Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Norovirus (NoV) is a major cause of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) worldwide, especially in children under five years. Studies involving the detection and molecular characterisation of NoV have been performed in Brazil, demonstrating its importance as an etiological agent of AGE. OBJECTIVES The objectives of this study were to investigate the frequency of human NoV and to genotype the strains isolated from 0-14-year-old patients of AGE in Manaus, Brazil, over a period of two years. METHODS A total of 426 faecal samples were collected between January 2010 and December 2011. All samples were tested for the presence of NoV antigens using a commercial enzyme immunoassay kit. RNA was extracted from all faecal suspensions and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for the NoV-polymerase partial region was performed as a trial test. Positive samples were then subjected to PCR with specific primers for partial capsid genes, which were then sequenced. FINDINGS NoV was detected in 150 (35.2%) faecal samples, for at least one of the two techniques used. NoV was detected in children from all age groups, with the highest positivity observed among the group of 1-2 years old. Clinically, fever was verified in 43% of the positive cases and 46.3% of the negative cases, and vomiting was observed in 75.8% and 70.8% cases in these groups, respectively. Monthly distribution showed that the highest positivity was observed in January 2010 (81.2%), followed by February and April 2010 and March 2011, when the positivity rate reached almost 50%. Phylogenetic analyses performed with 65 positive strains demonstrated that 58 (89.2%) cases of NoV belonged to genotype GII.4, five (7.7%) to GII.6, and one (1.5%) each to GII.7 and GII.3. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This research revealed a high circulation of NoV GII.4 in Manaus and contributed to the understanding of the importance of this virus in the aetiology of AGE cases, especially in a region with such few studies available.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND To cope with the emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), new molecular methods that can routinely be used to screen for a wide range of drug resistance related genetic markers in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome are urgently needed. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the performance of multiplex ligaton-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) against Genotype® MTBDRplus to detect resistance to isoniazid (INHr) and rifampicin (RIFr). METHOD 96 culture isolates characterised for identification, drug susceptibility testing (DST) and sequencing of rpoB, katG, and inhA genes were evaluated by the MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus assays. RESULTS With sequencing as a reference standard, sensitivity (SE) to detect INHr was 92.8% and 85.7%, and specificity (SP) was 100% and 97.5%, for MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus, respectively. In relation to RIFr, SE was 87.5% and 100%, and SP was 100% and 98.8%, respectively. Kappa value was identical between Genotype®MTBDRplus and MLPA compared with the standard DST and sequencing for detection of INHr [0.83 (0.75-0.91)] and RIFr [0.93 (0.88-0.98)]. CONCLUSION Compared to Genotype®MTBDRplus, MLPA showed similar sensitivity to detect INH and RIF resistance. The results obtained by the MLPA and Genotype®MTBDRplus assays indicate that both molecular tests can be used for the rapid detection of drug-resistant TB with high accuracy. MLPA has the added value of providing information on the circulating M. tuberculosis lineages.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Enterocytozoon bieneusi are the most common microsporidia associated with different clinical manifestations such as diarrhoea, respiratory tract inflammation and acalculous cholecystitis, especially in immunocompromised patients. Infection usually occurs by ingestion of food and water contaminated with spores, but can also result from direct contact with spores through broken skin, eye lesions, and sexual transmission, depending on the microsporidian species. Although there are reports of E. bieneusi found in humans and animals in Brazil, there are no published studies of environmental samples examined by molecular methods. OBJECTIVES The purpose of this study was to verify the presence of E. bieneusi in raw sewage and treated effluent from a combined system by molecular methods. METHODS Raw sewage and treated effluent samples collected from a combined system were analysed for the presence of E. bieneusi using the internal transcriber spacer (ITS) region of E. bieneusi by nested polymerase chain reaction. FINDINGS The analysis revealed E. bieneusi presence and a novel genotype (EbRB) in one raw sewage sample and one treated effluent. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The presence of E. bieneusi in final effluent indicates that the combined system may not remove microsporidian spores. This study is the first report of E. bieneusi in environmental samples in Brazil.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The high mutation rate of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has created a public health challenge because the use of antiretroviral drugs can generate selective pressure that drives resistance in these viruses. OBJECTIVE The aim of this work was to characterise the molecular and epidemiological profile of HIV in Bahia, Brazil. METHODS DNA sequences from regions of HIV gag, pol, and env genes were obtained from previous studies performed in this area between 2002 and 2012. Their genotype and drug-resistance mutations were identified using bioinformatics tools. Clinical and epidemiological data were analysed. FINDINGS Among 263 individuals (46.4% male), 97.5% were asymptomatic and 49.1% were receiving treatment. Most of the individuals were 31 to 40 years old (36.9%) and infected through heterosexual contact (40.7%). The predominant genotype was B (68.1%) followed by BF recombinants (18.6%). Among the individuals infected with either F or BF genotypes, 68.4% were women and 76.8% were infected through heterosexual transmission. The prevalence of associated mutations conferring antiretroviral resistance was 14.2%, with 3.8% of all mutations conferring resistance to protease inhibitors, 9.43% to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and 8.5% to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Drug resistance was higher in individuals receiving treatment (26.1%) than in the drug-naïve (4.3%) individuals. MAIN CONCLUSIONS This study will contribute to the understanding and monitoring of HIV epidemic in this Brazilian region.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND Corrientes, a province of northeastern Argentina with endemic leprosy, has improved its epidemiological indicators, however, a study of the dynamics over time is lacking. OBJECTIVES We analysed data of 1308 leprosy patients between 1991 to 2014, and the forecast for 2020. METHODS Descriptive statistics and stepwise Bayesian model selection were performed. Forecasts were made using the median of 100,000 projections using the parameters calculated via Monte Carlo methods. RESULTS We found a decreasing number of new leprosy cases (-2.04 cases/year); this decrease is expected to continue by an estimated 20.28 +/- 10.00 cases by 2020, evidenced by a sustained decline in detection rate (from 11 to 2.9/100,000 inhabitants). Age groups that were most affected were 15-44 (40.13%) and 45-64 (38.83%) year olds. Multibacillary forms (MB) predominated (70.35%) and while gradually declining, between 10 and 30% developed disability grade 2 (DG2) (0.175 (0.110 - 0.337) DG2/MB cases), with a time delay between 0 to 15 years (median = 0). The proportion of MB clinic forms and DG2 increased and will continuously increase in the short term (0.036 +/- 0.018 logit (MB/total of cases). MAIN CONCLUSIONS Corrientes is on the way to eliminating leprosy by 2020, however the increased proportion of MB clinical forms and DG2 signals a warning for disease control efforts.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND During pregnancy, toxoplasmosis and rubella can cause serious damage to the mother and the foetus through vertical transmission. Early diagnosis enables implementation of health measures aimed at preventing vertical transmission and minimising damage caused by these diseases. OBJECTIVE Here, we report the development of a multiplex assay for simultaneous detection of IgG antibodies produced during toxoplasmosis and rubella infection. METHODS This assay is based on xMap technology. Initially, by singleplex assays, we evaluated the following antigens: one Toxoplasma gondii lysate; two antigenic extracts of T. gondii (TOX8131 and TOX8122); fragments of T. gondii antigens [SAG-1 (amino acids 45-198), GRA-7 (24-100), GRA-1 (57-149), ROP-4, and MIC-3 (234-306)]; two chimeric antigens composed of fragments of SAG-1, GRA-7, and P35 (CTOX and CTOXH); and fragments of Rubella virus antigens [E-1 (157-176, 213-239, 374-390), E-2 (31-105), and C (1-123)]. FINDINGS A multiplex assay to simultaneously diagnose toxoplasmosis and rubella was designed with the best-performing antigens in singleplex and multiplex assays, which included CTOXH, T. gondii lysate, TOX8131, E-1, and E-2. The multiplex assay showed 100% sensitivity and specificity for anti-T. gondii IgG detection and 95.6% sensitivity and 100% specificity for anti-R. virus IgG detection. MAIN CONCLUSIONS We found that, despite the difficulties related to developing multiplex systems, different types of antigens (extracts and recombinant proteins) can be used to develop high-performance diagnostic tests. The assay developed is suitable to screen for prior T. gondii and R. virus infections, because it is a rapid, high-throughput, low-cost alternative to the current standard diagnostic tools, which require multiple individual tests.
