Abstract in English:There is ample experimental and clinical evidence of functional and structural microvascular abnormalities occurring in patients with Chagas cardiomyopathy, possibly due to the inflammatory process and/or autonomic disturbances caused by Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Those microvascular derangements are likely to constitute at least an ancillary factor that potentiates and amplifies the chronic inflammation in myocardial tissue. It is possible to devise appropriate therapeutic interventions aimed at reverting or slowing the progression of the microvascular abnormalities to positively affect the natural history of Chagas cardiomyopathy.
Abstract in English:Introduction Dengue is prevalent in many tropical and sub-tropical regions. The clinical diagnosis of dengue is still complex, and not much data are available. This work aimed at assessing the diagnostic accuracy of the tourniquet test in patients with suspected dengue infection and its positivity in different classifications of this disease as reported to the Information System for Notifiable Disease in Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil between 2001 and 2006. Methods Cross-section analysis of the diagnostic accuracy of the tourniquet test for dengue, using IgM-anti-DENV ELISA as a gold standard. Results We selected 9,836 suspected cases, of which 41.1% were confirmed to be dengue. Classic dengue was present in 95.8%, dengue with complications in 2.5% and dengue hemorrhagic fever in 1.7%. The tourniquet test was positive in 16.9% of classic dengue cases, 61.7% of dengue cases with complications and 82.9% of cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever. The sensitivity and specificity of the tourniquet test were 19.1% and 86.4%, respectively. Conclusions A positive tourniquet test can be a valuable tool to support diagnosis of dengue where laboratory tests are not available. However, the absence of a positive test should not be read as the absence of infection. In addition, the tourniquet test was demonstrated to be an indicator of dengue severity.
Abstract in English:Introduction The aim of this study was to identify the blood feeding sources of Nyssomyia intermedia (Ny. intermedia) and Nyssomyia neivai (Ny. neivai), which are Leishmania vectors and the predominant sandfly species in the Ribeira Valley, State of São Paulo, Brazil, an endemic area for cutaneous leishmaniasis. Methods Specimens were captured monthly between February 2001 and December 2003 on a smallholding and a small farm situated in the Serra district in the Iporanga municipality. The blood meals of 988 engorged females were tested using the avidin-biotin immunoenzymatic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Seven blood meal sources were investigated: human, dog, chicken, bovine, pig, horse and rat. Results The results showed that among the females that fed on one or more blood sources, the respective percentages for Ny. intermedia and Ny. neivai, respectively, were as follows: human (23% and 36.8%), pig (47.4% and 26.4%), chicken (25.7% and 36.8%) and dog (3.9% and 0%), and the differences in the blood sources between the two species were statistically significant (p = 0.043). Conclusions Both species had predominant reactivity for one or two blood sources, and few showed reactivity indicating three or four sources. Many different combinations were observed among the females that showed reactivity for more than one source, which indicated their opportunistic habits and eclecticism regarding anthropic environmental conditions.
Abstract in English:Introduction In this paper, we report the ecology of Lutzomyia longipalpis in Caxias City, located in the eastern part of State of Maranhão, Brazil and highlight its seasonal and geographical distribution by environment. In addition, we discuss natural Leishmania infection and its relationship with visceral leishmaniasis. Methods Between September 2007 and August 2009, the collection of sandflies was performed using Center for Disease Control (CDC) light traps from 15 houses in 5 selected neighborhoods. Results Lutzomyia longipalpis was present in all zones of the city. We also found that Lu. longipalpis was regularly detected both inside and around the house, predominantly in outdoor areas. In urban areas, Lu. longipalpis was present in both the dry and rainy seasons, with a higher density present in the latter. One female specimen of Lu. longipalpis was observed to have natural Leishmania infection. Conclusions The presence of Lu. longipalpis was observed throughout the year during 2 seasonal periods, with a predominance in the rainy season. A low rate of natural Leishmania infection was observed in urban areas during the rainy season.
Abstract in English:Introduction The blood meal source of sandflies provides valuable information about the vector/host interaction and allows for an understanding of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) transmission mechanisms. The aim of this study was to identify the blood meal sources of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia in an endemic area of leishmaniasis in Brazil's State of Paraná using a precipitin test. Methods Sandflies were collected in the rural locality of Epitácio Pessoa within the City of Adrianópolis, State of Paraná, in southern Brazil. A total of 864 female sandflies were captured, and 862 (99.8%) were identified as L. intermedia species. However, two unidentified specimens were considered to be part of the genus Lutzomyia. Results Among the females examined, 396 specimens presented reactions to a certain type of tested antiserum, and most (67.9%) reacted to the simple type. These sandflies fed mainly on the blood of birds, opossums, and rodents, but specimens that fed on the blood of humans, dogs, horses, cattle, and cats were also found. Among the cross-reactions found (32.1%), bird/rodent, bird/opossum, bird/dog, bird/human, and horse/dog cross-reactions were the most common. Conclusions These results demonstrate a tendency in the eclectic feeding behavior of L. intermedia and support its potential role as a vector for ACL in the study area.
