Publications 2012

White NJ, Qiao LG, Qi G, Luzzatto L. 2012. Rationale for recommending a lower dose of primaquine as a Plasmodium falciparum gametocytocide in populations where G6PD deficiency is common. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 418. | Citations: 75 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In areas of low malaria transmission, it is currently recommended that a single dose of primaquine (0.75 mg base/kg; 45 mg adult dose) be added to artemisinin combination treatment (ACT) in acute falciparum malaria to block malaria transmission. Review of studies of transmission-blocking activity based on the infectivity of patients or volunteers to anopheline mosquitoes, and of haemolytic toxicity in glucose 6-dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient subjects, suggests that a lower primaquine dose (0.25 mg base/kg) would be safer and equally effective. This lower dose could be deployed together with ACTs without G6PD testing wherever use of a specific gametocytocide is indicated.

White AL, Carrara VI, Paw MK, Malika, Dahbu C, Gross MM, Stuetz W, Nosten FH, McGready R. 2012. High initiation and long duration of breastfeeding despite absence of early skin-to-skin contact in Karen refugees on the Thai-Myanmar border: a mixed methods study. Int Breastfeed J, 7 (1), pp. 19. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: Early skin-to-skin contact (SSC) after birth is recommended as part of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) baby friendly health initiative to promote optimum breastfeeding. This paper reports rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration in a low resource environment, where early SSC is not practised, and explores views of pregnant women and midwives surrounding breastfeeding and swaddling. METHODS: Data from records from a single hospital on the Thai-Myanmar border where refugee women gave birth during a one-year period (2010) were used to determine breastfeeding initiation rates and the time of the first breastfeed, and duration of breastfeeding of the previous alive child in multigravidae. Focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted to obtain information from pregnant women attending antenatal care about their intended or previous duration of breastfeeding and views on breastfeeding. Interviews with local midwives explored reasons for high rates of breastfeeding in this setting and the practice of newborn swaddling. RESULTS: Of 1404 live births in 2010 in Maela refugee camp there were 982 evaluable mother-newborn pairs, including 80 infants born before 37 weeks gestation. Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and exclusive breastfeeding at discharge in term mother-newborn pairs was 91.2% (823/902) and 99.3% (896/902); and before 37 weeks gestation, 48.8% (39/80) and 98.8% (79/80). Reported duration of previous breastfeeding was 19 (range 2 to 72) months.During FGD all primigravidae (n = 17) intended to breastfeed and all multigravidae (n = 33) had previously breastfed; expected or previous duration of feeding was for more than one year or longer. The major theme identified during FGD was breastfeeding is "good". Women stated their intention to breastfeed with certainty. This certainty was echoed during the interviews with midwifery staff. SSC requires a delay in early swaddling that in Karen people, with animistic beliefs, could risk loss of the spirit of the newborn or attract malevolent spirits. CONCLUSIONS: In a population with a strong culture of breastfeeding and robust breastfeeding practices, high rates of initiation and duration of breastfeeding were found despite a lack of early skin-to-skin contact. Local preferences, traditions and practices that protect, support and maintain high rates of breastfeeding should be promoted.

Douglas NM, John GK, von Seidlein L, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2012. Chemotherapeutic strategies for reducing transmission of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 271-300. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Effective use of anti-malarial drugs is key to reducing the transmission potential of Plasmodium vivax. In patients presenting with symptomatic disease, treatment with potent and relatively slowly eliminated blood schizontocidal regimens administered concurrently with a supervised course of 7 mg/kg primaquine over 7-14 days has potential to exert the greatest transmission-blocking benefit. Given the spread of chloroquine-resistant P. vivax strains, the artemisinin combination therapies dihydroartemisinin + piperaquine and artesunate + mefloquine are currently the most assured means of preventing P. vivax recrudescence. Preliminary evidence suggests that, like chloroquine, these combinations potentiate the hypnozoitocidal effect of primaquine, but further supportive evidence is required. In view of the high rate of P. vivax relapse following falciparum infections in co-endemic regions, there is a strong argument for broadening current radical cure policy to include the administration of hypnozoitocidal doses of primaquine to patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The most important reservoir for P. vivax transmission is likely to be very low-density, asymptomatic infections, the majority of which will arise from liver-stage relapses. Therefore, judicious mass administration of hypnozoitocidal therapy will reduce transmission of P. vivax to a greater extent than strategies focused on treatment of symptomatic patients. An efficacious hypnozoitocidal agent with a short curative treatment course would be particularly useful in mass drug administration campaigns.

Baird KJ, Maguire JD, Price RN. 2012. Diagnosis and treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 203-270. | Citations: 40 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Infection by Plasmodium vivax poses unique challenges for diagnosis and treatment. Relatively low numbers of parasites in peripheral circulation may be difficult to confirm, and patients infected by dormant liver stages cannot be diagnosed before activation and the ensuing relapse. Radical cure thus requires therapy aimed at both the blood stages of the parasite (blood schizontocidal) and prevention of subsequent relapses (hypnozoitocidal). Chloroquine and primaquine have been the companion therapies of choice for the treatment of vivax malaria since the 1950s. Confirmed resistance to chloroquine occurs in much of the vivax endemic world and demands the investigation of alternative blood schizontocidal companions in radical cure. Such a shift in practice necessitates investigation of the safety and efficacy of primaquine when administered with those therapies, and the toxicity profile of such combination treatments, particularly in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. These clinical studies are confounded by the frequency and timing of relapse among strains of P. vivax, and potentially by differing susceptibilities to primaquine. The inability to maintain this parasite in continuous in vitro culture greatly hinders new drug discovery. Development of safe and effective chemotherapies for vivax malaria for the coming decades requires overcoming these challenges.

White NJ, Imwong M. 2012. Relapse. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 113-150. | Citations: 59 (Web of Science Lite) | 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. P. vivax infections are characterized by relapses of malaria arising from persistent liver stages of the parasite (hypnozoites), which can be prevented currently only by 8-aminoquinoline anti-malarials. Tropical P. vivax infections relapse at approximately 3-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 by either 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 therapeutic assessment, 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 P. vivax 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.

Sibley CH, Price RN. 2012. Monitoring antimalarial drug resistance: Applying lessons learned from the past in a fast-moving present. Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist, 2 pp. 126-133. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The need for robust surveillance of antimalarial drugs is more urgent than it has ever been. In the western region of Cambodia, artemisinin resistance has emerged in Plasmodium falciparum and threatens to undermine the efficacy of highly effective artemisinin combination therapies. Although some manfestations of artemisinin tolerance are unique to this class of drug, many of its properties mirror previous experience in understanding and tracking resistance to other antimalarials. In this review we outline the spectrum of approaches that were developed to understand the evolution and spread of antifolate resistance, highlighting the importance of integrating information from different methodologies towards a better understanding of the underlying biologic processes. We consider how to apply our experience in investigating and attempting to contain antifolate resistance to inform our prospective assessment of novel antimalarial resistance patterns and their subsequent spread.

Sarovich DS, Price EP, Limmathurotsakul D, Cook JM, Von Schulze AT, Wolken SR, Keim P, Peacock SJ, Pearson T. 2012. Development of ceftazidime resistance in an acute Burkholderia pseudomallei infection. Infect Drug Resist, 5 (1), pp. 129-132. | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium that causes the disease melioidosis, is intrinsically resistant to many antibiotics. First-line antibiotic therapy for treating melioidosis is usually the synthetic β-lactam, ceftazidime (CAZ), as almost all B. pseudomallei strains are susceptible to this drug. However, acquired CAZ resistance can develop in vivo during treatment with CAZ, which can lead to mortality if therapy is not switched to a different drug in a timely manner. Serial B. pseudomallei isolates obtained from an acute Thai melioidosis patient infected by a CAZ susceptible strain, who ultimately succumbed to infection despite being on CAZ therapy for the duration of their infection, were analyzed. Isolates that developed CAZ resistance due to a proline to serine change at position 167 in the β-lactamase PenA were identified. Importantly, these CAZ resistant isolates remained sensitive to the alternative melioidosis treatments; namely, amoxicillin-clavulanate, imipenem, and meropenem. Lastly, real-time polymerase chain reaction-based assays capable of rapidly identifying CAZ resistance in B. pseudomallei isolates at the position 167 mutation site were developed. The ability to rapidly identify the emergence of CAZ resistant B. pseudomallei populations in melioidosis patients will allow timely alterations in treatment strategies, thereby improving patient outcomes for this serious disease.

Lipsitz R, Garges S, Aurigemma R, Baccam P, Blaney DD, Cheng AC, Currie BJ, Dance D, Gee JE, Larsen J et al. 2012. Workshop on treatment of and postexposure prophylaxis for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei Infection, 2010. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (12), pp. e2. | Citations: 69 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The US Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise convened subject matter experts at the 2010 HHS Burkholderia Workshop to develop consensus recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis against and treatment for Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei infections, which cause melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Drugs recommended by consensus of the participants are ceftazidime or meropenem for initial intensive therapy, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid for eradication therapy. For postexposure prophylaxis, recommended drugs are trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or co-amoxiclav. To improve the timely diagnosis of melioidosis and glanders, further development and wide distribution of rapid diagnostic assays were also recommended. Standardized animal models and B. pseudomallei strains are needed for further development of therapeutic options. Training for laboratory technicians and physicians would facilitate better diagnosis and treatment options.

McGready R, Nosten F. 2012. Proxies and prevention of malaria in pregnancy. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (12), pp. 902-903. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Rattanavong S, Vongthongchit S, Bounphamala K, Vongphakdy P, Gubler J, Mayxay M, Phetsouvanh R, Elliott I, Logan J, Hill R et al. 2012. Actinomycetoma in SE Asia: the first case from Laos and a review of the literature. BMC Infect Dis, 12 (1), pp. 349. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mycetoma is a chronic, localized, slowly progressing infection of the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues caused either by fungi (eumycetoma or implantation mycosis) or by aerobic actinomycetes (actinomycetoma). It is acquired by traumatic implantation, most commonly in the tropics and subtropics, especially in rural agricultural communities. Although well recognized elsewhere in Asia, it has not been reported from the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos). CASE PRESENTATION: A 30 year-old female elementary school teacher and rice farmer from northeast Laos was admitted to Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, with a massive growth on her left foot, without a history of trauma. The swelling had progressed slowly but painlessly over 5 years and multiple draining sinuses had developed. Ten days before admission the foot had increased considerably in size and became very painful, with multiple sinuses and discharge, preventing her from walking. Gram stain and bacterial culture of tissue biopsies revealed a branching filamentous Gram-positive bacterium that was subsequently identified as Actinomadura madurae by 16S rRNA gene amplification and sequencing. She was treated with long-term co-trimoxazole and multiple 3-week cycles of amikacin with a good therapeutic response. CONCLUSION: We report the first patient with actinomycetoma from Laos. The disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of chronic skin and bone infections in patients from rural SE Asia.

van Hasselt JGC, Andrew MA, Hebert MF, Tarning J, Vicini P, Mattison DR. 2012. The status of pharmacometrics in pregnancy: highlights from the 3(rd) American conference on pharmacometrics. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 74 (6), pp. 932-939. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Physiological changes during pregnancy may alter drug pharmacokinetics. Therefore, mechanistic understanding of these changes and, ultimately, clinical studies in pregnant women are necessary to determine if and how dosing regimens should be adjusted. Because of the typically limited number of patients who can be recruited in this patient group, efficient design and analysis of these studies is of special relevance. This paper is a summary of a conference session organized at the American Conference of Pharmacometrics in April 2011, around the topic of applying pharmacometric methodology to this important problem. The discussion included both design and analysis of clinical studies during pregnancy and in silico predictions. An overview of different pharmacometric methods relevant to this subject was given. The impact of pharmacometrics was illustrated using a range of case examples of studies around pregnancy.

Hoglund RM, Adam I, Hanpithakpong W, Ashton M, Lindegardh N, Day NPJ, White NJ, Nosten F, Tarning J. 2012. A population pharmacokinetic model of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sudan. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 398. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of developing a malaria infection and a higher risk of developing severe malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarials are also altered during pregnancy, often resulting in a decreased drug exposure. Piperaquine is a promising anti-malarial partner drug used in a fixed-dose combination with dihydroartemisinin. The aim of this study was to investigate the population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant Sudanese women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. METHOD: Symptomatic patients received a standard dose regimen of the fixed dose oral piperaquine-dihydroartemisinin combination treatment. Densely sampled plasma aliquots were collected and analysed using a previously described LC-MS/MS method. Data from 12 pregnant and 12 non-pregnant women were analysed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. A Monte Carlo Mapped Power (MCMP) analysis was conducted based on a previously published study to evaluate the power of detecting covariates in this relatively small study. RESULTS: A three-compartment disposition model with a transit-absorption model described the observed data well. Body weight was added as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. A statistically significant decrease in estimated terminal piperaquine half-life in pregnant compared with non-pregnant women was found, but there were no differences in post-hoc estimates of total piperaquine exposure. The MCMP analysis indicated a minimum of 13 pregnant and 13 non-pregnant women were required to identify pregnancy as a covariate on relevant pharmacokinetic parameters (80% power and p=0.05). Pregnancy was, therefore, evaluated as a categorical and continuous covariate (i.e. estimate gestational age) in a full covariate approach. Using this approach pregnancy was not associated with any major change in piperaquine elimination clearance. However, a trend of increasing elimination clearance with increasing gestational age could be seen. CONCLUSIONS: The population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine were well described by a three-compartment disposition model in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. The modelling approach showed no major difference in piperaquine exposure between the two groups and data presented here do not warrant a dose adjustment in pregnancy in this vulnerable population.

Battle KE, Gething PW, Elyazar IRF, Moyes CL, Sinka ME, Howes RE, Guerra CA, Price RN, Baird KJ, Hay SI. 2012. The global public health significance of Plasmodium vivax. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 1-111. | Citations: 72 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax occurs globally and thrives in both temperate and tropical climates. Here, we review the evidence of the biological limits of its contemporary distribution and the global population at risk (PAR) of the disease within endemic countries. We also review the most recent evidence for the endemic level of transmission within its range and discuss the implications for burden of disease assessments. Finally, the evidence-base for defining the contemporary distribution and PAR of P. vivax are discussed alongside a description of the vectors of human malaria within the limits of risk. This information along with recent data documenting the severe morbid and fatal consequences of P. vivax infection indicates that the public health significance of P. vivax is likely to have been seriously underestimated.

Hay SI, Price RN, Baird JK. 2012. Advances in Parasitology. Preface. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. ix-x. | Read more

Turner C, Turner P, Cararra V, Eh Lwe N, Watthanaworawit W, Day NP, White NJ, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2012. A high burden of respiratory syncytial virus associated pneumonia in children less than two years of age in a South East Asian refugee population. PLoS One, 7 (11), pp. e50100. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pneumonia is a major cause of childhood mortality and morbidity approximately 1.6 million deaths and 150 million episodes occur annually in children <5 years. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be responsible for up to 25% of cases and 12% of deaths making it an important potential vaccine target, although data from South East Asia is scarce. METHODS: We followed a birth cohort of Burmese refugee children, born over a one year period, for two years. Pneumonia episodes were diagnosed using WHO criteria. A chest radiograph, nasopharyngeal aspirate and non-specific markers of infection were taken during each episode. RESULTS: The incidence of RSV-associated pneumonia was 0.24 (95% CI 0.22-0.26) episodes per child year. All children with pneumonia received antibiotic treatment, following WHO guidelines. The highest incidence was in the 2-12 month age group. The commonest diagnosis in a child with RSV-associated pneumonia was non-severe pneumonia (239/362:66.0%), however the incidence of RSV-associated severe or very severe pneumonia was 0.08 (95% CI 0.01-0.10) episodes per child year. Birth in the wet season increased the risk of severe disease in children who had their first episode of RSV-associated pneumonia aged 2-11 months (OR 28.7, 95% CI 6.6-125.0, p<0.001). RSV episodes were highly seasonal being responsible for 80.0% of all the pneumonia episodes occurring each October and November over the study period. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high incidence of RSV associated pneumonia in this refugee population. Interventions to prevent RSV infection have the potential to reduce the incidence of clinically diagnosed pneumonia and hence unnecessary antibiotic usage in this population.

White NJ. 2012. Counter perspective: artemisinin resistance: facts, fears, and fables. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (5), pp. 785. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Read more

Williams AR, Douglas AD, Miura K, Illingworth JJ, Choudhary P, Murungi LM, Furze JM, Diouf A, Miotto O, Crosnier C et al. 2012. Enhancing blockade of Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte invasion: assessing combinations of antibodies against PfRH5 and other merozoite antigens. PLoS Pathog, 8 (11), pp. e1002991. | Citations: 67 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

No vaccine has yet proven effective against the blood-stages of Plasmodium falciparum, which cause the symptoms and severe manifestations of malaria. We recently found that PfRH5, a P. falciparum-specific protein expressed in merozoites, is efficiently targeted by broadly-neutralizing, vaccine-induced antibodies. Here we show that antibodies against PfRH5 efficiently inhibit the in vitro growth of short-term-adapted parasite isolates from Cambodia, and that the EC(50) values of antigen-specific antibodies against PfRH5 are lower than those against PfAMA1. Since antibody responses elicited by multiple antigens are speculated to improve the efficacy of blood-stage vaccines, we conducted detailed assessments of parasite growth inhibition by antibodies against PfRH5 in combination with antibodies against seven other merozoite antigens. We found that antibodies against PfRH5 act synergistically with antibodies against certain other merozoite antigens, most notably with antibodies against other erythrocyte-binding antigens such as PfRH4, to inhibit the growth of a homologous P. falciparum clone. A combination of antibodies against PfRH4 and basigin, the erythrocyte receptor for PfRH5, also potently inhibited parasite growth. This methodology provides the first quantitative evidence that polyclonal vaccine-induced antibodies can act synergistically against P. falciparum antigens and should help to guide the rational development of future multi-antigen vaccines.

Attaran A, Barry D, Basheer S, Bate R, Benton D, Chauvin J, Garrett L, Kickbusch I, Kohler JC, Midha K et al. 2012. How to achieve international action on falsified and substandard medicines. BMJ, 345 (nov13 22), pp. e7381. | Citations: 78 (Scopus) | Read more

Emary K, Moore CE, Chanpheaktra N, An KP, Chheng K, Sona S, Duy PT, Nga TVT, Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P et al. 2012. Enteric fever in Cambodian children is dominated by multidrug-resistant H58 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi with intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (12), pp. 718-724. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates that are multidrug resistant (MDR: resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole) with intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility are widespread in Asia but there is little information from Cambodia. We studied invasive salmonellosis in children at a paediatric hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Between 2007 and 2011 Salmonella was isolated from a blood culture in 162 children. There were 151 children with enteric fever, including 148 serovar Typhi and three serovar Paratyphi A infections, and 11 children with a non-typhoidal Salmonella infection. Of the 148 serovar Typhi isolates 126 (85%) were MDR and 133 (90%) had intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Inpatient antimicrobial treatment was ceftriaxone alone or initial ceftriaxone followed by a step-down to oral ciprofloxacin or azithromycin. Complications developed in 37/128 (29%) children admitted with enteric fever and two (1.6%) died. There was one confirmed relapse. In a sample of 102 serovar Typhi strains genotyped by investigation of a subset of single nucleotide polymorphisms, 98 (96%) were the H58 haplotype, the majority of which had the common serine to phenylalanine substitution at codon 83 in the DNA gyrase. We conclude that antimicrobial-resistant enteric fever is common in Cambodian children and therapeutic options are limited.

Hien TT, Thuy-Nhien NT, Phu NH, Boni MF, Thanh NV, Nha-Ca NT, Thai LH, Thai CQ, Toi PV, Thuan PD et al. 2012. In vivo susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to artesunate in Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 355. | Citations: 84 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: By 2009, there were worrying signs from western Cambodia that parasitological responses to artesunate-containing treatment regimens for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were slower than elsewhere which suggested the emergence of artemisinin resistance. Vietnam shares a long land border with Cambodia with a large number of migrants crossing it on a daily basis. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate whether there is any evidence of a change in the parasitological response to the artemisinin derivatives in Vietnam. METHODS: From August 2010 to May 2011, a randomized controlled clinical trial in uncomplicated falciparum malaria was conducted to compare two doses of artesunate (AS) (2mg/kg/day versus 4 mg/kg/day for three days) followed by dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) and a control arm of DHA-PPQ. The goal was characterization of the current efficacy of artesunate in southern Vietnam. The primary endpoint of this study was the parasite clearance half-life; secondary endpoints included the parasite reduction ratios at 24 and 48 hours and the parasite clearance time. RESULTS: 166 patients were recruited into the study. The median parasite clearance half-lives were 3.54 (AS 2mg/kg), 2.72 (AS 4mg/kg), and 2.98 hours (DHA-PPQ) (p=0.19). The median parasite-reduction ratio at 24 hours was 48 in the AS 2mg/kg group compared with 212 and 113 in the other two groups, respectively (p=0.02). The proportions of patients with a parasite clearance time of >72 hours for AS 2mg/kg, AS 4mg/kg and DHA-PPQ were 27%, 27%, and 22%, respectively. Early treatment failure occurred in two (4%) and late clinical failure occurred in one (2%) of the 55 patients in the AS 2mg/kg group, as compared with none in the other two study arms. The PCR-corrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (APCR) rates in the three groups were 94%, 100%, and 100% (p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated faster P. falciparum parasite clearance in southern Vietnam than in western Cambodia but slower clearance in comparison with historical data from Vietnam. Further studies to determine whether this represents the emergence of artemisinin resistance in this area are needed. Currently, the therapeutic response to DHA-PPQ remains satisfactory in southern Vietnam. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NTC01165372.

Dongol S, Thompson CN, Clare S, Nga TVT, Duy PT, Karkey A, Arjyal A, Koirala S, Khatri NS, Maskey P et al. 2012. The microbiological and clinical characteristics of invasive salmonella in gallbladders from cholecystectomy patients in kathmandu, Nepal. PLoS One, 7 (10), pp. e47342. | Citations: 28 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Gallbladder carriage of invasive Salmonella is considered fundamental in sustaining typhoid fever transmission. Bile and tissue was obtained from 1,377 individuals undergoing cholecystectomy in Kathmandu to investigate the prevalence, characteristics and relevance of invasive Salmonella in the gallbladder in an endemic area. Twenty percent of bile samples contained a Gram-negative organism, with Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A isolated from 24 and 22 individuals, respectively. Gallbladders that contained Salmonella were more likely to show evidence of acute inflammation with extensive neutrophil infiltrate than those without Salmonella, corresponding with higher neutrophil and lower lymphocyte counts in the blood of Salmonella positive individuals. Antimicrobial resistance in the invasive Salmonella isolates was limited, indicating that gallbladder colonization is unlikely to be driven by antimicrobial resistance. The overall role of invasive Salmonella carriage in the gallbladder is not understood; here we show that 3.5% of individuals undergoing cholecystectomy in this setting have a high concentration of antimicrobial sensitive, invasive Salmonella in their bile. We predict that such individuals will become increasingly important if current transmission mechanisms are disturbed; prospectively identifying these individuals is, therefore, paramount for rapid local and regional elimination.

Hwang J, Jaroensuk J, Leimanis ML, Russell B, McGready R, Day N, Snounou G, Nosten F, Imwong M. 2012. Long-term storage limits PCR-based analyses of malaria parasites in archival dried blood spots. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 339. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Blood samples collected in epidemiological and clinical investigations and then stored, often at room temperature, as blood spots dried on a filter paper have become one of the most popular source of material for further molecular analyses of malaria parasites. The dried blood spots are often archived so that they can be used for further retrospective investigations of parasite prevalence, or as new genetic markers come to the fore. However, the suitability of the template obtained from dried blood spots that have been stored for long periods for DNA amplification is not known. METHODS: DNA from 267 archived blood spots collected over a period of 12 years from persons with microscopically confirmed Plasmodium falciparum infection was purified by one of two methods, Chelex and Qiagen columns. These templates were subjected to highly sensitive nested PCR amplification targeting three parasite loci that differ in length and/or copy number. RESULTS: When a 1.6 kb fragment of the parasites' small subunit ribosomal RNA was targeted (primary amplification), the efficiency of P. falciparum detection decreased in samples archived for more than six years, reaching very low levels for those stored for more than 10 years. Positive amplification was generally obtained more often with Qiagen-extracted templates. P. falciparum could be detected in 32 of the 40 negative Qiagen-extracted templates when a microsatellite of about 180 bp was targeted. The remaining eight samples gave a positive amplification when a small region of 238 bp of the higher copy number (20 to 200) mitochondrial genome was targeted. CONCLUSIONS: The average length of DNA fragments that can be recovered from dried blood spots decreases with storage time. Recovery of the DNA is somewhat improved, especially in older samples, by the use of a commercial DNA purification column, but targets larger than 1.5 kb are unlikely to be present 10 years after the initial blood collection, when the average length of the DNA fragments present is likely to be around a few hundred bp. In conclusion, the utility of archived dried blood spots for molecular analyses decreases with storage time.

Price RN, Auburn S, Marfurt J, Cheng Q. 2012. Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of drug-resistant Plasmodium vivax. Trends Parasitol, 28 (11), pp. 522-529. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In this review we present recent developments in the analysis of Plasmodium vivax clinical trials and ex vivo drug-susceptibility assays, as well approaches currently being used to identify molecular markers of drug resistance. Clinical trials incorporating the measurement of in vivo drug concentrations and parasite clearance times are needed to detect early signs of resistance. Analysis of P. vivax growth dynamics ex vivo have defined the criteria for acceptable assay thresholds for drug susceptibility testing, and their subsequent interpretation. Genotyping and next-generation sequencing studies in P. vivax field isolates are set to transform our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance.

Kauss T, Gaudin K, Gaubert A, Ba B, Tagliaferri S, Fawaz F, Fabre J-L, Boiron J-M, Lafarge X, White NJ et al. 2012. Screening paediatric rectal forms of azithromycin as an alternative to oral or injectable treatment. Int J Pharm, 436 (1-2), pp. 624-630. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The aim of this study was to identify a candidate formulation for further development of a home or near-home administrable paediatric rectal form of a broad-spectrum antibiotic - specially intended for (emergency) use in tropical rural settings, in particular for children who cannot take medications orally and far from health facilities where injectable treatments can be given. Azithromycin, a broad-spectrum macrolide used orally or intravenously for the treatment of respiratory tract, skin and soft tissue infections, was selected because of its pharmacokinetic and therapeutic properties. Azithromycin in vitro solubility and stability in physiologically relevant conditions were studied. Various pharmaceutical forms, i.e. rectal suspension, two different rectal gels, polyethylene glycol (PEG) suppository and hard gelatin capsule (HGC) were assessed for in vitro dissolution and in vivo bioavailability in the rabbit. Azithromycin PEG suppository appears to be a promising candidate.

Marfurt J, Chalfein F, Prayoga P, Wabiser F, Wirjanata G, Sebayang B, Piera KA, Wittlin S, Haynes RK, Möhrle JJ et al. 2012. Comparative ex vivo activity of novel endoperoxides in multidrug-resistant plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (10), pp. 5258-5263. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The declining efficacy of artemisinin derivatives against Plasmodium falciparum highlights the urgent need to identify alternative highly potent compounds for the treatment of malaria. In Papua Indonesia, where multidrug resistance has been documented against both P. falciparum and P. vivax malaria, comparative ex vivo antimalarial activity against Plasmodium isolates was assessed for the artemisinin derivatives artesunate (AS) and dihydroartemisinin (DHA), the synthetic peroxides OZ277 and OZ439, the semisynthetic 10-alkylaminoartemisinin derivatives artemisone and artemiside, and the conventional antimalarial drugs chloroquine (CQ), amodiaquine (AQ), and piperaquine (PIP). Ex vivo drug susceptibility was assessed in 46 field isolates (25 P. falciparum and 21 P. vivax). The novel endoperoxide compounds exhibited potent ex vivo activity against both species, but significant differences in intrinsic activity were observed. Compared to AS and its active metabolite DHA, all the novel compounds showed lower or equal 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)s) in both species (median IC(50)s between 1.9 and 3.6 nM in P. falciparum and 0.7 and 4.6 nM in P. vivax). The antiplasmodial activity of novel endoperoxides showed different cross-susceptibility patterns in the two Plasmodium species: whereas their ex vivo activity correlated positively with CQ, PIP, AS, and DHA in P. falciparum, the same was not apparent in P. vivax. The current study demonstrates for the first time potent activity of novel endoperoxides against drug-resistant P. vivax. The high activity against drug-resistant strains of both Plasmodium species confirms these compounds to be promising candidates for future artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) regimens in regions of coendemicity.


Russell B, Suwanarusk R, Malleret B, Costa FTM, Snounou G, Kevin Baird J, Nosten F, Rénia L. 2012. Human ex vivo studies on asexual Plasmodium vivax: the best way forward. Int J Parasitol, 42 (12), pp. 1063-1070. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The lack of a continuous culture method for Plasmodium vivax has given the impression that investigations on this important species are severely curtailed. However, the use of new or improved ex vivo methods and tools to study fresh and thawed isolates from vivax malaria patients is currently providing useful data on P. vivax, such as sensitivity to antimalarial drugs, invasion mechanisms and pathobiology. This review discusses a practical framework for conducting ex vivo studies on the asexual erythrocytic stages of P. vivax and considers the synergies between ex vivo defined phenotypes, ex vivo derived 'omic' studies and in vivo clinical studies.

