Abstract in English:In order to mark Triatoma brasiliensis, the vector of Chagas disease in Brazil, two chemical compounds, rubidium chloride (RbCl) and chromium chloride (CrCl3), were tested. First, 199 N2-N5 nymphs were fed on blood with 0.025M RbCl. Rb marker positivity ranged from 2.5% (N3)-70% (N2), with a maximum persistence of 98 days. Second, 265 N2-N5 nymphs were fed on blood containing 0.0015M CrCl3. Cr marker positivity ranged up to 93% (N5), with a maximum persistence of 119 days. Finally, we blood fed 213 T. brasiliensis to investigate whether CrCl3 altered the biology of this insect. The developmental time of T. brasiliensis was unaltered, but the survival of the Cr-marked group was lower than that of the control group. Differences in the mean fecundity of the control (mean of 156.1) and experimental (mean of 135.6) groups were not statistically significant and 100% of the egg batches of females Cr-marked as nymphs were positive. In conclusion, CrCl3 is a useful tool for marking T. brasiliensis nymphs due to its high positivity and persistence.
Abstract in English:Abdominal angiostrongyliasis is a potentially fatal zoonotic disease with a broad geographical distribution throughout Central and South America. This study assessed the performance of Angiostrongylus costaricensis eggs as the antigen in an indirect immunofluorescence assay for the determination of parasite-specific IgG and IgG1 antibodies. For prevalence studies, an IgG antibody titre > 16 was identified as the diagnostic threshold with the best performance, providing 93.7% sensitivity and 84.6% specificity. Cross reactivity was evaluated with 65 additional samples from patients with other known parasitic infections. Cross reactivity was observed only in samples from individuals infected with Strongyloides stercoralis. For clinical diagnosis, we recommend the determination of IgG only as a screening test. IgG1 determination may be used to increase the specificity of the results for patients with a positive screening test.
Abstract in English:An online scheme to assign Stenotrophomonas isolates to genomic groups was developed using the multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA), which is based on the DNA sequencing of selected fragments of the housekeeping genes ATP synthase alpha subunit (atpA), the recombination repair protein (recA), the RNA polymerase alpha subunit (rpoA) and the excision repair beta subunit (uvrB). This MLSA-based scheme was validated using eight of the 10 Stenotrophomonas species that have been previously described. The environmental and nosocomial Stenotrophomonas strains were characterised using MLSA, 16S rRNA sequencing and DNA-DNA hybridisation (DDH) analyses. Strains of the same species were found to have greater than 95% concatenated sequence similarity and specific strains formed cohesive readily recognisable phylogenetic groups. Therefore, MLSA appeared to be an effective alternative methodology to amplified fragment length polymorphism fingerprint and DDH techniques. Strains of Stenotrophomonas can be readily assigned through the open database resource that was developed in the current study (www.steno.lncc.br/).
Abstract in English:To classify mosquito species based on common features of their habitats, samples were obtained fortnightly between June 2001-October 2003 in the subtropical province of Chaco, Argentina. Data on the type of larval habitat, nature of the habitat (artificial or natural), size, depth, location related to sunlight, distance to the neighbouring houses, type of substrate, organic material, vegetation and algae type and their presence were collected. Data on the permanence, temperature, pH, turbidity, colour, odour and movement of the larval habitat's water were also collected. From the cluster analysis, three groups of species associated by their degree of habitat similarity were obtained and are listed below. Group 1 consisted of Aedes aegypti. Group 2 consisted of Culex imitator, Culex davisi, Wyeomyia muehlensi and Toxorhynchites haemorrhoidalis separatus. Within group 3, two subgroups are distinguished: A (Psorophora ferox, Psorophora cyanescens, Psorophora varinervis, Psorophora confinnis, Psorophora cingulata, Ochlerotatus hastatus-oligopistus, Ochlerotatus serratus, Ochlerotatus scapularis, Culex intrincatus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex pilosus, Ochlerotatus albifasciatus, Culex bidens) and B (Culex maxi, Culex eduardoi, Culex chidesteri, Uranotaenia lowii, Uranotaenia pulcherrima, Anopheles neomaculipalpus, Anopheles triannulatus, Anopheles albitarsis, Uranotaenia apicalis, Mansonia humeralis and Aedeomyia squamipennis). Principal component analysis indicates that the size of the larval habitats and the presence of aquatic vegetation are the main characteristics that explain the variation among different species. In contrast, water permanence is second in importance. Water temperature, pH and the type of larval habitat are less important in explaining the clustering of species.
