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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis., Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Respiratory Illness in a Piggery Associated with the First Identified Outbreak of Swine Influenza in Australia: Assessing the Risk to Human Health and Zoonotic Potential
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020096 - 25 Jun 2019
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Australia was previously believed to be free of enzootic swine influenza viruses due strict quarantine practices and use of biosecure breeding facilities. The first proven Australian outbreak of swine influenza occurred in Western Australian in 2012, revealing an unrecognized zoonotic risk, and a [...] Read more.
Australia was previously believed to be free of enzootic swine influenza viruses due strict quarantine practices and use of biosecure breeding facilities. The first proven Australian outbreak of swine influenza occurred in Western Australian in 2012, revealing an unrecognized zoonotic risk, and a potential future pandemic threat. A public health investigation was undertaken to determine whether zoonotic infections had occurred and to reduce the risk of further transmission between humans and swine. A program of monitoring, testing, treatment, and vaccination was commenced, and a serosurvey of workers was also undertaken. No acute infections with the swine influenza viruses were detected. Serosurvey results were difficult to interpret due to previous influenza infections and past and current vaccinations. However, several workers had elevated haemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody levels to the swine influenza viruses that could not be attributed to vaccination or infection with contemporaneous seasonal influenza A viruses. However, we lacked a suitable control population, so this was inconclusive. The experience was valuable in developing better protocols for managing outbreaks at the human–animal interface. Strict adherence to biosecurity practices, and ongoing monitoring of swine and their human contacts is important to mitigate pandemic risk. Strain specific serological assays would greatly assist in identifying zoonotic transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue One Health and Zoonoses) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessCommunication
Dengue in New Caledonia: Knowledge and Gaps
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020095 - 20 Jun 2019
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Arboviruses are viruses transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquito vectors. Over the last decade, arbovirus circulation has increasingly been detected in New Caledonia (NC), a French island territory located in the subtropical Pacific region. Reliable epidemiological, entomological, virological and climate [...] Read more.
Arboviruses are viruses transmitted to humans by the bite of infected mosquito vectors. Over the last decade, arbovirus circulation has increasingly been detected in New Caledonia (NC), a French island territory located in the subtropical Pacific region. Reliable epidemiological, entomological, virological and climate data have been collected in NC over the last decade. Here, we describe these data and how they inform arboviruses’ epidemiological profile. We pinpoint areas which remain to be investigated to fully understand the peculiar epidemiological profile of arbovirus circulation in NC. Further, we discuss the advantages of conducting studies on arboviruses dynamics in NC. Overall, we show that conclusions drawn from observations conducted in NC may inform epidemiological risk assessments elsewhere and may be vital to guide surveillance and response, both in New Caledonia and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of Dengue: Past, Present and Future)
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Open AccessReview
The Financial Burden of Tuberculosis for Patients in the Western-Pacific Region
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020094 - 17 Jun 2019
Viewed by 787
Abstract
The End Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy has the ambitious goal of ending the global TB epidemic by the year 2030, which is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. One of three high level indicators of the Strategy is the “catastrophic costs” indicator, which aims [...] Read more.
The End Tuberculosis (TB) Strategy has the ambitious goal of ending the global TB epidemic by the year 2030, which is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. One of three high level indicators of the Strategy is the “catastrophic costs” indicator, which aims to determine the proportion of TB-affected households that incur TB-care related costs equivalent to 20% or more of their annual household income. The target is that zero percentage of TB-affected households will incur catastrophic costs related to TB care by the year 2020. In the Western Pacific Region of the World Health Organization, it is a priority to determine the financial burden of TB and then act to mitigate it. To date, eight countries in the Region have conducted nationally representative TB patient cost surveys to determine the costs of TB care. The results from four countries that have completed these surveys (i.e., Fiji, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Vietnam) indicate that between 35% and 70% of TB patients face catastrophic costs related to their TB care. With these results in mind, significant additional efforts are needed to ensure financial risk protection for TB patients, expand Universal Health Coverage, and improve access to social protection interventions. A multi-sectoral approach is necessary to achieve this ambitious goal by the year 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tuberculosis Elimination in the Asia-Pacific)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Soil-Transmitted Helminth Parasite Infection in Rwanda: Estimating Endemicity and Identifying At-Risk Populations
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020093 - 14 Jun 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 793
Abstract
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are globally distributed intestinal parasite infections caused by Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus). STH infection constitutes a major public health threat, with heavy burdens observed in many of the [...] Read more.
Soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are globally distributed intestinal parasite infections caused by Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworms (Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus). STH infection constitutes a major public health threat, with heavy burdens observed in many of the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. Mass drug administration and sanitation improvements can drastically reduce STH prevalence and associated morbidity. However, identifying targeted areas in need of treatment is hampered by a lack of knowledge on geographical and population-level risk factors. In this study, we applied Bayesian geostatistical modelling to data from a national school-based STH infection survey in Rwanda to (1) identify ecological and population-level risk factors and (2) provide comprehensive precision maps of infection burdens. Our results indicated that STH infections were heterogeneously distributed across the country and showed signatures of spatial clustering, though the magnitude of clustering varied among parasites. The highest rates of endemic clustering were attributed to A. lumbricoides infection. Concordant infection patterns among the three parasite groups highlighted populations currently most at-risk of morbidity. Population-dense areas in the Western and North-Western regions of Rwanda represent areas that have continued to exhibit high STH burden across two surveys and are likely in need of targeted interventions. Our maps support the need for an updated evaluation of STH endemicity in western Rwanda to evaluate progress in MDA efforts and identify communities that need further local interventions to further reduce morbidity caused by STH infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Epidemiology of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs))
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Open AccessReview
Review of the National Program for Onchocerciasis Control in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020092 - 13 Jun 2019
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Here, we review all data available at the Ministry of Public Health in order to describe the history of the National Program for Onchocerciasis Control (NPOC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Discovered in 1903, the disease is endemic in all [...] Read more.
