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emerging infectious diseases - Top 30 Publications

Low cost automated whole smear microscopy screening system for detection of acid fast bacilli.

In countries with high tuberculosis (TB) burden, there is urgent need for rapid, large-scale screening to detect smear-positive patients. We developed a computer-aided whole smear screening system that focuses in real-time, captures images and provides diagnostic grading, for both bright-field and fluorescence microscopy for detection of acid-fast-bacilli (AFB) from respiratory specimens.

Extensive severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus contamination in surrounding environment in patient' rooms.

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging tick-borne disease in Korea and China. Although there is previous evidence of person-to-person transmission via direct contact with body fluids, the role of environmental contamination by SFTS virus (SFTSV) in healthcare settings has not been established. We therefore investigated the contamination of the healthcare environment by SFTSV.

Regulation of Innate Lymphoid Cells by Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor.

With striking similarity to their adaptive T helper cell counterparts, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) represent an emerging family of cell types that express signature transcription factors, including T-bet+ Eomes+ natural killer cells, T-bet+ Eomes- group 1 ILCs, GATA3+ group 2 ILCs, RORγt+ group 3 ILCs, and newly identified Id3+ regulatory ILC. ILCs are abundantly present in barrier tissues of the host (e.g., the lung, gut, and skin) at the interface of host-environment interactions. Active research has been conducted to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying the development and function of ILCs. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor, best known to mediate the effects of xenobiotic environmental toxins and endogenous microbial and dietary metabolites. Here, we review recent progresses regarding Ahr function in ILCs. We focus on the Ahr-mediated cross talk between ILCs and other immune/non-immune cells in host tissues especially in the gut. We discuss the molecular mechanisms of the action of Ahr expression and activity in regulation of ILCs in immunity and inflammation, and the interaction between Ahr and other pathways/transcription factors in ILC development and function with their implication in disease.

Modulation of immune responses by Plasmodium falciparum infection in asymptomatic children living in the endemic region of Mbita, western Kenya.

Individuals living in malaria endemic areas become clinically immune after multiple re-infections over time and remain infected without apparent symptoms. However, it is unclear why a long period is required to gain clinical immunity to malaria, and how such immunity is maintained. Although malaria infection is reported to induce inhibition of immune responses, studies on asymptomatic individuals living in endemic regions of malaria are relatively scarce. We conducted a cross-sectional study of immune responses in asymptomatic school children aged 4-16years living in an area where Plasmodium falciparum and Schistosoma mansoni infections are co-endemic in Kenya. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were subjected to flow cytometric analysis and cultured to determine proliferative responses and cytokine production. The proportions of cellular subsets in children positive for P. falciparum infection at the level of microscopy were comparable to the negative children, except for a reduction in central memory-phenotype CD8+ T cells and natural killer cells. In functional studies, the production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to P. falciparum crude antigens exhibited strong heterogeneity among children. In addition, production of IL-2 in response to anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 monoclonal antibodies was significantly reduced in children with P. falciparum-positive as compared to -negative children, suggesting a state of unresponsiveness. These data suggest that the quality of T cell immune responses is heterogeneous among asymptomatic children living in the endemic region of P. falciparum, and that the responses are generally suppressed by active infection with Plasmodium parasites.

Leishmania tropica isolates from non-healed and healed patients in Iran: A molecular typing and phylogenetic analysis.

The precise identification of the parasite species causing leishmaniasis is essential for selecting proper treatment modality. The present study aims to compare the nucleotide variations of the ITS1, 7SL RNA, and Hsp70 sequences between non-healed and healed anthroponotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) patients in major foci in Iran. A case-control study was carried out from September 2015 to October 2016 in the cities of Kerman and Bam, in the southeast of Iran. Randomly selected skin-scraping lesions of 40 patients (20 non-healed and 20 healed) were examined and the organisms were grown in a culture medium. Promastigotes were collected by centrifugation and kept for further molecular examinations. The extracted DNA was amplified and sequenced. After global sequence alignment with BioEdit software, maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis was performed in PhyML for typing of Leishmania isolates. Nucleotide composition of each genetic region was also compared between non-healed and healed patients. Our results showed that all isolates belonged to the Leishmania tropica complex, with their genetic composition in the ITS1 region being different among non-healed and healed patients. 7SL RNA and Hsp70 regions were genetically identical between both groups. Variability in nucleotide patterns observed between both groups in the ITS1 region may serve to encourage future research on the function of these polymorphisms and may improve our understanding of the role of parasite genome properties on patients' response to Leishmania treatment. Our results also do not support future use of 7SL RNA and Hsp70 regions of the parasite for comparative genomic analyses.

