Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=0074-027620120005&lang=en vol. 107 num. 5 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[<b>An evaluation of p16<sup>INK4a</sup> expression in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia specimens, including women with HIV-1</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Although several studies have evaluated the role of p16INK4a as a diagnostic marker of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and its association with disease progression, studies regarding the role of p16INK4a in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients remain scarce. The present study was designed to determine the potential utility of p16INK4a as a diagnostic marker for CIN and invasive cervical cancer in HIV-positive and negative cervical specimens. An immunohistochemical analysis of p16INK4a was performed in 326 cervical tissue microarray specimens. Performance indicators were calculated and compared using receiving operating characteristics curve (ROC)/area under the curve. In HIV-1-negative women, the percentage of cells that was positive for p16INK4a expression was significantly correlated with the severity of CIN (p < 0.0001). A ROC curve with a cut-off value of 55.28% resulted in a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 81%, a positive predictive value of 91% and a negative predictive value of 78%. HIV-seropositive women exhibited decreased expression of p16INK4a in CIN2-3 specimens compared with HIV-negative specimens (p = 0.031). The ROC data underscore the potential utility of p16INK4a under defined conditions as a diagnostic marker for CIN 2-3 staging and invasive cervical cancer. HIV-1 infection, however, is associated with relatively reduced p16INK4a expression in CIN 2-3. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative evaluation of the microplate nitrate reductase assay and the rezasurin microtitre assay for the rapid detection of multidrug resistant <i>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</i> clinical isolates</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The microplate nitrate reductase assay (MNRA) and the rezasurin microtitre assay (REMA) were used for the susceptibility testing of 73 clinical isolates and the results were compared with those that were obtained using the Bactec 460 TB and Bactec MGIT 960 systems. The REMA and the MNRA were performed in 96-well plates. For the REMA, the concentrations of isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RIF) ranged from 1.0-0.01 µg/mL and 2.0-0.03 µg/mL, respectively. For the MNRA, the INH concentration was between 1.0-0.03 µg/mL and the RIF concentration was between 2.0-0.06 µg/mL. For the MNRA, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and INH/RIF agreement were 100/95.6, 97.6/100, 96.8/100, 100/98 and 98.6/98.6, respectively, and for the REMA, they were 100/91.3, 90.4/100, 88.5/100, 100/96.1 and 94.5/97.2, respectively. Our data suggest that these two rapid, low-cost methods may be inexpensive, alternative assays for the rapid detection of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in low-income countries. <![CDATA[<b>Terbinafine inhibits <i>Cryptococcus neoformans</i> growth and modulates fungal morphology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated fungus that causes cryptococcosis. Central nervous system infection is the most common clinical presentation followed by pulmonary, skin and eye manifestations. Cryptococcosis is primarily treated with amphotericin B (AMB), fluconazole (FLC) and itraconazole (ITC). In the present work, we evaluated the in vitro effect of terbinafine (TRB), an antifungal not commonly used to treat cryptococcosis. We specifically examined the effects of TRB, either alone or in conjunction with AMB, FLC and ITC, on clinical C. neoformans isolates, including some isolates resistant to AMB and ITC. Broth microdilution assays showed that TRB was the most effective drug in vitro. Antifungal combinations demonstrated synergism of TRB with AMB, FLC and ITC. The drug concentrations used for the combination formulations were as much as 32 and 16-fold lower than the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of FLC and AMB alone, respectively. In addition, calcofluor white staining revealed the presence of true septa in hyphae structures that were generated after drug treatment. Ultrastructural analyses demonstrated several alterations in response to drug treatment, such as cell wall alterations, plasma membrane detachment, presence of several cytoplasmic vacuoles and mitochondrial swelling. Therefore, we believe that the use of TRB alone or in combination with AMB and azoles should be explored as an alternative treatment for cryptococcosis patients who do not respond to standard therapies. <![CDATA[<b><i>Simulium (Chirostilbia) brunnescens</i></b><b> (Diptera: Simuliidae) - new species from the Brazilian cerrado, Manso Dam, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A new species of Simuliidae, Simulium (Chirostilbia) brunnescens, was discovered at Chapada dos Guimarães, state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, and nearby municipalities (Paranatinga, Rosário do Oeste and Nobres). This species is described here based on the adults, pupae and larvae. This species is closely related