Publications 2011

Nosten F, Phillips-Howard PA, ter Kuile FO. 2011. Other 4-Methanolquinolines, Amyl Alcohols and Phentathrenes: Mefloquine, Lumefantrine and Halofantrine Milestones in Drug Therapy, 41 pp. 95-111. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

This chapter describes mefloquine, pyronaridine, halofantrine, piperaquine and lumefantrine under the broader title of the 4-methanolquinolines, amyl alcohols and phentathrenes. We provide a brief resume of each drug, in terms of their chemical properties, formulae, pharmacokinetics, clinical indications for use, and their efficacy and safety. Recognizing the limited number of antimalarials available, and in the developmental pipeline, attention is focussed on describing the history of each drug and how their indications have evolved as data on safety in human populations accumulates over time, and how patterns of use have changed with growing multiple drug resistance. Their combined use with the artemisinin derivatives is briefly described and readers are recommended to consult other chapters in this book which more fully describe such combinations. © Springer Basel AG 2012.

Prajapati SK, Joshi H, Shalini S, Patarroyo MA, Suwanarusk R, Kumar A, Sharma SK, Eapen A, Dev V, Bhatt RM et al. 2011. Plasmodium vivax lineages: geographical distribution, tandem repeat polymorphism, and phylogenetic relationship. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 374. | Citations: 7 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Multi-drug resistance and severe/complicated cases are the emerging phenotypes of vivax malaria, which may deteriorate current anti-malarial control measures. The emergence of these phenotypes could be associated with either of the two Plasmodium vivax lineages. The two lineages had been categorized as Old World and New World, based on geographical sub-division and genetic and phenotypical markers. This study revisited the lineage hypothesis of P. vivax by typing the distribution of lineages among global isolates and evaluated their genetic relatedness using a panel of new mini-satellite markers. METHODS: 18S SSU rRNA S-type gene was amplified from 420 Plasmodium vivax field isolates collected from different geographical regions of India, Thailand and Colombia as well as four strains each of P. vivax originating from Nicaragua, Panama, Thailand (Pak Chang), and Vietnam (ONG). A mini-satellite marker panel was then developed to understand the population genetic parameters and tested on a sample subset of both lineages. RESULTS: 18S SSU rRNA S-type gene typing revealed the distribution of both lineages (Old World and New World) in all geographical regions. However, distribution of Plasmodium vivax lineages was highly variable in every geographical region. The lack of geographical sub-division between lineages suggests that both lineages are globally distributed. Ten mini-satellites were scanned from the P. vivax genome sequence; these tandem repeats were located in eight of the chromosomes. Mini-satellites revealed substantial allelic diversity (7-21, AE = 14.6 ± 2.0) and heterozygosity (He = 0.697-0.924, AE = 0.857 ± 0.033) per locus. Mini-satellite comparison between the two lineages revealed high but similar pattern of genetic diversity, allele frequency, and high degree of allele sharing. A Neighbour-Joining phylogenetic tree derived from genetic distance data obtained from ten mini-satellites also placed both lineages together in every cluster. CONCLUSIONS: The global lineage distribution, lack of genetic distance, similar pattern of genetic diversity, and allele sharing strongly suggested that both lineages are a single species and thus new emerging phenotypes associated with vivax malaria could not be clearly classified as belonging to a particular lineage on basis of their geographical origin.

Newton PN, Green MD, Mildenhall DC, Plançon A, Nettey H, Nyadong L, Hostetler DM, Swamidoss I, Harris GA, Powell K et al. 2011. Poor quality vital anti-malarials in Africa - an urgent neglected public health priority. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 352. | Citations: 72 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a major public health problem. A vital component of malaria control rests on the availability of good quality artemisinin-derivative based combination therapy (ACT) at the correct dose. However, there are increasing reports of poor quality anti-malarials in Africa. METHODS: Seven collections of artemisinin derivative monotherapies, ACT and halofantrine anti-malarials of suspicious quality were collected in 2002/10 in eleven African countries and in Asia en route to Africa. Packaging, chemical composition (high performance liquid chromatography, direct ionization mass spectrometry, X-ray diffractometry, stable isotope analysis) and botanical investigations were performed. RESULTS: Counterfeit artesunate containing chloroquine, counterfeit dihydroartemisinin (DHA) containing paracetamol (acetaminophen), counterfeit DHA-piperaquine containing sildenafil, counterfeit artemether-lumefantrine containing pyrimethamine, counterfeit halofantrine containing artemisinin, and substandard/counterfeit or degraded artesunate and artesunate+amodiaquine in eight countries are described. Pollen analysis was consistent with manufacture of counterfeits in eastern Asia. These data do not allow estimation of the frequency of poor quality anti-malarials in Africa. CONCLUSIONS: Criminals are producing diverse harmful anti-malarial counterfeits with important public health consequences. The presence of artesunate monotherapy, substandard and/or degraded and counterfeit medicines containing sub-therapeutic amounts of unexpected anti-malarials will engender drug resistance. With the threatening spread of artemisinin resistance to Africa, much greater investment is required to ensure the quality of ACTs and removal of artemisinin monotherapies. The International Health Regulations may need to be invoked to counter these serious public health problems.

Boonsilp S, Thaipadungpanit J, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Chierakul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Molecular detection and speciation of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in blood from patients with culture-negative leptospirosis. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 338. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pathogenic Leptospira spp. present in the blood of patients with leptospirosis during the first week of symptoms can be detected using culture or PCR. A proportion of patients who are positive by PCR are negative by culture. Leptospira spp. are fastidious bacteria, and we hypothesized that a false-negative culture result may represent infection with a distinct bacterial subset that fail to grow in standard culture medium. METHODS: We evaluated our hypothesis during a prospective study of 418 consecutive patients presenting to a hospital in northeast Thailand with an acute febrile illness. Admission blood samples were taken for Leptospira culture and PCR. A single tube nested PCR that amplified a region of the rrs gene was developed and applied, amplicons sequenced and a phylogenetic tree reconstructed. RESULTS: 39/418 (9%) patients were culture-positive for Leptospira spp., and 81/418 (19%) patients were culture-negative but rrs PCR-positive. The species associated with culture-positive leptospirosis (37 L. interrogans and 2 L. borgpetersenii) were comparable to those associated with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis (76 L. interrogans, 4 L. borgpetersenii, 1 unidentified, possibly new species). CONCLUSION: Molecular speciation failed to identify a unique bacterial subset in patients with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis. The rate of false-negative culture was high, and we speculate that antibiotic pre-treatment is the most likely explanation for this.

Newton PN, Amin AA, Bird C, Passmore P, Dukes G, Tomson G, Simons B, Bate R, Guerin PJ, White NJ. 2011. The primacy of public health considerations in defining poor quality medicines. PLoS Med, 8 (12), pp. e1001139. | Citations: 59 (Scopus) | Read more

Fuller C, Savage J, Besser S, Hayward A, Cookson B, Cooper B, Stone S. 2011. "The dirty hand in the latex glove": a study of hand hygiene compliance when gloves are worn. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol, 32 (12), pp. 1194-1199. | Citations: 65 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Wearing of gloves reduces transmission of organisms by healthcare workers' hands but is not a substitute for hand hygiene. Results of previous studies have varied as to whether hand hygiene is worse when gloves are worn. Most studies have been small and used nonstandardized assessments of glove use and hand hygiene. We sought to observe whether gloves were worn when appropriate and whether hand hygiene compliance differed when gloves were worn. DESIGN: Observational study. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: Healthcare workers in 56 medical or care of the elderly wards and intensive care units in 15 hospitals across England and Wales. METHODS: We observed hand hygiene and glove usage (7,578 moments for hand hygiene) during 249 one-hour sessions. Observers also recorded whether gloves were or were not worn for individual contacts. RESULTS: Gloves were used in 1,983 (26.2%) of the 7,578 moments for hand hygiene and in 551 (16.7%) of 3,292 low-risk contacts; gloves were not used in 141 (21.1%) of 669 high-risk contacts. The rate of hand hygiene compliance with glove use was 41.4% (415 of 1,002 moments), and the rate without glove use was 50.0% (1,344 of 2,686 moments). After adjusting for ward, healthcare worker type, contact risk level, and whether the hand hygiene opportunity occurred before or after a patient contact, glove use was strongly associated with lower levels of hand hygiene (adjusted odds ratio, 0.65 [95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.79]; P < .0001). CONCLUSION: The rate of glove usage is lower than previously reported. Gloves are often worn when not indicated and vice versa. The rate of compliance with hand hygiene was significantly lower when gloves were worn. Hand hygiene campaigns should consider placing greater emphasis on the World Health Organization indications for gloving and associated hand hygiene. TRIAL REGISTRATION: National Research Register N0256159318.


Maude R, Abu Sayeed A, Beare N, Charunwatthana P, Faiz MA, Hossain A, Bin Yunus E, Hoque MG, Hasan MU, White N et al. 2011. MALARIAL RETINOPATHY IN ADULTS JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 63 (6), pp. 494-495. | Read more


Maude RJ, Hoque G, Hasan MU, Sayeed A, Akter S, Samad R, Alam B, Yunus EB, Rahman R, Rahman W et al. 2011. Timing of enteral feeding in cerebral malaria in resource-poor settings: a randomized trial. PLoS One, 6 (11), pp. e27273. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Early start of enteral feeding is an established treatment strategy in intubated patients in intensive care since it reduces invasive bacterial infections and length of hospital stay. There is equipoise whether early enteral feeding is also beneficial in non-intubated patients with cerebral malaria in resource poor settings. We hypothesized that the risk of aspiration pneumonia might outweigh the potential benefits of earlier recovery and prevention of hypoglycaemia. METHOD AND FINDINGS: A randomized trial of early (day of admission) versus late (after 60 hours in adults or 36 hours in children) start of enteral feeding was undertaken in patients with cerebral malaria in Chittagong, Bangladesh from May 2008 to August 2009. The primary outcome measures were incidence of aspiration pneumonia, hypoglycaemia and coma recovery time. The trial was terminated after inclusion of 56 patients because of a high incidence of aspiration pneumonia in the early feeding group (9/27 (33%)), compared to the late feeding group (0/29 (0%)), p = 0.001). One patient in the late feeding group, and none in the early group, had hypoglycaemia during admission. There was no significant difference in overall mortality (9/27 (33%) vs 6/29 (21%), p = 0.370), but mortality was 5/9 (56%) in patients with aspiration pneumonia. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, early start of enteral feeding is detrimental in non-intubated patients with cerebral malaria in many resource-poor settings. Evidence gathered in resource rich settings is not necessarily transferable to resource-poor settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN57488577.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Hasanuddin A, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2011. Highly effective therapy for maternal malaria associated with a lower risk of vertical transmission. J Infect Dis, 204 (10), pp. 1613-1619. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of congenital malaria was investigated in a hospital-based malaria surveillance study in Papua, Indonesia. METHODS: From April 2005 to January 2010, 4878 delivering women and their newborns underwent prospective clinical review and malaria screening by peripheral blood microscopy. FINDINGS: Congenital malaria occurred in 8 per 1000 (38/4884) live births, with Plasmodium falciparum accounting for 76.3% (29) and P. vivax for 15.8% (6) of infections. Maternal malaria at delivery (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 9.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.2-21.5; P < .001), age ≤ 16 years (AOR, 4; 95% CI, 1.4-12.1; P = .011), and prior malaria during pregnancy (AOR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4, P = .022) were independent risk factors for vertical transmission. Of 29 mothers and neonates with contemporaneous peripheral parasitemia, 17% (5) had discordant parasite species, suggesting possible antenatal malaria transmission. Newborns with malaria were at significantly greater risk of low birth weight (AOR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2-6.6; P = .002). Following introduction of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for uncomplicated malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, congenital malaria incidence fell from 3.2% to 0.2% (odds ratio, 0.07; 95% CI, .03-.15; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: Congenital malaria is an important cause of neonatal morbidity in this region co-endemic for P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria. The introduction of artemisinin-combination therapy was associated with a significant risk reduction in the vertical transmission of malaria.

Hanson J, Lam SW, Mohanty S, Alam S, Hasan MMU, Lee SJ, Schultz MJ, Charunwatthana P, Cohen S, Kabir A et al. 2011. Central venous catheter use in severe malaria: time to reconsider the World Health Organization guidelines? Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 342. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: To optimize the fluid status of adult patients with severe malaria, World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend the insertion of a central venous catheter (CVC) and a target central venous pressure (CVP) of 0-5 cmH2O. However there are few data from clinical trials to support this recommendation. METHODS: Twenty-eight adult Indian and Bangladeshi patients admitted to the intensive care unit with severe falciparum malaria were enrolled in the study. All patients had a CVC inserted and had regular CVP measurements recorded. The CVP measurements were compared with markers of disease severity, clinical endpoints and volumetric measures derived from transpulmonary thermodilution. RESULTS: There was no correlation between the admission CVP and patient outcome (p = 0.67) or disease severity (p = 0.33). There was no correlation between the baseline CVP and the concomitant extravascular lung water (p = 0.62), global end diastolic volume (p = 0.88) or cardiac index (p = 0.44). There was no correlation between the baseline CVP and the likelihood of a patient being fluid responsive (p = 0.37). On the occasions when the CVP was in the WHO target range patients were usually hypovolaemic and often had pulmonary oedema by volumetric measures. Seven of 28 patients suffered a complication of the CVC insertion, although none were fatal. CONCLUSION: The WHO recommendation for the routine insertion of a CVC, and the maintenance of a CVP of 0-5 cmH2O in adults with severe malaria, should be reconsidered.

Flegg JA, Guerin PJ, White NJ, Stepniewska K. 2011. Standardizing the measurement of parasite clearance in falciparum malaria: the parasite clearance estimator. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 339. | Citations: 150 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A significant reduction in parasite clearance rates following artesunate treatment of falciparum malaria, and increased failure rates following artemisinin combination treatments (ACT), signaled emergent artemisinin resistance in Western Cambodia. Accurate measurement of parasite clearance is therefore essential to assess the spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. The slope of the log-parasitaemia versus time relationship is considered to be the most robust measure of anti-malarial effect. However, an initial lag phase of numerical instability often precedes a steady exponential decline in the parasite count after the start of anti-malarial treatment. This lag complicates the clearance estimation, introduces observer subjectivity, and may influence the accuracy and consistency of reported results. METHODS: To address this problem, a new approach to modelling clearance of malaria parasites from parasitaemia-time profiles has been explored and validated. The methodology detects when a lag phase is present, selects the most appropriate model (linear, quadratic or cubic) to fit log-transformed parasite data, and calculates estimates of parasite clearance adjusted for this lag phase. Departing from previous approaches, parasite counts below the level of detection are accounted for and not excluded from the calculation. RESULTS: Data from large clinical studies with frequent parasite counts were examined. The effect of a lag phase on parasite clearance rate estimates is discussed, using individual patient data examples. As part of the World Wide Antimalarial Resistance Network's (WWARN) efforts to make innovative approaches available to the malaria community, an automated informatics tool: the parasite clearance estimator has been developed. CONCLUSIONS: The parasite clearance estimator provides a consistent, reliable and accurate method to estimate the lag phase and malaria parasite clearance rate. It could be used to detect early signs of emerging resistance to artemisinin derivatives and other compounds which affect ring-stage clearance.

Birrell PJ, Ketsetzis G, Gay NJ, Cooper BS, Presanis AM, Harris RJ, Charlett A, Zhang X-S, White PJ, Pebody RG, De Angelis D. 2011. Bayesian modeling to unmask and predict influenza A/H1N1pdm dynamics in London. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (45), pp. 18238-18243. | Citations: 68 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The tracking and projection of emerging epidemics is hindered by the disconnect between apparent epidemic dynamics, discernible from noisy and incomplete surveillance data, and the underlying, imperfectly observed, system. Behavior changes compound this, altering both true dynamics and reporting patterns, particularly for diseases with nonspecific symptoms, such as influenza. We disentangle these effects to unravel the hidden dynamics of the 2009 influenza A/H1N1pdm pandemic in London, where surveillance suggests an unusual dominant peak in the summer. We embed an age-structured model into a bayesian synthesis of multiple evidence sources to reveal substantial changes in contact patterns and health-seeking behavior throughout the epidemic, uncovering two similar infection waves, despite large differences in the reported levels of disease. We show how this approach, which allows for real-time learning about model parameters as the epidemic progresses, is also able to provide a sequence of nested projections that are capable of accurately reflecting the epidemic evolution.

Conlan JV, Sripa B, Attwood S, Newton PN. 2011. A review of parasitic zoonoses in a changing Southeast Asia. Vet Parasitol, 182 (1), pp. 22-40. | Citations: 57 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Parasitic zoonoses are common and widely distributed in the Southeast Asian region. However, the interactions between parasites, hosts and vectors are influenced by environmental, socio-cultural and livestock production changes that impact on the distribution, prevalence and severity of disease. In this review we provide an update on new knowledge in the context of ongoing changes for the food-borne pig associated zoonoses Taenia solium and Trichinella spp., the food-borne trematodes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis, the water-borne trematodes Schistosoma spp., the vector-borne zoonotic protozoa Plasmodium knowlesi and Leishmania spp. and the soil-borne zoonotic hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum. These various changes need to be considered when assessing or developing regional control programs or devising new research initiatives in a changing SE Asia.

Kypraios T, O'Neill PD, Jones DE, Ware J, Batra R, Edgeworth JD, Cooper BS. 2011. Effect of systemic antibiotics and topical chlorhexidine on meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in intensive care unit patients. J Hosp Infect, 79 (3), pp. 222-226. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Antibiotics and antiseptics have the potential to influence carriage and transmission of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), although effects are likely to be complex, particularly in a setting where multiple agents are used. Here admission and weekly MRSA screens and daily antibiotic and antiseptic prescribing data from 544 MRSA carriers on an intensive care unit (ICU) are used to determine the effect of these agents on short-term within-host MRSA carriage dynamics. Longitudinal data were analysed using Markov models allowing patients to move between two states: MRSA positive (detectable MRSA carriage) and MRSA negative (no detectable carriage). The effect of concurrent systemic antibiotic and topical chlorhexidine (CHX) on movement between these states was assessed. CHX targeted to MRSA screen carriage sites increased transition from culture positive to negative and there was also weaker evidence that it decreased subsequent transition from negative back to positive. In contrast, there was only weak and inconsistent evidence that any antibiotic influenced transition in either direction. For example, whereas univariate analysis found quinolones to be strongly associated with both increased risk of losing and then reacquiring MRSA carriage over time intervals of one day, no effect was seen with weekly models. Similar studies are required to determine the generalisability of these findings.

Phyo AP, Lwin KM, Price RN, Ashley EA, Russell B, Sriprawat K, Lindegardh N, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Nosten F. 2011. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus chloroquine in the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Thailand: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis, 53 (10), pp. 977-984. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine (CQ) remains the treatment of choice for Plasmodium vivax malaria. Initially confined to parts of Indonesia and Papua, resistance of P. vivax to CQ seems to be spreading, and alternative treatments are required. METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled study to compare the efficacy and the tolerability of CQ and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) in 500 adults and children with acute vivax malaria on the Northwestern border of Thailand. RESULTS: Both drugs were well tolerated. Fever and parasite clearance times were slower in the CQ than in the DP group (P < .001). By day 28, recurrent infections had emerged in 18 of 207 CQ recipients compared with 5 of 230 treated with DP (relative risk, 4.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.51-10.58; P = .0046). The cumulative risk of recurrence with P. vivax at 9 weeks was 79.1% (95% CI, 73.5%-84.8%) in patients treated with CQ compared with 54.9% (95% CI, 48.2%-61.6%) in those receiving DP (hazard ratio [HR], 2.27; 95% CI, 1.8-2.9; P < .001). Children <5 years old were at greater risk of recurrent P. vivax infection (74.4%; 95% CI, 63.2%-85.6%) than older patients (55.3% [95% CI, 50.2%-60.4%]; HR, 1.58 [95% CI, 1.1-2.2]; P = .005). In vitro susceptibility testing showed that 13% of the tested isolates had a CQ median inhibitory concentration >100 nmol/L, suggesting reduced susceptibility. CONCLUSIONS: The efficacy of CQ in the treatment of P. vivax infections is declining on the Thai-Myanmar border. DP is an effective alternative treatment.

