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Trop. Med. Infect. Dis., Volume 9, Issue 5 (May 2024) – 28 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Greece has been malaria-free since 1974, after an intense malaria control program. However, there is a risk of introduction of the disease to specific vulnerable and receptive areas of the country. Genotyping assists malaria surveillance by supporting epidemiological investigation and case classification and providing information on the patterns of introduction. Our article provides insight into the population structure of introduced and imported P. vivax malaria isolates from Greece during 2015–2019. Genotyping revealed importation of multiple unique P. vivax strains in the country with only a few events of local transmission, confirmed the epidemiological link and clustering of cases identified through the epidemiological investigation, and validated that no sustained/ongoing malaria transmission occurred. View this paper
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14 pages, 457 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Treatment Outcomes and Tuberculosis Infection Risks: A Comparative Study of Centralized Hospitalization vs. Home-Based Treatment
by Fangming Xianyu, Yuemei Huang, Shengqiong Guo and Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050119 - 18 May 2024
Viewed by 444
Abstract
Background: Guizhou Province in Southwest China has experimented with a centralized hospitalization (CH) treatment for active and severe cases of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). The objective of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of patients with tuberculosis (TB) receiving care in a CH [...] Read more.
Background: Guizhou Province in Southwest China has experimented with a centralized hospitalization (CH) treatment for active and severe cases of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). The objective of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of patients with tuberculosis (TB) receiving care in a CH setting with those receiving home-based (HB) care. In addition, this study aimed to assess the probability of their household contacts contracting tuberculosis infection. Method: A retrospective review of medical records was undertaken for patients with TB who completed their treatment in four counties in Guizhou, China, spanning from January 2022 to August 2023. In addition, a cross-sectional survey was conducted on the tuberculin skin test (TST) among household contacts of new patients with TB who had completed their treatment. Results: In the retrospective study, 94.8% had successful CH treatment, and 93.1% had successful HB treatment (p value = 0.70). In the prospective study, 559 and 448 household contacts of patients receiving CH treatment had 16 positive and 89 negative TST results, whereas those with HB treatment showed 26 positive and 74 negative TST results. Regarding a logistic regression analysis, the CH group was nearly two times more likely to test negative on the TST, 1.95 (95% CI: 0.98, 3.92). After adjusting for confounding variables, the odds ratio increased significantly to 4.42 (95% CI: 1.22, 16.04). Conclusions: CH for treatment of TB did not show superior success rates, but it may reduce the risk of transmitting tuberculosis infection to household contacts compared to home treatment. Full article
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18 pages, 3018 KiB  
Article
Human Dendritic Cell Maturation Is Modulated by Leishmania mexicana through Akt Signaling Pathway
by Jorge Rodríguez-González, Arturo A. Wilkins-Rodríguez and Laila Gutiérrez-Kobeh
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050118 - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Dendritic cells (DC) along with macrophages are the main host cells of the intracellular parasite Leishmania. DC traverse a process of maturation, passing through an immature state with phagocytic ability to a mature one where they can modulate the immune response through [...] Read more.
Dendritic cells (DC) along with macrophages are the main host cells of the intracellular parasite Leishmania. DC traverse a process of maturation, passing through an immature state with phagocytic ability to a mature one where they can modulate the immune response through the secretion of cytokines. Several studies have demonstrated that Leishmania inhibits DC maturation. Nevertheless, when cells are subjected to a second stimulus such as LPS/IFN-γ, they manage to mature. In the maturation process of DC, several signaling pathways have been implicated, importantly MAPK. On the other hand, Akt is a signaling pathway deeply involved in cell survival. Some Leishmania species have shown to activate MAPK and Akt in different cells. The aim of this work was to investigate the role of ERK and Akt in the maturation of monocyte-derived DC (moDC) infected with L. mexicana. moDC were infected with L. mexicana metacyclic promastigotes, and the phosphorylation of ERK and Akt, the expression of MHCII and CD86 and IL-12 transcript, and secretion were determined in the presence or absence of an Akt inhibitor. We showed that L. mexicana induces a sustained Akt and ERK phosphorylation, while the Akt inhibitor inhibits it. Moreover, the infection of moDC downregulates CD86 expression but not MHCII, and the Akt inhibitor reestablishes CD86 expression and 12p40 production. Thus, L. mexicana can modulate DC maturation though Akt signaling. Full article
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8 pages, 1920 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Japanese Encephalitis Virus Isolated from Persistently Infected Mouse Embryo Cells
by Yume Kondo and Tomoyoshi Komiya
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050117 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and belongs to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. Persistent JEV infection was previously shown in pig blood cells, which act as a natural reservoir of this virus. We aimed to [...] Read more.
Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) has a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and belongs to the genus Flavivirus of the family Flaviviridae. Persistent JEV infection was previously shown in pig blood cells, which act as a natural reservoir of this virus. We aimed to determine the pathogenicity factors involved in persistent JEV infection by analyzing the pathogenicity and genome sequences of a virus isolated from a persistent infection model. We established persistent JEV infections in cells by inoculating mouse fetus primary cell cultures with the Beijing-1 strain of JEV and then performing repeated infected cell passages, harvesting viruses after each passage while monitoring the plaque size over 100 generations. The virus growth rate was compared among Vero, C6/36, and Neuro-2a cells. The pathogenicity was examined in female ICR mice at several ages. Additionally, we determined the whole-genome sequences. The 134th Beijing-1-derived persistent virus (ME134) grew in Vero cells at a similar rate to the parent strain but did not grow well in C6/36 or Neuro-2a cells. No differences were observed in pathogenicity after intracerebral inoculation in mice of different ages, but the survival time was extended in older mice. Mutations in the persistent virus genomes were found across all regions but were mainly focused in the NS3, NS4b, and 3′NCR regions, with a 34-base-pair deletion found in the variable region. The short deletion in the 3′NCR region appeared to be responsible for the reduced pathogenicity and growth efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Japanese Encephalitis)
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14 pages, 295 KiB  
Review
Antecedents and Consequences of Health Literacy among Refugees and Migrants during the First Two Years of COVID-19: A Scoping Review
by Kathleen Markey, Uchizi Msowoya, Nino Burduladze, Jon Salsberg, Anne MacFarlane, Liz Dore and Meghan Gilfoyle
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050116 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Supporting refugee and migrant health has become a critical focus of healthcare policy. Developing and designing health literacy interventions that meet the needs of refugees and migrants is core to achieving this objective. This literature review sought to identify antecedents and consequences of [...] Read more.