to Simulium (C.) subpallidum Lutz, but could be differentiated in all stages: females, leg colour pattern and frontal dilatation size; males, gonostyle shape; pupae, number of gill filaments; larvae, body size and colour, postgenal cleft, ratio between antenna and stalk of labral fan. <![CDATA[<b>The significance of the amoebocyte-producing organ in <i>Biomphalaria glabrata</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In molluscs, internal defence against microorganisms is performed by a single cell type, i.e., the haemocyte or amoebocyte. The origin of these cells in Biomphalaria glabrata was initially thought to be localised within the vasculo-connective tissue. More recently, origin from a single organ, termed the amoebocyte-producing organ (APO), has been postulated based on the occurrence of hyperplasia and mitoses during Schistosoma mansoni infection. The present investigation represents a histological, immuno-histochemical and ultra-structural study of the B. glabrata APO, whereby histological identification was facilitated by means of collecting epithelial basophilic cells. These cells were comprised of single-cell layers that cover a portion of the stroma, which contains many small, round cells and haemolymph sinuses, as well as a small area of the pericardial surface of the reno-pericardial region. On occasion, this epithelial component vaguely resembled the vertebrate juxtaglomerular apparatus, which reinforces its presumed relationship to the kidney. Both in normal and infected molluscs, mitoses were only occasionally found. The present quantitative studies failed to demonstrate the presence of APO cellular hyperplasia, either in normal or schistosome-infected B. glabrata. Conversely, several structural details from the APO region in B. glabrata were found to be consistent with the hypothesis that the APO is a filtration organ, i.e., it is more closely related to the kidney rather than the bone marrow, as has been suggested in the literature. <![CDATA[<b>A palaeoparasitological analysis of rodent coprolites from the Cueva Huenul 1 archaeological site in Patagonia (Argentina)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The aim of the present study was to examine the parasite fauna present in rodent coprolites collected from Cueva Huenul 1 (CH1), northern Neuquén (Patagonia, Argentina), an archaeological site that provides stratified sequences of archaeological and palaeontological remains dating from the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Transition to the Late Holocene period. Twenty rodent coprolites collected from different sedimentary units from the site, with ages ranging from 13.844 ± 75-1.416 ± 37 years BP, were examined for parasites. Each coprolite was processed as a whole: rehydrated, homogenised, spontaneously sedimented and examined using light microscopy. The coprolites and the eggs of any parasites present were described, measured and photographed. In all, 158 parasite eggs were found in 10 coprolites. The faeces were positive for Viscachataenia quadrata Denegri, Dopchiz, Elissondo & Beveridge and Monoecocestus sp. Beddard (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae) and for Heteroxynema (Cavioxyura) viscaciae Sutton & Hugot (Nematoda: Oxyuridae). The coprolites examined were tentatively attributed to Lagidium viscacia Molina (Mammalia, Rodentia, Caviomorpha, Chinchillidae). The life cycles of these parasites are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Delimitation of kala-azar risk areas in the district of Vaishali in Bihar (India) using a geo-environmental approach</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Remote sensing and geographical information technologies were used to discriminate areas of high and low risk for contracting kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis. Satellite data were digitally processed to generate maps of land cover and spectral indices, such as the normalised difference vegetation index and wetness index. To map estimated vector abundance and indoor climate data, local polynomial interpolations were used based on the weightage values. Attribute layers were prepared based on illiteracy and the unemployed proportion of the population and associated with village boundaries. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to estimate the relationship between environmental variables and disease incidence across the study area. The cell values for each input raster in the analysis were assigned values from the evaluation scale. Simple weighting/ratings based on the degree of favourable conditions for kala-azar transmission were used for all the variables, leading to geo-environmental risk model. Variables such as, land use/land cover, vegetation conditions, surface dampness, the indoor climate, illiteracy rates and the size of the unemployed population were considered for inclusion in the geo-environmental kala-azar risk model. The risk model was stratified into areas of "risk"and "non-risk"for the disease, based on calculation of risk indices. The described approach constitutes a promising tool for microlevel kala-azar surveillance and aids in directing control efforts. <![CDATA[<b>Asymptomatic infection with <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> and <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> in the Brazilian Amazon Basin</b>: <b>to treat or not to treat?