Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease

A special issue of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease (ISSN 2414-6366). This special issue belongs to the section "Neglected and Emerging Tropical Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2023) | Viewed by 23997

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Laboratory of Trypanosomatid Biology Life Science Research Center, University of Ostrava, Chittussiho 10, 71000 Ostrava, Czech Republic
Interests: parasitology; trypanosomatid biology; evolution; viruses
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

With the establishment of the Section Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/tropicalmed/sections/Neglected_Emerging_Tropical_Disease), a Feature Paper collection is set up, under the leadership of the Section’s Editor-in-Chief and Board members. This collection aims to collect state-of-the-art research work and comprehensive review papers on the epidemiology, presentation, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and control of neglected and emerging tropical diseases.

Research articles should be around 3000 words at minimum and should have more than 30 references.

  1. Manuscripts should present an important novelty of the content and high potential impact in the relevant field of research;
  2. They should have a high standard of English (expression, grammar, and spelling);
  3. There should be a proper design of the experiment and methodology described detailed to guarantee the reproducibility of the study;
  4. Manuscripts should include the reference of the approval by the ethical committee for experimental studies.

Review articles should be comprehensive. The main text of review papers should be around 4000 words at minimum and include at least two figures or tables.

  1. Manuscripts should provide syntheses of ideas and have the potential to challenge existing paradigms and create new frameworks that will advance our understanding of all aspects of the topic;
  2. Manuscripts should comprise the front matter, literature review sections and the back matter;
  3. Systematic reviews should use the same structure as research articles and ensure they conform to the PRISMA guidelines.

