The latest medical research on Tropical Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about tropical medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Emergence of multi-drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Niger: A snapshot based on whole-genome sequencing.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Among other West African countries experiencing the high endemicity of deadly tuberculosis, the situation in Niger is poorly evidenced by microbiological investigations.

The study of 42 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from Niger by whole genome sequencing using Illumina iSeq technology yielded four M. tuberculosis lineages: Indo-Oceanic L1 (n = 1) (2.3%), East-Asian (n = 1) (2.3%), East-African Indian L3 (n = 2) (4.7%) and Euro-American L4 (n = 38) (90.4%). The sub-lineage L4.1.3 comprising 18 isolates (47.3%) was predominant, followed by the L4.6.2.2 sub-lineage (Cameroon genotype, n = 13 isolates) (34.2%). Investigating drug resistance profile for 12 antibiotics found 8/42 (19%) pan-susceptible isolates and 34/42 (81%) resistant isolates; with 40/42 (95.2%) isolates being susceptible to clofazimine-bedaquiline.

These unprecedented data from Niger highlight the dynamics of tuberculosis transmission and drug resistance in Niger and may assist tuberculosis control in this country which continues to support a high burden of tuberculosis.

Yaws elimination in Ecuador: Findings of a serological survey of children in Esmeraldas province to evaluate interruption of transmission.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

The WHO roadmap for neglected tropical diseases includes yaws eradication requiring certification of elimination of transmission in all endemic and formerly endemic countries worldwide. A community-based programme for yaws control was considered to have achieved elimination of the infection in the endemic focus in Ecuador after 1993. We did a serosurvey of children in this focus to provide evidence for interruption of transmission.

Survey of serum samples collected from children aged 2 to 15 years living in the formerly endemic and in geographically contiguous areas. A convenience sample of sera collected between 2005 were 2017 from non-yaws studies, were analyzed using immunochromatic rapid tests to screen (OnSite Syphilis Ab Combo Rapid Test) for Treponema pallidum-specific antibodies and confirm (DPP Syphilis Screen and Confirm) seroreactivity based on the presence antibodies to treponemal and non-treponemal antigens.

Seroreactivity was confirmed in 6 (0.14%, 95% CI 0.06-0.30) of 4,432 sera analyzed and was similar in formerly endemic (0.11%, (95% CI 0.01-0.75) and non-endemic (0.14%, 95% CI 0.06-0.34) communities. All seroreactors were of Afro-Ecuadorian ethnicity and most were male (4/6) and aged 10 or more years (5/6), the latter possibly indicating venereal syphilis. Only 1 seroreactor lived in a community in the Rio Santiago, that was formerly hyperendemic for yaws.

We observed very low levels of treponemal transmission in both formerly endemic and non-endemic communities which might be indicative of congenital or venereal syphilis and, if yaws, would likely be insufficient to maintain transmission of this endemic childhood infection. Additional surveys of children aged 1 to 5 years are planned in Rio Santiago communities to exclude yaws transmission.

A prospective observational study of community-acquired bacterial bloodstream infections in Metro Manila, the Philippines.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Community-acquired bacterial bloodstream infections are caused by diverse pathogens with changing antimicrobial-resistance patterns. In low-middle ...

Estimates of Japanese Encephalitis mortality and morbidity: A systematic review and modeling analysis.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is known for its high case fatality ratio (CFR) and long-term neurological sequelae. Over the years, efforts in JE treatment and control might change the JE fatality risk. However, previous estimates were from 10 years ago, using data from cases in the 10 years before this. Estimating JE disease severity is challenging because data come from countries with different JE surveillance systems, diagnostic methods, and study designs. Without precise and timely JE disease severity estimates, there is continued uncertainty about the JE disease burden and the effect of JE vaccination.

We performed a systematic review to collate age-stratified JE fatality and morbidity data. We used a stepwise model selection with BIC as the selection criteria to identify JE CFR drivers. We used stacked regression, to predict country-specific JE CFR from 1961 to 2030. JE morbidity estimates were grouped from similar study designs to estimate the proportion of JE survivors with long-term neurological sequelae.

