ResearchPad - hookworms https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Harnessing helminth-driven immunoregulation in the search for novel therapeutic modalities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14550 Parasitic helminths have coevolved with humans over millennia, intricately refining and developing an array of mechanisms to suppress or skew the host’s immune system, thereby promoting their long-term survival. Some helminths, such as hookworms, cause little to no overt pathology when present in modest numbers and may even confer benefits to their human host. To exploit this evolutionary phenomenon, clinical trials of human helminth infection have been established and assessed for safety and efficacy for a range of immune dysfunction diseases and have yielded mixed outcomes. Studies of live helminth therapy in mice and larger animals have convincingly shown that helminths and their excretory/secretory products possess anti-inflammatory drug-like properties and represent an untapped pharmacopeia. These anti-inflammatory moieties include extracellular vesicles, proteins, glycans, post-translational modifications, and various metabolites. Although the concept of helminth-inspired therapies holds promise, it also presents a challenge to the drug development community, which is generally unfamiliar with foreign biologics that do not behave like antibodies. Identification and characterization of helminth molecules and vesicles and the molecular pathways they target in the host present a unique opportunity to develop tailored drugs inspired by nature that are efficacious, safe, and have minimal immunogenicity. Even so, much work remains to mine and assess this out-of-the-box therapeutic modality. Industry-based organizations need to consider long-haul investments aimed at unraveling and exploiting unique and differentiated mechanisms of action as opposed to toe-dipping entries with an eye on rapid and profitable turnarounds.

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<![CDATA[Comparing the performance of urine and copro-antigen detection in evaluating Opisthorchis viverrini infection in communities with different transmission levels in Northeast Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730b3d5eed0c484f37f31

To combat and eventually eliminate the transmission of the liver fluke Opisthorchis viverrini, an accurate and practical diagnostic test is required. A recently established urine antigen detection test using monoclonal antibody-based enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay (mAb-ELISA) has shown promise due to its high diagnostic accuracy and the use of urine in place of fecal samples. To further test the utility of this urine assay, we performed a cross sectional study of 1,043 people in 3 opisthorchiasis endemic communities in northeast Thailand by applying urine antigen detection together with copro-antigen detection methods. The quantitative formalin-ethyl acetate concentration technique (FECT) was concurrently performed as a reference method. The prevalence of O. viverrini determined by urine antigen detection correlated well with that by copro-antigen detection and both methods showed 10–15% higher prevalence than FECT. Within the fecal negative cases by FECT, 29% and 43% were positive by urine and copro-antigen detection, respectively. The prevalence and intensity profiles determined by antigen detection and FECT showed similar patterns of increasing trends of infection with age. The concentration of antigen measured in urine showed a positive relationship with the concentration of copro-antigen, both of which were positively correlated with fecal egg counts. The data observed in this study indicate that urine antigen detection had high diagnostic accuracy and was in concordance with copro-antigen detection. Due to the ease and noninvasiveness of sample collection, the urine assay has high potential for clinical diagnosis as well as population screening in the program for the control and elimination of opisthorchiasis.

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<![CDATA[Predicted short and long-term impact of deworming and water, hygiene, and sanitation on transmission of soil-transmitted helminths]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cfa7d5eed0c484914b46

Background

Regular preventive chemotherapy (PCT) targeting high-risk populations is an effective way to control STH in the short term, but sustainable long-term STH control is expected to require improved access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). However, experimental studies have not been able to conclusively demonstrate the benefit of WASH in preventing STH (re-)infections. We investigated the impact of WASH on STH infections during and after PCT using mathematical modelling.

Methods and findings

We use the individual-based transmission model WORMSIM to predict the short and long-term impact of WASH on STH transmission in contexts with and without PCT. We distinguish two WASH modalities: sanitation, which reduces individuals’ contributions to environmental contamination; and hygiene, which reduces individuals’ exposure to infection. We simulate the impact of varying levels of uptake and effectiveness of each WASH modality, as well as their combined impact. Clearly, sanitation and hygiene interventions have little observable short-term impact on STH infections levels in the context of PCT. However, in the long term, both are pivotal to sustain control or eliminate infection levels after scaling down or stopping PCT. The impact of hygiene is determined more by the effectiveness of the intervention than its overall uptake, whereas the impact of sanitation depends more directly on the product of uptake and the effectiveness.

