Abstract in English:Although leishmaniasis is regarded as a significant health problem in Ecuador by the Ministry of Health, and the incidence has increased over the last years, an official map on the geographic distribution of disease and sand fly vectors or a control strategy do not exist yet. This article reviews the current situation based on published information to improve our knowledge and understand the epidemiological situation of leishmaniasis in Ecuador in order to help future research and to develop a national control strategy. The disease is endemic in most provinces throughout Pacific coastal region, Amazonian lowlands, and some inter-Andean valleys with a total 21,805 cases reported during 1990-2003. Whereas cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is found throughout Ecuador, mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) appears to be restricted to the Amazon region; one, parasitologically unconfirmed case of visceral form was reported in 1949. Most human infections are caused by Leishmania (Viannia) spp., which is distributed in the subtropical and tropical lowlands; infections due to L. (Leishmania) spp. are found in the Andean highlands and in the Pacific lowlands as well. The proven vectors are Lutzomyia trapidoi and Lu. ayacuchensis. Canis familiaris, Sciurus vulgaris, Potos flavus, and Tamandua tetradactyla have been found infected with Leishmania spp. It is estimated that around 3000-4500 people may be infected every year, and that 3.1 to 4.5 millions people are estimated to be at risk of contracting leishmaniasis.
Abstract in English:This paper examines the distribution and infection of Biomphalaria glabrata with Schistosoma mansoni in all aquatic snail habitats in a rural area in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in relation to physico/biotic and behavioral factors. Snail and environmental surveys were carried out semi-annually between July 2001 and November 2002 at 106 sites. Collected snails were examined in the laboratory for infection. B. glabrata densities were highest in overflow ponds, irrigation ponds, springs, canals and wells, and lowest in fishponds and water tanks. Snail densities were higher during the hot, rainy season except for streams and canals and were statistically associated with the presence of fish, pollution, and vegetation density. Tilapia fish and an unidentified Diptera larva were found to be predators of B. glabrata but ducks were not. Twenty-four of the 25 infected snails were collected in 2001(1.4% infection rate) and only one in 2002, after mass chemotherapy. The occurrence of B. glabrata in all 11 snail habitats both at and away from water contact sites studied indicates widespread risk of human infection in the study area. In spite of the strong association between B. glabrata and tilapia in fishponds we do not recommend its use in schistosomiasis control for ecological reasons and its relative inefficiency in streams and dams.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to describe spatial patterns of the distribution of leprosy and to investigate spatial clustering of incidence rates in the state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil. The average incidence rate of leprosy for the period of 1991 to 1999 was calculated for each municipality of Ceará. Maps were used to describe the spatial distribution of the disease, and spatial statistics were applied to explore large- and small-scale variations of incidence rates. Three regions were identified in which the incidence of leprosy was particularly high. A spatial gradient in the incidence rates was identified, with a tendency of high rates to be concentrated on the North-South axis in the middle region of the state. Moran's I statistic indicated that a significant spatial autocorrelation also existed. The spatial distribution of leprosy in Ceará is heterogeneous. The reasons for spatial clustering of disease rates are not known, but might be related to an heterogeneous distribution of other factors such as crowding, social inequality, and environmental characteristics which by themselves determine the transmission of Mycobacterium leprae.
Abstract in English:We have evaluated the prevalence of antibody to immunogenicity of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) in a group of 4 to 5 years old healthy children, who were too old to be included in the first vaccinated cohort when Hib vaccination begun in Cuba in 1999. Serum capsular polysaccharide specific IgG antibody concentrations were measured in 974 healthy children, between February and May 2002. The prevalence of Hib nasopharyngeal carriage was also estimated. The majority of children (99.7%) had more than 1 µg/ml of antibody. The preliminary report of the nasopharyngeal cultures was positive for H. influenzae in 16 children, but in only one was confirmed as Hib after serotyping (0.1% Hib nasopharyngeal carrier). These results provide evidence that in Cuba the natural active immunity to Hib can be acquired at an early age.
