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Pathogens, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2023) – 206 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Mosquito-transmitted arboviruses continue to cause large numbers of clinical cases and deaths around the globe each year. For a mosquito to acquire an arbovirus during blood feeding, the virus must infect the midgut cells of the mosquito and then disseminate, or escape, from the midgut so that it can infect the salivary glands and be transmitted in the saliva upon a subsequent blood meal. In this review, we discuss the midgut escape barrier, which occurs in certain mosquito–arbovirus combinations when an arbovirus can infect and replicate in the midgut epithelium but is then unable to escape the midgut. Despite years of research, this barrier remains largely enigmatic. A better understanding of the midgut escape barrier and why it is overcome in some cases but not others may contribute to improved vector control strategies. View this paper
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27 pages, 479 KiB  
Review
Innovative Research Offers New Hope for Managing African Swine Fever Better in Resource-Limited Smallholder Farming Settings: A Timely Update
by Mary-Louise Penrith, Juanita van Heerden, Dirk U. Pfeiffer, Edvīns Oļševskis, Klaus Depner and Erika Chenais
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020355 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3335
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs has, since its discovery in Africa more than a century ago, been associated with subsistence pig keeping with low levels of biosecurity. Likewise, smallholder and backyard pig farming in resource-limited settings have been notably affected during [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF) in domestic pigs has, since its discovery in Africa more than a century ago, been associated with subsistence pig keeping with low levels of biosecurity. Likewise, smallholder and backyard pig farming in resource-limited settings have been notably affected during the ongoing epidemic in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Caribbean regions. Many challenges to managing ASF in such settings have been identified in the ongoing as well as previous epidemics. Consistent implementation of biosecurity at all nodes in the value chain remains most important for controlling and preventing ASF. Recent research from Asia, Africa, and Europe has provided science-based information that can be of value in overcoming some of the hurdles faced for implementing biosecurity in resource-limited contexts. In this narrative review we examine a selection of these studies elucidating innovative solutions such as shorter boiling times for inactivating ASF virus in swill, participatory planning of interventions for risk mitigation for ASF, better understanding of smallholder pig-keeper perceptions and constraints, modified culling, and safe alternatives for disposal of carcasses of pigs that have died of ASF. The aim of the review is to increase acceptance and implementation of science-based approaches that increase the feasibility of managing, and the possibility to prevent, ASF in resource-limited settings. This could contribute to protecting hundreds of thousands of livelihoods that depend upon pigs and enable small-scale pig production to reach its full potential for poverty alleviation and food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue An Update on African Swine Fever)
19 pages, 1731 KiB  
Article
SARS-CoV-2 Prevalence on and Incidence after Arrival in Travelers on Direct Flights from Cape Town, South Africa to Munich, Germany Shortly after Occurrence of the Omicron Variant in November/December 2021: Results from the OMTRAIR Study
by Cornelia Seidl, Liza Coyer, Nikolaus Ackermann, Katharina Katz, Jan Walter, Siegfried Ippisch, Martin Hoch and Merle M. Böhmer
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020354 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2051
Abstract
The highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2-variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) first appeared in South Africa in November 2021. In order to study Omicron entry to Germany, its occurrence related to incoming airline travel, symptomatology and compliance with entry regulations and recommendations, we conducted a cross-sectional study, followed [...] Read more.
The highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2-variant B.1.1.529 (Omicron) first appeared in South Africa in November 2021. In order to study Omicron entry to Germany, its occurrence related to incoming airline travel, symptomatology and compliance with entry regulations and recommendations, we conducted a cross-sectional study, followed by a retrospective cohort study among passengers and crew on 19 direct flights from Cape Town, South Africa, to Munich, Germany, between 26 November and 23 December 2021. Travelers were mandatorily PCR-tested on arrival and invited to complete an online questionnaire. SARS-CoV-2-prevalence on arrival was 3.3% (n = 90/2728), and 93% were Omicron. Of the passengers, 528 (19%) completed the questionnaire. Among participants who tested negative on arrival, self-reported SARS-CoV-2-incidence was 4.3% within 14 days, of whom 74% reported a negative PCR-test ≤ 48 h before boarding, 77% were fully vaccinated, and 90% reported wearing an FFP2/medical mask during flight. We found multiple associations between risk factors and infection on and after arrival, among which having a positive-tested travel partner was the most noteworthy. In conclusion, PCR testing before departure was insufficient to control the introduction of the Omicron variant. Additional measures (e.g., frequent testing, quarantine after arrival or travel ban) should be considered to delay virus introduction in such settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 Variants Research and Vaccines)
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20 pages, 1414 KiB  
Article
Discrimination of Classical and Atypical BSE by a Distinct Immunohistochemical PrPSc Profile
by Christine Fast, Catherine Graham, Martin Kaatz, Kristina Santiago-Mateo, Tammy Kaatz, Kendra MacPherson, Anne Balkema-Buschmann, Ute Ziegler, Martin H. Groschup and Stefanie Czub
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020353 - 20 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1348
Abstract
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to the group of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and is associated with the accumulation of a pathological isoform of the host-encoded glycoprotein, designated prion protein (PrPSc). Classical BSE (C-type) and two atypical BSE forms (L- and H-type) [...] Read more.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to the group of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and is associated with the accumulation of a pathological isoform of the host-encoded glycoprotein, designated prion protein (PrPSc). Classical BSE (C-type) and two atypical BSE forms (L- and H-type) are known, and can be discriminated by biochemical characteristics. The goal of our study was to identify type-specific PrPSc profiles by using Immunohistochemistry. In our study, brain samples from 21 cattle, intracerebrally inoculated with C-, H-, and L-type BSE, were used. In addition, the corresponding samples from three orally C-type BSE infected animals were also included. From all animals, a lesion and PrPSc-profiles of six brain regions were determined. The lesion profile and the neuroanatomical distribution of PrPSc was highly consistent between the groups, but the immunohistochemical analysis revealed a distinct PrPSc profile for the different BSE-types, which included both the topographic and cellular pattern of PrPSc. This qualitative and quantitative analysis of PrPSc affected structures sheds new light into the pathogenesis of the different BSE types. Furthermore, immunohistochemical characterization is supported as an additional diagnostic tool in BSE surveillance programs, especially when only formalin-fixed tissue samples are available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prions and Prion-Like Transmissible Protein Pathogens)
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4 pages, 213 KiB  
Editorial
Foodborne Pathogen Biofilms: Development, Detection, Control, and Antimicrobial Resistance
by Kidon Sung, Saeed Khan and Juhee Ahn
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020352 - 20 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1683
Abstract
Bacteria can grow either as planktonic cells or as communities within biofilms [...] Full article
11 pages, 1185 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of COVID-19 in Kidney Transplant Patients in Relation to Their Immune Status after Repeated Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination
by Sandra Sakalauskaite, Ruta Vaiciuniene, Neda Kusleikaite-Pere, Jurgita Narbutiene, Jolanta Sauseriene, Asta Aukstakalniene, Leonas Valius and Brigita Sitkauskiene
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020351 - 19 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1432
Abstract
The prospective study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 in kidney transplant patients in relation to their immune status after three doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine during one post-pandemic year based on the experience of one center—Hospital of Lithuanian University [...] Read more.
