register interest

Professor Nicholas PJ Day FMedSci FRCP

Research Area: Global Health
Technology Exchange: Mass spectrometry
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: malaria, melioidosis, Rickettsia, Leptospirosis, influenza and scrub typhus
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Nick Day's particular interests include the epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of malaria, melioidosis, leptospirosis, rickettsial infections, Staphylococcus aureus infections, influenza, dengue and other communicable diseases afflicting rural populations throughout Asia and beyond.

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Nicholas J White FRS Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor Adrianus Dondorp Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor François H Nosten Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Mae Sot Thailand
Professor Jeremy Farrar Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Paul Newton Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Vientiane Laos
Dr Gareth Turner Tropical Medicine University of Oxford United Kingdom
Professor Daniel H Paris Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Lim C, Takahashi E, Hongsuwan M, Wuthiekanun V, Thamlikitkul V, Hinjoy S, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2016. Epidemiology and burden of multidrug-resistant bacterial infection in a developing country. Elife, 5 | Show Abstract | Read more

Little is known about the excess mortality caused by multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infection in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We retrospectively obtained microbiology laboratory and hospital databases of nine public hospitals in northeast Thailand from 2004 to 2010, and linked these with the national death registry to obtain the 30-day mortality outcome. The 30-day mortality in those with MDR community-acquired bacteraemia, healthcare-associated bacteraemia, and hospital-acquired bacteraemia were 35% (549/1555), 49% (247/500), and 53% (640/1198), respectively. We estimate that 19,122 of 45,209 (43%) deaths in patients with hospital-acquired infection due to MDR bacteria in Thailand in 2010 represented excess mortality caused by MDR. We demonstrate that national statistics on the epidemiology and burden of MDR in LMICs could be improved by integrating information from readily available databases. The prevalence and mortality attributable to MDR in Thailand are high. This is likely to reflect the situation in other LMICs.

Phyo AP, Ashley EA, Anderson TJ, Bozdech Z, Carrara VI, Sriprawat K, Nair S, White MM et al. 2016. Declining Efficacy of Artemisinin Combination Therapy Against P. Falciparum Malaria on the Thai-Myanmar Border (2003-2013): The Role of Parasite Genetic Factors. Clin Infect Dis, 63 (6), pp. 784-791. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Deployment of mefloquine-artesunate (MAS3) on the Thailand-Myanmar border has led to a sustained reduction in falciparum malaria, although antimalarial efficacy has declined substantially in recent years. The role of Plasmodium falciparum K13 mutations (a marker of artemisinin resistance) in reducing treatment efficacy remains controversial. METHODS: Between 2003 and 2013, we studied the efficacy of MAS3 in 1005 patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in relation to molecular markers of resistance. RESULTS: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-adjusted cure rates declined from 100% in 2003 to 81.1% in 2013 as the proportions of isolates with multiple Pfmdr1 copies doubled from 32.4% to 64.7% and those with K13 mutations increased from 6.7% to 83.4%. K13 mutations conferring moderate artemisinin resistance (notably E252Q) predominated initially but were later overtaken by propeller mutations associated with slower parasite clearance (notably C580Y). Those infected with both multiple Pfmdr1 copy number and a K13 propeller mutation were 14 times more likely to fail treatment. The PCR-adjusted cure rate was 57.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 45.4, 68.3) compared with 97.8% (95% CI, 93.3, 99.3) in patients with K13 wild type and Pfmdr1 single copy. K13 propeller mutation alone was a strong risk factor for recrudescence (P = .009). The combined population attributable fraction of recrudescence associated with K13 mutation and Pfmdr1 amplification was 82%. CONCLUSIONS: The increasing prevalence of K13 mutations was the decisive factor for the recent and rapid decline in efficacy of artemisinin-based combination (MAS3) on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Moore CE, Giess A, Soeng S, Sar P, Kumar V, Nhoung P, Bousfield R, Turner P, Stoesser N, Day NP, Parry CM. 2016. Characterisation of Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolated from Cambodian Children between 2007 - 2012. PLoS One, 11 (7), pp. e0159358. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) was introduced in Cambodia in January 2015. There are limited data concerning the common serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Knowledge of the circulating pneumococcal serotypes is important to monitor epidemiological changes before and after vaccine implementation. METHODS: All episodes of IPD defined by the isolation of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood, cerebrospinal fluid or other sterile site in Cambodian children admitted to the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Northwestern Cambodia, between 1st January 2007 and 1st July 2012 were retrospectively studied. Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates that could be retrieved underwent phenotypic typing and whole genome sequencing. RESULTS: There were 90 Cambodian children hospitalized with IPD with a median (IQR) age of 2.3 years (0.9-6.2). The case fatality was 15.6% (95% CI 8-23). Of 50 Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates available for further testing, 46% were penicillin non-susceptible and 8% were ceftriaxone non-susceptible, 78% were cotrimoxazole resistant, 30% were erythromycin resistant and 30% chloramphenicol resistant. There were no significant changes in resistance levels over the five-year period. The most common serotypes were 1 (11/50; 22%), 23F (8/50; 16%), 14 (6/50; 12%), 5 (5/50; 10%) and 19A (3/50; 6%). Coverage by PCV7, PCV10 and PCV13 was 44%, 76% and 92% respectively. We identified novel multilocus sequence types and resistotypes using whole genome sequencing. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests IPD is an important disease in Cambodian children and can have a significant mortality. PCV13 coverage of the serotypes determined in studied strains was high and consistent with another recent study. The phenotypic resistance patterns observed were similar to other regional studies. The use of whole genome sequencing in the present study provides additional typing and resistance information together with the description of novel sequence types and resistotypes.

Moore CE, Elwin K, Phot N, Seng C, Mao S, Suy K, Kumar V, Nader J et al. 2016. Molecular Characterization of Cryptosporidium Species and Giardia duodenalis from Symptomatic Cambodian Children. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (7), pp. e0004822. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In a prospective study, 498 single faecal samples from children aged under 16 years attending an outpatient clinic in the Angkor Hospital for Children, northwest Cambodia, were examined for Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts using microscopy and molecular assays. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Cryptosporidium oocysts were detected in 2.2% (11/498) of samples using microscopy and in 7.7% (38/498) with molecular tests. Giardia duodenalis cysts were detected in 18.9% (94/498) by microscopy and 27.7% (138/498) by molecular tests; 82% of the positive samples (by either method) were from children aged 1-10 years. Cryptosporidium hominis was the most common species of Cryptosporidium, detected in 13 (34.2%) samples, followed by Cryptosporidium meleagridis in 9 (23.7%), Cryptosporidium parvum in 8 (21.1%), Cryptosporidium canis in 5 (13.2%), and Cryptosporidium suis and Cryptosporidium ubiquitum in one sample each. Cryptosporidium hominis and C. parvum positive samples were subtyped by sequencing the GP60 gene: C. hominis IaA16R6 and C. parvum IIeA7G1 were the most abundant subtypes. Giardia duodenalis was typed using a multiplex real-time PCR targeting assemblages A and B. Assemblage B (106; 76.8% of all Giardia positive samples) was most common followed by A (12.3%) and mixed infections (5.1%). Risk factors associated with Cryptosporidium were malnutrition (AOR 9.63, 95% CI 1.67-55.46), chronic medical diagnoses (AOR 4.51, 95% CI 1.79-11.34) and the presence of birds in the household (AOR 2.99, 95% CI 1.16-7.73); specifically C. hominis (p = 0.03) and C. meleagridis (p<0.001) were associated with the presence of birds. The use of soap was protective against Giardia infection (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58-0.95). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This is the first report to describe the different Cryptosporidium species and subtypes and Giardia duodenalis assemblages in Cambodian children. The variety of Cryptosporidium species detected indicates both anthroponotic and zoonotic transmission in this population. Interventions to improve sanitation, increase hand washing after defecation and before preparing food and promote drinking boiled water may reduce the burden of these two parasites.

Pham Thanh D, Thompson CN, Rabaa MA, Sona S, Sopheary S, Kumar V, Moore C, Tran Vu Thieu N et al. 2016. The Molecular and Spatial Epidemiology of Typhoid Fever in Rural Cambodia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (6), pp. e0004785. | Show Abstract | Read more

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi, is an endemic cause of febrile disease in Cambodia. The aim of this study was to better understand the epidemiology of pediatric typhoid fever in Cambodia. We accessed routine blood culture data from Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap province between 2007 and 2014, and performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolated bacteria to characterize the S. Typhi population. The resulting phylogenetic information was combined with conventional epidemiological approaches to investigate the spatiotemporal distribution of S. Typhi and population-level risk factors for reported disease. During the study period, there were 262 cases of typhoid within a 100 km radius of AHC, with a median patient age of 8.2 years (IQR: 5.1-11.5 years). The majority of infections occurred during the rainy season, and commune incidences as high as 11.36/1,000 in children aged <15 years were observed over the study period. A population-based risk factor analysis found that access to water within households and increasing distance from Tonle Sap Lake were protective. Spatial mapping and WGS provided additional resolution for these findings, and confirmed that proximity to the lake was associated with discrete spatiotemporal disease clusters. We confirmed the dominance of MDR H58 S. Typhi in this population, and found substantial evidence of diversification (at least seven sublineages) within this single lineage. We conclude that there is a substantial burden of pediatric typhoid fever in rural communes in Cambodia. Our data provide a platform for additional population-based typhoid fever studies in this location, and suggest that this would be a suitable setting in which to introduce a school-based vaccination programme with Vi conjugate vaccines.

Busby GBJ, Band G, Le QS, Jallow M, Bougama E, Mangano VD, Amenga-Etego LN, Enimil A et al. 2016. Admixture into and within sub-Saharan Africa eLife, 5 (JUN2016), | Show Abstract | Read more

© Busby et al.Similarity between two individuals in the combination of genetic markers along their chromosomes indicates shared ancestry and can be used to identify historical connections between different population groups due to admixture. We use a genome-wide, haplotype-based, analysis to characterise the structure of genetic diversity and gene-flow in a collection of 48 sub-Saharan African groups. We show that coastal populations experienced an influx of Eurasian haplotypes over the last 7000 years, and that Eastern and Southern Niger-Congo speaking groups share ancestry with Central West Africans as a result of recent population expansions. In fact, most sub-Saharan populations share ancestry with groups from outside of their current geographic region as a result of gene-flow within the last 4000 years. Our in-depth analysis provides insight into haplotype sharing across different ethno-linguistic groups and the recent movement of alleles into new environments, both of which are relevant to studies of genetic epidemiology.

James SL, Blacksell SD, Nawtaisong P, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Smith DJ, Day NP, Paris DH. 2016. Antigenic Relationships among Human Pathogenic Orientia tsutsugamushi Isolates from Thailand. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (6), pp. e0004723. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scrub typhus is a common cause of undiagnosed febrile illness in certain tropical regions, but can be easily treated with antibiotics. The causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, is antigenically variable which complicates diagnosis and efforts towards vaccine development. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study aimed to dissect the antigenic and genetic relatedness of O. tsutsugamushi strains and investigate sero-diagnostic reactivities by titrating individual patient sera against their O. tsutsugamushi isolates (whole-cell antigen preparation), in homologous and heterologous serum-isolate pairs from the same endemic region in NE Thailand. The indirect immunofluorescence assay was used to titrate Orientia tsutsugamushi isolates and human sera, and a mathematical technique, antigenic cartography, was applied to these data to visualise the antigenic differences and cross-reactivity between strains and sera. No functional or antigen-specific analyses were performed. The antigenic variation found in clinical isolates was much less pronounced than the genetic differences found in the 56kDa type-specific antigen genes. The Karp-like sera were more broadly reactive than the Gilliam-like sera. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Antigenic cartography worked well with scrub typhus indirect immunofluorescence titres. The data from humoral responses suggest that a Karp-like strain would provide broader antibody cross-reactivity than a Gilliam-like strain. Although previous exposure to O. tsutsugamushi could not be ruled out, scrub typhus patient serum antibody responses were characterised by strong homologous, but weak heterologous antibody titres, with little evidence for cross-reactivity by Gilliam-like sera, but a broader response from some Karp-like sera. This work highlights the importance of antigenic variation in O. tsutsugamushi diagnosis and determination of new serotypes.

Boonyuen U, Chamchoy K, Swangsri T, Saralamba N, Day NP, Imwong M. 2016. Detailed functional analysis of two clinical glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) variants, G6PDViangchan and G6PDViangchan+Mahidol: Decreased stability and catalytic efficiency contribute to the clinical phenotype. Mol Genet Metab, 118 (2), pp. 84-91. | Show Abstract | Read more

Deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an X-linked hereditary genetic defect that is the most common polymorphism and enzymopathy in humans. To investigate functional properties of two clinical variants, G6PDViangchan and G6PDViangchan+Mahidol, these two mutants were created by overlap-extension PCR, expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. We describe an overexpression and purification method to obtain substantial amounts of functionally active protein. The KM for G6P of the two variants was comparable to the KM of the native enzyme, whereas the KM for NADP(+) was increased 5-fold for G6PDViangchan and 8-fold for G6PDViangchan+Mahidol when compared with the native enzyme. Additionally, kcat of the mutant enzymes was markedly reduced, resulting in a 10- and 18-fold reduction in catalytic efficiency for NADP(+) catalysis for G6PDViangchan and G6PDViangchan+Mahidol, respectively. Furthermore, the two variants demonstrated significant reduction in thermostability, but similar susceptibility to trypsin digestion, when compared with the wild-type enzyme. The presence of NADP(+) is shown to improve the stability of G6PD enzymes. This is the first report indicating that protein instability and reduced catalytic efficiency are responsible for the reduced catalytic activity of G6PDViangchan and G6PDViangchan+Mahidol and, as a consequence, contribute to the clinical phenotypes of these two clinical variants.

Weehuizen TA, Lankelma JM, De Jong HK, De Boer OJ, Roelofs JJ, Day NP, Gram H, De Vos AF, Wiersinga WJ. 2016. Therapeutic Administration of a Monoclonal Anti-Il-1β Antibody Protects Against Experimental Melioidosis. Shock, pp. 1-1. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. The NLRP3-inflammasome and its downstream product interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) have been proposed to play crucial roles in melioidosis. In this study we characterized the role of IL-1β more closely and we assessed its therapeutic potential. METHODS: mRNA expression of inflammasome components was determined in isolated leukocytes of 32 healthy controls and 34 patients with sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei.Wild-type (WT), NLRP3-deficient (Nlrp3) and Asc mice were infected with B. pseudomallei. In additional experiments, infected WT mice were treated with an anti-IL-1β antibody. After 24, 48 and 72 hours (h) mice were sacrificed and organs were harvested. Furthermore, survival studies were performed. RESULTS: Patients with melioidosis exhibited lower mRNA levels of caspase-1, NLRP3 and ASC. Bacterial dissemination and organ damage were increased in B. pseudomallei-infected Nlrp3 and Asc mice, together with a reduced pulmonary cell influx. Anti-IL-1β treatment of B. pseudomallei challenged mice resulted in strongly reduced bacterial counts, organ damage and pulmonary granulocyte influx together with reduced mortality. Postponement of anti-IL-1β treatment for 24 h post-infection still protected mice during melioidosis. CONCLUSION: Expression of caspase-1, NLRP3 and ASC is altered in melioidosis patients. In mice, both NLRP3 and ASC contribute to the host defense against melioidosis. Anti-IL-1β treatment protects mice against B. pseudomallei infection and might be a novel treatment strategy in melioidosis.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0.

Turner P, Pol S, Soeng S, Sar P, Neou L, Chea P, Day NP, Cooper BS, Turner C. 2016. High Prevalence of Antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative Colonization in Hospitalized Cambodian Infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 35 (8), pp. 856-861. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative infections are a significant cause of mortality in young infants. We aimed to determine characteristics of, and risk factors for, colonization and invasive infection caused by 3rd generation cephalosporin (3GC) or carbapenem-resistant organisms in outborn infants admitted to a neonatal unit (NU) in Cambodia. METHODS: During the first year of operation, patients admitted to the Angkor Hospital for Children NU, Siem Reap, Cambodia, underwent rectal swabbing on admission and twice weekly until discharge. Swabs were taken also from 7 environmental sites. Swabs were cultured to identify 3GC or carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter sp., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. RESULTS: The study included 333 infants with a median age at NU admission of 10 days (range, 0-43). Colonization by ≥1 3GC-resistant organism was detected in 85.9% (286/333). Admission swabs were collected in 289 infants: 61.9% were colonized by a 3GC-resistant organism at the time of admission, and a further 23.2% were colonized during hospitalization, at a median of 4 days [95% confidence interval: 3-5]. Probiotic treatment (hazard ratio: 0.58; 95% confidence interval: 0.35-0.98) was associated with delayed colonization. Colonization by a carbapenem-resistant organism occurred in 25 (7.5%) infants. Six infants had NU-associated K. pneumoniae bacteremia; phenotypically identical colonizing strains were found in 3 infants. Environmental colonization occurred early. CONCLUSIONS: Colonization by antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative organisms occurred early in hospitalized Cambodian infants and was associated with subsequent invasive infection. Trials of potential interventions such as probiotics are needed.

Imwong M, Stepniewska K, Tripura R, Peto TJ, Lwin KM, Vihokhern B, Wongsaen K, von Seidlein L et al. 2016. Numerical Distributions of Parasite Densities During Asymptomatic Malaria. J Infect Dis, 213 (8), pp. 1322-1329. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Asymptomatic parasitemia is common even in areas of low seasonal malaria transmission, but the true proportion of the population infected has not been estimated previously because of the limited sensitivity of available detection methods. METHODS: Cross-sectional malaria surveys were conducted in areas of low seasonal transmission along the border between eastern Myanmar and northwestern Thailand and in western Cambodia. DNA was quantitated by an ultrasensitive polymerase chain reaction (uPCR) assay (limit of accurate detection, 22 parasites/mL) to characterize parasite density distributions for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, and the proportions of undetected infections were imputed. RESULTS: The prevalence of asymptomatic malaria as determined by uPCR was 27.5% (1303 of 4740 people tested). Both P. vivax and P. falciparum density distributions were unimodal and log normal, with modal values well within the quantifiable range. The estimated proportions of all parasitemic individuals identified by uPCR were >70% among individuals infected with P. falciparum and >85% among those infected with P. vivax. Overall, 83% of infections were predicted to be P. vivax infections, 13% were predicted to be P. falciparum infections, and 4% were predicted to be mixed infections. Geometric mean parasite densities were similar; 5601 P. vivax parasites/mL and 5158 P. falciparum parasites/mL. CONCLUSIONS: This uPCR method identified most infected individuals in malaria-endemic areas. Malaria parasitemia persists in humans at levels that optimize the probability of generating transmissible gametocyte densities without causing illness.

Tun KM, Jeeyapant A, Imwong M, Thein M, Aung SS, Hlaing TM, Yuentrakul P, Promnarate C et al. 2016. Parasite clearance rates in Upper Myanmar indicate a distinctive artemisinin resistance phenotype: a therapeutic efficacy study. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 185. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum extends across Southeast Asia where it is associated with worsening partner drug resistance and a decline in the efficacy of frontline artemisinin-based combination therapy. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is an essential component of preventive and curative treatment in the region, but its therapeutic efficacy has fallen in Cambodia. METHODS: A prospective clinical and parasitological evaluation of DP was conducted at two sites in Upper Myanmar between August 2013 and December 2014, enrolling 116 patients with acute uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Patients received DP orally for 3 days together with primaquine 0.25 mg/kg on admission. Parasite clearance half-lives based on 6 hourly blood smears, and day 42 therapeutic responses were assessed as well as parasite K13 genotypes. RESULTS: Median parasite clearance half-life was prolonged, and clearance half-life was greater than 5 h in 21% of patients. Delayed parasite clearance was significantly associated with mutations in the propeller region of the parasite k13 gene. The k13 F446I mutation was found in 25.4% of infections and was associated with a median clearance half-life of 4.7 h compared with 2.7 h for infections without k13 mutations (p < 0.001). There were no failures after 42 days of follow-up, although 18% of patients had persistent parasitaemia on day 3. CONCLUSION: The dominant k13 mutation observed in Upper Myanmar, F446I, appears to be associated with an intermediate rate of parasite clearance compared to other common mutations described elsewhere in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Discerning this phenotype requires relatively detailed clearance measurements, highlighting the importance of methodology in assessing artemisinin resistance.

Blacksell SD, Lim C, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jintaworn S, Kantipong P, Richards AL, Paris DH, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP. 2016. Optimal Cutoff and Accuracy of an IgM Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Diagnosis of Acute Scrub Typhus in Northern Thailand: an Alternative Reference Method to the IgM Immunofluorescence Assay. J Clin Microbiol, 54 (6), pp. 1472-1478. | Show Abstract | Read more

The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has been proposed as an alternative serologic diagnostic test to the indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) for scrub typhus. Here, we systematically determine the optimal sample dilution and cutoff optical density (OD) and estimate the accuracy of IgM ELISA using Bayesian latent class models (LCMs). Data from 135 patients with undifferentiated fever were reevaluated using Bayesian LCMs. Every patient was evaluated for the presence of an eschar and tested with a blood culture for Orientia tsutsugamushi, three different PCR assays, and an IgM IFA. The IgM ELISA was performed for every sample at sample dilutions from 1:100 to 1:102,400 using crude whole-cell antigens of the Karp, Kato, and Gilliam strains of O. tsutsugamushi developed by the Naval Medical Research Center. We used Bayesian LCMs to generate unbiased receiver operating characteristic curves and found that the sample dilution of 1:400 was optimal for the IgM ELISA. With the optimal cutoff OD of 1.474 at a sample dilution of 1:400, the IgM ELISA had a sensitivity of 85.7% (95% credible interval [CrI], 77.4% to 86.7%) and a specificity of 98.1% (95% CrI, 97.2% to 100%) using paired samples. For the ELISA, the OD could be determined objectively and quickly, in contrast to the reading of IFA slides, which was both subjective and labor-intensive. The IgM ELISA for scrub typhus has high diagnostic accuracy and is less subjective than the IgM IFA. We suggest that the IgM ELISA may be used as an alternative reference test to the IgM IFA for the serological diagnosis of scrub typhus.

Suttisunhakul V, Wuthiekanun V, Brett PJ, Khusmith S, Day NP, Burtnick MN, Limmathurotsakul D, Chantratita N. 2016. Development of Rapid Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays for Detection of Antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei. J Clin Microbiol, 54 (5), pp. 1259-1268. | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is an environmental bacillus found in northeast Thailand. The mortality rate of melioidosis is ∼40%. An indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA) is used as a reference serodiagnostic test; however, it has low specificity in areas where the background seropositivity of healthy people is high. To improve assay specificity and reduce the time for diagnosis, four rapid enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were developed using two purified polysaccharide antigens (O-polysaccharide [OPS] and 6-deoxyheptan capsular polysaccharide [CPS]) and two crude antigens (whole-cell [WC] antigen and culture filtrate [CF] antigen) of B. pseudomallei The ELISAs were evaluated using serum samples from 141 culture-confirmed melioidosis patients from Thailand along with 188 healthy donors from Thailand and 90 healthy donors from the United States as controls. The areas under receiver operator characteristic curves (AUROCC) using Thai controls were high for the OPS-ELISA (0.91), CF-ELISA (0.91), and WC-ELISA (0.90), while those of CPS-ELISA (0.84) and IHA (0.72) were lower. AUROCC values using U.S. controls were comparable to those of the Thai controls for all ELISAs except IHA (0.93). Using a cutoff optical density (OD) of 0.87, the OPS-ELISA had a sensitivity of 71.6% and a specificity of 95.7% for Thai controls; for U.S. controls, specificity was 96.7%. An additional 120 serum samples from tuberculosis, scrub typhus, or leptospirosis patients were evaluated in all ELISAs and resulted in comparable or higher specificities than using Thai healthy donors. Our findings suggest that antigen-specific ELISAs, particularly the OPS-ELISA, may be useful for serodiagnosis of melioidosis in areas where it is endemic and nonendemic.

Hearn P, Turner C, Suy K, Soeng S, Day NP, Turner P. 2016. Lack of Utility of Nasopharyngeal Swabs for Diagnosis of Burkholderia pseudomallei Pneumonia in Paediatric Patients. J Trop Pediatr, 62 (4), pp. 328-330. | Show Abstract | Read more

Diagnosis of Burkholderia pseudomallei pneumonia in children is challenging. We investigated the utility of nasopharyngeal swabs taken from 194 paediatric patients on admission with radiologically proven pneumonia. Melioidosis was proven in 0.5% of samples tested and only in a third of those known to be bacteraemic with B. pseudomallei. It appears unlikely that culture of nasopharyngeal secretions is helpful to confirm B. pseudomallei pneumonia in paediatric patients.

Drake TL, Devine A, Yeung S, Day NP, White LJ, Lubell Y. 2016. Dynamic Transmission Economic Evaluation of Infectious Disease Interventions in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Literature Review. Health Econ, 25 Suppl 1 pp. 124-139. | Show Abstract | Read more

Economic evaluation using dynamic transmission models is important for capturing the indirect effects of infectious disease interventions. We examine the use of these methods in low- and middle-income countries, where infectious diseases constitute a major burden. This review is comprised of two parts: (1) a summary of dynamic transmission economic evaluations across all disease areas published between 2011 and mid-2014 and (2) an in-depth review of mosquito-borne disease studies focusing on health economic methods and reporting. Studies were identified through a systematic search of the MEDLINE database and supplemented by reference list screening. Fifty-seven studies were eligible for inclusion in the all-disease review. The most common subject disease was HIV/AIDS, followed by malaria. A diverse range of modelling methods, outcome metrics and sensitivity analyses were used, indicating little standardisation. Seventeen studies were included in the mosquito-borne disease review. With notable exceptions, most studies did not employ economic evaluation methods beyond calculating a cost-effectiveness ratio or net benefit. Many did not adhere to health care economic evaluations reporting guidelines, particularly with respect to full model reporting and uncertainty analysis. We present a summary of the state-of-the-art and offer recommendations for improved implementation and reporting of health economic methods in this crossover discipline.

Chairat K, Jittamala P, Hanpithakpong W, Day NP, White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Tarning J. 2016. Population pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate in obese and non-obese volunteers. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 81 (6), pp. 1103-1112. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS: The aims of the present study were to compare the pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and its active antiviral metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate in obese and non-obese individuals and to determine the effect of obesity on the pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate. METHODS: The population pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were evaluated in 12 obese [body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg m(-2) ) and 12 non-obese (BMI <30 kg m(-2) ) Thai adult volunteers receiving a standard dose of 75 mg and a double dose of 150 mg in a randomized sequence. Concentration-time data were collected and analysed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. RESULTS: The pharmacokinetics of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were described simultaneously by first-order absorption, with a one-compartment disposition model for oseltamivir, followed by a metabolism compartment and a one-compartment disposition model for oseltamivir carboxylate. Creatinine clearance was a significant predictor of oseltamivir carboxylate clearance {3.84% increase for each 10 ml min(-1) increase in creatinine clearance [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.178%, 8.02%]}. Obese individuals had an approximately 25% (95% CI 24%, 28%) higher oseltamivir clearance, 20% higher oseltamivir volume of distribution (95% CI 19%, 23%) and 10% higher oseltamivir carboxylate clearance (95% CI 9%, 11%) compared with non-obese individuals. However, these altered pharmacokinetic properties were small and did not change the overall exposure to oseltamivir carboxylate. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirmed that a dose adjustment for oseltamivir in obese individuals is not necessary on the basis of its pharmacokinetics.

Moore CE, Sona S, Poda S, Putchhat H, Kumar V, Sopheary S, Stoesser N, Bousfield R, Day N, Parry CM. 2016. Antimicrobial susceptibility of uropathogens isolated from Cambodian children. Paediatr Int Child Health, pp. 1-5. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bacterial resistance to commonly used antimicrobials is an increasing problem in Asia but information concerning the antimicrobial susceptibility of bacteria causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children is limited. METHODS: This was a 5-year retrospective study of children with suspected UTI attending a paediatric hospital in north-west Cambodia. Urines with a positive culture containing a single organism with a count of >10(5) colony-forming units (CFU)/ml were considered diagnostic of infection. The organism was identified and the resistance pattern (using CLSI guidelines) and presence of an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) phenotype was determined. RESULTS: In total, there were 217 episodes of infection, 210 (97%) with Gram-negative bacteria. Escherichia coli was the most common infecting isolate with high levels of resistance to most oral antibiotics, except nitrofurantoin. Nearly half of the E. coli (44%) were extended-spectrum cephalosporin (ESC)-resistant with the proportion increasing significantly over the 5-year period. ESC-resistant E. coli were more likely to be multi-drug-resistant and 91% demonstrated an ESBL phenotype. CONCLUSION: The data highlight the importance of microbiological surveillance of UTIs in children, particularly in areas where there are known to be multiply resistant organisms.

Bousfield R, Thyl M, Samol O, Rithea L, Sona S, Chhat HP, Poda S, Moore CE et al. 2016. A retrospective study of factors which determine a negative blood culture in Cambodian children diagnosed with enteric fever. Paediatr Int Child Health, pp. 1-7. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Blood cultures are used to confirm a diagnosis of enteric fever but reported sensitivities can be as low as 40%. AIMS: To determine the factors associated with a negative blood culture in Cambodian children with suspected enteric fever. METHODS: In a retrospective study of hospitalised Cambodian children given a discharge diagnosis of enteric fever, the following factors associated with a negative blood culture were analysed: age, blood culture volume, prior antibiotic therapy, duration of illness and disease severity. RESULTS: In 227 hospitalised Cambodian children with a discharge diagnosis of enteric fever, it was confirmed in 70% by a positive blood culture. There was no association between a negative blood culture and younger age, lower blood volumes for culture, prior antibiotic therapy, a late presentation or milder disease. CONCLUSIONS: Although blood culture sensitivity was higher than expected, alternative simple, rapid and sensitive tests are needed for diagnosing enteric fever.

Limmathurotsakul D, Golding N, Dance DA, Messina JP, Pigott DM, Moyes CL, Rolim DB, Bertherat E, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Hay SI. 2016. Predicted global distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei and burden of melioidosis. Nat Microbiol, 1 (1), pp. 15008-15008. | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei, a highly pathogenic bacterium that causes melioidosis, is commonly found in soil in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia(1,2). Melioidosis can be difficult to diagnose due to its diverse clinical manifestations and the inadequacy of conventional bacterial identification methods(3). The bacterium is intrinsically resistant to a wide range of antimicrobials, and treatment with ineffective antimicrobials may result in case fatality rates (CFRs) exceeding 70%(4,5). The importation of infected animals has, in the past, spread melioidosis to non-endemic areas(6,7). The global distribution of B. pseudomallei and burden of melioidosis, however, remain poorly understood. Here, we map documented human and animal cases, and the presence of environmental B. pseudomallei, and combine this in a formal modelling framework(8-10) to estimate the global burden of melioidosis. We estimate there to be 165,000 (95% credible interval 68,000-412,000) human melioidosis cases per year worldwide, of which 89,000 (36,000-227,000) die. Our estimates suggest that melioidosis is severely underreported in the 45 countries in which it is known to be endemic and that melioidosis is likely endemic in a further 34 countries which have never reported the disease. The large numbers of estimated cases and fatalities emphasise that the disease warrants renewed attention from public health officials and policy makers.

Limmathurotsakul D, Golding N, Dance DA, Messina JP, Pigott DM, Moyes CL, Rolim DB, Bertherat E, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Hay SI. 2016. Predicted global distribution of Burkholderia pseudomallei and burden of melioidosis. Nat Microbiol, 1 pp. 15008. | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei, a highly pathogenic bacterium that causes melioidosis, is commonly found in soil in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia(1,2). Melioidosis can be difficult to diagnose due to its diverse clinical manifestations and the inadequacy of conventional bacterial identification methods(3). The bacterium is intrinsically resistant to a wide range of antimicrobials, and treatment with ineffective antimicrobials may result in case fatality rates (CFRs) exceeding 70%(4,5). The importation of infected animals has, in the past, spread melioidosis to non-endemic areas(6,7). The global distribution of B. pseudomallei and the burden of melioidosis, however, remain poorly understood. Here, we map documented human and animal cases and the presence of environmental B. pseudomallei and combine this in a formal modelling framework(8-10) to estimate the global burden of melioidosis. We estimate there to be 165,000 (95% credible interval 68,000-412,000) human melioidosis cases per year worldwide, from which 89,000 (36,000-227,000) people die. Our estimates suggest that melioidosis is severely underreported in the 45 countries in which it is known to be endemic and that melioidosis is probably endemic in a further 34 countries that have never reported the disease. The large numbers of estimated cases and fatalities emphasize that the disease warrants renewed attention from public health officials and policy makers.

Peto TJ, Tripura R, Lee SJ, Althaus T, Dunachie S, Nguon C, Dhorda M, Promnarate C et al. 2016. Association between Subclinical Malaria Infection and Inflammatory Host Response in a Pre-Elimination Setting. PLoS One, 11 (7), pp. e0158656. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Subclinical infections in endemic areas of Southeast Asia sustain malaria transmission. These asymptomatic infections might sustain immunity against clinical malaria and have been considered benign for the host, but if they are associated with chronic low-grade inflammation this could be harmful. We conducted a case-control study to explore the association between subclinical malaria and C-reactive protein (CRP), an established biomarker of inflammation. METHODS: Blood samples from asymptomatic villagers in Pailin, Western Cambodia were tested for malaria by high-volume ultra-sensitive polymerase chain reaction (uPCR) to determine the Plasmodium species. Plasma CRP concentration was measured in 328 individuals with parasitaemia (cases) and compared with: i) the same individual's value at the first time point when they had no detectable parasites (n = 282); and ii) age- sex- and village-matched controls (n = 328) free of Plasmodium infection. Plasma CRP concentrations were compared against thresholds of 3mg/L and 10mg/L. Subgroup analysis was carried out for cases with P vivax and P falciparum mono-infections. RESULTS: Median plasma CRP level for all samples was 0.59mg/L (interquartile range: 0.24-1.64mg/L). CRP concentrations were higher in parasitaemic individuals compared with same-person-controls (p = 0.050); and matched-controls (p = 0.025). 4.9% of samples had CRP concentrations above 10mg/L and 14.6% were above 3mg/L. Cases were more likely to have plasma CRP concentrations above these thresholds than age/sex matched controls, odds ratio 3.5 (95%CI 1.5-9.8) and 1.8 (95%CI 1.1-2.9), respectively. Amongst cases, parasite density and CRP were positively correlated (p<0.001), an association that remained significant when controlling for age and fever. Individuals with P.vivax mono-infections had the highest plasma CRP concentrations with the greatest association with parasitaemia. DISCUSSION: In this setting persistent malaria infections in asymptomatic individuals were associated with moderately elevated plasma CRP concentrations; chiefly evident in cases with P.vivax mono-infections. As well as interrupting malaria transmission within the community, treatment of asymptomatic malaria infections, in particular radical cure of vivax malaria, may benefit the health of infected individuals.

Phommasone K, Adhikari B, Henriques G, Pongvongsa T, Phongmany P, von Seidlein L, White NJ, Day NP et al. 2016. Asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in 18 villages of southern Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR (Laos). Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 296. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A large fraction of Plasmodium infections do not cause clinical signs and symptoms of disease and persist at densities in blood that are not detectable by microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. These infections may be critical as a transmission reservoir in areas of low malaria endemicity. Understanding the epidemiology of these infections would be helpful for malaria elimination. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Thapangthong and Nong Districts of Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR, to determine the prevalence of parasitaemia. A total of 888 blood samples were collected from afebrile volunteers aged ≥15 years in 18 villages during March and July 2015. Plasmodium infections were diagnosed by rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) and high volume, ultra-sensitive quantitative polymerase chain reaction (uPCR). RESULTS: uPCR detected Plasmodium infections in 175 of 888 samples (20 %). The species distribution was Plasmodium falciparum 3.6 % (32/888), Plasmodium vivax 11.1 % (99/888), mixed infections with P. falciparum and P. vivax 1.6 % (14/888) and Plasmodium of undetermined species 3.4 % (30/888). RDT identified only 2 % (18/888) positive cases. Using uPCR as reference, the sensitivity and specificity of RDTs were 28 and 100 %, respectively, in detecting P. falciparum infections, and 3 and 99 % in detecting asymptomatic P. vivax infections. The K13 kelch propeller domain C580Y mutation, associated with reduced susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives, was found in 75 % (12/18) of P. falciparum isolates from Thapangthong and in 7 % (2/28) from Nong (p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, males were more likely to have P. vivax infections [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.76 (95 % CI 2.84-8.00)] while older villagers were at lower risk for parasitaemia [aOR for increasing age 0.98 (95 % CI 0.96-0.99)]. CONCLUSION: There is a high prevalence of asymptomatic Plasmodium infections in southern Savannakhet. Artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains form an increasing proportion of the parasite population in Thapangthong District and are already present in the more remote Nong District. This worrying trend has wider implications for Laos and could reverse the gains achieved by the successful control of malaria in Laos and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). Rapid elimination of P. falciparum has to be a top priority in Laos as well as in the wider GMS.

Tripura R, Peto TJ, Chalk J, Lee SJ, Sirithiranont P, Nguon C, Dhorda M, von Seidlein L et al. 2016. Persistent Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections in a western Cambodian population: implications for prevention, treatment and elimination strategies. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 181. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Subclinical Plasmodium parasitaemia is an important reservoir for the transmission and persistence of malaria, particularly in low transmission areas. METHODS: Using ultrasensitive quantitative PCR (uPCR) for the detection of parasitaemia, the entire population of three Cambodian villages in Pailin province were followed for 1 year at three-monthly intervals. A cohort of adult participants found initially to have asymptomatic malaria parasitaemia was followed monthly over the same period. RESULTS: The initial cross sectional survey in June 2013 (M0) of 1447 asymptomatic residents found that 32 (2.2%) had Plasmodium falciparum, 48 (3.3%) had P. vivax, 4 (0.3%) had mixed infections and in 142/1447 (9.8%) malaria was detected but there was insufficient DNA to identify the species (Plasmodium. species). Polymorphisms in the 'K13-propeller' associated with reduced susceptibility to artemisinin derivatives (C580Y) were found in 17/32 (51%) P. falciparum strains. Monthly follow-up without treatment of 24 adult participants with asymptomatic mono or mixed P. falciparum infections found that 3/24 (13%) remained parasitaemic for 2-4 months, whereas the remaining 21/24 (87%) participants had cleared their parasitaemia after 1 month. In contrast, 12/34 (35%) adult participants with P. vivax mono-infection at M0 had malaria parasites (P. vivax or P. sp.) during four or more of the following 11 monthly surveys. CONCLUSIONS: This longitudinal survey in a low transmission setting shows limited duration of P. falciparum carriage, but prolonged carriage of P. vivax infections. Radical treatment of P. vivax infections by 8-aminoquinoline regimens may be required to eliminate all malaria from Cambodia. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01872702.

Lubell Y, Althaus T, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Mayxay M, Pan-Ngum W, White LJ, Day NP, Newton PN. 2016. Modelling the Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Biomarker Tests as Compared with Pathogen-Specific Diagnostics in the Management of Undifferentiated Fever in Remote Tropical Settings. PLoS One, 11 (3), pp. e0152420. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria accounts for a small fraction of febrile cases in increasingly large areas of the malaria endemic world. Point-of-care tests to improve the management of non-malarial fevers appropriate for primary care are few, consisting of either diagnostic tests for specific pathogens or testing for biomarkers of host response that indicate whether antibiotics might be required. The impact and cost-effectiveness of these approaches are relatively unexplored and methods to do so are not well-developed. METHODS: We model the ability of dengue and scrub typhus rapid tests to inform antibiotic treatment, as compared with testing for elevated C-Reactive Protein (CRP), a biomarker of host-inflammation. Using data on causes of fever in rural Laos, we estimate the proportion of outpatients that would be correctly classified as requiring an antibiotic and the likely cost-effectiveness of the approaches. RESULTS: Use of either pathogen-specific test slightly increased the proportion of patients correctly classified as requiring antibiotics. CRP testing was consistently superior to the pathogen-specific tests, despite heterogeneity in causes of fever. All testing strategies are likely to result in higher average costs, but only the scrub typhus and CRP tests are likely to be cost-effective when considering direct health benefits, with median cost per disability adjusted life year averted of approximately $48 USD and $94 USD, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Testing for viral infections is unlikely to be cost-effective when considering only direct health benefits to patients. Testing for prevalent bacterial pathogens can be cost-effective, having the benefit of informing not only whether treatment is required, but also as to the most appropriate antibiotic; this advantage, however, varies widely in response to heterogeneity in causes of fever. Testing for biomarkers of host inflammation is likely to be consistently cost-effective despite high heterogeneity, and can also offer substantial reductions in over-use of antimicrobials in viral infections.

MalariaGEN Plasmodium falciparum Community Project. 2016. Genomic epidemiology of artemisinin resistant malaria. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), | Show Abstract | Read more

The current epidemic of artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia is the result of a soft selective sweep involving at least 20 independent kelch13 mutations. In a large global survey, we find that kelch13 mutations which cause resistance in Southeast Asia are present at low frequency in Africa. We show that African kelch13 mutations have originated locally, and that kelch13 shows a normal variation pattern relative to other genes in Africa, whereas in Southeast Asia there is a great excess of non-synonymous mutations, many of which cause radical amino-acid changes. Thus, kelch13 is not currently undergoing strong selection in Africa, despite a deep reservoir of variations that could potentially allow resistance to emerge rapidly. The practical implications are that public health surveillance for artemisinin resistance should not rely on kelch13 data alone, and interventions to prevent resistance must account for local evolutionary conditions, shown by genomic epidemiology to differ greatly between geographical regions.

Awab GR, Imwong M, Pukrittayakamee S, Alim F, Hanpithakpong W, Tarning J, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ. 2016. Clinical trials of artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Afghanistan: maintained efficacy a decade after introduction. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 121. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Combination therapy with artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) was adopted as recommended treatment for Plasmodium falciparum infection in Afghanistan in 2003. METHODS: A series of prospective clinical studies examining the efficacy of artesunate plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS + SP) against P. falciparum were undertaken in sentinel sites in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2014, accompanied by relevant molecular studies. The first study was a randomized trial of AS + SP versus dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, while two subsequent studies were standard therapeutic efficacy studies of AS + SP. RESULTS: Three hundred and three patients were enrolled across four provinces in the north and east of the country. Curative efficacy was high in all the trials, with an adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) of more than 95 % in all groups and trial stages. Genotyping for drug-resistance alleles at dhfr indicated fixation of the S108 N mutation and a prevalence of the C59R mutation of approximately 95 % across all sites. Other mutations in dhfr and dhps remained rare or absent entirely, although five isolates from the first trial carried the dhps triple mutant SGEGA haplotype. In the last study undertaken in 2012-2014 the K13 artemisinin resistance marker was examined; only two of 60 successfully sequenced samples carried a K13-propeller mutation. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm maintained efficacy 10 years after introduction of artesunate plus SP as combination treatment of P. falciparum in Afghanistan. The molecular data indicate that despite a substantial fall in incidence, resistance has not developed to artemisinins, or intensified to the ACT partner drug components. Trial Registration http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct NCT00682578, NCT01115439 and NCT01707199.

Zhu L, Mok S, Imwong M, Jaidee A, Russell B, Nosten F, Day NP, White NJ, Preiser PR, Bozdech Z. 2016. New insights into the Plasmodium vivax transcriptome using RNA-Seq. Sci Rep, 6 pp. 20498. | Show Abstract | Read more

Historically seen as a benign disease, it is now becoming clear that Plasmodium vivax can cause significant morbidity. Effective control strategies targeting P. vivax malaria is hindered by our limited understanding of vivax biology. Here we established the P. vivax transcriptome of the Intraerythrocytic Developmental Cycle (IDC) of two clinical isolates in high resolution by Illumina HiSeq platform. The detailed map of transcriptome generates new insights into regulatory mechanisms of individual genes and reveals their intimate relationship with specific biological functions. A transcriptional hotspot of vir genes observed on chromosome 2 suggests a potential active site modulating immune evasion of the Plasmodium parasite across patients. Compared to other eukaryotes, P. vivax genes tend to have unusually long 5' untranslated regions and also present multiple transcription start sites. In contrast, alternative splicing is rare in P. vivax but its association with the late schizont stage suggests some of its significance for gene function. The newly identified transcripts, including up to 179 vir like genes and 3018 noncoding RNAs suggest an important role of these gene/transcript classes in strain specific transcriptional regulation.

Cross R, Ling C, Day NP, McGready R, Paris DH. 2016. Revisiting doxycycline in pregnancy and early childhood--time to rebuild its reputation? Expert Opin Drug Saf, 15 (3), pp. 367-382. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Doxycycline is highly effective, inexpensive with a broad therapeutic spectrum and exceptional bioavailability. However these benefits have been overshadowed by its classification alongside the tetracyclines - class D drugs, contraindicated in pregnancy and in children under 8 years of age. Doxycycline-treatable diseases are emerging as leading causes of undifferentiated febrile illness in Southeast Asia. For example scrub typhus and murine typhus have an unusually severe impact on pregnancy outcomes, and current mortality rates for scrub typhus reach 12-13% in India and Thailand. The emerging evidence for these important doxycycline-treatable diseases prompted us to revisit doxycycline usage in pregnancy and childhood. AREAS COVERED: A systematic review of the available literature on doxycycline use in pregnant women and children revealed a safety profile of doxycycline that differed significantly from that of tetracycline; no correlation between the use of doxycycline and teratogenic effects during pregnancy or dental staining in children was found. EXPERT OPINION: The change of the US FDA pregnancy classification scheme to an evidence-based approach will enable adequate evaluation of doxycycline in common tropical illnesses and in vulnerable populations in clinical treatment trials, dosage-optimization pharmacokinetic studies and for the empirical treatment of undifferentiated febrile illnesses, especially in pregnant women and children.

Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Nawtaisong P, Kantipong P, Laongnualpanich A, Day NP, Paris DH. 2016. Diagnostic Accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect Enzyme-Linked Immunoassay for the Detection of IgM Antibodies in Northern Thailand. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (2), pp. 148-154. | Show Abstract | Read more

In this study, we examined the diagnostic accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and determined the optimal diagnostic optical density (OD) cutoffs for screening and diagnostic applications based on prospectively collected, characterized samples from undifferentiated febrile illness patients in northern Thailand. Direct comparisons with the serological gold standard, indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA), revealed strong statistical correlation of ELISA OD values and IFA IgM titers. Determination of the optimal ELISA cutoff for seroepidemiology or screening purposes compared to the corresponding IFA reciprocal titer of 400 as previously described for Thailand was 0.60 OD, which corresponded to a sensitivity (Sn) of 84% and a specificity (Sp) of 98%. The diagnostic performance against the improved and more-stringent scrub typhus infection criteria (STIC), correcting for low false-positive IFA titers, resulted in an Sn of 93% and an Sp of 91% at an ELISA cutoff of 0.5 OD. This diagnostic ELISA cutoff corresponds to IFA reciprocal titers of 1,600 to 3,200, which greatly reduces the false-positive rates associated with low-positive IFA titers. These data are in congruence with the recently improved serodiagnostic positivity criteria using the Bayesian latent class modeling approach. In summary, the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM ELISA is affordable and easy-to-use, with adequate diagnostic accuracy for screening and diagnostic purposes, and should be considered an improved alternative to the gold standard IFA for acute diagnosis. For broader application, regional cutoff validation and antigenic composition for consistent diagnostic accuracy should be considered.

Abreha T, Alemayehu B, Assefa A, Awab GR, Baird JK, Bezabih B, Cheah PY, Day NP et al. 2015. Improving the radical cure of vivax malaria (IMPROV): a study protocol for a multicentre randomised, placebo-controlled comparison of short and long course primaquine regimens BMC INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 15 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 The IMPROV Study Group.Background: Plasmodium vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity and recognised as an important contributor to mortality in some endemic areas. The current recommended treatment regimen for the radical cure of P. vivax includes a schizontocidal antimalarial, usually chloroquine, combined with a 14 day regimen of primaquine. The long treatment course frequently results in poor adherence and effectiveness. Shorter courses of higher daily doses of primaquine have the potential to improve adherence and thus effectiveness without compromising safety. The proposed multicentre randomised clinical trial aims to provide evidence across a variety of endemic settings on the safety and efficacy of high dose short course primaquine in glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) normal patients. Design: This study is designed as a placebo controlled, double blinded, randomized trial in four countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. G6PD normal patients diagnosed with vivax malaria are randomized to receive either 7 or 14 days high dose primaquine or placebo. G6PD deficient (G6PDd) patients are allocated to weekly primaquine doses for 8 weeks. All treatment is directly observed and recurrent episodes are treated with the same treatment than allocated at the enrolment episode. Patients are followed daily until completion of treatment, weekly until 8 weeks and then monthly until 1 year after initiation of the treatment. The primary endpoint is the incidence rate (per person year) of symptomatic recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia over 12 months of follow-up, for all individuals, controlling for site, comparing the 7 versus 14-day primaquine treatment arms. Secondary endpoints are other efficacy measures such as incidence risk at different time points. Further endpoints are risks of haemolysis and severe adverse events. Discussion: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in the UK and Australia, and all participating countries. Results will be disseminated to inform P. vivax malaria treatment policy through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. Findings will contribute to a better understanding of the risks and benefits of primaquine which is crucial in persuading policy makers as well as clinicians of the importance of radical cure of vivax malaria, contributing to decreased transmission and a reduce parasite reservoir. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01814683. Registered March 18, 2013

Turner P, Ngeth P, Turner C, Sao S, Day NP, Baker C, Steer AC, Smeesters PR. 2015. Molecular Epidemiology of Group A Streptococcus Infections in Cambodian Children, 2007-2012. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (12), pp. 1414-1415. | Read more

Watthanaworawit W, Turner P, Turner C, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jintaworn S, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Richards AL, Day NP, Blacksell SD, Nosten F. 2015. Diagnostic Accuracy Assessment of Immunochromatographic Tests for the Rapid Detection of Antibodies Against Orientia tsutsugamushi Using Paired Acute and Convalescent Specimens. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (6), pp. 1168-1171. | Show Abstract | Read more

We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of two immunochromatographic tests (ICTs), the Access Bio CareStart Scrub Typhus test (Somerset, NJ) (IgM), and the SD BIOLINE Tsutsugamushi test (Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea) (IgG, IgM, or IgA) compared with indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and real-time PCR results as reference tests using 86 paired acute and convalescent specimens from febrile patients. The sensitivity and specificity of the CareStart test were 23.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 11.8-38.6) and 81.4% (95% CI: 66.6-91.6), respectively, for acute specimens and 32.6% (95% CI: 19.1-48.5) and 79.1% (95% CI: 64.0-90.0), respectively, for convalescent specimens. For the SD BIOLINE test, sensitivity and specificity were 20.9% (95% CI: 10.0-36.0) and 74.4% (95% CI: 58.8-86.5), respectively, for acute specimens and 76.7% (95% CI: 61.4-88.2) and 76.7% (95% CI: 61.4-88.2), respectively, for convalescent specimens. The poor sensitivity obtained for both ICTs during this study when performed on acute specimens highlights the difficulties in prompt diagnosis of scrub typhus.

Reamtong O, Srimuang K, Saralamba N, Sangvanich P, Day NP, White NJ, Imwong M. 2015. Protein profiling of mefloquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum using mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Int J Mass Spectrom, 391 pp. 82-92. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by protozoa of genus Plasmodium. There are five species of Plasmodium that are found to infect humans. Plasmodium falciparum can cause severe malaria leading to higher morbidity and mortality of malaria than the other four species. Antimalarial resistance is the major obstacle to control malaria. Mefloquine was used in combination with Artesunate for uncomplicated P. falciparum in South East Asia and it has developed and established mefloquine resistance in this region. Here, gel-enhanced liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GeLC-MS/MS)-based proteomics and label-free quantification were used to explore the protein profiles of mefloquine-sensitive and -induced resistant P. falciparum. A Thai P. falciparum isolate (S066) was used as a model in this research. Our data revealed for the first time that 69 proteins exhibited at least 2-fold differences in their expression levels between the two parasite lines. Of these, 36 were up-regulated and 33 were down-regulated in the mefloquine-resistant line compared with the mefloquine-sensitive line. These findings are consistent with those of past studies, where the multidrug resistance protein Pgh1 showed an up-regulation pattern consistent with that expected from its average 3-copy pfmdr1 gene number. Pgh1 and eight other up-regulated proteins (i.e., histo-aspartyl protease protein, exportin 1, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3 subunit 8, peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase, serine rich protein homologue, exported protein 1, ATP synthase beta chain and phospholipid scramblase 1) were further validated for their expression levels using reverse transcriptase quantitative real-time PCR. The data support the up-regulation status in the mefloquine-resistant parasite line of all the candidate genes referred to above. Therefore, GeLC-MS/MS-based proteomics combined with label-free quantification is a reliable approach for exploring mefloquine resistance biomarkers in P. falciparum. Identification of these proteins leads to better understanding of mefloquine resistant mechanisms in malaria parasites.

Lubell Y, Blacksell SD, Dunachie S, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Althaus T, Watthanaworawit W, Paris DH, Mayxay M et al. 2015. Performance of C-reactive protein and procalcitonin to distinguish viral from bacterial and malarial causes of fever in Southeast Asia. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 511. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Poor targeting of antimicrobial drugs contributes to the millions of deaths each year from malaria, pneumonia, and other tropical infectious diseases. While malaria rapid diagnostic tests have improved use of antimalarial drugs, there are no similar tests to guide the use of antibiotics in undifferentiated fevers. In this study we estimate the diagnostic accuracy of two well established biomarkers of bacterial infection, procalcitonin and C-reactive protein (CRP) in discriminating between common viral and bacterial infections in malaria endemic settings of Southeast Asia. METHODS: Serum procalcitonin and CRP levels were measured in stored serum samples from febrile patients enrolled in three prospective studies conducted in Cambodia, Laos and, Thailand. Of the 1372 patients with a microbiologically confirmed diagnosis, 1105 had a single viral, bacterial or malarial infection. Procalcitonin and CRP levels were compared amongst these aetiological groups and their sensitivity and specificity in distinguishing bacterial infections and bacteraemias from viral infections were estimated using standard thresholds. RESULTS: Serum concentrations of both biomarkers were significantly higher in bacterial infections and malaria than in viral infections. The AUROC for CRP in discriminating between bacterial and viral infections was 0.83 (0.81-0.86) compared with 0.74 (0.71-0.77) for procalcitonin (p < 0.0001). This relative advantage was evident in all sites and when stratifying patients by age and admission status. For CRP at a threshold of 10 mg/L, the sensitivity of detecting bacterial infections was 95% with a specificity of 49%. At a threshold of 20 mg/L sensitivity was 86% with a specificity of 67%. For procalcitonin at a low threshold of 0.1 ng/mL the sensitivity was 90% with a specificity of 39%. At a higher threshold of 0.5 ng/ul sensitivity was 60% with a specificity of 76%. CONCLUSION: In samples from febrile patients with mono-infections from rural settings in Southeast Asia, CRP was a highly sensitive and moderately specific biomarker for discriminating between viral and bacterial infections. Use of a CRP rapid test in peripheral health settings could potentially be a simple and affordable measure to better identify patients in need of antibacterial treatment and part of a global strategy to combat the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

Herdman MT, Sriboonvorakul N, Leopold SJ, Douthwaite S, Mohanty S, Hassan MM, Maude RJ, Kingston HW et al. 2015. Erratum to: the role of previously unmeasured organic acids in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Crit Care, 19 (1), pp. 382. | Read more

Jenjaroen K, Chumseng S, Sumonwiriya M, Ariyaprasert P, Chantratita N, Sunyakumthorn P, Hongsuwan M, Wuthiekanun V et al. 2015. T-Cell Responses Are Associated with Survival in Acute Melioidosis Patients. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (10), pp. e0004152. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is an increasingly recognised cause of sepsis and death across South East Asia and Northern Australia, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Risk factors include diabetes, alcoholism and renal disease, and a vaccine targeting at-risk populations is urgently required. A better understanding of the protective immune response in naturally infected patients is essential for vaccine design. METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal clinical and immunological study of 200 patients with melioidosis on admission, 12 weeks (n = 113) and 52 weeks (n = 65) later. Responses to whole killed B. pseudomallei were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) ELIspot assay and flow cytometry and compared to those of control subjects in the region with diabetes (n = 45) and without diabetes (n = 43). RESULTS: We demonstrated strong CD4+ and CD8+ responses to B. pseudomallei during acute disease, 12 weeks and 52 weeks later. 28-day mortality was 26% for melioidosis patients, and B. pseudomallei-specific cellular responses in fatal cases (mean 98 IFN-γ cells per million PBMC) were significantly lower than those in the survivors (mean 142 IFN-γ cells per million PBMC) in a multivariable logistic regression model (P = 0.01). A J-shaped curve association between circulating neutrophil count and mortality was seen with an optimal count of 4000 to 8000 neutrophils/μl. Melioidosis patients with known diabetes had poor diabetic control (median glycated haemoglobin HbA1c 10.2%, interquartile range 9.2-13.1) and showed a stunted B. pseudomallei-specific cellular response during acute illness compared to those without diabetes. CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate the role of both CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells in protection against melioidosis, and an interaction between diabetes and cellular responses. This supports development of vaccine strategies that induce strong T-cell responses for the control of intracellular pathogens such as B. pseudomallei.

Ishioka H, Ghose A, Charunwatthana P, Maude R, Plewes K, Kingston H, Intharabut B, Woodrow C et al. 2016. Sequestration and Red Cell Deformability as Determinants of Hyperlactatemia in Falciparum Malaria. J Infect Dis, 213 (5), pp. 788-793. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hyperlactatemia is a strong predictor of mortality in severe falciparum malaria. Sequestered parasitized erythrocytes and reduced uninfected red blood cell deformability (RCD) compromise microcirculatory flow, leading to anaerobic glycolysis. METHODS: In a cohort of patients with falciparum malaria hospitalized in Chittagong, Bangladesh, bulk RCD was measured using a laser diffraction technique, and parasite biomass was estimated from plasma concentrations of Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2). A multiple linear regression model was constructed to examine their associations with plasma lactate concentrations. RESULTS: A total of 286 patients with falciparum malaria were studied, of whom 224 had severe malaria, and 70 died. Hyperlactatemia (lactate level, ≥ 4 mmol/L) was present in 111 cases. RCD at shear stresses of 1.7 Pa and 30 Pa was reduced significantly in patients who died, compared with survivors, individuals with uncomplicated malaria, or healthy individuals (P < .05, for all comparisons). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the plasma PfHRP2 level, parasitemia level, total bilirubin level, and RCD at a shear stress of 1.7 Pa were each independently correlated with plasma lactate concentrations (n = 278; R(2) = 0.35). CONCLUSIONS: Sequestration of parasitized red blood cells and reduced RCD both contribute to decreased microcirculatory flow in severe disease.

Kloprogge F, McGready R, Phyo AP, Rijken MJ, Hanpithakpon W, Than HH, Hlaing N, Zin NT et al. 2015. Opposite malaria and pregnancy effect on oral bioavailability of artesunate - a population pharmacokinetic evaluation. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 80 (4), pp. 642-653. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIM: The aim was to compare the pharmacokinetic properties of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin in the same women: i) pregnant with acute uncomplicated malaria on day 1 and 2, ii) pregnant with convalescent malaria on day 7 and iii) in a healthy state 3 months post-partum on day 1, 2 and 7. METHODS: Non-linear mixed-effects modelling was used to compare plasma concentration-time profiles of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin over 7 days of treatment following oral and intravenous artesunate administration to pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria during their second or third trimesters of pregnancy. The same women were restudied 3 months after delivery when fully recovered. Non-compartmental results of the same study have been published previously. RESULTS: Twenty pregnant patients on the Thailand-Myanmar border were studied and 15 volunteered to be restudied 3 months post-partum. Malaria and pregnancy had no effect on the pharmacokinetic properties of artesunate or dihydroartemisinin after intravenous artesunate administration. However, malaria and pregnancy had opposite effects on the absorption of orally administered artesunate. Malaria increased the absolute oral bioavailability of artesunate by 87%, presumably by inhibiting first pass effect, whereas pregnancy decreased oral bioavailability by 23%. CONCLUSIONS: The population pharmacokinetic analysis demonstrated opposite effects of malaria and pregnancy on the bioavailability of orally administered artesunate. Lower drug exposures during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy may contribute to lower cure rates and thus the development of drug resistance. Dose optimization studies are required for artesunate containing artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) in later pregnancy.

