ResearchPad - arboviruses https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Assessing entomological risk factors for arboviral disease transmission in the French Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13872 The French overseas Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, located in the South Pacific, has been affected by several dengue epidemics, but did not face Zika or chikungunya outbreaks, unlike other neighboring islands. The near-exclusive presence of the Aedes polynesiensis mosquito in the islands of Wallis and Futuna confirmed the role played by this mosquito as a vector of dengue fever. A local Ae. polynesiensis population was recently shown to be able to transmit the Zika virus under experimental conditions, but its susceptibility to the chikungunya virus was still unknown, and recent data on the presence of other potential arbovirus vectors were missing. Therefore, we investigated the entomological risk factors for the transmission of arboviral diseases in the Wallis and Futuna Islands. We reported the occurrence and distribution of different Aedes species, especially the abundant presence of Ae. polynesiensis across the territory and the spread of Ae. aegypti in the island of Wallis. Our results demonstrated the ability of local Ae. polynesiensis populations to transmit the chikungunya virus. These findings highlight the risk of arbovirus transmission in the Wallis and Futuna Islands and provide relevant data to guide prevention and vector control strategies in the territory.

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<![CDATA[Vector competence of biting midges and mosquitoes for Shuni virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75dfd5eed0c4843d037a

Background

Shuni virus (SHUV) is an orthobunyavirus that belongs to the Simbu serogroup. SHUV was isolated from diverse species of domesticated animals and wildlife, and is associated with neurological disease, abortions, and congenital malformations. Recently, SHUV caused outbreaks among ruminants in Israel, representing the first incursions outside the African continent. The isolation of SHUV from a febrile child in Nigeria and seroprevalence among veterinarians in South Africa suggests that the virus may have zoonotic potential as well. The high pathogenicity, extremely broad tropism, potential transmission via both biting midges and mosquitoes, and zoonotic features of SHUV require further investigation. This is important to accurately determine the risk for animal and human health, and to facilitate preparations for potential epidemics. To gain first insight into the potential involvement of biting midges and mosquitoes in SHUV transmission we have investigated the ability of SHUV to infect two species of laboratory-colonised biting midges and two species of mosquitoes.

Methodology/Principal findings

Culicoides nubeculosus, C. sonorensis, Culex pipiens pipiens, and Aedes aegypti were orally exposed to SHUV by providing an infectious blood meal. Biting midges showed high infection rates of approximately 40%-60%, whereas infection rates of mosquitoes were only 0–2%. Moreover, successful dissemination in both species of biting midges and no evidence for transmission by orally exposed mosquitoes was found.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this study suggest that different species of Culicoides midges are efficient in SHUV transmission, while the involvement of mosquitoes has not been supported.

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<![CDATA[Arbovirus coinfection and co-transmission: A neglected public health concern?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c455d5eed0c4845e8560

Epidemiological synergy between outbreaks of viruses transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses, has resulted in coinfection of humans with multiple viruses. Despite the potential impact on public health, we know only little about the occurrence and consequences of such coinfections. Here, we review the impact of coinfection on clinical disease in humans, discuss the possibility for co-transmission from mosquito to human, and describe a role for modeling transmission dynamics at various levels of co-transmission. Solving the mystery of virus coinfections will reveal whether they should be viewed as a serious concern for public health.

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<![CDATA[Molecular characterization of viruses associated with encephalitis in São Paulo, Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46657cd5eed0c48451968d

The objective of this study was to characterize the prevalence of viral encephalitis due to arbovirus infection of the Togaviridae and Flaviviridae families in São Paulo, Brazil. A total of 500 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples collected between August 2012 and January 2013, from patients with symptoms of acute encephalitis were analyzed. Findings suggestive of viral encephalitis—elevations in cell concentration, glucose and total protein—were observed in 234 (46.8%) samples, designated as Group 1. The remaining 266 samples comprised Group 2. All samples were tested for Flaviviruses (dengue virus 1, 2, 3 and 4, yellow fever virus and West Nile virus), Alphavirus (NS5 region) and enterovirus by RT- PCR and for herpesviruses and enteroviruses using CLART-Entherpex. A presumptive viral etiological agent was detected in 26 samples (5.2%), 18 (8.0%) in Group 1 and 8 (3.0%) in Group 2. In Group 1 human herpesviruses were detected in 9 cases, enteroviruses in 7 cases, dengue viruses (DENV) in 2 CSFs and St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) in one case. In Group 2 there were 3 CSFs positive for human herpesviruses, 2 for enteroviruses, 2 for DENV and 1 for SLEV. Detection of arboviruses, even though present in a minority of infected patients, identifies these viruses as a probable etiological agent of encephalitis. This is of special concern in regions where this class of viruses is endemic and has been linked to other recent epidemics.

