Tropical Medicine publications 2015

Haenssgen MJ, IEEE. 2015. Exploring the Mismatch Between Mobile Phone Adoption and Use Through Survey Data from Rural India and China 2015 IEEE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY (ISTAS), 2016-March | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 IEEE. Persistent disciplinary and methodological divides between technology diffusion and adoption studies and the study of use and engagement with technology raise obstacles to understanding the development implications of mobile technology diffusion, for example in the area of healthcare access. As quantitative assessments in the area of health and technology almost exclusively rely on binary indicators of mobile phone adoption, it is not clear whether this is indeed a reasonable proxy that does not obscure the distributional implications of mobile phone use. This paper therefore compares patterns of mobile phone adoption and utilisation using original survey data from rural India and China. "Utilisation" here is assessed through a simple yet novel multidimensional index. The paper further assesses the role of these concepts as determinants of locally emerging forms of mobile-phone-aided healthcare-seeking behavior ("health action"). The investigation uses descriptive statistical analysis and multilevel logistic regression analysis, which provide evidence in support of the claims that (a) patterns of mobile phone diffusion and utilisation are related yet incongruent, that (b) mobile phones facilitate health action in both field sites to a notable extent, and that (c) the mobile phone utilisation index is a better predictor for phone-aided health action than mobile phone adoption. In light of the superiority of the utilisation index vis-à-vis binary measures of mobile phone adoption, other researchers can apply the survey instrument and technology utilisation concept developed in this paper to support the analysis of the social implications of technology diffusion.

Langford S, Douglas NM, Lampah DA, Simpson JA, Kenangalem E, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Poespoprodjo JR, Price RN. 2015. Plasmodium malariae Infection Associated with a High Burden of Anemia: A Hospital-Based Surveillance Study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (12), pp. e0004195. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium malariae is a slow-growing parasite with a wide geographic distribution. Although generally regarded as a benign cause of malaria, it has been associated with nephrotic syndrome, particularly in young children, and can persist in the host for years. Morbidity associated with P. malariae infection has received relatively little attention, and the risk of P. malariae-associated nephrotic syndrome is unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used data from a very large hospital-based surveillance system incorporating information on clinical diagnoses, blood cell parameters and treatment to describe the demographic distribution, morbidity and mortality associated with P. malariae infection in southern Papua, Indonesia. Between April 2004 and December 2013 there were 1,054,674 patient presentations to Mitra Masyarakat Hospital of which 196,380 (18.6%) were associated with malaria and 5,097 were with P. malariae infection (constituting 2.6% of all malaria cases). The proportion of malaria cases attributable to P. malariae increased with age from 0.9% for patients under one year old to 3.1% for patients older than 15 years. Overall, 8.5% of patients with P. malariae infection required admission to hospital and the median length of stay for these patients was 2.5 days (Interquartile Range: 2.0-4.0 days). Patients with P. malariae infection had a lower mean hemoglobin concentration (9.0 g/dL) than patients with P. falciparum (9.5 g/dL), P. vivax (9.6g/dL) and mixed species infections (9.3g/dL). There were four cases of nephrotic syndrome recorded in patients with P. malariae infection, three of which were in children younger than 5 years old, giving a risk in this age group of 0.47% (95% Confidence Interval; 0.10% to 1.4%). Overall, 2.4% (n = 16) of patients hospitalized with P. malariae infection subsequently died in hospital, similar to the proportions for the other endemic Plasmodium species (range: 0% for P. ovale to 1.6% for P. falciparum). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Plasmodium malariae infection is relatively uncommon in Papua, Indonesia but is associated with significant morbidity from anemia and a similar risk of mortality to patients hospitalized with P. falciparum and P. vivax infection. In our large hospital database, one in 200 children under the age of 5 years with P. malariae infection were recorded as having nephrotic syndrome.

Haenssgen MJ. 2015. Satellite-aided survey sampling and implementation in low- and middle-income contexts: a low-cost/low-tech alternative. Emerg Themes Epidemiol, 12 (1), pp. 20. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The increasing availability of online maps, satellite imagery, and digital technology can ease common constraints of survey sampling in low- and middle-income countries. However, existing approaches require specialised software and user skills, professional GPS equipment, and/or commercial data sources; they tend to neglect spatial sampling considerations when using satellite maps; and they continue to face implementation challenges analogous to conventional survey implementation methods. This paper presents an alternative way of utilising satellite maps and digital aides that aims to address these challenges. RESULTS: The case studies of two rural household surveys in Rajasthan (India) and Gansu (China) compare conventional survey sampling and implementation techniques with the use of online map services such as Google, Bing, and HERE maps. Modern yet basic digital technology can be integrated into the processes of preparing, implementing, and monitoring a rural household survey. Satellite-aided systematic random sampling enhanced the spatial representativeness of the village samples and entailed savings of approximately £4000 compared to conventional household listing, while reducing the duration of the main survey by at least 25 %. CONCLUSION: This low-cost/low-tech satellite-aided survey sampling approach can be useful for student researchers and resource-constrained research projects operating in low- and middle-income contexts with high survey implementation costs. While achieving transparent and efficient survey implementation at low costs, researchers aiming to adopt a similar process should be aware of the locational, technical, and logistical requirements as well as the methodological challenges of this strategy.

Li HK, Scarborough M, Zambellas R, Cooper C, Rombach I, Walker AS, Lipsky BA, Briggs A, Seaton A, Atkins B et al. 2015. Oral versus intravenous antibiotic treatment for bone and joint infections (OVIVA): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 16 (1), pp. 583. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bone and joint infection in adults arises most commonly as a complication of joint replacement surgery, fracture fixation and diabetic foot infection. The associated morbidity can be devastating to patients and costs the National Health Service an estimated £20,000 to £40,000 per patient. Current standard of care in most UK centres includes a prolonged course (4-6 weeks) of intravenous antibiotics supported, if available, by an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy service. Intravenous therapy carries with it substantial risks and inconvenience to patients, and the antibiotic-related costs are approximately ten times that of oral therapy. Despite this, there is no evidence to suggest that oral therapy results in inferior outcomes. We hypothesise that, by selecting oral agents with high bioavailability, good tissue penetration and activity against the known or likely pathogens, key outcomes in patients managed primarily with oral therapy are non-inferior to those in patients treated by intravenous therapy. METHODS: The OVIVA trial is a parallel group, randomised (1:1), un-blinded, non-inferiority trial conducted in thirty hospitals across the UK. Eligible participants are adults (>18 years) with a clinical syndrome consistent with a bone, joint or metalware-associated infection who have received ≤7 days of intravenous antibiotic therapy from the date of definitive surgery (or the start of planned curative therapy in patients treated without surgical intervention). Participants are randomised to receive either oral or intravenous antibiotics, selected by a specialist infection physician, for the first 6 weeks of therapy. The primary outcome measure is definite treatment failure within one year of randomisation, as assessed by a blinded endpoint committee, according to pre-defined microbiological, histological and clinical criteria. Enrolling 1,050 subjects will provide 90 % power to demonstrate non-inferiority, defined as less than 7.5 % absolute increase in treatment failure rate in patients randomised to oral therapy as compared to intravenous therapy (one-sided alpha of 0.05). DISCUSSION: If our results demonstrate non-inferiority of orally administered antibiotic therapy, this trial is likely to facilitate a dramatically improved patient experience and alleviate a substantial financial burden on healthcare services. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN91566927 - 14/02/2013.

Lee W-C, Malleret B, Lau Y-L, Mauduit M, Fong M-Y, Cho JS, Suwanarusk R, Zhang R, Albrecht L, Costa FTM et al. 2015. Glycophorin C (CD236R) mediates vivax malaria parasite rosetting to normocytes BLOOD, 126 (25), pp. E100-E109. | Read more

de Haan F, Onyamboko MA, Fanello CI, Woodrow CJ, Lubell Y, Boon WPC, Dondorp AM. 2015. Exploring health practitioners' acceptability of a prospective semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device to define severe malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 503. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A rapid diagnostic tool is being developed to discern severely ill children with severe malaria from children who are ill with alternative febrile diseases but have coincidental peripheral blood parasitaemia. The device semi-quantitatively measures plasma pfHRP2 and has the potential to reduce mortality in children with severe febrile illnesses by improving diagnosis. The aim of this study is to identify contributing and inhibiting factors that affect healthcare practitioners' acceptability of this prospective diagnostic device in a high malaria transmission setting in the Democratic Republic of Congo. METHODS: Data were collected qualitatively by conducting semi-structured interviews with a purposeful sample of health professionals in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of Congo. In total, 11 interviews were held with professionals at four different institutes. RESULTS: Four key findings emerged: (1) Congolese practitioners perceive the semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device as a welcome intervention as they recognize the limited reliability of their current diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to severe febrile illnesses; (2) compatibility of the semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device with clinical equipment and competences of Congolese health practitioners is considered to be limited, especially in rural settings; (3) a formal training programme is crucial for correct understanding and application of the semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device; and, (4) provision of evidence to practitioners, and support from health authorities would be important to establish confidence in the semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device. CONCLUSIONS: Congolese practitioners perceive the prospective semi-quantitative pfHRP2 device as a welcome addition to their clinical equipment. The device could improve current diagnostic work-up of severe febrile illness, which might consequently improve treatment choices. However, despite this recognized potential, several hurdles and drivers need to be taken into account when implementing this device in DR Congo.

Baronti C, Piorkowski G, Leparc-Goffart I, de Lamballerie X, Dubot-Pérès A. 2015. Rapid next-generation sequencing of dengue, EV-A71 and RSV-A viruses. J Virol Methods, 226 pp. 7-14. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Accurate characterisation of viral strains constitutes a crucial objective for the management of modern virus collections. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) provides technical solution for fast and cost-effective full genome sequencing. Here, we report protocols for rapid full-genome characterisation of RNA viruses of medical importance: dengue virus, enterovirus A71 and respiratory syncytial virus A, based on a specific amplification step followed by NGS-sequencing. A subset of full-length genome sequences representing the genetic diversity of each virus type was selected in GenBank and used to design primer sets allowing the amplification of the complete genome in 3-8 overlapping PCR fragments. The technique was used for characterising 53 strains (33 DENV, 8 EV-A71, 12 RSV-A) from various genotypes and origins. In a single assay, and in just 4 days, it provided for all strains an excellent genomic coverage (∼ 99% including complete ORF for all strains) and accurate sequences with high number of reads per position (250-3500 on average). The elaboration of specific PCR-based full-genome sequencing protocols for diverse virus groups is likely to revolutionise the characterisation of viral isolates in modern collection, but also to contribute in the next future to the study of RNA viruses directly from biological samples.

Baird JK. 2015. Point-of-care G6PD diagnostics for Plasmodium vivax malaria is a clinical and public health urgency. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 296. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax threatens over 2 billion people globally and sickens tens of millions annually. Recent clinical evidence discredits the long-held notion of this infection as intrinsically benign revealing an often threatening course associated with mortality. Most acute attacks by this species derive from latent forms in the human liver called hypnozoites. Radical cure for P. vivax malaria includes therapy aimed both at the acute attack (blood schizontocidal) and against future attacks (hypnozoitocidal). The only hypnozoitocide available is primaquine, a drug causing life-threatening acute hemolytic anemia in patients with the inherited blood disorder glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. This disorder affects 400 million people worldwide, at an average prevalence of 8 % in malaria-endemic nations. In the absence of certain knowledge regarding the G6PD status of patients infected by P. vivax, providers must choose between the risk of harm caused by primaquine and that caused by the parasite by withholding therapy. Resolving this dilemma requires the availability of point-of-care G6PD diagnostics practical for use in the impoverished rural tropics where the vast majority of malaria patients seek care.

Nelwan EJ, Ekawati LL, Tjahjono B, Setiabudy R, Sutanto I, Chand K, Ekasari T, Djoko D, Basri H, Taylor WR et al. 2015. Randomized trial of primaquine hypnozoitocidal efficacy when administered with artemisinin-combined blood schizontocides for radical cure of Plasmodium vivax in Indonesia. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 294. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Safety and efficacy of primaquine against repeated attacks of Plasmodium vivax depends upon co-administered blood schizontocidal therapy in radical cure. We assessed primaquine (PQ) as hypnozoitocide when administered with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (Eurartesim®, DHA-PP) or artesunate-pyronaridine (Pyramax®, AS-PYR) to affirm its good tolerability and efficacy. A third arm, artesunate followed by primaquine, was not intended as therapy for practice, but addressed a hypothesis concerning primaquine efficacy without co-administration of blood schizontocide. METHODS: During March to July 2013, an open-label, randomized trial enrolled Indonesian soldiers with vivax malaria at Sragen, Central Java, after six months duty in malarious Papua, Indonesia. No malaria transmission occurred at the study site and P. vivax recurrences in the 12 months following therapy were classified as relapses. A historic relapse control derived from a cohort of soldiers who served in the same area of Papua was applied to estimate risk of relapse among randomized treatment groups. Those were: 1) AS followed 2d later by PQ (0.5 mg/kg daily for 14d); 2) co-formulated AS-PYR concurrent with the same regimen of PQ; or 3) co-formulated DHA-PP concurrent with the same regimen of PQ. RESULTS: Among 532 soldiers, 219 had vivax malaria during the four months following repatriation to Java; 180 of these were otherwise healthy and G6PD-normal and enrolled in the trial. Subjects in all treatment groups tolerated the therapies well without untoward events and cleared parasitemia within three days. First relapse appeared at day 39 post-enrollment, and the last at day 270. Therapeutic efficacy of PQ against relapse by incidence density analysis was 92 % (95 %CI = 83-97 %), 94 %(95 %CI = 86-97 %), and 95 %(95 %CI = 88-98 %) when combined with AS, AS-PYR, or DHA-PP, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This trial offers evidence of good tolerability and efficacy of PQ against P. vivax relapse when administered concurrently with DHA-PP or AS-PYR. These offer alternative partner drugs for radical cure with primaquine. The AS arm demonstrated efficacy with a total dose of 7 mg/kg PQ without concurrently administered blood schizontocide, another option when primaquine therapy is removed in time from the treatment of the acute malaria or applied presumptively without an attack. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN82366390, assigned 20 March 2013.

Clapham H, Cummings DAT, Nisalak A, Kalayanarooj S, Thaisomboonsuk B, Klungthong C, Fernandez S, Srikiatkhachorn A, Macareo LR, Lessler J et al. 2015. Epidemiology of Infant Dengue Cases Illuminates Serotype-Specificity in the Interaction between Immunity and Disease, and Changes in Transmission Dynamics. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (12), pp. e0004262. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infants born to dengue immune mothers acquire maternal antibodies to dengue. These antibodies, though initially protective, decline during the first year of life to levels thought to be disease enhancing, before reaching undetectable levels. Infants have long been studied to understand the interaction between infection and disease on an individual level. METHODS/FINDINGS: Considering infants (cases <1 year old) as a unique group, we analyzed serotype specific dengue case data from patients admitted to a pediatric hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. We show differences in the propensity of serotypes to cause disease in individuals with dengue antibodies (infants and post-primary cases) and in individuals without dengue antibodies (primary cases). The mean age of infant cases differed among serotypes, consistent with previously observed differential waning of maternal antibody titers by serotype. We show that trends over time in epidemiology of infant cases are consistent with those observed in the whole population, and therefore with trends in the force of infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Infants with dengue are informative about the interaction between antibody and the dengue serotypes, confirming that in this population DENV-2 and DENV-4 almost exclusively cause disease in the presence of dengue antibody despite infections occurring in others. We also observe differences between the serotypes in the mean age in infant cases, informative about the interaction between waning immunity and disease for the different serotypes in infants. In addition, we show that the mean age of infant cases over time is informative about transmission in the whole population. Therefore, ongoing surveillance for dengue in infants could provide useful insights into dengue epidemiology, particularly after the introduction of a dengue vaccine targeting adults and older children.

Carrique-Mas JJ, Tue NT, Bryant JE, Saylors K, Cuong NV, Hoa NT, An NN, Hien VB, Lao PV, Tu NC et al. 2015. The baseline characteristics and interim analyses of the high-risk sentinel cohort of the Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic InfectiONS (VIZIONS). Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 17965. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Vietnam Initiative for Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS) includes community-based 'high-risk sentinel cohort' (HRSC) studies investigating individuals at risk of zoonotic infection due to occupational or residential exposure to animals. A total of 852 HRSC members were recruited between March 2013 and August 2014 from three provinces (Ha Noi, Dak Lak, and Dong Thap). The most numerous group (72.8%) corresponded to individuals living on farms, followed by slaughterers (16.3%) and animal health workers (8.5%). Nasal/pharyngeal and rectal swabs were collected from HRSC members at recruitment and after notifying illness. Exposure to exotic animals (including wild pigs, porcupine, monkey, civet, bamboo rat and bat) was highest for the Dak Lak cohort (53.7%), followed by Ha Noi (13.7%) and Dong Thap (4.0%). A total of 26.8% of individuals reported consumption of raw blood over the previous year; 33.6% slaughterers reported no use of protective equipment at work. Over 686 person-years of observation, 213 episodes of suspect infectious disease were notified, equivalent of 0.35 reports per person-year. Responsive samples were collected from animals in the farm cohort. There was noticeable time and space clustering of disease episodes suggesting that the VIZIONS set up is also suitable for the formal epidemiological investigation of disease outbreaks.

Longley RJ, Reyes-Sandoval A, Montoya-Díaz E, Dunachie S, Kumpitak C, Nguitragool W, Mueller I, Sattabongkot J. 2015. Acquisition and Longevity of Antibodies to Plasmodium vivax Preerythrocytic Antigens in Western Thailand. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (2), pp. 117-124. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax is now the dominant Plasmodium species causing malaria in Thailand, yet little is known about naturally acquired immune responses to this parasite in this low-transmission region. The preerythrocytic stage of the P. vivax life cycle is considered an excellent target for a malaria vaccine, and in this study, we assessed the stability of the seropositivity and the magnitude of IgG responses to three different preerythrocytic P. vivax proteins in two groups of adults from a region of western Thailand where malaria is endemic. These individuals were enrolled in a yearlong cohort study, which comprised one group that remained P. vivax free (by quantitative PCR [qPCR] detection, n = 31) and another that experienced two or more blood-stage P. vivax infections during the year of follow up (n = 31). Despite overall low levels of seropositivity, IgG positivity and magnitude were long-lived over the 1-year period in the absence of qPCR-detectable blood-stage P. vivax infections. In contrast, in the adults with two or more P. vivax infections during the year, IgG positivity was maintained, but the magnitude of the response to P. vivax circumsporozoite protein 210 (CSP210) decreased over time. These findings demonstrate that long-term humoral immunity can develop in low-transmission regions.

Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Nawtaisong P, Kantipong P, Laongnualpanich A, Day NPJ, Paris DH. 2015. Diagnostic Accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect Enzyme-Linked Immunoassay for the Detection of IgM Antibodies in Northern Thailand. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (2), pp. 148-154. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In this study, we examined the diagnostic accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and determined the optimal diagnostic optical density (OD) cutoffs for screening and diagnostic applications based on prospectively collected, characterized samples from undifferentiated febrile illness patients in northern Thailand. Direct comparisons with the serological gold standard, indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), revealed strong statistical correlation of ELISA OD values and IFA IgM titers. Determination of the optimal ELISA cutoff for seroepidemiology or screening purposes compared to the corresponding IFA reciprocal titer of 400 as previously described for Thailand was 0.60 OD, which corresponded to a sensitivity (Sn) of 84% and a specificity (Sp) of 98%. The diagnostic performance against the improved and more-stringent scrub typhus infection criteria (STIC), correcting for low false-positive IFA titers, resulted in an Sn of 93% and an Sp of 91% at an ELISA cutoff of 0.5 OD. This diagnostic ELISA cutoff corresponds to IFA reciprocal titers of 1,600 to 3,200, which greatly reduces the false-positive rates associated with low-positive IFA titers. These data are in congruence with the recently improved serodiagnostic positivity criteria using the Bayesian latent class modeling approach. In summary, the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM ELISA is affordable and easy-to-use, with adequate diagnostic accuracy for screening and diagnostic purposes, and should be considered an improved alternative to the gold standard IFA for acute diagnosis. For broader application, regional cutoff validation and antigenic composition for consistent diagnostic accuracy should be considered.

IMPROV Study Group. 2015. Improving the radical cure of vivax malaria (IMPROV): a study protocol for a multicentre randomised, placebo-controlled comparison of short and long course primaquine regimens. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 558. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity and recognised as an important contributor to mortality in some endemic areas. The current recommended treatment regimen for the radical cure of P. vivax includes a schizontocidal antimalarial, usually chloroquine, combined with a 14 day regimen of primaquine. The long treatment course frequently results in poor adherence and effectiveness. Shorter courses of higher daily doses of primaquine have the potential to improve adherence and thus effectiveness without compromising safety. The proposed multicentre randomised clinical trial aims to provide evidence across a variety of endemic settings on the safety and efficacy of high dose short course primaquine in glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) normal patients. DESIGN: This study is designed as a placebo controlled, double blinded, randomized trial in four countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. G6PD normal patients diagnosed with vivax malaria are randomized to receive either 7 or 14 days high dose primaquine or placebo. G6PD deficient (G6PDd) patients are allocated to weekly primaquine doses for 8weeks. All treatment is directly observed and recurrent episodes are treated with the same treatment than allocated at the enrolment episode. Patients are followed daily until completion of treatment, weekly until 8 weeks and then monthly until 1 year after initiation of the treatment. The primary endpoint is the incidence rate (per person year) of symptomatic recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia over 12 months of follow-up, for all individuals, controlling for site, comparing the 7 versus 14-day primaquine treatment arms. Secondary endpoints are other efficacy measures such as incidence risk at different time points. Further endpoints are risks of haemolysis and severe adverse events. DISCUSSION: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in the UK and Australia, and all participating countries. Results will be disseminated to inform P. vivax malaria treatment policy through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. Findings will contribute to a better understanding of the risks and benefits of primaquine which is crucial in persuading policy makers as well as clinicians of the importance of radical cure of vivax malaria, contributing to decreased transmission and a reduce parasite reservoir. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01814683 . Registered March 18, 2013.

White LJ, Lee SJ, Stepniewska K, Simpson JA, Dwell SLM, Arunjerdja R, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Correction to 'Estimation of gestational age from fundal height: a solution for resource-poor settings'. J R Soc Interface, 12 (113), pp. 20150978. | Read more

Plewes K, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Dondorp AM. 2015. Severe falciparum malaria complicated by prolonged haemolysis and rhinomaxillary mucormycosis after parasite clearance: a case report. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 555. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria may be complicated by prolonged haemolysis and recurrent fever after parasite clearance. However, their respective etiologies are unclear and challenging to diagnose. We report the first case of severe falciparum malaria followed by prolonged haemolytic anaemia and rhinomaxillary mucormycosis in a previously healthy adult male. CASE PRESENTATION: A 30-year old Bangladeshi man was admitted with severe falciparum malaria complicated by hyperlactataemia and haemoglobinuria. Prior to admission he was treated with intravenous quinine and upon admission received intravenous artesunate and empiric ceftriaxone. Thirty hours later the peripheral parasitaemia cleared with resolution of fever and haemoglobinuria. Despite parasite clearance, on day 3 the patient developed recurrent fever and acute haemolytic anaemia requiring seven blood transfusions over six days with no improvement of his haemoglobin or haemoglobinuria. On day 10, he was treated with high-dose dexamethasone and meropenem with discontinuation of the ceftriaxone. Two days later the haemoglobinuria resolved. Ceftriaxone-induced haemolysis was the suspected final diagnosis. On day 16, the patient had progressively worsening right-sided facial pain and swelling; a necrotic ulceration of the hard palate was observed. Rhinomaxillary mucormycosis was diagnosed supported by microscopy findings. The patient initially responded to treatment with urgent surgical debridement, itraconazole, followed by two weeks of amphotericin B deoxycholate, however was subsequently lost to follow up. CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights the range of potential alternative aetiologies of acute, prolonged haemolysis and recurrent fever following parasite clearance in severe falciparum malaria. It emphasizes the importance of a high degree of suspicion for alternative causes of haemolysis in order to avoid unnecessary treatments, including blood transfusion and steroids. It is critical to consider and identify common invasive bacterial and rare opportunistic co-infections as a cause of fever in severe malaria patients remaining febrile after parasite clearance to promote antimicrobial stewardship and prompt emergency care.

Zurovac D, Guintran J-O, Donald W, Naket E, Malinga J, Taleo G. 2015. Health systems readiness and management of febrile outpatients under low malaria transmission in Vanuatu. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 489. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vanuatu, an archipelago country in Western Pacific harbouring low Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria transmission, has been implementing a malaria case management policy, recommending parasitological testing of patients with fever and anti-malarial treatment for test-positive only patients. A health facility survey to evaluate the health systems readiness to implement the policy and the quality of outpatient management for patients with fever was undertaken. METHODS: A cross-sectional, cluster sample survey, using a range of quality-of-care methods, included all health centres and hospitals in Vanuatu. The main outcome measures were coverage of health facilities and health workers with commodities and support interventions, adherence to test and treatment recommendations, and factors influencing malaria testing. RESULTS: The survey was undertaken in 2014 during the low malaria season and included 41 health facilities, 67 health workers and 226 outpatient consultations for patients with fever. All facilities had capacity for parasitological diagnosis, 95.1 % stocked artemether-lumefantrine and 63.6 % primaquine. The coverage of health workers with support interventions ranged from 50 to 70 %. Health workers' knowledge was high only regarding treatment policy for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria (83.4 %). History taking and clinical examination practices were sub-optimal. Some 35.0 % (95 % CI 23.4-48.6) of patients with fever were tested for malaria, of which all results were negative and only one patient received anti-malarial treatment. Testing was significantly higher for patients age 5 years and older (OR = 2.33; 95 % CI 1.48-5.02), seen by less qualified health workers (OR = 2.73; 95 % CI 1.48-5.02), health workers who received malaria case management training (OR = 2.39; 95 % CI 1.28-4.47) and patients with increased temperature (OR = 2.56; 95 % CI 1.17-5.57), main complaint of fever (OR = 5.82; 95 % CI 1.26-26.87) and without runny nose (OR = 3.75; 95 % CI 1.36-10.34). Antibiotic use was very high (77.4 %) with sub-optimal dispensing and counselling practices. CONCLUSIONS: Health facility and health worker readiness to implement policy is higher for falciparum than vivax malaria. Clinical and malaria testing practices are sub-optimal, however adherence to test negative results is nearly universal. Use of antibiotics is irrational. Quantitative and qualitative improvements of ongoing interventions are needed to re-inforce clinical practices in this area characterized by difficult access, human resource shortages but aspiring towards malaria elimination.

Ngamdee W, Tandhavanant S, Wikraiphat C, Reamtong O, Wuthiekanun V, Salje J, Low DA, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Competition between Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. thailandensis. BMC Microbiol, 15 (1), pp. 395. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes melioidosis, an often fatal disease in tropical countries. Burkholderia thailandensis is a non-virulent but closely related species. Both species are soil saprophytes but are almost never isolated together. RESULTS: We identified two mechanisms by which B. pseudomallei affects the growth of B. thailandensis. First, we found that six different isolates of B. pseudomallei inhibited the growth of B. thailandensis on LB agar plates. Second, our results indicated that 55% of isolated strains of B. pseudomallei produced a secreted compound that inhibited the motility but not the viability of B. thailandensis. Analysis showed that the active compound was a pH-sensitive and heat-labile compound, likely a protein, which may affect flagella processing or facilitate their degradation. Analysis of bacterial sequence types (STs) demonstrated an association between this and motility inhibition. The active compound was produced from B. pseudomallei during the stationary growth phase. CONCLUSION: Taken together, our results indicate that B. pseudomallei inhibits both the growth and motility of its close relative B. thailandensis. The latter phenomenon appears to occur via a previously unreported mechanism involving flagellar processing or degradation.

MacCormick IJC, Maude RJ, Beare NAV, Borooah S, Glover S, Parry D, Leach S, Molyneux ME, Dhillon B, Lewallen S, Harding SP. 2015. Grading fluorescein angiograms in malarial retinopathy. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 367. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malarial retinopathy is an important finding in Plasmodium falciparum cerebral malaria, since it strengthens diagnostic accuracy, predicts clinical outcome and appears to parallel cerebral disease processes. Several angiographic features of malarial retinopathy have been described, but observations in different populations can only be reliably compared if consistent methodology is used to capture and grade retinal images. Currently no grading scheme exists for fluorescein angiographic features of malarial retinopathy. METHODS: A grading scheme for fluorescein angiographic images was devised based on consensus opinion of clinicians and researchers experienced in malarial retinopathy in children and adults. Dual grading were performed with adjudication of admission fluorescein images from a large cohort of children with cerebral malaria. RESULTS: A grading scheme is described and standard images are provided to facilitate future grading studies. Inter-grader agreement was >70 % for most variables. Intravascular filling defects are difficult to grade and tended to have lower inter-grader agreement (>57 %) compared to other features. CONCLUSIONS: This grading scheme provides a consistent way to describe retinal vascular damage in paediatric cerebral malaria, and can facilitate comparisons of angiographic features of malarial retinopathy between different patient groups, and analysis against clinical outcomes. Inter-grader agreement is reasonable for the majority of angiographic signs. Dual grading with expert adjudication should be used to maximize accuracy.

Ley B, Luter N, Espino FE, Devine A, Kalnoky M, Lubell Y, Thriemer K, Baird JK, Poirot E, Conan N et al. 2015. The challenges of introducing routine G6PD testing into radical cure: a workshop report. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 377. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The only currently available drug that effectively removes malaria hypnozoites from the human host is primaquine. The use of 8-aminoquinolines is hampered by haemolytic side effects in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient individuals. Recently a number of qualitative and a quantitative rapid diagnostic test (RDT) format have been developed that provide an alternative to the current standard G6PD activity assays. The WHO has recently recommended routine testing of G6PD status prior to primaquine radical cure whenever possible. A workshop was held in the Philippines in early 2015 to discuss key challenges and knowledge gaps that hinder the introduction of routine G6PD testing. Two point-of-care (PoC) test formats for the measurement of G6PD activity are currently available: qualitative tests comparable to malaria RDT as well as biosensors that provide a quantitative reading. Qualitative G6PD PoC tests provide a binomial test result, are easy to use and some products are comparable in price to the widely used fluorescent spot test. Qualitative test results can accurately classify hemizygous males, heterozygous females, but may misclassify females with intermediate G6PD activity. Biosensors provide a more complex quantitative readout and are better suited to identify heterozygous females. While associated with higher costs per sample tested biosensors have the potential for broader use in other scenarios where knowledge of G6PD activity is relevant as well. The introduction of routine G6PD testing is associated with additional costs on top of routine treatment that will vary by setting and will need to be assessed prior to test introduction. Reliable G6PD PoC tests have the potential to play an essential role in future malaria elimination programmes, however require an improved understanding on how to best integrate routine G6PD testing into different health settings.

Slater HC, Ross A, Ouédraogo AL, White LJ, Nguon C, Walker PGT, Ngor P, Aguas R, Silal SP, Dondorp AM et al. 2015. Assessing the impact of next-generation rapid diagnostic tests on Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination strategies. Nature, 528 (7580), pp. S94-101. | Citations: 40 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mass-screen-and-treat and targeted mass-drug-administration strategies are being considered as a means to interrupt transmission of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. However, the effectiveness of such strategies will depend on the extent to which current and future diagnostics are able to detect those individuals who are infectious to mosquitoes. We estimate the relationship between parasite density and onward infectivity using sensitive quantitative parasite diagnostics and mosquito feeding assays from Burkina Faso. We find that a diagnostic with a lower detection limit of 200 parasites per microlitre would detect 55% of the infectious reservoir (the combined infectivity to mosquitoes of the whole population weighted by how often each individual is bitten) whereas a test with a limit of 20 parasites per microlitre would detect 83% and 2 parasites per microlitre would detect 95% of the infectious reservoir. Using mathematical models, we show that increasing the diagnostic sensitivity from 200 parasites per microlitre (equivalent to microscopy or current rapid diagnostic tests) to 2 parasites per microlitre would increase the number of regions where transmission could be interrupted with a mass-screen-and-treat programme from an entomological inoculation rate below 1 to one of up to 4. The higher sensitivity diagnostic could reduce the number of treatment rounds required to interrupt transmission in areas of lower prevalence. We predict that mass-screen-and-treat with a highly sensitive diagnostic is less effective than mass drug administration owing to the prophylactic protection provided to uninfected individuals by the latter approach. In low-transmission settings such as those in Southeast Asia, we find that a diagnostic tool with a sensitivity of 20 parasites per microlitre may be sufficient for targeted mass drug administration because this diagnostic is predicted to identify a similar village population prevalence compared with that currently detected using polymerase chain reaction if treatment levels are high and screening is conducted during the dry season. Along with other factors, such as coverage, choice of drug, timing of the intervention, importation of infections, and seasonality, the sensitivity of the diagnostic can play a part in increasing the chance of interrupting transmission.

Arabi Y, Balkhy H, Hajeer AH, Bouchama A, Hayden FG, Al-Omari A, Al-Hameed FM, Taha Y, Shindo N, Whitehead J et al. 2015. Feasibility, safety, clinical, and laboratory effects of convalescent plasma therapy for patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection: a study protocol. Springerplus, 4 (1), pp. 709. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

As of September 30, 2015, a total of 1589 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). At present there is no effective specific therapy against MERS-CoV. The use of convalescent plasma (CP) has been suggested as a potential therapy based on existing evidence from other viral infections. We aim to study the feasibility of CP therapy as well as its safety and clinical and laboratory effects in critically ill patients with MERS-CoV infection. We will also examine the pharmacokinetics of the MERS-CoV antibody response and viral load over the course of MERS-CoV infection. This study will inform a future randomized controlled trial that will examine the efficacy of CP therapy for MERS-CoV infection. In the CP collection phase, potential donors will be tested by the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) techniques for the presence of anti-MERS-CoV antibodies. Subjects with anti-MERS-CoV IFA titer of ≥1:160 and no clinical or laboratory evidence of MERS-CoV infection will be screened for eligibility for plasma donation according to standard donation criteria. In the CP therapy phase, 20 consecutive critically ill patients admitted to intensive care unit with laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection will be enrolled and each will receive 2 units of CP. Post enrollment, patients will be followed for clinical and laboratory outcomes that include anti-MERS-CoV antibodies and viral load. This protocol was developed collaboratively by King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Infection Control Center Group and the World Health Organization-International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC-WHO) MERS-CoV Working Group. It was approved in June 2014 by the Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs Institutional Review Board (IRB). A data safety monitoring board (DSMB) was formulated. The study is registered at (NCT02190799).

Tauran PM, Sennang N, Rusli B, Wiersinga WJ, Dance D, Arif M, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. Emergence of Melioidosis in Indonesia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (6), pp. 1160-1163. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is known to be highly endemic in parts of southeast Asia and northern Australia; however, cases are rarely reported in Indonesia. Here we report three cases of melioidosis in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia occurring between 2013 and 2014. Two patients died and the other was lost to follow-up. Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates from all three cases were identified by the VITEK2 Compact installed in the hospital in 2012. None of the three patients reported received antimicrobials recommended for melioidosis because of the delayed recognition of the organism. We reviewed the literature and found only seven reports of melioidosis in Indonesia. Five were reported before 1960. We suggest that melioidosis is endemic throughout Indonesia but currently under-recognized. Training on how to identify B. pseudomallei accurately and safely in all available microbiological facilities should be provided, and consideration should be given to making melioidosis a notifiable disease in Indonesia.

Watthanaworawit W, Turner P, Turner C, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jintaworn S, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Richards AL, Day NPJ, Blacksell SD, Nosten F. 2015. Diagnostic Accuracy Assessment of Immunochromatographic Tests for the Rapid Detection of Antibodies Against Orientia tsutsugamushi Using Paired Acute and Convalescent Specimens. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (6), pp. 1168-1171. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of two immunochromatographic tests (ICTs), the Access Bio CareStart Scrub Typhus test (Somerset, NJ) (IgM), and the SD BIOLINE Tsutsugamushi test (Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea) (IgG, IgM, or IgA) compared with indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and real-time PCR results as reference tests using 86 paired acute and convalescent specimens from febrile patients. The sensitivity and specificity of the CareStart test were 23.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 11.8-38.6) and 81.4% (95% CI: 66.6-91.6), respectively, for acute specimens and 32.6% (95% CI: 19.1-48.5) and 79.1% (95% CI: 64.0-90.0), respectively, for convalescent specimens. For the SD BIOLINE test, sensitivity and specificity were 20.9% (95% CI: 10.0-36.0) and 74.4% (95% CI: 58.8-86.5), respectively, for acute specimens and 76.7% (95% CI: 61.4-88.2) and 76.7% (95% CI: 61.4-88.2), respectively, for convalescent specimens. The poor sensitivity obtained for both ICTs during this study when performed on acute specimens highlights the difficulties in prompt diagnosis of scrub typhus.

Slesak G, Inthalath S, Dittrich S, Paris DH, Newton PN. 2015. Leeches as further potential vectors for rickettsial infections. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112 (48), pp. E6593-E6594. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more

Anstey NM, Auburn S, Baird JK, Battle KE, Bobogare A, Chancellor A, Chasombat S, Cheng Q, Domingo GJ, Drakeley CJ et al. 2015. Targeting vivax malaria in the Asia Pacific: The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network Vivax Working Group MALARIA JOURNAL, 14 (1), | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 World Health Organization; licensee BioMed Central. The Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) is a collaboration of 18 country partners committed to eliminating malaria from within their borders. Over the past 5 years, APMEN has helped to build the knowledge, tools and in-country technical expertise required to attain this goal. At its inaugural meeting in Brisbane in 2009, Plasmodium vivax infections were identified across the region as a common threat to this ambitious programme; the APMEN Vivax Working Group was established to tackle specifically this issue. The Working Group developed a four-stage strategy to identify knowledge gaps, build regional consensus on shared priorities, generate evidence and change practice to optimize malaria elimination activities. This case study describes the issues faced and the solutions found in developing this robust strategic partnership between national programmes and research partners within the Working Group. The success of the approach adopted by the group may facilitate similar applications in other regions seeking to deploy evidence-based policy and practice.

Dubot-Pérès A, Sengvilaipaseuth O, Chanthongthip A, Newton PN, de Lamballerie X. 2015. How many patients with anti-JEV IgM in cerebrospinal fluid really have Japanese encephalitis? Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (12), pp. 1376-1377. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Thwaites CL, Loan HT. 2015. Eradication of tetanus. Br Med Bull, 116 (1), pp. 69-77. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The causative agent of tetanus, Clostridium tetani is widespread in the environment throughout the world and cannot be eradicated. To reduce the number of cases of tetanus efforts are focussed on prevention using vaccination and post-exposure wound care. SOURCES OF DATA: Medline, Pubmed and Cochrane databases; World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund publications. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: The maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination initiative has resulted in significant reductions in mortality from neonatal tetanus throughout the world. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: Although there are few data available it is likely that large numbers of children and adults, particularly men, remain unprotected due to lack of booster immunization. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: It remains unclear how HIV and malaria affect both responses to vaccination and transplacental transfer of antibodies or how this might affect timing of vaccination doses.

Getachew S, Thriemer K, Auburn S, Abera A, Gadisa E, Aseffa A, Price RN, Petros B. 2015. Chloroquine efficacy for Plasmodium vivax malaria treatment in southern Ethiopia. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 525. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) is the first-line treatment for vivax malaria in Ethiopia, but there is evidence for its declining efficacy. Defining the extent and regional distribution of CQ resistance is critical to ensure optimal treatment guidelines. This study aimed to provide data on the therapeutic efficacy of CQ against Plasmodium vivax malaria in southern Ethiopia. METHODS: Patients with P. vivax mono-infection aged between 8 months and 65 years were enrolled in a clinical efficacy trial. The study was conducted at four sites in southern Ethiopia. Study participants were treated with a supervised course of CQ (25 mg/kg over three consecutive days), followed by weekly blood film examination and clinical assessment for 28 days. CQ blood concentrations were not assessed. The primary endpoint was the risk of failure at 28 days by survival analysis. RESULTS: Between May 2010 and December 2013, 288 patients were enrolled in the study (n = 89 in Shele, n = 52 in Guba, n = 57 in Batu and n = 90 in Shone). Baseline characteristics varied significantly between sites. In total 34 (11.8%) patients were censored during follow up (five with Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia and 29 lost to follow up). Two (0.7%) patients experienced early treatment failure and 23 (8%) late treatment failure. The overall risk of recurrence by day 28 was 9.4% (95% CI 6.4-13.6%) with site-specific estimates of 3.8% (95% CI 1.2-11.3) for Shele, 21.9% (95% CI 12.2-36.1) for Guba, 5.9% (95% CI 1.9-17.3) for Batu and 9.2% (95% CI 4.5-17.6) for Shone. CONCLUSION: There is evidence of reduced CQ efficacy across three of the four study sites, with the degree of resistance severe enough in Guba to suggest that review of treatment policy may be warranted.

Hughes J, Stabler R, Gaunt M, Karadag T, Desai N, Betley J, Ioannou A, Aryee A, Hearn P, Marbach H et al. 2015. Clonal variation in high- and low-level phenotypic and genotypic mupirocin resistance of MRSA isolates in south-east London. J Antimicrob Chemother, 70 (12), pp. 3191-3199. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Both low-level mupirocin resistance (LMR) and high-level mupirocin resistance (HMR) have been identified. The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiology of LMR and HMR in MRSA isolates at five hospitals that have used mupirocin for targeted decolonization as part of successful institutional control programmes. METHODS: All MRSA identified in three microbiology laboratories serving five central and south-east London hospitals and surrounding communities between November 2011 and February 2012 were included. HMR and LMR were determined by disc diffusion testing. WGS was used to derive multilocus sequence types (MLSTs) and the presence of HMR and LMR resistance determinants. RESULTS: Prevalence of either HMR or LMR amongst first healthcare episode isolates from 795 identified patients was 9.69% (95% CI 7.72-11.96); LMR was 6.29% (95% CI 4.70-8.21) and HMR was 3.40% (95% CI 2.25-4.90). Mupirocin resistance was not significantly different in isolates identified from inpatients at each microbiology laboratory, but was more common in genotypically defined 'hospital' rather than 'community' isolates (OR 3.17, 95% CI 1.36-9.30, P = 0.002). LMR was associated with inpatient stay, previous history of MRSA and age ≥65 years; HMR was associated with age ≥65 years and residential postcode outside London. LMR and HMR varied by clone, with both being low in the dominant UK MRSA clone ST22 compared with ST8, ST36 and ST239/241 for LMR and with ST8 and ST36 for HMR. V588F mutation and mupA carriage had high specificity (>97%) and area under the curve (>83%) to discriminate phenotypic mupirocin resistance, but uncertainty around the sensitivity point estimate was large (95% CI 52.50%-94.44%). Mutations in or near the mupA gene were found in eight isolates that carried mupA but were not HMR. CONCLUSIONS: Mupirocin resistance was identified in <10% of patients and varied significantly by clone, implying that changes in clonal epidemiology may have an important role in determining the prevalence of resistance in conjunction with selection due to mupirocin use.

Hantrakun V, Chierakul W, Chetchotisakd P, Anunnatsiri S, Currie BJ, Peacock SJ, Day NPJ, Cheah PY, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y. 2015. Cost-effectiveness analysis of parenteral antimicrobials for acute melioidosis in Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 109 (12), pp. 803. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more

Bicanic T, Bottomley C, Loyse A, Brouwer AE, Muzoora C, Taseera K, Jackson A, Phulusa J, Hosseinipour MC, van der Horst C et al. 2015. Toxicity of Amphotericin B Deoxycholate-Based Induction Therapy in Patients with HIV-Associated Cryptococcal Meningitis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (12), pp. 7224-7231. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Amphotericin B deoxycholate (AmBd) is the recommended induction treatment for HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis (CM). Its use is hampered by toxicities that include electrolyte abnormalities, nephrotoxicity, and anemia. Protocols to minimize toxicity are applied inconsistently. In a clinical trial cohort of AmBd-based CM induction treatment, a standardized protocol of preemptive hydration and electrolyte supplementation was applied. Changes in blood counts, electrolyte levels, and creatinine levels over 14 days were analyzed in relation to the AmBd dose, treatment duration (short course of 5 to 7 days or standard course of 14 days), addition of flucytosine (5FC), and outcome. In the 368 patients studied, the hemoglobin levels dropped by a mean of 1.5 g/dl (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0 to 1.9 g/dl) following 7 days of AmBd and by a mean of 2.3 g/dl (95% CI, 1.1 to 3.6 g/dl) after 14 days. Serum creatinine levels increased by 37 μmol/liter (95% CI, 30 to 45 μmol/liter) by day 7 and by 49 μmol/liter (95% CI, 35 to 64μmol/liter) by day 14 of AmBd treatment. Overall, 33% of patients developed grade III/IV anemia, 5.6% developed grade III hypokalemia, 9.5% had creatinine levels that exceeded 220 μmol, and 6% discontinued AmBd prematurely. The addition of 5FC was associated with a slight increase in anemia but not neutropenia. Laboratory abnormalities stabilized or reversed during the second week in patients on short-course induction. Grade III/IV anemia (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1 to 4.3; P = 0.028) and nephrotoxicity (aOR, 4.5; 95% CI, 1.8 to 11; P = 0.001) were risk factors for 10-week mortality. In summary, routine intravenous saline hydration and preemptive electrolyte replacement during AmBd-based induction regimens for HIV-associated CM minimized the incidence of hypokalemia and nephrotoxicity. Anemia remained a concerning adverse effect. The addition of flucytosine was not associated with increased neutropenia. Shorter AmBd courses were less toxic, with rapid reversibility.

PLOS Medicine Editors, Beck A, Birney E, Graeber M, Tumwine J, Hay P, Ahn HS, Patel A, du Cros P, von Seidlein L et al. 2015. Progress in Medicine: Experts Take Stock. PLoS Med, 12 (12), pp. e1001933. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In the year-end editorial, the PLOS Medicine editors ask 11 researchers and clinicians about the most relevant challenges, promising research, and important initiatives in their fields as we head into 2016.

Turner P, Ngeth P, Turner C, Sao S, Day NPJ, Baker C, Steer AC, Smeesters PR. 2015. Molecular Epidemiology of Group A Streptococcus Infections in Cambodian Children, 2007-2012. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (12), pp. 1414-1415. | Read more


Nhung NT, Thuy CT, Trung NV, Campbell J, Baker S, Thwaites G, Hoa NT, Carrique-Mas J. 2015. Induction of Antimicrobial Resistance in Escherichia coli and Non-Typhoidal Salmonella Strains after Adaptation to Disinfectant Commonly Used on Farms in Vietnam. Antibiotics (Basel), 4 (4), pp. 480-494. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In Vietnam, commercial disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are commonly used in pig and poultry farms to maintain hygiene during production. We hypothesized that sustained exposure to sub-bactericidal concentrations of QAC-based disinfectants may result in increased levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among Enterobacteriacea due to the increase of efflux pump expression. To test this hypothesis we exposed six antimicrobial-susceptible Escherichia coli (E. coli) and six antimicrobial-susceptible non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) isolates to increasing concentrations of a commonly used commercial disinfectant containing a mix of benzalkonium chloride and glutaraldehyde. Over the 12-day experiment, strains exhibited a significant change in their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the disinfectant product (mean increase of 31% (SD ± 40)) (p = 0.02, paired Wilcoxon test). Increases in MIC for the disinfectant product were strongly correlated with increases in MIC (or decreases in inhibition zone) for all antimicrobials (Pearson's correlation coefficient 0.71-0.83, all p < 0.01). The greatest increases in MIC (or decreases in inhibition zone) were observed for ampicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol, and the smallest for gentamicin, trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole. The treatment of 155 representative E. coli isolates from farmed and wild animals in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) with phenyl-arginine beta-naphthylamide (PAβN), a generic efflux pump inhibitor, resulted in reductions in the prevalence of AMR ranging from 0.7% to 3.3% in these organisms, indicating a small contribution of efflux pumps on the observed prevalence of AMR on farms. These results suggest that the mass usage of commercial disinfectants, many of which contain QACs, is potentially a contributing factor on the generation and maintenance of AMR in animal production in Vietnam.

Beane A, Stephens T, De Silva AP, Adikaram M, De Alwis S, Athapattu P, Sigera C, Peiris L, Siriwardana S, Jayasinghe K et al. 2015. A collaborative approach to training ward nurses in acute care skills in resource limited settings: the nursing intensive care skills training (nicts) project. Intensive Care Med Exp, 3 (Suppl 1), pp. A445. | Read more

Stephens T, Beane A, De Silva AP, Welch J, Sigera C, De Alwis S, Athapattu P, Peiris L, Siriwardana S, Jayasinghe K et al. 2015. Capacity building for critical care skills training provision in resource limited settings: the nursing intensive care skills training (nicst) project. Intensive Care Med Exp, 3 (Suppl 1), pp. A444. | Read more

Preston EC, Ariana P, Penny ME, Frost M, Plugge E. 2015. Prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity and associated factors in Peru. Rev Panam Salud Publica, 38 (6), pp. 472-478. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of and factors associated with childhood overweight and obesity among a cohort of children 7-8 years of age in Peru. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional secondary analysis of data from the Young Lives longitudinal study of childhood poverty. The sample was a cohort of 1 737 children 7-8 years of age in 2009. Prevalence of overweight and obesity was assessed using body mass index-forage Z-scores. Logistic regression was used to determine associations with a number of individual, household, and community factors. RESULTS: Prevalences of overweight and obesity were 19.2% and 8.6%, respectively. A prevalence of 32.0% and 23.5% overweight and obesity was found among males and females, respectively. High socioeconomic status, living in Lima, having a mother who was overweight or obese, being male, and being an only child or having only one sibling were associated with being overweight and obese at this age. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows a high prevalence of childhood and maternal overweight and obesity in Peru. In contrast to findings in many high-income countries, the findings in Peru indicate that children from wealthier households were more likely to be overweight or obese than those from poorer households. In addition, there is something particularly obesogenic about the Lima environment that merits further investigation, and several key issues to consider when targeting future interventions and research.

Participants of an International Workshop in Kenya on the Role of Frontline Staff in Biomedical Research, July 2014, Kombe F. 2015. Enhancing quality and integrity in biomedical research in Africa: an international call for greater focus, investment and standardisation in capacity strengthening for frontline staff. BMC Med Ethics, 16 (1), pp. 77. | Show Abstract | Read more

The integrity of biomedical research depends heavily on the quality of research data collected. In turn, data quality depends on processes of data collection, a task undertaken by frontline research staff in many research programmes in Africa and elsewhere. These frontline research staff often have additional responsibilities including translating and communicating research in local languages, seeking informed consent for study participation and maintaining supportive relationships between research institutions and study participants and wider communities. The level of skills that fieldworkers need to undertake these responsibilities clearly affects the quality of data collected, the ethics of research 'on the ground' and the short and long term acceptability of research.We organised an international workshop in Kenya in July 2014 to discuss the role of frontline staff in scientific research. A total of 25 field managers from 9 African countries and the UK met for 2.5 days to discuss the relationship between data quality and institutional performance management systems and how they affect career progression and supportive supervision policies of research frontline staff.From this workshop, and supporting an expanding literature on the role of fieldworkers in international health research, participants agreed that fieldworkers' roles present them with practical and ethical challenges that their routine training does not adequately prepare them for. We argue that the common and complex challenges facing fieldworkers should in part be addressed through increased investment and collaborative agreements across types of research institutions in Africa. We call for standardization of core elements of training for this critically important cadre of research staff who perform similar roles and encounter similar challenges in many African settings. Although many valuable training elements are offered in institutions, there is a need to develop broader, more grounded and innovative strategies to address complex realities for fieldworkers, and support the integrity and ethics of health research in these settings.

Spoorenberg V, Hulscher MEJL, Geskus RB, de Reijke TM, Opmeer BC, Prins JM, Geerlings SE. 2015. A Cluster-Randomized Trial of Two Strategies to Improve Antibiotic Use for Patients with a Complicated Urinary Tract Infection. PLoS One, 10 (12), pp. e0142672. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Up to 50% of hospital antibiotic use is inappropriate and therefore improvement strategies are urgently needed. We compared the effectiveness of two strategies to improve the quality of antibiotic use in patients with a complicated urinary tract infection (UTI). METHODS: In a multicentre, cluster-randomized trial 19 Dutch hospitals (departments Internal Medicine and Urology) were allocated to either a multi-faceted strategy including feedback, educational sessions, reminders and additional/optional improvement actions, or a competitive feedback strategy, i.e. providing professionals with non-anonymous comparative feedback on the department's appropriateness of antibiotic use. Retrospective baseline- and post-intervention measurements were performed in 2009 and 2012 in 50 patients per department, resulting in 1,964 and 2,027 patients respectively. Principal outcome measures were nine validated guideline-based quality indicators (QIs) that define appropriate antibiotic use in patients with a complicated UTI, and a QI sumscore that summarizes for each patient the appropriateness of antibiotic use. RESULTS: Performance scores on several individual QIs showed improvement from baseline to post-intervention measurements, but no significant differences were found between both strategies. The mean patient's QI sum score improved significantly in both strategy groups (multi-faceted: 61.7% to 65.0%, P = 0.04 and competitive feedback: 62.8% to 66.7%, P = 0.01). Compliance with the strategies was suboptimal, but better compliance was associated with more improvement. CONCLUSION: The effectiveness of both strategies was comparable and better compliance with the strategies was associated with more improvement. To increase effectiveness, improvement activities should be rigorously applied, preferably by a locally initiated multidisciplinary team. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Nederlands Trial Register 1742.

van Santen HM, Geskus RB, Raemaekers S, van Trotsenburg ASP, Vulsma T, van der Pal HJH, Caron HN, Kremer LCM. 2015. Changes in body mass index in long-term childhood cancer survivors. Cancer, 121 (23), pp. 4197-4204. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported changes in the body mass index (BMI) with time in childhood cancer survivors (CCSs) during follow-up. The limitations of these studies include that they described only a subgroup of survivors or used questionnaires with self-reported heights and weights. The goal of this study was to examine BMI in a large cohort of long-term CCSs and relate this to the BMI at diagnosis, age, sex, tumor type, treatment, and endocrine defects. METHODS: All patients treated for childhood cancer at the Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center between 1966 and 1996 who had survived for at least 5 years were eligible for inclusion. For 893 CCSs with a mean follow-up of 14.9 years, the BMI at the late effects outpatient clinic was compared with the BMI for the general Dutch population. RESULTS: For girls, an increased prevalence of obesity was found. Risk factors for developing a high BMI at follow-up were a younger age and a high BMI at diagnosis and treatment with cranial radiotherapy. A significantly increased prevalence of severe underweight was found in all adult subgroups except for females aged 26 to 45 years. An association was found between a low BMI at diagnosis and a low BMI at follow-up. No treatment-related variables could be related to changes in BMI. CONCLUSIONS: The BMI at diagnosis is one of the most important predictors for the BMI at follow-up, and this suggests an important genetic or environmental cause. Adult CCSs are at high risk for developing severe underweight at follow-up. Future studies should focus on the causes and clinical consequences of underweight.

Chung The H, Rabaa MA, Thanh DP, Ruekit S, Wangchuk S, Dorji T, Tshering KP, Nguyen TNT, Vinh PV, Thanh TH et al. 2015. Introduction and establishment of fluoroquinolone-resistantShigella sonneiinto Bhutan. Microb Genom, 1 (6), pp. e000042. | Show Abstract | Read more

Shigella sonnei is a major contributor to the global burden of diarrhoeal disease, generally associated with dysenteric diarrhoea in developed countries but also emerging in developing countries. The reason for the recent success ofS. sonneiis unknown, but is likely catalysed by its ability to acquire resistance against multiple antimicrobials. Between 2011 and 2013,S. sonneiexhibiting resistance to fluoroquinolones, the first-line treatment recommended for shigellosis, emerged in Bhutan. Aiming to reconstruct the introduction and establishment of fluoroquinolone-resistantS. sonneipopulations in Bhutan, we performed whole-genome sequencing on 71S. sonneisamples isolated in Bhutan between 2011 and 2013.We found that these strains represented an expansion of a clade within the previously described lineage III, found specifically in Central Asia. Temporal phylogenetic reconstruction demonstrated that all of the sequenced BhutaneseS. sonneidiverged from a single ancestor that was introduced into Bhutan around 2006. Our data additionally predicted that fluoroquinolone resistance, conferred by mutations ingyrAandparC, arose prior to the introduction of the founder strain into Bhutan. Once established in Bhutan, theseS. sonneihad access to a broad gene pool, as indicated by the acquisition of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-encoding plasmids and genes encoding type IV pili. The data presented here outline a model for the introduction and maintenance of fluoroquinolone-resistantS. sonneiin a new setting. Given the current circulation of fluoroquinolone-resistantS. sonneiin Asia, we speculate that this pattern of introduction is being recapitulated across the region and beyond.

Althouse BM, Scarpino SV, Meyers LA, Ayers JW, Bargsten M, Baumbach J, Brownstein JS, Castro L, Clapham H, Cummings DA et al. 2015. Enhancing disease surveillance with novel data streams: challenges and opportunities. EPJ Data Sci, 4 (1), pp. 1-8. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Novel data streams (NDS), such as web search data or social media updates, hold promise for enhancing the capabilities of public health surveillance. In this paper, we outline a conceptual framework for integrating NDS into current public health surveillance. Our approach focuses on two key questions: What are the opportunities for using NDS and what are the minimal tests of validity and utility that must be applied when using NDS? Identifying these opportunities will necessitate the involvement of public health authorities and an appreciation of the diversity of objectives and scales across agencies at different levels (local, state, national, international). We present the case that clearly articulating surveillance objectives and systematically evaluating NDS and comparing the performance of NDS to existing surveillance data and alternative NDS data is critical and has not sufficiently been addressed in many applications of NDS currently in the literature.

Rhee S-Y, Jordan MR, Raizes E, Chua A, Parkin N, Kantor R, Van Zyl GU, Mukui I, Hosseinipour MC, Frenkel LM et al. 2015. HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations: Potential Applications for Point-of-Care Genotypic Resistance Testing. PLoS One, 10 (12), pp. e0145772. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The increasing prevalence of acquired and transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance is an obstacle to successful antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) hardest hit by the HIV-1 pandemic. Genotypic drug resistance testing could facilitate the choice of initial ART in areas with rising transmitted drug resistance (TDR) and enable care-providers to determine which individuals with virological failure (VF) on a first- or second-line ART regimen require a change in treatment. An inexpensive near point-of-care (POC) genotypic resistance test would be useful in settings where the resources, capacity, and infrastructure to perform standard genotypic drug resistance testing are limited. Such a test would be particularly useful in conjunction with the POC HIV-1 viral load tests that are currently being introduced in LMICs. A POC genotypic resistance test is likely to involve the use of allele-specific point mutation assays for detecting drug-resistance mutations (DRMs). This study proposes that two major nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)-associated DRMs (M184V and K65R) and four major NNRTI-associated DRMs (K103N, Y181C, G190A, and V106M) would be the most useful for POC genotypic resistance testing in LMIC settings. One or more of these six DRMs was present in 61.2% of analyzed virus sequences from ART-naïve individuals with intermediate or high-level TDR and 98.8% of analyzed virus sequences from individuals on a first-line NRTI/NNRTI-containing regimen with intermediate or high-level acquired drug resistance. The detection of one or more of these DRMs in an ART-naïve individual or in a individual with VF on a first-line NRTI/NNRTI-containing regimen may be considered an indication for a protease inhibitor (PI)-containing regimen or closer virological monitoring based on cost-effectiveness or country policy.

Boender TS, Hoenderboom BM, Sigaloff KCE, Hamers RL, Wellington M, Shamu T, Siwale M, Labib Maksimos EEF, Nankya I, Kityo CM et al. 2015. Pretreatment HIV drug resistance increases regimen switches in sub-Saharan Africa. Clin Infect Dis, 61 (11), pp. 1749-1758. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: After the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in Africa, increasing numbers of patients have pretreatment drug resistance. METHODS: In a large multicountry cohort of patients starting standard first-line ART in six African countries, pol genotyping was retrospectively performed if viral load (VL) ≥1000 cps/mL. Pretreatment drug resistance was defined as a decreased susceptibility to ≥1 prescribed drug. We assessed the effect of pretreatment drug resistance on all-cause mortality, new AIDS events and switch to second-line ART due to presumed treatment failure, using Cox models. RESULTS: Among 2579 participants for whom a pretreatment genotype was available, 5.5% had pretreatment drug resistance. Pretreatment drug resistance was associated with an increased risk of regimen switch (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 3.80; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.49-9.68; P = .005) but was not associated with mortality (aHR 0.75, 95% CI, .24-2.35; P = .617) or new AIDS events (aHR 1.06, 95% CI, .68-1.64; P = .807). During three years of follow up, 106 (4.1%) participants switched to second-line, of whom 18 (17.0%) switched with VL < 1000 cps/mL, 7 (6.6%) with VL ≥ 1000 cps/mL and no drug resistance mutations (DRMs), 46 (43.4%) with VL ≥ 1000 cps/mL and ≥1 DRMs; no HIV RNA data was available for 32 (30.2%) participants. CONCLUSIONS: Given rising pretreatment HIV drug resistance levels in sub-Saharan Africa, these findings underscore the need for expanded access to second-line ART. VL monitoring can improve the accuracy of failure detection and efficiency of switching practices.


Imwong M, Jindakhad T, Kunasol C, Sutawong K, Vejakama P, Dondorp AM. 2015. An outbreak of artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria in Eastern Thailand. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 17412. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin resistant falciparum malaria is an increasing problem in Southeast Asia, but has not been associated with increased transmission of the disease, yet. During a recent outbreak in 2014 in Ubon Ratchatani, Eastern Thailand, parasites from 101 patients with falciparum malaria were genotyped for antimalarial drug resistance markers. Mutations in the Kelch13 marker for artemisinin resistance were present in 93% of samples, mainly C580Y from 2 major clusters as identified by microsatellite typing. Resistance markers for antifolates and chloroquine were also highly prevalent. Most strains (91%) carried single copy number PfMDR1, suggesting sustained sensitivity to mefloquine, the partner drug in the local first-line artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). The high prevalence of artemisinin resistance in this recent malaria outbreak suggests but does not prove a causative role in increased transmission. Careful monitoring of ACT efficacy and additional genetic epidemiological studies are warranted to guide the public health response to the outbreak.

Reamtong O, Srimuang K, Saralamba N, Sangvanich P, Day NPJ, White NJ, Imwong M. 2015. Protein profiling of mefloquine resistantPlasmodium falciparumusing mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Int J Mass Spectrom, 391 pp. 82-92. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by protozoa of genusPlasmodium. There are five species ofPlasmodiumthat are found to infect humans.Plasmodium falciparumcan cause severe malaria leading to higher morbidity and mortality of malaria than the other four species. Antimalarial resistance is the major obstacle to control malaria. Mefloquine was used in combination with Artesunate for uncomplicatedP. falciparumin South East Asia and it has developed and established mefloquine resistance in this region. Here, gel-enhanced liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GeLC-MS/MS)-based proteomics and label-free quantification were used to explore the protein profiles of mefloquine-sensitive and -induced resistantP. falciparum. A ThaiP. falciparumisolate (S066) was used as a model in this research. Our data revealed for the first time that 69 proteins exhibited at least 2-fold differences in their expression levels between the two parasite lines. Of these, 36 were up-regulated and 33 were down-regulated in the mefloquine-resistant line compared with the mefloquine-sensitive line. These findings are consistent with those of past studies, where the multidrug resistance protein Pgh1 showed an up-regulation pattern consistent with that expected from its average 3-copy pfmdr1 gene number. Pgh1 and eight other up-regulated proteins (i.e., histo-aspartyl protease protein, exportin 1, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit 8, peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase, serine rich protein homologue, exported protein 1, ATP synthase beta chain and phospholipid scramblase 1) were further validated for their expression levels using reverse transcriptase quantitative real-time PCR. The data support the up-regulation status in the mefloquine-resistant parasite line of all the candidate genes referred to above. Therefore, GeLC-MS/MS-based proteomics combined with label-free quantification is a reliable approach for exploring mefloquine resistance biomarkers inP. falciparum. Identification of these proteins leads to better understanding of mefloquine resistant mechanisms in malaria parasites.

