widespread prevalence of resistant parasites, chloroquine (CQ) was removed from front-line antimalarial chemotherapy in the 1990s despite its initial promise of disease eradication. Since then, resistance-conferring mutations have been identified in transporters such as the PfCRT, that allow for the efflux of CQ from its primary site of action, the parasite digestive vacuole. Chemosensitizing/chemoreversing compounds interfere with the function of these transporters thereby sensitizing parasites to CQ once again. However, compounds identified thus far have disappointing in vivo efficacy and screening for alternative candidates is required to revive this strategy. In this study, we propose a simple and direct means to rapidly screen for such compounds using a fluorescent-tagged CQ molecule. When this screen was applied to a small library, seven novel chemosensitizers (octoclothepin, methiothepin, metergoline, loperamide, chlorprothixene, L-703,606 and mibefradil) were quickly elucidated, including two which showed greater potency than the classical chemosensitizers verapamil and desipramine.
Nature, 496 (7446), pp. 399. | Citations: 34 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. H7N9 is a virus worth worrying about.
BACKGROUND: Countries aiming for malaria elimination need to define their malariogenic potential, of which measures of both receptive and current transmission are major components. As Namibia pursues malaria elimination, the importation risks due to cross-border human population movements with higher risk neighboring countries has been identified as a major challenge. Here we used historical and contemporary Plasmodium falciparum prevalence data for Namibia to estimate receptive and current levels of malaria risk in nine northern regions. We explore the potential of these risk maps to support decision-making for malaria elimination in Namibia. METHODS: Age-corrected geocoded community P. falciparum rate PfPR2-10 data from the period 1967-1992 (n = 3,260) and 2009 (n = 120) were modeled separately within a Bayesian model-based geostatistical (MBG) framework. A full Bayesian space-time MBG model was implemented using the 1967-1992 data to make predictions for every five years from 1969 to 1989. These maps were used to compute the maximum mean PfPR2-10 at 5 x 5 km locations in the northern regions of Namibia to estimate receptivity. A separate spatial Bayesian MBG was fitted to the 2009 data to predict current risk of malaria at similar spatial resolution. Using a high-resolution population map for Namibia, population at risk by receptive and current endemicity by region and population adjusted PfPR2-10 by health district were computed. Validations of predictions were undertaken separately for the historical and current risk models. RESULTS: Highest receptive risks were observed in the northern regions of Caprivi, Kavango and Ohangwena along the border with Angola and Zambia. Relative to the receptive risks, over 90% of the 1.4 million people across the nine regions of northern Namibia appear to have transitioned to a lower endemic class by 2009. The biggest transition appeared to have occurred in areas of highest receptive risks. Of the 23 health districts, 12 had receptive PAPfPR2-10 risks of 5% to 18% and accounted for 57% of the population in the north. Current PAPfPR2-10 risks was largely <5% across the study area. CONCLUSIONS: The comparison of receptive and current malaria risks in the northern regions of Namibia show health districts that are most at risk of importation due to their proximity to the relatively higher transmission northern neighbouring countries, higher population and modeled receptivity. These health districts should be prioritized as the cross-border control initiatives are rolled out.
Assessment of in vitro susceptibility is a fundamental component of antimalarial surveillance studies, but wide variations in the measurement of parasite growth and the calculation of inhibitory constants make comparisons of data from different laboratories difficult. Here we describe a Web-based, high-throughput in vitro analysis and reporting tool (IVART) generating inhibitory constants for large data sets. Fourteen primary data sets examining laboratory-determined susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives and artemisinin combination therapy partner drugs were collated from 11 laboratories. Drug concentrations associated with half-maximal inhibition of growth (IC50s) were determined by a modified sigmoid Emax model-fitting algorithm, allowing standardized analysis of 7,350 concentration-inhibition assays involving 1,592 isolates. Examination of concentration-inhibition data revealed evidence of apparent paradoxical growth at high concentrations of nonartemisinin drugs, supporting amendment of the method for calculating the maximal drug effect in each assay. Criteria for defining more-reliable IC50s based on estimated confidence intervals and growth ratios improved correlation coefficients for the drug pairs mefloquine-quinine and chloroquine-desethylamodiaquine in 9 of 11 and 8 of 8 data sets, respectively. Further analysis showed that maximal drug inhibition was higher for artemisinins than for other drugs, particularly in ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)-based assays, a finding consistent with the earlier onset of action of these drugs in the parasite life cycle. This is the first high-throughput analytical approach to apply consistent constraints and reliability criteria to large, diverse antimalarial susceptibility data sets. The data also illustrate the distinct biological properties of artemisinins and underline the need to apply more sensitive approaches to assessing in vitro susceptibility to these drugs.
Norovirus (NoV) is a major cause of epidemic gastroenteritis in industrialized countries, yet the epidemiological significance of NoV in industrializing countries remains poorly understood. The spatiotemporal distribution of NoV genotypes identified in 2054 enrolled children was investigated between May 2009 and December 2010, in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. A total of 315 NoV extracted from stool samples were genotyped and GPS mapped to their source. Genogroup II NoV, particularly GII.4, were predominant, and the GII.4 strains could be subgrouped into GII.4-2006b (Minerva) and GII.4-2010 (New Orleans) variants. There was no spatiotemporal structure among the endemic GII strains; yet a significant spatiotemporal signal corresponding with the novel introduction of GII.4-2010 variant was detected. These data show that NoV GII.4 variants are highly endemic in HCMC and describe a scenario of rapid NoV strain replacement occurring in HCMC in early 2010.
BACKGROUND: Parasitaemia on Day 3 has been proposed as a useful alert of potential artemisinin resistance, however, the normal variation of parasite clearance observed in artemisinin-based combination therapy clinical trials is poorly documented. METHODS: The trends in early parasitological response following treatment with an artemisinin anti-malarial regimen were reviewed. A PubMed literature search identified all studies using an artemisinin regimen for uncomplicated falciparum malaria published between January 2000 and December 2011. Data from clinical studies were extracted for analysis using a standardized questionnaire. RESULTS: In total 65,078 patients were enrolled into 213 clinical trials with 413 treatment arms containing either an artemisinin derivative alone (n=26) or in combination with a partner drug (n=387). The proportion of patients remaining parasitaemic at 24, 48 and 72 hours was documented in 115 (28%), 167 (40%) and 153 (37%) treatment arms, respectively. Excluding resistance studies in Cambodia, the median proportion of patients still parasitaemic was 53.8% [range 3-95, IQR=30.5-69.2] on Day 1, 6% [range 0-65.9, IQR=2-11.5] on Day 2 and 0 [range 0-12.6, IQR=0-2] on Day 3. Comparing studies from 2000 to 2005 and 2006 to 2011, the median proportion of patients reported to remain parasitaemic at 72 hours decreased in Africa (1.2% vs 0%, p=0.007), but increased in Asia (0.4% vs 3.9%, p=0.076). In 95% of studies the proportion of patients with peripheral parasitaemia was less than 6% at 72 hours. CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the normal distribution of early parasitological responses following ACT, and the influence that heterogeneity in study design, host and parasite factors have in confounding a surveillance system based on Day 3 parasite positivity. Greater understanding of factors influencing parasite clearance is crucial, but will require analysis of pooled data from individual patient records.
Accurate measurement of malaria parasite clearance rates (CRs) following artemisinin (ART) treatment is critical for resistance surveillance and research, and various CR metrics are currently used. We measured 13 CR metrics in 1472 ART-treated hyperparasitemia infections for which 6-hour parasite counts and parasite genotypes (93 single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) were available. We used heritability to evaluate the performance of each metric. Heritability ranged from 0.06 ± 0.06 (SD) for 50% parasite clearance times to 0.67 ± 0.04 (SD) for clearance half-lives estimated from 6-hour parasite counts. These results identify the measures that should be avoided and show that reliable clearance measures can be obtained with abbreviated monitoring protocols.
Orientia tsutsugamushi, the etiologic agent of potentially fatal scrub typhus, is characterized by a high antigenic diversity, which complicates the development of a broadly protective vaccine. Efficacy studies in murine and nonhuman primate models demonstrated the DNA vaccine candidate pKarp47, based upon the O. tsutsugamushi Karp 47-kD HtrA protein gene, to be a successful immunoprophylactic against scrub typhus. To characterize 47-kD HtrA protein diversity among human isolates of Orientia, we sequenced the full open reading frame (ORF) of the 47-kD HtrA gene and analyzed the translated amino acid sequences of 17 patient isolates from Thailand (n=13), Laos (n=2), Australia (n=1), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (n=1) and 9 reference strains: Karp (New Guinea), Kato (Japan), Ikeda (Japan), Gilliam (Burma), Boryong (Korea), TA763, TH1811 and TH1817 (Thailand), and MAK243 (China). The percentage identity (similarity) of translated amino acid sequences between 16 new isolates and 9 reference strains of O. tsutsugamushi ranged from 96.4% to 100% (97.4% to 100%). However, inclusion of the recently identified Orientia chuto sp. nov. reduced identity (similarity) values to 82.2% to 83.3% (90.4% to 91.4%). These results demonstrate the diversity of Orientia 47-kD HtrA among isolates encountered by humans and therefore provide support for the necessity of developing a broadly protective scrub typhus vaccine that takes this diversity into account.
We estimated the effect of sexual behavior, age, and immunodeficiency on the number of high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) types in the anal canal among human immunodeficiency virus-positive men who have sex with men (MSM). Anal samples were genotyped with the Linear Array HPV Genotyping Test, and risk factors were investigated with Poisson regression. Of 586 MSM, 69% were Spanish, and 25.6% were Latin American; the median age was 34.9 years (interquartile range [IQR], 30.1-40.8). The median number of recent sex partners was 6 (IQR, 2-24 sex partners), and the median CD4(+) T-cell count was 531.5 cells/mm(3) (IQR, 403-701 cells/mm(3)). The prevalence of any and multiple HR-HPV infections was 83.4% and 60.5%, respectively. The most common types were HPV-16 (42%), HPV-51 (24%), HPV-39 (23.7%), and HPV-59 (23.5%). Age had a statistically significant, nonlinear association with the number of types, with the highest number detected around 35 years of age (P < .001). The number of recent sex partners had a statistically significant, fairly linear association on the log scale (P = .033). The high prevalence of HR-HPV types is associated with recent sexual behavior and age.
One hundred and twenty years ago, the Italian malariologists Marchiafava and Bignami proposed that the fundamental pathological process underlying lethal falciparum malaria was microvascular obstruction. Since then, several alternative hypotheses have been proposed. These formed the basis for adjunctive interventions, which have either been ineffective or harmful. Recent evidence strongly suggests that Marchiafava and Bignami were right.
PLoS ONE, 8 (4), | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Correction: HIV-Infected Men Who Have Sex with Men Who Identify Themselves as Belonging to Subcultures Are at Increased Risk for Hepatitis C Infection
Controlled human malaria infection is used to measure efficacy of candidate malaria vaccines before field studies are undertaken. Mathematical modeling using data from quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) parasitemia monitoring can discriminate between vaccine effects on the parasite's liver and blood stages. Uncertainty regarding the most appropriate modeling method hinders interpretation of such trials. We used qPCR data from 267 Plasmodium falciparum infections to compare linear, sine-wave, and normal-cumulative-density-function models. We find that the parameters estimated by these models are closely correlated, and their predictive accuracy for omitted data points was similar. We propose that future studies include the linear model.
Dengue is a systemic viral infection transmitted between humans by Aedes mosquitoes. For some patients, dengue is a life-threatening illness. There are currently no licensed vaccines or specific therapeutics, and substantial vector control efforts have not stopped its rapid emergence and global spread. The contemporary worldwide distribution of the risk of dengue virus infection and its public health burden are poorly known. Here we undertake an exhaustive assembly of known records of dengue occurrence worldwide, and use a formal modelling framework to map the global distribution of dengue risk. We then pair the resulting risk map with detailed longitudinal information from dengue cohort studies and population surfaces to infer the public health burden of dengue in 2010. We predict dengue to be ubiquitous throughout the tropics, with local spatial variations in risk influenced strongly by rainfall, temperature and the degree of urbanization. Using cartographic approaches, we estimate there to be 390 million (95% credible interval 284-528) dengue infections per year, of which 96 million (67-136) manifest apparently (any level of disease severity). This infection total is more than three times the dengue burden estimate of the World Health Organization. Stratification of our estimates by country allows comparison with national dengue reporting, after taking into account the probability of an apparent infection being formally reported. The most notable differences are discussed. These new risk maps and infection estimates provide novel insights into the global, regional and national public health burden imposed by dengue. We anticipate that they will provide a starting point for a wider discussion about the global impact of this disease and will help to guide improvements in disease control strategies using vaccine, drug and vector control methods, and in their economic evaluation.
Mobile phone data are increasingly being used to quantify the movements of human populations for a wide range of social, scientific and public health research. However, making population-level inferences using these data is complicated by differential ownership of phones among different demographic groups that may exhibit variable mobility. Here, we quantify the effects of ownership bias on mobility estimates by coupling two data sources from the same country during the same time frame. We analyse mobility patterns from one of the largest mobile phone datasets studied, representing the daily movements of nearly 15 million individuals in Kenya over the course of a year. We couple this analysis with the results from a survey of socioeconomic status, mobile phone ownership and usage patterns across the country, providing regional estimates of population distributions of income, reported airtime expenditure and actual airtime expenditure across the country. We match the two data sources and show that mobility estimates are surprisingly robust to the substantial biases in phone ownership across different geographical and socioeconomic groups.
BACKGROUND: Combination antifungal therapy (amphotericin B deoxycholate and flucytosine) is the recommended treatment for cryptococcal meningitis but has not been shown to reduce mortality, as compared with amphotericin B alone. We performed a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether combining flucytosine or high-dose fluconazole with high-dose amphotericin B improved survival at 14 and 70 days. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, three-group, open-label trial of induction therapy for cryptococcal meningitis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. All patients received amphotericin B at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day; patients in group 1 were treated for 4 weeks, and those in groups 2 and 3 for 2 weeks. Patients in group 2 concurrently received flucytosine at a dose of 100 mg per kilogram per day for 2 weeks, and those in group 3 concurrently received fluconazole at a dose of 400 mg twice daily for 2 weeks. RESULTS: A total of 299 patients were enrolled. Fewer deaths occurred by days 14 and 70 among patients receiving amphotericin B and flucytosine than among those receiving amphotericin B alone (15 vs. 25 deaths by day 14; hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30 to 1.08; unadjusted P=0.08; and 30 vs. 44 deaths by day 70; hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.97; unadjusted P=0.04). Combination therapy with fluconazole had no significant effect on survival, as compared with monotherapy (hazard ratio for death by 14 days, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.44 to 1.41; P=0.42; hazard ratio for death by 70 days, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.45 to 1.11; P=0.13). Amphotericin B plus flucytosine was associated with significantly increased rates of yeast clearance from cerebrospinal fluid (-0.42 log10 colony-forming units [CFU] per milliliter per day vs. -0.31 and -0.32 log10 CFU per milliliter per day in groups 1 and 3, respectively; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of adverse events were similar in all groups, although neutropenia was more frequent in patients receiving a combination therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Amphotericin B plus flucytosine, as compared with amphotericin B alone, is associated with improved survival among patients with cryptococcal meningitis. A survival benefit of amphotericin B plus fluconazole was not found. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Infection Society; Controlled-Trials.com number, ISRCTN95123928.).
Malaria is a worldwide health problem with 225 million infections each year. A fast and easy-to-use method, with high performance is required to differentiate malaria from non-malarial fevers. Manual examination of blood smears is currently the gold standard, but it is time-consuming, labour-intensive, requires skilled microscopists and the sensitivity of the method depends heavily on the skills of the microscopist. We propose an easy-to-use, quantitative cartridge-scanner system for vision-based malaria diagnosis, focusing on low malaria parasite densities. We have used special finger-prick cartridges filled with acridine orange to obtain a thin blood film and a dedicated scanner to image the cartridge. Using supervised learning, we have built a Plasmodium falciparum detector. A two-step approach was used to first segment potentially interesting areas, which are then analysed in more detail. The performance of the detector was validated using 5,420 manually annotated parasite images from malaria parasite culture in medium, as well as using 40 cartridges of 11,780 images containing healthy blood. From finger prick to result, the prototype cartridge-scanner system gave a quantitative diagnosis in 16 min, of which only 1 min required manual interaction of basic operations. It does not require a wet lab or a skilled operator and provides parasite images for manual review and quality control. In healthy samples, the image analysis part of the system achieved an overall specificity of 99.999978% at the level of (infected) red blood cells, resulting in at most seven false positives per microlitre. Furthermore, the system showed a sensitivity of 75% at the cell level, enabling the detection of low parasite densities in a fast and easy-to-use manner. A field trial in Chittagong (Bangladesh) indicated that future work should primarily focus on improving the filling process of the cartridge and the focus control part of the scanner.
J Trop Pediatr, 59 (2), pp. 162. | Read more2013. Rectal pH in Well and Unwell Infants.
Community engagement is increasingly emphasized in biomedical research, as a right in itself, and to strengthen ethical practice. We draw on interviews and observations to consider the practical and ethical implications of involving Community Health Workers (CHWs) as part of a community engagement strategy for a vaccine trial on the Kenyan Coast. CHWs were initially engaged as an important network to be informed about the trial. However over time, and in response to community advice, they became involved in trial information sharing and identifying potential participants; thereby taking on roles that overlapped with those of employed fieldworkers (FWs). While CHWs involvement was generally perceived as positive and appreciated, there were challenges in their relations with FWs and other community members, partly related to levels and forms of remuneration. Specifically, payment of CHWs was not as high as for FWs and was based on 'performance'. This extrinsic motivation had the potential to crowd out CHWs intrinsic motivation to perform their pre-existing community roles. CHWs remuneration potentially also contributed to CHWs distorting trial information to encourage community members to participate; and to researchers encouraging CHWs to utilize their social connections and status to increase the numbers of people who attended information giving sessions. Individual consent processes were protected in this trial through final information sharing and consent being conducted by trained clinical staff who were not embedded in study communities. However, our experiences suggest that roles and remuneration of all front line staff and volunteers involved in trials need careful consideration from the outset, and monitoring and discussion over time.
Dev World Bioeth, 13 (1), pp. ii-iv. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Field workers at the interface.
Am J Bioeth, 13 (4), pp. 20-22. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. The "difficult patient" conundrum in sickle cell disease in Kenya: complex sociopolitical problems need wide multidimensional solutions.
In Cambodia, dengue virus (DENV) was first isolated in 1963 and has become endemic with peak epidemic during raining season. Since 2000, the Dengue National Control Program has reported from 10,000 to 40,000 cases per year with fatality rates ranging from 0.7 to 1.7. All four dengue serotypes are found circulating in Cambodia with alternative predominance of serotypes DENV-2 and DENV-3. The DENV-1 represents from 5% to 20% of all circulating viruses, depending upon the year. In this work, 79 clinical strains of DENV-1 were isolated between 2000 and 2009 and their genome fully sequenced. Four distinct lineages with different dynamics were identified. The main evolutionary drive was negative selective pressure but each lineage was characterized by the presence of specific mutations acquired through evolution. Coexistence, extinction and replacement of lineages occurred over the 10-year period. Lineages 1, 2 and 3 were all detected since 2000-2002 and disappeared in 2003, 2004-2005 and 2007, respectively. Lineages 1 and 2 displayed different dynamics. Lineage 1 was very diverse whereas lineage 2 was very homogeneous. Lineage 4 which derived from lineage 3 in 2003 remained the only one at the end of the sampling period in 2008-2009 owing to a selective sweep. The lineages dynamic of DENV-1 viruses and consequences for molecular epidemiology are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
The Dengue National Control Program was established in Cambodia in 2000 and has reported between 10,000 and 40,000 dengue cases per year with a case fatality rate ranging from 0.7 to 1.7. In this study 39 DENV-2 and 57 DENV-3 viruses isolated from patients between 2000 and 2008 were fully sequenced. Five DENV2 and four DENV3 distinct lineages with different dynamics were identified. Each lineage was characterized by the presence of specific mutations with no evidence of recombination. In both DENV-2 and DENV-3 the lineages present prior to 2003 were replaced after that date by unrelated lineages. After 2003, DENV-2 lineages D2-3 and D2-4 cocirculated until 2007 when they were almost completely replaced by a lineage D2-5 which emerged from D2-3 Conversely, all DENV-3 lineages remained, diversified and cocirculated with novel lineages emerging. Years 2006 and 2007 were marked by a high prevalence of DENV-3 and 2007 with a large dengue outbreak and a high proportion of patients with severe disease. Selective sweeps in DENV-1 and DENV-2 were linked to immunological escape to a predominately DENV-3-driven immunological response. The complex dynamic of dengue in Cambodia in the last ten years has been associated with a combination of stochastic climatic events, cocirculation, coevolution, adaptation to different vector populations, and with the human population immunological landscape.
Background The annual number of hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths due to severe acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in young children worldwide is unknown. We aimed to estimate the incidence of admissions and deaths for such infections in children younger than 5 years in 2010. Methods We estimated the incidence of admissions for severe and very severe ALRI in children younger than 5 years, stratifi ed by age and region, with data from a systematic review of studies published between Jan 1, 1990, and March 31, 2012, and from 28 unpublished population-based studies. We applied these incidence estimates to population estimates for 2010, to calculate the global and regional burden in children admitted with severe ALRI in that year. We estimated in-hospital mortality due to severe and very severe ALRI by combining incidence estimates with case fatality ratios from hospital-based studies. Findings We identifi ed 89 eligible studies and estimated that in 2010, 11•9 million (95% CI 10•3-13•9 million) episodes of severe and 3•0 million (2•1-4•2 million) episodes of very severe ALRI resulted in hospital admissions in young children worldwide. Incidence was higher in boys than in girls, the sex disparity being greatest in South Asian studies. On the basis of data from 37 hospital studies reporting case fatality ratios for severe ALRI, we estimated that roughly 265 000 (95% CI 160 000-450 000) in-hospital deaths took place in young children, with 99% of these deaths in developing countries. Therefore, the data suggest that although 62% of children with severe ALRI are treated in hospitals, 81% of deaths happen outside hospitals. Interpretation Severe ALRI is a substantial burden on health services worldwide and a major cause of hospital referral and admission in young children. Improved hospital access and reduced inequities, such as those related to sex and rural status, could substantially decrease mortality related to such infection. Community-based management of severe disease could be an important complementary strategy to reduce pneumonia mortality and health inequities.
Purpose: To quantify the effects of barrier precautions and antibiotic mixing on prevalence and acquisition of five drug-resistant microorganisms within a single tetanus intensive care unit at a tertiary referral hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Methods: All patients admitted within the study period were included. After a 1-year baseline period, barrier precautions were implemented and the single empirical treatment ceftazidime was changed to mixing (per consecutive patient) of three different regimens (ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, piperacillin-tazobactam). Markov chain modeling and genotyping were used to determine the effects of interventions on prevalence levels and the relative importance of cross-transmission and antibiotic-associated selection. Results: A total of 190 patients were included in year 1 (2,708 patient days, 17,260 cultures) and 167 patients in year 2 (3,384 patient days, 20,580 cultures). In year 1, average daily prevalence rates for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae (excluding Klebsiella pneumoniae), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, gentamicin-resistant K. pneumoniae, and amikacin-resistant Acinetobacter species were 34.0, 61.3, 53.4, 65.7 and 57.1 %. After intervention, ceftazidime usage decreased by 53 %; the use of piperacillin-tazobactam and ciprofloxacin increased 7.2-fold and 4.5-fold, respectively. Adherence to hand hygiene after patient contact was 54 %. These measures were associated with a reduction of MRSA prevalence by 69.8 % (to 10.3 %), mainly because of less cross-transmission (88 % reduction), and of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae prevalence by 10.3 % (non-significantly). In contrast, prevalence levels of the other three pathogens remained unaffected. Conclusion: The combination of simple infection control measures and antibiotic mixing was highly effective in reducing the prevalence of MRSA, but not of Gram-negative microorganisms. © 2013 The Author(s).
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 59 (2), pp. 162. | Read more2013. Erratum to Rectal pH in well and unwell infants [J Trop Pediatr, 58 (2012) 311-313]
Atazanavir increases plasma bilirubin levels in a concentration-dependent manner. Due to less costly and readily available assays, bilirubin has been proposed as a marker of atazanavir exposure. In this work, a previously developed nomogram for detection of suboptimal atazanavir exposure is validated against external patient populations. The bilirubin nomogram was validated against 311 matching bilirubin and atazanavir samples from 166 HIV-1-infected Norwegian, French, and Italian patients on a ritonavir-boosted regimen. In addition, the nomogram was evaluated in 56 Italian patients on an unboosted regimen. The predictive properties of the nomogram were validated against observed atazanavir plasma concentrations. The use of the nomogram to detect non-adherence was also investigated by simulation. The bilirubin nomogram predicted suboptimal exposure in the patient populations on a ritonavir-boosted regimen with a negative predictive value of 97% (95% CI 95-100). The bilirubin nomogram and monitoring of atazanavir concentrations had similar predictive properties for detecting non-adherence based on simulations. Although both methods performed adequately during a period of non-adherence, they had lower predictive power to detect past non-adherence episodes. Using the bilirubin nomogram for detection of suboptimal atazanavir exposure in patients on a ritonavir-boosted regimen is a rapid and cost-effective alternative to routine measurements of the actual atazanavir exposure in plasma. Its application may be useful in clinical settings if atazanavir concentrations are not available.
Mymensingh Med J, 22 (2), pp. 413-416. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2013. Melioidosis in an adult male.
Infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei has been described, albeit rarely, patients in Bangladesh. Infection usually follows percutaneous inoculation or inhalation of the causative bacterium, which is present in soil and surface water in the endemic region. A 35-year-young male farmer presented with prolonged fever and significant weight loss. Patient gradually deteriorated despite getting different antibiotics including intravenous ceftriaxone and metronidazole. Panels of investigations were done which revealed no diagnostic confirmation except uncontrolled diabetes and multiple abscesses in different organs. Melioidosis was suspected and serum samples were positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei antibody. The case illustrates the importance of non-specific nature of the clinical presentation and high index of suspicion of uncommon diseases like melioidosis where the disease has not been considered as an endemic.
Social networking sites (SNS) are now part of everyday life, and SNSs such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are among the most accessed Web sites on the Internet. Although SNSs are primarily used for staying in touch with friends and family, they are increasingly being used for health-related purposes for a variety of conditions, including concussion awareness. As health interventions begin to be more commonly provided through SNSs (particularly Facebook), ethical issues have been raised with regard to confidentiality, privacy, and trust; these issues need to be addressed. This article outlines some of the key considerations when providing a concussion intervention through Facebook and discusses potential solutions to these issues.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Vitiligo is considered to be an autoimmune disease and is known to be associated with other autoimmune diseases, particularly affecting the thyroid. In children and adolescents this association has been reported in only a few studies, with varying results. The aim of this study was to examine thyroid function and prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity in children and adolescents with vitiligo and to investigate the utility of screening. METHODS: Two hundred and sixty patients with vitiligo were enrolled. Plasma TSH, FT4 and anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody concentrations were measured. The prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity were compared to the general healthy paediatric population. RESULTS: Autoimmune thyroiditis (AIT) with thyroid hormone disturbances was diagnosed in 16 patients (6.2%). This is significantly higher than the prevalence reported in the general healthy paediatric population. Increased levels of anti-TPO antibodies (= 30 kU/l), without thyroid hormone disturbances, were found in 27 patients (10.5%). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of AIT in children and adolescents with vitiligo is significantly higher than in the general population. It may be advantageous to screen thyroid function and antibody levels in all paediatric patients with non-segmental vitiligo. To strengthen recommendations on screening, research on the burden for patients and cost-effectiveness is needed.