Gaudin K, Kauss T, Gaubert A, Viaud V, Dubost J-P, Olliaro P, White NJ, Millet P. 2011. SIMULTANEOUS DETERMINATION OF ARTEMETHER AND AZITHROMYCIN IN SUPPOSITORIES BY REVERSED PHASE HPLC ANALYTICAL LETTERS, 44 (16), pp. 2732-2743. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chromatographic parameter assessments for RP-HPLC-UV method development for the simultaneous analysis of artemether and azithromycin for the pharmaceutical analysis of a rectal coformulation currently under development for the treatment of malaria infected children. Using methanol based mobile phase for the analysis of both artemether and azithromycin provided a more robust method in terms of resolution and peak symmetry. The method validated for suppository used 80% methanol and 20% phosphate buffer 15 mM at pH 9. The UV detection was at 210 nm. The accuracy profiles indicated a method validation between 80-120% for both active pharmaceutical ingredients. The preparation process of the suppository was validated based on theoretical values of artemether and azithromycin present in the formulation; active pharmaceutical ingredients were homogenously distributed within the suppository. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Proux S, Suwanarusk R, Barends M, Zwang J, Price RN, Leimanis M, Kiricharoen L, Laochan N, Russell B, Nosten F, Snounou G. 2011. Considerations on the use of nucleic acid-based amplification for malaria parasite detection. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 323. | Citations: 23 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nucleic acid amplification provides the most sensitive and accurate method to detect and identify pathogens. This is primarily useful for epidemiological investigations of malaria because the infections, often with two or more Plasmodium species present simultaneously, are frequently associated with microscopically sub-patent parasite levels and cryptic mixed infections. Numerous distinct equally adequate amplification-based protocols have been described, but it is unclear which to select for epidemiological surveys. Few comparative studies are available, and none that addresses the issue of inter-laboratory variability. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from patients attending malaria clinics on the Thai-Myanmar border. Frozen aliquots from 413 samples were tested independently in two laboratories by nested PCR assay. Dried blood spots on filter papers from the same patients were also tested by the nested PCR assay in one laboratory and by a multiplex PCR assay in another. The aim was to determine which protocol best detected parasites below the sensitivity level of microscopic examination. RESULTS: As expected PCR-based assays detected a substantial number of infected samples, or mixed infections, missed by microscopy (27 and 42 for the most sensitive assay, respectively). The protocol that was most effective at detecting these, in particular mixed infections, was a nested PCR assay with individual secondary reactions for each of the species initiated with a template directly purified from the blood sample. However, a lesser sensitivity in detection was observed when the same protocol was conducted in another laboratory, and this significantly altered the data obtained on the parasite species distribution. CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity of a given PCR assay varies between laboratories. Although, the variations are relatively minor, they primarily diminish the ability to detect low-level and mixed infections and are sufficient to obviate the main rationale to use PCR assays rather than microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. The optimal approach to standardise methodologies is to provide PCR template standards. These will help researchers in different settings to ensure that the nucleic acid amplification protocols they wish to use provide the requisite level of sensitivity, and will permit comparison between sites.

Mtove G, Amos B, Nadjm B, Hendriksen ICE, Dondorp AM, Mwambuli A, Kim DR, Ochiai RL, Clemens JD, von Seidlein L et al. 2011. Decreasing incidence of severe malaria and community-acquired bacteraemia among hospitalized children in Muheza, north-eastern Tanzania, 2006-2010. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 320. | Citations: 47 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The annual incidence and temporal trend of severe malaria and community-acquired bacteraemia during a four-year period in Muheza, Tanzania was assessed. METHODS: Data on severely ill febrile children aged 2 months to 14 years from three prospective studies conducted at Muheza District Hospital from 2006 to 2010 was pooled and analysed. On admission, each enrolled child had a thin and thick blood film and at least one rapid diagnostic test for falciparum malaria, as well as a blood culture. The annual incidence of bacteraemia and severe malaria among children coming from Muheza was calculated and their temporal trend was assessed. RESULTS: Overall, 1, 898 severe falciparum malaria and 684 bacteraemia cases were included. Of these, 1, 356 (71%) and 482 (71%), respectively, were from the referral population of Muheza. The incidence of falciparum malaria and all-cause bacteraemia in Muheza decreased five-fold and three-fold, respectively, from the first to the fourth year of surveillance (p < 0.0001). During this period, the median ages of children from Muheza admitted with severe malaria increased from 1.7 to 2.5 years (p < 0.0001). The reduction in all-cause bacteraemia was mainly driven by the 11-fold decline in the incidence of non-typhoidal salmonellosis. The annual incidences of Haemophilus influenzae and pneumococcal invasive bacterial infections decreased as well but were much fewer in number. CONCLUSIONS: These results add to the growing evidence of the decline in malaria associated with a decrease in non-typhoidal salmonellosis and possibly other bacteraemias. Malarial prevention and control strategies may provide a greater benefit than the mere reduction of malaria alone.

Blacksell SD, Jarman RG, Bailey MS, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jenjaroen K, Gibbons RV, Paris DH, Premaratna R, de Silva HJ, Lalloo DG, Day NPJ. 2011. Evaluation of six commercial point-of-care tests for diagnosis of acute dengue infections: the need for combining NS1 antigen and IgM/IgG antibody detection to achieve acceptable levels of accuracy. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 18 (12), pp. 2095-2101. | Citations: 85 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Six assays were evaluated in this study to determine their suitability for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection using samples from 259 Sri Lankan patients with acute fevers (99 confirmed dengue cases and 160 patients with other confirmed acute febrile illnesses): (i) the Merlin dengue fever IgG & IgM combo device (Merlin), (ii) the Standard Diagnostics Dengue Duo nonstructural 1 (NS1) antigen and IgG/IgM combo device (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea), (iii) the Biosynex Immunoquick dengue fever IgG and IgM (Biosynex, France) assay, (iv) the Bio-Rad NS1 antigen strip (Bio-Rad, France), (v) the Panbio Dengue Duo IgG/IgM Cassette (Inverness, Australia), and (vi) the Panbio dengue NS1 antigen strip (Inverness, Australia). The median number of days of fever prior to admission sample collection was 5 days (interquartile range, 3 to 7 days). Sensitivity and specificity of the NS1 antigen tests ranged from 49 to 59% and from 93 to 99%, respectively, and sensitivity and sensitivity of the IgM antibody test ranged from 71 to 80% and from 46 to 90%, respectively. Combining the NS1 antigen and IgM antibody results from the Standard Diagnostics Dengue Duo test gave the best compromise of sensitivity and specificity (93% and 89%, respectively) and provided the best sensitivity in patients presenting at different times after fever onset. The Merlin IgM/IgG antibody tests correctly classified 64% and 86% of the primary and secondary dengue infection cases, respectively, and the Standard Diagnostics IgM/IgG antibody tests correctly classified 71% and 83% of the primary and secondary dengue infection cases, respectively. This study provides strong evidence of the value of combining dengue antigen- and antibody-based test results in the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) format for the acute diagnosis of dengue.

White NJ. 2011. A vaccine for malaria. N Engl J Med, 365 (20), pp. 1926-1927. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Read more

Malleret B, Claser C, Ong ASM, Suwanarusk R, Sriprawat K, Howland SW, Russell B, Nosten F, Rénia L. 2011. A rapid and robust tri-color flow cytometry assay for monitoring malaria parasite development. Sci Rep, 1 (1), pp. 118. | Citations: 91 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained thin blood smears remains the gold standard method used to quantify and stage malaria parasites. However, this technique is tedious, and requires trained microscopists. We have developed a fast and simple flow cytometry method to quantify and stage, various malaria parasites in red blood cells in whole blood or in vitro cultured Plasmodium falciparum. The parasites were stained with dihydroethidium and Hoechst 33342 or SYBR Green I and leukocytes were identified with an antibody against CD45. Depending on the DNA stains used, samples were analyzed using different models of flow cytometers. This protocol, which does not require any washing steps, allows infected red blood cells to be distinguished from leukocytes, as well as allowing non-infected reticulocytes and normocytes to be identified. It also allows assessing the proportion of parasites at different developmental stages. Lastly, we demonstrate how this technique can be applied to antimalarial drug testing.

Chantratita N, Rholl DA, Sim B, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Amornchai P, Thanwisai A, Chua HH, Ooi WF, Holden MTG et al. 2011. Antimicrobial resistance to ceftazidime involving loss of penicillin-binding protein 3 in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (41), pp. 17165-17170. | Citations: 58 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Known mechanisms of resistance to β-lactam antibiotics include β-lactamase expression, altered drug target, decreased bacterial permeability, and increased drug efflux. Here, we describe a unique mechanism of β-lactam resistance in the biothreat organism Burkholderia pseudomallei (the cause of melioidosis), associated with treatment failure during prolonged ceftazidime therapy of natural infection. Detailed comparisons of the initial ceftazidime-susceptible infecting isolate and subsequent ceftazidime-resistant variants from six patients led us to identify a common, large-scale genomic loss involving a minimum of 49 genes in all six resistant strains. Mutational analysis of wild-type B. pseudomallei demonstrated that ceftazidime resistance was due to deletion of a gene encoding a penicillin-binding protein 3 (BPSS1219) present within the region of genomic loss. The clinical ceftazidime-resistant variants failed to grow using commonly used laboratory culture media, including commercial blood cultures, rendering the variants almost undetectable in the diagnostic laboratory. Melioidosis is notoriously difficult to cure and clinical treatment failure is common in patients treated with ceftazidime, the drug of first choice across most of Southeast Asia where the majority of cases are reported. The mechanism described here represents an explanation for ceftazidime treatment failure, and may be a frequent but undetected resistance event.

White NJ. 2011. Determinants of relapse periodicity in Plasmodium vivax malaria. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 297. | Citations: 237 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax is a major cause of febrile illness in endemic areas of Asia, Central and South America, and the horn of Africa. Plasmodium vivax infections are characterized by relapses of malaria arising from persistent liver stages of the parasite (hypnozoites) which can be prevented only by 8-aminoquinoline anti-malarials. Tropical P. vivax relapses at three week intervals if rapidly eliminated anti-malarials are given for treatment, whereas in temperate regions and parts of the sub-tropics P. vivax infections are characterized either by a long incubation or a long-latency period between illness and relapse - in both cases approximating 8-10 months. The epidemiology of the different relapse phenotypes has not been defined adequately despite obvious relevance to malaria control and elimination. The number of sporozoites inoculated by the anopheline mosquito is an important determinant of both the timing and the number of relapses. The intervals between relapses display a remarkable periodicity which has not been explained. Evidence is presented that the proportion of patients who have successive relapses is relatively constant and that the factor which activates hypnozoites and leads to regular interval relapse in vivax malaria is the systemic febrile illness itself. It is proposed that in endemic areas a large proportion of the population harbours latent hypnozoites which can be activated by a systemic illness such as vivax or falciparum malaria. This explains the high rates of vivax following falciparum malaria, the high proportion of heterologous genotypes in relapses, the higher rates of relapse in people living in endemic areas compared with artificial infection studies, and, by facilitating recombination between different genotypes, contributes to P. vivax genetic diversity particularly in low transmission settings. Long-latency P. vivax phenotypes may be more widespread and more prevalent than currently thought. These observations have important implications for the assessment of radical treatment efficacy and for malaria control and elimination.

Price RN, Douglas NM, Anstey NM, von Seidlein L. 2011. Plasmodium vivax treatments: what are we looking for? Curr Opin Infect Dis, 24 (6), pp. 578-585. | Citations: 38 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: For over 50 years, the treatment of Plasmodium vivax has relied on a combination of chloroquine and primaquine, but this strategy is under threat. Chloroquine efficacy is now compromised across much of the vivax endemic world and there are significant operational difficulties in deploying primaquine. We review the recent advances in P. vivax chemotherapy that may influence the future management of this neglected pathogen. RECENT FINDINGS: New-generation artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) have shown potent efficacy against the erythrocytic stages of both drug-resistant P. vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Antimalarial regimens containing slowly eliminated drugs provide a measure of protection against the first, and possibly second, relapse of tropical strains of P. vivax, but reliable radical cure is needed to prevent future relapses. Primaquine is currently the only licensed hypnozoitocidal treatment, but requires long treatment courses and its effectiveness in different endemic settings remains largely unknown. SUMMARY: In regions coendemic for P. vivax and P. falciparum, a unified treatment policy for malaria of any parasitological cause is likely to confer the greatest individual and public health benefit. Optimizing the safety and effectiveness of primaquine through the development of rapid diagnostic tests for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and improving drug adherence will be crucial endeavors in the fight against vivax malaria.

Koh GCKW, Meijers JCM, Maude RR, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T, Wiersinga WJ. 2011. Diabetes does not influence activation of coagulation, fibrinolysis or anticoagulant pathways in Gram-negative sepsis (melioidosis). Thromb Haemost, 106 (6), pp. 1139-1148. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Diabetes is associated with a disturbance of the haemostatic balance and is an important risk factor for sepsis, but the influence of diabetes on the pathogenesis of sepsis remains unclear. Melioidosis ( Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. We sought to investigate the impact of pre-existing diabetes on the coagulation and fibrinolytic systems during sepsis caused by B.pseudomallei . We recruited a cohort of 44 patients (34 with diabetes and 10 without diabetes) with culture-proven melioidosis. Diabetes was defined as a pre-admission diagnosis of diabetes or an HbA₁c>7.8% at enrolment. Thirty healthy blood donors and 52 otherwise healthy diabetes patients served as controls. Citrated plasma was collected from all subjects; additionally in melioidosis patients follow-up specimens were collected seven and ≥ 28 days after enrolment where possible. Relative to uninfected healthy controls, diabetes per se (i.e. in the absence of infection) was characterised by a procoagulant effect. Melioidosis was associated with activation of coagulation (thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TAT), prothrombin fragment F₁+₂ and fibrinogen concentrations were elevated; PT and PTT prolonged), suppression of anti-coagulation (antithrombin, protein C, total and free protein S levels were depressed) and abnormalities of fibrinolysis (D-dimer and plasmin-antiplasmin complex [PAP] were elevated). Remarkably, none of these haemostatic alterations were influenced by pre-existing diabetes. In conclusion, although diabetes is associated with multiple abnormalities of coagulation, anticoagulation and fibrinolysis, these changes are not detectable when superimposed on the background of larger abnormalities attributable to B. pseudomallei sepsis.

Robotham JV, Graves N, Cookson BD, Barnett AG, Wilson JA, Edgeworth JD, Batra R, Cuthbertson BH, Cooper BS. 2011. Screening, isolation, and decolonisation strategies in the control of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in intensive care units: cost effectiveness evaluation BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 343 (oct05 3), pp. d5694-d5694. | Citations: 47 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Sachanonta N, Chotivanich K, Chaisri U, Turner GDH, Ferguson DJP, Day NPJ, Pongponratn E. 2011. Ultrastructural and real-time microscopic changes in P. falciparum-infected red blood cells following treatment with antimalarial drugs. Ultrastruct Pathol, 35 (5), pp. 214-225. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Ultrastructural changes to P. falciparum-infected red blood cells were examined in vitro after treatment with antimalarial drugs. Artesunate had the most rapid parasitocidal effect. All three drugs caused structural changes within the parasite, including dilatation of the parasitophorus vacuole membrane, depletion of ribosomes, mitochondrial swelling, and decreased formation of hemozoin crystals. The structure of surface knobs and Maurer's clefts were similar to controls but reduced in number. Only depletion of free ribosomes correlated with antimalarial drug exposure. Drug treatment decreased movement of hemozoin granules within parasites on real-time microscopy, before recognizable morphological changes of parasite death.

De Beaudrap P, Turyakira E, Nabasumba C, Tumwebaze B, McGready R, II BY, Etard J-F, Piola P. 2011. Impact of malaria in pregnancy on gestational age, birth weight and infant growth: a cohort study in Uganda TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 16 pp. 135-135.

Mwambi H, Ramroop S, White L, Okiro E, Nokes D, Shkedy Z, Molenberghs G. 2011. A frequentist approach to estimating the force of infection for a respiratory disease using repeated measurement data from a birth cohort. Stat Methods Med Res, 20 (5), pp. 551-570. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

This article aims to develop a probability-based model involving the use of direct likelihood formulation and generalised linear modelling (GLM) approaches useful in estimating important disease parameters from longitudinal or repeated measurement data. The current application is based on infection with respiratory syncytial virus. The force of infection and the recovery rate or per capita loss of infection are the parameters of interest. However, because of the limitation arising from the study design and subsequently, the data generated only the force of infection is estimable. The problem of dealing with time-varying disease parameters is also addressed in the article by fitting piecewise constant parameters over time via the GLM approach. The current model formulation is based on that published in White LJ, Buttery J, Cooper B, Nokes DJ and Medley GF. Rotavirus within day care centres in Oxfordshire, UK: characterization of partial immunity. Journal of Royal Society Interface 2008; 5: 1481-1490 with an application to rotavirus transmission and immunity.

Baker S, Holt KE, Clements ACA, Karkey A, Arjyal A, Boni MF, Dongol S, Hammond N, Koirala S, Duy PT et al. 2011. Combined high-resolution genotyping and geospatial analysis reveals modes of endemic urban typhoid fever transmission. Open Biol, 1 (2), pp. 110008. | Citations: 53 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Typhoid is a systemic infection caused by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, human-restricted bacteria that are transmitted faeco-orally. Salmonella Typhi and S. Paratyphi A are clonal, and their limited genetic diversity has precluded the identification of long-term transmission networks in areas with a high disease burden. To improve our understanding of typhoid transmission we have taken a novel approach, performing a longitudinal spatial case-control study for typhoid in Nepal, combining single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping and case localization via global positioning. We show extensive clustering of typhoid occurring independent of population size and density. For the first time, we demonstrate an extensive range of genotypes existing within typhoid clusters, and even within individual households, including some resulting from clonal expansion. Furthermore, although the data provide evidence for direct human-to-human transmission, we demonstrate an overwhelming contribution of indirect transmission, potentially via contaminated water. Consistent with this, we detected S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A in water supplies and found that typhoid was spatially associated with public water sources and low elevation. These findings have implications for typhoid-control strategies, and our innovative approach may be applied to other diseases caused by other monophyletic or emerging pathogens.

Rijken MJ, McGready R, Phyo AP, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Laochan N, Than HH, Mu O, Win AK, Singhasivanon P et al. 2011. Pharmacokinetics of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (12), pp. 5500-5506. | Citations: 40 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a fixed-dose artemisinin-based combination treatment. Some antimalarials have altered pharmacokinetics in pregnancy. Pregnant women in the 2nd or 3rd trimester and matched nonpregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were treated with a total of 6.4 mg/kg of body weight dihydroartemisinin and 51.2 mg/kg piperaquine once daily for 3 days. Venous blood samples were drawn at prespecified time points over 9 weeks. Plasma dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine concentrations were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin pharmacokinetics were well described. There were no significant differences in total piperaquine exposure (P = 0.80) or drug exposure during the terminal elimination phase (72 h to infinity) (P = 0.64) between the two groups. The apparent volume of distribution of piperaquine was significantly smaller (602 liters/kg versus 877 liters/kg) in pregnant women than in nonpregnant women (P = 0.0057), and the terminal elimination half-life was significantly shorter (17.8 days versus 25.6 days; P = 0.0023). Dihydroartemisinin exposure after the first dose was significantly lower (844 h × ng/ml versus 1,220 h × ng/ml, P = 0.0021) in pregnant women, but there were no significant differences in total dihydroartemisinin exposure or maximum concentrations between the two groups. There were no significant differences in any pharmacokinetic parameters between the second and third trimester. These results obtained through noncompartmental analysis suggest that in the treatment of falciparum malaria, there are no clinically important differences in the pharmacokinetics of dihydroartemisinin or piperaquine between pregnant and nonpregnant women. However, a more detailed analysis using population pharmacokinetic modeling is needed to fully investigate the differences found for some of the pharmacokinetic parameters, such as the terminal half-life.

Larsen RA, Bauer M, Pitisuttithum P, Sanchez A, Tansuphaswadikul S, Wuthiekanun V, Peacock SJ, Simpson AJH, Fothergill AW, Rinaldi MG et al. 2011. Correlation of susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans to amphotericin B with clinical outcome. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (12), pp. 5624-5630. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Testing of Cryptococcus neoformans for susceptibility to antifungal drugs by standard microtiter methods has not been shown to correlate with clinical outcomes. This report describes a modified quantitative broth macrodilution susceptibility method showing a correlation with both the patient's quantitative biological response in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the survival of 85 patients treated with amphotericin B (AMB). The Spearman rank correlation between the quantitative in vitro measure of susceptibility and the quantitative measure of the number of organisms in the patient's CSF was 0.37 (P < 0.01; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.20, 0.60) for the first susceptibility test replicate and 0.46 (P < 0.001; 95% CI, 0.21, 0.62) for the second susceptibility test replicate. The median in vitro estimated response (defined as the fungal burden after AMB treatment) at 1.5 mg/liter AMB for patients alive at day 14 was 5 CFU (95% CI, 3, 8), compared to 57 CFU (95% CI, 4, 832) for those who died before day 14. These exploratory results suggest that patients whose isolates show a quantitative in vitro susceptibility response below 10 CFU/ml were more likely to survive beyond day 14.

Dondorp AM, Fairhurst RM, Slutsker L, Macarthur JR, Breman JG, Guerin PJ, Wellems TE, Ringwald P, Newman RD, Plowe CV. 2011. The threat of artemisinin-resistant malaria. N Engl J Med, 365 (12), pp. 1073-1075. | Citations: 171 (Scopus) | Read more

White NJ. 2011. The parasite clearance curve. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 278. | Citations: 98 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Parasite clearance rates are important measures of anti-malarial drug efficacy. They are particularly important in the assessment of artemisinin resistance. The slope of the log-linear segment in the middle of the parasite clearance curve has the least inter-individual variance and is the focus of therapeutic assessment. The factors affecting parasite clearance are reviewed. Methods of presentation and the approaches to analysis are discussed.

