Publications 2008

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Phakdeeraj A, Singhasivanon P, Farrar J, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Development and validation of a high-throughput zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography solid-phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for determination of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in plasma. J Chromatogr A, 1215 (1-2), pp. 145-151. | Citations: 29 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

An assay for the analysis for the quantification of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in human plasma using high-throughput zwitterionic (ZIC) hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) solid-phase extraction (SPE) in a 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The ZIC-HILIC SPE efficiently removed sources of interference present in the supernatant after protein precipitation of plasma proteins. The main advantage of the ZIC-HILIC SPE sample preparation step was that it allowed load and elution conditions to be optimised to extract only peramivir and minimize co-extraction of lipophilic phospholipids. The method was validated according to published US Food and Drugs Administration guidelines and showed excellent performance. The assay was validated over two calibration ranges (0.952-500 and 50-50,000 ng/mL) to support analysis of peramivir after intra-venous administration. The lower limit of quantification for peramivir in plasma was 1 ng/mL and the upper limit of quantification was 50,000 ng/mL. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 8% at all tested quality control concentrations and below 11% at the lower limit of quantification. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range.

McGready R, Tan SO, Ashley EA, Pimanpanarak M, Viladpai-Nguen J, Phaiphun L, Wüstefeld K, Barends M, Laochan N, Keereecharoen L et al. 2008. A randomised controlled trial of artemether-lumefantrine versus artesunate for uncomplicated plasmodium falciparum treatment in pregnancy. PLoS Med, 5 (12), pp. e253. | Citations: 103 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: To date no comparative trials have been done, to our knowledge, of fixed-dose artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy. Evidence on the safety and efficacy of ACTs in pregnancy is needed as these drugs are being used increasingly throughout the malaria-affected world. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of artemether-lumefantrine, the most widely used fixed ACT, with 7 d artesunate monotherapy in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. METHODS AND FINDINGS: An open-label randomised controlled trial comparing directly observed treatment with artemether-lumefantrine 3 d (AL) or artesunate monotherapy 7 d (AS7) was conducted in Karen women in the border area of northwestern Thailand who had uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. The primary endpoint was efficacy defined as the P. falciparum PCR-adjusted cure rates assessed at delivery or by day 42 if this occurred later than delivery, as estimated by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Infants were assessed at birth and followed until 1 y of life. Blood sampling was performed to characterise the pharmacokinetics of lumefantrine in pregnancy. Both regimens were very well tolerated. The cure rates (95% confidence interval) for the intention to treat (ITT) population were: AS7 89.2% (82.3%-96.1%) and AL 82.0% (74.8%-89.3%), p = 0.054 (ITT); and AS7 89.7% (82.6%-96.8%) and AL 81.2% (73.6%-88.8%), p = 0.031 (per-protocol population). One-third of the PCR-confirmed recrudescent cases occurred after 42 d of follow-up. Birth outcomes and infant (up to age 1 y) outcomes did not differ significantly between the two groups. The pharmacokinetic study indicated that low concentrations of artemether and lumefantrine were the main contributors to the poor efficacy of AL. CONCLUSION: The current standard six-dose artemether-lumefantrine regimen was well tolerated and safe in pregnant Karen women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but efficacy was inferior to 7 d artesunate monotherapy and was unsatisfactory for general deployment in this geographic area. Reduced efficacy probably results from low drug concentrations in later pregnancy. A longer or more frequent AL dose regimen may be needed to treat pregnant women effectively and should now be evaluated. Parasitological endpoints in clinical trials of any antimalarial drug treatment in pregnancy should be extended to delivery or day 42 if it comes later. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN86353884.

GALA Trial Collaborative Group, Lewis SC, Warlow CP, Bodenham AR, Colam B, Rothwell PM, Torgerson D, Dellagrammaticas D, Horrocks M, Liapis C et al. 2008. General anaesthesia versus local anaesthesia for carotid surgery (GALA): a multicentre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 372 (9656), pp. 2132-2142. | Citations: 358 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The effect of carotid endarterectomy in lowering the risk of stroke ipsilateral to severe atherosclerotic carotid-artery stenosis is offset by complications during or soon after surgery. We compared surgery under general anaesthesia with that under local anaesthesia because prediction and avoidance of perioperative strokes might be easier under local anaesthesia than under general anaesthesia. METHODS: We undertook a parallel group, multicentre, randomised controlled trial of 3526 patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid stenosis from 95 centres in 24 countries. Participants were randomly assigned to surgery under general (n=1753) or local (n=1773) anaesthesia between June, 1999 and October, 2007. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with stroke (including retinal infarction), myocardial infarction, or death between randomisation and 30 days after surgery. Analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with Current Control Trials number ISRCTN00525237. FINDINGS: A primary outcome occurred in 84 (4.8%) patients assigned to surgery under general anaesthesia and 80 (4.5%) of those assigned to surgery under local anaesthesia; three events per 1000 treated were prevented with local anaesthesia (95% CI -11 to 17; risk ratio [RR] 0.94 [95% CI 0.70 to 1.27]). The two groups did not significantly differ for quality of life, length of hospital stay, or the primary outcome in the prespecified subgroups of age, contralateral carotid occlusion, and baseline surgical risk. INTERPRETATION: We have not shown a definite difference in outcomes between general and local anaesthesia for carotid surgery. The anaesthetist and surgeon, in consultation with the patient, should decide which anaesthetic technique to use on an individual basis. FUNDING: The Health Foundation (UK) and European Society of Vascular Surgery.

White LJ, Buttery J, Cooper B, Nokes DJ, Medley GF. 2008. Rotavirus within day care centres in Oxfordshire, UK: characterization of partial immunity. J R Soc Interface, 5 (29), pp. 1481-1490. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Repeated measures data for rotavirus infection in children within 14 day care centres (DCCs) in the Oxfordshire area, UK, are used to explore aspects of rotavirus transmission and immunity. A biologically realistic model for the transmission of infection is presented as a set of probability models suitable for application to the data. Two transition events are modelled separately: incidence and recovery. The complexity of the underlying mechanistic model is reflected in the choice of the fixed variables in the probability models. Parameter estimation was carried out using a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo method. We use the parameter estimates obtained to build a profile of the natural history of rotavirus reinfection in an individual child. We infer that rotavirus transmission in children in DCCs is dependent on the DCC prevalence, with symptomatic infection of longer duration, but no more infectious per day of infectious period, than asymptomatic infection. There was evidence that a recent previous infection reduces the risk of disease and, to a lesser extent, reinfection, but not duration of infection. The results provide evidence that partial immunity to rotavirus infection develops over several time scales.

Stepniewska K, Price RN, Sutherland CJ, Drakeley CJ, von Seidlein L, Nosten F, White NJ. 2008. Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte dynamics in areas of different malaria endemicity. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 249. | Citations: 50 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to identify and compare factors associated with Plasmodium falciparum gametocyte carriage in three regions of differing malaria endemicity. METHODS: Retrospective data from Thailand, The Gambia and Tanzania were used. The data came from large prospective field-based clinical trials, which investigated gametocyte carriage after different anti-malarial drug treatments. RESULTS: Gametocytaemia was detected during the observation period in 12% of patients (931 out of 7548) in Thailand, 34% (683 out of 2020) in The Gambia, and 31% (430 out of 1400) in Tanzania (p < 0.001). Approximately one third (33%, 680/2044) of the patients with gametocytaemia during the observation period, already had patent gametocytaemia at enrolment (day 0 or day 1): 35% (318/931) in Thailand, 37% (250/683) in The Gambia, 26% (112/430) in Tanzania. Maximum gametocytaemia was usually observed on or before the seventh day after starting treatment (93% in Thailand, 70% in Tanzania and 78% in The Gambia). Lowest gametocyte carriage rates were observed following treatment with artemisinin derivatives, while sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was associated with significantly greater development of gametocytaemia than other drug treatments (p < 0.001). The duration of gametocyte carriage was shorter in Thailand by 86% and Tanzania by 65% than in The Gambia. Gametocyte carriage was 27% longer among people presenting with anaemia, and was shorter in duration among patients who received artemisinin derivatives, by 27% in Thailand and by 71% in Tanzania and The Gambia. CONCLUSION: This study confirms the independent association of gametocytaemia with anaemia, and the significantly lower prevalence and duration of gametocyte carriage following treatment with an artemisinin derivative. The large differences in gametocyte carriage rates between regions with different levels of malaria transmission suggest that drug interventions to prevent transmission will have different effects in different places.

Plewes K, Lee T, Kajeechewa L, Thwin MM, Lee SJ, Carrara VI, Nosten F, McGready R. 2008. Low seroprevalence of HIV and syphilis in pregnant women in refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. Int J STD AIDS, 19 (12), pp. 833-837. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

SUMMARY: Refugee and migrant populations are considered to be at high risk from sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV. Cross-sectional surveys for syphilis and HIV were conducted in antenatal clinics (ANCs) on the Thai-Burmese border. In Mae La refugee camp, the seroprevalence of HIV and syphilis were 0.2% (one of 500) (95% CI 0-1.1) and 0% (0 of 404) (95% CI 0-0.9) in 1997; and 0.4% (two of 500) (95% CI 0.1-1.4) and 0.4% (three of 741) (95% CI 0.1-1.2) in 2005, respectively; syphilis seroprevalence in migrant women in 2005 was 0 (0 of 234) (95% CI 0-1.6). The seroprevalence was lower than that reported from surrounding ANCs for Thai or Burmese women. Focus group discussions with HIV-negative and -positive pregnant refugee women established that aspects of Karen culture and isolation (geographical and political) had a significant protective role from HIV and STI. This survey has resulted in programmatic changes in services to pregnant women in this area.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Singhasivanon P, Socheat D, Yi P, Dondorp AM, McGready R, Nosten F, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Major pitfalls in the measurement of artemisinin derivatives in plasma in clinical studies. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 876 (1), pp. 54-60. | Citations: 43 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate (ARS) and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in human plasma using protein precipitation and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy was developed. The method was validated according to published US FDA-guidelines and showed excellent performance. However, when it was applied to clinical pharmacokinetic studies in malaria, variable degradation of the artemisinins introduced an unacceptable large source of error, rendering the assay useless. Haemolytic products related to sample collection and malaria infection degraded the compounds. Addition of organic solvents during sample processing and even low volume addition of the internal standard in an organic solvent caused degradation. A solid phase extraction method avoiding organic solvents eliminated problems arising from haemolysis induced degradation. Plasma esterases mediated only approximately 20% of ex vivo hydrolysis of ARS into DHA. There are multiple sources of major preventable error in measuring ARS and DHA in plasma samples from clinical trials. These various pitfalls have undoubtedly contributed to the large inter-subject variation in plasma concentration profiles and derived pharmacokinetic parameters for these important antimalarial drugs.

Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Dondorp AM, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NPJ, Lindegardh N. 2008. A liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric method for determination of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 876 (1), pp. 61-68. | Citations: 44 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma using high throughput solid-phase extraction in the 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations including the lower limit of quantification. Using 50 microl plasma the calibration range was 1.19-728 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.5 ng/ml for artesunate and 1.96-2500 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.6 ng/ml for dihydroartemisinin. Using 250 microl of plasma sample the lower limit of quantification was decreased to 0.119 ng/ml for artesunate and 0.196 ng/ml dihydroartemisinin. Validation of over-curve samples in plasma ensured that accurate estimation would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. The method was free from matrix effects as demonstrated both graphically and quantitatively.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NPJ. 2008. Simple, rapid and sensitive detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi by loop-isothermal DNA amplification. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (12), pp. 1239-1246. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We present a loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay (LAMP) targeting the groEL gene, which encodes the 60kDa heat shock protein of Orientia tsutsugamushi. Evaluation included testing of 63 samples of contemporary in vitro isolates, buffy coats and whole blood samples from patients with fever. Detection limits for LAMP were assessed by serial dilutions and quantitation by real-time PCR assay based on the same target gene: three copies/microl for linearized plasmids, 26 copies/microl for VERO cell culture isolates, 14 copies/microl for full blood samples and 41 copies/microl for clinical buffy coats. Based on a limited sample number, the LAMP assay is comparable in sensitivity with conventional nested PCR (56kDa gene), with limits of detection well below the range of known admission bacterial loads of patients with scrub typhus. This inexpensive method requires no sophisticated equipment or sample preparation, and may prove useful as a diagnostic assay in financially poor settings; however, it requires further prospective validation in the field setting.

Newton PN. 2008. Different Clinical Expression of Murine Typhus and Scrub Typhus INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E43-E43. | Read more

Maude RJ, Dondorp AM, Faiz MA, Yunus EB, Samad R, Hossain A, Rahman MR. 2008. Malaria in southeast Bangladesh: a descriptive study. Bangladesh Med Res Counc Bull, 34 (3), pp. 87-89. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria in Asia is thought to be grossly under-reported and this is evident from previously published statistics from Bangladesh. Malaria screening data from four Upazillas was analysed alongside census data to assess the trends in malaria incidence over time and distribution of malaria by age and gender. Malaria incidence in this area has decreased by around two thirds since 2003, although control measures were not significantly increased until 2005. Malaria occurred in people of all ages with the highest incidence being in young adults. This is consistent with higher occupational exposure in this group. The probability of being screened for malaria decreased with age suggesting significant numbers of adults with malaria may be being missed.

Tran TC, Campbell JI, Galindo C, Tran TH, Nguyen TC, Acosta CJ, Clemens JD, Farrar J, Dolecek C. 2008. Antimicrobial Drug Resistance of Salmonella Typhi in Asia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E120-E120. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Yeo TW, Rooslamiati I, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Price RN, Anstey NM, Duffull SB. 2008. Pharmacokinetics of L-arginine in adults with moderately severe malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (12), pp. 4381-4387. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe malaria is associated with decreased nitric oxide (NO) production and low plasma concentrations of L-arginine, the substrate for NO synthase. Supplementation with L-arginine has the potential to improve NO bioavailability and outcomes. We developed a pharmacokinetic model for L-arginine in moderately severe malaria to explore the concentration-time profile and identify important covariates. In doses of 3, 6, or 12 g,L-arginine was infused over 30 min to 30 adults with moderately severe malaria, and plasma concentrations were measured at 8 to 11 time points. Patients who had not received L-arginine were also assessed and included in the model. The data were analyzed using a population approach with NONMEM software. A two-compartment linear model with first-order elimination best described the data, with a clearance of 44 liters/h (coefficient of variation [CV] = 52%) and a volume of distribution of 24 liters (CV = 19%). The natural time course of L-arginine recovery was described empirically by a second-order polynomial with a time to half recovery of 26 h. The half-life of exogenous L-arginine was reduced in patients with malaria compared with that for healthy adults. Weight and ethnicity were significant covariates for clearance. MATLAB simulations of dosing schedules for use in future studies predicted that 12 g given over 6, 8, or 12 h will provide concentrations above the K(m) of endothelial cell CAT-1 transporters in 90%, 75%, and 60% of patients, respectively.

Khounsy S, Conlan JV, Gleeson LJ, Westbury HA, Colling A, Paton DJ, Knowles NJ, Ferris NP, Blacksell SD. 2008. Foot and mouth disease in the Lao People's Democratic Republic: I. A review of recent outbreaks and lessons from control programmes. Rev Sci Tech, 27 (3), pp. 839-849. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) causes sporadic disease outbreaks in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). As the Lao PDR is a major thoroughfare for transboundary animal movements, regular FMD outbreaks occur, causing economic hardship for farmers and their families. In this review of the recent history of FMD in the Lao PDR between 1997 and 2006, the authors examine the virological and epidemiological aspects of the disease and appropriate control measures, including the distribution of outbreaks, causative serotypes and the molecular epidemiology of the viruses, as well as large-scale vaccination programmes. The dominant serotype, type O, was reported every year from 1998 to 2005. The majority of outbreaks occurred in Vientiane Capital (n = 42; 28%) and the highest number of outbreaks were reported in cattle (n = 94; 61%); followed by buffalo (n = 41; 27%) and pigs (n = 18; 12%). All type A outbreaks occurred in cattle. Type Asia 1 outbreaks were reported in the central provinces around Vientiane Capital between 1996 and 1998.

Blacksell SD, Khounsy S, Conlan JV, Gleeson LJ, Colling A, Westbury HA. 2008. Foot and mouth disease in the Lao People's Democratic Republic: II. Seroprevalence estimates, using structured surveillance and surveys of abattoirs. Rev Sci Tech, 27 (3), pp. 851-859. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

An examination of the seroprevalence of foot and mouth disease (FMD) virus was conducted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) from 1996 to 2005, using structured surveillance and abattoir-based studies. Under structured surveillance, seropositivity ranged from 65.7% (Vientiane Capital, 1996) to 3% (Houaphan, 2005) for cattle and buffalo; and from 2.8% (Vientiane Capital, 1998) to 0% in separate studies of pigs. In each study, species composition was significantly associated with seroprevalence rates. For abattoir surveys, the majority of samples (60.5%) came from Vientiane Capital (33.0%), Savannakhet (14.0%) and Champasak (13.5%) provinces. The overall proportion of animals testing positive for the presence of antibodies against the FMD virus was 18.7% (ranging from 50.8% in Vientiane Province to 1% in Phongsali). Generally, antibodies against serotype O were the most prevalent. Cattle and buffalo that tested as seropositive were significantly older than the seronegative animals (p < 0.00005). The overall proportional seropositivity was significantly different for different species, as was the case with the antibodies against serotypes O, A and Asia 1. Some 22% of cattle, 55% of buffalo and 23% of pigs demonstrated seropositivity but this varied significantly between provinces.

Cheng AC, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Chierakul W, Peacock SJ. 2008. Intensity of exposure and incidence of melioidosis in Thai children. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 Suppl 1 (Supplement_1), pp. S37-S39. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a high background seroprevalence of antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei in Thailand that limits its use as a diagnostic tool. It is believed that this results from childhood exposure to the bacterium in mud and surface water. The increasing prevalence of antibodies with age is a marker of the intensity of exposure. A susceptible-infected-susceptible (SIS) model was calibrated with data on seroprevalence in children (<15 years) in Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani (n=2214). In this mathematical model, children were assumed to gain antibodies at a constant rate related to exposure events, and waning antibody response occurred at a constant rate. The intensity of exposure appeared to be higher in Udon Thani than in Ubon Ratchathani, with 24% vs. 11% of patients becoming seropositive each year. In Udon Thani children, antibodies appeared to be long-lasting, compared with those in Ubon Ratchathani, where the mean duration was 5.2 years. Based on an estimated paediatric disease incidence in Ubon Ratchathani of 4.15 per 100,000 population, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 4600 antibody-producing exposures results in clinical infection. Childhood seroprevalence can be used as a marker of intensity of exposure. Further work to separate the effect of exposure to B. thailandensis and cross-reactivity to B. pseudomallei is proposed.

Currie BJ, Dance DAB, Cheng AC. 2008. The global distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei and melioidosis: an update. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 Suppl 1 (SUPPL. 1), pp. S1-S4. | Citations: 214 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

While Southeast Asia and northern Australia are well recognized as the major endemic regions for melioidosis, recent reports have expanded the endemic zone. Severe weather events and environmental disasters such as the 2004 Asian tsunami have unmasked locations of sporadic cases and have reconfirmed endemicity in Indonesia. The endemic region now includes the majority of the Indian subcontinent, southern China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Sporadic cases have occurred in Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas and in island communities such as New Caledonia, in the Pacific Ocean, and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Some of the factors that are critical to further elucidating the global distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei and melioidosis include improved access to diagnostic laboratory facilities and formal confirmation of the identity of bacterial isolates from suspected cases.