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection frequently also are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) (co-infection), but little is known about its effects on the progression of HIV-associated disease. We aimed to determine the effects of co-infection on mortality from HIV and/or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and hepatitis or liver disease, adjusting for the duration of HIV infection. METHODS: We analyzed data from the 16 cohorts of the Concerted Action on Seroconversion to AIDS and Death in Europe (CASCADE) collaboration, which included information on HCV infection and cause of death. A competing-risks proportional subdistribution hazards model was used to evaluate the effect of HCV infection on the following causes of death: HIV- and/or AIDS-related, hepatitis- or liver-related, natural, and non-natural. RESULTS: Of 9164 individuals with HIV infection and a known date of seroconversion, 2015 (22.0%) also were infected with HCV. Of 718 deaths, 395 (55.0%) were caused by HIV infection and/or AIDS, and 39 (5.4%) were caused by hepatitis or liver-related disease. Among individuals infected with only HIV or with co-infection, the mortality from HIV infection and/or AIDS-related causes and hepatitis or liver disease decreased significantly after 1997, when combination antiretroviral therapy became widely available. However, after 1997, HIV and/or AIDS-related mortality was higher among co-infected individuals than those with only HIV infection in each risk group: injection drug use (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.43; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-5.20), sex between men and women or hemophilia (aHR, 3.43; 95% CI, 1.70-6.93), and sex between men (aHR, 3.11; 95% CI, 1.49-6.48). Compared with individuals infected with only HIV, co-infected individuals had a higher risk of death from hepatitis or liver disease. CONCLUSIONS: Based on analysis of data from the CASCADE collaboration, since 1997, when combination antiretroviral therapy became widely available, individuals co-infected with HIV and HCV have had a higher risk of death from HIV and/or AIDS, and from hepatitis or liver disease, than patients infected with only HIV. It is necessary to evaluate the effects of HCV therapy on HIV progression.
BACKGROUND: District hospital services in Kenya and many low-income countries should deliver proven, effective interventions that could substantially reduce child and newborn mortality. However such services are often of poor quality. Researchers have therefore been challenged to identify intervention strategies that go beyond addressing knowledge, skill, or resource inadequacies to support health systems to deliver better services at scale. An effort to develop a system-oriented intervention tailored to local needs and context and drawing on theory is described. METHODS: An intervention was designed to improve district hospital services for children based on four main strategies: a reflective process to distill root causes for the observed problems with service delivery; developing a set of possible intervention approaches to address these problems; a search of literature for theory that provided the most appropriate basis for intervention design; and repeatedly moving backwards and forwards between identified causes, proposed interventions, identified theory, and knowledge of the existing context to develop an overarching intervention that seemed feasible and likely to be acceptable and potentially sustainable. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: In addition to human and resource constraints key problems included failures of relevant professionals to take responsibility for or ownership of the challenge of pediatric service delivery; inadequately prepared, poorly supported leaders of service units (mid-level managers) who are often professionally and geographically isolated and an almost complete lack of useful information for routinely monitoring or understanding service delivery practice or outcomes. A system-oriented intervention recognizing the pivotal role of leaders of service units but addressing the outer and inner setting of hospitals was designed to help shape and support an appropriate role for these professionals. It aims to foster a sense of ownership while providing the necessary understanding, knowledge, and skills for mid-level managers to work effectively with senior managers and frontline staff to improve services. The intervention will include development of an information system, feedback mechanisms, and discussion fora that promote positive change. The vehicle for such an intervention is a collaborative network partnering government and national professional associations. This case is presented to promote discussion on approaches to developing context appropriate interventions particularly in international health.
PLoS ONE, 8 (3), pp. e58029-e58029. | Read more2013. Observational Study of Vaccine Efficacy 24 Years after the Start of Hepatitis B Vaccination in Two Gambian Villages: No Need for a Booster Dose
BACKGROUND: The candidate malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01E has entered phase 3 trials, but data on long-term outcomes are limited. METHODS: For 4 years, we followed children who had been randomly assigned, at 5 to 17 months of age, to receive three doses of RTS,S/AS01E vaccine (223 children) or rabies vaccine (224 controls). The end point was clinical malaria (temperature of ≥37.5°C and Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia density of >2500 parasites per cubic millimeter). Each child's exposure to malaria was estimated with the use of the distance-weighted local prevalence of malaria. RESULTS: Over a period of 4 years, 118 of 223 children who received the RTS,S/AS01E vaccine and 138 of 224 of the controls had at least 1 episode of clinical malaria. Vaccine efficacies in the intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were 29.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.3 to 45.3; P=0.005) and 32.1% (95% CI, 11.6 to 47.8; P=0.004), respectively, calculated by Cox regression. Multiple episodes were common, with 551 and 618 malarial episodes in the RTS,S/AS01E and control groups, respectively; vaccine efficacies in the intention-to-treat and per-protocol analyses were 16.8% (95% CI, -8.6 to 36.3; P=0.18) and 24.3% (95% CI, 1.9 to 41.6; P=0.04), respectively, calculated by the Andersen-Gill extension of the Cox model. For every 100 vaccinated children, 65 cases of clinical malaria were averted. Vaccine efficacy declined over time (P=0.004) and with increasing exposure to malaria (P=0.001) in the per-protocol analysis. Vaccine efficacy was 43.6% (95% CI, 15.5 to 62.3) in the first year but was -0.4% (95% CI, -32.1 to 45.3) in the fourth year. Among children with a malaria-exposure index that was average or lower than average, the vaccine efficacy was 45.1% (95% CI, 11.3 to 66.0), but among children with a malaria-exposure index that was higher than average it was 15.9% (95% CI, -11.0 to 36.4). CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of RTS,S/AS01E vaccine over the 4-year period was 16.8%. Efficacy declined over time and with increasing malaria exposure. (Funded by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and Wellcome Trust; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00872963.).
The goal for developing new antimalarial drugs is to find a molecule that can target multiple stages of the parasite's life cycle, thus impacting prevention, treatment, and transmission of the disease. The 4(1H)-quinolone-3-diarylethers are selective potent inhibitors of the parasite's mitochondrial cytochrome bc1 complex. These compounds are highly active against the human malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. They target both the liver and blood stages of the parasite as well as the forms that are crucial for disease transmission, that is, the gametocytes, the zygote, the ookinete, and the oocyst. Selected as a preclinical candidate, ELQ-300 has good oral bioavailability at efficacious doses in mice, is metabolically stable, and is highly active in blocking transmission in rodent models of malaria. Given its predicted low dose in patients and its predicted long half-life, ELQ-300 has potential as a new drug for the treatment, prevention, and, ultimately, eradication of human malaria.
Oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate concentrations were measured in venous plasma, venous blood, and capillary blood taken simultaneously from 24 healthy volunteers. Median (range) venous-blood-to-plasma ratios were 1.42 (0.920 to 1.97) for oseltamivir and 0.673 (0.564 to 0.814) for oseltamivir carboxylate. Capillary blood/venous plasma ratios were 1.32 (0.737 to 3.16) for oseltamivir and 0.685 (0.502 to 1.34) for oseltamivir carboxylate. Oseltamivir concentrations in venous and capillary blood were similar. Oseltamivir carboxylate showed a time-dependent distribution between venous and capillary blood.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: To examine whether drug users (DU) in the Amsterdam Cohort Study (ACS) are still at risk for HIV, we studied trends in HIV incidence and injecting and sexual risk behaviour from 1986 to 2011. METHODS: The ACS is an open, prospective cohort study on HIV. Calendar time trends in HIV incidence were modelled using Poisson regression. Trends in risk behaviour were modelled via generalized estimating equations. In 2010, a screening for STI (chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis) was performed. Determinants of unprotected sex were studied using logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: The HIV incidence among 1298 participants of the ACS with a total follow-up of 12,921 person-years (PY) declined from 6.0/100 PY (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.2-11.1) in 1986 to less than 1/100 PY from 1997 onwards. Both injection and sexual risk behaviour declined significantly over time. Out of 197 participants screened for STI in 2010-2011, median age 49 years (IQR 43-59), only 5 (2.5%) were diagnosed with an STI. In multivariable analysis, having a steady partner (aOR 4.1, 95% CI 1.6-10.5) was associated with unprotected sex. HIV-infected participants were less likely to report unprotected sex (aOR 0.07, 95% CI 0.02-0.37). CONCLUSIONS: HIV incidence and injection risk behaviour declined from 1986 onwards. STI prevalence is low; unprotected sex is associated with steady partners and is less common among HIV-infected participants. These findings indicate a low transmission risk of HIV and STI, which suggests that DU do not play a significant role in the current spread of HIV in Amsterdam.
Clin Infect Dis, 56 (6), pp. 903-904. | Read more2013. Reply to Halstead and Sayce et al.
The capacity of CD8+ T cells to inhibit HIV-1 replication in vitro strongly correlates with virus control in vivo. Post-hoc evaluations of HIV-1 vaccine candidates suggest that this immunological parameter is a promising benchmark of vaccine efficacy. Large-scale analysis of CD8+ T cell antiviral activity requires a rapid, robust and economical assay for accurate quantification of HIV-1 infection in primary CD4+ T cells. Detection of intracellular HIV-1 p24 antigen (p24 Ag) by flow cytometry is one such method but it is thought to be less sensitive and quantitative than p24 Ag ELISA. We report that fixation and permeabilisation of HIV-infected cells using paraformaldehyde/50% methanol/Nonidet P-40 instead of a conventional paraformaldehyde/saponin-based protocol improved their detection across multiplicities of infection (MOI) ranging from 10(-2) to 8×10(-5), and by nearly two-fold (p<0.001) at the optimal MOI tested (10(-2)). The frequency of infected cells was strongly correlated with p24 Ag release during culture, thus validating its use as a measure of productive infection. We were also able to quantify infection with a panel of HIV-1 isolates representing the major clades. The protocol described here is rapid and cost-effective compared with ELISA and thus could be a useful component of immune monitoring of HIV-1 vaccines and interventions to reduce viral reservoirs.
OBJECTIVES: In case of long-term sick leave, gradually increasing workload appears to be an effective component of work-directed interventions to reduce sick leave due to common mental disorders (CMD). CMD are defined as stress-related, adjustment, anxiety, or depressive disorders. We developed an exposure-based return-to-work (RTW-E) intervention and evaluated the effect on time-to-full return to work (RTW) among workers who were on sick leave due to CMD in comparison to those treated with care-as-usual (CAU). CAU is guideline-directed and consists of problem-solving strategies and graded activities. METHODS: Using a two-armed cluster-randomized trial, we randomized 56 occupational physicians (OP). Of these, 35 OP treated 160 workers at the start of their sick leave; 75 workers received RTW-E and 85 workers received CAU. These workers were followed over a 12-month follow-up period. The time-to-full RTW lasting ≥28 days without recurrence was the primary outcome measure. To evaluate differences between groups, we used intention-to-treat and multilevel Cox's regression analysis. RESULTS: The median time-to-full RTW differed significantly between groups [hazard ratio (HR) 0.55; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.33-0.89]. The workers receiving RTW-E (209 days; 95% CI 62-256) had a prolonged time-to-full RTW compared to workers receiving CAU (153 days; 95% CI 128-178). CONCLUSIONS: Workers on sick leave due to CMD treated with RTW-E showed a prolonged time-to-full RTW compared to those treated with CAU. We recommend that OP do not apply RTW-E but continue counseling workers on sick leave due to CMD according to CAU.
Inter- and intra-observer variation was examined among six microscopists who read 50 scrub typhus (ST) and murine typhus (MT) indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) immunoglobulin M (IgM) slides. Inter-observer agreement was moderate (κ = 0.45) for MT and fair (κ = 0.32) for ST, and was significantly correlated with experience (P = 0.03 and P = 0.004, respectively); κ-scores for intra-observer agreement between morning and afternoon readings (range = 0.35-0.86) were not correlated between years of experience for ST and MT IFAs (Spearman's ρ = 0.31, P = 0.54 and P = 0.14, respectively; P = 0.78). Storage at 4°C for 2 days showed a change from positive to negative in 20-32% of slides. Although the titers did not dramatically change after 14 days of storage, the final interpretation (positive to negative) did change in 36-50% of samples, and it, therefore, recommended that slides should be read as soon as possible after processing.
J Infect Dis, 207 (11), pp. 1627-1629. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Potential of artemisinin-based combination therapies to block malaria transmission.
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) emerged as sexually transmitted infection among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM). We studied whether HCV circulated in identifiable high-risk MSM subcultures and performed phylogenetic analysis. METHODS: HIV-infected MSM were recruited at the sexually transmitted infections (STI) outpatient clinic and a university HIV clinic in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2008-2009. Participants completed a detailed questionnaire and were tested for HCV antibodies and RNA, with NS5B regions sequenced for analysis of clusters. RESULTS: Among 786 participants, the median age was 43 (IQR 37-48) years, and 93 (11.8%) were HCV-positive. Seropositivity was associated with belonging to subcultures identified as leather (aOR 2.60; 95% CI 1.56-4.33), rubber/lycra (aOR 2.15; 95% CI 1.10-4.21), or jeans (aOR 2.23; 95% CI 1.41-3.54). The two largest HCV-RNA monophyletic clusters were compared; MSM in cluster I (genotype 1a, n = 13) reported more partners (P = 0.037) than MSM in cluster II (genotype 4d, n = 14), but demographics, subculture characteristics and other risk behaviors did not differ significantly between the two clusters. DISCUSSION: HCV infection is associated with identifiable groups of leather/rubber/lycra/jeans subcultures among HIV-infected MSM. Separate epidemiological HCV transmission networks were not revealed. Active HCV screening and treatment within specific subcultures may reduce HCV spread among all MSM.
BACKGROUND: The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit has been working on the Thai-Myanmar border for 25 y providing early diagnosis and treatment (EDT) of malaria. Transmission of Plasmodium falciparum has declined, but resistance to artesunate has emerged. We expanded malaria activities through EDT and evaluated the impact over a 12-y period. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Between 1 October 1999 and 30 September 2011, the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit increased the number of cross-border (Myanmar side) health facilities from two to 11 and recorded the number of malaria consultations. Changes in malaria incidence were estimated from a cohort of pregnant women, and prevalence from cross-sectional surveys. In vivo and in vitro antimalarial drug efficacy were monitored. Over this period, the number of malaria cases detected increased initially, but then declined rapidly. In children under 5 y, the percentage of consultations due to malaria declined from 78% (95% CI 76-80) (1,048/1,344 consultations) to 7% (95% CI 6.2-7.1) (767/11,542 consultations), p<0.001. The ratio of P. falciparum/P. vivax declined from 1.4 (95% CI 1.3-1.4) to 0.7 (95% CI 0.7-0.8). The case fatality rate was low (39/75,126; 0.05% [95% CI 0.04-0.07]). The incidence of malaria declined from 1.1 to 0.1 episodes per pregnant women-year. The cumulative proportion of P. falciparum decreased significantly from 24.3% (95% CI 21.0-28.0) (143/588 pregnant women) to 3.4% (95% CI 2.8-4.3) (76/2,207 pregnant women), p<0.001. The in vivo efficacy of mefloquine-artesunate declined steadily, with a sharp drop in 2011 (day-42 PCR-adjusted cure rate 42% [95% CI 20-62]). The proportion of patients still slide positive for malaria at day 3 rose from 0% in 2000 to reach 28% (95% CI 13-45) (8/29 patients) in 2011. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the emergence of resistance to artesunate in P. falciparum, the strategy of EDT with artemisinin-based combination treatments has been associated with a reduction in malaria in the migrant population living on the Thai-Myanmar border. Although limited by its observational nature, this study provides useful data on malaria burden in a strategically crucial geographical area. Alternative fixed combination treatments are needed urgently to replace the failing first-line regimen of mefloquine and artesunate. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Clinical definitions of melioidosis and inhalation-acquired melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) are described together with the evidence used to develop these definitions. Such definitions support accurate public health reporting, preparedness planning for deliberate B. pseudomallei release, design of experimental models, and categorization of naturally acquired melioidosis.
BACKGROUND: Many patients with suspected malaria in sub-Saharan Africa seek treatment from private providers, but this sector suffers from sub-standard medicine dispensing practices. To improve the quality of care received for presumptive malaria from the highly accessed private retail sector in western Kenya, subsidized pre-packaged artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was provided to private retailers, together with a one day training for retail staff on malaria diagnosis and treatment, job aids and community engagement activities. METHODS: The intervention was assessed using a cluster-randomized, controlled design. Provider and mystery-shopper cross-sectional surveys were conducted at baseline and eight months post-intervention to assess provider practices. Data were analysed based on cluster-level summaries, comparing control and intervention arms. RESULTS: On average, 564 retail outlets were interviewed per year. At follow-up, 43% of respondents reported that at least one staff member had attended the training in the intervention arm. The intervention significantly increased the percentage of providers knowing the first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria by 24.2% points (confidence interval (CI): 14.8%, 33.6%; adjusted p=0.0001); the percentage of outlets stocking AL by 31.7% points (CI: 22.0%, 41.3%; adjusted p=0.0001); and the percentage of providers prescribing AL for presumptive malaria by 23.6% points (CI: 18.7%, 28.6%; adjusted p=0.0001). Generally outlets that received training and job aids performed better than those receiving one or none of these intervention components. CONCLUSION: Overall, subsidizing ACT and retailer training can significantly increase the percentage of outlets stocking and selling AL for the presumptive treatment of malaria, but further research is needed on strategies to improve the provision of counselling advice to retail customers.
BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum is a major threat to global malaria control. Parasites develop resistance by gradually acquiring genetic polymorphisms that decrease drug susceptibility. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which parasites with different genetic characteristics are able to withstand individual drug blood concentrations. METHODS: We analyzed 2 clinical trials that assessed the efficacy and effectiveness of artemether-lumefantrine. As a proof of concept, we used measured day 7 lumefantrine concentrations to estimate the concentrations at which reinfections multiplied. P. falciparum multidrug resistance gene 1 (pfmdr1) genotypes of these parasites were then correlated to drug susceptibility. RESULTS: Reinfecting parasites with the pfmdr1 N86/184F/D1246 haplotype were able to withstand lumefantrine blood concentrations 15-fold higher than those with the 86Y/Y184/1246Y haplotype. CONCLUSIONS: By estimating drug concentrations, we were able to quantify the contribution of pfmdr1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms to reduced lumefantrine susceptibility. The method can be applied to all long-half-life antimalarial drugs, enables early detection of P. falciparum with reduced drug susceptibility in vivo, and represents a novel way for unveiling molecular markers of antimalarial drug resistance.
BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Tier 1 Select Agent and the cause of melioidosis, is a Gram-negative bacillus present in the environment in many tropical countries. Defining the global pattern of B. pseudomallei distribution underpins efforts to prevent infection, and is dependent upon robust environmental sampling methodology. Our objective was to review the literature on the detection of environmental B. pseudomallei, update the risk map for melioidosis, and propose international consensus guidelines for soil sampling. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: An international working party (Detection of Environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei Working Party (DEBWorP)) was formed during the VIth World Melioidosis Congress in 2010. PubMed (January 1912 to December 2011) was searched using the following MeSH terms: pseudomallei or melioidosis. Bibliographies were hand-searched for secondary references. The reported geographical distribution of B. pseudomallei in the environment was mapped and categorized as definite, probable, or possible. The methodology used for detecting environmental B. pseudomallei was extracted and collated. We found that global coverage was patchy, with a lack of studies in many areas where melioidosis is suspected to occur. The sampling strategies and bacterial identification methods used were highly variable, and not all were robust. We developed consensus guidelines with the goals of reducing the probability of false-negative results, and the provision of affordable and 'low-tech' methodology that is applicable in both developed and developing countries. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The proposed consensus guidelines provide the basis for the development of an accurate and comprehensive global map of environmental B. pseudomallei.
The parasitic zoonoses human cysticercosis (Taenia solium), taeniasis (other Taenia species) and trichinellosis (Trichinella species) are endemic in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). This study was designed to quantify the economic burden pig-associated zoonotic disease pose in Lao PDR. In particular, the analysis included estimation of the losses in the pork industry as well as losses due to human illness and lost productivity. A Markov-probability based decision-tree model was chosen to form the basis of the calculations to estimate the economic and public health impacts of taeniasis, trichinellosis and cysticercosis. Two different decision trees were run simultaneously on the model's human cohort. A third decision tree simulated the potential impacts on pig production. The human capital method was used to estimate productivity loss. The results found varied significantly depending on the rate of hospitalisation due to neurocysticerosis. This study is the first systematic estimate of the economic impact of pig-associated zoonotic diseases in Lao PDR that demonstrates the significance of the diseases in that country. © 2013 International Association for Ecology and Health.
Herpetological Review, 44 (1), pp. 23-29. | Citations: 6 (Scopus)2013. Anecdote vs. substantiated fact: The problem of unverified reports in thetoxinological and herpetological literature describing non-front-fanged colubroid ("colubrid") snakebites
BACKGROUND: Recruitment and retention of health workers is a major concern. Policy initiatives emphasize financial incentives, despite mixed evidence of their effectiveness. Qualitative studies suggest that nurses especially may be more driven by altruistic motivations, but quantitative research has overlooked such values. This paper adds to the literature through characterizing the nature and determinants of nurses' altruism, based on a cross-country quantitative study. METHODS: An experimental 'dictator game' was undertaken with 1064 final year nursing students in Kenya, South Africa and Thailand between April 2007 and July 2008. This presents participants with a real financial endowment to split between themselves and another student, a patient or a poor person. Giving a greater share of this financial endowment to the other person is interpreted as reflecting greater altruism. RESULTS: Nursing students gave over 30% of their initial endowment to others (compared with 10% in similar experiments undertaken in other samples). Respondents in all three countries showed greater generosity to patients and the poor than to fellow students. CONCLUSIONS: Consideration needs to be given to how to appeal to altruistic values as an alternative strategy to encourage nurses to enter the profession and remain, such as designing recruitment strategies to increase recruitment of altruistic individuals who are more likely to remain in the profession.
Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (3), pp. 186-188. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Adjunctive corticosteroids for all forms of tuberculosis?
The First National Workshop on Antibiotic Resistance in Cambodia was organised by the Cambodian Ministry of Health with support from several national and international partner institutions. It brought together policy-makers, clinicians, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and other professionals dealing with the problems of bacterial infection and antibiotic resistance across the country. Antibiotic resistance data from starting up and experienced laboratories were presented, showing high rates of resistance in key pathogens to most antibiotics currently available in Cambodia, e.g. 70-90% multidrug resistance and 70-80% decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, 20-40% meticillin resistance rates in Staphylococcus aureus and 30-50% extended-spectrum β-lactamase production in Escherichia coli. A five-point plan was discussed, which included initiatives from government and non-governmental partners, focusing on rational prescribing, clinical practice guidelines, improved laboratory services, infection prevention and enhanced education at all levels. Implementation, however challenging, is a priority given the high levels of resistance seen in key pathogens and the overall health needs in the country.
High Alt Med Biol, 14 (1), pp. 1-2. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Rejuvenation time.
Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (3), pp. 196-197. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more2013. HIV-1 drug resistance in antiretroviral-naive patients in sub-Saharan Africa.
Despite inadequacy in preventing vivax malaria after travel, suppressive chemoprophylaxis has dominated travel medicine strategy since the advent of chloroquine in 1946. The lethal threat of falciparum malaria versus the perceived benign consequence of vivax malaria underpins this strategic posture. Recent evidence demonstrating vivax malaria as often pernicious should prompt reconsideration of that posture. Causal prophylaxis kills early developing forms of plasmodia in the liver, thus preventing attacks of falciparum and vivax malaria during travel and delayed onset vivax malaria following travel. Primaquine is the only available drug for this application, and has good evidence of safety, tolerability and efficacy in non-pregnant, G6PD-normal travelers. The primaquine label, however, carries no such indication. Risk of pernicious vivax malaria from all across the endemic regions of the globe, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, should raise consideration of daily primaquine during travel as the preferred front-line option for chemoprophylaxis against malaria in travelers.
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of RTS,S/AS01 as a vaccine for malaria is being tested in a phase 3 clinical trial. Early results show significant, albeit partial, protection against clinical malaria and severe malaria. To ascertain variations in vaccine efficacy according to covariates such as transmission intensity, choice of adjuvant, age at vaccination, and bednet use, we did an individual-participant pooled analysis of phase 2 clinical data. METHODS: We analysed data from 11 different sites in Africa, including 4453 participants. We measured heterogeneity in vaccine efficacy by estimating the interactions between covariates and vaccination in pooled multivariable Cox regression and Poisson regression analyses. Endpoints for measurement of vaccine efficacy were infection, clinical malaria, severe malaria, and death. We defined transmission intensity levels according to the estimated local parasite prevalence in children aged 2-10 years (PrP₂₋₁₀), ranging from 5% to 80%. Choice of adjuvant was either AS01 or AS02. FINDINGS: Vaccine efficacy against all episodes of clinical malaria varied by transmission intensity (p=0·001). At low transmission (PrP₂₋₁₀ 10%) vaccine efficacy was 60% (95% CI 54 to 67), at moderate transmission (PrP₂₋₁₀ 20%) it was 41% (21 to 57), and at high transmission (PrP₂₋₁₀ 70%) the efficacy was 4% (-10 to 22). Vaccine efficacy also varied by adjuvant choice (p<0·0001)--eg, at low transmission (PrP₂₋₁₀ 10%), efficacy varied from 60% (95% CI 54 to 67) for AS01 to 47% (14 to 75) for AS02. Variations in efficacy by age at vaccination were of borderline significance (p=0·038), and bednet use and sex were not significant covariates. Vaccine efficacy (pooled across adjuvant choice and transmission intensity) varied significantly (p<0·0001) according to time since vaccination, from 36% efficacy (95% CI 24 to 45) at time of vaccination to 0% (-38 to 38) after 3 years. INTERPRETATION: Vaccine efficacy against clinical disease was of limited duration and was not detectable 3 years after vaccination. Furthermore, efficacy fell with increasing transmission intensity. Outcomes after vaccination cannot be gauged accurately on the basis of one pooled efficacy figure. However, predictions of public-health outcomes of vaccination will need to take account of variations in efficacy by transmission intensity and by time since vaccination. FUNDING: Medical Research Council (UK); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Vaccine Modelling Initiative; Wellcome Trust.
BACKGROUND: Although dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is used primarily in children, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) data on DP use in young children are lacking. METHODS: We conducted a prospective PK/PD study of piperaquine in 107 young children in Uganda. Samples were collected up to 28 days after 218 episodes of malaria treatment, which occurred during follow-up periods of up to 5 months. Malaria follow-up was conducted actively to day 28 and passively to day 63. RESULTS: The median capillary piperaquine concentration on day 7 after treatment was 41.9 ng/mL. Low piperaquine concentrations were associated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria for up to 42 days, primarily in those receiving trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) prophylaxis. In children not receiving TMP-SMX, low piperaquine concentrations were only modestly associated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria. However, for children receiving TMP-SMX, associations were strong and evident for all sampling days, with PQ concentrations of ≤ 27.3 ng/mL on day 7 associated with a greatly increased risk of recurrent malaria. Notably, of 132 cases of recurrent malaria, 119 had detectable piperaquine concentrations at the time of presentation with recurrent malaria. CONCLUSIONS: These piperaquine PK/PD data represent the first in children <2 years of age. Piperaquine exposure on day 7 correlated with an increased risk of recurrent malaria after DP treatment in children receiving TMP-SMX prophylaxis. Interestingly, despite strong associations, infants remained at risk for malaria, even if they had residual levels of piperaquine.