Here, we review all data available at the Ministry of Public Health in order to describe the history of the National Program for Onchocerciasis Control (NPOC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Discovered in 1903, the disease is endemic in all provinces. Ivermectin was introduced in 1987 as clinical treatment, then as mass treatment in 1989. Created in 1996, the NPOC is based on community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI). In 1999, rapid epidemiological mapping for onchocerciasis surveys were launched to determine the mass treatment areas called “CDTI Projects”. CDTI started in 2001 and certain projects were stopped in 2005 following the occurrence of serious adverse events. Surveys coupled with rapid assessment procedures for loiasis and onchocerciasis rapid epidemiological assessment were launched to identify the areas of treatment for onchocerciasis and loiasis. In 2006, CDTI began again until closure of the activities of African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) in 2015. In 2016, the National Program for Neglected Tropical Diseases Control using Preventive Chemotherapy (PNMTN-CP) was launched to replace NPOC. Onchocerciasis and CDTI are little known by the population. The objective of eliminating onchocerciasis by 2025 will not be achieved due to the poor results of the NPOC. The reform of strategies for eliminating this disease is strongly recommended. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Coastal Kenya
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020091 - 08 Jun 2019
Viewed by 783
Abstract
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most significant pandemic recorded in human history. Worldwide, an estimated half billion persons were infected and 20 to 100 million people died in three waves during 1918 to 1919. Yet the impact of this pandemic has been [...] Read more.
The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most significant pandemic recorded in human history. Worldwide, an estimated half billion persons were infected and 20 to 100 million people died in three waves during 1918 to 1919. Yet the impact of this pandemic has been poorly documented in many countries especially those in Africa. We used colonial-era records to describe the impact of 1918 influenza pandemic in the Coast Province of Kenya. We gathered quantitative data on facility use and all-cause mortality from 1912 to 1925, and pandemic-specific data from active reporting from September 1918 to March 1919. We also extracted quotes from correspondence to complement the quantitative data and describe the societal impact of the pandemic. We found that crude mortality rates and healthcare utilization increased six- and three-fold, respectively, in 1918, and estimated a pandemic mortality rate of 25.3 deaths/1000 people/year. Impact to society and the health care system was dramatic as evidenced by correspondence. In conclusion, the 1918 pandemic profoundly affected Coastal Kenya. Preparation for the next pandemic requires continued improvement in surveillance, education about influenza vaccines, and efforts to prevent, detect and respond to novel influenza outbreaks. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Q Fever in the First Trimester: A Case Report from Northern Rural New South Wales
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020090 - 07 Jun 2019
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Pregnant women are significantly more likely to have an asymptomatic acute infection with C. burnetii which, untreated, has been associated with poor obstetric outcomes including miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, and premature delivery. As such, Q fever is a potentially under-recognised and treatable [...] Read more.
Pregnant women are significantly more likely to have an asymptomatic acute infection with C. burnetii which, untreated, has been associated with poor obstetric outcomes including miscarriage, stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, and premature delivery. As such, Q fever is a potentially under-recognised and treatable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes in rural Northern New South Wales, with testing of Q fever polymerase chain reaction (PCR)—whether on maternal sera or placental tissue—not currently recommended by the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand for Stillbirth. Full article
Open AccessReview
Artemisinin-Based Antimalarial Drug Therapy: Molecular Pharmacology and Evolving Resistance
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020089 - 04 Jun 2019
Viewed by 864
Abstract
The molecular pharmacology of artemisinin (ART)-based antimalarial drugs is incompletely understood. Clinically, these drugs are used in combination with longer lasting partner drugs in several different artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs). ACTs are currently the standard of care against Plasmodium falciparum malaria across much [...] Read more.
The molecular pharmacology of artemisinin (ART)-based antimalarial drugs is incompletely understood. Clinically, these drugs are used in combination with longer lasting partner drugs in several different artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs). ACTs are currently the standard of care against Plasmodium falciparum malaria across much of the world. A harbinger of emerging artemisinin resistance (ARTR), known as the delayed clearance phenotype (DCP), has been well documented in South East Asia (SEA) and is beginning to affect the efficacy of some ACTs. Though several genetic mutations have been associated with ARTR/DCP, a molecular mechanism remains elusive. This paper summarizes our current understanding of ART molecular pharmacology and hypotheses for ARTR/DCP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery and Development for Tropical Diseases)
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Open AccessEditorial
The One Health Approach—Why Is It So Important?
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020088 - 31 May 2019
Viewed by 794
Abstract
It has become increasingly clear over the past three decades that the majority of novel, emergent zoonotic infectious diseases originate in animals, especially wildlife [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue One Health and Zoonoses) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Associated with Hepatitis B and C Co-Infection among HIV-Infected Patients in Singapore, 2006–2017
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020087 - 27 May 2019
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Co-infection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with increased risk of hepatic complications and mortality. A retrospective study to estimate the proportion of HBV and HCV co-infections in Singapore was conducted using [...] Read more.