Boni MF, Buckee CO, White NJ. 2008. Mathematical models for a new era of malaria eradication. PLoS Med, 5 (11), pp. e231. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more

Suwanarusk R, Chavchich M, Russell B, Jaidee A, Chalfein F, Barends M, Prasetyorini B, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Lek-Uthai U et al. 2008. Amplification of pvmdr1 associated with multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. J Infect Dis, 198 (10), pp. 1558-1564. | Citations: 74 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant strains of Plasmodium vivax are emerging in Southeast Asia. METHODS: In vitro drug susceptibility and pvmdr1 genotype were determined in P. vivax field isolates from Indonesia and Thailand. RESULTS: Increased pvmdr1 copy number was present in 21% of isolates from Thailand (15/71) and none from Indonesia (0/114; P < .001). Compared with Indonesian isolates, the median IC(50) of Thai isolates was lower for chloroquine (36 vs. 114 nmol/L; P < .001) but higher for amodiaquine (34 vs. 13.7 nmol/L; P = .032), artesunate (8.33 vs. 1.58 nmol/L; P < .001), and mefloquine (111 vs. 9.87 nmol/L; P < .001). In 11 cryopreserved Thai isolates, those with increased pvmdr1 copy number had a higher IC(50) for mefloquine (78.6 vs. 38 nmol/L for single-copy isolates; P = .006). Compared with isolates with the wild-type allele, the Y976F mutation of pvmdr1 was associated with reduced susceptibility to chloroquine (154 nmol/L [range, 4.6-3505] vs. 34 nmol/L [range, 6.7-149]; P < .001) but greater susceptibility to artesunate (1.8 vs. 9.5 nmol/L; P = .009) and mefloquine (14 vs. 121 nmol/L; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Amplification of pvmdr1 and single-nucleotide polymorphisms are correlated with susceptibility of P. vivax to multiple antimalarial drugs. Chloroquine and mefloquine appear to exert competitive evolutionary pressure on pvmdr1, similar to that observed with pfmdr1 in Plasmodium falciparum.

Dowell FE, Maghirang EB, Fernandez FM, Newton PN, Green MD. 2008. Detecting counterfeit antimalarial tablets by near-infrared spectroscopy. J Pharm Biomed Anal, 48 (3), pp. 1011-1014. | Citations: 55 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Counterfeit antimalarial drugs are found in many developing countries, but it is challenging to differentiate between genuine and fakes due to their increasing sophistication. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a powerful tool in pharmaceutical forensics, and we tested this technique for discriminating between counterfeit and genuine artesunate antimalarial tablets. Using NIRS, we found that artesunate tablets could be identified as genuine or counterfeit with high accuracy. Multivariate classification models indicated that this discriminatory ability was based, at least partly, on the presence or absence of spectral signatures related to artesunate. This technique can be field-portable and requires little training after calibrations are developed, thus showing great promise for rapid and accurate fake detection.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Piera K, Price RN, Duffull SB, Celermajer DS, Anstey NM. 2008. Angiopoietin-2 is associated with decreased endothelial nitric oxide and poor clinical outcome in severe falciparum malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (44), pp. 17097-17102. | Citations: 157 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Adherence of parasitized erythrocytes to activated endothelium causes microvascular obstruction, tissue ischemia, and clinical complications in severe malaria (SM); however, the mechanisms leading to endothelial activation remain unclear. The angiogenic factors, angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are modulators of endothelial activation, with Ang-2 release from Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) being regulated by endothelial nitric oxide (NO). We explored the relationships between endothelial NO bioavailability, Ang-2, VEGF, tissue perfusion, and clinical outcomes in SM. We measured plasma Ang-2 and VEGF, together with biomarkers of severity from 146 adults with and without SM, in parallel with longitudinal measures of endothelial function by using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (a measure of endothelial NO bioavailability). Regression was used to relate concentrations of Ang-2/VEGF with malaria disease severity, biomarkers of perfusion, endothelial activation, and parasite biomass. The longitudinal relationship between Ang-2 and endothelial function was assessed by using a mixed-effects model. Ang-2 concentrations were elevated in SM and associated with increased venous lactate, plasma intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 concentrations, parasite biomass, and mortality. In contrast, VEGF concentrations were inversely associated with these biomarkers. Ang-2 concentrations were significantly better predictors of death than venous lactate (P = 0.03). Recovery of endothelial function was associated with falling concentrations of Ang-2. Ang-2 release from endothelial cells with reduced NO bioavailability is likely to contribute to endothelial activation, sequestered parasite biomass, impaired perfusion, and poor outcome in severe falciparum malaria. Agents that improve endothelial NO, reduce WPB exocytosis, and/or antagonize Ang-2 may have therapeutic roles in SM.

Schweizer HP, Peacock SJ. 2008. Antimicrobial drug-selection markers for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (11), pp. 1689-1692. | Citations: 71 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetic research into the select agents Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei is currently hampered by a paucity of approved antimicrobial drug-selection markers. The strict regulations imposed on researchers in the United States but not in other parts of the world lead to discrepancies in practice, hinder distribution of genetically modified strains, and impede progress in the field. Deliberation and decisions regarding alternative selection markers (antimicrobial and nonantimicrobial drugs) by the international community, regulatory authorities, and funding agencies are needed.

Newton PN, Hampton CY, Alter-Hall K, Teerwarakulpana T, Prakongpan S, Ruangveerayuth R, White NJ, Day NPJ, Tudino MB, Mancuso N, Fernández FM. 2008. Characterization of "Yaa Chud" Medicine on the Thailand-Myanmar border: selecting for drug-resistant malaria and threatening public health. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (5), pp. 662-669. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a severe public health problem on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Many villagers buy packets of 4-5 mixed medicines ("yaa chud") from shops without medical assessment as their first-line malaria treatment. In 2000-2001 a local researcher purchased 50 yaa chud from 44 shops around Mae Sot, Thailand and Myawaddy, Myanmar (Burma), for his wife who was said to be pregnant with fever and drowsiness. The tablets/capsules were provisionally identified by appearance and active ingredients determined in a subset by using mass and atomic spectrometry. The most frequently detected active ingredients were acetaminophen (22%), chlorpheniramine (13.4%), chloroquine (12.6%), tetracycline/doxycycline (11.4%), and quinine (5.1%). Only seven bags contained potentially curative medicine for malaria. A total of 82% of the bags contained medicines contraindicated in pregnancy. Inappropriate, ineffective antimalarial drugs on the Thailand-Myanmar border are likely to increase malaria morbidity, mortality and health costs and engender the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance.

Borrmann S, Peto T, Snow RW, Gutteridge W, White NJ. 2008. Revisiting the design of phase III clinical trials of antimalarial drugs for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. PLoS Med, 5 (11), pp. e227. | Citations: 7 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Bozdech Z, Mok S, Hu G, Imwong M, Jaidee A, Russell B, Ginsburg H, Nosten F, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2008. The transcriptome of Plasmodium vivax reveals divergence and diversity of transcriptional regulation in malaria parasites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (42), pp. 16290-16295. | Citations: 172 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax causes over 100 million clinical infections each year. Primarily because of the lack of a suitable culture system, our understanding of the biology of this parasite lags significantly behind that of the more deadly species P. falciparum. Here, we present the complete transcriptional profile throughout the 48-h intraerythrocytic cycle of three distinct P. vivax isolates. This approach identifies strain specific patterns of expression for subsets of genes predicted to encode proteins associated with virulence and host pathogen interactions. Comparison to P. falciparum revealed significant differences in the expression of genes involved in crucial cellular functions that underpin the biological differences between the two parasite species. These data provide insights into the biology of P. vivax and constitute an important resource for the development of therapeutic approaches.

Tan SO, McGready R, Zwang J, Pimanpanarak M, Sriprawat K, Thwai KL, Moo Y, Ashley EA, Edwards B, Singhasivanon P et al. 2008. Thrombocytopaenia in pregnant women with malaria on the Thai-Burmese border. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 209. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Haematological changes associated with malaria in pregnancy are not well documented, and have focused predominantly on anaemia. Examined here is thrombocytopaenia in pregnant women infected with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax in a low transmission area on the north-western border of Thailand. METHODS: In this observational study we reviewed the platelet counts from routine complete blood count (CBC) in a cohort of healthy and malaria infected Karen pregnant women attending weekly antenatal clinics. A platelet count of 75,000/microL was the threshold at 2 standard deviations below the mean for healthy pregnant women used to indicate thrombocytopenia. Differences in platelet counts in non-pregnant and pregnant women were compared after matching for age, symptoms, malaria species and parasitaemia. RESULTS: In total 974 pregnant women had 1,558 CBC measurements between February 2004 and September 2006. The median platelet counts (/microL) were significantly lower in patients with an episode of falciparum 134,000 [11,000-690,000] (N = 694) or vivax malaria 184,000 [23,000-891,000] (N = 523) compared to healthy pregnant women 256,000 [64,000-781,000] (N = 255), P < 0.05 for both comparisons. Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax caused a 34% (95% CI 24-47) and 22% (95% CI 8-36) reduction in platelet count, respectively. Pregnant compared to non pregnant women were at higher risk OR = 2.27 (95%CI 1.16-4.4) P = 0.017, for thrombocytopaenia. Platelets counts were higher in first compared with subsequent malaria infections within the same pregnancy. Malaria associated thrombocytopaenia had a median [range] time for recovery of 7 234567891011121314 days which did not differ by antimalarial treatment (P = 0.86), or species (P = 0.63) and was not associated with active bleeding. CONCLUSION: Pregnant women become more thrombocytopenic than non-pregnant women with acute uncomplicated malaria. Uncomplicated malaria associated thrombocytopaenia is seldom severe. Prompt antimalarial treatment resulted in normalization of platelet counts within a week.

Lee SJ, McGready R, Fernandez C, Stepniewska K, Paw MK, Viladpai-nguen SJ, Thwai KL, Villegas L, Singhasivanon P, Greenwood BM et al. 2008. Chloroquine pharmacokinetics in pregnant and nonpregnant women with vivax malaria. Eur J Clin Pharmacol, 64 (10), pp. 987-992. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: We compared the pharmacokinetics of chloroquine in pregnant and nonpregnant women treated for Plasmodium vivax malaria. METHODS: Twelve pregnant women and 15 nonpregnant women of child-bearing age with acute P. vivax malaria were treated with 25 mg chloroquine base/kg over 3 days on the northwestern border of Thailand. Blood concentrations of chloroquine and desethylchloroquine were measured using hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography coupled with fluorescence detection. Twenty-five women completed the pharmacokinetic study. RESULTS: Although increasing gestational age was associated with reduced chloroquine AUC0-->infinity, there was no significant difference overall in the pharmacokinetics of chloroquine between pregnant and nonpregnant women. Fever was associated with lower chloroquine AUC0-->infinity values. Desethylchloroquine area under the curve (AUC) values were not significantly affected by pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnancy did not significantly affect blood concentrations of chloroquine or its metabolite, desethylchloroquine, in women with P. vivax malaria.

Nair S, Miller B, Barends M, Jaidee A, Patel J, Mayxay M, Newton P, Nosten F, Ferdig MT, Anderson TJC. 2008. Adaptive copy number evolution in malaria parasites. PLoS Genet, 4 (10), pp. e1000243. | Citations: 101 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Copy number polymorphism (CNP) is ubiquitous in eukaryotic genomes, but the degree to which this reflects the action of positive selection is poorly understood. The first gene in the Plasmodium folate biosynthesis pathway, GTP-cyclohydrolase I (gch1), shows extensive CNP. We provide compelling evidence that gch1 CNP is an adaptive consequence of selection by antifolate drugs, which target enzymes downstream in this pathway. (1) We compared gch1 CNP in parasites from Thailand (strong historical antifolate selection) with those from neighboring Laos (weak antifolate selection). Two percent of chromosomes had amplified copy number in Laos, while 72% carried multiple (2-11) copies in Thailand, and differentiation exceeded that observed at 73 synonymous SNPs. (2) We found five amplicon types containing one to greater than six genes and spanning 1 to >11 kb, consistent with parallel evolution and strong selection for this gene amplification. gch1 was the only gene occurring in all amplicons suggesting that this locus is the target of selection. (3) We observed reduced microsatellite variation and increased linkage disequilibrium (LD) in a 900-kb region flanking gch1 in parasites from Thailand, consistent with rapid recent spread of chromosomes carrying multiple copies of gch1. (4) We found that parasites bearing dhfr-164L, which causes high-level resistance to antifolate drugs, carry significantly (p = 0.00003) higher copy numbers of gch1 than parasites bearing 164I, indicating functional association between genes located on different chromosomes but linked in the same biochemical pathway. These results demonstrate that CNP at gch1 is adaptive and the associations with dhfr-164L strongly suggest a compensatory function. More generally, these data demonstrate how selection affects multiple enzymes in a single biochemical pathway, and suggest that investigation of structural variation may provide a fast-track to locating genes underlying adaptation.

Derbyshire ET, Franssen FJ, de Vries E, Morin C, Woodrow CJ, Krishna S, Staines HM. 2008. Identification, expression and characterisation of a Babesia bovis hexose transporter Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 161 (2), pp. 124-129. | Read more

Rahman MM, Dondorp AM, Day NPJ, Lindegardh N, Imwong M, Faiz MA, Bangali AM, Kamal ATMM, Karim J, Kaewkungwal J, Singhasivanon P. 2008. Adherence and efficacy of supervised versus non-supervised treatment with artemether/lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Bangladesh: a randomised controlled trial. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (9), pp. 861-867. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

As artemether/lumefantrine is now deployed as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh, information on its efficacy and adherence to its use is important. A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial comparing directly observed treatment (DOT) and non-directly observed treatment (NDOT) was conducted in 320 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bandarban Hill Tract District, Bangladesh. Both regimens showed similar high levels of PCR-corrected 42-day parasitological and clinical cure rates (99.3% in the NDOT group and 100% in the DOT group; P=0.49). Survival analysis for the time to recurrence of infection showed no difference between treatment groups (log rank, P=0.98). Adherence, as assessed by counting remaining tablets and oral interviews, was 93% in the NDOT group and was confirmed by Day 7 lumefantrine concentrations. Adherence was independent of educational level. Patients with plasma lumefantrine concentrations < 280 ng/ml at Day 7 were at greater risk for re-infection (relative risk 5.62; P=0.027). The efficacy of artemether/lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh is high and is similar for DOT and NDOT. Adherence to therapy is high.

Parola P, Blacksell SD, Phetsouvanh R, Phongmany S, Rolain J-M, Day NPJ, Newton PN, Raoult D. 2008. Genotyping of Orientia tsutsugamushi from humans with scrub typhus, Laos. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (9), pp. 1483-1485. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Read more

Pukrittayakamee S, Imwong M, Singhasivanon P, Stepniewska K, Day NJ, White NJ. 2008. Effects of different antimalarial drugs on gametocyte carriage in P. vivax malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (3), pp. 378-384. | Citations: 32 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The gametocytocidal and asexual stage activities of eight antimalarial and eight antibiotic-containing regimens were evaluated in 349 adult patients with P. vivax malaria. Gametocytemia was found in 63% of patients (22% before and 41% after treatment). The median (range) gametocyte clearance time was 24 hours (range, 2-504 hours) and correlated with asexual parasite clearance time (r = 0.52, P < 0.001). Gametocytemia in vivax malaria was more common in patients with admission parasitemia > 10,000/microL and after treatment with drugs which have weak antimalarial activity, and was also associated with an increased rate of vivax reappearance (29.4% versus 14.1%, P = 0.002). Sexual stage activities corresponded with asexual stage activity for all tested regimens. Treatment with potent antimalarial drugs reduces the transmission potential of P. vivax.

Conlan J, Khounsy S, Inthavong P, Fenwick S, Blacksell S, Thompson RCA. 2008. A review of taeniasis and cysticercosis in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Parasitol Int, 57 (3), pp. 252-255. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Taeniasis and cysticercosis are important but underreported parasitic zoonoses in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Reports of human and pig cysticercosis are rather limited and based largely on anecdotal evidence. To date, no structured surveys of disease prevalence or incidence have been reported. However, one unpublished pilot survey of pig cysticercosis in a slaughterhouse in northern Laos estimated prevalence to be 1.7%, without speciation of parasite cysts. Over the past 20 years, nine surveys of intestinal helminthic infection have been conducted; the prevalence of human taeniasis ranged from 0 to 14.0%. The study designs and sample sizes varied greatly, however a high degree of spatial and age variation in taeniasis prevalence was evident. These results are however inconclusive as the species of tapeworm infecting the people was not determined. To further our knowledge of taeniasis and cysticercosis in Lao PDR, structured community-based surveys in high-risk areas are required in combination with the use of sensitive and specific diagnostic tests capable of identifying the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. This will enable the development and implementation of control measures that are both appropriate and sustainable if T. solium is shown to be a public health threat.

Maude RJ, Koh GCKW, Silamut K. 2008. Taking photographs with a microscope. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (3), pp. 471-472. | Citations: 6 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe a simple, economical, and highly practical technique for taking digital photographs of specimens visualized through a light microscope. Most models of light microscope and compact digital camera, and even some cameraphones, can be used. The technique is quick to learn and can easily be performed in a resource-poor setting. It can be used to assist with diagnosis in remote areas and can be extremely useful for teaching.

Cooper BS, Medley GF, Bradley SJ, Scott GM. 2008. An augmented data method for the analysis of nosocomial infection data. Am J Epidemiol, 168 (5), pp. 548-557. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The analysis of nosocomial infection data for communicable pathogens is complicated by two facts. First, typical pathogens more commonly cause asymptomatic colonization than overt disease, so transmission can be only imperfectly observed through a sequence of surveillance swabs, which themselves have imperfect sensitivity. Any given set of swab results can therefore be consistent with many different patterns of transmission. Second, data are often highly dependent: the colonization status of one patient affects the risk for others, and, in some wards, repeated admissions are common. Here, the authors present a method for analyzing typical nosocomial infection data consisting of results from arbitrarily timed screening swabs that overcomes these problems and enables simultaneous estimation of transmission and importation parameters, duration of colonization, swab sensitivity, and ward- and patient-level covariates. The method accounts for dependencies by using a mechanistic stochastic transmission model, and it allows for uncertainty in the data by imputing the imperfectly observed colonization status of patients over repeated admissions. The approach uses a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm, allowing inference within a Bayesian framework. The method is applied to illustrative data from an interrupted time-series study of vancomycin-resistant enterococci transmission in a hematology ward.

Deen JL, von Seidlein L, Dondorp A. 2008. Therapy of uncomplicated malaria in children: a review of treatment principles, essential drugs and current recommendations. Trop Med Int Health, 13 (9), pp. 1111-1130. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the optimal treatment of uncomplicated malaria in children is challenging because of the availability of new drugs and the shift to combination therapies. This is a review of the guiding principles for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria, the essential anti-malarial drugs for children, and the treatment regimens currently recommended.

Salje J, Löwe J. 2008. Bacterial actin: architecture of the ParMRC plasmid DNA partitioning complex. EMBO J, 27 (16), pp. 2230-2238. | Citations: 48 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The R1 plasmid employs ATP-driven polymerisation of the actin-like protein ParM to move newly replicated DNA to opposite poles of a bacterial cell. This process is essential for ensuring accurate segregation of the low-copy number plasmid and is the best characterised example of DNA partitioning in prokaryotes. In vivo, ParM only forms long filaments when capped at both ends by attachment to a centromere-like region parC, through a small DNA-binding protein ParR. Here, we present biochemical and electron microscopy data leading to a model for the mechanism by which ParR-parC complexes bind and stabilise elongating ParM filaments. We propose that the open ring formed by oligomeric ParR dimers with parC DNA wrapped around acts as a rigid clamp, which holds the end of elongating ParM filaments while allowing entry of new ATP-bound monomers. We propose a processive mechanism by which cycles of ATP hydrolysis in polymerising ParM drives movement of ParR-bound parC DNA. Importantly, our model predicts that each pair of plasmids will be driven apart in the cell by just a single double helical ParM filament.

