In developing nations, the use of operational parameters (OPs) in the prediction of clinical care represents a missed opportunity to enhance the care process. We modeled the impact of multiple measurements of antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence on antiretroviral treatment outcomes in Peru.
Design And Methods
Retrospective cohort study including ART naïve, non-pregnant, adults initiating therapy at Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, Lima-Peru (2006-2010). Three OPs were defined: 1) Medication possession ratio (MPR): days with antiretrovirals dispensed/days on first-line therapy; 2) Laboratory monitory constancy (LMC): proportion of 6 months intervals with ≥1 viral load or CD4 reported; 3) Clinic visit constancy (CVC): proportion of 6 months intervals with ≥1 clinic visit.
Three multi-variable Cox proportional hazard (PH) models (one per OP) were fit for (1) time of first-line ART persistence and (2) time to second-line virologic failure. All models were adjusted for socio-demographic, clinical and laboratory variables.
856 patients were included in first-line persistence analyses, median age was 35.6 years [29.4-42.9] and most were male (624; 73%). In multivariable PH models, MPR (per 10% increase HR=0.66; 95%CI=0.61-0.71) and LMC (per 10% increase 0.83; 0.71-0.96) were associated with prolonged time on first-line therapies.
Among 79 individuals included in time to second-line virologic failure analyses, MPR was the only OP independently associated with prolonged time to second-line virologic failure (per 10% increase 0.88; 0.77-0.99).
The capture and utilization of program level parameters such as MPR can provide valuable insight into patient-level treatment outcomes.
Brucellosis, a zoonotic infection caused by one of the Gram-negative intracellular bacteria of the Brucella genus, is an ongoing public health problem in Perú. While most patients who receive standard antibiotic treatment recover, 5–40% suffer a brucellosis relapse. In this study, we examined the ex vivo immune cytokine profiles of recovered patients with a history of acute and relapsing brucellosis.
Blood was taken from healthy control donors, patients with a history of acute brucellosis, or patients with a history of relapsing brucellosis. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated and remained in culture without stimulation or were stimulated with a panel of toll-like receptor agonists or heat-killed Brucella melitensis (HKBM) isolates. Innate immune cytokine gene expression and protein secretion were measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and a multiplex bead-based immunoassay, respectively.
Acute and relapse patients demonstrated consistently elevated cytokine gene expression and secretion levels compared to controls. Notably, these include: basal and stimulus-induced expression of GM-CSF, TNF-α, and IFN-γ in response to LPS and HKBM; basal secretion of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α; and HKBM or Rev1-induced secretion of IL-1β, IL-2, GM-CSF, IFN-Υ, and TNF-α. Although acute and relapse patients were largely indistinguishable by their cytokine gene expression profiles, we identified a robust cytokine secretion signature that accurately discriminates acute from relapse patients. This signature consists of basal IL-6 secretion, IL-1β, IL-2, and TNF-α secretion in response to LPS and HKBM, and IFN-γ secretion in response to HKBM.
This work demonstrates that informative cytokine variations in brucellosis patients can be detected using an ex vivo assay system and used to identify patients with differing infection histories. Targeted diagnosis of this signature may allow for better follow-up care of brucellosis patients through improved identification of patients at risk for relapse.
Brucellosis is a disease caused by transmission of bacteria of the Brucella genus from infected animals to humans. The main route of infection occurs through consumption of contaminated dairy products or contact with infected animals. While most patients treated with antibiotics will be cured of the infection, between 5–40% of patients experience a relapse of brucellosis. The mechanisms underlying these recurring infections remain poorly understood. In this study, we examined blood cells from control donors, patients who previously had acute infections, and patients who previously had relapsing infections. We identified an inflammatory cytokine signature from measurements of unstimulated and stimulated cells that showed statistically significant differences between relapsing and non-relapsing brucellosis patients. Future applications of this assay system may allow for better follow-up care of brucellosis through the diagnosis of this cytokine signature and predictive or improved identification of patients at risk for relapse.
Tuberculosis (TB) destroys lung tissues and this immunopathology is mediated in part by Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs). There are no data on the relationship between local tissue MMPs concentrations, anti-tuberculosis therapy and sputum conversion.
Materials and Methods
Induced sputum was collected from 68 TB patients and 69 controls in a cross-sectional study. MMPs concentrations were measured by Luminex array, TIMP concentrations by ELISA and were correlated with a disease severity score (TBscore). 46 TB patients were then studied longitudinally at the 2nd, 8th week and end of treatment.
