Publications 2014

Sathpathi S, Mohanty AK, Satpathi P, Mishra SK, Behera PK, Patel G, Dondorp AM. 2014. Comparing Leishman and Giemsa staining for the assessment of peripheral blood smear preparations in a malaria-endemic region in India. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 512. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Microscopy of peripheral blood thin and thick films remains the reference for malaria diagnosis. Although Giemsa staining is most commonly used, the Leishman staining method provides better visualization of the nuclear chromatin pattern of cells. It is less well known whether accuracy of parasitaemia assessment is equally accurate with the latter method. METHODS: Peripheral blood thin and thick smears from consecutive febrile patients admitted to Ispat General hospital, Rourkela, Odhisa, India, were stained with Giemsa and Leishman stain. Methods were compared for species identification, parasite quantification, and ability for identification of alternative diagnoses. RESULTS: Blood films from 1,180 fever patients were compared according to staining method, of which 111 were identified as parasitaemic using Giemsa and 110 with Leishman staining. The Kappa value as a measure of agreement between methods was 0.995 (p < 0.001), and the log10parasitaemia between methods were strongly correlated (r2 = 0.9981). In parasite negative patients, thin smear assessment contributed to making a diagnosis in 276/1,180 (23%) of cases. These assessments were better made in Leishman-stained preparations, especially for the assessment of morphological changes in red and white cells. CONCLUSION: Leishman's staining method for thin and thick smears is a good alternative to Giemsa's stain for identifying Plasmodium parasites. The Leishman method is superior for visualization of red and white blood cell morphology.

Bancone G, Chu CS, Somsakchaicharoen R, Chowwiwat N, Parker DM, Charunwatthana P, White NJ, Nosten FH. 2014. Characterization of G6PD genotypes and phenotypes on the northwestern Thailand-Myanmar border. PLoS One, 9 (12), pp. e116063. | Citations: 28 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mutations in the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) gene result in red blood cells with increased susceptibility to oxidative damage. Significant haemolysis can be caused by primaquine and other 8-aminoquinoline antimalarials used for the radical treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria. The distribution and phenotypes of mutations causing G6PD deficiency in the male population of migrants and refugees in a malaria endemic region on the Thailand-Myanmar border were characterized. Blood samples for G6PD fluorescent spot test (FST), G6PD genotyping, and malaria testing were taken from 504 unrelated males of Karen and Burman ethnicities presenting to the outpatient clinics. The overall frequency of G6PD deficiency by the FST was 13.7%. Among the deficient subjects, almost 90% had the Mahidol variant (487G>A) genotype. The remaining subjects had Chinese-4 (392G>T), Viangchan (871G>A), Açores (595A>G), Seattle (844G>C) and Mediterranean (563C>T) variants. Quantification of G6PD activity was performed using a modification of the standard spectrophotometric assay on a subset of 24 samples with Mahidol, Viangchan, Seattle and Chinese-4 mutations; all samples showed a residual enzymatic activity below 10% of normal and were diagnosed correctly by the FST. Further studies are needed to characterise the haemolytic risk of using 8-aminoquinolines in patients with these genotypes.

White NJ, Nosten FH. 2014. Characterization of G6PD genotypes and phenotypes on the northwestern PLoS ONE, 9 (12), | Citations: 28 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 Bancone et al. Mutations in the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) gene result in red blood cells with increased susceptibility to oxidative damage. Significant haemolysis can be caused by primaquine and other 8-aminoquinoline antimalarials used for the radical treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria. The distribution and phenotypes of mutations causing G6PD deficiency in the male population of migrants and refugees in a malaria endemic region on the Thailand-Myanmar border were characterized. Blood samples for G6PD fluorescent spot test (FST), G6PD genotyping, and malaria testing were taken from 504 unrelated males of Karen and Burman ethnicities presenting to the outpatient clinics. The overall frequency of G6PD deficiency by the FST was 13.7%. Among the deficient subjects, almost 90% had the Mahidol variant (487G>A) genotype. The remaining subjects had Chinese-4 (392G>T), Viangchan (871G>A), Açores (595A>G), Seattle (844G>C) and Mediterranean (563C>T) variants. Quantification of G6PD activity was performed using a modification of the standard spectrophotometric assay on a subset of 24 samples with Mahidol, Viangchan, Seattle and Chinese-4 mutations; all samples showed a residual enzymatic activity below 10% of normal and were diagnosed correctly by the FST. Further studies are needed to characterise the haemolytic risk of using 8-aminoquinolines in patients with these genotypes.

Ashley EA, White NJ. 2014. The duration of Plasmodium falciparum infections. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 500. | Citations: 41 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale are often considered the malaria parasites best adapted to long-term survival in the human host because of their latent exo-erythrocytic forms. The prevailing opinion until the middle of the last century was that the maximum duration of Plasmodium falciparum infections was less than two years. Case reports and series investigating blood donors following accidental malaria infection of blood transfusion recipients and other sporadic malaria cases in non-endemic countries have shown clearly that asymptomatic P. falciparum infections may persist for up to a decade or longer (maximum confirmed 13 years). Current policies in malaria-free countries of excluding blood donors who have lived in malarious areas are justified. Vigilance for longer than three years after declaring elimination in an area may be needed.

White NJ, Ashley EA, Recht J, Delves MJ, Ruecker A, Smithuis FM, Eziefula AC, Bousema T, Drakeley C, Chotivanich K et al. 2014. Assessment of therapeutic responses to gametocytocidal drugs in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 483. | Citations: 42 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Indirect clinical measures assessing anti-malarial drug transmission-blocking activity in falciparum malaria include measurement of the duration of gametocytaemia, the rate of gametocyte clearance or the area under the gametocytaemia-time curve (AUC). These may provide useful comparative information, but they underestimate dose-response relationships for transmission-blocking activity. Following 8-aminoquinoline administration P. falciparum gametocytes are sterilized within hours, whereas clearance from blood takes days. Gametocytaemia AUC and clearance times are determined predominantly by the more numerous female gametocytes, which are generally less drug sensitive than the minority male gametocytes, whereas transmission-blocking activity and thus infectivity is determined by the more sensitive male forms. In choosing doses of transmission-blocking drugs there is no substitute yet for mosquito-feeding studies.

Rahimi BA, Thakkinstian A, White NJ, Sirivichayakul C, Dondorp AM, Chokejindachai W. 2014. Severe vivax malaria: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical studies since 1900. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 481. | Citations: 52 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax was long considered to have a low mortality, but recent reports from some geographical areas suggest that severe and complicated vivax malaria may be more common than previously thought. METHODS: The primary objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to describe the reported clinical characteristics and the geographical variation in prevalence of reported severe vivax malaria and its change over time derived from English-language articles published since 1900. Medline and Scopus databases were searched for original papers on severe vivax malaria, using as inclusion criteria modified 2010 WHO criteria for the diagnosis of severe falciparum malaria. Articles before 1949 were identified through reference lists in journals, textbooks, and personal collections of colleagues. RESULTS: A total of 77 studies with reported severe vivax malaria and 63 studies with no reported severe vivax malaria (totaling 46,411 and 6,753 vivax malaria patients, respectively) were included. The 77 studies with reported severe vivax malaria were mainly from India (n = 33), USA (n = 8), Indonesia (n = 6), and Pakistan (n = 6). Vivax endemic countries not reporting severe vivax malaria beyond individual case reports included: the Greater Mekong Sub-region, China, North Korea, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Middle East (except Qatar), the horn of Africa, and Madagascar. Only 17/77 reports were from before 2000. Vivax mono-infection was confirmed by PCR in 14 studies and co-morbidities were ruled out in 23 studies. Among the 77 studies reporting severe vivax malaria, severe thrombocytopenia (<50,000/mm3) was the most common "severe" manifestation (888/45,775 with pooled prevalence of 8.6%). The case fatality was 0.3% (353/46,411). Severity syndromes varied widely between different geographical areas, with severe anaemia being most prominent in areas of high transmission and chloroquine resistance. CONCLUSION: Plasmodium vivax can cause severe and even fatal disease, but there is a recent increase in reports over the past 15 years with larger series restricted to a limited number of geographical areas. The biological basis of these variations is currently not known. More detailed epidemiological studies are needed which dissociate causation from association to refine the definition and estimate the prevalence of severe vivax malaria.

Hilty M, Wüthrich D, Salter SJ, Engel H, Campbell S, Sá-Leão R, de Lencastre H, Hermans P, Sadowy E, Turner P et al. 2014. Global phylogenomic analysis of nonencapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae reveals a deep-branching classic lineage that is distinct from multiple sporadic lineages. Genome Biol Evol, 6 (12), pp. 3281-3294. | Citations: 23 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The surrounding capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae has been identified as a major virulence factor and is targeted by pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV). However, nonencapsulated S. pneumoniae (non-Ec-Sp) have also been isolated globally, mainly in carriage studies. It is unknown if non-Ec-Sp evolve sporadically, if they have high antibiotic nonsusceptiblity rates and a unique, specific gene content. Here, whole-genome sequencing of 131 non-Ec-Sp isolates sourced from 17 different locations around the world was performed. Results revealed a deep-branching classic lineage that is distinct from multiple sporadic lineages. The sporadic lineages clustered with a previously sequenced, global collection of encapsulated S. pneumoniae (Ec-Sp) isolates while the classic lineage is comprised mainly of the frequently identified multilocus sequences types (STs) ST344 (n = 39) and ST448 (n = 40). All ST344 and nine ST448 isolates had high nonsusceptiblity rates to β-lactams and other antimicrobials. Analysis of the accessory genome reveals that the classic non-Ec-Sp contained an increased number of mobile elements, than Ec-Sp and sporadic non-Ec-Sp. Performing adherence assays to human epithelial cells for selected classic and sporadic non-Ec-Sp revealed that the presence of a integrative conjugative element (ICE) results in increased adherence to human epithelial cells (P = 0.005). In contrast, sporadic non-Ec-Sp lacking the ICE had greater growth in vitro possibly resulting in improved fitness. In conclusion, non-Ec-Sp isolates from the classic lineage have evolved separately. They have spread globally, are well adapted to nasopharyngeal carriage and are able to coexist with Ec-Sp. Due to continued use of PCV, non-Ec-Sp may become more prevalent.

Gilder ME, Zin TW, Wai NS, Ner M, Say PS, Htoo M, Say S, Htay WW, Simpson JA, Pukrittayakamee S et al. 2014. Gestational diabetes mellitus prevalence in Maela refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border: a clinical report. Glob Health Action, 7 (1), pp. 23887. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Individuals in conflict-affected areas rarely get appropriate care for chronic or non-infectious diseases. The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing worldwide, and new evidence shows conclusively that the negative effects of hyperglycemia occur even at mild glucose elevations and that these negative effects can be attenuated by treatment. Scientific literature on gestational diabetes in refugee camp settings is critically limited. METHODS: A 75 g 2-hour glucose tolerance test was administered to 228 women attending the antenatal care (ANC) clinic in Maela refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border. Prevalence of GDM was determined using the HAPO trial cut-offs [≥92 mg/dL (fasting),≥180 (1 hour), and≥153 (2 hour)] and the WHO criteria [≥126 mg/dL (fasting), and 140 mg/dL (2 hour)]. RESULTS: From July 2011 to March 2012, the prevalence of GDM was 10.1% [95% confidence interval (CI): 6.2-14.0] when the cut-off determined by the HAPO trial was applied. Applying the older WHO criteria yielded a prevalence of 6.6% (95% CI 3.3-9.8). Age, parity, and BMI emerged as characteristics that may be significantly associated with GDM in this population. Other risk factors that are commonly used in screening guidelines were not applicable in this diabetes-naïve population. DISCUSSION: The prevalence of GDM is lower in this population compared with other populations, but still complicates 10% of pregnancies. New evidence regarding gestational diabetes raises new dilemmas for healthcare providers in resource-poor settings. Efforts to identify and treat patients at risk for adverse outcomes need to be balanced with awareness of the risks and burdens associated with over diagnosis and unnecessary interventions. Screening approaches based on risk factors or using higher cut-off values may help minimize this burden and identify those most likely to benefit from intervention.

Salter SJ, Cox MJ, Turek EM, Calus ST, Cookson WO, Moffatt MF, Turner P, Parkhill J, Loman NJ, Walker AW. 2014. Reagent and laboratory contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses. BMC Biol, 12 (1), pp. 87. | Citations: 647 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The study of microbial communities has been revolutionised in recent years by the widespread adoption of culture independent analytical techniques such as 16S rRNA gene sequencing and metagenomics. One potential confounder of these sequence-based approaches is the presence of contamination in DNA extraction kits and other laboratory reagents. RESULTS: In this study we demonstrate that contaminating DNA is ubiquitous in commonly used DNA extraction kits and other laboratory reagents, varies greatly in composition between different kits and kit batches, and that this contamination critically impacts results obtained from samples containing a low microbial biomass. Contamination impacts both PCR-based 16S rRNA gene surveys and shotgun metagenomics. We provide an extensive list of potential contaminating genera, and guidelines on how to mitigate the effects of contamination. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that caution should be advised when applying sequence-based techniques to the study of microbiota present in low biomass environments. Concurrent sequencing of negative control samples is strongly advised.

Rattanavong S, Fournier P-E, Chu V, Frichitthavong K, Kesone P, Mayxay M, Mirabel M, Newton PN. 2014. Bartonella henselae endocarditis in Laos - 'the unsought will go undetected'. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (12), pp. e3385. | Citations: 7 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Both endocarditis and Bartonella infections are neglected public health problems, especially in rural Asia. Bartonella endocarditis has been described from wealthier countries in Asia, Japan, Korea, Thailand and India but there are no reports from poorer countries, such as the Lao PDR (Laos), probably because people have neglected to look. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted a retrospective (2006-2012), and subsequent prospective study (2012-2013), at Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Laos, through liaison between the microbiology laboratory and the wards. Patients aged >1 year admitted with definite or possible endocarditis according to modified Duke criteria were included. In view of the strong suspicion of infective endocarditis, acute and convalescent sera from 30 patients with culture negative endocarditis were tested for antibodies to Brucella melitensis, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Bartonella quintana, B. henselae, Coxiella burnetii and Legionella pneumophila. Western blot analysis using Bartonella species antigens enabled us to describe the first two Lao patients with known Bartonella henselae endocarditis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We argue that it is likely that Bartonella endocarditis is neglected and more widespread than appreciated, as there are few laboratories in Asia able to make the diagnosis. Considering the high prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in Asia, there is remarkably little evidence on the bacterial etiology of endocarditis. Most evidence is derived from wealthy countries and investigation of the aetiology and optimal management of endocarditis in low income countries has been neglected. Interest in Bartonella as neglected pathogens is emerging, and improved methods for the rapid diagnosis of Bartonella endocarditis are needed, as it is likely that proven Bartonella endocarditis can be treated with simpler and less expensive regimens than "conventional" endocarditis and multicenter trials to optimize treatment are required. More understanding is needed on the risk factors for Bartonella endocarditis and the importance of vectors and vector control.

Tun N, Smithuis FM, London N, Drew WL, Heiden D. 2014. Mortality in patients with AIDS-related cytomegalovirus retinitis in Myanmar. Clin Infect Dis, 59 (11), pp. 1650-1651. | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Read more

Gilder ME, Zin TW, Wai NS, Ner M, Say PS, Htoo M, Say S, Htay WW, Simpson JA, Pukrittayakamee S et al. 2014. Gestational diabetes mellitus prevalence in Maela refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar Border: a clinical report. Glob Health Action, 7 (1), pp. 23887. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background Individuals in conflict-affected areas rarely get appropriate care for chronic or non-infectious diseases. The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing worldwide, and new evidence shows conclusively that the negative effects of hyperglycemia occur even at mild glucose elevations and that these negative effects can be attenuated by treatment. Scientific literature on gestational diabetes in refugee camp settings is critically limited. Methods A 75 g 2-hour glucose tolerance test was administered to 228 women attending the antenatal care (ANC) clinic in Maela refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border. Prevalence of GDM was determined using the HAPO trial cut-offs [≥92 mg/dL (fasting),≥180 (1 hour), and≥153 (2 hour)] and the WHO criteria [≥126 mg/dL (fasting), and 140 mg/dL (2 hour)]. Results From July 2011 to March 2012, the prevalence of GDM was 10.1% [95% confidence interval (CI): 6.2-14.0] when the cut-off determined by the HAPO trial was applied. Applying the older WHO criteria yielded a prevalence of 6.6% (95% CI 3.3-9.8). Age, parity, and BMI emerged as characteristics that may be significantly associated with GDM in this population. Other risk factors that are commonly used in screening guidelines were not applicable in this diabetes-naïve population. Discussion The prevalence of GDM is lower in this population compared with other populations, but still complicates 10% of pregnancies. New evidence regarding gestational diabetes raises new dilemmas for healthcare providers in resource-poor settings. Efforts to identify and treat patients at risk for adverse outcomes need to be balanced with awareness of the risks and burdens associated with over diagnosis and unnecessary interventions. Screening approaches based on risk factors or using higher cut-off values may help minimize this burden and identify those most likely to benefit from intervention.

Lubell Y, Dondorp A, Guérin PJ, Drake T, Meek S, Ashley E, Day NPJ, White NJ, White LJ. 2014. Artemisinin resistance--modelling the potential human and economic costs. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 452. | Citations: 38 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria across the endemic world and is increasingly relied upon for treating vivax malaria where chloroquine is failing. Artemisinin resistance was first detected in western Cambodia in 2007, and is now confirmed in the Greater Mekong region, raising the spectre of a malaria resurgence that could undo a decade of progress in control, and threaten the feasibility of elimination. The magnitude of this threat has not been quantified. METHODS: This analysis compares the health and economic consequences of two future scenarios occurring once artemisinin-based treatments are available with high coverage. In the first scenario, artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is largely effective in the management of uncomplicated malaria and severe malaria is treated with artesunate, while in the second scenario ACT are failing at a rate of 30%, and treatment of severe malaria reverts to quinine. The model is applied to all malaria-endemic countries using their specific estimates for malaria incidence, transmission intensity and GDP. The model describes the direct medical costs for repeated diagnosis and retreatment of clinical failures as well as admission costs for severe malaria. For productivity losses, the conservative friction costing method is used, which assumes a limited economic impact for individuals that are no longer economically active until they are replaced from the unemployment pool. RESULTS: Using conservative assumptions and parameter estimates, the model projects an excess of 116,000 deaths annually in the scenario of widespread artemisinin resistance. The predicted medical costs for retreatment of clinical failures and for management of severe malaria exceed US$32 million per year. Productivity losses resulting from excess morbidity and mortality were estimated at US$385 million for each year during which failing ACT remained in use as first-line treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These 'ballpark' figures for the magnitude of the health and economic threat posed by artemisinin resistance add weight to the call for urgent action to detect the emergence of resistance as early as possible and contain its spread from known locations in the Mekong region to elsewhere in the endemic world.

Hanson J, Anstey NM, Bihari D, White NJ, Day NP, Dondorp AM. 2014. The fluid management of adults with severe malaria. Crit Care, 18 (6), pp. 642. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Fluid resuscitation has long been considered a key intervention in the treatment of adults with severe falciparum malaria. Profound hypovolemia is common in these patients and has the potential to exacerbate the acidosis and acute kidney injury that are independent predictors of death. However, new microvascular imaging techniques have shown that disease severity correlates more strongly with obstruction of the microcirculation by parasitized erythrocytes--a process termed sequestration. Fluid loading has little effect on sequestration and increases the risk of complications, particularly pulmonary edema, a condition that can develop suddenly and unpredictably and that is frequently fatal in this population. Accordingly, even if a patient is clinically hypovolemic, if there is an adequate blood pressure and urine output, there may be little advantage in infusing intravenous fluid beyond a maintenance rate of 1 to 2 mL/kg per hour. The optimal agent for fluid resuscitation remains uncertain; significant anemia requires blood transfusion, but colloid solutions may be associated with harm and should be avoided. The preferred crystalloid is unclear, although the use of balanced solutions requires investigation. There are fewer data to guide the fluid management of severe vivax and knowlesi malaria, although a similar conservative strategy would appear prudent.

Douglas NM, Pontororing GJ, Lampah DA, Yeo TW, Kenangalem E, Poespoprodjo JR, Ralph AP, Bangs MJ, Sugiarto P, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2014. Mortality attributable to Plasmodium vivax malaria: a clinical audit from Papua, Indonesia. BMC Med, 12 (1), pp. 217. | Citations: 31 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax causes almost half of all malaria cases in Asia and is recognised as a significant cause of morbidity. In recent years it has been associated with severe and fatal disease. The extent to which P. vivax contributes to death is not known. METHODS: To define the epidemiology of mortality attributable to vivax malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia, a retrospective clinical records-based audit was conducted of all deaths in patients with vivax malaria at a tertiary referral hospital. RESULTS: Between January 2004 and September 2009, hospital surveillance identified 3,495 inpatients with P. vivax monoinfection and 65 (1.9%) patients who subsequently died. Charts for 54 of these 65 patients could be reviewed, 40 (74%) of whom had pure P. vivax infections on cross-checking. Using pre-defined conservative criteria, vivax malaria was the primary cause of death in 6 cases, a major contributor in 17 cases and a minor contributor in a further 13 cases. Extreme anaemia was the most common primary cause of death. Malnutrition, sepsis with respiratory and gastrointestinal manifestations, and chronic diseases were the commonest attributed causes of death for patients in the latter two categories. There were an estimated 293,763 cases of pure P. vivax infection in the community during the study period giving an overall minimum case fatality of 0.12 per 1,000 infections. The corresponding case fatality in hospitalised patients was 10.3 per 1,000 infections. CONCLUSIONS: Although uncommonly directly fatal, vivax malaria is an important indirect cause of death in southern Papua in patients with malnutrition, sepsis syndrome and chronic diseases, including HIV infection.

Day J, Imran D, Ganiem AR, Tjahjani N, Wahyuningsih R, Adawiyah R, Dance D, Mayxay M, Newton P, Phetsouvanh R et al. 2014. CryptoDex: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of adjunctive dexamethasone in HIV-infected adults with cryptococcal meningitis: study protocol for a randomised control trial. Trials, 15 (1), pp. 441. | Citations: 7 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a severe AIDS-defining illness with 90-day case mortality as high as 70% in sub-Saharan Africa, despite treatment. It is the leading cause of death in HIV patients in Asia and Africa.No major advance has been made in the treatment of CM since the 1970s. The mainstays of induction therapy are amphotericin B and flucytosine, but these are often poorly available where the disease burden is highest. Adjunctive treatments, such as dexamethasone, have had dramatic effects on mortality in other neurologic infections, but are untested in CM. Given the high death rates in patients receiving current optimal treatment, and the lack of new agents on the horizon, adjuvant treatments, which offer the potential to reduce mortality in CM, should be tested.The principal research question posed by this study is as follows: does adding dexamethasone to standard antifungal therapy for CM reduce mortality? Dexamethasone is a cheap, readily available, and practicable intervention. METHOD: A double-blind placebo-controlled trial with parallel arms in which patients are randomised to receive either dexamethasone or placebo, in addition to local standard of care. The study recruits patients in both Asia and Africa to ensure the relevance of its results to the populations in which the disease burden is highest. The 10-week mortality risk in the control group is expected to be between 30% and 50%, depending on location, and the target hazard ratio of 0.7 corresponds to absolute risk reductions in mortality from 30% to 22%, or from 50% to 38%. Assuming an overall 10-week mortality of at least 30% in our study population, recruitment of 824 patients will be sufficient to observe the expected number of deaths. Allowing for some loss to follow-up, the total sample size for this study is 880 patients. To generate robust evidence across both continents, we aim to recruit roughly similar numbers of patients from each continent. The primary end point is 10-week mortality. Ethical approval has been obtained from Oxford University's Tropical Research Ethics Committee (OxTREC), and as locally mandated at each site. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number: ISRCTN59144167 26-July-2012.

Dunstan SJ, Hue NT, Han B, Li Z, Tram TTB, Sim KS, Parry CM, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Lan NPH et al. 2014. Variation at HLA-DRB1 is associated with resistance to enteric fever. Nat Genet, 46 (12), pp. 1333-1336. | Citations: 27 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Enteric fever affects more than 25 million people annually and results from systemic infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi or Paratyphi pathovars A, B or C(1). We conducted a genome-wide association study of 432 individuals with blood culture-confirmed enteric fever and 2,011 controls from Vietnam. We observed strong association at rs7765379 (odds ratio (OR) for the minor allele = 0.18, P = 4.5 × 10(-10)), a marker mapping to the HLA class II region, in proximity to HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DRB1. We replicated this association in 595 enteric fever cases and 386 controls from Nepal and also in a second independent collection of 151 cases and 668 controls from Vietnam. Imputation-based fine-mapping across the extended MHC region showed that the classical HLA-DRB1*04:05 allele (OR = 0.14, P = 2.60 × 10(-11)) could entirely explain the association at rs7765379, thus implicating HLA-DRB1 as a major contributor to resistance against enteric fever, presumably through antigen presentation.

Numminen E, Chewapreecha C, Sirén J, Turner C, Turner P, Bentley SD, Corander J. 2014. Two-phase importance sampling for inference about transmission trees. Proc Biol Sci, 281 (1794), pp. 20141324. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There has been growing interest in the statistics community to develop methods for inferring transmission pathways of infectious pathogens from molecular sequence data. For many datasets, the computational challenge lies in the huge dimension of the missing data. Here, we introduce an importance sampling scheme in which the transmission trees and phylogenies of pathogens are both sampled from reasonable importance distributions, alleviating the inference. Using this approach, arbitrary models of transmission could be considered, contrary to many earlier proposed methods. We illustrate the scheme by analysing transmissions of Streptococcus pneumoniae from household to household within a refugee camp, using data in which only a fraction of hosts is observed, but which is still rich enough to unravel the within-household transmission dynamics and pairs of households between whom transmission is plausible. We observe that while probability of direct transmission is low even for the most prominent cases of transmission, still those pairs of households are geographically much closer to each other than expected under random proximity.

Numminen E, Chewapreecha C, Sirén J, Turner C, Turner P, Bentley SD, Corander J. 2014. Two-phase importance sampling for inference about transmission trees Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 281 (1794), pp. 20141324. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There has been growing interest in the statistics community to develop methods for inferring transmission pathways of infectious pathogens from molecular sequence data. For many datasets, the computational challenge lies in the huge dimension of the missing data. Here, we introduce an importance sampling scheme in which the transmission trees and phylogenies of pathogens are both sampled from reasonable importance distributions, alleviating the inference. Using this approach, arbitrary models of transmission could be considered, contrary to many earlier proposed methods. We illustrate the scheme by analysing transmissions of Streptococcus pneumoniae from household to household within a refugee camp, using data in which only a fraction of hosts is observed, but which is still rich enough to unravel the within-household transmission dynamics and pairs of households between whom transmission is plausible. We observe that while probability of direct transmission is low even for the most prominent cases of transmission, still those pairs of households are geographically much closer to each other than expected under random proximity.

Khauv P, Turner P, Soeng C, Soeng S, Moore CE, Bousfield R, Stoesser N, Emary K, Thanh DP, Baker S et al. 2014. Ophthalmic infections in children presenting to Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia. BMC Res Notes, 7 (1), pp. 784. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Ophthalmic infections cause significant morbidity in Cambodian children but aetiologic data are scarce. We investigated the causes of acute eye infections in 54 children presenting to the ophthalmology clinic at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap between March and October 2012. FINDINGS: The median age at presentation was 3.6 years (range 6 days - 16.0 years). Forty two patients (77.8%) were classified as having an external eye infection, ten (18.5%) as ophthalmia neonatorum, and two (3.7%) as intra-ocular infection. Organisms were identified in all ophthalmia neonatorum patients and 85.7% of patients with an external eye infection. Pathogens were not detected in either of the intra-ocular infection patients. Most commonly isolated bacteria were Staphylococcus aureus (23 isolates), coagulase-negative staphylococci (13), coliforms (7), Haemophilus influenzae/parainfluenzae (6), Streptococcus pneumoniae (4), and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (2). Chlamydia trachomatis DNA was detected in 60% of swabs taken from ophthalmia neonatorum cases. CONCLUSIONS: This small study demonstrates the wide range of pathogens associated with common eye infections in Cambodian children. The inclusion of molecular assays improved the spectrum of detectable pathogens, most notably in neonates.

Ashley EA, Recht J, White NJ. 2014. Primaquine: the risks and the benefits. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 418. | Citations: 79 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Primaquine is the only generally available anti-malarial that prevents relapse in vivax and ovale malaria, and the only potent gametocytocide in falciparum malaria. Primaquine becomes increasingly important as malaria-endemic countries move towards elimination, and although it is widely recommended, it is commonly not given to malaria patients because of haemolytic toxicity in subjects who are glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficient (gene frequency typically 3-30% in malaria endemic areas; >180 different genetic variants). In six decades of primaquine use in approximately 200 million people, 14 deaths have been reported. Confining the estimate to reports with known denominators gives an estimated mortality of one in 621,428 (upper 95% CI: one in 407,807). All but one death followed multiple dosing to prevent vivax malaria relapse. Review of dose-response relationships and clinical trials of primaquine in G6PD deficiency suggests that the currently recommended WHO single low dose (0.25 mg base/kg) to block falciparum malaria transmission confers a very low risk of haemolytic toxicity.

Thaipadungpanit J, Chierakul W, Pattanaporkrattana W, Phoodaeng A, Wongsuvan G, Huntrakun V, Amornchai P, Chatchen S, Kitphati R, Wuthiekanun V et al. 2014. Burkholderia pseudomallei in water supplies, southern Thailand. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (11), pp. 1947-1949. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Zaloumis SG, Tarning J, Krishna S, Price RN, White NJ, Davis TME, McCaw JM, Olliaro P, Maude RJ, Kremsner P et al. 2014. Population pharmacokinetics of intravenous artesunate: a pooled analysis of individual data from patients with severe malaria. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 3 (11), pp. e145. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

There are ~660,000 deaths from severe malaria each year. Intravenous artesunate (i.v. ARS) is the first-line treatment in adults and children. To optimize the dosing regimen of i.v. ARS, the largest pooled population pharmacokinetic study to date of the active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) was performed. The pooled dataset consisted of 71 adults and 195 children with severe malaria, with a mixture of sparse and rich sampling within the first 12 h after drug administration. A one-compartment model described the population pharmacokinetics of DHA adequately. Body weight had the greatest impact on DHA pharmacokinetics, resulting in lower DHA exposure for smaller children (6-10 kg) than adults. Post hoc estimates of DHA exposure were not significantly associated with parasitological outcomes. Comparable DHA exposure in smaller children and adults after i.v. ARS was achieved under a dose modification for intramuscular ARS proposed in a separate analysis of children.