Ricci C, Nyadong L, Yang F, Fernandez FM, Brown CD, Newton PN, Kazarian SG. 2008. Assessment of hand-held Raman instrumentation for in situ screening for potentially counterfeit artesunate antimalarial tablets by FT-Raman spectroscopy and direct ionization mass spectrometry. Anal Chim Acta, 623 (2), pp. 178-186. | Citations: 74 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Pharmaceutical counterfeiting has become a significant public health problem worldwide and new, rapid, user-friendly, reliable and inexpensive methods for drug quality screening are needed. This work illustrates the chemical characterization of genuine and fake artesunate antimalarial tablets by portable Raman spectroscopy and validation by FT-Raman spectroscopy and ambient mass spectrometry. The applicability of a compact and robust portable Raman spectrometer (TruScan) for the in situ chemical identification of counterfeit tablets is reported.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, McNeil YR, Darcy CJ, Granger DL, Weinberg JB, Lopansri BK et al. 2008. Recovery of endothelial function in severe falciparum malaria: relationship with improvement in plasma L-arginine and blood lactate concentrations. J Infect Dis, 198 (4), pp. 602-608. | Citations: 54 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is characterized by microvascular obstruction, endothelial dysfunction, and reduced levels of L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO). L-Arginine infusion improves endothelial function in moderately severe malaria. Neither the longitudinal course of endothelial dysfunction nor factors associated with recovery have been characterized in severe malaria. METHODS: Endothelial function was measured longitudinally in adults with severe malaria (n = 49) or moderately severe malaria (n = 48) in Indonesia, using reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT). In a mixed-effects model, changes in RH-PAT index values in patients with severe malaria were related to changes in parasitemia, lactate, acidosis, and plasma L-arginine concentrations. RESULTS: Among patients with severe malaria, the proportion with endothelial dysfunction fell from 94% (46/49 patients) to 14% (6/42 patients) before discharge or death (P < .001). In severe malaria, the median time to normal endothelial function was 49 h (interquartile range, 20-70 h) after the start of antimalarial therapy. The mean increase in L-arginine concentrations in patients with severe malaria was 11 micromol/L/24 h (95% confidence interval [CI], 9-13 micromol/L/24 h), from a baseline of 49 micromol/L (95% CI, 37-45 micromol/L). Improvement of endothelial function in patients with severe malaria correlated with increasing levels of L-arginine (r = 0.56; P = .008) and decreasing levels of lactate (r = -0.44; P = .001). CONCLUSIONS: Recovery of endothelial function in severe malaria is associated with recovery from hypoargininemia and lactic acidosis. Agents that can improve endothelial NO production and endothelial function, such as L-arginine, may have potential as adjunctive therapy early during the course of severe malaria.

Karyana M, Burdarm L, Yeung S, Kenangalem E, Wariker N, Maristela R, Umana KG, Vemuri R, Okoseray MJ, Penttinen PM et al. 2008. Malaria morbidity in Papua Indonesia, an area with multidrug resistant Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 148. | Citations: 80 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug resistance has emerged to both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum and yet the comparative epidemiology of these infections is poorly defined. METHODS: All laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria in Timika, Papua, Indonesia, presenting to community primary care clinics and an inpatient facility were reviewed over a two-year period. In addition information was gathered from a house-to-house survey to quantify the prevalence of malaria and treatment-seeking behaviour of people with fever. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and December 2005, 99,158 laboratory-confirmed episodes of malaria were reported, of which 58% (57,938) were attributable to P. falciparum and 37% (36,471) to P. vivax. Malaria was most likely to be attributable to pure P. vivax in children under one year of age (55% 2,684/4,889). In the household survey, the prevalence of asexual parasitaemia was 7.5% (290/3,890) for P. falciparum and 6.4% (248/3,890) for P. vivax. The prevalence of P. falciparum infection peaked in young adults aged 15-25 years (9.8% 69/707), compared to P. vivax infection which peaked in children aged 1 to 4 years (9.5% 61/642). Overall 35% (1,813/5,255) of people questioned reported a febrile episode in the preceding month. Of the 60% of people who were estimated to have had malaria, only 39% would have been detected by the surveillance network. The overall incidence of malaria was therefore estimated as 876 per 1,000 per year (Range: 711-906). CONCLUSION: In this region of multidrug-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum, both species are associated with substantial morbidity, but with significant differences in the age-related risk of infection.

Cheng AC, West TE, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2008. Strategies to reduce mortality from bacterial sepsis in adults in developing countries. PLoS Med, 5 (8), pp. e175. | Citations: 64 (Scopus) | Read more

Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Sandberg S, Day NJP, White NJ, Ashton M. 2008. Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the antimalarial piperaquine after intravenous and oral single doses to the rat. J Pharm Sci, 97 (8), pp. 3400-3410. | Citations: 24 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

This study aimed to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine in the rat after intravenous and oral administration, and to identify and characterize the main piperaquine metabolites in rat plasma, urine, faeces and bile after intravenous administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered piperaquine as an emulsion orally or as a short-term intravenous infusion. Venous blood for pharmacokinetic evaluation was frequently withdrawn up to 90 h after dose. Urine, bile and faeces were collected after an infusion in rats kept in metabolic cages or in anesthetized rats. Pharmacokinetic characterization was done by compartmental modeling and non-compartmental analysis using WinNonlin. Piperaquine disposition was best described by a 3-compartment model with a rapid initial distribution phase after intravenous administration. The pharmacokinetics of piperaquine was characterized by a low clearance, a large volume of distribution and a long terminal half-life. Piperaquine displayed a low biliary clearance and less than 1% of the total dose was recovered in urine. The absolute oral bioavailability was approximately 50%. The main metabolite after intravenous administration of piperaquine was a carboxylic acid product identical to that reported in humans. The similarity with results in humans indicates the rat to be a suitable species for nonclinical in vivo piperaquine studies.

Harris KA, Turner P, Green EA, Hartley JC. 2008. Duplex real-time PCR assay for detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae in clinical samples and determination of penicillin susceptibility. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (8), pp. 2751-2758. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We have developed a duplex real-time PCR for the rapid diagnosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection from culture-negative clinical samples with the simultaneous determination of penicillin susceptibility. The assay amplifies a lytA gene target and a penicillin binding protein 2b (pbp2b) gene target in penicillin-susceptible organisms. The assay was shown to be sensitive (detects 0.5 CFU per PCR) and specific for the detection of S. pneumoniae DNA. The assay was validated by comparing pbp2b PCR results with MIC data for 27 S. pneumoniae isolates. All 5 isolates with penicillin MICs of > 1.0 mg/liter were pbp2b real-time PCR negative, as were 9 of the 10 isolates with penicillin MICs of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter. One isolate with a penicillin MIC of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter gave an equivocal pbp2b real-time PCR result. Twelve isolates were penicillin susceptible (MICs of < or = 0.06 mg/liter) and pbp2b real-time PCR positive. These data were used to establish an algorithm for the interpretation of penicillin susceptibility from the duplex PCR result. pbp2b real-time PCR results were also compared to an established PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) method previously applied to these 27 isolates and 46 culture-negative clinical samples (containing S. pneumoniae DNA by broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR). Discordant results were seen for four isolates and six culture-negative clinical samples, as PCR-RFLP could not reliably detect penicillin MICs of 0.12 to 1.0 mg/liter. We report prospective application of the duplex PCR assay to the diagnosis of S. pneumoniae infection from 200 culture-negative clinical specimens sent to the laboratory for diagnostic broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR. One hundred six were negative in the duplex PCR. Ninety-four were lytA PCR positive, and 70 of these were also pbp2b PCR positive and interpreted as penicillin susceptible. Fourteen were pbp2b PCR negative and interpreted as having reduced susceptibility to penicillin. For the remaining 10 samples, susceptibility to penicillin was not determined.

Holt KE, Parkhill J, Mazzoni CJ, Roumagnac P, Weill F-X, Goodhead I, Rance R, Baker S, Maskell DJ, Wain J et al. 2008. High-throughput sequencing provides insights into genome variation and evolution in Salmonella Typhi. Nat Genet, 40 (8), pp. 987-993. | Citations: 330 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Typhi), a human-restricted bacterial pathogen that causes typhoid, show limited genetic variation. We generated whole-genome sequences for 19 Typhi isolates using 454 (Roche) and Solexa (Illumina) technologies. Isolates, including the previously sequenced CT18 and Ty2 isolates, were selected to represent major nodes in the phylogenetic tree. Comparative analysis showed little evidence of purifying selection, antigenic variation or recombination between isolates. Rather, evolution in the Typhi population seems to be characterized by ongoing loss of gene function, consistent with a small effective population size. The lack of evidence for antigenic variation driven by immune selection is in contrast to strong adaptive selection for mutations conferring antibiotic resistance in Typhi. The observed patterns of genetic isolation and drift are consistent with the proposed key role of asymptomatic carriers of Typhi as the main reservoir of this pathogen, highlighting the need for identification and treatment of carriers.

Ihekweazu CA, Dance DAB, Pebody R, George RC, Smith MD, Waight P, Christensen H, Cartwright KAV, Stuart JM, South West Pneumococcus Study Group. 2008. Trends in incidence of pneumococcal disease before introduction of conjugate vaccine: South West England, 1996-2005. Epidemiol Infect, 136 (8), pp. 1096-1102. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate and polysaccharide vaccines into the United Kingdom's routine immunization programmes is expected to change the epidemiology of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). We have documented the epidemiology of IPD in an English region (South West) with high-quality surveillance data before these programmes were established. We analysed data on isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood and CSF between 1996 and 2005 from microbiology laboratories in the South West that were reported and/or referred for serotyping to the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections. The mean annual incidence of IPD increased from 11.2/100 000 in 1996 to 13.6/100 000 in 2005 (P<0.04). After adjusting for annual blood-culture sampling rates in hospitals serving the same catchment populations, an increase in annual incidence of IPD was no longer observed (P=1.0). Variation in overall incidence between laboratories could also be explained by variation in blood culture rates. The proportion of disease caused by serotypes 6B, 9V and 14 decreased significantly (P=0.001, P=0.007, and P=0.027 respectively) whereas that caused by serotype 4, 7F and 1 increased (P=0.001, P=0.003, and P<0.001 respectively) between 2000 and 2005. The level of penicillin non-susceptibility and resistance to erythromycin remained stable (2% and 12% respectively). This study provides an important baseline to assess the impact of changing vaccination programmes on the epidemiology of IPD, thus informing future use of pneumococcal vaccines.

Dondorp AM, Lee SJ, Faiz MA, Mishra S, Price R, Tjitra E, Than M, Htut Y, Mohanty S, Yunus EB et al. 2008. The relationship between age and the manifestations of and mortality associated with severe malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 47 (2), pp. 151-157. | Citations: 118 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The reported case-fatality rate associated with severe malaria varies widely. Whether age is an independent risk factor is uncertain. METHODS: In a large, multicenter treatment trial conducted in Asia, the presenting manifestations and outcome of severe malaria were analyzed in relation to age. RESULTS: Among 1050 patients with severe malaria, the mortality increased stepwise, from 6.1% in children (age, <10 years) to 36.5% in patients aged >50 years (P<0.001). Compared with adults aged 21-50 years, the decreased risk of death among children (adjusted odds ratio, 0.06; 95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.23; P<0.001) and the increased risk of death among patients aged >50 years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.88; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.52; P<0.001) was independent of the variation in presenting manifestations. The incidence of anemia and convulsions decreased with age, whereas the incidence of hyperparasitemia, jaundice, and renal insufficiency increased with age. Coma and metabolic acidosis did not vary with age and were the strongest predictors of a fatal outcome. The number of severity signs at hospital admission also had a strong prognostic value. CONCLUSION: Presenting syndromes in severe malaria depend on age, although the incidence and the strong prognostic significance of coma and acidosis are similar at all ages. Age is an independent risk factor for a fatal outcome of the disease.

Imwong M, Pukrittayakamee S, Pongtavornpinyo W, Nakeesathit S, Nair S, Newton P, Nosten F, Anderson TJC, Dondorp A, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2008. Gene amplification of the multidrug resistance 1 gene of Plasmodium vivax isolates from Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (7), pp. 2657-2659. | Citations: 51 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax mdr1 gene amplification, quantified by real-time PCR, was significantly more common on the western Thailand border (6 of 66 samples), where mefloquine pressure has been intense, than elsewhere in southeast Asia (3 of 149; P = 0.02). Five coding mutations in pvmdr1, independent of gene amplification, were also found.

Lek-Uthai U, Suwanarusk R, Ruengweerayut R, Skinner-Adams TS, Nosten F, Gardiner DL, Boonma P, Piera KA, Andrews KT, Machunter B et al. 2008. Stronger activity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease inhibitors against clinical isolates of Plasmodium vivax than against those of P. falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (7), pp. 2435-2441. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent studies using laboratory clones have demonstrated that several antiretroviral protease inhibitors (PIs) inhibit the growth of Plasmodium falciparum at concentrations that may be of clinical significance, especially during human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and malaria coinfection. Using clinical isolates, we now demonstrate the in vitro effectiveness of two HIV-1 aspartic PIs, saquinavir (SQV) and ritonavir (RTV), against P. vivax (n = 30) and P. falciparum (n = 20) from populations subjected to high levels of mefloquine and artesunate pressure on the Thailand-Myanmar border. The median 50% inhibitory concentration values of P. vivax to RTV and SQV were 2,233 nM (range, 732 to 7,738 nM) and 4,230 nM (range, 1,326 to 8,452 nM), respectively, both within the therapeutic concentration range commonly found for patients treated with these PIs. RTV was fourfold more effective at inhibiting P. vivax than it was at inhibiting P. falciparum, compared to a twofold difference in SQV sensitivity. An increased P. falciparum mdr1 copy number was present in 33% (3/9) of isolates and that of P. vivax mdr1 was present in 9% of isolates (2/22), but neither was associated with PI sensitivity. The inter-Plasmodium sp. variations in PI sensitivity indicate key differences between P. vivax and P. falciparum. PI-containing antiretroviral regimens may demonstrate prophylactic activity against both vivax and falciparum malaria in HIV-infected patients who reside in areas where multidrug-resistant P. vivax or P. falciparum is found.

Blacksell SD, Luksameetanasan R, Kalambaheti T, Wutheikanun V, Cheirakul W, Paris DH, Chueasuwanchai S, McGready R, Peacock SJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Phylogenetic and antigenic analysis of Orientia tsutsugamushi isolated from scrub typhus patients in Thailand INFECTION GENETICS AND EVOLUTION, 8 (4), pp. S11-S11.

Paris DH, Jenjaroen K, Blacksell SD, Phetsouvanh R, Wuthiekanun V, Newton PN, Day NPJ, Turner GDH. 2008. Differential patterns of endothelial and leucocyte activation in 'typhus-like' illnesses in Laos and Thailand. Clin Exp Immunol, 153 (1), pp. 63-67. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus is responsible for a large proportion of undifferentiated fevers in south-east Asia. The cellular tropism and pathophysiology of the causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, remain poorly understood. We measured endothelial and leucocyte activation by soluble cell adhesion molecule enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in 242 Lao and Thai patients with scrub or murine typhus, leptospirosis, dengue, typhoid and uncomplicated falciparum malaria on admission to hospital. Soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin) levels were lowest in dengue, sL-selectin highest in scrub typhus with a high sE-selectin to sL-selectin ratio in leptospirosis patients. In scrub typhus patients elevated sL-selectin levels correlated with the duration of skin rash (P = 0.03) and the presence of eschar (P = 0.03), elevated white blood cell (WBC) count (P = 0.007), elevated lymphocyte (P = 0.007) and neutrophil counts (P = 0.015) and elevated levels of sE-selectin correlated with the duration of illness before admission (P = 0.03), the presence of lymphadenopathy (P = 0.033) and eschar (P = 0.03), elevated WBC (P = 0.005) and neutrophil counts (P = 0.0003). In comparison, soluble selectin levels in murine typhus patients correlated only with elevated WBC counts (P = 0.03 for sE-selectin and sL-selectin). Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 levels were not associated significantly with any clinical parameters in scrub or murine typhus patients. The data presented suggest mononuclear cell activation in scrub typhus. As adhesion molecules direct leucocyte migration and induce inflammatory and immune responses, this may represent O. tsutsugamushi tropism during early dissemination, or local immune activation within the eschar.

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Cordon SM, Thwaites GE, Loan HT, Thuy TTD, White NJ, Soni N, Macdonald IA, Farrar JJ. 2008. Effect of magnesium sulphate on urinary catecholamine excretion in severe tetanus. Anaesthesia, 63 (7), pp. 719-725. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe tetanus is characterised by muscle spasms and autonomic dysfunction. We recently reported the results of a randomised placebo controlled trial of magnesium sulphate infusions for the treatment of severe tetanus which showed magnesium was associated with improved muscle spasm and cardiovascular control. We hypothesised that magnesium controlled autonomic dysfunction by reducing catecholamine release and thus urinary excretion. Urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations were measured during the first 24 h of therapy in 180 adults with severe tetanus randomised to treatment with magnesium (n = 92) or placebo (n = 88). Magnesium therapy was associated with lower urinary adrenaline excretion and higher urinary noradrenaline excretion. High urinary adrenaline concentrations were associated with documented autonomic dysfunction. Patients given magnesium had significantly less autonomic dysfunction, required less cardiovascular stabilising drugs, and had lower urinary concentrations of adrenaline. These findings suggest adrenaline is important in the pathophysiology of severe tetanus and magnesium controls autonomic dysfunction by reducing adrenaline release.

Woodberry T, Minigo G, Piera KA, Hanley JC, de Silva HD, Salwati E, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Coppel RL, Price RN et al. 2008. Antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 5 in Indonesia: species-specific and cross-reactive responses. J Infect Dis, 198 (1), pp. 134-142. | Citations: 35 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Merozoite surface protein (MSP) 5 is a candidate antigen for a malaria vaccine. In cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, we measured MSP5 antibody responses in Papuans with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria, Plasmodium vivax malaria, and mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria and in those with past exposure. METHODS: Enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) was used to quantitate antibody responses to P. falciparum MSP5 (PfMSP5) and P. vivax MSP5 (PvMSP5) in 82 subjects with P. falciparum infection, 86 subjects with P. vivax infection, 85 subjects with mixed infection, and 87 asymptomatic individuals. Longitudinal responses through day 28 were tested in 20 persons. Cross-reactivity was tested by competition ELISA. RESULTS: PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 immunoglobulin (Ig)Gwas detected in 39%-52% of subjects, and IgM was detected in 44%-72%. IgG responses were distributed equally between IgG3 and IgG1 for PfMSP5 but were predominantly IgG3 for PvMSP5. Although IgG responses were generally specific for PfMSP5 or PvMSP5, cross-species reactivity was found in 7 of 107 dual-positive responders. No significant difference was seen in the magnitude, frequency, or subclass of PfMSP5 or PvMSP5 IgG antibodies between groups. There was no significant association between antibody responses and therapeutic response. CONCLUSION: PfMSP5 and PvMSP5 were frequently recognized by short-lived, species-specific antibodies. Although infrequent, the cross-reactive MSP5 antibodies indicate that an appropriately formulated vaccine may elicit and/or enhance cross-species recognition, which may be very useful in areas where both parasites are endemic.

