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Pathogens, Volume 12, Issue 11 (November 2023) – 100 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The Rabies Program, created in Brazil in 1973 by the Ministry of Health and Agriculture, includes free post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), dog vaccination campaigns, a joint surveillance system, and awareness. This study describes human rabies cases and the integrated actions taken. The descriptive analysis shows a decrease in dog-mediated human cases (147 to 0) and in dog cases (4500 to 7) and the multivariable statistical analysis estimates an association with temperature and identifies primary healthcare coverage as a protector. Significantly reducing the number of dog-mediated human rabies cases is possible through the efforts presented. A major challenge now is human cases transmitted via wild animals. Control actions should continue, including free PEP. View this paper
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20 pages, 2651 KiB  
Article
Transcriptional Profiling of SARS-CoV-2-Infected Calu-3 Cells Reveals Immune-Related Signaling Pathways
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1373; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111373 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
The COVID-19 disease, caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in late 2019 and rapidly spread worldwide, becoming a pandemic that infected millions of people and caused significant deaths. COVID-19 continues to be a major threat, and there is [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 disease, caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in late 2019 and rapidly spread worldwide, becoming a pandemic that infected millions of people and caused significant deaths. COVID-19 continues to be a major threat, and there is a need to deepen our understanding of the virus and its mechanisms of infection. To study the cellular responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection, we performed an RNA sequencing of infected vs. uninfected Calu-3 cells. Total RNA was extracted from infected (0.5 MOI) and control Calu-3 cells and converted to cDNA. Sequencing was performed, and the obtained reads were quality-analyzed and pre-processed. Differential expression was assessed with the EdgeR package, and functional enrichment was performed in EnrichR for Gene Ontology, KEGG pathways, and WikiPathways. A total of 1040 differentially expressed genes were found in infected vs. uninfected Calu-3 cells, of which 695 were up-regulated and 345 were down-regulated. Functional enrichment analyses revealed the predominant up-regulation of genes related to innate immune response, response to virus, inflammation, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. These transcriptional changes following SARS-CoV-2 infection may reflect a cellular response to the infection and help to elucidate COVID-19 pathogenesis, in addition to revealing potential biomarkers and drug targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 Research from an Interdisciplinary and Holistic View)
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12 pages, 261 KiB  
Review
Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: The Current and Future Prospects for Management and Prevention
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1372; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111372 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1061
Abstract
In the continued battle against one of the oldest enemies known to mankind, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the emergence of drug resistance to antituberculosis drugs among children poses multiple challenges for early detection and treatment. Molecular diagnostics and newer drugs like bedaquiline and [...] Read more.
In the continued battle against one of the oldest enemies known to mankind, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the emergence of drug resistance to antituberculosis drugs among children poses multiple challenges for early detection and treatment. Molecular diagnostics and newer drugs like bedaquiline and delamanid have strengthened the armamentarium and helped design convenient, safe, and child-friendly therapeutic regimens against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Preventive strategies like treatment of TB infection among children living in close contact with patients with drug-resistant TB and effective vaccines against TB are currently in the investigative stages of development and implementation. In addition to the implementation of recent novel diagnostics and treatment modalities, effective psychosocial and nutritional support, as well as dedicated monitoring for compliance and adverse effects, are crucial determinants for successful treatment outcomes in these children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Pediatric Infectious Diseases)
19 pages, 1233 KiB  
Review
Tick-Borne Co-Infections: Challenges in Molecular and Serologic Diagnoses
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1371; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111371 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1091
Abstract
Co-infections are a poorly understood aspect of tick-borne diseases. In the United States alone, nineteen different tick-borne pathogens have been identified. The majority of these agents are transmitted by only two tick species, Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum. Surveillance studies have demonstrated [...] Read more.
Co-infections are a poorly understood aspect of tick-borne diseases. In the United States alone, nineteen different tick-borne pathogens have been identified. The majority of these agents are transmitted by only two tick species, Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum. Surveillance studies have demonstrated the presence of multiple pathogens in individual ticks suggesting a risk of polymicrobial transmission to humans. However, relatively few studies have explored this relationship and its impact on human disease. One of the key factors for this deficiency are the intrinsic limitations associated with molecular and serologic assays employed for the diagnosis of tick-borne diseases. Limitations in the sensitivity, specificity and most importantly, the capacity for inclusion of multiple agents within a single assay represent the primary challenges for the accurate detection of polymicrobial tick-borne infections. This review will focus on outlining these limitations and discuss potential solutions for the enhanced diagnosis of tick-borne co-infections. Full article
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19 pages, 674 KiB  
Review
Arthropod-Borne Viruses in Mauritania: A Literature Review
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1370; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111370 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 858
Abstract
During the past four decades, recurrent outbreaks of various arthropod-borne viruses have been reported in Mauritania. This review aims to consolidate the current knowledge on the epidemiology of the major arboviruses circulating in Mauritania. Online databases including PubMed and Web of Science were [...] Read more.
During the past four decades, recurrent outbreaks of various arthropod-borne viruses have been reported in Mauritania. This review aims to consolidate the current knowledge on the epidemiology of the major arboviruses circulating in Mauritania. Online databases including PubMed and Web of Science were used to retrieve relevant published studies. The results showed that numerous arboviral outbreaks of variable magnitude occurred in almost all 13 regions of Mauritania, with Rift Valley fever (RVF), Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), and dengue (DEN) being the most common infections. Other arboviruses causing yellow fever (YF), chikungunya (CHIK), o’nyong-nyong (ONN), Semliki Forest (SF), West Nile fever (WNF), Bagaza (BAG), Wesselsbron (WSL), and Ngari (NRI) diseases have also been found circulating in humans and/or livestock in Mauritania. The average case fatality rates of CCHF and RVF were 28.7% and 21.1%, respectively. RVF outbreaks have often occurred after unusually heavy rainfalls, while CCHF epidemics have mostly been reported during the dry season. The central and southeastern regions of the country have carried the highest burden of RVF and CCHF. Sheep, cattle, and camels are the main animal reservoirs for the RVF and CCHF viruses. Culex antennatus and Cx. poicilipes mosquitoes and Hyalomma dromedarii, H. rufipes, and Rhipicephalus everesti ticks are the main vectors of these viruses. DEN outbreaks occurred mainly in the urban settings, including in Nouakchott, the capital city, and Aedes aegypti is likely the main mosquito vector. Therefore, there is a need to implement an integrated management strategy for the prevention and control of arboviral diseases based on sensitizing the high-risk occupational groups, such as slaughterhouse workers, shepherds, and butchers for zoonotic diseases, reinforcing vector surveillance and control, introducing rapid point-of-care diagnosis of arboviruses in high-risk areas, and improving the capacities to respond rapidly when the first signs of disease outbreak are identified. Full article
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32 pages, 15683 KiB  
Article
Network Pharmacology, Molecular Docking, and Molecular Dynamics Simulation to Elucidate the Molecular Targets and Potential Mechanism of Phoenix dactylifera (Ajwa Dates) against Candidiasis
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111369 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Candidiasis, caused by opportunistic fungal pathogens of the Candida genus, poses a significant threat to immunocompromised individuals. Natural compounds derived from medicinal plants have gained attention as potential sources of anti-fungal agents. Ajwa dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) have been recognized for their [...] Read more.