The prospective study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 in kidney transplant patients in relation to their immune status after three doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine during one post-pandemic year based on the experience of one center—Hospital of Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Thirty-three patients were invited for a follow-up visit 3 to 6 weeks after anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and were obliged to report having COVID-19 during the one-year post-pandemic period. Forty-two percent of patients developed antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 after the third dose of the vaccine. The number of COVID-19 cases during the post-pandemic period did not differ significantly between seropositive and seronegative patients. However, only seronegative patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titer in seropositive patients correlated with a relative number of CD3+ cells (R = 0.685, p = 0.029). The CD8+/CD38+ ratio in this group increased 2-fold after the anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Higher antibody response to the COVID-19 vaccine was associated with better kidney function. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titer relation with the components of cellular immunity (CD3+ cells and CD8+/CD38+ ratio) shows a role of both chains during the response to the anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in kidney transplant patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunological Responses and Immune Defense Mechanisms)
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10 pages, 683 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of HPV and Assessing Type-Specific HPV Testing in Cervical High-Grade Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions in Poland
by Marcin Przybylski, Dominik Pruski, Katarzyna Wszołek, Mateusz de Mezer, Jakub Żurawski, Robert Jach and Sonja Millert-Kalińska
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020350 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2324
Abstract
The prevalence and distribution of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes in women who underwent screening for cervical cancer in the Wielkopolska region, Poland, were assessed, and the correlation of genotypes with the histological results was evaluated. Cervical samples were collected from 2969 women [...] Read more.
The prevalence and distribution of oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes in women who underwent screening for cervical cancer in the Wielkopolska region, Poland, were assessed, and the correlation of genotypes with the histological results was evaluated. Cervical samples were collected from 2969 women for cervical cancer screening. Participants were screened by liquid-based cytology and HPV genotyping (n = 1654) and referred to colposcopy and punch biopsy (n = 616) if recommended. HPV genotypes 16, 31, 52, 66, 53, and 51 are the most frequent types in the studied population. Genotypes 16 and 31 account for nearly one-fifth of the infections of diagnosed HPV infections. HPV 16, 31, and 52 are found in nearly 80% of premalignant HSIL lesions (CIN 2 and CIN 3). That leads to the conclusion that vaccination programs should cover as many types of HPV as possible and shows the urgent need to vaccinate the Polish population with a 9-valent vaccine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus Infection)
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20 pages, 1249 KiB  
Article
The Anti-Listeria Activity of Pseudomonas fluorescens Isolated from the Horticultural Environment in New Zealand
by Vathsala Mohan, Reginald Wibisono, Saili Chalke, Graham Fletcher and Françoise Leroi
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020349 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1627
Abstract
Beneficial bacteria with antibacterial properties are attractive alternatives to chemical-based antibacterial or bactericidal agents. Our study sourced such bacteria from horticultural produce and environments to explore the mechanisms of their antimicrobial properties. Five strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens were studied that possessed antibacterial activity [...] Read more.
Beneficial bacteria with antibacterial properties are attractive alternatives to chemical-based antibacterial or bactericidal agents. Our study sourced such bacteria from horticultural produce and environments to explore the mechanisms of their antimicrobial properties. Five strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens were studied that possessed antibacterial activity against the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. The vegetative culture of these strains (Pseudomonas fluorescens-PFR46I06, Pseudomonas fluorescens-PFR46H06, Pseudomonas fluorescens-PFR46H07, Pseudomonas fluorescens-PFR46H08 and Pseudomonas fluorescens-PFR46H09) were tested against Listeria monocytogenes (n = 31), Listeria seeligeri (n = 1) and Listeria innocua (n = 1) isolated from seafood and horticultural sources and from clinical cases (n = 2) using solid media coculture and liquid media coculture. All Listeria strains were inhibited by all strains of P. fluorescens; however, P. fluorescens-PFR46H07, P. fluorescens-PFR46H08 and P. fluorescens-PFR46H09 on solid media showed good inhibition, with average zones of inhibition of 14.8 mm, 15.1 mm and 18.2 mm, respectively, and the other two strains and P. fluorescens-PFR46H09 had a significantly greater zone of inhibition than the others (p < 0.05). There was no inhibition observed in liquid media coculture or in P. fluorescens culture supernatants against Listeria spp. by any of the P. fluorescens strains. Therefore, we hypothesized that the structural apparatus that causes cell-to-cell contact may play a role in the ejection of ant-listeria molecules on solid media to inhibit Listeria isolates, and we investigated the structural protein differences using whole-cell lysate proteomics. We paid special attention to the type VI secretion system (TSS-T6SS) for the transfer of effector proteins or bacteriocins. We found significant differences in the peptide profiles and protein summaries between these isolates’ lysates, and PFR46H06 and PFR46H07 possessed the fewest secretion system structural proteins (12 and 11, respectively), while PFR46H08 and PFR46H09 had 18 each. P. fluorescens-PFR46H09, which showed the highest antimicrobial effect, had nine tss-T6SS structural proteins compared to only four in the other three strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Diseases, Bacterial Infections, and Antimicrobial Resistance)
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14 pages, 1701 KiB  
Article
Ticks and Rickettsiae Associated with Wild Animals Sold in Bush Meat Markets in Cameroon
by Archile Paguem, Kingsley Manchang, Pierre Kamtsap, Alfons Renz, Sabine Schaper, Gerhard Dobler, Deon K. Bakkes and Lidia Chitimia-Dobler
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020348 - 19 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1470
Abstract
Ticks are obligate blood-sucking parasites of wild animals and transmit many zoonotic microorganisms that can spread to domesticated animals and then to humans. In Cameroon, little is known about tick diversity among wildlife, especially for animals which are hunted for human consumption. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Ticks are obligate blood-sucking parasites of wild animals and transmit many zoonotic microorganisms that can spread to domesticated animals and then to humans. In Cameroon, little is known about tick diversity among wildlife, especially for animals which are hunted for human consumption. Therefore, this survey was undertaken to investigate tick and Rickettsia species diversity parasitizing the wild animals sold in bush meat markets in Cameroon. In total, 686 ticks were collected and identified to the species level based on morphology, and some were genetically analyzed using the 16S rRNA gene. Eighteen tick species belonging to five genera were identified: Amblyomma spp. (Amblyomma compressum, Amblyomma flavomaculatum, and Amblyomma variegatum), Haemaphysalis spp. (Haemaphysalis camicasi, Haemaphysalis houyi, Haemaphysalis leachi, and Haemaphysalis parmata), Hyalomma spp. (Hyalomma nitidum, Hyalomma rufipes, and Hyalomma truncatum), Ixodes spp. (Ixodes rasus and Ixodes moreli), and Rhipicephalus spp. (Rhipicephalus guilhoni, Rhipicephalus moucheti, Rhipicephalus muhsamae, Rhipicephalus microplus, Rhipicephalus camicasi, and Rhipicephalus linnaei). In terms of Rickettsia important for public health, two Rickettsia spp., namely Rickettsia aeschlimannii and Rickettsia africae, were detected in Hyalomma spp. and Amblyomma spp., respectively. Distinct tick–pathogen patterns were present for divergent sequences of R. africae associated with exclusively A. variegatum vectors (type strain) versus vectors comprising A. compressum, A. flavomaculatum, and A. variegatum. This suggests possible effects of vector species population dynamics on pathogen population circulation dynamics. Furthermore, Candidatus Rickettsia africaustralis was detected for the first time in Cameroon in I. rasus. This study highlights the high diversity of ticks among wildlife sold in bush meat markets in Cameroon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonotic Disease Threats and Interventions)
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19 pages, 1796 KiB  
Systematic Review
Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Insect Pathogens: Implications for Plant Reproduction
by Wilnelia Recart, Rover Bernhard, Isabella Ng, Katherine Garcia and Arietta E. Fleming-Davies
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020347 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2211
Abstract
Despite extensive work on both insect disease and plant reproduction, there is little research on the intersection of the two. Insect-infecting pathogens could disrupt the pollination process by affecting pollinator population density or traits. Pathogens may also infect insect herbivores and change herbivory, [...] Read more.