Cheah PY. 2015. Crowdfunding not fit for clinical trials. Nature, 527 (7579), pp. 446. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Neafsey DE, Juraska M, Bedford T, Benkeser D, Valim C, Griggs A, Lievens M, Abdulla S, Adjei S, Agbenyega T et al. 2015. Genetic Diversity and Protective Efficacy of the RTS,S/AS01 Malaria Vaccine. N Engl J Med, 373 (21), pp. 2025-2037. | Citations: 66 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The RTS,S/AS01 vaccine targets the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium falciparum and has partial protective efficacy against clinical and severe malaria disease in infants and children. We investigated whether the vaccine efficacy was specific to certain parasite genotypes at the circumsporozoite protein locus. METHODS: We used polymerase chain reaction-based next-generation sequencing of DNA extracted from samples from 4985 participants to survey circumsporozoite protein polymorphisms. We evaluated the effect that polymorphic positions and haplotypic regions within the circumsporozoite protein had on vaccine efficacy against first episodes of clinical malaria within 1 year after vaccination. RESULTS: In the per-protocol group of 4577 RTS,S/AS01-vaccinated participants and 2335 control-vaccinated participants who were 5 to 17 months of age, the 1-year cumulative vaccine efficacy was 50.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 34.6 to 62.3) against clinical malaria in which parasites matched the vaccine in the entire circumsporozoite protein C-terminal (139 infections), as compared with 33.4% (95% CI, 29.3 to 37.2) against mismatched malaria (1951 infections) (P=0.04 for differential vaccine efficacy). The vaccine efficacy based on the hazard ratio was 62.7% (95% CI, 51.6 to 71.3) against matched infections versus 54.2% (95% CI, 49.9 to 58.1) against mismatched infections (P=0.06). In the group of infants 6 to 12 weeks of age, there was no evidence of differential allele-specific vaccine efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that among children 5 to 17 months of age, the RTS,S vaccine has greater activity against malaria parasites with the matched circumsporozoite protein allele than against mismatched malaria. The overall vaccine efficacy in this age category will depend on the proportion of matched alleles in the local parasite population; in this trial, less than 10% of parasites had matched alleles. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

Garcia-Knight MA, Nduati E, Hassan AS, Gambo F, Odera D, Etyang TJ, Hajj NJ, Berkley JA, Urban BC, Rowland-Jones SL. 2015. Altered Memory T-Cell Responses to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin and Tetanus Toxoid Vaccination and Altered Cytokine Responses to Polyclonal Stimulation in HIV-Exposed Uninfected Kenyan Infants. PLoS One, 10 (11), pp. e0143043. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Implementation of successful prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV strategies has resulted in an increased population of HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) infants. HEU infants have higher rates of morbidity and mortality than HIV-unexposed (HU) infants. Numerous factors may contribute to poor health in HEU infants including immunological alterations. The present study assessed T-cell phenotype and function in HEU infants with a focus on memory Th1 responses to vaccination. We compared cross-sectionally selected parameters at 3 and 12 months of age in HIV-exposed (n = 42) and HU (n = 28) Kenyan infants. We measured ex vivo activated and bulk memory CD4 and CD8 T-cells and regulatory T-cells by flow cytometry. In addition, we measured the magnitude, quality and memory phenotype of antigen-specific T-cell responses to Bacillus Calmette-Guerin and Tetanus Toxoid vaccine antigens, and the magnitude and quality of the T cell response following polyclonal stimulation with staphylococcal enterotoxin B. Finally, the influence of maternal disease markers on the immunological parameters measured was assessed in HEU infants. Few perturbations were detected in ex vivo T-cell subsets, though amongst HEU infants maternal HIV viral load positively correlated with CD8 T cell immune activation at 12 months. Conversely, we observed age-dependent differences in the magnitude and polyfunctionality of IL-2 and TNF-α responses to vaccine antigens particularly in Th1 cells. These changes mirrored those seen following polyclonal stimulation, where at 3 months, cytokine responses were higher in HEU infants compared to HU infants, and at 12 months, HEU infant cytokine responses were consistently lower than those seen in HU infants. Finally, reduced effector memory Th1 responses to vaccine antigens were observed in HEU infants at 3 and 12 months and higher central memory Th1 responses to M. tuberculosis antigens were observed at 3 months only. Long-term monitoring of vaccine efficacy and T-cell immunity in this vulnerable population is warranted.

Furtado T, Jule A, Boggs L, van Loggerenberg F, Ewing V, Lang T. 2015. Developing a global core competency framework for clinical research TRIALS, 16 (S2), | Read more

Erber A, Lopez-Carvajal L, Arana B, Lang T, Olliaro P. 2015. Using a consensus technique for improving the methodology of clinical trials assessing treatments for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis TRIALS, 16 (S2), | Read more

Lubell Y, Blacksell SD, Dunachie S, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Althaus T, Watthanaworawit W, Paris DH, Mayxay M, Peto TJ, Dondorp AM et al. 2015. Performance of C-reactive protein and procalcitonin to distinguish viral from bacterial and malarial causes of fever in Southeast Asia. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 511. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Poor targeting of antimicrobial drugs contributes to the millions of deaths each year from malaria, pneumonia, and other tropical infectious diseases. While malaria rapid diagnostic tests have improved use of antimalarial drugs, there are no similar tests to guide the use of antibiotics in undifferentiated fevers. In this study we estimate the diagnostic accuracy of two well established biomarkers of bacterial infection, procalcitonin and C-reactive protein (CRP) in discriminating between common viral and bacterial infections in malaria endemic settings of Southeast Asia. METHODS: Serum procalcitonin and CRP levels were measured in stored serum samples from febrile patients enrolled in three prospective studies conducted in Cambodia, Laos and, Thailand. Of the 1372 patients with a microbiologically confirmed diagnosis, 1105 had a single viral, bacterial or malarial infection. Procalcitonin and CRP levels were compared amongst these aetiological groups and their sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing bacterial infections and bacteraemias from viral infections were estimated using standard thresholds. RESULTS: Serum concentrations of both biomarkers were significantly higher in bacterial infections and malaria than in viral infections. The AUROC for CRP in discriminating between bacterial and viral infections was 0.83 (0.81-0.86) compared with 0.74 (0.71-0.77) for procalcitonin (p < 0.0001). This relative advantage was evident in all sites and when stratifying patients by age and admission status. For CRP at a threshold of 10 mg/L, the sensitivity of detecting bacterial infections was 95% with a specificity of 49%. At a threshold of 20 mg/L sensitivity was 86% with a specificity of 67%. For procalcitonin at a low threshold of 0.1 ng/mL the sensitivity was 90% with a specificity of 39%. At a higher threshold of 0.5 ng/ul sensitivity was 60% with a specificity of 76%. CONCLUSION: In samples from febrile patients with mono-infections from rural settings in Southeast Asia, CRP was a highly sensitive and moderately specific biomarker for discriminating between viral and bacterial infections. Use of a CRP rapid test in peripheral health settings could potentially be a simple and affordable measure to better identify patients in need of antibacterial treatment and part of a global strategy to combat the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

El Hassan IM, Sahly A, Alzahrani MH, Alhakeem RF, Alhelal M, Alhogail A, Alsheikh AAH, Assiri AM, ElGamri TB, Faragalla IA et al. 2015. Progress toward malaria elimination in Jazan Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 2000-2014. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 444. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The draft Global Technical Strategy for malaria aims to eliminate malaria from at least 10 countries by 2020. Yemen and Saudi Arabia remain the last two countries on the Arabian Peninsula yet to achieve elimination. Over the last 50 years, systematic efforts to control malaria in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has successfully reduced malaria cases to a point where malaria is now constrained largely to Jazan Province, the most south-western area along the Red Sea. The progress toward elimination in this province is reviewed between 2000 and 2014. METHODS: Data were obtained from the Ministry of Health case-reporting systems, activity reports, unpublished consultants reports, and relevant scientific published papers. Sub-provincial population data were obtained the national household censuses undertaken in 2004 and 2010. Rainfall data were obtained from the Meteorological Department in Jazan. RESULTS: Between 2000 and 2014 there were 5522 locally acquired cases of malaria and 9936 cases of imported malaria. A significant reduction in locally acquired malaria cases was observed from 2000 to 2014, resulting in an average annual incidence (2010-2014) of 0.3 cases per 10,000 population. Conversely imported cases, since 2000, remain consistent and higher than locally acquired cases, averaging between 250 and 830 cases per year. The incidence of locally acquired cases is heterogeneous across the Province, with only a few health districts contributing the majority of the cases. The overall decline in malaria case incidence can be attributed to coincidental expansion of control efforts and periods of exceptionally low rainfall. CONCLUSIONS: Jazan province is poised to achieve malaria elimination. There is a need to change from a policy of passive case detection to reactively and proactively detecting infectious reservoirs that require new approaches to surveillance. These should be combined with advanced epidemiological tools to improve the definitions of epidemiological receptive and hotspot malaria risk mapping. The single largest threat currently remains the risks posed by imported infections from Yemen.

Spoorenberg V, Geerlings SE, Geskus RB, de Reijke TM, Prins JM, Hulscher MEJL. 2015. Appropriate antibiotic use for patients with complicated urinary tract infections in 38 Dutch Hospital Departments: a retrospective study of variation and determinants. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 505. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Appropriate antibiotic use in patients with complicated urinary tract infections can be measured by a valid set of nine quality indicators (QIs). We evaluated the performance of these QIs in a national setting and investigated which determinants influenced appropriate antibiotic use. For the latter, we distinguished patient, department and hospital characteristics, including organizational interventions aimed at improving the quality of antibiotic use (antibiotic stewardship elements). METHODS: A retrospective, observational multicentre study included 1964 patients (58% male sex) with a complicated urinary tract infection treated at Internal Medicine and Urology departments of 19 Dutch university and non-university hospitals. Data of 50 patients per department were extracted from medical charts. QI performance scores were calculated using previously constructed algorithms. Department and hospital characteristics were collected using questionnaires filled in by an internal medicine physician and an urologist. Regression analysis was performed to identify determinants of QI performance. Clustering at department and hospital level was taken into account through inclusion of random effects in a multi-level model. RESULTS: Median QI performance of departments varied between 31% ('Treat urinary tract infection in men according to local guideline') and 77% ('Perform urine culture'). The patient characteristics non-febrile urinary tract infection, female sex and presence of a urinary catheter were negatively associated with performance on many QIs. The presence of an infectious diseases physician and an antibiotic formulary were positively associated with 'Prescribe empirical therapy according to guideline'. No other department or hospital characteristics, including stewardship elements, were consistently associated with better QI performance. CONCLUSIONS: A large inter-department variation was demonstrated in the appropriateness of antibiotic use. In particular certain patient characteristics (more than department or hospital characteristics) influenced the quality of antibiotic use. Some, but not all antibiotic stewardship elements did translate into better QI performance.

Herdman MT, Sriboonvorakul N, Leopold SJ, Douthwaite S, Mohanty S, Hassan MMU, Maude RJ, Kingston HWF, Plewes K, Charunwatthana P et al. 2015. Erratum to: the role of previously unmeasured organic acids in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Crit Care, 19 (1), pp. 382. | Read more

Muthumbi E, Morpeth SC, Ooko M, Mwanzu A, Mwarumba S, Mturi N, Etyang AO, Berkley JA, Williams TN, Kariuki S, Scott JAG. 2015. Invasive Salmonellosis in Kilifi, Kenya. Clin Infect Dis, 61 Suppl 4 (suppl 4), pp. S290-S301. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Invasive salmonelloses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Africa, but the incidence and case fatality of each disease vary markedly by region. We aimed to describe the incidence, clinical characteristics, and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of invasive salmonelloses among children and adults in Kilifi, Kenya. METHODS: We analyzed integrated clinical and laboratory records for patients presenting to the Kilifi County Hospital between 1998 and 2014. We calculated incidence, and summarized clinical features and multidrug resistance. RESULTS: Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) accounted for 10.8% and 5.8% of bacteremia cases in children and adults, respectively, while Salmonella Typhi accounted for 0.5% and 2.1%, respectively. Among 351 NTS isolates serotyped, 160 (45.6%) were Salmonella Enteritidis and 152 (43.3%) were Salmonella Typhimurium. The incidence of NTS in children aged <5 years was 36.6 per 100 000 person-years, being highest in infants aged <7 days (174/100 000 person-years). The overall incidence of NTS in children varied markedly by location and declined significantly during the study period; the pattern of dominance of the NTS serotypes also shifted from Salmonella Enteritidis to Salmonella Typhimurium. Risk factors for invasive NTS disease were human immunodeficiency virus infection, malaria, and malnutrition; the case fatality ratio was 22.1% (71/321) in children aged <5 years and 36.7% (11/30) in adults. Multidrug resistance was present in 23.9% (84/351) of NTS isolates and 46.2% (12/26) of Salmonella Typhi isolates. CONCLUSIONS: In Kilifi, the incidence of invasive NTS was high, especially among newborn infants, but typhoid fever was uncommon. NTS remains an important cause of bacteremia in children <5 years of age.

Nichols C, Cruz Espinoza LM, von Kalckreuth V, Aaby P, Ahmed El Tayeb M, Ali M, Aseffa A, Bjerregaard-Andersen M, Breiman RF, Cosmas L et al. 2015. Bloodstream Infections and Frequency of Pretreatment Associated With Age and Hospitalization Status in Sub-Saharan Africa. Clin Infect Dis, 61 Suppl 4 (suppl 4), pp. S372-S379. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The clinical diagnosis of bacterial bloodstream infections (BSIs) in sub-Saharan Africa is routinely confused with malaria due to overlapping symptoms. The Typhoid Surveillance in Africa Program (TSAP) recruited febrile inpatients and outpatients of all ages using identical study procedures and enrollment criteria, thus providing an opportunity to assess disease etiology and pretreatment patterns among children and adults. METHODS: Inpatients and outpatients of all ages with tympanic or axillary temperatures of ≥38.0 or ≥37.5°C, respectively, and inpatients only reporting fever within the previous 72 hours were eligible for recruitment. All recruited patients had one blood sample drawn and cultured for microorganisms. Data from 11 TSAP surveillance sites in nine different countries were used in the analysis. Bivariate analysis was used to compare frequencies of pretreatment and BSIs in febrile children (<15 years old) and adults (≥15 years old) in each country. Pooled Cochran Mantel-Haenszel odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for overall trends. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the odds of a culture-proven BSI between children and adults among inpatients or outpatients. Among both inpatients and outpatients, children had significantly higher odds of having a contaminated blood culture compared with adults. Using country-pooled data, child outpatients had 66% higher odds of having Salmonella Typhi in their bloodstream than adults (OR, 1.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01-2.73). Overall, inpatient children had 59% higher odds of pretreatment with analgesics in comparison to inpatient adults (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.28-1.97). CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of patients with culture-proven BSIs in children compared with adults was similar across the TSAP study population; however, outpatient children were more likely to have Salmonella Typhi infections than outpatient adults. This finding points to the importance of including outpatient facilities in surveillance efforts, particularly for the surveillance of typhoid fever. Strategies to reduce contamination among pediatric blood cultures are needed across the continent to prevent the misdiagnosis of BSI cases in children.

Niehus R, Mitri S, Fletcher AG, Foster KR. 2015. Migration and horizontal gene transfer divide microbial genomes into multiple niches. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 8924. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Horizontal gene transfer is central to microbial evolution, because it enables genetic regions to spread horizontally through diverse communities. However, how gene transfer exerts such a strong effect is not understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model and show how genetic transfer, even when rare, can transform the evolution and ecology of microbes. We recapitulate existing models, which suggest that asexual reproduction will overpower horizontal transfer and greatly limit its effects. We then show that allowing immigration completely changes these predictions. With migration, the rates and impacts of horizontal transfer are greatly increased, and transfer is most frequent for loci under positive natural selection. Our analysis explains how ecologically important loci can sweep through competing strains and species. In this way, microbial genomes can evolve to become ecologically diverse where different genomic regions encode for partially overlapping, but distinct, ecologies. Under these conditions ecological species do not exist, because genes, not species, inhabit niches.

Nosten F. 2015. Beriberi in Cambodia. Paediatr Int Child Health, 35 (4), pp. 283-284. | Show Abstract | Read more

Beriberi had plagued humans for centuries. It was responsible for over 50% of infant deaths in the Philippines in the early 1900s. But since the discovery of its cause and treatment it has become a rarity, or has it?

Satzke C, Dunne EM, Porter BD, Klugman KP, Mulholland EK, PneuCarriage project group. 2015. The PneuCarriage Project: A Multi-Centre Comparative Study to Identify the Best Serotyping Methods for Examining Pneumococcal Carriage in Vaccine Evaluation Studies. PLoS Med, 12 (11), pp. e1001903. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The pneumococcus is a diverse pathogen whose primary niche is the nasopharynx. Over 90 different serotypes exist, and nasopharyngeal carriage of multiple serotypes is common. Understanding pneumococcal carriage is essential for evaluating the impact of pneumococcal vaccines. Traditional serotyping methods are cumbersome and insufficient for detecting multiple serotype carriage, and there are few data comparing the new methods that have been developed over the past decade. We established the PneuCarriage project, a large, international multi-centre study dedicated to the identification of the best pneumococcal serotyping methods for carriage studies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Reference sample sets were distributed to 15 research groups for blinded testing. Twenty pneumococcal serotyping methods were used to test 81 laboratory-prepared (spiked) samples. The five top-performing methods were used to test 260 nasopharyngeal (field) samples collected from children in six high-burden countries. Sensitivity and positive predictive value (PPV) were determined for the test methods and the reference method (traditional serotyping of >100 colonies from each sample). For the alternate serotyping methods, the overall sensitivity ranged from 1% to 99% (reference method 98%), and PPV from 8% to 100% (reference method 100%), when testing the spiked samples. Fifteen methods had ≥70% sensitivity to detect the dominant (major) serotype, whilst only eight methods had ≥70% sensitivity to detect minor serotypes. For the field samples, the overall sensitivity ranged from 74.2% to 95.8% (reference method 93.8%), and PPV from 82.2% to 96.4% (reference method 99.6%). The microarray had the highest sensitivity (95.8%) and high PPV (93.7%). The major limitation of this study is that not all of the available alternative serotyping methods were included. CONCLUSIONS: Most methods were able to detect the dominant serotype in a sample, but many performed poorly in detecting the minor serotype populations. Microarray with a culture amplification step was the top-performing method. Results from this comprehensive evaluation will inform future vaccine evaluation and impact studies, particularly in low-income settings, where pneumococcal disease burden remains high.

Rahimi K, Velardo C, Triantafyllidis A, Conrad N, Shah SA, Chantler T, Mohseni H, Stoppani E, Moore F, Paton C et al. 2015. A user-centred home monitoring and self-management system for patients with heart failure: a multicentre cohort study. Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes, 1 (2), pp. 66-71. | Show Abstract | Read more

Aims: Previous generations of home monitoring systems have had limited usability. We aimed to develop and evaluate a user-centred and adaptive system for health monitoring and self-management support in patients with heart failure. Methods and results: Patients with heart failure were recruited from three UK centres and provided with Internet-enabled tablet computers that were wirelessly linked with sensor devices for blood pressure, heart rate, and weight monitoring. Patient observations, interviews, and concurrent analyses of the automatically collected data from their monitoring devices were used to increase the usability of the system. Of the 52 participants (median age 77 years, median follow-up 6 months [interquartile range, IQR, 3.6-9.2]), 24 (46%) had no, or very limited prior, experience with digital technologies. It took participants about 1.5 min to complete the daily monitoring tasks, and the rate of failed attempts in completing tasks was <5%. After 45 weeks of observation, participants still used the system on 4.5 days per week (confidence interval 3.2-5.7 days). Of the 46 patients who could complete the final survey, 93% considered the monitoring system as easy to use and 38% asked to keep the system for self-management support after the study was completed. Conclusion: We developed a user-centred home monitoring system that enabled a wide range of heart failure patients, with differing degrees of IT literacy, to monitor their health status regularly. Despite no active medical intervention, patients felt that they benefited from the reassurance and sense of connectivity that the monitoring system provided.

Nguyen TH, Nguyen HL, Nguyen TY, Vu SN, Tran ND, Le TN, Vien QM, Bui TC, Le HT, Kutcher S et al. 2015. Field evaluation of the establishment potential of wMelPop Wolbachia in Australia and Vietnam for dengue control. Parasit Vectors, 8 (1), pp. 563. | Citations: 45 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Introduced Wolbachia bacteria can influence the susceptibility of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to arboviral infections as well as having detrimental effects on host fitness. Previous field trials demonstrated that the wMel strain of Wolbachia effectively and durably invades Ae. aegypti populations. Here we report on trials of a second strain, wMelPop-PGYP Wolbachia, in field sites in northern Australia (Machans Beach and Babinda) and central Vietnam (Tri Nguyen, Hon Mieu Island), each with contrasting natural Ae. aegypti densities. METHODS: Mosquitoes were released at the adult or pupal stages for different lengths of time at the sites depending on changes in Wolbachia frequency as assessed through PCR assays of material collected through Biogents-Sentinel (BG-S) traps and ovitraps. Adult numbers were also monitored through BG-S traps. Changes in Wolbachia frequency were compared across hamlets or house blocks. RESULTS: Releases of adult wMelPop-Ae. aegypti resulted in the transient invasion of wMelPop in all three field sites. Invasion at the Australian sites was heterogeneous, reflecting a slower rate of invasion in locations where background mosquito numbers were high. In contrast, invasion across Tri Nguyen was relatively uniform. After cessation of releases, the frequency of wMelPop declined in all sites, most rapidly in Babinda and Tri Nguyen. Within Machans Beach the rate of decrease varied among areas, and wMelPop was detected for several months in an area with a relatively low mosquito density. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight challenges associated with releasing Wolbachia-Ae. aegypti combinations with low fitness, albeit strong virus interference properties, as a means of sustainable control of dengue virus transmission.

Burton DC, Bigogo GM, Audi AO, Williamson J, Munge K, Wafula J, Ouma D, Khagayi S, Mugoya I, Mburu J et al. 2015. Risk of Injection-Site Abscess among Infants Receiving a Preservative-Free, Two-Dose Vial Formulation of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0141896. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a theoretical risk of adverse events following immunization with a preservative-free, 2-dose vial formulation of 10-valent-pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10). We set out to measure this risk. Four population-based surveillance sites in Kenya (total annual birth cohort of 11,500 infants) were used to conduct a 2-year post-introduction vaccine safety study of PCV10. Injection-site abscesses occurring within 7 days following vaccine administration were clinically diagnosed in all study sites (passive facility-based surveillance) and, also, detected by caregiver-reported symptoms of swelling plus discharge in two sites (active household-based surveillance). Abscess risk was expressed as the number of abscesses per 100,000 injections and was compared for the second vs first vial dose of PCV10 and for PCV10 vs pentavalent vaccine (comparator). A total of 58,288 PCV10 injections were recorded, including 24,054 and 19,702 identified as first and second vial doses, respectively (14,532 unknown vial dose). The risk ratio for abscess following injection with the second (41 per 100,000) vs first (33 per 100,000) vial dose of PCV10 was 1.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.37-4.06). The comparator vaccine was changed from a 2-dose to 10-dose presentation midway through the study. The matched odds ratios for abscess following PCV10 were 1.00 (95% CI 0.12-8.56) and 0.27 (95% CI 0.14-0.54) when compared to the 2-dose and 10-dose pentavalent vaccine presentations, respectively. In Kenya immunization with PCV10 was not associated with an increased risk of injection site abscess, providing confidence that the vaccine may be safely used in Africa. The relatively higher risk of abscess following the 10-dose presentation of pentavalent vaccine merits further study.

Wirjanata G, Handayuni I, Prayoga P, Apriyanti D, Chalfein F, Sebayang BF, Kho S, Noviyanti R, Kenangalem E, Campo B et al. 2015. Quantification of Plasmodium ex vivo drug susceptibility by flow cytometry. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 417. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax highlights the need for objective measures of ex vivo drug susceptibility. Flow cytometry (FC) has potential to provide a robust and rapid quantification of ex vivo parasite growth. METHODS: Field isolates from Papua, Indonesia, underwent ex vivo drug susceptibility testing against chloroquine, amodiaquine, piperaquine, mefloquine, and artesunate. A single nucleic acid stain (i.e., hydroethidine (HE) for P. falciparum and SYBR Green I (SG) for P. vivax) was used to quantify infected red blood cells by FC-based signal detection. Data derived by FC were compared to standard quantification by light microscopy (LM). A subset of isolates was used to compare single and double staining techniques. RESULTS: In total, 57 P. falciparum and 23 P. vivax field isolates were collected for ex vivo drug susceptibility testing. Reliable paired data between LM and FC was obtained for 88 % (295/334) of these assays. The median difference of derived IC50 values varied from -5.4 to 6.1 nM, associated with 0.83-1.23 fold change in IC50 values between LM and FC. In 15 assays (5.1 %), the derived difference of IC50 estimates was beyond the 95 % limits of agreement; in eleven assays (3.7 %), this was attributable to low parasite growth (final schizont count < 40 %), and in four assays (1.4 %) due to low initial parasitaemia at the start of assay (<2000 µl(-1)). In a subset of seven samples, LM, single and double staining FC techniques generated similar IC50 values. CONCLUSIONS: A single staining FC-based assay using a portable cytometer provides a simple, fast and versatile platform for field surveillance of ex vivo drug susceptibility in clinical P. falciparum and P. vivax isolates.

Jenjaroen K, Chumseng S, Sumonwiriya M, Ariyaprasert P, Chantratita N, Sunyakumthorn P, Hongsuwan M, Wuthiekanun V, Fletcher HA, Teparrukkul P et al. 2015. T-Cell Responses Are Associated with Survival in Acute Melioidosis Patients. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (10), pp. e0004152. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is an increasingly recognised cause of sepsis and death across South East Asia and Northern Australia, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Risk factors include diabetes, alcoholism and renal disease, and a vaccine targeting at-risk populations is urgently required. A better understanding of the protective immune response in naturally infected patients is essential for vaccine design. METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal clinical and immunological study of 200 patients with melioidosis on admission, 12 weeks (n = 113) and 52 weeks (n = 65) later. Responses to whole killed B. pseudomallei were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) ELIspot assay and flow cytometry and compared to those of control subjects in the region with diabetes (n = 45) and without diabetes (n = 43). RESULTS: We demonstrated strong CD4+ and CD8+ responses to B. pseudomallei during acute disease, 12 weeks and 52 weeks later. 28-day mortality was 26% for melioidosis patients, and B. pseudomallei-specific cellular responses in fatal cases (mean 98 IFN-γ cells per million PBMC) were significantly lower than those in the survivors (mean 142 IFN-γ cells per million PBMC) in a multivariable logistic regression model (P = 0.01). A J-shaped curve association between circulating neutrophil count and mortality was seen with an optimal count of 4000 to 8000 neutrophils/μl. Melioidosis patients with known diabetes had poor diabetic control (median glycated haemoglobin HbA1c 10.2%, interquartile range 9.2-13.1) and showed a stunted B. pseudomallei-specific cellular response during acute illness compared to those without diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate the role of both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells in protection against melioidosis, and an interaction between diabetes and cellular responses. This supports development of vaccine strategies that induce strong T-cell responses for the control of intracellular pathogens such as B. pseudomallei.

van der Elst EM, Kombo B, Gichuru E, Omar A, Musyoki H, Graham SM, Smith AD, Sanders EJ, Operario D. 2015. The green shoots of a novel training programme: progress and identified key actions to providing services to MSM at Kenyan health facilities. J Int AIDS Soc, 18 (1), pp. 20226. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Although men who have sex with men (MSM) in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk for HIV acquisition, access to and quality of health and HIV services within this population are negatively affected by stigma and capacity within the health sector. A recently developed online MSM training programme ( was shown to contribute to reductions in MSM prejudice among healthcare providers (HCPs) in coastal Kenya. In this study, we used qualitative methods to explore the provision of MSM healthcare services two years post-training in coastal Kenya. METHODS: From February to July 2014, we held 10 focus group discussions (FGD) with 63 participants, including HCP from 25 facilities, county AIDS coordinators and MSM from local support groups. Participants discussed availability, acceptability and accessibility of HIV healthcare for MSM. HCP also discussed changes in their health service practices after completing the training. FGD were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Ritchie and Spencer's "framework approach" for qualitative data. RESULTS: HCPs described continued improvements in their ability to provide service in a non-stigmatizing way to MSM patients since completing the training programme and expressed comfort engaging MSM patients in care. Four additional recommendations for improving MSM healthcare services were identified: 1) expanding the reach of MSM sensitivity training across the medical education continuum; 2) establishing guidelines to manage sexually transmitted anal infections; 3) promoting legal and policy reforms to support integration of MSM-appropriate services into healthcare; and 4) including MSM information in national reporting tools for HIV services. CONCLUSIONS: Positive impacts of this sensitivity and skills training programme were reflected in HCP attitudes two years post-intervention. Scaling-up of efforts will rely on continued policies to include MSM in healthcare programmes to reduce stigma in health settings and guidelines for MSM STI service delivery.

St Laurent B, Miller B, Burton TA, Amaratunga C, Men S, Sovannaroth S, Fay MP, Miotto O, Gwadz RW, Anderson JM, Fairhurst RM. 2015. Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum clinical isolates can infect diverse mosquito vectors of Southeast Asia and Africa. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 8614. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites are rapidly spreading in Southeast Asia, yet nothing is known about their transmission. This knowledge gap and the possibility that these parasites will spread to Africa endanger global efforts to eliminate malaria. Here we produce gametocytes from parasite clinical isolates that displayed artemisinin resistance in patients and in vitro, and use them to infect native and non-native mosquito vectors. We show that contemporary artemisinin-resistant isolates from Cambodia develop and produce sporozoites in two Southeast Asian vectors, Anopheles dirus and Anopheles minimus, and the major African vector, Anopheles coluzzii (formerly Anopheles gambiae M). The ability of artemisinin-resistant parasites to infect such highly diverse Anopheles species, combined with their higher gametocyte prevalence in patients, may explain the rapid expansion of these parasites in Cambodia and neighbouring countries, and further compromise efforts to prevent their global spread.

Getachew S, To S, Trimarsanto H, Thriemer K, Clark TG, Petros B, Aseffa A, Price RN, Auburn S. 2015. Variation in Complexity of Infection and Transmission Stability between Neighbouring Populations of Plasmodium vivax in Southern Ethiopia. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0140780. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: P. vivax is an important public health burden in Ethiopia, accounting for almost half of all malaria cases. Owing to heterogeneous transmission across the country, a stronger evidence base on local transmission dynamics is needed to optimise allocation of resources and improve malaria interventions. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a pilot evaluation of local level P. vivax molecular surveillance in southern Ethiopia, the diversity and population structure of isolates collected between May and November 2013 were investigated. Blood samples were collected from microscopy positive P. vivax patients recruited to clinical and cross-sectional surveys from four sites: Arbaminch, Halaba, Badawacho and Hawassa. Parasite genotyping was undertaken at nine tandem repeat markers. Eight loci were successfully genotyped in 197 samples (between 36 and 59 per site). Heterogeneity was observed in parasite diversity and structure amongst the sites. Badawacho displayed evidence of unstable transmission, with clusters of identical clonal infections. Linkage disequilibrium in Badawacho was higher (IAS = 0.32, P = 0.010) than in the other populations (IAS range = 0.01-0.02) and declined markedly after adjusting for identical infections (IAS = 0.06, P = 0.010). Other than Badawacho (HE = 0.70), population diversity was equivalently high across the sites (HE = 0.83). Polyclonal infections were more frequent in Hawassa (67%) than the other populations (range: 8-44%). Despite the variable diversity, differentiation between the sites was low (FST range: 5 x 10-3-0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Marked variation in parasite population structure likely reflects differing local transmission dynamics. Parasite genotyping in these heterogeneous settings has potential to provide important complementary information with which to optimise malaria control interventions.

Murray DD, Suzuki K, Law M, Trebicka J, Neuhaus J, Wentworth D, Johnson M, Vjecha MJ, Kelleher AD, Emery S, INSIGHT ESPRIT and SMART Study Groups. 2015. Circulating microRNAs in Sera Correlate with Soluble Biomarkers of Immune Activation but Do Not Predict Mortality in ART Treated Individuals with HIV-1 Infection: A Case Control Study. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0139981. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The use of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically reduced HIV-1 associated morbidity and mortality. However, HIV-1 infected individuals have increased rates of morbidity and mortality compared to the non-HIV-1 infected population and this appears to be related to end-organ diseases collectively referred to as Serious Non-AIDS Events (SNAEs). Circulating miRNAs are reported as promising biomarkers for a number of human disease conditions including those that constitute SNAEs. Our study sought to investigate the potential of selected miRNAs in predicting mortality in HIV-1 infected ART treated individuals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A set of miRNAs was chosen based on published associations with human disease conditions that constitute SNAEs. This case: control study compared 126 cases (individuals who died whilst on therapy), and 247 matched controls (individuals who remained alive). Cases and controls were ART treated participants of two pivotal HIV-1 trials. The relative abundance of each miRNA in serum was measured, by RTqPCR. Associations with mortality (all-cause, cardiovascular and malignancy) were assessed by logistic regression analysis. Correlations between miRNAs and CD4+ T cell count, hs-CRP, IL-6 and D-dimer were also assessed. RESULTS: None of the selected miRNAs was associated with all-cause, cardiovascular or malignancy mortality. The levels of three miRNAs (miRs -21, -122 and -200a) correlated with IL-6 while miR-21 also correlated with D-dimer. Additionally, the abundance of miRs -31, -150 and -223, correlated with baseline CD4+ T cell count while the same three miRNAs plus miR-145 correlated with nadir CD4+ T cell count. DISCUSSION: No associations with mortality were found with any circulating miRNA studied. These results cast doubt onto the effectiveness of circulating miRNA as early predictors of mortality or the major underlying diseases that contribute to mortality in participants treated for HIV-1 infection.

Kaji A, Thi SS, Smith T, Charunwatthana P, Nosten FH. 2015. Challenges in tackling tuberculosis on the Thai-Myanmar border: findings from a qualitative study with health professionals. BMC Health Serv Res, 15 (1), pp. 464. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Myanmar and Thailand belong to the top 22 high burden countries for tuberculosis (TB). Health care organizations play an essential role in addressing TB control in the two bridging border jurisdictions, Tak province, Thailand and Myawaddy district, Kayin state, Myanmar. However, health professionals face difficulties in TB control effort due to the nature of fluid population movements, resource constraints and ambiguous mechanisms to implement collaboration along the border. The purpose of this study is to identify the challenges to TB control among Myanmar migrants faced by stakeholders, focusing on the area of collaboration and interaction along the border. METHOD: The study conducted in-depth interviews with health policy makers and health care providers responsible for developing and implementing policies and TB programs in Tak province, Thailand and Myawaddy district, Kayin state, Myanmar. The participants included members of government organizations, United Nations agencies, community based organizations, and international NGO. One or two key stakeholders from each organization were approached to participate in the study. We gathered baseline information to identify TB policies and programs available on websites, brochures, and publications. Observations including field notes were made on site. The data transcriptions were coded for qualitative data analysis. Coding also developed categories that led to key themes. RESULTS: A total of 31 respondents (18 in Thailand and 13 in Myanmar) participated in the study. The main theme reported by participants was challenges in limited corroboration and coordination among stakeholders. Unstructured information sharing and lack of communication hindered the stakeholders from engaging in TB control. The respondents stressed that referral mechanisms across the border need to be strengthened. Other challenges were associated with increasing loss to follow up and subsequent MDR cases, constraints of service delivery, shortage of human resources, limited staff capacities within organizations and poor socioeconomic status of patients. CONCLUSIONS: Health professionals face many challenges in effectively addressing TB control. Addressing the insufficient coordination and collaboration by strengthening bi-national collaborative mechanisms among health care organizations is an essential step in reducing the burden of disease. Additional support and resources from governmental and non-governmental agencies will be required to address the challenges.

Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network, Band G, Rockett KA, Spencer CCA, Kwiatkowski DP. 2015. A novel locus of resistance to severe malaria in a region of ancient balancing selection. Nature, 526 (7572), pp. 253-257. | Citations: 32 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The high prevalence of sickle haemoglobin in Africa shows that malaria has been a major force for human evolutionary selection, but surprisingly few other polymorphisms have been proven to confer resistance to malaria in large epidemiological studies. To address this problem, we conducted a multi-centre genome-wide association study (GWAS) of life-threatening Plasmodium falciparum infection (severe malaria) in over 11,000 African children, with replication data in a further 14,000 individuals. Here we report a novel malaria resistance locus close to a cluster of genes encoding glycophorins that are receptors for erythrocyte invasion by P. falciparum. We identify a haplotype at this locus that provides 33% protection against severe malaria (odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval = 0.60-0.76, P value = 9.5 × 10(-11)) and is linked to polymorphisms that have previously been shown to have features of ancient balancing selection, on the basis of haplotype sharing between humans and chimpanzees. Taken together with previous observations on the malaria-protective role of blood group O, these data reveal that two of the strongest GWAS signals for severe malaria lie in or close to genes encoding the glycosylated surface coat of the erythrocyte cell membrane, both within regions of the genome where it appears that evolution has maintained diversity for millions of years. These findings provide new insights into the host-parasite interactions that are critical in determining the outcome of malaria infection.

Noor AM, Kibuchi E, Mitto B, Coulibaly D, Doumbo OK, Snow RW. 2015. Correction: Sub-National Targeting of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in the Sahelian Countries of the Nouakchott Initiative. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0140414. | Read more

Parker DM, Carrara VI, Pukrittayakamee S, McGready R, Nosten FH. 2015. Malaria ecology along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Malar J, 14 pp. 388. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in Southeast Asia frequently clusters along international borders. For example, while most of Thailand is malaria free, the border region shared with Myanmar continues to have endemic malaria. This spatial pattern is the result of complex interactions between landscape, humans, mosquito vectors, and malaria parasites. An understanding of these complex ecological and socio-cultural interactions is important for designing and implementing malaria elimination efforts in the region. This article offers an ecological perspective on the malaria situation along the Thailand-Myanmar border. DISCUSSION: This border region is long (2000 km), mountainous, and the environment ranges from thick forests to growing urban settlements and wet-rice fields. It is also a biologically diverse region. All five species of malaria known to naturally infect humans are present. At least three mosquito vector species complexes, with widely varying behavioural characteristics, exist in the area. The region is also a hub for ethnic diversity, being home to over ten different ethnolinguistic groups, several of which have been engaged in conflict with the Myanmar government now for over half a century. Given the biological and ethnic diversity, as well as the complex socio-political context, malaria control and elimination in the region is challenging. CONCLUSION: Despite these complexities, multipronged approaches including collaborations with multiple local organizations, quick access to diagnosis and treatment, prevention of mosquito bites, radical cure of parasites, and mass drug administration appear to be drastically decreasing Plasmodium falciparum infections. Such approaches remain crucial as the region moves toward elimination of P. falciparum and potentially Plasmodium vivax.

Parker DM, Carrara VI, Pukrittayakamee S, McGready R, Nosten FH. 2015. Malaria ecology along the Thailand–Myanmar border Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Parker et al. Background: Malaria in Southeast Asia frequently clusters along international borders. For example, while most of Thailand is malaria free, the border region shared with Myanmar continues to have endemic malaria. This spatial pattern is the result of complex interactions between landscape, humans, mosquito vectors, and malaria parasites. An understanding of these complex ecological and socio-cultural interactions is important for designing and implementing malaria elimination efforts in the region. This article offers an ecological perspective on the malaria situation along the Thailand-Myanmar border. Discussion: This border region is long (2000 km), mountainous, and the environment ranges from thick forests to growing urban settlements and wet-rice fields. It is also a biologically diverse region. All five species of malaria known to naturally infect humans are present. At least three mosquito vector species complexes, with widely varying behavioural characteristics, exist in the area. The region is also a hub for ethnic diversity, being home to over ten different ethnolinguistic groups, several of which have been engaged in conflict with the Myanmar government now for over half a century. Given the biological and ethnic diversity, as well as the complex socio-political context, malaria control and elimination in the region is challenging. Conclusion: Despite these complexities, multipronged approaches including collaborations with multiple local organizations, quick access to diagnosis and treatment, prevention of mosquito bites, radical cure of parasites, and mass drug administration appear to be drastically decreasing Plasmodium falciparum infections. Such approaches remain crucial as the region moves toward elimination of P. falciparum and potentially Plasmodium vivax.

Nduati EW, Hassan AS, Knight MG, Muema DM, Jahangir MN, Mwaringa SL, Etyang TJ, Rowland-Jones S, Urban BC, Berkley JA. 2015. Outcomes of prevention of mother to child transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus-1 in rural Kenya--a cohort study. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 1008. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Success in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) raises the prospect of eliminating pediatric HIV infection. To achieve global elimination, however, strategies are needed to strengthen PMTCT interventions. This study aimed to determine PMTCT outcomes and identify challenges facing its successful implementation in a rural setting in Kenya. METHODS: A retrospective cohort design was used. Routine demographic and clinical data for infants and mothers enrolling for PMTCT care at a rural hospital in Kenya were analysed. Cox and logistic regression were used to determine factors associated with retention and vertical transmission respectively. RESULTS: Between 2006 and 2012, 1338 infants were enrolled and followed up for PMTCT care with earlier age of enrollment and improved retention observed over time. Mother to child transmission of HIV declined from 19.4 % in 2006 to 8.9 % in 2012 (non-parametric test for trend p = 0.024). From 2009 to 2012, enrolling for care after 6 months of age, adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR]: 23.3 [95 % confidence interval (CI): 8.3-65.4], presence of malnutrition ([aOR]: 2.3 [95 % CI: 1.1-5.2]) and lack of maternal use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (aOR: 6.5 [95 % CI: 1.4-29.4]) was associated with increased risk of HIV infection. Infant's older age at enrollment, malnutrition and maternal HAART status, were also associated with drop out from care. Infants who were not actively followed up were more likely to drop out from care (adjusted Hazard Ratio: 6.6 [95 % CI: 2.9-14.6]). DISCUSSION: We report a temporal increase in the proportion of infants enrolling for PMTCT care before 3 months of age, improved retention in PMTCT and a significant reduction in the proportion of infants enrolled who became HIV-infected, emphasizing the benefits of PMTCT. CONCLUSION: A simple set of risk factors at enrollment can identify mother-infant pairs most at risk of infection or drop out for targeted intervention.

Kloprogge F, McGready R, Phyo AP, Rijken MJ, Hanpithakpon W, Than HH, Hlaing N, Zin NT, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2015. Opposite malaria and pregnancy effect on oral bioavailability of artesunate - a population pharmacokinetic evaluation. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 80 (4), pp. 642-653. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

AIM: The aim was to compare the pharmacokinetic properties of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin in the same women: i) pregnant with acute uncomplicated malaria on day 1 and 2, ii) pregnant with convalescent malaria on day 7 and iii) in a healthy state 3 months post-partum on day 1, 2 and 7. METHODS: Non-linear mixed-effects modelling was used to compare plasma concentration-time profiles of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin over 7 days of treatment following oral and intravenous artesunate administration to pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria during their second or third trimesters of pregnancy. The same women were restudied 3 months after delivery when fully recovered. Non-compartmental results of the same study have been published previously. RESULTS: Twenty pregnant patients on the Thailand-Myanmar border were studied and 15 volunteered to be restudied 3 months post-partum. Malaria and pregnancy had no effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of artesunate or dihydroartemisinin after intravenous artesunate administration. However, malaria and pregnancy had opposite effects on the absorption of orally administered artesunate. Malaria increased the absolute oral bioavailability of artesunate by 87%, presumably by inhibiting first pass effect, whereas pregnancy decreased oral bioavailability by 23%. CONCLUSIONS: The population pharmacokinetic analysis demonstrated opposite effects of malaria and pregnancy on the bioavailability of orally administered artesunate. Lower drug exposures during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy may contribute to lower cure rates and thus the development of drug resistance. Dose optimization studies are required for artesunate containing artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in later pregnancy.





Imwong M, Nguyen TN, Tripura R, Peto TJ, Lee SJ, Lwin KM, Suangkanarat P, Jeeyapant A, Vihokhern B, Wongsaen K et al. 2015. The epidemiology of subclinical malaria infections in South-East Asia: findings from cross-sectional surveys in Thailand-Myanmar border areas, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 381. | Citations: 64 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The importance of the submicroscopic reservoir of Plasmodium infections for malaria elimination depends on its size, which is generally considered small in low transmission settings. The precise estimation of this reservoir requires more sensitive parasite detection methods. The prevalence of asymptomatic, sub-microscopic malaria was assessed by a sensitive, high blood volume quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction method in three countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. METHODS: Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in three villages in western Cambodia, four villages along the Thailand-Myanmar border and four villages in southwest Vietnam. Malaria parasitaemia was assessed by Plasmodium falciparum/pan malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), microscopy and a high volume ultra-sensitive real-time polymerase chain reaction (HVUSqPCR: limit of detection 22 parasites/mL). All villagers older than 6 months were invited to participate. RESULTS: A census before the surveys identified 7355 residents in the study villages. Parasite prevalence was 224/5008 (4 %) by RDT, 229/5111 (5 %) by microscopy, and 988/4975 (20 %) when assessed by HVUSqPCR. Of these 164 (3 %) were infected with P. falciparum, 357 (7 %) with Plasmodium vivax, 56 (1 %) with a mixed infection, and 411 (8 %) had parasite densities that were too low for species identification. A history of fever, male sex, and age of 15 years or older were independently associated with parasitaemia in a multivariate regression model stratified by site. CONCLUSION: Light microscopy and RDTs identified only a quarter of all parasitaemic participants. The asymptomatic Plasmodium reservoir is considerable, even in low transmission settings. Novel strategies are needed to eliminate this previously under recognized reservoir of malaria transmission.

1000 Genomes Project Consortium, Auton A, Brooks LD, Durbin RM, Garrison EP, Kang HM, Korbel JO, Marchini JL, McCarthy S, McVean GA, Abecasis GR. 2015. A global reference for human genetic variation. Nature, 526 (7571), pp. 68-74. | Citations: 1340 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The 1000 Genomes Project set out to provide a comprehensive description of common human genetic variation by applying whole-genome sequencing to a diverse set of individuals from multiple populations. Here we report completion of the project, having reconstructed the genomes of 2,504 individuals from 26 populations using a combination of low-coverage whole-genome sequencing, deep exome sequencing, and dense microarray genotyping. We characterized a broad spectrum of genetic variation, in total over 88 million variants (84.7 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 3.6 million short insertions/deletions (indels), and 60,000 structural variants), all phased onto high-quality haplotypes. This resource includes >99% of SNP variants with a frequency of >1% for a variety of ancestries. We describe the distribution of genetic variation across the global sample, and discuss the implications for common disease studies.

Drake TL, Kyaw SS, Kyaw MP, Smithuis FM, Day NPJ, White LJ, Lubell Y. 2015. Cost effectiveness and resource allocation of Plasmodium falciparum malaria control in Myanmar: a modelling analysis of bed nets and community health workers. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 376. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Funding for malaria control and elimination in Myanmar has increased markedly in recent years. While there are various malaria control tools currently available, two interventions receive the majority of malaria control funding in Myanmar: (1) insecticide-treated bed nets and (2) early diagnosis and treatment through malaria community health workers. This study aims to provide practical recommendations on how to maximize impact from investment in these interventions. METHODS: A simple decision tree is used to model intervention costs and effects in terms of years of life lost. The evaluation is from the perspective of the service provider and costs and effects are calculated in line with standard methodology. Sensitivity and scenario analysis are undertaken to identify key drivers of cost effectiveness. Standard cost effectiveness analysis is then extended via a spatially explicit resource allocation model. FINDINGS: Community health workers have the potential for high impact on malaria, particularly where there are few alternatives to access malaria treatment, but are relatively costly. Insecticide-treated bed nets are comparatively inexpensive and modestly effective in Myanmar, representing a low risk but modest return intervention. Unlike some healthcare interventions, bed nets and community health workers are not mutually exclusive nor are they necessarily at their most efficient when universally applied. Modelled resource allocation scenarios highlight that in this case there is no "one size fits all" cost effectiveness result. Health gains will be maximized by effective targeting of both interventions.

Hoang TTT, Nguyen NV, Dinh SN, Nguyen HB, Cobelens F, Thwaites G, Nguyen HT, Nguyen AT, Wright P, Wertheim HFL. 2015. Challenges in detection and treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis patients in Vietnam. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 980. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vietnam is ranked 14(th) among 27 countries with high burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). In 2009, the Vietnamese government issued a policy on MDR-TB called Programmatic Management of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) to enhance and scale up diagnosis and treatment services for MDR-TB. Here we assess the PMDT performance in 2013 to determine the challenges to the successful identification and enrollment for treatment of MDR-TB in Vietnam. METHODS: In 35 provinces implementing PMDT, we quantified the number of MDR-TB presumptive patients tested for MDR-TB by Xpert MTB/RIF and the number of MDR-TB patients started on second-line treatment. In addition, existing reports and documents related to MDR-TB policies and guidelines in Vietnam were reviewed, supplemented with focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with MDR-TB key staff members. RESULTS: 5,668 (31.2 %) of estimated 18,165 MDR-TB presumptive cases were tested by Xpert MTB/RIF and second-line treatment was provided to 948 out of 5100 (18.7 %) of MDR-TB patients. Those tested for MDR-TB were 340/3224 (10.5 %) of TB-HIV co-infected patients and 290/2214 (13.1 %) of patients who remained sputum smear-positive after 2 and 3 months of category I TB regimen. Qualitative findings revealed the following challenges to detection and enrollment of MDR-TB in Vietnam: insufficient TB screening capacity at district hospitals where TB units were not available and poor communication and implementation of policy changes. Instructions for policy changes were not always received, and training was inconsistent between training courses. The private sector did not adequately report MDR-TB cases to the NTP. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of MDR-TB patients diagnosed and enrolled for second-line treatment is less than 20 % of the estimated total. The low enrollment is largely due to the fact that many patients at risk are missed for MDR-TB screening. In order to detect more MDR-TB cases, Vietnam should intensify case finding of MDR-TB by a comprehensive strategy to screen for MDR-TB among new cases rather than targeting previously treated cases, in particular those with HIV co-infection and contacts of MDR-TB patients, and should engage the private sector in PMDT.

Do LAH, Wilm A, Van Doorn HR, Lam HM, Sim S, Sukumaran R, Tran AT, Nguyen BH, Tran TTL, Tran QH et al. 2015. Direct whole-genome deep-sequencing of human respiratory syncytial virus A and B from Vietnamese children identifies distinct patterns of inter- and intra-host evolution. J Gen Virol, 96 (12), pp. 3470-3483. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children ,2 years of age. Little is known about RSV intra-host genetic diversity over the course of infection or about the immune pressures that drive RSV molecular evolution. We performed whole-genome deep-sequencing on 53 RSV-positive samples (37 RSV subgroup A and 16 RSV subgroup B) collected from the upper airways of hospitalized children in southern Vietnam over two consecutive seasons. RSV A NA1 and RSV B BA9 were the predominant genotypes found in our samples, consistent with other reports on global RSV circulation during the same period. For both RSV A and B, the M gene was the most conserved, confirming its potential as a target for novel therapeutics. The G gene was the most variable and was the only gene under detectable positive selection. Further, positively selected sites inG were found in close proximity to and in some cases overlapped with predicted glycosylation motifs, suggesting that selection on amino acid glycosylation may drive viral genetic diversity. We further identified hotspots and coldspots of intra-host genetic diversity in the RSV genome, some of which may highlight previously unknown regions of functional importance.

Rabaa MA, Tue NT, Phuc TM, Carrique-Mas J, Saylors K, Cotten M, Bryant JE, Nghia HDT, Cuong NV, Pham HA et al. 2015. The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS): A Strategic Approach to Studying Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Ecohealth, 12 (4), pp. 726-735. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The effect of newly emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin in human populations can be potentially catastrophic, and large-scale investigations of such diseases are highly challenging. The monitoring of emergence events is subject to ascertainment bias, whether at the level of species discovery, emerging disease events, or disease outbreaks in human populations. Disease surveillance is generally performed post hoc, driven by a response to recent events and by the availability of detection and identification technologies. Additionally, the inventory of pathogens that exist in mammalian and other reservoirs is incomplete, and identifying those with the potential to cause disease in humans is rarely possible in advance. A major step in understanding the burden and diversity of zoonotic infections, the local behavioral and demographic risks of infection, and the risk of emergence of these pathogens in human populations is to establish surveillance networks in populations that maintain regular contact with diverse animal populations, and to simultaneously characterize pathogen diversity in human and animal populations. Vietnam has been an epicenter of disease emergence over the last decade, and practices at the human/animal interface may facilitate the likelihood of spillover of zoonotic pathogens into humans. To tackle the scientific issues surrounding the origins and emergence of zoonotic infections in Vietnam, we have established The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS). This countrywide project, in which several international institutions collaborate with Vietnamese organizations, is combining clinical data, epidemiology, high-throughput sequencing, and social sciences to address relevant one-health questions. Here, we describe the primary aims of the project, the infrastructure established to address our scientific questions, and the current status of the project. Our principal objective is to develop an integrated approach to the surveillance of pathogens circulating in both human and animal populations and assess how frequently they are exchanged. This infrastructure will facilitate systematic investigations of pathogen ecology and evolution, enhance understanding of viral cross-species transmission events, and identify relevant risk factors and drivers of zoonotic disease emergence.

Habib AG, Kuznik A, Hamza M, Abdullahi MI, Chedi BA, Chippaux J-P, Warrell DA. 2015. Snakebite is Under Appreciated: Appraisal of Burden from West Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (9), pp. e0004088. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Snakebite envenoming (SBE) is a major problem in rural areas of West Africa (WA). Compared to other Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), the public health burden of SBE has not been well characterized. We estimated the impact of snakebite mortality and morbidity using the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) metrics for 16 countries in WA. METHODS: We used the reported annual number of SB deaths and mean age at time of SB and converted these into years of life lost (YLL). Similarly, the years of life lived with disability (YLD) were estimated by multiplying the number of amputations by the respective disability weight of 0.13. RESULTS: In WA, the annual cases of SB mortality and amputations ranged from 24 (95% Confidence Interval: 19-29) and 28 (17-48) respectively in Guinea-Bissau with the highest estimates of 1927 (1529-2333) and 2368 (1506-4043) respectively in Nigeria. We calculated that the annual DALYs associated with a SB death ranged from 1550 DALYs (95%CI: 1227-1873 DALYs) in Guinea Bissau to 124,484 DALYs (95%CI: 98,773-150,712 DALYs) in Nigeria. The annual DALYs associated with amputation for the two countries were 149 DALYs (95%CI: 91-256 DALYs) and 12,621 DALYs (95%CI: 8027-21,549 DALYs) respectively. The total burden of SBE was estimated at 319,874 DALYs (95% CI: 248,357-402,654 DALYs) in the 16 countries in WA. These estimates are similar, and in some instances even higher, than for other NTDs encountered in WA (e.g., Buruli ulcer, Echinococcosis, Intestinal Nematode Infections, Leishmaniasis, Onchocerchiasis, Trachoma and Trypanosomiasis) as reported in the Global Burden of Diseases 2010 (GBD). CONCLUSIONS: The public health burden of SBE in WA is very substantial and similar to other more widely recognized NTDs. Efforts and funding commensurate with its burden should be made available for the control of snakebite in the sub-region.

Moreira CM, Abo-Shehada M, Price RN, Drakeley CJ. 2015. A systematic review of sub-microscopic Plasmodium vivax infection. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 360. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An accurate estimate of Plasmodium vivax prevalence is essential for the successful implementation of malaria control and elimination programmes. Prevalence estimates both inform control strategies and are used in their evaluation. Light microscopy is the main method for detecting Plasmodium parasitaemia in the peripheral blood, but compared to molecular diagnostics, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), has limited sensitivity. METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to assess the effect of detection method on the prevalence of P. vivax and to quantify the extent to which P. vivax infections are undetected by microscopy. Embase, Medline and the Cochrane Database were searched for studies reporting prevalence by PCR and by microscopy and that contained all of the following key words: vivax, PCR, and malaria. Prevalence estimates and study meta-data were extracted systematically from each publication. Combined microscopy:PCR prevalence ratios were estimated by random effects meta-analysis. Sensitivity and specificity of microscopy were calculated using PCR as the gold standard. RESULTS: Of 874 studies reviewed, 40 met the criteria for inclusion contributing 54 prevalence pairs. The prevalence of P. vivax infection measured by PCR was consistently higher than the prevalence measured by microscopy with sub-patent parasitaemia. The mean prevalence of infection detected by microscopy was 67 % (95 % CI 59-73 %) lower than the prevalence detected by PCR. The detection of sub-patent parasitaemia did not vary according to the microscopy method (thick or, thick and thin smears), the PCR prevalence (as a measure of the true P. vivax prevalence), the type of blood used or DNA extraction method. CONCLUSIONS: Quantifying P. vivax parasitaemia by PCR rather than microscopy consistently increased prevalence estimates by a factor of 2.3. Whilst the sensitivity of microscopy can be improved by better methods, molecular methods have potential to be scaled up to improve the detection of P. vivax transmission reservoirs.

Sinha I, Ekapirat N, Dondorp AM, Woodrow CJ. 2015. Use of a rapid test to assess plasma Plasmodium falciparum HRP2 and guide management of severe febrile illness. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 362. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasma Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 (PfHRP2) is the most accurate biomarker for severe malaria, but its measurement by ELISA has been considered too unwieldy to incorporate into clinical management. METHODS: Plasma samples covering a wide range of PfHRP2 concentrations were applied to rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). RDTs were read by eye and digital capture, and PfHRP2 concentrations were measured via serial dilution with results compared to ELISA readings. RESULTS: The Paracheck (®) brand showed the strongest correlation (r(2) = 0.963) as well as the lowest inter-observer variability (combined kappa across band intensities for three observers = 0.938). Plasma PfHRP2 measurement via serial dilution showed minimal bias compared to ELISA and acceptable limits of agreement. Three different dilutions of a well characterized set of admission samples from uncomplicated and severe malaria patients studied in a low transmission setting gave an area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.844 in terms of identifying severe malaria. CONCLUSIONS: These studies show that plasma PfHRP2 can be assessed via a single RDT, with application of a plasma dilution of 1:5 or 1:10 providing useful diagnostic information to assist in patient management or clinical trial inclusion.

WWARN Parasite Clearance Study Group, Abdulla S, Ashley EA, Bassat Q, Bethell D, Björkman A, Borrmann S, D'Alessandro U, Dahal P, Day NP et al. 2015. Baseline data of parasite clearance in patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 359. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum manifests as slow parasite clearance but this measure is also influenced by host immunity, initial parasite biomass and partner drug efficacy. This study collated data from clinical trials of artemisinin derivatives in falciparum malaria with frequent parasite counts to provide reference parasite clearance estimates stratified by location, treatment and time, to examine host factors affecting parasite clearance, and to assess the relationships between parasite clearance and risk of recrudescence during follow-up. METHODS: Data from 24 studies, conducted from 1996 to 2013, with frequent parasite counts were pooled. Parasite clearance half-life (PC1/2) was estimated using the WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator. Random effects regression models accounting for study and site heterogeneity were used to explore factors affecting PC1/2 and risk of recrudescence within areas with reported delayed parasite clearance (western Cambodia, western Thailand after 2000, southern Vietnam, southern Myanmar) and in all other areas where parasite populations are artemisinin sensitive. RESULTS: PC1/2 was estimated in 6975 patients, 3288 of whom also had treatment outcomes evaluate d during 28-63 days follow-up, with 93 (2.8 %) PCR-confirmed recrudescences. In areas with artemisinin-sensitive parasites, the median PC1/2 following three-day artesunate treatment (4 mg/kg/day) ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 h and the proportion of patients with PC1/2 >5 h from 0 to 10 %. Artesunate doses of 4 mg/kg/day decreased PC1/2 by 8.1 % (95 % CI 3.2-12.6) compared to 2 mg/kg/day, except in populations with delayed parasite clearance. PC1/2 was longer in children and in patients with fever or anaemia at enrolment. Long PC1/2 (HR = 2.91, 95 % CI 1.95-4.34 for twofold increase, p < 0.001) and high initial parasitaemia (HR = 2.23, 95 % CI 1.44-3.45 for tenfold increase, p < 0.001) were associated independently with an increased risk of recrudescence. In western Cambodia, the region with the highest prevalence of artemisinin resistance, there was no evidence for increasing PC1/2 since 2007. CONCLUSIONS: Several factors affect PC1/2. As substantial heterogeneity in parasite clearance exists between locations, early detection of artemisinin resistance requires reference PC1/2 data. Studies with frequent parasite count measurements to characterize PC1/2 should be encouraged. In western Cambodia, where PC1/2 values are longest, there is no evidence for recent emergence of higher levels of artemisinin resistance.

Le Viet T, Choisy M, Bryant JE, Vu Trong D, Pham Quang T, Horby P, Nguyen Tran H, Tran Thi Kieu H, Nguyen Vu T, Nguyen Van K et al. 2015. A dengue outbreak on a floating village at Cat Ba Island in Vietnam. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 940. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A dengue outbreak in an ecotourism destination spot in Vietnam, from September to November 2013, impacted a floating village of fishermen on the coastal island of Cat Ba. The outbreak raises questions about how tourism may impact disease spread in rural areas. METHODS: Epidemiological data were obtained from the Hai Phong Preventive Medical Center (PMC), including case histories and residential location from all notified dengue cases from this outbreak. All household addresses were geo-located. Knox test, a spatio-temporal analysis that enables inference dengue clustering constrained by space and time, was performed on the geocoded locations. From the plasma available from two patients, positive for Dengue serotype 3 virus (DENV3), the Envelope (E) gene was sequenced, and their genetic relationships compared to other E sequences in the region. RESULTS: Of 192 dengue cases, the odds ratio of contracting dengue infections for people living in the floating villages compared to those living on the island was 4.9 (95 % CI: 3.6-6.7). The space-time analyses on 111 geocoded dengue residences found the risk of dengue infection to be the highest within 4 days and a radius of 20 m of a given case. Of the total of ten detected clusters with an excess risk greater than 2, the cluster with the highest number of cases was in the floating village area (24 patients for a total duration of 31 days). Phylogenetic analysis revealed a high homology of the two DENV3 strains (genotype III) from Cat Ba with DENV3 viruses circulating in Hanoi in the same year (99.1 %). CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that dengue transmission is unlikely to be sustained on Cat Ba Island and that the 2013 epidemic likely originated through introduction of viruses from the mainland, potentially Hanoi. These findings suggest that prevention efforts should be focused on mainland rather than on the island.

Ashley EA, Aweeka F, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Borrmann S, Dahal P, Davis TME, Deloron P, Denis MB, Djimde AA et al. 2015. Artemether-lumefantrine treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a systematic review and meta-analysis of day 7 lumefantrine concentrations and therapeutic response using individual patient data BMC Medicine, 13 (1), | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) Lumefantrine PK/PD Study Group. Background: Achieving adequate antimalarial drug exposure is essential for curing malaria. Day 7 blood or plasma lumefantrine concentrations provide a simple measure of drug exposure that correlates well with artemether-lumefantrine efficacy. However, the 'therapeutic' day 7 lumefantrine concentration threshold needs to be defined better, particularly for important patient and parasite sub-populations. Methods: The WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) conducted a large pooled analysis of individual pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic data from patients treated with artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, to define therapeutic day 7 lumefantrine concentrations and identify patient factors that substantially alter these concentrations. A systematic review of PubMed, Embase, Google Scholar, and conference proceedings identified all relevant studies. Risk of bias in individual studies was evaluated based on study design, methodology and missing data. Results: Of 31 studies identified through a systematic review, 26 studies were shared with WWARN and 21 studies with 2,787 patients were included. Recrudescence was associated with low day 7 lumefantrine concentrations (HR 1.59 (95 % CI 1.36 to 1.85) per halving of day 7 concentrations) and high baseline parasitemia (HR 1.87 (95 % CI 1.22 to 2.87) per 10-fold increase). Adjusted for mg/kg dose, day 7 concentrations were lowest in very young children ( < 3 years), among whom underweight-for-age children had 23 % (95 % CI -1 to 41 %) lower concentrations than adequately nourished children of the same age and 53 % (95 % CI 37 to 65 %) lower concentrations than adults. Day 7 lumefantrine concentrations were 44 % (95 % CI 38 to 49 %) lower following unsupervised treatment. The highest risk of recrudescence was observed in areas of emerging artemisinin resistance and very low transmission intensity. For all other populations studied, day 7 concentrations ≥200 ng/ml were associated with > 98 % cure rates (if parasitemia < 135,000/μL). Conclusions: Current artemether-lumefantrine dosing recommendations achieve day 7 lumefantrine concentrations ≥200 ng/ml and high cure rates in most uncomplicated malaria patients. Three groups are at increased risk of treatment failure: very young children (particularly those underweight-for-age); patients with high parasitemias; and patients in very low transmission intensity areas with emerging parasite resistance. In these groups, adherence and treatment response should be monitored closely. Higher, more frequent, or prolonged dosage regimens should now be evaluated in very young children, particularly if malnourished, and in patients with hyperparasitemia.

