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Journal: Pathogens and global health


Free-living amoebae (FLA) are potential reservoirs of Legionella in aquatic environments. However, the parasitic relationship between various Legionella and amoebae remains unclear. In this study, surface water samples were gathered from two rivers for evaluating parasitic Legionella. Warmer water temperature is critical to the existence of Legionella. This result suggests that amoebae may be helpful in maintaining Legionella in natural environments because warmer temperatures could enhance parasitisation of Legionella in amoebae. We next used immunomagnetic separation (IMS) to identify extracellular Legionella and remove most free Legionella before detecting the parasitic ones in selectively enriched amoebae. Legionella pneumophila was detected in all the approaches, confirming that the pathogen is a facultative amoebae parasite. By contrast, two obligate amoebae parasites, Legionella-like amoebal pathogens (LLAPs) 8 and 9, were detected only in enriched amoebae. However, several uncultured Legionella were detected only in the extracellular samples. Because the presence of potential hosts, namely Vermamoeba vermiformis, Acanthamoeba spp. and Naegleria gruberi, was confirmed in the samples that contained intracellular Legionella, uncultured Legionella may survive independently of amoebae. Immunomagnetic separation and amoebae enrichment may have referential value for detecting parasitic Legionella in surface waters.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Water, Symbiosis, Parasitism, Acanthamoeba, Surface water, Percolozoa


Policy prescriptions for combating dengue fever tend to focus on addressing environmental and social conditions of poverty. However, while poverty has long been considered a determinant of dengue, the research evidence for such a relationship is not well established. Results of a systematic review of the research literature designed to identify and assess the current state of the empirical evidence for the dengue-poverty link reveal a mixed story. Of 260 peer-reviewed articles referencing dengue-poverty relationships, only 12 English-language studies empirically assessed these relationships. Our analysis covering various social and economic conditions of poverty showed no clear associations with dengue rates. While nine of the 12 studies demonstrated some positive associations between measures of dengue and poverty (measured inconsistently through income, education, structural housing condition, overcrowding, and socioeconomic status), nine also presented null results and five with negative results. Of the five studies relating to access to water and sanitation, four reported null associations. Income and physical housing conditions were more consistently correlated with dengue outcomes than other poverty indicators. The small size of this sample, and the heterogeneity of measures and scales used to capture conditions of poverty, make it difficult to assess the strength and consistency of associations between various poverty indicators and dengue outcomes. At present, the global body of eligible English-language peer-reviewed literature investigating dengue-poverty relationships is too small to support a definitive relationship. We conclude that more research, particularly using standardized measures of both outcomes and indicators, is needed to support evidence-informed policies and approaches.

Concepts: Scientific method, Economics, Academic publishing, Empiricism, Empirical, Peer review, Fever, Empirical research


Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging Flavivirus that have recently caused an outbreak in Brazil and rapid spread in several countries. In this study, the consequences of ZIKV evolution on protein recognition by the host immune system have been analyzed. Evolutionary analysis was combined with homology modeling and T-B cells epitope predictions. Two separate clades, the African one with the Uganda sequence, as the most probable ancestor, and the second one containing all the most recent sequences from the equatorial belt were identified. Brazilian strains clustered all together and closely related to the French Polynesia isolates. A strong presence of a negatively selected site in the envelope gene (Env) protein was evidenced, suggesting a probable purging of deleterious polymorphisms in functionally important genes. Our results show relative conservancy of ZIKV sequences when envelope and other non-structural proteins (NS3 and NS5) are analyzed by homology modeling. However, some regions within the consensus sequence of NS5 protein and to a lesser extent in the envelope protein, show localized high mutation frequency corresponding to a considerable alteration in protein stability. In terms of viral immune escape, envelope protein is under a higher selective pressure than NS5 and NS3 proteins for HLA class I and II molecules. Moreover, envelope mutations that are not strictly related to T-cell immune responses are mostly located on the surface of the protein in putative B-cell epitopes, suggesting an important contribution of B cells in the immune response as well.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, DNA, Protein, Evolution, Adaptive immune system, Antigen, Epitope


Lassa fever (LF) is increasingly recognized by global health institutions as an important rodent-borne disease with severe impacts on some of West Africa’s poorest communities. However, our knowledge of LF ecology, epidemiology and distribution is limited, which presents barriers to both short-term disease forecasting and prediction of long-term impacts of environmental change on Lassa virus (LASV) zoonotic transmission dynamics. Here, we synthesize current knowledge to show that extrapolations from past research have produced an incomplete picture of the incidence and distribution of LF, with negative consequences for policy planning, medical treatment and management interventions. Although the recent increase in LF case reports is likely due to improved surveillance, recent studies suggest that future socio-ecological changes in West Africa may drive increases in LF burden. Future research should focus on the geographical distribution and disease burden of LF, in order to improve its integration into public policy and disease control strategies.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Africa, Future, Forecasting, Viral hemorrhagic fever, Zoonosis, Lassa fever


As the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa continues to grow since its initial recognition as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, an unanswered question is what is the cost of a case of Ebola? Understanding this cost will help decision makers better understand the impact of each case of EVD, benchmark this against that of other diseases, prioritize which cases may require response, and begin to estimate the cost of Ebola outbreaks. To date, the scientific literature has not characterized this cost per case. Therefore, we developed a mathematical model to estimate the cost of an EVD case from the provider and societal perspectives in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Our model estimates the total societal cost of an EVD case with full recovery ranges from $480 to $912, while that of an EVD case not surviving ranges from $5929 to $18 929, varying by age and country. Therefore, as of 10 December 2014, the estimated total societal costs of all reported EVD cases in these three countries range from $82 to potentially over $356 million.