Sputum MMP-1,-2,-3,-8,-9 and TIMP-1 and -2 concentrations are increased in TB. Elevated MMP-1 and -3 concentrations are independently associated with higher TB severity scores (p<0.05). MMP-1, -3 and -8 concentrations decreased rapidly during treatment (p<0.05) whilst there was a transient increase in TIMP-1/2 concentrations at week 2. MMP-2, -8 and -9 and TIMP-2 concentrations were higher at TB diagnosis in patients who remain sputum culture positive at 2 weeks and MMP-3, -8 and TIMP-1 concentrations were higher in these patients at 2nd week of TB treatment.
MMPs are elevated in TB patients and associate with disease severity. This matrix-degrading phenotype resolves rapidly with treatment. The MMP profile at presentation correlates with a delayed treatment response.
Human T-lymphotropic Virus-1 (HTLV-1) is a retrovirus that persists lifelong by driving clonal proliferation of infected T-cells. HTLV-1 causes a neuroinflammatory disease and adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma. Strongyloidiasis, a gastrointestinal infection by the helminth Strongyloides stercoralis, and Infective Dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 (IDH), appear to be risk factors for the development of HTLV-1 related diseases. We used high-throughput sequencing to map and quantify the insertion sites of the provirus in order to monitor the clonality of the HTLV-1-infected T-cell population (i.e. the number of distinct clones and abundance of each clone). A newly developed biodiversity estimator called “DivE” was used to estimate the total number of clones in the blood. We found that the major determinant of proviral load in all subjects without leukemia/lymphoma was the total number of HTLV-1-infected clones. Nevertheless, the significantly higher proviral load in patients with strongyloidiasis or IDH was due to an increase in the mean clone abundance, not to an increase in the number of infected clones. These patients appear to be less capable of restricting clone abundance than those with HTLV-1 alone. In patients co-infected with Strongyloides there was an increased degree of oligoclonal expansion and a higher rate of turnover (i.e. appearance and disappearance) of HTLV-1-infected clones. In Strongyloides co-infected patients and those with IDH, proliferation of the most abundant HTLV-1+ T-cell clones is independent of the genomic environment of the provirus, in sharp contrast to patients with HTLV-1 infection alone. This implies that new selection forces are driving oligoclonal proliferation in Strongyloides co-infection and IDH. We conclude that strongyloidiasis and IDH increase the risk of development of HTLV-1-associated diseases by increasing the rate of infection of new clones and the abundance of existing HTLV-1+ clones.
HTLV-1 is a human retrovirus estimated to infect 20 million people world-wide and is causing in a small proportion of the infected individuals an inflammatory disease or a leukemia/lymphoma. HTLV-1 persists lifelong by driving clonal proliferation of infected T-cells. Strongyloidiasis, a gastrointestinal infection by an helminth (Strongyloides stercoralis) and Infective Dermatitis associated with HTLV-1 (IDH), a skin inflammation with bacterial infection, appear to increase the risk of developing HTLV-1-related diseases. It is well known that the chance of developing HTLV-1-related diseases increases with the number of cells infected by the virus (also called proviral load). It is also known that HTLV-1-infected individuals co-infected by Strongyloides or affected by IDH have a higher proviral load, but the mechanism is still unclear. Consequently, the aim of this study was to test if co-infection increases the total number and/or the abundance (or size) of HTLV-1-infected T-cell clones. We have shown that the significantly increased proviral load in HTLV-1-infected individuals with IDH or strongyloidiasis is due to an increase in the mean clone abundance (bigger clones), not to an increase in the number of infected clones. These patients appear to be less capable of restricting clone abundance than those with HTLV-1 alone.
Strongyloidiasis is frequently under diagnosed since many infections remain asymptomatic and conventional diagnostic tests based on parasitological examination are not sufficiently sensitive. Serology is useful but is still only available in reference laboratories. The need for improved diagnostic tests in terms of sensitivity and specificity is clear, particularly in immunocompromised patients or candidates to immunosuppressive treatments. This review aims to evaluate both conventional and novel techniques for the diagnosis of strongyloidiasis as well as available cure markers for this parasitic infection.