Supporting refugee and migrant health has become a critical focus of healthcare policy. Developing and designing health literacy interventions that meet the needs of refugees and migrants is core to achieving this objective. This literature review sought to identify antecedents and consequences of health literacy among refugees and migrants during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. We systematically searched nine electronic databases and numerous grey literature sources to identify studies published between December 2019 and March 2022. The antecedents (societal and environmental determinants, situational determinants, and personal determinants) and consequences of health literacy among refugees and migrants were mapped to a validated integrated health literacy model. Social and environmental determinants (n = 35) were the most reported antecedent influencing health literacy among refugees and migrants during the first two years of COVID-19. Language (n = 26) and culture (n = 16) were these determinants’ most frequently reported aspects. Situational determinants (n = 24) and personal determinants (n = 26) were less frequently identified factors influencing health literacy among refugees and migrants. Literacy (n = 11) and socioeconomic status (n = 8) were the most frequently reported aspects of personal determinants. Media use (n = 9) and family and peer influence (n = 7) were the most cited situational determinants reported. Refugees and migrants with higher levels of health literacy were more likely to use healthcare services, resulting in better health outcomes. The findings of this review reveal personal and situational factors that impacted health literacy among refugees and migrants during COVID-19 that require attention. However, the inadequate adaptation of health literacy interventions for linguistic and cultural diversity was a greater problem. Attention to this well-known aspect of public health preparedness and tailoring health literacy interventions to the needs of refugees and migrants during pandemics and other public health emergencies are paramount. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Migrant Health, 2nd Edition)
20 pages, 6471 KiB  
Article
Finding Priority Areas in the Evaluation of Strategies for the Prevention of Leishmaniasis in an Endemic Municipality of Brazil
by Talita Carolina Bragança de Oliveira, Anaiá da Paixão Sevá, João Alfredo Biagi Camargo Neto, Uelio de Lima Lopes and Katia Denise Saraiva Bresciani
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050115 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 435
Abstract
Visceral leishmaniasis is a zoonotic disease that affects humans and dogs. The infection is endemic in the municipality of Araçatuba, São Paulo, Brazil. Given the role of dogs in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, strategies to enhance surveillance and reduce transmission are focused on [...] Read more.
Visceral leishmaniasis is a zoonotic disease that affects humans and dogs. The infection is endemic in the municipality of Araçatuba, São Paulo, Brazil. Given the role of dogs in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, strategies to enhance surveillance and reduce transmission are focused on dogs. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed records of canine visceral leishmaniasis from 2013 to 2022. According to this database, the prevalence of dogs testing positive for leishmaniasis fluctuated, with an average of 65.04% (6590/10,133). Cases were clustered in 10 statistically significant areas. Environmental analyses identified a significant geographical association between animals testing positive and higher vegetation density rates compared with animals testing negative. The period from sample collection to diagnosis and euthanasia, as recommended by the Brazilian Ministry, correlated with disease prevalence and decreased over time. These findings serve to implement different action plans against leishmaniasis for each geographic region and to understand the impact and efforts of strategies in an endemic area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Visceral Leishmaniasis Research)
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12 pages, 486 KiB  
Review
Candidiasis in Pregnancy: Relevant Aspects of the Pathology for the Mother and the Fetus and Therapeutic Strategies
by Alessandro Messina, Alessia Mariani, Romina Brandolisio, Elena Tavella, Chiara Germano, Giovanni Lipari, Livio Leo, Bianca Masturzo and Paolo Manzoni
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050114 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 604
Abstract
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a common condition that can lead to significant discomfort, affecting approximately 70–75% of women at least once in their lives. During pregnancy, the prevalence of VVC is estimated to be around 20%, peaking at about 30% in the third [...] Read more.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) is a common condition that can lead to significant discomfort, affecting approximately 70–75% of women at least once in their lives. During pregnancy, the prevalence of VVC is estimated to be around 20%, peaking at about 30% in the third trimester, with a number of specific risk factors predisposing to yeast infection being identified and needing elucidation. This review aims to provide updated knowledge on candidiasis during pregnancy, addressing risk factors and maternal and neonatal outcomes, as well as discussing optimal therapeutic strategies to safeguard mothers and newborns. The bibliographic search involved two biomedical databases, PubMed and Embase, without imposing time limits. Among all Candida spp., Candida albicans remains the most frequent causative species. The hyperestrogenic environment of the vaginal mucosa and reduced immune defenses, physiological effects of pregnancy, create conditions favorable for Candida spp. vaginal colonization and hence VVC. Recent evidence shows an association between VVC and adverse obstetric outcomes, including premature membrane rupture (PROM), chorioamnionitis, preterm birth, and puerperal infections. Prompt and effective management of this condition is therefore crucial to prevent adverse obstetric outcomes, maternal–fetal transmission, and neonatal disease. Additional studies are required to confirm the benefits of systemic treatment for maternal candida infection or colonization in preventing premature birth or neonatal systemic candidiasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Infections and Antimicrobial Use in Neonates and Infants)
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22 pages, 6866 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Role of Environmental Factors in Lyme Disease Transmission in the European Union: A Systematic Review
by Christine Giesen, Daniel Cifo, Diana Gomez-Barroso, Rosa M. Estévez-Reboredo, Jordi Figuerola and Zaida Herrador
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050113 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Background: Lyme disease (LD) is an emergent vector-borne disease caused by Borrelia spp. and transmitted through infected ticks, mainly Ixodes spp. Our objective was to determine meteorological and environmental factors associated with LD transmission in Europe and the effect of climate change on [...] Read more.
Background: Lyme disease (LD) is an emergent vector-borne disease caused by Borrelia spp. and transmitted through infected ticks, mainly Ixodes spp. Our objective was to determine meteorological and environmental factors associated with LD transmission in Europe and the effect of climate change on LD. Materials and methods: A systematic review following the PRISMA guidelines was performed. We selected studies on LD transmission in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) published between 2000 and 2022. The protocol was registered in the PROSPERO database. Results: We included 81 studies. The impact of environmental, meteorological or climate change factors on tick vectors was studied in 65 papers (80%), and the impact on human LD cases was studied in 16 papers (19%), whereas animal hosts were only addressed in one study (1%). A significant positive relationship was observed between temperature and precipitation and the epidemiology of LD, although contrasting results were found among studies. Other positive factors were humidity and the expansion of anthropized habitats. Conclusions: The epidemiology of LD seems to be related to climatic factors that are changing globally due to ongoing climate change. Unfortunately, the complete zoonotic cycle was not systematically analyzed. It is important to adopt a One Health approach to understand LD epidemiology. Full article
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10 pages, 1615 KiB  
Article
Malaria during COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in Makkah, Saudi Arabia
by Sami Melebari, Abdul Hafiz, Kamal H. Alzabeedi, Abdullah A. Alzahrani, Yehya Almalki, Renad J. Jadkarim, Fadel Qabbani, Rowaida Bakri, Naif A. Jalal, Hutaf Mashat, Aisha Alsaadi, Ashwaq Hakim, Feras Hashim Malibari, Ahmed Alkhyami and Othman Fallatah
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050112 - 15 May 2024
Viewed by 462
Abstract
Malaria is a parasitic infection that may result in an acute, life-threatening illness. It is a major public health problem in the tropical world. The disease is caused by the parasites of the genus Plasmodium and is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. Saudi [...] Read more.