Melioidosis is infection caused by the flagellated saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. TLR5 is a pathogen recognition receptor activated by bacterial flagellin. We studied a genetic variant that encodes a defective TLR5 protein, TLR5(1174C)>T, to elucidate the role of TLR5 in melioidosis. We measured NF-κB activation induced by B. pseudomallei in human embryonic kidney-293 cells transfected with TLR5 and found that B. pseudomallei induced TLR5(1174C)- but not TLR5(1174T)-dependent activation of NF-κB. We tested the association of TLR5(1174C)>T with outcome in 600 Thai subjects with melioidosis. In a dominant model, TLR5(1174C)>T was associated with protection against in-hospital death (adjusted odds ratio: 0.20; 95% confidence interval: 0.08-0.50; p = 0.001) and organ failure (adjusted odds ratio: 0.37; 95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.71; p = 0.003). We analyzed blood cytokine production induced by flagellin or heat-killed B. pseudomallei by TLR5(1174C)>T genotype in healthy subjects. Flagellin induced lower monocyte-normalized levels of IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, IL-10, MCP-1, IL-1ra, G-CSF, and IL-1β in carriers of TLR5(1174T) compared with carriers of TLR5(1174C). B. pseudomallei induced lower monocyte-normalized levels of IL-10 in carriers of TLR5(1174T). We conclude that the hypofunctional genetic variant TLR5(1174C)>T is associated with reduced organ failure and improved survival in melioidosis. This conclusion suggests a deleterious immunoregulatory effect of TLR5 that may be mediated by IL-10 and identifies this receptor as a potential therapeutic target in melioidosis.
Lancet, 381 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S8-S9. | Read more2013. The researcher of the future...takes advantage of international opportunities.
Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an 'ethical imperative' or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account.
The parasitic zoonoses human cysticercosis (Taenia solium), taeniasis (other Taenia species) and trichinellosis (Trichinella species) are endemic in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). This study was designed to quantify the economic burden pig-associated zoonotic disease pose in Lao PDR. In particular, the analysis included estimation of the losses in the pork industry as well as losses due to human illness and lost productivity. A Markov-probability based decision-tree model was chosen to form the basis of the calculations to estimate the economic and public health impacts of taeniasis, trichinellosis and cysticercosis. Two different decision trees were run simultaneously on the model's human cohort. A third decision tree simulated the potential impacts on pig production. The human capital method was used to estimate productivity loss. The results found varied significantly depending on the rate of hospitalisation due to neurocysticerosis. This study is the first systematic estimate of the economic impact of pig-associated zoonotic diseases in Lao PDR that demonstrates the significance of the diseases in that country.
BACKGROUND: There are limited data on the epidemiology of paediatric healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and infection control in low-income countries. We describe the value of intermittent point-prevalence surveys for monitoring HCAI and evaluating infection control interventions in a Cambodian paediatric hospital. METHODS: Hospital-wide, point-prevalence surveys were performed monthly in 2011. Infection control interventions introduced during this period included a hand hygiene programme and a ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) care bundle. RESULTS: Overall HCAI prevalence was 13.8/100 patients at-risk, with a significant decline over time. The highest HCAI rates (50%) were observed in critical care; the majority of HCAIs were respiratory (61%). Klebsiella pneumoniae was most commonly isolated and antimicrobial resistance was widespread. Hand hygiene compliance doubled to 51.6%, and total VAP cases/1000 patient-ventilator days fell from 30 to 10. CONCLUSION: Rates of HCAI were substantial in our institution, and antimicrobial resistance a major concern. Point-prevalence surveys are effective for HCAI surveillance, and in monitoring trends in response to infection control interventions.
BACKGROUND: Malaria morbidity and mortality have been significantly reduced through the proper use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, but the extra protection afforded by the insecticide diminishes over time. The insecticide depletion rates vary according to location where wash frequency and wear are influenced by cultural habits as well as the availability of water. Monitoring of available insecticides on the net surface is essential for determining the effective life of the net. Therefore, a rapid and inexpensive colorimetric field test for cyanopyrethroids (Cyanopyrethroid Field Test or CFT) was used to measure surface levels of deltamethrin on insecticide-coated polyester nets (PowerNets™) in rural Lao PDR over a two-year period. METHODS: Net surface levels of deltamethrin were measured by wiping the net with filter paper and measuring the adsorbed deltamethrin using the CFT. A relationship between surface levels of deltamethrin and whole net levels was established by comparing results of the CFT with whole levels assayed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). An effective deltamethrin surface concentration (EC80) was determined by comparing mosquito mortality (WHO Cone Test) with CFT and HPLC results. Five positions (roof to bottom) on each of 23 matched nets were assayed for deltamethrin surface levels at 6, 12, and 24 months. Mosquito mortality assays (WHO Cone Tests) were performed on a subset of eleven 24-month old nets and compared with the proportion of failed nets as predicted by the CFT. RESULTS: At six months, the nets retained about 80% of the baseline (new net) levels of deltamethrin with no significant differences between net positions. At 12 months, ~15-40%, and at 24 months <10% of deltamethrin was retained on the nets, with significant differences appearing between positions. Results from the CFT show that 93% of the nets failed (deltamethrin surface levels </= EC80) at 24 months. This value is in agreement with 91% failure as determined by the WHO Cone Test on a subset of 11 nets. The CFT results show that 50% of the nets from Laos failed at 12 months of normal use. CONCLUSION: The CFT is a useful and accurate indicator of net efficacy and may be substituted for mosquito bioassays.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is a potentially pathogenic inherited enzyme abnormality and, similar to other human red blood cell polymorphisms, is particularly prevalent in historically malaria endemic countries. The spatial extent of Plasmodium vivax malaria overlaps widely with that of G6PD deficiency; unfortunately the only drug licensed for the radical cure and relapse prevention of P. vivax, primaquine, can trigger severe haemolytic anaemia in G6PD deficient individuals. This chapter reviews the past and current data on this unique pharmacogenetic association, which is becoming increasingly important as several nations now consider strategies to eliminate malaria transmission rather than control its clinical burden. G6PD deficiency is a highly variable disorder, in terms of spatial heterogeneity in prevalence and molecular variants, as well as its interactions with P. vivax and primaquine. Consideration of factors including aspects of basic physiology, diagnosis, and clinical triggers of primaquine-induced haemolysis is required to assess the risks and benefits of applying primaquine in various geographic and demographic settings. Given that haemolytically toxic antirelapse drugs will likely be the only therapeutic options for the coming decade, it is clear that we need to understand in depth G6PD deficiency and primaquine-induced haemolysis to determine safe and effective therapeutic strategies to overcome this hurdle and achieve malaria elimination.
Adv Parasitol, 81 pp. xi-xii. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. The epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax. Preface.
Emerg Infect Dis, 19 (2), pp. 331-333. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Streptococcus suis and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, Vietnam.
Severe lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in infants caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has been associated with later pneumonia hospitalization among children. To determine risk for pneumonia after RSV hospitalization in infancy, we conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 2,813 infants admitted to a hospital in Kenya and identified readmissions for pneumonia among this group during early childhood (<60 months of age). Incidence of readmission for pneumonia was higher for children whose first admission as infants was for LRTI and who were <3 months of age than for children who were first admitted as infants for non-LRTI, irrespective of RSV status. Incidence of readmission for pneumonia with wheeze was higher for children whose first admission involved RSV compared with those who had non-RSV LRTI. Excess pneumonia risk persisted for 2 years after the initial hospitalization. Close postdischarge follow-up of infants with LRTI, with or without RSV, could help prevent severe pneumonia later in childhood.
BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the Category B select agent and environmental saprophyte, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Most cases of naturally acquired infection are assumed to result from skin inoculation after exposure to soil or water. The aim of this study was to provide evidence for inoculation, inhalation and ingestion as routes of infection, and develop preventive guidelines based on this evidence. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A prospective hospital-based 1∶2 matched case-control study was conducted in Northeast Thailand. Cases were patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis, and controls were patients admitted with non-infectious conditions during the same period, matched for gender, age, and diabetes mellitus. Activities of daily living were recorded for the 30-day period before onset of symptoms, and home visits were performed to obtain drinking water and culture this for B. pseudomallei. Multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis based on 286 cases and 512 controls showed that activities associated with a risk of melioidosis included working in a rice field (conditional odds ratio [cOR] = 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-3.3), other activities associated with exposure to soil or water (cOR = 1.4; 95%CI 0.8-2.6), an open wound (cOR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.2-3.3), eating food contaminated with soil or dust (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0-2.2), drinking untreated water (cOR = 1.7; 95%CI 1.1-2.6), outdoor exposure to rain (cOR = 2.1; 95%CI 1.4-3.2), water inhalation (cOR = 2.4; 95%CI 1.5-3.9), current smoking (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0-2.3) and steroid intake (cOR = 3.1; 95%CI 1.4-6.9). B. pseudomallei was detected in water source(s) consumed by 7% of cases and 3% of controls (cOR = 2.2; 95%CI 0.8-5.8). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We used these findings to develop the first evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of melioidosis. These are suitable for people in melioidosis-endemic areas, travelers and military personnel. Public health campaigns based on our recommendations are under development in Thailand.
Neuraminidase inhibitors are the mainstay of anti-influenza treatment. Oseltamivir is the most widely used drug but is currently available only as an oral formulation. Resistance spreads rapidly in seasonal H1N1 influenza A viruses, which were universally resistant in 2008, because of the H275Y mutation in the neuraminidase (NA) gene. Oseltamivir is a prodrug for the active carboxylate metabolite. Ex vivo conversion in blood samples may have confounded early pharmacokinetic studies. Oseltamivir shows dose linear kinetics, and oseltamivir carboxylate has an elimination half-life (t(1/2) β) after oral administration in healthy individuals of approximately 7.7 hours. Oseltamivir carboxylate is eliminated primarily by tubular secretion, and both clearance and tissue distribution are reduced by probenecid. The H275Y mutation in NA confers high-level oseltamivir resistance and intermediate peramivir resistance but does not alter zanamivir susceptibility. Zanamivir is available as a powder for inhalation, and a parenteral form is under development. Zanamivir distributes in an apparent volume of distribution approximating that of extracellular water and is rapidly eliminated (t(1/2) β of approximately 3.0 hours). Peramivir is slowly eliminated (t(1/2) β of 7.7-20.8 hours) and is prescribed as either a once-daily injection or as a single infusion. Laninamivir is a recently developed slowly eliminated compound for administration by inhalation.
[This corrects the article on p. e1488 in vol. 6.].
Timely diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is often hampered by the lack of symptoms, inadequate diagnostics and/or poor availability, accessibility and quality of treatment in resource-limited settings. Female sex workers (FSW) are highly vulnerable for HIV and key transmitters of STIs. Among FSW (n = 400) participating in a prospective HIV incidence study in Kigali, Rwanda, only 15% (17/116) of women with laboratory-diagnosed non-ulcerative STIs at baseline reported symptoms. Only 27% (20/74) of women self-reporting genital symptoms sought care at enrolment, and 39% (46/117) of women with self-reported genital symptoms during follow-up. During focus group discussions, FSW considered treatment-seeking and partner notification important. Shame and feeling disrespected by doctors or other health-care workers were identified as barriers to seeking health care. A comprehensive STI control programme targeting both symptomatic and asymptomatic FSW should be considered in this setting.
Journal of Hospital Infection, 83 (2), pp. 114-121. | Read more2013. Low prevalence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage at hospital admission: implications for risk-factor-based vs universal screening
BACKGROUND: Diarrhoeal disease is a major global health problem, particularly affecting children under the age of 5 years. Besides oral rehydration solution, probiotics are also commonly prescribed to children with acute watery diarrhoea in some settings. Results from randomised clinical trials (RCTs) in which investigators studied the effect of probiotics on diarrhoeal symptoms have largely shown a positive effect; yet, the overall quality of the data is limited. In Vietnam, probiotics are the most frequently prescribed treatment for children hospitalised with acute watery diarrhoea, but there is little justification for this treatment in this location. We have designed a RCT to test the hypothesis that an oral preparation of Lactobacillus acidophilus is superior to placebo in the treatment of acute watery diarrhoea in Vietnamese children. METHODS: This RCT was designed to study the effect of treatment with L. acidophilus (4 × 109 colony-forming units/day) for 5 days for acute watery diarrhoea against a placebo in 300 children ages 9 to 60 months admitted to hospitals in Vietnam. Clinical and laboratory data plus samples will be collected on admission, daily during hospitalisation, at discharge, and at follow-up visits for a subset of participants. The primary end point will be defined as the time from the first dose of study medication to the start of the first 24-hour period without diarrhoea as assessed by the on-duty nurse. Secondary endpoints include the time to cessation of diarrhoea as recorded by parents or guardians in an hourly checklist, stool frequency over the first 3 days, treatment failure, rotavirus and norovirus viral loads, and adverse events. DISCUSSION: The existing evidence for the use of probiotics in treating acute watery diarrhoea seems to favour their use. However, the size of the effect varies across publications. An array of different probiotic organisms, doses, treatment durations, study populations, designs, settings, and aetiologies have been described. In this trial, we will investigate whether probiotics are beneficial as an adjuvant treatment for children with acute watery diarrhoea in Vietnam, with the aim of guiding clinical practice through improved regional evidence. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN88101063.
BACKGROUND: The annual number of hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths due to severe acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in young children worldwide is unknown. We aimed to estimate the incidence of admissions and deaths for such infections in children younger than 5 years in 2010. METHODS: We estimated the incidence of admissions for severe and very severe ALRI in children younger than 5 years, stratified by age and region, with data from a systematic review of studies published between Jan 1, 1990, and March 31, 2012, and from 28 unpublished population-based studies. We applied these incidence estimates to population estimates for 2010, to calculate the global and regional burden in children admitted with severe ALRI in that year. We estimated in-hospital mortality due to severe and very severe ALRI by combining incidence estimates with case fatality ratios from hospital-based studies. FINDINGS: We identified 89 eligible studies and estimated that in 2010, 11·9 million (95% CI 10·3-13·9 million) episodes of severe and 3·0 million (2·1-4·2 million) episodes of very severe ALRI resulted in hospital admissions in young children worldwide. Incidence was higher in boys than in girls, the sex disparity being greatest in South Asian studies. On the basis of data from 37 hospital studies reporting case fatality ratios for severe ALRI, we estimated that roughly 265,000 (95% CI 160,000-450,000) in-hospital deaths took place in young children, with 99% of these deaths in developing countries. Therefore, the data suggest that although 62% of children with severe ALRI are treated in hospitals, 81% of deaths happen outside hospitals. INTERPRETATION: Severe ALRI is a substantial burden on health services worldwide and a major cause of hospital referral and admission in young children. Improved hospital access and reduced inequities, such as those related to sex and rural status, could substantially decrease mortality related to such infection. Community-based management of severe disease could be an important complementary strategy to reduce pneumonia mortality and health inequities. FUNDING: WHO.
BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) was the main malaria therapy worldwide from the 1940s until the 1990s. Following the emergence of CQ-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, most African countries discontinued the use of CQ, and now promote artemisinin-based combination therapy as the first-line treatment. This change was generally initiated during the last decade in West and Central Africa. The aim of this study is to describe the changes in CQ susceptibility in this African region, using travellers returning from this region as a sentinel system. METHODS: The study was conducted by the Malaria National Reference Centre, France. The database collated the pfcrtK76T molecular marker for CQ susceptibility and the in vitro response to CQ of parasites from travellers' isolates returning from Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast or Cameroon. As a proxy of drug pressure, data regarding CQ intake in febrile children were collated for the study period. Logistic regression models were used to detect trends in the proportions of CQ resistant isolates. RESULTS: A total of 2874 parasite isolates were genotyped between 2000-2011. The prevalence of the pfcrt76T mutant genotype significantly decreased for Senegal (from 78% to 47%), Ivory Coast (from 63% to 37%), Cameroon (from 90% to 59%) and remained stable for Mali. The geometric mean of the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of CQ in vitro susceptibility and the proportion of resistant isolates (defining resistance as an IC50 value > 100 nM) significantly decreased for Senegal (from 86 nM (59%) to 39 nM (25%)), Mali (from 84 nM (50%) to 51 nM (31%)), Ivory Coast (from 75 nM (59%) to 29 nM (16%)) and Cameroon (from 181 nM (75%) to 51 nM (37%)). Both analyses (molecular and in vitro susceptibility) were performed for the 2004-2011 period, after the four countries had officially discontinued CQ and showed an accelerated decline of the resistant isolates for the four countries. Meanwhile, CQ use among children significantly deceased in this region (fixed effects slope = -0.3, p < 10-3). CONCLUSIONS: An increase in CQ susceptibility following official withdrawal of the drug was observed in travellers returning from West and Central African countries. The same trends were observed for molecular and in vitro analysis between 2004-2011 and they correlated to the decrease of the drug pressure.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of liberal fluid resuscitation of adults with severe malaria. DESIGN, SETTING, PATIENTS, AND METHODS: Twenty-eight Bangladeshi and Indian adults with severe falciparum malaria received crystalloid resuscitation guided by transpulmonary thermodilution (PiCCO) in an intensive care setting. Systemic hemodynamics, microvascular indices and measures of acidosis, renal function, and pulmonary edema were followed prospectively. RESULTS: All patients were hypovolemic (global end-diastolic volume index<680 mL/m) on enrollment. Patients received a median (range) 3230 mL (390-7300) of isotonic saline in the first 6 hours and 5450 mL (710-13,720) in the first 24 hours. With resuscitation, acid-base status deteriorated in 19 of 28 (68%), and there was no significant improvement in renal function. Extravascular lung water increased in 17 of 22 liberally resuscitated patients (77%); eight of these patients developed pulmonary edema, five of whom died. All other patients survived. All patients with pulmonary edema during the study were hypovolemic or euvolemic at the time pulmonary edema developed. Plasma lactate was lower in hypovolemic patients before (rs=0.38; p=0.05) and after (rs=0.49; p=0.01) resuscitation but was the strongest predictor of mortality before (chi-square=9.9; p=0.002) and after resuscitation (chi-square=11.1; p<0.001) and correlated with the degree of visualized microvascular sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes at both time points (rs=0.55; p=0.003 and rs=0.43; p=0.03, respectively). Persisting sequestration was evident in 7 of 15 patients (47%) 48 hours after enrollment. CONCLUSIONS: Lactic acidosis--the strongest prognostic indicator in adults with severe falciparum malaria--results from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation, not from hypovolemia. Liberal fluid resuscitation has little effect on this sequestration and does not improve acid-base status or renal function. Pulmonary edema--secondary to increased pulmonary vascular permeability--is common, unpredictable, and exacerbated by fluid loading. Liberal fluid replacement of adults with severe malaria should be avoided.
Lancet, 381 (9861), pp. 176. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Fatal consequences of freshwater pearl diving.
Spontaneous oscillations in cerebral haemodynamics studied with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), become impaired in several pathological conditions. We assessed the spectral characteristics of these oscillations in 20 patients with falciparum malaria admitted to Ispat General Hospital, Rourkela, India. Monitoring included continuous frontal lobe NIRS recordings within 24 h of admission (Day 0), together with single measurements of a number of clinical and chemical markers recorded on admission. Seven patients returned for follow-up measurements on recovery (FU). A 2,048 sampling-point segment of oxygenated haemoglobin concentration ([ΔHbO(2)]) data was subjected to Fourier analysis per patient, and power spectral density was derived over the very low frequency (VLF: 0.02-0.04 Hz), low frequency (LF: 0.04-0.15 Hz) and high frequency (HF: 0.15-0.4 Hz) bands. At Day 0, VLF spectral power was 21.1 ± 16.4, LF power 7.2 ± 4.6 and HF power 2.6 ± 5.0, with VLF power being statistically significantly higher than LF and HF (P < 0.005). VLF power tended to decrease in the severely ill patients and correlated negatively with heart rate (r = 0.57, P < 0.01), while LF power correlated positively with aural body temperature (r = 0.49, P < 0.05). In all but one of the patients who returned for FU measurements, VLF power increased after recovery. This may be related to autonomic dysfunction in severe malaria, a topic of little research to date. The present study demonstrated that application of NIRS in a resource-poor setting is feasible and has potential as a research tool.
Snakebite envenoming by Bothrops caribbaeus, an endemic viperid from the Lesser Antillean island of Saint Lucia, is clinically characterized by local tissue damage and systemic thrombosis that can lead to cerebral, myocardial or pulmonary infarctions and venous thromboses. Systemic effects (lethality, pulmonary hemorrhage, thrombocytopenia and coagulopathy) induced by intravenous (i.v.) administration of B. caribbaeus venom were studied in mice. The role of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) in these systemic alterations was assessed by inhibition with the chelating agent calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (CaNa(2)EDTA). A snake C-type lectin-like (snaclec) and a type P-III hemorrhagic SVMP were isolated and characterized from this venom, and the effect of venom and the isolated snaclec on human platelet aggregation was studied in vitro. Results indicate that SVMPs play an important role in the overall toxicity of B. caribbaeus venom, being responsible for systemic hemorrhage and lethality, but not thrombocytopenia, whereas the isolated snaclec is involved in the thrombocytopenic effect. Both venom and snaclec induce platelet aggregation/agglutination. Moreover, the snaclec binds directly to glycoprotein Ib (GPIb) and induces agglutination in washed fixed platelets. On the other hand, B. caribbaeus venom hydrolyzed fibrinogen in vitro and induced a partial drop of fibrinogen levels with an increase in fibrin/fibrinogen degradation products (FDP) levels in vivo. The negative result for D-dimer (DD) in plasma is consistent with the lack of microscopic evidence of pulmonary thrombosis and endothelial cell damage. Likewise, no increments in plasma sE-selectin levels were detected. The absence of thrombosis in this murine model suggests that this effect may be species-specific.
Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (1), pp. 15. | Read more2013. Bloodstream infections in south and southeast Asia - authors' reply.
BACKGROUND: Sample stability is critical for accurate analysis of drug compounds in biosamples. The use of additives to eradicate the enzymatic activity causing loss of these analytes has its limitations. RESULTS: A novel technique for sample stabilization by rapid, high-temperature heating was used. The stability of six commercial drugs in blood and blood spots was investigated under various conditions with or without heat stabilization at 95°C. Oseltamivir, cefotaxime and ribavirin were successfully stabilized by heating whereas significant losses were seen in unheated samples. Amodiaquine was stable with and without heating. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin were found to be very heat sensitive and began to decompose even at 60°C. CONCLUSION: Heat stabilization is a viable technique to maintain analytes in blood spot samples, without the use of chemical additives, by stopping the enzymatic activity that causes sample degradation.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 13 (1), pp. 5-6. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Panton-Valentine leucocidin and staphylococcal disease
Analysis of partial hepatitis C virus sequences has revealed many novel genotype 6 variants that cannot be unambiguously classified, which obscure the distinctiveness of pre-existing subtypes. To explore this uncertainty, we obtained genomes of 98.0-98.8% full-length for eight such variants (KM35, QC273, TV257, TV476, TV533, L349, QC271 and DH027) and characterized them using phylogenetic analyses and per cent nucleotide similarities. The former four are closely related phylogenetically to subtype 6k, TV533 and L349 to subtype 6l, QC271 to subtypes 6i and 6j, and DH027 to subtypes 6m and 6n. The former six defined a high-level grouping that comprised subtypes 6k and 6l, plus related strains. The threshold between intra- and intersubtype diversity in this group was indistinct. We propose that similar results would be seen elsewhere if more intermediate variants like QC271 and DH027 were sampled. © 2013 SGM.
Russell's viper envenoming is associated with a high incidence of morbidity and mortality. Hypopituitarism following envenoming by Russell's vipers is a well recognized sequel in Burma and parts of India but has been reported only once in Sri Lanka. Hypokalaemia following envenoming by Russell's viper has not been described. Here we describe the association of acute pituitary insufficiency and hypokalaemia following Russell's viper envenoming in Sri Lanka and review the literature in order to understand its pathophysiological basis. A previously healthy 21-year-old man was envenomed by a Russell's viper and treated with antivenom. Ten hours after the bite, he developed persistent hypotension, which responded promptly to intravenous dexamethasone. His hormone profiles were consistent with hypocortisolism secondary to acute pituitary insufficiency. He also developed hypokalaemia. Analysis of urine and serum electrolytes suggested redistribution of potassium in to the cells rather than renal loss. Hypotension and hypoglycaemic coma are life-threatening manifestations of acute pituitary insufficiency. Therefore prompt steroid administration in these setting is life saving. Awareness of these complications among physicians would help to make prompt diagnosis and initiate immediate life saving treatment.
BACKGROUND: There are an estimated 150 million episodes of childhood pneumonia per year, with 11-20 million hospital admissions and 1.575 million deaths. Refugee children are particularly vulnerable, with poorly defined pneumonia epidemiology. METHODS: We followed a birth cohort of 955 refugee infants, born over a one-year period, until two years of age. Clinical and radiographic pneumonia were diagnosed according to WHO criteria. Detailed characteristics were collected to determine risk factors for clinical, radiological and multiple episodes of pneumonia. Investigations were taken during a pneumonia episode to help determine or to infer an aetiological diagnosis. FINDINGS: The incidence of clinical pneumonia was 0.73 (95% CI 0.70-0.75) episodes per child year (/CY) and of radiological primary endpoint pneumonia (PEP) was 0.22/CY (95% CI 0.20-0.24). The incidence of pneumonia without severe signs was 0.50/CY (95% CI 0.48-0.53), severe pneumonia 0.15/CY (95% CI 0.13-0.17) and very severe pneumonia 0.06/CY (0.05-0.07). Virus was detected, from a nasopharyngeal aspirate, in 61.3% of episodes. A reduced volume of living space per person (IRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.99-1.0, p = 0.003) and young maternal age (IRR 1.59, 95% CI 1.12-2.27, p = 0.01) were risk factors for developing pneumonia. The risk of a child having >1 episode of pneumonia was increased by having a shorter distance to the next house (IRR 0.86, 95% CI 0.74-1.00, p = 0.04). Infants were at risk of having an episode of PEP if there was a shorter distance from stove to bed (IRR 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-0.99, p = 0.03). Raised CRP and neutrophil values were associated with PEP. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high incidence of pneumonia in young children in this SE Asian refugee population. Viral infections were important, however CXR and non-specific marker findings suggested that bacteria may be involved in up to a third of cases.
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of Plasmodium vivax is problematic due to the reliance on clinical isolates which are generally low in parasitaemia and sample volume. Furthermore, clinical isolates contain a significant contaminating background of host DNA which confounds efforts to map short read sequence of the target P. vivax DNA. Here, we discuss a methodology to significantly improve the success of P. vivax WGS on natural (non-adapted) patient isolates. Using 37 patient isolates from Indonesia, Thailand, and travellers, we assessed the application of CF11-based white blood cell filtration alone and in combination with short term ex vivo schizont maturation. Although CF11 filtration reduced human DNA contamination in 8 Indonesian isolates tested, additional short-term culture increased the P. vivax DNA yield from a median of 0.15 to 6.2 ng µl(-1) packed red blood cells (pRBCs) (p = 0.001) and reduced the human DNA percentage from a median of 33.9% to 6.22% (p = 0.008). Furthermore, post-CF11 and culture samples from Thailand gave a median P. vivax DNA yield of 2.34 ng µl(-1) pRBCs, and 2.65% human DNA. In 22 P. vivax patient isolates prepared with the 2-step method, we demonstrate high depth (median 654X coverage) and breadth (≥89%) of coverage on the Illumina GAII and HiSeq platforms. In contrast to the A+T-rich P. falciparum genome, negligible bias was observed in coverage depth between coding and non-coding regions of the P. vivax genome. This uniform coverage will greatly facilitate the detection of SNPs and copy number variants across the genome, enabling unbiased exploration of the natural diversity in P. vivax populations.