Medana IM, Day NPJ, Sachanonta N, Mai NTH, Dondorp AM, Pongponratn E, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2011. Coma in fatal adult human malaria is not caused by cerebral oedema. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 267. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of brain oedema in the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria is controversial. Coma associated with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is multifactorial, but associated with histological evidence of parasitized erythrocyte sequestration and resultant microvascular congestion in cerebral vessels. To determine whether these changes cause breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and resultant perivascular or parenchymal cerebral oedema, histology, immunohistochemistry and image analysis were used to define the prevalence of histological patterns of oedema and the expression of specific molecular pathways involved in water balance in the brain in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. METHODS: The brains of 20 adult Vietnamese patients who died of severe malaria were examined for evidence of disrupted vascular integrity. Immunohistochemistry and image analysis was performed on brainstem sections for activation of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 and expression of the aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channel protein. Fibrinogen immunostaining was assessed as evidence of blood-brain barrier leakage and perivascular oedema formation. Correlations were performed with clinical, biochemical and neuropathological parameters of severe malaria infection. RESULTS: The presence of oedema, plasma protein leakage and evidence of VEGF signalling were heterogeneous in fatal falciparum malaria and did not correlate with pre-mortem coma. Differences in vascular integrity were observed between brain regions with the greatest prevalence of disruption in the brainstem, compared to the cortex or midbrain. There was a statistically non-significant trend towards higher AQP4 staining in the brainstem of cases that presented with coma (P = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Histological evidence of cerebral oedema or immunohistochemical evidence of localised loss of vascular integrity did not correlate with the occurrence of pre-mortem coma in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. Enhanced expression of AQP4 water channels in the brainstem may, therefore, reflect a mix of both neuropathological or attempted neuroprotective responses to oedema formation.

Gardner KB, Sinha I, Bustamante LY, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ. 2011. Protein-based signatures of functional evolution in Plasmodium falciparum. BMC Evol Biol, 11 (1), pp. 257. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: It has been known for over a decade that Plasmodium falciparum proteins are enriched in non-globular domains of unknown function. The potential for these regions of protein sequence to undergo high levels of genetic drift provides a fundamental challenge to attempts to identify the molecular basis of adaptive change in malaria parasites. RESULTS: Evolutionary comparisons were undertaken using a set of forty P. falciparum metabolic enzyme genes, both within the hominid malaria clade (P. reichenowi) and across the genus (P. chabaudi). All genes contained coding elements highly conserved across the genus, but there were also a large number of regions of weakly or non-aligning coding sequence. These displayed remarkable levels of non-synonymous fixed differences within the hominid malaria clade indicating near complete release from purifying selection (dN/dS ratio at residues non-aligning across genus: 0.64, dN/dS ratio at residues identical across genus: 0.03). Regions of low conservation also possessed high levels of hydrophilicity, a marker of non-globularity. The propensity for such regions to act as potent sources of non-synonymous genetic drift within extant P. falciparum isolates was confirmed at chromosomal regions containing genes known to mediate drug resistance in field isolates, where 150 of 153 amino acid variants were located in poorly conserved regions. In contrast, all 22 amino acid variants associated with drug resistance were restricted to highly conserved regions. Additional mutations associated with laboratory-selected drug resistance, such as those in PfATPase4 selected by spiroindolone, were similarly restricted while mutations in another calcium ATPase (PfSERCA, a gene proposed to mediate artemisinin resistance) that reach significant frequencies in field isolates were located exclusively in poorly conserved regions consistent with genetic drift. CONCLUSION: Coding sequences of malaria parasites contain prospectively definable domains subject to neutral or nearly neutral evolution on a scale that appears unrivalled in biology. This distinct evolutionary landscape has potential to confound analytical methods developed for other genera. Against this tide of genetic drift, polymorphisms mediating functional change stand out to such an extent that evolutionary context provides a useful signal for identifying the molecular basis of drug resistance in malaria parasites, a finding that is of relevance to both genome-wide and candidate gene studies in this genus.

Talpaert MJ, Gopal Rao G, Cooper BS, Wade P. 2011. Impact of guidelines and enhanced antibiotic stewardship on reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic usage and its effect on incidence of Clostridium difficile infection. J Antimicrob Chemother, 66 (9), pp. 2168-2174. | Citations: 103 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the impact of an 'intervention' consisting of revised antibiotic guidelines for empirical treatment of common infections and enhanced stewardship on reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic usage and its effect on incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). METHODS: This was a retrospective, quasi-experimental study using interrupted time series (ITS) over 12 months before and after the intervention. The setting was adult medical and surgical wards in University Hospital Lewisham, an acute general hospital in London. The intervention was introduced in April 2006. Revised guidelines avoided broad-spectrum antibiotics, e.g. fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, clindamycin, amoxicillin and co-amoxiclav, as they were considered to be 'high risk' for CDI. Instead, 'low risk' antibiotics such as penicillin, clarithromycin, doxycycline, gentamicin, vancomycin, trimethoprim and nitrofurantoin were recommended. Changes in antibiotic usage and incidence of CDI before and after the intervention were compared using segmented regression analysis. The negative binomial model was used to analyse the time series to estimate the CDI incidence rate ratio (IRR) following the intervention. RESULTS: The intervention was associated with a significant reduction in the use of fluoroquinolones by 105.33 defined daily doses (DDDs)/1000 occupied bed-days (OBDs) per month [95% confidence interval (CI) 34.18-176.48, P < 0.001] and cephalosporins by 45.93 DDDs/1000 OBDs/month (95% CI 24.11-67.74, P < 0.0001). There was no significant change in total antibiotic, clindamycin, amoxicillin or co-amoxiclav use. There was a significant decrease in CDI following the intervention [IRR 0.34 (0.20-0.58), P < 0.0001]. CONCLUSIONS: Revised antibiotic guidelines and enhanced stewardship was associated with a significant stepwise reduction in the use of cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones and a significant decrease in the incidence of CDI.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Machunter B, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2011. Ex vivo drug susceptibility of ferroquine against chloroquine-resistant isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 4461-4464. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Ferroquine (FQ; SSR97193), a ferrocene-containing 4-aminoquinoline derivate, has potent in vitro efficacy against chloroquine (CQ)-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and CQ-sensitive P. vivax. In the current study, ex vivo FQ activity was tested in multidrug-resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax field isolates using a schizont maturation assay. Although FQ showed excellent activity against CQ-sensitive and -resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax (median 50% inhibitory concentrations [IC(50)s], 9.6 nM and 18.8 nM, respectively), there was significant cross-susceptibility with the quinoline-based drugs chloroquine, amodiaquine, and piperaquine (for P. falciparum, r = 0.546 to 0.700, P < 0.001; for P. vivax, r = 0.677 to 0.821, P < 0.001). The observed ex vivo cross-susceptibility is likely to reflect similar mechanisms of drug uptake/efflux and modes of drug action of this drug class. However, the potent activity of FQ against resistant isolates of both P. falciparum and P. vivax highlights a promising role for FQ as a lead antimalarial against CQ-resistant Plasmodium and a useful partner drug for artemisinin-based combination therapy.

Annerberg A, Lwin KM, Lindegardh N, Khrutsawadchai S, Ashley E, Day NPJ, Singhasivanon P, Tarning J, White NJ, Nosten F. 2011. A small amount of fat does not affect piperaquine exposure in patients with malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 3971-3976. | Citations: 22 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a new, highly effective, and well-tolerated combination treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The lipophilic characteristic of piperaquine suggests that administration together with fat will increase the oral bioavailability of the drug, and this has been reported for healthy volunteers. This pharmacokinetic study monitored 30 adult patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria for 4.5 months to evaluate the effects of the concomitant intake of fat on the total piperaquine exposure. The fixed-drug combination of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was given with water to fasting patients (n = 15) or was coadministered with 200 ml milk containing 6.4 g fat (n = 15). The drug combination was generally well tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects reported for either group during the study. Total piperaquine exposure (area under the concentration-time curve from zero to infinity [AUC(0-∞)]; results are given as medians [ranges]) were not statistically different between fed (29.5 h · μg/ml [20.6 to 58.7 h · μg/ml]) and fasting (23.9 h · μg/ml [11.9 to 72.9 h · μg/ml]) patients, but the interindividual variation was reduced in the fed group. Overall, none of the pharmacokinetic parameters differed statistically between the groups. Total piperaquine exposure correlated well with the day 7 concentrations in the fasted group, but the fed group showed a poor correlation. In conclusion, the coadministration of 6.4 g fat did not have any significant effect on piperaquine pharmacokinetics in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

Bouillet LÉM, Dias MO, Dorigo NA, Moura AD, Russell B, Nosten F, Renia L, Braga EM, Gazzinelli RT, Rodrigues MM et al. 2011. Long-term humoral and cellular immune responses elicited by a heterologous Plasmodium vivax apical membrane antigen 1 protein prime/adenovirus boost immunization protocol. Infect Immun, 79 (9), pp. 3642-3652. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA-1) is an invasion-related Plasmodium antigen that is expressed during both intracellular and extracellular asexual stages of the parasite's life cycle, making it an ideal target for induction of humoral and cellular immune responses that can protect against malaria. We show here that when it is administered as a recombinant protein (P) in Montanide ISA720 adjuvant, followed by a recombinant human type 5 adenovirus (Ad), intense and long-lasting Plasmodium vivax AMA-1-specific antibody responses (including both IgG1 and IgG2a), as well as proliferative memory T cell responses, can be detected in immunized mice. Memory T cells displayed both central (CD44(hi) CD62L(hi)) and effector (CD44(hi) CD62L(lo)) phenotypes, with the central memory phenotype prevailing (56% of AMA-1-specific proliferating cells). Considering the main traits of the memory immune responses induced against AMA-1, this particular sequence of immunogens (P followed by Ad), but no others (Ad/Ad, Ad/P, or P/P), displayed an optimal synergistic effect. These results give further support to the need for preclinical studies of P. vivax vaccine candidate AMA-1 administered in prime/boost protocols that include recombinant proteins and adenoviral vectors.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Nawtaisong P, Jenjaroen K, Teeraratkul A, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Kantipong P, Day NPJ. 2011. Diagnostic accuracy of a loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay for detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi during acute Scrub Typhus infection. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (9), pp. e1307. | Citations: 39 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need to develop rapid and accurate point-of-care (POC) technologies for acute scrub typhus diagnosis in low-resource, primary health care settings to guide clinical therapy. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we present the clinical evaluation of loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay (LAMP) in the context of a prospective fever study, including 161 patients from scrub typhus-endemic Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. A robust reference comparator set comprising following 'scrub typhus infection criteria' (STIC) was used: a) positive cell culture isolate and/or b) an admission IgM titer ≥1∶12,800 using the 'gold standard' indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and/or c) a 4-fold rising IFA IgM titer and/or d) a positive result in at least two out of three PCR assays. Compared to the STIC criteria, all PCR assays (including LAMP) demonstrated high specificity ranging from 96-99%, with sensitivities varying from 40% to 56%, similar to the antibody based rapid test, which had a sensitivity of 47% and a specificity of 95%. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The diagnostic accuracy of the LAMP assay was similar to realtime and nested conventional PCR assays, but superior to the antibody-based rapid test in the early disease course. The combination of DNA- and antibody-based detection methods increased sensitivity with minimal reduction of specificity, and expanded the timeframe of adequate diagnostic coverage throughout the acute phase of scrub typhus.

Russell B, Suwanarusk R, Borlon C, Costa FTM, Chu CS, Rijken MJ, Sriprawat K, Warter L, Koh EGL, Malleret B et al. 2011. A reliable ex vivo invasion assay of human reticulocytes by Plasmodium vivax. Blood, 118 (13), pp. e74-e81. | Citations: 76 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Currently, there are no reliable RBC invasion assays to guide the discovery of vaccines against Plasmodium vivax, the most prevalent malaria parasite in Asia and South America. Here we describe a protocol for an ex vivo P vivax invasion assay that can be easily deployed in laboratories located in endemic countries. The assay is based on mixing enriched cord blood reticulocytes with matured, trypsin-treated P vivax schizonts concentrated from clinical isolates. The reliability of this assay was demonstrated using a large panel of P vivax isolates freshly collected from patients in Thailand.

Imwong M, Nakeesathit S, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2011. A review of mixed malaria species infections in anopheline mosquitoes. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 253. | Citations: 33 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In patients with malaria mixed species infections are common and under reported. In PCR studies conducted in Asia mixed infection rates often exceed 20%. In South-East Asia, approximately one third of patients treated for falciparum malaria experience a subsequent Plasmodium vivax infection with a time interval suggesting relapse. It is uncertain whether the two infections are acquired simultaneously or separately. To determine whether mixed species infections in humans are derived from mainly from simultaneous or separate mosquito inoculations the literature on malaria species infection in wild captured anopheline mosquitoes was reviewed. METHODS: The biomedical literature was searched for studies of malaria infection and species identification in trapped wild mosquitoes and artificially infected mosquitoes. The study location and year, collection methods, mosquito species, number of specimens, parasite stage examined (oocysts or sporozoites), and the methods of parasite detection and speciation were tabulated. The entomological results in South East Asia were compared with mixed infection rates documented in patients in clinical studies. RESULTS: In total 63 studies were identified. Individual anopheline mosquitoes were examined for different malaria species in 28 of these. There were 14 studies from Africa; four with species evaluations in individual captured mosquitoes (SEICM). One study, from Ghana, identified a single mixed infection. No mixed infections were identified in Central and South America (seven studies, two SEICM). 42 studies were conducted in Asia and Oceania (11 from Thailand; 27 SEICM). The proportion of anophelines infected with Plasmodium falciparum parasites only was 0.51% (95% CI: 0.44 to 0.57%), for P. vivax only was 0.26% (95% CI: 0.21 to 0.30%), and for mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax infections was 0.036% (95% CI: 0.016 to 0.056%). The proportion of mixed infections in mosquitoes was significantly higher than expected by chance (P < 0.001), but was one fifth of that sufficient to explain the high rates of clinical mixed infections by simultaneous inoculation. CONCLUSIONS: There are relatively few data on mixed infection rates in mosquitoes from Africa. Mixed species malaria infections may be acquired by simultaneous inoculation of sporozoites from multiply infected anopheline mosquitoes but this is relatively unusual. In South East Asia, where P. vivax infection follows P. falciparum malaria in one third of cases, the available entomological information suggests that the majority of these mixed species malaria infections are acquired from separate inoculations.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Saiprom N, Chantratita N, Chierakul W, Koh GCKW, Chaowagul W, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2011. Survey of antimicrobial resistance in clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates over two decades in Northeast Thailand. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (11), pp. 5388-5391. | Citations: 33 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A 21-year survey conducted in northeast Thailand of antimicrobial resistance to parenteral antimicrobial drugs used to treat melioidosis identified 24/4,021 (0.6%) patients with one or more isolates resistant to ceftazidime (n = 8), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (n = 4), or both drugs (n = 12). Two cases were identified at admission, and the remainder were detected a median of 15 days after starting antimicrobial therapy. Resistance to carbapenem drugs was not detected. These findings support the current prescribing recommendations for melioidosis.

Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Paris DH, Bailey MS, Day NPJ, Premaratna R, Lalloo DG, de Silva HJ. 2011. Poor diagnostic accuracy of commercial antibody-based assays for the diagnosis of acute Chikungunya infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 18 (10), pp. 1773-1775. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A Sri Lankan fever cohort (n = 292 patients; 17.8% prevalence) was used to assess two standard diagnostic Chikungunya IgM tests. The immunochromatographic test (ICT) acute sample sensitivity (SN) was 1.9 to 3.9%, and specificity (SP) was 92.5 to 95.0%. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) gave an acute sample SN of 3.9% and an SP of 92.5% and a convalescent sample SN of 84% and an SP of 91%. These assays are not suitable for the acute diagnosis of Chikungunya virus infection.

Tun N, London N, Kyaw MK, Smithuis F, Ford N, Margolis T, Drew WL, Lewallen S, Heiden D. 2011. CMV retinitis screening and treatment in a resource-poor setting: three-year experience from a primary care HIV/AIDS programme in Myanmar. J Int AIDS Soc, 14 (1), pp. 41. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cytomegalovirus retinitis is a neglected disease in resource-poor settings, in part because of the perceived complexity of care and because ophthalmologists are rarely accessible. In this paper, we describe a pilot programme of CMV retinitis management by non-ophthalmologists. The programme consists of systematic screening of all high-risk patients (CD4 <100 cells/mm3) by AIDS clinicians using indirect ophthalmoscopy, and treatment of all patients with active retinitis by intravitreal injection of ganciclovir. Prior to this programme, CMV retinitis was not routinely examined for, or treated, in Myanmar. METHODS: This is a retrospective descriptive study. Between November 2006 and July 2009, 17 primary care AIDS clinicians were trained in indirect ophthalmoscopy and diagnosis of CMV retinitis; eight were also trained in intravitreal injection. Evaluation of training by a variety of methods documented high clinical competence. Systematic screening of all high-risk patients (CD4 <100 cells/mm3) was carried out at five separate AIDS clinics throughout Myanmar. RESULTS: A total of 891 new patients (1782 eyes) were screened in the primary area (Yangon); the majority of patients were male (64.3%), median age was 32 years, and median CD4 cell count was 38 cells/mm3. CMV retinitis was diagnosed in 24% (211/891) of these patients. Bilateral disease was present in 36% of patients. Patients with active retinitis were treated with weekly intravitreal injection of ganciclovir, with patients typically receiving five to seven injections per eye. A total of 1296 injections were administered. CONCLUSIONS: A strategy of management of CMV retinitis at the primary care level is feasible in resource-poor settings. With appropriate training and support, CMV retinitis can be diagnosed and treated by AIDS clinicians (non-ophthalmologists), just like other major opportunistic infections.

Salje J, van den Ent F, de Boer P, Löwe J. 2011. Direct membrane binding by bacterial actin MreB. Mol Cell, 43 (3), pp. 478-487. | Citations: 124 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacterial actin MreB is one of the key components of the bacterial cytoskeleton. It assembles into short filaments that lie just underneath the membrane and organize the cell wall synthesis machinery. Here we show that MreB from both T. maritima and E. coli binds directly to cell membranes. This function is essential for cell shape determination in E. coli and is proposed to be a general property of many, if not all, MreBs. We demonstrate that membrane binding is mediated by a membrane insertion loop in TmMreB and by an N-terminal amphipathic helix in EcMreB and show that purified TmMreB assembles into double filaments on a membrane surface that can induce curvature. This, the first example of a membrane-binding actin filament, prompts a fundamental rethink of the structure and dynamics of MreB filaments within cells.

Mok S, Imwong M, Mackinnon MJ, Sim J, Ramadoss R, Yi P, Mayxay M, Chotivanich K, Liong K-Y, Russell B et al. 2011. Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is associated with an altered temporal pattern of transcription. BMC Genomics, 12 (1), pp. 391. | Citations: 79 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in Western Cambodia. This is a major threat to global plans to control and eliminate malaria as the artemisinins are a key component of antimalarial treatment throughout the world. To identify key features associated with the delayed parasite clearance phenotype, we employed DNA microarrays to profile the physiological gene expression pattern of the resistant isolates. RESULTS: In the ring and trophozoite stages, we observed reduced expression of many basic metabolic and cellular pathways which suggests a slower growth and maturation of these parasites during the first half of the asexual intraerythrocytic developmental cycle (IDC). In the schizont stage, there is an increased expression of essentially all functionalities associated with protein metabolism which indicates the prolonged and thus increased capacity of protein synthesis during the second half of the resistant parasite IDC. This modulation of the P. falciparum intraerythrocytic transcriptome may result from differential expression of regulatory proteins such as transcription factors or chromatin remodeling associated proteins. In addition, there is a unique and uniform copy number variation pattern in the Cambodian parasites which may represent an underlying genetic background that contributes to the resistance phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: The decreased metabolic activities in the ring stages are consistent with previous suggestions of higher resilience of the early developmental stages to artemisinin. Moreover, the increased capacity of protein synthesis and protein turnover in the schizont stage may contribute to artemisinin resistance by counteracting the protein damage caused by the oxidative stress and/or protein alkylation effect of this drug. This study reports the first global transcriptional survey of artemisinin resistant parasites and provides insight to the complexities of the molecular basis of pathogens with drug resistance phenotypes in vivo.

