Abstract in English:The lack of knowledge regarding polycystic hydatid disease results in delayed or even incorrect diagnosis. The lack of systematic information regarding treatment also makes it difficult to assess the results and prognosis in patients with peritoneal and hepatic lesions caused by Echinococcus vogeli. Here we describe the clinical features of patients, propose a radiological classification protocol and describe a therapeutic option for the treatment of hydatid disease that previously had only been used for cases of cystic echinococcosis (Echinococcus granulosus). A prospective cohort study was initiated in 1999 and by 2009 the study included 60 patients. These patients were classified according to the PNM classification (parasite lesion, neighbouring organ invasion and metastases) and placed in one of three therapeutic modalities: (i) chemotherapy with albendazole at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day, (ii) surgical removal of cysts or (iii) percutaneous puncture of the cysts via puncture, aspiration, injection and re-aspiration (PAIR). The results were stratified according to therapeutic outcome: "cure", "clinical improvement", "no improvement", "death" or "no information". The PNM classification was useful in indicating the appropriate therapy in cases of polycystic hydatid disease. In conclusion, surgical therapy produced the best clinical results of all the therapies studied based on "cure" and "clinical improvement" outcomes. The use of PAIR for treatment requires additional study.
Abstract in English:Despite the effectiveness of current hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccines, it is estimated that 350 million individuals suffer from chronic HBV infection and more than 50% of these affected individuals live on the Asian continent. Panama is a country with a great diversity of foreign groups; the Chinese community is a large example of this phenomenon. There is an urgent need to perform studies that evaluate the prevalence and the genetic diversity of HBV in this community. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of HBV and its genotypes and mutant variants in the Chinese population residing in Panama. In total, 320 subjects were enrolled in the study. Forty-two subjects (13.1%) were positive for HBsAg and HBV-DNA from 18 subjects revealed the presence of genotypes B2 and C1. Secondary mutations associated with drug resistance at positions rtV207L and rtN239T of the reverse transcriptase gene were identified. Additionally, the mutation pair A1762T/G1764A was found in three samples and the mutation G1896A was detected in an HBeAg-negative subject. In conclusion, to our knowledge, this is the first study to report high HBV prevalence rates in resident ethnic Chinese in Central America and the presence of genotypes B2 and C1 in this region.
Abstract in English:Asymptomatic influenza virus infections in pigs are frequent and the lack of measures for controlling viral spread facilitates the circulation of different virus strains between pigs. The goal of this study was to demonstrate the circulation of influenza A virus strains among asymptomatic piglets in an abattoir in Brazil and discuss the potential public health impacts. Tracheal samples (n = 330) were collected from asymptomatic animals by a veterinarian that also performed visual lung tissue examinations. No slaughtered animals presented with any noticeable macroscopic signs of influenza infection following examination of lung tissues. Samples were then analysed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction that resulted in the identification of 30 (9%) influenza A positive samples. The presence of asymptomatic pig infections suggested that these animals could facilitate virus dissemination and act as a source of infection for the herd, thereby enabling the emergence of influenza outbreaks associated with significant economic losses. Furthermore, the continuous exposure of the farm and abattoir workers to the virus increases the risk for interspecies transmission. Monitoring measures of swine influenza virus infections and vaccination and monitoring of employees for influenza infection should also be considered. In addition regulatory agencies should consider the public health ramifications regarding the potential zoonotic viral transmission between humans and pigs.
Abstract in English:Interfering with cellular signal transduction pathways is a common strategy used by many viruses to create a propitious intracellular environment for an efficient replication. Our group has been studying cellular signalling pathways activated by the orthopoxviruses Vaccinia (VACV) and Cowpox (CPXV) and their significance to viral replication. In the present study our aim was to investigate whether the GTPase Rac1 was an upstream signal that led to the activation of MEK/ERK1/2, JNK1/2 or Akt pathways upon VACV or CPXV' infections. Therefore, we generated stable murine fibroblasts exhibiting negative dominance to Rac1-N17 to evaluate viral growth and the phosphorylation status of ERK1/2, JNK1/2 and Akt. Our results demonstrated that VACV replication, but not CPXV, was affected in dominant-negative (DN) Rac1-N17 cell lines in which viral yield was reduced in about 10-fold. Viral late gene expression, but not early, was also reduced. Furthermore, our data showed that Akt phosphorylation was diminished upon VACV infection in DN Rac1-N17 cells, suggesting that Rac1 participates in the phosphoinositide-3 kinase pathway leading to the activation of Akt. In conclusion, our results indicate that while Rac1 indeed plays a role in VACV biology, perhaps another GTPase may be involved in CPXV replication.
