Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases, Volume: 14, Issue: 4, Published: 2008
  • October 10th: worldwide Open Access Day Editor's Viewpoint

    Kuramoto, Hélio
  • Hantaviruses as emergent zoonoses Review Articles

    Ullmann, LS; Souza, LC; Langoni, H

    Abstract in English:

    Hantaviruses belong to the Bunyaviridae family, which consists of vector-borne viruses. These viruses can provoke two infection types: hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) - which occurs in the Old World - and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS) - an emergent zoonosis that can be found in many countries of the western hemisphere. Rodents are hantavirus reservoirs and each species seems to host a different virus type. Humans acquire the infection by inhaling contaminated aerosol particles eliminated by infected animals. The factors involved in the emergence of hantavirus infections in the human population include ecological modifications and changes in human activities. The most important risk factor is contact between man and rodents, as a result of agricultural, forestry or military activities. Rodent control remains the primary strategy for preventing hantavirus diseases, including via health education and hygienic habits.
  • Bacterial biofilms with emphasis on coagulase-negative staphylococci Review Articles

    Oliveira, A; Cunha, MLRS

    Abstract in English:

    In addition to their capacity to attach to surfaces, various groups of microorganisms also produce an extracellular polymeric substance known as "slime". This slime forms a thin layer around cells known as biofilm. Thus, biofilm structure comprises bacterial cells and an extracellular polymeric substance. It also presents a defined architecture, providing the microorganisms with an excellent protective environment and favoring the exchange of genetic material between cells as well as intercellular communication. The ability to produce biofilm is observed in a large group of bacteria, including coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) which are the predominant microorganisms of normal skin flora and have been implicated as the causative agents of hospital infections. Bacteremia caused by these agents is common in immunodepressed persons, in patients with cancer, in adult and neonatal intensive care units (ICU) and in patients using catheters or other prosthetic devices. The pathogenicity of CNS infections is probably related to the production of slime, which adheres preferentially to plastic and smooth surfaces, forming a biofilm that protects against attacks from the immune system and against antibiotic treatment, a fact hindering the eradication of these infections. The main objective of the present review was to describe basic and genetic aspects of biofilm formation and methods for its detection, with emphasis on biofilm creation by CNS and its relationship with diseases caused by these microorganisms which are becoming increasingly more frequent in the hospital environment.
  • Medically important beetles (insecta: coleoptera) of Iran Original Papers

    Nikbakhtzadeh, MR; Tirgari, S

    Abstract in English:

    This study focused on coleopteran species that are responsible for the emergence of recent cases of dermatological manifestations in Iran. To the best of our knowledge, five species of the family Meloidae and nine species of the genus Paederus are by far the only beetles recognized as medically important in Iran. The staphylinids consists of Paederus ilsae, P. iliensis, P. fuscipes, P. kalalovae, P. balcanicus, P. lenkoranus, P. littoralis, P. carpathicus, P. nigricornis, while the meloids are Mylabris impressa, M. guerini, Muzimes iranicus, Alosimus smyrnensis and Epicauta sharpi. Most cases of linear dermatitis in this country occur in areas bordering the Caspian Sea. This problem is caused by beetles of the genus Paederus which are present as adults from mid-April to October with particularly high incidences from May to August. Fars (in southern Iran) ranks second in number of cases of insect-induced dermatitis. The third major region in which this type of dermatitis has been recorded is Hamedan Province, in the west of the country. Meloid dermatitis showed its highest severity in 2001, when a considerable number of patients sought medical help in Toyserkan and Nahavand counties. New cases of skin blistering were reported along the Persian Gulf coast and the agent was identified as Epicauta sharpi (Coleoptera: Meloidae). In all these regions, it was observed that recorded cases of lesions coincided precisely with the yearly peaks of the beetles. Paederus fuscipes and P. kalalovae are the predominant species along the Caspian Sea shore. It appears that P. fuscipes is homogeneously distributed throughout the Caspian Sea region while the distribution of the other species is more irregular. Paederus fuscipes is probably the major agent that causes linear dermatitis in northern Iran. Whereas this disease is a rural difficulty in the south, mainly in villages or small towns, it is an urban problem in northern provinces along the Caspian Sea shore. Meloid dermatitis has been registered only in western and southern Iran. It is not as widespread as linear dermatitis and remains a minor rural health problem.
  • Cytotoxic effect of ICD-85 (venom-derived peptides) on MDA-MB-231 cell line Original Papers