Interpretation

The impact of WASH interventions on STH transmission highly depends on the worm species, WASH modality, and uptake and effectiveness of the intervention. Also, the impact of WASH is difficult to measure in the context of ongoing PCT programmes. Still, we show a clear added benefit of WASH to sustain the gains made by PCT in the long term, such that PCT may be scaled down or even stopped altogether. To safely stop or scale down PCT, policy for WASH and PCT should be integrated.

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<![CDATA[Diagnostic comparison between FECPAKG2 and the Kato-Katz method for analyzing soil-transmitted helminth eggs in stool]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b5dc463d7e1340e24746

Background

Over one billion people are infected with soil-transmitted helminths (STH), i.e. Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm and Trichuris trichiura. For estimating drug efficacy and monitoring anthelminthic drug resistance, accurate diagnostic methods are critical. FECPAKG2 is a new remote-diagnostic tool used in veterinary medicine, which produces an image of the stool sample that can be stored on an internet cloud. We compared for the first time FECPAKG2 with the recommended Kato-Katz method.

Methodology/Principal findings

Two stool samples were collected from adolescent participants (age 15–18 years) at baseline and 14 to 21 days after treatment in the framework of a randomized clinical trial on Pemba Island, Tanzania. Stool samples were analyzed with different diagnostic efforts: i) one or ii) two Kato-Katz thick smears from the first sample, iii) two Kato-Katz thick smears from two samples and iv) FECPAKG2 from the first sample. Parameters were calculated based on a hierarchical Bayesian egg count model.

Complete data for all diagnostic efforts were available from 615 participants at baseline and 231 hookworm-positive participants at follow-up. At baseline FECPAKG2 revealed a sensitivity of 75.6% (72.0–77.7) for detecting A. lumbricoides, 71.5% (67.4–95.3) for hookworm and 65.8% (64.9–66.2) for T. trichiura, which was significantly lower (all p<0.05) than any of the Kato-Katz methods and highly dependent on infection intensity. Despite that the egg counts based on FECPAKG2 were relatively lower compared to Kato-Katz by a ratio of 0.38 (0.32–0.43) for A. lumbricoides, 0.36 (0.33–0.40) for hookworm and 0.08 (0.07–0.09) for T. trichiura, the egg reduction rates (ERR) were correctly estimated with FECPAKG2.

Conclusions/Significance

The sensitivity to identify any STH infection was considerably lower for FECPAKG2 compared to Kato-Katz. Following rigorous development, FECPAKG2 might be an interesting tool with unique features for epidemiological and clinical studies.

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<![CDATA[A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial of Maternal Postpartum Deworming to Improve Infant Weight Gain in the Peruvian Amazon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcfca

Background

Nutritional interventions targeting the critical growth and development period before two years of age can have the greatest impact on health trajectories over the life course. Compelling evidence has demonstrated that interventions investing in maternal health in the first 1000 days of life are beneficial for both mothers and their children. One such potential intervention is deworming integrated into maternal postpartum care in areas where soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections are endemic.

Methodology/Principal Findings

From February to August 2014, 1010 mother-infant pairs were recruited into a trial aimed at assessing the effectiveness of maternal postpartum deworming on infant and maternal health outcomes. Following delivery, mothers were randomly assigned to receive either single-dose 400 mg albendazole or placebo. Participants were followed-up at 1 and 6 months postpartum. There was no statistically significant difference in mean weight gain between infants in the experimental and control groups (mean difference: -0.02; 95% CI: -0.1, 0.08) at 6 months of age. Further, deworming had no effect on measured infant morbidity indicators. However, ad hoc analyses restricted to mothers who tested positive for STHs at baseline suggest that infants of mothers in the experimental group had greater mean length gain in cm (mean difference: 0.8; 95% CI: 0.1, 1.4) and length-for-age z-score (mean difference: 0.5; 95% CI: 0.2, 0.8) at 6 months of age.

Conclusions/Significance

In a study population composed of both STH-infected and uninfected mothers, maternal postpartum deworming was insufficient to impact infant growth and morbidity indicators up to 6 months postpartum. Among STH-infected mothers, however, important improvements in infant length gain and length-for-age were observed. The benefits of maternal postpartum deworming should be further investigated in study populations having higher overall prevalences and intensities of STH infections and, in particular, where whipworm and hookworm infections are of public health concern.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01748929).

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<![CDATA[Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminths Distribution in Benin: A Baseline Prevalence Survey in 30 Districts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae5ab0ee8fa60bbd529

In 2013, Benin developed strategies to control neglected tropical diseases and one of the first step was the disease mapping of the entire country in order to identify endemic districts of schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminths (STH). This study was carried out in 30 of the 77 districts of Benin. Of these 30 districts 22 were previously treated for Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) using the Ivermectin and Albendazole combination. In each district, five schools were selected and 50 children aged 8 to 14 years were sampled in each school, making a total of 250 children sampled in the district. The schools were selected mainly according to their proximity to lakes or any bodies of water that were likely to have been used by the children. Samples of faeces and urine were collected from each pupil. Urinary schistosomiasis was identified using the urine filtration technique while STH and intestinal schistosomiasis were identified through the Kato Katz method. Overall a total of 7500 pupils were surveyed across 150 schools with a gender ratio of 1:1. Hookworm was identified in all 30 districts with a prevalence ranging from 1.2% (95%CI: 0.0–2.5) to 60% (95%CI: 53.9–66.1). Ascaris lumbricoides was detected in 19 districts with a prevalence rate between 1% (95%CI: 0.0–2.2) and 39% (95%CI: 32.9–45.0). In addition to these common STH, Trichuris trichiura, Enterobius vermicularis and Strongyloides stercoralis were found at low prevalence. Only 16 districts were endemic to Schistosoma mansoni, while 29 districts were endemic to S. haematobium. The S. haematobium prevalence ranged from 0.8% (95% CI: 0.0–1.9) to 56% (95% CI: 50.2–62.5) while the prevalence of S. mansoni varied from 0.4% (95%CI: 0.0–1.2) to 46% (95% CI: 39.8–52.2). The 22 districts, where LF was successfully eliminated, still require mass drug administration (MDA) of albendazole indicating that school-based MDA would be needed even after LF elimination in districts co-endemic to LF and STH in Benin.

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<![CDATA[How to determine if a model is right for neglected tropical disease decision making]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf2ed

Mathematical and computational modeling can transform decision making for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) if the right model is used for the right question. Modeling can help better understand and address the complex systems involved in making decisions for NTD prevention and control. However, all models, modelers, and modeling are not the same. Thus, decision makers need to better understand if a particular model actually fits their needs. Here are a series of questions that a decision maker can ask when determining whether a model is right for him or her.

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<![CDATA[Advances in neglected tropical disease vaccines: Developing relative potency and functional assays for the Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel hookworm vaccine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd029

A new generation of vaccines for the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have now advanced into clinical development, with the Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel Hookworm Vaccine already being tested in Phase 1 studies in healthy adults. The current manuscript focuses on the often overlooked critical aspects of NTD vaccine product development, more specifically, vaccine stability testing programs. A key measure of vaccine stability testing is "relative potency" or the immunogenicity of the vaccine during storage. As with most NTD vaccines, the Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel Hookworm Vaccine was not developed by attenuation or inactivation of the pathogen (Necator americanus), so conventional methods for measuring relative potency are not relevant for this investigational product. Herein, we describe a novel relative potency testing program and report for the first time on the clinical lot of this NTD vaccine during its first 60 months of storage at 2–8°C. We also describe the development of a complementary functional assay that measures the ability of IgG from animals or humans immunized with Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel to neutralize this important hookworm enzyme. While 90% inhibition of the catalytic activity of Na-GST-1 was achieved in animals immunized with Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel, lower levels of inhibition were observed in immunized humans. Moreover, anti-Na-GST-1 antibodies from volunteers in non-hookworm endemic areas were better able to inhibit catalytic activity than anti-Na-GST-1 antibodies from volunteers resident in hookworm endemic areas. The results described herein provide the critical tools for the product development of NTD vaccines.

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<![CDATA[Isothermal Diagnostic Assays for Monitoring Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Necator americanus Associated with Benzimidazole Drug Resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da19ab0ee8fa60b7c205

Background

Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are the most prevalent intestinal helminths of humans, and a major cause of morbidity in tropical and subtropical countries. The benzimidazole (BZ) drugs albendazole (ABZ) and mebendazole (MBZ) are used for treatment of human STH infections and this use is increasing dramatically with massive drug donations. Frequent and prolonged use of these drugs could lead to the emergence of anthelmintic resistance as has occurred in nematodes of livestock. Previous molecular assays for putative resistance mutations have been based mainly on PCR amplification and sequencing. However, these techniques are complicated and time consuming and not suitable for resource-constrained situations. A simple, rapid and sensitive genotyping method is required to monitor for possible developing resistance to BZ drugs.

