Special Issue "Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference"

A special issue of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (ISSN 2414-6366).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Nicholas PJ Day
Website
Guest Editor
Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK
Interests: epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of malaria, melioidosis, leptospirosis, rickettsial infections, Staphylococcus aureus infections, influenza, dengue and other communicable diseases afflicting rural populations throughout Asia and beyond
Dr. Allen Richards
Website
Guest Editor
Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Department, Naval Medical Research Center, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
Interests: scrub typhus
Dr. Paul Newton
Website
Guest Editor
Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Research Unit (LOMWRU), Laos
Interests: malaria, scrub typhus, murine typhus, melioidosis, typhoid, dengue, leptospirosis
Prof. Dr. Stuart Blacksell
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK
Interests: Southeast Asia; Asia; viral diseases; rickettsial diseases; biosafety; zoonosis; diagnostics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Matthew Robinson
Website
Guest Editor
Laos-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Research Unit (LOMWRU), Microbiology Laboratory, Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Lao PDR
Interests: Rickettsioses
Dr. Stephen Graves

Guest Editor
Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Interests: Rickettsioses
Dr. John Stenos

Guest Editor
Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Interests: Rickettsiology
Dr. Serge Morand
Website
Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Centre de Coopération, Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, Montpellier University, Paris, France
Interests: rodents and other wildlife-borne diseases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia conference (https://www.rickettsia.net/index.html) will be held on 3–6 November 2019 in Chiang Rai, Thailand, and selected papers will be published in this Special Issue. The conference title is “The Ever-Changing Threat of Rickettsial Diseases”. Rickettsiae and rickettsial diseases are a major cause of illness in humans and animals throughout the Asia–Pacific region. A wide range of pathogens, including members of the genera Anaplasma, Bartonella, Coxiella, Ehrlichia, Orientia, and Rickettsia, are responsible. This conference is of interest to medical doctors, veterinarians, public health professionals, epidemiologists, diagnostic laboratory personnel, entomologists, and scientists.

The conference subthemes will include:

  • Historical perspective
  • Epidemiology
  • Ecology
  • Host, pathogen, vector interactions
  • Pathogenesis, pathophysiology, cell biology
  • Genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics
  • Infection
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Immunity, vaccine development, prevention
  • Public and policy engagement

We look forward to the contributions from the 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia conference.

