Abstract in English:A review of national and international publications on paragonimiasis in Ecuador, epidemiological records from the Ministry of Public Health and unpublished research data was conducted to summarise the current status of the parasite/disease. The purpose of the review is to educate physicians, policy-makers and health providers on the status of the disease and to stimulate scientific investigators to conduct further research. Paragonimiasis was first diagnosed in Ecuador 94 years ago and it is endemic to both tropical and subtropical regions in 19 of 24 provinces in the Pacific Coast and Amazon regions. Paragonimus mexicanus is the only known species in the country, with the mollusc Aroapyrgus colombiensis and the crabs Moreirocarcinus emarginatus, Hypolobocera chilensis and Hypolobocera aequatorialis being the primary and secondary intermediate hosts, respectively. Recent studies found P. mexicanus metacercariae in Trichodactylus faxoni crabs of the northern Amazon. Chronic pulmonary paragonimiasis is commonly misdiagnosed and treated as tuberculosis and although studies have demonstrated the efficacy of praziquantel and triclabendazole for the treatment of human infections, neither drug is available in Ecuador. Official data recorded from 1978-2007 indicate an annual incidence of 85.5 cases throughout the 19 provinces, with an estimated 17.2% of the population at risk of infection. There are no current data on the incidence/prevalence of infection, nor is there a national control programme.
Abstract in English:Chagas disease is maintained in nature through the interchange of three cycles: the wild, peridomestic and domestic cycles. The wild cycle, which is enzootic, has existed for millions of years maintained between triatomines and wild mammals. Human infection was only detected in mummies from 4,000-9,000 years ago, before the discovery of the disease by Carlos Chagas in 1909. With the beginning of deforestation in the Americas, two-three centuries ago for the expansion of agriculture and livestock rearing, wild mammals, which had been the food source for triatomines, were removed and new food sources started to appear in peridomestic areas: chicken coops, corrals and pigsties. Some accidental human cases could also have occurred prior to the triatomines in peridomestic areas. Thus, triatomines progressively penetrated households and formed the domestic cycle of Chagas disease. A new epidemiological, economic and social problem has been created through the globalisation of Chagas disease, due to legal and illegal migration of individuals infected by Trypanosoma cruzi or presenting Chagas disease in its varied clinical forms, from endemic countries in Latin America to non-endemic countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania, particularly to the United States of America and Spain. The main objective of the present paper was to present a general view of the interchanges between the wild, peridomestic and domestic cycles of the disease, the development of T. cruzi among triatomine, their domiciliation and control initiatives, the characteristics of the disease in countries in the Americas and the problem of migration to non-endemic countries.
Abstract in English:A cohort of 123 adult contacts was followed for 18‐24 months (86 completed the follow-up) to compare conversion and reversion rates based on two serial measures of QuantiFERON (QFT) and tuberculin skin test (TST) (PPD from TUBERSOL, Aventis Pasteur, Canada) for diagnosing latent tuberculosis (TB) in household contacts of TB patients using conventional (C) and borderline zone (BZ) definitions. Questionnaires were used to obtain information regarding TB exposure, TB risk factors and socio-demographic data. QFT (IU/mL) conversion was defined as <0.35 to ≥0.35 (C) or <0.35 to >0.70 (BZ) and reversion was defined as ≥0.35 to <0.35 (C) or ≥0.35 to <0.20 (BZ); TST (mm) conversion was defined as <5 to ≥5 (C) or <5 to >10 (BZ) and reversion was defined as ≥5 to <5 (C). The QFT conversion and reversion rates were 10.5% and 7% with C and 8.1% and 4.7% with the BZ definitions, respectively. The TST rates were higher compared with QFT, especially with the C definitions (conversion 23.3%, reversion 9.3%). The QFT conversion and reversion rates were higher for TST ≥5; for TST, both rates were lower for QFT <0.35. No risk factors were associated with the probability of converting or reverting. The inconsistency and apparent randomness of serial testing is confusing and adds to the limitations of these tests and definitions to follow-up close TB contacts.
