Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases]]> vol. 20 num. lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Envenomation by caterpillars (erucism): proposal for simple pain relief treatment]]> <![CDATA[Autologous or heterologous fibrin sealant scaffold: which is the better choice?]]> <![CDATA[<em>Phyllomedusa bicolor</em> skin secretion and the <em>Kambô</em> ritual]]> The ritual of Kambô or Sapo is a type of voluntary envenomation. During this purification ritual a shaman healer, from various South American countries, deliberately burns the right shoulder with a glowing stick from a fireplace. Excretions of Phyllomedusa bicolor (or Giant Leaf Frog, Kambô or Sapo) are then applied to these fresh wounds. This ritual is used as a means of purification of the body, supposedly brings luck to hunters, increases stamina and enhances physical and sexual strength. All the peripheral and most of the central effects of the secretion can be ascribed to the exceptionally high content of active peptides, easily absorbed through burned skin. This article describes the ritual and the bio-active peptides from the secretion. <![CDATA[Poisoning after ingestion of pufferfish in Brazil: report of 11 cases]]> In this brief communication the authors report eleven cases of human poisoning caused by ingestion of pufferfish meat. Three patients (two children and one adult) were seriously affected. The circumstances that precipitated the poisoning are discussed as well as the clinical aspects observed. No deaths were registered and the patients did not present sequelae after the episode. <![CDATA[Current challenges for confronting the public health problem of snakebite envenoming in Central America]]> Snakebite envenoming is a serious public health problem in Central America, where approximately 5,500 cases occur every year. Panama has the highest incidence and El Salvador the lowest. The majority, and most severe, cases are inflicted by the pit viper Bothrops asper (family Viperidae), locally known as ‘terciopelo’, ‘barba amarilla’ or ‘equis’. About 1% of the bites are caused by coral snakes of the genus Micrurus (family Elapidae). Despite significant and successful efforts in Central America regarding snakebite envenomings in the areas of research, antivenom manufacture and quality control, training of health professionals in the diagnosis and clinical management of bites, and prevention of snakebites, much remains to be done in order to further reduce the impact of this medical condition. This essay presents seven challenges for improving the confrontation of snakebite envenoming in Central America. Overcoming these challenges demands a coordinated partnership of highly diverse stakeholders though inter-sectorial and inter-programmatic interventions. <![CDATA[A historical approach to scorpion studies with special reference to the 20 <sup>th</sup> and 21st centuries]]> This work provides historical context about scorpion studies from the end of the 19 th century to the present day. The content is mainly addressed to non-zoologists, working in research fields that embrace scorpion biology, notably to those working with venoms and toxins. The historical aspects described include academic professional scholars who worked on scorpion classification and general distribution patterns; and to a lesser extent, on studies of ecology and natural history. The aim is not to provide an exhaustive description of all scholars who in one way or another became involved with scorpions, but rather of those who greatly contributed during a given period to the research of these organisms. No critical analysis of the work of previous researchers is undertaken, but some comments are proposed to bring clarification on ‘who’s who’. Since a global consensus in relation to classification and/or distribution patterns has not been reached among modern experts, these different approaches are also presented without judgment. Consequently, distinct approaches remain open for discussion. <![CDATA[Septic arthritis: immunopathogenesis, experimental models and therapy]]> Septic arthritis is an inflammatory disease of the joints that is started by an infection whose most common agent is Staphylococcus aureus. In this review we discuss some of the most arthritogenic bacterial factors and the contribution of innate and specific immune mechanisms to joint destruction. Special emphasis is given to the induction of experimental arthritis by S. aureus in mice. The improvement of therapy by association of antibiotics with down-modulation of immunity is also included. <![CDATA[Snake venom L-amino acid oxidases: an overview on their antitumor effects]]> The L-amino acid oxidases (LAAOs) constitute a major component of snake venoms and have been widely studied due to their widespread presence and various effects, such as apoptosis induction, cytotoxicity, induction and/or inhibition of platelet aggregation, hemorrhage, hemolysis, edema, as well as antimicrobial, antiparasitic and anti-HIV activities. The isolated and characterized snake venom LAAOs have become important research targets due to their potential biotechnological applications in pursuit for new drugs of interest in the scientific and medical fields. The current study discusses the antitumor effects of snake venom LAAOs described in the literature to date, highlighting the mechanisms of apoptosis induction proposed for this class of proteins. <![CDATA[Hump-nosed viper bite: an important but under-recognized cause of systemic envenoming]]> Hump-nosed viper bites are common in the Indian subcontinent. In the past, hump-nosed vipers (Hypnale species) were considered moderately venomous snakes whose bites result mainly in local envenoming. However, a variety of severe local effects, hemostatic dysfunction, microangiopathic hemolysis, kidney injury and death have been reported following envenoming byHypnale species. We systematically reviewed the medical literature on the epidemiology, toxin profile, diagnosis, and clinical, laboratory and postmortem features of hump-nosed viper envenoming, and highlight the need for development of an effective antivenom. <![CDATA[<em>Thalassophryne nattereri</em> fish venom: from the envenoming to the understanding of the immune system]]> Thalassophryne nattereri (niquim) is a venomous fish found off North and Northeast coast of Brazil, where it is known by the severity of the accidents involving humans. This review article is divided into four topics. The first one provides a brief description of the animal biology and its distribution off Brazilian coastal waters, the venom apparatus, signs and symptoms observed in envenomated humans and also describes envenomation in mice. The second topic describes the use of modern genetic approach and mass spectrometry for identification of highly expressed genes in its venom glands and the sequence of major toxins. The third chapter offers a detailed study of tissue injury induced by the venom and reveals the role of toxins that impair inflammation reduction. Finally, the fourth section expands the understanding of many extrinsic and intrinsic essential factors in maintaining survival of memory B cell compartment. Our results demonstrate the wide possibilities for research in the area of toxinology, also the necessity of interconnection among biochemistry, pharmacology and immunology areas for the expansion of knowledge and for generation of innovation. <![CDATA[Outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in Africa: the beginnings of a tragic saga]]> The tremendous outbreak of Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa since the end of 2013 surprises by its remoteness from previous epidemics and dramatic extent. This review aims to describe the 27 manifestations of Ebola virus that arose after its discovery in 1976. It provides an update on research on the ecology of Ebola viruses, modes of contamination and human transmission of the disease that are mainly linked to close contact with an infected animal or a patient suffering from the disease. The recommendations to contain the epidemic and challenges to achieve it are reminded. <![CDATA[Systemic effects induced by intralesional injection of ?-conotoxin MVIIC after spinal cord injury in rats]]> Background : Calcium channel blockers such as conotoxins have shown a great potential to reduce brain and spinal cord injury. MVIIC neuroprotective effects analyzed in in vitro models of brain and spinal cord ischemia suggest a potential role of this toxin in preventing injury after spinal cord trauma. However, previous clinical studies with MVIIC demonstrated that clinical side effects might limit the usefulness of this drug and there is no research on its systemic effects. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the potential toxic effects of MVIIC on organs and to evaluate clinical and blood profiles of rats submitted to spinal cord injury and treated with this marine toxin. Rats were treated with placebo or MVIIC (at doses of 15, 30, 60 or 120 pmol) intralesionally following spinal cord injury. Seven days after the toxin administration, kidney, brain, lung, heart, liver, adrenal, muscles, pancreas, spleen, stomach, and intestine were histopathologically investigated. In addition, blood samples collected from the rats were tested for any hematologic or biochemical changes. Results : The clinical, hematologic and biochemical evaluation revealed no significant abnormalities in all groups, even in high doses. There was no significant alteration in organs, except for degenerative changes in kidneys at a dose of 120 pmol. Conclusions : These findings suggest that MVIIC at 15, 30 and 60 pmol are safe for intralesional administration after spinal cord injury and could be further investigated in relation to its neuroprotective effects. However, 120 pmol doses of MVIIC may provoke adverse effects on kidney tissue. <![CDATA[Purification and characterization of a hyaluronidase from venom of the spider <em>Vitalius dubius </em> (Araneae, Theraphosidae)]]> Background Venom hyaluronidase (Hyase) contributes to the diffusion of venom from the inoculation site. In this work, we purified and characterized Hyase from the venom of Vitalius dubius (Araneae, Theraphosidae), a large theraphosid found in southeastern Brazil. Venom obtained by electrical stimulation of adult male and female V. dubius was initially fractionated by gel filtration on a Superdex® 75 column. Active fractions were pooled and applied to a heparin-sepharose affinity column. The proteins were eluted with a linear NaCl gradient. Results Active fractions were pooled and assessed for purity by SDS-PAGE and RP-HPLC. The physicochemical tests included optimum pH, heat stability, presence of isoforms, neutralization by flavonoids and assessment of commercial antivenoms. Hyase was purified and presented a specific activity of 148 turbidity-reducing units (TRU)/mg (venom: 36 TRU/mg; purification factor of ~4). Hyase displayed a molecular mass of 43 kDa by SDS-PAGE. Zymography in hyaluronic-acid-containing gels indicated an absence of enzyme isoforms. The optimum pH was 4-5, with highest activity at 37°C. Hyase was stable up to 60°C; but its activity was lost at higher temperatures and maintained after several freeze-thaw cycles. The NaCl concentration (up to 1 M) did not influence activity. Hyase had greater action towards hyaluronic acid compared to chondroitin sulfate, and was completely neutralized by polyvalent antiarachnid sera, but not by caterpillar, scorpion or snakes antivenoms. Conclusion The neutralization by arachnid but not scorpion antivenom indicates that this enzyme shares antigenic epitopes with similar enzymes in other spider venoms. The biochemical properties of this Hyase are comparable to others described. <![CDATA[Preliminary assessment of <em>Hedychium coronarium</em> essential oil on fibrinogenolytic and coagulant activity induced by <em>Bothrops</em> and <em>Lachesis</em> snake venoms]]> Background The search for new inhibitors of snake venom toxins is essential to complement or even replace traditional antivenom therapy, especially in relation to compounds that neutralize the local effects of envenomations. Besides their possible use as alternative to traditional antivenom therapy, some plant species possess bioactive secondary metabolites including essential oils, which can be extracted from weeds that are considered substantial problems for agriculture, such as Hedychium coronarium. Methods The essential oils of leaves and rhizomes from H. coronarium were extracted by hydrodistillation, and their potential inhibitory effects on the coagulant and fibrinogenolytic activities induced by the venoms of Lachesis muta, Bothrops atrox and Bothrops moojeni were analyzed. Citrated human plasma was used to evaluate the clotting time whereas changes in fibrinogen molecules were visualized by electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gel. The experimental design used for testing coagulation inhibition was randomized in a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement (concentration × essential oils), with three replications. The essential oils were compared since they were extracted from different organs of the same botanical species, H. coronarium. Results The results suggest that the oils interact with venom proteases and plasma constituents, since all oils evaluated, when previously incubated with venoms, were able to inhibit the clotting effect, with less inhibition when oils and plasma were preincubated prior to the addition of venoms. Conclusions Thus, after extensive characterization of their pharmacological and toxicological effects, the essential oils can be used as an alternative to complement serum therapy, especially considering that these plant metabolites generally do not require specific formulations and may be used topically immediately after extraction. <![CDATA[Hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress induced by <em>Naja haje</em> crude venom]]> Background Snake venoms are synthesized and stored in venom glands. Most venoms are complex mixtures of several proteins, peptides, enzymes, toxins and non-protein components. In the present study, we investigated the oxidative stress and apoptosis in rat liver cells provoked by Naja haje crude injection (LD50) after four hours. Methods Wistar rats were randomly divided into two groups, the control group was intraperitoneally injected with saline solution while LD50-dose envenomed group was intraperitoneally injected with venom at a dose of 0.025 μg/kg of body weight. Animals were killed four hours after the injection. Lipid peroxidation, nitric oxide and glutathione levels were measured as oxidative markers in serum and liver homogenate. In addition, liver function parameters and activities of antioxidant enzymes were determined. Results N. haje crude venom (0.025 μg/kg of body weight) enhanced lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide production in both serum and liver with concomitant reduction in glutathione, catalase, glutathione reductase and glutathione-S-transferase activities. Superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities were significantly increased in liver of envenomed rats. These findings were associated with apoptosis induction in the liver. In addition, N. haje crude venom caused hepatic injury as indicated by histopathological changes in the liver tissue with an elevation in total bilirubin, serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase, and alkaline phosphatase. Conclusions Based on the present results, it can hypothesized that N. haje crude venom is a potent inducer of toxin-mediated hepatotoxicity associated with apoptosis in the liver. <![CDATA[Identification of two novel cytolysins from the hydrozoan <em>Olindias sambaquiensis</em> (Cnidaria)]]> Background : Although the hydrozoan Olindias sambaquiensis is the most common jellyfish associated with human envenomation in southeastern and southern Brazil, information about the composition of its venom is rare. Thus, the present study aimed to analyze pharmacological aspects of O. sambaquiensis venom as well as clinical manifestations observed in affected patients. Crude protein extracts were prepared from the tentacles of animals; peptides and proteins were sequenced and submitted to circular dichroism spectroscopy. Creatine kinase, cytotoxicity and hemolytic activity were evaluated by specific methods. Results : We identified two novel cytolysins denominated oshem 1 and oshem 2 from the tentacles of this jellyfish. The cytolysins presented the amino acid sequences NEGKAKCGNTAGSKLTFKSADECTKTGQK (oshem 1) and NNSKAKCGDLAGWSKLTFKSADECTKTGQKS (oshem 2) with respective molecular masses of 3.013 kDa and 3.375 kDa. Circular dichroism revealed that oshem 1 has random coils and small α-helix conformation as main secondary structure whereas oshem 2 presents mainly random coils as its main secondary structure probably due to the presence of W (13) in oshem 2. The hemolysis levels induced by oshem 1 and oshem 2 using a peptide concentration of 0.2 mg/mL were, respectively, 51.7 ± 6.5% and 32.9 ± 8.7% (n = 12 and p ≤ 0.05). Oshem 1 and oshem 2 showed significant myonecrotic activity, evaluated by respective CK level measurements of 1890.4 ± 89 and 1212.5 ± 103 (n = 4 and p ≤ 0.05). In addition, myonecrosis was also evaluated by cell survival, which was measured at 72.4 ± 8.6% and 83.5 ± 6.7% (n = 12 and p ≤ 0.05), respectively. The structural analysis showed that both oshem 1 and oshem 2 should be classified as a small basic hemolytic peptide. Conclusion : The amino acid sequences of two peptides were highly similar while the primary amino acid sequence analysis revealed W (22th) as the most important mutation. Finally oshem 1 and oshem 2 are the first cytolytic peptides isolated from the Olindias sambaquiensis and should probably represent a novel class of cytolytic peptides. <![CDATA[Comparative analysis of the venom proteome of four important Malaysian snake species]]> Background Naja kaouthia, Ophiophagus hannah, Bungarus fasciatus and Calloselasma rhodostoma are four venomous snakes indigenous to Malaysia. In the present study, their proteomic profile by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) have been separated and compared. Results The 2-DE of venoms of the four species snake demonstrated complexity and obvious interspecies differences in proteome profiles. A total of 63 proteins were identified in the four species: C. rhodostoma - 26, N. kaouthia - 16, O. hannah - 15 and B. fasciatus - 6. Conclusions Despite the identifications of major proteins in the four snake species, a large number of protein spots from the 2-DE were unidentified even though the spots displayed high-quality MALDI-TOF-MS spectra. Those identified included phospholipase A2 proteins in all four venoms, long neurotoxins in both cobra species and the C. rhodostoma venom found with the most varied types of peptidases, i.e. metalloproteinase kistomin, halystase and L-amino acid oxidase. <![CDATA[<em>In vitro </em>screening and evaluation of antivenom phytochemicals from <em>Azima tetracantha </em>Lam. leaves against <em>Bungarus caeruleus </em>and <em>Vipera russelli</em>]]> Background : Snakebites are considered a neglected tropical disease that affects thousands of people worldwide. Although antivenom is the only treatment available, it is associated with several side effects. As an alternative, plants have been extensively studied in order to obtain an alternative treatment. In folk medicine, Azima tetracantha Lam. is usually used to treat snakebites. The present study aims to provide a scientific explanation for the use of this plant against snakebite. The extracts of shade dried leaves of A. tetracantha were tested for in vitro inhibitory activity on toxic venom enzymes like phosphomonoesterase, phosphodiesterase, acetylcholinesterase, hyaluronidase etc. from Bungarus caeruleus and Vipera russelli venoms. Results : The ethylacetate extract rendered a significant inhibitory