The search strategy was based on the data-base sources MEDLINE, Cochrane Library Register for systematic review, EmBase, Global Health and LILACS and was limited in the search string to articles published from 1960 to August 2012 and to English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and German languages. Case reports, case series and animal studies were excluded. 2003 potentially relevant citations were selected for retrieval, of which 1649 were selected for review of the abstract. 143 were eligible for final inclusion.
Sensitivity of microscopic-based techniques is not good enough, particularly in chronic infections. Furthermore, techniques such as Baermann or agar plate culture are cumbersome and time-consuming and several specimens should be collected on different days to improve the detection rate. Serology is a useful tool but it might overestimate the prevalence of disease due to cross-reactivity with other nematode infections and its difficulty distinguishing recent from past (and cured) infections. To evaluate treatment efficacy is still a major concern because direct parasitological methods might overestimate it and the serology has not yet been well evaluated; even if there is a decline in antibody titres after treatment, it is slow and it needs to be done at 6 to 12 months after treatment which can cause a substantial loss to follow-up in a clinical trial.
Strongyloidiasis is a parasitic infection that can occur in any place of the world. It is not easy to diagnose because the conventional tests are not good enough, especially in individuals that do not present any symptoms of the disease. This is of particular importance in immunocompromised patients, because the disease can spread causing a disseminated disease which can be fatal. In this study, authors review both conventional and novel techniques for the diagnosis of strongyloidiasis. Parasitological examinations based on the detection of the parasite in faeces are the most common techniques used until now in the majority of laboratories. However, they have some disadvantages because most of the best techniques are cumbersome and time consuming and several stool samples have to be collected to improve the diagnosis. New techniques such as the serology which is performed through a blood test are becoming available, but they have still some problems; the test sometimes does not accurately differentiate strongyloidiasis from other helminthic diseases. Another major problem in this disease is to evaluate if patient is cured after the treatment. Parasitological methods can fail to detect treatment failure, and serology has not yet been well evaluated in this context.
We studied 12 Staphylococcus aureus isolates causing tropical pyomyositis in the Amazon Basin of Peru. All isolates were methicillin-susceptible; 11 carried Panton-Valentine leukocidin–encoding genes, and 5 belonged to multilocus sequence type 25 and possessed an extensive set of enterotoxins. Our findings suggest sequence type 25 is circulating in tropical areas of South America.
tropical pyomyositis; Staphylococcus aureus; S. aureus; Panton-Valentine leukocidin; Peru; Amazon Basin; methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus; MSSA; community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus clones; MRSA; bacteria; staphylococci
Diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients remains complex and demands easy to perform and accurate tests. Xpert®MTB/RIF (MTB/RIF) is a molecular TB diagnostic test which is rapid and convenient; the test requires minimal human resources and reports results within two hours. The majority of performance studies of MTB/RIF have been performed in high HIV burden settings, thus TB diagnostic studies among HIV patients in low HIV prevalence settings such as Peru are still needed.
From April 2010 to May 2011, HIV-positive patients with high clinical suspicion of TB were enrolled from two tertiary hospitals in Lima, Peru. Detection of TB by MTB/RIF was compared to a composite reference standard Löwenstein-Jensen (LJ) and liquid culture. Detection of rifampicin resistance was compared to the LJ proportion method. We included 131 patients, the median CD4 cell count was 154.5 cells/mm3 and 45 (34.4%) had TB. For TB detection among HIV patients, sensitivity of MTB/RIF was 97.8% (95% CI 88.4–99.6) (44/45); specificity was 97.7% (95% CI 91.9–99.4) (84/86); the positive predictive value was 95.7% (95% CI 85.5–98.8) (44/46); and the negative predictive value, 98.8% (95% CI 93.6–99.8) (84/85). MTB/RIF detected 13/14 smear-negative TB cases, outperforming smear microscopy [97.8% (44/45) vs. 68.9% (31/45); p = 0.0002]. For rifampicin resistance detection, sensitivity of MTB/RIF was 100% (95% CI 61.0–100.0) (6/6); specificity was 91.0% (95% CI 76.4–96.9) (30/33); the positive predictive value was 66.7% (95% CI 35.4–87.9) (6/9); and the negative predictive value was 100% (95% CI 88.7 –100.0) (30/30).
In HIV patients in our population with a high clinical suspicion of TB, MTB/RIF performed well for TB diagnosis and outperformed smear microscopy.
