<ns4:p>Ceftriaxone is a cephalosporin antibiotic drug used as first-line treatment for several bacterial diseases. Ceftriaxone belongs to the third generation of antibiotics and is available as an intramuscular or intravenous injection. Previously published pharmacokinetic studies have mainly used high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV) for the quantification of ceftriaxone. This study aimed to develop and validate a bioanalytical method for the quantification of ceftriaxone in human plasma using liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Sample preparation was performed by protein precipitation in combination with phospholipid-removal techniques for cleaning up matrix interferences. The chromatographic separation was performed on an Agilent Zorbax Eclipse Plus C18 column with 10 mM ammonium formate containing 2% formic acid: acetonitrile as mobile phase at a flow rate of 0.4 ml/min. Both the analyte and cefotaxime (internal standard) were quantified using the positive electrospray ionization (ESI) mode and selected reaction monitoring (SRM) for the precursor-product ion transitions <ns4:italic>m/z</ns4:italic> 555.0→396.1 for ceftriaxone and 456.0→324.0 for cefotaxime. The method was validated over the concentration range of 1.01-200 μg/ml. Calibration response showed good linearity (correlation coefficient > 0.99) and no significant matrix effects were observed. The intra-assay and inter-assay precision were less than 5% and 10%, respectively, and therefore well within standard regulatory acceptance criterion of ±15%.</ns4:p>
Wellcome Open Research, 3 pp. 7-7. | Read moreUnderstanding a science-themed puppet theatre performance for public engagement in Thailand
Wellcome Open Research, 2 pp. 98-98. | Read moreScale up of a Plasmodium falciparum elimination program and surveillance system in Kayin State, Myanmar
PLoS Medicine, 3 (12), pp. e453-e453. | Read moreOphthalmoplegia and Slurred Speech in an Intravenous Drug User
BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis occurs more commonly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals than in HIV-uninfected individuals, but whether HIV infection alters the presentation and outcome of tuberculous meningitis is unknown. METHODS: We performed a prospective comparison of the presenting clinical features and response to treatment in 528 adults treated consecutively for tuberculous meningitis (96 were infected with HIV and 432 were uninfected with HIV) in 2 tertiary-care referral hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Logistic regression was used to model variables associated independently with HIV infection, 9-month survival, and the likelihood of having a relapse or an adverse drug event. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to compare survival rates and times to fever clearance, coma clearance, relapse, and adverse events. RESULTS: HIV infection did not alter the neurological presentation of tuberculous meningitis, although additional extrapulmonary tuberculosis was more likely to occur in HIV-infected patients. The 9-month survival rate was significantly decreased in HIV-infected patients (relative risk of death from any cause, 2.91 [95% confidence interval, 2.14-3.96]; P < .001), although the times to fever clearance and coma clearance and the number or timing of relapses or adverse drug events were not significantly different between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: HIV infection does not alter the neurological features of tuberculous meningitis but significantly reduces the survival rate.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 121-121.2005. Genome-wide significance level for linkage analysis in Plasmodium falciparum
This study examined whether coinfection with HIV and Burkholderia pseudomallei leads to altered disease severity or outcome associated with melioidosis. Coinfection was detected in only 8 of 524 (1.5%) adults with melioidosis in northeast Thailand. Clinical presentation and acute outcome were similar in HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients.
Loci targeted by directional selection are expected to show elevated geographical population structure relative to neutral loci, and a flurry of recent papers have used this rationale to search for genome regions involved in adaptation. Studies of functional mutations that are known to be under selection are particularly useful for assessing the utility of this approach. Antimalarial drug treatment regimes vary considerably between countries in Southeast Asia selecting for local adaptation at parasite loci underlying resistance. We compared the population structure revealed by 10 nonsynonymous mutations (nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [nsSNPs]) in four loci that are known to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance, with patterns revealed by 10 synonymous mutations (synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [sSNPs]) in housekeeping genes or genes of unknown function in 755 Plasmodium falciparum infections collected from 13 populations in six Southeast Asian countries. Allele frequencies at known nsSNPs underlying resistance varied markedly between locations (F(ST) = 0.18-0.66), with the highest frequencies on the Thailand-Burma border and the lowest frequencies in neighboring Lao PDR. In contrast, we found weak but significant geographic structure (F(ST) = 0-0.14) for 8 of 10 sSNPs. Importantly, all 10 nsSNPs showed significantly higher F(ST) (P < 8 x 10(-5)) than simulated neutral expectations based on observed F(ST) values in the putatively neutral sSNPs. This result was unaffected by the methods used to estimate allele frequencies or the number of populations used in the simulations. Given that dense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) maps and rapid SNP assay methods are now available for P. falciparum, comparing genetic differentiation across the genome may provide a valuable aid to identifying parasite loci underlying local adaptation to drug treatment regimes or other selective forces. However, the high proportion of polymorphic sites that appear to be under balancing selection (or linked to selected sites) in the P. falciparum genome violates the central assumption that selected sites are rare, which complicates identification of outlier loci, and suggests that caution is needed when using this approach.
Clin Infect Dis, 41 (11), pp. 1687-1688. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Misattribution of central nervous system dysfunction to artesunate.
By using a sensitive new assay, the terminal elimination half-life of the antimalarial piperaquine in a healthy volunteer was estimated to be 33 days, which is longer than estimated previously. This result illustrates the importance of extended sampling duration and sensitive assay methodologies in characterizing the disposition of slowly eliminated antimalarial drugs.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 346-346.2005. Use of a refractometer to assess the quality of antimalarial drugs collected in the Lao Pdr
Human melioidosis is associated with a high rate of recurrent disease, despite adequate antimicrobial treatment. Here, we define the rate of relapse versus the rate of reinfection in 116 patients with 123 episodes of recurrent melioidosis who were treated at Sappasithiprasong Hospital in Northeast Thailand between 1986 and 2005. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was performed on all isolates; isolates from primary and recurrent disease for a given patient different by one or more bands were examined by a sequence-based approach based on multilocus sequence typing. Overall, 92 episodes (75%) of recurrent disease were caused by the same strain (relapse) and 31 episodes (25%) were due to infection with a new strain (reinfection). The interval to recurrence differed between patients with relapse and reinfection; those with relapses had a median time to relapse of 228 days (range, 15 to 3,757 days; interquartile range [IQR], 99.5 to 608 days), while those with reinfection had a median time to reinfection of 823 days (range, 17 to 2,931 days; IQR, 453 to 1,211 days) (P = 0.0001). A total of 64 episodes (52%) occurred within 12 months of the primary infection. Relapse was responsible for 57 of 64 (89%) episodes of recurrent infection within the first year after primary disease, whereas relapse was responsible for 35 of 59 (59%) episodes after 1 year (P < 0.0001). Our data indicate that in this setting of endemicity, reinfection is responsible for one-quarter of recurrent cases. This finding has important implications for the clinical management of melioidosis patients and for antibiotic treatment studies that use recurrent disease as a marker for treatment failure.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 197-197. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite)2005. Characterization of segmental amplifications on CHR 5 associated with multidrug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 191-191.2005. Investigating the molecular mechanisms of nalidixic acid resistance and reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in Salmonella typhi
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 361-361.2005. Fluid resuscitation for dengue shock syndrome - The evidence from formal randomised and blinded intervention trials in Vietnam
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Artemisinin-based combination treatments have been the mainstay of treatment for falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia for more than 10 years and are now increasingly recommended as first-line treatment throughout the rest of the world. RECENT FINDINGS: A large multicentre randomised trial conducted in East Asia has shown a 35% reduction in mortality from severe malaria following treatment with parenteral artesunate compared with quinine. There is increasing evidence that artemisinin-based combination treatments are safe and rapidly effective. Artemether-lumefantrine (six doses) has been shown to be very effective in large trials reported from Uganda and Tanzania. A once daily three-dose treatment of dihydroartemisinin piperaquine, a newer fixed combination, was a highly efficacious and well tolerated treatment for multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia. SUMMARY: Early diagnosis and treatment of uncomplicated malaria with effective drugs remains a priority as part of a comprehensive malaria control strategy. Artemisinin-based combination treatments have consistently been shown to be highly effective and safe. The challenge is to make them accessible in tropical countries.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 223-223.2005. Rickettsial infections are common causes of fever amongst adults in the Lao PDR
The 5' non-coding region (5'-NCR) of 27 classical swine fever virus (CSFV) isolates from Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) during 1997 and 1999 were amplified by RT-PCR. A 150-bp region of the 5'-NCR amplicons was analysed and compared with reference CSFV of European and Asian origin and a phylogenetic dendrogram constructed. Following analysis, all viruses were determined to belong to genogroup 2. Viruses from Lao PDR grouped on a geographical basis with the majority of northern/central isolates falling into subgroup 2.1 and southern/central isolates falling into subgroup 2.2. These results concur with previous studies of CSF viruses from Lao PDR, although this study recognized the first occurrence of subgroup 2.1 in southern Lao PDR.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 73 (6), pp. 44-44.2005. Alternative treatment options for chloroquine resistant Plasmodium vivax in Papua, Indonesia
Euro Surveill, 10 (6), pp. E050623.3. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Resurgence of pertussis in northern Portugal: two severe cases in very young children.
BACKGROUND: Between 1995 and 2000, KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, experienced a marked increase in Plasmodium falciparum malaria, fuelled by pyrethroid and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance. In response, vector control was strengthened and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was deployed in the first Ministry of Health artemisinin-based combination treatment policy in Africa. In South Africa, effective vector and parasite control had historically ensured low-intensity malaria transmission. Malaria is diagnosed definitively and treatment is provided free of charge in reasonably accessible public-sector health-care facilities. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We reviewed four years of malaria morbidity and mortality data at four sentinel health-care facilities within KwaZulu-Natal's malaria-endemic area. In the year following improved vector control and implementation of AL treatment, malaria-related admissions and deaths both declined by 89%, and outpatient visits decreased by 85% at the sentinel facilities. By 2003, malaria-related outpatient cases and admissions had fallen by 99%, and malaria-related deaths had decreased by 97%. There was a concomitant marked and sustained decline in notified malaria throughout the province. No serious adverse events were associated causally with AL treatment in an active sentinel pharmacovigilance survey. In a prospective study with 42 d follow up, AL cured 97/98 (99%) and prevented gametocyte developing in all patients. Consistent with the findings of focus group discussions, a household survey found self-reported adherence to the six-dose AL regimen was 96%. CONCLUSION: Together with concurrent strengthening of vector control measures, the antimalarial treatment policy change to AL in KwaZulu-Natal contributed to a marked and sustained decrease in malaria cases, admissions, and deaths, by greatly improving clinical and parasitological cure rates and reducing gametocyte carriage.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 36 (6), pp. 1359-1370. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2005. A quantitative ultrastructural study of the liver and the spleen in fatal falciparum malaria.
We performed a retrospective study of 25 patients who died of severe falciparum malaria in Thailand and Vietnam using electron microscopy. The aims of the study were: to determine if there was any significant association between parasitized red blood cells (PRBC) sequestered in liver and spleen and particular pre-mortem clinical complications, and to compare the degree of parasite load between the liver and spleen within the same patients. PRBC sequestrations in each organ were compared with the pre-mortem parasitemia, to calculate the sequestration index (S.I.). The S.I. showed that the degree of PRBC sequestration in the spleen was higher than the liver (S.I. median = 3.13, 0.87, respectively) (p < 0.05). The results of quantitative ultrastructural study showed a significantly high parasite load in the liver of patients with jaundice, hepatomegaly and liver enzyme elevation (p < 0.05). We found a significant correlation between PRBC sequestration in the liver and a high serum bilirubin level, a high aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level and an increase in the size of the liver (Spearman's correlation coefficient = 0.688, 0.572, 0.736, respectively). Furthermore, a higher parasite load was found in the liver of patients with acute renal failure (ARF) compared to patients without ARF (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that PRBC sequestration in the liver is quantitatively associated with pre-mortem hepatic dysfunction and renal impairment. There was no significant difference between splenomegaly and PRBC sequestration. The size of a palpable spleen was not correlated with parasite load in the spleen. When ultrastructural features were compared between the two reticuloendothelial organs, we found that the spleen had more PRBC and phagocytes than the liver. The spleen of non-cerebral malaria (NCM) patients had more phagocytes than cerebral malaria (CM) patients. This observation reveals that the spleen plays a major role in malaria parasite clearance, and is associated with host defence mechanisms against malaria.
BMJ, 331 (7527), pp. 1242-1243. | Citations: 48 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Entry screening for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or influenza: policy evaluation.
BACKGROUND: Two antibiotic regimens are used commonly in Thailand for the initial treatment of severe melioidosis: ceftazidime in combination with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) and ceftazidime monotherapy. It is not known whether TMP-SMX provides an additional benefit. METHODS: Two prospective, randomized trials that compared these regimens for patients presenting with acute severe melioidosis were started independently at tertiary care hospitals in Ubon Ratchathani and Khon Kaen (in northeastern Thailand), and the results were analyzed together as a prospective, individual-patient data meta-analysis. The primary end point was in-hospital mortality rate. RESULTS: The in-hospital mortality rate among all enrolled patients (n=449) was not significantly different between those randomized to ceftazidime alone (25.1%; 56 of 223 subjects) and those randomized to ceftazidime with TMP-SMX (26.6%; 60 of 226 subjects; odds ratio [OR], 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.7-1.7; stratified P=.73). Of the 241 patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis, 51 (21.2%) died. Of these 241 patients, 31 (12.9%) died > or =48 h after the time of study entry. Among patients with melioidosis, there was no difference in death rate between the 2 treatment groups for either all deaths (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.48-1.6; stratified P=.70) or for deaths that occurred > or =48 h after hospital admission (OR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.41-1.9; stratified P=.73). Conditional logistic regression analysis revealed that bacteremia, respiratory failure, and renal failure were independently associated with death and treatment failure. Drug regimens were not associated with death or treatment failure in this model. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the addition of TMP-SMX to ceftazidime therapy during initial treatment of severe melioidosis does not reduce the acute mortality rate.
BACKGROUND: Six cases of melioidosis were identified in survivors of the 26 December 2004 tsunami who were admitted to Takuapa General Hospital in Phangnga, a region in southern Thailand where melioidosis is not endemic. All 6 cases were associated with aspiration, and 4 were also associated with laceration. METHODS: We compared the clinical, laboratory, and radiographic findings and the outcomes for these 6 patients with those for 22 patients with aspiration-related melioidosis acquired during 1987-2003 in a melioidosis-endemic region in northeast Thailand. Results of tests for detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in soil specimens from Phangnga and from northeast Thailand were compared. RESULTS: The 6 patients (age range, 25-65 years) presented with signs and symptoms of pneumonia 3-38 days (median duration, 6.5 days) after the tsunami. Chest radiograph findings at the onset of pneumonia were abnormal in all cases; 1 patient developed a lung abscess. B. pseudomallei was grown in blood cultures in 3 cases and in cultures of respiratory secretions in 4 cases. Two patients required ventilation and inotropes; 1 patient died. Compared with tsunami survivors, patients with aspiration-related melioidosis in northeast Thailand had a shorter interval (median duration, 1 day) between aspiration and onset of pneumonia; were more likely to exhibit shock, respiratory failure, renal failure, and/or altered consciousness (P=.03); and had a higher in-hospital mortality (64% [14 of 22 patients]; P=.07). These differences may be related to the severity of the near-drowning episode, the inhalation of sea water versus fresh water, the size of bacterial inoculum, and the possible acquisition (among tsunami survivors) of B. pseudomallei via laceration. Only 3 (0.8%) of 360 soil samples from Phangnga were positive for B. pseudomallei, compared with 26 (20%) of 133 samples from northeast Thailand (P<.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Tsunami survivors are at increased risk of melioidosis if they are injured in an environment containing B. pseudomallei.
Ashdown's medium, Burkholderia pseudomallei selective agar (BPSA), and a commercial Burkholderia cepacia medium were compared for their abilities to grow B. pseudomallei from 155 clinical specimens that proved positive for this organism. The sensitivity of each was equivalent; the selectivity of BPSA was lower than that of Ashdown's or B. cepacia medium.
Pneumonia is a common manifestation of melioidosis, the disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. In this study, we defined the prognostic significance of a positive sputum culture. A total of 712 patients presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, with melioidosis between January 1992 and December 2002 had a sputum culture performed during admission, which was positive for B. pseudomallei in 444 patients (62%). The median duration of sputum positivity was 9 days (range, 1 to 49 days). Sputum cultures were negative in 32% of patients with radiologic changes suggestive of pulmonary involvement. Overall in-hospital mortality was 48%. A positive sputum culture was associated with mortality (adjusted OR 2.8, 95% CI: 1.9, 4.0; P < 0.001). This was independent of renal disease, a prior history of melioidosis, positive blood cultures, and other potential confounders. The presence of B. pseudomallei in the sputum of patients with melioidosis is associated with a poorer prognosis.
Melioidosis (infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei) requires a prolonged course of oral antibiotics following initial intravenous therapy to reduce the risk of relapse after cessation of treatment. The current recommendation is a four-drug regimen (trimethoprim [TMP], sulfamethoxazole [SMX], doxycycline, and chloramphenicol) and a total treatment time of 12 to 20 weeks. Drug side effects are common; the aim of this study was to compare the efficacy and tolerance of the four-drug regimen with a three-drug regimen (TMP-SMX and doxycycline). An open-label, randomized trial was conducted in northeast Thailand. A total of 180 adult Thai patients were enrolled, of which 91 were allocated to the four-drug regimen and 89 to the three-drug regimen. The trial was terminated early due to poor drug tolerance, particularly of the four-drug regimen. The culture-confirmed relapse rates at 1 year were 6.6% and 5.6% for the four- and three-drug regimens, respectively (P = 0.79). The three-drug regimen was better tolerated than the four-drug regimen; 36% of patients receiving four drugs and 19% of patients receiving three drugs required a switch in therapy due to side effects (P = 0.01). The duration of oral therapy was significantly associated with relapse; after adjustment for confounders, patients receiving less than 12 weeks of oral therapy had a 5.7-fold increase of relapse or death. A combination of TMP-SMX and doxycycline is as effective as and better tolerated than the conventional four-drug regimen for the oral treatment phase of melioidosis.
The dhps sequences of 55 Plasmodium vivax isolates (39 from Thailand and 16 from elsewhere) revealed mutant Pvdhps at codons 383 and/or 553 (A --> G) in 33 isolates, all from Thailand. Mutations of Pvdhps and Pvdhfr were correlated. Multiple mutations were associated with high-grade sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance.
PLOS MEDICINE, 2 (10), pp. 1047-1047. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Estimation of the total parasite biomass in acute falciparum malaria from plasma PfHRP2 (vol 2, art. no. e204, 2005)
<jats:p>‘The opportunities of a pathologist at a large Eastern Hospital are many; but his time for research work is short, and his conveniences are few.’ So begins this landmark paper written by Alfred Whitmore and published in the journal in 1913 . He goes on to demonstrate just how well that short time can be used by someone with the energy, intelligence and scientific rigour in order to make the most of those opportunities. I first read this paper 15 years ago and have re-read it many times since, usually reflecting on how remarkably little our knowledge of melioidosis has advanced since 1913. I notice something new each time I read it and, most importantly of all, each time it is an absolute pleasure to read. How many modern scientific papers leave one feeling the same way?</jats:p>
Epidemiology and Infection, 133 (SUPPL. 1), | Read more2005. 2. A glanders-like disease in Rangoon
A high throughput assay for the determination of the antimalarial piperaquine in plasma has been developed and validated. The assay utilises 96-wellplate formats throughout the whole procedure, and easily enables a throughput of 192 samples a day using a single LC system. Buffer (pH 2.0; 0.05 M) containing internal standard was added to 0.25 mL plasma in a 96-wellplate (2 mL wells). The samples were extracted on a MPC solid phase extraction deep well 96-wellplate (3M Empore). Piperaquine and internal standard were analysed by liquid chromatography with UV detection on a Chromolith Performance (100 mm x 4.6 mm) column with a mobile phase containing acetonitrile-phosphate buffer (pH 2.5; 0.1 M) (8:92, v/v) at a flow rate of 3.0 mL/min. The within-day precisions for piperaquine were 3.3 and 2.3% at 40 and 1250 ng/mL, respectively. The between-day precisions for piperaquine were 5.8 and 1.3% at 40 and 1250 ng/mL, respectively. The total assay precisions using 29 replicates over 5 days were 6.7, 4.5 and 2.7% at 40, 200 and 1250 ng/mL, respectively. The lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) and the limit of detection (LOD) were 10 and 5 ng/mL, respectively using 0.25 mL plasma. Using 1 mL of plasma, it was possible to decrease LLOQ and LOD to 2.5 and 1.25 ng/mL, respectively.
Protective cellular immune responses depend on MHC presentation of pathogen-derived Ag fragments. MHC diversity renders this process sensitive to point mutations coding for altered amino acid sequence of the short target Ag-derived peptides epitopes. Thus, in a given host, a pathogen with an altered epitope sequence will be more likely to escape detection and elimination by the immune system. At a population level, selection by immune pressure will increase the likelihood of polymorphism in important pathogen antigenic epitopes. This mechanism of immune evasion is found in viruses and other pathogens. The detection of polymorphic hot spots in an Ag is often taken as a strong indication of its role in protective immunity. We provide evidence that polymorphisms in the T cell epitopes of a malaria vaccine candidate are unlikely to have been selected by immune pressure in the human host.
Thresholds in transmission are responsible for critical changes in infectious disease epidemiology. The epidemic threshold indicates whether infection invades a totally susceptible population. The reinfection threshold indicates whether self-sustained transmission occurs in a population that has developed a degree of partial immunity to the pathogen (by previous infection or vaccination). In models that combine susceptible and partially immune individuals, the reinfection threshold is technically not a bifurcation of equilibria as correctly pointed out by Breban and Blower. However, we show that a branch of equilibria to a reinfection submodel bifurcates from the disease-free equilibrium as transmission crosses this threshold. Consequently, the full model indicates that levels of infection increase by two orders of magnitude and the effect of mass vaccination becomes negligible as transmission increases across the reinfection threshold.
The indirect hemagglutination assay routinely used to detect antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei was modified to detect cross-reactivity of antibodies to B. pseudomallei, B. mallei, and B. thailandensis antigens. We demonstrate a lack of cross-reactivity between B. pseudomallei and B. thailandensis but marked cross-reactivity between B. pseudomallei and B. mallei.
Emerg Infect Dis, 11 (9), pp. 1496-1497. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Sporotrichosis, Plain of Jars, Lao People's Democratic Republic.
BACKGROUND: There is no safe, practical, and effective treatment for pregnant women infected with multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. METHODS: We recruited pregnant Karen women in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy who had uncomplicated falciparum malaria for a randomized, open-label trial with a restricted sequential trial design of 7 days of supervised quinine (SQ7) versus 3 days of artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil (AAP). RESULTS: Eight-one pregnant women entered the study between December 2001 and July 2003; 42 were treated with SQ7 and 39 were treated with AAP. Fever, parasite clearance, and duration of anemia were significantly better with AAP; the treatment failure rate was 7 times lower (5% [2/39] vs. 37% [15/41]; relative risk, 7.1 [95% confidence interval, 1.7-29.2]; P = .001). There were no significant differences in birth weight, duration of gestation, or congenital abnormality rates in newborns or in growth and developmental parameters of infants monitored for 1 year. CONCLUSION: AAP is a well-tolerated, effective, practical, but expensive treatment for multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. Despite the small number of subjects, our results add to the growing body of evidence that AAP is safe for the mother and the fetus.
BACKGROUND: Dengue shock syndrome is characterized by severe vascular leakage and disordered hemostasis and progresses to death in 1 to 5 percent of cases. Although volume replacement is recognized as the critical therapeutic intervention, World Health Organization management guidelines remain empirical rather than evidence-based. METHODS: We performed a double-blind, randomized comparison of three fluids for initial resuscitation of Vietnamese children with dengue shock syndrome. We randomly assigned 383 children with moderately severe shock to receive Ringer's lactate, 6 percent dextran 70 (a colloid), or 6 percent hydroxyethyl starch (a colloid) and 129 children with severe shock to receive one of the colloids. The primary outcome measure was requirement for rescue colloid at any time after administration of the study fluid. RESULTS: Only one patient died (<0.2 percent mortality). The primary outcome measure--requirement for rescue colloid--was similar for the different fluids in the two severity groups. The relative risk of requirement for rescue colloid was 1.08 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.78 to 1.47; P=0.65) among children with moderate shock who received Ringer's lactate as compared with either of the colloid solutions, 1.13 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.74 to 1.74; P=0.59) among children who received dextran as compared with starch in the group with severe shock, and 0.88 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.66 to 1.17; P=0.38) among children who received dextran as compared with starch in the combined analysis. Although treatment with Ringer's lactate resulted in less rapid improvement in the hematocrit and a marginally longer time to initial recovery than did treatment with either of the colloid solutions, there were no differences in all other measures of treatment response. Only minor differences in efficacy were detected between the two colloids, but significantly more recipients of dextran than of starch had adverse reactions. Bleeding manifestations, coagulation derangements, and severity of fluid overload were similar for all fluid-treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: Initial resuscitation with Ringer's lactate is indicated for children with moderately severe dengue shock syndrome. Dextran 70 and 6 percent hydroxyethyl starch perform similarly in children with severe shock, but given the adverse reactions associated with the use of dextran, starch may be preferable for this group.
Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay we demonstrate that, in adult patients with typhoid fever, the sensitivity of a serological test based on the detection of anti-lipopolysaccharide immunoglobulin G is increased when used with paired serum samples taken 1 week apart.
LANCET, 366 (9487), pp. 717-725. | Citations: 566 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Artesunate versus quinine for treatment of severe falciparum malaria: a randomised trial
BACKGROUND: In the treatment of severe malaria, intravenous artesunate is more rapidly acting than intravenous quinine in terms of parasite clearance, is safer, and is simpler to administer, but whether it can reduce mortality is uncertain. METHODS: We did an open-label randomised controlled trial in patients admitted to hospital with severe falciparum malaria in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Myanmar. We assigned individuals intravenous artesunate 2.4 mg/kg bodyweight given as a bolus (n=730) at 0, 12, and 24 h, and then daily, or intravenous quinine (20 mg salt per kg loading dose infused over 4 h then 10 mg/kg infused over 2-8 h three times a day; n=731). Oral medication was substituted when possible to complete treatment. Our primary endpoint was death from severe malaria, and analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: We assessed all patients randomised for the primary endpoint. Mortality in artesunate recipients was 15% (107 of 730) compared with 22% (164 of 731) in quinine recipients; an absolute reduction of 34.7% (95% CI 18.5-47.6%; p=0.0002). Treatment with artesunate was well tolerated, whereas quinine was associated with hypoglycaemia (relative risk 3.2, 1.3-7.8; p=0.009). INTERPRETATION: Artesunate should become the treatment of choice for severe falciparum malaria in adults.
BACKGROUND: In falciparum malaria sequestration of erythrocytes containing mature forms of Plasmodium falciparum in the microvasculature of vital organs is central to pathology, but quantitation of this hidden sequestered parasite load in vivo has not previously been possible. The peripheral blood parasite count measures only the circulating, relatively non-pathogenic parasite numbers. P. falciparum releases a specific histidine-rich protein (PfHRP2) into plasma. Quantitative measurement of plasma PfHRP2 concentrations may reflect the total parasite biomass in falciparum malaria. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We measured plasma concentrations of PfHRP2, using a quantitative antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, in 337 adult patients with falciparum malaria of varying severity hospitalised on the Thai-Burmese border. Based on in vitro production rates, we constructed a model to link this measure to the total parasite burden in the patient. The estimated geometric mean parasite burden was 7 x 10(11) (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.8 x 10(11) to 8.5 x 10(11)) parasites per body, and was over six times higher in severe malaria (geometric mean 1.7 x 10(12), 95% CI 1.3 x 10(12) to 2.3 x 10(12)) than in patients hospitalised without signs of severity (geometric mean 2.8 x 10(11), 95% CI 2.3 x 10(11) to 3.5 x 10(11); p < 0.001). Parasite burden was highest in patients who died (geometric mean 3.4 x 10(12), 95% CI 1.9 x 10(12) to 6.3 x 10(12); p = 0.03). The calculated number of sequestered parasites increased with disease severity and was higher in patients with late developmental stages of P. falciparum present on peripheral blood smears. Comparing model and laboratory estimates of the time of sequestration suggested that admission to hospital with uncomplicated malaria often follows schizogony-but in severe malaria is unrelated to stage of parasite development. CONCLUSION: Plasma PfHRP2 concentrations may be used to estimate the total body parasite biomass in acute falciparum malaria. Severe malaria results from extensive sequestration of parasitised erythrocytes.
BACKGROUND: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is a fixed-combination antimalarial drug increasingly deployed in Southeast Asia. The current regimen involves 4 doses given over 3 days. Simplification of the dose regimen should facilitate treatment adherence and thereby increase effectiveness. METHODS: In a randomized, controlled, 3-arm trial conducted along the northwestern border of Thailand, the standard 4-dose course of DP (DP4) was compared to an equivalent dose given as a once-daily regimen (DP3) and to the standard treatment of mefloquine-artesunate (MAS3). RESULTS: A total of 499 patients were included in the study. Times to fever and parasite clearance were similar in all groups. The PCR genotyping-adjusted cure rates at day 63 after treatment initiation were 95.7% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 92.2%-98.9%) for MAS3, 100% for DP4, and 99.4% (95% CI, 98.1%-100%) for DP3. The DP4 and DP3 cure rates were significantly higher than that for MAS3 (P=.008 and P=.03, respectively). All regimens were well tolerated. There were 3 deaths (1 in the MAS3 group and 2 in the DP3 group), all of which were considered to be unrelated to treatment. Rates of other adverse events were comparable between the groups, except for diarrhea, which was more common in the DP4 group (P=.05 vs. the MAS3 group). CONCLUSIONS: A once-daily, 3-dose regimen of DP is a highly efficacious treatment for multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. This simple, safe, and relatively inexpensive fixed combination could become the treatment of choice for falciparum malaria.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cryptococcal colony-forming unit counts and CSF cryptococcal antigen titers serve as alternative measures of organism load in cryptococcal meningitis. For these measures, we correlated baseline values and rates of decline during the first 2 weeks of therapy in 68 human immunodeficiency virus--seropositive patients with cryptococcal meningitis. At baseline, there was a strong correlation between CSF cryptococcal colony-forming unit counts and CSF cryptococcal antigen titers. During the first 2 weeks of therapy, CSF cryptococcal colony-forming unit counts decreased by >5 logs, and CSF cryptococcal antigen titers decreased by 1.5 dilutions. In individual patients, there was no correlation between the rate of decline in CSF cryptococcal colony-forming unit counts and that in CSF cryptococcal antigen titers.
A high throughput bioanalytical assay for the determination of lumefantrine in plasma has been developed and validated extensively. The within-day precisions for lumefantrine were 5.2, 3.5 and 2.5% at 200, 2000 and 15000 ng/mL, respectively. The between-day precisions were 4.0, 2.8 and 3.1% at 200, 2000 and 15000 ng/mL, respectively. The lower limits of quantification (LLOQ) and the limits of detection (LOD) were 25 and 10 ng/mL, respectively using 0.250 mL plasma. The average recovery of lumefantrine was 85% and independent upon concentration. The use of 96-well plate format and short chromatographic run has increased the daily sample throughput four times. The assay is particularly suitable for large therapeutic drug monitoring studies using day 7 sampling.
Combinations are set to become the mainstay in treatment and prophylaxis of malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum. Various antimalarials have been implicated in cardiotoxicity via prolongation of the QTc interval. Atovaquone-proguanil is an effective and increasingly popular antimalarial choice when used alone or with artesunate in areas of drug resistance. We report the results of an investigation carried out on the Thai-Burmese border in 42 patients randomized to receive either atovaquone-proguanil or atovaquone-proguanil-artesunate for three days. Electrocardiographic recordings were made at baseline and one hour after each dose. There was no statistically significant change in QTc interval between baseline and any subsequent readings in either treatment group or the cohort as a whole. We conclude that atovaquone-proguanil shows no evidence of cardiotoxicity either alone or when combined with artesunate.
A retrospective study of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of brain parenchymal damage was conducted in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria. Three markers were analysed by immunoassays: the microtubule-associated protein tau, for degenerated axons; neuron-specific enolase (NSE), for neurons; and S100B for astrocytes. The mean concentration of tau proteins in the CSF was significantly raised in patients with severe malaria compared with controls (P=0.0003) as reported for other central nervous system diseases. By contrast, the mean concentration of NSE and S100B remained within the normal range. Tau levels were associated with duration of coma (P=0.004) and S100B was associated with convulsions (P=0.006). Concentrations of axonal and astrocyte degeneration markers also were associated with vital organ dysfunction. No association was found between the level of markers of brain parenchymal damage on admission and a fatal outcome. On admission to hospital, patients with severe malaria had biochemical evidence of brain parenchymal damage predominantly affecting axons.
A bioanalytic method for the determination of amoxicillin in plasma by hydrophilic interaction solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography has been developed and validated. Plasma was precipitated with acetonitrile before samples were loaded onto a zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (ZIC-HILIC) solid-phase extraction column. Amoxicillin was analyzed by liquid chromatography on an Aquasil (150 x 4.6 mm) LC column with mobile-phase acetonitrile: phosphate buffer (pH 2.5; 0.1 mol/L) (7:93, v/v) and UV detection at 230 nm. A regression model using 1/concentration weighting was found the most appropriate for quantification. The intraassay precision for plasma was 3.3% at 15.0 microg/mL and 10.9% at 0.200 microg/mL. The interassay precision for plasma was 1.8% at 15.0 microg/mL and 7.5% at 0.200 microg/mL. The total-assay precision for plasma over 4 days using a total of 20 replicates was 13.2%, 5.5%, and 3.8% at 0.200 microg/mL, 3.00 microg/mL, and 15.0 microg/mL, respectively. The lower limit of quantification and the limit of detection were 0.050 microg/mL and 0.025 microg/mL, respectively, for 100 microL plasma. Long-term storage stability studies of amoxicillin in plasma indicate that a temperature of -80 degrees C is necessary to prevent degradation of amoxicillin.
J Infect Dis, 192 (3), pp. 547. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Postmortem brain smear assessment of fatal malaria.
Despite the existence of several three-dimensional structures of cytochrome c oxidases, a detailed understanding of pathways involved in proton movements through the complex remains largely elusive. Next to the two well-established pathways (termed D and K), an additional proton-conducting network ('H-channel') has been proposed for the beef heart enzyme. Yet, our recent mutational studies on corresponding residues of the Paracoccus denitrificans cytochrome c oxidase provide no clues that such a pathway operates in the prokaryotic enzyme.
Because of their sequestration in the microcirculation, the pathogenic late stages of Plasmodium falciparum are under-represented in peripheral blood samples from patients with falciparum malaria. Excreted products of the parasite might help to estimate this sequestered biomass. We quantified the stage-dependent production and release per parasite of P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) with the objective of measuring the sequestered biomass. A simple method to relate parasite stage to parasite age was developed to facilitate this. In four isolates of P. falciparum, the median (range) PfHRP2 content was 2.0fg (0.5-4.3fg) for a young ring stage infected erythrocyte, and 5.4fg (2.1-10.2fg) for the schizont stage. The amount of PfHRP2 in the parasitized erythrocyte increased most during development to the mature trophozoite stage. The median (range) amount of PfHRP2 secreted per parasite per entire erythrocytic cycle was 5.2fg (1.1-13.0fg). A median of 89% of the total PfHRP2 was excreted at the moment of schizont rupture. This assessment of the stage-dependent release of PfHRP2 is an essential prerequisite for future studies aimed at estimating the total patient parasite mass from the peripheral blood PfHRP2 concentration.
BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to 1 or more antituberculosis drugs is an increasingly common clinical problem, although the impact on outcome is uncertain. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 180 Vietnamese adults admitted consecutively for TBM. M. tuberculosis was cultured from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of all patients and was tested for susceptibility to first-line antituberculosis drugs. Presenting clinical features, time to CSF bacterial clearance, clinical response to treatment, and 9-month morbidity and mortality were compared between adults infected with susceptible and those infected with drug-resistant organisms. RESULTS: Of 180 isolates, 72 (40.0%) were resistant to at least 1 antituberculosis drug, and 10 (5.6%) were resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin. Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance was associated with slower CSF bacterial clearance but not with any differences in clinical response or outcome. Combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance was strongly predictive of death (relative risk of death, 11.63 [95% confidence interval, 5.21-26.32]) and was independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance probably has no detrimental effect on the outcome of TBM when patients are treated with first-line antituberculosis drugs, but combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance is strongly predictive of death.
Outcome from tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is believed to be dependent on the severity of the intracerebral inflammatory response. We have recently shown that dexamethasone improved survival in adults with TBM and postulated that the clinical effect would be associated with a measurable systemic and intracerebral impact on immunological markers of inflammation. Prolonged inflammatory responses were detected in all TBM patients irrespective of treatment assignment (placebo or dexamethasone). The inflammatory response in the cerebrospinal fluid was characterized by a leukocytosis (predominantly CD3(+)CD4(+) T lymphocytes, phenotypically distinct from those in the peripheral blood), elevated concentrations of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and evidence of prolonged blood-brain barrier dysfunction. Dexamethasone significantly modulated acute cerebrospinal fluid protein concentrations and marginally reduced IFN-gamma concentrations; other immunological and routine biochemical indices of inflammation were unaffected. Peripheral blood monocyte and T cell responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ags were also unaffected. Dexamethasone does not appear to improve survival from TBM by attenuating immunological mediators of inflammation in the subarachnoid space or by suppressing peripheral T cell responses to mycobacterial Ags. These findings challenge previously held theories of corticosteroid action in this disease. An understanding of how dexamethasone acts in TBM may suggest novel and more effective treatment strategies.
Emerg Infect Dis, 11 (7), pp. 1158-1159. | Citations: 63 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Avian influenza H5N1 and healthcare workers.
UROLOGY, 66 (1), pp. 232-233. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Initial, long-term, and durable responses to terazosin, placebo, or other therapies for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome - Reply
Neutral mutations may hitchhike to high frequency when they are situated close to sites under positive selection, generating local reductions in genetic diversity. This process is thought to be an important determinant of levels of genomic variation in natural populations. The size of genome regions affected by genetic hitchhiking is expected to be dependent on the strength of selection, but there is little empirical data supporting this prediction. Here, we compare microsatellite variation around two drug resistance genes (chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt), chromosome 7, and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr), chromosome 4) in malaria parasite populations exposed to strong (Thailand) or weak selection (Laos) by anti-malarial drugs. In each population, we examined the point mutations underlying resistance and length variation at 22 (chromosome 4) or 25 (chromosome 7) microsatellite markers across these chromosomes. All parasites from Thailand carried the K76T mutation in pfcrt conferring resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and 2-4 mutations in dhfr conferring resistance to pyrimethamine. By contrast, we found both wild-type and resistant alleles at both genes in Laos. There were dramatic differences in the extent of hitchhiking in the two countries. The size of genome regions affected was smaller in Laos than in Thailand. We observed significant reduction in variation relative to sensitive parasites for 34-64 kb (2-4 cM) in Laos on chromosome 4, compared with 98-137 kb (6-8 cM) in Thailand. Similarly, on chromosome 7, we observed reduced variation for 34-69 kb (2-4 cM) around pfcrt in Laos, but for 195-268 kb (11-16 cM) in Thailand. Reduction in genetic variation was also less extreme in Laos than in Thailand. Most loci were monomorphic in a 12 kb region surrounding both genes on resistant chromosomes from Thailand, whereas in Laos, even loci immediately proximal to selective sites showed some variation on resistant chromosomes. Finally, linkage disequilibrium (LD) decayed more rapidly around resistant pfcrt and dhfr alleles from Laos than from Thailand. These results demonstrate that different realizations of the same selective sweeps may vary considerably in size and shape, in a manner broadly consistent with selection history. From a practical perspective, genomic regions containing resistance genes may be most effectively located by genome-wide association in populations exposed to strong drug selection. However, the lower levels of LD surrounding resistance alleles in populations under weak selection may simplify identification of functional mutations.
We conducted a randomized open trial of oral chloramphenicol (50mg/kg/day in four divided doses for 14 days) versus ofloxacin (15 mg/kg/day in two divided doses for 3 days) in 50 adults with culture-confirmed uncomplicated typhoid fever in Vientiane, Laos. Patients had been ill for a median (range) of 8 (2-30) days. All Salmonella enterica serotype typhi isolates were nalidixic acid-sensitive, four (8%) were chloramphenicol-resistant and three (6%) were multidrug-resistant. Median (range) fever clearance times were 90 (24-224) hours in the chloramphenicol group and 54 (6-93) hours in the ofloxacin group (P<0.001). One patient in the chloramphenicol group developed an ileal perforation. Three days ofloxacin was more effective than 14 days chloramphenicol for the in-patient treatment of typhoid fever, irrespective of antibiotic susceptibility, and was of similar cost.
OBJECTIVES: Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is commonly used to treat melioidosis. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing using the disc diffusion method is commonly used in melioidosis-endemic areas, but may overestimate resistance to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We performed disc diffusion and Etest on isolates from the first positive culture for all patients presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, with culture-confirmed melioidosis between 1992 and 2003. RESULTS: The estimated resistance rate for 1976 clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates was 13% by Etest and 71% by disc diffusion. All isolates classed as either susceptible (n=358) or as having intermediate resistance (n=218) on disc diffusion were susceptible by Etest. Only 258 of the 1400 (18%) isolates classed as resistant on disc diffusion were resistant by Etest. CONCLUSIONS: Disc diffusion testing of B. pseudomallei may be useful as a limited screening tool in resource poor settings. Isolates assigned as 'susceptible' or 'intermediate' by disc diffusion may be viewed as 'susceptible'; those assigned as 'resistant' require further evaluation by MIC methodology.