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<![CDATA[Alternative strategies for mosquito-borne arbovirus control]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c37b78cd5eed0c4844903f9

Background

Mosquito-borne viruses—such as Zika, chikungunya, dengue fever, and yellow fever, among others—are of global importance. Although vaccine development for prevention of mosquito-borne arbovirus infections has been a focus, mitigation strategies continue to rely on vector control. However, vector control has failed to prevent recent epidemics and arrest expanding geographic distribution of key arboviruses, such as dengue. As a consequence, there has been increasing necessity to further optimize current strategies within integrated approaches and advance development of alternative, innovative strategies for the control of mosquito-borne arboviruses.

Methods and findings

This review, intended as a general overview, is one of a series being generated by the Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN). The alternative strategies discussed reflect those that are currently under evaluation for public health value by the World Health Organization (WHO) and represent strategies of focus by globally recognized public health stakeholders as potential insecticide resistance (IR)-mitigating strategies. Conditions where these alternative strategies could offer greatest public health value in consideration of mitigating IR will be dependent on the anticipated mechanism of action. Arguably, the most pressing need for endorsement of the strategies described here will be the epidemiological evidence of a public health impact.

Conclusions

As the burden of mosquito-borne arboviruses, predominately those transmitted by Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus, continues to grow at a global scale, new vector-control tools and integrated strategies will be required to meet public health demands. Decisions regarding implementation of alternative strategies will depend on key ecoepidemiological parameters that each is intended to optimally impact toward driving down arbovirus transmission.

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<![CDATA[Vertical transmission of naturally occurring Bunyamwera and insect-specific flavivirus infections in mosquitoes from islands and mainland shores of Lakes Victoria and Baringo in Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfc6252d5eed0c484ec8441

Background

Many arboviruses transmitted by mosquitoes have been implicated as causative agents of both human and animal illnesses in East Africa. Although epidemics of arboviral emerging infectious diseases have risen in frequency in recent years, the extent to which mosquitoes maintain pathogens in circulation during inter-epidemic periods is still poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate whether arboviruses may be maintained by vertical transmission via immature life stages of different mosquito vector species.

Methodology

We collected immature mosquitoes (egg, larva, pupa) on the shores and islands of Lake Baringo and Lake Victoria in western Kenya and reared them to adults. Mosquito pools (≤25 specimens/pool) of each species were screened for mosquito-borne viruses by high-resolution melting analysis and sequencing of multiplex PCR products of genus-specific primers (alphaviruses, flaviviruses, phleboviruses and Bunyamwera-group orthobunyaviruses). We further confirmed positive samples by culturing in baby hamster kidney and Aedes mosquito cell lines and re-sequencing.

Principal findings

Culex univittatus (2/31pools) and Anopheles gambiae (1/77 pools) from the Lake Victoria region were positive for Bunyamwera virus, a pathogenic virus that is of public health concern. In addition, Aedes aegypti (3/50), Aedes luteocephalus (3/13), Aedes spp. (2/15), and Culex pipiens (1/140) pools were positive for Aedes flaviviruses at Lake Victoria, whereas at Lake Baringo, three pools of An. gambiae mosquitoes were positive for Anopheles flavivirus. These insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs), which are presumably non-pathogenic to vertebrates, were found in known medically important arbovirus and malaria vectors.

Conclusions

Our results suggest that not only ISFVs, but also a pathogenic arbovirus, are naturally maintained within mosquito populations by vertical transmission, even in the absence of vertebrate hosts. Therefore, virus and vector surveillance, even during inter-epidemics, and the study of vector-arbovirus-ISFV interactions, may aid in identifying arbovirus transmission risks, with the potential to inform control strategies that lead to disease prevention.