Concepts: Mathematics, Nigeria, West Africa, Ebola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Economic Community of West African States, Guinea


It is hypothesized that animals living in polluted environments possess antimicrobials to counter pathogenic microbes. The fact that snakes feed on germ-infested rodents suggests that they encounter pathogenic microbes and likely possess antimicrobials. The venom is used only to paralyze the rodent, but the ability of snakes to counter potential infections in the gut due to disease-ridden rodents requires robust action of the immune system against a broad range of pathogens. To test this hypothesis, crude lysates of different organs of Naja naja karachiensis (black cobra) were tested for antimicrobial properties. The antimicrobial activities of extracts were tested against selected bacterial pathogens (neuropathogenic Escherichia coli K1, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Streptococcus pneumonia), protist (Acanthamoeba castellanii), and filamentous fungus (Fusarium solani). The findings revealed that plasma and various organ extracts of N. n. karachiensis exhibited antimicrobial activity against E. coli K1, MRSA, P. aeruginosa, S. pneumoniae, A. castellanii, and F. solani in a concentration-dependent manner. The results of this study are promising for the development of new antimicrobials.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Pseudomonas aeruginosa


 Objective : This study determined the prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium (P.) falciparum infection and anemia in adults living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and compared malaria prevalence between 858 HIV-infected (PLHIV) and 272 uninfected individuals in Gabon where such information are lacking. Factors influencing malaria and anemia were also investigated.

Concepts: Immune system, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, T helper cell, Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa


Imported malaria has been a great challenge for public health in Qatar due to influx of large number of migrant workers. Antimalarial drug resistance has emerged as one of the greatest challenges facing malaria control today. Monitoring parasite haplotypes that predict susceptibility to major antimalarial can guide treatment policies. This study aimed to determine molecular drug resistance pattern in imported malaria cases in Qatar. Blood samples from the uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria patients were collected at Hamad General Hospital, HMC, Doha, Qatar. The samples were further confirmed by nested-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for P. falciparum. Molecular markers of chloroquine (Pfcrt and Pfmdr1) were analyzed by using nested PCR- RFLP method to determine the key point mutations associated with chloroquine (CQ) drug resistance. A total 118 blood samples were positive for P. falciparum. Overall, by RFLP, 72% harboured wild type allele (N86) of Pfmdr1 gene. The prevalence of Pfcrt mutant (T76), WT (K76) and mixed alleles (K76T) was 63.6% (n = 75), 22.9% (n = 27) and 13.5% (n = 16), respectively. Mean parasitaemia level was higher among the wild type alleles of Pfcrt gene as compared to the mixed/mutant alleles whereas mixed alleles of Pfmdr1 gene having high parasitaemia. Molecular surveillance strategy based on imported malaria cases can be used to detect and track CQ drug-resistant malaria. The data presented here might be helpful for enrichment of molecular surveillance of antimalarial resistance and will be useful for developing and updating antimalarial guidance for non-immune imported cases in Qatar.

Concepts: Gene, Allele, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium, Quinine, Artemisinin, Wild type


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a vector borne disease caused by parasitic worms such as Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and B. timori, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Current therapeutics to treat LF are mainly microfilarcidal, and lack activity against adult worms. This set back, poses a challenge for the control and elimination of filariasis. Thus, in this study the activities of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) against the filarial worm B. pahangi and its bacterial endosymbiont, Wolbachia were evaluated. Different concentrations (2, 5, 10, 15, 20 μg/ml) of CAPE were used to assess its effects on motility, viability and microfilarial (mf) production of B. pahangi in vitro. Anti-Wolbachial activity of CAPE was measured in worms by quantification of Wolbachial wsp gene copy number using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Our findings show that CAPE was found to significantly reduce adult worm motility, viability, and mf release both in vitro and in vivo. 20 μg/ml of CAPE halts the release of mf in vitro by day 6 of post treatment. Also, the number of adult worms recovered in vivo were reduced significantly during and after treatment with 50 mg/kg of CAPE relative to control drugs, diethylcarbamazine and doxycycline. Real time PCR based on the Wolbachia ftsZ gene revealed a significant reduction in Wolbachia copy number upon treatment. Anti-Wolbachia and antifilarial properties of CAPE require further investigation as an alternative strategy to treat LF.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Doxycycline, Brugia timori, Brugia malayi, Wuchereria bancrofti


Bacteria are generally responsible for the prevalence of several diseases and pathogenic bacteria are showing increasing resistance to different antibacterials. During the present study an extremophilic bacterium-A30 isolated from the marine waters was characterized and evaluated against four multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens, viz; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The sensitivity pattern of the selected pathogens was tested with 31 antibiotics. Among the 47 marine microbial extracts tested on 4-MDR pathogens viz: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E. coli, K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa, only our strain A30 strain exhibited highest efficacy. This strain was subsequently subjected to 16S rDNA sequencing which confirmed its allocation as Bacillus cereus. Silver nanoparticle (AgNPs) synthesis and ethyl acetate extraction were performed using the supernatant of B. cereus. The synthesized AgNPs were characterized by UV-Visible, Fourier-transform infra-red (FT-IR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Field emission-scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), and Zeta potential analyses. The presence of functional groups and 13 bioactive components in the ethyl acetate extract were analyzed using FT-IR and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The synthesized of AgNPs and the ethyl acetate extract showed preponderant activity against P. aeruginosa and MRSA, respectively. The effects of AgNPs were significant when compared to ethyl acetate extract. Therefore, the halophilic bacterium, B. cereus mediated AgNPs could provide antibacterial applications in the biomedical industries.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Pneumonia, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Phage therapy, Enterobacteriaceae