BACKGROUND: Primaquine is currently the only medication used for radical cure of Plasmodium vivax infection. Unfortunately, its use is not without risk. Patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency have an increased susceptibility to haemolysis when given primaquine. This potentially fatal clinical syndrome can be avoided if patients are tested for G6PD deficiency and adequately informed before being treated. CASE PRESENTATION: A 35-year old male presented to our clinic on the Thai-Burmese border with a history and clinical examination consistent with intravascular haemolysis. The patient had been prescribed primaquine and chloroquine four days earlier for a P. vivax infection. The medication instructions had not been given in a language understood by the patient and he had not been tested for G6PD deficiency. The patient was not only G6PD deficient but misunderstood the instructions and took all his primaquine tablets together. With appropriate treatment the patient recovered and was discharged home a week later. CONCLUSIONS: Whilst primaquine remains the drug of choice to eradicate hypnozoites and control P. vivax transmission, the risks associated with its use must be minimized during its deployment. In areas where P. vivax exists, patients should be tested for G6PD deficiency and adequately informed before administration of primaquine.
BACKGROUND: The Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) is a global collaboration to support the objective that anyone affected by malaria receives effective and safe drug treatment. The Pharmacology module aims to inform optimal anti-malarial drug selection. There is an urgent need to define the drug exposure - effect relationship for most anti-malarial drugs. Few anti-malarials have had their therapeutic blood concentration levels defined. One of the main challenges in assessing safety and efficacy data in relation to drug concentrations is the comparability of data generated from different laboratories. To explain differences in anti-malarial pharmacokinetics in studies with different measurement laboratories it is necessary to confirm the accuracy of the assay methods. This requires the establishment of an external quality assurance process to assure results that can be compared. This paper describes this process. METHODS: The pharmacology module of WWARN has established a quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) programme consisting of two separate components:1. A proficiency testing programme where blank human plasma spiked with certified reference material (CRM) in different concentrations is sent out to participating bioanalytical laboratories.2. A certified reference standard programme where accurately weighed amounts of certified anti-malarial reference standards, metabolites, and internal standards are sent to participating bioanalytical and in vitro laboratories. CONCLUSION: The proficiency testing programme is designed as a cooperative effort to help participating laboratories assess their ability to carry out drug analysis, resolve any potential problem areas and to improve their results - and, in so doing, to improve the quality of anti-malarial pharmacokinetic data published and shared with WWARN.By utilizing the same source of standards for all laboratories, it is possible to minimize bias arising from poor quality reference standards. By providing anti-malarial drug standards from a central point, it is possible to lower the cost of these standards.
INTRODUCTION: Streptococcus pneumoniae remains a major global health problem and a leading cause of death in children worldwide. The factors that influence development of pneumococcal sepsis remain poorly understood, although increasing evidence points towards a role for genetic variation in the host's immune response. Recent insights from the study of animal models, rare human primary immunodeficiency states, and population-based genetic epidemiology have focused attention on the role of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB in pneumococcal disease pathogenesis. The possible role of genetic variation in the atypical NF-κB inhibitor IκB-R, encoded by NFKBIL2, in susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease has not, to our knowledge, previously been reported upon. METHODS: An association study was performed examining the frequencies of nine common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms in two invasive pneumococcal disease case-control groups: European individuals from hospitals in Oxfordshire, UK (275 patients and 733 controls), and African individuals from Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya (687 patients with bacteraemia, of which 173 patients had pneumococcal disease, together with 550 controls). RESULTS: Five polymorphisms significantly associated with invasive pneumococcal disease susceptibility in the European study, of which two polymorphisms also associated with disease in African individuals. Heterozygosity at these loci was associated with protection from invasive pneumococcal disease (rs760477, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 11.797, P = 0.0006, odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval = 0.53 to 0.84; rs4925858, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 9.104, P = 0.003, odds ratio = 0.70, 95% confidence interval = 0.55 to 0.88). Linkage disequilibrium was more extensive in European individuals than in Kenyans. CONCLUSIONS: Common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease in European and African populations. These findings further highlight the importance of control of NF-κB in host defence against pneumococcal disease.
Lancet, 376 (9758), pp. 2051-2052. | Citations: 75 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Artemisinin resistance--the clock is ticking.
Lancet, 376 (9756), pp. 1880-1881. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more2010. Cost-effective use of prereferral treatment for severe malaria.
Limited microbiology services impede adequate diagnosis and treatment of common infections such as pyelonephritis in resource-limited settings. Febrile pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit were offered urine dipstick, sediment microscopy, urine culture, and a 5-mL blood culture. The incidence of pyelonephritis was 11/1,000 deliveries (N = 53 in 4,819 pregnancies) between January 7, 2004 and May 17, 2006. Pyelonephritis accounted for 20.2% (41/203) of fever cases in pregnancy. Escherichia coli was the most commonly isolated pathogen: 87.5% (28/32) of organisms cultured. Susceptibility of E. coli to ampicillin (14%), cotrimoxazole (21%), and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (48%) was very low. E. coli was susceptible to ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin. The rate of extended spectrum β-lactamase (4.2%; 95% confidence interval = 0.7-19.5) was low. The rate and causes of pyelonephritis in pregnant refugee and migrant women were comparable with those described in developed countries. Diagnostic innovation in microbiology that permits affordable access is a high priority for resource-poor settings.
We conducted an open, randomized clinical trial of oral dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) versus artesunate-mefloquine (AM) in 300 patients in Laos with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria as part of a multicentre study in Asia. Survival analysis and adjustment for re-infection showed that the 63-day cure rates (95% confidence interval [CI]) were 100% for AM and 99.5% (96.4-99.8%) for DP. The 63-day cure rates per protocol were 99% (97 of 98) for AM and 99.5% (196 of 197) for DP (P = 0.55). The difference (AM minus DP) in cure rates (95% CI) was -0.5% (-5.1 to 2.0%), which is within the 5% non-inferiority margin. The median fever and parasite clearance times were also similar for AM and DP. The proportion of patients with at least one recorded potential adverse event was significantly higher in the AM group (38 of 87, 44%) than in the DP group (57 of 182, 31%) (relative risk = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.4-0.9; P = 0.04). Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is not inferior to AM in the treatment of uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Laos and is associated with fewer adverse effects. The results of this study were similar to those of the larger multicentre study.
BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is a major cause of childhood death and often the main reason for paediatric hospital admission in sub-Saharan Africa. Quinine is still the established treatment of choice, although evidence from Asia suggests that artesunate is associated with a lower mortality. We compared parenteral treatment with either artesunate or quinine in African children with severe malaria. METHODS: This open-label, randomised trial was undertaken in 11 centres in nine African countries. Children (<15 years) with severe falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to parenteral artesunate or parenteral quinine. Randomisation was in blocks of 20, with study numbers corresponding to treatment allocations kept inside opaque sealed paper envelopes. The trial was open label at each site, and none of the investigators or trialists, apart from for the trial statistician, had access to the summaries of treatment allocations. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN50258054. FINDINGS: 5425 children were enrolled; 2712 were assigned to artesunate and 2713 to quinine. All patients were analysed for the primary outcome. 230 (8·5%) patients assigned to artesunate treatment died compared with 297 (10·9%) assigned to quinine treatment (odds ratio [OR] stratified for study site 0·75, 95% CI 0·63-0·90; relative reduction 22·5%, 95% CI 8·1-36·9; p=0·0022). Incidence of neurological sequelae did not differ significantly between groups, but the development of coma (65/1832 [3·5%] with artesunate vs 91/1768 [5·1%] with quinine; OR 0·69 95% CI 0·49-0·95; p=0·0231), convulsions (224/2712 [8·3%] vs 273/2713 [10·1%]; OR 0·80, 0·66-0·97; p=0·0199), and deterioration of the coma score (166/2712 [6·1%] vs 208/2713 [7·7%]; OR 0·78, 0·64-0·97; p=0·0245) were all significantly less frequent in artesunate recipients than in quinine recipients. Post-treatment hypoglycaemia was also less frequent in patients assigned to artesunate than in those assigned to quinine (48/2712 [1·8%] vs 75/2713 [2·8%]; OR 0·63, 0·43-0·91; p=0·0134). Artesunate was well tolerated, with no serious drug-related adverse effects. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate substantially reduces mortality in African children with severe malaria. These data, together with a meta-analysis of all trials comparing artesunate and quinine, strongly suggest that parenteral artesunate should replace quinine as the treatment of choice for severe falciparum malaria worldwide. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust.
Melioidosis is a frequently lethal tropical infection caused by the environmental saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. Although transcutaneous inoculation and inhalation are considered the primary routes of infection, suggestive clinical evidence implicates ingestion as a possible alternative route. We show that in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice, direct gastric inoculation of high doses of B. pseudomallei causes systemic infection that may be lethal or cause chronic disseminated infection. Mice may shed bacteria in the stool for weeks after infection, and high titers of B. pseudomallei-specific IgG are detectable. This report of enteric murine melioidosis supports further consideration of this route of infection.
BACKGROUND: Artemether-lumefantrine is one of the most widely used anti-malarial drug combinations in the world with excellent tolerability and cure rates in adult and paediatric patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The aim of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of artemether and its active metabolite, dihydroartemisinin, in healthy Pakistani volunteers. METHODS: Twelve healthy male Pakistani subjects, aged 20 to 50, were recruited into the study. A fixed oral combination of artemether-lumefantrine (80-480 mg) was given as a single oral dose. Frequent blood samples were collected and artemether and dihydroartemisinin were quantified in human plasma using solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. Drug concentration-time data were evaluated with non-compartmental analysis. RESULTS: Observed maximum concentrations (mean ± SD) of artemether and dihydroartemisinin were 184 ± 100 ng/mL and 126 ± 46 ng/mL, respectively. These concentrations were reached at 1.56 ± 0.68 hr and 1.69 ± 0.59 hr, respectively, after drug intake. The terminal elimination half-life of artemether and dihydroartemisinin were 2.00 ± 0.71 hr and 1.80 ± 0.31 hr, respectively. Apparent volume of distribution and oral clearance for artemether were estimated to 666 ± 220 L and 257 ± 140 L/hr. The same parameters were estimated to 702 ± 220 L and 269 ± 57 L/hr for dihydroartemisinin. CONCLUSIONS: The overall pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and dihydroartemisinin in healthy Pakistani subjects are comparable to healthy subjects and patients from other populations.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes sequester in the placenta and elicit an inflammatory response that is harmful to both fetus and mother. Histologic measurements during placental malaria might provide surrogate end points for interventional trials, but existing histologic schemes capture limited complexity and are not consistently used among study sites. METHODS: Using frozen-section histologic evaluation in Tanzania (high-transmission area), we established a novel grading scheme to separately quantify inflammation and pigment deposition during placental malaria (n = 102). To generalize this method, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded placental samples from Karen women in Thailand (low-transmission area) were selected from among women with documented antenatal parasitemia who were near term (n = 18). RESULTS: In the Tanzanian cohort, the inflammation and pigment-deposition scores were independently associated with birth weight, and the inflammation score was associated with chemokine levels. In the smaller cohort from Thailand, both inflammation and pigment scores were associated with birth weight, and the pigment score had an inverse trend with the number of antenatal clinic visits. CONCLUSIONS: This semiquantitative pathological grading scheme is simple to implement and captures information that is associated with outcomes in Asia and Africa; therefore, it should facilitate the comparison and standardization of results among clinical trials across areas of differing endemicity.
In July 2006, an Australian tourist returning from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), developed acute scrub typhus. Her signs and symptoms included fever, myalgia, headache, rash, and eschar. Orientia tsutsugamushi serology demonstrated a 4-fold rise in antibody titers in paired serum collections (1:512 to 1:8,192), with the sera reacting strongest against the Gilliam strain antigen. An Orientia species was isolated by the in vitro culture of the patient's acute blood taken prior to antibiotic treatment. The gene sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene (rrs), partial 56-kDa gene, and the full open reading frame 47-kDa gene was performed, and comparisons of this new Orientia sp. isolate to previously characterized strains demonstrated significant sequence diversity. The closest homology to the rrs sequence of the new Orientia sp. isolate was with three strains of O. tsutsugamushi (Ikeda, Kato, and Karp), with a nucleotide sequence similarity of 98.5%. The closest homology to the 47-kDa gene sequence was with O. tsutsugamushi strain Gilliam, with a nucleotide similarity of 82.3%, while the closest homology to the 56-kDa gene sequence was with O. tsutsugamushi strain TA686, with a nucleotide similarity of 53.1%. The molecular divergence and geographically unique origin lead us to believe that this organism should be considered a novel species. Therefore, we have proposed the name "Orientia chuto," and the prototype strain of this species is strain Dubai, named after the location in which the patient was infected.
BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) is recommended as first-line treatment of falciparum malaria throughout the world, and fixed-dose combinations are preferred by WHO; whether a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine should be added is unknown. We aimed to compare effectiveness of four fixed-dose ACTs and a loose tablet combination of artesunate and mefloquine, and assess the addition of a single gametocytocidal dose of primaquine. METHODS: In an open-label randomised trial in clinics in Rakhine state, Kachin state, and Shan state in Myanmar (Burma) between Dec 30, 2008, and March 20, 2009, we compared the effectiveness of all four WHO-recommended fixed-dose ACTs (artesunate-mefloquine, artesunate-amodiaquine, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, artemether-lumefantrine) and loose artesunate-mefloquine in Burmese adults and children. Eligible patients were those who presented to the clinics with acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria or mixed infection, who were older than 6 months, and who weighed more than 5 kg. Treatments were randomised in equal numbers within blocks of 50 and allocation was in sealed envelopes. All patients were also randomly assigned to receive either a single dose of primaquine 0·75 mg base/kg or not. Patients were followed up for 63 days. Treatment groups were compared by analysis of variance and multiple logistic regression. The primary outcome was the 63 day recrudescence rate. This study is registered with clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT00902811. FINDINGS: 155 patients received artesunate-amodiaquine, 162 artemether-lumefantrine, 169 artesunate-mefloquine, 161 loose artesunate-mefloquine, and 161 dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. By day 63 of follow-up, 14 patients (9·4%; 95% CI 5·7-15·3%) on artesunate-amodiaquine had recrudescent P falciparum infections, a rate significantly higher than for artemether-lumefantrine (two patients; 1·4%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0013), fixed-dose artesunate-mefloquine (0 patients; 0-2·3; p<0·0001), loose artesunate-mefloquine (two patients; 1·3%; 0·3-5·3; p=0·0018), and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (two patients 1·3%; 0·3-5·2%; p=0·0012). Hazard ratios for re-infection (95% CI) after artesunate-amodiaquine were 3·2 (1·3-8·0) compared with the two artesunate-mefloquine groups (p=0·01), 2·6 (1·0-6-0) compared with artemether-lumefantrine (p=0·04), and 2·3 (0·9-6·0) compared with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (p=0·08). Mixed falciparum and vivax infections were common: 129 (16%) had a mixed infection at presentation and 330 (41%) patients had one or more episodes of Plasmodium vivax infection during follow-up. The addition of a single dose of primaquine (0·75 mg/kg) reduced P falciparum gametocyte carriage substantially: rate ratio 11·9 (95% CI 7·4-20·5). All regimens were well tolerated. Adverse events were reported by 599 patients, most commonly vomiting and dizziness. Other side-effects were less common and were not related to a specific treatment. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate-amodiaquine should not be used in Myanmar, because the other ACTs are substantially more effective. Artesunate-mefloquine provided the greatest post-treatment suppression of malaria. Adding a single dose of primaquine would substantially reduce transmission potential. Vivax malaria, not recurrent falciparum malaria, is the main complication after treatment of P falciparum infections in this region. FUNDING: Médecins sans Frontières (Holland) and the Wellcome Trust Mahidol University Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme.
Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (10), pp. 4520. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2010. Gamma interferon supplementation for melioidosis.