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<![CDATA[Antibody responses to Zika virus proteins in pregnant and non-pregnant macaques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c06f04ad5eed0c484c6d62b

The specificity of the antibody response against Zika virus (ZIKV) is not well-characterized. This is due, in part, to the antigenic similarity between ZIKV and closely related dengue virus (DENV) serotypes. Since these and other similar viruses co-circulate, are spread by the same mosquito species, and can cause similar acute clinical syndromes, it is difficult to disentangle ZIKV-specific antibody responses from responses to closely-related arboviruses in humans. Here we use high-density peptide microarrays to profile anti-ZIKV antibody reactivity in pregnant and non-pregnant macaque monkeys with known exposure histories and compare these results to reactivity following DENV infection. We also compare cross-reactive binding of ZIKV-immune sera to the full proteomes of 28 arboviruses. We independently confirm a purported ZIKV-specific IgG antibody response targeting ZIKV nonstructural protein 2B (NS2B) that was recently reported in ZIKV-infected people and we show that antibody reactivity in pregnant animals can be detected as late as 127 days post-infection (dpi). However, we also show that these responses wane over time, sometimes rapidly, and in one case the response was elicited following DENV infection in a previously ZIKV-exposed animal. These results suggest epidemiologic studies assessing seroprevalence of ZIKV immunity using linear epitope-based strategies will remain challenging to interpret due to susceptibility to false positive results. However, the method used here demonstrates the potential for rapid profiling of proteome-wide antibody responses to a myriad of neglected diseases simultaneously and may be especially useful for distinguishing antibody reactivity among closely related pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Vector competence of biting midges and mosquitoes for Shuni virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141ea8d5eed0c484d27a47

Background

Shuni virus (SHUV) is an orthobunyavirus that belongs to the Simbu serogroup. SHUV was isolated from diverse species of domesticated animals and wildlife, and is associated with neurological disease, abortions, and congenital malformations. Recently, SHUV caused outbreaks among ruminants in Israel, representing the first incursions outside the African continent. The isolation of SHUV from a febrile child in Nigeria and seroprevalence among veterinarians in South Africa suggests that the virus may have zoonotic potential as well. The high pathogenicity, extremely broad tropism, potential transmission via both biting midges and mosquitoes, and zoonotic features warrants prioritization of SHUV for further research. Additional knowledge is essential to accurately determine the risk for animal and human health, and to assess the risk of future epizootics and epidemics. To gain first insights into the potential involvement of arthropod vectors in SHUV transmission, we have investigated the ability of SHUV to infect and disseminate in laboratory-reared biting midges and mosquitoes.

Methodology/Principal findings

Culicoides nubeculosus, C. sonorensis, Culex pipiens pipiens, and Aedes aegypti were orally exposed to SHUV by providing an infectious blood meal. Biting midges showed high infection rates of approximately 40–60%, whereas infection rates of mosquitoes were lower than 2%. SHUV successfully disseminated in both species of biting midges, but no evidence of transmission in orally exposed mosquitoes was found.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this study show that different species of Culicoides biting midges are susceptible to infection and dissemination of SHUV, whereas the two mosquito species tested were found not to be susceptible.

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<![CDATA[Current challenges and implications for dengue, chikungunya and Zika seroprevalence studies worldwide: A scoping review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60074a463d7e39c55261fe

Background

Arboviral infections are a public health concern and an escalating problem worldwide. Estimating the burden of these diseases represents a major challenge that is complicated by the large number of unapparent infections, especially those of dengue fever. Serological surveys are thus required to identify the distribution of these diseases and measure their impact. Therefore, we undertook a scoping review of the literature to describe and summarize epidemiological practices, findings and insights related to seroprevalence studies of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus, which have rapidly expanded across the globe in recent years.

