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1.  Infectivity to Phlebotomus perniciosus of dogs naturally parasitized with Leishmania infantum after different treatments 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:52.
Background
In Europe most dogs with clinical leishmaniosis are treated with leishmanicides, typically antimonials combined with allopurinol and good clinical recovery is observed in a high number of these dogs. Through xenodiagnosis, the capacity of a treated animal to infect the vector of the disease under treatment is assessed as a measure of the chemotherapeutic efficacy of the drug used. The objective of the present study was to evaluate through direct xenodiagnosis the infectivity to Phlebotomus perniciosus of dogs naturally parasitized with Leishmania infantum after treatment, and to follow the clinical and parasite course of disease. Thirty two dogs with clinical leishmaniosis were assigned to one of three treatment groups: meglumine antimoniate plus allopurinol (Group A), meglumine antimoniate (Group B) or allopurinol (Group C). During the study, the dogs were examined before treatment (Day 0) and bimonthly thereafter until Day 180 (six months post-treatment onset).
Results
The three groups were scored over time according to the effects of treatment on clinical signs and clinical-pathological variables. Significant differences in clinical scores were observed between Group A and the other two groups, indicating the combined treatment was the most effective. After treatment, bone marrow cultures were positive for the parasite in 30.8% of dogs in some of the check ups (3 or 25% in Group A, 1 or 11.1% in Group B, and 4 or 80% in Group C). Our xenodiagnosis experiments revealed that 15.4% of treated dogs were still able to infect sand flies at some point after treatment (2 dogs or 16.6% in Group A, 2 or 22.2% in Group B and none in Group C). Only 7.7% of the entire study population could infect sand flies as from the second month post-treatment onset.
Conclusion
The three treatment regimens tested significantly reduced the infectivity of dogs towards sand flies, thus diminishing the epidemiological risks of treated dogs both for human beings and other healthy dogs. Despite its low cure rate, the use of allopurinol after a course of leishmanicide treatment is proposed to keep dogs non-infectious during the disease transmission season (4-6 months in southern Europe).
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-52
PMCID: PMC3094395  PMID: 21489241
2.  Accuracy of an Immunochromatographic Diagnostic Test (ICT Malaria Combo Cassette Test) Compared to Microscopy among under Five-Year-Old Children when Diagnosing Malaria in Equatorial Guinea 
Malaria Research and Treatment  2010;2010:858427.
Conventional malaria diagnosis based on microscopy raises serious difficulties in weak health systems. Cost-effective and sensitive rapid diagnostic tests have been recently proposed as alternatives to microscopy. In Equatorial Guinea, a study was conducted to assess the reliability of a rapid diagnostic test compared to microscopy. The study was designed in accordance with the directives of the Standards for Reporting Diagnostic Accuracy Initiative (STARD). Peripheral thick and thin films for the microscopy diagnosis and a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT Malaria Combo Cassette Test) were performed on under five-year-old children with malaria suspicion. The ICT test detected Plasmodium spp. infection with a sensitivity of 81.5% and a specificity of 81.9% while P. falciparum diagnosis occurred with a sensitivity of 69.7% and a specificity of 73.7%. The sensitivity of the ICT test increased with higher parasitemias. The general results showed little concordance between the ICT test and microscopy (kappa = 0.28, se: 0.04). In Equatorial Guinea, the ICT Malaria Combo Cassette Test has proven to be an acceptable test to detect high P. falciparum parasitemias. However, the decrease of sensitivity at medium and low parasitemias hampers that ICT can replace properly performed microscopy at present in the diagnosis of malaria in children.
doi:10.4061/2010/858427
PMCID: PMC3276242  PMID: 22332024
3.  All‐cause and cause‐specific mortality in rheumatoid arthritis are not greater than expected when treated with tumour necrosis factor antagonists 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(7):880-885.
Background
Mortality is increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), mainly because of cardiovascular (CV) events, cancer and infections. Recent data suggest that treatment with tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists may affect this trend.