Abstract in English:This study aimed to correlate the presence of ica genes, biofilm formation and antimicrobial resistance in 107 strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated from blood cultures. The isolates were analysed to determine their methicillin resistance, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type, ica genes and biofilm formation and the vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was measured for isolates and subpopulations growing on vancomycin screen agar. The mecA gene was detected in 81.3% of the S. epidermidis isolated and 48.2% carried SCCmec type III. The complete icaADBC operon was observed in 38.3% of the isolates; of these, 58.5% produced a biofilm. Furthermore, 47.7% of the isolates grew on vancomycin screen agar, with an increase in the MIC in 75.9% of the isolates. Determination of the MIC of subpopulations revealed that 64.7% had an MIC ≥ 4 μg mL-1, including 15.7% with an MIC of 8 μg mL-1 and 2% with an MIC of 16 μg mL-1. The presence of the icaADBC operon, biofilm production and reduced susceptibility to vancomycin were associated with methicillin resistance. This study reveals a high level of methicillin resistance, biofilm formation and reduced susceptibility to vancomycin in subpopulations of S. epidermidis. These findings may explain the selection of multidrug-resistant isolates in hospital settings and the consequent failure of antimicrobial treatment.
Abstract in English:Traditional mosquito control strategies rely heavily on the use of chemical insecticides. However, concerns about the efficiency of traditional control methods, environmental impact and emerging pesticide resistance have highlighted the necessity for developing innovative tools for mosquito control. Some novel strategies, including release of insects carrying a dominant lethal gene (RIDL®), rely on the sustained release of modified male mosquitoes and therefore benefit from a thorough understanding of the biology of the male of the species. In this report we present the results of a mark-release-recapture study aimed at: (i) establishing the survival in the field of laboratory-reared, wild-type male Aedes aegypti and (b) estimating the size of the local adult Ae. aegypti population. The study took place in Panama, a country where recent increases in the incidence and severity of dengue cases have prompted health authorities to evaluate alternative strategies for vector control. Results suggest a life expectancy of 2.3 days for released male mosquitoes (confidence interval: 1.78-2.86). Overall, the male mosquito population was estimated at 58 males/ha (range 12-81 males/ha), which can be extrapolated to an average of 0.64 pupae/person for the study area. The practical implications of these results are discussed.
Abstract in English:The role played by different mammal species in the maintenance of Trypanosoma cruzi is not constant and varies in time and place. This study aimed to characterise the importance of domestic, wild and peridomestic hosts in the transmission of T. cruzi in Tauá, state of Ceará, Caatinga area, Brazil, with an emphasis on those environments colonised by Triatoma brasiliensis. Direct parasitological examinations were performed on insects and mammals, serologic tests were performed on household and outdoor mammals and multiplex polymerase chain reaction was used on wild mammals. Cytochrome b was used as a food source for wild insects. The serum prevalence in dogs was 38% (20/53), while in pigs it was 6% (2/34). The percentages of the most abundantly infected wild animals were as follows: Thrichomys laurentius 74% (83/112) and Kerodon rupestris 10% (11/112). Of the 749 triatomines collected in the household research, 49.3% (369/749) were positive for T. brasiliensis, while 6.8% were infected with T. cruzi (25/369). In captured animals, T. brasiliensis shares a natural environment with T. laurentius, K. rupestris, Didelphis albiventris, Monodelphis domestica, Galea spixii, Wiedomys pyrrhorhinos, Conepatus semistriatus and Mus musculus. In animals identified via their food source, T. brasiliensis shares a natural environment with G. spixii, K. rupestris, Capra hircus, Gallus gallus, Tropidurus oreadicus and Tupinambis merianae. The high prevalence of T. cruzi in household and peridomiciliar animals reinforces the narrow relationship between the enzootic cycle and humans in environments with T. brasiliensis and characterises it as ubiquitous.