effect on the phosphomonoesterase, phosphodiesterase, phospholipase A2 and acetylcholinesterase enzymes. Conclusions : The present study suggests that ethylacetate extract of A. tetracantha leaves possesses compounds that inhibit the activity of toxic enzymes from Bungarus caeruleus and Vipera russelli venom. Further pharmacological and in vivo studies would provide evidence that this substance may lead to a potential treatment against these venoms. <![CDATA[Association among <em>H. pylori </em> virulence markers <em>dupA, cagA</em> and <em>vacA</em> in Brazilian patients]]> Background: Only a few Helicobacter pylori-infected individuals develop severe gastric diseases and virulence factors of H. pylori appear to be involved in such clinical outcomes. Duodenal ulcer promoting gene A (dupA) is a novel virulence factor of Helicobacter pylori that is associated with duodenal ulcer development and reduced risk for gastric carcinoma in some populations. The aims of the present study were to determine the presence of dupA gene and evaluate the association among dupA and other virulence factors including cagA and vacA in Brazilian patients. Gastric biopsies were obtained from 205 dyspeptic patients (100 children and 105 adults). DNA was extracted and analyzed for the presence of H. pylori and its virulence factors using the polymerase chain reaction method. Results: Patients with gastritis tested positive for H. pylori more frequently. The dupA gene was detected in 41.5% of them (85/205); cagA gene was found in 98 isolates (47.8%) and vacA genotype s1/m1 in 50.2%, s1/m2 in 8.3%, s2/m2 in 36.6%, s2/m1 in 0.5% and s1/s2/m1/m2 in 4.4%. We also verified a significant association between cagA and dupA genes [p = 0.0003, relative risk (RR) 1.73 and confidence interval [CI] = 1.3-2.3]. The genotypes s1/m1 were also associated with dupA gene (p = 0.0001, RR: 1.72 and CI: 1.3-2.2). The same associations were found when analyzing pediatric and adult groups of patients individually. Conclusion: Ours results suggest that dupA is highly frequent in Brazilian patients and is associated with cagA gene and vacA s1/m1 genotype, and it may be considered an important virulence factor in the development of gastric diseases in adults or children. <![CDATA[Hematology and plasma biochemistry of wild-caught Indian cobra <em>Naja naja </em>(Linnaeus, 1758)]]> Background : Hematology and plasma biochemistry parameters are useful in the assessment and management of snake physiological status. Although reference ranges are readily available for many snake species, they are lacking for most venomous ophidians. We determined hematology and plasma biochemistry reference ranges for the wild-caught Indian cobra, Naja naja. Results : Blood samples, taken from the ventral tail vein, were assessed for erythrocyte count, total leukocyte count, hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, considering the sex of snakes. Results revealed the erythrocyte numbers (male, 390000 ± 12503.33/mm3 and female, 347500 ± 7505.55/mm3), shapes and the centrally located oval nuclei. Leukocytes were round, circular or disk-shaped, and the mean size was larger in male than female snakes. The maximum number of leukocytes was found to be 11700 ± 100/mm3 in male and 12100 ±200/mm3 in female snakes, and mean values of differential leukocyte count differed statistically between male and female snakes. The total leukocyte levels were found to be higher in female snakes, but the levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, and MCV values were higher in male snakes. However, the MCH and MCHC values remained higher in female snakes throughout the study period. Mean protein and cholesterol contents differed significantly between male (45.32 ± 1.76 and 3.76 ± 0.06 mg/mL) and female (12.47 ± 0.82 and 4.72 ± 0.2 mg/mL) snakes. Conclusions : In conclusion, monitoring snake hematological and biochemical parameters can serve as a means to evaluate the physiological and health status of N. naja populations, which may be a useful indicator of their environmental status. <![CDATA[Clinical aspects of envenomation caused by <em>Tityus obscurus </em> (Gervais, 1843) in two distinct regions of Pará state, Brazilian Amazon basin: a prospective case series]]> Background : Scorpion envenomations are a major public health problem in Brazil, whose most dangerous cases are attributable to the genus Tityus. This study was designed to compare the clinical and demographic features of envenomations by 77tyus obscurus in two areas of the state of Pará located in the Amazon basin. Were compared demographic findings, local and systemic signs and symptoms of human envenomations caused by T. obscurus that occurred in western and eastern areas of the state. Results : Forty-eight patients with confirmed envenomation by T. obscurus were evaluated from January 2008 to July 2011. Most of them came from the eastern region, where male and female patients were present in similar numbers, while males predominated in the west. Median age groups were also similar in both areas. Most scorpion stings took place during the day and occurred significantly more frequently on the upper limbs. The time between the sting and admission to the health center was less than three hours in both areas. Most eastern patients had local manifestations while in the west, systemic manifestations predominated. Local symptoms were similar in both areas, but systemic signs and symptoms were more common in the west. Symptoms frequently observed at the sting site were local and radiating pain, paresthesia, edema, erythema, sweating, piloerection and burning. The systemic manifestations were significantly higher in patients from the west. Futhermore, neurological symptoms such as general paresthesia, ataxia, dysarthria, myoclonus, dysmetria, and electric shock-like sensations throughout the body were reported only by patients from the west. Conclusion : The present study shows that two regions of Para state differ in the clinical manifestations and severity of confirmed envenomation by T. obscurus which suggests a toxicity variation resulting from the diversity of T. obscurus venom in different areas of the Brazilian Amazon basin, and that T. serrulatus antivenom can be successfully used against T. obscurus. <![CDATA[Mild reproductive effects of the <em>Tityus bahiensis </em> scorpion venom in rats]]> Background Scorpion envenoming is a public health problem in Brazil, where Tityus serrulatus and T. bahiensis are considered the most dangerous scorpions. They are well adapted to urbanized environments, and there is an increasing probability of human exposure to these venoms, including during pregnancy. Not much is known about the effects of prenatal exposure to the venom, and no information is available to aid in the rational treatment of victims stung during pregnancy. Thus, this study aimed to investigate whether venom from the scorpion T. bahiensis administered once to pregnant female rats at a dose that causes a moderate envenomation may lead to deleterious effects on the reproductive performance of the dams and on the development of their offspring. This is the first work demonstrating that T. bahiensis venom, when administered experimentally to rats, alters maternal reproductive performance and the morphological development of fetuses. The venom was given to dams on the 5th (GD5) or on the 10th (GD10) gestational day. After laparotomy, on GD21, fetuses and placentas were counted, weighed and externally analyzed. The corpora lutea were counted. The sex and vitality of fetuses were evaluated, and each litter was then randomly divided for visceral or skeletal analyses. Data were analyzed by ANOVA followed by the Tukey-Kramer test and Fisher's exact test. The significance level for all tests was set at p &lt; 0.05. Results : GD5 group presented an increased number of pre-implantation losses. Weight gains in fetuses and placentas were observed in the GD5 and GD10 groups. Weights of the heart and lungs were elevated in GD5 and GD10 and liver weight in GD10. Conclusions : Moderate envenomation by T. bahiensis scorpion venom alters maternal reproductive performance and fetal development. However, these are preliminary results whose causes should be investigated more carefully in future studies. <![CDATA[Evaluation of canine and feline leishmaniasis by the association of blood culture, immunofluorescent antibody test and polymerase chain reaction]]> Background : This study aimed to evaluate the occurrence of Leishmania spp. in dogs and cats from Botucatu, São Paulo state, and Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul state, Brazil, by the association of three diagnostic tests: blood culture in liver infusion tryptose medium, immunofluorescent antibody test and polymerase chain reaction. Fifty blood samples of dogs and cats from the Center for Zoonosis Control in Campo Grande, an area endemic for canine visceral leishmaniasis, were collected randomly, as well as canine and feline blood samples from the Municipal Kennel and Animal Protection Association in Botucatu, currently considered a transmission-free, non-endemic area. Results : Of the 50 dog blood cultures from Botucatu, three (6%) were positive and of the 50 cats, two (4%) were positive. In Campo Grande, 29 dog blood cultures (58%) were positive and all (100%) cats negative by this test. Polymerase chain reaction detected Leishmania spp. in 100% of dog and cat samples from Botucatu but found all the cats from Campo Grande to be negative. On the other hand, 36 dogs from Campo Grande were positive (72%) by the same technique. Immunofluorescent antibody test in Botucatu found 100% of dogs and cats non-reactive, while in Campo Grande, it detected positivity in 32 dogs (64%) and 15 cats (30%). Conclusions : The results show the importance of not only continuous epidemiological surveillance in areas not endemic for leishmaniasis, but also research for accurate diagnosis of this zoonosis. <![CDATA[Epidemiology of bee stings in Campina Grande, Para√≠ba state, Northeastern Brazil]]> Background : The present study aims to investigate the clinical-epidemiological characteristics of bee sting cases recorded between 2007 and 2012 in the city of Campina Grande, Paraiba state, Brazil. Data were collected from the database of the Injury Notification Information System of the Brazilian Ministry of Health.  