The ParMRC plasmid partitioning apparatus is one of the best characterized systems for bacterial DNA segregation. Bundles of actin-like filaments are used to push plasmids to opposite poles of the cell, whereupon they are stably inherited on cell division. This plasmid-encoded system comprises just three components: an actin-like protein, ParM, a DNA-binding adaptor protein, ParR, and a centromere-like region, parC. The properties and interactions of these components have been finely tuned to enable ParM filaments to search the cell space for plasmids and then move ParR-parC-bound DNA molecules apart. In this Review, we look at some of the most exciting questions in the field concerning the exact molecular mechanisms by which the components of this self-contained system modulate one another's activity to achieve bipolar DNA segregation.
Pyronaridine, a Mannich base antimalarial, has demonstrated high in vivo and in vitro efficacy against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Although this drug has the potential to become a prominent artemisinin combination therapy, little is known about its efficacy against drug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. The in vitro antimalarial susceptibility of pyronaridine was assessed in multidrug-resistant P. vivax (n = 99) and P. falciparum (n = 90) isolates from Papua, Indonesia, using a schizont maturation assay. The median 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) of pyronaridine was 1.92 nM (range, 0.24 to 13.8 nM) against P. falciparum and 2.58 nM (range, 0.13 to 43.6 nM) against P. vivax, with in vitro susceptibility correlating significantly with chloroquine, amodiaquine, and piperaquine (r(s) [Spearman's rank correlation coefficient] = 0.45 to 0.62; P < 0.001). P. falciparum parasites initially at trophozoite stage had higher IC(50)s of pyronaridine than those exposed at the ring stage (8.9 nM [range, 0.6 to 8.9 nM] versus 1.6 nM [range, 0.6 to 8.9 nM], respectively; P = 0.015), although this did not reach significance for P. vivax (4.7 nM [range, 1.4 to 18.7 nM] versus 2.5 nM [range, 1.4 to 15.6 nM], respectively; P = 0.085). The excellent in vitro efficacy of pyronaridine against both chloroquine-resistant P. vivax and P. falciparum highlights the suitability of the drug as a novel partner for artemisinin-based combination therapy in regions where the two species are coendemic.
J Infect Dis, 202 (9), pp. 1300-1301. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2010. Waking the sleeping beauty.
Infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates that have reduced susceptibility to ofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.25 μg/ml) or ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.125 μg/ml) have been associated with a delayed response or clinical failure following treatment with these antimicrobials. These isolates are not detected as resistant using current disk susceptibility breakpoints. We examined 816 isolates of S. Typhi from seven Asian countries. Screening for nalidixic acid resistance (MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml) identified isolates with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 97.3% (253/260) and specificity of 99.3% (552/556). For isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml, the sensitivity was 92.9% (248/267) and specificity was 98.4% (540/549). A zone of inhibition of ≤28 mm around a 5-μg ofloxacin disc detected strains with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.6% (246/260) and specificity of 94.2% (524/556). A zone of inhibition of ≤30 mm detected isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.0% (251/267) and specificity of 94.2% (517/549). An ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml and a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml detected 74.5% (341/460) of isolates with an identified quinolone resistance-inducing mutation and 81.5% (331/406) of the most common mutant (carrying a serine-to-phenylalanine mutation at codon 83 in the gyrA gene). Screening for nalidixic acid resistance or ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin disk inhibition zone are suitable for detecting S. Typhi isolates with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility.
Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (10), pp. 654-655. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2010. Maximising the public health benefit of antimalarials.
Recent reports of increased tolerance to artemisinin derivatives--the most recently adopted class of antimalarials--have prompted a need for new treatments. The spirotetrahydro-beta-carbolines, or spiroindolones, are potent drugs that kill the blood stages of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax clinical isolates at low nanomolar concentration. Spiroindolones rapidly inhibit protein synthesis in P. falciparum, an effect that is ablated in parasites bearing nonsynonymous mutations in the gene encoding the P-type cation-transporter ATPase4 (PfATP4). The optimized spiroindolone NITD609 shows pharmacokinetic properties compatible with once-daily oral dosing and has single-dose efficacy in a rodent malaria model.
BACKGROUND: Malaria still remains a public health problem in some districts of Bhutan despite marked reduction of cases in last few years. To strengthen the country's prevention and control measures, this study was carried out to develop forecasting and prediction models of malaria incidence in the endemic districts of Bhutan using time series and ARIMAX. METHODS: This study was carried out retrospectively using the monthly reported malaria cases from the health centres to Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP) and the meteorological data from Meteorological Unit, Department of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs. Time series analysis was performed on monthly malaria cases, from 1994 to 2008, in seven malaria endemic districts. The time series models derived from a multiplicative seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) was deployed to identify the best model using data from 1994 to 2006. The best-fit model was selected for each individual district and for the overall endemic area was developed and the monthly cases from January to December 2009 and 2010 were forecasted. In developing the prediction model, the monthly reported malaria cases and the meteorological factors from 1996 to 2008 of the seven districts were analysed. The method of ARIMAX modelling was employed to determine predictors of malaria of the subsequent month. RESULTS: It was found that the ARIMA (p, d, q) (P, D, Q)s model (p and P representing the auto regressive and seasonal autoregressive; d and D representing the non-seasonal differences and seasonal differencing; and q and Q the moving average parameters and seasonal moving average parameters, respectively and s representing the length of the seasonal period) for the overall endemic districts was (2,1,1)(0,1,1)12; the modelling data from each district revealed two most common ARIMA models including (2,1,1)(0,1,1)12 and (1,1,1)(0,1,1)12. The forecasted monthly malaria cases from January to December 2009 and 2010 varied from 15 to 82 cases in 2009 and 67 to 149 cases in 2010, where population in 2009 was 285,375 and the expected population of 2010 to be 289,085. The ARIMAX model of monthly cases and climatic factors showed considerable variations among the different districts. In general, the mean maximum temperature lagged at one month was a strong positive predictor of an increased malaria cases for four districts. The monthly number of cases of the previous month was also a significant predictor in one district, whereas no variable could predict malaria cases for two districts. CONCLUSIONS: The ARIMA models of time-series analysis were useful in forecasting the number of cases in the endemic areas of Bhutan. There was no consistency in the predictors of malaria cases when using ARIMAX model with selected lag times and climatic predictors. The ARIMA forecasting models could be employed for planning and managing malaria prevention and control programme in Bhutan.
We describe the epidemiology of influenza virus infections in refugees in a camp in rural Southeast Asia during May-October 2009, the first 6 months after identification of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in Thailand. Influenza A viruses were detected in 20% of patients who had influenza-like illness and in 23% of those who had clinical pneumonia. Seasonal influenza A (H1N1) was the predominant virus circulating during weeks 26-33 (June 25-August 29) and was subsequently replaced by the pandemic strain. A review of passive surveillance for acute respiratory infection did not show an increase in acute respiratory tract infection incidence associated with the arrival of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the camp.
A prospective hospital-based study was undertaken to define the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and circulating serotypes in Laos. Of 10,799 patients with hemocultures and 353 patients with cerebrospinal fluid samples, 0.21% and 5.4%, respectively, were positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae, giving a total of 35 IPD patients. We developed a real-time polymerase chain reaction to detect serotypes represented in the 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine. A blinded evaluation comparing serotype as defined by the Quellung reaction versus the polymerase chain reaction demonstrated 100% concordance. The most frequent serotype (n = 33 patients) was 1 (n = 6), followed by serotypes 5, 6A/B/C, 14, and 23F. Serotypes represented in the 7-valent polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) infected 39% of patients, with 73% coverage for the PCV-10 and PCV-13 vaccines. Although the sample size is small, these data suggest that the PCV-7 vaccine may have relatively low efficacy in Laos. Further studies are urgently needed to guide pneumococcal vaccine policy in Laos.
The objectives of the present study were to determine the effects of multiple targeted interventions on the level of use of quinolones and the observed rates of resistance to quinolones in Escherichia coli isolates from hospitalized patients. A bundle consisting of four interventions to improve the use of quinolones was implemented. The outcome was measured from the monthly levels of use of intravenous (i.v.) and oral quinolones and the susceptibility patterns for E. coli isolates from hospitalized patients. Statistical analyses were performed using segmented regression analysis and segmented Poisson regression models. Before the bundle was implemented, the annual use of quinolones was 2.7 defined daily doses (DDDs)/100 patient days. After the interventions, in 2007, this was reduced to 1.7 DDDs/100 patient days. The first intervention, a switch from i.v. to oral medication, was associated with a stepwise reduction in i.v. quinolone use of 71 prescribed daily doses (PDDs) per month (95% confidence interval [CI] = 47 to 95 PDDs/month, P < 0.001). Intervention 2, introduction of a new antibiotic guideline and education program, was associated with a stepwise reduction in the overall use of quinolones (reduction, 107 PDDs/month [95% CI = 58 to 156 PDDs/month). Before the interventions the quinolone resistance rate was increasing, on average, by 4.6% (95% CI = 2.6 to 6.1%) per year. This increase leveled off, which was associated with intervention 2 and intervention 4, active monitoring of prescriptions and feedback. Trends in resistance to other antimicrobial agents did not change. This study showed that the hospital-wide use of quinolones can be significantly reduced by an active policy consisting of multiple interventions. There was also a stepwise reduction in the rate of quinolone resistance associated with the bundle of interventions.
BACKGROUND: Culture remains the diagnostic gold standard for many bacterial infections, and the method against which other tests are often evaluated. Specificity of culture is 100% if the pathogenic organism is not found in healthy subjects, but the sensitivity of culture is more difficult to determine and may be low. Here, we apply Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) to data from patients with a single Gram-negative bacterial infection and define the true sensitivity of culture together with the impact of misclassification by culture on the reported accuracy of alternative diagnostic tests. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from published studies describing the application of five diagnostic tests (culture and four serological tests) to a patient cohort with suspected melioidosis were re-analysed using several Bayesian LCMs. Sensitivities, specificities, and positive and negative predictive values (PPVs and NPVs) were calculated. Of 320 patients with suspected melioidosis, 119 (37%) had culture confirmed melioidosis. Using the final model (Bayesian LCM with conditional dependence between serological tests), the sensitivity of culture was estimated to be 60.2%. Prediction accuracy of the final model was assessed using a classification tool to grade patients according to the likelihood of melioidosis, which indicated that an estimated disease prevalence of 61.6% was credible. Estimates of sensitivities, specificities, PPVs and NPVs of four serological tests were significantly different from previously published values in which culture was used as the gold standard. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Culture has low sensitivity and low NPV for the diagnosis of melioidosis and is an imperfect gold standard against which to evaluate alternative tests. Models should be used to support the evaluation of diagnostic tests with an imperfect gold standard. It is likely that the poor sensitivity/specificity of culture is not specific for melioidosis, but rather a generic problem for many bacterial and fungal infections.
A nested-PCR protocol based on the linker region of the Plasmodium dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase gene (dhfr-ts) was developed. This provides highly sensitive specific detection and identification of the five parasite species that infect humans.
We studied the diagnostic accuracy of a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for detection of IgM against scrub typhus (ST ICT) and an immunoblot test for the detection of IgM against murine typhus (MT IBT) by using admission serum samples from 1,030 febrile patients in Laos. Sensitivity and specificity for the ST ICT determined by using the diagnostic criteria of a four-fold increase in IgM against Orientia tsutsugamushi between paired samples were 23.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 15.9-33.3%) and 86.2% (95% CI = 84.1-88.6%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the ST ICT determined by using an admission IgM titer > or = 1:400 were 39.1% (95% CI = 34.1-44.2%) and 99.5% (95% CI = 98.7-99.9%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the MT IBT determined by using the criteria of a four-fold increase in IgM against Rickettsia typhi between paired serum samples were 61.2% (95% CI = 53.7-68.3%) and 86.5% (95% CI = 84.1-88.8%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the MT IBT determined by using an admission IgM titer > or = 1:400 were 54.6% (95% CI = 49.1-60.0%) and 94.1% (95% CI = 92.0-95.7%), respectively. Both assays had relatively good specificity but low sensitivity and thus have limited utility for admission diagnosis.
AIMS: Pathological or neuroprotective mechanisms in the brain in severe malaria may arise from microvascular obstruction with malaria-parasitized erythrocytes. This study aimed to investigate the role of hypoxia and induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway in the neuropathophysiology of severe malaria. METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on post mortem brain tissue sections from 20 cases of severe malaria and examined for the expression of transcriptional regulators of VEGF [hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1alpha), HIF-2alpha], DEC-1, VEGF, VEGF receptors 1 and 2, and the activated, phosphorylated VEGF receptor 2 (pKDR). HIFs showed limited protein expression and/or translocation to cell nuclei in severe malaria, but DEC-1, which is more stable and regulated by HIF-1alpha, was observed. There was heterogeneous expression of VEGF and its receptors in severe malaria and non-malarial disease controls. pKDR expression on vessels was greater in malaria cases than in controls but did not correlate with parasite sequestration. VEGF uptake by malaria parasites was observed. CONCLUSIONS: VEGF and its receptor expression levels in severe malaria reflect a non-specific response to severe systemic disease. Potential manipulation of events at the vasculature by the parasite requires further investigation.
OBJECTIVES: Decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones has become a major problem for the successful therapy of human infections caused by Salmonella enterica, especially the life-threatening typhoid and paratyphoid fevers. METHODS: By using Luminex xTAG beads, we developed a rapid, reliable and cost-effective multiplexed genotyping assay for simultaneously detecting 11 mutations in gyrA, gyrB and parE of S. enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A that result in nalidixic acid resistance (Nal(R)) and/or decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. RESULTS: This assay yielded unambiguous single nucleotide polymorphism calls on extracted DNA from 292 isolates of Salmonella Typhi (Nal(R) = 223 and Nal(S) = 69) and 106 isolates of Salmonella Paratyphi A (Nal(R) = 24 and Nal(S) = 82). All of the 247 Nal(R) Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A isolates were found to harbour at least one of the target mutations, with GyrA Phe-83 as the most common one (143/223 for Salmonella Typhi and 18/24 for Salmonella Paratyphi A). We also identified three GyrB mutations in eight Nal(S) Salmonella Typhi isolates (six for GyrB Phe-464, one for GyrB Leu-465 and one for GyrB Asp-466), and mutations GyrB Phe-464 and GyrB Asp-466 seem to be related to the decreased ciprofloxacin susceptibility phenotype in Salmonella Typhi. This assay can also be used directly on boiled single colonies. CONCLUSIONS: The assay presented here would be useful for clinical and reference laboratories to rapidly screen quinolone-resistant isolates of Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, and decipher the underlying genetic changes for epidemiological purposes.
BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, caused by infection with Burkholderia (B.) pseudomallei, is a severe illness that is endemic in Southeast Asia. Osteopontin (OPN) is a phosphorylated glycoprotein that is involved in several immune responses including induction of T-helper 1 cytokines and recruitment of inflammatory cells. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: OPN levels were determined in plasma from 33 melioidosis patients and 31 healthy controls, and in wild-type (WT) mice intranasally infected with B. pseudomallei. OPN function was studied in experimental murine melioidosis using WT and OPN knockout (KO) mice. Plasma OPN levels were elevated in patients with severe melioidosis, even more so in patients who went on to die. In patients who recovered plasma OPN concentrations had decreased after treatment. In experimental melioidosis in mice plasma and pulmonary OPN levels were also increased. Whereas WT and OPN KO mice were indistinguishable during the first 24 hours after infection, after 72 hours OPN KO mice demonstrated reduced bacterial numbers in their lungs, diminished pulmonary tissue injury, especially due to less necrosis, and decreased neutrophil infiltration. Moreover, OPN KO mice displayed a delayed mortality as compared to WT mice. OPN deficiency did not influence the induction of proinflammatory cytokines. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that sustained production of OPN impairs host defense during established septic melioidosis.