Malaria is a parasitic infection that may result in an acute, life-threatening illness. It is a major public health problem in the tropical world. The disease is caused by the parasites of the genus Plasmodium and is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. Saudi Arabia is in the elimination phase of malaria control. Several parts of Saudi Arabia report cases of imported malaria among travelers and visitors. The city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia has a population of about 2.3 million. Moreover, over 6 million religious visitors from different parts of the world visit Makkah annually. During the COVID-19 outbreak, travel restrictions were enforced in Makkah to contain the spread of COVID-19. We compare the total reported cases of malaria in Makkah before, during, and after COVID-19 travel restrictions in this retrospective cross-sectional study. Data on demographics, clinical data, and laboratory parameters were collected from the medical records of the Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia. The annual malaria incidence rates in Makkah were 29.13/million people (2018), 37.82/million people (2019), 15.65/million people (2020), 12.61/million people (2021), and 48.69/million people (2022). Most of the malaria cases in Makkah were caused by Plasmodium falciparum, followed by P. vivax. Sudan, Nigeria, Yamen, Pakistan, and India are the top five countries contributing to malaria cases in Makkah. Weekly malaria case analyses revealed that COVID-19-related travel restrictions resulted in zero malaria cases in Makkah, indicating the magnitude of the travel-related malaria burden in the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology, Detection and Treatment of Malaria)
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9 pages, 2260 KiB  
Article
IL-33 Enhances the Total Production of IgG, IgG1, and IgG3 in Angiostrongylus cantonensis-Infected Mice
by Po-An Su, Ming-Chieh Ma, Wen-Bin Wu, Jiun-Jr Wang and Wen-Yuan Du
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050111 - 12 May 2024
Viewed by 398
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to clarify the role of IL-33 in the immune response to angiostrongyliasis, especially in terms of antibody production and isotype switching. In our experiment, C57BL/6 mice were each infected with 35 infectious larvae and were divided into [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to clarify the role of IL-33 in the immune response to angiostrongyliasis, especially in terms of antibody production and isotype switching. In our experiment, C57BL/6 mice were each infected with 35 infectious larvae and were divided into groups that received an intraperitoneal injection of IL-33, anti-IL-33 monoclonal antibody (mAb), or anti-ST2 mAb 3 days post-infection (dpi) and were subsequently administered booster shots at 5-day intervals with the same dose. Serum samples from each group were collected weekly for ELISA assays. The levels of total IgG, IgG1, and IgG3 were significantly increased in A. cantonensis-infected mice that were treated with IL-33, and the levels decreased significantly in infected groups treated with anti-IL-33 or anti-ST2 mAb. These results suggest that IL-33 may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of human angiostrongyliasis and could be useful for understanding protective immunity against this parasitic infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Diagnosis and Risk Assessment of Helminth Infections)
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23 pages, 37609 KiB  
Article
Efficacy and Safety of Asparagusic Acid against Echinococcus multilocularis In Vitro and in a Murine Infection Model
by Zhuanhong Lu, Yating Wang, Chuanchuan Liu and Haining Fan
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050110 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 499
Abstract
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) stands as a perilous zoonotic affliction caused by the larvae of Echinococcus multilocularis. There is an imperative need to explore novel therapeutic agents or lead compounds for the treatment of AE. Asparagusic acid, characterized by its low toxicity and [...] Read more.
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) stands as a perilous zoonotic affliction caused by the larvae of Echinococcus multilocularis. There is an imperative need to explore novel therapeutic agents or lead compounds for the treatment of AE. Asparagusic acid, characterized by its low toxicity and possessing antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-parasitic attributes, emerges as a promising candidate. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vivo and in vitro efficacy of asparagusic acid against E. multilocularis. Morphological observations, scanning electron microscopy, ROS assays, mitochondrial membrane potential assays, and Western blot were used to evaluate the in vitro effects of asparagusic acid on protoscoleces. The effects of asparagusic acid on vesicles were assessed via PGI release, γ-GGT release, and transmission electron microscopy observations. CellTiter-Glo assays, Caspase3 activity assays, flow cytometry, and Western blot were used for an evaluation of the effect of asparaginic acid on the proliferation and apoptosis of germinal cells. The in vivo efficacy of asparagusic acid was evaluated in a murine AE model. Asparagusic acid exhibited a pronounced killing effect on the protoscoleces post-treatment. Following an intervention with asparagusic acid, there was an increase in ROS levels and a decline in mitochondrial membrane potential in the protoscolex. Moreover, asparagusic acid treatment resulted in the upregulation of PGI and γ-GGT release in metacestode vesicles, concomitant with the inhibition of germinal cell viability. Furthermore, asparagusic acid led to an enhanced relative expression of Caspase3 in the culture supernatant of both the protoscoleces and germinal cells, accompanied by an increase in the proportion of apoptotic germinal cells. Notably, asparagusic acid induced an augmentation in Bax and Caspase3 protein expression while reducing Bcl2 protein expression in both the protoscoleces and germinal cells. In vitro cytotoxicity assessments demonstrated the low toxicity of asparagusic acid towards normal human hepatocytes and HFF cells. Additionally, in vivo experiments revealed that asparagusic acid administration at doses of 10 mg/kg and 40 mg/kg significantly reduced metacestode wet weight. A histopathological analysis displayed the disruption of the germinal layer structure within lesions post-asparagusic acid treatment, alongside the preservation of laminated layer structures. Transmission electron microscopy further revealed mitochondrial swelling and heightened cell necrosis subsequent to the asparagusic acid treatment. Furthermore, asparagusic acid promoted Caspase3 and Bax protein expression while decreasing Bcl2 protein expression in perilesional tissues. Subsequently, it inhibited the expression of Ki67, MMP2, and MMP9 proteins in the perilesional tissues and curbed the activation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway within the lesion-host microenvironmental tissues. Asparagusic acid demonstrated a pronounced killing effect on E. multilocularis, suggesting its potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the management of AE. Full article
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11 pages, 965 KiB  
Article
Phenotypic Investigation and Detection of Biofilm-Associated Genes in Acinetobacter baumannii Isolates, Obtained from Companion Animals
by Marios Lysitsas, Eleutherios Triantafillou, Irene Chatzipanagiotidou, Konstantina Antoniou, Vassiliki Spyrou, Charalambos Billinis and George Valiakos
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050109 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Bacteria of the genus Acinetobacter, especially Acinetobacter baumannii (Ab), have emerged as pathogens of companion animals during the last two decades and are commonly associated with hospitalization and multidrug resistance. A critical factor for the distribution of relevant strains in [...] Read more.