Methods

To address this problem, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection assays were developed based on the Smart amplification method (SmartAmp2) to target codons 167, 198, and 200 in the β-tubulin isotype 1 gene for the hookworm Necator americanus.

Findings

Diagnostic assays were developed and applied to analyze hookworm samples by both SmartAmp2 and conventional sequencing methods and the results showed high concordance. Additionally, fecal samples spiked with N. americanus larvae were assessed and the results showed that the Aac polymerase used has high tolerance to inhibitors in fecal samples.

Conclusion

The N. americanus SmartAmp2 SNP detection assay is a new genotyping tool that is rapid, sensitive, highly specific and efficient with the potential to be used as a field tool for monitoring SNPs associated with BZ resistance. However, further validation on large numbers of field samples is required.

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<![CDATA[Status of soil-transmitted helminth infections in schoolchildren in Laguna Province, the Philippines: Determined by parasitological and molecular diagnostic techniques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab184a0463d7e5ca175d92c

Background

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are the most common parasitic infections in impoverished communities, particularly among children. Current STH control is through school-based mass drug administration (MDA), which in the Philippines is done twice annually. As expected, MDA has decreased the intensity and prevalence of STH over time. As a result, the common Kato Katz (KK) thick smear method of detecting STH is less effective because it lacks sensitivity in low intensity infections, making it difficult to measure the impact of deworming programs.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cross-sectional study was carried out over a four-week period from October 27, 2014 until November 20, 2014 in Laguna province, the Philippines. Stool samples were collected from 263 schoolchildren, to determine the prevalence of STH and compare diagnostic accuracy of multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with the KK. A large discrepancy in the prevalence between the two techniques was noted for the detection of at least one type of STH infection (33.8% by KK vs. 78.3% by qPCR), Ascaris lumbricoides (20.5% by KK vs. 60.8% by qPCR) and Trichuris trichiura (23.6% by KK vs. 38.8% by qPCR). Considering the combined results of both methods, the prevalence of at least one type of helminth infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 83.3%, 67.7%, and 53.6%, respectively. Sensitivity of the qPCR for detecting at least one type of STH infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 94.1%, 89.9%, and 72.3% respectively; whereas KK sensitivity was 40.6%, 30.3%, and 44.0%, respectively. The qPCR method also detected infections with Ancylostoma spp. (4.6%), Necator americanus (2.3%), and Strongyloides stercoralis (0.8%) that were missed by KK.

Conclusion/Significance

qPCR may provide new and important diagnostic information to improve assessment of the effectiveness and impact of integrated control strategies particularly in areas where large-scale STH control has led to low prevalence and/or intensity of infection.

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<![CDATA[Albendazole and ivermectin for the control of soil-transmitted helminths in an area with high prevalence of Strongyloides stercoralis and hookworm in northwestern Argentina: A community-based pragmatic study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab08481463d7e2faeab8ab0

Background

Recommendations for soil-transmitted helminth (STH) control give a key role to deworming of school and pre-school age children with albendazole or mebendazole; which might be insufficient to achieve adequate control, particularly against Strongyloides stercoralis. The impact of preventive chemotherapy (PC) against STH morbidity is still incompletely understood. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a community-based program with albendazole and ivermectin in a high transmission setting for S. stercoralis and hookworm.

Methodology

Community-based pragmatic trial conducted in Tartagal, Argentina; from 2012 to 2015. Six communities (5070 people) were enrolled for community-based PC with albendazole and ivermectin. Two communities (2721 people) were re-treated for second and third rounds. STH prevalence, anemia and malnutrition were explored through consecutive surveys. Anthropometric assessment of children, stool analysis, complete blood count and NIE-ELISA serology for S. stercoralis were performed.

Principal findings

STH infection was associated with anemia and stunting in the baseline survey that included all communities and showed a STH prevalence of 47.6% (almost exclusively hookworm and S. stercoralis). Among communities with multiple interventions, STH prevalence decreased from 62% to 23% (p<0.001) after the first PC; anemia also diminished from 52% to 12% (p<0.001). After two interventions S. stercoralis seroprevalence declined, from 51% to 14% (p<0.001) and stunting prevalence decreased, from 19% to 12% (p = 0.009).