We included 82 and 50 peer-reviewed journal articles published as of March 06 2021 for JE fatality and morbidity with 22 articles in both analyses. Results suggested overall JE CFR estimates of 26% (95% CI 22, 30) in 1961-1979, 20% (95% CI 17, 24) in 1980-1999, 14% (95% CI 11, 17) in 2000-2018, and 14% (95% CI 11, 17) in 2019-2030. Holding other variables constant, we found that JE fatality risk decreased over time (OR: 0.965; 95% CI: 0.947-0.983). Younger JE cases had a slightly higher JE fatality risk (OR: 1.012; 95% CI: 1.003-1.021). The odds of JE fatality in countries with JE vaccination is 0.802 (90% CI: 0.653-0.994; 95% CI: 0.62-1.033) times lower than the odds in countries without JE vaccination. Ten percentage increase in the percentage of rural population to the total population was associated with 15.35% (95% CI: 7.71, 22.57) decrease in JE fatality odds. Ten percentage increase in population growth rate is associated with 3.71% (90% CI: 0.23, 7.18; 95% CI: -0.4, 8.15) increase in JE fatality odds. Adjusting for the effect of year, rural population percent, age of JE cases, and population growth rate, we estimated that there was a higher odds of JE fatality in India compared to China. (OR: 5.46, 95% CI: 3.61-8.31). Using the prediction model we found that, in 2000-2018, Brunei, Pakistan, and Timor-Leste were predicted to have the highest JE CFR of 20%. Bangladesh, Guam, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam had projected JE CFR over 20% for after 2018, whereas the projected JE CFRs were below 10% in China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand. For disability, we estimated that 36% (min-max 0-85) JE patients recovered fully at hospital discharge. One year after hospital discharge, 46% (min-max 0%-97%) JE survivors were estimated to live normally but 49% (min-max 3% - 86%)till had neurological sequelae.

JE CFR estimates were lower than 20% after 2000. Our study provides an updated estimation of CFR and proportion of JE cases with long-term neurological sequelae that could help to refine cost-benefit assessment for JE control and elimination programs.

Respiratory viruses in rural Zambia before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trop Med Int

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions were implemented globally to control the virus. Data on respiratory pathogens in sub-Saharan Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic are scarce. This analysis was conducted to evaluate patterns of respiratory pathogens in rural Zambia before and during the first year of the pandemic.

Surveillance was established in December 2018 at Macha Hospital in southern Zambia. Patients with respiratory symptoms in the outpatient and inpatient clinics were recruited. Nasopharyngeal samples were collected and tested for respiratory pathogens. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms and pathogens was evaluated and compared in the first (December 10, 2018 to December 9, 2019) and second (December 10, 2019 to November 30, 2020) years of surveillance.

Outpatient visits and admissions for respiratory illness significantly decreased from the first to second year, especially among children. SARS-CoV-2 was not detected from any participants in Year 2. Among outpatients and inpatients with respiratory symptoms, the prevalence of respiratory syncytial virus and influenza viruses decreased from the first to second year. In contrast the prevalence of rhinovirus/enterovirus, metapneumovirus, and parainfluenza virus increased.

The epidemiology of respiratory viruses in rural Zambia changed during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that public health interventions may have had an impact on the introduction and circulation of respiratory pathogens in this area.

Substance use and HIV: some considerations in a global context.


This brief report calls attention to the relationship between substance use and HIV from a global perspective. The epidemiology of substance use di...

Using quantitative PCR to identify opportunities to strengthen soil-transmitted helminth control in Solomon Islands: A cross-sectional epidemiological survey.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618001086257.