Abstract in English:Introduction We analyzed the vertical and monthly distributions of culicid species in the gallery forest of Brasília National Park, with an emphasis on the potential vectors of yellow fever (YF). Methods Between September 2010 and August 2011, mosquitoes were captured on the ground and in the canopy of the forest for five consecutive days per month, from nine to 15 hours. The mosquitoes were examined to verify natural infection with flaviviruses by isolation in Aedes albopictus Skuse, 1864 cells followed by indirect immunofluorescence. Results We identified 2,677 culicids distributed in 29 species. Most of the mosquitoes were captured at ground level (69%) during the rainy season (86%). The most abundant species were Sabethes (Sabethes) albiprivus Theobald, 1903; Limatus durhamii Theobald, 1901; Haemagogus (Conopostegus) leucocelaenus Dyar & Shannon, 1924; Haemagogus (Haemagogus) janthinomys Dyar, 1921; Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis Rondani, 1848; Psorophora (Janthinosoma) ferox Von Humboldt, 1819; and Aedes (Ochlerotatus) serratus Theobald, 1901. Limatus durhamii, Limatus durhamii, Psorophora ferox, Aedes scapularis and Aedes serratus showed significant differences (p<0.05) in their habitat use. Limatus durhamii was found more often in the canopy, unlike the other species. During the rainy season, the most abundant species were Sa. albiprivus, Haemagogus leucocelaenus and Limatus durhamii. During the dry season, the potential YF vectors exhibited a very low frequency and abundance, except Aedes scapularis and Aedes serratus. No flavivirus was detected in the 2,677 examined mosquitoes. Conclusions We recommend continued and systematic entomological monitoring in areas vulnerable to the transmission of YF in the Federal District of Brazil.
Abstract in English:Introduction Panstrongylus megistus is commonly found in wild environments of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The aim of this study was to characterize the network of refuges used by triatomine in a forest fragment of Porto Alegre and to identify Trypanosoma cruzi infection, associated hosts and the epidemiological importance of both hosts and triatomines. Methods Techniques including the spool-and-line method and active searching (transects) were used to identify natural foci. Results The food source for each triatomine was determined using the precipitin test, and the infection of marsupials was determined by xenodiagnosis. A total of 33 adults (domestic environment) and 27 nymphs (wild environment) of P. megistus were found in addition to 43 Didelphis albiventris specimens. The infection rates of triatomine adults, triatomine nymphs and opossums with T. cruzi I were 64%, 73% and 69%, respectively. Birds, rodents and opossums were the main resources used by triatomine. Conclusions This work presents the first characterization of a natural focus of P. megistus in Rio Grande do Sul. The natural characteristics of this focus and its implication in the transmission of T. cruzi are discussed.
Abstract in English:Introduction Toxoplasmosis may be life-threatening in fetuses and in immune-deficient patients. Conventional laboratory diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is based on the presence of IgM and IgG anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies; however, molecular techniques have emerged as alternative tools due to their increased sensitivity. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of 4 PCR-based methods for the laboratory diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. One hundred pregnant women who seroconverted during pregnancy were included in the study. The definition of cases was based on a 12-month follow-up of the infants. Methods Amniotic fluid samples were submitted to DNA extraction and amplification by the following 4 Toxoplasma techniques performed with parasite B1 gene primers: conventional PCR, nested-PCR, multiplex-nested-PCR, and real-time PCR. Seven parameters were analyzed, sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), positive likelihood ratio (PLR), negative likelihood ratio (NLR) and efficiency (Ef). Results Fifty-nine of the 100 infants had toxoplasmosis; 42 (71.2%) had IgM antibodies at birth but were asymptomatic, and the remaining 17 cases had non-detectable IgM antibodies but high IgG antibody titers that were associated with retinochoroiditis in 8 (13.5%) cases, abnormal cranial ultrasound in 5 (8.5%) cases, and signs/symptoms suggestive of infection in 4 (6.8%) cases. The conventional PCR assay detected 50 cases (9 false-negatives), nested-PCR detected 58 cases (1 false-negative and 4 false-positives), multiplex-nested-PCR detected 57 cases (2 false-negatives), and real-time-PCR detected 58 cases (1 false-negative). Conclusions The real-time PCR assay was the best-performing technique based on the parameters of Se (98.3%), Sp (100%), PPV (100%), NPV (97.6%), PLR (âˆž), NLR (0.017), and Ef (99%).