Conclusions

Hookworm’ infections are associated with anemia in the general population and nutritional impairment in children. S. stercoralis is also associated with anemia. Community-based deworming with albendazole and ivermectin is effective for the reduction of STH prevalence and morbidity in communities with high prevalence of hookworm and S. stercoralis.

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<![CDATA[Migrant Workers in Malaysia: Current Implications of Sociodemographic and Environmental Characteristics in the Transmission of Intestinal Parasitic Infections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac0ab0ee8fa60bb07ea

A cross-sectional study of intestinal parasitic infections amongst migrant workers in Malaysia was conducted. A total of 388 workers were recruited from five sectors including manufacturing, construction, plantation, domestic and food services. The majority were recruited from Indonesia (n = 167, 43.3%), followed by Nepal (n = 81, 20.9%), Bangladesh (n = 70, 18%), India (n = 47, 12.1%) and Myanmar (n = 23, 5.9.2%). A total of four nematode species (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, Enterobius vermicularis and hookworms), one cestode (Hymenolepis nana) and three protozoan species (Entamoeba histolytica/dispar, Giardia sp. and Cryptosporidium spp.) were identified. High prevalence of infections with A. lumbricoides (43.3%) was recorded followed by hookworms (13.1%), E. histolytica/dispar (11.6%), Giardia sp. (10.8%), T. trichura (9.5%), Cryptosporodium spp. (3.1%), H. nana (1.8%) and E. vermicularis (0.5%). Infections were significantly influenced by socio-demographic (nationality), and environmental characteristics (length of working years in the country, employment sector and educational level). Up to 84.0% of migrant workers from Nepal and 83.0% from India were infected with intestinal parasites, with the ascarid nematode A. lumbricoides occurring in 72.8% of the Nepalese and 68.1% of the Indian population. In addition, workers with an employment history of less than a year or newly arrived in Malaysia were most likely to show high levels of infection as prevalence of workers infected with A. lumbricoides was reduced from 58.2% to 35.4% following a year’s residence. These findings suggest that improvement is warranted in public health and should include mandatory medical screening upon entry into the country.

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<![CDATA[Contribution of Wastewater Irrigation to Soil Transmitted Helminths Infection among Vegetable Farmers in Kumasi, Ghana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1eab0ee8fa60b7dccd

Wastewater irrigation is associated with several benefits but can also lead to significant health risks. The health risk for contracting infections from Soil Transmitted Helminths (STHs) among farmers has mainly been assessed indirectly through measured quantities in the wastewater or on the crops alone and only on a limited scale through epidemiological assessments. In this study we broadened the concept of infection risks in the exposure assessments by measurements of the concentration of STHs both in wastewater used for irrigation and the soil, as well as the actual load of STHs ova in the stool of farmers and their family members (165 and 127 in the wet and dry seasons respectively) and a control group of non-farmers (100 and 52 in the wet and dry seasons, respectively). Odds ratios were calculated for exposure and non-exposure to wastewater irrigation. The results obtained indicate positive correlation between STH concentrations in irrigation water/soil and STHs ova as measured in the stool of the exposed farmer population. The correlations are based on reinfection during a 3 months period after prior confirmed deworming. Farmers and family members exposed to irrigation water were three times more likely as compared to the control group of non-farmers to be infected with Ascaris (OR = 3.9, 95% CI, 1.15–13.86) and hookworm (OR = 3.07, 95% CI, 0.87–10.82). This study therefore contributes to the evidence-based conclusion that wastewater irrigation contributes to a higher incidence of STHs infection for farmers exposed annually, with higher odds of infection in the wet season.

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<![CDATA[Diagnosing Polyparasitism in a High-Prevalence Setting in Beira, Mozambique: Detection of Intestinal Parasites in Fecal Samples by Microscopy and Real-Time PCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcd9f

Background

Many different intestinal parasite species can co-occur in the same population. However, classic diagnostic tools can only frame a particular group of intestinal parasite species. Hence, one or two tests do not suffice to provide a complete picture of infecting parasite species in a given population. The present study investigated intestinal parasitic infections in Beira, Mozambique, i.e. in the informal settlement of Inhamudima. Diagnostic accuracy of five classical microscopy techniques and real-time PCR for the detection of a broad spectrum of parasites was compared.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A cross-sectional population-based survey was performed. One stool sample per participant (n = 303) was examined by direct smear, formal-ether concentration (FEC), Kato smear, Baermann method, coproculture and real-time PCR. We found that virtually all people (96%) harbored at least one helminth, and that almost half (49%) harbored three helminths or more. Remarkably, Strongyloides stercoralis infections were widespread with a prevalence of 48%, and Ancylostoma spp. prevalence was higher than that of Necator americanus (25% versus 15%), the hookworm species that is often assumed to prevail in East-Africa. Among the microscopic techniques, FEC was able to detect the broadest spectrum of parasite species. However, FEC also missed a considerable number of infections, notably S. stercoralis, Schistosoma mansoni and G. intestinalis. PCR outperformed microscopy in terms of sensitivity and range of parasite species detected.