Objective
To assess whether treatment with TNF antagonists is associated with reduction in CV events, cancer and infection rates, and in mortality in patients with RA treated and not treated with TNF antagonists.
Methods
BIOBADASER is a registry for active long‐term follow‐up of safety of biological treatments in patients with RA. It includes 4459 patients with RA treated with TNF antagonists. EMECAR is an external RA cohort (n = 789) established to define the characteristics of the disease in Spain and to assess comorbidity. The incidence density (ischaemic heart disease) of CV events, cancer and infections was estimated and compared. The standardised mortality ratio was compared with the rate in the general population. A propensity score was used to match cohorts by the probability of being treated.
Results
Rates of CV and cancer events are significantly higher in EMECAR than in BIOBADASER (RR 5–7 for different CV events, and RR 2.9 for cancer), whereas the rate of serious infections is significantly higher in BIOBADASER (RR 1.6). Mortality ratio of BIOBADASER by EMECAR is 0.32 (0.20–0.53) for all causes of death, 0.58 (0.24–1.41) for CV events, 0.52 (0.21–1.29) for infection and 0.36 (0.10–1.30) for cancer‐related deaths.
Conclusion
Morbidity, other than infection, and mortality are not higher than expected in patients with RA treated with TNF antagonists.
doi:10.1136/ard.2006.067660
PMCID: PMC1955107  PMID: 17324968
4.  Nutritional and socio-economic factors associated with Plasmodium falciparum infection in children from Equatorial Guinea: results from a nationally representative survey 
Malaria Journal  2009;8:225.
Background
Malaria has traditionally been a major endemic disease in Equatorial Guinea. Although parasitaemia prevalence on the insular region has been substantially reduced by vector control in the past few years, the prevalence in the mainland remains over 50% in children younger than five years. The aim of this study is to investigate the risk factors for parasitaemia and treatment seeking behaviour for febrile illness at country level, in order to provide evidence that will reinforce the EG National Malaria Control Programme.
Methods
The study was a cross-sectional survey of children 0 to 5 years old, using a multistaged, stratified, cluster-selected sample at the national level. It included a socio-demographic, health and dietary questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, and thick and thin blood smears to determine the Plasmodium infection. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine risk factors for parasitaemia, taking into account the cluster design.
Results
The overall prevalence of parasitemia was 50.9%; it was higher in rural (58.8%) compared to urban areas (44.0%, p = 0.06). Age was positively associated with parasitemia (p < 0.0001). In rural areas, risk factors included longer distance to health facilities (p = 0.01) and a low proportion of households with access to protected water in the community (p = 0.02). Having had an episode of cough in the 15 days prior to the survey was inversely related to parasitemia (p = 0.04). In urban areas, the risk factors were stunting (p = 0.005), not having taken colostrum (p = 0.01), and that someone in the household slept under a bed net (p = 0.002); maternal antimalarial medication intake during pregnancy (p = 0.003) and the household socio-economic status (p = 0.0002) were negatively associated with parasitemia. Only 55% of children with fever were taken outside their homes for care, and treatment seeking behaviour differed substantially between rural and urban populations.
Conclusion
Results suggest that a national programme to fight malaria in Equatorial Guinea should take into account the differences between rural and urban communities in relation to risk factors for parasitaemia and treatment seeking behaviour, integrate nutrition programmes, incorporate campaigns on the importance of early treatment, and target appropriately for bed nets to reach the under-fives.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-8-225
PMCID: PMC2766384  PMID: 19814788
5.  Efficacy of Artesunate + Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (AS + SP) and Amodiaquine + Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine (AQ + SP) for Uncomplicated falciparum Malaria in Equatorial Guinea (Central Africa) 
Journal of Tropical Medicine  2009;2009:781865.