Candidiasis, caused by opportunistic fungal pathogens of the Candida genus, poses a significant threat to immunocompromised individuals. Natural compounds derived from medicinal plants have gained attention as potential sources of anti-fungal agents. Ajwa dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) have been recognized for their diverse phytochemical composition and therapeutic potential. In this study, we employed a multi-faceted approach to explore the anti-candidiasis potential of Ajwa dates’ phytochemicals. Utilizing network pharmacology, we constructed an interaction network to elucidate the intricate relationships between Ajwa dates phytoconstituents and the Candida-associated molecular targets of humans. Our analysis revealed key nodes in the network (STAT3, IL-2, PTPRC, STAT1, CASP1, ALB, TP53, TLR4, TNF and PPARG), suggesting the potential modulation of several crucial processes (the regulation of the response to a cytokine stimulus, regulation of the inflammatory response, positive regulation of cytokine production, cellular response to external stimulus, etc.) and fungal pathways (Th17 cell differentiation, the Toll-like receptor signaling pathway, the C-type lectin receptor signaling pathway and necroptosis). To validate these findings, molecular docking studies were conducted, revealing the binding affinities of the phytochemicals towards selected Candida protein targets of humans (ALB–rutin (−9.7 kJ/mol), STAT1–rutin (−9.2 kJ/mol), STAT3–isoquercetin (−8.7 kJ/mol), IL2–β-carotene (−8.5 kJ/mol), CASP1–β-carotene (−8.2 kJ/mol), TP53–isoquercetin (−8.8 kJ/mol), PPARG–luteolin (−8.3 kJ/mol), TNF–βcarotene (−7.7 kJ/mol), TLR4–rutin (−7.4 kJ/mol) and PTPRC–rutin (−7.0 kJ/mol)). Furthermore, molecular dynamics simulations of rutin–ALB and rutin-STAT1 complex were performed to gain insights into the stability and dynamics of the identified ligand–target complexes over time. Overall, the results not only contribute to the understanding of the molecular interactions underlying the anti-fungal potential of specific phytochemicals of Ajwa dates in humans but also provide a rational basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies against candidiasis in humans. This study underscores the significance of network pharmacology, molecular docking and dynamics simulations in accelerating the discovery of natural products as effective anti-fungal agents. However, further experimental validation of the identified compounds is warranted to translate these findings into practical therapeutic applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Approaches in Mechanisms of Pathogenesis)
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16 pages, 2598 KiB  
Article
Identifying Knowledge Gaps through the Systematic Review of Temperature-Driven Variability in the Competence of Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus for Chikungunya Virus
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111368 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1163
Abstract
Temperature is a well-known effector of several transmission factors of mosquito-borne viruses, including within mosquito dynamics. These dynamics are often characterized by vector competence and the extrinsic incubation period (EIP). Vector competence is the intrinsic ability of a mosquito population to become infected [...] Read more.
Temperature is a well-known effector of several transmission factors of mosquito-borne viruses, including within mosquito dynamics. These dynamics are often characterized by vector competence and the extrinsic incubation period (EIP). Vector competence is the intrinsic ability of a mosquito population to become infected with and transmit a virus, while EIP is the time it takes for the virus to reach the salivary glands and be expectorated following an infectious bloodmeal. Temperatures outside the optimal range act on life traits, decreasing transmission potential, while increasing temperature within the optimal range correlates to increasing vector competence and a decreased EIP. These relatively well-studied effects of other Aedes borne viruses (dengue and Zika) are used to make predictions about transmission efficiency, including the challenges presented by urban heat islands and climate change. However, the knowledge of temperature and chikungunya (CHIKV) dynamics within its two primary vectors—Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus—remains less characterized, even though CHIKV remains a virus of public-health importance. Here, we review the literature and summarize the state of the literature on CHIKV and temperature dependence of vector competence and EIP and use these data to demonstrate how the remaining knowledge gap might confound the ability to adequately predict and, thus, prepare for future outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogens in 2023)
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24 pages, 5606 KiB  
Article
Implications of Flagellar Attachment Zone Proteins TcGP72 and TcFLA-1BP in Morphology, Proliferation, and Intracellular Dynamics in Trypanosoma cruzi
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1367; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111367 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 827
Abstract
The highly adaptable parasite Trypanosoma cruzi undergoes complex developmental stages to exploit host organisms effectively. Each stage involves the expression of specific proteins and precise intracellular structural organization. These morphological changes depend on key structures that control intracellular components’ growth and redistribution. In [...] Read more.
The highly adaptable parasite Trypanosoma cruzi undergoes complex developmental stages to exploit host organisms effectively. Each stage involves the expression of specific proteins and precise intracellular structural organization. These morphological changes depend on key structures that control intracellular components’ growth and redistribution. In trypanosomatids, the flagellar attachment zone (FAZ) connects the flagellum to the cell body and plays a pivotal role in cell expansion and structural rearrangement. While FAZ proteins are well-studied in other trypanosomatids, there is limited knowledge about specific components, organization, and function in T. cruzi. This study employed the CRISPR/Cas9 system to label endogenous genes and conduct deletions to characterize FAZ-specific proteins during epimastigote cell division and metacyclogenesis. In T. cruzi, these proteins exhibited distinct organization compared to their counterparts in T. brucei. TcGP72 is anchored to the flagellar membrane, while TcFLA-1BP is anchored to the membrane lining the cell body. We identified unique features in the organization and function of the FAZ in T. cruzi compared to other trypanosomatids. Deleting these proteins had varying effects on intracellular structures, cytokinesis, and metacyclogenesis. This study reveals specific variations that directly impact the success of cell division and differentiation of this parasite. Full article
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10 pages, 4479 KiB  
Article
An Epidemiological Update on Anisakis Nematode Larvae in Red Mullet (Mullus barbatus) from the Ligurian Sea
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1366; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111366 - 18 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Red mullet (Mullus barbatus) is a commercially relevant fish species, yet epidemiological data on anisakid nematode infestation in M. barbatus are scarce. To fill this gap, we report the occurrence of Anisakis larvae in red mullet in the Ligurian Sea (western [...] Read more.
