Abstract in English:Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is well recognized as the most important pathogen causing acute respiratory disease in infants and young children, mainly in the form of bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Two major antigenic groups, A and B, have been identified; however, there is disagreement about the severity of the diseases caused by these two types. This study investigated a possible association between RSV groups and severity of disease. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was used to characterize 128 RSV nasopharyngeal specimens from children less than five years old experiencing acute respiratory disease. A total of 82 of 128 samples (64.1%) could be typed, and, of these, 78% were group A, and 22% were group B. Severity was measured by clinical evaluation associated with demographic factors: for RSV A-infected patients, 53.1% were hospitalized, whereas for RSV B patients, 27.8% were hospitalized (p = 0.07). Around 35.0% of the patients presented risk factors for severity (e.g., prematurity). For those without risk factors, the hospitalization occurred in 47.6% of patients infected with RSV A and in 18.2% infected with RSV B. There was a trend for RSV B infections to be milder than those of RSV A. Even though RSV A-infected patients, including cases without underlying condition and prematurity, were more likely to require hospitalization than those infected by RSV B, the disease severity could not to be attributed to the RSV groups.
Abstract in English:Chagas disease is a major public health problem in Bolivia. In the city of Cochabamba, 58% of the population lives in peripheral urban districts ("popular zones") where the infection prevalence is extremely high. From 1995 to 1999, we studied the demographics of Chagas infections in children from five to 13 years old (n = 2218) from the South zone (SZ) and North zone (NZ) districts, which differ in social, environmental, and agricultural conditions. Information gathered from these districts demonstrates qualitative and quantitative evidence for the active transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi in urban Cochabamba. Seropositivity was high in both zones (25% in SZ and 19% in NZ). We observed a high risk of infection in children from five to nine years old in SZ, but in NZ, a higher risk occurred in children aged 10-13, with odds ratio for infection three times higher in NZ than in SZ. This difference was not due to triatomine density, since more than 1,000 Triatoma infestans were captured in both zones, but was possibly secondary to the vector infection rate (79% in SZ and 37% in NZ). Electrocardiogram abnormalities were found to be prevalent in children and pre-adolescents (SZ = 40%, NZ = 17%), indicating that under continuous exposure to infection and re-infection, a severe form of the disease may develop early in life. This work demonstrates that T. cruzi infection should also be considered an urban health problem and is not restricted to the rural areas and small villages of Bolivia.
Abstract in English:Calophyllum brasiliense and Mammea americana (Clusiaceae) are two trees from the tropical rain forests of the American continent. A previous screening showed high trypanocidal activity in the extracts of these species. Several mammea-type coumarins, triterpenoids and biflavonoids were isolated from the leaves of C. brasiliense. Mammea A/AA was obtained from the fruit peels of M. americana. These compounds were tested in vitro against epimastigotes and trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. The most potent compounds were mammea A/BA, A/BB, A/AA, A/BD and B/BA, with MC100 values in the range of 15 to 90 g/ml. Coumarins with a cyclized ,-dimethylallyl substituent on C-6, such as mammea B/BA, cyclo F + B/BB cyclo F, and isomammeigin, showed MC100 values > 200 g/ml. Several active coumarins were also tested against normal human lymphocytes in vitro, which showed that mammea A/AA and A/BA were not toxic. Other compounds from C. brasiliense, such as the triterpenoids, friedelin, canophyllol, the biflavonoid amentoflavone, and protocatechuic and shikimic acids, were inactive against the epimastigotes. The isopropylidenedioxy derivative of shikimic acid was inactive, and its structure was confirmed by X-ray diffraction. Our results suggest that mammea-type coumarins could be a valuable source of trypanocidal compounds.
Abstract in English:The synthetic n-alkyl esters of gallic acid (GA), also known as gallates, especially propyl, octyl and dodecyl gallates, are widely employed as antioxidants by food and pharmaceutical industries. The inhibitory effects of GA and 15 gallates on Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) replication were investigated here. After a preliminary screening of these compounds, GA and pentyl gallate (PG) seemed to be the most active compounds against HSV-1 replication and their mode of action was characterized through a set of assays, which attempted to localize the step of the viral multiplication cycle where impairment occurred. The detected anti-HSV-1 activity was mediated by the inhibition of virus attachment to and penetration into cells, and by virucidal properties. Furthermore, an anti-HIV-1 activity was also found, to different degrees. In summary, our results suggest that both compounds could be regarded as promising candidates for the development of topical anti-HSV-1 agents, and further studies concerning the anti-HIV-1 activity of this group of molecules are merited.
