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Journal: Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


Four out of five people in the world with diabetes now live in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), and the incidence of diabetes is accelerating in poorer communities. Diabetes increases susceptibility to infection and worsens outcomes for some of the world’s major infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, melioidosis and dengue, but the relationship between diabetes and many neglected tropical diseases is yet to be accurately characterised. There is some evidence that chronic viral infections such as hepatitis B and HIV may predispose to the development of type 2 diabetes by chronic inflammatory and immunometabolic mechanisms. Helminth infections such as schistosomiasis may be protective against the development of diabetes, and this finding opens up new territory for discovery of novel therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of diabetes. A greater understanding of the impact of diabetes on risks and outcomes for infections causing significant diseases in LMIC is essential in order to develop vaccines and therapies for the growing number of people with diabetes at risk of infection, and to prioritise research agendas, public health interventions and policy. This review seeks to give an overview of the current international diabetes burden, the evidence for interactions between diabetes and infection, immune mechanisms for the interaction, and potential interventions to tackle the dual burden of diabetes and infection.


Chronic hepatitis B infection affects 240 million people, with the highest prevalence in Africa and Asia, and results in 700 000 deaths annually. Access to diagnostics, particularly for hepatitis B virus viral load quantification (HBV DNA), is a major barrier to treatment. We aimed to test World Health Organization guidelines for hepatitis B management in resource-limited settings.


Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne infection caused by a virus (CCHFV) from the Bunyaviridae family. Domestic and wild vertebrates are asymptomatic reservoirs for the virus, putting animal handlers, slaughter-house workers and agricultural labourers at highest risk in endemic areas, with secondary transmission possible through contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids. Human infection is characterised by severe symptoms that often result in death. While it is known that CCHFV transmission is limited to Africa, Asia and Europe, definitive global extents and risk patterns within these limits have not been well described.

Concepts: Disease, Infectious disease, Blood, Virus, Malaria, Infection, Fever, Viral hemorrhagic fever


Dengue remains a major health problem in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. A surveillance system was initiated to detect new cases in 2006. The study aims to examine these data for detection of space-time clustering and identify target areas for effective interventions.

Concepts: Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Mecca, Jordan, Jeddah, Medina


BACKGROUND: Clinical research participants often express concerns about blood draw because of misconceptions about the uses to which the blood will be put. Their comments can generate rumours in their communities, thereby affecting rates of recruitment to research studies and increasing losses to follow-up. This study sought to identify community perceptions about blood draw for clinical research. METHODS: Between September 2010 and March 2011, 12 focus group discussions and eight in-depth interviews were conducted among community members in the Kintampo district of Ghana, to determine what cultural beliefs and traditional practices might affect attitudes to blood draw. RESULTS: Most of the study participants did not mention any cultural beliefs prohibiting blood draw but were of the opinion that collecting blood from children and pregnant women could lead to serious health consequences. They could not understand why blood would be taken from participants who were not sick. Some were of the opinion that blood samples could be used for rituals and others recounted unpleasant experiences following blood draws. CONCLUSION: To facilitate clinical research that entails blood draw, it is important to address concerns and rumours through intensive community sensitisation.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Focus group, Understanding, Culture, Perception, Clinical research, Venipuncture


BACKGROUND: We evaluated the possible association of seropositivity for Toxoplasma gondii and certain risk factors for T. gondii infection with the scholastic development of children. METHOD: One hundred children aged 6-13 years attending the Hospital Municipal de Maringá Paranáa, Brazil, participated in the study. Serologic tests for IgG and IgM anti-T. gondii (indirect immunofluorescence (capture ELISA) were performed. The Scholastic Performance Test (SPT) for writing, mathematics and reading was applied to each child, and the result was classified as high, average or poor. The guardian of each child responded to a questionnaire about certain aspects of the child’s living situation and diet. RESULTS: The prevalence of seropositivity for T. gondii was 8%. An association between seropositivity for T. gondii and scholastic development in the mathematics subtest and also consumption of fresh cheese were observed. Children with exposed soil, sand or grass lawn in their peridomicile were 9.116 times more likely to be infected by T. gondii. CONCLUSION: The findings showed the need to test school-age children for this parasite, educate families with T. gondii-positive children, provide training to educators, monitor recreation areas, and raise awareness of the need for care in handling food.

Concepts: Toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii


Dengue is the world’s most common arboviral infection, with almost 4 billion people estimated to be living at risk of dengue infection. A recently introduced vaccine is currently recommended only for seropositive individuals in a restricted age range determined by transmission intensity. With no effective dengue vaccine for the general population or any antiviral therapy, dengue control continues to rely heavily on vector control measures. Early and accurate diagnosis is important for guiding appropriate management and for disease surveillance to guide prompt dengue control interventions. However, major uncertainties exist in dengue diagnosis and this has important implications for all three. Dengue can be diagnosed clinically against predefined lists of signs and symptoms and by detection of dengue-specific antibodies, non-structural 1 antigen or viral RNA by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. All of these methods have their limitations. This review aims to describe and quantify the advantages, uncertainties and variability of the various diagnostic methods used for dengue and discuss their implications and applications for dengue surveillance and control.


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of infectious conditions that vary in their epidemiology, impact and control. They are among the most common conditions globally, affecting approximately one billion people. Many NTDs have long-term consequences, such as visual and physical impairments. As a result, people with NTDs may have difficulties in carrying out activities or participating in society-in other words, NTDs can cause disabilities. Additionally, NTDs are often strongly linked to stigma and can have mental health consequences. It is therefore important to incorporate rehabilitation within NTD programmes. Rehabilitation can be conceptualized narrowly in terms of the provision of clinical services (e.g. physiotherapy and assistive devices) or, more broadly, including efforts to improve employment, overcome stigma and enhance social participation of people with disabilities. Approximately 15% of the global population has a disability, and this large group must be considered when designing NTD programmes. Improving the inclusion of people with disabilities may require adaptations to NTD programmes, such as making them physically accessible or training staff about disability awareness. Without incorporating disability within NTD programmes, the quality of life of people with NTDs will suffer and global targets for elimination and management of NTDs will not be met.


Lassa fever is a viral haemorrhagic illness responsible for disease outbreaks across West Africa. It is a zoonosis, with the primary reservoir species identified as the Natal multimammate mouse, Mastomys natalensis. The host is distributed across sub-Saharan Africa while the virus' range appears to be restricted to West Africa. The majority of infections result from interactions between the animal reservoir and human populations, although secondary transmission between humans can occur, particularly in hospital settings.

Concepts: AIDS, Human, Malaria, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Lassa fever


With lockdown restrictions over coronavirus disease 2019 being relaxed, airlines are returning to the skies. Published evidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 transmission on aircraft is limited, but in-flight transmission of respiratory infections such as tuberculosis, influenza and SARS has been well described. Risk factors include proximity to index patients and sitting in aisle seats. Personal protection on aircraft could be enhanced by always wearing a well-fitting face mask and face shield or sunglasses, wiping surfaces and hands with alcohol-based sanitizers, not touching the face, not queuing for washrooms, changing seats if nearby passengers are coughing and choosing a window rather than an aisle seat.