Human brucellosis is a common zoonosis worldwide. Here we present a case of focal vertebral brucellosis in a 71-year-old Mexican-American woman who contracted infection from unpasteurized goat milk. Standard agglutination serology was negative; the diagnosis was established by the isolation of Brucella melitensis from abscess fluid. A B. melitensis protein microarray comprised of nearly all proteins encoded by the bacterial genome was used to determine the kinetics of this patient's antibody responses to the complete collection of open reading frames existing in the genome (ORFeome). Three patterns of antibody responses against B. melitensis antigens were seen for serum samples obtained on days 0 (pretreatment), 14, 49, 100, and 180: (i) stable titers over time, (ii) a steady fall in titers, and (iii) an initial rise in titers followed by declining titers. Sera from this patient with chronic brucellosis recognized some of the same B. melitensis proteins as those recognized by sera from acute/subacute, blood culture-positive brucellosis patients but also recognized a distinct set of proteins. This study is the first to determine the kinetics of the human antibody responses to the complete repertoire of proteins encoded by a bacterial genome and demonstrates fundamentally different immunopathogenetic mechanisms between acute human brucellosis and chronic human brucellosis. While an extension of these findings to a larger patient population is necessary, these findings have important clinical and diagnostic implications and lead toward new insights into the fundamental immunopathogenesis of brucellosis.
Quinolones are potent broad-spectrum bactericidal agents increasingly employed also in resource-limited countries. Resistance to quinolones is an increasing problem, known to be strongly associated with quinolone exposure. We report on the emergence of quinolone resistance in a very remote community in the Amazon forest, where quinolones have never been used and quinolone resistance was absent in 2002.
The community exhibited a considerable level of geographical isolation, limited contact with the exterior and minimal antibiotic use (not including quinolones). In December 2009, fecal carriage of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli was investigated in 120 of the 140 inhabitants, and in 48 animals reared in the community. All fluoroquinolone-resistant isolates were genotyped and characterized for the mechanisms of plasmid- and chromosomal-mediated quinolone resistance.
Despite the characteristics of the community remained substantially unchanged during the period 2002–2009, carriage of quinolone-resistant E. coli was found to be common in 2009 both in humans (45% nalidixic acid, 14% ciprofloxacin) and animals (54% nalidixic acid, 23% ciprofloxacin). Ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates of human and animal origin showed multidrug resistance phenotypes, a high level of genetic heterogeneity, and a combination of GyrA (Ser83Leu and Asp87Asn) and ParC (Ser80Ile) substitutions commonly observed in fluoroquinolone-resistant clinical isolates of E. coli.
Remoteness and absence of antibiotic selective pressure did not protect the community from the remarkable emergence of quinolone resistance in E. coli. Introduction of the resistant strains from antibiotic-exposed settings is the most likely source, while persistence and dissemination in the absence of quinolone exposure is likely mostly related with poor sanitation. Interventions aimed at reducing the spreading of resistant isolates (by improving sanitation and water/food safety) are urgently needed to preserve the efficacy of quinolones in resource-limited countries, as control strategies based only on antibiotic restriction policies are unlikely to succeed in those settings.
Quinolones are broad-spectrum antibiotics which bind to type II topoisomerases (DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV) and inhibit DNA re-ligation after enzyme cut, exerting a rapid bactericidal activity. They are widely used for the treatment of several community- and hospital-acquired infections and have become increasingly important also in resource-limited countries, following the availability of generics (which have drastically reduced drug costs) and the remarkable increase of resistance to the oldest and cheapest antibiotic classes. Resistance to quinolones is an increasing worldwide problem that challenges the efficacy of these drugs against several bacterial pathogens and is known to be strongly associated with quinolone exposure. Restriction of quinolone consumption has been advocated as an important tool for the containment of quinolone resistance and has recently been proved to succeed in reducing resistance rates in clinical isolates of Escherichia coli in a community setting from an industrialized country. This study describes the dissemination of quinolone resistant E. coli in a very remote community in the Amazon forest, with a high level isolation and minimal antibiotic use, not including quinolones. These findings demonstrate that intervention strategies based only on quinolone restriction are unlikely to succeed in resource-limited countries, unless accompanied by measures for reducing dissemination of resistant isolates by improving sanitation.
IFN-α contributes extensively to host immune response upon viral infection through antiviral, pro-apoptotic, antiproliferative and immunomodulatory activities. Although extensively documented in various types of human cancers and viral infections, controversy exists in the exact mechanism of action of IFN-α in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) retroviral infections.