Conclusions/Significance

We showed intestinal parasites—especially helminths—to be omnipresent in Inhamudima, Beira. However, it is a challenge to achieve high diagnostic sensitivity for all species. Classical techniques such as FEC are useful for the detection of some intestinal helminth species, but they lack sensitivity for other parasite species. PCR can detect intestinal parasites more accurately but is generally not feasible in resource-poor settings, at least not in peripheral labs. Hence, there is a need for a more field-friendly, sensitive approach for on-the-spot diagnosis of parasitic infections.

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<![CDATA[Neglected Intestinal Parasites, Malnutrition and Associated Key Factors: A Population Based Cross-Sectional Study among Indigenous Communities in Sarawak, Malaysia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da35ab0ee8fa60b86019

Intestinal parasitic infections (IPIs) have been recognized as one of the most significant causes of illness among disadvantaged communities. Many studies have been conducted on the prevalence of IPIs in Malaysia. However, these studies mostly focused on the indigenous groups in Peninsular Malaysia. The present study was conducted to provide the current baseline data on prevalence of IPIs, anaemia, malnutrition and associated risk factors among the indigenous communities in Sarawak, situation at northwest Borneo island of Malaysia. A cross sectional study was conducted among the longhouses communities. Stool samples were obtained and examined for the presence of IPIs using microscopy technique. Haemoglobin measurement was done using a portable haemoglobin analyzer. Malnutrition (i.e., stunting, underweight and wasting) was assessed using the WHO Anthro software. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS software. A total of 341participants took part in this study. The overall prevalence of IPIs was 57.5%. Multivariate analysis indicated that the absence of toilets (OR = 1.6; 95% CI = 1.1–2.7; p = 0.002) and close contact with animals (OR = 1.8; 95% CI = 1.3–2.9; p = 0.027) as significant predictors for IPIs. The incidence of anaemia was 36.4%. The incidence of underweight, wasting and stunting were 22.2%, 5.6% and 35.4%, respectively. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that low level of parental education attainment (OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.2–3.0; p = 0.006) was identified as significant predictor for anaemia. The incidence of wasting was significantly associated with mild anaemia (OR = 1.2; 95% CI = 0.9–1.7; p = 0.024). Low household income was identified as significant predictor for stunting (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 9.8–22.2; p = 0.001) and underweight (OR = 1.9; 95% CI = 5.6–18.7; p = 0.037), respectively. Essentially, the present study highlighted that intestinal parasitic infections, anaemia and malnutrition are still prevalent among rural indigenous community in Sarawak. Improvement of socioeconomic status, periodic mass deworming, iron supplementation and health education program should be included in the control and prevention of public health strategies.

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<![CDATA[The Global Economic and Health Burden of Human Hookworm Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2cab0ee8fa60b82db1

Background

Even though human hookworm infection is highly endemic in many countries throughout the world, its global economic and health impact is not well known. Without a better understanding of hookworm’s economic burden worldwide, it is difficult for decision makers such as funders, policy makers, disease control officials, and intervention manufacturers to determine how much time, energy, and resources to invest in hookworm control.

Methodology/Principle Findings

We developed a computational simulation model to estimate the economic and health burden of hookworm infection in every country, WHO region, and globally, in 2016 from the societal perspective. Globally, hookworm infection resulted in a total 2,126,280 DALYs using 2004 disability weight estimates and 4,087,803 DALYs using 2010 disability weight estimates (excluding cognitive impairment outcomes). Including cognitive impairment did not significantly increase DALYs worldwide. Total productivity losses varied with the probability of anemia and calculation method used, ranging from $7.5 billion to $138.9 billion annually using gross national income per capita as a proxy for annual wages and ranging from $2.5 billion to $43.9 billion using minimum wage as a proxy for annual wages.