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this study, we determined whether the treatment of asymptomatic parasites carriers (APCs), which are frequently found in the riverside localities of the Brazilian Amazon that are highly endemic for malaria, would decrease the local malaria incidence by decreasing the overall pool of parasites available to infect mosquitoes. In one village, the treatment of the 19 Plasmodium falciparum-infected APCs identified among the 270 residents led to a clear reduction (Z = -2.39, p = 0.017) in the incidence of clinical cases, suggesting that treatment of APCs is useful for controlling falciparum malaria. For vivax malaria, 120 APCs were identified among the 716 residents living in five villages. Comparing the monthly incidence of vivax malaria in two villages where the APCs were treated with the incidence in two villages where APCs were not treated yielded contradictory results and no clear differences in the incidence were observed (Z = -0.09, p = 0.933). Interestingly, a follow-up study showed that the frequency of clinical relapse in both the treated and untreated APCs was similar to the frequency seen in patients treated for primary clinical infections, thus indicating that vivax clinical immunity in the population is not species specific but only strain specific. <![CDATA[<b>Persistence of experimental Rocio virus infection in the golden hamster (<i>Mesocricetus auratus</i>)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Rocio virus (ROCV) is an encephalitic flavivirus endemic to Brazil. Experimental flavivirus infections have previously demonstrated a persistent infection and, in this study, we investigated the persistence of ROCV infection in golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). The hamsters were infected intraperitoneally with 9.8 LD50/0.02 mL of ROCV and later anaesthetised and sacrificed at various time points over a 120-day period to collect of blood, urine and organ samples. The viral titres were quantified by real-time-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The specimens were used to infect Vero cells and ROCV antigens in the cells were detected by immunefluorescence assay. The levels of antibodies were determined by the haemagglutination inhibition technique. A histopathological examination was performed on the tissues by staining with haematoxylin-eosin and detecting viral antigens by immunohistochemistry (IHC). ROCV induced a strong immune response and was pathogenic in hamsters through neuroinvasion. ROCV was recovered from Vero cells exposed to samples from the viscera, brain, blood, serum and urine and was detected by qRT-PCR in the brain, liver and blood for three months after infection. ROCV induced histopathological changes and the expression of viral antigens, which were detected by IHC in the liver, kidney, lung and brain up to four months after infection. These findings show that ROCV is pathogenic to golden hamsters and has the capacity to cause persistent infection in animals after intraperitoneal infection. <![CDATA[<b>Validation of a modified fluorimetric assay for the screening of trichomonacidal drugs</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A fluorimetric microassay that uses a redox dye to determine the viability of the flagellate Trichomonas vaginalis has been optimised to provide a more sensitive method to evaluate potential trichomonacidal compounds. Resazurin has been used in recent years to test drugs against different parasites, including trichomonadid protozoa; however, the reproducibility of these resazurin-based methods in our laboratory has been limited because the flagellate culture medium spontaneously reduces the resazurin. The objective of this work was to refine the fluorimetric microassay method previously developed by other research groups to reduce the fluorescence background generated by the media and increase the sensitivity of the screening assay. The experimental conditions, time of incubation, resazurin concentration and media used in the microtitre plates were adjusted. Different drug sensitivity studies against T. vaginalis were developed using the 5-nitroimidazole reference drugs, new 5-nitroindazolinones and 5-nitroindazole synthetic derivatives. Haemocytometer count results were compared with the resazurin assay using a 10% solution of 3 mM resazurin dissolved in phosphate buffered saline with glucose (1 mg/mL). The fluorimetric assay and the haemocytometer counts resulted in similar percentages of trichomonacidal activity in all the experiments, demonstrating that the fluorimetric microtitre assay has the necessary accuracy for high-throughput screening of new drugs against T. vaginalis. <![CDATA[<b>A combined approach of VNTR and MLST analysis</b>: <b>improving molecular typing of Argentinean isolates of <i>Leptospira interrogans</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Leptospirosis is an emerging infectious disease that has been identified as both a human and animal health problem worldwide. Regular outbreaks associated with specific risk factors have been reported in Argentina. However, there are no available data concerning the genetic population level for this pathogen. Therefore, the aim of this work was to describe the genetic