Mu et al. (Mu, J., M. T. Ferdig, X. Feng, D. A. Joy, J. Duan, T. Furuya, G. Subramanian, L. Aravind, R. A. Cooper, J. C. Wootton, M. Xiong, and X. Z. Su, Mol. Microbiol. 49:977-989, 2003) recently reported exciting associations between nine new candidate transporter genes and in vitro resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and quinine (QN), with six of these loci showing association with CQ or QN in a southeast Asian population sample. We replicated and extended this work by examining polymorphisms in these genes and in vitro resistance to eight drugs in parasites collected from the Thailand-Burma border. To minimize problems of multiple testing, we used a two-phase study design, while to minimize problems caused by population structure, we analyzed parasite isolates collected from a single clinic. We first examined associations between genotype and drug response in 108 unique single-clone parasite isolates. We found strong associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr and mefloquine (MFQ), artesunate (AS), and lumefantrine (LUM) response. We also observed associations between an ABC transporter (G7) and response to QN and AS and between another ABC transporter (G49) and response to dihydro-artemisinin (DHA). We reexamined significant associations in an independent sample of 199 unique single-clone infections from the same location. The significant associations with pfmdr-1042 detected in the first survey remained. However, with the exception of the G7-artesunate association, all other associations observed with the nine new candidate transporters disappeared. We also examined linkage disequilibrium (LD) between markers and phenotypic correlations between drug responses. We found minimal LD between genes. Furthermore, we found no correlation between chloroquine and quinine responses, although we did find expected strong correlations between MFQ, QN, AS, DHA, and LUM. To conclude, we found no evidence for an association between 8/9 candidate genes and response to eight different antimalarial drugs. However, the consistent association observed between a 3-bp indel in G7 and AS response merits further investigation.
Malaria morbidity and mortality continue to increase across sub-Saharan Africa. This is largely as a result of the continued use of chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, despite widespread resistance. Although eliminating the asexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum is the focus of treatment of individual symptomatic patients, at a population level, reducing the carriage of gametocytes - the sexual stage responsible for infection of the mosquito vector - is necessary to limit the transmission of malaria parasites and the spread of antimalarial resistance. The probability of a mosquito being infected depends on the prevalence, duration and density of viable gametocyte carriage in the human host, although additional humoral and leukocyte factors also affect transmissibility. There is a log-sigmoid relationship between gametocyte density in the patients' blood and infectivity to the mosquito. The infectivity and thus transmission potential associated with a particular antimalarial treatment can be characterised as a function of blood gametocyte density and time, summing these over the acute and all subsequent recrudescences of that infection. Gametocyte carriage and infectivity to mosquitoes is consistently higher in patients infected with drug resistant compared with drug sensitive malaria parasites. It is the ratio of transmission potential in drug resistant versus sensitive infections that drives the spread of resistance. Early access to highly effective antimalarial treatment reduces the risk of disease progression and limits gametocyte carriage. The remarkable spread of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) resistance across vast regions results from the very high post-treatment prevalence and density of gametocyte carriage following SP treatment. In areas of low intensity malaria transmission, the gametocyte-reducing effect of widespread use of artemisinin-based combination therapy has resulted in a sustained decrease in malaria transmission and a decrease in the spread of resistance. Malaria treatment policy should be based primarily on therapeutic efficacy against asexual stages, but should also consider transmission reduction potential. Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the only antimalarials currently available which rapidly reduce both asexual and gametocyte stages of the P. falciparum lifecycle.
Melioidosis is associated with significant mortality in countries in which it is endemic. Previous studies have demonstrated that quantitative Burkholderia pseudomallei counts in blood are predictive of mortality. Here we examine the relationship between outcomes and quantitative B. pseudomallei counts in urine. A total of 755 patients presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani, northeast Thailand (in the northeast part of the country), with melioidosis between July 1993 and October 2003 had quantitative urine cultures performed within 72 h of admission. Urine culture results were divided into the following groups: (i) no growth of B. pseudomallei from a neat sample or pellet, (ii) positive result from a centrifuged pellet only (< 10(3) CFU/ml), (iii) detection of between 10(3) CFU/ml and 10(5) CFU/ml from a neat sample, or (iv) detection of > or = 10(5) CFU/ml from a neat sample. The overall in-hospital mortality rate was 45%. Patients with negative urine cultures had the lowest death rate (39%). Mortality rates rose with increasing B. pseudomallei counts in urine, from 58% for those with positive spun pellets only to 61% for those with between 10(3) CFU/ml and 10(5) CFU/ml and 71% for those with > or = 10(5) CFU/ml. This was independent of age, presence of bacteremia, known risk factors for melioidosis such as diabetes, and the prior administration of antibiotics. The presence of B. pseudomallei in urine during systemic infection is associated with a poor prognosis.
A bioanalytical method for the determination of lumefantrine (LF) and its metabolite desbutyl-lumefantrine (DLF) in plasma by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography has been developed. Plasma proteins were precipitated with acetonitrile:acetic acid (99:1, v/v) containing a DLF analogue internal standard before being loaded onto a octylsilica (3 M Empore) SPE column. Two different DLF analogues were evaluated as internal standards. The compounds were analysed by liquid chromatography UV detection on a SB-CN (250 mm x 4.6 mm) column with a mobile phase containing acetonitrile-sodium phosphate buffer pH (2.0; 0.1 M) (55:45, v/v) and sodium perchlorate 0.05 M. Different SPE columns were evaluated during method development to optimise reproducibility and recovery for LF, DLF and the two different DLF analogues. The within-day precisions for LF were 6.6 and 2.1% at 0.042 and 8.02 microg/mL, respectively, and for DLF 4.5 and 1.5% at 0.039 and 0.777 microg/mL, respectively. The between-day precisions for LF were 12.0 and 2.9% at 0.042 and 8.02 microg/mL, respectively, while for DLF 0.7 and 1.2% at 0.039 and 0.777 microg/mL, respectively. The limit of quantification was 0.024 and 0.021 microg/mL for LF and DLF, respectively. Different amounts of lipids in plasma did not affect the absolute recovery of LF or DLF.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is the second most prevalent malaria parasite affecting more than 75 million people each year, mostly in South America and Asia. In addition to major morbidity this parasite is associated with relapses and a reduction in birthweight. The emergence and spread of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is a major factor in the resurgence of this parasite. P. vivax resistance to drugs has more recently emerged and monitoring the situation would be helped, as for P. falciparum, by molecular methods that can be used to characterize parasites in field studies and drug efficacy trials. METHODS: Practical PCR genotyping protocols based on polymorphic loci present in two P. vivax genetic markers, Pvcs and Pvmsp1, were developed. The methodology was evaluated using 100 P. vivax isolates collected in Thailand. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Analysis revealed that P. vivax populations in Thailand are highly diverse genetically, with mixed genotype infections found in 26 % of the samples (average multiplicity of infection = 1.29). A large number of distinguishable alleles were found for the two markers, 23 for Pvcs and 36 for Pvmsp1. These were generally randomly distributed amongst the isolates. A total of 68 distinct genotypes could be enumerated in the 74 isolates with a multiplicity of infection of 1. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that the genotyping protocols presented can be useful in the assessment of in vivo drug efficacy clinical trials conducted in endemic areas and for epidemiological studies of P. vivax infections.
An immunofluorescent (IF) method that detects Burkholderia pseudomallei in clinical specimens within 10 min was devised. The results of this rapid method and those of an existing IF method were prospectively compared with the culture results for 776 specimens from patients with suspected melioidosis. The sensitivities of both IF tests were 66%, and the specificities were 99.5 and 99.4%, respectively.
The pharmacokinetics of oral doxycycline administered at 200 mg every 24 h were investigated in 17 patients recovering from severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The data suggest that the doses of doxycycline currently recommended (circa 3.5 mg/kg of body weight daily) may not be optimal.
Trop Doct, 35 (2), pp. 117-118. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2005. Photoallergy to quinine.
The spleen is critical for host defense against pathogens, including Plasmodium falciparum. It has a dual role, not only removing aged or antigenically altered erythrocytes from the blood but also as the major lymphoid organ for blood-borne or systemic infections. The human malaria parasite P. falciparum replicates within erythrocytes during asexual blood stages and causes repeated infections that can be associated with severe disease. In spite of the crucial role of the spleen in the innate and acquired immune response to malaria, there is little information on the pathology of the spleen in human malaria. We performed a histological and quantitative immunohistochemical study of spleen sections from Vietnamese adults dying from severe falciparum malaria and compared the findings with the findings for spleen sections from control patients and patients dying from systemic bacterial sepsis. Here we report that the white pulp in the spleens of patients dying from malaria showed a marked architectural disorganization. We observed a marked dissolution of the marginal zones with relative loss of B cells. Furthermore, we found strong HLA-DR expression on sinusoidal lining cells but downregulation on cordal macrophages. P. falciparum infection results in alterations in splenic leukocytes, many of which are not seen in sepsis.
Thai patients with scrub typhus caused by the intracellular pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi displayed elevated plasma concentrations of granzymes A and B, interferon-gamma (IFN)-gamma-inducible protein 10, and monokine induced by IFN-gamma. These data suggest that activation of cytotoxic lymphocytes is part of the early host response to scrub typhus.
In falciparum malaria, both infected and uninfected red cells have structural and functional alterations. To investigate the mechanisms of these modifications, we studied the effects of two Plasmodium falciparum haem products (haematin and malaria pigment in the synthetic form beta-haematin) on isolated human red blood cells (RBCs) and purified RBC ghosts. A dose- and time-dependent incorporation of haematin into RBC ghosts and intact cells was observed, which was in proportion to the extent of haematin- induced haemolysis. RBCs pre-incubated with haematin were more sensitive to haemolysis induced by hypotonic shock, low pH, H2O2 or haematin itself. Haemolysis was not related to membrane lipid peroxidation and only partially to oxidation of protein sulphydryl groups and it could not be prevented by scavengers of lipid peroxidation or hydroperoxide groups. N-acetylcysteine partly protected the oxidation of SH groups and significantly reduced haemolysis. In contrast, beta-haematin was neither haemolytic nor oxidative towards protein sulphydryl groups. Beta-haematin did destabilise the RBC membrane, but to a lesser extent than haematin, inducing increased susceptibility to lysis caused by hypotonic medium, H2O2 or haematin. This study suggests that the destabilising effect of haematin and, to a much less extent, beta-haematin on the RBC membrane does not result from oxidative damage of membrane lipids but from direct binding or incorporation which may affect the reciprocal interactions between the membrane and cytoskeleton proteins. These changes could contribute to the reduced red cell deformability associated with severe malaria.
The mapW gene of Staphylococcus aureus strain N315 contains a poly(A) tract which truncates translation of the protein. This study demonstrates that mapW is an allelic variant of the map/eap genes found in other strains and that the variation in the length of this poly(A) tract suggests that it is a contingency locus.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) transmission dynamics are inherently cyclical, and the observed genetic diversity (between groups A and B) also appears to have a repeating pattern. A key unknown is the extent to which genetic variants interact immunologically, and thus impact on epidemiology. We developed a novel mathematical model for hRSV transmission including seasonal forcing of incidence and temporary intra- and inter-group partial immunity. Simultaneous model fits to data from two locations (England & Wales, UK, and Turku, Finland) successfully reproduced the contrasting infection dynamics and group A/B dominance patterns. Parameter estimates are consistent with direct estimates. Differences in the magnitude and seasonal variation in contact rate between the two populations alone could account for the variation in dynamics between these populations. The A/B group dominance patterns are explained by reductions in susceptibility to and infectiousness of secondary homologous and heterologous infections. The consequences of the observed dynamic complexity are discussed.
MATHEMATICAL BIOSCIENCES, 194 (2), pp. 175-197. | Citations: 20 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. The structural identifiability of the susceptible infected recovered model with seasonal forcing
In this paper, it is shown that the SIR epidemic model, with the force of infection subject to seasonal variation, and a proportion of either the prevalence or the incidence measured, is unidentifiable unless certain key system parameters are known, or measurable. This means that an uncountable number of different parameter vectors can, theoretically, give rise to the same idealised output data. Any subsequent parameter estimation from real data must be viewed with little confidence as a result. The approach adopted for the structural identifiability analysis utilises the existence of an infinitely differentiable transformation that connects the state trajectories corresponding to parameter vectors that give rise to identical output data. When this approach proves computationally intractable, it is possible to use the converse idea that the existence of a coordinate transformation between states for particular parameter vectors implies indistinguishability between these vectors from the corresponding model outputs.
BACKGROUND: The role of both host and pathogen characteristics in hematogenous seeding following Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia is incompletely understood. METHODS: Consecutive patients with intravascular catheter-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia were prospectively recruited over a 91-month period. The corresponding bloodstream isolates were examined for the presence of 35 putative virulence determinants. Patient and bacterial characteristics associated with the development of hematogenous complications (HCs) (i.e., septic arthritis, vertebral osteomyelitis, or endocarditis) were defined. RESULTS: HC occurred in 42 (13%) of 324 patients. Patient characteristics at diagnosis that were associated with HC included community onset (relative risk [RR], 2.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-4.07; P=.007), increased symptom duration (odds ratio for each day, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.06-1.2; P<.001), presence of a long-term intravascular catheter or noncatheter prosthesis (RR, 4.02; 95% CI, 1.74-9.27; P<.001), hemodialysis dependence (RR, 3.84; 95% CI, 2.08-7.10; P<.001), and higher APACHE II score (P=.02). Bacterial characteristics included sea (RR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.16-3.55; P=.011) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) (RR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.19-3.67; P=.015). Subsequent failure to remove a catheter was also associated with HC (RR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.22-4.27; P=.011). On multivariable analysis, symptom duration, hemodialysis dependence, presence of a long-term intravascular catheter or a noncatheter device, and infection with MRSA remained significantly associated with HC. CONCLUSIONS: This investigation identifies 4 host- and pathogen-related risk factors for hematogenous bacterial seeding and reaffirms the importance of prompt catheter removal.
We note with interest the recently published guidelines for management of melioidosis and glanders. We are clinicians with extensive experience with melioidosis in Australia and Thailand and would like to express our concern at a number of inaccuracies in these guidelines.
Lancet, 365 (9460), pp. 653. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2005. Malaria misconceptions.
Clinical cases of melioidosis caused by the saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei were first noted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) in 1999. In this study, 36% of 110 soil samples in northern Lao PDR were positive for B. pseudomallei, providing further evidence for the presence of melioidosis in this country.
Patient adherence is a major determinant of the therapeutic response to antimalarial drugs, as most treatments are taken at home without medical supervision. With the introduction of new, effective, but more expensive antimalarials, there is concern that the high levels of efficacy observed in clinical trials may not be translated into effectiveness in the normal context of use. We reviewed available published evidence on adherence to antimalarial drugs and community drug usage; 24 studies were identified of which nine were 'intervention' studies, seven were classified as 'outcome studies', and the remainder were purely descriptive studies of antimalarial adherence. Definitions, methods, and results varied widely. Adherence was generally better when treatments were effective, and was improved by interventions focusing on provider knowledge and behaviour, packaging, and provision of correct dosages. There is insufficient information on this important subject, and current data certainly do not justify extrapolation from results with ineffective drugs to new effective treatments. Research in this area would benefit from of standardization of methodologies and the application of pharmacokinetic modelling.
ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 49 (2), pp. 871-871. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Comparative pharmacokinetics of intramuscular artesunate and artemether in patients with severe Falciparum malaria (vol 11, pg 4234, 2004)
In animal models, immunity to cryptococcal infection, as in many chronic fungal and bacterial infections, is associated with a granulomatous inflammatory response, intact cell-mediated immunity, and a Th1 pattern of cytokine release. To examine the correlates of human immunity to cryptococcal infection in vivo, we analyzed immune parameters at the site of infection over time and assessed the rate of clearance of infection by serial quantitative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fungal cultures in 62 patients in a trial of antifungal therapy for HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis. CSF IL-6, IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, and IL-8 were significantly higher in survivors compared with nonsurvivors. There were negative correlations between log TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, and IL-6 levels and baseline cryptococcal CFU. Log IFN-gamma, G-CSF, TNF-alpha, and IL-6 were correlated positively with the rate of fall in log CFU/ml CSF/day. In a linear regression model including antifungal treatment group, baseline CFU, and these cytokines, only treatment group and log IFN-gamma remained independently associated with rate of clearance of infection. The results provide direct in vivo evidence for the importance of quantitative differences in IFN-gamma secretion in human immune control of granulomatous infections, and increase the rationale for adjunctive IFN-gamma in the treatment of refractory HIV-associated cryptococcosis.
The combination of chlorproguanil and dapsone is being considered as an alternative antimalarial to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in Africa, because of its greater efficacy against resistant parasites, and its shorter half-lives, which exert less selective pressure for the emergence of resistance. A triple artesunate-chlorproguanil-dapsone combination is under development. In a previous study of relatively low-dose chlorproguanil-dapsone in multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria in Thailand failure rates were high. Proguanil is inexpensive, widely available and very similar to chlorproguanil. The safety and efficacy of artesunate-dapsone-proguanil (artesunate 4 mg/kg, dapsone 2.5mg/kg, proguanil 8 mg/kg daily for three days), was studied prospectively in 48 Thai adult patients with acute falciparum malaria followed daily for 28 days. Eleven of these had a recrudescence of their infection. Genotyping of Plasmodium falciparum dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) indicated that the Pfdhfr I164L mutation was the main determinant of therapeutic outcome; all 11 failures carried this mutation (failure rate 11/37; 30%) whereas none of the 11 infections with 'wild type' 164 genotypes failed. The addition of artesunate considerably augments the antimalarial activity of the biguanide-dapsone combination, but this is insufficient for infections with parasites carrying the highly antifol-resistant Pfdhfr I164L mutation.
Postgraduate Medical Journal, 81 (952), pp. 71-78. | Read more2005. Artemisinins
Melioidosis, the infection due to Burkholderia pseudomallei, may present with a spectrum of severity and may affect any site in the body. Differential strain virulence and tropism suggested by previous studies would have implications for virulence and vaccine work. We explored clinical correlations using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) typing in a well-characterised clinical collection. Two methods of analysis were used based on band-based similarity values: first, a conventional cluster analysis formed by the unweighted paired group mean analysis, and second, an analysis of the distribution of the "within-group" and "between-group" Dice coefficient. Clinical isolates from 114 cases of melioidosis occurring in the Northern Territory, Australia were studied; 71 strain types were defined with a Simpson's index of 0.91. No correlation was found between strain type and disease severity or site of melioidosis on presentation, with no differences in similarity values found when comparing within and between-groups. In particular, isolates from patients with neurological melioidosis were not clustered. There was evidence of geographical localisation. This study suggests that the variation in strain type may not be as important as host and environmental factors in determining the pattern of disease.
BACKGROUND: The use of antimalarial drug combinations with artemisinin derivatives is recommended to overcome drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. The fixed combination of oral artemether-lumefantrine, an artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is highly effective and well tolerated. It is the only registered fixed combination containing an artemisinin. The trial presented here was conducted to monitor the efficacy of the six-dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine (ALN) in an area of multi-drug resistance, along the Thai-Myanmar border. METHODS: The trial was an open-label, two-arm, randomized study comparing artemether-lumefantrine and mefloquine-artesunate for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria with 42 days of follow up. Parasite genotyping by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to distinguish recrudescent from newly acquired P. falciparum infections. The PCR adjusted cure rates were evaluated by survival analysis. RESULTS: In 2001-2002 a total of 490 patients with slide confirmed uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to receive artemether-lumefantrine (n = 245) or artesunate and mefloquine (n = 245) and were followed for 42 days. All patients had rapid initial clinical and parasitological responses. In both groups, the PCR adjusted cure rates by day 42 were high: 98.8% (95% CI 96.4, 99.6%) for artemether-lumefantrine and 96.3% (95% CI 93.1, 98.0%) for artesunate-mefloquine. Both regimens were very well tolerated with no serious adverse events observed attributable to either combination. CONCLUSION: Overall, this study confirms that these two artemisinin-based combinations remain highly effective and result in equivalent therapeutic responses in the treatment of highly drug-resistant falciparum malaria.
Med Trop (Mars), 65 (1), pp. 91-92.2005. [Malaria control in Plasmodium falciparum resistant to multi-therapy: a field opinion].
Genome Inform, 16 (2), pp. 32-44. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2005. Supporting the curation of biological databases with reusable text mining.
Curators of biological databases transfer knowledge from scientific publications, a laborious and expensive manual process. Machine learning algorithms can reduce the workload of curators by filtering relevant biomedical literature, though their widespread adoption will depend on the availability of intuitive tools that can be configured for a variety of tasks. We propose a new method for supporting curators by means of document categorization, and describe the architecture of a curator-oriented tool implementing this method using techniques that require no computational linguistic or programming expertise. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, we prototyped an application of this method to support a real curation task: identifying PubMed abstracts that contain allergen cross-reactivity information. We tested the performance of two different classifier algorithms (CART and ANN), applied to both composite and single-word features, using several feature scoring functions. Both classifiers exceeded our performance targets, the ANN classifier yielding the best results. These results show that the method we propose can deliver the level of performance needed to assist database curation.
PLoS Med, 2 (1), pp. e3. | Citations: 145 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Intermittent presumptive treatment for malaria.
An open, randomised comparison of 2 or 3 days of oral ofloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) for uncomplicated typhoid fever was conducted in 235 Vietnamese children. Multi-drug-resistant Salmonella typhi was isolated from 182/202 (90%) children and 5/166 (3%) tested isolates were nalidixic acid-resistant (Na(R)). Eighty-nine of 116 children randomised to 2 days and 107/119 randomised to 3 days were blood culture-positive and eligible for analysis. There were 12 (13.5%) failures in the 2-day group (six clinical failures, four blood culture-positive post treatment, two relapses) compared with eight (7.5%) failures in the 3-day group (four clinical failures, one blood culture-positive post treatment, three relapses) (OR 1.9, 95% CI 0.7-5.5,p = 0.17). There were no significant differences in the mean (95% confidence interval) fever clearance times (h) [92 (82-102) vs 101 (93-110), p = 0.18] or duration of hospitalisation (d) [7.6 (7.2-8.1) vs 8.0 (7.6-8.4), p = 0.19] between the two groups. There was one failure in the four eligible children infected with an Na(R) isolate of S. typhi. No adverse events were attributable to the ofloxacin. These results extend previous observations on the efficacy of short courses of ofloxacin for children with uncomplicated multi-drug-resistant typhoid fever.
Clinical Infectious Diseases, 41 (11), pp. 1687-1689. | Citations: 16 (Scopus)2005. Misattribution of central nervous system dysfunction to artesunate  (multiple letters)
Journal of Infectious Diseases, 192 (3), pp. 547-548. | Citations: 2 (Scopus)2005. Postmortem brain smear assessment of fatal malaria  (multiple letters)
PLoS Med, 2 (4), pp. e100. | Citations: 180 (Scopus) | Read more2005. The global threat of counterfeit drugs: why industry and governments must communicate the dangers.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 49 (9), pp. 3990. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Erratum: Are transporter genes other than the chloroquine resistance locus (pfcrt) and multidrug resistance gene (pfmdr) associated with antimalarial drug resistance? (Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2005) 49, 6 (2180-2188))
The Lancet, 365 (9460), pp. 653-653. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more2005. Malaria misconceptions
Médecine tropicale : revue du Corps de santé colonial, 65 (1), pp. 91-92.2005. Malaria control in Plasmodium falciparum resistant to multi-therapy: a field opinion
BACKGROUND: In patients with severe malaria, acute respiratory distress syndrome usually develops after the start of drug treatment and is a major cause of death. Its pathogenesis is not well understood. METHODS: Respiratory symptom, spirometry, and gas transfer analyses were performed longitudinally in adults in Papua, Indonesia, with uncomplicated (n=50) and severe (n=30) falciparum malaria; normal values were derived from 109 control subjects. Gas transfer was partitioned into its alveolar-capillary membrane (D(M)) and pulmonary vascular (Vc) components, to characterize the site of impaired gas transfer. RESULTS: Cough was frequent in both patients with uncomplicated malaria (50%) and those with severe malaria (30%) and resolved by day 14. Reduced midexpiratory flow indicated obstruction of the small airways. Gas transfer was significantly impaired in patients with severe malaria. D(M) was reduced in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria and only returned to normal levels after 2 weeks. In patients with uncomplicated malaria, Vc was reduced at presentation but improved thereafter. In patients with severe malaria, Vc decreased with treatment and was lowest at day 7. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that pulmonary vascular occlusion occurs in both patients with uncomplicated malaria and those with severe malaria, likely from sequestration of both red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells. There was also impaired alveolar-capillary membrane function in patients with severe malaria but not in those with uncomplicated malaria. Persistent impairment long after clearance of parasitized RBCs suggests prolonged posttreatment inflammatory alveolar-capillary injury.
Long-distance dispersal in microbial eukaryotes has been shown to result in the establishment of populations on continental and global scales. Such "ubiquitous dispersal" has been claimed to be a general feature of microbial eukaryotes, homogenising populations over large scales. However, the unprecedented sampling of opportunistic infectious pathogens created by the global AIDS pandemic has revealed that a number of important species exhibit geographic endemicity despite long-distance migration via aerially dispersed spores. One mechanism that might tend to drive such endemicity in the face of aerial dispersal is the evolution of niche-adapted genotypes when sexual reproduction is rare. Dispersal of such asexual physiological "species" will be restricted when natural habitats are heterogeneous, as a consequence of reduced adaptive variation. Using the HIV-associated endemic fungus Penicillium marneffei as our model, we measured the distribution of genetic variation over a variety of spatial scales in two host species, humans and bamboo rats. Our results show that, despite widespread aerial dispersal, isolates of P. marneffei show extensive spatial genetic structure in both host species at local and country-wide scales. We show that the evolution of the P. marneffei genome is overwhelmingly clonal, and that this is perhaps the most asexual fungus yet found. We show that clusters of genotypes are specific to discrete ecological zones and argue that asexuality has led to the evolution of niche-adapted genotypes, and is driving endemicity, by reducing this pathogen's potential to diversify in nature. © 2005 Fisher et al.
Am J Trop Med Hyg, 72 (6), pp. 658-659. | Read more2005. Dynamic determinants of the cytoadherence of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes.
ACTA TROPICA, 95 pp. S384-S385.2005. Correlates of red blood cell deformability (RCD) with adverse outcome in severe falciparum malaria: The effect of sequestered parasitized red cells [MIM-AE-70550]
BACKGROUND: Hospital-acquired infection due to meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is common within intensive-care units. Single room or cohort isolation of infected or colonised patients is used to reduce spread, but its benefit over and above other contact precautions is not known. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of moving versus not moving infected or colonised patients in intensive-care units to prevent transmission of MRSA. METHODS: We undertook a prospective 1-year study in the intensive-care units of two teaching hospitals. Admission and weekly screens were used to ascertain the incidence of MRSA colonisation. In the middle 6 months, MRSA-positive patients were not moved to a single room or cohort nursed unless they were carrying other multiresistant or notifiable pathogens. Standard precautions were practised throughout. Hand hygiene was encouraged and compliance audited. FINDINGS: Patients' characteristics and MRSA acquisition rates were similar in the periods when patients were moved and not moved. The crude (unadjusted) Cox proportional-hazards model showed no evidence of increased transmission during the non-move phase (0.73 [95% CI 0.49-1.10], p=0.94 one-sided). There were no changes in transmission of any particular strain of MRSA nor in handwashing frequency between management phases. INTERPRETATION: Moving MRSA-positive patients into single rooms or cohorted bays does not reduce crossinfection. Because transfer and isolation of critically ill patients in single rooms carries potential risks, our findings suggest that re-evaluation of isolation policies is required in intensive-care units where MRSA is endemic, and that more effective means of preventing spread of MRSA in such settings need to be found.
Using a mathematical model for the transmission of mastitis-causing pathogens in a dairy herd and parameter estimation, control strategies are derived for a number of different herds. in addition, a single common strategy is derived for control of all of the herds. A key feature of all of the control strategies is that they minimise the combined costs associated with infection and treatment. Only a small decrease in performance results from developing a common strategy. Copyright © 2005 IFAC.
Euro Surveill, 10 (3), pp. E1-E2. | Citations: 13 (Scopus)2005. Bioterrorism, Glanders and melioidosis.
<jats:p><jats:bold>Objectives:</jats:bold> This study reviewed the evidence for the effectiveness of different isolation policies and screening practices in reducing the incidence of methicillin-resistant <jats:italic>Staphylococcus aureus</jats:italic> (MRSA) colonization and infection in hospital inpatients in an effort to develop transmission models to study the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of isolation policies in controlling MRSA.</jats:p>
OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of counterfeit antimalarial drugs in Southeast (SE) Asia. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Pharmacies and shops selling antimalarial drugs in Myanmar (Burma), Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of artemisinin derivatives or mefloquine containing drugs of substandard quality. RESULTS: Of the 188 tablet packs purchased which were labelled as 'artesunate' 53% did not contain any artesunate. All counterfeit artesunate tablets were labelled as manufactured by 'Guilin Pharma', and refinements of the fake blisterpacks made them often hard to distinguish from their genuine counterparts. No other artemisinin derivatives were found to be counterfeited. Of the 44 mefloquine samples, 9% contained <10% of the expected amount of active ingredient. CONCLUSIONS: An alarmingly high proportion of antimalarial drugs bought in pharmacies and shops in mainland SE Asia are counterfeit, and the problem has increased significantly compared with our previous survey in 1999-2000. This is a serious threat to public health in the region.
BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of antitoxin and antibiotics, the mortality rate for diphtheria remains high, mostly because of cardiac complications. METHODS: During 1 year, 154 Vietnamese children with diphtheria admitted to a referral hospital were studied prospectively with clinical examination, including a simple pseudomembrane score, 12-lead and 24-hour electrocardiography, measurement of serum cardiac enzyme levels, and estimation of troponin T levels. RESULTS: Thirteen children had diphtheritic cardiomyopathy on admission, and 19 developed it subsequently. Twelve children (8%) died. The combination of pseudomembrane score of >2 and bull neck predicted the development of diphtheritic cardiomyopathy, with a positive predictive value of 83% and a negative predictive value of 93%. Administration of 24-hour electrocardiography on admission improved the ability to predict diphtheritic cardiomyopathy by 57%. Fatal outcome was best predicted by the combination of myocarditis on admission and a pseudomembrane score of >2. Of the cardiac enzyme levels measured, an elevated aspartate aminotransferase level was the best predictor. The presence of troponin T identified additional children with subclinical cardiac damage. CONCLUSIONS: The development of diphtheritic cardiomyopathy can be predicted by means of simple measures.
BACKGROUND: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is a new and relatively inexpensive artemisinin-containing fixed-combination antimalarial treatment. An adult treatment course contained 6.4 mg/kg dihydroartemisinin (DHA), which is >40% lower than the level in most artemisinin-containing combinations. This raised the possibility that the efficacy of the current coformulation may not be optimal in the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. METHODS: In 2 large randomized, controlled studies in Thailand, the recommended dose of DP was compared with a regimen with additional artemisinin derivative (12 mg/kg; DP+) and with mefloquine plus artesunate (MAS3). RESULTS: A total of 731 patients were included: 201 in a hospital-based study and 530 in a community study. Day-28 cure rates in the hospital-based study were 100% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.9%-100%) in the MAS3 and DP+ groups and 98.3% (95% CI, 91%-99.7%) in the DP group, with a single recrudescence on day 21. In the community study, polymerase chain reaction genotyping-adjusted cure rates on day 63 were 96.1% (95% CI, 92.6%-99.7%) in the DP group, 98.3% (95% CI, 96.1%-100%) in the DP+ group, and 94.9% (95% CI, 91.2%-98.6%) in the MAS3 group (P=.2). Adverse events were few, with an excess of mild abdominal pain in the DP group. CONCLUSIONS: The current dosage of DP (6.4 mg/kg DHA and 51.2 mg/kg piperaquine phosphate) given over the course of 48 h is highly effective, safe, and well tolerated for the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria, and its efficacy is not improved by the addition of more DHA.
BACKGROUND: Leptospirosis is an important cause of fever in the rural tropics. Since 1996, there has been a marked increase in the incidence of leptospirosis in northeastern Thailand. Although leptospirosis generally is susceptible to antibiotics, there is no consensus regarding the optimal treatment for severe leptospirosis. METHODS: An open-label, randomized comparison of parenteral cefotaxime, penicillin G sodium (hereafter known as "penicillin G"), and doxycycline for the treatment of suspected severe leptospirosis was conducted. The study involved 540 patients admitted to 4 hospitals in northeastern Thailand. RESULTS: A total of 264 patients (48.9%) had leptospirosis confirmed by serologic testing or culture. The overall mortality rate was 5%. There were no significant differences between the antibiotics with regard to associated mortality, defervescence, or time to resolution of abnormal findings of laboratory tests either among all study participants or among the subgroup of patients with confirmed leptospirosis. A total of 132 patients had rickettsial infection diagnosed, and, for these patients, treatment with doxycycline was superior to treatment with penicillin G. CONCLUSIONS: Doxycycline or cefotaxime is a satisfactory alternative to penicillin G for the treatment of severe leptospirosis.
To investigate a putative link between genetically determined variations in Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and the occurrence of severe Staphylococcus aureus infection, the functional Arg753Gln single-nucleotide polymorphism and the GT repeat microsatellite in the TLR2 gene were examined in a large case-control study. No associations with disease or mortality attributable to these features were found.
To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.
Unvaccinated individuals throughout the world are vulnerable to tetanus, but there are few data regarding the impact of focused vaccination programmes and modern intensive care facilities on the disease, particularly in the developing world. The Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam admitted 2422 patients with tetanus aged > or =1 year between April 1993 and December 2002, during which time vaccine coverage and treatment facilities improved. The proportion of children < or =10 years old admitted with tetanus fell from 11.1 to 5.6% over the 10 year period (P = 0.002). The proportion of women aged 20-40 years fell from 10.1 to 1.2% (P < 0.001). Mortality rates fell from a maximum of 27.81% in 1994 to 10.04% in 2002 (P < 0.001). Thus, a marked reduction in tetanus incidence has occurred in age groups specifically targeted by the national vaccination programme. However, tetanus continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals outside the target population. Improved intensive care facilities, such as mechanical ventilation and low-cost infection control procedures are associated with a significant reduction in mortality.
The first-dose pharmacokinetic properties of intramuscular (i.m.) artesunate (ARTS; 2.4 mg/kg immediately [stat], followed by 1.2 mg/kg i.m. daily) and artemether (ARM; 3.2 mg/kg i.m. stat, followed by 1.6 mg/kg i.m. daily) were compared in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. A total of 19 patients were studied; 9 received ARTS, and 10 received ARM. ARTS was absorbed very rapidly; concentrations in plasma peaked between 1,362 and 8,388 nmol/liter (median, 5,710 nmol/liter) within 20 min of injection and then declined with a median (range) half-life (t(1/2)) of 30 (3 to 67) min. ARTS was hydrolyzed rapidly and completely to the biologically active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA). Peak DHA concentrations in plasma ranged between 1,718 and 7,080 nmol/liter (median, 3,060 nmol/liter) and declined with a t(1/2) of 52 (26 to 69) min. In contrast, ARM was slowly and erratically absorbed. The absorption profile appeared biphasic. Maximum ARM concentrations in plasma ranged between 67 nmol/liter (a value close to the 50% inhibitory concentration for some Plasmodium falciparum isolates) and 1,631 nmol/liter (median, 574 nmol/liter) and occurred at a median (range) of 10 (1.5 to 24) h. There was relatively little conversion to DHA. After i.m. injection in cases of severe malaria, absorption of the water-soluble ARTS is rapid and extensive, whereas the oil-based ARM is slowly and erratically absorbed, with relatively little conversion to the more active DHA. On the basis of this pharmacological study, parenteral ARTS is preferable to ARM as an initial antimalarial therapy, particularly in the most seriously ill patients. These findings should be formally assessed by a randomized clinical trial.
A survey of bloodstream infections was conducted in the large regional hospital in Ubon Ratchatani, northeastern Thailand between 1989 and 1998, during the onset of the HIV epidemic. The incidence of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella/Enterobacter and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteraemias remained constant whereas infections caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, non-typhoid Salmonellae, Cryptococcus neoformans, Penicillum marneffei and to a lesser extent Streptococcus pneumoniae all rose. Burkholderia pseudomallei infections were unrelated to HIV, whereas the other infections were associated directly with HIV. Group D non-typhoid Salmonellae bloodstream infections (mainly Salmonella enteritidis) rose coincident with the increase in HIV seroprevalence, and preceded the increase in the other HIV-associated infections. Other non-typhoid Salmonella bacteraemias increased two years after the rise in group D infections, and invasive yeast infections increased four years later, coincident with the increase in AIDS. Increasing Group D non-typhoid Salmonella bloodstream infections are an early warning signal of an impending rise in AIDS.
Interferon (IFN)-gamma plays an important role in the induction of a type 1 immune response against intracellular pathogens. We compared the plasma levels of IFN-gamma and IFN-gamma-inducing cytokines in adult Thai patients with scrub typhus, caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi, and leptospirosis, caused by extracellular Leptospira interrogans. IFN-gamma, interleukin (IL)-18, and IL-15 levels were elevated only in patients with scrub typhus, whereas IL-12p40 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentrations were elevated in both patient groups, although more so in scrub typhus. These data suggest a role for a cell-mediated immune response in host defense against O. tsutsugamushi.
BACKGROUND: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), the mosquito-borne flavivirus, annually causes an estimated 35,000-50,000 encephalitis cases and 10,000-15,000 deaths in Asia, and there is no antiviral treatment. The role played by the immune response in determining the outcome of human infection with JEV is poorly understood, although, in animal models of flavivirus encephalitis, unregulated proinflammatory cytokine responses can be detrimental. METHODS: We studied the innate, cellular, and humoral immune responses in 118 patients infected with JEV, of whom 13 (11%) died. RESULTS: Levels of interferon (IFN)- alpha , the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6, and the chemokine IL-8 were all higher in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of the nonsurvivors than of the survivors (P=.04, P=.006, and P=.04, respectively), as were both the IL-6 : IL-4 ratio in CSF (a marker of the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines) and the level of the chemokine RANTES (regulated on activation, normally T cell expressed and secreted) in plasma (P=.03). In contrast, levels of immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgG in CSF and of IgM in plasma were higher in the survivors (P=.035, P=.003, and P=.009, respectively). Levels of IFN- gamma and nitric oxide did not vary with outcome. CONCLUSIONS: During JEV infection, elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines are associated with a poor outcome, but whether they are simply a correlate of severe disease or contribute to pathogenesis remains to be determined.
Multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria is widespread in Asia. In Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam the national protocols have changed largely to artesunate combined treatment regimens but elsewhere in East and South Asia chloroquine (CQ) and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) are still widely recommended by national malaria control programmes. In Kachin State, northern Myanmar, an area of low seasonal malaria transmission, the efficacy of CQ (25 mg base/kg) and SP (1.25/25 mg/kg), the nationally recommended treatments at the time, were compared with mefloquine alone (M; 15 mg base/kg) and mefloquine combined with artesunate (MA; 15:4 mg/kg). An open randomized controlled trial enrolled 316 patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, stratified prospectively into three age-groups. Early treatment failures (ETF) occurred in 41% (32/78) of CQ treated patients and in 24% of patients treated with SP (18/75). In young children the ETF rates were 87% after CQ and 35% after SP. Four children (two CQ, two SP) developed symptoms of cerebral malaria within 3 days after treatment. By day 42, failure rates (uncorrected for reinfections) had increased to 79% for CQ and 81% for SP. ETF rates were 2.5% after treatment with M and 3.9% after treatment with MA (P > 0.2). Overall uncorrected treatment failure rates at day 42 following M and MA were 23% and 21%, respectively. Chloroquine and SP are completely ineffective for the treatment of falciparum malaria in northern Myanmar. Mefloquine treatment is much more effective, but three day combination regimens with artesunate will be needed for optimum efficacy and protection against resistance.
In this paper we identify biologically relevant families of models whose structural identifiability analysis could not be performed with available techniques directly. The models considered come from both the immunological and epidemiological literature.
BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis kills or disables more than half of those affected with the disease. Previous studies have been too small to determine whether adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids can reduce the risk of disability or death among adults with tuberculous meningitis, and the effect of coinfection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is unclear. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Vietnam in patients over 14 years of age who had tuberculous meningitis, with or without HIV infection, to determine whether adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone reduced the risk of death or severe disability after nine months of follow-up. We conducted prespecified subgroup analyses and intention-to-treat analyses. RESULTS: A total of 545 patients were randomly assigned to groups that received either dexamethasone (274 patients) or placebo (271 patients). Only 10 patients (1.8 percent) had been lost to follow-up at nine months of treatment. Treatment with dexamethasone was associated with a reduced risk of death (relative risk, 0.69; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.92; P=0.01). It was not associated with a significant reduction in the proportion of severely disabled patients (34 of 187 patients [18.2 percent] among survivors in the dexamethasone group vs. 22 of 159 patients [13.8 percent] in the placebo group, P=0.27) or in the proportion of patients who had either died or were severely disabled after nine months (odds ratio, 0.81; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.58 to 1.13; P=0.22). The treatment effect was consistent across subgroups that were defined by disease-severity grade (stratified relative risk of death, 0.68; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.91; P=0.007) and by HIV status (stratified relative risk of death, 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.59 to 1.04; P=0.08). Significantly fewer serious adverse events occurred in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group (26 of 274 patients vs. 45 of 271 patients, P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone improves survival in patients over 14 years of age with tuberculous meningitis but probably does not prevent severe disability.
BACKGROUND: Recent clinical trials in the Lao People's Democratic Republic have demonstrated that chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, which are national malaria treatment policy, are no longer effective in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. METHODS: A randomized comparison of 3 oral antimalarial combinations--chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine versus artesunate plus mefloquine versus artemether-lumefantrine--with 42-day follow-up period, was conducted among 330 patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in southern Laos. RESULTS: The 42-day cure rates, as determined by intention-to-treat analysis and adjusted for reinfection, were 100%, 97%, and 93% for the groups receiving artesunate plus mefloquine, artemether-lumefantrine, and chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, respectively. Of 8 patients receiving chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine who experienced treatment failure, 6 had early treatment failure. The mean parasite clearance time was significantly longer in patients treated with chloroquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (2.9 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-3.0 days) than in those treated with artesunate plus mefloquine (2.07 days; 95% CI, 2.0-2.1 days; P<.001) and artemether-lumefantrine (2.08 days; 95% CI, 2.0-2.1 days; P<.001). Cure rates with artemether-lumefantrine were high despite low mean daily dietary fat intake (13.8 g; 95% CI, 12.5-15.1 g) and day 7 plasma lumefantrine concentrations (0.47 mu g/mL; 95% CI, 0.38-0.56 mu g/mL). CONCLUSION: Oral artesunate plus mefloquine and artemether-lumefantrine are highly effective for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Laos.