Co-infection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with increased risk of hepatic complications and mortality. A retrospective study to estimate the proportion of HBV and HCV co-infections in Singapore was conducted using a clinical database. We included 3065 patients who were seen under the Clinical HIV Programme at the largest referral centre for HIV care between 2006 and 2017 and were tested for both HBV and HCV. Factors associated with HIV-HBV and HIV-HCV co-infections were determined using logistic regressions. The majority (86.3%) of HIV-infected patients were mono-infected, while 7.2% were co-infected with HBV, 6.0% with HCV, and 0.5% were co-infected with both HBV and HCV. The most common HCV genotype was GT1 (63%). Factors significantly associated with HBV co-infection in the multivariable model were: Aged 30–49 years and 50–69 years at HIV diagnosis, male gender, and HIV transmission through intravenous drug use (IDU). Independent factors associated with HCV co-infection were: Malay ethnicity, HIV transmission through IDU, and HIV diagnosis between 2006 and 2008. Behavioural risk factors such as IDU, as well as epidemiologic differences associated with co-infection, should inform further studies and interventions aimed at reducing viral hepatitis infection among HIV-infected individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV and Co-Infections: Old and New Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Giardia intestinalis Infection in Schistosomiasis-Endemic Areas in South-Central Mali
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020086 - 23 May 2019
Viewed by 577
Abstract
Intestinal parasite infections are frequent causes of diarrhea and malnutrition among children in the tropics. Transmission of helminths and intestinal protozoa is intimately connected with conditions of poverty, including inadequate sanitation and hygiene. Concurrent infections with several intestinal pathogens may lead to excess [...] Read more.
Intestinal parasite infections are frequent causes of diarrhea and malnutrition among children in the tropics. Transmission of helminths and intestinal protozoa is intimately connected with conditions of poverty, including inadequate sanitation and hygiene. Concurrent infections with several intestinal pathogens may lead to excess morbidity. Yet, there is a paucity of epidemiological data from Mali. In this study, stool samples from 56 individuals, aged 2–63 years, from Bamako and Niono, south-central Mali were examined for intestinal parasites using stool microscopy. Additionally, stool samples were subjected to a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia intestinalis. The predominant pathogens were Schistosoma mansoni and G. intestinalis with prevalences of 41% and 38%, respectively. Hymenolepis nana was detected in 4% of the participants, while no eggs of soil-transmitted helminths were found. Concurrent infections with G. intestinalis and S. mansoni were diagnosed in 16% of the participants. For the detection of G. intestinalis, PCR was more sensitive (100%) than RDT (62%) and microscopy (48%). As helminth-protozoa coinfections might have important implications for morbidity control programs, future studies should employ diagnostic tools beyond stool microscopy to accurately assess the co-endemicity of giardiasis and schistosomiasis. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Latent Tuberculosis Infection among Healthcare Workers in Duhok Province: From Screening to Prophylactic Treatment
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020085 - 23 May 2019
Viewed by 696
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and, hence, of developing tuberculosis (TB) disease. The aims of this study are to identify the prevalence and determinants of latent TB infection (LTBI) among HCWs in Duhok [...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at increased risk of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and, hence, of developing tuberculosis (TB) disease. The aims of this study are to identify the prevalence and determinants of latent TB infection (LTBI) among HCWs in Duhok Province. This is a cross-sectional prospective study conducted during April–July 2018 in different health care facilities of Duhok province. HCWs at multiple levels were selected by a non-systematic random sampling method. Information on demographic and associated risk factors of LTBI were collected by using a standardized questionnaire. Thereafter, all HCWs underwent QuantiFERON Gold Plus (QFT-Plus) assay. HCWs with indeterminate QFT-Plus underwent a Tuberculin Skin Test. HCWs with positive results were further evaluated by smear microscopy investigation and chest X-ray examination. Three hundred ninety-five HCWs were enrolled; 49 (12%) tested positive for LTBI. The mean age of the HCWs was 33.4 ± 9.25 with a female predominance (51.1%). According to the univariate analysis, LTBI was significantly higher among HCWs with the following: age groups ≥ 30 years, alcohol intake, ≥ 11 years of employment, high risk stratification workplaces, and medical doctors. In the multivariate analysis, the age group of 30–39 years (OR = 0.288, 95% CI: 0.105–0.794, p value = 0.016) was the only risk factor associated with LTBI. Further medical investigations did not reveal active TB cases among HCWs with LTBI. With regards to prophylactic treatment, 31 (63.3%) LTBI HCWs accepted the treatment, whereas 18 (36.7%) declined the chemoprophylaxis. Of these 31 HCWs on chemoprophylaxis, 12 (38.7%) received isoniazid (INH) for six months, 17 (54.8%) received INH in combination with rifampicin (RMP) for three months, and two (6.5%) received alternative therapy because of anti-TB drug intolerance. In conclusions, although Iraq is a relatively high TB burden country, the prevalence of LTBI among Duhok HCWs is relatively low. It is important to screen HCWs in Duhok for LTBI, particularly medical doctors, young adults, alcoholics, and those whom had a long duration of employment in high-risk workplaces. The acceptance rate of HCWs with LTBI to chemoprophylaxis was low. Therefore, ensuring medical efforts to educate the healthcare staff particularly, non-professionals are a priority to encourage chemoprophylaxis acceptance. Full article
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Open AccessCase Report
Dengue Virus and Influenza A Virus Co-Infection in Pregnancy: A Case Report
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020084 - 21 May 2019
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Dengue is still an important cause of disease and mortality in tropical countries, as is influenza A virus, which is also a cause of epidemics all over the globe. In this article, we present the case of a 31-year-old woman who was in [...] Read more.