Abstract in English:Studies were conducted to determine the selection of humans, chickens and rabbits by Culicidae in three different environments in the province of Chaco, Argentina. Mosquitoes were collected fortnightly using cylindrical metal traps containing animal bait (chickens and rabbits). The mosquitoes were collected between June 2001-May 2002. During the same period and with the same frequency, mosquitoes biting the human operators of the traps were collected during the first 15 min of exposure within different time intervals: from 09:00 am-11:00 am, 01:00 pm-03:00 pm, 05:00 pm-07:00 pm and 09:00 pm-10:00 pm. A total of 19,430 mosquitoes of 49 species belonging to 10 genera were collected. Culex species mainly selected chicken bait and Wyeomyia species selected rabbit bait. Ochlerotatus and Psorophora species were more abundant in rabbit-baited traps. Anopheles triannulatus, Coquillettidia nigricans, Ochlerotatus scapularis, Mansonia titillans and Psorophora albigenu showed a strong attraction for human bait. The Anopheles, Coquillettidia, Culex and Mansonia species were more active between 05:00 pm-09:00 pm, while Ochlerotatus, Psorophora, Haemagogus and Wyeomyia were most active from 09:00 am-07:00 pm. This study provides additional information about the biology and ecology of arbovirus vectors in Chaco.
Abstract in English:The aim of this study was to investigate sensitivity disorders in the oral cavity related to the presence of Mycobacterium leprae in the saliva of treatment-naïve patients with leprosy in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 45 subjects with leprosy. The subjects were interviewed to evaluate the sensitivity of the oral cavity. For the detection of M. leprae, saliva and slit-skin smear samples were collected. The samples were analysed using a bacteriological index (BI) protocol and the real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The results indicated that 15 of the 45 (33.3%) subjects with leprosy showed decreased oral sensitivity, which confirmed the importance of the oral cavity sensitivity evaluation. There was not a direct relationship between the presence of M. leprae in saliva and changes in oral sensitivity. Positive saliva qPCR results from six (31.6%) of 19 paucibacillary (PB) patients suggested the possibility of a new site for sample collection. Positive results using these diagnostic techniques (BI, slit-skin smear and saliva qPCR) increased to 55.5%, thus opening the possibility of combining these different techniques to increase the rate of positive diagnoses, especially in PB patients.
Abstract in English:Phlebotomine sandflies were captured in rural settlement and periurban areas of the municipality of Guaraí in the state of Tocantins (TO), an endemic area of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL). Forty-three phlebotomine species were identified, nine of which have already been recognised as ACL vectors. Eleven species were recorded for the first time in TO. Nyssomyia whitmani was the most abundant species, followed by Evandromyia bourrouli, Nyssomyia antunesi and Psychodopygus complexus. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index and the evenness index were higher in the rural settlement area than in the periurban area. The evaluation of different ecotopes within the rural area showed the highest frequencies of Ev. bourrouli and Ny. antunesi in chicken coops, whereas Ny. whitmani predominated in this ecotope in the periurban area. In the rural settlement area, Ev. bourrouli was the most frequently captured species in automatic light traps and Ps. complexus was the most prevalent in Shannon trap captures. The rural settlement environment exhibited greater phlebotomine biodiversity than the periurban area. Ps. complexus and Psychodopygus ayrozai naturally infected with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis were identified. The data identified Ny. whitmani as a potential ACL vector in the periurban area, whereas Ps. complexus was more prevalent in the rural environment associated with settlements.
Abstract in English:The following two new species of Culicoides from the Argentinean Yungas are described, illustrated and placed to subgenus or species group and compared with related congeners: Culicoides calchaqui Spinelli & Veggiani Aybar and Culicoides willinki Spinelli & Veggiani Aybar. Culicoides daedaloides Wirth & Blanton is recorded for the first time for Argentina and Culicoides pseudoheliconiae Felippe-Bauer is firstly mentioned from the northwestern region of the country.