The increased susceptibility of pregnant women to malaria infection has long been recognized, but the magnitude of the disease burden in this particular group, together with the pathophysiology of maternal malaria and the specific difficulties in treatment, have only recently been the focus of research. Most research on maternal malaria has derived from sub-Saharan Africa where transmission is high, whereas most of the studies on the treatment of malaria and the effect of non-falciparum species has been conducted in low-transmission areas of Asia. In this paper, we attempt to improve our understanding of the disease and its mechanisms from observed differences and similarities between contrasting areas of transmission, and to identify priorities for future research.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 23 (9), pp. 879-881. | Read more2004. Sleeping Sickness in Brothers in London
Here we present molecular evidence demonstrating that malaria parasites bearing high-level pyrimethamine resistance originally arrived in Africa from southeast Asia. The resistance alleles carried by these migrants are now spreading across Africa at an alarming rate, signaling the end of affordable malaria treatment and presenting sub-Saharan Africa with a public health crisis.
Malaria in pregnancy contributes to significant maternal and foetal mortality and morbidity in women in the tropics. Adverse effects for non-immune travellers are potentially devastating for mother and foetus. Women travellers should always be strongly advised against visiting malarious areas if they are pregnant or intend to get pregnant. Chemoprophylactic and treatment options for pregnant women (or those planning to conceive) are extremely limited and lag behind what can currently be offered to non-pregnant travellers. This is because of spread of multi-resistant strains of P. falciparum. Personal protection from malaria vectors remains essential. Mosquito-net and skin repellents (DEET (20%)) are effective. Diagnosis of malaria in travellers is difficult and is more likely to be missed in pregnant travellers due to lower parasitaemia. Pregnant women can succumb rapidly to severe malaria. Should the returned traveller survive an episode of malaria in pregnancy and go on to deliver, the adverse effects on the infant are potentially irreversible. These risks need to be clearly communicated.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based rapid cassette immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM immunochromogenic test kit was compared to the indirect hemagglutination test (IHA) for the diagnosis of acute melioidosis in northeastern Thailand. Admission sera from 70 culture-confirmed septicemic melioidosis patients and 30 patients with localized infections were tested. As a control group, 80 patients with other acute febrile illnesses (other bacterial infections, leptospirosis, or scrub typhus) and 119 healthy individuals were tested. The diagnostic sensitivity of the IgG and IgM tests and the IHA test were 79, 67, and 72%, respectively, with corresponding specificities of 90, 80, and 68%. This kit represents an improvement over IHA for the diagnosis of melioidosis an area of endemicity although, as with other serological tests, it has reduced diagnostic utility in a population with high background seropositivity.
OBJECTIVE: To calculate, using the Stewart approach to acid-base disorders, the strong anion gap as an estimate for the contribution of unmeasured plasma anions other than lactate to the metabolic acidosis that characterizes severe falciparum malaria and to assess its relative prognostic significance. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in southern Vietnam. PATIENTS: Consecutive adult patients (n = 268) with severe falciparum malaria. INTERVENTIONS: The intervention was clinical management in a dedicated unit. We measured baseline venous lactate, electrolytes, biochemical variables, admission arterial blood pH, and gas tensions for calculation of the strong anion gap. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The mean (95% confidence interval) admission strong anion gap was 11.1 (10.4-11.9) mEq/L, compared with lactate (geometric mean, 95% confidence interval) at 2.9 (2.7-3.2) mmol/L. Strong anion gap had a high predictive value for mortality (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.73 (95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.82), which was independent of plasma lactate and creatinine concentrations. Renal failure and hepatic dysfunction were both associated with, but were not the sole determinants of, high levels of strong anion gap. CONCLUSIONS: In severe malaria, unidentified anions other than lactate are the most important contributors to metabolic acidosis, a major cause of death. The strong anion gap is a powerful prognostic indicator in patients with severe malaria.
ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 48 (8), pp. 3214-3214. | Read more2004. Field evaluation of a novel colorimetric method - Double-site enzyme-linked lactate dehydrogenase immunodetection assay - To determine drug susceptibilities of Plasmodium falciparum clinical isolates from northwestern Thailand (Vol 48, pg 1426, 2004)
Increasing resistance of Plasmodium falciparum malaria to antimalarial drugs is posing a major threat to the global effort to "Roll Back Malaria". Chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) are being rendered increasingly ineffective, resulting in increasing morbidity, mortality, and economic and social costs. One strategy advocated for delaying the development of resistance to the remaining armory of effective drugs is the wide-scale deployment of artemisinin-based combination therapy. However, the cost of these combinations are higher than most of the currently used monotherapies and alternative non-artemisinin-based combinations. In addition, uncertainty about the actual impact in real-life settings has made them a controversial choice for first-line treatment. The difficulties in measuring the burden of drug resistance and predicting the impact of strategies aimed at its reduction are outlined, and a mathematical model is introduced that is being designed to address these issues and to clarify policy options.
The E2 genes of 21 classical swine fever viruses (CSFV) were genetically characterized and compared with reference CSF viruses. The viruses originated from CSF outbreaks that occurred in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) during 1997 though to 1999. All viruses characterized belonged to genogroup 2 and were members of subgroups 2.1 and 2.2. Results demonstrated a geographic delineation between subgroups 2.1 that was only found in the North-Central region, and subgroup 2.2 that was mostly found in the South-Central regions of Lao PDR. Although it was not possible to determine the origin of these viruses, it is probable that they may have been introduced to Lao PDR following cross-border trade. Alternatively, they have evolved independently of other viruses in the region.
Crit Care Med, 32 (8), pp. 1795-1796. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2004. Unidentified acids in severe malaria: lessons for critical care.
BACKGROUND: The borders of Thailand harbour the world's most multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 1984 mefloquine was introduced as treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but substantial resistance developed within 6 years. A combination of artesunate with mefloquine now cures more than 95% of acute infections. For both treatment regimens, the underlying mechanisms of resistance are not known. METHODS: The relation between polymorphisms in the P falciparum multidrug resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1) and the in-vitro and in-vivo responses to mefloquine were assessed in 618 samples from patients with falciparum malaria studied prospectively over 12 years. pfmdr1 copy number was assessed by a robust real-time PCR assay. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of pfmdr1, P falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pfcrt) and P falciparum Ca2+ ATPase gene (pfATP6) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. FINDINGS: Increased copy number of pfmdr1 was the most important determinant of in-vitro and in-vivo resistance to mefloquine, and also to reduced artesunate sensitivity in vitro. In a Cox regression model with control for known confounders, increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with an attributable hazard ratio (AHR) for treatment failure of 6.3 (95% CI 2.9-13.8, p<0.001) after mefloquine monotherapy and 5.4 (2.0-14.6, p=0.001) after artesunate-mefloquine therapy. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr1 were associated with increased mefloquine susceptibility in vitro, but not in vivo. INTERPRETATION: Amplification in pfmdr1 is the main cause of resistance to mefloquine in falciparum malaria. RELEVANCE TO PRACTICE: Multidrug resistant P falciparum malaria is common in southeast Asia, but difficult to identify and treat. Genes that encode parasite transport proteins maybe involved in export of drugs and so cause resistance. In this study we show that increase in copy number of pfmdr1, a gene encoding a parasite transport protein, is the best overall predictor of treatment failure with mefloquine. Increase in pfmdr1 copy number predicts failure even after chemotherapy with the highly effective combination of mefloquine and 3 days' artesunate. Monitoring of pfmdr1 copy number will be useful in epidemiological surveys of drug resistance in P falciparum, and potentially for predicting treatment failure in individual patients.
One of the most serious complications of typhoid fever is intestinal perforation. Of 27 patients admitted to a provincial hospital in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam who had gastrointestinal perforation secondary to suspected typhoid fever, 67% were male, with a median age of 23 years and a median duration of illness of 10 days. Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) was isolated from 11 (41%) of 27 patients; of 27 patients, only 4 (15%) had positive cultures from gut biopsies. S. Typhi DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction for all perforation biopsy samples. Detailed histological examination of the gastrointestinal mucosa at the site of perforation in all cases showed a combination of discrete acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation at the serosal surface indicated additional tissue damage after perforation. Immunohistochemical results showed that the predominant infiltrating cell types at the site of perforation were CD68+ leukocytes (macrophages) or CD3+ leukocytes (T lymphocytes).
It is rare to find human populations exposed to a single malaria parasite species - in most endemic areas, at least three Plasmodium species co-exist. Here, we briefly review mixed species infection in malaria, and discuss apparently disparate clinical and epidemiological observations of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, now equally prevalent in Thailand, which suggest that an 'entente cordiale' between these two species might be beneficial both to parasites and humans. If this were the case, the influence of changes in the parasite formula in endemic areas on the burden of malaria would become an important element of study.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) represents a serious threat to the health of hospitalized patients. Attempts to reduce the spread of MRSA have largely depended on hospital hygiene and patient isolation. These measures have met with mixed success: although some countries have almost eliminated MRSA or remained largely free of the organism, others have seen substantial increases despite rigorous control policies. We use a mathematical model to show how these increases can be explained by considering both hospital and community reservoirs of MRSA colonization. We show how the timing of the intervention, the level of resource provision, and chance combine to determine whether control measures succeed or fail. We find that even control measures able to repeatedly prevent sustained outbreaks in the short-term can result in long-term control failure resulting from gradual increases in the community reservoir. If resources do not scale with MRSA prevalence, isolation policies can fail "catastrophically."
Staphylococcus aureus is an important nosocomial and community-acquired pathogen. Its genetic plasticity has facilitated the evolution of many virulent and drug-resistant strains, presenting a major and constantly changing clinical challenge. We sequenced the approximately 2.8-Mbp genomes of two disease-causing S. aureus strains isolated from distinct clinical settings: a recent hospital-acquired representative of the epidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus EMRSA-16 clone (MRSA252), a clinically important and globally prevalent lineage; and a representative of an invasive community-acquired methicillin-susceptible S. aureus clone (MSSA476). A comparative-genomics approach was used to explore the mechanisms of evolution of clinically important S. aureus genomes and to identify regions affecting virulence and drug resistance. The genome sequences of MRSA252 and MSSA476 have a well conserved core region but differ markedly in their accessory genetic elements. MRSA252 is the most genetically diverse S. aureus strain sequenced to date: approximately 6% of the genome is novel compared with other published genomes, and it contains several unique genetic elements. MSSA476 is methicillin-susceptible, but it contains a novel Staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCC) mec-like element (designated SCC(476)), which is integrated at the same site on the chromosome as SCCmec elements in MRSA strains but encodes a putative fusidic acid resistance protein. The crucial role that accessory elements play in the rapid evolution of S. aureus is clearly illustrated by comparing the MSSA476 genome with that of an extremely closely related MRSA community-acquired strain; the differential distribution of large mobile elements carrying virulence and drug-resistance determinants may be responsible for the clinically important phenotypic differences in these strains.
The SIR (susceptible-infectious-resistant) and SIS (susceptible-infectious-susceptible) frameworks for infectious disease have been extensively studied and successfully applied. They implicitly assume the upper and lower limits of the range of possibilities for host immune response. However, the majority of infections do not fall into either of these extreme categories. We combine two general avenues that straddle this range: temporary immune protection (immunity wanes over time since infection), and partial immune protection (immunity is not fully protective but reduces the risk of reinfection). We present a systematic analysis of the dynamics and equilibrium properties of these models in comparison to SIR and SIS, and analyse the outcome of vaccination programmes. We describe how the waning of immunity shortens inter-epidemic periods, and poses major difficulties to disease eradication. We identify a "reinfection threshold" in transmission when partial immunity is included. Below the reinfection threshold primary infection dominates, levels of infection are low, and vaccination is highly effective (approximately an SIR model). Above the reinfection threshold reinfection dominates, levels of infection are high, and vaccination fails to protect (approximately an SIS situation). This association between high prevalence of infection and vaccine failure emphasizes the problems of controlling recurrent infections in high-burden regions. However, vaccines that induce a better protection than natural infection have the potential to increase the reinfection threshold, and therefore constitute interventions with a surprisingly high capacity to reduce infection where reduction is most needed.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 35 (2), pp. 281-287. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2004. A survey of the Th2R and Th3R allelic variants in the circumsporozoite protein gene of P. falciparum parasites from western Thailand.
Allelic variation in the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CS) gene has been determined by sequencing the immunodominant T-cell epitopes, Th2R and Th3R, from 95 isolates from two malaria-endemic areas in the west of Thailand. Comparison with a reference sequence revealed only non-synonymous point mutations in the two epitope regions. Point mutations were found outside these epitopes in a minority of samples, and all but four were also non-synonymous. A relatively high number of variants, 11 Th2R and 9 Th3R, were detected and comprised some that had not been previously observed. However, the Th2R*05 and the Th3R*01 allelic variants predominated, as they were found in more than 70% of the 101 sequences obtained.
Classical swine fever (CSF), also known as hog cholera, is a highly contagious viral infection of swine caused by a member of the genus pestivirus of the family, Flaviviridae. The need for accurate laboratory diagnosis of CSF is particularly important as it is more reliable than clinical diagnosis. CSF is endemic in many tropical countries where the climate is characterized by high ambient temperature and humidity. This study details the effect of sample quality on CSF antigen-capture ELISA (AC-ELISA) and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) methods. RT-PCR assessment of AC-ELISA-positive spleen samples stored in a conventional glycerol/saline buffer demonstrated that the RT-PCR was detrimentally affected by poor sample quality. To provide a more accurate representation of this effect, a 14 days study was performed to determine the effect of tropical ambient conditions on CSF virus-positive spleen samples stored in two transport media; glycerol/saline and a proprietary RNA preservation solution (RNAlater). A protective effect was demonstrated in both assays with RNAlater as samples were positive in both assays until day 14 post-exposure. Samples stored in glycerol/saline were negative at RT-PCR at day 3 post-exposure although AC-ELISA was still positive at day 14 post-exposure.
BACKGROUND: It frequently takes more than 2 weeks for drug treatments for cryptococcal meningitis to sterilise cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In-vitro and animal studies lend support to the use of combinations of amphotericin B, flucytosine, and fluconazole for treatment of cryptococcosis. We compared the fungicidal activity of combinations of these drugs for initial treatment of patients with cryptococcal meningitis. METHODS: 64 patients with a first episode of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis were randomised to initial treatment with: amphotericin B (0.7 mg/kg daily); amphotericin B plus flucytosine (100 mg/kg daily); amphotericin B plus fluconazole (400 mg daily); or triple therapy with amphotericin B, flucytosine, and fluconazole. Our primary endpoint was fungicidal activity, measured by the rate of reduction in CSF cryptococcal colony-forming units (CFU) from serial quantitative CSF cultures on days 3, 7, and 14 of treatment. FINDINGS: Baseline CSF CFU counts were an important prognostic factor. Clearance of cryptococci from the CSF was exponential and was significantly faster with amphotericin B plus flucytosine than with amphotericin B alone (p=0.0006), amphotericin B plus fluconazole ( p=0.02), or triple therapy (p=0.02). INTERPRETATION: At these doses, amphotericin B plus flucytosine is the most rapidly fungicidal regimen. Quantification of CSF cultures provides a powerful new means to accurately assess the fungicidal activity of new treatment regimens for cryptococcal meningitis.
British Medical Journal, 328 (7450), pp. 1259-1260. | Citations: 3 (Scopus)2004. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria  (multiple letters)
Between January 2000 and December 2002 monthly rainfall was correlated with the proportion of patients with hyperparasitaemic Plasmodium falciparum malaria and with the proportion of patients with P. falciparum gametocytes. During the observation period 6953 cases of P. falciparum malaria were treated at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit in Maela refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border. Three hundred and seventy-five of these patients had >/=4% of parasitized red blood cells. Although there were more monthly malaria cases in the rainy season, rainfall was negatively correlated with the proportion of patients with hyperparasitaemia (Spearman's rho = -0.59, P < 0.001 ), and the proportion of gametocyte carriers among P. falciparum cases, (Spearman's rho = -0.39, P = 0.018). After controlling for age and the origin of the patient, the odds ratio for developing hyperparasitaemia during the dry season was 1.6 (95% CI 1.14-2.2; P = 0.006). The adjusted odds ratio for gametocyte carriage during the dry season was 1.3 (95% CI 1.03-1.6; P = 0.02). Migrations, changes in transmission patterns, the haematological burden of cumulative infections, and ultraviolet immunosuppression are discussed as potential explanations for these observations.
Mixed-species malaria infections are often not recognized or underestimated. In Asia, surveys usually report that <2% of infections are mixed, whereas therapeutic studies in vivax or falciparum malaria have demonstrated a high prevalence (up to 30%) of infection with the other malaria species during convalescence, suggesting covert co-infection. In epidemiological studies, a high prevalence of cryptic mixed-malaria species infection has been detected by sensitive PCR techniques. Concurrently infecting malaria species are mutually suppressive with Plasmodium falciparum tending to dominate Plasmodium vivax, but P. vivax attenuating the severity of P. falciparum. There is evidence for some cross-species immunity. These interactions have important clinical and public health implications.
The human placenta is an ideal site for the accumulation of Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites, and as a consequence serious health problems arise for the mother and her baby. The pathogenesis of placental malaria is only partially understood, but it is clear that it leads to a distinct epidemiological pattern of malaria during pregnancy. The objectives of this review are: (1) To review recent data on the epidemiology of malaria in pregnancy, with emphasis on placental malaria; (2) to describe the pathological changes and immunological factors related to placental malaria; and (3) to discuss briefly the functional consequences of this infection for the mother and her baby. The review attempts to bring together local events at the maternal-fetal interface which encompass immunological and pathological processes which relate to the epidemiological pattern of malaria in pregnancy in areas of both high and low malaria transmission. An integrated understanding of the epidemiological, immunological and pathological processes must be achieved in order to understand how to control malaria in pregnancy. The yearly exposure of at least 50 million pregnancies to malaria infection makes it the commonest and most recurrent parasitic infection directly affecting the placenta. These statistics and our limited understanding of its pathogenesis suggest the research priorities on this subject.
CLINICAL INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 38 (8), pp. 1193-1194. | Read more2004. Monitoring antimalarial drug efficacy - Reply
Placental histopathology was studied in a cohort of 204 women living in an area of low Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria transmission. Detection of malaria antenatally was active, by weekly peripheral blood smears, and all infections were treated. Significant histopathologic placental malaria changes (increased malaria pigment, cytotrophoblastic prominence, and presence of parasites) were found only in a minority of women who had P. falciparum infections in pregnancy. These changes were significantly more frequent in women with evidence of peripheral blood infection close to delivery and only in these cases were placental inflammatory cells increased. Antenatal P. vivax infection was associated only with the presence of malaria pigment in the placenta. All placental infections diagnosed by blood smear and 32.4% (12 of 37) diagnosed by histopathology were associated with patent peripheral parasitemia. This study indicates that prompt treatment of peripheral parasitemias during pregnancy limits placental pathology. The effect on birth weight reduction may not result from irreversible placental changes but from the acute insult of infection. These findings emphasize the importance of treating malaria in pregnancy promptly with effective antimalarial drugs.
A double-site enzyme-linked lactate dehydrogenase enzyme immunodetection assay was tested against field isolates of Plasmodium falciparum for assessing in vitro drug susceptibilities to a wide range of antimalarial drugs. Its sensitivity allowed the use of parasite densities as low as 200 parasites/microl of blood. Being a nonisotopic, colorimetric assay, it lies within the capabilities of a modest laboratory at the district level.
The susceptibility of 20 isolates of Plasmodium vivax on the Thailand-Myanmar border to seven antimalarial drugs was evaluated using the schizont maturation inhibition technique. The geometric mean 50% inhibition concentration (IC(50)) values were quinine = 308 ng/mL, amodiaquine =14 ng/mL, chloroquine =50 ng/mL, mefloquine = 127 ng/mL, sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (80:1) = 800/10 ng/mL, pyrimethamine = 8 ng/mL, and artesunate = 0.5 ng/mL. Compared with P. falciparum in this area, P. vivax was more sensitive to chloroquine and artesunate, equally sensitive to quinine, and more resistant to mefloquine.
Malaria, the most prevalent and most pernicious parasitic disease of humans, is estimated to kill between one and two million people, mainly children, each year. Resistance has emerged to all classes of antimalarial drugs except the artemisinins and is responsible for a recent increase in malaria-related mortality, particularly in Africa. The de novo emergence of resistance can be prevented by the use of antimalarial drug combinations. Artemisinin-derivative combinations are particularly effective, since they act rapidly and are well tolerated and highly effective. Widespread use of these drugs could roll back malaria.
The activities of primaquine in combination with quinine or artesunate against asexual- and sexual-stage parasites were assessed in 176 adult Thai patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Patients were randomized to one of the six following 7-day oral treatment regimens: (i) quinine alone, (ii) quinine with tetracycline, (iii) quinine with primaquine at 15 mg/day, (iv) quinine with primaquine at 30 mg/day, (v) artesunate alone, or (vi) artesunate with primaquine. Clinical recovery occurred in all patients. There were no significant differences in fever clearance times, rates of P. falciparum reappearance, or recurrent vivax malaria between the six treatment groups. Patients treated with artesunate alone or in combination with primaquine had significantly shorter parasite clearance times (mean +/- standard deviation = 65 +/- 18 versus 79 +/- 21 h) and lower gametocyte carriage rates (40 versus 62.7%) than those treated with quinine (P < or = 0.007). Primaquine did not affect the therapeutic response (P > 0.2). Gametocytemia was detected in 98 patients (56% [22% before treatment and 34% after treatment]). Artesunate reduced the appearance of gametocytemia (relative risk [95% confidence interval] = 0.34 [0.17 to 0.70]), whereas combinations containing primaquine resulted in shorter gametocyte clearance times (medians of 66 versus 271 h for quinine groups and 73 versus 137 h for artesunate groups; P < or = 0.038). These results suggest that artesunate predominantly inhibits gametocyte development whereas primaquine accelerates gametocyte clearance in P. falciparum malaria.
Surveillance data for communicable nosocomial pathogens usually consist of short time series of low-numbered counts of infected patients. These often show overdispersion and autocorrelation. To date, almost all analyses of such data have ignored the communicable nature of the organisms and have used methods appropriate only for independent outcomes. Inferences that depend on such analyses cannot be considered reliable when patient-to-patient transmission is important. We propose a new method for analysing these data based on a mechanistic model of the epidemic process. Since important nosocomial pathogens are often carried asymptomatically with overt infection developing in only a proportion of patients, the epidemic process is usually only partially observed by routine surveillance data. We therefore develop a 'structured' hidden Markov model where the underlying Markov chain is generated by a simple transmission model. We apply both structured and standard (unstructured) hidden Markov models to time series for three important pathogens. We find that both methods can offer marked improvements over currently used approaches when nosocomial spread is important. Compared to the standard hidden Markov model, the new approach is more parsimonious, is more biologically plausible, and allows key epidemiological parameters to be estimated.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 70 (4), pp. 459.2004. Erratum: (American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 70 (172-179))
Lancet, 363 (9414), pp. 1006. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more2004. Sharing malarias.
BACKGROUND: Recent outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1) in poultry throughout Asia have had major economic and health repercussions. Human infections with this virus were identified in Vietnam in January 2004. METHODS: We report the clinical features and preliminary epidemiologic findings among 10 patients with confirmed cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) who presented to hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, in December 2003 and January 2004. RESULTS: In all 10 cases, the diagnosis of influenza A (H5N1) was confirmed by means of viral culture or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction with primers specific for H5 and N1. None of the 10 patients (mean age, 13.7 years) had preexisting medical conditions. Nine of them had a clear history of direct contact with poultry (median time before onset of illness, three days). All patients presented with fever (temperature, 38.5 to 40.0 degrees C), respiratory symptoms, and clinically significant lymphopenia (median lymphocyte count, 700 per cubic millimeter). The median platelet count was 75,500 per cubic millimeter. Seven patients had diarrhea. In all patients, there were marked abnormalities on chest radiography. There was no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission. Eight patients died, one patient has recovered, and one is recovering. CONCLUSIONS: Influenza A (H5N1) infection, characterized by fever, respiratory symptoms, and lymphopenia, carries a high risk of death. Although in all 10 cases the infection appears to have been acquired directly from infected poultry, the potential exists for genetic reassortment with human influenzaviruses and the evolution of human-to-human transmission. Containment of influenza A (H5N1) in poultry throughout Asia is therefore urgently required.
The relationship of the platelet-mediated autoagglutination of Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (IRBCs) to disease severity was investigated in 182 Thai patients with falciparum malaria; it was evident in 43% of uncomplicated malaria (n=63), 41% of severe malaria (n=104), and 100% of cerebral malaria (n=15; P=.001) isolates. The median (range) number of IRBCs in agglutinates per 1000 IRBCs was significantly higher in cerebral malaria (6 [3-42]) than in severe (0 [0-52]) and uncomplicated (0 [0-24]) malaria (P=.01). In multivariate analyses, high parasitemia and cerebral malaria were associated independently with parasite agglutination.
Rapid malaria diagnosis, a key component of malaria control strategies, is hampered by the expense and training requirements of reliable microscopy. Rapid malaria antigen tests may improve the diagnosis of malaria in the rural tropics. After 1 h training 64 village health volunteers (VHVs) from rural Laos, with no previous laboratory experience, performed two malaria rapid diagnostic tests (ParacheckPf and OptiMAL) accurately. The reliability of six VHVs was assessed longitudinally, over 10 months with different frequencies of retraining. Compared with microscopy, error rates in dipstick interpretation were low (<2%) for both tests and were not associated with retraining frequency (P>0.2). Previously untrained Lao VHVs performed malaria rapid tests reliably with high sensitivity and specificity after minimal training.
To study the influence of season on Plasmodium vivax gametocyte carriage, the relationship between monthly rainfall and the proportion of P. vivax patients with detectable gametocytaemia was analysed. Most of the data used came from 6807 aggregated observations collected, in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border, between January 2000 and December 2002. There was a positive correlation between rainfall and the incidence of P. vivax infection (Spearman's rho=+0.42; P =0.01) but the prevalence of gametocyte carriage among those with P. vivax infection was negatively correlated with rainfall (Spearman's rho=-0.58; P <0.001). The latter, negative correlation remained significant after controlling for the proportion of visitors relative to camp residents (P =0.003). Migrations, changes in transmission patterns, seasonal haematological changes, and ultraviolet immunosuppression are discussed as potential explanations for these observations.
BACKGROUND: Antipyretics reduce the prolonged, high fever characteristic of typhoid fever. The benefits of nonsteroidal drugs in this role have not been quantified. There have been concerns about the safety of antipyretics in typhoid. METHODS: In a double blind randomized study, 80 Vietnamese children with uncomplicated typhoid fever were randomized to receive identical syrup preparations of ibuprofen (10 mg/kg) or paracetamol (12 mg/kg) every 6 h until 36 h after defervescence. Children with a nalidixic acid-susceptible (Na) isolate of Salmonella typhi were treated with ofloxacin (15 mg/kg/day) for 3 days and those with a nalidixic acid-resistant (Na) isolate were treated for 7 days. RESULTS: S. typhi was isolated from 36 of 40 children randomized to ibuprofen (11 isolates Na) and 37 of 40 randomized to paracetamol (13 isolates Na). The median (range) fever clearance time (hours) was shorter in the ibuprofen group than the paracetamol group (68, 4 to 260 vs. 104, 12 to 404; P = 0.055) as was the area under the temperature time curve above 37 degree C (74, 0 to 237 vs. 127, 0 to 573; P = 0.013). The differences occurred predominantly in the children infected with a NaS. typhi whose infections responded more slowly to antibiotic treatment. There were no major side effects associated with the use of either drug. There were no differences between the two treatment arms in the concentrations of circulating interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha during the course of treatment. CONCLUSION: The antipyretic effect of ibuprofen is superior to that of paracetamol in children with typhoid fever, particularly those with prolonged fever. Both antipyretics appeared to be safe.
The role of nucleic acid amplification techniques in the rapid diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis remains uncertain. We compared the performance of Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining, the Gen-Probe amplified Mycobacterium tuberculosis direct test (MTD), and culture with 341 cerebrospinal fluid specimens from 152 adults (73 with and 79 without tuberculous meningitis) before and after inception of antituberculosis chemotherapy. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of ZN staining before treatment were 34/66 (52%), 79/79 (100%), 34/34 (100%), and 79/111 (71%), compared with 25/66 (38%), 78/79 (99%), 25/26 (96%), and 79/120 (66%) for MTD. The sensitivity of combined ZN staining and MTD (either positive) was 45/66 (68%). The sensitivity of staining and culture fell more rapidly than that of MTD after the start of treatment: after 5 to 15 days of treatment, MTD was more sensitive than ZN staining (12/43 [28%] versus 2/43 [2%]; P = 0.013). Slower bacterial clearance was observed if M. tuberculosis was resistant to isoniazid and/or streptomycin: resistant organisms were more likely to be cultured from cerebrospinal fluid after 2 to 5 days of treatment than fully sensitive organisms (P < 0.001). The sensitivities of ZN staining, MTD, and the two tests combined were improved by repeated sampling to 38/59 (64%), 35/59 (59%), and 49/59 (83%), respectively. In conclusion, ZN staining of the cerebrospinal fluid is at least as good as MTD for the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis and is much faster and less expensive. However, the combination of these methods on serial samples detects more cases. Alternative tests are still urgently required.
Artemisinin and its derivatives, artesunate and artemether, are rapidly acting antimalarials that are used for the treatment of severe and uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. To optimize treatment regimens that use this new class of antimalarials, there is a need for readily available and reproducible assays to monitor drug levels closely in patients. A sensitive and reproducible bioassay for the measurement of the concentrations of artemisinin derivatives in plasma and serum is described. By modifying the in vitro drug susceptibility test, it was found that antimalarial activity in plasma or serum containing an unknown concentration of drug could be equated to the known concentrations of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) required to inhibit parasite growth. Dose-response curves for a Plasmodium falciparum clone (clone W2) and DHA were used as a standard for each assay. Assays with plasma or serum spiked with DHA proved to be reproducible (coefficient of variation, <or=10.9%), with a lower limit of quantitation equivalent to 2.5 ng of DHA per ml. For plasma spiked with artesunate or artemether, there was good agreement of the results obtained by the bioassay and the concentrations measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection. The bioassay for measurement of the antimalarial activities of artemisinin derivatives in body fluids requires a smaller volume of plasma or serum and is more sensitive than the presently available HPLC methods, can provide pharmacodynamic parameters for determination of activity against the parasite, and should enhance the design of more appropriate dosage regimens for artemisinin drugs.
A randomised trial was conducted in adults and children (> 1 year old) with acute falciparum malaria in Western Myanmar to compare the operational effectiveness of 4 different artesunate-mefloquine combinations. All regimens were well tolerated. During 42 days follow-up polymerase chain reaction genotyping-confirmed recrudescence occurred in 11 of 187 (5.9%) patients who received observed single low-dose mefloquine (15 mg/kg) and artesunate (4 mg/kg), 7 of 192 (3.6%) patients following observed single high-dose mefloquine (25 mg/kg) and artesunate (4 mg/kg), 7 of 180 (3.9%) patients following observed artesunate 4 mg/kg on day 0 plus self-administered mefloquine 15 mg/kg on day 1 and 10 mg/kg on day 2 with artesunate 4 mg/kg/day on day 1 and 2, and none of 177 patients who received this 3 d regimen under direct observation (P = 0.01). Compared with 3 d treatment regimens, single dose treatments were followed by significantly more P vivax infections during the 42 d follow-up (P = 0.009). Post treatment anaemia (haemoglobin < 10 g/dL) was reduced by the 3 d regimens. Gametocyte appearance was low with all 4 regimens. Single dose observed mefloquine-artesunate regimens were very effective, but the 3 d artesunate-mefloquine regimen is the best treatment for acute falciparum malaria in Western Myanmar. Active measures to ensure absorption and improve adherence will be necessary to realise this advantage operationally.
Chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) is an important receptor for Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the placenta. To study the molecular interaction between parasitized erythrocytes (PE) to CSA, we performed in vitro cytoadherence inhibition assays of PE infected with wild and laboratory isolates of P. falciparum to CSA using various glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Marked decrease in PE adhesion to immobilized CSA and CSA-expressed cells was achieved with soluble chondroitin sulfate D (CSD) and chondroitin sulfate E (CSE) at low concentrations. The effect was dose dependent with the degree of inhibition exceeded that of soluble CSA in certain clinical isolates. The results suggested the influence of oversulfation of CS variant chains on PE adherence to CSA. Interestingly, PE of the tested wild isolates could adhere to immobilized CSD and CSE at different levels while PE of CSA-selected laboratory lines could not. Partial inhibitory activity was observed when chondroitin sulfate C (CSC), chondroitin sulfate B (CSB), and polyolpolysulfate were used even at high concentrations. Keratan sulfate, colominic acid, and Suramine were unable to inhibit PE adherence. Taken together, the results confirm that the 4-sulfate amino sugar moiety, as well as the basic disaccharide structure of N-acetylgalactosamine linked to glucuronic acid, may influence the degree of this molecular interaction. However, other sulfation patterns that could influence the interaction could not be overlooked, as in the case of CSD which contains 2-O-sulfation at glucuronic acid. Studies using pentosan polysulfate, an oversulfated molecule with a xylan backbone, as an inhibitor also showed a reduction of PE adherence of most isolates tested. Thus, only the sulfate content and pattern of this molecule could affect the adhesive interactions. In addition, difference in capacity of low molecular weight heparins to inhibit CSA-mediated PE cytoadherence of clinical isolates was also observed, thereby providing evidence on the heterogeneity in cytoadherence characteristics of maternal parasite isolates as well as their therapeutic potentials.
Systematic database searches identified 435 antimalarial drug treatment trials, involving 82,616 patients, conducted and published between 1966 and December 2002. Of these trials 72% were randomised; 64 (15%) trials involved severe malaria, 47 (11%) studied Plasmodium vivax, 3 Plasmodium malariae or Plasmodium ovale, and the remainder (74%) assessed treatment responses in uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Twelve trials (2.7%) specifically evaluated antimalarial treatments in pregnant women. Overall 49% of trials were conducted in Asia (29% from Thailand alone) and 42% in Africa. Half of all the patients studied had been in trials published in the past 7 years. There has been a recent rise in the proportion of trial enrolling children, and a tripling in the average number of patients recruited per trial (from approximately 100 in the 1970s to 300 currently). Chloroquine was given to over half the patients in antimalarial drug trials (n = 53552) compared with artemisinin derivatives (n = 12463), mefloquine-sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (n = 9153), mefloquine (n = 5546) and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (n = 5909). The quality of safety and efficacy data for recently evaluated drugs contrasts with a relative paucity of data for older 'established' compounds.
The pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria is complex, but evidence is mounting that its central feature is the old concept of a mechanical microcirculatory obstruction. Autopsy studies, but also in vivo observations of the microcirculation, demonstrate variable obstruction of the microcirculation in severe malaria. The principal cause of this is cytoadherence to the vascular endothelium of erythrocytes containing the mature forms of the parasite, leading to sequestration and obstruction of small vessels. Besides, parasitized red cells become rigid, compromising their flow through capillaries whose lumen has been reduced by sequestered erythrocytes. Adhesive forces between infected red cells (auto-agglutination), between infected and uninfected red cells (rosetting) and between uninfected erythrocytes (aggregation) could further slow down microcirculatory flow. A more recent finding is that uninfected erythrocytes also become rigid in severe malaria. Reduction in the overall red cell deformability has a strong predictive value for a fatal outcome. Rigidity may be caused by oxidative damage to the red blood cell membrane by malaria pigment released at the moment of schizont rupture. Anti-oxidants, such as N-acetylcysteine can reverse this effect and are promising as adjunctive treatment in severe malaria.
Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malaria infection and is an important cause of morbidity in Central and South America and Asia. P. vivax is generally sensitive to the common antimalarial drugs but high level resistance to chloroquine and/or pyrimethamine has been documented in some geographic locations. In the studies reviewed here, the therapeutic responses to antimalarial and antibacterial drugs in vivax malaria have been assessed in the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The evaluated drugs consisted of the eight most widely used antimalarial drugs and anti-bacterial drugs that possess antimalarial activities (tetracycline, doxycycline, clindamycin or azithromycin). The activities of these drugs in descending order of parasite clearance times were artesunate, artemether, chloroquine, mefloquine, quinine, halofantrine, primaquine, followed by the antibacterial drugs and lastly sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Clinical responses to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine were also poor with evidence of high grade resistance in 42% of the patients. Of the four antibacterial drugs, clindamycin was more effective than azithromycin and can be an alternative to the tetracyclines. Except for chloroquine and mefloquine which have long plasma half lives and may therefore suppress first relapses, the cumulative cure rates for the short acting antimalarial drugs were similar. Double infection with Plasmodium falciparum was common and usually manifested 3-4 weeks following clearance of vivax malaria. The prevalence of cryptic falciparum malaria was 8-15% and was higher in patients treated with less potent antimalarial drugs. Follow-up studies have revealed that the relapse time in Thai patients with vivax malaria is on average only 3 weeks, but can be suppressed by the slowly eliminated antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine and mefloquine. For accurate comparison of relapse/recrudescence rates in vivax malaria, at least 2 month's follow-up is required. It can be concluded that in malarious areas of Thailand, double infection with P. falciparum and P. vivax is common affecting at least 25% of the patients and usually manifests as sequential illnesses. P. vivax in Thailand is sensitive to chloroquine but has acquired high grade resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.
Red blood cells (RBCs) must deform considerably during their multiple passages through the microvasculature and the sinusoids of the spleen. RBCs infected with Plasmodium falciparum (Pf-IRBCs) become increasingly rigid as they mature but avoid splenic clearance by sequestering in venules and capillaries. In contrast, RBCs infected with P. vivax (Pv-IRBCs) do not sequester. We compared the effects of P. vivax and P. falciparum infection on RBC deformability in a laminar shear flow system. Pf-IRBCs became more rigid as the parasite matured, but equivalent maturation of Pv-IRBCs resulted in a doubling of flexibility. Coincidentally, the IRBC surface area increased from 56.7+/-1.3 microm2 to 74.7+/-0.6 microm2 to 90.9+/-1.1 microm2 in ring-, trophozoite-, and schizont-stage Pv-IRBCs, respectively, whereas Pf-IRBCs did not increase in size. P. vivax increases the deformability of IRBCs and thereby avoids splenic entrapment.
BACKGROUND: Addition of artemisinin derivatives to existing drug regimens for malaria could reduce treatment failure and transmission potential. We assessed the evidence for this hypothesis from randomised controlled trials. METHODS: We undertook a meta-analysis of individual patients' data from 16 randomised trials (n=5948) that studied the effects of the addition of artesunate to standard treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We estimated odds ratios (OR) of parasitological failure at days 14 and 28 (artesunate combination compared with standard treatment) and calculated combined summary ORs across trials using standard methods. FINDINGS: For all trials combined, parasitological failure was lower with 3 days of artesunate at day 14 (OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.17-0.25, n=4504) and at day 28 (excluding new infections, 0.23, 0.19-0.28, n=2908; including re-infections, 0.30, 0.26-0.35, n=4332). Parasite clearance was significantly faster (rate ratio 1.98, 95% CI 1.85-2.12, n=3517) with artesunate. In participants with no gametocytes at baseline, artesunate reduced gametocyte count on day 7 (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.09-0.15, n=2734), with larger effects at days 14 and 28. Adding artesunate for 1 day (six trials) was associated with fewer failures by day 14 (0.61, 0.48-0.77, n=1980) and day 28 (adjusted to exclude new infections 0.68, 0.53-0.89, n=1205; unadjusted including reinfections 0.77, 0.63-0.95, n=1958). In these trials, gametocytes were reduced by day 7 (in participants with no gametocytes at baseline 0.11, 0.09-0.15, n=2734). The occurrence of serious adverse events did not differ significantly between artesunate and placebo. INTERPRETATION: The addition of 3 days of artesunate to standard antimalarial treatments substantially reduce treatment failure, recrudescence, and gametocyte carriage.
BACKGROUND: Southeast Asia has the most resistant malaria parasites in the world, which severely limits treatment options. There is general acceptance that to combat resistance, combinations of antimalarial drugs that include an artemisinin derivative should be used, and, if possible, these should be formulated in a single tablet. METHODS: We did a pilot randomised study in a tertiary referral hospital in Vietnam to compare the efficacy of 3-day regimens of dihydroartemisinin-trimethoprim-piperaquine (DHA-TP total dose 4.8/13.6/48 mg/kg, respectively) with the standard antimalarial regimen in Vietnam, artesunate-mefloquine (A3M total dose 12/25 mg/kg, respectively) in non-immune patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. 114 patients were randomised, 76 to DHA-TP and 38 to A3M. The subsequent open randomised trial at a Provincial Health Station compared DHA-TP, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and A3M in 400 patients. In both studies all patients received directly observed therapy and were followed up for 56 days. The primary endpoint was reappearance of P falciparum malaria within 56 days of treatment. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: The 56-day cure rate in the pilot study, adjusted for reinfections identified by PCR genotyping, was 97.4% (74/76) in the DHA-TP group and 100% (38/38) in the A3M group. In the second study, cure rates were similar in the three groups; DHA-TP 97.4% (153/157), dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine 98.7% (164/166), and A3M 98.7% (76/77). The DHA-TP and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine regimens were well tolerated; fewer than 3% of patients had side-effects that might have been related to treatment, compared with 16% of A3M patients (p<0.001). No patients were lost to follow-up. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an inexpensive, safe, highly efficacious fixed-dose antimalarial combination treatment that could make an important contribution to the control of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria.
J Postgrad Med, 50 (1), pp. 35-39. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2004. The detection and treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria: time for change.