IFN-α displayed strong anti-HIV-1 effects in HIV-1/HTLV-1 co-infected MT-4 cells in vitro, demonstrated by the dose-dependent inhibition of the HIV-1-induced cytopathic effect (IC50 = 83.5 IU/ml, p < 0.0001) and p24 levels in cell-free supernatant (IC50 = 1.2 IU/ml, p < 0.0001). In contrast, IFN-α treatment did not affect cell viability or HTLV-1 viral mRNA levels in HTLV-1 mono-infected cell lines, based on flow cytometry and nCounter analysis, respectively. However, we were able to confirm the previously described post-transcriptional inhibition of HTLV-1 p19 secretion by IFN-α in cell lines (p = 0.0045), and extend this finding to primary Adult T cell Leukemia patient samples (p = 0.031). In addition, through microarray and nCounter analysis, we performed the first genome-wide simultaneous quantification of complete human and retroviral transciptomes, demonstrating significant transcriptional activation of interferon-stimulated genes without concomitant decrease of HTLV-1 mRNA levels.
Taken together, our results indicate that both the absence of in vitro antiproliferative and pro-apoptotic activity as well as the modest post-transcriptional antiviral activity of IFN-α against HTLV-1, were not due to a cell-intrinsic defect in IFN-α signalisation, but rather represents a retrovirus-specific phenomenon, considering the strong HIV-1 inhibition in co-infected cells.
Retrovirus; IFN-α; HIV-1; HTLV-1; IFN-α signaling; Antiviral activity
Clear therapeutic guidelines for HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) are missing due to the lack of randomized double-blind controlled clinical trials. Moderate yet similar clinical benefit has been demonstrated for IFN-α and high-dose ascorbic acid (AA) monotherapy in a large open clinical trial. However, there is a lack of in vivo and in vitro studies exploring and comparing the effects of high-dose AA and IFN-α treatment in the context of HAM/TSP. Therefore, we performed the first comparative analysis of the ex vivo and in vitro molecular and cellular mechanisms of action of IFN-α and high-dose AA in HAM/TSP.
Through thymidine incorporation and quantification of Th1/Th2/Th17 cytokines, we demonstrate that high-dose AA displays differential and superior antiproliferative and immunomodulatory effects over IFN-α in HAM/TSP PBMCs ex vivo. In addition, high-dose AA, but not IFN-α, induced cell death in both HAM/TSP PBMCs and HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines MT-2 and MT-4. Microarray data combined with pathway analysis of MT-2 cells revealed AA-induced regulation of genes associated with cell death, including miR-155. Since miR-155 has recently been demonstrated to up-regulate IFN-γ, this microRNA might represent a novel therapeutic target in HAM/TSP, as recently demonstrated in multiple sclerosis, another neuroinflammatory disease. On the other hand, IFN-α selectively up-regulated antiviral and immune-related genes.
In comparison to IFN-α, high-dose AA treatment has superior ex vivo and in vitro cell death-inducing, antiproliferative and immunomodulatory anti-HTLV-1 effects. Differential pathway activation by both drugs opens up avenues for targeted treatment in specific patient subsets.
HAM/TSP is a chronic and disabling neuroinflammatory disease, for which clinical management is mostly empirical and symptomatic rather than evidence-based, due to the lack of biomarkers and controlled clinical trials. Although similar clinical benefit has been demonstrated for IFN-α and high-dose ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in one major open clinical trial with 200 patients, their cellular and molecular mechanisms of action remain unexplored in HAM/TSP. We demonstrate that high-dose ascorbic acid strongly inhibits lymphoproliferation of HAM/TSP mononuclear cells in ex vivo cultures, in contrast to IFN-α. Furthermore, high-dose ascorbic acid, but not IFN-α, significantly decreased ex vivo TNF-α and IFN-γ pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in supernatant of mononuclear cells from HAM/TSP patients. In addition, ascorbic acid, but not IFN-α, induced cell death in HTLV-1-infected T-cell lines, which was confirmed by gene expression profiling, revealing cell death-associated pathways activated by high-dose ascorbic acid, including miR-155. This microRNA has previously been shown up-regulated in HTLV-1-infected cells, as well as in blood and brain samples of multiple sclerosis patients, another neuroinflammatory disease. In addition, miR-155 has also been reported to up-regulate IFN-γ production in human natural killer cells, thus linking both cell death and cytokine signaling pathways, rendering it a potential therapeutic target in neuroinflammatory disorders. Thus, our findings reveal molecular mechanisms of action as well as candidate biomarkers for high-dose ascorbic acid therapy and provide a rational basis, rather than an empirical basis, for its use in HAM/TSP treatment.
