Special Issue "The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD)"

A special issue of Pathogens (ISSN 2076-0817).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 December 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Jose Muñoz Gutiérrez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona (ISGlobal), 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: Neglected Tropical Diseases; Emerging Infectious Diseases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a group of diseases mainly caused by virus, bacteria, protozoa or helminthes, although some non-infectious diseases such as snake-bite envenoming have been recently included in the list. The NTDs affect the most vulnerable populations, primarily in low socio-economic countries (one billion people annually), generating a negative impact on the quality of life of affected populations and contributing to the cycle of poverty.

Since 2010, a substantial progress has been made in the control and elimination of most NTDs. For example, the incidence of dracunculiasis has decreased dramatically being close to eradication, and the number of cases of Human African Trypanosomiasis is now lower than 1000 new patients per year in endemic areas. However, other diseases, such as cysticercosis, are still far from elimination parameters.

This unprecedented progress in the last decades can be impacted by a number of unforeseen circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, environmental changes or antimicrobial resistance that should be taken into account when implementing control and elimination strategies.

Research and innovation are essential to overcome these challenges ahead and achieve the current targets of WHO for 2030. Research activities should include operational and implementation research, evaluating new diagnostics, preventive and treatment approaches, not forgetting the behavioral and social aspects of the endemic communities. Innovation is a key element for the future and should include and adapt new enabling technologies such as molecular epidemiology, spatial epidemiology, mathematical modeling, data science, artificial intelligence or digital health to countries where NTDs are endemic.

Dr. Jose Muñoz Gutiérrez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases
  • Control and elimination
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • innovation

