Numerical zymotaxonomy and variability of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) between the small and large subunits of the rRNA genes were used to examine strain variation and relationships in natural populations of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. A total of 101 strains from distinct hosts and Brazilian geographic regions were assigned to 15 zymodemes clustered in two major genetic groups. The great number of isolates (48.5%) placed in zymodeme IOC/Z-27 were collected on the Atlantic coast. The high molecular diversity found in populations in the Amazon Basin was related to the great number of sandfly vector(s) in that region. The results of the restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the ITS depicted considerable intraspecific variation. Genotypic groups A, B, and C contained 39, 40, and 22 isolates, which were divided into 16, 10, and 15 genotypes, respectively. The genetic polymorphism observed demonstrates the degree of diversity of L. Infections with the parasitic protozoan Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis Vianna 1911 (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) or strain variants are recognized as causing human illness in many areas of (sub)tropical America (at least 15 countries), where it constitutes a significant public health problem. Many of these parasites seem to have a unique life cycle, with different phlebotomine sandfly (Diptera: Psychodidae) vectors and/or animal reservoirs and a different geographic distribution (13). This pathogen is capable of producing a variety of clinical manifestations, such as (i) cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), which may heal spontaneously; (ii) mucosal leishmaniasis (ML), a hyperergic invasive ulcerative form that progresses in the absence of any apparent cellular defect (15); and (iii) disseminated CL (4).Most of the environmental factors affecting the epidemiology of the various leishmaniases are still poorly understood. Wild mammals serve as reservoirs for most of the New World Leishmania spp. (21), but there is increasing evidence that some of the human pathogenic Leishmania strains can be maintained in both sylvan and urban cycles. In the case of L. (V.) braziliensis, the principal vertebrate hosts in the sylvan cycle have not been identified, but there is evidence that dogs, horses, and donkeys may serve as reservoir hosts of this parasite (15). The existence of an urban cycle involving peridomestic sandfly species for L. (V.) braziliensis reflects the ability of these parasites and their vectors to adapt to changes in their original forested habitats with important public health implications. Studies using molecular techniques to characterize L. (V.) braziliensis populations from different regions have shown a relationship between level of similarity among the parasite populations (12, 24) and their geographic range, but recent data have also indicated that the considerable variability detected among these parasites is more probably related to the sandfly vector(s) and/or animal reservoir(s) involved in the transmission cycles (18).Pathogens that produce...
The yellow fever virus (YFV) caused a severe outbreak in Brazil in 2016–2018 that rapidly spread across the Atlantic Forest in its most populated region without viral circulation for almost 80 years. A comprehensive entomological survey combining analysis of distribution, abundance and YFV natural infection in mosquitoes captured before and during the outbreak was conducted in 44 municipalities of five Brazilian states. In total, 17,662 mosquitoes of 89 species were collected. Before evidence of virus circulation, mosquitoes were tested negative but traditional vectors were alarmingly detected in 82% of municipalities, revealing high receptivity to sylvatic transmission. During the outbreak, five species were found positive in 42% of municipalities. Haemagogus janthinomys and Hg. leucocelaenus are considered the primary vectors due to their large distribution combined with high abundance and natural infection rates, concurring together for the rapid spread and severity of this outbreak. Aedes taeniorhynchus was found infected for the first time, but like Sabethes chloropterus and Aedes scapularis , it appears to have a potential local or secondary role because of their low abundance, distribution and infection rates. There was no evidence of YFV transmission by Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, although the former was the most widespread species across affected municipalities, presenting an important overlap between the niches of the sylvatic vectors and the anthropic ones. The definition of receptive areas, expansion of vaccination in the most affected age group and exposed populations and the adoption of universal vaccination to the entire Brazilian population need to be urgently implemented.
Canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) is the major source of human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and is transmitted from dogs to sand flies to humans. To control the spread of this disease, early and accurate detection of infected dogs is critical but challenging. Here we demonstrate the potential of the Dual-Path Platform (DPP(®)) CVL rapid test for detecting K26/K39-reactive antibodies in sera from clinically symptomatic (n=60) and asymptomatic (n=60) Leishmania infantum-infected dogs. For the specificity evaluation, assays were performed using known negative diagnostic serum samples (n=59) and cross-reaction control sera (n=11) from animals born in a VL-free area of Brazil. The diagnostic kit displayed high specificity (96%) but low sensitivity (47%) in identifying parasite-positive dogs without signs of CVL. However, the test sensitivity was significantly higher (98%) in diseased cases, indicating that this convenient test may be useful to identify the most infectious dogs. Efforts should be pursued to obtain a more sensitive DPP-multiplexed test parameter (i.e. based on simultaneous yet separate antibody detection of carefully selected multiple antigens of diagnostic utility) for effective serodiagnosis of early-infected dogs, as this will likely allow more efficient canine removal regimens than those used in practice by public health services.
The diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis remains difficult in rural areas where the disease is endemic, and serologic methods still need assessment, as they are not very sensitive for the detection of asymptomatic infectious dogs. Here we present data on the development of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based methods for the detection of antibodies against recombinant leishmanial antigens (namely, the recombinant K26 [rK26] and rK39 antigens from Leishmania infantum and the rA2 protein from Leishmania donovani) in comparison to ELISAs employing crude soluble antigen (CSA). The assays utilized sera from known negative controls (n ؍ 25) and clinically asymptomatic (n ؍ 50) and symptomatic (n ؍ 50) dogs with confirmed L. infantum infections. Additional studies were also done using sera from animals harboring other infections (n ؍ 14) for the evaluation of cross-reactivity. Our study indicated that rK26 and rK39 used in ELISAs provided very high sensitivities for the detection of symptomatic dogs (94% and 100%, respectively), followed by CSA (88%) and rA2 (70%). Conversely, rA2 was more sensitive for asymptomatic dogs (88%) than rK39 and rK26 (both 66%) and CSA (30%). Some cross-reactivity in sera from dogs with other infections (Leishmania braziliensis and Leptospira interrogans) was identified, but the rA2 protein provided the greatest specificity (98%). Data further indicate that all three recombinant proteins must be used in parallel to detect essentially all infected dogs. Efforts should be made to develop a cheap and reliable serologic test based on epitope selection from these diagnostic markers for the sensitive detection of L. infantum-infected dogs.
Background: Extra-Amazonian autochthonous Plasmodium vivax infections have been reported in mountainous regions surrounded by the Atlantic Forest in Espírito Santo state, Brazil.
In Brazil, where Leishmania chagasi causes endemic American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL), the spread and maintenance of human disease are attributed to canine reservoirs. However, despite measures directed toward the elimination of infected canines, the incidence of human disease continues to increase. To evaluate the role of infected canines in the acquisition of AVL by humans, we undertook a controlled intervention study in three similar, but isolated, valleys of Pancas, Espírito Santo, Brazil. In the two experimental (intervention) valleys, infected dogs were eliminated whereas in the control valley, seropositive canines remained untouched. During the 12-month study period, human seropositivity rates, as measured by dot enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, increased from 15% to 54% in the intervention valleys and from 14% to 54% in the control valley. The elimination of infected canines in the intervention valleys did not result in a statistically significant difference between the incidences of human serological conversion in the intervention and control valleys at either 6 (20% and 22%, respectively; P = .5961) or 12 months (26% and 27%, respectively; P = .9442). The role of humans as a significant reservoir for AVL is proposed as an explanation for the study results.
In an endemic area of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Viana municipality, Espírito Santo state, an investigation was performed on natural hosts of Leishmania among domestic animals, trying to correlate the presence of infected animals with the occurrence of the disease in humans. Within a three weeks period 186 dogs were examined and 32 (17.2%) were found infected. Eleven new cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis were recorded during one year, among people living in the endemic area. A close relationship was observed between the presence of infected dogs and the occurrence of human leishmaniasis. In the area studied, the disease seems to behave as a zoonosis maintained by domestic dogs.
DNA barcoding has been an effective tool for species identification in several animal groups. Here, we used DNA barcoding to discriminate between 47 morphologically distinct species of Brazilian sand flies. DNA barcodes correctly identified approximately 90% of the sampled taxa (42 morphologically distinct species) using clustering based on neighbor-joining distance, of which four species showed comparatively higher maximum values of divergence (range 4.23–19.04%), indicating cryptic diversity. The DNA barcodes also corroborated the resurrection of two species within the shannoni complex and provided an efficient tool to differentiate between morphologically indistinguishable females of closely related species. Taken together, our results validate the effectiveness of DNA barcoding for species identification and the discovery of cryptic diversity in sand flies from Brazil.
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