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Pathogens, Volume 12, Issue 3 (March 2023) – 150 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Protein synthesis is a central process in all cells, and its regulation plays a key role in bacteria–host interactions. One of the important aspects of protein synthesis is limiting errors and maintaining translational fidelity. In this review, we summarize recent findings on how translational fidelity in bacteria is altered by genetic and environmental cues and, in turn, affects stress adaptations and host interactions. We also point out some future directions to understand the role of translational fidelity in the pathogenesis of various bacterial species, an emerging area in studying bacteria–pathogen interactions. View this paper
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9 pages, 541 KiB  
Article
Household Surveillance for Norovirus Gastroenteritis in a Nicaraguan Birth Cohort: A Nested Case—Control Analysis of Norovirus Risk Factors
by Nadja Alexandra Vielot, Omar Zepeda, Yaoska Reyes, Fredman González, Jan Vinjé, Sylvia Becker-Dreps and Filemón Bucardo
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030505 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1837
Abstract
Norovirus causes a large proportion of pediatric acute gastroenteritis (AGE) worldwide, and no vaccines are currently available. To inform public health measures against norovirus gastroenteritis, we assessed risk factors in a case–control study nested in a birth cohort study in Nicaragua. Between June [...] Read more.
Norovirus causes a large proportion of pediatric acute gastroenteritis (AGE) worldwide, and no vaccines are currently available. To inform public health measures against norovirus gastroenteritis, we assessed risk factors in a case–control study nested in a birth cohort study in Nicaragua. Between June 2017 and January 2022, we followed children weekly for AGE episodes, and collected stool specimens from symptomatic children. Risk factors for AGE were collected during routine weekly visits. Norovirus was detected in stools using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and positive specimens were genotyped using Sanger sequencing. We included 40 norovirus-positive AGE children matched 1:2 to controls and conducted bivariate and multivariable analyses of norovirus AGE risk factors. Among typeable norovirus infections, GII.4 were more severe than non-GII.4 (four/twenty-one vs. one/nine) and accounted for all emergency visits and hospitalizations. Adjusted conditional logistic regression found that female sex and higher length-for-age Z score were protective against norovirus AGE; a dirt floor in the home, sharing cups or bottles, and recent contact with someone with AGE symptoms were associated with norovirus AGE, though estimates were highly imprecise. Reducing contact with symptomatic persons and with saliva or other bodily fluids on cups or floors could reduce infant norovirus incidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Burden, Prevention, and Control of Enteric Viral Infections)
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8 pages, 509 KiB  
Article
Campylobacter spp. Prevalence in Santiago, Chile: A Study Based on Molecular Detection in Clinical Stool Samples from 2014 to 2019
by Lorena Porte, Caricia Pérez, Mario Barbé, Carmen Varela, Valeska Vollrath, Paulette Legarraga and Thomas Weitzel
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030504 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Campylobacter spp. is an emerging cause of infectious diarrhea worldwide. In South American countries such as Chile, its prevalence is underestimated due to inadequate detection methods. Gastrointestinal multiplex PCR panels (GMP) permit rapid and sensitive detection of bacterial pathogens and provide important epidemiological [...] Read more.
Campylobacter spp. is an emerging cause of infectious diarrhea worldwide. In South American countries such as Chile, its prevalence is underestimated due to inadequate detection methods. Gastrointestinal multiplex PCR panels (GMP) permit rapid and sensitive detection of bacterial pathogens and provide important epidemiological information. This study aimed to analyze Campylobacter epidemiology using the results of molecular methods and to compare molecular detection results to those of culture methods. We performed a retrospective, descriptive analysis of Campylobacter spp. detected in clinical stool samples between 2014–2019 by GMP and culture. Within 16,582 specimens examined by GMP, Campylobacter was the most prevalent enteropathogenic bacteria (8.5%), followed by Salmonella spp. (3.9%), Shigella spp./enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) (1.9%), and Yersinia enterocolitica (0.8%). The highest Campylobacter prevalence occurred in 2014/2015. Campylobacteriosis affected more males (57.2%) and adults from 19–65 years (47.9%) and showed a bimodal seasonality with summer and winter peaks. In 11,251 routine stool cultures, Campylobacter spp. was detected in 4.6%, mostly C. jejuni (89.6%). Among 4533 samples tested by GMP and culture in parallel, GMP showed a superior sensitivity (99.1% versus 50%, respectively). The study suggests that Campylobacter spp. is the most frequent bacterial enteropathogen in Chile. Full article
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7 pages, 211 KiB  
Article
False-Positive Serology for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Long Island, New York, during 2011–2021
by Monirul I. Sajib, Pooja Lamba, Eric D. Spitzer and Luis A. Marcos
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 503; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030503 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2472
Abstract
Cases of rocky mountain spotted fever (RMSF) are increasingly reported every year in Long Island, New York. In clinical practice, an uncommonly high number of referrals with a positive RMSF IgG test result have been seen in our tick-borne disease clinic. The aim [...] Read more.