Non-essential extra-chromosomal DNA elements such as plasmids are responsible for their own propagation in dividing host cells, and one means to ensure this is to carry a miniature active segregation system reminiscent of the mitotic spindle. Plasmids that are maintained at low numbers in prokaryotic cells have developed a range of such active partitioning systems, which are characterized by an impressive simplicity and efficiency and which are united by the use of dynamic, nucleotide-driven filaments to separate and position DNA molecules. A comparison of different plasmid segregation systems reveals (i) how unrelated filament-forming and DNA-binding proteins have been adopted and modified to create a range of simple DNA segregating complexes and (ii) how subtle changes in the few components of these DNA segregation machines has led to a remarkable diversity in the molecular mechanisms of closely related segregation systems. Here, our current understanding of plasmid segregation systems is reviewed and compared with other DNA segregation systems, and this is extended by a discussion of basic principles of plasmid segregation systems, evolutionary implications and the relationship between an autonomous DNA element and its host cell.
Br J Haematol, 151 (1), pp. 1. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more2010. High density of 'spiky' excrescences covering the surface of an erythrocyte infected with Plasmodium malariae.
BACKGROUND: The artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) of dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and piperaquine (PQP) is a promising novel anti-malarial drug effective against multi-drug resistant falciparum malaria. The aim of this study was to show non-inferiority of DHA/PQP vs. artesunate-mefloquine (AS+MQ) in Asia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: This was an open-label, randomised, non-inferiority, 63-day follow-up study conducted in Thailand, Laos and India. Patients aged 3 months to 65 years with Plasmodium falciparum mono-infection or mixed infection were randomised with an allocation ratio of 2:1 to a fixed-dose DHA/PQP combination tablet (adults: 40 mg/320 mg; children: 20 mg/160 [DOSAGE ERROR CORRECTED] mg; n = 769) or loose combination of AS+MQ (AS: 50 mg, MQ: 250 mg; n = 381). The cumulative doses of study treatment over the 3 days were of about 6.75 mg/kg of DHA and 54 mg/kg of PQP and about 12 mg/kg of AS and 25 mg/kg of MQ. Doses were rounded up to the nearest half tablet. The primary endpoint was day-63 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) genotype-corrected cure rate. Results were 87.9% for DHA/PQP and 86.6% for AS+MQ in the intention-to-treat (ITT; 97.5% one-sided confidence interval, CI: >-2.87%), and 98.7% and 97.0%, respectively, in the per protocol population (97.5% CI: >-0.39%). No country effect was observed. Kaplan-Meier estimates of proportions of patients with new infections on day 63 (secondary endpoint) were significantly lower for DHA/PQP than AS+MQ: 22.7% versus 30.3% (p = 0.0042; ITT). Overall gametocyte prevalence (days 7 to 63; secondary endpoint), measured as person-gametocyte-weeks, was significantly higher for DHA/PQP than AS+MQ (10.15% versus 4.88%; p = 0.003; ITT). Fifteen serious adverse events were reported, 12 (1.6%) in DHA/PQP and three (0.8%) in AS+MQ, among which six (0.8%) were considered related to DHA/PQP and three (0.8%) to AS+MQ. CONCLUSIONS: DHA/PQP was a highly efficacious drug for P. falciparum malaria in areas where multidrug parasites are prevalent. The DHA/PQP combination can play an important role in the first-line treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN81306618.
BACKGROUND: The emergence of drug resistant typhoid fever is a major public health problem, especially in Asia. An oral single dose typhoid vaccine would have major advantages. M01ZH09 is a live oral single dose candidate typhoid vaccine containing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Ty2 aroC(-)ssaV(-)) ZH9 with two independently attenuating deletions. Studies in healthy adults demonstrated immunogenicity and an acceptable safety profile. OBJECTIVES: We conducted a randomised placebo controlled, single-blind trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of M01ZH09 in healthy Vietnamese children aged 5 to 14 years. METHODS: Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a nominal dose of 5x10(9) CFU of M01ZH09 or placebo and were followed up for 28 days. The primary safety outcome was the proportion of subjects with any adverse event attributed to M01ZH09. The primary immunogenicity endpoint was the proportion of subjects who showed a positive immune response to M01ZH09 in the Salmonella Typhi lipopolysaccharide (LPS) specific serum IgA and IgG ELISA. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: One hundred and fifty-one children were enrolled, 101 subjects received M01ZH09 and 50 subjects received placebo. An intention to treat analysis was conducted. There were no serious adverse events and no bacteraemias. In the M01ZH09 group, 26 (26%; 95% CI, 18-5%) of 101 subjects experienced adverse events compared to 11 (22%; 95% CI, 12-36%) of 50 subjects in the placebo group (odds ratio (OR) [95%CI] = 1.23 [0.550-2.747]; p = 0.691). Faecal shedding of S. Typhi (Ty2 aroC(-)ssaV(-)) ZH9 was detected in 51 (51%; 95% CI, 41-61%) of 100 M01ZH09 subjects. No shedding was detected beyond day 3. A positive immune response, defined as 70% increase (1.7 fold change) in LPS specific serum IgG (day 14 or 28) and/or 50% increase (1.5 fold change) in LPS specific serum IgA (day 7 or 14) from baseline was detected in 98 (97%; 95% CI, 92-99%) of 101 M01ZH09 recipients and 8 (16%; 95% CI, 7-29%) of 50 placebo recipients. Twenty-eight (100%; 95% CI, 88-100%) of 28 vaccine recipients who were evaluated in the LPS specific IgA ELISPOT assay showed a positive response compared to none of the 14 placebo recipients tested. CONCLUSIONS: This was the first phase II trial of a novel oral candidate typhoid vaccine in children in an endemic country. M01ZH09 had an appropriate safety profile and was immunogenic in children. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-trials.com ISRCTN91111837.
Severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is associated with hypoargininemia, which contributes to impaired systemic and pulmonary nitric oxide (NO) production and endothelial dysfunction. Since intravascular hemolysis is an intrinsic feature of severe malaria, we investigated whether and by which mechanisms free heme [Fe(III)-protoporphyrin IX (FP)] might contribute to the dysregulation of L-arginine (L-Arg) metabolism and bioavailability. Carrier systems "y+" [or cationic amino acid transporter (CAT)] and "y+L" transport L-Arg into red blood cells (RBC), where it is hydrolyzed to ornithine and urea by arginase (isoform I) or converted to NO* and citrulline by endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Our results show a significant and dose-dependent impairment of L-Arg transport into RBC pretreated with FP, with a strong inhibition of the system carrier y+L. Despite the impaired L-Arg influx, higher amounts of L-Arg-derived urea are produced by RBC preexposed to FP caused by activation of RBC arginase I. This activation appeared not to be mediated by oxidative modifications of the enzyme. We conclude that L-Arg transport across RBC membrane is impaired and arginase-mediated L-Arg consumption enhanced by free heme. This could contribute to reduced NO production in severe malaria.
NATURE REVIEWS MICROBIOLOGY, 8 (7), pp. 530-530. | Citations: 198 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Artemisinin resistance: current status and scenarios for containment (vol 8, pg 272, 2010)
Pathogenic mechanisms underlying vivax malaria are poorly understood, with few studies comparing endothelial and inflammatory responses with falciparum malaria. In adults with uncomplicated vivax or falciparum malaria, we compared plasma measurements of endothelial Weibel-Palade body release (angiopoietin-2) and activation (ICAM-1, E-selectin), as well as selected cytokines. Despite a lower median parasite count, angiopoietin-2 concentrations were higher in patients with vivax malaria, compared with falciparum malaria. Per peripheral parasite, median plasma angiopoietin-2, ICAM-1, E-selectin, interleukin-6, and interleukin-10 concentrations were higher in patients with malaria due to Plasmodium vivax. P. vivax induces greater endothelial Weibel-Palade body release and activation and greater host inflammatory responses, compared with Plasmodium falciparum.
BACKGROUND: Age and host genetics are important determinants of malaria severity. Lymphotoxin-alpha (LTalpha) has been associated with the development of cerebral malaria (CM) and other severe malaria (SM) syndromes. Mutations in genes regulating LTalpha production contribute to other acute vascular diseases and may contribute to malaria pathogenesis. METHODS: We tested the association between rs7291467, a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the LTalpha-related gene encoding galectin-2 (LGALS2), disease severity, and function in a case-control study of ethnic Highland Papuan adults and children with SM (n = 380) and asymptomatic malaria-exposed controls (n = 356) originating from a non-malaria-endemic region but residing in a lowland malaria-endemic area of Papua, Indonesia. RESULTS: The LGALS2 SNP showed a significant association with susceptibility to SM (including CM), in children (odds ratio, 2.02 [95% confidence interval, 1.14-3.57]) but not in adults. In SM, the C allele at rs7291467 was associated with enhanced galectin-2 transcript levels. In a separate group of Tanzanian children originating from a malaria-endemic region, we found preservation of the major ancestral LGALS2 allele and no association with susceptibility to CM. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest differences in the inflammatory contribution to the development of SM between children and adults in the same population and potential differences between individuals originating from malaria-endemic and non-malaria-endemic areas.
Orientia tsutsugamushi is an intracellular alpha-proteobacterium which resides in trombiculid mites, and is the causative agent of scrub typhus in East Asia. The genome sequence of this species has revealed an unprecedented number of repeat sequences, most notably of the genes encoding the conjugative properties of a type IV secretion system (T4SS). Although this observation is consistent with frequent intragenomic recombination, the extent of homologous recombination (gene conversion) in this species is unknown. To address this question, and to provide a protocol for the epidemiological surveillance of this important pathogen, we have developed a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme based on 7 housekeeping genes (gpsA, mdh, nrdB, nuoF, ppdK, sucD, sucB). We applied this scheme to the two published genomes, and to DNA extracted from blood taken from 84 Thai scrub typhus patients, from 20 cultured Thai patient isolates, 1 Australian patient sample, and from 3 cultured type strains. These data demonstrated that the O. tsutsugamushi population was both highly diverse [Simpson's index (95% CI) = 0.95 (0.92-0.98)], and highly recombinogenic. These results are surprising given the intracellular life-style of this species, but are broadly consistent with results obtained for Wolbachia, which is an alpha-proteobacterial reproductive parasite of arthropods. We also compared the MLST data with ompA sequence data and noted low levels of consistency and much higher discrimination by MLST. Finally, twenty-five percent of patients in this study were simultaneously infected with multiple sequence types, suggesting multiple infection caused by either multiple mite bites, or multiple strains co-existing within individual mites.
Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 41 (4), pp. 761-769. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2010. Optimizing the culture of Plasmodium falciparum in hollow fiber bioreactors.
The hollow fiber bioreactor (HFBR) is a cell culturing system allowing continuous perfusion of medium. It was designed to grow microorganisms in a dynamically altering medium mimicking change in the in vivo intravascular and extravascular compartments. The cell compartment (extra capillary space) and medium compartment (intra capillary space) are connected through pores of semipermeable fiber membranes. These membranes allow exchange of gas and nutrients. We have adapted this system for the ex vivo culture of Plasmodiumfalciparum at high parasite densities. A Thai P. falciparum isolate (TM036) cultured in RPMI, supplemented with 0.5% Albumax II, could be maintained continuously in the system by daily changes of a small volumes of medium. Under optimized conditions the HFBR cultures attained 8% parasitemia in 40% hematocrit, thereby providing a total parasite biomass of 6.0 x 10(9) parasitized erythrocytes. The main problem encountered was clogging of micropores in the hollow fiber system by cellular debris over time. Although 'reverse flushing' partly prevented this, a larger pore size might be needed to overcome this problem. The system opens new possibilities for the study of in vitro drug sensitivity under conditions mimicking in vivo pharmacokinetics, and the selection of anti-malarial drug resistance and associated parasite biological and genomic changes.
SUMMARY OBJECTIVES: Since the introduction of antibiotics, pneumococcal disease is predominantly sporadic, with occasional outbreaks. Our objective was to review the epidemiology of reported outbreaks of serious pneumococcal disease in closed settings to inform the development of guidelines to manage such outbreaks. METHODS: We systematically reviewed the literature for reported outbreaks of serious pneumococcal disease in closed settings to inform the development of guidelines in managing such outbreaks. RESULTS: We identified 42 outbreaks reported in 39 papers---14 in hospitals, 12 in long term care facilities, five outbreaks in households, four in military settings, three in child care settings and two each in homeless shelters and jails. The serotype/group most frequently associated with outbreaks was 14 (seven outbreaks) followed by 4 (five outbreaks) then serotypes/groups 1, 9 and 9V each causing four outbreaks. The median outbreak size was four cases (2 - 46). The median duration was eight days, with 84% of cases occurring within 14 days of the first case. CONCLUSION: Outbreaks of serious pneumococcal disease are likely to continue happening requiring early recognition and implementation of public health measures in order to interrupt transmission. This study facilitated the development of the first UK interim guidelines for managing such outbreaks.
The ultimate aim of the EU-funded ImmunoGrid project is to develop a natural-scale model of the human immune system-that is, one that reflects both the diversity and the relative proportions of the molecules and cells that comprise it-together with the grid infrastructure necessary to apply this model to specific applications in the field of immunology. These objectives present the ImmunoGrid Consortium with formidable challenges in terms of complexity of the immune system, our partial understanding about how the immune system works, the lack of reliable data and the scale of computational resources required. In this paper, we explain the key challenges and the approaches adopted to overcome them. We also consider wider implications for the present ambitious plans to develop natural-scale, integrated models of the human body that can make contributions to personalized health care, such as the European Virtual Physiological Human initiative. Finally, we ask a key question: How long will it take us to resolve these challenges and when can we expect to have fully functional models that will deliver health-care benefits in the form of personalized care solutions and improved disease prevention?
BACKGROUND: The interleukin-2-mediated immune response is critical for host defense against infectious pathogens. Cytokine-inducible SRC homology 2 (SH2) domain protein (CISH), a suppressor of cytokine signaling, controls interleukin-2 signaling. METHODS: Using a case-control design, we tested for an association between CISH polymorphisms and susceptibility to major infectious diseases (bacteremia, tuberculosis, and severe malaria) in blood samples from 8402 persons in Gambia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malawi, and Vietnam. We had previously tested 20 other immune-related genes in one or more of these sample collections. RESULTS: We observed associations between variant alleles of multiple CISH polymorphisms and increased susceptibility to each infectious disease in each of the study populations. When all five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (at positions -639, -292, -163, +1320, and +3415 [all relative to CISH]) within the CISH-associated locus were considered together in a multiple-SNP score, we found an association between CISH genetic variants and susceptibility to bacteremia, malaria, and tuberculosis (P=3.8x10(-11) for all comparisons), with -292 accounting for most of the association signal (P=4.58x10(-7)). Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells obtained from adult subjects carrying the -292 variant, as compared with wild-type cells, showed a muted response to the stimulation of interleukin-2 production--that is, 25 to 40% less CISH expression. CONCLUSIONS: Variants of CISH are associated with susceptibility to diseases caused by diverse infectious pathogens, suggesting that negative regulators of cytokine signaling have a role in immunity against various infectious diseases. The overall risk of one of these infectious diseases was increased by at least 18% among persons carrying the variant CISH alleles.
Early parasitological diagnosis and treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are key components of worldwide malaria elimination programmes. In general, use of ACTs has been limited to patients with falciparum malaria whereas blood-stage infections with Plasmodium vivax are mostly still treated with chloroquine. We review the evidence for the relative benefits and disadvantages of the existing separate treatment approach versus a unified ACT-based strategy for treating Plasmodium falciparum and P vivax infections in regions where both species are endemic (co-endemic). The separate treatment scenario is justifiable if P vivax remains sensitive to chloroquine and diagnostic tests reliably distinguish P vivax from P falciparum. However, with the high number of misdiagnoses in routine practice and the rise and spread of chloroquine-resistant P vivax, there might be a compelling rationale for a unified ACT-based strategy for vivax and falciparum malaria in all co-endemic regions. Analyses of the cost-effectiveness of ACTs for both Plasmodium species are needed to assess the role of these drugs in the control and elimination of vivax malaria.