Objectives. The objectives of the study were (i) to evaluate the efficacy of combination drugs, such as artesunate + sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS + SP) and amodiaquine + sulphadoxine-pyripethamine (AQ + SP) in treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria (ii) to differentiate recrudescence from reinfection by analysing msp-1 and msp-2 genes of Plasmodium falciparum in treatment failure cases. Methods. We carried out an in vivo study in the year 2005 in 206 children between 6 to 59 months age groups. Of the 206, 120 received AQ + SP, and 86 received AS + SP. A clinical and parasitological followup during 14 days was undertaken. Finger-prick blood sample from each patient was taken on Whatman filter paper (no. 3) on days 0, 7, 14 and also the day when the parasite and symptoms reappeared for PCR analysis. Results. Late treatment failure was observed in 3.5% (4/114) with AQ + SP, and 2.5% (2/79) with AS + SP. The success rate was 96.5% with AQ + SP and 97.5% with AS + SP. No deaths and severe reactions were recorded. Out of the 6 treatment failure cases, one was reinfection as observed by PCR analysis of msp-1 and msp-2 genes on day 14. Discussion. Both the combinations found to be efficacious and safe and could be used as a first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Equatorial Guinea.
doi:10.1155/2009/781865
PMCID: PMC2836821  PMID: 20339460
6.  Trends towards an improved disease state in rheumatoid arthritis over time: influence of new therapies and changes in management approach: analysis of the EMECAR cohort 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2008;10(6):R138.
Introduction
The disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis has improved during the past decade. The availability of new drugs and also a better assessment of the disease have been proposed to be responsible for this improvement. In the present work we estimate the effect of these factors on disease activity and function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis at the beginning of the new century.
Methods
The Estudio de la Morbilidad y Expresión Clínica de la Artritis Reumatoide (EMECAR) cohort was assembled in 2000 from the random sampling of rheumatoid arthritis patients registered in 34 centers. The cohort was composed of 789 patients who underwent a baseline assessment plus four annual follow-up visits in which functional ability (Health Assessment Questionnaire score), the disease activity score obtained from 28-joint count with three parameters (DAS28-3) and radiological progression (Larsen score) were recorded. The effect of the calendar year on the DAS28-3, the Health Assessment Questionnaire score, and the Larsen score was obtained from adjusted models in which all treatments were included as dummy variables.
Results
The effect of time as the β coefficient (95% confidence interval) for 2004, taking 2000 as a reference year, was -0.43 (-0.58 to -0.28) for the DAS28-3, 0.15 (0.07 to 0.22) for the Health Assessment Questionnaire score, and 4.4 (2.68 to 6.12) for the Larsen score. Treatment with new therapies, either leflunomide or TNF antagonists, increased in frequency from 1.1% (n = 8) in 2000 to 30.9% (n = 144) in 2004. Treatment with TNF antagonists (-0.28 (-0.5 to -0.05)) and with gold salts (-0.21 (-0.38 to -0.04)) was independently associated with a decrease in the DAS28-3 over time, whereas cyclosporin A treatment (0.45 (0.13 to 0.76)) was associated with an increase in disease activity.
Conclusions
The mean disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis has improved from 2000 to 2004. An explanation is the introduction of new therapies, but not solely. Other factors related to the calendar year, plausibly a better management of available drugs, show a greater effect on improvement than the drugs used.
doi:10.1186/ar2561
PMCID: PMC2656242  PMID: 19036152
7.  Cardiovascular disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: results from the QUEST-RA study 
Introduction
We analyzed the prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its association with traditional CV risk factors, clinical features of RA, and the use of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in a multinational cross-sectional cohort of nonselected consecutive outpatients with RA (The Questionnaires in Standard Monitoring of Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Program, or QUEST-RA) who were receiving regular clinical care.
Methods
The study involved a clinical assessment by a rheumatologist and a self-report questionnaire by patients. The clinical assessment included a review of clinical features of RA and exposure to DMARDs over the course of RA. Comorbidities were recorded; CV morbidity included myocardial infarction, angina, coronary disease, coronary bypass surgery, and stroke. Traditional risk factors recorded were hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, smoking, physical inactivity, and body mass index. Unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) (95% confidence interval [CI]) for CV morbidity were calculated using Cox proportional hazard regression models.