White LJ, Newton PN, Maude RJ, Pan-ngum W, Fried JR, Mayxay M, Maude RR, Day NPJ. 2012. Defining disease heterogeneity to guide the empirical treatment of febrile illness in resource poor settings. PLoS One, 7 (9), pp. e44545. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria incidence is in decline in many parts of SE Asia leading to a decreasing proportion of febrile illness that is attributable to malaria. However in the absence of rapid, affordable and accurate diagnostic tests, the non-malaria causes of these illnesses cannot be reliably identified. Studies on the aetiology of febrile illness have indicated that the causes are likely to vary by geographical location within countries (i.e. be spatially heterogeneous) and that national empirical treatment policies based on the aetiology measured in a single location could lead to inappropriate treatment. METHODS: Using data from Vientiane as a reference for the incidence of major febrile illnesses in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) and estimated incidences, plausible incidence in other Lao provinces were generated using a mathematical model for a range of national and local scale variations. For a range of treatment protocols, the mean number of appropriate treatments was predicted and the potential impact of a spatially explicit national empirical treatment protocol assessed. FINDINGS: The model predicted a negative correlation between number of appropriate treatments and the level of spatial heterogeneity. A spatially explicit national treatment protocol was predicted to increase the number of appropriate treatments by 50% for intermediate levels of spatial heterogeneity. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that given even only moderate spatial variation, a spatially explicit treatment algorithm will result in a significant improvement in the outcome of undifferentiated fevers in Laos and other similar resource poor settings.

Preston MD, Manske M, Horner N, Assefa S, Campino S, Auburn S, Zongo I, Ouedraogo J-B, Nosten F, Anderson T, Clark TG. 2012. VarB: a variation browsing and analysis tool for variants derived from next-generation sequencing data. Bioinformatics, 28 (22), pp. 2983-2985. | Citations: 7 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

SUMMARY: There is an immediate need for tools to both analyse and visualize in real-time single-nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions and deletions, and other structural variants from new sequence file formats. We have developed VarB software that can be used to visualize variant call format files in real time, as well as identify regions under balancing selection and informative markers to differentiate user-defined groups (e.g. populations). We demonstrate its utility using sequence data from 50 Plasmodium falciparum isolates comprising two different continents and confirm known signals from genomic regions that contain important antigenic and anti-malarial drug-resistance genes. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION: The C++-based software VarB and user manual are available from CONTACT:

Maude RJ, Hasan MU, Hossain MA, Sayeed AA, Kanti Paul S, Rahman W, Maude RR, Vaid N, Ghose A, Amin R et al. 2012. Temporal trends in severe malaria in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 323. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological data on malaria in Bangladesh are sparse, particularly on severe and fatal malaria. This hampers the allocation of healthcare provision in this resource-poor setting. Over 85% of the estimated 150,000-250,000 annual malaria cases in Bangladesh occur in Chittagong Division with 80% in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) is the major tertiary referral hospital for severe malaria in Chittagong Division. METHODS: Malaria screening data from 22,785 inpatients in CMCH from 1999-2011 were analysed to investigate the patterns of referral, temporal trends and geographical distribution of severe malaria in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh. RESULTS: From 1999 till 2011, 2,394 malaria cases were admitted, of which 96% harboured Plasmodium falciparum and 4% Plasmodium vivax. Infection was commonest in males (67%) between 15 and 34 years of age. Seasonality of malaria incidence was marked with a single peak in P. falciparum transmission from June to August coinciding with peak rainfall, whereas P. vivax showed an additional peak in February-March possibly representing relapse infections. Since 2007 there has been a substantial decrease in the absolute number of admitted malaria cases. Case fatality in severe malaria was 18% from 2008-2011, remaining steady during this period.A travel history obtained in 226 malaria patients revealed only 33% had been to the CHT in the preceding three weeks. Of all admitted malaria patients, only 9% lived in the CHT, and none in the more remote malaria endemic regions near the Indian border. CONCLUSIONS: The overall decline in admitted malaria cases to CMCH suggests recent control measures are successful. However, there are no reliable data on the incidence of severe malaria in the CHT, the most endemic area of Bangladesh, and most of these patients do not reach tertiary health facilities. Improvement of early treatment and simple supportive care for severe malaria in remote areas and implementation of a referral system for cases requiring additional supportive care could be important contributors to further reducing malaria-attributable disease and death in Bangladesh.

Ezard N, Thiptharakun S, Nosten F, Rhodes T, McGready R. 2012. Risky alcohol use among reproductive-age men, not women, in Mae La refugee camp, Thailand, 2009. Confl Health, 6 (1), pp. 7. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: Globally, alcohol use contributes to close to 4% of all deaths and is a leading cause of ill health and premature death among men of reproductive age. Problem alcohol use is an unaddressed public health issue among populations displaced by conflict. Assessing the magnitude of the problem and identifying affected groups and risk behaviours is difficult in mobile and unstable populations. METHODS: From 15-28 December 2009 we conducted a simple rapid screening test of risky alcohol use using the single item modified Short Assessment Screening Questionnaire (mSASQ) by all women currently enrolled in the antenatal care clinic in Mae La refugee camp, a long standing displaced setting on the Thai Burma border. Women self- reported and gave a secondary report of their male partners. Gender differences in alcohol use were further explored in semi-structured interviews with camp residents on attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs regarding alcohol and analysed thematically. RESULTS: Of 636 women screened in the antenatal clinic, almost none (0.2%, 95CI 0.0-0.9%) reported risky alcohol use prior to pregnancy, whereas around a quarter (24.4%, 95CI 21.2-27.9%) reported risky alcohol use by their male partners. Interviews with 97 camp residents described strong social controls against women's alcohol use and men's drinking to intoxication, despite a dominant perception that the social context of life in displacement promoted alcohol use and that controls are loosening. CONCLUSIONS: As a stigmatised behaviour, alcohol use is difficult to assess, particularly in the context of highly mobile adult male populations: the simple assessment methods here show that it is feasible to obtain adequate data for the purposes of intervention design. The data suggest that risky drinking is common and normalised among men, but that the population may have been partially protected from rapid rises in problem alcohol use observed in nation-wide data from Thailand. The changing social context contains vulnerabilities that might promote problem alcohol use: further investigation, ongoing monitoring, and development of targeted interventions are warranted.

Fowkes FJI, McGready R, Cross NJ, Hommel M, Simpson JA, Elliott SR, Richards JS, Lackovic K, Viladpai-Nguen J, Narum D et al. 2012. New insights into acquisition, boosting, and longevity of immunity to malaria in pregnant women. J Infect Dis, 206 (10), pp. 1612-1621. | Citations: 52 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: How antimalarial antibodies are acquired and maintained during pregnancy and boosted after reinfection with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax is unknown. METHODS: A nested case-control study of 467 pregnant women (136 Plasmodium-infected cases and 331 uninfected control subjects) in northwestern Thailand was conducted. Antibody levels to P. falciparum and P. vivax merozoite antigens and the pregnancy-specific PfVAR2CSA antigen were determined at enrollment (median 10 weeks gestation) and throughout pregnancy until delivery. RESULTS: Antibodies to P. falciparum and P. vivax were highly variable over time, and maintenance of high levels of antimalarial antibodies involved highly dynamic responses resulting from intermittent exposure to infection. There was evidence of boosting with each successive infection for P. falciparum responses, suggesting the presence of immunological memory. However, the half-lives of Plasmodium antibody responses were relatively short, compared with measles (457 years), and much shorter for merozoite responses (0.8-7.6 years), compared with PfVAR2CSA responses (36-157 years). The longer half-life of antibodies to PfVAR2CSA suggests that antibodies acquired in one pregnancy may be maintained to protect subsequent pregnancies. CONCLUSIONS: These findings may have important practical implications for predicting the duration of vaccine-induced responses by candidate antigens and supports the development of malaria vaccines to protect pregnant women.

Gething PW, Elyazar IRF, Moyes CL, Smith DL, Battle KE, Guerra CA, Patil AP, Tatem AJ, Howes RE, Myers MF et al. 2012. A long neglected world malaria map: Plasmodium vivax endemicity in 2010. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (9), pp. e1814. | Citations: 317 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Current understanding of the spatial epidemiology and geographical distribution of Plasmodium vivax is far less developed than that for P. falciparum, representing a barrier to rational strategies for control and elimination. Here we present the first systematic effort to map the global endemicity of this hitherto neglected parasite. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: We first updated to the year 2010 our earlier estimate of the geographical limits of P. vivax transmission. Within areas of stable transmission, an assembly of 9,970 geopositioned P. vivax parasite rate (PvPR) surveys collected from 1985 to 2010 were used with a spatiotemporal Bayesian model-based geostatistical approach to estimate endemicity age-standardised to the 1-99 year age range (PvPR(1-99)) within every 5×5 km resolution grid square. The model incorporated data on Duffy negative phenotype frequency to suppress endemicity predictions, particularly in Africa. Endemicity was predicted within a relatively narrow range throughout the endemic world, with the point estimate rarely exceeding 7% PvPR(1-99). The Americas contributed 22% of the global area at risk of P. vivax transmission, but high endemic areas were generally sparsely populated and the region contributed only 6% of the 2.5 billion people at risk (PAR) globally. In Africa, Duffy negativity meant stable transmission was constrained to Madagascar and parts of the Horn, contributing 3.5% of global PAR. Central Asia was home to 82% of global PAR with important high endemic areas coinciding with dense populations particularly in India and Myanmar. South East Asia contained areas of the highest endemicity in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea and contributed 9% of global PAR. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This detailed depiction of spatially varying endemicity is intended to contribute to a much-needed paradigm shift towards geographically stratified and evidence-based planning for P. vivax control and elimination.

Acestor N, Cooksey R, Newton PN, Ménard D, Guerin PJ, Nakagawa J, Christophel E, González IJ, Bell D. 2012. Mapping the aetiology of non-malarial febrile illness in Southeast Asia through a systematic review--terra incognita impairing treatment policies. PLoS One, 7 (9), pp. e44269. | Citations: 58 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: An increasing use of point of care diagnostic tests that exclude malaria, coupled with a declining malaria burden in many endemic countries, is highlighting the lack of ability of many health systems to manage other causes of febrile disease. A lack of knowledge of distribution of these pathogens, and a lack of screening and point-of-care diagnostics to identify them, prevents effective management of these generally treatable contributors to disease burden. While prospective data collection is vital, an untapped body of knowledge already exists in the published health literature. METHODS: Focusing on the Mekong region of Southeast Asia, published data from 1986 to 2011 was screened to for frequency of isolation of pathogens implicated in aetiology of non-malarial febrile illness. Eligibility criteria included English-language peer-reviewed studies recording major pathogens for which specific management is likely to be warranted. Of 1,252 identified papers, 146 met inclusion criteria and were analyzed and data mapped. RESULTS: Data tended to be clustered around specific areas where research institutions operate, and where resources to conduct studies are greater. The most frequently reported pathogen was dengue virus (n = 70), followed by Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia species (scrub typhus/murine typhus/spotted fever group n = 58), Leptospira spp. (n = 35), Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and Paratyphi (enteric fever n = 24), Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis n = 14), and Japanese encephalitis virus (n = 18). Wide tracts with very little published data on aetiology of fever are apparent. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This mapping demonstrates a very heterogeneous distribution of information on the causes of fever in the Mekong countries. Further directed data collection to address gaps in the evidence-base, and expansion to a global database of pathogen distribution, is readily achievable, and would help define wider priorities for research and development to improve syndromic management of fever, prioritize diagnostic development, and guide empirical therapy.

Lee SJ, Newton PN. 2012. Use of the correlation coefficient to compare a point-of-care antigen test against a quantitative sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of cryptococcal meningitis. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (12), pp. 1744-1745. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Turner P, Willemse C, Phakaudom K, Zin TW, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Aeromonas spp. bacteremia in pregnant women, Thailand-Myanmar border, 2011. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (9), pp. 1522-1523. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Read more

Chue AL, Carrara VI, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Wiladphaingern J, van Vugt M, Lee SJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Is areca innocent? The effect of areca (betel) nut chewing in a population of pregnant women on the Thai-Myanmar border. Int Health, 4 (3), pp. 204-209. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Eight manuscripts have specifically examined the effects of areca (betel) nut use in pregnant women, seven of which have documented adverse effects on birth weight, newborn neurological status, gender ratio and pregnancy outcomes such as anaemia and miscarriage following areca nut use during pregnancy. A retrospective cohort analysis of migrant and refugee pregnant women attending antenatal clinics along the Thai-Myanmar border (July 1997 to November 2006) was conducted to examine the adverse effects of areca nut use routinely recorded on enrolment. Of 7685 women, 2284 (29.7%) never used areca or smoked (cheroots), 2484 (32.3%) only used areca, 438 (5.7%) only smoked cheroots and 2479 (32.3%) used both areca and cheroots. Pieces of ripe areca nut in a leaf with lime, without tobacco, were used particularly among older multigravid women. Adverse pregnancy effects were not observed in areca nut users compared with non-users. Smoking, but not areca nut use, had a dose-related effect on miscarriage. Areca nut use in conjunction with smoking reduced the adverse effects of smoking on birth weight, further supporting a lack of effect of areca nut. Areca (betel) nut-related adverse pregnancy outcomes were not observed in this population, whereas smoking was clearly harmful. Differences from previous reports may result from the amount or types of areca nut, or quid content, consumed between countries. Smoking, but not areca nut, reduction is likely to improve pregnancy outcomes on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Boel ME, Rijken MJ, Pimanpanarak M, Keereecharoen NL, Proux S, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. No association of phenotypic ABO blood group and malaria during pregnancy. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (3), pp. 447-449. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In a few small studies an association between blood group O and placental malaria has been described. The relationship between blood group and malaria in pregnancy (Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum) was analyzed in 1,468 women from three longitudinal cohort studies in which weekly malaria screening was done systematically during pregnancy. One-third of women (447 of 1,468) had at least one malaria infection in pregnancy. The ABO blood group phenotype was not associated with the species of infection, frequency of malaria attacks, symptoms of malaria, hematocrit, or parasitemia during pregnancy.

Zaloumis S, Humberstone A, Charman SA, Price RN, Moehrle J, Gamo-Benito J, McCaw J, Jamsen KM, Smith K, Simpson JA. 2012. Assessing the utility of an anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic model for aiding drug clinical development. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 303. | Citations: 24 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mechanistic within-host models relating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile help in assessing dosing schedules and partner drugs for new anti-malarial treatments. A comprehensive simulation study to assess the utility of a stage-specific pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) model for predicting within-host parasite response was performed. METHODS: Three anti-malarial combination therapies were selected: artesunate-mefloquine, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and artemether-lumefantrine. The PK-PD model included parameters to represent the concentration-time profiles of both drugs, the initial parasite burden and distribution across the parasite life cycle, and the parasite multiplication factor due to asexual reproduction. The model also included the maximal killing rate of each drug, and the blood drug concentration associated with half of that killing effect (in vivo EC50), derived from the in vitro IC50, the extent of binding to 0.5% Albumax present in the in vitro testing media, and the drugs plasma protein binding and whole blood to plasma partitioning ratio. All stochastic simulations were performed using a Latin-Hypercube-Sampling approach. RESULTS: The simulations demonstrated that the proportion of patients cured was highly sensitive to the in vivo EC50 and the maximal killing rate of the partner drug co-administered with the artemisinin derivative. The in vivo EC50 values that corresponded to on average 95% of patients cured were much higher than the adjusted values derived from the in vitro IC50. The proportion clinically cured was not strongly influenced by changes in the parameters defining the age distribution of the initial parasite burden (mean age of 4 to 16 hours) and the parasite multiplication factor every life cycle (ranging from 8 to 12 fold/cycle). The median parasite clearance times, however, lengthened as the standard deviation of the initial parasite burden increased (i.e. the infection became more asynchronous). CONCLUSIONS: This simulation study demonstrates that the PD effect predicted from in vitro growth inhibition assays does not accord well with the PD effect of the anti-malarials observed within the patient. This simulation-based PK-PD modelling approach should not be considered as a replacement to conducting clinical trials but instead as a decision tool to improve the design of a clinical trial during drug development.

Amaratunga C, Sreng S, Suon S, Phelps ES, Stepniewska K, Lim P, Zhou C, Mao S, Anderson JM, Lindegardh N et al. 2012. Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Pursat province, western Cambodia: a parasite clearance rate study. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (11), pp. 851-858. | Citations: 206 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum has been reported in Pailin, western Cambodia, detected as a slow parasite clearance rate in vivo. Emergence of this phenotype in western Thailand and possibly elsewhere threatens to compromise the effectiveness of all artemisinin-based combination therapies. Parasite genetics is associated with parasite clearance rate but does not account for all variation. We investigated contributions of both parasite genetics and host factors to the artemisinin-resistance phenotype in Pursat, western Cambodia. METHODS: Between June 19 and Nov 28, 2009, and June 26 and Dec 6, 2010, we enrolled patients aged 10 years or older with uncomplicated falciparum malaria, a density of asexual parasites of at least 10,000 per μL of whole blood, no symptoms or signs of severe malaria, no other cause of febrile illness, and no chronic illness. We gave participants 4 mg/kg artesunate at 0, 24, and 48 h, 15 mg/kg mefloquine at 72 h, and 10 mg/kg mefloquine at 96 h. We assessed parasite density on thick blood films every 6 h until undetectable. The parasite clearance half-life was calculated from the parasite clearance curve. We genotyped parasites with 18 microsatellite markers and patients for haemoglobin E, α-thalassaemia, and a mutation of G6PD, which encodes glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. To account for the possible effects of acquired immunity on half-life, we used three surrogates for increased likelihood of exposure to P falciparum: age, sex, and place of residence. This study is registered with, number NCT00341003. FINDINGS: We assessed 3504 individuals from all six districts of Pursat province seeking treatment for malaria symptoms. We enrolled 168 patients with falciparum malaria who met inclusion criteria. The geometric mean half-life was 5·85 h (95% CI 5·54-6·18) in Pursat, similar to that reported in Pailin (p=0·109). We identified two genetically different parasite clone groups: parasite group 1 (PG1) and parasite group 2 (PG2). Non-significant increases in parasite clearance half-life were seen in patients with haemoglobin E (0·55 h; p=0·078), those of male sex (0·96 h; p=0·064), and in 2010 (0·68 h; p=0·068); PG1 was associated with a significant increase (0·79 h; p=0·033). The mean parasite heritability of half-life was 0·40 (SD 0·17). INTERPRETATION: Heritable artemisinin resistance is established in a second Cambodian province. To accurately identify parasites that are intrinsically susceptible or resistant to artemisinins, future studies should explore the effect of erythrocyte polymorphisms and specific immune responses on half-life variation. FUNDING: Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.

Tarning J, Chotsiri P, Jullien V, Rijken MJ, Bergstrand M, Cammas M, McGready R, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in women with Plasmodium vivax malaria during and after pregnancy. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (11), pp. 5764-5773. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Amodiaquine is effective for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria, but there is little information on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine in pregnant women with malaria. This study evaluated the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and its biologically active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in pregnant women with P. vivax infection and again after delivery. Twenty-seven pregnant women infected with P. vivax malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border were treated with amodiaquine monotherapy (10 mg/kg/day) once daily for 3 days. Nineteen women, with and without P. vivax infections, returned to receive the same amodiaquine dose postpartum. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine plasma concentrations were described accurately by lagged first-order absorption with a two-compartment disposition model followed by a three-compartment disposition of desethylamodiaquine under the assumption of complete in vivo conversion. Body weight was implemented as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. Amodiaquine clearance decreased linearly with age, and absorption lag time was reduced in pregnant patients. Recurrent malaria infections in pregnant women were modeled with a time-to-event model consisting of a constant-hazard function with an inhibitory effect of desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine treatment reduced the risk of recurrent infections from 22.2% to 7.4% at day 35. In conclusion, pregnancy did not have a clinically relevant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine or desethylamodiaquine. No dose adjustments are required in pregnancy.

Tarning J, Kloprogge F, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Turyakira E, Nuengchamnong N, Nosten F, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of Artemether and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 293. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy increases the risk of maternal anemia, abortion and low birth weight. Approximately 85.3 million pregnancies occur annually in areas with Plasmodium falciparum transmission. Pregnancy has been reported to alter the pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarial drugs. Reduced drug exposure increases the risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its active metabolite dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda. METHODS: Twenty-one women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy received the fixed oral combination of 80 mg artemether and 480 mg lumefantrine twice daily for three days. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin plasma concentrations after the last dose administration were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass-spectroscopy. A simultaneous drug-metabolite population pharmacokinetic model for artemether and dihydroartemisinin was developed taking into account different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. A separate modeling approach and a non-compartmental analysis (NCA) were also performed to enable a comparison with literature values and different modeling strategies. RESULTS: The treatment was well tolerated and there were no cases of recurrent malaria. A flexible absorption model with sequential zero-order and transit-compartment absorption followed by a simultaneous one-compartment disposition model for both artemether and dihydroartemisinin provided the best fit to the data. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin exposure was lower than that reported in non-pregnant populations. An approximately four-fold higher apparent volume of distribution for dihydroartemisinin was obtained by non-compartmental analysis and separate modeling compared to that from simultaneous modeling of the drug and metabolite. This highlights a potential pitfall when analyzing drug/metabolite data with traditional approaches. CONCLUSION: The population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and dihydroartemisinin, in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda, were described satisfactorily by a simultaneous drug-metabolite model without covariates. Concentrations of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin were relatively low in pregnancy compared to literature data. However, this should be interpreted with caution considered the limited literature available. Further studies in larger series are urgently needed for this vulnerable group.

Joshi VS, Maude RJ, Reinhardt JM, Tang L, Garvin MK, Abu Sayeed A, Ghose A, Hassan MU, Abràmoff MD. 2012. Automated detection of malarial retinopathy-associated retinal hemorrhages. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 53 (10), pp. 6582-6588. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: To develop an automated method for the detection of retinal hemorrhages on color fundus images to characterize malarial retinopathy, which may help in the assessment of patients with cerebral malaria. METHODS: A fundus image dataset from 14 patients (200 fundus images, with an average of 14 images per patient) previously diagnosed with malarial retinopathy was examined. We developed a pattern recognition-based algorithm, which extracted features from image watershed regions called splats (tobogganing). A reference standard was obtained by manual segmentation of hemorrhages, which assigned a label to each splat. The splat features with the associated splat label were used to train a linear k-nearest neighbor classifier that learnt the color properties of hemorrhages and identified the splats belonging to hemorrhages in a test dataset. In a crossover design experiment, data from 12 patients were used for training and data from two patients were used for testing, with 14 different permutations; and the derived sensitivity and specificity values were averaged. RESULTS: The experiment resulted in hemorrhage detection sensitivities in terms of splats as 80.83%, and in terms of lesions as 84.84%. The splat-based specificity was 96.67%, whereas for the lesion-based analysis, an average of three false positives was obtained per image. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was reported as 0.9148 for splat-based, and as 0.9030 for lesion-based analysis. CONCLUSIONS: The method provides an automated means of detecting retinal hemorrhages associated with malarial retinopathy. The results matched well with the reference standard. With further development, this technique may provide automated assistance for screening and quantification of malarial retinopathy.

John GK, Douglas NM, von Seidlein L, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ, Price RN. 2012. Primaquine radical cure of Plasmodium vivax: a critical review of the literature. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 280. | Citations: 95 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primaquine has been the only widely available hypnozoitocidal anti-malarial drug for half a century. Despite this its clinical efficacy is poorly characterized resulting in a lack of consensus over the optimal regimen for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax. METHODS: Published studies since 1950 of the use of primaquine regimens for preventing P. vivax relapse were reviewed. Data were extracted systematically from available papers. Primaquine regimens were categorized according to the total dose administered: very low (≤2.5 mg/kg), low (>2.5 mg/kg- < 5.0 mg/kg) and high (≥ 5.0 mg/kg). The risk of recurrent infection were summarized across geographical regions and the odds ratios between treatment regimens calculated after stratifying by total treatment dose and duration of study follow up. RESULTS: Data could be retrieved from 87 clinical trials presenting data in 59,735 patients enrolled into 156 treatment arms, conducted in 20 countries. There was marked heterogeneity in study design, particularly primaquine dosing and duration of follow up. The median rate of recurrence following very low dose of primaquine (n = 44) was 25% (range 0-90%) at 4-6 months, compared to 6.7 % (range 0-59%) following low dose primaquine (n = 82). High dose primaquine regimens were assessed in 28 treatment arms, and were associated with a median recurrence rate of 0% (Range: 0-15%) at one month. In 18 studies with control arms, the effectiveness of a very low dose primaquine regimen was no different from patients who did not receive primaquine (OR = 0.60, 95%CI 0.33-1.09, p = 0.09), whereas for the low dose regimens a significant difference was reported in 50% (6/12) of studies (overall OR = 0.14, 95%CI: 0.06-0.35, p < 0.001). Two studies enrolling 171 patients demonstrated high effectiveness of high dose primaquine compared to a control arm (OR = 0.03 (95%CI: 0.01-0.13); p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Low dose regimens retain adequate efficacy in some areas, but this is not uniform. The efficacy and safety of pragmatic high dose primaquine regimens needs to be assessed in a range of endemic and geographical locations. Such studies will require a prolonged period of follow up and comparison with control arms to account for confounding factors.

Ramutton T, Hendriksen ICE, Mwanga-Amumpaire J, Mtove G, Olaosebikan R, Tshefu AK, Onyamboko MA, Karema C, Maitland K, Gomes E et al. 2012. Sequence variation does not confound the measurement of plasma PfHRP2 concentration in African children presenting with severe malaria. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 276. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein PFHRP2 measurement is used widely for diagnosis, and more recently for severity assessment in falciparum malaria. The Pfhrp2 gene is highly polymorphic, with deletion of the entire gene reported in both laboratory and field isolates. These issues potentially confound the interpretation of PFHRP2 measurements. METHODS: Studies designed to detect deletion of Pfhrp2 and its paralog Pfhrp3 were undertaken with samples from patients in seven countries contributing to the largest hospital-based severe malaria trial (AQUAMAT). The quantitative relationship between sequence polymorphism and PFHRP2 plasma concentration was examined in samples from selected sites in Mozambique and Tanzania. RESULTS: There was no evidence for deletion of either Pfhrp2 or Pfhrp3 in the 77 samples with lowest PFHRP2 plasma concentrations across the seven countries. Pfhrp2 sequence diversity was very high with no haplotypes shared among 66 samples sequenced. There was no correlation between Pfhrp2 sequence length or repeat type and PFHRP2 plasma concentration. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that sequence polymorphism is not a significant cause of variation in PFHRP2 concentration in plasma samples from African children. This justifies the further development of plasma PFHRP2 concentration as a method for assessing African children who may have severe falciparum malaria. The data also add to the existing evidence base supporting the use of rapid diagnostic tests based on PFHRP2 detection.

White NJ, Dondorp AM, Faiz A, Mishra S, Hien TT. 2012. New global estimates of malaria deaths. Lancet, 380 (9841), pp. 559-560. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Weerasuriya CK, Tan SO, Alexakis LC, Set AK, Rijken MJ, Martyn P, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Evaluation of a surgical service in the chronic phase of a refugee camp: an example from the Thai-Myanmar border. Confl Health, 6 (1), pp. 5. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND: Published literature on surgical care in refugees tends to focus on the acute ('emergent') phase of crisis situations. Here we posit that there is a substantial burden of non-acute morbidity amenable to surgical intervention among refugees in the 'chronic' phase of crisis situations. We describe surgery for non-acute conditions undertaken at Mae La Refugee Camp, Thailand over a two year period. METHODS: Surgery was performed by a general surgeon in a dedicated room of Mae La Refugee Camp over May 2005 to April 2007 with minimal instruments and staff. We obtained the equivalent costs for these procedures if they were done at the local Thai District General Hospital. We also acquired the list (and costs) of acute surgical referrals to the District General Hospital over September 2006 to December 2007. RESULTS: 855 operations were performed on 847 patients in Mae La Refugee Camp (60.1% sterilizations, 13.3% 'general surgery', 5.6% 'gynaecological surgery', 17.4% 'mass excisions', 3.5% 'other'). These procedures were worth 2,207,500 THB (75,683.33 USD) at costs quoted by the District General Hospital. Total cost encountered for these operations (including staff costs, consumables, anaesthesia and capital costs such as construction) equaled 1,280,000 THB (42,666 USD). Pertaining to acute surgical referrals to District General hospital: we estimate that 356,411.96 THB (11,880.40 USD) worth of operations over 14 months were potentially preventable if these cases had been operated at an earlier, non-acute state in Mae La Refugee Camp. CONCLUSIONS: A considerable burden of non-acute surgical morbidity exists in 'chronic' refugee situations. An in-house general surgical service is found to be cost-effective in relieving some of this burden and should be considered by policy makers as a viable intervention.