We conducted a cross-sectional survey in 18 villages in Western Province to detect infections with six STH species and quantify intensity with three. We used linear mixed model regression to identify potential water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and environmental risk factors for infection. We collected stool specimens from 830 village residents. Overall STH prevalence was 63.3% (range 27.5 to 91.5% across villages), led by Necator americanus (54.5% [range 17.5-89.4%]), followed by Ancylostoma ceylanicum (15.5% [range 2.8-45.8%]), Trichuris trichiura (9.1% [range 0-79.2%]), and Strongyloides spp. (3.2% [range 0-29.2%]). Most infections were of light intensity for N. americanus (85.7%) and T. trichiura (90.7%). Owning a household latrine was associated with a lower risk of N. americanus infection (AOR 0.41, 95% CI 0.24-0.68) while greater precipitation was linked to more common T. trichiura infection (AOR 1.14, 95% CI 1.04-1.25).

In this first large-scale population survey of STH in the Pacific using qPCR, we found evidence that ivermectin should be incorporated into STH control programmes because of the presence of T. trichiura and Strongyloides spp., both of which are poorly responsive to albendazole. Furthermore, One Health strategies are needed for improved A. ceylanicum and Strongyloides spp. control, WASH access and use should be improved to complement deworming programmes, and control efforts should ideally be expanded to entire communities.

Characterization of a novel microfilarial antigen for diagnosis of Wuchereria bancrofti infections.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a neglected tropical disease caused by the filarial nematodes Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. The Global Program to Eliminate LF uses mass drug administration (MDA) of anti-filarial drugs that clear microfilariae (Mf) from blood to interrupt transmission by mosquitos. New diagnostic tools are needed to assess the impact of MDA on bancroftian filariasis, because available serologic tests can remain positive after successful treatment.

We identified Wb-bhp-1, which encodes a W. bancrofti homologue of BmR1, the B. malayi protein used in the Brugia Rapid antibody test for brugian filariasis. Wb-bhp-1 has a single exon that encodes a 16.3 kD protein (Wb-Bhp-1) with 45% amino acid identity to BmR1. Immunohistology shows that anti-Wb-Bhp-1 antibodies primarily bind to Mf. Plasma from 124 of 224 (55%) microfilaremic individuals had IgG4 antibodies to Wb-Bhp-1 by ELISA. Serologic reactivity to Wb-Bhp-1 varied widely with samples from different regions (sensitivity range 32-92%), with 77% sensitivity for 116 samples collected from microfilaremic individuals outside of sub-Saharan Africa. This variable sensitivity highlights the importance of validating new diagnostic tests for parasitic diseases with samples from different geographical regions. Individuals with higher Mf counts were more likely to have anti-Wb-Bhp-1 antibodies. Cross-reactivity was observed with a minority of plasma samples from people with onchocerciasis (17%) or loiasis (10%). We also identified, cloned and characterized BmR1 homologues from O. volvulus and L. loa that have 41% and 38% identity to BmR1, respectively. However, antibody assays with these antigens were not sensitive for onchocerciasis or loiasis.

Wb-Bhp-1 is a novel antigen that is useful for serologic diagnosis of bancroftian filariasis. Additional studies are needed to assess the value of this antigen for monitoring the success of filariasis elimination programs.

What the snake leaves in its wake: Functional limitations and disabilities among snakebite victims in Ghanaian communities.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

The estimated five million snakebites per year are an important health problem that mainly affect rural poor populations. The global goal is to halve both mortality and morbidity from this neglected tropical disease by 2030. Data on snakebite morbidity are sparse and mainly obtained from hospital records.

This community-based study was conducted among 379 rural residents with or without a history of snakebite in the Ashanti and Upper West regions of Ghana. All participants in the snakebite group were bitten at least six months before the day of survey. The World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0) and the Buruli Ulcer Functional Limitation Score were used to obtain patient-reported measure of functioning and disability. Long-term consequences were evaluated based on the severity of the symptoms at the time of the snakebite.

The median (IQR) time since the snakebite was 8.0 (3.5-16.5) years. The relative risk of disability was 1.54 (95% CI, 1.17-2.03) in the snakebite group compared to the community controls. Among patients with clinical symptoms suggesting envenoming at the time of bite, 35% had mild/moderate disabilities compared to 20% in the control group. The disability domains mainly affected by snakebite envenoming were cognition level, mobility, life activities and participation in society. A combination of the severity of symptoms at the time of the bite, age, gender and region of residence most accurately predicted the odds of having functional limitations and disabilities.

