ResearchPad - flaviviruses https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[New estimates of the Zika virus epidemic attack rate in Northeastern Brazil from 2015 to 2016: A modelling analysis based on Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) surveillance data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7754 The mandatory reporting of the Zika virus (ZIKV) disease began region-wide in February 2016, and it is believed that ZIKV cases could have been highly under-reported before that. Given the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is relatively well reported, the GBS surveillance data has the potential to act as a reasonably reliable proxy for inferring the true ZIKV epidemics. We developed a mathematical model incorporating weather effects to study the ZIKV-GBS epidemics and estimated the key epidemiological parameters. It was found that the attack rate of ZIKV was likely to be lower than 33% over the two epidemic waves. The risk rate from symptomatic ZIKV case to develop GBS was estimated to be approximately 0.0061%. The analysis suggests that it would be difficult for another ZIKV outbreak to appear in Northeastern Brazil in the near future.

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<![CDATA[Potency and breadth of human primary ZIKV immune sera shows that Zika viruses cluster antigenically as a single serotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7747 The recent emergence of Zika virus as an important human pathogen has raised questions about the durability and breadth of Zika virus immunity following natural infection in humans. While global epidemic patterns suggest that Zika infection elicits a protective immune response that is likely to offer long-term protection against repeat infection by other Zika viruses, only one study to date has formally examined the ability of human Zika immune sera to neutralize different Zika viruses. That study was limited because it evaluated human immune sera no more than 13 weeks after Zika virus infection and tested a relatively small number of Zika viruses. In this study, we examine twelve human Zika immune sera as far as 3 years after infection and test the sera against a total of eleven Zika virus isolates. Our results confirm the earlier study and epidemic patterns that suggest Zika virus exists in nature as a single serotype, and infection with one Zika virus can be expected to elicit protective immunity against repeat infection by any Zika virus for years to decades after the first infection.

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<![CDATA[Toward precision prescribing for methadone: Determinants of methadone deposition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N51499fe4-a854-40f2-ac0e-5bd2b114360f

Background

Despite the World Health Organization listing methadone as an essential medication, effective dose selection is challenging, especially in racial and ethnic minority populations. Subtherapeutic doses can result in withdrawal symptoms while supratherapeutic doses can result in overdose and death. Although CYP3A4 was conventionally considered the principal methadone metabolizing enzyme, more recent data have identified CYP2B6 as the principal enzyme. CYP2B6 has ethnically-associated polymorphisms that affect the metabolic rate. Our objective was to investigate the effects of genetic and nongenetic factors on methadone metabolism.

Methods

We measured trough plasma methadone levels in 100 participants with opioid use disorder. We assessed methadone metabolism by calculating the metabolite ratio (major metabolite: 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine [EDDP] divided by methadone concentration). We assessed hepatic fibrosis and steatosis by transient elastography and CYP2B6 alleles, principally responsible for methadone metabolism. Mixed effects models modeled the data in 97 participants.

Results

Participants were largely male (58%), minority (61% African American) and non-Hispanic (68%). Forty percent were HCV mono-infected, 40% were uninfected, and 20% were HCV/HIV co-infected. Female sex had significant effects on (R)- and (S)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.016 and p = 0.044, respectively). CYP2B6 loss of function (LOF) alleles significantly affected (S)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.012). Body mass index (BMI) significantly affected (R)-methadone metabolism (p = 0.034). Methadone metabolism appeared to be lower in males, in individuals with LOF alleles, and elevated BMI.

Conclusions

Genetic analysis, especially in minority populations, is essential to delivering individualized treatments. Although the principal methadone metabolizing enzyme remains controversial, our results suggest that sex, CYP2B6 genotype, and BMI should be incorporated into multivariate models to create methadone dosing algorithms. Methadone dosing algorithms should facilitate medication delivery, improve patient satisfaction, and diminish overdose potential.