Red mullet (Mullus barbatus) is a commercially relevant fish species, yet epidemiological data on anisakid nematode infestation in M. barbatus are scarce. To fill this gap, we report the occurrence of Anisakis larvae in red mullet in the Ligurian Sea (western Mediterranean). This survey was performed between 2018 and 2020 on fresh specimens of M. barbatus (n = 838) from two commercial fishing areas (Imperia, n = 190; Savona, n = 648) in the Ligurian Sea. Larvae morphologically identified as Anisakis spp. (n = 544) were characterized using PCR-RFLP as Anisakis pegreffii. The overall prevalence of A. pegreffii was 24.46%; the prevalence at each sampling site was 6.32% for Imperia and 29.78% for Savona. Furthermore, 3300 larvae of Hysterothylacium spp. were detected in the visceral organs of fish coinfected with A. pegreffii, showing that coinfection with two parasitic species is not rare. This study provides a timely update on the prevalence of ascaridoid nematodes in red mullet of the Ligurian Sea, an important commercial fishing area in the Mediterranean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anisakiasis and Anisakidae)
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12 pages, 1359 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of the Vaccine Candidate Based on the P0 Peptide against Dermacentor nitens and Ixodes ricinus Ticks
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1365; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111365 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 966
Abstract
The control of ticks through vaccination offers a sustainable alternative to the use of chemicals that cause contamination and the selection of resistant tick strains. However, only a limited number of anti-tick vaccines have reached commercial realization. In this sense, an antigen effective [...] Read more.
The control of ticks through vaccination offers a sustainable alternative to the use of chemicals that cause contamination and the selection of resistant tick strains. However, only a limited number of anti-tick vaccines have reached commercial realization. In this sense, an antigen effective against different tick species is a desirable target for developing such vaccines. A peptide derived from the tick P0 protein (pP0) conjugated to a carrier protein has been demonstrated to be effective against the Rhipicephalus microplus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and Amblyomma mixtum tick species. The aim of this work was to assess the efficacy of this peptide when conjugated to the Bm86 protein against Dermacentor nitens and Ixodes ricinus ticks. An RNAi experiment using P0 dsRNA from I. ricinus showed a dramatic reduction in the feeding of injected female ticks on guinea pigs. In the follow-up vaccination experiments, rabbits were immunized with the pP0-Bm86 conjugate and challenged simultaneously with larvae, nymphs, and the adults of I. ricinus ticks. In the same way, horses were immunized with the pP0-Bm86 conjugate and challenged with D. nitens larva. The pP0-Bm86 conjugate showed efficacies of 63% and 55% against I. ricinus and D. nitens ticks, respectively. These results, combined with previous reports of efficacy for this conjugate, show the promising potential for its development as a broad-spectrum anti-tick vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Tick Research)
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15 pages, 5807 KiB  
Article
Cardiac Abnormalities in a Predictive Mouse Model of Chagas Disease
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111364 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 962
Abstract
Chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC) results from infection with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is a prevalent cause of heart disease in endemic countries. We previously found that cardiac fibrosis can vary widely in C3H/HeN mice chronically infected with T. cruzi JR strain, [...] Read more.
Chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC) results from infection with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is a prevalent cause of heart disease in endemic countries. We previously found that cardiac fibrosis can vary widely in C3H/HeN mice chronically infected with T. cruzi JR strain, mirroring the spectrum of heart disease in humans. In this study, we examined functional cardiac abnormalities in this host:parasite combination to determine its potential as an experimental model for CCC. We utilised electrocardiography (ECG) to monitor T. cruzi-infected mice and determine whether ECG markers could be correlated with cardiac function abnormalities. We found that the C3H/HeN:JR combination frequently displayed early onset CCC indicators, such as sinus bradycardia and right bundle branch block, as well as prolonged PQ, PR, RR, ST, and QT intervals in the acute stage. Our model exhibited high levels of cardiac inflammation and enhanced iNOS expression in the acute stage, but denervation did not appear to have a role in pathology. These results demonstrate the potential of the C3H/HeN:JR host:parasite combination as a model for CCC that could be used for screening new compounds targeted at cardiac remodelling and for examining the potential of antiparasitic drugs to prevent or alleviate CCC development and progression. Full article
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12 pages, 4175 KiB  
Article
Saline-Tolerant Pathogenic Acanthamoeba spp. Isolated from a Geothermal Power Plant
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1363; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111363 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 769
Abstract
Few studies have been conducted in the cooling systems of power plants; they have focused on Naegleria fowleri, leaving a gap in the knowledge of other pathogenic free-living amoebae in this environment. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of [...] Read more.
Few studies have been conducted in the cooling systems of power plants; they have focused on Naegleria fowleri, leaving a gap in the knowledge of other pathogenic free-living amoebae in this environment. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of saline-tolerant pathogenic Acanthamoeba in a geothermal power plant. The identification of isolated amoebae at genus level was carried out, observing their morphological characteristics; the determination of genotype and species of Acanthamoeba was performed via molecular biology (PCR). Water temperature ranged from 18 to 43 °C and conductivity from 4.0 × 104 to 8.7 × 104 μS/cm; this last value was greater than the seawater value. Only five amoeba genera were found. Acanthamoeba was in all the sampling sites, showing high saline tolerance. The high temperature, but mainly high conductivity, were the environmental conditions that determined the presence of pathogenic free-living amoebae in the hot water. All the strains of Acanthamoeba culbertsoni killed the mice, having a mortality of 40 to 100%. Acanthamoeba genotypes T10 and T5 were identified, T10 is rarely isolated from the environment, while T5 is more frequent. This is the first time that genotypes T5 and T10 have been reported in the environment in Mexico. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Free-Living Amoebae Infections)
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18 pages, 2348 KiB  
Article
Viremia and Inflammatory Cytokines in Dengue: Interleukin-2 as a Biomarker of Infection, and Interferon-α and -γ as Markers of Primary versus Secondary Infection
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1362; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111362 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1011
Abstract
The pathogenesis of Dengue virus (DENV) infection is complex and involves viral replication that may trigger an inflammatory response leading to severe disease. Here, we investigated the correlation between viremia and cytokine levels in the serum of DENV-infected patients. Between 2013 and 2014, [...] Read more.
