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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis., Volume 8, Issue 12 (December 2023) – 18 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Metacestodes of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis cause the severe disease alveolar echinococcosis in humans and animals. Current drug treatment options are not curative and there is a strong need for the development of novel therapeutic agents against this parasite. In the search for compounds, we apply an established in vitro drug screening cascade against E. multilocularis metacestode vesicles and isolated primary cells of this parasite. In this manuscript, we tested disulfiram and 51 dithiocarbamate derivatives in this screening cascade, because these compounds have been shown to have promising activity against the trematode Schistosoma mansoni. Our studies revealed that the structure class of dithiocarbamate derivatives can provide new potential anti-echinococcal drugs. View this paper
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12 pages, 1214 KiB  
Article
Inter-observer Variability in the Analysis of CO-RADS Classification for COVID-19 Patients
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120523 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1013
Abstract
During the early stages of the pandemic, computed tomography (CT) of the chest, along with serological and clinical data, was frequently utilized in diagnosing COVID-19, particularly in regions facing challenges such as shortages of PCR kits. In these circumstances, CT scans played a [...] Read more.
During the early stages of the pandemic, computed tomography (CT) of the chest, along with serological and clinical data, was frequently utilized in diagnosing COVID-19, particularly in regions facing challenges such as shortages of PCR kits. In these circumstances, CT scans played a crucial role in diagnosing COVID-19 and guiding patient management. The COVID-19 Reporting and Data System (CO-RADS) was established as a standardized reporting system for cases of COVID-19 pneumonia. Its implementation necessitates a high level of agreement among observers to prevent any potential confusion. This study aimed to assess the inter-observer agreement between physicians from different specialties with variable levels of experience in their CO-RADS scoring of CT chests for confirmed COVID-19 patients, and to assess the feasibility of applying this reporting system to those having little experience with it. All chest CT images of patients with positive RT-PCR tests for COVID-19 were retrospectively reviewed by seven observers. The observers were divided into three groups according to their type of specialty (three radiologists, three house officers, and one pulmonologist). The observers assessed each image and categorized the patients into five CO-RADS groups. A total of 630 participants were included in this study. The inter-observer agreement was almost perfect among the radiologists, substantial among a pulmonologist and the house officers, and moderate-to-substantial among the radiologists, the pulmonologist, and the house officers. There was substantial to almost perfect inter-observer agreement when reporting using the CO-RADS among observers with different experience levels. Although the inter-observer variability among the radiologists was high, it decreased compared to the pulmonologist and house officers. Radiologists, house officers, and pulmonologists applying the CO-RADS can accurately and promptly identify typical CT imaging features of lung involvement in COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Current Situation and Future Trends)
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9 pages, 590 KiB  
Brief Report
Evaluating the Prevalence and Risk Factors of Schistosomiasis Amongst School-Aged Children in Low- and Middle-Income Communities: Ehlanzeni District Municipality, South Africa, 2015–2021
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120522 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1833
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the prevalence and identify risk factors of schistosomiasis among school-aged children in low- and middle-income communities. A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted to review patient records of school-age children. Data on gender, age, sub-district, area residing in, patient [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the prevalence and identify risk factors of schistosomiasis among school-aged children in low- and middle-income communities. A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted to review patient records of school-age children. Data on gender, age, sub-district, area residing in, patient status, history of bilharzia, presence of blood in the urine, and schistosomiasis diagnoses were collected. The data were analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 27. Logistic regression was employed to determine the factors associated with schistosomiasis. The overall prevalence of schistosomiasis in the study population was 75%, with higher prevalence observed among male children (89%), children aged between 10 and 14 years (59%), urban areas (51%), and rural-dominated districts, particularly Bushbuckridge (42%) and City of Mbombela (51%). Age, especially 10–14 years old (p ˂ 0.01; 95%CI: 1.98–2.29), a history of bilharzia (p = 0.01; 95%CI: 1.15–1.96), and the presence of blood in urine (p ˂ 0.01; 95%CI: 2.02–2.40) were significantly associated with schistosomiasis while being a female child was found to be a protective factor (AOR: 0.35; CI 0.35–0.41). This study underscores the importance of implementing robust screening procedures and the necessity for health education to mitigate the high prevalence of schistosomiasis and prevent its further spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neglected and Emerging Tropical Diseases)
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11 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
Factors Associated with Candidiasis in Pemphigus Vulgaris Patients: Results from a Retrospective Study in Two Second-Care Level Hospitals in Mexico
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120521 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Background: Infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV). One of the most common infections in these patients is candidiasis. This is probably due to the use of systemic immunosuppressants, including oral and intravenous corticosteroids, mainly [...] Read more.