Results : A total of 459 bee sting cases were retrospectively analyzed. The average annual incidence was 19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Cases were distributed in all months of the year, with higher prevalence in September and February. Most victims were men aged between 20 and 29 years. The highest incidence of cases was recorded in urban areas. Victims were stung mainly on the head and torso and received medical assistance predominantly 1 to 3 hours after being stung. The most frequent clinical manifestations were pain, edema and itching. Most cases were classified as mild, and three deaths were reported.  Conclusions : The high incidence of envenomations provoked by bees in Campina Grande suggests that it may be an important risk area for accidents. Since several medical records lacked information, clinical-epidemiological profile of bee sting cases in the studied region could not be accurately determined. The current study provides relevant data for the development of strategies to promote control and prevention of bee stings in this area. Further training for health professionals seems to be necessary to improve their skills in recording clinical-epidemiological information as well as in treating bee sting victims. <![CDATA[Leptospira¬†spp. infection in sheep herds in southeast Brazil]]> Background With the aim of studying Leptospira spp. infection in sheep herds, blood samples and respective kidney and liver fragments were collected from 100 animals from twenty different properties during slaughter at a meat company in the Sorocaba region, São Paulo state, southeast Brazil. The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) was performed with 29 strains of Leptospira spp. To identify the agent in the liver and kidney, 100 samples of each tissue were submitted to culture in Fletcher medium and analyzed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Leptospira spp. Results MAT detected 23 samples serologically positive for one or more Leptospira spp. serovars and significantly more for Autumnalis. Eight (4%) samples were positive in culture (four kidneys and four livers), corresponding to five animals with positive serology (one animal simultaneously positive for both kidney and liver) and two negatives. PCR detected Leptospira spp. in 14 samples (seven kidneys and seven livers) corresponding to 12 positive animals (two animals simultaneously positive for kidney and liver), of which ten were serologically positive and two negative. Conclusions PCR was faster, more practical and more sensitive than culture for detecting leptospires. The results reinforce the importance of sheep in the epidemiological context of leptospirosis. <![CDATA[Tracking false-negative results in molecular diagnosis: proposal of a triplex-PCR based method for leishmaniasis diagnosis]]> Background : Molecular biological methods have become increasingly relevant to the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases, such as leishmaniasis. Since various factors may affect the sensitivity of PCR assays, including DNA yield and purity, an optimal extraction method is pivotal. Losses of a parasite’s DNA during extraction may significantly impair its detection by PCR and lead to false-negative results. This study proposes a triplex PCR assay targeting the parasite’s DNA, an external control (pUC18) and an internal control (G3PD) for accurate diagnosis of leishmaniasis. Results : Two primer pairs were designed to detect the plasmid pUC18 and a triplex PCR assay targeting theLeishmania braziliensis kinetoplast DNA, the external control and the internal control was standardized. The triplex PCR assay was assessed for its ability to detect the three target DNA fragments simultaneously. PCR products from pUC18 DNA resulted in bands of 368 (P1) and 316 (P2) base pairs (bp). The triplex PCR optimized with the chosen external control system (P1) allowed the simultaneous detection of the internal control (G3PD – 567 bp) as well as of small quantities (10 pg) of the target parasite’s DNA, detected by amplification of a 138 bp product. Conclusions : The new tool standardized herein enables a more reliable interpretation of PCR results, mainly by contributing to quality assurance of leishmaniasis diagnosis. Furthermore, after simple standardization steps, this protocol could be applied to the diagnosis of other infectious diseases in reference laboratories. This triplex PCR enables the assessment of small losses during the DNA extraction process, problems concerning DNA degradation (sample quality) and the detection of L. braziliensis kDNA. <![CDATA[Gene polymorphism of interleukin 1 and 8 in chronic gastritis patients infected with <em>Helicobacter pylori</em>]]> Background : Epidemiological investigations have indicated that Helicobacter pylori induces inflammation in the gastric mucosa regulated by several interleukins. The genes IL1B and IL8 are suggested as key factors in determining the risk of gastritis. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the association of gene polymorphism of interleukin-1 and interleukin-8 with chronic gastrits in H. pylori infected patients. A total of 60 patients underwent endoscopic procedure. Biopsy samples were collected for urease test, histopathological and molecular exams. The DNA of theses samples was extracted for detection of H. pylori and analysis of the genes mentioned above. Patients with gastritis had a higher frequency of H. pylori-positive samples. Results : H. pylori was detected in 30/60 patients (50%) by PCR. As for polymorphism of interleukin 8 (-251) gene we observed a statistical difference when analyzed TA (p = 0.039) and TT (p = 0.047) genotypes. In the IL1B31 there was a statistical difference in TT (p = 0.01) genotype and in theIL1B-511 there wasn’t any statistical difference. Conclusion : Our results suggest a strong correlation between the presence of chronic gastritis and infection byH. pylori and that IL1B-31TT and IL8-251TT genotypes appear to act as protective factors againstH. pylori infection while IL8-251TA genotype may comprise a risk factor for infection with this bacterium. <![CDATA[Detection and identification of huwentoxin-IV interacting proteins by biotin-avidin chemistry combined with mass spectrometry]]> Background : Numerous spider toxins are of interest as tools for neurophysiological research or as lead molecules for the development of pharmaceuticals and insecticides. Direct detection and identification of the interacting proteins of a spider toxin are helpful for its action-mechanism analysis and practical application. The present study employed a combinative strategy for the analysis of interacting proteins of huwentoxin-IV (HWTX-IV), a peptidic neurotoxin from the venom of the spider Selenocosmia huwena. Results : HWTX-IV was first lightly labeled with biotin under the optimized mild experimental conditions and the toxin labeled with a single biotin group (monobiotinylated HWTX-IV) was demonstrated by electrophysiological experiments to retain its original bioactivity and was used in combination with far-western blotting to detect its interacting proteins. Comparative experiments indicated that some membrane proteins from rat neuromuscular junction preparations bind to monobiotinylated HWTX-IV after being transferred onto a PVDF membrane from the SDS-gel. With capillary high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, several membrane proteins with which HWTX-IV potentially interacted were identified from the preparations and then bioinformatically analyzed. Conclusions : This work has provided not only a new insight into the action mechanism of HWTX-IV but also a reference technology for the relevant researches. <![CDATA[<em>In vitro</em> antibacterial effect of wasp (<em>Vespa orientalis</em>) venom]]> Background The emergence of antibacterial resistance against several classes of antibiotics is an inevitable consequence of drug overuse. As antimicrobial resistance spreads throughout the globe, new substances will always be necessary to fight against multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Venoms of many animals have recently gained attention in the search for new antimicrobials to treat infectious diseases. Thefore, the present study aimed to study the antibacterial effects of wasp (Vespa orientalis) crude venom. Two gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis) and two gram-negative ones (Escherichia coli and Klesiella pneumonia) were compared for their sensitivity to the venom by determining the inhibition zone (Kirby-Bauer method) and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). A microbroth kinetic system based on continuous monitoring of changes in the optical density of bacterial growth was also used for determination of antimicrobial activity. Results The venom exhibited a well-recognized antimicrobial property against the tested bacterial strains. The inhibition zones were determined to be 12.6, 22.7, 22.4 and 10.2 mm for S. aureus, B. subtilis,E. coli and K. pneumonia, respectively. The corresponding MIC values were determined to be 64, 8, 64 and 128 μg/mL, respectively. The MIC50 and MIC90 values of the venom were respectively determined to be 63.6 and 107 μg/mL for S. aureus, 4.3 and 7.0 μg/mL for B. subtilis, 45.3 and 65.7 μg/mL for E. coli and 74.4 and 119.2 μg/mL for K. pneumonia. Gram-positive bacteria were generally more sensitive to the venom than gram-negative ones. Conclusions Results revealed that the venom markedly inhibits the growth of both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and could be considered a potential source for developing new antibacterial