Cases of rocky mountain spotted fever (RMSF) are increasingly reported every year in Long Island, New York. In clinical practice, an uncommonly high number of referrals with a positive RMSF IgG test result have been seen in our tick-borne disease clinic. The aim of this study is to describe the clinical–epidemiological characteristics and outcomes of hospitalized patients with positive serologies for RMSF in our academic center in Long Island, NY. We found that out of twenty-four patients with a positive serology for RMSF, only one case met the case definition per CDC criteria, two had suspected RMSF, and the other twenty-one did not have a clinical picture consistent with RMSF. A high number of false-positive RMSF serology may be due to other spotted fever rickettsioses in Long Island. Further studies are needed to investigate the presence of another Rickettsia spp. (such as Rickettsia amblyommatis) in this area that may affect humans. Full article
21 pages, 4554 KiB  
Article
Complete Genome Sequence and Analysis of a ST573 Multidrug-Resistant Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus SauR3 Clinical Isolate from Terengganu, Malaysia
by Esra’a I. Al-Trad, Ainal Mardziah Che Hamzah, Suat Moi Puah, Kek Heng Chua, Muhamad Zarul Hanifah, Qasim Ayub, Prasit Palittapongarnpim, Stephen M. Kwong, Ching Hoong Chew and Chew Chieng Yeo
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 502; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030502 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2063
Abstract
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a World Health Organization-listed priority pathogen. Scarce genomic data are available for MRSA isolates from Malaysia. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of a multidrug-resistant MRSA strain SauR3, isolated from the blood of a 6-year-old patient hospitalized [...] Read more.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a World Health Organization-listed priority pathogen. Scarce genomic data are available for MRSA isolates from Malaysia. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of a multidrug-resistant MRSA strain SauR3, isolated from the blood of a 6-year-old patient hospitalized in Terengganu, Malaysia, in 2016. S. aureus SauR3 was resistant to five antimicrobial classes comprising nine antibiotics. The genome was sequenced on the Illumina and Oxford Nanopore platforms and hybrid assembly was performed to obtain its complete genome sequence. The SauR3 genome consists of a circular chromosome of 2,800,017 bp and three plasmids designated pSauR3-1 (42,928 bp), pSauR3-2 (3011 bp), and pSauR3-3 (2473 bp). SauR3 belongs to sequence type 573 (ST573), a rarely reported sequence type of the staphylococcal clonal complex 1 (CC1) lineage, and harbors a variant of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type V (5C2&5) element which also contains the aac(6′)-aph(2″) aminoglycoside-resistance genes. pSauR3-1 harbors several antibiotic resistance genes in a 14,095 bp genomic island (GI), previously reported in the chromosome of other staphylococci. pSauR3-2 is cryptic, whereas pSauR3-3 encodes the ermC gene that mediates inducible resistance to macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (iMLSB). The SauR3 genome can potentially be used as a reference genome for other ST573 isolates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Staphylococcus Infections in Humans and Animals)
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19 pages, 4012 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Inhibitory Effect of Honey and Lactobacillus plantarum on Pathogenic Bacteria and Their Promotion of Healing in Infected Wounds
by Mei Li, Hong Xiao, Yongmei Su, Danlin Cheng, Yan Jia, Yingli Li, Qi Yin, Jieying Gao, Yong Tang and Qunhua Bai
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030501 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1633
Abstract
Prevention and control of infections have become a formidable challenge due to the increasing resistance of pathogens to antibiotics. Probiotics have been discovered to have positive effects on the host, and it is well-known that some Lactobacilli are effective in treating and preventing [...] Read more.
Prevention and control of infections have become a formidable challenge due to the increasing resistance of pathogens to antibiotics. Probiotics have been discovered to have positive effects on the host, and it is well-known that some Lactobacilli are effective in treating and preventing inflammatory and infectious diseases. In this study, we developed an antibacterial formulation consisting of honey and Lactobacillus plantarum (honey–L. plantarum). The optimal formulation of honey (10%) and L. plantarum (1 × 109 CFU/mL) was used to investigate its antimicrobial effect and mechanism in vitro, and its healing effect on wound healing of whole skin infections in rats. Biofilm crystalline violet staining and fluorescent staining results indicated that the honey–L. plantarum formulation prevented the biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and increased the number of dead bacteria in the biofilms. Further mechanism studies revealed that the honey–L. plantarum formulation may inhibit biofilm formation by upregulating biofilm-related genes (icaA, icaR, sigB, sarA, and agrA) and downregulating quorum sensing (QS) associated genes (lasI, lasR, rhlI, rhlR, and pqsR). Furthermore, the honey–L. plantarum formulation decreased the number of bacteria in the infected wounds of rats and accelerated the formation of new connective tissue to promote wound healing. Our study suggests that the honey–L. plantarum formulation provides a promising option for the treatment of pathogenic infections and wound healing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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12 pages, 967 KiB  
Review
The Global Expansion of LTBI Screening and Treatment Programs: Exploring Gaps in the Supporting Economic Evidence
by Nokwanda Thandeka Kota, Suvesh Shrestha, Abdulhameed Kashkary, Pushpita Samina and Alice Zwerling
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030500 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
The global burden of latent TB infection (LTBI) and the progression of LTBI to active TB disease are important drivers of ongoing TB incidence. Addressing LTBI through screening and TB preventive treatment (TPT) is critical in order to end the TB epidemic by [...] Read more.
The global burden of latent TB infection (LTBI) and the progression of LTBI to active TB disease are important drivers of ongoing TB incidence. Addressing LTBI through screening and TB preventive treatment (TPT) is critical in order to end the TB epidemic by 2035. Given the limited resources available to health ministries around the world in the fight against TB, we must consider economic evidence for LTBI screening and treatment strategies to ensure that limited resources are used to achieve the biggest health impact. In this narrative review, we explore key economic evidence around LTBI screening and TPT strategies in different populations to summarize our current understanding and highlight gaps in existing knowledge. When considering economic evidence supporting LTBI screening or evaluating different testing approaches, a disproportionate number of economic studies have been conducted in high-income countries (HICs), despite the vast majority of TB burden being borne in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Recent years have seen a temporal shift, with increasing data from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly with regard to targeting high-risk groups for TB prevention. While LTBI screening and prevention programs can come with extensive costs, targeting LTBI screening among high-risk populations, such as people living with HIV (PLHIV), children, household contacts (HHC) and immigrants from high-TB-burden countries, has been shown to consistently improve the cost effectiveness of screening programs. Further, the cost effectiveness of different LTBI screening algorithms and diagnostic approaches varies widely across settings, leading to different national TB screening policies. Novel shortened regimens for TPT have also consistently been shown to be cost effective across a range of settings. These economic evaluations highlight key implementation considerations such as the critical nature of ensuring high rates of adherence and completion, despite the costs associated with adherence programs not being routinely assessed and included. Digital and other adherence support approaches are now being assessed for their utility and cost effectiveness in conjunction with novel shortened TPT regimens, but more economic evidence is needed to understand the potential cost savings, particularly in settings where directly observed preventive therapy (DOPT) is routinely conducted. Despite the growth of the economic evidence base for LTBI screening and TPT recently, there are still significant gaps in the economic evidence around the scale-up and implementation of expanded LTBI screening and treatment programs, particularly among traditionally hard-to-reach populations. Full article
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19 pages, 3160 KiB  
Article
Assembly and Analysis of Haemonchus contortus Transcriptome as a Tool for the Knowledge of Ivermectin Resistance Mechanisms
by David Emanuel Reyes-Guerrero, Verónica Jiménez-Jacinto, Rogelio Alejandro Alonso-Morales, Miguel Ángel Alonso-Díaz, Jocelyn Maza-Lopez, René Camas-Pereyra, Agustín Olmedo-Juárez, Rosa Isabel Higuera-Piedrahita and María Eugenia López-Arellano
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 499; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030499 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1824
Abstract
Haemonchus contortus (Hc) is an important parasitic nematode of small ruminants. In this study we assembled the transcriptome of Hc as a model to contribute to the knowledge about the profile of the differential gene expression between two Mexican Hc strains under different [...] Read more.