Abstract in English:Introduction Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) may improve the early detection of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), but their real-world performance requires additional study. Therefore, we evaluated the performance of an rK39-based RDT (Kalazar Detect™) for the detection of VL in an endemic, large urban area. Methods Data were collected from a registry of rK39 RDT performed at 11 emergency care units in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and from a national database of reportable communicable diseases of the Sistema de Informação de Agravos de Notificação (SINAN). Results The rapid rK39 test was performed in 476 patients, with 114 (23.9%) positive results. The analysis of rK39 RDT performance was based on 381 (80%) cases reported to the SINAN database, of which 145 (38.1%) were confirmed cases. Estimates for sensitivity and specificity were 72.4% (95% CI: 64.6-79%) and 99.6% (95%CI: 97.6-99.9%), respectively. Positive and negative predictive values were estimated at 99.1% (95%CI: 94.9-99.8%) and 85.5% (95%CI: 80.8-89.1%), respectively. In addition, close agreement between the rK39 RDT and indirect immunofluorescence was observed. Conclusions In summary, the rK39 RDT showed a high specificity but only moderate sensitivity. In endemic areas for VL, treatment may be considered in cases with clinical manifestations and a positive rK39 RDT, but those with a negative test should be subjected to further investigation.
Abstract in English:Introduction This study evaluated the performance of an in-house nested-PCR system for the detection of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in pleural fluid, blood and urine samples from pleural effusion tuberculosis patients by health services physicians in Pernambuco, Brazil. Methods A prospective double-blind study with 37 hospitalized patients of both sexes, aged over 15, was used to investigate the diagnosis of pleural effusion. The criteria used to define the cases included the demonstration of bacillus in biological samples by smear or culture or by a granulomatous finding in the histopathological examination, associated with an evident response to specific treatments to each clinical situation. Pleural fluid, blood and urine samples were collected and subjected to routine tests and the nested PCR technique to assess for M. tuberculosis amplification. Results In total, 37 pleural effusion patients took part in the study, of whom 19 (51.3%) had tubercular etiologies and 18 (48.7%) had etiologies from other causes. When the pleural fluid, blood and/or urine sample in-house nested-PCR sensitivities were evaluated simultaneously, the results were positive regardless of the biological specimen (the sensitivity was 84.2%); however, when the blood and/or urine samples were analyzed together, the sensitivity was 72.2%. When the pleural fluid samples were evaluated alone, the sensitivity was only 33.3%. Conclusions The performance of the diagnostic pleural tuberculosis nested-PCR was directly related to the diversity of the samples collected from the same patient. Additionally, this study may identify a need to prioritize non-invasive blood and urine collection for this diagnosis.
Abstract in English:Introduction Leprosy is a chronic disease that affects skin and peripheral nerves. Disease complications include reactional episodes and physical impairment. One World Health Organization (WHO) goal of leprosy programs is to decrease the number of grade 2 impairment diagnoses by 2015. This study aims to evaluate clinical factors associated with the occurrence of leprosy reactions and physical impairment in leprosy patients. Methods We conducted a retrospective study of data from medical records of patients followed in two important centers for the treatment of leprosy in Aracaju, Sergipe, Brazil, from 2005 to 2011. We used the chi-square test to analyze associations between the following categorical variables: gender, age, operational classification, clinical forms, leprosy reactions, corticosteroid treatment, and physical impairment at the diagnosis and after cure. Clinical variables associated with multibacillary leprosy and/or reactional episodes and the presence of any grade of physical impairment after cure were evaluated using the logistic regression model. Results We found that men were more affected by multibacillary forms, reactional episodes, and grade 2 physical impairment at diagnosis. Leprosy reactions were detected in a total of 40% of patients and all were treated with corticosteroids. However, physical impairment was observed in 29.8% of the patients analyzed at the end of the treatment and our multivariate analysis associated a low dose and short period of corticosteroid treatment with persistence of physical impairments. Conclusions Physical impairment should receive an increased attention before and after treatment, and adequate treatment should be emphasized.
