Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 109 num. 6 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Mansonelliasis, a neglected parasitic disease in Haiti]]> Reported in Haiti as early as 1923, Mansonella ozzardi is still a neglected disease ignored by the health authorities of the country. This review is an update on the geographic distribution of the coastal foci of mansonelliasis in Haiti, the epidemiological profile and prevalence rates of microfilariae in people living in endemic areas, the clinical impact of the parasite on health and the efficiency of the transmission of the parasite among three Culicoides biting-midge species identified as vectors in Haiti. Additionally, interest in establishing a treatment programme to combat this parasite using a single dose of ivermectin is emphasised. <![CDATA[The first report of the <em>vanC</em><sub><em>1</em></sub> gene in <em>Enterococcus faecium</em> isolated from a human clinical specimen]]> The vanC1 gene, which is chromosomally located, confers resistance to vancomycin and serves as a species marker for Enterococcus gallinarum. Enterococcus faecium TJ4031 was isolated from a blood culture and harbours the vanC1gene. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were performed to detect vanXYc and vanTc genes. Only the vanXYc gene was found in the E. faecium TJ4031 isolate. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of vancomycin and teicoplanin were 2 µg/mL and 1 µg/mL, respectively. Real-time reverse transcription-PCR results revealed that the vanC1and vanXYc genes were not expressed. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and southern hybridisation results showed that the vanC1 gene was encoded in the chromosome. E. faecalis isolated from animals has been reported to harbour vanC1gene. However, this study is the first to report the presence of the vanC1gene in E. faecium of human origin. Additionally, our research showed the vanC1gene cannot serve as a species-specific gene of E. gallinarum and that it is able to be transferred between bacteria. Although the resistance marker is not expressed in the strain, our results showed that E. faecium could acquire the vanC1gene from different species. <![CDATA[Detection of respiratory viruses by real-time polymerase chain reaction in outpatients with acute respiratory infection]]> Viruses are the major contributors to the morbidity and mortality of upper and lower acute respiratory infections (ARIs) for all age groups. The aim of this study was to determine the frequencies for a large range of respiratory viruses using a sensitive molecular detection technique in specimens from outpatients of all ages with ARIs. Nasopharyngeal aspirates were obtained from 162 individuals between August 2007-August 2009. Twenty-three pathogenic respiratory agents, 18 respiratory viruses and five bacteria were investigated using multiplex real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IIF). Through IIF, 33 (20.4%) specimens with respiratory virus were recognised, with influenza virus representing over half of the positive samples. Through a multiplex real-time RT-PCR assay, 88 (54.3%) positive samples were detected; the most prevalent respiratory viral pathogens were influenza, human rhinovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Six cases of viral co-detection were observed, mainly involving RSV. The use of multiplex real-time RT-PCR increased the viral detection by 33.9% and revealed a larger number of respiratory viruses implicated in ARI cases, including the most recently described respiratory viruses [human bocavirus, human metapneumovirus, influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus, human coronavirus (HCoV) NL63 and HCoV HKU1]. <![CDATA[Assessment of immunological changes in Epstein-Barr virus co-infection in Egyptian chronic HCV patients]]> Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) plays a major role in liver pathology. Similar to other members of the herpesvirus family, EBV establishes a persistent infection in more than 90% of adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of EBV and chronic hepatitis C co-infection (HCV) on biochemical and immunological responses in patients. The study was conducted in 62 patients and 33 apparently healthy controls. Patients were divided into three groups: group I, consisting of 31 patients with chronic hepatitis C infection (CHC), group II, consisting of eight patients with EBV infection and without HCV infection and group III, consisting of 23 patients with EBV and chronic HCV. The percentage of CD3+ cells, helper CD4+ cells and CD19+ B-cells was measured by flow cytometry. Human interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-15 levels were measured by an ELISA. The levels of liver alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase enzymes were higher in EBV/HCV patients compared to that in EBV and HCV mono-infected patients. EBV/HCV patients had significantly reduced percentages of CD3+ and CD4+ cells compared to EBV patients. Serum IFN-γ levels were significantly reduced in EBV/HCV patients (3.86 pg/mL) compared to CHC patients (6.76 pg/mL) and normal controls (4.69 pg/mL). A significant increase in serum IL-15 levels was observed in EBV/HCV patients (67.7 pg/mL) compared to EBV patients (29.3 pg/mL). Taken together, these observations suggest that HCV