The pathogenesis of Dengue virus (DENV) infection is complex and involves viral replication that may trigger an inflammatory response leading to severe disease. Here, we investigated the correlation between viremia and cytokine levels in the serum of DENV-infected patients. Between 2013 and 2014, 138 patients with a diagnosis of acute-phase DENV infection and 22 patients with a non-dengue acute febrile illness (AFI) were enrolled. Through a focus-forming assay (FFU), we determined the viremia levels in DENV-infected patients and observed a peak in the first two days after the onset of symptoms. A higher level of viremia was observed in primary versus secondary DENV-infected patients. Furthermore, no correlation was observed between viremia and inflammatory cytokine levels in DENV-infected patients. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis revealed that IL-2 has the potential to act as a marker to distinguish dengue from other febrile illnesses and is positively correlated with Th1 cytokines. IFN-α and IFN-γ appear to be potential markers of primary versus secondary infection in DENV-infected patients, respectively. The results also indicate that viremia levels are not the main driving force behind inflammation in dengue and that cytokines could be used as infection biomarkers and for differentiation between primary versus secondary infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitic Pathogens)
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22 pages, 5745 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Potential Role of Cats (Felis catus) as Generators of Relevant SARS-CoV-2 Lineages during the Pandemic
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1361; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111361 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Several questions regarding the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 remain poorly elucidated. One of these questions is the possible evolutionary impact of SARS-CoV-2 after the infection in domestic animals. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential role of cats as generators of relevant [...] Read more.
Several questions regarding the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 remain poorly elucidated. One of these questions is the possible evolutionary impact of SARS-CoV-2 after the infection in domestic animals. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the potential role of cats as generators of relevant SARS-CoV-2 lineages during the pandemic. A total of 105 full-length genome viral sequences obtained from naturally infected cats during the pandemic were evaluated by distinct evolutionary algorithms. Analyses were enhanced, including a set of highly related SARS-CoV-2 sequences recovered from human populations. Our results showed the apparent high susceptibility of cats to the infection SARS-CoV-2 compared with other animal species. Evolutionary analyses indicated that the phylogenomic characteristics displayed by cat populations were influenced by the dominance of specific SARS-CoV-2 genetic groups affecting human populations. However, disparate dN/dS rates at some genes between populations recovered from cats and humans suggested that infection in these two species may suggest a different evolutionary constraint for SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, the branch selection analysis showed evidence of the potential role of natural selection in the emergence of five distinct cat lineages during the pandemic. Although these lineages were apparently irrelevant to public health during the pandemic, our results suggested that additional studies are needed to understand the role of other animal species in the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 during the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Infections in Domestic Animals)
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12 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
The Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in an Exposed Human Population Is Biased by the Immunoassay Used: Implications in Serosurveillance
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111360 - 16 Nov 2023
Viewed by 720
Abstract
The presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was examined over 7 months in a population of essential service workers exposed during the first epidemic wave in Madrid (Spain). Results obtained with different serological assays were compared. Firstly, serum samples obtained in April 2020 were analyzed [...] Read more.
The presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was examined over 7 months in a population of essential service workers exposed during the first epidemic wave in Madrid (Spain). Results obtained with different serological assays were compared. Firstly, serum samples obtained in April 2020 were analyzed using eleven SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection methods, including seven ELISAs, two CLIAs and two LFAs. While all of the ELISA tests and the Roche eCLIA method showed good performance, it was poorer for the Abbott CLIA and LFA tests. Sera from 115 workers with serologically positive results in April were collected 2 and 7 months after the first sampling and were analyzed using five of the tests previously assessed. The results showed that while some ELISA tests consistently detected the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies even 7 months after first detection, other methods, such as the Abbott CLIA test, showed an important reduction in sensitivity for these mature antibodies. The sensitivity increased after establishing new cut-off values, calculated taking into account both recent and old infections, suggesting that an adjustment of assay parameters may improve the detection of individuals exposed to the infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
13 pages, 911 KiB  
Article
Molecular Epidemiology and Genetic Diversity of the Enteric Protozoan Parasite Blastocystis sp. in the Northern Egypt Population
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1359; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111359 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Blastocystis sp. is currently reported as the most frequent single-celled eukaryote inhabiting the intestinal tract of humans and a wide range of animal groups. Its prevalence is especially higher in developing countries linked with fecal peril. Despite a growing interest in this enteric [...] Read more.
Blastocystis sp. is currently reported as the most frequent single-celled eukaryote inhabiting the intestinal tract of humans and a wide range of animal groups. Its prevalence is especially higher in developing countries linked with fecal peril. Despite a growing interest in this enteric protozoan, certain geographical regions potentially at high risk of infection, such as North Africa, remain under-investigated. Therefore, a large-scale molecular epidemiological survey, including 825 participants presenting digestive disorders or not, was conducted in five governorates located in Northern Egypt. A real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay was performed to identify the parasite in stool samples, followed by direct sequencing of the positive PCR products for subtyping and genotyping of the corresponding isolates. The overall prevalence was shown to reach 72.4% in the Egyptian cohort, coupled with a variable frequency depending on the governorate (41.3 to 100%). Among the 597 positive participants, a large proportion of them (39.4%) presented mixed infections, as determined by sequencing. The remaining individuals with single infection were predominantly colonized by subtype 3 (ST3) (48.3%) followed by ST1 (39.5%), ST2 (10.8%), ST14 (1.1%), and ST10 (0.3%). This was the first report of ST10 and ST14 in North Africa. Age, sex, digestive symptoms, and health status of the participants or contact with animals were not identified as significant risk factors for Blastocystis sp. occurrence or affecting the ST distribution. In contrast, substantial variations in the prevalence and ST distribution of the parasite were reported according to the governorate. Genotyping of isolates revealed the lower intra-ST diversity for ST3, followed by ST1 and then ST2. By combining subtyping and genotyping data, a widespread inter-human transmission was strongly suggested for ST3 within the Egyptian cohort. Regarding ST1 and ST2, additional animal or environmental sources of infection by these STs have been proposed, whereas the few cases of colonization by ST10 and ST14 were likely the result of zoonotic transmission from bovid. These investigations clearly emphasized the active circulation of Blastocystis sp. in Northern Egypt and the necessity for health authorities to implement prevention campaigns towards the population and quality control of drinking water, with the aim of reducing the burden of this enteric protozoan in this endemic country. Full article
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17 pages, 676 KiB  
Article
Molecular Characterization of Hetero-Pathogenic and Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli Pathotypes in Diarrheic Children under Five Years and Exposure Environment in Ogun State, South-West Nigeria
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1358; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111358 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Background: Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) is one of the most common etiological agents of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Therefore, determining the source(s) of DEC in index cases and exposure environment is important for developing a prevention strategy. The current [...] Read more.