diversity of Leptospira interrogans through the application of two molecular typing strategies: variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). For this purpose, seven reference strains and 18 non-epidemiologically related isolates from diverse hosts and Argentinean regions were analysed. Among them, nine genotypes and seven sequence types (STs), including three unreported STs, were described using VNTR and MLST, respectively. eBURST analysis demonstrated that ST37 was the most frequent and founder genotype of a clonal complex (CCs) containing STN1 and STN3, suggesting the importance of studying the serovars belonging to this CC in Argentina. The data from maximum parsimony analysis, which combined both techniques, achieved intra-serovar discrimination, surmounted microscopic agglutination test discrepancies and increased the discriminatory power of each technique applied separately. This study is the first to combine both strategies for L. interrogans typing to generate a more comprehensive molecular genotyping of isolates from Argentina in a global context. <![CDATA[<b>Declining prevalence of hepatitis A virus antibodies among children from low socioeconomic groups reinforces the need for the implementation of hepatitis A vaccination in Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Age-related seroprevalence studies that have been conducted in Brazil have indicated a transition from a high to a medium endemicity of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection in the population. However, most of these studies have focused on urban populations that experience lower incidence rates of HAV infection. In the current study, the prevalence of anti-HAV antibodies was investigated in children with a low socioeconomic status (SES) that live on the periphery of three capital cities in Brazil. A total of 1,162 dried blood spot samples were collected from individuals whose ages ranged from one-18 years and tested for anti-HAV antibodies. A large number of children under five years old (74.1-90%) were identified to be susceptible to HAV infection. The anti-HAV antibody prevalence reached ≥ 50% among those that were 10-14 years of age or older. The anti-HAV prevalence rates observed were characteristics of regions with intermediate level of hepatitis A endemicity. These data indicated that a large proportion of children with a low SES that live at the periphery of urban cities might be at risk of contracting an HAV infection. The hepatitis A vaccine that is currently offered in Brazil is only available for high-risk groups or at private clinics and is unaffordable for individuals with a lower SES. The results from this study suggest that the hepatitis A vaccine should be included in the Brazilian National Program for Immunisation. <![CDATA[<b>The biology of three Mexican-American species of Triatominae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)</b>: <b><i>Triatoma recurva</i></b><b>, <i>Triatoma protracta</i> and <i>Triatoma rubida</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The values of biological parameters related to hatching, lifespan, the number of blood meals between moults, mortality, time lapse before the beginning of feeding, feeding time and defecation delay for each instar of three Mexican-American species of Triatominae, Triatoma recurva, Triatoma protracta (former subspecies protracta) and Triatoma rubida (former subspecies uhleri), were evaluated and compared. No significant (p &gt; 0.05) differences were recorded among the three species with respect to the average time required to hatch. This time was approximately 19 days. The average egg-to-adult development time was significantly (p < 0.05) shorter for T. rubida. The number of blood meals at each nymphal instar varied from one-five for each species. The mortality rates were higher for the first-instar nymphs of the three species studied. The mean time lapse before the beginning of feeding was between 0.3-3 min for most nymphs of all instars of each species studied. The mean feeding time was the longest for T. recurva, followed by T. protracta. The defecation delay was less than 10 min for T. recurva and T. rubida. Given these results, only T. rubida should be considered an important potential vector of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission to humans in areas of Mexico where these species exist, whereas T. recurva and T. protracta would be of secondary importance. <![CDATA[<b>Development and validation of PCR-based assays for diagnosis of American cutaneous leishmaniasis and identificatio nof the parasite species</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this study, PCR assays targeting different Leishmania heat-shock protein 70 gene (hsp70) regions, producing fragments ranging in size from 230-390 bp were developed and evaluated to determine their potential as a tool for the specific molecular diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). A total of 70 Leishmania strains were analysed, including seven reference strains (RS) and 63 previously typed strains. Analysis of the RS indicated a specific region of 234 bp in the hsp70 gene as a valid target that was highly sensitive for detection of Leishmania species DNA with capacity of distinguishing all analyzed species, after polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorfism (PCR-RFLP). This PCR assay was compared with other PCR targets used for the molecular diagnosis of leishmaniasis: hsp70 (1400-bp region), internal transcribed spacer (ITS)1 and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6pd). A good agreement among the methods was observed concerning the Leishmania species identification. Moreover, to evaluate the potential for molecular diagnosis, we compared the PCR targets hsp70-234 bp, ITS1, G6pd and mkDNA using a panel of 99 DNA samples from tissue fragments collected from patients with confirmed CL. Both PCR-hsp70-234 bp and PCR-ITS1 detected Leishmania DNA in more than 70% of the samples. However, using hsp70-234 bp PCR-RFLP, identification of all of the Leishmania species associated with CL in Brazil can be achieved employing a simpler and cheaper electrophoresis protocol. <![CDATA[<b>Toxicity of non-pyrethroid insecticides against <i>Triatoma infestans</i> (Hemiptera: Reduviidae)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Triatoma infestans (Klug) is the main vector of Chagas disease, which is a public health concern in most Latin American countries. The prevention of Chagas disease is based on the chemical control of the vector using pyrethroid insecticides. In the last decade, different levels of deltamethrin resistance have been detected in certain areas of Argentina and Bolivia. Because of this, alternative non-pyrethroid insecticides from different chemical groups were evaluated against two T. infestans populations, NFS and El Malá, with the objective of finding new insecticides to control resistant insect populations. Toxicity to different insecticides was evaluated in a deltamethrin-susceptible and a deltamethrin-resistant population. Topical application of the insecticides fenitrothion and imidacloprid to first nymphs had lethal effects on both populations, producing 50% lethal dose (LD50) values that ranged from 5.2-28 ng/insect. However, amitraz, flubendiamide, ivermectin, indoxacarb and spinosad showed no insecticidal activity in first instars at the applied doses (LD50 > 200 ng/insect). Fenitrothion and imidacloprid were effective against both deltamethrin-susceptible and deltamethrin-resistant populations of T. infestans. Therefore, they may be considered alternative non-pyrethroid insecticides for the control of Chagas disease. <![CDATA[<b>Hepatitis C virus quantification in serum and saliva of HCV-infected patients</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The hepatitis C virus (HCV) can be detected in blood and other bodily fluids, such as saliva, semen and gastric juices. The aim of this study was to compare the HCV viral loads in the serum and saliva of infected patients. Twenty-nine patients with detectable HCV RNA in their serum and saliva were included in this study. The HCV viral loads were determined through quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions. The median viral RNA levels were 5.78 log10 copies in the serum and 3.32 log10 copies in the saliva. We observed that the salivary HCV viral load was significantly lower than the viral load in the serum. Further studies are required to understand the role of saliva in the diagnosis, management and potential transmission of HCV. <![CDATA[<b>The high prevalence of Torque teno virus DNA in blood donors and haemodialysis patients in southern Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This study investigates the frequency of Torque teno virus (TTV) infection in 150 blood donors and 77 patients requiring haemodialysis in southern Brazil. Plasma samples were screened for TTV DNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The prevalences of TTV among blood donors and patients requiring haemodialysis were 73.3% and 68.8%, respectively. The presence of TTV was correlated with age in the blood donors (p = 0.024). In haemodialysis patients, no association was found between TTV infection and the demographic parameters (age, sex and education), the duration of haemodialysis or a history of blood transfusion. This study is the first to evaluate the prevalence of TTV infection in Brazilian patients requiring haemodialysis. <![CDATA[<b>The first report of the <i>qnrB19, qnrS1</i> and <i>aac(6´)-Ib-cr</i> genes in urinary isolates of ciprofloxacin-resistant <i>Escherichia coli</i> in Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this study, we investigated the presence of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) genes among 101 ciprofloxacin-resistant urinary Escherichia coli isolates and searched for mutations in the quinolone-resistance-determining regions (QRDRs) of the DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV genes in PMQR-carrying isolates. Eight isolates harboured the qnr and aac(6')-Ib-cr genes (3 qnrS1, 1 qnrB19 and 4 aac(6')-Ib-cr). A mutational analysis of the QRDRs in qnr and aac(6')-Ib-cr-positive isolates revealed mutations in gyrA, parC and parE that might be associated with high levels of resistance to quinolones. No mutation was detected in gyrB. Rare gyrA, parC and parE mutations were detected outside of the QRDRs. This is the first report of qnrB19, qnrS1 and aac(6')-Ib-cr -carrying E. coli isolates in Brazil. <![CDATA[<b>Comparison of the Kato-Katz and Helmintex methods for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis in a