Grais RF, Ashley EA, White NJ. 2008. The verbosity epidemic. Science, 320 (5884), pp. 1718. | Read more

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Gitawati R, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Granger DL, Weinberg JB, Lopansri BK, Price RN, Celermajer DS et al. 2008. Safety profile of L-arginine infusion in moderately severe falciparum malaria. PLoS One, 3 (6), pp. e2347. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: L-arginine infusion improves endothelial function in malaria but its safety profile has not been described in detail. We assessed clinical symptoms, hemodynamic status and biochemical parameters before and after a single L-arginine infusion in adults with moderately severe malaria. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: In an ascending dose study, adjunctive intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride was infused over 30 minutes in doses of 3 g, 6 g and 12 g to three separate groups of 10 adults hospitalized with moderately severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in addition to standard quinine therapy. Symptoms, vital signs and selected biochemical measurements were assessed before, during, and for 24 hours after infusion. No new or worsening symptoms developed apart from mild discomfort at the intravenous cannula site in two patients. There was a dose-response relationship between increasing mg/kg dose and the maximum decrease in systolic (rho = 0.463; Spearman's, p = 0.02) and diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.42; Pearson's, p = 0.02), and with the maximum increment in blood potassium (r = 0.70, p<0.001) and maximum decrement in bicarbonate concentrations (r = 0.53, p = 0.003) and pH (r = 0.48, p = 0.007). At the highest dose (12 g), changes in blood pressure and electrolytes were not clinically significant, with a mean maximum decrease in mean arterial blood pressure of 6 mmHg (range: 0-11; p<0.001), mean maximal increase in potassium of 0.5 mmol/L (range 0.2-0.7 mmol/L; p<0.001), and mean maximal decrease in bicarbonate of 3 mEq/L (range 1-7; p<0.01) without a significant change in pH. There was no significant dose-response relationship with blood phosphate, lactate, anion gap and glucose concentrations. All patients had an uncomplicated clinical recovery. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Infusion of up to 12 g of intravenous L-arginine hydrochloride over 30 minutes is well tolerated in adults with moderately severe malaria, with no clinically important changes in hemodynamic or biochemical status. Trials of adjunctive L-arginine can be extended to phase 2 studies in severe malaria. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00147368.

White NJ, McGready RM, Nosten FH. 2008. New medicines for tropical diseases in pregnancy: catch-22. PLoS Med, 5 (6), pp. e133. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Sugiarto P, Warikar N, Kenangalem E, Karyana M, Lampah DA, Price RN. 2008. Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax associated with severe and fatal malaria: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS Med, 5 (6), pp. e128. | Citations: 386 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium vivax (Pv) is widespread in eastern Indonesia, and emerging elsewhere in Asia-Pacific and South America, but is generally regarded as a benign disease. The aim of the study was to review the spectrum of disease associated with malaria due to Pv and P. falciparum (Pf) in patients presenting to a hospital in Timika, southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data were prospectively collected from all patients attending the outpatient and inpatient departments of the only hospital in the region using systematic data forms and hospital computerised records. Between January 2004 and December 2007, clinical malaria was present in 16% (60,226/373,450) of hospital outpatients and 32% (12,171/37,800) of inpatients. Among patients admitted with slide-confirmed malaria, 64% of patients had Pf, 24% Pv, and 10.5% mixed infections. The proportion of malarial admissions attributable to Pv rose to 47% (415/887) in children under 1 y of age. Severe disease was present in 2,634 (22%) inpatients with malaria, with the risk greater among Pv (23% [675/2,937]) infections compared to Pf (20% [1,570/7,817]; odds ratio [OR] = 1.19 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08-1.32], p = 0.001), and greatest in patients with mixed infections (31% [389/1,273]); overall p < 0.0001. Severe anaemia (haemoglobin < 5 g/dl) was the major complication associated with Pv, accounting for 87% (589/675) of severe disease compared to 73% (1,144/1,570) of severe manifestations with Pf (p < 0.001). Pure Pv infection was also present in 78 patients with respiratory distress and 42 patients with coma. In total 242 (2.0%) patients with malaria died during admission: 2.2% (167/7,722) with Pf, 1.6% (46/2,916) with Pv, and 2.3% (29/1260) with mixed infections (p = 0.126). CONCLUSIONS: In this region with established high-grade chloroquine resistance to both Pv and Pf, Pv is associated with severe and fatal malaria particularly in young children. The epidemiology of P. vivax needs to be re-examined elsewhere where chloroquine resistance is increasing.

Salje J, Löwe J. 2008. Bacterial actin: Architecture of the ParMRC plasmid DNA partitioning complex Chemtracts, 21 (6), pp. 231-232. | Show Abstract

During eukaryotic cell division, the DNA molecules are partitioned to opposite poles of the cell, ensuring accurate distribution of chromosomes between the dividing cells. In prokaryotes, the mechanism for accurate segregation is unknown. Previous studies have focused on partitioning of a plasmid, Rl, which encodes a stability operon, par, that is required for proper segregation of this low-copy-number plasmid. The par operon of Rl encodes three components: ParM, an actin-like ATPase, ParR, a DNA-bind- ing protein, and parC, a centromere-like DNA sequence element to which ParR binds. In the presence of ATP, ParM polymerizes and then disassembles. Disassembly is prevented, however, by the binding of ParR to parC, which stabilizes the ParM filaments. In the current model for DNA segregation, the ATP-dependent polymerization of ParM is believed to move newly replicated plasmids to the opposite poles. This study therefore determined how the ParM filaments are formed and stabilized and ascertained the sites involved to effect both mechanisms. Mutational studies, pull-down and gel- shift assays for point and deletion mutants of Rl ParR, and electron microscopy at varying concentrations of labeled parC established that the ParR- parC complex forms the clamp that binds at both the C-terminal ends of ParM, forming ring structures that bind ATP and stabilize the ParM filaments. ParR binds through its N-terminus to parC, forming a rigid scaffold of protein (ParR) wrapped by a DNA helix (parC). This binding does not include the Rl promoter region within the parC domain, because the promoter region extends out as a loop from the ParR binding region. Additionally, studies with mutants of ParM also identified the binding sites of the ParR-parC complex on ParM. A model for ParM polymerization consistent with electron micrograph images was thus proposed whereby ATP binding polymerizes ParM. Binding of the ParR-parC complex clamps the C-terminal ParM-ATP complex stabilizing filament formation. Hydrolysis of ATP to ADP dislocates ParR-parC and translocates ParR to one side to allow binding of a new ParM-ATP monomer. ParR translocates back, rocking the clamp, and the cycle of hydrolysis, translocation, and monomer addition is repeated until elongation is completed (Fig. 1). © 2008 Data Trace Publishing Company.

McGready R. 2008. On the nose. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 336 (7655), pp. 1240-1240. | Read more

Yeung S, Van Damme W, Socheat D, White NJ, Mills A. 2008. Access to artemisinin combination therapy for malaria in remote areas of Cambodia. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 96. | Citations: 85 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria-endemic countries are switching antimalarial drug policy to artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) and the global community are considering the setting up of a global subsidy mechanism in order to make them accessible and affordable. However, specific interventions may be needed to reach remote at-risk communities and to ensure that they are used appropriately. This analysis documents the coverage with ACTs versus artemisinin monotherapies, and the effectiveness of malaria outreach teams (MOTs) and Village Malaria Workers (VMWs) in increasing access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment with ACTs in Cambodia, the first country to switch national antimalarial drug policy to an ACT of artesunate and mefloquine (A+M) in 2000. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in three different types of intervention area: with VMWs, MOTs and no specific interventions. Individuals with a history of fever in the last three weeks were included in the study and completed a questionnaire on their treatment seeking and drug usage behaviour. Blood was taken for a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and data on the household socio-economic status were also obtained. RESULTS: In areas without specific interventions, only 17% (42/251) of respondents received a biological diagnosis, 8% (17/206) of respondents who received modern drug did so from a public health facility, and only 8% of them (17/210) received A+M. Worryingly, 78% (102/131) of all artemisinin use in these areas was as a monotherapy. However, both the VMW scheme and MOT scheme significantly increased the likelihood of being seen by a trained provider (Adjusted Odds Ratios (AOR) of 148 and 4 respectively) and of receiving A+M (AORs of 2.7 and 7.7 respectively). CONCLUSION: The coverage rates of appropriate diagnosis and treatment of malaria were disappointingly low and the use of artemisinin monotherapy alarmingly high. This reflects the fragmented nature of Cambodia's health system in remote areas and the reliance placed by these communities on informal vendors from whom artemisinin monotherapies are widely available. However VMWs in particular are an effective means of improving access to malaria diagnosis and treatment. The VMW scheme and the social marketing of RDTS and blister-packaged artesunate and mefloquine have both been scaled up nationally. Case management in the public sector has also reportedly improved. Given recent concerns regarding the development of artemisinin drug resistance on the Thai-Cambodia border, the effectiveness of these measures in reducing the use of artemisinin monotherapy needs to be urgently re-evaluated.

Yeung S, Van Damme W, Socheat D, White NJ, Mills A. 2008. Cost of increasing access to artemisinin combination therapy: the Cambodian experience. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 84. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria-endemic countries are switching antimalarial drug policy from cheap ineffective monotherapies to artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and the global community are considering setting up a global subsidy to fund their purchase. However, in order to ensure that ACTs are correctly used and are accessible to the poor and remote communities who need them, specific interventions will be necessary and the additional costs need to be considered. METHODS: This paper presents an incremental cost analysis of some of these interventions in Cambodia, the first country to change national antimalarial drug policy to an ACT of artesunate and mefloquine. These costs include the cost of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), the cost of blister-packaging the drugs locally and the costs of increasing access to diagnosis and treatment to remote communities through malaria outreach teams (MOTs) and Village Malaria Workers (VMW). RESULTS: At optimum productive capacity, the cost of blister-packaging cost under $0.20 per package but in reality was significantly more than this because of the low rate of production. The annual fixed cost (exclusive of RDTs and drugs) per capita of the MOT and VMW schemes was $0.44 and $0.69 respectively. However because the VMW scheme achieved a higher rate of coverage than the MOT scheme, the cost per patient treated was substantially lower at $5.14 compared to $12.74 per falciparum malaria patient treated. The annual cost inclusive of the RDTs and drugs was $19.31 for the MOT scheme and $11.28 for the VMW scheme given similar RDT positivity rates of around 22% and good provider compliance to test results. CONCLUSION: In addition to the cost of ACTs themselves, substantial additional investments are required in order to ensure that they reach the targeted population via appropriate delivery systems and to ensure that they are used appropriately. In addition, differences in local conditions, in particular the prevalence of malaria and the pre-existing infrastructure, need to be considered in choosing appropriate diagnostic and delivery strategies.

McGready R, Nosten F. 2008. Symptomatic malaria in pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol, 28 (4), pp. 463. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Warikar N, Seal A, McGready R, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2008. Adverse pregnancy outcomes in an area where multidrug-resistant plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum infections are endemic. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (9), pp. 1374-1381. | Citations: 90 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infection exerts a considerable burden on pregnant women, but less is known about the adverse consequences of Plasmodium vivax infection. METHODS: In Papua, Indonesia, where multiple drug resistance to both species has emerged, we conducted a cross-sectional hospital-based study to quantify the risks and consequences of maternal malaria. RESULTS: From April 2004 through December 2006, 3046 pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The prevalence of parasitemia at delivery was 16.8% (432 of 2570 women had infections), with 152 (35.2%) of these 432 infections being associated with fever. The majority of infections were attributable to P. falciparum (250 [57.9%]); 146 (33.8%) of the infections were attributable to P. vivax, and 36 (8.3%) were coinfections with both species. At delivery, P. falciparum infection was associated with severe anemia (hemoglobin concentration, <7 g/dL; odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.0-4.0) and a 192 g (95% CI, 119-265) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.001). P. vivax infection was associated with an increased risk of moderate anemia (hemoglobin concentration, 7-11 g/dL; OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.9; P=.01) and a 108 g (95% CI, 17.5-199) reduction in mean birth weight (P<.019). Parasitemia was associated with preterm delivery (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0; P=.02) and stillbirth (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.1; P=.007) but was not associated with these outcomes after controlling for the presence of fever and severe anemia, suggesting that malaria increases the risk of preterm delivery and stillbirth through fever and contribution to severe anemia rather than through parasitemia per se. CONCLUSIONS: These observations highlight the need for novel, safe, and effective treatment and prevention strategies against both multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and multidrug-resistant P. vivax infections in pregnant women in areas of mixed endemicity.

Nuchsongsin F, Chotivanich K, Charunwatthana P, Fausta OS, Taramelli D, Day NP, White NJ, Dondorp AM. 2008. Effects of malaria heme products on red blood cell deformability (vol 77, pg 617, 2007) AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 78 (5), pp. 847-847.

Stepniewska K, White NJ. 2008. Pharmacokinetic determinants of the window of selection for antimalarial drug resistance. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (5), pp. 1589-1596. | Citations: 81 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The selection and spread of antimalarial drug resistance pose enormous challenges to the health of people living in tropical countries. Most antimalarial drugs are slowly eliminated and so, following treatment in areas of endemicity, provide a gradient of concentrations to which newly acquired parasites are exposed. There is a variable period during which a new blood-stage infection with resistant malaria parasites can emerge from the liver and subsequently produce gametocyte densities sufficient for transmission while reinfection by sensitive parasites is still suppressed. This "window of selection" drives the spread of resistance. We have examined the factors which determine the duration of this window and, thus, the resistance selection pressure. The duration ranges from zero to several months and is dependent on the degree of parasite resistance, the slope of the concentration-effect relationship, and the elimination kinetics of the antimalarial drug. The time at which the window opens and the duration of opening are both linear functions of the terminal elimination half-life. Because of competition from sibling susceptible parasites, the greater risks of extinction with low starting numbers, and opening of the window only when blood concentrations have fallen below the MIC, the window of selection for de novo resistance is narrower than that for resistance acquired elsewhere. The windows were examined for the currently available antimalarials. Drugs with elimination half-lives of less than 1 day, such as the artemisinins and quinine, do not select for resistance during the elimination phase.

Tumapa S, Holden MTG, Vesaratchavest M, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Chierakul W, Feil EJ, Currie BJ, Day NPJ, Nierman WC, Peacock SJ. 2008. Burkholderia pseudomallei genome plasticity associated with genomic island variation. BMC Genomics, 9 (1), pp. 190. | Citations: 42 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil-dwelling saprophyte and the cause of melioidosis. Horizontal gene transfer contributes to the genetic diversity of this pathogen and may be an important determinant of virulence potential. The genome contains genomic island (GI) regions that encode a broad array of functions. Although there is some evidence for the variable distribution of genomic islands in B. pseudomallei isolates, little is known about the extent of variation between related strains or their association with disease or environmental survival. RESULTS: Five islands from B. pseudomallei strain K96243 were chosen as representatives of different types of genomic islands present in this strain, and their presence investigated in other B. pseudomallei. In silico analysis of 10 B. pseudomallei genome sequences provided evidence for the variable presence of these regions, together with micro-evolutionary changes that generate GI diversity. The diversity of GIs in 186 isolates from NE Thailand (83 environmental and 103 clinical isolates) was investigated using multiplex PCR screening. The proportion of all isolates positive by PCR ranged from 12% for a prophage-like island (GI 9), to 76% for a metabolic island (GI 16). The presence of each of the five GIs did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p > 0.05 for all five islands). The cumulative number of GIs per isolate for the 186 isolates ranged from 0 to 5 (median 2, IQR 1 to 3). The distribution of cumulative GI number did not differ between environmental and disease-associated isolates (p = 0.27). The presence of GIs was defined for the three largest clones in this collection (each defined as a single sequence type, ST, by multilocus sequence typing); these were ST 70 (n = 15 isolates), ST 54 (n = 11), and ST 167 (n = 9). The rapid loss and/or acquisition of gene islands was observed within individual clones. Comparisons were drawn between isolates obtained from the environment and from patients with melioidosis in order to examine the role of genomic islands in virulence and clinical associations. There was no reproducible association between the individual or cumulative presence of five GIs and a range of clinical features in 103 patients with melioidosis. CONCLUSION: Horizontal gene transfer of mobile genetic elements can rapidly alter the gene repertoire of B. pseudomallei. This study confirms the utility of a range of approaches in defining the presence and significance of genomic variation in natural populations of B. pseudomallei.

White NJ. 2008. Qinghaosu (artemisinin): the price of success. Science, 320 (5874), pp. 330-334. | Citations: 562 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin and its derivatives have become essential components of antimalarial treatment. These plant-derived peroxides are unique among antimalarial drugs in killing the young intraerythrocytic malaria parasites, thereby preventing their development to more pathological mature stages. This results in rapid clinical and parasitological responses to treatment and life-saving benefit in severe malaria. Artemisinin combination treatments (ACTs) are now first-line drugs for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but access to ACTs is still limited in most malaria-endemic countries. Improved agricultural practices, selection of high-yielding hybrids, microbial production, and the development of synthetic peroxides will lower prices. A global subsidy would make these drugs more affordable and available. ACTs are central to current malaria elimination initiatives, but there are concerns that tolerance to artemisinins may be emerging in Cambodia.

Lwin KM, Ashley EA, Proux S, Silamut K, Nosten F, McGready R. 2008. Clinically uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria with high schizontaemia: a case report. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 57. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The treatment options for acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria are based on the clinician classifying the patient as uncomplicated or severe according to the clinical and parasitological findings. This process is not always straightforward. CASE PRESENTATION: An adult male presented to a clinic on the western border of Thailand with a physical examination and P. falciparum trophozoite count (1.2% of infected red blood cells, IRBC) from malaria blood smear, consistent with a diagnosis of uncomplicated P. falciparum infection. However, the physician on duty treated the patient for severe malaria based on the reported P. falciparum schizont count, which was very high (0.3% IRBC), noticeably in relation to the trophozoite count and schizont:trophozoite ratio 0.25:1. On intravenous artesunate, the patient deteriorated clinically in the first 24 hours. The trophozoite count increased from 1.2% IRBC at baseline to 20.5% IRBC 18 hours following the start of treatment. By day three, the patient recovered and was discharged on day seven having completed a seven-day treatment with artesunate and mefloquine. CONCLUSION: The malaria blood smear provides only a guide to the overall parasite biomass in the body, due to the ability of P. falciparum to sequester in the microvasculature. In severe malaria, high schizont counts are associated with worse prognosis. In low transmission areas or in non-immune travelers the presence of schizonts in the peripheral circulation is an indication for close patient supervision. In this case, an unusually high schizont count in a clinically uncomplicated patient was indicative of potential deterioration. Prompt treatment with intravenous artesunate is likely to have been responsible for the good clinical outcome in this case.

Keoluangkhot V, Green MD, Nyadong L, Fernández FM, Mayxay M, Newton PN. 2008. Impaired clinical response in a patient with uncomplicated falciparum malaria who received poor-quality and underdosed intramuscular artemether. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 552-555. | Citations: 32 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe an adult with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria who did not improve clinically despite 5 days of intramuscular artemether therapy. He was prescribed a lower dose (kg body weight) than that recommended, and a vial from the packet contained only 74% of the artemether dose as stated by the manufacturer. The combination of underdosing, poor-quality drug, and the intrinsic low bioavailability of artemether may have contributed to his poor clinical response. Analysis of the packaging and chemical "fingerprinting" of the artemether suggested that the drug was genuine but was either substandard or had deteriorated after manufacture.

Srour ML, Watt B, Phengdy B, Khansoulivong K, Harris J, Bennett C, Strobel M, Dupuis C, Newton PN. 2008. Noma in Laos: stigma of severe poverty in rural Asia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 539-542. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Noma, or cancrum oris, is a debilitating necrotizing ulcerative stomatitis that destroys the mouth and face. It usually starts in early childhood and is associated with severe poverty, malnutrition, and infections. It is most frequently described from sub-Saharan Africa but is under-reported. There have been very few reports from Asia. We describe the clinical and social features of a series of 12 patients with noma from remote poor villages in rural Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos). Noma is an ominous stigma of severe poverty and the description of this disease emphasizes the importance of poverty reduction and nutritional improvement in Lao development. In the meantime, more awareness of the problem and the importance of early therapy in acute noma by primary health care workers may reduce mortality and prevent progression to severe disfigurement.

Rijken MJ, McGready R, Boel ME, Barends M, Proux S, Pimanpanarak M, Singhasivanon P, Nosten F. 2008. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine rescue treatment of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in pregnancy: a preliminary report. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (4), pp. 543-545. | Citations: 38 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) is a promising new artemisinin combination treatment. There are no published data on the intentional use of the drug in pregnancy. Between June 2006 and January 2007, 50 Karen pregnant women with recurrent P. falciparum infections, despite 7-day treatments with quinine or artesunate (+/-clindamycin) or both, were treated with DHA-PPQ. This rescue treatment was effective and well tolerated and there was no evidence of toxicity for the mothers or the fetus. The PCR adjusted cure rate by Kaplan Meier analysis at day 63 was 92.2% (95% CI: 76.9-97.4).

