Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases]]> http://www.scielo.br/rss.php?pid=1678-919920080002&lang=en vol. 14 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.br/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.br <![CDATA[<b>Is there a non-present teaching proposal for Methodology in health?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Bats and their role in human rabies epidemiology in the Americas</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Bats are very interesting animals: they are the unique flying mammals, have developed a highly sophisticated echolocation system, and have become specialized to eat different types of diets. Hematophagous (vampire) bats are those specialized to feed solely on blood and have served as a source of inspiration for researchers as well as for writers. Vampire bat attacks on humans have moved from the realm of science fiction to reality in Latin America and bats (including non-hematophagous ones) have assumed an important role in the transmission of rabies virus to humans. This article discusses the emerging role of bats as rabies virus transmitters, with particular emphasis on the role of hematophagous bats in the epidemiology of human rabies in Latin America. Possible reasons associated with the increasing risk of exposure to bats in this region are also discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Trends in multidrug-resistant tuberculosis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is an increasing global problem. The extent and burden of MDR-TB varies significantly from country to country and region to region. Globally, about three per cent of all newly diagnosed patients have MDR-TB and the proportion is higher in patients who had previously received anti-tuberculosis (anti-TB) treatment reflecting the failure of programs designed to ensure complete cure of patients with tuberculosis. The management of MDR-TB is a challenge that should be undertaken by experienced clinicians at centers equipped with reliable laboratory services and implementation of DOTS-Plus strategy. <![CDATA[<b>Oral <i>Candida</i> spp. colonization in human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Several yeast species of Candida genus can colonize the skin as well as the mucous membrane of the vagina and the digestive tract for short or long periods. Depending on the host's immunological state and the yeast's virulence, colonization can become an infection, invading the colonized tissues and also disseminating. AIDS is characterized by the host's intensive and progressive immunodepression which manifests as diverse symptoms, mainly lesions in the mouth. Oral candidiasis is the most prevalent opportunistic infection in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and is an important indicator of the disease progress and the immunosuppression increase. The factors involved in the equilibrium between Candida spp. and HIV-infected subjects are sometimes contradictory and were evaluated in the present study specially for colonization. <![CDATA[<b>Scorpion sting</b>: <b>a public health problem in El Kelaa des Sraghna (Morocco)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The present study aimed at verifying the impact of a Moroccan strategy against scorpion stings and specifically at identifying the epidemiological features of patients envenomed or just stung by scorpions. It included 11,907 patients from El Kelaa des Sraghna Province, Morocco, who were evaluated over five years (2001-2005). Most stings occurred during the hot period and mainly at night. The average incidence was 3.2 per 1,000 inhabitants; patients <15 years accounted for 34%, and the envenomation rate was 12%. Average lethality rate was 0.7%. Our work evaluated the efficacy of the adopted strategy based on indicators of follow-up, morbidity and lethality due to scorpion sting and envenomation. <![CDATA[<b>Heterologous expression of an insecticidal gene from the armed spider (<i>Phoneutria nigriventer</i>)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Insect-pests are global problems that cause severe damage to crop plants, and their control is commonly based on chemical insecticides. However, negative effects of pesticides on the environment and human health emphasize the necessity to develop alternative methods for insect-pest control. In the present study, a gene coding for the insecticidal peptide TX4(6-1) of the Brazilian armed spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) was cloned in fusion with maltose binding protein (MBP) and expressed in Escherichia coli. The affinity purified protein MBP-GlyTX4 was cleaved with the Xa factor and used for a bioassay against Spodoptera frugiperda and rabbit immunization. Five micrograms GlyTX4 protein injected into the hemocoel of larvae and abdominal cavity of adults produced trembling and uncoordinated movements immediately after injection and all adult insects died after 12h. After two days, larvae became paralyzed and the epidermal color changed to dark brown. Furthermore, the development stage was prolonged for two weeks. Alternatively, slices of maize leaves were imbibed with 15 micrograms of the recombinant protein cleaved with the Xa factor and used as diet for larvae. In this experiment, all larvae died in about 30 minutes. Polyclonal antibodies anti-MBP-GlyTX4 were effective for recognizing MBP and GlyTX4 in whole cell extract from E. coli expressing the recombinant protein. <![CDATA[<b>Antagonistic properties of some microorganisms isolated from Brazilian tropical savannah plants against <i>Staphylococcus</i> coagulase-positive strain</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Endophytic microorganisms are relatively unstudied as potential sources of novel natural products for medical and commercial exploitation. The aim of this work was to investigate some Brazilian tropical savannah trees Cassia leptophylla and Prunus spp. in order to isolate the endophytic microorganisms associated with these plants. The samples were disinfected to eliminate the epiphytic population. Colonies were diluted and displayed as drops in media and growing colonies were inactivated. Staphylococcus coagulase-positive strain was used as indicator microorganism and subjected to the antibioses test. Data showed that the microorganisms isolated from Cassia leptophylla had no