low-intensity transmission focus in Bandeirantes, Paraná, southern Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The diagnosis of schistosomiasis is problematic in low-intensity transmission areas because parasitological methods lack sensitivity and molecular methods are neither widely available nor extensively validated. Helmintex is a method for isolating eggs from large faecal samples. We report preliminary results of a comparative evaluation of the Helmintex and Kato-Katz (KK) methods for the diagnosis of schistosomiasis in a low-intensity transmission area in Bandeirantes, Paraná, southern Brazil. Eggs were detected by both methods in seven patients, whereas only Helmintex yielded positive results in four individuals. The results confirm the previously demonstrated higher sensitivity of the Helmintex method compared with the KK method. <![CDATA[<b>Infections with human coronaviruses NL63 and OC43 among hospitalised and outpatient individuals in São Paulo, Brazil</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500020&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The incidence and clinical features of human coronaviruses (HCoVs) among Brazilian patients with respiratory illness are not well known. We investigated the prevalence of HCoVs among Brazilian outpatients and hospitalised patients with respiratory illnesses during 2009 and 2010. To identify the HCoVs, pancoronavirus and species-specific reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays were performed. Five of 394 samples were positive for HCoVs (1.2%): 1/182 (0.5%) outpatients and 4/212 (1.8%) hospitalised patients. The OC43 and NL63 HCoVs were identified. Two patients were admitted to the intensive care unit. Underlying chronic disease was reported in cases and one diabetic adult died. HCoVs can cause lower respiratory infections and hospitalisation. Patients with pre-existing conditions and respiratory infections should be evaluated for HCoV infections. <![CDATA[<b><i>Coxiella burnetii,</i></b><b> the agent of Q fever in Brazil</b>: <b>its hidden role in seronegative arthritis and the importance of molecular diagnosis based on the repetitive element IS<i>1111</i> associated with the transposase gene</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500021&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Coxiella burnetii is the agent of Q fever , an emergent worldwide zoonosis of wide clinical spectrum. Although C. burnetii infection is typically associated with acute infection, atypical pneumonia and flu-like symptoms, endocarditis, osteoarticular manifestations and severe disease are possible, especially when the patient has a suppressed immune system; however, these severe complications are typically neglected. This study reports the sequencing of the repetitive element IS1111 of the transposase gene of C. burnetii from blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from a patient with severe pneumonia following methotrexate therapy, resulting in the molecular diagnosis of Q fever in a patient who had been diagnosed with active seronegative polyarthritis two years earlier. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first documented case of the isolation of C. burnetii DNA from a BAL sample. <![CDATA[<b>A RT-PCR method for selective amplification and phenotypic characterization of all three serotypes of Sabin-related polioviruses from viral mixtures</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500022&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Outbreaks caused by vaccine-derived polioviruses are challenging the final eradication of paralytic poliomyelitis. Therefore, the surveillance of the acute flaccid paralysis cases based on poliovirus isolation and characterization remains an essential activity. Due to the use of trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), mixtures containing more than one serotype of Sabin-related polioviruses are frequently isolated from clinical samples. Because each poliovirus isolate needs to be individually analyzed, we designed polymerase chain reaction primers that can selectively distinguish and amplify a genomic segment of the three Sabin-related poliovirus serotypes present in mixtures, thus, optimizing the diagnosis and providing prompt information to support epidemiologic actions. <![CDATA[<b>The use of an adequate mathematical model is crucial to evaluate vaccine effectiveness</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762012000500023&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Outbreaks caused by vaccine-derived polioviruses are challenging the final eradication of paralytic poliomyelitis. Therefore, the surveillance of the acute flaccid paralysis cases based on poliovirus isolation and characterization remains an essential activity. Due to the use of trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), mixtures containing more than one serotype of Sabin-related polioviruses are frequently isolated from clinical samples. Because each poliovirus isolate needs to be individually analyzed, we designed polymerase chain reaction primers that can selectively distinguish and amplify a genomic segment of the three Sabin-related poliovirus serotypes present in mixtures, thus, optimizing the diagnosis and providing prompt information to support epidemiologic actions.