Haemonchus contortus (Hc) is an important parasitic nematode of small ruminants. In this study we assembled the transcriptome of Hc as a model to contribute to the knowledge about the profile of the differential gene expression between two Mexican Hc strains under different anthelmintic resistance statuses, one susceptible and the other resistant to ivermectin (IVMs and IVMr, respectively), in order to improve and/or to have new strategies of control and diagnosis. The transcript sequence reads were assembled and annotated. Overall, ~127 Mbp were assembled and distributed into 77,422 transcript sequences, and 4394 transcripts of the de novo transcriptome were matched base on at least one of the following criteria: (1) Phylum Nemathelminthes and Platyhelminthes, important for animal health care, and (2) ≥55% of sequence identity with other organisms. The gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis (GOEA) was performed to study the level of gene regulation to IVMr and IVMs strains using Log Fold Change (LFC) filtering values ≥ 1 and ≥ 2. The upregulated-displayed genes obtained via GOEA were: 1993 (for LFC ≥ 1) and 1241 (for LFC ≥ 2) in IVMr and 1929 (for LFC ≥ 1) and 835 (for LFC ≥ 2) in IVMs. The enriched GO terms upregulated per category identified the intracellular structure, intracellular membrane-bounded organelle and integral component of the cell membrane as some principal cellular components. Meanwhile, efflux transmembrane transporter activity, ABC-type xenobiotic transporter activity and ATPase-coupled transmembrane transporter activity were associated with molecular function. Responses to nematicide activity, pharyngeal pumping and positive regulation of synaptic assembly were classified as biological processes that might be involved in events related to the anthelmintic resistance (AR) and nematode biology. The filtering analysis of both LFC values showed similar genes related to AR. This study deepens our knowledge about the mechanisms behind the processes of H. contortus in order to help in tool production and to facilitate the reduction of AR and promote the development of other control strategies, such as anthelmintic drug targets and vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Control of the Helminthosis in Domestic Animals)
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11 pages, 1087 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Detrimental Effects of Cigarette Smoke, Alcohol, and SARS-CoV-2 in COPD Bronchial Epithelial Cells
by Abenaya Muralidharan, Christopher D. Bauer, Dawn M. Katafiasz, Heather M. Strah, Aleem Siddique, St Patrick Reid, Kristina L. Bailey and Todd A. Wyatt
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030498 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1635
Abstract
Lung conditions such as COPD, as well as risk factors such as alcohol misuse and cigarette smoking, can exacerbate COVID-19 disease severity. Synergistically, these risk factors can have a significant impact on immunity against pathogens. Here, we studied the effect of a short [...] Read more.
Lung conditions such as COPD, as well as risk factors such as alcohol misuse and cigarette smoking, can exacerbate COVID-19 disease severity. Synergistically, these risk factors can have a significant impact on immunity against pathogens. Here, we studied the effect of a short exposure to alcohol and/or cigarette smoke extract (CSE) in vitro on acute SARS-CoV-2 infection of ciliated human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) collected from healthy and COPD donors. We observed an increase in viral titer in CSE- or alcohol-treated COPD HBECs compared to untreated COPD HBECs. Furthermore, we treated healthy HBECs accompanied by enhanced lactate dehydrogenase activity, indicating exacerbated injury. Finally, IL-8 secretion was elevated due to the synergistic damage mediated by alcohol, CSE, and SARS-CoV-2 in COPD HBECs. Together, our data suggest that, with pre-existing COPD, short exposure to alcohol or CSE is sufficient to exacerbate SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated injury, impairing lung defences. Full article
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14 pages, 2572 KiB  
Article
Neutralization Sensitivity and Evolution of Virus in a Chronic HIV-1 Clade B Infected Patient with Neutralizing Activity against Membrane-Proximal External Region
by Wenqi Tang, Zhenzhen Yuan, Zheng Wang, Li Ren, Dan Li, Shuhui Wang, Yanling Hao, Jing Li, Xiuli Shen, Yuhua Ruan, Yiming Shao and Ying Liu
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030497 - 22 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
The membrane-proximal external region (MPER) is a promising HIV-1 vaccine target owing to its linear neutralizing epitopes and highly conserved amino acids. Here, we explored the neutralization sensitivity and investigated the MPER sequences in a chronic HIV-1 infected patient with neutralizing activity against [...] Read more.
The membrane-proximal external region (MPER) is a promising HIV-1 vaccine target owing to its linear neutralizing epitopes and highly conserved amino acids. Here, we explored the neutralization sensitivity and investigated the MPER sequences in a chronic HIV-1 infected patient with neutralizing activity against the MPER. Using single-genome amplification (SGA), 50 full-length HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (env) genes were isolated from the patient’s plasma at two time points (2006 and 2009). The neutralization sensitivity of 14 Env-pseudoviruses to autologous plasma and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) was evaluated. Env gene sequencing revealed that the diversity of Env increased over time and four mutation positions (659D, 662K, 671S, and 677N/R) were identified in the MPER. The K677R mutation increased the IC50 values of pseudoviruses approximately twofold for 4E10 and 2F5, and E659D increased the IC50 up to ninefold for 4E10 and fourfold for 2F5. These two mutations also decreased the contact between gp41 and mAbs. Almost all mutant pseudoviruses were resistant to autologous plasma at both the earlier and concurrent time points. Mutations 659D and 677R in the MPER decreased the neutralization sensitivity of Env-pseudoviruses, providing a detailed understanding of MPER evolution which might facilitate advances in the design of HIV-1 vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Pathogens)
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10 pages, 492 KiB  
Article
Genetic Determinants of Macrolide and Fluoroquinolone Resistance in Mycoplasma genitalium and Their Prevalence in Moscow, Russia
by Inna Alexandrovna Edelstein, Alexandr Evgenjevich Guschin, Andrew Vyacheslavovich Romanov, Ekaterina Sergeevna Negasheva and Roman Sergeevich Kozlov
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030496 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1368
Abstract
Macrolide (MLR) and fluoroquinolone (FQR) resistance in Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) has recently become a major problem worldwide. The available data on the prevalence of MLR and FQR in MG in Russia are limited. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the prevalence and [...] Read more.