Despite extensive work on both insect disease and plant reproduction, there is little research on the intersection of the two. Insect-infecting pathogens could disrupt the pollination process by affecting pollinator population density or traits. Pathogens may also infect insect herbivores and change herbivory, potentially altering resource allocation to plant reproduction. We conducted a meta-analysis to (1) summarize the literature on the effects of pathogens on insect pollinators and herbivores and (2) quantify the extent to which pathogens affect insect traits, with potential repercussions for plant reproduction. We found 39 articles that fit our criteria for inclusion, extracting 218 measures of insect traits for 21 different insect species exposed to 25 different pathogens. We detected a negative effect of pathogen exposure on insect traits, which varied by host function: pathogens had a significant negative effect on insects that were herbivores or carried multiple functions but not on insects that solely functioned as pollinators. Particular pathogen types were heavily studied in certain insect orders, with 7 of 11 viral pathogen studies conducted in Lepidoptera and 5 of 9 fungal pathogen studies conducted in Hymenoptera. Our results suggest that most studies have focused on a small set of host–pathogen pairs. To understand the implications for plant reproduction, future work is needed to directly measure the effects of pathogens on pollinator effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diseases of Insect Pollinators)
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16 pages, 2659 KiB  
Article
COVID-19, Framing and Naming a Pandemic: How What Is Not in a Disease Name May Be More Important than What Is
by T. S. Harvey
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020346 - 18 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2651
Abstract
While the disease name and acronym COVID-19, where ‘CO’ refers to ‘corona’, ‘VI’ to virus, ‘D’ to disease, and ‘19′ the detection year, represents a rational, historically informed, and even culturally sensitive name choice by the World Health Organization, from the perspective of [...] Read more.
While the disease name and acronym COVID-19, where ‘CO’ refers to ‘corona’, ‘VI’ to virus, ‘D’ to disease, and ‘19′ the detection year, represents a rational, historically informed, and even culturally sensitive name choice by the World Health Organization, from the perspective of an ethnography of disease framing and naming, this study finds that it does not, however, readily communicate a public health message. This observation, based on linguistic and medical anthropological research and analyses, raises a critically important question: Can or should official disease names, beyond labeling medical conditions, also be designed to function as public health messages? As the ethnography of the term COVID-19 and its ‘framing’ demonstrates, using acronyms for disease names in public health can not only reduce their intelligibility but may also lower emerging public perceptions of risk, inadvertently, increasing the public’s vulnerability. This study argues that the ongoing messaging and communication challenges surrounding the framing of COVID-19 and its variants represent an important opportunity for public health to engage social science research on language and risk communication to critically rethink disease naming and framing and how what they are called can prefigure and inform the public’s uptake of science, understandings of risk, and the perceived importance of public health guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnographic Study of Infectious Disease Epidemics)
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13 pages, 2515 KiB  
Article
Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Complex in Sputum Samples Using Droplet Digital PCR Targeting mpt64
by Ye Win Aung, Kiatichai Faksri, Arunnee Sangka, Kanchana Tomanakan and Wises Namwat
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020345 - 18 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2884
Abstract
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. It is challenging to find methods of diagnosis of active pulmonary TB that are sensitive enough to detect cases for proper treatment before unintentional transmission. Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is a [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. It is challenging to find methods of diagnosis of active pulmonary TB that are sensitive enough to detect cases for proper treatment before unintentional transmission. Droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) is a highly sensitive method to detect genetic material of pathogens, but it has rarely been used for diagnosis of TB. This study compared the sensitivity of ddPCR with that of GeneXpert and AFB smear microscopy in 180 leftover sputum samples from patients suspected of having TB on the basis of clinical symptoms and radiography. Absolute quantification of copy numbers of MTB-specific genes was possible using ddPCR targeting the mpt64 gene. Among the 180 samples, 41.1% were diagnosed as having TB using ddPCR. The sensitivities of AFB smear microscopy, GeneXpert and ddPCR were 41.9%, 82.4% and 100%, respectively. AFB smear microscopy and GeneXpert both had a specificity of 100%, and the specificity of ddPCR was 95.3%. The accuracy of ddPCR (97.2%) is higher than that of GeneXpert (92.7%). This robust ddPCR system could potentially be used as a method for early diagnosis of TB. Full article
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17 pages, 745 KiB  
Article
Molecular Characterization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococci from the Dairy Value Chain in Two Indian States
by Tushar K. Dey, Bibek R. Shome, Samiran Bandyopadhyay, Naresh Kumar Goyal, Åke Lundkvist, Ram P. Deka, Rajeswari Shome, Nimita Venugopal, Delia Grace, Garima Sharma, Habibar Rahman and Johanna F. Lindahl
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020344 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Bovine milk and milk products may contain pathogens, antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and antibiotic residues that could harm consumers. We analyzed 282 gram-positive isolates from milk samples from dairy farmers and vendors in Haryana and Assam, India, to assess the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci [...] Read more.