McGready R, Prakash JAJ, Benjamin SJ, Watthanaworawit W, Anantatat T, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Ling CL, Tan SO, Ashley EA, Pimanpanarak M et al. 2014. Pregnancy outcome in relation to treatment of murine typhus and scrub typhus infection: a fever cohort and a case series analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (11), pp. e3327. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of published reports on pregnancy outcome following scrub and murine typhus despite these infections being leading causes of undifferentiated fever in Asia. This study aimed to relate pregnancy outcome with treatment of typhus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data were analyzed from: i) pregnant women with a diagnosis of scrub and/or murine typhus from a fever cohort studies; ii) case series of published studies in PubMed using the search terms "scrub typhus" (ST), "murine typhus" (MT), "Orientia tsutsugamushi", "Rickettsia tsutsugamushi", "Rickettsia typhi", "rickettsiae", "typhus", or "rickettsiosis"; and "pregnancy", until February 2014 and iii) an unpublished case series. Fever clearance time (FCT) and pregnancy outcome (miscarriage and delivery) were compared to treatment. Poor neonatal outcome was a composite measure for pregnancies sustained to 28 weeks or more of gestation ending in stillbirth, preterm birth, or delivery of a growth restricted or low birth weight newborn. RESULTS: There were 26 women in the fever cohort. MT and ST were clinically indistinguishable apart from two ST patients with eschars. FCTs (median [range] hours) were 25 [16-42] for azithromycin (n=5), 34 [20-53] for antimalarials (n=5) and 92 [6-260] for other antibiotics/supportive therapy (n=16). There were 36.4% (8/22) with a poor neonatal outcome. In 18 years, 97 pregnancies were collated, 82 with known outcomes, including two maternal deaths. Proportions of miscarriage 17.3% (14/81) and poor neonatal outcomes 41.8% (28/67) were high, increasing with longer FCTs (p=0.050, linear trend). Use of azithromycin was not significantly associated with improved neonatal outcomes (p=0.610). CONCLUSION: The published ST and MT world literature amounts to less than 100 pregnancies due to under recognition and under diagnosis. Evidence supporting the most commonly used treatment, azithromycin, is weak. Collaborative, prospective clinical trials in pregnant women are urgently required to reduce the burden of adverse maternal and newborn outcomes and to determine the safety and efficacy of antimicrobial treatment.

Vaidya AB, Morrisey JM, Zhang Z, Das S, Daly TM, Otto TD, Spillman NJ, Wyvratt M, Siegl P, Marfurt J et al. 2014. Pyrazoleamide compounds are potent antimalarials that target Na+ homeostasis in intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 5521. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The quest for new antimalarial drugs, especially those with novel modes of action, is essential in the face of emerging drug-resistant parasites. Here we describe a new chemical class of molecules, pyrazoleamides, with potent activity against human malaria parasites and showing remarkably rapid parasite clearance in an in vivo model. Investigations involving pyrazoleamide-resistant parasites, whole-genome sequencing and gene transfers reveal that mutations in two proteins, a calcium-dependent protein kinase (PfCDPK5) and a P-type cation-ATPase (PfATP4), are necessary to impart full resistance to these compounds. A pyrazoleamide compound causes a rapid disruption of Na(+) regulation in blood-stage Plasmodium falciparum parasites. Similar effect on Na(+) homeostasis was recently reported for spiroindolones, which are antimalarials of a chemical class quite distinct from pyrazoleamides. Our results reveal that disruption of Na(+) homeostasis in malaria parasites is a promising mode of antimalarial action mediated by at least two distinct chemical classes.

Okell LC, Cairns M, Griffin JT, Ferguson NM, Tarning J, Jagoe G, Hugo P, Baker M, D'Alessandro U, Bousema T et al. 2014. Contrasting benefits of different artemisinin combination therapies as first-line malaria treatments using model-based cost-effectiveness analysis. Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 5606. | Citations: 33 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

There are currently several recommended drug regimens for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Africa. Each has different properties that determine its impact on disease burden. Two major antimalarial policy options are artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQP). Clinical trial data show that DHA-PQP provides longer protection against reinfection, while AL is better at reducing patient infectiousness. Here we incorporate pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic factors, transmission-reducing effects and cost into a mathematical model and simulate malaria transmission and treatment in Africa, using geographically explicit data on transmission intensity and seasonality, population density, treatment access and outpatient costs. DHA-PQP has a modestly higher estimated impact than AL in 64% of the population at risk. Given current higher cost estimates for DHA-PQP, there is a slightly greater cost per case averted, except in areas with high, seasonally varying transmission where the impact is particularly large. We find that a locally optimized treatment policy can be highly cost effective for reducing clinical malaria burden.

Thaipadungpanit J, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2014. Role of burkholderia pseudomallei biofilm formation and lipopolysaccharide in relapse of melioidosis Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 20 (11), pp. O854-O856. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 The Authors. We examined whether quantitative biofilm formation and/or lipopolysaccharide type of Burkholderia pseudomallei was associated with relapsing melioidosis. We devised a 1: 4 nested case-control study in which both cases and controls were drawn from a cohort of patients with primary melioidosis. Paired isolates from 80 patients with relapse and single isolates from 184 patients without relapse were tested. Relapse was associated with biofilm formation of the primary infecting isolate (conditional OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.27-3.25; p 0.003), but not with lipopolysaccharide type (p 0.74). This finding highlights the importance of biofilm formation in relapsing melioidosis.

Nguyen VH, Sibounheuang B, Phommasone K, Vongsouvath M, Newton PN, Piorkowski G, Baronti C, de Lamballerie X, Dubot-Pérès A. 2014. First isolation and genomic characterization of enterovirus A71 and coxsackievirus A16 from hand foot and mouth disease patients in the Lao PDR. New Microbes New Infect, 2 (6), pp. 170-172. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CV-A16) are major aetiological agents of hand, foot and mouth disease in Asia. We established the first genomic characterization of strains isolated in 2011 from Lao patients. Isolates were related to EV-A71 genotype C4 and CV-A16 genotype B1a that circulated in neighbouring countries during the same period. This confirms the regional character of hand, foot and mouth disease epidemiology and makes plausible the occurrence of severe disease in the Lao population.

Luangasanatip N, Hongsuwan M, Lubell Y, Cooper BS. 2014. Effectiveness of Hand Hygiene Promotion in Relation to Level of Investment: A Systematic Review. Value Health, 17 (7), pp. A803. | Read more

Zaloumis SG, Tarning J, Krishna S, Price RN, White NJ, Davis TME, McCaw JM, Olliaro P, Maude RJ, Kremsner P et al. 2014. Population Pharmacokinetics of Intravenous Artesunate: A Pooled Analysis of Individual Data From Patients With Severe Malaria. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 3 (11), pp. 1-9. | Show Abstract | Read more

There are ~660,000 deaths from severe malaria each year. Intravenous artesunate (i.v. ARS) is the first-line treatment in adults and children. To optimize the dosing regimen of i.v. ARS, the largest pooled population pharmacokinetic study to date of the active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) was performed. The pooled dataset consisted of 71 adults and 195 children with severe malaria, with a mixture of sparse and rich sampling within the first 12 h after drug administration. A one-compartment model described the population pharmacokinetics of DHA adequately. Body weight had the greatest impact on DHA pharmacokinetics, resulting in lower DHA exposure for smaller children (6-10 kg) than adults. Post hoc estimates of DHA exposure were not significantly associated with parasitological outcomes. Comparable DHA exposure in smaller children and adults after i.v. ARS was achieved under a dose modification for intramuscular ARS proposed in a separate analysis of children. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst. Pharmacol. (2014) 3, e145; doi:10.1038/psp.2014.43; published online 05 November 2014.

Kyaw SS, Drake T, Ruangveerayuth R, Chierakul W, White NJ, Newton PN, Lubell Y. 2014. Cost of treating inpatient falciparum malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 416. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Despite demonstrated benefits and World Health Organization (WHO) endorsement, parenteral artesunate is the recommended treatment for patients with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in only one fifth of endemic countries. One possible reason for this slow uptake is that a treatment course of parenteral artesunate is costlier than quinine and might, therefore, pose a substantial economic burden to health care systems. This analysis presents a detailed account of the resources used in treating falciparum malaria by either parenteral artesunate or quinine in a hospital on the Thai-Myanmar border. METHODS: The analysis used data from four studies, with random allocation of inpatients with falciparum malaria to treatment with parenteral artesunate or quinine, conducted in Mae Sot Hospital, Thailand from 1995 to 2001. Detailed resource use data were collected during admission and unit costs from the 2008 hospital price list were applied to these. Total admission costs were broken down into five categories: 1) medication; 2) intravenous fluids; 3) disposables; 4) laboratory tests; and 5) services. RESULTS: While the medication costs were higher for patients treated with artesunate, total admission costs were similar in those treated with quinine, US$ 243 (95% CI: 167.5-349.7) and in those treated with artesunate US$ 190 (95% CI: 131.0-263.2) (P=0.375). For cases classified as severe malaria (59%), the total cost of admission was US$ 298 (95% CI: 203.6-438.7) in the quinine group as compared with US$ 284 (95% CI: 181.3-407) in the artesunate group (P=0.869). CONCLUSION: This analysis finds no evidence for a difference in total admission costs for malaria inpatients treated with artesunate as compared with quinine. Assuming this is generalizable to other settings, the higher cost of a course of artesunate should not be considered a barrier for its implementation in the treatment of malaria.

Bergstrand M, Nosten F, Lwin KM, Karlsson MO, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Characterization of an in vivo concentration-effect relationship for piperaquine in malaria chemoprevention. Sci Transl Med, 6 (260), pp. 260ra147. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

A randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted on the northwest border of Thailand compared malaria chemoprevention with monthly or bimonthly standard 3-day treatment regimens of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Healthy adult male subjects (N = 1000) were followed weekly during 9 months of treatment. Using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling, the concentration-effect relationship for the malaria-preventive effect of piperaquine was best characterized with a sigmoidal Emax relationship, where plasma concentrations of 6.7 ng/ml [relative standard error (RSE), 23%] and 20 ng/ml were found to reduce the hazard of acquiring a malaria infection by 50% [that is, median inhibitory concentration (IC50)] and 95% (IC95), respectively. Simulations of monthly dosing, based on the final model and published pharmacokinetic data, suggested that the incidence of malaria infections over 1 year could be reduced by 70% with a recently suggested dosing regimen compared to the current manufacturer's recommendations for small children (8 to 12 kg). This model provides a rational framework for piperaquine dose optimization in different patient groups.

Loh CCY, Suwanarusk R, Lee YQ, Chan KWK, Choy K-Y, Rénia L, Russell B, Lear MJ, Nosten FH, Tan KSW, Chow LMC. 2014. Characterization of the commercially-available fluorescent chloroquine-BODIPY conjugate, LynxTag-CQGREEN, as a marker for chloroquine resistance and uptake in a 96-well plate assay. PLoS One, 9 (10), pp. e110800. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine was a cheap, extremely effective drug against Plasmodium falciparum until resistance arose. One approach to reversing resistance is the inhibition of chloroquine efflux from its site of action, the parasite digestive vacuole. Chloroquine accumulation studies have traditionally relied on radiolabelled chloroquine, which poses several challenges. There is a need for development of a safe and biologically relevant substitute. We report here a commercially-available green fluorescent chloroquine-BODIPY conjugate, LynxTag-CQGREEN, as a proxy for chloroquine accumulation. This compound localized to the digestive vacuole of the parasite as observed under confocal microscopy, and inhibited growth of chloroquine-sensitive strain 3D7 more extensively than in the resistant strains 7G8 and K1. Microplate reader measurements indicated suppression of LynxTag-CQGREEN efflux after pretreatment of parasites with known reversal agents. Microsomes carrying either sensitive- or resistant-type PfCRT were assayed for uptake; resistant-type PfCRT exhibited increased accumulation of LynxTag-CQGREEN, which was suppressed by pretreatment with known chemosensitizers. Eight laboratory strains and twelve clinical isolates were sequenced for PfCRT and Pgh1 haplotypes previously reported to contribute to drug resistance, and pfmdr1 copy number and chloroquine IC50s were determined. These data were compared with LynxTag-CQGREEN uptake/fluorescence by multiple linear regression to identify genetic correlates of uptake. Uptake of the compound correlated with the logIC50 of chloroquine and, more weakly, a mutation in Pgh1, F1226Y.

Teerawattanasook N, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NPJ, Wuthiekanun V. 2014. Short report: Failure of Burkholderia pseudomallei to grow in an automated blood culture system. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (6), pp. 1173-1175. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We compared the organisms isolated from 30,210 pairs of blood culture bottles by using BacT/Alert system and the conventional system. Overall, 2,575 (8.5%) specimens were culture positive for pathogenic organisms. The sensitivity for detection of pathogenic organisms with the BACT/Alert system (85.6%, 2,203 of 2,575) was significantly higher than that with the conventional method (74.1%, 1,908 of 2,575; P < 0.0001). However, Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated less often with the BacT/ALERT system (73.5%, 328 of 446) than with the conventional system (90.3%, 403 of 446; P < 0.0001). This finding suggests that use of the conventional culture method in conjunction with the BacT/Alert system may improve the isolation rate for B. pseudomallei in melioidosis-endemic areas.

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Kanoksil M, Luangasanatip N, Jatapai A, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Cooper BS, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. Increasing incidence of hospital-acquired and healthcare-associated bacteremia in northeast Thailand: a multicenter surveillance study. PLoS One, 9 (10), pp. e109324. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the epidemiology of nosocomial bloodstream infections in public hospitals in developing countries. We evaluated trends in incidence of hospital-acquired bacteremia (HAB) and healthcare-associated bacteremia (HCAB) and associated mortality in a developing country using routinely available databases. METHODS: Information from the microbiology and hospital databases of 10 provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand was linked with the national death registry for 2004-2010. Bacteremia was considered hospital-acquired if detected after the first two days of hospital admission, and healthcare-associated if detected within two days of hospital admission with a prior inpatient episode in the preceding 30 days. RESULTS: A total of 3,424 patients out of 1,069,443 at risk developed HAB and 2,184 out of 119,286 at risk had HCAB. Of these 1,559 (45.5%) and 913 (41.8%) died within 30 days, respectively. Between 2004 and 2010, the incidence rate of HAB increased from 0.6 to 0.8 per 1,000 patient-days at risk (p<0.001), and the cumulative incidence of HCAB increased from 1.2 to 2.0 per 100 readmissions (p<0.001). The most common causes of HAB were Acinetobacter spp. (16.2%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (13.9%), and Staphylococcus aureus (13.9%), while those of HCAB were Escherichia coli (26.3%), S. aureus (14.0%), and K. pneumoniae (9.7%). There was an overall increase over time in the proportions of ESBL-producing E. coli causing HAB and HCAB. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates a high and increasing incidence of HAB and HCAB in provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand, increasing proportions of ESBL-producing isolates, and very high associated mortality.

Abraham C, Newton P. 2014. Fighting fake malaria meds NEW SCIENTIST, 224 (2990), pp. 31-31. | Read more

Haniffa R, De Silva AP, Iddagoda S, Batawalage H, De Silva STGR, Mahipala PG, Dondorp A, de Keizer N, Jayasinghe S. 2014. A cross-sectional survey of critical care services in Sri Lanka: a lower middle-income country. J Crit Care, 29 (5), pp. 764-768. | Citations: 19 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: To describe the extent and variation of critical care services in Sri Lanka as a first step towards the development of a nationwide critical care unit (CCU) registry. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in all state CCUs by telephone or by visits to determine administration, infrastructure, equipment, staffing, and overall patient outcomes. RESULTS: There were 99 CCUs with 2.5 CCU beds per 100000 population and 13 CCU beds per 1 000 hospital beds. The median number of beds per CCU was 5. The overall admissions were 194 per 100000 population per year. The overall bed turnover was 76.5 per unit per year, with CCU mortality being 17%. Most CCUs were headed by an anesthetist. There were a total of 790 doctors (1.6 per bed), 1,989 nurses (3.9 per bed), and 626 health care assistants (1.2 per bed). Majority (87.9%) had 1:1 nurse-to-patient ratio, although few (11.4%) nurses had received formal intensive care unit training. All CCUs had basic infrastructure (electricity, running water, piped oxygen) and basic equipment (such as electronic monitoring and infusion pumps). CONCLUSION: Sri Lanka, a lower middle-income country has an extensive network of critical care facilities but with inequalities in its distribution and facilities.

San Millan A, Peña-Miller R, Toll-Riera M, Halbert ZV, McLean AR, Cooper BS, MacLean RC. 2014. Positive selection and compensatory adaptation interact to stabilize non-transmissible plasmids. Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 5208. | Citations: 49 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmids are important drivers of bacterial evolution, but it is challenging to understand how plasmids persist over the long term because plasmid carriage is costly. Classical models predict that horizontal transfer is necessary for plasmid persistence, but recent work shows that almost half of plasmids are non-transmissible. Here we use a combination of mathematical modelling and experimental evolution to investigate how a costly, non-transmissible plasmid, pNUK73, can be maintained in populations of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Compensatory adaptation increases plasmid stability by eliminating the cost of plasmid carriage. However, positive selection for plasmid-encoded antibiotic resistance is required to maintain the plasmid by offsetting reductions in plasmid frequency due to segregational loss. Crucially, we show that compensatory adaptation and positive selection reinforce each other's effects. Our study provides a new understanding of how plasmids persist in bacterial populations, and it helps to explain why resistance can be maintained after antibiotic use is stopped.

Maude RJ, Ahmed BUMW, Rahman AHMW, Rahman R, Majumder MI, Menezes DB, Abu Sayeed A, Hughes L, MacGillivray TJ, Borooah S et al. 2014. Retinal changes in visceral leishmaniasis by retinal photography. BMC Infect Dis, 14 (1), pp. 527. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In visceral leishmaniasis (VL), retinal changes have previously been noted but not described in detail and their clinical and pathological significance are unknown. A prospective observational study was undertaken in Mymensingh, Bangladesh aiming to describe in detail visible changes in the retina in unselected patients with VL. METHODS: Patients underwent assessment of visual function, indirect and direct ophthalmoscopy and portable retinal photography. The photographs were assessed by masked observers including assessment for vessel tortuosity using a semi-automated system. RESULTS: 30 patients with VL were enrolled, of whom 6 (20%) had abnormalities. These included 5 with focal retinal whitening, 2 with cotton wool spots, 2 with haemorrhages, as well as increased vessel tortuosity. Visual function was preserved. CONCLUSIONS: These changes suggest a previously unrecognized retinal vasculopathy. An inflammatory aetiology is plausible such as a subclinical retinal vasculitis, possibly with altered local microvascular autoregulation, and warrants further investigation.

Maude RJ, Nguon C, Ly P, Bunkea T, Ngor P, Canavati de la Torre SE, White NJ, Dondorp AM, Day NPJ, White LJ, Chuor CM. 2014. Spatial and temporal epidemiology of clinical malaria in Cambodia 2004-2013. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 385. | Citations: 46 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has recently been identified on the Thailand-Cambodia border and more recently in parts of Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. There is concern that if this resistance were to spread, it would severely hamper malaria control and elimination efforts worldwide. Efforts are currently underway to intensify malaria control activities and ultimately eliminate malaria from Cambodia. To support these efforts, it is crucial to have a detailed picture of disease burden and its major determinants over time. METHODS: An analysis of spatial and temporal data on clinical malaria in Cambodia collected by the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) and the Department of Planning and Health Information, Ministry of Health Cambodia from 2004 to 2013 is presented. RESULTS: There has been a marked decrease of 81% in annual cases due to P. falciparum since 2009 coinciding with a rapid scale-up in village malaria workers (VMWs) and insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Concurrently, the number of cases with Plasmodium vivax has greatly increased. It is estimated that there were around 112,000 total cases in 2012, 2.8 times greater than the WHO estimate for that year, and 68,000 in 2013 (an annual parasite incidence (API) of 4.6/1000). With the scale-up of VMWs, numbers of patients presenting to government facilities did not fall and it appears likely that those who saw VMWs had previously accessed healthcare in the private sector. Malaria mortality has decreased, particularly in areas with VMWs. There has been a marked decrease in cases in parts of western Cambodia, especially in Pailin and Battambang Provinces. In the northeast, the fall in malaria burden has been more modest, this area having the highest API in 2013. CONCLUSION: The clinical burden of falciparum malaria in most areas of Cambodia has greatly decreased from 2009 to 2013, associated with roll-out of ITNs and VMWs. Numbers of cases with P. vivax have increased. Possible reasons for these trends are discussed and areas requiring further study are highlighted. Although malaria surveillance data are prone to collection bias and tend to underestimate disease burden, the finding of similar trends in two independent datasets in this study greatly increased the robustness of the findings.

Ranieri N, Tabernero P, Green MD, Verbois L, Herrington J, Sampson E, Satzger RD, Phonlavong C, Thao K, Newton PN, Witkowski MR. 2014. Evaluation of a new handheld instrument for the detection of counterfeit artesunate by visual fluorescence comparison. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (5), pp. 920-924. | Citations: 22 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

There is an urgent need for accurate and inexpensive handheld instruments for the evaluation of medicine quality in the field. A blinded evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of the Counterfeit Detection Device 3 (CD-3), developed by the US Food and Drug Administration Forensic Chemistry Center, was conducted in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Two hundred three samples of the oral antimalarial artesunate were compared with authentic products using the CD-3 by a trainer and two trainees. The specificity (95% confidence interval [95% CI]), sensitivity (95% CI), positive predictive value (95% CI), and negative predictive value (95% CI) of the CD-3 for detecting counterfeit (falsified) artesunate were 100% (93.8-100%), 98.4% (93.8-99.7%), 100% (96.2-100%), and 97.4% (90.2-99.6%), respectively. Interobserver agreement for 203 samples of artesunate was 100%. The CD-3 holds promise as a relatively inexpensive and easy to use instrument for field evaluation of medicines, potentially empowering drug inspectors, customs agents, and pharmacists.

Hanboonkunupakarn B, Ashley EA, Jittamala P, Tarning J, Pukrittayakamee S, Hanpithakpong W, Chotsiri P, Wattanakul T, Panapipat S, Lee SJ et al. 2014. Open-label crossover study of primaquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine pharmacokinetics in healthy adult thai subjects. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (12), pp. 7340-7346. | Citations: 20 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) recommended by the WHO for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and it is being used increasingly for resistant vivax malaria where combination with primaquine is required for radical cure. The WHO recently reinforced its recommendations to add a single dose of primaquine to ACTs to reduce P. falciparum transmission in low-transmission settings. The pharmacokinetics of primaquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were evaluated in 16 healthy Thai adult volunteers in a randomized crossover study. Volunteers were randomized to two groups of three sequential hospital admissions to receive 30 mg (base) primaquine, 3 tablets of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (120/960 mg), and the drugs together at the same doses. Blood sampling was performed over 3 days following primaquine and 36 days following dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine dosing. Pharmacokinetic assessment was done with a noncompartmental approach. The drugs were well tolerated. There were no statistically significant differences in dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine pharmacokinetics with or without primaquine. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine coadministration significantly increased plasma primaquine levels; geometric mean ratios (90% confidence interval [CI]) of primaquine combined versus primaquine alone for maximum concentration (Cmax), area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to the end of the study (AUC0-last), and area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to infinity (AUC0-∞) were 148% (117 to 187%), 129% (103 to 163%), and 128% (102 to 161%), respectively. This interaction is similar to that described recently with chloroquine and may result in an enhanced radical curative effect. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01525511.).

Veiga MI, Osório NS, Ferreira PE, Franzén O, Dahlstrom S, Lum JK, Nosten F, Gil JP. 2014. Complex polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance protein 2 gene and its contribution to antimalarial response. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (12), pp. 7390-7397. | Citations: 6 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum has the capacity to escape the actions of essentially all antimalarial drugs. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins are known to cause multidrug resistance in a large range of organisms, including the Apicomplexa parasites. P. falciparum genome analysis has revealed two genes coding for the multidrug resistance protein (MRP) type of ABC transporters: Pfmrp1, previously associated with decreased parasite drug susceptibility, and the poorly studied Pfmrp2. The role of Pfmrp2 polymorphisms in modulating sensitivity to antimalarial drugs has not been established. We herein report a comprehensive account of the Pfmrp2 genetic variability in 46 isolates from Thailand. A notably high frequency of 2.8 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)/kb was identified for this gene, including some novel SNPs. Additionally, we found that Pfmrp2 harbors a significant number of microindels, some previously not reported. We also investigated the potential association of the identified Pfmrp2 polymorphisms with altered in vitro susceptibility to several antimalarials used in artemisinin-based combination therapy and with parasite clearance time. Association analysis suggested Pfmrp2 polymorphisms modulate the parasite's in vitro response to quinoline antimalarials, including chloroquine, piperaquine, and mefloquine, and association with in vivo parasite clearance. In conclusion, our study reveals that the Pfmrp2 gene is the most diverse ABC transporter known in P. falciparum with a potential role in antimalarial drug resistance.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Langla S, Oyuchua M, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. Maintenance of leptospira species in leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun agar. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (12), pp. 4350-4352. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

The maintenance of Leptospira species in liquid or semisolid medium is time-consuming and at risk of contamination due to the needs of routine subculture and dark field microscopy. Using Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) agar, we maintained 100 pathogenic Leptospira isolates for 12 months without the need for subculture and confirmed the viability of all isolates by the naked eye.

Maude RJ, Nguon C, Dondorp AM, White LJ, White NJ. 2014. The diminishing returns of atovaquone-proguanil for elimination of Plasmodium falciparum malaria: modelling mass drug administration and treatment. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 380. | Citations: 17 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance is a major threat to current efforts to eliminate Plasmodium falciparum malaria which rely heavily on the continuing efficacy of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). It has been suggested that ACT should not be used in mass drug administration (MDA) in areas where artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum is prevalent, and that atovaquone-proguanil (A-P) might be a preferable alternative. However, a single point mutation in the cytochrome b gene confers high level resistance to atovaquone, and such mutant parasites arise frequently during treatment making A-P a vulnerable tool for elimination. METHODS: A deterministic, population level, mathematical model was developed based on data from Cambodia to explore the possible effects of large-scale use of A-P compared to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine ACT for mass drug administration and/or treatment of P. falciparum malaria, with and without adjunctive primaquine (PQ) and long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLIN). The aim was local elimination. RESULTS: The model showed the initial efficacy of ACT and A-P for MDA to be similar. However, each round of A-P MDA resulted in rapid acquisition and spread of atovaquone resistance. Even a single round of MDA could compromise efficacy sufficient to preclude its use for treatment or prophylaxis. A switch to A-P for treatment of symptomatic episodes resulted in a complete loss of efficacy in the population within four to five years of its introduction. The impact of MDA was temporary and a combination of maintained high coverage with ACT treatment for symptomatic individuals and LLIN was necessary for elimination. CONCLUSION: For malaria elimination, A-P for MDA or treatment of symptomatic cases should be avoided. A combined strategy of high coverage with ACT for treatment of symptomatic episodes, LLIN and ACT + P MDA would be preferable.

Price RN, von Seidlein L, Valecha N, Nosten F, Baird JK, White NJ. 2014. Global extent of chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium vivax: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (10), pp. 982-991. | Citations: 134 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine is the first-line treatment for Plasmodium vivax malaria in most endemic countries, but resistance is increasing. Monitoring of antimalarial efficacy is essential, but in P. vivax infections the assessment of treatment efficacy is confounded by relapse from the dormant liver stages. We systematically reviewed P. vivax malaria treatment efficacy studies to establish the global extent of chloroquine resistance. METHODS: We searched Medline, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews to identify studies published in English between Jan 1, 1960, and April 30, 2014, which investigated antimalarial treatment efficacy in P. vivax malaria. We excluded studies that did not include supervised schizonticidal treatment without primaquine. We determined rates of chloroquine resistance according to P. vivax malaria recurrence rates by day 28 whole-blood chloroquine concentrations at the time of recurrence and study enrolment criteria. FINDINGS: We identified 129 eligible clinical trials involving 21,694 patients at 179 study sites and 26 case reports describing 54 patients. Chloroquine resistance was present in 58 (53%) of 113 assessable study sites, spread across most countries that are endemic for P. vivax. Clearance of parasitaemia assessed by microscopy in 95% of patients by day 2, or all patients by day 3, was 100% predictive of chloroquine sensitivity. INTERPRETATION: Heterogeneity of study design and analysis has confounded global surveillance of chloroquine-resistant P. vivax, which is now present across most countries endemic for P. vivax. Improved methods for monitoring of drug resistance are needed to inform antimalarial policy in these regions. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust (UK).

West TE, Myers ND, Chantratita N, Chierakul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Miao EA, Hajjar AM, Peacock SJ, Liggitt HD, Skerrett SJ. 2014. NLRC4 and TLR5 each contribute to host defense in respiratory melioidosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (9), pp. e3178. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei causes the tropical infection melioidosis. Pneumonia is a common manifestation of melioidosis and is associated with high mortality. Understanding the key elements of host defense is essential to developing new therapeutics for melioidosis. As a flagellated bacterium encoding type III secretion systems, B. pseudomallei may trigger numerous host pathogen recognition receptors. TLR5 is a flagellin sensor located on the plasma membrane. NLRC4, along with NAIP proteins, assembles a canonical caspase-1-dependent inflammasome in the cytoplasm that responds to flagellin (in mice) and type III secretion system components (in mice and humans). In a murine model of respiratory melioidosis, Tlr5 and Nlrc4 each contributed to survival. Mice deficient in both Tlr5 and Nlrc4 were not more susceptible than single knockout animals. Deficiency of Casp1/Casp11 resulted in impaired bacterial control in the lung and spleen; in the lung much of this effect was attributable to Nlrc4, despite relative preservation of pulmonary IL-1β production in Nlrc4(-/-) mice. Histologically, deficiency of Casp1/Casp11 imparted more severe pulmonary inflammation than deficiency of Nlrc4. The human NLRC4 region polymorphism rs6757121 was associated with survival in melioidosis patients with pulmonary involvement. Co-inheritance of rs6757121 and a functional TLR5 polymorphism had an additive effect on survival. Our results show that NLRC4 and TLR5, key components of two flagellin sensing pathways, each contribute to host defense in respiratory melioidosis.