Abstract in English:In Chagas disease serious cardiac dysfunction can appear. We specifically studied the cardiac function by evaluating: ventricle contractile force and norepinephrine response, affinity and density of beta-adrenergic receptors, dynamic properties of myocardial membranes, and electrocardiography. Albino swiss mice (n = 250) were infected with 55 trypomastigotes, Tulahuen strain and studied at 35, 75, and 180 days post-infection, that correspond to the acute, indeterminate, and chronic phase respectively. Cardiac beta-adrenergic receptors' affinity, myocardial contractility, and norepinephrine response progressively decreased from the acute to the chronic phase of the disease (p < 0.01). The density (expressed as fmol/mg.prot) of the receptors was similar to non-infected mice (71.96 ± 0.36) in both the acute (78.24 ± 1.67) and indeterminate phases (77.28 ± 0.91), but lower in the chronic disease (53.32 ± 0.71). Electrocardiographic abnormalities began in the acute phase and were found in 65% of the infected-mice during the indeterminate and chronic phases. Membrane contents of triglycerides, cholesterol, and anisotropy were similar in all groups. A quadratic correlation between the affinity to beta-adrenergic receptors and cardiac contractile force was obtained. In conclusion the changes in cardiac beta-adrenergic receptors suggests a correlation between the modified beta-adrenergic receptors affinity and the cardiac contractile force.
Abstract in English:Primary cultures of cardiomyocytes represent a useful model for analyzing cardiac cell biology as well as pathogenesis of several cardiovascular disorders. Our aim was to standardize protocols for determining the damage of cardiac cells cultured in vitro by measuring the creatine kinase and its cardiac isotype and lactate dehydrogenase activities in the supernatants of mice cardiomyocytes submitted to different protocols of cell lysis. Our data showed that due to its higher specificity, the cardiac isotype creatine kinase was the most sensitive as compared to the others studied enzymatic markers, and can be used to monitor and evaluate cardiac damage in in vitro assays.
Abstract in English:Systhematized septal fibrosis of the liver can be induced in rats either by repeated intraperitoneal injections of pig-serum or by Capillaria hepatica infection. The relationship between these two etiological factors, as far as hepatic fibrosis is concerned, is not known, and present investigation attempts to investigate it. C. hepatica-induced septal fibrosis of the liver was considerably inhibited in rats previously rendered tolerant to pig-serum. Pig-serum-tolerant rats developed antibodies against pig-serum when infected with C. hepatica, but this did not happen when the infection occurred in normal rats. On the other hand, anti-C. hepatica antibodies failed to recognize any epitope in pig-serum, by Western blot. However, no evidence of an immunological cross reactivity was found, at least at the humoral level. Alternatively, cell-mediated mechanisms may be involved, and further investigations are warranted.
Abstract in English:Effect of Aedes fluviatilis saliva on the development of Plasmodium gallinaceum experimental infection in Gallus (gallus) domesticus was studied in distinct aspects. Chickens subcutaneously infected with sporozoites in the presence of the mosquito salivary gland homogenates (SGH) showed higher levels of parasitaemia when compared to those ones that received only the sporozoites. However, the parasitaemia levels were lower among chickens previously immunized by SGH or non-infected mosquito bites compared to the controls, which did not receive saliva. High levels of anti-saliva antibodies were observed in those immunized chickens. Moreover, 53 and 102 kDa saliva proteins were recognized by sera from immunized chickens. After the sporozoite challenge, the chickens also showed significant levels of anti-sporozoite antibodies. However, the ability to generate anti-sporozoites antibodies was not correlated to the saliva immunization. Our results suggest that mosquito saliva components enhance P. gallinaceum parasite development in naive chickens. However, the prior exposure of chickens to salivary components controls the parasitemia levels in infected individuals.
Abstract in English:The association between worm infections and bacterial diseases has only recently been emphasized. This study examined the effect of experimental Angiostrongylus costaricensis infection on endogenous intestinal flora of Swiss Webster mice. Eight mice aging six weeks were selected for this experiment. Four were infected with A. costaricensis and the other four were used as controls. Twenty eight days after the worm infection, all mice in both groups were sacrificed and samples of the contents of the ileum and colon were obtained and cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria. In the mice infected with A. costaricensis there was a significant increase in the number of bacteria of the endogenous intestinal flora, accompanied by a decrease in the number of Peptostreptococcus spp. This alteration in the intestinal flora of mice infected by the nematode may help to understand some bacterial infections described in humans.