Fairhurst RM, Nayyar GML, Breman JG, Hallett R, Vennerstrom JL, Duong S, Ringwald P, Wellems TE, Plowe CV, Dondorp AM. 2012. Artemisinin-resistant malaria: research challenges, opportunities, and public health implications. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (2), pp. 231-241. | Citations: 100 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the most effective drugs to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Reduced sensitivity to artemisinin monotherapy, coupled with the emergence of parasite resistance to all partner drugs, threaten to place millions of patients at risk of inadequate treatment of malaria. Recognizing the significance and immediacy of this possibility, the Fogarty International Center and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the U.S. National Institutes of Health convened a conference in November 2010 to bring together the diverse array of stakeholders responding to the growing threat of artemisinin resistance, including scientists from malarious countries in peril. This conference encouraged and enabled experts to share their recent unpublished data from studies that may improve our understanding of artemisinin resistance. Conference sessions addressed research priorities to forestall artemisinin resistance and fostered collaborations between field- and laboratory-based researchers and international programs, with the aim of translating new scientific evidence into public health solutions. Inspired by this conference, this review summarizes novel findings and perspectives on artemisinin resistance, approaches for translating research data into relevant public health information, and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration to combat artemisinin resistance.

Conlan JV, Vongxay K, Khamlome B, Dorny P, Sripa B, Elliot A, Blacksell SD, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA. 2012. A cross-sectional study of Taenia solium in a multiple taeniid-endemic region reveals competition may be protective. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (2), pp. 281-291. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted cross-sectional surveys for taeniasis and cysticercosis in humans, pigs, and dogs in four northern provinces of Laos. Human cysticercosis and taeniasis prevalence was 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4-3.0%) and 8.4% (95% CI = 6.9-9.9%), respectively. Eating uncooked beef, being male, province of residence, age, and ethnicity were significant risk factors for taeniasis and only province of residence was a significant risk factor for cystiercosis. Thirty-five human tapeworms were recovered during the survey and 33 (94.3%) and 2 (5.7%) were identified as Taenia saginata and T. solium, respectively. Maximum-likelihood adjusted prevalence of T. solium and T. hydatigena in pigs was 4.2% (95% CI = 0.5-7.9%) and 55.9% (95% CI = 47.5-64.3%), respectively, and T. hydatigena taeniasis in dogs was 4.8% (95% CI = 0.0-11.3%). Taenia hydatigena and T. saginata were the most prevalent taeniids in the respective pig and human populations and together may suppress T. solium transmission.

Taylor WRJ, Hanson J, Turner GDH, White NJ, Dondorp AM. 2012. Respiratory manifestations of malaria. Chest, 142 (2), pp. 492-505. | Citations: 92 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Respiratory distress develops in up to 25% of adults and 40% of children with severe falciparum malaria. Its diverse causes include respiratory compensation of metabolic acidosis, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, concomitant pneumonia, and severe anemia. Patients with severe falciparum, vivax, and knowlesi malaria may develop acute lung injury (ALI) and ARDS, often several days after antimalarial drug treatment. ARDS rates, best characterized for severe Plasmodium falciparum, are 5% to 25% in adults and up to 29% in pregnant women; ARDS is rare in young children. ARDS pathophysiology centers on inflammatory-mediated increased capillary permeability or endothelial damage leading to diffuse alveolar damage that can continue after parasite clearance. The role of parasite sequestration in the pulmonary microvasculature is unclear, because sequestration occurs intensely in P falciparum, less so in P knowlesi, and has not been shown convincingly in P vivax. Because early markers of ALI/ARDS are lacking, fluid resuscitation in severe malaria should follow the old adage to "keep them dry." Bacteremia and hospital-acquired pneumonia can complicate severe malaria and may contribute to ALI/ARDS. Mechanical ventilation can save life in ALI/ARDS. Basic critical care facilities are increasingly available in tropical countries. The use of lung-protective ventilation has helped to reduce mortality from malaria-induced ALI/ARDS, but permissive hypercapnia in unconscious patients is not recommended because increased intracranial pressure and cerebral swelling may occur in cerebral malaria. The best antimalarial treatment of severe malaria is IV artesunate.

Hendriksen ICE, Mwanga-Amumpaire J, von Seidlein L, Mtove G, White LJ, Olaosebikan R, Lee SJ, Tshefu AK, Woodrow C, Amos B et al. 2012. Diagnosing severe falciparum malaria in parasitaemic African children: a prospective evaluation of plasma PfHRP2 measurement. PLoS Med, 9 (8), pp. e1001297. | Citations: 67 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In African children, distinguishing severe falciparum malaria from other severe febrile illnesses with coincidental Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia is a major challenge. P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) is released by mature sequestered parasites and can be used to estimate the total parasite burden. We investigated the prognostic significance of plasma PfHRP2 and used it to estimate the malaria-attributable fraction in African children diagnosed with severe malaria. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Admission plasma PfHRP2 was measured prospectively in African children (from Mozambique, The Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) aged 1 month to 15 years with severe febrile illness and a positive P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH)-based rapid test in a clinical trial comparing parenteral artesunate versus quinine (the AQUAMAT trial, ISRCTN 50258054). In 3,826 severely ill children, Plasmadium falciparum PfHRP2 was higher in patients with coma (p = 0.0209), acidosis (p<0.0001), and severe anaemia (p<0.0001). Admission geometric mean (95%CI) plasma PfHRP2 was 1,611 (1,350-1,922) ng/mL in fatal cases (n = 381) versus 1,046 (991-1,104) ng/mL in survivors (n = 3,445, p<0.0001), without differences in parasitaemia as assessed by microscopy. There was a U-shaped association between log(10) plasma PfHRP2 and risk of death. Mortality increased 20% per log(10) increase in PfHRP2 above 174 ng/mL (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.21, 95%CI 1.05-1.39, p = 0.009). A mechanistic model assuming a PfHRP2-independent risk of death in non-malaria illness closely fitted the observed data and showed malaria-attributable mortality less than 50% with plasma PfHRP2≤174 ng/mL. The odds ratio (OR) for death in artesunate versus quinine-treated patients was 0.61 (95%CI 0.44-0.83, p = 0.0018) in the highest PfHRP2 tertile, whereas there was no difference in the lowest tertile (OR 1.05; 95%CI 0.69-1.61; p = 0.82). A limitation of the study is that some conclusions are drawn from a mechanistic model, which is inherently dependent on certain assumptions. However, a sensitivity analysis of the model indicated that the results were robust to a plausible range of parameter estimates. Further studies are needed to validate our findings. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma PfHRP2 has prognostic significance in African children with severe falciparum malaria and provides a tool to stratify the risk of "true" severe malaria-attributable disease as opposed to other severe illnesses in parasitaemic African children.

Kerlin DH, Boyce K, Marfurt J, Simpson JA, Kenangalem E, Cheng Q, Price RN, Gatton ML. 2012. An analytical method for assessing stage-specific drug activity in Plasmodium vivax malaria: implications for ex vivo drug susceptibility testing. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (8), pp. e1772. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of highly chloroquine (CQ) resistant P. vivax in Southeast Asia has created an urgent need for an improved understanding of the mechanisms of drug resistance in these parasites, the development of robust tools for defining the spread of resistance, and the discovery of new antimalarial agents. The ex vivo Schizont Maturation Test (SMT), originally developed for the study of P. falciparum, has been modified for P. vivax. We retrospectively analysed the results from 760 parasite isolates assessed by the modified SMT to investigate the relationship between parasite growth dynamics and parasite susceptibility to antimalarial drugs. Previous observations of the stage-specific activity of CQ against P. vivax were confirmed, and shown to have profound consequences for interpretation of the assay. Using a nonlinear model we show increased duration of the assay and a higher proportion of ring stages in the initial blood sample were associated with decreased effective concentration (EC(50)) values of CQ, and identify a threshold where these associations no longer hold. Thus, starting composition of parasites in the SMT and duration of the assay can have a profound effect on the calculated EC(50) for CQ. Our findings indicate that EC(50) values from assays with a duration less than 34 hours do not truly reflect the sensitivity of the parasite to CQ, nor an assay where the proportion of ring stage parasites at the start of the assay does not exceed 66%. Application of this threshold modelling approach suggests that similar issues may occur for susceptibility testing of amodiaquine and mefloquine. The statistical methodology which has been developed also provides a novel means of detecting stage-specific drug activity for new antimalarials.

Duenser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ, Med ESIC. 2012. Point of care ultrasound for sepsis management in resource-limited settings: response to Via et al. INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE, 38 (8), pp. 1408-1409. | Read more

Woodrow CJ, Taylor WRJ. 2012. Reappraisal of the efficacy of a simplified artesunate regimen in falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 206 (4), pp. 619-621. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Linasmita P, Srisangkaew S, Wongsuk T, Bhongmakapat T, Watcharananan SP. 2012. Evaluation of real-time polymerase chain reaction for detection of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and the diagnosis of cervical tuberculous lymphadenitis in a country with a high tuberculosis incidence. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (3), pp. 313-321. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous lymphadenitis (TBL) is the most common form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Currently, the standard diagnostic test for TBL is culture, which takes more than several weeks to yield results. We studied a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for rapid detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in cervical lymph node specimens obtained from patients in a country where the tuberculosis incidence is high. METHODS: Patients with cervical lymphadenopathy were prospectively enrolled between April 2009 and March 2010. Clinical specimens obtained through fine-needle aspiration (FNA) and excisional biopsy were tested for M. tuberculosis by the COBAS TaqMan MTB Test, a real-time PCR assay for detecting the 16S ribosomal RNA gene of M. tuberculosis. Mycobacterial culture and histopathological findings from tissue biopsy specimens were used as a reference standard for sensitivity and specificity calculations. RESULTS: Of 73 patients, 41 received a diagnosis of TBL. For biopsy specimens, the sensitivity of real-time PCR was 63.4%, and the specificity was 96.9%. For FNA specimens, the sensitivity was 17.1%, and the specificity was 100%. The sensitivity of real-time PCR of biopsy specimens was comparable to that of tissue culture but significant lower than that of histopathological examination (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: Real-time PCR did not increase the yield for rapid diagnosis of TBL.

Blacksell SD, Lee SJ, Chanthongthip A, Taojaikong T, Thongpaseuth S, Hübscher T, Newton PN. 2012. Comparison of performance of serum and plasma in panbio dengue and Japanese encephalitis virus enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (3), pp. 573-575. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We examined the comparative performance of serum and plasma (in dipotassium EDTA) in Panbio Dengue enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for detection of non-structural protein 1 (NS1), IgM, and IgG, and a dengue/Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) combination IgM ELISA in a prospective series of 201 patients with suspected dengue in Laos. Paired comparisons of medians from serum and plasma samples were not significantly different for Dengue IgM, and NS1 which had the highest number of discordant pairs (both 2%; P = 0.13 and P = 0.25, respectively). Comparison of qualitative final diagnostic interpretations for serum and plasma samples were not significantly different: only 1.5% (3 of 201 for Dengue/JEV IgM and Dengue IgG) and 2.0% (4 of 201; IgM and NS1) showed discordant pairs. These results demonstrate that plasma containing EDTA is suitable for use in these ELISAs.

Manske M, Miotto O, Campino S, Auburn S, Almagro-Garcia J, Maslen G, O'Brien J, Djimde A, Doumbo O, Zongo I et al. 2012. Analysis of Plasmodium falciparum diversity in natural infections by deep sequencing. Nature, 487 (7407), pp. 375-379. | Citations: 227 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria elimination strategies require surveillance of the parasite population for genetic changes that demand a public health response, such as new forms of drug resistance. Here we describe methods for the large-scale analysis of genetic variation in Plasmodium falciparum by deep sequencing of parasite DNA obtained from the blood of patients with malaria, either directly or after short-term culture. Analysis of 86,158 exonic single nucleotide polymorphisms that passed genotyping quality control in 227 samples from Africa, Asia and Oceania provides genome-wide estimates of allele frequency distribution, population structure and linkage disequilibrium. By comparing the genetic diversity of individual infections with that of the local parasite population, we derive a metric of within-host diversity that is related to the level of inbreeding in the population. An open-access web application has been established for the exploration of regional differences in allele frequency and of highly differentiated loci in the P. falciparum genome.

McGready R, Boel M, Rijken MJ, Ashley EA, Cho T, Moo O, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Hkirijareon L, Carrara VI et al. 2012. Effect of early detection and treatment on malaria related maternal mortality on the north-western border of Thailand 1986-2010. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e40244. | Citations: 44 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Maternal mortality is high in developing countries, but there are few data in high-risk groups such as migrants and refugees in malaria-endemic areas. Trends in maternal mortality were followed over 25 years in antenatal clinics prospectively established in an area with low seasonal transmission on the north-western border of Thailand. METHODS AND FINDINGS: All medical records from women who attended the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit antenatal clinics from 12(th) May 1986 to 31(st) December 2010 were reviewed, and maternal death records were analyzed for causality. There were 71 pregnancy-related deaths recorded amongst 50,981 women who attended antenatal care at least once. Three were suicide and excluded from the analysis as incidental deaths. The estimated maternal mortality ratio (MMR) overall was 184 (95%CI 150-230) per 100,000 live births. In camps for displaced persons there has been a six-fold decline in the MMR from 499 (95%CI 200-780) in 1986-90 to 79 (40-170) in 2006-10, p<0.05. In migrants from adjacent Myanmar the decline in MMR was less significant: 588 (100-3260) to 252 (150-430) from 1996-2000 to 2006-2010. Mortality from P. falciparum malaria in pregnancy dropped sharply with the introduction of systematic screening and treatment and continued to decline with the reduction in the incidence of malaria in the communities. P. vivax was not a cause of maternal death in this population. Infection (non-puerperal sepsis and P. falciparum malaria) accounted for 39.7 (27/68) % of all deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Frequent antenatal clinic screening allows early detection and treatment of falciparum malaria and substantially reduces maternal mortality from P. falciparum malaria. No significant decline has been observed in deaths from sepsis or other causes in refugee and migrant women on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Smythe L, Dohnt M, Hartskeerl R, Vongsouvath M, Davong V, Lattana O, Newton PN, Blacksell SD. 2012. Evaluation of the Standard Diagnostics Leptospira IgM ELISA for diagnosis of acute leptospirosis in Lao PDR. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (9), pp. 563-566. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The diagnostic utility of the Standard Diagnostics Leptospira IgM ELISA for detection of acute leptospirosis was assessed in febrile adults admitted in Vientiane, Laos. Using the cut-off suggested by the manufacturer [optical density (OD) ≥0.75], the assay demonstrated limited diagnostic capacity with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 41% compared with the Leptospira microscopic agglutination test, which is the serological gold standard. However, re-evaluation of the diagnostic cut-off to an OD of 1.7 demonstrated improved diagnostic accuracy overall (sensitivity 70%; specificity 78%).

Chue AL, Moore RL, Cavey A, Ashley EA, Stepniewska K, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Comparability of tympanic and oral mercury thermometers at high ambient temperatures. BMC Res Notes, 5 (1), pp. 356. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Body temperature can be measured in seconds with tympanic thermometers as opposed to minutes with mercury ones. The aim of this study was to compare tympanic and oral mercury thermometer measurements under high ambient field temperatures. RESULTS: Tympanic temperature (measured thrice by 3 operators) was compared to oral temperature measured once with a mercury-in-glass thermometer in 201 patients (aged ≥5 years), on the Thai-Myanmar border. Ambient temperature was measured with an electronic thermo-hygrometer. Participants had a mean [min-max] age of 27 [5-60] years and 42% (84) were febrile by oral thermometer. The mean difference in the mercury and tympanic temperature measurement for all observers/devices was 0.09 (95%CI 0.07-0.12)°C and intra-class correlation for repeat tympanic measurements was high (≥0.97) for each observer. Deviations in tympanic temperatures were not related to ambient temperature. CONCLUSION: Clinically significant differences were not observed between oral and tympanic temperature measurements at high ambient temperatures in a rural tropical setting.

Maude RR, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Amin MR, Islam MB, Ali M, Bari MS, Majumder MI, Wuthiekanan V, Dondorp AM et al. 2012. Seroepidemiological surveillance of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Bangladesh. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (9), pp. 576-578. | Citations: 8 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) has yet to be demonstrated systematically in Bangladesh. A prospective, cross-sectional serological survey was conducted in 2010 at six Bangladeshi hospitals. Age, gender, occupation and residential address were recorded. Of 1244 patients, 359 (28.9%) were positive for B. pseudomallei by indirect haemagglutination assay. Farmers had an increased risk of seropositivity (risk ratio=1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.8; p=0.03). There was no clear geographic clustering of seropositives. Melioidosis should be considered as a possible cause of febrile illness in Bangladesh. Further studies are needed to establish the incidence of clinical disease and distribution of environmental risk.

Kim J-R, Nandy A, Maji AK, Addy M, Dondorp AM, Day NPJ, Pukrittayakamee S, White NJ, Imwong M. 2012. Genotyping of Plasmodium vivax reveals both short and long latency relapse patterns in Kolkata. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e39645. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Plasmodium vivax that was once prevalent in temperate climatic zones typically had an interval between primary infection and first relapse of 7-10 months, whereas in tropical areas P.vivax infections relapse frequently at intervals of 3-6 weeks. Defining the epidemiology of these two phenotypes from temporal patterns of illness in endemic areas is difficult or impossible, particularly if they overlap. METHODS: A prospective open label comparison of chloroquine (CQ) alone versus CQ plus unobserved primaquine for either 5 days or 14 days was conducted in patients presenting with acute vivax malaria in Kolkata. Patients were followed for 15 months and primary and recurrent infections were genotyped using three polymorphic antigen and up to 8 microsatellite markers. RESULTS: 151 patients were enrolled of whom 47 (31%) had subsequent recurrent infections. Recurrence proportions were similar in the three treatment groups. Parasite genotyping revealed discrete temporal patterns of recurrence allowing differentiation of probable relapse from newly acquired infections. This suggested that 32 of the 47 recurrences were probable relapses of which 22 (69%) were genetically homologous. The majority (81%) of probable relapses occurred within three months (16 homologous, 10 heterologous) and six genetically homologous relapses (19%) were of the long latency (8-10 month interval) phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: With long follow-up to assess temporal patterns of vivax malaria recurrence, genotyping of P.vivax can be used to assess relapse rates. A 14 day unobserved course of primaquine did not prevent relapse. Genotyping indicates that long latency P.vivax is prevalent in West Bengal, and that the first relapses after long latent periods are genetically homologous. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN14027467.

Siritantikorn S, Jintaworn S, Noisakran S, Suputtamongkol Y, Paris DH, Blacksell SD. 2012. Application of ImageJ program to the enumeration of Orientia tsutsugamushi organisms cultured in vitro. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (10), pp. 632-635. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The ImageJ program was applied to the enumeration of Orientia tsutsugamushi organisms in cell culture using indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). The highest correlation (r=0.984) was observed between manual counting methods and the ImageJ program (MaxEntropy threshold algorithm). This software-based methodology is cheaper, more standardised and better reproducible than a manual-based approach.

Maude RR, Vatcharapreechasakul T, Ariyaprasert P, Maude RJ, Hongsuwan M, Yuentrakul P, Limmathurotsakul D, Koh GCKW, Chaowagul W, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2012. Prospective observational study of the frequency and features of intra-abdominal abscesses in patients with melioidosis in northeast Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (10), pp. 629-631. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Retrospective case series from Thailand have reported the presence of intra-abdominal abscesses in around half of patients with melioidosis, a much higher rate than our clinical experience would suggest. We performed a prospective, observational study of 230 adult patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis in which all patients underwent abdominal ultrasound. One or more abscesses were detected in the liver and/or spleen in 77 (33%) cases. These were often multiple (70%, 31/44 in hepatic abscesses and 88%, 50/57 in splenic abscesses) and clinically silent (27% of cases with abscesses presenting with abdominal pain). The mortality rate at 4 weeks post-discharge was lower in patients who were abscess-positive vs abscess-negative (10%, 8/77 vs 20%, 31/153).

Hendriksen ICE, Ferro J, Montoya P, Chhaganlal KD, Seni A, Gomes E, Silamut K, Lee SJ, Lucas M, Chotivanich K et al. 2012. Diagnosis, clinical presentation, and in-hospital mortality of severe malaria in HIV-coinfected children and adults in Mozambique. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (8), pp. 1144-1153. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection is common in settings with a high prevalence of both diseases, but there is little information on whether HIV affects the clinical presentation and outcome of severe malaria. METHODS: HIV status was assessed prospectively in hospitalized parasitemic adults and children with severe malaria in Beira, Mozambique, as part of a clinical trial comparing parenteral artesunate versus quinine (ISRCTN50258054). Clinical signs, comorbidity, complications, and disease outcome were compared according to HIV status. RESULTS: HIV-1 seroprevalence was 11% (74/655) in children under 15 years and 72% (49/68) in adults with severe malaria. Children with HIV coinfection presented with more severe acidosis, anemia, and respiratory distress, and higher peripheral blood parasitemia and plasma Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 (PfHRP2). During hospitalization, deterioration in coma score, convulsions, respiratory distress, and pneumonia were more common in HIV-coinfected children, and mortality was 26% (19/74) versus 9% (53/581) in uninfected children (P < .001). In an age- and antimalarial treatment-adjusted logistic regression model, significant, independent predictors for death were renal impairment, acidosis, parasitemia, and plasma PfHRP2 concentration. CONCLUSIONS: Severe malaria in HIV-coinfected patients presents with higher parasite burden, more complications, and comorbidity, and carries a higher case fatality rate. Early identification of HIV coinfection is important for the clinical management of severe malaria.

Rijken MJ, de Wit MC, Mulder EJH, Kiricharoen S, Karunkonkowit N, Paw T, Visser GHA, McGready R, Nosten FH, Pistorius LR. 2012. Effect of malaria in pregnancy on foetal cortical brain development: a longitudinal observational study. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 222. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy has a negative impact on foetal growth, but it is not known whether this also affects the foetal nervous system. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of malaria on foetal cortex development by three-dimensional ultrasound. METHODS: Brain images were acquired using a portable ultrasound machine and a 3D ultrasound transducer. All recordings were analysed, blinded to clinical data, using the 4D view software package. The foetal supra-tentorial brain volume was determined and cortical development was qualitatively followed by scoring the appearance and development of six sulci. Multilevel analysis was used to study brain volume and cortical development in individual foetuses. RESULTS: Cortical grading was possible in 161 out of 223 (72%) serial foetal brain images in pregnant women living in a malaria endemic area. There was no difference between foetal cortical development or brain volumes at any time in pregnancy between women with immediately treated malaria infections and non-infected pregnancies. CONCLUSION: The percentage of images that could be graded was similar to other neuro-sonographic studies. Maternal malaria does not have a gross effect on foetal brain development, at least in this population, which had access to early detection and effective treatment of malaria.

Adam I, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Mahgoub H, McGready R, Nosten F. 2012. Pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in pregnant women in Sudan with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (1), pp. 35-40. | Citations: 29 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine were investigated in 12 pregnant and 12 well-matched, non-pregnant women receiving a three-day oral fixed dose combination regimen of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine for treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum at New Halfa Hospital in eastern Sudan. Frequent venous plasma samples were drawn from the patients over a 63-day period and a complete concentration-time profile was collected for 7 pregnant and 11 non-pregnant patients. Piperaquine was quantified using a liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry method. Pregnant women had a significantly higher total drug exposure (median area under the curve [range] = 1,770 [1,200-5,600] hr × ng/mL versus 858 [325-2,370] hr × ng/mL; P = 0.018) and longer time to maximal concentration (4.00 [1.50-4.03] hr versus 1.50 [0.500-8.00] hr; P = 0.02) after the first dose compared with non-pregnant women. There was no other significant difference observed in piperaquine pharmacokinetics between pregnant and non-pregnant women, including no difference in total drug exposure or maximum concentration. The overall pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine in this study were consistent with previously published reports in non-pregnant patients.

Moore CE, Blacksell SD, Taojaikong T, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Lee SJ, Chansamouth V, Thongpaseuth S, Mayxay M, Newton PN. 2012. A prospective assessment of the accuracy of commercial IgM ELISAs in diagnosis of Japanese encephalitis virus infections in patients with suspected central nervous system infections in Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (1), pp. 171-178. | Citations: 13 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a major cause of encephalitis in Asia. We estimated the diagnostic accuracy of two anti-JEV immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) (Panbio and XCyton JEVCheX) compared with a reference standard (AFRIMS JEV MAC ELISA) in a prospective study of the causes of central nervous system infections in Laos. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF; 515 patients) and serum samples (182 patients) from those admitted to Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, were tested. The CSF from 14.5% of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) patients and 10.1% from those with AES and meningitis were positive for anti-JEV IgM in the reference ELISA. The sensitivities for CSF were 65.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 51-78) (Xcyton), 69.2% (95% CI = 55-81) (Panbio), however 96.2% (95% CI = 87-100) with Panbio Ravi criteria. Specificities were 89-100%. For admission sera from AES patients, sensitivities and specificities of the Panbio ELISA were 85.7% (95% CI = 42-100%) and 92.9% (95% CI = 83-98%), respectively.

Stuetz W, Carrara VI, McGready R, Lee SJ, Biesalski HK, Nosten FH. 2012. Thiamine diphosphate in whole blood, thiamine and thiamine monophosphate in breast-milk in a refugee population. PLoS One, 7 (6), pp. e36280. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The provision of high doses of thiamine may prevent thiamine deficiency in the post-partum period of displaced persons. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The study aimed to evaluate a supplementation regimen of thiamine mononitrate (100 mg daily) at the antenatal clinics in Maela refugee camp. Women were enrolled during antenatal care and followed after delivery. Samples were collected at 12 weeks post partum. Thiamine diphosphate (TDP) in whole blood and thiamine in breast-milk of 636 lactating women were measured. Thiamine in breast-milk consisted of thiamine monophosphate (TMP) in addition to thiamine, with a mean TMP to total thiamine ratio of 63%. Mean whole blood TDP (130 nmol/L) and total thiamine in breast-milk (755 nmol/L) were within the upper range reported for well-nourished women. The prevalence of women with low whole blood TDP (<65 nmol/L) was 5% and with deficient breast-milk total thiamine (<300 nmol/L) was 4%. Whole blood TDP predicted both breast-milk thiamine and TMP (R(2) = 0.36 and 0.10, p<0.001). A ratio of TMP to total thiamine ≥63% was associated with a 7.5 and 4-fold higher risk of low whole blood TDP and deficient total breast-milk thiamine, respectively. Routine provision of daily 100 mg of thiamine mononitrate post-partum compared to the previous weekly 10 mg of thiamine hydrochloride resulted in significantly higher total thiamine in breast-milk. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Thiamine supplementation for lactating women in Maela refugee camp is effective and should be continued. TMP and its ratio to total thiamine in breast-milk, reported for the first time in this study, provided useful information on thiamine status and should be included in future studies of breast-milk thiamine.

Dondorp AM, Maude RJ, Hendriksen ICE, Day NP, White NJ. 2012. Artesunate dosing in severe falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 206 (4), pp. 618-619. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Gomes MGM, Aguas R, Lopes JS, Nunes MC, Rebelo C, Rodrigues P, Struchiner CJ. 2012. How host heterogeneity governs tuberculosis reinfection? Proc Biol Sci, 279 (1737), pp. 2473-2478. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recurrent episodes of tuberculosis (TB) can be due to relapse of latent infection or exogenous reinfection, and discrimination is crucial for control planning. Molecular genotyping of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates offers concrete opportunities to measure the relative contribution of reinfection in recurrent disease. Here, a mathematical model of TB transmission is fitted to data from 14 molecular epidemiology studies, enabling the estimation of relevant epidemiological parameters. Meta-analysis reveals that rates of reinfection after successful treatment are higher than rates of new TB, raising an important question about the underlying mechanism. We formulate two alternative mechanisms within our model framework: (i) infection increases susceptibility to reinfection or (ii) infection affects individuals differentially, thereby recruiting high-risk individuals to the group at risk for reinfection. The second mechanism is better supported by the fittings to the data, suggesting that reinfection rates are inflated through a population phenomenon that occurs in the presence of heterogeneity in individual risk of infection. As a result, rates of reinfection are higher when measured at the population level even though they might be lower at the individual level. Finally, differential host recruitment is modulated by transmission intensity, being less pronounced when incidence is high.

Moore CE, Hor PC, Soeng S, Sun S, Lee SJ, Parry CM, Day NPJ, Stoesser N. 2012. Changing patterns of gastrointestinal parasite infections in Cambodian children: 2006-2011. J Trop Pediatr, 58 (6), pp. 509-512. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We studied gastrointestinal parasites in symptomatic Cambodian children attending a provincial hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia between 2006 and 2011. A total of 16 372 faecal samples were examined by direct microscopy. Parasites were detected in 3121 (19.1%) samples and most common were Giardia lamblia (8.0% of samples; 47.6% disease episodes), hookworm (5.1%; 30.3%) and Strongyloides stercoralis (2.6%; 15.6%). The proportion of infected children increased, and the number of disease episodes effectively treated with a single dose of mebendazole decreased, over the 5-year period.