Hanson J, Hasan MMU, Royakkers AA, Alam S, Charunwatthana P, Maude RJ, Douthwaite ST, Yunus EB, Mantha ML, Schultz MJ et al. 2011. Laboratory prediction of the requirement for renal replacement in acute falciparum malaria. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 217. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute renal failure is a common complication of severe malaria in adults, and without renal replacement therapy (RRT), it carries a poor prognosis. Even when RRT is available, delaying its initiation may increase mortality. Earlier identification of patients who will need RRT may improve outcomes. METHOD: Prospectively collected data from two intervention studies in adults with severe malaria were analysed focusing on laboratory features on presentation and their association with a later requirement for RRT. In particular, laboratory indices of acute tubular necrosis (ATN) and acute kidney injury (AKI) that are used in other settings were examined. RESULTS: Data from 163 patients were available for analysis. Whether or not the patients should have received RRT (a retrospective assessment determined by three independent reviewers) was used as the reference. Forty-three (26.4%) patients met criteria for dialysis, but only 19 (44.2%) were able to receive this intervention due to the limited availability of RRT. Patients with impaired renal function on admission (creatinine clearance < 60 ml/min) (n = 84) had their laboratory indices of ATN/AKI analysed. The plasma creatinine level had the greatest area under the ROC curve (AUC): 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.74-0.92), significantly better than the AUCs for, urinary sodium level, the urea to creatinine ratio (UCR), the fractional excretion of urea (FeUN) and the urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalcin (NGAL) level. The AUC for plasma creatinine was also greater than the AUC for blood urea nitrogen level, the fractional excretion of sodium (FeNa), the renal failure index (RFI), the urinary osmolality, the urine to plasma creatinine ratio (UPCR) and the creatinine clearance, although the difference for these variables did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: In adult patients with severe malaria and impaired renal function on admission, none of the evaluated laboratory indices was superior to the plasma creatinine level when used to predict a later requirement for renal replacement therapy.

Khennavong M, Davone V, Vongsouvath M, Phetsouvanh R, Silisouk J, Rattana O, Mayxay M, Castonguay-Vanier J, Moore CE, Strobel M, Newton PN. 2011. Urine antibiotic activity in patients presenting to hospitals in Laos: implications for worsening antibiotic resistance. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 85 (2), pp. 295-302. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Widespread use of antibiotics may be important in the spread of antimicrobial resistance. We estimated the proportion of Lao in- and outpatients who had taken antibiotics before medical consultation by detecting antibiotic activity in their urine added to lawns of Bacillus stearothermophilus, Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus pyogenes. In the retrospective (N = 2,058) and prospective studies (N = 1,153), 49.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 47.4-52.0) and 36.2% (95% CI = 33.4-38.9), respectively, of Vientiane patients had urinary antibiotic activity detected. The highest frequency of estimated antibiotic pre-treatment was found in patients recruited with suspected central nervous system infections and community-acquired septicemia (both 56.8%). In Vientiane, children had a higher frequency of estimated antibiotic pre-treatment than adults (60.0% versus 46.5%; P < 0.001). Antibiotic use based on patients histories was significantly less frequent than when estimated from urinary antibiotic activity (P < 0.0001).

Mohanty S, Mishra SK, Patnaik R, Dutt AK, Pradhan S, Das B, Patnaik J, Mohanty AK, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM. 2011. Brain swelling and mannitol therapy in adult cerebral malaria: a randomized trial. Clin Infect Dis, 53 (4), pp. 349-355. | Citations: 46 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Coma is a frequent presentation of severe malaria in adults and an important cause of death. The role of cerebral swelling in its pathogenesis, and the possible benefit of intravenous mannitol therapy to treat this, is uncertain. METHODS: A computed tomographic (CT) scan of the cerebrum and lumbar puncture with measurement of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure were performed on admission for 126 consecutive adult Indian patients with cerebral malaria. Patients with brain swelling on CT scan were randomized to adjunctive treatment with intravenous mannitol (1.5 g/kg followed by 0.5 g/kg every 8 hours; n = 30) or no adjunctive therapy (n = 31). RESULTS: On CT scan 80 (63%) of 126 patients had cerebral swelling, of whom 36 (29%) had moderate or severe swelling. Extent of brain swelling was not related to coma depth or mortality. CSF pressures were elevated (≥200 mm H(2)O) in 43 (36%) of 120 patients and correlated with CT scan findings (P for trend = .001). Mortality with mannitol therapy was 9 (30%) of 30 versus 4 (13%) of 31 without adjunctive therapy (hazard ratio, 2.4 [95% confidence interval, 0.8-7.3]; P = .11). Median coma recovery time was 90 hours (range, 22-380 hours) with mannitol versus 32 hours (range, 5-168 hours) without (P = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Brain swelling on CT scan is a common finding in adult patients with cerebral malaria but is not related to coma depth or survival. Mannitol therapy as adjunctive treatment for brain swelling in adult cerebral malaria prolongs coma duration and may be harmful.

Biot C, Nosten F, Fraisse L, Ter-Minassian D, Khalife J, Dive D. 2011. The antimalarial ferroquine: from bench to clinic. Parasite, 18 (3), pp. 207-214. | Citations: 89 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Ferroquine (FQ, SSR97193) is currently the most advanced organo-metallic drug candidate and about to complete phase II clinical trials as a treatment for uncomplicated malaria. This ferrocene-containing compound is active against both chloroquine-susceptible and chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax strains and/or isolates. This article focuses on the discovery of FQ, its antimalarial activity, the hypothesis of its mode of action, the current absence of resistance in vitro and recent clinical trials.

Vinh H, Anh VTC, Anh ND, Campbell JI, Hoang NVM, Nga TVT, Nhu NTK, Minh PV, Thuy CT, Duy PT et al. 2011. A multi-center randomized trial to assess the efficacy of gatifloxacin versus ciprofloxacin for the treatment of shigellosis in Vietnamese children. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (8), pp. e1264. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The bacterial genus Shigella is the leading cause of dysentery. There have been significant increases in the proportion of Shigella isolated that demonstrate resistance to nalidixic acid. While nalidixic acid is no longer considered as a therapeutic agent for shigellosis, the fluoroquinolone ciprofloxacin is the current recommendation of the World Health Organization. Resistance to nalidixic acid is a marker of reduced susceptibility to older generation fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin. We aimed to assess the efficacy of gatifloxacin versus ciprofloxacin in the treatment of uncomplicated shigellosis in children. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted a randomized, open-label, controlled trial with two parallel arms at two hospitals in southern Vietnam. The study was designed as a superiority trial and children with dysentery meeting the inclusion criteria were invited to participate. Participants received either gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) in a single daily dose for 3 days or ciprofloxacin (30 mg/kg/day) in two divided doses for 3 days. The primary outcome measure was treatment failure; secondary outcome measures were time to the cessation of individual symptoms. Four hundred and ninety four patients were randomized to receive either gatifloxacin (n=249) or ciprofloxacin (n=245), of which 107 had a positive Shigella stool culture. We could not demonstrate superiority of gatifloxacin and observed similar clinical failure rate in both groups (gatifloxacin; 12.0% and ciprofloxacin; 11.0%, p=0.72). The median (inter-quartile range) time from illness onset to cessation of all symptoms was 95 (66-126) hours for gatifloxacin recipients and 93 (68-120) hours for the ciprofloxacin recipients (Hazard Ratio [95%CI]=0.98 [0.82-1.17], p=0.83). CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that in Vietnam, where nalidixic acid resistant Shigellae are highly prevalent, ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin are similarly effective for the treatment of acute shigellosis.

Trung TT, Hetzer A, Göhler A, Topfstedt E, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Steinmetz I. 2011. Highly sensitive direct detection and quantification of Burkholderia pseudomallei bacteria in environmental soil samples by using real-time PCR. Appl Environ Microbiol, 77 (18), pp. 6486-6494. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The soil bacterium and potential biothreat agent Burkholderia pseudomallei causes the infectious disease melioidosis, which is naturally acquired through environmental contact with the bacterium. Environmental detection of B. pseudomallei represents the basis for the development of a geographical risk map for humans and livestock. The aim of the present study was to develop a highly sensitive, culture-independent, DNA-based method that allows direct quantification of B. pseudomallei from soil. We established a protocol for B. pseudomallei soil DNA isolation, purification, and quantification by quantitative PCR (qPCR) targeting a type three secretion system 1 single-copy gene. This assay was validated using 40 soil samples from Northeast Thailand that underwent parallel bacteriological culture. All 26 samples that were B. pseudomallei positive by direct culture were B. pseudomallei qPCR positive, with a median of 1.84 × 10(4) genome equivalents (range, 3.65 × 10(2) to 7.85 × 10(5)) per gram of soil, assuming complete recovery of DNA. This was 10.6-fold (geometric mean; range, 1.1- to 151.3-fold) higher than the bacterial count defined by direct culture. Moreover, the qPCR detected B. pseudomallei in seven samples (median, 36.9 genome equivalents per g of soil; range, 9.4 to 47.3) which were negative by direct culture. These seven positive results were reproduced using a nested PCR targeting a second, independent B. pseudomallei-specific sequence. Two samples were direct culture and qPCR negative but nested PCR positive. Five samples were negative by both PCR methods and culture. In conclusion, our PCR-based system provides a highly specific and sensitive tool for the quantitative environmental surveillance of B. pseudomallei.

Pumpuang A, Chantratita N, Wikraiphat C, Saiprom N, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ, Wuthiekanun V. 2011. Survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei in distilled water for 16 years. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 105 (10), pp. 598-600. | Citations: 35 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei was examined after being maintained in distilled water at 25°C for 16 years. The Gram stain was atypical (pale pink cocci or coccobacilli). The estimated number of live and dead B. pseudomallei was 3.8×10(7) cells/ml and 1.4×10(5) cells/ml, respectively. A colony count on agar of 1.0×10(6) cfu/ml suggested that a proportion of cells were in a viable but non-culturable state. Colony morphology was different from the parental isolate for 84% of colonies. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of AvrII DNA restriction fragments revealed six different but related banding patterns, which may represent genomic rearrangement.

Maude RJ, Saralamba S, Lewis A, Sherwood D, White NJ, Day NPJ, Dondorp AM, White LJ. 2011. Modelling malaria elimination on the internet. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 191. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Unprecedented efforts are underway to eliminate malaria. Mathematical modelling can help to determine the optimal strategies for malaria elimination in different epidemiological settings. This is necessary as there is limited scope for expensive and time-consuming field studies and failure of planned elimination strategies is likely to discourage ongoing investment by funders. However, there has been very little modelling of malaria elimination and little direct involvement of policymakers in its development. There is thus an urgent need for user-friendly and accessible models purpose-designed in collaboration with policymakers to answer pertinent questions arising from the field. RESULTS: An internet site is presented with a simple mathematical modelling platform for population level models of malaria elimination. It is freely accessible to all and designed to be flexible so both the platform and models can be developed through interaction with users. The site is an accessible introduction to modelling for a non-mathematical audience, and lessons learned from the project will help inform future development of mathematical models and improve communication of modelling results. Currently it hosts a simple model of strategies for malaria elimination and this will be developed, and more models added, over time. The iterative process of feedback and development will result in an educational and planning tool for non-modellers to assist with malaria elimination efforts worldwide. CONCLUSIONS: By collaboration with end users, iterative development of mathematical models of malaria elimination through this internet platform will maximize its potential as an educational and public health policy planning tool. It will also assist with preliminary optimisation of local malaria elimination strategies before commitment of valuable resources.

Christopher S, Verghis RM, Antonisamy B, Sowmyanarayanan TV, Brahmadathan KN, Kang G, Cooper BS. 2011. Transmission dynamics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a medical intensive care unit in India PLoS ONE, 6 (7), | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a global pathogen and an important but seldom investigated cause of morbidity and mortality in lower and middle-income countries where it can place a major burden on limited resources. Quantifying nosocomial transmission in resource-poor settings is difficult because molecular typing methods are prohibitively expensive. Mechanistic statistical models can overcome this problem with minimal cost. We analyse the transmission dynamics of MRSA in a hospital in south India using one such approach and provide conservative estimates of the organism's economic burden. Methods and Findings: Fifty months of MRSA infection data were collected retrospectively from a Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) in a tertiary hospital in Vellore, south India. Data were analysed using a previously described structured hidden Markov model. Seventy-two patients developed MRSA infections and, of these, 49 (68%) died in the MICU. We estimated that 4.2% (95%CI 1.0, 19.0) of patients were MRSA-positive when admitted, that there were 0.39 MRSA infections per colonized patient month (0.06, 0.73), and that the ward-level reproduction number for MRSA was 0.42 (0.08, 2.04). Anti-MRSA antibiotic treatment costs alone averaged $124/patient, over three times the monthly income of more than 40% of the Indian population. Conclusions: Our analysis of routine data provides the first estimate of the nosocomial transmission potential of MRSA in India. The high levels of transmission estimated underline the need for cost-effective interventions to reduce MRSA transmission in hospital settings in low and middle income countries. © 2011 Christopher et al.

Lubell Y, Turner P, Ashley EA, White NJ. 2011. Susceptibility of bacterial isolates from community-acquired infections in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to macrolide antibiotics. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (10), pp. 1192-1205. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To review the literature on the susceptibility of common community pathogens in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to the macrolide antibiotics. METHODS: Inclusion criteria required that isolates were collected since 2004 to ensure results were of contemporary relevance. The data were aggregated by region, age group and sterility of site of culture sample. RESULTS: A total of 51 studies were identified, which reported the macrolide antimicrobial susceptibilities of common bacterial pathogens isolated since 2004. In general, there was less macrolide resistance in African than in Asian isolates. Most African studies reported high levels of macrolide susceptibility in Streptococcus pneumoniae, whereas most Chinese studies reported high levels of resistance. There was very little information available for Gram-negative organisms. CONCLUSIONS: Susceptibility of the pneumococcus to macrolides in SSA remains high in many areas, and good activity of azithromycin has been shown against Salmonellae spp. in Asia. In urban areas where high antibiotic consumption is prevalent, there was evidence of increased resistance to macrolides. However, there is no information on susceptibility from large areas in both continents.

Jamsen KM, Duffull SB, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, White NJ, Simpson JA. 2011. Optimal designs for population pharmacokinetic studies of oral artesunate in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 181. | Citations: 12 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Currently, population pharmacokinetic (PK) studies of anti-malarial drugs are designed primarily by the logistical and ethical constraints of taking blood samples from patients, and the statistical models that are fitted to the data are not formally considered. This could lead to imprecise estimates of the target PK parameters, and/or designs insufficient to estimate all of the parameters. Optimal design methodology has been developed to determine blood sampling schedules that will yield precise parameter estimates within the practical constraints of sampling the study populations. In this work optimal design methods were used to determine sampling designs for typical future population PK studies of dihydroartemisinin, the principal biologically active metabolite of oral artesunate. METHODS: Optimal designs were derived using freely available software and were based on appropriate structural PK models from an analysis of data or the literature and key sampling constraints identified in a questionnaire sent to active malaria researchers (3-4 samples per patient, at least 15 minutes between samples). The derived optimal designs were then evaluated via simulation-estimation. RESULTS: The derived optimal sampling windows were 17 to 29 minutes, 30 to 57 minutes, 2.5 to 3.7 hours and 5.8 to 6.6 hours for non-pregnant adults; 16 to 29 minutes, 31 minutes to 1 hour, 2.0 to 3.4 hours and 5.5 to 6.6 hours for designs with non-pregnant adults and children and 35 to 59 minutes, 1.2 to 3.4 hours, 3.4 to 4.9 hours and 6.0 to 8.0 hours for pregnant women. The optimal designs resulted in acceptable precision of the PK parameters. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed sampling designs in this paper are robust and efficient and should be considered in future PK studies of oral artesunate where only three or four blood samples can be collected.

Lubell Y, Riewpaiboon A, Dondorp AM, von Seidlein L, Mokuolu OA, Nansumba M, Gesase S, Kent A, Mtove G, Olaosebikan R et al. 2011. Cost-effectiveness of parenteral artesunate for treating children with severe malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Bull World Health Organ, 89 (7), pp. 504-512. | Citations: 26 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To explore the cost-effectiveness of parenteral artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria in children and its potential impact on hospital budgets. METHODS: The costs of inpatient care of children with severe malaria were assessed in four of the 11 sites included in the African Quinine Artesunate Malaria Treatment trial, conducted with over 5400 children. The drugs, laboratory tests and intravenous fluids provided to 2300 patients from admission to discharge were recorded, as was the length of inpatient stay, to calculate the cost of inpatient care. The data were matched with pooled clinical outcomes and entered into a decision model to calculate the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted and the cost per death averted. FINDINGS: The mean cost of treating severe malaria patients was similar in the two study groups: 63.5 United States dollars (US$) (95% confidence interval, CI: 61.7-65.2) in the quinine arm and US$ 66.5 (95% CI: 63.7-69.2) in the artesunate arm. Children treated with artesunate had 22.5% lower mortality than those treated with quinine and the same rate of neurological sequelae: (artesunate arm: 2.3 DALYs per patient; quinine arm: 3.0 DALYs per patient). Compared with quinine as a baseline, artesunate showed an incremental cost per DALY averted and an incremental cost per death averted of US$ 3.8 and US$ 123, respectively. CONCLUSION: Artesunate is a highly cost-effective and affordable alternative to quinine for treating children with severe malaria. The budgetary implications of adopting artesunate for routine use in hospital-based care are negligible.

Canavati S, Plugge E, Suwanjatuporn S, Sombatrungjaroen S, Nosten F. 2011. Barriers to immunization among children of migrant workers from Myanmar living in Tak province, Thailand. Bull World Health Organ, 89 (7), pp. 528-531. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PROBLEM: Immunization is a cost-effective means of improving child survival but implementation of programmes in low- and middle-income countries is variable. Children of migrants are less likely to be immunized. APPROACH: The qualitative study aimed to identify barriers to the successful implementation of migrant immunization programmes in Tak province, Thailand. We ran a total of 53 focus groups involving 371 participants in three sites. LOCAL SETTING: Tak province in Thailand borders Myanmar and has an estimated 200,000 migrants from Myanmar. Vaccine-preventable diseases are a documented cause of morbidity in this population but there is no systematic or coordinated immunization programme in the area. RELEVANT CHANGES: As a result of the findings, the subsequent immunization campaign targeted children in school to overcome those barriers of distance to immunization services, fear of arrest, not remembering immunization appointments, and the disruption of parental work. The campaigns also included immunization education for both parents and teachers. LESSONS LEARNT: Migrant parents identified similar barriers to accessing childhood immunization programmes as migrant populations elsewhere in the world, although a unique barrier identified by parents from Myanmar was "fear of arrest". The subsequent school-based strategy to overcome these barriers appears to be effective.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Pattayaso J, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2011. Quantification of dihydroartemisinin, artesunate and artemisinin in human blood: overcoming the technical challenge of protecting the peroxide bridge. Bioanalysis, 3 (14), pp. 1613-1624. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Quantification of artemisinin (ARN) and its derivatives in whole blood has hitherto been thought impossible. RESULTS: A LC-MS/MS method for the analysis of artesunate (ARS), its metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and artemisinin in human whole blood has been developed and successfully validated. The method includes stabilization of the blood matrix at the time of collection and at the time of analysis. Addition of potassium dichromate to the blood samples deactivated the Fe(2+) core in hemoglobin, while deferoxamine chelated Fe(3+) and prevented back conversion into Fe(2+). A pilot study showed that the blood:plasma ratio for ARS and DHA is approximately 0.75, indicating a significantly lower uptake in red blood cells than had previously been estimated using radiolabeled drug methodology. CONCLUSIONS: The developed LC-MS/MS assay is the first method available for quantification of ARN and its derivatives in blood and opens up new possibilities of studying these drugs inside infected red blood cells.

Salam AP, Khan N, Malnick H, Kenna DTD, Dance DAB, Klein JL. 2011. Melioidosis acquired by traveler to Nigeria. Emerg Infect Dis, 17 (7), pp. 1296-1298. | Citations: 17 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe melioidosis associated with travel to Nigeria in a woman with diabetes, a major predisposing factor for this infection. With the prevalence of diabetes projected to increase dramatically in many developing countries, the global reach of melioidosis may expand.

Rijken MJ, McGready R, Jullien V, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Phyo AP, Win AK, Hsi P, Cammas M, Singhasivanon P et al. 2011. Pharmacokinetics of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in pregnant and postpartum women with Plasmodium vivax malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 4338-4342. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to study the pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine during pregnancy, 24 pregnant women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and with Plasmodium vivax malaria were treated with amodiaquine (10 mg/kg of body weight/day) for 3 days. The same women were studied again at 3 months postpartum. Plasma was analyzed for amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine by use of a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method. Individual concentration-time data were evaluated using noncompartmental analysis. There were no clinically relevant differences in the pharmacokinetics of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine between pregnant (n = 24) and postpartum (n = 18) women. The results suggest that the current amodiaquine dosing regimen is adequate for the treatment of P. vivax infections during pregnancy.