drugs. <![CDATA[Molecular cloning of a hyaluronidase from <em>Bothrops pauloensis</em> venom gland]]> Background Hyaluronate is one of the major components of extracellular matrix from vertebrates whose breakdown is catalyzed by the enzyme hyaluronidase. These enzymes are widely described in snake venoms, in which they facilitate the spreading of the main toxins in the victim’s body during the envenoming. Snake venoms also present some variants (hyaluronidases-like substances) that are probably originated by alternative splicing, even though their relevance in envenomation is still under investigation. Hyaluronidases-like proteins have not yet been purified from any snake venom, but the cDNA that encodes these toxins was already identified in snake venom glands by transcriptomic analysis. Herein, we report the cloning and in silico analysis of the first hyaluronidase-like proteins from a Brazilian snake venom. Methods The cDNA sequence of hyaluronidase was cloned from the transcriptome of Bothrops pauloensisvenom glands. This sequence was submitted to multiple alignment with other related sequences by ClustalW. A phylogenetic analysis was performed using MEGA 4 software by the neighbor joining (NJ) method. Results The cDNA from Bothrops pauloensis venom gland that corresponds to hyaluronidase comprises 1175 bp and codifies a protein containing 194 amino acid residues. The sequence, denominated BpHyase, was identified as hyaluronidase-like since it shows high sequence identities (above 83%) with other described snake venom hyaluronidase-like sequences. Hyaluronidases-like proteins are thought to be products of alternative splicing implicated in deletions of central amino acids, including the catalytic residues. Structure-based sequence alignment of BpHyase to human hyaluronidase hHyal-1 demonstrates a loss of some key secondary structures. The phylogenetic analysis indicates an independent evolution of BpHyal when compared to other hyaluronidases. However, these toxins might share a common ancestor, thus suggesting a broad hyaluronidase-like distribution among venomous snakes. Conclusions This work is the first report of a cDNA sequence of hyaluronidase from Brazilian snake venoms. Moreover, the in silico analysis of its deduced amino acid sequence opens new perspectives about the biological function of hyaluronidases-like proteins and may direct further studies comprising their isolation and/or recombinant production, as well as their structural and functional characterization. <![CDATA[Molecular detection of <em>Leishmania</em> spp. in road-killed wild mammals in the Central Western area of the State of São Paulo, Brazil]]> Background Road-killed wild animals have been classified as sentinels for detecting such zoonotic pathogens asLeishmania spp., offering new opportunities for epidemiological studies of this infection. Methods This study aimed to evaluate the presence of Leishmania spp. and Leishmania chagasi DNA by PCR in tissue samples (lung, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, mesenteric lymph node and adrenal gland) from 70 road-killed wild animals. Results DNA was detected in tissues of one Cavia aperea (Brazilian guinea pig), five Cerdocyon thous(crab-eating fox), one Dasypus septemcinctus (seven-banded armadillo), two Didelphis albiventris(white-eared opossum), one Hydrochoerus hydrochoeris (capybara), two Myrmecophaga tridactyla(giant anteater), one Procyon cancrivorus (crab-eating raccoon), two Sphiggurus spinosus(porcupine) and one Tamandua tetradactyla (lesser anteater) from different locations in the Central Western part of São Paulo state. The Leishmania chagasi DNA were confirmed in mesenteric lymph node of one Cerdocyon thous. Results indicated common infection in wild animals. Conclusions The approach employed herein proved useful for detecting the environmental occurrence ofLeishmania spp. and L. chagasi, as well as determining natural wild reservoirs and contributing to understand the host-parasite interaction. <![CDATA[Presynaptic neuromuscular action of a methanolic extract from the venom of <em>Rhinella schneideri</em> toad]]> Background Rhinella schneideri, previously known as Bufo paracnemis, is a common toad in many regions of Brazil. Its venom exerts important cardiovascular effects on humans and other animals. Although this toad venom has been the subject of intense investigations, little is known about its neuromuscular activity. Methods The neurotoxicity of a methanolic extract of R. schneideri venom was tested on mouse phrenic nerve-diaphragm (PND) preparations mounted for conventional twitch tension recording – in response to indirect stimulation – and for electrophysiological measurements. Results Venom extract (50 μg/mL) increased the muscle twitch tension in PND preparations but did not significantly alter the resting membrane potential values. Electrophysiological evaluations showed that the extract (50 μg/mL) significantly augmented the frequency of miniature end-plate potential (from 38 ± 3.5 to 88 ± 15 after 60 minutes; n = 5; p &lt; 0.05) and quantal content (from 128 ± 13 to 272 ± 34 after five minutes; n = 5; p &lt; 0.05). Pretreatment with ouabain (1 μg/mL) for five minutes prevented the increase in quantal content (117 ± 18 and 154 ± 33 after five and 60 minutes, respectively). Conclusion These results indicate that the methanolic extract of R. schneideri venom acts primarily presynaptically to enhance neurotransmitter release in mouse phrenic-diaphragm preparations. <![CDATA[Bioclimatic distribution and prevalence maps for <em>Fasciola hepatica</em> in Espírito Santo State, Brazil]]> Background Fasciolosis affects different ruminant species and leads to great economic losses for cattle farmers worldwide. Thus, the current study aimed to evaluate bovine fasciolosis prevalence in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, using slaughter maps provided by slaughterhouses and verifying the origin of cattle. Methods : A map was created based on analysis of epidemiological data. The ArcGIS/ArcINFO 10.1 software was employed in order to elaborate updated bioclimatic maps that displayed the fasciolosis prevalence within the state – per city– between 2009 and 2011. Results According to the bioclimatic map it was clear that 52.24% of the state’s total area comprise regions considered favorable for the development and survival of Fasciola hepatica. According to the data provided by slaughterhouses, the parasite was more frequent in the cities of Atílio Vivácqua, Itapemirim and Anchieta with respective prevalence of 28.41, 25.50 and 24.95%. Although the northern portion of the state is also favorable for the disease maintenance (reaching rates above 90%), several cities presented prevalence of only 0.99 and 1.94% respectively. These findings indicate that climatic and environmental factors only cannot be considered preponderant to fasciolosis occurrence. Regarding the slaughterhouse located in Anchieta city, the higher prevalence was registered in the cities of Jerônimo Monteiro, Alegre and Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, with mean prevalence of 1.21, 1.07 and 2.09% respectively. Conclusion Although the present findings suggest a pattern for the prevalence of fasciolosis, records of the cities for the occurrence of the disease usually do not reflect the true origin of animals. <![CDATA[Insecticidal activity of <em>Leptodactylus knudseni</em> and<em>Phyllomedusa vaillantii</em> crude skin secretions against the mosquitoes <em>Anopheles darlingi</em> and <em>Aedes aegypti</em>]]> Background Mosquitoes are important vectors of several diseases, including malaria and dengue, and control measures are mostly performed using chemical insecticides. Unfortunately, mosquito resistance to commonly applied insecticides is widespread. Therefore, a prospection for new molecules with insecticidal activity based on Amazon biodiversity using the anurans Leptodactylus knudseni andPhyllomedusa vaillantii was performed against the mosquito species Anopheles darlingi and Aedes aegypti. Methods The granular secretion from anuran skin was obtained by manual stimulation, and lethal concentrations (LCs) for larvicidal and adulticidal tests were calculated using concentrations from 1-100 ppm. The skin secretions from the anuran species tested caused significant mortality within the first 24 hours on adults and larvae, but differed within the mosquito species. Results The skin secretions from the anuran species tested caused significant mortality within the first 24 hours on adults and larvae, but differed within the mosquito species. The calculated LC50 of L. knudseni skin secretions against An. darlingi was 0.15 and 0.2 ppm for adults and larvae, respectively, but much higher for Ae. aegypti, i.e., 19 and 38 ppm, respectively. Interestingly, the calculated LCs50 of P. vaillantii against both mosquito species in adults were similar, 1.8 and 2.1 ppm, respectively, but the LC50 for An. darlingi larvae was much lower (0.4 ppm) than for Ae aegypti (2.1 ppm). Conclusions The present experiments indicate that skin secretions from L. knudseni and P. vaillantii contain bioactive molecules with potent insecticide activity. The isolation and characterization of skin secretions components will provide new insights for potential insecticidal molecules. <![CDATA[Dose and time dependence of box jellyfish antivenom]]> Background The effectiveness of the currently available box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) antivenom has been subject of debate for many years. To assess whether the box jellyfish antivenom has the ability to attenuate venom-induced damage at cellular level, the present study analyzed the dose and time dependence of the antivenom in a cell-based assay. Methods Different doses of antivenom were added to venom and subsequently administered to cells and the cell index was measured using xCelligence Technology (ACEA Biosciences). Similarly, antivenom and venom were incubated over different time periods and cell survival measured