Katzelnick LC, Fonville JM, Gromowski GD, Bustos Arriaga J, Green A, James SL, Lau L, Montoya M, Wang C, VanBlargan LA et al. 2015. Dengue viruses cluster antigenically but not as discrete serotypes. Science, 349 (6254), pp. 1338-1343. | Citations: 36 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The four genetically divergent dengue virus (DENV) types are traditionally classified as serotypes. Antigenic and genetic differences among the DENV types influence disease outcome, vaccine-induced protection, epidemic magnitude, and viral evolution. We characterized antigenic diversity in the DENV types by antigenic maps constructed from neutralizing antibody titers obtained from African green monkeys and after human vaccination and natural infections. Genetically, geographically, and temporally, diverse DENV isolates clustered loosely by type, but we found that many are as similar antigenically to a virus of a different type as to some viruses of the same type. Primary infection antisera did not neutralize all viruses of the same DENV type any better than other types did up to 2 years after infection and did not show improved neutralization to homologous type isolates. That the canonical DENV types are not antigenically homogeneous has implications for vaccination and research on the dynamics of immunity, disease, and the evolution of DENV.

Gaillard T, Wurtz N, Houzé S, Sriprawat K, Wangsing C, Hubert V, Lebras J, Nosten F, Briolant S, Pradines B, French National Reference Centre for Imported Malaria Study Group. 2015. Absence of association between Plasmodium falciparum small sub-unit ribosomal RNA gene mutations and in vitro decreased susceptibility to doxycycline. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 348. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Doxycycline is an antibiotic used in combination with quinine or artesunate for malaria treatment or alone for malaria chemoprophylaxis. Recently, one prophylactic failure has been reported, and several studies have highlighted in vitro doxycycline decreased susceptibility in Plasmodium falciparum isolates from different areas. The genetic markers that contribute to detecting and monitoring the susceptibility of P. falciparum to doxycycline, the pfmdt and pftetQ genes, have recently been identified. However, these markers are not sufficient to explain in vitro decreased susceptibility of P. falciparum to doxycycline. In this paper, the association between polymorphism of the small sub-unit ribosomal RNA apicoplastic gene pfssrRNA (PFC10_API0057) and in vitro susceptibilities of P. falciparum isolates to doxycycline were investigated. METHODS: Doxycycline IC50 determinations using the hypoxanthine uptake inhibition assay were performed on 178 African and Thai P. falciparum isolates. The polymorphism of pfssrRNA was investigated in these samples by standard PCR followed by sequencing. RESULTS: No point mutations were found in pfssrRNA in the Thai or African isolates, regardless of the determined IC50 values. CONCLUSIONS: The pfssrRNA gene is not associated with in vitro decreased susceptibility of P. falciparum to doxycycline. Identifying new in vitro molecular markers associated with reduced susceptibility is needed, to survey the emergence of doxycycline resistance.

Gutiérrez JM, Burnouf T, Harrison RA, Calvete JJ, Brown N, Jensen SD, Warrell DA, Williams DJ, Global Snakebite Initiative. 2015. A Call for Incorporating Social Research in the Global Struggle against Snakebite. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (9), pp. e0003960. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more

Herdman MT, Sriboonvorakul N, Leopold SJ, Douthwaite S, Mohanty S, Hassan MMU, Maude RJ, Kingston HWF, Plewes K, Charunwatthana P et al. 2015. The role of previously unmeasured organic acids in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Crit Care, 19 (1), pp. 317. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Severe falciparum malaria is commonly complicated by metabolic acidosis. Together with lactic acid (LA), other previously unmeasured acids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of falciparum malaria. METHODS: In this prospective study, we characterised organic acids in adults with severe falciparum malaria in India and Bangladesh. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to measure organic acids in plasma and urine. Patients were followed until recovery or death. RESULTS: Patients with severe malaria (n=138), uncomplicated malaria (n=102), sepsis (n=32) and febrile encephalopathy (n=35) were included. Strong ion gap (mean ± SD) was elevated in severe malaria (8.2 mEq/L ± 4.5) and severe sepsis (8.6 mEq/L ± 7.7) compared with uncomplicated malaria (6.0 mEq/L ± 5.1) and encephalopathy (6.6 mEq/L ± 4.7). Compared with uncomplicated malaria, severe malaria was characterised by elevated plasma LA, hydroxyphenyllactic acid (HPLA), α-hydroxybutyric acid and β-hydroxybutyric acid (all P<0.05). In urine, concentrations of methylmalonic, ethylmalonic and α-ketoglutaric acids were also elevated. Multivariate logistic regression showed that plasma HPLA was a strong independent predictor of death (odds ratio [OR] 3.5, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.6-7.5, P=0.001), comparable to LA (OR 3.5, 95 % CI 1.5-7.8, P=0.003) (combined area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.81). CONCLUSIONS: Newly identified acids, in addition to LA, are elevated in patients with severe malaria and are highly predictive of fatal outcome. Further characterisation of their sources and metabolic pathways is now needed.

WWARN Artemisinin based Combination Therapy (ACT) Africa Baseline Study Group, Dahal P, d'Alessandro U, Dorsey G, Guerin PJ, Nsanzabana C, Price RN, Sibley CH, Stepniewska K, Talisuna AO. 2015. Clinical determinants of early parasitological response to ACTs in African patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria: a literature review and meta-analysis of individual patient data. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 212. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in the Greater Mekong sub-region and poses a major global public health threat. Slow parasite clearance is a key clinical manifestation of reduced susceptibility to artemisinin. This study was designed to establish the baseline values for clearance in patients from Sub-Saharan African countries with uncomplicated malaria treated with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). METHODS: A literature review in PubMed was conducted in March 2013 to identify all prospective clinical trials (uncontrolled trials, controlled trials and randomized controlled trials), including ACTs conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, between 1960 and 2012. Individual patient data from these studies were shared with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) and pooled using an a priori statistical analytical plan. Factors affecting early parasitological response were investigated using logistic regression with study sites fitted as a random effect. The risk of bias in included studies was evaluated based on study design, methodology and missing data. RESULTS: In total, 29,493 patients from 84 clinical trials were included in the analysis, treated with artemether-lumefantrine (n = 13,664), artesunate-amodiaquine (n = 11,337) and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (n = 4,492). The overall parasite clearance rate was rapid. The parasite positivity rate (PPR) decreased from 59.7 % (95 % CI: 54.5-64.9) on day 1 to 6.7 % (95 % CI: 4.8-8.7) on day 2 and 0.9 % (95 % CI: 0.5-1.2) on day 3. The 95th percentile of observed day 3 PPR was 5.3 %. Independent risk factors predictive of day 3 positivity were: high baseline parasitaemia (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.16 (95 % CI: 1.08-1.25); per 2-fold increase in parasite density, P <0.001); fever (>37.5 °C) (AOR = 1.50 (95 % CI: 1.06-2.13), P = 0.022); severe anaemia (AOR = 2.04 (95 % CI: 1.21-3.44), P = 0.008); areas of low/moderate transmission setting (AOR = 2.71 (95 % CI: 1.38-5.36), P = 0.004); and treatment with the loose formulation of artesunate-amodiaquine (AOR = 2.27 (95 % CI: 1.14-4.51), P = 0.020, compared to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine). CONCLUSIONS: The three ACTs assessed in this analysis continue to achieve rapid early parasitological clearance across the sites assessed in Sub-Saharan Africa. A threshold of 5 % day 3 parasite positivity from a minimum sample size of 50 patients provides a more sensitive benchmark in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to the current recommended threshold of 10 % to trigger further investigation of artemisinin susceptibility.

Deeny SR, Worby CJ, Tosas Auguet O, Cooper BS, Edgeworth J, Cookson B, Robotham JV. 2015. Impact of mupirocin resistance on the transmission and control of healthcare-associated MRSA. J Antimicrob Chemother, 70 (12), pp. 3366-3378. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study were to estimate the relative transmissibility of mupirocin-resistant (MupR) and mupirocin-susceptible (MupS) MRSA strains and evaluate the long-term impact of MupR on MRSA control policies. METHODS: Parameters describing MupR and MupS strains were estimated using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods applied to data from two London teaching hospitals. These estimates parameterized a model used to evaluate the long-term impact of MupR on three mupirocin usage policies: 'clinical cases', 'screen and treat' and 'universal'. Strategies were assessed in terms of colonized and infected patient days and scenario and sensitivity analyses were performed. RESULTS: The transmission probability of a MupS strain was 2.16 (95% CI 1.38-2.94) times that of a MupR strain in the absence of mupirocin usage. The total prevalence of MupR in colonized and infected MRSA patients after 5 years of simulation was 9.1% (95% CI 8.7%-9.6%) with the 'screen and treat' mupirocin policy, increasing to 21.3% (95% CI 20.9%-21.7%) with 'universal' mupirocin use. The prevalence of MupR increased in 50%-75% of simulations with 'universal' usage and >10% of simulations with 'screen and treat' usage in scenarios where MupS had a higher transmission probability than MupR. CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide evidence from a clinical setting of a fitness cost associated with MupR in MRSA strains. This provides a plausible explanation for the low levels of mupirocin resistance seen following 'screen and treat' mupirocin usage. From our simulations, even under conservative estimates of relative transmissibility, we see long-term increases in the prevalence of MupR given 'universal' use.

Sim S, Aw PPK, Wilm A, Teoh G, Hue KDT, Nguyen NM, Nagarajan N, Simmons CP, Hibberd ML. 2015. Tracking Dengue Virus Intra-host Genetic Diversity during Human-to-Mosquito Transmission. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (9), pp. e0004052. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue virus (DENV) infection of an individual human or mosquito host produces a dynamic population of closely-related sequences. This intra-host genetic diversity is thought to offer an advantage for arboviruses to adapt as they cycle between two very different host species, but it remains poorly characterized. To track changes in viral intra-host genetic diversity during horizontal transmission, we infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by allowing them to feed on DENV2-infected patients. We then performed whole-genome deep-sequencing of human- and matched mosquito-derived DENV samples on the Illumina platform and used a sensitive variant-caller to detect single nucleotide variants (SNVs) within each sample. >90% of SNVs were lost upon transition from human to mosquito, as well as from mosquito abdomen to salivary glands. Levels of viral diversity were maintained, however, by the regeneration of new SNVs at each stage of transmission. We further show that SNVs maintained across transmission stages were transmitted as a unit of two at maximum, suggesting the presence of numerous variant genomes carrying only one or two SNVs each. We also present evidence for differences in selection pressures between human and mosquito hosts, particularly on the structural and NS1 genes. This analysis provides insights into how population drops during transmission shape RNA virus genetic diversity, has direct implications for virus evolution, and illustrates the value of high-coverage, whole-genome next-generation sequencing for understanding viral intra-host genetic diversity.

Izopet J, Labrique AB, Basnyat B, Dalton HR, Kmush B, Heaney CD, Nelson KE, Ahmed ZB, Zaman K, Mansuy J-M et al. 2015. Hepatitis E virus seroprevalence in three hyperendemic areas: Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France. J Clin Virol, 70 pp. 39-42. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis E causes a significant burden of disease in developing countries and has recently been increasingly recognized in developed countries. Comparing population anti-hepatitis E virus (HEV) seroprevalence across populations has been difficult. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to compare the anti-HEV IgG seroprevalence in both adults and children in three hyper-endemic areas (Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France) using a sensitive, commercial anti-HEV IgG assay. STUDY DESIGN: Serum or plasma from adults and children in Nepal (n=498), Bangladesh (n=1,009) and Southwest France (n=1031) were tested for anti-HEV IgG using the Wantai assay. RESULTS: After age-standardization, anti-HEV IgG seroprevalence was 47.1%, 49.8% and 34.0% in Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France, respectively. There was no difference in seroprevalence by gender in any of the countries. A paucity of infections in children 1-10 years-old was consistently observed (less than 15%) at all 3 locations. CONCLUSIONS: Surprisingly similar high rates of anti-HEV antibodies were detected using a common, sensitive assay. Despite differences in the epidemiology and circulating genotype of HEV in Nepal, Bangladesh and southwest France, this study found more similarities in population seroprevalence than expected.

Thompson CN, Zelner JL, Nhu TDH, Phan MV, Hoang Le P, Nguyen Thanh H, Vu Thuy D, Minh Nguyen N, Ha Manh T, Van Hoang Minh T et al. 2015. The impact of environmental and climatic variation on the spatiotemporal trends of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Health Place, 35 pp. 147-154. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

It is predicted that the integration of climate-based early warning systems into existing action plans will facilitate the timely provision of interventions to diarrheal disease epidemics in resource-poor settings. Diarrhea remains a considerable public health problem in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam and we aimed to quantify variation in the impact of environmental conditions on diarrheal disease risk across the city. Using all inpatient diarrheal admissions data from three large hospitals within HCMC, we developed a mixed effects regression model to differentiate district-level variation in risk due to environmental conditions from the overarching seasonality of diarrheal disease hospitalization in HCMC. We identified considerable spatial heterogeneity in the risk of all-cause diarrhea across districts of HCMC with low elevation and differential responses to flooding, air temperature, and humidity driving further spatial heterogeneity in diarrheal disease risk. The incorporation of these results into predictive forecasting algorithms will provide a powerful resource to aid diarrheal disease prevention and control practices in HCMC and other similar settings.

White NJ, Chutasmit K, Jittamala P, Nosten F, Phyo AP, Pukrittayakamee S, Thanh DT, Uthaisin C, Li R, Magnusson B et al. 2015. Efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of KAF156 in adult patients with acute, uncomplicated P. falciparum or vivax malaria: a proof-of-concept, open label study TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 18-18.

Nguyen TD, Olliaro P, Dondorp A, Baird JK, Lam HM, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, White NJ, Boni MF. 2015. Optimal population-level deployment of artemisinin combination therapies TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 182-182.

Jule A, Garba A, Guerin P, Lang T, Olliaro P. 2015. Building a data-sharing platform for schistosomiasis treatment data: opportunities and challenges TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 228-229.

Hopkins H, Thomas NV, Crump JA, Gonzalez IJ, Guerin PJ, Newton PN, Schellenberg D, Bell D, Reyburn H. 2015. Mapping fever aetiologies in malaria-endemic areas: an interactive, open-access, on-line map TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 179-179.

Kyabayinze DJ, Hopkins H, Mayxay M, Phommasone K, Streat E, Bwanika JB, Umlauf R, Kibira SP, Ndawula B, Gonzalez IJ et al. 2015. Prototype positive control wells for malaria rapid diagnostic tests: training effectiveness, impact on RDT use and health worker perceptions in Lao PDR and Uganda TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 181-181.

Sadiq MB, Hanpithakpong W, Tarning J, Anal AK. 2015. Screening of phytochemicals and in vitro evaluation of antibacterial and antioxidant activities of leaves, pods and bark extracts of Acacia nilotica (L.) Del. INDUSTRIAL CROPS AND PRODUCTS, 77 pp. 873-882. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier B.V.. The objective of this study was to determine the phytochemical content, antibacterial activity and antioxidant activity of leaves, bark and pods of Acacia nilotica. The different extracts of acacia were evaluated for total phenolic, flavonoid and protein contents, antibacterial (agar well diffusion and broth dilution methods) and antioxidant (DPPH; 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl assay) activities. The characterization and identification of phenolic compounds was carried out by Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectrometry analysis. The MS 2 fragmentation pattern showed the presence of galloylated catechins and gallocatechin derivatives in tested extracts. The results indicated that all parts of the plant, but especially leaves, were effective in inhibiting the growth of antibiotic resistant strains of Escherichia coli and Salmonella species obtained from clinical and food isolates. The leaves were found to be rich in total phenolic content, proteins and high antioxidant activity as compared to pods and bark. The presence of functional groups of active compounds was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis of plant extracts. It was concluded that all tested parts of A. nilotica had antibacterial and antioxidant activities. These properties might be due to the presence of high total phenolic content, proteins and/or flavonoids. Hence the extracts of leaves, bark and pods of A. nilotica represent a potential source of antibacterial and antioxidant compounds that may be used in food, agriculture and/or pharmaceutical products.

Commons RJ, Robinson CH, Gawler D, Davis JS, Price RN. 2015. High burden of diabetic foot infections in the top end of Australia: An emerging health crisis (DEFINE study). Diabetes Res Clin Pract, 110 (2), pp. 147-157. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The risk of diabetes mellitus is increasing worldwide, and is particularly high in Indigenous Australians. Complicated foot infection is one of the most common sequelae of diabetes. We describe the incidence and associations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous inpatients with diabetic foot infections at Royal Darwin Hospital. METHODS: All adult Royal Darwin Hospital inpatients with diabetic foot infections were enrolled prospectively from September 2012 to November 2013. Incidence, demographics, microbiology, management and clinical outcomes were analysed by Indigenous status, and association with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. RESULTS: There were 245 separate hospital admissions in 177 patients with an incidence of 79 admissions per 100,000 person years. Patients occupied a mean of 19.4 hospital beds each day. Compared to the non-Indigenous population, Indigenous patients had a greater incidence of admission (Rate Ratio (RR)=5.1, [95%CI=3.8, 7.0]), were younger (mean difference of 11.1 years; p<0.001), and more likely to undergo major and minor amputations (RR=4.1 [95%CI=1.6, 10.7], and 6.2 [95%CI=3.5, 11.1] respectively). Non-multiresistant methicillin resistant S. aureus was present in 44.7% of wounds from Indigenous patients versus 20.6% of non-Indigenous patients (Odds Ratio (OR)=3.1, [95%CI=1.5, 6.4]), whereas P. aeruginosa presence was significantly lower (15.8% versus 46.0%; OR=0.22; [95%CI=0.11, 0.45]). Methicillin resistant S. aureus or P. aeruginosa infections were associated with longer antibiotic courses and durations of stay. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights a rising burden of diabetic foot infections in the Top End of Australia, with a four-fold increase in bed days since 2002 and an overrepresentation in the Indigenous population.

Vanhommerig JW, Lambers FAE, Schinkel J, Geskus RB, Arends JE, van de Laar TJW, Lauw FN, Brinkman K, Gras L, Rijnders BJA et al. 2015. Risk Factors for Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Men Who Have Sex With Men: A Case-Control Study. Open Forum Infect Dis, 2 (3), pp. ofv115. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background.  Since 2000, incidence of sexually acquired hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infection has increased among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected men who have sex with men (MSM). To date, few case-control and cohort studies evaluating HCV transmission risk factors were conducted in this population, and most of these studies were initially designed to study HIV-related risk behavior and characteristics. Methods.  From 2009 onwards, HIV-infected MSM with acute HCV infection and controls (HIV-monoinfected MSM) were prospectively included in the MOSAIC (MSM Observational Study of Acute Infection with hepatitis C) study at 5 large HIV outpatient clinics in the Netherlands. Written questionnaires were administered, covering sociodemographics, bloodborne risk factors for HCV infection, sexual behavior, and drug use. Clinical data were acquired through linkage with databases from the Dutch HIV Monitoring Foundation. For this study, determinants of HCV acquisition collected at the inclusion visit were analyzed using logistic regression. Results.  Two hundred thirteen HIV-infected MSM (82 MSM with acute HCV infection and 131 MSM without) were included with a median age of 45.7 years (interquartile range [IQR], 41.0-52.2). Receptive unprotected anal intercourse (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 5.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.63-15.4), sharing sex toys (aOR, 3.62; 95% CI, 1.04-12.5), unprotected fisting (aOR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.02-6.44), injecting drugs (aOR, 15.62; 95% CI, 1.27-192.6), sharing straws when snorting drugs (aOR, 3.40; 95% CI, 1.39-8.32), lower CD4 cell count (aOR, 1.75 per cubic root; 95% CI, 1.19-2.58), and recent diagnosis of ulcerative sexually transmitted infection (aOR, 4.82; 95% CI, 1.60-14.53) had significant effects on HCV acquisition. Conclusions.  In this study, both sexual behavior and biological factors appear to independently increase the risk of HCV acquisition among HIV-infected MSM.

Kheng S, Muth S, Taylor WRJ, Tops N, Kosal K, Sothea K, Souy P, Kim S, Char CM, Vanna C et al. 2015. Tolerability and safety of weekly primaquine against relapse of Plasmodium vivax in Cambodians with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 203. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primaquine is used to prevent Plasmodium vivax relapse; however, it is not implemented in many malaria-endemic countries, including Cambodia, for fear of precipitating primaquine-induced acute haemolytic anaemia in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PDd). Reluctance to use primaquine is reinforced by a lack of quality safety data. This study was conducted to assess the tolerability of a primaquine regimen in Cambodian severely deficient G6PD variants to ascertain whether a weekly primaquine could be given without testing for G6PDd. METHODS: From January 2013 to January 2014, Cambodians with acute vivax malaria were treated with dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine on days (D) 0, 1 and 2 with weekly doses of primaquine 0.75 mg/kg for 8 weeks (starting on D0, last dose on D49), and followed until D56. Participants' G6PD status was confirmed by G6PD genotype and measured G6PD activity. The primary outcome was treatment completion without primaquine toxicity defined as any one of: (1) severe anaemia (haemoglobin [Hb] <7 g/dL), (2) a >25 % fractional fall in Hb from D0, (3) the need for a blood transfusion, (4) haemoglobinuria, (5) acute kidney injury (an increase in baseline serum creatinine >50 %) or (6) methaemoglobinaemia >20 %. RESULTS: We enrolled 75 patients with a median age of 24 years (range 5-63); 63 patients (84 %) were male. Eighteen patients were G6PDd (17/18 had the Viangchan variant) and had D0 G6PD activity ranging from 0.1 to 1.5 U/g Hb (median 0.85 U/g Hb). In the 57 patients with normal G6PD (G6PDn), D0 G6PD activity ranged from 6.9 to 18.5 U/g Hb (median 12 U/g Hb). Median D0 Hb concentrations were similar (P = 0.46) between G6PDd (13 g/dL, range 9.6-16) and G6PDn (13.5 g/dL, range 9-16.3) and reached a nadir on D2 in both groups: 10.8 g/dL (8.2-15.3) versus 12.4 g/dL (8.8-15.2) (P = 0.006), respectively. By D7, five G6PDd patients (27.7 %) had a >25 % fall in Hb, compared to 0 G6PDn patients (P = 0.00049). One of these G6PDd patients required a blood transfusion (D0-D5 Hb, 10.0-7.2 g/dL). No patients developed severe anaemia, haemoglobinuria, a methaemoglobin concentration >4.9 %, or acute kidney injury. CONCLUSIONS: Vivax-infected G6PDd Cambodian patients demonstrated significant, mostly transient, falls in Hb and one received a blood transfusion. Weekly primaquine in G6PDd patients mandates medical supervision and pre-treatment screening for G6PD status. The feasibility of implementing a package of G6PDd testing and supervised primaquine should be explored. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered on 3/1/2013 and the registration number is ACTRN12613000003774.

Conlan JV, Vongxay K, Khamlome B, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Fenwick SG, Thompson RCA, Blacksell SD. 2015. Patterns of Flavivirus Seroprevalence in the Human Population of Northern Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (5), pp. 1010-1013. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A total of 1,136 samples from 289 households in four provinces in northern Laos were subjected to Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and dengue virus hemagglutination inhibition (DENV HI). Overall, antibodies to JEV were detected by HI in 620 (54.6%) of 1,136 people; of which 217 (19.1%) had HI activity against JEV only. Antibodies to DENV4 were detected by HI in 526 (46.3%) of 1,136 people; of which 124 (10.9%) had HI activity against DENV4 only. Antibodies to DENV1-3 were detected by HI in 296 (26.1%), 274 (24.1%), and 283 (24.9) of 1,136 people, respectively; of which 7, 1, and 0, respectively, had HI activity against DENV1-3 only. JEV was the most prevalent Flavivirus in Oudomxay, Luangprabang, and Huaphan provinces and DENV4 was the most prevalent in Xiengkhouang province. Seroprevalence for JEV increased with increasing age and wealth and was higher in villages where rice was cultivated in paddy fields and highest for people of Lao-Tai ethnicity.

Basnyat B. 2015. Tackle Nepal's typhoid problem now. Nature, 524 (7565), pp. 267. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Kingston HWF, Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Laongnualpanich A, Basnyat B, Day NPJ, Paris DH. 2015. Comparative Accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM Rapid Test for the Detection of IgM Antibodies by Using Conventional Serology. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 22 (10), pp. 1130-1132. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

This study investigated the comparative accuracy of a recombinant 56-kDa type-specific antigen-based rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for scrub typhus for the detection of IgM antibodies by using conventional serology in well-characterized serum samples from undifferentiated febrile illness patients. The RDT showed high specificity and promising comparative accuracy, with 82% sensitivity and 98% specificity for samples defined positive at an IgM indirect immunofluorescence assay positivity cutoff titer of ≥1:1,600 versus 92% and 95% at ≥1:6,400, respectively.

Battle KE, Guerra CA, Golding N, Duda KA, Cameron E, Howes RE, Elyazar IRF, Baird JK, Reiner RC, Gething PW et al. 2015. Global database of matched Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax incidence and prevalence records from 1985-2013. Sci Data, 2 pp. 150012. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Measures of clinical incidence are necessary to help estimate the burden of a disease. Incidence is a metric not commonly measured in malariology because the longitudinal surveys required are costly and labour intensive. This database is an effort to collate published incidence records obtained using active case detection for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. The literature search methods, data abstraction procedures and data processing procedures are described here. A total of 1,680 spatio-temporally unique incidence records were collected for the database: 1,187 for P. falciparum and 493 for P. vivax. These data were gathered to model the relationship between clinical incidence and prevalence of infection and can be used for a variety of modelling exercises including the assessment of change in disease burden in relation to age and control interventions. The subset of data that have been used for such modelling exercises are described and identified.

Green CA, Scarselli E, Sande CJ, Thompson AJ, de Lara CM, Taylor KS, Haworth K, Del Sorbo M, Angus B, Siani L et al. 2015. Chimpanzee adenovirus- and MVA-vectored respiratory syncytial virus vaccine is safe and immunogenic in adults. Sci Transl Med, 7 (300), pp. 300ra126. | Citations: 31 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes respiratory infection in annual epidemics, with infants and the elderly at particular risk of developing severe disease and death. However, despite its importance, no vaccine exists. The chimpanzee adenovirus, PanAd3-RSV, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara, MVA-RSV, are replication-defective viral vectors encoding the RSV fusion (F), nucleocapsid (N), and matrix (M2-1) proteins for the induction of humoral and cellular responses. We performed an open-label, dose escalation, phase 1 clinical trial in 42 healthy adults in which four different combinations of prime/boost vaccinations were investigated for safety and immunogenicity, including both intramuscular (IM) and intranasal (IN) administration of the adenovirus-vectored vaccine. The vaccines were safe and well tolerated, with the most common reported adverse events being mild injection site reactions. No vaccine-related serious adverse events occurred. RSV neutralizing antibody titers rose in response to IM prime with PanAd3-RSV and after IM boost for individuals primed by the IN route. Circulating anti-F immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody-secreting cells (ASCs) were observed after the IM prime and IM boost. RSV-specific T cell responses were increased after the IM PanAd3-RSV prime and were most efficiently boosted by IM MVA-RSV. Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) secretion after boost was from both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, without detectable T helper cell 2 (TH2) cytokines that have been previously associated with immune pathogenesis following exposure to RSV after the formalin-inactivated RSV vaccine. In conclusion, PanAd3-RSV and MVA-RSV are safe and immunogenic in healthy adults. These vaccine candidates warrant further clinical evaluation of efficacy to assess their potential to reduce the burden of RSV disease.

Woodrow CJ, Wangsing C, Sriprawat K, Christensen PR, Nosten F, Rénia L, Russell B, Malleret B. 2015. Comparison between Flow Cytometry, Microscopy, and Lactate Dehydrogenase-Based Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Plasmodium falciparum Drug Susceptibility Testing under Field Conditions. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (10), pp. 3296-3303. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Flow cytometry is an objective method for conducting in vitro antimalarial sensitivity assays with increasing potential for application in field sites. We examined in vitro susceptibility to seven anti-malarial drugs for 40 fresh P. falciparum field isolates via a flow cytometry method (FCM), a colorimetric LDH-based ELISA : DELI), and standard microscopic slide analysis of growth. For FCM, 184/280 (66%) assays met analytical acceptance criteria, compared to 166/280 (59%) for DELI. There was good agreement between FCM and microscopy, while DELI tended to produce higher half-maximal inhibition constants (IC50s) than FCM, with an overall bias of 2.2-fold (Bland-Altman comparison). Values for artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were most affected. Paradoxical increases in signal at very high concentrations of mefloquine and related compounds were more marked with the DELI assay, suggesting that off-target effects on LDH production may be responsible. Loss of FCM signal due to reinvasion or slow growth was observed in a small number of samples. These results extend previous work on use of flow cytometry to determine antimalarial susceptibility in terms of the number of samples, range of drugs, and comparison with other methods.

Lang T. 2015. Ebola: Embed research in outbreak response. Nature, 524 (7563), pp. 29-31. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Read more

Dunachie S, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2015. Profiling the host response to malaria vaccination and malaria challenge. Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5316-5320. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A vaccine for malaria is urgently required. The RTS,S vaccine represents major progress, but is only partially effective. Development of the next generation of highly effective vaccines requires elucidation of the protective immune response. Immunity to malaria is known to be complex, and pattern-based approaches such as global gene expression profiling are ideal for understanding response to vaccination and protection against disease. The availability of experimental sporozoite challenge in humans to test candidate malaria vaccines offers a precious opportunity unavailable for other current targets of vaccine research such as HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola. However, a limited number of transcriptional profiling studies in the context of malaria vaccine research have been published to date. This review outlines the background, existing studies, limits and opportunities for gene expression studies to accelerate malaria vaccine research.

Dunachie S, Berthoud T, Hill AVS, Fletcher HA. 2015. Transcriptional changes induced by candidate malaria vaccines and correlation with protection against malaria in a human challenge model. Vaccine, 33 (40), pp. 5321-5331. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: The complexity of immunity to malaria is well known, and clear correlates of protection against malaria have not been established. A better understanding of immune markers induced by candidate malaria vaccines would greatly enhance vaccine development, immunogenicity monitoring and estimation of vaccine efficacy in the field. We have previously reported complete or partial efficacy against experimental sporozoite challenge by several vaccine regimens in healthy malaria-naïve subjects in Oxford. These include a prime-boost regimen with RTS,S/AS02A and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing the CSP antigen, and a DNA-prime, MVA-boost regimen expressing the ME TRAP antigens. Using samples from these trials we performed transcriptional profiling, allowing a global assessment of responses to vaccination. METHODS: We used Human RefSeq8 Bead Chips from Illumina to examine gene expression using PBMC (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) from 16 human volunteers. To focus on antigen-specific changes, comparisons were made between PBMC stimulated with CSP or TRAP peptide pools and unstimulated PBMC post vaccination. We then correlated gene expression with protection against malaria in a human Plasmodium falciparum malaria challenge model. RESULTS: Differentially expressed genes induced by both vaccine regimens were predominantly in the IFN-γ pathway. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed antigen-specific effects on genes associated with IFN induction and proteasome modules after vaccination. Genes associated with IFN induction and antigen presentation modules were positively enriched in subjects with complete protection from malaria challenge, while genes associated with haemopoietic stem cells, regulatory monocytes and the myeloid lineage modules were negatively enriched in protected subjects. CONCLUSIONS: These results represent novel insights into the immune repertoires involved in malaria vaccination.

Lang T. 2015. Embed research in outbreak response NATURE, 524 (7563), pp. 29-31. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Ndungu FM, Marsh K, Fegan G, Wambua J, Nyangweso G, Ogada E, Mwangi T, Nyundo C, Macharia A, Uyoga S et al. 2015. Identifying children with excess malaria episodes after adjusting for variation in exposure: identification from a longitudinal study using statistical count models. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 183. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The distribution of Plasmodium falciparum clinical malaria episodes is over-dispersed among children in endemic areas, with more children experiencing multiple clinical episodes than would be expected based on a Poisson distribution. There is consistent evidence for micro-epidemiological variation in exposure to P. falciparum. The aim of the current study was to identify children with excess malaria episodes after controlling for malaria exposure. METHODS: We selected the model that best fit the data out of the models examined and included the following covariates: age, a weighted local prevalence of infection as an index of exposure, and calendar time to predict episodes of malaria on active surveillance malaria data from 2,463 children of under 15 years of age followed for between 5 and 15 years each. Using parameters from the zero-inflated negative binomial model which best fitted our data, we ran 100 simulations of the model based on our population to determine the variation that might be seen due to chance. RESULTS: We identified 212 out of 2,463 children who had a number of clinical episodes above the 95(th) percentile of the simulations run from the model, hereafter referred to as "excess malaria (EM)". We then identified exposure-matched controls with "average numbers of malaria" episodes, and found that the EM group had higher parasite densities when asymptomatically infected or during clinical malaria, and were less likely to be of haemoglobin AS genotype. CONCLUSIONS: Of the models tested, the negative zero-inflated negative binomial distribution with exposure, calendar year, and age acting as independent predictors, fitted the distribution of clinical malaria the best. Despite accounting for these factors, a group of children suffer excess malaria episodes beyond those predicted by the model. An epidemiological framework for identifying these children will allow us to study factors that may explain excess malaria episodes.

Kloprogge F, McGready R, Hanpithakpong W, Blessborn D, Day NPJ, White NJ, Nosten F, Tarning J. 2015. Lumefantrine and Desbutyl-Lumefantrine Population Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Relationships in Pregnant Women with Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria on the Thailand-Myanmar Border. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (10), pp. 6375-6384. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely used antimalarial artemisinin-based combination treatment. Recent studies have suggested that day 7 plasma concentrations of the potent metabolite desbutyl-lumefantrine correlate better with treatment outcomes than those of lumefantrine. Low cure rates have been reported in pregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with artemether-lumefantrine in northwest Thailand. A simultaneous pharmacokinetic drug-metabolite model was developed based on dense venous and sparse capillary lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine plasma samples from 116 pregnant patients on the Thailand-Myanmar border. The best model was used to evaluate therapeutic outcomes with a time-to-event approach. Lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine concentrations, implemented in an Emax model, both predicted treatment outcomes, but lumefantrine provided better predictive power. A combined model including both lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine did not improve the model further. Simulations suggested that cure rates in pregnant women with falciparum malaria could be increased by prolonging the treatment course. (These trials were registered at [ISRCTN 86353884].).

Taylor AJ, Paris DH, Newton PN. 2015. A Systematic Review of Mortality from Untreated Scrub Typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi). PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0003971. | Citations: 31 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scrub typhus, a bacterial infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, is increasingly recognized as an important cause of fever in Asia, with an estimated one million infections occurring each year. Limited access to health care and the disease's non-specific symptoms mean that many patients are undiagnosed and untreated, but the mortality from untreated scrub typhus is unknown. This review systematically summarizes the literature on the untreated mortality from scrub typhus and disease outcomes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A literature search was performed to identify patient series containing untreated patients. Patients were included if they were symptomatic and had a clinical or laboratory diagnosis of scrub typhus and excluded if they were treated with antibiotics. The primary outcome was mortality from untreated scrub typhus and secondary outcomes were total days of fever, clinical symptoms, and laboratory results. A total of 76 studies containing 89 patient series and 19,644 patients were included in the final analysis. The median mortality of all patient series was 6.0% with a wide range (min-max) of 0-70%. Many studies used clinical diagnosis alone and had incomplete data on secondary outcomes. Mortality varied by location and increased with age and in patients with myocarditis, delirium, pneumonitis, or signs of hemorrhage, but not according to sex or the presence of an eschar or meningitis. Duration of fever was shown to be long (median 14.4 days Range (9-19)). CONCLUSIONS: Results show that the untreated mortality from scrub typhus appears lower than previously reported estimates. More data are required to clarify mortality according to location and host factors, clinical syndromes including myocarditis and central nervous system disease, and in vulnerable mother-child populations. Increased surveillance and improved access to diagnostic tests are required to accurately estimate the untreated mortality of scrub typhus. This information would facilitate reliable quantification of DALYs and guide empirical treatment strategies.

Le V, Nhu NTK, Cerdeno-Tarraga A, Campbell JI, Tuyen HT, Nhu TDH, Tam PTT, Schultsz C, Thwaites G, Thomson NR, Baker S. 2015. Genetic characterization of three qnrS1-harbouring multidrug-resistance plasmids and qnrS1-containing transposons circulating in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (8), pp. 869-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) refers to a family of closely related genes that confer decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. PMQR genes are generally associated with integrons and/or plasmids that carry additional antimicrobial resistance genes active against a range of antimicrobials. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we have previously shown a high frequency of PMQR genes within commensal Enterobacteriaceae. However, there are limited available sequence data detailing the genetic context in which the PMQR genes reside, and a lack of understanding of how these genes spread across the Enterobacteriaceae. Here, we aimed to determine the genetic background facilitating the spread and maintenance of qnrS1, the dominant PMQR gene circulating in HCMC. We sequenced three qnrS1-carrying plasmids in their entirety to understand the genetic context of these qnrS1-embedded plasmids and also the association of qnrS1-mediated quinolone resistance with other antimicrobial resistance phenotypes. Annotation of the three qnrS1-containing plasmids revealed a qnrS1-containing transposon with a closely related structure. We screened 112 qnrS1-positive commensal Enterobacteriaceae isolated in the community and in a hospital in HCMC to detect the common transposon structure. We found the same transposon structure to be present in 71.4 % (45/63) of qnrS1-positive hospital isolates and in 36.7 % (18/49) of qnrS1-positive isolates from the community. The resulting sequence analysis of the qnrS1 environment suggested that qnrS1 genes are widely distributed and are mobilized on elements with a common genetic background. Our data add additional insight into mechanisms that facilitate resistance to multiple antimicrobials in Gram-negative bacteria in Vietnam.

Phetsouvanh R, Sonthayanon P, Pukrittayakamee S, Paris DH, Newton PN, Feil EJ, Day NPJ. 2015. The Diversity and Geographical Structure of Orientia tsutsugamushi Strains from Scrub Typhus Patients in Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0004024. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi is the causative agent of scrub typhus, a disease transmitted by Leptotrombidium mites which is responsible for a severe and under-reported public health burden throughout Southeast Asia. Here we use multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to characterize 74 clinical isolates from three geographic locations in the Lao PDR (Laos), and compare them with isolates described from Udon Thani, northeast Thailand. The data confirm high levels of diversity and recombination within the natural O. tsutsugamushi population, and a rate of mixed infection of ~8%. We compared the relationships and geographical structuring of the strains and populations using allele based approaches (eBURST), phylogenetic approaches, and by calculating F-statistics (FST). These analyses all point towards low levels of population differentiation between isolates from Vientiane and Udon Thani, cities which straddle the Mekong River which defines the Lao/Thai border, but with a very distinct population in Salavan, southern Laos. These data highlight how land use, as well as the movement of hosts and vectors, may impact on the epidemiology of zoonotic infections.

Giengkam S, Blakes A, Utsahajit P, Chaemchuen S, Atwal S, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Day NPJ, Salje J. 2015. Improved Quantification, Propagation, Purification and Storage of the Obligate Intracellular Human Pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0004009. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scrub typhus is a leading cause of serious febrile illness in rural Southeast Asia. The causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, is an obligate intracellular bacterium that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a Leptotrombidium mite. Research into the basic mechanisms of cell biology and pathogenicity of O. tsutsugamushi has lagged behind that of other important human pathogens. One reason for this is that O. tsutsugamushi is an obligate intracellular bacterium that can only be cultured in mammalian cells and that requires specific methodologies for propagation and analysis. Here, we have performed a body of work designed to improve methods for quantification, propagation, purification and long-term storage of this important but neglected human pathogen. These results will be useful to other researchers working on O. tsutsugamushi and also other obligate intracellular pathogens such as those in the Rickettsiales and Chlamydiales families. METHODOLOGY: A clinical isolate of O. tsutsugamushi was grown in cultured mouse embryonic fibroblast (L929) cells. Bacterial growth was measured using an O. tsutsugamushi-specific qPCR assay. Conditions leading to improvements in viability and growth were monitored in terms of the effect on bacterial cell number after growth in cultured mammalian cells. KEY RESULTS: Development of a standardised growth assay to quantify bacterial replication and viability in vitro. Quantitative comparison of different DNA extraction methods. Quantification of the effect on growth of FBS concentration, daunorubicin supplementation, media composition, host cell confluence at infection and frequency of media replacement. Optimisation of bacterial purification including a comparison of host cell lysis methods, purification temperature, bacterial yield calculations and bacterial pelleting at different centrifugation speeds. Quantification of bacterial viability loss after long term storage and freezing under a range of conditions including different freezing buffers and different rates of freezing. CONCLUSIONS: Here we present a standardised method for comparing the viability of O. tsutsugamushi after purification, treatment and propagation under various conditions. Taken together, we present a body of data to support improved techniques for propagation, purification and storage of this organism. This data will be useful both for improving clinical isolation rates as well as performing in vitro cell biology experiments.

Paris DH, Stephan F, Bulder I, Wouters D, van der Poll T, Newton PN, Day NPJ, Zeerleder S. 2015. Increased Nucleosomes and Neutrophil Activation Link to Disease Progression in Patients with Scrub Typhus but Not Murine Typhus in Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0003990. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Cell-mediated immunity is essential in protection against rickettsial illnesses, but the role of neutrophils in these intracellular vasculotropic infections remains unclear. This study analyzed the plasma levels of nucleosomes, FSAP-activation (nucleosome-releasing factor), and neutrophil activation, as evidenced by neutrophil-elastase (ELA) complexes, in sympatric Lao patients with scrub typhus and murine typhus. In acute scrub typhus elevated nucleosome levels correlated with lower GCS scores, raised respiratory rate, jaundice and impaired liver function, whereas neutrophil activation correlated with fibrinolysis and high IL-8 plasma levels, a recently identified predictor of severe disease and mortality. Nucleosome and ELA complex levels were associated with a 4.8-fold and 4-fold increased risk of developing severe scrub typhus, beyond cut off values of 1,040 U/ml for nucleosomes and 275 U/ml for ELA complexes respectively. In murine typhus, nucleosome levels associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines and the duration of illness, while ELA complexes correlated strongly with inflammation markers, jaundice and increased respiratory rates. This study found strong correlations between circulating nucleosomes and neutrophil activation in patients with scrub typhus, but not murine typhus, providing indirect evidence that nucleosomes could originate from neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) degradation. High circulating plasma nucleosomes and ELA complexes represent independent risk factors for developing severe complications in scrub typhus. As nucleosomes and histones exposed on NETs are highly cytotoxic to endothelial cells and are strongly pro-coagulant, neutrophil-derived nucleosomes could contribute to vascular damage, the pro-coagulant state and exacerbation of disease in scrub typhus, thus indicating a detrimental role of neutrophil activation. The data suggest that increased neutrophil activation relates to disease progression and severe complications, and increased plasma levels of nucleosomes and ELA complexes represent independent risk factors for developing severe scrub typhus.

Basnyat B, Starling JM. 2015. Infectious Diseases at High Altitude. Microbiol Spectr, 3 (4), | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Travel to elevations above 2,500 m is an increasingly common activity undertaken by a diverse population of individuals. These may be trekkers, climbers, miners in high-altitude sites in South America, and more recently, soldiers deployed for high-altitude duty in remote areas of the world. What is also being increasingly recognized is the plight of the millions of pilgrims, many with comorbidities, who annually ascend to high-altitude sacred areas. There are also 400 million people who reside permanently in high mountain ranges, which cover one-fifth of the Earth's surface. Many of these high-altitude areas are in developing countries, for example, the Himalayan range in South Asia. Although high-altitude areas may not harbor any specific infectious disease agents, it is important to know about the pathogens encountered in the mountains to be better able to help both the ill sojourner and the native high-altitude dweller. Often the same pathogens prevalent in the surrounding lowlands are found at high altitude, but various factors such as immunomodulation, hypoxia, poor physiological adaptation, and harsh environmental stressors at high altitude may enhance susceptibility to these pathogens. Against this background, various gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatological, neurological, and other infections encountered at high altitude are discussed.

Tanner M, Greenwood B, Whitty CJM, Ansah EK, Price RN, Dondorp AM, von Seidlein L, Baird JK, Beeson JG, Fowkes FJI et al. 2015. Malaria eradication and elimination: views on how to translate a vision into reality. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 167. | Citations: 34 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Although global efforts in the past decade have halved the number of deaths due to malaria, there are still an estimated 219 million cases of malaria a year, causing more than half a million deaths. In this forum article, we asked experts working in malaria research and control to discuss the ways in which malaria might eventually be eradicated. Their collective views highlight the challenges and opportunities, and explain how multi-factorial and integrated processes could eventually make malaria eradication a reality.

Wirjanata G, Sebayang BF, Chalfein F, Prayoga, Handayuni I, Trianty L, Kenangalem E, Noviyanti R, Campo B, Poespoprodjo JR et al. 2015. Potent Ex Vivo Activity of Naphthoquine and Methylene Blue against Drug-Resistant Clinical Isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (10), pp. 6117-6124. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The 4-aminoquinoline naphthoquine (NQ) and the thiazine dye methylene blue (MB) have potent in vitro efficacies against Plasmodium falciparum, but susceptibility data for P. vivax are limited. The species- and stage-specific ex vivo activities of NQ and MB were assessed using a modified schizont maturation assay on clinical field isolates from Papua, Indonesia, where multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax are prevalent. Both compounds were highly active against P. falciparum (median [range] 50% inhibitory concentration [IC50]: NQ, 8.0 nM [2.6 to 71.8 nM]; and MB, 1.6 nM [0.2 to 7.0 nM]) and P. vivax (NQ, 7.8 nM [1.5 to 34.2 nM]; and MB, 1.2 nM [0.4 to 4.3 nM]). Stage-specific drug susceptibility assays revealed significantly greater IC50s in parasites exposed at the trophozoite stage than at the ring stage for NQ in P. falciparum (26.5 versus 5.1 nM, P = 0.021) and P. vivax (341.6 versus 6.5 nM, P = 0.021) and for MB in P. vivax (10.1 versus 1.6 nM, P = 0.010). The excellent ex vivo activities of NQ and MB against both P. falciparum and P. vivax highlight their potential utility for the treatment of multidrug-resistant malaria in areas where both species are endemic.

Guyant P, Corbel V, Guérin PJ, Lautissier A, Nosten F, Boyer S, Coosemans M, Dondorp AM, Sinou V, Yeung S, White N. 2015. Past and new challenges for malaria control and elimination: the role of operational research for innovation in designing interventions Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Guyant et al. This meeting report presents the outcomes of a workshop held in Bangkok on December 1st 2014, where the following challenges were discussed: the threat of resistance to artemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and in Africa; access to treatment for most at risk and hard to reach population; insecticide resistance, residual and outdoors transmission. The role of operational research and the interactions between research institutions, National Malaria Control Programmes, Civil Society Organizations, and of financial and technical partners to address those challenges and to accelerate translation of research into policies and programmes were debated. The threat and the emergency of the artemisinin resistance spread and independent emergence in the GMS was intensely debated as it is now close to the border of India. The need for key messages, based on scientific evidence and information available and disseminated without delay , was highlighted as crucial for an effective and urgent response.

Le Minh V, Thi Khanh Nhu N, Vinh Phat V, Thompson C, Huong Lan NP, Thieu Nga TV, Thanh Tam PT, Tuyen HT, Hoang Nhu TD, Van Hao N et al. 2015. In vitro activity of colistin in antimicrobial combination against carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia in Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (10), pp. 1162-1169. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Acinetobacter baumannii has become one of the major infection threats in intensive care units (ICUs) globally. Since 2008, A. baumannii has been the leading cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in our ICU at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. The emergence of this pathogen in our setting is consistent with the persistence of a specific clone exhibiting resistance to carbapenems. Antimicrobial combinations may be a strategy to treat infections caused by these carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii. Therefore, we assessed potential antimicrobial combinations against local carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii by measuring in vitro interactions of colistin with four antimicrobials that are locally certified for treating VAP. We first performed antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) genotyping on 74 A. baumannii isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates from patients with VAP over an 18-month period. These 74 isolates could be subdivided into 21 main clusters by MLVA and >80 % were resistant to carbapenems. We selected 56 representative isolates for in vitro combination synergy testing. Synergy was observed in four (7 %), seven (13 %), 20 (36 %) and 38 (68 %) isolates with combinations of colistin with ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, imipenem and meropenem, respectively. Notably, more carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii isolates (36/43; 84 %) exhibited synergistic activity with a combination of colistin and meropenem than carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolates (2/13; 15 %) (P = 0.023; Fisher's exact test). Our findings suggest that combinations of colistin and meropenem should be considered when treating carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii infections in Vietnam, and we advocate clinical trials investigating combination therapy for VAP.

Phillips MA, Lotharius J, Marsh K, White J, Dayan A, White KL, Njoroge JW, El Mazouni F, Lao Y, Kokkonda S et al. 2015. A long-duration dihydroorotate dehydrogenase inhibitor (DSM265) for prevention and treatment of malaria. Sci Transl Med, 7 (296), pp. 296ra111. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is one of the most significant causes of childhood mortality, but disease control efforts are threatened by resistance of the Plasmodium parasite to current therapies. Continued progress in combating malaria requires development of new, easy to administer drug combinations with broad-ranging activity against all manifestations of the disease. DSM265, a triazolopyrimidine-based inhibitor of the pyrimidine biosynthetic enzyme dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), is the first DHODH inhibitor to reach clinical development for treatment of malaria. We describe studies profiling the biological activity, pharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties, and safety of DSM265, which supported its advancement to human trials. DSM265 is highly selective toward DHODH of the malaria parasite Plasmodium, efficacious against both blood and liver stages of P. falciparum, and active against drug-resistant parasite isolates. Favorable pharmacokinetic properties of DSM265 are predicted to provide therapeutic concentrations for more than 8 days after a single oral dose in the range of 200 to 400 mg. DSM265 was well tolerated in repeat-dose and cardiovascular safety studies in mice and dogs, was not mutagenic, and was inactive against panels of human enzymes/receptors. The excellent safety profile, blood- and liver-stage activity, and predicted long half-life in humans position DSM265 as a new potential drug combination partner for either single-dose treatment or once-weekly chemoprevention. DSM265 has advantages over current treatment options that are dosed daily or are inactive against the parasite liver stage.

Poespoprodjo JR, Poespoprodjo JR, Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM et al. 2015. Treatment policy change to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine contributes to the reduction of adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes Malaria Journal, | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Poespoprodjo et al. Background: In Papua, Indonesia, maternal malaria is prevalent, multidrug resistant and associated with adverse outcomes for mother and baby. In March 2006, anti-malarial policy was revised for the second and third trimester of pregnancy to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHP) for all species of malaria. This study presents the temporal analysis of adverse outcomes in pregnancy and early life following this policy change. Methods: From April 2004 to May 2010, a standardized questionnaire was used to collect information from all pregnant women admitted to the maternity ward. A physical examination was performed on all live birth newborns. The relative risks (RR) and the associated population attributable risks (PAR) of adverse outcomes in women with a history of malaria treatment to the risk in those without a history of malaria during the current pregnancy were examined to evaluate the temporal trends before and after DHP deployment. Results: Of 6,556 women enrolled with known pregnancy outcome, 1,018 (16%) reported prior anti-malarial treatment during their pregnancy. The proportion of women with malaria reporting treatment with DHP rose from 0% in 2004 to 64% (121/189) in 2010. In those with history of malaria during pregnancy, the increasing use of DHP was associated with a 54% fall in the proportion of maternal malaria at delivery and a 98% decrease in congenital malaria (from 7.1% prior to 0.1% after policy change). Overall policy change to more effective treatment was associated with an absolute 2% reduction of maternal severe anaemia and absolute 4.5% decrease in low birth weight babies. Conclusions: Introduction of highly effective treatment in pregnancy was associated with a reduction of maternal malaria at delivery and improved neonatal outcomes. Ensuring universal access to arteminisin combination therapy (ACT) in pregnancy in an area of multidrug resistance has potential to impact significantly on maternal and infant health.

Silal SP, Little F, Barnes KI, White LJ. 2015. Predicting the impact of border control on malaria transmission: a simulated focal screen and treat campaign Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Silal et al. Background: South Africa is one of many countries committed to malaria elimination with a target of 2018 and all malaria-endemic provinces, including Mpumalanga, are increasing efforts towards this ambitious goal. The reduction of imported infections is a vital element of an elimination strategy, particularly if a country is already experiencing high levels of imported infections. Border control of malaria is one tool that may be considered. Methods: A metapopulation, non-linear stochastic ordinary differential equation model is used to simulate malaria transmission in Mpumalanga and Maputo province, Mozambique (the source of the majority of imported infections) to predict the impact of a focal screen and treat campaign at the Mpumalanga-Ma puto border. This campaign is simulated by nesting an individual-based model for the focal screen and treat campaign within the metapopulation transmission model. Results: The model predicts that such a campaign, simulated for different levels of resources, coverage and take-up rates with a variety of screening tools, will not eliminate malaria on its own, but will reduce transmission substantially. Making the campaign mandatory decreases transmission further though sub-patent infections are likely to remain undetected if the diagnostic tool is not adequately sensitive. Replacing screening and treating with mass drug administration results in substantially larger decreases as all (including sub-patent) infections are treated before movement into Mpumalanga. Conclusions: The reduction of imported cases will be vital to any future malaria control or elimination strategy. This simulation predicts that FSAT at the Mpumalanga-Maputo border will be unable to eliminate local malaria on its own, but may still play a key role in detecting and treating imported infections before they enter the country. Thus FSAT may form part of an integrated elimination strategy where a variety of interventions are employed together to achieve malaria elimination.

Wirjanata G, Sebayang BF, Chalfein F, Prayoga, Handayuni I, Noviyanti R, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Burgess SJ, Peyton DH et al. 2015. Contrasting ex vivo efficacies of "reversed chloroquine" compounds in chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax isolates. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (9), pp. 5721-5726. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine (CQ) has been the mainstay of malaria treatment for more than 60 years. However, the emergence and spread of CQ resistance now restrict its use to only a few areas where malaria is endemic. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a novel combination of a CQ-like moiety and an imipramine-like pharmacophore can reverse CQ resistance ex vivo. Between March to October 2011 and January to September 2013, two "reversed chloroquine" (RCQ) compounds (PL69 and PL106) were tested against multidrug-resistant field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum (n = 41) and Plasmodium vivax (n = 45) in Papua, Indonesia, using a modified ex vivo schizont maturation assay. The RCQ compounds showed high efficacy against both CQ-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax field isolates. For P. falciparum, the median 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) were 23.2 nM for PL69 and 26.6 nM for PL106, compared to 79.4 nM for unmodified CQ (P < 0.001 and P = 0.036, respectively). The corresponding values for P. vivax were 19.0, 60.0, and 60.9 nM (P < 0.001 and P = 0.018, respectively). There was a significant correlation between IC50s of CQ and PL69 (Spearman's rank correlation coefficient [r s] = 0.727, P < 0.001) and PL106 (rs = 0.830, P < 0.001) in P. vivax but not in P. falciparum. Both RCQs were equally active against the ring and trophozoite stages of P. falciparum, but in P. vivax, PL69 and PL106 showed less potent activity against trophozoite stages (median IC50s, 130.2 and 172.5 nM) compared to ring stages (median IC50s, 17.6 and 91.3 nM). RCQ compounds have enhanced ex vivo activity against CQ-resistant clinical isolates of P. falciparum and P. vivax, suggesting the potential use of reversal agents in antimalarial drug development. Interspecies differences in RCQ compound activity may indicate differences in CQ pharmacokinetics between the two Plasmodium species.

Mayxay M, Sengvilaipaseuth O, Chanthongthip A, Dubot-Pérès A, Rolain J-M, Parola P, Craig SB, Tulsiani S, Burns M-A, Khanthavong M et al. 2015. Causes of Fever in Rural Southern Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (3), pp. 517-520. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The etiology of fever in rural Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) has remained obscure until recently owing to the lack of laboratory facilities. We conducted a study to determine the causes of fever among 229 patients without malaria in Savannakhet Province, southern Laos; 52% had evidence of at least one diagnosis (45% with single and 7% with apparent multiple infections). Among patients with only one diagnosis, dengue (30.1%) was the most common, followed by leptospirosis (7.0%), Japanese encephalitis virus infection (3.5%), scrub typhus (2.6%), spotted fever group infection (0.9%), unspecified flavivirus infection (0.9%), and murine typhus (0.4%). We discuss the empirical treatment of fever in relation to these findings.

Sieswerda E, Font-Gonzalez A, Dijkgraaf MGW, Geskus RB, Heinen RC, van der Pal HJ, van Leeuwen FE, Caron HN, Kremer LC, Reitsma JB. 2015. Studying Hospitalizations and Mortality in the Netherlands: Feasible and Valid Using Two-Step Medical Record Linkage with Nationwide Registers. PLoS One, 10 (7), pp. e0132444. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In the Netherlands, the postal code is needed to study hospitalizations of individuals in the nationwide hospitalization register. Studying hospitalizations longitudinally becomes troublesome if individuals change address. We aimed to report on the feasibility and validity of a two-step medical record linkage approach to examine longitudinal trends in hospitalizations and mortality in a study cohort. First, we linked a study cohort of 1564 survivors of childhood cancer with the Municipal Personal Records Database (GBA) which has postal code history and mortality data available. Within GBA, we sampled a reference population matched on year of birth, gender and calendar year. Second, we extracted hospitalizations from the Hospital Discharge Register (LMR) with a date of discharge during unique follow-up (based on date of birth, gender and postal code in GBA). We calculated the agreement of death and being hospitalized in survivors according to the registers and to available cohort data. We retrieved 1477 (94%) survivors from GBA. Median percentages of unique/potential follow-up were 87% (survivors) and 83% (reference persons). Characteristics of survivors and reference persons contributing to unique follow-up were comparable. Agreement of hospitalization during unique follow-up was 94% and agreement of death was 98%. In absence of unique identifiers in the Dutch hospitalization register, it is feasible and valid to study hospitalizations and mortality of individuals longitudinally using a two-step medical record linkage approach. Cohort studies in the Netherlands have the opportunity to study mortality and hospitalization rates over time. These outcomes provide insight into the burden of clinical events and healthcare use in studies on patients at risk of long-term morbidities.

RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership. 2015. Efficacy and safety of RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine with or without a booster dose in infants and children in Africa: final results of a phase 3, individually randomised, controlled trial. Lancet, 386 (9988), pp. 31-45. | Citations: 135 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The efficacy and safety of the RTS,S/AS01 candidate malaria vaccine during 18 months of follow-up have been published previously. Herein, we report the final results from the same trial, including the efficacy of a booster dose. METHODS: From March 27, 2009, until Jan 31, 2011, children (age 5-17 months) and young infants (age 6-12 weeks) were enrolled at 11 centres in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1:1) at first vaccination by block randomisation with minimisation by centre to receive three doses of RTS,S/AS01 at months 0, 1, and 2 and a booster dose at month 20 (R3R group); three doses of RTS,S/AS01 and a dose of comparator vaccine at month 20 (R3C group); or a comparator vaccine at months 0, 1, 2, and 20 (C3C [control group]). Participants were followed up until Jan 31, 2014. Cases of clinical and severe malaria were captured through passive case detection. Serious adverse events (SAEs) were recorded. Analyses were by modified intention to treat and per protocol. The coprimary endpoints were the occurrence of malaria over 12 months after dose 3 in each age category. In this final analysis, we present data for the efficacy of the booster on the occurrence of malaria. Vaccine efficacy (VE) against clinical malaria was analysed by negative binomial regression and against severe malaria by relative risk reduction. This trial is registered with, number NCT00866619. FINDINGS: 8922 children and 6537 young infants were included in the modified intention-to-treat analyses. Children were followed up for a median of 48 months (IQR 39-50) and young infants for 38 months (34-41) after dose 1. From month 0 until study end, compared with 9585 episodes of clinical malaria that met the primary case definition in children in the C3C group, 6616 episodes occurred in the R3R group (VE 36·3%, 95% CI 31·8-40·5) and 7396 occurred in the R3C group (28·3%, 23·3-32·9); compared with 171 children who experienced at least one episode of severe malaria in the C3C group, 116 children experienced at least one episode of severe malaria in the R3R group (32·2%, 13·7 to 46·9) and 169 in the R3C group (1·1%, -23·0 to 20·5). In young infants, compared with 6170 episodes of clinical malaria that met the primary case definition in the C3C group, 4993 episodes occurred in the R3R group (VE 25·9%, 95% CI 19·9-31·5) and 5444 occurred in the R3C group (18·3%, 11·7-24·4); and compared with 116 infants who experienced at least one episode of severe malaria in the C3C group, 96 infants experienced at least one episode of severe malaria in the R3R group (17·3%, 95% CI -9·4 to 37·5) and 104 in the R3C group (10·3%, -17·9 to 31·8). In children, 1774 cases of clinical malaria were averted per 1000 children (95% CI 1387-2186) in the R3R group and 1363 per 1000 children (995-1797) in the R3C group. The numbers of cases averted per 1000 young infants were 983 (95% CI 592-1337) in the R3R group and 558 (158-926) in the R3C group. The frequency of SAEs overall was balanced between groups. However, meningitis was reported as a SAE in 22 children: 11 in the R3R group, ten in the R3C group, and one in the C3C group. The incidence of generalised convulsive seizures within 7 days of RTS,S/AS01 booster was 2·2 per 1000 doses in young infants and 2·5 per 1000 doses in children. INTERPRETATION: RTS,S/AS01 prevented a substantial number of cases of clinical malaria over a 3-4 year period in young infants and children when administered with or without a booster dose. Efficacy was enhanced by the administration of a booster dose in both age categories. Thus, the vaccine has the potential to make a substantial contribution to malaria control when used in combination with other effective control measures, especially in areas of high transmission. FUNDING: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals SA and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.

Lorenzo G, López-Gil E, Warimwe GM, Brun A. 2015. Understanding Rift Valley fever: Contributions of animal models to disease characterization and control Molecular Immunology, 66 (1), pp. 78-88. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a mosquito-borne viral zoonosis with devastating health impacts in domestic ruminants and humans. Effective vaccines and accurate disease diagnostic tools are key components in the control of RVF. Animal models reproducing infection with RVF virus are of upmost importance in the development of these disease control tools. Rodent infection models are currently used in the initial steps of vaccine development and for the study of virus induced pathology. Translation of data obtained in these animal models to target species (ruminants and humans) is highly desirable but does not always occur. Small ruminants and non-human primates have been used for pathogenesis and transmission studies, and for testing the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutic antiviral compounds. However, the molecular mechanisms of the immune response elicited by RVF virus infection or vaccination are still poorly understood. The paucity of data in this area offers opportunities for new research activities and programs. This review summarizes our current understanding with respect to immunity and pathogenesis of RVF in animal models with a particular emphasis on small ruminants and non-human primates, including recent experimental infection data in sheep.

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Erratum for Parry et al., Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (7), pp. 4364. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Read more

Anh PH, Van Cuong N, Son NT, Tue NT, Kosoy M, Woolhouse MEJ, Baker S, Bryant JE, Thwaites G, Carrique-Mas JJ, Rabaa MA. 2015. Diversity of Bartonella spp. in Bats, Southern Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (7), pp. 1266-1267. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Dittrich S, Phuklia W, Turner GDH, Rattanavong S, Chansamouth V, Dumler SJ, Ferguson DJP, Paris DH, Newton PN. 2015. Neorickettsia sennetsu as a Neglected Cause of Fever in South-East Asia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (7), pp. e0003908. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Neorickettsia sennetsu infection is rarely recognized, with less than 100 globally reported patients over the last 50 years. The disease is thought to be contracted by eating raw fish, a staple of many South-East Asian cuisines. In 2009, the first patient with sennetsu was identified in the Lao PDR (Laos), raising the question as to how common this organism and related species are in patients presenting with fever. We investigated the frequency of N. sennetsu infection at hospitals in diverse areas of Laos. Consenting febrile hospital inpatients from central (Vientiane: n = 1,013), northern (Luang Namtha: n = 453) and southern (Salavan: n = 171) Laos were screened by PCR for N. sennetsu, if no previous positive direct diagnostic test was available. A PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism assay was developed to differentiate between N. sennetsu, Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. To allow more detailed studies of N. sennetsu, culture was successfully established using a reference strain (ATCC VR-367), identifying a canine-macrophage cell line (DH82) to be most suitable to visually identify infection. After screening, N. sennetsu was identified and sequence confirmed in four (4/1,637; 0.2%) Lao patients. Despite the previously identified high seroprevalence of N. sennetsu antibodies in the Lao population (~17%), acute N. sennetsu infection with sufficient clinical signs to prompt hospitalization appears to be rare. The reservoir, zoonotic cycle and pathogenicity of N. sennetsu remain unclear and require further investigations.