Bacteria of the genus Acinetobacter, especially Acinetobacter baumannii (Ab), have emerged as pathogens of companion animals during the last two decades and are commonly associated with hospitalization and multidrug resistance. A critical factor for the distribution of relevant strains in healthcare facilities, including veterinary facilities, is their adherence to both biotic and abiotic surfaces and the production of biofilms. A group of 41 A. baumannii isolates obtained from canine and feline clinical samples in Greece was subjected to phenotypic investigation of their ability to produce biofilms using the tissue culture plate (TCP) method. All of them (100%) produced biofilms, while 23 isolates (56.1%) were classified as strong producers, 11 (26.8%) as moderate producers, and 7 (17.1%) as weak producers. A correlation between the MDR and XDR phenotypes and weak or moderate biofilm production was identified. Moreover, the presence of four biofilm-associated genes bap, blaPER, ompA, and csuE was examined by PCR, and they were detected in 100%, 65.9%, 97.6%, and 95.1% of the strains respectively. All isolates carried at least two of the investigated genes, whereas most of the strong biofilm producers carried all four genes. In conclusion, the spread and persistence of biofilm-producing Ab strains in veterinary facilities is a matter of concern, since they are regularly obtained from infected animals, indicating their potential as challenging pathogens for veterinarians due to multidrug resistance and tolerance in conventional eradication measures. Furthermore, considering that companion animals can act as reservoirs of relevant strains, public health concerns emerge. Full article
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13 pages, 4416 KiB  
Article
Occurrence of Free-Living Amoebae in Non-Human Primate Gut
by Igor Rodrigues Cardoso, Clezia Siqueira de Lima, Rhagner Bonono dos Reis, Ana Cristina Araujo Pinto, Thalita Pissinatti, Tatiana Kugelmeier, Sócrates Fraga da Costa Neto, Fabio Alves da Silva and Helena Lúcia Carneiro Santos
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050108 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
The gut microbiome reflects health and predicts possible disease in hosts. A holistic view of this community is needed, focusing on identifying species and dissecting how species interact with their host and each other, regardless of whether their presence is beneficial, inconsequential, or [...] Read more.
The gut microbiome reflects health and predicts possible disease in hosts. A holistic view of this community is needed, focusing on identifying species and dissecting how species interact with their host and each other, regardless of whether their presence is beneficial, inconsequential, or detrimental. The distribution of gut-associated eukaryotes within and across non-human primates is likely driven by host behavior and ecology. To ascertain the existence of free-living amoebae (FLA) in the gut of wild and captive non-human primates, 101 stool samples were collected and submitted to culture-dependent microscopy examination and DNA sequencing. Free-living amoebae were detected in 45.4% (46/101) of fecal samples analyzed, and their morphological characteristics matched those of Acanthamoeba spp., Vermamoeba spp., heterolobosean amoeboflagellates and fan-shaped amoebae of the family Vannellidae. Sequence analysis of the PCR products revealed that the suspected amoebae are highly homologous (99% identity and 100% query coverage) with Acanthamoeba T4 genotype and Vermamoeba vermiformis amoebae. The results showed a great diversity of amoebae in the non-human primate’s microbiome, which may pose a potential risk to the health of NHPs. To our knowledge, this is the first report of free-living amoebae in non-human primates that are naturally infected. However, it is unknown whether gut-borne amoebae exploit a viable ecological niche or are simply transient residents in the gut. Full article
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22 pages, 3598 KiB  
Article
Towards Understanding the Microepidemiology of Lymphatic Filariasis at the Community Level in Ghana
by Jeffrey Gabriel Sumboh, Nii A. Laryea, Joseph Otchere, Collins S. Ahorlu and Dziedzom K. de Souza
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050107 - 7 May 2024
Viewed by 580
Abstract
Studies on the distribution of lymphatic filariasis (LF) have mostly focused on reporting prevalence at the community level and distribution at the district levels. Understanding the distribution patterns at community levels may help in designing surveillance strategies. This study aimed to characterize the [...] Read more.
Studies on the distribution of lymphatic filariasis (LF) have mostly focused on reporting prevalence at the community level and distribution at the district levels. Understanding the distribution patterns at community levels may help in designing surveillance strategies. This study aimed to characterize the spatial distribution of LF infections in four hotspot communities in Ghana. The research, involving 252 participants, collected demographic data, mass drug administration (MDA) information, household GPS coordinates, and antigen detection test results. The LF prevalence varied significantly among the communities, with Asemda having the highest (33.33%) and Mempeasem having the lowest (4.44%). Females had lower odds of infection than males (OR = 2.67, p = 0.003 CI: 1.39–5.13). Spatial analysis using kernel density, Anselin Local Moran’s, Getis-Ord Gi models, Ordinary Least Squares, and Geographic Weighted Regression revealed mixed patterns of spatial autocorrelation. This study identified LF hotspots, indicating clusters of high or low prevalence with some areas showing disparities between MDA coverage and LF positivity rates. Despite these hotspots, the overall distribution of LF appeared random, suggesting the importance of purposeful sampling in surveillance activities. These findings contribute valuable insights into the micro-epidemiology of LF, emphasizing the need for community-specific investigations to understand the factors influencing the effectiveness of MDA programs in controlling filarial infections. The study highlights the importance of refining surveillance strategies based on community-level distribution patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neglected and Emerging Tropical Diseases)
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5 pages, 867 KiB  
Case Report
Vesiculobullous Cutaneous Larva Migrans in the Absence of Domestic Dogs and Cats. Successful Treatment with Oral Ivermectin
by Manuel Calvopina, Karla Lozano-Alvarez, Sandra Enriquez-Morillo and Ignacio Cordova-Calisto
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050106 - 7 May 2024
Viewed by 534
Abstract
While conducting research in a protected ecological reserve within Ecuador’s subtropical rainforest, a 49-year-old biologist, residing in an Andean city, contracted hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans (Hr-CLM) in the vesiculobullous clinical form. Since there were no domestic dogs or cats in the reserve, it [...] Read more.
While conducting research in a protected ecological reserve within Ecuador’s subtropical rainforest, a 49-year-old biologist, residing in an Andean city, contracted hookworm-related cutaneous larva migrans (Hr-CLM) in the vesiculobullous clinical form. Since there were no domestic dogs or cats in the reserve, it is likely that wild animals carrying Ancylostoma sp. larvae infected the patient. She was effectively treated with two doses of oral ivermectin, administered 31 days after getting the infection. This case was diagnosed in a temperate city; therefore, a comprehensive travel history and clinical assessments are crucial for an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. Full article
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15 pages, 4727 KiB  
Article
High-Risk Areas for Congenital Zika Syndrome in Rio de Janeiro: Spatial Cluster Detection
by Danielle Amaral de Freitas, Mayumi Duarte Wakimoto, Sónia Dias and Reinaldo Souza-Santos
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050105 - 7 May 2024
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Brazil reported 18,282 suspected congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) cases up to 2018 and accounts for 61.4% of the total reported Zika cases in the Americas in the period. To detect high-risk areas for children with CZS in the city of Rio de Janeiro, [...] Read more.