Vivax malaria threatens patients despite relatively low-grade parasitemias in peripheral blood. The tenet of death as a rare outcome, derived from antiquated and flawed clinical classifications, disregarded key clinical evidence, including (i) high rates of mortality in neurosyphilis patients treated with vivax malaria; (ii) significant mortality from zones of endemicity; and (iii) the physiological threat inherent in repeated, very severe paroxysms in any patient, healthy or otherwise. The very well-documented course of this infection, with the exception of parasitemia, carries all of the attributes of "perniciousness" historically linked to falciparum malaria, including severe disease and fatal outcomes. A systematic analysis of the parasite biomass in severely ill patients that includes blood, marrow, and spleen may ultimately explain this historic misunderstanding. Regardless of how this parasite is pernicious, recent data demonstrate that the infection comes with a significant burden of morbidity and associated mortality. The extraordinary burden of malaria is not heavily weighted upon any single continent by a single species of parasite-it is a complex problem for the entire endemic world, and both species are of fundamental importance. Humanity must rally substantial resources, intellect, and energy to counter this daunting but profound threat.
BACKGROUND: Chromobacterium violaceum is a proteobacterium found in soil and water in tropical regions. The organism rarely causes infection in humans, yet can cause a severe systemic infection by entering the bloodstream via an open wound. CASE PRESENTATION: We recently identified a case of severe bacteremia caused by Chromobacterium violaceum at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, we describe how rapid microbiological identification and a combination of antimicrobials was used to successfully treat this life threatening infection in a four-year-old child. CONCLUSIONS: This case shows the need for rapid diagnosis when there is the suspicion of a puncture wound contaminated with water and soil in tropical regions. We suggest that the aggressive antimicrobial combination used here is considered when this infection is suspected.
INTRODUCTION: Rational decision making on malaria control depends on an understanding of the epidemiological risks and control measures. National Malaria Control Programmes across Africa have access to a range of state-of-the-art malaria risk mapping products that might serve their decision-making needs. The use of cartography in planning malaria control has never been methodically reviewed. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An audit of the risk maps used by NMCPs in 47 malaria endemic countries in Africa was undertaken by examining the most recent national malaria strategies, monitoring and evaluation plans, malaria programme reviews and applications submitted to the Global Fund. The types of maps presented and how they have been used to define priorities for investment and control was investigated. RESULTS: 91% of endemic countries in Africa have defined malaria risk at sub-national levels using at least one risk map. The range of risk maps varies from maps based on suitability of climate for transmission; predicted malaria seasons and temperature/altitude limitations, to representations of clinical data and modelled parasite prevalence. The choice of maps is influenced by the source of the information. Maps developed using national data through in-country research partnerships have greater utility than more readily accessible web-based options developed without inputs from national control programmes. Although almost all countries have stratification maps, only a few use them to guide decisions on the selection of interventions allocation of resources for malaria control. CONCLUSION: The way information on the epidemiology of malaria is presented and used needs to be addressed to ensure evidence-based added value in planning control. The science on modelled impact of interventions must be integrated into new mapping products to allow a translation of risk into rational decision making for malaria control. As overseas and domestic funding diminishes, strategic planning will be necessary to guide appropriate financing for malaria control.
BACKGROUND: The available Leptospira multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme supported by a MLST website is limited to L. interrogans and L. kirschneri. Our aim was to broaden the utility of this scheme to incorporate a total of seven pathogenic species. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: We modified the existing scheme by replacing one of the seven MLST loci (fadD was changed to caiB), as the former gene did not appear to be present in some pathogenic species. Comparison of the original and modified schemes using data for L. interrogans and L. kirschneri demonstrated that the discriminatory power of the two schemes was not significantly different. The modified scheme was used to further characterize 325 isolates (L. alexanderi [n = 5], L. borgpetersenii [n = 34], L. interrogans [n = 222], L. kirschneri [n = 29], L. noguchii [n = 9], L. santarosai [n = 10], and L. weilii [n = 16]). Phylogenetic analysis using concatenated sequences of the 7 loci demonstrated that each species corresponded to a discrete clade, and that no strains were misclassified at the species level. Comparison between genotype and serovar was possible for 254 isolates. Of the 31 sequence types (STs) represented by at least two isolates, 18 STs included isolates assigned to two or three different serovars. Conversely, 14 serovars were identified that contained between 2 to 10 different STs. New observations were made on the global phylogeography of Leptospira spp., and the utility of MLST in making associations between human disease and specific maintenance hosts was demonstrated. CONCLUSION: The new MLST scheme, supported by an updated MLST website, allows the characterization and species assignment of isolates of the seven major pathogenic species associated with leptospirosis.
Scrub typhus is an important endemic disease of the Asia-Pacific region caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. To develop an effective vaccine to prevent scrub typhus infection, a better understanding of the initial host-pathogen interaction is needed. The objective of this study was to investigate early bacterial dissemination in a CD-1 Swiss outbred mouse model after intradermal injection of O. tsutsugamushi. Three human pathogenic strains of O. tsutsugamushi (Karp, Gilliam, and Woods) were chosen to investigate the early infection characteristics associated with bacterial virulence. Tissue biopsies of the intradermal injection site and draining lymph nodes were examined using histology and immunohistochemistry to characterize bacterial dissemination, and correlated with quantitative real-time PCR for O. tsutsugamushi in blood and tissue from major organs. Soluble adhesion molecules were measured to examine cellular activation in response to infection. No eschar formation was seen at the inoculation site and no clinical disease developed within the 7 day period of observation. However, O. tsutsugamushi was localized at the injection site and in the draining lymph nodes by day 7 post inoculation. Evidence of leukocyte and endothelial activation was present by day 7 with significantly raised levels of sL-selectin, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1. Infection with the Karp strain was associated with earlier and higher bacterial loads and more extensive dissemination in various tissues than the less pathogenic Gilliam and Woods strains. The bacterial loads of O. tsutsugamushi were highest in the lungs and spleens of mice inoculated with Karp and Gilliam, but not Woods strains. Strains of higher virulence resulted in more rapid systemic infection and dissemination in this model. The CD-1 mouse intradermal inoculation model demonstrates features relevant to early scrub typhus infection in humans, including the development of regional lymphadenopathy, leukocyte activation and distant organ dissemination after low-dose intradermal injection with O. tsutsugamushi.
BACKGROUND: Accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection has been repeatedly estimated by comparing those tests with reference assays. We hypothesized that those estimates might be inaccurate if the accuracy of the reference assays is not perfect. Here, we investigated this using statistical modeling. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from a cohort study of 549 patients suspected of dengue infection presenting at Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, Sri Lanka, that described the application of our reference assay (a combination of Dengue IgM antibody capture ELISA and IgG antibody capture ELISA) and of three rapid diagnostic tests (Panbio NS1 antigen, IgM antibody and IgG antibody rapid immunochromatographic cassette tests) were re-evaluated using bayesian latent class models (LCMs). The estimated sensitivity and specificity of the reference assay were 62.0% and 99.6%, respectively. Prevalence of dengue infection (24.3%), and sensitivities and specificities of the Panbio NS1 (45.9% and 97.9%), IgM (54.5% and 95.5%) and IgG (62.1% and 84.5%) estimated by bayesian LCMs were significantly different from those estimated by assuming that the reference assay was perfect. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for a combination of NS1, IgM and IgG cassette tests on admission samples were 87.0%, 82.8%, 62.0% and 95.2%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our reference assay is an imperfect gold standard. In our setting, the combination of NS1, IgM and IgG rapid diagnostic tests could be used on admission to rule out dengue infection with a high level of accuracy (NPV 95.2%). Further evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection should include the use of appropriate statistical models.
BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most important arboviral infection of humans. Following an initial febrile period, a small proportion of infected patients develop a vasculopathy, with children at particular risk for severe vascular leakage and shock. Differentiation between dengue and other common childhood illnesses is difficult during the early febrile phase, and risk prediction for development of shock is poor. The presence of microalbuminuria is recognized as a useful early predictor for subsequent complications in a number of other disorders with vascular involvement. Significant proteinuria occurs in association with dengue shock syndrome and it is possible that early-phase microalbuminuria may be helpful both for diagnosis of dengue and for identification of patients likely to develop severe disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We measured formal urine albumin to creatinine ratios (UACRs) in daily samples obtained from a large cohort of children with suspected dengue recruited at two outpatient clinics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Although UACRs were increased in the 465 confirmed dengue patients, with a significant time trend showing peak values around the critical period for dengue-associated plasma leakage, urine albumin excretion was also increased in the comparison group of 391 patients with other febrile illnesses (OFI). The dengue patients generally had higher UACRs than the OFI patients, but microalbuminuria, using the conventional cutoff of 30 mg albumin/g creatinine discriminated poorly between the two diagnostic groups in the early febrile phase. Secondly UACRs did not prove useful in predicting either development of warning signs for severe dengue or need for hospitalization. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Low-level albuminuria is common, even in relatively mild dengue infections, but is also present in many OFIs. Simple point-of-care UACR tests are unlikely to be useful for early diagnosis or risk prediction in dengue endemic areas.
BACKGROUND: Health facility stock-outs of life saving malaria medicines are common across Africa. Innovative ways of addressing this problem are urgently required. We evaluated whether SMS based reporting of stocks of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) can result in reduction of stock-outs at peripheral facilities in Kenya. METHODS/FINDINGS: All 87 public health facilities in five Kenyan districts were included in a 26 week project. Weekly facility stock counts of four AL packs and RDTs were sent via structured incentivized SMS communication process from health workers' personal mobile phones to a web-based system accessed by district managers. The mean health facility response rate was 97% with a mean formatting error rate of 3%. Accuracy of stock count reports was 79% while accuracy of stock-out reports was 93%. District managers accessed the system 1,037 times at an average of eight times per week. The system was accessed in 82% of the study weeks. Comparing weeks 1 and 26, stock-out of one or more AL packs declined by 38 percentage-points. Total AL stock-out declined by 5 percentage-points and was eliminated by the end of the project. Stock-out declines of individual AL packs ranged from 14 to 32 percentage-points while decline in RDT stock-outs was 24 percentage-points. District managers responded to 44% of AL and 73% of RDT stock-out signals by redistributing commodities between facilities. In comparison with national trends, stock-out declines in study areas were greater, sharper and more sustained. CONCLUSIONS: Use of simple SMS technology ensured high reporting rates of reasonably accurate, real-time facility stock data that were used by district managers to undertake corrective actions to reduce stock-outs. Future work on stock monitoring via SMS should focus on assessing response rates without use of incentives and demonstrating effectiveness of such interventions on a larger scale.
BACKGROUND: There is considerable interest in the potential of private sector subsidies to increase availability and affordability of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) for malaria treatment. A cluster randomized trial of such subsidies was conducted in 3 districts in Kenya, comprising provision of subsidized packs of paediatric ACT to retail outlets, training of retail staff, and community awareness activities. The results demonstrated a substantial increase in ACT availability and coverage, though patient counselling and adherence were suboptimal. We conducted a qualitative study in order to understand why these successes and limitations occurred. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Eighteen focus group discussions were conducted, 9 with retailers and 9 with caregivers, to document experiences with the intervention. Respondents were positive about intervention components, praising the focused retailer training, affordable pricing, strong promotional activities, dispensing job aids, and consumer friendly packaging, which are likely to have contributed to the positive access and coverage outcomes observed. However, many retailers still did not stock ACT, due to insufficient supplies, lack of capital and staff turnover. Advice to caregivers was poor due to insufficient time, and poor recall of instructions. Adherence by caregivers to dosing guidelines was sub-optimal, because of a wish to save tablets for other episodes, doses being required at night, stopping treatment when the child felt better, and the number and bitter taste of the tablets. Caregivers used a number of strategies to obtain paediatric ACT for older age groups. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study has highlighted that important components of a successful ACT subsidy intervention are regular retailer training, affordable pricing, a reliable supply chain and community mobilization emphasizing patient adherence and when to seek further care.
BACKGROUND: National statistics in developing countries are likely to underestimate deaths due to bacterial infections. Here, we calculated mortality associated with community-acquired bacteremia (CAB) in a developing country using routinely available databases. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Information was obtained from the microbiology and hospital database of 10 provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand, and compared with the national death registry from the Ministry of Interior, Thailand for the period between 2004 and 2010. CAB was defined in patients who had pathogenic organisms isolated from blood taken within 2 days of hospital admission without a prior inpatient episode in the preceding 30 days. A total of 15,251 CAB patients identified, of which 5,722 (37.5%) died within 30 days of admission. The incidence rate of CAB between 2004 and 2010 increased from 16.7 to 38.1 per 100,000 people per year, and the mortality rate associated with CAB increased from 6.9 to 13.7 per 100,000 people per year. In 2010, the mortality rate associated with CAB was lower than that from respiratory tract infection, but higher than HIV disease or tuberculosis. The most common causes of CAB were Escherichia coli (23.1%), Burkholderia pseudomallei (19.3%), and Staphylococcus aureus (8.2%). There was an increase in the proportion of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBL) producing E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae over time. CONCLUSIONS: This study has demonstrated that national statistics on causes of death in developing countries could be improved by integrating information from readily available databases. CAB is neglected as an important cause of death, and specific prevention and intervention is urgently required to reduce its incidence and mortality.
Vet Rec, 172 (1), pp. 23-24. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Treatment of adder bites in dogs.
Rotavirus (RoV) and Norovirus (NoV) are the main causes of viral gastroenteritis. Currently, there is no validated multiplex real-time PCR that can detect and quantify RoV and NoV simultaneously. The aim of the study was to develop, validate, and internally control a multiplex one-step RT real-time PCR to detect and quantify RoV and NoV in stool samples. PCR sensitivity was assessed by comparing amplification against the current gold standard, enzyme immunoassay (EIA), on stool samples from 94 individuals with diarrhea and 94 individuals without diarrhea. PCR detected 10% more RoV positive samples than EIA in stools samples from patients with diarrhea. PCR detected 23% more NoV genogroup II positive samples from individuals with diarrhea and 9% more from individuals without diarrhea than EIA, respectively. Genotyping of the PCR positive/EIA negative samples suggested the higher rate of PCR positivity, in comparison to EIA, was due to increased sensitivity, rather than nonspecific hybridization. Quantitation demonstrated that the viral loads of RoV and NoV in the stools of diarrheal patients were an order of magnitude greater than in individuals without diarrhea. This internally controlled real-time PCR method is robust, exhibits a high degree of reproducibility, and may have a greater utility and sensitivity than commercial EIA kits. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Toxicon, 64 pp. 36-37. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. On the use of analgesia in experimental toxinology.
Pharmaceutical development and manufacturing process optimization work was undertaken in order to propose a potential paediatric rectal formulation of azithromycin as an alternative to existing oral or injectable formulations. The target product profile was to be easy-to-use, cheap and stable in tropical conditions, with bioavailability comparable to oral forms, rapidly achieving and maintaining bactericidal concentrations. PEG solid solution suppositories were characterized in vitro using visual, HPLC, DSC, FTIR and XRD analyses. In vitro drug release and in vivo bioavailability were assessed; a study in rabbits compared the bioavailability of the optimized solid solution suppository to rectal solution and intra-venous product (as reference) and to the previous, non-optimized formulation (suspended azithromycin suppository). The bioavailability of azithromycin administered as solid solution suppositories relative to intra-venous was 43%, which compared well to the target of 38% (oral product in humans). The results of 3-month preliminary stability and feasibility studies were consistent with industrial production scale-up. This product has potential both as a classical antibiotic and as a product for use in severely ill children in rural areas. Industrial partners for further development are being sought. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Current serological diagnostic assays for typhoid fever are based on detecting antibodies against Salmonella LPS or flagellum, resulting in a high false-positive rate. Here we used a protein microarray containing 2,724 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi antigens (>63% of proteome) and identified antibodies against 16 IgG antigens and 77 IgM antigens that were differentially reactive among acute typhoid patients and healthy controls. The IgG target antigens produced a sensitivity of 97% and specificity of 80%, whereas the IgM target antigens produced 97% and 91% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Our analyses indicated certain features such as membrane association, secretion, and protein expression were significant enriching features of the reactive antigens. About 72% of the serodiagnostic antigens were within the top 25% of the ranked antigen list using a Naïve bayes classifier. These data provide an important resource for improved diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development against an important human pathogen.
BACKGROUND: In low-income countries, surgical site infections (SSIs) are a very frequent form of hospital-acquired infection. Surveillance is an important method for controlling SSI but it is unclear how this can best be performed in low-income settings. AIM: To examine the epidemiological characteristics of various components of an SSI surveillance programme in a single Kenyan hospital. METHODS: The study assessed the inter-observer consistency of the surgical wound class (SWC) and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) scores using the kappa statistic. Post-discharge telephone calls were evaluated against an outpatient clinician review 'gold standard'. The predictive value of components of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - National Healthcare Safety Network (CDC-NHNS) risk index was examined in patients having major obstetric or gynaecological surgery (O&G) between August 2010 and February 2011. FINDINGS: After appropriate training, surgeons and anaesthetists were found to be consistent in their use of the SWC and ASA scores respectively. Telephone calls were found to have a sensitivity of 70% [95% confidence interval (CI): 47-87] and a specificity of 100% (95% CI: 95-100) for detection of post-discharge SSI in this setting. In 954 patients undergoing major O&G operations, the SWC score was the only parameter in the CDC-NHNS risk index model associated with the risk of SSI (odds ratio: 4.00; 95% CI: 1.21-13.2; P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Surveillance for SSI can be conducted in a low-income hospital setting, although dedicated staff, intensive training and local modifications to surveillance methods are necessary. Surveillance for post-discharge SSI using telephone calls is imperfect but provides a practical alternative to clinic-based diagnosis. The SWC score was the only predictor of SSI risk in O&G surgery in this context.
Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Northeast Thailand and northern Australia. B. pseudomallei is a soil saprophyte endemic to Southeast Asia and northern Australia. The clinical presentation of melioidosis may mimic tuberculosis (both cause chronic suppurative lesions unresponsive to conventional antibiotics and both commonly affect the lungs). The two diseases have overlapping risk profiles (e.g., diabetes, corticosteroid use), and both B. pseudomallei and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are intracellular pathogens. There are however important differences: the majority of melioidosis cases are acute, not chronic, and present with severe sepsis and a mortality rate that approaches 50% despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy. By contrast, tuberculosis is characteristically a chronic illness with mortality <2% with appropriate antimicrobial chemotherapy. We examined the gene expression profiles of total peripheral leukocytes in two cohorts of patients, one with acute melioidosis (30 patients and 30 controls) and another with tuberculosis (20 patients and 24 controls). Interferon-mediated responses dominate the host response to both infections, and both type 1 and type 2 interferon responses are important. An 86-gene signature previously thought to be specific for tuberculosis is also found in melioidosis. We conclude that the host responses to melioidosis and to tuberculosis are similar: both are dominated by interferon-signalling pathways and this similarity means gene expression signatures from whole blood do not distinguish between these two diseases.
BACKGROUND: Plasma angiopoietin (Ang)-2 is associated with disease severity and mortality in adults and children with falciparum malaria. However the mechanism of action of the angiopoietins in fatal malaria is unclear. This study aimed to determine whether the expression of Ang-1 and Ang-2 and their receptor Tie-2 in cerebral endothelial or parenchymal cells was specific to cerebral malaria (CM), correlated with coma or other severe clinical features, and whether plasma and CSF levels of these markers correlated with the clinical and neuropathological features of severe and fatal malaria in Vietnamese adults. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed for Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 on post-mortem brain tissue from fatal malaria cases and controls. Quantitative ELISA for plasma and cerebrospinal fluid levels of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was done to compare fatal cases with surviving patients from the same study. RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry revealed significant differences in expression in endothelial and parenchymal cells compared to controls. However there was no significant difference in expression of these markers on endothelial cells, astroglial cells or neurons between CM and non-cerebral malaria cases. Immunostaining of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was also not associated with Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocyte sequestration in the brain. However Ang-1 and Ang-2 expression in neurons was significantly correlated with the incidence of microscopic haemorrhages. Plasma levels of Ang-2 and Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio were associated with the number of severe malaria complications and were significant and independent predictors of metabolic acidosis and fatal outcome. CONCLUSIONS: The independent prognostic significance of Ang-2 and the Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio in severe malaria was confirmed, although immunohistochemistry in fatal cases did not reveal increased expression on brain endothelium in cerebral versus non-cerebral cases. Activation of the Ang-Tie-2 pathway in severe malaria is therefore related to acidosis, number of severity criteria and outcome, but is not a specific event in the brain during cerebral malaria.
BACKGROUND: Multiparameter flow cytometry has revealed extensive phenotypic and functional heterogeneity of CD4 T cell responses in mice and humans, emphasizing the importance of assessing multiple aspects of the immune response in correlation with infection or vaccination outcome. The aim of this study was to establish and validate reliable and feasible flow cytometry assays, which will allow us to characterize CD4 T cell population in humans in field studies more fully. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We developed polychromatic flow cytometry antibody panels for immunophenotyping the major CD4 T cell subsets as well as broadly characterizing the functional profiles of the CD4 T cells in peripheral blood. We then validated these assays by conducting a pilot study comparing CD4 T cell responses in distinct populations of healthy adults living in either rural or urban Kenya. This study revealed that the expression profile of CD4 T cell activation and memory markers differed significantly between African and European donors but was similar amongst African individuals from either rural or urban areas. Adults from rural Kenya had, however, higher frequencies and greater polyfunctionality among cytokine producing CD4 T cells compared to both urban populations, particularly for "Th1" type of response. Finally, endemic exposure to malaria in rural Kenya may have influenced the expansion of few discrete CD4 T cell populations with specific functional signatures. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that environmentally driven T cell activation does not drive the dysfunction of CD4 T cells but is rather associated with greater magnitude and quality of CD4 T cell response, indicating that the level or type of microbial exposure and antigenic experience may influence and shape the functionality of CD4 T cell compartment. Our data confirm that it is possible and mandatory to assess multiple functional attributes of CD4 T cell response in the context of infection.
OBJECTIVE: To document and explore the views and experiences of key stakeholders regarding the consent procedures of an emergency research clinical trial examining immediate fluid resuscitation strategies, and to discuss the implications for similar trials in future. METHODS: A social science sub-study of the FEAST (Fluid Expansion As Supportive Therapy) trial. Interviews were held with trial team members (n = 30), health workers (n = 15) and parents (n = 51) from two purposively selected hospitals in Soroti, Uganda, and Kilifi, Kenya. FINDINGS: Overall, deferred consent with prior assent was seen by staff and parents as having the potential to protect the interests of both patients and researchers, and to avoid delays in starting treatment. An important challenge is that the validity of verbal assent is undermined when inadequate initial information is poorly understood. This concern needs to be balanced against the possibility that full prior consent on admission potentially causes harm through introducing delays. Full prior consent also potentially imposes worries on parents that clinicians are uncertain about how to proceed and that clinicians want to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the child's outcome (some parents' interpretation of the need for signed consent). Voluntariness is clearly compromised for both verbal assent and full prior consent in a context of such vulnerability and stress. Further challenges in obtaining verbal assent were: what to do in the absence of the household decision-maker (often the father); and how medical staff handle parents not giving a clear agreement or refusal. CONCLUSION: While the challenges identified are faced in all research in low-income settings, they are magnified for emergency trials by the urgency of decision making and treatment needs. Consent options will need to be tailored to particular studies and settings, and might best be informed by consultation with staff members and community representatives using a deliberative approach.
More than 15 years after the first human cases of influenza A/H5N1 in Hong Kong, the world remains at risk for an H5N1 pandemic. Preparedness activities have focused on antiviral stockpiling and distribution, development of a human H5N1 vaccine, operationalizing screening and social distancing policies, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions. The planning of these interventions has been done in an attempt to lessen the cumulative mortality resulting from a hypothetical H5N1 pandemic. In this theoretical study, we consider the natural limitations on an H5N1 pandemic's mortality imposed by the virus' epidemiological-evolutionary constraints. Evolutionary theory dictates that pathogens should evolve to be relatively benign, depending on the magnitude of the correlation between a pathogen's virulence and its transmissibility. Because the case fatality of H5N1 infections in humans is currently 60 per cent, it is doubtful that the current viruses are close to their evolutionary optimum for transmission among humans. To describe the dynamics of virulence evolution during an H5N1 pandemic, we build a mathematical model based on the patterns of clinical progression in past H5N1 cases. Using both a deterministic model and a stochastic individual-based simulation, we describe (i) the drivers of evolutionary dynamics during an H5N1 pandemic, (ii) the range of case fatalities for which H5N1 viruses can successfully cause outbreaks in humans, and (iii) the effects of different kinds of social distancing on virulence evolution. We discuss two main epidemiological-evolutionary features of this system (i) the delaying or slowing of an epidemic which results in a majority of hosts experiencing an attenuated virulence phenotype and (ii) the strong evolutionary pressure for lower virulence experienced by the virus during a period of intense social distancing.
BACKGROUND: Despite the publication of several studies on the subject, there is significant uncertainty regarding the burden of disease among adults in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA). OBJECTIVES: To describe the breadth of available data regarding causes of admission to hospital, to systematically analyze the methodological quality of these studies, and to provide recommendations for future research. DESIGN: We performed a systematic online and hand-based search for articles describing patterns of medical illnesses in patients admitted to hospitals in sSA between 1950 and 2010. Diseases were grouped into bodily systems using International Classification of Disease (ICD) guidelines. We compared the proportions of admissions and deaths by diagnostic category using χ2. RESULTS: Thirty articles, describing 86,307 admissions and 9,695 deaths, met the inclusion criteria. The leading causes of admission were infectious and parasitic diseases (19.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 19.6-20.1), respiratory (16.2%, 95% CI 16.0-16.5) and circulatory (11.3%, 95% CI 11.1-11.5) illnesses. The leading causes of death were infectious and parasitic (17.1%, 95% CI 16.4-17.9), circulatory (16%, 95% CI 15.3-16.8) and digestive (16.2%, 95% CI 15.4-16.9). Circulatory diseases increased from 3.9% of all admissions in 1950-59 to 19.9% in 2000-2010 (RR 5.1, 95% CI 4.5-5.8, test for trend p<0.00005). The most prevalent methodological deficiencies, present in two-thirds of studies, were failures to use standardized case definitions and ICD guidelines for classifying illnesses. CONCLUSIONS: Cardiovascular and infectious diseases are currently the leading causes of admissions and in-hospital deaths in sSA. Methodological deficiencies have limited the usefulness of previous studies in defining national patterns of disease in adults. As African countries pass through demographic and health transition, they need to significantly invest in clinical research capacity to provide an accurate description of the disease burden among adults for public health policy.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is a potentially pathogenic inherited enzyme abnormality and, similar to other human red blood cell polymorphisms, is particularly prevalent in historically malaria endemic countries. The spatial extent of Plasmodium vivax malaria overlaps widely with that of G6PD deficiency; unfortunately the only drug licensed for the radical cure and relapse prevention of P. vivax, primaquine, can trigger severe haemolytic anaemia in G6PD deficient individuals. This chapter reviews the past and current data on this unique pharmacogenetic association, which is becoming increasingly important as several nations now consider strategies to eliminate malaria transmission rather than control its clinical burden. G6PD deficiency is a highly variable disorder, in terms of spatial heterogeneity in prevalence and molecular variants, as well as its interactions with P. vivax and primaquine. Consideration of factors including aspects of basic physiology, diagnosis, and clinical triggers of primaquine-induced haemolysis is required to assess the risks and benefits of applying primaquine in various geographic and demographic settings. Given that haemolytically toxic antirelapse drugs will likely be the only therapeutic options for the coming decade, it is clear that we need to understand in depth G6PD deficiency and. primaquine-induced haemolysis to determine safe and effective therapeutic strategies to overcome this hurdle and achieve malaria elimination. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
In West Africa, response to specific, geographically appropriate, antivenom is often dramatic following carpet viper (Echis ocellatus) envenoming with rapid restoration of blood coagulability and resolution of spontaneous haemorrhage. Envenoming from Australasian snakes causing similar coagulopathies may respond less dramatically and the effectiveness of antivenom is being questioned. Here we have reviewed and re-analysed all published preclinical and clinical studies on envenoming and antivenom therapy conducted in West Africa to determine the effectiveness of antivenom. 22 studies provided relevant information: 12 observational studies, 4 RCTs and 6 preclinical studies. Four comparative studies confirmed statistically significant protection against mortality ranging from 57 to 87% using specific antivenoms compared to non-specific or no antivenoms. Meta-analysis estimated combined Odds Ratio (95% CI) of 0.25 (0.14-0.45) of dying among those treated with specific antivenom or 75% (95% CI: 55-86%) protection against death. Mortality more than doubled during times when stocks of reliable antivenoms ran out, with Relative Risk (95% CI)] of 2.33 (1.26-4.06). Serum kinetics of venom antigen/antivenom levels also confirmed that decline of venom antigen levels coincided with resolution of coagulopathy while decline of antivenom levels was associated with venom antigen reappearance and recurrence of coagulopathy. Preclinical and antivenomics analysis confirmed efficacy of regionally appropriate antivenoms against E. ocellatus and related species' venoms in Sub-Saharan Africa but not against Asian Echis carinatus venom. Antivenoms raised against E. carinatus were ineffective in human studies. In West Africa, specific antivenom is effective in managing carpet viper envenoming. A centralized hub-and-spoke strategy is suggested for broadening antivenom access to endemic rural areas together with instituting quality assurance, standardization and manpower training. Benefits, risks, cost-effectiveness and feasibility of the approach should be formally assessed.
