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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 171-173

Research Snippets

Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission27-Jan-2015
Date of Acceptance27-Jan-2015
Date of Web Publication6-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
P Desikan
Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.150984

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How to cite this article:
Desikan P. Research Snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol 2015;33, Suppl S1:171-3

How to cite this URL:
Desikan P. Research Snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Sep 28];33, Suppl S1:171-3. Available from:

Egypt's health ministry has said three people have died in the past week after contracting the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Egypt has confirmed 11 cases of the virus in people this year (2014), including six who have died ( ). A 3-year, prospective, controlled, seroepidemiological study that enrolled 750 poultry-exposed and 250 unexposed individuals in Egypt found that, at baseline, the seroprevalence of anti-A(H5N1) antibodies (titer, ≥80) among exposed individuals was 2%, significantly higher than that among the controls (0). Antibodies against A(H9N2) were not detected at baseline when A(H9N2) was not circulating in poultry. At follow-up, A(H9N2) was detected in poultry, and consequently, the seroprevalence among exposed humans was between 5.6 and 7.5% (J Infect Dis 2014 Oct 29. pii: jiu529. [Epub ahead of print]).

The number of people who died in Italy after being administered a flu vaccine made by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has rose to 13. The Italian Medical Agency (AIFA) has warned against panic and stressed there is not proof yet that it was the vaccine that led to the deaths. However, it said it had banned two batches of the product as a precautionary measure, pending further studies. ( ). A study was carried out to analyze all reports of cases of suspected drug-induced anemias from the Italian National Pharmacovigilance Database from January 2001 to December 2013. The active substances involved were 375 in 3,305 reports of drug-induced anemia; of these, 72% were reported as serious. In 35% of the reports, patients were in polytherapy. The study found a proportional reporting ratio value of 57.29 for peginterferon alfa-2a, 12.57 for ribavirin, and 13 for flu vaccine for the occurrence of autoimmune hemolyticanemia (Int J Clin Pharm 2014 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print]).

The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreak continues to spread in French Polynesia. Health authorities noted that, as of 1 Dec 2014, 18,352 people had consulted a physician for CHIKV infection since the beginning of the outbreak that started in the second week of October, 2014 ( ).

RNA-sensing toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate innate immunity and regulate antiviral response. A study showed that TLR3 regulates host immunity and the loss of TLR3 aggravates pathology in CHIKV infection. Susceptibility to CHIKV infection is markedly increased in human and mouse fibroblasts with defective TLR3 signaling. Also, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping analysis of CHIKV patients on TLR3 identified SNP rs6552950 to be associated with disease severity and CHIKV-specific neutralizing antibody response. These results demonstrate a key role for TLR3-mediated antibody response to CHIKV infection, virus replication, and pathology; providing a basis for future development of immunotherapeutics in vaccine development (EMBO Mol Med. 2014 Dec 1. pii: e201404459. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201404459. [Epub ahead of print]).

A new diagnostic test for Ebola is to be tested in Guinea. The trial, which is led by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, uses a "mobile suitcase laboratory" and will take place at an Ebola treatment center in Conakry, Guinea. It is portable, solar-powered and can be used at room temperature ( ). A group has developed real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays for the viruses Ebola, Marburg, Lassa, Guanarito, Machupo, Junin, Sabiα, Seoul, Puumala, Hantaan, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, and Rift Valley fever virus. The assays were optimized for identical reaction conditions and can be performed using several types of real-time PCR instruments, both capillary and plate, including a portable Ruggedized Advanced Pathogen Identification Device (R.A.P.I.D.) (Idaho Technology, Inc). They can be used for rapid identification of hemorrhagic filoviruses, arenaviruses, and bunyaviruses with sufficient sensitivity for first contact laboratory and diagnosis under field conditions (Epidemiol Mikrobiol Imunol 2014 Fall;63(3):238-244).

Vancouver Coastal Health authority says thatseafood products sold under the brand name "Bruno's Best" have been recalled because they could potentially grow Clostridium botulinum ( ). High pressure thermal (HPT) processing can be used to improve traditional preservation methods and increase food safety and durability.  C.botulinum Scientific Name Search  type E is commonly associated with aquatic environments in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Sporulation in nature is likely to occur under varying conditions including temperature and nutrient availability, which might affect resistance properties of resulting spores. A study determined the effect of sporulation temperature (13-38°C) and presence of cationson the resistance of three C.botulinum type E strains to differently intense hyperparathyroidism (HPT) treatments. The results suggested that sporulation temperature and cations influence changes in some common spore resistance structures, and may thus be useful in increasing effectiveness of food processing in terms of inactivation of C.botulinum type E spores (Food Microbiol 2015 Apr;46:434-42. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Sep 18).

