Abstract in English:This article discusses the peculiar conditions that favoured the unexpected introduction of Zika virus into the poorest northeastern region of Brazil in 2015, its speed of transmission to other Brazilian states, other Latin American countries and other regions, and the severity of related neurological disorders in newborns and adults. Contrasting with evidence that Zika had so far caused only mild cases in humans in the last six decades, the epidemiological scenario of this outbreak in Brazil indicates dramatic health effects: in 2015, an increase of 20-fold in notified cases of microcephaly and/or central nervous system (CNS) alterations suggestive of Zika congenital infection, followed by an exponential increase in 2016, with 2366 cumulative cases confirmed in the country by the end of December 2016. A significant increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults has also been reported. Factors involved in viral dissemination, neural pathogenesis and routes of transmission in Brazil are examined, such as the role of social and environmental factors and the controversies involved in the hypothesis of antibody-dependent enhancement, to explain the incidence of congenital Zika syndrome in Brazil. Responses to the Zika outbreak and the development of new products are also discussed.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Angiostrongylus costaricensis is a nematode that causes human abdominal angiostrongyliasis, a disease found mainly in Latin American countries and particularly in Brazil and Costa Rica. Its life cycle involves exploitation of both invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Its natural reservoir is a vertebrate host, the cotton rat Sigmodon hispidus. The adult worms live in the ileo-colic branches of the upper mesenteric artery of S. hispidus, causing periarteritis. However, there is a lack of data on the development of vasculitis in the course of infection. OBJECTIVE To describe the histopathology of vascular lesions in S. hispidus following infection with A. costaricensis. METHODS Twenty-one S. hispidus were euthanised at 30, 50, 90 and 114 days post-infection (dpi), and guts and mesentery (including the cecal artery) were collected. Tissues were fixed in Carson’s Millonig formalin, histologically processed for paraffin embedding, sectioned with a rotary microtome, and stained with hematoxylin-eosin, resorcin-fuchsin, Perls, Sirius Red (pH = 10.2), Congo Red, and Azan trichrome for brightfield microscopy analysis. FINDINGS At 30 and 50 dpi, live eggs and larvae were present inside the vasa vasorum of the cecal artery, leading to eosinophil infiltrates throughout the vessel adventitia and promoting centripetal vasculitis with disruption of the elastic layers. Disease severity increased at 90 and 114 dpi, when many worms had died and the intensity of the vascular lesions was greatest, with intimal alterations, thrombus formation, iron accumulation, and atherosclerosis. CONCLUSION In addition to abdominal angiostrongyliasis, our data suggest that this model could be very useful for autoimune vasculitis and atherosclerosis studies.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is routinely used to detect viral infections. In Brazil, it is mandatory the use of nucleic acid tests to detect hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency virus in blood banks because of the immunological window. The use of an internal control (IC) is necessary to differentiate the true negative results from those consequent from a failure in some step of the nucleic acid test. OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was the construction of virus-modified particles, based on MS2 bacteriophage, to be used as IC for the diagnosis of RNA viruses. METHODS The MS2 genome was cloned into the pET47b(+) plasmid, generating pET47b(+)-MS2. MS2-like particles were produced through the synthesis of MS2 RNA genome by T7 RNA polymerase. These particles were used as non-competitive IC in assays for RNA virus diagnostics. In addition, a competitive control for HCV diagnosis was developed by cloning a mutated HCV sequence into the MS2 replicase gene of pET47b(+)-MS2, which produces a non-propagating MS2 particle. The utility of MS2-like particles as IC was evaluated in a one-step format multiplex real-time RT-PCR for HCV detection. FINDINGS We demonstrated that both competitive and non-competitive IC could be successfully used to monitor the HCV amplification performance, including the extraction, reverse transcription, amplification and detection steps, without compromising the detection of samples with low target concentrations. In conclusion, MS2-like particles generated by this strategy proved to be useful IC for RNA virus diagnosis, with advantage that they are produced by a low cost protocol. An attractive feature of this system is that it allows the construction of a multicontrol by the insertion of sequences from more than one pathogen, increasing its applicability for diagnosing different RNA viruses.