In most countries where malaria is endemic, P. falciparum malaria is on the rise. This is primarily due to the spread of drug-resistant strains. Drug resistance is mediated by spontaneous changes in the parasite genome that allow resistant parasites to escape the action of the drugs. The spread of drug resistance increases the transmission of malaria parasites. The consequences for the populations at risk are profound both in terms of consequences for health and economy. In order to halt the progression of drug resistance, we need to change the way antimalarials are used. As in tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, we must use a combination of drugs for the treatment of malaria. Taking into account the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the various anti-malarial agents, artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) seems to be the best option. This strategy should be used in conjunction with early diagnosis and appropriate vector control measures to achieve reduction in the emergence and spread of drug resistance.
Malaria, caused mostly by Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, remains one of the most important infectious diseases in the world. Antimalarial drug toxicity is one side of the risk-benefit equation and is viewed differently depending upon whether the clinical indication for drug administration is malaria treatment or prophylaxis. Drug toxicity must be acceptable to patients and cause less harm than the disease itself. Research that leads to drug registration tends to omit two important groups who are particularly vulnerable to malaria--very young children and pregnant women. Prescribing in pregnancy is a particular problem for clinicians because the risk-benefit ratio is often very unclear. The number of antimalarial drugs in use is very small. Despite its decreasing efficacy against P. falciparum, chloroquine continues to be used widely because of its low cost and good tolerability. It remains the drug of first choice for treating P. vivax malaria. Pruritus is a common adverse effect in African patients. As prophylaxis, chloroquine is usually combined with proguanil. This combination has good overall tolerability but mouth ulcers and gastrointestinal upset are more common than with other prophylactic regimens. Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine is well tolerated as treatment and when used as intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant African women. Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine is no longer used as prophylaxis because it may cause toxic epidermal necrolysis and Stevens Johnson syndrome. Mefloquine remains a valuable drug for prophylaxis and treatment. Tolerability is acceptable to most patients and travellers despite the impression given by the lay press. Dose-related serious neuropsychiatric toxicity can occur; mefloquine is contraindicated in individuals with a history of epilepsy or psychiatric disease. Quinine is the mainstay for treating severe malaria in many countries. Cardiovascular or CNS toxicity is rare, but hypoglycaemia may be problematic and blood glucose levels should be monitored. Halofantrine is unsuitable for widespread use because of its potential for cardiotoxicity. There is renewed interest in two old drugs, primaquine and amodiaquine. Primaquine is being developed as prophylaxis, and amodiaquine, which was withdrawn from prophylactic use because of neutropenia and hepatitis, is a potentially good partner drug for artesunate against falciparum malaria. Atovaquone/proguanil is a new antimalarial combination with good efficacy and tolerability as prophylaxis and treatment. The most important class of drugs that could have a major impact on malaria control is the artemisinin derivatives. They have remarkable efficacy and an excellent safety record. They have no identifiable dose-related adverse effects in humans and only very rarely produce allergic reactions. Combining an artemisinin derivative with another efficacious antimalarial drug is increasingly being viewed as the optimal therapeutic strategy for malaria.
OBJECTIVES: To determine whether nurses, using the WHO/UNICEF algorithm for integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI), modified to include dengue infection, satisfactorily classified children in an area endemic for dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). METHODS: Nurses assessed and classified, using the modified IMCI algorithm, a systematic sample of 1250 children aged 2 months to 10 years (n = 1250) presenting to a paediatric hospital in Dong Nai Province, Vietnam. Their classification was compared with that of a paediatrician, blind to the result of the nurses' assessment, which could be modified in the light of simple investigations, e.g. dengue serology. RESULTS: In children aged 2-59 months (n = 859), the nurses were able to classify, using the modified chart, the presenting illness in >99% of children and found more than one classification in 70%. For the children with pneumonia, diarrhoea, dengue shock syndrome, severe DHF and severe disease requiring urgent admission, the nurse's classification was >60% sensitive and >85% specific compared with that of the paediatrician. For the nurse's classification of DHF the specificity was 50-55% for the children <5 years and in children with definitive dengue serology. Alterations in the DHF algorithm improved specificity at the expense of sensitivity. CONCLUSION: Using the IMCI chart, nurses classified appropriately many of the major clinical problems in sick children <5 years in southern Vietnam. However, further modifications will be required in the fever section, particularly for dengue. The impact of using the IMCI chart in peripheral health stations remains to be evaluated.
Science, 306 (5704), pp. 2039-2040. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2004. Stopping the spread of drug-resistant malaria.
Lancet, 363 (9415), pp. 1160. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2004. WHO, the Global Fund, and medical malpractice in malaria treatment.
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 38 (8), pp. 1192-1193. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2004. Monitoring antimalarial drug efficacy.
Practical Neurology, 4 (1), pp. 20-29. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more2004. Cerebral Malaria
AIMS: To find out whether serology can reliably speciate human schistosomiasis using a simple enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. METHODS: Stored sera from 66 patients with microscopically confirmed schistosomiasis were subjected to ELISA using a panel of three antigens, namely: unfractionated Schistosoma mansoni soluble egg antigen (SEA); CEF6, a cationic fraction of SEA; and crude S margrebowiei egg antigen, prepared from an animal schistosome closely related to S haematobium. RESULTS: The optical densities (ODs) obtained using CEF6 as antigen were significantly higher in sera from S mansoni infected patients than in sera from S haematobium infected patients (median OD, 0.810 v 0.595). Using S margrebowiei egg antigen, the optical densities were significantly higher in S haematobium sera than in S mansoni sera (median OD, 0.794 v 0.544). There was no significant difference in optical densities between S mansoni and S haematobium sera using SEA (median OD, 0.725 v 0.737). The ratio of ODs (CEF6 to S margrebowiei egg antigen) was calculated: a ratio of >1 indicated S mansoni infection (sensitivity, 88%) and a ratio of <1 indicated S haematobium infection (sensitivity, 84%). The odds ratio for S haematobium having an OD ratio of <1 was 36.8 (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 194). CONCLUSIONS: The identity of the infecting species of schistosome can be determined using the panel of antigens described. SEA should be used to screen serum samples, and the CEF6 : S margrebowiei egg antigen ELISA optical density ratio can be used where serological speciation is required.
Isopropyl alcohol-containing hand rubs are widely used in healthcare for hand decontamination. Ten healthy adult volunteers applied a commercially available isopropyl alcohol-containing hand rub to their hands every 10 min over a 4 h period. Blood isopropyl alcohol levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study. At the end of the study, measurable blood isopropyl alcohol levels (range 0.5-1.8 mg/l) were recorded in nine subjects. We confirmed that isopropyl alcohol could be absorbed through the intact skin of adult humans. The social and medical implications are discussed.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the initial, long-term, and durable response rates to terazosin, placebo, or other therapies in patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. METHODS: A total of 100 subjects, aged 20 to 50 years, who met the National Institutes of Health criteria for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome and had not previously been treated with alpha-blockers, were entered in a 14-week, double-blind comparison of terazosin or placebo therapy. Nonresponders and responders with subsequent relapse were treated with terazosin or other medications (open label). The criterion for response was a score of 0 to 2 on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index quality-of-life item. The initial response was evaluated at week 14, and the long-term response was evaluated after a median of 38 weeks (range 34 to 42), regardless of any additional treatment. A durable response was defined as an initial response without additional treatment. RESULTS: Of the 43 patients in the terazosin group, 24 (56%) had an initial response compared with 14 (33%) of 43 subjects in the placebo group (P = 0.03). Long-term responses were noted in 23 (56%) of 41 assessable subjects treated with terazosin initially compared with 12 (32%) of 38 assessable subjects treated with placebo (P = 0.03). Of the nonresponders and initial responders with relapse, 7 (41%) of 17 subjects responded to terazosin compared with 7 (21%) of 34 given other treatment (P = 0.12). Durable responses occurred in 18 (44%) of the 41 assessable patients treated initially with terazosin and in 6 (16%) of 38 treated initially with placebo (P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Patients treated with terazosin were more likely to have initial, long-term, and durable responses than those treated with placebo.
Travellers to malaria-endemic destinations are at risk of significant disease and, sometimes, death. Current malaria protection strategies, including chemoprophylaxis, can never be completely effective. In some cases, protective measures are discontinued or misapplied while the risk of infection still exists. In others, suboptimal measures are used, or even no measures at all, because of poor information or inappropriate risk-benefit assessment. In very rare cases, inexplicable failure of prophylaxis occurs. If malaria is contracted whilst abroad the danger to the individual is often further compounded by a lack of high-quality medical facilities and an uncertain supply of effective drugs for treatment. The advent of newer, well tolerated, drugs for treating malaria provides an opportunity to review the role of standby emergency self-medication in travellers visiting or staying (for work or other reasons) in areas where there is a risk of contracting malaria. This article was prepared following a meeting convened in London on Africa Malaria Day in 2002, in which the current opinions of experts in travel medicine and specifically malaria were discussed. It reviews opinion on the current effectiveness and acceptance of prevention strategies, as well as the role of standby emergency medication for falciparum malaria.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of isolation measures in reducing the incidence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonisation and infection in hospital inpatients. DESIGN: Systematic review of published articles. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe (SIGLE), and citation lists (1966-2000). REVIEW METHODS: Articles reporting MRSA related outcomes and describing an isolation policy were selected. No quality restrictions were imposed on studies using isolation wards or nurse cohorting. Other studies were included if they were prospective or employed planned comparisons of retrospective data. RESULTS: 46 studies were accepted; 18 used isolation wards, nine used nurse cohorting, and 19 used other isolation policies. Most were interrupted time series, with few planned formal prospective studies. All but one reported multiple interventions. Consideration of potential confounders, measures to prevent bias, and appropriate statistical analysis were mostly lacking. No conclusions could be drawn in a third of studies. Most others provided evidence consistent with a reduction of MRSA acquisition. Six long interrupted time series provided the strongest evidence. Four of these provided evidence that intensive control measures including patient isolation were effective in controlling MRSA. In two others, isolation wards failed to prevent endemic MRSA. CONCLUSION: Major methodological weaknesses and inadequate reporting in published research mean that many plausible alternative explanations for reductions in MRSA acquisition associated with interventions cannot be excluded. No well designed studies exist that allow the role of isolation measures alone to be assessed. None the less, there is evidence that concerted efforts that include isolation can reduce MRSA even in endemic settings. Current isolation measures recommended in national guidelines should continue to be applied until further research establishes otherwise.
OBJECTIVES: Linezolid, the only commercially available oxazolidinone, is indicated for the treatment of Gram-positive infections, although little has been published specifically on its use in the critically ill. A randomized, prospective study was therefore performed to compare linezolid with the glycopeptide antibiotic, teicoplanin, for the treatment of suspected or proven Gram-positive infections in an intensive care population. METHODS: Using a double-blind, double-dummy, prospective design, patients were randomized to (i) intravenous linezolid (600 mg/12 h) plus teicoplanin dummy [one dose/12 h for three doses then every 24 h intravenously (iv)] or (ii) teicoplanin (400 mg/12 h for three doses then 400 mg/24 h iv) plus linezolid dummy (one dose/12 h iv). Other antibiotics were used in combination with the trial agents in empirical treatment. Clinical and microbiological assessments were made daily in the first week, and at 8 and 21 days after treatment. RESULTS: One hundred patients received linezolid plus placebo-teicoplanin, whereas 102 received teicoplanin plus placebo-linezolid. Population baseline characteristics were similar in both groups. At end of treatment, clinical success [71 (78.9%) linezolid versus 67 (72.8%) teicoplanin] and microbiological success [49 (70.0%) versus 45 (66.2%)] rates were similar, as were adverse effects, intensive care unit mortality, and success rates at short- and long-term follow-up. Linezolid was superior at initial clearance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization (end of treatment, 51.1% versus 18.6%, P = 0.002). Two MRSA isolates showed reduced susceptibility to teicoplanin. CONCLUSIONS: Linezolid has similar safety and efficacy to teicoplanin in treating Gram-positive infections in the critically ill. Short-term MRSA clearance achieved with linezolid suggests better skin and mucosal penetration.
BMJ, 328 (7450), pp. 1259. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more2004. Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria: sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is not working in Malawi.
The antimalarial activity of artemether following oral or intramuscular administration in the plasma of 15 adults with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria was measured by bioassay. The peak concentrations in plasma following oral administration were higher in patients with acute illness (median, 1,905 mmol of dihydroartemisinin [DHA] equivalents per liter; range, 955 to 3,358 mmol of DHA equivalents per liter) than in patients in the convalescent phase (median, 955 mmol of DHA equivalents per liter; range, 576 to 1,363 mmol of DHA equivalents per liter), and clearance (CL/F) was lower in patients in the acute phase (1.11 liters/kg/h; range, 0.21 to 3.08 liters/kg/h) than in patients in the convalescent phase (median, 2.76 liters/kg/h; range, 1.56 to 5.74 liters/kg/h) (P< or =0.008). Antimalarial activity in terms of the peak concentration in plasma (Cmax) after oral administration was a median of 16 times higher than that after intramuscular administration. The ratio of the area under the plasma concentration-time curve during the first 24 h (AUC(0-24)) after oral administration of artemether to the AUC(0-24) after intramuscular administration was a median of 3.3 (range, 1 to 11) (P=0.0001). In the acute phase, the time to Cmax was significantly shorter after oral administration (median, 1 h; range, 0.5 to 3.0 h) than after intramuscular administration (median, 8 h; range, 4 to 24 h) (P=0.001). Intramuscular artemether is absorbed very slowly in patients with acute malaria.
Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus is a major risk factor for invasive S. aureus disease. The aim of this study was to define factors associated with carriage. We conducted a prospective, longitudinal community-based study of infants and their mothers for a period of 6 months following delivery. The epidemiology of carriage was examined for 100 infant-mother pairs. Infant carriage varied significantly with age, falling from 40 to 50% during the first 8 weeks to 21% by 6 months. Determinants of infant S. aureus carriage included maternal carriage, breastfeeding, and number of siblings. Bacterial typing of S. aureus was performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. The majority of individuals carried a single strain of S. aureus over time, and the mother was the usual source for colonizing isolates in infants. The effect of other components of the normal nasal flora on the development of S. aureus carriage was examined in 157 consecutive infants. Negative associations (putative bacterial interference) between S. aureus and other species occurred early in infancy but were not sustained. An increasing antistaphylococcal effect observed over time was not attributable to bacterial interference. S. aureus carriage in infants is likely to be determined by a combination of host, environmental, and bacterial factors, but bacterial interference does not appear to be an ultimate determinant of carrier status.
To investigate the relationship between fever and parasite clearance in falciparum malaria, we studied 54 adults with Plasmodium falciparum infections who were all treated with quinine. The median oral temperature profile showed peaks at 24 h intervals during the first 3 days. Although there was no equivalent pattern evident in the median parasite clearance curve, we hypothesize that small numbers of two distinct parasite broods continued to develop in antiphase through schizogony despite quinine therapy. These data are consistent with previous reports of two dominant broods in untreated humans and monkeys infected with P. falciparum, and highlight the need for an adequate duration of quinine treatment.
The new OptiMAL-IT(R) rapid diagnostic test for malaria was evaluated in 271 patients in Thailand with uncomplicated malaria between June and July 2002. The sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of Plasmodium falciparum parasites were 88% and 92%, respectively. For species other than P. falciparum, the sensitivity was 65% and specificity was 99%. The performance of the new test decreased markedly at low levels of parasitaemia.
The relationships between the pharmacokinetic properties of quinine during a 7-day treatment course and the therapeutic response were studied in 30 adult patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria monitored for > or = 28 days. All patients received a 7-day oral quinine regimen either alone (n = 22) or in combination with rifampin (n = 8). The median fever clearance time was 58.5 h, and the mean +/- standard deviation parasite clearance time was 73 +/- 24 h. After recovery, six patients had recrudescences of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and seven had delayed appearances of P. vivax infection between days 16 and 23. Between the patients with and without recrudescences, there were no significant differences either in fever clearance time or parasite clearance time or in the overall pharmacokinetics of quinine and 3-hydroxyquinine. Patients for whom the area under the concentration-time curve from 3 to 7 days for quinine in plasma was <20 microg.day/ml had a relative risk of 5.3 (95% confidence interval = 1.6 to 17.7) of having a subsequent recrudescence of infection (P = 0.016). Modeling of these data suggested an average minimum parasiticidal concentration of quinine in plasma of 3.4 microg/ml and an MIC of 0.7 microg/ml for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Thailand. To ensure a cure, the minimum parasiticidal concentration must be exceeded during four asexual cycles (>6 days).
The in vivo efficacies of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) nationally recommended antimalarial agents--chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine-were assessed in a randomized, comparative trial that involved 100 patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria who were followed for 42 days after starting treatment. Despite a shorter mean time to fever clearance associated with administration of chloroquine (mean time to clearance, 35.6 h; 95% confidence interval [CI], 26.3-45.0 h), compared with that associated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (61.1 h; 95% CI, 50.9-71.3 h; P<.001), treatment failures were twice as frequent among patients receiving chloroquine therapy than among those receiving sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine therapy (36% vs. 18%; P=.02). Of 23 treatment failures, 10 (43%) were high grade. Treatment failure rates among children (age range, 5-15 years) were 4.9 times higher (95% CI, 2-12) than those among adults (P<.0001). Gametocytemia after antimalarial treatment was associated with receipt of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine therapy and with treatment failure (P=.009). The efficacy of both chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in Laos is unsatisfactory.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the pharmacokinetic properties of atovaquone, proguanil, and the triazine metabolite cycloguanil in women with recrudescent multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy treated by artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil. METHODS: Serial plasma concentrations of atovaquone, proguanil and cycloguanil were measured in 24 women at baseline and after the final dose of the 3-day treatment with atovaquone (20 mg/kg/day) plus proguanil (8 mg/kg/day) plus artesunate (4 mg/kg/day) daily. RESULTS: The triple combination was well tolerated and highly effective. The outcomes of pregnancy were all normal. Population mean (+/- SEM) oral clearance (Cl/F) estimates were 313+/-33 ml/h/kg and 1109+/-43 ml/h/kg, total apparent volume of distribution (Vd/F) 13.0+/-1.3 l/kg and 22.9+/-1.4 l/kg, and terminal elimination half-life; 29.1 h and 14.3 h, for atovaquone and proguanil, respectively. Using conventional and population pharmacokinetic analyses, Cl/F and Vd/F estimates for both drugs were approximately twice, and plasma concentrations less than half those reported previously in healthy subjects and patients with acute malaria. CONCLUSION: Artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil is a promising treatment for multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria during pregnancy, but the dose of atovaquone-proguanil may need to be increased.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of late pregnancy and also oestrogen supplementation on the CYP2C19-mediated biotransformation of proguanil (PG) to its active antifol triazine metabolite cycloguanil (CG). METHODS: Case control study conducted on the NW border of Thailand; a single dose of PG (4 mg/kg) was administered to Karen women in late pregnancy and a single blood and urine sample taken 6 h later. Women were studied in late pregnancy (>36 weeks) and restudied 2 months after delivery. A separate cohort of Karen women newly attending a birth-control clinic were studied before and 3 weeks into their first course of oral contraceptives (OCP: levonorgestrel 0.15 mg and ethinyloestradiol 0.03 mg). Forty-five pregnant women and forty-two healthy OCP users were studied. RESULTS: The results were similar in both groups; pregnancy and OCP use were both associated with reduced formation of cycloguanil (CG). Impaired PG biotransformation was seen in women with the "extensive metaboliser" phenotype (urine PG/CG ratio <10). CG levels, adjusted for dose, were a median (range) 73% (-59 to 420%) higher following the pregnancy than during the pregnancy in women characterised as extensive metabolisers ( P<0.001). CG levels in women characterised as extensive metabolisers were 34% (-54 to 323%) higher before than while taking the OCP ( P<0.01). CONCLUSION: Late pregnancy and OCP use impair biotransformation of the active antimalarial metabolite CG from the parent PG. This may be mediated by oestrogen inhibition of CYP2C19 activity. The dose of PG should be increased by 50% in these groups.
Cerebral malaria (CM) is a major cause of death in severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We present quantitative electron microscopic findings of the neuropathologic features in a prospective clinicopathologic study of 65 patients who died of severe malaria in Thailand and Vietnam. Sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (PRBCs) in cerebral microvessels was significantly higher in the brains of patients with CM compared with those with non-cerebral malaria (NCM) in all parts of the brain (cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata). There was a hierarchy of sequestration with more in the cerebrum and cerebellum than the brain stem. When cerebral sequestration was compared with the peripheral parasitemia pre mortem, there were 26.6 times more PRBCs in the brain microvasculature than in the peripheral blood. The sequestration index was significantly higher in CM patients (median = 50.7) than in NCM patients (median = 6.9) (P = 0.042). The degree of sequestration of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes in cerebral microvessels is quantitatively associated with pre-mortem coma.
A retrospective study of 100 Malawian children (87 with malaria and 13 with a diagnosis other than malaria) was conducted to determine the relationship between levels of metabolites of the kynurenine pathway in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and disease outcome. Three metabolites were measured: quinolinic acid (QA), an excitotoxin; kynurenic acid (KA), a neuroprotective receptor antagonist; and picolinic acid (PA), a proinflammatory mediator. Elevated levels of QA and PA in CSF were associated with a fatal outcome in Malawian children with cerebral malaria (CM). QA was associated with a history of convulsions. An increase in the QArcolon;KA ratio, which favors neurotoxicity, was observed only in the 3 patients with tuberculosis meningitis. Compared with Vietnamese adults with malaria, Malawian children with malaria had higher concentrations of KA. Elevated levels of KA in children with CM may serve to contain injury in the developing brain, which is more susceptible to excitotoxic damage than is the adult brain.
Thirty-eight babies born to Karen mothers living in camps for displaced persons in north-western Thailand have delayed visual maturation (DVM type 1) that recovers within 6 months. Vitamin A concentrations were deficient in 16% of breast-milk samples from lactating mothers and vitamin B(1) concentrations were deficient in 60% of plasma samples. Infantile beriberi was common in this population. The levels of fatty acids in plasma and milk in Karen women were excellent at birth and in the postpartum period. The degree of deficiencies in these vitamins and the concentration of essential fatty acids in cord blood and maternal breast-milk did not correlate significantly with visual impairment in the infants. DVM might be caused by nutritional deficiency or toxic effects during critical periods of gestation that lead to delayed cortical myelination or structural defects which impinge on parietal cortex function.
Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria infections. Multidrug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum seriously compromises treatment in some endemic areas. Between April 1999 and October 2001, we treated and prospectively followed 27 Karen pregnant women with multiple recrudescent P. falciparum infections who were resistant to all other antimalarials with a triple combination of artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil. The treatment was well tolerated and we found no evidence of toxicity for the mothers and the fetus. All but 1 woman were cured (cure rate 96%, 95% CI 89-100). The triple combination of artesunate (4 mg/kg/d), atovaquone (20 mg/kg/d), and proguanil (8 mg/kg/d) may provide a much needed, albeit expensive, 3-d rescue treatment for pregnant women exposed to multidrug- resistant P. falciparum malaria.
Malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum) provide an excellent system in which to study the genomic effects of strong selection in a recombining eukaryote because the rapid spread of resistance to multiple drugs during the last the past 50 years has been well documented, the full genome sequence and a microsatellite map are now available, and haplotype data can be easily generated. We examined microsatellite variation around the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) gene on chromosome 4 of P. falciparum. Point mutations in dhfr are known to be responsible for resistance to the antimalarial drug pyrimethamine, and resistance to this drug has spread rapidly in Southeast (SE) Asia after its introduction in 1970s. We genotyped 33 microsatellite markers distributed across chromosome 4 in 61 parasites from a location on the Thailand/Myanmar border. We observed minimal microsatellite length variation in a 12-kb (0.7-cM) region flanking the dhfr gene and diminished variation for approximately 100 kb (6 cM), indicative of a single origin of resistant alleles. Furthermore, we found the same or similar microsatellite haplotypes flanked resistant dhfr alleles sampled from 11 parasite populations in five SE Asian countries indicating recent invasion of a single lineage of resistant dhfr alleles in locations 2000 km apart. Three features of these data are of especially interest. (1). Pyrimethamine resistance is generally assumed to have evolved multiple times because the genetic basis is simple and resistance can be selected easily in the laboratory. Yet our data clearly indicate a single origin of resistant dhfr alleles sampled over a large region of SE Asia. (2). The wide valley ( approximately 6 cM) of reduced variation around dhfr provides "proof-of-principle" that genome-wide association may be an effective way to locate genes under strong recent selection. (3). The width of the selective valley is consistent with predictions based on independent measures of recombination, mutation, and selection intensity, suggesting that we have reasonable estimates of these parameters. We conclude that scanning the malaria parasite genome for evidence of recent selection may prove an extremely effective way to locate genes underlying recently evolved traits such as drug resistance, as well as providing an opportunity to study the dynamics of selective events that have occurred recently or are currently in progress.
A case-control study was conducted to investigate the dietary and socio-economic factors associated with beriberi in infants attending three public hospitals in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Forty-three breast-feeding infants with a median (range) age of 3 (1-9) months were admitted with beriberi. This was defined as the presence of signs of congestive heart failure or shock in the absence of fever or other signs of sepsis, hypovolaemia or cardiac abnormalities, with rapid clinical improvement following parenteral thiamine. Subjects were matched by age and diet to 43 breast-feeding healthy control infants. Compared with control mothers, mothers of infants with beriberi had significantly less diet diversity (p < 0.001), soaked glutinous rice for significantly longer or were more likely to pour off excess water from non-glutinous rice (p = 0.006), had fewer years of schooling (p < 0.05), were more likely to report that income was inadequate for basic needs (p < 0.001), to perform hard physical labour (p < 0.01) and to be married to farmers (p < 0.01). Clinically significant thiamine deficiency in breastfed infants in Lao relates to methods of preparing rice, the food selected by lactating mothers and the family's socio-economic status.
The first outbreak of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid fever in Vietnam was in 1993, and by 1995 nearly 90% of cases were MDR. Plasmid HCM1, sequenced in full, is an incHI1 plasmid from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi strain CT18, isolated in Vietnam in 1993. Restriction analysis shows that pHCM1 shares a restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) pattern with plasmids isolated from the first outbreak and 10 of 17 MDR plasmids isolated from sporadic cases occurring at the same time in Vietnam. A core region of pHCM1 has significant DNA sequence similarity to plasmid R27, isolated in 1961 from S. enterica in the United Kingdom. There are five regions of DNA in pHCM1 which are not present in R27. Two of these are putative acquisition regions; the largest is 34.955 kbp in length and includes sequences of several antibiotic resistance genes and several insertion sequences. The borders of this region are defined by two identical IS10 left elements, associated with an inversion of DNA or with a truncated Tn10 element. The second, smaller region is 14.751 kbp and carries a trimethoprim resistance gene dfr14A cassette associated with a class 1 integrase. In 1993 to 1994, restriction analysis revealed some variations in the structures of Salmonella serovar Typhi MDR plasmids which were mapped to the two putative acquisition regions and three smaller variable regions. In 1996 a single RFLP type, RFLP7, was found to carry the dfrA7 and sul-1 genes, which were not present on R27 or pHCM1. This plasmid type appears to have a selective advantage over other plasmids with the same resistance phenotype.
A case-control study was conducted to investigate the dietary and socio-economic factors associated with beriberi in infants attending three public hospitals in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Forty-three breast-feeding infants with a median (range) age of 3 (1-9) months were admitted with beriberi. This was defined as the presence of signs of congestive heart failure or shock in the absence of fever or other signs of sepsis, hypovolaemia or cardiac abnormalities, with rapid clinical improvement following parenteral thiamine. Subjects were matched by age and diet to 43 breast-feeding healthy control infants. Compared with control mothers, mothers of infants with beriberi had significantly less diet diversity (p <0.001), soaked glutinous rice for significantly longer or were more likely to pour off excess water from non-glutinous rice (p =0.006), had fewer years of schooling (p <0.05), were more likely to report that income was inadequate for basic needs (p <0.001), to perform hard physical labour (p <0.01) and to be married to farmers (p <0.01). Clinically significant thiamine deficiency in breastfed infants in Lao relates to methods of preparing rice, the food selected by lactating mothers and the family's socio-economic status.
AIMS: Recognising the importance of communication with our primary care colleagues, focus groups were held with GPs to determine how they perceived the current lines of communication with their local microbiology laboratory and the PHLS, and how they could be improved. METHODS: Focus groups were held in Plymouth, Gloucester, Bristol and Hereford. Between four and 10 GPs and/or PCG Board members attended each workshop. The modes of communication i.e. websites, face-to-face contact, laboratory reporting, telephone advice, newsletters, guidance and surveillance were discussed. RESULTS: Microbiology websites should be user friendly, with clear labelling as to whom the page is directed. They should contain locally relevant data, antibiotic guidance and information leaflets. Despite great variation in laboratory reporting protocols GPs were mostly happy with reports received. Results, especially serology, should contain a clear conclusion and could refer to a website for further information. Electronic reporting was enthusiastically awaited. All GPs felt they had excellent access to telephone advice. GPs would value data and guidance on their use of diagnostic tests. CONCLUSION: These workshops highlight the variation in laboratory reporting protocols that should be addressed. Website development for GPs should include locally relevant data. GPs would value details of their laboratory use and costs.
In animals, high doses of intramuscular artemether and artemotil have been shown to cause an unusual pattern of selective damage to certain brainstem nuclei, especially those implicated in hearing and balance. We aimed to investigate whether a similar pattern arises in human adults. We examined the brainstems of adults who died after treatment with high dose artemether or quinine for severe falciparum malaria for evidence of a pattern of selective neuronal damage. Neuropathological findings were similar in recipients of quinine (n=15) and artemether (n=6; total artemether doses received 4-44 mg/kg). No evidence was recorded for artemether-induced neurotoxic effects.
Lancet, 362 (9378), pp. 169. | Citations: 63 (Scopus) | Read more2003. Counterfeit artesunate antimalarials in southeast Asia.
A randomized, open-label comparison of artesunate and quinine was conducted in 113 adults with clinically severe falciparum malaria in western Thailand. Mortality was 12% with artesunate and 22% with quinine treatment (relative risk, 0.53; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-1.26; P=.22). Multiple logistic regression analysis found admission plasma lactate level, Glasgow Coma Scale score, and total serum bilirubin level to be independent risk factors for death. Coma recovery and times to normalize plasma lactate levels were similar, but the parasite clearance time was much shorter among artesunate-treated patients (P=.019). Fewer patients became hypoglycemic during artesunate therapy (10%) than during quinine therapy (28%) (P=.03). Artesunate is at least as effective as quinine in the treatment of adults with severe malaria. Larger trials are required to determine whether mortality is reduced among patients treated with artesunate.
We studied prospectively 801 Thai patients admitted to the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases with acute, symptomatic Plasmodium vivax malaria to determine the optimum duration of treatment with oral artesunate and the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of a high dose of primaquine in prevention of relapse. Patients were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: 1) a five-day course of artesunate (Group A5); 2) a seven-day course of artesunate (Group A7); 3) a five-day course of artesunate plus a 14-day course of high-dose primaquine (0.6 mg/kg, maximum dose = 30 mg) (Group A5 + P); and 4) a seven-day course of artesunate plus a 14-day course of high-dose primaquine (Group A7 + P). During 28 days of observation, P. vivax reappeared in the blood of 50% of those who received artesunate alone (Groups A5 and A7), compared with none of those who received primaquine (Groups A5 + P and A7 + P; P < 0.0001). Adverse effects were confined to the 13 patients with a deficiency for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase; high-dose primaquine (0.6 mg/kg of base a day) had to be stopped in four (31%) patients because of a significant decrease in the hematocrit. The combination of five days of artesunate and 14 days of primaquine is a highly effective and generally well-tolerated treatment regimen for vivax malaria in Thailand.
The diagnosis of severe pneumococcal infections is inadequate, relying heavily on culture of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood or other normally sterile fluids, and is severely limited by prior administration of antibiotics. We evaluated prospectively the Binax NOW S. pneumoniae urinary antigen test, a rapid immunochromatographic assay, for the diagnosis of bacteremic pneumococcal infections in hospitalized adult patients. Antigen was detected in 88 of 107 cases overall, resulting in a test sensitivity of 82% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 74 to 89%). Antigen detection was greater in those with pneumonia (67 of 77 [87%]) than in those without pneumonia (21 of 30 [70%]) (P = 0.04). Urinary antigen was also detected in 3 of 106 adult patients with community-acquired septicemic infections caused by other organisms, giving a test specificity of 97% (95% CI, 92 to 99%). For 45 pneumococcal bacteremia patients with a positive test on treatment day 1, urinary antigen excretion was monitored for the first week of antibiotic treatment. Antigen was still detectable in 83% (29 of 35 tested; 95% CI, 66 to 93%) on treatment day 3. Detection of urinary antigen is a valuable, sensitive, and rapid test for the early diagnosis of bacteremic pneumococcal infections in adult patients, even after antibiotic treatment has commenced.
Microbiologists in 25 sentinel laboratories were each asked to refer up to 100 clinically-significant Gram-positive bacteria isolated from consecutive intensive care unit (ICU) patients. A total of 1595 isolates were collected from patients in 23 hospitals; these included Staphylococcus aureus (47.6%), coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (30.6%), enterococci (14.3%), pneumococci (2.8%) and other streptococci (3.5%). A few coryneforms, other bacilli and a Nocardia sp. were also collected. Rates of oxacillin resistance among S. aureus and CNS isolates were 59.3 and 78.5%, respectively. Vancomycin-resistant S. aureus were not detected, although two isolates (0.3%) were resistant to teicoplanin [minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) 8 mg/L]. In contrast, 13.7% of CNS were teicoplanin resistant (MICs 8-32 mg/L) and 1.2% were resistant to vancomycin. Among the enterococci, 72.5% were Enterococcus faecalis and 24.5% were Enterococcus faecium, the remainder including isolates of Enterococcus casseliflavus or Enterococcus gallinarum. Eighteen percent of E. faecium isolates were vancomycin-resistant, compared with only 3% of E. faecalis isolates. Rates of high-level gentamicin resistance in E. faecalis and E. faecium were 40 and 25%, respectively. Nine percent of pneumococci and streptococci were resistant to penicillin, with 7 and 11%, respectively, resistant to erythromycin. None of the isolates showed resistance to linezolid, with the MICs for the entire study population falling in the range of 0.5-4 mg/L.
Staphylococcus aureus is an important human pathogen and represents a growing public health burden owing to the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant clones, particularly within the hospital environment. Despite this, basic questions about the evolution and population biology of the species, particularly with regard to the extent and impact of homologous recombination, remain unanswered. We address these issues through an analysis of sequence data obtained from the characterization by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of 334 isolates of S. aureus, recovered from a well-defined population, over a limited time span. We find no significant differences in the distribution of multilocus genotypes between strains isolated from carriers and those from patients with invasive disease; there is, therefore, no evidence from MLST data, which index variation within the stable "core" genome, for the existence of hypervirulent clones of this pathogen. Examination of the sequence changes at MLST loci during clonal diversification shows that point mutations give rise to new alleles at least 15-fold more frequently than does recombination. This contrasts with the naturally transformable species Neisseria meningitidis and Streptococcus pneumoniae, in which alleles change between 5- and 10-fold more frequently by recombination than by mutation. However, phylogenetic analysis suggests that homologous recombination does contribute toward the evolution of this species over the long term. Finally, we note a striking excess of nonsynonymous substitutions in comparisons between isolates belonging to the same clonal complex compared to isolates belonging to different clonal complexes, suggesting that the removal of deleterious mutations by purifying selection may be relatively slow.
Trop Med Int Health, 8 (6), pp. 485-487. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Read more2003. Editorial: Maternal malaria: time for action.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a recently described illness of humans that has spread widely over the past 6 months. With the use of detailed epidemiologic data from Singapore and epidemic curves from other settings, we estimated the reproductive number for SARS in the absence of interventions and in the presence of control efforts. We estimate that a single infectious case of SARS will infect about three secondary cases in a population that has not yet instituted control measures. Public-health efforts to reduce transmission are expected to have a substantial impact on reducing the size of the epidemic.
Melioidosis, which is infection with the gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of sepsis in east Asia and northern Australia. In northeastern Thailand, melioidosis accounts for 20% of all community-acquired septicaemias, and causes death in 40% of treated patients. B pseudomallei is an environmental saprophyte found in wet soils. It mostly infects adults with an underlying predisposing condition, mainly diabetes mellitus. Melioidosis is characterised by formation of abscesses, especially in the lungs, liver, spleen, skeletal muscle, and prostate. In a third of paediatric cases in southeast Asia, the disease presents as parotid abscess. In northern Australia, 4% of patients present with brain stem encephalitis. Ceftazidime is the treatment of choice for severe melioidosis, but response to high dose parenteral treatment is slow (median time to abatement of fever 9 days). Maintenance antibiotic treatment is with a four-drug regimen of chloramphenicol, doxycycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or with amoxicillin-clavulanate in children and pregnant women. However, even with 20 weeks' antibiotic treatment, 10% of patients relapse. With improvements in health care and diagnostic microbiology in endemic areas of Asia, and increased travel, melioidosis will probably be recognised increasingly during the next decade.
Between June and October 2000 we conducted the first randomized trial in Laos comparing chloroquine (CQ) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria (n = 29, 42-d follow-up, age > 5 years). The proportion of patients with treatment failure was high (CQ = 78%, RIII 46%; SP = 36%, RIII 15%). The treatment policy for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Laos needs to be reviewed urgently.
Nutritional deficiency and malaria are 2 major causes of anaemia during pregnancy in tropical areas. The relationship between anaemia, its treatment with iron and folate, and malaria was studied in a prospective cohort of 2112 pregnant Karen women on the north-western border of Thailand between 1993 and 1997. The development of Plasmodium vivax malaria was associated with a past mean haematocrit > 30% (hazard ratio = 1.5, 95% CI 1.2-2, P = 0.001) and recent (< or = 30 d) iron and folate supplementation (hazard ratio = 1.7, 95% CI 1.1-2.6, P = 0.01). There were no associations with P. falciparum infections. Plasmodium vivax has a predilection for young erythrocytes, and these results suggest that pregnant women with larger numbers of circulating young red cells are at greater risk of developing P. vivax malaria. In P. vivax-endemic areas, systematic iron and folate supplementation confers both benefit and risk in pregnancy.
The effects of adding rifampin to quinine were assessed in adults with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Patients were randomized to receive oral quinine either alone (n = 30) or in combination with rifampin (n = 29). Although parasite clearance times were shorter in the quinine-rifampin-treated patients (mean +/- standard deviation, 70 +/- 21 versus 82 +/- 18 h; P = 0.023), recrudescence rates were five times higher (n = 15 of 23; 65%) than those obtained with quinine alone (n = 3 of 25; 12%), P < 0.001. Patients receiving rifampin had significantly greater conversion of quinine to 3-hydroxyquinine and consequently considerably lower concentrations of quinine in their plasma after the second day of treatment (median area under the plasma drug concentration-time curve from day zero to day 7 = 11.7 versus 47.5 micro g/ml. day, P < 0.001). Rifampin significantly increases the metabolic clearance of quinine and thereby reduces cure rates. Rifampin should not be combined with quinine for the treatment of malaria, and the doses of quinine should probably be increased in patients who are already receiving rifampin treatment.
Mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) genes of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax are associated with resistance to the antifolate antimalarial drugs. P. vivax dhfr sequences were obtained from 55 P. vivax isolates (isolates Belem and Sal 1, which are established lines originating from Latin America, and isolates from patient samples from Thailand [n = 44], India [n = 5], Iran [n = 2], and Madagascar [n = 2]) by direct sequencing of both strands of the purified PCR product and were compared to the P. vivax dhfr sequence from a P. vivax parasite isolated in Pakistan (isolate ARI/Pakistan), considered to represent the wild-type sequence. In total, 144 P. vivax dhfr mutations were found at only 12 positions, of which 4 have not been described previously. An F-->L mutation at residue 57 had been observed previously, but a novel codon (TTA) resulted in a mutation in seven of the nine mutated variant sequences. A new mutation at residue 117 resulted in S-->T (S-->N has been described previously). These two variants are the same as those observed in the P. falciparum dhfr gene at residue 108, where they are associated with different levels of antifolate resistance. Two novel mutations, I-->L at residue 13 and T-->M at residue 61, appear to be unique to P. vivax. The clinical, epidemiological, and sequence data suggest a sequential pathway for the acquisition of the P. vivax dhfr mutations. Mutations at residues 117 and 58 arise first when drug pressure is applied. Highly mutated genes carry the S-->T rather than the S-->N mutation at residue 117. Mutations at residues 57 and 61 then occur, followed by a fifth mutation at residue 13.
BMJ, 326 (7394), pp. 873-873. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more2003. A memorable patient: How a refugee community deals with adoption
The emergence of virulent Plasmodium falciparum in Africa within the past 6000 years as a result of a cascade of changes in human behavior and mosquito transmission has recently been hypothesized. Here, we provide genetic evidence for a sudden increase in the African malaria parasite population about 10,000 years ago, followed by migration to other regions on the basis of variation in 100 worldwide mitochondrial DNA sequences. However, both the world and some regional populations appear to be older (50,000 to 100,000 years old), suggesting an earlier wave of migration out of Africa, perhaps during the Pleistocene migration of human beings.
Trop Doct, 33 (2), pp. 65. | Read more2003. Malaria and the blood film.
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 348 (12), pp. 1184-1184.2003. Typhoid fever - Reply
BACKGROUND: Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), although confined to Asia, causes about 35000-50000 cases and 10000 deaths every year, and is the most important cause of encephalitis worldwide. There is no known antiviral treatment for any flavivirus. Results from in-vitro studies and work in animals have shown inteferon alfa has antiviral activity on Japanese encephalitis and other flaviviruses; therefore, we aimed to assess the efficacy of inteferon alfa-2a in Japanese encephalitis. METHODS: We did a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of interferon alfa-2a (10 million units/m2, daily for 7 days) in 112 Vietnamese children with suspected Japanese encephalitis, 87 of whom had serologically confirmed infections. Our primary endpoints were hospital death or severe sequelae at discharge. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: Overall, 21 children (19%) died, and 17 (15%) had severe sequelae. Outcome at discharge and 3 months did not differ between the two treatment groups; 20 children in the interferon group had a poor outcome (death or severe sequelae), compared with 18 in the placebo group (p=0.85, difference 0.1%, 95% CI -17.5 to 17.6%), there were no long-term side effects of interferon. INTERPRETATION: The doses of interferon alfa-2a given in this regimen did not improve the outcome of patients with Japanese encephalitis.