Conclusion

Even though hookworm is classified as a neglected tropical disease, its economic and health burden exceeded published estimates for a number of diseases that have received comparatively more attention than hookworm such as rotavirus. Additionally, certain large countries that are transitioning to higher income countries such as Brazil and China, still face considerable hookworm burden.

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<![CDATA[The impact of prenatal exposure to parasitic infections and to anthelminthic treatment on antibody responses to routine immunisations given in infancy: Secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdce1a

Background

Chronic parasitic infections are associated with active immunomodulation which may include by-stander effects on unrelated antigens. It has been suggested that pre-natal exposure to parasitic infections in the mother impacts immunological development in the fetus and hence the offspring’s response to vaccines, and that control of parasitic infection among pregnant women will therefore be beneficial.

Methodology/Principal findings

We used new data from the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study, a trial of anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy conducted in Uganda, to further investigate this hypothesis. 2705 mothers were investigated for parasitic infections and then randomised to albendazole (400mg) versus placebo and praziquantel (40mg/kg) during pregnancy in a factorial design. All mothers received sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine for presumptive treatment of malaria. Offspring received Expanded Programme on Immunisation vaccines at birth, six, 10 and 14 weeks. New data on antibody levels to diphtheria toxin, three pertussis antigens, Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB) and Hepatitis B, measured at one year (April 2004 –May 2007) from 1379 infants were analysed for this report. Additional observational analyses relating maternal infections to infant vaccine responses were also conducted. Helminth infections were highly prevalent amongst mothers (hookworm 43.1%, Mansonella 20.9%, Schistosoma mansoni 17.3%, Strongyloides 11.7%, Trichuris 8.1%) and 9.4% had malaria at enrolment. In the trial analysis we found no overall effect of either anthelminthic intervention on the measured infant vaccine responses. In observational analyses, no species was associated with suppressed responses. Strongyloidiasis was associated with enhanced responses to pertussis toxin, HiB and Hep B vaccine antigens.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results do not support the hypothesis that routine anthelminthic treatment during pregnancy has a benefit for the infant’s vaccine response, or that maternal helminth infection has a net suppressive effect on the offspring’s response to vaccines.

Trial Registration

ISRCTN.com ISRCTN32849447

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<![CDATA[A Comparison of the Quality of Informed Consent for Clinical Trials of an Experimental Hookworm Vaccine Conducted in Developed and Developing Countries]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd13b

Informed consent is one of the principal ethical requirements of conducting clinical research, regardless of the study setting. Breaches in the quality of the informed consent process are frequently described in reference to clinical trials conducted in developing countries, due to low levels of formal education, a lack of familiarity with biomedical research, and limited access to health services in these countries. However, few studies have directly compared the quality of the informed consent process in developed and developing countries using the same tool and in similar clinical trials. This study was conducted to compare the quality of the informed consent process of a series of clinical trials of an investigational hookworm vaccine that were performed in Brazil and the United States. A standardized questionnaire was used to assess the ethical quality of the informed consent process in a series of Phase 1 clinical trials of the Na-GST-1/Alhydrogel hookworm vaccine that were conducted in healthy adults in Brazil and the United States. In Brazil, the trial was conducted at two sites, one in the hookworm non-endemic urban area of Belo Horizonte, Minas, and one in the rural, resource-limited town of Americaninhas, both in the state of Minas Gerais; the American trial was conducted in Washington, DC. A 32-question survey was administered after the informed consent document was signed at each of the three trial sites; it assessed participants’ understanding of information about the study presented in the document as well as the voluntariness of their decision to participate. 105 participants completed the questionnaire: 63 in Americaninhas, 18 in Belo Horizonte, and 24 in Washington, DC. Overall knowledge about the trial was suboptimal: the mean number of correct answers to questions about study objectives, methods, duration, rights, and potential risks and benefits, was 45.6% in Americaninhas, 65.2% in Belo Horizonte, and 59.1% in Washington, DC. Although there was no difference in the rate of correct answers between participants in Belo Horizonte and Washington, DC, there was a significant gap between participants at these two locations compared to Americaninhas (p = 0.0002 and p = 0.0001, respectively), which had a lower percentage of correct answers. Attitudes towards participating in the clinical trial also differed by site: while approximately 40% had doubts about participating in Washington, DC and Belo Horizonte, only 1.5% had concerns in Americaninhas. Finally, in Belo Horizonte and Washington, high percentages cited a desire to help others as motivation for participating, whereas in Americaninhas, the most common reason for participating was personal interest (p = 0.001). Understanding of information about a Phase 1 clinical trial of an experimental hookworm vaccine following informed consent was suboptimal, regardless of study site. Although overall there were no differences in knowledge between Brazil and the US, a lower level of understanding about the trial was seen in participants at the rural, resource-limited Brazilian site. These findings demonstrate the need for educational interventions directed at potential clinical trial participants, both in developing and developed countries, in order to improve understanding of the informed consent document.