Imwong M, Nguyen TN, Tripura R, Peto TJ, Lee SJ, Lwin KM, Suangkanarat P, Jeeyapant A et al. 2015. The epidemiology of subclinical malaria infections in South-East Asia: findings from cross-sectional surveys in Thailand-Myanmar border areas, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 381. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The importance of the submicroscopic reservoir of Plasmodium infections for malaria elimination depends on its size, which is generally considered small in low transmission settings. The precise estimation of this reservoir requires more sensitive parasite detection methods. The prevalence of asymptomatic, sub-microscopic malaria was assessed by a sensitive, high blood volume quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction method in three countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. METHODS: Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in three villages in western Cambodia, four villages along the Thailand-Myanmar border and four villages in southwest Vietnam. Malaria parasitaemia was assessed by Plasmodium falciparum/pan malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), microscopy and a high volume ultra-sensitive real-time polymerase chain reaction (HVUSqPCR: limit of detection 22 parasites/mL). All villagers older than 6 months were invited to participate. RESULTS: A census before the surveys identified 7355 residents in the study villages. Parasite prevalence was 224/5008 (4 %) by RDT, 229/5111 (5 %) by microscopy, and 988/4975 (20 %) when assessed by HVUSqPCR. Of these 164 (3 %) were infected with P. falciparum, 357 (7 %) with Plasmodium vivax, 56 (1 %) with a mixed infection, and 411 (8 %) had parasite densities that were too low for species identification. A history of fever, male sex, and age of 15 years or older were independently associated with parasitaemia in a multivariate regression model stratified by site. CONCLUSION: Light microscopy and RDTs identified only a quarter of all parasitaemic participants. The asymptomatic Plasmodium reservoir is considerable, even in low transmission settings. Novel strategies are needed to eliminate this previously under recognized reservoir of malaria transmission.

Drake TL, Kyaw SS, Kyaw MP, Smithuis FM, Day NP, White LJ, Lubell Y. 2015. Cost effectiveness and resource allocation of Plasmodium falciparum malaria control in Myanmar: a modelling analysis of bed nets and community health workers. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 376. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Funding for malaria control and elimination in Myanmar has increased markedly in recent years. While there are various malaria control tools currently available, two interventions receive the majority of malaria control funding in Myanmar: (1) insecticide-treated bed nets and (2) early diagnosis and treatment through malaria community health workers. This study aims to provide practical recommendations on how to maximize impact from investment in these interventions. METHODS: A simple decision tree is used to model intervention costs and effects in terms of years of life lost. The evaluation is from the perspective of the service provider and costs and effects are calculated in line with standard methodology. Sensitivity and scenario analysis are undertaken to identify key drivers of cost effectiveness. Standard cost effectiveness analysis is then extended via a spatially explicit resource allocation model. FINDINGS: Community health workers have the potential for high impact on malaria, particularly where there are few alternatives to access malaria treatment, but are relatively costly. Insecticide-treated bed nets are comparatively inexpensive and modestly effective in Myanmar, representing a low risk but modest return intervention. Unlike some healthcare interventions, bed nets and community health workers are not mutually exclusive nor are they necessarily at their most efficient when universally applied. Modelled resource allocation scenarios highlight that in this case there is no "one size fits all" cost effectiveness result. Health gains will be maximized by effective targeting of both interventions.

WWARN Parasite Clearance Study Group, Abdulla S, Ashley EA, Bassat Q, Bethell D, Björkman A, Borrmann S, D'Alessandro U et al. 2015. Baseline data of parasite clearance in patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 359. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum manifests as slow parasite clearance but this measure is also influenced by host immunity, initial parasite biomass and partner drug efficacy. This study collated data from clinical trials of artemisinin derivatives in falciparum malaria with frequent parasite counts to provide reference parasite clearance estimates stratified by location, treatment and time, to examine host factors affecting parasite clearance, and to assess the relationships between parasite clearance and risk of recrudescence during follow-up. METHODS: Data from 24 studies, conducted from 1996 to 2013, with frequent parasite counts were pooled. Parasite clearance half-life (PC1/2) was estimated using the WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator. Random effects regression models accounting for study and site heterogeneity were used to explore factors affecting PC1/2 and risk of recrudescence within areas with reported delayed parasite clearance (western Cambodia, western Thailand after 2000, southern Vietnam, southern Myanmar) and in all other areas where parasite populations are artemisinin sensitive. RESULTS: PC1/2 was estimated in 6975 patients, 3288 of whom also had treatment outcomes evaluate d during 28-63 days follow-up, with 93 (2.8 %) PCR-confirmed recrudescences. In areas with artemisinin-sensitive parasites, the median PC1/2 following three-day artesunate treatment (4 mg/kg/day) ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 h and the proportion of patients with PC1/2 >5 h from 0 to 10 %. Artesunate doses of 4 mg/kg/day decreased PC1/2 by 8.1 % (95 % CI 3.2-12.6) compared to 2 mg/kg/day, except in populations with delayed parasite clearance. PC1/2 was longer in children and in patients with fever or anaemia at enrolment. Long PC1/2 (HR = 2.91, 95 % CI 1.95-4.34 for twofold increase, p < 0.001) and high initial parasitaemia (HR = 2.23, 95 % CI 1.44-3.45 for tenfold increase, p < 0.001) were associated independently with an increased risk of recrudescence. In western Cambodia, the region with the highest prevalence of artemisinin resistance, there was no evidence for increasing PC1/2 since 2007. CONCLUSIONS: Several factors affect PC1/2. As substantial heterogeneity in parasite clearance exists between locations, early detection of artemisinin resistance requires reference PC1/2 data. Studies with frequent parasite count measurements to characterize PC1/2 should be encouraged. In western Cambodia, where PC1/2 values are longest, there is no evidence for recent emergence of higher levels of artemisinin resistance.

Herdman MT, Sriboonvorakul N, Leopold SJ, Douthwaite S, Mohanty S, Hassan MM, Maude RJ, Kingston HW et al. 2015. The role of previously unmeasured organic acids in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Crit Care, 19 (1), pp. 317. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Severe falciparum malaria is commonly complicated by metabolic acidosis. Together with lactic acid (LA), other previously unmeasured acids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of falciparum malaria. METHODS: In this prospective study, we characterised organic acids in adults with severe falciparum malaria in India and Bangladesh. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to measure organic acids in plasma and urine. Patients were followed until recovery or death. RESULTS: Patients with severe malaria (n=138), uncomplicated malaria (n=102), sepsis (n=32) and febrile encephalopathy (n=35) were included. Strong ion gap (mean ± SD) was elevated in severe malaria (8.2 mEq/L ± 4.5) and severe sepsis (8.6 mEq/L ± 7.7) compared with uncomplicated malaria (6.0 mEq/L ± 5.1) and encephalopathy (6.6 mEq/L ± 4.7). Compared with uncomplicated malaria, severe malaria was characterised by elevated plasma LA, hydroxyphenyllactic acid (HPLA), α-hydroxybutyric acid and β-hydroxybutyric acid (all P<0.05). In urine, concentrations of methylmalonic, ethylmalonic and α-ketoglutaric acids were also elevated. Multivariate logistic regression showed that plasma HPLA was a strong independent predictor of death (odds ratio [OR] 3.5, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.6-7.5, P=0.001), comparable to LA (OR 3.5, 95 % CI 1.5-7.8, P=0.003) (combined area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.81). CONCLUSIONS: Newly identified acids, in addition to LA, are elevated in patients with severe malaria and are highly predictive of fatal outcome. Further characterisation of their sources and metabolic pathways is now needed.

Kingston HW, Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Laongnualpanich A, Basnyat B, Day NP, Paris DH. 2015. Comparative Accuracy of the InBios Scrub Typhus Detect IgM Rapid Test for the Detection of IgM Antibodies by Using Conventional Serology. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 22 (10), pp. 1130-1132. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study investigated the comparative accuracy of a recombinant 56-kDa type-specific antigen-based rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for scrub typhus for the detection of IgM antibodies by using conventional serology in well-characterized serum samples from undifferentiated febrile illness patients. The RDT showed high specificity and promising comparative accuracy, with 82% sensitivity and 98% specificity for samples defined positive at an IgM indirect immunofluorescence assay positivity cutoff titer of ≥1:1,600 versus 92% and 95% at ≥1:6,400, respectively.

Kloprogge F, McGready R, Hanpithakpong W, Blessborn D, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Tarning J. 2015. Lumefantrine and Desbutyl-Lumefantrine Population Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic Relationships in Pregnant Women with Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria on the Thailand-Myanmar Border. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (10), pp. 6375-6384. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely used antimalarial artemisinin-based combination treatment. Recent studies have suggested that day 7 plasma concentrations of the potent metabolite desbutyl-lumefantrine correlate better with treatment outcomes than those of lumefantrine. Low cure rates have been reported in pregnant women with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with artemether-lumefantrine in northwest Thailand. A simultaneous pharmacokinetic drug-metabolite model was developed based on dense venous and sparse capillary lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine plasma samples from 116 pregnant patients on the Thailand-Myanmar border. The best model was used to evaluate therapeutic outcomes with a time-to-event approach. Lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine concentrations, implemented in an Emax model, both predicted treatment outcomes, but lumefantrine provided better predictive power. A combined model including both lumefantrine and desbutyl-lumefantrine did not improve the model further. Simulations suggested that cure rates in pregnant women with falciparum malaria could be increased by prolonging the treatment course. (These trials were registered at controlled-trials.com [ISRCTN 86353884].).

Paris DH, Stephan F, Bulder I, Wouters D, van der Poll T, Newton PN, Day NP, Zeerleder S. 2015. Increased Nucleosomes and Neutrophil Activation Link to Disease Progression in Patients with Scrub Typhus but Not Murine Typhus in Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0003990. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cell-mediated immunity is essential in protection against rickettsial illnesses, but the role of neutrophils in these intracellular vasculotropic infections remains unclear. This study analyzed the plasma levels of nucleosomes, FSAP-activation (nucleosome-releasing factor), and neutrophil activation, as evidenced by neutrophil-elastase (ELA) complexes, in sympatric Lao patients with scrub typhus and murine typhus. In acute scrub typhus elevated nucleosome levels correlated with lower GCS scores, raised respiratory rate, jaundice and impaired liver function, whereas neutrophil activation correlated with fibrinolysis and high IL-8 plasma levels, a recently identified predictor of severe disease and mortality. Nucleosome and ELA complex levels were associated with a 4.8-fold and 4-fold increased risk of developing severe scrub typhus, beyond cut off values of 1,040 U/ml for nucleosomes and 275 U/ml for ELA complexes respectively. In murine typhus, nucleosome levels associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines and the duration of illness, while ELA complexes correlated strongly with inflammation markers, jaundice and increased respiratory rates. This study found strong correlations between circulating nucleosomes and neutrophil activation in patients with scrub typhus, but not murine typhus, providing indirect evidence that nucleosomes could originate from neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) degradation. High circulating plasma nucleosomes and ELA complexes represent independent risk factors for developing severe complications in scrub typhus. As nucleosomes and histones exposed on NETs are highly cytotoxic to endothelial cells and are strongly pro-coagulant, neutrophil-derived nucleosomes could contribute to vascular damage, the pro-coagulant state and exacerbation of disease in scrub typhus, thus indicating a detrimental role of neutrophil activation. The data suggest that increased neutrophil activation relates to disease progression and severe complications, and increased plasma levels of nucleosomes and ELA complexes represent independent risk factors for developing severe scrub typhus.

Giengkam S, Blakes A, Utsahajit P, Chaemchuen S, Atwal S, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Day NP, Salje J. 2015. Improved Quantification, Propagation, Purification and Storage of the Obligate Intracellular Human Pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0004009. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Scrub typhus is a leading cause of serious febrile illness in rural Southeast Asia. The causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, is an obligate intracellular bacterium that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a Leptotrombidium mite. Research into the basic mechanisms of cell biology and pathogenicity of O. tsutsugamushi has lagged behind that of other important human pathogens. One reason for this is that O. tsutsugamushi is an obligate intracellular bacterium that can only be cultured in mammalian cells and that requires specific methodologies for propagation and analysis. Here, we have performed a body of work designed to improve methods for quantification, propagation, purification and long-term storage of this important but neglected human pathogen. These results will be useful to other researchers working on O. tsutsugamushi and also other obligate intracellular pathogens such as those in the Rickettsiales and Chlamydiales families. METHODOLOGY: A clinical isolate of O. tsutsugamushi was grown in cultured mouse embryonic fibroblast (L929) cells. Bacterial growth was measured using an O. tsutsugamushi-specific qPCR assay. Conditions leading to improvements in viability and growth were monitored in terms of the effect on bacterial cell number after growth in cultured mammalian cells. KEY RESULTS: Development of a standardised growth assay to quantify bacterial replication and viability in vitro. Quantitative comparison of different DNA extraction methods. Quantification of the effect on growth of FBS concentration, daunorubicin supplementation, media composition, host cell confluence at infection and frequency of media replacement. Optimisation of bacterial purification including a comparison of host cell lysis methods, purification temperature, bacterial yield calculations and bacterial pelleting at different centrifugation speeds. Quantification of bacterial viability loss after long term storage and freezing under a range of conditions including different freezing buffers and different rates of freezing. CONCLUSIONS: Here we present a standardised method for comparing the viability of O. tsutsugamushi after purification, treatment and propagation under various conditions. Taken together, we present a body of data to support improved techniques for propagation, purification and storage of this organism. This data will be useful both for improving clinical isolation rates as well as performing in vitro cell biology experiments.

Phetsouvanh R, Sonthayanon P, Pukrittayakamee S, Paris DH, Newton PN, Feil EJ, Day NP. 2015. The Diversity and Geographical Structure of Orientia tsutsugamushi Strains from Scrub Typhus Patients in Laos. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (8), pp. e0004024. | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi is the causative agent of scrub typhus, a disease transmitted by Leptotrombidium mites which is responsible for a severe and under-reported public health burden throughout Southeast Asia. Here we use multilocus sequence typing (MLST) to characterize 74 clinical isolates from three geographic locations in the Lao PDR (Laos), and compare them with isolates described from Udon Thani, northeast Thailand. The data confirm high levels of diversity and recombination within the natural O. tsutsugamushi population, and a rate of mixed infection of ~8%. We compared the relationships and geographical structuring of the strains and populations using allele based approaches (eBURST), phylogenetic approaches, and by calculating F-statistics (FST). These analyses all point towards low levels of population differentiation between isolates from Vientiane and Udon Thani, cities which straddle the Mekong River which defines the Lao/Thai border, but with a very distinct population in Salavan, southern Laos. These data highlight how land use, as well as the movement of hosts and vectors, may impact on the epidemiology of zoonotic infections.

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR et al. 2015. Clinically and Microbiologically Derived Azithromycin Susceptibility Breakpoints for Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (vol 59, pg 2756, 2015) ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 59 (7), pp. 4364-4364. | Read more

Cheah PY, Tangseefa D, Somsaman A, Chunsuttiwat T, Nosten F, Day NP, Bull S, Parker M. 2015. Perceived Benefits, Harms, and Views About How to Share Data Responsibly: A Qualitative Study of Experiences With and Attitudes Toward Data Sharing Among Research Staff and Community Representatives in Thailand. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics, 10 (3), pp. 278-289. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Thailand Major Overseas Programme coordinates large multi-center studies in tropical medicine and generates vast amounts of data. As the data sharing movement gains momentum, we wanted to understand attitudes and experiences of relevant stakeholders about what constitutes good data sharing practice. We conducted 15 interviews and three focus groups discussions involving 25 participants and found that they generally saw data sharing as something positive. Data sharing was viewed as a means to contribute to scientific progress and lead to better quality analysis, better use of resources, greater accountability, and more outputs. However, there were also important reservations including potential harms to research participants, their communities, and the researchers themselves. Given these concerns, several areas for discussion were identified: data standardization, appropriate consent models, and governance.

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR et al. 2015. Erratum for Parry et al., Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (7), pp. 4364. | Read more

Suttisunhakul V, Chantratita N, Wikraiphat C, Wuthiekanun V, Douglas Z, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Brett PJ, Burtnick MN. 2015. Evaluation of Polysaccharide-Based Latex Agglutination Assays for the Rapid Detection of Antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (3), pp. 542-546. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a severe disease caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Diagnosis of melioidosis currently relies on the isolation of B. pseudomallei from clinical samples, which can take several days. An indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA) is widely used for serodiagnosis, but it has a short shelf life, is poorly standardized, and requires a viable bacteria culture performed in a biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory. To improve the diagnostic methods, we have developed two rapid latex agglutination tests based on purified B. pseudomallei O-polysaccharide (OPS) and capsular polysaccharide (CPS) antigens. The immunodiagnostic potential of these tests was evaluated using serum from culture-confirmed melioidosis patients (N = 143) and healthy donors from either endemic (N = 199) or non-endemic areas (N = 90). The sensitivity of the OPS-based latex agglutination assay (OPS-latex; 84.4%) was significantly higher than both the CPS-latex (69.5%) (P < 0.001) and IHA (69.5%) (P = 0.001). When evaluated with Thai donor serum, the OPS-latex had comparable specificity (56.9%) to the CPS-latex (63.8%) (P = 0.053), but was significantly lower than the IHA (67.6%) (P = 0.002). In contrast, all tests with U.S. donor serum were highly specific (≥ 97.8%). These results suggest that polysaccharide-based latex agglutination assays may be useful for serodiagnosis of melioidosis in non-endemic areas.

Garcia-Laorden MI, Blok DC, Kager LM, Hoogendijk AJ, van Mierlo GJ, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R et al. 2015. Increased intra- and extracellular granzyme expression in patients with tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 95 (5), pp. 575-580. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis (TB) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Granzymes (gzms) are proteases mainly found in cytotoxic lymphocytes, but also extracellularly. While the role of gzms in target cell death has been widely characterized, considerable evidence points towards broader roles related to infectious and inflammatory responses. To investigate the expression of the gzms in TB, intracellular gzms A, B and K were measured by flow cytometry in lymphocyte populations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 18 TB patients and 12 healthy donors from Bangladesh, and extracellular levels of gzmA and B were measured in serum from 58 TB patients and 31 healthy controls. TB patients showed increased expression of gzmA in CD8(+) T, CD4(+) T and CD56(+) T, but not NK, cells, and of gzmB in CD8(+) T cells, when compared to controls. GzmK expression was not altered in TB patients in any lymphocyte subset. The extracellular levels of gzmA and, to a lesser extent, of gzmB, were increased in TB patients, but did not correlate with intracellular gzm expression in lymphocyte subsets. Our results reveal enhanced intra- and extracellular expression of gzmA and B in patients with pulmonary TB, suggesting that gzms are part of the host response to tuberculosis.

Maude RR, de Jong HK, Wijedoru L, Fukushima M, Ghose A, Samad R, Hossain MA, Karim MR, Faiz MA, Parry CM, CMCH Typhoid Study Group. 2015. The diagnostic accuracy of three rapid diagnostic tests for typhoid fever at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Trop Med Int Health, 20 (10), pp. 1376-1384. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of three rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for typhoid fever in febrile hospitalised patients in Bangladesh. METHODS: Febrile adults and children admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Bangladesh, were investigated with Bact/Alert(®) blood cultures and real-time PCR to detect Salmonella enterica Typhi and Paratyphi A and assays for Rickettsia, leptospirosis and dengue fever. Acute serum samples were examined with the LifeAssay (LA) Test-it™ Typhoid IgM lateral flow assay detecting IgM antibodies against S. Typhi O antigen, CTKBiotech Onsite Typhoid IgG/IgM Combo Rapid-test cassette lateral flow assay detecting IgG and IgM antibodies against S. Typhi O and H antigens and SD Bioline line assay for IgG and IgM antibodies against S. Typhi proteins. RESULTS: In 300 malaria smear-negative febrile patients [median (IQR) age of 13.5 (5-31) years], 34 (11.3%) had confirmed typhoid fever: 19 positive by blood culture for S. Typhi (three blood PCR positive) and 15 blood culture negative but PCR positive for S. Typhi in blood. The respective sensitivity and specificity of the three RDTs in patients using a composite reference standard of blood culture and/or PCR-confirmed typhoid fever were 59% and 61% for LifeAssay, 59% and 74% for the CTK IgM and/or IgG, and 24% and 96% for the SD Bioline RDT IgM and/or IgG. The LifeAssay RDT had a sensitivity of 63% and a specificity of 91% when modified with a positive cut-off of ≥2+ and analysed using a Bayesian latent class model. CONCLUSIONS: These typhoid RDTs demonstrated moderate diagnostic accuracies, and better tests are needed.

Dittrich S, Sunyakumthorn P, Rattanavong S, Phetsouvanh R, Panyanivong P, Sengduangphachanh A, Phouminh P, Anantatat T et al. 2015. Blood-Brain Barrier Function and Biomarkers of Central Nervous System Injury in Rickettsial Versus Other Neurological Infections in Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (2), pp. 232-237. | Show Abstract | Read more

Blood-brain barrier (BBB) function and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers were measured in patients admitted to hospital with severe neurological infections in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (N = 66), including bacterial meningitis (BM; N = 9) or tuberculosis meningitis (TBM; N = 11), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV; N = 25), and rickettsial infections (N = 21) including murine and scrub typhus patients. The albumin index (AI) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) levels were significantly higher in BM and TBM than other diseases but were also raised in individual rickettsial patients. Total tau protein was significantly raised in the CSF of JEV patients. No differences were found between clinical or neurological symptoms, AI, or biomarker levels that allowed distinction between severe neurological involvement by Orientia tsutsugamushi compared with Rickettsia species.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Langla S, White NJ, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2015. Antimicrobial Disk Susceptibility Testing of Leptospira spp. Using Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) Agar. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 93 (2), pp. 241-243. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) agar was used to develop a disk diffusion assay for Leptospira spp. Ten pathogenic Leptospira isolates were tested, all of which were susceptible to 17 antimicrobial agents (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, amoxicillin, azithromycin, cefoxitin, ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, doripenem, doxycycline, gentamicin, linezolid, nitrofurantoin, penicillin, piperacillin/tazobactam, and tetracycline). All 10 isolates had no zone of growth inhibition for four antimicrobials (fosfomycin, nalidixic acid, rifampicin, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole). Of the ten Leptospira, seven had a growth inhibition zone of ≤ 21 mm for aztreonam, the zone diameter susceptibility break point for Enterobacteriaceae. This assay could find utility as a simple screening method during the epidemiological surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Leptospira spp.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Hossain MA, Anstey NM, Charunwatthana P, Maude RJ, Kingston HW, Mishra SK et al. 2015. Microvascular obstruction and endothelial activation are independently associated with the clinical manifestations of severe falciparum malaria in adults: an observational study. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 122. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Microvascular obstruction and endothelial dysfunction have both been linked to tissue hypoperfusion in falciparum malaria, but their relative contributions to the disease's pathogenesis and outcome are unknown. METHODS: Microvascular blood flow was quantified in adults with severe falciparum malaria on their admission to hospital; plasma biomarkers of endothelial function were measured simultaneously. The relationship between these indices and the patients' clinical findings and in-hospital course was examined. RESULTS: Microvascular obstruction was observed in 119/142 (84 %) patients; a median (interquartile range (IQR)) of 14.9 % (6.6-34.9 %) of capillaries were obstructed in patients that died versus 8.3 % (1.7-26.6 %) in survivors (P = 0.039). The proportion of obstructed capillaries correlated with the estimated parasite biomass (rs = 0.25, P = 0.004) and with plasma lactate (rs = 0.38, P <0.0001), the strongest predictor of death in the series. Plasma angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) concentrations were markedly elevated suggesting widespread endothelial activation; the median (IQR) Ang-2 concentration was 21.9 ng/mL (13.4-29.4 ng/mL) in patients that died versus 14.9 ng/mL (9.8-29.3 ng/mL) in survivors (P = 0.035). Ang-2 concentrations correlated with estimated parasite biomass (rs = 0.35, P <0.001) and plasma lactate (rs = 0.37, P <0.0001). Microvascular obstruction and Ang-2 concentrations were not significantly correlated with each other (rs = 0.17, P = 0.06), but were independently associated with plasma lactate (P <0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Microvascular obstruction and systemic endothelial activation are independently associated with plasma lactate, the strongest predictor of death in adults with falciparum malaria. This supports the hypothesis that the two processes make an independent contribution to the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of the disease.

Hantrakun V, Chierakul W, Chetchotisakd P, Anunnatsiri S, Currie BJ, Peacock SJ, Day NP, Cheah PY, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y. 2015. Cost-effectiveness analysis of parenteral antimicrobials for acute melioidosis in Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 109 (6), pp. 416-418. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a common community-acquired infectious disease in northeast Thailand associated with overall mortality of approximately 40% in hospitalized patients, and over 70% in severe cases. Ceftazidime is recommended for parenteral treatment in patients with suspected melioidosis. Meropenem is increasingly used but evidence to support this is lacking. METHODS: A decision tree was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of treating non-severe and severe suspected acute melioidosis cases with either ceftazidime or meropenem. RESULTS: Empirical treatment with meropenem is likely to be cost-effective providing meropenem reduces mortality in severe cases by at least 9% and the proportion with subsequent culture-confirmed melioidosis is over 20%. CONCLUSIONS: In this context, treatment of severe cases with meropenem is likely to be cost-effective, while the evidence to support the use of meropenem in non-severe suspected melioidosis is not yet available.

Saiprom N, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance in clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from Thailand International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 45 (5), pp. 557-559. | Read more

Blacksell SD, Kantipong P, Watthanaworawit W, Turner C, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jintawon S, Laongnuanutit A, Nosten FH, Day NP, Paris DH, Richards AL. 2015. Underrecognized arthropod-borne and zoonotic pathogens in northern and northwestern Thailand: serological evidence and opportunities for awareness. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 15 (5), pp. 285-290. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although scrub typhus and murine typhus are well-described tropical rickettsial illnesses, especially in Southeast Asia, only limited evidence is available for rickettsia-like pathogens contributing to the burden of undifferentiated febrile illness. Using commercially available kits, this study measured immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody seroprevalence for Coxiella burnetii, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, Bartonella henselae, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and spotted fever group rickettsiae (SFGR) in 375 patients enrolled in undifferentiated febrile illness studies at Chiangrai (northern Thailand) and Mae Sot (Thai-Myanmar border). Ehrlichia and SFGR were the most common causes of IgG seropositivity. A distinct relationship between age and seropositivity was found in Chiangrai with acquisition of IgG titers against Ehrlichia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, and SFGR in young adulthood, suggesting cumulative exposure to these pathogens. At Mae Sot, high early IgG titers against Ehrlichia and SFGR were common, whereas Anaplasma and Bartonella IgG titers increased at 50-60 years. Q fever associated with low IgG positivity at both study sites, with significantly higher prevalence at 30 years of age in Chiangrai. These data suggest that other rickettsial illnesses could contribute to the burden of febrile illness in Thailand and possibly adjacent regions. Improved diagnostics and better understanding of antibody longevity and cross-reactivity will improve identification and management of these easily treatable infectious diseases.

Stoesser N, Sheppard AE, Moore CE, Golubchik T, Parry CM, Nget P, Saroeun M, Day NP et al. 2015. Extensive Within-Host Diversity in Fecally Carried Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli Isolates: Implications for Transmission Analyses. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (7), pp. 2122-2131. | Show Abstract | Read more

Studies of the transmission epidemiology of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli, such as strains harboring extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) genes, frequently use selective culture of rectal surveillance swabs to identify isolates for molecular epidemiological investigation. Typically, only single colonies are evaluated, which risks underestimating species diversity and transmission events. We sequenced the genomes of 16 E. coli colonies from each of eight fecal samples (n = 127 genomes; one failure), taken from different individuals in Cambodia, a region of high ESBL-producing E. coli prevalence. Sequence data were used to characterize both the core chromosomal diversity of E. coli isolates and their resistance/virulence gene content as a proxy measure of accessory genome diversity. The 127 E. coli genomes represented 31 distinct sequence types (STs). Seven (88%) of eight subjects carried ESBL-positive isolates, all containing blaCTX-M variants. Diversity was substantial, with a median of four STs/individual (range, 1 to 10) and wide genetic divergence at the nucleotide level within some STs. In 2/8 (25%) individuals, the same blaCTX-M variant occurred in different clones, and/or different blaCTX-M variants occurred in the same clone. Patterns of other resistance genes and common virulence factors, representing differences in the accessory genome, were also diverse within and between clones. The substantial diversity among intestinally carried ESBL-positive E. coli bacteria suggests that fecal surveillance, particularly if based on single-colony subcultures, will likely underestimate transmission events, especially in high-prevalence settings.

Cooper BS, Kotirum S, Kulpeng W, Praditsitthikorn N, Chittaganpitch M, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Coker R, Teerawattananon Y, Meeyai A. 2015. Mortality attributable to seasonal influenza A and B infections in Thailand, 2005-2009: a longitudinal study. Am J Epidemiol, 181 (11), pp. 898-907. | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza epidemiology differs substantially in tropical and temperate zones, but estimates of seasonal influenza mortality in developing countries in the tropics are lacking. We aimed to quantify mortality due to seasonal influenza in Thailand, a tropical middle-income country. Time series of polymerase chain reaction-confirmed influenza infections between 2005 and 2009 were constructed from a sentinel surveillance network. These were combined with influenza-like illness data to derive measures of influenza activity and relationships to mortality by using a Bayesian regression framework. We estimated 6.1 (95% credible interval: 0.5, 12.4) annual deaths per 100,000 population attributable to influenza A and B, predominantly in those aged ≥60 years, with the largest contribution from influenza A(H1N1) in 3 out of 4 years. For A(H3N2), the relationship between influenza activity and mortality varied over time. Influenza was associated with increases in deaths classified as resulting from respiratory disease (posterior probability of positive association, 99.8%), cancer (98.6%), renal disease (98.0%), and liver disease (99.2%). No association with circulatory disease mortality was found. Seasonal influenza infections are associated with substantial mortality in Thailand, but evidence for the strong relationship between influenza activity and circulatory disease mortality reported in temperate countries is lacking.

Bousfield R, Thyl M, Samol O, Rithea L, Sona S, Chhat HP, Poda S, Moore CE et al. 2016. A retrospective study of factors which determine a negative blood culture in Cambodian children diagnosed with enteric fever. Paediatr Int Child Health, 36 (2), pp. 118-121. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Blood cultures are used to confirm a diagnosis of enteric fever but reported sensitivities can be as low as 40%. AIMS: To determine the factors associated with a negative blood culture in Cambodian children with suspected enteric fever. METHODS: In a retrospective study of hospitalised Cambodian children given a discharge diagnosis of enteric fever, the following factors associated with a negative blood culture were analysed: age, blood culture volume, prior antibiotic therapy, duration of illness and disease severity. RESULTS: In 227 hospitalised Cambodian children with a discharge diagnosis of enteric fever, it was confirmed in 70% by a positive blood culture. There was no association between a negative blood culture and younger age, lower blood volumes for culture, prior antibiotic therapy, a late presentation or milder disease. CONCLUSIONS: Although blood culture sensitivity was higher than expected, alternative simple, rapid and sensitive tests are needed for diagnosing enteric fever.

Cooper BS, Boni MF, Pan-ngum W, Day NP, Horby PW, Olliaro P, Lang T, White NJ, White LJ, Whitehead J. 2015. Evaluating clinical trial designs for investigational treatments of Ebola virus disease. PLoS Med, 12 (4), pp. e1001815. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Experimental treatments for Ebola virus disease (EVD) might reduce EVD mortality. There is uncertainty about the ability of different clinical trial designs to identify effective treatments, and about the feasibility of implementing individually randomised controlled trials during an Ebola epidemic. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A treatment evaluation programme for use in EVD was devised using a multi-stage approach (MSA) with two or three stages, including both non-randomised and randomised elements. The probabilities of rightly or wrongly recommending the experimental treatment, the required sample size, and the consequences for epidemic outcomes over 100 d under two epidemic scenarios were compared for the MSA, a sequential randomised controlled trial (SRCT) with up to 20 interim analyses, and, as a reference case, a conventional randomised controlled trial (RCT) without interim analyses. Assuming 50% 14-d survival in the population treated with the current standard of supportive care, all designs had similar probabilities of identifying effective treatments correctly, while the MSA was less likely to recommend treatments that were ineffective. The MSA led to a smaller number of cases receiving ineffective treatments and faster roll-out of highly effective treatments. For less effective treatments, the MSA had a high probability of including an RCT component, leading to a somewhat longer time to roll-out or rejection. Assuming 100 new EVD cases per day, the MSA led to between 6% and 15% greater reductions in epidemic mortality over the first 100 d for highly effective treatments compared to the SRCT. Both the MSA and SRCT led to substantially fewer deaths than a conventional RCT if the tested interventions were either highly effective or harmful. In the proposed MSA, the major threat to the validity of the results of the non-randomised components is that referral patterns, standard of care, or the virus itself may change during the study period in ways that affect mortality. Adverse events are also harder to quantify without a concurrent control group. CONCLUSIONS: The MSA discards ineffective treatments quickly, while reliably providing evidence concerning effective treatments. The MSA is appropriate for the clinical evaluation of EVD treatments.

Suwanpakdee S, Kaewkungwal J, White LJ, Asensio N, Ratanakorn P, Singhasivanon P, Day NP, Pan-Ngum W. 2015. Spatio-temporal patterns of leptospirosis in Thailand: is flooding a risk factor? Epidemiol Infect, 143 (10), pp. 2106-2115. | Show Abstract | Read more

We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR et al. 2015. Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (5), pp. 2756-2764. | Show Abstract | Read more

Azithromycin is an effective treatment for uncomplicated infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi A (enteric fever), but there are no clinically validated MIC and disk zone size interpretative guidelines. We studied individual patient data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever in Vietnam, with azithromycin used in one treatment arm, to determine the relationship between azithromycin treatment response and the azithromycin MIC of the infecting isolate. We additionally compared the azithromycin MIC and the disk susceptibility zone sizes of 1,640 S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A clinical isolates collected from seven Asian countries. In the RCTs, 214 patients who were treated with azithromycin at a dose of 10 to 20 mg/ml for 5 to 7 days were analyzed. Treatment was successful in 195 of 214 (91%) patients, with no significant difference in response (cure rate, fever clearance time) with MICs ranging from 4 to 16 μg/ml. The proportion of Asian enteric fever isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml was 1,452/1,460 (99.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.9 to 99.7) for S. Typhi and 207/240 (86.3%; 95% CI, 81.2 to 90.3) (P < 0.001) for S. Paratyphi A. A zone size of ≥ 13 mm to a 5-μg azithromycin disk identified S. Typhi isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 99.7%. An azithromycin MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml or disk inhibition zone size of ≥ 13 mm enabled the detection of susceptible S. Typhi isolates that respond to azithromycin treatment. Further work is needed to define the response to treatment in S. Typhi isolates with an azithromycin MIC of >16 μg/ml and to determine MIC and disk breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.

Blok DC, Kager LM, Hoogendijk AJ, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R, Bresser P, van der Zee JS et al. 2015. Expression of inhibitory regulators of innate immunity in patients with active tuberculosis. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 98. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Toll-like-receptors (TLRs) are important for the recognition of the causative agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Negative regulation of TLRs is necessary to control deleterious inflammatory damage, but could provide a means of immune evasion by M. tuberculosis as well. METHODS: To obtain insight in the extent of expression of inhibitory regulators of immunity in patients with active TB, peripheral-blood-mononuclear-cells (PBMCs) and plasma were obtained from 54 TB patients and 29 healthy blood donors from Chittagong, Bangladesh. Bilateral alveolar macrophages were obtained from an infected versus a contralateral normal lung segment of 9 patients. Statistical analyses were performed using Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon matched pairs testing. Correlations were calculated using the Spearman rho test. RESULTS: PBMCs harvested from TB patients demonstrated increased mRNA expression of IL-1-receptor-associated-kinase-M, suppressor-of-cytokine-signalling-3 and Toll-interacting-protein. Flow cytometry revealed enhanced expression of IL-1-receptor-like-1 (ST2) on lymphocytes. Plasma soluble ST2 was elevated in patients with TB and correlated with established TB biomarkers, most strongly with soluble interleukin-2 receptor subunit α and interleukin-8. Alveolar macrophage mRNA expression of negative TLR regulators did not differ between the infected and contralateral lung side. CONCLUSION: These results show enhanced expression of distinct negative regulators of innate immunity in PBMCs of patients with TB and identify plasma soluble ST2 as a potential novel biomarker for TB disease activity.

Moore CE, Sona S, Poda S, Putchhat H, Kumar V, Sopheary S, Stoesser N, Bousfield R, Day N, Parry CM. 2016. Antimicrobial susceptibility of uropathogens isolated from Cambodian children. Paediatr Int Child Health, 36 (2), pp. 113-117. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bacterial resistance to commonly used antimicrobials is an increasing problem in Asia but information concerning the antimicrobial susceptibility of bacteria causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children is limited. METHODS: This was a 5-year retrospective study of children with suspected UTI attending a paediatric hospital in north-west Cambodia. Urines with a positive culture containing a single organism with a count of >10(5) colony-forming units (CFU)/ml were considered diagnostic of infection. The organism was identified and the resistance pattern (using CLSI guidelines) and presence of an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) phenotype was determined. RESULTS: In total, there were 217 episodes of infection, 210 (97%) with Gram-negative bacteria. Escherichia coli was the most common infecting isolate with high levels of resistance to most oral antibiotics, except nitrofurantoin. Nearly half of the E. coli (44%) were extended-spectrum cephalosporin (ESC)-resistant with the proportion increasing significantly over the 5-year period. ESC-resistant E. coli were more likely to be multi-drug-resistant and 91% demonstrated an ESBL phenotype. CONCLUSION: The data highlight the importance of microbiological surveillance of UTIs in children, particularly in areas where there are known to be multiply resistant organisms.

Tun KM, Imwong M, Lwin KM, Win AA, Hlaing TM, Hlaing T, Lin K, Kyaw MP et al. 2015. Spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Myanmar: a cross-sectional survey of the K13 molecular marker. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (4), pp. 415-421. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Emergence of artemisinin resistance in southeast Asia poses a serious threat to the global control of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Discovery of the K13 marker has transformed approaches to the monitoring of artemisinin resistance, allowing introduction of molecular surveillance in remote areas through analysis of DNA. We aimed to assess the spread of artemisinin-resistant P falciparum in Myanmar by determining the relative prevalence of P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations. METHODS: We did this cross-sectional survey at malaria treatment centres at 55 sites in ten administrative regions in Myanmar, and in relevant border regions in Thailand and Bangladesh, between January, 2013, and September, 2014. K13 sequences from P falciparum infections were obtained mainly by passive case detection. We entered data into two geostatistical models to produce predictive maps of the estimated prevalence of mutations of the K13 propeller region across Myanmar. FINDINGS: Overall, 371 (39%) of 940 samples carried a K13-propeller mutation. We recorded 26 different mutations, including nine mutations not described previously in southeast Asia. In seven (70%) of the ten administrative regions of Myanmar, the combined K13-mutation prevalence was more than 20%. Geospatial mapping showed that the overall prevalence of K13 mutations exceeded 10% in much of the east and north of the country. In Homalin, Sagaing Region, 25 km from the Indian border, 21 (47%) of 45 parasite samples carried K13-propeller mutations. INTERPRETATION: Artemisinin resistance extends across much of Myanmar. We recorded P falciparum parasites carrying K13-propeller mutations at high prevalence next to the northwestern border with India. Appropriate therapeutic regimens should be tested urgently and implemented comprehensively if spread of artemisinin resistance to other regions is to be avoided. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust-Mahidol University-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Saiprom N, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2015. Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole resistance in clinical isolates of Burkholderia pseudomallei from Thailand. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 45 (5), pp. 557-559. | Read more

Thompson CN, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Arjyal A, Karkey A, Dongol S, Giri A, Dolecek C et al. 2015. Undifferentiated febrile illness in Kathmandu, Nepal. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (4), pp. 875-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Undifferentiated febrile illnesses (UFIs) are common in low- and middle-income countries. We prospectively investigated the causes of UFIs in 627 patients presenting to a tertiary referral hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Patients with microbiologically confirmed enteric fever (218 of 627; 34.8%) randomized to gatifloxacin or ofloxacin treatment were previously reported. We randomly selected 125 of 627 (20%) of these UFI patients, consisting of 96 of 409 (23%) cases with sterile blood cultures and 29 of 218 (13%) cases with enteric fever, for additional diagnostic investigations. We found serological evidence of acute murine typhus in 21 of 125 (17%) patients, with 12 of 21 (57%) patients polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive for Rickettsia typhi. Three UFI cases were quantitative PCR-positive for Rickettsia spp., two UFI cases were seropositive for Hantavirus, and one UFI case was seropositive for Q fever. Fever clearance time (FCT) for rickettsial infection was 44.5 hours (interquartile range = 26-66 hours), and there was no difference in FCT between ofloxacin or gatifloxacin. Murine typhus represents an important cause of predominantly urban UFIs in Nepal, and fluoroquinolones seem to be an effective empirical treatment.

Paris DH, Chattopadhyay S, Jiang J, Nawtaisong P, Lee JS, Tan E, Dela Cruz E, Burgos J et al. 2015. A nonhuman primate scrub typhus model: protective immune responses induced by pKarp47 DNA vaccination in cynomolgus macaques. J Immunol, 194 (4), pp. 1702-1716. | Show Abstract | Read more

We developed an intradermal (ID) challenge cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) model of scrub typhus, the leading cause of treatable undifferentiated febrile illness in tropical Asia, caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium, Orientia tsutsugamushi. A well-characterized animal model is required for the development of clinically relevant diagnostic assays and evaluation of therapeutic agents and candidate vaccines. We investigated scrub typhus disease pathophysiology and evaluated two O. tsutsugamushi 47-kDa, Ag-based candidate vaccines, a DNA plasmid vaccine (pKarp47), and a virus-vectored vaccine (Kp47/47-Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particle) for safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy against homologous ID challenge with O. tsutsugamushi Karp. Control cynomolgus macaques developed fever, classic eschars, lymphadenopathy, bacteremia, altered liver function, increased WBC counts, pathogen-specific Ab (IgM and IgG), and cell-mediated immune responses. Vaccinated macaques receiving the DNA plasmid pKarp47 vaccine had significantly increased O. tsutsugamushi-specific, IFN-γ-producing PBMCs (p = 0.04), reduced eschar frequency and bacteremia duration (p ≤ 0.01), delayed bacteremia onset (p < 0.05), reduced circulating bacterial biomass (p = 0.01), and greater reduction of liver transaminase levels (p < 0.03) than controls. This study demonstrates a vaccine-induced immune response capable of conferring sterile immunity against high-dose homologous ID challenge of O. tsutsugamushi in a nonhuman primate model, and it provides insight into cell-mediated immune control of O. tsutsugamushi and dissemination dynamics, highlights the importance of bacteremia indices for evaluation of both natural and vaccine-induced immune responses, and importantly, to our knowledge, has determined the first phenotypic correlates of immune protection in scrub typhus. We conclude that this model is suitable for detailed investigations into vaccine-induced immune responses and correlates of immunity for scrub typhus.

Miotto O, Amato R, Ashley EA, MacInnis B, Almagro-Garcia J, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Mead D et al. 2015. Genetic architecture of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Nat Genet, 47 (3), pp. 226-234. | Show Abstract | Read more

We report a large multicenter genome-wide association study of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin, the frontline antimalarial drug. Across 15 locations in Southeast Asia, we identified at least 20 mutations in kelch13 (PF3D7_1343700) affecting the encoded propeller and BTB/POZ domains, which were associated with a slow parasite clearance rate after treatment with artemisinin derivatives. Nonsynonymous polymorphisms in fd (ferredoxin), arps10 (apicoplast ribosomal protein S10), mdr2 (multidrug resistance protein 2) and crt (chloroquine resistance transporter) also showed strong associations with artemisinin resistance. Analysis of the fine structure of the parasite population showed that the fd, arps10, mdr2 and crt polymorphisms are markers of a genetic background on which kelch13 mutations are particularly likely to arise and that they correlate with the contemporary geographical boundaries and population frequencies of artemisinin resistance. These findings indicate that the risk of new resistance-causing mutations emerging is determined by specific predisposing genetic factors in the underlying parasite population.

Stoesser N, Mathers AJ, Moore CE, Day NP, Crook DW. 2016. Colistin resistance gene mcr-1 and pHNSHP45 plasmid in human isolates of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (3), pp. 285-286. | Read more

Hoogendijk AJ, Blok DC, Garcia Laorden MI, Kager LM, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R, Bresser P et al. 2015. Soluble and cell-associated triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 and -2 in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. J Infect, 71 (6), pp. 706-709. | Read more

Turner P, Turner C, Suy K, Soeng S, Ly S, Miliya T, Goldblatt D, Day NP. 2015. Pneumococcal Infection among Children before Introduction of 13-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Cambodia. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (11), pp. 2080-2083. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination of children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was initiated in Cambodia in 2015. To determine baseline data, we collected samples from children in 2013 and 2014. PCV13 serotypes accounted for 62.7% of colonizing organisms in outpatients and 88.4% of invasive pneumococci overall; multidrug resistance was common. Thus, effectiveness of vaccination should be high.

Lim C, Blacksell SD, Laongnualpanich A, Kantipong P, Day NP, Paris DH, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. Optimal Cutoff Titers for Indirect Immunofluorescence Assay for Diagnosis of Scrub Typhus. J Clin Microbiol, 53 (11), pp. 3663-3666. | Show Abstract | Read more

We determined the optimal cutoff titers in admission and convalescent-phase samples for scrub typhus indirect immunofluorescence assay using Bayesian latent class models. Cutoff titers of ≥1:3,200 in an admission sample or of a ≥4-fold rise to ≥1:3,200 in a convalescent-phase sample provided the highest accuracy (sensitivity, 81.6%; specificity, 100%).

Garcia-Laorden MI, Blok DC, Kager LM, Hoogendijk AJ, Van Mierlo GJ, Lede IO, Rahman W, Afroz R et al. 2015. Increased intra- and extracellular granzyme expression in patients with tuberculosis Tuberculosis, 95 (5), pp. 575-580. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.Summary Tuberculosis (TB) is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Granzymes (gzms) are proteases mainly found in cytotoxic lymphocytes, but also extracellularly. While the role of gzms in target cell death has been widely characterized, considerable evidence points towards broader roles related to infectious and inflammatory responses. To investigate the expression of the gzms in TB, intracellular gzms A, B and K were measured by flow cytometry in lymphocyte populations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 18 TB patients and 12 healthy donors from Bangladesh, and extracellular levels of gzmA and B were measured in serum from 58 TB patients and 31 healthy controls. TB patients showed increased expression of gzmA in CD8+ T, CD4+ T and CD56+ T, but not NK, cells, and of gzmB in CD8+ T cells, when compared to controls. GzmK expression was not altered in TB patients in any lymphocyte subset. The extracellular levels of gzmA and, to a lesser extent, of gzmB, were increased in TB patients, but did not correlate with intracellular gzm expression in lymphocyte subsets. Our results reveal enhanced intra- and extracellular expression of gzmA and B in patients with pulmonary TB, suggesting that gzms are part of the host response to tuberculosis.

Imwong M, Tun KM, Hlaing TM, Grist EP, Guerin P, Smithuis F, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Nosten F, White N, Woodrow CJ. 2015. Artemisinin resistance in Myanmar--Authors' reply. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (9), pp. 1002-1003. | Read more

Luangasanatip N, Hongsuwan M, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y, Lee AS, Harbarth S, Day NP, Graves N, Cooper BS. 2015. Comparative efficacy of interventions to promote hand hygiene in hospital: systematic review and network meta-analysis. BMJ, 351 pp. h3728. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the relative efficacy of the World Health Organization 2005 campaign (WHO-5) and other interventions to promote hand hygiene among healthcare workers in hospital settings and to summarize associated information on use of resources. DESIGN: Systematic review and network meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, Cochrane Library, and the EPOC register (December 2009 to February 2014); studies selected by the same search terms in previous systematic reviews (1980-2009). REVIEW METHODS: Included studies were randomised controlled trials, non-randomised trials, controlled before-after trials, and interrupted time series studies implementing an intervention to improve compliance with hand hygiene among healthcare workers in hospital settings and measuring compliance or appropriate proxies that met predefined quality inclusion criteria. When studies had not used appropriate analytical methods, primary data were re-analysed. Random effects and network meta-analyses were performed on studies reporting directly observed compliance with hand hygiene when they were considered sufficiently homogeneous with regard to interventions and participants. Information on resources required for interventions was extracted and graded into three levels. RESULTS: Of 3639 studies retrieved, 41 met the inclusion criteria (six randomised controlled trials, 32 interrupted time series, one non-randomised trial, and two controlled before-after studies). Meta-analysis of two randomised controlled trials showed the addition of goal setting to WHO-5 was associated with improved compliance (pooled odds ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.04 to 1.76; I(2)=81%). Of 22 pairwise comparisons from interrupted time series, 18 showed stepwise increases in compliance with hand hygiene, and all but four showed a trend for increasing compliance after the intervention. Network meta-analysis indicated considerable uncertainty in the relative effectiveness of interventions, but nonetheless provided evidence that WHO-5 is effective and that compliance can be further improved by adding interventions including goal setting, reward incentives, and accountability. Nineteen studies reported clinical outcomes; data from these were consistent with clinically important reductions in rates of infection resulting from improved hand hygiene for some but not all important hospital pathogens. Reported costs of interventions ranged from $225 to $4669 (£146-£3035; €204-€4229) per 1000 bed days. CONCLUSION: Promotion of hand hygiene with WHO-5 is effective at increasing compliance in healthcare workers. Addition of goal setting, reward incentives, and accountability strategies can lead to further improvements. Reporting of resources required for such interventions remains inadequate.

Suwanpakdee S, Kaewkungwal J, White LJ, Asensio N, Ratanakorn P, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, Pan-Ngum W. 2015. Spatio-temporal patterns of leptospirosis in Thailand: Is flooding a risk factor? Epidemiology and Infection, 143 (10), pp. 2106-2115. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Cambridge University Press.We studied the temporal and spatial patterns of leptospirosis, its association with flooding and animal census data in Thailand. Flood data from 2010 to 2012 were extracted from spatial information taken from satellite images. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) was used to determine the relationship between spatio-temporal flooding patterns and the number of human leptospirosis cases. In addition, the area of flood coverage, duration of waterlogging, time lags between flood events, and a number of potential animal reservoirs were considered in a sub-analysis. There was no significant temporal trend of leptospirosis over the study period. Statistical analysis showed an inconsistent relationship between IRR and flooding across years and regions. Spatially, leptospirosis occurred repeatedly and predominantly in northeastern Thailand. Our findings suggest that flooding is less influential in leptospirosis transmission than previously assumed. High incidence of the disease in the northeastern region is explained by the fact that agriculture and animal farming are important economic activities in this area. The periodic rise and fall of reported leptospirosis cases over time might be explained by seasonal exposure from rice farming activities performed during the rainy season when flood events often occur. We conclude that leptospirosis remains an occupational disease in Thailand.

Lim C, Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Laongnualpanich A, Kantipong P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Cooper BS, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. How to Determine the Accuracy of an Alternative Diagnostic Test when It Is Actually Better than the Reference Tests: A Re-Evaluation of Diagnostic Tests for Scrub Typhus Using Bayesian LCMs. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0114930. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) is considered a reference test for scrub typhus. Recently, the Scrub Typhus Infection Criteria (STIC; a combination of culture, PCR assays and IFA IgM) were proposed as a reference standard for evaluating alternative diagnostic tests. Here, we use Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) to estimate the true accuracy of each diagnostic test, and of STIC, for diagnosing scrub typhus. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from 161 patients with undifferentiated fever were re-evaluated using Bayesian LCMs. Every patient was evaluated for the presence of an eschar, and tested with blood culture for Orientia tsutsugamushi, three different PCR assays, IFA IgM, and the Panbio IgM immunochromatographic test (ICT). True sensitivity and specificity of culture (24.4% and 100%), 56kDa PCR assay (56.8% and 98.4%), 47kDa PCR assay (63.2% and 96.1%), groEL PCR assay (71.4% and 93.0%), IFA IgM (70.0% and 83.8%), PanBio IgM ICT (72.8% and 96.8%), presence of eschar (42.7% and 98.9%) and STIC (90.5% and 82.5%) estimated by Bayesian LCM were considerably different from those obtained when using STIC as a reference standard. The IgM ICT had comparable sensitivity and significantly higher specificity compared to IFA (p=0.34 and p<0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The low specificity of STIC was caused by the low specificity of IFA IgM. Neither STIC nor IFA IgM can be used as reference standards against which to evaluate alternative diagnostic tests. Further evaluation of new diagnostic tests should be done with a carefully selected set of diagnostic tests and appropriate statistical models.

Moore CE, Nget P, Saroeun M, Kuong S, Chanthou S, Kumar V, Bousfield R, Nader J et al. 2015. Intestinal parasite infections in symptomatic children attending hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0123719. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infections with helminths and other intestinal parasites are an important but neglected problem in children in developing countries. Accurate surveys of intestinal parasites in children inform empirical treatment regimens and can assess the impact of school based drug treatment programmes. There is limited information on this topic in Cambodia. METHODS: In a prospective study of intestinal parasites in symptomatic children attending Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia, April-June 2012, samples were examined by microscopy of a direct and concentrated fecal sample. Two culture methods for hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were employed when sufficient sample was received. Demographic, clinical and epidemiological data were collected. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We studied 970 samples from 865 children. The median (inter-quartile range) age of the children was 5.4 (1.9-9.2) years, 54% were male. The proportion of children with abdominal pain was 66.8%, diarrhea 34.9%, anemia 12.7% and malnutrition 7.4%. 458 parasitic infections were detected in 340 (39.3%) children. The most common parasites using all methods of detection were hookworm (14.3%), Strongyloides stercoralis (11.6%) and Giardia lamblia (11.2%). Giardia lamblia was most common in children aged 1-5 years, hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were more common with increasing age. Hookworm, Strongloides stercoralis and Giardia lamblia were more common in children living outside of Siem Reap town. In a multivariate logistic regression increasing age was associated with all three infections, defecating in the forest for hookworm infection, the presence of cattle for S. stercoralis and not using soap for handwashing for G. lamblia. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study confirms the importance of intestinal parasitic infections in symptomatic Cambodian children and the need for adequate facilities for laboratory diagnosis together with education to improve personal hygiene and sanitation.

Hanson J, Phu NH, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Prapansilp P, Kingston HW et al. 2015. The clinical implications of thrombocytopenia in adults with severe falciparum malaria: a retrospective analysis. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Thrombocytopenia is a common finding in adults with severe falciparum malaria, but its clinical and prognostic utility is incompletely defined. METHODS: Clinical and laboratory data from 647 adults with severe falciparum malaria were analysed retrospectively to determine the relationship between a patient's platelet count on admission to hospital and their subsequent clinical course. RESULTS: On admission, 614 patients (94.9%) were thrombocytopenic (platelet count <150 × 10(9)/L) and 328 (50.7%) had a platelet count <50 × 10(9)/L. The admission platelet count was inversely correlated with parasite biomass (estimated from plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, rs = -0.28, P = 0.003), the degree of microvascular sequestration (measured with orthogonal polarizing spectral imaging, rs = -0.31, P = 0.001) and disease severity (the number of World Health Organization severity criteria satisfied by the patient, rs = -0.21, P <0.001). Platelet counts were lower on admission in the patients who died (median: 30 (interquartile range 22 to 52) × 10(9)/L versus 50 (34 to 78) × 10(9)/L in survivors; P <0.001), but did not predict outcome independently from other established laboratory and clinical prognostic indices. The 39 patients (6%) with profound thrombocytopenia (platelet count <20 × 10(9)/L) were more likely to die (odds ratio: 5.00, 95% confidence interval: 2.56 to 9.75) than patients with higher platelet counts, but these high-risk patients could be identified more rapidly with simple bedside clinical assessment. The admission platelet count did not reliably identify the 50 patients (7.7%) with major bleeding during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombocytopenia is a marker of disease severity in adults with falciparum malaria, but has limited utility in prognostication, triage and management.

Chansrichavala P, Wongsuwan N, Suddee S, Malasit M, Hongsuwan M, Wannapinij P, Kitphati R, Day NP, Michie S, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2015. Public awareness of melioidosis in Thailand and potential use of video clips as educational tools. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0121311. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis causes more than 1,000 deaths in Thailand each year. Infection occurs via inoculation, ingestion or inhalation of the causative organism (Burkholderia pseuodmallei) present in soil and water. Here, we evaluated public awareness of melioidosis using a combination of population-based questionnaire, a public engagement campaign to obtain video clips made by the public, and viewpoints on these video clips as potential educational tools about the disease and its prevention. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed to evaluate public awareness of melioidosis, and knowledge about its prevention. From 1 March to 31 April 2012, the questionnaire was delivered to five randomly selected adults in each of 928 districts in Thailand. A video clip contest entitled "Melioidosis, an infectious disease that Thais must know" was run between May and October 2012. The best 12 video clips judged by a contest committee were shown to 71 people at risk from melioidosis (diabetics). Focus group interviews were used to evaluate their perceptions of the video clips. RESULTS: Of 4,203 Thais who completed our study questionnaire, 74% had never heard of melioidosis, and 19% had heard of the disease but had no further knowledge. Most participants in all focus group sessions felt that video clips were beneficial and could positively influence them to increase adherence to recommended preventive behaviours, including drinking boiled water and wearing protective gear if in contact with soil or environmental water. Participants suggested that video clips should be presented in the local dialect with simple words rather than medical terms, in a serious manner, with a doctor as the one presenting the facts, and having detailed pictures of each recommended prevention method. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, public awareness of melioidosis in Thailand is very low, and video clips could serve as a useful medium to educate people and promote disease prevention. PRESENTED IN PART: World Melioidosis Congress 2013, Bangkok, Thailand, 18-20 September 2013 (abstract OS VII-04).

Carter MJ, Emary KR, Moore CE, Parry CM, Sona S, Putchhat H, Reaksmey S, Chanpheaktra N et al. 2015. Rapid diagnostic tests for dengue virus infection in febrile Cambodian children: diagnostic accuracy and incorporation into diagnostic algorithms. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (2), pp. e0003424. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue virus (DENV) infection is prevalent across tropical regions and may cause severe disease. Early diagnosis may improve supportive care. We prospectively assessed the Standard Diagnostics (Korea) BIOLINE Dengue Duo DENV rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to NS1 antigen and anti-DENV IgM (NS1 and IgM) in children in Cambodia, with the aim of improving the diagnosis of DENV infection. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled children admitted to hospital with non-localised febrile illnesses during the 5-month DENV transmission season. Clinical and laboratory variables, and DENV RDT results were recorded at admission. Children had blood culture and serological and molecular tests for common local pathogens, including reference laboratory DENV NS1 antigen and IgM assays. 337 children were admitted with non-localised febrile illness over 5 months. 71 (21%) had DENV infection (reference assay positive). Sensitivity was 58%, and specificity 85% for RDT NS1 and IgM combined. Conditional inference framework analysis showed the additional value of platelet and white cell counts for diagnosis of DENV infection. Variables associated with diagnosis of DENV infection were not associated with critical care admission (70 children, 21%) or mortality (19 children, 6%). Known causes of mortality were melioidosis (4), other sepsis (5), and malignancy (1). 22 (27%) children with a positive DENV RDT had a treatable other infection. CONCLUSIONS: The DENV RDT had low sensitivity for the diagnosis of DENV infection. The high co-prevalence of infections in our cohort indicates the need for a broad microbiological assessment of non-localised febrile illness in these children.

Mok S, Ashley EA, Ferreira PE, Zhu L, Lin Z, Yeo T, Chotivanich K, Imwong M et al. 2015. Drug resistance. Population transcriptomics of human malaria parasites reveals the mechanism of artemisinin resistance. Science, 347 (6220), pp. 431-435. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum threatens global efforts to control and eliminate malaria. Polymorphisms in the kelch domain-carrying protein K13 are associated with artemisinin resistance, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. We analyzed the in vivo transcriptomes of 1043 P. falciparum isolates from patients with acute malaria and found that artemisinin resistance is associated with increased expression of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways involving the major PROSC and TRiC chaperone complexes. Artemisinin-resistant parasites also exhibit decelerated progression through the first part of the asexual intraerythrocytic development cycle. These findings suggest that artemisinin-resistant parasites remain in a state of decelerated development at the young ring stage, whereas their up-regulated UPR pathways mitigate protein damage caused by artemisinin. The expression profiles of UPR-related genes also associate with the geographical origin of parasite isolates, further suggesting their role in emerging artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Lam PK, Trieu HT, Lubis IN, Loan HT, Thuy TT, Wills B, Parry CM, Day NP, Qui PT, Yen LM, Thwaites CL. 2015. Prognosis of neonatal tetanus in the modern management era: an observational study in 107 Vietnamese infants. Int J Infect Dis, 33 pp. 7-11. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Most data regarding the prognosis in neonatal tetanus originate from regions where limited resources have historically impeded management. It is not known whether recent improvements in critical care facilities in many low- and middle-income countries have affected indicators of a poor prognosis in neonatal tetanus. We aimed to determine the factors associated with worse outcomes in a Vietnamese hospital with neonatal intensive care facilities. METHODS: Data were collected from 107 cases of neonatal tetanus. Clinical features on admission were analyzed against mortality and a combined endpoint of 'death or prolonged hospital stay'. RESULTS: Multivariable analysis showed that only younger age (odds ratio (OR) for mortality 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.48-0.98) and lower weight (OR for mortality 0.06, 95% CI 0.01-0.54) were significantly associated with both the combined endpoint and death. A shorter period of onset (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.88-0.99), raised white cell count (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.02-1.35), and time between first symptom and admission (OR 3.77, 95% CI 1.14-12.51) were also indicators of mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors for a poor outcome in neonatal tetanus in a setting with critical care facilities include younger age, lower weight, delay in admission, and leukocytosis.

White NJ, Ashley EA, Recht J, Delves MJ, Ruecker A, Smithuis FM, Eziefula AC, Bousema T et al. 2014. Assessment of therapeutic responses to gametocytocidal drugs in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 483. | Show Abstract | Read more

Indirect clinical measures assessing anti-malarial drug transmission-blocking activity in falciparum malaria include measurement of the duration of gametocytaemia, the rate of gametocyte clearance or the area under the gametocytaemia-time curve (AUC). These may provide useful comparative information, but they underestimate dose-response relationships for transmission-blocking activity. Following 8-aminoquinoline administration P. falciparum gametocytes are sterilized within hours, whereas clearance from blood takes days. Gametocytaemia AUC and clearance times are determined predominantly by the more numerous female gametocytes, which are generally less drug sensitive than the minority male gametocytes, whereas transmission-blocking activity and thus infectivity is determined by the more sensitive male forms. In choosing doses of transmission-blocking drugs there is no substitute yet for mosquito-feeding studies.

Tong SY, Holden MT, Nickerson EK, Cooper BS, Köser CU, Cori A, Jombart T, Cauchemez S et al. 2015. Genome sequencing defines phylogeny and spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a high transmission setting. Genome Res, 25 (1), pp. 111-118. | Show Abstract | Read more

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of nosocomial infection. Whole-genome sequencing of MRSA has been used to define phylogeny and transmission in well-resourced healthcare settings, yet the greatest burden of nosocomial infection occurs in resource-restricted settings where barriers to transmission are lower. Here, we study the flux and genetic diversity of MRSA on ward and individual patient levels in a hospital where transmission was common. We repeatedly screened all patients on two intensive care units for MRSA carriage over a 3-mo period. All MRSA belonged to multilocus sequence type 239 (ST 239). We defined the population structure and charted the spread of MRSA by sequencing 79 isolates from 46 patients and five members of staff, including the first MRSA-positive screen isolates and up to two repeat isolates where available. Phylogenetic analysis identified a flux of distinct ST 239 clades over time in each intensive care unit. In total, five main clades were identified, which varied in the carriage of plasmids encoding antiseptic and antimicrobial resistance determinants. Sequence data confirmed intra- and interwards transmission events and identified individual patients who were colonized by more than one clade. One patient on each unit was the source of numerous transmission events, and deep sampling of one of these cases demonstrated colonization with a "cloud" of related MRSA variants. The application of whole-genome sequencing and analysis provides novel insights into the transmission of MRSA in under-resourced healthcare settings and has relevance to wider global health.

Hanson J, Anstey NM, Bihari D, White NJ, Day NP, Dondorp AM. 2014. The fluid management of adults with severe malaria. Crit Care, 18 (6), pp. 642. | Show Abstract | Read more

Fluid resuscitation has long been considered a key intervention in the treatment of adults with severe falciparum malaria. Profound hypovolemia is common in these patients and has the potential to exacerbate the acidosis and acute kidney injury that are independent predictors of death. However, new microvascular imaging techniques have shown that disease severity correlates more strongly with obstruction of the microcirculation by parasitized erythrocytes--a process termed sequestration. Fluid loading has little effect on sequestration and increases the risk of complications, particularly pulmonary edema, a condition that can develop suddenly and unpredictably and that is frequently fatal in this population. Accordingly, even if a patient is clinically hypovolemic, if there is an adequate blood pressure and urine output, there may be little advantage in infusing intravenous fluid beyond a maintenance rate of 1 to 2 mL/kg per hour. The optimal agent for fluid resuscitation remains uncertain; significant anemia requires blood transfusion, but colloid solutions may be associated with harm and should be avoided. The preferred crystalloid is unclear, although the use of balanced solutions requires investigation. There are fewer data to guide the fluid management of severe vivax and knowlesi malaria, although a similar conservative strategy would appear prudent.

Boonyuen U, Promnares K, Junkree S, Day NP, Imwong M. 2015. Efficient in vitro refolding and functional characterization of recombinant human liver carboxylesterase (CES1) expressed in E. coli. Protein Expr Purif, 107 pp. 68-75. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human liver carboxylesterase 1 (CES1) plays a critical role in the hydrolysis of various ester- and amide-containing molecules, including active metabolites, drugs and prodrugs. However, it has been problematic to express recombinant CES1 in bacterial expression systems due to low solubility, with the CES1 protein being mainly expressed in inclusion bodies, accompanied by insufficient purity issues. In this study, we report an efficient in vitro method for refolding recombinant CES1 from inclusion bodies. A one-step purification with an immobilized-metal affinity column was utilized to purify His-tagged recombinant CES1. Conveniently, both denaturant and imidazole can be removed while the enzyme is refolded via buffer exchange, a dilution method. We show that the refolding of recombinant CES1 was successful in Tris-HCl at pH 7.5 containing a combination of 1% glycerol and 2 mM β-mercaptoethanol, whereas a mixture of other additives (trehalose, sorbitol and sucrose) and β-mercaptoethanol failed to recover a functional protein. His-tagged recombinant CES1 retains its biological activity after refolding and can be used directly without removing the fusion tag. Altogether, our results provide an alternative method for obtaining a substantial amount of functionally active protein, which is advantageous for further investigations such as structural and functional studies.

Day J, Imran D, Ganiem AR, Tjahjani N, Wahyuningsih R, Adawiyah R, Dance D, Mayxay M et al. 2014. CryptoDex: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of adjunctive dexamethasone in HIV-infected adults with cryptococcal meningitis: study protocol for a randomised control trial. Trials, 15 (1), pp. 441. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a severe AIDS-defining illness with 90-day case mortality as high as 70% in sub-Saharan Africa, despite treatment. It is the leading cause of death in HIV patients in Asia and Africa.No major advance has been made in the treatment of CM since the 1970s. The mainstays of induction therapy are amphotericin B and flucytosine, but these are often poorly available where the disease burden is highest. Adjunctive treatments, such as dexamethasone, have had dramatic effects on mortality in other neurologic infections, but are untested in CM. Given the high death rates in patients receiving current optimal treatment, and the lack of new agents on the horizon, adjuvant treatments, which offer the potential to reduce mortality in CM, should be tested.The principal research question posed by this study is as follows: does adding dexamethasone to standard antifungal therapy for CM reduce mortality? Dexamethasone is a cheap, readily available, and practicable intervention. METHOD: A double-blind placebo-controlled trial with parallel arms in which patients are randomised to receive either dexamethasone or placebo, in addition to local standard of care. The study recruits patients in both Asia and Africa to ensure the relevance of its results to the populations in which the disease burden is highest. The 10-week mortality risk in the control group is expected to be between 30% and 50%, depending on location, and the target hazard ratio of 0.7 corresponds to absolute risk reductions in mortality from 30% to 22%, or from 50% to 38%. Assuming an overall 10-week mortality of at least 30% in our study population, recruitment of 824 patients will be sufficient to observe the expected number of deaths. Allowing for some loss to follow-up, the total sample size for this study is 880 patients. To generate robust evidence across both continents, we aim to recruit roughly similar numbers of patients from each continent. The primary end point is 10-week mortality. Ethical approval has been obtained from Oxford University's Tropical Research Ethics Committee (OxTREC), and as locally mandated at each site. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number: ISRCTN59144167 26-July-2012.

Jittamala P, Pukrittayakamee S, Ashley EA, Nosten F, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Lee SJ, Thana P, Chairat K et al. 2015. Pharmacokinetic interactions between primaquine and pyronaridine-artesunate in healthy adult Thai subjects. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (1), pp. 505-513. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pyronaridine-artesunate is a newly introduced artemisinin-based combination treatment which may be deployed together with primaquine. A single-dose, randomized, three-sequence crossover study was conducted in healthy Thai volunteers to characterize potential pharmacokinetic interactions between these drugs. Seventeen healthy adults received a single oral dose of primaquine alone (30 mg base) and were then randomized to receive pyronaridine-artesunate alone (540-180 mg) or pyronaridine-artesunate plus primaquine in combination, with intervening washout periods between all treatments. The pharmacokinetic properties of primaquine, its metabolite carboxyprimaquine, artesunate, its metabolite dihydroartemisinin, and pyronaridine were assessed in 15 subjects using a noncompartmental approach followed by a bioequivalence evaluation. All drugs were well tolerated. The single oral dose of primaquine did not result in any clinically relevant pharmacokinetic alterations to pyronaridine, artesunate, or dihydroartemisinin exposures. There were significantly higher primaquine maximum plasma drug concentrations (geometric mean ratio, 30%; 90% confidence interval [CI], 17% to 46%) and total exposures (15%; 6.4% to 24%) during coadministration with pyronaridine-artesunate than when primaquine was given alone. Pyronaridine, like chloroquine and piperaquine, increases plasma primaquine concentrations. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01552330.).

Thaipadungpanit J, Chierakul W, Pattanaporkrattana W, Phoodaeng A, Wongsuvan G, Huntrakun V, Amornchai P, Chatchen S et al. 2014. Burkholderia pseudomallei in water supplies, southern Thailand. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (11), pp. 1947-1949. | Read more

McGready R, Prakash JA, Benjamin SJ, Watthanaworawit W, Anantatat T, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Ling CL, Tan SO et al. 2014. Pregnancy outcome in relation to treatment of murine typhus and scrub typhus infection: a fever cohort and a case series analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (11), pp. e3327. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of published reports on pregnancy outcome following scrub and murine typhus despite these infections being leading causes of undifferentiated fever in Asia. This study aimed to relate pregnancy outcome with treatment of typhus. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data were analyzed from: i) pregnant women with a diagnosis of scrub and/or murine typhus from a fever cohort studies; ii) case series of published studies in PubMed using the search terms "scrub typhus" (ST), "murine typhus" (MT), "Orientia tsutsugamushi", "Rickettsia tsutsugamushi", "Rickettsia typhi", "rickettsiae", "typhus", or "rickettsiosis"; and "pregnancy", until February 2014 and iii) an unpublished case series. Fever clearance time (FCT) and pregnancy outcome (miscarriage and delivery) were compared to treatment. Poor neonatal outcome was a composite measure for pregnancies sustained to 28 weeks or more of gestation ending in stillbirth, preterm birth, or delivery of a growth restricted or low birth weight newborn. RESULTS: There were 26 women in the fever cohort. MT and ST were clinically indistinguishable apart from two ST patients with eschars. FCTs (median [range] hours) were 25 [16-42] for azithromycin (n=5), 34 [20-53] for antimalarials (n=5) and 92 [6-260] for other antibiotics/supportive therapy (n=16). There were 36.4% (8/22) with a poor neonatal outcome. In 18 years, 97 pregnancies were collated, 82 with known outcomes, including two maternal deaths. Proportions of miscarriage 17.3% (14/81) and poor neonatal outcomes 41.8% (28/67) were high, increasing with longer FCTs (p=0.050, linear trend). Use of azithromycin was not significantly associated with improved neonatal outcomes (p=0.610). CONCLUSION: The published ST and MT world literature amounts to less than 100 pregnancies due to under recognition and under diagnosis. Evidence supporting the most commonly used treatment, azithromycin, is weak. Collaborative, prospective clinical trials in pregnant women are urgently required to reduce the burden of adverse maternal and newborn outcomes and to determine the safety and efficacy of antimicrobial treatment.

Limmathurotsakul D, Paeyao A, Wongratanacheewin S, Saiprom N, Takpho N, Thaipadungpanit J, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2014. Role of burkholderia pseudomallei biofilm formation and lipopolysaccharide in relapse of melioidosis Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 20 (11), pp. O854-O856. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 The Authors.We examined whether quantitative biofilm formation and/or lipopolysaccharide type of Burkholderia pseudomallei was associated with relapsing melioidosis. We devised a 1: 4 nested case-control study in which both cases and controls were drawn from a cohort of patients with primary melioidosis. Paired isolates from 80 patients with relapse and single isolates from 184 patients without relapse were tested. Relapse was associated with biofilm formation of the primary infecting isolate (conditional OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.27-3.25; p 0.003), but not with lipopolysaccharide type (p 0.74). This finding highlights the importance of biofilm formation in relapsing melioidosis.

Imwong M, Woodrow CJ, Hendriksen IC, Veenemans J, Verhoef H, Faiz MA, Mohanty S, Mishra S et al. 2015. Plasma concentration of parasite DNA as a measure of disease severity in falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 211 (7), pp. 1128-1133. | Show Abstract | Read more

In malaria-endemic areas, Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia is common in apparently healthy children and severe malaria is commonly misdiagnosed in patients with incidental parasitemia. We assessed whether the plasma Plasmodium falciparum DNA concentration is a useful datum for distinguishing uncomplicated from severe malaria in African children and Asian adults. P. falciparum DNA concentrations were measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 224 African children (111 with uncomplicated malaria and 113 with severe malaria) and 211 Asian adults (100 with uncomplicated malaria and 111 with severe malaria) presenting with acute falciparum malaria. The diagnostic accuracy of plasma P. falciparum DNA concentrations in identifying severe malaria was 0.834 for children and 0.788 for adults, similar to that of plasma P. falciparum HRP2 levels and substantially superior to that of parasite densities (P < .0001). The diagnostic accuracy of plasma P. falciparum DNA concentrations plus plasma P. falciparum HRP2 concentrations was significantly greater than that of plasma P. falciparum HRP2 concentrations alone (0.904 for children [P = .004] and 0.847 for adults [P = .003]). Quantitative real-time PCR measurement of parasite DNA in plasma is a useful method for diagnosing severe falciparum malaria on fresh or archived plasma samples.

Emary KR, Carter MJ, Pol S, Sona S, Kumar V, Day NP, Parry CM, Moore CE. 2015. Urinary antibiotic activity in paediatric patients attending an outpatient department in north-western Cambodia. Trop Med Int Health, 20 (1), pp. 24-28. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Antibiotic resistance is a prominent public and global health concern. We investigated antibiotic use in children by determining the proportion of unselected children with antibacterial activity in their urine attending a paediatric outpatient department in Siem Reap, Cambodia. METHODS: Caregiver reports of medication history and presence of possible infection symptoms were collected in addition to urine samples. Urine antibiotic activity was estimated by exposing bacteria to urine specimens, including assessment against multiresistant bacteria previously isolated from patients in the hospital (a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a multiresistant Salmonella typhi and an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli isolate). RESULTS: Medication information and urine were collected from 775 children. Caregivers reported medication use in 69.0% of children in the preceding 48 h. 31.7% samples showed antibacterial activity; 16.3% showed activity against a local multiresistant organism. No specimens demonstrated activity against an ESBL-producing E. coli. CONCLUSIONS: Antibiotics are widely used in the community setting in Cambodia. Parents are often ill-informed about drugs given to treat their children. Increasing the regulation and training of private pharmacies in Cambodia may be necessary. Regional surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance is also essential in devising preventive strategies against further development of antibiotic resistance, which would have both local and global consequences.

Teerawattanasook N, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Wuthiekanun V. 2014. Short report: Failure of Burkholderia pseudomallei to grow in an automated blood culture system. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (6), pp. 1173-1175. | Show Abstract | Read more

We compared the organisms isolated from 30,210 pairs of blood culture bottles by using BacT/Alert system and the conventional system. Overall, 2,575 (8.5%) specimens were culture positive for pathogenic organisms. The sensitivity for detection of pathogenic organisms with the BACT/Alert system (85.6%, 2,203 of 2,575) was significantly higher than that with the conventional method (74.1%, 1,908 of 2,575; P < 0.0001). However, Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated less often with the BacT/ALERT system (73.5%, 328 of 446) than with the conventional system (90.3%, 403 of 446; P < 0.0001). This finding suggests that use of the conventional culture method in conjunction with the BacT/Alert system may improve the isolation rate for B. pseudomallei in melioidosis-endemic areas.

Hoglund RM, Byakika-Kibwika P, Lamorde M, Merry C, Ashton M, Hanpithakpong W, Day NP, White NJ, Äbelö A, Tarning J. 2015. Artemether-lumefantrine co-administration with antiretrovirals: population pharmacokinetics and dosing implications. Br J Clin Pharmacol, 79 (4), pp. 636-649. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIM: Drug-drug interactions between antimalarial and antiretroviral drugs may influence antimalarial treatment outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential drug-drug interactions between the antimalarial drugs, lumefantrine, artemether and their respective metabolites desbutyl-lumefantrine and dihydroartemisinin, and the HIV drugs efavirenz, nevirapine and lopinavir/ritonavir. METHOD: Data from two clinical studies, investigating the influence of the HIV drugs efavirenz, nevirapine and lopinavir/ritonavir on the pharmacokinetics of the antimalarial drugs lumefantrine, artemether and their respective metabolites, in HIV infected patients were pooled and analyzed using a non-linear mixed effects modelling approach. RESULTS: Efavirenz and nevirapine significantly decreased the terminal exposure to lumefantrine (decrease of 69.9% and 25.2%, respectively) while lopinavir/ritonavir substantially increased the exposure (increase of 439%). All antiretroviral drugs decreased the total exposure to dihydroartemisinin (decrease of 71.7%, 41.3% and 59.7% for efavirenz, nevirapine and ritonavir/lopinavir, respectively). Simulations suggest that a substantially increased artemether-lumefantrine dose is required to achieve equivalent exposures when co-administered with efavirenz (250% increase) and nevirapine (75% increase). When co-administered with lopinavir/ritonavir it is unclear if the increased lumefantrine exposure compensates adequately for the reduced dihydroartemisinin exposure and thus whether dose adjustment is required. CONCLUSION: There are substantial drug interactions between artemether-lumefantrine and efavirenz, nevirapine and ritonavir/lopinavir. Given the readily saturable absorption of lumefantrine, the dose adjustments predicted to be necessary will need to be evaluated prospectively in malaria-HIV co-infected patients.

Maude RJ, Nguon C, Ly P, Bunkea T, Ngor P, Canavati de la Torre SE, White NJ, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White LJ, Chuor CM. 2014. Spatial and temporal epidemiology of clinical malaria in Cambodia 2004-2013. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 385. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has recently been identified on the Thailand-Cambodia border and more recently in parts of Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. There is concern that if this resistance were to spread, it would severely hamper malaria control and elimination efforts worldwide. Efforts are currently underway to intensify malaria control activities and ultimately eliminate malaria from Cambodia. To support these efforts, it is crucial to have a detailed picture of disease burden and its major determinants over time. METHODS: An analysis of spatial and temporal data on clinical malaria in Cambodia collected by the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) and the Department of Planning and Health Information, Ministry of Health Cambodia from 2004 to 2013 is presented. RESULTS: There has been a marked decrease of 81% in annual cases due to P. falciparum since 2009 coinciding with a rapid scale-up in village malaria workers (VMWs) and insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs). Concurrently, the number of cases with Plasmodium vivax has greatly increased. It is estimated that there were around 112,000 total cases in 2012, 2.8 times greater than the WHO estimate for that year, and 68,000 in 2013 (an annual parasite incidence (API) of 4.6/1000). With the scale-up of VMWs, numbers of patients presenting to government facilities did not fall and it appears likely that those who saw VMWs had previously accessed healthcare in the private sector. Malaria mortality has decreased, particularly in areas with VMWs. There has been a marked decrease in cases in parts of western Cambodia, especially in Pailin and Battambang Provinces. In the northeast, the fall in malaria burden has been more modest, this area having the highest API in 2013. CONCLUSION: The clinical burden of falciparum malaria in most areas of Cambodia has greatly decreased from 2009 to 2013, associated with roll-out of ITNs and VMWs. Numbers of cases with P. vivax have increased. Possible reasons for these trends are discussed and areas requiring further study are highlighted. Although malaria surveillance data are prone to collection bias and tend to underestimate disease burden, the finding of similar trends in two independent datasets in this study greatly increased the robustness of the findings.

Hanboonkunupakarn B, Ashley EA, Jittamala P, Tarning J, Pukrittayakamee S, Hanpithakpong W, Chotsiri P, Wattanakul T et al. 2014. Open-label crossover study of primaquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine pharmacokinetics in healthy adult thai subjects. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (12), pp. 7340-7346. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an artemisinin-based combination treatment (ACT) recommended by the WHO for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and it is being used increasingly for resistant vivax malaria where combination with primaquine is required for radical cure. The WHO recently reinforced its recommendations to add a single dose of primaquine to ACTs to reduce P. falciparum transmission in low-transmission settings. The pharmacokinetics of primaquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine were evaluated in 16 healthy Thai adult volunteers in a randomized crossover study. Volunteers were randomized to two groups of three sequential hospital admissions to receive 30 mg (base) primaquine, 3 tablets of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (120/960 mg), and the drugs together at the same doses. Blood sampling was performed over 3 days following primaquine and 36 days following dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine dosing. Pharmacokinetic assessment was done with a noncompartmental approach. The drugs were well tolerated. There were no statistically significant differences in dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine pharmacokinetics with or without primaquine. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine coadministration significantly increased plasma primaquine levels; geometric mean ratios (90% confidence interval [CI]) of primaquine combined versus primaquine alone for maximum concentration (Cmax), area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to the end of the study (AUC0-last), and area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to infinity (AUC0-∞) were 148% (117 to 187%), 129% (103 to 163%), and 128% (102 to 161%), respectively. This interaction is similar to that described recently with chloroquine and may result in an enhanced radical curative effect. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT01525511.).

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Langla S, Oyuchua M, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. Maintenance of leptospira species in leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun agar. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (12), pp. 4350-4352. | Show Abstract | Read more

The maintenance of Leptospira species in liquid or semisolid medium is time-consuming and at risk of contamination due to the needs of routine subculture and dark field microscopy. Using Leptospira Vanaporn Wuthiekanun (LVW) agar, we maintained 100 pathogenic Leptospira isolates for 12 months without the need for subculture and confirmed the viability of all isolates by the naked eye.

Maude RR, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Amin MR, Islam MB, Ali M, Bari MS, Majumder MI et al. 2014. Serosurveillance of Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia typhi in Bangladesh. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (3), pp. 580-583. | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub and murine typhus infections are under-diagnosed causes of febrile illness across the tropics, and it is not known how common they are in Bangladesh. We conducted a prospective seroepidemiologic survey across six major teaching hospitals in Bangladesh by using an IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results indicated recent exposure (287 of 1,209, 23.7% seropositive for Orientia tsutsugamushi and 805 of 1,209, 66.6% seropositive for Rickettsia typhi). Seropositive rates were different in each region. However, there was no geographic clustering of seropositive results for both organisms. There was no difference between those from rural or urban areas. Rickettsia typhi seroreactivity was positively correlated with age. Scrub typhus and murine typhus should be considered as possible causes of infection in Bangladesh.

Lubell Y, White L, Varadan S, Drake T, Yeung S, Cheah PY, Maude RJ, Dondorp A, Day NP, White NJ, Parker M. 2014. Ethics, economics, and the use of primaquine to reduce falciparum malaria transmission in asymptomatic populations. PLoS Med, 11 (8), pp. e1001704. | Show Abstract | Read more

Yoel Lubell and colleagues consider ethical and economic perspectives on mass drug administration of primaquine to limit transmission of P. falciparum malaria. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

Ashley EA, Dhorda M, Fairhurst RM, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S, Anderson JM et al. 2014. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 411-423. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in Southeast Asia and now poses a threat to the control and elimination of malaria. Mapping the geographic extent of resistance is essential for planning containment and elimination strategies. METHODS: Between May 2011 and April 2013, we enrolled 1241 adults and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an open-label trial at 15 sites in 10 countries (7 in Asia and 3 in Africa). Patients received artesunate, administered orally at a daily dose of either 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or 4 mg per kilogram, for 3 days, followed by a standard 3-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Parasite counts in peripheral-blood samples were measured every 6 hours, and the parasite clearance half-lives were determined. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance half-lives ranged from 1.9 hours in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 7.0 hours at the Thailand-Cambodia border. Slowly clearing infections (parasite clearance half-life >5 hours), strongly associated with single point mutations in the "propeller" region of the P. falciparum kelch protein gene on chromosome 13 (kelch13), were detected throughout mainland Southeast Asia from southern Vietnam to central Myanmar. The incidence of pretreatment and post-treatment gametocytemia was higher among patients with slow parasite clearance, suggesting greater potential for transmission. In western Cambodia, where artemisinin-based combination therapies are failing, the 6-day course of antimalarial therapy was associated with a cure rate of 97.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9 to 99.4) at 42 days. CONCLUSIONS: Artemisinin resistance to P. falciparum, which is now prevalent across mainland Southeast Asia, is associated with mutations in kelch13. Prolonged courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies are currently efficacious in areas where standard 3-day treatments are failing. (Funded by the U.K. Department of International Development and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01350856.).

Onyamboko MA, Fanello CI, Wongsaen K, Tarning J, Cheah PY, Tshefu KA, Dondorp AM, Nosten F, White NJ, Day NP. 2014. Randomized comparison of the efficacies and tolerabilities of three artemisinin-based combination treatments for children with acute Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (9), pp. 5528-5536. | Show Abstract | Read more

An open-label, randomized controlled trial was carried out in 2011-2012 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to test the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of the artemisinin-based combination treatments dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, amodiaquine-artesunate, and artemether-lumefantrine. Six hundred eighty-four children aged 3 to 59 months with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were randomly allocated to each study arm. Children were hospitalized for 3 days, given supervised treatment, and followed up weekly for 42 days. All regimens were well tolerated and rapidly effective. The median parasitemia clearance half-life was 2.2 h, and half-lives were similar between arms (P=0.19). The PCR-uncorrected cure rates by day 42 were 73.0% for amodiaquine-artesunate, 70.2% for artemether-lumefantrine, and 86.3% for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (P=0.001). Early treatment failure occurred in three patients (0.5%), one in each arm. The PCR-corrected cure rates were 93.4% for amodiaquine-artesunate, 92.7% for artemether-lumefantrine, and 94.3% for dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (P=0.78). The last provided a longer posttreatment prophylactic effect than did the other two treatments. The day 7 plasma concentration of piperaquine was below 30 ng/ml in 47% of the children treated with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and the day 7 lumefantrine concentration was below 280 ng/ml in 37.0% of children who received artemether-lumefantrine. Thus, although cure rates were all satisfactory, they could be improved by increasing the dose. (This study has been registered with the International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register [www.isrctn.org] under registration no. ISRCTN20984426.).

Imwong M, Hanchana S, Malleret B, Rénia L, Day NP, Dondorp A, Nosten F, Snounou G, White NJ. 2014. High-throughput ultrasensitive molecular techniques for quantifying low-density malaria parasitemias. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (9), pp. 3303-3309. | Show Abstract | Read more

The epidemiology of malaria in "low-transmission" areas has been underestimated. Molecular detection methods have revealed higher prevalences of malaria than conventional microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests, but these typically evaluate finger-prick capillary blood samples (∼5 μl) and therefore cannot detect parasite densities of <200/ml. Their use underestimates true parasite carriage rates. To characterize the epidemiology of malaria in low-transmission settings and plan elimination strategies, more sensitive quantitative PCR (qPCR) is needed to identify and quantify low-density malaria parasitemias. A highly sensitive "high-volume" quantitative PCR (qPCR) method based on Plasmodium sp. 18S RNA was adapted for blood sample volumes of ≥250 μl and scaled for high throughput. The methods were validated by assessment of the analytical sensitivity and specificity, diagnostic sensitivity, and specificity, efficiency, precision, analytical and diagnostic accuracies, limit of detection, root cause analysis of false positives, and robustness. The high-volume qPCR method based on Plasmodium sp. 18S RNA gave high PCR efficiency of 90 to 105%. Concentrations of parasite DNA from large volumes of blood gave a consistent analytical detection limit (LOD) of 22 parasites/ml (95% CI, 21.79 to 74.9), which is some 2,500 times more sensitive than conventional microscopy and 50 times more sensitive than currently used PCR methods from filter paper blood spots. The diagnostic specificity was 99.75%. Using automated procedures it was possible to process 700 blood samples per week. A very sensitive and specific high-throughput high-volume qPCR method for the detection of low-density parasitemias (>20 parasites/ml) was developed and validated.

Kloprogge F, Jullien V, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Nosten F, Day NP, White NJ, Guerin PJ, Tarning J. 2014. Population pharmacokinetics of quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. J Antimicrob Chemother, 69 (11), pp. 3033-3040. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Oral quinine is used for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria during pregnancy, but few pharmacokinetic data are available for this population. Previous studies have reported a substantial effect of malaria on the pharmacokinetics of quinine resulting from increased α-1-acid glycoprotein levels and decreased cytochrome P450 3A4 activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oral quinine in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria in Uganda using a population approach. METHODS: Data from 22 women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were analysed. Patients received quinine sulphate (10 mg of salt/kg) three times daily (0, 8 and 16 h) for 7 days. Plasma samples were collected daily and at frequent intervals after the first and last doses. A population pharmacokinetic model for quinine was developed accounting for different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. RESULTS: Parasitaemia, as a time-varying covariate affecting relative bioavailability, and body temperature on admission as a covariate on elimination clearance, explained the higher exposure to quinine during acute malaria compared with the convalescent phase. Neither the estimated gestational age nor the trimester influenced the pharmacokinetic properties of quinine significantly. CONCLUSIONS: A population model was developed that adequately characterized quinine pharmacokinetics in pregnant Ugandan women with acute malaria. Quinine exposure was lower than previously reported in patients who were not pregnant. The measurement of free quinine concentration will be necessary to determine the therapeutic relevance of these observations.

Das D, Cheah PY, Akter F, Paul D, Islam A, Sayeed AA, Samad R, Rahman R et al. 2014. Participants' perceptions and understanding of a malaria clinical trial in Bangladesh Malaria Journal, 13 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Existing evidence suggests that there is often limited understanding among participants in clinical trials about the informed consent process, resulting in their providing consent without really understanding the purpose of the study, specific procedures, and their rights. The objective of the study was to determine the subjects' understanding of research, perceptions of voluntariness and motivations for participation in a malaria clinical trial. Methods. In this study semi-structured interviews of adult clinical trial participants with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were conducted in Ramu Upazila Health Complex, in Bangladesh. Results: Of 16 participants, the vast majority (81%) were illiterate. All subjects had a 'therapeutic misconception' i.e. the trial was perceived to be conducted primarily for the benefit of individual patients when in fact the main objective was to provide information to inform public health policy. From the patients' perspective, getting well from their illness was their major concern. Poor actual understanding of trial specific procedures was reported despite participants' satisfaction with treatment and nursing care. Conclusion: There is frequently a degree of overlap between research and provision of clinical care in malaria research studies. Patients may be motivated to participate to research without a good understanding of the principal objectives of the study despite a lengthy consent process. The findings suggest that use of a standard consent form following the current ICH-GCP guidelines does not result in achieving fully informed consent and the process should be revised, simplified and adapted to individual trial settings. © 2014 Das et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Tonpitak W, Sornklien C, Chawanit M, Pavasutthipaisit S, Wuthiekanun V, Hantrakun V, Amornchai P, Thaipadungpanit J et al. 2014. Fatal melioidosis in goats in Bangkok, Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 91 (2), pp. 287-290. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bangkok, Thailand, is a city considered to be at low risk for melioidosis. We describe 10 goats that died of melioidosis in Bangkok. Half of them were born and reared in the city. Multilocus sequence typing ruled out an outbreak. This finding challenges the assumption that melioidosis is rarely acquired in central Thailand.

Pukrittayakamee S, Tarning J, Jittamala P, Charunwatthana P, Lawpoolsri S, Lee SJ, Hanpithakpong W, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Day NP, Ashley EA, White NJ. 2014. Pharmacokinetic interactions between primaquine and chloroquine. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (6), pp. 3354-3359. | Show Abstract | Read more

Chloroquine combined with primaquine has been the standard radical curative regimen for Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale malaria for over half a century. In an open-label crossover pharmacokinetic study, 16 healthy volunteers (4 males and 12 females) aged 20 to 47 years were randomized into two groups of three sequential hospital admissions to receive a single oral dose of 30 mg (base) primaquine, 600 mg (base) chloroquine, and the two drugs together. The coadministration of the two drugs did not affect chloroquine or desethylchloroquine pharmacokinetics but increased plasma primaquine concentrations significantly (P ≤ 0.005); the geometric mean (90% confidence interval [CI]) increases were 63% (47 to 81%) in maximum concentration and 24% (13 to 35%) in total exposure. There were also corresponding increases in plasma carboxyprimaquine concentrations (P ≤ 0.020). There were no significant electrocardiographic changes following primaquine administration, but there was slight corrected QT (QTc) (Fridericia) interval lengthening following chloroquine administration (median [range] = 6.32 [-1.45 to 12.3] ms; P < 0.001), which was not affected by the addition of primaquine (5.58 [1.74 to 11.4] ms; P = 0.642). This pharmacokinetic interaction may explain previous observations of synergy in preventing P. vivax relapse. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under reference number NCT01218932.

Chotivanich K, Tripura R, Das D, Yi P, Day NP, Pukrittayakamee S, Chuor CM, Socheat D, Dondorp AM, White NJ. 2014. Laboratory detection of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (6), pp. 3157-3161. | Show Abstract | Read more

Conventional 48-h in vitro susceptibility tests have low sensitivity in identifying artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, defined phenotypically by low in vivo parasite clearance rates. We hypothesized originally that this discrepancy was explained by a loss of ring-stage susceptibility and so developed a simple field-adapted 24-h trophozoite maturation inhibition (TMI) assay focusing on the ring stage and compared it to the standard 48-h schizont maturation inhibition (WHO) test. In Pailin, western Cambodia, where artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum is prevalent, the TMI test mean (95% confidence interval) 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for artesunate was 6.8 (5.2 to 8.3) ng/ml compared with 1.5 (1.2 to 1.8) ng/ml for the standard 48-h WHO test (P = 0.001). TMI IC50s correlated significantly with the in vivo responses to artesunate (parasite clearance time [r = 0.44, P = 0.001] and parasite clearance half-life [r = 0.46, P = 0.001]), whereas the standard 48-h test values did not. On continuous culture of two resistant isolates, the artemisinin-resistant phenotype was lost after 6 weeks (IC50s fell from 10 and 12 ng/ml to 2.7 and 3 ng/ml, respectively). Slow parasite clearance in falciparum malaria in western Cambodia results from reduced ring-stage susceptibility.

Limmathurotsakul D, Paeyao A, Wongratanacheewin S, Saiprom N, Takpho N, Thaipadungpanit J, Chantratita N, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2014. Role of Burkholderia pseudomallei biofilm formation and lipopolysaccharide in relapse of melioidosis. Clin Microbiol Infect, 20 (11), pp. O854-O856. | Show Abstract | Read more

We examined whether quantitative biofilm formation and/or lipopolysaccharide type of Burkholderia pseudomallei was associated with relapsing melioidosis. We devised a 1:4 nested case-control study in which both cases and controls were drawn from a cohort of patients with primary melioidosis. Paired isolates from 80 patients with relapse and single isolates from 184 patients without relapse were tested. Relapse was associated with biofilm formation of the primary infecting isolate (conditional OR 2.03; 95% CI 1.27-3.25; p 0.003), but not with lipopolysaccharide type (p 0.74). This finding highlights the importance of biofilm formation in relapsing melioidosis.

Jittamala P, Pukrittayakamee S, Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Taylor WR, Lawpoolsri S, Charunwattana P, Panapipat S, White NJ, Day NP. 2014. Pharmacokinetics of orally administered oseltamivir in healthy obese and nonobese Thai subjects. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (3), pp. 1615-1621. | Show Abstract | Read more

Oseltamivir is the most widely used anti-influenza drug. In the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, in which the influenza viruses were oseltamivir sensitive, obesity was identified as a risk factor for severe disease and unfavorable outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and its active metabolite, oseltamivir carboxylate, in obese and nonobese healthy subjects. A single-dose, randomized, two-sequence crossover study was conducted in 12 obese and 12 nonobese healthy Thai volunteers. Each volunteer was given 75 mg and 150 mg oseltamivir orally with an intervening washout period of more than 3 days. The pharmacokinetic properties of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were evaluated using a noncompartmental approach. The median (range) body mass indexes (BMIs) for obese subjects were 33.8 kg/m(2) (30.8 to 43.2) and 22.2 (18.8 to 24.2) for nonobese subjects. The pharmacokinetic parameters of oseltamivir carboxylate, the active metabolite of oseltamivir, were not significantly different between obese and nonobese subjects for both 75-mg and 150-mg doses. Both doses were well tolerated. Despite the lower dose per kilogram body weight in obese subjects, there was no significant difference in the exposure of oseltamivir carboxylate between the obese and nonobese groups. Standard dosing is appropriate for obese subjects. (The study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT 01049763.).

Maung Lwin K, Cheah PY, Cheah PK, White NJ, Day NPJ, Nosten F, Parker M. 2014. Motivations and perceptions of community advisory boards in the ethics of medical research: The case of the Thai-Myanmar border BMC Medical Ethics, 15 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Community engagement is increasingly promoted as a marker of good, ethical practice in the context of international collaborative research in low-income countries. There is, however, no widely agreed definition of community engagement or of approaches adopted. Justifications given for its use also vary. Community engagement is, for example, variously seen to be of value in: the development of more effective and appropriate consent processes; improved understanding of the aims and forms of research; higher recruitment rates; the identification of important ethical issues; the building of better relationships between the community and researchers; the obtaining of community permission to approach potential research participants; and, the provision of better health care. Despite these diverse and potentially competing claims made for the importance of community engagement, there is very little published evidence on effective models of engagement or their evaluation. Methods. In this paper, drawing upon interviews with the members of a Community Advisory Board on the Thai-Myanmar border, we describe and critically reflect upon an approach to community engagement which was developed in the context of international collaborative research in the border region. Results and conclusions. Drawing on our analysis, we identify a number of considerations relevant to the development of an approach to evaluating community engagement in this complex research setting. The paper also identifies a range of important ways in which the Community Advisory Board is in practice understood by its members (and perhaps by community members beyond this) to have morally significant roles and responsibilities beyond those usually associated with the successful and appropriate conduct of research. © 2014 Maung Lwin et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Suntornsut P, Wongsuvan G, Wuthiekanun V, Kasemsupat K, Jutrakul Y, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. In response. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (2), pp. 386. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Wongsuvan G, Aanensen D, Ngamwilai S, Saiprom N, Rongkard P, Thaipadungpanit J, Kanoksil M, Chantratita N, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2014. Melioidosis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei in drinking water, Thailand, 2012. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (2), pp. 265-268. | Show Abstract | Read more

We identified 10 patients in Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis who had Burkholderia pseudomallei isolated from their drinking water. The multilocus sequence type of B. pseudomallei from clinical specimens and water samples were identical for 2 patients. This finding suggests that drinking water is a preventable source of B. pseudomallei infection.

Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Lwin KM, Annerberg A, Kiricharoen L, Ashley E, White NJ, Nosten F, Day NP. 2014. Population pharmacokinetic assessment of the effect of food on piperaquine bioavailability in patients with uncomplicated malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 58 (4), pp. 2052-2058. | Show Abstract | Read more

Previously published literature reports various impacts of food on the oral bioavailability of piperaquine. The aim of this study was to use a population modeling approach to investigate the impact of concomitant intake of a small amount of food on piperaquine pharmacokinetics. This was an open, randomized comparison of piperaquine pharmacokinetics when administered as a fixed oral formulation once daily for 3 days with (n=15) and without (n=15) concomitant food to patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Thailand. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to characterize the pharmacokinetics of piperaquine and the influence of concomitant food intake. A modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach was applied to evaluate the relationship between statistical power and various degrees of covariate effect sizes of the given study design. Piperaquine population pharmacokinetics were described well in fasting and fed patients by a three-compartment distribution model with flexible absorption. The final model showed a 25% increase in relative bioavailability per dose occasion during recovery from malaria but demonstrated no clinical impact of concomitant intake of a low-fat meal. Body weight and age were both significant covariates in the final model. The novel power approach concluded that the study was adequately powered to detect a food effect of at least 35%. This modified Monte Carlo mapped power approach may be a useful tool for evaluating the power to detect true covariate effects in mixed-effects modeling and a given study design. A small amount of food does not affect piperaquine absorption significantly in acute malaria.

Maude RR, Amir Hossain M, Hassan MU, Osbourne S, Langan K, Sayeed A, Karim MR, Samad R et al. 2014. Correction: Transorbital Sonographic Evaluation of Normal Optic Nerve Sheath Diameter in Healthy Volunteers in Bangladesh PLoS ONE, 9 (1), | Read more

Jamornthanyawat N, Awab GR, Tanomsing N, Pukrittayakamee S, Yamin F, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ, Imwong M. 2014. A population survey of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) 563C>T (Mediterranean) mutation in Afghanistan. PLoS One, 9 (2), pp. e88605. | Show Abstract | Read more

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a common inherited enzyme defect and an important problem in areas with Plasmodium vivax infection because of the risk of haemolysis following administration of primaquine to treat the liver forms of the parasite. We undertook a genotypic survey of 713 male individuals across nine provinces of Afghanistan in which malaria is found, four in the north and five in the east. RFLP typing at nucleotide position 563 detected 40 individuals with the Mediterranean mutation 563C>T, an overall prevalence of 5.6%. This varied according to self-reported ethnicity, with prevalence in the Pashtun/Pashai group of 33/369 (8.9%) compared to 7/344 individuals in the rest of the population (2.0%; p<0.001, Chi-squared test). Multivariate analysis of ethnicity and geographical location indicated an adjusted odds ratio of 3.50 (95% CI 1.36-9.02) for the Pashtun/Pashai group, while location showed only a trend towards higher prevalence in eastern provinces (adjusted odds ratio = 1.73, 0.73-4.13). Testing of known polymorphic markers (1311C>T in exon 11, and C93T in intron XI) in a subset of 82 individuals wild-type at C563 revealed a mixture of 3 haplotypes in the background population and was consistent with data from the 1000 Genomes Project and published studies. By comparison individuals with G6PD deficiency showed a highly skewed haplotype distribution, with 95% showing the CT haplotype, a finding consistent with relatively recent appearance and positive selection of the Mediterranean variant in Afghanistan. Overall, the data confirm that the Mediterranean variant of G6PD is common in many ethnic groups in Afghanistan, indicating that screening for G6PD deficiency is required in all individuals before radical treatment of P. vivax with primaquine.

Lubell Y, Dondorp A, Guérin PJ, Drake T, Meek S, Ashley E, Day NP, White NJ, White LJ. 2014. Artemisinin resistance--modelling the potential human and economic costs. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 452. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy is recommended as first-line treatment for falciparum malaria across the endemic world and is increasingly relied upon for treating vivax malaria where chloroquine is failing. Artemisinin resistance was first detected in western Cambodia in 2007, and is now confirmed in the Greater Mekong region, raising the spectre of a malaria resurgence that could undo a decade of progress in control, and threaten the feasibility of elimination. The magnitude of this threat has not been quantified. METHODS: This analysis compares the health and economic consequences of two future scenarios occurring once artemisinin-based treatments are available with high coverage. In the first scenario, artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is largely effective in the management of uncomplicated malaria and severe malaria is treated with artesunate, while in the second scenario ACT are failing at a rate of 30%, and treatment of severe malaria reverts to quinine. The model is applied to all malaria-endemic countries using their specific estimates for malaria incidence, transmission intensity and GDP. The model describes the direct medical costs for repeated diagnosis and retreatment of clinical failures as well as admission costs for severe malaria. For productivity losses, the conservative friction costing method is used, which assumes a limited economic impact for individuals that are no longer economically active until they are replaced from the unemployment pool. RESULTS: Using conservative assumptions and parameter estimates, the model projects an excess of 116,000 deaths annually in the scenario of widespread artemisinin resistance. The predicted medical costs for retreatment of clinical failures and for management of severe malaria exceed US$32 million per year. Productivity losses resulting from excess morbidity and mortality were estimated at US$385 million for each year during which failing ACT remained in use as first-line treatment. CONCLUSIONS: These 'ballpark' figures for the magnitude of the health and economic threat posed by artemisinin resistance add weight to the call for urgent action to detect the emergence of resistance as early as possible and contain its spread from known locations in the Mekong region to elsewhere in the endemic world.

Tanomsing N, Mayxay M, Newton PN, Nosten F, Dolecek C, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NP, Dondorp AM, Imwong M. 2014. Genetic variability of Plasmodium malariae dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) in four Asian countries. PLoS One, 9 (4), pp. e93942. | Show Abstract | Read more

The dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) genes of 44 P. malariae strains from four Asian countries were isolated. Only a limited number of polymorphisms were observed. Comparison with homologous mutations in other Plasmodium species showed that these polymorphisms are unlikely to be associated with sulfadoxine resistance.

Miller RM, Price JR, Batty EM, Didelot X, Wyllie D, Golubchik T, Crook DW, Paul J et al. 2014. Healthcare-associated outbreak of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: role of a cryptic variant of an epidemic clone. J Hosp Infect, 86 (2), pp. 83-89. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New strains of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may be associated with changes in rates of disease or clinical presentation. Conventional typing techniques may not detect new clonal variants that underlie changes in epidemiology or clinical phenotype. AIM: To investigate the role of clonal variants of MRSA in an outbreak of MRSA bacteraemia at a hospital in England. METHODS: Bacteraemia isolates of the major UK lineages (EMRSA-15 and -16) from before and after the outbreak were analysed by whole-genome sequencing in the context of epidemiological and clinical data. For comparison, EMRSA-15 and -16 isolates from another hospital in England were sequenced. A clonal variant of EMRSA-16 was identified at the outbreak hospital and a molecular signature test designed to distinguish variant isolates among further EMRSA-16 strains. FINDINGS: By whole-genome sequencing, EMRSA-16 isolates during the outbreak showed strikingly low genetic diversity (P < 1 × 10(-6), Monte Carlo test), compared with EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16 isolates from before the outbreak or the comparator hospital, demonstrating the emergence of a clonal variant. The variant was indistinguishable from the ancestral strain by conventional typing. This clonal variant accounted for 64/72 (89%) of EMRSA-16 bacteraemia isolates at the outbreak hospital from 2006. CONCLUSIONS: Evolutionary changes in epidemic MRSA strains not detected by conventional typing may be associated with changes in disease epidemiology. Rapid and affordable technologies for whole-genome sequencing are becoming available with the potential to identify and track the emergence of variants of highly clonal organisms.

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Kanoksil M, Luangasanatip N, Jatapai A, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Cooper BS, Limmathurotsakul D. 2014. Increasing incidence of hospital-acquired and healthcare-associated bacteremia in northeast Thailand: a multicenter surveillance study. PLoS One, 9 (10), pp. e109324. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the epidemiology of nosocomial bloodstream infections in public hospitals in developing countries. We evaluated trends in incidence of hospital-acquired bacteremia (HAB) and healthcare-associated bacteremia (HCAB) and associated mortality in a developing country using routinely available databases. METHODS: Information from the microbiology and hospital databases of 10 provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand was linked with the national death registry for 2004-2010. Bacteremia was considered hospital-acquired if detected after the first two days of hospital admission, and healthcare-associated if detected within two days of hospital admission with a prior inpatient episode in the preceding 30 days. RESULTS: A total of 3,424 patients out of 1,069,443 at risk developed HAB and 2,184 out of 119,286 at risk had HCAB. Of these 1,559 (45.5%) and 913 (41.8%) died within 30 days, respectively. Between 2004 and 2010, the incidence rate of HAB increased from 0.6 to 0.8 per 1,000 patient-days at risk (p<0.001), and the cumulative incidence of HCAB increased from 1.2 to 2.0 per 100 readmissions (p<0.001). The most common causes of HAB were Acinetobacter spp. (16.2%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (13.9%), and Staphylococcus aureus (13.9%), while those of HCAB were Escherichia coli (26.3%), S. aureus (14.0%), and K. pneumoniae (9.7%). There was an overall increase over time in the proportions of ESBL-producing E. coli causing HAB and HCAB. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates a high and increasing incidence of HAB and HCAB in provincial hospitals in northeast Thailand, increasing proportions of ESBL-producing isolates, and very high associated mortality.

Maude RJ, Barkhof F, Hassan MU, Ghose A, Hossain A, Abul Faiz M, Choudhury E, Rashid R et al. 2014. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in adults with severe falciparum malaria. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 177. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows detailed study of structural and functional changes in the brain in patients with cerebral malaria. METHODS: In a prospective observational study in adult Bangladeshi patients with severe falciparum malaria, MRI findings in the brain were correlated with clinical and laboratory parameters, retinal photography and optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) ultrasound (a marker of intracranial pressure). RESULTS: Of 43 enrolled patients, 31 (72%) had coma and 12 (28%) died. MRI abnormalities were present in 79% overall with mostly mild changes in a wide range of anatomical sites. There were no differences in MRI findings between patients with cerebral and non-cerebral or fatal and non-fatal disease. Subtle diffuse cerebral swelling was common (n = 22/43), but mostly without vasogenic oedema or raised intracranial pressure (ONSD). Also seen were focal extracellular oedema (n = 11/43), cytotoxic oedema (n = 8/23) and mildly raised brain lactate on magnetic resonance spectroscopy (n = 5/14). Abnormalities were much less prominent than previously described in Malawian children. Retinal whitening was present in 36/43 (84%) patients and was more common and severe in patients with coma. CONCLUSION: Cerebral swelling is mild and not specific to coma or death in adult severe falciparum malaria. This differs markedly from African children. Retinal whitening, reflecting heterogeneous obstruction of the central nervous system microcirculation by sequestered parasites resulting in small patches of ischemia, is associated with coma and this process is likely important in the pathogenesis.

Maung Lwin K, Cheah PY, Cheah PK, White NJ, Day NP, Nosten F, Parker M. 2014. Motivations and perceptions of community advisory boards in the ethics of medical research: the case of the Thai-Myanmar border. BMC Med Ethics, 15 (1), pp. 12. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Community engagement is increasingly promoted as a marker of good, ethical practice in the context of international collaborative research in low-income countries. There is, however, no widely agreed definition of community engagement or of approaches adopted. Justifications given for its use also vary. Community engagement is, for example, variously seen to be of value in: the development of more effective and appropriate consent processes; improved understanding of the aims and forms of research; higher recruitment rates; the identification of important ethical issues; the building of better relationships between the community and researchers; the obtaining of community permission to approach potential research participants; and, the provision of better health care. Despite these diverse and potentially competing claims made for the importance of community engagement, there is very little published evidence on effective models of engagement or their evaluation. METHODS: In this paper, drawing upon interviews with the members of a Community Advisory Board on the Thai-Myanmar border, we describe and critically reflect upon an approach to community engagement which was developed in the context of international collaborative research in the border region. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Drawing on our analysis, we identify a number of considerations relevant to the development of an approach to evaluating community engagement in this complex research setting. The paper also identifies a range of important ways in which the Community Advisory Board is in practice understood by its members (and perhaps by community members beyond this) to have morally significant roles and responsibilities beyond those usually associated with the successful and appropriate conduct of research.

Khauv P, Turner P, Soeng C, Soeng S, Moore CE, Bousfield R, Stoesser N, Emary K et al. 2014. Ophthalmic infections in children presenting to Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia. BMC Res Notes, 7 (1), pp. 784. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Ophthalmic infections cause significant morbidity in Cambodian children but aetiologic data are scarce. We investigated the causes of acute eye infections in 54 children presenting to the ophthalmology clinic at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap between March and October 2012. FINDINGS: The median age at presentation was 3.6 years (range 6 days - 16.0 years). Forty two patients (77.8%) were classified as having an external eye infection, ten (18.5%) as ophthalmia neonatorum, and two (3.7%) as intra-ocular infection. Organisms were identified in all ophthalmia neonatorum patients and 85.7% of patients with an external eye infection. Pathogens were not detected in either of the intra-ocular infection patients. Most commonly isolated bacteria were Staphylococcus aureus (23 isolates), coagulase-negative staphylococci (13), coliforms (7), Haemophilus influenzae/parainfluenzae (6), Streptococcus pneumoniae (4), and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (2). Chlamydia trachomatis DNA was detected in 60% of swabs taken from ophthalmia neonatorum cases. CONCLUSIONS: This small study demonstrates the wide range of pathogens associated with common eye infections in Cambodian children. The inclusion of molecular assays improved the spectrum of detectable pathogens, most notably in neonates.

Das D, Cheah PY, Akter F, Paul D, Islam A, Sayeed AA, Samad R, Rahman R et al. 2014. Participants' perceptions and understanding of a malaria clinical trial in Bangladesh. Malar J, 13 (1), pp. 217. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Existing evidence suggests that there is often limited understanding among participants in clinical trials about the informed consent process, resulting in their providing consent without really understanding the purpose of the study, specific procedures, and their rights. The objective of the study was to determine the subjects' understanding of research, perceptions of voluntariness and motivations for participation in a malaria clinical trial. METHODS: In this study semi-structured interviews of adult clinical trial participants with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were conducted in Ramu Upazila Health Complex, in Bangladesh. RESULTS: Of 16 participants, the vast majority (81%) were illiterate. All subjects had a 'therapeutic misconception' i.e. the trial was perceived to be conducted primarily for the benefit of individual patients when in fact the main objective was to provide information to inform public health policy. From the patients' perspective, getting well from their illness was their major concern. Poor actual understanding of trial specific procedures was reported despite participants' satisfaction with treatment and nursing care. CONCLUSION: There is frequently a degree of overlap between research and provision of clinical care in malaria research studies. Patients may be motivated to participate to research without a good understanding of the principal objectives of the study despite a lengthy consent process. The findings suggest that use of a standard consent form following the current ICH-GCP guidelines does not result in achieving fully informed consent and the process should be revised, simplified and adapted to individual trial settings.

Tarning J, Thana P, Phyo AP, Lwin KM, Hanpithakpong W, Ashley EA, Day NP, Nosten F, White NJ. 2014. Population Pharmacokinetics and Antimalarial Pharmacodynamics of Piperaquine in Patients With Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Thailand. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 3 (8), pp. e132. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an effective drug in the treatment of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of piperaquine in patients with P. vivax malaria in Thailand after a standard regimen of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine to determine whether residual piperaquine prevents or delays the emergence of P. vivax relapse. Sparse blood samples were collected from 116 patients. Piperaquine pharmacokinetics were described well by a three-compartment distribution model. Relapsing P. vivax malaria was accommodated by a constant baseline hazard (8.94 relapses/year) with the addition of a surge function in a fixed 3-week interval and a protective piperaquine effect. The results suggest that a large proportion of the first relapses were suppressed completely by residual piperaquine concentrations and that recurrences resulted mainly from emergence of the second or third relapse or from reinfection. This suggests a significant reduction in P. vivax morbidity when using dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine compared with other antimalarial drugs with shorter terminal postprophylactic effects.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Price RN, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB et al. 2014. Rapid clinical assessment to facilitate the triage of adults with falciparum malaria, a retrospective analysis. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e87020. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most adults dying from falciparum malaria will die within 48 hours of their hospitalisation. An essential component of early supportive care is the rapid identification of patients at greatest risk. In resource-poor settings, where most patients with falciparum malaria are managed, decisions regarding patient care must frequently be made using clinical evaluation alone. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed 4 studies of 1801 adults with severe falciparum malaria to determine whether the presence of simple clinical findings might assist patient triage. RESULTS: If present on admission, shock, oligo-anuria, hypo- or hyperglycaemia, an increased respiratory rate, a decreased Glasgow Coma Score and an absence of fever were independently predictive of death. The variables were used to construct a simple clinical algorithm. When applied to the 1801 patients, this algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 99.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 97.8-99.9) and for survival to discharge 96.9% (95% CI 94.3-98.5). In the 712 patients receiving artesunate, the algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 100% (95% CI 97.3-100) and to discharge was 98.5% (95% CI 94.8-99.8). CONCLUSIONS: Simple clinical findings are closely linked to the pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria in adults. A basic algorithm employing these indices can facilitate the triage of patients in settings where intensive care services are limited. Patients classified as low-risk by this algorithm can be safely managed initially on a general ward whilst awaiting senior clinical review and laboratory data.

Török ME, Day NPJ. 2014. Staphylococcal and streptococcal infections Medicine, 42 (1), pp. 1-7. | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcal and streptococcal infections are common infectious diseases and can range from mild, superficial skin infections to severe, life-threatening systemic infections. Staphylococcus aureus, group A streptococcus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae are the three major pathogens. The prevalence of invasive infections caused by community-associated meticillin-resistant S. aureus and group A streptococci appears to be increasing. The emergence of drug resistance (e.g. meticillin and glycopeptide resistance in S. aureus, macrolide resistance in group A streptococci and penicillin resistance in S. pneumoniae), is causing concern and could threaten successful treatment. Streptococcus suis has emerged as an important human pathogen. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Kloprogge F, Simpson JA, Day NP, White NJ, Tarning J. 2014. Statistical power calculations for mixed pharmacokinetic study designs using a population approach. AAPS J, 16 (5), pp. 1110-1118. | Show Abstract | Read more

Simultaneous modelling of dense and sparse pharmacokinetic data is possible with a population approach. To determine the number of individuals required to detect the effect of a covariate, simulation-based power calculation methodologies can be employed. The Monte Carlo Mapped Power method (a simulation-based power calculation methodology using the likelihood ratio test) was extended in the current study to perform sample size calculations for mixed pharmacokinetic studies (i.e. both sparse and dense data collection). A workflow guiding an easy and straightforward pharmacokinetic study design, considering also the cost-effectiveness of alternative study designs, was used in this analysis. Initially, data were simulated for a hypothetical drug and then for the anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin. Two datasets (sampling design A: dense; sampling design B: sparse) were simulated using a pharmacokinetic model that included a binary covariate effect and subsequently re-estimated using (1) the same model and (2) a model not including the covariate effect in NONMEM 7.2. Power calculations were performed for varying numbers of patients with sampling designs A and B. Study designs with statistical power >80% were selected and further evaluated for cost-effectiveness. The simulation studies of the hypothetical drug and the anti-malarial drug dihydroartemisinin demonstrated that the simulation-based power calculation methodology, based on the Monte Carlo Mapped Power method, can be utilised to evaluate and determine the sample size of mixed (part sparsely and part densely sampled) study designs. The developed method can contribute to the design of robust and efficient pharmacokinetic studies.

Turner P, Turner C, Green N, Ashton L, Lwe E, Jankhot A, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2013. Serum antibody responses to pneumococcal colonization in the first 2 years of life: Results from an SE Asian longitudinal cohort study Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 19 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

Assessment of antibody responses to pneumococcal colonization in early childhood may aid our understanding of protection and inform vaccine antigen selection. Serum samples were collected from mother-infant pairs during a longitudinal pneumococcal colonization study in Burmese refugees. Maternal and cord sera were collected at birth and infants were bled monthly (1-24 months of age). Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken monthly to detect colonization. Serum IgG titres to 27 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured in 2624 sera and IgG to dominant serotypes (6B, 14, 19F, 19A and 23F) were quantified in 864 infant sera. Antibodies to all protein antigens were detectable in maternal sera. Titres to four proteins (LytB, PcpA, PhtD and PhtE) were significantly higher in mothers colonized by pneumococci at delivery. Maternally-derived antibodies to PiuA and Spr0096 were associated with delayed pneumococcal acquisition in infants in univariate, but not multivariate models. Controlling for infant age and previous homologous serotype exposure, nasopharyngeal acquisition of serotypes 19A, 23F, 14 or 19F was associated significantly with a ≥2-fold antibody response to the homologous capsule (OR 12.84, 7.52, 6.52, 5.33; p <0.05). Acquisition of pneumococcal serotypes in the nasopharynx of infants was not significantly associated with a ≥2-fold rise in antibodies to any of the protein antigens studied. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal colonization in young children resulted in demonstrable serum IgG responses to pneumococcal capsules and surface/virulence proteins. However, the relationship between serum IgG and the prevention of, or response to, pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization remains complex. Mechanisms other than serum IgG are likely to have a role but are currently poorly understood. ©2013 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Chetchotisakd P, Chierakul W, Chaowagul W, Anunnatsiri S, Phimda K, Mootsikapun P, Chaisuksant S, Pilaikul J et al. 2014. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole versus trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole plus doxycycline as oral eradicative treatment for melioidosis (MERTH): a multicentre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 383 (9919), pp. 807-814. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, an infectious disease caused by the Gram-negative bacillus Burkholderia pseudomallei, is difficult to cure. Antimicrobial treatment comprises intravenous drugs for at least 10 days, followed by oral drugs for at least 12 weeks. The standard oral regimen based on trial evidence is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxaxole (TMP-SMX) plus doxycycline. This regimen is used in Thailand but is associated with side-effects and poor adherence by patients, and TMP-SMX alone is recommended in Australia. We compared the efficacy and side-effects of TMP-SMX with TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment. METHODS: For this multi-centre, double-blind, non-inferiority, randomised placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled patients (aged ≥15 years) from five centres in northeast Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis who had received a course of parenteral antimicrobial drugs. Using a computer-generated sequence, we randomly assigned patients to receive TMP-SMX plus placebo or TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for 20 weeks (1:1; block size of ten, stratified by study site). We followed patients up every 4 months for 1 year and annually thereafter to the end of the study. The primary endpoint was culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis, and the non-inferiority margin was a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.7. This study is registered with www.controlled-trials.com, number ISRCTN86140460. FINDINGS: We enrolled and randomly assigned 626 patients: 311 to TMP-SMX plus placebo and 315 to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline. 16 patients (5%) in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group and 21 patients (7%) in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group developed culture-confirmed recurrent melioidosis (HR 0.81; 95% CI 0.42-1.55). The criterion for non-inferiority was met (p=0.01). Adverse drug reactions were less common in the TMP-SMX plus placebo group than in the TMP-SMX plus doxycycline group (122 [39%] vs 167 [53%]). INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that TMP-SMX is not inferior to TMP-SMX plus doxycycline for the oral phase of melioidosis treatment, and is preferable on the basis of safety and tolerance by patients. FUNDING: Thailand Research Fund, the Melioidosis Research Center, the Center of Excellence in Specific Health Problems in Greater Mekong Sub-region cluster, and the Wellcome Trust.