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<![CDATA[Dynamics of leukocyte telomere length in pregnant women living with HIV, and HIV-negative pregnant women: A longitudinal observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897779d5eed0c4847d2db4

Background

HIV-mediated inflammation and immune activation can accelerate telomere attrition. In addition, antiretrovirals can inhibit telomerase, possibly shortening telomeres. We examined the longitudinal dynamics of leukocyte telomere length (LTL) during pregnancy in a unique cohort of women living with HIV (WLWH) treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and HIV-negative control women.

Methods

Blood was collected at three visits during pregnancy, at 13–23, >23–30, and >30–40 weeks of gestation, and for WLWH only, at 6 weeks post-partum. LTL was measured by qPCR and both cross-sectional and longitudinal (MANOVA) models were used to examine possible predictors of LTL among participants who attended all three visits during pregnancy.

Results

Among WLWH (n = 64) and HIV-negative women (n = 41), within participant LTL were correlated throughout pregnancy (p<0.001). LTL was shorter among WLWH at first visit, but this difference waned by the second visit. WLWH who discontinued cART post-partum experienced a decrease in LTL. Longitudinally, LTL was similar in both groups and increased as gestation progressed, a change that was more pronounced among women under 35 years. Among WLWH, both smoking throughout pregnancy (p = 0.04) and receiving a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor-based regimen (p = 0.03) were independently associated with shorter LTL.

Conclusions

LTL increases as pregnancy progresses; the reasons for this are unknown but may relate to changes in blood volume, hormones, and/or cell subset distribution. While our observations need confirmation in an independent cohort, our data suggest that although some cART regimens may influence LTL, being on cART appears overall protective and that stopping cART post-partum may negatively impact LTL. The effect of smoking on LTL is clearly negative, stressing the importance of smoking cessation.

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<![CDATA[Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Dengue virus outbreaks in two regions of China, 2014 – 2015]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823dcd5eed0c4846391a6

Dengue virus (DENV), a single-stranded RNA virus and Flaviviridae family member, is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. DENV causes dengue fever, which may progress to severe dengue. Hospital-based surveillance was performed in two Chinese regions, Guangzhou and Xishuangbanna, during the dengue epidemics in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Acute-phase serum was obtained from 133 patients with suspected dengue infections during the peak season for dengue cases. Viremia levels, virus sero-positivity, serotype distribution, infection type, clinical manifestations and virus phylogenetics were investigated. Of the 112 DENV-confirmed cases, 92(82.14%) were IgM antibody-positive for DENV, and 69(51.88%) were positive for DENV RNA. From these cases, 47(41.96%) were classified as primary infections, 39(34.82%) as secondary infections and 26 (23.21%) as undetermined infections. The viremia levels were negatively correlated with IgM presence, but had no relationship with the infection type. DENV-1 genotype V dominated in Guangzhou, whereas the DENV-2 Cosmopolitan genotype dominated in Xishuangbanna, where fewer DENV-1 genotype I cases occurred. DENV-2 is associated with severe dengue illness with more serious clinical issues. The strains isolated during 2014–2015 are closely related to the isolates obtained from other Chinese regions and to those isolated recently in Southeast Asian countries. Our results indicate that DENV is no longer an imported virus and is now endemic in China. An extensive seroepidemiological study of DENV and the implementation of vector control measures against it are now warranted in China.

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<![CDATA[HCV transmission in high-risk communities in Bulgaria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c882406d5eed0c4846395b0

Background

The rate of HIV infection in Bulgaria is low. However, the rate of HCV-HIV-coinfection and HCV infection is high, especially among high-risk communities. The molecular epidemiology of those infections has not been studied before.

Methods

Consensus Sanger sequences of HVR1 and NS5B from 125 cases of HIV/HCV coinfections, collected during 2010–2014 in 15 different Bulgarian cities, were used for preliminary phylogenetic evaluation. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) data of the hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) analyzed via the Global Hepatitis Outbreak and Surveillance Technology (GHOST) were used to evaluate genetic heterogeneity and possible transmission linkages. Links between pairs that were below and above the established genetic distance threshold, indicative of transmission, were further examined by generating k-step networks.

