Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=0074-027620120004&lang=en vol. 107 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[<b>The classification of esterases</b>: <b>an important gene family involved in insecticide resistance - A review</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The use of chemical insecticides continues to play a major role in the control of disease vector populations, which is leading to the global dissemination of insecticide resistance. A greater capacity to detoxify insecticides, due to an increase in the expression or activity of three major enzyme families, also known as metabolic resistance, is one major resistance mechanisms. The esterase family of enzymes hydrolyse ester bonds, which are present in a wide range of insecticides; therefore, these enzymes may be involved in resistance to the main chemicals employed in control programs. Historically, insecticide resistance has driven research on insect esterases and schemes for their classification. Currently, several different nomenclatures are used to describe the esterases of distinct species and a universal standard classification does not exist. The esterase gene family appears to be rapidly evolving and each insect species has a unique complement of detoxification genes with only a few orthologues across species. The examples listed in this review cover different aspects of their biochemical nature. However, they do not appear to contribute to reliably distinguish among the different resistance mechanisms. Presently, the phylogenetic criterion appears to be the best one for esterase classification. Joint genomic, biochemical and microarray studies will help unravel the classification of this complex gene family. <![CDATA[<b>Primary resistance of HIV to antiretrovirals among individuals recently diagnosed at voluntary counselling and testing centres in the metropolitan region of Recife, Pernambuco</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Determining the prevalence and type of antiretroviral (ARV) resistance among ARV-naïve individuals is important to assess the potential responses of these individuals to first-line regimens. The prevalence of primary resistance and the occurrence of recent infections among individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were identified among recently diagnosed patients at five sexually transmitted disease/AIDS testing and counselling centres in the metropolitan region of Recife (RMR), Pernambuco, Brazil, between 2007-2009. One-hundred and eight samples were analysed using the Calypte® BED assay. Males predominated (56%), as did patients aged 31-50 years. Twenty-three percent presented evidence of a recent HIV infection. The median CD4+ T lymphocyte count was 408 cells/mm³ and the median viral load was 3.683 copies/mL. The prevalence of primary resistance was 4.6% (confidence interval 95% = 1-8.2%) based on criteria that excluded common polymorphisms in accordance with the surveillance drug resistance mutation criteria. The prevalence of resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase, nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors were 3.8%, 1.5% and 0.8%, respectively. Fifty-seven percent of strains were from clade B, 37.7% were clade F and 3.1% were clade C; there were no statistically significant differences with respect to resistance between clades. Recent infection tended to be more common in men (p = 0.06) and in municipalities in the south of the RMR (Jaboatão dos Guararapes and Cabo de Santo Agostinho) (p = 0.046). The high prevalence of recent infection and the high prevalence of non-B strains in this poor Brazilian region merit further attention. <![CDATA[<b>Evolution of insecticide resistance in non-target black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) from Argentina</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Black flies, a non-target species of the insecticides used in fruit production, represent a severe medical and veterinary problem. Large increases in the level of resistance to the pyrethroids fenvalerate (more than 355-fold) and deltamethrin (162-fold) and a small increase in resistance to the organophosphate azinphos methyl (2-fold) were observed between 1996-2008 in black fly larvae under insecticide pressure. Eventually, no change or a slight variation in insecticide resistance was followed by a subsequent increase in resistance. The evolution of pesticide resistance in a field population is a complex and stepwise process that is influenced by several factors, the most significant of which is the insecticide selection pressure, such as the dose and frequency of application. The variation in insecticide susceptibility within a black fly population in the productive area may be related to changes in fruit-pest control. The frequency of individuals with esterase activities higher than the maximum value determined in the susceptible population increased consistently over the sampling period. However, the insecticide resistance was not attributed to glutathione S-transferase activity. In conclusion, esterase activity in black flies from the productive area is one mechanism underlying the high levels of resistance to pyrethroids, which have been recently used infrequently. These enzymes may be reselected by currently used pesticides and enhance the resistance to these insecticides. <![CDATA[<b><i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i></b><b> carried by <i>Odontomachus