Dengue is still an important cause of disease and mortality in tropical countries, as is influenza A virus, which is also a cause of epidemics all over the globe. In this article, we present the case of a 31-year-old woman who was in her second trimester of pregnancy and presented with severe dengue with hematological and neurological complications, and premature labor. She was misdiagnosed with bacterial infection and received antibiotic treatment with no improvement of the clinical manifestations and previous to death, she was diagnosed with dengue infection. She died from cardiorespiratory arrest. In the postmortem evaluation, influenza A co-infection was confirmed and characterization of the tissue damage and immune response in lung, liver, kidney, heart, spleen, and brain was determined, finding a severe inflammatory response in lung with T cells and macrophages infiltrating the tissue. This case report highlights the risks of accepting a single diagnosis, especially in endemic countries to multiple tropical diseases, which can lead to delay in appropriate treatment that could reduce morbidity and mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of Dengue: Past, Present and Future)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring Public Preferences, Priorities, and Policy Perspectives for Controlling Invasive Mosquito Species in Greece
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020083 - 18 May 2019
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Climate change, urbanization, and financial crisis have created a dramatic mixture of challenges in Southern Europe, increasing further the risks of transmission of new vector-borne diseases. In the last decade, there has been a wide spread of an invasive mosquito species Aedes albopictus, [...] Read more.
Climate change, urbanization, and financial crisis have created a dramatic mixture of challenges in Southern Europe, increasing further the risks of transmission of new vector-borne diseases. In the last decade, there has been a wide spread of an invasive mosquito species Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito, in various urban ecosystems of Greece accompanied by greater risks of infectious diseases, higher nuisance levels, and increased expenses incurred for their control. The aim of the present paper is to investigate citizens’ perception of the Aedes albopictus problem and to evaluate various policy aspects related to its control. Findings are based on the conduct of a web-based survey at a national scale and the production of national surveillance maps. Results indicate that citizens are highly concerned with the health risks associated with the new mosquito species and consider public prevention strategies highly important for the confrontation of the problem while, at the same time, surveillance maps indicate a constant intensification of the problem. The spatial patterns of these results are further investigated aiming to define areas (regions) with different: (a) Levels of risk and/or (b) policy priorities. It appears that citizens are aware of the invasive mosquito problem and appear prone to act against possible consequences. Climate change and the complex socio-ecological context of South Europe are expected to favor a deterioration of the problem and an increasing risk of the transmission of new diseases, posing, in this respect, new challenges for policy makers and citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Infectious Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Drug Discovery for Chagas Disease: Impact of Different Host Cell Lines on Assay Performance and Hit Compound Selection
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020082 - 17 May 2019
Viewed by 1232
Abstract
Cell-based screening has become the major compound interrogation strategy in Chagas disease drug discovery. Several different cell lines have been deployed as host cells in screening assays. However, host cell characteristics and host-parasite interactions may play an important role when assessing anti-T. [...] Read more.
Cell-based screening has become the major compound interrogation strategy in Chagas disease drug discovery. Several different cell lines have been deployed as host cells in screening assays. However, host cell characteristics and host-parasite interactions may play an important role when assessing anti-T. cruzi compound activity, ultimately impacting on hit discovery. To verify this hypothesis, four distinct mammalian cell lines (U2OS, THP-1, Vero and L6) were used as T. cruzi host cells in High Content Screening assays. Rates of infection varied greatly between different host cells. Susceptibility to benznidazole also varied, depending on the host cell and parasite strain. A library of 1,280 compounds was screened against the four different cell lines infected with T. cruzi, resulting in the selection of a total of 82 distinct compounds as hits. From these, only two hits were common to all four cell lines assays (2.4%) and 51 were exclusively selected from a single assay (62.2%). Infected U2OS cells were the most sensitive assay, as 55 compounds in total were identified as hits; infected THP-1 yielded the lowest hit rates, with only 16 hit compounds. Of the selected hits, compound FPL64176 presented selective anti-T. cruzi activity and could serve as a starting point for the discovery of new anti-chagasic drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Discovery and Development for Tropical Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Diagnosis and Management of Fungal Neglected Tropical Diseases In Community Settings—Mycetoma and Sporotrichosis
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020081 - 16 May 2019
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Background: This is a retrospective, analytic observational study where we describe cases of sporotrichosis and mycetoma from Acapulco General Hospital and Community Dermatology Mexico C.A. over 25 years. Analysis of environmental features that favour the development of such diseases has been made, as [...] Read more.