Antimalarial drug resistance emerges de novo predominantly in areas of low malaria transmission. Because of the logarithmic distribution of parasite numbers in human malaria infections, inadequately treated high biomass infections are a major source of de novo antimalarial resistance, whereas use of antimalarial prophylaxis provides a low resistance selection risk. Slowly eliminated antimalarials encourage resistance largely by providing a selective filter for resistant parasites acquired from others, and not by selecting resistance de novo. The de novo emergence of resistance can be prevented by use of antimalarial combinations. Artemisinin derivative combinations are particularly effective. Ensuring adequate treatment of the relatively few heavily infected patients would slow the emergence of resistance.
Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 97 (2), pp. 199-202. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Read more2003. Trichuris trichiura infection is associated with the multiplicity of Plasmodium falciparum infections, in Thailand.
Twenty-one genes encoding surface proteins belonging to the LPXTG family have been identified by in silico analysis of six Staphylococcus aureus genome sequences. Eleven genes encode previously described proteins, while 10 have not yet been characterized. Of these, eight contain the cell-wall sorting signal LPXTG responsible for covalently anchoring proteins to the cell-wall peptidoglycan. The remaining two, SasF and SasD, harbour a single residue variation in the fourth position of the LPXTG motif (LPXAG). Western blotting of lysostaphin-solubilized S. aureus cell-wall proteins demonstrated the release of SasF in the cell-wall fraction, indicating that proteins carrying LPXAG are sorted normally. Analysis of primary sequences of the Staphylococcus aureus surface (Sas) proteins indicated that several share a similar structural organization and a common signal sequence with previously characterized LPXTG proteins of S. aureus and other Gram-positive cocci. Protein SasG has 128 residue B repeats that are almost identical at the DNA level. PCR analysis indicated that recombinants with repeat length variations are present in the bacterial population whereas they are not detectable in the B-repeat-encoding region of sdrD. The sasG and sasH genes are significantly associated with invasive disease isolates compared to nasal carriage isolates. Several IgG samples purified from patients recovering from S. aureus infections had higher titres against Sas proteins than control IgG, suggesting that expression occurred during infection in some patients.
A review of case records for 1817 Thai patients with melioidosis revealed that <10% of the 382 patients with diabetes mellitus were insulin dependent. This provides evidence against the hypothesis that insulin deficiency contributes to the known susceptibility to melioidosis in patients with diabetes mellitus.
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 348 (9), pp. 860-860.2003. Hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in infection-associated acute renal failure - Reply
We present a patient who collapsed with chest pain and dyspnoea on a transatlantic flight. She was found to have Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and human immunodeficiency virus infection. Platypnoea and orthodeoxia, which have not been previously reported in association with PCP, were major features of her illness. The PCP predominantly affected her lung bases and it is likely that gravity increased intrapulmonary blood flow through poorly ventilated lung bases with failure of pulmonary vasoconstriction to increase upper zone perfusion, exacerbating desaturation on sitting up. The partial DNA sequence of the infecting P carinii was identical to previously described isolates.
JOURNAL OF UROLOGY, 169 (2), pp. 592-596. | Citations: 90 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2003. Terazosin therapy for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: A randomized, placebo controlled trial
During recent clinical malaria research in Thailand we found a high frequency of amphetamine misuse and withdrawal amongst patients admitted to hospital with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. This comorbidity may cause diagnostic confusion, alter malaria pathophysiology and lead to drug interactions.
There is mounting evidence that the release of haemozoin (beta-haematin), which is produced in large amounts during malaria infection and is released into the circulation during schizont rupture, is associated with damage to cell membranes through an oxidative mechanism. The red blood cell membrane is thus oxidised, causing rigidity of the cell. This can contribute to the pathophysiology of severe malaria, since red blood cells will have to deform considerably in order to squeeze through the microcirculation, the patency of which is disturbed by sequestered red blood cells containing the mature forms of the parasite. Rigidity of red blood cells forms a new target for intervention. Since this seems to be caused by oxidative damage to the red blood cell membrane, the anti-oxidant N-acetylcysteine is a promising candidate for adjunctive treatment in severe malaria, which still has a mortality rate as high as 20%.
The pathogenesis of tuberculous meningitis remains unclear, and there are few data describing the kinetics of the immune response during the course of its treatment. We measured concentrations of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in serial blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 21 adults who were being treated for tuberculous meningitis. CSF concentrations of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors and of matrix metalloprotein-9 and its tissue inhibitor were also measured, and blood-brain barrier permeability was assessed by the albumin and IgG partition indices. CSF concentrations of lactate, interleukin-8, and interferon-gamma were high before treatment and then decreased rapidly with antituberculosis chemotherapy. However, significant immune activation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction were still apparent after 60 days of treatment. Death was associated with high initial CSF concentrations of lactate, low numbers of white blood cells, in particular neutrophils, and low CSF glucose levels.
J Infect Dis, 188 (8), pp. 1259-1261. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2003. Burden of malaria during pregnancy in areas of stable and unstable transmission in Ethiopia during a nonepidemic year.
UNLABELLED: Atovaquone/proguanil is a fixed-dose combination tablet of two antimalarial agents and is highly effective for the prevention of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In combination with proguanil, the ability of atovaquone to inhibit parasitic mitochondrial electron transport is markedly enhanced. Both atovaquone and proguanil are active against hepatic (pre-erythrocytic) stages of P. falciparum, thereby providing causal prophylaxis and eliminating the need to continue post-travel treatment beyond 7 days. Both agents are also active against erythrocytic stages of P. falciparum, thereby providing suppressive prophylaxis. Atovaquone/proguanil is highly effective against drug-resistant strains of P. falciparum, and cross-resistance has not been observed between atovaquone and other antimalarial agents. In comparative, randomised clinical trials, there were no cases of P. falciparum malaria in nonimmune adults, adolescents and children (>/=11 kg) visiting malaria-endemic regions for </=28 days and receiving atovaquone/proguanil (250/100 mg in adults and dosage based on bodyweight in children <40 kg) once daily. The efficacy for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria was estimated at 100% for atovaquone/proguanil and for mefloquine, and 70% for chloroquine plus proguanil. In individuals (>/=11 kg) from endemic regions who may carry some immunity to malaria (semi-immune), the prophylactic efficacy rating for atovaquone/proguanil based on placebo-controlled trials was 95-100%. Atovaquone/proguanil is generally well tolerated by both adults and children. The most common treatment-related adverse events in placebo-controlled trials were headache and abdominal pain, which occurred at a rate similar to that observed with placebo. Atovaquone/proguanil therapy was associated with significantly fewer gastrointestinal adverse events than chloroquine plus proguanil, and significantly fewer neuropsychiatric adverse events than mefloquine in nonimmune individuals. Significantly fewer recipients of atovaquone/proguanil discontinued treatment because of adverse events than individuals receiving chloroquine plus proguanil or mefloquine (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Atovaquone/proguanil is a fixed-dose combination antimalarial tablet that provides effective prophylaxis of P. falciparum malaria, including drug-resistant strains. Both atovaquone and proguanil are effective against hepatic stages of P. falciparum, which means that treatment need only continue for 7 days after leaving a malaria-endemic region. Atovaquone/proguanil was generally well tolerated and was associated with fewer gastrointestinal adverse events than chloroquine plus proguanil, and fewer neuropsychiatric adverse events than mefloquine. Thus, atovaquone/proguanil provides effective prophylaxis of P. falciparum malaria and compared with other commonly used antimalarial agents has an improved tolerability profile, and, overall, a more convenient dosage regimen, particularly in the post-travel period.
Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 167 (5), pp. 673-674. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Read more2003. The management of severe falciparum malaria.
We present a case of infection by the nematode Mammomonogamus laryngeus in a patient returning to UK from Dominica. The parasite is discussed in detail and cases described previously are reviewed briefly. Human syngamosis is a rare but important cause of chronic respiratory symptoms and should be considered in those returning from endemic areas, especially the Caribbean.
PURPOSE: We evaluate terazosin therapy for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study included 100, 20 to-50-year-old subjects who met the consensus criteria for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome and had not received previous alpha-blockers. Subjects were randomized to receive terazosin with dose escalation from 1 to 5 mg. daily or placebo for 14 weeks. The primary criterion for response was scoring 2 or less ("delighted-to-mostly satisfied") on the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) quality of life item. The secondary criterion for response was greater than 50% reduction in NIH-CPSI pain score at 14 weeks. Other outcomes included total and NIH-CPSI domain scores, International Prostate Symptom Score, peak urinary flow rate, post-void residual urine and adverse effects. RESULTS: Using the primary criterion 24 of 43 evaluable subjects (56%) responded in the terazosin group compared to 14 of 43 (36%) in the placebo group (p = 0.03). Using the secondary criterion 26 of 43 subjects (60%) responded in the terazosin group compared to 16 of 43 (37%) in the placebo group (p = 0.03). The terazosin group had greater reductions (p <0.05) in NIH-CPSI total score, individual domain scores and International Prostate Symptom Score than the placebo group. There was no difference in peak urinary flow rate or post-void residual. In the terazosin group 18 patients (42%) had side effects compared to 9 (21%) in the placebo group (p = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: Terazosin proved superior to placebo for patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome who had not received alpha-blockers previously.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (National Institutes of Health Category III prostatitis) in Penang, Malaysia and estimate the proportion of cases ascertained by population survey that met consensus clinical criteria for "chronic prostatitis." METHODS: One percent of 20 to 50-year-old men in Penang, Malaysia were surveyed using the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index. A clinical evaluation that included lower urinary tract localization studies was recommended for symptomatic subjects who met the survey definition to identify bacterial prostatitis and other diagnoses that would exclude them from the consensus clinical definition for chronic prostatitis (Category III). RESULTS: Of 3147 subjects surveyed, 275 (8.7%) met the survey criteria for chronic prostatitis. The prevalence of chronic prostatitis was 8.0% among Malays, 8.9% among non-Malays, and 16% among noncitizens (P = 0.025). The prevalence increased with age: 6.3% in 20 to 30-year-old men, 8.9% in 31 to 40-year-old men, and 12.6% in 41 to 50-year-old men (P <0.001). Of 87 subjects evaluated clinically, 65 (75%) met the consensus clinical criteria for chronic prostatitis. CONCLUSIONS: Chronic prostatitis represents an important, international healthcare problem. A thorough clinical evaluation is necessary to verify that chronic prostatitis is indeed responsible for a patient's pelvic pain and lower urinary tract symptoms.
We review new data on the epidemiology of chronic prostatitis. These population-based studies used reasonable case-definitions to survey various populations from North America, Europe and Asia. Overall, 2-10% of adult men suffer from symptoms compatible with chronic prostatitis at any time and approximately 15% of men suffer from symptoms of prostatitis at some point in their lives. Other epidemiologic data suggest that chronic prostatitis may be associated with an increased risk for development of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. These data suggest that chronic prostatitis is an important international health care problem that merits increased priority from clinicians and researchers.
Commun Dis Intell Q Rep, 27 (4), pp. 526-532. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2003. Prevention of opportunistic infections in immunosuppressed patients in the tropical top end of the Northern Territory.
The population of the Top End of the Northern Territory has a high incidence of several infections of particular significance in the immunosuppressed. The following protocol for evaluation and treatment of patients prior to immunosuppression was developed in order to reduce the incidence of serious opportunistic infections. The infections discussed are Strongyloides stercoralis, tuberculosis, scabies, chronic hepatitis B, melioidosis and other bacterial infections. We recommend that all patients planned to receive more than 0.5 mg/kg/day of prednisolone for >14 days, or any more potent immunosuppressive drug, be evaluated and treated according to this protocol. Details of the rationale, evidence base, and proposed investigations and therapy for such patients are discussed.
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT IN HEALTH CARE, 21 (1), pp. 146-146. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2005. Systematic review of isolation policies in the hospital management of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A review of the literature with epidemiological and economic modeling
In an open-label trial carried out on the northwest border of Thailand, 1596 patients with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to receive atovaquone-proguanil, atovaquone-proguanil-artesunate, or artesunate-mefloquine and were followed up for 42 days. All 3 regimens were highly effective and well tolerated. Fever duration and parasite clearance times were significantly shorter among patients who received artesunate (P<.001). Polymerase chain reaction genotyping confirmed that recrudescence occurred in 13 patients who received artesunate-mefloquine (2.4%), 5 who received atovaquone-proguanil-artesunate (0.9%), and 15 who received atovaquone-proguanil (2.8%). Adding artesunate to atovaquone-proguanil reduced the risk of failure 3-fold (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-8.2) and subsequent gametocyte carriage 21-fold (95% CI, 14-30). Gastrointestinal complaints in the first 48 h after initiation of treatment were more common among artesunate recipients, but after day 2, dizziness, sleep disturbance, nausea, vomiting, and anorexia were more common among mefloquine recipients (P< or =.014). Artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil is a highly effective and well-tolerated treatment for multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria.
Research assessing the neurological development of infants in developing countries is scanty as no suitable standardised tests are available for field-use in constrained circumstances. We describe the development and application of two simple assessments. Firstly, we aimed to develop a test suitable for assessing acute neurological disturbances caused by such diverse effects as infections, drugs or toxins. This test (Shoklo Neurological Test) is aimed at infants between 9 and 36 months. The second test (Shoklo Developmental Test) is aimed not only to follow the evolution of the signs tested initially in the acute phase but also to evaluate later neurodevelopmental sequelae which might be caused by the same events. The latter test is suitable for infants aged from 3 to 12 months. Both tests can be performed easily in non-optimal conditions. The examinations were tested in a cohort of infants from a Karen refugee camp and administered in a rural setting by health workers, after appropriate training. In order to validate the tests we also applied them to a cohort of London infants. The Griffiths Developmental Scales were applied in the same infants and both the Shoklo Neurological and the Shoklo Developmental Tests showed good correlation with this standardised neurodevelopmental assessment.
Vietnamese children and adolescents with diphtheritic myocarditis and severe conduction abnormalities were treated prospectively with temporary insertion of a cardiac pacemaker. Five of 32 patients died before the procedure could be performed; the remaining 27 patients underwent successful pacemaker insertion. In children and adolescents with diphtheritic myocarditis and severe conduction defects, temporary insertion of a cardiac pacemaker may improve the outcome.
There is a general lack of data on the different patterns of dynamics and impact of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in South-East Asia and the impact the disease has on different sectors, in particular the smallholder sector in which livestock play such an important role. A pilot study was conducted of a recent outbreak of FMD that swept across the southern part of Laos during the second half of 1999. The main objectives of the study were to investigate the possible routes of transmission of the disease and the impact of FMD on the predominantly smallholder rice/livestock production system of Savannakhet Province. The study was performed by group interviews of farmers in ten villages, located in five districts across the width of the Province, and of district and provincial veterinary officials. Results suggested that the infection had probably been introduced from the eastern border and had spread rapidly west, along a principal trading route of pigs, cattle and buffalo. In the process, many villages adjacent to this trading route became infected and the disease spread rapidly within infected villages. The disease had a significant impact on the agricultural system, but the impact would have been much greater had the epidemic occurred during the season of paddy field preparation. Mortality was observed in young buffalo, cattle and pigs, and long periods of morbidity were observed in buffalo, often requiring extended treatment. The sale of livestock for cash was severely restricted, creating additional repercussions on that sector. It was concluded that the most appropriate approach to FMD control would be to prevent infected animals from entering the principal trading routes for pigs, cattle and buffalo. This will require the involvement of all the stakeholders of the livestock industry, including traders and veterinary authorities. A further tactic to be considered would be to protect livestock systems adjacent to these trading routes by vaccination. An economic study of the market incentives of both traders and smallholders is recommended and this approach is advocated in other parts of South-East Asia where livestock trading routes present the major risk of FMD outbreaks.
International Journal for Parasitology, 32 (13), pp. 1567-1573. | Read more2002. Transport processes in Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes: potential as new drug targets
N Engl J Med, 347 (22), pp. 1770-1782. | Citations: 787 (Scopus) | Read more2002. Typhoid fever.
Both Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum malaria can cause the delivery of low birthweight babies. In this report, we have quantitated haemozoin levels in placentas from women living on the Thai-Burmese border in a region of low transmission for both P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria from June 1995 to January 2000. P. falciparum malaria infections during pregnancy lead to the accumulation of haemozoin (malaria pigment) in the placenta, especially in infections near term and in primigravid pregnancies. Haemozoin concentration was not associated with adverse birth outcomes. Women with P. vivax infections during pregnancy do not have measurable levels of placental haemozoin suggesting that P. vivax-infected erythrocytes do not accumulate in the placenta as much as P. falciparum-infected ones.
We investigated the integrity of the gluconeogenic pathway in severe malaria using alanine metabolism as a measure. Alanine disposition and liver blood flow, assessed by indocyanine green (ICG) clearance, were measured simultaneously in 10 patients with falciparum malaria (six severe and four moderately severe malaria). After intravenous infusion of alanine (0.3 g/kg), glucose increments (AUC0-55 min) were lower in patients with severe malaria than in those with moderately severe malaria (median = 508 vs. 808 mmol/min/l; P = 0.055). There were no significant differences in the other metabolite increments (alanine, lactate and pyruvate; P >/= 0.27). The two fatal cases had markedly delayed alanine removal (larger AUC0-55 min), prolonged T(1/2) and slower clearance (P </= 0.007). Overall the increments in blood alanine correlated directly with lactate increments (rs = 0.84; P = 0.002) and inversely with glucose (rs = -0.70; P = 0.025). Between acute and convalescent studies, the increments (AUC0-55 min) of alanine and glucose were not significantly different (P >/= 0.07) but the increments of lactate and pyruvate were lower in convalescence. Thus, the ratio of the increments of alanine to those of lactate and pyruvate were significantly higher in the convalescent study (P </= 0.017). The mean (SD) ICG clearance during acute malaria was not significantly different to that in convalescence (21.6 +/- 9.3 vs. 34.1 +/- 15.5 ml/min/kg; P = 0.25). During the acute study, there was a significant inverse correlation between ICG clearance and the post-infusion increments of lactate (rs = -0.63, P = 0.049) and pyruvate (rs = -0.74, P = 0.014). These data indicate that alanine clearance is impaired in acute falciparum malaria in proportion to the severity of illness and suggest an important role for anaerobic glycolysis in the pathogenesis of hypoglycaemia in severe malaria.
Surveillance for Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant to penicillin and other antimicrobial agents is necessary to define the optimal empirical antibiotic therapy for meningitis in resource-poor countries such as Vietnam. The clinical and microbiological features of 100 patients admitted to the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, between 1993 and 2002 with invasive pneumococcal disease were studied. A penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococcus (MIC, > or =0.1 micro g/ml) was isolated from the blood or cerebrospinal fluid of 8% of patients (2 of 24) between 1993 and 1995 but 56% (20 of 36) during 1999 to 2002 (P < 0.0001). Pneumococcal isolates resistant to penicillin (MIC, > or =2.0 micro g/ml) increased from 0% (0 of 24) to 28% (10 of 36) (P = 0.002). Only one isolate was ceftriaxone resistant (MIC, 2.0 micro g/ml). Penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci were isolated from 78% of children younger than 15 years (28 of 36) compared with 25% of adults (16 of 64) (P = 0.0001). Isolation of a penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococcus in adults with meningitis was independently associated with referral from another hospital (P = 0.005) and previous antibiotic therapy (P = 0.025). Multilocus sequence typing showed that 86% of the invasive penicillin-resistant pneumococcus isolates tested (12 of 14) were of the Spain(23F)-1 clone. The serotypes of >95% of the penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci were included in the currently available pneumococcal vaccines. Our findings point to the recent introduction and spread of the Spain(23F)-1 clone of penicillin-resistant pneumococci in Vietnam. Simple clinical predictors can be used to guide empirical antibiotic therapy of meningitis. Pneumococcal vaccination may help to control this problem.
BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis is difficult. Discrimination of cases from those of bacterial meningitis by clinical features alone is often impossible, and current laboratory methods remain inadequate or inaccessible in developing countries. We aimed to create a simple diagnostic aid for tuberculous meningitis in adults on the basis of clinical and basic laboratory features. METHODS: We compared the clinical and laboratory features on admission of 251 adults at an infectious disease hospital in Vietnam who satisfied diagnostic criteria for tuberculous (n=143) or bacterial (n=108) meningitis. Features independently predictive of tuberculous meningitis were modelled by multivariate logistic regression to create a diagnostic rule, and by a classification-tree method. The performance of both diagnostic aids was assessed by resubstitution and prospective test data methods. FINDINGS: Five features were predictive of a diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis: age, length of history, white-blood-cell count, total cerebrospinal fluid white-cell count, and cerebrospinal fluid neutrophil proportion. A diagnostic rule developed from these features was 97% sensitive and 91% specific by resubstitution, and 86% sensitive and 79% specific when applied prospectively to a further 42 adults with tuberculous meningitis, and 33 with bacterial meningitis. The corresponding values for the classification tree were 99% and 93% by resubstitution, and 88% and 70% with prospective test data. INTERPRETATION: This study suggests that simple clinical and laboratory data can help in the diagnosis of adults with tuberculous meningitis. Although the usefulness of the diagnostic rule will vary depending on the prevalence of tuberculosis and HIV-1 infection, we suggest it be applied to adults with meningitis and a low cerebrospinal fluid glucose, particularly in settings with limited microbiological resources.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of Staphylococcus aureus is well suited to the study of global or long-term epidemiology, but its role in local epidemiology has not been defined. The present study has compared MLST with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) by using S. aureus isolates associated with carriage and disease in a busy regional renal unit. One hundred forty-four patients were prospectively recruited, of whom 103 were receiving hemodialysis and 41 were on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Three nasal swab specimens were obtained 1 month apart on entering the study. A nasal swab was positive for S. aureus on at least one occasion in 50 patients (35%). Typing of the 104 carriage isolates demonstrated 21 PFGE types and 21 sequence types (STs). Thirty-one carriers had two or more positive nasal swabs; of these, the isolates in all swabs from a given carrier had identical PFGE types for 29 carriers; the isolates in all of the same 29 swabs had identical STs. The carriage strain in two patients changed both PFGE type and STs during the period of swabbing. Eight patients (6%) had an episode of S. aureus bacteremia during the 12-month study period, and two of these were nasal carriers. One of these invasive isolates had the same PFGE type and ST as the carriage isolate. There were no differences between Simpson's index of diversity for PFGE and Simpson's index of diversity for MLST for both invasive and carriage isolates, suggesting that the two methods have very similar discriminatory abilities. We conclude that PFGE and MLST performed equally in this study.
Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 6 (10), pp. 865-871. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2002. Isoniazid resistance, mycobacterial genotype and outcome in Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis.
SETTING: Centre for Tropical Diseases, a 500-bed hospital for infectious diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. OBJECTIVE: The factors that determine outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis are poorly understood. The objective of the study was to investigate the relationship between admission clinical features, HIV infection, drug resistance, mycobacterial genotype and outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis. DESIGN: Clinical and laboratory data were recorded prospectively for 56 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis confirmed by culture of cerebrospinal fluid. Variables associated with in-hospital mortality, IV infection, drug resistance and microbial genotype were assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis. RESULTS: Admission coma score independently predicted death in hospital (OR 0.73, 95%CI 0.61-0.87, P = 0.001). HIV-infected adults with tuberculous meningitis were more likely to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to isoniazid (P = 0.011) and streptomycin (P = 0.002). Isoniazid resistance, streptomycin resistance, HIV infection and microbial genotype were not associated with increased in-hospital mortality. CONCLUSION: Treatment of tuberculous meningitis before the onset of coma saves lives. Resistance to isoniazid and/or streptomycin does not appear to affect outcome.
Intramuscular administration of high doses of artemether and arteether to experimental mammals produces selective damage to brain stem centers involved predominantly in auditory processing and vestibular reflexes. The relationship between clinical signs of neurotoxicity and neuropathologic toxicity was studied in the mouse. Intramuscular artemether (50-100 mg/kg/day for 28 days) caused dose-dependent neuropathologic damage to the brain stem. There was no pathologic evidence of neuronal death in mice receiving either oral artemether, or oral or intramuscular artesunate, in doses up to 300 mg/kg/day. The neurons in the lower brain stem trapezoid nucleus, the gigantocellular reticular nucleus, and the inferior cerebellar peduncle were the most sensitive to the toxic effects of artemether. All mice with neuropathologic changes also showed behavioral changes, whereas in some mice with gait disturbance, no corresponding histopathologic damage could be detected. Thus clinical assessment was a sensitive measure of neurotoxicity. There may be a reversible component to artemether neurotoxicity.
Antimalarial drug efficacy in uncomplicated malaria should be assessed parasitologically in large, community-based trials, enrolling the age groups most affected by clinical disease. For rapidly eliminated drugs, a 28-day follow-up is needed, but, for slowly eliminated drugs, up to nine weeks could be required to document all recrudescences, and, when possible, the drug levels should also be measured. The WHO 14-day assessments are neither sensitive nor specific. In tropical Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale infections treated with chloroquine, the first relapse is usually suppressed by residual drug levels. A relapse cannot be distinguished confidently from a recrudescence. Host immunity is a major contributor to the therapeutic response, and can make failing drugs appear effective.
BACKGROUND: In some parts of the world, peritoneal dialysis is widely used for renal replacement in acute renal failure. In resource-rich countries, it has been supplanted in recent years by hemodialysis and, most recently, by hemofiltration and associated techniques. The relative efficacy of peritoneal dialysis and hemofiltration is not known. METHODS: We conducted an open, randomized comparison of pumped venovenous hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in patients with infection-associated acute renal failure in an infectious-disease referral hospital in Vietnam. RESULTS: Seventy adult patients with severe falciparum malaria (48 patients) or sepsis (22 patients) were enrolled; 34 were assigned to hemofiltration and 36 to peritoneal dialysis. The mortality rate was 47 percent (17 patients) in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis, as compared with 15 percent (5 patients) in the group assigned to hemofiltration (P=0.005). The rates of resolution of acidosis and of decline in the serum creatinine concentration in the group assigned to hemofiltration were more than twice those in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis (P<0.005), and renal-replacement therapy was required for a significantly shorter period. In a multivariate analysis, the odds ratio for death was 5.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 16) and that for a need for future dialysis was 4.7 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 17) in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis. The cost of hemofiltration per survivor was less than half that of peritoneal dialysis, and the cost per life saved was less than one third. CONCLUSIONS: Hemofiltration is superior to peritoneal dialysis in the treatment of infection-associated acute renal failure.
We conducted a trial of oral acetazolamide for the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis in 22 Thai adults with headache and an opening cerebrospinal fluid pressure of >/=200 mm H(2)0. The trial was terminated prematurely because patients who received acetazolamide developed significantly lower venous bicarbonate levels and higher chloride levels and had more-frequent serious adverse events than did subjects who received placebo.
In falciparum malaria, the malaria parasite induces changes at the infected red blood cell surface that lead to adherence to vascular endothelium and other red blood cells. As a result, the more mature stages of Plasmodium falciparum are sequestered in the microvasculature and cause vital organ dysfunction, whereas the ring stages circulate in the blood stream. Malaria is characterized by fever. We have studied the effect of febrile temperatures on the cytoadherence in vitro of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes. Freshly obtained ring-stage-infected red blood cells from 10 patients with acute falciparum malaria did not adhere to the principle vascular adherence receptors CD36 or intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1). However, after a brief period of heating to 40 degrees C, all ring-infected red blood cells adhered to CD36, and some isolates adhered to ICAM-1, whereas controls incubated at 37 degrees C did not. Heating to 40 degrees C accelerated cytoadherence and doubled the maximum cytoadherence observed (P < 0.01). Erythrocytes infected by ring-stages of the ICAM-1 binding clone A4var also did not cytoadhere at 37 degrees C, but after heating to febrile temperatures bound to both CD36 and ICAM-1. Adherence of red blood cells infected with trophozoites was also increased considerably by brief heating. The factor responsible for heat induced adherence was shown to be the parasite derived variant surface protein PfEMP-1. RNA analysis showed that levels of var mRNA did not differ between heated and unheated ring-stage parasites. Thus fever-induced adherence appeared to involve increased trafficking of PfEMP-1 to the erythrocyte membrane. Fever induced cytoadherence is likely to have important pathological consequences and may explain both clinical deterioration with fever in severe malaria and the effects of antipyretics on parasite clearance.
Rolling back malaria is possible. Tools are available but they are not used. Several countries deploy, as their national malaria control treatment policy, drugs that are no longer effective. New and innovative methods of vector control, diagnosis, and treatment should be developed, and work towards development of new drugs and a vaccine should receive much greater support. But the pressing need, in the face of increasing global mortality and general lack of progress in malaria control, is research into the best methods of deploying and using existing approaches, particularly insecticide-treated mosquito nets, rapid methods of diagnosis, and artemisinin-based combination treatments. Evidence on these approaches should provide national governments and international donors with the cost-benefit information that would justify much-needed increases in global support for appropriate and effective malaria control.
Most cases of severe Staphylococcus aureus disease cannot be explained by the action of a single virulence determinant, and it is likely that a number of factors act in combination during the infective process. This study examined the relationship between disease in humans and a large number of putative virulence determinants, both individually and in combination. S. aureus isolates (n = 334) from healthy blood donors and from patients with invasive disease were compared for variation in the presence of 33 putative virulence determinants. After adjusting for the effect of clonality, seven determinants (fnbA, cna, sdrE, sej, eta, hlg, and ica) were significantly more common in invasive isolates. All seven factors contributed independently to virulence. No single factor predominated as the major predictor of virulence, their effects appearing to be cumulative. No combinations of the seven genes were either more or less likely to cause disease than others with the same number of virulence-associated genes. There was evidence of considerable horizontal transfer of genes on a background of clonality. Our findings also suggested that allelic variants of a polymorphic locus can make different contributions to the disease process, further study of which is likely to expand our understanding of staphylococcal disease pathogenesis.
Unless new strategies are deployed to combat malaria, the already enormous health and economic burden related to the disease in tropical countries is bound to worsen. The main obstacle to malaria control is the emergence of drug resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum. As for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, the use of combinations of antimalarial drugs reduces the risk of selecting for resistant mutants of the plasmodial parasites. In large field trials, the combination of an artemisinin derivative and a partner drug with an unrelated mode of action (in this case mefloquine), has shown a remarkable double effect: preventing the emergence and spread of drug resistance, and interrupting the transmission of P. falciparum. This has opened the way for a new approach to the deployment of antimalarial drugs. Coupled with early detection and confirmed diagnosis, this strategy represents the only way forward in the chemotherapy of malaria. Massive economic assistance will be needed to detect and treat adequately the estimated 500 million cases of malaria per year, but without radical action there is no prospect of 'Rolling Back' malaria.
Penicilliosis, caused by the dimorphic fungus Penicillium marneffei, is an important opportunistic systemic fungal infection affecting immunocompromised individuals living in areas where penicilliosis is endemic. We have demonstrated previously that a urinary enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with purified rabbit polyclonal antibody against killed whole-fission-form arthroconidia of P. marneffei was specific and highly sensitive for the diagnosis of penicilliosis. In this study, a dot blot ELISA and a latex agglutination (LA) test were developed with the same polyclonal antibody and compared with the ELISA for the detection of P. marneffei urinary antigen. Urine specimens from 37 patients with culture-proven penicilliosis and 300 controls (52 healthy subjects and 248 hospitalized patients without penicilliosis) were tested. Antigen was detected in urine from all 37 (100%) penicilliosis patients by the LA test, 35 (94.6%) penicilliosis patients by the dot blot ELISA, and 36 (97.3%) penicilliosis patients by the ELISA. False-positive results were found by the three assays for 2 (0.7%), 8 (2.7%), and 6 (2%) of 300 controls, respectively. The overall sensitivities of the diagnostic tests were as follows: dot blot ELISA, 94.6%; ELISA, 97.3%; and LA test, 100% (specificities, 97.3, 98, and 99.3%, respectively). The LA test is simple, robust, rapid, and convenient and should prove to be an important addition to the existing diagnostic tests for penicilliosis.
Hosp Med, 63 (9), pp. 519.2002. Better systems are still needed.
Lancet, 360 (9332), pp. 515. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2002. Retinal haemorrhage in P falciparum malaria.
Journal of Biological Chemistry, 277 (34), pp. 30942-30949. | Read more2002. Mutational Analysis of the Hexose Transporter ofPlasmodium falciparumand Development of a Three-dimensional Model
Blood, 100 (4), pp. 1172-1176. | Citations: 102 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2002. Hemoglobin E: a balanced polymorphism protective against high parasitemias and thus severe P falciparum malaria.
Hemoglobin E is very common in parts of Southeast Asia. The possible malaria protective effects of this and other inherited hemoglobin abnormalities prevalent in Thailand were assessed in a mixed erythrocyte invasion assay. In vitro, starting at 1% parasitemia, Plasmodium falciparum preferentially invaded normal (HbAA) compared to abnormal hemoglobin (HbH, AE, EE, HCS, beta-thalassemia E) red cells (HRBCs). The median (range) ratio of parasitization of HRBCs (n = 109) compared to the controls of different major blood groups was 0.40 (0.08, 0.98), less than half that of the normal red cells (NRBCs) compared to their controls 0.88 (0.53, 1.4; P =.001). The median (range) parasitemia in the HRBCs was 2% (0.1%-9%) compared to 5.2% (1.2%-16.3%) in the NRBCs (P =.001). The proportion of the RBC population that is susceptible to malaria parasite invasion can be described by a selectivity index (SI; observed number of multiply invaded RBCs/number predicted). The heterozygote AE cells differed markedly from all the other cells tested with invasion restricted to approximately 25% of the RBCs; the median (range) SI was 3.8 (1-15) compared with 0.75 (0.1-0.9) for EE RBCs (P <.01). Despite their microcytosis, AE cells are functionally relatively normal in contrast to the RBCs from the other hemoglobinopathies studied. These findings suggest that HbAE erythrocytes have an unidentified membrane abnormality that renders the majority of the RBC population relatively resistant to invasion by P falciparum. This would not protect from uncomplicated malaria infections but would prevent the development of heavy parasite burdens and is consistent with the "Haldane" hypothesis of heterozygote protection against severe malaria for hemoglobin E.
OBJECTIVE: Quinine is an important antimalarial drug that is metabolised mainly by the hepatic mixed-function microsomal enzyme cytochrome P(450). Cigarette smoking in healthy volunteers has been reported to enhance quinine clearance. The present study evaluated the effects of smoking on quinine pharmacokinetics in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with a 7-day course of oral quinine. Of 22 studied male patients, 10 were regular smokers and 12 were non-smokers. METHODS: All patients were treated with a 7-day oral regimen of quinine sulfate (10 mg salt/kg three times a day). Serial venous blood samples were taken for quinine levels before and during treatment at 12 h and 24 h and then daily until day 7. Plasma quinine and 3-hydroxyquinine concentrations were assayed using high-performance liquid chromatography. Quinine pharmacokinetics were evaluated using non-compartmental modelling. RESULTS: All patients recovered, and there were no significant differences in clinical responses or cure rates between the two studied groups ( P> or =0.32). The median (range) fever clearance time was 51 h (4-152 h) and mean (SD) parasite clearance time was 74+/-28 h. The overall median times to maximum concentrations of quinine and its main metabolite 3-hydroxyquinine were 1.5 days and 4.0 days, respectively. The maximum concentrations of quinine were approximately tenfold higher than 3-hydroxyquinine. There were no significant differences in any pharmacokinetic variables for the parent compound or metabolite between the two groups. The median area under the plasma drug concentration-time curve to day 7 (AUC(0-7)) of quinine in non-smokers was 67.0 micro g/ml/day and in smokers was 51.3 micro g/ml/day, and AUC(0-7) values of 3-hydroxyquinine were 6.2 micro g/ml/day and 4.8 micro g/ml/day, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results indicated that cigarette smoking has no significant effects on quinine pharmacokinetics or the therapeutic response in patients with falciparum malaria.
The ex vivo cytokine response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of whole blood from patients with typhoid fever was investigated. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha release by LPS-stimulated blood was found to be lower during acute typhoid fever than after a course of antimicrobial therapy (P<or=.001). Ex vivo interleukin (IL)-1beta, but not IL-1 receptor antagonist, release was also depressed during the acute stage of typhoid fever. Low ex vivo production of TNF-alpha was associated with delayed recovery. No association was found between the TNFA-308 promoter polymorphism and LPS-induced TNF-alpha release, either during an active infection or after treatment. In acute typhoid fever, the ability of peripheral blood leukocytes to release proinflammatory cytokines in response to an inflammatory stimulus is depressed, and this may contribute to delayed recovery following antibiotic treatment.
Dengue is an increasingly important cause of morbidity and mortality in the tropics, with more than a billion people at risk each year. Immunologic enhancement is thought to contribute to disease pathogenesis. Only a very small proportion of infected individuals develop life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). In a large case-control study with 400 DHF patients and 300 matched controls, we have assessed five polymorphic non-HLA host genetic factors that might influence susceptibility to DHF. The less frequent t allele of a variant at position 352 of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene was associated with resistance to severe dengue (P = 0.03). Homozygotes for the arginine variant at position 131 of the Fc gammaRIIA gene, who have less capacity to opsonize IgG2 antibodies, may also be protected from DHF (one-tailed P = 0.03). No associations were found with polymorphisms in the mannose binding lectin, interleukin-1 (IL-4), and IL-1 receptor antagonist genes. Further studies to confirm these associations are warranted.
J Med Assoc Thai, 85 (7), pp. 757-764. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2002. Clinical and mycological responses to fluconazole and fluconazole MIC in oropharyngeal candidiasis in HIV-infected patients.
INTRODUCTION: OPC is a common opportunistic infection in HIV-infected patients. Although some patients are asymptomatic, progression of the disease may occur leading to esophageal candidiasis. Fluconazole resistant candidiasis has been reported in several international studies. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to test the MICs (minimal inhibitory concentrations) to fluconazole of Candida species isolated from mouthwash specimens of 54 HIV positive patients with oral candidiasis. Clinical and mycological responses to fluconazole were also assessed in 16 patients. MATERIAL AND METHOD: This was a prospective study. Mouthwash specimens were cultured on sabouraud dextrose agar twice. Candida species identification was performed and MICs for fluconazole were obtained using NCCLS guidelines. Clinical and mycological responses were assessed on day 14 and 42 in 16 patients who received a 14-day course of fluconazole. RESULTS: 48/54 patients (88.89%) were found to carry pure C. albicans. The other 6 patients (11.11%) had mixed Candida species on cultures. Among these 6 patients, 5 patients had mixed C. albicans and C. glabrata, and 1 patient had C. albicans and C. krusei. Fluconazole MICs of C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. krusei ranged from 0.125-32 (median=0.250), 4-64 (median=2), and 8 g/L respectively. This study showed that the MICs to fluconazole of oropharyngeal Candida was a good predictor of the therapeutic responses.
Current methods used to genotype point mutations in Plasmodium falciparum genes involved in resistance to antifolate drugs include restriction digestion of PCR products, allele-specific amplification or sequencing. Here we demonstrate that known point mutations in dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthase can be scored quickly and accurately by single-nucleotide primer extension and detection of florescent products on a capillary sequencer. We use this method to genotype parasites in natural infections from the Thai-Myanmar border. This approach could greatly simplify large-scale screening of resistance mutations of the type required for evaluating and updating antimalarial drug treatment policies. The method can be easily adapted to other P. falciparum genes and will greatly simplify scoring of point mutations in this and other parasitic organisms.
Pulmonary edema that results from increased pulmonary capillary permeability is the most important pulmonary manifestation of malaria. It is a common feature of severe malaria but also occurs rarely in milder disease. Mortality rate is high. The pathophysiologic basis is unclear. In the field, there is much clinical overlap between malaria and pneumonia in children. For physicians in nonmalarial areas, malaria always should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a sick patient who has traveled to a malaria-endemic area. More research is needed to better define and tailor treatments for malarial and nonmalarial ALI and ARDS.
A rapid method for the identification and differentiation of Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia thailandensis colonies is described. It consists of simultaneous use of 2 monoclonal antibody-based latex agglutination test systems. The anti-lipopolysaccharide test reacts with both species, whereas the anti-exopolysaccharide reacts only with B. pseudomallei. Compared with classical biochemical tests, the method is highly reproducible and accurate. It is particularly useful for the identification of the organisms in environmental specimens, which may contain both of these Burkholderia species.
In acute malaria, red blood cells (RBCs) that have been parasitized, but no longer contain a malaria parasite, are found in the circulation (ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen [RESA]-RBCs). These are thought to arise by splenic removal of dead or damaged intraerythrocytic parasites and return of the intact RBCs to the circulation. In a study of 5 patients with acute falciparum malaria who had previously undergone splenectomy, it was found that none of these 5 patients had any circulating RESA-RBCs, in contrast to the uniform finding of RESA-RBCs in all patients with acute malaria and intact spleens. Parasite clearance after artesunate treatment was markedly prolonged, although the parasites appeared to be dead and could not be cultured ex vivo. These observations confirm the central role of the spleen in the clearance of parasitized RBCs after antimalarial treatment with an artemisinin derivative. Current criteria for high-grade antimalarial drug resistance that are based on changes in parasitemia are not appropriate for asplenic patients.
A prospective case-control study was conducted in a referral hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to compare the clinical and laboratory features and outcome of severe falciparum malaria in injection drug abusers (IDAs) with those of patients who had acquired malaria by mosquito bite. From 1991 to 1996, 70 IDAs were admitted to the hospital, of whom at least 32 had acquired malaria by needle sharing. Although IDAs were more likely than control patients with severe malaria to be malnourished and to have coincident hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus infections, the overall rates of mortality, complications, and recovery were similar in the 2 groups. The route of malaria acquisition did not affect the outcome of severe malaria. The management of severe malaria in IDAs is similar to that for other patients.
BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 324 (7346), pp. 1157-1158. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite)2002. Immunity conferred by smallpox vaccine - How long does immunity last? Reply
BMJ, 324 (7346), pp. 1157. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Read more2002. Immunity conferred by smallpox vaccine. How long does immunity last?