Brazil reported 18,282 suspected congenital Zika syndrome (CZS) cases up to 2018 and accounts for 61.4% of the total reported Zika cases in the Americas in the period. To detect high-risk areas for children with CZS in the city of Rio de Janeiro, we used cluster detection and thematic maps. We analyzed data using a Poisson model in Satscan 10.1.3 software. We also analyzed the records of children with CZS from 2015 to 2016 to describe the clinical and epidemiological maternal and child profile, as well as live births in 2016 and the social development index (SDI) by neighborhood. In 2015 and 2016, the incidence rates of CZS were 8.84 and 46.96 per 100,000 live births in the city, respectively. Severe congenital findings such as microcephaly and brain damage, osteoarticular impairment, ocular abnormalities, and hearing loss were observed in 47 children. The spatial distribution of CZS was concentrated in the north and west zones in heterogeneous neighborhoods. The neighborhoods with the highest occurrence of CZS cases were found to have the worst SDIs. Stascan detected three spatial clusters in the north zone, where the SDI is lower. The clusters presented high relative risks for CZS (7.86, 1.46, and 2.08), although they were not statistically significant. Our findings highlight a higher occurrence of CZS in areas with less favorable socioeconomic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Mosquito-Borne Diseases)
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13 pages, 4366 KiB  
Article
Infectious Diseases and Secondary Antibody Deficiency in Patients from a Mesoregion of São Paulo State, Brazil
by Luiz Euribel Prestes-Carneiro, Paula Andreia Martins Carrilho, Danielle Francisco Honorato de Barros Torelli, Jose Antonio Nascimento Bressa, Ana Carolina Gomes Parizi, Pedro Henrique Meireles Vieira, Fernanda Miranda Caliani Sa and Mauricio Domingues Ferreira
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050104 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 527
Abstract
Our aim was to determine the secondary antibody deficiency (SAD) profiles of patients in a mesoregion of São Paulo state, Brazil, focusing on infectious diseases. Demographic characteristics, and clinical and laboratory data were obtained from electronic files; infections were classified as organ-specific and [...] Read more.
Our aim was to determine the secondary antibody deficiency (SAD) profiles of patients in a mesoregion of São Paulo state, Brazil, focusing on infectious diseases. Demographic characteristics, and clinical and laboratory data were obtained from electronic files; infections were classified as organ-specific and graded as mild, moderate, life-threatening, and fatal. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) accounted for 30% of patients, nephrotic syndrome (NS) 25%, chronic lymphocyte leukemia 20%, and multiple myeloma 15%. Patients with NS were younger than those in other groups, and hypo-γ-globulinemia was detected in 94.1%, IgG < 400 mg/dL in 60.0%, IgA < 40 mg/dL in 55.0%, and CD19 < 20 cells/mm3 in 30.0%. One hundred and one infections were found; 82.1% were classified as mild or moderate, 7.9% as life-threatening, and 3.0% as fatal. Respiratory tract infections were more prevalent (41.5%), and pneumonia accounted for 19.8%. Lower levels of infections were found in patients with NS compared with NHL (p = 0.0001). Most patients progressed to hypo-γ-globulinemia and SAD after treatment with immunosuppressants, and mild and moderate infections were predominant. These therapies are increasing in patients with different diseases; therefore, monitoring hypo-γ-globulinemia and infections may help to identify patients at high risk for severe complications, antibiotic prophylaxis or treatment, and immunoglobulin replacement. Full article
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12 pages, 627 KiB  
Commentary
Vibrio cholerae Bacteremia: An Enigma in Cholera-Endemic African Countries
by Foster K. Agyei, Birgit Scharf and Samuel Duodu
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050103 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Cholera is highly endemic in many sub-Saharan African countries. The bacterium Vibrio cholerae is responsible for this severe dehydrating diarrheal disease that accounts for over 100,000 deaths each year globally. In recent years, the pathogen has been found to invade intestinal layers and [...] Read more.
Cholera is highly endemic in many sub-Saharan African countries. The bacterium Vibrio cholerae is responsible for this severe dehydrating diarrheal disease that accounts for over 100,000 deaths each year globally. In recent years, the pathogen has been found to invade intestinal layers and translocate into the bloodstream of humans. The non-toxigenic strains of V. cholerae (non-O1/O139), also known as NOVC, which do not cause epidemic or pandemic cases of cholera, are the major culprits of V. cholerae bacteremia. In non-cholera-endemic regions, clinical reports on NOVC infection have been noted over the past few decades, particularly in Europe and America. Although low–middle-income countries are most susceptible to cholera infections because of challenges with access to clean water and inappropriate sanitation issues, just a few cases of V. cholerae bloodstream infections have been reported. The lack of evidence-based research and surveillance of V. cholerae bacteremia in Africa may have significant clinical implications. This commentary summarizes the existing knowledge on the host risk factors, pathogenesis, and diagnostics of NOVC bacteremia. Full article
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14 pages, 744 KiB  
Article
Genetic Structure of Introduced Plasmodium vivax Malaria Isolates in Greece, 2015–2019
by Ioanna Spiliopoulou, Danai Pervanidou, Nikolaos Tegos, Maria Tseroni, Agoritsa Baka, Annita Vakali, Chrisovaladou-Niki Kefaloudi, Vasilios Papavasilopoulos, Anastasia Mpimpa and Eleni Patsoula
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050102 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 711
Abstract
Greece has been malaria-free since 1974, after an intense malaria control program. However, as Greece hosts migrant populations from P. vivax malaria-endemic countries, there is a risk of introducing the disease to specific vulnerable and receptive areas of the country. Knowledge of the [...] Read more.