Lim C, Wannapinij P, White L, Day NPJ, Cooper BS, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2013. Using a web-based application to define the accuracy of diagnostic tests when the gold standard is imperfect PLoS ONE, 8 (11), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Estimates of the sensitivity and specificity for new diagnostic tests based on evaluation against a known gold standard are imprecise when the accuracy of the gold standard is imperfect. Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) can be helpful under these circumstances, but the necessary analysis requires expertise in computational programming. Here, we describe open-access web-based applications that allow non-experts to apply Bayesian LCMs to their own data sets via a user-friendly interface. Methods/Principal Findings: Applications for Bayesian LCMs were constructed on a web server using R and WinBUGS programs. The models provided (http://mice.tropmedres.ac) include two Bayesian LCMs: the two-tests in two-population model (Hui and Walter model) and the three-tests in one-population model (Walter and Irwig model). Both models are available with simplified and advanced interfaces. In the former, all settings for Bayesian statistics are fixed as defaults. Users input their data set into a table provided on the webpage. Disease prevalence and accuracy of diagnostic tests are then estimated using the Bayesian LCM, and provided on the web page within a few minutes. With the advanced interfaces, experienced researchers can modify all settings in the models as needed. These settings include correlation among diagnostic test results and prior distributions for all unknown parameters. The web pages provide worked examples with both models using the original data sets presented by Hui and Walter in 1980, and by Walter and Irwig in 1988. We also illustrate the utility of the advanced interface using the Walter and Irwig model on a data set from a recent melioidosis study. The results obtained from the web-based applications were comparable to those published previously. Conclusions: The newly developed web-based applications are open-access and provide an important new resource for researchers worldwide to evaluate new diagnostic tests. © 2013 Lim et al.

Moore CE, Pan-Ngum W, Wijedoru LP, Sona S, Nga TV, Duy PT, Vinh PV, Chheng K et al. 2014. Evaluation of the diagnostic accuracy of a typhoid IgM flow assay for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in Cambodian children using a Bayesian latent class model assuming an imperfect gold standard. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (1), pp. 114-120. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rapid diagnostic tests are needed for typhoid fever (TF) diagnosis in febrile children in endemic areas. Five hundred children admitted to the hospital in Cambodia between 2009 and 2010 with documented fever (≥ 38°C) were investigated using blood cultures (BCs), Salmonella Typhi/Paratyphi A real-time polymerase chain reactions (PCRs), and a Typhoid immunoglobulin M flow assay (IgMFA). Test performance was determined by conventional methods and Bayesian latent class modeling. There were 32 cases of TF (10 BC- and PCR-positive cases, 14 BC-positive and PCR-negative cases, and 8 BC-negative and PCR-positive cases). IgMFA sensitivity was 59.4% (95% confidence interval = 41-76), and specificity was 97.8% (95% confidence interval = 96-99). The model estimate sensitivity for BC was 81.0% (95% credible interval = 54-99). The model estimate sensitivity for PCR was 37.8% (95% credible interval = 26-55), with a specificity of 98.2% (95% credible interval = 97-99). The model estimate sensitivity for IgMFA (≥ 2+) was 77.9% (95% credible interval = 58-90), with a specificity of 97.5% (95% credible interval = 95-100). The model estimates of IgMFA sensitivity and specificity were comparable with BCs and better than estimates using conventional analysis.

Luangasanatip N, Hongsuwan M, Lubell Y, Limmathurotsakul D, Teparrukkul P, Chaowarat S, Day NP, Graves N, Cooper BS. 2013. Long-term survival after intensive care unit discharge in Thailand: a retrospective study. Crit Care, 17 (5), pp. R219. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Economic evaluations of interventions in the hospital setting often rely on the estimated long-term impact on patient survival. Estimates of mortality rates and long-term outcomes among patients discharged alive from the intensive care unit (ICU) are lacking from lower- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to assess the long-term survival and life expectancy (LE) amongst post-ICU patients in Thailand, a middle-income country. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, data from a regional tertiary hospital in northeast Thailand and the regional death registry were linked and used to assess patient survival time after ICU discharge. Adult ICU patients aged at least 15 years who had been discharged alive from an ICU between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2005 were included in the study, and the death registry was used to determine deaths occurring in this cohort up to 31st December 2010. These data were used in conjunction with standard mortality life tables to estimate annual mortality and life expectancy. RESULTS: This analysis included 10,321 ICU patients. During ICU admission, 3,251 patients (31.5%) died. Of 7,070 patients discharged alive, 2,527 (35.7%) were known to have died within the five-year follow-up period, a mortality rate 2.5 times higher than that in the Thai general population (age and sex matched). The mean LE was estimated as 18.3 years compared with 25.2 years in the general population. CONCLUSIONS: Post-ICU patients experienced much higher rates of mortality than members of the general population over the five-year follow-up period, particularly in the first year after discharge. Further work assessing Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in both post-ICU patients and in the general population in developing countries is needed.

Tanomsing N, Imwong M, Sutherland CJ, Dolecek C, Hien TT, Nosten F, Day NP, White NJ, Snounou G. 2013. Genetic marker suitable for identification and genotyping of Plasmodium ovale curtisi and Plasmodium ovale wallikeri. J Clin Microbiol, 51 (12), pp. 4213-4216. | Show Abstract | Read more

We present a seminested PCR method that specifically discriminates between Plasmodium ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri with high sensitivity. The test is based on species-specific amplification of a size-polymorphic fragment of the tryptophan-rich antigen gene, potra, which also permits discrimination of intraspecific sequence variants at this locus.

Suntornsut P, Kasemsupat K, Silairatana S, Wongsuvan G, Jutrakul Y, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2013. Prevalence of melioidosis in patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis and sputum smear negative for acid-fast bacilli in northeast Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (5), pp. 983-985. | Show Abstract | Read more

The clinical and radiological features of pulmonary melioidosis can mimic tuberculosis. We prospectively evaluated 118 patients with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis who were acid-fast bacilli (AFB) smear negative at Udon Thani Hospital, northeast Thailand. Culture of residual sputum from AFB testing was positive for Burkholderia pseudomallei in three patients (2.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.5-7.3%). We propose that in melioidosis-endemic areas, residual sputum from AFB testing should be routinely cultured for B. pseudomallei.

Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Wongsuvan G, Wuthiekanun V, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2013. Rapid detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in blood cultures using a monoclonal antibody-based immunofluorescent assay. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (5), pp. 971-972. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a severe bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei. Rapid antimicrobial therapy is necessary to improve patient outcome, which is aided by direct detection of B. pseudomallei in clinical samples. A drawback for all antigen assays is that the number of B. pseudomallei in blood usually falls below the achievable level of detection. We performed a prospective cohort study of 461 patients with 541 blood cultures to evaluate the utility of a pre-incubation step prior to detection of B. pseudomallei using a monoclonal antibody-based immunofluorescent assay (Mab-IFA). The Mab-IFA was positive in 74 of 76 patients with melioidosis (sensitivity = 97.4%), and negative in 385 patients who did not have blood cultures containing B. pseudomallei (specificity = 100%). The Mab-IFA could be a valuable supplementary tool for rapid detection. We recommend the use of the Mab-IFA to test blood cultures that flag positive in regions where melioidosis is endemic.

Thaipadungpanit J, Wuthiekanun V, Chantratita N, Yimsamran S, Amornchai P, Boonsilp S, Maneeboonyang W, Tharnpoophasiam P et al. 2013. Leptospira species in floodwater during the 2011 floods in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (4), pp. 794-796. | Show Abstract | Read more

Floodwater samples (N = 110) collected during the 2011 Bangkok floods were tested for Leptospira using culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR); 65 samples were PCR-positive for putatively non-pathogenic Leptospira species, 1 sample contained a putatively pathogenic Leptospira, and 6 samples contained Leptospira clustering phylogenetically with the intermediate group. The low prevalence of pathogenic and intermediate Leptospira in floodwater was consistent with the low number of human leptospirosis cases reported to the Bureau of Epidemiology in Thailand. This study provides baseline information on environmental Leptospira in Bangkok together with a set of laboratory tests that could be readily deployed in the event of future flooding.

Sonthayanon P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Amornchai P, Smythe LD, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2013. Molecular confirmation of co-infection by pathogenic Leptospira spp. and Orientia tsutsugamushi in patients with acute febrile illness in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (4), pp. 797-799. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leptospirosis and scrub typhus are major causes of acute febrile illness in rural Asia, where co-infection is reported to occur based on serologic evidence. We re-examined whether co-infection occurs by using a molecular approach. A duplex real-time polymerase chain reaction was developed that targeted a specific 16S ribosomal RNA gene of pathogenic Leptospira spp. and Orientia tsutsugamushi. Of 82 patients with an acute febrile illness who had dual infection on the basis of serologic tests, 5 (6%) had polymerase chain reaction results positive for both pathogens. We conclude that dual infection occurs, but that serologic tests may overestimate the frequency of co-infections.

Maude RJ, Silamut K, Plewes K, Charunwatthana P, Ho M, Abul Faiz M, Rahman R, Hossain MA et al. 2014. Randomized controlled trial of levamisole hydrochloride as adjunctive therapy in severe falciparum malaria with high parasitemia. J Infect Dis, 209 (1), pp. 120-129. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cytoadherence and sequestration of erythrocytes containing mature stages of Plasmodium falciparum are central to the pathogenesis of severe malaria. The oral anthelminthic drug levamisole inhibits cytoadherence in vitro and reduces sequestration of late-stage parasites in uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with quinine. METHODS: Fifty-six adult patients with severe malaria and high parasitemia admitted to a referral hospital in Bangladesh were randomized to receive a single dose of levamisole hydrochloride (150 mg) or no adjuvant to antimalarial treatment with intravenous artesunate. RESULTS: Circulating late-stage parasites measured as the median area under the parasite clearance curves were 2150 (interquartile range [IQR], 0-28 025) parasites/µL × hour in patients treated with levamisole and 5489 (IQR, 192-25 848) parasites/µL × hour in controls (P = .25). The "sequestration ratios" at 6 and 12 hours for all parasite stages and changes in microvascular blood flow did not differ between treatment groups (all P > .40). The median time to normalization of plasma lactate (<2 mmol/L) was 24 (IQR, 12-30) hours with levamisole vs 28 (IQR, 12-36) hours without levamisole (P = .15). CONCLUSIONS: There was no benefit of a single-dose of levamisole hydrochloride as adjuvant to intravenous artesunate in the treatment of adults with severe falciparum malaria. Rapid parasite killing by intravenous artesunate might obscure the effects of levamisole.

Thanapongpichat S, McGready R, Luxemburger C, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Snounou G, Imwong M. 2013. Microsatellite genotyping of Plasmodium vivax infections and their relapses in pregnant and non-pregnant patients on the Thai-Myanmar border. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 275. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax infections in pregnancy are associated with low birth weight and anaemia. This parasites species is also characterised by relapses, erythrocytic infections initiated by the activation of the dormant liver stages, the hypnozoites, to mature. Genotyping of P. vivax using microsatellite markers has opened the way to comparative investigations of parasite populations. The aim of the study was to assess whether there were any differences between the parasites found in pregnant and non-pregnant patients, and/or between the admission infections and recurrent episodes during follow-up. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 18 pregnant and 18 non-pregnant patients, who had at least two recurrent episodes during follow-up, that were recruited in two previous trials on the efficacy of chloroquine treatment of P. vivax infections on the Thai-Myanmar border. DNA was purified and the P. vivax populations genotyped with respect to eight polymorphic microsatellite markers. Analyses of the genetic diversity, multiplicity of infection (MOI), and a comparison of the genotypes in the samples from each patient were conducted. RESULTS: The P. vivax parasites present in the samples exhibited high genetic diversity (6 to 15 distinct allelic variants found for the 8 loci). Similar expected heterozygosity (He) values were obtained for isolates from pregnant (0.837) and non-pregnant patients (0.852). There were modest differences between the MOI values calculated for both admission and recurrence samples from the pregnant patients (2.00 and 2.05, respectively) and the equivalent samples from the non-pregnant patients (1.67 and 1.64, respectively). Furthermore, the mean number of distinct alleles enumerated in the admission samples from the pregnant (6.88) and non-pregnant (7.63) patients were significantly lower than that found in the corresponding recurrent episodes samples (9.25 and 9.63, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: The P. vivax populations circulating in inhabitants along the Thai-Myanmar border, an area of low malaria transmission, displayed high genetic diversity. A subtle increase in the multiplicity of P. vivax infections in pregnant patients suggests a higher susceptibility to infection. The higher allelic diversity in the relapse as compared to the admission samples in both patient groups is consistent with the hypothesis that a febrile episode promotes the activation of hypnozoites.

Paris DH, Shelite TR, Day NP, Walker DH. 2013. Unresolved problems related to scrub typhus: a seriously neglected life-threatening disease. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (2), pp. 301-307. | Read more

Newton PN, Stepniewska K, Dondorp A, Silamut K, Chierakul W, Krishna S, Davis TM, Suputtamongkol Y et al. 2013. Prognostic indicators in adults hospitalized with falciparum malaria in Western Thailand. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 229. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria remains a major cause of death and morbidity amongst adults in the Asiatic tropics. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of the clinical and laboratory data of 988 adult patients, hospitalized with Plasmodium falciparum malaria and prospectively recruited to malaria studies in western Thailand between 1986 and 2002, was performed to assess the factors associated with a fatal outcome. Different severity scores and classifications for defining severe malaria were compared and, using multiple logistic regression, simple models for predicting mortality developed. RESULTS: The proportion of patients fulfilling the WHO 2000 definition of severe malaria was 78.1%, and their mortality was 10%. Mortality in patients given parenteral artesunate or artemether (16/317, 5%) was lower than in those given parenteral quinine (59/442, 13%) (P < 0.001). Models using parameter sets based on WHO 1990, 2000 and Adapted AQ criteria plus blood smear parasite-stage assessment gave the best mortality prediction. A malaria prognostic index (MPI), derived from the dataset using five clinical or laboratory variables gave similar prognostic accuracy. CONCLUSIONS: The mortality of severe malaria in adults has fallen and the switch from quinine to artesunate has probably been an important contributor. Prognostic indices based on WHO 2000 definitions, and other simpler indices based on fewer variables, provide clinically useful predictions of outcome in Asian adults with severe malaria.

Stoesser N, Moore CE, Pocock JM, An KP, Emary K, Carter M, Sona S, Poda S, Day N, Kumar V, Parry CM. 2013. Pediatric bloodstream infections in Cambodia, 2007 to 2011. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 32 (7), pp. e272-e276. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pediatric bacterial bloodstream infections (BSIs) are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Epidemiological data from resource-limited settings in southeast Asia, such as Cambodia, are sparse but have important implications for treatment and public health strategies. METHODS: We retrospectively investigated BSI in children at a pediatric hospital and its satellite clinic in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from January 1, 2007, to July 31, 2011. The range of bacterial pathogens and their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns were analyzed in conjunction with demographic, clinical and outcome data. RESULTS: Of 7682 blood cultures with results (99.9% of cultures taken), 606 (7.9%) episodes of BSI were identified in 588 children. The incidence of BSI increased from 14 to 50/1000 admissions (P < 0.001); this was associated with an increased sampling rate. Most BSI were community acquired (89.1%). Common pathogens included Salmonella Typhi (22.8% of all isolates), Staphylococcus aureus (12.2%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (10.0%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (6.4%) and Escherichia coli (6.3%). 21.5% of BSI were caused by a diverse group of uncommon organisms, the majority of which were environmental Gram-negative species. No Listeria monocytogenes or Group B streptococcal BSI were identified. Antimicrobial resistance, particularly among the Enterobacteriaceae, was common. Overall mortality was substantial (19.0%), higher in neonates (36.9%) and independently associated with meningitis/meningoencephalitis and K. pneumoniae infection. CONCLUSIONS: BSI is a common problem in Cambodian children attending hospital and associated with significant mortality. Further studies are needed to clarify the epidemiology of neonatal sepsis, the contribution of atypical organisms and the epidemiology of pneumococcal disease before the introduction of vaccine.

South East Asia Infectious Disease Clinical Research Network. 2013. Effect of double dose oseltamivir on clinical and virological outcomes in children and adults admitted to hospital with severe influenza: double blind randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 346 (may30 2), pp. f3039. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the validity of recommendations in treatment guidelines to use higher than approved doses of oseltamivir in patients with severe influenza. DESIGN: Double blind randomised trial. SETTING: Thirteen hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥ 1 year admitted to hospital with confirmed severe influenza. INTERVENTIONS: Oral oseltamivir at double dose (150 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent) versus standard dose (75 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Viral status according to reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for influenza RNA in nasal and throat swabs on day five. RESULTS: Of 326 patients (including 246 (75.5%) children aged <15), 165 and 161 were randomised to double or standard dose oseltamivir, respectively. Of these, 260 (79.8%) were infected with influenza virus A (133 (40.8%) with A/H3N2, 72 (22.1%) with A/H1N1-pdm09, 38 (11.7%) with seasonal A/H1N1, 17 (5.2%) with A/H5N1) and 53 (16.2%) with influenza virus B. A further 3.9% (13) were false positive by rapid antigen test (negative by RT-PCR and no rise in convalescent haemagglutination inhibition titers). Similar proportions of patients were negative for RT-PCR on day five of treatment: 115/159 (72.3%, 95% confidence interval 64.9% to 78.7%) double dose recipients versus 105/154 (68.2%, 60.5% to 75.0%) standard dose recipients; difference 4.2% (-5.9 to 14.2); P=0.42. No differences were found in clearance of virus in subgroup analyses by virus type/subtype, age, and duration of illness before randomisation. Mortality was similar: 12/165 (7.3%, 4.2% to 12.3%) in double dose recipients versus 9/161 (5.6%, 3.0% to 10.3%) in standard dose recipients. No differences were found between double and standard dose arms in median days on supplemental oxygen (3 (interquartile range 2-5) v 3.5 (2-7)), in intensive care (4.5 (3-6) v 5 (2-11), and on mechanical ventilation (2.5 (1-16) v 8 (1-16)), respectively. No important differences in tolerability were found. CONCLUSIONS: There were no virological or clinical advantages with double dose oseltamivir compared with standard dose in patients with severe influenza admitted to hospital. REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials NCT00298233.

Turner P, Turner C, Green N, Ashton L, Lwe E, Jankhot A, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2013. Serum antibody responses to pneumococcal colonisation in the first two years of life: results from a SE Asian longitudinal cohort study. Clin Microbiol Infect, 19 (12), pp. E551-E558. | Show Abstract | Read more

Assessment of antibody responses to pneumococcal colonisation in early childhood may aid our understanding of protection and inform vaccine antigen selection. Serum samples were collected from mother-infant pairs during a longitudinal pneumococcal colonisation study in Burmese refugees. Maternal and cord sera were collected at birth and infants were bled monthly (1-24 months of age). Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken monthly to detect colonisation. Serum IgG titres to 27 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured in 2,624 sera and IgG to dominant serotypes (6B,14,19F,19A,23F) were quantified in 864 infant sera. Antibodies to all protein antigens were detectable in maternal sera. Titres to four proteins (LytB,PcpA,PhtD,PhtE) were significantly higher in mothers colonised by pneumococci at delivery. Maternally-derived antibodies to PiuA and Spr0096 were associated with delayed pneumococcal acquisition in infants in univariate, but not multivariate models. Controlling for infant age and previous homologous serotype exposure, nasopharyngeal acquisition of serotypes 19A, 23F, 14, or 19F were associated significantly with a ≥2-fold antibody response to the homologous capsule (OR 12.84, 7.52, 6.52, 5.33; p<0.05). Acquisition of pneumococcal serotypes in the nasopharynx of infants was not significantly associated with a ≥2-fold rise in antibodies to any of the protein antigens studied. In conclusion, nasopharyngeal colonisation in young children resulted in demonstrable serum IgG responses to pneumococcal capsules and surface/virulence proteins. However, the relationship between serum IgG and the prevention of, or response to, pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonisation remains complex. Mechanisms other than serum IgG are likely to have a role but are currently poorly understood. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Tandhavanant S, Wongsuvan G, Wuthiekanun V, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2013. Monoclonal antibody-based immunofluorescence microscopy for the rapid identification of Burkholderia pseudomallei in clinical specimens. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (1), pp. 165-168. | Show Abstract | Read more

The diagnosis of melioidosis depends on the culture of Burkholderia pseudomallei, which takes at least 48 hours. We used a polyclonal-FITC-based immunofluorescence microscopic assay (Pab-IFA) on clinical samples to provide a rapid presumptive diagnosis. This has limitations including photobleaching and batch-to-batch variability. This study evaluated an IFA based on a monoclonal antibody specific to B. pseudomallei (Mab-IFA) and Alexa Fluor 488. A diagnostic evaluation was performed on a prospective cohort of 951 consecutive patients with suspected melioidosis. A total of 1,407 samples were tested. Test accuracy was defined against culture as the gold standard, and was also compared against Pab-IFA. A total of 88 samples from 64 patients were culture positive for B. pseudomallei. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the Mab-IFA was comparable to the Pab-IFA (48.4% versus 45.3% for sensitivity, and 99.8% versus 98.8% for specificity). We have incorporated the Mab-IFA into our routine practice.

Hendriksen IC, Mtove G, Kent A, Gesase S, Reyburn H, Lemnge MM, Lindegardh N, Day NP et al. 2013. Population pharmacokinetics of intramuscular artesunate in African children with severe malaria: implications for a practical dosing regimen. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 93 (5), pp. 443-450. | Show Abstract | Read more

Parenteral artesunate (ARS) is the drug of choice for the treatment of severe malaria. Pharmacokinetics data on intramuscular ARS are limited with respect to the main treatment group that carries the highest mortality, namely, critically ill children with severe malaria. A population pharmacokinetic study of ARS and dihydroartemisinin (DHA) was conducted from sparse sampling in 70 Tanzanian children of ages 6 months to 11 years. All the children had been admitted with severe falciparum malaria and were treated with intramuscular ARS (2.4 mg/kg at 0, 12, and 24 h). Venous plasma concentration-time profiles were characterized using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling (NONMEM). A one-compartment disposition model accurately described first-dose population pharmacokinetics of ARS and DHA. Body weight significantly affected clearance and apparent volume of distribution (P < 0.001), resulting in lower ARS and DHA exposure levels in smaller children. An adapted dosing regimen including a practical dosing table per weight band is proposed for young children based on the pharmacokinetic model.

Miotto O, Almagro-Garcia J, Manske M, Macinnis B, Campino S, Rockett KA, Amaratunga C, Lim P et al. 2013. Multiple populations of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Cambodia. Nat Genet, 45 (6), pp. 648-655. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe an analysis of genome variation in 825 P. falciparum samples from Asia and Africa that identifies an unusual pattern of parasite population structure at the epicenter of artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia. Within this relatively small geographic area, we have discovered several distinct but apparently sympatric parasite subpopulations with extremely high levels of genetic differentiation. Of particular interest are three subpopulations, all associated with clinical resistance to artemisinin, which have skewed allele frequency spectra and high levels of haplotype homozygosity, indicative of founder effects and recent population expansion. We provide a catalog of SNPs that show high levels of differentiation in the artemisinin-resistant subpopulations, including codon variants in transporter proteins and DNA mismatch repair proteins. These data provide a population-level genetic framework for investigating the biological origins of artemisinin resistance and for defining molecular markers to assist in its elimination.

Jiang J, Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Aukkanit N, Newton PN, Phetsouvanh R, Izzard L, Stenos J, Graves SR, Day NP, Richards AL. 2013. Diversity of the 47-kD HtrA nucleic acid and translated amino acid sequences from 17 recent human isolates of Orientia. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 13 (6), pp. 367-375. | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi, the etiologic agent of potentially fatal scrub typhus, is characterized by a high antigenic diversity, which complicates the development of a broadly protective vaccine. Efficacy studies in murine and nonhuman primate models demonstrated the DNA vaccine candidate pKarp47, based upon the O. tsutsugamushi Karp 47-kD HtrA protein gene, to be a successful immunoprophylactic against scrub typhus. To characterize 47-kD HtrA protein diversity among human isolates of Orientia, we sequenced the full open reading frame (ORF) of the 47-kD HtrA gene and analyzed the translated amino acid sequences of 17 patient isolates from Thailand (n=13), Laos (n=2), Australia (n=1), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (n=1) and 9 reference strains: Karp (New Guinea), Kato (Japan), Ikeda (Japan), Gilliam (Burma), Boryong (Korea), TA763, TH1811 and TH1817 (Thailand), and MAK243 (China). The percentage identity (similarity) of translated amino acid sequences between 16 new isolates and 9 reference strains of O. tsutsugamushi ranged from 96.4% to 100% (97.4% to 100%). However, inclusion of the recently identified Orientia chuto sp. nov. reduced identity (similarity) values to 82.2% to 83.3% (90.4% to 91.4%). These results demonstrate the diversity of Orientia 47-kD HtrA among isolates encountered by humans and therefore provide support for the necessity of developing a broadly protective scrub typhus vaccine that takes this diversity into account.

White NJ, Turner GD, Day NP, Dondorp AM. 2013. Lethal malaria: Marchiafava and Bignami were right. J Infect Dis, 208 (2), pp. 192-198. | Show Abstract | Read more

One hundred and twenty years ago, the Italian malariologists Marchiafava and Bignami proposed that the fundamental pathological process underlying lethal falciparum malaria was microvascular obstruction. Since then, several alternative hypotheses have been proposed. These formed the basis for adjunctive interventions, which have either been ineffective or harmful. Recent evidence strongly suggests that Marchiafava and Bignami were right.

Limmathurotsakul D, Dance DA, Wuthiekanun V, Kaestli M, Mayo M, Warner J, Wagner DM, Tuanyok A et al. 2013. Systematic review and consensus guidelines for environmental sampling of Burkholderia pseudomallei. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (3), pp. e2105. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Tier 1 Select Agent and the cause of melioidosis, is a Gram-negative bacillus present in the environment in many tropical countries. Defining the global pattern of B. pseudomallei distribution underpins efforts to prevent infection, and is dependent upon robust environmental sampling methodology. Our objective was to review the literature on the detection of environmental B. pseudomallei, update the risk map for melioidosis, and propose international consensus guidelines for soil sampling. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: An international working party (Detection of Environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei Working Party (DEBWorP)) was formed during the VIth World Melioidosis Congress in 2010. PubMed (January 1912 to December 2011) was searched using the following MeSH terms: pseudomallei or melioidosis. Bibliographies were hand-searched for secondary references. The reported geographical distribution of B. pseudomallei in the environment was mapped and categorized as definite, probable, or possible. The methodology used for detecting environmental B. pseudomallei was extracted and collated. We found that global coverage was patchy, with a lack of studies in many areas where melioidosis is suspected to occur. The sampling strategies and bacterial identification methods used were highly variable, and not all were robust. We developed consensus guidelines with the goals of reducing the probability of false-negative results, and the provision of affordable and 'low-tech' methodology that is applicable in both developed and developing countries. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The proposed consensus guidelines provide the basis for the development of an accurate and comprehensive global map of environmental B. pseudomallei.

Day N. 2013. The researcher of the future...takes advantage of international opportunities. Lancet, 381 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S8-S9. | Read more

Stoesser N, Emary K, Soklin S, Peng An K, Sophal S, Chhomrath S, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D et al. 2013. The value of intermittent point-prevalence surveys of healthcare-associated infections for evaluating infection control interventions at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 107 (4), pp. 248-253. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There are limited data on the epidemiology of paediatric healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and infection control in low-income countries. We describe the value of intermittent point-prevalence surveys for monitoring HCAI and evaluating infection control interventions in a Cambodian paediatric hospital. METHODS: Hospital-wide, point-prevalence surveys were performed monthly in 2011. Infection control interventions introduced during this period included a hand hygiene programme and a ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) care bundle. RESULTS: Overall HCAI prevalence was 13.8/100 patients at-risk, with a significant decline over time. The highest HCAI rates (50%) were observed in critical care; the majority of HCAIs were respiratory (61%). Klebsiella pneumoniae was most commonly isolated and antimicrobial resistance was widespread. Hand hygiene compliance doubled to 51.6%, and total VAP cases/1000 patient-ventilator days fell from 30 to 10. CONCLUSION: Rates of HCAI were substantial in our institution, and antimicrobial resistance a major concern. Point-prevalence surveys are effective for HCAI surveillance, and in monitoring trends in response to infection control interventions.

Limmathurotsakul D, Kanoksil M, Wuthiekanun V, Kitphati R, deStavola B, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2013. Activities of daily living associated with acquisition of melioidosis in northeast Thailand: a matched case-control study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (2), pp. e2072. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a serious infectious disease caused by the Category B select agent and environmental saprophyte, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Most cases of naturally acquired infection are assumed to result from skin inoculation after exposure to soil or water. The aim of this study was to provide evidence for inoculation, inhalation and ingestion as routes of infection, and develop preventive guidelines based on this evidence. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A prospective hospital-based 1∶2 matched case-control study was conducted in Northeast Thailand. Cases were patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis, and controls were patients admitted with non-infectious conditions during the same period, matched for gender, age, and diabetes mellitus. Activities of daily living were recorded for the 30-day period before onset of symptoms, and home visits were performed to obtain drinking water and culture this for B. pseudomallei. Multivariable conditional logistic regression analysis based on 286 cases and 512 controls showed that activities associated with a risk of melioidosis included working in a rice field (conditional odds ratio [cOR] = 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-3.3), other activities associated with exposure to soil or water (cOR = 1.4; 95%CI 0.8-2.6), an open wound (cOR = 2.0; 95%CI 1.2-3.3), eating food contaminated with soil or dust (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0-2.2), drinking untreated water (cOR = 1.7; 95%CI 1.1-2.6), outdoor exposure to rain (cOR = 2.1; 95%CI 1.4-3.2), water inhalation (cOR = 2.4; 95%CI 1.5-3.9), current smoking (cOR = 1.5; 95%CI 1.0-2.3) and steroid intake (cOR = 3.1; 95%CI 1.4-6.9). B. pseudomallei was detected in water source(s) consumed by 7% of cases and 3% of controls (cOR = 2.2; 95%CI 0.8-5.8). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We used these findings to develop the first evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of melioidosis. These are suitable for people in melioidosis-endemic areas, travelers and military personnel. Public health campaigns based on our recommendations are under development in Thailand.

Hanson JP, Lam SW, Mohanty S, Alam S, Pattnaik R, Mahanta KC, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P et al. 2013. Fluid resuscitation of adults with severe falciparum malaria: effects on Acid-base status, renal function, and extravascular lung water. Crit Care Med, 41 (4), pp. 972-981. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of liberal fluid resuscitation of adults with severe malaria. DESIGN, SETTING, PATIENTS, AND METHODS: Twenty-eight Bangladeshi and Indian adults with severe falciparum malaria received crystalloid resuscitation guided by transpulmonary thermodilution (PiCCO) in an intensive care setting. Systemic hemodynamics, microvascular indices and measures of acidosis, renal function, and pulmonary edema were followed prospectively. RESULTS: All patients were hypovolemic (global end-diastolic volume index<680 mL/m) on enrollment. Patients received a median (range) 3230 mL (390-7300) of isotonic saline in the first 6 hours and 5450 mL (710-13,720) in the first 24 hours. With resuscitation, acid-base status deteriorated in 19 of 28 (68%), and there was no significant improvement in renal function. Extravascular lung water increased in 17 of 22 liberally resuscitated patients (77%); eight of these patients developed pulmonary edema, five of whom died. All other patients survived. All patients with pulmonary edema during the study were hypovolemic or euvolemic at the time pulmonary edema developed. Plasma lactate was lower in hypovolemic patients before (rs=0.38; p=0.05) and after (rs=0.49; p=0.01) resuscitation but was the strongest predictor of mortality before (chi-square=9.9; p=0.002) and after resuscitation (chi-square=11.1; p<0.001) and correlated with the degree of visualized microvascular sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes at both time points (rs=0.55; p=0.003 and rs=0.43; p=0.03, respectively). Persisting sequestration was evident in 7 of 15 patients (47%) 48 hours after enrollment. CONCLUSIONS: Lactic acidosis--the strongest prognostic indicator in adults with severe falciparum malaria--results from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation, not from hypovolemia. Liberal fluid resuscitation has little effect on this sequestration and does not improve acid-base status or renal function. Pulmonary edema--secondary to increased pulmonary vascular permeability--is common, unpredictable, and exacerbated by fluid loading. Liberal fluid replacement of adults with severe malaria should be avoided.

Anekthananon T, Pukrittayakamee S, Ratanasuwan W, Jittamala P, Werarak P, Charunwatthana P, Suwanagool S, Lawpoolsri S et al. 2013. Oseltamivir and inhaled zanamivir as influenza prophylaxis in Thai health workers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled safety trial over 16 weeks. J Antimicrob Chemother, 68 (3), pp. 697-707. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Long-term chemoprophylaxis using neuraminidase inhibitors may be needed during influenza epidemics but safety data are limited to several weeks. We sought to assess the tolerability of oseltamivir and zanamivir as primary prophylaxis over 16 weeks. METHODS: We conducted a parallel group, double blind, 2 (active drug) :1 (placebo) randomized trial of oral oseltamivir/placebo or inhaled zanamivir/placebo over 16 weeks in healthy, Thai hospital professionals at two Bangkok hospitals. The primary endpoint was study withdrawal due to drug-related (possibly, probably, definitely) serious or adverse events (AEs) graded ≥ 2. RESULTS: Recruited subjects numbered 129 oseltamivir/65 placebo and 131 zanamivir/65 placebo. A total of 102 grade ≥ 2 AEs were reported or detected in 69 subjects: 23/129 (17.8%) versus 15/65 (23.1%) (P=0.26), and 23/131 (17.6%) versus 8/65 (12.3%) (P=0.28). Intercurrent infections/fevers [26/102 (25.5%)], abnormal biochemistry [25/102 (24.5%)] and gastrointestinal symptoms [18/102 (17.6%)] were the most frequently reported AEs. There were no drug-related study withdrawals. Eight serious AEs were all due to intercurrent illnesses. Laboratory, lung function and ECG parameters were similar between drugs and placebos. CONCLUSIONS: Oseltamivir and zanamivir were well tolerated in healthy hospital professionals. Both drugs can be recommended for primary influenza prophylaxis for up to 16 weeks.

Lwin KM, Peto TJ, White NJ, Day NPJ, Nosten F, Parker M, Cheah PY. 2013. The practicality and sustainability of a community advisory board at a large medical research unit on the Thai-Myanmar border Health, 05 (02), pp. 229-236. | Read more

Prapansilp P, Medana I, Mai NT, Day NP, Phu NH, Yeo TW, Hien TT, White NJ, Anstey NM, Turner GD. 2013. A clinicopathological correlation of the expression of the angiopoietin-Tie-2 receptor pathway in the brain of adults with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 50. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasma angiopoietin (Ang)-2 is associated with disease severity and mortality in adults and children with falciparum malaria. However the mechanism of action of the angiopoietins in fatal malaria is unclear. This study aimed to determine whether the expression of Ang-1 and Ang-2 and their receptor Tie-2 in cerebral endothelial or parenchymal cells was specific to cerebral malaria (CM), correlated with coma or other severe clinical features, and whether plasma and CSF levels of these markers correlated with the clinical and neuropathological features of severe and fatal malaria in Vietnamese adults. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed for Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 on post-mortem brain tissue from fatal malaria cases and controls. Quantitative ELISA for plasma and cerebrospinal fluid levels of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was done to compare fatal cases with surviving patients from the same study. RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry revealed significant differences in expression in endothelial and parenchymal cells compared to controls. However there was no significant difference in expression of these markers on endothelial cells, astroglial cells or neurons between CM and non-cerebral malaria cases. Immunostaining of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was also not associated with Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocyte sequestration in the brain. However Ang-1 and Ang-2 expression in neurons was significantly correlated with the incidence of microscopic haemorrhages. Plasma levels of Ang-2 and Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio were associated with the number of severe malaria complications and were significant and independent predictors of metabolic acidosis and fatal outcome. CONCLUSIONS: The independent prognostic significance of Ang-2 and the Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio in severe malaria was confirmed, although immunohistochemistry in fatal cases did not reveal increased expression on brain endothelium in cerebral versus non-cerebral cases. Activation of the Ang-Tie-2 pathway in severe malaria is therefore related to acidosis, number of severity criteria and outcome, but is not a specific event in the brain during cerebral malaria.

Chheng K, Carter MJ, Emary K, Chanpheaktra N, Moore CE, Stoesser N, Putchhat H, Sona S et al. 2013. A prospective study of the causes of febrile illness requiring hospitalization in children in Cambodia. PLoS One, 8 (4), pp. e60634. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Febrile illnesses are pre-eminent contributors to morbidity and mortality among children in South-East Asia but the causes are poorly understood. We determined the causes of fever in children hospitalised in Siem Reap province, Cambodia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A one-year prospective study of febrile children admitted to Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap. Demographic, clinical, laboratory and outcome data were comprehensively analysed. Between October 12(th) 2009 and October 12(th) 2010 there were 1225 episodes of febrile illness in 1180 children. Median (IQR) age was 2.0 (0.8-6.4) years, with 850 (69%) episodes in children <5 years. Common microbiological diagnoses were dengue virus (16.2%), scrub typhus (7.8%), and Japanese encephalitis virus (5.8%). 76 (6.3%) episodes had culture-proven bloodstream infection, including Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (22 isolates, 1.8%), Streptococcus pneumoniae (13, 1.1%), Escherichia coli (8, 0.7%), Haemophilus influenzae (7, 0.6%), Staphylococcus aureus (6, 0.5%) and Burkholderia pseudomallei (6, 0.5%). There were 69 deaths (5.6%), including those due to clinically diagnosed pneumonia (19), dengue virus (5), and melioidosis (4). 10 of 69 (14.5%) deaths were associated with culture-proven bloodstream infection in logistic regression analyses (odds ratio for mortality 3.4, 95% CI 1.6-6.9). Antimicrobial resistance was prevalent, particularly in S. enterica Typhi, (where 90% of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, and 86% were multi-drug resistant). Comorbid undernutrition was present in 44% of episodes and a major risk factor for acute mortality (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.1-4.2), as were HIV infection and cardiac disease. CONCLUSION: We identified a microbiological cause of fever in almost 50% of episodes in this large study of community-acquired febrile illness in hospitalized children in Cambodia. The range of pathogens, antimicrobial susceptibility, and co-morbidities associated with mortality described will be of use in the development of rational guidelines for infectious disease treatment and control in Cambodia and South-East Asia.

Boonsilp S, Thaipadungpanit J, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Bailey MS, Holden MT, Zhang C, Jiang X et al. 2013. A single multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme for seven pathogenic Leptospira species. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (1), pp. e1954. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The available Leptospira multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme supported by a MLST website is limited to L. interrogans and L. kirschneri. Our aim was to broaden the utility of this scheme to incorporate a total of seven pathogenic species. METHODOLOGY AND FINDINGS: We modified the existing scheme by replacing one of the seven MLST loci (fadD was changed to caiB), as the former gene did not appear to be present in some pathogenic species. Comparison of the original and modified schemes using data for L. interrogans and L. kirschneri demonstrated that the discriminatory power of the two schemes was not significantly different. The modified scheme was used to further characterize 325 isolates (L. alexanderi [n = 5], L. borgpetersenii [n = 34], L. interrogans [n = 222], L. kirschneri [n = 29], L. noguchii [n = 9], L. santarosai [n = 10], and L. weilii [n = 16]). Phylogenetic analysis using concatenated sequences of the 7 loci demonstrated that each species corresponded to a discrete clade, and that no strains were misclassified at the species level. Comparison between genotype and serovar was possible for 254 isolates. Of the 31 sequence types (STs) represented by at least two isolates, 18 STs included isolates assigned to two or three different serovars. Conversely, 14 serovars were identified that contained between 2 to 10 different STs. New observations were made on the global phylogeography of Leptospira spp., and the utility of MLST in making associations between human disease and specific maintenance hosts was demonstrated. CONCLUSION: The new MLST scheme, supported by an updated MLST website, allows the characterization and species assignment of isolates of the seven major pathogenic species associated with leptospirosis.

Sunyakumthorn P, Paris DH, Chan TC, Jones M, Luce-Fedrow A, Chattopadhyay S, Jiang J, Anantatat T, Turner GD, Day NP, Richards AL. 2013. An intradermal inoculation model of scrub typhus in Swiss CD-1 mice demonstrates more rapid dissemination of virulent strains of Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e54570. | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus is an important endemic disease of the Asia-Pacific region caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi. To develop an effective vaccine to prevent scrub typhus infection, a better understanding of the initial host-pathogen interaction is needed. The objective of this study was to investigate early bacterial dissemination in a CD-1 Swiss outbred mouse model after intradermal injection of O. tsutsugamushi. Three human pathogenic strains of O. tsutsugamushi (Karp, Gilliam, and Woods) were chosen to investigate the early infection characteristics associated with bacterial virulence. Tissue biopsies of the intradermal injection site and draining lymph nodes were examined using histology and immunohistochemistry to characterize bacterial dissemination, and correlated with quantitative real-time PCR for O. tsutsugamushi in blood and tissue from major organs. Soluble adhesion molecules were measured to examine cellular activation in response to infection. No eschar formation was seen at the inoculation site and no clinical disease developed within the 7 day period of observation. However, O. tsutsugamushi was localized at the injection site and in the draining lymph nodes by day 7 post inoculation. Evidence of leukocyte and endothelial activation was present by day 7 with significantly raised levels of sL-selectin, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1. Infection with the Karp strain was associated with earlier and higher bacterial loads and more extensive dissemination in various tissues than the less pathogenic Gilliam and Woods strains. The bacterial loads of O. tsutsugamushi were highest in the lungs and spleens of mice inoculated with Karp and Gilliam, but not Woods strains. Strains of higher virulence resulted in more rapid systemic infection and dissemination in this model. The CD-1 mouse intradermal inoculation model demonstrates features relevant to early scrub typhus infection in humans, including the development of regional lymphadenopathy, leukocyte activation and distant organ dissemination after low-dose intradermal injection with O. tsutsugamushi.

Pan-ngum W, Blacksell SD, Lubell Y, Pukrittayakamee S, Bailey MS, de Silva HJ, Lalloo DG, Day NP, White LJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2013. Estimating the true accuracy of diagnostic tests for dengue infection using bayesian latent class models. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e50765. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection has been repeatedly estimated by comparing those tests with reference assays. We hypothesized that those estimates might be inaccurate if the accuracy of the reference assays is not perfect. Here, we investigated this using statistical modeling. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from a cohort study of 549 patients suspected of dengue infection presenting at Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, Sri Lanka, that described the application of our reference assay (a combination of Dengue IgM antibody capture ELISA and IgG antibody capture ELISA) and of three rapid diagnostic tests (Panbio NS1 antigen, IgM antibody and IgG antibody rapid immunochromatographic cassette tests) were re-evaluated using bayesian latent class models (LCMs). The estimated sensitivity and specificity of the reference assay were 62.0% and 99.6%, respectively. Prevalence of dengue infection (24.3%), and sensitivities and specificities of the Panbio NS1 (45.9% and 97.9%), IgM (54.5% and 95.5%) and IgG (62.1% and 84.5%) estimated by bayesian LCMs were significantly different from those estimated by assuming that the reference assay was perfect. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for a combination of NS1, IgM and IgG cassette tests on admission samples were 87.0%, 82.8%, 62.0% and 95.2%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our reference assay is an imperfect gold standard. In our setting, the combination of NS1, IgM and IgG rapid diagnostic tests could be used on admission to rule out dengue infection with a high level of accuracy (NPV 95.2%). Further evaluation of rapid diagnostic tests for dengue infection should include the use of appropriate statistical models.

Nantakomol D, Paul R, Palasuwan A, Day NP, White NJ, Imwong M. 2013. Evaluation of the phenotypic test and genetic analysis in the detection of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 289. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is particularly prevalent in historically malaria-endemic countries. Although most individuals with G6PD deficiency are asymptomatic, deficiency can result in acute haemolytic anaemia after exposure to oxidative agents. A reliable test is necessary for diagnosing the deficiency to prevent an acute haemolytic crisis following, for example, anti-malarial treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate which method was the best predictor of this disorder. METHODS: The present study investigated four G6PD activity detections (fluorescence spot (FS), methaemoglobin reduction (MR), biochemical and cytochemical test). These methods accompanied with mutation analysis of blood samples were taken from 295 apparently healthy individuals with unknown G6PD deficiency status. RESULTS: Molecular characterization of 295 Thai adults revealed an overall prevalence of 14.2%. The G6PD Viangchan (871 G>A) was the most common (83.3%), followed by G6PD Mahidol (487G>A) (11.9%), and G6PD Union (1360 C>T) (4.8%). There were two cases of G6PD deficiency carrying the double mutations of Viangchan (871G > A)-Mahidol (487G > A) and Viangchan (871G > A)-Union (1360C > T). In comparison, the prevalence of G6PD deficiency was 6.1% by FS test and 7.1% by MR test. G6PD activity was 11 ± 2.5 IU/gHb in non-deficient females (mean ± SD), and 10.9 ± 0.6 IU/gHb in non-deficient males. The upper and lower limit cut-off points for partial and severe deficiency in adults were 5.7 IU/gHb (60% of the normal mean) and 0.95 IU/gHb (10% of the normal mean), respectively. All hemizygote, homozygote and double mutations were associated with severe enzyme deficiency (the residual enzyme activity <10% of the normal mean), whereas only 14.3% of the heterozygote mutations showed severe enzyme deficiency. Based on the cut-off value <5.7 IU/gHb, the quantitative G6PD assay diagnosed 83% of cases as G6PD-deficient. Using a cut-off number of negative cell >20% in the cytochemical assay to define G6PD deficiency, the prevalence of G6PD deficiency was closest to the molecular analysis (12.9% G6PD-deficient) compared to the others methods. CONCLUSION: The cytochemical method is a significant predictor of this disease, while FS and MR test are recommended for the detection of severe G6PD deficiency in developing countries.

Hanson JP, Lam SWK, Mohanty S, Alam S, Pattnaik R, Mahanta KC, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P et al. 2013. Fluid resuscitation of adults with severe falciparum malaria: Effects on acid-base status, renal function, and extravascular lung water Critical Care Medicine, 41 (4), pp. 972-981. | Show Abstract | Read more

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of liberal fluid resuscitation of adults with severe malaria. DESIGN, Setting, Patients, and Methods:: Twenty-eight Bangladeshi and Indian adults with severe falciparum malaria received crystalloid resuscitation guided by transpulmonary thermodilution (PiCCO) in an intensive care setting. Systemic hemodynamics, microvascular indices and measures of acidosis, renal function, and pulmonary edema were followed prospectively. Results: All patients were hypovolemic (global end-diastolic volume index < 680 mL/m) on enrollment. Patients received a median (range) 3230 mL (390-7300) of isotonic saline in the first 6 hours and 5450 mL (710-13,720) in the first 24 hours. With resuscitation, acid-base status deteriorated in 19 of 28 (68%), and there was no significant improvement in renal function. Extravascular lung water increased in 17 of 22 liberally resuscitated patients (77%); eight of these patients developed pulmonary edema, five of whom died. All other patients survived. All patients with pulmonary edema during the study were hypovolemic or euvolemic at the time pulmonary edema developed. Plasma lactate was lower in hypovolemic patients before (rs = 0.38; p = 0.05) and after (rs = 0.49; p = 0.01) resuscitation but was the strongest predictor of mortality before (chi-square = 9.9; p = 0.002) and after resuscitation (chi-square = 11.1; p < 0.001) and correlated with the degree of visualized microvascular sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes at both time points (rs = 0.55; p = 0.003 and rs = 0.43; p = 0.03, respectively). Persisting sequestration was evident in 7 of 15 patients (47%) 48 hours after enrollment. Conclusions: Lactic acidosis-the strongest prognostic indicator in adults with severe falciparum malaria-results from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation, not from hypovolemia. Liberal fluid resuscitation has little effect on this sequestration and does not improve acid-base status or renal function. Pulmonary edema-secondary to increased pulmonary vascular permeability-is common, unpredictable, and exacerbated by fluid loading. Liberal fluid replacement of adults with severe malaria should be avoided. © 2013 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Turner C, Turner P, Carrara V, Burgoine K, Tha Ler Htoo S, Watthanaworawit W, Day NP, White NJ, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2013. High rates of pneumonia in children under two years of age in a South East Asian refugee population. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e54026. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There are an estimated 150 million episodes of childhood pneumonia per year, with 11-20 million hospital admissions and 1.575 million deaths. Refugee children are particularly vulnerable, with poorly defined pneumonia epidemiology. METHODS: We followed a birth cohort of 955 refugee infants, born over a one-year period, until two years of age. Clinical and radiographic pneumonia were diagnosed according to WHO criteria. Detailed characteristics were collected to determine risk factors for clinical, radiological and multiple episodes of pneumonia. Investigations were taken during a pneumonia episode to help determine or to infer an aetiological diagnosis. FINDINGS: The incidence of clinical pneumonia was 0.73 (95% CI 0.70-0.75) episodes per child year (/CY) and of radiological primary endpoint pneumonia (PEP) was 0.22/CY (95% CI 0.20-0.24). The incidence of pneumonia without severe signs was 0.50/CY (95% CI 0.48-0.53), severe pneumonia 0.15/CY (95% CI 0.13-0.17) and very severe pneumonia 0.06/CY (0.05-0.07). Virus was detected, from a nasopharyngeal aspirate, in 61.3% of episodes. A reduced volume of living space per person (IRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.99-1.0, p = 0.003) and young maternal age (IRR 1.59, 95% CI 1.12-2.27, p = 0.01) were risk factors for developing pneumonia. The risk of a child having >1 episode of pneumonia was increased by having a shorter distance to the next house (IRR 0.86, 95% CI 0.74-1.00, p = 0.04). Infants were at risk of having an episode of PEP if there was a shorter distance from stove to bed (IRR 0.89, 95% CI 0.80-0.99, p = 0.03). Raised CRP and neutrophil values were associated with PEP. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high incidence of pneumonia in young children in this SE Asian refugee population. Viral infections were important, however CXR and non-specific marker findings suggested that bacteria may be involved in up to a third of cases.

Koh GC, Schreiber MF, Bautista R, Maude RR, Dunachie S, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Dougan G, Peacock SJ. 2013. Host responses to melioidosis and tuberculosis are both dominated by interferon-mediated signaling. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e54961. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Northeast Thailand and northern Australia. B. pseudomallei is a soil saprophyte endemic to Southeast Asia and northern Australia. The clinical presentation of melioidosis may mimic tuberculosis (both cause chronic suppurative lesions unresponsive to conventional antibiotics and both commonly affect the lungs). The two diseases have overlapping risk profiles (e.g., diabetes, corticosteroid use), and both B. pseudomallei and Mycobacterium tuberculosis are intracellular pathogens. There are however important differences: the majority of melioidosis cases are acute, not chronic, and present with severe sepsis and a mortality rate that approaches 50% despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy. By contrast, tuberculosis is characteristically a chronic illness with mortality <2% with appropriate antimicrobial chemotherapy. We examined the gene expression profiles of total peripheral leukocytes in two cohorts of patients, one with acute melioidosis (30 patients and 30 controls) and another with tuberculosis (20 patients and 24 controls). Interferon-mediated responses dominate the host response to both infections, and both type 1 and type 2 interferon responses are important. An 86-gene signature previously thought to be specific for tuberculosis is also found in melioidosis. We conclude that the host responses to melioidosis and to tuberculosis are similar: both are dominated by interferon-signalling pathways and this similarity means gene expression signatures from whole blood do not distinguish between these two diseases.

Luangasanatip N, Hongsuwan M, Lubell Y, Limmathurotsakul D, Teparrukkul P, Chaowarat S, Day NPJ, Graves N, Cooper BS. 2013. Long-term survival after intensive care unit discharge in Thailand: a retrospective study CRITICAL CARE, 17 (5), | Read more

Day NPJ. 2013. Panton-Valentine leucocidin and staphylococcal disease The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 13 (1), pp. 5-6. | Read more

Kloprogge F, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Turyakira E, Apinan S, Lindegårdh N, Nosten F et al. 2013. Population Pharmacokinetics of Lumefantrine in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women With Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria in Uganda. CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol, 2 (11), pp. e83. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnancy alters the pharmacokinetic properties of many antimalarial compounds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda after a standard fixed oral artemether-lumefantrine treatment. Dense venous (n = 26) and sparse capillary (n = 90) lumefantrine samples were drawn from pregnant patients. A total of 17 nonpregnant women contributed with dense venous lumefantrine samples. Lumefantrine pharmacokinetics was best described by a flexible absorption model with multiphasic disposition. Pregnancy and body temperature had a significant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine. Simulations from the final model indicated 27% lower day 7 concentrations in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women and a decreased median time of 0.92 and 0.42 days above previously defined critical concentration cutoff values (280 and 175 ng/ml, respectively). The standard artemether-lumefantrine dose regimen in P. falciparum malaria may need reevaluation in nonimmune pregnant women.CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology (2013) 2, e83; doi:10.1038/psp.2013.59; advance online publication 13 November 2013.

Awab GR, Pukrittayakamee S, Jamornthanyawat N, Yamin F, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ, Imwong M. 2013. Prevalence of antifolate resistance mutations in Plasmodium falciparum isolates in Afghanistan. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 96. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artesunate plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (AS+SP) is now first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum infection in several south Asian countries, including Afghanistan. Molecular studies provide a sensitive means to investigate the current state of drug susceptibility to the SP component, and can also provide information on the likely efficacy of other potential forms of artemisinin-combination therapy. METHODS: During the years 2007 to 2010, 120 blood spots from patients with P. falciparum malaria were obtained in four provinces of Afghanistan. PCR-based methods were used to detect drug-resistance mutations in dhfr, dhps, pfcrt and pfmdr1, as well as to determine copy number of pfmdr1. RESULTS: The majority (95.5%) of infections had a double mutation in the dhfr gene (C59R, S108N); no mutations at dhfr positions 16, 51 or 164 were seen. Most isolates were wild type across the dhps gene, but five isolates from the provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan had the triple mutation A437G / K540E / A581G; all five cases were successfully treated with three receiving AS+SP and two receiving dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. All isolates showed the pfcrt SVNMT chloroquine resistance haplotype. Five of 79 isolates had the pfmdr1 N86Y mutation, while 52 had pfmdr1 Y184F; positions 1034, 1042 and 1246 were wild type in all isolates. The pfmdr1 gene was not amplified in any sample. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that shortly after the adoption of AS+SP as first-line treatment in Afghanistan, most parasites had a double mutation haplotype in dhfr, and a small number of isolates from eastern Afghanistan harboured a triple mutation haplotype in dhps. The impact of these mutations on the efficacy of AS+SP remains to be assessed in significant numbers of patients, but these results are clearly concerning since they suggest a higher degree of SP resistance than previously detected. Further focused molecular and clinical studies in this region are urgently required.

Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Myers ND, Seal S, Arayawichanont A, Kliangsa-Ad A, Hittle LE, Ernst RK et al. 2013. Survey of innate immune responses to Burkholderia pseudomallei in human blood identifies a central role for lipopolysaccharide. PLoS One, 8 (11), pp. e81617. | Show Abstract | Read more

B. pseudomallei is a gram-negative bacterium that causes the tropical infection melioidosis. In northeast Thailand, mortality from melioidosis approaches 40%. As exemplified by the lipopolysaccharide-Toll-like receptor 4 interaction, innate immune responses to invading bacteria are precipitated by activation of host pathogen recognition receptors by pathogen associated molecular patterns. Human melioidosis is characterized by up-regulation of pathogen recognition receptors and pro-inflammatory cytokine release. In contrast to many gram-negative pathogens, however, the lipopolysaccharide of B. pseudomallei is considered only weakly inflammatory. We conducted a study in 300 healthy Thai subjects to investigate the ex vivo human blood response to various bacterial pathogen associated molecular patterns, including lipopolysaccharide from several bacteria, and to two heat-killed B. pseudomallei isolates. We measured cytokine levels after stimulation of fresh whole blood with a panel of stimuli. We found that age, sex, and white blood cell count modulate the innate immune response to B. pseudomallei. We further observed that, in comparison to other stimuli, the innate immune response to B. pseudomallei is most highly correlated with the response to lipopolysaccharide. The magnitude of cytokine responses induced by B. pseudomallei lipopolysaccharide was significantly greater than those induced by lipopolysaccharide from Escherichia coli and comparable to many responses induced by lipopolysaccharide from Salmonella minnesota despite lower amounts of lipid A in the B. pseudomallei lipopolysaccharide preparation. In human monocytes stimulated with B. pseudomallei, addition of polymyxin B or a TLR4/MD-2 neutralizing antibody inhibited the majority of TNF-α production. Challenging existing views, our data indicate that the innate immune response to B. pseudomallei in human blood is largely driven by lipopolysaccharide, and that the response to B. pseudomallei lipopolysaccharide in blood is greater than the response to other lipopolysaccharide expressing isolates. Our findings suggest that B. pseudomallei lipopolysaccharide may play a central role in stimulating the host response in melioidosis.

Hanson J, Lam SW, Alam S, Pattnaik R, Mahanta KC, Uddin Hasan M, Mohanty S, Mishra S et al. 2013. The reliability of the physical examination to guide fluid therapy in adults with severe falciparum malaria: an observational study. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 348. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Adults with severe malaria frequently require intravenous fluid therapy to restore their circulating volume. However, fluid must be delivered judiciously as both under- and over-hydration increase the risk of complications and, potentially, death. As most patients will be cared for in a resource-poor setting, management guidelines necessarily recommend that physical examination should guide fluid resuscitation. However, the reliability of this strategy is uncertain. METHODS: To determine the ability of physical examination to identify hypovolaemia, volume responsiveness, and pulmonary oedema, clinical signs and invasive measures of volume status were collected independently during an observational study of 28 adults with severe malaria. RESULTS: The physical examination defined volume status poorly. Jugular venous pressure (JVP) did not correlate with intravascular volume as determined by global end diastolic volume index (GEDVI; r(s) = 0.07, p = 0.19), neither did dry mucous membranes (p = 0.85), or dry axillae (p = 0.09). GEDVI was actually higher in patients with decreased tissue turgor (p < 0.001). Poor capillary return correlated with GEDVI, but was present infrequently (7% of observations) and, therefore, insensitive. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) correlated with GEDVI (rs = 0.16, p = 0.002), but even before resuscitation patients with a low GEDVI had a preserved MAP. Anuria on admission was unrelated to GEDVI and although liberal fluid resuscitation led to a median hourly urine output of 100 ml in 19 patients who were not anuric on admission, four (21%) developed clinical pulmonary oedema subsequently. MAP was unrelated to volume responsiveness (p = 0.71), while a low JVP, dry mucous membranes, dry axillae, increased tissue turgor, prolonged capillary refill, and tachycardia all had a positive predictive value for volume responsiveness of ≤50%. Extravascular lung water ≥11 ml/kg indicating pulmonary oedema was present on 99 of the 353 times that it was assessed during the study, but was identified on less than half these occasions by tachypnoea, chest auscultation, or an elevated JVP. A clear chest on auscultation and a respiratory rate <30 breaths/minute could exclude pulmonary oedema on 82% and 72% of occasions respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Findings on physical examination correlate poorly with true volume status in adults with severe malaria and must be used with caution to guide fluid therapy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00692627.

Maude RR, Hossain MA, Hassan MU, Osbourne S, Sayeed KL, Karim MR, Samad R, Borooah S et al. 2013. Transorbital sonographic evaluation of normal optic nerve sheath diameter in healthy volunteers in Bangladesh. PLoS One, 8 (12), pp. e81013. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Measurement of optic nerve sheath diameter (ONSD) by ultrasound is increasingly used as a marker to detect raised intracranial pressure (ICP). ONSD varies with age and there is no clear consensus between studies for an upper limit of normal. Knowledge of normal ONSD in a healthy population is essential to interpret this measurement. METHODS: In a prospective observational study, ONSD was measured using a 15 MHz ultrasound probe in healthy volunteers in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The aims were to determine the normal range of ONSD in healthy Bangladeshi adults and children, compare measurements in males and females, horizontal and vertical beam orientations and left and right eyes in the same individual and to determine whether ONSD varies with head circumference independent of age. RESULTS: 136 subjects were enrolled, 12.5% of whom were age 16 or under. Median ONSD was 4.41 mm with 95% of subjects in the range 4.25-4.75 mm. ONSD was bimodally distributed. There was no relationship between ONSD and age (≥4 years), gender, head circumference, and no difference in left vs right eye or horizontal vs vertical beam. CONCLUSIONS: Ultrasonographic ONSD in Bangladeshi healthy volunteers has a narrow bimodal distribution independent of age (≥4 years), gender and head circumference. ONSD >4.75 mm in this population should be considered abnormal.

Lim C, Wannapinij P, White L, Day NP, Cooper BS, Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D. 2013. Using a web-based application to define the accuracy of diagnostic tests when the gold standard is imperfect. PLoS One, 8 (11), pp. e79489. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Estimates of the sensitivity and specificity for new diagnostic tests based on evaluation against a known gold standard are imprecise when the accuracy of the gold standard is imperfect. Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) can be helpful under these circumstances, but the necessary analysis requires expertise in computational programming. Here, we describe open-access web-based applications that allow non-experts to apply Bayesian LCMs to their own data sets via a user-friendly interface. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Applications for Bayesian LCMs were constructed on a web server using R and WinBUGS programs. The models provided (http://mice.tropmedres.ac) include two Bayesian LCMs: the two-tests in two-population model (Hui and Walter model) and the three-tests in one-population model (Walter and Irwig model). Both models are available with simplified and advanced interfaces. In the former, all settings for Bayesian statistics are fixed as defaults. Users input their data set into a table provided on the webpage. Disease prevalence and accuracy of diagnostic tests are then estimated using the Bayesian LCM, and provided on the web page within a few minutes. With the advanced interfaces, experienced researchers can modify all settings in the models as needed. These settings include correlation among diagnostic test results and prior distributions for all unknown parameters. The web pages provide worked examples with both models using the original data sets presented by Hui and Walter in 1980, and by Walter and Irwig in 1988. We also illustrate the utility of the advanced interface using the Walter and Irwig model on a data set from a recent melioidosis study. The results obtained from the web-based applications were comparable to those published previously. CONCLUSIONS: The newly developed web-based applications are open-access and provide an important new resource for researchers worldwide to evaluate new diagnostic tests.

Hoglund RM, Adam I, Hanpithakpong W, Ashton M, Lindegardh N, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Tarning J. 2012. A population pharmacokinetic model of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sudan. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 398. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of developing a malaria infection and a higher risk of developing severe malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarials are also altered during pregnancy, often resulting in a decreased drug exposure. Piperaquine is a promising anti-malarial partner drug used in a fixed-dose combination with dihydroartemisinin. The aim of this study was to investigate the population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine in pregnant and non-pregnant Sudanese women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. METHOD: Symptomatic patients received a standard dose regimen of the fixed dose oral piperaquine-dihydroartemisinin combination treatment. Densely sampled plasma aliquots were collected and analysed using a previously described LC-MS/MS method. Data from 12 pregnant and 12 non-pregnant women were analysed using nonlinear mixed-effects modelling. A Monte Carlo Mapped Power (MCMP) analysis was conducted based on a previously published study to evaluate the power of detecting covariates in this relatively small study. RESULTS: A three-compartment disposition model with a transit-absorption model described the observed data well. Body weight was added as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. A statistically significant decrease in estimated terminal piperaquine half-life in pregnant compared with non-pregnant women was found, but there were no differences in post-hoc estimates of total piperaquine exposure. The MCMP analysis indicated a minimum of 13 pregnant and 13 non-pregnant women were required to identify pregnancy as a covariate on relevant pharmacokinetic parameters (80% power and p=0.05). Pregnancy was, therefore, evaluated as a categorical and continuous covariate (i.e. estimate gestational age) in a full covariate approach. Using this approach pregnancy was not associated with any major change in piperaquine elimination clearance. However, a trend of increasing elimination clearance with increasing gestational age could be seen. CONCLUSIONS: The population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine were well described by a three-compartment disposition model in pregnant and non-pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. The modelling approach showed no major difference in piperaquine exposure between the two groups and data presented here do not warrant a dose adjustment in pregnancy in this vulnerable population.

Hendriksen IC, Maiga D, Lemnge MM, Mtove G, Gesase S, Reyburn H, Lindegardh N, Day NP et al. 2013. Population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of intramuscular quinine in Tanzanian children with severe Falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 57 (2), pp. 775-783. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although artesunate is clearly superior, parenteral quinine is still used widely for the treatment of severe malaria. A loading-dose regimen has been recommended for 30 years but is still often not used. A population pharmacokinetic study was conducted with 75 Tanzanian children aged 4 months to 8 years with severe malaria who received quinine intramuscularly; 69 patients received a loading dose of 20 mg quinine dihydrochloride (salt)/kg of body weight. Twenty-one patients had plasma quinine concentrations detectable at baseline. A zero-order absorption model with one-compartment disposition pharmacokinetics described the data adequately. Body weight was the only significant covariate and was implemented as an allometric function on clearance and volume parameters. Population pharmacokinetic parameter estimates (and percent relative standard errors [%RSE]) of elimination clearance, central volume of distribution, and duration of zero-order absorption were 0.977 liters/h (6.50%), 16.7 liters (6.39%), and 1.42 h (21.5%), respectively, for a typical patient weighing 11 kg. Quinine exposure was reduced at lower body weights after standard weight-based dosing; there was 18% less exposure over 24 h in patients weighing 5 kg than in those weighing 25 kg. Maximum plasma concentrations after the loading dose were unaffected by body weight. There was no evidence of dose-related drug toxicity with the loading dosing regimen. Intramuscular quinine is rapidly and reliably absorbed in children with severe falciparum malaria. Based on these pharmacokinetic data, a loading dose of 20 mg salt/kg is recommended, provided that no loading dose was administered within 24 h and no routine dose was administered within 12 h of admission. (This study has been registered with Current Controlled Trials under registration number ISRCTN 50258054.).

Das D, Tripura R, Phyo AP, Lwin KM, Tarning J, Lee SJ, Hanpithakpong W, Stepniewska K et al. 2013. Effect of high-dose or split-dose artesunate on parasite clearance in artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 56 (5), pp. e48-e58. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins on the Cambodian and Myanmar-Thai borders poses severe threats to malaria control. We investigated whether increasing or splitting the dose of the short-half-life drug artesunate improves parasite clearance in falciparum malaria in the 2 regions. METHODS: In Pailin, western Cambodia (from 2008 to 2010), and Wang Pha, northwestern Thailand (2009-2010), patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria were randomized to oral artesunate 6 mg/kg/d as a once-daily or twice-daily dose for 7 days, or artesunate 8 mg/kg/d as a once-daily or twice-daily dose for 3 days, followed by mefloquine. Parasite clearance and recrudescence for up to 63 days of follow-up were assessed. RESULTS: A total of 159 patients were enrolled. Overall median (interquartile range [IQR]) parasitemia half-life (half-life) was 6.03 (4.89-7.28) hours in Pailin versus 3.42 (2.20-4.85) hours in Wang Pha (P = .0001). Splitting or increasing the artesunate dose did not shorten half-life in either site. Pharmacokinetic profiles of artesunate and dihydroartemisinin were similar between sites and did not correlate with half-life. Recrudescent infections occurred in 4 of 79 patients in Pailin and 5 of 80 in Wang Pha and was not different between treatment arms (P = .68). CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the artesunate treatment dose up to 8 mg/kg/d or splitting the dose does not improve parasite clearance in either artemisinin resistant or more sensitive infections with P. falciparum. Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN15351875.

Hendriksen IC, White LJ, Veenemans J, Mtove G, Woodrow C, Amos B, Saiwaew S, Gesase S et al. 2013. Defining falciparum-malaria-attributable severe febrile illness in moderate-to-high transmission settings on the basis of plasma PfHRP2 concentration. J Infect Dis, 207 (2), pp. 351-361. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In malaria-endemic settings, asymptomatic parasitemia complicates the diagnosis of malaria. Histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2) is produced by Plasmodium falciparum, and its plasma concentration reflects the total body parasite burden. We aimed to define the malaria-attributable fraction of severe febrile illness, using the distributions of plasma P. falciparum HRP2 (PfHRP2) concentrations from parasitemic children with different clinical presentations. METHODS: Plasma samples were collected from and peripheral blood slides prepared for 1435 children aged 6-60 months in communities and a nearby hospital in northeastern Tanzania. The study population included children with severe or uncomplicated malaria, asymptomatic carriers, and healthy control subjects who had negative results of rapid diagnostic tests. The distributions of plasma PfHRP2 concentrations among the different groups were used to model severe malaria-attributable disease. RESULTS: The plasma PfHRP2 concentration showed a close correlation with the severity of infection. PfHRP2 concentrations of >1000 ng/mL denoted a malaria-attributable fraction of severe disease of 99% (95% credible interval [CI], 96%-100%), with a sensitivity of 74% (95% CI, 72%-77%), whereas a concentration of <200 ng/mL denoted severe febrile illness of an alternative diagnosis in >10% (95% CI, 3%-27%) of patients. Bacteremia was more common among patients in the lowest and highest PfHRP2 concentration quintiles. CONCLUSIONS: The plasma PfHRP2 concentration defines malaria-attributable disease and distinguishes severe malaria from coincidental parasitemia in African children in a moderate-to-high transmission setting.

Hanson J, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ. 2013. Reply to Cunnington et al. J Infect Dis, 207 (2), pp. 370-371. | Read more

Newton PN, Day NPJ. 2012. Scrub Typhus pp. 542-545. | Read more

Emary K, Moore CE, Chanpheaktra N, An KP, Chheng K, Sona S, Duy PT, Nga TV et al. 2012. Enteric fever in Cambodian children is dominated by multidrug-resistant H58 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi with intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (12), pp. 718-724. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates that are multidrug resistant (MDR: resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin, trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole) with intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility are widespread in Asia but there is little information from Cambodia. We studied invasive salmonellosis in children at a paediatric hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Between 2007 and 2011 Salmonella was isolated from a blood culture in 162 children. There were 151 children with enteric fever, including 148 serovar Typhi and three serovar Paratyphi A infections, and 11 children with a non-typhoidal Salmonella infection. Of the 148 serovar Typhi isolates 126 (85%) were MDR and 133 (90%) had intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility. Inpatient antimicrobial treatment was ceftriaxone alone or initial ceftriaxone followed by a step-down to oral ciprofloxacin or azithromycin. Complications developed in 37/128 (29%) children admitted with enteric fever and two (1.6%) died. There was one confirmed relapse. In a sample of 102 serovar Typhi strains genotyped by investigation of a subset of single nucleotide polymorphisms, 98 (96%) were the H58 haplotype, the majority of which had the common serine to phenylalanine substitution at codon 83 in the DNA gyrase. We conclude that antimicrobial-resistant enteric fever is common in Cambodian children and therapeutic options are limited.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Paris DH, Langla S, Thaipadunpanit J, Chierakul W, Smythe LD, White NJ, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2013. Rapid isolation and susceptibility testing of Leptospira spp. using a new solid medium, LVW agar. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 57 (1), pp. 297-302. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pathogenic Leptospira spp., the causative agents of leptospirosis, are slow-growing Gram-negative spirochetes. Isolation of Leptospira from clinical samples and testing of antimicrobial susceptibility are difficult and time-consuming. Here, we describe the development of a new solid medium that facilitates more-rapid growth of Leptospira spp. and the use of this medium to evaluate the Etest's performance in determining antimicrobial MICs to drugs in common use for leptospirosis. The medium was developed by evaluating the effects of numerous factors on the growth rate of Leptospira interrogans strain NR-20157. These included the type of base agar, the concentration of rabbit serum (RS), and the concentration and duration of CO(2) incubation during the initial period of culture. The highest growth rate of NR-20157 was achieved using a Noble agar base supplemented with 10% RS (named LVW agar), with an initial incubation at 30°C in 5% CO(2) for 2 days prior to continuous culture in air at 30°C. These conditions were used to develop the Etest for three species, L. interrogans (NR-20161), L. kirschnerii (NR-20327), and L. borgpetersenii (NR-20151). The MICs were read on day 7 for all samples. The Etest was then performed on 109 isolates of pathogenic Leptospira spp. The MIC(90) values for penicillin G, doxycycline, cefotaxime, ceftriaxone, and chloramphenicol were 0.64 units/ml and 0.19, 0.047, 0.5, and 2 μg/ml, respectively. The use of LVW agar, which enables rapid growth, isolation of single colonies, and simple antimicrobial susceptibility testing for Leptospira spp., provides an opportunity for new areas of fundamental and applied research.

Day NP. 2013. Panton-Valentine leucocidin and staphylococcal disease. Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (1), pp. 5-6. | Read more

Hwang J, Jaroensuk J, Leimanis ML, Russell B, McGready R, Day N, Snounou G, Nosten F, Imwong M. 2012. Long-term storage limits PCR-based analyses of malaria parasites in archival dried blood spots. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 339. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Blood samples collected in epidemiological and clinical investigations and then stored, often at room temperature, as blood spots dried on a filter paper have become one of the most popular source of material for further molecular analyses of malaria parasites. The dried blood spots are often archived so that they can be used for further retrospective investigations of parasite prevalence, or as new genetic markers come to the fore. However, the suitability of the template obtained from dried blood spots that have been stored for long periods for DNA amplification is not known. METHODS: DNA from 267 archived blood spots collected over a period of 12 years from persons with microscopically confirmed Plasmodium falciparum infection was purified by one of two methods, Chelex and Qiagen columns. These templates were subjected to highly sensitive nested PCR amplification targeting three parasite loci that differ in length and/or copy number. RESULTS: When a 1.6 kb fragment of the parasites' small subunit ribosomal RNA was targeted (primary amplification), the efficiency of P. falciparum detection decreased in samples archived for more than six years, reaching very low levels for those stored for more than 10 years. Positive amplification was generally obtained more often with Qiagen-extracted templates. P. falciparum could be detected in 32 of the 40 negative Qiagen-extracted templates when a microsatellite of about 180 bp was targeted. The remaining eight samples gave a positive amplification when a small region of 238 bp of the higher copy number (20 to 200) mitochondrial genome was targeted. CONCLUSIONS: The average length of DNA fragments that can be recovered from dried blood spots decreases with storage time. Recovery of the DNA is somewhat improved, especially in older samples, by the use of a commercial DNA purification column, but targets larger than 1.5 kb are unlikely to be present 10 years after the initial blood collection, when the average length of the DNA fragments present is likely to be around a few hundred bp. In conclusion, the utility of archived dried blood spots for molecular analyses decreases with storage time.

Stoesser N, Pocock J, Moore CE, Soeng S, Hor P, Sar P, Limmathurotsakul D, Day N et al. 2013. The epidemiology of pediatric bone and joint infections in Cambodia, 2007-11. J Trop Pediatr, 59 (1), pp. 36-42. | Show Abstract | Read more

There are limited data on osteoarticular infections from resource-limited settings in Asia. A retrospective study of patients presenting to the Angkor Hospital for Children, Cambodia, January 2007-July 2011, identified 81 cases (28% monoarticular septic arthritis, 51% single-limb osteomyelitis and 15% multisite infections). The incidence was 13.8/100 000 hospital attendances. The median age was 7.3 years, with a male/female ratio of 1.9:1; 35% presented within 5 days of symptom onset (median 7 days). Staphylococcus aureus was cultured in 29 (36%) cases (52% of culture-positive cases); one isolate was methicillin-resistant (MRSA). Median duration of antimicrobial treatment was 29 days (interquartile range 21-43); rates of surgical intervention were 96%, and 46% of children had sequelae, with one fatality. In this setting osteoarticular infections are relatively common with high rates of surgical intervention and sequelae. Staphylococcus aureus is the commonest culturable cause, but methicillin-resistant S. aureus is not a major problem, unlike in other Asian centers.

Maude RJ, Hasan MU, Hossain MA, Sayeed AA, Kanti Paul S, Rahman W, Maude RR, Vaid N et al. 2012. Temporal trends in severe malaria in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 323. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological data on malaria in Bangladesh are sparse, particularly on severe and fatal malaria. This hampers the allocation of healthcare provision in this resource-poor setting. Over 85% of the estimated 150,000-250,000 annual malaria cases in Bangladesh occur in Chittagong Division with 80% in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) is the major tertiary referral hospital for severe malaria in Chittagong Division. METHODS: Malaria screening data from 22,785 inpatients in CMCH from 1999-2011 were analysed to investigate the patterns of referral, temporal trends and geographical distribution of severe malaria in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh. RESULTS: From 1999 till 2011, 2,394 malaria cases were admitted, of which 96% harboured Plasmodium falciparum and 4% Plasmodium vivax. Infection was commonest in males (67%) between 15 and 34 years of age. Seasonality of malaria incidence was marked with a single peak in P. falciparum transmission from June to August coinciding with peak rainfall, whereas P. vivax showed an additional peak in February-March possibly representing relapse infections. Since 2007 there has been a substantial decrease in the absolute number of admitted malaria cases. Case fatality in severe malaria was 18% from 2008-2011, remaining steady during this period.A travel history obtained in 226 malaria patients revealed only 33% had been to the CHT in the preceding three weeks. Of all admitted malaria patients, only 9% lived in the CHT, and none in the more remote malaria endemic regions near the Indian border. CONCLUSIONS: The overall decline in admitted malaria cases to CMCH suggests recent control measures are successful. However, there are no reliable data on the incidence of severe malaria in the CHT, the most endemic area of Bangladesh, and most of these patients do not reach tertiary health facilities. Improvement of early treatment and simple supportive care for severe malaria in remote areas and implementation of a referral system for cases requiring additional supportive care could be important contributors to further reducing malaria-attributable disease and death in Bangladesh.

Tarning J, Chotsiri P, Jullien V, Rijken MJ, Bergstrand M, Cammas M, McGready R, Singhasivanon P et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic modeling of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine in women with Plasmodium vivax malaria during and after pregnancy. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (11), pp. 5764-5773. | Show Abstract | Read more

Amodiaquine is effective for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria, but there is little information on the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine in pregnant women with malaria. This study evaluated the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and its biologically active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in pregnant women with P. vivax infection and again after delivery. Twenty-seven pregnant women infected with P. vivax malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border were treated with amodiaquine monotherapy (10 mg/kg/day) once daily for 3 days. Nineteen women, with and without P. vivax infections, returned to receive the same amodiaquine dose postpartum. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine plasma concentrations were described accurately by lagged first-order absorption with a two-compartment disposition model followed by a three-compartment disposition of desethylamodiaquine under the assumption of complete in vivo conversion. Body weight was implemented as an allometric function on all clearance and volume parameters. Amodiaquine clearance decreased linearly with age, and absorption lag time was reduced in pregnant patients. Recurrent malaria infections in pregnant women were modeled with a time-to-event model consisting of a constant-hazard function with an inhibitory effect of desethylamodiaquine. Amodiaquine treatment reduced the risk of recurrent infections from 22.2% to 7.4% at day 35. In conclusion, pregnancy did not have a clinically relevant impact on the pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine or desethylamodiaquine. No dose adjustments are required in pregnancy.

Tarning J, Kloprogge F, Piola P, Dhorda M, Muwanga S, Turyakira E, Nuengchamnong N, Nosten F et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of Artemether and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Uganda. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 293. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in pregnancy increases the risk of maternal anemia, abortion and low birth weight. Approximately 85.3 million pregnancies occur annually in areas with Plasmodium falciparum transmission. Pregnancy has been reported to alter the pharmacokinetic properties of many anti-malarial drugs. Reduced drug exposure increases the risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and its active metabolite dihydroartemisinin in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda. METHODS: Twenty-one women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy received the fixed oral combination of 80 mg artemether and 480 mg lumefantrine twice daily for three days. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin plasma concentrations after the last dose administration were quantified using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass-spectroscopy. A simultaneous drug-metabolite population pharmacokinetic model for artemether and dihydroartemisinin was developed taking into account different disposition, absorption, error and covariate models. A separate modeling approach and a non-compartmental analysis (NCA) were also performed to enable a comparison with literature values and different modeling strategies. RESULTS: The treatment was well tolerated and there were no cases of recurrent malaria. A flexible absorption model with sequential zero-order and transit-compartment absorption followed by a simultaneous one-compartment disposition model for both artemether and dihydroartemisinin provided the best fit to the data. Artemether and dihydroartemisinin exposure was lower than that reported in non-pregnant populations. An approximately four-fold higher apparent volume of distribution for dihydroartemisinin was obtained by non-compartmental analysis and separate modeling compared to that from simultaneous modeling of the drug and metabolite. This highlights a potential pitfall when analyzing drug/metabolite data with traditional approaches. CONCLUSION: The population pharmacokinetic properties of artemether and dihydroartemisinin, in pregnant women with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in Uganda, were described satisfactorily by a simultaneous drug-metabolite model without covariates. Concentrations of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin were relatively low in pregnancy compared to literature data. However, this should be interpreted with caution considered the limited literature available. Further studies in larger series are urgently needed for this vulnerable group.

Ramutton T, Hendriksen IC, Mwanga-Amumpaire J, Mtove G, Olaosebikan R, Tshefu AK, Onyamboko MA, Karema C et al. 2012. Sequence variation does not confound the measurement of plasma PfHRP2 concentration in African children presenting with severe malaria. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 276. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein PFHRP2 measurement is used widely for diagnosis, and more recently for severity assessment in falciparum malaria. The Pfhrp2 gene is highly polymorphic, with deletion of the entire gene reported in both laboratory and field isolates. These issues potentially confound the interpretation of PFHRP2 measurements. METHODS: Studies designed to detect deletion of Pfhrp2 and its paralog Pfhrp3 were undertaken with samples from patients in seven countries contributing to the largest hospital-based severe malaria trial (AQUAMAT). The quantitative relationship between sequence polymorphism and PFHRP2 plasma concentration was examined in samples from selected sites in Mozambique and Tanzania. RESULTS: There was no evidence for deletion of either Pfhrp2 or Pfhrp3 in the 77 samples with lowest PFHRP2 plasma concentrations across the seven countries. Pfhrp2 sequence diversity was very high with no haplotypes shared among 66 samples sequenced. There was no correlation between Pfhrp2 sequence length or repeat type and PFHRP2 plasma concentration. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that sequence polymorphism is not a significant cause of variation in PFHRP2 concentration in plasma samples from African children. This justifies the further development of plasma PFHRP2 concentration as a method for assessing African children who may have severe falciparum malaria. The data also add to the existing evidence base supporting the use of rapid diagnostic tests based on PFHRP2 detection.

Hendriksen IC, Mwanga-Amumpaire J, von Seidlein L, Mtove G, White LJ, Olaosebikan R, Lee SJ, Tshefu AK et al. 2012. Diagnosing severe falciparum malaria in parasitaemic African children: a prospective evaluation of plasma PfHRP2 measurement. PLoS Med, 9 (8), pp. e1001297. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In African children, distinguishing severe falciparum malaria from other severe febrile illnesses with coincidental Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia is a major challenge. P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 (PfHRP2) is released by mature sequestered parasites and can be used to estimate the total parasite burden. We investigated the prognostic significance of plasma PfHRP2 and used it to estimate the malaria-attributable fraction in African children diagnosed with severe malaria. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Admission plasma PfHRP2 was measured prospectively in African children (from Mozambique, The Gambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) aged 1 month to 15 years with severe febrile illness and a positive P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH)-based rapid test in a clinical trial comparing parenteral artesunate versus quinine (the AQUAMAT trial, ISRCTN 50258054). In 3,826 severely ill children, Plasmadium falciparum PfHRP2 was higher in patients with coma (p = 0.0209), acidosis (p<0.0001), and severe anaemia (p<0.0001). Admission geometric mean (95%CI) plasma PfHRP2 was 1,611 (1,350-1,922) ng/mL in fatal cases (n = 381) versus 1,046 (991-1,104) ng/mL in survivors (n = 3,445, p<0.0001), without differences in parasitaemia as assessed by microscopy. There was a U-shaped association between log(10) plasma PfHRP2 and risk of death. Mortality increased 20% per log(10) increase in PfHRP2 above 174 ng/mL (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.21, 95%CI 1.05-1.39, p = 0.009). A mechanistic model assuming a PfHRP2-independent risk of death in non-malaria illness closely fitted the observed data and showed malaria-attributable mortality less than 50% with plasma PfHRP2≤174 ng/mL. The odds ratio (OR) for death in artesunate versus quinine-treated patients was 0.61 (95%CI 0.44-0.83, p = 0.0018) in the highest PfHRP2 tertile, whereas there was no difference in the lowest tertile (OR 1.05; 95%CI 0.69-1.61; p = 0.82). A limitation of the study is that some conclusions are drawn from a mechanistic model, which is inherently dependent on certain assumptions. However, a sensitivity analysis of the model indicated that the results were robust to a plausible range of parameter estimates. Further studies are needed to validate our findings. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma PfHRP2 has prognostic significance in African children with severe falciparum malaria and provides a tool to stratify the risk of "true" severe malaria-attributable disease as opposed to other severe illnesses in parasitaemic African children.

Maude RR, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Amin MR, Islam MB, Ali M, Bari MS, Majumder MI et al. 2012. Seroepidemiological surveillance of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Bangladesh. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (9), pp. 576-578. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis (Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) has yet to be demonstrated systematically in Bangladesh. A prospective, cross-sectional serological survey was conducted in 2010 at six Bangladeshi hospitals. Age, gender, occupation and residential address were recorded. Of 1244 patients, 359 (28.9%) were positive for B. pseudomallei by indirect haemagglutination assay. Farmers had an increased risk of seropositivity (risk ratio=1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.8; p=0.03). There was no clear geographic clustering of seropositives. Melioidosis should be considered as a possible cause of febrile illness in Bangladesh. Further studies are needed to establish the incidence of clinical disease and distribution of environmental risk.

Maude RR, Vatcharapreechasakul T, Ariyaprasert P, Maude RJ, Hongsuwan M, Yuentrakul P, Limmathurotsakul D, Koh GC, Chaowagul W, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2012. Prospective observational study of the frequency and features of intra-abdominal abscesses in patients with melioidosis in northeast Thailand. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (10), pp. 629-631. | Show Abstract | Read more

Retrospective case series from Thailand have reported the presence of intra-abdominal abscesses in around half of patients with melioidosis, a much higher rate than our clinical experience would suggest. We performed a prospective, observational study of 230 adult patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis in which all patients underwent abdominal ultrasound. One or more abscesses were detected in the liver and/or spleen in 77 (33%) cases. These were often multiple (70%, 31/44 in hepatic abscesses and 88%, 50/57 in splenic abscesses) and clinically silent (27% of cases with abscesses presenting with abdominal pain). The mortality rate at 4 weeks post-discharge was lower in patients who were abscess-positive vs abscess-negative (10%, 8/77 vs 20%, 31/153).

Hendriksen IC, Ferro J, Montoya P, Chhaganlal KD, Seni A, Gomes E, Silamut K, Lee SJ et al. 2012. Diagnosis, clinical presentation, and in-hospital mortality of severe malaria in HIV-coinfected children and adults in Mozambique. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (8), pp. 1144-1153. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection is common in settings with a high prevalence of both diseases, but there is little information on whether HIV affects the clinical presentation and outcome of severe malaria. METHODS: HIV status was assessed prospectively in hospitalized parasitemic adults and children with severe malaria in Beira, Mozambique, as part of a clinical trial comparing parenteral artesunate versus quinine (ISRCTN50258054). Clinical signs, comorbidity, complications, and disease outcome were compared according to HIV status. RESULTS: HIV-1 seroprevalence was 11% (74/655) in children under 15 years and 72% (49/68) in adults with severe malaria. Children with HIV coinfection presented with more severe acidosis, anemia, and respiratory distress, and higher peripheral blood parasitemia and plasma Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich protein-2 (PfHRP2). During hospitalization, deterioration in coma score, convulsions, respiratory distress, and pneumonia were more common in HIV-coinfected children, and mortality was 26% (19/74) versus 9% (53/581) in uninfected children (P < .001). In an age- and antimalarial treatment-adjusted logistic regression model, significant, independent predictors for death were renal impairment, acidosis, parasitemia, and plasma PfHRP2 concentration. CONCLUSIONS: Severe malaria in HIV-coinfected patients presents with higher parasite burden, more complications, and comorbidity, and carries a higher case fatality rate. Early identification of HIV coinfection is important for the clinical management of severe malaria.

Dondorp AM, Maude RJ, Hendriksen IC, Day NP, White NJ. 2012. Artesunate dosing in severe falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 206 (4), pp. 618-619. | Read more

Moore CE, Hor PC, Soeng S, Sun S, Lee SJ, Parry CM, Day NP, Stoesser N. 2012. Changing patterns of gastrointestinal parasite infections in Cambodian children: 2006-2011. J Trop Pediatr, 58 (6), pp. 509-512. | Show Abstract | Read more

We studied gastrointestinal parasites in symptomatic Cambodian children attending a provincial hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia between 2006 and 2011. A total of 16 372 faecal samples were examined by direct microscopy. Parasites were detected in 3121 (19.1%) samples and most common were Giardia lamblia (8.0% of samples; 47.6% disease episodes), hookworm (5.1%; 30.3%) and Strongyloides stercoralis (2.6%; 15.6%). The proportion of infected children increased, and the number of disease episodes effectively treated with a single dose of mebendazole decreased, over the 5-year period.

Hanson J, Lam SW, Mahanta KC, Pattnaik R, Alam S, Mohanty S, Hasan MU, Hossain A et al. 2012. Relative contributions of macrovascular and microvascular dysfunction to disease severity in falciparum malaria. J Infect Dis, 206 (4), pp. 571-579. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microcirculation is considered the central pathophysiological process in severe falciparum malaria. Hypovolemia with reduced oxygen delivery and microvascular obstruction have different implications for patient management; however, their relative contributions to disease severity are uncertain. METHODS: Adult patients (n = 28) with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria were enrolled in a prospective hemodynamic study. Volume status and oxygen delivery were assessed using transpulmonary thermodilution. Microvascular sequestration was measured using orthogonal polarized spectroscopy. FINDINGS: Duration of therapy before study enrollment was correlated with the amount of directly visualized and quantitated microvascular sequestration (P = .03). The amount of sequestration correlated with plasma lactate (r(s )= 0.55; P = .003) and disease severity (r(s )= 0.41; P = .04). In patients who had received artesunate for <10 hours, sequestration was higher in fatal cases than in survivors: median (range) 45% (32-50) vs 15% (0-40); P = .03). Parasite biomass estimated from plasma P. falciparum histidine-rich protein 2 correlated positively with disease severity (r(s )= 0.48; P = .01) and was significantly higher in patients who died (P = .046). There was no relationship between oxygen delivery and disease severity (P = .64) or outcome (P = .74). INTERPRETATION: Vital organ dysfunction in severe malaria results primarily from sequestration of parasitized erythrocytes in the microvasculature rather than reduction in circulating blood volume and oxygen delivery.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NT, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG et al. 2012. Variation in human genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Genes Immun, 13 (6), pp. 503-508. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic basis for susceptibility to malaria has been studied widely in African populations but less is known of the contribution of specific genetic variants in Asian populations. We genotyped 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1030 severe malaria cases and 2840 controls from Vietnam. After data quality control, genotyping data of 956 cases and 2350 controls were analysed for 65 SNPs (3 gender confirmation, 62 positioned in/near 42 malarial candidate genes). A total of 14 SNPs were monomorphic and 2 (rs8078340 and rs33950507) were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls (P<0.01). In all, 7/46 SNPs in 6 genes (ICAM1, IL1A, IL17RC, IL13, LTA and TNF) were associated with severe malaria, with 3/7 SNPs in the TNF/LTA region. Genotype-phenotype correlations between SNPs and clinical parameters revealed that genotypes of rs708567 (IL17RC) correlate with parasitemia (P=0.028, r(2)=0.0086), with GG homozygotes having the lowest parasite burden. Additionally, rs708567 GG homozygotes had a decreased risk of severe malaria (P=0.007, OR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.65-0.93)) and death (P=0.028, OR=0.58 (95% CI; 0.37-0.93)) than those with AA and AG genotypes. In summary, variants in six genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Further replicative studies in independent populations will be necessary to confirm these findings.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NTN, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG et al. 2012. Variation in human genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese Genes and Immunity, 13 (6), pp. 503-508. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic basis for susceptibility to malaria has been studied widely in African populations but less is known of the contribution of specific genetic variants in Asian populations. We genotyped 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1030 severe malaria cases and 2840 controls from Vietnam. After data quality control, genotyping data of 956 cases and 2350 controls were analysed for 65 SNPs (3 gender confirmation, 62 positioned in/near 42 malarial candidate genes). A total of 14 SNPs were monomorphic and 2 (rs8078340 and rs33950507) were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls (P<0.01). In all, 7/46 SNPs in 6 genes (ICAM1, IL1A, IL17RC, IL13, LTA and TNF) were associated with severe malaria, with 3/7 SNPs in the TNF/LTA region. Genotype-phenotype correlations between SNPs and clinical parameters revealed that genotypes of rs708567 (IL17RC) correlate with parasitemia (P=0.028, r2=0.0086), with GG homozygotes having the lowest parasite burden. Additionally, rs708567 GG homozygotes had a decreased risk of severe malaria (P=0.007, OR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.65-0.93)) and death (P=0.028, OR=0.58 (95% CI; 0.37-0.93)) than those with AA and AG genotypes. In summary, variants in six genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Further replicative studies in independent populations will be necessary to confirm these findings. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Kanoksil M, deStavola B, Day N, Peacock S. 2012. A matched case-control study identifies activities of daily living associated with acquisition of melioidosis in northeast Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E350-E351. | Read more

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Luangasanatip N, Kanoksil M, Day N, Limmathurotsakul D, Cooper B. 2012. A qualitative exploration into infection control practices and obstacles to improvements amongst health care workers at a regional hospital INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E373-E373. | Read more

Hongsuwan M, Srisamang P, Luangasanatip N, Kanoksil M, Day N, Cooper B, Limmathurotsakul D. 2012. A retrospective study to define the incidence and associated mortality of hospital-acquired bacteraemia at a regional hospital in northeast Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E385-E385. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Thammasart S, Warrasuth N, Thapanagulsak P, Jatapai A, Pengreungrojanachai V, Anun S, Joraka W et al. 2012. Animal melioidosis in Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E453-E453. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Turner E, Lim C, Day N, Cooper B, Peacock S. 2012. Defining the true accuracy of diagnostic tests when the gold standard is imperfect using web-based application INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E398-E398. | Read more

Ngoun C, Emary K, Khun PA, Moore C, Soeng S, Duy PT, Tranh NTV, Wuthiekanum V et al. 2012. Enteric fever in Cambodian children is dominated by multidrug resistant H58 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi with decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E427-E427. | Read more

Moore C, Pan-ngum W, Wijedoru L, Ngoun C, Pastoor R, Tran N, Soeng S, Kheng C et al. 2012. Evaluation of a Typhoid IgM flow assay for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in Cambodian children using a Bayesian modelling approach assuming an imperfect gold standard INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E400-E401. | Read more

Khun PA, Seng S, Emary K, Moore C, Soeng S, Ngoun C, Kumar V, Day N, Parry C, Stoesser N. 2012. Surveillance of healthcare-associated infection at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E375-E375. | Read more

Turner C, Turner P, Cararra V, Htoo STL, Watthanaworawit W, Day N, White N, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2012. The epidemiology of pneumonia in a birth cohort of children living on the Thai-Myanmar border INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E13-E13. | Read more

Blacksell S, Richards A, Paris DH, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Day N. 2012. Validation of a semi-quantitative IgM ELISA for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM antibodies for use in seroepidemiology studies in Thailand INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E390-E390. | Read more

Weehuizen TA, Wieland CW, van der Windt GJ, Duitman JW, Boon L, Day NP, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T, Wiersinga WJ. 2012. Expression and function of transforming growth factor β in melioidosis. Infect Immun, 80 (5), pp. 1853-1857. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. An important controller of the immune system is the pleiotropic cytokine transforming growth factor β (TGF-β), of which Smad2 and Smad3 are the major signal transducers. In this study, we aimed to characterize TGF-β expression and function in experimental melioidosis. TGF-β expression was determined in 33 patients with culture-proven infection with B. pseudomallei and 30 healthy controls. We found that plasma TGF-β concentrations were strongly elevated during melioidosis. In line with this finding, TGF-β expression in C57BL/6 mice intranasally inoculated with B. pseudomallei was enhanced as well. To assess the role of TGF-β, we inhibited TGF-β using a selective murine TGF-β antibody. Treatment of mice with anti-TGF-β antibody resulted in decreased lung Smad2 phosphorylation. TGF-β blockade appeared to be protective: mice treated with anti-TGF-β antibody and subsequently infected with B. pseudomallei showed diminished bacterial loads. Moreover, less distant organ injury was observed in anti-TGF-β treated mice as shown by reduced blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and aspartate transaminase (AST) values. However, anti-TGF-β treatment did not have an effect on survival. In conclusion, TGF-β is upregulated during B. pseudomallei infection and plays a limited but proinflammatory role during experimental melioidosis.

Stoesser N, Pocock J, Moore CE, Soeng S, Chhat HP, Sar P, Limmathurotsakul D, Day N, Thy V, Sar V, Parry CM. 2012. Pediatric suppurative parotitis in Cambodia between 2007 and 2011. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 31 (8), pp. 865-868. | Show Abstract | Read more

The causes of suppurative parotitis in Cambodian children are not known. We describe 39 cases at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, between January 2007 and July 2011 (0.07/1000 hospital attendances). The median age was 5.7 years with no neonates affected. Burkholderia pseudomallei was cultured in 29 (74%) cases. No deaths occurred; 1 child developed facial nerve palsy.

Limmathurotsakul D, Turner EL, Wuthiekanun V, Thaipadungpanit J, Suputtamongkol Y, Chierakul W, Smythe LD, Day NP, Cooper B, Peacock SJ. 2012. Fool's gold: Why imperfect reference tests are undermining the evaluation of novel diagnostics: a reevaluation of 5 diagnostic tests for leptospirosis. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (3), pp. 322-331. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: We observed that some patients with clinical leptospirosis supported by positive results of rapid tests were negative for leptospirosis on the basis of our diagnostic gold standard, which involves isolation of Leptospira species from blood culture and/or a positive result of a microscopic agglutination test (MAT). We hypothesized that our reference standard was imperfect and used statistical modeling to investigate this hypothesis. METHODS: Data for 1652 patients with suspected leptospirosis recruited during three observational studies and one randomized control trial that described the application of culture, MAT, immunofluorescence assay (IFA), lateral flow (LF) and/or PCR targeting the 16S rRNA gene were reevaluated using Bayesian latent class models and random-effects meta-analysis. RESULTS: The estimated sensitivities of culture alone, MAT alone, and culture plus MAT (for which the result was considered positive if one or both tests had a positive result) were 10.5% (95% credible interval [CrI], 2.7%-27.5%), 49.8% (95% CrI, 37.6%-60.8%), and 55.5% (95% CrI, 42.9%-67.7%), respectively. These low sensitivities were present across all 4 studies. The estimated specificity of MAT alone (and of culture plus MAT) was 98.8% (95% CrI, 92.8%-100.0%). The estimated sensitivities and specificities of PCR (52.7% [95% CrI, 45.2%-60.6%] and 97.2% [95% CrI, 92.0%-99.8%], respectively), lateral flow test (85.6% [95% CrI, 77.5%-93.2%] and 96.2% [95% CrI, 87.7%-99.8%], respectively), and immunofluorescence assay (45.5% [95% CrI, 33.3%-60.9%] and 96.8% [95% CrI, 92.8%-99.8%], respectively) were considerably different from estimates in which culture plus MAT was considered a perfect gold standard test. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that culture plus MAT is an imperfect gold standard against which to compare alterative tests for the diagnosis of leptospirosis. Rapid point-of-care tests for this infection would bring an important improvement in patient care, but their future evaluation will require careful consideration of the reference test(s) used and the inclusion of appropriate statistical models.

Phyo AP, Nkhoma S, Stepniewska K, Ashley EA, Nair S, McGready R, ler Moo C, Al-Saai S et al. 2012. Emergence of artemisinin-resistant malaria on the western border of Thailand: a longitudinal study. Lancet, 379 (9830), pp. 1960-1966. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria has arisen in western Cambodia. A concerted international effort is underway to contain artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, but containment strategies are dependent on whether resistance has emerged elsewhere. We aimed to establish whether artemisinin resistance has spread or emerged on the Thailand-Myanmar (Burma) border. METHODS: In malaria clinics located along the northwestern border of Thailand, we measured six hourly parasite counts in patients with uncomplicated hyperparasitaemic falciparum malaria (≥4% infected red blood cells) who had been given various oral artesunate-containing regimens since 2001. Parasite clearance half-lives were estimated and parasites were genotyped for 93 single nucleotide polymorphisms. FINDINGS: 3202 patients were studied between 2001 and 2010. Parasite clearance half-lives lengthened from a geometric mean of 2·6 h (95% CI 2·5-2·7) in 2001, to 3·7 h (3·6-3·8) in 2010, compared with a mean of 5·5 h (5·2-5·9) in 119 patients in western Cambodia measured between 2007 and 2010. The proportion of slow-clearing infections (half-life ≥6·2 h) increased from 0·6% in 2001, to 20% in 2010, compared with 42% in western Cambodia between 2007 and 2010. Of 1583 infections genotyped, 148 multilocus parasite genotypes were identified, each of which infected between two and 13 patients. The proportion of variation in parasite clearance attributable to parasite genetics increased from 30% between 2001 and 2004, to 66% between 2007 and 2010. INTERPRETATION: Genetically determined artemisinin resistance in P falciparum emerged along the Thailand-Myanmar border at least 8 years ago and has since increased substantially. At this rate of increase, resistance will reach rates reported in western Cambodia in 2-6 years. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust and National Institutes of Health.

Blacksell SD, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Mammen MP, Nisalak A, Kalayanarooj S, Bailey MS et al. 2012. Comparison of seven commercial antigen and antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays for detection of acute dengue infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 19 (5), pp. 804-810. | Show Abstract | Read more

Seven commercial assays were evaluated to determine their suitability for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection: (i) the Panbio dengue virus Pan-E NS1 early enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), second generation (Alere, Australia); (ii) the Panbio dengue virus IgM capture ELISA (Alere, Australia); (iii) the Panbio dengue virus IgG capture ELISA (Alere, Australia); (iv) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus NS1 antigen ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); (v) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus IgM ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); (vi) the Standard Diagnostics dengue virus IgG ELISA (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea); and (vii) the Platelia NS1 antigen ELISA (Bio-Rad, France). Samples from 239 Thai patients confirmed to be dengue virus positive and 98 Sri Lankan patients negative for dengue virus infection were tested. The sensitivities and specificities of the NS1 antigen ELISAs ranged from 45 to 57% and 93 to 100% and those of the IgM antibody ELISAs ranged from 85 to 89% and 88 to 100%, respectively. Combining the NS1 antigen and IgM antibody results from the Standard Diagnostics ELISAs gave the best compromise between sensitivity and specificity (87 and 96%, respectively), as well as providing the best sensitivity for patients presenting at different times after fever onset. The Panbio IgG capture ELISA correctly classified 67% of secondary dengue infection cases. This study provides strong evidence of the value of combining dengue virus antigen- and antibody-based test results in the ELISA format for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection.

von Seidlein L, Olaosebikan R, Hendriksen IC, Lee SJ, Adedoyin OT, Agbenyega T, Nguah SB, Bojang K et al. 2012. Predicting the clinical outcome of severe falciparum malaria in african children: findings from a large randomized trial. Clin Infect Dis, 54 (8), pp. 1080-1090. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Data from the largest randomized, controlled trial for the treatment of children hospitalized with severe malaria were used to identify such predictors of a poor outcome from severe malaria. METHODS: African children (<15 years) with severe malaria participated in a randomized comparison of parenteral artesunate and parenteral quinine in 9 African countries. Detailed clinical assessment was performed on admission. Parasite densities were assessed in a reference laboratory. Predictors of death were examined using a multivariate logistic regression model. RESULTS: Twenty indicators of disease severity were assessed, out of which 5 (base deficit, impaired consciousness, convulsions, elevated blood urea, and underlying chronic illness) were associated independently with death. Tachypnea, respiratory distress, deep breathing, shock, prostration, low pH, hyperparasitemia, severe anemia, and jaundice were statistically significant indicators of death in the univariate analysis but not in the multivariate model. Age, glucose levels, axillary temperature, parasite density, heart rate, blood pressure, and blackwater fever were not related to death in univariate models. CONCLUSIONS: Acidosis, cerebral involvement, renal impairment, and chronic illness are key independent predictors for a poor outcome in African children with severe malaria. Mortality is markedly increased in cerebral malaria combined with acidosis. Clinical Trial Registration. ISRCTN50258054.

Desakorn V, Wuthiekanun V, Thanachartwet V, Sahassananda D, Chierakul W, Apiwattanaporn A, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2012. Accuracy of a commercial IgM ELISA for the diagnosis of human leptospirosis in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 86 (3), pp. 524-527. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Leptospira immunoglobulin M enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (IgM ELISA) has been recommended for the rapid diagnosis of leptospirosis in endemic areas. We conducted a retrospective case-control study of 218 patients (109 leptospirosis cases confirmed by Leptospira culture and/or microscopic agglutination test and 109 control patients with acute febrile illness) to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a commercial IgM ELISA (Panbio) in northeast Thailand. Paired serum samples taken on admission and at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms were tested. Using the cutoff value recommended by the manufacturer (11 Panbio units), sensitivity and specificity of IgM ELISA on paired sera were 90.8% and 55.1%. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the optimal cutoff value. This was 20 Panbio units, which gave a sensitivity and specificity of 76.1% and 82.6%, respectively, on paired sera. We conclude that using either cutoff value, the accuracy of IgM ELISA is limited in our setting.

Limmathurotsakul D, Thammasart S, Warrasuth N, Thapanagulsak P, Jatapai A, Pengreungrojanachai V, Anun S, Joraka W et al. 2012. Melioidosis in animals, Thailand, 2006-2010. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (2), pp. 325-327. | Show Abstract | Read more

We retrospectively estimated the incidence of culture-proven melioidosis in animals in Thailand during 2006-2010. The highest incidence was in goats (1.63/100,000/year), followed by incidence in pigs and cattle. The estimated incidence of melioidosis in humans in a given region paralleled that of melioidosis in goats.

Tarning J, Zongo I, Somé FA, Rouamba N, Parikh S, Rosenthal PJ, Hanpithakpong W, Jongrak N et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of piperaquine in children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 91 (3), pp. 497-505. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is being increasingly used as a first-line artemisinin combination treatment for malaria. The aim of this study was to describe the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of piperaquine in 236 children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Burkina Faso. They received a standard body weight-based oral 3-day fixed-dose dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine regimen. Capillary plasma concentration-time profiles were characterized using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine were described accurately by a two-transit-compartment absorption model and a three-compartment distribution model. Body weight was a significant covariate affecting clearance and volume parameters. The individually predicted day 7 capillary plasma concentration of piperaquine was an important predictor (P < 0.0001) of recurrent malaria infection after treatment. Young children (2-5 years of age) received a significantly higher body weight-normalized dose than older children (P = 0.025) but had significantly lower day 7 piperaquine concentrations (P = 0.024) and total piperaquine exposures (P = 0.021), suggesting that an increased dose regimen for young children should be evaluated.

Gillrie MR, Lee K, Gowda DC, Davis SP, Monestier M, Cui L, Hien TT, Day NP, Ho M. 2012. Plasmodium falciparum histones induce endothelial proinflammatory response and barrier dysfunction. Am J Pathol, 180 (3), pp. 1028-1039. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite of human erythrocytes that causes the most severe form of malaria. Severe P. falciparum infection is associated with endothelial activation and permeability, which are important determinants of the outcome of the infection. How endothelial cells become activated is not fully understood, particularly with regard to the effects of parasite subcomponents. We demonstrated that P. falciparum histones extracted from merozoites (HeH) directly stimulated the production of IL-8 and other inflammatory mediators by primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells through a signaling pathway that involves Src family kinases and p38 MAPK. The stimulatory effect of HeH and recombinant P. falciparum H3 (PfH3) was abrogated by histone-specific antibodies. The release of nuclear contents on rupture of infected erythrocytes was captured by live cell imaging and confirmed by detecting nucleosomes in the supernatants of parasite cultures. HeH and recombinant parasite histones also induced endothelial permeability through a charge-dependent mechanism that resulted in disruption of junctional protein expression and cell death. Recombinant human activated protein C cleaved HeH and PfH3 and abrogated their proinflammatory effects. Circulating nucleosomes of both human and parasite origin were detected in the plasma of patients with falciparum malaria and correlated positively with disease severity. These results support a pathogenic role for both host- and pathogen-derived histones in P. falciparum-caused malaria.

Tarning J, Rijken MJ, McGready R, Phyo AP, Hanpithakpong W, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Lindegardh N. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56 (4), pp. 1997-2007. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria. The pharmacokinetic properties of antimalarial drugs are often affected by pregnancy, resulting in lower drug concentrations and a consequently higher risk of treatment failure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine and dihydroartemisinin in pregnant and nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Twenty-four pregnant and 24 matched nonpregnant women on the Thai-Myanmar boarder were treated with a standard fixed oral 3-day treatment, and venous plasma concentrations of both drugs were measured frequently for pharmacokinetic evaluation. Population pharmacokinetics were evaluated with nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The main pharmacokinetic finding was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but reduced exposure to dihydroartemisinin in pregnant compared to nonpregnant women with uncomplicated malaria. Piperaquine was best described by a three-compartment disposition model with a 45% higher elimination clearance and a 47% increase in relative bioavailability in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was an unaltered total exposure to piperaquine but a shorter terminal elimination half-life. Dihydroartemisinin was best described by a one-compartment disposition model with a 38% lower relative bioavailability in pregnant women than nonpregnant women. The resulting net effect of pregnancy was a decreased total exposure to dihydroartemisinin. The shorter terminal elimination half-life of piperaquine and lower exposure to dihydroartemisinin will shorten the posttreatment prophylactic effect and might affect cure rates. The clinical impact of these pharmacokinetic findings in pregnant women with uncomplicated malaria needs to be evaluated in larger series.

Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Teeratakul A, Kantipong P, Day NP. 2012. Prospective evaluation of commercial antibody-based rapid tests in combination with a loop-mediated isothermal amplification PCR assay for detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi during the acute phase of scrub typhus infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 19 (3), pp. 391-395. | Show Abstract | Read more

Samples from 160 prospectively recruited febrile patients with typhus-like illness in an area of Thailand (Chiang Rai, northern Thailand) where scrub typhus is endemic were used to evaluate the diagnostic capabilities of four rapid immunochromatographic tests (ICTs) for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM and total antibodies during acute scrub typhus infection. Of the 160 cases, 54 (34%) had been confirmed to have scrub typhus using the reference scrub typhus infection criteria (STIC), i.e., positive cell culture isolation, an admission IgM antibody titer of ≥1:12,800, a 4-fold rising IgM antibody titer, and/or positivity for ≥2 out of 3 PCR gene targets). The ICTs gave the following sensitivities and specificities: the Panbio IgM ICT, 46% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33 to 60) and 95% (95% CI, 89 to 98), respectively; the Standard Diagnostics IgM ICT, 68% (95% CI, 60 to 75) and 73% (95% CI, 68 to 78), respectively; the AccessBio IgM ICT, 56% (95% CI, 48 to 63) and 90% (95% CI, 87 to 94), respectively; and the AccessBio total antibody ABt ICT, 61% (95% CI, 53 to 68) and 68% (95% CI, 63 to 73), respectively. An isothermal loop amplification (LAMP) PCR assay for scrub typhus demonstrated a sensitivity of 52% (95% CI, 38 to 66) and a specificity of 94% (95% CI, 88 to 98). This study has revealed the diagnostic limitations of antibody-based assays in an acute care setting. However, the combination of ICTs with LAMP usually increased sensitivity with a minimal reduction in specificity. The best combination, the Panbio IgM ICT and LAMP, resulted in a sensitivity of 67% (95% CI, 53 to 79) and a specificity of 91% (95% CI, 83 to 95). The combination of antibody-based assays with DNA- or antigen-based tests shows promise for improved diagnostic sensitivity.

Mahavanakul W, Nickerson EK, Srisomang P, Teparrukkul P, Lorvinitnun P, Wongyingsinn M, Chierakul W, Hongsuwan M et al. 2012. Feasibility of modified surviving sepsis campaign guidelines in a resource-restricted setting based on a cohort study of severe S. aureus sepsis [corrected]. PLoS One, 7 (2), pp. e29858. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines describe best practice for the management of severe sepsis and septic shock in developed countries, but most deaths from sepsis occur where healthcare is not sufficiently resourced to implement them. Our objective was to define the feasibility and basis for modified guidelines in a resource-restricted setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We undertook a detailed assessment of sepsis management in a prospective cohort of patients with severe sepsis caused by a single pathogen in a 1,100-bed hospital in lower-middle income Thailand. We compared their management with the SSC guidelines to identify care bundles based on existing capabilities or additional activities that could be undertaken at zero or low cost. We identified 72 patients with severe sepsis or septic shock associated with S. aureus bacteraemia, 38 (53%) of who died within 28 days. One third of patients were treated in intensive care units (ICUs). Numerous interventions described by the SSC guidelines fell within existing capabilities, but their implementation was highly variable. Care available to patients on general wards covered the fundamental principles of sepsis management, including non-invasive patient monitoring, antimicrobial administration and intravenous fluid resuscitation. We described two additive care bundles, one for general wards and the second for ICUs, that if consistently performed would be predicted to improve outcome from severe sepsis. CONCLUSION: It is feasible to implement modified sepsis guidelines that are scaled to resource availability, and that could save lives prior to the publication of international guidelines for developing countries.

Kim JR, Nandy A, Maji AK, Addy M, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Pukrittayakamee S, White NJ, Imwong M. 2012. Genotyping of Plasmodium vivax reveals both short and long latency relapse patterns in Kolkata. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e39645. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Plasmodium vivax that was once prevalent in temperate climatic zones typically had an interval between primary infection and first relapse of 7-10 months, whereas in tropical areas P.vivax infections relapse frequently at intervals of 3-6 weeks. Defining the epidemiology of these two phenotypes from temporal patterns of illness in endemic areas is difficult or impossible, particularly if they overlap. METHODS: A prospective open label comparison of chloroquine (CQ) alone versus CQ plus unobserved primaquine for either 5 days or 14 days was conducted in patients presenting with acute vivax malaria in Kolkata. Patients were followed for 15 months and primary and recurrent infections were genotyped using three polymorphic antigen and up to 8 microsatellite markers. RESULTS: 151 patients were enrolled of whom 47 (31%) had subsequent recurrent infections. Recurrence proportions were similar in the three treatment groups. Parasite genotyping revealed discrete temporal patterns of recurrence allowing differentiation of probable relapse from newly acquired infections. This suggested that 32 of the 47 recurrences were probable relapses of which 22 (69%) were genetically homologous. The majority (81%) of probable relapses occurred within three months (16 homologous, 10 heterologous) and six genetically homologous relapses (19%) were of the long latency (8-10 month interval) phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: With long follow-up to assess temporal patterns of vivax malaria recurrence, genotyping of P.vivax can be used to assess relapse rates. A 14 day unobserved course of primaquine did not prevent relapse. Genotyping indicates that long latency P.vivax is prevalent in West Bengal, and that the first relapses after long latent periods are genetically homologous. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN14027467.

Peacock SJ, Limmathurotsakul D, Lubell Y, Koh GC, White LJ, Day NP, Titball RW. 2012. Melioidosis vaccines: a systematic review and appraisal of the potential to exploit biodefense vaccines for public health purposes. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (1), pp. e1488. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Burkholderia pseudomallei is a Category B select agent and the cause of melioidosis. Research funding for vaccine development has largely considered protection within the biothreat context, but the resulting vaccines could be applicable to populations who are at risk of naturally acquired melioidosis. Here, we discuss target populations for vaccination, consider the cost-benefit of different vaccination strategies and review potential vaccine candidates. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Melioidosis is highly endemic in Thailand and northern Australia, where a biodefense vaccine might be adopted for public health purposes. A cost-effectiveness analysis model was developed, which showed that a vaccine could be a cost-effective intervention in Thailand, particularly if used in high-risk populations such as diabetics. Cost-effectiveness was observed in a model in which only partial immunity was assumed. The review systematically summarized all melioidosis vaccine candidates and studies in animal models that had evaluated their protectiveness. Possible candidates included live attenuated, whole cell killed, sub-unit, plasmid DNA and dendritic cell vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines were not considered favorably because of possible reversion to virulence and hypothetical risk of latent infection, while the other candidates need further development and evaluation. Melioidosis is acquired by skin inoculation, inhalation and ingestion, but routes of animal inoculation in most published studies to date do not reflect all of this. We found a lack of studies using diabetic models, which will be central to any evaluation of a melioidosis vaccine for natural infection since diabetes is the most important risk factor. CONCLUSION: Vaccines could represent one strand of a public health initiative to reduce the global incidence of melioidosis.

Maude RJ, Socheat D, Nguon C, Saroth P, Dara P, Li G, Song J, Yeung S et al. 2012. Optimising strategies for Plasmodium falciparum malaria elimination in Cambodia: primaquine, mass drug administration and artemisinin resistance. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e37166. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria elimination requires a variety of approaches individually optimized for different transmission settings. A recent field study in an area of low seasonal transmission in South West Cambodia demonstrated dramatic reductions in malaria parasite prevalence following both mass drug administration (MDA) and high treatment coverage of symptomatic patients with artemisinin-piperaquine plus primaquine. This study employed multiple combined strategies and it was unclear what contribution each made to the reductions in malaria. METHOD AND FINDINGS: A mathematical model fitted to the trial results was used to assess the effects of the various components of these interventions, design optimal elimination strategies, and explore their interactions with artemisinin resistance, which has recently been discovered in Western Cambodia. The modelling indicated that most of the initial reduction of P. falciparum malaria resulted from MDA with artemisinin-piperaquine. The subsequent continued decline and near elimination resulted mainly from high coverage with artemisinin-piperaquine treatment. Both these strategies were more effective with the addition of primaquine. MDA with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) increased the proportion of artemisinin resistant infections, although much less than treatment of symptomatic cases with ACT, and this increase was slowed by adding primaquine. Artemisinin resistance reduced the effectiveness of interventions using ACT when the prevalence of resistance was very high. The main results were robust to assumptions about primaquine action, and immunity. CONCLUSIONS: The key messages of these modelling results for policy makers were: high coverage with ACT treatment can produce a long-term reduction in malaria whereas the impact of MDA is generally only short-term; primaquine enhances the effect of ACT in eliminating malaria and reduces the increase in proportion of artemisinin resistant infections; parasite prevalence is a better surveillance measure for elimination programmes than numbers of symptomatic cases; combinations of interventions are most effective and sustained efforts are crucial for successful elimination.

Paris DH, Phetsouvanh R, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jones M, Jenjaroen K, Vongsouvath M, Ferguson DP, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NP, Turner GD. 2012. Orientia tsutsugamushi in human scrub typhus eschars shows tropism for dendritic cells and monocytes rather than endothelium. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (1), pp. e1466. | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus is a common and underdiagnosed cause of febrile illness in Southeast Asia, caused by infection with Orientia tsutsugamushi. Inoculation of the organism at a cutaneous mite bite site commonly results in formation of a localized pathological skin reaction termed an eschar. The site of development of the obligate intracellular bacteria within the eschar and the mechanisms of dissemination to cause systemic infection are unclear. Previous postmortem and in vitro reports demonstrated infection of endothelial cells, but recent pathophysiological investigations of typhus patients using surrogate markers of endothelial cell and leucocyte activation indicated a more prevalent host leucocyte than endothelial cell response in vivo. We therefore examined eschar skin biopsies from patients with scrub typhus to determine and characterize the phenotypes of host cells in vivo with intracellular infection by O. tsutsugamushi, using histology, immunohistochemistry, double immunofluorescence confocal laser scanning microscopy and electron microscopy. Immunophenotyping of host leucocytes infected with O. tsutsugamushi showed a tropism for host monocytes and dendritic cells, which were spatially related to different histological zones of the eschar. Infected leucocyte subsets were characterized by expression of HLADR+, with an "inflammatory" monocyte phenotype of CD14/LSP-1/CD68 positive or dendritic cell phenotype of CD1a/DCSIGN/S100/FXIIIa and CD163 positive staining, or occasional CD3 positive T-cells. Endothelial cell infection was rare, and histology did not indicate a widespread inflammatory vasculitis as the cause of the eschar. Infection of dendritic cells and activated inflammatory monocytes offers a potential route for dissemination of O. tsutsugamushi from the initial eschar site. This newly described cellular tropism for O. tsutsugamushi may influence its interaction with local host immune responses.

Stoesser N, Pocock J, Moore CE, Soeng S, Chhat HP, Sar P, Limmathurotsakul D, Day N, Thy V, Sar V, Parry CM. 2012. Pediatric suppurative parotitis in cambodia between 2007 and 2011 Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 31 (8), pp. 865-868. | Show Abstract | Read more

The causes of suppurative parotitis in Cambodian children are not known. We describe 39 cases at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, between January 2007 and July 2011 (0.07/1000 hospital attendances). The median age was 5.7 years with no neonates affected. Burkholderia pseudomallei was cultured in 29 (74%) cases. No deaths occurred; 1 child developed facial nerve palsy. © 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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Gillrie MR, Lee K, Gowda DC, Davis SP, Monestier M, Cui L, Hien TT, Day NPJ, Ho M. 2012. Plasmodium falciparum histones induce endothelial proinflammatory response and barrier dysfunction American Journal of Pathology, 180 (3), pp. 1028-1039. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite of human erythrocytes that causes the most severe form of malaria. Severe P. falciparum infection is associated with endothelial activation and permeability, which are important determinants of the outcome of the infection. How endothelial cells become activated is not fully understood, particularly with regard to the effects of parasite subcomponents. We demonstrated that P. falciparum histones extracted from merozoites (HeH) directly stimulated the production of IL-8 and other inflammatory mediators by primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells through a signaling pathway that involves Src family kinases and p38 MAPK. The stimulatory effect of HeH and recombinant P. falciparum H3 (PfH3) was abrogated by histone-specific antibodies. The release of nuclear contents on rupture of infected erythrocytes was captured by live cell imaging and confirmed by detecting nucleosomes in the supernatants of parasite cultures. HeH and recombinant parasite histones also induced endothelial permeability through a charge-dependent mechanism that resulted in disruption of junctional protein expression and cell death. Recombinant human activated protein C cleaved HeH and PfH3 and abrogated their proinflammatory effects. Circulating nucleosomes of both human and parasite origin were detected in the plasma of patients with falciparum malaria and correlated positively with disease severity. These results support a pathogenic role for both host- and pathogen-derived histones in P. falciparum-caused malaria. © 2012 American Society for Investigative Pathology.