Prof. Dr. Vyacheslav Yurchenko
Guest Editor

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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 monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Kinetoplast Genome of Leishmania spp. Is under Strong Purifying Selection
by Evgeny S. Gerasimov, Tatiana S. Novozhilova, Sara L. Zimmer and Vyacheslav Yurchenko
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(8), 384; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8080384 - 27 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
Instability is an intriguing characteristic of many protist genomes, and trypanosomatids are not an exception in this respect. Some regions of trypanosomatid genomes evolve fast. For instance, the trypanosomatid mitochondrial (kinetoplast) genome consists of fairly conserved maxicircle and minicircle molecules that can, nevertheless, [...] Read more.
Instability is an intriguing characteristic of many protist genomes, and trypanosomatids are not an exception in this respect. Some regions of trypanosomatid genomes evolve fast. For instance, the trypanosomatid mitochondrial (kinetoplast) genome consists of fairly conserved maxicircle and minicircle molecules that can, nevertheless, possess high nucleotide substitution rates between closely related strains. Recent experiments have demonstrated that rapid laboratory evolution can result in the non-functionality of multiple genes of kinetoplast genomes due to the accumulation of mutations or loss of critical genomic components. An example of a loss of critical components is the reported loss of entire minicircle classes in Leishmania tarentolae during laboratory cultivation, which results in an inability to generate some correctly encoded genes. In the current work, we estimated the evolutionary rates of mitochondrial and nuclear genome regions of multiple natural Leishmania spp. We analyzed synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions and, rather unexpectedly, found that the coding regions of kinetoplast maxicircles are among the most variable regions of both genomes. In addition, we demonstrate that synonymous substitutions greatly predominate among maxicircle coding regions and that most maxicircle genes show signs of purifying selection. These results imply that maxicircles in natural Leishmania populations remain functional despite their high mutation rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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11 pages, 807 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Flooding on Snail Spread: The Case of Endemic Schistosomiasis Areas in Jiangxi Province, China
by Shang-Biao Lv, Ting-Ting He, Fei Hu, Yi-Feng Li, Min Yuan, Jing-Zi Xie, Zong-Guang Li, Shi-Zhu Li and Dan-Dan Lin
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(5), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8050259 - 30 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1202
Abstract
Flooding is the main natural factor in snail diffusion, and it has a negative impact on schistosomiasis transmission. There are few studies on the spread and migration of snails following a flood; therefore, we aimed to investigate the influence of flooding on snail [...] Read more.
Flooding is the main natural factor in snail diffusion, and it has a negative impact on schistosomiasis transmission. There are few studies on the spread and migration of snails following a flood; therefore, we aimed to investigate the influence of flooding on snail diffusion and explore the characteristics and laws of snail diffusion in Jiangxi Province. By using a retrospective survey and cross-sectional survey, the data on snail spreading in Jiangxi Province from 2017 to 2021 were collected. The distribution, nature, and area of snail spread were systematically analyzed in combination with the hydrological situation, types of region, and types of flood. From 2017 to 2021, a total of 120 snail-spread environments were found, including in 92 hilly areas and in 28 lake areas. The areas caused by flood and by other means numbered 6 and 114, respectively. The proportions of recurrence, expansion, and first-time occurrences were 43.42%, 38.16%, and 18.42%, respectively, and the 14 new snail environments were only distributed in the hilly areas. With the exception of 2018, the ratio of snail-spread areas in the hilly region was higher than that in lake region in other years. The average density of live snails was 0.0184–1.6617 no./0.1 m2 and 0.0028–0.2182 no./0.1 m2 in the hilly region. Among the 114 environments affected by floods, 86 consisted of hilly environments, including 66 spreading environments affected by rainstorm floods, and 20 rainstorm debris flow environments. There were 28 lake areas, of which 10 were in the Jiangxi section of Yangtze River and were affected by rainstorm floods. Snail spread following flooding has a certain ‘lag effect,’ and = simple annual changes in hydrological characteristics have little effect on the diffusion of snails or on their density = in the affected environment, but it is more closely related to local floods. The hilly environments are more susceptible to floods than the lake region, and the risk of snail spread is much higher in the hilly than in the lake region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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11 pages, 2844 KiB  
Article
Pathological Changes in Hepatic Sinusoidal Endothelial Cells in Schistosoma japonicum-Infected Mice
by Tingting Jiang, Xiaoying Wu, Hao Zhou, Yuan Hu and Jianping Cao
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(2), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8020124 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2730
Abstract
Schistosomiasis japonica is a zoonotic parasitic disease causing liver fibrosis. Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) exhibit fenestrations, which promote hepatocyte regeneration and reverses the process of liver fibrosis. To investigate the pathological changes of LSECs in schistosomiasis, we established a Schistosomiasis model. The [...] Read more.