The burden of snakebite in the community includes long-term disabilities of mild to moderate severity, which need to be considered when designing appropriate public health interventions. Estimating the total burden of snakebite is complicated by geographic differences in types of snakes and their clinical manifestations.

Transmission dynamics and vaccination strategies for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus in Afghanistan: A modelling study.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a highly pathogenic virus for which a safe and effective vaccine is not yet available, despite being considered a priority emerging pathogen. Understanding transmission patterns and the use of potential effective vaccines are central elements of the future plan against this infection.

We developed a series of models of transmission amongst livestock, and spillover infection into humans. We use real-world human and animal data from a CCHFV endemic area in Afghanistan (Herat) to calibrate our models. We assess the value of environmental drivers as proxy indicators of vector activity, and select the best model using deviance information criteria. Finally we assess the impact of vaccination by simulating campaigns targeted to humans or livestock, and to high-risk subpopulations (i.e, farmers).

Saturation deficit is the indicator that better explains tick activity trends in Herat. Recent increments in reported CCHFV cases in this area are more likely explained by increased surveillance capacity instead of changes in the background transmission dynamics. Modelling suggests that clinical cases only represent 31% (95% CrI 28%-33%) of total infections in this area. Vaccination campaigns targeting humans would result in a much larger impact than livestock vaccination (266 vs 31 clinical cases averted respectively) and a more efficient option when assessed in courses per case averted (35 vs 431 respectively). Targeted vaccination of farmers is impactful and more efficient, resulting in 19 courses per case averted (95% CrI 7-62) compared to targeting the general population (35 courses 95% CrI 16-107).

CCHFV is endemic in Herat, and transmission cycles are well predicted by environmental drivers like saturation deficit. Vaccinating humans is likely to be more efficient and impactful than animals, and importantly targeted interventions to high risk groups like farmers can offer a more efficient approach to vaccine roll-out.

Podoconiosis: Clinical spectrum and microscopic presentations.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Podoconiosis is a skin Neglected Tropical Disease (skin NTD) that causes lymphoedema, and affects barefooted subsistence farmers in some tropical countries. The clinical presentation and histopathologic correlates of podoconiosis have been understudied. Here, we systematically document the clinical and histopathologic spectrum of podoconiosis.

This is a cross-sectional study in Durbete, Ethiopia from February 2018 to October 2019. Dermatologists performed a patient history, physical examination, filariasis test strip, and skin biopsy for histopathologic examination. The results were summarised and a descriptive statistical analysis and Wilcoxon rank sum test with continuity correction was done.

We recruited 289 patients for the study, 178 (61.6%) had stage 1 or 2 podoconiosis, and 111(38.4%) stage 3 to 5 podoconiosis. 188 (64.1%) had a family history of podoconiosis. In 251 (86.9%) patients, both legs were affected by podoconiosis and in 38 (13.1%) only one leg was affected. 220 (77.5%) patients had warty lesions, 114 (39.4%) had nodules. The median number of episodes of Acute Dermato-Lymphangio-Adenitis (ADLA) reported by the patients in the last three months was 2 (interquartile range (IQR) 1-4). Increased episodes of ADLA were significantly associated with stage 3-5 podoconiosis (P = 0.002), while burning pain in the feet was more common in stage 1 or 2 podoconiosis. Stage 3-5 disease was histopathologically characterised by epidermal and dermal thickening, verrucous acanthosis, inflammatory cell infiltrates (predominantly lymphoplasmacytic), dilated and ectatic and a reduced number of lymphatic vessels, eccrine ductal hyperplasia, and sclerosis such as thickened collagen bundles.

We provide a detailed description of the different clinical patterns, associated clinical findings and the histopathologic spectrum of podoconiosis at different stages of the disease. Our observations should serve as a guide to classifying patients with podoconiosis for prognostic assessment and treatment decision.