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1.  Genotyping Tools for Mycobacterium ulcerans-Drawbacks and Future Prospects 
Mycobacterium ulcerans infection (Buruli ulcer) is a neglected but treatable skin disease endemic in over 30 countries. M. ulcerans is an environmental mycobacteria with an elusive mode of transmission to humans. Ecological and Molecular epidemiological studies to identify reservoirs and transmission vectors are important for source tracking infections especially during outbreaks and elucidating transmission routes. Research efforts have therefore focused on genotyping strains of the mycobacteria from clinical and environmental samples. This review discusses genotyping tools for differentiating M. ulcerans strains from other environmental and Mycolactone Producing Mycobacteria (MPMs). We highlight tools that have been adapted from related fields and propose ways these could be enhanced to resolve intra-species variation for epidemiological, transmission, evolutionary studies, and detection of emerging drug resistant strains. In the wake of increasing cases of Buruli ulcer, cumulative efforts including improvement in diagnostic methods and fine-tuning of genotyping tools are crucial to complement public health efforts in reducing infections.
doi:10.4172/2161-1068.1000149
PMCID: PMC4040416  PMID: 24900947
2.  The INDEPTH standard population for low- and middle-income countries, 2013 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.23286.
Crude rates such as the crude death rate are functions of both the age-specific rates and the age composition of a population. However, differences in the age structure between two populations or two time periods can result in specious differences in the corresponding crude rates making direct comparisons between populations or across time inappropriate. Therefore, when comparing crude rates between populations, it is desirable to eliminate or minimize the influence of age composition. This task is accomplished by using a standard age structure yielding an age-standardized rate. This paper proposes an updated International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health (INDEPTH) standard for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) based on newly available data from the health and demographic surveillance system site members of the INDEPTH network located throughout Africa and southern Asia. The updated INDEPTH standard should better reflect the age structure of LMICs and result in more accurate health indicators and demographic rates. We demonstrate use of the new INDEPTH standard along with several existing ‘world’ standards and show how resulting age-standardized crude deaths rates differ when using the various standard age compositions.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.23286
PMCID: PMC3969509  PMID: 24679543
crude death rate; age-specific mortality rate; age-standardized crude death rate; demography; standardized age structure; low- and middle-income countries
3.  Potential Risk of Regional Disease Spread in West Africa through Cross-Border Cattle Trade 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75570.
Background
Transboundary animal movements facilitate the spread of pathogens across large distances. Cross-border cattle trade is of economic and cultural importance in West Africa. This study explores the potential disease risk resulting from large-scale, cross-border cattle trade between Togo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, and Nigeria for the first time.
Methods and Principal Findings
A questionnaire-based survey of livestock movements of 226 cattle traders was conducted in the 9 biggest cattle markets of northern Togo in February-March 2012. More than half of the traders (53.5%) operated in at least one other country. Animal flows were stochastically simulated based on reported movements and the risk of regional disease spread assessed. More than three quarters (79.2%, range: 78.1–80.0%) of cattle flowing into the market system originated from other countries. Through the cattle market system of northern Togo, non-neighbouring countries were connected via potential routes for disease spread. Even for diseases with low transmissibility and low prevalence in a given country, there was a high risk of disease introduction into other countries.
Conclusions
By stochastically simulating data collected by interviewing cattle traders in northern Togo, this study identifies potential risks for regional disease spread in West Africa through cross-border cattle trade. The findings highlight that surveillance for emerging infectious diseases as well as control activities targeting endemic diseases in West Africa are likely to be ineffective if only conducted at a national level. A regional approach to disease surveillance, prevention and control is essential.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075570
PMCID: PMC3794041  PMID: 24130721
4.  Epidemiology of Brucellosis and Q Fever in Linked Human and Animal Populations in Northern Togo 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71501.
Background
Although brucellosis (Brucella spp.) and Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii) are zoonoses of global importance, very little high quality data are available from West Africa.