Schistosomiasis japonica is a zoonotic parasitic disease causing liver fibrosis. Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) exhibit fenestrations, which promote hepatocyte regeneration and reverses the process of liver fibrosis. To investigate the pathological changes of LSECs in schistosomiasis, we established a Schistosomiasis model. The population, phenotype, and secretory function of LSECs were detected by flow cytometry at 20, 28, and 42 days post infection. The changes in LSEC fenestration and basement membrane were observed through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Quantitative real-time PCR and Western blotting were used to detect the expression of molecules associated with epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and fibrosis of LSECs and the liver. The flow cytometry results showed that the total LSEC proportions, differentiated LSEC proportions, and nitric oxide (NO) secretion of LSECs were decreased, and the proportion of dedifferentiated LSECs increased significantly post infection. The electron microscopy results showed that the number of fenestrate was decreased and there was complete basement membrane formation in LSECs following infection. The qPCR and Western blot results showed that EMT, and fibrosis-related indicators of LSECs and the liver changed significantly during the early stages of infection and were aggravated in the middle and late stages. The pathological changes in LSECs may promote EMT and liver fibrosis induced by Schistosoma japonicum infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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10 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Accuracy of Three Serological Techniques for the Diagnosis of Imported Schistosomiasis in Real Clinical Practice: Not All in the Same Boat
by María Pilar Luzón-García, María Isabel Cabeza-Barrera, Ana Belén Lozano-Serrano, Manuel Jesús Soriano-Pérez, Nerea Castillo-Fernández, José Vázquez-Villegas, Jaime Borrego-Jiménez and Joaquín Salas-Coronas
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(2), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8020073 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2349
Abstract
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease despite of being a major public health problem affecting nearly 240 million people in the world. Due to the migratory flow from endemic countries to Western countries, an increasing number of cases is being diagnosed in non-endemic [...] Read more.
Schistosomiasis is a neglected tropical disease despite of being a major public health problem affecting nearly 240 million people in the world. Due to the migratory flow from endemic countries to Western countries, an increasing number of cases is being diagnosed in non-endemic areas, generally in migrants or people visiting these areas. Serology is the recommended method for screening and diagnosis of schistosomiasis in migrants from endemic regions. However, serological techniques have a highly variable sensitivity. The aim of this study was to evaluate retrospectively the sensitivity of three different serological tests used in real clinical practice for the screening and diagnosis of imported schistosomiasis in sub-Saharan migrant patients, using the detection of schistosome eggs in urine, faeces or tissues as the gold standard. We evaluated three different serological techniques in 405 sub-Saharan patients with confirmed schistosomiasis treated between 2004 and 2022: an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), an indirect haemagglutination assay (IHA) and an immunochromatographic test (ICT). The overall sensitivity values obtained with the different techniques were: 44.4% for IHA, 71.2% for ELISA and 94.7% for ICT, respectively. According to species, ICT showed the highest sensitivity (S. haematobium: 94%, S. mansoni: 93.3%; and S. intercalatum/guineensis: 100%). In conclusion, our study shows that Schistosoma ICT has the best performance in real clinical practice, when compared to ELISA and IHA, in both S. mansoni and S. haematobium infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
20 pages, 3737 KiB  
Article
Exploring Evolutionary Relationships within Neodermata Using Putative Orthologous Groups of Proteins, with Emphasis on Peptidases
by Víctor Caña-Bozada, Mark W. Robinson, David I. Hernández-Mena and Francisco N. Morales-Serna
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8010059 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3227
Abstract
The phylogenetic relationships within Neodermata were examined based on putative orthologous groups of proteins (OGPs) from 11 species of Monogenea, Trematoda, and Cestoda. The dataset included OGPs from BUSCO and OMA. Additionally, peptidases were identified and evaluated as phylogenetic markers. Phylogenies were inferred [...] Read more.
The phylogenetic relationships within Neodermata were examined based on putative orthologous groups of proteins (OGPs) from 11 species of Monogenea, Trematoda, and Cestoda. The dataset included OGPs from BUSCO and OMA. Additionally, peptidases were identified and evaluated as phylogenetic markers. Phylogenies were inferred using the maximum likelihood method. A network analysis and a hierarchical grouping analysis of the principal components (HCPC) of orthologous groups of peptidases were performed. The phylogenetic analyses showed the monopisthocotylean monogeneans as the sister-group of cestodes, and the polyopisthocotylean monogeneans as the sister-group of trematodes. However, the sister-group relationship between Monopisthocotylea and Cestoda was not statistically well supported. The network analysis and HCPC also showed a cluster formed by polyopisthocotyleans and trematodes. The present study supports the non-monophyly of Monogenea. An analysis of mutation rates indicated that secreted peptidases and inhibitors, and those with multiple copies, are under positive selection pressure, which could explain the expansion of some families such as C01, C19, I02, and S01. Whilst not definitive, our study presents another point of view in the discussion of the evolution of Neodermata, and we hope that our data drive further discussion and debate on this intriguing topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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23 pages, 1889 KiB  
Article
Identification of Hazard and Socio-Demographic Patterns of Dengue Infections in a Colombian Subtropical Region from 2015 to 2020: Cox Regression Models and Statistical Analysis
by Santiago Ortiz, Alexandra Catano-Lopez, Henry Velasco, Juan P. Restrepo, Andrés Pérez-Coronado, Henry Laniado and Víctor Leiva
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2023, 8(1), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed8010030 - 30 Dec 2022
Viewed by 2476
Abstract
Dengue is a disease of high interest for public health in the affected localities. Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes species and presents hyperendemic behaviors in tropical and subtropical regions. Colombia is one of the countries most affected by the dengue virus in [...] Read more.