Abstract in English:Despite the increasing importance of Enterococcus as opportunistic pathogens, their virulence factors are still poorly understood. This study determines the frequency of virulence factors in clinical and commensal Enterococcus isolates from inpatients in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Fifty Enterococcus isolates were analysed and the presence of the gelE, asa1 and esp genes was determined. Gelatinase activity and biofilm formation were also tested. The clonal relationships among the isolates were evaluated using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The asa1, gelE and esp genes were identified in 38%, 60% and 76% of all isolates, respectively. The first two genes were more prevalent in Enterococcus faecalis than in Enterococcus faecium, as was biofilm formation, which was associated with gelE and asa1 genes, but not with the esp gene. The presence of gelE and the activity of gelatinase were not fully concordant. No relationship was observed among any virulence factors and specific subclones of E. faecalis or E. faecium resistant to vancomycin. In conclusion, E. faecalis and E. faecium isolates showed significantly different patterns of virulence determinants. Neither the source of isolation nor the clonal relationship or vancomycin resistance influenced their distribution.
Abstract in English:Dengue is the most important arboviral disease in the world. As chloroquine, an antimalarial agent, has shown some antiviral effects, this study evaluated its effect in patients with dengue. A randomised, double-blind study was performed by administering chloroquine or placebo for three days to 129 patients with dengue-related symptoms. Of these patients, 37 were confirmed as having dengue and completed the study; in total, 19 dengue patients received chloroquine and 18 received placebo. There was no significant difference in the duration of the disease or the degree and days of fever. However, 12 patients (63%) with confirmed dengue reported a substantial decrease in pain intensity and a great improvement in their ability to perform daily activities (p = 0.0004) while on the medication and the symptoms returned immediately after these patients stopped taking the medication. The same effect was not observed in patients with diseases other than dengue. Therefore, this study shows that patients with dengue treated with chloroquine had an improvement in their quality of life and were able to resume their daily activities. However, as chloroquine did not alter the duration of the disease or the intensity and days of fever, further studies are necessary to confirm the clinical effects and to assess the side effects of chloroquine in dengue patients.
Abstract in English:Current schistosomiasis control strategies are largely based on chemotherapeutic agents and a limited number of drugs are available today. Praziquantel (PZQ) is the only drug currently used in schistosomiasis control programs. Unfortunately, this drug shows poor efficacy in patients during the earliest infection phases. The effects of PZQ appear to operate on the voltage-operated Ca2+channels, which are located on the external Schistosoma mansoni membrane. Because some Ca2+channels have dihydropyridine drug class (a class that includes nifedipine) sensitivity, an in vitro analysis using a calcium channel antagonist (clinically used for cardiovascular hypertension) was performed to determine the antischistosomal effects of nifedipine on schistosomula and adult worm cultures. Nifedipine demonstrated antischistosomal activity against schistosomula and significantly reduced viability at all of the concentrations used alone or in combination with PZQ. In contrast, PZQ did not show significant efficacy when used alone. Adult worms were also affected by nifedipine after a 24 h incubation and exhibited impaired motility, several lesions on the tegument and intense contractility. These data support the idea of Ca2+channels subunits as drug targets and favour alternative therapeutic schemes when drug resistance has been reported. In this paper, strong arguments encouraging drug research are presented, with a focus on exploring schistosomal Ca2+channels.
Abstract in English:To evaluate whether environmental heterogeneity contributes to the genetic heterogeneity in Anopheles triannulatus, larval habitat characteristics across the Brazilian states of Roraima and Pará and genetic sequences were examined. A comparison with Anopheles goeldii was utilised to determine whether high genetic diversity was unique to An. triannulatus. Student t test and analysis of variance found no differences in habitat characteristics between the species. Analysis of population structure of An. triannulatus and An. goeldii revealed distinct demographic histories in a largely overlapping geographic range. Cytochrome oxidase I sequence parsimony networks found geographic clustering for both species; however nuclear marker networks depicted An. triannulatus with a more complex history of fragmentation, secondary contact and recent divergence. Evidence of Pleistocene expansions suggests both species are more likely to be genetically structured by geographic and ecological barriers than demography. We hypothesise that niche partitioning is a driving force for diversity, particularly in An. triannulatus.