bauri</i> ants</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cryptococcus neoformans is the most common causative agent of cryptococcosis worldwide. Although this fungus has been isolated from a variety of organic substrates, several studies suggest that hollow trees constitute an important natural niche for C. neoformans. A previously surveyed hollow of a living pink shower tree (Cassia grandis) positive for C. neoformans in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was chosen for further investigation. Odontomachus bauri ants (trap-jaw ants) found inside the hollow were collected for evaluation as possible carriers of Cryptococcus spp. Two out of 10 ants were found to carry phenoloxidase-positive colonies identified as C. neoformans molecular types VNI and VNII. The ants may have acted as a mechanical vector of C. neoformans and possibly contributed to the dispersal of the fungi from one substrate to another. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the association of C. neoformans with ants of the genus Odontomachus. <![CDATA[<b>Sandflies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in a focus of visceral leishmaniasis in White Nile, Sudan</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has been known to occur since the 1980s on the western bank of the White Nile River (Central Sudan), 150 km south of Khartoum, and has resulted in high mortality. The most recent outbreak of the disease in this area began in 2006. Entomological surveys were carried out during May 2008, June 2010 and May and July 2011 in the White Nile area. Sandflies were collected using Centers for Disease Control light traps and sticky oil traps in the village of Kadaba and the nearby woodland. Phlebotomus females were dissected for the presence of Leishmania promastigotes. A total of 17,387 sandflies, including six species of Phlebotomus and 10 species of Sergentomyia, were identified. The Phlebotomus species recorded were Phlebotomus orientalis, Phlebotomus papatasi, Phlebotomus bergeroti, Phlebotomus duboscqi, Phlebotomus rodhaini and Phlebotomus saevus. P. orientalis was collected in both habitats. The relative abundance of P. orientalis in the woodland habitat was higher than that recorded in the village habitat. In the woodland habitat, there was a notable increase in the relative abundance of P. orientalis during the surveys conducted in 2008 and 2010 compared to 2011. None of the 311 P. orientalis females dissected were infected with Leishmania promastigotes, although relatively high parous rates were recorded in both habitats. Based on the distribution of P. orientalis recorded in this study, this species is the most likely vector of VL in the endemic focus in the White Nile area. Further investigation is required to elucidate the seasonal abundance and distribution of the vector, as well as the transmission season of VL in both habitats so that appropriate control strategies for the vector can be designed. <![CDATA[<b>Detection and differentiation of <i>Cryptosporidium</i> by real-time polymerase chain reaction in stool samples</b> <b>from patients in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This study reports the first genetic characterisation of Cryptosporidium isolates in Brazil using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A total of 1,197 faecal specimens from children and 10 specimens from human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients were collected between 1999-2010 and screened using microscopy. Forty-eight Cryptosporidium oocyst-positive isolates were identified and analysed using a generic TaqMan assay targeting the 18S rRNA to detect Cryptosporidium species and two other TaqMan assays to identify Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum. The 18S rRNA assay detected Cryptosporidium species in all 48 of the stool specimens. The C. parvum TaqMan assay correctly identified five/48 stool samples, while 37/48 stool specimens were correctly amplified in the C. hominis TaqMan assay. The results obtained in this study support previous findings showing that C. hominis infections are more prevalent than C. parvum infections in Brazil and they demonstrate that the TaqMan RT-PCR procedure is a simple, fast and valuable tool for the detection and differentiation of Cryptosporidium species. <![CDATA[<b>Natural <i>Leishmania</i> sp. reservoirs and phlebotomine sandfly food source identification in Ibitipoca State Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Leishmania spp are distributed throughout the world and different species are associated with varying degrees of disease severity. However, leishmaniasis is thought to be confined to areas of the world where its insect vectors, sandflies, are present. Phlebotomine sandflies obtain blood meals from a variety of wild and domestic animals and sometimes from humans. These vectors transmit Leishmania spp, the aetiological agent of leishmaniasis. Identification of sandfly blood meals has generally been performed using serological methods, although a few studies have used molecular procedures in artificially fed insects. In this study, cytochrome b gene (cytB) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed in DNA samples isolated from 38 engorged Psychodopygus lloydi and the expected 359 bp fragment was identified from all of the samples. The amplified product was digested using restriction enzymes and analysed for restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). We identified food sources for 23 females; 34.8% yielded a primate-specific