Background: Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) is one of the most common etiological agents of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Therefore, determining the source(s) of DEC in index cases and exposure environment is important for developing a prevention strategy. The current study aims to investigate the prevalence of DEC among children under 5 years and their exposure environment in Ogun State, Nigeria. Methods: Samples from 228 diarrheic children and their exposure environment were collected and screened for E. coli. Bio-chemically compatible distinct colonies were molecularly characterized using a 7-virulence-gene multiplex PCR with virulence factors (VFs) indicative of four pathotypes of E. coli: enterotoxigenic (ETEC), verotoxigenic (VTEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), and enteroinvasive (EIEC). Representative pathotypes were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility and over-expressed efflux pump assays. Results: One or more VFs typical of specific pathotypes were detected in 25.9% (59/228) diarrhea cases consisting of ETEC (21.5%) and EPEC (0.4%), while hetero-pathogenic pathotypes were found in 4.0% of cases. Of the food sources, 27.9% (101/362) were positive for DEC, of which ETEC accounted for 21.0%, VTEC 1.9%, EPEC 0.6%, EIEC 0.6%, and hetero-pathogenic pathotypes were 3.9%. Furthermore, ETEC was the only pathotype detected in the wastewater (4/183). Interestingly, the consumption of street-vended foods was the most significant (p = 0.04) risk factor for DEC infection in the study area. A total of 73.3% of selected DEC pathotypes showed resistance to antimicrobials, while 27.5% demonstrated over-expression of efflux pump activity. Conclusion: The high prevalence of ETEC across all sources and the occurrence of hetero-pathogenic DEC in diarrheic children and food sources emphasizes the importance of establishing a better strategy for the control and prevention of diarrhea among children in low- and medium-income households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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19 pages, 23163 KiB  
Review
Major Pathogens Affecting Carob in the Mediterranean Basin: Current Knowledge and Outlook in Italy
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1357; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111357 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 878
Abstract
The main pathogens affecting the carob (Ceratonia siliqua) tree in the Mediterranean basin are described in this overview. The most widespread diseases periodically occurring in carob orchards are powdery mildew (Pseudoidium ceratoniae) and cercospora leaf spot (Pseudocercospora ceratoniae [...] Read more.
The main pathogens affecting the carob (Ceratonia siliqua) tree in the Mediterranean basin are described in this overview. The most widespread diseases periodically occurring in carob orchards are powdery mildew (Pseudoidium ceratoniae) and cercospora leaf spot (Pseudocercospora ceratoniae). The causal agents of “black leaf spots” (e.g., Pestalotiopsis, Phyllosticta and Septoria spp.) are responsible for symptoms similar to those previously mentioned for foliar diseases, but are reported in carob orchards at a negligible frequency. Likewise, canker and branch diebacks caused by fungal species belonging to Botryosphaeriaceae are almost never recorded. Among the rots of wood tissues that may compromise old carob specimens, “brown cubical rot” caused by Laetiporus sulphureus is the most widespread and recurrent issue; this pathogen is also well-known for producing edible fruit bodies that are appreciated for pharmaceutical and industrial purposes. On the other hand, “white rots” caused by Fomes and Ganoderma species are less common and reported for the first time in this review. Gall-like protuberances on twigs of uncertain aetiology or tumors on branches associated with Rhizobium radiobacter are described, although these symptoms are seldom detected, as they are also observed for necrotic leaf spots caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. ciccaronei. A worldwide list of pathogens not yet recorded but at high risk of potential introduction in Italian carob-producing areas is also provided. Finally, concerns related to new phytopathogenic fungi vectored by the invasive Xylosandrus compactus ambrosia beetle are addressed. All the described pathogens could become limiting factors for carob production in the near future, because they could be favored by high-density orchards, the increasing global network of trade exchanges, and the high frequency at which extreme events related to climate change occur globally. Thus, symptoms and signs, causal agents, epidemiology, and, whenever applicable, recommendations for disease prevention and management are provided in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevention and Management of Tree Diseases)
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11 pages, 1576 KiB  
Article
Predominance of Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Mycoplasma in Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex in Dogs
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1356; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111356 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1213
Abstract
Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) is caused by different viruses and bacteria. Viruses associated with CIRDC include canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine influenza virus (CIV), canine herpesvirus type 1 (CHV-1), canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV), and canine parainfluenza [...] Read more.
Canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) is caused by different viruses and bacteria. Viruses associated with CIRDC include canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), canine distemper virus (CDV), canine influenza virus (CIV), canine herpesvirus type 1 (CHV-1), canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV), and canine parainfluenza virus (CPIV). Bacteria associated with CIRDC include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus), and Mycoplasma spp. The present study examined the prevalence of CIRDC pathogens in specimens received by a Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Georgia, USA., from 2018 to 2022. Out of 459 cases, viral agents were detected in 34% of cases and bacterial agents were detected in 58% of cases. A single pathogen was detected in 31% of cases, while two or more pathogens were identified in 24% of cases. The percentages of viral agents identified were CAV-2 (4%), CDV (3%), CPIV (16%), CRCoV (7%), and CIV (2%). The percentages of bacterial agents were B. bronchiseptica (10%), Mycoplasma canis (24%), Mycoplasma cynos (21%), and S. zooepidemicus (2%). Over the five-year period, the positive cases ranged from 2–4% for CAV-2, 1–7% for CDV, 1–4% for CHV-1, 9–22% for CPIV, 4–13% for CRCoV, and 1–4% for CIV. Overall, the most prevalent pathogens associated with CIRDC were CPIV, M. canis, and M. cynos. Full article
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12 pages, 2410 KiB  
Article
Serosurvey of Immunity to Monkeypox (Mpox) Virus Antigens in People Living with HIV in South Florida
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1355; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111355 - 15 Nov 2023
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV) belonging to the Orthopoxvirus (OPXV) genus, which includes smallpox and vaccinia virus (VACV). A global mpox outbreak which began in May 2022 has infected more than 88,000 people. VACV-based vaccines provide protection [...] Read more.
Mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus (MPXV) belonging to the Orthopoxvirus (OPXV) genus, which includes smallpox and vaccinia virus (VACV). A global mpox outbreak which began in May 2022 has infected more than 88,000 people. VACV-based vaccines provide protection against mpox disease but complicate the use of serological assays for disease surveillance. We tested the reactivity of serum IgG from Modified Vaccinia Ankara-Bavarian Nordic (MVA-BN)-vaccinated (n = 12) and convalescent mpox-infected (n = 5) individuals and uninfected, non-vaccinated controls (n = 32) to MPXV/VACV proteins A27, A29, A30, A35, B16, B21, C19, D6, E8, H3, I1, and L1. Using a subset of MPXV antigen-based assays (A35, B16, E8, H3, and I1), we conducted a mpox antibody survey of serum from 214 individuals, including 117 (54.7%) people with HIV (PWH) collected between June 2022 and January 2023, excluding individuals who reported recent mpox vaccination or infection, and 32 young, pre-pandemic controls. The convalescent sera reacted strongly to most tested antigens. Vaccine sera responses were limited to A35, E8, H3, and I1. IgG antibody to E8 was markedly elevated in all vaccinated individuals. B16 IgG showed high sensitivity (100% [95% CI: 56.55–100.0%]) and specificity (91.67% [64.61–99.57%]) for distinguishing infection from MVA-BN vaccination, while E8 IgG showed 100% [75.75–100] sensitivity and 100% [79.61–100] specificity for detecting and distinguishing vaccinated individuals from controls. We identified 11/214 (5.1%) recent serum samples and 1/32 (3.1%) young, pre-pandemic controls that were seropositive for ≥2 MPXV antibodies, including 6.8% of PWH. Seropositivity was 10/129 (7.8%) among males compared to 1/85 (1.2%) among females. Our findings provide insight into the humoral immune response to mpox and demonstrate the usefulness of inexpensive, antigen-based serosurveillance in identifying asymptomatic or unreported infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Epidemic of Mpox)
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14 pages, 1179 KiB  
Review
Bee Venom and Its Two Main Components—Melittin and Phospholipase A2—As Promising Antiviral Drug Candidates
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1354; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111354 - 15 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1020
Abstract
Viruses are known to infect most types of organisms. In humans, they can cause several diseases that range from mild to severe. Although many antiviral therapies have been developed, viral infections continue to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Viruses are known to infect most types of organisms. In humans, they can cause several diseases that range from mild to severe. Although many antiviral therapies have been developed, viral infections continue to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Therefore, the discovery of new and effective antiviral agents is desperately needed. Animal venoms are a rich source of bioactive molecules found in natural goods that have been used since ancient times in alternative medicine to treat a variety of human diseases. Recently, and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have regained their interest in the possible use of natural products, such as bee venom (BV), as a potential antiviral agent to treat viral infections. BV is known to exert many therapeutic activities such as anti-proliferative, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. However, there is limited discussion of the antiviral activity of BV in the literature. Therefore, this review aims to highlight the antiviral properties of BV and its two primary constituents, melittin (MEL) and phospholipase A2 (PLA2), against a variety of enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. Finally, the innovative strategies used to reduce the toxicity of BV and its two compounds for the development of new antiviral treatments are also considered. Full article
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14 pages, 2567 KiB  
Article
Production of Proinflammatory Cytokines by CD4+ and CD8+ T Cells in Response to Mycobacterial Antigens among Children and Adults with Tuberculosis
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1353; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111353 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 760
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains a leading cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Young children are at high risk of TB following Mtb exposure, and this vulnerability is secondary to insufficient host immunity during early life. Our primary objective was [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains a leading cause of pediatric morbidity and mortality. Young children are at high risk of TB following Mtb exposure, and this vulnerability is secondary to insufficient host immunity during early life. Our primary objective was to compare CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell production of proinflammatory cytokines IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF-alpha in response to six mycobacterial antigens and superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) between Ugandan adults with confirmed TB (n = 41) and young Ugandan children with confirmed (n = 12) and unconfirmed TB (n = 41), as well as non-TB lower respiratory tract infection (n = 39). Flow cytometry was utilized to identify and quantify CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell cytokine production in response to each mycobacterial antigen and SEB. We found that the frequency of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell production of cytokines in response to SEB was reduced in all pediatric cohorts when compared to adults. However, T-cell responses to Mtb-specific antigens ESAT6 and CFP10 were equivalent between children and adults with confirmed TB. In contrast, cytokine production in response to ESAT6 and CFP10 was limited in children with unconfirmed TB and absent in children with non-TB lower respiratory tract infection. Of the five additional mycobacterial antigens tested, PE3 and PPE15 were broadly recognized regardless of TB disease classification and age. Children with confirmed TB exhibited robust proinflammatory CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses to Mtb-specific antigens prior to the initiation of TB treatment. Our findings suggest that adaptive proinflammatory immune responses to Mtb, characterized by T-cell production of IFN-gamma, IL-2, and TNF-alpha, are not impaired during early life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunological Responses and Immune Defense Mechanisms)
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21 pages, 1863 KiB  
Review
Mapping the Landscape of Health Research Priorities for Effective Pandemic Preparedness in Human Mpox Virus Disease
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111352 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1102
Abstract
The global re-emergence of monkeypox (Mpox) in non-endemic regions in 2022 has highlighted the critical importance of timely virus detection and robust public health surveillance in assessing outbreaks and their impact. Despite significant Mpox research being conducted worldwide, there is an urgent need [...] Read more.
The global re-emergence of monkeypox (Mpox) in non-endemic regions in 2022 has highlighted the critical importance of timely virus detection and robust public health surveillance in assessing outbreaks and their impact. Despite significant Mpox research being conducted worldwide, there is an urgent need to identify knowledge gaps and prioritize key research areas in order to create a roadmap that maximizes the utilization of available resources. The present research article provides a comprehensive mapping of health research priorities aimed at advancing our understanding of Mpox and developing effective interventions for managing its outbreaks, and, as evidenced by the fact that achieving this objective requires close interdisciplinary collaboration. The key research priorities observed were identifying variants responsible for outbreaks; discovering novel biomarkers for diagnostics; establishing suitable animal models; investigating reservoirs and transmission routes; promoting the One Health approach; identifying targets for vaccination; gaining insight into the attitudes, experiences, and practices of key communities, including stigma; and ensuring equity during public health emergencies. The findings of this study hold significant implications for decision making by multilateral partners, including research funders, public health practitioners, policy makers, clinicians, and civil society, which will facilitate the development of a comprehensive plan not only for Mpox but also for other similar life-threatening viral infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mpox in the 21st Century)
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18 pages, 1879 KiB  
Article
FeliLeish: An Update on Feline Leishmaniosis and Factors Associated with Infection in Different Feline Populations from Italy
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1351; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111351 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 784
Abstract
Feline leishmaniosis is a worldwide infection caused by the parasite of the genus Leishmania transmitted by sandflies. Based on the complexity of epidemiology and diagnosis of this infection, the role of cats in the epidemiology and clinical impact of disease is still under [...] Read more.