Hall RA, Blitvich BJ, Johansen CA, Blacksell SD. 2012. Advances in arbovirus surveillance, detection and diagnosis. J Biomed Biotechnol, 2012 pp. 512969. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Read more

Blacksell SD. 2012. Commercial dengue rapid diagnostic tests for point-of-care application: recent evaluations and future needs? J Biomed Biotechnol, 2012 pp. 151967. | Citations: 62 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever, and dengue shock syndrome (DF/DHF/DSS) are tropical diseases that cause significant humanitarian and economic hardship. It is estimated that more than 2.5 billion people are at risk of infection and more than 100 countries have endemic dengue virus transmission. Laboratory tests are essential to provide an accurate diagnosis of dengue virus infection so that appropriate treatment and patient management may be administered. In many dengue endemic settings, laboratory diagnostic resources are limited and simple rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) provide opportunities for point-of-care diagnosis. This paper addresses current issues relating to the application of commercial dengue RDTs for the diagnosis of acute dengue virus infection, recent diagnostic evaluations, and identifies future needs.

Harrington W, McGready R, Muehlenbachs A, Fried M, Nosten F, Duffy P. 2012. Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine: the times they are a-changin'. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (7), pp. 1025-1026. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Hanson J, Lam SWK, Mahanta KC, Pattnaik R, Alam S, Mohanty S, Hasan MU, Hossain A, Charunwatthana P, Chotivanich K et al. 2012. Relative contributions of macrovascular and microvascular dysfunction to disease severity in falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 206 (4), pp. 571-579. | Citations: 38 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation is considered the central pathophysiological process in severe falciparum malaria. Hypovolemia with reduced oxygen delivery and microvascular obstruction have different implications for patient management; however, their relative contributions to disease severity are uncertain. METHODS: Adult patients (n = 28) with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria were enrolled in a prospective hemodynamic study. Volume status and oxygen delivery were assessed using transpulmonary thermodilution. Microvascular sequestration was measured using orthogonal polarized spectroscopy. FINDINGS: Duration of therapy before study enrollment was correlated with the amount of directly visualized and quantitated microvascular sequestration (P = .03). The amount of sequestration correlated with plasma lactate (r(s )= 0.55; P = .003) and disease severity (r(s )= 0.41; P = .04). In patients who had received artesunate for <10 hours, sequestration was higher in fatal cases than in survivors: median (range) 45% (32-50) vs 15% (0-40); P = .03). Parasite biomass estimated from plasma P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 correlated positively with disease severity (r(s )= 0.48; P = .01) and was significantly higher in patients who died (P = .046). There was no relationship between oxygen delivery and disease severity (P = .64) or outcome (P = .74). INTERPRETATION: Vital organ dysfunction in severe malaria results primarily from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microvasculature rather than reduction in circulating blood volume and oxygen delivery.

Byakika-Kibwika P, Lamorde M, Mayito J, Nabukeera L, Namakula R, Mayanja-Kizza H, Katabira E, Ntale M, Pakker N, Ryan M et al. 2012. Significant pharmacokinetic interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine in HIV-infected Ugandan adults. J Antimicrob Chemother, 67 (9), pp. 2213-2221. | Citations: 46 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with antiretroviral therapy has potential for pharmacokinetic drug interactions. We investigated drug-drug interactions between artemether/lumefantrine and efavirenz or nevirapine. METHODS: We performed a cross-over study in which HIV-infected adults received standard six-dose artemether/lumefantrine 80/480 mg before and at efavirenz or nevirapine steady state. Artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine, efavirenz and nevirapine plasma concentrations were measured and compared. RESULTS: Efavirenz significantly reduced artemether maximum concentration (C(max)) and plasma AUC (median 29 versus 12 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 119 versus 25 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), dihydroartemisinin C(max) and AUC (median 120 versus 26 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 341 versus 84 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), and lumefantrine C(max) and AUC (median 8737 versus 6331 ng/mL, P = 0.03, and 280 370 versus 124 381 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Nevirapine significantly reduced artemether C(max) and AUC (median 28 versus 11 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 123 versus 34 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01) and dihydroartemisinin C(max) and AUC (median 107 versus 59 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 364 versus 228 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01). Lumefantrine C(max) and AUC were non-significantly reduced by nevirapine. Artemether/lumefantrine reduced nevirapine C(max) and AUC (median 8620 versus 4958 ng/mL, P < 0.01, and 66 329 versus 35 728 ng · h/mL, P < 0.01), but did not affect efavirenz exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with efavirenz or nevirapine resulted in a reduction in artemether, dihydroartemisinin, lumefantrine and nevirapine exposure. These drug interactions may increase the risk of malaria treatment failure and development of resistance to artemether/lumefantrine and nevirapine. Clinical data from population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic trials evaluating the impact of these drug interactions are urgently needed.

Mayxay M, Khanthavong M, Chanthongthip O, Imwong M, Pongvongsa T, Hongvanthong B, Phompida S, Vanisaveth V, White NJ, Newton PN. 2012. Efficacy of artemether-lumefantrine, the nationally-recommended artemisinin combination for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria, in southern Laos. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 184. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Lao Government changed the national policy for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria from chloroquine to artemether-lumefantrine (AL) in 2005. Since then, no information on AL efficacy has been reported. With evidence of resistance to artemisinin derivatives in adjacent Cambodia, there has been a concern as to AL efficacy. Monitoring of AL efficacy would help the Lao Government to make decisions on appropriate malaria treatment. METHODS: The efficacy of a three-day, twice daily oral artemether-lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Xepon District, Savannakhet Province, southern Laos was studied over 42 days follow-up. This was part of a trial of thiamin supplementation in falciparum malaria. RESULTS: Of 630 patients with P. falciparum enrolled in the trial of thiamin treatment, 549 (87%, 357 children ≤15 years and 192 adults) were included in this study. The per protocol 42-day cure rates were 97% (524/541) [96% (337/352) for children and 99% (187/189) for adults, p = 0.042]. By conventional intention-to-treat analysis, the 42-day cure rates adjusted for re-infection, were 97% (532/549) [96% (342/357) in children and 99% (190/192) in adults, p = 0.042]. The proportion of patients who remained parasitaemic at day 1 after treatment was significantly higher in children [33% (116/356)] compared to adults [15% (28/192)] (p < 0.001) and only one adult patient had detectable parasitaemia on day 2. There were no serious adverse events. Potential side effects after treatment were reported more commonly in adults (32%) compared to children (15%) (p < 0.001). Patients with recrudescent infections were significantly younger, had longer mean time to fever clearance, and had longer median time to parasite clearance compared to those who were cured. CONCLUSIONS: The current nationally-recommended anti-malarial treatment (artemether-lumefantrine) remains highly efficacious for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria five years after introduction in Laos. Regular monitoring is required in case artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum parasites should appear. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN85411059.

Woodrow CJ, Gardner KB, Bustamante LY. 2012. Questions over high frequency of mutant PfATP6 haplotypes in traveller isolates. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 186. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

A recent paper in Malaria Journal suggests that a high proportion of Plasmodium falciparum isolates found in travellers returning from a range of African countries carry the PfATP6 A623E S769N haplotype, and that this genotype is associated with artemether resistance. Such a finding would represent a substantial departure from the extensive literature reporting these individual mutations to be very rare, with the double mutation never documented. The number of isolates screened to obtain these double mutants is unstated, but highly relevant, not least because selection of isolates could have introduced significant confounders, such as timing of in vitro testing. An additional concern relates to the location of sequencing primers used to assess these positions. In the absence of clear information on these fundamental questions it would be appropriate to treat the findings with caution.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NTN, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG, Small KS, Simmons CP et al. 2012. Variation in human genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Genes Immun, 13 (6), pp. 503-508. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic basis for susceptibility to malaria has been studied widely in African populations but less is known of the contribution of specific genetic variants in Asian populations. We genotyped 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1030 severe malaria cases and 2840 controls from Vietnam. After data quality control, genotyping data of 956 cases and 2350 controls were analysed for 65 SNPs (3 gender confirmation, 62 positioned in/near 42 malarial candidate genes). A total of 14 SNPs were monomorphic and 2 (rs8078340 and rs33950507) were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls (P<0.01). In all, 7/46 SNPs in 6 genes (ICAM1, IL1A, IL17RC, IL13, LTA and TNF) were associated with severe malaria, with 3/7 SNPs in the TNF/LTA region. Genotype-phenotype correlations between SNPs and clinical parameters revealed that genotypes of rs708567 (IL17RC) correlate with parasitemia (P=0.028, r(2)=0.0086), with GG homozygotes having the lowest parasite burden. Additionally, rs708567 GG homozygotes had a decreased risk of severe malaria (P=0.007, OR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.65-0.93)) and death (P=0.028, OR=0.58 (95% CI; 0.37-0.93)) than those with AA and AG genotypes. In summary, variants in six genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Further replicative studies in independent populations will be necessary to confirm these findings.

Conlan JV, Vongxay K, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Lunt RA, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA, Blacksell SD. 2012. Serologic study of pig-associated viral zoonoses in Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (6), pp. 1077-1084. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted a serologic survey of four high-priority pig-associated viral zoonoses, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), hepatitis E virus (HEV), Nipah virus (NiV), and swine influenza virus (SIV), in Laos. We collected blood from pigs at slaughter during May 2008-January 2009 in four northern provinces. Japanese encephalitis virus hemagglutination inhibition seroprevalence was 74.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 71.5-77.9%), JEV IgM seroprevalence was 2.3% (95% CI = 1.2-3.2%), and HEV seroprevalence was 21.1% (95% CI = 18.1-24.0%). Antibodies to SIV were detected in 1.8% (95% CI = 0.8-2.8%) of pigs by screening enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and only subtype H3N2 was detected by hemagglutination inhibition in two animals with an inconclusive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay result. No NiV antibody-positive pigs were detected. Our evidence indicates that peak JEV and HEV transmission coincides with the start of the monsoonal wet season and poses the greatest risk for human infection.

Deen J, von Seidlein L, Andersen F, Elle N, White NJ, Lubell Y. 2012. Community-acquired bacterial bloodstream infections in developing countries in south and southeast Asia: a systematic review. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (6), pp. 480-487. | Citations: 72 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Information about community-acquired bacteraemia in developing countries in south and southeast Asia is scarce. We aimed to establish the case fraction of bacteraemia in febrile patients admitted to hospital. We searched four databases and identified studies of south and southeast Asia published between 1990 and 2010 that prospectively assessed patients admitted to hospital and from whom a blood culture was taken. We reviewed 17 eligible studies describing 40,644 patients. Pathogenic organisms were isolated from 3506 patients (9%; range 1-51%); 1784 (12%) of 14,386 adults and 1722 (7%) of 26,258 children. Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi was the most common bacterial pathogen, accounting for 532 of 1798 (30%) isolates in adults and 432 of 1723 (25%) in children. Other commonly isolated organisms in adults were Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and other gram-negative organisms, and in children were Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae. A substantial case fraction of bacteraemia occurs in patients admitted to hospital with fever in this region. Management could be improved if diagnostic microbiology facilities were more widely available. The prevailing organisms causing bacteraemia and their susceptibility patterns could inform empirical treatment regimens and prevention strategies.

Nayyar GML, Breman JG, Newton PN, Herrington J. 2012. Poor-quality antimalarial drugs in southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (6), pp. 488-496. | Citations: 195 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Poor-quality antimalarial drugs lead to drug resistance and inadequate treatment, which pose an urgent threat to vulnerable populations and jeopardise progress and investments in combating malaria. Emergence of artemisinin resistance or tolerance in Plasmodium falciparum on the Thailand-Cambodia border makes protection of the effectiveness of the drug supply imperative. We reviewed published and unpublished studies reporting chemical analyses and assessments of packaging of antimalarial drugs. Of 1437 samples of drugs in five classes from seven countries in southeast Asia, 497 (35%) failed chemical analysis, 423 (46%) of 919 failed packaging analysis, and 450 (36%) of 1260 were classified as falsified. In 21 surveys of drugs from six classes from 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 796 (35%) of 2297 failed chemical analysis, 28 (36%) of 77 failed packaging analysis, and 79 (20%) of 389 were classified as falsified. Data were insufficient to identify the frequency of substandard (products resulting from poor manufacturing) antimalarial drugs, and packaging analysis data were scarce. Concurrent interventions and a multifaceted approach are needed to define and eliminate criminal production, distribution, and poor manufacturing of antimalarial drugs. Empowering of national medicine regulatory authorities to protect the global drug supply is more important than ever.

Salter SJ, Hinds J, Gould KA, Lambertsen L, Hanage WP, Antonio M, Turner P, Hermans PWM, Bootsma HJ, O'Brien KL, Bentley SD. 2012. Variation at the capsule locus, cps, of mistyped and non-typable Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates. Microbiology, 158 (Pt 6), pp. 1560-1569. | Citations: 45 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The capsule polysaccharide locus (cps) is the site of the capsule biosynthesis gene cluster in encapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae. A set of pneumococcal samples and non-pneumococcal streptococci from Denmark, the Gambia, the Netherlands, Thailand, the UK and the USA were sequenced at the cps locus to elucidate serologically mistyped or non-typable isolates. We identified a novel serotype 33B/33C mosaic capsule cluster and previously unseen serotype 22F capsule genes, disrupted and deleted cps clusters, the presence of aliB and nspA genes that are unrelated to capsule production, and similar genes in the non-pneumococcal samples. These data provide greater understanding of diversity at a locus which is crucial to the antigenic diversity of the pathogen and current vaccine strategies.

Turner C, Turner P, Cararra V, Htoo STL, Watthanaworawit W, Day N, White N, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2012. The epidemiology of pneumonia in a birth cohort of children living on the Thai-Myanmar border INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E13-E13. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Thammasart S, Warrasuth N, Thapanagulsak P, Jatapai A, Pengreungrojanachai V, Anun S, Joraka W, Thongkamkoon P, Saiyen P et al. 2012. Animal melioidosis in Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E453-E453. | Read more

Khun PA, Seng S, Emary K, Moore C, Soeng S, Ngoun C, Kumar V, Day N, Parry C, Stoesser N. 2012. Surveillance of healthcare-associated infection at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E375-E375. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Turner E, Lim C, Day N, Cooper B, Peacock S. 2012. Defining the true accuracy of diagnostic tests when the gold standard is imperfect using web-based application INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E398-E398. | Read more

Blacksell S, Richards A, Paris DH, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Day N. 2012. Validation of a semi-quantitative IgM ELISA for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM antibodies for use in seroepidemiology studies in Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E390-E390. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Kanoksil M, deStavola B, Day N, Peacock S. 2012. A matched case-control study identifies activities of daily living associated with acquisition of melioidosis in northeast Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E350-E351. | Read more

Luangxay K, Sisouk K, Vorlasan L, Soumphonphakdy B, Sengmouang V, Anderson M, Chansamouth V, Phommasone K, Begue R, Newton P. 2012. High hospital incidence of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia in young infants in the Lao PDR INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E202-E203. | Read more

Moore C, Pan-ngum W, Wijedoru L, Ngoun C, Pastoor R, Tran N, Soeng S, Kheng C, Kumar V, Emary K et al. 2012. Evaluation of a Typhoid IgM flow assay for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in Cambodian children using a Bayesian modelling approach assuming an imperfect gold standard INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E400-E401. | Read more

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Luangasanatip N, Kanoksil M, Day N, Limmathurotsakul D, Cooper B. 2012. A qualitative exploration into infection control practices and obstacles to improvements amongst health care workers at a regional hospital INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E373-E373. | Read more

Ngoun C, Emary K, Khun PA, Moore C, Soeng S, Duy PT, Tranh NTV, Wuthiekanum V, Amonrnchai P, Kheng C et al. 2012. Enteric fever in Cambodian children is dominated by multidrug resistant H58 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi with decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E427-E427. | Read more

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Luangasanatip N, Kanoksil M, Day N, Cooper B, Limmathurotsakul D. 2012. A retrospective study to define the incidence and associated mortality of hospital-acquired bacteraemia at a regional hospital in northeast Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E385-E385. | Read more

Witkowski B, Sokunmalis K, Kim S, Pheaktra C, Sopheakvatey K, Kloeung N, Khim N, Duong S, Leang R, Ringwald P et al. 2012. In vitro phenotype of reduced susceptibility to artemisinin in Plasmodium falciparum isolates from western Cambodia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E178-E178. | Read more

Kanoksil M, Jatapai A, Peacock S, Limmathurotsakul D. 2012. Epidemiology, microbiology and mortality of community-acquired bacteremia in northeast Thailand: a multicenter population-based study INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E132-E132. | Read more

Luangasanatip N, Hongsuwan M, Lubell Y, Srisamang P, Limmathurotsakul D, Cooper B. 2012. Excess length of stay due to hospital-associated infections in Thailand: 8 years retrospective data INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E378-E379. | Read more

Cooper B. 2012. Transmission dynamics of MRSA in Asia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E53-E53. | Read more

Meeyai A, Cooper B, Coker R, Pan W, Akarasewie P, Iamsirithaworn S. 2012. The effective reproduction number of Pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza in Thailand: a spatiotemporal analysis INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E353-E354. | Read more

Dondorp A. 2012. Artemisinin resistance in falciparum malaria INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E43-E43. | Read more

Sabapathy K, Ford N, Chan KN, Kyaw MK, Elema R, Smithuis F, Floyd S. 2012. Treatment outcomes from the largest antiretroviral treatment program in Myanmar (Burma): a cohort analysis of retention after scale-up. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 60 (2), pp. e53-e62. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antiretroviral treatment (ART) coverage in Myanmar is well below average. This study describes retention and baseline predictors of prognosis from the largest ART program in the country. METHODS: A cohort analysis of adult patients who initiated ART during 2003-2007 was conducted, with follow-up until the end of 2009. The primary outcome was attrition [death plus losses to follow-up (LTF)]. Baseline variables were assessed as potential risk factors. The cumulative probabilities of death, LTF, and attrition up to 5 years were described using Kaplan-Meier estimates. Cox regression was used to calculate hazard ratios of attrition, overall and separately for 2 time periods on ART: 1-6 and 7-36 months. RESULTS: A total of 5963 adults enrolled in the program, providing 17,581 person-years of follow-up. Median age at baseline was 33 years [interquartile range (IQR): 28-38], 61% were men, 45% were in World Health Organization stage IV, and the median CD4 count was 71 cells per cubic millimeter (IQR: 29-164). There were 821 (13.8%) deaths and 389 (6.5%) LTF over the study period, with a 72% probability of being retained in care in the 5-year cohort. Double the rate of loss was contributed by death compared with LTF, and attrition was almost 4 times higher in the period 1-6 months compared with 7-36 months. In the multivariable analyses of the program overall, older age [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR): 1.56, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.25 to 1.94], being male (aHR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.25 to 1.85), World Health Organization stage IV (aHR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.74), and body mass index <16 kg/m² (aHR: 2.13, 95% CI: 1.71 to 2.66) were independently predictive of attrition. CONCLUSIONS: The excellent retention over >6 years in this large cohort demonstrates that ART delivery at the primary care level in Myanmar is feasible and should encourage support for further ART expansion in the country.

Vongxay K, Conlan JV, Khounsy S, Dorny P, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA, Blacksell SD. 2012. Seroprevalence of major bovine-associated zoonotic infectious diseases in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 12 (10), pp. 861-866. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Bovine-associated zoonotic infectious diseases pose a significant threat to human health in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). In all, 905 cattle and buffalo serum samples collected in northern Lao PDR in 2006 were used to determine seroprevalence of five major bovine zoonotic infectious diseases that included Taenia saginata cysticercosis, bovine tuberculosis, Q-fever, bovine brucellosis, and bovine leptospirosis. Five enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were used to test for the presence of antibodies to the diseases, except Taenia saginata, for which we tested for the presence of Taenia metacestode circulating antigens. The overall highest prevalence was for T. saginata (46.4%), with lower prevalence for Q-fever (4%), leptospirosis (3%), tuberculosis (1%), and brucellosis (0.2%). Although there were no significant differences in the proportion of seroprevalence between sex and age of the animals sampled, there were significant differences between the provincial distributions. Further studies are required to determine the seroprevalence of these infections in other locations in Lao PDR, as well as other animal species including humans, in order to develop effective prevention and control strategies. This is the first study to investigate the prevalence of bovine zoonotic infectious agents in the Lao PDR. Positivity was demonstrated for all diseases investigated, with the highest prevalence for T. saginata antigen and Coxiella burnetti antibodies. For T. saginata, there were significant differences in the provincial distribution. Approximately 16% seroprevalence of Coxiella burnetti was noted in Xayabuly Province; however, there are no clear reasons why this was the case, and further studies are required to determine risk factors associated with this observation.

Turner P, Turner C, Jankhot A, Helen N, Lee SJ, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2012. A longitudinal study of Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage in a cohort of infants and their mothers on the Thailand-Myanmar border. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e38271. | Citations: 57 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pneumococcal disease is a major cause of childhood death. Almost a third of the world's children live in Southeast Asia, but there are few data from the region on pneumococcal colonization or disease. Our aim was to document the dynamics of pneumococcal carriage in a rural SE Asian birth cohort. METHODS: We studied 234 Karen mother-infant pairs in Northwestern Thailand. Infants were followed from birth and nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from mother and infant at monthly intervals until 24 months old. RESULTS: 8,386 swabs were cultured and 4,396 pneumococci characterized. Infants became colonized early (median 45.5 days; 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.5-46.0) and by 24 months had a median of seven (range 0-15) carriage episodes. Maternal smoking and young children in the house were associated with earlier colonization (hazard ratio [HR] 1.5 (95% CI 1.1-2.1) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.0-1.9)). For the four commonest serotypes and non-typeable pneumococci, previous exposure to homologous or heterologous serotypes resulted in an extended interval to reacquisition of the same serotype. Previous colonization by serotypes 14 and 19F was also associated with reduced carriage duration if subsequently reacquired (HR [first reacquisition] 4.1 (95% CI 1.4-12.6) and 2.6 (1.5-4.7)). Mothers acquired pneumococci less frequently, and carried them for shorter periods, than infants (acquisition rate 0.5 vs. 1.1 /100 person-days, p<0.001; median duration 31.0 vs. 60.5 days, p = 0.001). 55.8% of pneumococci from infants were vaccine serotypes (13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13), compared with 27.5% from mothers (p<0.001). Non-typeable pneumococcal carriage was common, being carried at least once by 55.1% of infants and 32.0% of mothers. CONCLUSIONS: Pneumococcal carriage frequency and duration are influenced by previous exposure to both homologous and heterologous serotypes. These data will inform vaccination strategies in this population.

Mahavanakul W, Nickerson EK, Srisomang P, Teparrukkul P, Lorvinitnun P, Wongyingsinn M, Chierakul W, Hongsuwan M, West TE, Day NP et al. 2012. Correction: Feasibility of Modified Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines in a Resource-Restricted Setting Based on a Cohort Study of Severe S. Aureus Sepsis. PLoS One, 7 (5), | Show Abstract | Read more

[This corrects the article on p. e29858 in vol. 7.].

Chotivanich K, Mungthin M, Ruengweerayuth R, Udomsangpetch R, Dondorp AM, Singhasivanon P, Pukrittayakamee S, White NJ. 2012. The effects of serum lipids on the in vitro activity of lumefantrine and atovaquone against Plasmodium falciparum. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 177. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Lumefantrine and atovaquone are highly lipophilic anti-malarial drugs. As a consequence absorption is increased when the drugs are taken together with a fatty meal, but the free fraction of active drug decreases in the presence of triglyceride-rich plasma lipoproteins. In this study, the consequences of lipidaemia on anti-malarial drug efficacy were assessed in vitro. METHODS: Serum was obtained from non-immune volunteers under fasting conditions and after ingestion of a high fat meal and used in standard Plasmodium falciparum in-vitro susceptibility assays. Anti-malarial drugs, including lumefantrine, atovaquone and chloroquine in five-fold dilutions (range 0.05 ng/ml-1 ug/mL) were diluted in culture medium supplemented with fasting or post-prandial 10% donor serum. The in-vitro drug susceptibility of parasite isolates was determined using the ³H-hypoxanthine uptake inhibition method and expressed as the concentration which gave 50% inhibition of hypoxanthine uptake (IC₅₀). RESULTS: Doubling plasma triglyceride concentrations (from 160 mg/dL to 320 mg/dL), resulted in an approximate doubling of the IC₅₀ for lumefantrine (191 ng/mL to 465 ng/mL, P < 0.01) and a 20-fold increase in the IC₅₀ for atovaquone (0.5 ng/mL to 12 ng/ml; P < 0.01). In contrast, susceptibility to the hydrophilic anti-malarial chloroquine did not change in relation to triglyceride content of the medium. CONCLUSIONS: Lipidaemia reduces the anti-malarial activity of lipophilic anti-malarial drugs. This is an important confounder in laboratory in vitro testing and it could have therapeutic relevance.

Maude RJ, Socheat D, Nguon C, Saroth P, Dara P, Li G, Song J, Yeung S, Dondorp AM, Day NP et al. 2012. Optimising strategies for Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination in Cambodia: primaquine, mass drug administration and artemisinin resistance. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e37166. | Citations: 56 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria elimination requires a variety of approaches individually optimized for different transmission settings. A recent field study in an area of low seasonal transmission in South West Cambodia demonstrated dramatic reductions in malaria parasite prevalence following both mass drug administration (MDA) and high treatment coverage of symptomatic patients with artemisinin-piperaquine plus primaquine. This study employed multiple combined strategies and it was unclear what contribution each made to the reductions in malaria. METHOD AND FINDINGS: A mathematical model fitted to the trial results was used to assess the effects of the various components of these interventions, design optimal elimination strategies, and explore their interactions with artemisinin resistance, which has recently been discovered in Western Cambodia. The modelling indicated that most of the initial reduction of P. falciparum malaria resulted from MDA with artemisinin-piperaquine. The subsequent continued decline and near elimination resulted mainly from high coverage with artemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Both these strategies were more effective with the addition of primaquine. MDA with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) increased the proportion of artemisinin resistant infections, although much less than treatment of symptomatic cases with ACT, and this increase was slowed by adding primaquine. Artemisinin resistance reduced the effectiveness of interventions using ACT when the prevalence of resistance was very high. The main results were robust to assumptions about primaquine action, and immunity. CONCLUSIONS: The key messages of these modelling results for policy makers were: high coverage with ACT treatment can produce a long-term reduction in malaria whereas the impact of MDA is generally only short-term; primaquine enhances the effect of ACT in eliminating malaria and reduces the increase in proportion of artemisinin resistant infections; parasite prevalence is a better surveillance measure for elimination programmes than numbers of symptomatic cases; combinations of interventions are most effective and sustained efforts are crucial for successful elimination.

Price EP, Dale JL, Cook JM, Sarovich DS, Seymour ML, Ginther JL, Kaufman EL, Beckstrom-Sternberg SM, Mayo M, Kaestli M et al. 2012. Development and validation of Burkholderia pseudomallei-specific real-time PCR assays for clinical, environmental or forensic detection applications. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e37723. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, a rare but serious illness that can be fatal if untreated or misdiagnosed. Species-specific PCR assays provide a technically simple method for differentiating B. pseudomallei from near-neighbor species. However, substantial genetic diversity and high levels of recombination within this species reduce the likelihood that molecular signatures will differentiate all B. pseudomallei from other Burkholderiaceae. Currently available molecular assays for B. pseudomallei detection lack rigorous validation across large in silico datasets and isolate collections to test for specificity, and none have been subjected to stringent quality control criteria (accuracy, precision, selectivity, limit of quantitation (LoQ), limit of detection (LoD), linearity, ruggedness and robustness) to determine their suitability for environmental, clinical or forensic investigations. In this study, we developed two novel B. pseudomallei specific assays, 122018 and 266152, using a dual-probe approach to differentiate B. pseudomallei from B. thailandensis, B. oklahomensis and B. thailandensis-like species; other species failed to amplify. Species specificity was validated across a large DNA panel (>2,300 samples) comprising Burkholderia spp. and non-Burkholderia bacterial and fungal species of clinical and environmental relevance. Comparison of assay specificity to two previously published B. pseudomallei-specific assays, BurkDiff and TTS1, demonstrated comparable performance of all assays, providing between 99.7 and 100% specificity against our isolate panel. Last, we subjected 122018 and 266152 to rigorous quality control analyses, thus providing quantitative limits of assay performance. Using B. pseudomallei as a model, our study provides a framework for comprehensive quantitative validation of molecular assays and provides additional, highly validated B. pseudomallei assays for the scientific research community.