Abstract in English:Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil is transmitted by the phlebotomine Lutzomyia longipalpis and in some midwestern regions by Lutzomyia cruzi. Studies of the phlebotomine fauna, feeding habits and natural infection rate by Leishmania contribute to increased understanding of the epidemiological chain of leishmaniases and their vectorial capacity. Collections were performed in Jaciara, state of Mato Grosso from 2010-2013, during which time 2,011 phlebotomines (23 species) were captured (68.70% Lu. cruzi and 20.52% Lutzomyia whitmani). Lu. cruzi females were identified by observing the shapes of the cibarium (a portion of the mouthpart) and spermatheca, from which samples were obtained for polymerase chain reaction to determine the rates of natural infection. Engorged phlebotomines were assessed to identify the blood-meal host by ELISA. A moderate correlation was discovered between the number of Lu. cruzi and the temperature and the minimum rate of infection was 6.10%. Twenty-two females were reactive to the antisera of bird (28%), dog (3.30%) and skunk (1.60%). We conclude that Lu. cruzi and Lu. whitmani have adapted to the urban environment in this region and that Lu. cruzi is the most likely vector of VL in Jaciara. Moreover, maintenance of Leishmania in the environment is likely aided by the presence of birds and domestic and synanthropic animals.
Abstract in English:The physical integrity of bednets is a concern of national malaria control programs, as it is a key factor in determining the rate of replacement of bednets. It is largely assumed that increased numbers of holes will result in a loss of protection of sleepers from potentially infective bites. Experimental hut studies are valuable in understanding mosquito behaviour indoors, particularly as it relates to blood feeding and mortality. This review summarises findings from experimental hut studies, focusing on two issues: (i) the effect of different numbers or sizes of holes in bednets and (ii) feeding behaviour and mortality with holed nets as compared with unholed nets. As might be expected, increasing numbers and area of holes resulted in increased blood feeding by mosquitoes on sleepers. However, the presence of holes did not generally have a large effect on the mortality of mosquitoes. Successfully entering a holed mosquito net does not necessarily mean that mosquitoes spend less time in contact with the net, which could explain the lack in differences in mortality. Further behavioural studies are necessary to understand mosquito behaviour around nets and the importance of holed nets on malaria transmission.
Abstract in English:After the World Health Organization officially declared the end of the first pandemic of the XXI century in August 2010, the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus has been disseminated in the human population. In spite of its sustained circulation, very little on phylogenetic data or oseltamivir (OST) resistance is available for the virus in equatorial regions of South America. In order to shed more light on this topic, we analysed the haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 positive samples collected during the pandemic period in the Pernambuco (PE), a northeastern Brazilian state. Complete HA sequences were compared and amino acid changes were related to clinical outcome. In addition, the H275Y substitution in NA, associated with OST resistance, was investigated by pyrosequencing. Samples from PE were grouped in phylogenetic clades 6 and 7, being clustered together with sequences from South and Southeast Brazil. The D222N/G HA gene mutation, associated with severity, was found in one deceased patient that was pregnant. Additionally, the HA mutation K308E, which appeared in Brazil in 2010 and was only detected worldwide the following year, was identified in samples from hospitalised cases. The resistance marker H275Y was not identified in samples tested. However, broader studies are needed to establish the real frequency of resistance in this Brazilian region.
Abstract in English:The human beta defensin 1 (hBD-1) antimicrobial peptide is a member of the innate immune system known to act in the first line of defence against microorganisms, including viruses such as human papillomavirus (HPV). In this study, five functional polymorphisms (namely g-52G>A, g-44C>G and g-20G>A in the 5’UTR and c.*5G>A and c.*87A>G in the 3’UTR) in the DEFB1 gene encoding for hBD-1 were analysed to investigate the possible involvement of these genetic variants in susceptibility to HPV infection and in the development of HPV-associated lesions in a population of Brazilian women. The DEFB1 g-52G>A and c.*5G>A single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the GCAAA haplotype showed associations with HPV-negative status; in particular, the c.*5G>A SNP was significantly associated after multiple test corrections. These findings suggest a possible role for the constitutively expressed beta defensin-1 peptide as a natural defence against HPV in the genital tract mucosa.