Newton PN, Tabernero P, Dwivedi P, Culzoni MJ, Monge ME, Swamidoss I, Mildenhall D, Green MD, Jähnke R, de Oliveira MDS et al. 2014. Falsified medicines in Africa: all talk, no action. Lancet Glob Health, 2 (9), pp. e509-e510. | Citations: 23 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Tarning J, Thana P, Phyo AP, Lwin KM, Hanpithakpong W, Ashley EA, Day NPJ, Nosten F, White NJ. 2014. Population Pharmacokinetics and Antimalarial Pharmacodynamics of Piperaquine in Patients With Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Thailand. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 3 (8), pp. e132. | Citations: 10 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an effective drug in the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of piperaquine in patients with P. vivax malaria in Thailand after a standard regimen of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine to determine whether residual piperaquine prevents or delays the emergence of P. vivax relapse. Sparse blood samples were collected from 116 patients. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics were described well by a three-compartment distribution model. Relapsing P. vivax malaria was accommodated by a constant baseline hazard (8.94 relapses/year) with the addition of a surge function in a fixed 3-week interval and a protective piperaquine effect. The results suggest that a large proportion of the first relapses were suppressed completely by residual piperaquine concentrations and that recurrences resulted mainly from emergence of the second or third relapse or from reinfection. This suggests a significant reduction in P. vivax morbidity when using dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine compared with other antimalarial drugs with shorter terminal postprophylactic effects.

Wolkewitz M, Cooper BS, Bonten MJM, Barnett AG, Schumacher M. 2014. Interpreting and comparing risks in the presence of competing events. BMJ, 349 (aug21 5), pp. g5060. | Citations: 64 (Scopus) | Read more

Grigg MJ, William T, Dhanaraj P, Menon J, Barber BE, von Seidlein L, Rajahram G, Price RN, Anstey NM, Yeo TW. 2014. A study protocol for a randomised open-label clinical trial of artesunate-mefloquine versus chloroquine in patients with non-severe Plasmodium knowlesi malaria in Sabah, Malaysia (ACT KNOW trial). BMJ Open, 4 (8), pp. e006005. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Malaria due to Plasmodium knowlesi is reported throughout South-East Asia, and is the commonest cause of it in Malaysia. P. knowlesi replicates every 24 h and can cause severe disease and death. Current 2010 WHO Malaria Treatment Guidelines have no recommendations for the optimal treatment of non-severe knowlesi malaria. Artemisinin-combination therapies (ACT) and chloroquine have each been successfully used to treat knowlesi malaria; however, the rapidity of parasite clearance has not been prospectively compared. Malaysia's national policy for malaria pre-elimination involves mandatory hospital admission for confirmed malaria cases with discharge only after two negative blood films; use of a more rapidly acting antimalarial agent would have health cost benefits. P. knowlesi is commonly microscopically misreported as P. malariae, P. falciparum or P. vivax, with a high proportion of the latter two species being chloroquine-resistant in Malaysia. A unified ACT-treatment protocol would provide effective blood stage malaria treatment for all Plasmodium species. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: ACT KNOW, the first randomised controlled trial ever performed in knowlesi malaria, is a two-arm open-label trial with enrolments over a 2-year period at three district sites in Sabah, powered to show a difference in proportion of patients negative for malaria by microscopy at 24 h between treatment arms (clinicaltrials.gov #NCT01708876). Enrolments started in December 2012, with completion expected by September 2014. A total sample size of 228 is required to give 90% power (α 0.05) to determine the primary end point using intention-to-treat analysis. Secondary end points include parasite clearance time, rates of recurrent infection/treatment failure to day 42, gametocyte carriage throughout follow-up and rates of anaemia at day 28, as determined by survival analysis. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in Malaysia and Australia. Results will be disseminated to inform knowlesi malaria treatment policy in this region through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT01708876.

Nath P, Basher A, Harada M, Sarkar S, Selim S, Maude RJ, Noiri E, Faiz A. 2014. Immediate hypersensitivity reaction following liposomal amphotericin-B (AmBisome) infusion. Trop Doct, 44 (4), pp. 241-242. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Liposomal amphotericin-B (AmBisome) is now becoming first choice for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) patients due to high efficacy and less toxicity. The reported incidence of hypersensitivity reactions to liposomal amphotericin-B (AmBisome), especially during therapy, is very rare. We report two patients with kala-azar: one developed breathing difficulties and hypotension followed by shock and the other had facial angioedema with chest tightness during treatment. Both patients were managed with immediate action of injection: adrenaline, diphenhydramine and hydrocortisone. In our experience, AmBisome can cause severe hypersensitivity reactions that warrant proper support and close supervision.

Zongo I, Somé FA, Somda SAM, Parikh S, Rouamba N, Rosenthal PJ, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Nosten F, Ouédraogo JB. 2014. Efficacy and day 7 plasma piperaquine concentrations in African children treated for uncomplicated malaria with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. PLoS One, 9 (8), pp. e103200. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: One promising new Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) is dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQ). However, the pharmacokinetics of piperaquine and the relationship between drug levels and clinical efficacy are incompletely characterized, particularly in children. METHODS: We performed a single-arm open-label trial in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. A total of 379 participants aged 6 months or more with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were enrolled. Each participant received daily dose of DHA-PQ for three days and followed for 42 days. Parasitological efficacy was analyzed, considering rates of recrudescence and overall recurrence. PK was an exploratory endpoint and a priori, no sample size had been determined. Day 7 capillary and venous plasma concentrations of piperaquine were measured in children aged 2-10 years. RESULTS: Of the 379 participants, 365 (96.3%) completed 42 days of follow-up. The median daily dose of PQ was 18.5 mg/kg [6.5-24]. Treatment with DHA-PQ was well tolerated with fever and parasitemia resolution within 48 hours in nearly all children. Recurrent malaria within 42 days of follow-up occurred in 31.3% (10/34) of children less than 2 years old, 16.0% (16/106) of those aged 2-5 years, 9.4% (15/160) of those aged 5-10 years, and none (0/68) of those over 10 years old. After genotyping, 3 of 41 recurrent episodes were recrudescence. An exploratory analysis shows that children with successful treatment outcomes had significantly higher median plasma concentrations of PQ compared to those with recurrent malaria within 42 days after therapy, considering either capillary samples (68 ng/ml [50-85] compared to 48 ng/ml [36-55], p<0.001) or venous samples (42 ng/ml [29-59] compared to 25 ng/ml [19-44], p<0.001). CONCLUSION: DHA-PQ was effective for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria treatment and offers an alternative to other ACTs. Recurrent malaria was mainly due to new infections after treatment and was correlated with low day 7 PQ concentration in the youngest patients. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN59761234.

Maude RR, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Amin MR, Islam MB, Ali M, Bari MS, Majumder MI, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Dondorp AM et al. 2014. Serosurveillance of Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia typhi in Bangladesh. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (3), pp. 580-583. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub and murine typhus infections are under-diagnosed causes of febrile illness across the tropics, and it is not known how common they are in Bangladesh. We conducted a prospective seroepidemiologic survey across six major teaching hospitals in Bangladesh by using an IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results indicated recent exposure (287 of 1,209, 23.7% seropositive for Orientia tsutsugamushi and 805 of 1,209, 66.6% seropositive for Rickettsia typhi). Seropositive rates were different in each region. However, there was no geographic clustering of seropositive results for both organisms. There was no difference between those from rural or urban areas. Rickettsia typhi seroreactivity was positively correlated with age. Scrub typhus and murine typhus should be considered as possible causes of infection in Bangladesh.

Silal SP, Little F, Barnes KI, White LJ. 2014. Towards malaria elimination in Mpumalanga, South Africa: a population-level mathematical modelling approach. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 297. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Mpumalanga in South Africa is committed to eliminating malaria by 2018 and efforts are increasing beyond that necessary for malaria control. Differential Equation models may be used to study the incidence and spread of disease with an important benefit being the ability to enact exogenous change on the system to predict impact without committing any real resources. The model is a deterministic non-linear ordinary differential equation representation of the dynamics of the human population. The model is fitted to weekly data of treated cases from 2002 to 2008, and then validated with data from 2009 to 2012. Elimination-focused interventions such as the scale-up of vector control, mass drug administration, a focused mass screen and treat campaign and foreign source reduction are applied to the model to assess their potential impact on transmission. RESULTS: Scaling up vector control by 10% and 20% resulted in substantial predicted decreases in local infections with little impact on imported infections. Mass drug administration is a high impact but short-lived intervention with predicted decreases in local infections of less that one infection per year. However, transmission reverted to pre-intervention levels within three years. Focused mass screen and treat campaigns at border-entry points are predicted to result in a knock-on decrease in local infections through a reduction in the infectious reservoir. This knock-on decrease in local infections was also predicted to be achieved through foreign source reduction. Elimination was only predicted to be possible under the scenario of zero imported infections in Mpumalanga. CONCLUSIONS: A constant influx of imported infections show that vector control alone will not be able to eliminate local malaria as it is insufficient to interrupt transmission. Both mass interventions have a large and immediate impact. Yet in countries with a large migrant population, these interventions may fail due to the reintroduction of parasites and their impact may be short-lived. While all strategies (in isolation or combined) contributed to decreasing local infections, none was predicted to decrease local infections to zero. The number of imported infections highlights the importance of reducing imported infections at source, and a regional approach to malaria elimination.

Seale AC, Blencowe H, Manu AA, Nair H, Bahl R, Qazi SA, Zaidi AK, Berkley JA, Cousens SN, Lawn JE, pSBI Investigator Group. 2014. Estimates of possible severe bacterial infection in neonates in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America for 2012: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (8), pp. 731-741. | Citations: 74 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bacterial infections are a leading cause of the 2·9 million annual neonatal deaths. Treatment is usually based on clinical diagnosis of possible severe bacterial infection (pSBI). To guide programme planning, we have undertaken the first estimates of neonatal pSBI, by sex and by region, for sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. METHODS: We included data for pSBI incidence in neonates of 32 weeks' gestation or more (or birthweight ≥1500 g) with livebirth denominator data, undertaking a systematic review and forming an investigator group to obtain unpublished data. We calculated pooled risk estimates for neonatal pSBI and case fatality risk, by sex and by region. We then applied these risk estimates to estimates of livebirths in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America to estimate cases and associated deaths in 2012. FINDINGS: We included data from 22 studies, for 259 944 neonates and 20 196 pSBI cases, with most of the data (18 of the 22 studies) coming from the investigator group. The pooled estimate of pSBI incidence risk was 7·6% (95% CI 6·1-9·2%) and the case-fatality risk associated with pSBI was 9·8% (7·4-12·2). We estimated that in 2012 there were 6·9 million cases (uncertainty range 5·5 million-8·3 million) of pSBI in neonates needing treatment: 3·5 million (2·8 million-4·2 million) in south Asia, 2·6 million (2·1 million-3·1 million) in sub-Saharan Africa, and 0·8 million (0·7 million-1·0 million) in Latin America. The risk of pSBI was greater in boys (risk ratio 1·12, 95% CI 1·06-1·18) than girls. We estimated that there were 0·68 million (0·46 million-0·92 million) neonatal deaths associated with pSBI in 2012. INTERPRETATION: The need-to-treat population for pSBI in these three regions is high, with ten cases of pSBI diagnosed for each associated neonatal death. Deaths and disability can be reduced through improved prevention, detection, and case management. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through grants to Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) and Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives programme.

Dondorp AM, Haniffa R. 2014. Critical care and severe sepsis in resource poor settings. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 108 (8), pp. 453-454. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Read more

Dittrich S, Phommasone K, Anantatat T, Panyanivong P, Slesak G, Blacksell SD, Dubot-Pérès A, Castonguay-Vanier J, Stenos J, Newton PN, Paris DH. 2014. Rickettsia felis Infections and comorbid conditions, Laos, 2003-2011. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (8), pp. 1402-1404. | Citations: 9 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Chewapreecha C, Marttinen P, Croucher NJ, Salter SJ, Harris SR, Mather AE, Hanage WP, Goldblatt D, Nosten FH, Turner C et al. 2014. Comprehensive identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with beta-lactam resistance within pneumococcal mosaic genes. PLoS Genet, 10 (8), pp. e1004547. | Citations: 68 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Traditional genetic association studies are very difficult in bacteria, as the generally limited recombination leads to large linked haplotype blocks, confounding the identification of causative variants. Beta-lactam antibiotic resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae arises readily as the bacteria can quickly incorporate DNA fragments encompassing variants that make the transformed strains resistant. However, the causative mutations themselves are embedded within larger recombined blocks, and previous studies have only analysed a limited number of isolates, leading to the description of "mosaic genes" as being responsible for resistance. By comparing a large number of genomes of beta-lactam susceptible and non-susceptible strains, the high frequency of recombination should break up these haplotype blocks and allow the use of genetic association approaches to identify individual causative variants. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and indels that could confer beta-lactam non-susceptibility using 3,085 Thai and 616 USA pneumococcal isolates as independent datasets for the variant discovery. The large sample sizes allowed us to narrow the source of beta-lactam non-susceptibility from long recombinant fragments down to much smaller loci comprised of discrete or linked SNPs. While some loci appear to be universal resistance determinants, contributing equally to non-susceptibility for at least two classes of beta-lactam antibiotics, some play a larger role in resistance to particular antibiotics. All of the identified loci have a highly non-uniform distribution in the populations. They are enriched not only in vaccine-targeted, but also non-vaccine-targeted lineages, which may raise clinical concerns. Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms underlying resistance will be essential for future use of genome sequencing to predict antibiotic sensitivity in clinical microbiology.

Lubell Y, White L, Varadan S, Drake T, Yeung S, Cheah PY, Maude RJ, Dondorp A, Day NPJ, White NJ, Parker M. 2014. Ethics, economics, and the use of primaquine to reduce falciparum malaria transmission in asymptomatic populations. PLoS Med, 11 (8), pp. e1001704. | Citations: 5 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Yoel Lubell and colleagues consider ethical and economic perspectives on mass drug administration of primaquine to limit transmission of P. falciparum malaria. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Ashley EA, Dhorda M, Fairhurst RM, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S, Anderson JM, Mao S, Sam B et al. 2014. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 411-423. | Citations: 780 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in Southeast Asia and now poses a threat to the control and elimination of malaria. Mapping the geographic extent of resistance is essential for planning containment and elimination strategies. METHODS: Between May 2011 and April 2013, we enrolled 1241 adults and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an open-label trial at 15 sites in 10 countries (7 in Asia and 3 in Africa). Patients received artesunate, administered orally at a daily dose of either 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or 4 mg per kilogram, for 3 days, followed by a standard 3-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Parasite counts in peripheral-blood samples were measured every 6 hours, and the parasite clearance half-lives were determined. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance half-lives ranged from 1.9 hours in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 7.0 hours at the Thailand-Cambodia border. Slowly clearing infections (parasite clearance half-life >5 hours), strongly associated with single point mutations in the "propeller" region of the P. falciparum kelch protein gene on chromosome 13 (kelch13), were detected throughout mainland Southeast Asia from southern Vietnam to central Myanmar. The incidence of pretreatment and post-treatment gametocytemia was higher among patients with slow parasite clearance, suggesting greater potential for transmission. In western Cambodia, where artemisinin-based combination therapies are failing, the 6-day course of antimalarial therapy was associated with a cure rate of 97.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9 to 99.4) at 42 days. CONCLUSIONS: Artemisinin resistance to P. falciparum, which is now prevalent across mainland Southeast Asia, is associated with mutations in kelch13. Prolonged courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies are currently efficacious in areas where standard 3-day treatments are failing. (Funded by the U.K. Department of International Development and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01350856.).

White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Phyo AP, Rueangweerayut R, Nosten F, Jittamala P, Jeeyapant A, Jain JP, Lefèvre G, Li R et al. 2014. Spiroindolone KAE609 for falciparum and vivax malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 403-410. | Citations: 106 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: KAE609 (cipargamin; formerly NITD609, Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases) is a new synthetic antimalarial spiroindolone analogue with potent, dose-dependent antimalarial activity against asexual and sexual stages of Plasmodium falciparum. METHODS: We conducted a phase 2, open-label study at three centers in Thailand to assess the antimalarial efficacy, safety, and adverse-event profile of KAE609, at a dose of 30 mg per day for 3 days, in two sequential cohorts of adults with uncomplicated P. vivax malaria (10 patients) or P. falciparum malaria (11). The primary end point was the parasite clearance time. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance time was 12 hours in each cohort (interquartile range, 8 to 16 hours in patients with P. vivax malaria and 10 to 16 hours in those with P. falciparum malaria). The median half-lives for parasite clearance were 0.95 hours (range, 0.68 to 2.01; interquartile range, 0.85 to 1.14) in the patients with P. vivax malaria and 0.90 hours (range, 0.68 to 1.64; interquartile range, 0.78 to 1.07) in those with P. falciparum malaria. By comparison, only 19 of 5076 patients with P. falciparum malaria (<1%) who were treated with oral artesunate in Southeast Asia had a parasite clearance half-life of less than 1 hour. Adverse events were reported in 14 patients (67%), with nausea being the most common. The adverse events were generally mild and did not lead to any discontinuations of the drug. The mean terminal half-life for the elimination of KAE609 was 20.8 hours (range, 11.3 to 37.6), supporting a once-daily oral dosing regimen. CONCLUSIONS: KAE609, at dose of 30 mg daily for 3 days, cleared parasitemia rapidly in adults with uncomplicated P. vivax or P. falciparum malaria. (Funded by Novartis and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01524341.).

Simpson JA, Zaloumis S, DeLivera AM, Price RN, McCaw JM. 2014. Making the most of clinical data: reviewing the role of pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models of anti-malarial drugs. AAPS J, 16 (5), pp. 962-974. | Citations: 11 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mechanistic within-host models integrating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile provide a valuable decision tool for determining dosing regimens for anti-malarial treatments, as well as a formative component of population-level drug resistance models. We reviewed published anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models to identify the challenges for these complex models where parameter estimation from clinical field data is limited. The inclusion of key pharmacodynamic processes in the mechanistic structure adopted varies considerably. These include the life cycle of the parasite within the red blood cell, the action of the anti-malarial on a specific stage of the life cycle, and the reduction in parasite growth associated with immunity. With regard to estimation of the pharmacodynamic parameters, the majority of studies simply compared descriptive summaries of the simulated outputs to published observations of host and parasite responses from clinical studies. Few studies formally estimated the pharmacodynamic parameters within a rigorous statistical framework using observed individual patient data. We recommend three steps in the development and evaluation of these models. Firstly, exploration through simulation to assess how the different parameters influence the parasite dynamics. Secondly, application of a simulation-estimation approach to determine whether the model parameters can be estimated with reasonable precision based on sampling designs that mimic clinical efficacy studies. Thirdly, fitting the mechanistic model to the clinical data within a Bayesian framework. We propose that authors present the model both schematically and in equation form and give a detailed description of each parameter, including a biological interpretation of the parameter estimates.

Edwards LJ, Price RN, Krause VL, Huffam SE, Globan M, Fyfe J, Hajkowicz KM. 2014. Detection of Mycobacterium leprae by PCR testing of sputa from a patient with pulmonary cryptococcus coinfection in northern Australia. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (10), pp. 3811-3812. | Show Abstract | Read more

A case of fever, sepsis, and chest lesions evident on a computed tomography scan of an indigenous man in northern Australia following burns to the feet is described. Sputum PCR testing revealed Mycobacterium leprae, and a fine-needle aspirate of the chest lesions demonstrated Cryptococcus coinfection.

Venkatesan M, Gadalla NB, Stepniewska K, Dahal P, Nsanzabana C, Moriera C, Price RN, Mårtensson A, Rosenthal PJ, Dorsey G et al. 2014. Polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter and multidrug resistance 1 genes: parasite risk factors that affect treatment outcomes for P. falciparum malaria after artemether-lumefantrine and artesunate-amodiaquine. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (4), pp. 833-843. | Citations: 68 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Adequate clinical and parasitologic cure by artemisinin combination therapies relies on the artemisinin component and the partner drug. Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) genes are associated with decreased sensitivity to amodiaquine and lumefantrine, but effects of these polymorphisms on therapeutic responses to artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) have not been clearly defined. Individual patient data from 31 clinical trials were harmonized and pooled by using standardized methods from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. Data for more than 7,000 patients were analyzed to assess relationships between parasite polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1 and clinically relevant outcomes after treatment with AL or ASAQ. Presence of the pfmdr1 gene N86 (adjusted hazards ratio = 4.74, 95% confidence interval = 2.29 - 9.78, P < 0.001) and increased pfmdr1 copy number (adjusted hazards ratio = 6.52, 95% confidence interval = 2.36-17.97, P < 0.001 : were significant independent risk factors for recrudescence in patients treated with AL. AL and ASAQ exerted opposing selective effects on single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1. Monitoring selection and responding to emerging signs of drug resistance are critical tools for preserving efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies; determination of the prevalence of at least pfcrt K76T and pfmdr1 N86Y should now be routine.

Dance DAB, Davong V, Soeng S, Phetsouvanh R, Newton PN, Turner P. 2014. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 44 (4), pp. 368-369. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Read more

Mayxay M, Khanthavong M, Cox L, Sichanthongthip O, Imwong M, Pongvongsa T, Hongvanthong B, Phompida S, Vanisaveth V, White NJ, Newton PN. 2014. Thiamin supplementation does not reduce the frequency of adverse events after anti-malarial therapy among patients with falciparum malaria in southern Laos. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 275. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In a recent study one third of Lao patients presenting with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria had biochemical evidence of thiamin deficiency, which was associated with a higher incidence of adverse events. Thiamin supplementation might, therefore, reduce adverse events in this population. METHODS: An exploratory, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled, superiority trial of thiamin supplementation in patients of all ages with uncomplicated and severe falciparum malaria was conducted in Xepon District, Savannakhet Province, southern Laos. Patients were randomly assigned to either oral thiamin 10 mg/day for 7 days immediately after standard anti-malarial treatment then 5 mg daily until day 42, or identical oral placebo. RESULTS: After interim analyses when 630 patients (314 in thiamin and 316 in placebo groups) had been recruited, the trial was discontinued on the grounds of futility. On admission biochemical thiamin deficiency (alpha ≥ 25%) was present in 27% of patients and 9% had severe deficiency (alpha > 31%). After 42 days of treatment, the frequency of thiamin deficiency was lower in the thiamin (2%, 1% severe) compared to the placebo (11%, 3% severe) groups (p < 0.001 and p = 0.05), respectively. Except for diarrhoea, 7% in the placebo compared to 3% in the thiamin group (p = 0.04), and dizziness on day 1 (33% vs 25%, p = 0.045), all adverse events were not significantly different between the groups (p > 0.05). Clinical, haematological, and parasitological responses to treatment did not differ significantly between the two groups. CONCLUSION: Thiamin supplementation reduced biochemical thiamin deficiency among Lao malaria patients following anti-malarial drug treatment, but it did not reduce the frequency of adverse events after anti-malarial therapy or have any detected clinical or parasitological impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN 85411059.

Kloprogge F, Simpson JA, Day NPJ, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Statistical power calculations for mixed pharmacokinetic study designs using a population approach. AAPS J, 16 (5), pp. 1110-1118. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Simultaneous modelling of dense and sparse pharmacokinetic data is possible with a population approach. To determine the number of individuals required to detect the effect of a covariate, simulation-based power calculation methodologies can be employed. The Monte Carlo Mapped Power method (a simulation-based power calculation methodology using the likelihood ratio test) was extended in the current study to perform sample size calculations for mixed pharmacokinetic studies (i.e. both sparse and dense data collection). A workflow guiding an easy and straightforward pharmacokinetic study design, considering also the cost-effectiveness of alternative study designs, was used in this analysis. Initially, data were simulated for a hypothetical drug and then for the anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin. Two datasets (sampling design A: dense; sampling design B: sparse) were simulated using a pharmacokinetic model that included a binary covariate effect and subsequently re-estimated using (1) the same model and (2) a model not including the covariate effect in NONMEM 7.2. Power calculations were performed for varying numbers of patients with sampling designs A and B. Study designs with statistical power >80% were selected and further evaluated for cost-effectiveness. The simulation studies of the hypothetical drug and the anti-malarial drug dihydroartemisinin demonstrated that the simulation-based power calculation methodology, based on the Monte Carlo Mapped Power method, can be utilised to evaluate and determine the sample size of mixed (part sparsely and part densely sampled) study designs. The developed method can contribute to the design of robust and efficient pharmacokinetic studies.

Liu Y, Auburn S, Cao J, Trimarsanto H, Zhou H, Gray K-A, Clark TG, Price RN, Cheng Q, Huang R, Gao Q. 2014. Genetic diversity and population structure of Plasmodium vivax in Central China. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 262. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Central China the declining incidence of Plasmodium vivax has been interrupted by epidemic expansions and imported cases. The impact of these changes on the local parasite population, and concurrent risks of future resurgence, was assessed. METHODS: Plasmodium vivax isolates collected from Anhui and Jiangsu provinces, Central China between 2007 and 2010 were genotyped using capillary electrophoresis at seven polymorphic short tandem repeat markers. Spatial and temporal analyses of within-host and population diversity, population structure, and relatedness were conducted on these isolates. RESULTS: Polyclonal infections were infrequent in the 94 isolates from Anhui (4%) and 25 from Jiangsu (12%), with a trend for increasing frequency from 2008 to 2010 (2 to 19%) when combined. Population diversity was high in both provinces and across the years tested (H(E) = 0.8 - 0.85). Differentiation between Anhui and Jiangsu was modest (F'(ST) = 0.1). Several clusters of isolates with identical multi-locus haplotypes were observed across both Anhui and Jiangsu. Linkage disequilibrium was strong in both populations and in each year tested (I(A)(S) = 0.2 - 0.4), but declined two- to four-fold when identical haplotypes were accounted for, indicative of occasional epidemic transmission dynamics. None of five imported isolates shared identical haplotypes to any of the central Chinese isolates. CONCLUSIONS: The population genetic structure of P. vivax in Central China highlights unstable transmission, with limited barriers to gene flow between the central provinces. Despite low endemicity, population diversity remained high, but the reservoirs sustaining this diversity remain unclear. The challenge of imported cases and risks of resurgence emphasize the need for continued surveillance to detect early warning signals. Although parasite genotyping has potential to inform the management of outbreaks, further studies are required to identify suitable marker panels for resolving local from imported P. vivax isolates.

Onyamboko MA, Fanello CI, Wongsaen K, Tarning J, Cheah PY, Tshefu KA, Dondorp AM, Nosten F, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2014. Randomized comparison of the efficacies and tolerabilities of three artemisinin-based combination treatments for children with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (9), pp. 5528-5536. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

An open-label, randomized controlled trial was carried out in 2011-2012 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to test the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the artemisinin-based combination treatments dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, amodiaquine-artesunate, and artemether-lumefantrine. Six hundred eighty-four children aged 3 to 59 months with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were randomly allocated to each study arm. Children were hospitalized for 3 days, given supervised treatment, and followed up weekly for 42 days. All regimens were well tolerated and rapidly effective. The median parasitemia clearance half-life was 2.2 h, and half-lives were similar between arms (P=0.19). The PCR-uncorrected cure rates by day 42 were 73.0% for amodiaquine-artesunate, 70.2% for artemether-lumefantrine, and 86.3% for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (P=0.001). Early treatment failure occurred in three patients (0.5%), one in each arm. The PCR-corrected cure rates were 93.4% for amodiaquine-artesunate, 92.7% for artemether-lumefantrine, and 94.3% for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (P=0.78). The last provided a longer posttreatment prophylactic effect than did the other two treatments. The day 7 plasma concentration of piperaquine was below 30 ng/ml in 47% of the children treated with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and the day 7 lumefantrine concentration was below 280 ng/ml in 37.0% of children who received artemether-lumefantrine. Thus, although cure rates were all satisfactory, they could be improved by increasing the dose. (This study has been registered with the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register [www.isrctn.org] under registration no. ISRCTN20984426.).

Imwong M, Hanchana S, Malleret B, Rénia L, Day NPJ, Dondorp A, Nosten F, Snounou G, White NJ. 2014. High-throughput ultrasensitive molecular techniques for quantifying low-density malaria parasitemias. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (9), pp. 3303-3309. | Citations: 72 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The epidemiology of malaria in "low-transmission" areas has been underestimated. Molecular detection methods have revealed higher prevalences of malaria than conventional microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests, but these typically evaluate finger-prick capillary blood samples (∼5 μl) and therefore cannot detect parasite densities of <200/ml. Their use underestimates true parasite carriage rates. To characterize the epidemiology of malaria in low-transmission settings and plan elimination strategies, more sensitive quantitative PCR (qPCR) is needed to identify and quantify low-density malaria parasitemias. A highly sensitive "high-volume" quantitative PCR (qPCR) method based on Plasmodium sp. 18S RNA was adapted for blood sample volumes of ≥250 μl and scaled for high throughput. The methods were validated by assessment of the analytical sensitivity and specificity, diagnostic sensitivity, and specificity, efficiency, precision, analytical and diagnostic accuracies, limit of detection, root cause analysis of false positives, and robustness. The high-volume qPCR method based on Plasmodium sp. 18S RNA gave high PCR efficiency of 90 to 105%. Concentrations of parasite DNA from large volumes of blood gave a consistent analytical detection limit (LOD) of 22 parasites/ml (95% CI, 21.79 to 74.9), which is some 2,500 times more sensitive than conventional microscopy and 50 times more sensitive than currently used PCR methods from filter paper blood spots. The diagnostic specificity was 99.75%. Using automated procedures it was possible to process 700 blood samples per week. A very sensitive and specific high-throughput high-volume qPCR method for the detection of low-density parasitemias (>20 parasites/ml) was developed and validated.

Schweizer HP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2014. New insights from the 7th World Melioidosis Congress 2013. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (7), | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Read more

Rijken MJ, De Livera AM, Lee SJ, Boel ME, Rungwilailaekhiri S, Wiladphaingern J, Paw MK, Pimanpanarak M, Pukrittayakamee S, Simpson JA et al. 2014. Quantifying low birth weight, preterm birth and small-for-gestational-age effects of malaria in pregnancy: a population cohort study. PLoS One, 9 (7), pp. e100247. | Citations: 13 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The association between malaria during pregnancy and low birth weight (LBW) is well described. This manuscript aims to quantify the relative contribution of malaria to small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants and preterm birth (PTB) in pregnancies accurately dated by ultrasound on the Thai-Myanmar border at the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit. METHODS AND FINDINGS: From 2001 to 2010 in a population cohort of prospectively followed pregnancies, we analyzed all singleton newborns who were live born, normal, weighed in the first hour of life and with a gestational age (GA) between 28+0 and 41+6 weeks. Fractional polynomial regression was used to determine the mean birthweight and standard deviation as functions of GA. Risk differences and factors of LBW and SGA were studied across the range of GA for malaria and non-malaria pregnancies. From 10,264 newborns records, population centiles were created. Women were screened for malaria by microscopy a median of 22 [range 1-38] times and it was detected and treated in 12.6% (1,292) of pregnancies. Malaria was associated with LBW, PTB, and SGA compared to those without malaria. Nearly two-thirds of PTB were classified as LBW (68% (539/789)), most of which 83% (447/539) were not SGA. After GA 39 weeks, 5% (298/5,966) of non-LBW births were identified as SGA. Low body mass index, primigravida, hypertension, smoking and female sex of the newborn were also significantly and independently associated with LBW and SGA consistent with previous publications. CONCLUSIONS: Treated malaria in pregnancy was associated with an increased risk for LBW, PTB, and SGA, of which the latter are most important for infant survival. Using LBW as an endpoint without adjusting for GA incorrectly estimated the effects of malaria in pregnancy. Ultrasound should be used for dating pregnancies and birth weights should be expressed as a function (or adjusted for GA) of GA in future malaria in pregnancy studies.

Saunderson RB, Gouliouris T, Cartwright EJ, Nickerson EJ, Aliyu SH, O'Donnell DR, Kelsall W, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Török ME. 2014. Impact of infectious diseases consultation on the management of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in children. BMJ Open, 4 (7), pp. e004659. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Infectious diseases consultation (IDC) in adults with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) has been shown to improve management and outcome. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of IDC on the management of SAB in children. STUDY DESIGN: Observational cohort study of children with SAB. SETTING: Cambridge University Hospitals National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust, a large acute NHS Trust in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: All children with SAB admitted to the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between 16 July 2006 and 31 December 2012. METHODS: Children with SAB between 2006 and 31 October 2009 were managed by routine clinical care (pre-IDC group) and data were collected retrospectively by case notes review. An IDC service for SAB was introduced in November 2009. All children with SAB were reviewed regularly and data were collected prospectively (IDC group) until 31 December 2012. Baseline characteristics, quality metrics and outcome were compared between the pre-IDC group and IDC group. RESULTS: There were 66 episodes of SAB in 63 children-28 patients (30 episodes) in the pre-IDC group, and 35 patients (36 episodes) in the IDC group. The median age was 3.4 years (IQR 0.2-10.7 years). Patients in the IDC group were more likely to have echocardiography performed, a removable focus of infection identified and to receive a longer course of intravenous antimicrobial therapy. There were no differences in total duration of antibiotic therapy, duration of hospital admission or outcome at 30 or 90 days following onset of SAB. CONCLUSIONS: IDC resulted in improvements in the investigation and management of SAB in children.

Tan JJL, Capozzoli M, Sato M, Watthanaworawit W, Ling CL, Mauduit M, Malleret B, Grüner A-C, Tan R, Nosten FH et al. 2014. An integrated lab-on-chip for rapid identification and simultaneous differentiation of tropical pathogens. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (7), pp. e3043. | Citations: 21 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Tropical pathogens often cause febrile illnesses in humans and are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality. The similarities in clinical symptoms provoked by these pathogens make diagnosis difficult. Thus, early, rapid and accurate diagnosis will be crucial in patient management and in the control of these diseases. In this study, a microfluidic lab-on-chip integrating multiplex molecular amplification and DNA microarray hybridization was developed for simultaneous detection and species differentiation of 26 globally important tropical pathogens. The analytical performance of the lab-on-chip for each pathogen ranged from 102 to 103 DNA or RNA copies. Assay performance was further verified with human whole blood spiked with Plasmodium falciparum and Chikungunya virus that yielded a range of detection from 200 to 4×105 parasites, and from 250 to 4×107 PFU respectively. This lab-on-chip was subsequently assessed and evaluated using 170 retrospective patient specimens in Singapore and Thailand. The lab-on-chip had a detection sensitivity of 83.1% and a specificity of 100% for P. falciparum; a sensitivity of 91.3% and a specificity of 99.3% for P. vivax; a positive 90.0% agreement and a specificity of 100% for Chikungunya virus; and a positive 85.0% agreement and a specificity of 100% for Dengue virus serotype 3 with reference methods conducted on the samples. Results suggested the practicality of an amplification microarray-based approach in a field setting for high-throughput detection and identification of tropical pathogens.

Woodrow CJ, Dondorp AM. 2014. Parasite burden and severity of malaria in Tanzanian children. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 481-482. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Conlan JV, Vongxay K, Khamlome B, Gomez-Morales MA, Pozio E, Blacksell SD, Fenwick S, Thompson RCA. 2014. Patterns and risks of trichinella infection in humans and pigs in northern Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (7), pp. e3034. | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Several outbreaks of trichinellosis associated with the consumption of raw pork have occurred in Laos since 2004. This cross-sectional study was conducted in four provinces of northern Laos to investigate the seroepidemiology of trichinellosis in the human population and determine the prevalence and species of Trichinella infection in the domestic pig population. Serum samples and questionnaire data were obtained from 1419 individuals. Serum samples were tested for Trichinella antibodies by ELISA using larval excretory-secretory (ES) antigens and a subset of 68 positive samples were tested by western blot. The seroprevalence of Trichinella antibodies was 19.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 17.1-21.1%). The risk of having antibodies detected by ELISA using ES antigens increased with age, being of Lao-Tai ethnicity, living in Oudomxay province and being male. Tongue and diaphragm muscle samples were collected from 728 pigs and tested for Trichinella larvae by the artificial digestion method. Trichinella larvae were isolated from 15 pigs (2.1%) of which 13 were identified as T. spiralis by molecular typing; the species of the two remaining isolates could not be determined due to DNA degradation. Trichinella spp. are endemic in the domestic environment of northern Laos and targeted preventative health measures should be initiated to reduce the risk of further outbreaks occurring.

Pratt B, Zion D, Lwin KM, Cheah PY, Nosten F, Loff B. 2014. Linking international clinical research with stateless populations to justice in global health. BMC Med Ethics, 15 (1), pp. 49. | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In response to calls to expand the scope of research ethics to address justice in global health, recent scholarship has sought to clarify how external research actors from high-income countries might discharge their obligation to reduce health disparities between and within countries. An ethical framework-'research for health justice'-was derived from a theory of justice (the health capability paradigm) and specifies how international clinical research might contribute to improved health and research capacity in host communities. This paper examines whether and how external funders, sponsors, and researchers can fulfill their obligations under the framework. METHODS: Case study research was undertaken on the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit's (SMRU) vivax malaria treatment trial, which was performed on the Thai-Myanmar border with Karen and Myanmar refugees and migrants. We conducted nineteen in-depth interviews with trial stakeholders, including investigators, trial participants, community advisory board members, and funder representatives; directly observed at trial sites over a five-week period; and collected trial-related documents for analysis. RESULTS: The vivax malaria treatment trial drew attention to contextual features that, when present, rendered the 'research for health justice' framework's guidance partially incomplete. These insights allowed us to extend the framework to consider external research actors' obligations to stateless populations. Data analysis then showed that framework requirements are largely fulfilled in relation to the vivax malaria treatment trial by Wellcome Trust (funder), Oxford University (sponsor), and investigators. At the same time, this study demonstrates that it may be difficult for long-term collaborations to shift the focus of their research agendas in accordance with the changing burden of illness in their host communities and to build the independent research capacity of host populations when working with refugees and migrants. Obstructive factors included the research funding environment and staff turnover due to resettlement or migration. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that obligations for selecting research targets, research capacity strengthening, and post-trial benefits that link clinical trials to justice in global health can be upheld by external research actors from high-income countries when working with stateless populations in LMICs. However, meeting certain framework requirements for long-term collaborations may not be entirely feasible.

Kloprogge F, Jullien V, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Nosten F, Day NPJ, White NJ, Guerin PJ, Tarning J. 2014. Population pharmacokinetics of quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (11), pp. 3033-3040. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Oral quinine is used for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria during pregnancy, but few pharmacokinetic data are available for this population. Previous studies have reported a substantial effect of malaria on the pharmacokinetics of quinine resulting from increased α-1-acid glycoprotein levels and decreased cytochrome P450 3A4 activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oral quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda using a population approach. METHODS: Data from 22 women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were analysed. Patients received quinine sulphate (10 mg of salt/kg) three times daily (0, 8 and 16 h) for 7 days. Plasma samples were collected daily and at frequent intervals after the first and last doses. A population pharmacokinetic model for quinine was developed accounting for different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. RESULTS: Parasitaemia, as a time-varying covariate affecting relative bioavailability, and body temperature on admission as a covariate on elimination clearance, explained the higher exposure to quinine during acute malaria compared with the convalescent phase. Neither the estimated gestational age nor the trimester influenced the pharmacokinetic properties of quinine significantly. CONCLUSIONS: A population model was developed that adequately characterized quinine pharmacokinetics in pregnant Ugandan women with acute malaria. Quinine exposure was lower than previously reported in patients who were not pregnant. The measurement of free quinine concentration will be necessary to determine the therapeutic relevance of these observations.

Limmathurotsakul D, Holden MTG, Coupland P, Price EP, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Parkhill J, Peacock SJ. 2014. Microevolution of Burkholderia pseudomallei during an acute infection. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (9), pp. 3418-3421. | Citations: 10 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

We used whole-genome sequencing to evaluate 69 independent colonies of Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from seven body sites of a patient with acute disseminated melioidosis. Fourteen closely related genotypes were found, providing evidence for the rapid in vivo diversification of B. pseudomallei after inoculation and systemic spread.

Ocholla H, Preston MD, Mipando M, Jensen ATR, Campino S, MacInnis B, Alcock D, Terlouw A, Zongo I, Oudraogo J-B et al. 2014. Whole-genome scans provide evidence of adaptive evolution in Malawian Plasmodium falciparum isolates. J Infect Dis, 210 (12), pp. 1991-2000. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Selection by host immunity and antimalarial drugs has driven extensive adaptive evolution in Plasmodium falciparum and continues to produce ever-changing landscapes of genetic variation. METHODS: We performed whole-genome sequencing of 69 P. falciparum isolates from Malawi and used population genetics approaches to investigate genetic diversity and population structure and identify loci under selection. RESULTS: High genetic diversity (π = 2.4 × 10(-4)), moderately high multiplicity of infection (2.7), and low linkage disequilibrium (500-bp) were observed in Chikhwawa District, Malawi, an area of high malaria transmission. Allele frequency-based tests provided evidence of recent population growth in Malawi and detected potential targets of host immunity and candidate vaccine antigens. Comparison of the sequence variation between isolates from Malawi and those from 5 geographically dispersed countries (Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cambodia, and Thailand) detected population genetic differences between Africa and Asia, within Southeast Asia, and within Africa. Haplotype-based tests of selection to sequence data from all 6 populations identified signals of directional selection at known drug-resistance loci, including pfcrt, pfdhps, pfmdr1, and pfgch1. CONCLUSIONS: The sequence variations observed at drug-resistance loci reflect differences in each country's historical use of antimalarial drugs and may be useful in formulating local malaria treatment guidelines.

Maude RJ, Kingston HWF, Joshi S, Mohanty S, Mishra SK, White NJ, Dondorp AM. 2014. Reversibility of retinal microvascular changes in severe falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (3), pp. 493-495. | Citations: 1 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malarial retinopathy allows detailed study of central nervous system vascular pathology in living patients with severe malaria. An adult with cerebral malaria is described who had prominent retinal whitening with corresponding retinal microvascular obstruction, vessel dilatation, increased vascular tortuosity, and blood retinal barrier leakage with decreased visual acuity, all of which resolved on recovery. Additional study of these features and their potential role in elucidating the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria is warranted.

Croucher NJ, Chewapreecha C, Hanage WP, Harris SR, McGee L, van der Linden M, Song J-H, Ko KS, de Lencastre H, Turner C et al. 2014. Evidence for soft selective sweeps in the evolution of pneumococcal multidrug resistance and vaccine escape. Genome Biol Evol, 6 (7), pp. 1589-1602. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae Taiwan(19F)-14, or PMEN14, clone was first observed with a 19F serotype, which is targeted by the heptavalent polysaccharide conjugate vaccine (PCV7). However, "vaccine escape" PMEN14 isolates with a 19A serotype became an increasingly important cause of disease post-PCV7. Whole genome sequencing was used to characterize the recent evolution of 173 pneumococci of, or related to, PMEN14. This suggested that PMEN14 is a single lineage that originated in the late 1980s in parallel with the acquisition of multiple resistances by close relatives. One of the four detected serotype switches to 19A generated representatives of the sequence type (ST) 320 isolates that have been highly successful post-PCV7. A second produced an ST236 19A genotype with reduced resistance to β-lactams owing to alteration of pbp1a and pbp2x sequences through the same recombination that caused the change in serotype. A third, which generated a mosaic capsule biosynthesis locus, resulted in serotype 19A ST271 isolates. The rapid diversification through homologous recombination seen in the global collection was similarly observed in the absence of vaccination in a set of isolates from the Maela refugee camp in Thailand, a collection that also allowed variation to be observed within carriage through longitudinal sampling. This suggests that some pneumococcal genotypes generate a pool of standing variation that is sufficiently extensive to result in "soft" selective sweeps: The emergence of multiple mutants in parallel upon a change in selection pressure, such as vaccine introduction. The subsequent competition between these mutants makes this phenomenon difficult to detect without deep sampling of individual lineages.

Kuhen KL, Chatterjee AK, Rottmann M, Gagaring K, Borboa R, Buenviaje J, Chen Z, Francek C, Wu T, Nagle A et al. 2014. KAF156 is an antimalarial clinical candidate with potential for use in prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of disease transmission. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (9), pp. 5060-5067. | Citations: 53 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Renewed global efforts toward malaria eradication have highlighted the need for novel antimalarial agents with activity against multiple stages of the parasite life cycle. We have previously reported the discovery of a novel class of antimalarial compounds in the imidazolopiperazine series that have activity in the prevention and treatment of blood stage infection in a mouse model of malaria. Consistent with the previously reported activity profile of this series, the clinical candidate KAF156 shows blood schizonticidal activity with 50% inhibitory concentrations of 6 to 17.4 nM against P. falciparum drug-sensitive and drug-resistant strains, as well as potent therapeutic activity in a mouse models of malaria with 50, 90, and 99% effective doses of 0.6, 0.9, and 1.4 mg/kg, respectively. When administered prophylactically in a sporozoite challenge mouse model, KAF156 is completely protective as a single oral dose of 10 mg/kg. Finally, KAF156 displays potent Plasmodium transmission blocking activities both in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our data suggest that KAF156, currently under evaluation in clinical trials, has the potential to treat, prevent, and block the transmission of malaria.

Salje J. 2014. A single-cell imaging screen reveals multiple effects of secreted small molecules on bacteria. Microbiologyopen, 3 (4), pp. 426-436. | Citations: 3 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacteria cells exist in close proximity to other cells of both the same and different species. Bacteria secrete a large number of different chemical species, and the local concentrations of these compounds at the surfaces of nearby cells may reach very high levels. It is fascinating to imagine how individual cells might sense and respond to the complex mix of signals at their surface. However, it is difficult to measure exactly what the local environmental composition looks like, or what the effects of individual compounds on nearby cells are. Here, an electron microscopy imaging screen was designed that would detect morphological changes induced by secreted small molecules. This differs from conventional approaches by detecting structural changes in individual cells rather than gene expression or growth rate changes at the population level. For example, one of the changes detected here was an increase in outer membrane vesicle production, which does not necessarily correspond to a change in gene expression. This initial study focussed on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Burkholderia dolosa, and revealed an intriguing range of effects of secreted small molecules on cells both within and between species.

Näsström E, Vu Thieu NT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Voong Vinh P, Ha Thanh T, Johansson A, Arjyal A, Thwaites G, Dolecek C et al. 2014. Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A elaborate distinct systemic metabolite signatures during enteric fever. Elife, 3 | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

The host-pathogen interactions induced by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A during enteric fever are poorly understood. This knowledge gap, and the human restricted nature of these bacteria, limit our understanding of the disease and impede the development of new diagnostic approaches. To investigate metabolite signals associated with enteric fever we performed two dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) on plasma from patients with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections and asymptomatic controls, identifying 695 individual metabolite peaks. Applying supervised pattern recognition, we found highly significant and reproducible metabolite profiles separating S. Typhi cases, S. Paratyphi A cases, and controls, calculating that a combination of six metabolites could accurately define the etiological agent. For the first time we show that reproducible and serovar specific systemic biomarkers can be detected during enteric fever. Our work defines several biologically plausible metabolites that can be used to detect enteric fever, and unlocks the potential of this method in diagnosing other systemic bacterial infections.

Das D, Cheah PY, Akter F, Paul D, Islam A, Sayeed AA, Samad R, Rahman R, Hossain A, Dondorp A et al. 2014. Participants' perceptions and understanding of a malaria clinical trial in Bangladesh. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 217. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Existing evidence suggests that there is often limited understanding among participants in clinical trials about the informed consent process, resulting in their providing consent without really understanding the purpose of the study, specific procedures, and their rights. The objective of the study was to determine the subjects' understanding of research, perceptions of voluntariness and motivations for participation in a malaria clinical trial. METHODS: In this study semi-structured interviews of adult clinical trial participants with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were conducted in Ramu Upazila Health Complex, in Bangladesh. RESULTS: Of 16 participants, the vast majority (81%) were illiterate. All subjects had a 'therapeutic misconception' i.e. the trial was perceived to be conducted primarily for the benefit of individual patients when in fact the main objective was to provide information to inform public health policy. From the patients' perspective, getting well from their illness was their major concern. Poor actual understanding of trial specific procedures was reported despite participants' satisfaction with treatment and nursing care. CONCLUSION: There is frequently a degree of overlap between research and provision of clinical care in malaria research studies. Patients may be motivated to participate to research without a good understanding of the principal objectives of the study despite a lengthy consent process. The findings suggest that use of a standard consent form following the current ICH-GCP guidelines does not result in achieving fully informed consent and the process should be revised, simplified and adapted to individual trial settings.

Ashley EA, Faiz A. 2014. Participants' perceptions and understanding of a malaria clinical trial in Bangladesh Malaria Journal, 13 (1), | Citations: 4 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Existing evidence suggests that there is often limited understanding among participants in clinical trials about the informed consent process, resulting in their providing consent without really understanding the purpose of the study, specific procedures, and their rights. The objective of the study was to determine the subjects' understanding of research, perceptions of voluntariness and motivations for participation in a malaria clinical trial. Methods. In this study semi-structured interviews of adult clinical trial participants with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were conducted in Ramu Upazila Health Complex, in Bangladesh. Results: Of 16 participants, the vast majority (81%) were illiterate. All subjects had a 'therapeutic misconception' i.e. the trial was perceived to be conducted primarily for the benefit of individual patients when in fact the main objective was to provide information to inform public health policy. From the patients' perspective, getting well from their illness was their major concern. Poor actual understanding of trial specific procedures was reported despite participants' satisfaction with treatment and nursing care. Conclusion: There is frequently a degree of overlap between research and provision of clinical care in malaria research studies. Patients may be motivated to participate to research without a good understanding of the principal objectives of the study despite a lengthy consent process. The findings suggest that use of a standard consent form following the current ICH-GCP guidelines does not result in achieving fully informed consent and the process should be revised, simplified and adapted to individual trial settings. © 2014 Das et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Valea I, Tinto H, Traore-Coulibaly M, Toe LC, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Van Geertruyden J-P, D'Alessandro U, Davies GR, Ward SA. 2014. Pharmacokinetics of co-formulated mefloquine and artesunate in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infection in Burkina Faso. J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (9), pp. 2499-2507. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Mefloquine/artesunate has recently been developed as a fixed-dose combination, providing a promising rescue/alternative treatment for malaria during pregnancy. However, limited data are available on the effect of pregnancy on its pharmacokinetic properties. This study was conducted to assess the pharmacokinetic properties of mefloquine/carboxymefloquine and artesunate/dihydroartemisinin in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. METHODS: Twenty-four women in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy and 24 paired non-pregnant women were enrolled. All patients were treated for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria with a standard fixed-dose combination of oral mefloquine and artesunate one daily over 3 days. Frequent blood samples were collected before treatment and at scheduled times post-dose for the drug measurements and pharmacokinetic analyses. The study was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov (identifier: NCT00701961). RESULTS: The total median exposure to mefloquine and dihydroartemisinin was not significantly different between the pregnant and non-pregnant women (P>0.05). There was a trend of higher exposure to mefloquine in the pregnant women, but this difference did not reach statistical significance (656700 versus 542400 h × ng/mL; P=0.059). However, the total exposure to carboxymefloquine was 49% lower during pregnancy (735600 versus 1499000 h × ng/mL; P<0.001) and the total drug exposure to artesunate was 42% higher during pregnancy (89.0 versus 62.9 h × ng/mL; P=0.039) compared with non-pregnant controls. CONCLUSIONS: The plasma levels of mefloquine and dihydroartemisinin appeared to be similar in both pregnant and non-pregnant women, but there were significant differences in carboxymefloquine and artesunate exposure. The data presented here do not warrant a dose adjustment in pregnant patients, but an extensive analysis of the data could provide a better understanding of these findings.

Tonpitak W, Sornklien C, Chawanit M, Pavasutthipaisit S, Wuthiekanun V, Hantrakun V, Amornchai P, Thaipadungpanit J, Day NPJ, Yingst S et al. 2014. Fatal melioidosis in goats in Bangkok, Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (2), pp. 287-290. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Bangkok, Thailand, is a city considered to be at low risk for melioidosis. We describe 10 goats that died of melioidosis in Bangkok. Half of them were born and reared in the city. Multilocus sequence typing ruled out an outbreak. This finding challenges the assumption that melioidosis is rarely acquired in central Thailand.

Preston MD, Campino S, Assefa SA, Echeverry DF, Ocholla H, Amambua-Ngwa A, Stewart LB, Conway DJ, Borrmann S, Michon P et al. 2014. A barcode of organellar genome polymorphisms identifies the geographic origin of Plasmodium falciparum strains. Nat Commun, 5 (1), pp. 4052. | Citations: 40 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a major public health problem that is actively being addressed in a global eradication campaign. Increased population mobility through international air travel has elevated the risk of re-introducing parasites to elimination areas and dispersing drug-resistant parasites to new regions. A simple genetic marker that quickly and accurately identifies the geographic origin of infections would be a valuable public health tool for locating the source of imported outbreaks. Here we analyse the mitochondrion and apicoplast genomes of 711 Plasmodium falciparum isolates from 14 countries, and find evidence that they are non-recombining and co-inherited. The high degree of linkage produces a panel of relatively few single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that is geographically informative. We design a 23-SNP barcode that is highly predictive (~92%) and easily adapted to aid case management in the field and survey parasite migration worldwide.

Ch'ng J-H, Lee Y-Q, Gun SY, Chia W-N, Chang Z-W, Wong L-K, Batty KT, Russell B, Nosten F, Renia L, Tan KS-W. 2014. Validation of a chloroquine-induced cell death mechanism for clinical use against malaria. Cell Death Dis, 5 (6), pp. e1305. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

An alternative antimalarial pathway of an 'outdated' drug, chloroquine (CQ), may facilitate its return to the shrinking list of effective antimalarials. Conventionally, CQ is believed to interfere with hemozoin formation at nanomolar concentrations, but resistant parasites are able to efflux this drug from the digestive vacuole (DV). However, we show that the DV membrane of both resistant and sensitive laboratory and field parasites is compromised after exposure to micromolar concentrations of CQ, leading to an extrusion of DV proteases. Furthermore, only a short period of exposure is required to compromise the viability of late-stage parasites. To study the feasibility of this strategy, mice malaria models were used to demonstrate that high doses of CQ also triggered DV permeabilization in vivo and reduced reinvasion efficiency. We suggest that a time-release oral formulation of CQ may sustain elevated blood CQ levels sufficiently to clear even CQ-resistant parasites.

Yeo TW, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, Tjitra E, Weinberg JB, Granger DL, Price RN, Anstey NM. 2014. Decreased endothelial nitric oxide bioavailability, impaired microvascular function, and increased tissue oxygen consumption in children with falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 210 (10), pp. 1627-1632. | Citations: 20 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Endothelial nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability, microvascular function, and host oxygen consumption have not been assessed in pediatric malaria. We measured NO-dependent endothelial function by using peripheral artery tonometry to determine the reactive hyperemia index (RHI), and microvascular function and oxygen consumption (VO2) using near infrared resonance spectroscopy in 13 Indonesian children with severe falciparum malaria and 15 with moderately severe falciparum malaria. Compared with 19 controls, children with severe malaria and those with moderately severe malaria had lower RHIs (P = .03); 12% and 8% lower microvascular function, respectively (P = .03); and 29% and 25% higher VO2, respectively. RHIs correlated with microvascular function in all children with malaria (P < .001) and all with severe malaria (P < .001). Children with malaria have decreased endothelial and microvascular function and increased oxygen consumption, likely contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease.

Amaratunga C, Witkowski B, Dek D, Try V, Khim N, Miotto O, Ménard D, Fairhurst RM. 2014. Plasmodium falciparum founder populations in western Cambodia have reduced artemisinin sensitivity in vitro. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (8), pp. 4935-4937. | Citations: 24 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Reduced Plasmodium falciparum sensitivity to short-course artemisinin (ART) monotherapy manifests as a long parasite clearance half-life. We recently defined three parasite founder populations with long half-lives in Pursat, western Cambodia, where reduced ART sensitivity is prevalent. Using the ring-stage survival assay, we show that these founder populations have reduced ART sensitivity in vitro at the early ring stage of parasite development and that a genetically admixed population contains subsets of parasites with normal or reduced ART sensitivity.

McGready R, Wongsaen K, Chu CS, Tun NW, Chotivanich K, White NJ, Nosten F. 2014. Uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax malaria in pregnancy associated with mortality from acute respiratory distress syndrome. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 191. | Citations: 14 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

The association between severe malaria and Plasmodium vivax species is contentious. On the Thai-Myanmar border, all pregnant women are followed systematically with active weekly malaria screening. Over a 27-year period of providing antenatal care, 48,983 have been prospectively followed until pregnancy outcome (miscarriage or delivery) and 4,298 women have had P. vivax detected at least once. Reported here is the first known P. vivax-associated death amongst these women. The initial patient presentation was of uncomplicated P. vivax (0.5% parasitaemia) in a term, multigravida woman who responded rapidly to oral artesunate and mefloquine treatment, clearing her blood stage parasites within 48 hours. The patient appeared well, was ambulatory and due to be discharged but became unwell with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring ventilation three days (67 hours) into treatment. Despite induction and delivery of a stillborn foetus, ventilatory requirements increased and the patient died on day 7. The patient had a low body mass index. Sensitive detection with nested PCR confirmed only the presence of P. vivax species and concomitant infections such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were also ruled out. The contemporaneous treatment of acute uncomplicated P. vivax and the onset of ARDS on day 3 in this patient implies a possible but unconfirmed association with death in this patient. Assuming this death was caused by P. vivax, the risk of ARDS-related maternal mortality in this setting did not differ significantly between Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax (0.24 per 1,000 (1/4,158) versus 0.23 per 1,000 (1/4,298), contrary to the increased risk of maternal mortality from P. falciparum compared to P. vivax, 2.89 per 1,000 (12/4,158) versus 0.23 per 1,000 (1/4,298), P = 0.003.

2014. Uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax malaria in pregnancy associated with mortality from acute respiratory distress syndrome Malaria Journal, 13 (1), | Citations: 14 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

The association between severe malaria and Plasmodium vivax species is contentious. On the Thai-Myanmar border, all pregnant women are followed systematically with active weekly malaria screening. Over a 27-year period of providing antenatal care, 48,983 have been prospectively followed until pregnancy outcome (miscarriage or delivery) and 4,298 women have had P. vivax detected at least once. Reported here is the first known P. vivax-associated death amongst these women. The initial patient presentation was of uncomplicated P. vivax (0.5% parasitaemia) in a term, multigravida woman who responded rapidly to oral artesunate and mefloquine treatment, clearing her blood stage parasites within 48 hours. The patient appeared well, was ambulatory and due to be discharged but became unwell with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) requiring ventilation three days (67 hours) into treatment. Despite induction and delivery of a stillborn foetus, ventilatory requirements increased and the patient died on day 7. The patient had a low body mass index. Sensitive detection with nested PCR confirmed only the presence of P. vivax species and concomitant infections such as tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were also ruled out. The contemporaneous treatment of acute uncomplicated P. vivax and the onset of ARDS on day 3 in this patient implies a possible but unconfirmed association with death in this patient. Assuming this death was caused by P. vivax, the risk of ARDS-related maternal mortality in this setting did not differ significantly between Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax (0.24 per 1,000 (1/4,158) versus 0.23 per 1,000 (1/4,298), contrary to the increased risk of maternal mortality from P. falciparum compared to P. vivax, 2.89 per 1,000 (12/4,158) versus 0.23 per 1,000 (1/4,298), P = 0.003. © 2014 McGready et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Chandramohanadas R, Basappa, Russell B, Liew K, Yau YH, Chong A, Liu M, Gunalan K, Raman R, Renia L et al. 2014. Small molecule targeting malaria merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) prevents host invasion of divergent plasmodial species. J Infect Dis, 210 (10), pp. 1616-1626. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria causes nearly 1 million deaths annually. Recent emergence of multidrug resistance highlights the need to develop novel therapeutic interventions against human malaria. Given the involvement of sugar binding plasmodial proteins in host invasion, we set out to identify such proteins as targets of small glycans. Combining multidisciplinary approaches, we report the discovery of a small molecule inhibitor, NIC, capable of inhibiting host invasion through interacting with a major invasion-related protein, merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1). This interaction was validated through computational, biochemical, and biophysical tools. Importantly, treatment with NIC prevented host invasion by Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax--major causative organisms of human malaria. MSP-1, an indispensable antigen critical for invasion and suitably localized in abundance on the merozoite surface represents an ideal target for antimalarial development. The ability to target merozoite invasion proteins with specific small inhibitors opens up a new avenue to target this important pathogen.