BACKGROUND: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in developed and developing countries. No common genetic determinants of susceptibility have been defined. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key mediator of innate host immunity that activates the complement pathway and directly opsonises some infectious pathogens. Mutations in three codons in the MBL gene have been identified, and individuals homozygous for a mutant genotype have very little or no serum MBL. We did a case-control study in the UK to assess whether these mutant genotypes were associated with invasive pneumococcal disease. METHODS: The frequencies of genotypes defined by the three mutations in codons 52, 54, and 57, and a functional promoter polymorphism at -221, were compared in a two-stage study of 337 patients with invasive pneumococcal disease and 1032 controls. All individuals were recruited from an ethnically homogeneous white population in Oxfordshire, UK. Patients had S pneumoniae isolated from a normally sterile site. FINDINGS: In our initial set of participants, 28 (12%) of 229 patients and 18 (5%) of 353 controls were homozygotes for MBL codon variants (odds ratio 2.59 [95% CI 1.39-4.83], p=0.002). Neither heterozygosity for these codon variants nor the promoter polymorphism was associated with susceptibility. In a confirmatory study, 11 (10%) of 108 patients were MBL homozygotes compared with 36 (5%) of 679 controls (p=0.046). INTERPRETATION: Homozygotes for MBL codon variants, who represent about 5% of north Europeans and north Americans and larger proportions of populations in many developing countries, could be at substantially increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.
As reduced red cell deformability (RCD) can contribute to derangement of the microcirculation, a central feature in the pathogenesis of severe malaria, RCD was measured with a laser diffraction technique in 232 consecutive patients with falciparum malaria on the Kenyan coast, of whom 99 had severe disease. RCD on admission (measured as elongation index [EI] at shear stress = 1.7 Pa) was reduced in proportion with severity of disease (fatal outcome: EI = 0.182 (SD = 0.048), survivors from severe disease: EI = 0.217 (SD = 0.043), uncomplicated malaria: EI = 0.249 (SD = 0.030), healthy controls: EI = 0.268 (SD = 0.022). All but 2 survivors with severe malaria and rigid erythrocytes received a blood transfusion restoring RCD. Reduced RCD may contribute to impaired microcirculatory flow and a fatal outcome in falciparum malaria. RCD can be improved by blood transfusion. Since severely reduced RCD has a strong predictive value for mortality, blood transfusion possibly improves disease outcome not only through its beneficial effect on anaemia but also on RCD.
Japanese encephalitis (JE) causes at least 10 000 deaths each year. Death is presumed to result from infection, dysfunction and destruction of neurons. There is no antiviral treatment. Seizures and raised intracranial pressure (ICP) are potentially treatable complications, but their importance in the pathophysiology of JE is unknown. Between 1994 and 1997 we prospectively studied patients with suspected CNS infections referred to an infectious disease referral hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We diagnosed Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), using antibody detection, culture of serum and CSF, and immunohistochemistry of autopsy material. We observed patients for seizures and clinical signs of brainstem herniation, measured CSF opening pressures (OP) and, on a subset of patients, performed EEGs. Of 555 patients with suspected CNS infections, 144 (26%) were infected with JEV (134 children and 10 adults). Seventeen (12%) patients died and 33 (23%) had severe sequelae. Of the 40 patients with witnessed seizures, 24 (62%) died or had severe sequelae, compared with 26 (14%) of 104 with no witnessed seizures [odds ratio (OR) 4.50, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.94-10.52, P < 0.0001]. Patients in status epilepticus (n = 25), including 15 with subtle motor seizures, were more likely to die than those with other seizures (P = 0.003). Patients with seizures were more likely to have an elevated CSF OP (P = 0.033) and to develop brainstem signs compatible with herniation syndromes (P < 0.0001). Of 11 patients with CSF OP > or =25 cm, five (46%) died, compared with seven (9%) of 80 patients with lower pressures [OR 8.69, 95% CI 1.73-45.39, P = 0.005). Of the 50 patients with a poor outcome, 35 (70%) had signs compatible with herniation syndromes (including 19 with signs of rostro-caudal progression), compared with nine (10%) of those with better outcomes (P < 0.0001). Of 11 patients with CSF OP > or =25 cm, five (46%) died, compared with seven (9%) of 80 patients with lower pressures (OR 8.69, 95% CI 1.73-45.39, P = 0.005). The combination of coma, multiple seizures, brainstem signs and illness for 7 or more days was an accurate predictor of outcome, correctly identifying 42 (84%) of 50 patients with a poor outcome and 82 (87%) of 94 with a better outcome. These findings suggest that in JE, seizures and raised ICP may be important causes of death. The outcome may be improved by measures aimed at controlling these secondary complications.
pHCM2 is a 106 kbp cryptic plasmid harboured by Salmonella typhi CT18, originally isolated from a typhoid patient in Vietnam. The genome of S. typhi CT18, including pHCM2, has recently been completely sequenced and annotated. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that 57% of the coding sequences (CDSs) encoded on pHCM2 display over 97% DNA sequence identity to the virulence-associated plasmid of Yersinia pestis, pFra. pHCM2 encodes no obvious virulence-associated determinants or antibiotic resistance genes but does encode a wide array of putative genes directly related to DNA metabolism and replication. PCR analysis of a series of S. typhi isolates from Vietnam detected pHCM2-related DNA sequences in some S. typhi isolated before, but not after, 1994. Similar pHCM2-related sequences were also detected in S. typhi isolated from other regions of South East Asia and Pakistan but not elsewhere in the world.
This paper seeks to define and quantify the influence of drug elimination half-life on the evolution of antimalarial drug resistance. There are assumed to be three general classes of susceptibility of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to a drug: Res0, the original, susceptible wildtype; Res1, a group of intermediate levels of susceptibility that are more tolerant of the drug but still cleared by treatment; and Res2, which is completely resistant to the drug. Res1 and Res2 resistance both evolve much faster if the antimalarial drug has a long half-life. We show that previous models have significantly underestimated the rate of evolution of Res2 resistance by omitting the effects of drug half-life. The methodology has been extended to investigate (i) the effects of using drugs in combination, particularly when the components have differing half-lives, and (ii) the specific example of the development of resistance to the antimalarial pyrimethamine-sulphadoxine. An important detail of the model is the development of drug resistance in two separate phases. In phase A, Res1 is spreading and replacing the original sensitive forms while Res2 remains at a low level. Phase B starts once parasites are selected that can escape drug action (Res1 genotypes with borderline chemosensitivity, and Res2): these parasites are rapidly selected, a process that leads to widespread clinical failure. Drug treatment is clinically successful during phase A, and health workers may be unaware of the substantial changes in parasite population genetic structure that predicate the onset of phase B. Surveillance programs are essential, following the introduction of a new drug, to monitor effectively changes in treatment efficacy and thus provide advance warning of drug failure. The model is also applicable to the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria: in particular, the need for these models to incorporate drug pharmacokinetics to avoid potentially large errors in their predictions.
BMJ, 324 (7341), pp. 800-801. | Citations: 74 (Scopus) | Read more2002. Murder by fake drugs.
Plasma antimalarial activity following oral artesunate or dihydroartemisinin (DHA) treatment was measured by a bioassay in 18 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The mean antimalarial activity in terms of the bioavailability of DHA relative to that of artesunate did not differ significantly from 1, suggesting that DHA can be formulated to be an acceptable oral alternative to artesunate.
ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 46 (4), pp. 1161-1161. | Read more2002. Association of genetic mutations in Plasmodium vivax dhfr with resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine: Geographical and clinical correlates (vol 45, pg 3122, 2001)
Melioidosis is an important public health problem in some regions, and a potential bioweapon. Recent reports confirm that it is endemic in China, Taiwan and Laos, but the true incidence in most countries is unknown, and the ecology poorly understood. Potable water was the source of two recent outbreaks. The epidemiology and clinical manifestations of the disease in Australia are similar to those in Thailand, although prostatic abscesses and neurological manifestations are more common and parotid abscesses less so. Mycotic aneurysms are not uncommon. Patients with cystic fibrosis are at risk of pulmonary melioidosis. Comparison with the avirulent Burkholderia thailandensis has identified capsular polysaccharide as an important virulence determinant in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Diagnosis still relies on culture, and a throat swab is a worthwhile sample. Several beta-lactams, such as meropenem, reduce the mortality, and long courses of cotrimoxazole-containing regimes are needed to prevent relapse. The value of adjunctive treatments, such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, warrants further evaluation.
A retrospective study of 261 Vietnamese adults with severe malaria was conducted to determine the relationship between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of metabolites of the kynurenine pathway, the incidence of neurologic complications, and the disease outcome. Three metabolites were measured: the excitotoxin quinolinic acid (QA); the protective receptor antagonist kynurenic acid (KA); and the proinflammatory mediator picolinic acid (PA). These measurements were related prospectively to CSF lactate levels. QA and PA levels were elevated, compared with those of controls. There was no difference in the levels of KA between these groups. Although >40% of malaria patients had QA CSF concentrations in the micromolar range, there was no association with convulsions or depth of coma. Levels of QA and PA were associated significantly with death, but a multivariate analysis suggested that these elevations were a consequence of impaired renal function. CSF lactate remained an independent and significant predictor of poor outcome.
Quinine (n = 246) was used to treat uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum and chloroquine (n = 130) was used to treat P. vivax, in a total of 376 episodes of malaria in the first trimester of pregnancy, in 300 Karen women (Thailand, 1995-2000). Parasites were still present on day 6 or 7 in 4.7% (11/234) of episodes treated with quinine. The overall 28 day parasite reappearance rate following quinine was 28.7% (60/209) for primary treatments and 44% (11/25) for re-treatments. Quinine treatment resulted in a high rate of gametocyte carriage: person-gametocyte-weeks = 42.5 (95% CI 27.8-62.1) per 1000 woman-weeks. For P. vivax, the reappearance rate for all episodes by day 28 was 4.5% (5/111). Significantly more women complained of tinnitus following quinine treatment compared to on admission: 64.5% (78/121) vs 31.6% (59/187), P < 0.001. Using survival analysis, the community rate of spontaneous abortion in women who never had malaria in pregnancy, 17.8% (16.5-19.0), did not differ significantly from rates in women treated with quinine: 22.9% (95% CI 15.5-30.3), or chloroquine: 18.3% (95% CI 9.3-27.3), P = 0.42. Pregnancies exposed to quinine or chloroquine and carried to term did not have increased rates of congenital abnormality, stillbirth or low birthweight. These results suggest that therapeutic doses of quinine and chloroquine are safe to use in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The combination of an oral artemisinin derivative (usually artesunate) and mefloquine has become standard treatment for multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria in several parts of Southeast Asia. The doses of artesunate used in monotherapy and combination treatment have largely been derived empirically. In order to characterize the in vivo dose-response relationship for artesunate and thus rationalize dosing, 47 adult patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria and parasitemia > or = 1% were randomized to receive a single oral dose of artesunate varying between 0 and 250 mg together with a curative dose of oral mefloquine. Acceleration of parasite clearance was used as the pharmacodynamic variable. An inhibitory sigmoidal maximum effect (Emax) pharmacodynamic model typical of a dose-response curve was fitted to the relationship between dose and shortening of parasite clearance time (PCT). The Emax was estimated as 28.6 oral h, and the 50% effective concentration was 1.6 mg/kg of body weight. These results imply that there is no reduction in PCTs with the use of single doses of artesunate higher than 2 mg/kg, and this therefore reflects the average lower limit of the maximally effective dose.
Br J Clin Pharmacol, 53 (3), pp. 337-338. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2002. The influence of body weight on the pharmacokinetics of mefloquine.
A retrospective analysis was performed of parasite count data recorded from the first 7 days of blood or mosquito transmitted Plasmodium falciparum infections given for the treatment of neurosyphilis in the USA before 1963. The objective of this study was to characterize initial growth dynamics before host defences have significant effects on the infecting parasite population. Of the 328 patients' data available for analysis, 83 were excluded because they had received anti-malarial treatment during the first 7 days of the patent infection. Nonlinear mixed effects modelling was performed to estimate the parameters of interest; 'parasite multiplication rate per 48 h' (PMR), and length of the parasite life-cycle (periodicity). The parasitaemia versus time profiles showed great variability between patients. The mean population estimate of 'PMR' was approximately 8, and was highly dependent on the P. falciparum 'strain'. PMR also varied significantly between patients with a 90% prediction interval varying from 5.5 to 12.3-fold. Both intrinsic parasite multiplication rate (an intrinsic virulence determinant), and host susceptibility and defence contribute to expansion of the parasite biomass and thus disease severity in falciparum malaria.
BMJ, 324 (7333), pp. 336-339. | Citations: 52 (Scopus) | Read more2002. Biological warfare and bioterrorism.
Science, 295 (5557), pp. 971. | Citations: 1 (Scopus)2002. Erratum: (Science (114) 292 (2001))
Impairment of consciousness and other signs of cerebral dysfunction are common complications of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Although the majority of patients make a complete recovery a significant minority, particularly children, have sequelae. The pathological process by which P. falciparum malaria induces severe but usually reversible neurological complications has not been elucidated. Impairment of transport within nerve fibers could induce neurological dysfunction and may have the potential either to resolve or to progress to irreversible damage. Beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP) immunocytochemistry, quantified using digital image analysis, was used to detect defects in axonal transport in brain sections from 54 Vietnamese cases with P. falciparum malaria. The frequency and extent of beta-APP staining were more severe in patients with cerebral malaria than in those with no clinical cerebral involvement. Beta-APP staining was often associated with hemorrhages and areas of demyelination, suggesting that multiple processes may be involved in neuronal injury. The age of focal axonal damage, as determined by the extent of the associated microglial response, varied considerably within tissue sections from individual patients. These findings suggest that axons are vulnerable to a broad range of cerebral insults that occur during P. falciparum malaria infection. Disruption in axonal transport may represent a final common pathway leading to neurological dysfunction in cerebral malaria.
Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are a major cause of sepsis in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We evaluated the hypothesis that the ica operon and biofilm production are associated with CoNS disease in this setting. CoNS associated with bacteremia or blood culture contamination and from the skin of infants with CoNS bacteremia or healthy controls were obtained during a prospective case-control study on a busy NICU. A total of 180 strains were identified, of which 122 (68%) were Staphylococcus epidermidis and the remainder were S. capitis (n = 29), S. haemolyticus (n = 11), S. hominis (n = 9), S. warneri (n = 8), and S. auricularis (n = 1). The presence of the genes icaA, icaB, icaC, and icaD was determined by PCR, and biofilm production was examined using qualitative (Congo red agar [CRA]) and quantitative (microtiter plate) techniques. There were no significant differences in the presence of the ica operon or CRA positivity among the four groups of strains. However, quantitative biofilm production was significantly greater in strains isolated from either the blood or the skin of neonates with S. epidermidis bacteremia. We conclude that the quantity of biofilm produced may be associated with the ability to cause CoNS infection. This conclusion suggests that the regulation of biofilm expression may play a central role in the disease process.
OBJECTIVES: A positive tourniquet test is one of several clinical parameters considered by the World Health Organization to be important in the diagnosis of dengue haemorrhagic fever, but no formal evaluation of the test has been undertaken. As many doctors remain unconvinced of its usefulness, this study was designed to assess the diagnostic utility of both the standard test and a commonly employed modified test. METHODS: A prospective evaluation of the standard sphygmomanometer cuff tourniquet test, compared with a simple elastic cuff tourniquet test, was carried out in 1136 children with suspected dengue infection admitted to a provincial paediatric hospital in southern Viet Nam. RESULTS: There was good agreement between independent observers for both techniques, but the sphygmomanometer method resulted in consistently greater numbers of petechiae. This standard method had a sensitivity of 41.6% for dengue infection, with a specificity of 94.4%, positive predictive value of 98.3% and negative predictive value of 17.3%. The test differentiated poorly between dengue haemorrhagic fever (45% positive) and dengue fever (38% positive). The simple elastic tourniquet was less sensitive than the sphygmomanometer cuff, but at a threshold of 10 petechiae (compared with the WHO recommendation of 20) per 2.5 cm2 the sensitivity for the elastic tourniquet rose to 45% (specificity 85%). Other evidence of bleeding was frequently present and the tourniquet test provided additional information to aid diagnosis in only 5% of cases. CONCLUSION: The conventional tourniquet test adds little to the diagnosis of dengue in hospitalized children. The simple, cheap elastic tourniquet may be useful in diagnosing dengue infection in busy rural health stations in dengue endemic areas of the tropics. A positive test should prompt close observation or early hospital referral, but a negative test does not exclude dengue infection.
We investigated the prevalence of infection with hepatitis B virus among adult Vietnamese patients hospitalized for severe Plasmodiumfalciparum malaria. Sera from patients admitted with severe malaria in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, between May 1991 and January 1996 were assayed for hepatitis B surface antigen (HB(s)Ag) by a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. The overall prevalence of HB(s)Ag was 23.77% (77 of 324). This was higher than reported estimates of prevalence in the general catchment population for the study hospital (mean, 9.8%; range, 9-16%). No association was found between risk of death caused by severe malaria and HB(s)Ag. Patients admitted with cerebral malaria had a slightly greater risk of registering positive for HB(s)Ag (relative risk, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.58) relative to other manifestations of severe malaria. Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus may be a risk factor for severe malaria.
The genes encoding the wild-type and six (five single and one double) mutant dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) domains of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium vivax (Pv), were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The catalytic activities and the kinetic parameters of the purified recombinant wild-type and the mutant PvDHFRs were determined. Generally, all the PvDHFR mutants yielded enzymes with poorer catalytic activities when compared to the wild type enzyme. The widely used antifolates, pyrimethamine and cycloguanil, were effective inhibitors of the wild-type PvDHFR, but were approximately 60 to >4000 times less active against the mutant enzymes. In contrast to the analogous S108N mutation of Plasmodium falciparum DHFR (PfDHFR), the single S117N mutation in PvDHFR conferred approximately 4000- and approximately 1600-fold increased resistance to pyrimethamine and cycloguanil, respectively, compared to the wild-type PvDHFR. The S58R+S117N double mutant PvDHFR was 10- to 25-fold less resistant than the S117N mutant to the inhibitors, but also exhibited higher kcat/Km value than the single mutant. The antifolate WR99210 was equally effective against both the wild-type and SP21 (S58R+S117N) mutant DHFRs, but was much less effective against some of the single mutants. Data on kinetic parameters and inhibitory constant suggest that the wild-type P. vivax is susceptible to antimalarial antifolates and that point mutations in the DHFR domain of P. vivax are responsible for antifolate resistance.
High doses of the oil-soluble antimalarial artemisinin derivatives artemether and arteether, given by intramuscular injection to experimental mammals, produce an unusual pattern of selective damage to brainstem centres predominantly involved in auditory processing and vestibular reflexes. We have shown recently, in adult Swiss albino mice, that constant exposure either from depot intramuscular injection of oil-based artemisinin derivatives, or constant oral intake carries relatively greater neurotoxic potential than other methods of drug administration. Using the same model, oral dihydroartemisinin suspended in water was administered once or twice daily at different doses ranging from 50 to 300 mg/kg/day for 28 days. The neurotoxic potential of the oral dihydroartemisinin was assessed and compared to that of oral artemether and artesunate. Oral artemether, artesunate, and dihydroartemisinin had similar neurotoxic effects with no significant clinical or neuropathological evidence of toxicity at doses below 200 mg/kg/day. These data indicate that once and twice daily oral administration of artemether, artesunate and dihydroartemisinin is relatively safe when compared to intramuscular administration of the oil-based compounds.
Science, 295 (5557), pp. 971. | Citations: 9 (Scopus)2002. Retraction 
A mathematical model for the transmission of two interacting classes of mastitis causing bacterial pathogens in a herd of dairy cows is presented and applied to a specific data set. The data were derived from a field trial of a specific measure used in the control of these pathogens, where half the individuals were subjected to the control and in the others the treatment was discontinued. The resultant mathematical model (eight non-linear simultaneous ordinary differential equations) therefore incorporates heterogeneity in the host as well as the infectious agent and consequently the effects of control are intrinsic in the model structure. A structural identifiability analysis of the model is presented demonstrating that the scope of the novel method used allows application to high order non-linear systems. The results of a simultaneous estimation of six unknown system parameters are presented. Previous work has only estimated a subset of these either simultaneously or individually. Therefore not only are new estimates provided for the parameters relating to the transmission and control of the classes of pathogens under study, but also information about the relationships between them. We exploit the close link between mathematical modelling, structural identifiability analysis, and parameter estimation to obtain biological insights into the system modelled.
Commun Dis Public Health, 5 (3), pp. 230-239. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2002. Managing a large outbreak of cryptosporidiosis: how to investigate and when to decide to lift a 'boil water' notice.
The largest outbreak of cryptosporidiosis reported in the United Kingdom, involving 575 confirmed cases (of which 474 met an agreed case definition), occurred in the county of Devon during August and September of 1995. The descriptive epidemiology supports the hypothesis that the outbreak was associated with the consumption of cold tap water in the area served by a particular water treatment works. Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in treated water samples at the time of the outbreak. Although the epidemiological analysis provided strong circumstantial evidence of a waterborne outbreak, the data were not recorded in a manner that made them admissible in criminal proceedings taken by the Drinking Water Inspectorate against the water company involved. The need to carry out an analytical study in conjunction with the identification and characterisation of the pathogen in the drinking water and the practicalities of agreeing criteria for lifting a 'boil water' notice are discussed.
Chromatographia, 55 (SUPPL.), | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2002. Determination of cetirizine in human plasma by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) method was developed for the quantitation of cetirizine in human plasma. Cetirizine and hydroxyzine (internal standard) were extracted from human plasma using a solid phase extraction procedure with Oasis HLB cartridges. Elution from a reverse phase Xterra MS C18 high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) column using a fast gradient was followed by MS-MS-multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). Cetirizine and the internal standard were ionised using the Turbolonspray™ interface operating in positive ion mode. The characteristic ion dissociation transitions m/z 389.3 → 201.1 and rn/z 375.3 → 201.1 were monitored for cetirizine and internal standard respectively The limit of quantitation was 5 ng·mL-1using 250 μL of plasma. Inter and Intra batch precision expressed by relative standard deviation was less than 9%. The assay was robust, sensitive, and highly specific and there was no interference from human plasma observed. With a total run-time of 6 minutes, the method was suitable for supporting clinical studies and applied to the analysis of samples from a bioequivalence study.
The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum compromises the treatment of malaria, especially during pregnancy, where the choice of antimalarials is already limited. Artesunate (n=528) or artemether (n=11) was used to treat 539 episodes of acute P. falciparum malaria in 461 pregnant women, including 44 first-trimester episodes. Most patients (310 [57.5%]) received re-treatments after earlier treatment with quinine or mefloquine. By use of survival analysis, the cumulative artemisinin failure rate for primary infections was 6.6% (95% confidence interval, 1.0-12.3), compared with the re-treatment failure rate of 21.7% (95% confidence interval, 15.4-28.0; P=.004). The artemisinins were well tolerated with no evidence of adverse effects. Birth outcomes did not differ significantly to community rates for abortion, stillbirth, congenital abnormality, and mean gestation at delivery. These results are reassuring, but further information about the safety of these valuable antimalarials in pregnancy is needed.
Immunohistochemical techniques have been used to investigate specific patterns of potentially reversible cellular injury, DNA damage, and apoptosis in the brainstems of Vietnamese patients who died of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The degree and pattern of neuronal and glial stress responses were compared between patients with cerebral and non-cerebral malaria (CM), and appropriate non-malaria infected controls. The following markers were examined: (i) heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), for reversible injury; (ii) heme oxygenase-1, for oxidative stress; (iii & iv) two DNA-repair proteins, poly(ADP) ribose polymerase (PARP) and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit; (v) poly(ADP) ribose, an end-product of PARP activity; and (vi) caspase-3-active, for apoptosis. Stress responses were found in a range of cell types as reflected by the widespread expression of HSP70. Oxidative stress predominated in the vicinity of vessels and haemorrhages. Some degree of DNA damage was found in the majority of malaria patients, but the distribution and frequency of the damage was much less than that observed in controls with irreversible neuronal injury. Similarly, caspase-3-active expression, as a measure of apoptosis, was no higher in the majority of malaria patients than the negative control cases, although 40% of CM cases expressed caspase-3-active in a small number of neurones of the pontine nuclei or within swollen axons of the pontocerebellar and corticospinal tracts. In conclusion, cells within the brainstem of all patients who died from severe malaria showed staining patterns indicative of considerable stress response and reversible neuronal injury. There was no evidence for a specific pattern of widespread irreversible cell damage in those patients with cerebral malaria.
Invasive Staphylococcus aureus infection frequently involves bacterial seeding from the bloodstream to other body tissues, a process necessarily involving interactions between circulating bacteria and vascular endothelial cells. Staphylococcus aureus fibronectin-binding protein is central to the invasion of endothelium, fibronectin forming a bridge between bacterial fibronectin-binding proteins and host cell receptors. To dissect further the mechanisms of invasion of endothelial cells by S. aureus, a series of truncated FnBPA proteins that lacked one or more of the A, B, C or D regions were expressed on the surface of S. aureus and tested in fibronectin adhesion, endothelial cell adhesion and invasion assays. We found that this protein has multiple, substituting, fibronectin-binding regions, each capable of conferring both adherence to fibronectin and endothelial cells, and endothelial cell invasion. By expressing S. aureus FnBPA on the surface of the non-invasive Gram-positive organism Lactococcus lactis, we have found that no other bacterial factor is required for invasion. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that, as with other cell types, invasion of endothelial cells is mediated by integrin alpha5beta1. These findings may be of relevance to the development of preventive measures against systemic infection, and bacterial spread in the bacteraemic patient.
Dengue is an increasingly important cause of morbidity and mortality in the tropics, but vaccine development has been impeded by a poor understanding of disease pathogenesis and, in particular, of immunologic enhancement. In a large case-control study of Vietnamese patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), variation at the HLA-A locus was significantly associated with susceptibility to DHF (P=.02), and specific HLA-A susceptibility and resistance alleles were identified. HLA-A-specific epitopes were predicted from binding motifs, and ELISPOT analyses of patients with DHF revealed high frequencies of circulating CD8 T lymphocytes that recognized both serotype-specific and -cross-reactive dengue virus epitopes. Thus, strong CD8 T cell responses are induced by natural dengue virus infection, and HLA class I genetic variation is a risk factor for DHF. These genetic and immunologic data support both protective and pathogenic roles for dengue virus-specific CD8 T cell responses in severe disease. The potentially pathogenic role of serotype-cross-reactive CD8 T cells poses yet another obstacle to successful dengue vaccine development.
AIMS: Artesunate and artemether are the two most widely used artemisinin derivatives in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but there is little information on their comparative pharmacokinetics. The aim of this study was to examine the relative oral antimalarial bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of the two derivatives. METHODS: The pharmacokinetic properties of oral artesunate and artemether (4 mg kg(-1)) were compared in a randomized cross-over study of 14 adult patients in western Thailand with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Antimalarial activity was compared using a previously validated, sensitive bioassay. RESULTS: Despite a 29% lower molar dose, oral artesunate administration resulted in significantly larger mean area under the plasma antimalarial activity time curve and median maximum plasma antimalarial activity than after oral artemether (P <or= 0.02). The mean (95% CI) oral antimalarial bioavailability of artemether, relative to oral artesunate, corrected for molar dose was 58 (40-76)%. The mean (95% CI) relative antimalarial bioavailability of artemether was lower on the first day of treatment, 31 (17-100)%, compared to the second day, 72 (44-118)% (P = 0.018). In vivo parasite clearance and time above the in vitro IC90 were similar for the two drugs, despite considerable differences in Cmax and AUC. CONCLUSIONS: The oral antimalarial bioavailability following artemether was significantly lower than that after artesunate. Artemether oral antimalarial bioavailability is reduced in acute malaria.
Owing to the breakdown of health systems, mass population displacements, and resettlement of vulnerable refugees in camps or locations prone to vector breeding, malaria is often a major health problem during war and the aftermath of war. During the initial acute phase of the emergency, before health services become properly established, mortality rates may rise to alarming levels. Establishing good case management and effective malaria prevention are important priorities for international agencies responsible for emergency health services. The operational strategies and control methods used in peacetime must be adapted to emergency conditions, and should be regularly re-assessed as social, political and epidemiological conditions evolve. During the last decade, research on malaria in refugee camps on the Pakistan-Afghanistan and Thailand-Burma borders has led to new methods and strategies for malaria prevention and case management, and these are now being taken up by international health agencies. This experience has shown that integration of research within control programmes is an efficient and dynamic mode of working that can lead to innovation and hopefully sustainable malaria control. United Nations' humanitarian and non-governmental agencies can play a significant part in resolving the outstanding research issues in malaria control.
BACKGROUND: Before its recognition, infantile beriberi was the leading cause of infant death in camps for displaced persons of the Karen ethnic minority on Thailand's western border. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to document thiamine status in the peripartum period to examine the current supplementation program and the correlation between the clinical manifestations of thiamine deficiency and a biochemical measure of thiamine status. DESIGN: Women were enrolled prospectively at 30 wk of gestation and were followed up weekly until delivery and at 3 mo postpartum. Thiamine supplementation during pregnancy was based on patient symptoms. RESULTS: At 3 mo postpartum, thiamine deficiency reflected by an erythrocyte transketolase activity (ETKA) > or = 1.20% was found in 57.7% (15/26) of mothers, 26.9% (7/26) of whom had severe deficiency (ETKA > 1.25%). No significant associations between ETKA and putative maternal symptoms or use of thiamine supplements were found. CONCLUSIONS: Biochemical postpartum thiamine deficiency is still common in Karen refugee women. This situation may be improved by educating lactating women to reduce their consumption of thiaminase-containing foods and by implementing an effective thiamine supplementation program.
The contribution of humoral immunity to the therapeutic response in acute falciparum malaria was assessed in a case-control study. Forty adult Thai patients with acute falciparum malaria who had subsequent recrudescent infections and 40 patients matched for age, therapeutic regimen, and disease severity who were cured by Day 28 were studied. All cured patients had positive immunoglobulin (Ig) G to ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA) in their admission plasma, compared with only 60% of patients who failed to respond to treatment (P < 0.001). The proportion of IgM-positive cases at admission was also higher in the successfully treated group than in the group with failure (70% versus 30%) (P < 0.001). The geometric mean (95% confidence interval) reciprocal IgG titer at admission was significantly higher in cured patients (187.0 [83.5-418.3]) compared with those who experienced treatment failure (11.6 [5.1-26.5]) (P < 0.001). The patients with uncomplicated malaria who were both IgG and IgM positive at admission had significantly shorter fever clearance times and lower admission parasitemia levels compared with those who were negative (P = 0.01 and P = 0.02, respectively). The median (range) in vitro parasite multiplication rate was significantly lower in cultures containing positive anti-RESA antibody plasma compared with those containing normal plasma (0.7 [0.1-3.5] versus 2.6 [0.1-12.1]; P < 0.001). These results suggest that antimalarial antibodies may play an important supportive role in the therapeutic response to antimalarial drugs during acute falciparum malaria.
Mastitis in dairy cows is a significant economic and animal welfare issue in the dairy industry. The bacterial pathogens responsible for infection of the mammary gland may be split into two main categories: major and minor pathogens. Infection with major pathogens generally results in clinical illness or strong inflammatory responses and reduced milk yields, whereas minor pathogen infection is usually subclinical. Previous investigations have considered the transmission of these pathogens independently. Experimental evidence has shown cross-protection between species of pathogens. In this study a mathematical model for the coupled transmission of major and minor pathogens along with their interaction via the host was developed in order to consider various methods for controlling the incidence of major pathogen infection. A stability analysis of the model equilibria provides explanations for observed phenomena and previous decoupled modelling results. This multispecies model structure has provided a basis for quantifying the extent of cross-protection between species and assessing possible control strategies against the disease.
A structural identifiability analysis is performed on a mathematical model for the coupled transmission of two classes of pathogen. The pathogens, classified as major and minor, are aetiological agents of mastitis in dairy cows that interact directly and via the immunological reaction in their hosts. Parameter estimates are available from experimental data for all but four of the parameters in the model. Data from a longitudinal study of infection are used to estimate these unknown parameters. A novel approach and application of structural identifiability analysis is combined in this paper with the estimation of cross-protection parameters using epidemiological data.
The factors contributing to anemia in falciparum malaria were characterized in 4,007 prospectively studied patients on the western border of Thailand. Of these, 727 patients (18%) presented with anemia (haematocrit < 30%), and 1% (55 of 5,253) required blood transfusion. The following were found to be independent risk factors for anemia at admission: age < 5 years, a palpable spleen, a palpable liver, recrudescent infections, being female, a prolonged history of illness (> 2 days) before admission, and pure Plasmodium falciparum infections rather than mixed P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections. The mean maximum fractional fall in hematocrit after antimalarial treatment was 14.1% of the baseline value (95% confidence interval [CI], 13.6-14.6). This reduction was significantly greater in young children (aged < 5 years) and in patients with a prolonged illness, high parasitemia, or delayed parasite clearance. Loss of parasitized erythrocytes accounted for < 10% of overall red blood cell loss. Hematological recovery was usually complete within 6 weeks, but it was slower in patients who were anemic at admission (adjusted hazards ratio [AHR], 1.9, 95% CI, 1.5-2.3), and those whose infections recrudesced (AHR, 1.2, 95% CI, 1.01-1.5). Half the patients with treatment failure were anemic at 6 weeks compared with 19% of successfully treated patients (relative risk, 2.8, 95% CI, 2.0-3.8). Patients coinfected with P. vivax (16% of the total) were 1.8 (95% CI, 1.2-2.6) times less likely to become anemic and recovered 1.3 (95% CI, 1.0-1.5) times faster than those with P. falciparum only. Anemia is related to drug resistance and treatment failure in uncomplicated malaria. Children aged < 5 years of age were more likely than older children or adults to become anemic. Coinfection with P. vivax attenuates the anemia of falciparum malaria, presumably by modifying the severity of the infection.
In areas where multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum (MDR-Pf) is prevalent, only quinine is known to be safe and effective in pregnant women. On the western border of Thailand, 7 days of supervised quinine (30 mg/kg daily) cures two-thirds of P. falciparum-infected women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. Artesunate is effective against MDR-Pf and the limited data on its use in pregnancy suggest it is safe. An open randomized comparison of supervised quinine (10 mg salt/kg every 8 h) in combination with clindamycin (5 mg/kg every 8 h) for 7 days (QC7) versus artesunate 2 mg/kg per day for 7 days (A7) was conducted in 1997-2000 in 129 Karen women with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in the 2nd or 3rd trimesters of pregnancy. There was no difference in the day-42 cure rates between the QC7 (n = 65) and A7 (n = 64) regimens with an efficacy of 100% in both, confirmed by parasite genotyping. The A7 regimen was also associated with less gametocyte carriage; the average person-gametocyte-weeks for A7 was 3 (95% CI 0-19) and for QC7 was 39 (95% CI 21-66) per 1000 person-weeks, respectively (P < 0.01). There was no difference in gastrointestinal symptoms between the groups but there was significantly more tinnitus in the QC7 group compared to the A7 group (44.9% vs 8.9%; RR 5.1; 95% CI 1.9-13.5; P < 0.001). The favourable results with quinine-clindamycin mean that there is a useful back-up treatment for women with falciparum malaria who experience quinine and artesunate failures in pregnancy. Adherence to the 7-day regimen and cost (US$18.50 per treatment) are likely to be the main obstacles to this regimen.
Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are a leading cause of sepsis in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) setting. To evaluate the hypothesis that isolates of CoNS associated with disease belong to hypervirulent clones, as opposed to being drawn randomly from the neonatal unit carriage flora, we conducted a prospective, case-controlled study in a busy NICU. Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), we compared the population structures of CoNS isolates associated with bacteremia with isolates from the skin of healthy and infected neonates and with blood culture contaminants. Endemic clones of CoNS were identified, but there was no difference in the distribution of the 6 species or 73 PFGE types between the carriage and disease isolate groups; this suggests that hypervirulent clones with an enhanced ability to cause disease were not present in this NICU setting.
Mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum gene (dhfr) encoding dihydrofolate reductase are associated with resistance to antifols. Plasmodium vivax, the more prevalent malaria parasite in Asia and the Americas, is considered antifol resistant. Functional polymorphisms in the dhfr gene of P. vivax (pvdhfr) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism using blood samples taken from 125 patients with acute vivax malaria from three widely separated locations, Thailand (n = 100), India (n = 16), and Madagascar and the Comoros Islands (n = 9). Upon evaluation of the three important codons (encoding residues 57, 58, and 117) of P. vivax dhfr (pvdhfr), double- or triple-mutation genotypes were found in all but one case from Thailand (99%), in only three cases from India (19%) and in no cases from Madagascar or the Comoros Islands (P < 0.0001). The dhfr PCR products of P. vivax from 32 Thai patients treated with the antifolate sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (S-P) were investigated. All samples showed either double (53%) or triple (47%) mutations. Following treatment, 34% of the patients had early treatment failures and only 10 (31%) of the patients cleared their parasitemias for 28 days. There were no significant differences in cure rates, but parasite reduction ratios at 48 h were significantly lower for patients whose samples showed triple mutations than for those whose samples showed double mutations (P = 0.01). The three mutations at the pvdhfr codons for residues 57, 58, and 117 are associated with high levels of S-P resistance in P. vivax. These mutations presumably arose from selection pressure.
In Thailand, approximately 8% of patients treated for vivax malaria are found subsequently to have coinfection with Plasmodium falciparum. A P. falciparum histidine rich protein 2 (PfHRP-2) dipstick test was evaluated as a predictor of mixed infections with subpatent P. falciparum in a prospective study of 238 patients admitted to the hospital with acute vivax malaria. Of these, 23 (10%) had subsequent development of falciparum malaria without reexposure. Patients with cryptic P. falciparum infection had a significantly lower mean (standard deviation) hematocrit than those with P. vivax alone: 29.6 (7.6%) versus 37.2 (6.4%) (P < 0.0001). Using microscopic appearance of P. falciparum after the start of treatment as the reference standard, the PfHRP-2 test was 74% sensitive and 99% specific in predicting mixed infections with subpatent P. falciparum parasitemia at presentation. The PfHRP-2 dipstick test may be a useful adjunct to microscopy in areas where mixed infections are common.
Imwong, M., Pukrittakayamee, S., Looareesuwan, S., Poirriez, J., Pasvol, G., White, N. J., and Snounou, G. 2001. Plasmodium vivax: Polymerase chain reaction amplification artifacts limit the suitability of pvgam1 as a genetic marker. Experimental Parasitology 99, 175-179. © 2001 Elsevier Science (USA).
A simple reproducible method for short-term ex-vivo Plasmodium vivax culture is presented in which glucose, ascorbic acid, thiamine, hypoxanthine, and 50% human AB+ serum are added to the standard P. falciparum in-vitro culture medium. Culture of freshly obtained blood samples from patients with acute vivax malaria with > 0.5% parasitaemia resulted in > 95% complete schizogony. Culture could be continued for 5-6 cycles without the addition of red cells. Criteria for staging the erythrocytic development of P. vivax in the first schizogonic cycle based on synchronous ex-vivo culture are presented. The asexual cycle was divided into 7 morphological stages: tiny ring (0-6 h), small ring (6-12 h), large ring (12-18 h), early trophozoite (18-28 h), late trophozoite (28-36 h), early schizont (36-42 h) and mature schizont (42-48 h). This simple method of culturing P. vivax ex vivo is suitable for antimalarial susceptibility and immunoparasitology studies.
OBJECTIVE: To assess kinetic of cryptococci in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and outcome of AIDS-associated cyptococcal meningitis after high-dose amphotericin B. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospective study involving Thai adults (n=106) with cryptococcal meningitis associated with AIDS was conducted to determine the kinetic of cryptococci in CSF and prognostic factors affecting survival after high-dose amphotericin B (0.7 mg/kg/day) followed by oral azole treatment. Cerebrospinal fluids were collected for cryptococcal count and culture at weekly intervals for at least 2 weeks or until CSF cultures were negative for cryptococci. All patients were followed monthly for 1 year or until death in order to detect relapse or occurrence of any other opportunistic infection. RESULTS: A total of 106 AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis were enrolled. The geometric mean (range) total and viable cryptococcal counts in CSF on admission were 430,000 (1000 to 3.4 x 10(7)) and 31,000 (10 to 1.4 x 10(7)) per ml, respectively. Both total and viable cryptococcal counts declined monoexponentially with an elimination half life of 4 days. The cumulative CSF yeast clearance rates were 38% and 56% at 2 and 4 weeks, respectively. Early death was associated significantly with previous history of weight loss [relative risk (RR)=2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-3.9], Glasgow Coma Score <13 (RR=2.33; 95% CI, 1.55-3.50), and hypoalbuminaemia (P<0.001). Later mortality was associated delayed CSF yeast clearance (RR=3.6; 95% CI, 1.9--6.4) and relapse (RR=3.9; 95% CI, 1.4-10.8). CONCLUSION: High-dose amphotericin B was not as effective as previously thought. Cumulative mortality at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 1 year were 16%, 24% and 76%, respectively.
We conducted a meta-analysis using individual patient data from randomized controlled trials comparing artemether and quinine in severe falciparum malaria. Eleven trials were identified, of which 8 were clearly randomized. Original individual patient data on 1919 patients were obtained from 7 trials, representing 85% of the patients in the original 11 studies. Overall there were 136 deaths among the 961 patients treated with artemether, compared with 164 in the 958 treated with quinine [14% vs 17%, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 0.8 (0.62 to 1.02), P = 0.08]. There were no differences between the 2 treatment groups in coma recovery or fever clearance times, or the development of neurological sequelae. However, the combined 'adverse outcome' of either death or neurological sequelae was significantly less common in the artemether group [odds ratio (95% CI) 0.77 (0.62 to 0.96), P = 0.02], and treatment with artemether was associated with significantly faster parasite clearance [hazard ratio (95% CI) 0.62 (0.56 to 0.69), P < 0.001]. In subgroup analyses artemether was associated with a significantly lower mortality than quinine in adults with multisystem failure. In the treatment of severe falciparum malaria artemether is at least as effective as quinine in terms of mortality and superior to quinine in terms of overall serious adverse events. There was no evidence of clinical neurotoxicity or any other major side-effects associated with its use.