Prof. Dr. Nicholas PJ Day
Dr. Allen Richards
Dr. Paul Newton
Prof. Dr. Stuart Blacksell
Dr. Matthew Robinson
Dr. Stephen Graves
Dr. John Stenos
Dr. Serge Morand
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Evidence of Q Fever and Rickettsial Disease in Chile
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020099 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
Q fever and rickettsial diseases occur throughout the world and appear to be emergent zoonoses in Chile. The diagnosis of these diseases is currently uncommon in Chile, as their clinical presentations are non-specific and appropriate diagnostic laboratory assays are of limited availability. During [...] Read more.
Q fever and rickettsial diseases occur throughout the world and appear to be emergent zoonoses in Chile. The diagnosis of these diseases is currently uncommon in Chile, as their clinical presentations are non-specific and appropriate diagnostic laboratory assays are of limited availability. During a recent outbreak of undiagnosed human atypical pneumonia, we serologically investigated a series of 357 cases from three regions of southern Chile. The aim was to identify those caused by Coxiella burnetii and/or Rickettsia spp. Serological analysis was performed by ELISA and an immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for acute and convalescence sera of patients. Our results, including data from two international reference laboratories, demonstrate that 71 (20%) of the cases were Q fever, and 44 (15%) were a likely rickettsial infection, although the rickettsial species could not be confirmed by serology. This study is the first report of endemic Q fever and rickettsial disease affecting humans in Chile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
Open AccessArticle
Disease Ecology of Rickettsial Species: A Data Science Approach
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020064 - 27 Apr 2020
Abstract
We present an approach to assess the disease ecology of rickettsial species by investigating open databases and by using data science methodologies. First, we explored the epidemiological trend and changes of human rickettsial disease epidemics over the years and compared this trend with [...] Read more.
We present an approach to assess the disease ecology of rickettsial species by investigating open databases and by using data science methodologies. First, we explored the epidemiological trend and changes of human rickettsial disease epidemics over the years and compared this trend with knowledge on emerging rickettsial diseases given by published reviews. Second, we investigated the global diversity of rickettsial species recorded in humans, domestic animals and wild mammals, using the Enhanced Infectious Disease Database (EID2) and employing a network analysis approach to represent and quantify transmission ecology of rickettsial species among their carriers, arthropod vectors or mammal reservoirs and humans. Our results confirmed previous studies that emphasized the increasing incidence in rickettsial diseases at the onset of 1970. Using the Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Online Network (GIDEON) database, it was even possible to date the start of this increase of global outbreaks in rickettsial diseases in 1971. Network analysis showed the importance of domestic animals and peridomestic mammals in sharing rickettsial diseases with humans and other wild animals, acting as important hubs or connectors for rickettsial transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
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Open AccessArticle
Rickettsial Diseases: Not Uncommon Causes of Acute Febrile Illness in India
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020059 - 15 Apr 2020
Abstract
Rickettsial diseases (RDs) are major under-diagnosed causes of arthropod borne acute febrile illness (AFI) presenting with a range of symptoms from mild self-limiting fever to fatal sepsis. The spotted fever group (SFG) and typhus group (TG) are major RDs, which are commonly caused [...] Read more.
Rickettsial diseases (RDs) are major under-diagnosed causes of arthropod borne acute febrile illness (AFI) presenting with a range of symptoms from mild self-limiting fever to fatal sepsis. The spotted fever group (SFG) and typhus group (TG) are major RDs, which are commonly caused by Rickettsia conorii and Rickettsia typhi, respectively. The limited availability and role of serological tests in the acute phase of illness warrants rapid reliable molecular methods for diagnosis and epidemiological studies. Two hundred patients with AFI in whom the routine fever diagnostics were negative, were enrolled over a period of two months (April 2019 to May 2019). DNA was extracted and in-house nested PCR using primers specific for both SPG and TG pathogens was used. The positive amplified products were sequenced for species identification and phylogenetic analysis was performed using MEGA 7.0.14 software (iGEM, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA). The demographic details of the RD cases were documented. The prevalence of RD among AFI cases was 7% (14/200); SFG and TG were identified as the cause in 4% and 3% of AFI cases, respectively. The median age of the RD cases was 22 years (range 2–65). The median duration of fever was 3 days (range 1–12). The RD cases presented with respiratory symptoms or signs (44.44%), jaundice (22.22%), abdominal pain (22.22%), diarrhea (22.22), vesicular rash (11.11%), vomiting (11.11%), loss of appetite (11.11%), headache (11.11%), leukocytosis (88.88% with mean count 22,750/mm3), and thrombocytopenia (33.33%). The cases were treated empirically with piperacillin-tazobactam (66.66%), clindamycin (44.44%), cefotaxime (33.33%), meropenem (33.33%), metronidazole (33.33%), doxycycline (22.22%), azithromycin (22.22%), ceftriaxone (11.11%), and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (11.11%). The mortality among the RD cases was 11.11%. The present pilot study shows that RD is not an uncommon cause of AFI in north India. The febrile episodes are usually transient, not severe and associated with heterogenous clinical presentation without documented history of tick exposure in the hospitalized patients. The transient, non-severe, febrile illness could be due to transient rickettsemia resulting from empirical antimicrobial therapy as the rickettsial organisms are expected to be more susceptible to higher doses of β-lactam antibiotics. The study emphasizes the molecular method as a useful tool to identify rickettsial etiology in AFI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