Background: This is a retrospective, analytic observational study where we describe cases of sporotrichosis and mycetoma from Acapulco General Hospital and Community Dermatology Mexico C.A. over 25 years. Analysis of environmental features that favour the development of such diseases has been made, as well as the limitations in the study and treatment of such diseases in resource poor settings. Methods: We reviewed the information on 76 sporotrichosis and 113 mycetoma patients out of a total of 14,000 consultations at Acapulco General Hospital and from Community Dermatology clinics. We analysed the epidemiological and mycological characteristics and the investigations used for diagnosis such as direct examination, culture, intradermal test reactions, and biopsy. Results: In total 91 confirmed cases of actinomycetoma, 22 of eumycetoma and 76 of sporotrichosis have been identified including diagnostic studies for both diseases and their treatment. Discussion: The results obtained have been analysed and interpreted in patients with mycetoma and sporotrichosis in the state of Guerrero, México, along with limitations in their management in areas with limited economic and logistical resources. The prevalence of mycetoma in our setting is compared with other centres where patients from all over the country are seen. The possible causes for variations in prevalence in specific areas has been looked for, in one of the poorest states of the Mexican Republic. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Armillifer Infections in Humans: A Systematic Review
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020080 - 16 May 2019
Viewed by 496
Abstract
Armillifer is a genus of obligate parasites belonging to the Pentastomida subclass that was first described as a cause of human disease in 1847. Human infection by Armillifer is rare and not widely known. These parasites are transmitted to humans by handling or [...] Read more.
Armillifer is a genus of obligate parasites belonging to the Pentastomida subclass that was first described as a cause of human disease in 1847. Human infection by Armillifer is rare and not widely known. These parasites are transmitted to humans by handling or eating undercooked meat from infected snakes, which are the definitive hosts, or oral uptake of environmental ova. The aim of this systematic review was to record all available evidence regarding infections by Armillifer in humans. A systematic review of PubMed (through 21 December 2018) for studies providing epidemiological, clinical, microbiological, as well as treatment data and outcomes of Armillifer infections was conducted. A total of 26 studies, containing data of 40 patients, were eventually included in the analysis. The most common sites of infection were the peritoneal cavity, the liver, the lower respiratory and the abdominal tract. The commonest infecting species was A. armillatus and most patients were asymptomatic; however, when symptoms occurred, the commonest was abdominal pain, even though unusual presentations occurred, such as hepatic encephalopathy or neurologic symptoms. Most cases were diagnosed at surgery or by imaging, and most patients were not treated. Mortality was low, but the majority of the cases with ocular infection lead to permanent loss of vision. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Environmental and Behavioral Risk Factors for Severe Leptospirosis in Thailand
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020079 - 16 May 2019
Viewed by 877
Abstract
A nationwide prevention and control campaign for leptospirosis in Thailand has led to a decreased incidence rate, but the mortality and case fatality rates have remained stable. Regarding the limited knowledge of risk factors, a case-control study of the association between environmental and [...] Read more.
A nationwide prevention and control campaign for leptospirosis in Thailand has led to a decreased incidence rate, but the mortality and case fatality rates have remained stable. Regarding the limited knowledge of risk factors, a case-control study of the association between environmental and behavioral exposure with severe leptospirosis was implemented to identify the risk factors among adults in Thailand. The study was conducted in 12 hospital-based sites. Hospitalized patients with suspected clinical symptoms of leptospirosis were tested for leptospirosis by culture, loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), real-time PCR, and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). All participants answered a standardized questionnaire about potential risk factors. Risk factors were identified by univariable and multivariable logistic regression. Of the 44 confirmed cases, 33 (75.0%) presented with severe illness, as determined by clinical criteria, and were categorized as severe cases. Non-severe cases were defined as patients with non-severe symptoms of leptospirosis. Living nearby a rubber tree plantation (adjusted OR 11.65, 95% CI 1.08–125.53) and bathing in natural bodies of water (adjusted OR 10.45, 95% CI 1.17–93.35) were both significantly associated with an increased risk of severe leptospirosis. We recommend designating rubber plantations in Thailand as high-risk zones and closely monitoring hospitalized patients in those areas. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Achieving Health Security and Threat Reduction through Sharing Sequence Data
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020078 - 14 May 2019
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
With the rapid development and broad applications of next-generation sequencing platforms and bioinformatic analytical tools, genomics has become a popular area for biosurveillance and international scientific collaboration. Governments from countries including the United States (US), Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom have leveraged [...] Read more.
With the rapid development and broad applications of next-generation sequencing platforms and bioinformatic analytical tools, genomics has become a popular area for biosurveillance and international scientific collaboration. Governments from countries including the United States (US), Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom have leveraged these advancements to support international cooperative programs that aim to reduce biological threats and build scientific capacity worldwide. A recent conference panel addressed the impacts of the enhancement of genomic sequencing capabilities through three major US bioengagement programs on international scientific engagement and biosecurity risk reduction. The panel contrasted the risks and benefits of supporting the enhancement of genomic sequencing capabilities through international scientific engagement to achieve biological threat reduction and global health security. The lower costs and new bioinformatic tools available have led to the greater application of sequencing to biosurveillance. Strengthening sequencing capabilities globally for the diagnosis and detection of infectious diseases through mutual collaborations has a high return on investment for increasing global health security. International collaborations based on genomics and shared sequence data can build and leverage scientific networks and improve the timeliness and accuracy of disease surveillance reporting needed to identify and mitigate infectious disease outbreaks and comply with international norms. Further efforts to promote scientific transparency within international collaboration will improve trust, reduce threats, and promote global health security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Globalization and Infectious Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Litomosoides sp. (Filarioidea: Onchocercidae) Infection in Frugivorous Bats (Artibeus spp.): Pathological Features, Molecular Evidence, and Prevalence
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020077 - 10 May 2019
Viewed by 552
Abstract
Bats can host pathogenic organisms such as viruses and fungi, but little is known about the pathogenicity of their parasites. Hemoparasites are frequently recorded in Neotropical bats, particularly Litomosoides (Filarioidea: Onchocercidae), but their pathogenic effect on bats is scarcely known. In this work, [...] Read more.