banding profile and 26.1% and 39.1% showed banding patterns specific to birds or mixed restriction profiles (rodent/marsupial, human/bird, rodent/marsupial/human), respectively. The food sources of 15 flies could not be identified. Two female P. lloydi were determined to be infected by Leishmania using internal transcribed spacer 1 and heat shock protein 70 kDa PCR-RFLP. The two female sandflies, both of which fed on rodents/marsupials, were further characterised as infected with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. These results constitute an important step towards applying methodologies based on cytB amplification as a tool for identifying the food sources of female sandflies. <![CDATA[<b>Aggregative adherent strains of <i>Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum</i> enter and survive within HEp-2 epithelial cells</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum is a well-known human pathogen that mainly causes respiratory disease and is associated with high mortality in compromised hosts. Little is known about the virulence factors and pathogenesis of C. pseudodiphtheriticum. In this study, cultured human epithelial (HEp-2) cells were used to analyse the adherence pattern, internalisation and intracellular survival of the ATCC 10700 type strain and two additional clinical isolates. These microorganisms exhibited an aggregative adherence-like pattern to HEp-2 cells characterised by clumps of bacteria with a "stacked-brick" appearance. The differences in the ability of these microorganisms to invade and survive within HEp-2 cells and replicate in the extracellular environment up to 24 h post infection were evaluated. The fluorescent actin staining test demonstrated that actin polymerisation is involved in the internalisation of the C. pseudodiphtheriticum strains. The depolymerisation of microfilaments by cytochalasin E significantly reduced the internalisation of C. pseudodiphtheriticum by HEp-2 cells. Bacterial internalisation and cytoskeletal rearrangement seemed to be partially triggered by the activation of tyrosine kinase activity. Although C. pseudodiphtheriticum strains did not demonstrate an ability to replicate intracellularly, HEp-2 cells were unable to fully clear the pathogen within 24 h. These characteristics may explain how some C. pseudodiphtheriticum strains cause severe infection in human patients. <![CDATA[<b>The level of ascorbate peroxidase is enhanced in benznidazole-resistant populations of <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i> and its expression is modulated by stress generated by hydrogen peroxide</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Ascorbate peroxidases (APX) are class I heme-containing enzymes that convert hydrogen peroxide into water molecules. The gene encoding APX has been characterized in 11 strains of Trypanosoma cruzi that are sensitive or resistant to benznidazole (BZ). Bioinformatic analysis revealed the presence of two complete copies of the T. cruzi APX (TcAPX) gene in the genome of the parasite, while karyotype analysis showed that the gene was present in the 2.000-kb chromosome of all of the strains analyzed. The sequence of TcAPX exhibited greater levels of similarity to those of orthologous enzymes from Leishmania spp than to APXs from the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Northern blot and real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses revealed no significant differences in TcAPX mRNA levels between the T. cruzi strains analyzed. On the other hand, Western blots showed that the expression levels of TcAPX protein were, respectively, two and three-fold higher in T. cruzi populations with in vitro induced (17 LER) and in vivo selected (BZR) resistance to BZ, in comparison with their corresponding susceptible counterparts. Moreover, the two BZ-resistant populations exhibited higher tolerances to exogenous hydrogen peroxide than their susceptible counterparts and showed TcAPX levels that increased in a dose-dependent manner following exposure to 100 and 200 µM hydrogen peroxide. <![CDATA[<b><i>Trichinella spiralis</i></b><b> shares epitopes with human autoantigens</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Like other helminths, Trichinella spiralis has evolved strategies to allow it to survive in the host organism, including the expression of epitopes similar to those present in either expressed or hidden host antigens. To identify T. spiralis-derived antigens that are evolutionarily conserved in the parasite and its host and that could be responsible for its evasion of the host immune response, we examined the reactivity of six different types of autoantibodies to T. spiralis larvae from muscle. T. spiralis antigens that share epitopes with human autoantigens were identified by assessing the cross-reactivity of autoantibody-containing serum samples with T. spiralis antigens in the absence of specific anti-parasite antibodies. Of the 55 autoantibody-containing human serum samples that we analysed by immunohistological screening, 24 (43.6%) recognised T. spiralis muscle larvae structures such as the subcuticular region, the genital primordium or the midgut. Using Western blots, we demonstrated that the same sera reacted with 24 protein components of T. spiralis muscle larvae excretory-secretory L1 antigens. We found that the human autoantibodies predominantly bound antigens belonging to the TSL1 group; more specifically, the autoantibody-containing sera reacted most frequently with the 53-kDa component. Thus, this protein is a good candidate for further studies of the mechanisms of T. spiralis-mediated immunomodulation. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of serum sample inactivation on the performance of latex agglutination test for paracoccidioidomycosis serodiagnosis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Paracoccidioidomycosis is diagnosed from the direct observation of the causative agent, but serology can facilitate and decrease the time required for diagnosis. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of serum sample inactivation on the performance of the latex agglutination test (LAT) for detecting antibodies against Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. The sensitivity of LAT from inactivated or non-inactivated samples was 73% and 83%, respectively and the LAT selectivity was 79% and 90%, respectively. The LAT evaluated here was no more specific than the double-immunodiffusion assay. We suggest the investigation of other methods for improving the LAT, such as the use of deglycosylated antigen. <![CDATA[<b>Short-term therapy with simvastatin reduces inflammatory mediators and heart inflammation during the acute phase of experimental Chagas disease</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Trypanosoma cruzi infection induces progressive cardiac inflammation that leads to fibrosis and modifications in the heart architecture and functionality. Statins, such as 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG CoA) reductase inhibitors, have been studied due to their pleiotropic roles in modulating the inflammatory response. Our goal was to evaluate the effects of simvastatin on the cardiac inflammatory process using a cardiotropic strain of T. cruzi in a murine model of Chagas cardiomyopathy. C57BL/6 mice were infected with 500 trypomastigotes of the Colombian strain of T. cruzi and treated with an oral dose of simvastatin (20 mg/Kg/day) for one month and inflammatory and morphometric parameters were subsequently evaluated in the serum and in the heart, respectively. Simvastatin reduced the total cholesterol and inflammatory mediators (interferon-gamma, tumour necrosis factor-alpha, CCL2 and CCL5) in the serum and in the heart tissue at 30 days post-infection. Additionally, a proportional reduction in heart weight and inflammatory infiltration was observed. Simvastatin also reduced epimastigote proliferation in a dose-dependent manner in vitro and was able to reduce blood trypomastigotes and heart amastigote nests during the acute phase of Chagas disease in vivo. Based on these data, we conclude that simvastatin exerts a modulatory effect on the inflammatory mediators that are elicited by the Colombian strain of T. cruzi and ameliorates the heart damage that is observed in a murine model of Chagas disease. <![CDATA[<b>Footprints of a trypanosomatid RNA world</b>: <b>pre-small subunit rRNA processing by spliced leader addition <i>trans</i>-splicing</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The addition of a capped mini-exon [spliced leader (SL)] through trans-splicing is essential for the maturation of RNA polymerase (pol) II-transcribed polycistronic pre-mRNAs in all members of the Trypanosomatidae family. This process is an inter-molecular splicing reaction that follows the same basic rules of cis-splicing reactions. In this study, we demonstrated that mini-exons were added to precursor ribosomal RNA (pre-rRNA) are transcribed by RNA pol I, including the 5' external transcribed spacer (ETS) region. Additionally, we detected the SL-5'ETS molecule using three distinct methods and located the acceptor site between two known 5'ETS rRNA processing sites (A' and A1) in four different trypanosomatids. Moreover, we detected a polyadenylated 5'ETS upstream of the trans-splicing acceptor site, which also occurs in pre-mRNA trans-splicing. After treatment with an indirect trans-splicing inhibitor (sinefungin), we observed SL-5'ETS decay. However, treatment with 5-fluorouracil (a precursor of RNA synthesis that inhibits the degradation of pre-rRNA) led to the accumulation of SL-5'ETS, suggesting that the molecule may play a role in rRNA degradation. The detection of trans-splicing in these molecules may indicate broad RNA-joining properties, regardless of the polymerase used for transcription. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy on the survival of vertically HIV-infected children and adolescents in Belo Horizonte, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients has reduced the number of acquired immune deficiency syndrome-related deaths worldwide. This study assessed the impact of HAART on the survival and death rates of vertically HIV-infected children and adolescents in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Data were obtained from a historic cohort of vertically HIV-infected children and adolescents aged zero-19 years old who were admitted from March 1989-December 2004 and were followed until June 2006. Patients who used HAART were included if they were treated for at least 12 weeks. Of 359 patients, 320 patients met the inclusion criteria. The overall mortality rate was 9.7% [31/320; 95% confidence interval (CI): 6.0-13%]. The median survival for the non-HAART and HAART groups was 31.5 and 55.9 months, respectively (log rank = 22.11, p < 0.0001). In the multivariate analysis, the statistically significant variables were HAART and the weight-for-age Z score < -2, with HAART constituting a protective factor [relative