Disease caused by the dengue virus (DENV) is a significant cause of morbidity throughout the world. Although prior research has focused on the association of specific DENV serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4) with the development of severe outcomes such as dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, relatively little work has correlated other clinical manifestations with a particular DENV serotype. The goal of this study was to estimate and compare the prevalence of non-hemorrhagic clinical manifestations of DENV infection by serotype.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Between the years 2005–2010, individuals with febrile disease from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay were enrolled in an outpatient passive surveillance study. Detailed information regarding clinical signs and symptoms, as well as demographic information, was collected. DENV infection was confirmed in patient sera with polyclonal antibodies in a culture-based immunofluorescence assay, and the infecting serotype was determined by serotype-specific monoclonal antibodies. Differences in the prevalence of individual and organ-system manifestations were compared across DENV serotypes. One thousand seven hundred and sixteen individuals were identified as being infected with DENV-1 (39.8%), DENV-2 (4.3%), DENV-3 (41.5%), or DENV-4 (14.4%). When all four DENV serotypes were compared with each other, individuals infected with DENV-3 had a higher prevalence of musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal manifestations, and individuals infected with DENV-4 had a higher prevalence of respiratory and cutaneous manifestations.
Specific clinical manifestations, as well as groups of clinical manifestations, are often overrepresented by an individual DENV serotype.
Dengue virus (DENV) causes disease in millions of people annually and disproportionately affects those in the developing world. DENVs may be divided into four serotypes (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4) and a geographical region may be affected by one or more DENV serotypes simultaneously. Infection with DENV may cause life-threatening disease such as dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS), but more often causes less severe manifestations affecting a wide range of organs. Although many previous reports have explored the role of the different DENV serotypes in the development of severe manifestations, little attention has focused on the relative role of each DENV serotype in the development of cutaneous, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and neurological manifestations. We recruited a large group of participants from four countries in South America to compare the prevalence of more than 30 manifestations among the four different DENV serotypes. We found that certain DENV serotypes were often associated with a higher prevalence of a certain manifestation (e.g., DENV-3 and diarrhea) or manifestation group (e.g., DENV-4 and cutaneous manifestations).
HIV infected individuals have heightened cancer risk. With the advent of HAART, the frequency of some AIDS defining cancers (ADC) has decreased while certain non-AIDS defining cancers (NADC) are becoming more frequent. Cancers among HIV-infected individuals in Latin American and the Caribbean have not yet been carefully studied.
Cancer cases among the Caribbean, Central and South American network for HIV Research (CCASAnet) cohort were identified reviewing clinical records and preexisting databases.
There were 406 cancers reported: 331 ADC (224 Kaposi´s sarcomas and 98 non Hodgkin lymphomas). Most frequent NADC (n=75) were Hodgkin lymphoma and skin cancers. Seventy-three percent of NADC and 45% of ADC were diagnosed >1 year after HIV diagnosis. 56% of ADC occurred before HAART start. Median time from HAART start until cancer diagnosis was 2.5 years for NADC and 0.5 years for ADC (p=<0.001). Within 3372 HAART starters, 158 were diagnosed with 165 cancers (82.4% ADC); 85 cases were previous to or concomitant with HAART initiation. Incidence of cancer after HAART initiation in 8080 person-years of follow-up was 7.2 per 1000 person-years (95%CI= 5.5–9.3) for ADC and 2.7 (95%CI= 1.8–4.1) for NADC; incidence was higher in the first two months, particularly for ADC (47.6). A pre-HAART ADC was a predictor of mortality after adjusting for age, sex, and CD4 at HAART initiation.
ADC were the most frequent cancers in this region and were often diagnosed close to HIV diagnosis and HAART start. Incidence of cancer was highest around HAART initiation.