Tang J, Li X, Price MA, Sanders EJ, Anzala O, Karita E, Kamali A, Lakhi S, Allen S, Hunter E et al. 2015. CD4:CD8 lymphocyte ratio as a quantitative measure of immunologic health in HIV-1 infection: findings from an African cohort with prospective data. Front Microbiol, 6 (JUL), pp. 670. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In individuals with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, CD4:CD8 lymphocyte ratio is often recognized as a quantitative outcome that reflects the critical role of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells in HIV-1 pathogenesis or disease progression. Our work aimed to first establish the dynamics and clinical relevance of CD4:CD8 ratio in a cohort of native Africans and then to examine its association with viral and host factors, including: (i) length of infection, (ii) demographics, (iii) HIV-1 viral load (VL), (iv) change in CD4(+) T-lymphocyte count (CD4 slope), (v) HIV-1 subtype, and (vi) host genetics, especially human leukocyte antigen (HLA) variants. Data from 499 HIV-1 seroconverters with frequent (monthly to quarterly) follow-up revealed that CD4:CD8 ratio was stable in the first 3 years of infection, with a modest correlation with VL and CD4 slope. A relatively normal CD4:CD8 ratio (>1.0) in early infection was associated with a substantial delay in disease progression to severe immunodeficiency (<350 CD4 cells/μl), regardless of other correlates of HIV-1 pathogenesis (adjusted hazards ratio (HR) = 0.43, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.29-0.63, P < 0.0001). Low VL (<10,000 copies/ml) and HLA-A*74:01 were the main predictors of CD4:CD8 ratio >1.0, but HLA variants (e.g., HLA-B*57 and HLA-B*81) previously associated with VL and/or CD4 trajectories in eastern and southern Africans had no obvious impact on CD4:CD8 ratio. Collectively, these findings suggest that CD4:CD8 ratio is a robust measure of immunologic health with both clinical and epidemiological implications.

Bull S, Cheah PY, Denny S, Jao I, Marsh V, Merson L, Shah More N, Nhan LNT, Osrin D, Tangseefa D et al. 2015. Best Practices for Ethical Sharing of Individual-Level Health Research Data From Low- and Middle-Income Settings. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 302-313. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Sharing individual-level data from clinical and public health research is increasingly being seen as a core requirement for effective and efficient biomedical research. This article discusses the results of a systematic review and multisite qualitative study of key stakeholders' perspectives on best practices in ethical data sharing in low- and middle-income settings. Our research suggests that for data sharing to be effective and sustainable, multiple social and ethical requirements need to be met. An effective model of data sharing will be one in which considered judgments will need to be made about how best to achieve scientific progress, minimize risks of harm, promote fairness and reciprocity, and build and sustain trust.

Cheah PY, Tangseefa D, Somsaman A, Chunsuttiwat T, Nosten F, Day NPJ, Bull S, Parker M. 2015. Perceived Benefits, Harms, and Views About How to Share Data Responsibly: A Qualitative Study of Experiences With and Attitudes Toward Data Sharing Among Research Staff and Community Representatives in Thailand. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 278-289. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Thailand Major Overseas Programme coordinates large multi-center studies in tropical medicine and generates vast amounts of data. As the data sharing movement gains momentum, we wanted to understand attitudes and experiences of relevant stakeholders about what constitutes good data sharing practice. We conducted 15 interviews and three focus groups discussions involving 25 participants and found that they generally saw data sharing as something positive. Data sharing was viewed as a means to contribute to scientific progress and lead to better quality analysis, better use of resources, greater accountability, and more outputs. However, there were also important reservations including potential harms to research participants, their communities, and the researchers themselves. Given these concerns, several areas for discussion were identified: data standardization, appropriate consent models, and governance.

Jao I, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Bull S, Parker M, Kamuya D, Molyneux S, Marsh V. 2015. Involving Research Stakeholders in Developing Policy on Sharing Public Health Research Data in Kenya: Views on Fair Process for Informed Consent, Access Oversight, and Community Engagement. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 264-277. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Increased global sharing of public health research data has potential to advance scientific progress but may present challenges to the interests of research stakeholders, particularly in low-to-middle income countries. Policies for data sharing should be responsive to public views, but there is little evidence of the systematic study of these from low-income countries. This qualitative study explored views on fair data-sharing processes among 60 stakeholders in Kenya with varying research experience, using a deliberative approach. Stakeholders' attitudes were informed by perceptions of benefit and concerns for research data sharing, including risks of stigmatization, loss of privacy, and undermining scientific careers and validity, reported in detail elsewhere. In this article, we discuss institutional trust-building processes seen as central to perceptions of fairness in sharing research data in this setting, including forms of community involvement, individual prior awareness and agreement to data sharing, independence and accountability of governance mechanisms, and operating under a national framework.

Merson L, Phong TV, Nhan LNT, Dung NT, Ngan TTD, Kinh NV, Parker M, Bull S. 2015. Trust, Respect, and Reciprocity: Informing Culturally Appropriate Data-Sharing Practice in Vietnam. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 251-263. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

International science funders and publishers are driving a growing trend in data sharing. There is mounting pressure on researchers in low- and middle-income settings to conform to new sharing policies, despite minimal empirically grounded accounts of the ethical challenges of implementing the policies in these settings. This study used in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with 48 stakeholders in Vietnam to explore the experiences, attitudes, and expectations that inform ethical and effective approaches to sharing clinical research data. Distinct views on the role of trust, respect, and reciprocity were among those that emerged to inform culturally appropriate best practices. We conclude by discussing the challenges that authors of data-sharing policies should consider in this unique context.

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and Microbiologically Derived Azithromycin Susceptibility Breakpoints for Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (vol 59, pg 2756, 2015) ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 59 (7), pp. 4364-4364. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Chang CC, Cheng AC, Maude RJ, Slavin M. 2015. Antiviral prophylaxis for varicella zoster in immunocompromised patients (excluding haematological malignancies) Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2015 (7), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 The Cochrane Collaboration. This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows: To evaluate the effectiveness of antiviral agents as prophylaxis against VZV reactivation in immunosuppressed patients.

Suttisunhakul V, Chantratita N, Wikraiphat C, Wuthiekanun V, Douglas Z, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Brett PJ, Burtnick MN. 2015. Evaluation of Polysaccharide-Based Latex Agglutination Assays for the Rapid Detection of Antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (3), pp. 542-546. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a severe disease caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Diagnosis of melioidosis currently relies on the isolation of B. pseudomallei from clinical samples, which can take several days. An indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA) is widely used for serodiagnosis, but it has a short shelf life, is poorly standardized, and requires a viable bacteria culture performed in a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. To improve the diagnostic methods, we have developed two rapid latex agglutination tests based on purified B. pseudomallei O-polysaccharide (OPS) and capsular polysaccharide (CPS) antigens. The immunodiagnostic potential of these tests was evaluated using serum from culture-confirmed melioidosis patients (N = 143) and healthy donors from either endemic (N = 199) or non-endemic areas (N = 90). The sensitivity of the OPS-based latex agglutination assay (OPS-latex; 84.4%) was significantly higher than both the CPS-latex (69.5%) (P < 0.001) and IHA (69.5%) (P = 0.001). When evaluated with Thai donor serum, the OPS-latex had comparable specificity (56.9%) to the CPS-latex (63.8%) (P = 0.053), but was significantly lower than the IHA (67.6%) (P = 0.002). In contrast, all tests with U.S. donor serum were highly specific (≥ 97.8%). These results suggest that polysaccharide-based latex agglutination assays may be useful for serodiagnosis of melioidosis in non-endemic areas.

Caillet C, Sichanh C, Syhakhang L, Delpierre C, Manithip C, Mayxay M, Lapeyre-Mestre M, Newton PN, Roussin A. 2015. Population awareness of risks related to medicinal product use in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR: A cross-sectional study for public health improvement in low and middle income countries BMC Public Health, 15 (1), | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Caillet et al. Background: While essential medicines have been made more available in all but the most remote areas in low and middle income countries (L/MICs) over the past years, inappropriate and incorrect use of good quality medicines remains a key impediment for public health. In addition, as medicines have a potential to cause harm (medicine risks), adequate awareness by medicine users of the risks of adverse reactions is essential, especially as self-medication is common in L/MICs. This study aimed to investigate the awareness of Lao residents regarding medicine risks in Vientiane Capital, Lao People's Democratic Republic. Methods: Face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires of 144 residents older than 16 years were carried out in 12 randomly selected villages out of the 146 villages of Vientiane Capital with at least one health facility. Results: The respondents were mainly (85.0 %) the heads of households or their husband/spouse. The majority of the respondents were unaware (61.8 %) of medicine risks. Compared to residents living in the urban district of Xaysetha, living in peri-urban and even more in rural areas were identified as factors associated with being unaware of medicine risks [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) =3.3, 95 % Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.1-9.4]) and aOR =7.5 (95 % CI = 2.3-24.2), respectively] . In addition, more than half of the respondents had never heard of poor quality medicines, with a higher rate in rural/peri-urban compared to urban districts (55.6 % vs 38.9 %, respectively, p = 0.02). Finally, approximately one third of all respondents thought that traditional medicines could not cause harm. Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest a lack of awareness about medicinal product risks. Differences according to the place of residence are apparent and could be partly explained by a lower level of training of healthcare providers in contact with the population in the rural districts in particular. Communication on medicinal product risks to patients through well-trained healthcare providers could probably make a valuable contribution towards the appropriate use of medicines in L/MICs.

Basnyat B, Dalton HR, Kamar N, Rein DB, Labrique A, Farrar J, Piot P, 21 signatories. 2015. Nepali earthquakes and the risk of an epidemic of hepatitis E. Lancet, 385 (9987), pp. 2572-2573. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Muema DM, Macharia GN, Hassan AS, Mwaringa SM, Fegan GW, Berkley JA, Nduati EW, Urban BC. 2015. Control of Viremia Enables Acquisition of Resting Memory B Cells with Age and Normalization of Activated B Cell Phenotypes in HIV-Infected Children. J Immunol, 195 (3), pp. 1082-1091. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV affects the function of all lymphocyte populations, including B cells. Phenotypic and functional defects of B cells in HIV-infected adults have been well characterized, but defects in children have not been studied to the same extent. We determined the proportion of B cell subsets and frequencies of Ag-specific memory B cells in peripheral blood from HIV-infected children and healthy controls, using flow cytometry and B cell ELISPOT, respectively. In addition, we measured the quantities and avidities of plasma Abs against various Ags by ELISA. We also determined plasma levels of BAFF and expression of BAFF receptors on B cells. Children with high HIV viremia had increased proportions of activated mature B cells, tissue-like memory B cells and plasmablasts, and low proportions of naive B cells when compared with community controls and children with low HIV viremia, similar to adults infected with HIV. HIV-infected groups had lower proportions of resting memory B cells than did community controls. Notably, high HIV viremia prevented the age-dependent accumulation of class-switched resting memory B cells. HIV-infected children, regardless of the level of viremia, showed lower quantities and avidities of IgG and lower frequencies of memory B cells against Expanded Program on Immunization vaccines. The HIV-infected children had an altered BAFF profile that could have affected their B cell compartment. Therefore, B cell defects in HIV-infected children are similar to those seen in HIV-infected adults. However, control of HIV viremia is associated with normalization of activated B cell subsets and allows age-dependent accumulation of resting memory B cells.

Holt KE, Wertheim H, Zadoks RN, Baker S, Whitehouse CA, Dance D, Jenney A, Connor TR, Hsu LY, Severin J et al. 2015. Genomic analysis of diversity, population structure, virulence, and antimicrobial resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae, an urgent threat to public health. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 112 (27), pp. E3574-E3581. | Citations: 117 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Klebsiella pneumoniae is now recognized as an urgent threat to human health because of the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains associated with hospital outbreaks and hypervirulent strains associated with severe community-acquired infections. K. pneumoniae is ubiquitous in the environment and can colonize and infect both plants and animals. However, little is known about the population structure of K. pneumoniae, so it is difficult to recognize or understand the emergence of clinically important clones within this highly genetically diverse species. Here we present a detailed genomic framework for K. pneumoniae based on whole-genome sequencing of more than 300 human and animal isolates spanning four continents. Our data provide genome-wide support for the splitting of K. pneumoniae into three distinct species, KpI (K. pneumoniae), KpII (K. quasipneumoniae), and KpIII (K. variicola). Further, for K. pneumoniae (KpI), the entity most frequently associated with human infection, we show the existence of >150 deeply branching lineages including numerous multidrug-resistant or hypervirulent clones. We show K. pneumoniae has a large accessory genome approaching 30,000 protein-coding genes, including a number of virulence functions that are significantly associated with invasive community-acquired disease in humans. In our dataset, antimicrobial resistance genes were common among human carriage isolates and hospital-acquired infections, which generally lacked the genes associated with invasive disease. The convergence of virulence and resistance genes potentially could lead to the emergence of untreatable invasive K. pneumoniae infections; our data provide the whole-genome framework against which to track the emergence of such threats.

Garcia-Laorden MI, Blok DC, Kager LM, Hoogendijk AJ, van Mierlo GJ, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R, Ghose A, Visser CE et al. 2015. Increased intra- and extracellular granzyme expression in patients with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 95 (5), pp. 575-580. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis (TB) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Granzymes (gzms) are proteases mainly found in cytotoxic lymphocytes, but also extracellularly. While the role of gzms in target cell death has been widely characterized, considerable evidence points towards broader roles related to infectious and inflammatory responses. To investigate the expression of the gzms in TB, intracellular gzms A, B and K were measured by flow cytometry in lymphocyte populations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 18 TB patients and 12 healthy donors from Bangladesh, and extracellular levels of gzmA and B were measured in serum from 58 TB patients and 31 healthy controls. TB patients showed increased expression of gzmA in CD8(+) T, CD4(+) T and CD56(+) T, but not NK, cells, and of gzmB in CD8(+) T cells, when compared to controls. GzmK expression was not altered in TB patients in any lymphocyte subset. The extracellular levels of gzmA and, to a lesser extent, of gzmB, were increased in TB patients, but did not correlate with intracellular gzm expression in lymphocyte subsets. Our results reveal enhanced intra- and extracellular expression of gzmA and B in patients with pulmonary TB, suggesting that gzms are part of the host response to tuberculosis.

Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Intermittent presumptive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine: A counter perspective Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Nosten and McGready. Malaria continues to cause devastation during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is still no clear strategy to effectively protect pregnant women and countless mothers living in malaria endemic countries are dying every year. The effective prevention of malaria during pregnancy will take much more than the so-called "Global Call for Action" for an intervention (IPTp-SP) that cannot succeed. A new and truly "global" strategy is urgently needed.

Maude RR, de Jong HK, Wijedoru L, Fukushima M, Ghose A, Samad R, Hossain MA, Karim MR, Faiz MA, Parry CM, CMCH Typhoid Study Group. 2015. The diagnostic accuracy of three rapid diagnostic tests for typhoid fever at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Trop Med Int Health, 20 (10), pp. 1376-1384. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of three rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for typhoid fever in febrile hospitalised patients in Bangladesh. METHODS: Febrile adults and children admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Bangladesh, were investigated with Bact/Alert(®) blood cultures and real-time PCR to detect Salmonella enterica Typhi and Paratyphi A and assays for Rickettsia, leptospirosis and dengue fever. Acute serum samples were examined with the LifeAssay (LA) Test-it™ Typhoid IgM lateral flow assay detecting IgM antibodies against S. Typhi O antigen, CTKBiotech Onsite Typhoid IgG/IgM Combo Rapid-test cassette lateral flow assay detecting IgG and IgM antibodies against S. Typhi O and H antigens and SD Bioline line assay for IgG and IgM antibodies against S. Typhi proteins. RESULTS: In 300 malaria smear-negative febrile patients [median (IQR) age of 13.5 (5-31) years], 34 (11.3%) had confirmed typhoid fever: 19 positive by blood culture for S. Typhi (three blood PCR positive) and 15 blood culture negative but PCR positive for S. Typhi in blood. The respective sensitivity and specificity of the three RDTs in patients using a composite reference standard of blood culture and/or PCR-confirmed typhoid fever were 59% and 61% for LifeAssay, 59% and 74% for the CTK IgM and/or IgG, and 24% and 96% for the SD Bioline RDT IgM and/or IgG. The LifeAssay RDT had a sensitivity of 63% and a specificity of 91% when modified with a positive cut-off of ≥2+ and analysed using a Bayesian latent class model. CONCLUSIONS: These typhoid RDTs demonstrated moderate diagnostic accuracies, and better tests are needed.

Baragaña B, Hallyburton I, Lee MCS, Norcross NR, Grimaldi R, Otto TD, Proto WR, Blagborough AM, Meister S, Wirjanata G et al. 2015. A novel multiple-stage antimalarial agent that inhibits protein synthesis. Nature, 522 (7556), pp. 315-320. | Citations: 94 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for new drugs to treat malaria, with broad therapeutic potential and novel modes of action, to widen the scope of treatment and to overcome emerging drug resistance. Here we describe the discovery of DDD107498, a compound with a potent and novel spectrum of antimalarial activity against multiple life-cycle stages of the Plasmodium parasite, with good pharmacokinetic properties and an acceptable safety profile. DDD107498 demonstrates potential to address a variety of clinical needs, including single-dose treatment, transmission blocking and chemoprotection. DDD107498 was developed from a screening programme against blood-stage malaria parasites; its molecular target has been identified as translation elongation factor 2 (eEF2), which is responsible for the GTP-dependent translocation of the ribosome along messenger RNA, and is essential for protein synthesis. This discovery of eEF2 as a viable antimalarial drug target opens up new possibilities for drug discovery.

Plewes K, Haider MS, Kingston HWF, Yeo TW, Ghose A, Hossain MA, Dondorp AM, Turner GDH, Anstey NM. 2015. Severe falciparum malaria treated with artesunate complicated by delayed onset haemolysis and acute kidney injury Malaria Journal, 14 (1), | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Plewes et al. Background: Severe falciparum malaria may be complicated by haemolysis after parasite clearance, however the mechanisms remain unclear. Recent reports describe a pattern of delayed onset haemolysis among non-immune travellers with hyperparasitaemia treated with intravenous artesunate, termed post-artesunate delayed haemolysis (PADH). The occurrence and clinical impact of PADH following severe malaria infections in areas of unstable transmission are unknown. Case: A 45-year-old Bangladeshi male was initially admitted to a local hospital with severe falciparum malaria complicated by hyperparasitaemia and treated with intravenous artesunate. Twenty days from his first presentation he was readmitted with delayed onset haemolytic anaemia and acute kidney injury. Multiple blood transfusions and haemodialysis were required. Renal biopsy revealed acute tubular injury and haem pigment nephropathy. His haemoglobin and renal function recovered to baseline after 62 days from his second admission. Discussion: This case highlights the differential diagnosis of post-malaria delayed onset haemolysis, including the recently described syndrome of post-artemisinin delayed haemolysis. The pathophysiology contributing to acute kidney injury in this patient and the limited treatment options are discussed. Conclusions: This report describes PADH complicated by acute kidney injury in an adult patient living in a malaria hypoendemic region who subsequently required blood transfusions and haemodialysis. This case emphasizes the importance of routine follow up of haemoglobin and renal function in artesunate-treated patients who have recovered from severe malaria.

Geoghegan JL, Tan LV, Kühnert D, Halpin RA, Lin X, Simenauer A, Akopov A, Das SR, Stockwell TB, Shrivastava S et al. 2015. Phylodynamics of Enterovirus A71-Associated Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Viet Nam. J Virol, 89 (17), pp. 8871-8879. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is a major cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and is particularly prevalent in parts of Southeast Asia, affecting thousands of children and infants each year. Revealing the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of EV-A71 through time and space is central to understanding its outbreak potential. We generated the full genome sequences of 200 EV-A71 strains sampled from various locations in Viet Nam between 2011 and 2013 and used these sequence data to determine the evolutionary history and phylodynamics of EV-A71 in Viet Nam, providing estimates of the effective reproduction number (Re) of the infection through time. In addition, we described the phylogeography of EV-A71 throughout Southeast Asia, documenting patterns of viral gene flow. Accordingly, our analysis reveals that a rapid genogroup switch from C4 to B5 likely took place during 2012 in Viet Nam. We show that the Re of subgenogroup C4 decreased during the time frame of sampling, whereas that of B5 increased and remained >1 at the end of 2013, corresponding to a rise in B5 prevalence. Our study reveals that the subgenogroup B5 virus that emerged into Viet Nam is closely related to variants that were responsible for large epidemics in Malaysia and Taiwan and therefore extends our knowledge regarding its associated area of endemicity. Subgenogroup B5 evidently has the potential to cause more widespread outbreaks across Southeast Asia. IMPORTANCE: EV-A71 is one of many viruses that cause HFMD, a common syndrome that largely affects infants and children. HFMD usually causes only mild illness with no long-term consequences. Occasionally, however, severe infection may arise, especially in very young children, causing neurological complications and even death. EV-A71 is highly contagious and is associated with the most severe HFMD cases, with large and frequent epidemics of the virus recorded worldwide. Although major advances have been made in the development of a potential EV-A71 vaccine, there is no current prevention and little is known about the patterns and dynamics of EV-A71 spread. In this study, we utilize full-length genome sequence data obtained from HFMD patients in Viet Nam, a geographical region where the disease has been endemic since 2003, to characterize the phylodynamics of this important emerging virus.

Feazel LM, Santorico SA, Robertson CE, Bashraheil M, Scott JAG, Frank DN, Hammitt LL. 2015. Effects of Vaccination with 10-Valent Pneumococcal Non-Typeable Haemophilus influenza Protein D Conjugate Vaccine (PHiD-CV) on the Nasopharyngeal Microbiome of Kenyan Toddlers. PLoS One, 10 (6), pp. e0128064. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines reduce the prevalence of vaccine serotypes carried in the nasopharynx. Because this could alter carriage of other potential pathogens, we assessed the nasopharyngeal microbiome of children who had been vaccinated with 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae protein-D conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV). METHODS: Profiles of the nasopharyngeal microbiota of 60 children aged 12-59 months, who had been randomized to receive 2 doses of PHiD-CV (n=30) or Hepatitis A vaccine (n=30) 60 days apart, were constructed by 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing of swab specimens collected before vaccination and 180 days after dose 1. RESULTS: Prior to vaccination, Moraxella catarrhalis (median of 12.3% of sequences/subject), Streptococcus pneumoniae (4.4%) and Corynebacterium spp. (5.6%) were the most abundant nasopharyngeal bacterial species. Vaccination with PHiD-CV did not significantly alter the species composition, abundance, or prevalence of known pathogens. Distinct microbiomes were identified based on the abundances of Streptococcus, Moraxella, and Haemophilus species. These microbiomes shifted in composition over the study period and were independent of age, sex, school attendance, antibiotic exposure, and vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination of children with two doses of PHiD-CV did not significantly alter the nasopharyngeal microbiome. This suggests limited replacement carriage with pathogens other than non-vaccine strains of S. pneumoniae. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01028326.

Le V, Khanh Nhu NT, Cerdeno-Tarraga A, Campbell JI, Tuyen HT, Hoang Nhu TD, Thanh Tam PT, Schultsz C, Thwaites G, Thomson NR, Baker S. 2015. The genetic characterization of three qnrS1 harbouring multi-drug resistance plasmids and qnrS1-containing transposons circulating in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (8), pp. 869-878. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) refers to a family of closely related genes that confer decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. The PMQR genes are generally associated with integrons and/or plasmids that carry additional antimicrobial resistance genes active against a range of antimicrobials. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) we have previously shown a high frequency of PMQR genes within commensal Enterobacteriaceae. However, there is limited available sequence data detailing the genetic context in which the PMQR genes reside, and a lack of understanding of how these genes spread across the Enterobacteriaceae. Here, we aimed to determine the genetic background facilitating the spread and maintenance of qnrS1, the dominant PMQR gene circulating in HCMC. We sequenced three qnrS1-carrying plasmids in their entirety to understand the genetic context of these qnrS1-embedded plasmids and also the association of qnrS1 mediated quinolone resistance with other antimicrobial resistance phenotypes. Annotation of the three qnrS1-containing plasmids revealed a qnrS1 containing transposon with a closely related structure. We screened 112 qnrS1 positive commensal Enterobacteriaceae isolated in the community and a hospital in HCMC to detect the common transposon structure. We found the same transposon structure to be present in 71.4% (45/63) of qnrS1 positive hospital isolates and in 36.7% (18/49) of qnrS1 positive isolates from the community. The resulting sequence analysis of the qnrS1 environment suggests that qnrS1 are widely distributed and are mobilised on elements with a common genetic background. Our data adds additional insight into mechanisms that facilitate resistance to multiple antimicrobials in Gram-negative bacteria in Vietnam.

Atkinson SH, Uyoga SM, Armitage AE, Khandwala S, Mugyenyi CK, Bejon P, Marsh K, Beeson JG, Prentice AM, Drakesmith H, Williams TN. 2015. Malaria and Age Variably but Critically Control Hepcidin Throughout Childhood in Kenya. EBioMedicine, 2 (10), pp. 1478-1486. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Both iron deficiency (ID) and malaria are common among African children. Studies show that the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin is induced by malaria, but few studies have investigated this relationship longitudinally. We measured hepcidin concentrations, markers of iron status, and antibodies to malaria antigens during two cross-sectional surveys within a cohort of 324 Kenyan children ≤ 8 years old who were under intensive surveillance for malaria and other febrile illnesses. Hepcidin concentrations were the highest in the youngest, and female infants, declined rapidly in infancy and more gradually thereafter. Asymptomatic malaria and malaria antibody titres were positively associated with hepcidin concentrations. Recent episodes of febrile malaria were associated with high hepcidin concentrations that fell over time. Hepcidin concentrations were not associated with the subsequent risk of either malaria or other febrile illnesses. Given that iron absorption is impaired by hepcidin, our data suggest that asymptomatic and febrile malaria contribute to the high burden of ID seen in African children. Further, the effectiveness of iron supplementation may be sub-optimal in the presence of asymptomatic malaria. Thus, strategies to prevent and eliminate malaria may have the added benefit of addressing an important cause of ID for African children.

Thanh TT, Anh NT, Tham NT, Van HMT, Sabanathan S, Qui PT, Ngan TT, Van TTM, Nguyet LA, Ny NTH et al. 2015. Validation and utilization of an internally controlled multiplex Real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection of enteroviruses and enterovirus A71 associated with hand foot and mouth disease Positive-strand RNA viruses Virology Journal, 12 (1), | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Thanh et al. Background: Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a disease of public health importance across the Asia-Pacific region. The disease is caused by enteroviruses (EVs), in particular enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). In EV-A71-associated HFMD, the infection is sometimes associated with severe manifestations including neurological involvement and fatal outcome. The availability of a robust diagnostic assay to distinguish EV-A71 from other EVs is important for patient management and outbreak response. Methods: We developed and validated an internally controlled one-step single-tube real-time RT-PCR in terms of sensitivity, linearity, precision, and specificity for simultaneous detection of EVs and EV-A71. Subsequently, the assay was then applied on throat and rectal swabs sampled from 434 HFMD patients. Results: The assay was evaluated using both plasmid DNA and viral RNA and has shown to be reproducible with a maximum assay variation of 4.41 % and sensitive with a limit of detection less than 10 copies of target template per reaction, while cross-reactivity with other EV serotypes was not observed. When compared against a published VP1 nested RT-PCR using 112 diagnostic throat and rectal swabs from 112 children with a clinical diagnosis of HFMD during 2014, the multiplex assay had a higher sensitivity and 100 % concordance with sequencing results which showed EVs in 77/112 (68.8 %) and EV-A71 in 7/112 (6.3 %). When applied to clinical diagnostics for 322 children, the assay detected EVs in throat swabs of 257/322 (79.8 %) of which EV-A71 was detected in 36/322 (11.2 %) children. The detection rate increased to 93.5 % (301/322) and 13.4 % (43/322) for EVs and EV-A71, respectively, when rectal swabs from 65 throat-negative children were further analyzed. Conclusion: We have successfully developed and validated a sensitive internally controlled multiplex assay for rapid detection of EVs and EV-A71, which is useful for clinical management and outbreak control of HFMD.

Dittrich S, Sunyakumthorn P, Rattanavong S, Phetsouvanh R, Panyanivong P, Sengduangphachanh A, Phouminh P, Anantatat T, Chanthongthip A, Lee SJ et al. 2015. Blood-Brain Barrier Function and Biomarkers of Central Nervous System Injury in Rickettsial Versus Other Neurological Infections in Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (2), pp. 232-237. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Blood-brain barrier (BBB) function and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers were measured in patients admitted to hospital with severe neurological infections in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (N = 66), including bacterial meningitis (BM; N = 9) or tuberculosis meningitis (TBM; N = 11), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV; N = 25), and rickettsial infections (N = 21) including murine and scrub typhus patients. The albumin index (AI) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels were significantly higher in BM and TBM than other diseases but were also raised in individual rickettsial patients. Total tau protein was significantly raised in the CSF of JEV patients. No differences were found between clinical or neurological symptoms, AI, or biomarker levels that allowed distinction between severe neurological involvement by Orientia tsutsugamushi compared with Rickettsia species.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Langla S, White NJ, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2015. Antimicrobial Disk Susceptibility Testing of Leptospira spp. Using Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) Agar. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (2), pp. 241-243. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) agar was used to develop a disk diffusion assay for Leptospira spp. Ten pathogenic Leptospira isolates were tested, all of which were susceptible to 17 antimicrobial agents (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, amoxicillin, azithromycin, cefoxitin, ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, doripenem, doxycycline, gentamicin, linezolid, nitrofurantoin, penicillin, piperacillin/tazobactam, and tetracycline). All 10 isolates had no zone of growth inhibition for four antimicrobials (fosfomycin, nalidixic acid, rifampicin, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole). Of the ten Leptospira, seven had a growth inhibition zone of ≤ 21 mm for aztreonam, the zone diameter susceptibility break point for Enterobacteriaceae. This assay could find utility as a simple screening method during the epidemiological surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Leptospira spp.

Gaillard T, Sriprawat K, Briolant S, Wangsing C, Wurtz N, Baragatti M, Lavina M, Pascual A, Nosten F, Pradines B. 2015. Molecular Markers and In Vitro Susceptibility to Doxycycline in Plasmodium falciparum Isolates from Thailand. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (8), pp. 5080-5083. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Determinations of doxycycline 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) for 620 isolates from northwest Thailand were performed via the isotopic method, and the data were analyzed by the Bayesian method and distributed into two populations (mean IC50s of 13.15 μM and 31.60 μM). There was no significant difference between the group with low IC50s versus the group with high IC50s with regard to copy numbers of the Plasmodium falciparum tetQ (pftetQ) gene (P = 0.11) or pfmdt gene (P = 0.87) or the number of PfTetQ KYNNNN repeats (P = 0.72).

Treweek S, Altman DG, Bower P, Campbell M, Chalmers I, Cotton S, Craig P, Crosby D, Davidson P, Devane D et al. 2015. Making randomised trials more efficient: report of the first meeting to discuss the Trial Forge platform. Trials, 16 (1), pp. 261. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Randomised trials are at the heart of evidence-based healthcare, but the methods and infrastructure for conducting these sometimes complex studies are largely evidence free. Trial Forge ( ) is an initiative that aims to increase the evidence base for trial decision making and, in doing so, to improve trial efficiency.This paper summarises a one-day workshop held in Edinburgh on 10 July 2014 to discuss Trial Forge and how to advance this initiative. We first outline the problem of inefficiency in randomised trials and go on to describe Trial Forge. We present participants' views on the processes in the life of a randomised trial that should be covered by Trial Forge.General support existed at the workshop for the Trial Forge approach to increase the evidence base for making randomised trial decisions and for improving trial efficiency. Agreed upon key processes included choosing the right research question; logistical planning for delivery, training of staff, recruitment, and retention; data management and dissemination; and close down. The process of linking to existing initiatives where possible was considered crucial. Trial Forge will not be a guideline or a checklist but a 'go to' website for research on randomised trials methods, with a linked programme of applied methodology research, coupled to an effective evidence-dissemination process. Moreover, it will support an informal network of interested trialists who meet virtually (online) and occasionally in person to build capacity and knowledge in the design and conduct of efficient randomised trials.Some of the resources invested in randomised trials are wasted because of limited evidence upon which to base many aspects of design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials. Trial Forge will help to address this lack of evidence.

Hodgson SH, Juma E, Salim A, Magiri C, Njenga D, Molyneux S, Njuguna P, Awuondo K, Lowe B, Billingsley PF et al. 2015. Lessons learnt from the first controlled human malaria infection study conducted in Nairobi, Kenya. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 182. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies, in which healthy volunteers are infected with Plasmodium falciparum to assess the efficacy of novel malaria vaccines and drugs, have become a vital tool to accelerate vaccine and drug development. CHMI studies provide a cost-effective and expeditious way to circumvent the use of large-scale field efficacy studies to deselect intervention candidates. However, to date few modern CHMI studies have been performed in malaria-endemic countries. METHODS: An open-label, randomized pilot CHMI study was conducted using aseptic, purified, cryopreserved, infectious P. falciparum sporozoites (SPZ) (Sanaria® PfSPZ Challenge) administered intramuscularly (IM) to healthy Kenyan adults (n = 28) with varying degrees of prior exposure to P. falciparum. The purpose of the study was to establish the PfSPZ Challenge CHMI model in a Kenyan setting with the aim of increasing the international capacity for efficacy testing of malaria vaccines and drugs, and allowing earlier assessment of efficacy in a population for which interventions are being developed. This was part of the EDCTP-funded capacity development of the CHMI platform in Africa. DISCUSSION: This paper discusses in detail lessons learnt from conducting the first CHMI study in Kenya. Issues pertinent to the African setting, including community sensitization, consent and recruitment are considered. Detailed reasoning regarding the study design (for example, dose and route of administration of PfSPZ Challenge, criteria for grouping volunteers according to prior exposure to malaria and duration of follow-up post CHMI) are given and changes other centres may want to consider for future studies are suggested. CONCLUSIONS: Performing CHMI studies in an African setting presents unique but surmountable challenges and offers great opportunity for acceleration of malaria vaccine and drug development. The reflections in this paper aim to aid other centres and partners intending to use the CHMI model in Africa.

Price RN, von Seidlein L, Valecha N, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ. 2015. Global extent of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax - Authors' reply. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (6), pp. 630-631. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more

Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AL Dose Impact Study Group. 2015. The effect of dose on the antimalarial efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine: a systematic review and pooled analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (6), pp. 692-702. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapy for malaria, although treatment failures occur in some regions. We investigated the effect of dosing strategy on efficacy in a pooled analysis from trials done in a wide range of malaria-endemic settings. METHODS: We searched PubMed for clinical trials that enrolled and treated patients with artemether-lumefantrine and were published from 1960 to December, 2012. We merged individual patient data from these trials by use of standardised methods. The primary endpoint was the PCR-adjusted risk of Plasmodium falciparum recrudescence by day 28. Secondary endpoints consisted of the PCR-adjusted risk of P falciparum recurrence by day 42, PCR-unadjusted risk of P falciparum recurrence by day 42, early parasite clearance, and gametocyte carriage. Risk factors for PCR-adjusted recrudescence were identified using Cox's regression model with frailty shared across the study sites. FINDINGS: We included 61 studies done between January, 1998, and December, 2012, and included 14,327 patients in our analyses. The PCR-adjusted therapeutic efficacy was 97·6% (95% CI 97·4-97·9) at day 28 and 96·0% (95·6-96·5) at day 42. After controlling for age and parasitaemia, patients prescribed a higher dose of artemether had a lower risk of having parasitaemia on day 1 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0·92, 95% CI 0·86-0·99 for every 1 mg/kg increase in daily artemether dose; p=0·024), but not on day 2 (p=0·69) or day 3 (0·087). In Asia, children weighing 10-15 kg who received a total lumefantrine dose less than 60 mg/kg had the lowest PCR-adjusted efficacy (91·7%, 95% CI 86·5-96·9). In Africa, the risk of treatment failure was greatest in malnourished children aged 1-3 years (PCR-adjusted efficacy 94·3%, 95% CI 92·3-96·3). A higher artemether dose was associated with a lower gametocyte presence within 14 days of treatment (adjusted OR 0·92, 95% CI 0·85-0·99; p=0·037 for every 1 mg/kg increase in total artemether dose). INTERPRETATION: The recommended dose of artemether-lumefantrine provides reliable efficacy in most patients with uncomplicated malaria. However, therapeutic efficacy was lowest in young children from Asia and young underweight children from Africa; a higher dose regimen should be assessed in these groups. FUNDING: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Limmathurotsakul D, Funnell SGP, Torres AG, Morici LA, Brett PJ, Dunachie S, Atkins T, Altmann DM, Bancroft G, Peacock SJ, Steering Group on Melioidosis Vaccine Development. 2015. Consensus on the development of vaccines against naturally acquired melioidosis. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (6), pp. e1-e7. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Several candidates for a vaccine against Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causal bacterium of melioidosis, have been developed, and a rational approach is now needed to select and advance candidates for testing in relevant nonhuman primate models and in human clinical trials. Development of such a vaccine was the topic of a meeting in the United Kingdom in March 2014 attended by international candidate vaccine developers, researchers, and government health officials. The focus of the meeting was advancement of vaccines for prevention of natural infection, rather than for protection from the organism's known potential for use as a biological weapon. A direct comparison of candidate vaccines in well-characterized mouse models was proposed. Knowledge gaps requiring further research were identified. Recommendations were made to accelerate the development of an effective vaccine against melioidosis.

Vaughan AM, Pinapati RS, Cheeseman IH, Camargo N, Fishbaugher M, Checkley LA, Nair S, Hutyra CA, Nosten FH, Anderson TJC et al. 2015. Plasmodium falciparum genetic crosses in a humanized mouse model. Nat Methods, 12 (7), pp. 631-633. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic crosses of phenotypically distinct strains of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are a powerful tool for identifying genes controlling drug resistance and other key phenotypes. Previous studies relied on the isolation of recombinant parasites from splenectomized chimpanzees, a research avenue that is no longer available. Here we demonstrate that human-liver chimeric mice support recovery of recombinant progeny for the identification of genetic determinants of parasite traits and adaptations.

Kho S, Marfurt J, Noviyanti R, Kusuma A, Piera KA, Burdam FH, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Engwerda CR, Poespoprodjo JR et al. 2015. Preserved dendritic cell HLA-DR expression and reduced regulatory T cell activation in asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax infection. Infect Immun, 83 (8), pp. 3224-3232. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Clinical illness with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax compromises the function of dendritic cells (DC) and expands regulatory T (Treg) cells. Individuals with asymptomatic parasitemia have clinical immunity, restricting parasite expansion and preventing clinical disease. The role of DC and Treg cells during asymptomatic Plasmodium infection is unclear. During a cross-sectional household survey in Papua, Indonesia, we examined the number and activation of blood plasmacytoid DC (pDC), CD141(+), and CD1c(+) myeloid DC (mDC) subsets and Treg cells using flow cytometry in 168 afebrile children (of whom 15 had P. falciparum and 36 had P. vivax infections) and 162 afebrile adults (of whom 20 had P. falciparum and 20 had P. vivax infections), alongside samples from 16 patients hospitalized with uncomplicated malaria. Unlike DC from malaria patients, DC from children and adults with asymptomatic, microscopy-positive P. vivax or P. falciparum infection increased or retained HLA-DR expression. Treg cells in asymptomatic adults and children exhibited reduced activation, suggesting increased immune responsiveness. The pDC and mDC subsets varied according to clinical immunity (asymptomatic or symptomatic Plasmodium infection) and, in asymptomatic infection, according to host age and parasite species. In conclusion, active control of asymptomatic infection was associated with and likely contingent upon functional DC and reduced Treg cell activation.

Toapanta FR, Bernal PJ, Fresnay S, Darton TC, Jones C, Waddington CS, Blohmke CJ, Dougan G, Angus B, Levine MM et al. 2015. Oral Wild-Type Salmonella Typhi Challenge Induces Activation of Circulating Monocytes and Dendritic Cells in Individuals Who Develop Typhoid Disease. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (6), pp. e0003837. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A new human oral challenge model with wild-type Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) was recently developed. In this model, ingestion of 104 CFU of Salmonella resulted in 65% of subjects developing typhoid fever (referred here as typhoid diagnosis -TD-) 5-10 days post-challenge. TD criteria included meeting clinical (oral temperature ≥38°C for ≥12 h) and/or microbiological (S. Typhi bacteremia) endpoints. One of the first lines of defense against pathogens are the cells of the innate immune system (e.g., monocytes, dendritic cells -DCs-). Various changes in circulating monocytes and DCs have been described in the murine S. Typhimurium model; however, whether similar changes are present in humans remains to be explored. To address these questions, a subset of volunteers (5 TD and 3 who did not develop typhoid despite oral challenge -NoTD-) were evaluated for changes in circulating monocytes and DCs. Expression of CD38 and CD40 were upregulated in monocytes and DCs in TD volunteers during the disease days (TD-0h to TD-96h). Moreover, integrin α4β7, a gut homing molecule, was upregulated on monocytes but not DCs. CD21 upregulation was only identified in DCs. These changes were not observed among NoTD volunteers despite the same oral challenge. Moreover, monocytes and DCs from NoTD volunteers showed increased binding to S. Typhi one day after challenge. These monocytes showed phosphorylation of p38MAPK, NFkB and Erk1/2 upon stimulation with S. Typhi-LPS-QDot micelles. In contrast, monocytes from TD volunteers showed only a moderate increase in S. Typhi binding 48 h and 96 h post-TD, and only Erk1/2 phosphorylation. This is the first study to describe different activation and migration profiles, as well as differential signaling patterns, in monocytes and DCs which relate directly to the clinical outcome following oral challenge with wild type S. Typhi.

Thompson CN, Duy PT, Baker S. 2015. The Rising Dominance of Shigella sonnei: An Intercontinental Shift in the Etiology of Bacillary Dysentery. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (6), pp. e0003708. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Shigellosis is the major global cause of dysentery. Shigella sonnei, which has historically been more commonly isolated in developed countries, is undergoing an unprecedented expansion across industrializing regions in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The precise reasons underpinning the epidemiological distribution of the various Shigella species and this global surge in S. sonnei are unclear but may be due to three major environmental pressures. First, natural passive immunization with the bacterium Plesiomonas shigelloides is hypothesized to protect populations with poor water supplies against S. sonnei. Improving the quality of drinking water supplies would, therefore, result in a reduction in P. shigelloides exposure and a subsequent reduction in environmental immunization against S. sonnei. Secondly, the ubiquitous amoeba species Acanthamoeba castellanii has been shown to phagocytize S. sonnei efficiently and symbiotically, thus allowing the bacteria access to a protected niche in which to withstand chlorination and other harsh environmental conditions in temperate countries. Finally, S. sonnei has emerged from Europe and begun to spread globally only relatively recently. A strong selective pressure from localized antimicrobial use additionally appears to have had a dramatic impact on the evolution of the S. sonnei population. We hypothesize that S. sonnei, which exhibits an exceptional ability to acquire antimicrobial resistance genes from commensal and pathogenic bacteria, has a competitive advantage over S. flexneri, particularly in areas with poorly regulated antimicrobial use. Continuing improvement in the quality of global drinking water supplies alongside the rapid development of antimicrobial resistance predicts the burden and international distribution of S. sonnei will only continue to grow. An effective vaccine against S. sonnei is overdue and may become one of our only weapons against this increasingly dominant and problematic gastrointestinal pathogen.

Ye YH, Carrasco AM, Frentiu FD, Chenoweth SF, Beebe NW, van den Hurk AF, Simmons CP, O'Neill SL, McGraw EA. 2015. Wolbachia Reduces the Transmission Potential of Dengue-Infected Aedes aegypti. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (6), pp. e0003894. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue viruses (DENV) are the causative agents of dengue, the world's most prevalent arthropod-borne disease with around 40% of the world's population at risk of infection annually. Wolbachia pipientis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is being developed as a biocontrol strategy against dengue because it limits replication of the virus in the mosquito. The Wolbachia strain wMel, which has been introduced into the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, has been shown to invade and spread to near fixation in field releases. Standard measures of Wolbachia's efficacy for blocking virus replication focus on the detection and quantification of virus in mosquito tissues. Examining the saliva provides a more accurate measure of transmission potential and can reveal the extrinsic incubation period (EIP), that is, the time it takes virus to arrive in the saliva following the consumption of DENV viremic blood. EIP is a key determinant of a mosquito's ability to transmit DENVs, as the earlier the virus appears in the saliva the more opportunities the mosquito will have to infect humans on subsequent bites. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used a non-destructive assay to repeatedly quantify DENV in saliva from wMel-infected and Wolbachia-free wild-type control mosquitoes following the consumption of a DENV-infected blood meal. We show that wMel lengthens the EIP, reduces the frequency at which the virus is expectorated and decreases the dengue copy number in mosquito saliva as compared to wild-type mosquitoes. These observations can at least be partially explained by an overall reduction in saliva produced by wMel mosquitoes. More generally, we found that the concentration of DENV in a blood meal is a determinant of the length of EIP, saliva virus titer and mosquito survival. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The saliva-based traits reported here offer more disease-relevant measures of Wolbachia's effects on the vector and the virus. The lengthening of EIP highlights another means, in addition to the reduction of infection frequencies and DENV titers in mosquitoes, by which Wolbachia should operate to reduce DENV transmission in the field.

Taylor AJ, Paris DH, Newton PN. 2015. A Systematic Review of the Mortality from Untreated Leptospirosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (6), pp. e0003866. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but the global incidence of human disease and its mortality are not well understood. Many patients are undiagnosed and untreated due to its non-specific symptoms and a lack of access to diagnostics. This study systematically reviews the literature to clarify the mortality from untreated leptospirosis. Results will help quantify the global burden of disease and guide health policies. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A comprehensive literature search was performed to identify untreated patient series. Included patients were symptomatic, but asymptomatic patients and those who had received antibiotics, dialysis or who were treated on Intensive Care Units were excluded. Included patients had a confirmed laboratory diagnosis by culture, PCR, or serological tests. Data was extracted and individual patient series were assessed for bias. Thirty-five studies, comprising 41 patient series and 3,390 patients, were included in the study. A high degree of bias within studies was shown due to limitations in study design, diagnostic tests and missing data. Median series mortality was 2.2% (Range 0.0-39.7%), but mortality was high in jaundiced patients (19.1%) (Range 0.0-39.7%), those with renal failure 12.1% (Range 0-25.0%) and in patients aged over 60 (60%) (Range 33.3-60%), but low in anicteric patients (0%) (Range 0-1.7%). CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review contributes to our understanding of the mortality of untreated leptospirosis and provides data for the estimation of DALYs attributable to this disease. We show that mortality is significantly higher in older patients with icteric disease or renal failure but is lower in younger, anicteric patients. Increased surveillance and accurate point-of-care diagnostics are required to better understand the incidence and improve diagnosis of disease. Empirical treatment strategies should prioritize early treatment to improve outcomes from leptospirosis.

Tran HH, Ehsani S, Shibayama K, Matsui M, Suzuki S, Nguyen MB, Tran DN, Tran VP, Tran DL, Nguyen HT et al. 2015. Common isolation of New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1-producing Enterobacteriaceae in a large surgical hospital in Vietnam. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis, 34 (6), pp. 1247-1254. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

This study sought to monitor the presence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and the proportion New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1)-producing bacteria between August 2010 and December 2012 in a surgical hospital in Vietnam. We identified 47 CRE strains from a total of 4,096 Enterobacteriaceae isolates (1.1 %) that were NDM-1-positive from 45 patients admitted to 11 different departments, with the majority being from the urology department. The NDM-1 gene was found in seven different species. Genotyping revealed limited clonality of NDM-1-positive isolates. Most of the isolates carried the NDM-1 gene on a plasmid and 17.8 % (8/45) of those were readily transferable. We found five patients at admission and one patient at discharge with NDM-1-positive bacteria in their stool. From 200 screening environmental hospital samples, five were confirmed to be NDM-1-positive and included Acinetobacter species (n = 3) and Enterobacter aerogenes (n = 2). The results reveal that NDM-1-producing Enterobacteriaceae are commonly isolated in patients admitted to a Vietnamese surgical hospital and are also detected in the hospital environment.

Rhee S-Y, Blanco JL, Jordan MR, Taylor J, Lemey P, Varghese V, Hamers RL, Bertagnolio S, de Wit TFR, Aghokeng AF et al. 2015. Correction: Geographic and Temporal Trends in the Molecular Epidemiology and Genetic Mechanisms of Transmitted HIV-1 Drug Resistance: An Individual-Patient- and Sequence-Level Meta-Analysis PLOS Medicine, 12 (6), pp. e1001845-e1001845. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more

Saunderson RB, Gouliouris T, Nickerson EK, Cartwright EJP, Kidney A, Aliyu SH, Brown NM, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Török ME. 2015. Impact of routine bedside infectious disease consultation on clinical management and outcome of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in adults. Clin Microbiol Infect, 21 (8), pp. 779-785. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) is a common, serious infection that is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Evidence suggests that infectious disease consultation (IDC) improves clinical management in patients with SAB. We examined whether the introduction of a routine bedside IDC service for adults with SAB improved clinical management and outcomes compared to telephone consultation. We conducted an observational cohort study of 571 adults with SAB at a teaching hospital in the United Kingdom between July 2006 and December 2012. A telephone consultation was provided on the day of positive blood culture in all cases, but an additional bedside IDC was provided after November 2009 (routine IDC group). Compared to patients in the pre-IDC group, those in the routine IDC group were more likely to have a removable focus of infection identified, echocardiography performed and follow-up blood cultures performed. They also received longer courses of antimicrobial therapy, were more likely to receive combination antimicrobial therapy and were more likely to have SAB recorded in the hospital discharge summary. There was a trend towards lower mortality at 30 days in the routine IDC group compared to the pre-IDC group (12% vs. 22%, p 0.07). Our findings suggest that routine bedside IDC should become the standard of care for adults with SAB.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Hossain MA, Anstey NM, Charunwatthana P, Maude RJ, Kingston HWF, Mishra SK, Mohanty S, Plewes K et al. 2015. Microvascular obstruction and endothelial activation are independently associated with the clinical manifestations of severe falciparum malaria in adults: an observational study. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 122. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Microvascular obstruction and endothelial dysfunction have both been linked to tissue hypoperfusion in falciparum malaria, but their relative contributions to the disease's pathogenesis and outcome are unknown. METHODS: Microvascular blood flow was quantified in adults with severe falciparum malaria on their admission to hospital; plasma biomarkers of endothelial function were measured simultaneously. The relationship between these indices and the patients' clinical findings and in-hospital course was examined. RESULTS: Microvascular obstruction was observed in 119/142 (84 %) patients; a median (interquartile range (IQR)) of 14.9 % (6.6-34.9 %) of capillaries were obstructed in patients that died versus 8.3 % (1.7-26.6 %) in survivors (P = 0.039). The proportion of obstructed capillaries correlated with the estimated parasite biomass (rs = 0.25, P = 0.004) and with plasma lactate (rs = 0.38, P <0.0001), the strongest predictor of death in the series. Plasma angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) concentrations were markedly elevated suggesting widespread endothelial activation; the median (IQR) Ang-2 concentration was 21.9 ng/mL (13.4-29.4 ng/mL) in patients that died versus 14.9 ng/mL (9.8-29.3 ng/mL) in survivors (P = 0.035). Ang-2 concentrations correlated with estimated parasite biomass (rs = 0.35, P <0.001) and plasma lactate (rs = 0.37, P <0.0001). Microvascular obstruction and Ang-2 concentrations were not significantly correlated with each other (rs = 0.17, P = 0.06), but were independently associated with plasma lactate (P <0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Microvascular obstruction and systemic endothelial activation are independently associated with plasma lactate, the strongest predictor of death in adults with falciparum malaria. This supports the hypothesis that the two processes make an independent contribution to the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of the disease.

Newby G, Hwang J, Koita K, Chen I, Greenwood B, von Seidlein L, Shanks GD, Slutsker L, Kachur SP, Wegbreit J et al. 2015. Review of mass drug administration for malaria and its operational challenges. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (1), pp. 125-134. | Citations: 45 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mass drug administration (MDA) was a component of many malaria programs during the eradication era, but later was seldomly deployed due to concerns regarding efficacy and feasibility and fear of accelerating drug resistance. Recently, however, there has been renewed interest in the role of MDA as an elimination tool. Following a 2013 Cochrane Review that focused on the quantitative effects of malaria MDA, we have conducted a systematic, qualitative review of published, unpublished, and gray literature documenting past MDA experiences. We have also consulted with field experts, using their historical experience to provide an informed, contextual perspective on the role of MDA in malaria elimination. Substantial knowledge gaps remain and more research is necessary, particularly on optimal target population size, methods to improve coverage, and primaquine safety. Despite these gaps, MDA has been used successfully to control and eliminate Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria in the past, and should be considered as part of a comprehensive malaria elimination strategy in specific settings.

Leang R, Taylor WRJ, Bouth DM, Song L, Tarning J, Char MC, Kim S, Witkowski B, Duru V, Domergue A et al. 2015. Evidence of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Multidrug Resistance to Artemisinin and Piperaquine in Western Cambodia: Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine Open-Label Multicenter Clinical Assessment. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (8), pp. 4719-4726. | Citations: 78 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Western Cambodia is recognized as the epicenter of Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance. Recent reports of the efficacy of dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-piperaquine (PP), the latest of the artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) recommended by the WHO, have prompted further investigations. The clinical efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in uncomplicated falciparum malaria was assessed in western and eastern Cambodia over 42 days. Day 7 plasma piperaquine concentrations were measured and day 0 isolates tested for in vitro susceptibilities to piperaquine and mefloquine, polymorphisms in the K13 gene, and the copy number of the Pfmdr-1 gene. A total of 425 patients were recruited in 2011 to 2013. The proportion of patients with recrudescent infections was significantly higher in western (15.4%) than in eastern (2.5%) Cambodia (P <10(-3)). Day 7 plasma PP concentrations and median 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of PP were independent of treatment outcomes, in contrast to median mefloquine IC50, which were found to be lower for isolates from patients with recrudescent infections (18.7 versus 39.7 nM; P = 0.005). The most significant risk factor associated with DHA-PP treatment failure was infection by parasites carrying the K13 mutant allele (odds ratio [OR], 17.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1 to 308; P = 0.04). Our data show evidence of P. falciparum resistance to PP in western Cambodia, an area of widespread artemisinin resistance. New therapeutic strategies, such as the use of triple ACTs, are urgently needed and must be tested. (This study has been registered at the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry under registration no. ACTRN12614000344695.).

Wertheim HFL, Nadjm B, Thomas S, Agustiningsih A, Malik S, Diep NNT, Vu TVD, Kinh NV, Chau NVV, Liem NT et al. 2015. Viral and atypical bacterial aetiologies of infection in hospitalised patients admitted with clinical suspicion of influenza in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Influenza Other Respir Viruses, 9 (6), pp. 315-322. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Influenza constitutes a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is limited information about the etiology of infection presenting clinically as influenza in hospitalized adults and children in Southeast Asia. Such data are important for future management of respiratory infections. OBJECTIVES: To describe the etiology of infection presenting clinically as influenza in those hospitalized in Southeast Asia METHODS: Respiratory specimens archived from July 2008 to June 2009 from patients hospitalised with suspected influenza from (Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam were tested for respiratory viruses and atypical bacteria by polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: A total of 1222 patients' samples were tested. 776/1222 (63.5%) patients were under the age of 5. Viruses detected included rhinoviruses in 229/1222 patients (18.7%), bocaviruses in 200/1222 (16.4%), respiratory syncytial viruses in 144 (11.8%), parainfluenzaviruses in 140 (11.5%; PIV1: 32; PIV2: 12; PIV3: 71;PIV4: 25), adenovirus in 102 (8.4%), influenza viruses in 93 (7.6%; influenza A: 77; influenza B: 16), coronaviruses in 23 (1.8%; OC43: 14; E229: 9). Bacterial pathogens were: Mycoplasma pneumoniae (n=33, 2.7%), Chlamydophila psittaci (n=2), C. pneumoniae (n=1), Bordetella pertussis (n=1), and Legionella pneumophila (n=2). Overall in-hospital case fatality rate was 29/1222 (2.4%). CONCLUSION: Respiratory viruses were the most commonly detected pathogens in patients hospitalized with a clinical suspicion of influenza. Rhinovirus was the most frequently detected virus, and M. pneumoniae the most common atypical bacterium. The low number of detected influenza viruses demonstrate a low benefit for empirical oseltamivir therapy, unless during an influenza outbreak. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Brenna JT, Akomo P, Bahwere P, Berkley JA, Calder PC, Jones KD, Liu L, Manary M, Trehan I, Briend A. 2015. Balancing omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF). BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 117. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) are a key component of a life-saving treatment for young children who present with uncomplicated severe acute malnutrition in resource limited settings. Increasing recognition of the role of balanced dietary omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in neurocognitive and immune development led two independent groups to evaluate RUTFs. Jones et al. (BMC Med 13:93, 2015), in a study in BMC Medicine, and Hsieh et al. (J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2015), in a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, reformulated RUTFs with altered PUFA content and looked at the effects on circulating omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) status as a measure of overall omega-3 status. Supplemental oral administration of omega-3 DHA or reduction of RUTF omega-6 linoleic acid using high oleic peanuts improved DHA status, whereas increasing omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid in RUTF did not. The results of these two small studies are consistent with well-established effects in animal studies and highlight the need for basic and operational research to improve fat composition in support of omega-3-specific development in young children as RUTF use expands.

Head MG, Fitchett JR, Newell M-L, Scott JAG, Harris JN, Clarke SC, Atun R. 2015. Mapping pneumonia research: A systematic analysis of UK investments and published outputs 1997-2013. EBioMedicine, 2 (9), pp. 1193-1199. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of pneumonia continues to be substantial, particularly among the poorest in global society. We describe here the trends for UK pneumonia R&D investment and published outputs, and correlate with 2013 global mortality. METHODS: Data related to awards to UK institutions for pneumonia research from 1997 to 2013 were systematically sourced and categorised by disease area and type of science. Investment was compared to mortality figures in 2010 and 2013 for pneumonia, tuberculosis and influenza. Investment was also compared to publication data. RESULTS: Of all infectious disease research between 2011 and 2013 (£917.0 million), £28.8 million (3.1%) was for pneumonia. This was an absolute and proportionate increase from previous time periods. Translational pneumonia research (33.3%) received increased funding compared with 1997-2010 where funding was almost entirely preclinical (87.5%, here 30.9%), but high-burden areas such as paediatrics, elderly care and antimicrobial resistance received little investment. Annual investment remains volatile; publication temporal trends show a consistent increase. When comparing investment to global burden with a novel 'investment by mortality observed' metric, tuberculosis (£48.36) and influenza (£484.21) receive relatively more funding than pneumonia (£43.08), despite investment for pneumonia greatly increasing in 2013 compared to 2010 (£7.39). Limitations include a lack of private sector data and the need for careful interpretation of the comparisons with burden, plus categorisation is subjective. CONCLUSIONS: There has been a welcome increase for pneumonia funding awarded to UK institutions in 2011-2013 compared with 1997-2010, along with increases for more translational research. Published outputs relating to pneumonia rose steadily from 1997 to 2013. Investment relative to mortality for pneumonia has increased, but it remains low compared to other respiratory infections and clear inequities remain. Analyses that measure investments in pneumonia can provide an insight into funding trends and research gaps. RESEARCH IN CONTEXT: Pneumonia continues to be a high-burden illness around the globe. This paper shows that although research funding is increasing in the UK (between 1997 and 2013), it remains poorly funded compared to other important respiratory infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza. Publications about pneumonia have been steadily increasing over time, indicating continuing academic and clinical interest in the topic. Though global mortality of pneumonia is declining, it should still be an area of high priority for funders, policymakers and researchers.

Hantrakun V, Chierakul W, Chetchotisakd P, Anunnatsiri S, Currie BJ, Peacock SJ, Day NPJ, Cheah PY, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y. 2015. Cost-effectiveness analysis of parenteral antimicrobials for acute melioidosis in Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 109 (6), pp. 416-418. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a common community-acquired infectious disease in northeast Thailand associated with overall mortality of approximately 40% in hospitalized patients, and over 70% in severe cases. Ceftazidime is recommended for parenteral treatment in patients with suspected melioidosis. Meropenem is increasingly used but evidence to support this is lacking. METHODS: A decision tree was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of treating non-severe and severe suspected acute melioidosis cases with either ceftazidime or meropenem. RESULTS: Empirical treatment with meropenem is likely to be cost-effective providing meropenem reduces mortality in severe cases by at least 9% and the proportion with subsequent culture-confirmed melioidosis is over 20%. CONCLUSIONS: In this context, treatment of severe cases with meropenem is likely to be cost-effective, while the evidence to support the use of meropenem in non-severe suspected melioidosis is not yet available.

Rono J, Färnert A, Murungi L, Ojal J, Kamuyu G, Guleid F, Nyangweso G, Wambua J, Kitsao B, Olotu A et al. 2015. Multiple clinical episodes of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in a low transmission intensity setting: exposure versus immunity. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 114. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies indicate that some children experience many more episodes of clinical malaria than their age mates in a given location. Whether this is as a result of the micro-heterogeneity of malaria transmission with some children effectively getting more exposure to infectious mosquitoes than others, or reflects a failure in the acquisition of immunity needs to be elucidated. Here, we investigated the determinants of increased susceptibility to clinical malaria by comparing the intensity of exposure to Plasmodium falciparum and the acquisition of immunity in children at the extreme ends of the over-dispersed distribution of the incidence of clinical malaria. METHODS: The study was nested within a larger cohort in an area where the intensity of malaria transmission was low. We identified children who over a five-year period experienced 5 to 16 clinical malaria episodes (children at the tail-end of the over-dispersed distribution, n = 35), remained malaria-free (n = 12) or had a single episode (n = 26). We quantified antibodies against seven Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens in plasma obtained at six cross-sectional surveys spanning these five years. We analyzed the antibody responses to identify temporal dynamics that associate with disease susceptibility. RESULTS: Children experiencing multiple episodes of malaria were more likely to be parasite positive by microscopy at cross-sectional surveys (X (2) test for trend 14.72 P = 0.001) and had a significantly higher malaria exposure index, than those in the malaria-free or single episode groups (Kruskal-Wallis test P = 0.009). In contrast, the five-year temporal dynamics of anti-merozoite antibodies were similar in the three groups. Importantly in all groups, antibody levels were below the threshold concentrations previously observed to be correlated with protective immunity. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that in the context of a low malaria transmission setting, susceptibility to clinical malaria is not accounted for by anti-merozoite antibodies but appears to be a consequence of increased parasite exposure. We hypothesize that intensive exposure is a prerequisite for protective antibody concentrations, while little to modest exposure may manifest as multiple clinical infections with low levels of antibodies. These findings have implications for interventions that effectively lower malaria transmission intensity.

Nasner-Posso KM, Cruz-Calderón S, Montúfar-Andrade FE, Dance DAB, Rodriguez-Morales AJ. 2015. Human melioidosis reported by ProMED. Int J Infect Dis, 35 pp. 103-106. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: There are limited sources describing the global burden of emerging diseases. A review of human melioidosis reported by ProMED was performed and the reliability of the data retrieved assessed in comparison to published reports. The effectiveness of ProMED was evaluated as a source of epidemiological data by focusing on melioidosis. METHODS: Using the keyword 'melioidosis' in the ProMED search engine, all of the information from the reports and collected data was reviewed using a structured form, including the year, country, gender, occupation, number of infected individuals, and number of fatal cases. RESULTS: One hundred and twenty-four entries reported between January 1995 and October 2014 were identified. A total of 4630 cases were reported, with death reported in 505 cases, suggesting a misleadingly low overall case fatality rate (CFR) of 11%. Of 20 cases for which the gender was reported, 12 (60%) were male. Most of the cases were reported from Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia, with sporadic reports from other countries. CONCLUSIONS: Internet-based reporting systems such as ProMED are useful to gather information and synthesize knowledge on emerging infections. Although certain areas need to be improved, ProMED provided good information about melioidosis.