Blacksell SD, Luksameetanasan R, Kalambaheti T, Aukkanit N, Paris DH, McGready R, Nosten F, Peacock SJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Genetic typing of the 56-kDa type-specific antigen gene of contemporary Orientia tsutsugamushi isolates causing human scrub typhus at two sites in north-eastern and western Thailand. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol, 52 (3), pp. 335-342. | Citations: 40 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi is the causative agent of scrub typhus, a major cause of febrile illness in the rural areas of Southeast Asia. Twenty-three strains of O. tsutsugamushi were isolated from patients with scrub typhus in north-east (Udorn Thani province) and western Thailand (Tak province) between 2003 and 2005. The isolates were characterized by sequencing the entire ORF of the 56-kDa-type-specific antigen gene, followed by phylogenetic analysis. The majority (15/23) of isolates clustered with the Karp-type strain, six with a Gilliam-type strain and one each with the TA716- and TA763-type strains. Overall, there was considerable diversity in sequence, comparable to that seen in strains from across the rest of the scrub typhus-endemic world. There was no significant difference in the distributions of strains between the two provinces (P=0.08, Fisher's exact) nor a temporal change in distribution with year of isolation (P=0.80, Fisher's exact). Within this diversity there were also examples of isolates with identical 56-kDa genotypes that were cultured from patients from the same geographical areas.

Feil EJ, Nickerson EK, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Srisomang P, Cousins R, Pan W, Zhang G, Xu B, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2008. Rapid detection of the pandemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clone ST 239, a dominant strain in Asian hospitals. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (4), pp. 1520-1522. | Citations: 43 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe and validate a novel PCR assay to detect the pandemic hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) lineage ST 239. Results based on previously uncharacterized isolates from a hospital in northeast Thailand support the view that at least 90% of HA-MRSA isolates in mainland Asia correspond to ST 239 or close relatives.

White NJ, Stepniewska K, Barnes K, Price RN, Simpson J. 2008. Simplified antimalarial therapeutic monitoring: using the day-7 drug level? Trends Parasitol, 24 (4), pp. 159-163. | Citations: 54 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The blood concentration profiles of most antimalarial drugs vary considerably between patients. The interpretation of antimalarial drug trials evaluating efficacy and effectiveness would be improved considerably if the exposure of the infecting parasite population to the antimalarial drug treatment could be measured. Artemisinin combination treatments are now recommended as first-line drugs for the treatment of falciparum malaria. Measurement of the blood, serum or plasma concentration of the slowly eliminated partner antimalarial drug on day 7 of follow-up is simpler and might be a better determinant of therapeutic response than the area under the concentration-time curve. Measurement of the day-7 drug level should be considered as a routine part of antimalarial drug trials.

Aguas R, White LJ, Snow RW, Gomes MGM. 2008. Prospects for malaria eradication in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS One, 3 (3), pp. e1767. | Citations: 52 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A characteristic of Plasmodium falciparum infections is the gradual acquisition of clinical immunity resulting from repeated exposures to the parasite. While the molecular basis of protection against clinical malaria remains unresolved, its effects on epidemiological patterns are well recognized. Accumulating epidemiological data constitute a valuable resource that must be intensively explored and interpreted as to effectively inform control planning. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: Here we apply a mathematical model to clinical data from eight endemic regions in sub-Saharan Africa. The model provides a quantitative framework within which differences in age distribution of clinical disease are assessed in terms of the parameters underlying transmission. The shorter infectious periods estimated for clinical infections induce a regime of bistability of endemic and malaria-free states in regions of mesoendemic transmission. The two epidemiological states are separated by a threshold that provides a convenient measure for intervention design. Scenarios of eradication and resurgence are simulated. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In regions that support mesoendemic transmission, intervention success depends critically on reducing prevalence below a threshold which separates endemic and malaria-free regimes.

Tarning J, Ashley EA, Lindegardh N, Stepniewska K, Phaiphun L, Day NPJ, McGready R, Ashton M, Nosten F, White NJ. 2008. Population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine after two different treatment regimens with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (3), pp. 1052-1061. | Citations: 86 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in adults and children with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria treated with two different dosage regimens of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were characterized. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics in 98 Burmese and Karen patients aged 3 to 55 years were described by a two-compartment disposition model with first-order absorption and interindividual random variability on all parameters and were similar with the three- and four-dose regimens. Children had a lower body weight-normalized oral clearance than adults, resulting in longer terminal elimination half-lives and higher total exposure to piperaquine (area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 63 days [AUC day 0-63]). However, children had lower plasma concentrations in the therapeutically relevant posttreatment prophylactic period (AUC day 3-20) because of smaller body weight-normalized central volumes of distribution and shorter distribution half-lives. Our data lend further support to a simplified once-daily treatment regimen to improve treatment adherence and efficacy and indicate that weight-adjusted piperaquine doses in children may need to be higher than in adults.

Barnes KI, Watkins WM, White NJ. 2008. Antimalarial dosing regimens and drug resistance. Trends Parasitol, 24 (3), pp. 127-134. | Citations: 96 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The contribution of underdosing to antimalarial treatment failure has been underappreciated. Most recommended dosage regimens are based on studies in non-pregnant adult patients. Young children and pregnant women, who bear the heaviest malaria burden, have the highest treatment failure rates. This has been attributed previously to lower immunity, although blood concentrations of many antimalarial drugs are significantly lower in pregnant women and young children than in non-pregnant adults. Nevertheless, there have been no studies of higher dosages. Sub-therapeutic concentrations will certainly contribute to poorer responses to treatment and will fuel the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance. There is an urgent need for studies to optimise antimalarial dosage regimens in infants, young children and pregnant women, both to improve cure rates and to prolong the useful therapeutic lives of antimalarial drugs.

Sachanonta N, Medana IM, Roberts R, Jones M, Day NPJ, White NJ, Ferguson DJP, Turner GDH, Pongponratn E. 2008. Host vascular endothelial growth factor is trophic for Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells. Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol, 26 (1), pp. 37-45. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract

Plasmodium falciparum, the protozoan parasite responsible for severe malaria infection, undergoes a complex life cycle. Infected red blood cells (iRBC) sequester in host cerebral microvessels, which underlies the pathology of cerebral malaria. Using immunohistochemistry on post mortem brain samples, we demonstrated positive staining for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) on iRBC. Confocal microscopy of cultured iRBC revealed accumulation of VEGF within the parasitophorous vacuole, expression of host VEGF-receptor 1 and activated VEGF-receptor 2 on the surface of iRBC, but no accumulation of VEGF receptors within the iRBC. Addition of VEGF to parasite cultures had a trophic effect on parasite growth and also partially rescued growth of drug treated parasites. Both these effects were abrogated when parasites were grown in serum-free medium, suggesting a requirement for soluble VEGF receptor. We conclude that P. falciparum iRBC can bind host VEGF-R on the erythrocyte membrane and accumulate host VEGF within the parasitophorous vacuole, which may have a trophic effect on parasite growth.

Russell B, Chalfein F, Prasetyorini B, Kenangalem E, Piera K, Suwanarusk R, Brockman A, Prayoga P, Sugiarto P, Cheng Q et al. 2008. Determinants of in vitro drug susceptibility testing of Plasmodium vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 52 (3), pp. 1040-1045. | Citations: 98 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In Papua, Indonesia, the antimalarial susceptibility of Plasmodium vivax (n = 216) and P. falciparum (n = 277) was assessed using a modified schizont maturation assay for chloroquine, amodiaquine, artesunate, lumefantrine, mefloquine, and piperaquine. The most effective antimalarial against P. vivax and P. falciparum was artesunate, with geometric mean 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) (95% confidence intervals [CI]) of 1.31 nM (1.07 to 1.59) and 0.64 nM (0.53 to 0.79), respectively. In contrast, the geometric mean chloroquine IC50 for P. vivax was 295 nM (227 to 384) compared to only 47.4 nM (42.2 to 53.3) for P. falciparum. Two factors were found to significantly influence the in vitro drug response of P. vivax: the initial stage of the parasite and the duration of the assay. Isolates of P. vivax initially at the trophozoite stage had significantly higher chloroquine IC50s (478 nM [95% CI, 316 to 722]) than those initially at the ring stage (84.7 nM [95% CI, 45.7 to 157]; P < 0.001). Synchronous isolates of P. vivax and P. falciparum which reached the target of 40% schizonts in the control wells within 30 h had significantly higher geometric mean chloroquine IC50s (435 nM [95% CI, 169 to 1,118] and 55.9 nM [95% CI, 48 to 64.9], respectively) than isolates that took more than 30 h (39.9 nM [14.6 to 110.4] and 36.9 nM [31.2 to 43.7]; P < 0.005). The results demonstrate the marked stage-specific activity of chloroquine with P. vivax and suggest that susceptibility to chloroquine may be associated with variable growth rates. These findings have important implications for the phenotypic and downstream genetic characterization of P. vivax.

Solomon T, Thao TT, Lewthwaite P, Ooi MH, Kneen R, Dung NM, White N. 2008. A cohort study to assess the new WHO Japanese encephalitis surveillance standards. Bull World Health Organ, 86 (3), pp. 178-186. | Citations: 69 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the field-test version of the new WHO Japanese encephalitis (JE) surveillance standards. METHODS: We applied the clinical case definition of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), laboratory diagnostic criteria and case classifications to patients with suspected central nervous system (CNS) infections in southern Viet Nam. FINDINGS: Of the 380 patients (149 children) recruited with suspected CNS infections, 296 (96 children) met the AES case definition. 54 children were infected with JE virus (JEV), of whom 35 (65%) had AES, giving a sensitivity of 65% (95% CI: 56-73) and specificity of 39% (95% CI: 30-48). Nine adults with JEV presented with AES. 19 JEV-infected children missed by surveillance included 10 with acute flaccid paralysis, two with flaccid hemiparesis and six with meningism only. Altering the case definition to include limb paralysis and meningism improved sensitivity to 89% (95% CI: 83-95), while reducing specificity to 23% (95% CI: 15-30). Six children that did not have AES on admission had reduced consciousness after admission. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis diagnosed seven patients negative on serum analysis. Five patients with neurological manifestations of dengue infection had JEV antibodies in serum and would have been misdiagnosed had we not tested for dengue antibodies in parallel. CONCLUSION: Children infected with JEV that presented with acute limb paralysis or neck stiffness only were missed by the surveillance standards, although some of them subsequently became encephalopathic. A footnote in the surveillance standards drawing attention to these presentations would be helpful. An acute CSF sample is more sensitive and specific than an acute serum sample.

Fernandez FM, Green MD, Newton PN. 2008. Prevalence and detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals: A mini review INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH, 47 (3), pp. 585-590. | Citations: 50 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Lindegardh N, Annerberg A, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Development and validation of a liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric method for determination of piperaquine in plasma stable isotope labeled internal standard does not always compensate for matrix effects. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 862 (1-2), pp. 227-236. | Citations: 108 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A bioanalytical method for the analysis of piperaquine in human plasma using off-line solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. It was found that a mobile phase with high pH (i.e. 10) led to better sensitivity than mobile phase combinations with low pH (i.e. 2.5-4.5) despite the use of positive electrospray and a basic analyte. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as R.S.D., were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations (4.5, 20, 400 and 500ng/mL) and below 10% at the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) (1.5ng/mL). The calibration range was 1.5-500ng/mL with a limit of detection (LOD) at 0.38ng/mL. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. Matrix effects were thoroughly evaluated both graphically and quantitatively. Matrix effects originating from the sample clean-up (i.e. solid-phase extraction) procedure rather than the plasma background were responsible for the ion suppression seen in this study. Salts remaining from the buffers used in the solid-phase extraction suppressed the signals for both piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard. This had no effect on the quantification of piperaquine. Triethylamine residues remaining after evaporation of the solid-phase extraction eluate were found to suppress the signals for piperaquine and its deuterated internal standard differently. It was found that this could lead to an underestimation of the true concentration with 50% despite the use of a deuterated internal standard.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Stenos J, Graves SR, Unsworth NB, Phetsouvanh R, Newton PN, Day NPJ. 2008. Real-time multiplex PCR assay for detection and differentiation of rickettsiae and orientiae. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (2), pp. 186-193. | Citations: 36 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The high incidence of rickettsial diseases in Southeast Asia necessitates rapid and accurate diagnostic tools for a broad range of rickettsial agents, including Orientia tsutsugamushi (scrub typhus) and Rickettsia typhi (murine typhus), but also spotted fever group infections, which are increasingly reported. We present an SYBR-Green-based, real-time multiplex PCR assay for rapid identification and differentiation of scrub typhus group, typhus group and spotted fever group rickettsiae using 47kDa, gltA and ompB gene targets. Detection limits for amplification of these genes in reference strains ranged from 24 copies/microl, 5 copies/microl and 1 copy/microl in multiplex and 2 copies/microl, 1 copy/microl and 1 copy/microl in single template format, respectively. Differentiation by melt-curve analysis led to distinct melt temperatures for each group-specific amplicon. The assay was subjected to 54 samples, of which all cell-culture and 75% of characterised clinical buffy coat samples were correctly identified. Real-time PCR has the advantage of reliably detecting and differentiating rickettsial and orientia cell-culture isolates in a single-template assay, compared with the more time-consuming and laborious immunofluorescence assay. However, further optimisation and validation on samples taken directly from patients to assess its clinical diagnostic utility is required.

Chantratita N, Meumann E, Thanwisai A, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Wannapasni S, Tumapa S, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2008. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification method targeting the TTS1 gene cluster for detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei and diagnosis of melioidosis. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (2), pp. 568-573. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a severe infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. The timely implementation of effective antimicrobial treatment requires rapid diagnosis. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) targeting the TTS1 gene cluster was developed for the detection of B. pseudomallei. LAMP was sensitive and specific for the laboratory detection of this organism. The lower limit of detection was 38 genomic copies per reaction, and LAMP was positive for 10 clinical B. pseudomallei isolates but negative for 5 B. thailandensis and 5 B. mallei isolates. A clinical evaluation was conducted in northeast Thailand to compare LAMP to an established real-time PCR assay targeting the same TTS1 gene cluster. A total of 846 samples were obtained from 383 patients with suspected melioidosis, 77 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with culture-confirmed melioidosis. Of these 77 patients, a positive result was obtained from one or more specimens by PCR in 26 cases (sensitivity, 34%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23.4 to 45.4%) and by LAMP in 34 cases (sensitivity, 44%; 95% CI, 32.8 to 55.9%) (P = 0.02). All samples from 306 patients that were culture negative for B. pseudomallei were negative by PCR (specificity, 100%; 95% CI, 98.8 to 100%), but 5 of 306 patients (1.6%) were positive by LAMP (specificity, 98.4%; 95% CI, 96.2 to 99.5%) (P = 0.03). The diagnostic accuracies of PCR and LAMP were 86.7% (95% CI, 82.9 to 89.9%) and 87.5% (95% CI, 83.7 to 90.6%), respectively (P = 0.47). Both assays were very insensitive when applied to blood samples; PCR and LAMP were positive for 0 and 1 of 44 positive blood cultures, respectively. The PCR and LAMP assays evaluated here are not sufficiently sensitive to replace culture in our clinical setting.

Newton PN, Fernández FM, Plançon A, Mildenhall DC, Green MD, Ziyong L, Christophel EM, Phanouvong S, Howells S, McIntosh E et al. 2008. A collaborative epidemiological investigation into the criminal fake artesunate trade in South East Asia. PLoS Med, 5 (2), pp. e32. | Citations: 124 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Since 1998 the serious public health problem in South East Asia of counterfeit artesunate, containing no or subtherapeutic amounts of the active antimalarial ingredient, has led to deaths from untreated malaria, reduced confidence in this vital drug, large economic losses for the legitimate manufacturers, and concerns that artemisinin resistance might be engendered. METHODS AND FINDINGS: With evidence of a deteriorating situation, a group of police, criminal analysts, chemists, palynologists, and health workers collaborated to determine the source of these counterfeits under the auspices of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the Western Pacific World Health Organization Regional Office. A total of 391 samples of genuine and counterfeit artesunate collected in Vietnam (75), Cambodia (48), Lao PDR (115), Myanmar (Burma) (137) and the Thai/Myanmar border (16), were available for analysis. Sixteen different fake hologram types were identified. High-performance liquid chromatography and/or mass spectrometry confirmed that all specimens thought to be counterfeit (195/391, 49.9%) on the basis of packaging contained no or small quantities of artesunate (up to 12 mg per tablet as opposed to approximately 50 mg per genuine tablet). Chemical analysis demonstrated a wide diversity of wrong active ingredients, including banned pharmaceuticals, such as metamizole, and safrole, a carcinogen, and raw material for manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('ecstasy'). Evidence from chemical, mineralogical, biological, and packaging analysis suggested that at least some of the counterfeits were manufactured in southeast People's Republic of China. This evidence prompted the Chinese Government to act quickly against the criminal traders with arrests and seizures. CONCLUSIONS: An international multi-disciplinary group obtained evidence that some of the counterfeit artesunate was manufactured in China, and this prompted a criminal investigation. International cross-disciplinary collaborations may be appropriate in the investigation of other serious counterfeit medicine public health problems elsewhere, but strengthening of international collaborations and forensic and drug regulatory authority capacity will be required.

Wuthiekanun V, Pheaktra N, Putchhat H, Sin L, Sen B, Kumar V, Langla S, Peacock SJ, Day NP. 2008. Burkholderia pseudomallei antibodies in children, Cambodia. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (2), pp. 301-303. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei were detected in 16% of children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This organism was isolated from 30% of rice paddies in the surrounding vicinity. Despite the lack of reported indigenous cases, melioidosis is likely to occur in Cambodia.

Dondorp AM. 2008. Clinical significance of sequestration in adults with severe malaria. Transfus Clin Biol, 15 (1-2), pp. 56-57. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Reduced microcirculatory flow is a fundamental feature in the pathophysiology of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria and sequestration of red blood cells containing mature parasites is considered a central cause of this. Direct microscopic observation of the microcirculation in the living patient with severe malaria has enabled us to quantify this phenomenon and link it to severity of disease, supporting the findings of pathology studies. Moreover, the sequestered parasite biomass, calculated from parasite derived plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, strongly correlates with disease severity. Artesunate prevents sequestration by killing ring form parasites, aborting their maturation, which can explain the mortality benefit of this drug compared to quinine in the treatment of adult severe malaria. Levamisole is currently tried as adjunctive treatment in severe malaria targeting sequestration.

Cheng AC, Chierakul W, Chaowagul W, Chetchotisakd P, Limmathurotsakul D, Dance DAB, Peacock SJ, Currie BJ. 2008. Consensus guidelines for dosing of amoxicillin-clavulanate in melioidosis. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (2), pp. 208-209. | Citations: 17 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is an infectious disease endemic to northern Australia and Southeast Asia. In response to clinical confusion regarding the appropriate dose of amoxicillin-clavulanate, we have developed guidelines for the appropriate dosing of this second-line agent. For eradication therapy for melioidosis, we recommend 20/5 mg/kg orally, three times daily.