Abstract in English:The humoral immune response plays an important role in the clearance of Giardia lamblia. However, our knowledge about the specific antigens of G. lamblia that induce a protective immune response is limited. The purpose of this study was to identify and characterise the immunogenic proteins of G. lamblia in a mouse model. We generated monoclonal antibodies (moAbs) specific to G. lamblia (1B10, 2C9.D11, 3C10.E5, 3D10, 5G8.B5, 5F4, 4C7, 3C5 and 3C6) by fusing splenocytes derived from infected mice. Most of these moAbs recognised a band of ± 71 kDa (5G8 protein) and this protein was also recognised by serum from the infected mice. We found that the moAbs recognised conformational epitopes of the 5G8 protein and that this antigen is expressed on the cell surface and inside trophozoites. Additionally, antibodies specific to the 5G8 protein induced strong agglutination (> 70-90%) of trophozoites. We have thus identified a highly immunogenic antigen of G. lamblia that is recognised by the immune system of infected mice. In summary, this study describes the identification and partial characterisation of an immunogenic protein of G. lamblia. Additionally, we generated a panel of moAbs specific for this protein that will be useful for the biochemical and immunological characterisation of this immunologically interesting Giardia molecule.
Abstract in English:Pentavalent antimonials such as meglumine antimoniate (MA) are the primary treatments for leishmaniasis, a complex disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania . Despite over 70 years of clinical use, their mechanisms of action, toxicity and pharmacokinetics have not been fully elucidated. Radiotracer studies performed on animals have the potential to play a major role in pharmaceutical development. The aims of this study were to prepare an antimony radiotracer by neutron irradiation of MA and to determine the biodistribution of MA in healthy and Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi-infected mice. MA (Glucantime(r)) was neutron irradiated inside the IEA-R1 nuclear reactor, producing two radioisotopes, 122Sb and 124Sb, with high radionuclidic purity and good specific activity. This irradiated compound presented anti-leishmanial activity similar to that of non-irradiated MA in both in vitro and in vivo evaluations. In the biodistribution studies, healthy mice showed higher uptake of antimony in the liver than infected mice and elimination occurred primarily through biliary excretion, with a small proportion of the drug excreted by the kidneys. The serum kinetic curve was bi-exponential, with two compartments: the central compartment and another compartment associated with drug excretion. Radiotracers, which can be easily produced by neutron irradiation, were demonstrated to be an interesting tool for answering several questions regarding antimonial pharmacokinetics and chemotherapy.
Abstract in English:Heteroxenic and monoxenic trypanosomatids were screened for the presence of actin using a mouse polyclonal antibody produced against the entire sequence of the Trypanosoma cruzi actin gene, encoding a 41.9 kDa protein. Western blot analysis showed that this antibody reacted with a polypeptide of approximately 42 kDa in the whole-cell lysates of parasites targeting mammals (T. cruzi, Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania major), insects (Angomonas deanei, Crithidia fasciculata, Herpetomonas samuelpessoai and Strigomonas culicis) and plants (Phytomonas serpens). A single polypeptide of approximately 42 kDa was detected in the whole-cell lysates of T. cruzi cultured epimastigotes, metacyclic trypomastigotes and amastigotes at similar protein expression levels. Confocal microscopy showed that actin was expressed throughout the cytoplasm of all the tested trypanosomatids. These data demonstrate that actin expression is widespread in trypanosomatids.
Abstract in English:We aimed to evaluate whether the occurrence of cryptic species of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, S1, PS2, PS3 and Paracoccidioides lutzii, has implications in the immunodiagnosis of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). Small quantities of the antigen gp43 were found in culture filtrates of P. lutzii strains and this molecule appeared to be more variable within P. lutzii because the synonymous-nonsynonymous mutation rate was lower, indicating an evolutionary process different from that of the remaining genotypes. The production of gp43 also varied between isolates belonging to the same species, indicating that speciation events are important, but not sufficient to fully explain the diversity in the production of this antigen. The culture filtrate antigen AgEpm83, which was obtained from a PS3 isolate, showed large quantities of gp43 and reactivity by immunodiffusion assays, similar to the standard antigen (AgB-339) from an S1 isolate. Furthermore, AgEpm83 was capable of serologically differentiating five serum samples from patients from the Botucatu and Jundiaí regions. These patients had confirmed PCM but, were non-reactive to the standard antigen, thus demonstrating an alternative for serological diagnosis in regions in which S1 and PS2 occur. We also emphasise that it is not advisable to use a single antigen preparation to diagnose PCM, a disease that is caused by highly diverse pathogens.