Containment of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus, Lebanon, 20161.

A preparedness plan for avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection was activated in Lebanon in 2016 after reported cases in poultry. Exposed persons were given prophylaxis and monitored daily. A total of 185 exposed persons were identified: 180 received prophylaxis, 181 were monitored, and 41 suspected cases were reported. All collected specimens were negative for virus by PCR.

Influenza D Virus in Cattle, Ireland.

We detected influenza D virus in 18 nasal swab samples from cattle in Ireland that were clinically diagnosed with respiratory disease. Specimens were obtained from archived samples received for routine diagnosis during 2014-2016. Sequencing showed that viruses from Ireland clustered with virus sequences obtained in Europe within the D/swine/OK/1334/2011 clade.

Rickettsia africae and Novel Rickettsial Strain in Amblyomma spp. Ticks, Nicaragua, 2013.

We report molecular detection of Rickettsia africae in Amblyomma ovale ticks from Nicaragua and a novel rickettsial strain in an A. triste tick. Of 146 ticks from dogs, 16.4% were Rickettsia PCR positive. The presence of Rickettsia spp. in human-biting ticks in Nicaragua may pose a public health concern.

Cronobacter sakazakii Infection from Expressed Breast Milk, Australia.

Cronobacter sakazakii neonatal infections are often epidemiologically linked to the consumption of contaminated powdered infant formula. We describe a case resulting from consumption of contaminated expressed breast milk, as confirmed by whole-genome sequencing. This case highlights potential risks associated with storage and acquisition of expressed breast milk.

Novel Streptococcus suis Sequence Type 834 among Humans, Madagascar.

Two cases of meningitis caused by Streptococcus suis occurred in Madagascar, 1 in 2015 and 1 in 2016. We report the characterization of the novel sequence type, 834, which carried the mrp+/sly+/epf+ virulence marker and a mutation G→T at position 174, leading to a substitution mutS1 to mutS284.

Cerebral Syphilitic Gumma in Immunocompetent Man, Japan.

Although cerebral syphilitic gummas are generally considered to be rare manifestations of tertiary syphilis, many reports exist of early cerebral syphilitic gumma. Our finding of cerebral syphilitic gumma in an HIV-negative man within 5 months after syphilis infection suggests that this condition should be considered in syphilis patients who have neurologic symptoms.

Amebaborne "Attilina massiliensis" Keratitis, France.

We report a case of Acanthamoeba castellani keratitis in a person who wore contact lenses. The amebae hosted an ameba-resistant bacterial symbiont, provisionally named "Attilina massiliensis," a yet undescribed α-Proteobacterium.

New Parvovirus Associated with Serum Hepatitis in Horses after Inoculation of Common Biological Product.

Equine serum hepatitis (i.e., Theiler's disease) is a serious and often life-threatening disease of unknown etiology that affects horses. A horse in Nebraska, USA, with serum hepatitis died 65 days after treatment with equine-origin tetanus antitoxin. We identified an unknown parvovirus in serum and liver of the dead horse and in the administered antitoxin. The equine parvovirus-hepatitis (EqPV-H) shares <50% protein identity with its phylogenetic relatives of the genus Copiparvovirus. Next, we experimentally infected 2 horses using a tetanus antitoxin contaminated with EqPV-H. Viremia developed, the horses seroconverted, and acute hepatitis developed that was confirmed by clinical, biochemical, and histopathologic testing. We also determined that EqPV-H is an endemic infection because, in a cohort of 100 clinically normal adult horses, 13 were viremic and 15 were seropositive. We identified a new virus associated with equine serum hepatitis and confirmed its pathogenicity and transmissibility through contaminated biological products.

Invasive Serotype 35B Pneumococci Including an Expanding Serotype Switch Lineage.

Effects of Culling on Leptospira interrogans Carriage by Rats.

We found that lethal, urban rat control is associated with a significant increase in the odds that surviving rats carry Leptospira interrogans. Our results suggest that human interventions have the potential to affect and even increase the prevalence of zoonotic pathogens within rat populations.

Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Staphylococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome in the United Kingdom.

Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS) was originally described in menstruating women and linked to TSS toxin 1 (TSST-1)-producing Staphylococcus aureus. Using UK national surveillance data, we ascertained clinical, molecular and superantigenic characteristics of TSS cases. Average annual TSS incidence was 0.07/100,000 population. Patients with nonmenstrual TSS were younger than those with menstrual TSS but had the same mortality rate. Children <16 years of age accounted for 39% of TSS cases, most caused by burns and skin and soft tissue infections. Nonmenstrual TSS is now more common than menstrual TSS in the UK, although both types are strongly associated with the tst+ clonal complex (CC) 30 methicillin-sensitive S. aureus lineage, which accounted for 49.4% of all TSS and produced more TSST-1 and superantigen bioactivity than did tst+ CC30 methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains. Better understanding of this MSSA lineage and infections in children could focus interventions to prevent TSS in the future.