Greece has been malaria-free since 1974, after an intense malaria control program. However, as Greece hosts migrant populations from P. vivax malaria-endemic countries, there is a risk of introducing the disease to specific vulnerable and receptive areas of the country. Knowledge of the genetic diversity of P. vivax populations is essential for understanding the dynamics of malaria disease transmission in a given region. We used nine highly polymorphic markers to genotype 124 P. vivax-infected archived DNA samples from human blood specimens referred to the NMRL from all over Greece throughout 2015–2019. The genotypic variability of the samples studied was noted, as they comprised several unique haplotypes, indicative of the importation of a large number of different P. vivax strains in the country. However, only a few events of local transmission were recorded. Genotyping revealed and confirmed the same clusters as those identified through epidemiological investigation. In only one introduction event was the index case found. No sustained/ongoing malaria transmissions in/between the studied regions or during consecutive years or additional foci of local transmission were observed. Genotyping is an important component in assisting malaria surveillance, as it provides information concerning the patterns of introduction and the effectiveness of implemented malaria control and elimination measures. Full article
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12 pages, 1106 KiB  
Article
Community-Based Intervention for Active Detection and Provision of Single-Dose Rifampicin Post-Exposure Prophylaxis to Household Contacts of Leprosy in Bolivia
by Abundio Baptista Mora, Nimer Ortuño-Gutiérrez, Deisy Zurita Paniagua, Carlos Hurtado Solares, Anil Fastenau and Christa Kasang
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050101 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 692
Abstract
Background: To achieve zero leprosy cases in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, we designed a community-based active detection and provision of single-dose rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis (SDR-PEP) to household contacts with new leprosy patients. Methods: From July to August 2021, we assessed the current knowledge, attitude, [...] Read more.
Background: To achieve zero leprosy cases in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, we designed a community-based active detection and provision of single-dose rifampicin post-exposure prophylaxis (SDR-PEP) to household contacts with new leprosy patients. Methods: From July to August 2021, we assessed the current knowledge, attitude, and practices through structured interviews and focus group discussions with community representatives and health staff. This was followed by sensitization sessions, the training of health staff, and the reinforcement of referral mechanisms. Teams, including health staff and community volunteers, visited all new leprosy patients detected in 2021–2023 and household contacts. Results: Among 115 community representatives, knowledge about leprosy etiology was attributed to non-biological factors (74%); fear accounted for 77%, and access to care was perceived as weak (74%), but the outlook was improved by SDR-PEP (80%). Among the 217 health staff interviewed, the programmatic barriers identified were a lack of referral feedback (67%), limited supplies for diagnosis and prevention, and ineffective training (64%). We visited 70 new patients and 258 household contacts. The median age in household contacts was 25 years old; 49% were women, 98% were eligible for SDR-PEP, and all who were eligible accepted it. Those who were non-eligible included one tuberculosis patient and six newly detected leprosy patients (23‰). Conclusions: A community-based intervention was successful in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Misbeliefs and a lack of knowledge were identified as barriers. Programmatic components should be reinforced for SDR-PEP extension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Engagement and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs))
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10 pages, 1764 KiB  
Article
Impact of the Stool-Based Xpert Test on Childhood Tuberculosis Diagnosis in Selected States in Nigeria
by Nkiru Nwokoye, Bethrand Odume, Peter Nwadike, Ikechukwu Anaedobe, Zirra Mangoro, Michael Umoren, Chidubem Ogbudebe, Ogoamaka Chukwuogo, Sani Useni, Debby Nongo, Rupert Eneogu, Emeka Elom, Petra De Haas and Mustapha Gidado
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050100 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 759
Abstract
Background: In Nigeria, most children with tuberculosis (TB) present at primary health clinics where there are limited personnel skilled in collecting appropriate respiratory specimens from those who cannot produce sputum. KNCV Nigeria, in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis Control Program, implemented a modified [...] Read more.
Background: In Nigeria, most children with tuberculosis (TB) present at primary health clinics where there are limited personnel skilled in collecting appropriate respiratory specimens from those who cannot produce sputum. KNCV Nigeria, in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis Control Program, implemented a modified simple, one-step (SOS), stool-based Xpert MTB/RIF method for diagnosis of TB in children who cannot expectorate sputum. We evaluated the impact of its implementation on childhood TB diagnosis. Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted across 14 selected states using secondary data of children presumed to have TB. Stool was collected from children presumed to have TB and processed using Xpert. Result: Out of 52,117 presumptive TB cases, 52% were male and 59.7% were under 5 years old. A total of 2440 (5%) cases were diagnosed with TB, and 2307 (95%) were placed on treatment. Annual TB notifications increased significantly after the introduction of the stool-based Xpert test when compared to those in the pre-implementation period. Increasing contributions from stool testing were observed throughout the implementation period, except in 2020 during the COVID-19 era. Overall, stool Xpert testing improved childhood TB notification in the studied states. Interventions aimed at awareness creation, capacity building, and active case finding improved the performance of the test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infectious Diseases)
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16 pages, 2754 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Using AI-Driven Hotspot Mapping for Active Case Finding of Tuberculosis in Southwestern Nigeria
by Abiola Alege, Sumbul Hashmi, Rupert Eneogu, Vincent Meurrens, Anne-Laure Budts, Michael Pedro, Olugbenga Daniel, Omokhoudu Idogho, Austin Ihesie, Matthys Gerhardus Potgieter, Obioma Chijioke Akaniro, Omosalewa Oyelaran, Mensah Olalekan Charles and Aderonke Agbaje
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050099 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 727
Abstract
Background: Nigeria is among the top five countries that have the highest gap between people reported as diagnosed and estimated to have developed tuberculosis (TB). To bridge this gap, there is a need for innovative approaches to identify geographical areas at high [...] Read more.