Bovine milk and milk products may contain pathogens, antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and antibiotic residues that could harm consumers. We analyzed 282 gram-positive isolates from milk samples from dairy farmers and vendors in Haryana and Assam, India, to assess the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci using microbiological tests, antibiotic susceptibility testing, and genotyping by PCR. The prevalence of genotypic methicillin resistance in isolates from raw milk samples was 5% [95% confidence interval, CI (3–8)], with 7% [CI (3–10)] in Haryana, in contrast to 2% [CI (0.2–6)] in Assam. The prevalence was the same in isolates from milk samples collected from farmers [5% (n = 6), CI (2–11)] and vendors [5% (n = 7), CI (2–10)]. Methicillin resistance was also observed in 15% of the isolates from pasteurized milk [(n = 3), CI (3–38)]. Two staphylococci harboring a novel mecC gene were identified for the first time in Indian dairy products. The only SCCmec type identified was Type V. The staphylococci with the mecA (n = 11) gene in raw milk were commonly resistant to oxacillin [92%, CI (59–100)] and cefoxitin [74%, CI (39–94)], while the isolates with mecC (n = 2) were resistant to oxacillin (100%) only. All the staphylococci with the mecA (n = 3) gene in pasteurized milk were resistant to both oxacillin and cefoxitin. Our results provided evidence that methicillin-resistant staphylococci occur in dairy products in India with potential public health implications. The state with more intensive dairy systems (Haryana) had higher levels of methicillin-resistant bacteria in milk. Full article
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13 pages, 2436 KiB  
Article
Potential Application of the WST-8-mPMS Assay for Rapid Viable Microorganism Detection
by Cheng-Han Chen, Yu-Hsiang Liao, Michael Muljadi, Tsai-Te Lu and Chao-Min Cheng
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020343 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2199
Abstract
To ensure clean drinking water, viable pathogens in water must be rapidly and efficiently screened. The traditional culture or spread-plate process—the conventional standard for bacterial detection—is laborious, time-consuming, and unsuitable for rapid detection. Therefore, we developed a colorimetric assay for rapid microorganism detection [...] Read more.
To ensure clean drinking water, viable pathogens in water must be rapidly and efficiently screened. The traditional culture or spread-plate process—the conventional standard for bacterial detection—is laborious, time-consuming, and unsuitable for rapid detection. Therefore, we developed a colorimetric assay for rapid microorganism detection using a metabolism-based approach. The reaction between a viable microorganism and the combination of 2-(2-methoxy-4-nitrophenyl)-3-(4-nitrophenyl)-5-(2,4-disulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium sodium salt (WST-8) and 1-methoxy-5-methylphenazinium methyl sulfate (mPMS) results in a color change. In combination with a microplate reader, WST-8-mPMS reactivity was leveraged to develop a colorimetric assay for the rapid detection of various bacteria. The detection limit of the WST-8-mPMS assay for both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria was evaluated. This WST-8-mPMS assay can be used to perform colorimetrical semi-quantitative detection of various bacterial strains in buffers or culture media within 1 h without incubation before the reaction. The easy-to-use, robust, rapid, and sensitive nature of this novel assay demonstrates its potential for practical and medical use for microorganism detection. Full article
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14 pages, 5257 KiB  
Article
Establishment of an Inactivation Method for Ebola Virus and SARS-CoV-2 Suitable for Downstream Sequencing of Low Cell Numbers
by Judith Olejnik, Juliette Leon, Daniel Michelson, Kaitavjeet Chowdhary, Silvia Galvan-Pena, Christophe Benoist, Elke Mühlberger and Adam J. Hume
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020342 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Technologies that facilitate the bulk sequencing of small numbers of cells as well as single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) have aided greatly in the study of viruses as these analyses can be used to differentiate responses from infected versus bystander cells in complex systems, [...] Read more.
Technologies that facilitate the bulk sequencing of small numbers of cells as well as single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) have aided greatly in the study of viruses as these analyses can be used to differentiate responses from infected versus bystander cells in complex systems, including in organoid or animal studies. While protocols for these analyses are typically developed with biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) considerations in mind, such analyses are equally useful for the study of viruses that require higher biosafety containment levels. Many of these workstreams, however, are not directly compatible with the more stringent biosafety regulations of BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories ensuring virus inactivation and must therefore be modified. Here we show that TCL buffer (Qiagen), which was developed for bulk sequencing of small numbers of cells and also facilitates scRNA-seq, inactivates both Ebola virus (EBOV) and SARS-CoV-2, BSL-4 and BSL-3 viruses, respectively. We show that additional heat treatment, necessary for the more stringent biosafety concerns for BSL-4-derived samples, was additionally sufficient to inactivate EBOV-containing samples. Critically, this heat treatment had minimal effects on extracted RNA quality and downstream sequencing results. Full article
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10 pages, 1814 KiB  
Article
Melastoma malabathricum L. Suppresses Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation Induced by Synthetic Analog of Viral Double-Stranded RNA Associated with SARS-CoV-2 Infection
by Tse-Hung Huang, Pei-Wen Hsieh, Tsu-Jung Chen, Hui-Ju Tsai, Ju-Chien Cheng, Hsiang-Ruei Liao, Shun-Li Kuo and Ching-Ping Tseng
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020341 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1678
Abstract
Platelet hyper-reactivity and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation contribute to the development of thromboembolic diseases for patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This study investigated the pathophysiological effects of SARS-CoV-2 surface protein components and the viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) [...] Read more.
Platelet hyper-reactivity and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation contribute to the development of thromboembolic diseases for patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This study investigated the pathophysiological effects of SARS-CoV-2 surface protein components and the viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) on platelet aggregation and NET formation. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) with anti-viral effects was also delineated. The treatment of human washed platelets with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 or the ectodomain S1 + S2 regions neither caused platelet aggregation nor enhanced agonists-stimulated platelet aggregation. Moreover, NET formation can be induced by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)), a synthetic analog of viral dsRNA, but not by the pseudovirus composed of SARS-CoV-2 spike, envelope, and membrane proteins. To search for TCM with anti-NET activity, the plant Melastoma malabathricum L. which has anticoagulant activity was partially purified by fractionation. One of the fractions inhibited poly(I:C)-induced NET formation in a dose-dependent manner. This study implicates that SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins alone are not sufficient to promote NET and platelet activation. Instead, dsRNA formed during viral replication stimulates NET formation. This study also sheds new insight into using the active components of Melastoma malabathricum L. with anti-NET activity in the battle of thromboembolic diseases associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antiviral Drugs in the Time of COVID-19)
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15 pages, 1974 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Antiviral Treatment of Hepatitis B Virus after Kidney Transplant and the Latest Insights
by Fabrizio Fabrizi, Maria Francesca Donato, Federica Tripodi, Anna Regalia, Pietro Lampertico and Giuseppe Castellano
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020340 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2078
Abstract
Background: The current frequency of hepatitis B virus infection in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) (including patients on maintenance dialysis and kidney transplant recipients) is low but not negligible worldwide. HBV has a deleterious effect on survival after a kidney transplant; [...] Read more.