Background: In low-income countries, surgical site infections (SSIs) are a very frequent form of hospital-acquired infection. Surveillance is an important method for controlling SSI but it is unclear how this can best be performed in low-income settings. Aim: To examine the epidemiological characteristics of various components of an SSI surveillance programme in a single Kenyan hospital. Methods: The study assessed the inter-observer consistency of the surgical wound class (SWC) and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) scores using the kappa statistic. Post-discharge telephone calls were evaluated against an outpatient clinician review 'gold standard'. The predictive value of components of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - National Healthcare Safety Network (CDC-NHNS) risk index was examined in patients having major obstetric or gynaecological surgery (O & G) between August 2010 and February 2011. Findings: After appropriate training, surgeons and anaesthetists were found to be consistent in their use of the SWC and ASA scores respectively. Telephone calls were found to have a sensitivity of 70% [95% confidence interval (CI): 47-87] and a specificity of 100% (95% CI: 95-100) for detection of post-discharge SSI in this setting. In 954 patients undergoing major O & G operations, the SWC score was the only parameter in the CDC-NHNS risk index model associated with the risk of SSI (odds ratio: 4.00; 95% CI: 1.21-13.2; P = 0.02). Conclusions: Surveillance for SSI can be conducted in a low-income hospital setting, although dedicated staff, intensive training and local modifications to surveillance methods are necessary. Surveillance for post-discharge SSI using telephone calls is imperfect but provides a practical alternative to clinic-based diagnosis. The SWC score was the only predictor of SSI risk in O & G surgery in this context. © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society.
Background: Early identification of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriers may be helpful for clinical and epidemiological reasons. Aim: To identify and compare risk factors of previously unknown MRSA carriage on admission to 13 surgical wards in France, Greece, Italy, and Spain. Methods: The study was a prospective observational cohort study which enrolled consecutive patients screened for MRSA on admission to surgical wards. Sociodemographic data, comorbidities and possible risk factors for MRSA were recorded. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to predict probabilities of previously unknown MRSA colonization on admission based on patient characteristics. Prediction rules for MRSA carriage were developed and evaluated using the c-statistic. Findings: Of 2901 patients enrolled, admission screening identified 111 (3.8%) new MRSA carriers. Independent risk factors for MRSA carriage were urinary catheterization (odds ratio: 4.4; 95% confidence interval: 2.0-9.9), nursing home residency (3.8; 1.9-7.7), chronic skin disease (2.9; 1.5-5.8), wounds/ulcers (2.4; 1.5-4.0), recent hospitalization (2.2; 1.5-3.3), diabetes (1.6, 1.02-2.5), and age > 70 years (1.5; 1.03-2.3). However, risk factors varied between centres. The c-statistic for the common prediction rule for all centres was 0.64, indicating limited predictive power. Conclusions: Risk profiles for MRSA carriers vary between surgical wards in European countries. Identifying local risk factors is important, as a common European prediction rule was found to be of limited clinical value. © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society.
BACKGROUND: Best formats for summarising and presenting evidence for use in clinical guideline development remain less well defined. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of different evidence summary formats to address this gap. METHODS: Healthcare professionals attending a one-week Kenyan, national guideline development workshop were randomly allocated to receive evidence packaged in three different formats: systematic reviews (SRs) alone, systematic reviews with summary-of-findings tables, and 'graded-entry' formats (a 'front-end' summary and a contextually framed narrative report plus the SR). The influence of format on the proportion of correct responses to key clinical questions, the primary outcome, was assessed using a written test. The secondary outcome was a composite endpoint, measured on a 5-point scale, of the clarity of presentation and ease of locating the quality of evidence for critical neonatal outcomes. Interviews conducted within two months following completion of trial data collection explored panel members' views on the evidence summary formats and experiences with appraisal and use of research information. RESULTS: 65 (93%) of 70 participants completed questions on the prespecified outcome measures. There were no differences between groups in the odds of correct responses to key clinical questions. 'Graded-entry' formats were associated with a higher mean composite score for clarity and accessibility of information about the quality of evidence for critical neonatal outcomes compared to systematic reviews alone (adjusted mean difference 0.52, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.99). There was no difference in the mean composite score between SR with SoF tables and SR alone. Findings from interviews with 16 panelists indicated that short narrative evidence reports were preferred for the improved clarity of information presentation and ease of use. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that 'graded-entry' evidence summary formats may improve clarity and accessibility of research evidence in clinical guideline development. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN05154264.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major cause of illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa. Young children bear the brunt of the disease and though older children and adults suffer relatively fewer clinical attacks, they remain susceptible to asymptomatic P. falciparum infection. A better understanding of the host factors associated with immunity to clinical malaria and the ability to sustain asymptomatic P. falciparum infection will aid the development of improved strategies for disease prevention. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Here we investigate whether full differential blood counts can predict susceptibility to clinical malaria among Kenyan children sampled at five annual cross-sectional surveys. We find that the ratio of monocytes to lymphocytes, measured in peripheral blood at the time of survey, directly correlates with risk of clinical malaria during follow-up. This association is evident among children with asymptomatic P. falciparum infection at the time the cell counts are measured (Hazard ratio (HR) = 2.7 (95% CI 1.42, 5.01, P = 0.002) but not in those without detectable parasitaemia (HR = 1.0 (95% CI 0.74, 1.42, P = 0.9). CONCLUSIONS: We propose that the monocyte to lymphocyte ratio, which is easily derived from routine full differential blood counts, reflects an individual's capacity to mount an effective immune response to P. falciparum infection.
A recent clinical trial in African children demonstrated the potential utility of merozoite surface protein (MSP)-3 as a vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The present study evaluated the use of Plasmodium vivax MSP-3 (PvMSP-3) as a target antigen in vaccine formulations against malaria caused by P. vivax. Recombinant proteins representing MSP-3α and MSP-3β of P. vivax were expressed as soluble histidine-tagged bacterial fusions. Antigenicity during natural infection was evaluated by detecting specific antibodies using sera from individuals living in endemic areas of Brazil. A large proportion of infected individuals presented IgG antibodies to PvMSP-3α (68.2%) and at least 1 recombinant protein representing PvMSP-3β (79.1%). In spite of the large responder frequency, reactivity to both antigens was significantly lower than was observed for the immunodominant epitope present on the 19-kDa C-terminal region of PvMSP-1. Immunogenicity of the recombinant proteins was studied in mice in the absence or presence of different adjuvant formulations. PvMSP-3β, but not PvMSP-3α, induced a TLR4-independent humoral immune response in the absence of any adjuvant formulation. The immunogenicity of the recombinant antigens were also tested in formulations containing different adjuvants (Alum, Salmonella enterica flagellin, CpG, Quil A,TiterMax® and incomplete Freunds adjuvant) and combinations of two adjuvants (Alum plus flagellin, and CpG plus flagellin). Recombinant PvMSP-3α and PvMSP-3β elicited higher antibody titers capable of recognizing P. vivax-infected erythrocytes harvested from malaria patients. Our results confirm that P. vivax MSP-3 antigens are immunogenic during natural infection, and the corresponding recombinant proteins may be useful in elucidating their vaccine potential.
Radical cure of Plasmodium vivax infection applies blood schizontocidal therapy against the acute attack and hypnozoitocidal therapy against later relapse. Chloroquine and primaquine have been used for 60 years in this manner. Resistance to chloroquine by the parasite now requires partnering other blood schizontocides with primaquine. However, the safety and efficacy of primaquine against relapse when combined with other drugs have not been demonstrated. This randomized, open-label, and relapse-controlled trial estimated the efficacy of primaquine against relapse when administered with quinine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for treatment of the acute infection. Among 650 soldiers who had returned to their malaria-free base in Java, Indonesia, after 12 months in malarious Papua, Indonesia, 143 with acute P. vivax malaria were eligible for study. One hundred sixteen enrolled subjects were randomized to these treatments: artesunate (200-mg dose followed by 100 mg/day for 6 days), quinine (1.8 g/day for 7 days) plus concurrent primaquine (30 mg/day for 14 days), or dihydroartemisinin (120 mg) plus piperaquine (960 mg) daily for 3 days followed 25 days later by primaquine (30 mg/day for 14 days). Follow-up was for 12 months. One hundred thirteen subjects were analyzable. Relapse occurred in 32 of 41 (78%) subjects administered artesunate alone (2.71 attacks/person-year), 7 of 36 (19%) administered quinine plus primaquine (0.23 attack/person-year), and 2 of 36 (6%) administered dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine plus primaquine (0.06 attack/person-year). The efficacy of primaquine against relapse was 92% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 81% to 96%) for quinine plus primaquine and 98% (95% CI = 91% to 99%) for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine plus primaquine. Antirelapse therapy with primaquine begun a month after treatment of the acute attack with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine proved safe and highly efficacious against relapse by P. vivax acquired in Papua, Indonesia.
There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with 'representatives' of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members ('KEMRI Community Representatives', or 'KCRs') linked to a large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential.
Developing World Bioethics, | Citations: 1 (Scopus)2013. Evolving Friendships and Shifting Ethical Dilemmas: Fieldworkers' Experiences in a Short Term Community Based Study in Kenya
BACKGROUND: Despite advances in HIV treatment, bacterial pneumonia continues to cause considerable morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV infection. Studies of biomarker associations with bacterial pneumonia risk in treated HIV-infected patients do not currently exist. METHODS: We performed a nested, matched, case-control study among participants randomized to continuous combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in the Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy trial. Patients who developed bacterial pneumonia (cases) and patients without bacterial pneumonia (controls) were matched 1∶1 on clinical center, smoking status, age, and baseline cART use. Baseline levels of Club Cell Secretory Protein 16 (CC16), Surfactant Protein D (SP-D), C-reactive protein (hsCRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and d-dimer were compared between cases and controls. RESULTS: Cases (n = 72) and controls (n = 72) were 25.7% female, 51.4% black, 65.3% current smokers, 9.7% diabetic, 36.1% co-infected with Hepatitis B/C, and 75.0% were on cART at baseline. Median (IQR) age was 45 (41, 51) years with CD4+ count of 553 (436, 690) cells/mm(3). Baseline CC16 and SP-D were similar between cases and controls, but hsCRP was significantly higher in cases than controls (2.94 µg/mL in cases vs. 1.93 µg/mL in controls; p = 0.02). IL-6 and d-dimer levels were also higher in cases compared to controls, though differences were not statistically significant (p-value 0.06 and 0.10, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with cART-treated HIV infection, higher levels of systemic inflammatory markers were associated with increased bacterial pneumonia risk, while two pulmonary-specific inflammatory biomarkers, CC16 and SP-D, were not associated with bacterial pneumonia risk.
Children in malaria endemic areas acquire immunity to severe malaria faster than to mild malaria. Only a minority of children suffers from severe malaria and it is not known what determines this. The aim of this study was to establish how P. falciparum infections during the first years of life affect the risk of severe malaria. A matched case-control study was nested within a large birth cohort set up to study the immunoepidemiology of pneumococci on the Kenyan coast. Infection patterns in three-monthly blood samples in cohort children admitted to hospital with severe malaria were compared to controls matched on age, residential location and time of sampling. P. falciparum detected at least once from birth conferred an increased risk of severe malaria and particularly if multiclonal infections, as characterized by genotyping of a polymorphic antigen gene, were ever detected. The results show for the first time that children with severe malaria have more infections early in life compared to community controls. These findings provide important insights on the immunity to severe disease, knowledge essential for the development of a vaccine against severe malaria.
Human mobility plays an important role in the dissemination of malaria parasites between regions of variable transmission intensity. Asymptomatic individuals can unknowingly carry parasites to regions where mosquito vectors are available, for example, undermining control programs and contributing to transmission when they travel. Understanding how parasites are imported between regions in this way is therefore an important goal for elimination planning and the control of transmission, and would enable control programs to target the principal sources of malaria. Measuring human mobility has traditionally been difficult to do on a population scale, but the widespread adoption of mobile phones in low-income settings presents a unique opportunity to directly measure human movements that are relevant to the spread of malaria. Here, we discuss the opportunities for measuring human mobility using data from mobile phones, as well as some of the issues associated with combining mobility estimates with malaria infection risk maps to meaningfully estimate routes of parasite importation.
BACKGROUND: Prospective studies establishing the temporal relationship between the degree of inflammation and human influenza disease progression are scarce. To assess predictors of disease progression among patients with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 infection, 25 inflammatory biomarkers measured at enrollment were analyzed in two international observational cohort studies. METHODS: Among patients with RT-PCR-confirmed influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection, odds ratios (ORs) estimated by logistic regression were used to summarize the associations of biomarkers measured at enrollment with worsened disease outcome or death after 14 days of follow-up for those seeking outpatient care (FLU 002) or after 60 days for those hospitalized with influenza complications (FLU 003). Biomarkers that were significantly associated with progression in both studies (p<0.05) or only in one (p<0.002 after Bonferroni correction) were identified. RESULTS: In FLU 002 28/528 (5.3%) outpatients had influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection that progressed to a study endpoint of complications, hospitalization or death, whereas in FLU 003 28/170 (16.5%) inpatients enrolled from the general ward and 21/39 (53.8%) inpatients enrolled directly from the ICU experienced disease progression. Higher levels of 12 of the 25 markers were significantly associated with subsequent disease progression. Of these, 7 markers (IL-6, CD163, IL-10, LBP, IL-2, MCP-1, and IP-10), all with ORs for the 3(rd) versus 1(st) tertile of 2.5 or greater, were significant (p<0.05) in both outpatients and inpatients. In contrast, five markers (sICAM-1, IL-8, TNF-α, D-dimer, and sVCAM-1), all with ORs for the 3(rd) versus 1(st) tertile greater than 3.2, were significantly (p≤.002) associated with disease progression among hospitalized patients only. CONCLUSIONS: In patients presenting with varying severities of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection, a baseline elevation in several biomarkers associated with inflammation, coagulation, or immune function strongly predicted a higher risk of disease progression. It is conceivable that interventions designed to abrogate these baseline elevations might affect disease outcome.
It is estimated that more than 3 million healthcare workers worldwide suffer needlestick and splash injuries whilst at work resulting in the potential transmission of blood-borne pathogens via exposure to bodily fluids. Under-reporting and the subsequent management of occupational injuries is a problem both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Many expatriate health care workers will work in low resource settings where the risk of transmission is greatest but in contrast to wealthier countries such as the United Kingdom, there is often a lack of effective systems for its safe management. This article provides important information about this risk and how to minimise it. The reasons for an increased risk in transmission, its subsequent management and pre-departure planning are discussed, together with the evidence for initiation of post-exposure prophylaxis; current National and International guidelines as well as the urgent need for International standardisation of these is also discussed.
We investigated the population structure of Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex CC121 by mutation discovery at 115 genetic housekeeping loci from each of 154 isolates, sampled on five continents between 1953 and 2009. In addition, we pyro-sequenced the genomes from ten representative isolates. The genome-wide SNPs that were ascertained revealed the evolutionary history of CC121, indicating at least six major clades (A to F) within the clonal complex and dating its most recent common ancestor to the pre-antibiotic era. The toxin gene complement of CC121 isolates was correlated with their SNP-based phylogeny. Moreover, we found a highly significant association of clinical phenotypes with phylogenetic affiliations, which is unusual for S. aureus. All isolates evidently sampled from superficial infections (including staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome, bullous impetigo, exfoliative dermatitis, conjunctivitis) clustered in clade F, which included the European epidemic fusidic-acid resistant impetigo clone (EEFIC). In comparison, isolates from deep-seated infections (abscess, furuncle, pyomyositis, necrotizing pneumonia) were disseminated in several clades, but not in clade F. Our results demonstrate that phylogenetic lineages with distinct clinical properties exist within an S. aureus clonal complex, and that SNPs serve as powerful discriminatory markers, able to identify these lineages. All CC121 genomes harboured a 41-kilobase prophage that was dissimilar to S. aureus phages sequenced previously. Community-associated MRSA and MSSA from Cambodia were extremely closely related, suggesting this MRSA arose in the region.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins, the first line treatment for malaria worldwide, has been reported in western Cambodia. Resistance is characterized by significantly delayed clearance of parasites following artemisinin treatment. Artemisinin resistance has not previously been reported in Myanmar, which has the highest falciparum malaria burden among Southeast Asian countries. METHODS: A non-randomized, single-arm, open-label clinical trial of artesunate monotherapy (4 mg/kg daily for seven days) was conducted in adults with acute blood-smear positive P. falciparum malaria in Kawthaung, southern Myanmar. Parasite density was measured every 12 hours until two consecutive negative smears were obtained. Participants were followed weekly at the study clinic for three additional weeks. Co-primary endpoints included parasite clearance time (the time required for complete clearance of initial parasitemia), parasite clearance half-life (the time required for parasitemia to decrease by 50% based on the linear portion of the parasite clearance slope), and detectable parasitemia 72 hours after commencement of artesunate treatment. Drug pharmacokinetics were measured to rule out delayed clearance due to suboptimal drug levels. RESULTS: The median (range) parasite clearance half-life and time were 4.8 (2.1-9.7) and 60 (24-96) hours, respectively. The frequency distributions of parasite clearance half-life and time were bimodal, with very slow parasite clearance characteristic of the slowest-clearing Cambodian parasites (half-life longer than 6.2 hours) in approximately 1/3 of infections. Fourteen of 52 participants (26.9%) had a measurable parasitemia 72 hours after initiating artesunate treatment. Parasite clearance was not associated with drug pharmacokinetics. CONCLUSIONS: A subset of P. falciparum infections in southern Myanmar displayed markedly delayed clearance following artemisinin treatment, suggesting either emergence of artemisinin resistance in southern Myanmar or spread to this location from its site of origin in western Cambodia. Resistance containment efforts are underway in Myanmar. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000896077.
BACKGROUND: Artesunate plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS+SP) is now first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum infection in several south Asian countries, including Afghanistan. Molecular studies provide a sensitive means to investigate the current state of drug susceptibility to the SP component, and can also provide information on the likely efficacy of other potential forms of artemisinin-combination therapy. METHODS: During the years 2007 to 2010, 120 blood spots from patients with P. falciparum malaria were obtained in four provinces of Afghanistan. PCR-based methods were used to detect drug-resistance mutations in dhfr, dhps, pfcrt and pfmdr1, as well as to determine copy number of pfmdr1. RESULTS: The majority (95.5%) of infections had a double mutation in the dhfr gene (C59R, S108N); no mutations at dhfr positions 16, 51 or 164 were seen. Most isolates were wild type across the dhps gene, but five isolates from the provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan had the triple mutation A437G / K540E / A581G; all five cases were successfully treated with three receiving AS+SP and two receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. All isolates showed the pfcrt SVNMT chloroquine resistance haplotype. Five of 79 isolates had the pfmdr1 N86Y mutation, while 52 had pfmdr1 Y184F; positions 1034, 1042 and 1246 were wild type in all isolates. The pfmdr1 gene was not amplified in any sample. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that shortly after the adoption of AS+SP as first-line treatment in Afghanistan, most parasites had a double mutation haplotype in dhfr, and a small number of isolates from eastern Afghanistan harboured a triple mutation haplotype in dhps. The impact of these mutations on the efficacy of AS+SP remains to be assessed in significant numbers of patients, but these results are clearly concerning since they suggest a higher degree of SP resistance than previously detected. Further focused molecular and clinical studies in this region are urgently required.
BACKGROUND: Several studies have shown a prolonged or increased susceptibility to malaria in the post-partum period. A matched cohort study was conducted to evaluate prospectively the susceptibility to malaria of post-partum women in an area where P.falciparum and P.vivax are prevalent. METHODS: In an area of low seasonal malaria transmission on the Thai-Myanmar border pregnant women attending antenatal clinics were matched to a non-pregnant, non-post-partum control and followed up prospectively until 12 weeks after delivery. RESULTS: Post-partum women (n = 744) experienced significantly less P.falciparum episodes than controls (hazard ratio (HR) 0.39 (95%CI 0.21-0.72) p = 0.003) but significantly more P.vivax (HR 1.34 (1.05-1.72) p = 0.018). The reduced risk of falciparum malaria was accounted for by reduced exposure, whereas a history of P.vivax infection during pregnancy was a strong risk factor for P.vivax in post-partum women (HR 13.98 (9.13-21.41), p<0.001). After controlling for effect modification by history of P.vivax, post-partum women were not more susceptible to P.vivax than controls (HR: 0.33 (0.21-0.51), p<0.001). Genotyping of pre-and post-partum infections [Formula in text] showed that each post-partum P.falciparum was a newly acquired infection. CONCLUSIONS: In this area of low seasonal malaria transmission post-partum women were less likely to develop falciparum malaria but more likely to develop vivax malaria than controls. This was explained by reduced risk of exposure and increased risk of relapse, respectively. There was no evidence for altered susceptibility to malaria in the post-partum period. The treatment of vivax malaria during and immediately after pregnancy needs to be improved.
BACKGROUND: A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified susceptibility loci for dengue shock syndrome (DSS) at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. The aim of this study was to define the extent to which MICB (rs3132468) and PLCE1 (rs3740360) were associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of pediatric and adult dengue. METHODS: 3961 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases and 5968 controls were genotyped at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. Per-allele odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each patient cohort. Pooled analyses were performed for adults and paediatrics respectively using a fixed effects model. RESULTS: Pooled analysis of the paediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between MICB rs3132468 and dengue cases without shock (OR = 1.15; 95%CI: 1.07 - 1.24; P = 0.0012). Similarly, pooled analysis of pediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between dengue cases without shock and PLCE1 rs3740360 (OR = 0.92; 95%CI: 0.85 - 0.99; P = 0.018). We also note significant association between both SNPs (OR = 1.48; P = 0.0075 for MICB rs3132468 and OR = 0.75, P = 0.041 for PLCE1 rs3740360) and dengue in infants. DISCUSSION: This study confirms that the MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360 risk genotypes are not only associated with DSS, but are also associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of dengue, as well as with dengue in infants. These findings have implications for our understanding of dengue pathogenesis.
BACKGROUND: Heterologous prime boost immunization with chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and Modified vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA) vectored vaccines is a strategy recently shown to be capable of inducing strong cell mediated responses against several antigens from the malaria parasite. ChAd63-MVA expressing the Plasmodium falciparum pre-erythrocytic antigen ME-TRAP (multiple epitope string with thrombospondin-related adhesion protein) is a leading malaria vaccine candidate, capable of inducing sterile protection in malaria naïve adults following controlled human malaria infection (CHMI). METHODOLOGY: We conducted two Phase Ib dose escalation clinical trials assessing the safety and immunogenicity of ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP in 46 healthy malaria exposed adults in two African countries with similar malaria transmission patterns. RESULTS: ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP was shown to be safe and immunogenic, inducing high-level T cell responses (median >1300 SFU/million PBMC). CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP is a safe and highly immunogenic vaccine regimen in adults with prior exposure to malaria. Further clinical trials to assess safety and immunogenicity in children and infants and protective efficacy in the field are now warranted. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Pactr.org PACTR2010020001771828 Pactr.org PACTR201008000221638 ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01373879 NCT01373879 ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01379430 NCT01379430.
OBJECTIVES: To quantify geographical variation in the relative contribution of parasitic infections, socioeconomic factors and malnutrition in the aetiology of anaemia among schoolchildren across Kenya, thereby providing a rational basis for the targeting of an integrated school health package. DESIGN: Nationally representative cross-sectional survey data were collected using standard protocols. For all included children, data were recorded on haemoglobin (Hb) concentration and common parasitic infections (Plasmodium falciparum, hookworm and schistosomes) and socioeconomic indicators. Ecological proxies of malnutrition and food security were generated using Demographic and Health Survey and UN Food and Agriculture Organization food security data, respectively. Spatially explicit, multilevel models were used to quantify impact upon child Hb concentration. SETTING: Randomly selected schools in ecologically diverse settings across Kenya. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean Hb concentration adjusted for infection, nutritional and socioeconomic risk factors; associated risk ratios and adjusted Population Attributable Fractions (PAFs) for anaemia, by region. RESULTS: Data were available for 16 941 children in 167 schools; mean Hb was 122.1 g/l and 35.3% of children were anaemic. In multivariate analysis, mean Hb was significantly lower in boys and younger children. Severe malnutrition and interactions between P falciparum and hookworm infections were significantly associated with lower Hb, with greater impacts seen for coinfected children. The contribution of risk factors to anaemia risk varied by province: in 14-year-old girls, PAFs ranged between 0% and 27.6% for P falciparum, 0% and 29% for hookworm and 0% and 18.4% for severe malnutrition. CONCLUSIONS: The observed geographical heterogeneity in the burden of anaemia attributable to different aetiological factors has important implications for the rational targeting of antianaemia interventions that can be included in an integrated school health programme.
Clinical Infectious Diseases, 56 (6), pp. 903-904. | Read more2013. Reply to Halstead and Sayce et al
Non-front-fanged colubroid snakes (NFFC; formerly and artificially taxonomically assembled as "colubrids") comprise about 70% of extant snake species and include several taxa now known to cause lethal or life threatening envenoming in humans. Although the medical risks of bites by only a handful of species have been documented, a growing number of NFFC are implicated in medically significant bites. The majority of these snakes have oral products (Duvernoy's secretions, or venoms) with unknown biomedical properties and their potential for causing harm in humans is unknown. Increasingly, multiple NFFC species are entering the commercial snake trade posing an uncertain risk. Published case reports describing NFFC bites were assessed for evidence-based value, clinical detail and verified species identification. These data were subjected to meta-analysis and a hazard index was generated for select taxa. Cases on which we consulted or personally treated were included and subjected to the same assessment criteria. Cases involving approximately 120 species met the selection criteria, and a small subset designated Hazard Level 1 (most hazardous), contained 5 species with lethal potential. Recommended management of these cases included antivenom for 3 species, Dispholidus typus, Rhabdophis tiginis, Rhabdophis subminiatus, whereas others in this subset without commercially available antivenoms (Thelotornis spp.) were treated with plasma/erythrocyte replacement therapy and supportive care. Heparin, antifibrinolytics and/or plasmapheresis/exchange transfusion have been used in the management of some Hazard Level 1 envenomings, but evidence-based analysis positively contraindicates the use of any of these interventions. Hazard Level 2/3 species were involved in cases containing mixed quality data that implicated these taxa (e.g. Boiga irregularis, Philodryas olfersii, Malpolon monspessulanus) with bites that caused rare systemic effects. Recommended management may include use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (e.g. neostigmine) and wound care on a case-by-case basis. Hazard level 3 species comprised a larger group capable of producing significant local effects only, often associated with a protracted bite (eg Heterodon nasicus, Borikenophis (Alsophis) portoricensis, Platyceps (Coluber) rhodorachis). Management is restricted to wound care. Bites by Hazard level 4 species comprised the majority of surveyed taxa and these showed only minor effects of no clinical importance. This study has produced a comprehensive evidence-based listing of NFFC snakes tabulated against medical significance of bites, together with best-practice management recommendations. This analysis assumes increasing importance, as there is growing exposure to lesser-known NFFC snakes, particularly in captive collections that may uncover further species of significance in the future. Careful and accurate documentation of bites by verified species of NFFC snakes is required to increase the evidence base and establish the best medical management approach for each species.