Ashley EA, Lubell Y, White NJ, Turner P. 2011. Antimicrobial susceptibility of bacterial isolates from community acquired infections in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asian low and middle income countries. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (9), pp. 1167-1179. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Antimicrobial resistance has arisen across the globe in both nosocomial and community settings as a consequence of widespread antibiotic consumption. Poor availability of laboratory diagnosis means that resistance frequently goes unrecognised and may only be detected as clinical treatment failure. In this review, we provide an overview of the reported susceptibility of common community acquired bacterial pathogens in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to the antibiotics that are most widely used in these areas. METHODS: We reviewed the literature for reports of the susceptibility of prevalent pathogens in the community in SSA and Asia to a range of commonly prescribed antibiotics. Inclusion criteria required that isolates were collected since 2004 and that they were obtained from either normally sterile sites or urine. The data were aggregated by region and by age group. RESULTS: Eighty-three studies were identified since 2004 which reported the antimicrobial susceptibilities of common bacterial pathogens. Different methods were used to assess in-vitro susceptibility in the different studies. The quality of testing (evidenced by resistance profiles) also varied considerably. For Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis most drugs maintained relatively high efficacy, apart from co-trimoxazole to which there were high levels of resistance in most of the pathogens surveyed. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with the enormous infectious disease burden and widespread use of antibiotics there are relatively few reliable data on antimicrobial susceptibility from tropical Asia and Africa upon which to draw firm conclusions, although it is evident that many commonly used antibiotics face considerable resistance in prevalent bacterial pathogens. This is likely to exacerbate morbidity and mortality. Investment in improved antimicrobial susceptibility testing and surveillance systems is likely to be a highly cost-effective strategy and should be complemented by centralized and readily accessible information resources.

Ford NP, de Smet M, Kolappa K, White NJ. 2011. Responding to the evidence for the management of severe malaria. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (9), pp. 1085-1086. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Pukrittayakamee S, Jittamala P, Stepniewska K, Lindegardh N, Chueasuwanchai S, Leowattana W, Phakdeeraj A, Permpunpanich S, Hanpithakpong W, Pan-Ngum W et al. 2011. An open-label crossover study to evaluate potential pharmacokinetic interactions between oral oseltamivir and intravenous zanamivir in healthy Thai adults. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 4050-4057. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is no parenteral formulation of the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir, the most widely used anti-influenza virus drug. Oseltamivir resistance is an increasing problem. Zanamivir is effective against the most prevalent oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses. A parenteral formulation of zanamivir is in development for the treatment of severe influenza. It is not known if there is any pharmacokinetic interaction between the two drugs. Sixteen healthy Thai adult volunteers were studied in an open-label, four-period, randomized two-sequence crossover pharmacokinetic study in which zanamivir was given by constant-rate infusion or slow intravenous injection either alone or together with oral oseltamivir. Plasma concentration profiles of oseltamivir, the active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate, and zanamivir were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry. Both drugs were well tolerated alone and in combination. The maximum plasma concentrations and the areas under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC) of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were not significantly different when oseltamivir was given separately or together with zanamivir. Maximum plasma concentrations of zanamivir were 10% (95% confidence interval, 7 to 12%) higher when zanamivir was infused concurrently with oral oseltamivir than with infusions before or after oral oseltamivir. The plasma zanamivir total AUC was positively correlated with the total oseltamivir carboxylate AUC (Pearson's correlation coefficient [r(P)] = 0.720, P = 0.002, n = 16) but not with the oseltamivir AUC (r(p) = 0.121, n = 16). There is no clinically significant pharmacokinetic interaction between oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Carrara VI, Hogan C, De Pree C, Nosten F, McGready R. 2011. Improved pregnancy outcome in refugees and migrants despite low literacy on the Thai-Burmese border: results of three cross-sectional surveys. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 11 (1), pp. 45. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Maternal and infant health has been associated with maternal education level, which is highly associated with literacy. We aimed at estimating literacy rates among reproductive age women attending antenatal clinics in camps for refugees and in migrant clinics in Tak province, north-western Thailand, to determine whether illiteracy had an impact on birth outcomes. METHODS: Three reading assessments were conducted using an identical method each time, in 1995-97, 2003 and 2008. Midwives chose at random one of four pre-set sentences. Each woman was asked to read aloud and scoring was based on a "pass/fail" system. Pregnancy outcomes were compared with maternal literacy rate. RESULTS: Overall, 47% (1149/2424) of women were able to read. A significant improvement was observed among migrant (34% in 2003 vs. 46% in 2008, p = 0.01), but not refugee (47% in 1995-97, 49% in 2003, and 51% in 2008) women. Literate women were significantly more likely to be of non-Karen ethnicity, primigravidae, non-smokers, to remain free from malaria during pregnancy and to deliver in a health clinic. Significant improvements in pregnancy outcome (reductions in premature births, low birth weight newborns and neonatal death) between 1995-97 and 2003 were unrelated to literacy. CONCLUSIONS: Significant reductions in poor pregnancy outcome over time have not been driven by changes in literacy rates, which have remained low. Access to early diagnosis and treatment of malaria in this population, and delivery with skilled birth attendants, despite ongoing low literacy, appears to have played a significant role.

Campino S, Auburn S, Kivinen K, Zongo I, Ouedraogo J-B, Mangano V, Djimde A, Doumbo OK, Kiara SM, Nzila A et al. 2011. Population genetic analysis of Plasmodium falciparum parasites using a customized Illumina GoldenGate genotyping assay. PLoS One, 6 (6), pp. e20251. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The diversity in the Plasmodium falciparum genome can be used to explore parasite population dynamics, with practical applications to malaria control. The ability to identify the geographic origin and trace the migratory patterns of parasites with clinically important phenotypes such as drug resistance is particularly relevant. With increasing single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery from ongoing Plasmodium genome sequencing projects, a demand for high SNP and sample throughput genotyping platforms for large-scale population genetic studies is required. Low parasitaemias and multiple clone infections present a number of challenges to genotyping P. falciparum. We addressed some of these issues using a custom 384-SNP Illumina GoldenGate assay on P. falciparum DNA from laboratory clones (long-term cultured adapted parasite clones), short-term cultured parasite isolates and clinical (non-cultured isolates) samples from East and West Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Eighty percent of the SNPs (n = 306) produced reliable genotype calls on samples containing as little as 2 ng of total genomic DNA and on whole genome amplified DNA. Analysis of artificial mixtures of laboratory clones demonstrated high genotype calling specificity and moderate sensitivity to call minor frequency alleles. Clear resolution of geographically distinct populations was demonstrated using Principal Components Analysis (PCA), and global patterns of population genetic diversity were consistent with previous reports. These results validate the utility of the platform in performing population genetic studies of P. falciparum.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuvan G, Pangmee S, Amornchai P, Teparrakkul P, Teerawattanasook N, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2011. Repeat blood culture positive for B. pseudomallei indicates an increased risk of death from melioidosis. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (6), pp. 858-861. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, a bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, is notoriously difficult to cure despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy and has a mortality rate of up to 40%. We demonstrate that a blood culture positive for B. pseudomallei taken at the end of the first and/or second week after hospitalization for melioidosis is a strong prognostic factor for death (adjusted odds ratio = 4.2, 95% confidence interval = 2.1-8.7, P < 0.001 and adjusted odds ratio = 2.6, 95% confidence interval = 1.1-6.0, P = 0.03, respectively). However, repeat cultures of respiratory secretions, urine, throat swabs, or pus/surface swabs provide no prognostic information. This finding highlights the need for follow-up blood cultures in patients with melioidosis.

Peacock SJ, Cheng AC, Currie BJ, Dance DAB. 2011. The use of positive serological tests as evidence of exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (6), pp. 1021-1022. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Hardianto SO, Tjitra E, Kenangalem E, Sugiarto P, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2011. Coma associated with microscopy-diagnosed Plasmodium vivax: a prospective study in Papua, Indonesia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (6), pp. e1032. | Citations: 34 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Coma complicates Plasmodium falciparum infection but is uncommonly associated with P. vivax. Most series of vivax coma have been retrospective and have not utilized molecular methods to exclude mixed infections with P. falciparum. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled patients hospitalized in Timika, Indonesia, with a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) ≤10 and P. vivax monoinfection on initial microscopy over a four year period. Hematological, biochemical, serological, radiological and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examinations were performed to identify other causes of coma. Repeat microscopy, antigen detection and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were performed to exclude infections with other Plasmodium species. RESULTS: Of 24 patients fulfilling enrolment criteria, 5 had clear evidence for other non-malarial etiologies. PCR demonstrated 10 mixed infections and 3 P. falciparum monoinfections. 6 (25%) patients had vivax monoinfection and no apparent alternative cause, with a median GCS of 9 (range 8-10) and a median coma duration of 42 (range 36-48) hours. CSF leukocyte counts were <10/ul (n=3); 2 of the 3 patients without CSF examination recovered with antimalarial therapy alone. One patient had a tremor on discharge consistent with a post-malarial neurological syndrome. No patient had other organ dysfunction. The only death was associated with pure P. falciparum infection by PCR. Vivax monoinfection-associated risk of coma was estimated at 1 in 29,486 clinical vivax infections with no deaths. In comparison, the risk of falciparum-associated coma was estimated at 1 in 1,276 clinical infections with an 18.5% mortality rate. CONCLUSIONS: P. vivax-associated coma is rare, occurring 23 times less frequently than that seen with falciparum malaria, and is associated with a high proportion of non-malarial causes and mixed infections using PCR. The pathogenesis of coma associated with vivax malaria, particularly the role of comorbidities, is uncertain and requires further investigation.

Veiga MI, Ferreira PE, Jörnhagen L, Malmberg M, Kone A, Schmidt BA, Petzold M, Björkman A, Nosten F, Gil JP. 2011. Novel polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum ABC transporter genes are associated with major ACT antimalarial drug resistance. PLoS One, 6 (5), pp. e20212. | Citations: 61 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chemotherapy is a critical component of malaria control. However, the most deadly malaria pathogen, Plasmodium falciparum, has repeatedly mounted resistance against a series of antimalarial drugs used in the last decades. Southeast Asia is an epicenter of emerging antimalarial drug resistance, including recent resistance to the artemisinins, the core component of all recommended antimalarial combination therapies. Alterations in the parasitic membrane proteins Pgh-1, PfCRT and PfMRP1 are believed to be major contributors to resistance through decreasing intracellular drug accumulation. The pfcrt, pfmdr1 and pfmrp1 genes were sequenced from a set of P.falciparum field isolates from the Thai-Myanmar border. In vitro drug susceptibility to artemisinin, dihydroartemisinin, mefloquine and lumefantrine were assessed. Positive correlations were seen between the in vitro susceptibility responses to artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin and the responses to the arylamino-alcohol quinolines lumefantrine and mefloquine. The previously unstudied pfmdr1 F1226Y and pfmrp1 F1390I SNPs were associated significantly with artemisinin, mefloquine and lumefantrine in vitro susceptibility. A variation in pfmdr1 gene copy number was also associated with parasite drug susceptibility of artemisinin, mefloquine and lumefantrine. Our work unveils new candidate markers of P. falciparum multidrug resistance in vitro, while contributing to the understanding of subjacent genetic complexity, essential for future evidence-based drug policy decisions.

Lacaze C, Kauss T, Kiechel J-R, Caminiti A, Fawaz F, Terrassin L, Cuart S, Grislain L, Navaratnam V, Ghezzoul B et al. 2011. The initial pharmaceutical development of an artesunate/amodiaquine oral formulation for the treatment of malaria: a public-private partnership. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 142. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapy is currently recommended worldwide for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. Fixed-dose combinations are preferred as they favour compliance. This paper reports on the initial phases of the pharmaceutical development of an artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) bilayer co-formulation tablet, undertaken following pre-formulation studies by a network of scientists and industrials from institutions of both industrialized and low income countries. METHODS: Pharmaceutical development was performed by a research laboratory at the University Bordeaux Segalen, School of Pharmacy, for feasibility and early stability studies of various drug formulations, further transferred to a company specialized in pharmaceutical development, and then provided to another company for clinical batch manufacturing. The work was conducted by a regional public-private not-for-profit network (TropiVal) within a larger Public Private partnership (the FACT project), set up by WHO/TDR, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi). RESULTS: The main pharmaceutical goal was to combine in a solid oral form two incompatible active principles while preventing artesunate degradation under tropical conditions. Several options were attempted and failed to provide satisfactory stability results: incorporating artesunate in the external phase of the tablets, adding a pH regulator, alcoholic wet granulation, dry granulation, addition of an hydrophobic agent, tablet manufacturing in controlled conditions. However, long-term stability could be achieved, in experimental batches under GMP conditions, by physical separation of artesunate and amodiaquine in a bilayer co-formulation tablet in alu-alu blisters. Conduction of the workplan was monitored by DNDi. CONCLUSIONS: Collaborations between research and industrial groups greatly accelerated the process of development of the bi-layered ASAQ tablet. Lack of public funding was the main obstacle hampering the development process, and no intellectual property right was claimed. This approach resulted in a rapid technology transfer to the drug company Sanofi-Aventis, finalizing the process of development, registration and WHO pre-qualification of the fixed-dose co-formulation together with DNDi. The bi-layered tablet is made available under the names of Coarsucam® and Artesunate amodiaquine Winthrop®, Sanofi-Aventis. The issue related to the difficulty of public institutions to valorise their participation in such initiative by lack of priority and funding of applied research is discussed.

Andersen F, Douglas NM, Bustos D, Galappaththy G, Qi G, Hsiang MS, Kusriastuti R, Mendis K, Taleo G, Whittaker M et al. 2011. Trends in malaria research in 11 Asian Pacific countries: an analysis of peer-reviewed publications over two decades. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 131. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Quantitative data are lacking on published malaria research. The purpose of the study is to characterize trends in malaria-related literature from 1990 to 2009 in 11 Asian-Pacific countries that are committed to malaria elimination as a national goal. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted for articles published from January 1990 to December 2009 in PubMed/MEDLINE using terms for malaria and 11 target countries (Bhutan, China, North Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vanuatu). The references were collated and categorized according to subject, Plasmodium species, and whether they contained original or derivative data. RESULTS: 2,700 articles published between 1990 and 2009 related to malaria in the target countries. The annual output of malaria-related papers increased linearly whereas the overall biomedical output from these countries grew exponentially. The percentage of malaria-related publications was nearly 3% (111/3741) of all biomedical publications in 1992 and decreased to less than 1% (118/12171; p < 0.001) in 2009. Thailand had the highest absolute output of malaria-related papers (n = 1211), followed by China (n = 609) and Indonesia (n = 346). Solomon Islands and Vanuatu had lower absolute numbers of publications, but both countries had the highest number of publications per capita (1.3 and 2.5 papers/1,000 population). The largest percentage of papers concerned the epidemiology and control of malaria (53%) followed by studies of drugs and drug resistance (47%). There was an increase in the proportion of articles relating to epidemiology, entomology, biology, molecular biology, pathophysiology and diagnostics from the first to the second decade, whereas the percentage of papers on drugs, clinical aspects of malaria, immunology, and social sciences decreased. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of malaria-related publications out of the overall biomedical output from the 11 target Asian-Pacific countries is decreasing. The discovery and evaluation of new, safe and effective drugs and vaccines is paramount. In addition the elimination of malaria will require operational research to implement and scale up interventions.

Maude RJ, Plewes K, Dimock J, Dondorp AM. 2011. Low-cost portable fluorescein angiography. Br J Ophthalmol, 95 (9), pp. 1213-1215. | Citations: 3 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Fundus fluorescein angiography has great potential as a unique non-invasive tool to investigate in vivo the microvascular pathogenesis of a wide variety of diseases affecting the central nervous system. However, because it requires a bulky and expensive tabletop retinal camera, it is normally limited to cooperative and alert seated patients in well-resourced settings. Recently completed and ongoing studies of the pathogenesis of severe malaria are using fluorescein angiography to examine in detail the postulated central role of microvascular obstruction. We describe a novel method of fluorescein angiography with a portable retinal camera that can be adapted at very low cost for use in sick patients at the bedside. This method greatly expands the scope of potential studies utilising fluorescein angiography.

Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2011. Melioidosis: a clinical overview. Br Med Bull, 99 (1), pp. 125-139. | Citations: 136 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Melioidosis, an infection caused by the environmental Gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, has emerged as an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. SOURCES OF DATA: a review of the literature using PubMed. AREAS OF AGREEMENT: Approaches to diagnosis and antimicrobial therapy. AREAS OF CONTROVERSY: Whether seroconversion signals the presence of a quiescent bacterial focus and an increase in long-term risk of melioidosis. AREAS TIMELY FOR DEVELOPING RESEARCH: Melioidosis is potentially preventable, but there is a striking lack of evidence on which to base an effective prevention programme. An accurate map defining the global distribution of B. pseudomallei is needed, together with studies on the relative importance of different routes of infection. There is a marked difference in mortality from melioidosis in high-income versus lower income countries, and affordable strategies that reduce death from severe sepsis (from any cause) in resource-restricted settings are needed.

Rijken MJ, Boel ME, Russell B, Imwong M, Leimanis ML, Phyo AP, Muehlenbachs A, Lindegardh N, McGready R, Rénia L et al. 2011. Chloroquine resistant vivax malaria in a pregnant woman on the western border of Thailand. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 113. | Citations: 42 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine (CQ) resistant vivax malaria is spreading. In this case, Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy and in the postpartum period were not satisfactorily cleared by CQ, despite adequate drug concentrations. A growth restricted infant was delivered. Poor susceptibility to CQ was confirmed in-vitro and molecular genotyping was strongly suggestive of true recrudescence of P. vivax. This is the first clinically and laboratory confirmed case of two high-grade CQ resistant vivax parasite strains from Thailand.

Muehlenbachs A, Fried M, McGready R, Nosten F, Duffy PE. 2011. Response to ordi et Al. J Infect Dis, 203 (11), pp. 1695-1696. | Read more

Trung TT, Hetzer A, Topfstedt E, Göhler A, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Peacock SJ, Steinmetz I. 2011. Improved culture-based detection and quantification of Burkholderia pseudomallei from soil. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 105 (6), pp. 346-351. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Environmental surveillance of the Gram-negative soil bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, the aetiological agent of melioidosis, is important in order to define human populations and livestock at risk of acquiring the infection. This study aimed to develop a more sensitive method for the detection of B. pseudomallei from soil samples in endemic areas compared with the currently used culture method based on soil dispersion in water. We report the development of a new protocol that involves soil dispersion in a polyethylene glycol (PEG) and sodium deoxycholate (DOC) solution to increase the yield of viable B. pseudomallei from soil samples. Comparative testing of soil samples from Northeast Thailand covering a wide range of B. pseudomallei concentrations demonstrated a significantly higher recovery (P<0.0001) of B. pseudomallei colony-forming units by the new method compared with the conventional method. The data indicate that using the detergents PEG and DOC not only results in a higher recovery of viable B. pseudomallei but also results in a shift in the bacterial species recovered from soil samples. Future studies on the geographical distribution and population structure of B. pseudomallei in soil are likely to benefit from the new protocol described here.

Hendriksen ICE, Mtove G, Pedro AJ, Gomes E, Silamut K, Lee SJ, Mwambuli A, Gesase S, Reyburn H, Day NPJ et al. 2011. Evaluation of a PfHRP2 and a pLDH-based rapid diagnostic test for the diagnosis of severe malaria in 2 populations of African children. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (9), pp. 1100-1107. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) now play an important role in the diagnosis of falciparum malaria in many countries where the disease is endemic. Although these tests have been extensively evaluated in uncomplicated falciparum malaria, reliable data on their performance for diagnosing potentially lethal severe malaria is lacking. METHODS: We compared a Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich-protein2 (PfHRP₂)-based RDT and a Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH)-based RDT with routine microscopy of a peripheral blood slide and expert microscopy as a reference standard for the diagnosis of severe malaria in 1898 children who presented with severe febrile illness at 2 centers in Mozambique and Tanzania. RESULTS: The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive values of the PfHRP₂-based test were 94.0%, 70.9%, 85.4%, and 86.8%, respectively, and for the pLDH-based test, the values were 88.0%, 88.3%, 93.2%, and 80.3%, respectively. At parasite counts < 1000 parasites/μL (n = 173), sensitivity of the pLDH-based test was low (45.7%), compared with that of the PfHRP₂-based test (69.9%). Both RDTs performed better than did the routine slide reading in a clinical laboratory as assessed in 1 of the centers. CONCLUSION: The evaluated PfHRP2-based RDT is an acceptable alternative to routine microscopy for diagnosing severe malaria in African children and performed better than did the evaluated pLDH-based RDT.