Smith M, Campino S, Gu Y, Clark TG, Otto TD, Maslen G, Manske M, Imwong M, Dondorp AM, Kwiatkowski DP et al. 2012. An In-Solution Hybridisation Method for the Isolation of Pathogen DNA from Human DNA-rich Clinical Samples for Analysis by NGS. Open Genomics J, 5 (1), pp. 18-29. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Studies on DNA from pathogenic organisms, within clinical samples, are often complicated by the presence of large amounts of host, e.g., human DNA. Isolation of pathogen DNA from these samples would improve the efficiency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and pathogen identification. Here we describe a solution-based hybridisation method for isolation of pathogen DNA from a mixed population. This straightforward and inexpensive technique uses probes made from whole-genome DNA and off-the-shelf reagents. In this study, Escherichia coli DNA was successfully enriched from a mixture of E.coli and human DNA. After enrichment, genome coverage following NGS was significantly higher and the evenness of coverage and GC content were unaffected. This technique was also applied to samples containing a mixture of human and Plasmodium falciparum DNA. The P.falciparum genome is particularly difficult to sequence due to its high AT content (80.6%) and repetitive nature. Post enrichment, a bias in the recovered DNA was observed, with a poorer representation of the AT-rich non-coding regions. This uneven coverage was also observed in pre-enrichment samples, but to a lesser degree. Despite the coverage bias in enriched samples, SNP (single-nucleotide polymorphism) calling in coding regions was unaffected and the majority of samples had over 90% of their coding region covered at 5× depth. This technique shows significant promise as an effective method to enrich pathogen DNA from samples with heavy human contamination, particularly when applied to GC-neutral genomes.

Jung K-O, Khan AM, Tan BYL, Hu Y, Simon GG, Nascimento EJM, Lemonnier F, Brusic V, Miotto O, Tan TW et al. 2012. West Nile virus T-cell ligand sequences shared with other flaviviruses: a multitude of variant sequences as potential altered peptide ligands. J Virol, 86 (14), pp. 7616-7624. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Phylogenetic relatedness and cocirculation of several major human pathogen flaviviruses are recognized as a possible cause of deleterious immune responses to mixed infection or immunization and call for a greater understanding of the inter-Flavivirus protein homologies. This study focused on the identification of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-restricted West Nile virus (WNV) T-cell ligands and characterization of their distribution in reported sequence data of WNV and other flaviviruses. H-2-deficient mice transgenic for either A2, A24, B7, DR2, DR3, or DR4 HLA alleles were immunized with overlapping peptides of the WNV proteome, and peptide-specific T-cell activation was measured by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot (ELISpot) assays. Approximately 30% (137) of the WNV proteome peptides were identified as HLA-restricted T-cell ligands. The majority of these ligands were conserved in ∼≥88% of analyzed WNV sequences. Notably, only 51 were WNV specific, and the remaining 86, chiefly of E, NS3, and NS5, shared an identity of nine or more consecutive amino acids with sequences of 64 other flaviviruses, including several major human pathogens. Many of the shared ligands had an incidence of >50% in the analyzed sequences of one or more of six major flaviviruses. The multitude of WNV sequences shared with other flaviviruses as interspecies variants highlights the possible hazard of defective T-cell activation by altered peptide ligands in the event of dual exposure to WNV and other flaviviruses, by either infection or immunization. The data suggest the possible preferred use of sequences that are pathogen specific with minimum interspecies sequence homology for the design of Flavivirus vaccines.

Muehlenbachs A, Nabasumba C, McGready R, Turyakira E, Tumwebaze B, Dhorda M, Nyehangane D, Nalusaji A, Nosten F, Guerin PJ, Piola P. 2012. Artemether-lumefantrine to treat malaria in pregnancy is associated with reduced placental haemozoin deposition compared to quinine in a randomized controlled trial. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 150. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Data on efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat Plasmodium falciparum during pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa is scarce. A recent open label, randomized controlled trial in Mbarara, Uganda demonstrated that artemether-lumefantrine (AL) is not inferior to quinine to treat uncomplicated malaria in pregnancy. Haemozoin can persist in the placenta following clearance of parasites, however there is no data whether ACT can influence the amount of haemozoin or the dynamics of haemozoin clearance. METHODS: Women attending antenatal clinics with weekly screening and positive blood smears by microscopy were eligible to participate in the trial and were followed to delivery. Placental haemozoin deposition and inflammation were assessed by histology. To determine whether AL was associated with increased haemozoin clearance, population haemozoin clearance curves were calculated based on the longitudinal data. RESULTS: Of 152 women enrolled in each arm, there were 97 and 98 placental biopsies obtained in the AL and quinine arms, respectively. AL was associated with decreased rates of moderate to high grade haemozoin deposition (13.3% versus 25.8%), which remained significant after correcting for gravidity, time of infection, re-infection, and parasitaemia. The amount of haemozoin proportionately decreased with the duration of time between treatment and delivery and this decline was greater in the AL arm. Haemozoin was not detected in one third of biopsies and the prevalence of inflammation was low, reflecting the efficacy of antenatal care with early detection and prompt treatment of malaria. CONCLUSIONS: Placental haemozoin deposition was decreased in the AL arm demonstrating a relationship between pharmacological properties of drug to treat antenatal malaria and placental pathology at delivery. Histology may be considered an informative outcome for clinical trials to evaluate malaria control in pregnancy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: REGISTRY:

Stone SP, Fuller C, Savage J, Cookson B, Hayward A, Cooper B, Duckworth G, Michie S, Murray M, Jeanes A et al. 2012. Evaluation of the national Cleanyourhands campaign to reduce Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection in hospitals in England and Wales by improved hand hygiene: four year, prospective, ecological, interrupted time series study. BMJ, 344 (may03 2), pp. e3005. | Citations: 150 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of the Cleanyourhands campaign on rates of hospital procurement of alcohol hand rub and soap, report trends in selected healthcare associated infections, and investigate the association between infections and procurement. DESIGN: Prospective, ecological, interrupted time series study from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2008. SETTING: 187 acute trusts in England and Wales. INTERVENTION: Installation of bedside alcohol hand rub, materials promoting hand hygiene and institutional engagement, regular hand hygiene audits, rolled out nationally from 1 December 2004. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Quarterly (that is, every three months) rates for each trust of hospital procurement of alcohol hand rub and liquid soap; Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (meticillin resistant (MRSA) and meticillin sensitive (MSSA)) and Clostridium difficile infection for each trust. Associations between procurement and infection rates assessed by mixed effect Poisson regression model (which also accounted for effect of bed occupancy, hospital type, and timing of other national interventions targeting these infections). RESULTS: Combined procurement of soap and alcohol hand rub tripled from 21.8 to 59.8 mL per patient bed day; procurement rose in association with each phase of the campaign. Rates fell for MRSA bacteraemia (1.88 to 0.91 cases per 10,000 bed days) and C difficile infection (16.75 to 9.49 cases). MSSA bacteraemia rates did not fall. Increased procurement of soap was independently associated with reduced C difficile infection throughout the study (adjusted incidence rate ratio for 1 mL increase per patient bed day 0.993, 95% confidence interval 0.990 to 0.996; P < 0.0001). Increased procurement of alcohol hand rub was independently associated with reduced MRSA bacteraemia, but only in the last four quarters of the study (0.990, 0.985 to 0.995; P < 0.0001). Publication of the Health Act 2006 was strongly associated with reduced MRSA bacteraemia (0.86, 0.75 to 0.98; P = 0.02) and C difficile infection (0.75, 0.67 to 0.84; P < 0.0001). Trust visits by Department of Health improvement teams were also associated with reduced MRSA bacteraemia (0.91, 0.83 to 0.99; P=0.03) and C difficile infection (0.80, 0.71 to 0.90; P=0.01), for at least two quarters after each visit. CONCLUSIONS: The Cleanyourhands campaign was associated with sustained increases in hospital procurement of alcohol rub and soap, which the results suggest has an important role in reducing rates of some healthcare associated infections. National interventions for infection control undertaken in the context of a high profile political drive can reduce selected healthcare associated infections.

Jamsen KM, Duffull SB, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, White NJ, Simpson JA. 2012. Optimal designs for population pharmacokinetic studies of the partner drugs co-administered with artemisinin derivatives in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 143. | Citations: 12 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is currently recommended as first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, but of concern, it has been observed that the effectiveness of the main artemisinin derivative, artesunate, has been diminished due to parasite resistance. This reduction in effect highlights the importance of the partner drugs in ACT and provides motivation to gain more knowledge of their pharmacokinetic (PK) properties via population PK studies. Optimal design methodology has been developed for population PK studies, which analytically determines a sampling schedule that is clinically feasible and yields precise estimation of model parameters. In this work, optimal design methodology was used to determine sampling designs for typical future population PK studies of the partner drugs (mefloquine, lumefantrine, piperaquine and amodiaquine) co-administered with artemisinin derivatives. METHODS: The optimal designs were determined using freely available software and were based on structural PK models from the literature and the key specifications of 100 patients with five samples per patient, with one sample taken on the seventh day of treatment. The derived optimal designs were then evaluated via a simulation-estimation procedure. RESULTS: For all partner drugs, designs consisting of two sampling schedules (50 patients per schedule) with five samples per patient resulted in acceptable precision of the model parameter estimates. CONCLUSIONS: The sampling schedules proposed in this paper should be considered in future population pharmacokinetic studies where intensive sampling over many days or weeks of follow-up is not possible due to either ethical, logistic or economical reasons.

Vongphayloth K, Rattanavong S, Moore CE, Phetsouvanh R, Wuthiekanun V, Sengdouangphachanh A, Phouminh P, Newton PN, Buisson Y. 2012. Burkholderia pseudomallei detection in surface water in southern Laos using Moore's swabs. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (5), pp. 872-877. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The causal agent of melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, has been cultured from paddy fields in the Lao PDR. We carried out a pilot study to examine the relationship between bacterial soil contamination and that of nearby surface waters in Saravane Province. Soil sampling was conducted at a depth of 30 cm (100 holes in a 45 × 45 m grid) at two sites, East and West Saravane. Moore's swabs were used for water sampling of paddy fields, lakes, rivers, boreholes, and storage tanks within 2 km of the two soil sampling sites. B. pseudomallei from soil and water were cultured on Ashdown's agar. Thirty-six percent and 6% of water samples collected around East and West Saravane, respectively, were culture positive for B. pseudomallei. Low pH and high turbidity were independently associated with culture of B. pseudomallei. Most positive water samples were from the Sedone River, downstream of the East Saravane site. Moore's swabs are simple and inexpensive tools for detecting B. pseudomallei in surface waters.

Weehuizen TAF, Wieland CW, van der Windt GJW, Duitman J-W, Boon L, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T, Wiersinga WJ. 2012. Expression and function of transforming growth factor β in melioidosis. Infect Immun, 80 (5), pp. 1853-1857. | Citations: 6 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. An important controller of the immune system is the pleiotropic cytokine transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), of which Smad2 and Smad3 are the major signal transducers. In this study, we aimed to characterize TGF-β expression and function in experimental melioidosis. TGF-β expression was determined in 33 patients with culture-proven infection with B. pseudomallei and 30 healthy controls. We found that plasma TGF-β concentrations were strongly elevated during melioidosis. In line with this finding, TGF-β expression in C57BL/6 mice intranasally inoculated with B. pseudomallei was enhanced as well. To assess the role of TGF-β, we inhibited TGF-β using a selective murine TGF-β antibody. Treatment of mice with anti-TGF-β antibody resulted in decreased lung Smad2 phosphorylation. TGF-β blockade appeared to be protective: mice treated with anti-TGF-β antibody and subsequently infected with B. pseudomallei showed diminished bacterial loads. Moreover, less distant organ injury was observed in anti-TGF-β treated mice as shown by reduced blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and aspartate transaminase (AST) values. However, anti-TGF-β treatment did not have an effect on survival. In conclusion, TGF-β is upregulated during B. pseudomallei infection and plays a limited but proinflammatory role during experimental melioidosis.

Newton P. 2012. Interview. Pathog Glob Health, 106 (2), pp. 69-71. | Read more

Tabernero P, Newton PN. 2012. The WWARN antimalarial quality surveyor. Pathog Glob Health, 106 (2), pp. 77-78. | Citations: 11 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Byakika-Kibwika P, Lamorde M, Mayito J, Nabukeera L, Mayanja-Kizza H, Katabira E, Hanpithakpong W, Obua C, Pakker N, Lindegardh N et al. 2012. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of intravenous artesunate during severe malaria treatment in Ugandan adults. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 132. | Citations: 9 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is a medical emergency with high mortality. Prompt achievement of therapeutic concentrations of highly effective anti-malarial drugs reduces the risk of death. The aim of this study was to assess the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of intravenous artesunate in Ugandan adults with severe malaria. METHODS: Fourteen adults with severe falciparum malaria requiring parenteral therapy were treated with 2.4 mg/kg intravenous artesunate. Blood samples were collected after the initial dose and plasma concentrations of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin measured by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The study was approved by the Makerere University Faculty of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee (Ref2010-015) and Uganda National Council of Science and Technology (HS605) and registered with (NCT01122134). RESULTS: All study participants achieved prompt resolution of symptoms and complete parasite clearance with median (range) parasite clearance time of 17 (8-24) hours. Median (range) maximal artesunate concentration (Cmax) was 3260 (1020-164000) ng/mL, terminal elimination half-life (T1/2) was 0.25 (0.1-1.8) hours and total artesunate exposure (AUC) was 727 (290-111256) ng·h/mL. Median (range) dihydroartemisinin Cmax was 3140 (1670-9530) ng/mL, with Tmax of 0.14 (0.6 - 6.07) hours and T1/2 of 1.31 (0.8-2.8) hours. Dihydroartemisinin AUC was 3492 (2183-6338) ng·h/mL. None of the participants reported adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma concentrations of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were achieved rapidly with rapid and complete symptom resolution and parasite clearance with no adverse events.

Douglas NM, Anstey NM, Buffet PA, Poespoprodjo JR, Yeo TW, White NJ, Price RN. 2012. The anaemia of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 135. | Citations: 92 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax threatens nearly half the world's population and is a significant impediment to achievement of the millennium development goals. It is an important, but incompletely understood, cause of anaemia. This review synthesizes current evidence on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, treatment and consequences of vivax-associated anaemia. Young children are at high risk of clinically significant and potentially severe vivax-associated anaemia, particularly in countries where transmission is intense and relapses are frequent. Despite reaching lower densities than Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax causes similar absolute reduction in red blood cell mass because it results in proportionately greater removal of uninfected red blood cells. Severe vivax anaemia is associated with substantial indirect mortality and morbidity through impaired resilience to co-morbidities, obstetric complications and requirement for blood transfusion. Anaemia can be averted by early and effective anti-malarial treatment.

Stoesser N, Pocock J, Moore CE, Soeng S, Chhat HP, Sar P, Limmathurotsakul D, Day N, Thy V, Sar V, Parry CM. 2012. Pediatric suppurative parotitis in Cambodia between 2007 and 2011. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 31 (8), pp. 865-868. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The causes of suppurative parotitis in Cambodian children are not known. We describe 39 cases at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, between January 2007 and July 2011 (0.07/1000 hospital attendances). The median age was 5.7 years with no neonates affected. Burkholderia pseudomallei was cultured in 29 (74%) cases. No deaths occurred; 1 child developed facial nerve palsy.

Limmathurotsakul D, Turner EL, Wuthiekanun V, Thaipadungpanit J, Suputtamongkol Y, Chierakul W, Smythe LD, Day NPJ, Cooper B, Peacock SJ. 2012. Fool's gold: Why imperfect reference tests are undermining the evaluation of novel diagnostics: a reevaluation of 5 diagnostic tests for leptospirosis. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (3), pp. 322-331. | Citations: 104 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We observed that some patients with clinical leptospirosis supported by positive results of rapid tests were negative for leptospirosis on the basis of our diagnostic gold standard, which involves isolation of Leptospira species from blood culture and/or a positive result of a microscopic agglutination test (MAT). We hypothesized that our reference standard was imperfect and used statistical modeling to investigate this hypothesis. METHODS: Data for 1652 patients with suspected leptospirosis recruited during three observational studies and one randomized control trial that described the application of culture, MAT, immunofluorescence assay (IFA), lateral flow (LF) and/or PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene were reevaluated using Bayesian latent class models and random-effects meta-analysis. RESULTS: The estimated sensitivities of culture alone, MAT alone, and culture plus MAT (for which the result was considered positive if one or both tests had a positive result) were 10.5% (95% credible interval [CrI], 2.7%-27.5%), 49.8% (95% CrI, 37.6%-60.8%), and 55.5% (95% CrI, 42.9%-67.7%), respectively. These low sensitivities were present across all 4 studies. The estimated specificity of MAT alone (and of culture plus MAT) was 98.8% (95% CrI, 92.8%-100.0%). The estimated sensitivities and specificities of PCR (52.7% [95% CrI, 45.2%-60.6%] and 97.2% [95% CrI, 92.0%-99.8%], respectively), lateral flow test (85.6% [95% CrI, 77.5%-93.2%] and 96.2% [95% CrI, 87.7%-99.8%], respectively), and immunofluorescence assay (45.5% [95% CrI, 33.3%-60.9%] and 96.8% [95% CrI, 92.8%-99.8%], respectively) were considerably different from estimates in which culture plus MAT was considered a perfect gold standard test. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that culture plus MAT is an imperfect gold standard against which to compare alterative tests for the diagnosis of leptospirosis. Rapid point-of-care tests for this infection would bring an important improvement in patient care, but their future evaluation will require careful consideration of the reference test(s) used and the inclusion of appropriate statistical models.

Chotivanich K, Udomsangpetch R, Suwanarusk R, Pukrittayakamee S, Wilairatana P, Beeson JG, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2012. Plasmodium vivax adherence to placental glycosaminoglycans. PLoS One, 7 (4), pp. e34509. | Citations: 48 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax infections seldom kill directly but do cause indirect mortality by reducing birth weight and causing abortion. Cytoadherence and sequestration in the microvasculature are central to the pathogenesis of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but the contribution of cytoadherence to pathology in other human malarias is less clear. METHODOLOGY: The adherence properties of P. vivax infected red blood cells (PvIRBC) were evaluated under static and flow conditions. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: P. vivax isolates from 33 patients were studied. None adhered to immobilized CD36, ICAM-1, or thrombospondin, putative ligands for P. falciparum vascular cytoadherence, or umbilical vein endothelial cells, but all adhered to immobilized chondroitin sulphate A (CSA) and hyaluronic acid (HA), the receptors for adhesion of P. falciparum in the placenta. PvIRBC also adhered to fresh placental cells (N = 5). Pre-incubation with chondroitinase prevented PvIRBC adherence to CSA, and reduced binding to HA, whereas preincubation with hyaluronidase prevented adherence to HA, but did not reduce binding to CSA significantly. Pre-incubation of PvIRBC with soluble CSA and HA reduced binding to the immobilized receptors and prevented placental binding. PvIRBC adhesion was prevented by pre-incubation with trypsin, inhibited by heparin, and reduced by EGTA. Under laminar flow conditions the mean (SD) shear stress reducing maximum attachment by 50% was 0.06 (0.02) Pa but, having adhered, the PvIRBC could then resist detachment by stresses up to 5 Pa. At 37 °C adherence began approximately 16 hours after red cell invasion with maximal adherence at 30 hours. At 39 °C adherence began earlier and peaked at 24 hours. SIGNIFICANCE: Adherence of P. vivax-infected erythrocytes to glycosaminoglycans may contribute to the pathogenesis of vivax malaria and lead to intrauterine growth retardation.

Veiga MI, Ferreira PE, Malmberg M, Jörnhagen L, Björkman A, Nosten F, Gil JP. 2012. pfmdr1 amplification is related to increased Plasmodium falciparum in vitro sensitivity to the bisquinoline piperaquine. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (7), pp. 3615-3619. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The 4-aminoquinoline bisquinoline piperaquine is an important partner drug in one of the presently recommended artemisinin combination therapies. Recent clinical trials have confirmed its high efficacy in combination with dihydroartemisinin. Resistance to piperaquine alone has, however, been documented. Amplification in copy number of the Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance locus on chromosome 5, containing the pfmdr1 gene, has been shown to confer resistance to structurally unrelated antimalarials. Through the determination of the 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)s) and IC(90)s for piperaquine and chloroquine in a set of 46 adapted P. falciparum cultures originating from the Thai-Burmese border, we have characterized the regions around the pfmdr1 gene and identified a significant association between the presence of pfmdr1 duplications and enhanced sensitivity to piperaquine (P = 0.005 for IC(50) and P = 0.002 for IC(90)) and chloroquine, reaching statistical significance at IC(90)s (P = 0.026). These results substantiate the potential importance of pfmdr1 copy number amplifications in the efficacy of the combination therapy piperaquine-dihydroartemisinin. It supports the rational use of 4-aminoquinolines and artemisinin-based compounds, as they independently select for mutually incompatible combinations of mutations.

Boel ME, Rijken MJ, Brabin BJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. The epidemiology of postpartum malaria: a systematic review. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 114. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria than their non-pregnant counterparts. Less is known about the risk of malaria in the postpartum period. The epidemiology of postpartum malaria was systematically reviewed. Eleven articles fitted the inclusion criteria. Of the 10 studies that compared malaria data from the postpartum period with pregnancy data, nine studies suggested that the risk for malaria infection decreased after delivery. All three studies that compared postpartum data with non-pregnant non-postpartum women concluded that the risk did not return to pre-pregnancy levels immediately after delivery. The results of this review have to be carefully interpreted, as the majority of studies were not designed to study postpartum malaria, and there was large variability in study designs and reported outcomes. Current evidence suggests an effort should be made to detect and radically cure malaria during pregnancy so that women do not enter the postpartum period with residual parasites.

Rijken MJ, Gilder ME, Thwin MM, Ladda Kajeechewa HM, Wiladphaingern J, Lwin KM, Jones C, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Refugee and migrant women's views of antenatal ultrasound on the Thai Burmese border: a mixed methods study. PLoS One, 7 (4), pp. e34018. | Citations: 11 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antenatal ultrasound suits developing countries by virtue of its versatility, relatively low cost and safety, but little is known about women's or local provider's perspectives of this upcoming technology in such settings. This study was undertaken to better understand how routine obstetric ultrasound is experienced in a displaced Burmese population and identify barriers to its acceptance by local patients and providers. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Qualitative (30 observations, 19 interviews, seven focus group discussions) and quantitative methods (questionnaire survey with 644 pregnant women) were used to provide a comprehensive understanding along four major themes: safety, emotions, information and communication, and unintended consequences of antenatal ultrasound in refugee and migrant clinics on the Thai Burmese border. One of the main concerns expressed by women was the danger of childbirth which they mainly attributed to fetal malposition. Both providers and patients recognized ultrasound as a technology improving the safety of pregnancy and delivery. A minority of patients experienced transitory shyness or anxiety before the ultrasound, but reported that these feelings could be ameliorated with improved patient information and staff communication. Unintended consequences of overuse and gender selective abortions in this population were not common. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The results of this study are being used to improve local practice and allow development of explanatory materials for this population with low literacy. We strongly encourage facilities introducing new technology in resource poor settings to assess acceptability through similar inquiry.

Durier N, Nguyen C, White LJ. 2012. Treatment of hepatitis C as prevention: a modeling case study in Vietnam. PLoS One, 7 (4), pp. e34548. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) is very effective, achieving a cure in 50-90% of patients. Besides its own good for individuals, this most likely translates in reduced transmission, but this phenomenon has yet to be fully explored. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In this mathematical modeling study done in the context of Vietnam, we estimated the public health benefit that HCV therapy for injecting drug users (IDUs) may achieve. Treatment coverage of 25, 50 and 75% of chronically HCV-infected IDUs (4 years into infection) is predicted to reduce the chronic HCV viremia prevalence respectively by 21, 37 and 50%, 11 years after full scale up to the intended coverage. At a constant 50% coverage level, earlier treatment, 3, 2, and 1 year into infection is predicted to reduce the chronic HCV viremia prevalence by 46, 60 and 85%. In these later 3 scenarios, for every 100 treatment courses provided, a total of respectively 50, 61 and 94 new infections could be averted. These benefits were projected in the context of current low coverage of methadone maintenance therapy and needles/syringes exchange programs, and these services expansion showed complementary preventive benefits to HCV therapy. The program treatment commitment associated with the various scenarios is deemed reasonable. Our model projections are robust under adjustment for uncertainty in the model parameter values. CONCLUSIONS: In this case study in Vietnam, we project that treatment of HCV for injecting drug users will have a preventative herd effect in addition to curing patients in need for therapy, achieving a substantial reduction in HCV transmission and prevalence.

van Noort SP, Águas R, Ballesteros S, Gomes MGM. 2012. The role of weather on the relation between influenza and influenza-like illness. J Theor Biol, 298 pp. 131-137. | Citations: 38 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza epidemics, enabled by viral antigenic drift, occur invariably each winter in temperate climates. However, attempts to correlate the magnitude of virus change and epidemic size have been unsatisfactory. The incidence of influenza is not typically measured directly, but rather derived from the incidence of influenza-like illness (ILI), a clinical syndrome. Weather factors have been shown to influence the manifestation of influenza-like symptoms. We fitted an influenza transmission model to time series of influenza-like illness as monitored from 2003 to 2010 by two independent symptomatic surveillance systems (Influenzanet and EISN) in three European countries. By assuming that seasonality only acts upon the manifestation of symptoms, the model shows a significant correlation between the absolute humidity and temperature at the time of infection, and the proportion of influenza infections fulfilling the clinical ILI case definition, the so-called ILI factor. When a weather-dependent ILI factor is included in the model, the epidemic size of influenza-like illness becomes dependent not only on the susceptibility of the population at the beginning of the epidemic season but also on the weather conditions during which the epidemic unfolds. The combination reduces season-to-season variation in epidemic size and, interestingly, leads to a non-monotonic trend whereby the largest ILI epidemic occurs for moderate initial susceptibility.

Phyo AP, Nkhoma S, Stepniewska K, Ashley EA, Nair S, McGready R, ler Moo C, Al-Saai S, Dondorp AM, Lwin KM et al. 2012. Emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria on the western border of Thailand: a longitudinal study. Lancet, 379 (9830), pp. 1960-1966. | Citations: 539 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria has arisen in western Cambodia. A concerted international effort is underway to contain artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, but containment strategies are dependent on whether resistance has emerged elsewhere. We aimed to establish whether artemisinin resistance has spread or emerged on the Thailand-Myanmar (Burma) border. METHODS: In malaria clinics located along the northwestern border of Thailand, we measured six hourly parasite counts in patients with uncomplicated hyperparasitaemic falciparum malaria (≥4% infected red blood cells) who had been given various oral artesunate-containing regimens since 2001. Parasite clearance half-lives were estimated and parasites were genotyped for 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms. FINDINGS: 3202 patients were studied between 2001 and 2010. Parasite clearance half-lives lengthened from a geometric mean of 2·6 h (95% CI 2·5-2·7) in 2001, to 3·7 h (3·6-3·8) in 2010, compared with a mean of 5·5 h (5·2-5·9) in 119 patients in western Cambodia measured between 2007 and 2010. The proportion of slow-clearing infections (half-life ≥6·2 h) increased from 0·6% in 2001, to 20% in 2010, compared with 42% in western Cambodia between 2007 and 2010. Of 1583 infections genotyped, 148 multilocus parasite genotypes were identified, each of which infected between two and 13 patients. The proportion of variation in parasite clearance attributable to parasite genetics increased from 30% between 2001 and 2004, to 66% between 2007 and 2010. INTERPRETATION: Genetically determined artemisinin resistance in P falciparum emerged along the Thailand-Myanmar border at least 8 years ago and has since increased substantially. At this rate of increase, resistance will reach rates reported in western Cambodia in 2-6 years. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health.

Conlan JV, Khamlome B, Vongxay K, Elliot A, Pallant L, Sripa B, Blacksell SD, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA. 2012. Soil-transmitted helminthiasis in Laos: a community-wide cross-sectional study of humans and dogs in a mass drug administration environment. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (4), pp. 624-634. | Citations: 54 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted a community cross-sectional survey of soil-transmitted helminthiasis in humans and dogs in four provinces in northern Laos. We collected and tested human and dog fecal samples and analyzed results against sociodemographic data. The prevalence of Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, hookworm, and Strongyloides stercoralis was 26.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 23.7-28.4%), 41.5% (95% CI = 38.8-44.1%), 46.3% (95% CI = 43.3-49.0%), and 8.9% (95% CI = 7.4-10.4%), respectively. We observed strong heterogeneity for helminthiasis by ethnicity, province, and wealth status, which coincided with a risk profile demonstrating that Mon-Khmer persons and the poorest households are highly vulnerable. Necator americanus was the dominant hookworm species infecting humans and Ancylostoma ceylanicum was the only Ancylostoma species detected. Hookworm prevalence in village dogs was 94%, and the dominant species was A. ceylanicum. Necator americanus was also detected in dogs. It appears that dogs have a role in human hookworm transmission and warrant further investigation.