Abstract in English:The present investigation is related to the frequency of infection and to the gross and microscopic lesions associated to the presence of trichurid worms in 50 ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) from backyard flocks in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the investigated birds, the overall infection rate was of 74%, with the presence of Eucoleus perforans with 72% of prevalence and 21.2 of mean intensity, in the esophageal and crop mucosa and rarely in the junction of the proventriculus and esophagus, E. annulatus with 2% and 3 in the crop mucosa, Capillaria phasianina, with 12% and 4.3 in the cecum and small intestine and Baruscapillaria obsignata, for the first time referred in this host, with 2% and 1 in the small intestine. Clinical signs were absent. The gross lesions observed in the crop and esophagus of 14 (38.9%) pheasants parasitized with E. perforans were thickening, small nodules, congestion, and petechial haemorrhages in the mucosa. These birds presented a mean infection of 37.5 and a range of infection of 10-82. The microscopic lesions revealed chronic esophagitis with diffuse inflammatory process in the lamina propria characterized mostly by a mononuclear cell infiltrate and also with the presence of granulocytes. In the case of the parasitism of pheasants with C. phasianina, the gross lesions were absent; microscopic lesions were characterized by chronic typhlitis with mononuclear infiltrate. Gross and microscopic lesions were absent in the pheasants parasitized with E. annulatus and B. obsignata.
Abstract in English:Plasmid and chromosomal genes encode determinants of virulence for Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. However, in vitro, Y. pestis genome is very plastic and several changes have been described. To evaluate the alterations in the plasmid content of the cultures in vitro and the impact of the alterations to their pathogenicity, three Y. pestis isolates were submitted to serial subculture, analysis of the plasmid content, and testing for the presence of characteristic genes in each plasmid of colonies selected after subculture. Different results were obtained with each strain. The plasmid content of one of them was shown to be stable; no apparent alteration was produced through 32 subcultures. In the other two strains, several alterations were observed. LD50 in mice of the parental strains and the derived cultures with different plasmid content were compared. No changes in the virulence plasmid content could be specifically correlated with changes in the LD50.
Abstract in English:A ribosome association factor (AF) was isolated from the yeast Sacchharomyces cerevisiae. Partial amino acid sequence of AF was determined from its fragment of 25 kDa isolated by treating AF with 2-(2-nitrophenylsulfenyl)-3-methyl-3'-Bromoindolenine (BNPS-skatole). This sequence has a 86% identity to the product of the single-copy S. cerevisiae STM1 gene that is apparently involved in several events like binding to quadruplex and triplex nucleic acids and participating in apoptosis, stability of telomere structures, cell cycle, and ribosomal function. Here we show that AF and Stm1p share some characteristics: both bind to quadruplex and Pu triplex DNA, associates ribosomal subunits, and are thermostable. These observations suggest that these polypeptides belong to a family of proteins that may have roles in the translation process.
Abstract in English:Mycobacterium kansasii is the most common cause of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria infection and classical identification of this pathogen needs a time consuming phenotypic tests. Polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment lenght polymorphism analysis (PRA) of the gene enconding for the 65kDa heat shock (hsp65) protein offers an easy, rapid, and inexpensive procedure to identify and subtype M. kansasii isolates. In the present study, we performed a retrospective analysis of patients who had mycobacteria identified on the basis of phenotypic tests by means of a review of database at Mycobacteria Laboratory of the Instituto Adolfo Lutz in the period 1995-1998. A total of 9381 clinical isolates were analyzed of which 7777 (82.9%) were identified as M. tuberculosis complex and 1604 (17.1%) as nontuberculous mycobacteria. Of the 296 M. kansasii isolates, 189 (63.8%) isolates obtained from 119 patients were viable and were analyzed by PRA-hsp65. Hundred eight two (98.9%) were classified as M. kansasii type I. Two isolates were classified as type II and III and five isolates were characterized as other Mycobacterium species. Clinical isolates of M. kansasii in the state of São Paulo was almost exclusively subtype I regardless of HIV status.