Macrolide (MLR) and fluoroquinolone (FQR) resistance in Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) has recently become a major problem worldwide. The available data on the prevalence of MLR and FQR in MG in Russia are limited. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the prevalence and pattern of mutations in 213 MG-positive urogenital swabs from patients in Moscow between March 2021 and March 2022. MLR- and FQR-associated mutations were searched in 23S rRNA as well as in the parC and gyrA genes using Sanger sequencing. The prevalence of MLR was 55/213 (26%), with A2059G and A2058G substitutions being the two most common variants (36/55, 65%, and 19/55, 35%, respectively). FQR detection showed 17% (37/213); two major variants were D84N (20/37, 54%) and S80I (12/37, 32.4%) and three minor variants were S80N (3/37, 8.1%), D84G (1/37, 2.7%), and D84Y (1/37, 2.7%). Fifteen of the fifty-five MLR cases (27%) simultaneously harbored FQR. This study revealed the high frequency of MLR and FQR. We conclude that the improvement of patient examination algorithms and therapeutic approaches should be combined with the routine monitoring of antibiotic resistance based on the sensitivity profiles presented. Such a complex approach will be essential for restraining the development of treatment resistance in MG. Full article
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17 pages, 1582 KiB  
Article
Spherical Body Protein 4 from Babesia bigemina: A Novel Gene That Contains Conserved B-Cell Epitopes and Induces Cross-Reactive Neutralizing Antibodies in Babesia ovata
by Juan Mosqueda, Diego Josimar Hernandez-Silva, Massaro W. Ueti, Adolfo Cruz-Reséndiz, Ricardo Marquez-Cervantez, Uriel Mauricio Valdez-Espinoza, Minh-Anh Dang-Trinh, Thu-Thuy Nguyen, Minerva Camacho-Nuez, Miguel Angel Mercado-Uriostegui, Gabriela Aguilar-Tipacamú, Juan Alberto Ramos-Aragon, Ruben Hernandez-Ortiz, Shin-ichiro Kawazu and Ikuo Igarashi
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030495 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1676
Abstract
Bovine babesiosis is a tick-transmitted disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia. Its main causative agents in the Americas are Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis, while Babesia ovata affects cattle in Asia. All Babesia species secrete proteins stored in [...] Read more.
Bovine babesiosis is a tick-transmitted disease caused by intraerythrocytic protozoan parasites of the genus Babesia. Its main causative agents in the Americas are Babesia bigemina and Babesia bovis, while Babesia ovata affects cattle in Asia. All Babesia species secrete proteins stored in organelles of the apical complex, which are involved in all steps of the invasion process of vertebrate host cells. Unlike other apicomplexans, which have dense granules, babesia parasites instead have large, round intracellular organelles called spherical bodies. Evidence suggests that proteins from these organelles are released during the process of invading red blood cells, where spherical body proteins (SBPs) play an important role in cytoskeleton reorganization. In this study, we characterized the gene that encodes SBP4 in B. bigemina. This gene is transcribed and expressed in the erythrocytic stages of B. bigemina. The sbp4 gene consists of 834 nucleotides without introns that encode a protein of 277 amino acids. In silico analysis predicted a signal peptide that is cleaved at residue 20, producing a 28.88-kDa protein. The presence of a signal peptide and the absence of transmembrane domains suggest that this protein is secreted. Importantly, when cattle were immunized with recombinant B. bigemina SBP4, antibodies identified B. bigemina and B. ovata merozoites according to confocal microscopy observations and were able to neutralize parasite multiplication in vitro for both species. Four peptides with predicted B-cell epitopes were identified to be conserved in 17 different isolates from six countries. Compared with the pre-immunization sera, antibodies against these conserved peptides reduced parasite invasion in vitro by 57%, 44%, 42%, and 38% for peptides 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively (p < 0.05). Moreover, sera from cattle infected with B. bigemina cattle contained antibodies that recognized the individual peptides. All these results support the concept of spb4 as a new gene in B. bigemina that should be considered a candidate for a vaccine to control bovine babesiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ticks & Piroplasms: Updates and Emerging Challenges)
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15 pages, 4289 KiB  
Article
Optimized High Throughput Ascochyta Blight Screening Protocols and Immunity to A. pisi in Pea
by Emmanuel N. Annan, Bernard Nyamesorto, Qing Yan, Kevin McPhee and Li Huang
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 494; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030494 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1930
Abstract
Ascochyta blight (AB) is a destructive disease of the field pea (Pisum sativum L.) caused by necrotrophic fungal pathogens known as the AB-disease complex. To identify resistant individuals to assist AB resistance breeding, low-cost, high throughput, and reliable protocols for AB screening [...] Read more.
Ascochyta blight (AB) is a destructive disease of the field pea (Pisum sativum L.) caused by necrotrophic fungal pathogens known as the AB-disease complex. To identify resistant individuals to assist AB resistance breeding, low-cost, high throughput, and reliable protocols for AB screening are needed. We tested and optimized three protocols to determine the optimum type of pathogen inoculum, the optimal development stage for host inoculation, and the timing of inoculation for detached-leaf assays. We found that different plant development stages do not affect AB infection type on peas, but the timing of inoculation affects the infection type of detached leaves due to wound-induced host defense response. After screening nine pea cultivars, we discovered that cultivar Fallon was immune to A. pisi but not to A. pinodes or the mixture of the two species. Our findings suggest that AB screening can be done with any of the three protocols. A whole-plant inoculation assay is necessary for identifying resistance to stem/node infection. Pathogen inoculation must be completed within 1.5 h post-detachment to avoid false positives of resistance for detach-leaf assays. It is essential to use a purified single-species inoculum for resistant resource screenings to identify the host resistance to each single species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology of Pathogenic Fungi)
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13 pages, 761 KiB  
Article
Serotypes and Antibiotic Resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae before and after the Introduction of the 13-Valent Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine for Adults and Children in a Rural Area in Japan
by Takashi Ono, Masahiro Watanabe, Koichi Hashimoto, Yohei Kume, Mina Chishiki, Hisao Okabe, Masatoki Sato, Sakurako Norito, Bin Chang and Mitsuaki Hosoya
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030493 - 21 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1924
Abstract
The increase in non-vaccine serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae and their multidrug resistance have become an issue following the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). In this study, we investigated the serotypes and drug resistance of S. pneumoniae detected in adult and [...] Read more.