Phommasone K, Sengvilaipaseuth O, de Lamballerie X, Vongsouvath M, Phonemixay O, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Dubot-Pérès A. 2015. Temperature and the field stability of a dengue rapid diagnostic test in the tropics. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (1), pp. 33-39. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The global incidence of dengue has increased significantly in recent decades, resulting in a large public health burden in tropical and subtropical countries. Dengue rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) can provide accurate, rapid accessible diagnosis for patient management and may be easily used by health workers in rural areas. However, in dengue-endemic areas, ambient temperatures are often higher than manufacturer's recommendation. We therefore evaluated the effect of high temperature over time on the performance of one commonly used dengue RDT, the Standard Diagnostics Bioline Dengue Duo. RDTs were kept in five different conditions (at 4°C, 35°C, 45°C, 60°C, and at fluctuant ambient temperatures in a free-standing hut) for between 2 days and 2 years in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). RDTs were tested with four control sera (negative, dengue nonstructural protein 1 [NS1], anti-dengue immunoglobulin [Ig] M, and anti-dengue IgG positive). The RDTs had 100% consistency over the 2-year study, despite high temperatures, including in the hut in which temperatures exceeded the manufacturer's recommendations for 29% of time points. These data suggest that the diagnostic accuracy of the SD Bioline Dengue Duo RDT remains stable even after long-term storage at high temperatures. Therefore, use at such ambient temperatures in tropical areas should not jeopardize the dengue diagnostic outcome.

Chalmers L, Cross J, Chu CS, Phyo AP, Trip M, Ling C, Carrara V, Watthanaworawit W, Keereecharoen L, Hanboonkunupakarn B et al. 2015. The role of point-of-care tests in antibiotic stewardship for urinary tract infections in a resource-limited setting on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Trop Med Int Health, 20 (10), pp. 1281-1289. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Published literature from resource-limited settings is infrequent, although urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common cause of outpatient presentation and antibiotic use. Point-of-care test (POCT) interpretation relates to antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. We aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of POCT and their role in UTI antibiotic stewardship. METHODS: One-year retrospective analysis in three clinics on the Thailand-Myanmar border of non-pregnant adults presenting with urinary symptoms. POCT (urine dipstick and microscopy) were compared to culture with significant growth classified as pure growth of a single organism >10(5)  CFU/ml. RESULTS: In 247 patients, 82.6% female, the most common symptoms were dysuria (81.2%), suprapubic pain (67.8%) and urinary frequency (53.7%). After excluding contaminated samples, UTI was diagnosed in 52.4% (97/185); 71.1% (69/97) had a significant growth on culture, and >80% of these were Escherichia coli (20.9% produced extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)). Positive urine dipstick (leucocyte esterase ≥1 and/or nitrate positive) compared against positive microscopy (white blood cell >10/HPF, bacteria ≥1/HPF, epithelial cells <5/HPF) had a higher sensitivity (99% vs. 57%) but a lower specificity (47% vs. 89%), respectively. Combined POCT resulted in the best sensitivity (98%) and specificity (81%). Nearly one in ten patients received an antimicrobial to which the organism was not fully sensitive. CONCLUSION: One rapid, cost-effective POCT was too inaccurate to be used alone by healthcare workers, impeding antibiotic stewardship in a high ESBL setting. Appropriate prescribing is improved with concurrent use and concordant results of urine dipstick and microscopy.

Battle KE, Cameron E, Guerra CA, Golding N, Duda KA, Howes RE, Elyazar IRF, Price RN, Baird JK, Reiner RC et al. 2015. Defining the relationship between Plasmodium vivax parasite rate and clinical disease. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 191. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Though essential to the development and evaluation of national malaria control programmes, precise enumeration of the clinical illness burden of malaria in endemic countries remains challenging where local surveillance systems are incomplete. Strategies to infer annual incidence rates from parasite prevalence survey compilations have proven effective in the specific case of Plasmodium falciparum, but have yet to be developed for Plasmodium vivax. Moreover, defining the relationship between P. vivax prevalence and clinical incidence may also allow levels of endemicity to be inferred for areas where the information balance is reversed, that is, incident case numbers are more widely gathered than parasite surveys; both applications ultimately facilitating cartographic estimates of P. vivax transmission intensity and its ensuring disease burden. METHODS: A search for active case detection surveys was conducted and the recorded incidence values were matched to local, contemporary parasite rate measures and classified to geographic zones of differing relapse phenotypes. A hierarchical Bayesian model was fitted to these data to quantify the relationship between prevalence and incidence while accounting for variation among relapse zones. RESULTS: The model, fitted with 176 concurrently measured P. vivax incidence and prevalence records, was a linear regression of the logarithm of incidence against the logarithm of age-standardized prevalence. Specific relationships for the six relapse zones where data were available were drawn, as well as a pooled overall relationship. The slope of the curves varied among relapse zones; zones with short predicted time to relapse had steeper slopes than those observed to contain long-latency relapse phenotypes. CONCLUSIONS: The fitted relationships, along with appropriate uncertainty metrics, allow for estimates of clinical incidence of known confidence to be made from wherever P. vivax prevalence data are available. This is a prerequisite for cartographic-based inferences about the global burden of morbidity due to P. vivax, which will be used to inform control efforts.

Ogwang C, Kimani D, Edwards NJ, Roberts R, Mwacharo J, Bowyer G, Bliss C, Hodgson SH, Njuguna P, Viebig NK et al. 2015. Prime-boost vaccination with chimpanzee adenovirus and modified vaccinia Ankara encoding TRAP provides partial protection against Plasmodium falciparum infection in Kenyan adults. Sci Transl Med, 7 (286), pp. 286re5. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Protective immunity to the liver stage of the malaria parasite can be conferred by vaccine-induced T cells, but no subunit vaccination approach based on cellular immunity has shown efficacy in field studies. We randomly allocated 121 healthy adult male volunteers in Kilifi, Kenya, to vaccination with the recombinant viral vectors chimpanzee adenovirus 63 (ChAd63) and modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), both encoding the malaria peptide sequence ME-TRAP (the multiple epitope string and thrombospondin-related adhesion protein), or to vaccination with rabies vaccine as a control. We gave antimalarials to clear parasitemia and conducted PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis on blood samples three times a week to identify infection with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. On Cox regression, vaccination reduced the risk of infection by 67% [95% confidence interval (CI), 33 to 83%; P = 0.002] during 8 weeks of monitoring. T cell responses to TRAP peptides 21 to 30 were significantly associated with protection (hazard ratio, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.75; P = 0.016).

Qin Y, Horby PW, Tsang TK, Chen E, Gao L, Ou J, Nguyen TH, Duong TN, Gasimov V, Feng L et al. 2015. Differences in the Epidemiology of Human Cases of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) and A(H5N1) Viruses Infection. Clin Infect Dis, 61 (4), pp. 563-571. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The pandemic potential of avian influenza viruses A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) remains an unresolved but critically important question. METHODS: We compared the characteristics of sporadic and clustered cases of human H5N1 and H7N9 infection, estimated the relative risk of infection in blood-related contacts, and the reproduction number (R). RESULTS: We assembled and analyzed data on 720 H5N1 cases and 460 H7N9 cases up to 2 November 2014. The severity and average age of sporadic/index cases of H7N9 was greater than secondary cases (71% requiring intensive care unit admission vs 33%, P = .007; median age 59 years vs 31, P < .001). We observed no significant differences in the age and severity between sporadic/index and secondary H5N1 cases. The upper limit of the 95% confidence interval (CI) for R was 0.12 for H5N1 and 0.27 for H7N9. A higher proportion of H5N1 infections occurred in clusters (20%) compared to H7N9 (8%). The relative risk of infection in blood-related contacts of cases compared to unrelated contacts was 8.96 for H5N1 (95% CI, 1.30, 61.86) and 0.80 for H7N9 (95% CI, .32, 1.97). CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with an ascertainment bias towards severe and older cases for sporadic H7N9 but not for H5N1. The lack of evidence for ascertainment bias in sporadic H5N1 cases, the more pronounced clustering of cases, and the higher risk of infection in blood-related contacts, support the hypothesis that susceptibility to H5N1 may be limited and familial. This analysis suggests the potential pandemic risk may be greater for H7N9 than H5N1.

Noviyanti R, Coutrier F, Utami RAS, Trimarsanto H, Tirta YK, Trianty L, Kusuma A, Sutanto I, Kosasih A, Kusriastuti R et al. 2015. Contrasting Transmission Dynamics of Co-endemic Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum: Implications for Malaria Control and Elimination. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (5), pp. e0003739. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Outside of Africa, P. falciparum and P. vivax usually coexist. In such co-endemic regions, successful malaria control programs have a greater impact on reducing falciparum malaria, resulting in P. vivax becoming the predominant species of infection. Adding to the challenges of elimination, the dormant liver stage complicates efforts to monitor the impact of ongoing interventions against P. vivax. We investigated molecular approaches to inform the respective transmission dynamics of P. falciparum and P. vivax and how these could help to prioritize public health interventions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Genotype data generated at 8 and 9 microsatellite loci were analysed in 168 P. falciparum and 166 P. vivax isolates, respectively, from four co-endemic sites in Indonesia (Bangka, Kalimantan, Sumba and West Timor). Measures of diversity, linkage disequilibrium (LD) and population structure were used to gauge the transmission dynamics of each species in each setting. Marked differences were observed in the diversity and population structure of P. vivax versus P. falciparum. In Bangka, Kalimantan and Timor, P. falciparum diversity was low, and LD patterns were consistent with unstable, epidemic transmission, amenable to targeted intervention. In contrast, P. vivax diversity was higher and transmission appeared more stable. Population differentiation was lower in P. vivax versus P. falciparum, suggesting that the hypnozoite reservoir might play an important role in sustaining local transmission and facilitating the spread of P. vivax infections in different endemic settings. P. vivax polyclonality varied with local endemicity, demonstrating potential utility in informing on transmission intensity in this species. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Molecular approaches can provide important information on malaria transmission that is not readily available from traditional epidemiological measures. Elucidation of the transmission dynamics circulating in a given setting will have a major role in prioritising malaria control strategies, particularly against the relatively neglected non-falciparum species.

Blacksell SD, Kantipong P, Watthanaworawit W, Turner C, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jintawon S, Laongnuanutit A, Nosten FH, Day NPJ, Paris DH, Richards AL. 2015. Underrecognized arthropod-borne and zoonotic pathogens in northern and northwestern Thailand: serological evidence and opportunities for awareness. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 15 (5), pp. 285-290. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Although scrub typhus and murine typhus are well-described tropical rickettsial illnesses, especially in Southeast Asia, only limited evidence is available for rickettsia-like pathogens contributing to the burden of undifferentiated febrile illness. Using commercially available kits, this study measured immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody seroprevalence for Coxiella burnetii, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Bartonella henselae, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) in 375 patients enrolled in undifferentiated febrile illness studies at Chiangrai (northern Thailand) and Mae Sot (Thai-Myanmar border). Ehrlichia and SFGR were the most common causes of IgG seropositivity. A distinct relationship between age and seropositivity was found in Chiangrai with acquisition of IgG titers against Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, and SFGR in young adulthood, suggesting cumulative exposure to these pathogens. At Mae Sot, high early IgG titers against Ehrlichia and SFGR were common, whereas Anaplasma and Bartonella IgG titers increased at 50-60 years. Q fever associated with low IgG positivity at both study sites, with significantly higher prevalence at 30 years of age in Chiangrai. These data suggest that other rickettsial illnesses could contribute to the burden of febrile illness in Thailand and possibly adjacent regions. Improved diagnostics and better understanding of antibody longevity and cross-reactivity will improve identification and management of these easily treatable infectious diseases.

McArthur MA, Fresnay S, Magder LS, Darton TC, Jones C, Waddington CS, Blohmke CJ, Dougan G, Angus B, Levine MM et al. 2015. Activation of Salmonella Typhi-specific regulatory T cells in typhoid disease in a wild-type S. Typhi challenge model. PLoS Pathog, 11 (5), pp. e1004914. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi), the causative agent of typhoid fever, causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Currently available vaccines are moderately efficacious, and identification of immunological responses associated with protection or disease will facilitate the development of improved vaccines. We investigated S. Typhi-specific modulation of activation and homing potential of circulating regulatory T cells (Treg) by flow and mass cytometry using specimens obtained from a human challenge study. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from volunteers pre- and at multiple time-points post-challenge with wild-type S. Typhi. We identified differing patterns of S. Typhi-specific modulation of the homing potential of circulating Treg between volunteers diagnosed with typhoid (TD) and those who were not (No TD). TD volunteers demonstrated up-regulation of the gut homing molecule integrin α4ß7 pre-challenge, followed by a significant down-regulation post-challenge consistent with Treg homing to the gut. Additionally, S. Typhi-specific Treg from TD volunteers exhibited up-regulation of activation molecules post-challenge (e.g., HLA-DR, LFA-1). We further demonstrate that depletion of Treg results in increased S. Typhi-specific cytokine production by CD8+ TEM in vitro. These results suggest that the tissue distribution of activated Treg, their characteristics and activation status may play a pivotal role in typhoid fever, possibly through suppression of S. Typhi-specific effector T cell responses. These studies provide important novel insights into the regulation of immune responses that are likely to be critical in protection against typhoid and other enteric infectious diseases.

Meeyai A, Praditsitthikorn N, Kotirum S, Kulpeng W, Putthasri W, Cooper BS, Teerawattananon Y. 2015. Seasonal influenza vaccination for children in Thailand: a cost-effectiveness analysis. PLoS Med, 12 (5), pp. e1001829. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Seasonal influenza is a major cause of mortality worldwide. Routine immunization of children has the potential to reduce this mortality through both direct and indirect protection, but has not been adopted by any low- or middle-income countries. We developed a framework to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination policies in developing countries and used it to consider annual vaccination of school- and preschool-aged children with either trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) or trivalent live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) in Thailand. We also compared these approaches with a policy of expanding TIV coverage in the elderly. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We developed an age-structured model to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of eight vaccination policies parameterized using country-level data from Thailand. For policies using LAIV, we considered five different age groups of children to vaccinate. We adopted a Bayesian evidence-synthesis framework, expressing uncertainty in parameters through probability distributions derived by fitting the model to prospectively collected laboratory-confirmed influenza data from 2005-2009, by meta-analysis of clinical trial data, and by using prior probability distributions derived from literature review and elicitation of expert opinion. We performed sensitivity analyses using alternative assumptions about prior immunity, contact patterns between age groups, the proportion of infections that are symptomatic, cost per unit vaccine, and vaccine effectiveness. Vaccination of children with LAIV was found to be highly cost-effective, with incremental cost-effectiveness ratios between about 2,000 and 5,000 international dollars per disability-adjusted life year averted, and was consistently preferred to TIV-based policies. These findings were robust to extensive sensitivity analyses. The optimal age group to vaccinate with LAIV, however, was sensitive both to the willingness to pay for health benefits and to assumptions about contact patterns between age groups. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccinating school-aged children with LAIV is likely to be cost-effective in Thailand in the short term, though the long-term consequences of such a policy cannot be reliably predicted given current knowledge of influenza epidemiology and immunology. Our work provides a coherent framework that can be used for similar analyses in other low- and middle-income countries.

Li HK, Agweyu A, English M, Bejon P. 2015. An unsupported preference for intravenous antibiotics. PLoS Med, 12 (5), pp. e1001825. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Read more

Saiprom N, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance in clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from Thailand International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 45 (5), pp. 557-559. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more

Mugo PM, Sanders EJ, Mutua G, van der Elst E, Anzala O, Barin B, Bangsberg DR, Priddy FH, Haberer JE. 2015. Understanding Adherence to Daily and Intermittent Regimens of Oral HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Kenya AIDS and Behavior, 19 (5), pp. 794-801. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014, The Author(s). A qualitative assessment of Kenyan men who have sex with men taking daily and intermittent oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) found stigma, sex work, mobility, and alcohol impacted adherence. We analyzed quantitative data from the same cohort to explore different definitions of intermittent adherence. Volunteers were randomized to daily emtricitabine/tenofovir or placebo, or intermittent (prescription: Mondays/Fridays/after sex, maximum 1 dose/day) emtricitabine/tenofovir or placebo (2:1:2:1), and followed for 4 months. By electronic monitoring, median adherence for daily dosing was 80 %. Median adherence for intermittent dosing was 71 % per a “relaxed” definition (accounting for off-prescription dosing) and 40 % per a “strict” definition (limited to the prescription). Factors associated with lower adherence included travel, transactional sex, and longer follow-up; higher adherence was associated with daily dosing and an income. The definition of intermittent dosing strongly affects interpretation of adherence. These findings suggest interventions should address challenges of mobility, sex work, and long-term PrEP.

Basnyat B, Pokharel P, Dixit S, Giri S. 2015. Antibiotic Use, Its Resistance in Nepal and Recommendations for Action: A Situation Analysis. J Nepal Health Res Counc, 13 (30), pp. 102-111. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

Antibiotics are crucial, life-saving medicines in the fight against infectious disease, but resistance to these drugs is growing all over. This article presents key findings from a detailed situation analysis produced by the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP)-Nepal working group. In the absence of nationally-representative surveillance, it is not possible to fully describe antibiotic resistance in the country, but many important bacterial pathogens are highly resistant to most first-line and some second-line antibiotics, according to available reports. In credible studies, more than half of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates tested, and over 30 percent of some Shigella spp. and Vibrio cholerae isolates were resistant to first-line antibiotics. The findings for Neisseria gonorrheae and hospital-acquired Staphylococcus aureus are similar. Antibiotic use in animal food is poorly documented in Nepal, but it is commonly acknowledged to be widespread, contributing to the overall antibiotic resistance burden. The volume of veterinary antibiotic sales in Nepal rose over 50 percent from 2008 to 2012, most through retailers without veterinarian prescription. Antibiotics are necessary to treat infections in animals, but they are also used extensively for preventing disease, a use that can be restricted without jeopardizing animal or human health. They may also be used for promoting animal growth, which can be eliminated with no health consequences. Nepal has made important advances in reducing mortality and morbidity and increasing health coverage, but has not yet taken steps to address antibiotic resistance. The GARP-Nepal working group outlines the components of a national strategy on antibiotic resistance, consistent with the recent call by the World Health Organization for national action plans, to be developed collaboratively with stakeholders and partners from government and all relevant sectors.

Baird JK. 2015. Still defining optimal primaquine therapy against relapse after 63 years of continuous use. Travel Med Infect Dis, 13 (3), pp. 215-216. | Read more

Taylor WR, Fox A, Pham KT, Le HNM, Tran NTH, Tran GV, Nguyen BT, Nguyen MV, Nguyen LT, Yacoub S et al. 2015. Dengue in adults admitted to a referral hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6), pp. 1141-1149. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Knowledge of adult dengue virus (DENV) infection from Hanoi, Vietnam, is limited. In 2008, we prospectively studied 143 (77 male) confirmed (nonstructural 1 antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], DENV polymerase chain reaction, paired serology) adult dengue patients of median age 23.5 (range 16-72) years. They were admitted to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hanoi, on median illness day (D) 5 (range 1-8). By D8, 141 (98.6%) were afebrile. Platelet counts and hematocrit (median, interquartile range [IQR]) nadired and peaked on D5 and D4, respectively: 40,000/μL (10,000-109,000/μL), 43.4% (34.9-49.7%). Four (2.8%) patients had severe dengue: 1) D10 shock (N = 1) and 2) aspartate aminotransferase (AST) ≥ 1,000 IU/L (N = 3, D5 and D7). Of 143 patients, 118 (82.5%) had ≥ 1 warning sign (World Health Organization [WHO] 2009 criteria): mucosal bleeding 66/143 (46.1%), soft tissue edema 54/143 (37.7%), and ultrasound detected plasma leakage (pleural effusions/ascites) 30/129 (23.25%). 138 (96.5%) patients received intravenous (IV) fluids: 3 L (IQR: 0.5-8.5 L). Most patients had non-severe dengue with warning signs. High rates of edema and plasma leakage may be explained partly by liberal use of IV fluids. Studies are needed on optimizing fluid management in non-severe adult dengue.

Zongo I, Milligan P, Compaore YD, Some AF, Greenwood B, Tarning J, Rosenthal PJ, Sutherland C, Nosten F, Ouedraogo J-B. 2015. Randomized Noninferiority Trial of Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine Compared with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine plus Amodiaquine for Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention in Burkina Faso. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (8), pp. 4387-4396. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The WHO recommends that children living in areas of highly seasonal malaria transmission in the Sahel subregion should receive seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine plus amodiaquine (SPAQ). We evaluated the use of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHAPQ) as an alternative drug that could be used if SPAQ starts to lose efficacy. A total of 1,499 children 3 to 59 months old were randomized to receive SMC with SPAQ or DHAPQ over 3 months. The primary outcome measure was the risk of clinical malaria (fever or a history of fever with a parasite density of at least 3,000/μl). A cohort of 250 children outside the trial was followed up as a control group. Molecular markers of drug resistance were assessed. The risk of a malaria attack was 0.19 in the DHAPQ group and 0.15 in the SPAQ group, an odds ratio of 1.33 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02 to 1.72). Efficacy of SMC compared to the control group was 77% (67% to 84%) for DHAPQ and 83% (74% to 89%) for SPAQ. pfdhfr and pfdhps mutations associated with antifolate resistance were more prevalent in parasites from children who received SPAQ than in children who received DHAPQ. Both regimens were highly efficacious and well tolerated. DHAPQ is a potential alternative drug for SMC. (This trial is registered at under registration no. NCT00941785.).

Jones KDJ, Ali R, Khasira MA, Odera D, West AL, Koster G, Akomo P, Talbert AWA, Goss VM, Ngari M et al. 2015. Ready-to-use therapeutic food with elevated n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid content, with or without fish oil, to treat severe acute malnutrition: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 93. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) are lipid-based pastes widely used in the treatment of acute malnutrition. Current specifications for RUTF permit a high n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content and low n-3 PUFA, with no stipulated requirements for preformed long-chain n-3 PUFA. The objective of this study was to develop an RUTF with elevated short-chain n-3 PUFA and measure its impact, with and without fish oil supplementation, on children's PUFA status during treatment of severe acute malnutrition. METHODS: This randomized controlled trial in children with severe acute malnutrition in rural Kenya included 60 children aged 6 to 50 months who were randomized to receive i) RUTF with standard composition; ii) RUTF with elevated short chain n-3 PUFA; or iii) RUTF with elevated short chain n-3 PUFA plus fish oil capsules. Participants were followed-up for 3 months. The primary outcome was erythrocyte PUFA composition. RESULTS: Erythrocyte docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content declined from baseline in the two arms not receiving fish oil. Erythrocyte long-chain n-3 PUFA content following treatment was significantly higher for participants in the arm receiving fish oil than for those in the arms receiving RUTF with elevated short chain n-3 PUFA or standard RUTF alone: 3 months after enrollment, DHA content was 6.3% (interquartile range 6.0-7.3), 4.5% (3.9-4.9), and 3.9% (2.4-5.7) of total erythrocyte fatty acids (P <0.001), respectively, while eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content was 2.0% (1.5-2.6), 0.7% (0.6-0.8), and 0.4% (0.3-0.5) (P <0.001). RUTF with elevated short chain n-3 PUFA and fish oil capsules were acceptable to participants and carers, and there were no significant differences in safety outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: PUFA requirements of children with SAM are not met by current formulations of RUTF, or by an RUTF with elevated short-chain n-3 PUFA without additional preformed long-chain n-3 PUFA. Clinical and growth implications of revised formulations need to be addressed in large clinical trials. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01593969. Registered 4 May 2012.

Deen J, Dondorp AM, White NJ. 2015. Treatment of Ebola. N Engl J Med, 372 (17), pp. 1673-1674. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Stoesser N, Sheppard AE, Moore CE, Golubchik T, Parry CM, Nget P, Saroeun M, Day NPJ, Giess A, Johnson JR et al. 2015. Extensive Within-Host Diversity in Fecally Carried Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli Isolates: Implications for Transmission Analyses. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (7), pp. 2122-2131. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Studies of the transmission epidemiology of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli, such as strains harboring extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) genes, frequently use selective culture of rectal surveillance swabs to identify isolates for molecular epidemiological investigation. Typically, only single colonies are evaluated, which risks underestimating species diversity and transmission events. We sequenced the genomes of 16 E. coli colonies from each of eight fecal samples (n = 127 genomes; one failure), taken from different individuals in Cambodia, a region of high ESBL-producing E. coli prevalence. Sequence data were used to characterize both the core chromosomal diversity of E. coli isolates and their resistance/virulence gene content as a proxy measure of accessory genome diversity. The 127 E. coli genomes represented 31 distinct sequence types (STs). Seven (88%) of eight subjects carried ESBL-positive isolates, all containing blaCTX-M variants. Diversity was substantial, with a median of four STs/individual (range, 1 to 10) and wide genetic divergence at the nucleotide level within some STs. In 2/8 (25%) individuals, the same blaCTX-M variant occurred in different clones, and/or different blaCTX-M variants occurred in the same clone. Patterns of other resistance genes and common virulence factors, representing differences in the accessory genome, were also diverse within and between clones. The substantial diversity among intestinally carried ESBL-positive E. coli bacteria suggests that fecal surveillance, particularly if based on single-colony subcultures, will likely underestimate transmission events, especially in high-prevalence settings.

Cooper BS, Kotirum S, Kulpeng W, Praditsitthikorn N, Chittaganpitch M, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NPJ, Coker R, Teerawattananon Y, Meeyai A. 2015. Mortality attributable to seasonal influenza A and B infections in Thailand, 2005-2009: a longitudinal study. Am J Epidemiol, 181 (11), pp. 898-907. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza epidemiology differs substantially in tropical and temperate zones, but estimates of seasonal influenza mortality in developing countries in the tropics are lacking. We aimed to quantify mortality due to seasonal influenza in Thailand, a tropical middle-income country. Time series of polymerase chain reaction-confirmed influenza infections between 2005 and 2009 were constructed from a sentinel surveillance network. These were combined with influenza-like illness data to derive measures of influenza activity and relationships to mortality by using a Bayesian regression framework. We estimated 6.1 (95% credible interval: 0.5, 12.4) annual deaths per 100,000 population attributable to influenza A and B, predominantly in those aged ≥60 years, with the largest contribution from influenza A(H1N1) in 3 out of 4 years. For A(H3N2), the relationship between influenza activity and mortality varied over time. Influenza was associated with increases in deaths classified as resulting from respiratory disease (posterior probability of positive association, 99.8%), cancer (98.6%), renal disease (98.0%), and liver disease (99.2%). No association with circulatory disease mortality was found. Seasonal influenza infections are associated with substantial mortality in Thailand, but evidence for the strong relationship between influenza activity and circulatory disease mortality reported in temperate countries is lacking.

Yong YL, Plançon A, Lau YH, Hostetler DM, Fernández FM, Green MD, Sounvoravong S, Nara S, Boravann M, Dumrong T et al. 2015. Collaborative health and enforcement operations on the quality of antimalarials and antibiotics in southeast Asia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6 Suppl), pp. 105-112. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Counterfeit (or falsified) and substandard medicines pose a major public health risk. We describe the findings of Operation Storm I and II conducted in 2008-2009 to combat counterfeit medicines through partnership between national customs, Drug Regulatory Agencies (DRAs), and police in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Samples were obtained from seizures and market surveillance by national DRAs. Laboratory analysis using spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques and examination of packaging were performed. Ninety-three suspect antibiotics and 95 antimalarial samples were collected. Of the 93 antibiotics, 29 (31%) had % active pharmaceutical ingredient content (%API) < 85% or > 115% (including one counterfeit). Of the 95 antimalarials, 30 (32%) had %API < 85 > 115% API (including one counterfeit). A significant minority of samples, antimalarials (13%) and antibiotics (15%), were collected in plastic bags with minimal or no labeling. Of 20 ampicillin samples, 13 (65%) contained < 85% API (with one counterfeit containing additional amoxicillin). Of 34 oral artesunate samples, 7 (21%) contained %API out of the 85-115% range. Coordinated and synergistic partnership adopted by the participating countries, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), World Health Organization (WHO), and laboratories facilitated a platform for discussions and intelligence sharing, helping to improve each participating country's capacity to combat poor-quality medicines.

Renschler JP, Walters KM, Newton PN, Laxminarayan R. 2015. Estimated under-five deaths associated with poor-quality antimalarials in sub-Saharan Africa. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6 Suppl), pp. 119-126. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Many antimalarials sold in sub-Saharan Africa are poor-quality (falsified, substandard, or degraded), and the burden of disease caused by this problem is inadequately quantified. In this article, we estimate the number of under-five deaths caused by ineffective treatment of malaria associated with consumption of poor-quality antimalarials in 39 sub-Saharan countries. Using Latin hypercube sampling our estimates were calculated as the product of the number of private sector antimalarials consumed by malaria-positive children in 2013; the proportion of private sector antimalarials consumed that were of poor-quality; and the case fatality rate (CFR) of under-five malaria-positive children who did not receive appropriate treatment. An estimated 122,350 (interquartile range [IQR]: 91,577-154,736) under-five malaria deaths were associated with consumption of poor-quality antimalarials, representing 3.75% (IQR: 2.81-4.75%) of all under-five deaths in our sample of 39 countries. There is considerable uncertainty surrounding our results because of gaps in data on case fatality rates and prevalence of poor-quality antimalarials. Our analysis highlights the need for further investigation into the distribution of poor-quality antimalarials and the need for stronger surveillance and regulatory efforts to prevent the sale of poor-quality antimalarials.

Green MD, Hostetler DM, Nettey H, Swamidoss I, Ranieri N, Newton PN. 2015. Integration of novel low-cost colorimetric, laser photometric, and visual fluorescent techniques for rapid identification of falsified medicines in resource-poor areas: application to artemether-lumefantrine. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6 Suppl), pp. 8-16. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The availability of falsified antimalarial drugs can be reduced with effective drug regulatory agencies and proper enforcement. Fundamental to these agencies taking action, rapid identification must be made as soon as they appear in the market place. Since falsified antimalarials occur mostly in developing countries, performing drug analysis presents itself with unique challenges. A fundamental factor in choosing a useful technique is affordability and simplicity. Therefore, we suggest a three-tiered drug evaluation strategy for identifying a falsified drug in resource-poor areas. Tier I is a simple comparison of a tablet's weight and dimensions with official specifications. Tier II uses inexpensive photometric devices (laser and fluorescence) to evaluate a tablet. Suspicious samples from Tier I and II assessments are then subjected to a colorimetric assay for active ingredients identification and quantification. In this article, we evaluate a novel colorimetric assay for the simultaneous assessment of both lumefantrine and artemether in co-formulated Coartem™ tablets, and integrate the method with two novel, low-cost, fluorescence and laser photometric devices. Image analysis software is used for the assessments. Although artemether-lumefantrine is used as an example, the strategy may be adapted to other medicines.

Tabernero P, Mayxay M, Culzoni MJ, Dwivedi P, Swamidoss I, Allan EL, Khanthavong M, Phonlavong C, Vilayhong C, Yeuchaixiong S et al. 2015. A Repeat Random Survey of the Prevalence of Falsified and Substandard Antimalarials in the Lao PDR: A Change for the Better. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6 Suppl), pp. 95-104. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In 2003, a stratified random sample survey was conducted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) to study the availability and quality of antimalarials in the private sector. In 2012, this survey was repeated to allow a statistically valid analysis of change through time. The counterfeit detection device 3 (CD-3) was used to assess packaging quality in the field and HPLC and mass spectroscopy analysis chemical analysis performed. The availability of oral artesunate monotherapies had significantly decreased from 22.9% (22) of 96 outlets in southern Laos in 2003 to 4.8% (7) of 144 outlets in 2012 (P < 0.0001). All the samples collected in the 2012 survey contained the correct active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in contrast to the 21 (84%) falsified artesunate samples found in the 2003 survey. Although none of the medicines found in 2012 survey had evidence for falsification, 25.4% (37) of the samples were outside the 90-110% pharmacopeial limits of the label claim, suggesting that they were substandard or degraded. Results obtained from this survey show that patients are still exposed to poorly manufactured drugs or to ineffective medicines such as chloroquine. The quality of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) used in Laos needs to be monitored, since falsified ACTs would have devastating consequences in public health.

Nayyar GML, Attaran A, Clark JP, Culzoni MJ, Fernandez FM, Herrington JE, Kendall M, Newton PN, Breman JG. 2015. Responding to the pandemic of falsified medicines. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6 Suppl), pp. 113-118. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Over the past decade, the number of countries reporting falsified (fake, spurious/falsely labeled/counterfeit) medicines and the types and quantities of fraudulent drugs being distributed have increased greatly. The obstacles in combatting falsified pharmaceuticals include 1) lack of consensus on definitions, 2) paucity of reliable and scalable technology to detect fakes before they reach patients, 3) poor global and national leadership and accountability systems for combating this scourge, and 4) deficient manufacturing and regulatory challenges, especially in China and India where fake products often originate. The major needs to improve the quality of the world's medicines fall into three main areas: 1) research to develop and compare accurate and affordable tools to identify high-quality drugs at all levels of distribution; 2) an international convention and national legislation to facilitate production and utilization of high-quality drugs and protect all countries from the criminal and the negligent who make, distribute, and sell life-threatening products; and 3) a highly qualified, well-supported international science and public health organization that will establish standards, drug-quality surveillance, and training programs like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Such leadership would give authoritative guidance for countries in cooperation with national medical regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and international agencies, all of which have an urgent interest and investment in ensuring that patients throughout the world have access to good quality medicines. The organization would also advocate strongly for including targets for achieving good quality medicines in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals.

Seale AC, Obiero CW, Berkley JA. 2015. Rational development of guidelines for management of neonatal sepsis in developing countries. Curr Opin Infect Dis, 28 (3), pp. 225-230. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review discusses the rational development of guidelines for the management of neonatal sepsis in developing countries. RECENT FINDINGS: Diagnosis of neonatal sepsis with high specificity remains challenging in developing countries. Aetiology data, particularly from rural, community-based studies, are very limited, but molecular tests to improve diagnostics are being tested in a community-based study in South Asia. Antibiotic susceptibility data are limited, but suggest reducing susceptibility to first-and second-line antibiotics in both hospital and community-acquired neonatal sepsis. Results of clinical trials in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa assessing feasibility of simplified antibiotic regimens are awaited. SUMMARY: Effective management of neonatal sepsis in developing countries is essential to reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity. Simplified antibiotic regimens are currently being examined in clinical trials, but reduced antimicrobial susceptibility threatens current empiric treatment strategies. Improved clinical and microbiological surveillance is essential, to inform current practice, treatment guidelines, and monitor implementation of policy changes.

Mbengue A, Bhattacharjee S, Pandharkar T, Liu H, Estiu G, Stahelin RV, Rizk SS, Njimoh DL, Ryan Y, Chotivanich K et al. 2015. A molecular mechanism of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Nature, 520 (7549), pp. 683-687. | Citations: 146 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinins are the cornerstone of anti-malarial drugs. Emergence and spread of resistance to them raises risk of wiping out recent gains achieved in reducing worldwide malaria burden and threatens future malaria control and elimination on a global level. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed parasite genetic loci associated with artemisinin resistance. However, there is no consensus on biochemical targets of artemisinin. Whether and how these targets interact with genes identified by GWAS, remains unknown. Here we provide biochemical and cellular evidence that artemisinins are potent inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PfPI3K), revealing an unexpected mechanism of action. In resistant clinical strains, increased PfPI3K was associated with the C580Y mutation in P. falciparum Kelch13 (PfKelch13), a primary marker of artemisinin resistance. Polyubiquitination of PfPI3K and its binding to PfKelch13 were reduced by the PfKelch13 mutation, which limited proteolysis of PfPI3K and thus increased levels of the kinase, as well as its lipid product phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI3P). We find PI3P levels to be predictive of artemisinin resistance in both clinical and engineered laboratory parasites as well as across non-isogenic strains. Elevated PI3P induced artemisinin resistance in absence of PfKelch13 mutations, but remained responsive to regulation by PfKelch13. Evidence is presented for PI3P-dependent signalling in which transgenic expression of an additional kinase confers resistance. Together these data present PI3P as the key mediator of artemisinin resistance and the sole PfPI3K as an important target for malaria elimination.

Fellmeth G, Plugge E, Paw MK, Charunwatthana P, Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Pregnant migrant and refugee women's perceptions of mental illness on the Thai-Myanmar border: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 15 (1), pp. 93. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mental illness is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease, with prevalence highest in low- and middle-income countries. Rates are high in women of childbearing age, especially during pregnancy and the first year post-partum. Migrant and refugee populations are at risk of developing mental illness due to the multiple stressors associated with migration. The Thai-Myanmar border area is home to large populations of migrants and refugees as a result of long-standing conflict, poverty and unemployment in Myanmar. This study aims to explore perceptions of mental illness among pregnant migrants and refugees and antenatal clinic staff living and working along the Thai-Myanmar border. METHODS: Thirteen focus group discussions were conducted with pregnant migrants, pregnant refugees and antenatal clinic staff. Focus groups were held in one large refugee camp and two migrant health clinics along the Thai-Myanmar border. Thematic analysis was used to identify and code themes emerging from the data. RESULTS: A total of 92 pregnant women and 24 antenatal clinic staff participated. Discussions centered around five main themes: symptoms of mental illness; causes of mental illness; suicide; mental illness during pregnancy and the post-partum period; and managing mental illness. Symptoms of mental illness included emotional disturbances, somatic symptoms and socially inappropriate behavior. The main causes were described as current economic and family-related difficulties. Suicide was frequently attributed to shame. Mental illness was thought to be more common during and following pregnancy due to a lack of family support and worries about the future. Talking to family and friends, medication and hospitalization were suggested as means of helping those suffering from mental illness. CONCLUSIONS: Mental illness was recognized as a concept by the majority of participants and there was a general willingness to discuss various aspects of it. More formal and systematic training including the development of assessment tools in the local languages would enable better ascertainment and treatment of mental illness in this population.

Zhang X, Wallace OL, Domi A, Wright KJ, Driscoll J, Anzala O, Sanders EJ, Kamali A, Karita E, Allen S et al. 2015. Canine distemper virus neutralization activity is low in human serum and it is sensitive to an amino acid substitution in the hemagglutinin protein. Virology, 482 pp. 218-224. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Serum was analyzed from 146 healthy adult volunteers in eastern Africa to evaluate measles virus (MV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) neutralizing antibody (nAb) prevalence and potency. MV plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) results indicated that all sera were positive for MV nAbs. Furthermore, the 50% neutralizing dose (ND50) for the majority of sera corresponded to antibody titers induced by MV vaccination. CDV nAbs titers were low and generally were detected in sera with high MV nAb titers. A mutant CDV was generated that was less sensitive to neutralization by human serum. The mutant virus genome had 10 nucleotide substitutions, which coded for single amino acid substitutions in the fusion (F) and hemagglutinin (H) glycoproteins and two substitutions in the large polymerase (L) protein. The H substitution occurred in a conserved region involved in receptor interactions among morbilliviruses, implying that this region is a target for cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies.

Reynolds C, Goudet A, Jenjaroen K, Sumonwiriya M, Rinchai D, Musson J, Overbeek S, Makinde J, Quigley K, Manji J et al. 2015. T Cell Immunity to the Alkyl Hydroperoxide Reductase of Burkholderia pseudomallei: A Correlate of Disease Outcome in Acute Melioidosis. J Immunol, 194 (10), pp. 4814-4824. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for a better understanding of adaptive immunity to Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis that is frequently associated with sepsis or death in patients in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. The imperative to identify vaccine targets is driven both by the public health agenda in these regions and biological threat concerns. In several intracellular bacterial pathogens, alkyl hydroperoxidase reductases are upregulated as part of the response to host oxidative stress, and they can stimulate strong adaptive immunity. We show that alkyl hydroperoxidase reductase (AhpC) of B. pseudomallei is strongly immunogenic for T cells of 'humanized' HLA transgenic mice and seropositive human donors. Some T cell epitopes, such as p6, are able to bind diverse HLA class II heterodimers and stimulate strong T cell immunity in mice and humans. Importantly, patients with acute melioidosis who survive infection show stronger T cell responses to AhpC relative to those who do not. Although the sequence of AhpC is virtually invariant among global B. pseudomallei clinical isolates, a Cambodian isolate varies only in C-terminal truncation of the p6 T cell epitope, raising the possibility of selection by host immunity. This variant peptide is virtually unable to stimulate T cell immunity. For an infection in which there has been debate about centrality of T cell immunity in defense, these observations support a role for T cell immunity to AhpC in disease protection.

Wyres KL, Gorrie C, Edwards DJ, Wertheim HFL, Hsu LY, Van Kinh N, Zadoks R, Baker S, Holt KE. 2015. Extensive Capsule Locus Variation and Large-Scale Genomic Recombination within the Klebsiella pneumoniae Clonal Group 258. Genome Biol Evol, 7 (5), pp. 1267-1279. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Klebsiella pneumoniae clonal group (CG) 258, comprising sequence types (STs) 258, 11, and closely related variants, is associated with dissemination of the K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC). Hospital outbreaks of KPC CG258 infections have been observed globally and are very difficult to treat. As a consequence, there is renewed interest in alternative infection control measures such as vaccines and phage or depolymerase treatments targeting the K. pneumoniae polysaccharide capsule. To date, 78 immunologically distinct capsule variants have been described in K. pneumoniae. Previous investigations of ST258 and a small number of closely related strains suggested that capsular variation was limited within this clone; only two distinct ST258 capsule polysaccharide synthesis (cps) loci have been identified, both acquired through large-scale recombination events (>50 kb). In contrast to previous studies, we report a comparative genomic analysis of the broader K. pneumoniae CG258 (n = 39). We identified 11 different cps loci within CG258, indicating that capsular switching is actually common within the complex. We observed several insertion sequences (IS) within the cps loci, and show further intraclone diversification of two cps loci through IS activity. Our data also indicate that several large-scale recombination events have shaped the genomes of CG258, and that definition of the complex should be broadened to include ST395 (also reported to harbor KPC). As only the second report of extensive intraclonal cps variation among Gram-negative bacterial species, our findings alter our understanding of the evolution of these organisms and have key implications for the design of control measures targeting K. pneumoniae capsules.

Koirala P, Wolpin S, Phuyal P, Basnyat B, Zafren K. 2015. A Pain in the Neck. Clay shoveler's fracture due to cervical spine trauma. Wilderness Environ Med, 26 (3), pp. 430-432. | Read more

Aluvaala J, Okello D, Murithi G, Wafula L, Wanjala L, Isika N, Wasunna A, Were F, Nyamai R, English M. 2015. Delivery outcomes and patterns of morbidity and mortality for neonatal admissions in five Kenyan hospitals. J Trop Pediatr, 61 (4), pp. 255-259. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in neonatal and maternity units of five Kenyan district public hospitals. Data for 1 year were obtained: 3999 maternal and 1836 neonatal records plus tallies of maternal deaths, deliveries and stillbirths. There were 40 maternal deaths [maternal mortality ratio: 276 per 100 000 live births, 95% confidence interval (CI): 197-376]. Fresh stillbirths ranged from 11 to 43 per 1000 births. A fifth (19%, 263 of 1384, 95% CI: 11-30%) of the admitted neonates died. Compared with normal birth weight, odds of death were significantly higher in all of the low birth weight (LBW, <2500 g) categories, with the highest odds for the extremely LBW (<1000 g) category (odds ratio: 59, 95% CI: 21-158, p < 0.01). The observed maternal mortality, stillbirths and neonatal mortality call for implementation of the continuum of care approach to intervention delivery with particular emphasis on LBW babies.

Nosten F. 2015. Beriberi in Cambodia. Paediatr Int Child Health, 35 (4), pp. 2046905515Y0000000015. | Show Abstract | Read more

Beriberi had plagued humans for centuries. It was responsible for over 50% of infant deaths in the Philippines in the early 1900s. But since the discovery of its cause and treatment it has become a rarity, or has it?

Hodgson SH, Ewer KJ, Bliss CM, Edwards NJ, Rampling T, Anagnostou NA, de Barra E, Havelock T, Bowyer G, Poulton ID et al. 2015. Evaluation of the efficacy of ChAd63-MVA vectored vaccines expressing circumsporozoite protein and ME-TRAP against controlled human malaria infection in malaria-naive individuals. J Infect Dis, 211 (7), pp. 1076-1086. | Citations: 49 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Circumsporozoite protein (CS) is the antigenic target for RTS,S, the most advanced malaria vaccine to date. Heterologous prime-boost with the viral vectors simian adenovirus 63 (ChAd63)-modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is the most potent inducer of T-cells in humans, demonstrating significant efficacy when expressing the preerythrocytic antigen insert multiple epitope-thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (ME-TRAP). We hypothesized that ChAd63-MVA containing CS may result in a significant clinical protective efficacy. METHODS: We conducted an open-label, 2-site, partially randomized Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) study to compare the clinical efficacy of ChAd63-MVA CS with ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP. RESULTS: One of 15 vaccinees (7%) receiving ChAd63-MVA CS and 2 of 15 (13%) receiving ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP achieved sterile protection after CHMI. Three of 15 vaccinees (20%) receiving ChAd63-MVA CS and 5 of 15 (33%) receiving ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP demonstrated a delay in time to treatment, compared with unvaccinated controls. In quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses, ChAd63-MVA CS was estimated to reduce the liver parasite burden by 69%-79%, compared with 79%-84% for ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP. CONCLUSIONS: ChAd63-MVA CS does reduce the liver parasite burden, but ChAd63-MVA ME-TRAP remains the most promising antigenic insert for a vectored liver-stage vaccine. Detailed analyses of parasite kinetics may allow detection of smaller but biologically important differences in vaccine efficacy that can influence future vaccine development. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01623557.

Pratt B, Lwin KM, Zion D, Nosten F, Loff B, Cheah PY. 2015. Exploitation and community engagement: Can community advisory boards successfully assume a role minimising exploitation in international research? Developing World Bioethics, 15 (1), pp. 18-26. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. It has been suggested that community advisory boards (CABs) can play a role in minimising exploitation in international research. To get a better idea of what this requires and whether it might be achievable, the paper first describes core elements that we suggest must be in place for a CAB to reduce the potential for exploitation. The paper then examines a CAB established by the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit under conditions common in resource-poor settings - namely, where individuals join with a very limited understanding of disease and medical research and where an existing organisational structure is not relied upon to serve as the CAB. Using the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB) as a case study, we assess the extent to which it might be able to take on a role minimising exploitation were it to decide to do so. We investigate whether, after two years in operation, T-CAB is capable of assessing clinical trials for exploitative features and addressing those found to have them. The findings show that, although T-CAB members have gained knowledge and developed capacities that are foundational for one-day taking on a role to reduce exploitation, their ability to critically evaluate studies for the presence of exploitative elements has not yet been strongly demonstrated. In light of this example, we argue that CABs may not be able to perform such a role for a number of years after initial formation, making it an unsuitable responsibility for many short-term CABs.

De Silva AP, Stephens T, Welch J, Sigera C, De Alwis S, Athapattu P, Dharmagunawardene D, Olupeliyawa A, de Abrew A, Peiris L et al. 2015. Nursing intensive care skills training: A nurse led, short, structured, and practical training program, developed and tested in a resource-limited setting JOURNAL OF CRITICAL CARE, 30 (2), | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

von Seidlein L, Dondorp A. 2015. Fighting fire with fire: mass antimalarial drug administrations in an era of antimalarial resistance. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 13 (6), pp. 715-730. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence and spread of antimalarial resistance has been a major liability for malaria control. The spread of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains had catastrophic consequences for people in malaria-endemic regions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The recent emergence of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains is of highest concern. Current efforts to contain artemisinin resistance have yet to show success. In the absence of more promising plans, it has been suggested to eliminate falciparum malaria from foci of artemisinin resistance using a multipronged approach, including mass drug administrations. The use of mass drug administrations is controversial as it increases drug pressure. Based on current knowledge it is difficult to conceptualize how targeted malaria elimination could contribute to artemisinin resistance, provided a full treatment course is ensured.

Tuan NM, Nhan HT, Chau NVV, Hung NT, Tuan HM, Tram TV, Ha NLD, Loi P, Quang HK, Kien DTH et al. 2015. Sensitivity and specificity of a novel classifier for the early diagnosis of dengue. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (4), pp. e0003638. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the commonest arboviral disease of humans. An early and accurate diagnosis of dengue can support clinical management, surveillance and disease control and is central to achieving the World Health Organisation target of a 50% reduction in dengue case mortality by 2020. METHODS: 5729 children with fever of <72 hrs duration were enrolled into this multicenter prospective study in southern Vietnam between 2010-2012. A composite of gold standard diagnostic tests identified 1692 dengue cases. Using statistical methods, a novel Early Dengue Classifier (EDC) was developed that used patient age, white blood cell count and platelet count to discriminate dengue cases from non-dengue cases. RESULTS: The EDC had a sensitivity of 74.8% (95%CI: 73.0-76.8%) and specificity of 76.3% (95%CI: 75.2-77.6%) for the diagnosis of dengue. As an adjunctive test alongside NS1 rapid testing, sensitivity of the composite test was 91.6% (95%CI: 90.4-92.9%). CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that the early diagnosis of dengue can be enhanced beyond the current standard of care using a simple evidence-based algorithm. The results should support patient management and clinical trials of specific therapies.

Vongphoumy I, Dance DAB, Dittrich S, Logan J, Davong V, Rattanavong S, Blessmann J. 2015. Case report: Actinomycetoma caused by Nocardia aobensis from Lao PDR with favourable outcome after short-term antibiotic treatment. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (4), pp. e0003729. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mycetoma is a neglected, chronic, localized, progressively destructive, granulomatous infection caused either by fungi (eumycetoma) or by aerobic actinomycetes (actinomycetoma). It is characterized by a triad of painless subcutaneous mass, multiple sinuses and discharge containing grains. Mycetoma commonly affects young men aged between 20 and 40 years with low socioeconomic status, particularly farmers and herdsmen. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A 30 year-old male farmer from an ethnic minority in Phin District, Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR (Laos) developed a painless swelling with multiple draining sinuses of his right foot over a period of approximately 3 years. X-ray of the right foot showed osteolysis of tarsals and metatarsals. Aerobic culture of sinus discharge yielded large numbers of Staphylococcus aureus and a slow growing Gram-positive rod. The organism was subsequently identified as Nocardia aobensis by 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing. The patient received antimicrobial treatment with amikacin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole according to consensus treatment guidelines. Although slight improvement was noted the patient left the hospital after 14 days and did not take any more antibiotics. Over the following 22 weeks the swelling of his foot subsequently diminished together with healing of discharging sinuses. CONCLUSION: This is the first published case of Actinomycetoma caused by Nocardia aobensis and the second case of Actinomycetoma from Laos. A treatment course of only 14 days with amikacin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was apparently sufficient to cure the infection, although long-term treatment up to one year is currently recommended. Treatment trials or prospective descriptions of outcome for actinomycetoma should investigate treatment efficacy for the different members of Actinomycetales, particularly Nocardia spp., with short-term and long-term treatment courses.

Cooper BS, Boni MF, Pan-ngum W, Day NPJ, Horby PW, Olliaro P, Lang T, White NJ, White LJ, Whitehead J. 2015. Evaluating clinical trial designs for investigational treatments of Ebola virus disease. PLoS Med, 12 (4), pp. e1001815. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Experimental treatments for Ebola virus disease (EVD) might reduce EVD mortality. There is uncertainty about the ability of different clinical trial designs to identify effective treatments, and about the feasibility of implementing individually randomised controlled trials during an Ebola epidemic. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A treatment evaluation programme for use in EVD was devised using a multi-stage approach (MSA) with two or three stages, including both non-randomised and randomised elements. The probabilities of rightly or wrongly recommending the experimental treatment, the required sample size, and the consequences for epidemic outcomes over 100 d under two epidemic scenarios were compared for the MSA, a sequential randomised controlled trial (SRCT) with up to 20 interim analyses, and, as a reference case, a conventional randomised controlled trial (RCT) without interim analyses. Assuming 50% 14-d survival in the population treated with the current standard of supportive care, all designs had similar probabilities of identifying effective treatments correctly, while the MSA was less likely to recommend treatments that were ineffective. The MSA led to a smaller number of cases receiving ineffective treatments and faster roll-out of highly effective treatments. For less effective treatments, the MSA had a high probability of including an RCT component, leading to a somewhat longer time to roll-out or rejection. Assuming 100 new EVD cases per day, the MSA led to between 6% and 15% greater reductions in epidemic mortality over the first 100 d for highly effective treatments compared to the SRCT. Both the MSA and SRCT led to substantially fewer deaths than a conventional RCT if the tested interventions were either highly effective or harmful. In the proposed MSA, the major threat to the validity of the results of the non-randomised components is that referral patterns, standard of care, or the virus itself may change during the study period in ways that affect mortality. Adverse events are also harder to quantify without a concurrent control group. CONCLUSIONS: The MSA discards ineffective treatments quickly, while reliably providing evidence concerning effective treatments. The MSA is appropriate for the clinical evaluation of EVD treatments.

De Jong HK, Achouiti A, Koh GCKW, Parry CM, Baker S, Faiz MA, van Dissel JT, Vollaard AM, van Leeuwen EMM, Roelofs JJTH et al. 2015. Expression and function of S100A8/A9 (calprotectin) in human typhoid fever and the murine Salmonella model. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (4), pp. e0003663. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Typhoid fever, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, is a major cause of community-acquired bacteremia and death worldwide. S100A8 (MRP8) and S100A9 (MRP14) form bioactive antimicrobial heterodimers (calprotectin) that can activate Toll-like receptor 4, promoting lethal, endotoxin-induced shock and multi-organ failure. We aimed to characterize the expression and function of S100A8/A9 in patients with typhoid fever and in a murine invasive Salmonella model. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: S100A8/A9 protein levels were determined in acute phase plasma or feces from 28 Bangladeshi patients, and convalescent phase plasma from 60 Indonesian patients with blood culture or PCR-confirmed typhoid fever, and compared to 98 healthy control subjects. To functionally characterize the role of S100A8/A9, we challenged wildtype (WT) and S100A9-/- mice with S. Typhimurium and determined bacterial loads and inflammation 2- and 5- days post infection. We further assessed the antimicrobial function of recombinant S100A8/A9 on S. Typhimurium and S. Typhi replication in vitro. Typhoid fever patients demonstrated a marked increase of S100A8/A9 in acute phase plasma and feces and this increases correlated with duration of fever prior to admission. S100A8/A9 directly inhibited the growth of S. Typhimurium and S. Typhi in vitro in a dose and time dependent fashion. WT mice inoculated with S. Typhimurium showed increased levels of S100A8/A9 in both the liver and the systemic compartment but S100A9-/- mice were indistinguishable from WT mice with respect to bacterial growth, survival, and inflammatory responses, as determined by cytokine release, histopathology and organ injury. CONCLUSION: S100A8/A9 is markedly elevated in human typhoid, correlates with duration of fever prior to admission and directly inhibits the growth of S. Typhimurium and S. Typhi in vitro. Despite elevated levels in the murine invasive Salmonella model, S100A8/A9 does not contribute to an effective host response against S. Typhimurium in mice.

White LJ, Flegg JA, Phyo AP, Wiladpai-ngern JH, Bethell D, Plowe C, Anderson T, Nkhoma S, Nair S, Tripura R et al. 2015. Defining the in vivo phenotype of artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria: a modelling approach. PLoS Med, 12 (4), pp. e1001823. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria has emerged in Southeast Asia, posing a major threat to malaria control. It is characterised by delayed asexual-stage parasite clearance, which is the reference comparator for the molecular marker 'Kelch 13' and in vitro sensitivity tests. However, current cut-off values denoting slow clearance based on the proportion of individuals remaining parasitaemic on the third day of treatment ('day-3'), or on peripheral blood parasite half-life, are not well supported. We here explore the parasite clearance distributions in an area of artemisinin resistance with the aim refining the in vivo phenotypic definitions. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data from 1,518 patients on the Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Cambodian borders with parasite half-life assessments after artesunate treatment were analysed. Half-lives followed a bimodal distribution. A statistical approach was developed to infer the characteristics of the component distributions and their relative contribution to the composite mixture. A model representing two parasite subpopulations with geometric mean (IQR) parasite half-lives of 3.0 (2.4-3.9) hours and 6.50 (5.7-7.4) hours was consistent with the data. For individual patients, the parasite half-life provided a predicted likelihood of an artemisinin-resistant infection which depends on the population prevalence of resistance in that area. Consequently, a half-life where the probability is 0.5 varied between 3.5 and 5.5 hours. Using this model, the current 'day-3' cut-off value of 10% predicts the potential presence of artemisinin-resistant infections in most but not all scenarios. These findings are relevant to the low-transmission setting of Southeast Asia. Generalisation to a high transmission setting as in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa will need additional evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: Characterisation of overlapping distributions of parasite half-lives provides quantitative insight into the relationship between parasite clearance and artemisinin resistance, as well as the predictive value of the 10% cut-off in 'day-3' parasitaemia. The findings are important for the interpretation of in vitro sensitivity tests and molecular markers for artemisinin resistance and for contextualising the 'day 3' threshold to account for initial parasitaemia and sample size.

Angood C, McGrath M, Mehta S, Mwangome M, Lung'aho M, Roberfroid D, Perry A, Wilkinson C, Israel A-D, Bizouerne C et al. 2015. Research priorities to improve the management of acute malnutrition in infants aged less than six months (MAMI). PLoS Med, 12 (4), pp. e1001812. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Dogovski C, Xie SC, Burgio G, Bridgford J, Mok S, McCaw JM, Chotivanich K, Kenny S, Gnädig N, Straimer J et al. 2015. Targeting the cell stress response of Plasmodium falciparum to overcome artemisinin resistance. PLoS Biol, 13 (4), pp. e1002132. | Citations: 68 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Successful control of falciparum malaria depends greatly on treatment with artemisinin combination therapies. Thus, reports that resistance to artemisinins (ARTs) has emerged, and that the prevalence of this resistance is increasing, are alarming. ART resistance has recently been linked to mutations in the K13 propeller protein. We undertook a detailed kinetic analysis of the drug responses of K13 wild-type and mutant isolates of Plasmodium falciparum sourced from a region in Cambodia (Pailin). We demonstrate that ART treatment induces growth retardation and an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, indicative of a cellular stress response that engages the ubiquitin/proteasome system. We show that resistant parasites exhibit lower levels of ubiquitinated proteins and delayed onset of cell death, indicating an enhanced cell stress response. We found that the stress response can be targeted by inhibiting the proteasome. Accordingly, clinically used proteasome inhibitors strongly synergize ART activity against both sensitive and resistant parasites, including isogenic lines expressing mutant or wild-type K13. Synergy is also observed against Plasmodium berghei in vivo. We developed a detailed model of parasite responses that enables us to infer, for the first time, in vivo parasite clearance profiles from in vitro assessments of ART sensitivity. We provide evidence that the clinical marker of resistance (delayed parasite clearance) is an indirect measure of drug efficacy because of the persistence of unviable parasites with unchanged morphology in the circulation, and we suggest alternative approaches for the direct measurement of viability. Our model predicts that extending current three-day ART treatment courses to four days, or splitting the doses, will efficiently clear resistant parasite infections. This work provides a rationale for improving the detection of ART resistance in the field and for treatment strategies that can be employed in areas with ART resistance.

Quet F, Vlieghe E, Leyer C, Buisson Y, Newton PN, Naphayvong P, Keoluangkhot V, Chomarat M, Longuet C, Steenkeste N, Jacobs J. 2015. Antibiotic prescription behaviours in Lao People's Democratic Republic: a knowledge, attitude and practice survey. Bull World Health Organ, 93 (4), pp. 219-227. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the antibiotic prescribing practices of doctors working in the Lao People's Democratic Republic and their knowledge of local antibiotic resistance patterns. METHODS: Doctors attending morning meetings in 25 public hospitals in four provinces were asked to complete a knowledge, attitude and practice survey. The questionnaire contained 43 multiple choice questions that the doctor answered at the time of the meeting. FINDINGS: The response rate was 83.4% (386/463). Two hundred and seventy doctors (59.8%) declared that they had insufficient information about antibiotics. Only 14.0% (54/386) recognized the possibility of cephalosporin cross-resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Most participants had no information about local antibiotic resistance for Salmonella Typhi (211/385, 54.8%) and hospital-acquired pneumonia (253/384, 65.9%). Unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions were considered as harmless by 115 participants and 148 considered locally-available generic antibiotics to be of poor quality. Nearly three-quarters (280/386) of participants agreed that it was difficult to select the correct antibiotics. Most participants (373/386) welcomed educational programmes on antibiotic prescribing and 65.0% (249/383) preferred local over international antibiotic guidelines. CONCLUSION: Doctors in the Lao People's Democratic Republic seem to favour antibiotic prescribing interventions. Health authorities should consider a capacity building programme that incorporates antibiotic prescribing and hospital infection control.

Wolbers M, Day JN. 2015. Limitation of the Benefit of Amphotericin-Flucytosine Combination Therapy in Patients With Lower Conscious Level: An Ecological Fallacy? Open Forum Infect Dis, 2 (2), pp. ofv069. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more

Neme S, Wahome E, Mwashigadi G, Thiong'o AN, Stekler JD, Wald A, Sanders EJ, Graham SM. 2015. Prevalence, Incidence, and Clearance of Anogenital Warts in Kenyan Men Reporting High-Risk Sexual Behavior, Including Men Who Have Sex With Men. Open Forum Infect Dis, 2 (2), pp. ofv070. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background.  Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes a spectrum of disease, ranging from warts to cancer. Prevalence, incidence, and factors associated with anogenital warts in East African men are unknown. Methods.  Kenyan men reporting high-risk sexual behavior were inspected for anogenital warts at enrollment and follow-up visits. Logistic regression was performed to identify associations with anogenital warts at baseline. Cox regression was performed to analyze predictors of incident anogenital warts, and Kaplan-Meier curves were used to estimate clearance. Results.  Baseline anogenital wart prevalence in 1137 men was 2.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0%-4.0%) overall, 2.0% in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-uninfected men, and 9.4% in HIV-1-infected men (adjusted odds ratio, 5.43; 95% CI, 2.03-11.29). Over a median of 1.4 years, anogenital wart incidence among 1104 men was 5.3 (95% CI, 4.3-6.5) per 100 person-years. Having HIV-1 infection at baseline (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 1.66; 95% CI, 1.01-2.72) or a genital syndrome during follow-up (aHR, 4.78; 95% CI, 3.03-7.56) was associated with increased wart incidence. Wart clearance was lower in HIV-1-infected men (log-rank P<.001). Conclusions.  Anogenital wart prevalence and incidence were increased in HIV-1-infected men, and anogenital warts co-occurred with other genital syndromes. Quadrivalent HPV vaccination should be recommended for young men in settings with high HIV-1 prevalence.

Bishop RP, Fleischauer C, de Villiers EP, Okoth EA, Arias M, Gallardo C, Upton C. 2015. Comparative analysis of the complete genome sequences of Kenyan African swine fever virus isolates within p72 genotypes IX and X. Virus Genes, 50 (2), pp. 303-309. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Twelve complete African swine fever virus (ASFV) genome sequences are currently publicly available and these include only one sequence from East Africa. We describe genome sequencing and annotation of a recent pig-derived p72 genotype IX, and a tick-derived genotype X isolate from Kenya using the Illumina platform and comparison with the Kenya 1950 isolate. The three genomes constitute a cluster that was phylogenetically distinct from other ASFV genomes, but 98-99 % conserved within the group. Vector-based compositional analysis of the complete genomes produced a similar topology. Of the 125 previously identified 'core' ASFV genes, two ORFs of unassigned function were absent from the genotype IX sequence which was 184 kb in size as compared to 191 kb for the genotype X. There were multiple differences among East African genomes in the 360 and 110 multicopy gene families. The gene corresponding to 360-19R has transposed to the 5' variable region in both genotype X isolates. Additionally, there is a 110 ORF in the tick-derived genotype X isolate formed by fusion of 13L and 14L that is unique among ASFV genomes. In future, functional analysis based on the variations in the multicopy families may reveal whether they contribute to the observed differences in virulence between genotpye IX and X viruses.