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<![CDATA[An environmental assessment and risk map of Ascaris lumbricoides and Necator americanus distributions in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be022c

Background

In Timor-Leste there have been intermittent and ineffective soil-transmitted helminth (STH) deworming programs since 2004. In a resource-constrained setting, having information on the geographic distribution of STH can aid in prioritising high risk communities for intervention. This study aimed to quantify the environmental risk factors for STH infection and to produce a risk map of STH in Manufahi district, Timor-Leste.

Methodology/Principal findings

Georeferenced cross-sectional data and stool samples were obtained from 2,194 participants in 606 households in 24 villages in the Manufahi District as part of cross sectional surveys done in the context of the “WASH for Worms” randomised controlled trial. Infection status was determined for Ascaris lumbricoides and Necator americanus using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Baseline infection data were linked to environmental data obtained for each household. Univariable and multivariable multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression analysis with random effects at the village and household level were conducted, with all models adjusted for age and sex. For A. lumbricoides, being a school-aged child increased the odds of infection, whilst higher temperatures in the coolest quarter of the year, alkaline soils, clay loam/loam soils and woody savannas around households were associated with decreased infection odds. For N. americanus, greater precipitation in the driest month, higher average enhanced vegetation index, age and sandy loam soils increased infection odds, whereas being female and living at higher elevations decreased the odds of infection. Predictive risk maps generated for Manufahi based upon these final models highlight the high predicted risk of N. americanus infection across the district and the more focal nature of A. lumbricoides infection. The predicted risk of any STH infection is high across the entire district.

Conclusions/Significance

The widespread predicted risk of any STH infection in 6 to 18 year olds provides strong evidence to support strategies for control across the entire geographical area. As few studies include soil texture and pH in their analysis, this study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting these factors influence STH infection distribution. This study also further supports that A. lumbricoides prefers acidic soils, highlighting a potential relatively unexplored avenue for control.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov ACTRN12614000680662.

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<![CDATA[Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and environmental risk factors for soil-transmitted helminth intensity of infection in Timor-Leste, using real time PCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcd6b

Background

No investigations have been undertaken of risk factors for intensity of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection in Timor-Leste. This study provides the first analysis of risk factors for intensity of STH infection, as determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR), examining a broad range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and environmental factors, among communities in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste.

Methods

A baseline cross-sectional survey of 18 communities was undertaken as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial, with additional identically-collected data from six other communities. qPCR was used to assess STH infection from stool samples, and questionnaires administered to collect WASH, demographic, and socioeconomic data. Environmental information was obtained from open-access sources and linked to infection outcomes. Mixed-effects multinomial logistic regression was undertaken to assess risk factors for intensity of Necator americanus and Ascaris infection.

Results

2152 participants provided stool and questionnaire information for this analysis. In adjusted models incorporating WASH, demographic and environmental variables, environmental variables were generally associated with infection intensity for both N. americanus and Ascaris spp. Precipitation (in centimetres) was associated with increased risk of moderate-intensity (adjusted relative risk [ARR] 6.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9–19.3) and heavy-intensity (ARR 6.6; 95% CI 3.1–14.1) N. americanus infection, as was sandy-loam soil around households (moderate-intensity ARR 2.1; 95% CI 1.0–4.3; heavy-intensity ARR 2.7; 95% CI 1.6–4.5; compared to no infection). For Ascaris, alkaline soil around the household was associated with reduced risk of moderate-intensity infection (ARR 0.21; 95% CI 0.09–0.51), and heavy-intensity infection (ARR 0.04; 95% CI 0.01–0.25). Few WASH risk factors were significant.

Conclusion

In this high-prevalence setting, strong risk associations with environmental factors indicate that anthelmintic treatment alone will be insufficient to interrupt STH transmission, as conditions are favourable for ongoing environmental transmission. Integrated STH control strategies should be explored as a priority.

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