Results

Preliminary genetic analyses showed predominance of HCV genotype 1a (54%), followed by 1b (20.8%), 2a (1.4%), 3a (22.3%) and 4a (1.4%), indicating ongoing transmission of many HCV strains of different genotypes. NGS of HVR1 from 72 cases showed significant genetic heterogeneity of intra-host HCV populations, with 5 cases being infected with 2 different genotypes or subtypes and 6 cases being infected with 2 strains of same subtype. GHOST revealed 8 transmission clusters involving 30 cases (41.7%), indicating a high rate of transmission.

Four transmission clusters were found in Sofia, three in Plovdiv, and one in Peshtera. The main risk factor for the clusters was injection drug use. Close genetic proximity among HCV strains from the 3 Sofia clusters, and between HCV strains from Peshtera and one of the two Plovdiv clusters confirms a long and extensive transmission history of these strains in Bulgaria.

Conclusions

Identification of several HCV genotypes and many HCV strains suggests a frequent introduction of HCV to the studied high-risk communities. GHOST detected a broad transmission network, which sustains circulation of several HCV strains since their early introduction in the 3 cities. This is the first report on the molecular epidemiology of HIV/HCV coinfections in Bulgaria.

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<![CDATA[Accuracy of the SD BIOLINE Dengue Duo for rapid point-of-care diagnosis of dengue]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897732d5eed0c4847d268d

Background

Rapid diagnosis tests (RDTs) are easy to carry out, provide fast results, and could potentially guide medical treatment decisions. We investigated the performance of a commercially available RDT, which simultaneously detects the non-structural 1 (NS1) dengue virus (DENV) antigen, and IgM and IgG DENV antibodies, using representative serum samples from individuals in a dengue endemic area in Salvador, Brazil.

Methodology/Principal findings

We evaluated the accuracy of the SD BIOLINE Dengue Duo RDT (Abbott, Santa Clara, USA; former Alere Inc, Waltham, USA) in a random collection of sera. Samples included acute-phase sera from 246 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases and 108 non-dengue febrile patients enrolled in a surveillance study for dengue detection, 73 healthy controls living in the same surveillance community, and 73 blood donors. RDT accuracy was blindly assessed based on the combined results for the NS1 and the IgM test components. The RDT sensitivity was 46.8% (38.6% for the NS1 component and 13.8% for the IgM component). Sensitivity was greater for samples obtained from patients with secondary DENV infections (49.8%) compared to primary infections (31.1%) (P: 0.02) and was also influenced by the result in the confirmatory dengue diagnostic test, ranging from 39.7% for samples of cases confirmed by IgM-ELISA seroconversion between paired samples to 90.4% for samples of cases confirmed by a positive NS1-ELISA. The RDT specificity was 94.4% for non-dengue febrile patients, 87.7% for the community healthy controls, and 95.9% for the blood donors.

Conclusions/Significance

The SD BIOLINE Dengue Duo RDT showed good specificities, but low sensitivity, suggesting that it may be more useful to rule in than to rule out a dengue diagnosis in dengue endemic regions.

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<![CDATA[The association between Zika virus infection and microcephaly in Brazil 2015–2017: An observational analysis of over 4 million births]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c882414d5eed0c484639707

Background

In 2015, high rates of microcephaly were reported in Northeast Brazil following the first South American Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak. Reported microcephaly rates in other Zika-affected areas were significantly lower, suggesting alternate causes or the involvement of arboviral cofactors in exacerbating microcephaly rates.