Inverarity DJ, Forrester VM, Cumming JGR, Paterson PJ, Campbell RJ, Brooks TJG, Carson GL, Ruddy JP. 2015. Injectional anthrax at a Scottish district general hospital. Epidemiol Infect, 143 (6), pp. 1311-1321. | Show Abstract | Read more

This retrospective, descriptive case-series reviews the clinical presentations and significant laboratory findings of patients diagnosed with and treated for injectional anthrax (IA) since December 2009 at Monklands Hospital in Central Scotland and represents the largest series of IA cases to be described from a single location. Twenty-one patients who fulfilled National Anthrax Control Team standardized case definitions of confirmed, probable or possible IA are reported. All cases survived and none required limb amputation in contrast to an overall mortality of 28% being experienced for this condition in Scotland. We document the spectrum of presentations of soft tissue infection ranging from mild cases which were managed predominantly with oral antibiotics to severe cases with significant oedema, organ failure and coagulopathy. We describe the surgical management, intensive care management and antibiotic management including the first description of daptomycin being used to treat human anthrax. It is noted that some people who had injected heroin infected with Bacillus anthracis did not develop evidence of IA. Also highlighted are biochemical and haematological parameters which proved useful in identifying deteriorating patients who required greater levels of support and surgical debridement.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) AS-AQ Study Group, Adjuik MA, Allan R, Anvikar AR, Ashley EA, Ba MS, Barennes H, Barnes KI, Bassat Q, Baudin E et al. 2015. The effect of dosing strategies on the therapeutic efficacy of artesunate-amodiaquine for uncomplicated malaria: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 66. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artesunate-amodiaquine (AS-AQ) is one of the most widely used artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa. We investigated the impact of different dosing strategies on the efficacy of this combination for the treatment of falciparum malaria. METHODS: Individual patient data from AS-AQ clinical trials were pooled using the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) standardised methodology. Risk factors for treatment failure were identified using a Cox regression model with shared frailty across study sites. RESULTS: Forty-three studies representing 9,106 treatments from 1999-2012 were included in the analysis; 4,138 (45.4%) treatments were with a fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (FDC), 1,293 (14.2%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 25 mg/kg (loose NFDC-25), 2,418 (26.6%) with a non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (loose NFDC-30), and the remaining 1,257 (13.8%) with a co-blistered non-fixed dose combination with an AQ target dose of 30 mg/kg (co-blistered NFDC). The median dose of AQ administered was 32.1 mg/kg [IQR: 25.9-38.2], the highest dose being administered to patients treated with co-blistered NFDC (median = 35.3 mg/kg [IQR: 30.6-43.7]) and the lowest to those treated with loose NFDC-25 (median = 25.0 mg/kg [IQR: 22.7-25.0]). Patients treated with FDC received a median dose of 32.4 mg/kg [IQR: 27-39.0]. After adjusting for reinfections, the corrected antimalarial efficacy on day 28 after treatment was similar for co-blistered NFDC (97.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 97.0-98.8%]) and FDC (98.1% [95% CI: 97.6%-98.5%]; P = 0.799), but significantly lower for the loose NFDC-25 (93.4% [95% CI: 91.9%-94.9%]), and loose NFDC-30 (95.0% [95% CI: 94.1%-95.9%]) (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). After controlling for age, AQ dose, baseline parasitemia and region; treatment with loose NFDC-25 was associated with a 3.5-fold greater risk of recrudescence by day 28 (adjusted hazard ratio, AHR = 3.51 [95% CI: 2.02-6.12], P < 0.001) compared to FDC, and treatment with loose NFDC-30 was associated with a higher risk of recrudescence at only three sites. CONCLUSIONS: There was substantial variation in the total dose of amodiaquine administered in different AS-AQ combination regimens. Fixed dose AS-AQ combinations ensure optimal dosing and provide higher antimalarial treatment efficacy than the loose individual tablets in all age categories.

Marchetti RV, Lehane AM, Shafik SH, Winterberg M, Martin RE, Kirk K. 2015. A lactate and formate transporter in the intraerythrocytic malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 6721. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The intraerythrocytic malaria parasite relies primarily on glycolysis to fuel its rapid growth and reproduction. The major byproduct of this metabolism, lactic acid, is extruded into the external medium. In this study, we show that the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum expresses at its surface a member of the microbial formate-nitrite transporter family (PfFNT), which, when expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, transports both formate and lactate. The transport characteristics of PfFNT in oocytes (pH-dependence, inhibitor-sensitivity and kinetics) are similar to those of the transport of lactate and formate across the plasma membrane of mature asexual-stage P. falciparum trophozoites, consistent with PfFNT playing a major role in the efflux of lactate and hence in the energy metabolism of the intraerythrocytic parasite.

Sabanathan S, Wills B, Gladstone M. 2015. Child development assessment tools in low-income and middle-income countries: how can we use them more appropriately? Arch Dis Child, 100 (5), pp. 482-488. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Global emphasis has shifted beyond reducing child survival rates to improving health and developmental trajectories in childhood. Optimum early childhood experience is believed to allow children to benefit fully from educational opportunities resulting in improved human capital. Investment in early childhood initiatives in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) is increasing. These initiatives use early childhood developmental assessment tools (CDATs) as outcome measures. CDATs are also key measures in the evaluation of programmatic health initiatives in LMICs, influencing public health policy. Interpretation of CDAT outcomes requires understanding of their structure and psychometric properties. This article reviews the structure and main methods of CDAT development with specific considerations when applied in LMICs.

Knappik M, Dance DAB, Rattanavong S, Pierret A, Ribolzi O, Davong V, Silisouk J, Vongsouvath M, Newton PN, Dittrich S. 2015. Evaluation of Molecular Methods To Improve the Detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Soil and Water Samples from Laos. Appl Environ Microbiol, 81 (11), pp. 3722-3727. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei is the cause of melioidosis, a severe and potentially fatal disease of humans and animals. It is endemic in northern Australia and Southeast Asia and is found in soil and surface water. The environmental distribution of B. pseudomallei worldwide and within countries where it is endemic, such as the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos), remains unclear. However, this knowledge is important to our understanding of the ecology and epidemiology of B. pseudomallei and to facilitate public health interventions. Sensitive and specific methods to detect B. pseudomallei in environmental samples are therefore needed. The aim of this study was to compare molecular and culture-based methods for the detection of B. pseudomallei in soil and surface water in order to identify the optimal approach for future environmental studies in Laos. Molecular detection by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) was attempted after DNA extraction directly from soil or water samples or after an overnight enrichment step. The positivity rates obtained by qPCR were compared to those obtained by different culture techniques. The rate of detection from soil samples by qPCR following culture enrichment was significantly higher (84/100) than that by individual culture methods and all culture methods combined (44/100; P < 0.001). Similarly, qPCR following enrichment was the most sensitive method for filtered river water compared with the sensitivity of the individual methods and all individual methods combined. In conclusion, molecular detection following an enrichment step has proven to be a sensitive and reliable approach for B. pseudomallei detection in Lao environmental samples and is recommended as the preferred method for future surveys.

Beeson JG, Chu CS, Richards JS, Nosten F, Fowkes FJI. 2015. Plasmodium vivax malaria: challenges in diagnosis, treatment and elimination. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (5), pp. 529-531. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Obiero CW, Seale AC, Berkley JA. 2015. Empiric treatment of neonatal sepsis in developing countries. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (6), pp. 659-661. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Infections are among the leading causes of neonatal mortality, and about 75% of the burden occurs in developing countries. Diagnosis of neonatal sepsis in these countries is dependent on the recognition of a set of nonspecific clinical signs that maximize sensitivity because staff making initial assessments may not have specialist pediatric training. Accurate diagnosis is usually limited by the unavailability of reliable microbiological investigation. The World Health Organization recommends ampicillin (or penicillin; cloxacillin if staphylococcal infection is suspected) plus gentamicin for empiric treatment of neonates with suspected clinical sepsis or meningitis. However, there is a lack of comprehensive data on the causes of infection and antimicrobial susceptibility in developing countries to support these recommendations, especially in rural settings. Bacterial pathogens (predominantly Gram negative) with reduced susceptibility to empiric medication have been reported, with variations both between and within regions. Nosocomial infections with resistant organisms and high case fatality challenge the first-line use of cephalosporins. Improving local surveillance data using standardized antimicrobial susceptibility testing methods and validation of diagnostic algorithms against microbial findings are essential. Standardized reporting of treatment outcomes is required to evaluate practice, provide guidance on second-line regimes and for studies of new approaches, such as simplified community-based regimens, and to determine the appropriate duration of empiric treatment for apparently low-risk neonates with early resolution of clinical signs, or where available, negative blood cultures. Thus, a multifaceted approach, with attention to microbiological quality assurance, is needed to better guide antimicrobial use and reduce mortality and long-term impairments.

Thompson CN, Phan MVT, Hoang NVM, Minh PV, Vinh NT, Thuy CT, Nga TTT, Rabaa MA, Duy PT, Dung TTN et al. 2015. A prospective multi-center observational study of children hospitalized with diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 1045-1052. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We performed a prospective multicenter study to address the lack of data on the etiology, clinical and demographic features of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. Over 2,000 (1,419 symptomatic and 609 non-diarrheal control) children were enrolled in three hospitals over a 1-year period in 2009-2010. Aiming to detect a panel of pathogens, we identified a known diarrheal pathogen in stool samples from 1,067/1,419 (75.2%) children with diarrhea and from 81/609 (13.3%) children without diarrhea. Rotavirus predominated in the symptomatic children (664/1,419; 46.8%), followed by norovirus (293/1,419; 20.6%). The bacterial pathogens Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shigella were cumulatively isolated from 204/1,419 (14.4%) diarrheal children and exhibited extensive antimicrobial resistance, most notably to fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins. We suggest renewed efforts in generation and implementation of policies to control the sale and prescription of antimicrobials to curb bacterial resistance and advise consideration of a subsidized rotavirus vaccination policy to limit the morbidity due to diarrheal disease in Vietnam.

Okello AL, Burniston S, Conlan JV, Inthavong P, Khamlome B, Welburn SC, Gilbert J, Allen J, Blacksell SD. 2015. Prevalence of Endemic Pig-Associated Zoonoses in Southeast Asia: A Review of Findings from the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 1059-1066. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The increasing intensification of pork production in southeast Asia necessitates an urgent requirement to better understand the dual impact of pig-associated zoonotic disease on both pig production and human health in the region. Sharing porous borders with five countries and representing many regional ethnicities and agricultural practices, the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) appears well placed to gauge the levels of pig-associated zoonoses circulating in the wider region. Despite this, little is known about the true impact of zoonotic pathogens such as leptospirosis, Trichinella, hepatitis E virus (HEV), Japanese encephalitis (JE), and Taenia solium on human health and livestock production in the country. A comprehensive review of the published prevalences of these five pig-associated zoonoses in Lao PDR has demonstrated that although suspicion remains high of their existence in pig reservoirs across the country, epidemiological data are scarce; only 31 epidemiological studies have been undertaken on these diseases in the past 25 years. A greater understanding of the zoonoses prevalence and subsequent risks associated with pork production in the southeast Asian region could help focus public health and food safety interventions at key points along the value chain, benefiting both livestock producers and the broader animal and human health systems in the region.

Miguel-Blanco C, Lelièvre J, Delves MJ, Bardera AI, Presa JL, López-Barragán MJ, Ruecker A, Marques S, Sinden RE, Herreros E. 2015. Imaging-based high-throughput screening assay to identify new molecules with transmission-blocking potential against Plasmodium falciparum female gamete formation. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (6), pp. 3298-3305. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In response to a call for the global eradication of malaria, drug discovery has recently been extended to identify compounds that prevent the onward transmission of the parasite, which is mediated by Plasmodium falciparum stage V gametocytes. Lately, metabolic activity has been used in vitro as a surrogate for gametocyte viability; however, as gametocytes remain relatively quiescent at this stage, their ability to undergo onward development (gamete formation) may be a better measure of their functional viability. During gamete formation, female gametocytes undergo profound morphological changes and express translationally repressed mRNA. By assessing female gamete cell surface expression of one such repressed protein, Pfs25, as the readout for female gametocyte functional viability, we developed an imaging-based high-throughput screening (HTS) assay to identify transmission-blocking compounds. This assay, designated the P. falciparum female gametocyte activation assay (FGAA), was scaled up to a high-throughput format (Z' factor, 0.7 ± 0.1) and subsequently validated using a selection of 50 known antimalarials from diverse chemical families. Only a few of these agents showed submicromolar 50% inhibitory concentrations in the assay: thiostrepton, methylene blue, and some endoperoxides. To determine the best conditions for HTS, a robustness test was performed with a selection of the GlaxoSmithKline Tres Cantos Antimalarial Set (TCAMS) and the final screening conditions for this library were determined to be a 2 μM concentration and 48 h of incubation with gametocytes. The P. falciparum FGAA has been proven to be a robust HTS assay faithful to Plasmodium transmission-stage cell biology, and it is an innovative useful tool for antimalarial drug discovery which aims to identify new molecules with transmission-blocking potential.

Anders KL, Thompson CN, Thuy NTV, Nguyet NM, Tu LTP, Dung TTN, Phat VV, Van NTH, Hieu NT, Tham NTH et al. 2015. The epidemiology and aetiology of diarrhoeal disease in infancy in southern Vietnam: a birth cohort study. Int J Infect Dis, 35 pp. 3-10. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Previous studies indicate a high burden of diarrhoeal disease in Vietnamese children, however longitudinal community-based data on burden and aetiology are limited. The findings from a large, prospective cohort study of diarrhoeal disease in infants in southern Vietnam are presented herein. METHODS: Infants were enrolled at birth in urban Ho Chi Minh City and a semi-rural district in southern Vietnam, and followed for 12 months (n=6706). Diarrhoeal illness episodes were identified through clinic-based passive surveillance, hospital admissions, and self-reports. RESULTS: The minimum incidence of diarrhoeal illness in the first year of life was 271/1000 infant-years of observation for the whole cohort. Rotavirus was the most commonly detected pathogen (50% of positive samples), followed by norovirus (24%), Campylobacter (20%), Salmonella (18%), and Shigella (16%). Repeat infections were identified in 9% of infants infected with rotavirus, norovirus, Shigella, or Campylobacter, and 13% of those with Salmonella infections. CONCLUSIONS: The minimum incidence of diarrhoeal disease in infants in both urban and semi-rural settings in southern Vietnam was quantified prospectively. A large proportion of laboratory-diagnosed disease was caused by rotavirus and norovirus. These data highlight the unmet need for a rotavirus vaccine in Vietnam and provide evidence of the previously unrecognized burden of norovirus in infants.

Woolhouse MEJ, Thumbi SM, Jennings A, Chase-Topping M, Callaby R, Kiara H, Oosthuizen MC, Mbole-Kariuki MN, Conradie I, Handel IG et al. 2015. Co-infections determine patterns of mortality in a population exposed to parasite infection Science Advances, 1 (2), pp. e1400026-e1400026. | Read more

Ferguson NM, Kien DTH, Clapham H, Aguas R, Trung VT, Chau TNB, Popovici J, Ryan PA, O'Neill SL, McGraw EA et al. 2015. Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. Sci Transl Med, 7 (279), pp. 279ra37. | Citations: 55 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most common arboviral infection of humans and is a public health burden in more than 100 countries. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes stably infected with strains of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia are resistant to dengue virus (DENV) infection and are being tested in field trials. To mimic field conditions, we experimentally assessed the vector competence of A. aegypti carrying the Wolbachia strains wMel and wMelPop after challenge with viremic blood from dengue patients. We found that wMelPop conferred strong resistance to DENV infection of mosquito abdomen tissue and largely prevented disseminated infection. wMel conferred less resistance to infection of mosquito abdomen tissue, but it did reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes with infectious saliva. A mathematical model of DENV transmission incorporating the dynamics of viral infection in humans and mosquitoes was fitted to the data collected. Model predictions suggested that wMel would reduce the basic reproduction number, R0, of DENV transmission by 66 to 75%. Our results suggest that establishment of wMelPop-infected A. aegypti at a high frequency in a dengue-endemic setting would result in the complete abatement of DENV transmission. Establishment of wMel-infected A. aegypti is also predicted to have a substantial effect on transmission that would be sufficient to eliminate dengue in low or moderate transmission settings but may be insufficient to achieve complete control in settings where R0 is high. These findings develop a framework for selecting Wolbachia strains for field releases and for calculating their likely impact.

Whitehorn J, Kien DTH, Nguyen NM, Nguyen HL, Kyrylos PP, Carrington LB, Tran CNB, Quyen NTH, Thi LV, Le Thi D et al. 2015. Comparative Susceptibility of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti to Dengue Virus Infection After Feeding on Blood of Viremic Humans: Implications for Public Health. J Infect Dis, 212 (8), pp. 1182-1190. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Aedes albopictus is secondary to Aedes aegypti as a vector of dengue viruses (DENVs) in settings of endemicity, but it plays an important role in areas of dengue emergence. This study compared the susceptibility of these 2 species to DENV infection by performing 232 direct blood-feeding experiments on 118 viremic patients with dengue in Vietnam. Field-derived A. albopictus acquired DENV infections as readily as A. aegypti after blood feeding. Once infected, A. albopictus permitted higher concentrations of DENV RNA to accumulate in abdominal tissues, compared with A. aegypti. However, the odds of A. albopictus having infectious saliva were lower than the odds observed for A. aegypti (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, .52-.93). These results quantitate the susceptibility of A. albopictus to DENV infection and will assist parameterization of models for predicting disease risk in settings where A. albopictus is present.

Tu LTP, Hoang NVM, Cuong NV, Campbell J, Bryant JE, Hoa NT, Kiet BT, Thompson C, Duy DT, Phat VV et al. 2015. High levels of contamination and antimicrobial-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars on pig and poultry farms in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Epidemiol Infect, 143 (14), pp. 3074-3086. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the prevalence, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) and associated risk factors on 341 pig, chicken, and duck farms in Dong Thap province (Mekong Delta, Vietnam). Sampling was stratified by species, district (four categories), and farm size (three categories). Pooled faeces, collected using boot swabs, were tested using ISO 6575: 2002 (Annex D). Isolates were serogrouped; group B isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction to detect S. Typhimurium and (monophasic) serovar 4,[5],12:i:- variants. The farm-level adjusted NTS prevalence was 64·7%, 94·3% and 91·3% for chicken, duck and pig farms, respectively. Factors independently associated with NTS were duck farms [odds ratio (OR) 21·2], farm with >50 pigs (OR 11·9), pig farm with 5-50 pigs (OR 4·88) (vs. chickens), and frequent rodent sightings (OR 2·3). Both S. Typhimurium and monophasic S. Typhimurium were more common in duck farms. Isolates had a high prevalence of resistance (77·6%) against tetracycline, moderate resistance (20-30%) against chloramphenicol, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, ampicillin and nalidixic acid, and low resistance (<5%) against ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins. Multidrug resistance (resistance against ⩾3 classes of antimicrobial) was independently associated with monophasic S. Typhimurium and other group B isolates (excluding S. Typhimurium) and pig farms. The unusually high prevalence of NTS on Mekong Delta farms poses formidable challenges for control.

Suwanpakdee S, Kaewkungwal J, White LJ, Asensio N, Ratanakorn P, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, Pan-Ngum W. 2015. Spatio-temporal patterns of leptospirosis in Thailand: is flooding a risk factor? Epidemiol Infect, 143 (10), pp. 2106-2115. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.

Boyle MJ, Reiling L, Feng G, Langer C, Osier FH, Aspeling-Jones H, Cheng YS, Stubbs J, Tetteh KKA, Conway DJ et al. 2015. Human antibodies fix complement to inhibit Plasmodium falciparum invasion of erythrocytes and are associated with protection against malaria. Immunity, 42 (3), pp. 580-590. | Citations: 68 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Antibodies play major roles in immunity to malaria; however, a limited understanding of mechanisms mediating protection is a major barrier to vaccine development. We have demonstrated that acquired human anti-malarial antibodies promote complement deposition on the merozoite to mediate inhibition of erythrocyte invasion through C1q fixation and activation of the classical complement pathway. Antibody-mediated complement-dependent (Ab-C') inhibition was the predominant invasion-inhibitory activity of human antibodies; most antibodies were non-inhibitory without complement. Inhibitory activity was mediated predominately via C1q fixation, and merozoite surface proteins 1 and 2 were identified as major targets. Complement fixation by antibodies was very strongly associated with protection from both clinical malaria and high-density parasitemia in a prospective longitudinal study of children. Ab-C' inhibitory activity could be induced by human immunization with a candidate merozoite surface-protein vaccine. Our findings demonstrate that human anti-malarial antibodies have evolved to function by fixing complement for potent invasion-inhibitory activity and protective immunity.

Nic Fhogartaigh C, Dance DAB, Davong V, Tann P, Phetsouvanh R, Turner P, Dittrich S, Newton PN. 2015. A novel technique for detecting antibiotic-resistant typhoid from rapid diagnostic tests. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (5), pp. 1758-1760. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Fluoroquinolone-resistant typhoid is increasing. An antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (RDT) can rapidly diagnose typhoid from blood cultures. A simple, inexpensive molecular technique performed with DNA from positive RDTs accurately identified gyrA mutations consistent with phenotypic susceptibility testing results. Field diagnosis combined with centralized molecular resistance testing could improve typhoid management and surveillance in low-resource settings.

Abdulla S, Binka F, Graves P, Greenwood B, Leke R, Malik E, Marsh K, Meek S, Mendis K, Schapira A et al. 2015. Malaria Policy Advisory Committee to the WHO: conclusions and recommendations of sixth biannual meeting (September 2014) MALARIA JOURNAL, 14 (1), | Read more

Nguyen VT, Carrique-Mas JJ, Ngo TH, Ho HM, Ha TT, Campbell JI, Nguyen TN, Hoang NN, Pham VM, Wagenaar JA et al. 2015. Prevalence and risk factors for carriage of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli on household and small-scale chicken farms in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. J Antimicrob Chemother, 70 (7), pp. 2144-2152. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among commensal Escherichia coli isolates on household and small-scale chicken farms, common in southern Vietnam, and to investigate the association of antimicrobial resistance with farming practices and antimicrobial usage. METHODS: We collected data on farming and antimicrobial usage from 208 chicken farms. E. coli was isolated from boot swab samples using MacConkey agar (MA) and MA with ceftazidime, nalidixic acid or gentamicin. Isolates were tested for their susceptibility to 11 antimicrobials and for ESBL production. Risk factor analyses were carried out, using logistic regression, at both the bacterial population and farm levels. RESULTS: E. coli resistant to gentamicin, ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins was detected on 201 (96.6%), 191 (91.8%) and 77 (37.0%) of the farms, respectively. Of the 895 E. coli isolates, resistance to gentamicin, ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins was detected in 178 (19.9%), 291 (32.5%) and 29 (3.2%) of the isolates, respectively. Ciprofloxacin resistance was significantly associated with quinolone usage (OR = 2.26) and tetracycline usage (OR = 1.70). ESBL-producing E. coli were associated with farms containing fish ponds (OR = 4.82). CONCLUSIONS: Household and small farms showed frequent antimicrobial usage associated with a high prevalence of resistance to the most commonly used antimicrobials. Given the weak biocontainment, the high prevalence of resistant E. coli could represent a risk to the environment and to humans.

Baker S. 2015. Infectious disease. A return to the pre-antimicrobial era? Science, 347 (6226), pp. 1064-1066. | Citations: 25 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (5), pp. 2756-2764. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Azithromycin is an effective treatment for uncomplicated infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi A (enteric fever), but there are no clinically validated MIC and disk zone size interpretative guidelines. We studied individual patient data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever in Vietnam, with azithromycin used in one treatment arm, to determine the relationship between azithromycin treatment response and the azithromycin MIC of the infecting isolate. We additionally compared the azithromycin MIC and the disk susceptibility zone sizes of 1,640 S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A clinical isolates collected from seven Asian countries. In the RCTs, 214 patients who were treated with azithromycin at a dose of 10 to 20 mg/ml for 5 to 7 days were analyzed. Treatment was successful in 195 of 214 (91%) patients, with no significant difference in response (cure rate, fever clearance time) with MICs ranging from 4 to 16 μg/ml. The proportion of Asian enteric fever isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml was 1,452/1,460 (99.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.9 to 99.7) for S. Typhi and 207/240 (86.3%; 95% CI, 81.2 to 90.3) (P < 0.001) for S. Paratyphi A. A zone size of ≥ 13 mm to a 5-μg azithromycin disk identified S. Typhi isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 99.7%. An azithromycin MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml or disk inhibition zone size of ≥ 13 mm enabled the detection of susceptible S. Typhi isolates that respond to azithromycin treatment. Further work is needed to define the response to treatment in S. Typhi isolates with an azithromycin MIC of >16 μg/ml and to determine MIC and disk breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.

Sambol NC, Yan L, Creek DJ, McCormack SA, Arinaitwe E, Bigira V, Wanzira H, Kakuru A, Tappero JW, Lindegardh N et al. 2015. Population Pharmacokinetics of Piperaquine in Young Ugandan Children Treated With Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine for Uncomplicated Malaria. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 98 (1), pp. 87-95. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

This prospective trial investigated the population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine given with dihydroartemisinin to treat uncomplicated malaria in 107 Ugandan children 6 months to 2 years old, an age group previously unstudied. Current weight-based dosing does not adequately address physiological changes in early childhood. Patients were administered standard 3-day oral doses and provided 1,282 capillary plasma concentrations from 218 malaria episodes. Less than 30% of treatments achieved 57 ng/mL on day 7. A three-compartment model with first-order absorption described the data well. Age had a statistically significant effect (P < 0.005) on clearance/bioavailability in a model that accounts for allometric scaling. Simulations demonstrated that higher doses in all children, but especially in those with lower weight for age, are required for adequate piperaquine exposure, although safety and tolerance will need to be established. These findings support other evidence that both weight- and age-specific guidelines for piperaquine dosing in children are urgently needed.

Burniston S, Okello AL, Khamlome B, Inthavong P, Gilbert J, Blacksell SD, Allen J, Welburn SC. 2015. Cultural drivers and health-seeking behaviours that impact on the transmission of pig-associated zoonoses in Lao People's Democratic Republic. Infect Dis Poverty, 4 (1), pp. 11. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Pig rearing is an important income source in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), with many smallholder farmers using traditional free-range pig production systems. Despite the potentially significant health risks posed by pig production regarding pig-associated zoonoses, information on the sociocultural drivers of these zoonoses is significantly lacking. This review summarises the existing sociocultural knowledge on eight pig-associated zoonoses suspected to be endemic in Southeast Asia: brucellosis, Q fever (Coxiella burnetii), trichinellosis, hepatitis E virus, leptospirosis, Japanese encephalitis, Streptococcus suis and Taenia solium taeniasis-cysticercosis. It summarises current knowledge on these diseases grouped according to their clinical manifestations in humans to highlight the propensity for underreporting. A literature search was conducted across multiple databases for publications from 1990 to the present day related to the eight pig-associated zoonoses and the risk and impact connected with them, with Lao PDR as a case study. Many of these pig-associated zoonoses have similar presentations and are often diagnosed as clinical syndromes. Misdiagnosis and underreporting are, therefore, substantial and emphasise the need for more robust diagnostics and appropriate surveillance systems. While some reports exist in other countries in the region, information is significantly lacking in Lao PDR with existing information coming mainly from the capital, Vientiane. The disease burden imposed by these zoonoses is not only characterised by morbidity and mortality, but directly impacts on livelihoods through income reduction and production losses, and indirectly through treatment costs and lost work opportunities. Other factors crucial to understanding and controlling these diseases are the influence of ethnicity and culture on food-consumption practices, pig rearing and slaughter practices, hygiene and sanitation, health-seeking behaviours and, therefore, risk factors for disease transmission. Published information on the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of people regarding pig zoonoses and their risk factors is also extremely limited in Lao PDR and the broader Southeast Asian region. The need for more transdisciplinary research, using a One Health approach, in order to understand the underlining social determinants of health and their impacts on health-seeking behaviours, disease transmission and, ultimately, disease reporting, cannot be more emphasized.

Burniston S, Okello AL, Khamlome B, Inthavong P, Gilbert J, Blacksell SD, Allen J, Welburn SC. 2015. Cultural drivers and health-seeking behaviours that impact on the transmission of pig-associated zoonoses in Lao People's Democratic Republic Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 4 (1), | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Burniston et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Pig rearing is an important income source in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), with many smallholder farmers using traditional free-range pig production systems. Despite the potentially significant health risks posed by pig production regarding pig-associated zoonoses, information on the sociocultural drivers of these zoonoses is significantly lacking. This review summarises the existing sociocultural knowledge on eight pig-associated zoonoses suspected to be endemic in Southeast Asia: brucellosis, Q fever (Coxiella burnetii), trichinellosis, hepatitis E virus, leptospirosis, Japanese encephalitis, Streptococcus suis and Taenia solium taeniasis-cysticercosis. It summarises current knowledge on these diseases grouped according to their clinical manifestations in humans to highlight the propensity for underreporting. A literature search was conducted across multiple databases for publications from 1990 to the present day related to the eight pig-associated zoonoses and the risk and impact connected with them, with Lao PDR as a case study. Many of these pig-associated zoonoses have similar presentations and are often diagnosed as clinical syndromes. Misdiagnosis and underreporting are, therefore, substantial and emphasise the need for more robust diagnostics and appropriate surveillance systems. While some reports exist in other countries in the region, information is significantly lacking in Lao PDR with existing information coming mainly from the capital, Vientiane. The disease burden imposed by these zoonoses is not only characterised by morbidity and mortality, but directly impacts on livelihoods through income reduction and production losses, and indirectly through treatment costs and lost work opportunities. Other factors crucial to understanding and controlling these diseases are the influence of ethnicity and culture on food-consumption practices, pig rearing and slaughter practices, hygiene and sanitation, health-seeking behaviours and, therefore, risk factors for disease transmission. Published information on the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of people regarding pig zoonoses and their risk factors is also extremely limited in Lao PDR and the broader Southeast Asian region. The need for more transdisciplinary research, using a One Health approach, in order to understand the underlining social determinants of health and their impacts on health-seeking behaviours, disease transmission and, ultimately, disease reporting, cannot be more emphasized.

Magrabi F, Baker M, Sinha I, Ong MS, Harrison S, Kidd MR, Runciman WB, Coiera E. 2015. Clinical safety of england's national programme for IT: A retrospective analysis of all reported safety events 2005 to 2011 International Journal of Medical Informatics, 84 (3), pp. 198-206. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Objective: To analyse patient safety events associated with England's national programme for IT (NPfIT). MethodsRetrospective analysis of all safety events managed by a dedicated IT safety team between September 2005 and November 2011 was undertaken. Events were reviewed against an existing classification for problems associated with IT. The proportion of reported events per problem type, consequences, source of report, resolution within 24. h, time of day and day of week were examined. Sub-group analyses were undertaken for events involving patient harm and those that occurred on a large scale. ResultsOf the 850 events analysed, 68% (n=574) described potentially hazardous circumstances, 24% (n=205) had an observable impact on care delivery, 4% (n=36) were a near miss, and 3% (n=22) were associated with patient harm, including three deaths (0.35%). Eleven events did not have a noticeable consequence (1%) and two were complaints ( < 1%). Amongst the events 1606 separate contributing problems were identified. Of these 92% were predominately associated with technical rather than human factors. Problems involving human factors were four times as likely to result in patient harm than technical problems (25% versus 8%; OR 3.98, 95%CI 1.90-8.34). Large-scale events affecting 10 or more individuals or multiple IT systems accounted for 23% (n=191) of the sample and were significantly more likely to result in a near miss (6% versus 4%) or impact the delivery of care (39% versus 20%; p < . 0.001). ConclusionEvents associated with NPfIT reinforce that the use of IT does create hazardous circumstances and can lead to patient harm or death. Large-scale patient safety events have the potential to affect many patients and clinicians, and this suggests that addressing them should be a priority for all major IT implementations.

Boyles TH, Thwaites GE. 2015. Appropriate use of the Xpert® MTB/RIF assay in suspected tuberculous meningitis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 19 (3), pp. 276-277. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We disagree with the recommendation by the World Health Organization to use Xpert(®) MTB/RIF on cerebrospinal fluid for the initial diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM). TBM is a devastating disease requiring empirical treatment even when the probability of disease is low. We suggest that a useful TBM diagnostic test needs a negative predictive value (NPV) of ⩾ 99% so that empirical treatment can be stopped safely. The NPV of Xpert is around 84%, making a negative test of limited value. While better tests are awaited, a composite score, possibly combining Xpert with clinical variables and with high NPV, should be constructed and validated prospectively.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Price RN, Weinberg JB, Hyland K, Granger DL, Anstey NM. 2015. Impaired systemic tetrahydrobiopterin bioavailability and increased dihydrobiopterin in adult falciparum malaria: association with disease severity, impaired microvascular function and increased endothelial activation. PLoS Pathog, 11 (3), pp. e1004667. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH₄) is a co-factor required for catalytic activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and amino acid-monooxygenases, including phenylalanine hydroxylase. BH4 is unstable: during oxidative stress it is non-enzymatically oxidized to dihydrobiopterin (BH₂), which inhibits NOS. Depending on BH₄ availability, NOS oscillates between NO synthase and NADPH oxidase: as the BH₄/BH₂ ratio decreases, NO production falls and is replaced by superoxide. In African children and Asian adults with severe malaria, NO bioavailability decreases and plasma phenylalanine increases, together suggesting possible BH₄ deficiency. The primary three biopterin metabolites (BH₄, BH₂ and B₀ [biopterin]) and their association with disease severity have not been assessed in falciparum malaria. We measured pterin metabolites in urine of adults with severe falciparum malaria (SM; n=12), moderately-severe malaria (MSM, n=17), severe sepsis (SS; n=5) and healthy subjects (HC; n=20) as controls. In SM, urinary BH₄ was decreased (median 0.16 ¼mol/mmol creatinine) compared to MSM (median 0.27), SS (median 0.54), and HC (median 0.34)]; p<0.001. Conversely, BH₂ was increased in SM (median 0.91 ¼mol/mmol creatinine), compared to MSM (median 0.67), SS (median 0.39), and HC (median 0.52); p<0.001, suggesting increased oxidative stress and insufficient recycling of BH2 back to BH4 in severe malaria. Overall, the median BH₄/BH₂ ratio was lowest in SM [0.18 (IQR: 0.04-0.32)] compared to MSM (0.45, IQR 0.27-61), SS (1.03; IQR 0.54-2.38) and controls (0.66; IQR 0.43-1.07); p<0.001. In malaria, a lower BH₄/BH₂ ratio correlated with decreased microvascular reactivity (r=0.41; p=0.03) and increased ICAM-1 (r=-0.52; p=0.005). Decreased BH4 and increased BH₂ in severe malaria (but not in severe sepsis) uncouples NOS, leading to impaired NO bioavailability and potentially increased oxidative stress. Adjunctive therapy to regenerate BH4 may have a role in improving NO bioavailability and microvascular perfusion in severe falciparum malaria.

Satyagraha AW, Sadhewa A, Baramuli V, Elvira R, Ridenour C, Elyazar I, Noviyanti R, Coutrier FN, Harahap AR, Baird JK. 2015. G6PD deficiency at Sumba in Eastern Indonesia is prevalent, diverse and severe: implications for primaquine therapy against relapsing Vivax malaria. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (3), pp. e0003602. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Safe treatment of Plasmodium vivax requires diagnosis of both the infection and status of erythrocytic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) activity because hypnozoitocidal therapy against relapse requires primaquine, which causes a mild to severe acute hemolytic anemia in G6PD deficient patients. Many national malaria control programs recommend primaquine therapy without G6PD screening but with monitoring due to a broad lack of G6PD deficiency screening capacity. The degree of risk in doing so hinges upon the level of residual G6PD activity among the variants present in any given area. We conducted studies on Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia in order to assess the potential threat posed by primaquine therapy without G6PD screening. We sampled 2,033 residents of three separate districts in western Sumba for quantitative G6PD activity and 104 (5.1%) were phenotypically deficient (<4.6U/gHb; median normal 10U/gHb). The villages were in two distinct ecosystems, coastal and inland. A positive correlation occurred between the prevalence of malaria and G6PD deficiency: 5.9% coastal versus inland 0.2% for malaria (P<0.001), and 6.7% and 3.1% for G6PD deficiency (P<0.001) at coastal and inland sites, respectively. The dominant genotypes of G6PD deficiency were Vanua Lava, Viangchan, and Chatham, accounting for 98.5% of the 70 samples genotyped. Subjects expressing the dominant genotypes all had less than 10% of normal enzyme activities and were thus considered severe variants. Blind administration of anti-relapse primaquine therapy at Sumba would likely impose risk of serious harm.

Adekunle AI, Pinkevych M, McGready R, Luxemburger C, White LJ, Nosten F, Cromer D, Davenport MP. 2015. Modeling the dynamics of Plasmodium vivax infection and hypnozoite reactivation in vivo. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (3), pp. e0003595. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The dynamics of Plasmodium vivax infection is characterized by reactivation of hypnozoites at varying time intervals. The relative contribution of new P. vivax infection and reactivation of dormant liver stage hypnozoites to initiation of blood stage infection is unclear. In this study, we investigate the contribution of new inoculations of P. vivax sporozoites to primary infection versus reactivation of hypnozoites by modeling the dynamics of P. vivax infection in Thailand in patients receiving treatment for either blood stage infection alone (chloroquine), or the blood and liver stages of infection (chloroquine + primaquine). In addition, we also analysed rates of infection in a study in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where patients were treated with either artesunate, or artesunate + primaquine. Our results show that up to 96% of the P. vivax infection is due to hypnozoite reactivation in individuals living in endemic areas in Thailand. Similar analysis revealed the around 70% of infections in the PNG cohort were due to hypnozoite reactivation. We show how the age of the cohort, primaquine drug failure, and seasonality may affect estimates of the ratio of primary P. vivax infection to hypnozoite reactivation. Modeling of P. vivax primary infection and hypnozoite reactivation provides important insights into infection dynamics, and suggests that 90-96% of blood stage infections arise from hypnozoite reactivation. Major differences in infection kinetics between Thailand and PNG suggest the likelihood of drug failure in PNG.

Cleton NB, Godeke G-J, Reimerink J, Beersma MF, Doorn HRV, Franco L, Goeijenbier M, Jimenez-Clavero MA, Johnson BW, Niedrig M et al. 2015. Spot the difference-development of a syndrome based protein microarray for specific serological detection of multiple flavivirus infections in travelers. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (3), pp. e0003580. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, holds many of the world's most prevalent arboviral diseases that are also considered the most important travel related arboviral infections. In most cases, flavivirus diagnosis in travelers is primarily based on serology as viremia is often low and typically has already been reduced to undetectable levels when symptoms set in and patients seek medical attention. Serological differentiation between flaviviruses and the false-positive results caused by vaccination and cross-reactivity among the different species, are problematic for surveillance and diagnostics of flaviviruses. Their partially overlapping geographic distribution and symptoms, combined with increase in travel, and preexisting antibodies due to flavivirus vaccinations, expand the need for rapid and reliable multiplex diagnostic tests to supplement currently used methods. GOAL: We describe the development of a multiplex serological protein microarray using recombinant NS1 proteins for detection of medically important viruses within the genus Flavivirus. Sera from clinical flavivirus patients were used for primary development of the protein microarray. RESULTS: Results show a high IgG and IgM sensitivity and specificity for individual NS1 antigens, and limited cross reactivity, even within serocomplexes. In addition, the serology based on this array allows for discrimination between infection and vaccination response for JEV vaccine, and no cross-reactivity with TBEV and YFV vaccine induced antibodies when testing for antibodies to other flaviviruses. CONCLUSION: Based on these data, multiplex NS1-based protein microarray is a promising tool for surveillance and diagnosis of flaviviruses.

Phuyal P, Koirala P, Basnyat B, Zafren K. 2015. An itchy situation. Wilderness Environ Med, 26 (1), pp. 89-90. | Read more

Grady BPX, Prins M, Rebers S, Molenkamp R, Geskus RB, Schinkel J. 2015. BMI, male sex and IL28B genotype associated with persistently high hepatitis C virus RNA levels among chronically infected drug users up to 23 years following seroconversion. J Viral Hepat, 22 (3), pp. 263-271. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The natural course of serum HCV RNA levels during chronic infection remains unclear. We investigated HCV RNA levels and factors associated with HCV RNA levels for the entire course from HCV seroconversion. We measured HCV RNA levels of 54 HCV seroconverters from the Amsterdam Cohort Studies among drug users at yearly intervals up to 23 years using bDNA (VERSANT 3.0, lower limit of detection 615 IU/mL). Samples below the cut-off of the assay were tested by TMA (Siemens VERSANT, detection limit 5 IU/mL). We used a latent class linear mixed model to examine the HCV RNA patterns and factors associated with HCV RNA levels. The median follow-up time was 10.8 years (IQR 6.5-14.9). We found two distinct HCV RNA patterns characterized by 45/54 cases and 9/54 cases. In multivariable analyses, HCV RNA levels were 0.41 log(10) IU/mL (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06-0.75) higher for males as compared to females. Individuals with the IL28B CC genotype had 0.40 log(10) IU/mL (95% 0.08-0.73) higher HCV RNA levels than individuals with IL28B CT/TT genotypes. Body mass index (BMI) was associated with higher HCV RNA levels, 0.055 log(10) IU/mL per BMI point (95% CI 0.027-0.083). In this unique study, which examines the HCV RNA patterns over an extended period and following seroconversion, male sex, IL28B CC genotype and BMI were independently associated with higher average HCV RNA levels. These results contribute to defining the natural history of HCV infection and could play an important part in clinical decision-making.

Lee AS, Pan A, Harbarth S, Patroni A, Chalfine A, Daikos GL, Garilli S, Martínez JA, Cooper BS, MOSAR-04 Study Team. 2015. Variable performance of models for predicting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in European surgical wards. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 105. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Predictive models to identify unknown methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage on admission may optimise targeted MRSA screening and efficient use of resources. However, common approaches to model selection can result in overconfident estimates and poor predictive performance. We aimed to compare the performance of various models to predict previously unknown MRSA carriage on admission to surgical wards. METHODS: The study analysed data collected during a prospective cohort study which enrolled consecutive adult patients admitted to 13 surgical wards in 4 European hospitals. The participating hospitals were located in Athens (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Cremona (Italy) and Paris (France). Universal admission MRSA screening was performed in the surgical wards. Data regarding demographic characteristics and potential risk factors for MRSA carriage were prospectively collected during the study period. Four logistic regression models were used to predict probabilities of unknown MRSA carriage using risk factor data: "Stepwise" (variables selected by backward elimination); "Best BMA" (model with highest posterior probability using Bayesian model averaging which accounts for uncertainty in model choice); "BMA" (average of all models selected with BMA); and "Simple" (model including variables selected >50% of the time by both Stepwise and BMA approaches applied to repeated random sub-samples of 50% of the data). To assess model performance, cross-validation against data not used for model fitting was conducted and net reclassification improvement (NRI) was calculated. RESULTS: Of 2,901 patients enrolled, 111 (3.8%) were newly identified MRSA carriers. Recent hospitalisation and presence of a wound/ulcer were significantly associated with MRSA carriage in all models. While all models demonstrated limited predictive ability (mean c-statistics <0.7) the Simple model consistently detected more MRSA-positive individuals despite screening fewer patients than the Stepwise model. Moreover, the Simple model improved reclassification of patients into appropriate risk strata compared with the Stepwise model (NRI 6.6%, P = .07). CONCLUSIONS: Though commonly used, models developed using stepwise variable selection can have relatively poor predictive value. When developing MRSA risk indices, simpler models, which account for uncertainty in model selection, may better stratify patients' risk of unknown MRSA carriage.

Blok DC, Kager LM, Hoogendijk AJ, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R, Bresser P, van der Zee JS, Ghose A, Visser CE et al. 2015. Expression of inhibitory regulators of innate immunity in patients with active tuberculosis. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 98. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Toll-like-receptors (TLRs) are important for the recognition of the causative agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Negative regulation of TLRs is necessary to control deleterious inflammatory damage, but could provide a means of immune evasion by M. tuberculosis as well. METHODS: To obtain insight in the extent of expression of inhibitory regulators of immunity in patients with active TB, peripheral-blood-mononuclear-cells (PBMCs) and plasma were obtained from 54 TB patients and 29 healthy blood donors from Chittagong, Bangladesh. Bilateral alveolar macrophages were obtained from an infected versus a contralateral normal lung segment of 9 patients. Statistical analyses were performed using Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon matched pairs testing. Correlations were calculated using the Spearman rho test. RESULTS: PBMCs harvested from TB patients demonstrated increased mRNA expression of IL-1-receptor-associated-kinase-M, suppressor-of-cytokine-signalling-3 and Toll-interacting-protein. Flow cytometry revealed enhanced expression of IL-1-receptor-like-1 (ST2) on lymphocytes. Plasma soluble ST2 was elevated in patients with TB and correlated with established TB biomarkers, most strongly with soluble interleukin-2 receptor subunit α and interleukin-8. Alveolar macrophage mRNA expression of negative TLR regulators did not differ between the infected and contralateral lung side. CONCLUSION: These results show enhanced expression of distinct negative regulators of innate immunity in PBMCs of patients with TB and identify plasma soluble ST2 as a potential novel biomarker for TB disease activity.

Gilchrist JJ, Mills TC, Naranbhai V, Chapman SJ, Fairfax BP, Knight JC, Williams TN, Scott JAG, MacLennan CA, Rautanen A et al. 2015. Genetic variants associated with non-typhoidal Salmonella bacteraemia in African children. Lancet, 385 Suppl 1 pp. S13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) causes invasive and frequently fatal disease in African children. Existing strategies to prevent, diagnose, and treat NTS disease are inadequate. An improved understanding of the biology of invasive Salmonella infection will facilitate the development of novel NTS control measures. Despite evidence in mice and man showing a clear role for host genetics in NTS susceptibility, there are no published studies investigating host genetic susceptibility to NTS in African populations. METHODS: We conducted a genome-wide association study (SNP Array 6.0, Affymetrix, CA, USA) of NTS bacteraemia in Kenyan children, with replication in Malawian children. We assessed the function of NTS-associated variants in an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) dataset of interferon γ (IFNγ) and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes from 432 healthy European adults. Serum IFNγ (Bio-Plex immunoassay, Bio-Rad Laboratories, CA, USA) in Malawian NTS cases (n=106) during acute disease was correlated with genotype by linear regression. FINDINGS: After whole-genome imputation and quality control, 180 Kenyan cases and 2677 controls were included in an association analysis at 7 951 614 (additive model) and 4 669 537 (genotypic model) loci. After quality control, 143 Malawian cases and 336 controls were included in the replication analysis. An intronic variant in STAT4 was associated (recessive model) with NTS in both Kenyan and Malawian children (Kenya p=5·6 × 10(-9), Malawi p=0·02, combined p=1·4 × 10(-9); odds ratio 7·2, 95% CI 3·8-13·5). The NTS-associated variant was an eQTL for STAT4 expression in IFNγ-stimulated monocytes (p=9·59 × 10(-6)), the NTS risk allele being associated with lower STAT4 expression. In Malawian children with NTS bacteraemia, the same NTS risk allele was associated with lower serum concentrations of IFNγ (p=0·02) at presentation. INTERPRETATION: STAT4 is highly plausible as a susceptibility locus for invasive NTS disease. STAT4 mediates IFNγ release in T cells and natural killer cells in response to interleukin 12 (IL12). Individuals with rare mutations elsewhere in the IL12-IFNγ axis are at risk of disseminated NTS infection. We provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of a host genetic determinant of NTS disease in African children, and of a STAT4 variant conferring susceptibility to an infectious disease in man. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Yacoub S, Wertheim H, Simmons CP, Screaton G, Wills B. 2015. Microvascular and endothelial function for risk prediction in dengue: an observational study. Lancet, 385 Suppl 1 pp. S102. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue infection can result in a wide spectrum of disease. The defining feature of severe disease is increased capillary permeability, which can lead to hypovolaemic shock. Microvascular and endothelial dysfunction might underlie hypovolaemic shock, but they have not been assessed clinically. We aimed to investigate the use of microvascular assessment as a prognostic method in dengue. METHODS: This is an ongoing prospective observational study that aims to recruit 300 participants: children over the age of 3 years and adults presenting to two outpatient departments in Vietnam with fever of less than 72 h duration and suspected dengue, and patients admitted to hospital with warning signs or severe disease. Participants are being clinically assessed daily for 6 days, and 2 weeks later. Microvascular imaging using sublingual sidestream darkfield imaging (SDF) and endothelial function testing using peripheral artery tonometry are being performed at enrolment, defervescence, and follow-up FINDINGS: To date, 167 patients have been recruited (92 outpatient arm, 75 inpatient arm, median age 27 years [IQR 21-33], 78 male [47%]). Dengue has been confirmed in 67 individuals in the outpatient arm, of whom 29 (43%) developed warning signs, three (4%) developed severe disease, and 35 had uncomplicated dengue; the other 25 outpatients (27%) were diagnosed as other febrile illness. At enrolment, the reactive hyperaemic index, a marker of endothelial function, was lowest in the patients who went on to develop severe dengue (median 1·54, IQR 1·36-1·77) followed by those who developed warning signs (1·78, 1·43-2·36) and then uncomplicated dengue (2·18, 1·65-2·24). Initial SDF results showed a lower proportion of perfused vessels and mean flow index during the febrile phase of dengue compared with follow-up, and were worst in the severe group at defervescence. INTERPRETATION: This study of vascular function at serial timepoints in dengue is, to our knowledge, the first and most comprehensive. Our preliminary results suggest that microvascular and endothelial dysfunction are associated with severity of dengue, and occur before the appearance of severe clinical manifestations. These techniques might be useful in risk prediction in dengue. A limitation is that a formal sample size could not be calculated because no previous microvascular data in dengue exist. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Tuan TA, Thanh TT, Hai NTT, Tinh LBB, Kim LTN, Do LAH, Chinh B'Krong NTT, Tham NT, Hang VTT, Merson L et al. 2015. Characterization of hospital and community-acquired respiratory syncytial virus in children with severe lower respiratory tract infections in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 2010. Influenza Other Respir Viruses, 9 (3), pp. 110-119. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important community and nosocomial pathogen in developed countries but data regarding the importance of RSV in developing countries are relatively scarce. METHODS: During a 1-year surveillance study in 2010, we took serial samples from children admitted to the Emergency Unit of the Respiratory Ward of Children's Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. RSV was detected within 72 hours of admission to the ward in 26% (376/1439; RSV A: n = 320; RSV B: n = 54; and RSV A and B: n = 2). Among those negative in the first 72 hours after admission, 6.6% (25/377) acquired nosocomial RSV infection during hospitalization (RSV A: n = 22; and RSV B: n = 3). RESULTS: Children with nosocomial RSV infection were younger (P = 0.001) and had a longer duration of hospitalization (P < 0.001). The rate of incomplete recovery among children with nosocomial RSV infection was significantly higher than among those without (P < 0.001). Phylogenetic analysis of partial G gene sequences obtained from 79% (316/401) of positive specimens revealed the co-circulation of multiple genotypes with RSV A NA1 being predominant (A NA1: n = 275; A GA5: n = 5; B BA3: n = 3; B BA9: n = 26; and B BA10: n = 7). The RSV A GA5 and RSV B BA3 genotypes have not been reported from Vietnam, previously. CONCLUSION: Besides emphasizing the importance of RSV as a cause of respiratory infection leading to hospitalization in young children and as a nosocomial pathogen, data from this study extend our knowledge on the genetic diversity of RSV circulating in Vietnam.

Tan LV, Tuyen NTK, Thanh TT, Ngan TT, Van HMT, Sabanathan S, Van TTM, Thanh LTM, Nguyet LA, Geoghegan JL et al. 2015. A generic assay for whole-genome amplification and deep sequencing of enterovirus A71. J Virol Methods, 215-216 pp. 30-36. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) has emerged as the most important cause of large outbreaks of severe and sometimes fatal hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) across the Asia-Pacific region. EV-A71 outbreaks have been associated with (sub)genogroup switches, sometimes accompanied by recombination events. Understanding EV-A71 population dynamics is therefore essential for understanding this emerging infection, and may provide pivotal information for vaccine development. Despite the public health burden of EV-A71, relatively few EV-A71 complete-genome sequences are available for analysis and from limited geographical localities. The availability of an efficient procedure for whole-genome sequencing would stimulate effort to generate more viral sequence data. Herein, we report for the first time the development of a next-generation sequencing based protocol for whole-genome sequencing of EV-A71 directly from clinical specimens. We were able to sequence viruses of subgenogroup C4 and B5, while RNA from culture materials of diverse EV-A71 subgenogroups belonging to both genogroup B and C was successfully amplified. The nature of intra-host genetic diversity was explored in 22 clinical samples, revealing 107 positions carrying minor variants (ranging from 0 to 15 variants per sample). Our analysis of EV-A71 strains sampled in 2013 showed that they all belonged to subgenogroup B5, representing the first report of this subgenogroup in Vietnam. In conclusion, we have successfully developed a high-throughput next-generation sequencing-based assay for whole-genome sequencing of EV-A71 from clinical samples.

Tun KM, Imwong M, Lwin KM, Win AA, Hlaing TM, Hlaing T, Lin K, Kyaw MP, Plewes K, Faiz MA et al. 2015. Spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Myanmar: a cross-sectional survey of the K13 molecular marker. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (4), pp. 415-421. | Citations: 173 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Emergence of artemisinin resistance in southeast Asia poses a serious threat to the global control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Discovery of the K13 marker has transformed approaches to the monitoring of artemisinin resistance, allowing introduction of molecular surveillance in remote areas through analysis of DNA. We aimed to assess the spread of artemisinin-resistant P falciparum in Myanmar by determining the relative prevalence of P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations. METHODS: We did this cross-sectional survey at malaria treatment centres at 55 sites in ten administrative regions in Myanmar, and in relevant border regions in Thailand and Bangladesh, between January, 2013, and September, 2014. K13 sequences from P falciparum infections were obtained mainly by passive case detection. We entered data into two geostatistical models to produce predictive maps of the estimated prevalence of mutations of the K13 propeller region across Myanmar. FINDINGS: Overall, 371 (39%) of 940 samples carried a K13-propeller mutation. We recorded 26 different mutations, including nine mutations not described previously in southeast Asia. In seven (70%) of the ten administrative regions of Myanmar, the combined K13-mutation prevalence was more than 20%. Geospatial mapping showed that the overall prevalence of K13 mutations exceeded 10% in much of the east and north of the country. In Homalin, Sagaing Region, 25 km from the Indian border, 21 (47%) of 45 parasite samples carried K13-propeller mutations. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin resistance extends across much of Myanmar. We recorded P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations at high prevalence next to the northwestern border with India. Appropriate therapeutic regimens should be tested urgently and implemented comprehensively if spread of artemisinin resistance to other regions is to be avoided. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mishra N, Prajapati SK, Kaitholia K, Bharti RS, Srivastava B, Phookan S, Anvikar AR, Dev V, Sonal GS, Dhariwal AC et al. 2015. Surveillance of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in India using the kelch13 molecular marker. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (5), pp. 2548-2553. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria treatment in Southeast Asia is threatened with the emergence of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Genome association studies have strongly linked a locus on P. falciparum chromosome 13 to artemisinin resistance, and recently, mutations in the kelch13 propeller region (Pfk-13) were strongly linked to resistance. To date, this information has not been shown in Indian samples. Pfk-13 mutations were assessed in samples from efficacy studies of artemisinin combination treatments in India. Samples were PCR amplified and sequenced from codon 427 to 727. Out of 384 samples, nonsynonymous mutations in the propeller region were found in four patients from the northeastern states, but their presence did not correlate with ACT treatment failures. This is the first report of Pfk-13 point mutations from India. Further phenotyping and genotyping studies are required to assess the status of artemisinin resistance in this region.

Saiprom N, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance in clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from Thailand. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 45 (5), pp. 557-559. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Kinyoki DK, Berkley JA, Moloney GM, Kandala N-B, Noor AM. 2015. Predictors of the risk of malnutrition among children under the age of 5 years in Somalia. Public Health Nutr, 18 (17), pp. 3125-3133. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the predictors of wasting, stunting and low mid-upper arm circumference among children aged 6-59 months in Somalia using data from household cross-sectional surveys from 2007 to 2010 in order to help inform better targeting of nutritional interventions. DESIGN: Cross-sectional nutritional assessment surveys using structured interviews were conducted among communities in Somalia each year from 2007 to 2010. A two-stage cluster sampling methodology was used to select children aged 6-59 months from households across three livelihood zones (pastoral, agro-pastoral and riverine). Predictors of three anthropometric measures, weight-for-height (wasting), height-for-age (stunting) and mid-upper arm circumference, were analysed using Bayesian binomial regression, controlling for both spatial and temporal dependence in the data. SETTING: The study was conducted in randomly sampled villages, representative of three livelihood zones in Somalia. SUBJECTS: Children between the ages of 6 and 59 months in Somalia. RESULTS: The estimated national prevalence of wasting, stunting and low mid-upper arm circumference in children aged 6-59 months was 21 %, 31 % and 36 %, respectively. Although fever, diarrhoea, sex and age of the child, household size and access to foods were significant predictors of malnutrition, the strongest association was observed between all three indicators of malnutrition and the enhanced vegetation index. A 1-unit increase in enhanced vegetation index was associated with a 38 %, 49 % and 59 % reduction in wasting, stunting and low mid-upper arm circumference, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Infection and climatic variations are likely to be key drivers of malnutrition in Somalia. Better health data and close monitoring and forecasting of droughts may provide valuable information for nutritional intervention planning in Somalia.

Stoesser N, Xayaheuang S, Vongsouvath M, Phommasone K, Elliott I, Del Ojo Elias C, Crook DW, Newton PN, Buisson Y, Lee SJ, Dance DAB. 2015. Colonization with Enterobacteriaceae producing ESBLs in children attending pre-school childcare facilities in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. J Antimicrob Chemother, 70 (6), pp. 1893-1897. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Intestinal carriage constitutes an important reservoir of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, with some of the highest rates reported from Asia. Antibiotic resistance has been little studied in Laos, where some antibiotics are available without restriction, but others such as carbapenems are not available. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We collected stools from 397 healthy children in 12 randomly selected pre-school childcare facilities in and around Vientiane. Colonization with ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBLE) and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) was detected using a disc diffusion screening test and ESBLE were characterized using WGS. Risk factor data were collected by questionnaire. RESULTS: Ninety-two children (23%) were colonized with ESBLE, mainly Escherichia coli carrying blaCTX-M and Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying blaSHV or blaCTX-M, which were frequently resistant to multiple antibiotic classes. Although residence in Vientiane Capital, foreign travel, higher maternal level of education, antibiotic use in the preceding 3 months and attending a childcare facility with a 'good' level of hygiene were all associated with ESBLE colonization on univariable analysis, a significant association remained only for antibiotic use when a stepwise approach was used with a multivariate random-effects model. WGS analysis suggested transmission in both childcare facilities and community settings. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of paediatric colonization with ESBLE in Laos, one of the highest reported in Asia, is probably the result of inappropriate antibiotic use. Paediatric colonization with CPE was not identified in this study, but it is important to continue to monitor the spread of antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Laos.

Gautam R, Borgdorff H, Jespers V, Francis SC, Verhelst R, Mwaura M, Delany-Moretlwe S, Ndayisaba G, Kyongo JK, Hardy L et al. 2015. Correlates of the molecular vaginal microbiota composition of African women. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 86. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sociodemographic, behavioral and clinical correlates of the vaginal microbiome (VMB) as characterized by molecular methods have not been adequately studied. VMB dominated by bacteria other than lactobacilli may cause inflammation, which may facilitate HIV acquisition and other adverse reproductive health outcomes. METHODS: We characterized the VMB of women in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania (KRST) using a 16S rDNA phylogenetic microarray. Cytokines were quantified in cervicovaginal lavages. Potential sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical correlates were also evaluated. RESULTS: Three hundred thirteen samples from 230 women were available for analysis. Five VMB clusters were identified: one cluster each dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus (KRST-I) and L. iners (KRST-II), and three clusters not dominated by a single species but containing multiple (facultative) anaerobes (KRST-III/IV/V). Women in clusters KRST-I and II had lower mean concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1α (p < 0.001) and Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) (p = 0.01), but higher concentrations of interferon-γ-induced protein (IP-10) (p < 0.01) than women in clusters KRST-III/IV/V. A lower proportion of women in cluster KRST-I tested positive for bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs; ptrend = 0.07) and urinary tract infection (UTI; p = 0.06), and a higher proportion of women in clusters KRST-I and II had vaginal candidiasis (ptrend = 0.09), but these associations did not reach statistical significance. Women who reported unusual vaginal discharge were more likely to belong to clusters KRST-III/IV/V (p = 0.05). CONCLUSION: Vaginal dysbiosis in African women was significantly associated with vaginal inflammation; the associations with increased prevalence of STIs and UTI, and decreased prevalence of vaginal candidiasis, should be confirmed in larger studies.

Derde LPG, Cooper BS, Brun-Buisson C. 2015. Contact precautions for patients with multidrug-resistant pathogens. JAMA, 313 (6), pp. 629-630. | Read more

Thompson CN, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Arjyal A, Karkey A, Dongol S, Giri A, Dolecek C, Day N, Baker S et al. 2015. Undifferentiated febrile illness in Kathmandu, Nepal. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (4), pp. 875-878. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Undifferentiated febrile illnesses (UFIs) are common in low- and middle-income countries. We prospectively investigated the causes of UFIs in 627 patients presenting to a tertiary referral hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Patients with microbiologically confirmed enteric fever (218 of 627; 34.8%) randomized to gatifloxacin or ofloxacin treatment were previously reported. We randomly selected 125 of 627 (20%) of these UFI patients, consisting of 96 of 409 (23%) cases with sterile blood cultures and 29 of 218 (13%) cases with enteric fever, for additional diagnostic investigations. We found serological evidence of acute murine typhus in 21 of 125 (17%) patients, with 12 of 21 (57%) patients polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive for Rickettsia typhi. Three UFI cases were quantitative PCR-positive for Rickettsia spp., two UFI cases were seropositive for Hantavirus, and one UFI case was seropositive for Q fever. Fever clearance time (FCT) for rickettsial infection was 44.5 hours (interquartile range = 26-66 hours), and there was no difference in FCT between ofloxacin or gatifloxacin. Murine typhus represents an important cause of predominantly urban UFIs in Nepal, and fluoroquinolones seem to be an effective empirical treatment.

Anders KL, Nguyen HL, Nguyen NM, Van Thuy NT, Hong Van NT, Hieu NT, Hong Tham NT, Thanh Ha PT, Lien LB, Vinh Chau NV et al. 2015. Epidemiology and virology of acute respiratory infections during the first year of life: a birth cohort study in Vietnam. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (4), pp. 361-370. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Understanding viral etiology and age-specific incidence of acute respiratory infections in infants can help identify risk groups and inform vaccine delivery, but community-based data is lacking from tropical settings. METHODS: One thousand four hundred and seventy-eight infants in urban Ho Chi Minh City and 981 infants in a semi-rural district in southern Vietnam were enrolled at birth and followed to 1 year of age. Acute respiratory infection (ARI) episodes were identified through clinic-based illness surveillance, hospital admissions and self-reports. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from infants with respiratory symptoms and tested for 14 respiratory pathogens using multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Estimated incidence of ARI was 542 and 2691 per 1000 infant-years, and hospitalization rates for ARI were 81 and 138 per 1000 infant-years, in urban and semi-rural cohorts, respectively, from clinic- and hospital-based surveillance. However self-reported ARI episodes were just 1.5-fold higher in the semi-rural versus urban cohort, indicating that part of the urban-rural difference was explained by under-ascertainment in the urban cohort. Incidence was higher in infants ≥6 months of age than <6 months, but this was pathogen-specific. One or more viruses were detected in 53% (urban) and 64% (semi-rural) of samples from outpatients with ARI and in 78% and 66% of samples from hospitalized ARI patients, respectively. The most frequently detected viruses were rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus A and bocavirus. ARI-associated hospitalizations were associated with longer stays and more frequent ICU admission than other infections. CONCLUSIONS: ARI is a significant cause of morbidity in Vietnamese infants and influenza virus A is an under-appreciated cause of vaccine-preventable disease and hospitalizations in this tropical setting. Public health strategies to reduce infant ARI incidence and hospitalization rates are needed.