Hien TT, Hanpithakpong W, Truong NT, Dung NT, Toi PV, Farrar J, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Ashton M. 2011. Orally formulated artemisinin in healthy fasting Vietnamese male subjects: a randomized, four-sequence, open-label, pharmacokinetic crossover study. Clin Ther, 33 (5), pp. 644-654. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin derivatives are used in antimalarial drug combination therapy. Artemisinin and piperaquine have recently been proven to be prospective candidates for combination therapy in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate the relative bioavailability and to characterize the pharmacokinetic properties of a new micronized powder formulation of artemisinin against the previous standard Vietnamese formulation when administered as a single oral dose or in combination with piperaquine. METHODS: This was a single-center, randomized, 4-sequence, open-label, crossover study conducted in 15 healthy male Vietnamese volunteers under fasting conditions with a washout period of 3 weeks between study visits. A single oral dose of 160 or 500 mg of artemisinin was administered alone or in combination with piperaquine. Potential adverse events were monitored daily by the clinician and by using laboratory test results. Frequent blood samples were drawn for 12 hours after dose. Artemisinin was quantified in plasma using LC-MS/MS. Pharmacokinetic parameters were computed from the plasma concentration-time profiles using a noncompartmental analysis method. RESULTS: Pharmacokinetic parameters T(max), C(max), AUC(0-∞), V(d)/F, CL/F, and t(1/2) (mean [SD]) for the new formulation of artemisinin were 1.83 (0.88) hours, 178 (97) ng/mL, 504 (210) h × ng/mL, 1270 (780) L, 401 (260) L/h, and 2.21 (0.29) hours, respectively. The mean percentage of the test/reference formulation ratio for the logarithmically transformed values of C(max), AUC(0-last,) and AUC(0-∞) were 121% (90% CI, 92.5-158), 122% (90% CI, 101-148), and 120% (90% CI, 98.0-146), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This single-dose study found that the dose-normalized C(max), AUC(0-last), and AUC(0-∞) mean geometric differences between the test and reference formulations were relatively small (<40%) and will probably not have a clinical impact in the treatment of malaria infections.

Parameswaran U, Yeo T, Anstey N, Davis J, Price R, Huffam S, Hajkowicz K, McDonald M, Tong S, Spencer E et al. 2011. PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF MELIOIDOSIS AT ROYAL DARWIN HOSPITAL DURING THE 2009-2010 WET SEASON; COMPARISONS WITH THE PRECEDING 20 YEARS INTERNAL MEDICINE JOURNAL, 41 pp. 13-13.

Alasaad S, Walton S, Rossi L, Bornstein S, Abu-Madi M, Soriguer RC, Fitzgerald S, Zhu X-Q, Zimmermann W, Ugbomoiko US et al. 2011. Sarcoptes-World Molecular Network (Sarcoptes-WMN): integrating research on scabies. Int J Infect Dis, 15 (5), pp. e294-e297. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Parasites threaten human and animal health globally. It is estimated that more than 60% of people on planet Earth carry at least one parasite, many of them several different species. Unfortunately, parasite studies suffer from duplications and inconsistencies between different investigator groups. Hence, groups need to collaborate in an integrated manner in areas including parasite control, improved therapy strategies, diagnostic and surveillance tools, and public awareness. Parasite studies will be better served if there is coordinated management of field data and samples across multidisciplinary approach plans, among academic and non-academic organizations worldwide. In this paper we report the first 'Living organism-World Molecular Network', with the cooperation of 167 parasitologists from 88 countries on all continents. This integrative approach, the 'Sarcoptes-World Molecular Network', seeks to harmonize Sarcoptes epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and molecular studies from all over the world, with the aim of decreasing mite infestations in humans and animals.

Arjyal A, Basnyat B, Koirala S, Karkey A, Dongol S, Agrawaal KK, Shakya N, Shrestha K, Sharma M, Lama S et al. 2011. Gatifloxacin versus chloramphenicol for uncomplicated enteric fever: an open-label, randomised, controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (6), pp. 445-454. | Citations: 38 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We aimed to investigate whether gatifloxacin, a new generation and affordable fluoroquinolone, is better than chloramphenicol for the treatment of uncomplicated enteric fever in children and adults. METHODS: We did an open-label randomised superiority trial at Patan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal, to investigate whether gatifloxacin is more effective than chloramphenicol for treating uncomplicated enteric fever. Children and adults clinically diagnosed with enteric fever received either gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg) once a day for 7 days, or chloramphenicol (75 mg/kg per day) in four divided doses for 14 days. Patients were randomly allocated treatment (1:1) in blocks of 50, without stratification. Allocations were placed in sealed envelopes opened by the study physician once a patient was enrolled into the trial. Masking was not possible because of the different formulations and ways of giving the two drugs. The primary outcome measure was treatment failure, which consisted of at least one of the following: persistent fever at day 10, need for rescue treatment, microbiological failure, relapse until day 31, and enteric-fever-related complications. The primary outcome was assessed in all patients randomly allocated treatment and reported separately for culture-positive patients and for all patients. Secondary outcome measures were fever clearance time, late relapse, and faecal carriage. The trial is registered on, number ISRCTN 53258327. FINDINGS: 844 patients with a median age of 16 (IQR 9-22) years were enrolled in the trial and randomly allocated a treatment. 352 patients had blood-culture-confirmed enteric fever: 175 were treated with chloramphenicol and 177 with gatifloxacin. 14 patients had treatment failure in the chloramphenicol group, compared with 12 in the gatifloxacin group (hazard ratio [HR] of time to failure 0·86, 95% CI 0·40-1·86, p=0·70). The median time to fever clearance was 3·95 days (95% CI 3·68-4·68) in the chloramphenicol group and 3·90 days (3·58-4·27) in the gatifloxacin group (HR 1·06, 0·86-1·32, p=0·59). At 1 month only, three of 148 patients were stool-culture positive in the chloramphenicol group and none in the gatifloxacin group. At the end of 3 months only one person had a positive stool culture in the chloramphenicol group. There were no other positive stool cultures even at the end of 6 months. Late relapses were noted in three of 175 patients in the culture-confirmed chloramphenicol group and two of 177 in the gatifloxacin group. There were no culture-positive relapses after day 62. 99 patients (24%) experienced 168 adverse events in the chloramphenicol group and 59 (14%) experienced 73 events in the gatifloxacin group. INTERPRETATION: Although no more efficacious than chloramphenicol, gatifloxacin should be the preferred treatment for enteric fever in developing countries because of its shorter treatment duration and fewer adverse events. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Conlan JV, Jarman RG, Vongxay K, Chinnawirotpisan P, Melendrez MC, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA, Blacksell SD. 2011. Hepatitis E virus is prevalent in the pig population of Lao People's Democratic Republic and evidence exists for homogeneity with Chinese Genotype 4 human isolates. Infect Genet Evol, 11 (6), pp. 1306-1311. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and genotypic range of Hepatitis E virus (HEV) in the pig population of northern Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). We collected 181 faecal samples from indigenous-breed pigs ≤ 6 months of age and the faeces was stored in RNA stabilisation buffer due to cold-chain and transport limitations. Twenty-one (11.6%) pigs had detectable HEV RNA and 43.5% of village pig herds were infected. Based on a 240 base pair-nucleotide sequence flanking the junction of open reading frames 1, 2 and 3 (ORF1, ORF2 and ORF3) the isolates were phylogenetically classified within genotype 4. Phylogenetic analyses revealed distinct genetic groupings of the Lao HEV isolates and two groups clustered with human and pig HEV isolates from China. This was the first study to demonstrate genotype 4 HEV in Lao PDR and indicates pigs are a potential reservoir for human HEV infection.

Turner P, Turner C, Kaewcharernnet N, Mon NY, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2011. A prospective study of urinary pneumococcal antigen detection in healthy Karen mothers with high rates of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 108. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae C-polysaccharide in urine is a useful rapid diagnostic test for pneumococcal infections in adults. In young children, high rates of false positive results have been documented due to detection of concurrent nasopharyngeal pneumococcal carriage. The relationship between pneumococcal carriage and urinary antigen detection in adults from developing countries with high pneumococcal carriage prevalence has not been well established. METHODS: We nested an evaluation of the BinaxNOW S. pneumoniae test within a longitudinal mother-infant pneumococcal carriage study in Karen refugees on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Paired urine and nasopharyngeal swab specimens were collected from 98 asymptomatic women at a routine study follow-up visit. The urine specimens were analyzed with the BinaxNOW test and the nasopharyngeal swabs were semi-quantitatively cultured to identify pneumococcal colonization. RESULTS: 24/98 (25%) women were colonized by S. pneumoniae but only three (3%) had a positive BinaxNOW urine test. The sensitivity of the BinaxNOW test for detection of pneumococcal colonization was 4.2% (95% CI: 0.1-21.1%) with a specificity of 97.3% (95% CI: 90.6-99.7%). Pneumococcal colonization was not associated with having a positive BinaxNOW test (odds ratio 1.6; 95% CI: 0.0-12.7; p=0.7). CONCLUSIONS: Significant numbers of false positive results are unlikely to be encountered when using the BinaxNOW test to diagnose pneumococcal infection in adults from countries with moderate to high rates of pneumococcal colonization.

Wangdi K, Kaewkungwal J, Singhasivanon P, Silawan T, Lawpoolsri S, White NJ. 2011. Spatio-temporal patterns of malaria infection in Bhutan: a country embarking on malaria elimination. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 89. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: At the verge of elimination of malaria in Bhutan, this study was carried out to analyse the trend of malaria in the endemic districts of Bhutan and to identify malaria clusters at the sub-districts. The findings would aid in implementing the control activities. Poisson regression was performed to study the trend of malaria incidences at district level from 1994 to 2008. Spatial Empirical Bayesian smoothing was deployed to identify clusters of malaria at the sub-district level from 2004 to 2008. RESULTS: Trend of the overall districts and most of the endemic districts have decreased except Pemagatshel, which has an increase in the trend. Spatial cluster-outlier analysis showed that malaria clusters were mostly concentrated in the central and eastern Bhutan in three districts of Dagana, Samdrup Jongkhar and Sarpang. The disease clusters were reported throughout the year. Clusters extended to the non-transmission areas in the eastern Bhutan. CONCLUSIONS: There is significant decrease in the trend of malaria with the elimination at the sight. The decrease in the trend can be attributed to the success of the control and preventive measures. In order to realize the target of elimination of malaria, the control measure needs to be prioritized in these high-risk clusters of malaria.

Salwati E, Minigo G, Woodberry T, Piera KA, de Silva HD, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Coppel RL, Price RN, Anstey NM, Plebanski M. 2011. Differential cellular recognition of antigens during acute Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria. J Infect Dis, 203 (8), pp. 1192-1199. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are co-endemic in the Asia-Pacific region. Their capacity to induce and sustain diverse T-cell responses underpins protective immunity. We compared T-cell responses to the largely conserved merozoite surface protein-5 (PfMSP5) during acute and convalescent falciparum and vivax malaria. METHODS: Lymphoproliferation and IFN--γ secretion to PfMSP5 and purified protein derivate were quantified in adults with falciparum (n=34), and vivax malaria (n=12) or asymptomatic residents (n=10) of Papua, Indonesia. Responses were reassessed 7-28 days following treatment. RESULTS: The frequency of IFN-γ responders to PfMSP5 was similar in acute falciparum (63%) or vivax (67%) malaria. However, significantly more IFN-γ-secreting cells were detectable during vivax compared with falciparum infection. Purified protein derivative responses showed a similarly enhanced pattern. While rapidly lost in vivax patients, PfMSP5-specific responses in falciparum malaria remained to day 28. By contrast, frequency and magnitude of lymphoproliferation to PfMSP5 were similar for falciparum and vivax infections. CONCLUSION: Cellular PfMSP5-specific responses are most frequent during either acute falciparum or vivax malaria, indicating functional T-cell responses to conserved antigens. Both effector and central memory T-cell functions are increased. Greater IFN-γ responses in acute P. vivax, suggest enhancement of pre-existing effector T-cells during acute vivax infection.

Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, von Seidlein L, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2011. Artesunate for severe malaria in African children Reply LANCET, 377 (9772), pp. 1154-1154. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Read more

Sonthayanon P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Thaipadungpanit J, Kalambaheti T, Boonsilp S, Amornchai P, Smythe LD, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Accuracy of loop-mediated isothermal amplification for diagnosis of human leptospirosis in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (4), pp. 614-620. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a lack of diagnostic tests for leptospirosis in technology-restricted settings. We developed loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) specific for the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (rrs) of pathogenic and intermediate group Leptospira species. The lower limit of detection was 10 genomic equivalents/reaction, and analytical specificity was high; we observed positive reactions for pathogenic/intermediate groups and negative reactions for non-pathogenic Leptospira species and other bacterial species. We evaluated this assay in Thailand by using a case-control study of 133 patients with laboratory-proven leptospirosis and 133 patients with other febrile illnesses. Using admission blood, we found that the rrs LAMP showed positive results in 58 of 133 cases (diagnostic sensitivity = 43.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 35.0-52.5) and in 22 of 133 controls (diagnostic specificity = 83.5, 95% CI = 76.0-89.3). Sensitivity was high for 39 patients who were culture positive for Leptospira spp. (84.6, 95% CI = 69.5-94.1). The rrs LAMP can provide an admission diagnosis in approximately half of patients with leptospirosis, but its clinical utility is reduced by a lower specificity.

Slesak G, Mounlaphome K, Inthalad S, Phoutsavath O, Mayxay M, Newton PN. 2011. Bowel obstruction from wild bananas: a neglected health problem in Laos. Trop Doct, 41 (2), pp. 85-90. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the significance and risk factors of bowel obstruction caused by the consumption of wild bananas (BOWB) in Laos. Of six patients with BOWB in Luang Namtha, North Laos, five required enterotomy for phytobezoars. All had eaten wild banana (WB) seeds. Of 227 other patients/relatives: 91.2% had eaten WB; 46.3% had also eaten the seeds and 45.4% knew of complications resulting from eating WB; 42.3% were aware of the complications of ingesting the seeds (constipation [37.9%], appendicitis/abdominal pain/vomiting [2.6% each] and bloated stomach/death [1.3% each]). Middle/highland Lao ethnicity was associated with WB and seed consumption (odds ratio [OR] 9.91 and 2.33), male sex with WB consumption and unawareness (OR 4.31 and 1.78). At all surgically-equipped hospitals in Laos, 33/44 doctors knew of BOWB, describing patients as young adults (16/30), male (24/30) and from middleland Lao (18/30). Countrywide, 46/48 patients with BOWB required laparotomy in 2009 (incidence 0.8/100,000). All consumed WB seeds. BOWB is widespread in Laos, especially among young middleland Lao men consuming WB seeds on an empty stomach.

Limmathurotsakul D, Chantratita N, Teerawattanasook N, Piriyagitpaiboon K, Thanwisai A, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Cooper B, Peacock SJ. 2011. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the diagnosis of melioidosis: better than we thought. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (8), pp. 1024-1028. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We used Bayesian latent-class models to generate receiver operating characteristic curves and to revise the cutoff values for an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that has been developed previously for melioidosis. The new cutoff was unbiased towards misclassification caused by an imperfect gold standard and resulted in an increase in both sensitivity (from 66.4% to 80.2%) and specificity (82.1% and 95.0%).

Suwannasaen D, Mahawantung J, Chaowagul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Felgner PL, Davies H, Bancroft GJ, Titball RW, Lertmemongkolchai G. 2011. Human immune responses to Burkholderia pseudomallei characterized by protein microarray analysis. J Infect Dis, 203 (7), pp. 1002-1011. | Citations: 38 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We aimed to determine the antibody and T cell responses to Burkholderia pseudomallei of humans to select candidate vaccine antigens. METHODS: For antibody profiling, a protein microarray of 154 B. pseudomallei proteins was probed with plasma from 108 healthy individuals and 72 recovered patients. Blood from 20 of the healthy and 30 of the recovered individuals was also obtained for T cell assays. RESULTS: Twenty-seven proteins distinctively reacted with human plasma following environmental exposure or clinical melioidosis. We compared the responses according to the patient's history of subsequent relapse, and antibody response to BPSL2765 was higher in plasma from individuals who had only 1 episode of disease than in those with recurrent melioidosis. A comparison of antibody and T cell responses to 5 B. pseudomallei proteins revealed that BimA and flagellin-induced responses were similar but that BPSS0530 could induce T cell responses in healthy controls more than in recovered patients. CONCLUSIONS: By combining large-scale antibody microarrays and assays of T cell-mediated immunity, we identified a panel of novel B. pseudomallei proteins that show distinct patterns of reactivity in different stages of human melioidosis. These proteins may be useful candidates for development of subunit-based vaccines and in monitoring the risks of treatment failure and relapse.

Wilson APR, Smyth D, Moore G, Singleton J, Jackson R, Gant V, Jeanes A, Shaw S, James E, Cooper B et al. 2011. The impact of enhanced cleaning within the intensive care unit on contamination of the near-patient environment with hospital pathogens: a randomized crossover study in critical care units in two hospitals. Crit Care Med, 39 (4), pp. 651-658. | Citations: 61 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of enhanced cleaning of the near-patient environment on the isolation of hospital pathogens from the bed area and staff hands. DESIGN: Prospective randomized crossover study over the course of 1 yr. SETTING: Intensive care units at two teaching hospitals. PATIENTS: There were 1252 patients staying during enhanced cleaning and 1331 staying during standard cleaning. INTERVENTIONS: In each of six 2-month periods, one unit was randomly selected for additional twice-daily enhanced cleaning of hand contact surfaces. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Agar contact samples were taken at five sites around randomly selected bed areas, from staff hands, and from communal sites three times daily for 12 bed days per week. Patients admitted in the year commencing April 2007 were analyzed for hospital-acquired colonization and infection. Over the course of 1152 bed days, 20,736 samples were collected. Detection of environmental methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus per bed-area day was reduced during enhanced cleaning phases from 82 of 561 (14.6%) to 51 of 559 (9.1%) (adjusted odds ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.40-0.86; p = .006). Other targeted pathogens (Acinetobacter baumannii, extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Gram-negative bacteria, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and Clostridium difficile) were rarely detected. Subgroup analyses showed reduced methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus contamination on doctors' hands during enhanced cleaning (3 of 425; 0.7% vs. 11 of 423; 2.6%; adjusted odds ratio, 0.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.07-0.95; p = .025) and a trend to reduction on nurses' hands (16 of 1647; 1.0% vs. 28 of 1694; 1.7%; adjusted odds ratio 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-1.08; p = .077). All 1252 critical care patients staying during enhanced and 1,331 during standard cleaning were included, but no significant effect on patient methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus acquisition was observed (adjusted odds ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.58-1.65; p = .93). CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced cleaning reduced environmental contamination and hand carriage, but no significant effect was observed on patient acquisition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. TRIAL REGISTRY: ISRCTN. Identifier: 06298448.

Turner P, Po L, Turner C, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2011. Detection of respiratory viruses by PCR assay of nasopharyngeal swabs stored in skim milk-tryptone-glucose-glycerol transport medium. J Clin Microbiol, 49 (6), pp. 2311-2313. | Citations: 6 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We analyzed 129 paired nasopharyngeal aspirates (stored in viral transport medium [VTM]) and nasopharyngeal swabs (stored in skim milk-tryptone-glucose-glycerol [STGG] bacterial transport and storage medium) using PCRs to detect adenoviruses, influenza virus A or B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Overall, swabs stored in STGG medium without antimicrobials were found to be an acceptable alternative to aspirates stored in antimicrobial-containing VTM, with PCR agreement of 90.2% (kappa of 0.8).

Turner P, Hinds J, Turner C, Jankhot A, Gould K, Bentley SD, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2011. Improved detection of nasopharyngeal cocolonization by multiple pneumococcal serotypes by use of latex agglutination or molecular serotyping by microarray. J Clin Microbiol, 49 (5), pp. 1784-1789. | Citations: 89 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae in the nasopharynx is critical for an understanding of transmission, estimates of vaccine efficacy, and possible replacement disease. Conventional nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) culture and serotyping (the WHO protocol) is likely to underestimate multiple-serotype carriage. We compared the WHO protocol with methods aimed at improving cocolonization detection. One hundred twenty-five NPSs from an infant pneumococcal-carriage study, containing ≥ 1 serotype by WHO culture, were recultured in duplicate. A sweep of colonies from one plate culture was serotyped by latex agglutination. DNA extracted from the second plate was analyzed by S. pneumoniae molecular-serotyping microarray. Multiple serotypes were detected in 11.2% of the swabs by WHO culture, 43.2% by sweep serotyping, and 48.8% by microarray. Sweep and microarray were more likely to detect multiple serotypes than WHO culture (P < 0.0001). Cocolonization detection rates were similar between microarray and sweep, but the microarray identified the greatest number of serotypes. A common serogroup type was identified in 95.2% of swabs by all methods. WHO methodology significantly underestimates multiple-serotype carriage compared to these alternate methods. Sweep serotyping is cost-effective and field deployable but may fail to detect serotypes at low abundance, whereas microarray serotyping is more costly and technology dependent but may detect these additional minor carried serotypes.

Koh GCKW, Maude RR, Schreiber MF, Limmathurotsakul D, Wiersinga WJ, Wuthiekanun V, Lee SJ, Mahavanakul W, Chaowagul W, Chierakul W et al. 2011. Glyburide is anti-inflammatory and associated with reduced mortality in melioidosis. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (6), pp. 717-725. | Citations: 64 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Patients with diabetes mellitus are more prone to bacterial sepsis, but there are conflicting data on whether outcomes are worse in diabetics after presentation with sepsis. Glyburide is an oral hypoglycemic agent used to treat diabetes mellitus. This K(ATP)-channel blocker and broad-spectrum ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter inhibitor has broad-ranging effects on the immune system, including inhibition of inflammasome assembly and would be predicted to influence the host response to infection. METHODS: We studied a cohort of 1160 patients with gram-negative sepsis caused by a single pathogen (Burkholderia pseudomallei), 410 (35%) of whom were known to have diabetes. We subsequently studied prospectively diabetics with B. pseudomallei infection (n = 20) to compare the gene expression profile of peripheral whole blood leukocytes in patients who were taking glyburide against those not taking any sulfonylurea. RESULTS: Survival was greater in diabetics than in nondiabetics (38% vs 45%, respectively, P = .04), but the survival benefit was confined to the patient group taking glyburide (adjusted odds ratio .47, 95% confidence interval .28-.74, P = .005). We identified differential expression of 63 immune-related genes (P = .001) in patients taking glyburide, the sum effect of which we predict to be antiinflammatory in the glyburide group. CONCLUSIONS: We present observational evidence for a glyburide-associated benefit during human melioidosis and correlate this with an anti-inflammatory effect of glyburide on the immune system.