Methods and findings

We merged data from multiple national reporting databases in Brazil to estimate exposure to 9 known or hypothesized causes of microcephaly for every pregnancy nationwide since the beginning of the ZIKV outbreak; this generated between 3.6 and 5.4 million cases (depending on analysis) over the time period 1 January 2015–23 May 2017. The association between ZIKV and microcephaly was statistically tested against models with alternative causes or with effect modifiers. We found no evidence for alternative non-ZIKV causes of the 2015–2017 microcephaly outbreak, nor that concurrent exposure to arbovirus infection or vaccination modified risk. We estimate an absolute risk of microcephaly of 40.8 (95% CI 34.2–49.3) per 10,000 births and a relative risk of 16.8 (95% CI 3.2–369.1) given ZIKV infection in the first or second trimester of pregnancy; however, because ZIKV infection rates were highly variable, most pregnant women in Brazil during the ZIKV outbreak will have been subject to lower risk levels. Statistically significant associations of ZIKV with other birth defects were also detected, but at lower relative risks than that of microcephaly (relative risk < 1.5). Our analysis was limited by missing data prior to the establishment of nationwide ZIKV surveillance, and its findings may be affected by unmeasured confounding causes of microcephaly not available in routinely collected surveillance data.

Conclusions

This study strengthens the evidence that congenital ZIKV infection, particularly in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, is associated with microcephaly and less frequently with other birth defects. The finding of no alternative causes for geographic differences in microcephaly rate leads us to hypothesize that the Northeast region was disproportionately affected by this Zika outbreak, with 94% of an estimated 8.5 million total cases occurring in this region, suggesting a need for seroprevalence surveys to determine the underlying reason.

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<![CDATA[Urban and semi-urban mosquitoes of Mexico City: A risk for endemic mosquito-borne disease transmission]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897788d5eed0c4847d2f3b

Since past century, vector-borne diseases have been a major public health concern in several states of Mexico. However, Mexico City continues to be free of endemic mosquito-borne viral diseases. The city is the most important politic and economic state of Mexico and one of the most important city of Latin America. Its subtropical highland climate and high elevation (2240 masl) had historically made the occurrence of Aedes species unlikely. However, the presence of other potential disease vectors (Culex spp, Culiseta spp), and the current intermittent introductions of Aedes aegypti, have revealed that control programs must adopt routine vector surveillance in the city. In this study, we provide an updated species list from a five-years of vector surveillance performed in Mexico City. A total of 18,553 mosquito larvae were collected. Twenty-two species from genus Culex, Aedes, Culiseta, Anopheles, Lutzia and Uranotaenia were observed. Nine new mosquito records for the city were found. Ae. albopictus was recorded for the first time in Mexico City. Interestingly, a new record, Ae. epactius was the most frequent species reported. Cx. pipiens quinquefasciatus exhibited the highest number of individuals collected. We detected six areas which harbor the highest mosquito species records in the city. Cemeteries included 68.9% of our collection sites. Temporarily ponds showed the highest species diversity. We detected an increasing presence of Ae. aegypti, which was detected for three consecutive years (2015–2017), predominantly in the warmer microclimates of the city. We found a possible correlation between increasing temperature and Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus expanding range. This study provides a starting point for developing strategies related to environmental management for mosquito control. The promotion of mosquito control practices through community participation, mass media and education programmes in schools should be introduced in the city.

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<![CDATA[Modulation of calcium signaling pathway by hepatitis C virus core protein stimulates NLRP3 inflammasome activation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c6cd5eed0c484ad893f

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a major cause of hepatic inflammation and liver disease. HCV triggers NLRP3 inflammasome activation and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) production from hepatic macrophages, or Kupffer cells, to drive the hepatic inflammatory response. Here we examined HCV activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome signaling cascade in primary human monocyte derived macrophages and THP-1 cell models of hepatic macrophages to define the HCV-specific agonist and cellular processes of inflammasome activation. We identified the HCV core protein as a virion-specific factor of inflammasome activation. The core protein was both necessary and sufficient for IL-1β production from macrophages exposed to HCV or soluble core protein alone. NLRP3 inflammasome activation by the HCV core protein required calcium mobilization linked with phospholipase-C activation. Our findings reveal a molecular basis of hepatic inflammasome activation and IL-1β release triggered by HCV core protein.

