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emerging infectious diseases - Top 30 Publications

CD4 is expressed on a heterogeneous subset of hematopoietic progenitors, which persistently harbor CXCR4 and CCR5-tropic HIV proviral genomes in vivo.

Latent HIV infection of long-lived cells is a barrier to viral clearance. Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are a heterogeneous population of cells, some of which are long-lived. CXCR4-tropic HIVs infect a broad range of HSPC subtypes, including hematopoietic stem cells, which are multi-potent and long-lived. However, CCR5-tropic HIV infection is limited to more differentiated progenitor cells with life spans that are less well understood. Consistent with emerging data that restricted progenitor cells can be long-lived, we detected persistent HIV in restricted HSPC populations from optimally treated people. Further, genotypic and phenotypic analysis of amplified env alleles from donor samples indicated that both CXCR4- and CCR5-tropic viruses persisted in HSPCs. RNA profiling confirmed expression of HIV receptor RNA in a pattern that was consistent with in vitro and in vivo results. In addition, we characterized a CD4high HSPC sub-population that was preferentially targeted by a variety of CXCR4- and CCR5-tropic HIVs in vitro. Finally, we present strong evidence that HIV proviral genomes of both tropisms can be transmitted to CD4-negative daughter cells of multiple lineages in vivo. In some cases, the transmitted proviral genomes contained signature deletions that inactivated the virus, eliminating the possibility that coincidental infection explains the results. These data support a model in which both stem and non-stem cell progenitors serve as persistent reservoirs for CXCR4- and CCR5-tropic HIV proviral genomes that can be passed to daughter cells.

Bartonella quintana, an Unrecognized Cause of Infective Endocarditis in Children in Ethiopia.

Bartonella quintana endocarditis, a common cause of culture-negative endocarditis in adults, has rarely been reported in children. We describe 5 patients 7-16 years of age from Ethiopia with heart defects and endocarditis; 4 cases were caused by infection with B. quintana and 1 by Bartonella of undetermined species. All 5 patients were afebrile and oligosymptomatic, although 3 had heart failure. C-reactive protein was normal or slightly elevated, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate was high. The diagnosis was confirmed by echocardiographic demonstration of vegetations, the presence of high Bartonella IgG titers, and identification of B. quintana DNA in excised vegetations. Embolic events were diagnosed in 2 patients. Our data suggest that B. quintana is not an uncommon cause of native valve endocarditis in children in Ethiopia with heart defects and that possible B. quintana infection should be suspected and pursued among residents of and immigrants from East Africa, including Ethiopia, with culture-negative endocarditis.

FungiScope(™) -Global Emerging Fungal Infection Registry.

Rare invasive fungal diseases (IFD) are challenging for the treating physicians because of their unspecific clinical presentation, as well as the lack of standardised diagnostic and effective treatment strategies. Late onset of treatment and inappropriate medication is associated with high mortality, thus, urging the need for a better understanding of these diseases. The purpose of FungiScope(™) is to continuously collect clinical information and specimens to improve the knowledge on epidemiology and eventually improve patient management of these orphan diseases. FungiScope(™) was founded in 2003, and today, collaborators from 66 countries support the registry. So far, clinical data of 794 cases have been entered using a web-based approach. Within the growing network of experts, new collaborations developed, leading to several publications of comprehensive analyses of patient subgroups identified from the registry. Data extracted from FungiScope(™) have also been used as the sole control group for the approval of a new antifungal drug. Due to the rarity of these diseases, a global registry is an appropriate method of pooling the scarce and scattered information. Joining efforts across medical specialities and geographical borders is key for researching rare IFD. Here, we describe the structure and management of the FungiScope(™) registry.

Sudan ebolavirus long recovered survivors produce GP-specific Abs that are of the IgG1 subclass and preferentially bind FcγRI.