Methodology/Principal findings

Relevant studies were retrieved through a literature search of MEDLINE, WHOLIS, Lilacs, SciELO and Scopus (2000 to 2018). In total, 1389 publications were identified. Studies addressing the seroprevalence of dengue, chikungunya and/or Zika written in English or French and meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria were included. In total, 147 studies were included, from which 185 data points were retrieved, as some studies used several different samples. Most of the studies were exclusively conducted on dengue (66.5%), but 16% were exclusively conducted on chikungunya, and 7 were exclusively conducted on Zika; the remainder were conducted on multiple arboviruses. A wide range of designs were applied, but most studies were conducted in the general population (39%) and in households (41%). Although several assays were used, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were the predominant test used (77%). The temporal distribution of chikungunya studies followed the virus during its rapid expansion since 2004. The results revealed heterogeneity of arboviruses seroprevalence between continents and within a given country for dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, ranging from 0 to 100%, 76% and 73% respectively.

Conclusions/Significance

Serological surveys provide the most direct measurement for defining the immunity landscape for infectious diseases, but the methodology remains difficult to implement. Overall, dengue, chikungunya and Zika serosurveys followed the expansion of these arboviruses, but there remain gaps in their geographic distribution. This review addresses the challenges for researchers regarding study design biases. Moreover, the development of reliable, rapid and affordable diagnosis tools represents a significant issue concerning the ability of seroprevalence surveys to differentiate infections when multiple viruses co-circulate.

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<![CDATA[Genetically engineered mosquitoes, Zika and other arboviruses, community engagement, costs, and patents: Ethical issues]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6945c1463d7e3867f4aca8 ]]> <![CDATA[Nonlinear and delayed impacts of climate on dengue risk in Barbados: A modelling study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600f83463d7e3af00e5a89

Background

Over the last 5 years (2013–2017), the Caribbean region has faced an unprecedented crisis of co-occurring epidemics of febrile illness due to arboviruses transmitted by the Aedes sp. mosquito (dengue, chikungunya, and Zika). Since 2013, the Caribbean island of Barbados has experienced 3 dengue outbreaks, 1 chikungunya outbreak, and 1 Zika fever outbreak. Prior studies have demonstrated that climate variability influences arbovirus transmission and vector population dynamics in the region, indicating the potential to develop public health interventions using climate information. The aim of this study is to quantify the nonlinear and delayed effects of climate indicators, such as drought and extreme rainfall, on dengue risk in Barbados from 1999 to 2016.

Methods and findings

Distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNMs) coupled with a hierarchal mixed-model framework were used to understand the exposure–lag–response association between dengue relative risk and key climate indicators, including the standardised precipitation index (SPI) and minimum temperature (Tmin). The model parameters were estimated in a Bayesian framework to produce probabilistic predictions of exceeding an island-specific outbreak threshold. The ability of the model to successfully detect outbreaks was assessed and compared to a baseline model, representative of standard dengue surveillance practice. Drought conditions were found to positively influence dengue relative risk at long lead times of up to 5 months, while excess rainfall increased the risk at shorter lead times between 1 and 2 months. The SPI averaged over a 6-month period (SPI-6), designed to monitor drought and extreme rainfall, better explained variations in dengue risk than monthly precipitation data measured in millimetres. Tmin was found to be a better predictor than mean and maximum temperature. Furthermore, including bidimensional exposure–lag–response functions of these indicators—rather than linear effects for individual lags—more appropriately described the climate–disease associations than traditional modelling approaches. In prediction mode, the model was successfully able to distinguish outbreaks from nonoutbreaks for most years, with an overall proportion of correct predictions (hits and correct rejections) of 86% (81%:91%) compared with 64% (58%:71%) for the baseline model. The ability of the model to predict dengue outbreaks in recent years was complicated by the lack of data on the emergence of new arboviruses, including chikungunya and Zika.

Conclusion

We present a modelling approach to infer the risk of dengue outbreaks given the cumulative effect of climate variations in the months leading up to an outbreak. By combining the dengue prediction model with climate indicators, which are routinely monitored and forecasted by the Regional Climate Centre (RCC) at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), probabilistic dengue outlooks could be included in the Caribbean Health-Climatic Bulletin, issued on a quarterly basis to provide climate-smart decision-making guidance for Caribbean health practitioners. This flexible modelling approach could be extended to model the risk of dengue and other arboviruses in the Caribbean region.