Feline leishmaniosis is a worldwide infection caused by the parasite of the genus Leishmania transmitted by sandflies. Based on the complexity of epidemiology and diagnosis of this infection, the role of cats in the epidemiology and clinical impact of disease is still under debate. By using serological and molecular methods, this study aimed to update the epidemiology of the infection in different feline populations from various areas of Italy and to study factors associated with the infection. Of 1490 cats tested, 124 (8.3%, 95% CI 6.9–9.9) were infected, 96 had only specific L. infantum IgG, 18 were only positive for parasite DNA and 10 were both IFAT and qPCR positive. Risk factors for infection were sampling in the winter season (OR = 3.2, 95% CI 2.2–4.8), originating from the Sicily region (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.3–3.0), male gender (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–3.2), outdoor lifestyle (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 0.9–5.6) and seropositivity for FIV antibodies (OR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.2–4.2), while sampling in the spring (OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.3–0.7) and summer (OR = 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.7), and originating from the Lazio region (OR = 0.1, 95% CI 0.05–0.4) were protective factors for infection. In endemic areas, Leishmania infection should be investigated by using both serological and molecular methods and cats should be protected from sandfly bites, particularly if they are FIV infected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leishmaniasis: Transmission, Pathogenesis and Treatment)
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22 pages, 878 KiB  
Review
Pathogen-Mediated Alterations of Insect Chemical Communication: From Pheromones to Behavior
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1350; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111350 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Pathogens can influence the physiology and behavior of both animal and plant hosts in a manner that promotes their own transmission and dispersal. Recent research focusing on insects has revealed that these manipulations can extend to the production of pheromones, which are pivotal [...] Read more.
Pathogens can influence the physiology and behavior of both animal and plant hosts in a manner that promotes their own transmission and dispersal. Recent research focusing on insects has revealed that these manipulations can extend to the production of pheromones, which are pivotal in chemical communication. This review provides an overview of the current state of research and available data concerning the impacts of bacterial, viral, fungal, and eukaryotic pathogens on chemical communication across different insect orders. While our understanding of the influence of pathogenic bacteria on host chemical profiles is still limited, viral infections have been shown to induce behavioral changes in the host, such as altered pheromone production, olfaction, and locomotion. Entomopathogenic fungi affect host chemical communication by manipulating cuticular hydrocarbons and pheromone production, while various eukaryotic parasites have been observed to influence insect behavior by affecting the production of pheromones and other chemical cues. The effects induced by these infections are explored in the context of the evolutionary advantages they confer to the pathogen. The molecular mechanisms governing the observed pathogen-mediated behavioral changes, as well as the dynamic and mutually influential relationships between the pathogen and its host, are still poorly understood. A deeper comprehension of these mechanisms will prove invaluable in identifying novel targets in the perspective of practical applications aimed at controlling detrimental insect species. Full article
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13 pages, 951 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Mastitis Patterns in Serbian Dairy Cows: Blood Serum Metabolic Profile and Milk Composition Parameters
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1349; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111349 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 737
Abstract
Mastitis is one of the most important diseases in dairy cows, leading to substantial economic losses associated with decreased milk production and quality. Early detection of changes in metabolic and milk parameters is crucial for maintaining animal welfare and milk quality. This study [...] Read more.
Mastitis is one of the most important diseases in dairy cows, leading to substantial economic losses associated with decreased milk production and quality. Early detection of changes in metabolic and milk parameters is crucial for maintaining animal welfare and milk quality. This study aimed to detect patterns in metabolic and milk composition parameters in Serbian dairy cows affected by mastitis. It also examined the relationship between these factors in cows with clinical and subclinical mastitis, as well as in healthy cows. This study included 60 Holstein-Friesian cows with the same body score condition that were in the same lactation phase. They were divided into three groups of 20: clinical and subclinical mastitis and a control group of healthy cows. The categorization was based on clinical udder health and the California mastitis test. Blood serum metabolic profiles were measured using a Rayto spectrophotometer (Shenzhen, China), and milk composition was determined using MilcoScanTM (Foss, Hilleroed, Denmark) and FossomaticTM (Foss, Hilleroed, Denmark) instruments. Significant increases in non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), total protein, globulin, urea, total bilirubin, magnesium, and enzyme activity were noted in mastitis-affected cows compared to healthy ones. Additionally, mastitis-affected cows had higher total protein and globulin levels and increased somatic cell counts (SCCs), while albumin concentrations were decreased. Furthermore, a negative correlation between total protein and lactose suggested inflammation leading to reduced lactose levels due to cell damage, infection, and lactose use by mastitis pathogens. Hence, indicators of the energy and protein status of the metabolic profile, together with the chemical composition of milk, may be significant diagnostic tools for detecting, monitoring, and predicting the outcome of mastitis in cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Mastitis in Dairy Ruminants)
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3 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Flood-Associated, Land-to-Sea Pathogens’ Transfer: A One Health Perspective
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1348; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111348 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 999
Abstract
Similarly to many other countries across the globe, several floods have been recorded in Italy throughout the last few decades, including those of catastrophic magnitude that occurred in the Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany regions last May and a few weeks ago, respectively [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases)
16 pages, 717 KiB  
Article
Cervical HPV Infections, Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Pathogens and Cytology Findings—A Molecular Epidemiology Study
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111347 - 14 Nov 2023
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Prevalent cervical HPV infection and high-risk HPV persistence consequences have been extensively investigated in the literature; nevertheless, any causative interrelations of other sexually transmitted bacterial infections (STIs) with cervical HPV infection have not yet been fully elucidated. This study aimed to investigate the [...] Read more.