and EBV co-infection can potentiate immune response dampening in patients. <![CDATA[High prevalence of occult hepatitis B virus genotype H infection among children with clinical hepatitis in west Mexico]]> Studies on the prevalence of infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) among children are scarce in Latin American countries, especially in Mexico. This study was aimed to investigate the prevalence of HBV infection, occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) and HBV genotypes among children with clinical hepatitis. In total, 215 children with clinical hepatitis were evaluated for HBV infection. HBV serological markers and HBV DNA were analysed. OBI diagnosis and HBV genotyping was performed. HBV infection was found in 11.2% of children with clinical hepatitis. Among these HBV DNA positive-infected children, OBI was identified in 87.5% (n = 21/24) of the cases and 12.5% (n = 3/24) were positive for both HBV DNA and hepatitis B surface antigen. OBI was more frequent among children who had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B (p &lt; 0.05) than in those who had been vaccinated. HBV genotype H was prevalent in 71% of the children followed by genotype G (8%) and genotype A (4%). In conclusion, OBI is common among Mexican children with clinical hepatitis and is associated with HBV genotype H. The results show the importance of the molecular diagnosis of HBV infection in Mexican paediatric patients with clinical hepatitis and emphasise the necessity of reinforcing hepatitis B vaccination in children. <![CDATA[Prevalence of human papillomavirus infection, distribution of viral types and risk factors in cervical samples from human immunodeficiency virus-positive women attending three human immunodeficiency virus-acquired immune deficiency syndrome reference centres in northeastern Brazil]]> Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients have a greater prevalence of coinfection with human papillomavirus (HPV) is of high oncogenic risk. Indeed, the presence of the virus favours intraepithelial squamous cell lesion progression and may induce cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of HPV infection, distribution of HPV types and risk factors among HIV-positive patients. Cervical samples from 450 HIV-positive patients were analysed with regard to oncotic cytology, colposcopy and HPV presence and type by means of polymerase chain reaction and sequencing. The results were analysed by comparing demographic data and data relating to HPV and HIV infection. The prevalence of HPV was 47.5%. Among the HPV-positive samples, 59% included viral types of high oncogenic risk. Multivariate analysis showed an association between HPV infection and the presence of cytological alterations (p = 0.003), age greater than or equal to 35 years (p = 0.002), number of partners greater than three (p = 0.002), CD4+ lymphocyte count &lt; 200/mm3 (p = 0.041) and alcohol abuse (p = 0.004). Although high-risk HPV was present in the majority of the lesions studied, the low frequency of HPV 16 (3.3%), low occurrence of cervical lesions and preserved immunological state in most of the HIV-positive patients were factors that may explain the low occurrence of precancerous cervical lesions in this population. <![CDATA[Inflammatory response of endothelial cells to hepatitis C virus recombinant envelope glycoprotein 2 protein exposure]]> The hepatitis C virus (HCV) encodes approximately 10 different structural and non-structural proteins, including the envelope glycoprotein 2 (E2). HCV proteins, especially the envelope proteins, bind to cell receptors and can damage tissues. Endothelial inflammation is the most important determinant of fibrosis progression and, consequently, cirrhosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the inflammatory response of endothelial cells to two recombinant forms of the HCV E2 protein produced in different expression systems (Escherichia coli and Pichia pastoris). We observed the induction of cell death and the production of nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide, interleukin-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor A in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) stimulated by the two recombinant E2 proteins. The E2-induced apoptosis of HUVECs was confirmed using the molecular marker PARP. The apoptosis rescue observed when the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine was used suggests that reactive oxygen species are involved in E2-induced apoptosis. We propose that these proteins are involved in the chronic inflammation caused by HCV. <![CDATA[JVG9, a benzimidazole derivative, alters the surface and cytoskeleton of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> bloodstream trypomastigotes]]> Trypanosoma cruzi has a particular cytoskeleton that consists of a subpellicular network of microtubules and actin microfilaments. Therefore, it is an excellent target for the development of new anti-parasitic drugs. Benzimidazole 2-carbamates, a class of well-known broad-spectrum anthelmintics, have been shown to inhibit the in vitro growth of many protozoa. Therefore, to find efficient anti-trypanosomal (trypanocidal) drugs, our group has designed and synthesised several benzimidazole derivatives. One, named JVG9 (5-chloro-1H-benzimidazole-2-thiol), has been found to be effective against T. cruzi bloodstream trypomastigotes under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. Here, we present the in vitro effects observed by laser scanning confocal and scanning electron microscopy on T. cruzi trypomastigotes. Changes in the surface and the distribution of the cytoskeletal proteins are consistent with the hypothesis that the trypanocidal activity of JVG9 involves the cytoskeleton as a target. <![CDATA[Is imidacloprid an effective alternative for controlling pyrethroid-resistant populations of <em>Triatoma infestans</em> (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in the Gran Chaco ecoregion?]]> The prevention of Chagas disease is based primarily on the chemical control of Triatoma infestans (Klug) using pyrethroid insecticides. However, high resistance levels, correlated with control failures, have been detected in Argentina and Bolivia. A previous study at our laboratory found that imidacloprid could serve as an alternative to pyrethroid insecticides. We studied the delayed toxicity of imidacloprid and the influence of the blood feeding condition of the insect on the toxicity of this insecticide; we also studied the effectiveness of various commercial imidacloprid formulations against a pyrethroid-resistant T. infestans population from the Gran Chaco ecoregion. Variations in the toxic effects of imidacloprid were not observed up to 72 h after exposure and were not found to depend on the blood feeding condition of susceptible and resistant individuals. Of the three different studied formulations of imidacloprid on glass and filter paper, only the spot-on formulation was effective. This formulation was applied to pigeons at doses of 1, 5, 20 and 40 mg/bird. The nymphs that fed on pigeons treated with 20 mg or 40 mg of the formulation showed a higher mortality rate than the control group one day and seven days post-treatment (p &lt; 0.01). A spot-on formulation of imidacloprid was effective against pyrethroid-resistant T. infestans populations at the laboratory level. <![CDATA[Culture of mouse peritoneal macrophages with mouse serum induces lipid bodies that associate with the parasitophorous vacuole and decrease their microbicidal capacity against <em>Toxoplasma gondii</em>]]> Lipid bodies [lipid droplets (LBs)] are lipid-rich organelles involved in lipid metabolism, signalling and inflammation. Recent findings suggest a role for LBs in host response to infection; however, the potential functions of this organelle in Toxoplasma gondii infection and how it alters macrophage microbicidal capacity during infection are not well understood. Here, we investigated the role of host LBs in T. gondii infection in mouse peritoneal macrophages in vitro. Macrophages cultured with mouse serum (MS) had higher numbers of LBs than those cultured in foetal bovine serum and can function as a model to study the role of LBs during intracellular pathogen infection. LBs were found in association with the parasitophorous vacuole, suggesting that T. gondii may benefit from this lipid source. Moreover, increased numbers of macrophage LBs correlated with high prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and decreased nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. Accordingly, LB-enriched macrophages cultured with MS were less efficient at controlling T. gondii growth. Treatment of macrophages cultured with MS with indomethacin, an inhibitor of PGE2 production, increased the microbicidal capacity against T. gondii. Collectively, these results suggest that culture with MS caused a decrease in microbicidal activity of macrophages against T. gondii by increasing PGE2 while lowering NO production. <![CDATA[Social and immunological differences among uninfected Brazilians exposed or unexposed to human immunodeficiency virus-infected partners]]> Understanding the social conditions and immunological characteristics that allow some human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-exposed patients to remain uninfected represents an on-going challenge. In this study, the socio-demographic and sexual behaviour characteristics and immune activation profiles of uninfected individuals exposed to HIV-infected partners were investigated. A confidential and detailed questionnaire was administered and venous blood was tested using HIV-1/enzyme immunoassays, plasma HIV-1 RNA levels/bDNA and immunophenotyping/flow cytometry to determine the frequencies of CD4 and CD8 T cells expressing activation markers. The data analysis showed significant differences (p &lt; 0.05) for immune parameters in individuals who were uninfected, albeit exposed to HIV-infected partners, compared with unexposed individuals. In particular, the exposed, uninfected individuals had a higher frequency (median, minimum-maximum) of CD4+HLA-DR+ (4.2, 1.8-6.1), CD8+HLA-DR+ (4.6, 0.9-13.7), CD4+CD45RO+ (27.5, 14.2-46.6), CD4+CD45RO+CD62L+ (46.7, 33.9-67.1), CD8+CD45RA+HLA-DR+ (12.1, 3.4-35.8) and CD8+CD45RO+HLA-DR+ (9.0, 3.2-14.8) cells, a decreased percentage of CD8+CD28+ cells (11.7, 4.5-24.0) and a lower cell-surface expression of Fcγ-R/CD16 on monocytes (56.5, 22.0-130.0). The plasma HIV-1 RNA levels demonstrated detectable RNA virus loads in 57% of the HIV-1+ female partners. These findings demonstrate an activation profile in both CD4 and CD8 peripheral T cells from HIV-1 exposed seronegative individuals of