The increase in non-vaccine serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae and their multidrug resistance have become an issue following the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). In this study, we investigated the serotypes and drug resistance of S. pneumoniae detected in adult and pediatric outpatients at a hospital in a rural area of Japan between April 2012 and December 2016. Serotypes of the bacterium were identified using the capsular swelling test and multiplex polymerase chain reaction testing of DNA extracted from the specimens. Antimicrobial susceptibility was determined using the broth microdilution method. The serotype 15A was classified using multilocus sequence typing. The results showed that the prevalence of non-vaccine serotypes increased significantly in children from 50.0% in 2012–2013 to 74.1% in 2016 (p ≤ 0.006) and in adults from 15.8% in 2012–2013 to 61.5% in 2016 (p ≤ 0.026), but no increase in drug-resistant isolates was evident. However, an increase in the drug-resistant serotypes 15A and 35B was observed in children. Although isolates of these two serotypes showed cefotaxime susceptibility, cefotaxime resistance was confirmed for the serotype 15A isolates. Future trends in the spread of these isolates should be monitored with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of Pathogenic Agents)
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12 pages, 1225 KiB  
Review
HAM/TSP Pathogenesis: The Transmigration Activity of HTLV-1-Infected T Cells into Tissues
by Tatsufumi Nakamura
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030492 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1706
Abstract
Slowly progressive spastic paraparesis with bladder dysfunction, the main clinical feature of human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1)-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), is induced by chronic inflammation in the spinal cord, mainly the lower thoracic cord. A long-standing bystander mechanism, such as the destruction [...] Read more.
Slowly progressive spastic paraparesis with bladder dysfunction, the main clinical feature of human T-cell leukemia virus-1 (HTLV-1)-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), is induced by chronic inflammation in the spinal cord, mainly the lower thoracic cord. A long-standing bystander mechanism, such as the destruction of surrounding tissues by inflammatory cytokines, etc., induced under the interaction between infiltrated HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells and HTLV-1-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, has been considered implicated for the induction of chronic inflammation. As this bystander mechanism is triggered conceivably by the transmigration of HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells to the spinal cord, heightened transmigrating activity of HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells to the spinal cord might play a crucial role as the first responder in the development of HAM/TSP. This review evaluated the functions of HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells in HAM/TSP patients as the prerequisite for the acquisition of the activity such as adhesion molecule expression changes, small GTPases activation, and expression of mediators involved in basement membrane disruption. The findings suggest that HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells in HAM/TSP patients have enough potential to facilitate transmigration into the tissues. Future HAM/TSP research should clarify the molecular mechanisms leading to the establishment of HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells as the first responder in HAM/TSP patients. In addition, a regimen with an inhibitory activity against the transmigration of HTLV-1-infected CD4+ T cells into the spinal cord might be recommended as one of the therapeutic strategies against HAM/TSP patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Directions in HTLV-1 Research)
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11 pages, 632 KiB  
Article
Monitoring the Status of Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases in Non-Endemic Implementation Units: A Case Study of Borgu in Northcentral Nigeria
by Babatunde Adewale, Hammed Mogaji, Joshua Balogun, Emmanuel Balogun, Francisca Olamiju and De’Broski Herbert
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030491 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1447
Abstract
Nigeria remains the most endemic country in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH). In line with ongoing monitoring plans, we present findings from a recent analysis of STH epidemiological data in Borgu, one of the non-endemic implementation units for STH in the [...] Read more.
Nigeria remains the most endemic country in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH). In line with ongoing monitoring plans, we present findings from a recent analysis of STH epidemiological data in Borgu, one of the non-endemic implementation units for STH in the northcentral region of Nigeria. An overall prevalence of 8.8% was recorded for STH infection, which corresponds to a 51.9% decline from the 18.3% reported in 2013. All the infected participants (36 out of 410) had a low intensity of infection. However, more than two-thirds (69%) of the children do not have access to latrine facilities, and 45% of them walk barefoot. Prevalence was significantly associated with community, age, and parental occupation. About 21–25% reduced odds were reported in some of the study communities, and children whose parents were traders had 20 times lower odds of infection compared to those whose parents were farmers. The ongoing preventive chemotherapy program for lymphatic filariasis in the area could be responsible for the huge reduction in prevalence and intensity estimates for STH. It is therefore important to invest in monitoring transmission dynamics in other non-endemic areas to arrest emerging threats through the provision of complementary interventions including WASH facilities and other health educational tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parasites: Epidemiology, Treatment and Control)
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12 pages, 987 KiB  
Article
Persistence of Tembusu Virus in Culex tritaeniorhynchus in Yunnan Province, China
by Danhe Hu, Chao Wu, Ruichen Wang, Xiaohui Yao, Kai Nie, Quan Lv, Shihong Fu, Qikai Yin, Wenzhe Su, Fan Li, Songtao Xu, Ying He, Guodong Liang, Xiangdong Li and Huanyu Wang
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030490 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1204
Abstract
The Tembusu virus (TMUV), a member of the Flaviviridae family, can be transmitted via mosquitoes and cause poultry disease. In 2020, a strain of TMUV (YN2020-20) was isolated from mosquito samples collected in Yunnan province, China. In vitro experiments showed that TMUV-YN2020-20 produced [...] Read more.
The Tembusu virus (TMUV), a member of the Flaviviridae family, can be transmitted via mosquitoes and cause poultry disease. In 2020, a strain of TMUV (YN2020-20) was isolated from mosquito samples collected in Yunnan province, China. In vitro experiments showed that TMUV-YN2020-20 produced a significant cytopathic effect (CPE) in BHK, DF-1, and VERO cells, while the CPE in C6/36 cells was not significant. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the strain belonged to Cluster 3.2 and was closely related to the Yunnan mosquito-derived isolates obtained in 2012 and the Shandong avian-derived isolate obtained in 2014. Notably, TMUV-YN2020-20 developed five novel mutations (E-V358I, NS1-Y/F/I113L, NS4A-T/A89V, NS4B-D/E/N/C22S, and NS5-E638G) at loci that were relatively conserved previously. The results of this study demonstrate the continuous circulation and unique evolution of TMUV in mosquitoes in Yunnan province and suggest that appropriate surveillance should be taken. Full article
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22 pages, 2893 KiB  
Article
Attenuation of In Vitro and In Vivo Virulence Is Associated with Repression of Gene Expression of AIG1 Gene in Entamoeba histolytica
by Janeth Lozano-Mendoza, Fátima Ramírez-Montiel, Ángeles Rangel-Serrano, Itzel Páramo-Pérez, Claudia Leticia Mendoza-Macías, Faridi Saavedra-Salazar, Bernardo Franco, Naurú Vargas-Maya, Ghulam Jeelani, Yumiko Saito-Nakano, Fernando Anaya-Velázquez, Tomoyoshi Nozaki and Felipe Padilla-Vaca
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 489; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030489 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1622
Abstract
Entamoeba histolytica virulence results from complex host–parasite interactions implicating multiple amoebic components (e.g., Gal/GalNAc lectin, cysteine proteinases, and amoebapores) and host factors (microbiota and immune response). UG10 is a strain derived from E. histolytica virulent HM-1:IMSS strain that has lost its virulence in [...] Read more.