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<![CDATA[Detection and phylogenetic characterization of arbovirus dual-infections among persons during a chikungunya fever outbreak, Haiti 2014]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b38b463d7e126303d2a6

In the context of recent arbovirus epidemics, questions about the frequency of simultaneous infection of patients with different arbovirus species have been raised. In 2014, a major Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) epidemic impacted the Caribbean and South America. As part of ongoing screening of schoolchildren presenting with acute undifferentiated febrile illness in rural Haiti, we used RT-PCR to identify CHIKV infections in 82 of 100 children with this diagnosis during May—August 2014. Among these, eight were infected with a second arbovirus: six with Zika virus (ZIKV), one with Dengue virus serotype 2, and one with Mayaro virus (MAYV). These dual infections were only detected following culture of the specimen, suggesting low viral loads of the co-infecting species. Phylogenetic analyses indicated that the ZIKV and MAYV strains differ from those detected later in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Moreover, CHIKV and ZIKV strains from co-infected patients clustered monophyletically in their respective phylogeny, and clock calibration traced back the common ancestor of each clade to an overlapping timeframe of introduction of these arboviruses onto the island.

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<![CDATA[Chikungunya Viral Fitness Measures within the Vector and Subsequent Transmission Potential]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da21ab0ee8fa60b7ed67

Given the recent emergence of chikungunya in the Americas, the accuracy of forecasting and prediction of chikungunya transmission potential in the U.S. requires urgent assessment. The La Reunion-associated sub-lineage of chikungunya (with a valine substitution in the envelope protein) was shown to increase viral fitness in the secondary vector, Ae. albopictus. Subsequently, a majority of experimental and modeling efforts focused on this combination of a sub-lineage of the East-Central-South African genotype (ECSA-V) – Ae. albopictus, despite the Asian genotype being the etiologic agent of recent chikungunya outbreaks world-wide. We explore a collection of data to investigate relative transmission efficiencies of the three major genotypes/sub-lineages of chikungunya and found difference in the extrinsic incubation periods to be largely overstated. However, there is strong evidence supporting the role of Ae. albopictus in the expansion of chikungunya that our R0 calculations cannot attribute to fitness increases in one vector over another. This suggests other ecological factors associated with the Ae. albopictus-ECSA-V cycle may drive transmission intensity differences. With the apparent bias in literature, however, we are less prepared to evaluate transmission where Ae. aegypti plays a significant role. Holistic investigations of CHIKV transmission cycle(s) will allow for more complete assessment of transmission risk in areas affected by either or both competent vectors.

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<![CDATA[Unrecognized Emergence of Chikungunya Virus during a Zika Virus Outbreak in Salvador, Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcff9

Background

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) entered Brazil in 2014, causing a large outbreak in Feira de Santana, state of Bahia. Although cases have been recorded in Salvador, the capital of Bahia, located ~100 km of Feira de Santana, CHIKV transmission has not been perceived to occur epidemically, largely contrasting with the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak and ensuing complications reaching the city in 2015.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study aimed to determine the intensity of CHIKV transmission in Salvador between November 2014 and April 2016. Results of all the CHIKV laboratory tests performed in the public sector were obtained and the frequency of positivity was analyzed by epidemiological week. Of the 2,736 tests analyzed, 456 (16.7%) were positive. An increasing in the positivity rate was observed, starting in January/2015, and peaking at 68% in August, shortly after the exanthematous illness outbreak attributed to ZIKV.

Conclusions/Significance

Public health authorities and health professionals did not immediately detect the increase in CHIKV cases, likely because all the attention was directed to the ZIKV outbreak and ensuing complications. It is important that regions in the world that harbor arbovirus vectors and did not experience intense ZIKV and CHIKV transmission be prepared for the potential co-emergence of these two viruses.

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<![CDATA[Tracking Insecticide Resistance in Mosquito Vectors of Arboviruses: The Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafeab0ee8fa60bc5d23 ]]> <![CDATA[How does competition among wild type mosquitoes influence the performance of Aedes aegypti and dissemination of Wolbachia pipientis?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab084ad463d7e2faeab8ad8

Background

Wolbachia has been deployed in several countries to reduce transmission of dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses. During releases, Wolbachia-infected females are likely to lay their eggs in local available breeding sites, which might already be colonized by local Aedes sp. mosquitoes. Therefore, there is an urgent need to estimate the deleterious effects of intra and interspecific larval competition on mosquito life history traits, especially on the duration of larval development time, larval mortality and adult size.