risk (RR): 0.13; CI 95%: 0.05-0.33] and malnutrition constituting a risk factor (RR: 3.44; CI 95%: 1.60-7.40) for death. The incidence of death was 5.1/100 person-years in the non-HAART group and 0.8/100 person-years in the HAART group (p < 0.0001). <![CDATA[<b><i>Syphacia</i></b><b> sp. (Nematoda: Oxyuridae) in coprolites of <i>Kerodon rupestris</i> Wied, 1820 (Rodentia: Caviidae) from 5,300 years BP in northeastern Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en We present the results of paleoparasitological analyses in coprolites of Kerodon rupestris, rodent endemic to rocky areas of Brazil's semiarid region. The coprolites were collected from excavations at the archaeological site of Toca dos Coqueiros, in the National Park of Serra da Capivara, southeastern of state of Piauí. Syphacia sp. (Nematoda: Oxyuridae) eggs were identified in coprolites dated at 5,300 ± 50 years before present. This is the first record of the genus Syphacia in rodent coprolites in the Americas. <![CDATA[<b>Disruption of the peritrophic matrix by exogenous chitinase feeding reduces fecundity in <i>Lutzomyia longipalpis</i> females</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Lutzomyia longipalpis is the most important vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil. When female sandflies feed on blood, a peritrophic matrix (PM) is formed around the blood bolus. The PM is secreted by midgut cells and composed of proteins, glycoproteins and chitin microfibrils. The PM functions as both a physical barrier against pathogens present in the food bolus and blood meal digestion regulator. Previous studies of mosquitoes and sandflies have shown that the absence of a PM, resulting from adding an exogenous chitinase to the blood meal, accelerates digestion. In the present study, we analysed biological factors associated with the presence of a PM in L. longipalpis females. Insects fed blood containing chitinase (BCC) accelerated egg-laying relative to a control group fed blood without chitinase. However, in the BCC-fed insects, the number of females that died without laying eggs was higher and the number of eggs laid per female was lower. The eggs in both groups were viable and generated adults. Based on these data, we suggest that the absence of a PM accelerates nutrient acquisition, which results in premature egg production and oviposition; however, the absence of a PM reduces the total number of eggs laid per female. Reduced fecundity in the absence of a PM may be due to inefficient nutrient conversion or the loss of the protective role of the PM. <![CDATA[<b>Can Mosquito Magnet<sup>®</sup> substitute for human-landing catches to sample anopheline populations?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The efficiency of the Mosquito Magnet Liberty PlusTM (MMLP) trap was evaluated in comparison to human-landing catches (HLCs) to sample anopheline populations in Jabillal, state of Bolivar, southern Venezuela. The village comprised 37 houses and a population of 101; malaria in this village is primarily due to Plasmodium vivax and the Annual Parasite Index is 316.8 per 1,000 population. A longitudinal study was conducted between June 2008-January 2009 for three nights per month every two months between 17:30 pm-21:30 pm, a time when biting mosquitoes are most active. Anopheles darlingi and Anopheles nuneztovari were the most common species collected by both methods, whereas Anopheles marajoara was more abundant according to the HLC method. The MMLP trap was more efficient for collecting An. nuneztovari [63%, confidence interval (CI): 2.53] than for collecting An. darlingi (31%, CI: 1.57). There were significant correlations (p < 0.01) between the two methods for An. darlingi [Pearson correlation (R²) = 0.65] and An. nuneztovari (R² = 0.48). These preliminary results are encouraging for further investigations of the use of the MMLP trap for monitoring anopheline populations in remote malaria-endemic areas in the Amazon Basin. <![CDATA[<b>Identification of the natural breeding sites of sandflies (Diptera</b>: <b>Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), potential vectors of leishmaniasis, in the province of Chaco, Argentina</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The aim of this work was to identify the natural breeding sites of sandflies in the province of Chaco, Argentina, for the first time. Preliminary studies were conducted in two different phytogeographic regions: dry Chaco (Parque Provincial Pampa del Indio), in January 2010, and humid Chaco (Resistencia, Margarita Belén and Colonia Benítez), from May-September 2010. A total of 127 samples were collected (Pampa del Indio: 15, Resistencia: 37, Margarita Belén: 36, Colonia Benítez: 39). A female of Migonemyia migonei was found in Pampa del Indio at the base of a bromeliad in the summer (January) and a pupal exuvium of a phlebotomine fly was found in Resistencia, in a place where dogs rested, in the winter (July). These findings highlighted these two sites as potential breeding sites. Because the existence of potential natural breeding sites for sandflies has been demonstrated in both forest and periurban areas, expanding the search efforts and characterising these sites will enable the development of specific study designs to gain insight into the spatial distribution of the risks posed by these vectors. The resulting information will serve as a basis for proposing and evaluating vector control measures. <![CDATA[<b>Serological detection of St. Louis encephalitis virus