Douglas NM, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phaiphun L, van Vugt M, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Price RN. 2011. Plasmodium vivax recurrence following falciparum and mixed species malaria: risk factors and effect of antimalarial kinetics. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (5), pp. 612-620. | Citations: 73 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria commonly follows treatment of falciparum malaria in regions of co-endemicity. This is an important cause of preventable morbidity. METHODS: We examined the factors contributing to the risk of recurrence of P. vivax infection after treatment of acute falciparum malaria in a series of clinical trials conducted on the Thai-Myanmar border from 1991 through 2005. RESULTS: Overall, 10,549 patients (4960 children aged <15 years and 5589 adults) were treated for falciparum malaria; of these patients, 9385 (89.0%) had Plasmodium falciparum monoinfection and 1164 (11.0%) had mixed P. falciparum/P. vivax infections according to microscopic examinations performed at screening. The cumulative proportion of patients with P. falciparum infection recurrence by day 63 was 21.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20.3%-22.8%), and the cumulative proportion with P. vivax infection recurrence was 31.5% (95% CI, 30.1%-33.0%). Significant risk factors for P. vivax infection recurrence were mixed infection at enrollment, male sex, younger age, lower hematocrit, higher asexual P. falciparum parasite density (P < .001 for all factors), and P. falciparum gametocytemia at enrollment (P = .001). By day 63, the cumulative risk of vivax malaria after P. falciparum monoinfection was 51.1% (95% CI, 46.1%-56.2%) after treatment with rapidly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) <1 day), 35.3% (95% CI, 31.8%-39.0%) after treatment with intermediate half-life drugs (t(1/2) 1-7 days), and 19.6% (95% CI, 18.1%-21.3%) after treatment with slowly eliminated drugs (t(1/2) > 7 days) (P < .001, by test for trend). Artemisinin-based combinations containing mefloquine or piperaquine, compared with the artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-atovaquone-proguanil combinations, were associated with a 3.6-fold to 4.2-fold lower adjusted hazard ratio for P. vivax infection recurrence within 63 days after pure or mixed P. falciparum infections (P < .001, for comparisons with artesunate-mefloquine). CONCLUSIONS: On the Thai-Myanmar border, P. vivax is the most common cause of parasitological failure after treatment for falciparum malaria. Slowly eliminated antimalarials reduce the risk of early P. vivax infection recurrence.

Nantakomol D, Dondorp AM, Krudsood S, Udomsangpetch R, Pattanapanyasat K, Combes V, Grau GE, White NJ, Viriyavejakul P, Day NPJ, Chotivanich K. 2011. Circulating red cell-derived microparticles in human malaria. J Infect Dis, 203 (5), pp. 700-706. | Citations: 77 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In patients with falciparum malaria, plasma concentrations of cell-derived microparticles correlate with disease severity. Using flow cytometry, we quantified red blood cell-derived microparticles (RMPs) in patients with malaria and identified the source and the factors associated with production. RMP concentrations were increased in patients with Plasmodium falciparum (n = 29; median, 457 RMPs/μL [range, 13-4,342 RMPs/μL]), Plasmodium vivax (n = 5; median, 409 RMPs/μL [range, 281-503/μL]), and Plasmodium malariae (n = 2; median, 163 RMPs/μL [range, 127-200 RMPs/μL]) compared with those in healthy subjects (n = 11; median, 8 RMPs/μL [range, 3-166 RMPs/μL]; P = .01). RMP concentrations were highest in patients with severe falciparum malaria (P = .01). Parasitized red cells produced >10 times more RMPs than did unparasitized cells, but the overall majority of RMPs still derived from uninfected red blood cells (URBCs). In cultures, RMP production increased as the parasites matured. Hemin and parasite products induced RMP production in URBCs, which was inhibited by N-acetylcysteine, suggesting heme-mediated oxidative stress as a pathway for the generation of RMPs.

Boel ME, Lee SJ, Rijken MJ, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Tan SO, Singhasivanon P, Nosten F, McGready R. 2011. Castor Oil for Induction of Labor Obstetric Anesthesia Digest, 31 (1), pp. 37-38. | Read more

Lubell Y, Staedke SG, Greenwood BM, Kamya MR, Molyneux M, Newton PN, Reyburn H, Snow RW, D'Alessandro U, English M et al. 2011. Likely health outcomes for untreated acute febrile illness in the tropics in decision and economic models; a Delphi survey. PLoS One, 6 (2), pp. e17439. | Citations: 30 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Modelling is widely used to inform decisions about management of malaria and acute febrile illnesses. Most models depend on estimates of the probability that untreated patients with malaria or bacterial illnesses will progress to severe disease or death. However, data on these key parameters are lacking and assumptions are frequently made based on expert opinion. Widely diverse opinions can lead to conflicting outcomes in models they inform. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A Delphi survey was conducted with malaria experts aiming to reach consensus on key parameters for public health and economic models, relating to the outcome of untreated febrile illnesses. Survey questions were stratified by malaria transmission intensity, patient age, and HIV prevalence. The impact of the variability in opinion on decision models is illustrated with a model previously used to assess the cost-effectiveness of malaria rapid diagnostic tests. Some consensus was reached around the probability that patients from higher transmission settings with untreated malaria would progress to severe disease (median 3%, inter-quartile range (IQR) 1-5%), and the probability that a non-malaria illness required antibiotics in areas of low HIV prevalence (median 20%). Children living in low transmission areas were considered to be at higher risk of progressing to severe malaria (median 30%, IQR 10-58%) than those from higher transmission areas (median 13%, IQR 7-30%). Estimates of the probability of dying from severe malaria were high in all settings (medians 60-73%). However, opinions varied widely for most parameters, and did not converge on resurveying. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the uncertainty around potential consequences of untreated malaria and bacterial illnesses. The lack of consensus on most parameters, the wide range of estimates, and the impact of variability in estimates on model outputs, demonstrate the importance of sensitivity analysis for decision models employing expert opinion. Results of such models should be interpreted cautiously. The diversity of expert opinion should be recognised when policy options are debated.

Maude RJ, White NJ, White LJ. 2011. Feasibility of malaria elimination. Lancet, 377 (9766), pp. 638. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Rijken MJ, Rijken JA, Papageorghiou AT, Kennedy SH, Visser GHA, Nosten F, McGready R. 2011. Malaria in pregnancy: the difficulties in measuring birthweight. BJOG, 118 (6), pp. 671-678. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recommendations for interventions to control malaria in pregnancy are often based on studies using birthweight as the primary endpoint. Differences in birthweight may be attributable partly to methodological difficulties. We performed a structured search of the literature using 'malaria', 'pregnancy' and 'birth weight' as search terms. Of the clinical trials reporting birthweight, only 33% (14/43) gave information about the timing of the measurement and details on the scales used. Seventy seven per cent explained how gestational age was estimated. We propose a standardised method for the measurement and reporting of birthweight in future studies.

Lang T, Cheah PY, White NJ. 2011. Clinical research: time for sensible global guidelines. Lancet, 377 (9777), pp. 1553-1555. | Citations: 20 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Nickerson EK, Wuthiekanun V, Kumar V, Amornchai P, Wongdeethai N, Chheng K, Chantratita N, Putchhat H, Thaipadungpanit J, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in children in Cambodia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (2), pp. 313-317. | Citations: 22 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We previously described the first reported isolation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (a case series of pediatric community-associated MRSA infections) in Cambodia. We define the rate of pediatric MRSA carriage in the same population and characterize the associated bacterial genotypes by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. A prospective cohort study of MRSA carriage conducted over one month at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia, identified MRSA carriage in 87 (3.5%) of 2,485 children who came to the outpatient department, and 6 (4.1%) of 145 inpatients, including at least two with cases of nosocomial acquisition. Genotyping of all 93 MRSA isolates resolved 5 genotypes. Most (91%) isolates were assigned to sequence type 834. Only 28 (32%) of 87 MRSA carriers identified in the outpatient department had no history of recent healthcare contact. The study findings have important implications for healthcare in a setting where diagnostic microbiology and access to antimicrobial drugs with efficacy against MRSA are limited.

Soukaloun D, Lee SJ, Chamberlain K, Taylor AM, Mayxay M, Sisouk K, Soumphonphakdy B, Latsavong K, Akkhavong K, Phommachanh D et al. 2011. Erythrocyte transketolase activity, markers of cardiac dysfunction and the diagnosis of infantile beriberi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (2), pp. e971. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infantile beriberi is a potentially lethal manifestation of thiamin deficiency, associated with traditional post-partum maternal food avoidance, which persists in the Lao PDR (Laos). There are few data on biochemical markers of infantile thiamin deficiency or indices of cardiac dysfunction as potential surrogate markers. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A case control study of 47 infants with beriberi and age-matched afebrile and febrile controls was conducted in Vientiane, Laos. Basal and activated erythrocyte transketolase activities (ETK) and activation (α) coefficients were assayed along with plasma brain natriuretic peptide, N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and troponin T. Basal ETK (and to a lesser extent activated ETK) and plasma troponin T were the only infant biochemical markers that predicted infantile beriberi. A basal ETK ≤ 0.59 micromoles/min/gHb gave a sensitivity (95%CI) of 75.0 (47.6 to 92.7)% and specificity (95%CI) of 85.2 (66.3 to 95.8)% for predicting infantile beriberi (OR (95%CI) 15.9 (2.03-124.2); p = 0.008) (area under ROC curve = 0.80). In contrast, the α coefficient did not discriminate between cases and controls. Maternal basal ETK was linearly correlated with infant basal ETK (Pearson's r = 0.66, p < 0.001). The odds of beriberi in infants with detectable plasma troponin T was 3.4 times higher in comparison to infants without detectable troponin T (OR 3.4, 95%CI 1.22-9.73, p = 0.019). Detectable troponin T had a sensitivity (95%CI) of 78.6 (59.0 to 91.7) % and specificity (95%CI) of 56.1 (39.7 to 71.5) % for predicting infantile beriberi. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Basal ETK is a more accurate biochemical marker of infantile beriberi than the activation coefficient. Raised plasma troponin T may be a useful indicator of infantile beriberi in infants at risk and in the absence of other evident causes.

Khounnorath S, Chamberlain K, Taylor AM, Soukaloun D, Mayxay M, Lee SJ, Phengdy B, Luangxay K, Sisouk K, Soumphonphakdy B et al. 2011. Clinically unapparent infantile thiamin deficiency in Vientiane, Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (2), pp. e969. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Beriberi occurs in Vientiane, Lao PDR, among breastfed infants. Clinical disease may be the tip of an iceberg with subclinical thiamin deficiency contributing to other illnesses. Thiamin treatment could improve outcome. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A cohort of 778 sick infants admitted during one year without clinical evidence of beriberi were studied prospectively and erythrocyte transketolase assays (ETK) performed. Biochemical thiamin deficiency was defined both in terms of the activation coefficient (α>31%) and basal ETK activity <0.59 micromoles/min/gHb. Of the 778 infants, median (range) age was 5 (0-12) months, 79.2% were breastfed, 5.1% had α>31% and 13.4 % basal ETK<0.59 micromoles/min/gHb. Infants≥2 months old had a higher frequency of biochemical markers of thiamin deficiency. Mortality was 5.5% but, among infants ≥2 months old, mortality was higher in those with basal ETK<0.59 micromoles/min/gHb (3/47, 6.4%) than in those with basal ETK≥0.59 micromoles/min/gHb (1/146, 0.7%) (P=0.045, relative risk=9.32 (95%CI 0.99 to 87.5)). Multivariate regression analysis indicated that infant age≥2 months and fewer maternal years of schooling were independently associated with infant basal ETK<0.59 micromoles/min/gHb. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Clinically unapparent thiamin deficiency is common among sick infants (≥2 months old) admitted to hospital in Vientiane. This may contribute to mortality and a low clinical threshold for providing thiamin to sick infants may be needed.

Limmathurotsakul D, Cooper B, Peacock SJ, De Stavola B. 2011. Long-term outcome of Q fever endocarditis. Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (2), pp. 81. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Peacock S, Newton P. 2011. In Response The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 84 (2), pp. 359-359. | Read more

malERA Consultative Group on Modeling. 2011. A research agenda for malaria eradication: modeling. PLoS Med, 8 (1), pp. e1000403. | Citations: 50 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria modeling can inform policy and guide research for malaria elimination and eradication from local implementation to global policy. A research and development agenda for malaria modeling is proposed, to support operations and to enhance the broader eradication research agenda. Models are envisioned as an integral part of research, planning, and evaluation, and modelers should ideally be integrated into multidisciplinary teams to update the models iteratively, communicate their appropriate use, and serve the needs of other research scientists, public health specialists, and government officials. A competitive and collaborative framework will result in policy recommendations from multiple, independently derived models and model systems that share harmonized databases. As planned, modeling results will be produced in five priority areas: (1) strategic planning to determine where and when resources should be optimally allocated to achieve eradication; (2) management plans to minimize the evolution of drug and pesticide resistance; (3) impact assessments of new and needed tools to interrupt transmission; (4) technical feasibility assessments to determine appropriate combinations of tools, an associated set of target intervention coverage levels, and the expected timelines for achieving a set of goals in different socio-ecological settings and different health systems; and (5) operational feasibility assessments to weigh the economic costs, capital investments, and human resource capacities required.

Thaipadungpanit J, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Amornchai P, Boonslip S, Smythe LD, Limpaiboon R, Hoffmaster AR, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2011. Diagnostic accuracy of real-time PCR assays targeting 16S rRNA and lipL32 genes for human leptospirosis in Thailand: a case-control study. PLoS One, 6 (1), pp. e16236. | Citations: 66 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid PCR-based tests for the diagnosis of leptospirosis can provide information that contributes towards early patient management, but these have not been adopted in Thailand. Here, we compare the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of two real-time PCR assays targeting rrs or lipL32 for the diagnosis of leptospirosis in northeast Thailand. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A case-control study of 266 patients (133 cases of leptospirosis and 133 controls) was constructed to evaluate the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity (DSe & DSp) of both PCR assays. The median duration of illness prior to admission of cases was 4 days (IQR 2-5 days; range 1-12 days). DSe and DSp were determined using positive culture and/or microscopic agglutination test (MAT) as the gold standard. The DSe was higher for the rrs assay than the lipL32 assay (56%, (95% CI 47-64%) versus 43%, (95% CI 34-52%), p<0.001). No cases were positive for the lipL32 assay alone. There was borderline evidence to suggest that the DSp of the rrs assay was lower than the lipL32 assay (90% (95% CI 83-94%) versus 93%, (95%CI 88-97%), p = 0.06). Nine controls gave positive reactions for both assays and 5 controls gave a positive reaction for the rrs assay alone. The DSe of the rrs and lipL32 assays were high in the subgroup of 39 patients who were culture positive for Leptospira spp. (95% and 87%, respectively, p = 0.25). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Early detection of Leptospira using PCR is possible for more than half of patients presenting with leptospirosis and could contribute to individual patient care.

Imwong M, Russell B, Suwanarusk R, Nzila A, Leimanis ML, Sriprawat K, Kaewpongsri S, Phyo AP, Snounou G, Nosten F, Renia L. 2011. Methotrexate is highly potent against pyrimethamine-resistant Plasmodium vivax. J Infect Dis, 203 (2), pp. 207-210. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance of vivax malaria to treatment with antifolates, such as pyrimethamine (Pyr), is spreading as mutations in the dihydrofolatereductase (dhfr) genes are selected and disseminated. We tested the antitumor drug methotrexate (MTX), a potent competitive inhibitor of dhfr, against 11 Plasmodium vivax isolates ex vivo, 10 of which had multiple dhfr mutations associated with Pyr resistance. Despite high-grade resistance to Pyr (median 50% inhibitory concentration [IC₅₀], 13,345 nM), these parasites were all highly susceptible to MTX (median IC₅₀, 2.6 nM). Given its potency against Pyr-resistant P. vivax, the antimalarial potential of MTX deserves further investigation.

Slesak G, Inthalad S, Strobel M, Marschal M, Hall M, Newton PN. 2011. Chromoblastomycosis after a leech bite complicated by myiasis: a case report. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 14. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chromoblastomycosis is a chronic mycotic infection, most common in the tropics and subtropics, following traumatic fungal implantation. CASE PRESENTATION: A 72 year-old farmer was admitted to Luang Namtha Provincial Hospital, northern Laos, with a growth on the left lower leg which began 1 week after a forefoot leech bite 10 years previously. He presented with a cauliflower-like mass and plaque-like lesions on his lower leg/foot and cellulitis with a purulent tender swelling of his left heel. Twenty-two Chrysomya bezziana larvae were extracted from his heel. PCR of a biopsy of a left lower leg nodule demonstrated Fonsecaea pedrosoi, monophora, or F. nubica. He was successfully treated with long term terbinafin plus itraconazole pulse-therapy and local debridement. CONCLUSIONS: Chromoblastomycosis is reported for the first time from Laos. It carries the danger of bacterial and myiasis superinfection. Leech bites may facilitate infection.

Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, Hendriksen IC, Gomes E, Seni A, Chhaganlal KD, Bojang K, Olaosebikan R, Anunobi N, Maitland K et al. 2011. Erratum: Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): an open-label, randomised trial (The Lancet (2010) 376(9753) (1647–1657) (S0140673610619241) (10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61924-1)) The Lancet, 377 (9760), pp. 126. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2011 Elsevier Ltd Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, Hendriksen ICE, et al, for the AQUAMAT group. Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): an open-label, randomised trial. Lancet 2010; 376: 1647–57—In this Article (Nov 13), the row in table 2 for death or sequelae at 28 days in the quinine group should have been: 316/2695 (11·7%). In table 1, the data in parentheses for coma depth are IQR. The last line of the legend for figure 3 should have read: “I 2 denotes the percentage of total variation across subgroups resulting from heterogeneity rather than chance, with the p value of significance”. The title of figure 5 should have read: “Meta-analysis of all randomised controlled trials that have compared mortality of severe malaria in patients treated with parenteral artesunate versus parenteral quinine 12–16 ”. These corrections have been made to the online version as of Jan 7, 2011.

Abu Sayeed A, Maude RJ, Hasan MU, Mohammed N, Hoque MG, Dondorp AM, Faiz MA. 2011. Malarial retinopathy in Bangladeshi adults. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (1), pp. 141-147. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

To establish if assessment of malarial retinopathy in adult malaria using ophthalmoscopy by non-ophthalmologists has clinical and prognostic significance, 210 Bangladeshi adults were assessed by both direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy; 20 of 20 healthy subjects and 20 of 20 patients with vivax malaria showed no retinal changes, whereas in patients with falciparum malaria, indirect ophthalmoscopy revealed malarial retinopathy (predominantly retinal hemorrhages) in 18 of 21 (86%) fatal, 31 of 75 (41%) cerebral, 16 of 64 (25%) non-cerebral but severe, and 1 of 31 (3%) uncomplicated cases. Direct ophthalmoscopy missed retinopathy in one of these cases and found fewer retinal hemorrhages (mean difference = 3.09; 95% confidence interval = 1.50-4.68; P < 0.0001). Severity of retinopathy increased with severity of disease (P for trend < 0.0001), and renal failure, acidosis, and moderate/severe retinopathy were independent predictors of mortality by both ophthalmoscopic techniques. Direct ophthalmoscopy by non-ophthalmologists is an important clinical tool to aid diagnosis and prognosis in adults with severe malaria, and indirect ophthalmoscopy by non-ophthalmologists, although more sensitive, provides minimal additional prognostic information.