Results
Between January 2005 and October 2006, the QUEST-RA project included 4,363 patients from 48 sites in 15 countries; 78% were female, more than 90% were Caucasian, and the mean age was 57 years. The prevalence for lifetime CV events in the entire sample was 3.2% for myocardial infarction, 1.9% for stroke, and 9.3% for any CV event. The prevalence for CV risk factors was 32% for hypertension, 14% for hyperlipidemia, 8% for diabetes, 43% for ever-smoking, 73% for physical inactivity, and 18% for obesity. Traditional risk factors except obesity and physical inactivity were significantly associated with CV morbidity. There was an association between any CV event and age and male gender and between extra-articular disease and myocardial infarction. Prolonged exposure to methotrexate (HR 0.85; 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89), leflunomide (HR 0.59; 95% CI 0.43 to 0.79), sulfasalazine (HR 0.92; 95% CI 0.87 to 0.98), glucocorticoids (HR 0.95; 95% CI 0.92 to 0.98), and biologic agents (HR 0.42; 95% CI 0.21 to 0.81; P < 0.05) was associated with a reduction of the risk of CV morbidity; analyses were adjusted for traditional risk factors and countries.
Conclusion
In conclusion, prolonged use of treatments such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, leflunomide, glucocorticoids, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers appears to be associated with a reduced risk of CV disease. In addition to traditional risk factors, extra-articular disease was associated with the occurrence of myocardial infarction in patients with RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2383
PMCID: PMC2453774  PMID: 18325087
8.  Transmission of malaria and genotypic variability of Plasmodium falciparum on the Island of Annobon (Equatorial Guinea) 
Malaria Journal  2007;6:141.
Background
Malaria transmission in Equatorial Guinea and its space-time variability has been widely studied, but there is not much information about the transmission of malaria on the small island of Annobon. In 2004, two transversal studies were carried out to establish the malaria transmission pattern on Annobon and analyse the circulating Plasmodium falciparum allelic forms.
Methods
A blood sample was taken from the selected children in order to determine Plasmodium infection by microscopical examination and by semi-nested multiplex PCR. The diversity of P. falciparum circulating alleles was studied on the basis of the genes encoding for the merozoite surface proteins, MSP-1 and MSP-2 of P. falciparum.
Results
The crude parasite rate was 17% during the dry season and 60% during the rainy season. The percentage of children sleeping under a bed net was over 80% in the two surveys. During the rainy season, 33.3% of the children surveyed were anaemic at the time of the study. No association was found between the crude parasite rate, the use of bed nets and gender, and anaemia. However, children between five and nine years of age were five times less at risk of being anaemic than those aged less than one year. A total of 28 populations of the three allelic families of the msp-1 gene were identified and 39 of the msp-2 gene. The variability of circulating allelic populations is significantly higher in the rainy than in the dry season, although the multiplicity of infections is similar in both, 2.2 and 1.9 respectively.
Conclusion
Based on the high degree of geographical isolation of the Annobon population and the apparent marked seasonality of the transmission, it is feasible to believe that malaria can be well controlled from this small African island.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-141
PMCID: PMC2137927  PMID: 17961248
9.  Spatial and temporal variability of the Glossina palpalis palpalis population in the Mbini focus (Equatorial Guinea) 
Background
Human African Trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease. The geographical distribution of the disease is linked to the spatial distribution of the tsetse fly. As part of a control campaign using traps, the spatial and temporal variability is analysed of the glossina populations present in the Mbini sleeping sickness foci (Equatorial Guinea).
Results
A significant drop in the annual mean of the G. p. palpalis apparent density was noted from 2004 to 2005, although seasonal differences were not observed. The apparent density (AD) of G. p. palpalis varies significantly from one biotope to another. The fish dryers turned out to be zones with the greatest vector density, although the AD of G. p. palpalis fell significantly in all locations from 2004 to 2005.