Maude RJ, Barkhof F, Hassan MU, Ghose A, Hossain A, Abul Faiz M, Choudhury E, Rashid R, Abu Sayeed A, Charunwatthana P et al. 2014. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in adults with severe falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 177. | Citations: 19 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows detailed study of structural and functional changes in the brain in patients with cerebral malaria. METHODS: In a prospective observational study in adult Bangladeshi patients with severe falciparum malaria, MRI findings in the brain were correlated with clinical and laboratory parameters, retinal photography and optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) ultrasound (a marker of intracranial pressure). RESULTS: Of 43 enrolled patients, 31 (72%) had coma and 12 (28%) died. MRI abnormalities were present in 79% overall with mostly mild changes in a wide range of anatomical sites. There were no differences in MRI findings between patients with cerebral and non-cerebral or fatal and non-fatal disease. Subtle diffuse cerebral swelling was common (n = 22/43), but mostly without vasogenic oedema or raised intracranial pressure (ONSD). Also seen were focal extracellular oedema (n = 11/43), cytotoxic oedema (n = 8/23) and mildly raised brain lactate on magnetic resonance spectroscopy (n = 5/14). Abnormalities were much less prominent than previously described in Malawian children. Retinal whitening was present in 36/43 (84%) patients and was more common and severe in patients with coma. CONCLUSION: Cerebral swelling is mild and not specific to coma or death in adult severe falciparum malaria. This differs markedly from African children. Retinal whitening, reflecting heterogeneous obstruction of the central nervous system microcirculation by sequestered parasites resulting in small patches of ischemia, is associated with coma and this process is likely important in the pathogenesis.

Wendler JP, Okombo J, Amato R, Miotto O, Kiara SM, Mwai L, Pole L, O'Brien J, Manske M, Alcock D et al. 2014. A genome wide association study of Plasmodium falciparum susceptibility to 22 antimalarial drugs in Kenya. PLoS One, 9 (5), pp. e96486. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Drug resistance remains a chief concern for malaria control. In order to determine the genetic markers of drug resistant parasites, we tested the genome-wide associations (GWA) of sequence-based genotypes from 35 Kenyan P. falciparum parasites with the activities of 22 antimalarial drugs. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Parasites isolated from children with acute febrile malaria were adapted to culture, and sensitivity was determined by in vitro growth in the presence of anti-malarial drugs. Parasites were genotyped using whole genome sequencing techniques. Associations between 6250 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and resistance to individual anti-malarial agents were determined, with false discovery rate adjustment for multiple hypothesis testing. We identified expected associations in the pfcrt region with chloroquine (CQ) activity, and other novel loci associated with amodiaquine, quinazoline, and quinine activities. Signals for CQ and primaquine (PQ) overlap in and around pfcrt, and interestingly the phenotypes are inversely related for these two drugs. We catalog the variation in dhfr, dhps, mdr1, nhe, and crt, including novel SNPs, and confirm the presence of a dhfr-164L quadruple mutant in coastal Kenya. Mutations implicated in sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance are at or near fixation in this sample set. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Sequence-based GWA studies are powerful tools for phenotypic association tests. Using this approach on falciparum parasites from coastal Kenya we identified known and previously unreported genes associated with phenotypic resistance to anti-malarial drugs, and observe in high-resolution haplotype visualizations a possible signature of an inverse selective relationship between CQ and PQ.

Nair S, Nkhoma SC, Serre D, Zimmerman PA, Gorena K, Daniel BJ, Nosten F, Anderson TJC, Cheeseman IH. 2014. Single-cell genomics for dissection of complex malaria infections. Genome Res, 24 (6), pp. 1028-1038. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Most malaria infections contain complex mixtures of distinct parasite lineages. These multiple-genotype infections (MGIs) impact virulence evolution, drug resistance, intra-host dynamics, and recombination, but are poorly understood. To address this we have developed a single-cell genomics approach to dissect MGIs. By combining cell sorting and whole-genome amplification (WGA), we are able to generate high-quality material from parasite-infected red blood cells (RBCs) for genotyping and next-generation sequencing. We optimized our approach through analysis of >260 single-cell assays. To quantify accuracy, we decomposed mixtures of known parasite genotypes and obtained highly accurate (>99%) single-cell genotypes. We applied this validated approach directly to infections of two major malaria species, Plasmodium falciparum, for which long term culture is possible, and Plasmodium vivax, for which no long-term culture is feasible. We demonstrate that our single-cell genomics approach can be used to generate parasite genome sequences directly from patient blood in order to unravel the complexity of P. vivax and P. falciparum infections. These methods open the door for large-scale analysis of within-host variation of malaria infections, and reveal information on relatedness and drug resistance haplotypes that is inaccessible through conventional sequencing of infections.

Bonten MJM, Brun-Buisson C, Cooper BS, Derde LPG, all authors. 2014. Care bundles in intensive care units - authors' reply. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (5), pp. 372. | Read more

Török ME, Harris SR, Cartwright EJP, Raven KE, Brown NM, Allison MED, Greaves D, Quail MA, Limmathurotsakul D, Holden MTG et al. 2014. Zero tolerance for healthcare-associated MRSA bacteraemia: is it realistic? J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (8), pp. 2238-2245. | Citations: 8 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The term 'zero tolerance' has recently been applied to healthcare-associated infections, implying that such events are always preventable. This may not be the case for healthcare-associated infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia. METHODS: We combined information from an epidemiological investigation and bacterial whole-genome sequencing to evaluate a cluster of five MRSA bacteraemia episodes in four patients in a specialist hepatology unit. RESULTS: The five MRSA bacteraemia isolates were highly related by multilocus sequence type (ST) (four isolates were ST22 and one isolate was a single-locus variant, ST2046). Whole-genome sequencing demonstrated unequivocally that the bacteraemia cases were unrelated. Placing the MRSA bacteraemia isolates within a local and global phylogenetic tree of MRSA ST22 genomes demonstrated that the five bacteraemia isolates were highly diverse. This was consistent with the acquisition and importation of MRSA from the wider referral network. Analysis of MRSA carriage and disease in patients within the hepatology service demonstrated a higher risk of both initial MRSA acquisition compared with the nephrology service and a higher risk of progression from MRSA carriage to bacteraemia, compared with patients in nephrology or geriatric services. A root cause analysis failed to reveal any mechanism by which three of five MRSA bacteraemia episodes could have been prevented. CONCLUSIONS: This study illustrates the complex nature of MRSA carriage and bacteraemia in patients in a specialized hepatology unit. Despite numerous ongoing interventions to prevent MRSA bacteraemia in healthcare settings, these are unlikely to result in a zero incidence in referral centres that treat highly complex patients.

Lourens C, Lindegardh N, Barnes KI, Guerin PJ, Sibley CH, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Benefits of a pharmacology antimalarial reference standard and proficiency testing program provided by the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (7), pp. 3889-3894. | Citations: 13 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Comprehensive assessment of antimalarial drug resistance should include measurements of antimalarial blood or plasma concentrations in clinical trials and in individual assessments of treatment failure so that true resistance can be differentiated from inadequate drug exposure. Pharmacometric modeling is necessary to assess pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships in different populations to optimize dosing. To accomplish both effectively and to allow comparison of data from different laboratories, it is essential that drug concentration measurement is accurate. Proficiency testing (PT) of laboratory procedures is necessary for verification of assay results. Within the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN), the goal of the quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) program is to facilitate and sustain high-quality antimalarial assays. The QA/QC program consists of an international PT program for pharmacology laboratories and a reference material (RM) program for the provision of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards for laboratory use. The RM program currently distributes accurately weighed quantities of antimalarial drug standards, metabolites, and internal standards to 44 pharmacology, in vitro, and drug quality testing laboratories. The pharmacology PT program has sent samples to eight laboratories in four rounds of testing. WWARN technical experts have provided advice for correcting identified problems to improve performance of subsequent analysis and ultimately improved the quality of data. Many participants have demonstrated substantial improvements over subsequent rounds of PT. The WWARN QA/QC program has improved the quality and value of antimalarial drug measurement in laboratories globally. It is a model that has potential to be applied to strengthening laboratories more widely and improving the therapeutics of other infectious diseases.

White NJ. 2014. Malaria: a molecular marker of artemisinin resistance. Lancet, 383 (9927), pp. 1439-1440. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Read more

Price RN. 2014. Improving the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (1), pp. 3-4. | Citations: 5 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Monge ME, Dwivedi P, Zhou M, Payne M, Harris C, House B, Juggins Y, Cizmarik P, Newton PN, Fernández FM, Jenkins D. 2014. A tiered analytical approach for investigating poor quality emergency contraceptives. PLoS One, 9 (4), pp. e95353. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Reproductive health has been deleteriously affected by poor quality medicines. Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are an important birth control method that women can use after unprotected coitus for reducing the risk of pregnancy. In response to the detection of poor quality ECPs commercially available in the Peruvian market we developed a tiered multi-platform analytical strategy. In a survey to assess ECP medicine quality in Peru, 7 out of 25 different batches showed inadequate release of levonorgestrel by dissolution testing or improper amounts of active ingredient. One batch was found to contain a wrong active ingredient, with no detectable levonorgestrel. By combining ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-IMS-MS) and direct analysis in real time MS (DART-MS) the unknown compound was identified as the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole. Quantitation by UHPLC-triple quadrupole tandem MS (QqQ-MS/MS) indicated that the wrong ingredient was present in the ECP sample at levels which could have significant physiological effects. Further chemical characterization of the poor quality ECP samples included the identification of the excipients by 2D Diffusion-Ordered Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (DOSY 1H NMR) indicating the presence of lactose and magnesium stearate.

Somé AF, Zongo I, Compaoré Y-D, Sakandé S, Nosten F, Ouédraogo J-B, Rosenthal PJ. 2014. Selection of drug resistance-mediating Plasmodium falciparum genetic polymorphisms by seasonal malaria chemoprevention in Burkina Faso. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (7), pp. 3660-3665. | Citations: 14 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), with regular use of amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AQ/SP) during the transmission season, is now a standard malaria control measure in the Sahel subregion of Africa. Another strategy under study is SMC with dihydroartemisinin plus piperaquine (DP). Plasmodium falciparum single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in P. falciparum crt (pfcrt), pfmdr1, pfdhfr, and pfdhps are associated with decreased response to aminoquinoline and antifolate antimalarials and are selected by use of these drugs. To characterize selection by SMC of key polymorphisms, we assessed 13 SNPs in P. falciparum isolated from children aged 3 to 59 months living in southwestern Burkina Faso and randomized to receive monthly DP or AQ/SP for 3 months in 2009. We compared SNP prevalence before the onset of SMC and 1 month after the third treatment in P. falciparum PCR-positive samples from 120 randomly selected children from each treatment arm and an additional 120 randomly selected children from a control group that did not receive SMC. The prevalence of relevant mutations was increased after SMC with AQ/SP. Significant selection was seen for pfcrt 76T (68.5% to 83.0%, P = 0.04), pfdhfr 59R (54.8% to 83.3%, P = 0.0002), and pfdhfr 108N (55.0% to 87.2%, P = 0.0001), with trends toward selection of pfmdr1 86Y, pfdhfr 51I, and pfdhps 437G. After SMC with DP, only borderline selection of wild-type pfmdr1 D1246 (mutant; 7.7% to 0%, P = 0.05) was seen. In contrast to AQ/SP, SMC with DP did not clearly select for known resistance-mediating polymorphisms. SMC with AQ/SP, but not DP, may hasten the development of resistance to components of this regimen. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT00941785.).

Gaubert A, Kauss T, Marchivie M, Ba BB, Lembege M, Fawaz F, Boiron J-M, Lafarge X, Lindegardh N, Fabre J-L et al. 2014. Preliminary pharmaceutical development of antimalarial-antibiotic cotherapy as a pre-referral paediatric treatment of fever in malaria endemic areas. Int J Pharm, 468 (1-2), pp. 55-63. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemether (AM) plus azithromycin (AZ) rectal co-formulations were studied to provide pre-referral treatment for children with severe febrile illnesses in malaria-endemic areas. The target profile required that such product should be cheap, easy to administer by non-medically qualified persons, rapidly effective against both malaria and bacterial infections. Analytical and pharmacotechnical development, followed by in vitro and in vivo evaluation, were conducted for various AMAZ coformulations. Of the formulations tested, stability was highest for dry solid forms and bioavailability for hard gelatin capsules; AM release from AMAZ rectodispersible tablet was suboptimal due to a modification of its micro-crystalline structure.

Tabernero P, Fernández FM, Green M, Guerin PJ, Newton PN. 2014. Mind the gaps--the epidemiology of poor-quality anti-malarials in the malarious world--analysis of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network database. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 139. | Citations: 46 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Poor quality medicines threaten the lives of millions of patients and are alarmingly common in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, the global extent of the problem remains unknown. Accurate estimates of the epidemiology of poor quality medicines are sparse and are influenced by sampling methodology and diverse chemical analysis techniques. In order to understand the existing data, the Antimalarial Quality Scientific Group at WWARN built a comprehensive, open-access, global database and linked Antimalarial Quality Surveyor, an online visualization tool. Analysis of the database is described here, the limitations of the studies and data reported, and their public health implications discussed. METHODS: The database collates customized summaries of 251 published anti-malarial quality reports in English, French and Spanish by time and location since 1946. It also includes information on assays to determine quality, sampling and medicine regulation. RESULTS: No publicly available reports for 60.6% (63) of the 104 malaria-endemic countries were found. Out of 9,348 anti-malarials sampled, 30.1% (2,813) failed chemical/packaging quality tests with 39.3% classified as falsified, 2.3% as substandard and 58.3% as poor quality without evidence available to categorize them as either substandard or falsified. Only 32.3% of the reports explicitly described their definitions of medicine quality and just 9.1% (855) of the samples collected in 4.6% (six) surveys were conducted using random sampling techniques. Packaging analysis was only described in 21.5% of publications and up to twenty wrong active ingredients were found in falsified anti-malarials. CONCLUSIONS: There are severe neglected problems with anti-malarial quality but there are important caveats to accurately estimate the prevalence and distribution of poor quality anti-malarials. The lack of reports in many malaria-endemic areas, inadequate sampling techniques and inadequate chemical analytical methods and instrumental procedures emphasizes the need to interpret medicine quality results with caution. The available evidence demonstrates the need for more investment to improve both sampling and analytical methodology and to achieve consensus in defining different types of poor quality medicines.

Wolkewitz M, Cooper BS, Palomar-Martinez M, Alvarez-Lerma F, Olaechea-Astigarraga P, Barnett AG, Harbarth S, Schumacher M. 2014. Multilevel competing risk models to evaluate the risk of nosocomial infection. Crit Care, 18 (2), pp. R64. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Risk factor analyses for nosocomial infections (NIs) are complex. First, due to competing events for NI, the association between risk factors of NI as measured using hazard rates may not coincide with the association using cumulative probability (risk). Second, patients from the same intensive care unit (ICU) who share the same environmental exposure are likely to be more similar with regard to risk factors predisposing to a NI than patients from different ICUs. We aimed to develop an analytical approach to account for both features and to use it to evaluate associations between patient- and ICU-level characteristics with both rates of NI and competing risks and with the cumulative probability of infection. METHODS: We considered a multicenter database of 159 intensive care units containing 109,216 admissions (813,739 admission-days) from the Spanish HELICS-ENVIN ICU network. We analyzed the data using two models: an etiologic model (rate based) and a predictive model (risk based). In both models, random effects (shared frailties) were introduced to assess heterogeneity. Death and discharge without NI are treated as competing events for NI. RESULTS: There was a large heterogeneity across ICUs in NI hazard rates, which remained after accounting for multilevel risk factors, meaning that there are remaining unobserved ICU-specific factors that influence NI occurrence. Heterogeneity across ICUs in terms of cumulative probability of NI was even more pronounced. Several risk factors had markedly different associations in the rate-based and risk-based models. For some, the associations differed in magnitude. For example, high Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) scores were associated with modest increases in the rate of nosocomial bacteremia, but large increases in the risk. Others differed in sign, for example respiratory vs cardiovascular diagnostic categories were associated with a reduced rate of nosocomial bacteremia, but an increased risk. CONCLUSIONS: A combination of competing risks and multilevel models is required to understand direct and indirect risk factors for NI and distinguish patient-level from ICU-level factors.

Elliott I, Mayxay M, Yeuichaixong S, Lee SJ, Newton PN. 2014. The practice and clinical implications of tablet splitting in international health. Trop Med Int Health, 19 (7), pp. 754-760. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Tablet splitting is frequently performed to facilitate correct dosing, but the practice and implications in low-income settings have rarely been discussed. METHODS: We selected eight drugs, with narrow therapeutic indices or critical dosages, frequently divided in the Lao PDR (Laos). These were split, by common techniques used in Laos, by four nurses and four laypersons. The mean percentage deviation from the theoretical expected weight and weight loss of divided tablets/capsules were recorded. RESULTS: Five of eight study drugs failed, on splitting, to meet European Pharmacopoeia recommendations for tablet weight deviation from the expected weight of tablet/capsule halves with 10% deviating by more than 25%. There was a significant difference in splitting accuracy between nurses and laypersons (P = 0.027). Coated and unscored tablets were less accurately split than uncoated (P = 0.03 and 0.0019 for each half) and scored (0.0001 for both halves) tablets. CONCLUSION: These findings have potential clinical implications on treatment outcome and the development of antimicrobial resistance. Investment by drug companies in a wider range of dosage units, particularly for narrow therapeutic index and critical dosage medicines, is strongly recommended.

Duval BD, Elrod MG, Gee JE, Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Limmathurotsakul D, Hoffmaster AR. 2014. Evaluation of a latex agglutination assay for the identification of Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (6), pp. 1043-1046. | Citations: 17 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Cases of melioidosis and glanders are rare in the United States, but the etiologic agents of each disease (Burkholderia pseudomallei and Burkholderia mallei, respectively) are classified as Tier 1 select agents because of concerns about their potential use as bioterrorism agents. A rapid, highly sensitive, and portable assay for clinical laboratories and field use is required. Our laboratory has further evaluated a latex agglutination assay for its ability to identify B. pseudomallei and B. mallei isolates. This assay uses a monoclonal antibody that specifically recognizes the capsular polysaccharide produced by B. pseudomallei and B. mallei, but is absent in closely related Burkholderia species. A total of 110 B. pseudomallei and B. mallei were tested, and 36 closely related Burkholderia species. The latex agglutination assay was positive for 109 of 110 (99.1% sensitivity) B. pseudomallei and B. mallei isolates tested.

Tanomsing N, Mayxay M, Newton PN, Nosten F, Dolecek C, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NPJ, Dondorp AM, Imwong M. 2014. Genetic variability of Plasmodium malariae dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) in four Asian countries. PLoS One, 9 (4), pp. e93942. | Citations: 3 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

The dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) genes of 44 P. malariae strains from four Asian countries were isolated. Only a limited number of polymorphisms were observed. Comparison with homologous mutations in other Plasmodium species showed that these polymorphisms are unlikely to be associated with sulfadoxine resistance.

Dance D. 2014. Treatment and prophylaxis of melioidosis. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 43 (4), pp. 310-318. | Citations: 67 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei, is being recognised with increasing frequency and is probably more common than currently appreciated. Treatment recommendations are based on a series of clinical trials conducted in Thailand over the past 25 years. Treatment is usually divided into two phases: in the first, or acute phase, parenteral drugs are given for ≥10 days with the aim of preventing death from overwhelming sepsis; in the second, or eradication phase, oral drugs are given, usually to complete a total of 20 weeks, with the aim of preventing relapse. Specific treatment for individual patients needs to be tailored according to clinical manifestations and response, and there remain many unanswered questions. Some patients with very mild infections can probably be cured by oral agents alone. Ceftazidime is the mainstay of acute-phase treatment, with carbapenems reserved for severe infections or treatment failures and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (co-amoxiclav) as second-line therapy. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole) is preferred for the eradication phase, with the alternative of co-amoxiclav. In addition, the best available supportive care is needed, along with drainage of abscesses whenever possible. Treatment for melioidosis is unaffordable for many in endemic areas of the developing world, but the relative costs have reduced over the past decade. Unfortunately there is no likelihood of any new or cheaper options becoming available in the immediate future. Recommendations for prophylaxis following exposure to B. pseudomallei have been made, but the evidence suggests that they would probably only delay rather than prevent the development of infection.

Dance D. 2014. Treatment and prophylaxis of melioidosis International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 43 (4), pp. 310-318. | Citations: 75 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei, is being recognised with increasing frequency and is probably more common than currently appreciated. Treatment recommendations are based on a series of clinical trials conducted in Thailand over the past 25 years. Treatment is usually divided into two phases: in the first, or acute phase, parenteral drugs are given for =10 days with the aim of preventing death from overwhelming sepsis; in the second, or eradication phase, oral drugs are given, usually to complete a total of 20 weeks, with the aim of preventing relapse. Specific treatment for individual patients needs to be tailored according to clinical manifestations and response, and there remain many unanswered questions. Some patients with very mild infections can probably be cured by oral agents alone. Ceftazidime is the mainstay of acute-phase treatment, with carbapenems reserved for severe infections or treatment failures and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (co-amoxiclav) as second-line therapy. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole) is preferred for the eradication phase, with the alternative of co-amoxiclav. In addition, the best available supportive care is needed, along with drainage of abscesses whenever possible. Treatment for melioidosis is unaffordable for many in endemic areas of the developing world, but the relative costs have reduced over the past decade. Unfortunately there is no likelihood of any new or cheaper options becoming available in the immediate future. Recommendations for prophylaxis following exposure to B. pseudomallei have been made, but the evidence suggests that they would probably only delay rather than prevent the development of infection. © 2014 The Author.

Siddiqui MR, Cooper B, Cramond V, Thomson K, Pop-Stefanija B, de Weerdt S, White L. 2014. Unusual epidemiological characteristics of a prolonged hepatitis E outbreak in three refugee camps in South Sudan INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 21 pp. 225-225. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Pukrittayakamee S, Tarning J, Jittamala P, Charunwatthana P, Lawpoolsri S, Lee SJ, Hanpithakpong W, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Day NPJ, Ashley EA, White NJ. 2014. Pharmacokinetic interactions between primaquine and chloroquine. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (6), pp. 3354-3359. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine combined with primaquine has been the standard radical curative regimen for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale malaria for over half a century. In an open-label crossover pharmacokinetic study, 16 healthy volunteers (4 males and 12 females) aged 20 to 47 years were randomized into two groups of three sequential hospital admissions to receive a single oral dose of 30 mg (base) primaquine, 600 mg (base) chloroquine, and the two drugs together. The coadministration of the two drugs did not affect chloroquine or desethylchloroquine pharmacokinetics but increased plasma primaquine concentrations significantly (P ≤ 0.005); the geometric mean (90% confidence interval [CI]) increases were 63% (47 to 81%) in maximum concentration and 24% (13 to 35%) in total exposure. There were also corresponding increases in plasma carboxyprimaquine concentrations (P ≤ 0.020). There were no significant electrocardiographic changes following primaquine administration, but there was slight corrected QT (QTc) (Fridericia) interval lengthening following chloroquine administration (median [range] = 6.32 [-1.45 to 12.3] ms; P < 0.001), which was not affected by the addition of primaquine (5.58 [1.74 to 11.4] ms; P = 0.642). This pharmacokinetic interaction may explain previous observations of synergy in preventing P. vivax relapse. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under reference number NCT01218932.

Moyes CL, Henry AJ, Golding N, Huang Z, Singh B, Baird JK, Newton PN, Huffman M, Duda KA, Drakeley CJ et al. 2014. Defining the geographical range of the Plasmodium knowlesi reservoir. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (3), pp. e2780. | Citations: 38 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The simian malaria parasite, Plasmodium knowlesi, can cause severe and fatal disease in humans yet it is rarely included in routine public health reporting systems for malaria and its geographical range is largely unknown. Because malaria caused by P. knowlesi is a truly neglected tropical disease, there are substantial obstacles to defining the geographical extent and risk of this disease. Information is required on the occurrence of human cases in different locations, on which non-human primates host this parasite and on which vectors are able to transmit it to humans. We undertook a systematic review and ranked the existing evidence, at a subnational spatial scale, to investigate the potential geographical range of the parasite reservoir capable of infecting humans. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After reviewing the published literature we identified potential host and vector species and ranked these based on how informative they are for the presence of an infectious parasite reservoir, based on current evidence. We collated spatial data on parasite occurrence and the ranges of the identified host and vector species. The ranked spatial data allowed us to assign an evidence score to 475 subnational areas in 19 countries and we present the results on a map of the Southeast and South Asia region. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have ranked subnational areas within the potential disease range according to evidence for presence of a disease risk to humans, providing geographical evidence to support decisions on prevention, management and prophylaxis. This work also highlights the unknown risk status of large parts of the region. Within this unknown category, our map identifies which areas have most evidence for the potential to support an infectious reservoir and are therefore a priority for further investigation. Furthermore we identify geographical areas where further investigation of putative host and vector species would be highly informative for the region-wide assessment.

Chotivanich K, Tripura R, Das D, Yi P, Day NPJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Chuor CM, Socheat D, Dondorp AM, White NJ. 2014. Laboratory detection of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (6), pp. 3157-3161. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Conventional 48-h in vitro susceptibility tests have low sensitivity in identifying artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, defined phenotypically by low in vivo parasite clearance rates. We hypothesized originally that this discrepancy was explained by a loss of ring-stage susceptibility and so developed a simple field-adapted 24-h trophozoite maturation inhibition (TMI) assay focusing on the ring stage and compared it to the standard 48-h schizont maturation inhibition (WHO) test. In Pailin, western Cambodia, where artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum is prevalent, the TMI test mean (95% confidence interval) 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for artesunate was 6.8 (5.2 to 8.3) ng/ml compared with 1.5 (1.2 to 1.8) ng/ml for the standard 48-h WHO test (P = 0.001). TMI IC50s correlated significantly with the in vivo responses to artesunate (parasite clearance time [r = 0.44, P = 0.001] and parasite clearance half-life [r = 0.46, P = 0.001]), whereas the standard 48-h test values did not. On continuous culture of two resistant isolates, the artemisinin-resistant phenotype was lost after 6 weeks (IC50s fell from 10 and 12 ng/ml to 2.7 and 3 ng/ml, respectively). Slow parasite clearance in falciparum malaria in western Cambodia results from reduced ring-stage susceptibility.

Lee W-C, Malleret B, Lau Y-L, Mauduit M, Fong M-Y, Cho JS, Suwanarusk R, Zhang R, Albrecht L, Costa FTM et al. 2014. Glycophorin C (CD236R) mediates vivax malaria parasite rosetting to normocytes. Blood, 123 (18), pp. e100-e109. | Citations: 18 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Rosetting phenomenon has been linked to malaria pathogenesis. Although rosetting occurs in all causes of human malaria, most data on this subject has been derived from Plasmodium falciparum. Here, we investigate the function and factors affecting rosette formation in Plasmodium vivax. To achieve this, we used a range of novel ex vivo protocols to study fresh and cryopreserved P vivax (n = 135) and P falciparum (n = 77) isolates from Thailand. Rosetting is more common in vivax than falciparum malaria, both in terms of incidence in patient samples and percentage of infected erythrocytes forming rosettes. Rosetting to P vivax asexual and sexual stages was evident 20 hours postreticulocyte invasion, reaching a plateau after 30 hours. Host ABO blood group, reticulocyte count, and parasitemia were not correlated with P vivax rosetting. Importantly, mature erythrocytes (normocytes), rather than reticulocytes, preferentially form rosetting complexes, indicating that this process is unlikely to directly facilitate merozoite invasion. Although antibodies against host erythrocyte receptors CD235a and CD35 had no effect, Ag-binding fragment against the BRIC 4 region of CD236R significantly inhibited rosette formation. Rosetting assays using CD236R knockdown normocytes derived from hematopoietic stem cells further supports the role of glycophorin C as a receptor in P vivax rosette formation.

Dubot-Pérès A, Tan CYQ, de Chesse R, Sibounheuang B, Vongsouvath M, Phommasone K, Bessaud M, Gazin C, Thirion L, Phetsouvanh R et al. 2014. SYBR green real-time PCR for the detection of all enterovirus-A71 genogroups. PLoS One, 9 (3), pp. e89963. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) has recently become an important public health threat, especially in South-East Asia, where it has caused massive outbreaks of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease every year, resulting in significant mortality. Rapid detection of EV-A71 early in outbreaks would facilitate implementation of prevention and control measures to limit spread. Real-time RT-PCR is the technique of choice for the rapid diagnosis of EV-A71 infection and several systems have been developed to detect circulating strains. Although eight genogroups have been described globally, none of these PCR techniques detect all eight. We describe, for the first time, a SYBR Green real-time RT-PCR system validated to detect all 8 EV-A71 genogroups. This tool could permit the early detection and shift in genogroup circulation and the standardization of HFMD virological diagnosis, facilitating networking of laboratories working on EV-A71 in different regions.