Abstract in English:Polymorphisms in genes that encode chemokines or their receptors can modulate susceptibility to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and disease progression. The objective of this study was to assess the frequency of polymorphisms CCR5-Δ32, CCR2-64I, CCR5-59029A and SDF1-3'A and their role in the course of HIV infection in a Southern Brazilian population. Clinical data were obtained from 249 patients for an average period of 6.4 years and genotypes were determined by standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Survival analyses were conducted for three outcomes: CD4+ T-cell counts below 200 cells/µL, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or death. The frequency of the polymorphisms CCR5-Δ32, CCR2-64I, CCR5-59029A and SDF1-3'A were 0.024, 0.113, 0.487 and 0.207, respectively. CCR5-Δ32 was associated with a reduction in the risk for CD4+ T-cell depletion and with an increased risk for death after AIDS diagnosis. CCR2-64I was associated with a reduction in the risk for developing AIDS. SDF1-3'A was also associated with decreased risk for AIDS, but its effect was only evident when CCR2-64I was present as well. These results highlight the possibility of using these markers as indicators for the prognosis of disease progression and provide evidence for the importance of analysing the effects of gene polymorphisms in a combined fashion.
Abstract in English:We have previously established that young male rats are more susceptible to the effects of Trypanosoma cruzi infection than adult rats. To explore underlying age-associated differences in disease outcome, we simultaneously assessed hormone levels and cytokine release throughout the acute infection period in young and adult rats infected with T. cruzi. Young rats were inoculated with 1 x 10(6) and adult rats with 7 x 10(6) blood trypomastigotes, according to their relative body weight. At zero, seven, 14, 21 and 28 days after infection, blood was collected for the determination of gonadal and adrenal hormones, tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-10 and specific IgM and IgG subtypes. Young animals displayed significantly higher parasitaemia values and an endocrine pattern that was characterised by elevated values in corticosterone (CT) and the CT/dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate ratio, which favours immunosuppression and susceptibility. In contrast, adult male rats were able to restrict the parasite burden, which likely resulted from increased IgG antibody synthesis and oestradiol levels. Adult rats also showed a reduced TNF-α/IL-10 ratio and less tissue damage. We conclude that young animals exhibited increased vulnerability to T. cruzi infection compared with adults and this is associated with an unsuitable immunoendocrine milieu.
Abstract in English:The outcome of the interaction between Biomphalaria and Schistosoma mansoni depends on the response of the host internal defence system (IDS) and the escape mechanisms of the parasite. The aim of this study was to evaluate the responsiveness of the IDS (haemocytes and soluble haemolymph factors) of resistant and susceptible Biomphalaria tenagophila lineages and Biomphalaria glabrata lineages in the presence of in vitro-transformed primary sporocysts and secondary sporocysts obtained from infected B. glabrata. To do this, we assayed the cellular adhesion index (CAI), analysed viability/mortality, used fluorescent markers to evaluate the tegumental damage and transplanted secondary sporocysts. B. tenagophila Taim was more effective against primary and secondary sporocystes than the susceptible lineage and B. glabrata. Compared with secondary sporocysts exposed to B. tenagophila, primary sporocysts showed a higher CAI, a greater percentage of dead sporocysts and were labelled by lectin from Glycine max and Alexa-Fluor 488 fluorescent probes at a higher rate than the secondary sporocysts. However, the two B. tenagophila lineages showed no cercarial shedding after inoculation with secondary sporocysts. Our hypothesis that secondary sporocysts can escape the B. tenagophila IDS cannot be confirmed by the transplantation experiments. These data suggest that there are additional mechanisms involved in the lower susceptibilty of B. tenagophila to S. mansoni infection.