We describe the first cases of pediatric melioidosis in Cambodia. Thirty-nine cases were diagnosed at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, between October 2005 and December 2008 after the introduction of microbiology capabilities. Median age was 7.8 years (range = 1.6-16.2 years), 15 cases were male (38%), and 4 cases had pre-existing conditions that may have pre-disposed the patient to melioidosis. Infection was localized in 27 cases (69%) and disseminated in 12 cases (31%). Eleven cases (28%) were treated as outpatients, and 28 (72%) cases were admitted. Eight children (21%) died a median of 2 days after admission; seven deaths were attributable to melioidosis, all of which occurred in children receiving suboptimal antimicrobial therapy and before bacteriological culture results were available. Our findings indicate the need for heightened awareness of melioidosis in Cambodia, and they have led us to review microbiology procedures and antimicrobial prescribing of suspected and confirmed cases.
Melioidosis is a serious community-acquired infectious disease caused by the Gram-negative environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. A prospective cohort study identified 2,243 patients admitted to Sappasithiprasong Hospital in northeast Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis between 1997 and 2006. These data were used to calculate an average incidence rate for the province of 12.7 cases of melioidosis per 100,000 people per year. Incidence increased incrementally from 8.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.2-10.0) in 2000 to 21.3 (95% CI = 19.2-23.6) in 2006 (P < 0.001; chi(2) test for trend). Male sex, age >/= 45 years, and either known or undiagnosed diabetes were independent risk factors for melioidosis. The average mortality rate from melioidosis over the study period was 42.6%. The minimum estimated population mortality rate from melioidosis in 2006 was 8.63 per 100,000 people (95% CI = 7.33-10.11), the third most common cause of death from infectious diseases in northeast Thailand after human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and tuberculosis.
Evid Based Med, 15 (3), pp. 71-72. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Intermittent preventive treatment of infants with mefloquine reduces risk of clinical malaria in areas of moderate malaria transmission and high resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, but safety and tolerability issues need consideration.
BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a frequently fatal infectious disease caused by the soil dwelling Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Environmental sampling is important to identify geographical distribution of the organism and related risk of infection to humans and livestock. The aim of this study was to evaluate spatial distribution of B. pseudomallei in soil and consider the implications of this for soil sampling strategies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A fixed-interval sampling strategy was used as the basis for detection and quantitation by culture of B. pseudomallei in soil in two environmental sites (disused land covered with low-lying scrub and rice field) in northeast Thailand. Semivariogram and indicator semivariogram were used to evaluate the distribution of B. pseudomallei and its relationship with range between sampling points. B. pseudomallei was present on culture of 80/100 sampling points taken from the disused land and 28/100 sampling points from the rice field. The median B. pseudomallei cfu/gram from positive sampling points was 378 and 700 for the disused land and the rice field, respectively (p = 0.17). Spatial autocorrelation of B. pseudomallei was present, in that samples taken from areas adjacent to sampling points that were culture positive (negative) for B. pseudomallei were also likely to be culture positive (negative), and samples taken from areas adjacent to sampling points with a high (low) B. pseudomallei count were also likely to yield a high (low) count. Ranges of spatial autocorrelation in quantitative B. pseudomallei count were 11.4 meters in the disused land and 7.6 meters in the rice field. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the implications of the uneven distribution of B. pseudomallei in soil for future environmental studies, and describe a range of established geostatistical sampling approaches that would be suitable for the study of B. pseudomallei that take account of our findings.
Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (6), pp. 440. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2010. Malarial retinopathy and fluorescein angiography findings in a Malawian child with cerebral malaria.
Nature Reviews Microbiology, 8 (7), pp. 530. | Citations: 3 (Scopus)2010. Erratum: Artemisinin resistance: Current status and scenarios for containment (Nature Reviews Microbiology (2010) 8 (272-280))
BACKGROUND: Malaria in humans is caused by apicomplexan parasites belonging to 5 species of the genus Plasmodium. Infections with Plasmodium ovale are widely distributed but rarely investigated, and the resulting burden of disease is not known. Dimorphism in defined genes has led to P. ovale parasites being divided into classic and variant types. We hypothesized that these dimorphs represent distinct parasite species. METHODS: Multilocus sequence analysis of 6 genetic characters was carried out among 55 isolates from 12 African and 3 Asia-Pacific countries. RESULTS: Each genetic character displayed complete dimorphism and segregated perfectly between the 2 types. Both types were identified in samples from Ghana, Nigeria, São Tomé, Sierra Leone, and Uganda and have been described previously in Myanmar. Splitting of the 2 lineages is estimated to have occurred between 1.0 and 3.5 million years ago in hominid hosts. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that P. ovale comprises 2 nonrecombining species that are sympatric in Africa and Asia. We speculate on possible scenarios that could have led to this speciation. Furthermore, the relatively high frequency of imported cases of symptomatic P. ovale infection in the United Kingdom suggests that the morbidity caused by ovale malaria has been underestimated.
PLoS pathogens, 6 (5), | Read more2010. Correction: Increased Asymmetric Dimethylarginine in Severe Falciparum Malaria: Association with Impaired Nitric Oxide Bioavailability and Fatal Outcome.
Universal infant vaccination with the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) has nearly eliminated PCV7-serotype invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in young U.S. children, but has been accompanied by increases in the incidence of serotype 19A IPD. Because antibiotic-non-susceptible 19A has increased more than antibiotic-susceptible 19A, antibiotic selection pressure could be contributing to this trend. We developed a dynamic compartmental transmission model of pneumococcus to better understand the causes of this rise and to estimate the impact of vaccines or changes in antibiotic use on future IPD incidence in the U.S. in <2 year-olds. The model predicted that with current practices, serotype 19A IPD incidence will plateau at about the 2007 level over the next few years. The model suggests that antibiotic usage played a major role in the rise in antibiotic-non-susceptible 19A IPD, with a lesser contribution from PCV7 vaccination. However, hypothetical large decreases in antibiotic use starting in 2008 are predicted to yield only gradual decreases in antibiotic-non-susceptible 19A IPD. On the other hand, vaccines with modest (20%) effectiveness against 19A (or 6A or PCV7-serotypes) carriage are predicted to substantially (by 80%) decrease the incidence of IPD caused by those serotypes within 10 years of implementation. Our findings highlight that vaccine effects on colonization are key to their overall benefits. In addition, serotype changes following vaccine introduction may have multifactorial origins, with antibiotic use an important factor for resistant strains such as 19A.
In western Cambodia, malaria parasites clear slowly from the blood after treatment with artemisinin derivatives, but it is unclear whether this results from parasite, host, or other factors specific to this population. We measured heritability of clearance rate by evaluating patients infected with identical or nonidentical parasite genotypes, using methods analogous to human twin studies. A substantial proportion (56%-58%) of the variation in clearance rate is explained by parasite genetics. This has 2 important implications: (1) selection with artemisinin derivatives will tend to drive resistance spread and (2) because heritability is high, the genes underlying parasite clearance rate may be identified by genome-wide association.
DRUG DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH, 71 (3), pp. 219-219.2010. Which Drug is Effective and Safe for Acute Malaria in Pregnancy? Reviewing the Evidence (vol 71, pg 56, 2010)
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 54 (5), pp. 2280-2281. | Read more2010. Plasmodium falciparum ATP6 Not under Selection during Introduction of Artemisinin Combination Therapy in Peru
The reduced in vivo sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum has recently been confirmed in western Cambodia. Identifying molecular markers for artemisinin resistance is essential for monitoring the spread of the resistant phenotype and identifying the mechanisms of resistance. Four candidate genes, including the P. falciparum mdr1 (pfmdr1) gene, the P. falciparum ATPase6 (pfATPase6) gene, the 6-kb mitochondrial genome, and ubp-1, encoding a deubiquitinating enzyme, of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains from western Cambodia were examined and compared to those of sensitive strains from northwestern Thailand, where the artemisinins are still very effective. The artemisinin-resistant phenotype did not correlate with pfmdr1 amplification or mutations (full-length sequencing), mutations in pfATPase6 (full-length sequencing) or the 6-kb mitochondrial genome (full-length sequencing), or ubp-1 mutations at positions 739 and 770. The P. falciparum CRT K76T mutation was present in all isolates from both study sites. The pfmdr1 copy numbers in western Cambodia were significantly lower in parasite samples obtained in 2007 than in those obtained in 2005, coinciding with a local change in drug policy replacing artesunate-mefloquine with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia is not linked to candidate genes, as was suggested by earlier studies.
Lancet, 375 (9724), pp. 1413-1414. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Pyronaridine-artesunate for uncomplicated falciparum malaria.
The past decade has seen an unprecedented surge in political commitment and international funding for malaria control. Coverage with existing control methods (ie, vector control and artemisinin-based combination therapy) is increasing, and, in some Asian and African countries, childhood morbidity and mortality from malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum are starting to decline. Consequently, there is now renewed interest in the possibility of malaria elimination. But the ability of the parasite to develop resistance to antimalarial drugs and increasing insecticide resistance of the vector threaten to reduce and even reverse current gains. Plasmodium vivax, with its dormant liver stage, will be particularly difficult to eliminate, and access to effective and affordable treatment at community level is a key challenge. New drugs and insecticides are needed urgently, while use of an effective vaccine as part of national malaria control programmes remains an elusive goal. This Seminar, which is aimed at clinicians who manage children with malaria, especially in resource-poor settings, discusses present knowledge and controversies in relation to the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of malaria in children.
BACKGROUND: Afghanistan's national guidelines recommend chloroquine for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax infection, the parasite responsible for the majority of its malaria burden. Chloroquine resistance in P. vivax is emerging in Asia. Therapeutic responses across Afghanistan have not been evaluated in detail. METHODS: Between July 2007 and February 2009, an open-label, randomized controlled trial of chloroquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in patients aged three months and over with slide-confirmed P. vivax mono-infections was conducted. Consistent with current national guidelines, primaquine was not administered. Subjects were followed up daily during the acute phase of illness (days 0-3) and weekly until day 56. The primary endpoint was the overall cumulative parasitological failure rate at day 56 after the start of treatment, with the hypothesis being that dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was non-inferior compared to chloroquine (Delta = 5% difference in proportion of failures). RESULTS: Of 2,182 individuals with positive blood films for P. vivax, 536 were enrolled in the trial. The day 28 cure rate was 100% in both treatment groups. Parasite clearance was more rapid with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine than chloroquine. At day 56, there were more recurrent infections in the chloroquine arm (8.9%, 95% CI 6.0-13.1%) than the dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine arm (2.8%, 95% CI 1.4-5.8%), a difference in cumulative recurrence rate of 6.1% (2-sided 90%CI +2.6 to +9.7%). The log-rank test comparing the survival curves confirmed the superiority of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine over chloroquine (p = 0.003). Multivariate analysis showed that a lower initial haemoglobin concentration was also independently associated with recurrence. Both regimens were well tolerated and no serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Chloroquine remains an efficacious treatment for the treatment of vivax malaria in Afghanistan. In a setting where radical therapy cannot be administered, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provides additional benefit in terms of post-treatment prophylaxis, reducing the incidence of recurrence from 4-8 weeks after treatment.
BACKGROUND: Both artemether and artesunate have been shown to be superior to quinine for the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in Southeast Asian adults, although the magnitude of the superiority has been greater for artesunate than artemether. These two artemisinin derivatives had not been compared in a randomized trial. METHODS: A randomized double blind trial in 370 adults with severe falciparum malaria; 186 received intramuscular artesunate (2.4 mg/kg immediately followed by 1.2 mg/kg at 12 hours then 24 hours then daily) and 184 received intramuscular artemether (3.6 mg per kilogram immediately followed by 1.8 mg per kilogram daily) was conducted in Viet Nam. Both drugs were given for a minimum of 72 hours. RESULTS: There were 13 deaths in the artesunate group (7 percent) and 24 in the artemether group (13 percent); P = 0.052; relative risk of death in the patients given artesunate, 0.54; (95 percent confidence interval 0.28-1.02). Parasitaemia declined more rapidly in the artesunate group. Both drugs were very well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Intramuscular artesunate may be superior to intramuscular artemether for the treatment of severe malaria in adults.
Malaria parasites vary in phenotypic traits of biomedical or biological interest such as growth rate, virulence, sex ratio and drug resistance, and there is considerable interest in identifying the genes that underlie this variation. An important first step is to determine trait heritability (H(2)). We evaluate two approaches to measuring H(2) in natural parasite populations using relatedness inferred from genetic marker data. We collected single-clone Plasmodium falciparum infections from 185 patients from the Thailand-Burma border, monitored parasite clearance following treatment with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), measured resistance to six antimalarial drugs and genotyped parasites using 335 microsatellites. We found strong relatedness structure. There were 27 groups of two to eight clonally identical (CI) parasites, and 74 per cent of parasites showed significant relatedness to one or more other parasites. Initially, we used matrices of allele sharing and variance components (VC) methods to estimate H(2). Inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)) for six drugs showed significant H(2) (0.24 to 0.79, p = 0.06 to 2.85 x 10(-9)), demonstrating that this study design has adequate power. However, a phenotype of current interest--parasite clearance following ACT--showed no detectable heritability (H(2) = 0-0.09, ns) in this population. The existence of CI parasites allows the use of a simple ANOVA approach for quantifying H(2), analogous to that used in human twin studies. This gave similar results to the VC method and requires considerably less genotyping information. We conclude (i) that H(2) can be effectively measured in malaria parasite populations using minimal genotype data, allowing rational design of genome-wide association studies; and (ii) while drug response (IC(50)) shows significant H(2), parasite clearance following ACT was not heritable in the population studied.
There is little information on the diverse infectious causes of jaundice and hepatitis in the Asiatic tropics. Serology (hepatitis A, B, C and E, leptospirosis, dengue, rickettsia), antigen tests (dengue), PCR assays (hepatitis A, C and E) and blood cultures (septicaemia) were performed on samples from 392 patients admitted with jaundice or raised transaminases (> or =x3) to Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Laos over 3 years. Conservative definitions suggested diagnoses of dengue (8.4%), rickettsioses (7.3%), leptospirosis (6.8%), hepatitis B (4.9%), hepatitis C (4.9%), community-acquired septicaemia (3.3%) and hepatitis E (1.6%). Although anti-hepatitis A virus (HAV) IgM antibody results suggested that 35.8% of patients had acute HAV infections, anti-HAV IgG antibody avidity and HAV PCR suggested that 82% had polyclonal activation and not acute HAV infections. Scrub typhus, murine typhus or leptospirosis were present in 12.8% of patients and were associated with meningism and relatively low AST and ALT elevation. These patients would be expected to respond to empirical doxycycline therapy which, in the absence of virological diagnosis and treatment, may be an appropriate cost-effective intervention in Lao patients with jaundice/hepatitis.
Artemisinin combination therapies are the first-line treatments for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in most malaria-endemic countries. Recently, partial artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum malaria has emerged on the Cambodia-Thailand border. Exposure of the parasite population to artemisinin monotherapies in subtherapeutic doses for over 30 years, and the availability of substandard artemisinins, have probably been the main driving force in the selection of the resistant phenotype in the region. A multifaceted containment programme has recently been launched, including early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, decreasing drug pressure, optimising vector control, targeting the mobile population, strengthening management and surveillance systems, and operational research. Mathematical modelling can be a useful tool to evaluate possible strategies for containment.
Scrub typhus is a public health concern for a population of over a billion humans, with an estimated incidence of one million cases/year in endemic areas. Although doxycycline remains the standard therapy, fluoroquinolones have been used successfully in a few patients. However, there is also clinical evidence that fluoroquinolones are ineffective in the treatment of scrub typhus. To clarify this matter, we determined the in vitro susceptibility of Orientia tsutsugamushi strain Kato to ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin and sequenced the quinolone resistance-determining region (QRDR) of the gyrA gene, the target of fluoroquinolones, of 18 fresh isolates from the Lao PDR. Orientia tsutsugamushi strain Kato was resistant to ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin in vitro (minimum inhibitory concentration=8 microg/mL). All sequences obtained, including those from the two available genomes of O. tsutsugamushi (strains Boryong and Ikeda), had a Ser83Leu mutation in their QRDR domain that is known to be associated with fluoroquinolone resistance. These findings re-emphasise the usefulness of in silico analysis for the prediction of antibiotic resistance and suggest that fluoroquinolones should not be used in the treatment of scrub typhus.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 53 (5), pp. 668-669. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Cerebrospinal fluid HIV-1 viral load during treatment of cryptococcal Meningitis.