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Since the early 1990s, programs to control Chagas disease in South America have focused on eradicating domiciliary Triatoma infestans, the main vector. Seroprevalence studies of the chagasic infection are included as part of the vector control programs; they are essential to assess the impact of vector control measures and to monitor the prevention of vector transmission. OBJECTIVE To assess the interruption of domiciliary vector transmission of Chagas disease by T. infestans in Paraguay by evaluating the current state of transmission in rural areas. METHODS A survey of seroprevalence of Chagas disease was carried out in a representative sample group of Paraguayans aged one to five years living in rural areas of Paraguay in 2008. Blood samples collected on filter paper from 12,776 children were tested using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Children whose serology was positive or undetermined (n = 41) were recalled to donate a whole blood sample for retesting. Their homes were inspected for current triatomine infestation. Blood samples from their respective mothers were also collected and tested to check possible transmission of the disease by a congenital route. FINDINGS A seroprevalence rate of 0.24% for Trypanosoma cruzi infection was detected in children under five years of age among the country’s rural population. Our findings indicate that T. cruzi was transmitted to these children vertically. The total number of infected children, aged one to five years living in these departments, was estimated at 1,691 cases with an annual incidence of congenital transmission of 338 cases per year. MAIN CONCLUSION We determined the impact of vector control in the transmission of T. cruzi, following uninterrupted vector control measures employed since 1999 in contiguous T. infestans-endemic areas of Paraguay, and this allowed us to estimate the degree of risk of congenital transmission in the country.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Despite the current global trend of reduction in the morbidity and mortality of neglected diseases, dengue’s incidence has increased and occurrence areas have expanded. Dengue also persists as a scientific and technological challenge since there is no effective treatment, vaccine, vector control or public health intervention. Combining bibliometrics and social network analysis methods can support the mapping of dengue research and development (R&D) activities worldwide. OBJECTIVES The aim of this paper is to map the scientific scenario related to dengue research worldwide. METHODS We use scientific publication data from Web of Science Core Collection - articles indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) - and combine bibliometrics and social network analysis techniques to identify the most relevant journals, scientific references, research areas, countries and research organisations in the dengue scientific landscape. FINDINGS Our results show a significant increase of dengue publications over time; tropical medicine and virology as the most frequent research areas and biochemistry and molecular biology as the most central area in the network; USA and Brazil as the most productive countries; and Mahidol University and Fundação Oswaldo Cruz as the main research organisations and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as the most central organisation in the collaboration network. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our findings can be used to strengthen a global knowledge platform guiding policy, planning and funding decisions as well as to providing directions to researchers and institutions. So that, by offering to the scientific community, policy makers and public health practitioners a mapping of the dengue scientific landscape, this paper has aimed to contribute to upcoming debates, decision-making and planning on dengue R&D and public health strategies worldwide.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Amphimerus spp. is a liver fluke that infects humans and domestic animals. It is highly prevalent in some Ecuadorian communities. Currently, diagnosis is based on the microscopic observation of eggs in faeces, but this has variable sensitivity. More sensitive methods are needed for diagnostic testing. OBJECTIVE The main objective of this work was to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using crude antigens from Amphimerus spp. adult worms to detect anti-Amphimerus IgG in human sera. METHODS Crude somatic antigens were obtained from adult Amphimerus spp. worms. Human sera from 119 patients were tested: 48 from individuals with a confirmed Amphimerus spp. infection, 78 from non-infected Ecuadorians living in the endemic region, 60 from persons living in non-endemic areas (20 Ecuadorians, 20 Europeans, and 20 Africans), and 33 who had other parasitic and non-parasitic infections. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Results were analysed using the receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) curve analysis with an area under curve (AUC) value of 0.967. The accuracy of the ELISA was high. The sensitivity was 85.0% [95% confidence interval (CI): 80.3-89.7%] and the specificity was 71.0% (95% CI: 65.2-76.8%). Some cross reactivity was detected against Paragonimus mexicanus, Fasciola hepatica, Schistosomiasis, Taenia solium, Strongyloides stercoralis, Mansonella spp., and Vampirolepis nana. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We have developed the first ELISA technique that detects anti-Amphimerus IgG in human sera with good sensitivity, repeatability and reproducibility. However, more specific antigens are needed to further enhance performance of this assay. Regardless, this ELISA test could be useful for early diagnosis and prompt treatment of human Amphimerus spp. infections.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Infective endocarditis is a disease characterised by heart valve lesions, which exhibit extracellular matrix proteins that act as a physical barrier to prevent the passage of antimicrobial agents. The genus Candida has acquired clinical importance given that it is increasingly being isolated from cases of nosocomial infections. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the activity of caspofungin compared to that of liposomal amphotericin B against Candida albicans in experimental infective endocarditis. METHODS Wistar rats underwent surgical intervention and infection with strains of C. albicans to develop infective endocarditis. Three groups were formed: the first group was treated with caspofungin, the second with liposomal amphotericin B, and the third received a placebo. In vitro sensitivity was first determined to further evaluate the effect of these treatments on a rat experimental model of endocarditis by semiquantitative culture of fibrinous vegetations and histological analysis. FINDINGS Our semiquantitative culture of growing vegetation showed massive C. albicans colonisation in rats without treatment, whereas rats treated with caspofungin showed significantly reduced colonisation, which was similar to the results obtained with liposomal amphotericin B. CONCLUSIONS The antifungal activity of caspofungin is similar to that of liposomal amphotericin B in an experimental model of infective endocarditis caused by C. albicans.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Sporothrix brasiliensis is the most virulent sporotrichosis agent. This species usually responds to antifungal drugs, but therapeutic failure can occur in some patients. Antifungal susceptibility tests have been performed on this species, but no clinical breakpoints (CBPs) are available. In this situation, minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) distributions and epidemiological cutoff values (ECVs) support the detection of identification of resistant strains. OBJECTIVES To study the MIC distributions of five antifungal drugs against S. brasiliensis and to propose tentative ECVs. METHODS MICs of amphotericin B (AMB), itraconazole (ITR), ketoconazole (KET), posaconazole (POS), and terbinafine (TRB) against 335 S. brasiliensis strains were determined by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute broth microdilution method. FINDINGS The proposed ECV, in µg/mL, for AMB, ITR, KET, POS, and TRB were 4.0, 2.0, 1.0, 2.0, and 0.25, respectively. Percentages of wild-type strains in our population for the above antifungal drugs were 98.48, 95.22, 95.33, 100, and 97.67%, respectively. MAIN CONCLUSIONS These ECVs will be useful to detect strains with resistance, to define CBPs, and to elaborate specific therapeutic guidelines for S. brasiliensis. Rational use of antifungals is strongly recommended to avoid the emergence of resistant strains and ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of sporotrichosis.
Abstract in English:BALB/c mice were inoculated with 5-500 Toxocara canis infective eggs, and bled at 15-120 days post infection (dpi) to evaluate the dynamics of IgG antibody response and larvae distribution. Positive results were observed in all occasions for every inoculum, and a direct proportional relationship between antibody detection and the parasitic load was observed. In samples collected at 60 dpi, detection of IgG was more intense, especially with the 50 and 500 egg doses; also, a correlation between antibody level and egg count was observed with these two inocula. At 120 dpi, a decrease in antibody titer was observed for all groups; and at the end of the experiment, larvae were recovered from carcass, liver and brain. In the liver, larvae were only found in mice inoculated with 500 T. canis eggs. In carcasses, these were recovered in all groups, and the group inoculated with 50 eggs showed the highest percentage of larvae in the brain.
Abstract in English:We present an arhaeoparasitological analysis of a unique burial from the Neftprovod II burial ground in East Siberia, which dated from the Bronze Age. Analysis of a sediment sample from the sacral region of the pelvis revealed the presence of Taenia sp. eggs. Because uncooked animal tissue is the primary source of Taenia, this indicated that the individual was likely consuming raw or undercooked meat of roe deer, red deer, or elk infected with Taenia. This finding represents the oldest case of a human infected with Taenia sp. from Eastern Siberia and Russia.