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<![CDATA[Experimental Zika virus infection of Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) and possible entry of virus into brain via activated microglial cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e905d5eed0c48496f66d

The emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the New World has led to more than 200,000 human infections. Perinatal infection can cause severe neurological complications, including fetal and neonatal microcephaly, and in adults there is an association with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). ZIKV is transmitted to humans by Aedes sp. mosquitoes, yet little is known about its enzootic cycle in which transmission is thought to occur between arboreal Aedes sp. mosquitos and non-human primates. In the 1950s and ‘60s, several bat species were shown to be naturally and experimentally susceptible to ZIKV with acute viremia and seroconversion, and some developed neurological disease with viral antigen detected in the brain. Because of ZIKV emergence in the Americas, we sought to determine susceptibility of Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis), one of the most common bats in the New World. Bats were inoculated with ZIKV PRVABC59 but did not show signs of disease. Bats held to 28 days post-inoculation (PI) had detectable antibody by ELISA and viral RNA was detected by qRT-PCR in the brain, saliva and urine in some of the bats. Immunoreactivity using polyclonal anti-ZIKV antibody was detected in testes, brain, lung and salivary glands plus scrotal skin. Tropism for mononuclear cells, including macrophages/microglia and fibroblasts, was seen in the aforementioned organs in addition to testicular Leydig cells. The virus likely localized to the brain via infection of Iba1+ macrophage/microglial cells. Jamaican fruit bats, therefore, may be a useful animal model for the study of ZIKV infection. This work also raises the possibility that bats may have a role in Zika virus ecology in endemic regions, and that ZIKV may pose a wildlife disease threat to bat populations.

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<![CDATA[Comparative fitness of West Nile virus isolated during California epidemics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e907d5eed0c48496f68c

West Nile virus (WNV) has been circulating in California since its first detection in 2003, causing repeated outbreaks affecting public, wildlife and veterinary health. Epidemics of WNV are difficult to predict due to the multitude of factors influencing transmission dynamics among avian and mosquito hosts. Typically, high levels of WNV amplification are required for outbreaks to occur, and therefore associated viral strains may exhibit enhanced virulence and mortality in competent bird species resulting in increased mosquito infection prevalence. In our previous study, most WNV isolates made from California during 2007–08 showed increased fitness when competed in House Finches (HOFI, Haemorhous mexicanus) and Culex tarsalis Coquillett mosquitoes against COAV997-5nt, a genetically marked recombinant virus derived from a 2003 California strain. Herein, we evaluated the competitive fitness of WNV strains isolated during California epidemics in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2012 against COAV997-5nt. These outbreak isolates did not produce elevated mortality in HOFIs, but replicated more efficiently than did COAV997-5nt based on quantification of WNV RNA copies in sera, thereby demonstrating increased competitive fitness. Oral co-infections in Cx. tarsalis resulted in similar virus-specific infection and transmission rates, indicating that outbreak isolates did not have a fitness advantage over COAV997-5nt. Collectively, WNV isolates from outbreaks demonstrated relatively greater avian, but not vector, replicative fitness compared to COAV997-5nt, similar to previously characterized non-outbreak isolates of WNV. Our results indicated that ecological rather than viral factors may facilitate WNV amplification to outbreak levels, but monitoring viral phenotypes through competitive fitness studies may provide insight into altered replication and transmission potential among emerging WNV strains.

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<![CDATA[Potential for sylvatic and urban Aedes mosquitoes from Senegal to transmit the new emerging dengue serotypes 1, 3 and 4 in West Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc998d5eed0c484529ea3