Dengue is a disease of high interest for public health in the affected localities. Dengue virus is transmitted by Aedes species and presents hyperendemic behaviors in tropical and subtropical regions. Colombia is one of the countries most affected by the dengue virus in the Americas. Its central-west region is a hot spot in dengue transmission, especially the Department of Antioquia, which has suffered from multiple dengue outbreaks in recent years (2015–2016 and 2019–2020). In this article, we perform a retrospective analysis of the confirmed dengue cases in Antioquia, discriminating by both subregions and dengue severity from 2015 to 2020. First, we conduct an exploratory analysis of the epidemic data, and then a statistical survival analysis is carried out using a Cox regression model. Our findings allow the identification of the hazard and socio-demographic patterns of dengue infections in the Colombian subtropical region of Antioquia from 2015 to 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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8 pages, 3760 KiB  
Article
Co-Radiation of Leptospira and Tenrecidae (Afrotheria) on Madagascar
by Yann Gomard, Steven M. Goodman, Voahangy Soarimalala, Magali Turpin, Guenaëlle Lenclume, Marion Ah-Vane, Christopher D. Golden and Pablo Tortosa
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2022, 7(8), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed7080193 - 18 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1275
Abstract
Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira that are maintained in the kidney lumen of infected animals acting as reservoirs and contaminating the environment via infected urine. The investigation of leptospirosis through a One Health framework has been stimulated by notable [...] Read more.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial zoonosis caused by pathogenic Leptospira that are maintained in the kidney lumen of infected animals acting as reservoirs and contaminating the environment via infected urine. The investigation of leptospirosis through a One Health framework has been stimulated by notable genetic diversity of pathogenic Leptospira combined with a high infection prevalence in certain animal reservoirs. Studies of Madagascar’s native mammal fauna have revealed a diversity of Leptospira with high levels of host-specificity. Native rodents, tenrecids, and bats shelter several distinct lineages and species of Leptospira, some of which have also been detected in acute human cases. Specifically, L. mayottensis, first discovered in humans on Mayotte, an island neighboring Madagascar, was subsequently identified in a few species of tenrecids on the latter island, which comprise an endemic family of small mammals. Distinct L. mayottensis lineages were identified in shrew tenrecs (Microgale cowani and Nesogale dobsoni) on Madagascar, and later in an introduced population of spiny tenrecs (Tenrec ecaudatus) on Mayotte. These findings suggest that L. mayottensis (i) has co-radiated with tenrecids on Madagascar, and (ii) has recently emerged in human populations on Mayotte following the introduction of T. ecaudatus from Madagascar. Hitherto, L. mayottensis has not been detected in spiny tenrecs on Madagascar. In the present study, we broaden the investigation of Malagasy tenrecids and test the emergence of L. mayottensis in humans as a result of the introduction of T. ecaudatus on Mayotte. We screened by PCR 55 tenrecid samples from Madagascar, including kidney tissues from 24 individual T. ecaudatus. We describe the presence of L. mayottensis in Malagasy T. ecaudatus in agreement with the aforementioned hypothesis, as well as in M. thomasi, a tenrecid species that has not been explored thus far for Leptospira carriage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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16 pages, 3577 KiB  
Article
Pathological Abnormalities Observed on Ultrasonography among Fishermen Associated with Male Genital Schistosomiasis (MGS) along the South Lake Malawi Shoreline in Mangochi District, Malawi
by Sekeleghe A. Kayuni, Mohammad H. Al-Harbi, Peter Makaula, Boniface Injesi, Bright Mainga, Fanuel Lampiao, Lazarus Juziwelo, E. James LaCourse and J. Russell Stothard
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2022, 7(8), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed7080169 - 05 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
Schistosome eggs cause granulomata and pathological abnormalities, detectable with non-invasive radiological techniques such as ultrasonography which could be useful in male genital schistosomiasis (MGS). As part of our novel MGS study among fishermen along Lake Malawi, we describe pathologies observed on ultrasonography and [...] Read more.
Schistosome eggs cause granulomata and pathological abnormalities, detectable with non-invasive radiological techniques such as ultrasonography which could be useful in male genital schistosomiasis (MGS). As part of our novel MGS study among fishermen along Lake Malawi, we describe pathologies observed on ultrasonography and praziquantel (PZQ) treatment over time. Fishermen aged 18+ years were recruited, submitted urine and semen for parasitological and molecular testing, and thereafter, transabdominal pelvic and scrotal ultrasonography, assessing pathologies in the prostate, seminal vesicles, epididymis and testes. Standard PZQ treatment and follow-up invitation at 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-months’ time-points were offered. A total of 130 recruited fishermen underwent ultrasonography at baseline (median age: 32.0 years); 27 (20.9%, n = 129) had S. haematobium eggs in urine (median: 1.0 egg/10 mL), 10 (12.3%, n = 81) in semen (defined as MGS, median: 2.9 eggs/mL ejaculate) and 16 (28.1%, n = 57) had a positive seminal Schistosoma real-time PCR. At baseline, 9 fishermen (6.9%, n = 130) had abnormalities, with 2 positive MGS having prostatic and testicular nodules. Fewer abnormalities were observed on follow-up. In conclusion, pathologies detected in male genitalia by ultrasonography can describe MGS morbidity in those with positive parasitological and molecular findings. Ultrasonography advances and accessibility in endemic areas can support monitoring of pathologies’ resolution after treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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Review