Methods/Principal Findings
A serosurvey was conducted in Togo’s main livestock-raising zone in 2011 in 25 randomly selected villages, including 683 people, 596 cattle, 465 sheep and 221 goats. Additionally, 464 transhumant cattle from Burkina Faso were sampled in 2012. The serological analyses performed were the Rose Bengal Test and ELISA for brucellosis and ELISA and the immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for Q Fever Brucellosis did not appear to pose a major human health problem in the study zone, with only 7 seropositive participants. B. abortus was isolated from 3 bovine hygroma samples, and is likely to be the predominant circulating strain. This may explain the observed seropositivity amongst village cattle (9.2%, 95%CI:4.3–18.6%) and transhumant cattle (7.3%, 95%CI:3.5–14.7%), with an absence of seropositive small ruminants. Exposure of livestock and people to C. burnetii was common, potentially influenced by cultural factors. People of Fulani ethnicity had greater livestock contact and a significantly higher seroprevalence than other ethnic groups (Fulani: 45.5%, 95%CI:37.7–53.6%; non-Fulani: 27.1%, 95%CI:20.6–34.7%). Appropriate diagnostic test cut-off values in endemic settings requires further investigation. Both brucellosis and Q Fever appeared to impact on livestock production. Seropositive cows were more likely to have aborted a foetus during the previous year than seronegative cows, when adjusted for age. This odds was 3.8 times higher (95%CI: 1.2–12.1) for brucellosis and 6.7 times higher (95%CI: 1.3–34.8) for Q Fever.
Conclusions
This is the first epidemiological study of zoonoses in Togo in linked human and animal populations, providing much needed data for West Africa. Exposure to Brucella and C. burnetii is common but further research is needed into the clinical and economic impact.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071501
PMCID: PMC3741174  PMID: 23951177
5.  Effects of Hygiene and Defecation Behavior on Helminths and Intestinal Protozoa Infections in Taabo, Côte d’Ivoire 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65722.
Background
More than 1 billion people are currently infected with soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomes. The global strategy to control helminthiases is the regular administration of anthelmintic drugs to at-risk populations. However, rapid re-infection occurs in areas where hygiene, access to clean water, and sanitation are inadequate.
Methodology
In July 2011, inhabitants from two villages and seven hamlets of the Taabo health demographic surveillance system in south-central Côte d’Ivoire provided stool and urine samples. Kato-Katz and ether-concentration methods were used for the diagnosis of Schistosoma mansoni, soil-transmitted helminths (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura, and hookworm), and intestinal protozoa. Urine samples were subjected to a filtration method for the diagnosis of Schistosoma haematobium. A questionnaire was administered to households to obtain information on knowledge, attitude, practice, and beliefs in relation to hygiene, sanitation, and defecation behavior. Logistic regression models were employed to assess for associations between questionnaire data and parasitic infections.
Principal Findings
A total of 1,894 participants had complete data records. Parasitological examinations revealed prevalences of hookworm, S. haematobium, T. trichiura, S. mansoni, and A. lumbricoides of 33.5%, 7.0%, 1.6%, 1.3% and 0.8%, respectively. Giardia intestinalis and Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar were detected in 15.0% and 14.4% of the participants, respectively. Only one out of five households reported the presence of a latrine, and hence, open defecation was common. Logistic regression analysis revealed that age, sex, socioeconomic status, hygiene, and defecation behavior are determinants for helminths and intestinal protozoa infections.
Conclusions/Significance
We found that inadequate sanitation and hygiene behavior are associated with soil-transmitted helminths and intestinal protozoa infections in the Taabo area of south-central Côte d’Ivoire. Our data will serve as a benchmark to monitor the effect of community-led total sanitation and hygiene education to reduce the transmission of helminthiases and intestinal protozoa infections.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065722
PMCID: PMC3688730  PMID: 23840358
6.  An analysis of interprovincial migration in Vietnam from 1989 to 2009 
Global Health Action  2012;5:10.3402/gha.v5i0.9334.