    Zare Mirakabadi, A; Mahdavi, S; Koohi, MK; Taghavian, M

    Abstract in English:

    Since 1987, when chemopreventive testing programs began, more than 1,000 agents and agent combinations have been selected and evaluated in preclinical studies of chemopreventive activity against various types of cancers. In the present study we aimed to provide quantitative and qualitative characterization of biological and pharmacological activities of ICD-85 on MDA-MB-231 cell line (a highly invasive breast cancer cell line) in order to gain a better understanding of the cytotoxic and apoptotic effects of this compound. For this study, the MDA-MB-231 cell line was used and the effect of ICD-85 was assayed by measuring the activity of the cytosolic enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), released into the culture medium after membrane damage. Morphological alterations of cells were investigated in the control group and cells incubated with ICD-85 as cytotoxic agent. Results showed, in the test group, that cells incubated with 16 µg/mL of ICD-85 had decreased cytoplasmic branching. Some cells were had ruptured and lost the continuity of their surrounding membranes while some had shrunk. Cells incubated with higher doses (above16 µg/mL) showed similar changes towards cellular normality with more severity. Results obtained from the ICD-85 stability test reveal that the effect of ICD-85 on MDA-MB-231 cell line in culture medium is stable throughout the incubation time period (24 hours). It appears that ICD-85 at higher concentrations acts at the membrane level, which allows the passage of ions down the concentration gradient, resulting in osmotic changes in organelles followed by several unidentified mechanisms leading to cell death. At lower concentrations, it appears that ICD-85 can prevent cell growth by another mechanism, which may be one of the causes for apoptosis in the cell line.
  • Risk factors caused by scorpion stings and envenomations in the province of Kelâa Des Sraghna (Morocco) Original Papers

    Hmimou, R; Soulaymani, A; Mokhtari, A; Arfaoui, A; Eloufir, G; Semlali, I; Soulaymani Bencheikh, R

    Abstract in English:

    The present study aims to elucidate the risk factors involved in deaths caused by scorpion envenomation. A retrospective study was carried out in the province of Kelâa des Sraghna from 2003 to 2004. The hospital charts of scorpion envenomation cases treated in the Essalama Hospital in Kelâa des Sraghna were exhaustively analyzed. Our study contains 31 cases of death among 470 hospitalization cases. Most stings had occurred during the hot period peaking in July and August (54.6%). Moreover, the scorpion stings occurred at night in 60.1% of the cases, between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am. In addition, all age groups were affected by envenomation, with a higher frequency in children aged less than 15 years (68.3%). The envenomation rate (class II + class III) was 70.9%. The statistical analysis of the data shows that being less than 15 years old, having been stung during the night and belonging to class III are risk factors that aggravate vital prognosis of hospitalized patients. Furthermore, clinical severity factors, elicited by relative risk analysis, are cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological vital distresses, with relative risks of 14.84, 11.92 and 48.33, respectively. The results of our study clearly displayed the severity and extent of the scorpion envenomation problem. Thus, great attention must be paid to this region of Morocco by the national health authorities.
  • Antibacterial activity of venom from funnel web spider Agelena labyrinthica (Araneae: Agelenidae) Original Papers

    Benli, M; Yigit, N

    Abstract in English:

    Since the number of microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics has been increasing steadily, the need for combating these pathogens requires new pharmaceutical agents. To produce these substances, new models have been developed in recent decades. In our study, the venom of Agelena labyrinthica (Clerck, 1757) (Araneae: Agelenidae) was tested against ten bacterial strains, specifically, testing 1/100, 1/10 and 1/1 fractions of diluted venom against these bacteria. While the 1/100 dilution was successful in only one of ten bacterial strains, the 1/10 and the 1/1 were effective on six of ten bacterial strains. The most effective results, among these three different concentrations, were observed on Bacillus subtilis. The other five strains that were also sensitive to the dilutions showed similar inhibition zones. Morphological alterations on bacterial cells and comparison with normal cells were accomplished by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The venom-treated cells, due to their loss of cytoplasm, shrank and presented cell wall depression.
  • Serological survey for rabies in serum samples from vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) in Botucatu region, SP, Brazil Original Papers

    Langoni, H; Souza, LC; Zetun, CB; Silva, TCC; Hoffmann, JL; Silva, RC

    Abstract in English:

    The chiropterans constitute 25% of the world's mammal fauna. Due to the destruction of their natural ecosystem, the vampire bats have moved from nature to artificial roosts closer to man and domestic animals. This phenomenon has happened particularly in rural areas. Rabies is a viral anthropozoonosis, 100% lethal, and vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) represent an important role in its epidemiology. D. rotundus were captured at night with mesh nets in partnership with the Botucatu Defense Office and sent to the Zoonosis Diagnostic Service, at the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry, UNESP. Serum samples from 204 bats were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and fluorescent antibody viral neutralization test (FAVN) for rabies antibody detection. The results showed 7.4% of sera with titers higher or equal to 0.5 U for rabies antibodies, which demonstrated viral flow circulation among the studied region. Data suggest a need for constant monitoring accomplished by epidemiological and sanitary measures.
  • Anti-snake venom: use and adverse reaction in a snake bite study clinic in Bangladesh Original Papers

    Amin, MR; Mamun, SMH; Rashid, R; Rahman, M; Ghose, A; Sharmin, S; Rahman, MR; Faiz, MA

    Abstract in English:

    Snakebites can present local or systemic envenomation, while neurotoxicity and respiratory paralysis are the main cause of death. The mainstay of management is anti-snake venom (ASV), which is highly effective, but liable to cause severe adverse reactions including anaphylaxis. The types of adverse reaction to polyvalent anti-snake venom have not been previously studied in Bangladesh. In this prospective observational study carried out between 1999 and 2001, in the Snake Bite Study Clinic of Chittagong Medical College Hospital, 35 neurotoxic-snake-bite patients who had received polyvalent anti-snake venom were included while the ones sensitized to different antitoxins and suffering from atopy were excluded. The common neurotoxic features were ptosis (100%), external ophthalmoplegia (94.2%), dysphagia (77.1%), dysphonia (68.5%) and broken neck sign (80%). The percentage of anti-snake venom reaction cases was 88.57%; pyrogenic reaction was 80.64%; and anaphylaxis was 64.51%. The common features of anaphylaxis were urticaria (80%); vomiting and wheezing (40%); and angioedema (10%). The anti-snake venom reaction was treated mainly with adrenaline for anaphylaxis and paracetamol suppository in pyrogenic reactions. The average recovery time was 4.5 hours. Due to the danger of reactions the anti-snake venom should not be withheld from a snakebite victim when indicated and appropriate guidelines should be followed for its administration.
  • Prevalence and risk factors for human toxoplasmosis in a rural community Original Papers

    Marques, JM; da Silva, DV; Correia, NAB; Velásquez, G; da Silva, RC; Langoni, H; da Silva, AV

    Abstract in English:

    Toxoplasma gondii infection may lead to important pathological questions, especially in rural areas, where several sources of infection exist. Therefore, it is important to determine risk factors in order to establish adequate prophylactic measures. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and risk factors involved in human toxoplasmosis infection in a rural community, in Eldorado, Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil. This community was composed of 185 farms - with 671 inhabitants - from which 20 were randomly chosen. In these farms, blood samples were collected from rural workers, who also answered a risk factor questionnaire. Serum samples were analyzed by means of direct agglutination test for the detection of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies. From 73 samples collected, 79.45% were positive. None of the studied variables was significantly associated with the prevalence of the infection. However, among the individuals who reported eyesight impairments, 94.4% had anti-T. gondii antibodies, compared with 74.0% who did not report eyesight changes (p = 0.0594). Moreover, most individuals in the study (68.20%) were older than 18 years and presented 84.44% positivity, compared with 66.67% of positive individuals younger than 18 years old. We were able to conclude that a high prevalence of antibodies did not imply significant associations with the risk factors studied.
  • Assessment of cytokine values in serum by RT-PCR in HIV-1 infected individuals with and without highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) Original Papers

    Meira, DA; Almeida, RAMB; Barbosa, AN; de Souza, LR; Olivo, TET; Henriques, RMS; Golim, MA; Araújo Jr, JP; Nagoshi, LR; Orikaza, CM; Calvi, SA

    Abstract in English:

    A cross-sectional study was performed on HIV-1 infected individuals with or without antiretroviral treatment (ARV) in the AIDS Day Hospital, Botucatu Medical School, UNESP. Between August 2004 and October 2005, 73 HIV-1 infected individuals were divided into three groups: infected individuals with or without AIDS who had never received ARV (G1 = 15); patients on HAART that had had plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL) equal to or greater than 50 copies/mL (G2 = 27); and patients on HAART with undetectable VL for at least the past six months (G3 = 31). There was also an additional group that comprised blood donors without any sign of the disease and with negative HIV serum tests (G4 = 20), which was the control group. Serum cytokine levels (values in pg/mL) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and specific mRNA expression by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Both techniques were performed on the four groups for TNF-α, IL-2, INF-γ, IL-4 and IL-10. All patients were submitted to VL determination and CD4+ and CD8+T lymphocyte counts. The analysis of the results revealed a significant comparison among groups for both methods and an association between the latter (> 80% r² > 0.80). There was only one exception, in control individuals for IL-2 by ELISA. The cytokine profiles, in both methods, for the three patient groups, were mature Th-0. The behaviors of IL-2 and INF-γ required emphasis due to consequent expression of dominant Th profile. Both methods showed low IL-2 and high mean values of INF-γ in the three groups. Several authors have recently drawn attention to the substantial apoptosis of infected and non-infected CD4+T cells, mainly during primary infection, persisting only in those with INF-γ phenotype producer and not IL-2. HIV infected individuals submitted to HAART are expected to produce IL-2 in an attempt to present Th-1 profile, but in most cases this did not occur.
  • Assessment of genetic relationship between Klebsiella pneumoniae and Klebsiella oxytoca samples isolated from a dental office Short Communications

    Pimenta-Rodrigues, MV; Fusco-Almeida, AM; Bertoni, BW; Pietro, RCLR

    Abstract in English:

    The present study aimed to analyze the genetic similarity between genomic profiles of thirteen Klebsiella oxytoca and seven Klebsiella pneumoniae samples isolated from two different collections carried out in different places of dental offices. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique and similarity coefficients (calculated by Sorensen-Dice and simple matching) were applied to determine their genetic profile of randomic DNA sequences. The majority of the isolates of K. pneumoniae and K. oxytoca presented similar coefficient values (e" 0.80). Thus, it was possible to identify that strain dissemination occurred mainly via the hands of the surgeon-dentists and, finally, to determine the genetic similarity of the strains from dental office environments.
  • Honeybees and caterpillars: epidemiology of accidents involving these animals in the Criciúma region, southern Santa Catarina State, Brazil Short Communications

    Cristiano, MP; Cardoso, DC

    Abstract in English:

    The present study aimed to acquire knowledge regarding some aspects of the epidemiology and injuries provoked by honeybees and caterpillars in southern Santa Catarina State, Brazil. Epidemiological information concerning accidents with both animals was prospectively collected from the System of Injury Notification Information (SINAN) files of the Municipal Health Secretary of the Criciúma region, Brazil. Between 1994 and 2006, 203 cases of accidents were registered, 149 provoked by honeybees (73.39%) and 54 by caterpillars (26.61%). The majority of the victims (200 cases) presented full recovery, two cases presented sequelae after recovery, and only one death was recorded in a case involving honeybee injury. The high frequency of victim recovery suggests that the public health system is efficient and the low frequency of sequelae after recovery also suggests that this system is fast and well developed. However, the low number of allergic people in this population should be considered as well as the severity level of the recorded accidents.
  • Consecutive bites on two persons by the same cobra: a case report Case Reports

    Amin, MR; Mamun, SMH; Chowdhury, NH; Rahman, M; Ghose, A; Al Hasan, A; Faiz, MA

    Abstract in English:

    In tropical countries like Bangladesh, persons are bitten by snakes every day and a considerable number of patients die en route to the hospital. An event of consecutive neurotoxic bites on two men by a single snake was observed in the Snake Bite Study Clinic (SBSC) of the Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH). Two brothers, working in their semi-pucca restaurant, were successively bitten by the same cobra on their lower limbs. Within an hour, they were taken to the CMCH. Few minutes after admission, both developed symptoms of neurotoxicity: ptosis, nasal voice, dysphagia, broken neck sign, etc. They received polyvalent antivenom (Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceuticals Company, India) and other auxiliary treatment immediately. Within few hours, neurotoxic features were completely absent. Later, the snake was captured in the restaurant kitchen and identified as monocellate cobra (Naja kauthia) by the SBSC. The elder brother developed significant antivenom reactions and both presented necrosis and ulceration at the bite sites. In these cases, immediate arrival to the hospital and early administration of antivenom resulted in successful recoveries.
  • Young ovine death during hyperimmunization: crotalic envenomation or copper toxicosis? Case Reports

    Ferreira Junior, RS; Nascimento, N; Couto, R; Alves, JB; Meira, DA; Barraviera, B

    Abstract in English:

    The unfavorable evolution of a young ovine during hyperimmunization process with Crotalus durissus terrificus venom was investigated in order to differentiate its origin between ophidic envenomation and copper toxicosis. Clinical, laboratory, necroscopic and histological exams as well as evaluation and measurement of heavy metals (copper) in the kidneys and in the liver were carried out. Blood counts revealed anemia and serological tests showed high levels of blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, creatine phosphokinase, total bilirubin and indirect bilirubin; which indicates liver, kidney and skeletal muscle damages. At necropsy, the animal presented hepatopathy and nephropathy. Histological examination revealed renal and hepatic features that may imply copper intoxication. Copper levels were 237.8 µg/g in the liver and 51.2 µg/g in the kidneys. Although the amount of metal found in both organs was below the level that can cause death, according to the literature, anatomopathological signs were suggestive of copper intoxication. Therefore, the hypothesis of metal toxicosis during the hyperimmunization process became more consistent than the crotalic envenomation one.
  • Clinical study of natural infection by Trypanosoma cruzi in dogs residing in a rural area in Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil Theses

    Souza, A. I.
  • Experimental infection of Leishmania chagasi in immunosuppressed balb/c mice: cellular immune response and parasite burden Theses

    Hoffmann, J. L.
Centro de Estudos de Venenos e Animais Peçonhentos (CEVAP/UNESP) Av. Universitária, 3780, Fazenda Lageado, Botucatu, SP, CEP 18610-034, Brasil, Tel.: +55 14 3880-7693 - Botucatu - SP - Brazil
E-mail: editorial.jvatitd@unesp.br