Background: Infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with pemphigus vulgaris (PV). One of the most common infections in these patients is candidiasis. This is probably due to the use of systemic immunosuppressants, including oral and intravenous corticosteroids, mainly in megadoses (pulse therapy), although it is unknown if there are other associated factors, in addition to immunosuppressive treatment. We determine the factors associated with candidiasis in PV patients in two second-care level hospitals in Mexico. Methods: We reviewed 100 cases with PV. Cases were randomly selected from the databases of two second-care level hospitals between January 2010 and December 2019 (10 years). The primary endpoint was the incidence of candidiasis in patients with PV. Results: One hundred patients with PV were enrolled in this retrospective study. Candidiasis was observed in 79 patients (79%). A maximum corticosteroid dose of 55 mg/day during the last year (p = 0.001) and a higher neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio were associated with candidiasis in patients with PV (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Risk factors favoring candidiasis in patients with PV are not only related to the use of corticosteroids, but also to demographic factors, the activity of the disease, and the systemic inflammation associated with autoimmunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring and Diagnosis of Invasive Fungal Infections)
10 pages, 1134 KiB  
Article
High Tuberculosis Preventive Treatment Uptake and Completion Rates Using a Person-Centered Approach among Tuberculosis Household Contact in Yogyakarta
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120520 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1224
Abstract
Coverage of tuberculosis preventive treatment (TPT) in Indonesia is inadequate, and persons who start TPT often do not complete treatment. In 2020, Zero TB Yogyakarta implemented person-centered contact investigation and shorter TPT regimen provision in collaboration with primary health care centers. Between 1 [...] Read more.
Coverage of tuberculosis preventive treatment (TPT) in Indonesia is inadequate, and persons who start TPT often do not complete treatment. In 2020, Zero TB Yogyakarta implemented person-centered contact investigation and shorter TPT regimen provision in collaboration with primary health care centers. Between 1 January 2020 and 31 August 2022, we assessed eligibility for TPT among household contacts of persons with bacteriologically confirmed TB (index cases) and offered them a 3-month TPT regimen (3RH or 3HP). A dedicated nurse monitored contacts on TPT for treatment adherence and side effects every week in the first month and every two weeks in the next months. Contacts were also able to contact a nurse by phone or ask for home visits at any point if they had any concerns. A total of 1016 contacts were eligible for TPT: 772 (78.8%) started short regimen TPT with 706 (91.5%) completing their TPT. Side effects were reported in 26 (39%) of the non-completion group. We conclude that high rates of TPT uptake and completion among contacts assessed as eligible for TPT can be achieved through person-centered care and the use of shorter regimens. Side-effect monitoring and management while on TPT is vital for improving TPT completion. Full article
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13 pages, 860 KiB  
Article
Record Linkage for Malaria Deaths Data Recovery and Surveillance in Brazil
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120519 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Objective: The objective is to describe the results and the methodological processes of record linkage for matching deaths and malaria cases. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with probabilistic record linkage of death and malaria cases data in Brazil from 2011 to [...] Read more.