Cheng AC, Chierakul W, Chaowagul W, Chetchotisakd P, Limmathurotsakul D, Dance DAB, Peacock SJ, Currie BJ. 2008. Short report: Consensus guidelines for dosing of amoxicillin-clavulanate in melioidosis AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 78 (2), pp. 208-209. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is an infectious disease endemic to northern Australia and Southeast Asia. In response to clinical confusion regarding the appropriate dose of amoxicillin-clavulanate, we have developed guidelines for the appropriate dosing of this second-line agent. For eradication therapy for melioidosis, we recommend 20/5 mg/kg orally, three times daily. Copyright © 2008 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Lubell Y, Reyburn H, Mbakilwa H, Mwangi R, Chonya S, Whitty CJM, Mills A. 2008. The impact of response to the results of diagnostic tests for malaria: cost-benefit analysis. BMJ, 336 (7637), pp. 202-205. | Citations: 109 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Rapid diagnostic tests for malaria seem cost effective in standard analyses, but these do not take account of clinicians' response to test results. This study tested the impact of clinicians' response to rapid diagnostic test or microscopy results on the costs and benefits of testing at different levels of malaria transmission and in different age groups. DESIGN: Cost-benefit analysis using a decision tree model and clinical data on the effectiveness of diagnostic tests for malaria, their costs, and clinicians' response to test results. SETTING: Tanzania. METHODS: Data were obtained from a clinical trial of 2425 patients carried out in three settings of varying transmission. RESULTS: At moderate and low levels of malaria transmission, rapid diagnostic tests were more cost beneficial than microscopy, and both more so than presumptive treatment, but only where response was consistent with test results. At the levels of prescription of antimalarial drugs to patients with negative tests that have been found in observational studies and trials, neither test methodis likely to be cost beneficial, incurring costs 10-250% higher, depending on transmission rate, than would have been the case with fully consistent responses to all test results. Microscopy becomes more cost beneficial than rapid diagnostic tests when its sensitivity under operational conditions approaches that of rapid diagnostic tests. CONCLUSIONS: Improving diagnostic methods, including rapid diagnostic tests, can reduce costs and enhance the benefits of effective antimalarial drugs, but only if the consistency of response to test results is also improved. Investing in methods to improve rational response to tests is essential. Economic evaluations of diagnostic tests should take into account whether clinicians' response is consistent with test results.

Chierakul W, Tientadakul P, Suputtamongkol Y, Wuthiekanun V, Phimda K, Limpaiboon R, Opartkiattikul N, White NJ, Peacock SJ, Day NP. 2008. Activation of the coagulation cascade in patients with leptospirosis. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (2), pp. 254-260. | Citations: 47 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is common among patients with sepsis. Leptospirosis is an important cause of sepsis in tropical areas, and pulmonary hemorrhage associated with thrombocytopenia is the major cause of death, but the coagulopathy in severe leptospirosis has not been further characterized. The aim of this study was to evaluate coagulation factors and the presence of DIC in patients with leptospirosis in northeast Thailand. METHODS: We measured plasma concentrations of fibrinogen, D-dimer, thrombin-antithrombin III complexes, and prothrombin fragment 1,2 and evaluated the DIC score in 79 patients with culture-confirmed and/or serologically confirmed leptospirosis and in 33 healthy Thai control subjects. RESULTS: The median concentrations of fibrinogen, D-dimer, thrombin-antithrombin III complexes, and prothrombin fragment 1,2 were significantly elevated in a cohort of 79 patients with leptospirosis, compared with healthy control subjects (P<or=.001 for all tests). Patients with leptospirosis had significantly longer prothrombin times, longer activated partial thromboplastin times, and lower platelet counts. Thrombocytopenia was present in 38% of case patients and occurred more frequently among patients with culture-negative leptospirosis; in multivariate analysis, it was the only hemostasis factor independently associated with clinical bleeding. Patients who were culture-negative for Leptospira species had higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II and Sepsis-Related Organ Failure Assessment scores and more bleeding complications. Nearly one-half of patients with leptospirosis had overt DIC as defined by an International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis DIC score. CONCLUSIONS: Activation of the coagulation system is an important feature of leptospirosis. Thrombocytopenia is an indicator of severe disease and risk of bleeding.

White NJ. 2008. Plasmodium knowlesi: the fifth human malaria parasite. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (2), pp. 172-173. | Citations: 187 (Scopus) | Read more

Lee SJ, Stepniewska K, Anstey N, Ashley E, Barnes K, Binh TQ, D'Alessandro U, Day NPJ, de Vries PJ, Dorsey G et al. 2008. The relationship between the haemoglobin concentration and the haematocrit in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 149. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria is a very important cause of anaemia in tropical countries. Anaemia is assessed either by measurement of the haematocrit or the haemoglobin concentration. For comparisons across studies, it is often necessary to derive one measure from the other. METHODS: Data on patients with slide-confirmed uncomplicated falciparum malaria were pooled from 85 antimalarial drug trials conducted in 25 different countries, to assess the haemoglobin/haematocrit relationship at different time points in malaria. Using a linear random effects model, a conversion equation for haematocrit was derived based on 3,254 measurements from various time points (ranging from day 0 to day 63) from 1,810 patients with simultaneous measurements of both parameters. Haemoglobin was also estimated from haematocrit with the commonly used threefold conversion. RESULTS: A good fit was obtained using Haematocrit = 5.62 + 2.60 * Haemoglobin. On average, haematocrit/3 levels were slightly higher than haemoglobin measurements with a mean difference (+/- SD) of -0.69 (+/- 1.3) for children under the age of 5 (n = 1,440 measurements from 449 patients). CONCLUSION: Based on this large data set, an accurate and robust conversion factor both in acute malaria and in convalescence was obtained. The commonly used threefold conversion is also valid.

Peacock SJ, Newton PN. 2008. Public health impact of establishing the cause of bacterial infections in rural Asia. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (1), pp. 5-6. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent studies delineating bacterial causes of fever in rural Asia indicate a major role for several previously under-recognized pathogens, including Rickettsia and Leptospira. The use of blood culture for the first time to investigate patients with febrile illness in rural Asia has also revealed some unexpected findings, e.g. Staphylococcus aureus is the major cause of bacteraemia in children aged <1 year in Laos. The spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens such as MRSA into rural Asia has already occurred and requires monitoring. These factors have major implications for empirical therapy of fever. Initiatives are urgently needed to strengthen the infrastructure of microbiology in rural Asia.

Barennes H, Sayasone S, Odermatt P, De Bruyne A, Hongsakhone S, Newton PN, Vongphrachanh P, Martinez-Aussel B, Strobel M, Dupouy-Camet J. 2008. A major trichinellosis outbreak suggesting a high endemicity of Trichinella infection in northern Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (1), pp. 40-44. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Trichinellosis is an important and under-recognized food-borne zoonosis in Southeast Asia. After 30 years of no reports, a small outbreak was described in Central Lao PDR (Laos) in 2003. Here we report a large outbreak of at least 650 estimated patients in Udomxay (northern Laos) in June 2005. Trichinella ELISA assays on serum from 133 patients and Western blot assays on 16 patients were positive in 67.6% and 81.2%, respectively. No deaths were recorded. Consumption of uncooked or fermented pork at funeral and wedding ceremonies was the main source of infection. Larvae of Trichinella spiralis were found in 1 of 11 local pigs not involved in this outbreak. The results suggest that trichinellosis may be an under-recognized but important endemic disease in Laos and reinforces the need to urgently implement veterinary and educational programs.

Phetsouvanh R, Nakatsu M, Arakawa E, Davong V, Vongsouvath M, Lattana O, Moore CE, Nakamura S, Newton PN. 2008. Fatal bacteremia due to immotile Vibrio cholerae serogroup O21 in Vientiane, Laos - a case report. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob, 7 (1), pp. 10. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Human infections with non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae have been described from Laos. Elsewhere, non cholera-toxin producing, non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae have been described from blood cultures and ascitic fluid, although they are exceedingly rare isolates. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe a farmer who died with Vibrio cholerae O21 bacteremia and peritonitis in Vientiane, Laos, after eating partially cooked apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata) and mussels (Ligumia species). The cultured V. cholerae were non-motile. PCR detected ompW and toxR gene regions but not the ctxA, ompU, omp K and TCP gene regions. Although the organisms lacked flagellae on scanning electron microscopy, they possessed the Vibrio flagellin flaA gene. CONCLUSION: Severe bacteremic non-O1, non-O139 V. cholerae is reported from Laos. The organisms were unusual in being non-motile. They possessed the Vibrio flagellin flaA gene. Further research to determine the reasons for the non-motility and virulence is required.

Blacksell SD, Mammen MP, Thongpaseuth S, Gibbons RV, Jarman RG, Jenjaroen K, Nisalak A, Phetsouvanh R, Newton PN, Day NPJ. 2008. Evaluation of the Panbio dengue virus nonstructural 1 antigen detection and immunoglobulin M antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for the diagnosis of acute dengue infections in Laos. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis, 60 (1), pp. 43-49. | Citations: 84 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We evaluated 2 commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the diagnosis of dengue infection; one a serologic test for immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies, the other based on detection of dengue virus nonstructural 1 (NS1) antigen. Using gold standard reference serology on paired sera, 41% (38/92 patients) were dengue confirmed, with 4 (11%) acute primary and 33 (87%) acute secondary infections (1 was of indeterminate status). Sensitivity of the NS1-ELISA was 63% (95% confidence interval [CI], 53-73) on admission samples but was much less sensitive (5%; 95% CI, 1-10) on convalescent samples. The IgM capture ELISA had a lower but statistically equivalent sensitivity compared with the NS1-ELISA for admission samples (45%; 95% CI, 35-55) but was more sensitive on convalescent samples (58%; 95% CI, 48-68). The results of the NS1 and IgM capture ELISAs were combined using a logical OR operator, increasing the sensitivity for admission samples (79%; 95% CI, 71-87), convalescent samples (63%; 95% CI, 53-73), and all samples (71%; 95% CI, 65-78).

Taylor WRJ, Thinh BN, Anh GT, Horby P, Wertheim H, Lindegardh N, de Jong MD, Stepniewska K, Hanh TT, Hien ND et al. 2008. Oseltamivir is adequately absorbed following nasogastric administration to adult patients with severe H5N1 influenza. PLoS One, 3 (10), pp. e3410. | Citations: 51 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In the absence of a parenteral drug, oral oseltamivir is currently recommended by the WHO for treating H5N1 influenza. Whether oseltamivir absorption is adequate in severe influenza is unknown. We measured the steady state, plasma concentrations of nasogastrically administered oseltamivir 150 mg bid and its active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate (OC), in three, mechanically ventilated patients with severe H5N1 (male, 30 yrs; pregnant female, 22 yrs) and severe H3N2 (female, 76 yrs). Treatments were started 6, 7 and 8 days after illness onset, respectively. Both females were sampled while on continuous venovenous haemofiltration. Admission and follow up specimens (trachea, nose, throat, rectum, blood) were tested for RNA viral load by reverse transcriptase PCR. In vitro virus susceptibility to OC was measured by a neuraminidase inhibition assay. Admission creatinine clearances were 66 (male, H5N1), 82 (female, H5N1) and 6 (H3N2) ml/min. Corresponding AUC(0-12) values (5932, 10,951 and 34,670 ng.h/ml) and trough OC concentrations (376, 575 and 2730 ng/ml) were higher than previously reported in healthy volunteers; the latter exceeded 545 to 3956 fold the H5N1 IC(50) (0.69 ng/ml) isolated from the H5N1 infected female. Two patients with follow-up respiratory specimens cleared their viruses after 5 (H5N1 male) and 5 (H3N2 female) days of oseltamivir. Both female patients died of respiratory failure; the male survived. 150 mg bid of oseltamivir was well absorbed and converted extensively to OC. Virus was cleared in two patients but two patients died, suggesting viral efficacy but poor clinical efficacy.

Limmathurotsakul D, Chaowagul W, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Biaklang M, Tumapa S, White NJ, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2008. A simple scoring system to differentiate between relapse and re-infection in patients with recurrent melioidosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (10), pp. e327. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in East Asia. Recurrent melioidosis occurs in around 10% of patients following treatment either because of relapse with the same strain or re-infection with a new strain of Burkholderia pseudomallei. Distinguishing between the two is important but requires bacterial genotyping. The aim of this study was to develop a simple scoring system to distinguish re-infection from relapse. METHODS: In a prospective study of 2,804 consecutive adult patients with melioidosis presenting to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, NE Thailand, between 1986 and 2005, there were 141 patients with recurrent melioidosis with paired strains available for genotyping. Of these, 92 patients had relapse and 49 patients had re-infection. Variables associated with relapse or re-infection were identified by multivariable logistic regression and used to develop a predictive model. Performance of the scoring system was quantified with respect to discrimination (area under receiver operating characteristic curves, AUC) and categorization (graphically). Bootstrap resampling was used to internally validate the predictors and adjust for over-optimism. FINDINGS: Duration of oral antimicrobial treatment, interval between the primary episode and recurrence, season, and renal function at recurrence were independent predictors of relapse or re-infection. A score of < 5 correctly identified relapse in 76 of 89 patients (85%), whereas a score > or = 5 correctly identified re-infection in 36 of 52 patients (69%). The scoring index had good discriminative power, with a bootstrap bias-corrected AUC of 0.80 (95%CI: 0.73-0.87). CONCLUSIONS: A simple scoring index to predict the cause of recurrent melioidosis has been developed to provide important bedside information where rapid bacterial genotyping is unavailable.

Wiersinga WJ, Meijers JCM, Levi M, Van 't Veer C, Day NP, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T. 2008. Activation of coagulation with concurrent impairment of anticoagulant mechanisms correlates with a poor outcome in severe melioidosis. J Thromb Haemost, 6 (1), pp. 32-39. | Citations: 33 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, which is caused by infection with the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of sepsis in South-East Asia with a mortality of up to 40%. Knowledge of the involvement of coagulation and fibrinolysis in the pathogenesis of melioidosis is highly limited. OBJECTIVE: To define the involvement of the coagulation and fibrinolytic systems in patients with severe melioidosis. METHODS: Parameters of coagulation and fibrinolysis were measured in 34 patients with culture proven septic melioidosis and 32 healthy controls. RESULTS: Patients demonstrated strong activation of the coagulation system, as reflected by high plasma levels of soluble tissue factor, the prothrombin fragment F(1+2) and thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TATc), and consumption of coagulation factors resulting in a prolonged prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time. Concurrently, anticoagulant pathways were downregulated in patients: protein C, protein S, and antithrombin levels were all decreased when compared to controls. Patients also demonstrated evidence of activation and inhibition of fibrinolysis, as reflected by elevated concentrations of tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1, plasmin-alpha2-antiplasmin complexes (PAPc) and D-dimer. High TATc/PAPc ratios in patients pointed to a predominance of the prothrombotic pathway in melioidosis. Furthermore, soluble thrombomodulin levels were increased. The extent of coagulation activation correlated with mortality; patients who went on to die had higher TATc, F(1+2), tPA and PAPc and lower protein C and antithrombin levels on admission than patients who survived. CONCLUSIONS: The coagulation system is strongly activated during melioidosis. A high degree of activation of the coagulation system is an indicator of poor outcome in patients with melioidosis.

Carrara VI, Phyo AP, Nwee P, Soe M, Htoo H, Arunkamomkiri J, Singhasivanon P, Nosten F. 2008. Auditory assessment of patients with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria treated with three-day mefloquine-artesunate on the north-western border of Thailand. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 233. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The use of artemisinin derivatives has increased exponentially with the deployment of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) in all malarious areas. They are highly effective and are considered safe, but in animal studies artemisinin derivatives produce neurotoxicity targeting mainly the auditory and vestibular pathways. The debate remains as to whether artemisinin derivatives induce similar toxicity in humans. METHODS: This prospective study assessed the effects on auditory function of a standard 3-day oral dose of artesunate (4 mg/kg/day) combined with mefloquine (25 mg/kg) in patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit, on the Thai-Burmese border. A complete auditory evaluation with tympanometry, audiometry and auditory brainstem responses (ABR) was performed before the first dose and seven days after initiation of the antimalarial treatment. RESULTS: Complete auditory tests at day 0 (D0) and day 7 (D7) were obtained for 93 patients. Hearing loss (threshold > 25 dB) on admission was common (57%) and associated with age only. No patient had a threshold change exceeding 10 dB between D0 and D7 at any tested frequency. No patient showed a shift in Wave III peak latency of more than 0.30 msec between baseline and D7. CONCLUSION: Neither audiometric or the ABR tests showed clinical evidence of auditory toxicity seven days after receiving oral artesunate and mefloquine.

Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Vesaratchavest M, Thanwisai A, Amornchai P, Tumapa S, Feil EJ, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2008. Genetic diversity and microevolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei in the environment. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (2), pp. e182. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The soil dwelling Gram-negative pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei is the cause of melioidosis. The diversity and population structure of this organism in the environment is poorly defined. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We undertook a study of B. pseudomallei in soil sampled from 100 equally spaced points within 237.5 m(2) of disused land in northeast Thailand. B. pseudomallei was present on direct culture of 77/100 sampling points. Genotyping of 200 primary plate colonies from three independent sampling points was performed using a combination of pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Twelve PFGE types and nine sequence types (STs) were identified, the majority of which were present at only a single sampling point. Two sampling points contained four STs and the third point contained three STs. Although the distance between the three sampling points was low (7.6, 7.9, and 13.3 meters, respectively), only two STs were present in more than one sampling point. Each of the three samples was characterized by the localized expansion of a single B. pseudomallei clone (corresponding to STs 185, 163, and 93). Comparison of PFGE and MLST results demonstrated that two STs contained strains with variable PFGE banding pattern types, indicating geographic structuring even within a single MLST-defined clone. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the implications of this extreme structuring of genotype and genotypic frequency in terms of micro-evolutionary dynamics and ecology, and how our results may inform future sampling strategies.

Sharrock WW, Suwanarusk R, Lek-Uthai U, Edstein MD, Kosaisavee V, Travers T, Jaidee A, Sriprawat K, Price RN, Nosten F, Russell B. 2008. Plasmodium vivax trophozoites insensitive to chloroquine. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 94. | Citations: 46 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax is a major cause of malaria and is still primarily treated with chloroquine. Chloroquine inhibits the polymerization of haem to inert haemozoin. Free haem monomers are thought to catalyze oxidative damage to the Plasmodium spp. trophozoite, the stage when haemoglobin catabolism is maximal. However preliminary in vitro observations on P. vivax clinical isolates suggest that only ring stages (early trophozoites) are sensitive to chloroquine. In this study, the stage specific action of chloroquine was investigated in synchronous cryopreserved isolates of P. vivax. METHODS: The in vitro chloroquine sensitivity of paired ring and trophozoite stages from 11 cryopreserved P. vivax clinical isolates from Thailand and two Plasmodium falciparum clones (chloroquine resistant K1 and chloroquine sensitive FC27) was measured using a modified WHO microtest method and fluorometric SYBR Green I Assay. The time each stage was exposed to chloroquine treatment was controlled by washing the chloroquine off at 20 hours after the beginning of treatment. RESULTS: Plasmodium vivax isolates added to the assay at ring stage had significantly lower median IC50s to chloroquine than the same isolates added at trophozoite stage (median IC50 12 nM vs 415 nM p < 0.01). Although only 36% (4/11) of the SYBR Green I assays for P. vivax were successful, both microscopy and SYBR Green I assays indicated that only P. vivax trophozoites were able to develop to schizonts at chloroquine concentrations above 100 nM. CONCLUSION: Data from this study confirms the diminished sensitivity of P. vivax trophozoites to chloroquine, the stage thought to be the target of this drug. These results raise important questions about the pharmacodynamic action of chloroquine, and highlight a fundamental difference in the activity of chloroquine between P. vivax and P. falciparum.

Guthmann J-P, Pittet A, Lesage A, Imwong M, Lindegardh N, Min Lwin M, Zaw T, Annerberg A, de Radiguès X, Nosten F. 2008. Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine in Dawei, southern Myanmar. Trop Med Int Health, 13 (1), pp. 91-98. | Citations: 50 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in in Dawei District, southern Myanmar. METHODS: Enrolled patients at Sonsinphya clinic >6 months of age were assessed clinically and parasitologically every week for 28 days. To differentiate new infections from recrudescence, we genotyped pre- and post-treatment parasitaemia. Blood chloroquine was measured to confirm resistant strains. RESULTS: Between December 2002 and April 2003, 2661 patients were screened, of whom 252 were included and 235 analysed. Thirty-four per cent (95% CI: 28.1-40.6) of patients had recurrent parasitaemia and were considered treatment failures. 59.4% of these recurrences were with a different parasite strain. Two (0.8%) patients with recurrences on day 14 had chloroquine concentrations above the threshold of 100 ng/ml and were considered infected with chloroquine resistant parasites. 21% of failures occurred during the first 3 weeks of follow-up: early recurrence and median levels of blood chloroquine comparable to those of controls suggested P. vivax resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine seems to be emerging in Dawei, near the Thai-Burmese border. While chloroquine remains the first-line drug for P. vivax infections in this area of Myanmar, regular monitoring is needed to detect further development of parasite resistance.