The Epidemiological Surveillance of Rio Claro, Brazil, confirmed a death from spotted fever in November this year. The victim was 46 years old and was possibly infected in the region of the Mata Negra ("Black Forest", near Araras, Sao Paulo state), where he was fishing ( ). Rickettsia rickettsii infection is being increasingly recognized as an important cause of fatal acute illness in Brazil, where this tick-borne disease is designated Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). A study reported five fatal cases of BSF in employees of an animal shelter in an urban area in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil after a natural disaster on 11 January 2011. Three cases were confirmed by molecular analysis and two by epidemiological linkage. An investigation of BSF was performed in the animal shelter, and blood samples were collected from 115 employees and 117 randomly selected dogs. The presence of high levels (1,024-4,096) of antibodies against spotted fever group rickettsiae was found in three (26%) employees and 114 (975%) dogs. These findings emphasize the need to consider BSF as a possible cause of undifferentiated febrile illness (Epidemiol Infect 2014 Dec 8:1-5. [Epub ahead of print]).

Five laboratory-confirmed human cases of rabies have been reported in South Africa in 2014. A further five probable cases were also identified. All the cases resulted from dog bites and occurred in Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and north west provinces of South Africa ( ). Mass vaccination campaigns targeting dogs have been implemented around the world in an attempt to control or eliminate canine rabies. A study analyzed the vaccination and cost data for a campaign in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and found that the cost per dog vaccinated was $6.61 for mass campaigns. The cost of human post-exposure prophylaxis was approximately $64.50 per patient, and $333 on average for the 9% of patients who receive rabies immunoglobulin G (IgG). They also found that the districts that vaccinated the most dogs per capita also had the highest rates of human treatment (Transbound Emerg Dis 2014 Nov 21. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12283. [Epub ahead of print]).

The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand has warned campers of the danger of contracting scrub typhus while camping in the woods, given that as many as 8,000 people have fallen ill in 2014 after they were bitten by mites in the forests ( ).

In a study in Northern Thailand, field-collected rodents and fleas from 10 provinces were investigated for possible rickettsial pathogen infections. The 257 trapped-rodents belonged to 12 species. All flea specimens, removed from trapped rodents, were identified as Xenopsyllacheopis. Thirteen flea specimens (2.6 %) were found to be positive by PCR for R. typhi, but none for Orienta tsutsugamushi. Sixty-one rodent serum samples (23.7%) were positive for R. typhi specific IgM, IgG, or both, while 47 of the samples (18.3%) were positive for O. tsutsugamushi, indicating dual infection of rickettsial pathogens in the same natural hosts (J Vector Ecol 2014 Jun;39(1):182-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1948-7134.2014.12085.x).

An unauthorized cheese factory in the northern Portuguese town of Baiao, 370 km north of Lisbon, is the source of an outbreak of  Brucellosis More Details in the area, which has so far led to 13 confirmed infections, according to local press reports on 25 Nov 2014( . A total of 154 cattle farmers from the Vila Real (northern Portugal) municipality were interviewed in person to evaluate their knowledge of bovine brucellosis. It was found that the respondents with infected animals in their herds (odds ratio (OR) 5.5; 95% confidence interval 1.6, 19.5) were more likely to have greater knowledge about bovine brucellosis. Moreover, the knowledge that brucellosis is a zoonotic disease was also influenced by the number of farms already infected with brucellosis (P < 0.01). Conversely, the number of respondents who were unaware that bovine brucellosis is a zoonotic disease (25.3%) and a food borne pathogen (21.4%), and the fact that over half (54.5%) of the respondents believed that bovine brucellosis was a treatable infectious disease was associated with the absence of veterinary assistance on the farm (60.4%).

Infestations with helminths may actually be good for some individuals. Donor T lymphocyte transfer with hematopoietic stem cells suppresses residual tumor growth (graft-versus-tumor (GVT)) in cancer patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation (BMT). However, donor T cell reactivity to host organs cause severe and potentially lethal inflammation called graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). High-dose steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs are used to treat GVHD that have limited ability to control the inflammation while incurring long-term toxicity. Novel strategies are needed to modulate GVHD, preserve GVT, and improve the outcome of BMT. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) control alloantigen-sensitized inflammation of GVHD, sustain GVT, and prevent mortality in BMT. Helminths colonizing the alimentary tract dramatically increase the Treg activity, thereby modulating intestinal or systemic inflammatory responses. These observations led a group to hypothesize that helminths can regulate GVHD and maintain GVT in mice. Acute GVHD was induced in helminth (Heligmosomoidespolygyrus)-infected or uninfected BALB/c recipients of C57BL/6 donor grafts. Helminth infection suppressed donor T cell inflammatory cytokine generation and reduced GVHD-related mortality, but maintained GVT. H. polygyrus colonization promoted the survival of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-generating recipient Tregs after a conditioning regimen with total body irradiation and led to a TGF-β-dependent in vivo expansion/maturation of donor Tregs after BMT. Helminths did not control GVHD when T cells unresponsive to TGF-β-mediated immune regulation were used as donor T lymphocytes. These results suggest that helminths suppress acute GVHD using Tregs and TGF-β-dependent pathways in mice. Helminthic regulation of GVHD and GVT through intestinal immune conditioning may improve the outcome of BMT (J Immunol 2014 Dec 19. pii: 1303099. [Epub ahead of print])J Immunol.2014 Dec 19.pii: 1303099. [Epub ahead of print].


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