Abstract in English:Peri-urban infestations with triatomine bugs, their sources and their dynamics have rarely been investigated. Here, we corroborated the reported occurrence of Triatoma infestans in a peri-urban area and in neighbouring rural houses in Pampa del Indio, in the Argentine Chaco, and identified its putative sources using spatial analysis and demographic questionnaires. Peri-urban householders reported that 10% of their premises had triatomines, whereas T. infestans was collected by timed manual searches or community-based surveillance in only nine (3%) houses. Trypanosoma cruzi-infected T. infestans and Triatoma sordida were collected indoors only in peri-urban houses and were infected with TcV and TcI, respectively. The triatomines fed on chickens, cats and humans. Peri-urban infestations were most frequent in a squatter settlement and particularly within the recently built mud houses of rural immigrants, with large-sized households, more dogs and cats and more crowding. Several of the observed infestations were most likely associated with passive bug transport from other sources and with active bug dispersal from neighbouring foci. Thus, the households in the squatter settlement were at a greater risk of bug invasion and colonisation. In sum, the incipient process of domestic colonisation and transmission, along with persistent rural-to-urban migratory flows and unplanned urbanisation, indicate the need for active vector surveillance and control actions at the peri-urban interface of the Gran Chaco.
Abstract in English:Streptococcus pyogenes is responsible for a variety of infectious diseases and immunological complications. In this study, 91 isolates of S. pyogenes recovered from oropharynx secretions were submitted to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, emm typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis. All isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone, levofloxacin, penicillin G and vancomycin. Resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin was 15.4%, which is higher than previous reports from this area, while 20.9% of the isolates were not susceptible to tetracycline. The macrolide resistance phenotypes were cMLSB (10) and iMLSB (4). The ermB gene was predominant, followed by the ermA gene. Thirty-two emm types and subtypes were found, but five (emm1, emm4, emm12, emm22, emm81) were detected in 48% of the isolates. Three new emm subtypes were identified (emm1.74, emm58.14, emm76.7). There was a strong association between emm type and PFGE clustering. A variety of PFGE profiles as well as emm types were found among tetracycline and erythromycin-resistant isolates, demonstrating that antimicrobial resistant strains do not result from the expansion of one or a few clones. This study provides epidemiological data that contribute to the development of suitable strategies for the prevention and treatment of such infections in a poorly studied area.
Abstract in English:Endothelial dysfunction is a major component of the pathophysiology of septicaemic group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections. Although cytokines have been shown to activate human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), the capacity of interferon (IFN)-γ to enhance the microbicidal activity of HUVECs against GBS has not been studied. We report that the viability of intracellular bacteria was reduced in HUVECs activated by IFN-γ. Enhanced fusion of lysosomes with bacteria-containing vacuoles was observed by acid phosphatase and the colocalisation of Rab-5, Rab-7 and lysosomal-associated membrane protein-1 with GBS in IFN-γ-activated HUVECs. IFN-γ resulted in an enhancement of the phagosome maturation process in HUVECs, improving the capacity to control the intracellular survival of GBS.
Abstract in English:The diagnosis of single-lesion paucibacillary leprosy remains a challenge. Reviews by expert dermatopathologists and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) results obtained from 66 single-plaque biopsy samples were compared. Histological findings were graded as high (HP), medium (MP) or low (LP) probability of leprosy or other dermatopathy (OD). Mycobacterium leprae-specific genes were detected using qPCR. The biopsies of 47 out of 57 clinically diagnosed patients who received multidrug therapy were classified as HP/MP, eight of which were qPCR negative. In the LP/OD (n = 19), two out of eight untreated patients showed positive qPCR results. In the absence of typical histopathological features, qPCR may be utilised to aid in final patient diagnosis, thus reducing overtreatment and delay in diagnosis.
Abstract in English:The molecular basis of Plasmodium vivax chloroquine (CQ) resistance is still unknown. Elucidating the molecular background of parasites that are sensitive or resistant to CQ will help to identify and monitor the spread of resistance. By genotyping a panel of molecular markers, we demonstrate a similar genetic variability between in vitro CQ-resistant and sensitive phenotypes of P. vivax parasites. However, our studies identified two loci (MS8 and MSP1-B10) that could be used to discriminate between both CQ-susceptible phenotypes among P. vivax isolates in vitro. These preliminary data suggest that microsatellites may be used to identify and to monitor the spread of P. vivax-resistance around the world.