Infectious diseases cause the suffering of hundreds of millions of people, especially in tropical and subtropical areas. Effective, affordable and easy-to-use medicines to fight these diseases are nearly absent. Although science and technology are sufficiently advanced to provide the necessary medicines, very few new drugs are being developed. However, drug discovery is not the major bottleneck. Today's R&D-based pharmaceutical industry is reluctant to invest in the development of drugs to treat the major diseases of the poor, because return on investment cannot be guaranteed. With national and international politics supporting a free market-based world order, financial opportunities rather than global health needs guide the direction of new drug development. Can we accept that the dearth of effective drugs for diseases that mainly affect the poor is simply the sad but inevitable consequence of a global market economy? Or is it a massive public health failure, and a failure to direct economic development for the benefit of society? An urgent reorientation of priorities in drug development and health policy is needed. The pharmaceutical industry must contribute to this effort, but national and international policies need to direct the global economy to address the true health needs of society. This requires political will, a strong commitment to prioritize health considerations over economic interests, and the enforcement of regulations and other mechanisms to stimulate essential drug development. New and creative strategies involving both the public and the private sector are needed to ensure that affordable medicines for today's neglected diseases are developed. Priority action areas include advocating an essential medicines R&D agenda, capacity-building in and technology transfer to developing countries, elaborating an adapted legal and regulatory framework, prioritizing funding for essential drug development and securing availability, accessibility, distribution and rational use of these drugs.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi) is the aetiological agent of typhoid fever, a serious invasive bacterial disease of humans with an annual global burden of approximately 16 million cases, leading to 600,000 fatalities. Many S. enterica serovars actively invade the mucosal surface of the intestine but are normally contained in healthy individuals by the local immune defence mechanisms. However, S. typhi has evolved the ability to spread to the deeper tissues of humans, including liver, spleen and bone marrow. Here we have sequenced the 4,809,037-base pair (bp) genome of a S. typhi (CT18) that is resistant to multiple drugs, revealing the presence of hundreds of insertions and deletions compared with the Escherichia coli genome, ranging in size from single genes to large islands. Notably, the genome sequence identifies over two hundred pseudogenes, several corresponding to genes that are known to contribute to virulence in Salmonella typhimurium. This genetic degradation may contribute to the human-restricted host range for S. typhi. CT18 harbours a 218,150-bp multiple-drug-resistance incH1 plasmid (pHCM1), and a 106,516-bp cryptic plasmid (pHCM2), which shows recent common ancestry with a virulence plasmid of Yersinia pestis.
The safety of daily application of N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) (1.7 g of DEET/day) in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy was assessed as part of a double-blind, randomized, therapeutic trial of insect repellents for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy (n = 897). No adverse neurologic, gastrointestinal, or dermatologic effects were observed for women who applied a median total dose of 214.2 g of DEET per pregnancy (range = 0-345.1 g). DEET crossed the placenta and was detected in 8% (95% confidence interval = 2.6-18.2) of cord blood samples from a randomly selected subgroup of DEET users (n = 50). No adverse effects on survival, growth, or development at birth, or at one year, were found. This is the first study to document the safety of DEET applied regularly in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The results suggest that the risk of DEET accumulating in the fetus is low and that DEET is safe to use in later pregnancy.
Throat swab (TS) cultures were performed for 1,011 patients with melioidosis and 3,524 healthy subjects or patients with other diseases. The specificity of TS culture for the diagnosis of melioidosis was 100%, and the overall sensitivity was 36% (24% for sputum-negative patients and 79% for sputum-positive patients). Direct plating of the TS specimen on Ashdown's medium was rapid (colonies were usually evident within 24 h) but only 63% sensitive compared to the results of primary culture in a selective broth. A throat swab should be cultured in all cases of suspected melioidosis.
Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology, 27 (5), pp. 384-395. | Read more2001. Occludin expression in microvessels of neoplastic and non-neoplastic human brain
International Journal for Parasitology, 31 (12), pp. 1331-1342. | Read more2001. Transport proteins of Plasmodium falciparum: defining the limits of metabolism
Malaria during pregnancy reduces birth weight, and low birth weight is a major determinant of infant mortality. The authors estimated the impact of malaria during pregnancy on infant mortality in a Karen population living in Thailand. Between 1993 and 1996, a cohort of 1,495 mothers and their infants was followed weekly from admission of the mother to antenatal clinics until the first birthday of the infant. Both falciparum malaria and vivax malaria during pregnancy were associated with low birth weight but did not shorten gestation. Febrile illness in the week before delivery was associated with premature birth. Preterm and full-term low birth weight and fever in the week before delivery were associated with neonatal mortality. Maternal fevers close to term were also associated with the deaths of infants aged between 1 and 3 months, whereas no risk factors could be identified for deaths that occurred later in infancy. Thus, malaria during pregnancy increased neonatal mortality by lowering birth weight, whereas fever in the week before birth had a further independent effect in addition to inducing premature birth. The prevention of malaria in pregnancy and, thus, of malaria-attributable low birth weight should increase the survival of young babies.
In some areas clinicians have combined parenteral artesunate and quinine in the belief that the 2 drugs would be additive or synergistic in severe malaria. A randomized comparison of the effectiveness of intravenous (i.v.) artesunate versus i.v. artesunate and i.v. quinine together on parasite clearance was conducted in 1998/99 amongst 69 patients with uncomplicated and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in western Thailand. The parasite clearance time did not differ significantly between the 2 treatment groups (P = 0.12), but adverse events were significantly more frequent in the artesunate plus quinine group (P = 0.05). Quinine did not have a significant antipyretic effect and artesunate did not affect the electrocardiographic QTc interval. There is no benefit evident from combining parenteral administration of these 2 antimalarial drugs in the acute phase of treatment.
Some antibacterial drugs have antimalarial activity that can be exploited for the prevention or treatment of malaria. Monotherapy with tetracycline, doxycycline, clindamycin or azithromycin was assessed in 1995-98 in 92 adult patients in Thailand with Plasmodium vivax malaria. All patients recovered following treatment and the early therapeutic responses were similar among the 4 groups. The overall median fever clearance time was 57 h and the mean (SD) overall time to parasite clearance was 134 (48) h. Of 66 patients who completed a 28-day follow-up, reappearances of vivax infection occurred in 27 patients (41%) from all groups; delayed appearances of falciparum malaria occurred in 6 patients (9%), only from the azithromycin group. The overall mean (SD) time to reappearance of P. vivax was 23 (5) days and time taken for detection of falciparum malaria was 13 (4) days after starting treatment for vivax malaria. The 28-day cumulative cure rates of clindamycin (n = 12), tetracycline (n = 18) and doxycycline (n = 18) groups were similar (P > or = 0.14) and all were significantly higher compared to the azithromycin group (n = 18; P < or = 0.04). The intervals until vivax reappearance were also significantly shorter in the azithromycin group [mean (SD) = 21 (6) vs 25 (3) days, P < 0.05] suggesting that some of these were recrudescences. The apparent success rate (no subsequent appearances of either vivax or falciparum infection) was significantly lower for the azithromycin group (11%) compared to the other groups (34-78%; P < 0.01). In current antibacterial treatment regimens, short-course azithromycin has inferior antimalarial activity compared to clindamycin or the tetracyclines.
Ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA)-positive, Plasmodium falciparum-negative red blood cells (RBCs) are cells from which the malaria parasite has been removed by the host without the destruction of the erythrocyte ("pitting"). The survival of RESA-RBCs in vivo was assessed in 14 severe and 6 uncomplicated falciparum malaria patients. The mean RESA-RBC life of 183 hours (95% confidence interval [CI], 136-246) was longer than the median parasite clearance time of 66 hours (range, 30-108 hours) but shorter than the mean red cell life of 1027 hours (95% CI, 840-1213) (P =.0004), with a median ratio of 0.2:1.0 (range, 0.1-0.7). The estimated median percentage of parasites pitted/body transit was 0.003% (range, 0.001%-0.05%). The rate of rise of the RESA-RBC count during the first 24 hours after antimalarial treatment was significantly faster (P =.036) and the subsequent RESA-RBC survival significantly shorter (P =.017) after treatment with an artemisinin derivative than after treatment with quinine. Parasitization of red cells leads to changes in the erythrocyte that shorten their survival even if the parasite is removed subsequently.
Information regarding the pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) properties of a drug provides the basis for optimizing dosing. PK-PD information should be obtained from patients representative of the overall target population, but in many tropical hospitals or health care facilities it may be medically hazardous or logistically difficult for an ill patient or a young child to be sampled repeatedly. Traditional methods used to determine the pharmacokinetic properties of a drug require analysis of a large number of blood samples per subject. However, using modern statistical methods, sparse datasets (i.e. with assay results from only a few, or as little as one blood sample per subject) can now be analysed by a method termed 'the population approach'. Modern assay techniques can often be adapted to small blood volumes allowing finger prick blood samples to be taken. One of the major aims of the population approach is to distinguish and characterize patient and disease contributors to inter-individual variance in drug pharmacokinetics. The purpose of this paper is to explain the basis of the population approach, to highlight its advantages compared to traditional methods of analysis, and to review the application of the population approach to data from field studies of antimalarial drugs. The design of population pharmacokinetic studies is also discussed briefly. The principles discussed in the paper are also applicable to pharmacodynamic data.
Artesunate is a key antimalarial drug in the treatment of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in southeast Asia. We investigated the distribution of counterfeit artesunate tablets by use of the validated, simple, and inexpensive Fast Red TR dye technique. We also aimed to identify distinguishing characteristics of the fake drugs. Of 104 shop-bought "artesunate" samples from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam, 38% did not contain artesunate. Characteristics such as cost and physical appearance of the tablets and packaging reliably predicted authenticity. The illicit trade in counterfeit antimalarials is a great threat to the lives of patients with malaria. The dye test will assist national malaria control authorities in urgently needed campaigns to stop this murderous trade.
The rising prevalence of multidrug resistant falciparum malaria is occurring at an alarming rate and has serious implications for the health of many of the world's poorest countries. The dangers of not changing treatment practices immediately are huge and irreversible, threatening to both exacerbate the scale and scope of the malaria pandemic, and deprive policymakers of future options against the disease. If a health care disaster is to be avoided then massive and long term funding is urgently required. Funds need to be applied in a cohesive manner, accountable to funding bodies and tailored to the specifics of each endemic region. The key elements of such an approach should be improving early diagnosis and treatment of infection and the deployment of combination regimens containing an artemisinin derivative. These short term measures will need to be accompanied by a longer term strategy to encourage antimalarial drug research and development.
BACKGROUND: Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the commonest cause of vaginal discharge, and its association with obstetric and gynaecological complications is being recognized increasingly. It was our impression that BV was poorly understood and underdiagnosed in family practice. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the management of patients with vaginal symptoms by family practitioners and to see if the management changed after the assimilation of best practice guidelines. METHOD: Family practitioners were invited to complete a baseline questionnaire of their perceived practice, and to record actual practice when consulted about vaginal symptoms, for a minimum of 4 weeks. Consensus best practice guidelines were then provided and practice recorded for a similar period. RESULTS: Baseline data was received from 34 practitioners and suggested that the symptoms and signs of different vaginal infections were not well known. Most symptomatic patients were only investigated at re-presentation with unresolved symptoms or at recurrence, and 43% of respondents treated with empirical antifungals as a first line approach. Pregnant patients were only occasionally asked about symptoms and only occasionally examined if symptomatic. Pre-guideline practice data from 30 practitioners showed 1.2 patient consultations/week, of which 60% were examined and 55% had a high vaginal swab (HVS) sent. Only 2% had near-patient tests done. Post-guideline data from 23 family practitioners showed a lower recorded consultation rate at 0.7/week, but 90% of these were examined, 77% had an HVS sent and 69% had near-patient tests done. Of the 36 HVS examined by Gram stain, 19 (53%) showed Lactobacillus predominant flora and 10 (28%) suggested BV. Seven (19%) were borderline or ungradable. Only three (8%) showed yeasts, one of which also showed BV. CONCLUSIONS: Baseline data supported our impression that BV was under-recognized. Guidelines appeared to improve the rate of investigation of women consulting with vaginal symptoms.
OBJECTIVES: The objective was to determine whether or not dietary salt intake affects the relative bioavailability of oral quinine. Salt intake has been shown to alter quinidine bioavailability. METHODS: The pharmacokinetic properties of oral quinine sulphate (600 mg salt) were investigated in seven healthy Caucasian volunteers, in a randomised, crossover study, on low- and high-salt diets. Plasma quinine concentrations were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the 24-h urinary sodium excretion was assayed. RESULTS: Although the 24-h urine sodium excretion was significantly higher when the volunteers were on a high-salt diet, there were no significant differences in quinine AUC0-infinity, tmax, and Cmax after the two diets. The median (range) quinine elimination half-life was significantly shorter after a high-salt diet [8.5 (4.3-10.2) h] than after a low-salt diet [10.0 (7.6-14.8) h] (P = 0.04). CONCLUSION: Dietary salt does not affect the relative oral bioavailability of quinine sulphate.
The Workshop on Evolutionary Epidemiology of Strain Structure in Pathogen Populations was held in the Dept of Biological Sciences and Mathematics Institute, University of Warwick, UK, 15-17 January 2001.
Enteric fever is the only bacterial infection of humans for which bone marrow examination is routinely recommended. A prospective study of the concentrations of bacteria in the bone marrow and their relationship to clinical features was conducted with 120 Vietnamese patients with suspected enteric fever, of whom 89 had confirmed typhoid fever. Ninety-three percent of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi samples isolated were resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and co-trimoxazole. For 81 patients with uncomplicated typhoid and satisfactory bone marrow aspirates, the number of serovar Typhi CFU in bone marrow aspirates was a median value of 9 (interquartile range [IQR], 1 to 85; range, 0.1 to 1,580) compared to 0.3 (IQR, 0.1 to 10; range, 0.1 to 399) CFU/ml in simultaneously sampled blood. The ratio of individual blood counts to bone marrow counts was 10 (IQR, 2.3 to 97.5). The number of bacteria in blood but not bone marrow was correlated inversely with the duration of preceding fever. Thus, with increasing duration of illness the ratio of bone marrow-to-blood bacterial concentrations increased; the median ratio was 4.8 (IQR, 1 to 27.5) during the first week compared with 158 (IQR, 60 to 397) during the third week. After lysing the host cells, the median ratio of viable bone marrow to blood increased, reflecting the higher concentration of intracellular serovar Typhi in the bone marrow. Effective antibiotic pretreatment had a significantly greater effect in reducing blood counts compared to bone marrow counts (P < 0.001). Thus, bacteria in the bone marrow of typhoid patients are less affected by antibiotic treatment than bacteria in the blood. The numbers of bacteria in bone marrow correlated negatively with the white blood cell (R = -0.3, P = 0.006) and platelet counts (R = -0.32, P = 0.01) and positively with fever clearance time after treatment (R = 0.4, P < 0.001). The bacterial load in bone marrow therefore may reflect the clinical course of the infection, and high levels may suppress neutrophil proliferation.
Lancet, 357 (9261), pp. 1046-1047. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more2001. Malaria epidemic in Burundi.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 95 (2), pp. 182-183. | Citations: 49 (Scopus) | Read more2001. Severe allergic reactions to oral artesunate: a report of two cases.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 95 (2), pp. 137-138. | Citations: 33 (Scopus) | Read more2001. A double-blind randomized therapeutic trial of insect repellents for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy.
Currently, the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever is dependent upon either the isolation of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype Typhi from a clinical sample or the detection of raised titers of agglutinating serum antibodies against the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (O) or flagellum (H) antigens of serotype Typhi (the Widal test). In this study, the serum antibody responses to the LPS and flagellum antigens of serotype Typhi were investigated with individuals from a region of Vietnam in which typhoid is endemic, and their usefulness for the diagnosis of typhoid fever was evaluated. The antibody responses to both antigens were highly variable among individuals infected with serotype Typhi, and elevated antibody titers were also detected in a high proportion of serum samples from healthy subjects from the community. In-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the detection of specific classes of anti-LPS and antiflagellum antibodies were compared with other serologically based tests for the diagnosis of typhoid fever (Widal TO and TH, anti-serotype Typhi immunoglobulin M [IgM] dipstick, and IDeaL TUBEX). At a specificity of > or =0.93, the sensitivities of the different tests were 0.75, 0.55, and 0.52 for the anti-LPS IgM, IgG, and IgA ELISAs, respectively; 0.28 for the antiflagellum IgG ELISA; 0.47 and 0.32 for the Widal TO and TH tests, respectively; and 0.77 for the anti-serotype Typhi IgM dipstick assay. The specificity of the IDeaL TUBEX was below 0.90 (sensitivity, 0.87; specificity, 0.76). The serological assays based on the detection of IgM antibodies against either serotype Typhi LPS (ELISA) or whole bacteria (dipstick) had a significantly higher sensitivity than the Widal TO test when used with a single acute-phase serum sample (P < or = 0.007). These tests could be of use for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in patients who have clinical typhoid fever but are culture negative or in regions where bacterial culturing facilities are not available.
The potential for Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 (PfHRP-2) dipstick tests to predict antimalarial treatment failure was investigated in a prospective study in Thailand of 38 patients admitted with severe malaria and 54 hospitalized with uncomplicated P. falciparum infections. Of these, 40 had subsequent recrudescence of their infections. Overall, 89% of patients with severe malaria and 61% of patients with uncomplicated malaria had positive PfHRP-2 dipstick tests for > 2 weeks following the start of treatment. Persistence was correlated positively with admission parasite counts, PfHRP-2 intensity scores and disease severity. PfHRP-2 tests which remained positive for > 2 weeks and PfHRP-2 reactive intensity scores on admission, at day 7 and day 14 did not predict treatment failure independent of admission parasitaemia. Freezing and thawing the blood samples did not significantly affect PfHRP-2 results tested by the dipstick technique. The PfHRP-2 dipstick test provides a useful indicator of recent severe malaria, but does not predict the therapeutic response.
Melioidosis has not been recognized previously in Laos, but within months of starting a prospective study of community acquired septicemia in Vientiane, 2 patients with melioidosis were identified. One was a previously healthy, 44-year-old female rice farmer who presented with supraclavicular lymphadenitis and the other was a 74-year-old man with diabetes and renal calculi who was receiving corticosteroids and had septicemia and septic arthritis.
We compared the performance of Paracheck-Pf, a new and cheap rapid malaria test, with ICT-Pf/PvR and microscopy in two malaria surveys in Thai villages on the Thai-Burmese border. The specificity, sensitivity, predictive positive and negative values of the Paracheck-PfR and ICT-PfR tests were calculated taking microscopy results as the gold standard. The 294 ICT-Pf/Pv tests resulted in two invalid (no control line) and 11 doubtful results. Both the ICT-Pf/PvR and Paracheck-PfR tests reliably detected P. falciparum infections. However, Paracheck-PfR failed to detect three P. falciparum cases and likewise, ICT-Pf/PvR failed to detect the same three cases and an additional four cases. These seven cases were detected by microscopy and had a parasitaemia under 150 parasites/microl. At a cost of c. US $1.00, the Paracheck-PfR test, based on the detection of the P. falciparum specific HRP-2 protein, is a reliable, easy to use and affordable tool for the diagnosis of P. falciparum malaria.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 45 (2), pp. 509-516. | Read more2001. Bioavailability and Preliminary Clinical Efficacy of Intrarectal Artesunate in Ghanaian Children with Moderate Malaria
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd, 145 (3), pp. 138-141. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract2001. [Fever and vesiculopapular exanthema due to infection with Rickettsia africae after a sojourn in South Africa].
A 26-year-old woman, who had visited the Krugerpark in South Africa 5 days before, presented with fever, a skin lesion with a black crust (eschar), lymphadenopathy and a vesiculo papular rash. The clinical diagnosis 'Rickettsia africae infection' was confirmed by specific serological tests. A second patient aged 43 years, whose vesicular rash did not respond to flucloxacillin had been in the Krugerpark one week before and on examination was found with 2 eschars. Based on epidemiological and clinical grounds African tick fever can be distinguished from Mediterranean spotted fever (fièvre boutonneuse). In the Netherlands specific diagnostic tests are not available. For treatment the distinction is not necessary; treatment is with tetracycline or doxycycline. Both patients recovered upon this treatment.
Dengue hemorrhagic fever is an important cause of morbidity among Asian children, and the more severe dengue shock syndrome (DSS) causes a significant number of childhood deaths. DSS is characterized by a massive increase in systemic capillary permeability with consequent hypovolemia. Fluid resuscitation is critical, but as yet there have been no large trials to determine the optimal fluid regimen. We undertook a randomized blinded comparison of 4 fluids (dextran, gelatin, lactated Ringer's, and "normal" saline) for initial resuscitation of 230 Vietnamese children with DSS. All the children survived, and there was no clear advantage to using any of the 4 fluids, but the longest recovery times occurred in the lactated Ringer's group. The most significant factor determining clinical response was the pulse pressure at presentation. A comparison of the colloid and crystalloid groups suggested benefits in children presenting with lower pulse pressures who received one of the colloids. Further large-scale studies, stratified for admission pulse pressure, are indicated.
Dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is a potentially lethal complication of dengue virus infection associated with hypotension and leakage of plasma water into the extravascular space. To determine whether the underlying pathophysiology of DSS is distinct from that in milder forms of the disease, we assessed microvascular permeability, by use of strain gauge plethysmography, in Vietnamese children with DSS (n=19), or dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) without shock (n=16), and in healthy control children (n=15). At admission and after fluid resuscitation, the mean coefficient of microvascular permeability (K(f)) for the patients with dengue was approximately 50% higher than that for the control patients (P=.02). There was no significant difference in K(f) between the 2 groups of patients with dengue; this suggests the same underlying pathophysiology. We hypothesize that in patients with DSS, the fluctuations in K(f) are larger than those in patients with DHF, which leads to short-lived peaks of markedly increased microvascular permeability and consequent hemodynamic shock.
The identification of clones within bacterial populations is often taken as evidence for a low rate of recombination, but the validity of this inference is rarely examined. We have used statistical tests of congruence between gene trees to examine the extent and significance of recombination in six bacterial pathogens. For Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, the congruence between the maximum likelihood trees reconstructed using seven house-keeping genes was in most cases no better than that between each tree and trees of random topology. The lack of congruence between gene trees in these four species, which include both naturally transformable and nontransformable species, is in three cases supported by high ratios of recombination to point mutation during clonal diversification (estimates of this parameter were not possible for Strep. pyogenes). In contrast, gene trees constructed for Hemophilus influenzae and pathogenic isolates of Escherichia coli showed a higher degree of congruence, suggesting lower rates of recombination. The impact of recombination therefore varies between bacterial species but in many species is sufficient to obliterate the phylogenetic signal in gene trees.
Chronic infection is often accompanied by a wasting process, the metabolic basis of which is not fully understood. The aims of the present study were to measure protein and energy metabolism in patients with melioidosis (a serious and antibiotic-refractory Gram-negative bacterial infection which is endemic in South-East Asia) in order to define the metabolic abnormalities that might contribute to wasting. Whole-body protein turnover was measured using the [(13)C]leucine technique, both in the fasted state and while consuming a high-energy meal. Resting energy expenditure was measured by indirect calorimetry, and total energy expenditure by the bicarbonate/urea method. Results were normalized for fat-free mass, as estimated from skinfold thickness. Protein turnover was increased in melioidosis patients compared with healthy controls during fasting (170.9 compared with 124.1 micromol x kg(-1) x h(-1); P=0.04), but the net rate of catabolism (22.2 compared with 20.5 micromol x kg(-1) x h(-1); P=0.77) and the anabolic response to feeding were similar in the two groups. Resting energy expenditure was higher in melioidosis patients compared with controls (191.4 and 157.3 kJ x kg(-1) x day(-1) respectively; P=0.04), but total energy expenditure (measured in a separate group of eight patients with melioidosis) was low (192.1 kJ x kg(-1) x day(-1)). In conclusion, this study found no evidence of metabolic causative factors, such as accelerated net protein catabolism during fasting, a blunted anabolic response to feeding or increased daily energy expenditure, and therefore suggests that reduced energy intake is the prime cause of wasting. The observed normal response to feeding should encourage nutritional approaches to prevent wasting.
In order to identify risk factors for typhoid fever in a highly endemic area, we undertook a case-control study in the Mekong delta, Viet Nam. Cases were 144 consecutive patients admitted to hospital with blood culture-confirmed typhoid fever. Two controls (1 in the hospital and 1 in the community) were chosen for each case. Standardized interviews were conducted with questions regarding recent contact with a typhoid fever patient, eating habits, hygiene and socio-economic level. Cases were more likely to have been in contact with a patient with typhoid fever than hospital controls (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 5.2, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.7-15.9) or community controls (adjusted OR = 11.9, 95% CI 2.3-60.7); 11% and 14% of typhoid fever cases (compared to hospital or community controls, respectively) were attributable to recent contact with a patient with this disease. These findings suggest that strategies directed towards the persons in contact with a patient might reduce the incidence of secondary cases of typhoid fever.
Pharmaceutical News, 8 (5), pp. 21-26. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2001. Combination therapy: Making the best use of existing drugs
The spread of multi-drug resistance in P. falciparum limits the choice of effective antimalarial drugs in many endemic areas. The efficacy of the major antimalarial drugs has declined in recent years, in particular in South East Asia where P. falciparum has developed resistance to chloroquine, sulfadoxine- pyrimethamine and mefloquine. The use of combinations in antimalarial treatment could prevent or at least delay antimalarial drug resistance as the chance of selecting a drug resistant mutant to the combined drugs is reduced. In the last two decades, there have been several clinical studies on various antimalarial drugs in combination for the treatment of chloroquine resistant falciparum malaria. The choice of combined drugs is usually an antimalarial-antibiotic or two antimalarials with short and long half life. For adult patients, combination treatments with quinine-tetracycline, artesunate-mefloquine and artemether-lumefantrine are effective worldwide with > 90% cure rates. In Thailand, the cure rate of monotherapy with quinine given for 7 days declined from 100% in 1963 to 87% in a recent study. Quinine in combination with tetracycline improves the cure rates for falciparum malaria to over 90%. Unfortunately, tetracycline cannot be used in children less than 8 year old or during pregnancy. Quinine-clindamycin has proved effective in adults and children with acute malaria. In Thailand, a 7 day course of quinine-clindamycin gave a 100% cure rate, and was well tolerated. Unfortunately, clindamycin is significantly more expensive than tetracycline. The artemisinin drugs are very active and well tolerated. They reduce parasite numbers more than the other antimalarials. Since mid-1994 mefloquine has been combined with a 3-day course of artesunate, and this has halted the decline in mefloquine sensitivity. When the artemisinin drugs are combined with a slower acting and more slowly eliminated compound, such as mefloquine, relatively few parasites remain to be exposed to mefloquine alone. The artemisinin and its derivatives in combination with mefloquine have been shown to accelerate clinical recoveries, increase cure rates, reduce transmissibility and appear also to have delayed the further development of resistance and reduce the incidence of disease. Combinations cost more than individual single drug treatments- but should make considerable savings over the longer term by delaying the onset of resistance and reducing the incidence of malaria.
Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 32 (SUPPL. 1), pp. 1-3.2001. The use of antimalarial drug combinations containing an artemisinin derivative for the treatment of falciparum malaria
A survey was conducted in 1999, first to establish the prevalence of antibiotic resistance among clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the UK and secondly to test whether the use of the standardized British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) disc testing method improved the accuracy of routine susceptibility testing for this organism. Twenty-five hospitals were each asked to collect up to 100 consecutive, clinically significant isolates of P. aeruginosa and to test their susceptibility to amikacin, gentamicin, ceftazidime, imipenem, meropenem, ciprofloxacin, piperacillin and piperacillin/tazobactam using the new BSAC disc method. A total of 2194 isolate reports were available for analysis and 10% of the isolates represented, plus those with unusual resistances, were re-tested centrally for quality control purposes. The zone distributions were essentially unimodal, indicating the absence of major populations with acquired resistance. The results indicated that resistance rates to the beta-lactam, aminoglycoside and quinolone agents tested in P. aeruginosa in the UK remain low (<12%), and were mostly unchanged since a previous survey conducted in 1993. High resistance rates were nevertheless reported for isolates from cystic fibrosis patients. The accuracy of susceptibility testing using the new BSAC disc testing method was better than in previous studies, when Stokes' method was most frequently used. Critically, the proportion of resistant isolates incorrectly reported as susceptible was reduced significantly; nevertheless, depending on the antibiotic, up to 49% of the isolates reported as intermediate or resistant were found susceptible on central re-testing.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 70 (6), pp. 817-818. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2001. Cerebral malaria.
The bicyclic compound 3,3-diphenyl-6-(p-toluenesulfonyl)-6-aza-3-silabicyclo[3.1.0]hexane was prepared and characterized. The boat conformation of the compound, C23H23NO2SSi, was studied by x-ray analysis. The factors favoring the conformation were discussed. The analysis showed that the boat forms were more stable than the corresponding chairs. The planar sequence of the four carbon atoms in the compounds was described by the torsion angle.
Lancet, 356 (9245), pp. 1864-1865. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Read more2000. Prophylactic effect of Malarone against malaria: all good news?
The aim of the study was to design and test a neurological examination for newborns that could be performed reliably by paramedical staff in resource-poor settings. The examination was adapted from a method established by Dubowitz et al., the latest version of which includes an optimality score. The final items in the test were chosen because they were culturally acceptable, could be elicited according to strict but easily comprehensible instructions and because the expected responses could be scored by the descriptions given or by diagrams in the proforma. The shortened examination was easily taught to paramedical staff who achieved a high degree of inter-observer reliability. This shortened version of the examination was piloted by comparing newborns from a Karen refugee camp on the western border of Thailand and from a large maternity hospital in Bangkok with a standardized cohort of newborns in London. The modified shortened version of the test was sufficiently sensitive to identify a number of differences between the cohorts, notably the poor vision performance and markedly reduced tone of the Karen newborns. In conclusion, the test can be used very reliably by paramedical staff and is a useful, simple and portable tool for the neurological assessment of newborn babies where resources are limited.
J Clin Microbiol, 38 (12), pp. 4640-4642. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract2000. Apparent culture-negative prosthetic valve endocarditis caused by Peptostreptococcus magnus.
In two patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis due to Peptostreptococcus magnus, blood cultures in the BacT/Alert and BACTEC 9240 systems were signal negative. The capability of the BacT/Alert system to detect various Peptostreptococcus species was assessed. P. magnus and P. anaerobius could not be detected, and subcultures remained negative. The growth in conventional media of these two species and other Peptostreptococcus species was similar.
Antimalarial resistance develops and spreads when spontaneously occurring mutant malaria parasites are selected by concentrations of antimalarial drug which are sufficient to eradicate the more sensitive parasites but not those with the resistance mutation(s). Mefloquine, a slowly eliminated quinoline-methanol compound, is the most widely used drug for the treatment of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. It has been used at doses ranging between 15 and 25 mg of base/kg of body weight. Resistance to mefloquine has developed rapidly on the borders of Thailand, where the drug has been deployed since 1984. Mathematical modeling with population pharmacokinetic and in vivo and in vitro pharmacodynamic data from this region confirms that, early in the evolution of resistance, conventional assessments of the therapeutic response </=28 days after treatment underestimate considerably the level of resistance. Longer follow-up is required. The model indicates that initial deployment of a lower (15-mg/kg) dose of mefloquine provides a greater opportunity for the selection of resistant mutants and would be expected to lead more rapidly to resistance than de novo use of the higher (25-mg/kg) dose.
Parasitology Today, 16 (12), pp. 516-521. | Read more2000. Hexose Transport in Asexual Stages of Plasmodium falciparum and Kinetoplastidae
Since no effective malaria prevention measures have been identified for pregnant women living on the western border of Thailand, prompt diagnosis and efficient treatment are paramount, although drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has narrowed the treatment options. An open randomized comparison of supervised quinine (10 mg salt/kg every 8 h) for 7 days (Q7) versus mefloquine 25 mg base/kg (total dose) plus artesunate 4 mg/kg per day for 3 days (MAS3) was conducted in 1995-97 in 108 Karen women with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy. The MAS3 regimen was more effective than the Q7 regimen: day 63 cure rates were 98.2% (95% CI 94.7-100) (n = 65) for MAS3 and 67.0% (95% CI 43x3-90x8) (n = 41) for Q7, P = 0x001. The MAS3 regimen was also associated with less gametocyte carriage; the average person-gametocyte-weeks for MAS3 was 2.3 (95% CI 0-11) and for Q7 was 46x9 (95% CI 26-78) per 1000 person-weeks, respectively (P < 0.001). MAS3 was significantly better tolerated. These evident advantages must be balanced against a possible increased risk of stillbirth with the use of mefloquine in pregnancy. Further randomized studies assessing the safety and efficacy of other artemisinin-containing combination regimens in pregnancy are needed urgently.
To assess the relationship between severity of malaria and progression of skeletal muscle damage during initial treatment, we studied 28 Thai adults with slide-positive falciparum malaria. Six had uncomplicated malaria (Group 1), 12 had severe non-cerebral malaria (Group 2) and ten had cerebral malaria (Group 3). There were no significant differences between baseline serum creatine kinase (CK) levels in the three groups (P=0.071). There was no change in serum CK during the first 48 h of treatment in Group 1 cases. In Group 2 patients, the median peak serum CK was nine times that at baseline while in Group 3, serum CK peaked at a median concentration 20 times that at presentation. In Groups 2 and 3, the peak serum CK occurred at least 24 h after presentation in more than half the patients, and was independent of intramuscular injections and convulsions during initial therapy. These longitudinal data suggest that: (i) severe falciparum malaria is associated with skeletal muscle damage that increases during initial therapy especially in patients with coma; (ii) the effect of other major treatment or infection-specific factors that are associated with muscle damage does not diminish this relationship; and (iii) cerebral malaria in combination with a high baseline and rising serum CK should pre-empt monitoring and management strategies aimed at preserving renal function including renal dialysis.
Multilocus genotyping of microbial pathogens has revealed a range of population structures, with some bacteria showing extensive recombination and others showing almost complete clonality. The population structure of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum has been harder to evaluate, since most studies have used a limited number of antigen-encoding loci that are known to be under strong selection. We describe length variation at 12 microsatellite loci in 465 infections collected from 9 locations worldwide. These data reveal dramatic differences in parasite population structure in different locations. Strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) was observed in six of nine populations. Significant LD occurred in all locations with prevalence <1% and in only two of five of the populations from regions with higher transmission intensities. Where present, LD results largely from the presence of identical multilocus genotypes within populations, suggesting high levels of self-fertilization in populations with low levels of transmission. We also observed dramatic variation in diversity and geographical differentiation in different regions. Mean heterozygosities in South American countries (0.3-0.4) were less than half those observed in African locations (0. 76-0.8), with intermediate heterozygosities in the Southeast Asia/Pacific samples (0.51-0.65). Furthermore, variation was distributed among locations in South America (F:(ST) = 0.364) and within locations in Africa (F:(ST) = 0.007). The intraspecific patterns of diversity and genetic differentiation observed in P. falciparum are strikingly similar to those seen in interspecific comparisons of plants and animals with differing levels of outcrossing, suggesting that similar processes may be involved. The differences observed may also reflect the recent colonization of non-African populations from an African source, and the relative influences of epidemiology and population history are difficult to disentangle. These data reveal a range of population structures within a single pathogen species and suggest intimate links between patterns of epidemiology and genetic structure in this organism.
Cerebral malaria may be the most common non-traumatic encephalopathy in the world. The pathogenesis is heterogeneous and the neurological complications are often part of a multisystem dysfunction. The clinical presentation and pathophysiology differs between adults and children. Recent studies have elucidated the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and raised possible interventions. Antimalarial drugs, however, remain the only intervention that unequivocally affects outcome, although increasing resistance to the established antimalarial drugs is of grave concern. Artemisinin derivatives have made an impact on treatment, but other drugs may be required. With appropriate antimalarial drugs, the prognosis of cerebral malaria often depends on the management of other complications-for example, renal failure and acidosis. Neurological sequelae are increasingly recognised, but further research on the pathogenesis of coma and neurological damage is required to develop other ancillary treatments.
Following a marked decline in the efficacy in vivo of mefloquine between 1990 and 1994, a combination of artesunate (4 mg/kg/d for 3 d) and mefloquine (25 mg/kg) has been used as first line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in camps for displaced persons located along the north-western border of Thailand. Antimalarial drug susceptibility of fresh isolates of Plasmodium falciparum from this population was evaluated using a radioisotope microdilution assay between 1995 and 1999. In total, 268 isolates were collected, of which 189 were from primary infections and 79 from recrudescent infections. The geometric mean 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) values from primary infections were: dihydroartemisinin 1.2 ng/mL, artesunate 1.6 ng/mL, artemether 4.8 ng/mL, atovaquone 0.4 ng/mL, lumefantrine 32 ng/mL, chloroquine 149 ng/mL, quinine 354 ng/mL, mefloquine 27 ng/mL and halofantrine 4.1 ng/mL. A significant positive correlation was found between the susceptibility in vitro to artesunate and quinine (r = 0.43, P < 0.001), mefloquine (r = 0.46, P < 0.001), and halofantrine (r = 0.51, P < 0.001). These levels of resistance in vitro are among the highest reported and confirm continuing high level multidrug resistance in this area. Despite intensive use of the combination between 1995 and 1999 there has been a significant improvement in mefloquine sensitivity (P < 0.001) and artesunate sensitivity (P < 0.001). This supports observations in vivo that the combination of artesunate and mefloquine has reversed the previous decline in mefloquine sensitivity.
The efficacy and safety of the 6-dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine were assessed in an open randomized trial in children and adults presenting with acute, uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand between November 1997 and March 1998. 200 patients were enrolled in 2 centres: 150 received artemether-lumefantrine (i.e., a median total dose of 9.6 mg/kg [interquartile range 8.7-10.7] and 57.9 mg/kg of lumefantrine [52.4-64.0]) and 50 the standard combination of artesunate (12 mg/kg over 3 d) and mefloquine (25 mg/kg). All patients had rapid initial clinical and parasitological responses. The 28 d cure rates were high: 97.7% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 93.5-99.5%) for artemether-lumefantrine and 100% (95% CI 92.5-100%) for artesunate-mefloquine. The 6-dose regimen of artemether-lumefantrine was better tolerated than, and as effective as, artesunate-mefloquine, the current standard treatment in this area of multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria.
Therapeutic responses to clindamycin in combination with quinine were assessed in adult Thai patients with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In total 204 patients were randomized to receive a 7-day oral treatment regimen of quinine (Q(7)) either alone (n = 68), in combination with clindamycin (Q(7)C(7); n = 68), or in combination with tetracycline (Q(7)T(7); n = 68). All patients had uncomplicated recoveries with no serious adverse effects. Fever clearance times for both of the two combination regimens (median of 47 h and range of 8 to 120 h for Q(7)C(7) and median of 36 h and range of 8 to 117 h for Q(7)T(7)) were significantly shorter than that for the Q(7)-only regimen (median, 56; range, 4 to 152 h) (P = 0.002). Parasite clearance times (overall mean +/- standard deviation, 78 +/- 23 h) were not significantly different between the three treatment groups (P = 0. 98). The cure rates assessed at 28 days of follow-up were 100% for Q(7)C(7) and 98% for Q(7)T(7), whereas the cure rate was 87% for the Q(7)-only regimen (P < or = 0.04). Clindamycin in combination with quinine is a safe and effective treatment for multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria. This combination may be of particular value in children and pregnant women, in whom tetracyclines are contraindicated.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97 (18), pp. 9931-9936. | Read more2000. Hexose permeation pathways in Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes
Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol, 40 (3), pp. 354-355. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2000. Menorrhagia caused by dengue fever.
Artemisinin and its derivatives, artesunate and artemether, represent a new class of antimicrobial drug with potent activity against Plasmodium falciparum. Although they show excellent efficacy in both severe and uncomplicated malaria, dosage regimens still need to be optimised and pharmacokinetic profiles defined. In the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, the artemisinin drugs should be used in combination with a long acting antimalarial to protect both drugs against the emergence of resistance. In the treatment of severe malaria, parenteral artemether is at least as effective as quinine and is simpler to use. The use of rectal preparations of artesunate and artemisinin at the rural health level will facilitate early initiation of the treatment of falciparum malaria and this may reduce the proportion of patients progressing to severe disease. All of the artemisinin drugs have comparable efficacy; the choice of derivative should be based upon availability, cost and quality of the preparation. Artemisinin, artesunate and artemether are well-tolerated in both adults and children, with no evidence to date of serious clinical toxicity.
AIMS: Experimental studies have suggested that constant intravenous infusion would be preferable to conventional intermittent bolus administration of beta-lactam antibiotics for serious Gram-negative infections. Severe melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) carries a mortality over 40% despite treatment with high dose ceftazidime. The aim of this study was to measure the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of continuous infusion of ceftazidime vs intermittent bolus dosing in septicaemic melioidosis. METHODS: Patients with suspected septicaemic melioidosis were randomised to receive ceftazidime 40 mg kg(-1) 8 hourly by bolus injection or 4 mg kg(-1) h(-1) by constant infusion following a 12 mg kg(-1) priming dose and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters were compared. RESULTS: Of the 34 patients studied 16 (59%) died. Twenty patients had cultures positive for B. pseudomallei of whom 12 (60%) died. The median MIC90 of B. pseudomallei was 2 mg l(-1), giving a minimum target concentration (4*MIC) of 8 mg l(-1). The median (range) estimated total apparent volume of distribution, systemic clearance and terminal elimination half-lives of ceftazidime were 0.468 (0.241-0. 573) l kg(-1), 0.058 (0.005-0.159) l kg(-1) h(-1) and 7.74 (1.95-44.71) h, respectively. Clearance of ceftazidime and creatinine clearance were correlated closely (r = 0.71; P < 0.001) and there was no evidence of significant nonrenal clearance. CONCLUSIONS: Simulations based on these data and the ceftazidime sensitivity of the B. pseudomallei isolates indicated that administration by constant infusion would allow significant dose reduction and cost saving. With conventional 8 h intermittent dosing to patients with normal renal function, plasma ceftazidime concentrations could fall below the target concentration but this would be unlikely with a constant infusion. Correction for renal failure, which is common in patients with meliodosis is Clearance = k(*) creatinine clearance where k = 0.72. Calculation of a loading dose gives median (range) values of loading dose, DL of 18.7 mg kg(-1) (9.5-23) and infusion rate I = 3.5 mg k(-1) h(-1) (0.4-13) (which equals 84 mg kg(-1) day(-1)). A nomogram for adjustment in renal failure is given.