Objective: The objective is to describe the results and the methodological processes of record linkage for matching deaths and malaria cases. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted with probabilistic record linkage of death and malaria cases data in Brazil from 2011 to 2020 using death records from the Mortality Information System (SIM) and epidemiological data from the Notifiable Diseases Information System (Sinan) and Epidemiological Surveillance Information Systems for malaria (Sivep-Malaria). Three matching keys were used: patient’s name, date of birth, and mother’s name, with an analysis of cosine and Levenshtein dissimilarity measures. Results: A total of 490 malaria deaths were recorded in Brazil between 2011 and 2020. The record linkage resulted in the pairing of 216 deaths (44.0%). Pairings where all three matching keys were identical accounted for 30.1% of the total matched deaths, 39.4% of the matched deaths had two identical variables, and 30.5% had only one of the three key variables identical. The distribution of the variables of the matched deaths (216) was similar to the distribution of all recorded deaths (490). Out of the 216 matched deaths, 80 (37.0%) had poorly specified causes of death in the SIM. Conclusions: The record linkage allowed for the detailing of the data with additional information from other epidemiological systems. Record linkage enables data linkage between information systems that lack interoperability and is an extremely useful tool for refining health situation analyses and improving malaria death surveillance in Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology, Detection and Treatment of Malaria)
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12 pages, 1965 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) in Urine Samples for the Diagnosis of Imported Schistosomiasis
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120518 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1307
Abstract
Migratory flows and international travel are triggering an increase in imported cases of schistosomiasis in non-endemic countries. The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the LAMP technique on patients’ urine samples for the diagnosis of imported schistosomiasis in a non-endemic area [...] Read more.
Migratory flows and international travel are triggering an increase in imported cases of schistosomiasis in non-endemic countries. The present study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of the LAMP technique on patients’ urine samples for the diagnosis of imported schistosomiasis in a non-endemic area in comparison to a commercial immunochromatographic test and microscopic examination of feces and urine. A prospective observational study was conducted in sub-Saharan migrants attending the Tropical Medicine Unit, Almería, Spain. For schistosomiasis diagnosis, serum samples were tested using an immunochromatographic test (Schistosoma ICT IgG-IgM). Stool and urine samples were examined by microcopy. Urine samples were evaluated by combining three LAMP assays for the specific detection of Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, and for the genus Schistosoma. To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy, a latent class analysis (LCA) was performed. In total, 115 patients were included (92.2% male; median age: 28.3 years). Of these, 21 patients (18.3%) were diagnosed with schistosomiasis confirmed by microscopy, with S. haematobium being the most frequent species identified (18/115; 15.7%). The Schistosoma ICT IgG-IgM test result was 100% positive and Schistosoma-LAMP was 61.9% positive, reaching as high as 72.2% for S. haematobium. The sensitivity and specificity estimated by LCA, respectively, were: 92% and 76% for Schistosoma ICT IgG-IgM, 68% and 44% for Schistosoma-LAMP, and 46% and 97% for microscopy. In conclusion, the Schistosoma-LAMP technique presented a higher sensitivity than microscopy for the diagnosis of imported urinary schistosomiasis, which could improve the diagnosis of active infection, both in referral centers and in centers with limited experience or scarce resources and infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neglected and Emerging Tropical Diseases)
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0 pages, 2108 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Activities of Dithiocarbamate Derivatives against Echinococcus multilocularis Metacestode Vesicles
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120517 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1175
Abstract
The metacestode stage of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis causes the severe zoonotic disease alveolar echinococcosis. New treatment options are urgently needed. Disulfiram and dithiocarbamates were previously shown to exhibit activity against the trematode Schistosoma mansoni. As both parasites belong to the platyhelminths, [...] Read more.