Bats can host pathogenic organisms such as viruses and fungi, but little is known about the pathogenicity of their parasites. Hemoparasites are frequently recorded in Neotropical bats, particularly Litomosoides (Filarioidea: Onchocercidae), but their pathogenic effect on bats is scarcely known. In this work, Litomosoides microfilariae were identified in four (8%) out of 51 sampled frugivorous bats belonging to three different species: Artibeus aztecus, Artibeus jamaicensis, and Artibeus lituratus, which are located in Yautepec, Morelos, Mexico. Two infected animals showed weakness, tachypnoea, and ecchymosis on their wings. In these animals, histopathology revealed microfilariae in the blood vessels of the lung, liver, and spleen. Both animals presented exudative pneumonia with congestion and concomitant edema, in addition to moderate arterial hypertrophy. Parasitemia was quantified in blood samples of the infected animals (>3000 parasites/mL). Phylogenetic analysis placed the obtained sequence inside the Litomosoides genus, reaching over 98% identity to the related species. Due to the relevance of bats in ecosystems, any new record of their parasite repertoire offers noteworthy insights into our understanding of the ecology and impact of new parasite species in bats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Tropical Pathogens of Bats)
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Open AccessEditorial
Schistosomiasis Elimination: Beginning of the End or a Continued March on a Trodden Path
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020076 - 05 May 2019
Viewed by 617
Abstract
In spite of spectacular progress towards the goal of elimination of schistosomiasis, particularly in China but also in other areas, research gaps and outstanding issues remain. Although expectations of achieving elimination of this disease have never been greater, all constraints have not been [...] Read more.
In spite of spectacular progress towards the goal of elimination of schistosomiasis, particularly in China but also in other areas, research gaps and outstanding issues remain. Although expectations of achieving elimination of this disease have never been greater, all constraints have not been swept aside. Indeed, there are some formidable obstacles, such as insufficient amounts of drugs to treat everybody and still limited use of high-sensitive diagnostic techniques, both for the definitive and the intermediate hosts, which indicate that prevalence is considerably underrated in well-controlled areas. Elimination will be difficult to achieve without a broad approach, including a stronger focus on transmission, better diagnostics and the establishment of a reliable survey system activating a rapid response when called for. Importantly, awareness of the crucial importance of transmission has been revived resulting in renewed interest in snail control together with more emphasis on health education and sanitation. The papers collected in this special issue entitled ‘Prospects for Schistosomiasis Elimination’ reflect these issues and we are particularly pleased to note that some also discuss the crucial question when to declare a country free of schistosomiasis and present techniques that together create an approach that can show unequivocally when interruption of transmission has been achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prospects for Schistosomiasis Elimination) Printed Edition available
Open AccessReview
Origins, Importance and Genetic Stability of the Prototype Strains Gilliam, Karp and Kato of Orientia tsutsugamushi
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020075 - 30 Apr 2019
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Scrub typhus, a chigger-borne febrile illness, occurs primarily in countries of the Asia-Pacific rim and islands of the Western Pacific. The etiologic agent is the obligate intracellular rickettsial bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi. Research on O. tsutsugamushi has relied on the availability of several [...] Read more.
Scrub typhus, a chigger-borne febrile illness, occurs primarily in countries of the Asia-Pacific rim and islands of the Western Pacific. The etiologic agent is the obligate intracellular rickettsial bacterium Orientia tsutsugamushi. Research on O. tsutsugamushi has relied on the availability of several prototype strains, which were isolated from human cases of scrub typhus in the 1940s and 1950s. We review the history of the three original, and most important, prototype strains, Gilliam, Karp and Kato, including information on their isolation, their culture history, their clinical characteristics, their importance within the research literature on scrub typhus, and recent advances in elucidating their molecular genomics. The importance of these strains to the research and development of clinical tools related to scrub typhus is also considered. Finally, we examine whether the strains have been genetically stable since their isolation, and whether prototype strains maintained in separate laboratories are identical, based on pairwise comparisons of several sequences from four genes. By using genetic information archived in international DNA databases, we show that the prototype strains used by different laboratories are essentially identical, and that the strains have retained their genetic integrity at least since the 1950s. The three original prototype strains should remain a standard by which new diagnostic procedures are measured. Given their fundamental position in any comparative studies, they are likely to endure as a critical part of present and future research on scrub typhus and Orientia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Past and Present Threat of Rickettsial Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Tuberculosis as a Risk Factor for 1918 Influenza Pandemic Outcomes
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020074 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1239
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) mortality declined after the 1918 pandemic, suggesting that influenza killed those who would have died from TB. Few studies have analyzed TB as a direct risk factor for 1918 influenza morbidity and mortality by age and sex. We study the impacts [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) mortality declined after the 1918 pandemic, suggesting that influenza killed those who would have died from TB. Few studies have analyzed TB as a direct risk factor for 1918 influenza morbidity and mortality by age and sex. We study the impacts of TB on influenza-like illness (% of population sick) and case fatality (% of cases dying) by age and sex through case-control comparisons of patients (N = 201) and employees (N = 97) from two Norwegian sanatoriums. Female patients, patients at Landeskogen sanatorium, and patients aged 10–39 years had significantly lower morbidity than the controls. None of the 62 sick employees died, while 15 of 84 sick patients did. The case-control difference in case fatality by sex was only significant for females at Lyster sanatorium and females at both sanatoriums combined. Non-significant case-control differences in case fatality for males were likely due to small samples. Patients 20–29 years for both sexes combined at Lyster sanatorium and at both sanatoriums combined, as well as females 20–29 years for both sanatoriums combined, had significantly higher case fatality. We conclude that TB was associated with higher case fatality, but morbidity was lower for patients than for employees. The results add to the study of interactions between bacterial and viral diseases and are relevant in preparing for pandemics in TB endemic areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle
High Endemicity of Soil-Transmitted Helminths in a Population Frequently Exposed to Albendazole but No Evidence of Antiparasitic Resistance
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020073 - 27 Apr 2019
Viewed by 1487
Abstract
Introduction: Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are gastrointestinal parasites widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Mass drug administration (MDA) of benzimidazoles (BZ) is the most recommended for STH control. These drugs have demonstrated limited efficacy against Trichuris trichiura and the long-term use of single-dose [...] Read more.