as stated above. For both experiments, the cell index was plotted as a measure of cell survival against the dose or incubation time and significance was determined with the use of a one-way ANOVA with a LSD post hoc test. Results Increasing concentrations of antivenom significantly augmented cell survival, with a concentration of approximately five times the currently recommended dose for human envenomation, causing the first significant increase in cell survival compared venom alone. Further, cell survival improved with increasing incubation time of venom and antivenom prior to addition to the cells, indicating that box jellyfish antivenom requires approximately 70 minutes to neutralize C. fleckeri venom. Conclusion The presented results suggest that the currently recommended dose of antivenom requires adjustment, and more importantly, a human trial to test the effects of higher concentrations is also necessary. Further, antivenom has delayed neutralizing effects (i.e. after 70 minutes) which underlines the eminence of immediate and prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation in victims suffering from a C. fleckeri venom-induced cardiovascular collapse. <![CDATA[Bufotenine is able to block rabies virus infection in BHK-21 cells]]> Background Rabies is a fatal zoonotic neglected disease that occurs in more than 150 countries, and kills more than 55.000 people every year. It is caused by an enveloped single stranded RNA virus that affects the central nervous system, through an infection initiated by the muscular nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, according to many authors. Alkaloids, such as acetylcholine, are widespread molecules in nature. They are present in numerous biological fluids, including the skin secretion of many amphibians, in which they act (together with proteins, peptides and steroids) as protection agents against predators and/or microorganisms. Among those amphibians that are rich in alkaloids, there is the genus Rhinella. Methods Bufotenine was isolated from Rhinela jimi skin secretion after a liquid-liquid partition (H2O:CH2Cl2) and reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography analyses (RP-HPLC). Bufotenine was also extracted from seeds of Anadenanthera colubrina in acetone solution and purified by RP-HPLC, as well. Structural characterization was performed by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses. Cytotoxic tests of bufotenine were performed over baby hamster kidney (BHK-21) cells using MTT test. For the antiviral activity, Rabies virus strain Pasteur vaccine (PV) was used on fluorescence inhibition test and fluorescent foci inhibition test, with both simultaneous and time course treatment of the cells with the virus and bufotenine. Results In the present work we describe the effects of bufotenine, obtained either from toads or plants, that can inhibit the penetration of rabies virus in mammalian cells through an apparent competitive mechanism by the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Moreover, this inhibition was dose- and time-dependent, pointing out to a specific mechanism of action. Conclusions This work do not present or propose bufotenine as a drug for the treatment of rabies due to the hallucinogen and psychotropic effects of the molecule. However, continued studies in the elucidation of the antiviral mechanism of this molecule, may lead to the choice or development of a tryptamine analogue presenting potential clinical use. <![CDATA[Scorpionism in Brazil in the years 2000 to 2012]]> Background Scorpionism is a serious public health problem in Brazil. Nationwide epidemiological analyses of scorpion stings are scarce. In this context, the present study aims to provide an epidemiological analysis of accidents involving scorpions in Brazil. Methods An analytical epidemiological study of the scorpion accidents reported in the Information System for Notifiable Diseases (SINAN) was conducted from 2000 to 2012 in Brazil. Results During this period, 482,616 accidents and 728 deaths were reported. The annual average incidence and mortality rates per 100,000 inhabitants were 19.6 and 0.030, respectively, with annual average lethality rate of 0.16%. The highest accident frequency was recorded in male subjects, aged 20–49 years, from September to December and in urban areas, except in the northern region of the country, where accidents were most frequent in June and July, and in rural areas. Males up to age 9 and rural areas were defined as an age group and area for greatest death risk, respectively. Conclusions Scorpionism in Brazil is a predominantly urban health problem that mostly affects people at an economically active age. The Northeast and Southeast hold the majority of cases and deaths, as well as the highest annual incidence and mortality averages, but the Central West and North presented the highest average annual lethality rates. The epidemiological changes described in this study highlight the need for intensifying health surveillance actions to prevent scorpion accidents in Brazil. <![CDATA[Characterization of <em>Leiurus abdullahbayrami</em> (Scorpiones: Buthidae) venom: peptide profile, cytotoxicity and antimicrobial activity]]> Background Scorpion venoms are rich bioactive peptide libraries that offer promising molecules that may lead to the discovery and development of new drugs. Leiurus abdullahbayrami produces one of the most potent venoms among Turkish scorpions that provokes severe symptoms in envenomated victims. Methods In the present study, the peptide profile of the venom was investigated by electrophoretic methods, size-exclusion and reversed-phase chromatography and mass spectroscopy. Cytotoxic and antimicrobial effects were evaluated on a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7) and various bacterial and fungal species. Results Proteins make up approximately half of the dry weight of L. abdullahbayrami crude venom. Microfluidic capillary electrophoresis indicated the presence of 6 to 7 kDa peptides and proved to be a highly practical peptidomics tool with better resolution when compared to conventional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Mass spectroscopy analysis helped us to identify 45 unique peptide masses between 1 to 7 kDa with a bimodal mass distribution peaking between molecular weights of 1 to 2 kDa (29%) and 3 to 4 kDa (31%). L. abdullahbayrami crude venom had a proliferative effect on MCF-7 cells, which may be explained by the high concentration of polyamines as well as potassium and calcium ions in the arachnid venoms. Antimicrobial effect was stronger on gram-negative bacteria. Conclusions This work represents the first peptidomic characterization of L. abdullahbayrami venom. Considering the molecular weight-function relationship of previously identified venom peptides, future bioactivity studies may lead to the discovery of novel potassium and chloride ion channel inhibitors as well as new antimicrobial peptides from L. abdullahbayrami venom. <![CDATA[Characteristics of hemolytic activity induced by the aqueous extract of the Mexican fire coral <em>Millepora complanata</em>]]> Background Millepora complanata is a plate-like fire coral common throughout the Caribbean. Contact with this species usually provokes burning pain, erythema and urticariform lesions. Our previous study suggested that the aqueous extract of M. complanata contains non-protein hemolysins that are soluble in water and ethanol. In general, the local damage induced by cnidarian venoms has been associated with hemolysins. The characterization of the effects of these components is important for the understanding of the defense mechanisms of fire corals. In addition, this information could lead to better care for victims of envenomation accidents. Methods An ethanolic extract from the lyophilized aqueous extract was prepared and its hemolytic activity was compared with the hemolysis induced by the denatured aqueous extract. Based on the finding that ethanol failed to induce nematocyst discharge, ethanolic extracts were prepared from artificially bleached and normal M. complanata fragments and their hemolytic activity was tested in order to obtain information about the source of the heat-stable hemolysins. Results Rodent erythrocytes were more susceptible to the aqueous extract than chicken and human erythrocytes. Hemolytic activity started at ten minutes of incubation and was relatively stable within the range of 28-50°C. When the aqueous extract was preincubated at temperatures over 60°C, hemolytic activity was significantly reduced. The denatured extract induced a slow hemolytic activity (HU50 = 1,050.00 ± 45.85 μg/mL), detectable four hours after incubation, which was similar to that induced by the ethanolic extract prepared from the aqueous extract (HU50 = 1,167.00 ± 54.95 μg/mL). No significant differences were observed between hemolysis induced by ethanolic extracts from bleached and normal fragments, although both activities were more potent than hemolysis induced by the denatured extract. Conclusions The results showed that the aqueous extract of M. complanata possesses one or more powerful heat-labile hemolytic proteins that are slightly more resistant to temperature than jellyfish venoms. This extract also contains slow thermostable hemolysins highly soluble in ethanol that are probably derived from the body tissues of the hydrozoan. <![CDATA[Antileishmanial and antitrypanosomal activity of the cutaneous secretion of <em>Siphonops annulatus</em>]]> Background Among the tropical parasitic diseases, those caused by protozoans are considered a challenge to public health, being represented by leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. In view of the low effectiveness and toxicity of the current therapy, animal venoms such as amphibian secretions have been used as a promising source of new drug prototypes. The present work aimed to achieve bioguided fractionation of metabolites present in a cutaneous secretion of the caecilian Siphonops annulatus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Siphonopidae) with antileishmanial and antitrypanosomal activity. Methods Through liquid-liquid partition and chromatographic techniques, the secretion was fractionated using bioguided assays. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of the main fraction (SaFr1) was studied against Leishmania (L.) infantum promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes, trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi and mammalian cells; viability was detected by the colorimetric MTT assay. By using a spectrofluorimetric assay with the probe SYTOX® Green and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we also investigated the potential damage caused by SaFr1 in the plasma membrane and mitochondria of Leishmania. Results The bioguided assay enabled isolation of a highly purified fraction (SaFr1) with an IC50 of 0.065 μg/mL against promastigotes and 2.75 μg/mL against trypomastigotes. Due to its high toxicity to peritoneal macrophages, SaFr1 showed no selectivity towards the intracellular forms of Leishmania. Ultrastructural studies with Leishmania demonstrated severe mitochondrial damage and the formation of large cytoplasmic vacuoles, leading to the parasite’s death within a few hours. Nevertheless, it caused no alteration in the plasma membrane permeability as detected by the fluorescent probe and TEM. Conclusions The present study demonstrated for the first time the antiparasitic activity of the skin secretion of the caecilian S. annulatus against Leishmania and T. cruzi, confirming that skin secretions of these amphibians, similarly to those of anurans and salamanders, are also potential tools for the development of new drug candidates against neglected diseases. <![CDATA[Virulence factors and antibiotic resistance of <em>Helicobacter pylori</em> isolated from raw milk and unpasteurized dairy products in Iran]]> Background Despite the high importance of Helicobacter pylori, the origin and transmission of this bacterium has not been clearly determined. According to controversial theories and results of previous studies, animal source foods – especially milk – play an important role in the transmission of H. pylori to humans. The aim of the present study was to determine the distribution of vacA, cagA, iceA and oipA virulence factors in H. pylori strains isolated from milk and dairy products and study their antimicrobial resistance properties. Methods A total of 520 raw milk and 400 traditional dairy product samples were cultured and tested. Those that were H. pylori-positive were analyzed for the presence of vacA, cagA, iceA and oipA virulence factors. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by the disk diffusion method. Results One hundred and three out of 520 milk samples (19.8%) and 77 out of 400 dairy products samples (19.2%) were contaminated with H. pylori. The most frequently contaminated samples were ovine milk (35%) and traditional cheese (30%). Total prevalence of vacA, cagA, iceA and oipA factors were 75%, 76.6%, 41.6% and 25%, respectively. H. pylori strains of milk and dairy products harbored high levels of resistance to ampicillin (84.4%), tetracycline (76.6%), erythromycin (70.5%) and metronidazole (70%). Conclusions High presence of antibiotic-resistant strains of H. pylori suggest that milk and dairy samples may be the sources of bacteria that can cause severe infection. Our findings should raise awareness about antibiotic resistance in H. pylori strains in Iran. <![CDATA[Does the rattle of <em>Crotalus durissus terrificus</em> reveal its dietary history?]]> Background Environmental devastation threatens the survival of many species, including venomous snakes such as the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus. This observation is based on the decrease of snakes collected and donated to Brazilian research institutes. Nevertheless, some individuals have managed to survive and procreate. The question is how these snakes are adapting in these new environmental conditions. Methods To answer it, the carbon-13 level of rattlesnakes and their feed (either laboratory or wild mice) was evaluated by isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. Thus, rattle segments from 16 adults and 15 offspring of captive snakes, and of three wild newborn C. d. terrificus were evaluated as well as 17 Mus musculus mice captured in traps, four live feeder mice and the ration offered to mice at animal houses. Results The isotopic exchange time of the captive adult snakes (n = 16) varied between 33 and 37 months and of captive-born animals (n = 15), until reaching a plateau of equilibrium, varied from 18 to 24 months. Regarding the captured Mus musculus (n = 17), 88.23% (n = 15) were from a C4 environment. Of the six rattle rings from offspring of captured C. d. terrificus, five were from a C4 environment, whereas of the 170 rattle rings studied, 60% originated from a C3 environment and 40% from a C4. The same carbon-13 values were found in captive snakes. Conclusions Based on the present results, it can be inferred that most C. d. terrificus snakes (60%) fed animals from a C3 environment; birds consist of an alimentary alternative for snakes, as well as rodents, small reptiles and amphibians; different venom compositions among snakes from the same region may be related to the food type; the primary rattle of offspring reflects the maternal diet during gestation; and, finally, the different rattle rings indicate the alimentary history of these animals. <![CDATA[A case of stings in humans caused by <em>Sclerodermus </em> sp. in Italy]]> In the last years, stings of Sclerodermus species in humans have been sporadically reported in Italy. In order to draw attention to these bethylid wasps of medical importance, we report the case of documented Sclerodermus sp. stings on the dorsum, abdomen, arms, and thighs of a 40-year-old man and his wife. The sting sites developed raised red itchy rash. The source of environmental contamination was identified in a worm-eaten sofa purchased from a used furniture dealer and placed in the living room about a month and half earlier. The lesions on the man and his wife rapidly healed within 3 to 4 days once they left the house and treatment for the lesions was instituted. Physicians, dermatologists, medical and public health entomologists, as well as specific categories of workers should be aware of the risk of exposure to Sclerodermus stings. <![CDATA[Presumptive thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura following a hump-nosed viper (<em>Hypnale hypnale</em>) bite: a case report]]> Hump-nosed viper bites are frequent in southern India and Sri Lanka. However, the published literature on this snakebite is limited and its venom composition is not well characterized. In this case, we report a patient with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura-like syndrome following envenoming which, to the best of our knowledge, has not been reported in the literature before. A 55-year-old woman from southern Sri Lanka presented to the local hospital 12 hours after a hump-nosed viper (Hypnale hypnale) bite. Five days later, she developed a syndrome that was characteristic of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura with fever, thrombocytopenia, microangiopathic hemolysis, renal impairment and neurological dysfunction in the form of confusion and coma. Her clinical syndrome and relevant laboratory parameters improved after she was treated with therapeutic plasma exchange. We compared our observations on this patient with the current literature and concluded that thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is a theoretically plausible yet unreported manifestation of hump-nosed viper bite up to this moment. This study also provides an important message for clinicians to look out for this complication in hump-nosed viper bites since timely treatment can be lifesaving. <![CDATA[Viper bites complicate chronic agrochemical nephropathy in rural Sri Lanka]]> Snakebite is a common occupational health hazard among Sri Lankan agricultural workers, particularly in the North Central Province. Viperine snakes, mainly Russell’s viper envenomation, frequently lead to acute renal failure. During the last two decades, an agrochemical nephropathy, a chronic tubulointerstitial disease has rapidly spread over this area leading to high morbidity and mortality. Most of the epidemiological characteristics of these two conditions overlap, increasing the chances of co-occurrence. Herein, we describe four representative cases of viperine snakebites leading to variable clinical presentations, in patients with chronic agrochemical nephropathy, including two patients presented with acute and delayed anuria. These cases suggest the possibility of unusual manifestations of snakebite in patients with Sri Lankan agrochemical nephropathy, of which the clinicians should be aware. It could be postulated that the existing scenario in the Central America could also lead to similar clinical presentations. <![CDATA[Lepromatous leprosy and perianal tuberculosis: a case report and literature review]]> Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a microorganism that usually affects skin and nerves. Although it is usually well-controlled by multidrug therapy (MDT), the disease may be aggravated by acute inflammatory reaction episodes that cause permanent tissue damage particularly to peripheral nerves. Tuberculosis is predominantly a disease of the lungs; however, it may spread to other organs and cause an extrapulmonary infection. Both mycobacterial infections are endemic in developing countries including Brazil, and cases of coinfection have been reported in the last decade. Nevertheless, simultaneous occurrence of perianal cutaneous tuberculosis and erythema nodosum leprosum is very rare, even in countries where both mycobacterial infections are endemic. <![CDATA[Importance of the association of molecular and immunological diagnosis in