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Revealing a Novel Antigen Repressor of Differentiation Kinase 2 for Diagnosis of Human Visceral Leishmaniasis in India
Pathogens 2022, 11(2), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11020120 - 20 Jan 2022
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Abstract
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the major global health concerns due to its association with morbidity and mortality. All available diagnostic tools have been, until now, unable to provide a very specific and cost-effective mode of detection for VL globally. Therefore, the [...] Read more.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the major global health concerns due to its association with morbidity and mortality. All available diagnostic tools have been, until now, unable to provide a very specific and cost-effective mode of detection for VL globally. Therefore, the design of robust, specific, and commercially translatable diagnostic tests is urgently required. Currently, we are attempting to identify and explore the diagnostic potential of a novel parasite antigen. Repressor of differentiation kinase 2 (RDK2), a serine/threonine kinase, has a versatile role in parasite life cycle progression. However, its role as a diagnostic candidate for VL has not been investigated. Herein, we cloned and over-expressed LdRDK2 and studied the recombinant RDK2 for the diagnosis of human VL using serum and urine samples. In silico analysis predicted that RDK2 is conserved among Leishmania species with the least conservation in humans. RDK2 developed immune-reactive bands with antibodies present in VL patients’ sera, and it demonstrated no cross-reactivity with sera from healthy controls and other diseases. Additionally, RDK2 antigen demonstrated a significant reactivity with IgG antibodies of VL patients’ sera, with 78% sensitivity and 86.67% specificity as compared to healthy controls and other diseases. Furthermore, we evaluated its utility for non-invasive diagnosis of VL using patients’ urine samples and found 93.8% sensitivity and 85.7% specificity. RDK2 was found to have better sensitivity and treatment response in patients’ urine compared to serum samples, indicating its role as a promising point of care (POC) antigen. In a nutshell, we explored the role of RDK2 as a potential diagnostic marker for VL in both invasive and non-invasive modes as well as its utility as a promising POC antigen for treatment response cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Article
Overcoming the Negligence in Laboratory Diagnosis of Mucosal Leishmaniasis
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1116; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091116 - 01 Sep 2021
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Abstract
The northern region of Brazil, which has the largest number of cases of tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) in the country, is also the region that has the highest diversity of species of vectors and Leishmania parasites. In this region, cases of mucosal leishmaniasis (ML), [...] Read more.
The northern region of Brazil, which has the largest number of cases of tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) in the country, is also the region that has the highest diversity of species of vectors and Leishmania parasites. In this region, cases of mucosal leishmaniasis (ML), a clinical form of TL, exceed the national average of cases, reaching up to 12% of the total annual TL notifications. ML is associated with multiple factors, such as the parasite species and the viral endosymbiont Leishmania RNA virus 1 (LRV1). Being a chronic parasitological disease, laboratory diagnosis of ML poses a challenge for health services. Here, we evaluated more than 700 clinical samples from patients with clinical suspicion of TL, including patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and mucosal leishmaniasis, comparing the results of parasitological tests—direct parasitological examination by microscopy (DP) and conventional PCR (cPCR) targeting of both kDNA and hsp70. The DP was performed by collecting material from lesions through biopsies (mucosal lesions) or scarification (cutaneous lesions); for PCR, a cervical brush was used for sample collection. Blood samples were tested employing standardized real-time PCR (qPCR) protocol targeting the HSP70 gene. PCR tests showed higher sensitivity than DP for both CL and ML samples. Considering ML samples only (N = 89), DP showed a sensitivity of 49.4% (N = 44) against 98.8% (N = 88) for kDNA PCR. The qPCR hsp70 for blood samples from patients with ML (N = 14) resulted in superior sensitivity (50%; N = 7) compared to DP (21.4%; N = 3) for samples from the same patients. Our results reinforced the need to implement a molecular test for the diagnosis of ML, in addition to proposing methods less invasive for collecting material from TL patients. Sample collection using a cervical brush in lesions observed in CL and ML patients is easy to perform and less invasive, compared to scarification and biopsies. Blood samples could be a good source for qPCR diagnosis for ML patients. Thus, we propose here a standardized method for collection and for performing of molecular diagnosis of clinical samples from suspicious ML patients that can be applied in reference services for improving ML diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Article
Biliary Migration, Colonization, and Pathogenesis of O. viverrini Co-Infected with CagA+ Helicobacter pylori
Pathogens 2021, 10(9), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10091089 - 26 Aug 2021
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Abstract
Co-infection with the cagA strain of Helicobacter pylori exacerbates the pathology of human liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini (OV) infection leading to cholangiocarcinoma. However, underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We report a significant increase in cagA-positive and cagA-negative H. pylori in the [...] Read more.
Co-infection with the cagA strain of Helicobacter pylori exacerbates the pathology of human liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini (OV) infection leading to cholangiocarcinoma. However, underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We report a significant increase in cagA-positive and cagA-negative H. pylori in the stomach, blood, bile, and in the OV worms of co-infected Syrian golden hamsters at one hour, three hours, and one month, post-infection, compared to hamsters infected with either OV or H. pylori alone. Except in the worms, H. pylori numbers declined at three months post-infection, particularly in the bile fluid of co-infected animals. Both strains of H. pylori were immunohistochemically detected in the tegument of the worm, as well as in the bile duct epithelium when co-infected with O. viverrine, but not in H. pylori infection alone. Interestingly, only the cagA-positive strain was detected in the gut of the worm. Co-infection between cagA-positive H. pylori and O. viverrini resulted in a more severe biliary pathology and decreased E-cadherin expression in vivo and in vitro than those of the cagA-negative strain. These data suggest that O. viverrini acts as a carrier of cagA-positive H. pylori and co-migrates to the bile ducts, whereas O. viverrini facilitates H. pylori colonization and enhances the biliary pathogenesis and carcinogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Article
Molecular Detection of Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Enteric Protozoa Infection in Children and Its Association with Household Water and Sanitation in Manhiça District, Southern Mozambique