Abstract in English:Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) members are causative agents of human and animal tuberculosis. Differentiation of MTBC members is required for appropriate treatment of individual patients and for epidemiological purposes. Strains from six MTBC species - M. tuberculosis, M. bovis subsp. bovis, M. bovis BCG, M. africanum, M. pinnipedii, and "M. canetti" - were studied using gyrB-restriction fragment length polymorphism (gyrB-RFLP) analysis. A table was elaborated, based on observed restriction patterns and published gyrB sequences. To evaluate applicability of gyrB-RFLP at Instituto Adolfo Lutz, São Paulo, Mycobacterial Reference Laboratory, 311 MTBC clinical isolates, previously identified using traditional methods as M. tuberculosis (306), M. bovis (3), and M. bovis BCG (2), were analyzed by gyrB-RFLP. All isolates were correctly identified by the molecular method, but no distinction between M. bovis and M. bovis BCG was obtained. Differentiation of M. tuberculosis and M. bovis is of utmost importance, because they require different treatment schedules. In conclusion, gyrB-RFLP is accurate and easy-to-perform, with potential to reduce time needed for conventional differentiation methods. However, application for epidemiological studies remains limited, because it cannot differentiate M. tuberculosis from M. africanum subtype II, and "M. canetti", M. africanum subtype I from M. pinnipedii, and. M. bovis from M. bovis BCG.
Abstract in English:Transmission of Mycobacterium bovis from cattle to humans has been reported and can cause tuberculosis (Tb) and a problem in certain risk populations. Therefore, knowledge of resistance of M. bovis towards antibiotics used for therapy of human Tb could help avoiding cure delay and treatment cost increase when dealing with drug resistant organisms. We therefore evaluated the susceptibility of M. bovis isolates towards streptomycin, isoniazide, rifampicin, ethambutol, and ethionamide, the first line antibiotics for human Tb. Therefore, 185 clinical samples from cattle with clinical signs of tuberculosis were processed and submitted to culturing and bacterial isolates to identification and drug susceptibility testing using the proportion method. Among 89 mycobacterial strains, 65 were identified as M. bovis and none were resistant to any of the antibiotics used. Confirmation of present results by future studies, enrolling a large number of isolates and designed to properly represent Brazilian regions, may favor the idea of using isoniazide preventive therapy as part of a Tb control strategy in special situations. Also, nucleic acids from bacterial isolates were submitted to rifoligotyping, a recently described reverse hybridization assay for detection of mutations causing resistance towards rifampicin. Concordance between the conventional and the molecular test was 100%, demonstrating the use of such methodology for rapid evaluation of drug susceptibility in M. bovis.
Abstract in English:The antimicrobial activity of three different extracts (hexanic, ethyl acetate, methanol) obtained from Brazilian Drosera species (D. communis, D. montana var. montana, D. brevifolia, D. villosa var. graomogolensis, D. villosa var. villosa, Drosera sp. 1, and Drosera sp. 2 ) were tested against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 25923), Enterococcus faecium (ATCC23212), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC27853), Escherichia coli (ATCC11229), Salmonella choleraesuis (ATCC10708), Klebsiella pneumoniae (ATCC13883), and Candida albicans (a human isolate). Better antimicrobial activity was observed with D. communis and D. montana var. montana ethyl acetate extracts. Phytochemical analyses from D. communis, D. montana var. montana and D. brevifolia yielded 5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (plumbagin); long chain aliphatic hydrocarbons were isolated from D. communis and from D. villosa var. villosa, a mixture of long chain aliphatic alcohols and carboxylic acids, was isolated from D. communis and 3b-O-acetylaleuritolic acid from D. villosa var. villosa.
Abstract in English:The antileishmanial activity of lapachol, isolapachol, and dihydrolapachol, along with soluble derivatives (potassium salt) and acetate was obtained. All the compounds were assayed against metacyclic promastigotes of two different species of Leishmania associated to tegumentar leishmaniasis: L. amazonensis and L. braziliensis. All compounds presented significant activity, being isolapachol acetate the most active against promastigotes, with IC50/24h = 1.6 ± 0.0 µg/ml and 3.4 ± 0.5 µg/ml for, respectively, L. amazonensis and L. braziliensis. This compound was also assayed in vivo against L. amazonensis and showed to be active. Its toxicity in vitro was also established, and at concentration similar to the IC50, no toxicity was evidenced. In all experiments, pentamidine isethionate was used as a reference drug. The present results reinforce the potential use of substituted hydroxyquinones and derivatives as promising antileishmanial drugs and suggest a continuing study within this class of compounds.