Comparative genomic hybridization studies have revealed elevated copy number (CN) at the reticulocyte-binding protein 1 gene (PfRh1) in fast growing lab-adapted parasites, while genetic manipulation demonstrates a causal link between cell invasion and PfRh1 CN. We therefore examined PfRh1 copy number variation (CNV) in 202 single clone parasite isolates from four countries to quantify the extent of CNV within natural populations. Surprisingly, we found that no natural parasite infections showed elevated CN. In contrast, 4/28 independent laboratory reference strains show elevated CN. One possibility is that amplification of PfRh1 (or neighboring loci) is selected during laboratory culture. In the case of FCR3 group of parasites, clone trees show that PfRh1 amplification arose in laboratory lines following establishment in culture. These data show that CNV at PfRh1 is rare or non-existent in natural populations, but can arise during laboratory propagation. We conclude that PfRh1 CNV is not an important determinant of gene expression, cell invasion or growth rate in natural parasite populations.
Thai adult males (N = 85) with acute Plasmodium vivax malaria and normal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase screening were randomized to receive 30 mg or 60 mg primaquine daily for 7 days (N = 43 and 42, respectively). The regimens were well tolerated and all patients recovered fully. Median fever clearance (47 hours; range 4 to 130 hours), mean + or - SD parasite clearance times (87.7 + or - 25.3 hours), gametocyte clearance, and adverse effects were similar in the 2 groups. Two patients, 1 from each group, had a 30% reduction in hematocrit. The cumulative 28 day relapse rate (95% confidence interval) by Kaplan Meier survival analysis was 29% (16-49%) in the 30 mg group compared with 7% (2-24%) in the 60 mg group; P = 0.027. Comparison with previous data obtained at this same site suggests that the recurrences comprised approximately 17% recrudescences and 12% relapses in the 30 mg/day group compared with 3% recrudescences and 4% relapses in the 60 mg/day group. These data suggest that the dose-response relationships for primaquine's asexual stage and hypnozoitocidal activities in-vivo are different. A 1 week course of primaquine 60 mg daily is an effective treatment of vivax malaria in this region.
Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a predictor of mortality in critical illness. Severe malaria (SM) is associated with decreased NO bioavailability, but the contribution of ADMA to the pathogenesis of impaired NO bioavailability and adverse outcomes in malaria is unknown. In adults with and without falciparum malaria, we tested the hypotheses that plasma ADMA would be: 1) increased in proportion to disease severity, 2) associated with impaired vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability and 3) independently associated with increased mortality. We assessed plasma dimethylarginines, exhaled NO concentrations and endothelial function in 49 patients with SM, 78 with moderately severe malaria (MSM) and 19 healthy controls (HC). Repeat ADMA and endothelial function measurements were performed in patients with SM. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of ADMA on mortality and NO bioavailability. Plasma ADMA was increased in SM patients (0.85 microM; 95% CI 0.74-0.96) compared to those with MSM (0.54 microM; 95%CI 0.5-0.56) and HCs (0.64 microM; 95%CI 0.58-0.70; p<0.001). ADMA was an independent predictor of mortality in SM patients with each micromolar elevation increasing the odds of death 18 fold (95% CI 2.0-181; p = 0.01). ADMA was independently associated with decreased exhaled NO (r(s) = -0.31) and endothelial function (r(s) = -0.32) in all malaria patients, and with reduced exhaled NO (r(s) = -0.72) in those with SM. ADMA is increased in SM and associated with decreased vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability. Inhibition of NOS by ADMA may contribute to increased mortality in severe malaria.
Vertical transmission of Plasmodium falciparum is under-recognized and usually associated with asymptomatic low-level parasitemia at birth. We report symptomatic congenital malaria presenting as a neonatal sepsis syndrome. The presence at birth of a high asexual parasitemia, gametocytemia, and splenomegaly indicated in utero rather than intrapartum transmission. The neonate was successfully treated with intravenous artesunate followed by oral dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, without apparent adverse effects.
The novel organometallic chloroquine analog ferroquine (SSR 97193) is effective against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. The ex vivo efficacy of ferroquine against Plasmodium vivax isolates was tested. Ferroquine has a potent ex vivo effect on P. vivax schizont maturation (median 50% inhibitory concentration, 15 nM; n = 42). No significant cross-sensitivity between ferroquine and other antimalarials was detected. This drug may be a suitable replacement for chloroquine in the treatment of drug-resistant P. vivax malaria.
Urokinase receptor (urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor [uPAR], CD87), a GPI-anchored protein, is considered to play an important role in inflammation and fibrinolysis. The Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei is able to survive and replicate within leukocytes and causes melioidosis, an important cause of pneumonia-derived community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of uPAR both in patients with septic melioidosis and in a murine model of experimental melioidosis. uPAR mRNA and surface expression was increased in patients with septic melioidosis in/on both peripheral blood monocytes and granulocytes as well as in the pulmonary compartment during experimental pneumonia-derived melioidosis in mice. uPAR-deficient mice intranasally infected with B. pseudomallei showed an enhanced growth and dissemination of B. pseudomallei when compared with wild-type mice, corresponding with increased pulmonary and hepatic inflammation. uPAR knockout mice demonstrated significantly reduced neutrophil migration toward the pulmonary compartment after inoculation with B. pseudomallei. Further in vitro experiments showed that uPAR-deficient macrophages and granulocytes display a markedly impaired phagocytosis of B. pseudomallei. Additional studies showed that uPAR deficiency did not influence hemostatic and fibrinolytic responses during severe melioidosis. These data suggest that uPAR is crucially involved in the host defense against sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei by facilitating the migration of neutrophils toward the primary site of infection and subsequently facilitating the phagocytosis of B. pseudomallei.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum readily develops resistance to the anti-folates pyrimethamine and proguanil via a characteristic set of mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (PfDHFR) gene that leads to reduced competitive drug binding at the enzyme's active site. Analogous mutations can be found in the DHFR gene in isolates of Plasmodium vivax (PvDHFR) although anti-folates have not been widely used for the treatment of this infection. Here the interactions between DHFR inhibitors and modelled structures of the DHFR enzymes of Plasmodium malariae (PmDHFR) and Plasmodium ovale (PoDHFR) are described, along with an investigation of the effect of recently reported mutations within PmDHFR. METHODS: DHFR models for PmDHFR and PoDHFR were constructed using the solved PfDHFR-TS and PvDHFR structures respectively as templates. The modelled structures were docked with three DHFR inhibitors as ligands and more detailed interactions were explored via simulation of molecular dynamics. RESULTS: Highly accurate models were obtained containing sets of residues that mediate ligand binding which are highly comparable to those mediating binding in known crystal structures. Within this set, there were differences in the relative contribution of individual residues to inhibitor binding. Modelling of PmDHFR mutant sequences revealed that PmDHFR I170M was associated with a significant reduction in binding energy to all DHFR inhibitors studied, while the other predicted resistance mutations had lesser or no effects on ligand binding. CONCLUSIONS: Binding of DHFR inhibitors to the active sites of all four Plasmodium enzymes is broadly similar, being determined by an analogous set of seven residues. PmDHFR mutations found in field isolates influenced inhibitor interactions to a varying extent. In the case of the isolated I170M mutation, the loss of interaction with pyrimethamine suggests that DHFR-inhibitor interactions in P. malariae are different to those seen for DHFRs from P. falciparum and P. vivax.
Scrub typhus is transmitted by trombiculid mites and is endemic to East and Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. The clinical syndrome classically consists of a fever, rash, and eschar, but scrub typhus also commonly presents as an undifferentiated fever that requires laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis, usually by indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) assay. We discuss the limitations of IFA, debate the value of other methods based on antigen detection and nucleic acid amplification, and outline recommendations for future study.
Antimalarial drugs impose strong selective pressure on Plasmodium falciparum parasites and leave signatures of selection in the parasite genome; screening for genes under selection may suggest potential drug or immune targets. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of parasite traits have been hampered by the lack of high-throughput genotyping methods, inadequate knowledge of parasite population history and time-consuming adaptations of parasites to in vitro culture. Here we report the first Plasmodium GWAS, which included 189 culture-adapted P. falciparum parasites genotyped using a custom-built Affymetrix molecular inversion probe 3K malaria panel array with a coverage of approximately 1 SNP per 7 kb. Population structure, variation in recombination rate and loci under recent positive selection were detected. Parasite half-maximum inhibitory concentrations for seven antimalarial drugs were obtained and used in GWAS to identify genes associated with drug responses. This study provides valuable tools and insight into the P. falciparum genome.
The majority of intramammary infections with Escherichia coli in dairy cows result in transient infections with duration of about 10 days or less, although more persistent infections (2 months or longer) have been identified. We apply a mathematical model to explore the role of an intracellular mammary epithelial cell reservoir in the dynamics of infection. We included biological knowledge of the bovine immune response and known characteristics of the bacterial population in both transient and persistent infections. The results indicate that varying the survival duration of the intracellular reservoir reproduces the data for both transient and persistent infections. Survival in an intracellular reservoir is the most likely mechanism that ensures persistence of E. coli infections in mammary glands. Knowledge of the pathogenesis of persistent infections is essential to develop preventive and treatment programmes for these important infections in dairy cows.
Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.
OBSTETRICAL & GYNECOLOGICAL SURVEY, 65 (2), pp. 77-78. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Castor Oil for Induction of Labor: Not Harmful, Not Helpful EDITORIAL COMMENT
During pregnancy, a woman living or travelling in a malaria endemic area is more at risk of contracting the disease and developing a severe infection and dying than a non-pregnant woman. Despite this increased morbidity and mortality in pregnancy, there are almost no studies on which to base recommendations on the use of antimalarial drugs in this vulnerable group. This is because, paradoxically, the emphasis is often put on the safety of the unborn child rather than that of the infested mother. As a result of this neglect, tens of thousands of pregnant women (and their fetuses) are dying every year of a very preventable and treatable infection. In recent years, some trials have been conducted, especially in areas of high resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in South East Asia. The results show that quinine plus clindamycin is the treatment of choice in the first trimester, while artemisinin treatment should be used in the second and third trimesters in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. For severe malaria, parenteral artesunate is the treatment of choice. However these studies have also shown that the pharmacokinetic properties of most antimalarials are altered during gestation and that the doses used in non-pregnant adults are often not adapted to pregnancy. Urgent efforts are required to optimize the treatment of malaria in pregnancy. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
BACKGROUND: Symptoms and signs of leptospirosis are non-specific. Several diagnostic tests for leptospirosis are available and in some instances are being used prior to treatment of leptospirosis-suspected patients. There is therefore a need to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the different treatment strategies in order to avoid misuse of scarce resources and ensure best possible health outcomes for patients. METHODS: The study population was adult patients, presented with uncomplicated acute febrile illness, without an obvious focus of infection or malaria or typical dengue infection. We compared the cost and effectiveness of 5 management strategies: 1) no patients tested or given antibiotic treatment; 2) all patients given empirical doxycycline treatment; patients given doxycycline when a patient is tested positive for leptospirosis using: 3) lateral flow; 4) MCAT; 5) latex test. The framework used is a cost-benefit analysis, accounting for all direct medical costs in diagnosing and treating patients suspected of leptospirosis. Outcomes are measured in length of fever after treatment which is then converted to productivity losses to capture the full economic costs. FINDINGS: Empirical doxycycline treatment was the most efficient strategy, being both the least costly alternative and the one that resulted in the shortest duration of fever. The limited sensitivity of all three diagnostic tests implied that their use to guide treatment was not cost-effective. The most influential parameter driving these results was the cost of treating patients with complications for patients who did not receive adequate treatment as a result of incorrect diagnosis or a strategy of no-antibiotic-treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should continue treating suspected cases of leptospirosis on an empirical basis. This conclusion holds true as long as policy makers are not prioritizing the reduction of use of antibiotics, in which case the use of the latex test would be the most efficient strategy.
The artemisinins are the most effective antimalarial drugs known. They possess a remarkably wide therapeutic index. These agents have been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine for more than 2,000 years but were not subjected to scientific scrutiny until the 1970s. The first formal clinical trials of the artemisinins, and the development of methods for their industrial scale production, followed rapidly. A decade later, Chinese scientists shared their findings with the rest of the world; since then, a significant body of international trial evidence has confirmed these drugs to be far superior to any available alternatives. In particular, they have the ability to rapidly kill a broad range of asexual parasite stages at safe concentrations that are consistently achievable via standard dosing regimens. As their half-life is very short, there was also thought to be a low risk of resistance. These discoveries coincided with the appearance and spread of resistance to all the other major classes of antimalarials. As a result, the artemisinins now form an essential element of recommended first-line antimalarial treatment regimens worldwide. To minimize the risk of artemisinin resistance, they are recommended to be used to treat uncomplicated malaria in combination with other antimalarials as artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs). Their rollout has resulted in documented reductions in malaria prevalence in a number of African and Asian countries. Unfortunately, there are already worrisome early signs of artemisinin resistance appearing in western Cambodia. If this resistance were to spread, it would be disastrous for malaria control efforts worldwide. The enormous challenge for the international community is how to avert this catastrophe and preserve the effectiveness of this antimalarial "magic bullet". Drug Dev Res 71: 12-19, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Since our ancestors began trading several millennia ago, counterfeit and substandard medicines have been a recurring problem, with history punctuated by crises in the supply of anti-microbials, such as fake cinchona bark in the 1600s and fake quinine in the 1800s. Unfortunately this problem persists, in particular afflicting unsuspecting patients in 'developing' countries. Poor-quality drugs are a vital (but neglected) public health problem. They contribute to a 'crevasse' between the enormous effort in therapeutic research and policy decisions and implementation of good-quality medicines.
BACKGROUND: World Health Organization treatment guidelines recommend that adults with severe malaria be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). However, ICU facilities are limited in the resource-poor settings where most malaria occurs. Identification of patients at greater risk of complications may facilitate their triage and resource allocation. METHODS: With use of data from a trial conducted in Southeast Asia (n=868), a logistic regression model was built to identify independent predictors of mortality among adults with severe malaria. A scoring system based on this model was tested in the original dataset and then validated in 2 series from Bangladesh (n=188) and Vietnam (n=292). RESULTS: Acidosis (base deficit) and cerebral malaria (measured as Glasgow Coma Score) were the main independent predictors of outcome. The 5-point Coma Acidosis Malaria (CAM) score was simply derived from these 2 variables. Mortality increased steadily with increasing score. A CAM score <2 predicted survival with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 95.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93%- 97.7%). Of the 14 of 331 patients who died with a CAM score <2, 11 (79%) had renal failure and death occurred late after hospital admission (median, 108 h; range, 40-360 h). Substitution of plasma bicarbonate as the measure of acidosis only slightly reduced the prognostic value of the model. Use of respiratory rate was inferior, but a score <2 still predicted survival with a PPV of 92.2% (95% CI, 89.1%-94.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a CAM score <2 at hospital admission may be safely treated in a general ward, provided that renal function can be monitored.
Current methods for differentiating isolates of predominant lineages of pathogenic bacteria often do not provide sufficient resolution to define precise relationships. Here, we describe a high-throughput genomics approach that provides a high-resolution view of the epidemiology and microevolution of a dominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This approach reveals the global geographic structure within the lineage, its intercontinental transmission through four decades, and the potential to trace person-to-person transmission within a hospital environment. The ability to interrogate and resolve bacterial populations is applicable to a range of infectious diseases, as well as microbial ecology.