Abstract in English:Introduction The aim of this study was to explore the environment of Echinococcus granulosus (E. granulosus) protoscolices and their relationship with their host. Methods Proteins from the hydatid-cyst fluid (HCF) from E. granulosus were identified by proteomics. An inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer (ICP-AES) was used to determine the elements, an automatic biochemical analyzer was used to detect the types and levels of biochemical indices, and an automatic amino acid analyzer was used to detect the types and levels of amino acids in the E. granulosus HCF. Results I) Approximately 30 protein spots and 21 peptide mass fingerprints (PMF) were acquired in the two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) pattern of hydatid fluid; II) We detected 10 chemical elements in the cyst fluid, including sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc; III) We measured 19 biochemical metabolites in the cyst fluid, and the amount of most of these metabolites was lower than that in normal human serum; IV) We detected 17 free amino acids and measured some of these, including alanine, glycine, and valine. Conclusions We identified and measured many chemical components of the cyst fluid, providing a theoretical basis for developing new drugs to prevent and treat hydatid disease by inhibiting or blocking nutrition, metabolism, and other functions of the pathogen.
Abstract in English:Introduction Human migration and the presence of natural vectors (mollusks) of Schistosoma mansoni are the primary causes of the expansion of mansoni schistosomiasis into southern areas of South America. Water conditions are favorable for the expansion of this disease because of the extensive hydrographic network, which includes the basins of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers and favors mollusk reproduction. These rivers also aid agriculture and tourism in the area. Despite these favorable conditions, natural infection by S. mansoni has not yet been reported in Argentina, Uruguay, or Paraguay. Methods Two species of planorbid from Argentina, Biomphalaria straminea and B. tenagophila, were exposed to the miracidia of five Brazilian strains of S. mansoni. Results Biomphalaria tenagophila (Atalaya, Buenos Aires province) was infected with the SJS strain (infection rate 3.3%), confirming the experimental susceptibility of this Argentinian species. Biomphalaria straminea (Rio Santa Lucía, Corrientes province) was susceptible to two Brazilian strains: SJS (infection rate 6.7%) and Sergipe (infection rate 6.7%). Conclusions These results demonstrate that species from Argentina have the potential to be natural hosts of S. mansoni and that the appearance of foci of mansoni schistosomiasis in Argentina is possible.
Abstract in English:Introduction This study investigated the epidemiological and clinical profile of snakebite cases reported from 2007 to 2012 in the municipalities of the Curimataú region, State of Paraíba, in northeastern Brazil. Methods Data were collected from the Health Department of the State of Paraíba using the Injury Notification Information System data banks of the Health Ministry. Results A total of 304 snakebite cases were studied. The cases occurred most frequently from April to June. The genera Bothrops, Crotalus, and Micrurus were responsible for 74.6%, 6.2%, and 1.3% of cases, respectively. Snakebite cases predominated in males living in rural areas and between 10 and 19 years old. The highest incidence of bites occurred on the feet. The majority of the victims received medical assistance within 1 to 3h after being bitten. With regard to severity, 48% of the cases were classified as mild, 26% as moderate, and 2.6% as severe. Successful cures predominated, and no deaths were reported. The average antivenom ampoule dose used for the treatment in some snakebite cases was lower than that recommended by the Health Ministry. Conclusions Although our results show that Paraíba has a good level of medical care, there are serious deficiencies in recording snakebite information. These data indicate the need to improve the recording process for snakebite cases. Further training for health professionals seems to be necessary to optimize their skills in treating snakebite victims.
Abstract in English:Introduction Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella zoster virus (VZV) are responsible for a variety of human diseases, including central nervous system diseases. The use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques on cerebrospinal fluid samples has allowed the detection of viral DNA with high sensitivity and specificity. Methods Serial dilutions of quantified commercial controls of each virus were subjected to an in-house nested-PCR technique. Results The minimum detection limits for HSV and VZV were 5 and 10 copies/µL, respectively. Conclusions The detection limit of nested-PCR for HSV and VZV in this study was similar to the limits found in previous studies.
Abstract in English:Introduction The prognosis of dengue depends on early diagnosis and treatment, which can help prevent severe forms whose characteristics were evaluated here. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted involving dengue cases in Vitória, State of Espírito Santo, Brazil, in 2011. Results Two health regions registered 56.3% of 371 cases of severe dengue. Of these cases, 21.3% presented with dengue hemorrhagic fever. There were associations between dengue hemorrhagic fever with younger ages and a longer time before receiving care. Conclusions There was a greater involvement of dengue hemorrhagic fever in young people. Delay in care, poor urban quality and high endemicity were identified as possible risk factors for dengue severity.
Abstract in English:Introduction We attempted to supplement traditional insecticide spraying by treating peridomiciliar food sources with a powder formulation. Methods Two groups of houses were treated with deltamethrin suspension concentrate (SC), one of which had its primary peridomestic food sources treated with deltamethrin 2P. Results Triatoma brasiliensis was the most commonly captured triatomine. Birds, dogs and rodents were the major food sources identified by the precipitin reaction; 554 domestic animals received powder treatment. A sharp reduction in infestation rates was observed in the two groups up to 360 days after spraying. Conclusion The combination SC + 2P did not improve the control of triatomines.
Abstract in English:Introduction We studied the richness and abundance of ant species, their bacteria and the bacteria isolated from patient clinical samples. Methods Ants were collected with baited traps at 64 sites in a public hospital in São Luis, State of Maranhão, Brazil. Results In total, 1,659 ants from 14 species were captured. The most frequent species were Crematogaster victima, Solenopsis saevissima, Tapinoma melanocephalum, Camponotus vittatus and Paratrechina fulva. Forty-one species of bacteria were isolated from the ants and 18 from patients. Conclusions Ants are potential vehicles for pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria, and they can represent a risk factor in nosocomial infections.
Abstract in English:Introduction Portuguese man-of-war, Physalia physalis (Linnaeus, 1758), are cnidarians capable of discharging intracellular organelles filled with venom, resulting in severe envenomation in humans. Methods We report the clinical and therapeutic aspects of 331 accidents involving Portuguese man-of-war in an outbreak on the coast of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. Results The clinical manifestations of envenomation were rare and mild and mostly local, systemic reactions; there was a low rate of late complications. Conclusions The consequences of envenomation were of moderate severity, and first aid measures were effective in controlling the pain. Outbreaks of accidents involving Portuguese man-of-war occur periodically in the area without a clear explanation.
Abstract in English:Introduction The immune response caused by Mycobacterium leprae is a risk factor for the development of oxidative stress (OS) in leprosy patients. This study aimed to assess OS in leprosy patients before the use of a multidrug therapy. Methods We evaluated the nitric oxide (NO) concentration; antioxidant capacity; levels of malondialdehyde, methemoglobin and reduced glutathione; and the activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in leprosy patients. Results We observed lower SOD activity in these leprosy patients; however, the NO levels and antioxidant capacity were increased. Conclusions The infectious process in response to M. leprae could primarily be responsible for the OS observed in these patients.
Abstract in English:Introduction The association between leprosy and pregnancy is currently poorly understood and has been linked to serious clinical consequences. Methods A retrospective study between 2007 and 2009 was performed in the integration region of Carajás, Brazil on a population of pregnant lepers, with non-lepers of ages 12-49 years serving as the reference population. Results Twenty-nine pregnant lepers were studied during the study period. The detection rates (DRs) for the studied association were 4.7 in 2007, 9.4 in 2008, and 4.3 in 2009. Conclusions The Carajás region presented a medium pattern of endemicity during most of the study period, with a high DR found in 2008.
Abstract in English:Introduction Our objective was to evaluate the influence of rainfall regime on the population dynamics of Biomphalaria in a potential urban focus of schistosomiasis in Aracaju, Brazil, during 2009-2010. Methods Snails were collected monthly and were counted, measured and identified; the level of infection and fecal contamination at the sampling sites was determined; rainfall data were obtained. Results High levels of fecal contamination were observed, and the abundance of Biomphalaria glabrata increased during the rainy and post-rainy seasons. The snails' size was variable, and infected snails were identified independently of rainfall. Conclusions These results provide evidence of anthropogenic and climate interference in an urban focus of schistosomiasis in the Aracaju metropolitan area.
Abstract in English:Although cryptococcal infections begin in the lungs, meningoencephalitis is the most frequently encountered manifestation of cryptococcosis among individuals with advanced immunosuppression. As the infection progresses along the Virchow-Robin spaces, these structures may become dilated with mucoid material produced by the capsule of the organism. We report a case of a 24-year-old man with cryptococcal meningoencephalitis in which magnetic resonance imaging showed clusters of gelatinous pseudocysts in the periventricular white matter, basal ganglia, mammillary bodies, midbrain peduncles and nucleus dentatus with a soap bubble appearance.
Abstract in English:Saprophytic fungi are being increasingly recognized as etiologic agents of mycoses in immunosuppressed patients. We report a case of subcutaneous infiltration by Aureobasidium pullulans, likely due to traumatic inoculation, in a neutropenic patient during chemotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The patient was treated with amphotericin B deoxycholate but was subsequently switched to itraconazole, which improved the lesion. This case highlights the importance of considering unusual fungal infections in critically ill patients such as those who are immunosuppressed due to chemotherapy. Diagnostic techniques and effective antifungal therapy have improved the prognosis of these cases.