Introduction: Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are gastrointestinal parasites widely distributed in tropical and subtropical areas. Mass drug administration (MDA) of benzimidazoles (BZ) is the most recommended for STH control. These drugs have demonstrated limited efficacy against Trichuris trichiura and the long-term use of single-dose BZ has raised concerns of the possible emergence of genetic resistance. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether genetic mutations associated with BZ resistance were present in STH species circulating in an endemic region of Honduras. Methods: A parasitological survey was performed as part of this study, the Kato–Katz technique was used to determine STH prevalence in children of La Hicaca, Honduras. A subgroup of children received anthelminthic treatment in order to recover adult parasite specimens that were analyzed through molecular biology techniques. Genetic regions containing codons 200, 198, and 167 of the β-tubulin gene of Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were amplified and sequenced. Results: Stool samples were collected from 106 children. The overall STH prevalence was 75.47%, whereby T. trichiura was the most prevalent helminth (56.6%), followed by A. lumbricoides (17%), and hookworms (1.9%). Eighty-five sequences were generated for adjacent regions to codons 167, 198, and 200 of the β-tubulin gene of T. trichiura and A. lumbricoides specimens. The three codons of interest were found to be monomorphic in all the specimens. Conclusion: Although the inability to find single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the small sample analyzed for the present report does not exclude the possibility of their occurrence, these results suggest that, at present, Honduras’s challenges in STH control may not be related to drug resistance but to environmental conditions and/or host factors permitting reinfections. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Critical Interspecies Transmission Barrier at the Animal–Human Interface
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020072 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 897
Abstract
Influenza A viruses (IAVs) infect humans and a wide range of animal species in nature, and waterfowl and shorebirds are their reservoir hosts. Of the 18 haemagglutinin (HA) and 11 neuraminidase (NA) subtypes of IAV, 16 HA and 9 NA subtypes infect aquatic [...] Read more.
Influenza A viruses (IAVs) infect humans and a wide range of animal species in nature, and waterfowl and shorebirds are their reservoir hosts. Of the 18 haemagglutinin (HA) and 11 neuraminidase (NA) subtypes of IAV, 16 HA and 9 NA subtypes infect aquatic birds. However, among the diverse pool of IAVs in nature, only a limited number of animal IAVs cross the species barrier to infect humans and a small subset of those have spread efficiently from person to person to cause an influenza pandemic. The ability to infect a different species, replicate in the new host and transmit are three distinct steps in this process. Viral and host factors that are critical determinants of the ability of an avian IAV to infect and spread in humans are discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Strategic Planning for Tuberculosis Control in the Republic of Fiji
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020071 - 24 Apr 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 664
Abstract
The tuberculosis (TB) health burden in Fiji has been declining in recent years, although challenges remain in improving control of the diabetes co-epidemic and achieving adequate case detection across the widely dispersed archipelago. We applied a mathematical model of TB transmission to the [...] Read more.
The tuberculosis (TB) health burden in Fiji has been declining in recent years, although challenges remain in improving control of the diabetes co-epidemic and achieving adequate case detection across the widely dispersed archipelago. We applied a mathematical model of TB transmission to the TB epidemic in Fiji that captured the historical reality over several decades, including age stratification, diabetes, varying disease manifestations, and incorrect diagnoses. Next, we simulated six intervention scenarios that are under consideration by the Fiji National Tuberculosis Program. Our findings show that the interventions were able to achieve only modest improvements in disease burden, with awareness raising being the most effective intervention to reduce TB incidence, and treatment support yielding the highest impact on mortality. These improvements would fall far short of the ambitious targets that have been set by the country, and could easily be derailed by moderate increases in the diabetes burden. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the interventions was limited by the extensive pool of latent TB infection, because the programs were directed at only active cases, and thus were unlikely to achieve the desired reductions in burden. Therefore, it is essential to address the co-epidemic of diabetes and treat people with latent TB infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tuberculosis Elimination in the Asia-Pacific)
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Factors for Brucella Seroprevalence in Peri-Urban Dairy Farms in Five Indian Cities
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020070 - 22 Apr 2019
Viewed by 980
Abstract
Brucellosis is endemic among dairy animals in India, contributing to production losses and posing a health risk to people, especially farmers and others in close contact with dairy animals or their products. Growing urban populations demand increased milk supplies, resulting in intensifying dairy [...] Read more.