African men who have sex with men (MSM) face significant stigma and barriers to care. We investigated antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among high-risk adults, including MSM, participating in a clinic-based cohort. Survival analysis was used to compare attrition across patient groups. Differences in adherence, weight gain, and CD4 counts after ART initiation were assessed. Among 250 HIV-1-seropositive adults, including 108 MSM, 15 heterosexual men, and 127 women, patient group was not associated with attrition. Among 58 participants who were followed on ART, 40 % of MSM had less than 95 % adherence, versus 28.6 % of heterosexual men and 11.5 % of women. Although MSM gained less weight after ART initiation than women (adjusted difference -3.5 kg/year), CD4 counts did not differ. More data are needed on barriers to adherence and clinical outcomes among African MSM, to ensure that MSM can access care and derive treatment and prevention benefits from ART.
BACKGROUND: There is a growing emphasis on the need to tackle inadequate human resources for health (HRH) as an essential part of strengthening health systems; but the focus is mostly on macro-level issues, such as training, recruitment, skill mix and distribution. Few attempts have been made to understand the capability of health workers, their motivation and other structural and organizational aspects of systems that influence workforce performance. We have examined literature on the roles of mid-level managers to help us understand how they might influence service delivery quality in Kenyan hospitals. In the Kenyan hospital settings, these are roles that head of departments who are also clinical or nursing service providers might play. METHODS: A computerized search strategy was run in Pub Med, Cochrane Library, Directory of Open Access Journals Social Science Research Network, Eldis, Google Scholar and Human Resources for Health web site databases using both free-text and MeSH terms from 1980 to 2011. In addition, citation searching from excluded and included articles was used and relevant unpublished literature systematically identified. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: A total of 23 articles were finally included in the review from over 7000 titles and abstracts initially identified. The most widely documented roles of mid-level managers were decision-making or problem-solving, strategist or negotiator and communicator. Others included being a therapist or motivator, goal setting or articulation and mentoring or coaching. In addition to these roles, we identified important personal attributes of a good manager, which included interpersonal skills, delegation and accountability, and honesty. The majority of studies included in the review concerned the roles that mid-level managers are expected to play in times of organizational change. CONCLUSION: This review highlights the possible significance of mid-level managers in achieving delivery of high-quality services in Kenyan public hospitals and strongly suggests that approaches to strengthen this level of management will be valuable. The findings from this review should also help inform empirical studies of the roles of mid-level managers in these settings.
The quantity of circulating reticulocytes is an important indicator of erythropoietic activity in response to a wide range of haematological pathologies. While most modern laboratories use flow cytometry to quantify reticulocytes, most field laboratories still rely on 'subvital' staining. The specialist 'subvital' stains, New Methylene Blue (NMB) and Brilliant Crésyl Blue are often difficult to procure, toxic, and show inconsistencies between batches. Here we demonstrate the utility of Giemsa's stain (commonly used microbiology and parasitology) in a 'subvital' manner to provide an accurate method to visualize and count reticulocytes in blood samples from normal and malaria-infected individuals.
The diagnosis and management of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a crucial aspect in the current phases of malaria control and elimination, which will require the wider use of 8-aminoquinolines for both reducing Plasmodium falciparum transmission and achieving the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax. 8-aminoquinolines, such as primaquine, can induce severe haemolysis in G6PD-deficient individuals, potentially creating significant morbidity and undermining confidence in 8-aminoquinoline prescription. On the other hand, erring on the side of safety and excluding large numbers of people with unconfirmed G6PD deficiency from treatment with 8-aminoquinolines will diminish the impact of these drugs. Estimating the remaining G6PD enzyme activity is the most direct, accessible, and reliable assessment of the phenotype and remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of patients who could be harmed by the administration of primaquine. Genotyping seems an unambiguous technique, but its use is limited by cost and the large range of recognized G6PD genotypes. A number of enzyme activity assays diagnose G6PD deficiency, but they require a cold chain, specialized equipment, and laboratory skills. These assays are impractical for care delivery where most patients with malaria live. Improvements to the diagnosis of G6PD deficiency are required for the broader and safer use of 8-aminoquinolines to kill hypnozoites, while lower doses of primaquine may be safely used to kill gametocytes without testing. The discussions and conclusions of a workshop conducted in Incheon, Korea in May 2012 to review key knowledge gaps in G6PD deficiency are reported here.
The transmission of malaria across the Arabian Peninsula is governed by the diversity of dominant vectors and extreme aridity. It is likely that where malaria transmission was historically possible it was intense and led to a high disease burden. Here, we review the speed of elimination, approaches taken, define the shrinking map of risk since 1960 and discuss the threats posed to a malaria-free Arabian Peninsula using the archive material, case data and published works. From as early as the 1940s, attempts were made to eliminate malaria on the peninsula but were met with varying degrees of success through to the 1970s; however, these did result in a shrinking of the margins of malaria transmission across the peninsula. Epidemics in the 1990s galvanised national malaria control programmes to reinvigorate control efforts. Before the launch of the recent global ambition for malaria eradication, countries on the Arabian Peninsula launched a collaborative malaria-free initiative in 2005. This initiative led a further shrinking of the malaria risk map and today locally acquired clinical cases of malaria are reported only in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, with the latter contributing to over 98% of the clinical burden.
Two human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants, HLA-B*57 and -B*81, are consistently known as favorable host factors in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected Africans and African-Americans. In our analyses of prospective data from 538 recent HIV-1 seroconverters and cross-sectional data from 292 subjects with unknown duration of infection, HLA-B*57 (mostly B*57:03) and -B*81 (exclusively B*81:01) had mostly discordant associations with virologic and immunologic manifestations before antiretroviral therapy. Specifically, relatively low viral load (VL) in HLA-B*57-positive subjects (P < 0.03 in various models) did not translate to early advantage in CD4+ T-cell (CD4) counts (P > 0.37). In contrast, individuals with HLA-B*81 showed little deviation from the normal set point VL (P > 0.18) while maintaining high CD4 count during early and chronic infection (P≤0.01). These observations suggest that discordance between VL and CD4 count can occur in the presence of certain HLA alleles and that effective control of HIV-1 viremia is not always a prerequisite for favorable prognosis (delayed immunodeficiency). Of note, steady CD4 count associated with HLA-B*81 in HIV-1-infected Africans may depend on the country of origin, as observations differed slightly between subgroups enrolled in southern Africa (Zambia) and eastern Africa (Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda). © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.
There is wide agreement that community engagement is important for many research types and settings, often including interaction with 'representatives' of communities. There is relatively little published experience of community engagement in international research settings, with available information focusing on Community Advisory Boards or Groups (CAB/CAGs), or variants of these, where CAB/G members often advise researchers on behalf of the communities they represent. In this paper we describe a network of community members ('KEMRI Community Representatives', or 'KCRs') linked to a large multi-disciplinary research programme on the Kenyan Coast. Unlike many CAB/Gs, the intention with the KCR network has evolved to be for members to represent the geographical areas in which a diverse range of health studies are conducted through being typical of those communities. We draw on routine reports, self-administered questionnaires and interviews to: 1) document how typical KCR members are of the local communities in terms of basic characteristics, and 2) explore KCR's perceptions of their roles, and of the benefits and challenges of undertaking these roles. We conclude that this evolving network is a potentially valuable way of strengthening interactions between a research institution and a local geographic community, through contributing to meeting intrinsic ethical values such as showing respect, and instrumental values such as improving consent processes. However, there are numerous challenges involved. Other ways of interacting with members of local communities, including community leaders, and the most vulnerable groups least likely to be vocal in representative groups, have always been, and remain, essential. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
BACKGROUND: Febrile illnesses are pre-eminent contributors to morbidity and mortality among children in South-East Asia but the causes are poorly understood. We determined the causes of fever in children hospitalised in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A one-year prospective study of febrile children admitted to Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and outcome data were comprehensively analysed. Between October 12(th) 2009 and October 12(th) 2010 there were 1225 episodes of febrile illness in 1180 children. Median (IQR) age was 2.0 (0.8-6.4) years, with 850 (69%) episodes in children <5 years. Common microbiological diagnoses were dengue virus (16.2%), scrub typhus (7.8%), and Japanese encephalitis virus (5.8%). 76 (6.3%) episodes had culture-proven bloodstream infection, including Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (22 isolates, 1.8%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (13, 1.1%), Escherichia coli (8, 0.7%), Haemophilus influenzae (7, 0.6%), Staphylococcus aureus (6, 0.5%) and Burkholderia pseudomallei (6, 0.5%). There were 69 deaths (5.6%), including those due to clinically diagnosed pneumonia (19), dengue virus (5), and melioidosis (4). 10 of 69 (14.5%) deaths were associated with culture-proven bloodstream infection in logistic regression analyses (odds ratio for mortality 3.4, 95% CI 1.6-6.9). Antimicrobial resistance was prevalent, particularly in S. enterica Typhi, (where 90% of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, and 86% were multi-drug resistant). Comorbid undernutrition was present in 44% of episodes and a major risk factor for acute mortality (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.2), as were HIV infection and cardiac disease. CONCLUSION: We identified a microbiological cause of fever in almost 50% of episodes in this large study of community-acquired febrile illness in hospitalized children in Cambodia. The range of pathogens, antimicrobial susceptibility, and co-morbidities associated with mortality described will be of use in the development of rational guidelines for infectious disease treatment and control in Cambodia and South-East Asia.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of liberal fluid resuscitation of adults with severe malaria. DESIGN, Setting, Patients, and Methods:: Twenty-eight Bangladeshi and Indian adults with severe falciparum malaria received crystalloid resuscitation guided by transpulmonary thermodilution (PiCCO) in an intensive care setting. Systemic hemodynamics, microvascular indices and measures of acidosis, renal function, and pulmonary edema were followed prospectively. Results: All patients were hypovolemic (global end-diastolic volume index < 680 mL/m) on enrollment. Patients received a median (range) 3230 mL (390-7300) of isotonic saline in the first 6 hours and 5450 mL (710-13,720) in the first 24 hours. With resuscitation, acid-base status deteriorated in 19 of 28 (68%), and there was no significant improvement in renal function. Extravascular lung water increased in 17 of 22 liberally resuscitated patients (77%); eight of these patients developed pulmonary edema, five of whom died. All other patients survived. All patients with pulmonary edema during the study were hypovolemic or euvolemic at the time pulmonary edema developed. Plasma lactate was lower in hypovolemic patients before (rs = 0.38; p = 0.05) and after (rs = 0.49; p = 0.01) resuscitation but was the strongest predictor of mortality before (chi-square = 9.9; p = 0.002) and after resuscitation (chi-square = 11.1; p < 0.001) and correlated with the degree of visualized microvascular sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes at both time points (rs = 0.55; p = 0.003 and rs = 0.43; p = 0.03, respectively). Persisting sequestration was evident in 7 of 15 patients (47%) 48 hours after enrollment. Conclusions: Lactic acidosis-the strongest prognostic indicator in adults with severe falciparum malaria-results from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation, not from hypovolemia. Liberal fluid resuscitation has little effect on this sequestration and does not improve acid-base status or renal function. Pulmonary edema-secondary to increased pulmonary vascular permeability-is common, unpredictable, and exacerbated by fluid loading. Liberal fluid replacement of adults with severe malaria should be avoided. © 2013 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Internationally, calls for feedback of findings to be made an 'ethical imperative' or mandatory have been met with both strong support and opposition. Challenges include differences in issues by type of study and context, disentangling between aggregate and individual study results, and inadequate empirical evidence on which to draw. In this paper we present data from observations and interviews with key stakeholders involved in feeding back aggregate study findings for two Phase II malaria vaccine trials among children under the age of 5 years old on the Kenyan Coast. In our setting, feeding back of aggregate findings was an appreciated set of activities. The inclusion of individual results was important from the point of view of both participants and researchers, to reassure participants of trial safety, and to ensure that positive results were not over-interpreted and that individual level issues around blinding and control were clarified. Feedback sessions also offered an opportunity to re-evaluate and re-negotiate trial relationships and benefits, with potentially important implications for perceptions of and involvement in follow-up work for the trials and in future research. We found that feedback of findings is a complex but key step in a continuing set of social interactions between community members and research staff (particularly field staff who work at the interface with communities), and among community members themselves; a step which needs careful planning from the outset. We agree with others that individual and aggregate results need to be considered separately, and that for individual results, both the nature and value of the information, and the context, including social relationships, need to be taken into account. Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
The Lancet infectious diseases, 13 (2), pp. 175-181. | Citations: 50 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2013. Primaquine to prevent transmission of falciparum malaria.
Falciparum malaria is transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes that have fed on blood containing gametocytes of Plasmodium falciparum. In areas of low malaria transmission, where symptomatic infections contribute substantially to malaria transmission, the use of gametocytocidal drugs reduces the incidence of malaria. Artemisinin-based combination therapies provide high cure rates and substantially reduce gametocyte carriage. Artemisinin resistance in P falciparum lessens overall gametocytocidal activity, which provides a selective pressure to the spread of these resistant parasites. The 8-aminoquinoline compounds possess unique gametocytocidal properties and rapidly sterilise the mature transmissible stages of P falciparum. The addition of one dose of primaquine to artemisinin-based combination regimens could help to counter the spread of artemisinin resistance. Although primaquine is commonly recommended for falciparum and vivax malaria, concerns about drug-related haemolysis frequently prevent its administration. The limited available evidence on transmission-blocking effects of primaquine and its forerunner plasmoquine suggests that doses lower than currently recommended (0.50-0.75 mg base per kg), which would be safer, might still be very effective. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Despite inadequacy in preventing vivax malaria after travel, suppressive chemoprophylaxis has dominated travel medicine strategy since the advent of chloroquine in 1946. The lethal threat of falciparum malaria versus the perceived benign consequence of vivax malaria underpins this strategic posture. Recent evidence demonstrating vivax malaria as often pernicious should prompt reconsideration of that posture. Causal prophylaxis kills early developing forms of plasmodia in the liver, thus preventing attacks of falciparum and vivax malaria during travel and delayed onset vivax malaria following travel. Primaquine is the only available drug for this application, and has good evidence of safety, tolerability and efficacy in non-pregnant, G6PD-normal travelers. The primaquine label, however, carries no such indication. Risk of pernicious vivax malaria from all across the endemic regions of the globe, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, should raise consideration of daily primaquine during travel as the preferred front-line option for chemoprophylaxis against malaria in travelers.
Human mobility plays an important role in the dissemination of malaria parasites between regions of variable transmission intensity. Asymptomatic individuals can unknowingly carry parasites to regions where mosquito vectors are available, for example, undermining control programs and contributing to transmission when they travel. Understanding how parasites are imported between regions in this way is therefore an important goal for elimination planning and the control of transmission, and would enable control programs to target the principal sources of malaria. Measuring human mobility has traditionally been difficult to do on a population scale, but the widespread adoption of mobile phones in low-income settings presents a unique opportunity to directly measure human movements that are relevant to the spread of malaria. Here, we discuss the opportunities for measuring human mobility using data from mobile phones, as well as some of the issues associated with combining mobility estimates with malaria infection risk maps to meaningfully estimate routes of parasite importation.
Journal of Infection, 66 (5), pp. 461-464. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more2013. First report of human psittacosis in Vietnam
Background: The efficacy of RTS,S/AS01 as a vaccine for malaria is being tested in a phase 3 clinical trial. Early results show significant, albeit partial, protection against clinical malaria and severe malaria. To ascertain variations in vaccine efficacy according to covariates such as transmission intensity, choice of adjuvant, age at vaccination, and bednet use, we did an individual-participant pooled analysis of phase 2 clinical data. Methods: We analysed data from 11 different sites in Africa, including 4453 participants. We measured heterogeneity in vaccine efficacy by estimating the interactions between covariates and vaccination in pooled multivariable Cox regression and Poisson regression analyses. Endpoints for measurement of vaccine efficacy were infection, clinical malaria, severe malaria, and death. We defined transmission intensity levels according to the estimated local parasite prevalence in children aged 2-10 years (PrP 2-10 ), ranging from 5% to 80%. Choice of adjuvant was either AS01 or AS02. Findings: Vaccine efficacy against all episodes of clinical malaria varied by transmission intensity (p=0·001). At low transmission (PrP 2-10 10%) vaccine efficacy was 60% (95% CI 54 to 67), at moderate transmission (PrP 2-10 20%) it was 41% (21 to 57), and at high transmission (PrP 2-10 70%) the efficacy was 4% (-10 to 22). Vaccine efficacy also varied by adjuvant choice (p < 0·0001)-eg, at low transmission (PrP 2-10 10%), efficacy varied from 60% (95% CI 54 to 67) for AS01 to 47% (14 to 75) for AS02. Variations in efficacy by age at vaccination were of borderline significance (p=0·038), and bednet use and sex were not significant covariates. Vaccine efficacy (pooled across adjuvant choice and transmission intensity) varied significantly (p < 0·0001) according to time since vaccination, from 36% efficacy (95% CI 24 to 45) at time of vaccination to 0% (-38 to 38) after 3 years. Interpretation: Vaccine efficacy against clinical disease was of limited duration and was not detectable 3 years after vaccination. Furthermore, efficacy fell with increasing transmission intensity. Outcomes after vaccination cannot be gauged accurately on the basis of one pooled efficacy figure. However, predictions of public-health outcomes of vaccination will need to take account of variations in efficacy by transmission intensity and by time since vaccination. Funding: Medical Research Council (UK); Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Vaccine Modelling Initiative; Wellcome Trust. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy (MiP) is a major public health problem in endemic areas of sub-Saharan Africa and has important consequences on birth outcome. Because MiP is a complex phenomenon and malaria epidemiology is rapidly changing, additional evidence is still required to understand how best to control malaria. This study followed a prospective cohort of pregnant women who had access to intensive malaria screening and prompt treatment to identify factors associated with increased risk of MiP and to analyse how various characteristics of MiP affect delivery outcomes. METHODS: Between October 2006 and May 2009, 1,218 pregnant women were enrolled in a prospective cohort. After an initial assessment, they were screened weekly for malaria. At delivery, blood smears were obtained from the mother, placenta, cord and newborn. Multivariate analyses were performed to analyse the association between mothers' characteristics and malaria risk, as well as between MiP and birth outcome, length and weight at birth. This study is a secondary analysis of a trial registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00495508. RESULTS: Overall, 288/1,069 (27%) mothers had 345 peripheral malaria infections. The risk of peripheral malaria was higher in mothers who were younger, infected with HIV, had less education, lived in rural areas or reported no bed net use, whereas the risk of placental infection was associated with more frequent malaria infections and with infection during late pregnancy. The risk of pre-term delivery and of miscarriage was increased in mothers infected with HIV, living in rural areas and with MiP occurring within two weeks of delivery.In adjusted analysis, birth weight but not length was reduced in babies of mothers exposed to MiP (-60 g, 95%CI: -120 to 0 for at least one infection and -150 g, 95%CI: -280 to -20 for >1 infections). CONCLUSIONS: In this study, the timing, parasitaemia level and number of peripherally-detected malaria infections, but not the presence of fever, were associated with adverse birth outcomes. Hence, prompt malaria detection and treatment should be offered to pregnant women regardless of symptoms or other preventive measures used during pregnancy, and with increased focus on mothers living in remote areas.
BACKGROUND: There are very few drugs that prevent the relapse of Plasmodium vivax malaria in man. Tinidazole is a 5-nitroimidazole approved in the USA for the treatment of indications including amoebiasis and giardiasis. In the non-human primate relapsing Plasmodium cynomolgi/macaque malaria model, tinidazole cured one of six macaques studied with an apparent mild delay to relapse in the other five of 14-28 days compared to 11-12 days in controls. One study has demonstrated activity against P. vivax in man. Presented here are the results of a pilot phase II, randomized, open-label study conducted along the Thai-Myanmar border designed to evaluate the efficacy of tinidazole to prevent relapse of P. vivax when administered with chloroquine. METHODS: This study utilized a modified triangular test sequential analysis which allows repeated statistical evaluation during the course of enrolment while maintaining a specified power and type 1 error and minimizing recruitment of subjects. Enrolment was to be halted when a pre-specified success/failure ratio was surpassed. The study was designed to have a 5% type 1 error and 90% power to show whether tinidazole would produce a relapse rate of less than 20% or greater than 45% through Day 63 of weekly follow-up after initiation of treatment and initial parasite clearance with 3 days of an oral weight based dosing of chloroquine and five days of 2 grams/day of tinidazole. RESULTS: All subjects cleared their parasitaemia by Day 3. Six of the first seven subjects treated with tinidazole relapsed prior to Day 63 (average Day 48.3 (range 42-56)). This exceeded the upper boundary of the triangular test and enrolment to receive tinidazole was halted. A concurrent cohort of five subjects definitively treated with standard doses of primaquine and chloroquine (historically 100% effective) showed no episodes of recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia during the 63-day protocol specified follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: Tinidazole is ineffective in preventing relapse of P. vivax at the dose used. The macaque relapsing model appeared to correctly predict outcome in humans. Use of the modified triangular test allowed minimal enrolment and limited unnecessary exposure to the study drug and reduced costs. This adds weight to the ethical and economic advantages of this study design to evaluate similarly situated drugs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00811096.
Resistance to artemisinin casts a shadow on the fight against malaria. The importance of illegal gold miners and of malaria in isolated regions of French Guiana constitutes a threat that endangers the fight against malaria in the Amazon. The hurdles of French laws and the remoteness of the territory from France make it impossible for the system to adapt to the problem of total inaccessibility of an important part of the malaria problem. Transmission is high in these areas and gold miners self-medicate with erratic regimens of artemisinin combinations, thus creating perfect conditions for the emergence of resistance. What needs to be done is being done, but within the limits of national law, with some results. However, facing the same difficult problem, Suriname shows more flexibility and is doing much better than French Guiana despite having lower resources. Local authorities in French Guiana cannot overrule the laws that block appropriate malaria care from reaching a third of malaria-exposed persons. Thus the health authorities in France should take immediate calibrated legislative and financial measures to avoid a predictable disaster.
PLoS Med, 10 (5), pp. e1001429. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Providing impetus, tools, and guidance to strengthen national capacity for antimicrobial stewardship in Viet Nam.
BACKGROUND: There are a number of practical and ethical issues raised in school-based health research, particularly those related to obtaining consent from parents and assent from children. One approach to developing, strengthening, and supporting appropriate consent and assent processes is through community engagement. To date, much of the literature on community engagement in biomedical research has concentrated on community- or hospital-based research, with little documentation, if any, of community engagement in school-based health research. In this paper we discuss our experiences of consent, assent and community engagement in implementing a large school-based cluster randomized trial in rural Kenya. METHODS: Data collected as part of a qualitative study investigating the acceptability of the main trial, focus group discussions with field staff, observations of practice and authors' experiences are used to: 1) highlight the challenges faced in obtaining assent/consent; and 2) strategies taken to try to both protect participant rights (including to refuse and to withdraw) and ensure the success of the trial. RESULTS: Early meetings with national, district and local level stakeholders were important in establishing their co-operation and support for the project. Despite this support, both practical and ethical challenges were encountered during consenting and assenting procedures. Our strategy for addressing these challenges focused on improving communication and understanding of the trial, and maintaining dialogue with all the relevant stakeholders throughout the study period. CONCLUSIONS: A range of stakeholders within and beyond schools play a key role in school based health trials. Community entry and information dissemination strategies need careful planning from the outset, and with on-going consultation and feedback mechanisms established in order to identify and address concerns as they arise. We believe our experiences, and the ethical and practical issues and dilemmas encountered, will be of interest for others planning to conduct school-based research in Africa. TRIAL REGISTRATION: National Institute of Health NCT00878007.
BACKGROUND: Historical evidence of the levels of intervention scale up and its relationships to changing malaria risks provides important contextual information for current ambitions to eliminate malaria in various regions of Africa today. METHODS: Community-based Plasmodium falciparum prevalence data from 3,260 geo-coded time-space locations between 1969 and 1992 were assembled from archives covering an examination of 230,174 individuals located in northern Namibia. These data were standardized the age-range 2 to less than 10 years and used within a Bayesian model-based geo-statistical framework to examine the changes of malaria risk in the years 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984 and 1989 at 5×5 km spatial resolution. This changing risk was described against rainfall seasons and the wide-scale use of indoor-residual house-spraying and mass drug administration. RESULTS: Most areas of Northern Namibia experienced low intensity transmission during a ten-year period of wide-scale control activities between 1969 and 1979. As control efforts waned, flooding occurred, drug resistance emerged and the war for independence intensified the spatial extent of moderate-to-high malaria transmission expanded reaching a peak in the late 1980s. CONCLUSIONS: Targeting vectors and parasite in northern Namibia was likely to have successfully sustained a situation of low intensity transmission, but unraveled quickly to a peak of transmission intensity following a sequence of events by the early 1990s.
INTRODUCTION: The last few years have witnessed rapid scaling-up of key malaria interventions in several African countries following increases in development assistance. However, there is only limited country-specific information on the health impact of expanded coverage of these interventions. METHODS: Paediatric admission data were assembled from 4 hospitals in Malawi reflecting different malaria ecologies. Trends in monthly clinical malaria admissions between January 2000 and December 2010 were analysed using time-series models controlling for covariates related to climate and service use to establish whether changes in admissions can be related to expanded coverage of interventions aimed at reducing malaria infection. RESULTS: In 3 of 4 sites there was an increase in clinical malaria admission rates. Results from time series models indicate a significant month-to-month increase in the mean clinical malaria admission rates at two hospitals (trend P<0.05). At these hospitals clinical malaria admissions had increased from 2000 by 41% to 100%. Comparison of changes in malaria risk and ITN coverage appear to correspond to a lack of disease declines over the period. Changes in intervention coverage within hospital catchments showed minimal increases in ITN coverage from <6% across all sites in 2000 to maximum of 33% at one hospital site by 2010. Additionally, malaria transmission intensity remained unchanged between 2000-2010 across all sites. DISCUSSION: Despite modest increases in coverage of measures to reduce infection there has been minimal changes in paediatric clinical malaria cases in four hospitals in Malawi. Studies across Africa are increasingly showing a mixed set of impact results and it is important to assemble more data from more sites to understand the wider implications of malaria funding investment. We also caution that impact surveillance should continue in areas where intervention coverage is increasing with time, for example Malawi, as decline may become evident within a period when coverage reaches optimal levels.
Vaccination with the pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine RTS,S induces high levels of antibodies and CD4(+) T cells specific for the circumsporozoite protein (CSP). Using a biologically-motivated mathematical model of sporozoite infection fitted to data from malaria-naive adults vaccinated with RTS,S and subjected to experimental P. falciparum challenge, we characterised the relationship between antibodies, CD4(+) T cell responses and protection from infection. Both anti-CSP antibody titres and CSP-specific CD4(+) T cells were identified as immunological surrogates of protection, with RTS,S induced anti-CSP antibodies estimated to prevent 32% (95% confidence interval (CI) 24%-41%) of infections. The addition of RTS,S-induced CSP-specific CD4(+) T cells was estimated to increase vaccine efficacy against infection to 40% (95% CI, 34%-48%). This protective efficacy is estimated to result from a 96.1% (95% CI, 93.4%-97.8%) reduction in the liver-to-blood parasite inoculum, indicating that in volunteers who developed P. falciparum infection, a small number of parasites (often the progeny of a single surviving sporozoite) are responsible for breakthrough blood-stage infections.