Hoogenboom G, Thwin MM, Velink K, Baaijens M, Charrunwatthana P, Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Quality of intrapartum care by skilled birth attendants in a refugee clinic on the Thai-Myanmar border: a survey using WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 15 (1), pp. 17. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Increasing the number of women birthing with skilled birth attendants (SBAs) as one of the strategies to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity must be partnered with a minimum standard of care. This manuscript describes the quality of intrapartum care provided by SBAs in Mae La camp, a low resource, protracted refugee context on the Thai-Myanmar border. METHODS: In the obstetric department of Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) the standardized WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment tool was adapted to the setting and used: to assess the facility; interview SBAs; collect data from maternal records during a one year period (August 2007 - 2008); and observe practice during labour and childbirth. RESULTS: The facility assessment recorded no 'out of stock' or 'out of date' drugs and supplies, equipment was in operating order and necessary infrastructure e.g. a stand-by emergency car, was present. Syphilis testing was not available. SBA interviews established that danger signs and symptoms were recognized except for sepsis and endometritis. All SBAs acknowledged receiving theoretical and 'hands-on' training and regularly attended deliveries. Scores for the essential elements of antenatal care from maternal records were high (>90%) e.g. providing supplements, recording risk factors as well as regular and correct partogram use. Observed good clinical practice included: presence of a support person; active management of third stage; post-partum monitoring; and immediate and correct neonatal care. Observed incorrect practice included: improper controlled cord traction; inadequate hand washing; an episiotomy rate in nulliparous women 49% (34/70) and low rates 30% (6/20) of newborn monitoring in the first hours following birth. Overall observed complications during labour and birth were low with post-partum haemorrhage being the most common in which case the SBAs followed the protocol but were slow to recognize severity and take action. CONCLUSIONS: In the clinic of SMRU in Mae La refugee camp, SBAs were able to comply with evidence-based guidelines but support to improve quality of care in specific areas is required. The structure of the WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment allowed significant insights into the quality of intrapartum care particularly through direct observation, identifying a clear pathway for quality improvement.

Bancone G, Chu CS, Chowwiwat N, Somsakchaicharoen R, Wilaisrisak P, Charunwatthana P, Bansil P, McGray S, Domingo GJ, Nosten FH. 2015. Suitability of capillary blood for quantitative assessment of G6PD activity and performances of G6PD point-of-care tests. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (4), pp. 818-824. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The use of primaquine and other 8-aminoquinolines for malaria elimination is hampered by, among other factors, the limited availability of point-of-care tests for the diagnosis of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Historically, the most used source of blood for G6PD analyses is venous blood, whereas diagnostic devices used in the field require the use of capillary blood; data have shown that the two sources of blood often differ with respect to hemoglobin concentration and number of red blood cells. Therefore, we have analyzed, in both capillary and venous blood drawn from the same healthy donors, the correlation of G6PD activity assessed by two qualitative tests (the Fluorescent Spot test and the CareStart test) with the gold standard quantitative spectrophotometric assay. Results obtained on 150 subjects with normal, intermediate, and deficient G6PD phenotypes show that, although differences exist between the aforementioned characteristics in capillary and venous blood, these do not impact on the quantitative assessment of G6PD activity after corrected for hemoglobin concentration or red blood cell count. Furthermore, we have assessed the sensitivity and specificity of the two qualitative tests against the gold standard spectrophotometric assay at different activity thresholds of residual enzymatic activity in both blood sources.

Li C, Barnes E, Newton PN, Fu Y, Vongsouvath M, Klenerman P, Okamoto H, Abe K, Pybus OG, Lu L. 2015. An expanded taxonomy of hepatitis C virus genotype 6: Characterization of 22 new full-length viral genomes. Virology, 476 pp. 355-363. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We characterized the full-length genomes of 22 hepatitis C virus genotype 6 (HCV-6) isolates: 10 from Vietnam (classified into subtypes 6e, 6h, 6p, 6r, 6s, and 6u), one from China (confirmed as a new subtype 6xd), and 11 from the Lao PDR (representing a new subtype 6xe plus eight novel variants). With these 22 new genomes, HCV-6 now has a diverse and extended taxonomic structure, comprised of 28 assigned subtypes (denoted 6a-6xe) and 27 unassigned lineages, all of which have been represented by full-length genomes. Our phylogenetic analyses also included many partially-sequenced novel variants of HCV-6 from Lao PDR. This revealed that Lao HCV isolates are genetically very diverse and are phylogenetically distributed in multiple lineages within genotype 6. Our results suggest that HCV-6 has been maintained in Laos, a landlocked country, since the common ancestor of genotype 6 and indicates historical dispersal of HCV-6 across Southeast Asia.

Dittrich S, Rattanavong S, Lee SJ, Panyanivong P, Craig SB, Tulsiani SM, Blacksell SD, Dance DAB, Dubot-Pérès A, Sengduangphachanh A et al. 2015. Orientia, rickettsia, and leptospira pathogens as causes of CNS infections in Laos: a prospective study. Lancet Glob Health, 3 (2), pp. e104-e112. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scrub typhus (caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi), murine typhus (caused by Rickettsia typhi), and leptospirosis are common causes of febrile illness in Asia; meningitis and meningoencephalitis are severe complications. However, scarce data exist for the burden of these pathogens in patients with CNS disease in endemic countries. Laos is representative of vast economically poor rural areas in Asia with little medical information to guide public health policy. We assessed whether these pathogens are important causes of CNS infections in Laos. METHODS: Between Jan 10, 2003, and Nov 25, 2011, we enrolled 1112 consecutive patients of all ages admitted with CNS symptoms or signs requiring a lumbar puncture at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Laos. Microbiological examinations (culture, PCR, and serology) targeted so-called conventional bacterial infections (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, S suis) and O tsutsugamushi, Rickettsia typhi/Rickettsia spp, and Leptospira spp infections in blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We analysed and compared causes and clinical and CSF characteristics between patient groups. FINDINGS: 1051 (95%) of 1112 patients who presented had CSF available for analysis, of whom 254 (24%) had a CNS infection attributable to a bacterial or fungal pathogen. 90 (35%) of these 254 infections were caused by O tsutsugamushi, R typhi/Rickettsia spp, or Leptospira spp. These pathogens were significantly more frequent than conventional bacterial infections (90/1051 [9%] vs 42/1051 [4%]; p<0·0001) by use of conservative diagnostic definitions. CNS infections had a high mortality (236/876 [27%]), with 18% (13/71) for R typhi/Rickettsia spp, O tsutsugamushi, and Leptospira spp combined, and 33% (13/39) for conventional bacterial infections (p=0·076). INTERPRETATION: Our data suggest that R typhi/Rickettsia spp, O tsutsugamushi, and Leptospira spp infections are important causes of CNS infections in Laos. Antibiotics, such as tetracyclines, needed for the treatment of murine typhus and scrub typhus, are not routinely advised for empirical treatment of CNS infections. These severely neglected infections represent a potentially large proportion of treatable CNS disease burden across vast endemic areas and need more attention. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust UK.

Mwinga S, Kulohoma C, Mwaniki P, Idowu R, Masasabi J, English M, SIRCLE Collaboration. 2015. Quality of surgical care in hospitals providing internship training in Kenya: a cross sectional survey. Trop Med Int Health, 20 (2), pp. 240-249. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate services in hospitals providing internship training to graduate doctors in Kenya. METHODS: A survey of 22 internship training hospitals was conducted. Availability of key resources spanning infrastructure, personnel, equipment and drugs was assessed by observation. Outcomes and process of care for pre-specified priority conditions (head injury, chest injury, fractures, burns and acute abdomen) were evaluated by auditing case records. RESULTS: Each hospital had at least one consultant surgeon. Scheduled surgical outpatient clinics, major ward rounds and elective (half day) theatre lists were provided once per week in 91%, 55% and 9%, respectively. In all other hospitals, these were conducted twice weekly. Basic drugs were not always available (e.g. gentamicin, morphine and pethidine in 50%, injectable antistaphylococcal penicillins in 5% hospitals). Fewer than half of hospitals had all resources needed to provide oxygen. One hundred and forty-five of 956 cases evaluated underwent operations under general or spinal anaesthesia. We found operation notes for 99% and anaesthetic records for 72%. Pre-operatively measured vital signs were recorded in 80% of cases, and evidence of consent to operation was found in 78%. Blood loss was documented in only one case and sponge and instrument counts in 7%. CONCLUSIONS: Evaluation of surgical services would be improved by development and dissemination of clear standards of care. This survey suggests that internship hospitals may be poorly equipped and documented care suggests inadequacies in quality and training.

Warrell MJ, Warrell DA. 2015. Rabies: the clinical features, management and prevention of the classic zoonosis. Clin Med (Lond), 15 (1), pp. 78-81. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The diagnosis of rabies encephalitis relies on awareness of the varied clinical features and eliciting a history of unusual contact with a mammal throughout the endemic area. The diagnosis is easily missed. Laboratory tests are not routine and only confirm clinical suspicion. Rabies infection carries a case fatality exceeding 99.9%. Palliation is appropriate, except for previously-vaccinated patients or those infected by American bats, for whom intensive care is probably indicated. However, as rabies vaccines are outstandingly effective, no one should die of dog-transmitted infection. Vaccines and rabies immunoglobulin are expensive and usually scarce in Asia and Africa. All travellers to dog rabies enzootic areas should be strongly encouraged to have pre-exposure immunisation before departure. There is no contraindication to vaccination but the cost can be prohibitive. Intradermal immunisation, using 0.1 ml and sharing vials of vaccine, is cheaper and is now permitted by UK regulations. Returning travellers may need post-exposure prophylaxis. Economical intradermal post-exposure vaccination is practicable and should be introduced into rural areas of Africa and Asia immediately. Eliminating rabies in dogs is now feasible and would dramatically reduce human mortality, if funds were made available. The high current economic burden of human prophylaxis would then be largely relieved.

Yacoub S, Wills B. 2015. Dengue: an update for clinicians working in non-endemic areas. Clin Med (Lond), 15 (1), pp. 82-85. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is one of the most rapidly emerging viral infections globally, with 2.5 billion people now thought to live in dengue-endemic areas. In addition, reports of travel-related and autochthonous infections are increasing in non-endemic areas. Most patients with dengue experience a self-limiting febrile illness, but a proportion develop potentially life threatening complications around the time of fever clearance, including plasma leakage occasionally leading to shock, bleeding, and organ impairment. As dengue can present with non-specific symptoms of fever, headache and myalgias, the potential for misdiagnosis and inappropriate management by medical staff inexperienced with the disease is a concern. This short review will outline the latest World Health Organisation disease classification, potential complications, clinical assessment and management for clinicians working in non-endemic areas.

English M, English R, English A. 2015. Millennium Development Goals progress: a perspective from sub-Saharan Africa. Arch Dis Child, 100 Suppl 1 (Suppl 1), pp. S57-S58. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Sub-Saharan Africa is a highly diverse geo-political region. Any brief discussion of the progress made over the last 15 years towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will therefore not do justice to the true complexity of context and events. Our focus will be MDG4-to reduce child mortality by 66% from 1990 levels. We will touch briefly on MDG1, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, MDG2, to achieve universal primary education, and MDG5, to improve maternal health, which are inextricably linked with child well-being. We will also draw on an eclectic mix of additional global indicators. Acknowledging the limitations of this approach, we first offer a summary of expected progress and then point to debates on future goals.

Aryee A, Thwaites G. 2015. Viral encephalitis in travellers. Clin Med (Lond), 15 (1), pp. 86-90. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral infections are the commonest cause of encephalitis, and the purpose of this article is to inform UK clinicians of the presentation, diagnosis and management of viral encephalitis in travellers returning to the UK. The classical presentation is as a triad of fever, headache and altered mental state. There may be other findings either on examination or on imaging which, together with a travel history, may give clues as to the aetiology. It is important to note that in high- and middle-income countries the commonest cause of viral encephalitis is herpes simplex. This, coupled with the fact that untreated herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) has a mortality of over 70%, means that aciclovir should always be included in the treatment of patients with suspected encephalitis, regardless of their history of travel. In the UK, the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL) at Public Health England can perform specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses on blood and CSF samples for many imported causes of viral encephalitis.

Badurdeen S, Mulongo M, Berkley JA. 2015. Arginine depletion increases susceptibility to serious infections in preterm newborns PEDIATRIC RESEARCH, 77 (2), pp. 290-297. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Anders KL, Nga LH, Thuy NTV, Ngoc TV, Tam CT, Tai LTH, Truong NT, Duyen HTL, Trung VT, Kien DTH et al. 2015. Households as foci for dengue transmission in highly urban Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (2), pp. e0003528. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue control programs commonly employ reactive insecticide spraying around houses of reported cases, with the assumption that most dengue virus (DENV) transmission occurs in the home. Focal household transmission has been demonstrated in rural settings, but it is unclear whether this holds true in dense and mobile urban populations. We conducted a prospective study of dengue clustering around households in highly urban Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. METHODS: We enrolled 71 index cases with suspected dengue (subsequently classified as 52 dengue cases and 19 non-dengue controls); each initiated the enrollment of a cluster of 25-35 household members and neighbors who were followed up over 14 days. Incident DENV infections in cluster participants were identified by RT-PCR, NS1-ELISA, and/or DENV-IgM/-IgG seroconversion, and recent infections by DENV-IgM positivity at baseline. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: There was no excess risk of DENV infection within dengue case clusters during the two-week follow-up, compared to control clusters, but the prevalence of recent DENV infection at baseline was two-fold higher in case clusters than controls (OR 2.3, 95%CI 1.0-5.1, p = 0.05). Prevalence of DENV infection in Aedes aegypti was similar in case and control houses, and low overall (1%). Our findings are broadly consistent with household clustering of dengue risk, but indicate that any clustering is at a short temporal scale rather than sustained chains of localized transmission. This suggests that reactive perifocal insecticide spraying may have a limited impact in this setting.

Birnie E, Wiersinga WJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Grobusch MP. 2015. Melioidosis in Africa: should we be looking more closely? Future Microbiol, 10 (2), pp. 273-281. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a life-threatening infection caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, mainly found in Southeast Asia. Recently, African foci have been identified, although reports remain mostly anecdotal. In Africa, multiple febrile diseases have been erroneously attributed to malaria in the past, and many cases of fever remain mis- or undiagnosed. Vigilance for previously under-recognized pathogens may enhance our understanding of disease epidemiology and facilitate improvement of patient care. Melioidosis may be such a condition. We summarize data on melioidosis in Africa and discuss the future directions for epidemiological, clinical and bacteriological studies. We conclude that searching for old bugs in new places is no academic treasure hunt but a clinically relevant activity to pursue.

Keita AK, Dubot-Pérès A, Phommasone K, Sibounheuang B, Vongsouvath M, Mayxay M, Raoult D, Newton PN, Fenollar F. 2015. High prevalence of Tropheryma whipplei in Lao kindergarten children. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (2), pp. e0003538. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tropheryma whipplei is a bacterium commonly found in feces of young children in Africa, but with no data from Asia. We estimated the prevalence of T. whipplei carriage in feces of children in Lao PDR (Laos). METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using specific quantitative real-time PCR, followed by genotyping for each positive specimen, we estimated the prevalence of T. whipplei in 113 feces from 106 children in Vientiane, the Lao PDR (Laos). T. whipplei was detected in 48% (51/106) of children. Those aged ≤ 4 years were significantly less frequently positive (17/52, 33%) than older children (34/54, 63%; p< 0.001). Positive samples were genotyped. Eight genotypes were detected including 7 specific to Laos. Genotype 2, previously detected in Europe, was circulating (21% of positive children) in 2 kindergartens (Chompet and Akad). Genotypes 136 and 138 were specific to Chompet (21% and 15.8%, respectively) whereas genotype 139 was specific to Akad (10.55%). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: T. whipplei is a widely distributed bacterium, highly prevalent in feces of healthy children in Laos. Further research is needed to identify the public health significance of this finding.

Aiken SS, Cooper JJ, Florance H, Robinson MT, Michell S. 2015. Local release of antibiotics for surgical site infection management using high-purity calcium sulfate: an in vitro elution study. Surg Infect (Larchmt), 16 (1), pp. 54-61. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to characterize the elution of four antibiotics from pharmaceutical-grade calcium sulfate beads and show that the eluted antibiotics retained efficacy. METHODS: Calcium sulfate was combined with gentamicin, tobramycin, vancomycin, or rifampicin (ratio: 20 g of calcium sulfate, to 240 mg, 500 mg, 900 mg, and 600 mg of antibiotic, respectively). Three grams of beads were immersed in 4 mL of sterile phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at 37°C. At each time point (4, 8, 24 h; 2, 7, 14, 28, 42 d), eluates were removed for analysis by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The antimicrobial efficacy of antibiotics combined with calcium sulfate beads after 42 d was tested by a modified Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion assay. RESULTS: All samples showed a generally exponential decay in the eluted antibiotic concentration. At the first time point, both gentamicin and tobramycin had eluted to a peak concentration of approximately 10,000 mcg/mL. For rifampicin, the peak concentration occurred at 24 h, whereas for vancomycin, it occurred at 48 h. The eluted concentrations exceeded the minimum inhibitory concentration for common periprosthetic joint infection pathogens for the entire span of the 42 study days. Mass spectrometry confirmed all antibiotics were unchanged when eluted from the calcium sulfate carrier. Antimicrobial efficacy was unaltered after 42 d in combination with calcium sulfate at 37°C. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmaceutical-grade calcium sulfate has the potential for targeted local release of tobramycin, gentamicin, vancomycin, and rifampicin over a clinically meaningful time period.

Le T, Cash-Goldwasser S, Tho PV, Lan NPH, Campbell JI, van Doorn HR, Lam NT, Trung NV, Trinh DT, Van Kinh N, Wertheim HFL. 2015. Diagnosing Rhodococcus equi infections in a setting where tuberculosis is highly endemic: a double challenge. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (4), pp. 1431-1433. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Rhodococcus equi infection is increasing in regions with high HIV prevalence worldwide. The microbiological features and clinical mimicry of tuberculosis infection pose diagnostic challenges in high-tuberculosis-incidence settings. We present two HIV-associated cases of R. equi infection from Vietnam and discuss the unique diagnostic challenges in such settings.

Hodgson SH, Douglas AD, Edwards NJ, Kimani D, Elias SC, Chang M, Daza G, Seilie AM, Magiri C, Muia A et al. 2015. Increased sample volume and use of quantitative reverse-transcription PCR can improve prediction of liver-to-blood inoculum size in controlled human malaria infection studies. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 33. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies increasingly rely on nucleic acid test (NAT) methods to detect and quantify parasites in the blood of infected participants. The lower limits of detection and quantification vary amongst the assays used throughout the world, which may affect the ability of mathematical models to accurately estimate the liver-to-blood inoculum (LBI) values that are used to judge the efficacy of pre-erythrocytic vaccine and drug candidates. METHODS: Samples were collected around the time of onset of pre-patent parasitaemia from subjects who enrolled in two different CHMI clinical trials. Blood samples were tested for Plasmodium falciparum 18S rRNA and/or rDNA targets by different NAT methods and results were compared. Methods included an ultrasensitive, large volume modification of an established quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) assay that achieves detection of as little as one parasite/mL of whole blood. RESULTS: Large volume qRT-PCR at the University of Washington was the most sensitive test and generated quantifiable data more often than any other NAT methodology. Standard quantitative PCR (qPCR) performed at the University of Oxford and standard volume qRT-PCR performed at the University of Washington were less sensitive than the large volume qRT-PCR, especially at 6.5 days after CHMI. In these trials, the proportion of participants for whom LBI could be accurately quantified using parasite density value greater than or equal to the lower limit of quantification was increased. A greater improvement would be expected in trials in which numerous subjects receive a lower LBI or low dose challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Standard qPCR and qRT-PCR methods with analytical sensitivities of ~20 parasites/mL probably suffice for most CHMI purposes, but the newly developed large volume qRT-PCR may be able to answer specific questions when more analytical sensitivity is required.

Thwaites CL, Beeching NJ, Newton CR. 2015. Maternal and neonatal tetanus The Lancet, 385 (9965), pp. 362-370. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Read more

Paris DH, Chattopadhyay S, Jiang J, Nawtaisong P, Lee JS, Tan E, Dela Cruz E, Burgos J, Abalos R, Blacksell SD et al. 2015. A nonhuman primate scrub typhus model: protective immune responses induced by pKarp47 DNA vaccination in cynomolgus macaques. J Immunol, 194 (4), pp. 1702-1716. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We developed an intradermal (ID) challenge cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) model of scrub typhus, the leading cause of treatable undifferentiated febrile illness in tropical Asia, caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Orientia tsutsugamushi. A well-characterized animal model is required for the development of clinically relevant diagnostic assays and evaluation of therapeutic agents and candidate vaccines. We investigated scrub typhus disease pathophysiology and evaluated two O. tsutsugamushi 47-kDa, Ag-based candidate vaccines, a DNA plasmid vaccine (pKarp47), and a virus-vectored vaccine (Kp47/47-Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particle) for safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy against homologous ID challenge with O. tsutsugamushi Karp. Control cynomolgus macaques developed fever, classic eschars, lymphadenopathy, bacteremia, altered liver function, increased WBC counts, pathogen-specific Ab (IgM and IgG), and cell-mediated immune responses. Vaccinated macaques receiving the DNA plasmid pKarp47 vaccine had significantly increased O. tsutsugamushi-specific, IFN-γ-producing PBMCs (p = 0.04), reduced eschar frequency and bacteremia duration (p ≤ 0.01), delayed bacteremia onset (p < 0.05), reduced circulating bacterial biomass (p = 0.01), and greater reduction of liver transaminase levels (p < 0.03) than controls. This study demonstrates a vaccine-induced immune response capable of conferring sterile immunity against high-dose homologous ID challenge of O. tsutsugamushi in a nonhuman primate model, and it provides insight into cell-mediated immune control of O. tsutsugamushi and dissemination dynamics, highlights the importance of bacteremia indices for evaluation of both natural and vaccine-induced immune responses, and importantly, to our knowledge, has determined the first phenotypic correlates of immune protection in scrub typhus. We conclude that this model is suitable for detailed investigations into vaccine-induced immune responses and correlates of immunity for scrub typhus.

Miotto O, Amato R, Ashley EA, MacInnis B, Almagro-Garcia J, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Mead D, Oyola SO, Dhorda M et al. 2015. Genetic architecture of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Genet, 47 (3), pp. 226-234. | Citations: 144 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We report a large multicenter genome-wide association study of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin, the frontline antimalarial drug. Across 15 locations in Southeast Asia, we identified at least 20 mutations in kelch13 (PF3D7_1343700) affecting the encoded propeller and BTB/POZ domains, which were associated with a slow parasite clearance rate after treatment with artemisinin derivatives. Nonsynonymous polymorphisms in fd (ferredoxin), arps10 (apicoplast ribosomal protein S10), mdr2 (multidrug resistance protein 2) and crt (chloroquine resistance transporter) also showed strong associations with artemisinin resistance. Analysis of the fine structure of the parasite population showed that the fd, arps10, mdr2 and crt polymorphisms are markers of a genetic background on which kelch13 mutations are particularly likely to arise and that they correlate with the contemporary geographical boundaries and population frequencies of artemisinin resistance. These findings indicate that the risk of new resistance-causing mutations emerging is determined by specific predisposing genetic factors in the underlying parasite population.

Dijkstra M, van der Elst EM, Micheni M, Gichuru E, Musyoki H, Duby Z, Lange JMA, Graham SM, Sanders EJ. 2015. Emerging themes for sensitivity training modules of African healthcare workers attending to men who have sex with men: a systematic review. Int Health, 7 (3), pp. 151-162. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Sensitivity training of front-line African health care workers (HCWs) attending to men who have sex with men (MSM) is actively promoted through national HIV prevention programming in Kenya. Over 970 Kenyan-based HCWs have completed an eight-modular online training free of charge ( since its creation in 2011. Before updating these modules, we performed a systematic review of published literature of MSM studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) in the period 2011-2014, to investigate if recent studies provided: important new knowledge currently not addressed in existing online modules; contested information of existing module topics; or added depth to topics covered already. We used learning objectives of the eight existing modules to categorise data from the literature. If data could not be categorised, new modules were suggested. Our review identified 142 MSM studies with data from sSA, including 34 studies requiring module updates, one study contesting current content, and 107 studies reinforcing existing module content. ART adherence and community engagement were identified as new modules. Recent MSM studies conducted in sSA provided new knowledge, contested existing information, and identified new areas of MSM service needs currently unaddressed in the online training.

Herbert J, Thomas S, Brookes C, Turner C, Turner P, Nosten F, Le Doare K, Hudson M, Heath PT, Gorringe A, Taylor S. 2015. Antibody-mediated complement C3b/iC3b binding to group B Streptococcus in paired mother and baby serum samples in a refugee population on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 22 (3), pp. 319-326. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus [GBS]) is the leading cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis. In this study, we determined antibody-mediated deposition of complement C3b/iC3b onto the bacterial cell surface of GBS serotypes Ia, Ib, II, III, and V. This was determined for 520 mother and umbilical cord serum sample pairs obtained at the time of birth from a population on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Antibody-mediated deposition of complement C3b/iC3b was detected to at least one serotype in 91% of mothers, despite a known carriage rate in this population of only 12%. Antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition corresponded to known carriage rates, with the highest levels of complement deposition observed onto the most prevalent serotype (serotype II) followed by serotypes Ia, III, V, and Ib. Finally, neonates born to mothers carrying serotype II GBS at the time of birth showed higher antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition against serotype II GBS than neonates born to mothers with no serotype II carriage. Assessment of antibody-mediated C3b/iC3b deposition against GBS may provide insights into the seroepidemiology of anti-GBS antibodies in mothers and infants in different populations.

Thaipadungpanit J, Amornchai P, Nickerson EK, Wongsuvan G, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2015. Clinical and molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus argenteus infections in Thailand. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (3), pp. 1005-1008. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Molecular typing of 246 Staphylococcus aureus isolates from unselected patients in Thailand showed that 10 (4.1%) were actually Staphylococcus argenteus. Contrary to the suggestion that S. argenteus is less virulent than S. aureus, we demonstrated comparable rates of morbidity, death, and health care-associated infection in patients infected with either of these two species.

Pham DK, Chu J, Do NT, Brose F, Degand G, Delahaut P, De Pauw E, Douny C, Nguyen KV, Vu TD et al. 2015. Monitoring Antibiotic Use and Residue in Freshwater Aquaculture for Domestic Use in Vietnam. Ecohealth, 12 (3), pp. 480-489. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Vietnam is an important producer of aquaculture products, and aquatic products are essential to the Vietnamese diet. However, Vietnam also has very little enforced regulation pertaining to antibiotic usage in domestic aquaculture, which raises concerns for antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. In this study, analysis was conducted on the presence of antibiotic residues in domestically sold fish and shrimp raised in freshwater farms in Vietnam, and an assessment of farmers' knowledge of proper antibiotics usage was performed. The results indicated that a quarter of tested aquaculture products were antibiotic screening test positive, and there is a general lack of knowledge about the purpose and proper usage of antibiotics by aquaculture producers. Farmers' decision-making processes about antimicrobial use are influenced by biased sources of information, such as drug manufacturers and sellers, and by financial incentives.

Carrington LB, Nguyen HL, Nguyen NM, Duong THK, Tuan TV, Giang NT, Tuyet NV, Thi DL, Thi LV, Tran CN, Simmons CP. 2015. Naturally-acquired dengue virus infections do not reduce short-term survival of infected Aedes aegypti from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (3), pp. 492-496. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Transmission of dengue virus (DENV) from mosquito to human is dependent upon the survival of the mosquito beyond the virus extrinsic incubation period. Previous studies report conflicting results of the effects of DENV on Aedes aegypti survival. Here, we describe the effect of DENV on the short-term survival (up to 12 d) of 4,321 Ae. aegypti mosquitoes blood-fed on 150 NS1-positive dengue patients hospitalized in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mosquito survival was not different between cohorts that fed upon blood from which 0% of mosquitoes became DENV infected (N = 88 feeds), or 100% became infected (N = 116 feeds). Subgroup analysis also did not reveal serotype-dependent differences in survival, nor a relationship between survival and human plasma viremia levels. These results suggest that DENV infection adds minimal cost to Ae. aegypti, an important finding when parameterizing the vector competence of this mosquito.

Magrabi F, Baker M, Sinha I, Ong M-S, Harrison S, Kidd MR, Runciman WB, Coiera E. 2015. Clinical safety of England's national programme for IT: a retrospective analysis of all reported safety events 2005 to 2011. Int J Med Inform, 84 (3), pp. 198-206. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To analyse patient safety events associated with England's national programme for IT (NPfIT). METHODS: Retrospective analysis of all safety events managed by a dedicated IT safety team between September 2005 and November 2011 was undertaken. Events were reviewed against an existing classification for problems associated with IT. The proportion of reported events per problem type, consequences, source of report, resolution within 24h, time of day and day of week were examined. Sub-group analyses were undertaken for events involving patient harm and those that occurred on a large scale. RESULTS: Of the 850 events analysed, 68% (n=574) described potentially hazardous circumstances, 24% (n=205) had an observable impact on care delivery, 4% (n=36) were a near miss, and 3% (n=22) were associated with patient harm, including three deaths (0·35%). Eleven events did not have a noticeable consequence (1%) and two were complaints (<1%). Amongst the events 1606 separate contributing problems were identified. Of these 92% were predominately associated with technical rather than human factors. Problems involving human factors were four times as likely to result in patient harm than technical problems (25% versus 8%; OR 3·98, 95%CI 1·90-8.34). Large-scale events affecting 10 or more individuals or multiple IT systems accounted for 23% (n=191) of the sample and were significantly more likely to result in a near miss (6% versus 4%) or impact the delivery of care (39% versus 20%; p<0·001). CONCLUSION: Events associated with NPfIT reinforce that the use of IT does create hazardous circumstances and can lead to patient harm or death. Large-scale patient safety events have the potential to affect many patients and clinicians, and this suggests that addressing them should be a priority for all major IT implementations.

Morris VK, Carrique-Mas JJ, Mueller-Doblies D, Davies RH, Wales AD, Allen VM. 2015. A longitudinal observational study of Salmonella shedding patterns by commercial turkeys during rearing and fattening, showing limitations of some control measures. Br Poult Sci, 56 (1), pp. 48-57. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

1. The onset and progression of Salmonella infections was investigated in commercial turkey flocks from placement at 1 d old until slaughter in "brood and move" systems using a longitudinal observational approach based on faeces and environmental sampling with subsequent culture of Salmonella. 2. Persistent Salmonella Newport contamination was found within rearing houses and on their external concrete aprons after cleaning and disinfection between crops of heavily shedding young birds. 3. Salmonella shedding was often detected by 5 d of age and the frequency of positive samples peaked at 14-35 d. Thereafter Salmonella isolations declined, especially in the later (fattening) stages. Samples were still Salmonella-positive at low prevalence in half of the intensively sampled houses at slaughter age. 4. A number of management interventions to combat Salmonella infection of flocks, including sourcing policy, competitive exclusion cultures and cleaning and disinfection, were inadequate to prevent flock infection, although improved disinfection on one unit was associated with a delay in the onset of flock infection.

Neupane M, Basnyat B, Fischer R, Froeschl G, Wolbers M, Rehfuess EA. 2015. Sustained use of biogas fuel and blood pressure among women in rural Nepal. Environ Res, 136 pp. 343-351. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: More than two fifths of the world's population cook with solid fuels and are exposed to household air pollution (HAP). As of now, no studies have assessed whether switching to alternative fuels like biogas could impact cardiovascular health among cooks previously exposed to solid fuel use. METHODS: We conducted a propensity score matched cross-sectional study to explore if the sustained use of biogas fuel for at least ten years impacts blood pressure among adult female cooks of rural Nepal. We recruited one primary cook ≥ 30 years of age from each biogas (219 cooks) and firewood (300 cooks) using household and measured their systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). Household characteristics, kitchen ventilation and 24-h kitchen carbon monoxide were assessed. We matched cooks by age, body mass index and socio-economic status score using propensity scores and investigated the effect of biogas use through multivariate regression models in two age groups, 30-50 years and >50 years to account for any post-menopausal changes. RESULTS: We found substantially reduced 24-h kitchen carbon monoxide levels among biogas-using households. After matching and adjustment for smoking, kitchen characteristics, ventilation status and additional fuel use, the use of biogas was associated with 9.8 mmHg lower SBP [95% confidence interval (CI), -20.4 to 0.8] and 6.5 mmHg lower DBP (95% CI, -12.2 to -0.8) compared to firewood users among women >50 years of age. In this age group, biogas use was also associated with 68% reduced odds [Odds ratio 0.32 (95% CI, 0.14 to 0.71)] of developing hypertension. These effects, however, were not identified in younger women aged 30-50 years. CONCLUSIONS: Sustained use of biogas for cooking may protect against cardiovascular disease by lowering the risk of high blood pressure, especially DBP, among older female cooks. These findings need to be confirmed in longitudinal or experimental studies.

Wiersinga WJ, Birnie E, Weehuizen TAF, Alabi AS, Huson MAM, Huis in 't Veld RAG, Mabala HK, Adzoda GK, Raczynski-Henk Y, Esen M et al. 2015. Clinical, environmental, and serologic surveillance studies of melioidosis in Gabon, 2012-2013. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (1), pp. 40-47. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei, an environmental gram-negative bacillus, is the causative agent of melioidosis and a bio-threat agent. Reports of B. pseudomallei isolation from soil and animals in East and West Africa suggest that melioidosis might be more widely distributed than previously thought. Because it has been found in equatorial areas with tropical climates, we hypothesized that B. pseudomallei could exist in Gabon. During 2012-2013, we conducted a seroprevalance study in which we set up microbiology facilities at a large clinical referral center and prospectively screened all febrile patients by conducting blood cultures and testing for B. pseudomallei and related species; we also determined whether B. pseudomallei could be isolated from soil. We discovered a novel B. pseudomallei sequence type that caused lethal septic shock and identified B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis in the environment. Our data suggest that melioidosis is emerging in Central Africa but is unrecognized because of the lack of diagnostic microbiology facilities.

Aluvaala J, Nyamai R, Were F, Wasunna A, Kosgei R, Karumbi J, Gathara D, English M, Kamau K, Kimani F et al. 2015. Assessment of neonatal care in clinical training facilities in Kenya Archives of Disease in Childhood, 100 (1), pp. 42-47. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Objective An audit of neonatal care services provided by clinical training centres was undertaken to identify areas requiring improvement as part of wider efforts to improve newborn survival in Kenya. Design Cross-sectional study using indicators based on prior work in Kenya. Statistical analyses were descriptive with adjustment for clustering of data. Setting Neonatal units of 22 public hospitals. Patients Neonates aged < 7 days. Main outcome measures Quality of care was assessed in terms of availability of basic resources (principally equipment and drugs) and audit of case records for documentation of patient assessment and treatment at admission. Results All hospitals had oxygen, 19/22 had resuscitation and phototherapy equipment, but some key resources were missing-for example kangaroo care was available in 14/22. Out of 1249 records, 56.9% (95% CI 36.2% to 77.6%) had a standard neonatal admission form. A median score of 0 out of 3 for symptoms of severe illness (IQR 0-3) and a median score of 6 out of 8 for signs of severe illness (IQR 4-7) were documented. Maternal HIV status was documented in 674/1249 (54%, 95% CI 41.9% to 66.1%) cases. Drug doses exceeded recommendations by > 20% in prescriptions for penicillin (11.6%, 95% CI 3.4% to 32.8%) and gentamicin (18.5%, 95% CI 13.4% to 25%), respectively. Conclusions Basic resources are generally available, but there are deficiencies in key areas. Poor documentation limits the use of routine data for quality improvement. Significant opportunities exist for improvement in service delivery and adherence to guidelines in hospitals providing professional training.

Barber BE, William T, Grigg MJ, Parameswaran U, Piera KA, Price RN, Yeo TW, Anstey NM. 2015. Parasite biomass-related inflammation, endothelial activation, microvascular dysfunction and disease severity in vivax malaria. PLoS Pathog, 11 (1), pp. e1004558. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax can cause severe malaria, however its pathogenesis is poorly understood. In contrast to P. falciparum, circulating vivax parasitemia is low, with minimal apparent sequestration in endothelium-lined microvasculature, and pathogenesis thought unrelated to parasite biomass. However, the relationships between vivax disease-severity and total parasite biomass, endothelial autocrine activation and microvascular dysfunction are unknown. We measured circulating parasitemia and markers of total parasite biomass (plasma parasite lactate dehydrogenase [pLDH] and PvLDH) in adults with severe (n = 9) and non-severe (n = 53) vivax malaria, and examined relationships with disease-severity, endothelial activation, and microvascular function. Healthy controls and adults with non-severe and severe falciparum malaria were enrolled for comparison. Median peripheral parasitemia, PvLDH and pLDH were 2.4-fold, 3.7-fold and 6.9-fold higher in severe compared to non-severe vivax malaria (p = 0.02, p = 0.02 and p = 0.015, respectively), suggesting that, as in falciparum malaria, peripheral P. vivax parasitemia underestimates total parasite biomass, particularly in severe disease. P. vivax schizonts were under-represented in peripheral blood. Severe vivax malaria was associated with increased angiopoietin-2 and impaired microvascular reactivity. Peripheral vivax parasitemia correlated with endothelial activation (angiopoietin-2, von-Willebrand-Factor [VWF], E-selectin), whereas markers of total vivax biomass correlated only with systemic inflammation (IL-6, IL-10). Activity of the VWF-cleaving-protease, ADAMTS13, was deficient in proportion to endothelial activation, IL-6, thrombocytopenia and vivax disease-severity, and associated with impaired microvascular reactivity in severe disease. Impaired microvascular reactivity correlated with lactate in severe vivax malaria. Findings suggest that tissue accumulation of P. vivax may occur, with the hidden biomass greatest in severe disease and capable of mediating systemic inflammatory pathology. The lack of association between total parasite biomass and endothelial activation is consistent with accumulation in parts of the circulation devoid of endothelium. Endothelial activation, associated with circulating parasites, and systemic inflammation may contribute to pathology in vivax malaria, with microvascular dysfunction likely contributing to impaired tissue perfusion.

Schreiber F, Kay S, Frankel G, Clare S, Goulding D, van de Vosse E, van Dissel JT, Strugnell R, Thwaites G, Kingsley RA et al. 2015. The Hd, Hj, and Hz66 flagella variants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi modify host responses and cellular interactions. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 7947. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid fever, is a monophyletic, human-restricted bacterium that exhibits limited phenotypic variation. S. Typhi from Indonesia are a notable exception, with circulating strains expressing diverse flagella antigens including Hj, Hd and Hz66. Hypothesizing that S. Typhi flagella plays a key role during infection, we constructed an S. Typhi fliC mutant and otherwise isogenic S. Typhi strains expressing the Hj, Hd, Hz66 flagella antigens. Phenotyping revealed differences in flagellum structure, strain motility and immunogenicity, but not in the ability of flagellated isolates to induce TLR5 activity. Invasion assays using epithelial and macrophage cell lines revealed differences in the ability of these S. Typhi derivatives to invade cells or induce cellular restructuring in the form of ruffles. Notably, the Hj variant induced substantial ruffles that were not fully dependent on the GTPases that contribute to this process. These data highlight important differences in the phenotypic properties of S. Typhi flagella variation and how they impact on the pathogenesis of S. Typhi.

Van Cuong N, Carrique-Mas J, Vo Be H, An NN, Tue NT, Anh NL, Anh PH, Phuc NT, Baker S, Voutilainen L et al. 2015. Rodents and risk in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam: seroprevalence of selected zoonotic viruses in rodents and humans. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 15 (1), pp. 65-72. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, rats are commonly traded in wet markets and sold live for food consumption. We investigated seroprevalence to selected groups of rodent-borne viruses among human populations with high levels of animal exposure and among co-located rodent populations. The indirect fluorescence antibody test (IFAT) was used to determine seropositivity to representative reference strains of hantaviruses (Dobrava virus [DOBV], Seoul virus [SEOV]), cowpox virus, arenaviruses (lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus [LCMV]), flaviviruses (tick-borne encephalitis virus [TBEV]), and rodent parechoviruses (Ljungan virus), using sera from 245 humans living in Dong Thap Province and 275 rodents representing the five common rodent species sold in wet markets and present in peridomestic and farm settings. Combined seropositivity to DOBV and SEOV among the rodents and humans was 6.9% (19/275) and 3.7% (9/245), respectively; 1.1% (3/275) and 4.5% (11/245) to cowpox virus; 5.4% (15/275) and 47.3% (116/245) for TBEV; and exposure to Ljungan virus was 18.8% (46/245) in humans, but 0% in rodents. Very little seroreactivity was observed to LCMV in either rodents (1/275, 0.4%) or humans (2/245, 0.8%). Molecular screening of rodent liver tissues using consensus primers for flaviviruses did not yield any amplicons, whereas molecular screening of rodent lung tissues for hantavirus yielded one hantavirus sequence (SEOV). In summary, these results indicate low to moderate levels of endemic hantavirus circulation, possible circulation of a flavivirus in rodent reservoirs, and the first available data on human exposures to parechoviruses in Vietnam. Although the current evidence suggests only limited exposure of humans to known rodent-borne diseases, further research is warranted to assess public health implications of the rodent trade.

Kamali A, Price MA, Lakhi S, Karita E, Inambao M, Sanders EJ, Anzala O, Latka MH, Bekker L-G, Kaleebu P et al. 2015. Creating an African HIV clinical research and prevention trials network: HIV prevalence, incidence and transmission. PLoS One, 10 (1), pp. e0116100. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV epidemiology informs prevention trial design and program planning. Nine clinical research centers (CRC) in sub-Saharan Africa conducted HIV observational epidemiology studies in populations at risk for HIV infection as part of an HIV prevention and vaccine trial network. Annual HIV incidence ranged from below 2% to above 10% and varied by CRC and risk group, with rates above 5% observed in Zambian men in an HIV-discordant relationship, Ugandan men from Lake Victoria fishing communities, men who have sex with men, and several cohorts of women. HIV incidence tended to fall after the first three months in the study and over calendar time. Among suspected transmission pairs, 28% of HIV infections were not from the reported partner. Volunteers with high incidence were successfully identified and enrolled into large scale cohort studies. Over a quarter of new cases in couples acquired infection from persons other than the suspected transmitting partner.

Hoffmaster AR, AuCoin D, Baccam P, Baggett HC, Baird R, Bhengsri S, Blaney DD, Brett PJ, Brooks TJG, Brown KA et al. 2015. Melioidosis diagnostic workshop, 2013. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (2), pp. 1-9. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a severe disease that can be difficult to diagnose because of its diverse clinical manifestations and a lack of adequate diagnostic capabilities for suspected cases. There is broad interest in improving detection and diagnosis of this disease not only in melioidosis-endemic regions but also outside these regions because melioidosis may be underreported and poses a potential bioterrorism challenge for public health authorities. Therefore, a workshop of academic, government, and private sector personnel from around the world was convened to discuss the current state of melioidosis diagnostics, diagnostic needs, and future directions.

Snow RW. 2015. Global malaria eradication and the importance of Plasmodium falciparum epidemiology in Africa. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 23. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The global agenda for malaria has, once again, embraced the possibility of eradication. As history has shown, there will be no single magic bullet that can be applied to every epidemiological setting. Africa has a diverse malaria ecology, lending itself to some of the highest disease burden areas of the world and a wide range of clinical epidemiological patterns making control with our current tools challenging. This commentary highlights why the epidemiology of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Africa should not be forgotten when planning an eradication strategy, and why forgetting Africa will, once again, be the single largest threat to any hope for global eradication.

Lim YT, Jobichen C, Wong J, Limmathurotsakul D, Li S, Chen Y, Raida M, Srinivasan N, MacAry PA, Sivaraman J, Gan Y-H. 2015. Extended loop region of Hcp1 is critical for the assembly and function of type VI secretion system in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 8235. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Type VI Secretion System cluster 1 (T6SS1) is essential for the pathogenesis of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, a disease endemic in the tropics. Inside host cells, B. pseudomallei escapes into the cytosol and through T6SS1, induces multinucleated giant cell (MNGC) formation that is thought to be important for bacterial cell to cell spread. The hemolysin-coregulated protein (Hcp) is both a T6SS substrate, as well as postulated to form part of the T6SS secretion tube. Our structural study reveals that Hcp1 forms hexameric rings similar to the other Hcp homologs but has an extended loop (Asp40-Arg56) that deviates significantly in position compared to other Hcp structures and may act as a key contact point between adjacent hexameric rings. When two residues within the loop were mutated, the mutant proteins were unable to stack as dodecamers, suggesting defective tube assembly. Moreover, infection with a bacterial mutant containing in situ substitution of these hcp1 residues abolishes Hcp1 secretion inside infected cells and MNGC formation. We further show that Hcp has the ability to preferentially bind to the surface of antigen-presenting cells, which may contribute to its immunogenicity in inducing high titers of antibodies seen in melioidosis patients.

Loan HK, Cuong NV, Takhampunya R, Klangthong K, Osikowicz L, Kiet BT, Campbell J, Bryant J, Promstaporn S, Kosoy M et al. 2015. Bartonella species and trombiculid mites of rats from the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 15 (1), pp. 40-47. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A survey of Bartonella spp. from 275 rats purchased in food markets (n=150) and trapped in different ecosystems (rice field, forest, and animal farms) (n=125) was carried out during October, 2012-March, 2013, in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The overall Bartonella spp. prevalence detected by culture and PCR in blood was 14.9% (10.7-19.1%), the highest corresponding to Rattus tanezumi (49.2%), followed by Rattus norvegicus (20.7%). Trapped rats were also investigated for the presence and type of chiggers (larvae of trombiculid mites), and Bartonella spp. were investigated on chigger pools collected from each rat by RT-PCR. A total of five Bartonella spp. were identified in rats, three of which (B. elizabethae, B. rattimassiliensis, and B. tribocorum) are known zoonotic pathogens. Among trapped rats, factors independently associated with increased prevalence of Bartonella spp. included: (1) Rat species (R. tanezumi); (2) the number of Trombiculini-Blankaartia and Schoengastiini-Ascoschoengastia mites found on rats; and (3) the habitat of the rat (i.e., forest/fields vs. animal farms). The prevalence of Bartonella infection among chiggers from Bartonella spp.-positive R. tanezumi rats was 5/25 (25%), compared with 1/27 (3.7%) among Bartonella spp.-negative R. tanezumi rats (relative risk [RR]=5.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68-43.09). The finding of Bartonella spp.-positive chiggers on Bartonella spp.-negative rats is strongly suggestive of a transovarial transmission cycle. Rats are ubiquitous in areas of human activity and farms in the Mekong Delta; in addition, trapping and trading of rats for food is common. To correctly assess the human risks due to rat trapping, marketing, and carcass dressing, further studies are needed to establish the routes of transmission and cycle of infection. The widespread presence of these zoonotic pathogens in rats and the abundance of human-rat interactions suggest that surveillance efforts should be enhanced to detect any human cases of Bartonella infection that may arise.

Carter MJ, Emary KR, Moore CE, Parry CM, Sona S, Putchhat H, Reaksmey S, Chanpheaktra N, Stoesser N, Dobson ADM et al. 2015. Rapid diagnostic tests for dengue virus infection in febrile Cambodian children: diagnostic accuracy and incorporation into diagnostic algorithms. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (2), pp. e0003424. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus (DENV) infection is prevalent across tropical regions and may cause severe disease. Early diagnosis may improve supportive care. We prospectively assessed the Standard Diagnostics (Korea) BIOLINE Dengue Duo DENV rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to NS1 antigen and anti-DENV IgM (NS1 and IgM) in children in Cambodia, with the aim of improving the diagnosis of DENV infection. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled children admitted to hospital with non-localised febrile illnesses during the 5-month DENV transmission season. Clinical and laboratory variables, and DENV RDT results were recorded at admission. Children had blood culture and serological and molecular tests for common local pathogens, including reference laboratory DENV NS1 antigen and IgM assays. 337 children were admitted with non-localised febrile illness over 5 months. 71 (21%) had DENV infection (reference assay positive). Sensitivity was 58%, and specificity 85% for RDT NS1 and IgM combined. Conditional inference framework analysis showed the additional value of platelet and white cell counts for diagnosis of DENV infection. Variables associated with diagnosis of DENV infection were not associated with critical care admission (70 children, 21%) or mortality (19 children, 6%). Known causes of mortality were melioidosis (4), other sepsis (5), and malignancy (1). 22 (27%) children with a positive DENV RDT had a treatable other infection. CONCLUSIONS: The DENV RDT had low sensitivity for the diagnosis of DENV infection. The high co-prevalence of infections in our cohort indicates the need for a broad microbiological assessment of non-localised febrile illness in these children.

Newton PN, Schellenberg D, Ashley EA, Ravinetto R, Green MD, ter Kuile FO, Tabernero P, White NJ, Guerin PJ. 2015. Quality assurance of drugs used in clinical trials: proposal for adapting guidelines. BMJ, 350 (feb25 10), pp. h602. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more

Das D, Guerin PJ, Leroy S, Sayeed AA, Faiz MA. 2015. The Largest Ebola Outbreak– What Have We Learned So Far Journal of Medicine, 16 (1), pp. 1-4. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more

Dunstan SJ, Tram TTB, Thwaites GE, Chau TTH, Phu NH, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Wolbers M, Mai NTH. 2015. LTA4H genotype is associated with susceptibility to bacterial meningitis but is not a critical determinant of outcome. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0118789. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Adjunctive dexamethasone saves lives in the treatment of tuberculous meningitis but this response is influenced by the patient's LTA4H genotype. Despite less certain benefit, adjunctive dexamethasone is also frequently used in the treatment of pyogenic bacterial meningitis, but the influence of LTA4H genotype on outcomes has not been previously investigated. We genotyped the LTA4H promoter region SNP (rs17525495) in 390 bacterial meningitis patients and 751 population controls. rs17525495 was associated with susceptibility to bacteriologically confirmed bacterial meningitis (P = 0.01, OR 1.27 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.54) but did not influence clinical presentation, disease severity or survival following dexamethasone treatment.

Chansrichavala P, Wongsuwan N, Suddee S, Malasit M, Hongsuwan M, Wannapinij P, Kitphati R, Day NPJ, Michie S, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. Public awareness of melioidosis in Thailand and potential use of video clips as educational tools. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0121311. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis causes more than 1,000 deaths in Thailand each year. Infection occurs via inoculation, ingestion or inhalation of the causative organism (Burkholderia pseuodmallei) present in soil and water. Here, we evaluated public awareness of melioidosis using a combination of population-based questionnaire, a public engagement campaign to obtain video clips made by the public, and viewpoints on these video clips as potential educational tools about the disease and its prevention. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed to evaluate public awareness of melioidosis, and knowledge about its prevention. From 1 March to 31 April 2012, the questionnaire was delivered to five randomly selected adults in each of 928 districts in Thailand. A video clip contest entitled "Melioidosis, an infectious disease that Thais must know" was run between May and October 2012. The best 12 video clips judged by a contest committee were shown to 71 people at risk from melioidosis (diabetics). Focus group interviews were used to evaluate their perceptions of the video clips. RESULTS: Of 4,203 Thais who completed our study questionnaire, 74% had never heard of melioidosis, and 19% had heard of the disease but had no further knowledge. Most participants in all focus group sessions felt that video clips were beneficial and could positively influence them to increase adherence to recommended preventive behaviours, including drinking boiled water and wearing protective gear if in contact with soil or environmental water. Participants suggested that video clips should be presented in the local dialect with simple words rather than medical terms, in a serious manner, with a doctor as the one presenting the facts, and having detailed pictures of each recommended prevention method. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, public awareness of melioidosis in Thailand is very low, and video clips could serve as a useful medium to educate people and promote disease prevention. PRESENTED IN PART: World Melioidosis Congress 2013, Bangkok, Thailand, 18-20 September 2013 (abstract OS VII-04).

Graustein AD, Horne DJ, Arentz M, Bang ND, Chau TTH, Thwaites GE, Caws M, Thuong NTT, Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR. 2015. TLR9 gene region polymorphisms and susceptibility to tuberculosis in Vietnam. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 95 (2), pp. 190-196. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Humans exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) show variation in susceptibility to infection and differences in tuberculosis (TB) disease outcome. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a pattern recognition receptor that mediates recognition of Mtb and modulates Mtb-specific T-cell responses. Using a case-population design, we evaluated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TLR9 gene region are associated with susceptibility to pulmonary or meningeal TB as well as neurologic presentation and mortality in the meningeal TB group. In a discovery cohort (n = 352 cases, 382 controls), three SNPs were associated with TB (all forms, p < 0.05) while three additional SNPs neared significance (0.05 < p < 0.1). When these six SNPs were evaluated in a validation cohort (n = 339 cases, 367 controls), one was significant (rs352142) while another neared significance (rs352143). When the cohorts were combined, rs352142 was most strongly associated with meningeal tuberculosis (dominant model; p = 0.0002, OR 2.36, CI 1.43-3.87) while rs352143 was associated with pulmonary tuberculosis (recessive model; p = 0.006, OR 5.3, CI 1.26-31.13). None of the SNPs were associated with mortality. This is the first demonstration of an association between a TLR9 gene region SNP and tuberculous meningitis. In addition, this extends previous findings that support associations of TLR9 SNPs with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Nyiro JU, Sande C, Mutunga M, Kiyuka PK, Munywoki PK, Scott JAG, Nokes DJ. 2015. Quantifying maternally derived respiratory syncytial virus specific neutralising antibodies in a birth cohort from coastal Kenya. Vaccine, 33 (15), pp. 1797-1801. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) disease occurs predominantly in children under 6 months of age. There is no licensed RSV vaccine. Protection of young infants could be achieved by a maternal vaccine to boost titres of passively transferred protective antibodies. Data on the level and kinetics of functional RSV-specific antibody at birth and over the early infant period would inform vaccine product design. METHODS: From a birth cohort study (2002-2007) in Kilifi, Kenya, 100 participants were randomly selected for whom cord blood and 2 subsequent 3-monthly blood samples within the first year of life, were available. RSV antibodies against the A2 strain of RSV were assayed and recorded as the logarithm (base 2) plaque reduction neutralisation test (PRNT) titre. Analysis by linear regression accounted for within-person clustering. RESULTS: The geometric mean neutralisation antibody titre was 10.6 (SD: 1.13) at birth with a log-linear decay over the first 6 months of life. The estimated rate of decay was -0.58 (SD: 0.20) log2PRNT titre per month and a half-life of 36 days. There was no significant interaction between cord titre and rate of decay with age. Mean cord titres rose and fell in a pattern temporally tracking community virus transmission. CONCLUSIONS: In this study population, RSV neutralising antibody titres decay approximately two-fold every one month. The rate of decay varies widely by individual but is not related to titre at birth. RSV specific cord titres vary seasonally, presumably due to maternal boosting.

Weinert LA, Chaudhuri RR, Wang J, Peters SE, Corander J, Jombart T, Baig A, Howell KJ, Vehkala M, Välimäki N et al. 2015. Genomic signatures of human and animal disease in the zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus suis. Nat Commun, 6 pp. 6740. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus suis causes disease in pigs worldwide and is increasingly implicated in zoonotic disease in East and South-East Asia. To understand the genetic basis of disease in S. suis, we study the genomes of 375 isolates with detailed clinical phenotypes from pigs and humans from the United Kingdom and Vietnam. Here, we show that isolates associated with disease contain substantially fewer genes than non-clinical isolates, but are more likely to encode virulence factors. Human disease isolates are limited to a single-virulent population, originating in the 1920, s when pig production was intensified, but no consistent genomic differences between pig and human isolates are observed. There is little geographical clustering of different S. suis subpopulations, and the bacterium undergoes high rates of recombination, implying that an increase in virulence anywhere in the world could have a global impact over a short timescale.

Gathara D, Nyamai R, Were F, Mogoa W, Karumbi J, Kihuba E, Mwinga S, Aluvaala J, Mulaku M, Kosgei R et al. 2015. Moving towards routine evaluation of quality of inpatient pediatric care in Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0117048. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Regular assessment of quality of care allows monitoring of progress towards system goals and identifies gaps that need to be addressed to promote better outcomes. We report efforts to initiate routine assessments in a low-income country in partnership with government. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey undertaken in 22 'internship training' hospitals across Kenya that examined availability of essential resources and process of care based on review of 60 case-records per site focusing on the common childhood illnesses (pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea/dehydration, malnutrition and meningitis). RESULTS: Availability of essential resources was 75% (45/61 items) or more in 8/22 hospitals. A total of 1298 (range 54-61) case records were reviewed. HIV testing remained suboptimal at 12% (95% CI 7-19). A routinely introduced structured pediatric admission record form improved documentation of core admission symptoms and signs (median score for signs 22/22 and 8/22 when form used and not used respectively). Correctness of penicillin and gentamicin dosing was above 85% but correctness of prescribed intravenous fluid or oral feed volumes for severe dehydration and malnutrition were 54% and 25% respectively. Introduction of Zinc for diarrhea has been relatively successful (66% cases) but use of artesunate for malaria remained rare. Exploratory analysis suggests considerable variability of the quality of care across hospitals. CONCLUSION: Quality of pediatric care in Kenya has improved but can improve further. The approach to monitoring described in this survey seems feasible and provides an opportunity for routine assessments across a large number of hospitals as part of national efforts to sustain improvement. Understanding variability across hospitals may help target improvement efforts.

Kager LM, Blok DC, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R, Bresser P, van der Zee JS, Ghose A, Visser CE, de Jong MD et al. 2015. Pulmonary tuberculosis induces a systemic hypercoagulable state Journal of Infection, 70 (4), pp. 324-334. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 The British Infection Association. Objectives: Human tuberculosis (TB) remains an important cause of death globally. Bangladesh is one of the most affected countries. We aimed to investigate the impact of pulmonary TB on pro- and anticoagulant mechanisms. Methods: This prospective study was conducted in Chittagong, Bangladesh. We performed an in-depth analysis of coagulation activation and inhibition in plasma obtained from 64 patients with primary lung TB and 11 patients with recurrent lung TB and compared these with 37 healthy controls. Additionally, in nine patients coagulation activation was studied in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) harvested from the site of infection and compared with BALF from a contralateral unaffected lung subsegment. Results: Relative to uninfected controls, primary and recurrent TB were associated with a systemic net procoagulant state, as indicated by enhanced activation of coagulation (elevated plasma levels of thrombin-antithrombin complexes, D-dimer and fibrinogen) together with impaired anticoagulant mechanisms (reduced plasma levels of antithrombin, protein C activity, free protein S, and protein C inhibitor). Activation of coagulation did not correlate with plasma concentrations of established TB biomarkers. Coagulation activation could not be detected at the primary site of infection in a subset of TB patients. Conclusions: Pulmonary TB is associated with a systemic hypercoagulable state.

Vellinga NAR, Boerma EC, Koopmans M, Donati A, Dubin A, Shapiro NI, Pearse RM, Machado FR, Fries M, Akarsu-Ayazoglu T et al. 2015. International study on microcirculatory shock occurrence in acutely ill patients. Crit Care Med, 43 (1), pp. 48-56. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Microcirculatory alterations are associated with adverse outcome in subsets of critically ill patients. The prevalence and significance of microcirculatory alterations in the general ICU population are unknown. We studied the prevalence of microcirculatory alterations in a heterogeneous ICU population and its predictive value in an integrative model of macro- and microcirculatory variables. DESIGN: Multicenter observational point prevalence study. SETTING: The Microcirculatory Shock Occurrence in Acutely ill Patients study was conducted in 36 ICUs worldwide. PATIENTS: A heterogeneous ICU population consisting of 501 patients. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Demographic, hemodynamic, and laboratory data were collected in all ICU patients who were 18 years old or older. Sublingual Sidestream Dark Field imaging was performed to determine the prevalence of an abnormal capillary microvascular flow index (< 2.6) and its additional value in predicting hospital mortality. In 501 patients with a median Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score of 15 (10-21), a Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score of 5 (2-8), and a hospital mortality of 28.4%, 17% exhibited an abnormal capillary microvascular flow index. Tachycardia (heart rate > 90 beats/min) (odds ratio, 2.71; 95% CI, 1.67-4.39; p < 0.001), mean arterial pressure (odds ratio, 0.979; 95% CI, 0.963-0.996; p = 0.013), vasopressor use (odds ratio, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.11-3.07; p = 0.019), and lactate level more than 1.5 mEq/L (odds ratio, 2.15; 95% CI, 1.28-3.62; p = 0.004) were independent risk factors for hospital mortality, but not abnormal microvascular flow index. In reference to microvascular flow index, a significant interaction was observed with tachycardia. In patients with tachycardia, the presence of an abnormal microvascular flow index was an independent, additive predictor for in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.30-8.06; p = 0.011). This was not true for nontachycardic patients nor for the total group of patients. CONCLUSIONS: In a heterogeneous ICU population, an abnormal microvascular flow index was present in 17% of patients. This was not associated with mortality. However, in patients with tachycardia, an abnormal microvascular flow index was independently associated with an increased risk of hospital death.

Bich TD, Pham OKN, Hai DHT, Nguyen NM, Van HN, The TD, Wills B, Yacoub S. 2015. A pregnant woman with acute cardiorespiratory failure: dengue myocarditis. Lancet, 385 (9974), pp. 1260. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Ibinda F, Bauni E, Kariuki SM, Fegan G, Lewa J, Mwikamba M, Boga M, Odhiambo R, Mwagandi K, Seale AC et al. 2015. Incidence and risk factors for neonatal tetanus in admissions to Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (4), pp. e0122606. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Neonatal Tetanus (NT) is a preventable cause of mortality and neurological sequelae that occurs at higher incidence in resource-poor countries, presumably because of low maternal immunisation rates and unhygienic cord care practices. We aimed to determine changes in the incidence of NT, characterize and investigate the associated risk factors and mortality in a prospective cohort study including all admissions over a 15-year period at a County hospital on the Kenyan coast, a region with relatively high historical NT rates within Kenya. METHODS: We assessed all neonatal admissions to Kilifi County Hospital in Kenya (1999-2013) and identified cases of NT (standard clinical case definition) admitted during this time. Poisson regression was used to examine change in incidence of NT using accurate denominator data from an area of active demographic surveillance. Logistic regression was used to investigate the risk factors for NT and factors associated with mortality in NT amongst neonatal admissions. A subset of sera from mothers (n = 61) and neonates (n = 47) were tested for anti-tetanus antibodies. RESULTS: There were 191 NT admissions, of whom 187 (98%) were home deliveries. Incidence of NT declined significantly (Incidence Rate Ratio: 0.85 (95% Confidence interval 0.81-0.89), P<0.001) but the case fatality (62%) did not change over the study period (P = 0.536). Younger infant age at admission (P = 0.001) was the only independent predictor of mortality. Compared to neonatal hospital admittee controls, the proportion of home births was higher among the cases. Sera tested for antitetanus antibodies showed most mothers (50/61, 82%) had undetectable levels of antitetanus antibodies, and most (8/9, 89%) mothers with detectable antibodies had a neonate without protective levels. CONCLUSIONS: Incidence of NT in Kilifi County has significantly reduced, with reductions following immunisation campaigns. Our results suggest immunisation efforts are effective if sustained and efforts should continue to expand coverage.

Talisuna AO, Noor AM, Okui AP, Snow RW. 2015. The past, present and future use of epidemiological intelligence to plan malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 158. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An important prelude to developing strategies to control infectious diseases is a detailed epidemiological evidence platform to target cost-effective interventions and define resource needs. METHODS: A review of published and un-published reports of malaria vector control and parasite prevention in Uganda was conducted for the period 1900-2013. The objective was to provide a perspective as to how epidemiological intelligence was used to design malaria control before and during the global malaria eradication programme (GMEP) and to contrast this with the evidence generated in support of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) initiative from 1998 to date. RESULTS: During the GMEP era, comprehensive investigations were undertaken on the effectiveness of vector and parasite control such as indoor residual house-spraying (IRS) and mass drug administration (MDA) at different sites in Uganda. Nationwide malariometric surveys were undertaken between 1964 and 1967 to provide a profile of risk, epidemiology and seasonality leading to an evidence-based national cartography of risk to characterize the diversity of malaria transmission in Uganda. At the launch of the RBM initiative in the late 1990s, an equivalent level of evidence was lacking. There was no contemporary national evidence-base for the likely impact of insecticide-treated nets (ITN), no new malariometric data, no new national cartography of malaria risk or any evidence of tailored intervention delivery based on variations in the ecology of malaria risk in Uganda. DISCUSSION: Despite millions of dollars of overseas development assistance over the last ten years in ITN, and more recently the resurrection of the use of IRS, the epidemiological impact of vector control remains uncertain due to an absence of nationwide basic parasite and vector-based field studies. CONCLUSION: Readily available epidemiological data should become the future business model to maximize malaria funding from 2015. Over the next five to ten years, accountability, impact analysis, financial business cases supported by a culture of data use should become the new paradigm by which malaria programmes, governments and their development partners operate.