Background: The current frequency of hepatitis B virus infection in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) (including patients on maintenance dialysis and kidney transplant recipients) is low but not negligible worldwide. HBV has a deleterious effect on survival after a kidney transplant; antiviral treatments improved the short-term outcomes of kidney transplant recipients, but their long-term impact remains uncertain. Aim: The aim of this review is to assess the role of antiviral therapy for HBV in improving survival after a kidney transplant. The recent publication of large surveys has prompted us to update the available evidence on the impact of HBV on patient and graft survival after a kidney transplant. Methods: We have conducted an extensive review of the medical literature, and various research engines have been used. Results: We retrieved several studies (n = 11; n = 121,436 unique patients) and found an association between positive serologic HBsAg status and diminished patient and graft survival after a kidney transplant; the adjusted relative risk (aRR) of all-cause mortality and graft loss was 2.85 (95% CI, 2.36; 3.33, p < 0.0001) and 1.26 (95% CI, 1.02; 1.51, p < 0.0001), respectively. To our knowledge, at least six studies reported improved patient and graft survival after the adoption of antiviral therapies for HBV (this result was reported with both survival curves and multivariable regression). According to novel clinical guidelines, entecavir has been suggested as a ‘first line’ antiviral agent for the treatment of HBV after a kidney transplant. Conclusions: The recent availability of safe and effective antiviral drugs for the treatment of HBV has meant that the survival curves of HBsAg-positive patients on antiviral therapy and HBsAg-negative patients after a kidney transplant can be comparable. Antiviral therapy should be systematically proposed to HBV-positive kidney transplant recipients and candidates to avoid the deleterious hepatic and extra-hepatic effects of chronic HBV replication. Full article
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16 pages, 2846 KiB  
Article
Composition of Culturable Microorganisms in Dusts Collected from Sport Facilities in Finland during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Maria (Aino) Andersson, Camilla Vornanen-Winqvist, Tuomas Koivisto, András Varga, Raimo Mikkola, László Kredics and Heidi Salonen
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020339 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
Sport facilities represent extreme indoor environments due to intense cleaning and disinfection. The aim of this study was to describe the composition of the cultivated microbiota in dust samples collected in sport facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. A dust sample is defined as [...] Read more.
Sport facilities represent extreme indoor environments due to intense cleaning and disinfection. The aim of this study was to describe the composition of the cultivated microbiota in dust samples collected in sport facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. A dust sample is defined as the airborne dust sedimented on 0.02 m2 within 28 d. The results show that the microbial viable counts in samples of airborne dust (n = 9) collected from seven Finnish sport facilities during the pandemic contained a high proportion of pathogenic filamentous fungi and a low proportion of bacteria. The microbial viable counts were between 14 CFU and 189 CFU per dust sample. In seven samples from sport facilities, 20–85% of the microbial viable counts were fungi. Out of 123 fungal colonies, 47 colonies belonged to the potentially pathogenic sections of Aspergillus (Sections Fumigati, Nigri, and Flavi). Representatives of each section were identified as Aspergillus fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger and A. tubingensis. Six colonies belonged to the genus Paecilomyces. In six samples of dust, a high proportion (50–100%) of the total fungal viable counts consisted of these potentially pathogenic fungi. A total of 70 isolates were considered less likely to be pathogenic, and were identified as Aspergillus section Nidulantes, Chaetomium cochliodes and Penicillium sp. In the rural (n = 2) and urban (n = 7) control dust samples, the microbial viable counts were >2000 CFU and between 44 CFU and 215 CFU, respectively, and consisted mainly of bacteria. The low proportion of bacteria and the high proportion of stress tolerant, potentially pathogenic fungi in the dust samples from sport facilities may reflect the influence of disinfection on microbial communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection of Indoor Fungi)
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14 pages, 2121 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Detection of Salmonella spp. and Quantification of Campylobacter spp. in a Real-Time Duplex PCR: Myth or Reality?
by Nagham Anis, Laetitia Bonifait, Ségolène Quesne, Louise Baugé, Marianne Chemaly and Muriel Guyard-Nicodème
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020338 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1865
Abstract
In Europe, there is a process hygiene criterion for Salmonella and Campylobacter on broiler carcasses after chilling. The criterion gives indicative contamination values above which corrective actions are required by food business operators. The reference methods for verifying compliance with the criterion for [...] Read more.
In Europe, there is a process hygiene criterion for Salmonella and Campylobacter on broiler carcasses after chilling. The criterion gives indicative contamination values above which corrective actions are required by food business operators. The reference methods for verifying compliance with the criterion for Salmonella and Campylobacter are international standards EN ISO 6579-1 (2017) and EN ISO 10272-2 (2017), respectively. These methods are time-consuming and expensive for food business operators. Therefore, it would be advantageous to simultaneously detect Salmonella spp. and quantify Campylobacter in the same analysis, using the same sample after the pre-enrichment step for Salmonella recovery. A duplex PCR for Salmonella detection and Campylobacter spp. enumeration was developed. Considering the method as a whole, the LOD and LOQ for Campylobacter enumeration were slightly over the limit of 3 log CFU/g set by the process hygiene criterion. A comparison of the duplex PCR method developed with the ISO method on artificially contaminated bacterial suspensions and on naturally contaminated samples demonstrated a good correlation of the results for Campylobacter enumeration when the duplex PCR was performed on samples taken before or after the pre-enrichment step, but revealed a slight bias with a large standard deviation resulting in widely spaced limits of agreement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Campylobacter Infections Collection)
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16 pages, 3064 KiB  
Article
Recombinant Escherichia coli BL21 with LngA Variants from ETEC E9034A Promotes Adherence to HT-29 Cells
by Karina Espinosa-Mazariego, Zeus Saldaña-Ahuactzi, Sara A. Ochoa, Bertha González-Pedrajo, Miguel A. Cevallos, Ricardo Rodríguez-Martínez, Mariana Romo-Castillo, Rigoberto Hernández-Castro, Ariadnna Cruz-Córdova and Juan Xicohtencatl-Cortes
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020337 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1599
Abstract
The CS21 pilus produced by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is involved in adherence to HT-29 intestinal cells. The CS21 pilus assembles proteins encoded by 14 genes clustered into the lng operon. Aim. This study aimed to determine whether E. coli BL21 (ECBL) [...] Read more.