Pongtavornpinyo W, Yeung S, Hastings IM, Dondorp AM, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2008. Spread of anti-malarial drug resistance: mathematical model with implications for ACT drug policies. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 229. | Citations: 37 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most malaria-endemic countries are implementing a change in anti-malarial drug policy to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). The impact of different drug choices and implementation strategies is uncertain. Data from many epidemiological studies in different levels of malaria endemicity and in areas with the highest prevalence of drug resistance like borders of Thailand are certainly valuable. Formulating an appropriate dynamic data-driven model is a powerful predictive tool for exploring the impact of these strategies quantitatively. METHODS: A comprehensive model was constructed incorporating important epidemiological and biological factors of human, mosquito, parasite and treatment. The iterative process of developing the model, identifying data needed, and parameterization has been taken to strongly link the model to the empirical evidence. The model provides quantitative measures of outcomes, such as malaria prevalence/incidence and treatment failure, and illustrates the spread of resistance in low and high transmission settings. The model was used to evaluate different anti-malarial policy options focusing on ACT deployment. RESULTS: The model predicts robustly that in low transmission settings drug resistance spreads faster than in high transmission settings, and treatment failure is the main force driving the spread of drug resistance. In low transmission settings, ACT slows the spread of drug resistance to a partner drug, especially at high coverage rates. This effect decreases exponentially with increasing delay in deploying the ACT and decreasing rates of coverage. In the high transmission settings, however, drug resistance is driven by the proportion of the human population with a residual drug level, which gives resistant parasites some survival advantage. The spread of drug resistance could be slowed down by controlling presumptive drug use and avoiding the use of combination therapies containing drugs with mismatched half-lives, together with reducing malaria transmission through vector control measures. CONCLUSION: This paper has demonstrated the use of a comprehensive mathematical model to describe malaria transmission and the spread of drug resistance. The model is strongly linked to the empirical evidence obtained from extensive data available from various sources. This model can be a useful tool to inform the design of treatment policies, particularly at a time when ACT has been endorsed by WHO as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria worldwide.

Dondorp AM, Ince C, Charunwatthana P, Hanson J, van Kuijen A, Faiz MA, Rahman MR, Hasan M, Bin Yunus E, Ghose A et al. 2008. Direct in vivo assessment of microcirculatory dysfunction in severe falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 197 (1), pp. 79-84. | Citations: 147 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: This study sought to describe and quantify microcirculatory changes in the mucosal surfaces of patients with severe malaria, by direct in vivo observation using orthogonal polarization spectral (OPS) imaging. METHODS: The microcirculation in the rectal mucosa of adult patients with severe malaria was assessed by use of OPS imaging, at admission and then daily. Comparison groups comprised patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, patients with bacterial sepsis, and healthy individuals. RESULTS: Erythrocyte velocities were measured directly in 43 adult patients with severe falciparum malaria, of whom 20 died. Microcirculatory blood flow was markedly disturbed, with heterogeneous obstruction that was proportional to severity of disease. Blocked capillaries were found in 29 patients (67%) and were associated with concurrent hyperdynamic blood flow (erythrocyte velocity, >750 mm/s) in adjacent vessels in 27 patients (93%). The proportion of blocked capillaries correlated with the base deficit in plasma and with the concentration of lactate. Abnormalities disappeared when the patients recovered. In healthy individuals and in patients with uncomplicated malaria or sepsis, no stagnant erythrocytes were detected, and, in patients with sepsis, hyperdynamic blood flow was prominent. CONCLUSION: Patients with severe falciparum malaria show extensive microvascular obstruction that is proportional to the severity of the disease. This finding underscores the prominent role that microvascular obstruction plays in the pathophysiology of severe malaria and illustrates the fundamental difference between the microvascular pathophysiology of malaria and that of bacterial sepsis.

White NJ. 2008. How antimalarial drug resistance affects post-treatment prophylaxis. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 9. | Citations: 50 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Slowly eliminated antimalarial drugs suppress malaria reinfections for a period of time determined by the dose, the pharmacokinetic properties of the drug, and the susceptibility of the infecting parasites. This effect is called post-treatment prophylaxis (PTP). The clinical benefits of preventing recrudescence (reflecting treatment efficacy) compared with preventing reinfection (reflecting PTP) need further assessment. Antimalarial drug resistance shortens PTP. While blood concentrations are in the terminal elimination phase, the degree of shortening may be estimated from measurements of in-vitro susceptibility and the terminal elimination half-life. More information is needed on PTP following intermittent preventive treatments, and on the relationship between the duration of PTP and immunity, so that policy recommendations can have a firmer evidence base.

Miotto O, Heiny A, Tan TW, August JT, Brusic V. 2008. Identification of human-to-human transmissibility factors in PB2 proteins of influenza A by large-scale mutual information analysis. BMC Bioinformatics, 9 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S18. | Citations: 56 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The identification of mutations that confer unique properties to a pathogen, such as host range, is of fundamental importance in the fight against disease. This paper describes a novel method for identifying amino acid sites that distinguish specific sets of protein sequences, by comparative analysis of matched alignments. The use of mutual information to identify distinctive residues responsible for functional variants makes this approach highly suitable for analyzing large sets of sequences. To support mutual information analysis, we developed the AVANA software, which utilizes sequence annotations to select sets for comparison, according to user-specified criteria. The method presented was applied to an analysis of influenza A PB2 protein sequences, with the objective of identifying the components of adaptation to human-to-human transmission, and reconstructing the mutation history of these components. RESULTS: We compared over 3,000 PB2 protein sequences of human-transmissible and avian isolates, to produce a catalogue of sites involved in adaptation to human-to-human transmission. This analysis identified 17 characteristic sites, five of which have been present in human-transmissible strains since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Sixteen of these sites are located in functional domains, suggesting they may play functional roles in host-range specificity. The catalogue of characteristic sites was used to derive sequence signatures from historical isolates. These signatures, arranged in chronological order, reveal an evolutionary timeline for the adaptation of the PB2 protein to human hosts. CONCLUSION: By providing the most complete elucidation to date of the functional components participating in PB2 protein adaptation to humans, this study demonstrates that mutual information is a powerful tool for comparative characterization of sequence sets. In addition to confirming previously reported findings, several novel characteristic sites within PB2 are reported. Sequence signatures generated using the characteristic sites catalogue characterize concisely the adaptation characteristics of individual isolates. Evolutionary timelines derived from signatures of early human influenza isolates suggest that characteristic variants emerged rapidly, and remained remarkably stable through subsequent pandemics. In addition, the signatures of human-infecting H5N1 isolates suggest that this avian subtype has low pandemic potential at present, although it presents more human adaptation components than most avian subtypes.

Miotto O, Tan TW, Brusic V. 2008. Rule-based knowledge aggregation for large-scale protein sequence analysis of influenza A viruses. BMC Bioinformatics, 9 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S7. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The explosive growth of biological data provides opportunities for new statistical and comparative analyses of large information sets, such as alignments comprising tens of thousands of sequences. In such studies, sequence annotations frequently play an essential role, and reliable results depend on metadata quality. However, the semantic heterogeneity and annotation inconsistencies in biological databases greatly increase the complexity of aggregating and cleaning metadata. Manual curation of datasets, traditionally favoured by life scientists, is impractical for studies involving thousands of records. In this study, we investigate quality issues that affect major public databases, and quantify the effectiveness of an automated metadata extraction approach that combines structural and semantic rules. We applied this approach to more than 90,000 influenza A records, to annotate sequences with protein name, virus subtype, isolate, host, geographic origin, and year of isolation. RESULTS: Over 40,000 annotated Influenza A protein sequences were collected by combining information from more than 90,000 documents from NCBI public databases. Metadata values were automatically extracted, aggregated and reconciled from several document fields by applying user-defined structural rules. For each property, values were recovered from >/=88.8% of records, with accuracy exceeding 96% in most cases. Because of semantic heterogeneity, each property required up to six different structural rules to be combined. Significant quality differences between databases were found: GenBank documents yield values more reliably than documents extracted from GenPept. Using a simple set of semantic rules and a reasoner, we reconstructed relationships between sequences from the same isolate, thus identifying 7640 isolates. Validation of isolate metadata against a simple ontology highlighted more than 400 inconsistencies, leading to over 3,000 property value corrections. CONCLUSION: To overcome the quality issues inherent in public databases, automated knowledge aggregation with embedded intelligence is needed for large-scale analyses. Our results show that user-controlled intuitive approaches, based on combination of simple rules, can reliably automate various curation tasks, reducing the need for manual corrections to approximately 5% of the records. Emerging semantic technologies possess desirable features to support today's knowledge aggregation tasks, with a potential to bring immediate benefits to this field.

Dolecek C, Tran TPL, Nguyen NR, Le TP, Ha V, Phung QT, Doan CD, Nguyen TBB, Duong TL, Luong BH et al. 2008. A multi-center randomised controlled trial of gatifloxacin versus azithromycin for the treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever in children and adults in Vietnam. PLoS One, 3 (5), pp. e2188. | Citations: 64 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Drug resistant typhoid fever is a major clinical problem globally. Many of the first line antibiotics, including the older generation fluoroquinolones, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin, are failing. OBJECTIVES: We performed a randomised controlled trial to compare the efficacy and safety of gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) versus azithromycin (20 mg/kg/day) as a once daily oral dose for 7 days for the treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever in children and adults in Vietnam. METHODS: An open-label multi-centre randomised trial with pre-specified per protocol analysis and intention to treat analysis was conducted. The primary outcome was fever clearance time, the secondary outcome was overall treatment failure (clinical or microbiological failure, development of typhoid fever-related complications, relapse or faecal carriage of S. typhi). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled 358 children and adults with suspected typhoid fever. There was no death in the study. 287 patients had blood culture confirmed typhoid fever, 145 patients received gatifloxacin and 142 patients received azithromycin. The median FCT was 106 hours in both treatment arms (95% Confidence Interval [CI]; 94-118 hours for gatifloxacin versus 88-112 hours for azithromycin), (logrank test p = 0.984, HR [95% CI] = 1.0 [0.80-1.26]). Overall treatment failure occurred in 13/145 (9%) patients in the gatifloxacin group and 13/140 (9.3%) patients in the azithromycin group, (logrank test p = 0.854, HR [95% CI] = 0.93 [0.43-2.0]). 96% (254/263) of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and 58% (153/263) were multidrug resistant. CONCLUSIONS: Both antibiotics showed an excellent efficacy and safety profile. Both gatifloxacin and azithromycin can be recommended for the treatment of typhoid fever particularly in regions with high rates of multidrug and nalidixic acid resistance. The cost of a 7-day treatment course of gatifloxacin is approximately one third of the cost of azithromycin in Vietnam. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN67946944.

Nantakomol D, Chimma P, Day NP, Dondorp AM, Combes V, Krudsood S, Looareesuwan S, White NJ, Pattanapanyasat K, Chotivanich K. 2008. Quantitation of cell-derived microparticles in plasma using flow rate based calibration. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 39 (1), pp. 146-153. | Citations: 14 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract

Activation of vascular endothelium and blood cells can result in the formation of microparticles (MPs), which are membrane vesicles with a diameter < 1 microm which can play a pathogenetic role in a variety of infectious and other diseases. In this study, we validated a modified quantitative method called "flow rate based calibration", to measure circulating MPs in plasma of healthy subjects and malaria patients using FACSCalibur flow cytometry. MPs counts obtained from "flow rate based calibration" correlated closely with the standard method (R2 = 0.9, p = 0.001). The median (range) number of MPs in healthy subjects was 163/microl (81-375/microl). We demonstrated a flow rate based calibration for the quantitation of MPs in P. falciparum malaria-infected patients. The median (range) number of MPs was 2,051/microl (222-6,432/microl), n = 28 in patients with falciparum malaria. The number of MPs in plasma from patients with severe falciparum malaria was significantly higher than in uncomplicated falciparum malaria (2,567/microl (366-6,432/microl), n = 18 versus [1,947/microl (222-4,107/microl), n = 10, p < 0.01]. Cellular origin of MPs in malaria patients were mainly derived from red blood cells (35%), platelets (10%), and endothelial cells (5%). There was no significant correlation between the total number of MPs and parasitemia. Flow rate based calibration is a simple, reliable, reproducible method and more affordable to quantitate MPs.

Khan AM, Miotto O, Nascimento EJM, Srinivasan KN, Heiny AT, Zhang GL, Marques ET, Tan TW, Brusic V, Salmon J, August JT. 2008. Conservation and variability of dengue virus proteins: implications for vaccine design. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (8), pp. e272. | Citations: 52 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Genetic variation and rapid evolution are hallmarks of RNA viruses, the result of high mutation rates in RNA replication and selection of mutants that enhance viral adaptation, including the escape from host immune responses. Variability is uneven across the genome because mutations resulting in a deleterious effect on viral fitness are restricted. RNA viruses are thus marked by protein sites permissive to multiple mutations and sites critical to viral structure-function that are evolutionarily robust and highly conserved. Identification and characterization of the historical dynamics of the conserved sites have relevance to multiple applications, including potential targets for diagnosis, and prophylactic and therapeutic purposes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe a large-scale identification and analysis of evolutionarily highly conserved amino acid sequences of the entire dengue virus (DENV) proteome, with a focus on sequences of 9 amino acids or more, and thus immune-relevant as potential T-cell determinants. DENV protein sequence data were collected from the NCBI Entrez protein database in 2005 (9,512 sequences) and again in 2007 (12,404 sequences). Forty-four (44) sequences (pan-DENV sequences), mainly those of nonstructural proteins and representing approximately 15% of the DENV polyprotein length, were identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences. Of these 44 sequences, 34 ( approximately 77%) were present in >or=95% of sequences of each DENV type, and 27 ( approximately 61%) were conserved in other Flaviviruses. The frequencies of variants of the pan-DENV sequences were low (0 to approximately 5%), as compared to variant frequencies of approximately 60 to approximately 85% in the non pan-DENV sequence regions. We further showed that the majority of the conserved sequences were immunologically relevant: 34 contained numerous predicted human leukocyte antigen (HLA) supertype-restricted peptide sequences, and 26 contained T-cell determinants identified by studies with HLA-transgenic mice and/or reported to be immunogenic in humans. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Forty-four (44) pan-DENV sequences of at least 9 amino acids were highly conserved and identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences, and the majority were found to be immune-relevant by their correspondence to known or putative HLA-restricted T-cell determinants. The conservation of these sequences through the entire recorded DENV genetic history supports their possible value for diagnosis, prophylactic and/or therapeutic applications. The combination of bioinformatics and experimental approaches applied herein provides a framework for large-scale and systematic analysis of conserved and variable sequences of other pathogens, in particular, for rapidly mutating viruses, such as influenza A virus and HIV.

White NJ. 2008. The role of anti-malarial drugs in eliminating malaria. Malar J, 7 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S8. | Citations: 152 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Effective anti-malarial drug treatment reduces malaria transmission. This alone can reduce the incidence and prevalence of malaria, although the effects are greater in areas of low transmission where a greater proportion of the infectious reservoir is symptomatic and receives anti-malarial treatment. Effective treatment has greater effects on the transmission of falciparum malaria, where gametocytogenesis is delayed, compared with the other human malarias in which peak gametocytaemia and transmissibility coincides with peak asexual parasite densities. Mature Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes are more drug resistant and affected only by artemisinins and 8-aminoquinolines. The key operational question now is whether primaquine should be added to artemisinin combination treatments for the treatment of falciparum malaria to reduce further the transmissibility of the treated infection. Radical treatment with primaquine plays a key role in the eradication of vivax and ovale malaria. More evidence is needed on the safety of primaquine when administered without screening for G6PD deficiency to inform individual and mass treatment approaches in the context of malaria elimination programmes.

Nantakomol D, Chimma P, Day NP, Dondorp AM, Combes V, Krudsood S, Looareesuwan S, White NJ, Pattanapanyasat K, Chotivanich K. 2008. Quantitation of cell-derived microparticles in plasma using flow rate based calibration Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 39 (1), pp. 146-153. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

Activation of vascular endothelium and blood cells can result in the formation of microparticles (MPs), which are membrane vesicles with a diameter < 1 μm which can play a pathogenetic role in a variety of infectious and other diseases. In this study, we validated a modified quantitative method called "flow rate based calibration", to measure circulating MPs in plasma of healthy subjects and malaria patients using FACSCalibur flow cytometry. MPs counts obtained from "flow rate based calibration" correlated closely with the standard method (R2=0.9, p=0.001). The median (range) number of MPs in healthy subjects was 163/μl (81-375/μl). We demonstrated a flow rate based calibration for the quantitation of MPs in P. falciparum malaria-infected patients. The median (range) number of MPs was 2,051/μl (222-6,432/μl), n=28 in patients with falciparum malaria. The number of MPs in plasma from patients with severe falciparum malaria was significantly higher than in uncomplicated falciparum malaria (2,567/μl (366-6,432/μl), n=18 versus [1,947/μl (222-4,107/μl), n=10, p<0.01]. Cellular origin of MPs in malaria patients were mainly derived from red blood cells (35%), platelets (10%), and endothelial cells (5%). There was no significant correlation between the total number of MPs and parasitemia. Flow rate based calibration is a simple, reliable, reproducible method and more affordable to quantitate MPs.

Teparrakkul P, Tsai JJ, Chierakul W, Gerstenmaier JF, Wacharaprechasgu T, Piyaphanee W, Limmathurotsakul D, Chaowagul W, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2008. Rheumatological manifestations in patients with melioidosis. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 39 (4), pp. 649-655. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

Melioidosis, an infection caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, has a wide range of clinical manifestations. Here, we describe rheumatological melioidosis (involving one or more of joint, bone or muscle), and compare features and outcome with patients without rheumatological involvement. A retrospective study of patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis admitted to Sappasithiprasong Hospital, Ubon Ratchathani during 2002 and 2005 identified 679 patients with melioidosis, of whom 98 (14.4%) had rheumatological melioidosis involving joint (n=52), bone (n = 5), or muscle (n = 12), or a combination of these (n=29). Females were over-represented in the rheumatological group, and diabetes and thalassemia were independent risk factors for rheumatological involvement (OR; 2.49 and 9.56, respectively). Patients with rheumatological involvement had a more chronic course, as reflected by a longer fever clearance time (13 vs 7 days, p = 0.06) and hospitalization (22 vs 14 days, p < 0.001), but lower mortality (28% vs 44%, p = 0.005). Patients with signs and symptoms of septic arthritis for longer than 2 weeks were more likely to have extensive infection of adjacent bone and muscle, particularly in diabetic patients. Surgical intervention was associated with a survival benefit, bur not a shortening of the course of infection.