BACKGROUND: Worsening drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major threat to health in tropical countries. We did a prospective study of malaria incidence and treatment in an area of highly multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria. METHODS: We assessed incidence of P. falciparum malaria and the in-vivo responses to mefloquine treatment over 13 years in two large camps for displaced Karen people on the northwest border of Thailand. During this time, the standard mefloquine dose was first increased, and then combined artesunate and mefloquine was introduced as first-line treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria. FINDINGS: Early detection and treatment controlled P. falciparum malaria initially while mefloquine was effective (cure rate with mefloquine [15 mg/kg] and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine in 1985, 98% [95% CI 97-100]), but as mefloquine resistance developed, the cure rate fell (71% [67-77] in 1990). A similar pattern was seen for high-dose (25 mg/kg) mefloquine monotherapy from 1990-94. Since the general deployment of the artesunate-mefloquine combination in 1994, the cure rate increased again to almost 100% from 1998 onwards, and there has been a sustained decline in the incidence of P. falciparum malaria in the study area. In-vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum to mefloquine has improved significantly (p=0.003). INTERPRETATION: In this area of low malaria transmission, early diagnosis and treatment with combined artesunate and mefloquine has reduced the incidence of P. falciparum malaria and halted the progression of mefloquine resistance. We recommend that antimalarial drugs should be combined with artemisinin or a derivative to protect them against resistance.
BACKGROUND: The intraerythrocytic parasite Plasmodium falciparum induces the life-threatening neurologic syndrome of cerebral malaria (CM) from within cerebral blood vessels, without entering the brain parenchyma. OBJECTIVES: 1) To assess the use of CSF as an indicator of specific pathologic processes occurring in the brain during CM; 2) to compare this with other neurologic and infectious diseases to understand the distinct pathogenic features of CM; 3) to test the hypothesis that CM involves a specific functional breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). METHODS: 1) Radial immunodiffusion assays to detect albumin and IgG in matched plasma and CSF samples as indicators of BBB integrity and intrathecal IgG production; and 2) ELISA for soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and sE-selectin, the cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha and transforming growth factor-beta1, and the matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9, to detect cellular activation and inflammatory responses within the brain. RESULTS: Albumin and IgG indices implied only minimal degree of BBB breakdown in a few cases of CM, with most remaining within the normal range. In contrast, cryptococcal, tubercular, and acute bacterial meningitis produced detectable changes in the composition of the CSF and evidence of BBB breakdown. CONCLUSIONS: CM appears to involve only subtle functional changes in BBB integrity with minimal intraparenchymal inflammatory responses compared with other neurologic infections. This focuses attention on local events within and around the cerebral microvasculature in CM, rather than indicating widespread parenchymal disease.
OBJECTIVES: The fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBPs) of Staphylococcus aureus are involved in the pathogenesis of infection, but their characteristics in clinical isolates are incompletely defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of the FnBPs of a large collection of recent isolates. METHODS: The adherence of 163 S. aureus isolates to immobilized fibronectin was compared with that of S. aureus 8325-4 using a microtitre assay. The presence of the genes encoding the fibronectin-binding proteins FnBPA and FnBPB was evaluated by Southern dot blot using probes specific for region A of fnbA or fnbB. RESULTS: The adherence of clinical isolates to fibronectin (expressed as a percentage of the mean adherence of S. aureus 8325-4) was 56%-125% for 155 isolates (95%), and less than 20% for eight isolates (5%). Adherence of the bacterial group associated with orthopaedic implant-associated infection was significantly greater than that for isolates associated with nasal carriage, endocarditis, or septic arthritis/osteomyelitis. Southern dot blot demonstrated that 126/163 isolates had two genes (77%) and 37/163 had one detectable gene (23%). There was no difference in adherence between isolates with one or two fnb, but isolates associated with invasive disease (endocarditis or primary septic arthritis and/or osteomyelitis) were more likely to have two genes. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate diversity in the FnBPs of clinical isolates of S. aureus. The findings suggest that the interplay between pathogenesis and a single virulence determinant is unlikely to be a uniform process across a spectrum of infections. This confirms the need to extend the study of staphylococcal pathogenesis from the laboratory to non-uniform populations of clinically relevant isolates.
PARASITOLOGY TODAY, 16 (7), pp. 272-272. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2000. Abnormal blood flow and red blood cell deformability in severe malaria. (vol 16, pg 228, 2000)
Gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) and monokine induced by IFN-gamma (Mig) are related CXC chemokines which bind to the CXCR3 receptor and specifically target activated T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. The production of IP-10 and Mig by various cell types in vitro is strongly dependent on IFN-gamma. To determine whether IP-10 and Mig are released during bacterial infection in humans, we measured plasma levels of IP-10 and Mig in patients with melioidosis, a severe gram-negative infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. IP-10 and Mig were markedly elevated in patients with melioidosis on admission, particularly in blood culture-positive patients, and remained elevated during the 72-h study period. Levels of IP-10 and Mig showed a positive correlation with IFN-gamma concentrations and also correlated with clinical outcome. In whole blood stimulated with heat-killed B. pseudomallei, neutralization of IFN-gamma and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) partly attenuated IP-10 and Mig release, while anti-interleukin-12 (IL-12) and anti-IL-18 had a synergistic effect. Stimulation with other bacteria or endotoxin also induced strong secretion of IP-10 and Mig. These data suggest that IP-10 and Mig are part of the innate immune response to bacterial infection. IP-10 and Mig may contribute to host defense in Th1-mediated host defense during infections by attracting CXCR3(+) Th1 cells to the site of inflammation.
Extracellular release of granzymes is considered to reflect the involvement of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells in various disease states. To obtain insight into granzyme release during bacterial infection, granzyme levels were measured during experimental human endotoxemia and in patients with melioidosis, a severe infection due to gram-negative bacteria. Plasma concentrations of granzyme A (GrA) and GrB increased transiently after endotoxin administration, peaking after 2-6 h. In patients with bacteremic melioidosis, GrA and GrB levels were elevated on admission and remained high during the 72-h study period. In whole blood stimulated with heat-killed Burkholderia pseudomallei, neutralization of tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-12, or interleukin-18 inhibited granzyme secretion, which was independent of interferon-gamma. Stimulation with endotoxin and other gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria also strongly induced the secretion of granzymes, suggesting that granzyme release is a general immune response during bacterial infection. The interaction between the cytokine network and granzymes may play an important immunoregulatory role during bacterial infections.
The qinghaosu (artemisinin) group of drugs is the most important new class of antimalarials developed in the last fifty years. Although there has been no clinical evidence of neurotoxicity, an unusual pattern of damage to specific brain-stem nuclei has been reported in experimental animals receiving high doses of arteether or artemether. Detailed clinical examinations, audiometry, and brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BSAEPs) were assessed in 242 Vietnamese subjects who had previously received up to 21 antimalarial treatment courses of artemisinin or artesunate alone and 108 controls from the same location who had not received these drugs. There was no evidence of a drug effect on the clinical or neurophysiological parameters assessed. In this population there was no clinical or neurophysiological evidence of brain-stem toxicity that could be attributed to exposure to artemisinin or artesunate.
To examine the efficacy and safety of short courses of azithromycin and ofloxacin for treating multidrug-resistant (MDR, i.e., resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin, and cotrimoxazole) and nalidixic acid-resistant enteric fever, azithromycin (1 g once daily for 5 days at 20 mg/kg/day) and ofloxacin (200 mg orally twice a day for 5 days at 8 mg/kg/day) were compared in an open randomized study in adults admitted to a hospital with uncomplicated enteric fever. A total of 88 blood culture-confirmed patients were enrolled in the study (86 with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and 2 with S. enterica serovar Paratyphi A). Of these, 44 received azithromycin and 44 ofloxacin. A total of 68 of 87 (78%) isolates were MDR serovar Typhi, and 46 of 87 (53%) were nalidixic acid resistant. The MIC(90) (range) of azithromycin was 8 (4 to 16) microgram/ml for the isolates. The MIC(90) (range) of ofloxacin for the nalidixic acid-sensitive isolates was 0.03 (0.015 to 0.06) microgram/ml and for the nalidixic acid-resistant isolates it was 0.5 (0.25 to 1.0) microgram/ml. There was no significant difference in the overall clinical cure rate with ofloxacin and azithromycin (38 of 44 [86.4%] versus 42 of 44 [95.5%]; P = 0.27) or in the patients infected with nalidixic acid-resistant typhoid (17 of 21 [81.0%] versus 24 of 25 [96.0%]; P = 0.16). However, patients with nalidixic acid-resistant typhoid treated with ofloxacin had a longer fever clearance time compared with those treated with azithromycin (174 [60 to 264] versus 135 [72 to 186] h; P = 0.004) and had positive fecal cultures after the end of treatment (7 of 17 [41%] versus 0 of 19 [0%]; P = 0.002). Both antibiotics were well tolerated. A 5-day course of azithromycin was effective for the treatment of enteric fever due to MDR and nalidixic-acid-resistant serovar Typhi, whereas the ofloxacin regimen chosen was less satisfactory for these strains.
Parasitology Today, 16 (7), pp. 272. | Citations: 1 (Scopus)2000. Erratum: Abnormal blood flow and red blood cell deformability in severe malaria (Parasitology Today 16 (228-232))
Obstruction of the microcirculation plays a central role in the pathophysiology of severe malaria. Here, Arjen Dondorp and colleagues describe the various contributors to impaired microcirculatory flow in falciparum malaria: sequestration, rosetting and recent findings regarding impaired red blood cell deformability. The correlation with clinical findings and possible therapeutic consequences are discussed.
The therapeutic responses to the eight most widely used antimalarial drugs were assessed in 207 adult patients with Plasmodium vivax malaria. This parasite does not cause marked sequestration, so parasite clearance can be used as a direct measure of antimalarial activity. The activities of these drugs in descending order were artesunate, artemether, chloroquine, mefloquine, quinine, halofantrine, primaquine, and pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine (PS). Therapeutic responses to PS were poor; parasitemias did not clear in 5 of the 12 PS-treated patients, whereas all the other patients made an initial recovery. Of 166 patients monitored for > or =28 days, 35% had reappearance of vivax malaria 11 to 65 days later and 7% developed falciparum malaria 5 to 21 days after the start of treatment. There were no significant differences in the times taken for vivax malaria reappearance among the different groups except for those given mefloquine and chloroquine, in which all vivax malaria reappearances developed >28 days after treatment, suggesting suppression of the first relapse by these slowly eliminated drugs. There was no evidence of chloroquine resistance. The antimalarial drugs vary considerably in their intrinsic activities and stage specificities of action.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the pathophysiology and prognostic significance of acidosis in severe adult malaria. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in southern Vietnam. PATIENTS: Three hundred forty-six consecutive adult patients with severe falciparum malaria. INTERVENTIONS: Measurements of baseline venous lactate and pyruvate concentrations and an extensive range of clinical and laboratory variables were made, and patients were followed up carefully until death or discharge from the hospital. Admission arterial blood pH and gas tensions were recorded in 296 patients, and hepatic venous sampling was done in 12 patients. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Overall, 198 (67%) patients were acidotic (standard base deficit [SBD], >3.3 mmol/L [n = 196], or arterial Pco2, >45 torr [6 kPa] [n = 3]). Hyperlactatemia (plasma lactate, >4 mmol/L) occurred in 120 (35%) of the 346 patients and was associated significantly with acidosis (p < .0001). The hepatosplanchnic lactate extraction ratio was negatively correlated with mixed venous plasma lactate (r2 = .50; p = .006). Hyperlactatemia, metabolic acidosis (SBD, >3.3), and acidemia (pH <7.35) were strongly positively associated with a fatal outcome (relative risks [95% confidence interval], 4.3 [range, 1.8-10.6], 5.0 [range, 3.0-8.1], and 2.7 [range, 1.8-4.1], respectively). The SBD was the single best clinical or laboratory predictor of fatal outcome. The overall median lactate/pyruvate ratio was raised at 30.6 (range, 20.6-62.3; normal range, <15), suggesting hypoxia and anaerobic glycolysis, and was significantly higher in fatal cases (p < .0001). In an additive multivariate model, the two main independent contributors to metabolic acidosis were plasma creatinine, as a measure of renal dysfunction, and venous plasma lactate, together accounting for 63% of the variance in SBD. In univariate analyses, they contributed 29% and 38%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the importance of acidosis in the pathophysiology of severe adult malaria and suggest a multifactorial origin involving tissue hypoxia, liver dysfunction, and impaired renal handling of bicarbonate.
OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare the effects of dopamine and epinephrine in various doses on renal hemodynamics and oxygen transport in patients with severe malaria and severe sepsis. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled, crossover trial. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in Viet Nam. PATIENTS: Fourteen patients with severe falciparum malaria and five with severe sepsis. INTERVENTIONS: In an open, crossover design, we observed the effects on renal and systemic hemodynamics and oxygen transport of separate stepped infusions of epinephrine and dopamine. We measured renal blood flow (RBF) and cardiac output by the thermodilution method using fluoroscopically guided catheters. Creatinine clearance at each time point was calculated from the renal plasma flow and the renal arteriovenous difference in plasma creatinine. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Dopamine at a "renal" dose (2.5 microg/kg/min) was associated with a mean (95% confidence interval) fractional increase in the absolute renal blood flow index (RBFI) of 37% (13% to 61%) and in RBF as a fraction of cardiac output (RBF/CO) of 35% (10% to 59%; p = .007 and p = .014, respectively). The consequent 39% (14% to 64%) increase in renal oxygen supply (p = .002) was accompanied by a 32% (20% to 44%) decrease in the renal oxygen extraction ratio (p = .0003), leading to no net change in renal oxygen consumption. At higher doses (10 microg/kg/min), both RBF and RBF/CO were not significantly different from baseline values and decreased further as the dose was reduced again. There was no obvious explanation for this hysteresis. There was no change in renal oxygen consumption throughout the study. Because lactic acidosis developed, epinephrine was only given to eight of the 19 patients, and the full stepped epinephrine infusion was given to four patients. Epinephrine infusion was associated, both in absolute terms and when compared with dopamine, with a significant increase in renal vascular resistance (p = .0008 and .0005, respectively), a decrease in RBF/CO (p = .002 and .03), and a compensatory increase in the renal oxygen extraction ratio (p = .005 and .0001). RBFI and renal oxygen consumption remained constant throughout the epinephrine infusion profile. Neither epinephrine nor dopamine significantly affected creatinine clearance or urine output. Twelve patients (63%) were in established renal failure (plasma creatinine, >3 mg/dL) at the time of the study, although the presence or absence of renal failure did not significantly influence the effects of the study drugs. However, overall, the presence of renal failure was associated with a lower mean renal oxygen consumption, a lower mean renal oxygen consumption as a fraction of systemic oxygen consumption, and a higher mean renal vascular resistance. CONCLUSION: Although dopamine increased and epinephrine decreased fractional renal blood flow, there was no evidence that either drug produced either a beneficial or a deleterious effect on renal oxygen metabolism or function at any of the doses investigated.
AIMS: Experimental studies have suggested that constant intravenous infusion would be preferable to conventional intermittent bolus administration of beta-lactam antibiotics for serious Gram-negative infections. Severe melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) carries a mortality of 40% despite treatment with high dose ceftazidime. The aim of this study was to measure the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of continuous infusion of ceftazidime vs intermittent bolus dosing in septicaemic melioidosis. METHODS: Patients with suspected septicaemic melioidosis were randomised to receive ceftazidime 40 mg kg-1 8 hourly by bolus injection or 4 mg kg-1 h-1 by constant infusion following a 12 mg kg-1 priming dose to perform estimation of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic parameters. RESULTS: Of the 34 patients studied 16 (59%) died. Twenty patients had cultures positive for B. pseudomallei of whom 12 (60%) died. The median MIC90 of B. pseudomallei was 2 mg l-1, giving a target concentration CT, of 8 mg l-1. The median (range) estimated total apparent volume of distribution, systemic clearance and terminal elimination half-lives of ceftazidime were 0.468 (0.241-0.573) l kg-1, 0.058 (0.005-0.159) l kg-1 h-1 and 7.74 (1.95-44.71) h, respectively. Clearance of ceftazidime and creatinine clearance were correlated closely (r = 0. 71; P < 0.001) and there was no evidence of significant nonrenal clearance. CONCLUSIONS: Simulations based on these data and the ceftazidime sensitivity of the B. pseudomallei isolates indicated that administration by constant infusion would allow significant dose reduction and cost saving. With conventional 8 h intermittent dosing to patients with normal renal function, plasma ceftazidime concentrations could fall below the target concentration but this would be unlikely with a constant infusion. Correction for renal failure which is common in these patients is Clearance = k * creatinine clearance where k = 0.072. Calculation of a loading dose gives median (range) values of loading dose, DL of 3.7 mg kg-1 (1. 9-4.6) and infusion rate I = 0.46 mg kg h-1 (0.04-1.3) (which equals 14.8 mg kg-1 day-1). A nomogram for adjustment in renal failure is given.
Nalidixic acid (NA: 55 mg/kg daily for 5 days) is the recommended treatment for uncomplicated bacillary dysentery in areas where multidrug-resistant Shigella are prevalent. An open randomized comparison of this NA regimen with 2 doses of ofloxacin (total 15 mg/kg) was conducted in 1995/96 in 135 Vietnamese children with fever and bloody diarrhoea. Sixty-six children with a bacterial pathogen isolated were eligible for analysis. Of the 63 Shigella isolates, 39 (62%) were resistant to multiple antibiotics. Resolution times for fever and diarrhoea were similar in the 2 groups, but excretion time of stool pathogen was significantly longer in the NA recipients [median (range) days 1 (1-9) vs 1 (1-2), P = 0.001]. There were 9 (25%) treatment failures in the NA regimen and 3 (10%) in the ofloxacin group; P = 0.1. Two patients had NA-resistant Shigella flexneri. One of these isolates was selected during NA treatment. From a clinical and public health standpoint a 2-dose regimen of ofloxacin is preferable to nalidixic acid in the treatment of bacillary dysentery.
Clin Infect Dis, 30 (5), pp. 836. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Read more2000. Neurological dysfunction following malaria: disease- or drug-related?
Rosetting forces are believed to be an important contributor to the microcirculatory obstruction that occurs in malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. In this study, rosettes of erythrocytes from cultures of this parasite were suspended in different media and exposed to shear stresses corresponding to those encountered on the arterial and venous sides of the human circulation. The rosettes formed by infected erythrocytes in malaria culture medium containing 10% AB serum were disrupted easily (approximately 50% being broken) when exposed to very low shear stresses of < 0.5 Pa. However, use of higher concentrations of serum strengthened the rosetting binding forces considerably. Suspension of rosettes in a viscous colloid (e.g. dextran) increased the adherence forces between infected and uninfected red cells. The results indicate that rosettes do resist the physiological shear forces that are encountered in the venular side of the circulation and could thus contribute to microvascular obstruction in falciparum malaria.
BACKGROUND: Severe forms of dengue, the most important arboviral infection of man, are associated with haemorrhagic disease and a generalised vascular leak syndrome. The importance of dengue as a cause of neurological disease is uncertain. METHODS: During 1995, all patients with suspected CNS infections admitted to a referral hospital in southern Vietnam were investigated by culture, PCR, and antibody measurement in serum and CSF for dengue and other viruses. FINDINGS: Of 378 patients, 16 (4.2%) were infected with dengue viruses, compared with four (1.4%) of 286 hospital controls (odds ratio [95% CI] 3.1 [1.7-5.8]). Five additional dengue positive patients with CNS abnormalities were studied subsequently. No other cause of CNS infection was identified. Seven infections were primary dengue, 13 secondary, and one was not classified. Ten patients had dengue viruses isolated or detected by PCR, and three had dengue antibody in the CSF. 12 of the 21 had no characteristic features of dengue on admission. The most frequent neurological manifestations were reduced consciousness and convulsions. Nine patients had encephalitis. No patient died, but six had neurological sequelae at discharge. Phylogenetic analysis of the four DEN-2 strains isolated mapped them with a DEN-2 strain isolated from a patient with dengue haemorrhagic fever, and with other strains previously isolated in southern Vietnam. INTERPRETATION: In dengue endemic areas patients with encephalitis and encephalopathy should be investigated for this infection, whether or not they have other features of the disease.
The objective of this study was to conduct a prospective population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic evaluation of lumefantrine during blinded comparisons of artemether-lumefantrine treatment regimens in uncomplicated multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria. Three combination regimens containing an average adult lumefantrine dose of 1,920 mg over 3 days (four doses) (regimen A) or 2,780 mg over 3 or 5 days (six doses) (regimen B or C, respectively) were given to 266 Thai patients. Detailed observations were obtained for 51 hospitalized adults, and sparse data were collected for 215 patients of all ages in a community setting. The population absorption half-life of lumefantrine was 4.5 h. The model-based median (5th and 95th percentiles) peak plasma lumefantrine concentrations were 6.2 (0.25 and 14.8) microgram/ml after regimen A, 9. 0 (1.1 and 19.8) microgram/ml after regimen B, and 8 (1.4 and 17.4) microgram/ml after regimen C. During acute malaria, there was marked variability in the fraction of drug absorbed by patients (coefficient of variation, 150%). The fraction increased considerably and variability fell with clinical recovery, largely because food intake was resumed; taking a normal meal close to drug administration increased oral bioavailability by 108% (90% confidence interval, 64 to 164) (P, 0.0001). The higher-dose regimens (B and C) gave 60 and 100% higher areas under the concentration-time curves (AUC), respectively, and thus longer durations for which plasma lumefantrine concentrations exceeded the putative in vivo MIC of 280 microgram/ml (median for regimen B, 252 h; that for regimen C, 298 h; that for regimen A, 204 h [P, 0.0001]) and higher cure rates. Lumefantrine oral bioavailability is very dependent on food and is consequently poor in acute malaria but improves markedly with recovery. The high cure rates with the two six-dose regimens resulted from increased AUC and increased time at which lumefantrine concentrations were above the in vivo MIC.
Perit Dial Int, 20 (2), pp. 215-219. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2000. Outcome following staphylococcal peritonitis.
OBJECTIVE: Staphylococcus spp predominate as the causative pathogen of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD)-related peritonitis.This study evaluated the difference in morbidity and mortality between peritonitis caused by S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS). DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SETTING: A single regional dialysis unit in a teaching hospital. PATIENTS: Thirty-seven patients had S. aureus peritonitis and 65 patients had CoNS peritonitis between July 1990 and November 1995. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Using the first recorded episode of peritonitis, survival analysis was performed for time to (1) death, (2) removal of peritoneal dialysis catheter, and (3) change to hemodialysis. Abdominal complications were recorded for the first and subsequent episodes. RESULTS: No difference in time to death was demonstrated for the two groups (p = 0.79), although two deaths that occurred during therapy for peritonitis were attributable to S. aureus infection. In addition, 5 patients developed serious abdominal complications related to an episode of S. aureus peritonitis. Patients with S. aureus peritonitis had a shorter time to both peritoneal dialysis catheter removal (p = 0.004) and change to hemodialysis (p = 0.014). The change in mode of dialysis was independent of catheter loss. CONCLUSION: This study highlights the serious nature of S. aureus peritonitis and confirms the need for effective preventive measures against infection by this pathogen.
J Clin Microbiol, 38 (3), pp. 1008-1015. | Citations: 2132 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2000. Multilocus sequence typing for characterization of methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible clones of Staphylococcus aureus.
A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme has been developed for Staphylococcus aureus. The sequences of internal fragments of seven housekeeping genes were obtained for 155 S. aureus isolates from patients with community-acquired and hospital-acquired invasive disease in the Oxford, United Kingdom, area. Fifty-three different allelic profiles were identified, and 17 of these were represented by at least two isolates. The MLST scheme was highly discriminatory and was validated by showing that pairs of isolates with the same allelic profile produced very similar SmaI restriction fragment patterns by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. All 22 isolates with the most prevalent allelic profile were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates and had allelic profiles identical to that of a reference strain of the epidemic MRSA clone 16 (EMRSA-16). Four MRSA isolates that were identical in allelic profile to the other major epidemic MRSA clone prevalent in British hospitals (clone EMRSA-15) were also identified. The majority of isolates (81%) were methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates, and seven MSSA clones included five or more isolates. Three of the MSSA clones included at least five isolates from patients with community-acquired invasive disease and may represent virulent clones with an increased ability to cause disease in otherwise healthy individuals. The most prevalent MSSA clone (17 isolates) was very closely related to EMRSA-16, and the success of the latter clone at causing disease in hospitals may be due to its emergence from a virulent MSSA clone that was already a major cause of invasive disease in both the community and hospital settings. MLST provides an unambiguous method for assigning MRSA and MSSA isolates to known clones or assigning them as novel clones via the Internet.
Resistance to antimicrobial agents in Streptococcus pneumoniae is increasing rapidly in many Asian countries. There is little recent information concerning resistance levels in Vietnam. A prospective study of pneumococcal carriage in 911 urban and rural Vietnamese children, of whom 44% were nasal carriers, was performed. Carriage was more common in children <5 years old than in those >/=5 years old (192 of 389 [49.4%] versus 212 of 522 [40.6%]; P, 0.01). A total of 136 of 399 isolates (34%) had intermediate susceptibility to penicillin (MIC, 0.1 to 1 mg/liter), and 76 of 399 isolates (19%) showed resistance (MIC, >1.0 mg/liter). A total of 54 of 399 isolates (13%) had intermediate susceptibility to ceftriaxone, and 3 of 399 isolates (1%) were resistant. Penicillin resistance was 21.7 (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 67.6) times more common in urban than in rural children (35 versus 2%; P, <0.001). More than 40% of isolates from urban children were also resistant to erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Penicillin resistance was independently associated with an urban location when the age of the child was controlled for. Multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more antimicrobial agent groups) was present in 32% of isolates overall but in 39% of isolates with intermediate susceptibility to penicillin and 86% of isolates with penicillin resistance. The predominant serotypes of the S. pneumoniae isolates were 19, 23, 14, 6, and 18. Almost half of the penicillin-resistant isolates serotyped were serotype 23, and these isolates were often multidrug resistant. This study suggests that resistance to penicillin and other antimicrobial agents is common in carriage isolates of S. pneumoniae from children in Vietnam.
Platelet-activating factor (PAF) is a potent endogenous proinflammatory mediator implicated in the pathogenesis of septic shock. A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of an intravenous PAF receptor antagonist (lexipafant) was conducted with 131 adult Thai patients with suspected severe sepsis (66 of whom had positive blood cultures). Detailed serial clinical, biochemical, and cytokine measurements were performed. Lexipafant treatment was well tolerated. The 28-day mortality in the lexipafant group (61.4%) was similar to that in the placebo group (62.6%). There was also no evidence that lexipafant affected clinical or biochemical measures of disease severity or the profile of sequentially measured plasma cytokine levels. PAF may not have an important role in the pathogenesis of severe sepsis.
The multiplication rates and invasiveness of Plasmodium falciparum parasites isolated from adult Thai patients hospitalized with uncomplicated malaria (n=34) were compared with those from persons with severe malaria (n=42). To simulate severe malaria and control for host effects, the in vitro cultures were adjusted to 1% parasitemia and used the same red blood cell donor. P. falciparum isolates from persons with severe malaria had initial cycle multiplication rates in vitro that were 3-fold higher than those from uncomplicated malaria (median [95% confidence interval], 8.3 [7. 1-10.5] vs. 2.8 [1.7-3.9]; P=.001). Parasites causing severe malaria exhibited unrestricted red blood cell invasion, whereas those from uncomplicated malaria were restricted to a geometric mean of 40 (31%-53%) of red blood cells. P. falciparum parasites causing severe malaria were less selective and multiplied more at high parasitemias than those causing uncomplicated malaria.
Intramuscular injections of high doses of the oil-soluble antimalarial artemisinin derivatives artemether and arteether produce an unusual pattern of selective damage to brain stem centers in experimental mammals, predominantly those involved in auditory processing and vestibular reflexes. We have shown recently in adult Swiss albino mice that parenteral artesunate, a water-soluble derivative, is significantly less neurotoxic than intramuscular artemether in this murine model. Using the same model, in which the drugs were administered daily for 28 days, the neurotoxic potential of the oral drugs was assessed and compared with the parenteral routes of administration. The dose causing neurotoxicity or death in 50% of animals (ED50), was approximately 300 mg/kg/day of oral artemether and artesunate compared to 50 mg/kg/day of intramuscular artemether. Doses of intramuscular artemether > 100 mg/kg/day were uniformly lethal. When oral artemether was given in peanut oil there was an increase in neurotoxicity and mortality compared with the aqueous suspension (P = 0.002), and when the food pellets were coated with artemether in oil, giving relatively constant oral intake, neurotoxicity was further increased; ED50 = 150 mg/kg/day (P = 0.017). These data indicate that once-daily oral administration of artesunate or artemether is relatively safe, presumably because the central nervous system is exposed transiently, whereas constant exposure either from depot intramuscular injection of oil-based drug, or constant oral intake carries relatively greater neurotoxic potential.
There is remarkably little known about the incidence of melioidosis outside a few countries (Thailand, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia). Presumably it is widespread in tropical south east Asia. Elsewhere there are tantalising glimpses of the tip of what may be a large iceberg. Since a specific diagnosis of melioidosis requires awareness on the part of clinicians, and the existence of a laboratory capable of isolating and identifying Burkholderia pseudomallei, a luxury not available in most rural tropical areas, the size of this iceberg is likely to remain unknown for the foreseeable future. There is mounting evidence that the disease is endemic in the Indian sub-continent and the Caribbean, and there have been unsubstantiated reports of recent cases in South Africa and the Middle East. It is unclear whether melioidosis has really spread to such areas relatively recently, or has been there but unrecognised for a long time. Almost all cases diagnosed in temperate climates have been imported from the tropics, with the exception of a unique outbreak which occurred in France in the mid-1970s. With increasing world wide travel of both humans and other animals, the potential exists for melioidosis to spread to new and fertile pastures.
Early workers thought that melioidosis was a zoonosis with a reservoir in rodents, but we now know that Burkholderia pseudomallei is a widely distributed environmental saprophyte. In northeast Thailand, two thirds of paddy fields yield the organism, and 80% of children have antibodies by the time they are 4 years old. However, interpretation of these results has been complicated by the recent recognition of avirulent, antigenically cross-reacting environmental organisms for which the name B. thailandensis has been proposed. We still know very little about the climatic, physical, chemical and biological factors which control the proliferation and survival of Burkholderia spp. in the environment, although epidemiological studies show space-time clustering of melioidosis. It is assumed that most human and animal melioidosis arises through exposure to contaminated soil or muddy water, although only 6% of human cases have a clear history of inoculation, and a further 0.5% of cases follow near-drowning. Laboratory animals have also been infected by ingestion, inhalation and insect bites, but evidence of infection acquired naturally by these routes remains anecdotal. Sporadic cases have resulted from iatrogenic inoculation, laboratory accidents, and person-to-person or animal-to-person spread. Whether exposure to B. pseudomallei will result in disease probably depends on the balance between the virulence of the strain, the immune status of the host (e.g. diabetes mellitus) and the size of the inoculum.
During studies of the pathogenesis of dengue shock syndrome, a condition largely confined to childhood and characterized by a systemic increase in vascular permeability, we observed that healthy controls, age-matched to children with dengue shock syndrome, gave high values of filtration capacity (K(f)), a factor describing vascular permeability. We hypothesized that K(f) might be age dependent. Calf K(f) was studied in 89 healthy Vietnamese subjects aged 5 to 77 years. The K(f) was highest in the youngest children [7. 53 (1.96-15.46) K(f)U; median (range); where the units of K(f), K(f)U=ml.min(-1).100 ml(-1).mmHg(-1)]. Values were 3- to 4-fold lower towards the end of the second decade [4.69 (1.91-7.06) K(f)U]. Young mammals are known to have a larger microvascular surface area per unit volume of skeletal muscle than adults. During development the proportion of developing vessels is greater. Moreover, the novel microvessels are known to be more permeable to water and plasma proteins than when mature. These factors may explain why children more readily develop hypovolaemic shock than adults in dengue haemorrhagic fever and other conditions characterized by increased microvascular permeability.
J Clin Microbiol, 38 (2), pp. 895-897. | Citations: 43 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2000. Epidemic typhoid in vietnam: molecular typing of multiple-antibiotic-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype typhi from four outbreaks.
Multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi isolates from four outbreaks of typhoid fever in southern Vietnam between 1993 and 1997 were compared. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, bacteriophage and plasmid typing, and antibiotic susceptibilities showed that independent outbreaks of multidrug-resistant typhoid fever in southern Vietnam are caused by single bacterial strains. However, different outbreaks do not derive from the clonal expansion of a single multidrug-resistant serotype Typhi strain.
The artemisinin derivatives are now used widely in areas with multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria such as Southeast Asia, but concerns remain over their potential for neurotoxicity. Mice, rats, dogs, and monkeys treated with high doses of intramuscular artemether or arteether develop an unusual pattern of focal damage to brain stem nuclei (particularly those involved in auditory processing). To investigate whether a similar toxic effect occurs in patients treated with these compounds, clinical neurologic evaluation, audiometry and early latency auditory evoked responses were measured in a single-blind comparison of 79 patients who had been treated with > or =2 courses of oral artemether or artesunate within the previous 3 years, and 79 age- and sex-matched controls living in a malaria-endemic area on the northwestern border of Thailand. There were no consistent differences in any of these test results between the cases and controls. This study failed to detect any evidence of significant neurotoxicity in patients treated previously with oral artemether or artesunate for acute malaria.
A retrospective evaluation of the relationship between serum bactericidal and inhibitory titres and treatment outcome in 195 adult Thai patients with severe melioidosis was conducted. Drug regimens included ceftazidime (52% of patients), co-amoxiclav (24%), imipenem (11%) or the conventional four-drug combination (11%). Pre- and 1 h post-dose serum samples were collected after 48-72 h of therapy, and serum inhibitory and bactericidal titrations determined. Median post-dose titres were: bactericidal 1:8 (range 0-1:128) and inhibitory 1:16 (range 0-1:128). Overall mortality was 26% and outcome was not influenced by either inhibitory or bactericidal titres. Pre-dose titres correlated with renal function; renal function was the most important predictor of mortality. Determination of serum inhibitory or bactericidal titres is unhelpful in the management of severe melioidosis.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 94 Suppl 1 (SUPPL.1), pp. S1-90. | Citations: 1392 (Scopus)2000. Severe falciparum malaria. World Health Organization, Communicable Diseases Cluster.
Artesunate is the most widely used of the artemisinin derivatives. These drugs are being used increasingly throughout the tropical world, and are an essential component of the treatment of multi-drug resistant malaria. The recent and widespread appearance of counterfeit artesunate tablets in several countries in Southeast Asia poses a serious threat to health in this region. We have developed a simple, inexpensive colorimetric test to determine artesunate authenticity in tablets. The test is based on a reaction between an alkali decomposition product of artesunate and a diazonium salt, fast red TR (FRTR). The appearance of a yellow color indicates the presence of artesunate. The specificity of the test is dependent on the pH of the reaction. Among other antimalarials tested, (i.e. artemisinin, artemether, chloroquine, quinine, primaquine, sulfadoxine, and pyrimethamine) only artesunate produced a positive color reaction at pH 4. The assay requires only 1% of the total weight of a standard tablet containing 50 mg of artesunate and can be completed within 10 min. The method was tested on six genuine artesunate tablets and six counterfeit artesunate tablets obtained in Southeast Asia. The average amount of artesunate in the genuine tablets was determined to be 50.8 +/- 2.9 mg while the counterfeit tablets were found to contain no artesunate.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 31 Suppl 1 (1 SUPPL.), pp. 146-152. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2000. Antigenic heterogeneity of lipopolysaccharide among Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates.
Burkholderia pseudomallei (BP) causes melioidosis, a potentially fatal human infection in the tropics. Clinical isolates from different geographical locations have similar morphological and biochemical characteristics. Although BP has been reported to possess 2 types of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) differing in the chemical structure of their O-polysaccharide (O-PS) component, earlier report demonstrated that the clinical strains exhibited identical LPS moieties. Recently, we reported antigenic similarity between the pathogenic (Ara-) and nonpathogenic (Ara+) biotypes. However, a few clinical isolates showed atypical SDS-PAGE profiles. In this study, LPS from 739 BP isolated from patients and animals in different geographical areas were extracted by proteinase K digestion method. Their SDS-PAGE profiles and their immunoreactivities with patients' sera and monoclonal antibody (MAb) to LPS were analyzed. The isolates showed 3 LPS patterns differing in the number and electrical mobility of bands in silver-stained gel. A majority of BP (711) isolates exhibited identical typical ladder pattern, 21 isolates showed atypical ladder pattern and 7 isolates did not exhibit ladder appearance. However, all LPS preparations exhibited similar endotoxic activity as determined by Limulus amebocyte lysate assay. On the other hand, there were no immunological cross reactivity between typical and atypical LPS, as judged from Western blot against homologous and heterologous sera from melioidosis patients from whom the typical and atypical LPS were isolated. Nevertheless, a Western blot profile of the typical LPS showed some variations when probed with MAb against BP LPS (9D5). Heat-killed bacteria from all LPS groups could similarly activate mouse macrophage cell line to produce nitric oxide (NO) and inducible NO synthase (iNOS).
The pharmacokinetic properties of oral and intravenous artesunate (2 mg/kg of body weight) were studied in 19 adult patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria by using a randomized crossover design. A sensitive bioassay was used to measure the antimalarial activity in plasma which results from artesunate and its principal metabolite, dihydroartemisinin. The oral study was repeated with 15 patients during convalescence. The mean absolute oral bioavailability of the antimalarial agent in patients with acute malaria was 61% (95% confidence interval [CI], 52 to 70%). The absorption and elimination of oral artesunate were rapid, with a mean elimination half-life of antimalarial activity of 43 min (95% CI, 33 to 53 min). Following oral administration to patients with acute falciparum malaria, peak antimalarial activity in plasma and the area under the plasma concentration-time curve were approximately double those during convalescence and the apparent volume of distribution and clearance were approximately half those during convalescence (P < or = 0.005). Acute malaria is associated with a significant reduction in the clearance of artesunate-associated antimalarial activity.
A simple, sensitive and reproducible high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method was developed for the determination of terazosin in human plasma. The method involves a one-step single solvent extraction procedure using dichloromethane with a 0.25 ml plasma sample. Recovery values were all greater than 90% over the concentration range 0.25-100 ng/ml. Terazosin was found to adsorb to glass or plastic tubes, but this could be circumvented by using disposable plastic tubes. Also, rinsing the injector port with methanol after each injection helped to prevent any carry-over effect. The internal standard, prazosin, did not exhibit this problem. The method has a quantification limit of 0.25 ng/ml. The within- and between-day coefficient of variation and accuracy values were all less than 7% over the concentration range 0.25-100 ng/ml and hence the method is suitable for use in pharmacokinetic studies of terazosin.
Clin Infect Dis, 30 (1), pp. 235-236. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2000. Burkholderia pseudomallei infections.
A diverse collection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates resistant to tetracycline was screened by PCR for the presence of the resistance determinants tetK, tetL, tetM or tetO. Twenty-four of 66 isolates had tetM alone, 21 had tetK alone and 21 had both tetK and tetM (tetKM). All isolates were tetL- and tetO-negative. MICs of tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline were evaluated for all isolates with or without preincubation in the presence of subinhibitory concentrations of tetracycline or minocycline. All isolates with one or more tetracycline resistance determinants were resistant to tetracycline 8 mg/L without induction of resistance. Some MRSA isolates of each of these three genotypes showed an unexpected lack of resistance to tetracyclines when the disc diffusion or agar dilution method was applied to uninduced cells. Resistance to tetracycline and doxycycline was greater (two- to four-fold) in tetK cells preincubated with tetracycline (tetK MRSA isolates were susceptible to minocycline </=0.25 mg/L under all conditions tested). For isolates with tetM alone, preincubation with tetracycline or minocycline gave up to a four-fold increase in the level of resistance to doxycycline and minocycline. Induction of doxycycline and minocycline resistance was clearly observed for tetKM isolates when cells were preincubated with minocycline. This study suggests that, despite the results of susceptibility testing, all tetracycline-resistant S. aureus isolates should be treated as resistant to doxycycline, and all tetM-positive isolates should be treated as resistant to all tetracyclines. A double disc diffusion method has been developed to identify inducible resistance to minocycline and to distinguish between tetK, tetM and tetKM isolates.
The prevalence of antibiotic resistance amongst Gram-positive cocci from 25 UK hospitals was studied over an 8 month period in 1999. A total of 3770 isolates were tested by the sentinel laboratories using the Etest; these bacteria comprised 1000 pneumococci, 1005 Staphylococcus aureus, 769 coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) and 996 enterococci. To ensure quality, 10% of the isolates were retested centrally, as were any found to express unusual resistance patterns. The prevalence of penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) varied widely amongst the sentinel laboratories. The resistance rates to methicillin among S. aureus and CNS were 19.2 and 38.9%, respectively, with MRSA rates in individual sentinel sites ranging from 0 to 43%. No glycopeptide resistance was seen in S. aureus, but 6.5% of CNS isolates were teicoplanin resistant and 0.5% were vancomycin resistant. Vancomycin resistance was much more frequent among Enterococcus faecium (24.1%) than E. faecalis (0.5%) (P<0.05), with most resistant isolates carrying vanA. The rate of penicillin resistance in pneumococci was 8.9%, and this resistance was predominantly intermediate (7.9%), with only six hospitals reporting isolates with high level resistance. The prevalence of erythromycin resistance among pneumococci was 12.3%, with the majority of resistant isolates having the macrolide efflux mechanism mediated by mefE. All the organisms tested were susceptible to linezolid with MICs in the range 0.12-4 mg/L. The modal MICs of linezolid were 1 mg/L for CNS and pneumococci, and 2 mg/L for S. aureus and enterococci. Linezolid was the most potent agent tested against Gram-positive cocci, including multiresistant strains, and as such may prove a valuable therapeutic option for the management of Gram-positive infections in hospitals.
J Hosp Infect, 44 (2), pp. 151-153. | Citations: 4 (Scopus)2000. Control of MRSA.
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, | Read moreMolecular characterization of carbapenem-resistant Escherichia coli and Acinetobacter baumannii in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
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