Ebolavirus is a highly lethal pathogen, causing a severe hemorrhagic disease with a high fatality rate. To better understand immune correlates of protection by virus specific IgG, we investigated the evolution of the Fcγ receptors (FcγRs)-activating capabilities of antiviral IgG in serum samples of long recovered survivors. To this end, longitudinal serum samples from survivors of Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) infection, studied over years, were examined for the presence of Ebola-GP specific IgG subclasses, and for their binding to FcγRs. We developed a cell-based reporter system to quantitate pathogen-specific antibody binding to FcγRIIIA, FcγRIIA, FcγRIIB and FcγRI. With this system, we demonstrate that anti-GP-specific stimulation of the FcγRI reporter by survivors' sera was substantially high one year after acute infection, with a slight reduction in activity over a decade post infection. We further demonstrate that GP-specific IgG1 is by far the seroprevalent subclass that retained and even enhanced its presence in the sera, over ten years post infection; the prevalence of other GP-specific IgG subclasses was considerably reduced over time. In accordance, GP-specific FcγRI reporter response and GP-specific total IgG1 subclass correlated in the studied group of Ebola survivors. These observations are important for further informing Ebola vaccine and therapeutic development.

Antifungal treatment of wild amphibian populations caused a transient reduction in the prevalence of the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

Emerging infectious diseases can drive host populations to extinction and are a major driver of biodiversity loss. Controlling diseases and mitigating their impacts is therefore a priority for conservation science and practice. Chytridiomycosis is a devastating disease of amphibians that is caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and for which there is an urgent need to develop mitigation methods. We treated tadpoles of the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans) with antifungal agents using a capture-treat-release approach in the field. Antifungal treatment during the spring reduced the prevalence of Bd in the cohort of tadpoles that had overwintered and reduced transmission of Bd from this cohort to the uninfected young-of-the-year cohort. Unfortunately, the mitigation was only transient, and the antifungal treatment was unable to prevent the rapid spread of Bd through the young-of-the year cohort. During the winter, Bd prevalence reached 100% in both the control and treated ponds. In the following spring, no effects of treatment were detectable anymore. We conclude that the sporadic application of antifungal agents in the present study was not sufficient for the long-term and large-scale control of Bd in this amphibian system.

Can toxicities induced by antituberculosis drugs be better managed in diabetic patients?

Hypoxic vascular response and ventilation/perfusion matching in end-stage COPD may depend on p22phox.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a heterogeneous disease in which the amount of emphysema and airway disease may be very different between individuals, even in end-stage disease. Emphysema formation may be linked to the involvement of the small pulmonary vessels. The NAPDH oxidase (Nox) family is emerging as a key disease-related factor in vascular diseases, but currently its role in hypoxia-induced pulmonary remodelling in COPD remains unclear.Here we investigate the role of p22phox, a regulatory subunit of Nox, in COPD lungs, hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV), hypoxia-induced pulmonary vascular remodelling and pulmonary hypertension.In COPD, compared to control lungs, p22phox expression was significantly reduced. The expression was correlated positively with mean pulmonary arterial pressure and oxygenation index and negatively with the diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (p<0.02). This suggests a role of p22phox in ventilation/perfusion ratio matching, vascular remodelling and loss of perfused lung area. In p22phox(-/-) mice, HPV was significantly impaired. In the chronic hypoxic setting, lack of p22phox was associated with improved right ventricular function and decreased pulmonary vascular remodelling.p22phox-dependent Nox plays an important role in the COPD phenotype, by its action on phase II HPV and chronic vascular remodelling.

Impact of the Microbiota on Bacterial Infections during Cancer Treatment.

Patients being treated for cancer are at high risk for infectious complications, generally due to colonizing organisms that gain access to sterile sites via disrupted epithelial barriers. There is an emerging understanding that the ability of bacterial pathogens, including multidrug-resistant organisms, to colonize and subsequently infect humans is largely dependent on protective bacterial species present in the microbiome. Thus, herein we review recent studies demonstrating strong correlations between the microbiome of the oncology patient and infections occurring during chemotherapy. An increased knowledge of the interplay between potential pathogens, protective commensals, and the host immune system may facilitate the development of novel biomarkers or therapeutics that could help ameliorate the toll that infections take during the treatment of cancer.

Malaria after international travel: a GeoSentinel analysis, 2003-2016.

More than 30,000 malaria cases are reported annually among international travellers. Despite improvements in malaria control, malaria continues to threaten travellers due to inaccurate perception of risk and sub-optimal pre-travel preparation.

PrEP in Italy: The time may be ripe but who's paying the bill? A nationwide survey on physicians' attitudes towards using antiretrovirals to prevent HIV infection.

Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with tenofovir (with or without emtricitabine) on preventing HIV-negative partners of HIV infected patients to become infected through sexual contacts. PrEP is already available in the United States and now is approved by European Medicine Agency. In this setting we would like to gauge physicians' knowledge, acquaintance with and attitude to include PrEP in their clinical practice. A cross sectional survey was conducted among Italian physicians expert on antiretroviral therapy. Out of 146 physicians, 35% of participants declared to be familiar with PrEP but only 46% of them believed that, currently, there are not enough reasons to make it available in Italy. 51% of physicians have already been attracted to prescribe it and 63.4% have been openly asked about PrEP. The main concerns noticed were: the risk of acquire other sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) (70% of physicians feared that PrEP could favor STDs spread), the potential harmful of PrEP if not adequately implemented and, especially the risk of possible side effects if not properly used. Nevertheless, 55.9% of participants believed that Health Authorities face an ethical obligation to make PrEP available as part of the strategies to protect from HIV transmission and half of the respondents asked for further researches to better define the role for PrEP. Attitudes regarding PrEP impact on Italian National Health Organization were also very interesting: 57.5% of participants did not believe that investing in PrEP would be an appropriate use of healthcare resources, while 70.6% affirmed that PrEP's financial coverage should not be funded by the Italian National System of Health (SSN). This survey showed a high awareness of PrEP potential among Italian physicians coupled with a great deal of skepticism about how and if implementing it in clinical practice.

A cross-sectional seroepidemiological survey of typhoid fever in Fiji.

Fiji, an upper-middle income state in the Pacific Ocean, has experienced an increase in confirmed case notifications of enteric fever caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi). To characterize the epidemiology of typhoid exposure, we conducted a cross-sectional sero-epidemiological survey measuring IgG against the Vi antigen of S. Typhi to estimate the effect of age, ethnicity, and other variables on seroprevalence. Epidemiologically relevant cut-off titres were established using a mixed model analysis of data from recovering culture-confirmed typhoid cases. We enrolled and assayed plasma of 1787 participants for anti-Vi IgG; 1,531 of these were resident in mainland areas that had not been previously vaccinated against S. Typhi (seropositivity 32.3% (95%CI 28.2 to 36.3%)), 256 were resident on Taveuni island, which had been previously vaccinated (seropositivity 71.5% (95%CI 62.1 to 80.9%)). The seroprevalence on the Fijian mainland is one to two orders of magnitude higher than expected from confirmed case surveillance incidence, suggesting substantial subclinical or otherwise unreported typhoid. We found no significant differences in seropositivity prevalences by ethnicity, which is in contrast to disease surveillance data in which the indigenous iTaukei Fijian population are disproportionately affected. Using multivariable logistic regression, seropositivity was associated with increased age (odds ratio 1.3 (95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) per 10 years), the presence of a pit latrine (OR 1.6, 95%CI 1.1 to 2.3) as opposed to a septic tank or piped sewer, and residence in settlements rather than residential housing or villages (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.0 to 2.7). Increasing seropositivity with age is suggestive of low-level endemic transmission in Fiji. Improved sanitation where pit latrines are used and addressing potential transmission routes in settlements may reduce exposure to S. Typhi. Widespread unreported infection suggests there may be a role for typhoid vaccination in Fiji, in addition to public health management of cases and outbreaks.

Effects of Influenza Strain Label on Worry and Behavioral Intentions.

Persons who read information about a hypothetical influenza strain with scientific (H11N3 influenza) or exotic-sounding (Yarraman flu) name reported higher worry and vaccination intentions than did those who read about strains named after an animal reservoir (horse flu). These findings suggest that terms used for influenza in public communications can influence reactions.

California Serogroup Virus Infection Associated with Encephalitis and Cognitive Decline, Canada, 2015.

California serogroup (CSG) viruses, such as Jamestown Canyon and snowshoe hare viruses, are mosquitoborne pathogens that cause febrile illness and neurologic disease. Human exposures have been described across Canada, but infections are likely underdiagnosed. We describe a case of neuroinvasive illness in a New Brunswick, Canada, patient infected with a CSG virus.

Mucus-Activatable Shiga Toxin Genotype stx2d in Escherichia coli O157:H7.

We identified the mucus-activatable Shiga toxin genotype stx2d in the most common hemolytic uremic syndrome-associated Escherichia coli serotype, O157:H7. stx2d was detected in a strain isolated from a 2-year-old boy with bloody diarrhea in Spain, and whole-genome sequencing was used to confirm and fully characterize the strain.