Dengue fever (DEN) is the most common arboviral disease in the world and dengue virus (DENV) causes 390 million annual infections around the world, of which 240 million are inapparent and 96 million are symptomatic. During the past decade a changing epidemiological pattern has been observed in Africa, with DEN outbreaks reported in all regions. In Senegal, all DENV serotypes have been reported. These important changes in the epidemiological profile of DEN are occurring in a context where there is no qualified vaccine against DEN. Further there is significant gap of knowledge on the vector bionomics and transmission dynamics in the African region to effectively prevent and control epidemics. Except for DENV-2, few studies have been performed with serotypes 1, 3, and 4, so this study was undertaken to fill out this gap. We assessed the vector competence of Aedes (Diceromyia) furcifer, Ae. (Diceromyia) taylori, Ae. (Stegomyia) luteocephalus, sylvatic and urban Ae. (Stegomyia) aegypti populations from Senegal for DENV-1, DENV-3 and DENV-4 using experimental oral infection. Whole bodies and wings/legs were tested for DENV presence by cell culture assays and saliva samples were tested by real time RT-PCR to estimate infection, disseminated infection and transmission rates. Our results revealed a low capacity of sylvatic and urban Aedes mosquitoes from Senegal to transmit DENV-1, DENV-3 and DENV-4 and an impact of infection on their mortality. The highest potential transmission rate was 20% despite the high susceptibility and disseminated infection rates up to 93.7% for the 3 Ae. aegypti populations tested, and 84.6% for the sylvatic vectors Ae. furcifer, Ae. taylori and Ae. luteocephalus.

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<![CDATA[Yellow fever virus is susceptible to sofosbuvir both in vitro and in vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52b6d5eed0c4842bcec1

Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family. In Brazil, yellow fever (YF) cases have increased dramatically in sylvatic areas neighboring urban zones in the last few years. Because of the high lethality rates associated with infection and absence of any antiviral treatments, it is essential to identify therapeutic options to respond to YFV outbreaks. Repurposing of clinically approved drugs represents the fastest alternative to discover antivirals for public health emergencies. Other Flaviviruses, such as Zika (ZIKV) and dengue (DENV) viruses, are susceptible to sofosbuvir, a clinically approved drug against hepatitis C virus (HCV). Our data showed that sofosbuvir docks onto YFV RNA polymerase using conserved amino acid residues for nucleotide binding. This drug inhibited the replication of both vaccine and wild-type strains of YFV on human hepatoma cells, with EC50 values around 5 μM. Sofosbuvir protected YFV-infected neonatal Swiss mice and adult type I interferon receptor knockout mice (A129-/-) from mortality and weight loss. Because of its safety profile in humans and significant antiviral effects in vitro and in mice, Sofosbuvir may represent a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of YF. Key-words: Yellow fever virus; Yellow fever, antiviral; sofosbuvir

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<![CDATA[A novel point-of-care oral anti-HCV assay: Is it reliable for screening hepatitis C virus infection in the era of direct-acting antivirals?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75cfd5eed0c4843d01fd

Recent advance in the direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) offers the potentials to eradicate hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide and makes universal screening more urgent. A point-of-care (POC) oral anti-HCV assay, the Fortune assay, was developed and its performance was evaluated. Individuals with or without HCV infection were recruited in three Centers. Paired oral and serum samples were tested using the Fortune and InTec anti-HCV assays. The Kehua serum anti-HCV assay served as a supplemental test to verify the discordant results. Some oral samples were also tested using the OraQuick anti-HCV assay. Furthermore, the Fortune assay results were compared with the documented RNA results. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the Fortune assay was 93.11%, 98.48%, and 96.58%, respectively (n = 1,022). Consistency between the Fortune and OraQuick assays was 96.35% (264/274); the Fortune assay detected additional 8 positive oral samples missed by the OraQuick assay. The Fortune assay demonstrated a 97.46% (115/118) positivity among the viremic patients. Furthermore, its sensitivity was HCV genotype independent. In conclusion, the Fortune assay was highly specific and accurate. It had comparable sensitivity as the serum assays for the diagnosis of active HCV infection. It provides a completely non-invasive and reliable tool for HCV screening in the DAA era.