Pathogens 2021, 10(7), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10070838 - 03 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Intestinal parasite infections can have detrimental health consequences in children. In Mozambique, soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are controlled through mass drug administration since 2011, but no specific control program exists for enteric protozoa. This study evaluates STH and protozoan infections in children attending [...] Read more.
Intestinal parasite infections can have detrimental health consequences in children. In Mozambique, soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are controlled through mass drug administration since 2011, but no specific control program exists for enteric protozoa. This study evaluates STH and protozoan infections in children attending healthcare in Manhiça district, Southern Mozambique, and its association with water and sanitation conditions. We conducted a cross-sectional study in children between 2 and 10 years old in two health centers (n = 405). A stool sample and metadata were collected from each child. Samples were analyzed by multi-parallel real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR). We fitted logistic regression-adjusted models to assess the association between STH or protozoan infection with household water and sanitation use. Nineteen percent were infected with at least one STH and 77.5% with at least one enteric protozoon. qPCR detected 18.8% of participants with intestinal polyparasitism. Protected or unprotected water well use showed a higher risk for at least one protozoan infection in children (OR: 2.59, CI: 1.01–6.65, p-value = 0.010; OR: 5.21, CI: 1.56–17.46, p-value = 0.010, respectively) compared to household piped water. A high proportion of children had enteric protozoan infections. Well consumable water displayed high risk for that. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Article
Serology- and Blood-PCR-Based Screening for Schistosomiasis in Pregnant Women in Madagascar—A Cross-Sectional Study and Test Comparison Approach
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060722 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 754
Abstract
This work was conducted as a cross sectional study to define the disease burden of schistosomiasis in pregnant Madagascan women and to evaluate serological and molecular diagnostic assays. A total of 1154 residual EDTA blood samples from pregnant Madagascan women were assessed. The [...] Read more.
This work was conducted as a cross sectional study to define the disease burden of schistosomiasis in pregnant Madagascan women and to evaluate serological and molecular diagnostic assays. A total of 1154 residual EDTA blood samples from pregnant Madagascan women were assessed. The nucleic acid extractions were subjected to in-house real-time PCRs specifically targeting S. mansoni complex, S. haematobium complex, and African Schistosoma spp. on genus level, while the EDTA plasma samples were analyzed using Schistosoma-specific IgG and IgM commercial ELISA and immunofluorescence assays. The analyses indicated an overall prevalence of schistosomiasis in Madagascan pregnant women of 40.4%, with only minor regional differences and differences between serology- and blood PCR-based surveillance. The S. mansoni specific real-time PCR showed superior sensitivity of 74% (specificity 80%) compared with the genus-specific real-time PCR (sensitivity 13%, specificity 100%) in blood. The laborious immunofluorescence (sensitivity IgM 49%, IgG 87%, specificity IgM 85%, IgG 96%) scored only slightly better than the automatable ELISA (sensitivity IgM 38%, IgG 88%, specificity IgM 78%, IgG 91%). Infections with S. mansoni were detected only. The high prevalence of schistosomiasis recorded here among pregnant women in Madagascar calls for actions in order to reduce the disease burden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Article
Updates on Geographical Dispersion of Leishmania Parasites Causing Cutaneous Affections in Algeria
Pathogens 2021, 10(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030267 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 766
Abstract
Leishmaniases are neglected tropical diseases of public health concern in Algeria. To update the geographical distribution of Leishmania spp. causing cutaneous affection, we examined a set of Giemsa-stained smears prepared from skin lesions of the patients suspected to have cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in [...] Read more.
Leishmaniases are neglected tropical diseases of public health concern in Algeria. To update the geographical distribution of Leishmania spp. causing cutaneous affection, we examined a set of Giemsa-stained smears prepared from skin lesions of the patients suspected to have cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in various geographical areas in Algeria. The identification of Leishmania parasites was performed using microscopy, conventional PCR, and PCR–RFLP (PCR-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) targeting ITS1-rDNA. Among 32 smears provided from 27 suspected patients with cutaneous lesions, no trace of parasites was observed in the smear of three patients using microscopy and molecular approaches. Furthermore, four patients presented at least two lesions. PCR–RFLP confirmed the presence of Leishmania in 29 smears prepared from 24 patients. Two biopsies, negative after microscopic examination, were found positive by PCR. Of these 29 PCR positive smears (24 patients), 20 were identified using RFLP–PCR as L. major, two as L. tropica, and two as L. infantum. We found L. major infected patients from Ain skhouna, Biskra, El M’hir, Ghardaïa, M’Sila, and Saida, in agreement with previously reported cases. Furthermore, we highlighted for the first time, the identification of L. major in the patients from Bourkika, Bou Kremissa, Bou Saada Clef, Hajout, Maghnia, Médéa, Menaceur, Messad, Mostaghanem, Nador, Oran, and Sidi Okba. A phylogenetic reconstruction performed with sequences collected from the PCR products confirmed these identifications. Our data provide additional information on the geographical extension of CL caused by L. tropica and L. infantum in Algeria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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Brief Report
A Clinical Case of Scrub Typhus in the United States Forces Korea Patient with Eschar and Genetic Identification of Orientia tsutsugamushi Using Multiplex PCR-Based Next-Generation Sequencing
Pathogens 2021, 10(4), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10040424 - 02 Apr 2021
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Abstract
An epidemiological investigation was conducted for a scrub typhus case reported in a U.S. Forces Korea military patient in the Republic of Korea in November 2018. The patient had a fever, maculopapular rash, and an eschar. The full-length sequence of Orientia tsutsugamushi 56-kDa [...] Read more.
An epidemiological investigation was conducted for a scrub typhus case reported in a U.S. Forces Korea military patient in the Republic of Korea in November 2018. The patient had a fever, maculopapular rash, and an eschar. The full-length sequence of Orientia tsutsugamushi 56-kDa type-specific antigen (TSA) gene was obtained from eschar tissue by multiplex PCR-based Next Generation Sequencing for genetic identification. Based on the 56-kDa TSA gene, the O. tsutsugamushi aligned most closely with the Boryong strain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD))
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