Background: Nigeria is among the top five countries that have the highest gap between people reported as diagnosed and estimated to have developed tuberculosis (TB). To bridge this gap, there is a need for innovative approaches to identify geographical areas at high risk of TB transmission and targeted active case finding (ACF) interventions. Leveraging community-level data together with granular sociodemographic contextual information can unmask local hotspots that could be otherwise missed. This work evaluated whether this approach helps to reach communities with higher numbers of undiagnosed TB. Methodology: A retrospective analysis of the data generated from an ACF intervention program in four southwestern states in Nigeria was conducted. Wards (the smallest administrative level in Nigeria) were further subdivided into smaller population clusters. ACF sites and their respective TB screening outputs were mapped to these population clusters. This data were then combined with open-source high-resolution contextual data to train a Bayesian inference model. The model predicted TB positivity rates on the community level (population cluster level), and these were visualised on a customised geoportal for use by the local teams to identify communities at high risk of TB transmission and plan ACF interventions. The TB positivity yield (proportion) observed at model-predicted hotspots was compared with the yield obtained at other sites identified based on aggregated notification data. Results: The yield in population clusters that were predicted to have high TB positivity rates by the model was at least 1.75 times higher (p-value < 0.001) than the yield in other locations in all four states. Conclusions: The community-level Bayesian predictive model has the potential to guide ACF implementers to high-TB-positivity areas for finding undiagnosed TB in the communities, thus improving the efficiency of interventions. Full article
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13 pages, 1631 KiB  
Article
Toxoplasma gondii in a Remote Subsistence Hunting-Based Indigenous Community of the Peruvian Amazon
by María Fernanda Menajovsky, Johan Espunyes, Gabriela Ulloa, Maritza Calderon, Andrea Diestra, Edith Malaga, Carmen Muñoz, Stephanie Montero, Andres G. Lescano, Meddly L. Santolalla, Oscar Cabezón and Pedro Mayor
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050098 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous zoonotic protozoan parasite that infects a wide variety range of warm-blooded animals. This study describes the epidemiological scenario of T. gondii in an indigenous community that relies on subsistence hunting in a well-conserved and isolated area of the [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii is a ubiquitous zoonotic protozoan parasite that infects a wide variety range of warm-blooded animals. This study describes the epidemiological scenario of T. gondii in an indigenous community that relies on subsistence hunting in a well-conserved and isolated area of the Peruvian Amazon. The high seropositivity against T. gondii in humans (83.3% IgG and 6.1% IgM), wild mammals (30.45%, 17 species), peri-domestic rodents (10.0% Rattus sp.), and domestic animals (94.1% dogs and 100% cats) indicates the existence of a sylvatic cycle in the community under study. Individual age was found to be positively associated with IgG detection against T. gondii but not with IgM. It is estimated that each family consumed 5.67 infected animals per year with terrestrial species having higher infective rates than arboreal species. The main risk factors included improper handling and cooking of wild meat, poor hygiene practices, and feeding uncooked offal to domestic animals. This scenario results in a continuous process of infection and reinfection within the indigenous community with cats, dogs, and peri-domestic animals becoming infected through the ingestion of infected raw viscera. Our results emphasize the need to promote safe food handling practices and disposal of waste materials from hunted animals in such communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Engagement and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs))
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13 pages, 2122 KiB  
Article
SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic in a Small-Sized Municipality in Ceará State, Brazil: Temporal and Spatial Evolution
by Jaliana Holanda Nascimento dos Santos, Carlos Henrique Alencar and Jorg Heukelbach
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050097 - 26 Apr 2024
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Data on the temporal and spatial evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and local control measures and their effects on morbidity and mortality patterns in rural Brazil are scarce. We analyzed the data from case notification systems, epidemiological investigation reports, and municipal decrees in Itapajé, a [...] Read more.
Data on the temporal and spatial evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and local control measures and their effects on morbidity and mortality patterns in rural Brazil are scarce. We analyzed the data from case notification systems, epidemiological investigation reports, and municipal decrees in Itapajé, a small municipality in Ceará State in northeast Brazil. For spatial and spatio-temporal analyses, cases and deaths were mapped. There were a total of 3020 cases of COVID-19, recorded between April 2020 and December 2021; 135 (4.5%) died. The cumulative incidence and mortality rates were 5650.3 cases and 252.6 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively. The index case of SARS-CoV-2 in Itapajé was diagnosed in March 2020. The first peak of cases and deaths occurred in May 2020. The second wave peaked in May 2021, with the highest number of deaths in March 2021. According to the spatial analysis, the highest density of cases and deaths occurred in the central urban areas. In these areas, there were also the clusters of highest risk according to the spatio-temporal analyses. The municipal government issued 69 decrees on restriction measures, surveillance, and the maintenance of social isolation as a response to the pandemic. The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Itapajé mirrored the dynamics in large metropolitan regions, going from central neighborhoods of low socio-economic status to the wealthier peripheries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Current Situation and Future Trends)
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15 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Prevalence and Determinants of Undernutrition in Schoolchildren in the Kilombero District, South-Eastern Tanzania
by Elihaika G. Minja, Emmanuel C. Mrimi, Winfrida P. Mponzi, Getrud J. Mollel, Christin Lang, Johanna Beckmann, Markus Gerber, Uwe Pühse, Kurt Z. Long, Honorati Masanja, Fredros O. Okumu, Marceline F. Finda and Jürg Utzinger
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050096 - 25 Apr 2024
Viewed by 729
Abstract
Childhood undernutrition is a major issue in low- and middle-income countries, affecting the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of schoolchildren. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of stunting, wasting, and underweight among schoolchildren in peri-urban areas in the south-eastern [...] Read more.
Childhood undernutrition is a major issue in low- and middle-income countries, affecting the health, well-being, and educational outcomes of schoolchildren. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of stunting, wasting, and underweight among schoolchildren in peri-urban areas in the south-eastern part of Tanzania. A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 930 children aged 6–12 years from four primary schools from July to August 2019. The WHO Anthro Survey Analyzer was employed to estimate the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight, while logistic regression analyses examined sociodemographic background, malaria infection, anaemia, anthropometric measures, and dietary diversity score as potential factors. The prevalence of stunting, wasting, underweight, overweight, and obesity was 11.8%, 4.3%, 3.9%, 11.1%, and 2.0%, respectively. Overall, 1.5% of the children had malaria, as determined by rapid diagnostic tests, and 0.4% had severe anaemia. Univariate analysis indicated higher odds of undernutrition among children aged 9–12 compared to their younger peers. Stunting was more common among children with low and medium dietary diversity. Anaemia was found in 11.2% of schoolchildren, and severe anaemia was associated with wasting. Multivariate analysis revealed that age and low dietary diversity were significantly associated with undernutrition. These findings emphasise the need for school-based health and nutrition programmes targeting children beyond the age of 5 to improve their nutritional status and mitigate potential adverse effects on health, cognition, and academic achievement. Regular assessment of the nutritional status of schoolchildren is warranted. Full article
14 pages, 6073 KiB  
Article
Immunological Characteristics of Hepatic Dendritic Cells in Patients and Mouse Model with Liver Echinococcus multilocularis Infection
by Hui Wang, Yinshi Li, Qian Yu, Mingkun Wang, Abidan Ainiwaer, Na Tang, Xuran Zheng, Adilai Duolikun, Bingqing Deng, Jing Li, Yujuan Shen and Chuanshan Zhang
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050095 - 25 Apr 2024
Viewed by 550
Abstract
The cestode Echinococcus multilocularis, which mainly dwells in the liver, leads to a serious parasitic liver disease called alveolar echinococcosis (AE). Despite the increased attention drawn to the immunosuppressive microenvironment formed by hepatic AE tissue, the immunological characteristics of hepatic dendritic cells (DCs) [...] Read more.
