Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important neglected disease caused by a protozoan parasite, and represents a serious public health problem in many parts of the world. It is zoonotic in Europe and Latin America, where infected dogs constitute the main domestic reservoir for the parasite and play a key role in VL transmission to humans. In Brazil this disease is caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum chagasi, and is transmitted by the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis. Despite programs aimed at eliminating infection sources, the disease continues to spread throughout the Country. VL in São Paulo State, Brazil, first appeared in the northwestern region, spreading in a southeasterly direction over time. We integrate data on the VL vector, infected dogs and infected human dispersion from 1999 to 2013 through an innovative spatial temporal Bayesian model in conjunction with geographic information system. This model is used to infer the drivers of the invasion process and predict the future progression of VL through the State. We found that vector dispersion was influenced by vector presence in nearby municipalities at the previous time step, proximity to the Bolívia-Brazil gas pipeline, and high temperatures (i.e., annual average between 20 and 23°C). Key factors affecting infected dog dispersion included proximity to the Marechal Rondon Highway, high temperatures, and presence of the competent vector within the same municipality. Finally, vector presence, presence of infected dogs, and rainfall (approx. 270 to 540mm/year) drove the dispersion of human VL cases. Surprisingly, economic factors exhibited no noticeable influence on disease dispersion. Based on these drivers and stochastic simulations, we identified which municipalities are most likely to be invaded by vectors and infected hosts in the future. Prioritizing prevention and control strategies within the identified municipalities may help halt the spread of VL while reducing monitoring costs. Our results contribute important knowledge to public and animal health policy planning, and suggest that prevention and control strategies should focus on vector control and on blocking contact between vectors and hosts in the priority areas identified to be at risk.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
In wild and domestic birds, cryptosporidiosis is often associated with infections by Cryptosporidium galli, Cryptosporidium baileyi and Cryptosporidium meleagridis. In addition to these species, a number of avian Cryptosporidium species yet to be fully characterized are commonly found among exotic and wild avian isolates. The present study aimed to detect and identify samples of Cryptosporidium spp. from free-living wild birds, in order to contribute to the knowledge of the variability of this parasite in the free-living population of Brazil. Stool samples were collected from 242 birds, with the following proportions of individuals: 50 Emberizidae (20.7%), 112 Psittacidae (46.3%), 44 Cardinalidae (18.2%), 12 Turdidae (5.0%), eight Ramphastidae (3.3%), seven Icteridae (2.9%), three Estrilididae (1.2%), two Contigidae (0.8%), two Thraupidae (0.8%) and two Fringilidae (0.8%). Among the 242 fecal samples from wild birds, 16 (6.6%) were positive for the presence of oocysts of Cryptosporidium. Molecular characterization of the 16 samples of Cryptosporidium, were performed with phylogenetic reconstructions employing 292 positions of 18S rDNA. None of the samples of birds was characterized as C. meleagridis. C. galli was identified in one rufous-bellied thrush (Turdus rufiventris), five green-winged saltators (Saltator similis), one slate-coloured seedeater (Sporophila schistacea), one goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and three saffron finches (Sicalis flaveola). One goldfinch isolate, one buffy-fronted seedeater (Sporophila frontalis), one red-cowled cardinal (Paroaria dominicana) and one other saffron finch (S. flaveola) were identified as C. baileyi. Avian genotype II was found in an isolate from a white-eyed parakeet (Aratinga leucophthalma). Clinical symptoms of cryptosporidiosis in birds have already been described and the number of wild birds which were shedding parasites was high. Therefore, further epidemiological research and disease surveillance of birds in the wild is warranted.
The 2021 re-emergence of yellow fever in non-human primates in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (RS), southernmost Brazil, resulted in the death of many howler monkeys (genus Alouatta) and led the state to declare a Public Health Emergency of State Importance, despite no human cases reported. In this study, near-complete genomes of yellow fever virus (YFV) recovered from the outbreak were sequenced and examined aiming at a better understanding of the phylogenetic relationships and the spatio-temporal dynamics of the virus distribution. Our results suggest that the most likely sequence of events involved the reintroduction of YFV from the state of São Paulo to RS through the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, by the end of 2020. These findings reinforce the role of genomic surveillance in determining the pathways of distribution of the virus and in providing references for the implementation of preventive measures for populations in high risk areas.