Holt KE, Dolecek C, Chau TT, Duy PT, La TTP, Hoang NVM, Nga TVT, Campbell JI, Manh BH, Vinh Chau NV et al. 2011. Temporal fluctuation of multidrug resistant salmonella typhi haplotypes in the mekong river delta region of Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (1), pp. e929. | Citations: 31 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: typhoid fever remains a public health problem in Vietnam, with a significant burden in the Mekong River delta region. Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), which is frequently multidrug resistant with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolone-based drugs, the first choice for the treatment of typhoid fever. We used a GoldenGate (Illumina) assay to type 1,500 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyse the genetic variation of S. Typhi isolated from 267 typhoid fever patients in the Mekong delta region participating in a randomized trial conducted between 2004 and 2005. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: the population of S. Typhi circulating during the study was highly clonal, with 91% of isolates belonging to a single clonal complex of the S. Typhi H58 haplogroup. The patterns of disease were consistent with the presence of an endemic haplotype H58-C and a localised outbreak of S. Typhi haplotype H58-E2 in 2004. H58-E2-associated typhoid fever cases exhibited evidence of significant geo-spatial clustering along the Sông H u branch of the Mekong River. Multidrug resistance was common in the established clone H58-C but not in the outbreak clone H58-E2, however all H58 S. Typhi were nalidixic acid resistant and carried a Ser83Phe amino acid substitution in the gyrA gene. SIGNIFICANCE: the H58 haplogroup dominates S. Typhi populations in other endemic areas, but the population described here was more homogeneous than previously examined populations, and the dominant clonal complex (H58-C, -E1, -E2) observed in this study has not been detected outside Vietnam. IncHI1 plasmid-bearing S. Typhi H58-C was endemic during the study period whilst H58-E2, which rarely carried the plasmid, was only transient, suggesting a selective advantage for the plasmid. These data add insight into the outbreak dynamics and local molecular epidemiology of S. Typhi in southern Vietnam.

McGready R, White NJ, Nosten F. 2011. Parasitological efficacy of antimalarials in the treatment and prevention of falciparum malaria in pregnancy 1998 to 2009: a systematic review. BJOG, 118 (2), pp. 123-135. | Citations: 34 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pregnant women are at increased risk from malaria. Resistance to all classes of antimalarials has affected the treatment and prevention of malaria in pregnancy. OBJECTIVES: To review the therapeutic efficacy of antimalarials used for treatment and intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) in pregnancy. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library between January 1998 and December 2009 for publications using the medical subject headings: efficacy, antimalarials, malaria, pregnancy, pharmacokinetics, treatment, IPT and placenta positive. In May 2010 we searched the register of clinical trials ( and of WHO ( using 'malaria', and 'pregnancy' and 'treatment'. SELECTION CRITERIA: We identified 233 abstracts, reviewed 83 full text articles and included 60 studies. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors entered extracted data to an excel spreadsheet. MAIN RESULTS: Parasitological failure rates, placenta positivity rates (assessed by microscopy) or both were reported in 44% (21/48), 46% (22/48) and 10% (5/48) of articles, respectively. Most pharmacokinetic studies (9/12) suggested dose optimisation. In 23 treatment studies 17 different antimalarial drugs were delivered in 53 study arms; 43.4% (23/53) reported a failure rate of < 5%; 83.3% of sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) arms and 9% of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) arms had failure rates ≥ 10%. Placenta-positive rates (mostly reported in the context of IPT in pregnancy) were > 10% in 68% (23/34) of SP trial arms and > 15% in all seven chloroquine arms. The ACT provided lower parasitological failure and gametocyte carriage rates. AUTHOR'S CONCLUSIONS: Drugs used in pregnancy should aim for 95% efficacy but many currently deployed regimens are associated with much lower cure rates.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Farrar J, Hien TT, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2011. Quantification of the anti-influenza drug zanamivir in plasma using high-throughput HILIC-MS/MS. Bioanalysis, 3 (2), pp. 157-165. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: parenteral zanamivir is a promising drug for the treatment of severe influenza. However, quantification of this polar drug in biological matrices has traditionally been difficult and the methods developed have been relatively insensitive. RESULTS: a high-throughput bioanalytical method for the analysis of zanamivir in human plasma using SPE in the 96-well plate format and LC coupled to positive MS/MS has been developed and validated according to US FDA guidelines. The method uses 50 microl of plasma and covers a large working range from 1-50, 000 ng/ml with a LOD of 0.50 ng/ml. CONCLUSION: this new LC-MS/MS assay is more sensitive than previous methods despite using a small plasma volume sample. It is particularly suitable for clinical studies on both parenteral and inhaled zanamivir.

Woodrow CJ, Bustamante LY. 2011. Mechanisms of artemisinin action and resistance: wider focus is needed. Trends Parasitol, 27 (1), pp. 2-3. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Read more

Kypraios T, O'Neill PD, Jones DE, Ware J, Batra R, Edgeworth JD, Cooper BS. 2011. Effect of systemic antibiotics and topical chlorhexidine on meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in intensive care unit patients Journal of Hospital Infection,

Nguyen HP, Hanson J, Bethell D, Nguyen THM, Tran THC, Ly VC, Pham PL, Dinh XS, Dondorp A, White N et al. 2011. A retrospective analysis of the haemodynamic and metabolic effects of fluid resuscitation in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. PLoS One, 6 (10), pp. e25523. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Optimising the fluid resuscitation of patients with severe malaria is a simple and potentially cost-effective intervention. Current WHO guidelines recommend central venous pressure (CVP) guided, crystalloid based, resuscitation in adults. METHODS: Prospectively collected haemodynamic data from intervention trials in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria were analysed retrospectively to assess the responses to fluid resuscitation. RESULTS: 43 patients were studied of whom 24 received a fluid load. The fluid load resulted in an increase in cardiac index (mean increase: 0.75 L/min/m(2) (95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.41 to 1.1)), but no significant change in acid-base status post resuscitation (mean increase base deficit 0.6 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.1 to 1.3). The CVP and PAoP (pulmonary artery occlusion pressure) were highly inter-correlated (r(s) = 0.7, p<0.0001), but neither were correlated with acid-base status (arterial pH, serum bicarbonate, base deficit) or respiratory status (PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio). There was no correlation between the oxygen delivery (DO(2)) and base deficit at the 63 time-points where they were assessed simultaneously (r(s) = -0.09, p = 0.46). CONCLUSIONS: In adults with severe falciparum malaria there was no observed improvement in patient outcomes or acid-base status with fluid loading. Neither CVP nor PAoP correlated with markers of end-organ perfusion or respiratory status, suggesting these measures are poor predictors of their fluid resuscitation needs.

Wolkewitz M, Cooper B, Barnett AG, Binder N, Schumacher M. 2011. Treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia. Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (10), pp. 729. | Read more

Graves N, Barnett AG, Halton K, Crnich C, Cooper B, Beyersmann J, Wolkewitz M, Samore M, Harbarth S. 2011. The importance of good data, analysis, and interpretation for showing the economics of reducing healthcare-associated infection. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol, 32 (9), pp. 927-928. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Kaewpongsri S, Sriprawat K, Suwanarusk R, Kyle DE, Lek-Uthai U, Leimanis M, Lwin KM, Phyo AP, Zwang J, Russell B et al. 2011. The presence of leukocytes in ex vivo assays significantly increases the 50-percent inhibitory concentrations of artesunate and chloroquine against Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (3), pp. 1300-1304. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium species ex vivo sensitivity assay protocols differ in the requirement for leukocyte removal before culturing. This study shows that the presence of leukocytes significantly increases the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC₅₀) of P. vivax and P. falciparum to artesunate and chloroquine relative to results with the paired leukocyte-free treatment. Although leukocyte removal is not an essential requirement for the conduct of ex vivo assays, its use has important implications for the interpretation of temporal and spatial antimalarial sensitivity data.

Saralamba S, Pan-Ngum W, Maude RJ, Lee SJ, Tarning J, Lindegårdh N, Chotivanich K, Nosten F, Day NPJ, Socheat D et al. 2011. Intrahost modeling of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (1), pp. 397-402. | Citations: 95 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in western Cambodia. Resistance is characterized by prolonged in vivo parasite clearance times (PCTs) following artesunate treatment. The biological basis is unclear. The hypothesis that delayed parasite clearance results from a stage-specific reduction in artemisinin sensitivity of the circulating young asexual parasite ring stages was examined. A mathematical model was developed, describing the intrahost parasite stage-specific pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships. Model parameters were estimated using detailed pharmacokinetic and parasite clearance data from 39 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with artesunate from Pailin (western Cambodia) where artemisinin resistance was evident and 40 patients from Wang Pha (northwestern Thailand) where efficacy was preserved. The mathematical model reproduced the observed parasite clearance for each patient with an accurate goodness of fit (rmsd: 0.03-0.67 in log(10) scale). The parameter sets that provided the best fits with the observed in vivo data consist of a highly conserved concentration-effect relationship for the trophozoite and schizont parasite stages, but a variable relationship for the ring stages. The model-derived assessment suggests that the efficacy of artesunate on ring stage parasites is reduced significantly in Pailin. This result supports the hypothesis that artemisinin resistance mainly reflects reduced ring-stage susceptibility and predicts that doubling the frequency of dosing will accelerate clearance of artemisinin-resistant parasites.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Kenangalem E, Piera KA, Fairlie DP, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Andrews KT, Price RN. 2011. Ex vivo activity of histone deacetylase inhibitors against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (3), pp. 961-966. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Histone acetylation plays an important role in regulating gene transcription and silencing in Plasmodium falciparum. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, particularly those of the hydroxamate class, have been shown to have potent in vitro activity against drug-resistant and -sensitive laboratory strains of P. falciparum, raising their potential as a new class of antimalarial compounds. In the current study, stage-specific ex vivo susceptibility profiles of representative hydroxamate-based HDAC inhibitors suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), 2-ASA-9, and 2-ASA-14 (2-ASA-9 and 2-ASA-14 are 2-aminosuberic acid-based HDAC inhibitors) were assessed in multidrug-resistant clinical isolates of P. falciparum (n = 24) and P. vivax (n = 25) from Papua, Indonesia, using a modified schizont maturation assay. Submicromolar concentrations of SAHA, 2-ASA-9, and 2-ASA-14 inhibited the growth of both P. falciparum (median 50% inhibitory concentrations [IC₅₀s] of 310, 533, and 266 nM) and P. vivax (median IC₅₀s of 170, 503, and 278 nM). Inverse correlation patterns between HDAC inhibitors and chloroquine for P. falciparum and mefloquine for P. vivax indicate species-specific susceptibility profiles for HDAC inhibitors. These HDAC inhibitors were also found to be potent ex vivo against P. vivax schizont maturation, comparable to that in P. falciparum, suggesting that HDAC inhibitors may be promising candidates for antimalarial therapy in geographical locations where both species are endemic. Further studies optimizing the selectivity and in vivo efficacy of HDAC inhibitors in Plasmodium spp. and defining drug interaction with common antimalarial compounds are warranted to investigate the role of HDAC inhibitors in antimalarial therapy.

Lubell Y, Ashley EA, Turner C, Turner P, White NJ. 2011. Susceptibility of community-acquired pathogens to antibiotics in Africa and Asia in neonates--an alarmingly short review. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (2), pp. 145-151. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the susceptibility of community-acquired pathogens in neonatal sepsis to commonly prescribed antibiotics in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia since 2002. METHODS: Literature review in PubMed and Embase. Susceptibility was estimated for pathogens individually and stratified by region. Isolates were also classified into Gram positive and Gram negative pathogens to estimate their pooled susceptibility. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Only nine studies met the inclusion criteria. The available data indicated poor susceptibility to almost all commonly used antibiotics in pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella spp. Only Streptococcus pneumoniae exhibited good susceptibility to all drugs other than cotrimoxazole. The extreme scarcity of data prevents drawing any firm conclusions beyond the urgent need for more studies to identify the best treatments for neonatal sepsis in the developing world.

Rattanavong S, Wuthiekanun V, Langla S, Amornchai P, Sirisouk J, Phetsouvanh R, Moore CE, Peacock SJ, Buisson Y, Newton PN. 2011. Randomized soil survey of the distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei in rice fields in Laos. Appl Environ Microbiol, 77 (2), pp. 532-536. | Citations: 28 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, where the causative organism (Burkholderia pseudomallei) is present in the soil. In the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos), B. pseudomallei is a significant cause of sepsis around the capital, Vientiane, and has been isolated in soil near the city, adjacent to the Mekong River. We explored whether B. pseudomallei occurs in Lao soil distant from the Mekong River, drawing three axes across northwest, northeast, and southern Laos to create nine sampling areas in six provinces. Within each sampling area, a random rice field site containing a grid of 100 sampling points each 5 m apart was selected. Soil was obtained from a depth of 30 cm and cultured for B. pseudomallei. Four of nine sites (44%) were positive for B. pseudomallei, including all three sites in Saravane Province, southern Laos. The highest isolation frequency was in east Saravane, where 94% of soil samples were B. pseudomallei positive with a geometric mean concentration of 464 CFU/g soil (95% confidence interval, 372 to 579 CFU/g soil; range, 25 to 10,850 CFU/g soil). At one site in northwest Laos (Luangnamtha), only one sample (1%) was positive for B. pseudomallei, at a concentration of 80 CFU/g soil. Therefore, B. pseudomallei occurs in Lao soils beyond the immediate vicinity of the Mekong River, alerting physicians to the likelihood of melioidosis in these areas. Further studies are needed to investigate potential climatic, soil, and biological determinants of this heterogeneity.

Watthanaworawit W, Turner P, Turner CL, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jarman RG, Blacksell SD, Nosten FH. 2011. A prospective evaluation of diagnostic methodologies for the acute diagnosis of dengue virus infection on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 105 (1), pp. 32-37. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Clinically useful diagnostic tests of dengue virus infection are lacking. We prospectively evaluated the performance of real-time reverse transcriptase (rRT)-PCR, NS-1 antigen and IgM antibody tests to confirm dengue virus infection in acute blood specimens from 162 patients presenting with undifferentiated febrile illness compatible with dengue infection. rRT-PCR was the most sensitive test (89%) and potentially could be used as a single test for confirmation of dengue infection. NS-1 antigen and IgM antibody were not sufficiently sensitive to be used as a single confirmatory test with sensitivities of 54% and 17% respectively. The specificities of rRT-PCR, NS-1 antigen and IgM antibody tests were 96%, 100% and 88% respectively. Combining NS-1 and rRT-PCR or the combination of all three tests resulted in the highest sensitivity (93%) but specificities dropped to 96% and 83% respectively. We conclude that at least the combination of two tests, either agent detection (rRT-PCR) or antigen detection (NS-1) plus IgM antibody detection should be used for laboratory confirmation of dengue infection.

Mayxay M, Phetsouvanh R, Moore CE, Chansamouth V, Vongsouvath M, Sisouphone S, Vongphachanh P, Thaojaikong T, Thongpaseuth S, Phongmany S et al. 2011. Predictive diagnostic value of the tourniquet test for the diagnosis of dengue infection in adults. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (1), pp. 127-133. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To examine the accuracy of the admission tourniquet test in the diagnosis of dengue infection among Lao adults. METHODS: Prospective assessment of the predictive diagnostic value of the tourniquet test for the diagnosis of dengue infection, as defined by IgM, IgG and NS1 ELISAs (Panbio Ltd, Australia), among Lao adult inpatients with clinically suspected dengue infection. RESULTS: Of 234 patients with clinically suspected dengue infection on admission, 73% were serologically confirmed to have dengue, while 64 patients with negative dengue serology were diagnosed as having scrub typhus (39%), murine typhus (11%), undetermined typhus (12%), Japanese encephalitis virus (5%), undetermined flavivirus (5%) and typhoid fever (3%); 25% had no identifiable aetiology. The tourniquet test was positive in 29.1% (95% CI = 23.2-34.9%) of all patients and in 34.1% (95% CI = 27.0-41.2%) of dengue-seropositive patients, in 32.7% (95% CI = 23.5-41.8) of those with dengue fever and in 36.4% (95% CI = 24.7-48.0) of those with dengue haemorrhagic fever. Interobserver agreement for the tourniquet test was 90.2% (95% CI = 86.4-94.0) (Kappa = 0.76). Using ELISAs as the diagnostic gold standard, the sensitivity of the tourniquet test was 33.5-34%; its specificity was 84-91%. The positive and negative predictive values were 85-90% and 32.5-34%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The admission tourniquet test has low sensitivity and adds relatively little value to the diagnosis of dengue among Lao adult inpatients with suspected dengue. Although a positive tourniquet test suggests dengue and that treatment of alternative diagnoses may not be needed, a negative test result does not exclude dengue.

Siswantoro H, Russell B, Ratcliff A, Prasetyorini B, Chalfein F, Marfurt J, Kenangalem E, Wuwung M, Piera KA, Ebsworth EP et al. 2011. In vivo and in vitro efficacy of chloroquine against Plasmodium malariae and P. ovale in Papua, Indonesia. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (1), pp. 197-202. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Reports of potential drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium malariae in western Indonesia raise concerns that chloroquine resistance may be emerging in P. malariae and P. ovale. In order to assess this, in vivo and in vitro efficacy studies were conducted in patients with monoinfection in Papua, Indonesia. Consecutive patients with uncomplicated malaria due to P. ovale or P. malariae were enrolled in a prospective clinical trial, provided with supervised chloroquine treatment, and followed for 28 days. Blood from patients with P. malariae or P. ovale parasitemia greater than 1,000 per microliter underwent in vitro antimalarial drug susceptibility testing using a modified schizont maturation assay. Of the 57 evaluable patients in the clinical study (P. malariae, n = 46; P. ovale, n = 11), none had recurrence with the same species during follow-up. The mean parasite reduction ratio at 48 h was 86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 57 to 114) for P. malariae and 150 (95% CI, 54 to 245) for P. ovale (P = 0.18). One patient infected with P. malariae, with 93% of parasites at the trophozoite stage, was still parasitemic on day 4. In vitro drug susceptibility assays were carried out successfully for 40 isolates (34 infected with P. malariae and 6 with P. ovale). The P. malariae infections at trophozoite stages had significantly higher chloroquine 50% effective concentrations (EC(50)s) (median, 127.9 nM [range, 7.9 to 2,980]) than those initially exposed at the ring stage (median, 14.0 nM [range, 3.5 to 27.0]; P = 0.01). The EC(50) for chloroquine in P. ovale was also higher in an isolate initially at the trophozoite stage (23.2 nM) than in the three isolates predominantly at ring stage (7.8 nM). Chloroquine retains adequate efficacy against P. ovale and P. malariae, but its marked stage specificity of action may account for reports of delayed parasite clearance times.

Siengsanan-Lamont J, Robertson I, Blacksell SD, Ellis T, Fenwick S, Saengchoowong S, Suwanpukdee S, Yongyuttawichai P, Sariya L, Prompiram P et al. 2011. Virological and molecular epidemiological investigations into the role of wild birds in the epidemiology of influenza A/H5N1 in central Thailand. Vet Microbiol, 148 (2-4), pp. 213-218. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A serological and virological surveillance program to investigate the HPAI H5N1 virus in wild bird populations was undertaken from February 2007 to October 2008. The purpose of the survey was to investigate the infection status in free ranging wild birds in Banglane district, Nakhon Pathom province, central Thailand. Samples from wild birds were collected every two months. Choanal and cloacal swabs, serum and tissue samples were collected from 421 birds comprising 44 species. Sero-prevalence of the virus tested by H5N1 serum neutralization test (using a H5N1 virus clade 1; A/chicken/Thailand/vsmu-3-BKK/2004) was 2.1% (8 out of 385 samples; 95% CI 0.7, 3.5). Species that were antibody positive included rock pigeons (Columba livia), Asian pied starling (Gracupica contra), spotted dove (Streptopelia chinensis), oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis), blue-tailed bee-eater (Merops philippinus), myna (Acridotheres spp.), and pond heron (Ardeola spp.). Prevalence by H5N1 virus isolation was 0.5% (2 out of 421 samples; 95% CI 0.0, 1.1); the two H5N1 virus-positive samples were from Asian pied starling (Gracupica contra) and white vented myna (Acridotheres grandis). Positive virological samples were collected in June 2007 while all positive serology samples were collected between May and August except for one sample collected in December 2007. No positive samples were collected in 2008. Molecular studies revealed that the wild bird H5N1 viruses were closely related to poultry viruses isolated in other parts of Thailand. However, there was no poultry H5N1 prevalence study performed in the study site during the time of this wild bird survey. Interpretation of source of virus isolates would include spill-over of H5N1 viruses from contaminated sources due to movement of domestic poultry and/or fomites from other areas; or infection of wild birds within the outbreak locations and then translocation by wild bird movement and interaction with wild birds inhabiting distant locations.

Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuwan G, Pangmee S, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Perasafe, Virkon and bleach are bactericidal for Burkholderia pseudomallei, a select agent and the cause of melioidosis. J Hosp Infect, 77 (2), pp. 183-184. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Fernandez FM, Hostetler D, Powell K, Kaur H, Green MD, Mildenhall DC, Newton PN. 2011. Poor quality drugs: grand challenges in high throughput detection, countrywide sampling, and forensics in developing countries. Analyst, 136 (15), pp. 3073-3082. | Citations: 41 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Throughout history, poor quality medicines have been a persistent problem, with periodical crises in the supply of antimicrobials, such as fake cinchona bark in the 1600s and fake quinine in the 1800s. Regrettably, this problem seems to have grown in the last decade, especially afflicting unsuspecting patients and those seeking medicines via on-line pharmacies. Here we discuss some of the challenges related to the fight against poor quality drugs, and counterfeits in particular, with an emphasis on the analytical tools available, their relative performance, and the necessary workflows needed for distinguishing between genuine, substandard, degraded and counterfeit medicines.

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