Human Infection with Burkholderia thailandensis, China, 2013.

Burkholderia thailandensis infection in humans is uncommon. We describe a case of B. thailandensis infection in a person in China, a location heretofore unknown for B. thailandensis. We identified the specific virulence factors of B. thailandensis, which may indicate a transition to a new virulent form.

Risk for Death among Children with Pneumonia, Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, childhood deaths from pneumonia are high. Among 639 children at 1 hospital, the case-fatality rate was 12.1%, and 46.8% of pneumococcal serotypes detected were covered by the 13-valent vaccine. Most deaths occurred within 2 days of hospitalization; newborns and malnourished children were at risk. Vaccination could reduce pneumonia and deaths.

Lyme Borreliosis in Finland, 1995-2014.

We investigated the epidemiology of Lyme borreliosis (LB) in Finland for the period 1995-2014 by using data from 3 different healthcare registers. We reviewed data on disseminated LB cases from the National Infectious Diseases Register (21,051 cases) and the National Hospital Discharge Register (10,402 cases) and data on primary LB (erythema migrans) cases from the Register for Primary Health Care Visits (11,793 cases). Incidence of microbiologically confirmed disseminated LB cases increased from 7/100,000 population in 1995 to 31/100,000 in 2014. Incidence of primary LB cases increased from 44/100,000 in 2011 to 61/100,000 in 2014. Overall, cases occurred predominantly in women, and we observed a bimodal age distribution in all 3 registers. Our results clearly demonstrate that the geographic distribution of LB has expanded in Finland and underscore the importance of LB as an increasing public health concern in Finland and in northern Europe in general.

Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis as Causative Agent of Human Ocular Filariosis after Travel to India.

We report a human case of ocular Dirofilaria infection in a traveler returning to Austria from India. Analysis of mitochondrial sequences identified the worm as Candidatus Dirofilaria hongkongensis, a close relative of Dirofilaria repens, which was only recently described in Hong Kong and proposed as a new species.

mcr-1 and blaKPC-3 in Escherichia coli Sequence Type 744 after Meropenem and Colistin Therapy, Portugal.

Escherichia coli Ec36 was recovered from a patient in Portugal after treatment with meropenem and colistin. Besides an IncF plasmid with Tn1441d-blaKPC-3, already reported in clinical strains in this country, E. coli Ec36 co-harbored an IncX4::mcr-1 gene. Results highlight emerging co-resistance to carbapenems and polymyxins after therapy with drugs from both classes.

Characterization of Fitzroy River Virus and Serologic Evidence of Human and Animal Infection.

In northern Western Australia in 2011 and 2012, surveillance detected a novel arbovirus in mosquitoes. Genetic and phenotypic analyses confirmed that the new flavivirus, named Fitzroy River virus, is related to Sepik virus and Wesselsbron virus, in the yellow fever virus group. Most (81%) isolates came from Aedes normanensis mosquitoes, providing circumstantial evidence of the probable vector. In cell culture, Fitzroy River virus replicated in mosquito (C6/36), mammalian (Vero, PSEK, and BSR), and avian (DF-1) cells. It also infected intraperitoneally inoculated weanling mice and caused mild clinical disease in 3 intracranially inoculated mice. Specific neutralizing antibodies were detected in sentinel horses (12.6%), cattle (6.6%), and chickens (0.5%) in the Northern Territory of Australia and in a subset of humans (0.8%) from northern Western Australia.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome and Scrub Typhus in India.

Serologic Evidence of Scrub Typhus in the Peruvian Amazon.

Using a large, passive, febrile surveillance program in Iquitos, Peru, we retrospectively tested human blood specimens for scrub typhus group orientiae by ELISA, immunofluorescence assay, and PCR. Of 1,124 participants, 60 (5.3%) were seropositive, and 1 showed evidence of recent active infection. Our serologic data indicate that scrub typhus is present in the Peruvian Amazon.

Global Spread of Norovirus GII.17 Kawasaki 308, 2014-2016.

Analysis of complete capsid sequences of the emerging norovirus GII.17 Kawasaki 308 from 13 countries demonstrated that they originated from a single haplotype since the initial emergence in China in late 2014. Global spread of a sublineage SL2 was identified. A new sublineage SL3 emerged in China in 2016.