Cooper BS, Kypraios T, Batra R, Wyncoll D, Tosas O, Edgeworth JD. 2012. Quantifying type-specific reproduction numbers for nosocomial pathogens: evidence for heightened transmission of an Asian sequence type 239 MRSA clone. PLoS Comput Biol, 8 (4), pp. e1002454. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

An important determinant of a pathogen's success is the rate at which it is transmitted from infected to susceptible hosts. Although there are anecdotal reports that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones vary in their transmissibility in hospital settings, attempts to quantify such variation are lacking for common subtypes, as are methods for addressing this question using routinely-collected MRSA screening data in endemic settings. Here we present a method to quantify the time-varying transmissibility of different subtypes of common bacterial nosocomial pathogens using routine surveillance data. The method adapts approaches for estimating reproduction numbers based on the probabilistic reconstruction of epidemic trees, but uses relative hazards rather than serial intervals to assign probabilities to different sources for observed transmission events. The method is applied to data collected as part of a retrospective observational study of a concurrent MRSA outbreak in the United Kingdom with dominant endemic MRSA clones (ST22 and ST36) and an Asian ST239 MRSA strain (ST239-TW) in two linked adult intensive care units, and compared with an approach based on a fully parametric transmission model. The results provide support for the hypothesis that the clones responded differently to an infection control measure based on the use of topical antiseptics, which was more effective at reducing transmission of endemic clones. They also suggest that in one of the two ICUs patients colonized or infected with the ST239-TW MRSA clone had consistently higher risks of transmitting MRSA to patients free of MRSA. These findings represent some of the first quantitative evidence of enhanced transmissibility of a pandemic MRSA lineage, and highlight the potential value of tailoring hospital infection control measures to specific pathogen subtypes.

Cheeseman IH, Miller BA, Nair S, Nkhoma S, Tan A, Tan JC, Al Saai S, Phyo AP, Moo CL, Lwin KM et al. 2012. A major genome region underlying artemisinin resistance in malaria. Science, 336 (6077), pp. 79-82. | Citations: 240 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Evolving resistance to artemisinin-based compounds threatens to derail attempts to control malaria. Resistance has been confirmed in western Cambodia and has recently emerged in western Thailand, but is absent from neighboring Laos. Artemisinin resistance results in reduced parasite clearance rates (CRs) after treatment. We used a two-phase strategy to identify genome region(s) underlying this ongoing selective event. Geographical differentiation and haplotype structure at 6969 polymorphic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 91 parasites from Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos identified 33 genome regions under strong selection. We screened SNPs and microsatellites within these regions in 715 parasites from Thailand, identifying a selective sweep on chromosome 13 that shows strong association (P = 10(-6) to 10(-12)) with slow CRs, illustrating the efficacy of targeted association for identifying the genetic basis of adaptive traits.

Dünser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ, Global Intensive Care Working Group of European Society of Intensive Care Medicine. 2012. Recommendations for sepsis management in resource-limited settings. Intensive Care Med, 38 (4), pp. 557-574. | Citations: 70 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: To provide clinicians practicing in resource-limited settings with a framework to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric and adult patients with sepsis. METHODS: The medical literature on sepsis management was reviewed. Specific attention was paid to identify clinical evidence on sepsis management from resource-limited settings. RESULTS: Recommendations are grouped into acute and post-acute interventions. Acute interventions include liberal fluid resuscitation to achieve adequate tissue perfusion, normal heart rate and arterial blood pressure, use of epinephrine or dopamine for inadequate tissue perfusion despite fluid resuscitation, frequent measurement of arterial blood pressure in hemodynamically unstable patients, administration of hydrocortisone or prednisolone to patients requiring catecholamines, oxygen administration to achieve an oxygen saturation >90%, semi-recumbent and/or lateral position, non-invasive ventilation for increased work of breathing or hypoxemia despite oxygen therapy, timely administration of adequate antimicrobials, thorough clinical investigation for infectious source identification, fluid/tissue sampling and microbiological work-up, removal, drainage or debridement of the infectious source. Post-acute interventions include regular re-assessment of antimicrobial therapy, administration of antimicrobials for an adequate but not prolonged duration, avoidance of hypoglycemia, pharmacological or mechanical deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis, resumption of oral food intake after resuscitation and regaining of consciousness, careful use of opioids and sedatives, early mobilization, and active weaning of invasive support. Specific considerations for malaria, puerperal sepsis and HIV/AIDS patients with sepsis are included. CONCLUSION: Only scarce evidence exists for the management of pediatric and adult sepsis in resource-limited settings. The presented recommendations may help to improve sepsis management in middle- and low-income countries.

Duenser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ, Med ESIC. 2012. Erratum to: Recommendations for sepsis management in resource-limited settings (vol 38, pg 557, 2012) INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE, 38 (4), pp. 575-576. | Read more

Ch'ng J-H, Renia L, Nosten F, Tan KSW. 2012. Can we teach an old drug new tricks? Trends Parasitol, 28 (6), pp. 220-224. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Although resistance to chloroquine (CQ) has relegated it from modern chemotherapeutic strategies to treat Plasmodium falciparum malaria, new evidence suggests that higher doses of the drug may exert a different killing mechanism and offers this drug a new lease of life. Whereas the established antimalarial mechanisms of CQ are usually associated with nanomolar levels of the drug, micromolar levels of CQ trigger a distinct cell death pathway involving the permeabilization of the digestive vacuole of the parasite and a release of hydrolytic enzymes. In this paper, we propose that this pathway is a promising antimalarial strategy and suggest that revising the CQ treatment regimen may elevate blood drug levels to trigger this pathway without increasing the incidence of adverse reactions.

Blacksell SD, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Mammen MP, Nisalak A, Kalayanarooj S, Bailey MS, Premaratna R, de Silva HJ et al. 2012. Comparison of seven commercial antigen and antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for detection of acute dengue infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 19 (5), pp. 804-810. | Citations: 71 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Seven commercial assays were evaluated to determine their suitability for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection: (i) the Panbio dengue virus Pan-E NS1 early enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), second generation (Alere, Australia); (ii) the Panbio dengue virus IgM capture ELISA (Alere, Australia); (iii) the Panbio dengue virus IgG capture ELISA (Alere, Australia); (iv) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus NS1 antigen ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); (v) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus IgM ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); (vi) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus IgG ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); and (vii) the Platelia NS1 antigen ELISA (Bio-Rad, France). Samples from 239 Thai patients confirmed to be dengue virus positive and 98 Sri Lankan patients negative for dengue virus infection were tested. The sensitivities and specificities of the NS1 antigen ELISAs ranged from 45 to 57% and 93 to 100% and those of the IgM antibody ELISAs ranged from 85 to 89% and 88 to 100%, respectively. Combining the NS1 antigen and IgM antibody results from the Standard Diagnostics ELISAs gave the best compromise between sensitivity and specificity (87 and 96%, respectively), as well as providing the best sensitivity for patients presenting at different times after fever onset. The Panbio IgG capture ELISA correctly classified 67% of secondary dengue infection cases. This study provides strong evidence of the value of combining dengue virus antigen- and antibody-based test results in the ELISA format for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection.

Chairat K, Tarning J, White NJ, Lindegardh N. 2012. Pharmacokinetic Properties of Anti-Influenza Neuraminidase Inhibitors. J Clin Pharmacol, 53 (2), pp. 119-139. | Citations: 26 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Neuraminidase inhibitors are the mainstay of anti-influenza treatment. Oseltamivir is the most widely used drug but is currently available only as an oral formulation. Resistance spreads rapidly in seasonal H1N1 influenza A viruses, which were universally resistant in 2008, because of the H275Y mutation in the neuraminidase (NA) gene. Oseltamivir is a prodrug for the active carboxylate metabolite. Ex vivo conversion in blood samples may have confounded early pharmacokinetic studies. Oseltamivir shows dose linear kinetics, and oseltamivir carboxylate has an elimination half-life (t(&frac12;β)) after oral administration in healthy individuals of approximately 7.7 hours. Oseltamivir carboxylate is eliminated primarily by tubular secretion, and both clearance and tissue distribution are reduced by probenecid. The H275Y mutation in NA confers high-level oseltamivir resistance and intermediate peramivir resistance but does not alter zanamivir susceptibility. Zanamivir is available as a powder for inhalation, and a parenteral form is under development. Zanamivir distributes in an apparent volume of distribution approximating that of extracellular water and is rapidly eliminated (t(&frac12;β) of approximately 3.0 hours). Peramivir is slowly eliminated (t(&frac12;β) of 7.7-20.8 hours) and is prescribed as either a once-daily injection or as a single infusion. Laninamivir is a recently developed slowly eliminated compound for administration by inhalation.

Pratt B, Zion D, Lwin KM, Cheah PY, Nosten F, Loff B. 2012. Closing the translation gap for justice requirements in international research. J Med Ethics, 38 (9), pp. 552-558. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Bioethicists have long debated the content of sponsors and researchers' obligations of justice in international clinical research. However, there has been little empirical investigation as to whether and how obligations of responsiveness, ancillary care, post-trial benefits and research capacity strengthening are upheld in low- and middle-income country settings. In this paper, the authors argue that research ethics guidelines need to be more informed by international research practice. Practical guidance on how to fulfil these obligations is needed if research groups and other actors are to successfully translate them into practice because doing so is often a complicated, context-specific process. Case study research methods offer one avenue for collecting data to develop this guidance. The authors describe how such methods have been used in relation to the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit's vivax malaria treatment (VHX) trial (NCT01074905). Relying on the VHX trial example, the paper shows how information can be gathered from not only international clinical researchers but also trial participants, community advisory board members and research funder representatives in order to: (1) measure evidence of responsiveness, provision of ancillary care, access to post-trial benefits and research capacity strengthening in international clinical research; and (2) identify the contextual factors and roles and responsibilities that were instrumental in the fulfilment of these ethical obligations. Such empirical work is necessary to inform the articulation of obligations of justice in international research and to develop guidance on how to fulfil them in order to facilitate better adherence to guidelines' requirements.

von Seidlein L, Olaosebikan R, Hendriksen ICE, Lee SJ, Adedoyin OT, Agbenyega T, Nguah SB, Bojang K, Deen JL, Evans J et al. 2012. Predicting the clinical outcome of severe falciparum malaria in african children: findings from a large randomized trial. Clin Infect Dis, 54 (8), pp. 1080-1090. | Citations: 75 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Data from the largest randomized, controlled trial for the treatment of children hospitalized with severe malaria were used to identify such predictors of a poor outcome from severe malaria. METHODS: African children (<15 years) with severe malaria participated in a randomized comparison of parenteral artesunate and parenteral quinine in 9 African countries. Detailed clinical assessment was performed on admission. Parasite densities were assessed in a reference laboratory. Predictors of death were examined using a multivariate logistic regression model. RESULTS: Twenty indicators of disease severity were assessed, out of which 5 (base deficit, impaired consciousness, convulsions, elevated blood urea, and underlying chronic illness) were associated independently with death. Tachypnea, respiratory distress, deep breathing, shock, prostration, low pH, hyperparasitemia, severe anemia, and jaundice were statistically significant indicators of death in the univariate analysis but not in the multivariate model. Age, glucose levels, axillary temperature, parasite density, heart rate, blood pressure, and blackwater fever were not related to death in univariate models. CONCLUSIONS: Acidosis, cerebral involvement, renal impairment, and chronic illness are key independent predictors for a poor outcome in African children with severe malaria. Mortality is markedly increased in cerebral malaria combined with acidosis. Clinical Trial Registration. ISRCTN50258054.

Nkhoma SC, Nair S, Cheeseman IH, Rohr-Allegrini C, Singlam S, Nosten F, Anderson TJC. 2012. Close kinship within multiple-genotype malaria parasite infections. Proc Biol Sci, 279 (1738), pp. 2589-2598. | Citations: 44 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria infections containing multiple parasite genotypes are ubiquitous in nature, and play a central role in models of recombination, intra-host dynamics, virulence, sex ratio, immunity and drug resistance evolution in Plasmodium. While these multiple infections (MIs) are often assumed to result from superinfection (bites from multiple infected mosquitoes), we know remarkably little about their composition or generation. We isolated 336 parasite clones from eight patients from Malawi (high transmission) and six from Thailand (low transmission) by dilution cloning. These were genotyped using 384 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, revealing 22 independent haplotypes in Malawi (2-6 per MI) and 15 in Thailand (2-5 per MI). Surprisingly, all six patients from Thailand and six of eight from Malawi contained related haplotypes, and haplotypes were more similar within- than between-infections. These results argue against a simple superinfection model. Instead, the observed kinship patterns may be explained by inoculation of multiple related haploid sporozoites from single mosquito bites, by immune suppression of parasite subpopulations within infections, and serial transmission of related parasites between people. That relatedness is maintained in endemic areas in the face of repeated bites from infected mosquitoes has profound implications for understanding malaria transmission, immunity and intra-host dynamics of co-infecting parasite genotypes.

Kosaisavee V, Lek-Uthai U, Suwanarusk R, Grüner AC, Russell B, Nosten F, Rénia L, Snounou G. 2012. Genetic diversity in new members of the reticulocyte binding protein family in Thai Plasmodium vivax isolates. PLoS One, 7 (3), pp. e32105. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax merozoites specifically invade reticulocytes. Until recently, two reticulocyte-binding proteins (Pvrbp1 and Pvrbp2) expressed at the apical pole of the P. vivax merozoite were considered to be involved in reticulocyte recognition. The genome sequence recently obtained for the Salvador I (Sal-I) strain of P. vivax revealed additional genes in this family, and in particular Pvrbp2a, Pvrbp2b (Pvrbp2 has been renamed as Pvrbp2c) and two pseudogenes Pvrbp2d and Pvrbp3. It had been previously found that Pvrbp2c is substantially more polymorphic than Pvrbp1. The primary goal of this study was to ascertain the level of polymorphism of these new genes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The sequence of the Pvrbp2a, Pvrbp2b, Pvrbp2d and Pvrbp3 genes were obtained by amplification/cloning using DNA purified from four isolates collected from patients that acquired the infection in the four cardinal regions of Thailand (west, north, south and east). An additional seven isolates from western Thailand were analyzed for gene copy number variation. There were significant polymorphisms exhibited by these genes (compared to the reference Sal-I strain) with the ratio of mutations leading to a non-synonymous or synonymous amino acid change close to 3∶1 for Pvrbp2a and Pvrbp2b. Although the degree of polymorphism exhibited by these two genes was higher than that of Pvrbp1, it did not reach the exceptional diversity noted for Pvrbp2c. It was interesting to note that variations in the copy number of Pvrbp2a and Pvrbp2b occurred in some isolates. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The evolution of different members of the Pvrbp2 family and their relatively high degree of polymorphism suggests that the proteins encoded by these genes are important for parasite survival and are under immune selection. Our data also shows that there are highly conserved regions in rbp2a and rbp2b, which might provide suitable targets for future vaccine development against the blood stage of P. vivax.

Miller CE, Batra R, Cooper BS, Patel AK, Klein J, Otter JA, Kypraios T, French GL, Tosas O, Edgeworth JD. 2012. An association between bacterial genotype combined with a high-vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration and risk of endocarditis in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection. Clin Infect Dis, 54 (5), pp. 591-600. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Antimicrobial resistance and bacterial virulence factors may increase the risk of hematogenous complications during methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infection (BSI). This study reports on the impact of increasing vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations (V-MICs) and MRSA clone type on risk of hematogenous complications from MRSA BSI during implementation of an effective MRSA control program. METHODS: In sum, spa typing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec allotyping, and vancomycin and teicoplanin MICs were performed on 821 consecutive MRSA bloodstream isolates from 1999 to 2009. Prospectively collected data, including focus of infection, were available for 695 clinically significant cases. Logistic and multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the association between clone type, vancomycin MIC (V-MIC), and focus of infection. RESULTS: MRSA BSIs decreased by ∼90% during the 11 years. Typing placed isolates into 3 clonal complex (CC) groups that had different population median V-MICs (CC30, 0.5 μg/mL [n = 349]; CC22, 0.75 μg/mL [n = 272]; non-CC22/30, 1.5 μg/mL [n = 199]). There was a progressive increase in the proportion of isolates with a V-MIC above baseline median in each clonal group and a disproportionate fall in the clone group with lowest median V-MIC (CC30). In contrast, there were no increases in teicoplanin MICs. High V-MIC CC22 isolates (1.5-2 μg/mL) were strongly associated with endocarditis (odds ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 3.72-38.9) and with a septic metastasis after catheter-related BSI (odds ratio, 106; 95% confidence interval, 12.6-883) compared with other clone type/V-MIC combinations. CONCLUSIONS: An interaction between clone type and V-MIC can influence the risk of endocarditis associated with MRSA BSI, implying involvement of both therapeutic and host-pathogen factors.

Mayxay M, Khanthavong M, Chanthongthip O, Imwong M, Lee SJ, Stepniewska K, Soonthornsata B, Pongvongsa T, Phompida S, Hongvanthong B et al. 2012. No evidence for spread of Plasmodium falciparum artemisinin resistance to Savannakhet Province, Southern Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (3), pp. 403-408. | Citations: 12 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted an open-label, randomized clinical trial to assess parasite clearance times (PCT) and the efficacy of 4 mg/kg (group 1, n = 22) and 2 mg/kg (group 2, n = 22) of oral artesunate for three days followed by artemether-lumefantrine in patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria at Xepon Interdistrict Hospital, Savannakhet Province in southern Laos. Slides were read in duplicate. The overall mean (95% confidence interval; range) PCT in hours was 23.2 (21.2-25.3; 12-46) and 22.4 (20.3-24.5; 12-46) for the first and second microscopists, respectively (P = 0.57). Ten (23%) patients remained parasitemic on day 1 after treatment (4 [18%] in group 1 and 6 [27%] in group 2; P = 0.47). No patient had patent asexual parasitemia on the second and third days of treatment. The 42-day polymerase chain reaction-corrected cure rates were 100% in both treatment groups. Serious adverse events did not develop during or after treatment in any patients. In conclusion, no evidence of P. falciparum in vivo resistance to artesunate was found in southern Laos.

Desakorn V, Wuthiekanun V, Thanachartwet V, Sahassananda D, Chierakul W, Apiwattanaporn A, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2012. Accuracy of a commercial IgM ELISA for the diagnosis of human leptospirosis in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (3), pp. 524-527. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The Leptospira immunoglobulin M enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (IgM ELISA) has been recommended for the rapid diagnosis of leptospirosis in endemic areas. We conducted a retrospective case-control study of 218 patients (109 leptospirosis cases confirmed by Leptospira culture and/or microscopic agglutination test and 109 control patients with acute febrile illness) to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a commercial IgM ELISA (Panbio) in northeast Thailand. Paired serum samples taken on admission and at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms were tested. Using the cutoff value recommended by the manufacturer (11 Panbio units), sensitivity and specificity of IgM ELISA on paired sera were 90.8% and 55.1%. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the optimal cutoff value. This was 20 Panbio units, which gave a sensitivity and specificity of 76.1% and 82.6%, respectively, on paired sera. We conclude that using either cutoff value, the accuracy of IgM ELISA is limited in our setting.

Lwin KM, Phyo AP, Tarning J, Hanpithakpong W, Ashley EA, Lee SJ, Cheah P, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Lindegårdh N, Nosten F. 2012. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of monthly versus bimonthly dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine chemoprevention in adults at high risk of malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (3), pp. 1571-1577. | Citations: 48 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) is increasingly used to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality in children and pregnant women. The efficacy of IPT depends on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the antimalarial drugs used. Healthy adult male volunteers whose occupation put them at high risk of malaria on the Northwest border of Thailand were randomized to receive a 3-day-treatment dose of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine monthly (DPm) or every 2 months (DPalt) or an identical placebo with or without fat (6.4 g/dose) over a 9-month period. All volunteers were monitored weekly. One thousand adults were recruited. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was well tolerated. There were 114 episodes of malaria (49 Plasmodium falciparum, 63 P. vivax, and 2 P. ovale). The protective efficacy against all malaria at 36 weeks was 98% (95% confidence interval [CI], 96% to 99%) in the DPm group and 86% (95% CI, 81% to 90%) in the DPalt group (for both, P < 0.0001 compared to the placebo group). As a result, the placebo group also had lower hematocrits during the study (P < 0.0001). Trough plasma piperaquine concentrations were the main determinant of efficacy; no malaria occurred in participants with a trough concentration above 31 ng/ml. Neither plasma piperaquine concentration nor efficacy was influenced by the coadministration of fat. DPm is safe to use and is effective in the prevention of malaria in adult males living in an area where P. vivax and multidrug-resistant P. falciparum malaria are endemic.

Auburn S, Campino S, Miotto O, Djimde AA, Zongo I, Manske M, Maslen G, Mangano V, Alcock D, MacInnis B et al. 2012. Characterization of within-host Plasmodium falciparum diversity using next-generation sequence data. PLoS One, 7 (2), pp. e32891. | Citations: 41 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Our understanding of the composition of multi-clonal malarial infections and the epidemiological factors which shape their diversity remain poorly understood. Traditionally within-host diversity has been defined in terms of the multiplicity of infection (MOI) derived by PCR-based genotyping. Massively parallel, single molecule sequencing technologies now enable individual read counts to be derived on genome-wide datasets facilitating the development of new statistical approaches to describe within-host diversity. In this class of measures the F(WS) metric characterizes within-host diversity and its relationship to population level diversity. Utilizing P. falciparum field isolates from patients in West Africa we here explore the relationship between the traditional MOI and F(WS) approaches. F(WS) statistics were derived from read count data at 86,158 SNPs in 64 samples sequenced on the Illumina GA platform. MOI estimates were derived by PCR at the msp-1 and -2 loci. Significant correlations were observed between the two measures, particularly with the msp-1 locus (P = 5.92×10(-5)). The F(WS) metric should be more robust than the PCR-based approach owing to reduced sensitivity to potential locus-specific artifacts. Furthermore the F(WS) metric captures information on a range of parameters which influence out-crossing risk including the number of clones (MOI), their relative proportions and genetic divergence. This approach should provide novel insights into the factors which correlate with, and shape within-host diversity.

Mahavanakul W, Nickerson EK, Srisomang P, Teparrukkul P, Lorvinitnun P, Wongyingsinn M, Chierakul W, Hongsuwan M, West TE, Day NP et al. 2012. Feasibility of modified surviving sepsis campaign guidelines in a resource-restricted setting based on a cohort study of severe S. aureus sepsis [corrected]. PLoS One, 7 (2), pp. e29858. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines describe best practice for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock in developed countries, but most deaths from sepsis occur where healthcare is not sufficiently resourced to implement them. Our objective was to define the feasibility and basis for modified guidelines in a resource-restricted setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We undertook a detailed assessment of sepsis management in a prospective cohort of patients with severe sepsis caused by a single pathogen in a 1,100-bed hospital in lower-middle income Thailand. We compared their management with the SSC guidelines to identify care bundles based on existing capabilities or additional activities that could be undertaken at zero or low cost. We identified 72 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated with S. aureus bacteraemia, 38 (53%) of who died within 28 days. One third of patients were treated in intensive care units (ICUs). Numerous interventions described by the SSC guidelines fell within existing capabilities, but their implementation was highly variable. Care available to patients on general wards covered the fundamental principles of sepsis management, including non-invasive patient monitoring, antimicrobial administration and intravenous fluid resuscitation. We described two additive care bundles, one for general wards and the second for ICUs, that if consistently performed would be predicted to improve outcome from severe sepsis. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to implement modified sepsis guidelines that are scaled to resource availability, and that could save lives prior to the publication of international guidelines for developing countries.

Abedin MJ, Sayeed AA, Basher A, Maude RJ, Hoque G, Faiz MA. 2012. Open-label randomized clinical trial of atropine bolus injection versus incremental boluses plus infusion for organophosphate poisoning in Bangladesh. J Med Toxicol, 8 (2), pp. 108-117. | Citations: 23 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe organophosphate compound (OPC) poisoning is an important clinical problem in many countries of the world. Unfortunately, little clinical research has been performed and little evidence exists with which to determine the best therapy. A study was therefore undertaken to determine the optimal dosing regimen for atropine in the treatment of OPC poisoning. An open-label randomized clinical trial was conducted in Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh, on 156 hospitalized individuals with OPC poisoning from June to September 2006. The aim was to compare the efficacy and safety of conventional bolus doses with individualized incremental doses of atropine for atropinization followed by continuous atropine infusion for management of OPC poisoning. Inclusion criteria were patients with a clear history of OPC poisoning with clear clinical signs of toxicity, i.e. features of cholinergic crisis. The patients were observed for at least 96 h. Immediate outcome and complications were recorded. Out of 156 patients, 81 patients received conventional bolus dose atropine (group A) and 75 patients received rapidly incremental doses of atropine followed by infusion (group B). The mortality in group 'A' was 22.5% (18/80) and in group 'B' 8% (6/75) (p < 0.05). The mean duration of atropinization in group 'A' was 151.74 min compared to 23.90 min for group 'B' (p < 0.001). More patients in group A experienced atropine toxicity than in group 'B' (28.4% versus 12.0%, p < 0.05); intermediate syndrome was more common in group 'A' than in group 'B' (13.6% versus 4%, p < 0.05), and respiratory support was required more often for patients in group 'A' than in group 'B' (24.7% versus 8%, p < 0.05). Rapid incremental dose atropinization followed by atropine infusion reduces mortality and morbidity from OPC poisoning and shortens the length of hospital stay and recovery. Incremental atropine and infusion should become the treatment of choice for OPC poisoning. Given the paucity of existing evidence, further clinical studies should be performed to determine the optimal dosing regimen of atropine that most rapidly and safely achieves atropinization in these patients.

Rijken MJ, Papageorghiou AT, Thiptharakun S, Kiricharoen S, Dwell SLM, Wiladphaingern J, Pimanpanarak M, Kennedy SH, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Ultrasound evidence of early fetal growth restriction after maternal malaria infection. PLoS One, 7 (2), pp. e31411. | Citations: 42 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT), the main strategy to prevent malaria and reduce anaemia and low birthweight, focuses on the second half of pregnancy. However, intrauterine growth restriction may occur earlier in pregnancy. The aim of this study was to measure the effects of malaria in the first half of pregnancy by comparing the fetal biparietal diameter (BPD) of infected and uninfected women whose pregnancies had been accurately dated by crown rump length (CRL) before 14 weeks of gestation. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In 3,779 women living on the Thai-Myanmar border who delivered a normal singleton live born baby between 2001-10 and who had gestational age estimated by CRL measurement <14 weeks, the observed and expected BPD z-scores (<24 weeks) in pregnancies that were (n = 336) and were not (n = 3,443) complicated by malaria between the two scans were compared. The mean (standard deviation) fetal BPD z-scores in women with Plasmodium (P) falciparum and/or P.vivax malaria infections were significantly lower than in non-infected pregnancies; -0.57 (1.13) versus -0.10 (1.17), p<0.001. Even a single or an asymptomatic malaria episode resulted in a significantly lower z-score. Fetal female sex (p<0.001) and low body mass index (p = 0.01) were also independently associated with a smaller BPD in multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Despite early treatment in all positive women, one or more (a)symptomatic P.falciparum or P.vivax malaria infections in the first half of pregnancy result in a smaller than expected mid-trimester fetal head diameter. Strategies to prevent malaria in pregnancy should include early pregnancy.

Turner C, Turner P, Po L, Maner N, De Zoysa A, Afshar B, Efstratiou A, Heath PT, Nosten F. 2012. Group B streptococcal carriage, serotype distribution and antibiotic susceptibilities in pregnant women at the time of delivery in a refugee population on the Thai-Myanmar border. BMC Infect Dis, 12 (1), pp. 34. | Citations: 24 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the leading cause of neonatal sepsis in the developed world. Little is known about its epidemiology in the developing world, where the majority of deaths from neonatal infections occur. Maternal carriage of GBS is a prerequisite for the development of early onset GBS neonatal sepsis but there is a paucity of carriage data published from the developing world, in particular South East Asia. METHODS: We undertook a cross sectional study over a 13 month period in a remote South East Asian setting on the Thai-Myanmar border. During labour, 549 mothers had a combined vaginal rectal swab taken for GBS culture. All swabs underwent both conventional culture as well as PCR for GBS detection. Cultured GBS isolates were serotyped by latex agglutination, those that were negative or had a weak positive reaction and those that were PCR positive but culture negative were additionally tested using multiplex PCR based on the detection of GBS capsular polysaccharide genes. RESULTS: The GBS carriage rate was 12.0% (95% CI: 9.4-15.0), with 8.6% positive by both culture and PCR and an additional 3.5% positive by PCR alone. Serotypes, Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII were identified, with II the predominant serotype. All GBS isolates were susceptible to penicillin, ceftriaxone and vancomycin and 43/47 (91.5%) were susceptible to erythromycin and clindamycin. CONCLUSIONS: GBS carriage is not uncommon in pregnant women living on the Thai-Myanmar border with a large range of serotypes represented.