The metacestode stage of the fox tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis causes the severe zoonotic disease alveolar echinococcosis. New treatment options are urgently needed. Disulfiram and dithiocarbamates were previously shown to exhibit activity against the trematode Schistosoma mansoni. As both parasites belong to the platyhelminths, here we investigated whether these compounds were also active against E. multilocularis metacestode vesicles in vitro. We used an in vitro drug-screening cascade for the identification of novel compounds against E. multilocularis metacestode vesicles with disulfiram and 51 dithiocarbamates. Five compounds showed activity against E. multilocularis metacestode vesicles after five days of drug incubation in a damage marker release assay. Structure–activity relationship analyses revealed that a S-2-hydroxy-5-nitro benzyl moiety was necessary for anti-echinococcal activity, as derivatives without this group had no effect on E. multilocularis metacestode vesicles. The five active compounds were further tested for potential cytotoxicity in mammalian cells. For two compounds with low toxicity (Schl-32.315 and Schl-33.652), IC50 values in metacestode vesicles and IC50 values in germinal layer cells were calculated. The compounds were not highly active on isolated GL cells with IC50 values of 27.0 ± 4.2 µM for Schl-32.315 and 24.7 ± 11.5 µM for Schl-33.652, respectively. Against metacestode vesicles, Schl-32.315 was not very active either with an IC50 value of 41.6 ± 3.2 µM, while Schl-33.652 showed a low IC50 of 4.3 ± 1 µM and should be further investigated in the future for its activity against alveolar echinococcosis. Full article
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11 pages, 769 KiB  
Article
Trends of Infective Endocarditis at Two Teaching Hospitals: A 12-Year Retrospective Cohort Study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120516 - 12 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1110
Abstract
Background: Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, the incidence and mortality of infective endocarditis (IE) have increased in recent decades. Studies on the risk factors for mortality in endocarditis in Latin America are scarce. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 240 patients diagnosed [...] Read more.
Background: Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, the incidence and mortality of infective endocarditis (IE) have increased in recent decades. Studies on the risk factors for mortality in endocarditis in Latin America are scarce. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included 240 patients diagnosed with IE according to the modified Duke criteria who were admitted to two university hospitals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from January 2009 to June 2021. Poisson regression analysis was performed for trend tests. The multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of predictors of in-hospital mortality. Findings: The median age was 55 years (IQR: 39–66 years), 57% were male, and 41% had a Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) score > 3. Healthcare-associated infective endocarditis (54%), left-sided native valve IE (77.5%), and staphylococcal IE (26%) predominated. Overall, in-hospital mortality was 45.8%, and mortality was significantly higher in the following patients: aged ≥ 60 years (53%), CCI score ≥ 3 (60%), healthcare-associated infective endocarditis (HAIE) (53%), left-sided IE (51%), and enterococcal IE (67%). Poisson regression analysis showed no trend in in-hospital mortality per year. The adjusted multivariate model determined that age ≥ 60 years was an independent risk factor for in-hospital mortality (HR = 1.9; 95% CI 1.2–3.1; p = 0.008). Interpretation: In this 12-year retrospective cohort, there was no evidence of an improvement in survival in patients with IE. Since older age is a risk factor for mortality, consensus is needed for the management of IE in this group of patients. Full article
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10 pages, 465 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Community Awareness and Screening of Chagas Disease in the Latin American Community of Greater New Orleans
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120515 - 05 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Chagas disease is a public health problem in the Americas, from the southern United States (USA) to Argentina. In the USA, less than 1% of domestic cases have been identified and less than 0.3% of total cases have received treatment. Little is known [...] Read more.
Chagas disease is a public health problem in the Americas, from the southern United States (USA) to Argentina. In the USA, less than 1% of domestic cases have been identified and less than 0.3% of total cases have received treatment. Little is known about affected immigrant Latin American communities. A prospective study was conducted to assess knowledge about Chagas disease among the Latin American community living in the Greater New Orleans area. Participants answered a baseline questionnaire, viewed a short educational video presentation, completed a post-presentation questionnaire, and were screened with an FDA-approved blood rapid diagnostic test (RDT). A total of 154 participants from 18 Latin American countries (n = 138) and the USA (n = 16) were enrolled and screened for Trypanosoma cruzi infection. At baseline, 57% of the participants knew that Chagas disease is transmitted through an insect vector, and 26% recognized images of the vector. Following the administration of an educational intervention, the participants’ knowledge regarding vector transmission increased to 91% and 35% of participants were able to successfully identify images of the vector. Five participants screened positive for T. cruzi infection, indicating a 3.24% [95%CI: 1.1–7.5%] prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection within the Latin American community of the New Orleans area. Results highlight the urgent need for improving access to education and diagnostics of Chagas disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Burden of Chagas Disease in the Americas)
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20 pages, 416 KiB  
Review
The Performance of Diagnostic Tests for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the South African Population: A Scoping Review
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120514 - 01 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1529
Abstract
To determine the performance and reliability of diagnostic tests for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection in South Africa, we conducted a scoping review to identify published studies undertaken in the English language from March 2020 to August 2022 that evaluated the performance of [...] Read more.
