Austria is part of the classical area of central Europe to which alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is endemic. Annual incidences in Austria were 2.4 and 2.8 cases/100,000 population during 1991–2000 and 2001–2010, respectively. Hence, the registration of 13 new AE patients in 2011 was unexpected. Increasing fox populations and past AE underreporting might have caused this increase.
Alveolar echinococcosis; incidence; Austria; helminth; parasites; Echinococcus multilocularis; tapeworm
The number of described species on the planet is about 1.9 million, with ca. 17,000 new species described annually, mostly from the tropics. However, taxonomy is usually described as a science in crisis, lacking manpower and funding, a politically acknowledged problem known as the Taxonomic Impediment. Using data from the Fauna Europaea database and the Zoological Record, we show that contrary to general belief, developed and heavily-studied parts of the world are important reservoirs of unknown species. In Europe, new species of multicellular terrestrial and freshwater animals are being discovered and named at an unprecedented rate: since the 1950s, more than 770 new species are on average described each year from Europe, which add to the 125,000 terrestrial and freshwater multicellular species already known in this region. There is no sign of having reached a plateau that would allow for the assessment of the magnitude of European biodiversity. More remarkably, over 60% of these new species are described by non-professional taxonomists. Amateurs are recognized as an essential part of the workforce in ecology and astronomy, but the magnitude of non-professional taxonomist contributions to alpha-taxonomy has not been fully realized until now. Our results stress the importance of developing a system that better supports and guides this formidable workforce, as we seek to overcome the Taxonomic Impediment and speed up the process of describing the planetary biodiversity before it is too late.
Trichomoniasis, caused by the protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis, is usually treated with metronidazole, however resistance is on the rise. In this study, N-chlorotaurine (NCT), a new endogenous mild active chlorine compound for topical use, killed T. vaginalis in vitro within 15 min of treatment at a concentration of 55 mM (1%), which is well tolerated by human tissue. The activity of NCT was further enhanced by addition of ammonium chloride (NH4Cl). A combination of 5.5 mM (0.1%) NCT plus 19 mM (0.1%) NH4Cl killed 100% of trichomonads within 5 min.
Trichomonas vaginalis; Susceptible; N-Chlorotaurine; Oxidant; In vitro
We report on an HIV-negative but immunocompromised patient with disseminated acanthamoebiasis, granulomatous amoebic encephalitis, and underlying miliary tuberculosis and tuberculous meningitis. The patient responded favorably to treatment with miltefosine, an alkylphosphocholine. The patient remained well with no signs of infection 2 years after treatment cessation.
Acanthamoeba; granulomatous Acanthamoeba encephalitis (GAE); tuberculosis; immunocompromised non–HIV-infected patient; miltefosine; dispatch
Acanthamoeba spp. are the causative agents of Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), which mainly occurs in contact lens wearers, and of skin lesions, granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE), and disseminating diseases in the immunocompromised host. AK therapy is complex and irritating for the eye, skin lesions are difficult to treat, and there is no effective treatment for GAE. Therefore, new anti-Acanthamoeba drugs are needed. We investigated the anti-Acanthamoeba activity of N-chlorotaurine (NCT), an endogenous mild antiseptic. It was shown that NCT has amoebicidal qualities, both in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and in amoebic culture medium. After 6 h of treatment with 10 mM NCT in PBS, the levels of trophozoites of all strains investigated already showed at least a 2-log reduction. When the trophozoites were treated with 20 mM NCT in culture medium, they showed a 2-log reduction after 24 h. The addition of NH4Cl to NCT led to a faster decrease in the numbers of living cells, if tests were carried out in PBS. A delay of excystation was observed when cysts were treated with 55 mM (1%) NCT in culture medium. A complete failure of excystment was the result of treatment with 1% NCT plus 1% NH4Cl in PBS. Altogether, NCT clearly demonstrated amoebicidal activity at concentrations well tolerated by human tissues and might be useful as a topical drug for the treatment of Acanthamoeba infections. The addition of ammonium chloride can be considered to enhance the activity.