The CS21 pilus produced by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is involved in adherence to HT-29 intestinal cells. The CS21 pilus assembles proteins encoded by 14 genes clustered into the lng operon. Aim. This study aimed to determine whether E. coli BL21 (ECBL) transformed with the lng operon lacking the lngA gene (pE9034AΔlngA) and complemented in trans with lngA variants of ETEC clinical strains, as well as point substitutions, exhibited modified adherence to HT-29 cells. Methods. A kanamycin cassette was used to replace the lngA gene in the lng operon of the E9034A strain, and the construct was transformed into the ECBL strain. The pJET1.2 vector carrying lngA genes with allelic variants was transformed into ECBLpE9034AΔlngA (ECBLΔlngA). The point substitutions were performed in the pJETlngAFMU073332 vector. Results. Bioinformatic alignment analysis of the LngA proteins showed hypervariable regions and clustered the clinical ETEC strains into three groups. Variations in amino acid residues affect the adherence percentages of recombinant ECBL strains with lngA variants and site-specific mutations with HT-29 cells. Conclusion. In this study, ECBL carrying the lng operon harboring lngA variants of six clinical ETEC strains, as well as point substitutions, exerted an effect on the adherence of ECBL to HT-29 cells, thereby confirming the importance of the CS21 pilus in adherence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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30 pages, 6833 KiB  
Systematic Review
Prevalence of Intestinal Parasitosis in Guinea: Systematic Review of the Literature and Meta-Analysis
by Timothé Guilavogui, Stéphane Verdun, Akoï Koïvogui, Eric Viscogliosi and Gabriela Certad
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020336 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
Background: Intestinal parasitosis constitute a major public health issue, particularly in sub-tropical and tropical areas. Even though they are classified as neglected tropical diseases, no national study has been carried out recently in Guinea to estimate the prevalence of intestinal parasitosis. Objective: A [...] Read more.
Background: Intestinal parasitosis constitute a major public health issue, particularly in sub-tropical and tropical areas. Even though they are classified as neglected tropical diseases, no national study has been carried out recently in Guinea to estimate the prevalence of intestinal parasitosis. Objective: A systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the overall prevalence of intestinal parasitosis in Guinea. Method: The PRISMA method was used to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis. The studies carried out in order to study intestinal parasitosis in Guinea and published between 2010 and 2020 were searched in online public databases. The prevalence of parasitosis was calculated by a random-effects meta-analysis. Subgroup comparisons were performed using Q-tests. Statistical analyses were performed with the R software. This review was registered with PROSPERO under the identification number CRD42022349743. Results: 69 studies were selected out of 1230 studies identified in online public databases. The meta-analysis involved 44,186 people with an overall prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections of 52%. Conclusions: This is the first study in Guinea to assess the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in different regions of the country. It was found that intestinal parasitosis are a real health problem in Guinea, hence, the need to put in place national strategies for regular control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites: Epidemiology, Treatment and Control)
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13 pages, 945 KiB  
Review
Immunopathological Mechanisms Underlying Cardiac Damage in Chagas Disease
by Mariana Citlalli De Alba-Alvarado, Elia Torres-Gutiérrez, Olivia Alicia Reynoso-Ducoing, Edgar Zenteno-Galindo, Margarita Cabrera-Bravo, Yolanda Guevara-Gómez, Paz María Salazar-Schettino, Norma Rivera-Fernández and Martha Irene Bucio-Torres
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020335 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2558
Abstract
In Chagas disease, the mechanisms involved in cardiac damage are an active field of study. The factors underlying the evolution of lesions following infection by Trypanosoma cruzi and, in some cases, the persistence of its antigens and the host response, with the ensuing [...] Read more.
In Chagas disease, the mechanisms involved in cardiac damage are an active field of study. The factors underlying the evolution of lesions following infection by Trypanosoma cruzi and, in some cases, the persistence of its antigens and the host response, with the ensuing development of clinically observable cardiac damage, are analyzed in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Immune Response to Zoonotic Pathogens)
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10 pages, 1545 KiB  
Opinion
Discovery of the Role of Tick Salivary Glands in Enhancement of Virus Transmission—Beginning of an Exciting Story
by Pavlína Bartíková, Iveta Štibrániová and Mária Kazimírová
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020334 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1681
Abstract
There is increasing evidence that arthropod-borne pathogens exploit saliva of their vectors during the transmission process to vertebrate hosts. Extensive research of the composition of tick saliva and its role in blood-feeding and transmission of pathogens started in the late 1980s and led [...] Read more.
There is increasing evidence that arthropod-borne pathogens exploit saliva of their vectors during the transmission process to vertebrate hosts. Extensive research of the composition of tick saliva and its role in blood-feeding and transmission of pathogens started in the late 1980s and led to a number of discoveries on the composition and function of salivary molecules, some of which are associated with pathogen transmission. The study by Jones et al. published in 1989 can be ranked among the pioneer works in this field as it demonstrated for the first time the role of tick salivary glands in enhancement of transmission of a tick-borne virus. Thogoto virus was used in the model and subsequently similar results were obtained for tick-borne encephalitis virus. After a relatively silent period of almost 20 years, interest in tick–arbovirus–host interactions emerged again in the 2010s. However, no particular salivary molecule(s) enhancing virus transmission has (have) been identified to date. Intensive research in this field will certainly lead to new discoveries with future implications in the control of transmission of dangerous tick-borne viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 10th Anniversary of Pathogens—Classic Papers in Tick Research)
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23 pages, 6914 KiB  
Review
Plant-Derived Products with Therapeutic Potential against Gastrointestinal Bacteria
by Fatimah I. Qassadi, Zheying Zhu and Tanya M. Monaghan
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020333 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2404
Abstract
The rising burden of antimicrobial resistance and increasing infectious disease outbreaks, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a growing demand for the development of natural products as a valuable source of leading medicinal compounds. There is a wide variety of active [...] Read more.
The rising burden of antimicrobial resistance and increasing infectious disease outbreaks, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a growing demand for the development of natural products as a valuable source of leading medicinal compounds. There is a wide variety of active constituents found in plants, making them an excellent source of antimicrobial agents with therapeutic potential as alternatives or potentiators of antibiotics. The structural diversity of phytochemicals enables them to act through a variety of mechanisms, targeting multiple biochemical pathways, in contrast to traditional antimicrobials. Moreover, the bioactivity of the herbal extracts can be explained by various metabolites working in synergism, where hundreds to thousands of metabolites make up the extract. Although a vast amount of literature is available regarding the use of these herbal extracts against bacterial and viral infections, critical assessments of their quality are lacking. This review aims to explore the efficacy and antimicrobial effects of herbal extracts against clinically relevant gastrointestinal infections including pathogenic Escherichia coli, toxigenic Clostridioides difficile, Campylobacter and Salmonella species. The review will discuss research gaps and propose future approaches to the translational development of plant-derived products for drug discovery purposes for the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal infectious diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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7 pages, 259 KiB  
Brief Report
Hepatitis E Virus Infection in Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treated with Immunosuppressive Therapy
by Ilias Kounis, Christophe Renou, Stephane Nahon, Frederic Heluwaert, Gilles Macaigne, Morgane Amil, Stephane Talom, Benedicte Lambare, Claire Charpignon, Thierry Paupard, Monica Stetiu, Marie Pierre Ripault, Armand Yamaga, Florent Ehrhard, Franck Audemar, Maria Carmen Ortiz Correro, David Zanditenas, Florence Skinazi, Helene Agostini, Audrey Coilly and Anne Marie Roque-Afonsoadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020332 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1234
Abstract
Background: Medical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has evolved significantly, and treatment with immunomodulators is recommended. These medications may alter the patient’s immune response and increase the risk of opportunistic infections. Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence and the incidence of [...] Read more.