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18 pages, 1361 KiB  
Review
Establishing and Integrating a Female Genital Schistosomiasis Control Programme into the Existing Health Care System
by Takalani Girly Nemungadi, Tsakani Ernica Furumele, Mary Kay Gugerty, Amadou Garba Djirmay, Saloshni Naidoo and Eyrun Flörecke Kjetland
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2022, 7(11), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed7110382 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2941
Abstract
Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is a complication of Schistosoma haematobium infection, and imposes a health burden whose magnitude is not fully explored. It is estimated that up to 56 million women in sub-Saharan Africa have FGS, and almost 20 million more cases will [...] Read more.
Female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) is a complication of Schistosoma haematobium infection, and imposes a health burden whose magnitude is not fully explored. It is estimated that up to 56 million women in sub-Saharan Africa have FGS, and almost 20 million more cases will occur in the next decade unless infected girls are treated. Schistosomiasis is reported throughout the year in South Africa in areas known to be endemic, but there is no control programme. We analyze five actions for both a better understanding of the burden of FGS and reducing its prevalence in Africa, namely: (1) schistosomiasis prevention by establishing a formal control programme and increasing access to treatment, (2) introducing FGS screening, (3) providing knowledge to health care workers and communities, (4) vector control, and (5) water, sanitation, and hygiene. Schistosomiasis is focal in South Africa, with most localities moderately affected (prevalence between 10% and 50%), and some pockets that are high risk (more than 50% prevalence). However, in order to progress towards elimination, the five actions are yet to be implemented in addition to the current (and only) control strategy of case-by-case treatment. The main challenge that South Africa faces is a lack of access to WHO-accredited donated medication for mass drug administration. The establishment of a formal and funded programme would address these issues and begin the implementation of the recommended actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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26 pages, 2475 KiB  
Review
Detection of Tropical Diseases Caused by Mosquitoes Using CRISPR-Based Biosensors
by Salma Nur Zakiyyah, Abdullahi Umar Ibrahim, Manal Salah Babiker, Shabarni Gaffar, Mehmet Ozsoz, Muhammad Ihda H. L. Zein and Yeni Wahyuni Hartati
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2022, 7(10), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed7100309 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3431
Abstract
Tropical diseases (TDs) are among the leading cause of mortality and fatality globally. The emergence and reemergence of TDs continue to challenge healthcare system. Several tropical diseases such as yellow fever, tuberculosis, cholera, Ebola, HIV, rotavirus, dengue, and malaria outbreaks have led to [...] Read more.
Tropical diseases (TDs) are among the leading cause of mortality and fatality globally. The emergence and reemergence of TDs continue to challenge healthcare system. Several tropical diseases such as yellow fever, tuberculosis, cholera, Ebola, HIV, rotavirus, dengue, and malaria outbreaks have led to endemics and epidemics around the world, resulting in millions of deaths. The increase in climate change, migration and urbanization, overcrowding, and other factors continue to increase the spread of TDs. More cases of TDs are recorded as a result of substandard health care systems and lack of access to clean water and food. Early diagnosis of these diseases is crucial for treatment and control. Despite the advancement and development of numerous diagnosis assays, the healthcare system is still hindered by many challenges which include low sensitivity, specificity, the need of trained pathologists, the use of chemicals and a lack of point of care (POC) diagnostic. In order to address these issues, scientists have adopted the use of CRISPR/Cas systems which are gene editing technologies that mimic bacterial immune pathways. Recent advances in CRISPR-based biotechnology have significantly expanded the development of biomolecular sensors for diagnosing diseases and understanding cellular signaling pathways. The CRISPR/Cas strategy plays an excellent role in the field of biosensors. The latest developments are evolving with the specific use of CRISPR, which aims for a fast and accurate sensor system. Thus, the aim of this review is to provide concise knowledge on TDs associated with mosquitoes in terms of pathology and epidemiology as well as background knowledge on CRISPR in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Moreover, the study overviews the application of the CRISPR/Cas system for detection of TDs associated with mosquitoes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Neglected and Emerging Tropical Disease)
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