Byakika-Kibwika P, Lamorde M, Okaba-Kayom V, Mayanja-Kizza H, Katabira E, Hanpithakpong W, Pakker N, Dorlo TPC, Tarning J, Lindegardh N et al. 2012. Lopinavir/ritonavir significantly influences pharmacokinetic exposure of artemether/lumefantrine in HIV-infected Ugandan adults. J Antimicrob Chemother, 67 (5), pp. 1217-1223. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Treatment of HIV/malaria-coinfected patients with antiretroviral therapy (ART) and artemisinin-based combination therapy has potential for drug interactions. We investigated the pharmacokinetics of artemether, dihydroartemisinin and lumefantrine after administration of a single dose of 80/480 mg of artemether/lumefantrine to HIV-infected adults, taken with and without lopinavir/ritonavir. METHODS: A two-arm parallel study of 13 HIV-infected ART-naive adults and 16 HIV-infected adults stable on 400/100 mg of lopinavir/ritonavir plus two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (, NCT 00619944). Each participant received a single dose of 80/480 mg of artemether/lumefantrine under continuous cardiac function monitoring. Plasma concentrations of artemether, dihydroartemisinin and lumefantrine were measured. RESULTS: Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with lopinavir/ritonavir significantly reduced artemether maximum concentration (C(max)) and area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) [median (range): 112 (20-362) versus 56 (17-236) ng/mL, P = 0.03; and 264 (92-1129) versus 151 (38-606) ng · h/mL, P < 0.01]. Dihydroartemisinin C(max) and AUC were not affected [66 (10-111) versus 73 (31-224) ng/mL, P = 0.55; and 213 (68-343) versus 175 (118-262) ng · h/mL P = 0.27]. Lumefantrine C(max) and AUC increased during co-administration [2532 (1071-5957) versus 7097 (2396-9462) ng/mL, P < 0.01; and 41,119 (12,850-125,200) versus 199,678 (71,205-251,015) ng · h/mL, P < 0.01]. CONCLUSIONS: Co-administration of artemether/lumefantrine with lopinavir/ritonavir significantly increases lumefantrine exposure, but decreases artemether exposure. Population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic trials will be highly valuable in evaluating the clinical significance of this interaction and determining whether dosage modifications are indicated.

Limmathurotsakul D, Thammasart S, Warrasuth N, Thapanagulsak P, Jatapai A, Pengreungrojanachai V, Anun S, Joraka W, Thongkamkoon P, Saiyen P et al. 2012. Melioidosis in animals, Thailand, 2006-2010. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (2), pp. 325-327. | Citations: 19 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We retrospectively estimated the incidence of culture-proven melioidosis in animals in Thailand during 2006-2010. The highest incidence was in goats (1.63/100,000/year), followed by incidence in pigs and cattle. The estimated incidence of melioidosis in humans in a given region paralleled that of melioidosis in goats.

Pitman RJ, White LJ, Sculpher M. 2012. Estimating the clinical impact of introducing paediatric influenza vaccination in England and Wales. Vaccine, 30 (6), pp. 1208-1224. | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza causes a significant burden of disease each year in England and Wales, with the young and the elderly suffering the greatest burden. Children are recognised as playing an important role in the dissemination of the influenza virus. This study examines the population impact of implementing a programme of paediatric vaccination. A dynamic transmission model was used to simulate the impact of vaccination programmes with varying levels of coverage across pre-school and school age children. These analyses suggest that vaccinating as few as 50% of 2-18 year olds could result in a substantial reduction in the annual incidence of influenza related morbidity and mortality across the population. Herd immunity may extend this protection to the young and the elderly. It is assumed that such programmes would be implemented in concert with the current strategy of vaccinating the elderly and younger at risk groups with an inactivated vaccine. In England and Wales, paediatric vaccination of two to eighteen year olds reduced the estimated number of general practice consultations, hospitalisations and deaths arising from influenza A and B infections by up to 95%. This translates into an annual average reduction of approximately 52,000, 1500 and 1200 events, respectively. A policy of paediatric vaccination could significantly reduce the clinical burden of influenza in England and Wales, in all age groups, with the added value of herd immunity helping to protect the young and the elderly who are at highest risk of complications.

Ponsford MJ, Medana IM, Prapansilp P, Hien TT, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM, Esiri MM, Day NPJ, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2012. Sequestration and microvascular congestion are associated with coma in human cerebral malaria. J Infect Dis, 205 (4), pp. 663-671. | Citations: 78 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of coma in severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains poorly understood. Obstruction of the brain microvasculature because of sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (pRBCs) represents one mechanism that could contribute to coma in cerebral malaria. Quantitative postmortem microscopy of brain sections from Vietnamese adults dying of malaria confirmed that sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature was significantly higher in patients with cerebral malaria (CM; n = 21) than in patients with non-CM (n = 23). Sequestration of pRBCs and CM was also significantly associated with increased microvascular congestion by infected and uninfected erythrocytes. Clinicopathological correlation showed that sequestration and congestion were significantly associated with deeper levels of premortem coma and shorter time to death. Microvascular congestion and sequestration were highly correlated as microscopic findings but were independent predictors of a clinical diagnosis of CM. Increased microvascular congestion accompanies coma in CM, associated with parasite sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature.

Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y, Koh GCKW, White LJ, Day NPJ, Titball RW. 2012. Melioidosis vaccines: a systematic review and appraisal of the potential to exploit biodefense vaccines for public health purposes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (1), pp. e1488. | Citations: 61 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Category B select agent and the cause of melioidosis. Research funding for vaccine development has largely considered protection within the biothreat context, but the resulting vaccines could be applicable to populations who are at risk of naturally acquired melioidosis. Here, we discuss target populations for vaccination, consider the cost-benefit of different vaccination strategies and review potential vaccine candidates. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Melioidosis is highly endemic in Thailand and northern Australia, where a biodefense vaccine might be adopted for public health purposes. A cost-effectiveness analysis model was developed, which showed that a vaccine could be a cost-effective intervention in Thailand, particularly if used in high-risk populations such as diabetics. Cost-effectiveness was observed in a model in which only partial immunity was assumed. The review systematically summarized all melioidosis vaccine candidates and studies in animal models that had evaluated their protectiveness. Possible candidates included live attenuated, whole cell killed, sub-unit, plasmid DNA and dendritic cell vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines were not considered favorably because of possible reversion to virulence and hypothetical risk of latent infection, while the other candidates need further development and evaluation. Melioidosis is acquired by skin inoculation, inhalation and ingestion, but routes of animal inoculation in most published studies to date do not reflect all of this. We found a lack of studies using diabetic models, which will be central to any evaluation of a melioidosis vaccine for natural infection since diabetes is the most important risk factor. CONCLUSION: Vaccines could represent one strand of a public health initiative to reduce the global incidence of melioidosis.

Rijken MJ, Mulder EJH, Papageorghiou AT, Thiptharakun S, Wah N, Paw TK, Dwell SLM, Visser GHA, Nosten FH, McGready R. 2012. Quality of ultrasound biometry obtained by local health workers in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol, 40 (2), pp. 151-157. | Citations: 18 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: In a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border, accurate dating of pregnancy relies on ultrasound measurements obtained by locally trained health workers. The aim of this study was to substantiate the accuracy of fetal biometry measurements performed by locally trained health workers by comparing derived reference equations with those published for Asian and European hospitals. METHODS: This prospective observational study included 1090 women who had a dating crown-rump length (CRL) scan and one study-appointed ultrasound biometry scan between 16 and 40 weeks of gestation. The average of two measurements of each of biparietal diameter, head circumference, abdominal circumference and femur length was used in a polynomial regression model for the mean and SD against gestational age (GA). The biometry equations obtained were compared with published equations of professional sonographers from Asian and European hospitals by evaluation of the SD and Z-scores of differences between models. RESULTS: Reference equations of biometric parameters were found to fit cubic polynomial models. The observed SD values, for any given GA, of fetal biometric measurements obtained by locally trained health workers were lower than those previously reported by centers with professional sonographers. For nearly the entire GA range considered, the mean values of the Asian and European equations for all four biometric measurements were within the 90% expected range (mean ± 1.645 SD) of our equations. CONCLUSION: Locally trained health workers in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burmese border can obtain measurements that are associated with low SD values and within the normal limits of published Asian and European equations. The fact that the SD values were lower than in other studies may be explained by the use of the average of two measurements, CRL dating or motivation of the locally trained sonographers.

Tarning J, Zongo I, Somé FA, Rouamba N, Parikh S, Rosenthal PJ, Hanpithakpong W, Jongrak N, Day NPJ, White NJ et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of piperaquine in children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 91 (3), pp. 497-505. | Citations: 57 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is being increasingly used as a first-line artemisinin combination treatment for malaria. The aim of this study was to describe the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of piperaquine in 236 children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Burkina Faso. They received a standard body weight-based oral 3-day fixed-dose dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine regimen. Capillary plasma concentration-time profiles were characterized using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine were described accurately by a two-transit-compartment absorption model and a three-compartment distribution model. Body weight was a significant covariate affecting clearance and volume parameters. The individually predicted day 7 capillary plasma concentration of piperaquine was an important predictor (P < 0.0001) of recurrent malaria infection after treatment. Young children (2-5 years of age) received a significantly higher body weight-normalized dose than older children (P = 0.025) but had significantly lower day 7 piperaquine concentrations (P = 0.024) and total piperaquine exposures (P = 0.021), suggesting that an increased dose regimen for young children should be evaluated.

Tarning J, Rijken MJ, McGready R, Phyo AP, Hanpithakpong W, Day NPJ, White NJ, Nosten F, Lindegardh N. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (4), pp. 1997-2007. | Citations: 63 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of antimalarial drugs are often affected by pregnancy, resulting in lower drug concentrations and a consequently higher risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Twenty-four pregnant and 24 matched nonpregnant women on the Thai-Myanmar boarder were treated with a standard fixed oral 3-day treatment, and venous plasma concentrations of both drugs were measured frequently for pharmacokinetic evaluation. Population pharmacokinetics were evaluated with nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The main pharmacokinetic finding was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but reduced exposure to dihydroartemisinin in pregnant compared to nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Piperaquine was best described by a three-compartment disposition model with a 45% higher elimination clearance and a 47% increase in relative bioavailability in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but a shorter terminal elimination half-life. Dihydroartemisinin was best described by a one-compartment disposition model with a 38% lower relative bioavailability in pregnant women than nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was a decreased total exposure to dihydroartemisinin. The shorter terminal elimination half-life of piperaquine and lower exposure to dihydroartemisinin will shorten the posttreatment prophylactic effect and might affect cure rates. The clinical impact of these pharmacokinetic findings in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria needs to be evaluated in larger series.

Gillrie MR, Lee K, Gowda DC, Davis SP, Monestier M, Cui L, Hien TT, Day NPJ, Ho M. 2012. Plasmodium falciparum histones induce endothelial proinflammatory response and barrier dysfunction. Am J Pathol, 180 (3), pp. 1028-1039. | Citations: 47 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite of human erythrocytes that causes the most severe form of malaria. Severe P. falciparum infection is associated with endothelial activation and permeability, which are important determinants of the outcome of the infection. How endothelial cells become activated is not fully understood, particularly with regard to the effects of parasite subcomponents. We demonstrated that P. falciparum histones extracted from merozoites (HeH) directly stimulated the production of IL-8 and other inflammatory mediators by primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells through a signaling pathway that involves Src family kinases and p38 MAPK. The stimulatory effect of HeH and recombinant P. falciparum H3 (PfH3) was abrogated by histone-specific antibodies. The release of nuclear contents on rupture of infected erythrocytes was captured by live cell imaging and confirmed by detecting nucleosomes in the supernatants of parasite cultures. HeH and recombinant parasite histones also induced endothelial permeability through a charge-dependent mechanism that resulted in disruption of junctional protein expression and cell death. Recombinant human activated protein C cleaved HeH and PfH3 and abrogated their proinflammatory effects. Circulating nucleosomes of both human and parasite origin were detected in the plasma of patients with falciparum malaria and correlated positively with disease severity. These results support a pathogenic role for both host- and pathogen-derived histones in P. falciparum-caused malaria.

Paris DH, Phetsouvanh R, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jones M, Jenjaroen K, Vongsouvath M, Ferguson DPJ, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NPJ, Turner GDH. 2012. Orientia tsutsugamushi in human scrub typhus eschars shows tropism for dendritic cells and monocytes rather than endothelium. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (1), pp. e1466. | Citations: 51 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus is a common and underdiagnosed cause of febrile illness in Southeast Asia, caused by infection with Orientia tsutsugamushi. Inoculation of the organism at a cutaneous mite bite site commonly results in formation of a localized pathological skin reaction termed an eschar. The site of development of the obligate intracellular bacteria within the eschar and the mechanisms of dissemination to cause systemic infection are unclear. Previous postmortem and in vitro reports demonstrated infection of endothelial cells, but recent pathophysiological investigations of typhus patients using surrogate markers of endothelial cell and leucocyte activation indicated a more prevalent host leucocyte than endothelial cell response in vivo. We therefore examined eschar skin biopsies from patients with scrub typhus to determine and characterize the phenotypes of host cells in vivo with intracellular infection by O. tsutsugamushi, using histology, immunohistochemistry, double immunofluorescence confocal laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy. Immunophenotyping of host leucocytes infected with O. tsutsugamushi showed a tropism for host monocytes and dendritic cells, which were spatially related to different histological zones of the eschar. Infected leucocyte subsets were characterized by expression of HLADR+, with an "inflammatory" monocyte phenotype of CD14/LSP-1/CD68 positive or dendritic cell phenotype of CD1a/DCSIGN/S100/FXIIIa and CD163 positive staining, or occasional CD3 positive T-cells. Endothelial cell infection was rare, and histology did not indicate a widespread inflammatory vasculitis as the cause of the eschar. Infection of dendritic cells and activated inflammatory monocytes offers a potential route for dissemination of O. tsutsugamushi from the initial eschar site. This newly described cellular tropism for O. tsutsugamushi may influence its interaction with local host immune responses.

Yalcindag E, Elguero E, Arnathau C, Durand P, Akiana J, Anderson TJ, Aubouy A, Balloux F, Besnard P, Bogreau H et al. 2012. Multiple independent introductions of Plasmodium falciparum in South America. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109 (2), pp. 511-516. | Citations: 45 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The origin of Plasmodium falciparum in South America is controversial. Some studies suggest a recent introduction during the European colonizations and the transatlantic slave trade. Other evidence--archeological and genetic--suggests a much older origin. We collected and analyzed P. falciparum isolates from different regions of the world, encompassing the distribution range of the parasite, including populations from sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South America. Analyses of microsatellite and SNP polymorphisms show that the populations of P. falciparum in South America are subdivided in two main genetic clusters (northern and southern). Phylogenetic analyses, as well as Approximate Bayesian Computation methods suggest independent introductions of the two clusters from African sources. Our estimates of divergence time between the South American populations and their likely sources favor a likely introduction from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade.

Rijken MJ, Moroski WE, Kiricharoen S, Karunkonkowit N, Stevenson G, Ohuma EO, Noble JA, Kennedy SH, McGready R, Papageorghiou AT, Nosten FH. 2012. Effect of malaria on placental volume measured using three-dimensional ultrasound: a pilot study. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 5. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The presence of malaria parasites and histopathological changes in the placenta are associated with a reduction in birth weight, principally due to intrauterine growth restriction. The aim of this study was to examine the feasibility of studying early pregnancy placental volumes using three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound in a malaria endemic area, as a small volume in the second trimester may be an indicator of intra-uterine growth restriction and placental insufficiency. METHODS: Placenta volumes were acquired using a portable ultrasound machine and a 3D ultrasound transducer and estimated using the Virtual Organ Computer-aided AnaLysis (VOCAL) image analysis software package. Intra-observer reliability and limits of agreement of the placenta volume measurements were calculated. Polynomial regression models for the mean and standard deviation as a function of gestational age for the placental volumes of uninfected women were created and tested. Based on these equations each measurement was converted into a z -score. The z-scores of the placental volumes of malaria infected and uninfected women were then compared. RESULTS: Eighty-four women (uninfected = 65; infected = 19) with a posterior placenta delivered congenitally normal, live born, single babies. The mean placental volumes in the uninfected women were modeled to fit 5th, 10th, 50th, 90th and 95th centiles for 14-24 weeks' gestation. Most placenta volumes in the infected women were below the 50th centile for gestational age; most of those with Plasmodium falciparum were below the 10th centile. The 95% intra-observer limits of agreement for first and second measurements were ± 37.0 mL and ± 25.4 mL at 30 degrees and 15 degrees rotation respectively. CONCLUSION: The new technique of 3D ultrasound volumetry of the placenta may be useful to improve our understanding of the pathophysiological constraints on foetal growth caused by malaria infection in early pregnancy.

Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Teeratakul A, Kantipong P, Day NPJ. 2012. Prospective evaluation of commercial antibody-based rapid tests in combination with a loop-mediated isothermal amplification PCR assay for detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi during the acute phase of scrub typhus infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 19 (3), pp. 391-395. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Samples from 160 prospectively recruited febrile patients with typhus-like illness in an area of Thailand (Chiang Rai, northern Thailand) where scrub typhus is endemic were used to evaluate the diagnostic capabilities of four rapid immunochromatographic tests (ICTs) for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM and total antibodies during acute scrub typhus infection. Of the 160 cases, 54 (34%) had been confirmed to have scrub typhus using the reference scrub typhus infection criteria (STIC), i.e., positive cell culture isolation, an admission IgM antibody titer of ≥1:12,800, a 4-fold rising IgM antibody titer, and/or positivity for ≥2 out of 3 PCR gene targets). The ICTs gave the following sensitivities and specificities: the Panbio IgM ICT, 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33 to 60) and 95% (95% CI, 89 to 98), respectively; the Standard Diagnostics IgM ICT, 68% (95% CI, 60 to 75) and 73% (95% CI, 68 to 78), respectively; the AccessBio IgM ICT, 56% (95% CI, 48 to 63) and 90% (95% CI, 87 to 94), respectively; and the AccessBio total antibody ABt ICT, 61% (95% CI, 53 to 68) and 68% (95% CI, 63 to 73), respectively. An isothermal loop amplification (LAMP) PCR assay for scrub typhus demonstrated a sensitivity of 52% (95% CI, 38 to 66) and a specificity of 94% (95% CI, 88 to 98). This study has revealed the diagnostic limitations of antibody-based assays in an acute care setting. However, the combination of ICTs with LAMP usually increased sensitivity with a minimal reduction in specificity. The best combination, the Panbio IgM ICT and LAMP, resulted in a sensitivity of 67% (95% CI, 53 to 79) and a specificity of 91% (95% CI, 83 to 95). The combination of antibody-based assays with DNA- or antigen-based tests shows promise for improved diagnostic sensitivity.

Nga TVT, Parry CM, Le T, Lan NPH, Diep TS, Campbell JI, Hoang NVM, Dung LT, Wain J, Dolecek C et al. 2012. The decline of typhoid and the rise of non-typhoid salmonellae and fungal infections in a changing HIV landscape: bloodstream infection trends over 15 years in southern Vietnam. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (1), pp. 26-34. | Citations: 41 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The etiological spectrum of bloodstream infections is variable between industrialized and developing countries and even within a defined location over time. We investigated trends in bloodstream infections at an infectious disease hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 1994-2008. Amongst 66,111 blood cultures performed, a clinically relevant pathogen was isolated in 7645 episodes (positivity rate; 116/1000 cultures). Salmonella Typhi was the predominant pathogen until 2002; however, a considerable annual decline in the proportion of S. Typhi was observed (OR 0.6993, 95% CI [0.6885, 0.7103], p<0.0001). Conversely, there was a significant increase in the proportions of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), Cryptococcus neoformans and Penicillium marneffei, concurrent with increasing HIV prevalence. These data document a substantial longitudinal shift in bloodstream infection etiology in southern Vietnam. We propose such changes are related to increasing economic prosperity and HIV prevalence, and this pattern marks a substantial change in the epidemiology of invasive salmonellosis in Southeast Asia.

Rijken MJ, McGready R, Boel ME, Poespoprodjo R, Singh N, Syafruddin D, Rogerson S, Nosten F. 2012. Malaria in pregnancy in the Asia-Pacific region. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (1), pp. 75-88. | Citations: 84 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Most pregnant women at risk of for infection with Plasmodium vivax live in the Asia-Pacific region. However, malaria in pregnancy is not recognised as a priority by many governments, policy makers, and donors in this region. Robust data for the true burden of malaria throughout pregnancy are scarce. Nevertheless, when women have little immunity, each infection is potentially fatal to the mother, fetus, or both. WHO recommendations for the control of malaria in pregnancy are largely based on the situation in Africa, but strategies in the Asia-Pacific region are complicated by heterogeneous transmission settings, coexistence of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax parasites, and different vectors. Most knowledge of the epidemiology, effect, treatment, and prevention of malaria in pregnancy in the Asia-Pacific region comes from India, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand. Improved estimates of the morbidity and mortality of malaria in pregnancy are urgently needed. When malaria in pregnancy cannot be prevented, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are needed to avert dangerous symptomatic disease and to reduce effects on fetuses.

Dhorda M, Piola P, Nyehangane D, Tumwebaze B, Nalusaji A, Nabasumba C, Turyakira E, McGready R, Ashley E, Guerin PJ, Snounou G. 2012. Performance of a histidine-rich protein 2 rapid diagnostic test, Paracheck Pf®, for detection of malaria infections in Ugandan pregnant women. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (1), pp. 93-95. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Improved laboratory diagnosis is critical to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy. Peripheral blood smears appear less sensitive than Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for placental malaria infections in studies conducted at delivery. In this study, 81 women in Uganda in the second or third trimester of pregnancy were followed-up until delivery. At each visit, peripheral blood was tested by blood smear, RDT, and nested species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sensitivity and specificity of the tests was calculated with PCR, which detected 22 infections of P. falciparum, as the gold standard. The sensitivity and specificity of blood smears were 36.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 18.0-59.2%) and 99.6% (95% CI = 97.7-100%), respectively. The corresponding values for RDT were 31.8% (95% CI = 14.7-54.9%) and 100% (95% CI = 98.3-100%). The RDTs could replace blood smears for diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy by virtue of their relative ease of use. Field-based sensitive tests for malaria in pregnancy are urgently needed.

Kernif T, Socolovschi C, Wells K, Lakim MB, Inthalad S, Slesak G, Boudebouch N, Beaucournu J-C, Newton PN, Raoult D, Parola P. 2012. Bartonella and Rickettsia in arthropods from the Lao PDR and from Borneo, Malaysia. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis, 35 (1), pp. 51-57. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Rickettsioses and bartonelloses are arthropod-borne diseases of mammals with widespread geographical distributions. Yet their occurrence in specific regions, their association with different vectors and hosts and the infection rate of arthropod-vectors with these agents remain poorly studied in South-east Asia. We conducted entomological field surveys in the Lao PDR (Laos) and Borneo, Malaysia by surveying fleas, ticks, and lice from domestic dogs and collected additional samples from domestic cows and pigs in Laos. Rickettsia felis was detected by real-time PCR with similar overall flea infection rate in Laos (76.6%, 69/90) and Borneo (74.4%, 268/360). Both of the encountered flea vectors Ctenocephalides orientis and Ctenocephalides felis felis were infected with R. felis. The degrees of similarity of partial gltA and ompA genes with recognized species indicate the rickettsia detected in two Boophilus spp. ticks collected from a cow in Laos may be a new species. Isolation and further characterization will be necessary to specify it as a new species. Bartonella clarridgeiae was detected in 3/90 (3.3%) and 2/360 (0.6%) of examined fleas from Laos and Borneo, respectively. Two fleas collected in Laos and one flea collected in Borneo were co-infected with both R. felis and B. clarridgeiae. Further investigations are needed in order to isolate these agents and to determine their epidemiology and aetiological role in unknown fever in patients from these areas.

Wongtanachai J, Silamut K, Day NPJ, Dondorp A, Chaisri U. 2012. Effects of antimalarial drugs on movement of Plasmodium falciparum. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 43 (1), pp. 1-9. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract

In vitro antimalarial drug susceptibility is conventionally assessed by the concentration dependent growth inhibition of Plasmodium in an in vitro culture system. Inhibition of the kinetic properties of the parasites could provide an alternative method to assess in vitro antimalarial drugs sensitivity. In this study we used a novel real time microscopic technique, which does not require fixation and staining of the parasite, to study the effects of antimalarial drugs on the intracellular movement of Plasmodium (P.) falciparum trophozoites. Using real time microscopy movement of P. falciparum pigment within erythrocytes was investigated before and after antimalarial drugs exposure (artesunate, quinine, and piperaquine). For artesunate, the 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) at which movement in half of the trophozoites was abolished was estimated by sigmoid curve fitting. Intra- and inter-observer agreements were also assessed. Healthy unexposed P. falciparum trophozoites in culture showed very active movement of malaria pigment. Quinine and piperaquine had no effect but artesunate did reduce pigment movement which started after 2.5 hours exposure to the drug. The mean (SD) IC50 for artesunate regarding abolishment of pigment movement was 54 (14) ng/ml. Assessments of intra- and inter-rater agreement showed good reproducibility of the technique (Kappa value 0.82 to 0.91). Abolishment of active movement of malaria pigment is an alternative approach to assess drug sensitivity for artesunate. Malaria pigment movement is abolished by artesunate early after exposure, but at concentrations higher than those inhibiting growth.

Dünser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ. 2012. Recommendations for sepsis management in resource-limited settings Intensive Care Medicine, pp. 1-18.

Dünser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ. 2012. Erratum to: Recommendations for sepsis management in resource-limited settings Intensive Care Medicine, pp. 1-2.

Boyer C, Gaudin K, Kauss T, Gaubert A, Boudis A, Verschelden J, Franc M, Roussille J, Boucher J, Olliaro P et al. 2012. Development of NIRS method for quality control of drug combination artesunate-azithromycin for the treatment of severe malaria. J Pharm Biomed Anal, 67-68 pp. 10-15. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) methods were developed for the determination of analytical content of an antimalarial-antibiotic (artesunate and azithromycin) co-formulation in hard gelatin capsule (HGC). The NIRS consists of pre-processing treatment of spectra (raw spectra and first-derivation of two spectral zones), a unique principal component analysis model to ensure the specificity and then two partial least-squares regression models for the determination content of each active pharmaceutical ingredient. The NIRS methods were developed and validated with no reference method, since the manufacturing process of HGC is basically mixed excipients with active pharmaceutical ingredients. The accuracy profiles showed β-expectation tolerance limits within the acceptance limits (±5%). The analytical control approach performed by reversed phase (HPLC) required two different methods involving two different preparation and chromatographic methods. NIRS offers advantages in terms of lower costs of equipment and procedures, time saving, environmentally friendly.

Dünser MW, Festic E, Dondorp A, Kissoon N, Ganbat T, Kwizera A, Haniffa R, Baker T, Schultz MJ. 2012. Point of care ultrasound for sepsis management in resource-limited settings: response to Via et al. Intensive Care Medicine, pp. 1-2.

Klein K, Aarons L, Ter Kuile FO, Nosten F, White NJ, Edstein MD, Teja-Isavadharm P. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of halofantrine in healthy volunteers and patients with symptomatic falciparum malaria. J Pharm Pharmacol, 64 (11), pp. 1603-1613. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS: To investigate the population pharmacokinetics of the antimalarial halofantrine (HF) in healthy volunteers and patients with symptomatic falciparum malaria. METHODS: Healthy volunteer data were obtained from six volunteers who received three different doses of HF (250, 500 and 1000 mg) after an overnight fast with a washout period of at least 6 weeks between doses. Patient data (n = 188) were obtained from randomised controlled trials conducted on the Thai-Burmese border in the early 1990s. They were either assigned to receive a total HF dose of 24 mg/kg (8 mg/kg every 6 h for 24 h) or 72 mg/kg (8 mg/kg every 6 to 10 h for 3 days). The population pharmacokinetics of HF were evaluated using non-linear mixed effects modelling with a two-compartment model with first-order absorption. KEY FINDINGS: The population estimates of apparent clearance (CL), volume of compartment one (V1), distributional clearance (CLD) and volume of compartment two (V2) of HF in healthy volunteers were 2453 l/day (102 l/h), 2386 l, 716 l/day (29.8 l/h) and 2641 l, respectively. The population estimates of the PK parameters in patients were 429 l/day (17.9 l/h), 729 l, 178 l/day (7.42 l/h) and 1351 l, respectively. All PK parameters were significantly related to body weight and some were related to sex, sampling method, pre-treatment parasite density and whether patients vomited or not. When the two datasets were analysed jointly using a maximum likelihood method, the population estimates in patients were 196 l/day (8.17 l/h), 161 l, 65 l/day (2.71 l/h) and 89 l, respectively, and the parameters were significantly related to body weight and sex. Bayesian analysis of the patient data, with a diffuse prior based on the healthy volunteer data analysis results, yielded the population estimates 354 l/day (14.8 l/h), 728 l, 162 l/day (6.75 l/h) and 1939 l, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The pharmacokinetic properties of HF in patients with malaria are affected by several demographic variables as well as other relevant covariates. Apparent differences between the healthy volunteer and the patient data analysis results are not entirely due to differences in bioavailability. For the patient data analysis, the Bayesian method was preferred, as the fitting procedure was more stable, allowing random effects to be estimated for all four dispositional parameters.