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Open AccessArticle
Innovative Distance Learning Tool for Morphological Identification of Chigger Mites (Actinotrichida) as Vectors of Scrub Typhus: A Pilot Study
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020055 - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Scrub typhus, a disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, affects more than one billion people globally with an average fatality rate of 6%. Humans are accidentally infected through the bite of trombiculid mite larvae (chiggers). Chiggers feed on hosts’ extracellular fluid for survival [...] Read more.
Scrub typhus, a disease caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi, affects more than one billion people globally with an average fatality rate of 6%. Humans are accidentally infected through the bite of trombiculid mite larvae (chiggers). Chiggers feed on hosts’ extracellular fluid for survival and development. O. tsutsugamushi is maintained throughout the chigger’s lifespan and over several generations. Although disease-related knowledge is essential in designing effective control strategies, many personnel in related sectors are unfamiliar with this disease and its vector. To tackle this issue, we developed a distance learning tool using educational videos on scrub typhus- and vector-related topics. The learning method is facilitated online, and students and tutors are not required to be physically present at the same place and time, thus allowing flexibility and accessibility. Knowledge improvement of 34 participants from related sectors was evaluated by pre- and post-test questionnaires. Although 54% of participants had prior knowledge of scrub typhus, 76.5% still lack basic knowledge of vector identification. After the distance learning, the average score increased significantly from the baseline (p < 0.05). Most participants showed interest in the topic and learning method. These results suggest that the distance learning method was promising in distributing health-related information and might be applied to other diseases and communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular Detection of Rickettsia spp. and Coxiella burnetii in Cattle, Water Buffalo, and Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus Ticks in Luzon Island of the Philippines
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020054 - 04 Apr 2020
Abstract
Rickettsia and Coxiella burnetii are zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens that can cause febrile illnesses with or without other symptoms in humans, but may cause subclinical infections in animals. There are only a few reports on the occurrence of these pathogens in cattle and water [...] Read more.
Rickettsia and Coxiella burnetii are zoonotic, tick-borne pathogens that can cause febrile illnesses with or without other symptoms in humans, but may cause subclinical infections in animals. There are only a few reports on the occurrence of these pathogens in cattle and water buffalo in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines. In this study, molecular detection of Rickettsia and C. burnetii in the blood and in the Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus ticks of cattle and water buffalo from five provinces in Luzon Island of the Philippines was done. A total of 620 blood samples of cattle and water buffalo and 206 tick samples were collected and subjected to DNA extraction. After successful amplification of control genes, nested PCR was performed to detect gltA of Rickettsia and com1 of C. burnetii. No samples were positive for Rickettsia, while 10 (cattle = 7, water buffaloes = 3), or 1.6% of blood, and five, or 1.8% of tick samples, were C. burnetii-positive. Sequence analysis of the positive amplicons showed 99–100% similarity to reported C. burnetii isolates. This molecular evidence on the occurrence of C. burnetii in Philippine ruminants and cattle ticks and its zoonotic nature should prompt further investigation and surveillance to facilitate its effective control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Scrub Typhus: Historic Perspective and Current Status of the Worldwide Presence of Orientia Species
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2020, 5(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed5020049 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Scrub typhus and its etiological agents, Orientia species, have been around for a very long time. Historical reference to the rickettsial disease scrub typhus was first described in China (313 AD) by Hong Ge in a clinical manual (Zhouhofang) and in Japan (1810 [...] Read more.
Scrub typhus and its etiological agents, Orientia species, have been around for a very long time. Historical reference to the rickettsial disease scrub typhus was first described in China (313 AD) by Hong Ge in a clinical manual (Zhouhofang) and in Japan (1810 AD) when Hakuju Hashimoto described tsutsuga, a noxious harmful disease in the Niigata prefecture. Other clinicians and scientists in Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India reported on diseases most likely to have been scrub typhus in the early 1900s. All of these initial reports about scrub typhus were from an area later designated as the Tsutsugamushi Triangle—an area encompassing Pakistan to the northwest, Japan to the northeast and northern Australia to the south. It was not until the 21st century that endemic scrub typhus occurring outside of the Tsutsugamushi Triangle was considered acceptable. This report describes the early history of scrub typhus, its distribution in and outside the Tsutsugamushi Triangle, and current knowledge of the causative agents, Orientia species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from The 2nd Asia Pacific Rickettsia Conference)
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