Brucellosis is endemic among dairy animals in India, contributing to production losses and posing a health risk to people, especially farmers and others in close contact with dairy animals or their products. Growing urban populations demand increased milk supplies, resulting in intensifying dairy production at the peri-urban fringe. Peri-urban dairying is under-studied but has implications for disease transmission, both positive and negative. In this cross-sectional study, five Indian cities were selected to represent different geographies and urbanization extent. Around each, we randomly selected 34 peri-urban villages, and in each village three smallholder dairy farms (defined as having a maximum of 10 dairy animals) were randomly selected. The farmers were interviewed, and milk samples were taken from up to three animals. These were tested using a commercial ELISA for antibodies against Brucella abortus, and factors associated with herd seroprevalence were identified. In all, 164 out of 1163 cows (14.1%, 95% CI 12.2–16.2%) were seropositive for Brucella. In total, 91 out of 510 farms (17.8%, 95% CI 14.6–21.4%) had at least one positive animal, and out of these, just seven farmers stated that they had vaccinated against brucellosis. In four cities, the farm-level seroprevalence ranged between 1.4–5.2%, while the fifth city had a seroprevalence of 72.5%. This city had larger, zero-grazing herds, used artificial insemination to a much higher degree, replaced their animals by purchasing from their neighbors, were less likely to contact a veterinarian in case of sick animals, and were also judged to be less clean. Within the high-prevalence city, farms were at higher risk of being infected if they had a young owner and if they were judged less clean. In the low-prevalence cities, no risk factors could be identified. In conclusion, this study has identified that a city can have a high burden of infected animals in the peri-urban areas, but that seroprevalence is strongly influenced by the husbandry system. Increased intensification can be associated with increased risk, and thus the practices associated with this, such as artificial insemination, are also associated with increased risk. These results may be important to identify high-risk areas for prioritizing interventions and for policy decisions influencing the structure and development of the dairy industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue One Health and Zoonoses) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessReview
Human Bartonellosis: An Underappreciated Public Health Problem?
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020069 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4261
Abstract
Bartonella spp. bacteria can be found around the globe and are the causative agents of multiple human diseases. The most well-known infection is called cat-scratch disease, which causes mild lymphadenopathy and fever. As our knowledge of these bacteria grows, new presentations of the [...] Read more.
Bartonella spp. bacteria can be found around the globe and are the causative agents of multiple human diseases. The most well-known infection is called cat-scratch disease, which causes mild lymphadenopathy and fever. As our knowledge of these bacteria grows, new presentations of the disease have been recognized, with serious manifestations. Not only has more severe disease been associated with these bacteria but also Bartonella species have been discovered in a wide range of mammals, and the pathogens’ DNA can be found in multiple vectors. This review will focus on some common mammalian reservoirs as well as the suspected vectors in relation to the disease transmission and prevalence. Understanding the complex interactions between these bacteria, their vectors, and their reservoirs, as well as the breadth of infection by Bartonella around the world will help to assess the impact of Bartonellosis on public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advancements on Arthropod-Borne Infectious Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Serologic Tools and Strategies to Support Intervention Trials to Combat Zika Virus Infection and Disease
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020068 - 19 Apr 2019
Viewed by 812
Abstract
Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus that recently caused a large epidemic in Latin America characterized by novel disease phenotypes, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, sexual transmission, and congenital anomalies, such as microcephaly. This epidemic, which was declared an international public health emergency by [...] Read more.
Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus that recently caused a large epidemic in Latin America characterized by novel disease phenotypes, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, sexual transmission, and congenital anomalies, such as microcephaly. This epidemic, which was declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization, has highlighted shortcomings in our current understanding of, and preparation for, emerging infectious diseases in general, as well as challenges that are specific to Zika virus infection. Vaccine development for Zika virus has been a high priority of the public health response, and several candidates have shown promise in pre-clinical and early phase clinical trials. The optimal selection and implementation of imperfect serologic assays are among the crucial issues that must be addressed in order to advance Zika vaccine development. Here, I review key considerations for how best to incorporate into Zika vaccine trials the existing serologic tools, as well as those on the horizon. Beyond that, this discussion is relevant to other intervention strategies to combat Zika and likely other emerging infectious diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developing Zika Vaccines: Status Update)
Open AccessCommentary
Antiviral Therapy for the Next Influenza Pandemic
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2019, 4(2), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed4020067 - 18 Apr 2019
Viewed by 751
Abstract
Influenza antivirals will play a critical role in the treatment of outpatients and hospitalised patients in the next pandemic. In the past decade, a number of new influenza antivirals have been licensed for seasonal influenza, which can now be considered for inclusion into [...] Read more.
Influenza antivirals will play a critical role in the treatment of outpatients and hospitalised patients in the next pandemic. In the past decade, a number of new influenza antivirals have been licensed for seasonal influenza, which can now be considered for inclusion into antiviral stockpiles held by the World Health Organization (WHO) and individual countries. However, data gaps remain regarding the effectiveness of new and existing antivirals in severely ill patients, and regarding which monotherapy or combinations of antivirals may yield the greatest improvement in outcomes. Regardless of the drug being used, influenza antivirals are most effective when treatment is initiated early in the course of infection, and therefore in a pandemic, effective strategies which enable rapid diagnosis and prompt delivery will yield the greatest benefits. Full article
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