Abstract in English:The nematode parasites of Rhinella marina include species of the genus Rhabdias (Rhabdiasidae: Rhabditoidea). The present study describes Rhabdias paraensis sp. nov., which parasitizes the lungs of R. marina in Brazilian Amazonia. Of the more than 70 known species of this genus, 18 are parasites of bufonids, of which, eight are Neotropical. The new species described here is similar to Rhabdias alabialis in the absence of lips is different by the presence of conspicuous cephalic papillae. We describe details of the four rows of pores, which are distributed equally along the whole of the length of the body and connected with hypodermal cells, using histology and scanning electron microscopy. Other histological aspects of the internal structure of this nematode are also described.
Abstract in English:Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease affecting most mammals and is distributed throughout the world. Several species of domestic and wild animals may act as reservoirs for this disease. The purpose of this study was to assess the exposure of free-ranging wild carnivores, horses and domestic dogs on a private reserve located in the northern Pantanal (Brazil) and the surrounding areas to Leptospira spp from 2002-2006, 75 free-ranging wild carnivores were captured in the Pantanal and serum samples were collected. In addition, samples from 103 domestic dogs and 23 horses in the region were collected. Serum samples were tested for the presence of Leptospira antibodies using the microscopic agglutination test. Thirty-two wild carnivores (42.7%) were considered positive with titres > 100, and 18 domestic dogs (17.5%) and 20 horses (74.1%) were also found to be positive. Our study showed that horses, dogs and several species of free-ranging wild carnivores have been exposed to Leptospira spp in the Pantanal, suggesting that the peculiar characteristics of this biome, such as high temperatures and an extended period of flooding, may favour bacterial persistence and transmission. In this region, wild carnivores and horses seem to be important hosts for the epidemiology of Leptospira species.
Abstract in English:An entomological study of triatomine species was carried out to assess their prevalence in 10 localities of the state of Michoacán, Mexico. Entomological indices were calculated to estimate the risk for vector-borne transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi to the human population in this area. Four triatomine species (Triatoma barberi, Triatoma dimidiata, Meccus pallidipennis and Meccus longipennis) were collected from the study area. This is the first report of M. longipennis and T. dimidiata in Michoacán. M. pallidipennis was significantly (p < 0.05) more abundant than any of the other species collected in the study area. Infection indices were greater than 50% for each of the four collected triatomine species. Significantly more triatomines were collected from intradomiciliary areas than from peridomiciliary or sylvatic areas. Infestation, crowding and density indices were low, whereas colonisation indices were high in five localities. The current vectorial conditions in the study area require continuous entomological and serological surveillance to diminish the risk of T. cruzi transmission to human populations.
Abstract in English:The use of attractants and larvicides in oviposition traps is of practical interest for the surveillance and control of urban mosquitoes. In addition to increasing the safety of the traps, this combination is essential for an attract-and-kill control strategy based on trapping mosquito eggs. The combination of Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) and grass infusion (GI) vs. GI alone were tested for their ability to attract in paired BR-OVT traps in the backyards of 10 houses in Recife, Brazil, for a period of 45 days. Results show that females prefer to oviposit in traps containing Bti (363 compared with 251 egg rafts over 45 days). Results from a one-year trial on the efficacy of BR-OVT traps loaded with GI and Bti as a sampling tool to monitor temporal fluctuations in the population densities of Culex quinquefasciatus in an urban environment are also reported. From December 2006-January 2007, one trap per home was installed and maintained for 348 consecutive days in 134-151 houses located in three urban blocks. Throughout the one-year field trial a total of 43,151 Culex egg rafts were collected in the traps. The data show that BR-OVT loaded with GI and Bti is sensitive enough to demonstrate continuous reproductive activity of Cux. quinquefasciatus in the study area throughout the year and to monitor temporal fluctuations in population density.
Abstract in English:Schistosomiasis, classified by the World Health Organization as a neglected tropical disease, is an intravascular parasitic disease associated to a chronic inflammatory state. Evidence implicating inflammation in vascular dysfunction continues to mount, which, broadly defined, reflects a failure in the control of intracellular Ca2+ and consequently, vascular contraction. Therefore, we measured aorta contraction induced by 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and endothelin-1 (ET-1), two important regulators of vascular contraction. Isometric aortic contractions were determined in control and Schistosoma mansoni-infected mice. In the infected animals, 5-HT induced a 50% higher contraction in relation to controls and we also observed an increased contraction in response to Ca2+ mobilisation from sarcoplasmic reticulum. Nevertheless, Rho kinase inhibition reduced the contraction in response to 5-HT equally in both groups, discarding an increase of the contractile machinery sensitivity to Ca2+. Furthermore, no alteration was observed for contractions induced by ET-1 in both groups. Our data suggest that an immune-vascular interaction occurs in schistosomiasis, altering vascular contraction outside the mesenteric portal system. More importantly, it affects distinct intracellular signalling involved in aorta contraction, in this case increasing 5-HT receptor signalling.