Prevalent cervical HPV infection and high-risk HPV persistence consequences have been extensively investigated in the literature; nevertheless, any causative interrelations of other sexually transmitted bacterial infections (STIs) with cervical HPV infection have not yet been fully elucidated. This study aimed to investigate the possible association of STIs with cervical cytology aberrations and HPV genotyping results in a representative sample of predominantly young Greek women. Liquid-based cytology and molecular detection for bacterial STIs and HPV as well as extended HPV genotyping were simultaneously assessed in cervical samples from 2256 individuals visiting several urban outpatient Gynecology Departments for well-woman visits or cervical screening throughout a 20-month period. All specimens were centrally processed with validated molecular assays. The mean age of the studied women was 37.0 ± 11.7 years; 722 women (33.30%) tested positive for STI (mean age 34.23 ± 10.87 years). A higher mean age (38.34 ± 11.83 years (p < 0.05)) was associated with negative STI testing. Chlamydia trachomatis was detected in 59 individuals (8.2%), Mycoplasma hominis in 156 (21.6%), Mycoplasma genitalium in 14 (1.9%), and Ureaplasma spp. in 555 (76.9%); infections with two bacterial pathogens were identified in 73 samples (10.1%). Cervical HPV was detected in 357 out of 1385 samples with a valid HPV typing result (25.8%). The mean age of HPV-positive women was 32.0 ± 8.4 years; individuals testing HPV-negative were slightly older (N = 1028): 34.4 ± 9.2 (p < 0.05). Among the 1371 individuals with valid results both for bacterial STIs and cervical HPV detection, women with an HPV-positive sample were more likely to harbor an STI (OR: 2.69, 95% CI 2.10–3.46, p < 0.05). Interestingly, bacterial STI positivity illustrated significant heterogeneity between NILM and LSIL cases, with 28.88% of NILM and 46.33% of LSIL cases harboring an STI, respectively (p < 0.05). In brief, in a population with a high prevalence for STIs, especially Ureaplasma spp., an association was documented between bacterial pathogen detection and cervical HPV infection, as well as abnormal cytology; these findings merit further investigation. Full article
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19 pages, 2655 KiB  
Review
Ceragenins and Ceragenin-Based Core-Shell Nanosystems as New Antibacterial Agents against Gram-Negative Rods Causing Nosocomial Infections
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111346 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 892
Abstract
The growing number of infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacterial strains, limited treatment options, multi-species infections, high toxicity of the antibiotics used, and an increase in treatment costs are major challenges for modern medicine. To remedy this, scientists are looking for new antibiotics and [...] Read more.
The growing number of infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacterial strains, limited treatment options, multi-species infections, high toxicity of the antibiotics used, and an increase in treatment costs are major challenges for modern medicine. To remedy this, scientists are looking for new antibiotics and treatment methods that will effectively eradicate bacteria while continually developing different resistance mechanisms. Ceragenins are a new group of antimicrobial agents synthesized based on molecular patterns that define the mechanism of antibacterial action of natural antibacterial peptides and steroid-polyamine conjugates such as squalamine. Since ceragenins have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity, with little recorded ability of bacteria to develop a resistance mechanism that can bridge their mechanism of action, there are high hopes that this group of molecules can give rise to a new family of drugs effective against bacteria resistant to currently used antibiotics. Experimental data suggests that core-shell nanosystems, in which ceragenins are presented to bacterial cells on metallic nanoparticles, may increase their antimicrobial potential and reduce their toxicity. However, studies should be conducted, among others, to assess potential long-term cytotoxicity and in vivo studies to confirm their activity and stability in animal models. Here, we summarized the current knowledge on ceragenins and ceragenin-containing nanoantibiotics as potential new tools against emerging Gram-negative rods associated with nosocomial infections. Full article
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10 pages, 628 KiB  
Article
Genome Characterisation of Invasive Haemophilus influenzae in Pregnancy: The Noticeable Placental Tissue Tropism Is Distributed across the Species Rather Than Linked with Capsulation or Particular Clones
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111345 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 717
Abstract
Pregnancy is associated with a 5–26 times increased risk of invasive Haemophilus influenzae infection and subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Incidence rate and outcome are published in some regions, but the characterisation of bacterial isolates is limited. We performed comparative genomic analyses of isolates [...] Read more.
Pregnancy is associated with a 5–26 times increased risk of invasive Haemophilus influenzae infection and subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Incidence rate and outcome are published in some regions, but the characterisation of bacterial isolates is limited. We performed comparative genomic analyses of isolates from 12 pregnancy-associated cases, cultured from maternal bacteraemia in pregnancy (nine), postpartum bacteraemia (one), neonatal bacteraemia (one), and placental tissue (one). In two bacteraemia cases, identical isolates were also cultured from cervical swabs. Eight cases occurred early in pregnancy (gestational week 7–26), and seven of them resulted in miscarriage or neonatal death. All bacterial genomes were devoid of capsule loci, and they were evenly distributed in the major phylogenetic group I of the species. The conspicuous tropism of H. influenzae for pregnancy and placental tissue is associated with the species rather than specific clonal subtypes. Full article
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19 pages, 3355 KiB  
Article
Low Genetic Diversity of the Only Clade of the Tick Rhipicephalus microplus in the Neotropics
Pathogens 2023, 12(11), 1344; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12111344 - 13 Nov 2023
Viewed by 849
Abstract
This study addresses the variability of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S rDNA (16S), and nuclear internal transcriber spacer ITS2 (ITS2) genes in a set of field-collected samples of the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus [...] Read more.
This study addresses the variability of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) and 16S rDNA (16S), and nuclear internal transcriber spacer ITS2 (ITS2) genes in a set of field-collected samples of the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini, 1888), and in geo-referenced sequences obtained from GenBank. Since the tick is currently considered to be a complex of cryptic taxa in several regions of the world, the main aims of the study are (i) to provide evidence of the clades of the tick present in the Neotropics, (ii) to explore if there is an effect of climate traits on the divergence rates of the target genes, and (iii) to check for a relationship between geographical and genetic distance among populations (the closest, the most similar, meaning for slow spread). We included published sequences of Rhipicephalus annulatus (Nearctic, Afrotropical, and Mediterranean) and R. microplus (Afrotropical, Indomalayan) to fully characterize the Neotropical populations (total: 74 16S, 44 COI, and 49 ITS2 sequences included in the analysis). Only the clade A of R. microplus spread in the Nearctic–Neotropics. Both the K and Lambda’s statistics, two measures of phylogenetic signal, support low divergence rates of the tested genes in populations of R. microplus in the Neotropics. These tests demonstrate that genetic diversity of the continental populations does not correlate either with the geographic distance among samples or with environmental variables. The low variability of these genes may be due to a combination of factors like (i) the recent introduction of the tick in the Neotropics, (ii) a large, effective, and fast exchange of populations, and (iii) a low effect of climate on the evolution rates of the target genes. These results have implications for the ecological studies and control of cattle tick infestations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity in Ticks and Transmitted Pathogens)
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