Human African Trypanosomiasis in Emigrant Returning to China from Gabon, 2017.

Human African trypanosomiasis is endemic to parts of sub-Saharan Africa and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients who have visited or lived in Africa. We report a 2017 case of stage 2 Trypanosoma brucei gambiense disease in an emigrant who returned to China from Gabon.

Relative Risk for Ehrlichiosis and Lyme Disease Where Vectors for Both Are Sympatric, Southeastern United States.

Dengue-Associated Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome, Vietnam.

Dengue can cause neurologic complications in addition to the more common manifestations of plasma leakage and coagulopathy. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome has rarely been described in dengue, although the pathophysiology of endothelial dysfunction likely underlies both. We describe a case of dengue-associated posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome and discuss diagnosis and management.

Yersinia pestis Survival and Replication in Potential Ameba Reservoir.

Plague ecology is characterized by sporadic epizootics, then periods of dormancy. Building evidence suggests environmentally ubiquitous amebae act as feral macrophages and hosts to many intracellular pathogens. We conducted environmental genetic surveys and laboratory co-culture infection experiments to assess whether plague bacteria were resistant to digestion by 5 environmental ameba species. First, we demonstrated that Yersinia pestis is resistant or transiently resistant to various ameba species. Second, we showed that Y. pestis survives and replicates intracellularly within Dictyostelium discoideum amebae for ˃48 hours postinfection, whereas control bacteria were destroyed in <1 hour. Finally, we found that Y. pestis resides within ameba structures synonymous with those found in infected human macrophages, for which Y. pestis is a competent pathogen. Evidence supporting amebae as potential plague reservoirs stresses the importance of recognizing pathogen-harboring amebae as threats to public health, agriculture, conservation, and biodefense.

Use of Pristinamycin for Macrolide-Resistant Mycoplasma genitalium Infection.

High levels of macrolide resistance and increasing fluoroquinolone resistance are found in Mycoplasma genitalium in many countries. We evaluated pristinamycin for macrolide-resistant M. genitalium in a sexual health center in Australia. Microbiologic cure was determined by M. genitalium-specific 16S PCR 14-90 days after treatment began. Of 114 persons treated with pristinamycin, infection was cured in 85 (75%). This percentage did not change when pristinamycin was given at daily doses of 2 g or 4 g or at 3 g combined with 200 mg doxycycline. In infections with higher pretreatment bacterial load, treatment was twice as likely to fail for each 1 log10 increase in bacterial load. Gastrointestinal side effects occurred in 7% of patients. Pristinamycin at maximum oral dose, or combined with doxycycline, cured 75% of macrolide-resistant M. genitalium infections. Pristinamycin is well-tolerated and remains an option where fluoroquinolones have failed or cannot be used.

Trends in Infectious Disease Mortality, South Korea, 1983-2015.

We used national statistics from 1983-2015 to evaluate trends in mortality caused by infectious diseases in South Korea. Age-standardized mortality from infectious disease decreased from 43.5/100,000 population in 1983 to 16.5/100,000 in 1996, and then increased to 44.6/100,000 in 2015. Tuberculosis was the most common cause of death in 1983 and respiratory tract infections in 2015. We observed a significant decline in infant deaths caused by infectious diseases, but mortality in persons age >65 years increased from 135 deaths/100,000 population in 1996 to 307/100,000 in 2015. The relative inequality indices for respiratory tract infections, sepsis, and tuberculosis tended to increase over time. Although substantial progress has been achieved in terms of infant mortality, death rates from infectious disease has not decreased overall. Elderly populations with lower education levels and subgroups susceptible to respiratory infections and sepsis should be the focus of preventive policies.

Epidemic Varicella Zoster Virus among University Students, India.

We investigated a yearlong varicella zoster virus outbreak in a highly susceptible young adult population at a large university in India. Outbreaks of varicella infection among adults are not well described in the literature. Infection control measures and vaccination policy for this age group and setting are needed.

Risk Communication and Ebola-Specific Knowledge and Behavior during 2014-2015 Outbreak, Sierra Leone.