Leishmaniasis remains one of the world's most devastating neglected tropical diseases. It mainly affects developing countries, where it often co-exists with chronic malnutrition, one of the main risk factors for developing the disease. Few studies have been published, however, on the relationship between leishmaniasis progression and malnutrition. The present paper reports the influence of protein malnutrition on the immune response and visceral disease development in adult hamsters infected with Leishmania infantum fed either standard or low protein diets. The low protein diet induced severe malnutrition in these animals, and upon infection with L. infantum 33% had severe visceral leishmaniasis compared to only 8% of animals fed the standard diet. The infected, malnourished animals showed notable leukocyte depletion, mild specific antibody responses, impairment of lymphoproliferation, presence of parasites in blood (16.67% of the hamsters) and significant increase of the splenic parasite burden. Animals fed standard diet suffered agranulocytosis and monocytopenia, but showed stronger specific immune responses and had lower parasite loads than their malnourished counterparts. The present results show that protein malnutrition promotes visceral leishmaniasis and provide clues regarding the mechanisms underlying the impairment of the immune system.
BackgroundVisceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important public health challenge in Brazil because of the high number of human and canine cases reported annually. Leishmania infantum is the etiological agent of VL and Lutzomyia longipalpis is its main vector. However, evidence suggests that this taxon constitutes a species complex. In Sao Paulo state, there are two populations of Lu. longipalpis, each secreting distinct pheromones, (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B and Cembrene 1; both have been associated with different patterns of VL transmission. The aim of the present study was to investigate the temporal distribution and natural infection of the (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B population of the Lu. longipalpis complex in a highly VL endemic area of Sao Paulo state to obtain information that may contribute to the surveillance of this zoonosis and to the planning of preventive and control measures.MethodsThe study was carried out in Panorama municipality, Sao Paulo State. Captures were made during 24 months in seven domiciles. The relation between sand fly abundance and climatic variables, temperature and humidity, was analyzed and natural infection by Leishmania spp. in sand fly females was investigated by nested PCR.ResultsA total of 4120 sand flies, with predominance of Lu. longipalpis (97.2%) were captured. The highest averages of sand flies/night/trap occurred in the rainy season (November-March) and a positive, significant correlation between sand fly abundance and the temperature and humidity 20 days before the capture days was found. Leishmania infantum DNA was detected in three out of 250 pools of females analyzed, giving an estimated minimum infection rate of 1.2%.ConclusionThe identification of the climatic association between the high abundance of the vector in this highly endemic VL focus constitutes a fundamental point for evaluating future vector and dog control measures and this information increases the data of VL foci in Sao Paulo state that could contribute to the public health authorities in planning prevention and control measures. The identification of natural infection by Le. infantum in Lu. longipalpis specimens reinforces the importance of entomological surveillance activities in this municipality.
The aim of this study was to assess the occurrence of Cryptosporidium in domestic animals in rural properties surrounding rain forest fragments within the municipality of Teodoro Sampaio, southeastern Brazil. Conventional sucrose flotation method followed by molecular characterization of the parasites by sequencing PCR products amplified from SSU rRNA gene were used. Stool samples were collected from domestic animals raised as pets and livestock in all rural properties surrounding three forest fragments. Samples from cattle (197), equine (63), pigs (25), sheep (11), and dogs (28) were collected from 98 rural properties. The frequency of occurrence of Cryptosporidium within each animal species was 3.0% (6/197) among cattle and 10.7% (3/28) among dogs. Cryptosporidium was not detected in stool samples from equine, sheep, and pigs. All sequences obtained from the six samples of calves showed molecular identity with Cryptosporidium andersoni while all sequences from dog samples were similar to C. canis. The frequency of occurrence of Cryptosporidium in these domestic animal species was low. The absence of C. parvum in the present study suggests that the zoonotic cycle of cryptosporidiosis may not be relevant in the region studied. The presence of Cryptosporidium species seldom described in humans may be, otherwise, important for the wild fauna as these animals are a source of infection and dissemination of this protozoan to other animal species. The impact and magnitude of infection by C. andersoni in wild ruminants and C. canis in wild canids have to be assessed in future studies to better understand the actual importance of these species in this region.
Background Rickettsia parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest has emerged in Brazil during the last 10 years, with three laboratory-confirmed human cases. While these cases were epidemiologically associated with the tick Amblyomma ovale, in none of them the tick specimens that bit the patients could be identified. Results We report a clinical case of spotted fever rickettsiosis that was acquired in an Atlantic forest area in Bahia state, northeast Brazil. The case was determined to be caused by R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest, based on molecular analysis of the crust removed from the tick bite site (inoculation eschar) of the patients’ skin. DNA extracted from the crust yielded partial sequences of three rickettsial genes (gltA, ompA and ompB), which were 99–100% identical to R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest. The tick specimen that was attached to patient skin was identified as a female of A. ovale. Conclusions We report the fourth confirmed case of spotted fever rickettsiosis caused by R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest, providing to our knowledge for the first time, direct evidence of R. parkeri strain Atlantic rainforest transmission by A. ovale.
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