To determine the performance and reliability of diagnostic tests for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection in South Africa, we conducted a scoping review to identify published studies undertaken in the English language from March 2020 to August 2022 that evaluated the performance of antigen- and antibody-based diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa. We identified 17 relevant peer-reviewed articles; six reported on SARS-CoV-2 gene and/or antigen detection whilst 11 reported on antibody detection. Of the SARS-CoV-2 gene and/or antigen-based tests, sensitivity ranged from 40% to 100%, whilst for the antibody-based tests, sensitivity ranged from 13% to 100%. All tests evaluated were highly dependent on the stage of infection and the timing of sample collection. This scoping review demonstrated that no single SARS-CoV-2 gene and/or antigen- or antibody-based assay was sufficiently sensitive and specific simultaneously. The sensitivity of the tests was highly dependent on the timing of sample collection with respect to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the case of SARS-CoV-2 gene and/or antigen detection, the earlier the collection of samples, the greater the sensitivity, while antibody detection tests showed better sensitivity using samples from later stages of infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Diseases)
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14 pages, 993 KiB  
Review
Chagas Disease in Europe
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120513 - 01 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1322
Abstract
Chagas disease is currently present in many non-endemic countries and remains a neglected tropical disease globally. A review of the literature identified significant gaps and scarcity of updated information from European countries, with most studies reporting data from Spain and Italy. The index [...] Read more.
Chagas disease is currently present in many non-endemic countries and remains a neglected tropical disease globally. A review of the literature identified significant gaps and scarcity of updated information from European countries, with most studies reporting data from Spain and Italy. The index of underdiagnosis may be as high as 70%, affecting mainly females of child-bearing age. Standardized screening of fertile, non-pregnant, women from endemic countries and subsequent treatment is considered an essential strategy to control transmission and prevent new cases, yet no uniform legislation for screening risk groups exists. There is heterogeneity in Europe in terms of preventive strategies to avoid transfusion-related transmission of Chagas disease, not necessarily in line with the European directives, with some countries conducting systematic screening for T. cruzi infection in blood donors, whilst others rely on pre-transfusion questionnaires. The growing burden of the infection in resource-rich areas may provide an opportunity for progress in certain aspects of control and prevention. Options for improving screening strategies, management and linkage to care are reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Travel Medicine and Migrant Health)
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21 pages, 2096 KiB  
Article
Outcomes and Challenges in the Programmatic Implementation of Tuberculosis Preventive Therapy among Household Contacts of Pulmonary TB Patients: A Mixed-Methods Study from a Rural District of Karnataka, India
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120512 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1499
Abstract
The National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) of India is implementing tuberculosis preventive treatment (TPT) for all household contacts (HHCs) of pulmonary tuberculosis patients (index patients) aged <5 years and those HHCs aged >5 years with TB infection (TBI). We conducted an explanatory mixed-methods [...] Read more.