Entamoeba histolytica virulence results from complex host–parasite interactions implicating multiple amoebic components (e.g., Gal/GalNAc lectin, cysteine proteinases, and amoebapores) and host factors (microbiota and immune response). UG10 is a strain derived from E. histolytica virulent HM-1:IMSS strain that has lost its virulence in vitro and in vivo as determined by a decrease of hemolytic, cytopathic, and cytotoxic activities, increased susceptibility to human complement, and its inability to form liver abscesses in hamsters. We compared the transcriptome of nonvirulent UG10 and its parental HM-1:IMSS strain. No differences in gene expression of the classical virulence factors were observed. Genes downregulated in the UG10 trophozoites encode for proteins that belong to small GTPases, such as Rab and AIG1. Several protein-coding genes, including iron-sulfur flavoproteins and heat shock protein 70, were also upregulated in UG10. Overexpression of the EhAIG1 gene (EHI_180390) in nonvirulent UG10 trophozoites resulted in augmented virulence in vitro and in vivo. Cocultivation of HM-1:IMSS with E. coli O55 bacteria cells reduced virulence in vitro, and the EhAIG1 gene expression was downregulated. In contrast, virulence was increased in the monoxenic strain UG10, and the EhAIG1 gene expression was upregulated. Therefore, the EhAIG1 gene (EHI_180390) represents a novel virulence determinant in E. histolytica. Full article
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13 pages, 2653 KiB  
Article
The Microbial Genetic Diversity and Succession Associated with Processing Waters at Different Broiler Processing Stages in an Abattoir in Australia
by Josphat Njenga Gichure, Ranil Coorey, Patrick Murigu Kamau Njage, Gary A. Dykes, Esther K. Muema and Elna M. Buys
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030488 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1514
Abstract
The high organic content of abattoir-associated process water provides an alternative for low-cost and non-invasive sample collection. This study investigated the association of microbial diversity from an abattoir processing environment with that of chicken meat. Water samples from scalders, defeathering, evisceration, carcass-washer, chillers, [...] Read more.
The high organic content of abattoir-associated process water provides an alternative for low-cost and non-invasive sample collection. This study investigated the association of microbial diversity from an abattoir processing environment with that of chicken meat. Water samples from scalders, defeathering, evisceration, carcass-washer, chillers, and post-chill carcass rinsate were collected from a large-scale abattoir in Australia. DNA was extracted using the Wizard® Genomic DNA Purification Kit, and the 16S rRNA v3-v4 gene region was sequenced using Illumina MiSeq. The results revealed that the Firmicutes decreased from scalding to evisceration (72.55%) and increased with chilling (23.47%), with the Proteobacteria and Bacteroidota changing inversely. A diverse bacterial community with 24 phyla and 392 genera was recovered from the post-chill chicken, with Anoxybacillus (71.84%), Megamonas (4.18%), Gallibacterium (2.14%), Unclassified Lachnospiraceae (1.87%), and Lactobacillus (1.80%) being the abundant genera. The alpha diversity increased from scalding to chilling, while the beta diversity revealed a significant separation of clusters at different processing points (p = 0.01). The alpha- and beta-diversity revealed significant contamination during the defeathering, with a redistribution of the bacteria during the chilling. This study concluded that the genetic diversity during the defeathering is strongly associated with the extent of the post-chill contamination, and may be used to indicate the microbial quality of the chicken meat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genomic Epidemiology of Foodborne Pathogens 2.0)
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13 pages, 307 KiB  
Review
Migrating Anatidae as Sources of Environmental Contamination with Zoonotic Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora and Microsporidia
by Piotr Solarczyk, Agnieszka Wojtkowiak-Giera and Mike Heddergott
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030487 - 20 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and microsporidia are gastrointestinal pathogens that can cause various disease symptoms in both animals and humans. Numerous studies worldwide have confirmed the presence of these eukaryotic pathogens in nesting and migrating wild geese, ducks, and swans. Migration [...] Read more.
Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, and microsporidia are gastrointestinal pathogens that can cause various disease symptoms in both animals and humans. Numerous studies worldwide have confirmed the presence of these eukaryotic pathogens in nesting and migrating wild geese, ducks, and swans. Migration spreads these zoonotic enteric pathogens to distant locations, which could have public health implications. Soils and water bodies (lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands) in urban and suburban areas have been shown to be vulnerable to contamination by waterfowl droppings. This review addresses the epidemiology of these enteric pathogens in wild migratory bird species (Anatidae) and some consequences of their spread in the environment. To date, both zoonotic pathogens and genotypes restricted to avian hosts have been found in faecal samples from 21 anatid species worldwide. One of the routes of infection for these zoonotic gastrointestinal micropathogens is the indirect route. For example, shared water bodies (e.g., for drinking or recreational purposes) previously contaminated by birds during the migratory season may facilitate infections of humans through water. However, it is unclear how much wild waterfowl contribute to the transmission of giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, cyclosporosis, and microsporidiosis in many regions through contaminated environmental sources. Comprehensive epidemiological surveillance based on molecular data on gastrointestinal pathogens is crucial to take measures to control infections in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Parasitic Diseases)
15 pages, 663 KiB  
Review
Control of Redox Homeostasis by Short-Chain Fatty Acids: Implications for the Prevention and Treatment of Breast Cancer
by Carmen González-Bosch, Patricia A. Zunszain and Giovanni E. Mann
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030486 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2079
Abstract
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women worldwide, and certain subtypes are highly aggressive and drug resistant. As oxidative stress is linked to the onset and progression of cancer, new alternative therapies, based on plant-derived compounds that activate signaling pathways [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women worldwide, and certain subtypes are highly aggressive and drug resistant. As oxidative stress is linked to the onset and progression of cancer, new alternative therapies, based on plant-derived compounds that activate signaling pathways involved in the maintenance of cellular redox homeostasis, have received increasing interest. Among the bioactive dietary compounds considered for cancer prevention and treatment are flavonoids, such as quercetin, carotenoids, such as lycopene, polyphenols, such as resveratrol and stilbenes, and isothiocyanates, such as sulforaphane. In healthy cells, these bioactive phytochemicals exhibit antioxidant, anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory properties through intracellular signaling pathways and epigenetic regulation. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), produced by intestinal microbiota and obtained from the diet, also exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties related to their redox signaling activity—and are thus key for cell homeostasis. There is evidence supporting an antioxidant role for SCFAs, mainly butyrate, as modulators of Nrf2-Keap1 signaling involving the inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) and/or Nrf2 nuclear translocation. Incorporation of SCFAs in nutritional and pharmacological interventions changes the composition of the the intestinal microbiota, which has been shown to be relevant for cancer prevention and treatment. In this review, we focused on the antioxidant properties of SCFAs and their impact on cancer development and treatment, with special emphasis on breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Microorganisms in Breast Cancer)
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13 pages, 323 KiB  
Article
Effect of Sublethal Concentrations of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles on Bacillus cereus
by Anna Krzepiłko, Katarzyna Magdalena Matyszczuk and Agata Święciło
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030485 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs), which are produced on a large scale, pose a potential threat to various environments because they can interact with the microbial populations found in them. Bacteria that are widespread in soil, water, and plant material include the Bacillus cereus [...] Read more.
Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs), which are produced on a large scale, pose a potential threat to various environments because they can interact with the microbial populations found in them. Bacteria that are widespread in soil, water, and plant material include the Bacillus cereus group, which plays an important role in biodegradation and the nutrient cycle and is a major factor determining ecological balance. This group includes, among others, the foodborne pathogen B. cereus sensu stricto (herein referred to as B. cereus). The aim of this study was a comprehensive assessment of the effects of commercially available ZnONPs on B. cereus. The MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) for B. cereus was 1.6 mg/mL, and the MBC (minimum bactericidal concentration) was 1.8 mg/mL. Growth of B. cereus was inhibited by a concentration of ZnONPs lower than or equal to MIC50. Concentrations from 0.2 to 0.8 mg/mL inhibited the growth of these bacteria in liquid media, induced symptoms of oxidative stress, and stimulated an environmental stress response in the form of biofilm and endospore formation. In addition, ZnONPs negatively affected the ability of the bacteria to break down the azo dye Evans Blue but enhanced the antimicrobial properties of phenolic compounds. Sublethal concentrations of ZnONPs generally decreased the activity of B. cereus cells, especially in the presence of phenolics, which indicates their potential toxicological impact, but at the same time they induced universal defence responses in these cells, which in the case of potential pathogens can hinder their removal. Full article
15 pages, 1078 KiB  
Article
Hepatitis E Virus in Finland: Epidemiology and Risk in Blood Donors and in the General Population
by Jaana Mättö, Niina Putkuri, Ruska Rimhanen-Finne, Päivi Laurila, Jonna Clancy, Jarkko Ihalainen and Susanne Ekblom-Kullberg
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030484 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1985
Abstract
Autochthonous hepatitis E (HEV) cases have been increasingly recognized and reported in Europe, caused predominantly by the zoonotic HEV genotype 3. The clinical picture is highly variable, from asymptomatic to acute severe or prolonged hepatitis in immunocompromised patients. The main route of transmission [...] Read more.
Autochthonous hepatitis E (HEV) cases have been increasingly recognized and reported in Europe, caused predominantly by the zoonotic HEV genotype 3. The clinical picture is highly variable, from asymptomatic to acute severe or prolonged hepatitis in immunocompromised patients. The main route of transmission to humans in Europe is the ingestion of undercooked pork meat. Transfusion-transmitted HEV infections have also been reported. The aim of the study was to determine the HEV epidemiology and risk in the Finnish blood donor population. A total of 23,137 samples from Finnish blood donors were screened for HEV RNA from individual samples and 1012 samples for HEV antibodies. Additionally, laboratory-confirmed hepatitis E cases in 2016–2022 were extracted from national surveillance data. The HEV RNA prevalence data was used to estimate the risk of transfusion transmission of HEV in the Finnish blood transfusion setting. Four HEV RNA-positive were found, resulting in 1:5784 (0.02%) RNA prevalence. All HEV RNA-positive samples were IgM-negative, and genotyped samples represented genotype HEV 3c. HEV IgG seroprevalence was 7.4%. From the HEV RNA rate found in this study and data on blood component usage in Finland in 2020, the risk estimate for a severe transfusion-transmitted HEV infection is 1:1,377,000 components or one in every 6–7 years. In conclusion, the results indicate that the risk of transfusion-transmitted HEV (HEV TTI) in Finland is low. However, continuous follow-up of the HEV epidemiology in relation to the transfusion risk landscape in Finland is necessary, as well as promoting awareness in the medical community of the small risk for HEV TTI, especially for immunocompromised patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transfusion-Transmissible Infections and Epidemiological Surveillance)
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16 pages, 2010 KiB  
Article
Epidemiological Survey and Risk Factor Analysis of 14 Potential Pathogens in Golden Snub-Nosed Monkeys at Shennongjia National Nature Reserve, China
by Mingpu Qi, Qiankun Wang, Yu Wang, Yingyu Chen, Changmin Hu, Wanji Yang, Feng Wu, Tianpeng Huang, Ali Sobhy Dawood, Muhammad Zubair, Xiang Li, Jianguo Chen, Ian Duncan Robertson, Huanchun Chen and Aizhen Guo
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030483 - 18 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1912
Abstract
Golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellanae) belong to Class A, the highest level of endangered primate species. Exploring the infection status of potential pathogens in golden snub-nosed monkeys is important for controlling associated diseases and protecting this species. The objective of this [...] Read more.