BACKGROUND: Our understanding of the transmission dynamics of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection will be better informed with improved data on the patterns of shedding in cases not limited only to hospital admissions. METHODS: In a household study, children testing RSV positive by direct immunofluorescent antibody test (DFA) were enrolled. Nasal washings were scheduled right away, then every three days until day 14, every 7 days until day 28 and every 2 weeks until a maximum of 16 weeks, or until the first DFA negative RSV specimen. The relationship between host factors, illness severity and viral shedding was investigated using Cox regression methods. RESULTS: From 151 families a total of 193 children were enrolled with a median age of 21 months (range 1-164 months), 10% infants and 46% male. The rate of recovery from infection was 0.22/person/day (95% CI 0.19-0.25) equivalent to a mean duration of shedding of 4.5 days (95%CI 4.0-5.3), with a median duration of shedding of 4 days (IQR 2-6, range 1-14). Children with a history of RSV infection had a 40% increased rate of recovery i.e. shorter duration of viral shedding (hazard ratio 1.4, 95% CI 1.01-1.86). The rate of cessation of shedding did not differ significantly between males and females, by severity of infection or by age. CONCLUSION: We provide evidence of a relationship between the duration of shedding and history of infection, which may have a bearing on the relative role of primary versus re-infections in RSV transmission in the community.
Clin Infect Dis, 50 (2), pp. 281-282. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more2010. Studies on severe malaria are still possible and essential.
BACKGROUND: Surface-active antiseptics, such as chlorhexidine, are increasingly being used as part of intervention programs to prevent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission, despite limited evidence and potential for resistance. We report on the effect of an antiseptic protocol on acquisition of both endemic MRSA and an outbreak strain of MRSA sequence type 239 (designated TW). METHODS: Interrupted time-series data on MRSA acquisitions in two 15-bed intensive care units were analyzed using segmented regression models to estimate the effects of sequential introduction of an educational campaign, cohorting, and a chlorhexidine-based antiseptic protocol on transmission of TW and non-TW MRSA strains. Representative TW and non-TW MRSA strains were assessed for carriage of qacA/B genes and antiseptic susceptibility. RESULTS: The antiseptic protocol was associated with a highly significant, immediate 70% reduction in acquisition of non-TW MRSA strains (estimated model-averaged incidence rate ratio, 0.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.47) and an increase in acquisition of TW MRSA strains (estimated model-averaged incidence rate ratio, 3.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-18.59). There was only weak evidence of an effect of other interventions on MRSA transmission. All TW MRSA strains (21 of 21 isolates) and <5% (1 of 21 isolates) of non-TW MRSA strains tested carried the chlorhexidine resistance loci qacA/B. In vitro chlorhexidine minimum bactericidal concentrations of TW strains were 3-fold higher than those of non-TW MRSA strains, and in vivo, only patients with non-TW MRSA demonstrated a reduction in the number of colonization sites in response to chlorhexidine treatment. CONCLUSION: A chlorhexidine-based surface antiseptic protocol can interrupt transmission of MRSA in the intensive care unit, but strains carrying qacA/B genes may be unaffected or potentially spread more rapidly.
We report acute encephalopathy associated with influenza A infection in 3 adults. We detected high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma concentrations of CXCL8/IL-8 and CCL2/MCP-1 (CSF/plasma ratios > or =3), and interleukin-6, CXCL10/IP-10, but no evidence of viral neuroinvasion. Patients recovered without sequelae. Hyperactivated cytokine response may play a role in pathogenesis.
Antifolate drugs have an important role in the treatment of malaria. Polymorphisms in the genes encoding the dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase enzymes cause resistance to the antifol and sulfa drugs, respectively. Rwanda has the highest levels of antimalarial drug resistance in Africa. We correlated the efficacy of chlorproguanil-dapsone plus artesunate (CPG-DDS+A) and amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AQ+SP) in children with uncomplicated malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum parasites with pfdhfr and pfdhps mutations, which are known to confer reduced drug susceptibility, in two areas of Rwanda. In the eastern province, where the cure rates were low, over 75% of isolates had three or more pfdhfr mutations and two or three pfdhps mutations and 11% had the pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism. In the western province, where the cure rates were significantly higher (P < 0.001), the prevalence of multiple resistance mutations was lower and the pfdhfr I164L polymorphism was not found. The risk of treatment failure following the administration of AQ+SP more than doubled for each additional pfdhfr resistance mutation (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01 to 5.55; P = 0.048) and each pfdhps mutation (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.21 to 3.54; P = 0.008). The risk of failure following CPG-DDS+A treatment was 2.2 times higher (95% CI = 1.34 to 3.7) for each additional pfdhfr mutation, whereas there was no association with mutations in the pfdhps gene (P = 0.13). The pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism is prevalent in eastern Rwanda. Antimalarial treatments with currently available antifol-sulfa combinations are no longer effective in Rwanda because of high-level resistance.
We describe a 32-year-old Bangladeshi male presenting with severe malaria caused by a mono-infection with Plasmodium malariae. Rosetting of infected and uninfected erythrocytes, a putative virulence factor in falciparum malaria, was observed in the blood slide. Severe disease caused by P. malariae is extremely rare. The patient made a rapid recovery with intravenous quinine treatment.
Severe falciparum malaria remains a major killer in tropical countries. Central in the pathophysiology is mechanical obstruction in the microcirculation caused by cytoadherence and sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes. However, the pathogenesis of many features complicating severe malaria, including coma, renal failure and thrombocytopenia, remains incompletely understood. These disease manifestations are also key features of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a life-threatening disease strongly associated with a deficiency of the von Willebrand factor (VWF) cleaving protease, ADAMTS13. We measured plasma ADAMTS13 activity, VWF antigen and VWF propeptide levels in 30 patients with severe falciparum malaria, 12 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria and 14 healthy Bangladeshi controls. In patients with severe malaria ADAMTS13 activity levels were markedly decreased in comparison to normal controls (mean [95%CI]: 23% [20-26] vs. 64% [55-72]) and VWF antigen and propeptide concentrations were significantly elevated (VWF antigen: 439% [396-481] vs. 64% [46-83]; VWF propeptide: 576% [481-671] vs. 69% [59-78]). In uncomplicated malaria VWF levels were also increased compared to healthy controls but ADAMTS13 activity was normal. The results suggest that decreased ADAMTS13 activity in combination with increased VWF concentrations may contribute to the complications in severe malaria.
BACKGROUND: The immune-related evolution of influenza viruses is exceedingly complex and current vaccines against influenza must be reformulated for each influenza season because of the high degree of antigenic drift among circulating influenza strains. Delay in vaccine production is a serious problem in responding to a pandemic situation, such as that of the current H1N1 strain. Immune escape is generally attributed to reduced antibody recognition of the viral hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins whose rate of mutation is much greater than that of the internal non-structural proteins. As a possible alternative, vaccines directed at T cell epitope domains of internal influenza proteins, that are less susceptible to antigenic variation, have been investigated. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: HLA transgenic mouse strains expressing HLA class I A*0201, A*2402, and B*0702, and class II DRB1*1501, DRB1*0301 and DRB1*0401 were immunized with 196 influenza H1N1 peptides that contained residues of highly conserved proteome sequences of the human H1N1, H3N2, H1N2, H5N1, and avian influenza A strains. Fifty-four (54) peptides that elicited 63 HLA-restricted peptide-specific T cell epitope responses were identified by IFN-gamma ELISpot assay. The 54 peptides were compared to the 2007-2009 human H1N1 sequences for selection of sequences in the design of a new candidate H1N1 vaccine, specifically targeted to highly-conserved HLA-restricted T cell epitopes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Seventeen (17) T cell epitopes in PB1, PB2, and M1 were selected as vaccine targets based on sequence conservation over the past 30 years, high functional avidity, non-identity to human peptides, clustered localization, and promiscuity to multiple HLA alleles. These candidate vaccine antigen sequences may be applicable to any avian or human influenza A virus.
Artesunate combined therapies represent the best option for the treatment of malaria and require the development of new methods of analysis. Retention, selectivity and detection with high-temperature liquid chromatography-porous graphitic carbon-evaporative light scattering detection was studied for artesunate and azithromycin separation. Organic solvent, concentration of organic modifiers, temperature and flow rate were all relevant parameters to optimize this separation. The behaviour of artesunate in the tested conditions appeared close to a neutral compound. In CH(3)OH, only azithromycin retention was dramatically altered depending on the [triethylamine]/[formic acid] ratio and on the temperature, whereas in CH(3)CN, azithromycin, artesunate, artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin retentions decreased with the temperature increase whatever the organic modifier ratio. The best efficiency was obtained with CH(3)CN. 25% variation of the concentration values of the organic modifiers did not significantly influenced the retention. The sensitivity of ELSD increased with the flow rate decrease. Peak area and S/N ratio dramatically decreased with the flow rate increase by 10- and 5-fold for artesunate and azithromycin, respectively. Non-linear calibration curves were obtained for both artesunate and azithromycin.
BACKGROUND: The role of the innate immune protein mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in host defence against severe respiratory infection remains controversial. Thoracic empyema is a suppurative lung infection that arises as a major complication of pneumonia and is associated with a significant mortality. Although the pathogenesis of thoracic empyema is poorly understood, genetic susceptibility loci for this condition have recently been identified. The possible role of MBL genotypic deficiency in susceptibility to thoracic empyema has not previously been reported. METHODS: To investigate this further we compared the frequencies of the six functional MBL polymorphisms in 170 European individuals with thoracic empyema and 225 healthy control individuals. RESULTS: No overall association was observed between MBL genotypic deficiency and susceptibility to thoracic empyema (2 x 2 Chi square = 0.02, P = 0.87). Furthermore, no association was seen between MBL deficiency and susceptibility to the Gram-positive or pneumococcal empyema subgroups. MBL genotypic deficiency did not associate with progression to death or requirement for surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that MBL genotypic deficiency does not associate with susceptibility to thoracic empyema in humans.
BACKGROUND: There is widespread concern that H5N1 avian influenza A viruses will emerge as a pandemic threat, if they become capable of human-to-human (H2H) transmission. Avian strains lack this capability, which suggests that it requires important adaptive mutations. We performed a large-scale comparative analysis of proteins from avian and human strains, to produce a catalogue of mutations associated with H2H transmissibility, and to detect their presence in avian isolates. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We constructed a dataset of influenza A protein sequences from 92,343 public database records. Human and avian sequence subsets were compared, using a method based on mutual information, to identify characteristic sites where human isolates present conserved mutations. The resulting catalogue comprises 68 characteristic sites in eight internal proteins. Subtype variability prevented the identification of adaptive mutations in the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase proteins. The high number of sites in the ribonucleoprotein complex suggests interdependence between mutations in multiple proteins. Characteristic sites are often clustered within known functional regions, suggesting their functional roles in cellular processes. By isolating and concatenating characteristic site residues, we defined adaptation signatures, which summarize the adaptive potential of specific isolates. Most adaptive mutations emerged within three decades after the 1918 pandemic, and have remained remarkably stable thereafter. Two lineages with stable internal protein constellations have circulated among humans without reassorting. On the contrary, H5N1 avian and swine viruses reassort frequently, causing both gains and losses of adaptive mutations. CONCLUSIONS: Human host adaptation appears to be complex and systemic, involving nearly all influenza proteins. Adaptation signatures suggest that the ability of H5N1 strains to infect humans is related to the presence of an unusually high number of adaptive mutations. However, these mutations appear unstable, suggesting low pandemic potential of H5N1 in its current form. In addition, adaptation signatures indicate that pandemic H1N1/09 strain possesses multiple human-transmissibility mutations, though not an unusually high number with respect to swine strains that infected humans in the past. Adaptation signatures provide a novel tool for identifying zoonotic strains with the potential to infect humans.
Little is currently known about bacterial pathogen evolution and adaptation within the host during acute infection. Previous studies of Burkholderia pseudomallei, the etiologic agent of melioidosis, have shown that this opportunistic pathogen mutates rapidly both in vitro and in vivo at tandemly repeated loci, making this organism a relevant model for studying short-term evolution. In the current study, B. pseudomallei isolates cultured from multiple body sites from four Thai patients with disseminated melioidosis were subjected to fine-scale genotyping using multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). In order to understand and model the in vivo variable-number tandem repeat (VNTR) mutational process, we characterized the patterns and rates of mutations in vitro through parallel serial passage experiments of B. pseudomallei. Despite the short period of infection, substantial divergence from the putative founder genotype was observed in all four melioidosis cases. This study presents a paradigm for examining bacterial evolution over the short timescale of an acute infection. Further studies are required to determine whether the mutational process leads to phenotypic alterations that impact upon bacterial fitness in vivo. Our findings have important implications for future sampling strategies, since colonies in a single clinical sample may be genetically heterogeneous, and organisms in a culture taken late in the infective process may have undergone considerable genetic change compared with the founder inoculum.
BACKGROUND: PCR amplification for the detection of pathogens in biological material is generally considered a rapid and informative diagnostic technique. Invasive Salmonella serovars, which cause enteric fever, can be commonly cultured from the blood of infected patients. Yet, the isolation of invasive Salmonella serovars from blood is protracted and potentially insensitive. METHODS: We developed and optimised a novel multiplex three colour real-time PCR assay to detect specific target sequences in the genomes of Salmonella serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. We performed the assay on DNA extracted from blood and bone marrow samples from culture positive and negative enteric fever patients. RESULTS: The assay was validated and demonstrated a high level of specificity and reproducibility under experimental conditions. All bone marrow samples tested positive for Salmonella, however, the sensitivity on blood samples was limited. The assay demonstrated an overall specificity of 100% (75/75) and sensitivity of 53.9% (69/128) on all biological samples. We then tested the PCR detection limit by performing bacterial counts after inoculation into blood culture bottles. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings corroborate previous clinical findings, whereby the bacterial load of S. Typhi in peripheral blood is low, often below detection by culture and, consequently, below detection by PCR. Whilst the assay may be utilised for environmental sampling or on differing biological samples, our data suggest that PCR performed directly on blood samples may be an unsuitable methodology and a potentially unachievable target for the routine diagnosis of enteric fever.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (6), pp. e619. | Citations: 42 (Scopus) | Read more2010. Clinical research in resource-limited settings: enhancing research capacity and working together to make trials less complicated.
Community engagement is increasingly promoted in developing countries, especially in international health research, but there is little published experience. The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) conducts research with refugees, migrant workers, displaced people, and day migrants on the Thai-Burmese border, and has recently facilitated the set up of the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB). Valuable lessons have been learnt from consultation with the T-CAB especially in the area of participant recruitment and the informed consent process. A lot of new research questions have emerged from consultation with the T-CAB. This paper describes our experience, lessons learnt and the unique challenges faced working with the T-CAB from its initial conception to date. We conclude that consultation with the T-CAB has made improvements in our research in particular operational and ethical aspects of our studies.
International Health,2010. Community engagement on the Thai-Burmese border: rationale, experience and lessons learnt
PURPOSE: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is a fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination treatment. Field pharmacokinetic studies would be simplified and facilitated by being able to use small volume capillary assays rather than venous blood. The aim of this study was to describe the relationship between piperaquine concentrations measured in capillary blood, venous blood and venous plasma. METHODS: Samples of plasma, whole blood obtained by venesection and capillary blood were taken simultaneously from patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria treated with DP between 0 and 9 weeks after treatment. Piperaquine concentrations in venous and capillary samples were measured using solid phase extraction and analysis by liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. RESULTS: A total of 161 sets of the three measures were obtained from 54 patients. Piperaquine concentrations in the venous blood samples were approximately twofold higher and those in the capillary blood samples were threefold higher than the corresponding venous plasma concentrations. Capillary blood piperaquine concentrations were approximately 1.7-fold higher than venous blood concentrations, and this difference also increased with time. CONCLUSION: Differences in whole blood and plasma levels of piperaquine suggest compartmentalisation of the drug within blood cells, as also occurs with the structurally related quinoline chloroquine. The relationship between piperaquine concentrations in the venous plasma, venous blood and capillary blood is variable and unpredictable at low concentrations. However, within the range of concentrations usually present in patients between 3 and 21 days after treatment with currently recommended doses, the relationship between capillary and venous whole blood is predictable; consequently, capillary blood sampling can be used in field assessments.