Abstract in English:Chagas disease is a major public health issue and is mainly spread by Triatominae insects (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Rhodnius prolixus is the main vector species in Northern South America. Host-seeking behaviour in R. prolixus is mediated by different compounds that are produced by and emanate from the host or microbiota on the host's skin. We tested the behavioural responses of sylvatic first filial generation (F1) and colony insects to extracts of human skin with a dual choice olfactometer. In addition, we compared the antennal phenotypes in both populations. No statistical differences were found between the two populations at the behavioural level. Both showed a preference for face and feet extracts and this effect was abolished for face extracts after treatment with an antibacterial gel. The observation of the antennal phenotype showed that there were differences between both groups in the total length, total surface area and number and density of bristles. However, the number and density of chemoreceptive sensilla (basiconic and thin and thick-walled trichoids) and the total density of sensilla did not show statistically significant differences. These results demonstrate that colony insects, which have only been fed with living hens for the last 30 years, are attracted by human skin extracts in a similar way as F1 sylvatic insects.
Abstract in English:Despite evidence of West Nile virus (WNV) activity in Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina, this virus has not been reported in most South American countries. In February 2009, we commenced an investigation for WNV in mosquitoes, horses and caimans from the Pantanal, Central-West Brazil. The sera of 168 horses and 30 caimans were initially tested using a flaviviruses-specific epitope-blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (blocking ELISA) for the detection of flavivirus-reactive antibodies. The seropositive samples were further tested using a plaque-reduction neutralisation test (PRNT90) for WNV and its most closely-related flaviviruses that circulate in Brazil to confirm the detection of specific virus-neutralising antibodies. Of the 93 (55.4%) blocking ELISA-seropositive horse serum samples, five (3%) were seropositive for WNV, nine (5.4%) were seropositive for St. Louis encephalitis virus, 18 (10.7%) were seropositive for Ilheus virus, three (1.8%) were seropositive for Cacipacore virus and none were seropositive for Rocio virus using PRNT90, with a criteria of > four-fold antibody titre difference. All caimans were negative for flaviviruses-specific antibodies using the blocking ELISA. No virus genome was detected from caiman blood or mosquito samples. The present study is the first report of confirmed serological evidence of WNV activity in Brazil.
Abstract in English:The in vitro leishmanicidal activity of miltefosine® (Zentaris GmbH) was assessed against four medically relevant Leishmania species of Brazil: Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi. The activity of miltefosine against these New World species was compared to its activity against the Old World strain, Leishmania (Leishmania) donovani, which is known to be sensitive to the effects of miltefosine. The IC50 and IC90 results suggested the New World species harboured similar in vitro susceptibilities to miltefosine; however, miltefosine was approximately 20 times more active against the Old World L. (L.) donovani than against the New World L. (L.) chagasi species. The selectivity index varied from 17.2-28.9 for the New World Leishmania species and up to 420.0 for L. (L.) donovani. The differences in susceptibility to miltefosine suggest that future clinical trials with this drug should include a laboratory pre-evaluation and a dose-defining step.
Abstract in English:Host use by vectors is important in understanding the transmission of zoonotic diseases, which can affect humans, wildlife and domestic animals. Here, a synthesis of host exploitation patterns by kissing-bugs, vectors of Chagas disease, is presented. For this synthesis, an extensive literature review restricted to feeding sources analysed by precipitin tests was conducted. Modern tools from community ecology and multivariate statistics were used to determine patterns of segregation in host use. Rather than innate preferences for host species, host use by kissing-bugs is influenced by the habitats they colonise. One of the major limitations of studies on kissing-bug foraging has been the exclusive focus on the dominant vector species. We propose that expanding foraging studies to consider the community of vectors will substantially increase the understanding of Chagas disease transmission ecology. Our results indicate that host accessibility is a major factor that shapes the blood-foraging patterns of kissing-bugs. Therefore, from an applied perspective, measures that are directed at disrupting the contact between humans and kissing-bugs, such as housing improvement, are among the most desirable strategies for Chagas disease control.