and West Nile virus in equines from Santa Fe, Argentina</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) and West Nile virus (WNV) present ecological and antigenic similarities and are responsible for serious human diseases. In addition, WNV is a significant pathogen in terms of equine health. The purpose of our study was to analyse the seroprevalence of SLEV and WNV in equine sera collected in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. The seroprevalence determined using the plaque reduction neutralisation test was 12.2% for SLEV, 16.2% for WNV and 48.6% for a combination of both viruses. These results provide evidence of the co-circulation of SLEV and WNV in equines in Santa Fe. <![CDATA[<b>Emergence and characterisation of <i>vanB</i> vancomycin-resistant <i>Enterococcus faecalis</i> in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Here we describe the detection and characterisation of three isolates of vancomycin-resistant VanB-type Enterococcus faecalis. Sequence analysis suggested that these isolates harboured the vanB1 gene. The isolates were susceptible to the majority of antimicrobial agents tested, with the exception of chloramphenicol, erythromycin and vancomycin, and showed distinct profiles of high-level resistance to aminoglycosides. Analysis of the clonal relatedness of the vanB E. faecalis isolates showed similar pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the occurrence of enterococcal strains carrying vanB genes in Brazil. <![CDATA[<b><i>Helicobacter pylori vacA</i></b><b> and <i>cagA</i> genotypes in patients from northeastern Brazil with upper gastrointestinal diseases</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400021&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Helicobacter pylori causes chronic gastric inflammation and significantly increases the risk of duodenal and gastric ulcer disease and distal gastric carcinoma. In this study, we evaluated the Helicobacter pylori vacA and cagA genotypes in patients from a Brazilian region where there is a high prevalence of gastric cancer. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to investigate vacA mosaicism and cagA status in the gastric mucosa of 134 H. pylori-positive patients, including 76 with gastritis: 28 with peptic ulcer disease and 30 with gastric cancer. The s1m1 variant was the predominant vacA genotype observed, whereas the s1 allele was more frequently observed in patients with more severe diseases associated with H. pylori infection [p = 0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 5.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.15-38.60]. Furthermore, all of the s1 alleles were s1b. Mixed vacA m1/m2 strains were found more frequently in patients with gastric cancer and a cagA-positive status was significantly associated with gastric cancer (p = 0.016, OR = 10.36, 95% CI = 1.35-217.31). Patients with gastric cancer (21/21, 100%, p = 0.006) or peptic ulcers (20/21, 95%, p = 0.02) were more frequently colonised by more virulent H. pylori strains compared to gastritis patients (41/61, 67.2%). In conclusion, in the northeastern of Brazil, which is one of the regions with the highest prevalence of gastric cancer in the country, infection with the most virulent H. pylori strains, carrying the cagA gene and s1m1 vacA alleles, predominates and is correlated with more severe H. pylori-associated diseases. <![CDATA[<b>Vectorial capacity, basic reproduction number, force of infection and all that</b>: <b>formal notation to complete and adjust their classical concepts and equations</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400022&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A dimensional analysis of the classical equations related to the dynamics of vector-borne infections is presented. It is provided a formal notation to complete the expressions for the Ross' Threshold Theorem, the Macdonald's basic reproduction "rate" and sporozoite "rate", Garret-Jones' vectorial capacity and Dietz-Molineaux-Thomas' force of infection. The analysis was intended to provide a formal notation that complete the classical equations proposed by these authors. <![CDATA[<b>Study design may explain discrepancies in GB virus C effects on interferon-</b>γ <b>and interleukin-2 production and CD38 expression in T lymphocytes</b><b></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400023&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A dimensional analysis of the classical equations related to the dynamics of vector-borne infections is presented. It is provided a formal notation to complete the expressions for the Ross' Threshold Theorem, the Macdonald's basic reproduction "rate" and sporozoite "rate", Garret-Jones' vectorial capacity and Dietz-Molineaux-Thomas' force of infection. The analysis was intended to provide a formal notation that complete the classical equations proposed by these authors. <![CDATA[<b>Erratum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000400024&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A dimensional analysis of the classical equations related to the dynamics of vector-borne infections is presented. It is provided a formal notation to complete the expressions for the Ross' Threshold Theorem, the Macdonald's basic reproduction "rate" and sporozoite "rate", Garret-Jones' vectorial capacity and Dietz-Molineaux-Thomas' force of infection. The analysis was intended to provide a formal notation that complete the classical equations proposed by these authors.