Background
In Vietnam, reports either present general patterns of internal migration or the migration characteristics of specific subgroups. Reports are often based on small numbers and do not examine the relationships between socioeconomic factors and migration. Different reports classify migrant populations differently, presenting difficulties for researchers and policymakers to gain a consistent picture of migration (particularly of interprovincial migration) and limiting the ability of policymakers to plan services appropriately. This study describes the characteristics of all migrants in Vietnam, focusing on interprovincial migrants, and examines age and sex trends and correlations among in-migration, urbanization, and individual income.
Methods
We analyzed data from the 15% sample survey in the 2009 Population and Housing Census, the 3% sample in the 1999 national census, the 5% sample in the 1989 national census, and selected data from the 2008 Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey. Logistic regression was used to identify socioeconomic factors related to migration.
Results
In 2009, of 6.7 million internal migrants (approximately 6.5% of the total population), 3.4 million were interprovincial migrants. Three notable trends were observed between 1989 and 2009: (i) the total population is characterized by increasing proportions of migrants; (ii) the proportion of female migrants is growing; and (iii) the average age of migrants is decreasing. Socioeconomic factors related to interprovincial migration include provincial economic status (monthly income per capita: OR = 4.62, p = 0.005) and urbanization (proportion of urban population: OR = 3.47, p = 0.019), suggesting that provinces with high monthly income per capita and urbanization are more likely to have higher rates of in-migration.
Conclusion
These findings reflect the effects of unequally growing labor markets in Vietnamese provinces on migration, and are suggestive of infrastructure improvements and public service needs in these areas. Analysis of migration can provide useful information for planning health and social services and for policymaking for national economic development.
doi:10.3402/gha.v5i0.9334
PMCID: PMC3535692  PMID: 23331992
Vietnam; interprovincial migration; trends; urbanization; migration rates; census
7.  Increase in susceptibility to insecticides with aging of wild Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes from Côte d’Ivoire 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:214.
Background
Appropriate monitoring of vector insecticide susceptibility is required to provide the rationale for optimal insecticide selection in vector control programs.
Methods
In order to assess the influence of mosquito age on susceptibility to various insecticides, field-collected larvae of An. gambiae s.l. from Tiassalé were reared to adults. Females aged 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 days were exposed to 5 insecticides (deltamethrin, permethrin, DDT, malathion and propoxur) using WHO susceptibility test kits. Outcome measures included the LT50 (exposure time required to achieve 50% knockdown), the RR (resistance ratio, i.e. a calculation of how much more resistant the wild population is compared with a standard susceptible strain) and the mortality rate following 1 hour exposure, for each insecticide and each mosquito age group.
Results
There was a positive correlation between the rate of knockdown and mortality for all the age groups and for all insecticides tested. For deltamethrin, the RR50 was highest for 2 day old and lowest for 10 day old individuals. Overall, mortality was lowest for 2 and 3 day old individuals and significantly higher for 10 day old individuals (P < 0.05). With permethrin, the RR50 was highest for 1 to 3 day old individuals and lowest for 10 day old individuals and mortality was lowest for 1 to 3 day old individuals, intermediate for 5 day old and highest for 10 day old individuals. DDT did not display any knockdown effect and mortality was low for all mosquito age groups (<7%). With malathion, the RR50 was low (1.54 - 2.77) and mortality was high (>93%) for all age groups. With propoxur, no knockdown effect was observed for 1, 2 and 3 day old individuals and a very low level of mortality was observed (< 4%), which was significantly higher for 5 and 10 day old individuals (30%, P < 0.01).
Conclusion
Results indicate that for An. gambiae s.l. adults derived from wild-collected larvae, there was an influence of age on insecticide susceptibility status, with younger individuals (1 to 3 days old) more resistant than older mosquitoes. This indicates that the use of 1 – 2 day old mosquitoes in susceptibility assays as recommended by the WHO should facilitate detection of resistance at the stage where the highest rate of the resistance phenotype is present.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-214
PMCID: PMC3482577  PMID: 22974492
Anopheles gambiae age; Insecticide resistance; Vector control
8.  Representative Seroprevalences of Brucellosis in Humans and Livestock in Kyrgyzstan 
Ecohealth  2011;9(2):132-138.
Kyrgyzstan reported 77.5 new human brucellosis cases per 100,000 people in 2007, which is one of the highest incidences worldwide. In Kyrgyzstan, the currently used diagnostic tests in humans and animals are the Rose Bengal Test and the Huddleson test. A national representative cross-sectional study using cluster sampling proportional to size in humans, cattle, sheep, and goats was undertaken to assess the apparent seroprevalence in humans and animals. A total of 4,936 livestock sera and 1,774 human sera were tested in Naryn, Chuy, and Osh Oblasts. The overall apparent seroprevalences of brucellosis were 8.8% in humans (95% CI 4.5–16.5), 2.8% (95% CI 1.6–4.9%) in cattle, 3.3% (95% CI 1.5–6.9%) in sheep, and 2.5% (95% CI 1.4–4.5%) in goats. Naryn Oblast had the highest seroprevalences in humans and sheep. More men than women were seropositive (OR = 1.96; P < 0.001). Human seroprevalence was significantly associated with small ruminant seroprevalence but not with cattle seroprevalence. Annual incidence of human brucellosis exposure, measured by serological tests, was more than ten times higher than the annual incidence of reported clinical brucellosis cases. This indicates an under-reporting of human brucellosis cases, even if only a fraction of seropositive people have clinical symptoms. In conclusion, this study confirms the high seroprevalence of brucellosis in Kyrgyzstan and warrants rapid effective intervention, among others, by mass vaccination of sheep and goats but also of cattle.
doi:10.1007/s10393-011-0722-x
PMCID: PMC3415613  PMID: 22143553
apparent prevalence; incidence; brucellosis; human; livestock; serology; Kyrgyzstan
9.  No Paragonimus in high-risk groups in Côte d'Ivoire, but considerable prevalence of helminths and intestinal protozoon infections 
Parasites & Vectors  2011;4:96.
Background
Paragonimiasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by an infection with lung flukes that is transmitted through the consumption of undercooked crabs. The disease is often confused with tuberculosis. Paragonimiasis is thought to be endemic in south-western Côte d'Ivoire.
Methods
Two cross-sectional surveys were carried out in the first half of 2009 in patients attending two tuberculosis centres of Abidjan. A third cross-sectional survey was conducted in May 2010 in children of two primary schools in Dabou, where crabs are frequently consumed. Patients with chronic cough provided three sputum samples plus one stool sample. Sputum samples were examined for tuberculosis with an auramine staining technique and for Paragonimus eggs using a concentration technique. Stool samples were subjected to the Ritchie technique. Schoolchildren provided a single stool sample, and samples were subjected to the Kato-Katz and an ether-concentration technique. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to patients and schoolchildren to investigate food consumption habits. Additionally, between June 2009 and August 2010, shellfish were purchased from markets in Abidjan and Dabou and examined for metacercariae.
Results
No human case of paragonimiasis was diagnosed. However, trematode infections were seen in 32 of the 272 shellfish examined (11.8%). Questionnaire results revealed that crab and pig meat is well cooked before consumption. Among the 278 patients with complete data records, 62 had tuberculosis, with a higher prevalence in males than females (28.8% vs. 13.9%, χ2 = 8.79, p = 0.003). The prevalence of helminths and intestinal protozoa was 4.6% and 16.9%, respectively. In the school survey, among 166 children with complete data records, the prevalence of helminths and intestinal protozoa was 22.3% and 48.8%, respectively. Boys had significantly higher prevalences of helminths and intestinal protozoa than girls. Hookworm was the predominant helminth species and Entamoeba coli was the most common intestinal protozoon species (13.8%).
Conclusions
Not a single case of Paragonimus was found in two high-risk groups of Côte d'Ivoire, most likely explained by food consumption habits. However, other helminth and intestinal protozoon infections were common.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-96
PMCID: PMC3130684  PMID: 21639877
10.  African 1, an Epidemiologically Important Clonal Complex of Mycobacterium bovis Dominant in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(6):1951-1960.