Abstract in English:This study reports the results about antimicrobial resistance of Enterococcus spp. isolated from intestinal tract of patients from a university hospital in Brazil. The identification of strains at species level was performed by conventional biochemical tests, API 20 Strep (bioMérieux), and polymerase chain reaction assay. The specie distribution was E. faecium (34%), followed by E. faecalis (33%), E. gallinarum (23.7%), E. casseliflavus (5.2%), E. avium (1%), and E. hirae (1%). Intrinsic resistance to vancomycin characterized by presence of vanC genes was found in E. gallinarum and E. casseliflavus. The high prevalence of VanC phenotype enterococci is very important because these species have been reported as causing a wide variety of infections. Vancomycin-resistant E. faecium or E. faecalis were not found and no one isolate of these species was a beta-lactamase producer. Thirteen clinical isolates of enterococci (13.4%) showed multiresistance patterns, which were defined by resistance to three classes of antibiotics plus resistance to at least one aminoglycoside (gentamicin and/or streptomycin). The resistance to several antimicrobials shown by enterococcal strains obtained in this study is of concern because of the decrease in the therapeutic options for treatment of infections caused by enterococci.
Abstract in English:Entamoeba histolytica actually comprises two genetically distinct but morphologically indistinguishable species. E. histolytica can cause invasive intestinal and extra intestinal disease, while E. dispar cannot. Identification and differentiation of E. dispar and E. histolytica in stool sample by microscopy is imprecise. Several weeks of culture and isoenzyme analysis are required to differentiate E. histolytica from E. dispar. In this study, we have used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detection of E. histolytica/E.dispar and compared it with microscopy. Eighty-eight samples were evaluated, trichrome staining was positive in 20.4% (18) and ELISA was positive in 29.5% (26). Both tests were positive in 14 (15.9%) samples, 4 (4.5%) only with direct microscopy, and 12 (13.6%) only with ELISA. Both tests were negative in 58 (65.9%) samples. Microscopy has low sensitivity and high specificity, low negative predictive value and high positive predictive value in comparison with ELISA. E. histolytica/E. dispar antigen detection ELISA tests are inexpensive compared to the specific tests, yield objective results and do not require experienced microscopists and can therefore be recommended for screening of stools worldwide and the results can be taken for treatment that are fitting with its clinic.
Abstract in English:The occurrence of intestinal parasites, their regional distribution and their relations to eosinophilia were studied in 133 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive individuals from Honduras. After signing an informed consent, participants answered a socio-demographic and risk factor questionnaire, a complete physical examination, medical history, and a series of laboratory tests. All participants were HIV positive but not acquired immunodeficiency syndrome positive. Of them, 67% were co-infected with pathogen and non pathogen parasites. Overall occurrence of nematodes was: 44.3% for Trichuris trichiura, 24% for Ascaris lumbricoides, 12% for Hookworm and 7.5% for Strongyloides stercoralis. No cases of Giardia lamblia, acute amebiasis or cryptosporidiasis were diagnosed. Mean eosinophil percents for participants were consistently and significantly higher in infected than in non infected individuals: 22% for Hookworm vs 7.2% (p < 0.001), 11% for Trichuris compared to 5.2% (p < 0.001), 13.2% compared to 7.5% for S. stercoralis (p < 0.05), and 12% compared to 6% for Ascaris cases (p < 0.05). Helminths and non pathogenic protozoa, as single or mixed infections, occurred among the participants. There was a strong correlation between eosinophilia and helminthiasis infections; however, none was identified between CD4 levels and eosinophilia. Because parasitic infections aggravate malnutrition and promote a disbalanced Th2 response in a potentially immuno-compromised host, their effect on HIV disease progression needs further study, mainly in countries were HIV and parasitic infections are highly prevalent.