Chue AL, Carrara VI, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Wiladphaingern J, van Vugt M, Lee SJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Is areca innocent? The effect of areca (betel) nut chewing in a population of pregnant women on the Thai-Myanmar border. Int Health, 4-172 (3), pp. 204-209. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Eight manuscripts have specifically examined the effects of areca (betel) nut use in pregnant women, seven of which have documented adverse effects on birth weight, newborn neurological status, gender ratio and pregnancy outcomes such as anaemia and miscarriage following areca nut use during pregnancy. A retrospective cohort analysis of migrant and refugee pregnant women attending antenatal clinics along the Thai-Myanmar border (July 1997 to November 2006) was conducted to examine the adverse effects of areca nut use routinely recorded on enrolment. Of 7685 women, 2284 (29.7%) never used areca or smoked (cheroots), 2484 (32.3%) only used areca, 438 (5.7%) only smoked cheroots and 2479 (32.3%) used both areca and cheroots. Pieces of ripe areca nut in a leaf with lime, without tobacco, were used particularly among older multigravid women. Adverse pregnancy effects were not observed in areca nut users compared with non-users. Smoking, but not areca nut use, had a dose-related effect on miscarriage. Areca nut use in conjunction with smoking reduced the adverse effects of smoking on birth weight, further supporting a lack of effect of areca nut. Areca (betel) nut-related adverse pregnancy outcomes were not observed in this population, whereas smoking was clearly harmful. Differences from previous reports may result from the amount or types of areca nut, or quid content, consumed between countries. Smoking, but not areca nut, reduction is likely to improve pregnancy outcomes on the Thai-Myanmar border.

Arrow KJ, Danzon PM, Gelband H, Jamison D, Laxminarayan R, Mills A, Mwabu G, Panosian C, Peto R, White NJ. 2012. The Affordable Medicines Facility--malaria: killing it slowly. Lancet, 380 (9857), pp. 1889-1890. | Citations: 5 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Anstey NM, Douglas NM, Poespoprodjo JR, Price RN. 2012. Plasmodium vivax: clinical spectrum, risk factors and pathogenesis. Adv Parasitol, 80 pp. 151-201. | Citations: 104 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Vivax malaria was historically described as 'benign tertian malaria' because individual clinical episodes were less likely to cause severe illness than Plasmodium falciparum. Despite this, Plasmodium vivax was, and remains, responsible for major morbidity and significant mortality in vivax-endemic areas. Single infections causing febrile illness in otherwise healthy individuals rarely progress to severe disease. Nevertheless, in the presence of co-morbidities, P. vivax can cause severe illness and fatal outcomes. Recurrent or chronic infections in endemic areas can cause severe anaemia and malnutrition, particularly in early childhood. Other severe manifestations include acute lung injury, acute kidney injury and uncommonly, coma. Multiorgan failure and shock are described but further studies are needed to investigate the role of bacterial and other co-infections in these syndromes. In pregnancy, P. vivax infection can cause maternal anaemia, miscarriage, low birth weight and congenital malaria. Compared to P. falciparum, P. vivax has a greater capacity to elicit an inflammatory response, resulting in a lower pyrogenic threshold. Conversely, cytoadherence of P. vivax to endothelial cells is less frequent and parasite sequestration is not thought to be a significant cause of severe illness in vivax malaria. With a predilection for young red cells, P. vivax does not result in the high parasite biomass associated with severe disease in P. falciparum, but a four to fivefold greater removal of uninfected red cells from the circulation relative to P. falciparum is associated with a similar risk of severe anaemia. Mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of severe vivax syndromes remain incompletely understood.

Fuller C, Michie S, Savage J, McAteer J, Besser S, Charlett A, Hayward A, Cookson BD, Cooper BS, Duckworth G et al. 2012. The Feedback Intervention Trial (FIT)--improving hand-hygiene compliance in UK healthcare workers: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial. PLoS One, 7 (10), pp. e41617. | Citations: 77 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Achieving a sustained improvement in hand-hygiene compliance is the WHO's first global patient safety challenge. There is no RCT evidence showing how to do this. Systematic reviews suggest feedback is most effective and call for long term well designed RCTs, applying behavioural theory to intervention design to optimise effectiveness. METHODS: Three year stepped wedge cluster RCT of a feedback intervention testing hypothesis that the intervention was more effective than routine practice in 16 English/Welsh Hospitals (16 Intensive Therapy Units [ITU]; 44 Acute Care of the Elderly [ACE] wards) routinely implementing a national cleanyourhands campaign). Intervention-based on Goal & Control theories. Repeating 4 week cycle (20 mins/week) of observation, feedback and personalised action planning, recorded on forms. Computer-generated stepwise entry of all hospitals to intervention. Hospitals aware only of own allocation. PRIMARY OUTCOME: direct blinded hand hygiene compliance (%). RESULTS: All 16 trusts (60 wards) randomised, 33 wards implemented intervention (11 ITU, 22 ACE). Mixed effects regression analysis (all wards) accounting for confounders, temporal trends, ward type and fidelity to intervention (forms/month used). INTENTION TO TREAT ANALYSIS: Estimated odds ratio (OR) for hand hygiene compliance rose post randomisation (1.44; 95% CI 1.18, 1.76;p<0.001) in ITUs but not ACE wards, equivalent to 7-9% absolute increase in compliance. PER-PROTOCOL ANALYSIS FOR IMPLEMENTING WARDS: OR for compliance rose for both ACE (1.67 [1.28-2.22]; p<0.001) & ITUs (2.09 [1.55-2.81]; p<0.001) equating to absolute increases of 10-13% and 13-18% respectively. Fidelity to intervention closely related to compliance on ITUs (OR 1.12 [1.04, 1.20]; p = 0.003 per completed form) but not ACE wards. CONCLUSION: Despite difficulties in implementation, intention-to-treat, per-protocol and fidelity to intervention, analyses showed an intervention coupling feedback to personalised action planning produced moderate but significant sustained improvements in hand-hygiene compliance, in wards implementing a national hand-hygiene campaign. Further implementation studies are needed to maximise the intervention's effect in different settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN65246961.

Wolkewitz M, Di Termini S, Cooper B, Meerpohl J, Schumacher M. 2012. Paediatric hospital-acquired bacteraemia in developing countries. Lancet, 379 (9825), pp. 1484. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more

Aguas R, Ferreira MU, Gomes MGM. 2012. Modeling the effects of relapse in the transmission dynamics of malaria parasites. J Parasitol Res, 2012 pp. 921715. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Often regarded as "benign," Plasmodium vivax infections lay in the shadows of the much more virulent P. falciparum infections. However, about 1.98 billion people are at risk of both parasites worldwide, stressing the need to understand the epidemiology of Plasmodium vivax, particularly under the scope of decreasing P. falciparum prevalence and ecological interactions between both species. Two epidemiological observations put the dynamics of both species into perspective: (1) ACT campaigns have had a greater impact on P. falciparum prevalence. (2) Complete clinical immunity is attained at younger ages for P. vivax, under similar infection rates. We systematically compared two mathematical models of transmission for both Plasmodium species. Simulations suggest that an ACT therapy combined with a hypnozoite killing drug would eliminate both species. However, P. vivax elimination is predicted to be unstable. Differences in age profiles of clinical malaria can be explained solely by P. vivax's ability to relapse, which accelerates the acquisition of clinical immunity and serves as an immunity boosting mechanism. P. vivax transmission can subsist in areas of low mosquito abundance and is robust to drug administration initiatives due to relapse, making it an inconvenient and cumbersome, yet less lethal alternative to P. falciparum.

Meeyai A, Cooper B, Coker R, Pan-Ngum W, Akarasewi P, Iamsirithaworn S. 2012. Pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 in Thailand. WHO South East Asia J Public Health, 1 (1), pp. 59-68. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Developing a quantitative understanding of pandemic influenza dynamics in South-East Asia is important for informing future pandemic planning. Hence, transmission dynamics of influenza A/H1N1 were determined across space and time in Thailand. METHODS: Dates of symptom onset were obtained for all daily laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A/H1N1pdm in Thailand from 3 May 2009 to 26 December 2010 for four different geographic regions (Central, North, North-East, and South). These data were analysed using a probabilistic epidemic reconstruction, and estimates of the effective reproduction number, R(t), were derived by region and over time. RESULTS: Estimated R(t) values for the first wave peaked at 1.54 (95% CI: 1.42-1.71) in the Central region and 1.64 (95% CI: 1.38-1.92) in the North, whilst the corresponding values in the North-East and the South were 1.30 (95% CI: 1.17-1.46) and 1.39 (95% CI: 1.32-1.45) respectively. As the R(t) in the Central region fell below one, the value of R(t) in the rest of Thailand increased above one. R(t) was above one for 30 days continuously through the first wave in all regions of Thailand. During the second wave R(t) was only marginally above one in all regions except the South. CONCLUSIONS: In Thailand, the value of R(t) varied by region in the two pandemic waves. Higher R(t) estimates were found in Central and Northern regions in the first wave. Knowledge of regional variation in transmission potential is needed for predicting the course of future pandemics and for analysing the potential impact of control measures.

Thanapongpichat S, Imwong M, McGready R, Day NPJ, Nosten F, Snounou G, White NJ. 2012. Microsatellite characterization of Plasmodium vivax in pregnant women on the Thai–Myanmar border. Malaria journal, 11 (Suppl 1), pp. P137-P137. | Read more

Das D, Bethell D, Cooksey R, Anderson F, Sapchookul P, Piola P, Guerin PJ, Price RN, Stepniewska K. 2012. A systematic review of published antimalarial clinical trials: parasite clearance of artemisinin-containing regimens in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. Malaria journal, 11 (Suppl 1), pp. P37-P37. | Read more

Borlon C, Russell B, Sriprawat K, Suwanarusk R, Erhart A, Renia L, Nosten F, D'Alessandro U. 2012. Cryopreserved Plasmodium vivax and cord blood reticulocytes can be used for invasion and short term culture. Int J Parasitol, 42 (2), pp. 155-160. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The establishment of a Plasmodium vivaxin vitro culture system is critical for the development of new vaccine, drugs and diagnostic tests. Although short-term cultures have been successfully set up, their reproducibility in laboratories without direct access to P. vivax-infected patients has been limited by the need for fresh parasite isolates. We explored the possibility of using parasite isolates and reticulocytes, both cryopreserved, to perform invasion and initiate short-term culture. Invasion results obtained with both cryopreserved isolates and reticulocytes were similar to those obtained with fresh samples. This method should be easily replicated in laboratories outside endemic areas and will substantially contribute to the development of a continuous P. vivax culture. In addition, this model could be used for testing vaccine candidates as well as for studying invasion-specific molecular mechanisms.

Imwong M, Boel ME, Pagornrat W, Pimanpanarak M, McGready R, Day NPJ, Nosten F, White NJ. 2012. The first Plasmodium vivax relapses of life are usually genetically homologous. J Infect Dis, 205 (4), pp. 680-683. | Citations: 51 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In a prospective infant cohort, 21 infants developed Plasmodium vivax malaria during their first year. Twelve of their mothers also had vivax malaria in the corresponding pregnancies or postpartum period. The genotypes of the maternal and infant infections were all different. Eight of the 12 mothers and 9 of the 21 infants had recurrent infections. Relapse parasite genotypes were different to the initial infection in 13 of 20 (65%) mothers compared with 5 of 24 (21%) infants (P = .02). The first P. vivax relapses of life are usually genetically homologous, whereas relapse in adults may result from activation of heterologous latent hypnozoites acquired from previous inoculations.

McGready R, Lee SJ, Wiladphaingern J, Ashley EA, Rijken MJ, Boel M, Simpson JA, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Mu O et al. 2012. Adverse effects of falciparum and vivax malaria and the safety of antimalarial treatment in early pregnancy: a population-based study. Lancet Infect Dis, 12 (5), pp. 388-396. | Citations: 105 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The effects of malaria and its treatment in the first trimester of pregnancy remain an area of concern. We aimed to assess the outcome of malaria-exposed and malaria-unexposed first-trimester pregnancies of women from the Thai-Burmese border and compare outcomes after chloroquine-based, quinine-based, or artemisinin-based treatments. METHODS: We analysed all antenatal records of women in the first trimester of pregnancy attending Shoklo Malaria Research Unit antenatal clinics from May 12, 1986, to Oct 31, 2010. Women without malaria in pregnancy were compared with those who had a single episode of malaria in the first trimester. The association between malaria and miscarriage was estimated using multivariable logistic regression. FINDINGS: Of 48,426 pregnant women, 17,613 (36%) met the inclusion criteria: 16,668 (95%) had no malaria during the pregnancy and 945 (5%) had a single episode in the first trimester. The odds of miscarriage increased in women with asymptomatic malaria (adjusted odds ratio 2·70, 95% CI 2·04-3·59) and symptomatic malaria (3·99, 3·10-5·13), and were similar for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Other risk factors for miscarriage included smoking, maternal age, previous miscarriage, and non-malaria febrile illness. In women with malaria, additional risk factors for miscarriage included severe or hyperparasitaemic malaria (adjusted odds ratio 3·63, 95% CI 1·15-11·46) and parasitaemia (1·49, 1·25-1·78 for each ten-fold increase in parasitaemia). Higher gestational age at the time of infection was protective (adjusted odds ratio 0·86, 95% CI 0·81-0·91). The risk of miscarriage was similar for women treated with chloroquine (92 [26%] of 354), quinine (95 [27%) of 355), or artesunate (20 [31%] of 64; p=0·71). Adverse effects related to antimalarial treatment were not observed. INTERPRETATION: A single episode of falciparum or vivax malaria in the first trimester of pregnancy can cause miscarriage. No additional toxic effects associated with artesunate treatment occurred in early pregnancy. Prospective studies should now be done to assess the safety and efficacy of artemisinin combination treatments in early pregnancy.

Velapatiño B, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Speert DP. 2012. Identification of differentially expressed proteins from Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated during primary and relapsing melioidosis. Microbes Infect, 14 (4), pp. 335-340. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei causes septicemic melioidosis with a high rate of relapse, however microbial determinants of relapse are unknown. Proteins were analyzed from sequential B. pseudomallei isolates from primary and relapsing melioidosis. Analysis by isotope tagging for relative and absolute quantitation revealed that factors required for nitric oxide detoxification (HmpA) and necessary for anaerobic growth (ArcA, ArcC and ArcB) were highly expressed in the relapse isolate. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed up-regulation of a putative hemolysin-coregulated protein in the primary isolate, and flagellin and HSP20/alpha crystalline in the relapse isolate. These observations provide targets for further analysis of latency and virulence of melioidosis.

Hongsibsong S, Wipasa J, Pattarawarapan M, Chantara S, Stuetz W, Nosten F, Prapamontol T. 2012. Development and application of an indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of p,p'-DDE in human milk and comparison of the results against GC-ECD. J Agric Food Chem, 60 (1), pp. 16-22. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

1,1-Dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethylene (p,p'-DDE) is the major metabolite of insecticide 2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (p,p'-DDT) and a persistent organic pollutant (POPs) with concerns regarding its bioaccumulation and persistence in the environment and food chain. In the present study, an indirect competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ic-ELISA) specific for the detection of p,p'-DDE is described. In hapten synthesis, 2,2'-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethanol and glutaric anhydride were used as precursor and spacer arm, respectively. The hapten was then conjugated to bovine serum albumin (BSA) as immunogen for mouse immunization and also conjugated to ovalbumin as coating antigen for ELISA. The developed ic-ELISA was used for detecting p,p'-DDE in human milk samples and validated against the results from conventional gas chromatography-electron capture detection (GC-ECD). Coefficients of variation (%CV) of ELISA were 5.7-10.4% for intra-assay and 10.6-19.6% for interassay variations. The Pearson correlation coefficient of p,p'-DDE concentrations between ic-ELISA and GC-ECD was r = 0.766, which was in an acceptable range. The results indicate that the developed assay could be an alternative analytical tool for monitoring p,p'-DDE in lipimic matrices such as human milk.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Wongsuwan G, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2012. Effectiveness of a simplified method for isolation of Burkholderia pseudomallei from soil. Appl Environ Microbiol, 78 (3), pp. 876-877. | Citations: 17 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Detection of environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei indicates a risk for melioidosis and is important for the development of a global risk map. We describe a simple method for detecting B. pseudomallei using direct culture of soil in enrichment broth. This gives a rate of positivity comparable to that obtained with a standard method but is cheaper and labor saving.

Paris DH, Chansamouth V, Nawtaisong P, Löwenberg EC, Phetsouvanh R, Blacksell SD, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM, van der Poll T, Newton PN et al. 2012. Coagulation and inflammation in scrub typhus and murine typhus--a prospective comparative study from Laos. Clin Microbiol Infect, 18 (12), pp. 1221-1228. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus (caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi) and murine typhus (caused by Rickettsia typhi) cause up to 28% of febrile episodes in Thailand and Laos. The current understanding of coagulation and inflammation in the pathogenesis of these clinically very similar vasculotropic diseases is limited. This study compared human in vivo changes in 15 coagulation, inflammation and endothelial activation markers in prospectively collected admission and follow-up samples of 121 patients (55 scrub typhus, 55 murine typhus, and 11 typhus-like illness) and 51 healthy controls from Laos. As compared with controls, all but one of the markers assessed were significantly affected in typhus patients; however, the activation patterns differed significantly between scrub and murine typhus patients. The levels of markers of coagulation activation and all inflammatory cytokines, except for interleukin-12, were significantly higher in patients with scrub typhus than in those with murine typhus. In patients with murine typhus, however, the levels of endothelium-derived markers were significantly higher. Anticoagulant factors were inhibited in both typhus patient groups. This is the first study demonstrating that, in scrub typhus, in vivo coagulation activation is prominent and is related to a strong proinflammatory response, whereas in murine typhus, changes in coagulant and fibrinolytic pathways are suggestive of endothelial cell perturbation. These data suggest that, although late-stage endothelial infection is common in both diseases, the in vivo pathogenic mechanisms of R. typhi and O. tsutsugamushi could differ in the early phase of infection and may contribute to disease differentiation.

Turner P, Melchiorre S, Moschioni M, Barocchi MA, Turner C, Watthanaworawit W, Kaewcharernnet N, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2012. Assessment of Streptococcus pneumoniae pilus islet-1 prevalence in carried and transmitted isolates from mother-infant pairs on the Thailand-Burma border. Clin Microbiol Infect, 18 (10), pp. 970-975. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus pneumoniae pilus islet-1 (PI-1)-encoded pilus enhances in vitro adhesion to the respiratory epithelium and may contribute to pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization and transmission. The pilus subunits are regarded as potential protein vaccine candidates. In this study, we sought to determine PI-1 prevalence in carried pneumococcal isolates and explore its relationship with transmissibility or carriage duration. We studied 896 pneumococcal isolates collected during a longitudinal carriage study that included monthly nasopharyngeal swabbing of 234 infants and their mothers between the ages of 1 and 24 months. These were cultured according to the WHO pneumococcal carriage detection protocol. PI-1 PCR and genotyping by multilocus sequence typing were performed on isolates chosen according to specific carriage and transmission definitions. Overall, 35.2% of the isolates were PI-1-positive, but PI-1 presence was restricted to ten of the 34 serotypes studied and was most frequently associated with serotypes 19F and 23F; 47.5% of transmitted and 43.3% of non-transmitted isolates were PI-1-positive (OR 1.2; 95% CI 0.8-1.7; p 0.4). The duration of first-ever infant pneumococcal carriage was significantly longer with PI-1-positive organisms, but this difference was not significant at the individual serotype level. In conclusion, PI-1 is commonly found in pneumococcal carriage isolates, but does not appear to be associated with pneumococcal transmissibility or carriage duration.

Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Wikraiphat C, Trunck LA, Rholl DA, Thanwisai A, Saiprom N, Limmathurotsakul D, Korbsrisate S, Day NPJ et al. 2012. Proteomic analysis of colony morphology variants of Burkholderia pseudomallei defines a role for the arginine deiminase system in bacterial survival. J Proteomics, 75 (3), pp. 1031-1042. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Colony morphology variation of Burkholderia pseudomallei is a notable feature of a proportion of primary clinical cultures from patients with melioidosis. Here, we examined the hypothesis that colony morphology switching results in phenotypic changes associated with enhanced survival under adverse conditions. We generated isogenic colony morphology types II and III from B. pseudomallei strain 153 type I, and compared their protein expression profiles using 2D gel electrophoresis. Numerous proteins were differentially expressed, the most prominent of which were flagellin, arginine deiminase (AD) and carbamate kinase (CK), which were over-expressed in isogenic types II and III compared with parental type I. AD and CK (encoded by arcA and arcC) are components of the arginine deiminase system (ADS) which facilitates acid tolerance. Reverse transcriptase PCR of arcA and arcC mRNA expression confirmed the proteomic results. Transcripts of parental type I strain 153 arcA and arcC were increased in the presence of arginine, in a low oxygen concentration and in acid. Comparison of wild type with arcA and arcC defective mutants demonstrated that the B. pseudomallei ADS was associated with survival in acid, but did not appear to play a role in intracellular survival or replication within the mouse macrophage cell line J774A.1. These data provide novel insights into proteomic alterations that occur during the complex process of morphotype switching, and lend support to the idea that this is associated with a fitness advantage in vivo.

Stoesser N, Crook DW, Moore CE, Phetsouvanh R, Chansamouth V, Newton PN, Jones N. 2012. Characteristics of CTX-M ESBL-producing Escherichia coli isolates from the Lao People's Democratic Republic, 2004-09. J Antimicrob Chemother, 67 (1), pp. 240-242. | Citations: 11 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Turner C, Aye Mya Thein N, Turner P, Nosten F, White NJ. 2012. Rectal pH in well and unwell infants. J Trop Pediatr, 58 (4), pp. 311-313. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Prompt antibiotic treatment for infants with sepsis has the potential to save lives. A rectal formulation of an antibiotic could be used at a village level before referral to hospital. The development of such a preparation needs to take into account the rectal pH of infants that will affect drug partitioning and absorption. Rectal pH measurements were taken in 100 well and 45 unwell infants. We also measured rectal pH in 14 infants sequentially over the course of their illness. The mean rectal pH was 6.75 with no significant difference in well or unwell infants. The mean (95% CI) rectal pH of well neonates was significantly lower than that of older infants (>28 days): 6.47 (6.29-6.65) vs. 6.90 (6.68 to 7.12) p = 0.003.

McGready R, Phyo AP, Rijken MJ, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpon W, Than HH, Hlaing N, Zin NT, Singhasivanon P et al. 2012. Artesunate/dihydroartemisinin pharmacokinetics in acute falciparum malaria in pregnancy: absorption, bioavailability, disposition and disease effects. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 73 (3), pp. 467-477. | Citations: 34 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

AIM: To determine if reported lower plasma concentrations of artemisinin derivatives for malaria in pregnancy result from reduced oral bioavailability, expanded volume of distribution or increased clearance. METHODS: In a sequentially assigned crossover treatment study, pregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria received i.v. artesunate (i.v. ARS) (4mgkg(-1) ) on the first day and oral ARS (4mgkg(-1) ) on the second, or, oral on the first and i.v. on the second, in both groups followed by oral ARS (4mgkg(-1) day(-1) ) for 5 days. Plasma concentrations of ARS and dihyroartemisinin (DHA) were measured by liquid chromatography-mass-spectrometry on days 0, 1, 2 and 6. Controls were the same women restudied when healthy (3 months post partum). RESULTS: I.v. ARS administration resulted in similar ARS and DHA pharmacokinetics in pregnant women with malaria (n= 20) and in controls (n= 14). Oral administration resulted in higher total drug exposure in pregnancy [AUC (95% CI) in (ngml(-1) h)/(mgkg(-1) )] of 55.1 (30.1, 100.0) vs. 26.5 (12.2, 54.3) for ARS, P= 0.002 and 673 (386, 1130) vs. 523 (351, 724) for DHA, P= 0.007. The corresponding median absolute oral bioavailability (F%) was 21.7 (12.6, 75.1) vs. 9.9 (6.0, 36.81) for ARS (P= 0.046) and 77.0 (42.2, 129) vs. 72.7 (42.0, 87.7) for DHA, P= 0.033. Total DHA exposure was lower at day 6 in pregnant women with malaria (P < 0.001) compared with day 0 or 1, but not in the controls (P= 0.084). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates the effects of malaria on oral ARS drug disposition are greater than those of pregnancy. This probably results from a disease related reduction in first pass metabolism. The data are reassuring regarding current dosing recommendations.

White LJ, Lee SJ, Stepniewska K, Simpson JA, Dwell SLM, Arunjerdja R, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Nosten F, McGready R. 2012. Estimation of gestational age from fundal height: a solution for resource-poor settings. J R Soc Interface, 9 (68), pp. 503-510. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Many women in resource-poor settings lack access to reliable gestational age assessment because they do not know their last menstrual period; there is no ultrasound (US) and methods of newborn gestational age dating are not practised by birth attendants. A bespoke multiple-measures model was developed to predict the expected date of delivery determined by US. The results are compared with both a linear and a nonlinear model. Prospectively collected early US and serial symphysis-pubis fundal height (SFH) data were used in the models. The data were collected from Karen and Burmese women attending antenatal care on the Thai-Burmese border. The multiple-measures model performed best, resulting in a range of accuracy depending on the number of SFH measures recorded per mother (for example six SFH measurements resulted in a prediction accuracy of ±2 weeks). SFH remains the proxy for gestational age in much of the resource-poor world. While more accurate measures should be encouraged, we demonstrate that a formula that incorporates at least three SFH measures from an individual mother and the slopes between them provide a significant increase in the accuracy of prediction compared with the linear and nonlinear formulae also using multiple SFH measures.

Stuetz W, Carrara VI, McGready R, Lee SJ, Erhardt JG, Breuer J, Biesalski HK, Nosten FH. 2012. Micronutrient status in lactating mothers before and after introduction of fortified flour: cross-sectional surveys in Maela refugee camp. Eur J Nutr, 51 (4), pp. 425-434. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Deficiency of micronutrients is common in refugee populations. OBJECTIVES: Identify deficiencies and whether provided supplements and wheat flour fortified with 10 micronutrients impacts upon status among breast-feeding women from Maela refugee camp. METHODS: Two sequential cross-sectional studies were conducted in different groups of lactating mothers at 12 weeks postpartum. The first survey was before and the second 4-5 months after micronutrient fortified flour (MFF) had been provided to the camp (in addition to the regular food basket). Iron status and micronutrients were measured in serum, whole blood, and in breast milk samples. RESULTS: Iron and zinc deficiency and anemia were highly prevalent while low serum retinol and thiamine deficiency were rarely detected. Iron and zinc deficiency were associated with anemia, and their proportions were significantly lower after the introduction of MFF (21 vs. 35% with soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) >8.5 mg/L, P = 0.042, and 50 vs. 73% with serum zinc <0.66 mg/L, P = 0.001). Serum sTfR, whole-blood thiamine diphosphate (TDP) and serum β-carotene were significant predictors (P < 0.001) of milk iron, thiamine and β-carotene, respectively. Lower prevalence of iron deficiency in the MFF group was associated with significantly higher iron and thiamine in breast milk. CONCLUSIONS: High whole-blood TDP and breast milk thiamine reflected good compliance to provided thiamine; high prevalence of iron deficiency suggested insufficient dietary iron and low acceptance to ferrous sulfate supplements. MFF as an additional food ration in Maela refugee camp seemed to have an effect in reducing both iron and zinc deficiency postpartum.

West TE, Chierakul W, Chantratita N, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Emond MJ, Hawn TR, Peacock SJ, Skerrett SJ. 2012. Toll-like receptor 4 region genetic variants are associated with susceptibility to melioidosis. Genes Immun, 13 (1), pp. 38-46. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a tropical infection caused by the Gram-negative soil saprophyte Burkholderia pseudomallei. Despite broad exposure of northeastern Thais, disease develops in only a small proportion of individuals. Although diabetes is a risk factor, the mechanisms of host susceptibility to melioidosis are still poorly understood. We postulated that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) regulate host susceptibility to disease, and that genetic variation in TLRs is associated with melioidosis. We analyzed the frequency of eight previously described TLR pathway polymorphisms in 490 cases compared with 950 non-hospitalized controls or 458 hospitalized controls. Based on these results, we then analyzed the frequency of additional TLR4 or TLR6-1-10 region polymorphisms in cases and controls. We found that the TLR4(1196C>T) variant was associated with protection from melioidosis when compared with non-hospitalized controls. The TLR1(742A>G) and TLR1(-7202A>G) variants were associated with melioidosis when compared with hospitalized controls. In further analyses, we found that two additional TLR4 region polymorphisms were associated with disease. In diabetics, three other TLR6-1-10 region polymorphisms were associated with disease when compared with hospitalized controls. We conclude that TLR genetic variants may modulate host susceptibility to melioidosis. Confirmation of these findings and further investigation of the mechanisms are required.

Gupta R, Sarkar S, Balhara YPS. 2012. Use of a 'microecologic technique' to study crime incidents around methadone maintenance treatment centers - a response: The journal publishes both invited and unsolicited letters. Addiction, 107 (10), pp. 1883. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more

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