Jovel IT, Ferreira PE, Veiga MI, Malmberg M, Mårtensson A, Kaneko A, Zakeri S, Murillo C, Nosten F, Björkman A, Ursing J. 2014. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum V type H(+) pyrophosphatase gene (pfvp2) and their associations with pfcrt and pfmdr1 polymorphisms. Infect Genet Evol, 24 pp. 111-115. | Citations: 5 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been associated with pfcrt 76T (chloroquine resistance transporter gene) and pfmdr1 86Y (multidrug resistance gene 1) alleles. Pfcrt 76T enables transport of protonated chloroquine out of the parasites digestive vacuole resulting in a loss of hydrogen ions (H(+)). V type H(+) pyrophosphatase (PfVP2) is thought to pump H(+) into the digestive vacuole. This study aimed to describe the geographic distribution of single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfvp2 and their possible associations with pfcrt and pfmdr1 polymorphisms. METHODS: Blood samples from 384 patients collected (1981-2009) in Honduras (n=35), Colombia (n=50), Liberia (n=50), Guinea Bissau (n=50), Tanzania (n=50), Iran (n=50), Thailand (n=49) and Vanuatu (n=50) were analysed. The pfcrt 72-76 haplotype, pfmdr1 copy numbers, pfmdr1 N86Y and pfvp2 V405I, K582R and P711S alleles were identified using PCR based methods. RESULTS: Pfvp2 was amplified in 344 samples. The pfvp2 allele proportions were V405 (97%), 405I (3%), K582 (99%), 582R (1%), P711 (97%) and 711S (3%). The number of patients with any of pfvp2 405I, 582R and/or 711S were as follows: Honduras (2/30), Colombia (0/46), Liberia (7/48), Guinea-Bissau (4/50), Tanzania (3/48), Iran (3/50), Thailand (1/49) and Vanuatu (0/31). The alleles were most common in Liberia (P=0.01) and Liberia+Guinea-Bissau (P=0.01). The VKP haplotype was found in 189/194 (97%) and 131/145 (90%) samples harbouring pfcrt 76T and pfcrt K76 respectively (P=0.007). CONCLUSIONS: The VKP haplotype was dominant. Most pfvp2 405I, 582R and 711S SNPs were seen where CQ resistance was not highly prevalent at the time of blood sampling possibly due to greater genetic variation prior to the bottle neck event of spreading CQ resistance. The association between the pfvp2 VKP haplotype and pfcrt 76T, which may indicate that pfvp2 is involved in CQ resistance, should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Beaudry JT, Krause MA, Diakite SAS, Fay MP, Joshi G, Diakite M, White NJ, Fairhurst RM. 2014. Ex-vivo cytoadherence phenotypes of Plasmodium falciparum strains from Malian children with hemoglobins A, S, and C. PLoS One, 9 (3), pp. e92185. | Citations: 3 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Sickle hemoglobin (Hb) S and HbC may protect against malaria by reducing the expression of Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) on the surface of parasitized red blood cells (RBCs), thereby weakening their cytoadherence to microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) and impairing their activation of MVECs to produce pathological responses. Therefore, we hypothesized that parasites causing malaria in HbAS or HbAC heterozygotes have overcome this protective mechanism by expressing PfEMP1 variants which mediate relatively strong binding to MVECs. To test this hypothesis, we performed 31 cytoadherence comparisons between parasites from HbAA and HbAS (or HbAC) Malian children with malaria. Ring-stage parasites from HbAA and HbAS (or HbAC) children were cultivated to trophozoites, purified, and then inoculated in parallel into the same wildtype uninfected RBCs. After one cycle of invasion and maturation to the trophozoite stage expressing PfEMP1, parasite strains were compared for binding to MVECs. In this assay, there were no significant differences in the binding of parasites from HbAS and HbAC children to MVECs compared to those from HbAA children (HbAS, fold-change  = 1.46, 95% CI 0.97-2.19, p = 0.07; HbAC, fold-change  = 1.19, 95% CI 0.77-1.84, p = 0.43). These data suggest that in-vitro reductions in cytoadherence by HbS and HbC may not be selecting for expression of high-avidity PfEMP1 variants in vivo. Future studies that identify PfEMP1 domains or amino-acid motifs which are selectively expressed in parasites from HbAS children may provide further insights into the mechanism of malaria protection by the sickle-cell trait.

Plewes K, Royakkers AA, Hanson J, Hasan MMU, Alam S, Ghose A, Maude RJ, Stassen PM, Charunwatthana P, Lee SJ et al. 2014. Correlation of biomarkers for parasite burden and immune activation with acute kidney injury in severe falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 91. | Citations: 15 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute kidney injury (AKI) complicating severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria occurs in up to 40% of adult patients. The case fatality rate reaches 75% in the absence of renal replacement therapy (RRT). The precise pathophysiology of AKI in falciparum malaria remains unclear. Histopathology shows acute tubular necrosis with localization of host monocytes and parasitized red blood cells in the microvasculature. This study explored the relationship of plasma soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), as a proxy-measure of mononuclear cell activation, and plasma P. falciparum histidine rich protein 2 (PfHRP2), as a measure of sequestered parasite burden, with AKI in severe malaria. METHODS: Admission plasma suPAR and PfHRP2 concentrations were assessed in Bangladeshi adults with severe falciparum malaria (n=137). Patients were stratified according to AKI severity based on admission creatinine clearance. RESULTS: A total of 106 (77%) patients had AKI; 32 (23%), 42 (31%) and 32 (23%) were classified into 'mild, 'moderate' and 'severe' AKI groups, respectively. Plasma suPAR and PfHRP2 concentrations increased with AKI severity (test-for-trend P <0.0001) and correlated with other markers of renal dysfunction. Admission plasma suPAR and PfHRP2 concentrations were higher in patients who later required RRT (P <0.0001 and P=0.0004, respectively). In a multivariate analysis, both increasing suPAR and PfHRP2 were independently associated with increasing urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin concentration, a marker of acute tubular necrosis (β=16.54 (95% CI 6.36-26.71) and β=0.07 (0.02-0.11), respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Both sequestered parasite burden and immune activation contribute to the pathogenesis of AKI in severe falciparum malaria.

Yadav RP, Nishikiori N, Satha P, Eang MT, Lubell Y. 2014. Cost-effectiveness of a tuberculosis active case finding program targeting household and neighborhood contacts in Cambodia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (5), pp. 866-872. | Citations: 25 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In many high-risk populations, access to tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and treatment is limited and pockets of high prevalence persist. We estimated the cost-effectiveness of an extensive active case finding program in areas of Cambodia where TB notifications and household poverty rates are highest and access to care is restricted. Thirty operational health districts with high TB incidence and household poverty were randomized into intervention and control groups. In intervention operational health districts, all household and symptomatic neighborhood contacts of registered TB patients of the past two years were encouraged to attend screening at mobile centers. In control districts, routine passive case finding activities continued. The program screened more than 35,000 household and neighborhood contacts and identified 810 bacteriologically confirmed cases. The cost-effectiveness analysis estimated that in these cases the reduction in mortality from 14% to 2% would result in a cost per daily adjusted life year averted of $330, suggesting that active case finding was highly cost-effective.

Limmathurotsakul D, Paeyao A, Wongratanacheewin S, Saiprom N, Takpho N, Thaipadungpanit J, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2014. Role of Burkholderia pseudomallei biofilm formation and lipopolysaccharide in relapse of melioidosis. Clin Microbiol Infect, 20 (11), pp. O854-O856. | Citations: 14 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

We examined whether quantitative biofilm formation and/or lipopolysaccharide type of Burkholderia pseudomallei was associated with relapsing melioidosis. We devised a 1:4 nested case-control study in which both cases and controls were drawn from a cohort of patients with primary melioidosis. Paired isolates from 80 patients with relapse and single isolates from 184 patients without relapse were tested. Relapse was associated with biofilm formation of the primary infecting isolate (conditional OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.27-3.25; p 0.003), but not with lipopolysaccharide type (p 0.74). This finding highlights the importance of biofilm formation in relapsing melioidosis.

Cheah PY, Parker M. 2014. Consent and assent in paediatric research in low-income settings. BMC Med Ethics, 15 (1), pp. 22. | Citations: 9 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In order to involve children in the decision-making process about participation in medical research it is widely recommended that the child's assent be sought in addition to parental consent. However, the concept of assent is fraught with difficulties, resulting in confusion among researchers and ethics committees alike. DISCUSSION: In this paper, we outline the current international debate surrounding pediatric consent and assent, and its unique challenges arising in low-income settings. We go on to propose some key requirements for a fit-for-purpose assent model in these difficult settings. The paper recommends that children who are competent, that is, children who are judged to be able to understand and retain relevant information, weigh this information in making a mature judgment, come to a decision and communicate the decision, should be able to consent for themselves. Our proposal is that where the decision about whether to participate in a study is of comparable complexity to the decisions the child is used to making in other aspects of his or her life, it should be made by the child him or herself. The relevant level of complexity should be judged by local standards rather than standards of the developed world. In the paper we explore some of the practical challenges and counter arguments of implementing this proposal. As in high-income settings, we argue that in the case of children who are judged to lack this level of competence both parental consent and assent from the child should be sought and go on to define assent as involving the child to the extent compatible to his or her maturity and with cultural norms and not as obtaining the child's permission to proceed. SUMMARY: The concept of assent in the current guidelines is confusing. There is an urgent need for clearer guidelines that can be adapted for all types of paediatric research wherever it is to be carried out and an evidence-base concerning good assent/consent practice. This paper argues that a context specific approach should be adopted when assessing whether consent or assent should be sought from children in low-income settings.

Jaroensuk J, Stoesser N, Leimanis ML, Jittamala P, White NJ, Nosten FH, McGready R. 2014. Treatment of suspected hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly (HMS) in pregnancy with mefloquine. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (4), pp. 609-611. | Citations: 3 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria infections in pregnancy are associated with adverse outcomes for both mother and child. There are few data on hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly, an aberrant immunological response to chronic or recurrent malaria in pregnancy. This retrospective assessment reviewed the impact of mefloquine treatment on pregnant women with suspected hyper-reactive malarial splenomegaly in an area of low malaria transmission in the 1990s, showing significant reductions in spleen size and anemia and anti-malarial antibody titers without any notable negative effect on treated women or their newborns.

Houghton RL, Reed DE, Hubbard MA, Dillon MJ, Chen H, Currie BJ, Mayo M, Sarovich DS, Theobald V, Limmathurotsakul D et al. 2014. Development of a prototype lateral flow immunoassay (LFI) for the rapid diagnosis of melioidosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (3), pp. e2727. | Citations: 32 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil-dwelling bacterium and the causative agent of melioidosis. Isolation of B. pseudomallei from clinical samples is the "gold standard" for the diagnosis of melioidosis; results can take 3-7 days to produce. Alternatively, antibody-based tests have low specificity due to a high percentage of seropositive individuals in endemic areas. There is a clear need to develop a rapid point-of-care antigen detection assay for the diagnosis of melioidosis. Previously, we employed In vivo Microbial Antigen Discovery (InMAD) to identify potential B. pseudomallei diagnostic biomarkers. The B. pseudomallei capsular polysaccharide (CPS) and numerous protein antigens were identified as potential candidates. Here, we describe the development of a diagnostic immunoassay based on the detection of CPS. Following production of a CPS-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb), an antigen-capture immunoassay was developed to determine the concentration of CPS within a panel of melioidosis patient serum and urine samples. The same mAb was used to produce a prototype Active Melioidosis Detect Lateral Flow Immunoassay (AMD LFI); the limit of detection of the LFI for CPS is comparable to the antigen-capture immunoassay (∼0.2 ng/ml). The analytical reactivity (inclusivity) of the AMD LFI was 98.7% (76/77) when tested against a large panel of B. pseudomallei isolates. Analytical specificity (cross-reactivity) testing determined that 97.2% of B. pseudomallei near neighbor species (35/36) were not reactive. The non-reactive B. pseudomallei strain and the reactive near neighbor strain can be explained through genetic sequence analysis. Importantly, we show the AMD LFI is capable of detecting CPS in a variety of patient samples. The LFI is currently being evaluated in Thailand and Australia; the focus is to optimize and validate testing procedures on melioidosis patient samples prior to initiation of a large, multisite pre-clinical evaluation.

Jittamala P, Pukrittayakamee S, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Taylor WRJ, Lawpoolsri S, Charunwattana P, Panapipat S, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2014. Pharmacokinetics of orally administered oseltamivir in healthy obese and nonobese Thai subjects. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (3), pp. 1615-1621. | Citations: 7 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Oseltamivir is the most widely used anti-influenza drug. In the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in which the influenza viruses were oseltamivir sensitive, obesity was identified as a risk factor for severe disease and unfavorable outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and its active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate, in obese and nonobese healthy subjects. A single-dose, randomized, two-sequence crossover study was conducted in 12 obese and 12 nonobese healthy Thai volunteers. Each volunteer was given 75 mg and 150 mg oseltamivir orally with an intervening washout period of more than 3 days. The pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were evaluated using a noncompartmental approach. The median (range) body mass indexes (BMIs) for obese subjects were 33.8 kg/m(2) (30.8 to 43.2) and 22.2 (18.8 to 24.2) for nonobese subjects. The pharmacokinetic parameters of oseltamivir carboxylate, the active metabolite of oseltamivir, were not significantly different between obese and nonobese subjects for both 75-mg and 150-mg doses. Both doses were well tolerated. Despite the lower dose per kilogram body weight in obese subjects, there was no significant difference in the exposure of oseltamivir carboxylate between the obese and nonobese groups. Standard dosing is appropriate for obese subjects. (The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT 01049763.).

Dittrich S, Castonguay-Vanier J, Moore CE, Thongyoo N, Newton PN, Paris DH. 2014. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification for Rickettsia typhi (the causal agent of murine typhus): Problems with diagnosis at the limit of detection Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 52 (3), pp. 832-838. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Murine typhus is a flea-borne disease of worldwide distribution caused by Rickettsia typhi. Although treatment with tetracycline antibiotics is effective, treatment is often misguided or delayed due to diagnostic difficulties. As the gold standard immunofluorescence assay is imperfect, we aimed to develop and evaluate a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay. LAMP assays have the potential to fulfill the WHO ASSURED criteria (affordable, sensitive, specific, user friendly, robust and rapid, equipment free, deliverable to those who need them) for diagnostic methodologies, as they can detect pathogen-derived nucleic acid with low technical expenditure. The LAMP assay was developed using samples of bacterial isolates (n=41), buffy coat specimens from R. typhi PCR-positive Lao patients (n=42), and diverse negative controls (n=47). The method was then evaluated prospectively using consecutive patients with suspected scrub typhus or murine typhus (n=266). The limit of detection was ∼40 DNA copies/LAMP reaction, with an analytical sensitivity of<10 DNA copies/reaction based on isolate dilutions. Despite these low cutoffs, the clinical sensitivity was disappointing, with 48% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 32.5 to 62.7%) (specificity, 100% [95% CI, 100 to 100%]) in the developmental phase and 33% (95% CI, 9.2 to 56.8%) (specificity, 98.5% [95% CI, 97.0% to 100%]) in the prospective study. This low diagnostic accuracy was attributed to low patient R. typhi bacterial loads (median, 210 DNA copies/ml blood; interquartile range, 130 to 500). PCR-positive but LAMP-negative samples demonstrated significantly lower bacterial loads than LAMP-positive samples. Our findings highlight the diagnostic challenges for diseases with low pathogen burdens and emphasize the need to integrate pathogen biology with improved template production for assay development strategies. Copyright © 2014 Dittrich et al.

White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Hien TT, Faiz MA, Mokuolu OA, Dondorp AM. 2014. Malaria (vol 383, pg 723, 2014) LANCET, 383 (9918), pp. 696-696. | Citations: 1 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Jamornthanyawat N, Awab GR, Tanomsing N, Pukrittayakamee S, Yamin F, Dondorp AM, Day NPJ, White NJ, Woodrow CJ, Imwong M. 2014. A population survey of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) 563C>T (Mediterranean) mutation in Afghanistan. PLoS One, 9 (2), pp. e88605. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a common inherited enzyme defect and an important problem in areas with Plasmodium vivax infection because of the risk of haemolysis following administration of primaquine to treat the liver forms of the parasite. We undertook a genotypic survey of 713 male individuals across nine provinces of Afghanistan in which malaria is found, four in the north and five in the east. RFLP typing at nucleotide position 563 detected 40 individuals with the Mediterranean mutation 563C>T, an overall prevalence of 5.6%. This varied according to self-reported ethnicity, with prevalence in the Pashtun/Pashai group of 33/369 (8.9%) compared to 7/344 individuals in the rest of the population (2.0%; p<0.001, Chi-squared test). Multivariate analysis of ethnicity and geographical location indicated an adjusted odds ratio of 3.50 (95% CI 1.36-9.02) for the Pashtun/Pashai group, while location showed only a trend towards higher prevalence in eastern provinces (adjusted odds ratio = 1.73, 0.73-4.13). Testing of known polymorphic markers (1311C>T in exon 11, and C93T in intron XI) in a subset of 82 individuals wild-type at C563 revealed a mixture of 3 haplotypes in the background population and was consistent with data from the 1000 Genomes Project and published studies. By comparison individuals with G6PD deficiency showed a highly skewed haplotype distribution, with 95% showing the CT haplotype, a finding consistent with relatively recent appearance and positive selection of the Mediterranean variant in Afghanistan. Overall, the data confirm that the Mediterranean variant of G6PD is common in many ethnic groups in Afghanistan, indicating that screening for G6PD deficiency is required in all individuals before radical treatment of P. vivax with primaquine.

Parr M, Dabu CP, Wai NS, Say PS, Ner M, Tun NW, Min A, Gilder ME, Nosten FH, McGready R. 2014. Clinical audit to enhance safe practice of skilled birth attendants for the fetus with nuchal cord: evidence from a refugee and migrant cohort. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 14 (1), pp. 76. | Citations: 4 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Current evidence for optimal management of fetal nuchal cord detected after the head has birthed supports techniques that avoid ligation of the umbilical cord circulation. Routine audit found frequent unsafe management of nuchal cord by skilled birth attendants (SBAs) in migrant and refugee birth centres on the Thai-Burmese border. METHOD: The audit cycle was used to enhance safe practice by SBA for the fetus with nuchal cord. In the three birth centres the action phase of the audit cycle was initially carried out by the doctor responsible for the site. Six months later a registered midwife, present six days per week for three months in one birth facility, encouraged SBAs to facilitate birth with an intact umbilical circulation for nuchal cord. Rates of cord ligation before birth were recorded over a 24 month period (1-July-2011 to 30-June-2013) and in-depth interviews and a knowledge survey of the SBAs took place three months after the registered midwife departure. RESULTS: The proportion of births with nuchal cord ligation declined significantly over the four six monthly quarters from 15.9% (178/1123) before the action phase of the audit cycle; to 11.1% (107/966) during the action phase of the audit cycle with the doctors; to 2.4% (28/1182) with the registered midwife; to 0.9% (9/999) from three to nine months after the departure of the registered midwife, (p < 0.001, linear trend). Significant improvements in safe practice were observed at all three SMRU birth facilities. Knowledge of fetal nuchal cord amongst SBAs was sub-optimal and associated with fear and worry despite improved practice. The support of a registered midwife increased confidence of SBAs. CONCLUSION: The audit cycle and registered midwife interprofessional learning for SBAs led to a significant improvement in safe practice for the fetus with nuchal cord. The authors would encourage this type of learning in organizations with birth facilities on the Thai-Burmese border and in other similar resource limited settings with SBAs.

2014. Clinical audit to enhance safe practice of skilled birth attendants for the fetus with nuchal cord: Evidence from a refugee and migrant cohort BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14 (1), | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Current evidence for optimal management of fetal nuchal cord detected after the head has birthed supports techniques that avoid ligation of the umbilical cord circulation. Routine audit found frequent unsafe management of nuchal cord by skilled birth attendants (SBAs) in migrant and refugee birth centres on the Thai-Burmese border.Method: The audit cycle was used to enhance safe practice by SBA for the fetus with nuchal cord. In the three birth centres the action phase of the audit cycle was initially carried out by the doctor responsible for the site. Six months later a registered midwife, present six days per week for three months in one birth facility, encouraged SBAs to facilitate birth with an intact umbilical circulation for nuchal cord. Rates of cord ligation before birth were recorded over a 24 month period (1-July-2011 to 30-June-2013) and in-depth interviews and a knowledge survey of the SBAs took place three months after the registered midwife departure.Results: The proportion of births with nuchal cord ligation declined significantly over the four six monthly quarters from 15.9% (178/1123) before the action phase of the audit cycle; to 11.1% (107/966) during the action phase of the audit cycle with the doctors; to 2.4% (28/1182) with the registered midwife; to 0.9% (9/999) from three to nine months after the departure of the registered midwife, (p < 0.001, linear trend). Significant improvements in safe practice were observed at all three SMRU birth facilities. Knowledge of fetal nuchal cord amongst SBAs was sub-optimal and associated with fear and worry despite improved practice. The support of a registered midwife increased confidence of SBAs.Conclusion: The audit cycle and registered midwife interprofessional learning for SBAs led to a significant improvement in safe practice for the fetus with nuchal cord. The authors would encourage this type of learning in organizations with birth facilities on the Thai-Burmese border and in other similar resource limited settings with SBAs. © 2014 Parr et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Maung Lwin K, Cheah PY, Cheah PK, White NJ, Day NPJ, Nosten F, Parker M. 2014. Motivations and perceptions of community advisory boards in the ethics of medical research: the case of the Thai-Myanmar border. BMC Med Ethics, 15 (1), pp. 12. | Citations: 12 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Community engagement is increasingly promoted as a marker of good, ethical practice in the context of international collaborative research in low-income countries. There is, however, no widely agreed definition of community engagement or of approaches adopted. Justifications given for its use also vary. Community engagement is, for example, variously seen to be of value in: the development of more effective and appropriate consent processes; improved understanding of the aims and forms of research; higher recruitment rates; the identification of important ethical issues; the building of better relationships between the community and researchers; the obtaining of community permission to approach potential research participants; and, the provision of better health care. Despite these diverse and potentially competing claims made for the importance of community engagement, there is very little published evidence on effective models of engagement or their evaluation. METHODS: In this paper, drawing upon interviews with the members of a Community Advisory Board on the Thai-Myanmar border, we describe and critically reflect upon an approach to community engagement which was developed in the context of international collaborative research in the border region. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Drawing on our analysis, we identify a number of considerations relevant to the development of an approach to evaluating community engagement in this complex research setting. The paper also identifies a range of important ways in which the Community Advisory Board is in practice understood by its members (and perhaps by community members beyond this) to have morally significant roles and responsibilities beyond those usually associated with the successful and appropriate conduct of research.

Chewapreecha C, Harris SR, Croucher NJ, Turner C, Marttinen P, Cheng L, Pessia A, Aanensen DM, Mather AE, Page AJ et al. 2014. Dense genomic sampling identifies highways of pneumococcal recombination. Nat Genet, 46 (3), pp. 305-309. | Citations: 153 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Evasion of clinical interventions by Streptococcus pneumoniae occurs through selection of non-susceptible genomic variants. We report whole-genome sequencing of 3,085 pneumococcal carriage isolates from a 2.4-km(2) refugee camp. This sequencing provides unprecedented resolution of the process of recombination and its impact on population evolution. Genomic recombination hotspots show remarkable consistency between lineages, indicating common selective pressures acting at certain loci, particularly those associated with antibiotic resistance. Temporal changes in antibiotic consumption are reflected in changes in recombination trends, demonstrating rapid spread of resistance when selective pressure is high. The highest frequencies of receipt and donation of recombined DNA fragments were observed in non-encapsulated lineages, implying that this largely overlooked pneumococcal group, which is beyond the reach of current vaccines, may have a major role in genetic exchange and the adaptation of the species as a whole. These findings advance understanding of pneumococcal population dynamics and provide information for the design of future intervention strategies.

Kondrashin A, Baranova AM, Ashley EA, Recht J, White NJ, Sergiev VP. 2014. Mass primaquine treatment to eliminate vivax malaria: lessons from the past. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 51. | Citations: 26 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent successes in malaria control have put malaria eradication back on the public health agenda. A significant obstacle to malaria elimination in Asia is the large burden of Plasmodium vivax, which is more difficult to eliminate than Plasmodium falciparum. Persistent P. vivax liver stages can be eliminated only by radical treatment with a ≥ seven-day course of an 8-aminoquinoline, with the attendant risk of acute haemolytic anaemia in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Primaquine is the only generally available 8-aminoquinoline. Testing for G6PD deficiency is not widely available, and so whilst it is widely recommended, primaquine is often not prescribed. In the past, some countries aiming for vivax malaria eradication deployed mass treatments with primaquine on a massive scale, without G6PD testing. In Azerbaijan, Tajikistan (formerly USSR), North Afghanistan and DPR Korea 8,270,185 people received either a 14-day "standard" or a 17-day "interrupted" primaquine treatment to control post-eradication malaria epidemics. These mass primaquine preventive treatment campaigns were conducted by dedicated teams who administered the drugs under supervision and then monitored the population for adverse events. Despite estimated G6PD prevalences up to 38.7%, the reported frequency of severe adverse events related to primaquine was very low. This experience shows that with careful planning and implementation of mass treatment strategies using primaquine and adequate medical support to manage haemolytic toxicity, it is possible to achieve high population coverage, substantially reduce malaria transmission, and manage the risk of severe acute haemolytic anaemia in communities with a relatively high prevalence of G6PD deficiency safely.

2014. Mass primaquine treatment to eliminate vivax malaria: Lessons from the past Malaria Journal, 13 (1), | Citations: 27 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent successes in malaria control have put malaria eradication back on the public health agenda. A significant obstacle to malaria elimination in Asia is the large burden of Plasmodium vivax, which is more difficult to eliminate than Plasmodium falciparum. Persistent P. vivax liver stages can be eliminated only by radical treatment with a ≥ seven-day course of an 8-aminoquinoline, with the attendant risk of acute haemolytic anaemia in individuals with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Primaquine is the only generally available 8-aminoquinoline. Testing for G6PD deficiency is not widely available, and so whilst it is widely recommended, primaquine is often not prescribed. In the past, some countries aiming for vivax malaria eradication deployed mass treatments with primaquine on a massive scale, without G6PD testing. In Azerbaijan, Tajikistan (formerly USSR), North Afghanistan and DPR Korea 8,270,185 people received either a 14-day "standard" or a 17-day "interrupted" primaquine treatment to control post-eradication malaria epidemics. These mass primaquine preventive treatment campaigns were conducted by dedicated teams who administered the drugs under supervision and then monitored the population for adverse events. Despite estimated G6PD prevalences up to 38.7%, the reported frequency of severe adverse events related to primaquine was very low. This experience shows that with careful planning and implementation of mass treatment strategies using primaquine and adequate medical support to manage haemolytic toxicity, it is possible to achieve high population coverage, substantially reduce malaria transmission, and manage the risk of severe acute haemolytic anaemia in communities with a relatively high prevalence of G6PD deficiency safely. © 2014 Kondrashin et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Vermeersch A, Libaud-Moal A, Rodrigues A, White NJ, Olliaro P, Gomes M, Ashley EA, Millet P. 2014. Introducing the concept of a new pre-referral treatment for severely ill febrile children at community level: a sociological approach in Guinea-Bissau. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 50. | Citations: 2 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Innovative strategies are needed to tackle childhood mortality in the rural tropics. Artesunate suppositories were developed to bring emergency treatment closer to severely ill children with malaria in rural areas where injectable treatment is not possible for several hours. Adding an antibacterial rectal drug would extend this strategy to treat non-malarial febrile illness as well. The objective of these studies was to assess acceptability of such a new pre-referral strategy by healthcare providers and likely uptake by the population. METHODS: Two qualitative studies were conducted between May and July 2009. Study 1 investigated the acceptability of introducing a combined antimalarial-antibacterial suppository by interviewing 27 representatives of the three administrative levels (central government, regional, local) of the health sector; Study 2 investigated treatment-seeking behaviour and acceptability of this intervention at community level by interviewing 74 mothers in 2 villages. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Up to 92% of health representatives were in favour of introducing a new pre-referral strategy to tackle both malaria and non-malaria related severe illnesses in Guinea-Bissau, provided it was endorsed by international health authorities. The main obstacles to implementation were the very limited human and financial resources. In the two villages surveyed, 44% of the mothers associated severe illness with fever only, or fever plus one additional symptom. Mothers' judgement of severity and ensuing decisions were not specific for serious illness, indicating that initial training to recognize signs of severe disease and treatment availability for non-severe, fever-associated symptoms will be required to prevent overuse of a new intervention designed as a pre-referral treatment for severely ill children. Level C health centres were the first resort in both villages (50% and 87% of respondents respectively). This information is encouraging for the implementation of a pre-referral treatment.

Eziefula AC, Bousema T, Yeung S, Kamya M, Owaraganise A, Gabagaya G, Bradley J, Grignard L, Lanke KHW, Wanzira H et al. 2014. Single dose primaquine for clearance of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in children with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda: a randomised, controlled, double-blind, dose-ranging trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (2), pp. 130-139. | Citations: 63 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primaquine is the only available drug that clears mature Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in infected human hosts, thereby preventing transmission of malaria to mosquitoes. However, concerns about dose-dependent haemolysis in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiencies have limited its use. We assessed the dose-response association of single-dose primaquine for gametocyte clearance and for safety in P falciparum malaria. METHODS: We undertook this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with four parallel groups in Jinja district, eastern Uganda. We randomly allocated Ugandan children aged 1-10 years with uncomplicated falciparum malaria and normal G6PD enzyme function to receive artemether-lumefantrine, combined with either placebo or with 0.1 mg/kg, 0.4 mg/kg, or 0.75 mg/kg (WHO reference dose) primaquine base. Randomisation was done with computer-generated four-digit treatment assignment codes allocated to random dose groups in block sizes of 16. Study staff who provided care or assessed outcomes and the participants remained masked to the intervention group after assignment. The primary efficacy endpoint was the non-inferiority of the mean duration of gametocyte carriage in the test doses compared with the reference group of 0.75 mg primaquine per kg, with a non-inferiority margin of 2.5 days. The primary safety endpoint was the superiority of the arithmetic mean maximum decrease in haemoglobin concentration from enrolment to day 28 of follow-up in the primaquine treatment groups compared with placebo, with use of significance testing of pairwise comparisons with a cutoff of p=0.05. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01365598. FINDINGS: We randomly allocated 468 participants to receive artemether-lumefantrine combined with placebo (119 children) or with 0.1 mg/kg (116), 0.4 mg/kg (116), or 0.75 mg/kg (117) primaquine base. The mean duration of gametocyte carriage was 6.6 days (95% CI 5.3-7.8) in the 0.75 mg/kg reference group, 6.3 days (5.1-7.5) in the 0.4 mg/kg primaquine group (p=0.74), 8.0 days (6.6-9.4) in the 0.1 mg/kg primaquine group (p=0.14), and 12.4 days (9.9-15.0) in the placebo group (p<0.0001). No children showed evidence of treatment-related haemolysis, and the mean maximum decrease in haemoglobin concentration was not associated with the dose of primaquine received-it did not differ significantly compared with placebo (10.7 g/L, SD 11.1) in the 0.1 mg/kg (11.4 g/L, 9.4; p=0.61), 0.4 mg/kg (11.3 g/L, 10.0; p=0.67), or 0.75 mg/kg (12.7 g/L, 8.2; p=0.11) primaquine groups. INTERPRETATION: We conclude that 0.4 mg/kg primaquine has similar gametocytocidal efficacy to the reference 0.75 mg/kg primaquine dose, but a dose of 0.1 mg/kg was inconclusive for non-inferiority. Our findings call for the prioritisation of further trials into the efficacy and safety of doses of primaquine between 0.1 mg/kg and 0.4 mg/kg (including the dose of 0.25 mg/kg recently recommended by WHO), in view of the potential for widespread use of the drug to block malaria transmission. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wongsuvan G, Aanensen D, Ngamwilai S, Saiprom N, Rongkard P, Thaipadungpanit J, Kanoksil M, Chantratita N, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2014. Melioidosis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei in drinking water, Thailand, 2012. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (2), pp. 265-268. | Citations: 24 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

We identified 10 patients in Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis who had Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from their drinking water. The multilocus sequence type of B. pseudomallei from clinical specimens and water samples were identical for 2 patients. This finding suggests that drinking water is a preventable source of B. pseudomallei infection.