Background: Medical treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has evolved significantly, and treatment with immunomodulators is recommended. These medications may alter the patient’s immune response and increase the risk of opportunistic infections. Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence and the incidence of acute or chronic HEV infection in IBD patients under immunomodulatory treatment. Patients and Methods: We conducted a retrospective, multicenter, observational study between 2017 and 2018. IBD outpatients hospitalized for the infusion of immunomodulators were included in 16 French centers. During their daily hospitalization, blood samples were drawn for HEV serology (IgM and IgG) and HEV RNA detection. Results: A total of 488 patients were included, of which 327 (67%) patients had Crohn’s disease and 161 (33%) ulcerative colitis. HEV IgM was detected in 3 patients, but HEV RNA was undetectable in all patients. The HEV IgG seroprevalence rate was 14.2%. IgG-positive patients were older at sampling (p = 0.01) and IBD diagnosis (p = 0.03), had higher seafood consumption (p = 0.01) and higher doses of azathioprine (p = 0.03). Ileal and upper digestive tract involvement was more frequent in IgG-positive patients (p = 0.009), and ileocolic involvement was more frequent in IgG-negative patients (p = 0.01). Under multivariate analysis, age > 50 years [OR: 2.21 (1.26, to 3.85), p = 0.004] was associated with previous HEV infection. Conclusion: Systematic screening for HEV infection is not needed among IBD patients on immunomodulatory medications. However, in the event of abnormal liver test findings, HEV should be part of the classic diagnostic assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zoonotic Hepatitis E Virus: A Focus on Animals, Food and Environment)
5 pages, 535 KiB  
Case Report
Cutaneous and Pulmonary Tuberculosis—Diagnostic and Therapeutic Difficulties in a Patient with Autoimmunity
by Monika Kozińska, Ewa Augustynowicz-Kopeć, Andrzej Gamian, Anna Chudzik, Mariola Paściak and Przemysław Zdziarski
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020331 - 15 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Cutaneous tuberculosis (CTB) is a very rare disease and accounts for only 1–2% of cases of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). Due to the variety of its clinical manifestations, the uncharacteristic appearance of its lesions, resembling other dermatoses in the early stages, and the limited [...] Read more.
Cutaneous tuberculosis (CTB) is a very rare disease and accounts for only 1–2% of cases of extrapulmonary tuberculosis (EPTB). Due to the variety of its clinical manifestations, the uncharacteristic appearance of its lesions, resembling other dermatoses in the early stages, and the limited experience of clinicians due to the rarity of CTB, diagnosis is very difficult. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that most cases of EPTB, including skin tuberculosis (TB), can be a manifestation of systemic involvement. In this paper, we present a case of an immunocompromised patient who was diagnosed with CTB almost a year after the first dermatological lesions were located on the lower extremities. At the same time, due to respiratory symptoms, a diagnosis of pulmonary TB (PTB) was made, and radiological and microbiological confirmations were obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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13 pages, 1791 KiB  
Article
Production of Escovopsis weberi (Ascomycota: Hypocreales) Mycelial Pellets and Their Effects on Leaf-Cutting Ant Fungal Gardens
by Thais Berçot Pontes Teodoro, Aline Teixeira Carolino, Raymyson Rhuryo de Sousa Queiroz, Patrícia Batista de Oliveira, Denise Dolores Oliveira Moreira, Gerson Adriano Silva and Richard Ian Samuels
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 330; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020330 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1392
Abstract
The maintenance of the symbiosis between leaf-cutting ants and their mutualistic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Singer (Moller) is vital for the survival of both species. The specialist fungal parasite Escovopsis weberi Muchovej & Della Lucia is a threat to this symbiosis, causing severe damage to [...] Read more.
The maintenance of the symbiosis between leaf-cutting ants and their mutualistic fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus Singer (Moller) is vital for the survival of both species. The specialist fungal parasite Escovopsis weberi Muchovej & Della Lucia is a threat to this symbiosis, causing severe damage to the fungal garden. Mycelial pellets are resistant fungal structures that can be produced under laboratory conditions. These structures were studied for use in biological pest control, but the production of mycelial pellets has not previously been documented in Escovopsis. One of the aims of this study was to induce Escovopsis weberi to produce mycelial pellets and investigate the potential of these pellets for the control of leaf-cutting ants. We compared the pathogenicity of Escovopsis weberi mycelial pellets and conidia against mini-colonies of Acromyrmex subterraneus subterraneus Forel when applied in the form of baits. Worker ants were able to distinguish mycelial pellets from conidia, as baits with mycelial pellets were more attractive to workers than those with conidia, causing a greater negative impact on colony health. All types of baits containing Escovopsis weberi influenced the foraging activity but only treatments with viable fungal propagules resulted in an increase in the quantity of waste material, with a significant negative impact on the fungal garden biomass. The results provided novel information regarding Escovopsis recognition by worker ants and differences between conidia and mycelial pellet dynamics in leaf-cutting ant colonies, with new perspectives for the biological control of these important pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entomopathogenic Fungi and Nematodes in Modern Agriculture)
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33 pages, 2569 KiB  
Review
The Role of Immunity in the Pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and in the Protection Generated by COVID-19 Vaccines in Different Age Groups
by Zainalabideen A. Abdulla, Sharaf M. Al-Bashir, Hiba Alzoubi, Noor S. Al-Salih, Ala A. Aldamen and Ahmed Z. Abdulazeez
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020329 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4213
Abstract
This study aims to review the available data regarding the central role of immunity in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection and in the generation of protection by vaccination against COVID-19 in different age groups. Physiologically, the immune response and the components involved in it are [...] Read more.