The National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) of India is implementing tuberculosis preventive treatment (TPT) for all household contacts (HHCs) of pulmonary tuberculosis patients (index patients) aged <5 years and those HHCs aged >5 years with TB infection (TBI). We conducted an explanatory mixed-methods study among index patients registered in the Kolar district, Karnataka during April-December 2022, to assess the TPT cascade and explore the early implementation challenges for TPT provision. Of the 301 index patients, contact tracing home visits were made in 247 (82.1%) instances; a major challenge was index patients’ resistance to home visits fearing stigma, especially among those receiving care from the private sector. Of the 838 HHCs, 765 (91.3%) were screened for TB; the challenges included a lack of clarity on HHC definition and the non-availability of HHCs during house visits. Only 400 (57.8%) of the 692 eligible HHCs underwent an IGRA test for TBI; the challenges included a shortage of IGRA testing logistics and the perceived low risk among HHCs. As HHCs were unaware of their IGRA results, a number of HHCs actually eligible for TPT could not be determined. Among the 83 HHCs advised of the TPT, 81 (98%) initiated treatment, of whom 63 (77%) completed treatment. Though TPT initiation and completion rates are appreciable, the NTEP needs to urgently address the challenges in contact identification and IGRA testing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights in Screening and Preventive Treatment for Tuberculosis)
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11 pages, 841 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Human Papillomavirus Infection and Cervical Abnormalities among Women Attending a Tertiary Care Center in Saudi Arabia over 2 Years
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120511 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1608
Abstract
Human papillomavirus (HPV) genotype distribution varies according to the assessment method and the population targeted. This study aimed to assess HPV infection prevalence in women aged 23 to 82 with abnormal cytology attending King Fahad Medical City (KFMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, using retrospective [...] Read more.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) genotype distribution varies according to the assessment method and the population targeted. This study aimed to assess HPV infection prevalence in women aged 23 to 82 with abnormal cytology attending King Fahad Medical City (KFMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, using retrospective data collected from January 2021 to December 2022. Cytological distribution included 155 samples of atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance (ASCUS) (n = 83), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) (n = 46), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL) (n = 14), atypical squamous cells cannot exclude high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (ASC-H) (n = 10), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (n = 2). All samples were submitted to HPV detection and genotyping using Xpert HPV assay specimens. The most prevalent epithelial abnormalities were ASCUS (53.50%). Positive HPV infection results were observed in 52.9% of the samples. The highest prevalence of HPV genotypes, accounting for 31%, was attributed to the other high-risk genotypes, including 31, 33, 35, 39, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68, followed by high-risk genotype 16, which counted in 11.60% of cases. Individuals who tested positive for HPV 16 were at a high risk of ASC-H, HSIL, and LSIL. Those testing positive for HPV 18–45 exhibited an elevated risk of LSIL, and those with positive results for other high-risk HPV genotypes were at an increased risk of ASCUS and LSIL, suggesting a low oncogenic potential. The results suggest that the percentage of association between samples with abnormal cervical presentation and negative high-risk HPV diagnosis is noticeably increasing. This underscores the need for effective screening programs and an understanding of the impact of specific HPV genotypes on cervical abnormalities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus Infection)
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16 pages, 18689 KiB  
Article
Medicines for Malaria Venture Pandemic Box In Vitro Screening Identifies Compounds Highly Active against the Tachyzoite Stage of Toxoplasma gondii
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120510 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1522
Abstract