Abstract in English:Malaria in La Guajira, the most northern state of Colombia, shows two different epidemiological patterns. Malaria is endemic in the municipality of Dibulla whereas in Riohacha it is characterised by sporadic outbreaks. This study aimed to establish whether differences in transmission patterns could be attributed to different vector species. The most abundant adult female species were Anopheles aquasalis, exclusive to Riohacha, and Anopheles darlingi, restricted to Dibulla. Anopheles mosquitoes were identified using morphology and the molecular markers internal transcribed spacer 2 and cytochrome c oxidase I. All specimens (n = 1,393) were tested by ELISA to determine natural infection rates with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. An. darlingi was positive for P. vivax 210, with an infection rate of 0.355% and an entomological inoculation rate of 15.87 infective bites/person/year. Anopheles albimanus larvae were the most common species in Riohacha, found in temporary swamps; in contrast, in Dibulla An. darlingi were detected mainly in permanent streams. Distinctive species composition and larval habitats in each municipality may explain the differences in Plasmodium transmission and suggest different local strategies should be used for vector control.
Abstract in English:Inter-individual heterogeneity in the response to human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1) infection has been partially attributed to host genetic background. The antiviral activity of the inflammasome cytoplasmic complex recognises viral molecular patterns and regulates immune responses via the activation of interleukin (IL)-1 family (IL-1, IL-18 and IL-33) members. The association between polymorphisms in the inflammasome receptors NLRP1 and NLRP3 and HTLV-1 infection was evaluated in a northeastern Brazilian population (84 HTLV-1 carriers and 155 healthy controls). NLRP3 rs10754558 G/G was associated with protection against HTLV-1 infection (p = 0.012; odds ratio = 0.37). rs10754558 affects NLRP3 mRNA stability; therefore, our results suggest that higher NLRP3 expression may augment first-line defences, leading to the effective protection against HTLV-1 infection.
Abstract in English:The role of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters in the efflux of the insecticide, temephos, was assessed in the larvae of Aedes aegypti. Bioassays were conducted using mosquito populations that were either susceptible or resistant to temephos by exposure to insecticide alone or in combination with sublethal doses of the ABC transporter inhibitor, verapamil (30, 35 and 40 μM). The best result in the series was obtained with the addition of verapamil (40 μM), which led to a 2x increase in the toxicity of temephos, suggesting that ABC transporters may be partially involved in conferring resistance to the populations evaluated.
Abstract in English:Immunological diagnostic methods for Trypanosoma cruzi depend specifically on the presence of antibodies and parasitological methods lack sensitivity during the chronic and “indeterminate” stages of the disease. This study performed a serological survey of 1,033 subjects from 52 rural communities in 12 of the 18 municipalities in the state of Querétaro, Mexico. We detected anti-T. cruzi antibodies using the following tests: indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA), indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), ELISA and recombinant ELISA (rELISA). We also performed Western blot (WB) analysis using iron superoxide dismutase (FeSOD), a detoxifying enzyme excreted by the parasite, as the antigen. Positive test results were distributed as follows: ELISA 8%, rELISA 6.2%, IFA and IHA 5.4% in both cases and FeSOD 8%. A comparative study of the five tests was undertaken. Sensitivity levels, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, concordance percentage and kappa index were considered. Living with animals, trips to other communities, gender, age, type of housing and symptomatology at the time of the survey were statistically analysed using SPSS software v.11.5. Detection of the FeSOD enzyme that was secreted by the parasite and used as an antigenic fraction in WBs showed a 100% correlation with traditional ELISA tests.
Abstract in English:There has been a resurgence in the number of pertussis cases in Brazil and around the world. Here, the genome of a clinical Bordetella pertussis strain (Bz181) that was recently isolated in Brazil is reported. Analysis of the virulence-associated genes defining the pre- and post-vaccination lineages revealed the presence of the prn2-ptxS1A-fim3B-ptxP3 allelic profile in Bz181, which is characteristic of the current pandemic lineage. A putative metallo-β-lactamase gene presenting all of the conserved zinc-binding motifs that characterise the catalytic site was identified, in addition to a multidrug efflux pump of the RND family that could confer resistance to erythromycin, which is the antibiotic of choice for treating pertussis disease.