Methodology/principal findings

Three different mosquito populations were used: Ae. aegypti infected with Wolbachia (wMelBr strain), wild Ae. aegypti and wild Ae. albopictus. A total of 21 treatments explored intra and interspecific larval competition with varying larval densities, species proportions and food levels. Each treatment had eight replicates with two distinct food levels: 0.25 or 0.50 g of Chitosan and fallen avocado leaves. Overall, overcrowding reduced fitness correlates of the three populations. Ae. albopictus larvae presented lower larval mortality, shorter development time to adult and smaller wing sizes than Ae. aegypti. The presence of Wolbachia had a slight positive effect on larval biology, since infected individuals had higher survivorship than uninfected Ae. aegypti larvae.

Conclusions/significance

In all treatments, Ae. albopictus outperformed both wild Ae. aegypti and the Wolbachia-infected group in larval competition, irrespective of larval density and the amount of food resources. The major force that can slow down Wolbachia invasion is the population density of wild mosquitoes. Given that Ae. aegypti currently dominates in Rio, in comparison with Ae. albopictus frequency, additional attention must be given to the population density of Ae. aegypti during releases to increase the likelihood of Wolbachia invasion.

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<![CDATA[Characteristics of a Dengue Outbreak in a Remote Pacific Island Chain – Republic of the Marshall Islands, 2011–2012]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da64ab0ee8fa60b9181b

Dengue is a potentially fatal acute febrile illness caused by four mosquito-transmitted dengue viruses (DENV-1–4). Although dengue outbreaks regularly occur in many regions of the Pacific, little is known about dengue in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). To better understand dengue in RMI, we investigated an explosive outbreak that began in October 2011. Suspected cases were reported to the Ministry of Health, serum specimens were tested with a dengue rapid diagnostic test (RDT), and confirmatory testing was performed using RT-PCR and IgM ELISA. Laboratory-positive cases were defined by detection of DENV nonstructural protein 1 by RDT, DENV nucleic acid by RT-PCR, or anti-DENV IgM antibody by RDT or ELISA. Secondary infection was defined by detection of anti-DENV IgG antibody by ELISA in a laboratory-positive acute specimen. During the four months of the outbreak, 1,603 suspected dengue cases (3% of the RMI population) were reported. Of 867 (54%) laboratory-positive cases, 209 (24%) had dengue with warning signs, six (0.7%) had severe dengue, and none died. Dengue incidence was highest in residents of Majuro and individuals aged 10–29 years, and ∼95% of dengue cases were experiencing secondary infection. Only DENV-4 was detected by RT-PCR, which phylogenetic analysis demonstrated was most closely related to a virus previously identified in Southeast Asia. Cases of vertical DENV transmission, and DENV/Salmonella Typhi and DENV/Mycobacterium leprae co-infection were identified. Entomological surveys implicated water storage containers and discarded tires as the most important development sites for Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus, respectively. Although this is the first documented dengue outbreak in RMI, the age groups of cases and high prevalence of secondary infection demonstrate prior DENV circulation. Dengue surveillance should continue to be strengthened in RMI and throughout the Pacific to identify and rapidly respond to future outbreaks.

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<![CDATA[Working with Zika and Usutu Viruses In Vitro]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da61ab0ee8fa60b90f9c

Usutu (USUV) and Zika (ZIKV) viruses are emerging arboviruses of significant medical and veterinary importance. These viruses have not been studied as well as other medically important arboviruses such as West Nile (WNV), dengue (DENV), or chikungunya (CHIKV) viruses. As such, information regarding the behavior of ZIKV and USUV viruses in the laboratory is dated. Usutu virus re-emerged in Austria in 2001 and has since spread throughout the European and Asian continents causing significant mortality among birds. Zika virus has recently appeared in the Western Hemisphere and has exhibited high rates of birth defects and sexual transmission. Information about the characteristics of USUV and ZIKV viruses are needed to better understand the transmission, dispersal, and adaptation of these viruses in new environments. Since their initial characterization in the middle of last century, technologies and reagents have been developed that could enhance our abilities to study these pathogens. Currently, standard laboratory methods for these viruses are limited to 2–3 cell lines and many assays take several days to generate meaningful data. The goal of this study was to characterize these viruses in cells from multiple diverse species. Cell lines from 17 species were permissive to both ZIKV and USUV. These viruses were able to replicate to significant titers in most of the cell lines tested. Moreover, cytopathic effects were observed in 8 of the cell lines tested. These data indicate that a variety of cell lines can be used to study ZIKV and USUV infection and may provide an updated foundation for the study of host-pathogen interactions, model development, and the development of therapeutics.