Neoplasms; HIV; Latin America; Caribbean; Cohort Studies
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) blunt uncontrolled immune responses. In advanced human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the total number of Tregs is decreased, but the proportion of T cells with a regulatory phenotype is highly variable. We studied CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ T cells from patients successfully treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). The proportion of CD4+CD25+FoxP3+ cells transiently increased and then decreased from a median of 13% at baseline to 5.1% at 48 weeks, similar to values in normal subjects. These data suggest that with effective therapy, the regulatory cell numbers normalize, and that the inflammatory signals driving their production may also abate.
Brucella spp., are Gram negative bacteria that cause disease by growing within monocyte/macrophage lineage cells. Clinical manifestations of brucellosis are immune mediated, not due to bacterial virulence factors. Acquired immunity to brucellosis has been studied through observations of naturally infected hosts (cattle, goats), mouse models (mice), and human infection. Even though Brucella spp. are known for producing mechanisms that evade the immune system, cell-mediated immune responses drive the clinical manifestations of human disease after exposure to Brucella species, as high antibody responses are not associated with protective immunity. The precise mechanisms by which cell-mediated immune responses confer protection or lead to disease manifestations remain undefined. Descriptive studies of immune responses in human brucellosis show that TH1 (interferon-γ-producing T cells) are associated with dominant immune responses, findings consistent with animal studies. Whether these T cell responses are protective, or determine the different clinical responses associated with brucellosis is unknown, especially with regard to undulant fever manifestations, relapsing disease, or are associated with responses to distinct sets of Brucella spp. antigens are unknown. Few data regarding T cell responses in terms of specific recognition of Brucella spp. protein antigens and peptidic epitopes, either by CD4+ or CD8+ T cells, have been identified in human brucellosis patients. Additionally because current attenuated Brucella vaccines used in animals cause human disease, there is a true need for a recombinant protein subunit vaccine for human brucellosis, as well as for improved diagnostics in terms of prognosis and identification of unusual forms of brucellosis. This review will focus on current understandings of antigen-specific immune responses induced Brucella peptidic epitopes that has promise for yielding new insights into vaccine and diagnostics development, and for understanding pathogenetic mechanisms of human brucellosis.
T cell epitope; immunology; Brucella; zoonotic diseases; systems biology
Misuse of antimicrobials (AMs) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are global concerns. The present study evaluated knowledge, attitudes and practices about AMR and AM prescribing among medical doctors in two large public hospitals in Lima, Peru, a middle-income country.
Cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire
A total of 256 participants completed the questionnaire (response rate 82%). Theoretical knowledge was good (mean score of 6 ± 1.3 on 7 questions) in contrast to poor awareness (< 33%) of local AMR rates of key-pathogens. Participants strongly agreed that AMR is a problem worldwide (70%) and in Peru (65%), but less in their own practice (22%). AM overuse was perceived both for the community (96%) and the hospital settings (90%). Patients' pressure to prescribing AMs was considered as contributing to AM overuse in the community (72%) more than in the hospital setting (50%). Confidence among AM prescribing was higher among attending physicians (82%) compared to residents (30%, p < 0.001%). Sources of information considered as very useful/useful included pocket-based AM prescribing guidelines (69%) and internet sources (62%). Fifty seven percent of participants regarded AMs in their hospitals to be of poor quality. Participants requested more AM prescribing educational programs (96%) and local AM guidelines (92%).
This survey revealed topics to address during future AM prescribing interventions such as dissemination of information about local AMR rates, promoting confidence in the quality of locally available AMs, redaction and dissemination of local AM guidelines and addressing the general public, and exploring the possibilities of internet-based training.
Antimicrobial resistance - Antimicrobial use - Knowledge; attitude and practice survey
In high multidrug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) prevalence areas, drug susceptibility testing (DST) at diagnosis is recommended for patients with risk factors for MDR. However, this approach might miss a substantial proportion of MDR-TB in the general population. We studied primary MDR in patients considered to be at low risk of MDR-TB in Lima, Peru.
We enrolled new sputum smear-positive TB patients who did not report any MDR-TB risk factor: known exposure to a TB patient whose treatment failed or who died or who was known to have MDR-TB; immunosuppressive co-morbidities, ex prison inmates; prison and health care workers; and alcohol or drug abuse. A structured questionnaire was applied to all enrolled participants to confirm the absence of these factors and thus minimize underreporting. Sputum from all participants was cultured on Löwenstein-Jensen media and DST for first line drugs was performed using the 7H10 agar method.