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<![CDATA[Serological evidence of infection with dengue and Zika viruses in horses on French Pacific Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dccdd5eed0c484dec265

New Caledonia and French Polynesia are areas in which arboviruses circulate extensively. A large serological survey among horses from New Caledonia and French Polynesia was carried out to investigate the seroprevalence of flaviviruses in the horse population. Here, 293 equine sera samples were screened for flaviviruses using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA). The positive sera were then confirmed using a flavivirus-specific microsphere immunoassay (MIA) and seroneutralization tests. This serosurvey showed that 16.6% (27/163) and 30.8% (40/130) of horses were positive for cELISA tests in New Caledonia and French Polynesia, respectively, but the MIA technique, targeting only flaviviruses causing neuro-invasive infections in humans and horses (i.e. West Nile virus [WNV], Japanese encephalitis virus [JEV] and tick-borne encephalitis virus [TBEV]), showed negative results for more than 85% (57/67) of the cELISA-positive animals. Seroneutralization tests with the main flaviviruses circulating in the South Pacific revealed that 6.1% (10/163; confidence interval [95% CI] 3.0%-11.0%) of sera in New Caledonia and 7.7% (10/130; 95% CI 3.8%-13.7%) in French Polynesia were positive for dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV1) and 4.3% (7/163; 95% CI 1.7%-8.6%) in New Caledonia and 15.4% (20/130, 95% CI 9.7%-22.8%) in French Polynesia were found positive for Zika virus (ZIKV). Seroprevalence of the JEV and WNV flaviviruses on the 293 samples from both island groups were comparatively much lower (less than 2%). This seroprevalence study in the horse population shows that horses can be infected with dengue and Zika viruses and that these infections lead to seroconversions in horses. The consequences of these infections in horses and their role in ZIKV and DENV epidemiological cycles are two issues that deserve further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Zika virus: Epidemiological surveillance of the Mexican Institute of Social Security]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2665d5eed0c484289993

Introduction

At the end of 2015, the first cases of Zika were identified in southern Mexico. During 2016, Zika spread as an outbreak to a large part of the country's coastal zones.

Methodology

The Zika epidemiological surveillance system records cases with clinical symptoms of Zika virus disease (ZVD) and those confirmed by means of a reverse polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. This report includes the suspected and confirmed cases from 2016. Incidence rates were estimated by region and in pregnant women based on the proportion of confirmed cases.

Results

In total, 43,725 suspected cases of ZVD were reported. The overall incidence of suspected cases of ZVD was 82.0 per 100,000 individuals and 25.3 per 100,000 Zika cases. There were 4,168 pregnant women with suspected symptoms of ZVD, of which infection was confirmed in 1,082 (26%). The estimated incidence rate of ZVD for pregnant women nationwide was 186.1 positive Zika cases per 100,000 pregnant women.

Conclusions

The incidence of Zika in Mexico is higher than that reported previously in the National System of Epidemiological Surveillance. Positive cases of Zika must be estimated and reported.

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<![CDATA[Psychological distress mediated the effects of self-stigma on quality of life in opioid-dependent individuals: A cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cd9d5eed0c484c8193c

Background

Both stigma and psychological distress affect quality of life (QOL). This study is an attempt to determine the effects of these two factors on QOL and to explore possible mediation effects between psychological distress and self-stigma in opioid-dependent individuals.

Methods

This cross-sectional study comprised 268 consecutive, treatment-seeking opioid-dependent individuals who were interviewed using the brief version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL-BREF), the Self-Stigma Scale-Short (SSS-S), the Chinese Health Questionnaire-12 (CHQ-12), and the Opiate Treatment Index (OTI). A series of regression models were constructed to determine if the SSS-S and CHQ-12 predict the WHOQOL-BREF scores. Moreover, a comparison of the potential mediation effects of psychological distress (as assessed by the CHQ-12) was made between the SSS-S and the WHOQOL-BREF using the Baron and Kenny procedure (including three separate regressions), along with the Sobel test.

Results

The CHQ-12 score was predictive of the scores for the four domains and almost all facets of the WHOQOL-BREF except the item, “Dependence on medical aids.” Nonetheless, the SSS-S score predicted three of the four facets of the social QOL after adjustment of the CHQ-12 score. Psychological distress completely mediated the relation between self-stigma and the physical, psychological, and environmental domains, and partially mediated the relationship between self-stigma and social QOL (two-tailed Sobel test: p = 0.02 for each domain).