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<![CDATA[Serological Evidence of Contrasted Exposure to Arboviral Infections between Islands of the Union of Comoros (Indian Ocean)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db03ab0ee8fa60bc74ed

A cross sectional serological survey of arboviral infections in humans was conducted on the three islands of the Union of Comoros, Indian Ocean, in order to test a previously suggested contrasted exposure of the three neighboring islands to arthropod-borne epidemics. Four hundred human sera were collected on Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Ndzouani (Anjouan), and were tested by ELISA for IgM and/or IgG antibodies to Dengue (DENV), Chikungunya (CHIKV), Rift Valley fever (RVFV), West Nile (WNV), Tick borne encephalitis (TBEV) and Yellow fever (YFV) viruses and for neutralizing antibodies to DENV serotypes 1–4. Very few sera were positive for IgM antibodies to the tested viruses indicating that the sero-survey was performed during an inter epidemic phase for the investigated arbovirus infections, except for RVF which showed evidence of recent infections on all three islands. IgG reactivity with at least one arbovirus was observed in almost 85% of tested sera, with seropositivity rates increasing with age, indicative of an intense and long lasting exposure of the Comorian population to arboviral risk. Interestingly, the positivity rates for IgG antibodies to DENV and CHIKV were significantly higher on Ngazidja, confirming the previously suggested prominent exposure of this island to these arboviruses, while serological traces of WNV infection were detected most frequently on Mwali suggesting some transmission specificities associated with this island only. The study provides the first evidence for circulation of RVFV in human populations from the Union of Comoros and further suggests that the virus is currently circulating on the three islands in an inconspicuous manner. This study supports contrasted exposure of the islands of the Comoros archipelago to arboviral infections. The observation is discussed in terms of ecological factors that may affect the abundance and distribution of vector populations on the three islands as well as concurring anthropogenic factors that may impact arbovirus transmission in this diverse island ecosystem.

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<![CDATA[Environmental Drivers of Culicoides Phenology: How Important Is Species-Specific Variation When Determining Disease Policy?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db36ab0ee8fa60bd332e

Since 2006, arboviruses transmitted by Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) have caused significant disruption to ruminant production in northern Europe. The most serious incursions involved strains of bluetongue virus (BTV), which cause bluetongue (BT) disease. To control spread of BTV, movement of susceptible livestock is restricted with economic and animal welfare impacts. The timing of BTV transmission in temperate regions is partly determined by the seasonal presence of adult Culicoides females. Legislative measures therefore allow for the relaxation of ruminant movement restrictions during winter, when nightly light-suction trap catches of Culicoides fall below a threshold (the ‘seasonally vector free period’: SVFP). We analysed five years of time-series surveillance data from light-suction trapping in the UK to investigate whether significant inter-specific and yearly variation in adult phenology exists, and whether the SVFP is predictable from environmental factors. Because female vector Culicoides are not easily morphologically separated, inter-specific comparisons in phenology were drawn from male populations. We demonstrate significant inter-specific differences in Culicoides adult phenology with the season of Culicoides scoticus approximately eight weeks shorter than Culicoides obsoletus. Species-specific differences in the length of the SVFP were related to host density and local variation in landscape habitat. When the Avaritia Culicoides females were modelled as a group (as utilised in the SFVP), we were unable to detect links between environmental drivers and phenological metrics. We conclude that the current treatment of Avaritia Culicoides as a single group inhibits understanding of environmentally-driven spatial variation in species phenology and hinders the development of models for predicting the SVFP from environmental factors. Culicoides surveillance methods should be adapted to focus on concentrated assessments of species-specific abundance during the start and end of seasonal activity in temperate regions to facilitate refinement of ruminant movement restrictions thereby reducing the impact of Culicoides-borne arboviruses.

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