Chotivanich K, Udomsangpetch R, Suwanarusk R, Pukrittayakamee S, Wilairatana P, Beeson JG, Day NP, White NJ. 2012. Plasmodium vivax adherence to placental glycosaminoglycans. PLoS One, 7 (4), pp. e34509. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax infections seldom kill directly but do cause indirect mortality by reducing birth weight and causing abortion. Cytoadherence and sequestration in the microvasculature are central to the pathogenesis of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but the contribution of cytoadherence to pathology in other human malarias is less clear. METHODOLOGY: The adherence properties of P. vivax infected red blood cells (PvIRBC) were evaluated under static and flow conditions. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: P. vivax isolates from 33 patients were studied. None adhered to immobilized CD36, ICAM-1, or thrombospondin, putative ligands for P. falciparum vascular cytoadherence, or umbilical vein endothelial cells, but all adhered to immobilized chondroitin sulphate A (CSA) and hyaluronic acid (HA), the receptors for adhesion of P. falciparum in the placenta. PvIRBC also adhered to fresh placental cells (N = 5). Pre-incubation with chondroitinase prevented PvIRBC adherence to CSA, and reduced binding to HA, whereas preincubation with hyaluronidase prevented adherence to HA, but did not reduce binding to CSA significantly. Pre-incubation of PvIRBC with soluble CSA and HA reduced binding to the immobilized receptors and prevented placental binding. PvIRBC adhesion was prevented by pre-incubation with trypsin, inhibited by heparin, and reduced by EGTA. Under laminar flow conditions the mean (SD) shear stress reducing maximum attachment by 50% was 0.06 (0.02) Pa but, having adhered, the PvIRBC could then resist detachment by stresses up to 5 Pa. At 37 °C adherence began approximately 16 hours after red cell invasion with maximal adherence at 30 hours. At 39 °C adherence began earlier and peaked at 24 hours. SIGNIFICANCE: Adherence of P. vivax-infected erythrocytes to glycosaminoglycans may contribute to the pathogenesis of vivax malaria and lead to intrauterine growth retardation.

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Tarning J, Zongo I, Somé FA, Rouamba N, Parikh S, Rosenthal PJ, Hanpithakpong W, Jongrak N et al. 2012. Population pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of piperaquine in children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 91 (3), pp. 497-505. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is being increasingly used as a first-line artemisinin combination treatment for malaria. The aim of this study was to describe the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of piperaquine in 236 children with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Burkina Faso. They received a standard body weight-based oral 3-day fixed-dose dihydroartemisinin- piperaquine regimen. Capillary plasma concentration-time profiles were characterized using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The population pharmacokinetics of piperaquine were described accurately by a two-transit-compartment absorption model and a three-compartment distribution model. Body weight was a significant covariate affecting clearance and volume parameters. The individually predicted day 7 capillary plasma concentration of piperaquine was an important predictor (P<0.0001) of recurrent malaria infection after treatment. Young children (2-5 years of age) received a significantly higher body weight-normalized dose than older children (P = 0.025) but had significantly lower day 7 piperaquine concentrations (P = 0.024) and total piperaquine exposures (P = 0.021), suggesting that an increased dose regimen for young children should be evaluated. © 2012 american Society for clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Maude RR, Vatcharapreechasakul T, Ariyaprasert P, Maude RJ, Hongsuwan M, Yuentrakul P, Limmathurotsakul D, Koh GCKW, Chaowagul W, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2012. Prospective observational study of the frequency and features of intra-abdominal abscesses in patients with melioidosis in northeast Thailand Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 106 (10), pp. 629-631. | Show Abstract | Read more

Retrospective case series from Thailand have reported the presence of intra-abdominal abscesses in around half of patients with melioidosis, a much higher rate than our clinical experience would suggest. We performed a prospective, observational study of 230 adult patients with culture-confirmed melioidosis in which all patients underwent abdominal ultrasound. One or more abscesses were detected in the liver and/or spleen in 77 (33%) cases. These were often multiple (70%, 31/44 in hepatic abscesses and 88%, 50/57 in splenic abscesses) and clinically silent (27% of cases with abscesses presenting with abdominal pain). The mortality rate at 4 weeks post-discharge was lower in patients who were abscess-positive vs abscess-negative (10%, 8/77 vs 20%, 31/153). © 2012 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Ponsford MJ, Medana IM, Prapansilp P, Hien TT, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM, Esiri MM, Day NP, White NJ, Turner GD. 2012. Sequestration and microvascular congestion are associated with coma in human cerebral malaria. J Infect Dis, 205 (4), pp. 663-671. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of coma in severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains poorly understood. Obstruction of the brain microvasculature because of sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (pRBCs) represents one mechanism that could contribute to coma in cerebral malaria. Quantitative postmortem microscopy of brain sections from Vietnamese adults dying of malaria confirmed that sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature was significantly higher in patients with cerebral malaria (CM; n = 21) than in patients with non-CM (n = 23). Sequestration of pRBCs and CM was also significantly associated with increased microvascular congestion by infected and uninfected erythrocytes. Clinicopathological correlation showed that sequestration and congestion were significantly associated with deeper levels of premortem coma and shorter time to death. Microvascular congestion and sequestration were highly correlated as microscopic findings but were independent predictors of a clinical diagnosis of CM. Increased microvascular congestion accompanies coma in CM, associated with parasite sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature.

Maude RR, Maude RJ, Ghose A, Amin MR, Islam MB, Ali M, Bari MS, Majumder MI et al. 2012. Seroepidemiological surveillance of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Bangladesh Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 106 (9), pp. 576-578. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis (. Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) has yet to be demonstrated systematically in Bangladesh. A prospective, cross-sectional serological survey was conducted in 2010 at six Bangladeshi hospitals. Age, gender, occupation and residential address were recorded. Of 1244 patients, 359 (28.9%) were positive for . B. pseudomallei by indirect haemagglutination assay. Farmers had an increased risk of seropositivity (risk ratio. =. 1.4, 95% CI 1.0-1.8; p. =. 0.03). There was no clear geographic clustering of seropositives. Melioidosis should be considered as a possible cause of febrile illness in Bangladesh. Further studies are needed to establish the incidence of clinical disease and distribution of environmental risk. © 2012 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Turner C, Turner P, Cararra V, Eh Lwe N, Watthanaworawit W, Day NP, White NJ, Goldblatt D, Nosten F. 2012. A high burden of respiratory syncytial virus associated pneumonia in children less than two years of age in a South East Asian refugee population. PLoS One, 7 (11), pp. e50100. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pneumonia is a major cause of childhood mortality and morbidity approximately 1.6 million deaths and 150 million episodes occur annually in children <5 years. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) may be responsible for up to 25% of cases and 12% of deaths making it an important potential vaccine target, although data from South East Asia is scarce. METHODS: We followed a birth cohort of Burmese refugee children, born over a one year period, for two years. Pneumonia episodes were diagnosed using WHO criteria. A chest radiograph, nasopharyngeal aspirate and non-specific markers of infection were taken during each episode. RESULTS: The incidence of RSV-associated pneumonia was 0.24 (95% CI 0.22-0.26) episodes per child year. All children with pneumonia received antibiotic treatment, following WHO guidelines. The highest incidence was in the 2-12 month age group. The commonest diagnosis in a child with RSV-associated pneumonia was non-severe pneumonia (239/362:66.0%), however the incidence of RSV-associated severe or very severe pneumonia was 0.08 (95% CI 0.01-0.10) episodes per child year. Birth in the wet season increased the risk of severe disease in children who had their first episode of RSV-associated pneumonia aged 2-11 months (OR 28.7, 95% CI 6.6-125.0, p<0.001). RSV episodes were highly seasonal being responsible for 80.0% of all the pneumonia episodes occurring each October and November over the study period. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high incidence of RSV associated pneumonia in this refugee population. Interventions to prevent RSV infection have the potential to reduce the incidence of clinically diagnosed pneumonia and hence unnecessary antibiotic usage in this population.

Turner P, Turner C, Jankhot A, Helen N, Lee SJ, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F, Goldblatt D. 2012. A longitudinal study of Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage in a cohort of infants and their mothers on the Thailand-Myanmar border. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e38271. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pneumococcal disease is a major cause of childhood death. Almost a third of the world's children live in Southeast Asia, but there are few data from the region on pneumococcal colonization or disease. Our aim was to document the dynamics of pneumococcal carriage in a rural SE Asian birth cohort. METHODS: We studied 234 Karen mother-infant pairs in Northwestern Thailand. Infants were followed from birth and nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from mother and infant at monthly intervals until 24 months old. RESULTS: 8,386 swabs were cultured and 4,396 pneumococci characterized. Infants became colonized early (median 45.5 days; 95% confidence interval [CI] 44.5-46.0) and by 24 months had a median of seven (range 0-15) carriage episodes. Maternal smoking and young children in the house were associated with earlier colonization (hazard ratio [HR] 1.5 (95% CI 1.1-2.1) and 1.4 (95% CI 1.0-1.9)). For the four commonest serotypes and non-typeable pneumococci, previous exposure to homologous or heterologous serotypes resulted in an extended interval to reacquisition of the same serotype. Previous colonization by serotypes 14 and 19F was also associated with reduced carriage duration if subsequently reacquired (HR [first reacquisition] 4.1 (95% CI 1.4-12.6) and 2.6 (1.5-4.7)). Mothers acquired pneumococci less frequently, and carried them for shorter periods, than infants (acquisition rate 0.5 vs. 1.1 /100 person-days, p<0.001; median duration 31.0 vs. 60.5 days, p = 0.001). 55.8% of pneumococci from infants were vaccine serotypes (13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV13), compared with 27.5% from mothers (p<0.001). Non-typeable pneumococcal carriage was common, being carried at least once by 55.1% of infants and 32.0% of mothers. CONCLUSIONS: Pneumococcal carriage frequency and duration are influenced by previous exposure to both homologous and heterologous serotypes. These data will inform vaccination strategies in this population.

Paris DH, Chansamouth V, Nawtaisong P, Löwenberg EC, Phetsouvanh R, Blacksell SD, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM et al. 2012. Coagulation and inflammation in scrub typhus and murine typhus-a prospective comparative study from Laos Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 18 (12), pp. 1221-1228. | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus (caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi) and murine typhus (caused by Rickettsia typhi) cause up to 28% of febrile episodes in Thailand and Laos. The current understanding of coagulation and inflammation in the pathogenesis of these clinically very similar vasculotropic diseases is limited. This study compared human in vivo changes in 15 coagulation, inflammation and endothelial activation markers in prospectively collected admission and follow-up samples of 121 patients (55 scrub typhus, 55 murine typhus, and 11 typhus-like illness) and 51 healthy controls from Laos. As compared with controls, all but one of the markers assessed were significantly affected in typhus patients; however, the activation patterns differed significantly between scrub and murine typhus patients. The levels of markers of coagulation activation and all inflammatory cytokines, except for interleukin-12, were significantly higher in patients with scrub typhus than in those with murine typhus. In patients with murine typhus, however, the levels of endothelium-derived markers were significantly higher. Anticoagulant factors were inhibited in both typhus patient groups. This is the first study demonstrating that, in scrub typhus, in vivo coagulation activation is prominent and is related to a strong proinflammatory response, whereas in murine typhus, changes in coagulant and fibrinolytic pathways are suggestive of endothelial cell perturbation. These data suggest that, although late-stage endothelial infection is common in both diseases, the in vivo pathogenic mechanisms of R. typhi and O. tsutsugamushi could differ in the early phase of infection and may contribute to disease differentiation. © 2011 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2011 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

White LJ, Newton PN, Maude RJ, Pan-ngum W, Fried JR, Mayxay M, Maude RR, Day NP. 2012. Defining disease heterogeneity to guide the empirical treatment of febrile illness in resource poor settings. PLoS One, 7 (9), pp. e44545. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria incidence is in decline in many parts of SE Asia leading to a decreasing proportion of febrile illness that is attributable to malaria. However in the absence of rapid, affordable and accurate diagnostic tests, the non-malaria causes of these illnesses cannot be reliably identified. Studies on the aetiology of febrile illness have indicated that the causes are likely to vary by geographical location within countries (i.e. be spatially heterogeneous) and that national empirical treatment policies based on the aetiology measured in a single location could lead to inappropriate treatment. METHODS: Using data from Vientiane as a reference for the incidence of major febrile illnesses in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) and estimated incidences, plausible incidence in other Lao provinces were generated using a mathematical model for a range of national and local scale variations. For a range of treatment protocols, the mean number of appropriate treatments was predicted and the potential impact of a spatially explicit national empirical treatment protocol assessed. FINDINGS: The model predicted a negative correlation between number of appropriate treatments and the level of spatial heterogeneity. A spatially explicit national treatment protocol was predicted to increase the number of appropriate treatments by 50% for intermediate levels of spatial heterogeneity. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that given even only moderate spatial variation, a spatially explicit treatment algorithm will result in a significant improvement in the outcome of undifferentiated fevers in Laos and other similar resource poor settings.

Wongtanachai J, Silamut K, Day NP, Dondorp A, Chaisri U. 2012. Effects of antimalarial drugs on movement of Plasmodium falciparum. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 43 (1), pp. 1-9. | Show Abstract

In vitro antimalarial drug susceptibility is conventionally assessed by the concentration dependent growth inhibition of Plasmodium in an in vitro culture system. Inhibition of the kinetic properties of the parasites could provide an alternative method to assess in vitro antimalarial drugs sensitivity. In this study we used a novel real time microscopic technique, which does not require fixation and staining of the parasite, to study the effects of antimalarial drugs on the intracellular movement of Plasmodium (P.) falciparum trophozoites. Using real time microscopy movement of P. falciparum pigment within erythrocytes was investigated before and after antimalarial drugs exposure (artesunate, quinine, and piperaquine). For artesunate, the 50% inhibition concentration (IC50) at which movement in half of the trophozoites was abolished was estimated by sigmoid curve fitting. Intra- and inter-observer agreements were also assessed. Healthy unexposed P. falciparum trophozoites in culture showed very active movement of malaria pigment. Quinine and piperaquine had no effect but artesunate did reduce pigment movement which started after 2.5 hours exposure to the drug. The mean (SD) IC50 for artesunate regarding abolishment of pigment movement was 54 (14) ng/ml. Assessments of intra- and inter-rater agreement showed good reproducibility of the technique (Kappa value 0.82 to 0.91). Abolishment of active movement of malaria pigment is an alternative approach to assess drug sensitivity for artesunate. Malaria pigment movement is abolished by artesunate early after exposure, but at concentrations higher than those inhibiting growth.

Imwong M, Boel ME, Pagornrat W, Pimanpanarak M, McGready R, Day NP, Nosten F, White NJ. 2012. The first Plasmodium vivax relapses of life are usually genetically homologous. J Infect Dis, 205 (4), pp. 680-683. | Show Abstract | Read more

In a prospective infant cohort, 21 infants developed Plasmodium vivax malaria during their first year. Twelve of their mothers also had vivax malaria in the corresponding pregnancies or postpartum period. The genotypes of the maternal and infant infections were all different. Eight of the 12 mothers and 9 of the 21 infants had recurrent infections. Relapse parasite genotypes were different to the initial infection in 13 of 20 (65%) mothers compared with 5 of 24 (21%) infants (P = .02). The first P. vivax relapses of life are usually genetically homologous, whereas relapse in adults may result from activation of heterologous latent hypnozoites acquired from previous inoculations.

Boonsilp S, Thaipadungpanit J, Amornchai P, Wuthiekanun V, Chierakul W, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Molecular detection and speciation of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in blood from patients with culture-negative leptospirosis. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 338. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Pathogenic Leptospira spp. present in the blood of patients with leptospirosis during the first week of symptoms can be detected using culture or PCR. A proportion of patients who are positive by PCR are negative by culture. Leptospira spp. are fastidious bacteria, and we hypothesized that a false-negative culture result may represent infection with a distinct bacterial subset that fail to grow in standard culture medium. METHODS: We evaluated our hypothesis during a prospective study of 418 consecutive patients presenting to a hospital in northeast Thailand with an acute febrile illness. Admission blood samples were taken for Leptospira culture and PCR. A single tube nested PCR that amplified a region of the rrs gene was developed and applied, amplicons sequenced and a phylogenetic tree reconstructed. RESULTS: 39/418 (9%) patients were culture-positive for Leptospira spp., and 81/418 (19%) patients were culture-negative but rrs PCR-positive. The species associated with culture-positive leptospirosis (37 L. interrogans and 2 L. borgpetersenii) were comparable to those associated with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis (76 L. interrogans, 4 L. borgpetersenii, 1 unidentified, possibly new species). CONCLUSION: Molecular speciation failed to identify a unique bacterial subset in patients with culture-negative, PCR-positive leptospirosis. The rate of false-negative culture was high, and we speculate that antibiotic pre-treatment is the most likely explanation for this.

Maude R, Abu Sayeed A, Beare N, Charunwatthana P, Faiz MA, Hossain A, Bin Yunus E, Hoque MG et al. 2011. MALARIAL RETINOPATHY IN ADULTS JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 63 (6), pp. 494-495. | Read more

Maude R, Hoque MG, Hasan MMU, Abu Sayeed M, Akter S, Samad R, Alam B, Bin Yunus E et al. 2011. TIMING OF ENTERAL FEEDING IN CEREBRAL MALARIA IN RESOURCE-POOR SETTINGS: A RANDOMIZED TRIALCATEGORY: SCIENTIFIC FREE PAPER JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 63 (6), pp. E101-E101.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Wongsuwan G, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2012. Effectiveness of a simplified method for isolation of Burkholderia pseudomallei from soil. Appl Environ Microbiol, 78 (3), pp. 876-877. | Show Abstract | Read more

Detection of environmental Burkholderia pseudomallei indicates a risk for melioidosis and is important for the development of a global risk map. We describe a simple method for detecting B. pseudomallei using direct culture of soil in enrichment broth. This gives a rate of positivity comparable to that obtained with a standard method but is cheaper and labor saving.

Hanson J, Lam SW, Mohanty S, Alam S, Hasan MM, Lee SJ, Schultz MJ, Charunwatthana P et al. 2011. Central venous catheter use in severe malaria: time to reconsider the World Health Organization guidelines? Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 342. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: To optimize the fluid status of adult patients with severe malaria, World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend the insertion of a central venous catheter (CVC) and a target central venous pressure (CVP) of 0-5 cmH2O. However there are few data from clinical trials to support this recommendation. METHODS: Twenty-eight adult Indian and Bangladeshi patients admitted to the intensive care unit with severe falciparum malaria were enrolled in the study. All patients had a CVC inserted and had regular CVP measurements recorded. The CVP measurements were compared with markers of disease severity, clinical endpoints and volumetric measures derived from transpulmonary thermodilution. RESULTS: There was no correlation between the admission CVP and patient outcome (p = 0.67) or disease severity (p = 0.33). There was no correlation between the baseline CVP and the concomitant extravascular lung water (p = 0.62), global end diastolic volume (p = 0.88) or cardiac index (p = 0.44). There was no correlation between the baseline CVP and the likelihood of a patient being fluid responsive (p = 0.37). On the occasions when the CVP was in the WHO target range patients were usually hypovolaemic and often had pulmonary oedema by volumetric measures. Seven of 28 patients suffered a complication of the CVC insertion, although none were fatal. CONCLUSION: The WHO recommendation for the routine insertion of a CVC, and the maintenance of a CVP of 0-5 cmH2O in adults with severe malaria, should be reconsidered.

Paris DH, Chansamouth V, Nawtaisong P, Löwenberg EC, Phetsouvanh R, Blacksell SD, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM et al. 2012. Coagulation and inflammation in scrub typhus and murine typhus--a prospective comparative study from Laos. Clin Microbiol Infect, 18 (12), pp. 1221-1228. | Show Abstract | Read more

Scrub typhus (caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi) and murine typhus (caused by Rickettsia typhi) cause up to 28% of febrile episodes in Thailand and Laos. The current understanding of coagulation and inflammation in the pathogenesis of these clinically very similar vasculotropic diseases is limited. This study compared human in vivo changes in 15 coagulation, inflammation and endothelial activation markers in prospectively collected admission and follow-up samples of 121 patients (55 scrub typhus, 55 murine typhus, and 11 typhus-like illness) and 51 healthy controls from Laos. As compared with controls, all but one of the markers assessed were significantly affected in typhus patients; however, the activation patterns differed significantly between scrub and murine typhus patients. The levels of markers of coagulation activation and all inflammatory cytokines, except for interleukin-12, were significantly higher in patients with scrub typhus than in those with murine typhus. In patients with murine typhus, however, the levels of endothelium-derived markers were significantly higher. Anticoagulant factors were inhibited in both typhus patient groups. This is the first study demonstrating that, in scrub typhus, in vivo coagulation activation is prominent and is related to a strong proinflammatory response, whereas in murine typhus, changes in coagulant and fibrinolytic pathways are suggestive of endothelial cell perturbation. These data suggest that, although late-stage endothelial infection is common in both diseases, the in vivo pathogenic mechanisms of R. typhi and O. tsutsugamushi could differ in the early phase of infection and may contribute to disease differentiation.

Chantratita N, Tandhavanant S, Wikraiphat C, Trunck LA, Rholl DA, Thanwisai A, Saiprom N, Limmathurotsakul D et al. 2012. Proteomic analysis of colony morphology variants of Burkholderia pseudomallei defines a role for the arginine deiminase system in bacterial survival. J Proteomics, 75 (3), pp. 1031-1042. | Show Abstract | Read more

Colony morphology variation of Burkholderia pseudomallei is a notable feature of a proportion of primary clinical cultures from patients with melioidosis. Here, we examined the hypothesis that colony morphology switching results in phenotypic changes associated with enhanced survival under adverse conditions. We generated isogenic colony morphology types II and III from B. pseudomallei strain 153 type I, and compared their protein expression profiles using 2D gel electrophoresis. Numerous proteins were differentially expressed, the most prominent of which were flagellin, arginine deiminase (AD) and carbamate kinase (CK), which were over-expressed in isogenic types II and III compared with parental type I. AD and CK (encoded by arcA and arcC) are components of the arginine deiminase system (ADS) which facilitates acid tolerance. Reverse transcriptase PCR of arcA and arcC mRNA expression confirmed the proteomic results. Transcripts of parental type I strain 153 arcA and arcC were increased in the presence of arginine, in a low oxygen concentration and in acid. Comparison of wild type with arcA and arcC defective mutants demonstrated that the B. pseudomallei ADS was associated with survival in acid, but did not appear to play a role in intracellular survival or replication within the mouse macrophage cell line J774A.1. These data provide novel insights into proteomic alterations that occur during the complex process of morphotype switching, and lend support to the idea that this is associated with a fitness advantage in vivo.

Blacksell SD, Jarman RG, Bailey MS, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jenjaroen K, Gibbons RV, Paris DH, Premaratna R, de Silva HJ, Lalloo DG, Day NP. 2011. Evaluation of six commercial point-of-care tests for diagnosis of acute dengue infections: the need for combining NS1 antigen and IgM/IgG antibody detection to achieve acceptable levels of accuracy. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 18 (12), pp. 2095-2101. | Show Abstract | Read more

Six assays were evaluated in this study to determine their suitability for the diagnosis of acute dengue infection using samples from 259 Sri Lankan patients with acute fevers (99 confirmed dengue cases and 160 patients with other confirmed acute febrile illnesses): (i) the Merlin dengue fever IgG & IgM combo device (Merlin), (ii) the Standard Diagnostics Dengue Duo nonstructural 1 (NS1) antigen and IgG/IgM combo device (Standard Diagnostics, South Korea), (iii) the Biosynex Immunoquick dengue fever IgG and IgM (Biosynex, France) assay, (iv) the Bio-Rad NS1 antigen strip (Bio-Rad, France), (v) the Panbio Dengue Duo IgG/IgM Cassette (Inverness, Australia), and (vi) the Panbio dengue NS1 antigen strip (Inverness, Australia). The median number of days of fever prior to admission sample collection was 5 days (interquartile range, 3 to 7 days). Sensitivity and specificity of the NS1 antigen tests ranged from 49 to 59% and from 93 to 99%, respectively, and sensitivity and sensitivity of the IgM antibody test ranged from 71 to 80% and from 46 to 90%, respectively. Combining the NS1 antigen and IgM antibody results from the Standard Diagnostics Dengue Duo test gave the best compromise of sensitivity and specificity (93% and 89%, respectively) and provided the best sensitivity in patients presenting at different times after fever onset. The Merlin IgM/IgG antibody tests correctly classified 64% and 86% of the primary and secondary dengue infection cases, respectively, and the Standard Diagnostics IgM/IgG antibody tests correctly classified 71% and 83% of the primary and secondary dengue infection cases, respectively. This study provides strong evidence of the value of combining dengue antigen- and antibody-based test results in the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) format for the acute diagnosis of dengue.

Chantratita N, Rholl DA, Sim B, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Amornchai P, Thanwisai A, Chua HH et al. 2011. Antimicrobial resistance to ceftazidime involving loss of penicillin-binding protein 3 in Burkholderia pseudomallei. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (41), pp. 17165-17170. | Show Abstract | Read more

Known mechanisms of resistance to β-lactam antibiotics include β-lactamase expression, altered drug target, decreased bacterial permeability, and increased drug efflux. Here, we describe a unique mechanism of β-lactam resistance in the biothreat organism Burkholderia pseudomallei (the cause of melioidosis), associated with treatment failure during prolonged ceftazidime therapy of natural infection. Detailed comparisons of the initial ceftazidime-susceptible infecting isolate and subsequent ceftazidime-resistant variants from six patients led us to identify a common, large-scale genomic loss involving a minimum of 49 genes in all six resistant strains. Mutational analysis of wild-type B. pseudomallei demonstrated that ceftazidime resistance was due to deletion of a gene encoding a penicillin-binding protein 3 (BPSS1219) present within the region of genomic loss. The clinical ceftazidime-resistant variants failed to grow using commonly used laboratory culture media, including commercial blood cultures, rendering the variants almost undetectable in the diagnostic laboratory. Melioidosis is notoriously difficult to cure and clinical treatment failure is common in patients treated with ceftazidime, the drug of first choice across most of Southeast Asia where the majority of cases are reported. The mechanism described here represents an explanation for ceftazidime treatment failure, and may be a frequent but undetected resistance event.

Koh GC, Meijers JC, Maude RR, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T, Wiersinga WJ. 2011. Diabetes does not influence activation of coagulation, fibrinolysis or anticoagulant pathways in Gram-negative sepsis (melioidosis). Thromb Haemost, 106 (6), pp. 1139-1148. | Show Abstract | Read more

Diabetes is associated with a disturbance of the haemostatic balance and is an important risk factor for sepsis, but the influence of diabetes on the pathogenesis of sepsis remains unclear. Melioidosis ( Burkholderia pseudomallei infection) is a common cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia and northern Australia. We sought to investigate the impact of pre-existing diabetes on the coagulation and fibrinolytic systems during sepsis caused by B.pseudomallei . We recruited a cohort of 44 patients (34 with diabetes and 10 without diabetes) with culture-proven melioidosis. Diabetes was defined as a pre-admission diagnosis of diabetes or an HbA₁c>7.8% at enrolment. Thirty healthy blood donors and 52 otherwise healthy diabetes patients served as controls. Citrated plasma was collected from all subjects; additionally in melioidosis patients follow-up specimens were collected seven and ≥ 28 days after enrolment where possible. Relative to uninfected healthy controls, diabetes per se (i.e. in the absence of infection) was characterised by a procoagulant effect. Melioidosis was associated with activation of coagulation (thrombin-antithrombin complexes (TAT), prothrombin fragment F₁+₂ and fibrinogen concentrations were elevated; PT and PTT prolonged), suppression of anti-coagulation (antithrombin, protein C, total and free protein S levels were depressed) and abnormalities of fibrinolysis (D-dimer and plasmin-antiplasmin complex [PAP] were elevated). Remarkably, none of these haemostatic alterations were influenced by pre-existing diabetes. In conclusion, although diabetes is associated with multiple abnormalities of coagulation, anticoagulation and fibrinolysis, these changes are not detectable when superimposed on the background of larger abnormalities attributable to B. pseudomallei sepsis.

Sachanonta N, Chotivanich K, Chaisri U, Turner GD, Ferguson DJ, Day NP, Pongponratn E. 2011. Ultrastructural and real-time microscopic changes in P. falciparum-infected red blood cells following treatment with antimalarial drugs. Ultrastruct Pathol, 35 (5), pp. 214-225. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ultrastructural changes to P. falciparum-infected red blood cells were examined in vitro after treatment with antimalarial drugs. Artesunate had the most rapid parasitocidal effect. All three drugs caused structural changes within the parasite, including dilatation of the parasitophorus vacuole membrane, depletion of ribosomes, mitochondrial swelling, and decreased formation of hemozoin crystals. The structure of surface knobs and Maurer's clefts were similar to controls but reduced in number. Only depletion of free ribosomes correlated with antimalarial drug exposure. Drug treatment decreased movement of hemozoin granules within parasites on real-time microscopy, before recognizable morphological changes of parasite death.

Larsen RA, Bauer M, Pitisuttithum P, Sanchez A, Tansuphaswadikul S, Wuthiekanun V, Peacock SJ, Simpson AJ et al. 2011. Correlation of susceptibility of Cryptococcus neoformans to amphotericin B with clinical outcome. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (12), pp. 5624-5630. | Show Abstract | Read more

Testing of Cryptococcus neoformans for susceptibility to antifungal drugs by standard microtiter methods has not been shown to correlate with clinical outcomes. This report describes a modified quantitative broth macrodilution susceptibility method showing a correlation with both the patient's quantitative biological response in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the survival of 85 patients treated with amphotericin B (AMB). The Spearman rank correlation between the quantitative in vitro measure of susceptibility and the quantitative measure of the number of organisms in the patient's CSF was 0.37 (P < 0.01; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.20, 0.60) for the first susceptibility test replicate and 0.46 (P < 0.001; 95% CI, 0.21, 0.62) for the second susceptibility test replicate. The median in vitro estimated response (defined as the fungal burden after AMB treatment) at 1.5 mg/liter AMB for patients alive at day 14 was 5 CFU (95% CI, 3, 8), compared to 57 CFU (95% CI, 4, 832) for those who died before day 14. These exploratory results suggest that patients whose isolates show a quantitative in vitro susceptibility response below 10 CFU/ml were more likely to survive beyond day 14.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Nawtaisong P, Jenjaroen K, Teeraratkul A, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Kantipong P, Day NP. 2011. Diagnostic accuracy of a loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay for detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi during acute Scrub Typhus infection. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (9), pp. e1307. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need to develop rapid and accurate point-of-care (POC) technologies for acute scrub typhus diagnosis in low-resource, primary health care settings to guide clinical therapy. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study we present the clinical evaluation of loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay (LAMP) in the context of a prospective fever study, including 161 patients from scrub typhus-endemic Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. A robust reference comparator set comprising following 'scrub typhus infection criteria' (STIC) was used: a) positive cell culture isolate and/or b) an admission IgM titer ≥1∶12,800 using the 'gold standard' indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and/or c) a 4-fold rising IFA IgM titer and/or d) a positive result in at least two out of three PCR assays. Compared to the STIC criteria, all PCR assays (including LAMP) demonstrated high specificity ranging from 96-99%, with sensitivities varying from 40% to 56%, similar to the antibody based rapid test, which had a sensitivity of 47% and a specificity of 95%. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The diagnostic accuracy of the LAMP assay was similar to realtime and nested conventional PCR assays, but superior to the antibody-based rapid test in the early disease course. The combination of DNA- and antibody-based detection methods increased sensitivity with minimal reduction of specificity, and expanded the timeframe of adequate diagnostic coverage throughout the acute phase of scrub typhus.

Imwong M, Nakeesathit S, Day NP, White NJ. 2011. A review of mixed malaria species infections in anopheline mosquitoes. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 253. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In patients with malaria mixed species infections are common and under reported. In PCR studies conducted in Asia mixed infection rates often exceed 20%. In South-East Asia, approximately one third of patients treated for falciparum malaria experience a subsequent Plasmodium vivax infection with a time interval suggesting relapse. It is uncertain whether the two infections are acquired simultaneously or separately. To determine whether mixed species infections in humans are derived from mainly from simultaneous or separate mosquito inoculations the literature on malaria species infection in wild captured anopheline mosquitoes was reviewed. METHODS: The biomedical literature was searched for studies of malaria infection and species identification in trapped wild mosquitoes and artificially infected mosquitoes. The study location and year, collection methods, mosquito species, number of specimens, parasite stage examined (oocysts or sporozoites), and the methods of parasite detection and speciation were tabulated. The entomological results in South East Asia were compared with mixed infection rates documented in patients in clinical studies. RESULTS: In total 63 studies were identified. Individual anopheline mosquitoes were examined for different malaria species in 28 of these. There were 14 studies from Africa; four with species evaluations in individual captured mosquitoes (SEICM). One study, from Ghana, identified a single mixed infection. No mixed infections were identified in Central and South America (seven studies, two SEICM). 42 studies were conducted in Asia and Oceania (11 from Thailand; 27 SEICM). The proportion of anophelines infected with Plasmodium falciparum parasites only was 0.51% (95% CI: 0.44 to 0.57%), for P. vivax only was 0.26% (95% CI: 0.21 to 0.30%), and for mixed P. falciparum and P. vivax infections was 0.036% (95% CI: 0.016 to 0.056%). The proportion of mixed infections in mosquitoes was significantly higher than expected by chance (P < 0.001), but was one fifth of that sufficient to explain the high rates of clinical mixed infections by simultaneous inoculation. CONCLUSIONS: There are relatively few data on mixed infection rates in mosquitoes from Africa. Mixed species malaria infections may be acquired by simultaneous inoculation of sporozoites from multiply infected anopheline mosquitoes but this is relatively unusual. In South East Asia, where P. vivax infection follows P. falciparum malaria in one third of cases, the available entomological information suggests that the majority of these mixed species malaria infections are acquired from separate inoculations.

Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Saiprom N, Chantratita N, Chierakul W, Koh GC, Chaowagul W, Day NP, Limmathurotsakul D, Peacock SJ. 2011. Survey of antimicrobial resistance in clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates over two decades in Northeast Thailand. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (11), pp. 5388-5391. | Show Abstract | Read more

A 21-year survey conducted in northeast Thailand of antimicrobial resistance to parenteral antimicrobial drugs used to treat melioidosis identified 24/4,021 (0.6%) patients with one or more isolates resistant to ceftazidime (n = 8), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (n = 4), or both drugs (n = 12). Two cases were identified at admission, and the remainder were detected a median of 15 days after starting antimicrobial therapy. Resistance to carbapenem drugs was not detected. These findings support the current prescribing recommendations for melioidosis.

Blacksell SD, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jarman RG, Gibbons RV, Paris DH, Bailey MS, Day NP, Premaratna R, Lalloo DG, de Silva HJ. 2011. Poor diagnostic accuracy of commercial antibody-based assays for the diagnosis of acute Chikungunya infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 18 (10), pp. 1773-1775. | Show Abstract | Read more

A Sri Lankan fever cohort (n = 292 patients; 17.8% prevalence) was used to assess two standard diagnostic Chikungunya IgM tests. The immunochromatographic test (ICT) acute sample sensitivity (SN) was 1.9 to 3.9%, and specificity (SP) was 92.5 to 95.0%. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) gave an acute sample SN of 3.9% and an SP of 92.5% and a convalescent sample SN of 84% and an SP of 91%. These assays are not suitable for the acute diagnosis of Chikungunya virus infection.

Mok S, Imwong M, Mackinnon MJ, Sim J, Ramadoss R, Yi P, Mayxay M, Chotivanich K et al. 2011. Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum is associated with an altered temporal pattern of transcription. BMC Genomics, 12 (1), pp. 391. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in Western Cambodia. This is a major threat to global plans to control and eliminate malaria as the artemisinins are a key component of antimalarial treatment throughout the world. To identify key features associated with the delayed parasite clearance phenotype, we employed DNA microarrays to profile the physiological gene expression pattern of the resistant isolates. RESULTS: In the ring and trophozoite stages, we observed reduced expression of many basic metabolic and cellular pathways which suggests a slower growth and maturation of these parasites during the first half of the asexual intraerythrocytic developmental cycle (IDC). In the schizont stage, there is an increased expression of essentially all functionalities associated with protein metabolism which indicates the prolonged and thus increased capacity of protein synthesis during the second half of the resistant parasite IDC. This modulation of the P. falciparum intraerythrocytic transcriptome may result from differential expression of regulatory proteins such as transcription factors or chromatin remodeling associated proteins. In addition, there is a unique and uniform copy number variation pattern in the Cambodian parasites which may represent an underlying genetic background that contributes to the resistance phenotype. CONCLUSIONS: The decreased metabolic activities in the ring stages are consistent with previous suggestions of higher resilience of the early developmental stages to artemisinin. Moreover, the increased capacity of protein synthesis and protein turnover in the schizont stage may contribute to artemisinin resistance by counteracting the protein damage caused by the oxidative stress and/or protein alkylation effect of this drug. This study reports the first global transcriptional survey of artemisinin resistant parasites and provides insight to the complexities of the molecular basis of pathogens with drug resistance phenotypes in vivo.

Hanson J, Hasan MM, Royakkers AA, Alam S, Charunwatthana P, Maude RJ, Douthwaite ST, Yunus EB et al. 2011. Laboratory prediction of the requirement for renal replacement in acute falciparum malaria. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 217. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute renal failure is a common complication of severe malaria in adults, and without renal replacement therapy (RRT), it carries a poor prognosis. Even when RRT is available, delaying its initiation may increase mortality. Earlier identification of patients who will need RRT may improve outcomes. METHOD: Prospectively collected data from two intervention studies in adults with severe malaria were analysed focusing on laboratory features on presentation and their association with a later requirement for RRT. In particular, laboratory indices of acute tubular necrosis (ATN) and acute kidney injury (AKI) that are used in other settings were examined. RESULTS: Data from 163 patients were available for analysis. Whether or not the patients should have received RRT (a retrospective assessment determined by three independent reviewers) was used as the reference. Forty-three (26.4%) patients met criteria for dialysis, but only 19 (44.2%) were able to receive this intervention due to the limited availability of RRT. Patients with impaired renal function on admission (creatinine clearance < 60 ml/min) (n = 84) had their laboratory indices of ATN/AKI analysed. The plasma creatinine level had the greatest area under the ROC curve (AUC): 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.74-0.92), significantly better than the AUCs for, urinary sodium level, the urea to creatinine ratio (UCR), the fractional excretion of urea (FeUN) and the urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalcin (NGAL) level. The AUC for plasma creatinine was also greater than the AUC for blood urea nitrogen level, the fractional excretion of sodium (FeNa), the renal failure index (RFI), the urinary osmolality, the urine to plasma creatinine ratio (UPCR) and the creatinine clearance, although the difference for these variables did not reach statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: In adult patients with severe malaria and impaired renal function on admission, none of the evaluated laboratory indices was superior to the plasma creatinine level when used to predict a later requirement for renal replacement therapy.

Pumpuang A, Chantratita N, Wikraiphat C, Saiprom N, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Wuthiekanun V. 2011. Survival of Burkholderia pseudomallei in distilled water for 16 years. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 105 (10), pp. 598-600. | Show Abstract | Read more

Burkholderia pseudomallei was examined after being maintained in distilled water at 25°C for 16 years. The Gram stain was atypical (pale pink cocci or coccobacilli). The estimated number of live and dead B. pseudomallei was 3.8×10(7) cells/ml and 1.4×10(5) cells/ml, respectively. A colony count on agar of 1.0×10(6) cfu/ml suggested that a proportion of cells were in a viable but non-culturable state. Colony morphology was different from the parental isolate for 84% of colonies. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis of AvrII DNA restriction fragments revealed six different but related banding patterns, which may represent genomic rearrangement.

Maude RJ, Saralamba S, Lewis A, Sherwood D, White NJ, Day NP, Dondorp AM, White LJ. 2011. Modelling malaria elimination on the internet. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 191. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Unprecedented efforts are underway to eliminate malaria. Mathematical modelling can help to determine the optimal strategies for malaria elimination in different epidemiological settings. This is necessary as there is limited scope for expensive and time-consuming field studies and failure of planned elimination strategies is likely to discourage ongoing investment by funders. However, there has been very little modelling of malaria elimination and little direct involvement of policymakers in its development. There is thus an urgent need for user-friendly and accessible models purpose-designed in collaboration with policymakers to answer pertinent questions arising from the field. RESULTS: An internet site is presented with a simple mathematical modelling platform for population level models of malaria elimination. It is freely accessible to all and designed to be flexible so both the platform and models can be developed through interaction with users. The site is an accessible introduction to modelling for a non-mathematical audience, and lessons learned from the project will help inform future development of mathematical models and improve communication of modelling results. Currently it hosts a simple model of strategies for malaria elimination and this will be developed, and more models added, over time. The iterative process of feedback and development will result in an educational and planning tool for non-modellers to assist with malaria elimination efforts worldwide. CONCLUSIONS: By collaboration with end users, iterative development of mathematical models of malaria elimination through this internet platform will maximize its potential as an educational and public health policy planning tool. It will also assist with preliminary optimisation of local malaria elimination strategies before commitment of valuable resources.

Lubell Y, Riewpaiboon A, Dondorp AM, von Seidlein L, Mokuolu OA, Nansumba M, Gesase S, Kent A et al. 2011. Cost-effectiveness of parenteral artesunate for treating children with severe malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Bull World Health Organ, 89 (7), pp. 504-512. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To explore the cost-effectiveness of parenteral artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria in children and its potential impact on hospital budgets. METHODS: The costs of inpatient care of children with severe malaria were assessed in four of the 11 sites included in the African Quinine Artesunate Malaria Treatment trial, conducted with over 5400 children. The drugs, laboratory tests and intravenous fluids provided to 2300 patients from admission to discharge were recorded, as was the length of inpatient stay, to calculate the cost of inpatient care. The data were matched with pooled clinical outcomes and entered into a decision model to calculate the cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted and the cost per death averted. FINDINGS: The mean cost of treating severe malaria patients was similar in the two study groups: 63.5 United States dollars (US$) (95% confidence interval, CI: 61.7-65.2) in the quinine arm and US$ 66.5 (95% CI: 63.7-69.2) in the artesunate arm. Children treated with artesunate had 22.5% lower mortality than those treated with quinine and the same rate of neurological sequelae: (artesunate arm: 2.3 DALYs per patient; quinine arm: 3.0 DALYs per patient). Compared with quinine as a baseline, artesunate showed an incremental cost per DALY averted and an incremental cost per death averted of US$ 3.8 and US$ 123, respectively. CONCLUSION: Artesunate is a highly cost-effective and affordable alternative to quinine for treating children with severe malaria. The budgetary implications of adopting artesunate for routine use in hospital-based care are negligible.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Pattayaso J, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NP. 2011. Quantification of dihydroartemisinin, artesunate and artemisinin in human blood: overcoming the technical challenge of protecting the peroxide bridge. Bioanalysis, 3 (14), pp. 1613-1624. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Quantification of artemisinin (ARN) and its derivatives in whole blood has hitherto been thought impossible. RESULTS: A LC-MS/MS method for the analysis of artesunate (ARS), its metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) and artemisinin in human whole blood has been developed and successfully validated. The method includes stabilization of the blood matrix at the time of collection and at the time of analysis. Addition of potassium dichromate to the blood samples deactivated the Fe(2+) core in hemoglobin, while deferoxamine chelated Fe(3+) and prevented back conversion into Fe(2+). A pilot study showed that the blood:plasma ratio for ARS and DHA is approximately 0.75, indicating a significantly lower uptake in red blood cells than had previously been estimated using radiolabeled drug methodology. CONCLUSIONS: The developed LC-MS/MS assay is the first method available for quantification of ARN and its derivatives in blood and opens up new possibilities of studying these drugs inside infected red blood cells.

Pukrittayakamee S, Jittamala P, Stepniewska K, Lindegardh N, Chueasuwanchai S, Leowattana W, Phakdeeraj A, Permpunpanich S et al. 2011. An open-label crossover study to evaluate potential pharmacokinetic interactions between oral oseltamivir and intravenous zanamivir in healthy Thai adults. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 4050-4057. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is no parenteral formulation of the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir, the most widely used anti-influenza virus drug. Oseltamivir resistance is an increasing problem. Zanamivir is effective against the most prevalent oseltamivir-resistant influenza viruses. A parenteral formulation of zanamivir is in development for the treatment of severe influenza. It is not known if there is any pharmacokinetic interaction between the two drugs. Sixteen healthy Thai adult volunteers were studied in an open-label, four-period, randomized two-sequence crossover pharmacokinetic study in which zanamivir was given by constant-rate infusion or slow intravenous injection either alone or together with oral oseltamivir. Plasma concentration profiles of oseltamivir, the active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate, and zanamivir were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-mass spectrometry. Both drugs were well tolerated alone and in combination. The maximum plasma concentrations and the areas under the plasma concentration-time curves (AUC) of oseltamivir and oseltamivir carboxylate were not significantly different when oseltamivir was given separately or together with zanamivir. Maximum plasma concentrations of zanamivir were 10% (95% confidence interval, 7 to 12%) higher when zanamivir was infused concurrently with oral oseltamivir than with infusions before or after oral oseltamivir. The plasma zanamivir total AUC was positively correlated with the total oseltamivir carboxylate AUC (Pearson's correlation coefficient [r(P)] = 0.720, P = 0.002, n = 16) but not with the oseltamivir AUC (r(p) = 0.121, n = 16). There is no clinically significant pharmacokinetic interaction between oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuvan G, Pangmee S, Amornchai P, Teparrakkul P, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Repeat blood culture positive for B. pseudomallei indicates an increased risk of death from melioidosis. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (6), pp. 858-861. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis, a bacterial infection caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, is notoriously difficult to cure despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy and has a mortality rate of up to 40%. We demonstrate that a blood culture positive for B. pseudomallei taken at the end of the first and/or second week after hospitalization for melioidosis is a strong prognostic factor for death (adjusted odds ratio = 4.2, 95% confidence interval = 2.1-8.7, P < 0.001 and adjusted odds ratio = 2.6, 95% confidence interval = 1.1-6.0, P = 0.03, respectively). However, repeat cultures of respiratory secretions, urine, throat swabs, or pus/surface swabs provide no prognostic information. This finding highlights the need for follow-up blood cultures in patients with melioidosis.

Hendriksen IC, Mtove G, Pedro AJ, Gomes E, Silamut K, Lee SJ, Mwambuli A, Gesase S et al. 2011. Evaluation of a PfHRP2 and a pLDH-based rapid diagnostic test for the diagnosis of severe malaria in 2 populations of African children. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (9), pp. 1100-1107. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) now play an important role in the diagnosis of falciparum malaria in many countries where the disease is endemic. Although these tests have been extensively evaluated in uncomplicated falciparum malaria, reliable data on their performance for diagnosing potentially lethal severe malaria is lacking. METHODS: We compared a Plasmodium falciparum histidine-rich-protein2 (PfHRP₂)-based RDT and a Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH)-based RDT with routine microscopy of a peripheral blood slide and expert microscopy as a reference standard for the diagnosis of severe malaria in 1898 children who presented with severe febrile illness at 2 centers in Mozambique and Tanzania. RESULTS: The overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive values of the PfHRP₂-based test were 94.0%, 70.9%, 85.4%, and 86.8%, respectively, and for the pLDH-based test, the values were 88.0%, 88.3%, 93.2%, and 80.3%, respectively. At parasite counts < 1000 parasites/μL (n = 173), sensitivity of the pLDH-based test was low (45.7%), compared with that of the PfHRP₂-based test (69.9%). Both RDTs performed better than did the routine slide reading in a clinical laboratory as assessed in 1 of the centers. CONCLUSION: The evaluated PfHRP2-based RDT is an acceptable alternative to routine microscopy for diagnosing severe malaria in African children and performed better than did the evaluated pLDH-based RDT.

Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, von Seidlein L, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2011. Artesunate for severe malaria in African children Reply LANCET, 377 (9772), pp. 1154-1154.

Sonthayanon P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Thaipadungpanit J, Kalambaheti T, Boonsilp S, Amornchai P, Smythe LD, Limmathurotsakul D, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Accuracy of loop-mediated isothermal amplification for diagnosis of human leptospirosis in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (4), pp. 614-620. | Show Abstract | Read more

There is a lack of diagnostic tests for leptospirosis in technology-restricted settings. We developed loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) specific for the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (rrs) of pathogenic and intermediate group Leptospira species. The lower limit of detection was 10 genomic equivalents/reaction, and analytical specificity was high; we observed positive reactions for pathogenic/intermediate groups and negative reactions for non-pathogenic Leptospira species and other bacterial species. We evaluated this assay in Thailand by using a case-control study of 133 patients with laboratory-proven leptospirosis and 133 patients with other febrile illnesses. Using admission blood, we found that the rrs LAMP showed positive results in 58 of 133 cases (diagnostic sensitivity = 43.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 35.0-52.5) and in 22 of 133 controls (diagnostic specificity = 83.5, 95% CI = 76.0-89.3). Sensitivity was high for 39 patients who were culture positive for Leptospira spp. (84.6, 95% CI = 69.5-94.1). The rrs LAMP can provide an admission diagnosis in approximately half of patients with leptospirosis, but its clinical utility is reduced by a lower specificity.

Limmathurotsakul D, Chantratita N, Teerawattanasook N, Piriyagitpaiboon K, Thanwisai A, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Cooper B, Peacock SJ. 2011. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the diagnosis of melioidosis: better than we thought. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (8), pp. 1024-1028. | Show Abstract | Read more

We used Bayesian latent-class models to generate receiver operating characteristic curves and to revise the cutoff values for an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that has been developed previously for melioidosis. The new cutoff was unbiased towards misclassification caused by an imperfect gold standard and resulted in an increase in both sensitivity (from 66.4% to 80.2%) and specificity (82.1% and 95.0%).

Koh GC, Maude RR, Schreiber MF, Limmathurotsakul D, Wiersinga WJ, Wuthiekanun V, Lee SJ, Mahavanakul W et al. 2011. Glyburide is anti-inflammatory and associated with reduced mortality in melioidosis. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (6), pp. 717-725. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Patients with diabetes mellitus are more prone to bacterial sepsis, but there are conflicting data on whether outcomes are worse in diabetics after presentation with sepsis. Glyburide is an oral hypoglycemic agent used to treat diabetes mellitus. This K(ATP)-channel blocker and broad-spectrum ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter inhibitor has broad-ranging effects on the immune system, including inhibition of inflammasome assembly and would be predicted to influence the host response to infection. METHODS: We studied a cohort of 1160 patients with gram-negative sepsis caused by a single pathogen (Burkholderia pseudomallei), 410 (35%) of whom were known to have diabetes. We subsequently studied prospectively diabetics with B. pseudomallei infection (n = 20) to compare the gene expression profile of peripheral whole blood leukocytes in patients who were taking glyburide against those not taking any sulfonylurea. RESULTS: Survival was greater in diabetics than in nondiabetics (38% vs 45%, respectively, P = .04), but the survival benefit was confined to the patient group taking glyburide (adjusted odds ratio .47, 95% confidence interval .28-.74, P = .005). We identified differential expression of 63 immune-related genes (P = .001) in patients taking glyburide, the sum effect of which we predict to be antiinflammatory in the glyburide group. CONCLUSIONS: We present observational evidence for a glyburide-associated benefit during human melioidosis and correlate this with an anti-inflammatory effect of glyburide on the immune system.

Nantakomol D, Dondorp AM, Krudsood S, Udomsangpetch R, Pattanapanyasat K, Combes V, Grau GE, White NJ, Viriyavejakul P, Day NP, Chotivanich K. 2011. Circulating red cell-derived microparticles in human malaria. J Infect Dis, 203 (5), pp. 700-706. | Show Abstract | Read more

In patients with falciparum malaria, plasma concentrations of cell-derived microparticles correlate with disease severity. Using flow cytometry, we quantified red blood cell-derived microparticles (RMPs) in patients with malaria and identified the source and the factors associated with production. RMP concentrations were increased in patients with Plasmodium falciparum (n = 29; median, 457 RMPs/μL [range, 13-4,342 RMPs/μL]), Plasmodium vivax (n = 5; median, 409 RMPs/μL [range, 281-503/μL]), and Plasmodium malariae (n = 2; median, 163 RMPs/μL [range, 127-200 RMPs/μL]) compared with those in healthy subjects (n = 11; median, 8 RMPs/μL [range, 3-166 RMPs/μL]; P = .01). RMP concentrations were highest in patients with severe falciparum malaria (P = .01). Parasitized red cells produced >10 times more RMPs than did unparasitized cells, but the overall majority of RMPs still derived from uninfected red blood cells (URBCs). In cultures, RMP production increased as the parasites matured. Hemin and parasite products induced RMP production in URBCs, which was inhibited by N-acetylcysteine, suggesting heme-mediated oxidative stress as a pathway for the generation of RMPs.

Lubell Y, Staedke SG, Greenwood BM, Kamya MR, Molyneux M, Newton PN, Reyburn H, Snow RW et al. 2011. Likely health outcomes for untreated acute febrile illness in the tropics in decision and economic models; a Delphi survey. PLoS One, 6 (2), pp. e17439. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Modelling is widely used to inform decisions about management of malaria and acute febrile illnesses. Most models depend on estimates of the probability that untreated patients with malaria or bacterial illnesses will progress to severe disease or death. However, data on these key parameters are lacking and assumptions are frequently made based on expert opinion. Widely diverse opinions can lead to conflicting outcomes in models they inform. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A Delphi survey was conducted with malaria experts aiming to reach consensus on key parameters for public health and economic models, relating to the outcome of untreated febrile illnesses. Survey questions were stratified by malaria transmission intensity, patient age, and HIV prevalence. The impact of the variability in opinion on decision models is illustrated with a model previously used to assess the cost-effectiveness of malaria rapid diagnostic tests. Some consensus was reached around the probability that patients from higher transmission settings with untreated malaria would progress to severe disease (median 3%, inter-quartile range (IQR) 1-5%), and the probability that a non-malaria illness required antibiotics in areas of low HIV prevalence (median 20%). Children living in low transmission areas were considered to be at higher risk of progressing to severe malaria (median 30%, IQR 10-58%) than those from higher transmission areas (median 13%, IQR 7-30%). Estimates of the probability of dying from severe malaria were high in all settings (medians 60-73%). However, opinions varied widely for most parameters, and did not converge on resurveying. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the uncertainty around potential consequences of untreated malaria and bacterial illnesses. The lack of consensus on most parameters, the wide range of estimates, and the impact of variability in estimates on model outputs, demonstrate the importance of sensitivity analysis for decision models employing expert opinion. Results of such models should be interpreted cautiously. The diversity of expert opinion should be recognised when policy options are debated.

Nickerson EK, Wuthiekanun V, Kumar V, Amornchai P, Wongdeethai N, Chheng K, Chantratita N, Putchhat H, Thaipadungpanit J, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage in children in Cambodia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (2), pp. 313-317. | Show Abstract | Read more

We previously described the first reported isolation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (a case series of pediatric community-associated MRSA infections) in Cambodia. We define the rate of pediatric MRSA carriage in the same population and characterize the associated bacterial genotypes by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. A prospective cohort study of MRSA carriage conducted over one month at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia, identified MRSA carriage in 87 (3.5%) of 2,485 children who came to the outpatient department, and 6 (4.1%) of 145 inpatients, including at least two with cases of nosocomial acquisition. Genotyping of all 93 MRSA isolates resolved 5 genotypes. Most (91%) isolates were assigned to sequence type 834. Only 28 (32%) of 87 MRSA carriers identified in the outpatient department had no history of recent healthcare contact. The study findings have important implications for healthcare in a setting where diagnostic microbiology and access to antimicrobial drugs with efficacy against MRSA are limited.

Nguyen HP, Hanson J, Bethell D, Nguyen TH, Tran TH, Ly VC, Pham PL, Dinh XS et al. 2011. A retrospective analysis of the haemodynamic and metabolic effects of fluid resuscitation in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. PLoS One, 6 (10), pp. e25523. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Optimising the fluid resuscitation of patients with severe malaria is a simple and potentially cost-effective intervention. Current WHO guidelines recommend central venous pressure (CVP) guided, crystalloid based, resuscitation in adults. METHODS: Prospectively collected haemodynamic data from intervention trials in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria were analysed retrospectively to assess the responses to fluid resuscitation. RESULTS: 43 patients were studied of whom 24 received a fluid load. The fluid load resulted in an increase in cardiac index (mean increase: 0.75 L/min/m(2) (95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.41 to 1.1)), but no significant change in acid-base status post resuscitation (mean increase base deficit 0.6 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.1 to 1.3). The CVP and PAoP (pulmonary artery occlusion pressure) were highly inter-correlated (r(s) = 0.7, p<0.0001), but neither were correlated with acid-base status (arterial pH, serum bicarbonate, base deficit) or respiratory status (PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio). There was no correlation between the oxygen delivery (DO(2)) and base deficit at the 63 time-points where they were assessed simultaneously (r(s) = -0.09, p = 0.46). CONCLUSIONS: In adults with severe falciparum malaria there was no observed improvement in patient outcomes or acid-base status with fluid loading. Neither CVP nor PAoP correlated with markers of end-organ perfusion or respiratory status, suggesting these measures are poor predictors of their fluid resuscitation needs.

Nguyen HP, Hanson J, Bethell D, Nguyen TH, Tran TH, Ly VC, Pham PL, Sinh DX et al. 2011. A retrospective analysis of the haemodynamic and metabolic effects of fluid resuscitation in vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria PLoS ONE, 6 (10), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Optimising the fluid resuscitation of patients with severe malaria is a simple and potentially cost-effective intervention. Current WHO guidelines recommend central venous pressure (CVP) guided, crystalloid based, resuscitation in adults. Methods: Prospectively collected haemodynamic data from intervention trials in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria were analysed retrospectively to assess the responses to fluid resuscitation. Results: 43 patients were studied of whom 24 received a fluid load. The fluid load resulted in an increase in cardiac index (mean increase: 0.75 L/min/m2 (95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.41 to 1.1)), but no significant change in acid-base status post resuscitation (mean increase base deficit 0.6 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.1 to 1.3). The CVP and PAoP (pulmonary artery occlusion pressure) were highly inter-correlated (rs = 0.7, p&0.0001), but neither were correlated with acid-base status (arterial pH, serum bicarbonate, base deficit) or respiratory status (PaO2/FiO2 ratio). There was no correlation between the oxygen delivery (DO2) and base deficit at the 63 time-points where they were assessed simultaneously (rs=-0.09, p=0.46). Conclusions: In adults with severe falciparum malaria there was no observed improvement in patient outcomes or acid-base status with fluid loading. Neither CVP nor PAoP correlated with markers of end-organ perfusion or respiratory status, suggesting these measures are poor predictors of their fluid resuscitation needs. © 2011 Phu et al.

Annerberg A, Lwin KM, Lindegardh N, Khrutsawadchai S, Ashley E, Day NP, Singhasivanon P, Tarning J, White NJ, Nosten F. 2011. A small amount of fat does not affect piperaquine exposure in patients with malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (9), pp. 3971-3976. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is a new, highly effective, and well-tolerated combination treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria. The lipophilic characteristic of piperaquine suggests that administration together with fat will increase the oral bioavailability of the drug, and this has been reported for healthy volunteers. This pharmacokinetic study monitored 30 adult patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria for 4.5 months to evaluate the effects of the concomitant intake of fat on the total piperaquine exposure. The fixed-drug combination of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was given with water to fasting patients (n = 15) or was coadministered with 200 ml milk containing 6.4 g fat (n = 15). The drug combination was generally well tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects reported for either group during the study. Total piperaquine exposure (area under the concentration-time curve from zero to infinity [AUC(0-∞)]; results are given as medians [ranges]) were not statistically different between fed (29.5 h · μg/ml [20.6 to 58.7 h · μg/ml]) and fasting (23.9 h · μg/ml [11.9 to 72.9 h · μg/ml]) patients, but the interindividual variation was reduced in the fed group. Overall, none of the pharmacokinetic parameters differed statistically between the groups. Total piperaquine exposure correlated well with the day 7 concentrations in the fasted group, but the fed group showed a poor correlation. In conclusion, the coadministration of 6.4 g fat did not have any significant effect on piperaquine pharmacokinetics in the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.

Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, von Seidlein L, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2011. Artesunate for severe malaria in African children – Authors' reply The Lancet, 377 (9772), pp. 1154-1154. | Read more

Medana IM, Day NP, Sachanonta N, Mai NT, Dondorp AM, Pongponratn E, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GD. 2011. Coma in fatal adult human malaria is not caused by cerebral oedema. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 267. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of brain oedema in the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria is controversial. Coma associated with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is multifactorial, but associated with histological evidence of parasitized erythrocyte sequestration and resultant microvascular congestion in cerebral vessels. To determine whether these changes cause breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and resultant perivascular or parenchymal cerebral oedema, histology, immunohistochemistry and image analysis were used to define the prevalence of histological patterns of oedema and the expression of specific molecular pathways involved in water balance in the brain in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. METHODS: The brains of 20 adult Vietnamese patients who died of severe malaria were examined for evidence of disrupted vascular integrity. Immunohistochemistry and image analysis was performed on brainstem sections for activation of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 and expression of the aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channel protein. Fibrinogen immunostaining was assessed as evidence of blood-brain barrier leakage and perivascular oedema formation. Correlations were performed with clinical, biochemical and neuropathological parameters of severe malaria infection. RESULTS: The presence of oedema, plasma protein leakage and evidence of VEGF signalling were heterogeneous in fatal falciparum malaria and did not correlate with pre-mortem coma. Differences in vascular integrity were observed between brain regions with the greatest prevalence of disruption in the brainstem, compared to the cortex or midbrain. There was a statistically non-significant trend towards higher AQP4 staining in the brainstem of cases that presented with coma (P = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Histological evidence of cerebral oedema or immunohistochemical evidence of localised loss of vascular integrity did not correlate with the occurrence of pre-mortem coma in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. Enhanced expression of AQP4 water channels in the brainstem may, therefore, reflect a mix of both neuropathological or attempted neuroprotective responses to oedema formation.

Thaipadungpanit J, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Amornchai P, Boonslip S, Smythe LD, Limpaiboon R, Hoffmaster AR, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Diagnostic accuracy of real-time PCR assays targeting 16S rRNA and lipL32 genes for human leptospirosis in Thailand: a case-control study. PLoS One, 6 (1), pp. e16236. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid PCR-based tests for the diagnosis of leptospirosis can provide information that contributes towards early patient management, but these have not been adopted in Thailand. Here, we compare the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of two real-time PCR assays targeting rrs or lipL32 for the diagnosis of leptospirosis in northeast Thailand. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A case-control study of 266 patients (133 cases of leptospirosis and 133 controls) was constructed to evaluate the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity (DSe & DSp) of both PCR assays. The median duration of illness prior to admission of cases was 4 days (IQR 2-5 days; range 1-12 days). DSe and DSp were determined using positive culture and/or microscopic agglutination test (MAT) as the gold standard. The DSe was higher for the rrs assay than the lipL32 assay (56%, (95% CI 47-64%) versus 43%, (95% CI 34-52%), p<0.001). No cases were positive for the lipL32 assay alone. There was borderline evidence to suggest that the DSp of the rrs assay was lower than the lipL32 assay (90% (95% CI 83-94%) versus 93%, (95%CI 88-97%), p = 0.06). Nine controls gave positive reactions for both assays and 5 controls gave a positive reaction for the rrs assay alone. The DSe of the rrs and lipL32 assays were high in the subgroup of 39 patients who were culture positive for Leptospira spp. (95% and 87%, respectively, p = 0.25). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Early detection of Leptospira using PCR is possible for more than half of patients presenting with leptospirosis and could contribute to individual patient care.

Paris DH, Phetsouvanh R, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Jones M, Jenjaroen K, Vongsouvath M, Ferguson DPJ, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NPJ, Turner GDH. 2012. Orientia tsutsugamushi in Human Scrub Typhus Eschars Shows Tropism for Dendritic Cells and Monocytes Rather than Endothelium PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, 6 (1), pp. e1466-e1466. | Read more

Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuwan G, Pangmee S, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Perasafe, Virkon and bleach are bactericidal for Burkholderia pseudomallei, a select agent and the cause of melioidosis Journal of Hospital Infection, 77 (2), pp. 183-184. | Read more

Gardner KB, Sinha I, Bustamante LY, Day NPJ, White NJ, Woodrow CJ. 2011. Protein-based signatures of functional evolution in Plasmodium falciparum BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

Abstract. Background: It has been known for over a decade that Plasmodium falciparum proteins are enriched in non-globular domains of unknown function. The potential for these regions of protein sequence to undergo high levels of genetic drift provides a fundamental challenge to attempts to identify the molecular basis of adaptive change in malaria parasites. Results: Evolutionary comparisons were undertaken using a set of forty P. falciparum metabolic enzyme genes, both within the hominid malaria clade (P. reichenowi) and across the genus (P. chabaudi). All genes contained coding elements highly conserved across the genus, but there were also a large number of regions of weakly or non-aligning coding sequence. These displayed remarkable levels of non-synonymous fixed differences within the hominid malaria clade indicating near complete release from purifying selection (dN/dS ratio at residues non-aligning across genus: 0.64, dN/dS ratio at residues identical across genus: 0.03). Regions of low conservation also possessed high levels of hydrophilicity, a marker of non-globularity. The propensity for such regions to act as potent sources of non-synonymous genetic drift within extant P. falciparum isolates was confirmed at chromosomal regions containing genes known to mediate drug resistance in field isolates, where 150 of 153 amino acid variants were located in poorly conserved regions. In contrast, all 22 amino acid variants associated with drug resistance were restricted to highly conserved regions. Additional mutations associated with laboratory-selected drug resistance, such as those in PfATPase4 selected by spiroindolone, were similarly restricted while mutations in another calcium ATPase (PfSERCA, a gene proposed to mediate artemisinin resistance) that reach significant frequencies in field isolates were located exclusively in poorly conserved regions consistent with genetic drift. Conclusion: Coding sequences of malaria parasites contain prospectively definable domains subject to neutral or nearly neutral evolution on a scale that appears unrivalled in biology. This distinct evolutionary landscape has potential to confound analytical methods developed for other genera. Against this tide of genetic drift, polymorphisms mediating functional change stand out to such an extent that evolutionary context provides a useful signal for identifying the molecular basis of drug resistance in malaria parasites, a finding that is of relevance to both genome-wide and candidate gene studies in this genus. © 2011 Gardner et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Gardner KB, Sinha I, Bustamante LY, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ. 2011. Protein-based signatures of functional evolution in Plasmodium falciparum. BMC Evol Biol, 11 (1), pp. 257. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: It has been known for over a decade that Plasmodium falciparum proteins are enriched in non-globular domains of unknown function. The potential for these regions of protein sequence to undergo high levels of genetic drift provides a fundamental challenge to attempts to identify the molecular basis of adaptive change in malaria parasites. RESULTS: Evolutionary comparisons were undertaken using a set of forty P. falciparum metabolic enzyme genes, both within the hominid malaria clade (P. reichenowi) and across the genus (P. chabaudi). All genes contained coding elements highly conserved across the genus, but there were also a large number of regions of weakly or non-aligning coding sequence. These displayed remarkable levels of non-synonymous fixed differences within the hominid malaria clade indicating near complete release from purifying selection (dN/dS ratio at residues non-aligning across genus: 0.64, dN/dS ratio at residues identical across genus: 0.03). Regions of low conservation also possessed high levels of hydrophilicity, a marker of non-globularity. The propensity for such regions to act as potent sources of non-synonymous genetic drift within extant P. falciparum isolates was confirmed at chromosomal regions containing genes known to mediate drug resistance in field isolates, where 150 of 153 amino acid variants were located in poorly conserved regions. In contrast, all 22 amino acid variants associated with drug resistance were restricted to highly conserved regions. Additional mutations associated with laboratory-selected drug resistance, such as those in PfATPase4 selected by spiroindolone, were similarly restricted while mutations in another calcium ATPase (PfSERCA, a gene proposed to mediate artemisinin resistance) that reach significant frequencies in field isolates were located exclusively in poorly conserved regions consistent with genetic drift. CONCLUSION: Coding sequences of malaria parasites contain prospectively definable domains subject to neutral or nearly neutral evolution on a scale that appears unrivalled in biology. This distinct evolutionary landscape has potential to confound analytical methods developed for other genera. Against this tide of genetic drift, polymorphisms mediating functional change stand out to such an extent that evolutionary context provides a useful signal for identifying the molecular basis of drug resistance in malaria parasites, a finding that is of relevance to both genome-wide and candidate gene studies in this genus.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Farrar J, Hien TT, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NP. 2011. Quantification of the anti-influenza drug zanamivir in plasma using high-throughput HILIC-MS/MS. Bioanalysis, 3 (2), pp. 157-165. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: parenteral zanamivir is a promising drug for the treatment of severe influenza. However, quantification of this polar drug in biological matrices has traditionally been difficult and the methods developed have been relatively insensitive. RESULTS: a high-throughput bioanalytical method for the analysis of zanamivir in human plasma using SPE in the 96-well plate format and LC coupled to positive MS/MS has been developed and validated according to US FDA guidelines. The method uses 50 microl of plasma and covers a large working range from 1-50, 000 ng/ml with a LOD of 0.50 ng/ml. CONCLUSION: this new LC-MS/MS assay is more sensitive than previous methods despite using a small plasma volume sample. It is particularly suitable for clinical studies on both parenteral and inhaled zanamivir.

Maude RJ, Hoque G, Hasan MU, Sayeed A, Akter S, Samad R, Alam B, Yunus EB et al. 2011. Timing of enteral feeding in cerebral malaria in resource-poor settings: a randomized trial. PLoS One, 6 (11), pp. e27273. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Early start of enteral feeding is an established treatment strategy in intubated patients in intensive care since it reduces invasive bacterial infections and length of hospital stay. There is equipoise whether early enteral feeding is also beneficial in non-intubated patients with cerebral malaria in resource poor settings. We hypothesized that the risk of aspiration pneumonia might outweigh the potential benefits of earlier recovery and prevention of hypoglycaemia. METHOD AND FINDINGS: A randomized trial of early (day of admission) versus late (after 60 hours in adults or 36 hours in children) start of enteral feeding was undertaken in patients with cerebral malaria in Chittagong, Bangladesh from May 2008 to August 2009. The primary outcome measures were incidence of aspiration pneumonia, hypoglycaemia and coma recovery time. The trial was terminated after inclusion of 56 patients because of a high incidence of aspiration pneumonia in the early feeding group (9/27 (33%)), compared to the late feeding group (0/29 (0%)), p = 0.001). One patient in the late feeding group, and none in the early group, had hypoglycaemia during admission. There was no significant difference in overall mortality (9/27 (33%) vs 6/29 (21%), p = 0.370), but mortality was 5/9 (56%) in patients with aspiration pneumonia. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, early start of enteral feeding is detrimental in non-intubated patients with cerebral malaria in many resource-poor settings. Evidence gathered in resource rich settings is not necessarily transferable to resource-poor settings. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN57488577.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Rautanen A, Walley A, Segal S, Moore CE, Davies RJ et al. 2010. Common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to pneumococcal disease: a genetic association study. Crit Care, 14 (6), pp. R227. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Streptococcus pneumoniae remains a major global health problem and a leading cause of death in children worldwide. The factors that influence development of pneumococcal sepsis remain poorly understood, although increasing evidence points towards a role for genetic variation in the host's immune response. Recent insights from the study of animal models, rare human primary immunodeficiency states, and population-based genetic epidemiology have focused attention on the role of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB in pneumococcal disease pathogenesis. The possible role of genetic variation in the atypical NF-κB inhibitor IκB-R, encoded by NFKBIL2, in susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease has not, to our knowledge, previously been reported upon. METHODS: An association study was performed examining the frequencies of nine common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms in two invasive pneumococcal disease case-control groups: European individuals from hospitals in Oxfordshire, UK (275 patients and 733 controls), and African individuals from Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya (687 patients with bacteraemia, of which 173 patients had pneumococcal disease, together with 550 controls). RESULTS: Five polymorphisms significantly associated with invasive pneumococcal disease susceptibility in the European study, of which two polymorphisms also associated with disease in African individuals. Heterozygosity at these loci was associated with protection from invasive pneumococcal disease (rs760477, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 11.797, P = 0.0006, odds ratio = 0.67, 95% confidence interval = 0.53 to 0.84; rs4925858, Mantel-Haenszel 2 × 2 χ(2) = 9.104, P = 0.003, odds ratio = 0.70, 95% confidence interval = 0.55 to 0.88). Linkage disequilibrium was more extensive in European individuals than in Kenyans. CONCLUSIONS: Common NFKBIL2 polymorphisms are associated with susceptibility to invasive pneumococcal disease in European and African populations. These findings further highlight the importance of control of NF-κB in host defence against pneumococcal disease.

Saralamba S, Pan-Ngum W, Maude RJ, Lee SJ, Tarning J, Lindegårdh N, Chotivanich K, Nosten F et al. 2011. Intrahost modeling of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 108 (1), pp. 397-402. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has emerged in western Cambodia. Resistance is characterized by prolonged in vivo parasite clearance times (PCTs) following artesunate treatment. The biological basis is unclear. The hypothesis that delayed parasite clearance results from a stage-specific reduction in artemisinin sensitivity of the circulating young asexual parasite ring stages was examined. A mathematical model was developed, describing the intrahost parasite stage-specific pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic relationships. Model parameters were estimated using detailed pharmacokinetic and parasite clearance data from 39 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria treated with artesunate from Pailin (western Cambodia) where artemisinin resistance was evident and 40 patients from Wang Pha (northwestern Thailand) where efficacy was preserved. The mathematical model reproduced the observed parasite clearance for each patient with an accurate goodness of fit (rmsd: 0.03-0.67 in log(10) scale). The parameter sets that provided the best fits with the observed in vivo data consist of a highly conserved concentration-effect relationship for the trophozoite and schizont parasite stages, but a variable relationship for the ring stages. The model-derived assessment suggests that the efficacy of artesunate on ring stage parasites is reduced significantly in Pailin. This result supports the hypothesis that artemisinin resistance mainly reflects reduced ring-stage susceptibility and predicts that doubling the frequency of dosing will accelerate clearance of artemisinin-resistant parasites.

McGready R, Wuthiekanun V, Ashley EA, Tan SO, Pimanpanarak M, Viladpai-Nguen SJ, Jesadapanpong W, Blacksell SD et al. 2010. Diagnostic and treatment difficulties of pyelonephritis in pregnancy in resource-limited settings. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 83 (6), pp. 1322-1329. | Show Abstract | Read more

Limited microbiology services impede adequate diagnosis and treatment of common infections such as pyelonephritis in resource-limited settings. Febrile pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at Shoklo Malaria Research Unit were offered urine dipstick, sediment microscopy, urine culture, and a 5-mL blood culture. The incidence of pyelonephritis was 11/1,000 deliveries (N = 53 in 4,819 pregnancies) between January 7, 2004 and May 17, 2006. Pyelonephritis accounted for 20.2% (41/203) of fever cases in pregnancy. Escherichia coli was the most commonly isolated pathogen: 87.5% (28/32) of organisms cultured. Susceptibility of E. coli to ampicillin (14%), cotrimoxazole (21%), and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (48%) was very low. E. coli was susceptible to ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin. The rate of extended spectrum β-lactamase (4.2%; 95% confidence interval = 0.7-19.5) was low. The rate and causes of pyelonephritis in pregnant refugee and migrant women were comparable with those described in developed countries. Diagnostic innovation in microbiology that permits affordable access is a high priority for resource-poor settings.

Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, Hendriksen IC, Gomes E, Seni A, Chhaganlal KD, Bojang K, Olaosebikan R et al. 2010. Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): an open-label, randomised trial. Lancet, 376 (9753), pp. 1647-1657. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe malaria is a major cause of childhood death and often the main reason for paediatric hospital admission in sub-Saharan Africa. Quinine is still the established treatment of choice, although evidence from Asia suggests that artesunate is associated with a lower mortality. We compared parenteral treatment with either artesunate or quinine in African children with severe malaria. METHODS: This open-label, randomised trial was undertaken in 11 centres in nine African countries. Children (<15 years) with severe falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to parenteral artesunate or parenteral quinine. Randomisation was in blocks of 20, with study numbers corresponding to treatment allocations kept inside opaque sealed paper envelopes. The trial was open label at each site, and none of the investigators or trialists, apart from for the trial statistician, had access to the summaries of treatment allocations. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN50258054. FINDINGS: 5425 children were enrolled; 2712 were assigned to artesunate and 2713 to quinine. All patients were analysed for the primary outcome. 230 (8·5%) patients assigned to artesunate treatment died compared with 297 (10·9%) assigned to quinine treatment (odds ratio [OR] stratified for study site 0·75, 95% CI 0·63-0·90; relative reduction 22·5%, 95% CI 8·1-36·9; p=0·0022). Incidence of neurological sequelae did not differ significantly between groups, but the development of coma (65/1832 [3·5%] with artesunate vs 91/1768 [5·1%] with quinine; OR 0·69 95% CI 0·49-0·95; p=0·0231), convulsions (224/2712 [8·3%] vs 273/2713 [10·1%]; OR 0·80, 0·66-0·97; p=0·0199), and deterioration of the coma score (166/2712 [6·1%] vs 208/2713 [7·7%]; OR 0·78, 0·64-0·97; p=0·0245) were all significantly less frequent in artesunate recipients than in quinine recipients. Post-treatment hypoglycaemia was also less frequent in patients assigned to artesunate than in those assigned to quinine (48/2712 [1·8%] vs 75/2713 [2·8%]; OR 0·63, 0·43-0·91; p=0·0134). Artesunate was well tolerated, with no serious drug-related adverse effects. INTERPRETATION: Artesunate substantially reduces mortality in African children with severe malaria. These data, together with a meta-analysis of all trials comparing artesunate and quinine, strongly suggest that parenteral artesunate should replace quinine as the treatment of choice for severe falciparum malaria worldwide. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust.

Izzard L, Fuller A, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Richards AL, Aukkanit N, Nguyen C, Jiang J et al. 2010. Isolation of a novel Orientia species (O. chuto sp. nov.) from a patient infected in Dubai. J Clin Microbiol, 48 (12), pp. 4404-4409. | Show Abstract | Read more

In July 2006, an Australian tourist returning from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), developed acute scrub typhus. Her signs and symptoms included fever, myalgia, headache, rash, and eschar. Orientia tsutsugamushi serology demonstrated a 4-fold rise in antibody titers in paired serum collections (1:512 to 1:8,192), with the sera reacting strongest against the Gilliam strain antigen. An Orientia species was isolated by the in vitro culture of the patient's acute blood taken prior to antibiotic treatment. The gene sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene (rrs), partial 56-kDa gene, and the full open reading frame 47-kDa gene was performed, and comparisons of this new Orientia sp. isolate to previously characterized strains demonstrated significant sequence diversity. The closest homology to the rrs sequence of the new Orientia sp. isolate was with three strains of O. tsutsugamushi (Ikeda, Kato, and Karp), with a nucleotide sequence similarity of 98.5%. The closest homology to the 47-kDa gene sequence was with O. tsutsugamushi strain Gilliam, with a nucleotide similarity of 82.3%, while the closest homology to the 56-kDa gene sequence was with O. tsutsugamushi strain TA686, with a nucleotide similarity of 53.1%. The molecular divergence and geographically unique origin lead us to believe that this organism should be considered a novel species. Therefore, we have proposed the name "Orientia chuto," and the prototype strain of this species is strain Dubai, named after the location in which the patient was infected.

Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuwan G, Pangmee S, Teerawattanasook N, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2011. Perasafe, Virkon and bleach are bactericidal for Burkholderia pseudomallei, a select agent and the cause of melioidosis. J Hosp Infect, 77 (2), pp. 183-184. | Read more

Limmathurotsakul D, Jamsen K, Arayawichanont A, Simpson JA, White LJ, Lee SJ, Wuthiekanun V, Chantratita N et al. 2010. Defining the true sensitivity of culture for the diagnosis of melioidosis using Bayesian latent class models. PLoS One, 5 (8), pp. e12485. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Culture remains the diagnostic gold standard for many bacterial infections, and the method against which other tests are often evaluated. Specificity of culture is 100% if the pathogenic organism is not found in healthy subjects, but the sensitivity of culture is more difficult to determine and may be low. Here, we apply Bayesian latent class models (LCMs) to data from patients with a single Gram-negative bacterial infection and define the true sensitivity of culture together with the impact of misclassification by culture on the reported accuracy of alternative diagnostic tests. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Data from published studies describing the application of five diagnostic tests (culture and four serological tests) to a patient cohort with suspected melioidosis were re-analysed using several Bayesian LCMs. Sensitivities, specificities, and positive and negative predictive values (PPVs and NPVs) were calculated. Of 320 patients with suspected melioidosis, 119 (37%) had culture confirmed melioidosis. Using the final model (Bayesian LCM with conditional dependence between serological tests), the sensitivity of culture was estimated to be 60.2%. Prediction accuracy of the final model was assessed using a classification tool to grade patients according to the likelihood of melioidosis, which indicated that an estimated disease prevalence of 61.6% was credible. Estimates of sensitivities, specificities, PPVs and NPVs of four serological tests were significantly different from previously published values in which culture was used as the gold standard. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Culture has low sensitivity and low NPV for the diagnosis of melioidosis and is an imperfect gold standard against which to evaluate alternative tests. Models should be used to support the evaluation of diagnostic tests with an imperfect gold standard. It is likely that the poor sensitivity/specificity of culture is not specific for melioidosis, but rather a generic problem for many bacterial and fungal infections.

Tanomsing N, Imwong M, Theppabutr S, Pukrittayakamee S, Day NP, White NJ, Snounou G. 2010. Accurate and sensitive detection of Plasmodium species in humans by use of the dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase linker region. J Clin Microbiol, 48 (10), pp. 3735-3737. | Show Abstract | Read more

A nested-PCR protocol based on the linker region of the Plasmodium dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase gene (dhfr-ts) was developed. This provides highly sensitive specific detection and identification of the five parasite species that infect humans.

Blacksell SD, Jenjaroen K, Phetsouvanh R, Tanganuchitcharnchai A, Phouminh P, Phongmany S, Day NP, Newton PN. 2010. Accuracy of rapid IgM-based immunochromatographic and immunoblot assays for diagnosis of acute scrub typhus and murine typhus infections in Laos. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 83 (2), pp. 365-369. | Show Abstract | Read more

We studied the diagnostic accuracy of a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for detection of IgM against scrub typhus (ST ICT) and an immunoblot test for the detection of IgM against murine typhus (MT IBT) by using admission serum samples from 1,030 febrile patients in Laos. Sensitivity and specificity for the ST ICT determined by using the diagnostic criteria of a four-fold increase in IgM against Orientia tsutsugamushi between paired samples were 23.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 15.9-33.3%) and 86.2% (95% CI = 84.1-88.6%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the ST ICT determined by using an admission IgM titer > or = 1:400 were 39.1% (95% CI = 34.1-44.2%) and 99.5% (95% CI = 98.7-99.9%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the MT IBT determined by using the criteria of a four-fold increase in IgM against Rickettsia typhi between paired serum samples were 61.2% (95% CI = 53.7-68.3%) and 86.5% (95% CI = 84.1-88.8%), respectively. Sensitivity and specificity for the MT IBT determined by using an admission IgM titer > or = 1:400 were 54.6% (95% CI = 49.1-60.0%) and 94.1% (95% CI = 92.0-95.7%), respectively. Both assays had relatively good specificity but low sensitivity and thus have limited utility for admission diagnosis.

Medana IM, Day NP, Roberts R, Sachanonta N, Turley H, Pongponratn E, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GD. 2010. Induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway in the brain of adults with fatal falciparum malaria is a non-specific response to severe disease. Histopathology, 57 (2), pp. 282-294. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS: Pathological or neuroprotective mechanisms in the brain in severe malaria may arise from microvascular obstruction with malaria-parasitized erythrocytes. This study aimed to investigate the role of hypoxia and induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway in the neuropathophysiology of severe malaria. METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on post mortem brain tissue sections from 20 cases of severe malaria and examined for the expression of transcriptional regulators of VEGF [hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1alpha), HIF-2alpha], DEC-1, VEGF, VEGF receptors 1 and 2, and the activated, phosphorylated VEGF receptor 2 (pKDR). HIFs showed limited protein expression and/or translocation to cell nuclei in severe malaria, but DEC-1, which is more stable and regulated by HIF-1alpha, was observed. There was heterogeneous expression of VEGF and its receptors in severe malaria and non-malarial disease controls. pKDR expression on vessels was greater in malaria cases than in controls but did not correlate with parasite sequestration. VEGF uptake by malaria parasites was observed. CONCLUSIONS: VEGF and its receptor expression levels in severe malaria reflect a non-specific response to severe systemic disease. Potential manipulation of events at the vasculature by the parasite requires further investigation.

van der Windt GJ, Wiersinga WJ, Wieland CW, Tjia IC, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Florquin S, van der Poll T. 2010. Osteopontin impairs host defense during established gram-negative sepsis caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis). PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (8), pp. e806-e806. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis, caused by infection with Burkholderia (B.) pseudomallei, is a severe illness that is endemic in Southeast Asia. Osteopontin (OPN) is a phosphorylated glycoprotein that is involved in several immune responses including induction of T-helper 1 cytokines and recruitment of inflammatory cells. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: OPN levels were determined in plasma from 33 melioidosis patients and 31 healthy controls, and in wild-type (WT) mice intranasally infected with B. pseudomallei. OPN function was studied in experimental murine melioidosis using WT and OPN knockout (KO) mice. Plasma OPN levels were elevated in patients with severe melioidosis, even more so in patients who went on to die. In patients who recovered plasma OPN concentrations had decreased after treatment. In experimental melioidosis in mice plasma and pulmonary OPN levels were also increased. Whereas WT and OPN KO mice were indistinguishable during the first 24 hours after infection, after 72 hours OPN KO mice demonstrated reduced bacterial numbers in their lungs, diminished pulmonary tissue injury, especially due to less necrosis, and decreased neutrophil infiltration. Moreover, OPN KO mice displayed a delayed mortality as compared to WT mice. OPN deficiency did not influence the induction of proinflammatory cytokines. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that sustained production of OPN impairs host defense during established septic melioidosis.

Sonthayanon P, Peacock SJ, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Blacksell SD, Holden MT, Bentley SD, Feil EJ, Day NP. 2010. High rates of homologous recombination in the mite endosymbiont and opportunistic human pathogen Orientia tsutsugamushi. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (7), pp. e752. | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi is an intracellular alpha-proteobacterium which resides in trombiculid mites, and is the causative agent of scrub typhus in East Asia. The genome sequence of this species has revealed an unprecedented number of repeat sequences, most notably of the genes encoding the conjugative properties of a type IV secretion system (T4SS). Although this observation is consistent with frequent intragenomic recombination, the extent of homologous recombination (gene conversion) in this species is unknown. To address this question, and to provide a protocol for the epidemiological surveillance of this important pathogen, we have developed a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme based on 7 housekeeping genes (gpsA, mdh, nrdB, nuoF, ppdK, sucD, sucB). We applied this scheme to the two published genomes, and to DNA extracted from blood taken from 84 Thai scrub typhus patients, from 20 cultured Thai patient isolates, 1 Australian patient sample, and from 3 cultured type strains. These data demonstrated that the O. tsutsugamushi population was both highly diverse [Simpson's index (95% CI) = 0.95 (0.92-0.98)], and highly recombinogenic. These results are surprising given the intracellular life-style of this species, but are broadly consistent with results obtained for Wolbachia, which is an alpha-proteobacterial reproductive parasite of arthropods. We also compared the MLST data with ompA sequence data and noted low levels of consistency and much higher discrimination by MLST. Finally, twenty-five percent of patients in this study were simultaneously infected with multiple sequence types, suggesting multiple infection caused by either multiple mite bites, or multiple strains co-existing within individual mites.

Preechapornkul P, Chotivanich K, Imwong M, Dondorp AM, Lee SJ, Day NP, White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S. 2010. Optimizing the culture of Plasmodium falciparum in hollow fiber bioreactors. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 41 (4), pp. 761-769. | Show Abstract

The hollow fiber bioreactor (HFBR) is a cell culturing system allowing continuous perfusion of medium. It was designed to grow microorganisms in a dynamically altering medium mimicking change in the in vivo intravascular and extravascular compartments. The cell compartment (extra capillary space) and medium compartment (intra capillary space) are connected through pores of semipermeable fiber membranes. These membranes allow exchange of gas and nutrients. We have adapted this system for the ex vivo culture of Plasmodiumfalciparum at high parasite densities. A Thai P. falciparum isolate (TM036) cultured in RPMI, supplemented with 0.5% Albumax II, could be maintained continuously in the system by daily changes of a small volumes of medium. Under optimized conditions the HFBR cultures attained 8% parasitemia in 40% hematocrit, thereby providing a total parasite biomass of 6.0 x 10(9) parasitized erythrocytes. The main problem encountered was clogging of micropores in the hollow fiber system by cellular debris over time. Although 'reverse flushing' partly prevented this, a larger pore size might be needed to overcome this problem. The system opens new possibilities for the study of in vitro drug sensitivity under conditions mimicking in vivo pharmacokinetics, and the selection of anti-malarial drug resistance and associated parasite biological and genomic changes.

Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, Guo H, Wong SH, Walley AJ, Vukcevic D, Rautanen A et al. 2010. CISH and susceptibility to infectious diseases. N Engl J Med, 362 (22), pp. 2092-2101. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The interleukin-2-mediated immune response is critical for host defense against infectious pathogens. Cytokine-inducible SRC homology 2 (SH2) domain protein (CISH), a suppressor of cytokine signaling, controls interleukin-2 signaling. METHODS: Using a case-control design, we tested for an association between CISH polymorphisms and susceptibility to major infectious diseases (bacteremia, tuberculosis, and severe malaria) in blood samples from 8402 persons in Gambia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malawi, and Vietnam. We had previously tested 20 other immune-related genes in one or more of these sample collections. RESULTS: We observed associations between variant alleles of multiple CISH polymorphisms and increased susceptibility to each infectious disease in each of the study populations. When all five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (at positions -639, -292, -163, +1320, and +3415 [all relative to CISH]) within the CISH-associated locus were considered together in a multiple-SNP score, we found an association between CISH genetic variants and susceptibility to bacteremia, malaria, and tuberculosis (P=3.8x10(-11) for all comparisons), with -292 accounting for most of the association signal (P=4.58x10(-7)). Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells obtained from adult subjects carrying the -292 variant, as compared with wild-type cells, showed a muted response to the stimulation of interleukin-2 production--that is, 25 to 40% less CISH expression. CONCLUSIONS: Variants of CISH are associated with susceptibility to diseases caused by diverse infectious pathogens, suggesting that negative regulators of cytokine signaling have a role in immunity against various infectious diseases. The overall risk of one of these infectious diseases was increased by at least 18% among persons carrying the variant CISH alleles.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Chantratita N, Wongsuvan G, Amornchai P, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2010. Burkholderia pseudomallei is spatially distributed in soil in northeast Thailand. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (6), pp. e694. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Melioidosis is a frequently fatal infectious disease caused by the soil dwelling Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Environmental sampling is important to identify geographical distribution of the organism and related risk of infection to humans and livestock. The aim of this study was to evaluate spatial distribution of B. pseudomallei in soil and consider the implications of this for soil sampling strategies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A fixed-interval sampling strategy was used as the basis for detection and quantitation by culture of B. pseudomallei in soil in two environmental sites (disused land covered with low-lying scrub and rice field) in northeast Thailand. Semivariogram and indicator semivariogram were used to evaluate the distribution of B. pseudomallei and its relationship with range between sampling points. B. pseudomallei was present on culture of 80/100 sampling points taken from the disused land and 28/100 sampling points from the rice field. The median B. pseudomallei cfu/gram from positive sampling points was 378 and 700 for the disused land and the rice field, respectively (p = 0.17). Spatial autocorrelation of B. pseudomallei was present, in that samples taken from areas adjacent to sampling points that were culture positive (negative) for B. pseudomallei were also likely to be culture positive (negative), and samples taken from areas adjacent to sampling points with a high (low) B. pseudomallei count were also likely to yield a high (low) count. Ranges of spatial autocorrelation in quantitative B. pseudomallei count were 11.4 meters in the disused land and 7.6 meters in the rice field. CONCLUSIONS: We discuss the implications of the uneven distribution of B. pseudomallei in soil for future environmental studies, and describe a range of established geostatistical sampling approaches that would be suitable for the study of B. pseudomallei that take account of our findings.

Pagnarith Y, Kumar V, Thaipadungpanit J, Wuthiekanun V, Amornchai P, Sin L, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2010. Emergence of pediatric melioidosis in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 82 (6), pp. 1106-1112. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe the first cases of pediatric melioidosis in Cambodia. Thirty-nine cases were diagnosed at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, between October 2005 and December 2008 after the introduction of microbiology capabilities. Median age was 7.8 years (range = 1.6-16.2 years), 15 cases were male (38%), and 4 cases had pre-existing conditions that may have pre-disposed the patient to melioidosis. Infection was localized in 27 cases (69%) and disseminated in 12 cases (31%). Eleven cases (28%) were treated as outpatients, and 28 (72%) cases were admitted. Eight children (21%) died a median of 2 days after admission; seven deaths were attributable to melioidosis, all of which occurred in children receiving suboptimal antimicrobial therapy and before bacteriological culture results were available. Our findings indicate the need for heightened awareness of melioidosis in Cambodia, and they have led us to review microbiology procedures and antimicrobial prescribing of suspected and confirmed cases.

Limmathurotsakul D, Wongratanacheewin S, Teerawattanasook N, Wongsuvan G, Chaisuksant S, Chetchotisakd P, Chaowagul W, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2010. Increasing incidence of human melioidosis in Northeast Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 82 (6), pp. 1113-1117. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is a serious community-acquired infectious disease caused by the Gram-negative environmental bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. A prospective cohort study identified 2,243 patients admitted to Sappasithiprasong Hospital in northeast Thailand with culture-confirmed melioidosis between 1997 and 2006. These data were used to calculate an average incidence rate for the province of 12.7 cases of melioidosis per 100,000 people per year. Incidence increased incrementally from 8.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.2-10.0) in 2000 to 21.3 (95% CI = 19.2-23.6) in 2006 (P < 0.001; chi(2) test for trend). Male sex, age >/= 45 years, and either known or undiagnosed diabetes were independent risk factors for melioidosis. The average mortality rate from melioidosis over the study period was 42.6%. The minimum estimated population mortality rate from melioidosis in 2006 was 8.63 per 100,000 people (95% CI = 7.33-10.11), the third most common cause of death from infectious diseases in northeast Thailand after human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and tuberculosis.

Sutherland CJ, Tanomsing N, Nolder D, Oguike M, Jennison C, Pukrittayakamee S, Dolecek C, Hien TT et al. 2010. Two nonrecombining sympatric forms of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium ovale occur globally. J Infect Dis, 201 (10), pp. 1544-1550. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in humans is caused by apicomplexan parasites belonging to 5 species of the genus Plasmodium. Infections with Plasmodium ovale are widely distributed but rarely investigated, and the resulting burden of disease is not known. Dimorphism in defined genes has led to P. ovale parasites being divided into classic and variant types. We hypothesized that these dimorphs represent distinct parasite species. METHODS: Multilocus sequence analysis of 6 genetic characters was carried out among 55 isolates from 12 African and 3 Asia-Pacific countries. RESULTS: Each genetic character displayed complete dimorphism and segregated perfectly between the 2 types. Both types were identified in samples from Ghana, Nigeria, São Tomé, Sierra Leone, and Uganda and have been described previously in Myanmar. Splitting of the 2 lineages is estimated to have occurred between 1.0 and 3.5 million years ago in hominid hosts. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that P. ovale comprises 2 nonrecombining species that are sympatric in Africa and Asia. We speculate on possible scenarios that could have led to this speciation. Furthermore, the relatively high frequency of imported cases of symptomatic P. ovale infection in the United Kingdom suggests that the morbidity caused by ovale malaria has been underestimated.

Anderson TJ, Nair S, Nkhoma S, Williams JT, Imwong M, Yi P, Socheat D, Das D et al. 2010. High heritability of malaria parasite clearance rate indicates a genetic basis for artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia. J Infect Dis, 201 (9), pp. 1326-1330. | Show Abstract | Read more

In western Cambodia, malaria parasites clear slowly from the blood after treatment with artemisinin derivatives, but it is unclear whether this results from parasite, host, or other factors specific to this population. We measured heritability of clearance rate by evaluating patients infected with identical or nonidentical parasite genotypes, using methods analogous to human twin studies. A substantial proportion (56%-58%) of the variation in clearance rate is explained by parasite genetics. This has 2 important implications: (1) selection with artemisinin derivatives will tend to drive resistance spread and (2) because heritability is high, the genes underlying parasite clearance rate may be identified by genome-wide association.

Imwong M, Dondorp AM, Nosten F, Yi P, Mungthin M, Hanchana S, Das D, Phyo AP et al. 2010. Exploring the contribution of candidate genes to artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (7), pp. 2886-2892. | Show Abstract | Read more

The reduced in vivo sensitivity of Plasmodium falciparum has recently been confirmed in western Cambodia. Identifying molecular markers for artemisinin resistance is essential for monitoring the spread of the resistant phenotype and identifying the mechanisms of resistance. Four candidate genes, including the P. falciparum mdr1 (pfmdr1) gene, the P. falciparum ATPase6 (pfATPase6) gene, the 6-kb mitochondrial genome, and ubp-1, encoding a deubiquitinating enzyme, of artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum strains from western Cambodia were examined and compared to those of sensitive strains from northwestern Thailand, where the artemisinins are still very effective. The artemisinin-resistant phenotype did not correlate with pfmdr1 amplification or mutations (full-length sequencing), mutations in pfATPase6 (full-length sequencing) or the 6-kb mitochondrial genome (full-length sequencing), or ubp-1 mutations at positions 739 and 770. The P. falciparum CRT K76T mutation was present in all isolates from both study sites. The pfmdr1 copy numbers in western Cambodia were significantly lower in parasite samples obtained in 2007 than in those obtained in 2005, coinciding with a local change in drug policy replacing artesunate-mefloquine with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia is not linked to candidate genes, as was suggested by earlier studies.

Awab GR, Pukrittayakamee S, Imwong M, Dondorp AM, Woodrow CJ, Lee SJ, Day NP, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Kaker F. 2010. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine versus chloroquine to treat vivax malaria in Afghanistan: an open randomized, non-inferiority, trial. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 105. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Afghanistan's national guidelines recommend chloroquine for the treatment of Plasmodium vivax infection, the parasite responsible for the majority of its malaria burden. Chloroquine resistance in P. vivax is emerging in Asia. Therapeutic responses across Afghanistan have not been evaluated in detail. METHODS: Between July 2007 and February 2009, an open-label, randomized controlled trial of chloroquine and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in patients aged three months and over with slide-confirmed P. vivax mono-infections was conducted. Consistent with current national guidelines, primaquine was not administered. Subjects were followed up daily during the acute phase of illness (days 0-3) and weekly until day 56. The primary endpoint was the overall cumulative parasitological failure rate at day 56 after the start of treatment, with the hypothesis being that dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was non-inferior compared to chloroquine (Delta = 5% difference in proportion of failures). RESULTS: Of 2,182 individuals with positive blood films for P. vivax, 536 were enrolled in the trial. The day 28 cure rate was 100% in both treatment groups. Parasite clearance was more rapid with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine than chloroquine. At day 56, there were more recurrent infections in the chloroquine arm (8.9%, 95% CI 6.0-13.1%) than the dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine arm (2.8%, 95% CI 1.4-5.8%), a difference in cumulative recurrence rate of 6.1% (2-sided 90%CI +2.6 to +9.7%). The log-rank test comparing the survival curves confirmed the superiority of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine over chloroquine (p = 0.003). Multivariate analysis showed that a lower initial haemoglobin concentration was also independently associated with recurrence. Both regimens were well tolerated and no serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Chloroquine remains an efficacious treatment for the treatment of vivax malaria in Afghanistan. In a setting where radical therapy cannot be administered, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine provides additional benefit in terms of post-treatment prophylaxis, reducing the incidence of recurrence from 4-8 weeks after treatment.

Phu NH, Tuan PQ, Day N, Mai NT, Chau TT, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, White NJ, Farrar J, Hien TT. 2010. Randomized controlled trial of artesunate or artemether in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Both artemether and artesunate have been shown to be superior to quinine for the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in Southeast Asian adults, although the magnitude of the superiority has been greater for artesunate than artemether. These two artemisinin derivatives had not been compared in a randomized trial. METHODS: A randomized double blind trial in 370 adults with severe falciparum malaria; 186 received intramuscular artesunate (2.4 mg/kg immediately followed by 1.2 mg/kg at 12 hours then 24 hours then daily) and 184 received intramuscular artemether (3.6 mg per kilogram immediately followed by 1.8 mg per kilogram daily) was conducted in Viet Nam. Both drugs were given for a minimum of 72 hours. RESULTS: There were 13 deaths in the artesunate group (7 percent) and 24 in the artemether group (13 percent); P = 0.052; relative risk of death in the patients given artesunate, 0.54; (95 percent confidence interval 0.28-1.02). Parasitaemia declined more rapidly in the artesunate group. Both drugs were very well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Intramuscular artesunate may be superior to intramuscular artemether for the treatment of severe malaria in adults.

Pukrittayakamee S, Imwong M, Chotivanich K, Singhasivanon P, Day NP, White NJ. 2010. A comparison of two short-course primaquine regimens for the treatment and radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 82 (4), pp. 542-547. | Show Abstract | Read more

Thai adult males (N = 85) with acute Plasmodium vivax malaria and normal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase screening were randomized to receive 30 mg or 60 mg primaquine daily for 7 days (N = 43 and 42, respectively). The regimens were well tolerated and all patients recovered fully. Median fever clearance (47 hours; range 4 to 130 hours), mean + or - SD parasite clearance times (87.7 + or - 25.3 hours), gametocyte clearance, and adverse effects were similar in the 2 groups. Two patients, 1 from each group, had a 30% reduction in hematocrit. The cumulative 28 day relapse rate (95% confidence interval) by Kaplan Meier survival analysis was 29% (16-49%) in the 30 mg group compared with 7% (2-24%) in the 60 mg group; P = 0.027. Comparison with previous data obtained at this same site suggests that the recurrences comprised approximately 17% recrudescences and 12% relapses in the 30 mg/day group compared with 3% recrudescences and 4% relapses in the 60 mg/day group. These data suggest that the dose-response relationships for primaquine's asexual stage and hypnozoitocidal activities in-vivo are different. A 1 week course of primaquine 60 mg daily is an effective treatment of vivax malaria in this region.

Dondorp AM, Yeung S, White L, Nguon C, Day NP, Socheat D, von Seidlein L. 2010. Artemisinin resistance: current status and scenarios for containment. Nat Rev Microbiol, 8 (4), pp. 272-280. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin combination therapies are the first-line treatments for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in most malaria-endemic countries. Recently, partial artemisinin-resistant P. falciparum malaria has emerged on the Cambodia-Thailand border. Exposure of the parasite population to artemisinin monotherapies in subtherapeutic doses for over 30 years, and the availability of substandard artemisinins, have probably been the main driving force in the selection of the resistant phenotype in the region. A multifaceted containment programme has recently been launched, including early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, decreasing drug pressure, optimising vector control, targeting the mobile population, strengthening management and surveillance systems, and operational research. Mathematical modelling can be a useful tool to evaluate possible strategies for containment.

Wiersinga WJ, Kager LM, Hovius JW, van der Windt GJ, de Vos AF, Meijers JC, Roelofs JJ, Dondorp A et al. 2010. Urokinase receptor is necessary for bacterial defense against pneumonia-derived septic melioidosis by facilitating phagocytosis. J Immunol, 184 (6), pp. 3079-3086. | Show Abstract | Read more

Urokinase receptor (urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor [uPAR], CD87), a GPI-anchored protein, is considered to play an important role in inflammation and fibrinolysis. The Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei is able to survive and replicate within leukocytes and causes melioidosis, an important cause of pneumonia-derived community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia. In this study, we investigated the expression and function of uPAR both in patients with septic melioidosis and in a murine model of experimental melioidosis. uPAR mRNA and surface expression was increased in patients with septic melioidosis in/on both peripheral blood monocytes and granulocytes as well as in the pulmonary compartment during experimental pneumonia-derived melioidosis in mice. uPAR-deficient mice intranasally infected with B. pseudomallei showed an enhanced growth and dissemination of B. pseudomallei when compared with wild-type mice, corresponding with increased pulmonary and hepatic inflammation. uPAR knockout mice demonstrated significantly reduced neutrophil migration toward the pulmonary compartment after inoculation with B. pseudomallei. Further in vitro experiments showed that uPAR-deficient macrophages and granulocytes display a markedly impaired phagocytosis of B. pseudomallei. Additional studies showed that uPAR deficiency did not influence hemostatic and fibrinolytic responses during severe melioidosis. These data suggest that uPAR is crucially involved in the host defense against sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei by facilitating the migration of neutrophils toward the primary site of infection and subsequently facilitating the phagocytosis of B. pseudomallei.

Choowongkomon K, Theppabutr S, Songtawee N, Day NP, White NJ, Woodrow CJ, Imwong M. 2010. Computational analysis of binding between malarial dihydrofolate reductases and anti-folates. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 65. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum readily develops resistance to the anti-folates pyrimethamine and proguanil via a characteristic set of mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (PfDHFR) gene that leads to reduced competitive drug binding at the enzyme's active site. Analogous mutations can be found in the DHFR gene in isolates of Plasmodium vivax (PvDHFR) although anti-folates have not been widely used for the treatment of this infection. Here the interactions between DHFR inhibitors and modelled structures of the DHFR enzymes of Plasmodium malariae (PmDHFR) and Plasmodium ovale (PoDHFR) are described, along with an investigation of the effect of recently reported mutations within PmDHFR. METHODS: DHFR models for PmDHFR and PoDHFR were constructed using the solved PfDHFR-TS and PvDHFR structures respectively as templates. The modelled structures were docked with three DHFR inhibitors as ligands and more detailed interactions were explored via simulation of molecular dynamics. RESULTS: Highly accurate models were obtained containing sets of residues that mediate ligand binding which are highly comparable to those mediating binding in known crystal structures. Within this set, there were differences in the relative contribution of individual residues to inhibitor binding. Modelling of PmDHFR mutant sequences revealed that PmDHFR I170M was associated with a significant reduction in binding energy to all DHFR inhibitors studied, while the other predicted resistance mutations had lesser or no effects on ligand binding. CONCLUSIONS: Binding of DHFR inhibitors to the active sites of all four Plasmodium enzymes is broadly similar, being determined by an analogous set of seven residues. PmDHFR mutations found in field isolates influenced inhibitor interactions to a varying extent. In the case of the isolated I170M mutation, the loss of interaction with pyrimethamine suggests that DHFR-inhibitor interactions in P. malariae are different to those seen for DHFRs from P. falciparum and P. vivax.

Stepniewska K, Ashley E, Lee SJ, Anstey N, Barnes KI, Binh TQ, D'Alessandro U, Day NP et al. 2010. In vivo parasitological measures of artemisinin susceptibility. J Infect Dis, 201 (4), pp. 570-579. | Show Abstract | Read more

Parasite clearance data from 18,699 patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative in areas of low (n=14,539), moderate (n=2077), and high (n=2083) levels of malaria transmission across the world were analyzed to determine the factors that affect clearance rates and identify a simple in vivo screening measure for artemisinin resistance. The main factor affecting parasite clearance time was parasite density on admission. Clearance rates were faster in high-transmission settings and with more effective partner drugs in artemisinin-based combination treatments (ACTs). The result of the malaria blood smear on day 3 (72 h) was a good predictor of subsequent treatment failure and provides a simple screening measure for artemisinin resistance. Artemisinin resistance is highly unlikely if the proportion of patients with parasite densities of <100,000 parasites/microL given the currently recommended 3-day ACT who have a positive smear result on day 3 is <3%; that is, for n patients the observed number with a positive smear result on day 3 does not exceed (n + 60)/24.

Suputtamongkol Y, Pongtavornpinyo W, Lubell Y, Suttinont C, Hoontrakul S, Phimda K, Losuwanaluk K, Suwancharoen D, Silpasakorn S, Chierakul W, Day N. 2010. Strategies for diagnosis and treatment of suspected leptospirosis: a cost-benefit analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (2), pp. e610. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Symptoms and signs of leptospirosis are non-specific. Several diagnostic tests for leptospirosis are available and in some instances are being used prior to treatment of leptospirosis-suspected patients. There is therefore a need to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the different treatment strategies in order to avoid misuse of scarce resources and ensure best possible health outcomes for patients. METHODS: The study population was adult patients, presented with uncomplicated acute febrile illness, without an obvious focus of infection or malaria or typical dengue infection. We compared the cost and effectiveness of 5 management strategies: 1) no patients tested or given antibiotic treatment; 2) all patients given empirical doxycycline treatment; patients given doxycycline when a patient is tested positive for leptospirosis using: 3) lateral flow; 4) MCAT; 5) latex test. The framework used is a cost-benefit analysis, accounting for all direct medical costs in diagnosing and treating patients suspected of leptospirosis. Outcomes are measured in length of fever after treatment which is then converted to productivity losses to capture the full economic costs. FINDINGS: Empirical doxycycline treatment was the most efficient strategy, being both the least costly alternative and the one that resulted in the shortest duration of fever. The limited sensitivity of all three diagnostic tests implied that their use to guide treatment was not cost-effective. The most influential parameter driving these results was the cost of treating patients with complications for patients who did not receive adequate treatment as a result of incorrect diagnosis or a strategy of no-antibiotic-treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should continue treating suspected cases of leptospirosis on an empirical basis. This conclusion holds true as long as policy makers are not prioritizing the reduction of use of antibiotics, in which case the use of the latex test would be the most efficient strategy.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK et al. 2010. A simple score to predict the outcome of severe malaria in adults. Clin Infect Dis, 50 (5), pp. 679-685. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: World Health Organization treatment guidelines recommend that adults with severe malaria be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). However, ICU facilities are limited in the resource-poor settings where most malaria occurs. Identification of patients at greater risk of complications may facilitate their triage and resource allocation. METHODS: With use of data from a trial conducted in Southeast Asia (n=868), a logistic regression model was built to identify independent predictors of mortality among adults with severe malaria. A scoring system based on this model was tested in the original dataset and then validated in 2 series from Bangladesh (n=188) and Vietnam (n=292). RESULTS: Acidosis (base deficit) and cerebral malaria (measured as Glasgow Coma Score) were the main independent predictors of outcome. The 5-point Coma Acidosis Malaria (CAM) score was simply derived from these 2 variables. Mortality increased steadily with increasing score. A CAM score <2 predicted survival with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 95.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93%- 97.7%). Of the 14 of 331 patients who died with a CAM score <2, 11 (79%) had renal failure and death occurred late after hospital admission (median, 108 h; range, 40-360 h). Substitution of plasma bicarbonate as the measure of acidosis only slightly reduced the prognostic value of the model. Use of respiratory rate was inferior, but a score <2 still predicted survival with a PPV of 92.2% (95% CI, 89.1%-94.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a CAM score <2 at hospital admission may be safely treated in a general ward, provided that renal function can be monitored.

Harris SR, Feil EJ, Holden MT, Quail MA, Nickerson EK, Chantratita N, Gardete S, Tavares A et al. 2010. Evolution of MRSA during hospital transmission and intercontinental spread. Science, 327 (5964), pp. 469-474. | Show Abstract | Read more

Current methods for differentiating isolates of predominant lineages of pathogenic bacteria often do not provide sufficient resolution to define precise relationships. Here, we describe a high-throughput genomics approach that provides a high-resolution view of the epidemiology and microevolution of a dominant strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This approach reveals the global geographic structure within the lineage, its intercontinental transmission through four decades, and the potential to trace person-to-person transmission within a hospital environment. The ability to interrogate and resolve bacterial populations is applicable to a range of infectious diseases, as well as microbial ecology.

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Dondorp AM, Fanello CI, Hendriksen IC, Gomes E, Seni A, Chhaganlal KD, Bojang K, Olaosebikan R et al. 2010. Artesunate versus quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in African children (AQUAMAT): An open-label, randomised trial The Lancet, 376 (9753), pp. 1647-1657. | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe malaria is a major cause of childhood death and often the main reason for paediatric hospital admission in sub-Saharan Africa. Quinine is still the established treatment of choice, although evidence from Asia suggests that artesunate is associated with a lower mortality. We compared parenteral treatment with either artesunate or quinine in African children with severe malaria. This open-label, randomised trial was undertaken in 11 centres in nine African countries. Children (<15 years) with severe falciparum malaria were randomly assigned to parenteral artesunate or parenteral quinine. Randomisation was in blocks of 20, with study numbers corresponding to treatment allocations kept inside opaque sealed paper envelopes. The trial was open label at each site, and none of the investigators or trialists, apart from for the trial statistician, had access to the summaries of treatment allocations. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN50258054. 5425 children were enrolled; 2712 were assigned to artesunate and 2713 to quinine. All patients were analysed for the primary outcome. 230 (8·5) patients assigned to artesunate treatment died compared with 297 (10·9) assigned to quinine treatment (odds ratio [OR] stratified for study site 0·75, 95 CI 0·63-0·90; relative reduction 22·5, 95 CI 8·1-36·9; p=0·0022). Incidence of neurological sequelae did not differ significantly between groups, but the development of coma (65/1832 [3·5] with artesunate vs 91/1768 [5·1] with quinine; OR 0·69 95 CI 0·49-0·95; p=0·0231), convulsions (224/2712 [8·3] vs 273/2713 [10·1]; OR 0·80, 0·66-0·97; p=0·0199), and deterioration of the coma score (166/2712 [6·1] vs 208/2713 [7·7]; OR 0·78, 0·64-0·97; p=0·0245) were all significantly less frequent in artesunate recipients than in quinine recipients. Post-treatment hypoglycaemia was also less frequent in patients assigned to artesunate than in those assigned to quinine (48/2712 [1·8] vs 75/2713 [2·8]; OR 0·63, 0·43-0·91; p=0·0134). Artesunate was well tolerated, with no serious drug-related adverse effects. Artesunate substantially reduces mortality in African children with severe malaria. These data, together with a meta-analysis of all trials comparing artesunate and quinine, strongly suggest that parenteral artesunate should replace quinine as the treatment of choice for severe falciparum malaria worldwide. The Wellcome Trust. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

McGready R, Ashley EA, Wuthiekanun V, Tan SO, Pimanpanarak M, Viladpai-Nguen SJ, Jesadapanpong W, Blacksell SD et al. 2010. Arthropod borne disease: the leading cause of fever in pregnancy on the Thai-Burmese border. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (11), pp. e888. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Fever in pregnancy is dangerous for both mother and foetus. In the 1980's malaria was the leading cause of death in pregnant women in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. Artemisinin combination therapy has significantly reduced the incidence of malaria in the population. The remaining causes of fever in pregnancy are not well documented. METHODOLOGY: Pregnant women attending antenatal care, where weekly screening for malaria is routine, were invited to have a comprehensive clinical and laboratory screen if they had fever. Women were admitted to hospital, treated and followed up weekly until delivery. A convalescent serum was collected on day 21. Delivery outcomes were recorded. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Febrile episodes (n = 438) occurred in 5.0% (409/8,117) of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics from 7-Jan-2004 to 17-May-2006. The main cause was malaria in 55.5% (227/409). A cohort of 203 (49.6% of 409) women had detailed fever investigations and follow up. Arthropod-borne (malaria, rickettsial infections, and dengue) and zoonotic disease (leptospirosis) accounted for nearly half of all febrile illnesses, 47.3% (96/203). Coinfection was observed in 3.9% (8/203) of women, mostly malaria and rickettsia. Pyelonephritis, 19.7% (40/203), was also a common cause of fever. Once malaria, pyelonephritis and acute respiratory illness are excluded by microscopy and/or clinical findings, one-third of the remaining febrile infections will be caused by rickettsia or leptospirosis. Scrub and murine typhus were associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including stillbirth and low birth weight. One woman died (no positive laboratory tests). CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Malaria remains the leading cause of fever in pregnancy on the Thai-Burmese border. Scrub and murine typhus were also important causes of fever associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. Febrile pregnant women on the Thai-Burmese border who do not have malaria, pyelonephritis or respiratory tract infection should be treated with azithromycin, effective for typhus and leptospirosis.

Lang TA, White NJ, Tran HT, Farrar JJ, Day NP, Fitzpatrick R, Angus BJ, Denis E et al. 2010. Clinical research in resource-limited settings: enhancing research capacity and working together to make trials less complicated. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (6), pp. e619. | Read more

Cheah PY, Lwin KM, Phaiphun L, Maelankiri L, Parker M, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F. 2010. Community engagement on the Thai-Burmese border: rationale, experience and lessons learnt. Int Health, 2 (2), pp. 123-129. | Show Abstract | Read more

Community engagement is increasingly promoted in developing countries, especially in international health research, but there is little published experience. The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) conducts research with refugees, migrant workers, displaced people, and day migrants on the Thai-Burmese border, and has recently facilitated the set up of the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB). Valuable lessons have been learnt from consultation with the T-CAB especially in the area of participant recruitment and the informed consent process. A lot of new research questions have emerged from consultation with the T-CAB. This paper describes our experience, lessons learnt and the unique challenges faced working with the T-CAB from its initial conception to date. We conclude that consultation with the T-CAB has made improvements in our research in particular operational and ethical aspects of our studies.

Cheah PY, Lwin KM, Phaiphun L, Maelankiri L, Parker M, Day NP, White NJ, Nosten F. 2010. Community engagement on the Thai-Burmese border: rationale, experience and lessons learnt International Health,

Takeuchi R, Lawpoolsri S, Imwong M, Kobayashi J, Kaewkungwal J, Pukrittayakamee S, Puangsa-art S, Thanyavanich N, Maneeboonyang W, Day NP, Singhasivanon P. 2010. Directly-observed therapy (DOT) for the radical 14-day primaquine treatment of Plasmodium vivax malaria on the Thai-Myanmar border. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 308. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax has a dormant hepatic stage, called the hypnozoite, which can cause relapse months after the initial attack. For 50 years, primaquine has been used as a hypnozoitocide to radically cure P. vivax infection, but major concerns remain regarding the side-effects of the drug and adherence to the 14-day regimen. This study examined the effectiveness of using the directly-observed therapy (DOT) method for the radical treatment of P. vivax malaria infection, to prevent reappearance of the parasite within the 90-day follow-up period. Other potential risk factors for the reappearance of P. vivax were also explored. METHODS: A randomized trial was conducted from May 2007 to January 2009 in a low malaria transmission area along the Thai-Myanmar border. Patients aged ≥ 3 years diagnosed with P. vivax by microscopy, were recruited. All patients were treated with the national standard regimen of chloroquine for three days followed by primaquine for 14 days. Patients were randomized to receive DOT or self-administered therapy (SAT). All patients were followed for three months to check for any reappearance of P. vivax. RESULTS: Of the 216 patients enrolled, 109 were randomized to DOT and 107 to SAT. All patients recovered without serious adverse effects. The vivax reappearance rate was significantly lower in the DOT group than the SAT group (3.4/10,000 person-days vs. 13.5/10,000 person-days, p = 0.021). Factors related to the reappearance of vivax malaria included inadequate total primaquine dosage received (< 2.75 mg/kg), duration of fever ≤ 2 days before initiation of treatment, parasite count on admission ≥ 10,000/µl, multiple P. vivax-genotype infection, and presence of P. falciparum infection during the follow-up period. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to the 14-day primaquine regimen is important for the radical cure of P. vivax malaria infection. Implementation of DOT reduces the reappearance rate of the parasite, and may subsequently decrease P. vivax transmission in the area.

Tandhavanant S, Thanwisai A, Limmathurotsakul D, Korbsrisate S, Day NP, Peacock SJ, Chantratita N. 2010. Effect of colony morphology variation of Burkholderia pseudomallei on intracellular survival and resistance to antimicrobial environments in human macrophages in vitro. BMC Microbiol, 10 (1), pp. 303. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primary diagnostic cultures from patients with melioidosis demonstrate variation in colony morphology of the causative organism, Burkholderia pseudomallei. Variable morphology is associated with changes in the expression of a range of putative virulence factors. This study investigated the effect of B. pseudomallei colony variation on survival in the human macrophage cell line U937 and under laboratory conditions simulating conditions within the macrophage milieu. Isogenic colony morphology types II and III were generated from 5 parental type I B. pseudomallei isolates using nutritional limitation. Survival of types II and III were compared with type I for all assays. RESULTS: Morphotype was associated with survival in the presence of H2O2 and antimicrobial peptide LL-37, but not with susceptibility to acid, acidified sodium nitrite, or resistance to lysozyme, lactoferrin, human neutrophil peptide-1 or human beta defensin-2. Incubation under anaerobic conditions was a strong driver for switching of type III to an alternative morphotype. Differences were noted in the survival and replication of the three types following uptake by human macrophages, but marked strain-to strain-variability was observed. Uptake of type III alone was associated with colony morphology switching. CONCLUSIONS: Morphotype is associated with phenotypes that alter the ability of B. pseudomallei to survive in adverse environmental conditions.