The cestode Echinococcus multilocularis, which mainly dwells in the liver, leads to a serious parasitic liver disease called alveolar echinococcosis (AE). Despite the increased attention drawn to the immunosuppressive microenvironment formed by hepatic AE tissue, the immunological characteristics of hepatic dendritic cells (DCs) in the AE liver microenvironment have not been fully elucidated. Here, we profiled the immunophenotypic characteristics of hepatic DC subsets in both clinical AE patients and a mouse model. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) analysis of four AE patient specimens revealed that greater DC numbers were present within perilesional liver tissues and that the distributions of cDC and pDC subsets in the liver and periphery were different. cDCs highly expressed the costimulatory molecule CD86, the immune checkpoint molecule CD244, LAG3, CTLA4, and the checkpoint ligand CD48, while pDCs expressed these genes at low frequencies. Flow cytometric analysis of hepatic DC subsets in an E. multilocularis infection mouse model demonstrated that the number of cDCs significantly increased after parasite infection, and a tolerogenic phenotype characterized by a decrease in CD40 and CD80 expression levels was observed at an early stage, whereas an activated phenotype characterized by an increase in CD86 expression levels was observed at a late stage. Moreover, the expression profiles of major immune checkpoint molecules (CD244 and LAG3) and ligands (CD48) on hepatic DC subsets in a mouse model exhibited the same pattern as those in AE patients. Notably, the cDC and pDC subsets in the E. multilocularis infection group exhibited higher expression levels of PD-L1 and CD155 than those in the control group, suggesting the potential of these subsets to impair T cell function. These findings may provide valuable information for investigating the role of hepatic DC subsets in the AE microenvironment and guiding DC targeting treatments for AE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Echinococcosis: From Parasite–Host Interaction to Rapid Detection)
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13 pages, 4261 KiB  
Article
Low Genetic Diversity of Plasmodium vivax Circumsporozoite Surface Protein in Clinical Isolates from Southern Thailand
by Tachin Khulmanee, Thanyapit Thita, Kanyanan Kritsiriwutinan, Usa Boonyuen, Aminoh Saai, Kanjana Inkabjan, Rimi Chakrabarti, Pradipsinh K. Rathod, Srivicha Krudsood, Mathirut Mungthin and Rapatbhorn Patrapuvich
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050094 - 24 Apr 2024
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The genetic diversity within the circumsporozoite surface protein (PvCSP) of Plasmodium vivax, the predominant malaria species in Thailand, is primarily observed in the northwestern region along the Thailand–Myanmar border. However, as P. vivax cases shift to southern provinces, particularly Yala Province near [...] Read more.
The genetic diversity within the circumsporozoite surface protein (PvCSP) of Plasmodium vivax, the predominant malaria species in Thailand, is primarily observed in the northwestern region along the Thailand–Myanmar border. However, as P. vivax cases shift to southern provinces, particularly Yala Province near the Thailand–Malaysia border, PvCSP diversity remains understudied. Between 2018 and 2020, 89 P. vivax isolates were collected in Yala Province, a significant malaria hotspot. Employing polymerase chain reaction amplification, restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP), and DNA sequencing, the gene encoding PvCSP (Pvcsp) was analyzed. All Yala P. vivax isolates belonged to the VK210 type, distinct from strains in the western region near the Myanmar border. The central repeat region of Pvcsp revealed two common peptide repeat motifs—GDRADGQPA and GDRAAGQPA—across all southern isolates. Sequence analysis identified two subtypes, with S1 more prevalent (92%) than S2 (8%). This study underscores the limited diversity of VK210 variants of P. vivax populations in southern Thailand. These baseline findings facilitate monitoring for potential new parasite variants, aiding in the future control and management of P. vivax in the region. Full article
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16 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Segmentation, Rotation, and Geographic Delivery Approaches for Deployment of Multiple First-Line Treatment (MFT) to Respond to Antimalarial Drug Resistance in Africa: A Qualitative Study in Seven Sub-Sahara Countries
by Celine Audibert, Adam Aspinall, Andre-Marie Tchouatieu and Pierre Hugo
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050093 - 23 Apr 2024
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Background: Several studies recently confirmed the emergence of resistance to antimalarial drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. Multiple first-line treatment (MFT) is one of the measures envisaged to respond to the emergence and spread of this resistance. The aim of this study was to identify [...] Read more.
Background: Several studies recently confirmed the emergence of resistance to antimalarial drugs in sub-Saharan Africa. Multiple first-line treatment (MFT) is one of the measures envisaged to respond to the emergence and spread of this resistance. The aim of this study was to identify the perceived advantages and disadvantages of several MFT deployment strategies and to better understand potential implementation drivers and barriers. Methods: A qualitative survey was conducted in seven sub-Saharan countries amongst key opinion leaders, national decision makers, and end users. A total of 200 individual interviews were conducted and findings were analyzed following a thematic inductive approach. Results: From a policy perspective, the new MFT intervention would require endorsement at the global, national, and regional levels to ensure its inclusion in guidelines. Funding of the MFT intervention could be a bottleneck due to costs associated with additional training of healthcare workers, adaptation of drug delivery mechanisms, and higher costs of drugs. Concerning the MFT deployment strategies, a slight preference for the segmentation strategy was expressed over the rotation and geographic approaches, due to the perception that a segmentation approach is already in place at country level. Conclusions: The findings highlighted the need for a collective approach to MFT deployment through the engagement of stakeholders at all levels of malaria management. Full article
14 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Prevention of Malaria in Pregnant Women and Its Effects on Maternal and Child Health, the Case of Centre Hospitalier de Kingasani II in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
by Japhet Kabalu Tshiongo, Trésor Zola Matuvanga, Patrick Mitashi, Vivi Maketa, Henk D. F. H. Schallig, Petra F. Mens, Hypolite Muhindo Mavoko and Junior Matangila Rika
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2024, 9(5), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed9050092 - 23 Apr 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate scientific evidence of the benefit of the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) on the birth weight of newborns and the hemoglobin level of the mother when used to prevent malaria during pregnancy. This [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate scientific evidence of the benefit of the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and Intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) on the birth weight of newborns and the hemoglobin level of the mother when used to prevent malaria during pregnancy. This cross-sectional analytical study was conducted on 467 hospitalized women in the Maternity Ward of Centre Hospitalier de Kingasani II, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire that was pre-tested during a face-to-face interview. Apart from basic statistics, the chi-square test was used to compare proportions. Multivariate analysis (logistic regression) was used to identify variables significantly associated with the 95% confidence interval (CI). The ITN ownership rate was 81% (95% CI: 77–84) and the ITN use rate was 66% (95% CI: 62–70). Sixty-five percent (95% CI: 60–69) reported having received at least three doses of IPT during pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyramethemine (IPTp-SP). There was a statistically significant difference in hemoglobin levels between hospitalized women who did not use the ITN (9.4 g/dL IIQ: 8.7–9.9) and those who did (11 g/dL IIQ: 9.8–12.2). The non-use of the ITN was associated with low birth weight (aOR = 3.6; 95% CI: 2.1–6.2; p < 0.001) and anemia in pregnant women (cOR = 2.41; 95% CI: 1.16–5.01; p = 0.018). The use of ITN and taking at least three doses of ITP during pregnancy are associated with good birth weight. The number of doses of IPTp received during antenatal care is associated with the maternal hemoglobin level in the third trimester of pregnancy. Full article
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