Trends Parasitol, 29 (8), pp. 359-360. | Citations: 29 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. Artemisinin resistance is a clear and present danger.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 44 (2), pp. 179-181. | Show Abstract2013. Aedes aegypti (L.) survival after exposure to ivermectin.
Ivermectin has been shown in in vitro studies to have insecticidal properties against Aedes aegypti adults. This study aimed to assess these properties in vivo. Aedes aegypti survival was not affected by acquiring a blood meal from humans both 5 hours and 24 hours after ingestion of a typical dose of ivermectin.
Objectives: For the purpose of blocking transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria from humans to mosquitoes, a single dose of primaquine is recommended by theWHO as an addition to artemisinin combination therapy. Primaquine clears gametocytes but causes dose-dependent haemolysis in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Evidence is needed to inform the optimal dosing of primaquine for malaria elimination programmes and for the purpose of interrupting the spread of artemisininresistant malaria. This study investigates the efficacy and safety of reducing doses of primaquine for clearance of gametocytes in participants with normal G6PD status. Methods and analysis: In this prospective, fourarmed randomised placebo-controlled double-blinded trial, children aged 1-10 years, weighing over 10 kg, with haemoglobin ≥8 g/dl and uncomplicated P falciparum malaria are treated with artemether lumefantrine and randomised to receive a dose of primaquine (0.1, 0.4 or 0.75 mg base/kg) or placebo on the third day of treatment. Participants are followed up for 28 days. Gametocytaemia is measured by quantitative nucleic acid sequence-based analysis on days 0, 2, 3, 7, 10 and 14 with a primary endpoint of the number of days to gametocyte clearance in each treatment arm and secondarily the area under the curve of gametocyte density over time. Analysis is for non-inferiority of efficacy compared to the reference dose, 0.75 mg base/kg. Safety is assessed by pair-wise comparisons of the arithmetic mean (±SD) change in haemoglobin concentration per treatment arm and analysed for superiority to placebo and incidence of adverse events. Ethics and dissemination Approval was obtained from the ethical committees of Makerere University School of Medicine, the Ugandan National Council of Science and Technology and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Results: These will be disseminated to inform malaria elimination policy, through peer-reviewed publication and academic presentations.
Objective: To describe changes in reported influenza activity associated with the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in European countries and determine whether there is a correlation between these changes and completeness of national strategic pandemic preparedness. Design: A retrospective correlational study. Setting: Countries were included if their national strategic plans had previously been analysed and if weekly influenza-like illness (ILI) data from sentinel networks between week 21, 2006 and week 20, 2010 were more than 50% complete. Outcome measures: For each country we calculated three outcomes: the percentage change in ILI peak height during the pandemic relative to the prepandemic mean; the timing of the ILI peak and the percentage change in total cases relative to the prepandemic mean. Correlations between these outcomes and completeness of a country's national strategic pandemic preparedness plan were assessed using the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient. Results: Nineteen countries were included. The ILI peak occurred earlier than the mean seasonal peak in 17 countries. In 14 countries the pandemic peak was higher than the seasonal peak, though the difference was large only in Norway, the UK and Greece. Nine countries experienced more total ILI cases during the pandemic compared with the mean for prepandemic years. Five countries experienced two distinct pandemic peaks. There was no clear pattern of correlation between overall completeness of national strategic plans and pandemic influenza outcome measures and no evidence of association between these outcomes and components of pandemic plans that might plausibly affect influenza outcomes ( public health interventions, vaccination, antiviral use, public communication). Amongst the 17 countries with a clear pandemic peak, only the correlation between planning for essential services and change in total ILI cases significantly differed from zero: correlation coefficient (95% CI) 0.50 (0.02, 0.79). Conclusions: The diversity of pandemic influenza outcomes across Europe is not explained by the marked variation in the completeness of pandemic plans.
PURPOSE: There are only a few studies of incidence of epilepsy in low and middle income countries (LMICs). These are often small and conducted in specific age groups or areas where the prevalence of risk factors is high; therefore, these studies are not representative of the wider populations. We determined the incidence of convulsive epilepsy (CE) in a large rural population in Kenya. METHODS: We conducted two cross-sectional surveys 5 years apart within a health and demographic surveillance system. Initially we identified residents without epilepsy who were then reexamined in the follow-up survey to determine incidence. We estimated the overall incidence of CE and incidence by age-group, sex, and by administrative location. Estimates were adjusted for attrition during case identification and for the sensitivity of the screening method. KEY FINDINGS: In a cohort of 151,408 people, 194 developed CE over the 5 years. The minimum crude incidence rate was 37.6/100,000 persons per year (95% confidence interval (CI) 32.7-43.3) and adjusted for loss to follow-up, and the sensitivity of the survey methodology was 77.0/100,000 persons per year (95% CI 67.7-87.4). Incidence was highest in children 6-12 years (96.1/100,000 persons per year; 95% CI 78.4-117.9), and was lowest in the 29-49 year age group (37.4/100,000 persons per year; 95% CI 25.7-54.7). SIGNIFICANCE: We estimated a high incidence of convulsive epilepsy in this population. Incidence was highest early and late in life, suggesting that preventive interventions should target exposures that occur in these age groups. Incidence of focal epilepsy was more than twice that of generalized epilepsy, suggesting that etiologies that are amenable to intervention were most important in this population. It is likely that incidence is underestimated because of the early mortality of incident cases.
Acute central nervous system (CNS) infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality, but the etiology remains unknown in a large proportion of cases. We identified and characterized the full genome of a novel cyclovirus (tentatively named cyclovirus-Vietnam [CyCV-VN]) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens of two Vietnamese patients with CNS infections of unknown etiology. CyCV-VN was subsequently detected in 4% of 642 CSF specimens from Vietnamese patients with suspected CNS infections and none of 122 CSFs from patients with noninfectious neurological disorders. Detection rates were similar in patients with CNS infections of unknown etiology and those in whom other pathogens were detected. A similar detection rate in feces from healthy children suggested food-borne or orofecal transmission routes, while high detection rates in feces from pigs and poultry (average, 58%) suggested the existence of animal reservoirs for such transmission. Further research is needed to address the epidemiology and pathogenicity of this novel, potentially zoonotic virus.
White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the brain are important markers of aging and small-vessel disease. WMHs are rare in healthy children and, when observed, often occur with comorbid neuroinflammatory or vasculitic processes. Here, we describe a complex 4 kb deletion in 2q36.3 that segregates with early childhood communication disorders and WMH in 15 unrelated families predominantly from Southeast Asia. The premature brain aging phenotype with punctate and multifocal WMHs was observed in ~70% of young carrier parents who underwent brain MRI. The complex deletion removes the penultimate exon 3 of TM4SF20, a gene encoding a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Minigene analysis showed that the resultant net loss of an exon introduces a premature stop codon, which, in turn, leads to the generation of a stable protein that fails to target to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm. Finally, we report this deletion to be enriched in individuals of Vietnamese Kinh descent, with an allele frequency of about 1%, embedded in an ancestral haplotype. Our data point to a constellation of early language delay and WMH phenotypes, driven by a likely toxic mechanism of TM4SF20 truncation, and highlight the importance of understanding and managing population-specific low-frequency pathogenic alleles.
The periodicity of vivax malaria relapses may be explained by the activation of latent hypnozoites acquired from a previous malarial infection. The activation stimulus could be the febrile illness associated with acute malaria or a different febrile infection. We review historical records to examine the association between relapses of Plasmodium vivax and febrile infectious diseases. In data from British soldiers in Palestine, epidemic falciparum malaria triggered a smaller epidemic of P vivax relapses only in those who had been extensively exposed to malaria previously. Relapses did not follow pandemic influenza infection. Evidence from three simultaneous typhoid and malaria epidemics suggest that typhoid fever might activate P vivax hypnozoites. Some data lend support to the notion that vivax malaria relapse followed febrile illness caused by relapsing fever, trench fever, epidemic typhus, and Malta fever (brucellosis). These observations suggest that systemic parasitic and bacterial infections, but not viral infections, can activate P vivax hypnozoites. Specific components of the host's acute febrile inflammatory response, and not fever alone, are probably important factors in the provocation of a relapse of vivax malaria.
N Engl J Med, 368 (24), pp. 2330-2331. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Daily chlorhexidine bathing and hospital-acquired infection.
N Engl J Med, 368 (26), pp. 2522-2523. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Combination antifungal therapy for cryptococcal meningitis.
BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) culture by World Health Organisation (WHO) methodology underestimates multiple pneumococcal serotype colonisation compared to a simple culture and latex sweep method. The impacts of this on descriptions of pneumococcal serotype distributions and colonisation dynamics in infancy are not clear. METHODS: 8,736 NPS collected from infants enrolled into a longitudinal study were processed to evaluate the field utility of the latex sweep method. 1,107 had previously been cultured by WHO methodology. Additionally, colonisation results were compared in 100 matched pairs of infants, where swabs from an individual were cultured either by WHO or latex sweep method. RESULTS: In 1,107 swabs cultured by both methods, the latex sweep method was three times more likely to detect colonisation with multiple pneumococcal serotypes than the WHO method (p<0.001). At least one common serotype was identified in 91.2% of swabs from which typeable pneumococci were detected by both methods. Agreement improved with increasing colonisation density (p = 0.03). Estimates of age at first pneumococcal acquisition and colonisation duration were not affected by culture/serotyping method. However, a greater number of serotype carriage episodes were detected in infants cultured by latex sweep (p = 0.03). The overall rate of non-vaccine type pneumococcal acquisition was also greater in infants cultured by latex sweep (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Latex sweep serotyping was feasible to perform on a large specimen collection. Multiple serotype colonisation detection was significantly improved compared with WHO methodology. However, use of the latex sweep method is unlikely to significantly alter colonisation study serotype distribution or colonisation dynamics results.
Phylogenetic analyses of 169 influenza A(H5N1) virus genomes were conducted for samples collected through active surveillance and outbreak responses in Vietnam between September 2010 and September 2012. While clade 1.1 viruses persisted in southern regions, three genetically distinct subgroups of clade 220.127.116.11 were found in northern and central Vietnam. The identification of each subgroup corresponded with detection of novel reassortants, likely due to their overlapping circulation throughout the country. While the previously identified clade 1.1 and A/Hubei/1/2010-like 18.104.22.168 genotypes remained the predominant viruses detected, four viruses were found to be reassortants between A/Hubei/1/2010-like (HA, NA, PB2, PB1, PA, NP) and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like (M, NS) viruses and one virus was identified as having A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like HA, NA, PB1, and NP with A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA genes. Additionally, clade 22.214.171.124 A/Hong Kong/6841/2010-like viruses, first detected in mid-2012, were identified as reassortants comprised of A/Hubei/1/2010-like PB2 and PA and A/duck/Vietnam/NCVD-885/2010-like PB1, NP, NA, M, NS genes.
BACKGROUND: Although malnutrition affects thousands of children throughout the Sahel each year and predisposes them to infections, there is little data on the etiology of infections in these populations. We present a clinical and biological characterization of infections in hospitalized children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in Maradi, Niger. METHODS: Children with complicated SAM hospitalized in the intensive care unit of a therapeutic feeding center, with no antibiotics in the previous 7 days, were included. A clinical examination, blood, urine and stool cultures, and chest radiography were performed systematically on admission. RESULTS: Among the 311 children included in the study, gastroenteritis was the most frequent clinical diagnosis on admission, followed by respiratory tract infections and malaria. Blood or urine culture was positive in 17% and 16% of cases, respectively, and 36% had abnormal chest radiography. Enterobacteria were sensitive to most antibiotics, except amoxicillin and cotrimoxazole. Twenty-nine (9%) children died, most frequently from sepsis. Clinical signs were poor indicators of infection and initial diagnoses correlated poorly with biologically or radiography-confirmed diagnoses. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm the high level of infections and poor correlation with clinical signs in children with complicated SAM, and provide antibiotic resistance profiles from an area with limited microbiological data. These results contribute unique data to the ongoing debate on the use and choice of broad-spectrum antibiotics as first-line treatment in children with complicated SAM and reinforce the call for an update of international guidelines on management of complicated SAM based on more recent data.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the role of spatial proximity, defined as patients sharing bays, in the spread of norovirus during outbreaks in hospitals. DESIGN: Enhanced surveillance of norovirus outbreaks between November 2009 and November 2011. METHODS: Data were gathered during 149 outbreaks of norovirus in hospital wards from five hospitals in two major cities in England serving a population of two million. We used the time between the first two cases of each outbreak to estimate the serial interval for norovirus in this setting. This distribution and dates of illness onset were used to calculate epidemic trees for each outbreak. We then used a permutation test to assess whether proximity, for all outbreaks, was more extreme than would be expected by chance under the null hypothesis that proximity was not associated with transmission risk. RESULTS: 65 outbreaks contained complete data on both onset dates and ward position. We estimated the serial interval to be 1.86 days (95% CI 1.6 to 2.2 days), and with this value found strong evidence to reject the null hypothesis that proximity was not significant (p<0.001). Sensitivity analysis using different values of the serial interval showed that there was evidence to reject the null hypothesis provided the assumed serial interval was less than 2.5 days. CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide evidence that patients occupying the same bay as patients with symptomatic norovirus infection are at an increased risk of becoming infected by these patients compared with patients elsewhere in the same ward.
BACKGROUND: Depression is common and is associated with poor outcomes among elderly care-home residents. Exercise is a promising low-risk intervention for depression in this population. We tested the hypothesis that a moderate intensity exercise programme would reduce the burden of depressive symptoms in residents of care homes. METHODS: We did a cluster-randomised controlled trial in care homes in two regions in England; northeast London, and Coventry and Warwickshire. Residents aged 65 years or older were eligible for inclusion. A statistician independent of the study randomised each home (1 to 1·5 ratio, stratified by location, minimised by type of home provider [local authority, voluntary, private and care home, private and nursing home] and size of home [<32 or ≥32 residents]) into intervention and control groups. The intervention package included depression awareness training for care-home staff, 45 min physiotherapist-led group exercise sessions for residents (delivered twice weekly), and a whole home component designed to encourage more physical activity in daily life. The control consisted of only the depression awareness training. Researchers collecting follow-up data from individual participants and the participants themselves were inevitably aware of home randomisation because of the physiotherapists' activities within the home. A researcher masked to study allocation coded NHS routine data. The primary outcome was number of depressive symptoms on the geriatric depression scale-15 (GDS-15). Follow-up was for 12 months. This trial is registered with ISRCTN Register, number ISRCTN43769277. FINDINGS: Care homes were randomised between Dec 15, 2008, and April 9, 2010. At randomisation, 891 individuals in 78 care homes (35 intervention, 43 control) had provided baseline data. We delivered 3191 group exercise sessions attended on average by five study participants and five non-study residents. Of residents with a GDS-15 score, 374 of 765 (49%) were depressed at baseline; 484 of 765 (63%) provided 12 month follow-up scores. Overall the GDS-15 score was 0·13 (95% CI -0·33 to 0·60) points higher (worse) at 12 months for the intervention group compared with the control group. Among residents depressed at baseline, GDS-15 score was 0·22 (95% CI -0·52 to 0·95) points higher at 6 months in the intervention group than in the control group. In an end of study cross-sectional analysis, including 132 additional residents joining after randomisation, the odds of being depressed were 0·76 (95% CI 0·53 to 1·09) for the intervention group compared with the control group. INTERPRETATION: This moderately intense exercise programme did not reduce depressive symptoms in residents of care homes. In this frail population, alternative strategies to manage psychological symptoms are required. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment.
Acquired immunity to Plasmodium falciparum infection causes a change from frequent, sometimes life-threatening, malaria in young children to asymptomatic, chronic infections in older children and adults. Little is known about how this transition occurs but antibodies to the extremely diverse PfEMP1 parasite antigens are thought to play a role. PfEMP1 is encoded by a family of 60 var genes that undergo clonal antigenic variation, potentially creating an antigenically heterogeneous infecting population of parasites within the host. Previous theoretical work suggests that antibodies to PfEMP1 may play a role in "orchestrating" their expression within infections leading to sequential, homogeneous expression of var genes, and prolonged infection chronicity. Here, using a cloning and sequencing approach we compare the var expression homogeneity (VEH) between isolates from children with asymptomatic and clinical infections. We show that asymptomatic infections have higher VEH than clinical infections and a broader host antibody response. We discuss this in relation to the potential role of host antibodies in promoting chronicity of infection and parasite survival through the low transmission season.
The analysis of in vitro anti-malarial drug susceptibility testing is vulnerable to the effects of different statistical approaches and selection biases. These confounding factors were assessed with respect to pfmdr1 gene mutation and amplification in 490 clinical isolates. Two statistical approaches for estimating the drug concentration associated with 50% effect (EC50 ) were compared: the commonly used standard two-stage (STS) method, and nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. The in vitro concentration-effect relationships for, chloroquine, mefloquine, lumefantrine and artesunate, were derived from clinical isolates obtained from patients on the western border of Thailand. All isolates were genotyped for polymorphisms in the pfmdr1 gene. The EC50 estimates were similar for the two statistical approaches but 15-28% of isolates in the STS method had a high coefficient of variation (>15%) for individual estimates of EC50 and these isolates had EC50 values that were 32 to 66% higher than isolates derived with more precision. In total 41% (202/490) of isolates had amplification of pfmdr1 and single nucleotide polymorphisms were found in 50 (10%). Pfmdr1 amplification was associated with an increase in EC50 for mefloquine (139% relative increase in EC50 for 2 copies, 188% for 3+ copies), lumefantrine (82% and 75% for 2 and 3+ copies respectively) and artesunate (63% and 127% for 2 and 3+ copies respectively). In contrast pfmdr1 mutation at codons 86 or 1042 were associated with an increase in chloroquine EC50 (44-48%). Sample size calculations showed that to demonstrate an EC50 shift of 50% or more with 80% power if the prevalence was 10% would require 430 isolates and 245 isolates if the prevalence was 20%. In conclusion, although nonlinear mixed-effects modelling did not demonstrate any major advantage for determining estimates of anti-malarial drug susceptibility, the method includes all isolates, thereby, potentially improving confirmation of candidate molecular markers of anti-malarial drug susceptibility.
BACKGROUND: Decreased nitric oxide (NO) and hypoargininemia are associated with severe falciparum malaria and may contribute to severe disease. Intravenous L-arginine increases endothelial NO in moderately-severe malaria (MSM) without adverse effects. The safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of L-arginine or other agents to improve NO bioavailability in severe malaria have not been assessed. METHODS: In an open-label pilot study of L-arginine in adults with severe malaria (ARGISM-1 Study), patients were randomized to 12 g L-arginine hydrochloride or saline over 8 hours together with intravenous artesunate. Vital signs, selected biochemical measures (including blood lactate and L-arginine) and endothelial NO bioavailability (using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry [RH-PAT]) were assessed serially. Pharmacokinetic analyses of L-arginine concentrations were performed using NONMEM. RESULTS: Six patients received L-arginine and two saline infusions. There were no deaths in either group. There were no changes in mean systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) or other vital signs with L-arginine, although a transient but clinically unimportant mean maximal decrease in SBP of 14 mmHg was noted. No significant changes in mean potassium, glucose, bicarbonate, or pH were seen, with transient mean maximal increases in plasma potassium of 0.3 mmol/L, and mean maximal decreases in blood glucose of 0.8 mmol/L and bicarbonate of 2.3 mEq/L following L-arginine administration. There was no effect on lactate clearance or RH-PAT index. Pharmacokinetic modelling (n = 4) showed L-arginine concentrations 40% lower than predicted from models developed in MSM. CONCLUSION: In the first clinical trial of an adjunctive treatment aimed at increasing NO bioavailability in severe malaria, L-arginine infused at 12 g over 8 hours was safe, but did not improve lactate clearance or endothelial NO bioavailability. Future studies may require increased doses of L-arginine. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00616304.
BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of acute measles encephalitis (AME) is poorly understood. Treatment with immune-modulators is based on theories that post-infectious autoimmune responses cause demyelination. The clinical course and immunological parameters of AME were examined during an outbreak in Vietnam. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Fifteen measles IgM-positive patients with confusion or Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score below 13, and thirteen with uncomplicated measles were enrolled from 2008-2010. Standardized clinical exams were performed and blood collected for lymphocyte and measles- and auto-antibody analysis. The median age of AME patients was 21 years, similar to controls. Eleven reported receiving measles vaccination when aged one year. Confusion developed a median of 4 days after rash. Six patients had GCS <8 and four required mechanical ventilation. CSF showed pleocytosis (64%) and proteinorrhachia (71%) but measles virus RNA was not detected. MRI revealed bilateral lesions in the cerebellum and brain stem in some patients. Most received dexamethasone +/- IVIG within 4 days of admission but symptoms persisted for ≥3 weeks in five. The concentration of voltage gated calcium channel-complex-reactive antibodies was 900 pM in one patient, and declined to 609 pM ∼ 3 months later. Measles-reactive IgG antibody avidity was high in AME patients born after vaccine coverage exceeded 50% (∼ 25 years earlier). AME patients had low CD4 (218/µl, p = 0.029) and CD8 (200/µl, p = 0.012) T-cell counts compared to controls. CONCLUSION: Young adults presenting with AME in Vietnam reported a history of one prior measles immunization, and those aged <25 years had high measles-reactive IgG avidity indicative of prior vaccination. This suggests that one-dose measles immunization is not sufficient to prevent AME in young adults and reinforces the importance of maintaining high coverage with a two-dose measles immunization schedule. Treatment with corticosteroids and IVIG is common practice, and should be assessed in randomized clinical trials.
BACKGROUND: A third of all deaths in children aged <5 years occur in the neonatal period. Neonatal intensive care is often considered too complex and expensive to be implemented in resource poor settings. Consequently the reductions that have been made in infant mortality in the poorest countries have not been made in the neonatal period. This manuscript describes the activities surrounding the introduction of special care baby unit (SCBU) in a refugee setting and the resulting population impact. METHODS: A SCBU was developed in Maela refugee camp on the Thailand-Myanmar border. This unit comprised of a dedicated area, basic equipment, drugs and staff training. Training was built around neonatal guidelines, comprising six clinical steps: recognition, resuscitation, examination, supportive medical care, specialised medical care, and counselling of parents with sick newborns. RESULTS: From January 2008 until December 2011, 952 infants were admitted to SCBU. The main admission diagnoses were early onset neonatal sepsis, jaundice and prematurity. Early prematurity (<34 weeks) carried the highest risk of mortality (OR 9.5, 95% CI 5.4-16.5, p<0.001). There was a significant decrease in mortality from 19.3% (2008) to 4.8% (2011) among the infants admitted for prematurity (p=0.03). The neonatal mortality in Maela camp as a whole declined by 51% from 21.8 to 10.7 deaths per 1000 live births over the corresponding period (p=0.04). Staff expressed more confidence in their ability to take care of neonates and there was a more positive attitude towards premature infants. CONCLUSION: Neonatal mortality can be reduced in a resource poor setting by introduction of a simple low cost unit specialising in care of sick neonates and run by local health workers following adequate training. Training in recognition and provision of simple interventions at a high standard can increase staff confidence and reduce fatalistic attitudes towards premature neonates.
BACKGROUND: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is particularly prevalent in historically malaria-endemic countries. Although most individuals with G6PD deficiency are asymptomatic, deficiency can result in acute haemolytic anaemia after exposure to oxidative agents. A reliable test is necessary for diagnosing the deficiency to prevent an acute haemolytic crisis following, for example, anti-malarial treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate which method was the best predictor of this disorder. METHODS: The present study investigated four G6PD activity detections (fluorescence spot (FS), methaemoglobin reduction (MR), biochemical and cytochemical test). These methods accompanied with mutation analysis of blood samples were taken from 295 apparently healthy individuals with unknown G6PD deficiency status. RESULTS: Molecular characterization of 295 Thai adults revealed an overall prevalence of 14.2%. The G6PD Viangchan (871 G>A) was the most common (83.3%), followed by G6PD Mahidol (487G>A) (11.9%), and G6PD Union (1360 C>T) (4.8%). There were two cases of G6PD deficiency carrying the double mutations of Viangchan (871G > A)-Mahidol (487G > A) and Viangchan (871G > A)-Union (1360C > T). In comparison, the prevalence of G6PD deficiency was 6.1% by FS test and 7.1% by MR test. G6PD activity was 11 ± 2.5 IU/gHb in non-deficient females (mean ± SD), and 10.9 ± 0.6 IU/gHb in non-deficient males. The upper and lower limit cut-off points for partial and severe deficiency in adults were 5.7 IU/gHb (60% of the normal mean) and 0.95 IU/gHb (10% of the normal mean), respectively. All hemizygote, homozygote and double mutations were associated with severe enzyme deficiency (the residual enzyme activity <10% of the normal mean), whereas only 14.3% of the heterozygote mutations showed severe enzyme deficiency. Based on the cut-off value <5.7 IU/gHb, the quantitative G6PD assay diagnosed 83% of cases as G6PD-deficient. Using a cut-off number of negative cell >20% in the cytochemical assay to define G6PD deficiency, the prevalence of G6PD deficiency was closest to the molecular analysis (12.9% G6PD-deficient) compared to the others methods. CONCLUSION: The cytochemical method is a significant predictor of this disease, while FS and MR test are recommended for the detection of severe G6PD deficiency in developing countries.
BACKGROUND: Enteric fever, a systemic infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, is endemic in Kathmandu, Nepal. Previous work identified proximity to poor quality water sources as a community-level risk for infection. Here, we sought to examine individual-level risk factors related to hygiene and sanitation to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of enteric fever in this setting. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A matched case-control analysis was performed through enrollment of 103 blood culture positive enteric fever patients and 294 afebrile community-based age and gender-matched controls. A detailed questionnaire was administered to both cases and controls and the association between enteric fever infection and potential exposures were examined through conditional logistic regression. Several behavioral practices were identified as protective against infection with enteric fever, including water storage and hygienic habits. Additionally, we found that exposures related to poor water and socioeconomic status are more influential in the risk of infection with S. Typhi, whereas food consumption habits and migration play more of a role in risk of S. Paratyphi A infection. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: Our work suggests that S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A follow different routes of infection in this highly endemic setting and that sustained exposure to both serovars probably leads to the development of passive immunity. In the absence of a polyvalent vaccine against S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, we advocate better systems for water treatment and storage, improvements in the quality of street food, and vaccination with currently available S. Typhi vaccines.
The World Health Organization has identified studies of the role of host genetics on susceptibility to severe influenza as a priority. A systematic review was conducted in June 2011 to summarise the evidence on the role of host genetics in susceptibility to influenza, and this report updates that previously published review. Animal studies suggest that genetic control of susceptibility to severe influenza in mice is complex and not controlled by a single locus, but there is encouraging evidence that some of the host genetic determinants of susceptibility to severe disease may be common across influenza subtypes. Although a number of studies on genetic susceptibility to influenza in humans have been published recently, all are underpowered and unreplicated, so do not provide robust statistical evidence of an association between the identified genetic loci and susceptibility. One study does however present convincing functional evidence for an important role for IFITM3 in susceptibility to severe influenza in mice, and some evidence that this may also be important in human A/H1N1/pdm2009 infection.