Chapman SJ, Vannberg FO, Khor CC, Rautanen A, Maskell NA, Davies CW, Moore CE, Day NP, Crook DW, Davies RJ, Hill AV. 2010. Mannose-binding lectin genotypes: lack of association with susceptibility to thoracic empyema. BMC Med Genet, 11 (1), pp. 5. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of the innate immune protein mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in host defence against severe respiratory infection remains controversial. Thoracic empyema is a suppurative lung infection that arises as a major complication of pneumonia and is associated with a significant mortality. Although the pathogenesis of thoracic empyema is poorly understood, genetic susceptibility loci for this condition have recently been identified. The possible role of MBL genotypic deficiency in susceptibility to thoracic empyema has not previously been reported. METHODS: To investigate this further we compared the frequencies of the six functional MBL polymorphisms in 170 European individuals with thoracic empyema and 225 healthy control individuals. RESULTS: No overall association was observed between MBL genotypic deficiency and susceptibility to thoracic empyema (2 x 2 Chi square = 0.02, P = 0.87). Furthermore, no association was seen between MBL deficiency and susceptibility to the Gram-positive or pneumococcal empyema subgroups. MBL genotypic deficiency did not associate with progression to death or requirement for surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that MBL genotypic deficiency does not associate with susceptibility to thoracic empyema in humans.

Karema C, Imwong M, Fanello CI, Stepniewska K, Uwimana A, Nakeesathit S, Dondorp A, Day NP, White NJ. 2010. Molecular correlates of high-level antifolate resistance in Rwandan children with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (1), pp. 477-483. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antifolate drugs have an important role in the treatment of malaria. Polymorphisms in the genes encoding the dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthetase enzymes cause resistance to the antifol and sulfa drugs, respectively. Rwanda has the highest levels of antimalarial drug resistance in Africa. We correlated the efficacy of chlorproguanil-dapsone plus artesunate (CPG-DDS+A) and amodiaquine plus sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (AQ+SP) in children with uncomplicated malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum parasites with pfdhfr and pfdhps mutations, which are known to confer reduced drug susceptibility, in two areas of Rwanda. In the eastern province, where the cure rates were low, over 75% of isolates had three or more pfdhfr mutations and two or three pfdhps mutations and 11% had the pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism. In the western province, where the cure rates were significantly higher (P < 0.001), the prevalence of multiple resistance mutations was lower and the pfdhfr I164L polymorphism was not found. The risk of treatment failure following the administration of AQ+SP more than doubled for each additional pfdhfr resistance mutation (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01 to 5.55; P = 0.048) and each pfdhps mutation (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.21 to 3.54; P = 0.008). The risk of failure following CPG-DDS+A treatment was 2.2 times higher (95% CI = 1.34 to 3.7) for each additional pfdhfr mutation, whereas there was no association with mutations in the pfdhps gene (P = 0.13). The pfdhfr 164-Leu polymorphism is prevalent in eastern Rwanda. Antimalarial treatments with currently available antifol-sulfa combinations are no longer effective in Rwanda because of high-level resistance.

Blacksell SD, Jenjaroen K, Phetsouvanh R, Wuthiekanun V, Day NP, Newton PN, Ching WM. 2010. Accuracy of AccessBio Immunoglobulin M and Total Antibody Rapid Immunochromatographic Assays for the Diagnosis of Acute Scrub Typhus Infection. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 17 (2), pp. 263-266. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using archived samples, we assessed the diagnostic capacity of a rapid immunochromatographic test (ICT) for the detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi IgM and total antibodies to aid with the diagnosis of acute scrub typhus infection in febrile patients in Laos. The sensitivity and the specificity of the ICT for the detection of IgM were 96.8% (121/125 samples; 95% confidence interval [CI], 92.1 to 99.1%) and 93.3% (98/105 samples; 95% CI, 86.7 to 97.3%), respectively. For the detection of total antibodies, the sensitivity was 97.6% (122/125 samples; 95% CI, 93.1 to 99.5%), but the specificity was much lower, at 71.4% (75/105 samples; 95% CI, 61.8 to 79.8%).

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Imwong M, Tanomsing N, Pukrittayakamee S, Day NPJ, White NJ, Snounou G. 2009. Spurious Amplification of a Plasmodium vivax Small-Subunit RNA Gene by Use of Primers Currently Used To Detect P. knowlesi JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY, 47 (12), pp. 4173-4175. | Show Abstract | Read more

The PCR primers commonly used to detect Plasmodium knowlesi infections in humans were found to cross-react stochastically with P. vivax genomic DNA. A nested primer set that targets one of the P. knowlesi small-subunit rRNA genes was validated for specificity and for sensitivity of detection of <10 parasite genomes. Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Imwong M, Tanomsing N, Pukrittayakamee S, Day NP, White NJ, Snounou G. 2009. Spurious amplification of a Plasmodium vivax small-subunit RNA gene by use of primers currently used to detect P. knowlesi. J Clin Microbiol, 47 (12), pp. 4173-4175. | Show Abstract | Read more

The PCR primers commonly used to detect Plasmodium knowlesi infections in humans were found to cross-react stochastically with P. vivax genomic DNA. A nested primer set that targets one of the P. knowlesi small-subunit rRNA genes was validated for specificity and for sensitivity of detection of <10 parasite genomes.

White NJ, Turner GD, Medana IM, Dondorp AM, Day NP. 2010. The murine cerebral malaria phenomenon. Trends Parasitol, 26 (1), pp. 11-15. | Show Abstract | Read more

P.berghei ANKA infection in CBA or CB57BL/6 mice is used widely as a murine 'model' of human cerebral malaria (HCM), despite markedly different histopathological features. The pathology of the murine model is characterised by marked inflammation with little or no intracerebral sequestration of parasitised erythrocytes, whereas HCM is associated with intense intracerebral sequestration, often with little inflammatory response. There are now more than ten times as many studies each year of the murine model than on HCM. Of 48 adjunctive interventions evaluated in the murine model, 44 (92%) were successful, compared with only 1 (6%) of 17 evaluated in HCM during the same period. The value of the mouse model in identifying pathological processes or therapeutic interventions in human cerebral malaria is questionable.

Cheng AC, McBryde ES, Wuthiekanun V, Chierakul W, Amornchai P, Day NP, White NJ, Peacock SJ. 2009. Dosing regimens of cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) for melioidosis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 53 (10), pp. 4193-4199. | Show Abstract | Read more

Melioidosis is an infectious disease with a propensity for relapse, despite prolonged antibiotic eradication therapy for 12 to 20 weeks. A pharmacokinetic (PK) simulation study was performed to determine the optimal dosing of cotrimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole [TMP-SMX]) used in current eradication regimens in Thailand and Australia. Data for bioavailability, protein binding, and coefficients of absorption and elimination were taken from published literature. Apparent volumes of distribution were correlated with body mass and were estimated separately for Thai and Australian populations. In vitro experiments demonstrated concentration-dependent killing. In Australia, the currently used eradication regimen (320 [TMP]/1,600 [SMX] mg every 12 h [q12h]) was predicted to achieve the PK-pharmacodynamic (PD) target (an area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h/MIC ratio of >25 for both TMP and SMX) for strains with the MIC90 of Australian strains (< or = 1/19 mg/liter). In Thailand, the former regimen of 160/800 mg q12h would not be expected to attain the target for strains with an MIC of > or = 1/19 mg/liter, but the recently implemented weight-based regimen (<40 kg [body weight], 160/800 mg q12h; 40 to 60 kg, 240/1,200 mg q12h; >60 kg, 320/1,600 mg q12h) would be expected to achieve adequate concentrations for strains with an MIC of < or = 1/19 mg/liter. The results were sensitive to the variance of the PK parameters. Prospective PK-PD studies of Asian populations are needed to optimize TMP-SMX dosing in melioidosis.

Chapman SJ, Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Rautanen A, Segal S, Moore CE, Davies RJ, Day NP et al. 2010. NFKBIZ polymorphisms and susceptibility to pneumococcal disease in European and African populations. Genes Immun, 11 (4), pp. 319-325. | Show Abstract | Read more

The proinflammatory transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) has a central role in host defence against pneumococcal disease. Both rare mutations and common polymorphisms in the NFKBIA gene encoding the NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaB-alpha, associate with susceptibility to bacterial disease, but the possible role of polymorphisms within the related IkappaB-zeta gene NFKBIZ in the development of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has not been reported previously. To investigate this further, we examined the frequencies of 22 single-nucleotide polymorphisms spanning NFKBIZ in two case-control studies, comprising UK Caucasian (n=1008) and Kenyan (n=723) individuals. Nine polymorphisms within a single UK linkage disequilibrium (LD) block and all four polymorphisms within the equivalent, shorter Kenyan LD block displayed either a significant association with IPD or a trend towards association. For each polymorphism, heterozygosity was associated with protection from IPD when compared with the combined homozygous states (for example, for rs600718, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=7.576, P=0.006, odds ratio (OR)=0.67, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) for OR: 0.51-0.88; for rs616597, Mantel-Haenszel 2 x 2 chi(2)=8.715, P=0.003, OR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.49-0.86). We conclude that multiple NFKBIZ polymorphisms associate with susceptibility to IPD in humans. The study of multiple populations may aid in fine mapping of associations within extensive regions of strong LD ('transethnic mapping').

Smythe LD, Wuthiekanun V, Chierakul W, Suputtamongkol Y, Tiengrim S, Dohnt MF, Symonds ML, Slack AT et al. 2009. The microscopic agglutination test (MAT) is an unreliable predictor of infecting Leptospira serovar in Thailand. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 81 (4), pp. 695-697. | Show Abstract | Read more

A prospective study in Thailand identified 106 patients with culture-proven leptospirosis. The accuracy of the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) in predicting the infecting serovar was evaluated in 78/106 (74%) patients with a diagnostic titer. MAT correctly determined the infecting serovar in 26 cases (33%), indicating that this assay is a poor predictor of infecting serovar in our setting.

Tarning J, McGready R, Lindegardh N, Ashley EA, Pimanpanarak M, Kamanikom B, Annerberg A, Day NP et al. 2009. Population pharmacokinetics of lumefantrine in pregnant women treated with artemether-lumefantrine for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 53 (9), pp. 3837-3846. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemether-lumefantrine has become one of the most widely used antimalarial drugs in the world. The objective of this study was to determine the population pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine in pregnant women with uncomplicated multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria on the northwestern border of Thailand. Burmese and Karen women (n = 103) with P. falciparum malaria and in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy were treated with artemether-lumefantrine (80/480 mg) twice daily for 3 days. All patients provided five capillary plasma samples for drug quantification, and the collection times were randomly distributed over 14 days. The concentration-time profiles of lumefantrine were assessed by nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. The treatment failure rate (PCR-confirmed recrudescent infections at delivery) was high; 16.5% (95% confidence interval, 9.9 to 25.1). The population pharmacokinetics of lumefantrine were described well by a two-compartment open model with first-order absorption and elimination. The final model included interindividual variability in all pharmacokinetic parameters and a linear covariate relationship between the estimated gestational age and the central volume of distribution. A high proportion of all women (40%, 41/103) had day 7 capillary plasma concentrations of <355 ng/ml (which corresponds to approximately <280 ng/ml in venous plasma), a threshold previously associated with an increased risk of therapeutic failure in nonpregnant patients in this area. Predictive modeling suggests that a twice-daily regimen given for 5 days would be preferable in later pregnancy. In conclusion, altered pharmacokinetic properties of lumefantrine contribute to the high rates of failure of artemether-lumefantrine treatment in later pregnancy. Dose optimization is urgently needed.

Chheng K, Tarquinio S, Wuthiekanun V, Sin L, Thaipadungpanit J, Amornchai P, Chanpheaktra N, Tumapa S, Putchhat H, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2009. Emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus associated with pediatric infection in Cambodia. PLoS One, 4 (8), pp. e6630. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The incidence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection is rising in the developed world but appears to be rare in developing countries. One explanation for this difference is that resource poor countries lack the diagnostic microbiology facilities necessary to detect the presence of CA-MRSA carriage and infection. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We developed diagnostic microbiology capabilities at the Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, western Cambodia in January 2006 and in the same month identified a child with severe community-acquired impetigo caused by CA-MRSA. A study was undertaken to identify and describe additional cases presenting between January 2006 and December 2007. Bacterial isolates underwent molecular characterization using multilocus sequence typing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, and PCR for the presence of the genes encoding Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL). Seventeen children were identified with CA-MRSA infection, of which 11 had skin and soft tissue infection and 6 had invasive disease. The majority of cases were unrelated in time or place. Molecular characterization identified two independent MRSA clones; fifteen isolates were sequence type (ST) 834, SCCmec type IV, PVL gene-negative, and two isolates were ST 121, SCCmec type V, PVL gene-positive. CONCLUSIONS: This represents the first ever report of MRSA in Cambodia, spread of which would pose a significant threat to public health. The finding that cases were mostly unrelated in time or place suggests that these were sporadic infections in persons who were CA-MRSA carriers or contacts of carriers, rather than arising in the context of an outbreak.

Limmathurotsakul D, Chaowagul W, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2009. Patterns of organ involvement in recurrent melioidosis. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 81 (2), pp. 335-337. | Show Abstract

Recurrent melioidosis can be caused by two different mechanisms: relapse or re-infection. We examined the pattern of organ involvement in the first and second episodes in individual patients. Evaluation of 140 patients with recurrence showed that similar patterns of disease occurred during the first and second episode, independent of whether this was caused by relapse or re-infection.

Limmathurotsakul D, Chaowagul W, Day NPJ, Peacock SJ. 2009. Short Report: Patterns of Organ Involvement in Recurrent Melioidosis AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 81 (2), pp. 335-337. | Show Abstract

Recurrent melioidosis can be caused by two different mechanisms: relapse or re-infection. We examined the pattern of organ involvement in the first and second episodes in individual patients. Evaluation of 140 patients with recurrence showed that similar patterns of disease occurred during the first and second episode, independent of whether this was caused by relapse or re-infection. Copyright © 2009 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Dondorp AM, Nosten F, Yi P, Das D, Phyo AP, Tarning J, Lwin KM, Ariey F et al. 2009. Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 361 (5), pp. 455-467. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapies are the recommended first-line treatments of falciparum malaria in all countries with endemic disease. There are recent concerns that the efficacy of such therapies has declined on the Thai-Cambodian border, historically a site of emerging antimalarial-drug resistance. METHODS: In two open-label, randomized trials, we compared the efficacies of two treatments for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Pailin, western Cambodia, and Wang Pha, northwestern Thailand: oral artesunate given at a dose of 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, for 7 days, and artesunate given at a dose of 4 mg per kilogram per day, for 3 days, followed by mefloquine at two doses totaling 25 mg per kilogram. We assessed in vitro and in vivo Plasmodium falciparum susceptibility, artesunate pharmacokinetics, and molecular markers of resistance. RESULTS: We studied 40 patients in each of the two locations. The overall median parasite clearance times were 84 hours (interquartile range, 60 to 96) in Pailin and 48 hours (interquartile range, 36 to 66) in Wang Pha (P<0.001). Recrudescence confirmed by means of polymerase-chain-reaction assay occurred in 6 of 20 patients (30%) receiving artesunate monotherapy and 1 of 20 (5%) receiving artesunate-mefloquine therapy in Pailin, as compared with 2 of 20 (10%) and 1 of 20 (5%), respectively, in Wang Pha (P=0.31). These markedly different parasitologic responses were not explained by differences in age, artesunate or dihydroartemisinin pharmacokinetics, results of isotopic in vitro sensitivity tests, or putative molecular correlates of P. falciparum drug resistance (mutations or amplifications of the gene encoding a multidrug resistance protein [PfMDR1] or mutations in the gene encoding sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase6 [PfSERCA]). Adverse events were mild and did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: P. falciparum has reduced in vivo susceptibility to artesunate in western Cambodia as compared with northwestern Thailand. Resistance is characterized by slow parasite clearance in vivo without corresponding reductions on conventional in vitro susceptibility testing. Containment measures are urgently needed. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00493363, and Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN64835265.)

Maude RJ, Dondorp AM, Abu Sayeed A, Day NP, White NJ, Beare NA. 2009. The eye in cerebral malaria: what can it teach us? Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 103 (7), pp. 661-664. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathophysiology of coma in cerebral malaria (CM) is not well understood. Obstruction of microcirculatory flow is thought to play a central role, but other hypotheses include roles for parasite- and host-derived factors such as immune mediators, and for increased blood-brain barrier permeability leading to raised intracranial pressure. The retinal vasculature is a direct extension of the cerebral vasculature. It is the only vascular bed easily accessible for visualisation and provides a unique opportunity to observe vascular pathology and its effect on neurological tissue. A specific retinopathy has been well described in African children with CM and its severity correlates with outcome. This retinopathy has been less well described in adults. The central mechanism causing malarial retinopathy appears to be microvascular obstruction, which has been demonstrated in affected retinas by fluorescein angiography. The presence in a central nervous system tissue of microvascular obstruction strongly supports the hypothesis that the sequestration of erythrocytes in small blood vessels and consequent obstruction of microcirculatory flow is an important mechanism causing coma and death in CM. Despite advances in the antimalarial treatment of severe malaria, its mortality remains approximately 15-20%. Adjunctive treatment targeting sequestration is a promising strategy to further lower mortality.

Maude RJ, Beare NA, Abu Sayeed A, Chang CC, Charunwatthana P, Faiz MA, Hossain A, Yunus EB et al. 2009. The spectrum of retinopathy in adults with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 103 (7), pp. 665-671. | Show Abstract | Read more

A specific retinopathy has been described in African children with cerebral malaria, but in adults this has not been extensively studied. Since the structure and function of the retinal vasculature greatly resembles the cerebral vasculature, study of retinal changes can reveal insights into the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria. A detailed observational study of malarial retinopathy in Bangladeshi adults was performed using high-definition portable retinal photography. Retinopathy was present in 17/27 adults (63%) with severe malaria and 14/20 adults (70%) with cerebral malaria. Moderate or severe retinopathy was more frequent in cerebral malaria (11/20, 55%) than in uncomplicated malaria (3/15, 20%; P=0.039), bacterial sepsis (0/5, 0%; P=0.038) or healthy controls (0/18, 0%; P<0.001). The spectrum of malarial retinopathy was similar to that previously described in African children, but no vessel discolouration was observed. The severity of retinal whitening correlated with admission venous plasma lactate (P=0.046), suggesting that retinal ischaemia represents systemic ischaemia. In conclusion, retinal changes related to microvascular obstruction were common in adults with severe falciparum malaria and correlated with disease severity and coma, suggesting that a compromised microcirculation has important pathophysiological significance in severe and cerebral malaria. Portable retinal photography has potential as a valuable tool to study malarial retinopathy.

McGready R, Blacksell SD, Luksameetanasan R, Wuthiekanun V, Jedsadapanpong W, Day NP, Nosten F. 2010. First report of an Orientia tsutsugamushi type TA716-related scrub typhus infection in Thailand. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis, 10 (2), pp. 191-193. | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi causes scrub typhus and is a rural zoonosis endemic in the Asia Pacific region. This is the first report of O. tsutsugamushi TA716-like strain in a human in Thailand. The patient was in the 1st trimester of pregnancy when she developed scrub typhus. The O. tsutsugamushi strain TA716 was detected from her admission blood sample, and the pregnancy ended in spontaneous abortion. The effects of scrub typhus in pregnant women and the pregnancy outcome are sparsely documented in the published medical literature. Improved clinical recognition and laboratory diagnosis will be essential to better define the morbidity caused by this zoonosis especially in pregnancy.

Maude RJ, Pontavornpinyo W, Saralamba S, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, White LJ. 2009. The role of mathematical modelling in malaria elimination and eradication (Comment on: Can malaria be eliminated?). Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 103 (6), pp. 643-644. | Read more

Paris DH, Aukkanit N, Jenjaroen K, Blacksell SD, Day NP. 2009. A highly sensitive quantitative real-time PCR assay based on the groEL gene of contemporary Thai strains of Orientia tsutsugamushi. Clin Microbiol Infect, 15 (5), pp. 488-495. | Show Abstract | Read more

Partial nucleotide sequences (459 bp) of the groEL gene (encoding the 60-kDa heat shock protein, HSP60) from 23 contemporary isolates of Orientia tsutsugamushi isolated from patients with acute scrub typhus in Thailand were compared with 16 reference strain sequences to evaluate the potential of groEL as a conserved and representative target for molecular diagnostics.. Overall nucleotide identity within all available O. tsutsugamushi isolates (n = 39) was 98.8% (range: 95.0-100), reflecting a high degree of conservation; nucleotide identities were 67.5% and 65.6%, respectively, when typhus and spotted fever group rickettsiae were included.. A highly sensitive and quantitative real-time PCR assay was designed and evaluated using 61 samples, including buffy coats from patients in Thailand and Laos. Reliable and accurate quantitation of bacterial loads allows further investigation of other diagnostic methods and may lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of acute scrub typhus, an important but under-recognized disease.

Phetsouvanh R, Blacksell SD, Jenjaroen K, Day NP, Newton PN. 2009. Comparison of indirect immunofluorescence assays for diagnosis of scrub typhus and murine typhus using venous blood and finger prick filter paper blood spots. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 80 (5), pp. 837-840. | Show Abstract

We performed indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFAs) to compare levels of IgM and IgG antibodies to Orientia tsutsugamushi and Rickettsia typhi in admission-phase serum samples and filter paper blood spots (assayed immediately and stored at 5.4 degrees C and 29 degrees C for 30 days) collected on the same day from 53 adults with suspected scrub typhus and murine typhus admitted to Mahosot Hospital Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. The sensitivities and specificities of admission-phase filter paper blood spots in comparison to paired sera were between 91% and 95% and 87% and 100%, respectively, for the diagnosis of scrub typhus and murine typhus. The classification of patients as having or not having typhus did not significantly differ after storage of the blood spots for 30 days (P > 0.4) at 5.4 degrees C and 29 degrees C. Because filter paper blood samples do not require sophisticated and expensive storage and transport, they may be an appropriate specimen collection technique for the diagnosis of rickettsial disease in the rural tropics.

Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Toi PV, Hien TT, Farrar J, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Ashton M, Day NP. 2009. Quantification of artemisinin in human plasma using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. J Pharm Biomed Anal, 49 (3), pp. 768-773. | Show Abstract | Read more

A liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectroscopy method for the quantification of artemisinin in human heparinised plasma has been developed and validated. The method uses Oasis HLB mu-elution solid phase extraction 96-well plates to facilitate a high throughput of 192 samples a day. Artesunate (internal standard) in a plasma-water solution was added to plasma (50 microL) before solid phase extraction. Artemisinin and its internal standard artesunate were analysed by liquid chromatography and MS/MS detection on a Hypersil Gold C18 (100 mm x 2.1 mm, 5 microm) column using a mobile phase containing acetonitrile-ammonium acetate 10mM pH 3.5 (50:50, v/v) at a flow rate of 0.5 mL/min. The method has been validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day, between-day and total precisions expressed as R.S.D., were lower than 8% at all tested quality control levels including the upper and lower limit of quantification. The limit of detection was 0.257 ng/mL for artemisinin and the calibration range was 1.03-762 ng/mL using 50 microL plasma. The method was free from matrix effects as demonstrated both graphically and quantitatively.

Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NP, Lindegardh N. 2009. A liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric method for determination of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma. Bioanalysis, 1 (1), pp. 37-46. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemether-lumefantrine is the most widely recommended artemisinin-based combination treatment for falciparum malaria. Quantification of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in biological matrices has traditionally been difficult, with sensitivity being an issue. RESULTS: A high-throughput bioanalytical method for the analysis of artemether and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma using solid-phase extraction in the 96-well plate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive ion mode tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated according to US FDA guidelines. The method uses 50 µl plasma and covers the calibration range 1.43-500 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.36 ng/ml. CONCLUSIONS: The developed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry assay is more sensitive than all previous methods despite using a lower plasma volume (50 µl) and is highly suitable for clinical studies where plasma volumes are limited, such as pediatric trials.

Preechapornkul P, Imwong M, Chotivanich K, Pongtavornpinyo W, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S. 2009. Plasmodium falciparum pfmdr1 amplification, mefloquine resistance, and parasite fitness. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 53 (4), pp. 1509-1515. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mefloquine is widely used in combination with artemisinin derivatives for the treatment of falciparum malaria. Mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has been related to increased copy numbers of multidrug-resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1). We studied the ex vivo dynamics of pfmdr1 gene amplification in culture-adapted P. falciparum in relation to mefloquine resistance and parasite fitness. A Thai P. falciparum isolate (isolate TM036) was assessed by the use of multiple genetic markers as a single genotype. Resistance was selected by exposure to stepwise increasing concentrations of mefloquine up to 30 ng/ml in continuous culture. The pfmdr1 gene copy numbers increased as susceptibility to mefloquine declined (P = 0.03). No codon mutations at positions 86, 184, 1034, 1042, and 1246 in the pfmdr1 gene were detected. Two subclones of selected parasites (average copy numbers, 2.3 and 3.1, respectively) showed a fitness disadvantage when they were grown together with the original parasites containing a single pfmdr1 gene copy in the absence of mefloquine; the multiplication rates were 6.3% and 8.7% lower, respectively (P < 0.01). Modeling of the dynamics of the pfmdr1 copy numbers over time in relation to the relative fitness of the parasites suggested that net pfmdr1 gene amplification from one to two copies occurs once in every 10(8) parasites and that amplification from two to three copies occurs once in every 10(3) parasites. pfmdr1 gene amplification in P. falciparum is a frequent event and confers mefloquine resistance. Parasites with multiple copies of the pfmdr1 gene have decreased survival fitness in the absence of drug pressure.

Newton PN, Lee SJ, Goodman C, Fernández FM, Yeung S, Phanouvong S, Kaur H, Amin AA et al. 2009. Guidelines for field surveys of the quality of medicines: a proposal. PLoS Med, 6 (3), pp. e52. | Read more

Lubell Y, Yeung S, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Nosten F, Tjitra E, Abul Faiz M, Yunus EB et al. 2009. Cost-effectiveness of artesunate for the treatment of severe malaria. Trop Med Int Health, 14 (3), pp. 332-337. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To explore the cost-effectiveness of artesunate against quinine based principally on the findings of a large multi-centre trial carried out in Southeast Asia. METHODS: Trial data were used to compare mortality of patients with severe malaria, treated with either artesunate or quinine. This was combined with retrospectively collected cost data to estimate the incremental cost per death averted with the use of artesunate instead of quinine. RESULTS: The incremental cost per death averted using artesunate was approximately 140 USD. Artesunate maintained this high level of cost-effectiveness also when allowing for the uncertainty surrounding the cost and effectiveness assessments. CONCLUSION: This analysis confirms the vast superiority of artesunate for treatment of severe malaria from an economic as well as a clinical perspective.

Wattanagoon Y, Stepniewska K, Lindegårdh N, Pukrittayakamee S, Silachamroon U, Piyaphanee W, Singtoroj T, Hanpithakpong W et al. 2009. Pharmacokinetics of high-dose oseltamivir in healthy volunteers. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 53 (3), pp. 945-952. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effects of loading doses and probenecid coadministration on oseltamivir pharmacokinetics at four increasing dose levels in groups of eight healthy adult Thai volunteers (125 individual series) were evaluated. Doses of up to 675 mg were well-tolerated. The pharmacokinetics were dose linear. Oseltamivir phosphate (OS) was rapidly and completely absorbed and converted (median conversion level, 93%) to the active carboxylate metabolite. Median elimination half-lives (and 95% confidence intervals [CI]) were 1.0 h (0.9 to 1.1 h) for OS and 5.1 h (4.7 to 5.7 h) for oseltamivir carboxylate (OC). One subject repeatedly showed markedly reduced OS-to-OC conversion, indicating constitutionally impaired carboxylesterase activity. The coadministration of probenecid resulted in a mean contraction in the apparent volume of distribution of OC of 40% (95% CI, 37 to 44%) and a reduction in the renal elimination of OC of 61% (95% CI, 58 to 62%), thereby increasing the median area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for OC by 154% (range, 71 to 278%). The AUC increase for OC in saliva was approximately three times less than the AUC increase for OC in plasma. A loading dose 1.25 times the maintenance dose should be given for severe influenza pneumonia. Probenecid coadministration may allow considerable dose saving for oseltamivir, but more information on OC penetration into respiratory secretions is needed to devise appropriate dose regimens.

Sonthayanon P, Chierakul W, Wuthiekanun V, Phimda K, Pukrittayakamee S, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2009. Association of high Orientia tsutsugamushi DNA loads with disease of greater severity in adults with scrub typhus. J Clin Microbiol, 47 (2), pp. 430-434. | Show Abstract | Read more

Orientia tsutsugamushi, the cause of scrub typhus, is a major pathogen in the Asia-Pacific region. The severity of infection ranges from mild features to multiorgan failure and death. The aim of this prospective study was to define the O. tsutsugamushi loads in the blood samples of patients with scrub typhus on the day of hospital admission and to determine whether this was associated with disease severity. Quantitation was performed using a real-time PCR assay targeting the 16S rRNA gene of O. tsutsugamushi. A total of 155 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of scrub typhus had a median (interquartile range [IQR], range) O. tsutsugamushi DNA load in blood of 13 (0 to 334, 0 to 310,253) copies/ml. This included 74 patients who had undetectable bacterial loads. An analysis of bacterial load versus clinical features for all 155 patents demonstrated that duration of illness (P < 0.001), presence of eschar (P = 0.004), and concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and alkaline phosphatase (P < 0.001 for all three) were positively correlated with bacterial load. Patients who died had a significantly higher bacterial load than those who survived (mean [standard deviation] values: 17,154 [12.7] versus 281 [5.2] copies/ml; P < 0.001). This study has demonstrated a relationship between bacterial load and disease severity in adults with scrub typhus.

Wiersinga WJ, van't Veer C, van den Pangaart PS, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Peacock SJ, van der Poll T. 2009. Immunosuppression associated with interleukin-1R-associated-kinase-M upregulation predicts mortality in Gram-negative sepsis (melioidosis). Crit Care Med, 37 (2), pp. 569-576. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Sepsis is associated with immunosuppression (characterized by a reduced capacity of circulating monocytes to release proinflammatory cytokines), which has been implicated in late mortality. Melioidosis, caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei, is an important cause of community-acquired sepsis in Southeast Asia with a mortality of up to 40%. Previous in vitro and murine studies have suggested a key role for the so-called negative regulators of the toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway in immunosuppression. In this study, we investigated the expression of these negative TLR regulators in patients with septic melioidosis in association with the responsiveness of peripheral blood leukocytes of these patients to lipopolysaccharide and B. pseudomallei. DESIGN: Ex vivo study. SETTING: Academic research laboratory. PATIENTS: Thirty-two healthy controls and 34 patients with sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS: 1) Plasma cytokine levels; 2) ex vivo cytokine production capacity of whole blood; and 3) purified mononuclear cell-derived messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of key inhibitory molecules of the TLR-signaling cascade were investigated. MAIN RESULTS: In accordance with an immunosuppressed state, whole blood of patients demonstrated a strongly decreased capacity to release the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-[alpha], interleukin-1[beta], and the chemokine interleukin-8 after ex vivo stimulation with lipopolysaccharide or B. pseudomallei. Analysis of myeloid-differentiation-88-short, interleukin-1R-associated-kinase (IRAK)-M, IRAK-1, suppressor-of-cytokine signaling-3, Src-homology-2-domain-containing inositol-5-phosphatase-1, single-immunoglobulin-interleukin-1R-related-molecule, and A20 mRNA expression in purified mononuclear cells showed decreased IRAK-1 and elevated IRAK-M expression in patients with septic melioidosis. Immunosuppression was correlated with mortality; furthermore, patients who eventually died had higher IRAK-M mRNA levels on admission than the patients who survived. CONCLUSIONS: Immunosuppression in sepsis caused by B. pseudomallei is associated with an upregulation of IRAK-M and an indicator of poor outcome.

Charunwatthana P, Abul Faiz M, Ruangveerayut R, Maude RJ, Rahman MR, Roberts LJ, Moore K, Bin Yunus E et al. 2009. N-acetylcysteine as adjunctive treatment in severe malaria: a randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Crit Care Med, 37 (2), pp. 516-522. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Markers of oxidative stress are reported to be increased in severe malaria. It has been suggested that the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) may be beneficial in treatment. We studied the efficacy and safety of parenteral NAC as an adjunct to artesunate treatment of severe falciparum malaria. DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on the use of high-dose intravenous NAC as adjunctive treatment to artesunate. SETTING: A provincial hospital in Western Thailand and a tertiary referral hospital in Chittagong, Bangladesh. PATIENTS: One hundred eight adult patients with severe falciparum malaria. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomized to receive NAC or placebo as an adjunctive treatment to intravenous artesunate. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 56 patients were treated with NAC and 52 received placebo. NAC had no significant effect on mortality, lactate clearance times (p = 0.74), or coma recovery times (p = 0.46). Parasite clearance time was increased from 30 hours (range, 6-144 hours) to 36 hours (range, 6-120 hours) (p = 0.03), but this could be explained by differences in admission parasitemia. Urinary F2-isoprostane metabolites, measured as a marker of oxidative stress, were increased in severe malaria compared with patients with uncomplicated malaria and healthy volunteers. Admission red cell rigidity correlated with mortality, but did not improve with NAC. CONCLUSION: Systemic oxidative stress is increased in severe malaria. Treatment with NAC had no effect on outcome in patients with severe falciparum malaria in this setting.

Pongtavornpinyo W, Hastings IM, Dondorp A, White LJ, Maude RJ, Saralamba S, Day NP, White NJ, Boni MF. 2009. Probability of emergence of antimalarial resistance in different stages of the parasite life cycle. Evol Appl, 2 (1), pp. 52-61. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the evolution of drug resistance in malaria is a central area of study at the intersection of evolution and medicine. Antimalarial drug resistance is a major threat to malaria control and directly related to trends in malaria attributable mortality. Artemisinin combination therapies (ACT) are now recommended worldwide as first line treatment for uncomplicated malaria, and losing them to resistance would be a disaster for malaria control. Understanding the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance in the context of different scenarios of antimalarial drug use is essential for the development of strategies protecting ACTs. In this study, we review the basic mechanisms of resistance emergence and describe several simple equations that can be used to estimate the probabilities of de novo resistance mutations at three stages of the parasite life cycle: sporozoite, hepatic merozoite and asexual blood stages; we discuss the factors that affect parasite survival in a single host in the context of different levels of antimalarial drug use, immunity and parasitaemia. We show that in the absence of drug effects, and despite very different parasite numbers, the probability of resistance emerging at each stage is very low and similar in all stages (for example per-infection probability of 10(-10)-10(-9) if the per-parasite chance of mutation is 10(-10) per asexual division). However, under the selective pressure provided by antimalarial treatment and particularly in the presence of hyperparasitaemia, the probability of resistance emerging in the blood stage of the parasite can be approximately five orders of magnitude higher than in the absence of drugs. Detailed models built upon these basic methods should allow us to assess the relative probabilities of resistance emergence in the different phases of the parasite life cycle.

Nickerson EK, West TE, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2009. Staphylococcus aureus disease and drug resistance in resource-limited countries in south and east Asia. Lancet Infect Dis, 9 (2), pp. 130-135. | Show Abstract | Read more

By contrast with high-income countries, Staphylococcus aureus disease ranks low on the public-health agenda in low-income countries. We undertook a literature review of S aureus disease in resource-limited countries in south and east Asia, and found that its neglected status as a developing world pathogen does not equate with low rates of disease. The incidence of the disease seems to be highest in neonates, its range of clinical manifestations is as broad as that seen in other settings, and the mortality rate associated with serious S aureus infection, such as bacteraemia, is as high as 50%. The prevalence of meticillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) infection across much of resource-limited Asia is largely unknown. Antibiotic drugs are readily and widely available from pharmacists in most parts of Asia, where ease of purchase and frequent self-medication are likely to be major drivers in the emergence of drug resistance. In our global culture, the epidemiology of important drug-resistant pathogens in resource-limited countries is inextricably linked with the health of both developing and developed communities. An initiative is needed to raise the profile of S aureus disease in developing countries, and to define a programme of research to find practical solutions to the health-care challenges posed by this important global pathogen.

Wuthiekanun V, Limmathurotsakul D, Chantratita N, Feil EJ, Day NP, Peacock SJ. 2009. Burkholderia Pseudomallei is genetically diverse in agricultural land in Northeast Thailand. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 3 (8), pp. e496. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The soil-dwelling Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei is the cause of melioidosis. Extreme structuring of genotype and genotypic frequency has been demonstrated for B. pseudomallei in uncultivated land, but its distribution and genetic diversity in agricultural land where most human infections are probably acquired is not well defined. METHODS: Fixed-interval soil sampling was performed in a rice paddy in northeast Thailand in which 100 grams of soil was sampled at a depth of 30 cm from 10x10 sampling points each measuring 2.5 m by 2.5 m. Soil was cultured for the presence of B. pseudomallei and genotyping of colonies present on primary culture plates was performed using a combination of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: B. pseudomallei was cultured from 28/100 samples. Genotyping of 630 primary colonies drawn from 11 sampling points demonstrated 10 PFGE banding pattern types, which on MLST were resolved into 7 sequence types (ST). Overlap of genotypes was observed more often between sampling points that were closely positioned. Two sampling points contained mixed B. pseudomallei genotypes, each with a numerically dominant genotype and one or more additional genotypes present as minority populations. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic diversity and structuring of B. pseudomallei exists despite the effects of flooding and the physical and chemical processes associated with farming. These findings form an important baseline for future studies of environmental B. pseudomallei.

Maude RJ, Plewes K, Faiz MA, Hanson J, Charunwatthana P, Lee SJ, Tärning J, Yunus EB et al. 2009. Does artesunate prolong the electrocardiograph QT interval in patients with severe malaria? Am J Trop Med Hyg, 80 (1), pp. 126-132. | Show Abstract

Several antimalarials can cause significant prolongation of the electrocardiograph QT interval, which can be associated with an increased risk of potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias. High doses of artemether and artemotil have been associated with QT prolongation in dogs, raising the possibility of a class effect with the artemisinin derivatives. Serial electrocardiograms were recorded, and QTc interval was calculated before and after administration of artesunate by intravenous injection in patients with severe falciparum malaria in Bangladesh. Of 21 adult patients with severe malaria enrolled, 8 (38%) died. The mean QTc interval was unaffected by bolus intravenous artesunate (2.4 mg/kg). In two patients, the QTc interval exceeded 0.5 seconds, but in both cases, an alternative explanation was plausible. No effect was observed on the JTc or PR interval, QRS width, blood pressure, or heart rate. Intravenous artesunate does not have significant cardiovascular effects in patients with severe falciparum malaria.

Medana IM, Day NP, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GD. 2009. Erythropoietin and its receptors in the brainstem of adults with fatal falciparum malaria. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 261. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Facilitation of endogenous neuroprotective pathways, such as the erythropoietin (Epo) pathway, has been proposed as adjuvant treatment strategies in cerebral malaria. Whether different endogenous protein expression levels of Epo or differences in the abundance of its receptor components could account for the extent of structural neuropathological changes or neurological complications in adults with severe malaria was investigated. METHODS: High sensitivity immunohistochemistry was used to assess the frequency, distribution and concordance of Epo and components of its homodimeric and heteromeric receptors, Epo receptor and CD131, within the brainstem of adults who died of severe malaria. The following relationships with Epo and its receptor components were also defined: (i) sequestration and indicators of hypoxia; (ii) vascular damage in the form of plasma protein leakage and haemorrhage; (iii) clinical complications and neuropathological features of severe malaria disease. Brainstems of patients dying in the UK from unrelated non-infectious causes were examined for comparison. RESULTS: The incidence of endogenous Epo in parenchymal brain cells did not greatly differ between severe malaria and non-neurological UK controls at the time of death. However, EpoR and CD131 labelling of neurons was greater in severe malaria compared with non-neurological controls (P = .009). EpoR labelling of vessels was positively correlated with admission peripheral parasite count (P = .01) and cerebral sequestration (P < .0001). There was a strong negative correlation between arterial oxygen saturation and EpoR labelling of glia (P = .001). There were no significant correlations with indicators of vascular damage, neuronal chromatolysis, axonal swelling or vital organ failure. CONCLUSION: Cells within the brainstem of severe malaria patients showed protein expression of Epo and its receptor components. However, the incidence of endogeneous expression did not reflect protection from vascular or neuronal injury, and/or clinical manifestations, such as coma. These findings do not provide support for Epo as an adjuvant neuroprotective agent in adults with severe malaria.

Nickerson EK, Wuthiekanun V, Wongsuvan G, Limmathurosakul D, Srisamang P, Mahavanakul W, Thaipadungpanit J, Shah KR et al. 2009. Factors predicting and reducing mortality in patients with invasive Staphylococcus aureus disease in a developing country. PLoS One, 4 (8), pp. e6512. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Invasive Staphylococcus aureus infection is increasingly recognised as an important cause of serious sepsis across the developing world, with mortality rates higher than those in the developed world. The factors determining mortality in developing countries have not been identified. METHODS: A prospective, observational study of invasive S. aureus disease was conducted at a provincial hospital in northeast Thailand over a 1-year period. All-cause and S. aureus-attributable mortality rates were determined, and the relationship was assessed between death and patient characteristics, clinical presentations, antibiotic therapy and resistance, drainage of pus and carriage of genes encoding Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 270 patients with invasive S. aureus infection were recruited. The range of clinical manifestations was broad and comparable to that described in developed countries. All-cause and S. aureus-attributable mortality rates were 26% and 20%, respectively. Early antibiotic therapy and drainage of pus were associated with a survival advantage (both p<0.001) on univariate analysis. Patients infected by a PVL gene-positive isolate (122/248 tested, 49%) had a strong survival advantage compared with patients infected by a PVL gene-negative isolate (all-cause mortality 11% versus 39% respectively, p<0.001). Multiple logistic regression analysis using all variables significant on univariate analysis revealed that age, underlying cardiac disease and respiratory infection were risk factors for all-cause and S. aureus-attributable mortality, while one or more abscesses as the presenting clinical feature and procedures for infectious source control were associated with survival. CONCLUSIONS: Drainage of pus and timely antibiotic therapy are key to the successful management of S. aureus infection in the developing world. Defining the presence of genes encoding PVL provides no practical bedside information and draws attention away from identifying verified clinical risk factors and those interventions that save lives.

Hue NT, Charlieu JP, Chau TT, Day N, Farrar JJ, Hien TT, Dunstan SJ. 2009. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) mutations and haemoglobinuria syndrome in the Vietnamese population. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 152. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Vietnam the blackwater fever syndrome (BWF) has been associated with malaria infection, quinine ingestion and G6PD deficiency. The G6PD variants within the Vietnamese Kinh contributing to the disease risk in this population, and more generally to haemoglobinuria, are currently unknown. METHOD: Eighty-two haemoglobinuria patients and 524 healthy controls were screened for G6PD deficiency using either the methylene blue reduction test, the G-6-PDH kit or the micro-methaemoglobin reduction test. The G6PD gene variants were screened using SSCP combined with DNA sequencing in 82 patients with haemoglobinuria, and in 59 healthy controls found to be G6PD deficient. RESULTS: This study confirmed that G6PD deficiency is strongly associated with haemoglobinuria (OR = 15, 95% CI [7.7 to 28.9], P < 0.0001). Six G6PD variants were identified in the Vietnamese population, of which two are novel (Vietnam1 [Glu3Lys] and Vietnam2 [Phe66Cys]). G6PD Viangchan [Val291Met], common throughout south-east Asia, accounted for 77% of the variants detected and was significantly associated with haemoglobinuria within G6PD-deficient ethnic Kinh Vietnamese (OR = 5.8 95% CI [114-55.4], P = 0.022). CONCLUSION: The primary frequency of several G6PD mutations, including novel mutations, in the Vietnamese Kinh population are reported and the contribution of G6PD mutations to the development of haemoglobinuria are investigated.

White NJ, Pongtavornpinyo W, Maude RJ, Saralamba S, Aguas R, Stepniewska K, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM, White LJ, Day NP. 2009. Hyperparasitaemia and low dosing are an important source of anti-malarial drug resistance. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 253. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Preventing the emergence of anti-malarial drug resistance is critical for the success of current malaria elimination efforts. Prevention strategies have focused predominantly on qualitative factors, such as choice of drugs, use of combinations and deployment of multiple first-line treatments. The importance of anti-malarial treatment dosing has been underappreciated. Treatment recommendations are often for the lowest doses that produce "satisfactory" results. METHODS: The probability of de-novo resistant malaria parasites surviving and transmitting depends on the relationship between their degree of resistance and the blood concentration profiles of the anti-malarial drug to which they are exposed. The conditions required for the in-vivo selection of de-novo emergent resistant malaria parasites were examined and relative probabilities assessed. RESULTS: Recrudescence is essential for the transmission of de-novo resistance. For rapidly eliminated anti-malarials high-grade resistance can arise from a single drug exposure, but low-grade resistance can arise only from repeated inadequate treatments. Resistance to artemisinins is, therefore, unlikely to emerge with single drug exposures. Hyperparasitaemic patients are an important source of de-novo anti-malarial drug resistance. Their parasite populations are larger, their control of the infection insufficient, and their rates of recrudescence following anti-malarial treatment are high. As use of substandard drugs, poor adherence, unusual pharmacokinetics, and inadequate immune responses are host characteristics, likely to pertain to each recurrence of infection, a small subgroup of patients provides the particular circumstances conducive to de-novo resistance selection and transmission. CONCLUSION: Current dosing recommendations provide a resistance selection opportunity in those patients with low drug levels and high parasite burdens (often children or pregnant women). Patients with hyperparasitaemia who receive outpatient treatments provide the greatest risk of selecting de-novo resistant parasites. This emphasizes the importance of ensuring that only quality-assured anti-malarial combinations are used, that treatment doses are optimized on the basis of pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic assessments in the target populations, and that patients with heavy parasite burdens are identified and receive sufficient treatment to prevent recrudescence.

Hanson J, Hossain A, Charunwatthana P, Hassan MU, Davis TM, Lam SW, Chubb SA, Maude RJ et al. 2009. Hyponatremia in severe malaria: evidence for an appropriate anti-diuretic hormone response to hypovolemia. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 80 (1), pp. 141-145. | Show Abstract

Although hyponatremia occurs in most patients with severe malaria, its pathogenesis, prognostic significance, and optimal management have not been established. Clinical and biochemical data were prospectively collected from 171 consecutive Bangladeshi adults with severe malaria. On admission, 57% of patients were hyponatremic. Plasma sodium and Glasgow Coma Score were inversely related (r(s) = -0.36, P < 0.0001). Plasma antidiuretic hormone concentrations were similar in hyponatremic and normonatremic patients (median, range: 6.1, 2.3-85.3 versus 32.7, 3.0-56.4 pmol/L; P = 0.19). Mortality was lower in hyponatremic than normonatremic patients (31.6% versus 51.4%; odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 0.44 [0.23-0.82]; P = 0.01 by univariate analysis). Plasma sodium normalized with crystalloid rehydration from (median, range) 127 (123-140) mmol/L on admission to 136 (128-149) mmol/L at 24 hours (P = 0.01). Hyponatremia in adults with severe malaria is common and associated with preserved consciousness and decreased mortality. It likely reflects continued oral hypotonic fluid intake in the setting of hypovolemia and requires no therapy beyond rehydration.

Nickerson EK, Hongsuwan M, Limmathurotsakul D, Wuthiekanun V, Shah KR, Srisomang P, Mahavanakul W, Wacharaprechasgul T et al. 2009. Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in a tropical setting: patient outcome and impact of antibiotic resistance. PLoS One, 4 (1), pp. e4308. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most information on invasive Staphylococcus aureus infections comes from temperate countries. There are considerable knowledge gaps in epidemiology, treatment, drug resistance and outcome of invasive S. aureus infection in the tropics. METHODS: A prospective, observational study of S. aureus bacteraemia was conducted in a 1000-bed regional hospital in northeast Thailand over 1 year. Detailed clinical data were collected and final outcomes determined at 12 weeks, and correlated with antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of infecting isolates. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ninety-eight patients with S. aureus bacteraemia were recruited. The range of clinical manifestations was similar to that reported from temperate countries. The prevalence of endocarditis was 14%. The disease burden was highest at both extremes of age, whilst mortality increased with age. The all-cause mortality rate was 52%, with a mortality attributable to S. aureus of 44%. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was responsible for 28% of infections, all of which were healthcare-associated. Mortality rates for MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) were 67% (18/27) and 46% (33/71), respectively (p = 0.11). MRSA isolates were multidrug resistant. Only vancomycin or fusidic acid would be suitable as empirical treatment options for suspected MRSA infection. CONCLUSIONS: S. aureus is a significant pathogen in northeast Thailand, with comparable clinical manifestations and a similar endocarditis prevalence but higher mortality than industrialised countries. S. aureus bacteraemia is frequently associated with exposure to healthcare settings with MRSA causing a considerable burden of disease. Further studies are required to define setting-specific strategies to reduce mortality from S. aureus bacteraemia, prevent MRSA transmission, and to define the burden of S. aureus disease and emergence of drug resistance throughout the developing world.

Maude RJ, Pontavornpinyo W, Saralamba S, Aguas R, Yeung S, Dondorp AM, Day NP, White NJ, White LJ. 2009. The last man standing is the most resistant: eliminating artemisinin-resistant malaria in Cambodia. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 31. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT) is now the recommended first-line treatment for falciparum malaria throughout the world. Initiatives to eliminate malaria are critically dependent on its efficacy. There is recent worrying evidence that artemisinin resistance has arisen on the Thai-Cambodian border. Urgent containment interventions are planned and about to be executed. Mathematical modeling approaches to intervention design are now integrated into the field of malaria epidemiology and control. The use of such an approach to investigate the likely effectiveness of different containment measures with the ultimate aim of eliminating artemisinin-resistant malaria is described. METHODS: A population dynamic mathematical modeling framework was developed to explore the relative effectiveness of a variety of containment interventions in eliminating artemisinin-resistant malaria in western Cambodia. RESULTS: The most effective intervention to eliminate artemisinin-resistant malaria was a switch of treatment from artemisinin monotherapy to ACT (mean time to elimination 3.42 years (95% CI 3.32-3.60 years). However, with this approach it is predicted that elimination of artemisinin-resistant malaria using ACT can be achieved only by elimination of all malaria. This is because the various forms of ACT are more effective against infections with artemisinin-sensitive parasites, leaving the more resistant infections as an increasing proportion of the dwindling parasite population. CONCLUSION: Containment of artemisinin-resistant malaria can be achieved by elimination of malaria from western Cambodia using ACT. The "last man standing" is the most resistant and thus this strategy must be sustained until elimination is truly achieved.

White LJ, Maude RJ, Pongtavornpinyo W, Saralamba S, Aguas R, Van Effelterre T, Day NP, White NJ. 2009. The role of simple mathematical models in malaria elimination strategy design. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 212. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria has recently been identified as a candidate for global eradication. This process will take the form of a series of national eliminations. Key issues must be considered specifically for elimination strategy when compared to the control of disease. Namely the spread of drug resistance, data scarcity and the adverse effects of failed elimination attempts. Mathematical models of various levels of complexity have been produced to consider the control and elimination of malaria infection. If available, detailed data on malaria transmission (such as the vector life cycle and behaviour, human population behaviour, the acquisition and decay of immunity, heterogeneities in transmission intensity, age profiles of clinical and subclinical infection) can be used to populate complex transmission models that can then be used to design control strategy. However, in many malaria countries reliable data are not available and policy must be formed based on information like an estimate of the average parasite prevalence. METHODS: A simple deterministic model, that requires data in the form of a single estimate of parasite prevalence as an input, is developed for the purpose of comparison with other more complex models. The model is designed to include key aspects of malaria transmission and integrated control. RESULTS: The simple model is shown to have similar short-term dynamic behaviour to three complex models. The model is used to demonstrate the potential of alternative methods of delivery of controls. The adverse effects on clinical infection and spread of resistance are predicted for failed elimination attempts. Since elimination strategies present an increased risk of the spread of drug resistance, the model is used to demonstrate the population level protective effect of multiple controls against this very serious threat. CONCLUSION: A simple model structure for the elimination of malaria is suitable for situations where data are sparse yet strategy design requirements are urgent with the caveat that more complex models, populated with new data, would provide more information, especially in the long-term.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Phakdeeraj A, Singhasivanon P, Farrar J, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NP. 2008. Development and validation of a high-throughput zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography solid-phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for determination of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in plasma. J Chromatogr A, 1215 (1-2), pp. 145-151. | Show Abstract | Read more

An assay for the analysis for the quantification of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in human plasma using high-throughput zwitterionic (ZIC) hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) solid-phase extraction (SPE) in a 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The ZIC-HILIC SPE efficiently removed sources of interference present in the supernatant after protein precipitation of plasma proteins. The main advantage of the ZIC-HILIC SPE sample preparation step was that it allowed load and elution conditions to be optimised to extract only peramivir and minimize co-extraction of lipophilic phospholipids. The method was validated according to published US Food and Drugs Administration guidelines and showed excellent performance. The assay was validated over two calibration ranges (0.952-500 and 50-50,000 ng/mL) to support analysis of peramivir after intra-venous administration. The lower limit of quantification for peramivir in plasma was 1 ng/mL and the upper limit of quantification was 50,000 ng/mL. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 8% at all tested quality control concentrations and below 11% at the lower limit of quantification. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range.

Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Dondorp AM, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NP, Lindegardh N. 2008. A liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric method for determination of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 876 (1), pp. 61-68. | Show Abstract | Read more

A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin in human plasma using high throughput solid-phase extraction in the 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The method was validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 7% at all tested concentrations including the lower limit of quantification. Using 50 microl plasma the calibration range was 1.19-728 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.5 ng/ml for artesunate and 1.96-2500 ng/ml with a limit of detection at 0.6 ng/ml for dihydroartemisinin. Using 250 microl of plasma sample the lower limit of quantification was decreased to 0.119 ng/ml for artesunate and 0.196 ng/ml dihydroartemisinin. Validation of over-curve samples in plasma ensured that accurate estimation would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range. The method was free from matrix effects as demonstrated both graphically and quantitatively.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Singhasivanon P, Socheat D, Yi P, Dondorp AM, McGready R, Nosten F, White NJ, Day NP. 2008. Major pitfalls in the measurement of artemisinin derivatives in plasma in clinical studies. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 876 (1), pp. 54-60. | Show Abstract | Read more

A bioanalytical method for the analysis of artesunate (ARS) and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in human plasma using protein precipitation and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy was developed. The method was validated according to published US FDA-guidelines and showed excellent performance. However, when it was applied to clinical pharmacokinetic studies in malaria, variable degradation of the artemisinins introduced an unacceptable large source of error, rendering the assay useless. Haemolytic products related to sample collection and malaria infection degraded the compounds. Addition of organic solvents during sample processing and even low volume addition of the internal standard in an organic solvent caused degradation. A solid phase extraction method avoiding organic solvents eliminated problems arising from haemolysis induced degradation. Plasma esterases mediated only approximately 20% of ex vivo hydrolysis of ARS into DHA. There are multiple sources of major preventable error in measuring ARS and DHA in plasma samples from clinical trials. These various pitfalls have undoubtedly contributed to the large inter-subject variation in plasma concentration profiles and derived pharmacokinetic parameters for these important antimalarial drugs.

Paris DH, Blacksell SD, Newton PN, Day NP. 2008. Simple, rapid and sensitive detection of Orientia tsutsugamushi by loop-isothermal DNA amplification. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (12), pp. 1239-1246. | Show Abstract | Read more

We present a loop-mediated isothermal PCR assay (LAMP) targeting the groEL gene, which encodes the 60kDa heat shock protein of Orientia tsutsugamushi. Evaluation included testing of 63 samples of contemporary in vitro isolates, buffy coats and whole blood samples from patients with fever. Detection limits for LAMP were assessed by serial dilutions and quantitation by real-time PCR assay based on the same target gene: three copies/microl for linearized plasmids, 26 copies/microl for VERO cell culture isolates, 14 copies/microl for full blood samples and 41 copies/microl for clinical buffy coats. Based on a limited sample number, the LAMP assay is comparable in sensitivity with conventional nested PCR (56kDa gene), with limits of detection well below the range of known admission bacterial loads of patients with scrub typhus. This inexpensive method requires no sophisticated equipment or sample preparation, and may prove useful as a diagnostic assay in financially poor settings; however, it requires further prospective validation in the field setting.

Newton PN, Hampton CY, Alter-Hall K, Teerwarakulpana T, Prakongpan S, Ruangveerayuth R, White NJ, Day NP, Tudino MB, Mancuso N, Fernández FM. 2008. Characterization of "Yaa Chud" Medicine on the Thailand-Myanmar border: selecting for drug-resistant malaria and threatening public health. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 79 (5), pp. 662-669. | Show Abstract

Multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a severe public health problem on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Many villagers buy packets of 4-5 mixed medicines ("yaa chud") from shops without medical assessment as their first-line malaria treatment. In 2000-2001 a local researcher purchased 50 yaa chud from 44 shops around Mae Sot, Thailand and Myawaddy, Myanmar (Burma), for his wife who was said to be pregnant with fever and drowsiness. The tablets/capsules were provisionally identified by appearance and active ingredients determined in a subset by using mass and atomic spectrometry. The most frequently detected active ingredients were acetaminophen (22%), chlorpheniramine (13.4%), chloroquine (12.6%), tetracycline/doxycycline (11.4%), and quinine (5.1%). Only seven bags contained potentially curative medicine for malaria. A total of 82% of the bags contained medicines contraindicated in pregnancy. Inappropriate, ineffective antimalarial drugs on the Thailand-Myanmar border are likely to increase malaria morbidity, mortality and health costs and engender the emergence and spread of antimalarial drug resistance.

Bozdech Z, Mok S, Hu G, Imwong M, Jaidee A, Russell B, Ginsburg H, Nosten F et al. 2008. The transcriptome of Plasmodium vivax reveals divergence and diversity of transcriptional regulation in malaria parasites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 105 (42), pp. 16290-16295. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium vivax causes over 100 million clinical infections each year. Primarily because of the lack of a suitable culture system, our understanding of the biology of this parasite lags significantly behind that of the more deadly species P. falciparum. Here, we present the complete transcriptional profile throughout the 48-h intraerythrocytic cycle of three distinct P. vivax isolates. This approach identifies strain specific patterns of expression for subsets of genes predicted to encode proteins associated with virulence and host pathogen interactions. Comparison to P. falciparum revealed significant differences in the expression of genes involved in crucial cellular functions that underpin the biological differences between the two parasite species. These data provide insights into the biology of P. vivax and constitute an important resource for the development of therapeutic approaches.

Rahman MM, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Lindegardh N, Imwong M, Faiz MA, Bangali AM, Kamal AT, Karim J, Kaewkungwal J, Singhasivanon P. 2008. Adherence and efficacy of supervised versus non-supervised treatment with artemether/lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Bangladesh: a randomised controlled trial. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (9), pp. 861-867. | Show Abstract | Read more

As artemether/lumefantrine is now deployed as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh, information on its efficacy and adherence to its use is important. A randomised controlled non-inferiority trial comparing directly observed treatment (DOT) and non-directly observed treatment (NDOT) was conducted in 320 patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bandarban Hill Tract District, Bangladesh. Both regimens showed similar high levels of PCR-corrected 42-day parasitological and clinical cure rates (99.3% in the NDOT group and 100% in the DOT group; P=0.49). Survival analysis for the time to recurrence of infection showed no difference between treatment groups (log rank, P=0.98). Adherence, as assessed by counting remaining tablets and oral interviews, was 93% in the NDOT group and was confirmed by Day 7 lumefantrine concentrations. Adherence was independent of educational level. Patients with plasma lumefantrine concentrations < 280 ng/ml at Day 7 were at greater risk for re-infection (relative risk 5.62; P=0.027). The efficacy of artemether/lumefantrine for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Bangladesh is high and is similar for DOT and NDOT. Adherence to therapy is high.

Parola P, Blacksell SD, Phetsouvanh R, Phongmany S, Rolain JM, Day NP, Newton PN, Raoult D. 2008. Genotyping of Orientia tsutsugamushi from humans with scrub typhus, Laos. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (9), pp. 1483-1485. | Read more

Tarning J, Lindegardh N, Sandberg S, Day NJ, White NJ, Ashton M. 2008. Pharmacokinetics and metabolism of the antimalarial piperaquine after intravenous and oral single doses to the rat. J Pharm Sci, 97 (8), pp. 3400-3410. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study aimed to evaluate the pharmacokinetic properties of piperaquine in the rat after intravenous and oral administration, and to identify and characterize the main piperaquine metabolites in rat plasma, urine, faeces and bile after intravenous administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered piperaquine as an emulsion orally or as a short-term intravenous infusion. Venous blood for pharmacokinetic evaluation was frequently withdrawn up to 90 h after dose. Urine, bile and faeces were collected after an infusion in rats kept in metabolic cages or in anesthetized rats. Pharmacokinetic characterization was done by compartmental modeling and non-compartmental analysis using WinNonlin. Piperaquine disposition was best described by a 3-compartment model with a rapid initial distribution phase after intravenous administration. The pharmacokinetics of piperaquine was characterized by a low clearance, a large volume of distribution and a long terminal half-life. Piperaquine displayed a low biliary clearance and less than 1% of the total dose was recovered in urine. The absolute oral bioavailability was approximately 50%. The main metabolite after intravenous administration of piperaquine was a carboxylic acid product identical to that reported in humans. The similarity with results in humans indicates the rat to be a suitab