Drug Development Research, 71 (3), pp. 219-220. | Read more2010. New Malaria Drugs (volume 71, number 1, 2010)
BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy is associated with maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. In 2006, WHO recommended use of artemisinin-based combination treatments during the second or third trimesters, but data on efficacy and safety in Africa were scarce. We aimed to assess whether artemether-lumefantrine was at least as efficacious as oral quinine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy in Mbarara, Uganda. METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, non-inferiority trial between October, 2006, and May, 2009, at the antenatal clinics of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology Hospital in Uganda. Pregnant women were randomly assigned (1:1) by computer generated sequence to receive either quinine hydrochloride or artemether-lumefantrine, and were followed up weekly until delivery. Our primary endpoint was cure rate at day 42, confirmed by PCR. The non-inferiority margin was a difference in cure rate of 5%. Analysis of efficacy was for all randomised patients without study deviations that could have affected the efficacy outcome. This study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00495508. FINDINGS: 304 women were randomly assigned, 152 to each treatment group. By day 42, 16 patients were lost to follow-up and 25 were excluded from the analysis. At day 42, 137 (99.3%) of 138 patients taking artemether-lumefantrine and 122 (97.6%) of 125 taking quinine were cured-difference 1.7% (lower limit of 95% CI -0.9). There were 290 adverse events in the quinine group and 141 in the artemether-lumefantrine group. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin derivatives are not inferior to oral quinine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria in pregnancy and might be preferable on the basis of safety and efficacy. FUNDING: Médecins Sans Frontières and the European Commission.
Unprecedented efforts are now underway to eliminate malaria from many regions. Despite the enormous financial resources committed, if malaria elimination is perceived as failing it is likely that this funding will not be sustained. It is imperative that methods are developed to use the limited data available to design site-specific, cost-effective elimination programmes. Mathematical modelling is a way of including mechanistic understanding to use available data to make predictions. Different strategies can be evaluated much more rapidly than is possible through trial and error in the field. Mathematical modelling has great potential as a tool to guide and inform current elimination efforts. Economic modelling weighs costs against characterised effects or predicted benefits in order to determine the most cost-efficient strategy but has traditionally used static models of disease not suitable for elimination. Dynamic mathematical modelling and economic modelling techniques need to be combined to contribute most effectively to ongoing policy discussions. We review the role of modelling in previous malaria control efforts as well as the unique nature of elimination and the consequent need for its explicit modelling, and emphasise the importance of good disease surveillance. The difficulties and complexities of economic evaluation of malaria control, particularly the end stages of elimination, are discussed.
Malaria is a major public health problem in the endemic countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Poor quality antimalarials are of major, but neglected, concern in the control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. They cause treatment failure and economic loss, and engender drug resistance and loss of confidence in health systems. The emergence of resistance to the artemisinin derivatives in Asia bodes ill for malaria control in Africa, and strenuous efforts are needed to improve the quality of the world's supply of antimalarials. This article reviews the problem and discusses methods available to determine the quality of antimalarials. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.
Enteric fever, caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A) remains a major public health problem in many settings. The disease is limited to locations with poor sanitation which facilitates the transmission of the infecting organisms. Efficacious and inexpensive vaccines are available for S. Typhi, yet are not commonly deployed to control the disease. Lack of vaccination is due partly to uncertainty of the disease burden arising from a paucity of epidemiological information in key locations. We have collected and analyzed data from 3,898 cases of blood culture-confirmed enteric fever from Patan Hospital in Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (LSMC), between June 2005 and May 2009. Demographic data was available for a subset of these patients (n = 527) that were resident in LSMC and who were enrolled in trials. We show a considerable burden of enteric fever caused by S. Typhi (2,672; 68.5%) and S. Paratyphi A (1,226; 31.5%) at this Hospital over a four year period, which correlate with seasonal fluctuations in rainfall. We found that local population density was not related to incidence and we identified a focus of infections in the east of LSMC. With data from patients resident in LSMC we found that the median age of those with S. Typhi (16 years) was significantly less than S. Paratyphi A (20 years) and that males aged 15 to 25 were disproportionately infected. Our findings provide a snapshot into the epidemiological patterns of enteric fever in Kathmandu. The uneven distribution of enteric fever patients within the population suggests local variation in risk factors, such as contaminated drinking water. These findings are important for initiating a vaccination scheme and improvements in sanitation. We suggest any such intervention should be implemented throughout the LSMC area.
BACKGROUND: Deworming is recommended by the WHO in girls and pregnant and lactating women to reduce anaemia in areas where hookworm and anaemia are common. There is conflicting evidence on the harm and the benefits of intestinal geohelminth infections on the incidence and severity of malaria, and consequently on the risks and benefits of deworming in malaria affected populations. We examined the association between geohelminths and malaria in pregnancy on the Thai-Burmese border. METHODOLOGY: Routine antenatal care (ANC) included active detection of malaria (weekly blood smear) and anaemia (second weekly haematocrit) and systematic reporting of birth outcomes. In 1996 stool samples were collected in cross sectional surveys from women attending the ANCs. This was repeated in 2007 when malaria incidence had reduced considerably. The relationship between geohelminth infection and the progress and outcome of pregnancy was assessed. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Stool sample examination (339 in 1996, 490 in 2007) detected a high prevalence of geohelminths 70% (578/829), including hookworm (42.8% (355)), A. lumbricoides (34.4% (285)) and T.trichuria (31.4% (250)) alone or in combination. A lower proportion of women (829) had mild (21.8% (181)) or severe (0.2% (2)) anaemia, or malaria 22.4% (186) (P.vivax monoinfection 53.3% (101/186)). A. lumbricoides infection was associated with a significantly decreased risk of malaria (any species) (AOR: 0.43, 95% CI: 0.23-0.84) and P.vivax malaria (AOR: 0.29, 95% CI: 0.11-0.79) whereas hookworm infection was associated with an increased risk of malaria (any species) (AOR: 1.66, 95% CI: 1.06-2.60) and anaemia (AOR: 2.41, 95% CI: 1.18-4.93). Hookworm was also associated with low birth weight (AOR: 1.81, 95% CI: 1.02-3.23). CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: A. lumbricoides and hookworm appear to have contrary associations with malaria in pregnancy.
BACKGROUND: Fever in pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and foetus. In the 1980's malaria was the leading cause of death in pregnant women in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. Artemisinin combination therapy has significantly reduced the incidence of malaria in the population. The remaining causes of fever in pregnancy are not well documented. METHODOLOGY: Pregnant women attending antenatal care, where weekly screening for malaria is routine, were invited to have a comprehensive clinical and laboratory screen if they had fever. Women were admitted to hospital, treated and followed up weekly until delivery. A convalescent serum was collected on day 21. Delivery outcomes were recorded. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Febrile episodes (n = 438) occurred in 5.0% (409/8,117) of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics from 7-Jan-2004 to 17-May-2006. The main cause was malaria in 55.5% (227/409). A cohort of 203 (49.6% of 409) women had detailed fever investigations and follow up. Arthropod-borne (malaria, rickettsial infections, and dengue) and zoonotic disease (leptospirosis) accounted for nearly half of all febrile illnesses, 47.3% (96/203). Coinfection was observed in 3.9% (8/203) of women, mostly malaria and rickettsia. Pyelonephritis, 19.7% (40/203), was also a common cause of fever. Once malaria, pyelonephritis and acute respiratory illness are excluded by microscopy and/or clinical findings, one-third of the remaining febrile infections will be caused by rickettsia or leptospirosis. Scrub and murine typhus were associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including stillbirth and low birth weight. One woman died (no positive laboratory tests). CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Malaria remains the leading cause of fever in pregnancy on the Thai-Burmese border. Scrub and murine typhus were also important causes of fever associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. Febrile pregnant women on the Thai-Burmese border who do not have malaria, pyelonephritis or respiratory tract infection should be treated with azithromycin, effective for typhus and leptospirosis.
BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax has a dormant hepatic stage, called the hypnozoite, which can cause relapse months after the initial attack. For 50 years, primaquine has been used as a hypnozoitocide to radically cure P. vivax infection, but major concerns remain regarding the side-effects of the drug and adherence to the 14-day regimen. This study examined the effectiveness of using the directly-observed therapy (DOT) method for the radical treatment of P. vivax malaria infection, to prevent reappearance of the parasite within the 90-day follow-up period. Other potential risk factors for the reappearance of P. vivax were also explored. METHODS: A randomized trial was conducted from May 2007 to January 2009 in a low malaria transmission area along the Thai-Myanmar border. Patients aged ≥ 3 years diagnosed with P. vivax by microscopy, were recruited. All patients were treated with the national standard regimen of chloroquine for three days followed by primaquine for 14 days. Patients were randomized to receive DOT or self-administered therapy (SAT). All patients were followed for three months to check for any reappearance of P. vivax. RESULTS: Of the 216 patients enrolled, 109 were randomized to DOT and 107 to SAT. All patients recovered without serious adverse effects. The vivax reappearance rate was significantly lower in the DOT group than the SAT group (3.4/10,000 person-days vs. 13.5/10,000 person-days, p = 0.021). Factors related to the reappearance of vivax malaria included inadequate total primaquine dosage received (< 2.75 mg/kg), duration of fever ≤ 2 days before initiation of treatment, parasite count on admission ≥ 10,000/µl, multiple P. vivax-genotype infection, and presence of P. falciparum infection during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to the 14-day primaquine regimen is important for the radical cure of P. vivax malaria infection. Implementation of DOT reduces the reappearance rate of the parasite, and may subsequently decrease P. vivax transmission in the area.
BACKGROUND: The efficacy of anti-malarial drugs is determined by the level of parasite susceptibility, anti-malarial drug bioavailability and pharmacokinetics, and host factors including immunity. Host immunity improves the in vivo therapeutic efficacy of anti-malarial drugs, but the mechanism and magnitude of this effect has not been characterized. This study characterized the effects of 'immune' plasma to Plasmodium falciparumon the in vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum to anti-malarial drugs. METHODS: Titres of antibodies against blood stage antigens (mainly the ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen [RESA]) were measured in plasma samples obtained from Thai patients with acute falciparum malaria. 'Immune' plasma was selected and its effects on in vitro parasite growth and multiplication of the Thai P. falciparum laboratory strain TM267 were assessed by light microscopy. The in vitro susceptibility to quinine and artesunate was then determined in the presence and absence of 'immune' plasma using the 3H-hypoxanthine uptake inhibition method. Drug susceptibility was expressed as the concentrations causing 50% and 90% inhibition (IC50 and IC90), of 3H-hypoxanthine uptake. RESULTS: Incubation with 'immune' plasma reduced parasite maturation and decreased parasite multiplication in a dose dependent manner. 3H-hypoxanthine incorporation after incubation with 'immune' plasma was decreased significantly compared to controls (median [range]; 181.5 [0 to 3,269] cpm versus 1,222.5 [388 to 5,932] cpm) (p= 0.001). As a result 'immune' plasma reduced apparent susceptibility to quinine substantially; median (range) IC50 6.4 (0.5 to 23.8) ng/ml versus 221.5 (174.4 to 250.4) ng/ml (p = 0.02), and also had a borderline effect on artesunate susceptibility; IC50 0.2 (0.02 to 0.3) ng/ml versus 0.8 (0.2 to 2.3) ng/ml (p = 0.08). Effects were greatest at low concentrations, changing the shape of the concentration-effect relationship. IC90 values were not significantly affected; median (range) IC90 448.0 (65 to > 500) ng/ml versus 368.8 (261 to 501) ng/ml for quinine (p > 0.05) and 17.0 (0.1 to 29.5) ng/ml versus 7.6 (2.3 to 19.5) ng/ml for artesunate (p = 0.4). CONCLUSIONS: 'Immune' plasma containing anti-malarial antibodies inhibits parasite development and multiplication and increases apparent in vitro anti-malarial drug susceptibility of P. falciparum. The IC90 was much less affected than the IC50 measurement.
BACKGROUND: Primary diagnostic cultures from patients with melioidosis demonstrate variation in colony morphology of the causative organism, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Variable morphology is associated with changes in the expression of a range of putative virulence factors. This study investigated the effect of B. pseudomallei colony variation on survival in the human macrophage cell line U937 and under laboratory conditions simulating conditions within the macrophage milieu. Isogenic colony morphology types II and III were generated from 5 parental type I B. pseudomallei isolates using nutritional limitation. Survival of types II and III were compared with type I for all assays. RESULTS: Morphotype was associated with survival in the presence of H2O2 and antimicrobial peptide LL-37, but not with susceptibility to acid, acidified sodium nitrite, or resistance to lysozyme, lactoferrin, human neutrophil peptide-1 or human beta defensin-2. Incubation under anaerobic conditions was a strong driver for switching of type III to an alternative morphotype. Differences were noted in the survival and replication of the three types following uptake by human macrophages, but marked strain-to strain-variability was observed. Uptake of type III alone was associated with colony morphology switching. CONCLUSIONS: Morphotype is associated with phenotypes that alter the ability of B. pseudomallei to survive in adverse environmental conditions.
BACKGROUND: The aetiological diagnostic of fevers in Laos remains difficult due to limited laboratory diagnostic facilities. However, it has recently become apparent that both scrub and murine typhus are common causes of previous undiagnosed fever. Epidemiological data suggests that scrub typhus would be more common in rural areas and murine typhus in urban areas, but there is very little recent information on factors involved in scrub and murine typhus transmission, especially where they are sympatric - as is the case in Vientiane, the capital of the Lao PDR. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We therefore determined the frequency of IgG seropositivity against scrub typhus (Orientia tsutsugamushi) and murine typhus (Rickettsia typhi), as indices of prior exposure to these pathogens, in randomly selected adults in urban and peri-urban Vientiane City (n = 2,002, ≥35 years). Anti-scrub and murine typhus IgG were detected by ELISA assays using filter paper elutes. We validated the accuracy of ELISA of these elutes against ELISA using serum samples. The overall prevalence of scrub and murine typhus IgG antibodies was 20.3% and 20.6%, respectively. Scrub typhus seropositivity was significantly higher among adults living in the periphery (28.4%) than in the central zone (13.1%) of Vientiane. In contrast, seroprevalence of murine typhus IgG antibodies was significantly higher in the central zone (30.8%) as compared to the periphery (14.4%). In multivariate analysis, adults with a longer residence in Vientiane were at significant greater risk of past infection with murine typhus and at lower risk for scrub typhus. Those with no education, living on low incomes, living on plots of land with poor sanitary conditions, living in large households, and farmers were at higher risk of scrub typhus and those living in neighborhoods with high building density and close to markets were at greater risk for murine typhus and at lower risk of scrub typhus past infection. CONCLUSIONS: This study underscores the intense circulation of both scrub and murine typhus in Vientiane city and underlines difference in spatial distribution and risk factors involved in the transmission of these diseases.