Abstract in English:During the season of high malaria transmission, most children are infected by Plasmodium, which targets red blood cells (RBCs), affecting haematological parameters. To describe these variations, we examined the haematological profiles of two groups of children living in a malaria-endemic area. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the peak of the malaria transmission season in a rural area of Burkina Faso. After informed consent and clinical examination, blood samples were obtained from the participants for malaria diagnosis and a full blood count. Of the 414 children included in the analysis, 192 were not infected with Plasmodium, whereas 222 were asymptomatic carriers of Plasmodium infection. The mean age of the infected children was 41.8 months (range of 26.4-57.2) compared to 38.8 months (range of 22.4-55.2) for the control group (p = 0.06). The asymptomatic infected children tended to have a significantly lower mean haemoglobin level (10.8 g/dL vs. 10.4 g/dL; p < 0.001), mean lymphocyte count (4592/µL vs. 5141/µL; p = 0.004), mean platelet count (266 x 103/µL vs. 385 x 103/µL; p < 0.001) and mean RBC count (4.388 x 106/µL vs. 4.158 x 106/µL; p < 0.001) and a higher mean monocyte count (1403/µL vs. 1192/µL; p < 0.001) compared to the control group. Special attention should be applied when interpreting haematological parameters and evaluating immune responses in asymptomatic infected children living in malaria-endemic areas and enrolled in vaccine trials.
Abstract in English:This study reports the distribution, ecotopes and fauna diversity of sandflies captured in five training bases on a military reserve in Manaus, state of Amazonas (AM). A total of 10,762 specimens were collected, which were distributed among 58 species, with the highest number recorded at Base Instruction 1 (BI1). A higher rate of species richness was found at the Base Instruction Boina Rajada and low levels of diversity associated with a high abundance index with the clear dominance of Lutzomyia umbratilis, Lutzomyia ruii and Lutzomyia anduzei were found at BI1. The abundance of Lu. umbratilis raises the possibility of outbreaks of American cutaneous leishmaniasis by the main vector of the disease in AM.
Abstract in English:In this cross-sectional study, 207 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative kidney transplant recipients were evaluated based on demographic and epidemiological data and on the levels of serological markers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus infection and liver enzymes. Patients with HBV or human immunodeficiency virus infection were excluded. Sera were analysed for the presence of HBV-DNA. HBV-DNA was detected in two patients (1%), indicating occult hepatitis B (OHB) infection (the HBV-DNA loads were 3.1 and 3.5 IU/mL in these patients). The results of the liver function tests were normal and no serological markers indicative of HBV infection were detected. The prevalence of OHB infection was low among kidney transplant recipients, most likely due to the low HBsAg endemicity in the general population of the study area.
Abstract in English:Several viruses have been associated with acute gastroenteritis (AGE), and group A rotavirus (RVA) and nor-ovirus (NoV) are the most prevalent. This study aimed to assess their prevalence among children hospitalised for diarrhoea during a three-year surveillance study. From May 2008-April 2011, overall positivity rates of 21.6% (628/2904) and 35.4% (171/483) were observed for RVA and NoV, respectively. The seasonality observed indicated distinct patterns when both viruses were compared. This finding may explain why hospitalisation for AGE remains constant throughout the year. Continuous AGE monitoring is needed to better assess the patterns of infection.
Abstract in English:Leishmania RNA virus (LRV) has been shown to be a symbiotic component of Leishmania parasites in South America. Nested retro-transcription polymerase chain reaction was employed to investigate LRV1 presence in leishmaniasis lesions from Brazil. In endemic areas of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), no LRV1 infection was observed even with mucosal involvement. LRV1 was only detected in Leishmania (V.) guyanensis cutaneous lesions from the northern region, which were obtained from patients presenting with disease reactivation after clinical cure of their primary lesions. Our results indicated that the severity of leishmaniasis in some areas of RJ, where Leishmania (V.) brazi-liensis is the primary etiological agent, was not associated with Leishmania LRV1 infection.
Abstract in English:Mice experimentally infected with a pathogenic strain of Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola produced false negative results (prozone effect) in a microscopic agglutination test (MAT). This prozone effect occurred in several serum samples collected at different post-infection times, but it was more prominent in samples collected from seven-42 days post-infection and for 1:50 and 1:100 sample dilutions. This phenomenon was correlated with increased antibody titres in the early post-infection phase. While prozone effects are often observed in serological agglutination assays for the diagnosis of animal brucellosis and human syphilis, they are not widely reported in leptospirosis MATs.