Of 875 participants with complete data, 23.2% (203) had risk factors for MDR-TB elicited after enrolment. Among the group with no reported risk factors who had a positive culture, we found a 6.3% (95%CI 4.4–8.3) (37/584) rate of MDR-TB. In this group no epidemiological characteristics were associated with MDR-TB. Thus, in this group, multidrug resistance occurred in patients with no identifiable risk factors.
We found a high rate of primary MDR-TB in a general population with no identifiable risk factors for MDR-TB. This suggests that in a high endemic area targeting patients for MDR-TB based on the presence of risk factors is an insufficient intervention.
Multiple drug-resistance in new tuberculosis (TB) cases accounts for the majority of all multiple drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) worldwide. Effective control requires determining which new TB patients should be tested for MDR disease, yet the effectiveness of global screening recommendations of high-risk groups is unknown.
Sixty MDR-TB cases with no history of previous TB treatment, 80 drug-sensitive TB and 80 community-based controls were recruited in Lima, Peru between August and December, 2008 to investigate whether recommended screening practices identify individuals presenting with MDR-TB. Odd ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using logistic regression to study the association of potential risk factors with case/control variables.
MDR-TB cases did not differ from drug-sensitive TB and community controls in rates of human immunodeficiency virus infection, reported hospital or prison visits in the 3 years prior to diagnosis. MDR-TB cases were more likely than drug-sensitive TB controls to have had a recent MDR-TB household contact (OR 4.66, (95% CI 1.56–13.87)); however, only 15 cases (28.3%) reported this exposure. In multivariate modeling, recent TB household contact, but not contact with an MDR-TB case, remained predictive of MDR-TB, OR 7.47, (95% CI 1.91–29.3). Living with a partner rather than parents was associated with a lower risk of MDR-TB, OR 0.15, (95% CI 0.04–0.51).
Targeted drug susceptibility testing (DST) linked to reported MDR-TB contact or other high-risk exposures does not identify the majority of new TB cases with MDR disease in Lima where it is endemic. All new TB cases should be screened with DST to identify MDR patients. These findings are likely applicable to other regions with endemic MDR-TB.
Rationale, aims and objectives
Efforts to implement evidence-based medicine (EBM) training in developing countries are limited. We describe the results of an international effort to improve research capacity in a developing country; we conducted a course aimed at improving basic EBM attitudes and identified challenges.
Between 2005 and 2009, we conducted an annual 3-day course in Perú consisting of interactive lectures and case-based workshops. We assessed self-reported competence and importance in EBM using a Likert scale (1 = low, 5 = high).
Totally 220 clinicians participated. For phase I (2005–2007), self-reported EBM competence increased from a median of 2 to 3 (P < 0.001) and the perceived importance of EBM did not change (median = 5). For phase II (2008–2009), before the course, 8–72% graded their competence very low (score of 1–2). After the course, 67–92% of subjects graded their increase in knowledge very high (score of 4–5). The challenges included limited availability of studies relevant to the local reality written in Spanish, participants’ limited time and lack of long-term follow-up on practice change. Informal discussion and written evaluation from participants were universally in agreement that more training in EBM is needed.
In an EBM course in a resource-poor country, the baseline self-reported competence and experience on EBM were low, and the course had measurable improvements of self-reported competence, perceived utility and readiness to incorporate EBM into their practices. Similar to developed countries, translational research and building the research capacity in developing countries is critical for translating best available evidence into practice.
developing countries; education; evidence-based medicine; evidence-based practice; international cooperation
Despite growing awareness of the importance of controlling neglected tropical diseases as a contribution to poverty alleviation and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, there is a need to up-scale programmes to achieve wider public health benefits. This implementation deficit is attributable to several factors but one often overlooked is the specific difficulty in tackling diseases that involve both people and animals - the zoonoses. A Disease Reference Group on Zoonoses and Marginalised Infectious Diseases (DRG6) was convened by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), a programme executed by the World Health Organization and co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank and WHO. The key considerations included: (a) the general lack of reliable quantitative data on their public health burden; (b) the need to evaluate livestock production losses and their additional impacts on health and poverty; (c) the relevance of cross-sectoral issues essential to designing and implementing public health interventions for zoonotic diseases; and (d) identifying priority areas for research and interventions to harness resources most effectively. Beyond disease specific research issues, a set of common macro-priorities and interventions were identified which, if implemented through a more integrated approach by countries, would have a significant impact on human health of the most marginalised populations characteristically dependent on livestock.