BACKGROUND: New diagnoses of tuberculosis (TB) present important opportunities to detect and treat HIV. Rates of HIV and TB in Indonesia's easternmost Papua Province exceed national figures, but data on co-infection rates and outcomes are lacking. We aimed to measure TB-HIV co-infection rates, examine longitudinal trends, compare management with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, and document progress and outcome. METHODS: Adults with newly-diagnosed smear-positive pulmonary TB managed at the Timika TB clinic, Papua Province, were offered voluntary counselling and testing for HIV in accordance with Indonesian National Guidelines, using a point-of-care antibody test. Positive tests were confirmed with 2 further rapid tests. Study participants were assessed using clinical, bacteriological, functional and radiological measures and followed up for 6 months. RESULTS: Of 162 participants, HIV status was determined in 138 (85.2%), of whom 18 (13.0%) were HIV+. Indigenous Papuans were significantly more likely to be HIV+ than Non-Papuans (Odds Ratio [OR] 4.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.38-14.23). HIV prevalence among people with TB was significantly higher than during a 2003-4 survey at the same TB clinic, and substantially higher than the Indonesian national estimate of 3%. Compared with HIV- study participants, those with TB-HIV co-infection had significantly lower exercise tolerance (median difference in 6-minute walk test: 25 m, p = 0.04), haemoglobin (mean difference: 1.3 g/dL, p = 0.002), and likelihood of cavitary disease (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.12-1.01), and increased occurrence of pleural effusion (OR 3.60, 95% CI 1.70-7.58), higher rates of hospitalisation or death (OR 11.80, 95% CI 1.82-76.43), but no difference in the likelihood of successful 6-month treatment outcome. Adherence to WHO guidelines was limited by the absence of integration of TB and HIV services, specifically, with no on-site ART prescriber available. Only six people had CD4+ T-cell counts recorded, 11 were prescribed co-trimoxazole and 4 received ART before, during or after TB treatment, despite ART being indicated in 14 according to 2006 WHO guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: TB-HIV co-infection in southern Papua, Indonesia, is a serious emerging problem especially among the Indigenous population, and has risen rapidly in the last 5 years. Major efforts are required to incorporate new WHO recommendations on TB-HIV management into national guidelines, and support their implementation in community settings.
BACKGROUND: Severe malaria (SM) syndromes caused by Plasmodium falciparum infection result in major morbidity and mortality each year. However, only a fraction of P. falciparum infections develop into SM, implicating host genetic factors as important determinants of disease outcome. Previous studies indicate that tumour necrosis factor (TNF) and lymphotoxin alpha (LTα) may be important for the development of cerebral malaria (CM) and other SM syndromes. METHODS: An extensive analysis was conducted of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TNF, LTA and LTB genes in highland Papuan children and adults, a population historically unexposed to malaria that has migrated to a malaria endemic region. Generated P-values for SNPs spanning the LTA/TNF/LTB locus were corrected for multiple testing of all the SNPs and haplotype blocks within the region tested through 10,000 permutations. A global P-value of < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: No associations between SNPs in the TNF/LTA/LTB locus and susceptibility to SM in highland Papuan children and adults were found. CONCLUSIONS: These results support the notion that unique selective pressure on the TNF/LTA/LTB locus in different populations has influenced the contribution of the gene products from this region to SM susceptibility.
BACKGROUND: Screening and isolation are central components of hospital methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) control policies. Their prevention of patient-to-patient spread depends on minimizing undetected and unisolated MRSA-positive patient days. Estimating these MRSA-positive patient days and the reduction in transmission due to isolation presents a major methodological challenge, but is essential for assessing both the value of existing control policies and the potential benefit of new rapid MRSA detection technologies. Recent methodological developments have made it possible to estimate these quantities using routine surveillance data. METHODS: Colonization data from admission and weekly nares cultures were collected from eight single-bed adult intensive care units (ICUs) over 17 months. Detected MRSA-positive patients were isolated using single rooms and barrier precautions. Data were analyzed using stochastic transmission models and model fitting was performed within a Bayesian framework using a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm, imputing unobserved MRSA carriage events. RESULTS: Models estimated the mean percent of colonized-patient-days attributed to undetected carriers as 14.1% (95% CI (11.7, 16.5)) averaged across ICUs. The percent of colonized-patient-days attributed to patients awaiting results averaged 7.8% (6.2, 9.2). Overall, the ratio of estimated transmission rates from unisolated MRSA-positive patients and those under barrier precautions was 1.34 (0.45, 3.97), but varied widely across ICUs. CONCLUSIONS: Screening consistently detected >80% of colonized-patient-days. Estimates of the effectiveness of barrier precautions showed considerable uncertainty, but in all units except burns/general surgery and one cardiac surgery ICU, the best estimates were consistent with reductions in transmission associated with barrier precautions.
BACKGROUND: Home management of malaria (HMM), promoting presumptive treatment of febrile children in the community, is advocated to improve prompt appropriate treatment of malaria in Africa. The cost-effectiveness of HMM is likely to vary widely in different settings and with the antimalarial drugs used. However, no data on the cost-effectiveness of HMM programmes are available. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A Markov model was constructed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of HMM as compared to conventional care for febrile illnesses in children without HMM. The model was populated with data from Uganda, but is designed to be interactive, allowing the user to adjust certain parameters, including the antimalarials distributed. The model calculates the cost per disability adjusted life year averted and presents the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio compared to a threshold value. Model output is stratified by level of malaria transmission and the probability that a child would receive appropriate care from a health facility, to indicate the circumstances in which HMM is likely to be cost-effective. The model output suggests that the cost-effectiveness of HMM varies with malaria transmission, the probability of appropriate care, and the drug distributed. Where transmission is high and the probability of appropriate care is limited, HMM is likely to be cost-effective from a provider perspective. Even with the most effective antimalarials, HMM remains an attractive intervention only in areas of high malaria transmission and in medium transmission areas with a lower probability of appropriate care. HMM is generally not cost-effective in low transmission areas, regardless of which antimalarial is distributed. Considering the analysis from the societal perspective decreases the attractiveness of HMM. CONCLUSION: Syndromic HMM for children with fever may be a useful strategy for higher transmission settings with limited health care and diagnosis, but is not appropriate for all settings. HMM may need to be tailored to specific settings, accounting for local malaria transmission intensity and availability of health services.
BACKGROUND: Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative treatment available to severe thalassemic patients. The treatment, however, is very costly, particularly in the context of low and middle income countries, and no studies have been carried out to explore its economic justifiability. This study aimed to estimate the cost-utility of HSCT compared with blood transfusions combined with iron chelating therapy (BT-ICT) for severe thalassemia in Thailand, and to investigate the affordability of HSCT using a budget impact analysis. METHODS: A Markov model was used to estimate the relevant costs and health outcomes over the patients' lifetimes taking a societal perspective as recommended by Thailand's health technology assessment guidelines. All future costs and outcomes were discounted at a rate of 3% per annum. Primary outcomes of interest were lifetime costs, quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in Thai baht (THB) per QALY gained. RESULTS: Compared to BT-ICT, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio increased with patient age from 80,700 to 183,000 THB per QALY gained for related HSCT and 209,000 to 953,000 THB per QALY gained for unrelated HSCT among patients aged 1 to 15 years (US$1= 34 THB). The governmental budget impact analysis showed that providing 200 related HSCT to patients aged 1 to 10 years, in accordance with the current infrastructure limitations, would initially require approximately 90 million additional THB per year. CONCLUSIONS: At a societal willingness to pay of 100,000 THB per QALY gained, related HSCT was likely to be a cost-effective and affordable treatment for young children with severe thalassemia in Thailand.
Veterinary research, 41 (2), pp. 13. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2010. Modelling the dynamics of intramammary E. coli infections in dairy cows: understanding mechanisms that distinguish transient from persistent infections.
The majority of intramammary infections with Escherichia coli in dairy cows result in transient infections with duration of about 10 days or less, although more persistent infections (2 months or longer) have been identified. We apply a mathematical model to explore the role of an intracellular mammary epithelial cell reservoir in the dynamics of infection. We included biological knowledge of the bovine immune response and known characteristics of the bacterial population in both transient and persistent infections. The results indicate that varying the survival duration of the intracellular reservoir reproduces the data for both transient and persistent infections. Survival in an intracellular reservoir is the most likely mechanism that ensures persistence of E. coli infections in mammary glands. Knowledge of the pathogenesis of persistent infections is essential to develop preventive and treatment programmes for these important infections in dairy cows. INRA, EDP Sciences, 2009
BACKGROUND: Malaria and bacterial infections account for most infectious disease deaths in developing countries. Prompt treatment saves lives, but rapid deterioration often prevents the use of oral therapies; delays in reaching health facilities providing parenteral interventions are common. Rapidly and reliably absorbed antimalarial/antibacterial rectal formulations used in the community could prevent deaths and disabilities. Rectal antimalarial treatments are currently available; rectal antibacterial treatments are yet to be developed. Assessment of the likely cost-effectiveness of these interventions will inform research priorities and implementation. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The burden of malaria and bacterial infections worldwide and in Sub-Saharan and Southern Africa (SSA) and South and South-East Asia (SEA) was summarised using published data. The additional healthcare costs (US$) per death and per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) avoided following pre-referral treatment of severe febrile illness with rectal antimalarials, antibacterials or combined antimalarial/antibacterials in populations at malaria risk in SSA/SEA were assessed. 46 million severe malaria and bacterial infections and 5 million deaths occur worldwide each year, mostly in SSA/SEA. At annual delivery costs of $0.02/capita and 100% coverage, rectal antimalarials ($2 per dose) would avert 240,000 deaths in SSA and 7,000 deaths in SEA at $5 and $177 per DALY avoided, respectively; rectal antibacterials ($2 per dose) would avert 130,000 deaths in SSA and 27,000 deaths in SEA at $19 and $97 per DALY avoided, respectively. Combined rectal formulations ($2.50 per dose) would avert 370,000 deaths in SSA and 33,000 deaths in SEA at $8 and $79 per DALY avoided, respectively, and are a cost-effective alternative to rectal antimalarials or antibacterials alone. CONCLUSIONS: Antimalarial, antibacterial and combined rectal formulations are likely to be cost-effective interventions for severe febrile illness in the community. Attention should focus on developing effective rectal antibacterials and ensuring that these lifesaving treatments are used in a cost-effective manner.
Monetary valuations of the economic cost of health care-associated infections (HAIs) are important for decision making and should be estimated accurately. Erroneously high estimates of costs, designed to jolt decision makers into action, may do more harm than good in the struggle to attract funding for infection control. Expectations among policy makers might be raised, and then they are disappointed when the reduction in the number of HAIs does not yield the anticipated cost saving. For this article, we critically review the field and discuss 3 questions. Why measure the cost of an HAI? What outcome should be used to measure the cost of an HAI? What is the best method for making this measurement? The aim is to encourage researchers to collect and then disseminate information that accurately guides decisions about the economic value of expanding or changing current infection control activities.
PLoS Pathogens, 6 (4), pp. 1-8. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2010. Increased asymmetric dimethylarginine in severe falciparum malaria: Association with impaired nitric oxide bioavailability and fatal outcome
Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is a predictor of mortality in critical illness. Severe malaria (SM) is associated with decreased NO bioavailability, but the contribution of ADMA to the pathogenesis of impaired NO bioavailability and adverse outcomes in malaria is unknown. In adults with and without falciparum malaria, we tested the hypotheses that plasma ADMA would be: 1) increased in proportion to disease severity, 2) associated with impaired vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability and 3) independently associated with increased mortality. We assessed plasma dimethylarginines, exhaled NO concentrations and endothelial function in 49 patients with SM, 78 with moderately severe malaria (MSM) and 19 healthy controls (HC). Repeat ADMA and endothelial function measurements were performed in patients with SM. Multivariable regression was used to assess the effect of ADMA on mortality and NO bioavailability. Plasma ADMA was increased in SM patients (0.85 μM; 95% CI 0.74-0.96) compared to those with MSM (0.54 μM; 95%CI 0.5-0.56) and HCs (0.64 μM; 95%CI 0.58-0.70; p<0.001). ADMA was an independent predictor of mortality in SM patients with each micromolar elevation increasing the odds of death 18 fold (95% CI 2.0-181; p = 0.01). ADMA was independently associated with decreased exhaled NO (rs =20.31) and endothelial function (rs =20.32) in all malaria patients, and with reduced exhaled NO (rs =-0.72) in those with SM. ADMA is increased in SM and associated with decreased vascular and pulmonary NO bioavailability. Inhibition of NOS by ADMA may contribute to increased mortality in severe malaria.
Malaria journal, 9 (Suppl 2), pp. I7-I7. | Read more2010. Retinopathy and microcirculation in adult severe malaria.
Giornale Italiano di Medicina Tropicale, 15 (1-4), pp. 1-8. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract2010. Ethical criteria in clinical research in developing countries: Is there a global standard?
Clinical researchers in developing countries face multiple challenges related to contextual constraints, poor regulation and vulnerability of trials' subjects. The World Health Organization issued in 1995 its Good Clinical Practices (GCP) Guidelines, setting globally applicable standards for clinical trials. Non-compliance with GCP principles leaves room for misconduct and abuse, while a rigid interpretation of GCP processes and procedures may unnecessarily increase the research costs and even prevent research relevant to public health from being carried out. Ethical principles and scientific standards governing research are universal and should be adopted everywhere, to ensure persons' protection and data's reliability, while avoiding any North-South ethical divide. However, principles should be translated into simple and effective processes and procedures, which ensure quality of the research and subjects' protection, without putting unnecessary obstacles to public-health oriented research. It is time to "reinvent" GCP, by updating the 1995 WHO Guidelines in light of the 15-year experience of worldwide implementation. The revision should include old and new stakeholders (including academic institutions from the South and the North, NGOs, public-private partnerships, donors, patients associations etc.) and could, by making clearer distinction between essential and procedural requirements, help researchers and sponsors to design new patient-centered tools and practices.
Using archived samples, we assessed the diagnostic capacity of a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM and total antibodies to aid with the diagnosis of acute scrub typhus infection in febrile patients in Laos. The sensitivity and the specificity of the ICT for the detection of IgM were 96.8% (121/125 samples; 95% confidence interval [CI], 92.1 to 99.1%) and 93.3% (98/105 samples; 95% CI, 86.7 to 97.3%), respectively. For the detection of total antibodies, the sensitivity was 97.6% (122/125 samples; 95% CI, 93.1 to 99.5%), but the specificity was much lower, at 71.4% (75/105 samples; 95% CI, 61.8 to 79.8%).
P.berghei ANKA infection in CBA or CB57BL/6 mice is used widely as a murine 'model' of human cerebral malaria (HCM), despite markedly different histopathological features. The pathology of the murine model is characterised by marked inflammation with little or no intracerebral sequestration of parasitised erythrocytes, whereas HCM is associated with intense intracerebral sequestration, often with little inflammatory response. There are now more than ten times as many studies each year of the murine model than on HCM. Of 48 adjunctive interventions evaluated in the murine model, 44 (92%) were successful, compared with only 1 (6%) of 17 evaluated in HCM during the same period. The value of the mouse model in identifying pathological processes or therapeutic interventions in human cerebral malaria is questionable.
The proinflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) has a central role in host defence against pneumococcal disease. Both rare mutations and common polymorphisms in the NFKBIA gene encoding the NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaB-alpha, associate with susceptibility to bacterial disease, but the possible role of polymorphisms within the related IkappaB-zeta gene NFKBIZ in the development of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has not been reported previously. To investigate this further, we examined the frequencies of 22 single-nucleotide polymorphisms spanning NFKBIZ in two case-control studies, comprising UK Caucasian (n=1008) and Kenyan (n=723) individuals. Nine polymorphisms within a single UK linkage disequilibrium (LD) block and all four polymorphisms within the equivalent, shorter Kenyan LD block displayed either a significant association with IPD or a trend towards association. For each polymorphism, heterozygosity was associated with protection from IPD when compared with the combined homozygous states (for example, for rs600718, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=7.576, P=0.006, odds ratio (OR)=0.67, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for OR: 0.51-0.88; for rs616597, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=8.715, P=0.003, OR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.49-0.86). We conclude that multiple NFKBIZ polymorphisms associate with susceptibility to IPD in humans. The study of multiple populations may aid in fine mapping of associations within extensive regions of strong LD ('transethnic mapping').
Orientia tsutsugamushi causes scrub typhus and is a rural zoonosis endemic in the Asia Pacific region. This is the first report of O. tsutsugamushi TA716-like strain in a human in Thailand. The patient was in the 1st trimester of pregnancy when she developed scrub typhus. The O. tsutsugamushi strain TA716 was detected from her admission blood sample, and the pregnancy ended in spontaneous abortion. The effects of scrub typhus in pregnant women and the pregnancy outcome are sparsely documented in the published medical literature. Improved clinical recognition and laboratory diagnosis will be essential to better define the morbidity caused by this zoonosis especially in pregnancy.
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