Conclusions

Psychological distress has a significant impact on the QOL of treated opioid users. It appears to be a core element in reducing the negative effects of self-stigma on aspects of QOL.

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<![CDATA[Phylogenetic analysis of hepatitis C virus among HIV/ HCV co-infected patients in Nigeria]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d10d5eed0c484c81eb5

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been associated with liver disease including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in chronically-infected persons. However, in HIV/HCV co-infected patients, increased rate of progression to cirrhosis and HCC has been reported. Limited information exists regarding genetic variants of HCV circulating among co-infected patients, which could be important in the design of broadly protective vaccine and management of the disease. Here, we determined the genotypes of HCV isolates circulating among HIV/HCV co-infected patients in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria. One hundred and twenty-five HIV/HCV IgM positive samples obtained from HIV laboratory, University of Ibadan were used for this study. HCV NS5B gene was amplified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The amplified NS5B gene was sequenced using gene specific primers. Twenty isolates were amplified, out of which 13 were successfully sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of the 13 sequenced isolates showed three HCV subtypes 1a, 3a and 5a belonging to genotypes 1, 3 and 5 respectively. Ten isolates (77%) belong to subtype 5a, followed by 2 isolates (15%) subtype 1a and 1 isolate (8%) was subtype 3a. The predominant HCV genotype was 5, followed by genotype 1 (subtype 1a). The findings, as well as the observed mutations in NS5B gene, indicate the need for screening and monitoring of HIV/HCV co-infected patients. Further study to determine the phylogeny of isolates circulating in other parts of Nigeria will be carried out.

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<![CDATA[Epidemiology of West Nile Virus in the Eastern Mediterranean region: A systematic review]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fef4d5eed0c484135845

Background

West Nile Virus (WNV), a member of the genus Flavivirus, is one of the most widely distributed arboviruses in the world. Despite some evidence for circulation of WNV in countries summarized by the World Health Organization as the Eastern Mediterrian Regional Office (EMRO), comprehensive knowledge about its epidemiology remains largely unknown. This study aims to provide a concise review of the published literature on WNV infections in the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office of WHO (EMRO).

Methodology/principal findings

A systematic review of WNV prevalence studies on humans, animals and vectors in the EMRO region was performed by searching: Web of Science, Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed, Embase and Google Scholar. Finally, 77 citations were included, comprising 35 seroprevalence studies on general population (24460 individuals), 15 prevalence studies among patients (3439 individuals), 22 seroprevalence studies among animals (10309 animals), and 9 studies on vectors (184242 vector species). Of the 22 countries in this region, five had no data on WNV infection among different populations. These countries include Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Syria and Somalia. On the other hand, among countries with available data, WNV-specific antibodies were detected in the general population of all investigated countries including Djibouti (0.3–60%), Egypt (1–61%), Iran (0–30%), Iraq (11.6–15.1%), Jordan (8%), Lebanon (0.5–1%), Libya (2.3%), Morocco (0–18.8%), Pakistan (0.6–65.0%), Sudan (2.2–47%), and Tunisia (4.3–31.1%). WNV RNA were also detected in patient populations of Iran (1.2%), Pakistan (33.3%), and Tunisia (5.3% –15.9%). WNV-specific antibodies were also detected in a wide range of animal species. The highest seropositivity rate was observed among equids (100% in Morocco) and dogs (96% in Morocco). The highest seroprevalence among birds was seen in Tunisia (23%). In addition, WNV infection was detected in mosquitoes (Culex, and Aedes) and ticks (Argas reflexus hermanni). The primary vector of WNV (Culex pipiens s.l.) was detected in Djibouti, Egypt, Iran and Tunisia, and in mosquitoes of all these countries, WNV was demonstrated.

Conclusions

This first systematic regional assessment of WNV prevalence provides evidence to support the circulation of WNV in the EMRO region as nearly all studies showed evidence of WNV infection in human as well as animal/vector populations. These findings highlight the need for continued prevention and control strategies and the collection of epidemiologic data for WNV epidemic status, especially in countries that lack reliable surveillance systems.

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