Abstract in English:Natural products have long been providing important drug leads for infectious diseases. Leishmaniasis is a protozoan parasitic disease found mainly in developing countries, and it has toxic therapies with few alternatives. Fungal infections have been the main cause of death in immunocompromised patients and new drugs are urgently needed. In this work, a total of 16 plant species belonging to 11 families, selected on an ethnopharmacological basis, were analyzed in vitro against Leishmania (L.) chagasi, Leishmania (L.) amazonensis, Candida krusei, and C. parapsilosis. Of these plant species, seven showed antifungal activity against C. krusei, five showed antileishmanial activity against L. chagasi and four against L. amazonensis, among them species of genus Plectranthus. Our findings confirm the traditional therapeutic use of these plants in the treatment of infectious and inflammatory disorders and also offer insights into the isolation of active and novel drug prototypes, especially those used against neglected diseases as Leishmaniasis.
Abstract in English:The activity of lovastatin associated with oxamniquine or praziquantel against schistosomiasis mansoni was evaluated in mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni. Forty days after infection, mice were treated with lovastatin, 400 mg/kg for five consecutive days by oral route, and on the last day of this sequence with 50 mg/kg oxamniquine or with 200 mg/kg praziquantel, both by oral route, single dose. Fifteen days later, the animals were perfused in parallel with an untreated control group. Studies were carried out in vitro, using lovastatin in culture medium containing S. mansoni worms proceeding from experimentally infected mice. In the in vivo trials, the association of lovastatin with oxamniquine or praziquantel did not show any additive action, but there were oogram changes when lovastatin was associated with oxamniquine. In vitro lovastatin was able to interrupt the maturation of S. mansoni eggs, which remained at the 1st or 2nd stages, depending on the dose used. The total number of morphologically dead eggs found in culture of worms exposed to 2 µg/ml or 4 µg/ml concentrations of lovastatin was significantly higher than the number of viable eggs. Using the probe Hoescht 33258 it was observed that 70% of the eggs considered morphologically viable in the treated groups (against 16% in the control group) were labeled, indicating that the majority of the viable eggs had membrane permeability increased due to lovastatin action.
Abstract in English:The molecular types of 443 Brazilian isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii were analyzed to determine their geographic distribution within Brazil and their underlying host conditions. The following data, imported from previous epidemiological studies as well as two culture collections, were analyzed for: place of isolation, source (clinical or environmental), host risk factors, species, serotype, mating type, and molecular type. Molecular typing by PCR-fingerprinting using primers for the minisatellite-specific core sequence of the wild-type phage M13 or microsatellites [(GACA)4, (GTG)5], restriction fragment length polymorphism of URA5 gene analysis, and/or amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) identified eight major genotypes: VNI/AFLP1, VNII/AFLP1A, VNIII/AFLP2, and VNIV/AFLP3 for C. neoformans, and VGI/AFLP4, VGII/AFLP6, VGIII/AFLP5, and VGIV/AFLP7 for C. gattii. The most common molecular type found in Brazil was VNI (64%), followed by VGII (21%), VNII (5%), VGIII (4%), VGI and VNIV (3% each), and VNIII (< 1%). Primary cryptococcosis caused by the molecular type VGII (serotype B, MAT) prevails in immunocompetent hosts in the North and Northeast regions, disclosing an endemic regional pattern for this specific molecular type in the Northern Brazil.
Abstract in English:Comparison of the use of indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), immunochromatography assay (ICA-BD) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detecting human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) in 306 nasopharyngeal aspirates samples (NPA) was performed in order to assess their analytical performance. By comparing the results obtained using ICA-BD with those using IFA, we found relative indices of 85.0% for sensitivity and 91.2% for specificity, and the positive (PPV) and negative (NPV) predictive values were 85.0% and 91.2%, respectively. The relative indices for sensitivity and specificity as well as the PPV and NPV for RT-PCR were 98.0%, 89.0%, 84.0% and 99.0%, respectively, when compared to the results of IFA. In addition, comparison of the results of ICA-BD and those of RT-PCR yielded relative indices of 79.5% for sensitivity and 95.4% for specificity, as well as PPV and NPV of 92.9% and 86.0%, respectively. Although RT-PCR has shown the best performance, the substantial agreement between the ICA-BD and IFA results suggests that ICA-BD, also in addition to being a rapid and facile assay, could be suitable as an alternative diagnostic screening for HRSV infection in children.
Abstract in English:Leptoconops nosopheris sp. n. (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) is described from a blood-filled female biting midge in Early Cretaceous Burmese amber. The new species is characterized by a very elongate terminal flagellomere, elongate cerci, and an indistinct spur on the metatibia. This biting midge contained digenetic trypanosomes (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) in its alimentary tract and salivary glands. These trypanosomes are described as Paleotrypanosoma burmanicus gen. n., sp. n., which represents the first fossil record of a Trypanosoma generic lineage.
Abstract in English:An investigation was conducted involving 255 renal transplant recipients in the state of Goiás, Central Brazil, to determine the prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV), its risk factors, the genotypes involved, and the level of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) present in the patients. All serum samples were tested for anti-HCV antibodies and HCV RNA. Forty-one patients were anti-HCV and/or HCV RNA positive, resulting in an overall HCV infection prevalence of 16.1% (95% CI: 11.9-21.3). A multivariate analysis of risk factors showed that a history of blood transfusions without anti-HCV screening, the length of time spent on hemodialysis, and renal transplantation before 1994 are all associated with HCV positivity. In HCV-positive patients, only 12.2% had ALT levels above normal. Twenty-eight samples were genotyped as genotype 1, subtypes 1a (62.5%) and 1b (31.3%), and two samples (6.2%) were genotype 3, subtype 3a. These data show a high prevalence of HCV infection and low ALT levels in the studied population. The risk factor analysis findings emphasize the importance of public health strategies such as anti-HCV screening of candidate blood and organ donors, in addition to the stricter adoption of hemodialysis-specific infection control measures. The present study also demonstrates that HCV genotype 1 (subtype 1a) is predominant in this population.
Abstract in English:The bionomics of sand flies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) was studied monthly for two consecutive years in alluvial gallery forests in the department of Casanare, Northeastern Colombia. A total of 2,365 specimens and 10 species were captured using CDC light traps and Shannon traps, and from diurnal resting places, and human landing collections. Lutzomyia fairtigi Martins (55%), Lutzomyia micropyga (Mangabeira) (20.9%), and Lutzomyia antunesi (Coutinho) (13.5%) were the predominant species in the region. Lutzomyia flaviscutellata and Lutzomyia panamensis, potential vectors of Leishmania in Colombia and neighboring countries, were also collected, but in low numbers. Lu. fairtigi is an endemic species to Colombia, and minimal data are available on its biology and distribution. The present study provides additional information about Lu. fairtigi, such as the diurnal activity displayed by females on cloudy days, the greater density during the rainy season (April to October), marked anthropophilia, and the presence of flagellates in the midgut of one female.
Abstract in English:The reintroduction of dengue virus type 3 (DENV-3) in Brazil in 2000 and its subsequent spread throughout the country was associated with genotype III viruses, the only DENV-3 genotype isolated in Brazil prior to 2002. We report here the co-circulation of two different DENV-3 genotypes in patients living in the Northern region of Brazil during the 2002-2004 epidemics. Complete genomic sequences of viral RNA were determined from these epidemics, and viruses belonging to genotypes V (Southeast Asia/South Pacific) and III were identified. This recent co-circulation of different DENV-3 genotypes in South America may have implications for pathological and epidemiological dynamics.
Abstract in English:The frequency of the Beijing genotype of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a cause of tuberculosis (TB) in South America was determined by analyzing genotypes of strains isolated from patients that had been diagnosed with the disease between 1997 and 2003 in seven countries of the subcontinent. In total, 19 of the 1,202 (1.6%) TB cases carried Beijing isolates, including 11 of the 185 patients from Peru (5.9%), five of the 512 patients from Argentina (1.0%), two of the 252 Brazilian cases (0.8%), one of the 166 patients from Paraguay (0.6%) and none of the samples obtained from Chile (35), Colombia (36) and Ecuador (16). Except for two patients that were East Asian immigrants, all cases with Beijing strains were native South Americans. No association was found between carrying a strain with the Beijing genotype and having drug or multi-drug resistant disease. Our data show that presently transmission of M. tuberculosis strains of the Beijing genotype is not frequent in Latin America. In addition, the lack of association of drug resistant TB and infection with M. tuberculosis of the Beijing genotype observed presently demands efforts to define better the contribution of the virulence and lack of response to treatment to the growing spread of Beijing strains observed in other parts of the world.
Abstract in English:We evaluated the Plasmodium vivax polymorphism by studying the Pvmsp-3 gene's polymorphic region by PCR-RFLP in 55 samples from patients living in Tierralta, Colombia. Three different sizes of the Pvmsp-3 gene were found, type A (1,900 bp), type B (1,500 bp) and type C (1,100 bp); most of the samples were type A (96.4 %). The Pvmsp-3 gene exhibited high polymorphism. Seven restriction patterns were found when using Alu I, and nine were found with Hha I; 12 different alleles were obtained when these patterns were combined. The findings suggest that this gene could be used in Colombia as a molecular epidemiologic marker for genotyping P. vivax.
Abstract in English:The bacterial strain Bacillus cereus is closely related to Bacillus thuringiensis, although any genetic relationship between the two strains is still in debate. Using rep-PCR genomic fingerprinting, we established the genetic relationships between Brazilian sympatric populations of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis simultaneously collected from two geographically separate sites. We observed the formation of both B. thuringiensis and B. cereus clusters, as well as strains of B. cereus that are more closely related to B. thuringiensis than to other B. cereus strains. In addition, lower genetic variability was observed among B. thuringiensis clusters compared to B. cereus clusters, indicating that either the two species should be categorized as separate or that B. thuringiensis may represent a clone from a B. cereus background.
Abstract in English:Schistosomes are endoparasites causing a serious human disease called schistosomiasis. The quantification of parasite genetic diversity is an essential component to understand the schistosomiasis epidemiology and disease transmission patterns. In this paper, we propose a novel assay for a rapid, low costly and efficient DNA extraction method of egg, larval and adult stages of Schistosoma mansoni. One euro makes possible to perform 60,000 DNA extraction reactions at top speed (only 15 min of incubation and 5 handling steps).
Abstract in English:We report for the first time the expression of multiple protease activities in the first instar larva (L1) of the flesh fly Oxysarcodexia thornax (Walker). Zymographic analysis of homogenates from freshly obtained L1 revealed a complex proteolytic profile ranging from 21.5 to 136 kDa. Although some activities were detected at pH 3.5 and 5.5, the optimum pH for most of the proteolytic activities was between pH 7.5 and 9.5. Seven of 10 proteases were completely inactivated by phenyl-methyl sulfonyl-fluoride, suggesting that main proteases expressed by L1 belong to serine proteases class. Complete inactivation of all enzymatic activities was obtained using N-p-Tosyl-L-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone (100 µM), a specific inhibitor of chymotrypsin-like serine proteases.
Abstract in English:The increasing problems with multidrug resistance in relation to Corynebacterium, including C. diphtheriae, are examples of challenges confronting many countries. For this reason, Brazilian C. diphtheriae strains were evaluated by the E-Test for their susceptibility to nine antibacterial drugs used in therapy. Resistance (MIC < 0.002; 0.38 µg/ml) to penicillin G was found in 14.8% of the strains tested. Although erythromycin (MIC90 0.75 µg/ml) and azithromycin (MIC90 0.064 µg/ml) were active against C. diphtheriae in this study, 4.2% of the strains showed decreased susceptibility (MIC 1.0 µg/ml) to erythromycin. Multiple resistance profiles were determined by the disk diffusion method using 31 antibiotics. Most C. diphtheriae strains (95.74%) showed resistance to mupirocin, aztreonam, ceftazidime, and/or oxacillin, ampicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, clindamycin, lincomycin, and erythromycin. This study presents the antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of Brazilian C. diphtheriae isolates. The data are of value to practitioners, and suggest that some concern exists regarding the use of penicillin.
Abstract in English:In this study, IgA1 levels in the milk and serum of puerperae were compared and a correlation was established between the levels of this immunoglobulin and the occurrence of parasitism. Eighty-three paired milk and serum samples were obtained from puerperal and IgA1 levels were analyzed. In addition, the presence of intestinal parasites in stool samples from these puerperae was determined. Twelve puerperae tested positive for intestinal parasites and all their samples presented an IgA1 ELISA Index > 1. There was a correlation between serum and milk IgA1 levels and puerperae with any parasite in their stool (r = 0.6723; p = 0.0166). This finding may reinforce the importance of breast-feeding for the protection of neonates.
Abstract in English:We evaluated the presence and distribution of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA in a mummy presenting with megacolon that was dated as approximately 560 ± 40 years old. The mummy was from the Peruaçu Valley in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. All samples were positive for T. cruzi minicircle DNA, demonstrating the presence and broad dissemination of the parasite in this body. From one sample, a mini-exon gene fragment was recovered and characterized by sequencing and was found to belong to the T. cruzi I genotype. This finding suggests that T. cruzi I infected humans during the pre-Columbian times and that, in addition to T. cruzi infection, Chagas disease in Brazil most likely preceded European colonization.