Toxoplasmosis is a disease that causes high mortality in immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients, and sequelae in congenitally infected newborns. Despite its great medical importance, there are few treatments available and these are associated with adverse events and resistance. In this work, [...] Read more.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease that causes high mortality in immunocompromised individuals, such as AIDS patients, and sequelae in congenitally infected newborns. Despite its great medical importance, there are few treatments available and these are associated with adverse events and resistance. In this work, after screening the drugs present in the Medicines for Malaria Venture Pandemic Box, we found new hits with anti-Toxoplasma gondii activity. Through our analysis, we selected twenty-three drugs or drug-like compounds that inhibited the proliferation of T. gondii tachyzoites in vitro by more than 50% at a concentration of 1 µM after seven days of treatment. Nineteen of these compounds have never been reported active before against T. gondii. Inhibitory curves showed that most of these drugs were able to inhibit parasite replication with IC50 values on the nanomolar scale. To better understand the unprecedented effect of seven compounds against T. gondii tachyzoites, an ultrastructural analysis was carried out using transmission electron microscopy. Treatment with 0.25 µM verdinexor, 3 nM MMV1580844, and 0.25 µM MMV019724 induced extensive vacuolization, complete ultrastructural disorganization, and lytic effects in the parasite, respectively, and all of them showed alterations in the division process. Treatment with 1 µM Eberconazole, 0.5 µM MMV1593541, 1 µM MMV642550, 1 µM RWJ-67657, and 1 µM URMC-099-C also caused extensive vacuolization in the parasite. The activity of these drugs against intracellular tachyzoites supports the idea that the drugs selected in the Pandemic Box could be potential future drugs for the treatment of acute toxoplasmosis. Full article
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10 pages, 1289 KiB  
Article
A 7-Year Survey (2015–2021) in One Pediatric Hospital (Brasov, Romania) on Rotavirus Gastroenteritis Specified as Community- or Hospital-Acquired Infection in Young Children
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120509 - 27 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1347
Abstract
This project is an observational, descriptive study evaluating frequencies of rotavirus disease in hospitalized children aged less than 5 years old between 2015 and 2021 in the Pediatric Hospital of Brasov, Central Romania. The study compares socio-demographic (age, sex, place of living and [...] Read more.
This project is an observational, descriptive study evaluating frequencies of rotavirus disease in hospitalized children aged less than 5 years old between 2015 and 2021 in the Pediatric Hospital of Brasov, Central Romania. The study compares socio-demographic (age, sex, place of living and ethnicity), clinical, and treatment aspects between community-acquired rotavirus gastroenteritis (CARG) and hospital-acquired rotavirus gastroenteritis (HARG). During that period, 1913 hospitalized children had a rapid positive immunichromatographic rotavirus test from stool specimens. Among them, 1620 (84.6%) were CARG and 293 (15.4%) were HARG. CARG conditions represented 28.5% of all acute hospitalized gastroenteritis (n = 5673) whereas HARG represented 5.2%. Around the same percentage of urban children were seen in CARG as in HARG (58.5% (n = 948) for CARG and 56.3% (n = 164) for HARG). About 64.9% (n = 1052) of CARG cases were from Roma population, and 66.5% (n = 195) in HARG. The age group with the highest frequency of the disease was 12 to 24 months old for both CARG and HARG. The average hospital duration was 5.09 days for CARG and 7.62 days for HARG. Diarrhea was the principal symptom in both CARG and HARG (92.6% (n = 1500) for CARG and 93.9% (n = 275) for HARG). Most CARG patients (61% (n = 989)) were treated for symptomatic management with iv fluids. Most HARG (60.4% (n = 177)) were treated for symptomatic management with iv fluids and antibiotics. A significant seasonal shift to a later period in the year was observed during the last registration year of 2021, possibly due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The seasonal disease burden of rotavirus infection in children remains high in hospital care in Romania, which may justify the systematic introduction of rotavirus vaccination across the whole country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Diseases)
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22 pages, 1107 KiB  
Systematic Review
Powassan Virus Infections: A Systematic Review of Published Cases
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120508 - 26 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Background: Powassan virus is an emerging neurotropic arbovirus transmitted by the tick Ixodes scapularis. This systematic review was conducted to aggregate data on its clinical manifestations, diagnostic findings, and complications. Methods: PubMed was searched until August 2023 using the term “Powassan”, to identify [...] Read more.