Cui B, Zhang D, Pan H, Zhang F, Farrar J, Law F, van Doorn HR, Wu B, Ba-Thein W. 2015. Viral aetiology of acute respiratory infections among children and associated meteorological factors in southern China. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 124. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are common in children and mostly caused by viruses, but the significance of the detection of multiple viruses in ARIs is unclear. This study investigated 14 respiratory viruses in ARIs among children and associated meteorological factors in Shantou, southern China. METHODS: Paired nasal/throat-flocked swabs collected from 1,074 children with ARIs, who visited outpatient walk-in clinics in a tertiary hospital between December 2010 and November 2011, were examined for fourteen respiratory viruses--influenza viruses (FluA, FluB), respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV A and B), human coronaviruses (hCoV: 229E, OC43, HKU1, NL63), human metapneumoviruses (hMPV A and B), parainfluenza viruses (PIV1-4), human rhinoviruses (HRV A, B, C), enteroviruses (EV), adenoviruses (ADV), human bocavirus (hBoV), and human parechoviruses (hPeV)--by multiplex real-time PCR. RESULTS: We identified at least one virus in 82.3% (884/1,074) and multiple viruses in 38.6% (415/1,074) of patients. EV and HRV were the most frequently detected single viruses (42.3%, 374/884 and 39.9%, 353/884 respectively) and co-detected pair (23.1%, 96/415). Overlapping seasonal trends of viruses were recorded over the year, with dual peaks for EV and single peaks for the others. By logistic regression analysis, EV was positively associated with the average temperature and humidity, hCoV, and PIV4, but negatively with HRV, PIV3, and hBoV. HRV was inversely associated with EV and PIV3. CONCLUSIONS: This study reports high viral detection and co-detection rates in pediatric ARI cases mainly due to EV and HRV. Many viruses circulated throughout the year with similar seasonal trends in association with temperature, humidity, and wind velocity. Statistically significant associations were present among the viruses. Understanding the polyviral etiology and viral interactions in the cases with multiple viruses warrants further studies.

Ngamdee W, Tandhavanant S, Wikraiphat C, Reamtong O, Wuthiekanun V, Salje J, Low DA, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Competition between Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. thailandensis. BMC Microbiol, 15 pp. 56. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes melioidosis, an often fatal disease in tropical countries. Burkholderia thailandensis is a non-virulent but closely related species. Both species are soil saprophytes but are almost never isolated together. RESULTS: We identified two mechanisms by which B. pseudomallei affects the growth of B. thailandensis. First, we found that six different isolates of B. pseudomallei inhibited the growth of B. thailandensis on LB agar plates. Second, our results indicated that 55% of isolated strains of B. pseudomallei produced a secreted compound that inhibited the motility but not the viability of B. thailandensis. Analysis showed that the active compound was a pH-sensitive and heat-labile compound, likely a protein, which may affect flagella processing or facilitate their degradation. Analysis of bacterial sequence types (STs) demonstrated an association between this and motility inhibition. The active compound was produced from B. pseudomallei during the stationary growth phase. CONCLUSION: Taken together, our results indicate that B. pseudomallei inhibits both the growth and motility of its close relative B. thailandensis. The latter phenomenon appears to occur via a previously unreported mechanism involving flagellar processing or degradation.

Stanley L, Min TH, Than HH, Stolbrink M, McGregor K, Chu C, Nosten FH, McGready R. 2015. A tool to improve competence in the management of emergency patients by rural clinic health workers: a pilot assessment on the Thai-Myanmar border. Confl Health, 9 (1), pp. 11. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shoklo Malaria Research Unit has been providing health care in remote clinics on the Thai-Myanmar border to refugee and migrant populations since 1986 and 1995, respectively. Clinics are staffed by local health workers with a variety of training and experience. The need for a tool to improve the competence of local health workers in basic emergency assessment and management was recognised by medical faculty after observing the case mix seen at the clinic and reviewing the teaching programme that had been delivered in the past year (Jan-13 to March-14). AIMS: To pilot the development and evaluation of a simple teaching tool to improve competence in the assessment and management of acutely unwell patients by local health workers that can be delivered onsite with minimal resources. METHODS: A structured approach to common emergencies presenting to rural clinics and utilizing equipment available in the clinics was developed. A prospective repeated-measures observed structured clinical examination (OSCE) assessment design was used to score participants in their competence to assess and manage a scenario based 'emergency patient' at baseline, immediately post-course, and 8 weeks after the delivery of the teaching course. The assessment was conducted at 3 clinic sites and staff participation was voluntary. Participants filled out questionnaires on their confidence with different scenario based emergency patients. RESULTS: All staff who underwent the baseline assessment failed to carry out the essential steps in initial emergency assessment and management of an unconscious patient scenario. Following delivery of the teaching session, all groups showed improved competence in both objective assessment and subjective confidence levels. CONCLUSIONS: Structured and practical teaching and learning with minimal theory in this resource limited setting had a positive short-term effect on the competence of individual staff to carry out an initial assessment and manage an acutely unwell patient. Health-worker confidence likewise improved. Workplace assessments are needed to determine if this type of skills training impacts upon mortality or near miss mortality patients at the clinic.

Hanson J, Phu NH, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Prapansilp P, Kingston HWF, Mishra SK, Mohanty S et al. 2015. The clinical implications of thrombocytopenia in adults with severe falciparum malaria: a retrospective analysis. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 97. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Thrombocytopenia is a common finding in adults with severe falciparum malaria, but its clinical and prognostic utility is incompletely defined. METHODS: Clinical and laboratory data from 647 adults with severe falciparum malaria were analysed retrospectively to determine the relationship between a patient's platelet count on admission to hospital and their subsequent clinical course. RESULTS: On admission, 614 patients (94.9%) were thrombocytopenic (platelet count <150 × 10(9)/L) and 328 (50.7%) had a platelet count <50 × 10(9)/L. The admission platelet count was inversely correlated with parasite biomass (estimated from plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, rs = -0.28, P = 0.003), the degree of microvascular sequestration (measured with orthogonal polarizing spectral imaging, rs = -0.31, P = 0.001) and disease severity (the number of World Health Organization severity criteria satisfied by the patient, rs = -0.21, P <0.001). Platelet counts were lower on admission in the patients who died (median: 30 (interquartile range 22 to 52) × 10(9)/L versus 50 (34 to 78) × 10(9)/L in survivors; P <0.001), but did not predict outcome independently from other established laboratory and clinical prognostic indices. The 39 patients (6%) with profound thrombocytopenia (platelet count <20 × 10(9)/L) were more likely to die (odds ratio: 5.00, 95% confidence interval: 2.56 to 9.75) than patients with higher platelet counts, but these high-risk patients could be identified more rapidly with simple bedside clinical assessment. The admission platelet count did not reliably identify the 50 patients (7.7%) with major bleeding during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombocytopenia is a marker of disease severity in adults with falciparum malaria, but has limited utility in prognostication, triage and management.

Cheah PY, Parker M. 2015. Research consent from young people in resource-poor settings Archives of Disease in Childhood, 100 (5), pp. 438-440. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015, BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved. Authoritative international guidelines stipulate that for minors to participate in research, consent must be obtained from their parents or guardians. Significant numbers of mature minors, particularly in low-income settings, are currently being ruled out of research participation because their parents are unavailable or refuse to provide consent despite the possibility that they might wish to do so and that such research has the potential to be of real benefit. These populations are under-represented in all types of clinical research. We propose that, for research with a prospect of direct benefit that has been approved by relevant ethics committees, the default position should be that minors who are able to provide valid consent and meet the following criteria should be able to consent for themselves regardless of age and whether they have reached majority: the minor must be competent and mature relative to the decision; their consent must be voluntary and they must be relatively independent and used to decision making of comparable complexity. In addition, the context must be appropriate, the information related to the research must be provided in a manner accessible to the minor and the consent must be obtained by a trained consent taker in surroundings conducive for decision making by the minor. In this paper, we have argued that consent by mature minors to research participation is acceptable in some situations and should be allowed.

Basnyat B, Baker S. 2015. Typhoid carriage in the gallbladder. Lancet, 386 (9998), pp. 1074. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Angwenyi V, Asante K-P, Traoré A, Febir LG, Tawiah C, Kwarteng A, Ouédraogo A, Sirima SB, Owusu-Agyei S, Imoukhuede EB et al. 2015. Health providers' perceptions of clinical trials: lessons from Ghana, Kenya and Burkina Faso. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0124554. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials conducted in Africa often require substantial investments to support trial centres and public health facilities. Trial resources could potentially generate benefits for routine health service delivery but may have unintended consequences. Strengthening ethical practice requires understanding the potential effects of trial inputs on the perceptions and practices of routine health care providers. This study explores the influence of malaria vaccine trials on health service delivery in Ghana, Kenya and Burkina Faso. METHODS: We conducted: audits of trial inputs in 10 trial facilities and among 144 health workers; individual interviews with frontline providers (n=99) and health managers (n=14); and group discussions with fieldworkers (n=9 discussions). Descriptive summaries were generated from audit data. Qualitative data were analysed using a framework approach. RESULTS: Facilities involved in trials benefited from infrastructure and equipment upgrades, support with essential drugs, access to trial vehicles, and placement of additional qualified trial staff. Qualified trial staff in facilities were often seen as role models by their colleagues; assisting with supportive supervision and reducing facility workload. Some facility staff in place before the trial also received formal training and salary top-ups from the trials. However, differential access to support caused dissatisfaction, and some interviewees expressed concerns about what would happen at the end of the trial once financial and supervisory support was removed. CONCLUSION: Clinical trials function as short-term complex health service delivery interventions in the facilities in which they are based. They have the potential to both benefit facilities, staff and communities through providing the supportive environment required for improvements in routine care, but they can also generate dissatisfaction, relationship challenges and demoralisation among staff. Minimising trial related harm and maximising benefits requires careful planning and engagement of key actors at the outset of trials, throughout the trial and on its' completion.

Gathara D, English M, van Hensbroek MB, Todd J, Allen E. 2015. Exploring sources of variability in adherence to guidelines across hospitals in low-income settings: a multi-level analysis of a cross-sectional survey of 22 hospitals. Implement Sci, 10 (1), pp. 60. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Variability in processes of care and outcomes has been reported widely in high-income settings (at geographic, hospital, physician group and individual physician levels); however, such variability and the factors driving it are rarely examined in low-income settings. METHODS: Using data from a cross-sectional survey undertaken in 22 hospitals (60 case records from each hospital) across Kenya that aimed at evaluating the quality of routine hospital services, we sought to explore variability in four binary inpatient paediatric process indicators. These included three prescribing tasks and use of one diagnostic. To examine for sources of variability, we examined intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and their changes using multi-level mixed models with random intercepts for hospital and clinician levels and adjusting for patient and clinician level covariates. RESULTS: Levels of performance varied substantially across indicators and hospitals. The absolute values for ICCs also varied markedly ranging from a maximum of 0.48 to a minimum of 0.09 across the models for HIV testing and prescription of zinc, respectively. More variation was attributable at the hospital level than clinician level after allowing for nesting of clinicians within hospitals for prescription of quinine loading dose for malaria (ICC = 0.30), prescription of zinc for diarrhoea patients (ICC = 0.11) and HIV testing for all children (ICC = 0.43). However, for prescription of correct dose of crystalline penicillin, more of the variability was explained by the clinician level (ICC = 0.21). Adjusting for clinician and patient level covariates only altered, marginally, the ICCs observed in models for the zinc prescription indicator. CONCLUSIONS: Performance varied greatly across place and indicator. The variability that could be explained suggests interventions to improve performance might be best targeted at hospital level factors for three indicators and clinician factors for one. Our data suggest that better understanding of performance and sources of variation might help tailor improvement interventions although further data across a larger set of indicators and sites would help substantiate these findings.

Baker KS, Dallman TJ, Ashton PM, Day M, Hughes G, Crook PD, Gilbart VL, Zittermann S, Allen VG, Howden BP et al. 2015. Intercontinental dissemination of azithromycin-resistant shigellosis through sexual transmission: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (8), pp. 913-921. | Citations: 32 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigellosis is an acute, severe bacterial colitis that, in high-income countries, is typically associated with travel to high-risk regions (Africa, Asia, and Latin America). Since the 1970s, shigellosis has also been reported as a sexually transmitted infection in men who have sex with men (MSM), in whom transmission is an important component of shigellosis epidemiology in high-income nations. We aimed to use sophisticated subtyping and international sampling to determine factors driving shigellosis emergence in MSM linked to an outbreak in the UK. METHODS: We did a large-scale, cross-sectional genomic epidemiological study of shigellosis cases collected from 29 countries between December, 1995, and June 8, 2014. Focusing on an ongoing epidemic in the UK, we collected and whole-genome sequenced clinical isolates of Shigella flexneri serotype 3a from high-risk and low-risk regions, including cases associated with travel and sex between men. We examined relationships between geographical, demographic, and clinical patient data with the isolate antimicrobial susceptibility, genetic data, and inferred evolutionary relationships. FINDINGS: We obtained 331 clinical isolates of S flexneri serotype 3a, including 275 from low-risk regions (44 from individuals who travelled to high-risk regions), 52 from high-risk regions, and four outgroup samples (ie, closely related, but genetically distinct isolates used to determine the root of the phylogenetic tree). We identified a recently emerged lineage of S flexneri 3a that has spread intercontinentally in less than 20 years throughout regions traditionally at low risk for shigellosis via sexual transmission in MSM. The lineage had acquired multiple antimicrobial resistance determinants, and prevailing sublineages were strongly associated with resistance to the macrolide azithromycin. Eight (4%) of 206 isolates from the MSM-associated lineage were obtained from patients who had previously provided an isolate; these serial isolations indicated atypical infection patterns (eg, reinfection). INTERPRETATION: We identified transmission-facilitating behaviours and atypical course(s) of infection as precipitating factors in shigellosis-affected MSM. The intercontinental spread of antimicrobial-resistant shigella through established transmission routes emphasises the need for new approaches to tackle the public health challenge of sexually transmitted infections in MSM. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust (grant number 098051).

Moore CE, Nget P, Saroeun M, Kuong S, Chanthou S, Kumar V, Bousfield R, Nader J, Bailey JW, Beeching NJ et al. 2015. Intestinal parasite infections in symptomatic children attending hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0123719. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infections with helminths and other intestinal parasites are an important but neglected problem in children in developing countries. Accurate surveys of intestinal parasites in children inform empirical treatment regimens and can assess the impact of school based drug treatment programmes. There is limited information on this topic in Cambodia. METHODS: In a prospective study of intestinal parasites in symptomatic children attending Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia, April-June 2012, samples were examined by microscopy of a direct and concentrated fecal sample. Two culture methods for hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were employed when sufficient sample was received. Demographic, clinical and epidemiological data were collected. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We studied 970 samples from 865 children. The median (inter-quartile range) age of the children was 5.4 (1.9-9.2) years, 54% were male. The proportion of children with abdominal pain was 66.8%, diarrhea 34.9%, anemia 12.7% and malnutrition 7.4%. 458 parasitic infections were detected in 340 (39.3%) children. The most common parasites using all methods of detection were hookworm (14.3%), Strongyloides stercoralis (11.6%) and Giardia lamblia (11.2%). Giardia lamblia was most common in children aged 1-5 years, hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were more common with increasing age. Hookworm, Strongloides stercoralis and Giardia lamblia were more common in children living outside of Siem Reap town. In a multivariate logistic regression increasing age was associated with all three infections, defecating in the forest for hookworm infection, the presence of cattle for S. stercoralis and not using soap for handwashing for G. lamblia. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study confirms the importance of intestinal parasitic infections in symptomatic Cambodian children and the need for adequate facilities for laboratory diagnosis together with education to improve personal hygiene and sanitation.

Mmbando BP, Mgaya J, Cox SE, Mtatiro SN, Soka D, Rwezaula S, Meda E, Msaki E, Snow RW, Jeffries N et al. 2015. Negative Epistasis between Sickle and Foetal Haemoglobin Suggests a Reduction in Protection against Malaria. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0125929. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Haemoglobin variants, Sickle (HbS) and foetal (HbF) have been associated with malaria protection. This study explores epistatic interactions between HbS and HbF on malaria infection. METHODS: The study was conducted between March 2004 and December 2013 within the sickle cell disease (SCD) programme at Muhimbili National Hospital, Tanzania. SCD status was categorized into HbAA, HbAS and HbSS using hemoglobin electrophoresis and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). HbF levels were determined by HPLC. Malaria was diagnosed using rapid diagnostic test and/or blood film. Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations models were used to evaluate associations between SCD status, HbF and malaria. FINDINGS: 2,049 individuals with age range 0-70 years, HbAA 311(15.2%), HbAS 241(11.8%) and HbSS 1,497(73.1%) were analysed. At enrolment, malaria prevalence was significantly higher in HbAA 13.2% compared to HbAS 1.24% and HbSS 1.34% (p<0.001). Mean HbF was lower in those with malaria compared to those without malaria in HbAA (0.43% vs 0.82%) but was the reverse in HbSS (8.10% vs 5.59%). An increase in HbF was associated with a decrease in risk of malaria OR=0.50 (95%CI: 0.28, 0.90; p=0.021) in HbAA, whereas for HbSS the risk of malaria increased OR=2.94 (1.44, 5.98; p=0.003). A similar pattern was seen during multiple visits; HbAA OR=0.52 (0.34, 0.80; p=0.003) vs HbSS OR=2.01 (1.27, 3.23; p=0.003). CONCLUSION: Higher prevalence of malaria in HbAA compared to HbAS and HbSS confirmed the protective effect of HbS. Lower prevalence of malaria in HbAA with high HbF supports a protective effect of HbF. However, in HbSS, the higher prevalence of malaria with high levels of HbF suggests loss of malaria protection. This is the first epidemiological study to suggest a negative epistasis between HbF and HbS on malaria.

Lam PK, Tam DTH, Dung NM, Tien NTH, Kieu NTT, Simmons C, Farrar J, Wills B, Wolbers M. 2015. A Prognostic Model for Development of Profound Shock among Children Presenting with Dengue Shock Syndrome. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0126134. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: To identify risk factors and develop a prediction model for the development of profound and recurrent shock amongst children presenting with dengue shock syndrome (DSS). METHODS: We analyzed data from a prospective cohort of children with DSS recruited at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital for Tropical Disease in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The primary endpoint was "profound DSS", defined as ≥2 recurrent shock episodes (for subjects presenting in compensated shock), or ≥1 recurrent shock episodes (for subjects presenting initially with decompensated/hypotensive shock), and/or requirement for inotropic support. Recurrent shock was evaluated as a secondary endpoint. Risk factors were pre-defined clinical and laboratory variables collected at the time of presentation with shock. Prognostic model development was based on logistic regression and compared to several alternative approaches. RESULTS: The analysis population included 1207 children of whom 222 (18%) progressed to "profound DSS" and 433 (36%) had recurrent shock. Independent risk factors for both endpoints included younger age, earlier presentation, higher pulse rate, higher temperature, higher haematocrit and, for females, worse hemodynamic status at presentation. The final prognostic model for "profound DSS" showed acceptable discrimination (AUC=0.69 for internal validation) and calibration and is presented as a simple score-chart. CONCLUSIONS: Several risk factors for development of profound or recurrent shock among children presenting with DSS were identified. The score-chart derived from the prognostic models should improve triage and management of children presenting with DSS in dengue-endemic areas.

Hassan AS, Mwaringa SM, Ndirangu KK, Sanders EJ, de Wit TFR, Berkley JA. 2015. Incidence and predictors of attrition from antiretroviral care among adults in a rural HIV clinic in Coastal Kenya: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 478. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scale up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has led to substantial declines in HIV related morbidity and mortality. However, attrition from ART care remains a major public health concern and has been identified as one of the key reportable indicators in assessing the success of ART programs. This study describes the incidence and predictors of attrition among adults initiating ART in a rural HIV clinic in Coastal Kenya. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study design was used. Adults (≥ 15 years) initiated ART between January 2008 and December 2010 were followed up for two years. Attrition was defined as individuals who were either reported dead or lost to follow up (LFU, ≥ 180 days late since the last clinic visit). Kaplan Meier survival probabilities and Weibull baseline hazard regression analyses were used to model the incidence and predictors of time to attrition. RESULTS: Of the 928 eligible participants, 308 (33.2% [95% CI, 30.2 - 36.3]) underwent attrition at an incident rate of 23.1 (95% CI, 20.6 - 25.8)/100 pyo. Attrition at 6 and 12 months was 18.4% (95% CI, 16.0 - 21.1) and 23.2% (95% CI, 19.9 - 25.3) respectively. Gender (male vs. female, adjusted hazard ratio [95% CI], p-value: 1.5 [1.1 - 2.0], p = 0.014), age (15 - 24 vs. ≥ 45 years, 2.2 [1.3 - 3.7], p = 0.034) and baseline CD4 T-cell count (100 - 350 cells/uL vs. < 100 cells/uL, 0.5 [0.3 - 0.7], p = 0.002) were independent predictors of time to attrition. CONCLUSIONS: A third of individuals initiating ART were either reported dead or LFU during two years of care, with more than a half of these occurring within six months of treatment initiation. Practical and sustainable biomedical interventions and psychosocial support systems are warranted to improve ART retention in this setting.

Kamuya DM, Theobald SJ, Marsh V, Parker M, Geissler WP, Molyneux SC. 2015. "The one who chases you away does not tell you go": silent refusals and complex power relations in research consent processes in Coastal Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0126671. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Consent processes have attracted significant research attention over the last decade, including in the global south. Although relevant studies suggest consent is a complex negotiated process involving multiple actors, most guidelines assume consent is a one-off encounter with a clear 'yes' or 'no' decision. In this paper we explore the concept of 'silent refusals', a situation where it is not clear whether potential participants want to join studies or those in studies want to withdraw from research, as they were not actively saying no. We draw on participant observation, in-depth interviews and group discussions conducted with a range of stakeholders in two large community based studies conducted by the KEMRI Wellcome Trust programme in coastal Kenya. We identified three broad inter-related rationales for silent refusals: 1) a strategy to avoid conflicts and safeguard relations within households, - for young women in particular-to appear to conform to the wishes of elders; 2) an approach to maintain friendly, appreciative and reciprocal relationships with fieldworkers, and the broader research programme; and 3) an effort to retain study benefits, either for individuals, whole households or wider communities. That refusals and underlying rationales were silent posed multiple dilemmas for fieldworkers, who are increasingly recognised to play a key interface role between researchers and communities in many settings. Silent refusals reflect and reinforce complex power relations embedded in decisions about research participation, with important implications for consent processes and broader research ethics practice. Fieldworkers need support to reflect upon and respond to the ethically charged environment they work in.

Muinga N, Sen B, Ayieko P, Todd J, English M. 2015. Access to and value of information to support good practice for staff in Kenyan hospitals. Glob Health Action, 8 (1), pp. 26559. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Studies have sought to define information needs of health workers within very specific settings or projects. Lacking in the literature is how hospitals in low-income settings are able to meet the information needs of their staff and the use of information communication technologies (ICT) in day-to-day information searching. OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to explore where professionals in Kenyan hospitals turn to for work-related information in their day-to-day work. Additionally, it examined what existing solutions are provided by hospitals with regard to provision of best practice care. Lastly, the study explored the use of ICT in information searching. DESIGN: Data for this study were collected in July 2012. Self-administered questionnaires (SAQs) were distributed across 22 study hospitals with an aim to get a response from 34 health workers per hospital. RESULTS: SAQs were collected from 657 health workers. The most popular sources of information to guide work were fellow health workers and printed guidelines while the least popular were scientific journals. Of value to health workers were: national treatment policies, new research findings, regular reports from surveillance data, information on costs of services and information on their performance of routine clinical tasks; however, hospitals only partially met these needs. Barriers to accessing information sources included: 'not available/difficult to get' and 'difficult to understand'. ICT use for information seeking was reported and with demographic specific differences noted from the multivariate logistic regression model; nurses compared to medical doctors and older workers were less likely to use ICT for health information searching. Barriers to accessing Internet were identified as: high costs and the lack of the service at home or at work. CONCLUSIONS: Hospitals need to provide appropriate information by improving information dissemination efforts and providing an enabling environment that allows health workers find the information they need for best practice.

Karl S, Li Wai Suen CSN, Unger HW, Ome-Kaius M, Mola G, White L, Wangnapi RA, Rogerson SJ, Mueller I. 2015. Preterm or not--an evaluation of estimates of gestational age in a cohort of women from Rural Papua New Guinea. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0124286. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Knowledge of accurate gestational age is required for comprehensive pregnancy care and is an essential component of research evaluating causes of preterm birth. In industrialised countries gestational age is determined with the help of fetal biometry in early pregnancy. Lack of ultrasound and late presentation to antenatal clinic limits this practice in low-resource settings. Instead, clinical estimators of gestational age are used, but their accuracy remains a matter of debate. METHODS: In a cohort of 688 singleton pregnancies from rural Papua New Guinea, delivery gestational age was calculated from Ballard score, last menstrual period, symphysis-pubis fundal height at first visit and quickening as well as mid- and late pregnancy fetal biometry. Published models using sequential fundal height measurements and corrected last menstrual period to estimate gestational age were also tested. Novel linear models that combined clinical measurements for gestational age estimation were developed. Predictions were compared with the reference early pregnancy ultrasound (<25 gestational weeks) using correlation, regression and Bland-Altman analyses and ranked for their capability to predict preterm birth using the harmonic mean of recall and precision (F-measure). RESULTS: Average bias between reference ultrasound and clinical methods ranged from 0-11 days (95% confidence levels: 14-42 days). Preterm birth was best predicted by mid-pregnancy ultrasound (F-measure: 0.72), and neuromuscular Ballard score provided the least reliable preterm birth prediction (F-measure: 0.17). The best clinical methods to predict gestational age and preterm birth were last menstrual period and fundal height (F-measures 0.35). A linear model combining both measures improved prediction of preterm birth (F-measure: 0.58). CONCLUSIONS: Estimation of gestational age without ultrasound is prone to significant error. In the absence of ultrasound facilities, last menstrual period and fundal height are among the more reliable clinical measures. This study underlines the importance of strengthening ultrasound facilities and developing novel ways to estimate gestational age.

Baird JK, Dewi M, Subekti D, Elyazar I, Satyagraha AW. 2015. Noninferiority of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency diagnosis by a point-of-care rapid test vs the laboratory fluorescent spot test demonstrated by copper inhibition in normal human red blood cells Translational Research, 165 (6), pp. 677-688. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. All rights reserved. Tens of millions of patients diagnosed with vivax malaria cannot safely receive primaquine therapy against repeated attacks caused by activation of dormant liver stages called hypnozoites. Most of these patients lack access to screening for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a highly prevalent disorder causing serious acute hemolytic anemia with primaquine therapy. We optimized CuCl inhibition of G6PD in normal red blood cells (RBCs) to assess G6PD diagnostic technologies suited to point of care in the impoverished rural tropics. The most widely applied technology for G6PD screening - the fluorescent spot test (FST) - is impractical in that setting. We evaluated a new point-of-care G6PD screening kit (CareStart G6PD, CSG) against FST using graded CuCl treatments to simulate variable hemizygous states, and varying proportions of CuCl-treated RBC suspensions to simulate variable heterozygous states of G6PD deficiency. In experiments double-blinded to CuCl treatment, technicians reading FST and CSG test (n = 269) classified results as positive or negative for deficiency. At G6PD activity ≤40% of normal (n = 112), CSG test was not inferior to FST in detecting G6PD deficiency (P = 0.003), with 96% vs 90% (P = 0.19) sensitivity and 75% and 87% (P = 0.01) specificity, respectively. The CSG test costs less, requires no specialized equipment, laboratory skills, or col d chain for successful application, and performs as well as the FST standard of care for G6PD screening. Such a device may vastly expand access to primaquine therapy and aid in mitigating the very substantial burden of morbidity and mortality imposed by the hypnozoite reservoir of vivax malaria.

Heymann DL, Chen L, Takemi K, Fidler DP, Tappero JW, Thomas MJ, Kenyon TA, Frieden TR, Yach D, Nishtar S et al. 2015. Global health security: the wider lessons from the west African Ebola virus disease epidemic. Lancet, 385 (9980), pp. 1884-1901. | Citations: 89 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa was unprecedented in both its scale and impact. Out of this human calamity has come renewed attention to global health security--its definition, meaning, and the practical implications for programmes and policy. For example, how does a government begin to strengthen its core public health capacities, as demanded by the International Health Regulations? What counts as a global health security concern? In the context of the governance of global health, including WHO reform, it will be important to distil lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak. The Lancet invited a group of respected global health practitioners to reflect on these lessons, to explore the idea of global health security, and to offer suggestions for next steps. Their contributions describe some of the major threats to individual and collective human health, as well as the values and recommendations that should be considered to counteract such threats in the future. Many different perspectives are proposed. Their common goal is a more sustainable and resilient society for human health and wellbeing.

Oluoch DA, Mwangome N, Kemp B, Seale AC, Koech A, Papageorghiou AT, Berkley JA, Kennedy SH, Jones COH. 2015. "You cannot know if it's a baby or not a baby": uptake, provision and perceptions of antenatal care and routine antenatal ultrasound scanning in rural Kenya. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 15 (1), pp. 127. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antenatal care early in pregnancy enables service providers to identify and manage risks to mother and fetus. In the global north, ultrasound scans are routinely offered in pregnancy to provide an accurate estimate of gestational age and identify potential problems. In sub-Saharan Africa, such services are rarely available and women often delay initiating antenatal care. This study describes the uptake and provision of antenatal care in a rural Kenyan hospital and explores how pregnant women and healthcare providers perceived the provision of ultrasound scanning, following its introduction in an international foetal growth study. METHODS: A descriptive study, using qualitative and quantitative methods, was conducted in Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya, between June 2011 and April 2012. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 nurses working in the antenatal clinic (ANC) and 59 pregnant women attending ANC. Structured observations of 357 ANC consultations and 30 ultrasound scans were made. RESULTS: Women sought antenatal care for information about the health of their baby and the protection provided by the ANC services. Uncertainty about pregnancy status contributed to delay in ANC attendance; more than 78 % of women were over 20 weeks' gestation at their first visit. Healthcare workers found it difficult to detect pregnancies below 16 weeks gestation and, accurate assessment of gestational age below 20 weeks' gestation could be problematic. Provision of services depended on the pregnancy being detected and gestational age assessed. The "seeing", made possible through ultrasound scanning was perceived by pregnant women and healthcare workers to be beneficial: confirming the pregnancy, and providing reassurance about the fetus' condition. Few participants raised concerns about ultrasound scanning. CONCLUSIONS: Uncertainty about pregnancy status and gestational age for women and healthcare providers is a key factor influencing timing of ANC attendance, contributing to delays and restricting early provision of ANC services. Ultrasound scanning was perceived to enhance antenatal care through confirmation of pregnancy status and enabling more accurate estimation of gestational age and the health status of the fetus. There is a need to make available more affordable means of pregnancy testing as a strategy towards encouraging early attendance, and delivery of antenatal care.

Lim C, Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Laongnualpanich A, Kantipong P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Cooper BS, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. How to Determine the Accuracy of an Alternative Diagnostic Test when It Is Actually Better than the Reference Tests: A Re-Evaluation of Diagnostic Tests for Scrub Typhus Using Bayesian LCMs. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0114930. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) is considered a reference test for scrub typhus. Recently, the Scrub Typhus Infection Criteria (STIC; a combination of culture, PCR assays and IFA IgM) were proposed as a reference standard for evaluating alternative diagnostic tests. Here, we use Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) to estimate the true accuracy of each diagnostic test, and of STIC, for diagnosing scrub typhus. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from 161 patients with undifferentiated fever were re-evaluated using Bayesian LCMs. Every patient was evaluated for the presence of an eschar, and tested with blood culture for Orientia tsutsugamushi, three different PCR assays, IFA IgM, and the Panbio IgM immunochromatographic test (ICT). True sensitivity and specificity of culture (24.4% and 100%), 56kDa PCR assay (56.8% and 98.4%), 47kDa PCR assay (63.2% and 96.1%), groEL PCR assay (71.4% and 93.0%), IFA IgM (70.0% and 83.8%), PanBio IgM ICT (72.8% and 96.8%), presence of eschar (42.7% and 98.9%) and STIC (90.5% and 82.5%) estimated by Bayesian LCM were considerably different from those obtained when using STIC as a reference standard. The IgM ICT had comparable sensitivity and significantly higher specificity compared to IFA (p=0.34 and p<0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The low specificity of STIC was caused by the low specificity of IFA IgM. Neither STIC nor IFA IgM can be used as reference standards against which to evaluate alternative diagnostic tests. Further evaluation of new diagnostic tests should be done with a carefully selected set of diagnostic tests and appropriate statistical models.

Njue M, Molyneux S, Kombe F, Mwalukore S, Kamuya D, Marsh V. 2015. Benefits in cash or in kind? A community consultation on types of benefits in health research on the Kenyan Coast. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0127842. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Providing benefits and payments to participants in health research, either in cash or in kind, is a common but ethically controversial practice. While much literature has concentrated on appropriate levels of benefits or payments, this paper focuses on less well explored ethical issues around the nature of study benefits, drawing on views of community members living close to an international health research centre in Kenya. METHODS: The consultation, including 90 residents purposively chosen to reflect diversity, used a two-stage deliberative process. Five half-day workshops were each followed by between two and four small group discussions, within a two week period (total 16 groups). During workshops and small groups, facilitators used participatory methods to share information, and promote reflection and debate on ethical issues around types of benefits, including cash, goods, medical and community benefits. Data from workshop and field notes, and voice recordings of small group discussions, were managed using Nvivo 10 and analysed using a Framework Analysis approach. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: The methods generated in-depth discussion with high levels of engagement. Particularly for the most-poor, under-compensation of time in research carries risks of serious harm. Cash payments may best support compensation of costs experienced; while highly valued, goods and medical benefits may be more appropriate as an 'appreciation' or incentive for participation. Community benefits were seen as important in supporting but not replacing individual-level benefits, and in building trust in researcher-community relations. Cash payments were seen to have higher risks of undue inducement, commercialising relationships and generating family conflicts than other benefits, particularly where payments are high. Researchers should consider and account for burdens families may experience when children are involved in research. Careful context-specific research planning and skilled and consistent communication about study benefits and payments are important, including in mitigating potential negative effects.

Laochan N, Zaloumis SG, Imwong M, Lek-Uthai U, Brockman A, Sriprawat K, Wiladphaingern J, White NJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Intervals to Plasmodium falciparum recurrence after anti-malarial treatment in pregnancy: a longitudinal prospective cohort. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 221. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infections adversely affect pregnancy. Anti-malarial treatment failure is common. The objective of this study was to examine the duration of persistent parasite carriage following anti-malarial treatment in pregnancy. METHODS: The data presented here are a collation from previous studies carried out since 1994 in the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) on the Thailand-Myanmar border and performed using the same unique methodology detailed in the Materials and Methods section. Screening for malaria by microscopy is a routine part of weekly antenatal care (ANC) visits and therapeutic responses to anti-malarials were assessed in P. falciparum malaria cases. Women with microscopy confirmed P. falciparum malaria had a PCR blood spot from a finger-prick sample collected. Parasite DNA was extracted from the blood-spot samples using saponin lysis/Chelex extraction method and genotyped using polymorphic segments of MSP1, MSP2 and GLURP. Recurrent infections were classified by genotyping as novel, recrudescent or indeterminate. Factors associated with time to microscopy-detected recrudescence were analysed using multivariable regression techniques. RESULTS: From December 1994 to November 2009, 700 women were treated for P. falciparum and there were 909 recurrent episodes (481 novel and 428 recrudescent) confirmed by PCR genotyping. Most of the recurrences, 85% (770/909), occurred after treatment with quinine monotherapy, artesunate monotherapy or artesunate-clindamycin. The geometric mean number of days to recurrence was significantly shorter in women with recrudescent infection, 24.5 (95%: 23.4-25.8), compared to re-infection, 49.7 (95%: 46.9-52.7), P<0.001. The proportion of recrudescent P. falciparum infections that occurred after days 28, 42 and 63 from the start of treatment was 29.1% (124/428), 13.3% (57/428) and 5.6% (24/428). Recrudescent infections≥100 days after treatment occurred with quinine and mefloquine monotherapy, and quinine+clindamycin and artesunate+atovaquone-proguanil combination therapy. Treatments containing an artemisinin derivative or an intercalated Plasmodium vivax infection increased the geometric mean interval to recrudescence by 1.28-fold (95% CI: 1.09-1.51) and 2.19-fold (1.77-2.72), respectively. Intervals to recrudescence were decreased 0.83-fold (0.73-0.95) if treatment was not fully supervised (suggesting incomplete adherence) and 0.98-fold (0.96-0.99) for each doubling in baseline parasitaemia. CONCLUSIONS: Prolonged time to recrudescence may occur in pregnancy, regardless of anti-malarial treatment. Long intervals to recrudescence are more likely with the use of artemisinin-containing treatments and also observed with intercalated P. vivax infections treated with chloroquine. Accurate determination of drug efficacy in pregnancy requires longer duration of follow-up, preferably until delivery or day 63, whichever occurs last.

Chung The H, Karkey A, Pham Thanh D, Boinett CJ, Cain AK, Ellington M, Baker KS, Dongol S, Thompson C, Harris SR et al. 2015. A high-resolution genomic analysis of multidrug-resistant hospital outbreaks of Klebsiella pneumoniae. EMBO Mol Med, 7 (3), pp. 227-239. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae has become a leading cause of nosocomial infections worldwide. Despite its prominence, little is known about the genetic diversity of K. pneumoniae in resource-poor hospital settings. Through whole-genome sequencing (WGS), we reconstructed an outbreak of MDR K. pneumoniae occurring on high-dependency wards in a hospital in Kathmandu during 2012 with a case-fatality rate of 75%. The WGS analysis permitted the identification of two MDR K. pneumoniae lineages causing distinct outbreaks within the complex endemic K. pneumoniae. Using phylogenetic reconstruction and lineage-specific PCR, our data predicted a scenario in which K. pneumoniae, circulating for 6 months before the outbreak, underwent a series of ward-specific clonal expansions after the acquisition of genes facilitating virulence and MDR. We suggest that the early detection of a specific NDM-1 containing lineage in 2011 would have alerted the high-dependency ward staff to intervene. We argue that some form of real-time genetic characterisation, alongside clade-specific PCR during an outbreak, should be factored into future healthcare infection control practices in both high- and low-income settings.

Wong VK, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Parkhill J, Page AJ, Feasey NA, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, Keane JA, Weill F-X et al. 2015. Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 632-639. | Citations: 83 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.

Numminen E, Chewapreecha C, Turner C, Goldblatt D, Nosten F, Bentley SD, Turner P, Corander J. 2015. Climate induces seasonality in pneumococcal transmission. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 11344. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a significant human pathogen and a leading cause of infant mortality in developing countries. Considerable global variation in the pneumococcal carriage prevalence has been observed and the ecological factors contributing to it are not yet fully understood. We use data from a cohort of infants in Asia to study the effects of climatic conditions on both acquisition and clearance rates of the bacterium, finding significantly higher transmissibility during the cooler and drier months. Conversely, the length of a colonization period is unaffected by the season. Independent carriage data from studies conducted on the African and North American continents suggest similar effects of the climate on the prevalence of this bacterium, which further validates the obtained results. Further studies could be important to replicate the findings and explain the mechanistic role of cooler and dry air in the physiological response to nasopharyngeal acquisition of the pneumococcus.

Thanh TT, Anh NT, Tham NT, Van HMT, Sabanathan S, Qui PT, Ngan TT, Van TTM, Nguyet LA, Ny NTH et al. 2015. Validation and utilization of an internally controlled multiplex Real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection of enteroviruses and enterovirus A71 associated with hand foot and mouth disease. Virol J, 12 (1), pp. 85. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a disease of public health importance across the Asia-Pacific region. The disease is caused by enteroviruses (EVs), in particular enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). In EV-A71-associated HFMD, the infection is sometimes associated with severe manifestations including neurological involvement and fatal outcome. The availability of a robust diagnostic assay to distinguish EV-A71 from other EVs is important for patient management and outbreak response. METHODS: We developed and validated an internally controlled one-step single-tube real-time RT-PCR in terms of sensitivity, linearity, precision, and specificity for simultaneous detection of EVs and EV-A71. Subsequently, the assay was then applied on throat and rectal swabs sampled from 434 HFMD patients. RESULTS: The assay was evaluated using both plasmid DNA and viral RNA and has shown to be reproducible with a maximum assay variation of 4.41 % and sensitive with a limit of detection less than 10 copies of target template per reaction, while cross-reactivity with other EV serotypes was not observed. When compared against a published VP1 nested RT-PCR using 112 diagnostic throat and rectal swabs from 112 children with a clinical diagnosis of HFMD during 2014, the multiplex assay had a higher sensitivity and 100 % concordance with sequencing results which showed EVs in 77/112 (68.8 %) and EV-A71 in 7/112 (6.3 %). When applied to clinical diagnostics for 322 children, the assay detected EVs in throat swabs of 257/322 (79.8 %) of which EV-A71 was detected in 36/322 (11.2 %) children. The detection rate increased to 93.5 % (301/322) and 13.4 % (43/322) for EVs and EV-A71, respectively, when rectal swabs from 65 throat-negative children were further analyzed. CONCLUSION: We have successfully developed and validated a sensitive internally controlled multiplex assay for rapid detection of EVs and EV-A71, which is useful for clinical management and outbreak control of HFMD.

McCullagh D, Dobinson HC, Darton T, Campbell D, Jones C, Snape M, Stevens Z, Plested E, Voysey M, Kerridge S et al. 2015. Understanding paratyphoid infection: study protocol for the development of a human model of Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A challenge in healthy adult volunteers. BMJ Open, 5 (6), pp. e007481. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: This study will develop the first human challenge model of paratyphoid infection which may then be taken forward to evaluate paratyphoid vaccine candidates. Salmonella Paratyphi A is believed to cause a quarter of the estimated 20 million cases of enteric fever annually. Epidemiological evidence also suggests that an increasing proportion of the enteric fever burden is attributable to S. Paratyphi infection meriting further attention and interest in vaccine development. Assessment of paratyphoid vaccine efficacy in preclinical studies is complicated by the lack of a small animal model and the human-restricted nature of the infection. The use of experimental human infection in healthy volunteers provides an opportunity to address these problems in a cost-effective manner. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Volunteers will ingest virulent S. Paratyphi A bacteria (NVGH308 strain) with a bicarbonate buffer solution to establish the infectious dose resulting in an 'attack rate' of 60-75%. Using an a priori decision-making algorithm, the challenge dose will be escalated or de-escalated to achieve the target attack rate, with the aim of reaching the study end point while exposing as few individuals as possible to infection. The attack rate will be determined by the proportion of paratyphoid infection in groups of 20 healthy adult volunteers, with infection being defined by one or more positive blood cultures (microbiological end point) and/or fever, defined as an oral temperature exceeding 38 °C sustained for at least 12 h (clinical end point); 20-80 participants will be required. Challenge participants will start a 2-week course of an oral antibiotic on diagnosis of infection, or after 14 days follow-up. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The strict eligibility criterion aims to minimise risk to participants and their close contacts. Ethical approval has been obtained. The results will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at international congresses. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02100397.

Nosten F, McGready R. 2015. Intermittent presumptive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine: a counter perspective. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 248. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria continues to cause devastation during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is still no clear strategy to effectively protect pregnant women and countless mothers living in malaria endemic countries are dying every year. The effective prevention of malaria during pregnancy will take much more than the so-called "Global Call for Action" for an intervention (IPTp-SP) that cannot succeed. A new and truly "global" strategy is urgently needed.

Kerac M, Mwangome M, McGrath M, Haider R, Berkley JA. 2015. Management of acute malnutrition in infants aged under 6 months (MAMI): current issues and future directions in policy and research. Food Nutr Bull, 36 (1 Suppl), pp. S30-S34. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Globally, some 4.7 million infants aged under 6 months are moderately wasted and 3.8 million are severely wasted. Traditionally, they have been over-looked by clinicians, nutritionists, and policy makers. OBJECTIVE: To present evidence and arguments for why treating acute malnutrition in infants under 6 months of age is important and outline some of the key debates and research questions needed to advance their care. METHODS: Narrative review. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Treating malnourished infants under 6 months of age is important to avoid malnutrition-associated mortality in the short-term and adverse health and development outcomes in the long-term. Physiological and pathological differences demand a different approach from that in older children; key among these is a focus on exclusive breastfeeding wherever possible. New World Health Organization guidelines for the management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) include this age group for the first time and are also applicable to management of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). Community-based breastfeeding support is the core, but not the sole, treatment. The mother-infant dyad is at the heart of approaches, but wider family and community relationships are also important. An urgent priority is to develop better case definitions; criteria based on mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) are promising but need further research. To effectively move forward, clinical trials of assessment and treatment are needed to bolster the currently sparse evidence base. In the meantime, nutrition surveys and screening at health facilities should routinely include infants under 6 months of age in order to better define the burden and outcomes of acute malnutrition in this age group.

Crane RJ, Jones KDJ, Berkley JA. 2015. Environmental enteric dysfunction: an overview. Food Nutr Bull, 36 (1 Suppl), pp. S76-S87. | Citations: 33 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED) refers to an incompletely defined syndrome of inflammation, reduced absorptive capacity, and reduced barrier function in the small intestine. It is widespread among children and adults in low- and middle-income countries. Understanding of EED and its possible consequences for health is currently limited. OBJECTIVE: A narrative review of the current understanding of EED: epidemiology, pathogenesis, therapies, and relevance to child health. METHODS: Searches for key papers and ongoing trials were conducted using PUBMED 1966-June 2014;; the WHO Clinical Trials Registry; the Cochrane Library; hand searches of the references of retrieved literature; discussions with experts; and personal experience from the field. RESULTS: EED is established during infancy and is associated with poor sanitation, certain gut infections, and micronutrient deficiencies. Helicobacter pylori infection, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), abnormal gut microbiota, undernutrition, and toxins may all play a role. EED is usually asymptomatic, but it is important due to its association with stunting. Diagnosis is frequently by the dual sugar absorption test, although other biomarkers are emerging. EED may partly explain the reduced efficacy of oral vaccines in low- and middle-income countries and the increased risk of serious infection seen in children with undernutrition. CONCLUSIONS: Despite its potentially significant impacts, it is currently unclear exactly what causes EED and how it can be treated or prevented. Ongoing trials involve nutritional supplements, water and sanitation interventions, and immunomodulators. Further research is needed to better understand this condition, which is of likely crucial importance for child health and development in low- and middle-income settings.

Birnie E, Wiersinga WJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Grobusch MP. 2015. Corrigendum Future Microbiology, 10 (6), pp. 1101-1101. | Read more

Suwanpakdee S, Kaewkungwal J, White LJ, Asensio N, Ratanakorn P, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, Pan-Ngum W. 2015. Spatio-temporal patterns of leptospirosis in Thailand: Is flooding a risk factor? Epidemiology and Infection, 143 (10), pp. 2106-2115. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Cambridge University Press. We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.

Plewes K, Haider MS, Kingston HWF, Yeo TW, Ghose A, Hossain MA, Dondorp AM, Turner GDH, Anstey NM. 2015. Severe falciparum malaria treated with artesunate complicated by delayed onset haemolysis and acute kidney injury. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 246. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria may be complicated by haemolysis after parasite clearance, however the mechanisms remain unclear. Recent reports describe a pattern of delayed onset haemolysis among non-immune travellers with hyperparasitaemia treated with intravenous artesunate, termed post-artesunate delayed haemolysis (PADH). The occurrence and clinical impact of PADH following severe malaria infections in areas of unstable transmission are unknown. CASE: A 45-year-old Bangladeshi male was initially admitted to a local hospital with severe falciparum malaria complicated by hyperparasitaemia and treated with intravenous artesunate. Twenty days from his first presentation he was readmitted with delayed onset haemolytic anaemia and acute kidney injury. Multiple blood transfusions and haemodialysis were required. Renal biopsy revealed acute tubular injury and haem pigment nephropathy. His haemoglobin and renal function recovered to baseline after 62 days from his second admission. DISCUSSION: This case highlights the differential diagnosis of post-malaria delayed onset haemolysis, including the recently described syndrome of post-artemisinin delayed haemolysis. The pathophysiology contributing to acute kidney injury in this patient and the limited treatment options are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: This report describes PADH complicated by acute kidney injury in an adult patient living in a malaria hypoendemic region who subsequently required blood transfusions and haemodialysis. This case emphasizes the importance of routine follow up of haemoglobin and renal function in artesunate-treated patients who have recovered from severe malaria.

Snow RW, Kibuchi E, Karuri SW, Sang G, Gitonga CW, Mwandawiro C, Bejon P, Noor AM. 2015. Changing Malaria Prevalence on the Kenyan Coast since 1974: Climate, Drugs and Vector Control. PLoS One, 10 (6), pp. e0128792. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Progress toward reducing the malaria burden in Africa has been measured, or modeled, using datasets with relatively short time-windows. These restricted temporal analyses may miss the wider context of longer-term cycles of malaria risk and hence may lead to incorrect inferences regarding the impact of intervention. METHODS: 1147 age-corrected Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence (PfPR2-10) surveys among rural communities along the Kenyan coast were assembled from 1974 to 2014. A Bayesian conditional autoregressive generalized linear mixed model was used to interpolate to 279 small areas for each of the 41 years since 1974. Best-fit polynomial splined curves of changing PfPR2-10 were compared to a sequence of plausible explanatory variables related to rainfall, drug resistance and insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) use. RESULTS: P. falciparum parasite prevalence initially rose from 1974 to 1987, dipped in 1991-92 but remained high until 1998. From 1998 onwards prevalence began to decline until 2011, then began to rise through to 2014. This major decline occurred before ITNs were widely distributed and variation in rainfall coincided with some, but not all, short-term transmission cycles. Emerging resistance to chloroquine and introduction of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine provided plausible explanations for the rise and fall of malaria transmission along the Kenyan coast. CONCLUSIONS: Progress towards elimination might not be as predictable as we would like, where natural and extrinsic cycles of transmission confound evaluations of the effect of interventions. Deciding where a country lies on an elimination pathway requires careful empiric observation of the long-term epidemiology of malaria transmission.

Moore KA, Simpson JA, Thomas KH, Rijken MJ, White LJ, Dwell SLM, Paw MK, Wiladphaingern J, Pukrittayakamee S, Nosten F et al. 2015. Estimating Gestational Age in Late Presenters to Antenatal Care in a Resource-Limited Setting on the Thai-Myanmar Border. PLoS One, 10 (6), pp. e0131025. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Estimating gestational age in resource-limited settings is prone to considerable inaccuracy because crown-rump length measured by ultrasound before 14 weeks gestation, the recommended method for estimating gestational age, is often unavailable. Judgements regarding provision of appropriate obstetric and neonatal care are dependent on accurate estimation of gestational age. We determined the accuracy of the Dubowitz Gestational Age Assessment, a population-specific symphysis-fundal height formula, and ultrasound biometry performed between 16 and 40 weeks gestation in estimating gestational age using pre-existing data from antenatal clinics of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit on the Thai-Myanmar border, where malaria is endemic. Two cohorts of women who gave birth to live singletons were analysed: 1) 250 women who attended antenatal care between July 2001 and May 2006 and had both ultrasound crown-rump length (reference) and a Dubowitz Gestational Age Assessment; 2) 975 women attending antenatal care between April 2007 and October 2010 who had ultrasound crown-rump length, symphysis-fundal measurements, and an additional study ultrasound (biparietal diameter and head circumference) randomly scheduled between 16 and 40 weeks gestation. Mean difference in estimated newborn gestational age between methods and 95% limits of agreement (LOA) were determined from linear mixed-effects models. The Dubowitz method and the symphysis-fundal height formula performed well in term newborns, but overestimated gestational age of preterms by 2.57 weeks (95% LOA: 0.49, 4.65) and 3.94 weeks (95% LOA: 2.50, 5.38), respectively. Biparietal diameter overestimated gestational age by 0.83 weeks (95% LOA: -0.93, 2.58). Head circumference underestimated gestational age by 0.39 weeks (95% LOA: -2.60, 1.82), especially if measured after 24 weeks gestation. The results of this study can be used to quantify biases associated with alternative methods for estimating gestational age in the absence of ultrasound crown-rump length to inform critical clinical judgements in this population, and as a point of reference elsewhere.

Caillet C, Sichanh C, Syhakhang L, Delpierre C, Manithip C, Mayxay M, Lapeyre-Mestre M, Newton PN, Roussin A. 2015. Population awareness of risks related to medicinal product use in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR: a cross-sectional study for public health improvement in low and middle income countries. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 590. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: While essential medicines have been made more available in all but the most remote areas in low and middle income countries (L/MICs) over the past years, inappropriate and incorrect use of good quality medicines remains a key impediment for public health. In addition, as medicines have a potential to cause harm (medicine risks), adequate awareness by medicine users of the risks of adverse reactions is essential, especially as self-medication is common in L/MICs. This study aimed to investigate the awareness of Lao residents regarding medicine risks in Vientiane Capital, Lao People's Democratic Republic. METHODS: Face-to-face interviews using structured questionnaires of 144 residents older than 16 years were carried out in 12 randomly selected villages out of the 146 villages of Vientiane Capital with at least one health facility. RESULTS: The respondents were mainly (85.0 %) the heads of households or their husband/spouse . The majority of the respondents were unaware (61.8 %) of medicine risks. Compared to residents living in the urban district of Xaysetha, living in peri-urban and even more in rural areas were identified as factors associated with being unaware of medicine risks [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) =3.3, 95 % Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.1-9.4]) and aOR =7.5 (95 % CI = 2.3-24.2), respectively]. In addition, more than half of the respondents had never heard of poor quality medicines, with a higher rate in rural/peri-urban compared to urban districts (55.6 % vs 38.9 %, respectively, p = 0.02). Finally, approximately one third of all respondents thought that traditional medicines could not cause harm. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these results suggest a lack of awareness about medicinal product risks. Differences according to the place of residence are apparent and could be partly explained by a lower level of training of healthcare providers in contact with the population in the rural districts in particular. Communication on medicinal product risks to patients through well-trained healthcare providers could probably make a valuable contribution towards the appropriate use of medicines in L/MICs.

Ringwald P, Dondorp AM. 2015. Severe Malaria Not Responsive to Artemisinin Derivatives in Man Returning from Angola to Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (7), pp. 1264-1265. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more

Wasunna B, Okiro EA, Webster J, Todd J, Snow RW, Jones C. 2015. The Impact of a Community Awareness Strategy on Caregiver Treatment Seeking Behaviour and Use of Artemether-Lumefantrine for Febrile Children in Rural Kenya. PLoS One, 10 (7), pp. e0130305. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Access to prompt and effective treatment is the cornerstone for malaria control. Population Services International in collaboration with the Ministry of Health launched a malaria behaviour change communication intervention in Nyanza province, Kenya. The initiative aimed to improve: symptom recognition and prompt access to government health facilities for febrile children; effective treatment with the recommended first-line drug artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in public health facilities and adherence to the AL regimen. METHODS: Pre- and post-intervention cross-sectional household surveys were used to evaluate the impact of the intervention on prompt and correct use of AL for febrile children below five years of age. The primary outcome was the proportion of children below five years of age with fever in the last 14 days accessing AL within 48 hours of fever onset. RESULTS: There was an increase from 62.8% pre-intervention to 79.4% post-intervention (95% CI: 11.1, 22.1) in caregivers who reported seeking formal treatment promptly (on the same day, or next day) for their febrile children. However, there was a decrease in the use of government health facilities in the post-intervention period. There was a small increase in the proportion of children accessing AL within 48 hours of fever onset [18.4% vs 23.5% (0.1-10.0)]. CONCLUSION: The findings of this evaluation demonstrate that interventions that target only one sector may have a limited impact on improvements in prompt and effective treatment where multiple sources of treatments are sought for febrile illness. Additionally, the context in which an intervention is implemented is likely to influence the process and outcomes.

Silal SP, Little F, Barnes KI, White LJ. 2015. Predicting the impact of border control on malaria transmission: a simulated focal screen and treat campaign. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 268. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: South Africa is one of many countries committed to malaria elimination with a target of 2018 and all malaria-endemic provinces, including Mpumalanga, are increasing efforts towards this ambitious goal. The reduction of imported infections is a vital element of an elimination strategy, particularly if a country is already experiencing high levels of imported infections. Border control of malaria is one tool that may be considered. METHODS: A metapopulation, non-linear stochastic ordinary differential equation model is used to simulate malaria transmission in Mpumalanga and Maputo province, Mozambique (the source of the majority of imported infections) to predict the impact of a focal screen and treat campaign at the Mpumalanga-Maputo border. This campaign is simulated by nesting an individual-based model for the focal screen and treat campaign within the metapopulation transmission model. RESULTS: The model predicts that such a campaign, simulated for different levels of resources, coverage and take-up rates with a variety of screening tools, will not eliminate malaria on its own, but will reduce transmission substantially. Making the campaign mandatory decreases transmission further though sub-patent infections are likely to remain undetected if the diagnostic tool is not adequately sensitive. Replacing screening and treating with mass drug administration results in substantially larger decreases as all (including sub-patent) infections are treated before movement into Mpumalanga. CONCLUSIONS: The reduction of imported cases will be vital to any future malaria control or elimination strategy. This simulation predicts that FSAT at the Mpumalanga-Maputo border will be unable to eliminate local malaria on its own, but may still play a key role in detecting and treating imported infections before they enter the country. Thus FSAT may form part of an integrated elimination strategy where a variety of interventions are employed together to achieve malaria elimination.

de Cassan SC, Shakri AR, Llewellyn D, Elias SC, Cho JS, Goodman AL, Jin J, Douglas AD, Suwanarusk R, Nosten FH et al. 2015. Preclinical Assessment of Viral Vectored and Protein Vaccines Targeting the Duffy-Binding Protein Region II of Plasmodium Vivax. Front Immunol, 6 (JUN), pp. 348. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria vaccine development has largely focused on Plasmodium falciparum; however, a reawakening to the importance of Plasmodium vivax has spurred efforts to develop vaccines against this difficult to treat and at times severe form of relapsing malaria, which constitutes a significant proportion of human malaria cases worldwide. The almost complete dependence of P. vivax red blood cell invasion on the interaction of the P. vivax Duffy-binding protein region II (PvDBP_RII) with the human Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (DARC) makes this antigen an attractive vaccine candidate against blood-stage P. vivax. Here, we generated both preclinical and clinically compatible adenoviral and poxviral vectored vaccine candidates expressing the Salvador I allele of PvDBP_RII - including human adenovirus serotype 5 (HAdV5), chimpanzee adenovirus serotype 63 (ChAd63), and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors. We report on the antibody and T cell immunogenicity of these vaccines in mice or rabbits, either used alone in a viral vectored prime-boost regime or in "mixed-modality" adenovirus prime - protein-in--adjuvant boost regimes (using a recombinant PvDBP_RII protein antigen formulated in Montanide(®)ISA720 or Abisco(®)100 adjuvants). Antibodies induced by these regimes were found to bind to native parasite antigen from P. vivax infected Thai patients and were capable of inhibiting the binding of PvDBP_RII to its receptor DARC using an in vitro binding inhibition assay. In recent years, recombinant ChAd63 and MVA vectors have been quickly translated into human clinical trials for numerous antigens from P. falciparum as well as a growing number of other pathogens. The vectors reported here are immunogenic in small animals, elicit antibodies against PvDBP_RII, and have recently entered clinical trials, which will provide the first assessment of the safety and immunogenicity of the PvDBP_RII antigen in humans.

Vaughan AM, Pinapati RS, Cheeseman IH, Camargo N, Fishbaugher M, Checkley LA, Nair S, Hutyra CA, Nosten FH, Anderson TJC et al. 2015. Plasmodium falciparum genetic crosses in a humanized mouse model Nature Methods, 12 (7), pp. 631-633. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Genetic crosses of phenotypically distinct strains of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum are a powerful tool for identifying genes controlling drug resistance and other key phenotypes. Previous studies relied on the isolation of recombinant parasites from splenectomized chimpanzees, a research avenue that is no longer available. Here we demonstrate that human-liver chimeric mice support recovery of recombinant progeny for the identification of genetic determinants of parasite traits and adaptations.

Guyant P, Corbel V, Guérin PJ, Lautissier A, Nosten F, Boyer S, Coosemans M, Dondorp AM, Sinou V, Yeung S, White N. 2015. Past and new challenges for malaria control and elimination: the role of operational research for innovation in designing interventions. Malar J, 14 pp. 279. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

This meeting report presents the outcomes of a workshop held in Bangkok on December 1st 2014, where the following challenges were discussed: the threat of resistance to artemisinin and artemisinin-based combination therapy in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and in Africa; access to treatment for most at risk and hard to reach population; insecticide resistance, residual and outdoors transmission. The role of operational research and the interactions between research institutions, National Malaria Control Programmes, Civil Society Organizations, and of financial and technical partners to address those challenges and to accelerate translation of research into policies and programmes were debated. The threat and the emergency of the artemisinin resistance spread and independent emergence in the GMS was intensely debated as it is now close to the border of India. The need for key messages, based on scientific evidence and information available and disseminated without delay, was highlighted as crucial for an effective and urgent response.

Li Z, Allingham RR, Nakano M, Jia L, Chen Y, Ikeda Y, Mani B, Chen L-J, Kee C, Garway-Heath DF et al. 2015. A common variant near TGFBR3 is associated with primary open angle glaucoma. Hum Mol Genet, 24 (13), pp. 3880-3892. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), a major cause of blindness worldwide, is a complex disease with a significant genetic contribution. We performed Exome Array (Illumina) analysis on 3504 POAG cases and 9746 controls with replication of the most significant findings in 9173 POAG cases and 26 780 controls across 18 collections of Asian, African and European descent. Apart from confirming strong evidence of association at CDKN2B-AS1 (rs2157719 [G], odds ratio [OR] = 0.71, P = 2.81 × 10(-33)), we observed one SNP showing significant association to POAG (CDC7-TGFBR3 rs1192415, ORG-allele = 1.13, Pmeta = 1.60 × 10(-8)). This particular SNP has previously been shown to be strongly associated with optic disc area and vertical cup-to-disc ratio, which are regarded as glaucoma-related quantitative traits. Our study now extends this by directly implicating it in POAG disease pathogenesis.

Negussie H, Kassahun MM, Fegan G, Njuguna P, Enquselassie F, McKay A, Newport M, Lang T, Davey G. 2015. Podoconiosis treatment in northern Ethiopia (GoLBet): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 16 (1), pp. 307. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Podoconiosis is one of the forgotten types of leg swelling (elephantiasis) in the tropics. Unlike the other, better-known types of leg swelling, podoconiosis is not caused by any parasite, virus or bacterium, but by an abnormal reaction to minerals found in the clay soils of some tropical highland areas. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been responsible for the development of simple treatment methods without systematic evaluation of its effectiveness. It is essential that a large scale, fully controlled, pragmatic trial of the intervention is conducted. We aim to test the hypothesis that community-based treatment of podoconiosis lymphoedema reduces the frequency of acute dermatolymphangioadenitis episodes ('acute attacks') and improves other clinical, social and economic outcomes. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a pragmatic, individually randomised controlled trial. We plan to randomly allocate 680 podoconiosis patients from the East Gojjam Zone in northern Ethiopia to one of two groups: 'Standard Treatment' or 'Delayed Treatment'. Those randomised to standard treatment will receive the hygiene and foot-care intervention from May 2015 for one year, whereas those in the control arm will be followed through 2015 and be offered the intervention in 2016. The trial will be preceded by an economic context survey and a Rapid Ethical Assessment to identify optimal methods of conveying information about the trial and the approaches to obtaining informed consent preferred by the community. The primary outcome will be measured by recording patient recall and using a simple, patient-held diary that will be developed to record episodes of acute attacks. Adherence to treatment, clinical stage of disease, quality of life, disability and stigma will be considered secondary outcome measures. Other outcomes will include adverse ev