Abstract in English:BACKGROUND The Trypanosoma cruzi infection endemic in Latin America has now spread to several countries across four continents; this endemic involves triatomine vector-free protists. We hypothesised that the sexual transmission of T. cruzi contributes to the ongoing spread of Chagas disease. OBJECTIVES A short-term longitudinal study was conducted to evaluate this hypothesis. METHODS The study population comprised 109 subjects from four families, among whom 21 had been diagnosed with acute Chagas disease by direct parasitological analysis. Blood mononuclear cells and serum samples were obtained from each study subject once per year for three consecutive years. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and indirect immunofluorescence serological examinations were used to detect specific T. cruzi antibodies. Polymerase chain reaction of T. cruzi DNA revealed 188-nucleotide bands, which hybridised to a specific radiolabelled probe and were confirmed by cloning and sequencing. RESULTS Three independent assessments at different time points revealed T. cruzi nuclear DNA footprints in 76% (83/109) of the study population with active infection. In contrast, the ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence assays detected the T. cruzi antibody in 28.4% (31/109) of the study samples. Moreover, the semen from 82.6% (19/23) of subjects people revealed harboured the 188- bp base pair T. cruzi footprint. Interestingly, the ejaculates of nuclear DNA-positive Chagas patient transmitted the T. cruzi upon peritoneal injection or infusion in the vagina of mice, and amastigotes were detected in the skeletal muscle, myocardium, vas deferens, and uterine tube. MAIN CONCLUSIONS T. cruzi infections can be transmitted from females or males to naïve mates through intercourse, and progeny showed discrepancies between the ratios of nuclear DNA footprints and specific antibody that can be explained by the tolerance attained during early embryo growth. Additional studies are needed to develop drugs to eradicate the infections. Additionally, the importance of a vigorous education, information, and communication program to prevent sexually transmitted Chagas disease in humans cannot be underemphasised.
Abstract in English:The current yellow fever outbreak in Brazil is the most severe one in the country in recent times. It has rapidly spread to areas where YF virus (YFV) activity has not been observed for more than 70 years and vaccine coverage is almost null. Here, we sequenced the whole YFV genome of two naturally infected howler-monkeys (Alouatta clamitans) obtained from the Municipality of Domingos Martins, state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. These two ongoing-outbreak genome sequences are identical. They clustered in the 1E sub-clade (South America genotype I) along with the Brazilian and Venezuelan strains recently characterised from infections in humans and non-human primates that have been described in the last 20 years. However, we detected eight unique amino acid changes in the viral proteins, including the structural capsid protein (one change), and the components of the viral replicase complex, the NS3 (two changes) and NS5 (five changes) proteins, that could impact the capacity of viral infection in vertebrate and/or invertebrate hosts and spreading of the ongoing outbreak.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Diagnosis of schistosomiasis in migrants coming from endemic areas can be difficult, especially in asymptomatic subjects. Light-intensity disease, in fact, may be missed due to the low sensitivity of the stool microscopy and serologic testing cannot distinguish between a resolved infection and an active infection in patients who have been infected and treated in the past, because specific antibodies can persist despite cure. We describe a cross-sectional study conducted on 82 migrants tested for Schistosoma mansoni on single blood (anti-schistosome antibodies, total IgE) and urine [point-of-care (POC) circulating-cathodic-antigen (CCA) test] samples. A positive POC-CCA test (active infection) resulted in two untreated patients with a positive serology while all patients (n = 66) with a past infection showed a negative POC-CCA test. POC-CCA urine test in combination with serology may be helpful in rapidly differentiate active from past S. mansoni infection in migrants coming from endemic areas.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT Triatoma infestans is an insect of subfamily Triatominae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and an important vector of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of human Chagas disease. In this work we reported a transcriptome assembly and annotation of T. infestans heads obtained by Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies.
Abstract in English:ABSTRACT BACKGROUND Dengue fever may present hemorrhages and cavitary effusions as result of exacerbated immune responses. We investigated hydro-alcoholic extracts from leaves (UGL) and bark (UGB) of the medicinal species Uncaria guinanensis with respect to antiviral effects in Dengue virus (DENV) infection and in immunological parameters associated with in vivo physiopathological features. METHODS Chemical profiles from UGB or UGL were compared in thin layer chromatography and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance using flavonoid compounds and a pentacyclic oxindole alkaloid-enriched fraction as references. DENV-2-infected hepatocytes (Huh-7) were treated with extracts. Cell viability, DENV antigens and immunological factors were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or flow cytometry. FINDINGS The UGL mainly differed from UGB by selectively containing the flavonoid kaempferitrin. UGB and UGL improved hepatocyte viability. Both extracts reduced intracellular viral antigen and inhibited the secretion of viral non-structural protein (NS1), which is indicative of viral replication. Reduction in secretion of macrophage migration inhibitory factor was achieved by UGB, of interleukin-6 by UGL, and of interleukin-8 by both UGB and UGL. MAIN CONCLUSIONS The U. guianensis extracts presented, antiviral and immunomodulatory effects for DENV and possibly a hepatocyte-protective activity. Further studies may be performed to consider these products as potential candidates for the development of an herbal product for the future treatment of dengue.