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Concept: Ho Chi Minh City


BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) in children is rarely confirmed due to the lack of effective diagnostic tools; only 10 to 15% of pediatric TB is smear positive due to paucibacillary samples and the difficulty of obtaining high-quality specimens from children. We evaluate here the accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF in comparison with the Micoroscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) assay for diagnosis of TB in children using samples stored during a previously reported evaluation of the MODS assay METHODS: Ninety-six eligible children presenting with suspected TB were recruited consecutively at Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City Viet Nam between May to December 2008 and tested by Ziehl-Neelsen smear, MODS and Mycobacterial growth Indicator (MGIT, Becton Dickinson) culture. All samples sent by the treating clinician for testing were included in the analysis. An aliquot of processed sample deposit was stored at -20 [degree sign]C and tested in the present study by Xpert MTB/RIF test. 183 samples from 73 children were available for analysis by Xpert. Accuracy measures of MODS and Xpert were summarized. RESULTS: The sensitivity (%) in detecting children with a clinical diagnosis of TB for smear, MODS and Xpert were 37.9 [95% CI 25.5; 51.6], 51.7 [38.2; 65.0] and 50.0 [36.6; 63.4], respectively (per patient analysis). Xpert was significantly more sensitive than smear (P=0.046). Testing of additional samples did not increase case detection for MODS while testing of a second sputum sample by Xpert detected only two additional cases. The positive and negative predictive values (%) of Xpert were 100.0 [88.0; 100.0] and 34.1 [20.5; 49.9], respectively, while those of MODS were 96.8 [83.3; 99.9] and 33.3 [19.6; 49.5]. CONCLUSION: MODS culture and Xpert MTB/RIF test have similar sensitivities for the detection of pediatric TB. Xpert MTB RIF is able to detect tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance within two hours. MODS allows isolation of cultures for further drug susceptibility testing but requires approximately one week to become positive. Testing of multiple samples by xpert detected only two additional cases and the benefits must be considered against costs in each setting. Further research is required to evaluate the optimal integration of Xpert into pediatric testing algorithms.

Concepts: Sample, Negative predictive value, Tuberculosis, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Vietnam War, Becton Dickinson


Little information exists on the impact of cataract surgery on falls and other injuries in Vietnam. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of first and both eye cataract surgery on the number of falls and other injuries among bilateral cataract patients in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Concepts: Cohort study, Longitudinal study, Surgery, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Vietnam War, South Vietnam


Physician values influence a physician’s clinical practice and level of medical professionalism. Currently, there is no psychometrically valid scale to assess physician values in Vietnam. This study assessed the initial validity and reliability of the Vietnamese Physician Professional Values Scale (VPPVS). Hartung’s original Physician Values in Practice Scale (PVIPS) was translated from English into Vietnamese and adapted to reflect the cultural values of Vietnamese physicians. A sample of clinical experts reviewed the VPPVS to ensure face and content validity of the scale, resulting in a draft 37-item measure. A cross-sectional survey of 1086 physicians from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City completed a self-report survey, which included the draft of the VPPVS. Exploratory Factor Analysis was used to assess construct validity, resulting in 35 items assessing physician’s professional values across five main factors: lifestyle, professionalism, prestige, management and finance. The final five-factor scale illustrated acceptable internal consistency, with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients ranging from 0.73 to 0.86 and all item-total correlations >0.2. Limited floor or ceiling effects were found. This study supports the application of the VPPVS to measure medical professional values of Vietnamese physicians. Future studies should further assess the psychometric properties of the VPPVS using large samples.

Concepts: Medicine, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Factor analysis, Reliability, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Cronbach's alpha


The wMel strain of Wolbachia can reduce the permissiveness of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to disseminated arboviral infections. Here, we report that wMel-infected Ae. aegypti (Ho Chi Minh City background), when directly blood-fed on 141 viremic dengue patients, have lower dengue virus (DENV) transmission potential and have a longer extrinsic incubation period than their wild-type counterparts. The wMel-infected mosquitoes that are field-reared have even greater relative resistance to DENV infection when fed on patient-derived viremic blood meals. This is explained by an increased susceptibility of field-reared wild-type mosquitoes to infection than laboratory-reared counterparts. Collectively, these field- and clinically relevant findings support the continued careful field-testing of wMel introgression for the biocontrol of Ae. aegypti-born arboviruses.

Concepts: Mosquito, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Fever, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever, Vietnam


Vietnam is a significant consumer of wildlife, particularly wild meat, in urban restaurant settings. To meet this demand, poaching of wildlife is widespread, threatening regional and international biodiversity. Previous interventions to tackle illegal and potentially unsustainable consumption of wild meat in Vietnam have generally focused on limiting supply. While critical, they have been impeded by a lack of resources, the presence of increasingly organised criminal networks and corruption. Attention is, therefore, turning to the consumer, but a paucity of research investigating consumer demand for wild meat will impede the creation of effective consumer-centred interventions. Here we used a mixed-methods research approach comprising a hypothetical choice modelling survey and qualitative interviews to explore the drivers of wild meat consumption and consumer preferences among residents of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our findings indicate that demand for wild meat is heterogeneous and highly context specific. Wild-sourced, rare, and expensive wild meat-types are eaten by those situated towards the top of the societal hierarchy to convey wealth and status and are commonly consumed in lucrative business contexts. Cheaper, legal and farmed substitutes for wild-sourced meats are also consumed, but typically in more casual consumption or social drinking settings. We explore the implications of our results for current conservation interventions in Vietnam that attempt to tackle illegal and potentially unsustainable trade in and consumption of wild meat and detail how our research informs future consumer-centric conservation actions.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Conservation biology, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Sustainability, Vietnam, Wildlife, Wildlife management


As a dual response to the HIV epidemic and the high level of injecting drug use in Vietnam, the Ministry of Health (MOH) initiated a pilot methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) program in Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in early 2009. The objectives of the pilot were to provide evidence on whether MMT could be successfully implemented in Vietnam and scaled up to other localities.