inhibition against Staphylococcus. On the other hand, microorganisms isolated from Prunus spp. leaves showed antibacterial activity and inhibited Staphylococcus when cultivated in peptone agar as well as in yeast extract agar. Investigation proceeds in order to classify the isolated microorganisms presenting bioactive substance and exploit the potential of the compounds produced to inhibit the indicator bacteria. Other bioactive properties will be investigated. <![CDATA[<b>Biotin/avidin sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for Culicidae mosquito blood meal identification</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The knowledge of mosquitoes Culicidae host feeding patterns is basic to understand the roles of different species and to indicate their importance in the epidemiology of arthropod-borne diseases. A laboratory assay was developed aiming at standardizing the biotin-avidin sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, which was unprecedented for mosquito blood meal identification. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) activity was evaluated by the detection of titers on each sample of the 28 blood-fed Culex quinquefasciatus. In light of the high sensitivity that the technique permits, by means of small quantities of specific antibodies commercially provided and phosphatase substrate which reinforces additional dilutions, human and rat blood meals were readily identified in all laboratory-raised Culex quinquefasciatus tested. The assay was effective to detect human blood meal dilutions up to 1:4,096, which enables the technique to be applied in field studies. Additionally, the present results indicate a significant difference between the detection patterns recorded from human blood meal which corroborate the results of host feeding patterns. <![CDATA[<b>Use of immunoblotting assay improves the sensitivity of paracoccidioidomycosis diagnosis</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The purpose of this work was to evaluate two serological assays: double immunodiffusion (DI) and immunoblotting (IB) in immunodiagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). We evaluated by IB assay 23 sera samples from patients with clinical confirmation of PCM, all of them with negative DI results against culture filtrate from Paracoccidioides brasiliensis isolate 113. For IB, as well as for comparative DI assay, we employed soluble components of the cell wall outer surface (SCCWOS) from P. brasiliensis isolate 113 cultivated at 36°C in Fava-Neto's agar medium for 5 and 10 days. Among the 20 sera samples analyzed by DI, 13 (65%) were negative and 7 (35%) were positive against SCCWOS obtained on the 5th and 10th days. By IB assay, 95.4% and 100% of sera reacted against gp43 and gp70 present in SCCWOS from the 5th day and 95.6% recognized these fractions when evaluated against SCCWOS from the 10th day. Our results demonstrated that the use of an immunoenzymatic assay significantly improves the sensitivity of PCM immunodiagnosis and also suggests that at least two serological tests for antibody detection should be adopted in cases of questionable diagnosis. <![CDATA[<b>Embriotoxic effects of maternal exposure to <i>Tityus serrulatus</i> scorpion venom</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Tityus serrulatus is the most venomous scorpion in Brazil; however, it is not known whether its venom causes any harm to the offspring whose mothers have received it. This study investigates whether the venom of T. serrulatus may lead to deleterious effects in the offspring, when once administered to pregnant rats at a dose that causes moderate envenomation (3mg/kg). The venom effects were studied on the 5th and on the 10th gestation day (GD5 and GD10). The maternal reproductive parameters of the group that received the venom on GD5 showed no alteration. The group that received the venom on GD10 presented an increase in post-implantation losses. In this group, an increase in the liver weight was also observed and one-third of the fetuses presented incomplete ossification of skull bones. None of the groups that received the venom had any visceral malformation or delay in the fetal development of their offspring. The histopathological analysis revealed not only placentas and lungs but also hearts, livers and kidneys in perfect state. Even having caused little effect on the dams, the venom may act in a more incisive way on the offspring, whether by stress generation or by a direct action. <![CDATA[<b>Different nutritional-state indicators of HIV-positive individuals undergoing antiretroviral therapy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This study aimed at learning about the nutritional profile of HIV-positive individuals undergoing antiretroviral therapy and at comparing the performance of nutritional-state indicators. A transversal study was performed on 94 patients attending the Tropical Diseases Outpatient Hospital of Botucatu Medical School (FMB) - UNESP. The body mass index (BMI) and the classification by Papini-Berto (PB) were used to evaluate nutritional state, aiming at detecting malnutrition and obesity. The waist-to-hips ratio (W/HR) and waist circumference (WC) were adopted for identification of abdominal obesity and lipodystrophy. According to BMI, most of the individuals were eutrophic, followed by 30.9% overweight and 6.4% malnourished. By using the PB classification, the frequency of malnourished increased (22.3%). The analysis of the PB classification in relation to BMI indicated that the former presented high sensitivity and good specificity for malnutrition diagnosis, namely 100% and 83%, respectively. The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 7.44% according to WC, and a higher prevalence (38.3%) was observed when taking W/HR into account. There was significant positive association between nutritional diagnosis according to PB and T CD4+ lymphocyte. The results support the use of PB classification for malnutrition detection as well as that of BMI and W/HR for overweight and fat redistribution. <![CDATA[<b>Anti-coagulase-negative <i>Staphylococcus</i> activity of ethanolic extracts of propolis from two Brazilian regions and synergism with antimicrobial drugs by the E-test method</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Propolis is a natural resinous substance collected by bees from vegetal sources and its therapeutic properties have been investigated. In this work, we evaluated the inhibitory activity of ethanolic extracts of propolis (EEP) from the Southeast and South of Brazil on coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CNS) growth as well as the EEP in vitro synergism with antimicrobial drugs by using the diffusion method (E-test). The EEP chemical characteristics (dry weight, pH, flavonoid and phenolic compounds) were determined. Seven drugs were tested, and synergism was observed between three drugs and Southeast EEP, six drugs and South EEP, and one drug and ethanol control. Ethanolic extracts of propolis from the South of Brazil presented the greatest flavonoid content and synergism rate, while EEP from the Southeast presented the greatest anti-CNS activity and phenolic compound content. Results showed the correlation among anti-CNS activity, synergism rate and chemical characteristics of propolis. <![CDATA[<b><i>In vivo</i> effects of <i>Buthus occitanus tunetanus</i> and <i>Androctonus</i> <i>australis garzoni</i> scorpion venoms on pregnant and non-pregnant rats</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Propolis is a natural resinous substance collected by bees from vegetal sources and its therapeutic properties have been investigated. In this work, we evaluated the inhibitory activity of ethanolic extracts of propolis (EEP) from the Southeast and South of Brazil on coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CNS) growth as well as the EEP in vitro synergism with antimicrobial drugs by using the diffusion method (E-test). The EEP chemical characteristics (dry weight, pH, flavonoid and phenolic compounds) were determined. Seven drugs were tested, and synergism was observed between three drugs and Southeast EEP, six drugs and South EEP, and one drug and ethanol control. Ethanolic extracts of propolis from the South of Brazil presented the greatest flavonoid content and synergism rate, while EEP from the Southeast presented the greatest anti-CNS activity and phenolic compound content. Results showed the correlation among anti-CNS activity, synergism rate and chemical characteristics of propolis. <![CDATA[<b>Serum electrolyte changes in pediatric patients stung by scorpions</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Scorpion sting is a health problem in some places of Mexico. The clinical manifestations of scorpion envenomation are variable and include metabolic alterations. Hyperkalemia is the most frequently reported metabolic alteration. We conducted a prospective, observational, descriptive and transversal study in an emergency room at Hospital del Niño Morelense, Mexico. Eighty-two patients were included and classified as mild (17%) moderate (33%) and severe (46%). The mean serum level of sodium was 146.4meq/l, standard deviation (SD) 5.58; potassium 3.86meq/l, SD 0.53, and calcium 9.55mg/dl, SD 0.76. We found 30.4% hypernatremia, 12% hypokalemia, 10.9% abdominal distension, and 14.6% visual alterations. <![CDATA[<b>Prostatic cryptococcosis</b>: <b>a case report</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cryptococcosis is a systemic mycosis usually affecting immunodeficient individuals. In contrast, immunologically competent patients are rarely affected. Dissemination of cryptococcosis usually involves the central nervous system, manifesting as meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Prostatic lesions are not commonly found. A case of prostate cryptococcal infection is presented and cases of prostatic cryptococcosis in normal and immunocompromised hosts are reviewed. A fifty-year-old HIV-negative man with urinary retention and renal insufficiency underwent prostatectomy due to massive enlargement of the organ. Prostate histopathologic examination revealed encapsulated yeast-like structures. After 30 days, the patient's clinical manifestations worsened, with headache, neck stiffness, bradypsychia, vomiting and fever. Direct microscopy of the patient's urine with China ink preparations showed capsulated yeasts, and positive culture yielded Cryptococcus neoformans. This fungus was later isolated from cerebrospinal fluid and blood cultures, demonstrating thus its dissemination. The patient was discharged after 27 days in hospital and, despite a regimen of amphotericin B, he died four months later. This case points to cryptococcosis as a possible cause of prostatic disease and reinforces the importance of communication between the medical team and pathology and microbiology laboratories aiming at a more accurate diagnosis and successful treatment. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of soluble fiber on hypertriglyceridemia and immune profile in HIV-positive individuals undergoing highly active antiretroviral therapy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1678-91992008000200016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Cryptococcosis is a systemic mycosis usually affecting immunodeficient individuals. In contrast, immunologically competent patients are rarely affected. Dissemination of cryptococcosis usually involves the central nervous system, manifesting as meningitis or meningoencephalitis. Prostatic lesions are not commonly found. A case of prostate cryptococcal infection is presented and cases of prostatic cryptococcosis in normal and immunocompromised hosts are reviewed. A fifty-year-old HIV-negative man with urinary retention and renal insufficiency underwent prostatectomy due to massive enlargement of the organ. Prostate histopathologic examination revealed encapsulated yeast-like structures. After 30 days, the patient's clinical manifestations worsened, with headache, neck stiffness, bradypsychia, vomiting and fever. Direct microscopy of the patient's urine with China ink preparations showed capsulated yeasts, and positive culture yielded Cryptococcus neoformans. This fungus was later isolated from cerebrospinal fluid and blood cultures, demonstrating thus its dissemination. The patient was discharged after 27 days in hospital and, despite a regimen of amphotericin B, he died four months later. This case points to cryptococcosis as a possible cause of prostatic disease and reinforces the importance of communication between the medical team and pathology and microbiology laboratories aiming at a more accurate diagnosis and successful treatment.