immunocompetent patient with <em>Histoplasma capsulatum</em> and <em>Cryptoccocus neoformans</em> infection: a case report]]> This case reports an immunocompetent 29-year-old woman with suspected pneumonia, suggestive of fungal infection. Immunoblotting analysis reactivity against Histoplasma capsulatum and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis were observed. Nested-PCR in blood employing species-specific primers was positive for H. capsulatum and Cryptococcus neoformans. The evaluation of paucisymptomatic patients with positive results for H. capsulatum and C. neoformans could be relevant for the prevention as well as the possible evaluation of the reactivated quiescent foci. In conclusion, the associated methodology may have contributed to the monitoring endogenous reactivation of these diseases. <![CDATA[Infiltrated plaques resulting from an injury caused by the common octopus (<em>Octopus vulgaris</em>): a case report]]> Several species of octopus are considered venomous due to toxins present in the glands connected to their “beak”, which may be associated with hunt and kill of prey. Herein, we report an accident involving a common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) that injured an instructor during a practical biology lesson and provoked an inflamed infiltrated plaque on the hand of the victim. The lesion was present for about three weeks and was treated with cold compresses and anti-inflammatory drugs. It was healed ten days after leaving a hyperchromic macule at the bite site. The probable cause of the severe inflammation was the digestive enzymes of the glands and not the neurotoxins of the venom. <![CDATA[Envenomation caused by <em>Rhopalurus amazonicus</em> Lourenço, 1986 (Scorpiones, Buthidae) in Pará State, Brazil]]> Scorpions, mainly those belonging to the genus Tityus cause many deaths and injuries in Brazil, with tens of thousands of envenomations notified every year. However, injuries involving other scorpion species are scarcely registered. Among the sixteen species of the genus Rhopalurus, Thorell, 1876, described up to date, nine are found in this country, with only a confirmed case of human envenomation provoked by R. agamemnon Koch, 1839. The present case reports, for the first time, a case of scorpion sting in a human victim involving Rhopalurus amazonicus, endemic species of the west region of the Pará state, Amazon, Brazil. The symptoms of envenomation were local pain and paresthesia. This study contributes to develop the knowledge on venomous scorpions, particularly those that may cause envenomations in this region. <![CDATA[Massive attack by honeybees in a German shepherd dog: description of a fatal case and review of the literature]]> In the present study, a fatal case caused by honeybee (Apis cerana) stings was documented in a female German shepherd dog that was presented at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan. Characteristic clinical signs included hematuria, hematemesis, incoordination and convulsions along with evidence of massive honeybee attack supported the diagnosis of envenomation. The dog was treated with dexamethasone and diphenhydramine, but it did not respond to therapy and died. This outcome could be avoided if we had a bee antivenom available for treating envenomated patients. <![CDATA[Seroprevalence of flaviviruses antibodies in water buffaloes <em>(Bubalus bubalis) </em>in Brazilian Amazon]]> Background The state of Pará encompasses 26% of Brazilian Amazon where an enormous diversity of arboviruses has been found. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and distribution of hemagglutination-inhibition antibodies against antigens of six Flavivirus (yellow fever virus, Ilheus virus, Saint Louis encephalitis virus, Cacipacore virus, Bussuquara virus and Rocio virus) in water buffaloes in Pará state, Brazil. The prevalence of antibodies in these farm animals is important to determine the circulating arboviruses. Findings All investigated arboviruses were detected in the species studied and our results indicate that water buffaloes are susceptible to Flavivirus infection. Furthermore, there is solid evidence of active circulation of these viruses in the Brazilian Amazon. Conclusions Water buffaloes showed higher prevalence of heterotypic antibody reactions and we hypothesized that they can serve as sentinels to detect the movement of such arboviruses in the Brazilian Amazon. <![CDATA[Diagnosis of arboviruses using indirect sandwich IgG ELISA in horses from the Brazilian Amazon]]> Background The Amazon as a whole is the largest reservoir of arboviruses worldwide, while the Brazilian Amazon hosts the largest variety of arboviruses isolated to date. In this study, the results of an indirect sandwich IgG ELISA, standardized for 19 arbovirustypes circulating among horses in Brazilian Amazon, were compared to results of the hemagglutination inhibition test. A screening test assessed the conditional probability distribution and a Pearson linear correlation test determined the correlation strength among the absorbance values recorded for viruses from the same family. Findings Sensitivity varied between 40.85 and 100%; the specificity was low and ranged from 39.71 to 67.0%; and the accuracy varied between 41 and 65.2%. The test developed in this study yielded a large number of serological cross-reactions. Conclusions The test can be employed to detect IgG antibodies within one arbovirus family; however, the hemagglutination test or other more specific techniques, such as the serum neutralization test in mice or the plaque-reduction neutralization test, are essential complementary methods for positive cases. <![CDATA[Kinetics of rabies antibodies as a strategy for canine active immunization]]> Background Rabies, a zoonosis found throughout the globe, is caused by a virus of the Lyssavirus genus. The disease is transmitted to humans through the inoculation of the virus present in the saliva of infected mammals. Since its prognosis is usually fatal for humans, nationwide public campaigns to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies aim to break the epidemiological link between the virus and its reservoirs in Brazil. Findings During 12 months we evaluated the active immunity of dogs first vaccinated (booster shot at 30 days after first vaccination) against rabies using the Fuenzalida-Palácios modified vaccine in the urban area of Botucatu city, São Pauto state, Brazil. Of the analyzed dogs, 54.7% maintained protective titers (≥0.5 IU/mL) for 360 days after the first vaccination whereas 51.5% during all the study period. Conclusions The present results suggest a new vaccination schedule for dogs that have never been vaccinated. In addition to the first dose of vaccine, two others are recommended: the second at 30 days after the first and the third dose at 180 days after the first for the maintenance of protective titers during 12 months. <![CDATA[Detection of antibodies to <em>Toxoplasma gondii</em> in wild animals in Brazil]]> Background Toxoplasmosis is a worldwide zoonosis caused by an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite,Toxoplasma gondii, that affects all warm-blooded animals, including wild animals. The increased number of cases of parasitic infections is mainly due to the destruction of environmental conservation areas, which is driving wild animals out of their habitats and towards urban areas. In this study, the occurrence of T. gondii infection was investigated by the modified agglutination test (MAT) in 26 different species of run over and injured wild animals that were treated at a Brazilian university veterinary hospital, from June 2007 to August 2008. Findings Of the studied animals, six (23.1%; CI95% 11.1-42.2%) had T. gondii antibodies, with titers equal to 10 (4; 66.7%) and 40 (2; 33.3%). The species Pseudalopex vetulus, Cerdocyon thous, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris and Tapyrus terrestris had titers of 10, while Alouatta caraya and Puma concolor had titers of 40. There was no significant association regarding age, gender or purpose of care (p &gt; 0.05). Conclusions Carnivorous, herbivorous and omnivorous wild animals are potential sentinels of human toxoplasmosis, especially when wild felids are present, maintaining the environmental contamination. <![CDATA[Anaphylactic shock following the bite of a wild Kayan slow loris (<em>Nycticebus kayan</em>): implications for slow loris conservation]]> Background Asian slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) are one of few known venomous mammals, yet until now only one published case report has documented the impact of their venomous bite on humans. We describe the reaction of a patient to the bite of a subadult Nycticebus kayan, which occurred in the Mulu District of Sarawak in 2012. Findings Within minutes of the bite, the patient experienced paraesthesia in the right side of the jaw, ear and right foot. By 40 minutes, swelling of the face was pronounced. The patient was admitted to Mulu National Park Health Clinic/Klinik Kesihatan Taman Mulu Tarikh, at which time he was experiencing: swollen mouth, chest pain, mild abdominal pain, nausea, numbness of the lips and mouth, shortness of breath, weakness, agitation and the sensation of pressure in the ears due to swelling. The blood pressure was 110/76, the heart ratio was 116 and oxygen saturation was 96%. The patient was treated intramuscularly with adrenaline (0.5 mL), followed by intravenous injection of hydrocortisone (400 mg) and then intravenous fluid therapy of normal saline (500 mg). By 8 h10 the next day, the patient’s condition had significantly improved with no nausea, and with blood pressure and pulse rate stable. Conclusions A handful of anecdotes further support the real danger that slow loris bites pose to humans. As the illegal pet trade is a major factor in the decline of these threatened species, we hope that by reporting on the danger of handling these animals it may help to reduce their desirability as a pet.