Concepts: Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Hai Phong, South Vietnam, French Indochina, Provinces of Vietnam, Fall of Saigon


The incidence of prostate cancer has increased in Vietnam, but there have been few studies of the risk factors associated with this change. This retrospective case-control study investigated the relation of the intake of carotenoids and their food sources to prostate cancer risk. A sample of 652 participants (244 incident prostate cancer patients, aged 64-75 years, and 408 age frequency-matched controls) were recruited in Ho Chi Minh City during 2013-2015. The habitual diet was ascertained with a validated food-frequency questionnaire, and other factors including demographic and lifestyle characteristics were assessed via face-to-face interviews by trained nurses. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using unconditional logistic regression models. The risk of prostate cancer decreased with increasing intakes of lycopene, tomatoes, and carrots; the respective ORs (95% CIs) were 0.46 (0.27, 0.77), 0.39 (0.23, 0.66), and 0.35 (0.21, 0.58), when comparing the highest with the lowest tertile of intake (p for trend < 0.01). No statistically significant associations were found for the intake of α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and major food sources of carotenoids. In conclusion, Vietnamese men with a higher intake of lycopene, tomatoes, and carrots may have a lower risk of prostate cancer. However, large prospective studies are needed in this population to confirm this finding.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Epidemiology, Statistics, Prostate cancer, Carotenoid, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Lycopene


Excessive antimicrobial usage and deficiencies in hygiene in meat production systems may result in undesirable human health hazards, such as the presence of antimicrobial drug residues and non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), including antimicrobial resistant (AMR) NTS. Recently, Vietnam has witnessed the emergence of integrated intensive animal production systems, coexisting with more traditional, locally-sourced wet markets. To date no systematic studies have been carried out to compare health hazards in beef, pork and chicken in different production systems. We aimed to: (1) estimate the prevalence of antimicrobial residues in beef, pork and chicken meat; (2) investigate the prevalence and levels of NTS contamination; and (3) investigate serovar distribution and AMR against critically important antimicrobials by animal species and type of retail (wet market vs. supermarket) in Vietnam. Fresh pork, beef and chicken meat samples (N=357) sourced from wet markets and supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Hanoi and Dong Thap were screened for antimicrobial residues by PremiTest, and were further investigated by Charm II. Samples from HCMC (N=113) were cultured using ISO 6579:2002/Amd 1:2007. NTS bacteria were quantified using a minimum probable number (MPN) technique. NTS isolates were assigned to serovar by Multilocus Sequence Typing (MLST), and were investigated for their phenotypic susceptibility against 32 antimicrobials. A total of 26 (7.3%) samples tested positive by PremiTest (9.5% beef, 4.1% pork and 8.4% chicken meat). Sulfonamides, tetracyclines and macrolides were detected by Charm in 3.1%, 2.8% and 2.0% samples, respectively. Overall, meat samples from wet markets had a higher prevalence of residues than those from supermarkets (9.6% vs. 2.6%) (p=0.016). NTS were isolated from 68.4% samples from HCMC. Chicken samples from wet markets had by far the highest NTS counts (median 3.2 logMPN/g). NTS isolates displayed high levels of resistance against quinolones (52.2%) and β-lactams (49.6%), but low levels against 3rd generation cephalosporins (4.4%) and aminoglycosides (0.8%). The highest adjusted prevalence of multidrug resistance (MDR) corresponded to isolates from chicken meat and pork (OR 8.3 and 1.8, respectively) (baseline=beef). S. Kentucky was the most common serovar identified (11 from chicken, 1 from beef) and 91.7% isolates was MDR. 11/12 isolates corresponded to ST198, a worldwide-disseminated multi-resistant NTS clone. We recommend stepping up policy measures to promote responsible antimicrobial use in animal production, as well as awareness about withdrawal periods to limit the hazard of residues in animal products, and improving slaughtering/hygiene procedures to limit cross-contamination with NTS, particularly in poultry wet markets.

Concepts: Microbiology, Chicken, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Meat, Antimicrobial, Vietnam, Antimicrobials


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) coinfection is a major global health problem especially among people who inject drugs (PWID), with significant clinical implications. Mathematical models have been used to great effect to shape HIV care, but few have been proposed for HIV/HCV.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Hepatitis C virus, Drug injection, Vietnam


Few animal models of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection have incorporated arthropod-borne transmission. Here, we establish an Aedes aegypti mosquito model of ZIKV infection of mice, and demonstrate altered vector competency among three strains, (Orlando, ORL, Ho Chi Minh, HCM, and Patilas, PAT). All strains acquired ZIKV in their midguts after a blood meal from infected mice, but ZIKV transmission only occurred in mice fed upon by HCM, and to a lesser extent PAT, but not ORL, mosquitoes. This defect in transmission from ORL or PAT mosquitoes was overcome by intrathoracic injection of ZIKV into mosquito. Genetic analysis revealed significant diversity among these strains, suggesting a genetic basis for differences in ability for mosquito strains to transmit ZIKV. The intrathoracic injection mosquito-mouse transmission model is critical to understanding the influence of mosquitoes on ZIKV transmission, infectivity and pathogenesis in the vertebrate host, and represents a natural transmission route for testing vaccines and therapeutics. (152 words).

Concepts: Immune system, Mosquito, Yellow fever, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever