In a cross sectional study, 19 French and 23 Colombian cases of confirmed active ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) were evaluated. The objective was to compare clinical, parasitological and immunological responses and relate them to the infecting strains. A complete ocular examination was performed in each patient. The infecting strain was characterized by genotyping when intraocular Toxoplasma DNA was detectable, as well as by peptide-specific serotyping for each patient. To characterize the immune response, we assessed Toxoplasma protein recognition patterns by intraocular antibodies and the intraocular profile of cytokines, chemokines and growth factors. Significant differences were found for size of active lesions, unilateral macular involvement, unilateral visual impairment, vitreous inflammation, synechiae, and vasculitis, with higher values observed throughout for Colombian patients. Multilocus PCR-DNA sequence genotyping was only successful in three Colombian patients revealing one type I and two atypical strains. The Colombian OT patients possessed heterogeneous atypical serotypes whereas the French were uniformly reactive to type II strain peptides. The protein patterns recognized by intraocular antibodies and the cytokine patterns were strikingly different between the two populations. Intraocular IFN-γ and IL-17 expression was lower, while higher levels of IL-13 and IL-6 were detected in aqueous humor of Colombian patients. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that South American strains may cause more severe OT due to an inhibition of the protective effect of IFN-γ.
Ocular toxoplasmosis (OT), due to protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, is a potential complication of both acquired and congenital infection, leading to visual impairment in numerous countries and being responsible for 30 to 50% of uveitis cases in immunocompetent individuals. In this study we confirmed the presence of more severe ocular toxoplasmosis in a tropical setting of Colombia, when compared to France. The main hypothesis for these clinical differences is based on the idea that severe disease in humans may result from poor host adaptation to neotropical zoonotic strains of T. gondii Indeed, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that South American strains may cause more severe OT due to an inhibition of the intraocular protective immune response.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is emerging in laboratories as a new diagnostic tool for microorganism identification. We prospectively compared the performances of the Biflex III-Biotyper (Bruker Daltonics) and the Axima (Shimadzu)-SARAMIS (AnagnosTec) systems for the identification of 312 yeasts isolated from clinical specimens (249 Candida spp., including 19 C. albicans and 230 non-albicans species and 63 isolates belonging to different species of the genera Saccharomyces [20 isolates], Rhodotorula [8 isolates], Cryptococcus [8 isolates], Trichosporon [7 isolates], Pichia [7 isolates], Geotrichum [12 isolates], and Sporopachydermia cereana [1 isolate]). Species were identified by using routine conventional phenotypical methods and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequencing in case of discrepancy. We used expanded thresholds for species identification (log score of ≥1.7 with 3 identical consecutive propositions and no discrepancy between the duplicates for the Bruker Daltonics system and similitude of ≥40% with 5 successive identical propositions and no discrepancy between the duplicates for the Shimadzu system). Of the 312 isolates, 272 (87.2%) and 258 (82.7%) were successfully identified by the Bruker Daltonics and Shimadzu systems, respectively. All isolates were successfully identified within the most frequent and clinically relevant Candida species by the two systems. Nonvalid results corresponded mainly to species not or poorly represented in the databases. Major misidentifications were observed for 2 isolates (0.6%) by the Bruker Daltonics system and 4 isolates (1.3%) by the Shimadzu system. In conclusion, the performances of the Bruker Daltonics and the Shimadzu systems for yeast identification were good and comparable under routine clinical conditions, despite their differences in sample preparation, database content, and spectrum analysis.
Malaria is a leading cause of mortality in southern Benin. The main causative agent, Plasmodium falciparum, poses a threat on critical transfusions in pregnant women and children. This study’s objective was to compare the performance of different malaria screening methods in blood donors in southern Benin, a malaria-endemic country.
Blood from 2,515 voluntary blood donors in Benin was collected over a period of 10 months in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) tubes, which were then classified according to extraction time: long rainy season, short dry season, short rainy season, and long dry season. Microscopic examination was used to count parasites. Parasite density (PD) was expressed as the number of parasites per μL of blood. Pan Plasmodium pLDH detection was assessed by an ELISA-malaria antigen test. Using crude soluble P. falciparum antigens, an ELISA-malaria antibody test detected anti-Plasmodium antibodies.
Among the 2,515 blood donors (2,025 males and 488 females) screened, the rate of asymptomatic Plasmodium carriage was 295/2,515 (11.72%, 95% CI: 10.5-13.1%). Males had a higher infection rate (12.4%) than did females (8.8%). Parasite density was very low: between seven and100 parasites per μL of blood was reported in 80% of donors with parasitaemia. Three Plasmodium species were diagnosed: P. falciparum in 280/295 patients (95.0%), Plasmodium malariae in 14/295 (5.0%), and Plasmodium ovale in 1/295 (0.34%). Malaria prevalence in donors was higher during the rainy seasons (13.7%) compared with the dry seasons (9.9%). The use of a highly sensitive assay enabled pan Plasmodium pLDH detection in 966/2,515 (38.4%, 95% CI: 36.5%-40.3%). Malaria antibody prevalence was 1,859/2,515 (73.9%, 95% CI: 72.16-75.6%). Donors’ antigenaemia and antibody levels varied significantly (P <0.05) over the course of the four seasons. The highest antigenaemia rate 323/630 (51.3%), was observed during the short rainy season, while the highest antibody prevalence, 751/886 (84.7%), was recorded during the long dry season.
Blood donations infected with Plasmodium can transmit malaria to donation recipients. Malaria diagnostic methods are currently available, but the feasibility criteria for mass screening in endemic areas become preponderant. Detection of the pLDH antigen seems to be an adequate screening tool in endemic areas, for this antigen indicates parasite presence. Routine screening of all donated blood would prevent infected blood donations and reduce P. falciparum transmission in critical patients, such as children and pregnant women. This tool would also decrease medical prophylaxis in donation recipients and contribute to lower Plasmodium resistance.
Malaria; Transfusion; Plasmodium falciparum; pLDH; Antibodies
There is a lack of information regarding the epidemiology of malaria among travellers from non-malaria endemic countries to Sahelian areas. The literature provides general statistics about imported malaria in industrialized countries or extensive recommendations about fever management, but none of these recommendations are applicable to developing countries.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the aetiologies of fever, malaria prevalence, and best diagnostic methods in a population of 306 non-malaria endemic travellers who, over a one-year period, consulted the French embassy’s Centre Médico-Social in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) for fever. All patients underwent a clinical examination, a questionnaire, and three different malaria tests: thick blood film, QBC-test and HRP-2-based rapid diagnostic test.
Fever was caused by malaria in 69 cases (23%), while 37 (12%) were due to Pneumonia and 35 cases (8%) to ENT infections. Fever remained unexplained in 87 patients (51.3%). Malaria prevalence varied throughout the year: about 90% of malaria cases were diagnosed during and after the rainy season, between July and December, with up to 50% malaria prevalence for fever cases in October. Malaria diagnosis based solely on clinical signs, combined or not, leads to about 80% of unnecessary treatments.Although anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis was used in only 69% of short-stay patients (who travelled for less than three months), this was effective. Under local conditions, and using blood film examination as the reference method, the QBC test appeared to be more reliable than the HRP-2-based rapid diagnostic test, with respective sensitivities of 98.6% versus 84.1%, and specificities of 99.6% versus 98.3%.
Reliable biological diagnosis of malaria among travellers from non-malaria endemic countries in Sahelian areas is necessary because of low malaria prevalence and the poor performance of clinical diagnosis. A fever during the first half of the year requires investigating another aetiology, particularly a respiratory one. Malaria chemoprophylaxis is efficient and must not be overlooked. The QBC test appears to be the most reliable diagnostic test in this context.
Malaria; QBC; HRP2; Fever; Burkina Faso
Gongylonema spp. are cosmopolitan spirurid nematodes that are common parasites of wild and domesticated mammals and birds. Gongylonema pulchrum Molin, 1857 is most common in ruminants, where it invades mucosa and submucosa of the mouth, tongue, oesophagus and forestomachs. It extremely rarely occurs in man, and fewer than 60 cases have been reported worldwide. We report a case from the Alsace region, which appears to be the first case of human gongylonemosis described in France.
Gongylonema; human infection; zoonosis; France; case report
We report the case of an 82-year-old patient, hospitalized for malaise. Her clothes were infested by numerous insects and the entomological analysis identified them as being Cimex lectularius (bed bugs). The history of the patient highlighted severe cognitive impairment. The biological assessment initially showed a profound microcytic, aregenerative, iron deficiency anemia. A vitamin B12 deficiency due to pernicious anemia (positive intrinsic factor antibodies) was also highlighted, but this was not enough to explain the anemia without macrocytosis. Laboratory tests, endoscopy and a CT scan eliminated a tumor etiology responsible for occult bleeding. The patient had a mild itchy rash which was linked to the massive colonization by the bed bugs. The C. lectularius bite is most often considered benign because it is not a vector of infectious agents. Far from trivial, a massive human colonization by bed bugs may cause such a hematic depletion that severe microcytic anemia may result.
Iron deficiency anemia; Cimex lectularius
Cerebral involvement in schistosomiasis is not rare, but it is underdiagnosed because of the lack of clinical suspicion and the frequency of asymptomatic forms. Neurologic complications are generally supported by granuloma formation around ectopic eggs which have migrated to the brain. Moreover, vascular lesions and cerebral arteritis have been well documented in histopathological studies. Nevertheless, cerebral vasculitis in later stages of the Schistosoma mansoni infection have not yet been described in living subjects.
A 28-year-old french woman had a stroke linked with cerebral vasculitis, 6 monthes after returning from Burkina-Faso. At the same time, a S. mansoni disseminated infection was diagnosed. She suffered from a new stroke after undertaking praziquantel therapy, which lead us to associate the S. mansoni infection and cerebral vasculitis.
This is the first report of such association, since cerebral vasculitis has never been described in later stages of the S. mansoni infection. Although the causal link between the two pathologies could not be proved, we suggest that S. mansoni is able to cause severe vascular damage in cerebral vessels. Schistosomiasis must be investigated in the event of a brain infarct in young people, particularly in patients originating or returning from an endemic area.
Stroke; Cerebral vasculitis; Schistosoma mansoni; Corticosteroid; Praziquantel
Background and methods
The appearance of bluetongue virus (BTV) in 2006 within northern Europe exposed a lack of expertise and resources available across this region to enable the accurate morphological identification of species of Culicoides Latreille biting midges, some of which are the major vectors of this pathogen. This work aims to organise extant Culicoides taxonomic knowledge into a database and to produce an interactive identification key for females of Culicoides in the Western Palaearctic (IIKC: Interactive identification key for Culicoides). We then validated IIKC using a trial carried out by six entomologists based in this region with variable degrees of experience in identifying Culicoides.
The current version of the key includes 98 Culicoides species with 10 morphological variants, 61 descriptors and 837 pictures and schemes. Validation was carried out by six entomologists as a blind trial with two users allocated to three classes of expertise (beginner, intermediate and advanced). Slides were identified using a median of seven steps and seven minutes and user confidence in the identification varied from 60% for failed identifications to a maximum of 80% for successful ones. By user class, the beginner group successfully identified 44.6% of slides, the intermediate 56.8% and the advanced 74.3%.
Structured as a multi-entry key, IIKC is a powerful database for the morphological identification of female Culicoides from the Western Palaearctic region. First developed for use as an interactive identification key, it was revealed to be a powerful back-up tool for training new taxonomists and to maintain expertise level. The development of tools for arthropod involvement in pathogen transmission will allow clearer insights into the ecology and dynamics of Culicoides and in turn assist in understanding arbovirus epidemiology.
Multi-entry key; Identification key; Interactive key; Bluetongue; African horse sickness; Culicoides; Vectors
Apicomplexan parasites secrete and inject into the host cell the content of specialized secretory organelles called rhoptries, which take part into critical processes such as host cell invasion and modulation of the host cell immune response. The rhoptries are structurally and functionally divided into two compartments. The apical duct contains rhoptry neck (RON) proteins that are conserved in Apicomplexa and are involved in formation of the moving junction (MJ) driving parasite invasion. The posterior bulb contains rhoptry proteins (ROPs) unique to an individual genus and, once injected in the host cell act as effector proteins to co-opt host processes and modulate parasite growth and virulence. We describe here two new RON proteins of Toxoplasma gondii, RON9 and RON10, which form a high molecular mass complex. In contrast to the other RONs described to date, this complex was not detected at the MJ during invasion and therefore was not associated to the MJ complex RON2/4/5/8. Disruptions of either RON9 or RON10 gene leads to the retention of the partner in the ER followed by subsequent degradation, suggesting that the RON9/RON10 complex formation is required for proper sorting to the rhoptries. Finally, we show that the absence of RON9/RON10 has no significant impact on the morphology of rhoptry, on the invasion and growth in fibroblasts in vitro or on virulence in vivo. The conservation of RON9 and RON10 in Coccidia and Cryptosporidia suggests a specific relation with development in intestinal epithelial cells.
The Human Phosphate-Binding protein (HPBP) is a serendipitously discovered lipoprotein that binds phosphate with high affinity. HPBP belongs to the DING protein family, involved in various biological processes like cell cycle regulation. We report that HPBP inhibits HIV-1 gene transcription and replication in T cell line, primary peripherical blood lymphocytes and primary macrophages. We show that HPBP is efficient in naïve and HIV-1 AZT-resistant strains. Our results revealed HPBP as a new and potent anti HIV molecule that inhibits transcription of the virus, which has not yet been targeted by HAART and therefore opens new strategies in the treatment of HIV infection.
HIV-1; HPBP; transcription; HAART
With the aim of discovering new natural active extracts against malaria parasites, Icacina senegalensis was selected after an ethnopharmacological survey conducted on plants used in traditional malaria treatment in Senegal.
Different concentrations of the plant extract and fractions were tested on synchronized Plasmodium falciparum cultures at the ring stage using the parasite lactate dehydrogenase assay. Their haemolytic activity and in vitro cytoxicity were evaluated. The chromatographic profiles of active fractions were also established.
The plant extract and fractions revealed anti-plasmodial activity (IC50 < 5 μg/mL) with no toxicity (Selectivity indexes >10). The dichloromethane fraction showed stronger anti-plasmodial activity than the total extract.
Anti-plasmodial activity and toxicity of I. senegalensis are reported for the first time and showed promising results in malaria field research.
We report the first case of ocular dirofilariasis to be diagnosed in northeast France (Alsace region), in a man who presented with a suborbital mass after a journey to Senegal. Microscopic examination of the surgical specimen identified Dirofilaria repens.
Catestatin, an endogenous peptide derived from bovine chromogranin A, and its active domain cateslytin display powerful antimicrobial activities. We have tested the activities of catestatin and other related peptides on the growth of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. Catestatin inhibits growth of the chloroquine-sensitive strain of P. falciparum 3D7, exhibiting 88% inhibition at 20 μM. A similar partial inhibition of parasite growth was observed for the chloroquine-resistant strain, 7G8 (64%,) and the multidrug-resistant strain, W2 (62%). In the presence of parasite-specific lactate dehydrogenase, a specific protein–protein interaction between catestatin and plasmepsin II precursor was demonstrated. In addition, catestatin partially inhibited the parasite-specific proteases plasmepsin in vitro. A specific interaction between catestatin and plasmepsins II and IV from P. falciparum and plasmepsin IV from the three remaining species of Plasmodium known to infect man was observed, suggesting a catestatin-induced reduction in availability of nutrients for protein synthesis in the parasite.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00018-009-0235-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Plasmodium falciparum; Antimicrobial peptide; Catestatin; Cateslytin; Chromogranin A; Plasmepsins II and IV
The methods most commonly used to measure malarial antibody titres are the Indirect Fluorescence Antibody Test (IFAT), regarded as the gold standard, and the Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA). The objective here was to assess the diagnostic performance, i.e. the sensitivity and specificity, of a new malaria antibody ELISA kit in comparison to IFAT. This new ELISA kit, the ELISA malaria antibody test (DiaMed), uses a combination of crude soluble Plasmodium falciparum extract and recombinant Plasmodium vivax antigens.
Two groups were used: 95 samples from malaria patients to assess the clinical sensitivity and 2,152 samples from blood donors, who had not been exposed to malaria, to assess the clinical specificity.
The DiaMed ELISA test kit had a clinical sensitivity of 84.2% and a clinical specificity of 99.6% as compared with 70.5% and 99.6% respectively, using the IFAT method. The ELISA method was more sensitive than the IFAT method for P. vivax infections (75% vs. 25%). However, in 923 malaria risk donors the analytical sensitivity of the ELISA test was 40% and its specificity 98.3%, performances impaired by large numbers of equivocal results non-concordant between ELISA and IFAT. When the overall analytical performances of ELISA was compared to IFAT, the ELISA efficiency J index was 0.84 versus 0.71 for IFAT. Overall analytical sensitivity was 93.1% and the analytical specificity 96.7%. Overall agreement between the two methods reached 0.97 with a reliability k index of 0.64.
The DiaMed ELISA test kit shows a good correlation with IFAT for analytical and clinical parameters. It may be an interesting method to replace the IFAT especially in blood banks, but further extensive investigations are needed to examine the analytical performance of the assay, especially in a blood bank setting.
The report presents two cases where diagnosis of alveolar echinococcosis was confirmed by Echinococcus multilocularis and Echinococcus granulosus PCR. The extrahepatic osseous involvement and the absence of initial hepatic involvement are unusual in both cases. Due to limitations of serological interpretation, PCR was useful to diagnose atypical echinococcosis.
Protective immunity in mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii is mainly mediated by NK cells, CD4 and CD8 T cells, and type 1 cytokines, such as gamma interferon (IFN-γ). To clarify the roles of NK cells and IFN-γ in protection against primary congenital toxoplasmosis, we used recombination activating gene 2 knockout (RAG-2−/−) mice, which lack T and B lymphocytes, in comparison with the wild-type BALB/c model. RAG-2−/− mice had a significantly lower risk of fetal toxoplasmosis than BALB/c mice (25 versus 63.9%; P = 0.003). This protection was associated with an increased number of maternal NK cells, IFN-γ secretion by spleen cells, and decreased parasitemia. In the RAG-2−/− mice, NK cell depletion increased both the rate of fetal infection, to 56.5% (P = 0.02), and the blood parasite burden. Conversely, in the BALB/c mice, this treatment did not modify maternofetal transmission or the blood parasite burden. Neutralization of IFN-γ in both infected RAG-2−/− and BALB/c mice decreased congenital Toxoplasma transmission, contrasting with an exacerbation of maternal infection. These data suggest that a partially protective immunity against congenital toxoplasmosis is achieved due to the increased number of NK cells in RAG-2−/− mice. However, it seems that IFN-γ enhances, directly or indirectly, the transplacental transmission.
Fungemia is associated with a high mortality rate. We compared the performance of the Mycosis IC/F selective fungal medium and the Plus Aerobic/F standard bacteriological medium for the diagnosis of fungemia on the Bactec 9240 automatic system. We retrospectively analyzed 550 blood culture pairs composed of one Mycosis IC/F vial and one Plus Aerobic/F vial, drawn in 187 patients with fungemia. The positivity rate by vial was significantly higher on Mycosis IC/F medium than on Plus Aerobic/F medium (88.0% versus 74.9%, P < 0.0001). The positivity rate for fungus detection on Plus Aerobic/F medium fell to 26.9% when bacteria were present in the same vial. The positivity rate by patient was also significantly higher on Mycosis IC/F medium than on Plus Aerobic/F medium (92.5% versus 75.9%, P < 0.0001). A marked superiority of Mycosis IC/F medium was demonstrated for diagnosis of Candida glabrata fungemia (31 of 31, 100%, versus 18 of 31, 58.1%, P < 0.0001). The mean detection time was significantly shorter on Mycosis IC/F medium than on Plus Aerobic/F medium (28.9 ± 22.2 h versus 36.5 ± 24.6 h, P < 0.0001). The mean time saving was 8.8 h for Candida albicans and 43.7 h for C. glabrata. Mycosis IC/F medium enabled more sensitive and earlier diagnosis, particularly for the two strains most frequently responsible for fungemia, C. albicans and C. glabrata, and also in the event of the concomitant presence of both yeasts and bacteria. In patients with risk factors, it would thus appear to be sensible to draw a Mycosis IC/F vial in addition to the standard bacteriological vials.
We evaluated the effect of vaccination with the SAG1 protein of Toxoplasma gondii against congenital toxoplasmosis in mice with different genetic backgrounds. In BALB/c mice (H-2d), vaccination reduced the number of infected fetuses by 50% and was associated with a mixed type 1 and type 2 immunity. In CBA/J mice (H-2k), vaccination increased the number of infected fetuses by 50% and was associated with a predominant type 2 response. Our results indicate that the effect of vaccination with SAG1 is controlled by the genetic background of the mouse.
Three PCR targets (18S ribosomal DNA, B1, and AF146527) and mouse inoculation were compared for 83 samples in the context of congenital toxoplasmosis. These four techniques are not statistically different in terms of sensitivity and specificity. However, further analysis highlighted problems sometimes encountered with PCR diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis.
Ocular toxoplasmosis is the major cause of posterior uvetis in European populations. The clinical diagnosis of toxoplasmic chorioretinitis is based upon ophthalmoscopic findings, which are often but not always typical. Laboratory testing is therefore important to confirm the etiology of the disease. In the present 2-year prospective study, the relative diagnostic sensitivities of the three analytical techniques (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], immunoblotting, and PCR) were compared by using a group of patients (n = 19) with suspected ocular toxoplasmosis. The relative specificities of the three techniques were assessed by including two control groups of patients: one with nontoxoplasmic and noninflammatory ocular disease (n = 48) and the other with nontoxoplasmic and inflammatory ocular disease (n = 20). All 19 of the clinically suspect patients had serological evidence of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii: 17 had been previously infected, and 2 had current infection. The analysis of paired aqueous humor and serum samples by ELISA and immunoblotting revealed the local production of specific antibodies of the immunoglobulin G type in 63% (12 of 19) and 53% (10 of 19) of patients, respectively. PCR analysis of aqueous humor samples confirmed the presence of T. gondii DNA in 28% (5 of 18) of cases. When combined, ELISA, immunoblotting, and PCR findings confirmed the toxoplasmic origin of retinal lesions in 83% (15 of 18) of patients. The relative specificities of the three techniques were 89% for ELISA and immunoblotting and 100% for PCR.
We conducted a prospective evaluation of Candida ID chromogenic medium (bioMérieux, Marcy l'Etoile, France) with 786 clinical specimens in comparison with Candiselect medium (Bio-Rad, Marnes la Coquette, France). Candida ID chromogenic medium identified 97.7% of Candida albicans strains; enabled presumptive identification of C. tropicalis, C. lusitaniae, C. guillermondii, and C. kefyr and better detection of yeast combinations (11.4% more often); and was more sensitive for the isolation of filamentous fungi (17.7% more often). However, Candida ID chromogenic medium appeared to be less selective vis-à-vis bacteria, with bacterial colonies sometimes pigmented blue.
We report the first case of proven disseminated infection due to Fusarium dimerum associated with a favorable outcome in a patient with acute leukemia and prolonged neutropenia. The patient presented persistent fever, multiple necrotic skin lesions, and bilateral pneumopathy. F. dimerum was first isolated from three blood cultures and then from a skin biopsy and a mouth wash. Microscopy of positive blood cultures showed hyphae with phialides and few curved unicellular and some rare bicellular phialoconidia, permitting immediate presumptive identification of the genus Fusarium. The patient failed to respond to conventional amphotericin B but recovered after treatment was switched to amphotericin B-lipid complex and neutrophil recovery.