This study aims to review the available data regarding the central role of immunity in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection and in the generation of protection by vaccination against COVID-19 in different age groups. Physiologically, the immune response and the components involved in it are variable, both functionally and quantitatively, in neonates, infants, children, adolescents, and adults. These immunological differences are mirrored during COVID-19 infection and in the post-vaccination period. The outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection is greatly dependent on the reaction orchestrated by the immune system. This is clearly obvious in relation to the clinical status of COVID-19 infection, which can be symptomless, mild, moderate, or severe. Even the complications of the disease show a proportional pattern in relation to the immune response. On the contrary, the commonly used anti-COVID-19 vaccines generate protective humoral and cellular immunity. The magnitude of this immunity and the components involved in it are discussed in detail. Furthermore, many of the adverse effects of these vaccines can be explained on the basis of immune reactions against the different components of the vaccines. Regarding the appropriate choice of vaccine for different age groups, many factors have to be considered. This is a cornerstone, particularly in the following age groups: 1 day to 5 years, 6 to 11 years, and 12 to 17 years. Many factors are involved in deciding the route, doses, and schedule of vaccination for children. Another important issue in this dilemma is the hesitancy of families in making the decision about whether to vaccinate their children. Added to these difficulties is the choice by health authorities and governments concerning whether to make children’s vaccination compulsory. In this respect, although rare and limited, adverse effects of vaccines in children have been detected, some of which, unfortunately, have been serious or even fatal. However, to achieve comprehensive control over COVID-19 in communities, both children and adults have to be vaccinated, as the former group represents a reservoir for viral transmission. The understanding of the various immunological mechanisms involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection and in the preparation and application of its vaccines has given the sciences a great opportunity to further deepen and expand immunological knowledge. This will hopefully be reflected positively on other diseases through gaining an immunological background that may aid in diagnosis and therapy. Humanity is still in continuous conflict with SARS-CoV-2 infection and will be for a while, but the future is expected to be in favor of the prevention and control of this disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19 Disease)
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9 pages, 591 KiB  
Article
Value of Verbal Autopsy in a Fragile Setting: Reported versus Estimated Community Deaths Associated with COVID-19, Banadir, Somalia
by Tahlil Abdi Afrah, Lilly M. Nyagah, Asma Swaleh Ali, Mary Karanja, Hassan W. Nor, Solomon Abera, Ali Sh Mohamed, Mohamed Ahmed Yusuf Guled, Mohamed Mohamud Hassan Biday, Majdouline Obtel and Sk Md Mamunur Rahman Malik
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 328; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020328 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
Background: Accurate mortality data associated with infectious diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are often unavailable in countries with fragile health systems such as Somalia. We compared officially reported COVID-19 deaths in Somalia with COVID-19 deaths estimated using verbal autopsy. Methods: We [...] Read more.
Background: Accurate mortality data associated with infectious diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are often unavailable in countries with fragile health systems such as Somalia. We compared officially reported COVID-19 deaths in Somalia with COVID-19 deaths estimated using verbal autopsy. Methods: We interviewed relatives of deceased persons to collect information on symptoms, cause, and place of death. We compared these data with officially reported data and estimated the positive and negative predictive values of verbal autopsy. Results: We identified 530 deaths during March–October 2020. We classified 176 (33.2%) as probable COVID-19 deaths. Most deaths (78.5%; 416/530) occurred at home and 144 (34.6%) of these were attributed to COVID-19. The positive predictive value of verbal autopsy was lower for home deaths (22.3%; 95% CI: 15.7–30.1%) than for hospital deaths (32.3%; 95% CI: 16.7–51.4%). The negative predictive value was higher: 97.8% (95% CI: 95.0–99.3%) for home deaths and 98.4% (95% CI: 91.5–100%) for hospital deaths. Conclusions Verbal autopsy has acceptable predictive value to estimate COVID-19 deaths where disease prevalence is high and can provide data on the COVID-19 burden in countries with low testing and weak mortality surveillance where home deaths may be missed. Full article
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12 pages, 3819 KiB  
Article
Electrostatic Adsorption of Dense AuNPs onto Silica Core as High-Performance SERS Tag for Sensitive Immunochromatographic Detection of Streptococcus pneumoniae
by Wanzhu Shen, Jiaxuan Li, Bo Jiang, You Nie, Yuanfeng Pang, Chongwen Wang, Rui Xiao and Rongzhang Hao
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020327 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2488
Abstract
Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) is a prominent pathogen of bacterial pneumonia and its rapid and sensitive detection in complex biological samples remains a challenge. Here, we developed a simple but effective immunochromatographic assay (ICA) based on silica-Au core-satellite (SiO2@20Au) [...] Read more.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) is a prominent pathogen of bacterial pneumonia and its rapid and sensitive detection in complex biological samples remains a challenge. Here, we developed a simple but effective immunochromatographic assay (ICA) based on silica-Au core-satellite (SiO2@20Au) SERS tags to sensitively and quantitatively detect S. pneumoniae. The high-performance SiO2@20Au tags with superior stability and SERS activity were prepared by one-step electrostatic adsorption of dense 20 nm AuNPs onto 180 nm SiO2 core and introduced into the ICA method to ensure the high sensitivity and accuracy of the assay. The detection limit of the proposed SERS-ICA reached 46 cells/mL for S. pneumoniae and was 100-fold more sensitive than the traditional AuNPs-based colorimetric ICA method. Further, considering its good stability, specificity, reproducibility, and easy operation, the SiO2@20Au-SERS-ICA developed here has great potential to meet the demands of on-site and accurate detection of respiratory pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Diagnostics of Emerging Pathogens)
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28 pages, 1626 KiB  
Tutorial
Methods for Assessing Spillover in Network-Based Studies of HIV/AIDS Prevention among People Who Use Drugs
by Ashley L. Buchanan, Natallia Katenka, Youjin Lee, Jing Wu, Katerina Pantavou, Samuel R. Friedman, M. Elizabeth Halloran, Brandon D. L. Marshall, Laura Forastiere and Georgios K. Nikolopoulos
Pathogens 2023, 12(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12020326 - 15 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1651
Abstract
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) interventions among people who use drugs (PWUD) often have spillover, also known as interference or dissemination, which occurs when one participant’s exposure affects another participant’s outcome. PWUD are often members of networks defined by social, sexual, and drug-use partnerships [...] Read more.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) interventions among people who use drugs (PWUD) often have spillover, also known as interference or dissemination, which occurs when one participant’s exposure affects another participant’s outcome. PWUD are often members of networks defined by social, sexual, and drug-use partnerships and their receipt of interventions can affect other members in their network. For example, HIV interventions with possible spillover include educational training about HIV risk reduction, pre-exposure prophylaxis, or treatment as prevention. In turn, intervention effects frequently depend on the network structure, and intervention coverage levels and spillover can occur even if not measured in a study, possibly resulting in an underestimation of intervention effects. Recent methodological approaches were developed to assess spillover in the context of network-based studies. This tutorial provides an overview of different study designs for network-based studies and related methodological approaches for assessing spillover in each design. We also provide an overview of other important methodological issues in network studies, including causal influence in networks and missing data. Finally, we highlight applications of different designs and methods from studies of PWUD and conclude with an illustrative example from the Transmission Reduction Intervention Project (TRIP) in Athens, Greece. Full article
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