We have identified a clonal complex of Mycobacterium bovis present at high frequency in cattle in population samples from several sub-Saharan west-central African countries. This closely related group of bacteria is defined by a specific chromosomal deletion (RDAf1) and can be identified by the absence of spacer 30 in the standard spoligotype typing scheme. We have named this group of strains the African 1 (Af1) clonal complex and have defined the spoligotype signature of this clonal complex as being the same as the M. bovis BCG vaccine strain but with the deletion of spacer 30. Strains of the Af1 clonal complex were found at high frequency in population samples of M. bovis from cattle in Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Chad, and using a combination of variable-number tandem repeat typing and spoligotyping, we show that the population of M. bovis in each of these countries is distinct, suggesting that the recent mixing of strains between countries is not common in this area of Africa. Strains with the Af1-specific deletion (RDAf1) were not identified in M. bovis isolates from Algeria, Burundi, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Furthermore, the spoligotype signature of the Af1 clonal complex has not been identified in population samples of bovine tuberculosis from Europe, Iran, and South America. These observations suggest that the Af1 clonal complex is geographically localized, albeit to several African countries, and we suggest that the dominance of the clonal complex in this region is the result of an original introduction into cows naïve to bovine tuberculosis.
doi:10.1128/JB.01590-08
PMCID: PMC2648362  PMID: 19136597
11.  Molecular characterisation of Mycobacterium bovis isolated from cattle slaughtered at the Bamako abattoir in Mali 
Background
Mali is one of the most important livestock producers of the Sahel region of Africa. A high frequency of bovine tuberculosis (BTB) has been reported but surveillance and control schemes are restricted to abattoir inspections only. The objective of this study was to conduct, for the first time, molecular characterisation of Mycobacterium bovis strains isolated from cattle slaughtered at the Bamako abattoir. Of 3330 animals screened only 60 exhibited gross visible lesions. From these animals, twenty strains of M. bovis were isolated and characterised by spoligotyping.
Results
Organ lesions typical of BTB were most often detected in the liver, followed by the lung and the peritoneum. M. bovis was isolated from 20 animals and 7 different spoligotypes were observed among these 20 strains; three of the patterns had not been previously reported. Spoligotype patterns from thirteen of the strains lacked spacer 30, a characteristic common in strains of M. bovis found in Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. However, unlike the other three Central African countries, the majority of spoligotype patterns observed in Mali also lacked spacer 6. Of the remaining seven strains, six had spoligotype patterns identical to strains commonly isolated in France and Spain.
Conclusion
Two groups of M. bovis were detected in cattle slaughtered at the Bamako abattoir. The spoligotype pattern of the first group has similarities to strains previously observed in Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria. The additional absence of spacer 6 in the majority of these strains suggests a Mali specific clone. The spoligotype patterns of the remaining strains suggest that they may have been of European origin.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-4-26
PMCID: PMC2483712  PMID: 18637160
12.  Human Benefits of Animal Interventions for Zoonosis Control  
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(4):527-531.
Animal interventions to control zoonoses save money, even in resource-limited countries.
Although industrialized countries have been able to contain recent outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, many resource-limited and transitioning countries have not been able to react adequately. The key for controlling zoonoses such as rabies, echinococcosis, and brucellosis is to focus on the animal reservoir. In this respect, ministries of health question whether the public health sector really benefits from interventions for livestock. Cross-sectoral assessments of interventions such as mass vaccination for brucellosis in Mongolia or vaccination of dogs for rabies in Chad consider human and animal health sectors from a societal economic perspective. Combining the total societal benefits, the intervention in the animal sector saves money and provides the economic argument, which opens new approaches for the control of zoonoses in resource-limited countries through contributions from multiple sectors.
doi:10.3201/eid1304.060381
PMCID: PMC2725951  PMID: 17553265
human health; society; benefits; interventions; livestock; brucellosis; rabies; avian influenza; synopsis

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