Acanthamoeba amoebae of genotype T2 were identified as the causative agent of Acanthamoeba skin lesions and granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE) in a human immunodeficiency virus-negative patient with underlying tuberculosis. To our knowledge this, is the first case of GAE involving genotype T2.
We identified Onchocerca jakutensis as the causative agent of an unusual human filariasis in a patient with lupus erythematosus. To our knowledge, this is the first case of human infection with O. jakutensis and the first human case of zoonotic onchocercosis involving >1 worm.
Onchocerca jakutensis; zoonosis; filariasis; PCR; paraffin-embedded tissue; lupus erythematosus; dispatch
In Europe, most reported human cases of babesiosis have been attributed, without strong molecular evidence, to infection with the bovine parasite Babesia divergens. We investigated the first known human cases of babesiosis in Italy and Austria, which occurred in two asplenic men. The complete 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) gene was amplified from specimens of their whole blood by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). With phylogenetic analysis, we compared the DNA sequences of the PCR products with those for other Babesia spp. The DNA sequences were identical for the organism from the two patients. In phylogenetic analysis, the organism clusters with B. odocoilei, a parasite of white-tailed deer; these two organisms form a sister group with B. divergens. This evidence indicates the patients were not infected with B. divergens but with an organism with previously unreported molecular characteristics for the 18S rRNA gene.
babesiosis; Babesia divergens; Babesia odocoilei; Babesia venatorum; EU1; Italy; Austria; taxonomy; Ixodes ricinus; 18S rRNA gene; research
Free-living amoebae of the genus Acanthamoeba are causing serious chronic conditions such as destructive keratitis in contact lens wearers or granulomatous amoebic encephalitis in individuals with compromised immune systems. Both are characterized by the lack of availability of sufficiently effective and uncomplicated, manageable treatments. Hexadecylphosphocholine (miltefosine) is licensed for use as a topical antineoplastic agent, but it is also active in vitro against several protozoan parasites, and it was applied very successfully for the treatment of human visceral leishmaniasis. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of hexadecylphosphocholine and other alkylphosphocholines (APCs) against Acanthamoeba spp. The in vitro activities of eight different APCs against three Acanthamoeba strains of various pathogenicities were determined. All substances showed at least amoebostatic effects, and some of them disrupted the amoebae, as shown by the release of cytoplasmic enzyme activity. Hexadecylphosphocholine exhibited the highest degree of cytotoxicity against trophozoites, resulting in complete cell death at a concentration as low as 40 μM, and also displayed significant cysticidal activity. Hexadecylphosphocholine may be a promising new candidate for the topical treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis and, conceivably, even for the oral treatment of granulomatous amoebic encephalitis.
Eleven Acanthamoeba isolates, obtained from Acanthamoeba keratitis patients, from contact lens cases of non-Acanthamoeba keratitis patients, from asymptomatic individuals, from necrotic tissue, and from tap water and two reference strains were investigated by morphological, molecular biological, and physiological means in order to discriminate clinically relevant and nonrelevant isolates. All clinically relevant isolates showed Acanthamoeba sp. group II morphology. 18S ribosomal DNA sequencing revealed sequence type T4 to be the most prevalent group among the isolates and also the group recruiting most of the pathogenic strains. Interestingly, within T4 the strains of no clinical relevance clustered together. Moreover, physiological properties appeared to be highly consistent with initial pathogenicity and with sequence clustering. Altogether, the results of our study indicate a correlation between the phylogenetic relationship and pathogenicity.
The quality parameters for the detection of microsporidia in identical sets of 50 stool samples were determined for six laboratories where technicians used light microscopy and for six laboratories where technicians used PCR. The average overall sensitivities were 67% (89% for patient samples only) for the PCR laboratories and 54% (80% for patient samples only) for the light microscopy laboratories. Specificities were 98 and 95%, respectively. Differences in results were most apparent between the individual laboratories rather than between the two major methods used.