White NJ, McGready RM, Nosten FH. 2008. New medicines for tropical diseases in pregnancy: Catch-22 PLoS Medicine, 5 (6), pp. 0843-0844. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Read more

Wain J, Diep TS, Bay PVB, Walsh AL, Vinh H, Duong NM, Ho VA, Hien TT, Farrar J, White NJ et al. 2008. Specimens and culture media for the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever. J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (6), pp. 469-474. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

BACKGROUND: Culture of S. Typhi is necessary for the definitive diagnosis of typhoid fever and provides isolates for antibiotic susceptibility testing and epidemiological studies. However, current methods are not fully optimised and sourcing culture media and bottles for culture media may be problematic. METHODOLOGY: In two hospital laboratories in Viet Nam, comparisons of media for blood and stool culture were conducted. The effect of the volume of blood or stool on culture positivity rate was examined and direct plating of the blood buffy coat was trialed. RESULTS: For 148 suspected typhoid fever cases, ox bile broth (58 positive) and brain-heart infusion broth containing saponin (63 positive), performed equally well. For 69 confirmed adult typhoid fever cases, large-volume (15 ml) blood culture gave the same sensitivity as 1 ml of bone marrow culture. For 44 confirmed typhoid fever cases, the direct plating of the buffy coat was positive in 28 cases. For 263 positive stool cultures, selenite F and selenite mannitol performed equally well and culturing 2 g rather than 1g increased the isolation rate by 10.5%. CONCLUSIONS: For the diagnosis of typhoid fever by blood culture the medium should be a rich nutrient broth containing a lysing agent. In adults 1 ml bone marrow or 15 ml blood culture gave similar results. Where isolates are needed for susceptibility testing or epidemiological studies, but resources for culture are scarce, direct plating of the blood buffy coat can be used with a 50% fall in sensitivity compared to standard blood culture.

Mills A, Lubell Y, Hanson K. 2008. Malaria eradication: the economic, financial and institutional challenge. Malar J, 7 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S11. | Citations: 41 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria eradication raises many economic, financial and institutional challenges. This paper reviews these challenges, drawing on evidence from previous efforts to eradicate malaria, with a special focus on resource-poor settings; summarizes more recent evidence on the challenges, drawing on the literature on the difficulties of scaling-up malaria control and strengthening health systems more broadly; and explores the implications of these bodies of evidence for the current call for elimination and intensified control. Economic analyses dating from the eradication era, and more recent analyses, suggest that, in general, the benefits of malaria control outweigh the costs, though few studies have looked at the relative returns to eradication versus long-term control. Estimates of financial costs are scanty and difficult to compare. In the 1960s, the consolidation phase appeared to cost less than $1 per capita and, in 1988, was estimated to be $2.31 per capita (both in 2006 prices). More recent estimates for high coverage of control measures suggest a per capita cost of several dollars. Institutional challenges faced by malaria eradication included limits to the rule of law (a major problem where malaria was concentrated in border areas with movement of people associated with illegal activities), the existence and performance of local implementing structures, and political sustainability at national and global levels. Recent analyses of the constraints to scaling-up malaria control, together with the historical evidence, are used to discuss the economic, financial and institutional challenges that face the renewed call for eradication and intensified control. The paper concludes by identifying a research agenda covering: issues of the allocative efficiency of malaria eradication, especially using macro-economic modelling to estimate the benefits and costs of malaria eradication and intensified control, and studies of the links between malaria control and economic development, the costs and consequences of the various tools and mixes of tools employed in control and eradication, issues concerning the extension of coverage of interventions and service delivery approaches, especially those that can reach the poorest, research on the processes of formulating and implementing malaria control and eradication policies, at both international and national levels, research on financing issues, at global and national levels.

Lubell Y, Hopkins H, Whitty CJM, Staedke SG, Mills A. 2008. An interactive model for the assessment of the economic costs and benefits of different rapid diagnostic tests for malaria. Malar J, 7 (1), pp. 21. | Citations: 33 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria are increasingly being considered for routine use in Africa. However, many RDTs are available and selecting the ideal test for a particular setting is challenging. The appropriateness of RDT choice depends in part on patient population and epidemiological setting, and on decision makers' priorities. The model presented (available online) can be used by decision makers to evaluate alternative RDTs and assess the circumstances under which their use is justified on economic grounds. METHODS: An interactive model based on a decision-tree structure and a cost-benefit framework was designed to compare different diagnostic strategies. Variables included in the model can be modified by users, including RDT and treatment costs, test accuracies (sensitivity and specificity), probabilities for developing severe illness, case-fatality rates, and clinician response to negative test results. To illustrate how the model can be used, a comparison is made of presumptive treatment with two available RDTs, one detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP2) and one detecting Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH). Data inputs were obtained from a study comparing the RDTs at seven sites in Uganda. RESULTS: Applying the model in the illustrative Ugandan context demonstrates that if only direct expenditures are considered, the pLDH test is the preferred option for adult patients except in high transmission settings, while young children are best treated presumptively in all settings. When health outcomes are considered, the HRP2 test gains an advantage in almost all settings and for all age groups. Introducing possible adverse consequences of using an antimalarial into the analysis, such as adverse drug reactions, or the development of resistance, considerably strengthens the case for using RDTs. When the model is adjusted to account for less than complete adherence to test results, the efficiency of using RDTs drops sharply. CONCLUSION: Model output demonstrates that which test is preferable varies by location, depending on factors such as malaria transmission intensity and the costs and accuracies of the RDTs under consideration. Despite the uncertainties and complexities involved, adaptable models such as the one presented here can serve as a practical tool to assist policy makers in efficient deployment of new technologies.

Druar C, Yu F, Barnes JL, Okinaka RT, Chantratita N, Beg S, Stratilo CW, Olive AJ, Soltes G, Russell ML et al. 2008. Evaluating Burkholderia pseudomallei Bip proteins as vaccines and Bip antibodies as detection agents. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol, 52 (1), pp. 78-87. | Citations: 43 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei is a biothreat agent and an important natural pathogen, causing melioidosis in humans and animals. A type III secretion system (TTSS-3) has been shown to be critical for virulence. Because TTSS components from other pathogens have been used successfully as diagnostic agents and as experimental vaccines, it was investigated whether this was the case for BipB, BipC and BipD, components of B. pseudomallei's TTSS-3. The sequences of BipB, BipC and BipD were found to be highly conserved among B. pseudomallei and B. mallei isolates. A collection of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for each Bip protein was obtained. Most recognized both native and denatured Bip protein. Burkholderia pseudomallei or B. mallei did not express detectable BipB or BipD under the growth conditions used. However, anti-BipD mAbs did recognize the TTSS needle structures of a Shigella strain engineered to express BipD. The authors did not find that BipB, BipC or BipD are protective antigens because vaccination of mice with any single protein did not result in protection against experimental melioidosis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) studies showed that human melioidosis patients had antibodies to BipB and BipD. However, these ELISAs had low diagnostic accuracy in endemic regions, possibly due to previous patient exposure to B. pseudomallei.

Lee SWH, Liong ML, Yuen KH, Leong WS, Chee C, Cheah PY, Choong WP, Wu Y, Khan N, Choong WL et al. 2008. Acupuncture versus sham acupuncture for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain. Am J Med, 121 (1), pp. 79.e1-79.e7. | Citations: 56 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) afflicts 2%-10% of adult men. Available therapies offer little or no proven benefit. Because acupuncture represents an attractive "natural" therapy, we compared the efficacy of acupuncture to sham acupuncture for CP/CPPS. METHODS: Participants met US National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus criteria for CP/CPPS, were aged > or = 20 years old, and had a total score > or = 15 on the NIH Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (NIH-CPSI) and symptoms for at least 3 of the preceding 6 months. They were randomized 1:1 to acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Treatment consisted of twice-weekly 30-minute sessions for 10 weeks (20 sessions total) without needle stimulation, herbs, or adjuvants. The primary response criterion was a 6-point decrease from baseline to week 10 in NIH-CPSI total score (range 0-43). RESULTS: Thirty-two (73%) of 44 participants responded in the acupuncture group compared with 21 (47%) of 45 sham group participants (relative risk 1.81, 95% confidence interval, 1.3-3.1, P = .02). Long-term responses 24 weeks after completing therapy without additional treatment occurred in 14 (32%) of 44 acupuncture group participants and in 6 (13%) of 45 sham group participants (relative risk 2.39, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-5.6, P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: After 10 weeks of treatment, acupuncture proved almost twice as likely as sham treatment to improve CP/CPPS symptoms. Participants receiving acupuncture were 2.4-fold more likely to experience long-term benefit than were participants receiving sham acupuncture.

Peacock SJ, Schweizer HP, Dance DAB, Smith TL, Gee JE, Wuthiekanun V, DeShazer D, Steinmetz I, Tan P, Currie BJ. 2008. Management of accidental laboratory exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (7), pp. e2. | Citations: 75 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei is a saprophyte and the cause of melioidosis. Natural infection is most commonly reported in northeast Thailand and northern Australia but also occurs in other parts of Asia, South America, and the Caribbean. Melioidosis develops after bacterial inoculation or inhalation, often in relation to occupational exposure in areas where the disease is endemic. Clinical infection has a peak incidence between the fourth and fifth decades; with diabetes mellitus, excess alcohol consumption, chronic renal failure, and chronic lung disease acting as independent risk factors. Most affected adults ( approximately 80%) in northeast Thailand, northern Australia, and Malaysia have >/=1 underlying diseases. Symptoms of melioidosis may be exhibited many years after exposure, commonly in association with an alteration in immune status. Manifestations of disease are extremely broad ranging and form a spectrum from rapidly life-threatening sepsis to chronic low-grade infection. A common clinical picture is that of sepsis associated with bacterial dissemination to distant sites, frequently causing concomitant pneumonia and liver and splenic abscesses. Infection may also occur in bone, joints, skin, soft tissue, or the prostate. The clinical symptoms of melioidosis mimic those of many other diseases; thus, differentiating between melioidosis and other acute and chronic bacterial infections, including tuberculosis, is often impossible. Confirmation of the diagnosis relies on good practices for specimen collection, laboratory culture, and isolation of B. pseudomallei. The overall mortality rate of infected persons is 50% in northeast Thailand (35% in children) and 19% in Australia.

Low BY, Liong ML, Yuen KH, Chee C, Leong WS, Chong WL, Khan NAK, Cheah PY, Liong KK. 2008. Terazosin therapy for patients with female lower urinary tract symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. J Urol, 179 (4), pp. 1461-1469. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: We determined the clinical efficacy and safety of terazosin in the treatment of patients with female lower urinary tract symptoms. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 100 females 20 to 70 years old who met the inclusion criteria of total International Prostate Symptom Score 8 or greater, symptom duration 1 or more months, and did not meet any exclusion criteria were entered into the study. Subjects were randomized to receive terazosin or placebo in titrated dose from 1 mg od, 1 mg twice daily to 2 mg twice daily during 14 weeks. Successful treatment outcomes use primary end point of International Prostate Symptom Score quality of life 2 or less and secondary end point of total International Prostate Symptom Score 7 or less. Other outcome measures included International Prostate Symptom Score individual item scores, King's Health Questionnaire quality of life domains, objective assessment parameters of 24-hour frequency volume chart, maximum flow rate and post-void residual urine. RESULTS: Using a primary end point, 32 of 40 (80%) evaluable terazosin subjects responded in contrast to 22 of 40 (55%) evaluable placebo subjects (p <0.02). The secondary end point revealed a successful outcome in 85% of terazosin subjects vs 55% in placebo (p <0.01). Of the 7 International Prostate Symptom Score individual item scores, only item scores of frequency and straining showed statistically significant reductions with terazosin (p <0.01). All King's Health Questionnaire quality of life domains except domain of severity measures showed statistically significant improvement with terazosin (p <0.05). There were no differences between treatment groups in all objective assessment parameters. Of all evaluable subjects 23 of 40 (58%) on placebo experienced adverse events vs 16 of 40 (40%) on terazosin (p >0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Terazosin proved to be more effective and safe than placebo in patients with female lower urinary tract symptoms.

Krieger JN, Lee SWH, Jeon J, Cheah PY, Liong ML, Riley DE. 2008. Epidemiology of prostatitis. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 31 Suppl 1 (SUPPL. 1), pp. S85-S90. | Citations: 121 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Prostatitis describes a combination of infectious diseases (acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis), chronic pelvic pain syndrome, and asymptomatic inflammation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We employed evidence-based methods to review the epidemiology of prostatitis syndromes. RESULTS: The prevalence of prostatitis symptoms could be compared in five studies surveying 10,617 men. Overall, 873 participants met various criteria for prostatitis, representing an overall rate of 8.2%, with prevalence ranging from 2.2 to 9.7%. A history of sexually transmitted diseases was associated with an increased risk for prostatitis symptoms. Men reporting a history of prostatitis symptoms had a substantially increased rate of benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms and prostate cancer. In one study, the incidence of physician-diagnosed prostatitis was 4.9 cases per 1000 person-years. Two studies suggest that about one-third of men reporting prostatitis symptoms had resolution after 1 year. Patients with previous episodes and more severe symptoms are at higher risk for chronic pelvic pain. DISCUSSION: The prevalence of prostatitis symptoms is high, comparable to rates of ischaemic heart disease and diabetes. Clinical evaluation appears necessary to verify that prostatitis is responsible for patients' symptoms. Prostatitis symptoms may increase a man's risk for benign prostate hypertrophy, lower urinary tract symptoms and prostate cancer. We need to define natural history and consequences of prostatitis, develop better algorithms for diagnosis and treatment, and develop strategies for prevention.

Lee SWH, Liong ML, Yuen KH, Leong WS, Cheah PY, Khan NAK, Krieger JN. 2008. Adverse impact of sexual dysfunction in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Urology, 71 (1), pp. 79-84. | Citations: 52 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To examine the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of sexual dysfunction in our primary care referral population. METHODS: Participants seeking treatment for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) were recruited from general urology clinics. The subjects completed the National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index, International Index of Erectile Function-5, and selected questions from the University of Washington Symptom Score. Additional information on demographics and medical and treatment history were also obtained. Sexual dysfunction was defined as self-reported erectile dysfunction (ED) or ejaculatory difficulty, or both. RESULTS: Of 296 participants with CP/CPPS, 214 (72.3%) reported sexual dysfunction. The National Institutes of Health-Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index total score averaged 22.5 +/- 6.9 for participants with sexual dysfunction compared with 20.4 +/- 7.8 for participants who did not report sexual dysfunction (P = 0.03). Of the 214 participants with sexual dysfunction, 54 (25.0%) complained of ED only, 71 (33.4%) complained of ejaculatory difficulties only, and 89 (41.6%) complained of both ED and ejaculatory difficulties. Men reporting both ED and ejaculatory difficulty reported worse CP/CPPS symptoms (analysis of variance, P = 0.042) and worse quality of life (analysis of variance, P = 0.006) than men without sexual dysfunction. CONCLUSIONS: Sexual dysfunction was reported by almost three quarters of patients with CP/CPPS. Patients with CP/CPPS and sexual dysfunction experienced substantially worse symptoms, particularly worse quality of life, than other patients with CP/CPPS. Sexual dysfunction merits consideration as an important aspect of CP/CPPS and a potential outcome measure.

Nokes DJ, Okiro EA, Ngama M, Ochola R, White LJ, Scott PD, English M, Cane PA, Medley GF. 2008. Respiratory syncytial virus infection and disease in infants and young children observed from birth in Kilifi District, Kenya. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (1), pp. 50-57. | Citations: 87 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In developing countries, there are few data that characterize the disease burden attributable to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and clearly define which age group to target for vaccine intervention. METHODS: Six hundred thirty-five children, recruited during the period 2002-2003, were intensively monitored until each experienced 3 epidemics of RSV infection. RSV infection was diagnosed using immunofluorescence of nasal washing specimens collected at each episode of acute respiratory infection. Incidence estimates were adjusted for seasonality of RSV exposure. RESULTS: For 1187 child-years of observation (CYO), a total of 409 (365 primary and 82 repeat) episodes of RSV infection were identified. Adjusted incidence estimates of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), severe LRTI, and hospital admission were 90 cases per 1000 CYO, 43 cases per 1000 CYO, and 10 cases per 1000 CYO, respectively, and corresponding estimates among infants were 104 cases per 1000 CYO, 66 cases per 1000 CYO, and 13 cases per 1000 CYO, respectively. The proportion of cases of all-cause LRTI, and severe LRTI and hospitalizations attributable to RSV in the cohort was 13%, 19%, and 5%, respectively. Fifty-five percent to 65% of RSV-associated LRTI and severe LRTI occurred in children aged >6 months. The risk of RSV disease following primary symptomatic infection remained significant beyond the first year of life, and one-quarter of all reinfections were associated with LRTI. CONCLUSIONS: RSV accounts for a substantial proportion of the total respiratory disease in this rural population; we estimate that 85,000 cases of severe LRTI per year occur in infants in Kenya. The majority of this morbidity occurs during late infancy and early childhood--ages at which the risk of disease following infection remains significant. Disease resulting from reinfection is common. Our results inform the debate on the target age group and effectiveness of a vaccine.

House D, Ho VA, Diep TS, Chinh NT, Bay PV, Vinh H, Duc M, Parry CM, Dougan G, White NJ et al. 2008. Antibodies to the Vi capsule of Salmonella Typhi in the serum of typhoid patients and healthy control subjects from a typhoid endemic region. J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (4), pp. 308-312. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract

BACKGROUND: There is very little published data on the antibody response to the Vi capsular polysaccharide (Vi-CPS) of S. Typhi during naturally acquired typhoid fever in an endemic area. METHODOLOGY: An indirect ELISA, using tyraminated, purified Vi-CPS, was used to assay anti-Vi-CPS antibodies from typhoid fever cases and controls living in the Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta region of Viet Nam. RESULTS: Antibody response to Vi-CPS is significantly higher in typhoid patients who have been ill for more than two weeks than those who are in the first two weeks of illness. The anti-Vi-CPS response is similar for adults and children. Anti-Vi-CPS antibodies can be detected in the sera of non-typhoid patients. The frequency with which this occurs increases with age, probably reflecting increased exposure to S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: Anti-Vi_CPS is elicited in persons infected with S. Typhi but only after a prolonged duration of illness. Vaccine trials have shown anti-Vi-CPS antibodies to be protective; thus early treatment of typhoid patients, i.e. in the first two week of illness before the Vi-CPS response is elicited, may inhibit the development of this protective immune response.

Barnett AG, Graves N, Cooper BS, Batra R, Edgeworth JD. 2008. Hospitals are dangerous places. Med J Aust, 189 (11-12), pp. 672. | Show Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effect of day of the week on the odds of being discharged alive from an intensive care unit (ICU). DESIGN: A longitudinal analysis of risk of discharge by day of the week. SETTING AND PATIENTS: 4569 patients admitted to the ICU of St Thomas' Hospital, London, from 2002 to 2006. RESULTS: The odds of being discharged alive were lowest on the weekend and literally climbed during the week. CONCLUSION: Our results show a frightening pattern of discharge from an ICU ward, most likely caused by a complex web of specialist availability and patient demand.

Wilson APR, Ostro P, Magnussen M, Cooper B, Keyboard Study Group. 2008. Laboratory and in-use assessment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus contamination of ergonomic computer keyboards for ward use. Am J Infect Control, 36 (10), pp. e19-e25. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An ideal computer keyboard for clinical use would be easily cleanable and cleaned by staff, meet acceptable levels of usability, and not attract hospital bacteria. METHODS: In vitro studies were performed to demonstrate bacterial transfer between keyboard surfaces and gloves. This was followed by a usability study and a controlled trial of keyboard contamination in an intensive care unit both with and without an alarm to indicate the need for cleaning. Eight cleanable keyboards were placed at random beds and compared with standard keyboards. RESULTS: Bacteria were most easily removed from a flat silicone-coated surface. The total viable count on flat keyboards with an alarm was lower than that on standard or other cleanable keyboards (median, 19 colony-forming units [cfu] (interquartile range, 7 to 40 cfu), n = 34; 65 cfu (33 to 140 cfu), n = 50; and 40 cfu (21 to 57 cfu), n = 80). Compliance with hand hygiene before touching the standard keyboard was 27%, but the alarmed keyboard was cleaned on 87% of occasions on which the alarm was triggered. The usability study found the flat profile of the cleanable keyboard did not interfere with routine use, except for touch-typing. CONCLUSION: The flat keyboard with an alarm is easy to clean, and it use is associated with better cleaning compliance.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NPJ. 2008. Simple, rapid and sensitive detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi by loop-isothermal DNA amplification Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene,

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