serodiscordant couples from a referral centre in Belo Horizonte, state of Minas Gerais. <![CDATA[Updated distribution of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Spain: new findings in the mainland Spanish Levante, 2013]]> In 2004, Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse, 1894) was observed for the first time in Catalonia, northeastern Spain. A decade later, it has spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean region of the country and the Balearic Islands. Framed within a national surveillance project, we present the results of monitoring in 2013 in the autonomous communities of the mainland Levante. The current study reveals a remarkable increase in the spread of the invasive mosquito in relation to results from 2012; the species was present and well-established in 48 municipalities, most of which were along the Mediterranean coastline from the Valencian Community to the Region of Murcia. <![CDATA[Updating the geographical distribution and frequency of <em>Aedes albopictus</em> in Brazil with remarks regarding its range in the Americas]]> The geographical distribution of Aedes albopictus in Brazil was updated according to the data recorded across the country over the last eight years. Countrywide house indexes (HI) for Ae. albopictus in urban and suburban areas were described for the first time using a sample of Brazilian municipalities. This mosquito is currently present in at least 59% of the Brazilian municipalities and in 24 of the 27 federal units (i.e., 26 states and the Federal District). In 34 Brazilian municipalities, the HI values for Ae. albopictus were higher than those recorded for Ae. aegypti, reaching figures as high as HI = 7.72 in the Southeast Region. Remarks regarding the current range of this mosquito species in the Americas are also presented. Nineteen American countries are currently infested and few mainland American countries have not confirmed the occurrence of Ae. albopictus. The large distribution and high frequency of Ae. albopictus in the Americas may become a critical factor in the spread of arboviruses like chikungunya in the new world. <![CDATA[Cryptococcosis in Colombian children and literature review]]> Cryptococcosis is reported in adults and is often acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-associated; however, its frequency in children is low. Based on the National Survey on Cryptococcosis conducted in Colombia, an epidemiological and clinical analysis was performed on cases of the disease observed in children less than 16 years old between 1993-2010. We found 41 affected children (2.6% prevalence) from the 1,578 surveys received. The country mean annual incidence rate was 0.017 cases/100,000 children under 16 years, while in Norte de Santander the incidence rate was 0.122 cases/100,000 (p &lt; 0.0001). The average age of infected children was 8.4 and 58.5% were male. In 46.3% of cases, a risk factor was not identified, while 24.4% had AIDS. The most frequent clinical manifestations were headache (78.1%), fever (68.8%), nausea and vomiting (65.6%), confusion (50%) and meningeal signs (37.5%). Meningitis was the most frequent clinical presentation (87.8%). Amphotericin B was given to 93.5% of patients as an initial treatment. Positive microbiological identification was accomplished by India ink (94.7%), latex in cerebrospinal fluid (100%) and culture (89.5%). Out of 34 isolates studied, Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii (VNI 85.3%, VNII 8.8%) was isolated in 94.1% of cases and Cryptococcus gattii (VGII) was isolated in 5.9% of cases. These data are complemented by a literature review, which overall suggests that cryptococcosis in children is an unusual event worldwide. <![CDATA[Evaluation of four molecular methods for the diagnosis of tuberculosis in pulmonary and blood samples from immunocompromised patients]]> The present study analysed the concordance among four different molecular diagnostic methods for tuberculosis (TB) in pulmonary and blood samples from immunocompromised patients. A total of 165 blood and 194 sputum samples were collected from 181 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with upper respiratory complaints, regardless of suspicious for TB. The samples were submitted for smear microscopy, culture and molecular tests: a laboratory-developed conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and the Gen-Probe and Detect-TB Ampligenix kits. The samples were handled blindly by all the technicians involved, from sample processing to results analysis. For sputum, the sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 96.7% for qPCR, 81.8% and 94.5% for Gen-Probe and 100% and 66.3% for Detect-TB, respectively. qPCR presented the best concordance with sputum culture [kappa (k) = 0.864)], followed by Gen-Probe (k = 0.682). For blood samples, qPCR showed 100% sensitivity and 92.3% specificity, with a substantial correlation with sputum culture (k = 0.754) and with the qPCR results obtained from sputum of the corresponding patient (k = 0.630). Conventional PCR demonstrated the worst results for sputa and blood, with a sensitivity of 100% vs. 88.9% and a specificity of 46.3% vs. 32%, respectively. Commercial or laboratory-developed molecular assays can overcome the difficulties in the diagnosis of TB in paucibacillary patients using conventional methods available in most laboratories. <![CDATA[Correlations between major risk factors and closely related <em>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</em> isolates grouped by three current enotyping procedures: a population-based study in northeast Mexico]]> The characteristics of tuberculosis (TB) patients related to a chain of recent TB transmissions were investigated. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) isolates (120) were genotyped using the restriction fragment length polymorphism-IS6110 (R), spacer oligotyping (S) and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units-variable number of tandem repeats (M) methods. The MTB isolates were clustered and the clusters were grouped according to the similarities of their genotypes. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients between the groups of MTB isolates with similar genotypes and those patient characteristics indicating a risk for a pulmonary TB (PTB) chain transmission were ana- lysed. The isolates showing similar genotypes were distributed as follows: SMR (5%), SM (12.5%), SR (1.67%), MR (0%), S (46.67%), M (5%) and R (0%). The remaining 35 cases were orphans. SMR exhibited a significant correlation (p &lt; 0.05) with visits to clinics, municipalities and comorbidities (primarily diabetes mellitus). S correlated with drug consumption and M with comorbidities. SMR is needed to identify a social network in metropolitan areas for PTB transmission and S and M are able to detect risk factors as secondary components of a transmission chain of TB. <![CDATA[Molecular detection of Mayaro virus during a dengue outbreak in the state of Mato Grosso, Central-West Brazil]]> Mayaro virus (MAYV) is frequently reported in Pan-Amazonia. The aim of this study was to investigate the circulation of alphaviruses during a dengue outbreak in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Serum samples from dengue-suspected patients were subjected to multiplex semi-nested reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for 11 flaviviruses and five alphaviruses, to nucleotide sequencing and to viral isolation. MAYV was detected in 15 (2.5%) of 604 patients. Twelve were co-infected with dengue virus 4, which was isolated from 10 patients. The molecular detection of MAYV in dengue-suspected patients suggests that other arboviruses may be silently circulating during dengue outbreaks in Brazil. <![CDATA[Discrepancies between <em>Aedes aegypti</em> identification in the field and in the laboratory after collection with a sticky trap]]> Currently, sticky traps are regularly employed to assist in the surveillance of Aedes aegypti infestation. We tested two alternative procedures for specimen identification performed by local health agents: directly in the field, as recommended by certain manufacturers, or after transportation to the laboratory. A total of 384 sticky traps (MosquiTRAP) were monitored monthly during one year in four geographically representative Brazilian municipalities. When the same samples were inspected in the field and in the laboratory, large differences were noted in the total number of mosquitoes recorded and in the number of specimens identified as Ae. aegypti by both procedures. Although field identification has the potential to speed vector surveillance, these results point to uncertainties in the evaluated protocol. <![CDATA[Drug discovery for Chagas disease should consider <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> strain diversity]]> This opinion piece presents an approach to standardisation of an important aspect of Chagas disease drug discovery and development: selecting Trypanosoma cruzi strains for in vitro screening. We discuss the rationale for strain selection representing T. cruzi diversity and provide recommendations on the preferred parasite stage for drug discovery, T. cruzi discrete typing units to include in the panel of strains and the number of strains/clones for primary screens and lead compounds. We also consider experimental approaches for in vitro drug assays. The Figure illustrates the current Chagas disease drug-discovery and development landscape. <![CDATA[Certifying achievement in the control of Chagas disease native vectors: what is a viable scenario?]]> As an evaluation scheme, we propose certifying for “control”, as alternative to “interruption”, of Chagas disease transmission by native vectors, to project a more achievable and measurable goal and sharing good practices through an “open online platform” rather than “formal certification” to make the key knowledge more accumulable and accessible. <![CDATA[Oral bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine against tuberculosis: why not?]]> The bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine is the only licensed vaccine for human use against tuberculosis (TB). Although controversy exists about its efficacy, the BCG vaccine is able to protect newborns and children against disseminated forms of TB, but fails to protect adults against active forms of TB. In the last few years, interest in the mucosal delivery route for the vaccine has been increasing owing to its increased capacity to induce protective immune responses both in the mucosal and the systemic immune compartments. Here, we show the importance of this route of vaccination in newly developed vaccines, especially for vaccines against TB.