Background: Powassan virus is an emerging neurotropic arbovirus transmitted by the tick Ixodes scapularis. This systematic review was conducted to aggregate data on its clinical manifestations, diagnostic findings, and complications. Methods: PubMed was searched until August 2023 using the term “Powassan”, to identify all published cases of Powassan virus infections, as per PRISMA guidelines. Results: Among the 380 abstracts identified, 45 studies describing 84 cases (70 adult, 14 pediatric) were included. Cases were reported from the USA and Canada. Complications included paralysis in 44.1% of adult and 42.6% of pediatric cases, cognitive deficits in 33.3% of adult and 25% of pediatric cases, while the mortality rate was 19.1% and 7.1% in the adult and pediatric populations, respectively. Correlation analysis revealed an association between mortality and age (r = 0.264, p = 0.029), development of paralysis (r = 0.252, p = 0.041), or respiratory distress or failure (r = 0.328, p = 0.006). Factors associated with persistent neurological deficits were development of ataxia (r = 0.383, p = 0.006), paralysis (r = 0.278, p = 0.048), speech disorder (r = 0.319, p = 0.022), and cranial nerve involvement (r = 0.322, p = 0.017). Other significant correlations included those between speech disorders and ataxia (r = 0.526, p < 0.001), and between paralysis and respiratory distress or failure (r = 0.349, p = 0.003). Conclusion: Powassan virus infections have significant morbidity and mortality and should be suspected in cases of encephalitis and possible tick exposure. PROSPERO registration number: CRD42023395991. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Diseases)
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10 pages, 415 KiB  
Article
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Prevalence and Clinical Overview: A Single Center Study from Saudi Arabia, Eastern Region, Al-Ahsa
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120507 - 24 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne parasitic disease that is transmitted via the bites of infected female sandflies. CL has been endemic in several countries worldwide for many decades, and numerous cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, particularly across six regions; one [...] Read more.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne parasitic disease that is transmitted via the bites of infected female sandflies. CL has been endemic in several countries worldwide for many decades, and numerous cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, particularly across six regions; one of which is AL-Ahsa. Our research aimed to evaluate the epidemiological situation of CL among the patients in Al-Ahsa, Eastern region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during the period from 2017 to 2023. The data were collected from the patients’ registries and included 245 patients who were diagnosed with CL in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. Fewer than half of the cases (47.8%) were Saudi patients, with a significant number of them being males (84.5%). Over half of the cases (52.7%) were aged between 21 and 40 years, and about three-quarters (74.7%) of the cases resided in rural areas. Regarding the nature of the lesions, 38.4% of the cases had one lesion, which was mainly distributed on a lower extremity (62.0%) or an upper extremity (52.2%). A high percentage of the lesions (75.2%) were wet lesions and caused by L. major. Concerning risk factors, a greater number of patients (71.4%) had been in rural areas within the last three months. Additionally, more than half of the cases (54.3%) had close contact with rodents, followed by birds (28.2%), sheep (22.0%), dogs (16.3%), and other animals (1.2%). The results showed a low number of reported CL cases in 2020 and 2021, followed by a surge in 2022 and 2023. The study shows that cutaneous leishmaniasis is still a public health problem in Al-Ahsa and is primarily associated with rural areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Topics in Leishmaniasis Research)
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16 pages, 1193 KiB  
Review
Host Immune Responses to Clostridioides difficile Infection and Potential Novel Therapeutic Approaches
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(12), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8120506 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1461
Abstract
Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a leading nosocomial infection, posing a substantial public health challenge within the United States and globally. CDI typically occurs in hospitalized elderly patients who have been administered antibiotics; however, there has been a rise in the occurrence of [...] Read more.
Clostridioides difficile infection (CDI) is a leading nosocomial infection, posing a substantial public health challenge within the United States and globally. CDI typically occurs in hospitalized elderly patients who have been administered antibiotics; however, there has been a rise in the occurrence of CDI in the community among young adults who have not been exposed to antibiotics. C. difficile releases toxins, which damage large intestinal epithelium, leading to toxic megacolon, sepsis, and even death. Unfortunately, existing antibiotic therapies do not always prevent these consequences, with up to one-third of treated patients experiencing a recurrence of the infection. Host factors play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of CDI, and accumulating evidence shows that modulation of host immune responses may potentially alter the disease outcome. In this review, we provide an overview of our current knowledge regarding the role of innate and adaptive immune responses on CDI outcomes. Moreover, we present a summary of non-antibiotic microbiome-based therapies that can effectively influence host immune responses, along with immunization strategies that are intended to tackle both the treatment and prevention of CDI. Full article
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