Scrub Typhus as a Cause of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Outbreaks of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) have been occurring in Gorakhpur Division, Uttar Pradesh, India, for several years. In 2016, we conducted a case-control study. Our findings revealed a high proportion of AES cases with Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM and IgG, indicating that scrub typhus is a cause of AES.

Molecular Characterization of Corynebacterium diphtheriae Outbreak Isolates, South Africa, March-June 2015.

In 2015, a cluster of respiratory diphtheria cases was reported from KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. By using whole-genome analysis, we characterized 21 Corynebacterium diphtheriae isolates collected from 20 patients and contacts during the outbreak (1 patient was infected with 2 variants of C. diphtheriae). In addition, we included 1 cutaneous isolate, 2 endocarditis isolates, and 2 archived clinical isolates (ca. 1980) for comparison. Two novel lineages were identified, namely, toxigenic sequence type (ST) ST-378 (n = 17) and nontoxigenic ST-395 (n = 3). One archived isolate and the cutaneous isolate were ST-395, suggesting ongoing circulation of this lineage for >30 years. The absence of preexisting molecular sequence data limits drawing conclusions pertaining to the origin of these strains; however, these findings provide baseline genotypic data for future cases and outbreaks. Neither ST has been reported in any other country; this ST appears to be endemic only in South Africa.

West Nile Virus Outbreak in Houston and Harris County, Texas, USA, 2014.

Since 2002, West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected every year in Houston and the surrounding Harris County, Texas. In 2014, the largest WNV outbreak to date occurred, comprising 139 cases and causing 2 deaths. Additionally, 1,286 WNV-positive mosquito pools were confirmed, the most reported in a single mosquito season.

Occupational Exposures to Ebola Virus in Ebola Treatment Center, Conakry, Guinea.

We report 77 cases of occupational exposures for 57 healthcare workers at the Ebola Treatment Center in Conakry, Guinea, during the Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2014-2015. Despite the high incidence of 3.5 occupational exposures/healthcare worker/year, only 18% of workers were at high risk for transmission, and no infections occurred.

Human Metapneumovirus and Other Respiratory Viral Infections during Pregnancy and Birth, Nepal.

Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a respiratory virus that can cause severe lower respiratory tract disease and even death, primarily in young children. The incidence and characteristics of HMPV have not been well described in pregnant women. As part of a trial of maternal influenza immunization in rural southern Nepal, we conducted prospective, longitudinal, home-based active surveillance for febrile respiratory illness during pregnancy through 6 months postpartum. During 2011-2014, HMPV was detected in 55 of 3,693 women (16.4 cases/1,000 person-years). Twenty-five women were infected with HMPV during pregnancy, compared with 98 pregnant women who contracted rhinovirus and 7 who contracted respiratory syncytial virus. Women with HMPV during pregnancy had an increased risk of giving birth to infants who were small for gestational age. An intervention to reduce HMPV febrile respiratory illness in pregnant women may have the potential to decrease risk of adverse birth outcomes in developing countries.

Seroprevalence of Baylisascaris procyonis Infection among Humans, Santa Barbara County, California, USA, 2014-2016.

Baylisascaris procyonis (raccoon roundworm) infection is common in raccoons and can cause devastating pathology in other animals, including humans. Limited information is available on the frequency of asymptomatic human infection. We tested 150 adults from California, USA, for B. procyonis antibodies; 11 were seropositive, suggesting that subclinical infection does occur.

Added Value of Next-Generation Sequencing for Multilocus Sequence Typing Analysis of a Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia Outbreak1.

Pneumocystis jirovecii is a major threat for immunocompromised patients, and clusters of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) have been increasingly described in transplant units during the past decade. Exploring an outbreak transmission network requires complementary spatiotemporal and strain-typing approaches. We analyzed a PCP outbreak and demonstrated the added value of next-generation sequencing (NGS) for the multilocus sequence typing (MLST) study of P. jirovecii strains. Thirty-two PCP patients were included. Among the 12 solid organ transplant patients, 5 shared a major and unique genotype that was also found as a minor strain in a sixth patient. A transmission map analysis strengthened the suspicion of nosocomial acquisition of this strain for the 6 patients. NGS-MLST enables accurate determination of subpopulation, which allowed excluding other patients from the transmission network. NGS-MLST genotyping approach was essential to deciphering this outbreak. This innovative approach brings new insights for future epidemiologic studies on this uncultivable opportunistic fungus.