Suntornsut P, Wongsuvan G, Wuthiekanun V, Kasemsupat K, Jutrakul Y, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. In response. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (2), pp. 386. | Read more

2014. Single dose primaquine for clearance of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in children with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda: A randomised, controlled, double-blind, dose-ranging trial The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 14 (2), pp. 130-139. | Citations: 71 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Primaquine is the only available drug that clears mature Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes in infected human hosts, thereby preventing transmission of malaria to mosquitoes. However, concerns about dose-dependent haemolysis in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiencies have limited its use. We assessed the dose-response association of single-dose primaquine for gametocyte clearance and for safety in P falciparum malaria. Methods: We undertook this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with four parallel groups in Jinja district, eastern Uganda. We randomly allocated Ugandan children aged 1-10 years with uncomplicated falciparum malaria and normal G6PD enzyme function to receive artemether-lumefantrine, combined with either placebo or with 0·1 mg/kg, 0·4 mg/kg, or 0·75 mg/kg (WHO reference dose) primaquine base. Randomisation was done with computer-generated four-digit treatment assignment codes allocated to random dose groups in block sizes of 16. Study staff who provided care or assessed outcomes and the participants remained masked to the intervention group after assignment. The primary efficacy endpoint was the non-inferiority of the mean duration of gametocyte carriage in the test doses compared with the reference group of 0·75 mg primaquine per kg, with a non-inferiority margin of 2·5 days. The primary safety endpoint was the superiority of the arithmetic mean maximum decrease in haemoglobin concentration from enrolment to day 28 of follow-up in the primaquine treatment groups compared with placebo, with use of significance testing of pairwise comparisons with a cutoff of p=0·05. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01365598. Findings: We randomly allocated 468 participants to receive artemether-lumefantrine combined with placebo (119 children) or with 0·1 mg/kg (116), 0·4 mg/kg (116), or 0·75 mg/kg (117) primaquine base. The mean duration of gametocyte carriage was 6·6 days (95% CI 5·3-7·8) in the 0·75 mg/kg reference group, 6·3 days (5·1-7·5) in the 0·4 mg/kg primaquine group (p=0·74), 8·0 days (6·6-9·4) in the 0·1 mg/kg primaquine group (p=0·14), and 12·4 days (9·9-15·0) in the placebo group (p<0·0001). No children showed evidence of treatment-related haemolysis, and the mean maximum decrease in haemoglobin concentration was not associated with the dose of primaquine received-it did not differ significantly compared with placebo (10·7 g/L, SD 11·1) in the 0·1 mg/kg (11·4 g/L, 9·4; p=0·61), 0·4 mg/kg (11·3 g/L, 10·0; p=0·67), or 0·75 mg/kg (12·7 g/L, 8·2; p=0·11) primaquine groups. Interpretation: We conclude that 0·4 mg/kg primaquine has similar gametocytocidal efficacy to the reference 0·75 mg/kg primaquine dose, but a dose of 0·1 mg/kg was inconclusive for non-inferiority. Our findings call for the prioritisation of further trials into the efficacy and safety of doses of primaquine between 0·1 mg/kg and 0·4 mg/kg (including the dose of 0·25 mg/kg recently recommended by WHO), in view of the potential for widespread use of the drug to block malaria transmission. Funding: Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. © 2014 Eziefula et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY-NC-ND.

Chantler T, Cheah PY, Miiro G, Hantrakum V, Nanvubya A, Ayuo E, Kivaya E, Kidola J, Kaleebu P, Parker M et al. 2014. International health research monitoring: exploring a scientific and a cooperative approach using participatory action research. BMJ Open, 4 (2), pp. e004104. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate and determine the value of monitoring models developed by the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Research Unit and the East African Consortium for Clinical Research, consider how this can be measured and explore monitors' and investigators' experiences of and views about the nature, purpose and practice of monitoring. RESEARCH DESIGN: A case study approach was used within the context of participatory action research because one of the aims was to guide and improve practice. 34 interviews, five focus groups and observations of monitoring practice were conducted. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Fieldwork occurred in the places where the monitoring models are coordinated and applied in Thailand, Cambodia, Uganda and Kenya. Participants included those coordinating the monitoring schemes, monitors, senior investigators and research staff. ANALYSIS: Transcribed textual data from field notes, interviews and focus groups was imported into a qualitative data software program (NVIVO V. 10) and analysed inductively and thematically by a qualitative researcher. The initial coding framework was reviewed internally and two main categories emerged from the subsequent interrogation of the data. RESULTS: The categories that were identified related to the conceptual framing and nature of monitoring, and the practice of monitoring, including relational factors. Particular emphasis was given to the value of a scientific and cooperative style of monitoring as a means of enhancing data quality, trust and transparency. In terms of practice the primary purpose of monitoring was defined as improving the conduct of health research and increasing the capacity of researchers and trial sites. CONCLUSIONS: The models studied utilise internal and network wide expertise to improve the ethics and quality of clinical research. They demonstrate how monitoring can be a scientific and constructive exercise rather than a threatening process. The value of cooperative relations needs to be given more emphasis in monitoring activities, which seek to ensure that research protects human rights and produces reliable data.

Lubell Y. 2014. Investment in malaria elimination: a leap of faith in need of direction. Lancet Glob Health, 2 (2), pp. e63-e64. | Citations: 3 (European Pubmed Central) | Read more

Eziefula AC, Bousema T, Yeung S, Kamya M, Owaraganise A, Gabagaya G, Bradley J, Grignard L, Lanke KHW, Wanzira H et al. 2014. Single dose primaquine for clearance of Plasmodium falaparum gametocytes in children with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda: a randomised, controlled, double-blind, dose-ranging trial LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 14 (2), pp. 130-139. | Citations: 66 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Tarantola A, Goutard F, Newton P, de Lamballerie X, Lortholary O, Cappelle J, Buchy P. 2014. Estimating the burden of Japanese encephalitis virus and other encephalitides in countries of the mekong region. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (1), pp. e2533. | Citations: 26 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Diverse aetiologies of viral and bacterial encephalitis are widely recognized as significant yet neglected public health issues in the Mekong region. A robust analysis of the corresponding health burden is lacking. We retrieved 75 articles on encephalitis in the region published in English or in French from 1965 through 2011. Review of available data demonstrated that they are sparse and often derived from hospital-based studies with significant recruitment bias. Almost half (35 of 75) of articles were on Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) alone or associated with dengue. In the Western Pacific region the WHO reported 30,000-50,000 annual JEV cases (15,000 deaths) between 1966 and 1996 and 4,633 cases (200 deaths) in 2008, a decline likely related to the introduction of JEV vaccination in China, Vietnam, or Thailand since the 1980s. Data on dengue, scrub typhus and rabies encephalitis, among other aetiologies, are also reviewed and discussed. Countries of the Mekong region are undergoing profound demographic, economic and ecological change. As the epidemiological aspects of Japanese encephalitis (JE) are transformed by vaccination in some countries, highly integrated expert collaborative research and objective data are needed to identify and prioritize the human health, animal health and economic burden due to JE and other pathogens associated with encephalitides.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Price RN, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK, Tjitra E et al. 2014. Rapid clinical assessment to facilitate the triage of adults with falciparum malaria, a retrospective analysis. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e87020. | Citations: 9 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most adults dying from falciparum malaria will die within 48 hours of their hospitalisation. An essential component of early supportive care is the rapid identification of patients at greatest risk. In resource-poor settings, where most patients with falciparum malaria are managed, decisions regarding patient care must frequently be made using clinical evaluation alone. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed 4 studies of 1801 adults with severe falciparum malaria to determine whether the presence of simple clinical findings might assist patient triage. RESULTS: If present on admission, shock, oligo-anuria, hypo- or hyperglycaemia, an increased respiratory rate, a decreased Glasgow Coma Score and an absence of fever were independently predictive of death. The variables were used to construct a simple clinical algorithm. When applied to the 1801 patients, this algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 99.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 97.8-99.9) and for survival to discharge 96.9% (95% CI 94.3-98.5). In the 712 patients receiving artesunate, the algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 100% (95% CI 97.3-100) and to discharge was 98.5% (95% CI 94.8-99.8). CONCLUSIONS: Simple clinical findings are closely linked to the pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria in adults. A basic algorithm employing these indices can facilitate the triage of patients in settings where intensive care services are limited. Patients classified as low-risk by this algorithm can be safely managed initially on a general ward whilst awaiting senior clinical review and laboratory data.

Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Lwin KM, Annerberg A, Kiricharoen L, Ashley E, White NJ, Nosten F, Day NPJ. 2014. Population pharmacokinetic assessment of the effect of food on piperaquine bioavailability in patients with uncomplicated malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (4), pp. 2052-2058. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Previously published literature reports various impacts of food on the oral bioavailability of piperaquine. The aim of this study was to use a population modeling approach to investigate the impact of concomitant intake of a small amount of food on piperaquine pharmacokinetics. This was an open, randomized comparison of piperaquine pharmacokinetics when administered as a fixed oral formulation once daily for 3 days with (n=15) and without (n=15) concomitant food to patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to characterize the pharmacokinetics of piperaquine and the influence of concomitant food intake. A modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach was applied to evaluate the relationship between statistical power and various degrees of covariate effect sizes of the given study design. Piperaquine population pharmacokinetics were described well in fasting and fed patients by a three-compartment distribution model with flexible absorption. The final model showed a 25% increase in relative bioavailability per dose occasion during recovery from malaria but demonstrated no clinical impact of concomitant intake of a low-fat meal. Body weight and age were both significant covariates in the final model. The novel power approach concluded that the study was adequately powered to detect a food effect of at least 35%. This modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach may be a useful tool for evaluating the power to detect true covariate effects in mixed-effects modeling and a given study design. A small amount of food does not affect piperaquine absorption significantly in acute malaria.

Scarsi KK, Fehintola FA, Ma Q, Aweeka FT, Darin KM, Morse GD, Akinola IT, Adedeji WA, Lindegardh N, Tarning J et al. 2014. Disposition of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in HIV-infected Nigerian subjects on nevirapine-containing antiretroviral therapy. J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (5), pp. 1370-1376. | Citations: 8 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Artesunate plus amodiaquine is used for malaria treatment in regions with overlapping HIV endemicity. Co-administration of artesunate/amodiaquine with antiretroviral therapy (ART) may result in drug-drug interactions, but minimal data exist. This study evaluated the impact of nevirapine-based ART, containing a backbone of zidovudine and lamivudine, on the disposition of amodiaquine and its active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine (DEAQ). METHODS: This was an open-label, parallel-group pharmacokinetic comparison between HIV-infected, adult subjects receiving steady-state nevirapine-based ART (n = 10) and ART-naive subjects (control group, n = 11). All subjects received a loose formulation of artesunate/amodiaquine (200/600 mg) daily for 3 days, with serial pharmacokinetic sampling over 96 h following the final dose of artesunate/amodiaquine. Amodiaquine and DEAQ were quantified using a validated HPLC method with UV detection. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined using standard non-compartmental methods. RESULTS: Exposures to both amodiaquine and DEAQ were significantly lower in the nevirapine-based ART group compared with the control group (amodiaquine AUC₀₋₂₄ 145 versus 204 ng·h/mL, P = 0.02; DEAQ AUC₀₋₉₆ 14,571 versus 21,648 ng·h/mL, P < 0.01). The AUCDEAQ/AUC(amodiaquine) ratio was not different between groups (ART group 116 versus control group 102, P = 0.67). CONCLUSIONS: Subjects on nevirapine-based ART had lower exposure to both amodiaquine and DEAQ (28.9% and 32.7%, respectively). Consequently, this may negatively impact the effectiveness of artesunate/amodiaquine in HIV-infected individuals on this ART combination.

Poespoprodjo JR, Fobia W, Kenangalem E, Lampah DA, Sugiarto P, Tjitra E, Anstey NM, Price RN. 2014. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment of multidrug resistant falciparum and vivax malaria in pregnancy. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e84976. | Citations: 30 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is recommended for the treatment of multidrug resistant malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, but the experience with ACTs is limited. We review the exposure of pregnant women to the combination dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine over a 6 year period. METHODS: From April 2004-June 2009, a prospective hospital-based surveillance screened all pregnant women for malaria and documented maternal and neonatal outcomes. RESULTS: Data were available on 6519 pregnant women admitted to hospital; 332 (5.1%) women presented in the first trimester, 324 (5.0%) in the second, 5843 (89.6%) in the third, and in 20 women the trimester was undocumented. Peripheral parasitaemia was confirmed in 1682 women, of whom 106 (6.3%) had severe malaria. Of the 1217 women admitted with malaria in the second and third trimesters without an impending adverse outcome, those treated with DHP were more likely to be discharged with an ongoing pregnancy compared to those treated with a non-ACT regimen (Odds Ratio OR = 2.48 [1.26-4.86]); p = 0.006. However in the first trimester 63% (5/8) of women treated with oral DHP miscarried compared to 2.6% (1/38) of those receiving oral quinine; p<0.001. Of the 847 women admitted for delivery those reporting a history of malaria during their pregnancy who had been treated with quinine-based regimens rather than DHP had a higher risk of malaria at delivery (adjusted OR = 1.56 (95%CI 0.97-2.5), p = 0.068) and perinatal mortality (adjusted OR = 3.17 [95%CI: 1.17-8.60]; p = 0.023). CONCLUSIONS: In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, a three day course of DHP simplified antimalarial treatment and had significant benefits over quinine-based regimens in reducing recurrent malaria and poor fetal outcome. These data provide reassuring evidence for the rational design of prospective randomized clinical trials and pharmacokinetic studies.

Miller RM, Price JR, Batty EM, Didelot X, Wyllie D, Golubchik T, Crook DW, Paul J, Peto TEA, Wilson DJ et al. 2014. Healthcare-associated outbreak of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: role of a cryptic variant of an epidemic clone. J Hosp Infect, 86 (2), pp. 83-89. | Citations: 22 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New strains of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may be associated with changes in rates of disease or clinical presentation. Conventional typing techniques may not detect new clonal variants that underlie changes in epidemiology or clinical phenotype. AIM: To investigate the role of clonal variants of MRSA in an outbreak of MRSA bacteraemia at a hospital in England. METHODS: Bacteraemia isolates of the major UK lineages (EMRSA-15 and -16) from before and after the outbreak were analysed by whole-genome sequencing in the context of epidemiological and clinical data. For comparison, EMRSA-15 and -16 isolates from another hospital in England were sequenced. A clonal variant of EMRSA-16 was identified at the outbreak hospital and a molecular signature test designed to distinguish variant isolates among further EMRSA-16 strains. FINDINGS: By whole-genome sequencing, EMRSA-16 isolates during the outbreak showed strikingly low genetic diversity (P < 1 × 10(-6), Monte Carlo test), compared with EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16 isolates from before the outbreak or the comparator hospital, demonstrating the emergence of a clonal variant. The variant was indistinguishable from the ancestral strain by conventional typing. This clonal variant accounted for 64/72 (89%) of EMRSA-16 bacteraemia isolates at the outbreak hospital from 2006. CONCLUSIONS: Evolutionary changes in epidemic MRSA strains not detected by conventional typing may be associated with changes in disease epidemiology. Rapid and affordable technologies for whole-genome sequencing are becoming available with the potential to identify and track the emergence of variants of highly clonal organisms.

Chu CS, Winearls S, Ling C, Torchinsky MB, Phyo AP, Haohankunnathum W, Turner P, Wuthiekanun V, Nosten F. 2014. Two fatal cases of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border. F1000Res, 3 pp. 4. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is endemic in areas of Southeast Asia, however, there are no published reports from the Thai-Myanmar border. We report the first two documented cases of fatal melioidosis in this region. This is of great public health importance and highlights the need to both increase clinical awareness of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border, and to assess the true burden of disease in the area through improved case detection and Burkholderia pseudomallei prevalence studies.

Chu CS, Winearls S, Ling C, Phyo AP, Haohankunnathum W, Turner P, Wuthiekanun V, Nosten F. 2014. Two fatal cases of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border F1000Research, 3 pp. 4-4. | Citations: 1 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

<ns4:p>Melioidosis is endemic in areas of Southeast Asia, however, there are no published reports from the Thai-Myanmar border.  We report the first two cases of fatal melioidosis in this region. This is of great public health importance and highlights the need to increase clinical awareness of melioidosis on the Thai-Myanmar border and to assess the true burden of disease in the area through improved case detection and <ns4:italic>Burkholderia pseudomallei</ns4:italic> prevalence studies.</ns4:p>

Chaikitgosiyakul S, Rijken MJ, Muehlenbachs A, Lee SJ, Chaisri U, Viriyavejakul P, Turner GD, Pongponratn E, Nosten F, McGready R. 2014. A morphometric and histological study of placental malaria shows significant changes to villous architecture in both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infection. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 4. | Citations: 15 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy remains a major health problem. Placental malaria infection may cause pathophysiological changes in pregnancy and result in morphological changes to placental villi. Quantitative histomorphological image analysis of placental biopsies was performed to compare placental villous architecture between active or treated placental malaria cases and controls. METHODS: A total of 67 placentas were studied from three clinical groups: control patients who did not have malaria (n = 27), active (n = 14) and treated (n=26) malaria cases, including both Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections. Image analysis of histological placental sections was performed using ImageJ software to measure the number and size (area) of terminal villi, perimeter measurement per villus and total perimeter per unit area, and number of capillaries per villus (vascularity). Histological features of placental malaria were scored and these results were correlated with malaria status and clinical outcomes. RESULTS: Villous size correlated with vascularity (p <0.0001) but was inversely correlated with observed villi per unit area, (p = 0.0001). Significantly greater villous area and vascularity was observed in UK controls. Indices of histological malaria infection were significantly greater in active versus treated malaria cases. Active placental malaria cases showed significantly smaller villous area (p <0.0084), vascularity (p <0.0139) and perimeter (p <0.0006) than treated malaria cases or controls, but significantly more villi per unit area (p <0.0001). Villous size in treated malaria cases was significantly larger than active placental malaria cases (p <0.001) and similar to controls. There was a significant relationship between villous number and anaemia at the time of infection (p <0.0034), but not placental weight, birth weight or gestational age at delivery. No differences were found between histology or villous morphology comparing infections with P. falciparum or P. vivax. CONCLUSIONS: These results imply that villous size, perimeter and vascularity are acutely decreased during active placental malaria, decreasing the surface area available for gas exchange per villus. However the increased number of villi per unit area offsets this change and persists after treatment. Histopathological and villous architectural changes may be reversed by early detection and appropriate anti-malarial treatment.

Maude RR, Amir Hossain M, Hassan MU, Osbourne S, Langan K, Sayeed A, Karim MR, Samad R, Borooah S, Dhillon B et al. 2014. Correction: Transorbital Sonographic Evaluation of Normal Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter in Healthy Volunteers in Bangladesh PLoS ONE, 9 (1), | Read more

Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Myers ND, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Mahavanakul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, West TE. 2014. Common TLR1 genetic variation is not associated with death from melioidosis, a common cause of sepsis in rural Thailand. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e83285. | Citations: 3 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, infection caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is a common cause of sepsis in northeast Thailand. In white North Americans, common functional genetic variation in TLR1 is associated with organ failure and death from sepsis. We hypothesized that TLR1 variants would be associated with outcomes in Thais with melioidosis. We collated the global frequencies of three TLR1 variants that are common in white North American populations: rs5743551 (-7202A/G), rs4833095 (742A/G), and rs5743618 (1804G/T). We noted a reversal of the minor allele from white North American subjects to Asian populations that was particularly pronounced for rs5743618. In the Utah residents of European ancestry, the frequency of the rs5743618 T allele was 17% whereas in Vietnamese subjects the frequency was >99%. We conducted a genetic association study in 427 patients with melioidosis to determine the association of TLR1 variation with organ failure or death. We genotyped rs5743551 and rs4833095. The variants were in high linkage disequilibrium but neither variant was associated with organ failure or in-hospital death. In 300 healthy Thai individuals we further tested the association of TLR1 variation with ex vivo blood responses to Pam3CSK4, a TLR1 agonist. Neither variant was robustly associated with blood cytokine responses induced by Pam3CSK4. We identified additional common variation in TLR1 by searching public databases and the published literature and screened three additional TLR1 variants for associations with Pam3CSK4-induced responses but found none. We conclude that the genetic architecture of TLR1 variation differs substantially in southeast Asians compared to other populations and common variation in TLR1 in Thais is not associated with outcome from melioidosis or with altered blood responses to Pam3CSK4. Our findings highlight the need for additional studies of TLR1 and other innate immune genetic modulators of the inflammatory host response and determinants of sepsis in southeast Asian populations.

2014. Interventions to reduce colonisation and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in intensive care units: An interrupted time series study and cluster randomised trial The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 14 (1), pp. 31-39. | Citations: 170 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Intensive care units (ICUs) are high-risk areas for transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, but no controlled study has tested the effect of rapid screening and isolation of carriers on transmission in settings with best-standard precautions. We assessed interventions to reduce colonisation and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in European ICUs. Methods: We did this study in three phases at 13 ICUs. After a 6 month baseline period (phase 1), we did an interrupted time series study of universal chlorhexidine body-washing combined with hand hygiene improvement for 6 months (phase 2), followed by a 12-15 month cluster randomised trial (phase 3). ICUs were randomly assigned by computer generated randomisation schedule to either conventional screening (chromogenic screening for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] and vancomycin-resistant enterococci [VRE]) or rapid screening (PCR testing for MRSA and VRE and chromogenic screening for highly resistant Enterobacteriaceae [HRE]); with contact precautions for identified carriers. The primary outcome was acquisition of resistant bacteria per 100 patient-days at risk, for which we calculated step changes and changes in trends after the introduction of each intervention. We assessed acquisition by microbiological surveillance and analysed it with a multilevel Poisson segmented regression model. We compared screening groups with a likelihood ratio test that combined step changes and changes to trend. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00976638. Findings: Seven ICUs were assigned to rapid screening and six to conventional screening. Mean hand hygiene compliance improved from 52% in phase 1 to 69% in phase 2, and 77% in phase 3. Median proportions of patients receiving chlorhexidine body-washing increased from 0% to 100% at the start of phase 2. For trends in acquisition of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, weekly incidence rate ratio (IRR) was 0·976 (0·954-0·999) for phase 2 and 1·015 (0·998-1·032) for phase 3. For step changes, weekly IRR was 0·955 (0·676-1·348) for phase 2 and 0·634 (0·349-1·153) for phase 3. The decrease in trend in phase 2 was largely caused by changes in acquisition of MRSA (weekly IRR 0·925, 95% CI 0·890-0·962). Acquisition was lower in the conventional screening group than in the rapid screening group, but did not differ significantly (p=0·06). Interpretation: Improved hand hygiene plus unit-wide chlorhexidine body-washing reduced acquisition of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, particularly MRSA. In the context of a sustained high level of compliance to hand hygiene and chlorhexidine bathings, screening and isolation of carriers do not reduce acquisition rates of multidrug-resistant bacteria, whether or not screening is done with rapid testing or conventional testing. Funding: European Commission. © 2014 Derde et al. Open Access article distributed under the terms of CC BY-NC-SA.

Török ME, Day NPJ. 2014. Staphylococcal and streptococcal infections Medicine, 42 (1), pp. 1-7. | Citations: 2 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcal and streptococcal infections are common infectious diseases and can range from mild, superficial skin infections to severe, life-threatening systemic infections. Staphylococcus aureus, group A streptococcus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae are the three major pathogens. The prevalence of invasive infections caused by community-associated meticillin-resistant S. aureus and group A streptococci appears to be increasing. The emergence of drug resistance (e.g. meticillin and glycopeptide resistance in S. aureus, macrolide resistance in group A streptococci and penicillin resistance in S. pneumoniae), is causing concern and could threaten successful treatment. Streptococcus suis has emerged as an important human pathogen. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Culzoni MJ, Dwivedi P, Green MD, Newton PN, Fernandez FM. 2014. Ambient mass spectrometry technologies for the detection of falsified drugs MEDCHEMCOMM, 5 (1), pp. 9-19. | Citations: 20 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Increased globalization of the pharmaceutical market has facilitated the unobstructed and fast spread of poor-quality medicines. Poor-quality medicines include spurious/falsely-labeled/falsified/counterfeit drugs (those that are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled with respect to content and/or origin), substandard drugs (legitimate drugs that do not meet their quality specifications), and degraded medicines (good quality pharmaceuticals that suffered from deterioration caused by improper storage or distribution). Consumption of poor-quality pharmaceuticals is likely to increase morbidity and mortality. Moreover, poor-quality drugs can also contribute to the development of resistance to anti-infective medicines and decrease the quality of health care received by patients. To assess the true prevalence of poor quality drugs, tiered technology approaches enabling the testing of drug samples collected at points of sale are required, thus ensuring public health standards. High throughput and high resolution ambient mass spectrometry techniques allow investigation of pharmaceuticals with minimal or no sample preparation, thus possessing capabilities to survey a large number of drug samples for their authenticity. © 2014 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Wolkewitz M, Cooper BS, Palomar-Martinez M, Olaechea-Astigarraga P, Alvarez-Lerma F, Schumacher M. 2014. Nested case-control studies in cohorts with competing events. Epidemiology, 25 (1), pp. 122-125. | Citations: 6 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

In nested case-control studies, incidence density sampling is the time-dependent matching procedure to approximate hazard ratios. The cumulative incidence function can also be estimated if information from the full cohort is used. In the presence of competing events, however, the cumulative incidence function depends on the hazard of the disease of interest and on the competing events hazard. Using hospital-acquired infection as an example (full cohort), we propose a sampling method for nested case-control studies to estimate subdistribution hazard ratios. With further information on the full cohort, the cumulative incidence function for the event of interest can then be estimated as well.

2014. Malaria The Lancet, 383 (9918), pp. 723-735. | Citations: 410 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Although global morbidity and mortality have decreased substantially, malaria, a parasite infection of red blood cells, still kills roughly 2000 people per day, most of whom are children in Africa. Two factors largely account for these decreases; increased deployment of insecticide-treated bednets and increased availability of highly effective artemisinin combination treatments. In large trials, parenteral artesunate (an artemisinin derivative) reduced severe malaria mortality by 22·5% in Africa and 34·7% in Asia compared with quinine, whereas adjunctive interventions have been uniformly unsuccessful. Rapid tests have been an important addition to microscopy for malaria diagnosis. Chemopreventive strategies have been increasingly deployed in Africa, notably intermittent sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment in pregnancy, and monthly amodiaquine-sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine during the rainy season months in children aged between 3 months and 5 years across the sub-Sahel. Enthusiasm for malaria elimination has resurfaced. This ambitious but laudable goal faces many challenges, including the worldwide economic downturn, difficulties in elimination of vivax malaria, development of pyrethroid resistance in some anopheline mosquitoes, and the emergence of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in southeast Asia. We review the epidemiology, clinical features, pathology, prevention, and treatment of malaria.

2014. Erratum: Malaria (The Lancet (2014) 383 (723-735)) The Lancet, 383 (9918), pp. 696. | Citations: 1 (Scopus)

2014. Single-dose radical cure of Plasmodium vivax: A step closer The Lancet, 383 (9922), pp. 1020-1021. | Citations: 11 (Scopus) | Read more

Seale AC, Blencowe H, Manu AA, Nair H, Bahl R, Qazi SA, Zaidi AK, Berkley JA, Cousens SN, Lawn JE et al. 2014. Estimates of possible severe bacterial infection in neonates in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America for 2012: A systematic review and meta-analysis The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 14 (8), pp. 731-741. | Citations: 71 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Bacterial infections are a leading cause of the 2·9 million annual neonatal deaths. Treatment is usually based on clinical diagnosis of possible severe bacterial infection (pSBI). To guide programme planning, we have undertaken the first estimates of neonatal pSBI, by sex and by region, for sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America. Methods: We included data for pSBI incidence in neonates of 32 weeks' gestation or more (or birthweight ≥1500 g) with livebirth denominator data, undertaking a systematic review and forming an investigator group to obtain unpublished data. We calculated pooled risk estimates for neonatal pSBI and case fatality risk, by sex and by region. We then applied these risk estimates to estimates of livebirths in sub-Saharan Africa, south Asia, and Latin America to estimate cases and associated deaths in 2012. Findings: We included data from 22 studies, for 259 944 neonates and 20 196 pSBI cases, with most of the data (18 of the 22 studies) coming from the investigator group. The pooled estimate of pSBI incidence risk was 7·6% (95% CI 6·1-9·2%) and the case-fatality risk associated with pSBI was 9·8% (7·4-12·2). We estimated that in 2012 there were 6·9 million cases (uncertainty range 5·5 million-8·3 million) of pSBI in neonates needing treatment: 3·5 million (2·8 million-4·2 million) in south Asia, 2·6 million (2·1 million-3·1 million) in sub-Saharan Africa, and 0·8 million (0·7 million-1·0 million) in Latin America. The risk of pSBI was greater in boys (risk ratio 1·12, 95% CI 1·06-1·18) than girls. We estimated that there were 0·68 million (0·46 million-0·92 million) neonatal deaths associated with pSBI in 2012. Interpretation: The need-to-treat population for pSBI in these three regions is high, with ten cases of pSBI diagnosed for each associated neonatal death. Deaths and disability can be reduced through improved prevention, detection, and case management. Funding: The Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through grants to Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG) and Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives programme. © 2014 Seale et al.

2014. The practice and clinical implications of tablet splitting in international health. Tropical medicine &amp; international health : TM &amp; IH, 19 (7), pp. 754-760. | Citations: 18 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Tablet splitting is frequently performed to facilitate correct dosing, but the practice and implications in low-income settings have rarely been discussed. We selected eight drugs, with narrow therapeutic indices or critical dosages, frequently divided in the Lao PDR (Laos). These were split, by common techniques used in Laos, by four nurses and four laypersons. The mean percentage deviation from the theoretical expected weight and weight loss of divided tablets/capsules were recorded. Five of eight study drugs failed, on splitting, to meet European Pharmacopoeia recommendations for tablet weight deviation from the expected weight of tablet/capsule halves with 10% deviating by more than 25%. There was a significant difference in splitting accuracy between nurses and laypersons (P = 0.027). Coated and unscored tablets were less accurately split than uncoated (P = 0.03 and 0.0019 for each half) and scored (0.0001 for both halves) tablets. These findings have potential clinical implications on treatment outcome and the development of antimicrobial resistance. Investment by drug companies in a wider range of dosage units, particularly for narrow therapeutic index and critical dosage medicines, is strongly recommended. © 2014 The Authors. Tropical Medicine & International Health published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

2014. A cross-sectional survey of critical care services in Sri Lanka: A lower middle-income country Journal of Critical Care, 29 (5), pp. 764-768. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Purpose: To describe the extent and variation of critical care services in Sri Lanka as a first step towards the development of a nationwide critical care unit (CCU) registry. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in all state CCUs by telephone or by visits to determine administration, infrastructure, equipment, staffing, and overall patient outcomes. Results: There were 99 CCUs with 2.5 CCU beds per 100. 000 population and 13 CCU beds per 1 000 hospital beds. The median number of beds per CCU was 5. The overall admissions were 194 per 100. 000 population per year. The overall bed turnover was 76.5 per unit per year, with CCU mortality being 17%.Most CCUs were headed by an anesthetist. There were a total of 790 doctors (1.6 per bed), 1 989 nurses (3.9 per bed), and 626 health care assistants (1.2 per bed). Majority (87.9%) had 1:1 nurse-to-patient ratio, although few (11.4%) nurses had received formal intensive care unit training. All CCUs had basic infrastructure (electricity, running water, piped oxygen) and basic equipment (such as electronic monitoring and infusion pumps). Conclusion: Sri Lanka, a lower middle-income country has an extensive network of critical care facilities but with inequalities in its distribution and facilities. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

Tarantola A, Goutard F, Newton P, de Lamballerie X, Lortholary O, Cappelle J, Buchy P. 2014. Estimating the burden of Japanese encephalitis virus and other encephalitides in countries of the mekong region. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 8 (1), | Citations: 5 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Diverse aetiologies of viral and bacterial encephalitis are widely recognized as significant yet neglected public health issues in the Mekong region. A robust analysis of the corresponding health burden is lacking. We retrieved 75 articles on encephalitis in the region published in English or in French from 1965 through 2011. Review of available data demonstrated that they are sparse and often derived from hospital-based studies with significant recruitment bias. Almost half (35 of 75) of articles were on Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) alone or associated with dengue. In the Western Pacific region the WHO reported 30,000-50,000 annual JEV cases (15,000 deaths) between 1966 and 1996 and 4,633 cases (200 deaths) in 2008, a decline likely related to the introduction of JEV vaccination in China, Vietnam, or Thailand since the 1980s. Data on dengue, scrub typhus and rabies encephalitis, among other aetiologies, are also reviewed and discussed. Countries of the Mekong region are undergoing profound demographic, economic and ecological change. As the epidemiological aspects of Japanese encephalitis (JE) are transformed by vaccination in some countries, highly integrated expert collaborative research and objective data are needed to identify and prioritize the human health, animal health and economic burden due to JE and other pathogens associated with encephalitides.

2014. Making the most of clinical data: Reviewing the role of pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models of anti-malarial drugs AAPS Journal, 16 (5), pp. 962-974. | Citations: 10 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Mechanistic within-host models integrating blood anti-malarial drug concentrations with the parasite-time profile provide a valuable decision tool for determining dosing regimens for anti-malarial treatments, as well as a formative component of population-level drug resistance models. We reviewed published anti-malarial pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic models to identify the challenges for these complex models where parameter estimation from clinical field data is limited. The inclusion of key pharmacodynamic processes in the mechanistic structure adopted varies considerably. These include the life cycle of the parasite within the red blood cell, the action of the anti-malarial on a specific stage of the life cycle, and the reduction in parasite growth associated with immunity. With regard to estimation of the pharmacodynamic parameters, the majority of studies simply compared descriptive summaries of the simulated outputs to published observations of host and parasite responses from clinical studies. Few studies formally estimated the pharmacodynamic parameters within a rigorous statistical framework using observed individual patient data. We recommend three steps in the development and evaluation of these models. Firstly, exploration through simulation to assess how the different parameters influence the parasite dynamics. Secondly, application of a simulation- estimation approach to determine whether the model parameters can be estimated with reasonable precision based on sampling designs that mimic clinical efficacy studies. Thirdly, fitting the mechanistic model to the clinical data within a Bayesian framework. We propose that authors present the model both schematically and in equation form and give a detailed description of each parameter, including a biological interpretation of the parameter estimates. © 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

McGready R, Kang J, Watts I, Tyrosvoutis MEG, Torchinsky MB, Htut AM, Tun NW, Keereecharoen L, Wangsing C, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Nosten FH. 2014. Audit of antenatal screening for syphilis and HIV in migrant and refugee women on the Thai-Myanmar border: a descriptive study. F1000Res, 3 pp. 123. | Citations: 4 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: The antenatal prevalence of syphilis and HIV/AIDS in migrants and refugees is poorly documented. The aim of this study was to audit the first year of routine syphilis screening in the same population and reassess the trends in HIV rates. METHODS: From August 2012 to July 2013, 3600 pregnant women were screened for HIV (ELISA) and syphilis (VDRL with TPHA confirmation) at clinics along the Thai-Myanmar border. RESULTS: Seroprevalence for HIV 0.47% (95% CI 0.30-0.76) (17/3,599), and syphilis 0.39% (95% CI 0.23-0.65) (14/3,592), were low. Syphilis was significantly lower in refugees (0.07% 95% CI 0.01-0.38) (1/1,469), than in migrants (0.61% 95% CI 0.36-1.04) (13/2,123). The three active (VDRL≥1:8 and TPHA reactive) syphilis cases with VDRL titres of 1:32 were easy to counsel and treat. Women with low VDRL titres (>75% were < 1:8) and TPHA reactive results, in the absence of symptoms and both the woman and her husband having only one sexual partner in their lifetime, and the inability to determine the true cause of the positive results presented ethical difficulties for counsellors. CONCLUSION: As HIV and syphilis testing becomes available in more and more settings, the potential impact of false positive results should be considered, especially in populations with low prevalence for these diseases. This uncertainty must be considered in order to counsel patients and partners accurately and safely about the results of these tests, without exposing women to increased risk for abuse or abandonment. Our findings highlight the complexities of counselling patients about these tests and the global need for more conclusive syphilis testing strategies.

Vicentin EC, Françoso KS, Rocha MV, Iourtov D, Dos Santos FL, Kubrusly FS, Sakauchi MA, Raw I, Nosten F, Rénia L et al. 2014. Invasion-inhibitory antibodies elicited by immunization with Plasmodium vivax apical membrane antigen-1 expressed in Pichia pastoris yeast. Infect Immun, 82 (3), pp. 1296-1307. | Citations: 28 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

In a recent vaccine trial performed with African children, immunization with a recombinant protein based on Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA-1) conferred a significant degree of strain-specific resistance against malaria. To contribute to the efforts of generating a vaccine against Plasmodium vivax malaria, we expressed the ectodomain of P. vivax AMA-1 (PvAMA-1) as a secreted soluble protein in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. Recognized by a high percentage of sera from individuals infected by P. vivax, this recombinant protein was found to have maintained its antigenicity. The immunogenicity of this protein was evaluated in mice using immunization protocols that included homologous and heterologous prime-boost strategies with plasmid DNA and recombinant protein. We used the following formulations containing different adjuvants: aluminum salts (Alum), Bordetella pertussis monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA), flagellin FliC from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, saponin Quil A, or incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA). The formulations containing the adjuvants Quil A or IFA elicited the highest IgG antibody titers. Significant antibody titers were also obtained using a formulation developed for human use containing MPLA or Alum plus MPLA. Recombinant PvAMA-1 produced under "conditions of good laboratory practice" provided a good yield, high purity, low endotoxin levels, and no microbial contaminants and reproduced the experimental immunizations. Most relevant for vaccine development was the fact that immunization with PvAMA-1 elicited invasion-inhibitory antibodies against different Asian isolates of P. vivax. Our results show that AMA-1 expressed in P. pastoris is a promising antigen for use in future preclinical and clinical studies.

Dittrich S, Castonguay-Vanier J, Moore CE, Thongyoo N, Newton PN, Paris DH. 2014. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification for Rickettsia typhi (the causal agent of murine typhus): problems with diagnosis at the limit of detection. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (3), pp. 832-838. | Citations: 16 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Murine typhus is a flea-borne disease of worldwide distribution caused by Rickettsia typhi. Although treatment with tetracycline antibiotics is effective, treatment is often misguided or delayed due to diagnostic difficulties. As the gold standard immunofluorescence assay is imperfect, we aimed to develop and evaluate a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay. LAMP assays have the potential to fulfill the WHO ASSURED criteria (affordable, sensitive, specific, user friendly, robust and rapid, equipment free, deliverable to those who need them) for diagnostic methodologies, as they can detect pathogen-derived nucleic acid with low technical expenditure. The LAMP assay was developed using samples of bacterial isolates (n=41), buffy coat specimens from R. typhi PCR-positive Lao patients (n=42), and diverse negative controls (n=47). The method was then evaluated prospectively using consecutive patients with suspected scrub typhus or murine typhus (n=266). The limit of detection was ∼40 DNA copies/LAMP reaction, with an analytical sensitivity of <10 DNA copies/reaction based on isolate dilutions. Despite these low cutoffs, the clinical sensitivity was disappointing, with 48% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 32.5 to 62.7%) (specificity, 100% [95% CI, 100 to 100%]) in the developmental phase and 33% (95% CI, 9.2 to 56.8%) (specificity, 98.5% [95% CI, 97.0% to 100%]) in the prospective study. This low diagnostic accuracy was attributed to low patient R. typhi bacterial loads (median, 210 DNA copies/ml blood; interquartile range, 130 to 500). PCR-positive but LAMP-negative samples demonstrated significantly lower bacterial loads than LAMP-positive samples. Our findings highlight the diagnostic challenges for diseases with low pathogen burdens and emphasize the need to integrate pathogen biology with improved template production for assay development strategies.

Vaccari M, Fenizia C, Ma Z-M, Hryniewicz A, Boasso A, Doster MN, Miller CJ, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Landay AL et al. 2014. Transient increase of interferon-stimulated genes and no clinical benefit by chloroquine treatment during acute simian immunodeficiency virus infection of macaques. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 30 (4), pp. 355-362. | Citations: 9 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection leads to AIDS in experimentally infected Rhesus macaques similarly to HIV-infected humans. In contrast, SIV infection of natural hosts is characterized by a down-regulation of innate acute responses to the virus within a few weeks of infection and results in limited pathology. Chloroquine (CQ) has been used in the treatment or prevention of malaria and has recently been shown to cause a decrease of immune activation and CD4 cell loss in HIV-infected individuals treated with antiretroviral therapy. Here, we treated Rhesus macaques with CQ during the acute phase of SIVmac251 infection with the intent to decrease viral-induced immune activation and possibly limit disease progression. Contrary to what was expected, CQ treatment resulted in a temporary increased expression of interferon (IFN)-stimulating genes and it worsened the recovery of CD4(+) T cells in the blood. Our findings confirm recent results observed in asymptomatic HIV-infected patients and suggest that CQ does not provide an obvious benefit in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.

Smit PW, Elliott I, Peeling RW, Mabey D, Newton PN. 2014. An overview of the clinical use of filter paper in the diagnosis of tropical diseases. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (2), pp. 195-210. | Citations: 36 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Tropical infectious diseases diagnosis and surveillance are often hampered by difficulties of sample collection and transportation. Filter paper potentially provides a useful medium to help overcome such problems. We reviewed the literature on the use of filter paper, focusing on the evaluation of nucleic acid and serological assays for diagnosis of infectious diseases using dried blood spots (DBS) compared with recognized gold standards. We reviewed 296 eligible studies and included 101 studies evaluating DBS and 192 studies on other aspects of filter paper use. We also discuss the use of filter paper with other body fluids and for tropical veterinary medicine. In general, DBS perform with sensitivities and specificities similar or only slightly inferior to gold standard sample types. However, important problems were revealed with the uncritical use of DBS, inappropriate statistical analysis, and lack of standardized methodology. DBS have great potential to empower healthcare workers by making laboratory-based diagnostic tests more readily accessible, but additional and more rigorous research is needed.

Price RN, Nosten F. 2014. Single-dose radical cure of Plasmodium vivax: a step closer. Lancet, 383 (9922), pp. 1020-1021. | Citations: 10 (Web of Science Lite) | Read more

Ariey F, Witkowski B, Amaratunga C, Beghain J, Langlois A-C, Khim N, Kim S, Duru V, Bouchier C, Ma L et al. 2014. A molecular marker of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Nature, 505 (7481), pp. 50-55. | Citations: 707 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin derivatives in southeast Asia threatens malaria control and elimination activities worldwide. To monitor the spread of artemisinin resistance, a molecular marker is urgently needed. Here, using whole-genome sequencing of an artemisinin-resistant parasite line from Africa and clinical parasite isolates from Cambodia, we associate mutations in the PF3D7_1343700 kelch propeller domain ('K13-propeller') with artemisinin resistance in vitro and in vivo. Mutant K13-propeller alleles cluster in Cambodian provinces where resistance is prevalent, and the increasing frequency of a dominant mutant K13-propeller allele correlates with the recent spread of resistance in western Cambodia. Strong correlations between the presence of a mutant allele, in vitro parasite survival rates and in vivo parasite clearance rates indicate that K13-propeller mutations are important determinants of artemisinin resistance. K13-propeller polymorphism constitutes a useful molecular marker for large-scale surveillance efforts to contain artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion and prevent its global spread.

Preston MD, Assefa SA, Ocholla H, Sutherland CJ, Borrmann S, Nzila A, Michon P, Hien TT, Bousema T, Drakeley CJ et al. 2014. PlasmoView: a web-based resource to visualise global Plasmodium falciparum genomic variation. J Infect Dis, 209 (11), pp. 1808-1815. | Citations: 13 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a global public health challenge, with drug resistance a major barrier to disease control and elimination. To meet the urgent need for better treatments and vaccines, a deeper knowledge of Plasmodium biology and malaria epidemiology is required. An improved understanding of the genomic variation of malaria parasites, especially the most virulent Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) species, has the potential to yield new insights in these areas. High-throughput sequencing and genotyping is generating large amounts of genomic data across multiple parasite populations. The resulting ability to identify informative variants, particularly single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), will lead to the discovery of intra- and inter-population differences and thus enable the development of genetic barcodes for diagnostic assays and clinical studies. Knowledge of genetic variability underlying drug resistance and other differential phenotypes will also facilitate the identification of novel mutations and contribute to surveillance and stratified medicine applications. The PlasmoView interactive web-browsing tool enables the research community to visualise genomic variation and annotation (eg, biological function) in a geographic setting. The first release contains over 600,000 high-quality SNPs in 631 Pf isolates from laboratory strains and four malaria-endemic regions (West Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania).

Jarvis JN, Bicanic T, Loyse A, Namarika D, Jackson A, Nussbaum JC, Longley N, Muzoora C, Phulusa J, Taseera K et al. 2014. Determinants of mortality in a combined cohort of 501 patients with HIV-associated Cryptococcal meningitis: implications for improving outcomes. Clin Infect Dis, 58 (5), pp. 736-745. | Citations: 129 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND:  Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a leading cause of death in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Identifying factors associated with mortality informs strategies to improve outcomes. METHODS:  Five hundred one patients with HIV-associated CM were followed prospectively for 10 weeks during trials in Thailand, Uganda, Malawi, and South Africa. South African patients (n = 266) were followed for 1 year. Similar inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied at all sites. Logistic regression identified baseline variables independently associated with mortality. RESULTS:  Mortality was 17% at 2 weeks and 34% at 10 weeks. Altered mental status (odds ratio [OR], 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7-5.9), high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fungal burden (OR, 1.4 per log10 colony-forming units/mL increase; 95% CI, 1.0-1.8), older age (>50 years; OR, 3.9; 95% CI, 1.4-11.1), high peripheral white blood cell count (>10 × 10(9) cells/L; OR, 8.7; 95% CI, 2.5-30.2), fluconazole-based induction treatment, and slow clearance of CSF infection were independently associated with 2-week mortality. Low body weight, anemia (hemoglobin <7.5 g/dL), and low CSF opening pressure were independently associated with mortality at 10 weeks in addition to altered mental status, high fungal burden, high peripheral white cell count, and older age. In those followed for 1 year, overall mortality was 41%. Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome occurred in 13% of patients and was associated with 2-week CSF fungal burden (P = .007), but not with time to initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). CONCLUSIONS:  CSF fungal burden, altered mental status, and rate of clearance of infection predict acute mortality in HIV-associated CM. The results suggest that earlier diagnosis, more rapidly fungicidal amphotericin-based regimens, and prompt immune reconstitution with ART are priorities for improving outcomes.

Takhampunya R, Tippayachai B, Promsathaporn S, Leepitakrat S, Monkanna T, Schuster AL, Melendrez MC, Paris DH, Richards AL, Richardson JH. 2014. Characterization based on the 56-Kda type-specific antigen gene of Orientia tsutsugamushi genotypes isolated from Leptotrombidium mites and the rodent host post-infection. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (1), pp. 139-146. | Citations: 12 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

Abstract. Characterization of the 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) genes of Orientia tsutsugamushi (OT) from three naturally infected, laboratory-reared mite colonies comprising three species (Leptotrombidium deliense [Ld], Leptotrombidium imphalum [Li], and Leptotrombidium chiangraiensis [Lc]) has revealed the presence of single and coexisting OT genotypes found in individual chiggers. The Karp genotype was found in all of the chiggers examined, whereas Gilliam and UT302 genotypes were only observed in combination with the Karp genotype. From analysis of these OT genotypes after transmission from chiggers to mice it was determined that with the Lc and Li mites, the OT genotype composition in the rodent spleens post-infection had not changed and therefore resembled that observed in the feeding chiggers. However, only the Karp genotype was found in rodents after feeding by Ld chiggers carrying Karp and Gilliam genotypes. The current findings reveal a complex association among the host, pathogen, and vector.

Myers ND, Chantratita N, Berrington WR, Chierakul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Robertson JD, Liggitt HD, Peacock SJ, Skerrett SJ, West TE. 2014. The role of NOD2 in murine and human melioidosis. J Immunol, 192 (1), pp. 300-307. | Citations: 8 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) is a cytosolic pathogen recognition receptor that regulates susceptibility to a variety of infections and chronic diseases. Burkholderia pseudomallei, a facultative intracellular bacterium, causes the tropical infection melioidosis. We hypothesized that NOD2 may participate in host defense in melioidosis. We performed a series of in vitro assays and in vivo experiments and analyzed the association of human genetic variation with infection to delineate the contribution of NOD2 to the host response to B. pseudomallei. We found that transfection with NOD2 mediated NF-κB activation induced by B. pseudomallei stimulation of HEK293 cells. After low-dose inoculation with aerosolized B. pseudomallei, Nod2-deficient mice showed impaired clinical responses and permitted greater bacterial replication in the lung and dissemination to the spleen compared with wild-type mice. IL-6 and KC levels were higher in the lungs of Nod2-deficient mice. In a cohort of 1562 Thai subjects, a common genetic polymorphism in the NOD2 region, rs7194886, was associated with melioidosis, and this effect was most pronounced in women. rs7194886 was not associated with differences in cytokine production induced by whole-blood stimulation with the NOD2 ligand, muramyl dipeptide, or B. pseudomallei. To our knowledge, these findings are the first to characterize the role of NOD2 in host defense in mammalian melioidosis.

Chetchotisakd P, Chierakul W, Chaowagul W, Anunnatsiri S, Phimda K, Mootsikapun P, Chaisuksant S, Pilaikul J, Thinkhamrop B, Phiphitaporn S et al. 2014. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole versus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole plus doxycycline as oral eradicative treatment for melioidosis (MERTH): a multicentre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 383 (9919), pp. 807-814. | Citations: 47 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, an infectious disease caused by the Gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, is difficult to cure. Antimicrobial treatment comprises intravenous drugs for at least 10 days, followed by oral drugs for at least 12 weeks. The standard oral regimen based on trial evidence is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxaxole (TMP-SMX) plus doxycycline. This regimen is used in Thailand but is associated with side-effects and poor adherence by patients, and TMP-SMX alone is recommended in Australia. We compared the efficacy and side-effects of TMP-SMX with TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment. METHODS: For this multi-centre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled patients (aged ≥15 years) from five centres in northeast Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis who had received a course of parenteral antimicrobial drugs. Using a computer-generated sequence, we randomly assigned patients to receive TMP-SMX plus placebo or TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for 20 weeks (1:1; block size of ten, stratified by study site). We followed patients up every 4 months for 1 year and annually thereafter to the end of the study. The primary endpoint was culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis, and the non-inferiority margin was a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.7. This study is registered with www.controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN86140460. FINDINGS: We enrolled and randomly assigned 626 patients: 311 to TMP-SMX plus placebo and 315 to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline. 16 patients (5%) in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group and 21 patients (7%) in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group developed culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis (HR 0.81; 95% CI 0.42-1.55). The criterion for non-inferiority was met (p=0.01). Adverse drug reactions were less common in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group than in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group (122 [39%] vs 167 [53%]). INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that TMP-SMX is not inferior to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment, and is preferable on the basis of safety and tolerance by patients. FUNDING: Thailand Research Fund, the Melioidosis Research Center, the Center of Excellence in Specific Health Problems in Greater Mekong Sub-region cluster, and the Wellcome Trust.

Moore CE, Pan-Ngum W, Wijedoru LPM, Sona S, Nga TVT, Duy PT, Vinh PV, Chheng K, Kumar V, Emary K et al. 2014. Evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of a typhoid IgM flow assay for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in Cambodian children using a Bayesian latent class model assuming an imperfect gold standard. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (1), pp. 114-120. | Citations: 16 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

Rapid diagnostic tests are needed for typhoid fever (TF) diagnosis in febrile children in endemic areas. Five hundred children admitted to the hospital in Cambodia between 2009 and 2010 with documented fever (≥ 38°C) were investigated using blood cultures (BCs), Salmonella Typhi/Paratyphi A real-time polymerase chain reactions (PCRs), and a Typhoid immunoglobulin M flow assay (IgMFA). Test performance was determined by conventional methods and Bayesian latent class modeling. There were 32 cases of TF (10 BC- and PCR-positive cases, 14 BC-positive and PCR-negative cases, and 8 BC-negative and PCR-positive cases). IgMFA sensitivity was 59.4% (95% confidence interval = 41-76), and specificity was 97.8% (95% confidence interval = 96-99). The model estimate sensitivity for BC was 81.0% (95% credible interval = 54-99). The model estimate sensitivity for PCR was 37.8% (95% credible interval = 26-55), with a specificity of 98.2% (95% credible interval = 97-99). The model estimate sensitivity for IgMFA (≥ 2+) was 77.9% (95% credible interval = 58-90), with a specificity of 97.5% (95% credible interval = 95-100). The model estimates of IgMFA sensitivity and specificity were comparable with BCs and better than estimates using conventional analysis.

Lee YQ, Goh ASP, Ch'ng JH, Nosten FH, Preiser PR, Pervaiz S, Yadav SK, Tan KSW. 2014. A high-content phenotypic screen reveals the disruptive potency of quinacrine and 3',4'-dichlorobenzamil on the digestive vacuole of Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (1), pp. 550-558. | Citations: 11 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum is the etiological agent of malignant malaria and has been shown to exhibit features resembling programmed cell death. This is triggered upon treatment with low micromolar doses of chloroquine or other lysosomotrophic compounds and is associated with leakage of the digestive vacuole contents. In order to exploit this cell death pathway, we developed a high-content screening method to select compounds that can disrupt the parasite vacuole, as measured by the leakage of intravacuolar Ca(2+). This assay uses the ImageStream 100, an imaging-capable flow cytometer, to assess the distribution of the fluorescent calcium probe Fluo-4. We obtained two hits from a small library of 25 test compounds, quinacrine and 3',4'-dichlorobenzamil. The ability of these compounds to permeabilize the digestive vacuole in laboratory strains and clinical isolates was validated by confocal microscopy. The hits could induce programmed cell death features in both chloroquine-sensitive and -resistant laboratory strains. Quinacrine was effective at inhibiting field isolates in a 48-h reinvasion assay regardless of artemisinin clearance status. We therefore present as proof of concept a phenotypic screening method with the potential to provide mechanistic insights to the activity of antimalarial drugs.

Koh GCKW, Maude RJ. 2014. The case against exchange transfusion has yet to be proved. Clin Infect Dis, 58 (2), pp. 302. | Read more

Maude RJ, Silamut K, Plewes K, Charunwatthana P, Ho M, Abul Faiz M, Rahman R, Hossain MA, Hassan MU, Bin Yunus E et al. 2014. Randomized controlled trial of levamisole hydrochloride as adjunctive therapy in severe falciparum malaria with high parasitemia. J Infect Dis, 209 (1), pp. 120-129. | Citations: 21 (Scopus) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cytoadherence and sequestration of erythrocytes containing mature stages of Plasmodium falciparum are central to the pathogenesis of severe malaria. The oral anthelminthic drug levamisole inhibits cytoadherence in vitro and reduces sequestration of late-stage parasites in uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with quinine. METHODS: Fifty-six adult patients with severe malaria and high parasitemia admitted to a referral hospital in Bangladesh were randomized to receive a single dose of levamisole hydrochloride (150 mg) or no adjuvant to antimalarial treatment with intravenous artesunate. RESULTS: Circulating late-stage parasites measured as the median area under the parasite clearance curves were 2150 (interquartile range [IQR], 0-28 025) parasites/µL × hour in patients treated with levamisole and 5489 (IQR, 192-25 848) parasites/µL × hour in controls (P = .25). The "sequestration ratios" at 6 and 12 hours for all parasite stages and changes in microvascular blood flow did not differ between treatment groups (all P > .40). The median time to normalization of plasma lactate (<2 mmol/L) was 24 (IQR, 12-30) hours with levamisole vs 28 (IQR, 12-36) hours without levamisole (P = .15). CONCLUSIONS: There was no benefit of a single-dose of levamisole hydrochloride as adjuvant to intravenous artesunate in the treatment of adults with severe falciparum malaria. Rapid parasite killing by intravenous artesunate might obscure the effects of levamisole.

Anderson M, Luangxay K, Sisouk K, Vorlasan L, Soumphonphakdy B, Sengmouang V, Chansamouth V, Phommasone K, Van Dyke R, Chong E et al. 2014. Epidemiology of bacteremia in young hospitalized infants in Vientiane, Laos, 2000-2011. J Trop Pediatr, 60 (1), pp. 10-16. | Citations: 2 (European Pubmed Central) | Show Abstract | Read more

As data about the causes of neonatal sepsis in low-income countries are inadequate, we reviewed the etiology and antibiotic susceptibilities of bacteremia in young infants in Laos. As Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of bacteremia in Lao infants, we also examined risk factors for this infection, in particular the local practice of warming mothers during the first weeks postpartum with hot coals under their beds (hot beds). Clinical and laboratory data regarding infants aged 0-60 days evaluated for sepsis within 72 h of admission to Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, Laos, were reviewed, and 85 of 1438 (5.9%) infants' blood cultures grew a clinically significant organism. Most common were S. aureus, Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Whereas no methicillin-resistant S. aureus was found, only 18% of E. coli isolates were susceptible to ampicillin. A history of sleeping on a hot bed with mother was associated with S. aureus bacteremia (odds ratio 4.8; 95% confidence interval 1.2-19.0).

Derde LPG, Cooper BS, Goossens H, Malhotra-Kumar S, Willems RJL, Gniadkowski M, Hryniewicz W, Empel J, Dautzenberg MJD, Annane D et al. 2014. Interventions to reduce colonisation and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in intensive care units: an interrupted time series study and cluster randomised trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (1), pp. 31-39. | Citations: 154 (Web of Science Lite) | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Intensive care units (ICUs) are high-risk areas for transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, but no controlled study has tested the effect of rapid screening and isolation of carriers on transmission in settings with best-standard precautions. We assessed interventions to reduce colonisation and transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in European ICUs. METHODS: We did this study in three phases at 13 ICUs. After a 6 month baseline period (phase 1), we did an interrupted time series study of universal chlorhexidine body-washing combined with hand hygiene improvement for 6 months (phase 2), followed by a 12-15 month cluster randomised trial (phase 3). ICUs were randomly assigned by computer generated randomisation schedule to either conventional screening (chromogenic screening for meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] and vancomycin-resistant enterococci [VRE]) or rapid screening (PCR testing for MRSA and VRE and chromogenic screening for highly resistant Enterobacteriaceae [HRE]); with contact precautions for identified carriers. The primary outcome was acquisition of resistant bacteria per 100 patient-days at risk, for which we calculated step changes and changes in trends after the introduction of each intervention. We assessed acquisition by microbiological surveillance and analysed it with a multilevel Poisson segmented regression model. We compared screening groups with a likelihood ratio test that combined step changes and changes to trend. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00976638. FINDINGS: Seven ICUs were assigned to rapid screening and six to conventional screening. Mean hand hygiene compliance improved from 52% in phase 1 to 69% in phase 2, and 77% in phase 3. Median proportions of patients receiving chlorhexidine body-washing increased from 0% to 100% at the start of phase 2. For trends in acquisition of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, weekly incidence rate ratio (IRR) was 0·976 (0·954-0·999) for phase 2 and 1·015 (0·998-1·032) for phase 3. For step changes, weekly IRR was 0·955 (0·676-1·348) for phase 2 and 0·634 (0·349-1·153) for phase 3. The decrease in trend in phase 2 was largely caused by changes in acquisition of MRSA (weekly IRR 0·925, 95% CI 0·890-0·962). Acquisition was lower in the conventional screening group than in the rapid screening group, but did not differ significantly (p=0·06). INTERPRETATION: Improved hand hygiene plus unit-wide chlorhexidine body-washing reduced acquisition of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, particularly MRSA. In the context of a sustained high level of compliance to hand hygiene and chlorhexidine bathings, screening and isolation of carriers do not reduce acquisition rates of multidrug-resistant bacteria, whether or not screening is done with rapid testing or conventional testing. FUNDING: European Commission.

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