Conclusion
Despite the tsetse fly density being relatively low in fish dryers and jetties, the population working in those zones would be more exposed to infection. The mono-pyramidal traps in the Mbini focus have been proven to be a useful tool to control G. p. palpalis, even though the activity on the banks of the River Wele needs to be intensified. The application of spatial analysis techniques and geographical information systems are very useful tools to discriminate zones with high and low apparent density of G. p. palpalis, probably associated with different potential risk of sleeping sickness transmission.
doi:10.1186/1476-072X-6-36
PMCID: PMC2000463  PMID: 17760953
10.  Spatial variability in the density, distribution and vectorial capacity of anopheline species in a high transmission village (Equatorial Guinea) 
Malaria Journal  2006;5:21.
Background
Malaria transmission varies from one country to another and there are also local differences in time and space. An important variable when explaining the variability in transmission is the breeding behaviour of the different vector species and the availability of breeding sites. The aim of this study was to determine the geographical variability of certain entomological parameters: human biting rate (HBR), sporozoitic index (SI) for Plasmodium falciparum and entomological inoculation rate (EIR).
Methods
The study was carried out in a small village in the mainland region of Equatorial Guinea. Adult mosquitoes were collected by CDC light traps. Polymerase Chain Reaction was employed to identify the species within the Anopheles gambiae complex and to detect P. falciparum sporozoites. The geographical position of all the dwellings in the village were taken using a global positioning system receiver unit. Data relating to the dwelling, occupants, use of bednets and the mosquitoes collection data were used to generate a geographical information system (GIS). This GIS allowed the minimum distance of the dwellings to the closest water point (potential breeding sites) to be determined.
Results
A total of 1,173 anophelines were caught: 279 A. gambiae s.l. (217 A. gambiae s.s. and one Anopheles melas), 777 Anopheles moucheti and 117 Anopheles carnevalei. A. moucheti proved to be the main vector species and was responsible for 52.38 [95% IC: 33.7–71] night infective bites during this period. The highest SI was found in A. carnevalei (24%), even though the HBR was the lowest for this species. A significant association was found between the distance from the dwellings to the closest water point (River Ntem or secondary streams) and the total HBR.
Conclusion
A clear association has been observed between the distance to potential breeding sites and the variability in the anopheline density, while the other parameters measured do not seem to condition this spatial variability. The application of GIS to the study of vector-transmitted diseases considerably improves the management of the information obtained from field surveys and facilitates the study of the distribution patterns of the vector species.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-5-21
PMCID: PMC1435759  PMID: 16556321
11.  Impact of different strategies to control Plasmodium infection and anaemia on the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) 
Malaria Journal  2006;5:10.
Background
On the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea), insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) have been the main tool used to control malaria over the last 13 years. In 2004, started an indoor residual spraying (IRS) campaign to control malaria. The purpose of this study is to asses the impact of the two control strategies on the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea), with regards to Plasmodium infection and anaemia in the children under five years of age.
Methods
Two transversal studies, the first one prior to the start of the IRS campaign and the second one year later. Sampling was carried out by stratified clusters. Malaria infection was measured by means of thick and thin film, and the packed cell volume (PCV) percentage. Data related to ITN use and information regarding IRS were collected. The Pearson's chi-square and logistic regression statistical tests were used to calculate odds ratios (OR)
Results
In the first survey, 168 children were sampled and 433 children in the second one. The prevalence of infection was 40% in 2004, and significantly lower at 21.7% in 2005. PCV was 41% and 39%, respectively. 58% of the children surveyed in 2004 and 44.3% in 2005 had slept under an ITN. 78% of the dwellings studied in 2005 had been sprayed. In the 2005 survey, sleeping without a mosquito net meant a risk of infection 3 times greater than sleeping protected with a net hanged correctly and with no holes (p < 0.05).
Conclusion
IRS and ITNs have proven to be effective control strategies on the island of Bioko. The choice of one or other strategy is, above all, a question of operational feasibility and availability of local resources.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-5-10
PMCID: PMC1403786  PMID: 16460558

Results 1-11 (11)