Polymyxins (polymyxin B and colistin) are older bactericidal antibiotics that are increasingly used to treat infections caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative bacteria. However, dosing and clinical use of these drugs vary widely. This survey was undertaken to reveal how polymyxins are used worldwide. Data were collected through a structured online questionnaire consisting of 24 questions regarding colistin usage patterns and indications as well as colistin dosage for adult patients. The questionnaire was disseminated in 2011 to relevant experts worldwide and was completed by 284 respondents from 56 different countries. Respondents from 11/56 countries (20%) had no access to colistin; 58/284 respondents (20.4%) reported that in 2010 they experienced that colistin was not available when needed. Formulations of polymyxins used were reported as: colistimethate sodium (48.6%); colistin sulfate (14.1%); both (1.4%); polymyxin B (1.4%); and unknown. Intravenous formulations were used by 84.2%, aerosolised or nebulised colistin by 44.4% and oral colistin for selective gut decontamination by 12.7%. Common indications for intravenous colistin were ventilator-associated pneumonia, sepsis and catheter-related infections with MDR Gram-negative bacteria. Only 21.2% of respondents used a colistin-loading dose, mainly in Europe and North America. This survey reveals that the majority of respondents use colistin and a few use polymyxin B. The survey results show that colistin is commonly underdosed. Clear guidance is needed on indications, dosing and antibiotic combinations to improve clinical outcomes and delay the emergence of resistance. Colistin should be considered a last-resort drug and its use should be controlled. International guidelines are urgently needed.
INTRODUCTION: Microscopic [corrected] Observation Drug Susceptibility (MODS) has been shown to be an effective and rapid technique for early diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). Thus far only a limited number of studies evaluating MODS have been performed in children and in extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. This study aims to assess relative accuracy and time to positive culture of MODS for TB diagnosis in children admitted to a general pediatric hospital in Vietnam. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Specimens from children with suspected TB were tested by smear, MODS and Lowenstein-Jensen agar (LJ). 1129 samples from 705 children were analyzed, including sputum (n=59), gastric aspirate (n=775), CSF (n=148), pleural fluid (n=33), BAL (n=41), tracheal fluid (n=45), other (n=28). 113 TB cases were defined based on the "clinical diagnosis" (confirmed and probable groups) as the reference standard, in which 26% (n=30) were diagnosed as extra-pulmonary TB. Analysis by patient shows that the overall sensitivity and specificity of smear, LJ and MODS against "clinical diagnosis" was 8.8% and 100%, 38.9% and 100%, 46% and 99.5% respectively with MODS significantly more sensitive than LJ culture (P=0.02). When analyzed by sample type, the sensitivity of MODS was significantly higher than LJ for gastric aspirates (P=0.004). The time to detection was also significantly shorter for MODS than LJ (7 days versus 32 days, P<0.001). CONCLUSION: MODS [corrected] is a sensitive and rapid culture technique for detecting TB in children. As MODS culture can be performed at a BSL2 facility and is inexpensive, it can therefore be recommended as a routine test for children with symptoms suggestive of TB in resource-limited settings.
Western Pac Surveill Response J, 4 (2), pp. 4-7. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Read more2013. Avian influenza A(H7N9) and the closure of live bird markets.
[This corrects the article on p. e72100 in vol. 8.].
BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of dengue shock syndrome (DSS, grade 3 and 4) is not yet completely understood. Several factors are reportedly associated with DSS, a more severe form of dengue infection that reportedly causes 50 times higher mortality compared to that of dengue patients without DSS. However, the results from these reports remain inconclusive. To better understand the epidemiology, clinical manifestation, and pathogenesis of DSS for development of new therapy, we systematically reviewed and performed a meta-analysis of relevant studies that reported factors in both DSS and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF, grade 1 and 2) patients. METHODS AND FINDINGS: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Google Scholar, Dengue Bulletin, Cochrane Library, Virtual Health Library, and a manual search of reference lists of articles published before September 2010 were used to retrieve relevant studies. A meta-analysis using fixed- or random-effects models was used to calculate pooled odds ratios (OR) or event rate with corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Assessment of heterogeneity and publication bias, meta-regression analysis, subgroup analysis, sensitivity analysis, and analysis of factor-specific relationships were further performed. There were 198 studies constituting 203 data sets that met our eligibility criteria. Our meta-regression analysis showed a sustained reduction of DSS/dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) ratio over a period of 40 years in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. The meta-analysis revealed that age, female sex, neurological signs, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, hemoconcentration, ascites, pleural effusion, hypoalbuminemia, hypoproteinemia, hepatomegaly, levels of alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase, thrombocytopenia, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen level, primary/secondary infection, and dengue virus serotype-2 were significantly associated with DSS when pooling all original relevant studies. CONCLUSIONS: The results improve our knowledge of the pathogenesis of DSS by identifying the association between the epidemiology, clinical signs, and biomarkers involved in DSS.
The Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries was established to meet a perceived need for Health Informaticians in developing countries to be able to share the results of their research in an affordable and easy-to-access online publication. The journal was developed using the open source platform "Open Journal System," and has now published 67 articles across 13 issues. A collaborative editorial approach has been established to address the problems of limited research budgets, difficulties with translating to English and other problems specific to authors from developing countries. The journal faces many challenges including ensuring future financial sustainability and inclusion in journal indexing systems. However, the continuing support of an international body of Associate Editors and Editorial Board Members has enabled a wide range of useful and informative health informatics research to be disseminated across the developing world.
Prospective studies continue to identify malaria parasite genes with particular patterns of polymorphism which indicate they may be under immune selection, and the encoded proteins require investigation. Sixteen new recombinant protein reagents were designed to characterize three such polymorphic proteins expressed in Plasmodium falciparum schizonts and merozoites: MSPDBL1 (also termed MSP3.4) and MSPDBL2 (MSP3.8), which possess Duffy binding-like (DBL) domains, and SURFIN4.2, encoded by a member of the surface-associated interspersed (surf) multigene family. After testing the antigenicities of these reagents by murine immunization and parasite immunofluorescence, we analyzed naturally acquired antibody responses to the antigens in two cohorts in coastal Kenya in which the parasite was endemic (Chonyi [n = 497] and Ngerenya [n = 461]). As expected, the prevalence and levels of serum antibodies increased with age. We then investigated correlations with subsequent risk of clinical malaria among children <11 years of age during 6 months follow-up surveillance. Antibodies to the polymorphic central region of MSPDBL2 were associated with reduced risk of malaria in both cohorts, with statistical significance remaining for the 3D7 allelic type after adjustment for individuals' ages in years and antibody reactivity to whole-schizont extract (Chonyi, risk ratio, 0.51, and 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28 to 0.93; Ngerenya, risk ratio, 0.38, and 95% CI, 0.18 to 0.82). For the MSPDBL1 Palo Alto allelic-type antigen, there was a protective association in one cohort (Ngerenya, risk ratio, 0.53, and 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.89), whereas the other antigens showed no protective associations after adjustment. These findings support the prediction that antibodies to the polymorphic region of MSPDBL2 contribute to protective immunity.
BACKGROUND: The transition from enucleated reticulocytes to mature normocytes is marked by substantial remodeling of the erythrocytic cytoplasm and membrane. Despite conspicuous changes, most studies describe the maturing reticulocyte as a homogenous erythropoietic cell type. While reticulocyte staging based on fluorescent RNA stains such as thiazole orange have been useful in a clinical setting; these 'sub-vital' stains may confound delicate studies on reticulocyte biology and may preclude their use in heamoparasite invasion studies. DESIGN AND METHODS: Here we use highly purified populations of reticulocytes isolated from cord blood, sorted by flow cytometry into four sequential subpopulations based on transferrin receptor (CD71) expression: CD71high, CD71medium, CD71low and CD71negative. Each of these subgroups was phenotyped in terms of their, morphology, membrane antigens, biomechanical properties and metabolomic profile. RESULTS: Superficially CD71high and CD71medium reticulocytes share a similar gross morphology (large and multilobular) when compared to the smaller, smooth and increasingly concave reticulocytes as seen in the in the CD71low and CD71negativesamples. However, between each of the four sample sets we observe significant decreases in shear modulus, cytoadhesive capacity, erythroid receptor expression (CD44, CD55, CD147, CD235R, and CD242) and metabolite concentrations. Interestingly increasing amounts of boric acid was found in the mature reticulocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Reticulocyte maturation is a dynamic and continuous process, confounding efforts to rigidly classify them. Certainly this study does not offer an alternative classification strategy; instead we used a nondestructive sampling method to examine key phenotypic changes of in reticulocytes. Our study emphasizes a need to focus greater attention on reticulocyte biology.
Plasmodium knowlesi was known as a plasmodium of macaques until P. knowlesi transmission to humans was recognised in Borneo and later throughout South-East Asia. We describe here a case of a P. knowlesi infection imported to Germany from Thailand. The patient had not taken antimalarial chemoprophylaxis and suffered from daily fever attacks. Microscopy revealed trophozoites and gametocytes resembling P. malariae. P. knowlesi malaria was confirmed by PCR.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of two strategies (enhanced hand hygiene vs meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) screening and decolonisation) alone and in combination on MRSA rates in surgical wards. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled, interventional cohort study, with 6-month baseline, 12-month intervention and 6-month washout phases. SETTING: 33 surgical wards of 10 hospitals in nine countries in Europe and Israel. PARTICIPANTS: All patients admitted to the enrolled wards for more than 24 h. INTERVENTIONS: The two strategies compared were (1) enhanced hand hygiene promotion and (2) universal MRSA screening with contact precautions and decolonisation (intranasal mupirocin and chlorhexidine bathing) of MRSA carriers. Four hospitals were assigned to each intervention and two hospitals combined both strategies, using targeted MRSA screening. OUTCOME MEASURES: Monthly rates of MRSA clinical cultures per 100 susceptible patients (primary outcome) and MRSA infections per 100 admissions (secondary outcome). Planned subgroup analysis for clean surgery wards was performed. RESULTS: After adjusting for clustering and potential confounders, neither strategy when used alone was associated with significant changes in MRSA rates. Combining both strategies was associated with a reduction in the rate of MRSA clinical cultures of 12% per month (adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRR) 0.88, 95% CI 0.79 to 0.98). In clean surgery wards, strategy 2 (MRSA screening, contact precautions and decolonisation) was associated with decreasing rates of MRSA clinical cultures (15% monthly decrease, aIRR 0.85, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.97) and MRSA infections (17% monthly decrease, aIRR 0.83, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.99). CONCLUSIONS: In surgical wards with relatively low MRSA prevalence, a combination of enhanced standard and MRSA-specific infection control approaches was required to reduce MRSA rates. Implementation of single interventions was not effective, except in clean surgery wards where MRSA screening coupled with contact precautions and decolonisation was associated with significant reductions in MRSA clinical culture and infection rates. TRIAL REGISTRATION: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00685867.
BACKGROUND: Adults with severe malaria frequently require intravenous fluid therapy to restore their circulating volume. However, fluid must be delivered judiciously as both under- and over-hydration increase the risk of complications and, potentially, death. As most patients will be cared for in a resource-poor setting, management guidelines necessarily recommend that physical examination should guide fluid resuscitation. However, the reliability of this strategy is uncertain. METHODS: To determine the ability of physical examination to identify hypovolaemia, volume responsiveness, and pulmonary oedema, clinical signs and invasive measures of volume status were collected independently during an observational study of 28 adults with severe malaria. RESULTS: The physical examination defined volume status poorly. Jugular venous pressure (JVP) did not correlate with intravascular volume as determined by global end diastolic volume index (GEDVI; r(s) = 0.07, p = 0.19), neither did dry mucous membranes (p = 0.85), or dry axillae (p = 0.09). GEDVI was actually higher in patients with decreased tissue turgor (p < 0.001). Poor capillary return correlated with GEDVI, but was present infrequently (7% of observations) and, therefore, insensitive. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) correlated with GEDVI (rs = 0.16, p = 0.002), but even before resuscitation patients with a low GEDVI had a preserved MAP. Anuria on admission was unrelated to GEDVI and although liberal fluid resuscitation led to a median hourly urine output of 100 ml in 19 patients who were not anuric on admission, four (21%) developed clinical pulmonary oedema subsequently. MAP was unrelated to volume responsiveness (p = 0.71), while a low JVP, dry mucous membranes, dry axillae, increased tissue turgor, prolonged capillary refill, and tachycardia all had a positive predictive value for volume responsiveness of ≤50%. Extravascular lung water ≥11 ml/kg indicating pulmonary oedema was present on 99 of the 353 times that it was assessed during the study, but was identified on less than half these occasions by tachypnoea, chest auscultation, or an elevated JVP. A clear chest on auscultation and a respiratory rate <30 breaths/minute could exclude pulmonary oedema on 82% and 72% of occasions respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Findings on physical examination correlate poorly with true volume status in adults with severe malaria and must be used with caution to guide fluid therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00692627.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the proportion of, and reasons for, households not utilising the policy of free healthcare for children under 6 years of age (FCCU6) for hospitalisation with diarrhoea, and assess the risk of catastrophic expenditure for households that forgo FCCU6 and pay out of pocket. METHODS: Invoices detailing insurance information and charges incurred from 472 hospitalised diarrhoeal cases in one paediatric hospital in Ho Chi Minh City were retrieved. Hospital charges and the utilisation of elective services were analysed for patients utilising and not utilising FCCU6. Associations between socio-economic factors with non-utilisation of FCCU6 were evaluated. RESULTS: Overall, 29% of patients were FCCU6 non-users. The FCCU6 non-users paid a median hospital charge of $29.13 (interquartile range, IQR: $18.57-46.24), consuming no more than 1.4% of a medium-income household's annual income. Seventy per cent of low-income FCCU6 non-users utilised less-expensive elective services, whereas only 43% of medium income patients and 21% of high-income patients did (P = 0.036). Patients from larger households and those with a parent working in government were more likely to use FCCU6. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of FCCU6 non-usage in this study population was 29%. A significant proportion of those that did not use FCCU6 was from lower income households and may perceive a justifiable cost-benefit ratio when forgoing FCCU6. Although a single diarrhoeal hospitalisation is unlikely to induce a catastrophic expenditure, FCCU6 non-usage may disproportionately increase the risk of catastrophic expenditure for lower income households over multiple illnesses.
BACKGROUND: In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, more than one-third of admissions to the two paediatric hospitals are attributable to four infectious syndromes: dengue, diarrhoeal disease, acute respiratory infection, and hand, foot and mouth disease. We have established a large prospective birth cohort study to investigate individual, environmental, virological, and immunological determinants of infection and disease in infants. Specific research questions are focused on the role of maternal antibody in protection against infection in infancy, and the adaptive immune response to vaccination and natural infection. This paper presents the cohort design, methods, and baseline characteristics of the participants enrolled in the first two years. METHODS/DESIGN: Women are enrolled prior to delivery at one hospital in each of two catchment areas: an urban district in central HCMC, and a mixed urban/rural district in the Mekong Delta 150 km southwest of HCMC. Infants are enrolled within 3 days of birth, and maternal and cord blood samples are collected. Routine blood samples and data on growth, health status and vaccinations are collected from infants at scheduled visits at 4, 9 and 12 months. Clinical data and specimens are collected from infants presenting at a study clinic, or admitted to hospital, with any of the the four infectious syndromes of interest. DISCUSSION: In four years since since the study began in July 2009, >6400 infants have been enrolled, and enrolment is ongoing. Attrition is low: 84% of participants have completed the full 12-month follow-up period. Baseline characteristics of the first 4300 enrollees are presented here. We have demonstrated the feasibility of establishing a large prospective study of infectious diseases in infancy in a resource-limited setting, with minimal loss to follow-up. Our linked socio-demographic, clinical and laboratory data will help elucidate the viral aetiology and epidemiology of common infectious diseases of infancy, and can inform the implemention of existing and future vaccines. This study furthermore provides a platform to which additional endpoints could be added in the future.
INTRODUCTION: There are growing concerns about the emergence of resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Since the widespread adoption of ACTs, there has been a decrease in the systematic surveillance of antimalarial drug resistance in many malaria-endemic countries. The aim of this work was to test whether data on travellers returning from Africa with malaria could serve as an additional surveillance system of local information sources for the emergence of drug resistance in endemic-countries. METHODOLOGY: Data were collected from travellers with symptomatic Plasmodium falciparum malaria returning from Senegal (n = 1,993), Mali (n = 2,372), Cote d'Ivoire (n = 4,778) or Cameroon (n = 3,272) and recorded in the French Malaria Reference Centre during the period 1996-2011. Temporal trends of the proportion of parasite isolates that carried the mutant genotype, pfcrt 76T, a marker of resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and pfdhfr 108N, a marker of resistance to pyrimethamine, were compared for travellers and within-country surveys that were identified through a literature review in PubMed. The in vitro response to CQ was also compared between these two groups for parasites from Senegal. RESULTS: The trends in the proportion of parasites that carried pfcrt 76T, and pfdhfr 108N, were compared for parasites from travellers and patients within-country using the slopes of the curves over time; no significant differences in the trends were found for any of the 4 countries. These results were supported by in vitro analysis of parasites from the field in Senegal and travellers returning to France, where the trends were also not significantly different. CONCLUSION: The results have not shown different trends in resistance between parasites derived from travellers or from parasites within-country. This work highlights the value of an international database of drug responses in travellers as an additional tool to assess the emergence of drug resistance in endemic areas where information is limited.
Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many antimalarial compounds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda after a standard fixed oral artemether-lumefantrine treatment. Dense venous (n = 26) and sparse capillary (n = 90) lumefantrine samples were drawn from pregnant patients. A total of 17 nonpregnant women contributed with dense venous lumefantrine samples. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics was best described by a flexible absorption model with multiphasic disposition. Pregnancy and body temperature had a significant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine. Simulations from the final model indicated 27% lower day 7 concentrations in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women and a decreased median time of 0.92 and 0.42 days above previously defined critical concentration cutoff values (280 and 175 ng/ml, respectively). The standard artemether-lumefantrine dose regimen in P. falciparum malaria may need reevaluation in nonimmune pregnant women.CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology (2013) 2, e83; doi:10.1038/psp.2013.59; advance online publication 13 November 2013.
[This corrects the article on p. e54714 in vol. 8.].
OBJECTIVES: Clinical trials provide 'gold standard' evidence for policy, but insufficient locally relevant trials are conducted in low-income and middle-income countries. Local investigator-initiated trials could generate highly relevant data for national governments, but information is lacking on how to facilitate them. We aimed to identify barriers and enablers to investigator-initiated trials in Ethiopia to inform and direct capacity strengthening initiatives. DESIGN: Exploratory, qualitative study comprising of in-depth interviews (n=7) and focus group discussions (n=3). SETTING: Fieldwork took place in Ethiopia during March 2011. PARTICIPANTS: Local health researchers with previous experiences of clinical trials or stakeholders with an interest in trials were recruited through snowball sampling (n=20). OUTCOME MEASURES: Detailed discussion notes were analysed using thematic coding analysis and key themes were identified. RESULTS: All participants perceived investigator-initiated trials as important for generating local evidence. System and organisational barriers included: limited funding allocation, weak regulatory and administrative systems, few learning opportunities, limited human and material capacity and poor incentives for conducting research. Operational hurdles were symptomatic of these barriers. Lack of awareness, confidence and motivation to undertake trials were important individual barriers. Training, knowledge sharing and experience exchange were key enablers to trial conduct and collaboration was unanimously regarded as important for improving capacity. CONCLUSIONS: Barriers to trial conduct were found at individual, operational, organisational and system levels. These findings indicate that to increase locally led trial conduct in Ethiopia, system wide changes are needed to create a more receptive and enabling research environment. Crucially, the creation of research networks between potential trial groups could provide much needed practical collaborative support through sharing of financial and project management burdens, knowledge and resources. These findings could have important implications for capacity-strengthening initiatives but further research is needed before the results can be generalised more widely.
BACKGROUND: Estimates of the sensitivity and specificity for new diagnostic tests based on evaluation against a known gold standard are imprecise when the accuracy of the gold standard is imperfect. Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) can be helpful under these circumstances, but the necessary analysis requires expertise in computational programming. Here, we describe open-access web-based applications that allow non-experts to apply Bayesian LCMs to their own data sets via a user-friendly interface. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Applications for Bayesian LCMs were constructed on a web server using R and WinBUGS programs. The models provided (http://mice.tropmedres.ac) include two Bayesian LCMs: the two-tests in two-population model (Hui and Walter model) and the three-tests in one-population model (Walter and Irwig model). Both models are available with simplified and advanced interfaces. In the former, all settings for Bayesian statistics are fixed as defaults. Users input their data set into a table provided on the webpage. Disease prevalence and accuracy of diagnostic tests are then estimated using the Bayesian LCM, and provided on the web page within a few minutes. With the advanced interfaces, experienced researchers can modify all settings in the models as needed. These settings include correlation among diagnostic test results and prior distributions for all unknown parameters. The web pages provide worked examples with both models using the original data sets presented by Hui and Walter in 1980, and by Walter and Irwig in 1988. We also illustrate the utility of the advanced interface using the Walter and Irwig model on a data set from a recent melioidosis study. The results obtained from the web-based applications were comparable to those published previously. CONCLUSIONS: The newly developed web-based applications are open-access and provide an important new resource for researchers worldwide to evaluate new diagnostic tests.
BACKGROUND: Fluoroquinolones are the most commonly used group of antimicrobials for the treatment of enteric fever, but no direct comparison between two fluoroquinolones has been performed in a large randomised trial. An open-label randomized trial was conducted to investigate whether gatifloxacin is more effective than ofloxacin in the treatment of uncomplicated enteric fever caused by nalidixic acid-resistant Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Adults and children clinically diagnosed with uncomplicated enteric fever were enrolled in the study to receive gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) in a single dose or ofloxacin (20 mg/kg/day) in two divided doses for 7 days. Patients were followed for six months. The primary outcome was treatment failure in patients infected with nalidixic acid resistant isolates. 627 patients with a median age of 17 (IQR 9-23) years were randomised. Of the 218 patients with culture confirmed enteric fever, 170 patients were infected with nalidixic acid-resistant isolates. In the ofloxacin group, 6 out of 83 patients had treatment failure compared to 5 out of 87 in the gatifloxacin group (hazard ratio [HR] of time to failure 0.81, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.65, p = 0.73). The median time to fever clearance was 4.70 days (IQR 2.98-5.90) in the ofloxacin group versus 3.31 days (IQR 2.29-4.75) in the gatifloxacin group (HR = 1.59, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.18, p = 0.004). The results in all blood culture-confirmed patients and all randomized patients were comparable. CONCLUSION: Gatifloxacin was not superior to ofloxacin in preventing failure, but use of gatifloxacin did result in more prompt fever clearance time compared to ofloxacin. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN 63006567 (www.controlled-trials.com).
Early identification of causal genetic variants underlying antimalarial drug resistance could provide robust epidemiological tools for timely public health interventions. Using a novel natural genetics strategy for mapping novel candidate genes we analyzed >75,000 high quality single nucleotide polymorphisms selected from high-resolution whole-genome sequencing data in 27 isolates of Plasmodium falciparum. We identified genetic variants associated with susceptibility to dihydroartemisinin that implicate one region on chromosome 13, a candidate gene on chromosome 1 (PFA0220w, a UBP1 ortholog) and others (PFB0560w, PFB0630c, PFF0445w) with putative roles in protein homeostasis and stress response. There was a strong signal for positive selection on PFA0220w, but not the other candidate loci. Our results demonstrate the power of full-genome sequencing-based association studies for uncovering candidate genes that determine parasite sensitivity to artemisinins. Our study provides a unique reference for the interpretation of results from resistant infections.
BACKGROUND: The 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10) was introduced in Kenya in 2011. Introduction of any PCV will perturb the existing pneumococcal population structure, thus the aim was to genotype pneumococci collected in Kilifi before PCV10. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), we genotyped >1100 invasive and carriage pneumococci from children, the largest collection genotyped from a single resource-poor country and reported to date. Serotype 1 was the most common serotype causing invasive disease and was rarely detected in carriage; all serotype 1 isolates were members of clonal complex (CC) 217. There were temporal fluctuations in the major circulating sequence types (STs); and although 1-3 major serotype 1, 14 or 23F STs co-circulated annually, the two major serotype 5 STs mainly circulated independently. Major STs/CCs also included isolates of serotypes 3, 12F, 18C and 19A and each shared ≤ 2 MLST alleles with STs that circulate widely elsewhere. Major CCs associated with non-PCV10 serotypes were predominantly represented by carriage isolates, although serotype 19A and 12F CCs were largely invasive and a serotype 10A CC was equally represented by invasive and carriage isolates. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the pre-PCV10 population genetic structure in Kilifi will allow for the detection of changes in prevalence of the circulating genotypes and evidence for capsular switching post-vaccine implementation.
Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 11 (12), pp. 1259-1261. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2013. The management of antimicrobial-resistant enteric fever.
BACKGROUND: Anti-malarial efficacy needs to be monitored continually to ensure optimal dosing in the face of emerging anti-malarial drug resistance. The efficacy of artemisinin based combination therapies (ACT) is assessed by repeated measurements of parasite density in the blood of patients following treatment. Parasite density is measured from a capillary or venous blood sample, but this can be logistically and ethically challenging if multiple samples are required within a short time period. The aim of this work was to apply optimal design theory to derive clinically feasible blood sampling schedules from which parasite clearance could be defined using the Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE), a recently developed tool to identify and quantify artemisinin resistance. METHODS: Robust T-optimal design methodology was applied to offer a sampling schedule that allows for discrimination across models that best describe an individual patient's parasite-time profile. The design was based on typical parasite-time profiles derived from the literature combined with key sampling constraints of no more than six samples per patient within 48 hours of initial treatment. The design was evaluated with a simulation-estimation procedure that implemented the PCE. RESULTS: The optimal sampling times (sampling windows) were: 0 (0 to 1.1), 5.8 (4.0 to 6.0), 9.9 (8.4 to 11.5), 24.8 (24.0 to 24.9), 36.3 (34.8 to 37.2) and 48 (47.3, 48.0) hours post initial treatment. The simulation-estimation procedure showed that the design supported identification of the appropriate method by the PCE to determine an individual's parasite clearance rate constant (the main output calculation from the PCE). CONCLUSIONS: The proposed sampling design requires six samples per patient within the first 48 hours. The derived design requires validation in a real world setting, but should be considered for future studies that intend to employ the PCE.
INTRODUCTION: Measurement of optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) by ultrasound is increasingly used as a marker to detect raised intracranial pressure (ICP). ONSD varies with age and there is no clear consensus between studies for an upper limit of normal. Knowledge of normal ONSD in a healthy population is essential to interpret this measurement. METHODS: In a prospective observational study, ONSD was measured using a 15 MHz ultrasound probe in healthy volunteers in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The aims were to determine the normal range of ONSD in healthy Bangladeshi adults and children, compare measurements in males and females, horizontal and vertical beam orientations and left and right eyes in the same individual and to determine whether ONSD varies with head circumference independent of age. RESULTS: 136 subjects were enrolled, 12.5% of whom were age 16 or under. Median ONSD was 4.41 mm with 95% of subjects in the range 4.25-4.75 mm. ONSD was bimodally distributed. There was no relationship between ONSD and age (≥4 years), gender, head circumference, and no difference in left vs right eye or horizontal vs vertical beam. CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasonographic ONSD in Bangladeshi healthy volunteers has a narrow bimodal distribution independent of age (≥4 years), gender and head circumference. ONSD >4.75 mm in this population should be considered abnormal.
B. pseudomallei is a gram-negative bacterium that causes the tropical infection melioidosis. In northeast Thailand, mortality from melioidosis approaches 40%. As exemplified by the lipopolysaccharide-Toll-like receptor 4 interaction, innate immune responses to invading bacteria are precipitated by activation of host pathogen recognition receptors by pathogen associated molecular patterns. Human melioidosis is characterized by up-regulation of pathogen recognition receptors and pro-inflammatory cytokine release. In contrast to many gram-negative pathogens, however, the lipopolysaccharide of B. pseudomallei is considered only weakly inflammatory. We conducted a study in 300 healthy Thai subjects to investigate the ex vivo human blood response to various bacterial pathogen associated molecular patterns, including lipopolysaccharide from several bacteria, and to two heat-killed B. pseudomallei isolates. We measured cytokine levels after stimulation of fresh whole blood with a panel of stimuli. We found that age, sex, and white blood cell count modulate the