We assessed the effect of information sources on Ebola-specific knowledge and behavior during the 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Sierra Leone. We pooled data from 4 population-based knowledge, attitude, and practice surveys (August, October, and December 2014 and July 2015), with a total of 10,604 respondents. We created composite variables for exposures (information sources: electronic, print, new media, government, community) and outcomes (knowledge and misconceptions, protective and risk behavior) and tested associations by using logistic regression within multilevel modeling. Exposure to information sources was associated with higher knowledge and protective behaviors. However, apart from print media, exposure to information sources was also linked to misconceptions and risk behavior, but with weaker associations observed. Knowledge and protective behavior were associated with the outbreak level, most strongly after the peak, whereas risk behavior was seen at all levels of the outbreak. In future outbreaks, close attention should be paid to dissemination of information.

Role of Environmental Factors in Shaping Spatial Distribution of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi, Fiji.

Fiji recently experienced a sharp increase in reported typhoid fever cases. To investigate geographic distribution and environmental risk factors associated with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi infection, we conducted a cross-sectional cluster survey with associated serologic testing for Vi capsular antigen-specific antibodies (a marker for exposure to Salmonella Typhi in Fiji in 2013. Hotspots with high seroprevalence of Vi-specific antibodies were identified in northeastern mainland Fiji. Risk for Vi seropositivity increased with increased annual rainfall (odds ratio [OR] 1.26/quintile increase, 95% CI 1.12-1.42), and decreased with increased distance from major rivers and creeks (OR 0.89/km increase, 95% CI 0.80-0.99) and distance to modeled flood-risk areas (OR 0.80/quintile increase, 95% CI 0.69-0.92) after being adjusted for age, typhoid fever vaccination, and home toilet type. Risk for exposure to Salmonella Typhi and its spatial distribution in Fiji are driven by environmental factors. Our findings can directly affect typhoid fever control efforts in Fiji.

Cysticercosis in Shandong Province, Eastern China.

We analyzed demographic and clinical data and estimated the incidence of cysticercosis in Shandong Province, China, during 1975-2014. Our analyses showed that a cysticercosis-endemic area is present in Shandong Province, especially in its western regions. Improved surveillance and control are needed to address the elevated risk for cysticercosis in this region.

Scrub Typhus Outbreak in Chonburi Province, Central Thailand, 2013.

Investigation of a scrub typhus outbreak in Thailand during September 2013 found that 9.1% of Thai soldiers and 11.1% of residents living in areas surrounding training sites had antibodies against the causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi. Sequence analysis of O. tsutsugamushi from rodents and chiggers identified 7 genogroups and 3 genotypes.

Fly Reservoir Associated with Wohlfahrtiimonas Bacteremia in a Human.

Wohlfahrtiimonas species bacteria were isolated from the bloodstream of a patient with septicemia and wound myiasis. Environmental investigations identified a Wohlfahrtiimonas sp. among insects in the Americas and in a previously undescribed vector, the green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata). The isolates possibly represent a new species within the genus Wohlfahrtiimonas.

Macacine Herpesvirus 1 Antibody Prevalence and DNA Shedding among Invasive Rhesus Macaques, Silver Springs State Park, Florida, USA.

We compiled records on macacine herpesvirus 1 (McHV-1) seroprevalence and, during 2015-2016, collected saliva and fecal samples from the free-ranging rhesus macaques of Silver Springs State Park, a popular public park in central Florida, USA, to determine viral DNA shedding and perform sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis of the US5 and US5-US6 intragenic sequence from free-ranging and laboratory McHV-1 variants did not reveal genomic differences. In animals captured during 2000-2012, average annual seroprevalence was 25% ± 9 (mean ± SD). We found 4%-14% (95% CI 2%-29%) of macaques passively sampled during the fall 2015 mating season shed McHV-1 DNA orally. We did not observe viral shedding during the spring or summer or from fecal samples. We conclude that these macaques can shed McHV-1, putting humans at risk for exposure to this potentially fatal pathogen. Management plans should be put in place to limit transmission of McHV-1 from these macaques.

Development of a Pediatric Ebola Predictive Score, Sierra Leone1.

We compared children who were positive for Ebola virus disease (EVD) with those who were negative to derive a pediatric EVD predictor (PEP) score. We collected data on all children <13 years of age admitted to 11 Ebola holding units in Sierra Leone during August 2014-March 2015 and performed multivariable logistic regression. Among 1,054 children, 309 (29%) were EVD positive and 697 (66%) EVD negative, with 48 (5%) missing. Contact history, conjunctivitis, and age were the strongest positive predictors for EVD. The PEP score had an area under receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.80. A PEP score of 7/10 was 92% specific and 44% sensitive; 3/10 was 30% specific, 94% sensitive. The PEP score could correctly classify 79%-90% of children and could be used to facilitate triage into risk categories, depending on the sensitivity or specificity required.