Abstract in English:The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is among the leading causes of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In Brazil, genotype A is the most frequent, followed by genotypes D and F. Genotypes B and C are found in Brazil exclusively among Asian patients and their descendants. The aim of this study was to sequence the entire HBV genome of a Caucasian patient infected with HBV/C2 and to infer the origin of the virus based on sequencing analysis. The sequence of this Brazilian isolate was grouped with four other sequences described in China. The sequence of this patient is the first complete genome of HBV/C2 reported in Brazil.
Abstract in English:The epidemiological features of rotavirus A (RVA) infection differ between children from developing and developed countries which could result in differences in vaccine efficacy around the world. To evaluate the impact of RotarixTM on RVA prevalence, we monitored RVA genotypes circulating in Goiânia by monitoring virus in faecal samples from children that had or had not been previously vaccinated. From February-November of 2008, 220 faecal samples were collected from children in seven day-care centres. RVA detection was performed by two methodologies and the results were confirmed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. From the 220 samples, eight were RVA-positive (3.6%) and five were from children that had received either one or two doses of the vaccine. All positive samples were collected from children with diarrhoea during August and September. Genotyping of the RVA characterised five of the viral samples as genotype G2P and one as G8P, suggesting that G2P was the predominant circulating genotype in Goiânia during the study. The fact that vaccinated children were also infected by RVA suggests that the vaccine does not fully protect against infection by the G2[P4] RVA genotype.
Abstract in English:Heteroduplex mobility assay, single-stranded conformation polymorphism and nucleotide sequencing were utilised to genotype human parvovirus B19 samples from Brazil and Paraguay. Ninety-seven serum samples were collected from individuals presenting with abortion or erythema infectiosum, arthropathies, severe anaemia and transient aplastic crisis; two additional skin samples were collected by biopsy. After the procedure, all clinical samples were classified as genotype 1.
Abstract in English:The aim of the current study was to describe the occurrence of the blaOXA-23 gene and the ISAba1 element in imipenem-susceptible Acinetobacter baumannii strains. By performing the polymerase chain reaction mapping using combinations of ISAba1 forward primers and the blaOXA-23-like gene reverse primers, we demonstrated that the ISAba1 element did not occur upstream of the blaOXA-23 gene in five of 31 isolates, which explained the lack of resistance to imipenem despite the presence of the blaOXA-23 gene. All of the blaOXA-23-positive isolates were susceptible to imipenem and meropenem with minimal inhibitory concentration < 4 µg/mL. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis revealed four genotypes among the five blaOXA-23-positive isolates. The current report of the blaOXA-23 gene in imipenem-susceptible isolates provided evidence that this gene may be silently spread in a hospital environment and highlighted the threat of undetected reservoirs of carbapenemase genes.
Abstract in English:In the current study, we evaluated the mechanism of action of miltefosine, which is the first effective and safe oral treatment for visceral leishmaniasis, in Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes. Miltefosine induced a process of programmed cell death, which was determined by the externalization of phosphatidylserine, the incorporation of propidium iodide, cell-cycle arrest at the sub-G0/G1 phase and DNA fragmentation into oligonucleosome-sized fragments. Despite the intrinsic variation that is detected in Leishmania spp, our results indicate that miltefosine causes apoptosis-like death in L. amazonensis promastigote cells using a similar process that is observed in Leishmania donovani.
Abstract in English:In 1943, the Center for the Study and Prophylaxis of Chagas Disease, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, state of Minas Gerais (MG), was created in the municipality of Bambuí to carry out studies related to Chagas disease in the mid-western region of MG. Since that time, several investigations have been conducted to determine the natural habitat of triatomines, but Panstrongylus megistus colonies have never been found in this region. This paper records the first finding of a P. megistus sylvatic colony in 69 years of research. The characteristics of this ecotope and its implications for the epidemiology of Chagas disease are discussed.