Golden snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus roxellanae) belong to Class A, the highest level of endangered primate species. Exploring the infection status of potential pathogens in golden snub-nosed monkeys is important for controlling associated diseases and protecting this species. The objective of this study was to investigate the seroprevalence for a number of potential pathogens and the prevalence of fecal adenovirus and rotavirus. A total of 283 fecal samples were collected from 100 golden snub-nosed monkeys in December 2014, June 2015, and January 2016; 26 blood samples were collected from 26 monkeys in June 2014, June 2015, January 2016 and November 2016 at Shennongjia National Reserve in Hubei, China. The infection of 11 potential viral diseases was examined serologically using an Indirect Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (iELISA) and Dot Immunobinding Assays (DIA), while the whole blood IFN-γ in vitro release assay was used to test tuberculosis (TB). In addition, fecal Adenovirus and Rotavirus were detected using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). As a result, the Macacine herpesvirus-1 (MaHV-1), Golden snub-nosed monkey cytomegalovirus (GsmCMV), Simian foamy virus (SFV) and Hepatitis A virus (HAV) were detected with the seroprevalence of 57.7% (95% CI: 36.9, 76.6), 38.5% (95% CI: 20.2, 59.4), 26.9% (95% CI: 11.6, 47.8), and 7.7% (95% CI: 0.0, 84.2), respectively. Two fecal samples tested positive for Adenovirus (ADV) by PCR, with a prevalence of 0.7% (95% CI: 0.2, 2.5), and further, the amplification products were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that they belonged to the HADV-G group. However, other pathogens, such as Coxsackievirus (CV), Measles virus (MeV), Rotavirus (RV), Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), Simian type D retroviruses (SRV), Simian-T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (STLV-1), Simian varicella virus (SVV), Simian virus 40 (SV40) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (TB) were negative in all samples. In addition, a risk factor analysis indicated that the seroprevalence of MaHV-1 infection was significantly associated with old age (≥4 years). These results have important implications for understanding the health status and conservation of the endangered golden snub-nosed monkey population at Shennongjia Nature Reserve. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases)
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18 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Purity, Danger, and Patriotism: The Struggle for a Veteran Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Ippolytos Kalofonos and Matthew McCoy
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 482; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030482 - 18 Mar 2023
Viewed by 2002
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rendered congregate shelter settings high risk, creating vulnerability for people experiencing homelessness (PEH). This study employed participant observation and interviews over 16 months in two Veteran encampments, one located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rendered congregate shelter settings high risk, creating vulnerability for people experiencing homelessness (PEH). This study employed participant observation and interviews over 16 months in two Veteran encampments, one located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veteran Affairs Medical Center (WLAVA) serving as an emergency COVID-19 mitigation measure, and the other outside the WLAVA gates protesting the lack of onsite VA housing. Study participants included Veterans and VA personnel. Data were analyzed using grounded theory, accompanied by social theories of syndemics, purity, danger, and home. The study reveals that Veterans conceptualized home not merely as physical shelter but as encompassing a sense of inclusion and belonging. They sought a Veteran-run collective with a harm reduction approach to substance use, onsite healthcare, and inclusive terms (e.g., no sobriety requirements, curfews, mandatory treatment, or limited lengths of stay). The twin encampments created distinct forms of community and care that protected Veterans from COVID-19 infection and bolstered collective survival. The study concludes that PEH constitute and belong to communities that provide substantial benefits even while amplifying certain harms. Housing interventions must consider how unhoused individuals become, or fail to become, integrate into various communities, and foster therapeutic community connections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Ethnographic Study of Infectious Disease Epidemics)
14 pages, 4247 KiB  
Article
Prescription of Rifampicin for Staphylococcus aureus Infections Increased the Incidence of Corynebacterium striatum with Decreased Susceptibility to Rifampicin in a Hungarian Clinical Center
by László Orosz, György Lengyel, Klára Makai and Katalin Burián
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 481; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030481 - 18 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1548
Abstract
Several reports have suggested a role for Corynebacterium striatum as an opportunistic pathogen. The authors have conducted a retrospective study at the Clinical Center of the University of Szeged, Hungary, between 2012 and 2021 that revealed significantly increased rifampicin resistance in this species. [...] Read more.
Several reports have suggested a role for Corynebacterium striatum as an opportunistic pathogen. The authors have conducted a retrospective study at the Clinical Center of the University of Szeged, Hungary, between 2012 and 2021 that revealed significantly increased rifampicin resistance in this species. This work aimed to investigate the reasons behind this phenomenon. The data were collected corresponding to the period between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2021 at the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Szeged. To characterize the resistance trends, the antibiotic resistance index was calculated for each antibiotic in use. Fourteen strains with different resistance patterns were further analyzed with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy using the IR Biotyper®. The decline in C. striatum sensitivity to rifampicin seen during the COVID-19 pandemic may have been attributable to the use of Rifadin® to treat concomitant Staphylococcus aureus infections. The fact that the IR Biotyper® typing method revealed that the rifampicin-resistant C. striatum strains were closely related supports this hypothesis. The IR Biotyper® infrared spectroscopy proved to be a modern and fast method to support effective antimicrobial stewardship programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women’s Special Issue Series: Pathogens)
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24 pages, 5404 KiB  
Article
Early Transcriptional Responses of Human Nasal Epithelial Cells to Infection with Influenza A and SARS-CoV-2 Virus Differ and Are Influenced by Physiological Temperature
by Jessica D. Resnick, Michael A. Beer and Andrew Pekosz
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 480; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030480 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Influenza A (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2 (SCV2) viruses represent an ongoing threat to public health. Both viruses target the respiratory tract, which consists of a gradient of cell types, receptor expression, and temperature. Environmental temperature has been an understudied contributor to infection susceptibility and [...] Read more.
Influenza A (IAV) and SARS-CoV-2 (SCV2) viruses represent an ongoing threat to public health. Both viruses target the respiratory tract, which consists of a gradient of cell types, receptor expression, and temperature. Environmental temperature has been an understudied contributor to infection susceptibility and understanding its impact on host responses to infection could help uncover new insight into severe disease risk factors. As the nasal passageways are the initial site of respiratory virus infection, in this study we investigated the effect of temperature on host responses in human nasal epithelial cells (hNECs) utilizing IAV and SCV2 in vitro infection models. We demonstrate that temperature affected SCV2, but not IAV, viral replicative fitness and that SCV2-infected cultures were slower to mount an infection-induced response, likely due to suppression by the virus. Additionally, we show that that temperature not only changed the basal transcriptomic landscape of epithelial cells, but that it also impacted the response to infection. The induction of interferon and other innate immune responses was not drastically affected by temperature, suggesting that while the baseline antiviral response at different temperatures remained consistent, there may be metabolic or signaling changes that affect how well the cultures were able to adapt to new pressures, such as infection. Finally, we show that hNECs responded differently to IAV and SCV2 infection in ways that give insight into how the virus is able to manipulate the cell to allow for replication and release. Taken together, these data give new insight into the innate immune response to respiratory infections and can assist in identifying new treatment strategies for respiratory infections. Full article
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12 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Emergence of Hyper-Epidemic Clones of Enterobacterales Clinical Isolates Co-Producing KPC and Metallo-Beta-Lactamases during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Diego Faccone, Sonia A. Gomez, Juan Manuel de Mendieta, María Belén Sanz, Mariano Echegorry, Ezequiel Albornoz, Celeste Lucero, Paola Ceriana, Alejandra Menocal, Florencia Martino, Denise De Belder, Alejandra Corso and Fernando Pasterán
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030479 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1749
Abstract
Background. The global spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales has become an epidemiological risk for healthcare systems by limiting available antimicrobial treatments. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened this scenario, prompting the emergence of extremely resistant microorganisms. Methods. Between March 2020 and September 2021, the NRL confirmed [...] Read more.
Background. The global spread of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales has become an epidemiological risk for healthcare systems by limiting available antimicrobial treatments. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened this scenario, prompting the emergence of extremely resistant microorganisms. Methods. Between March 2020 and September 2021, the NRL confirmed 82 clinical Enterobacterales isolates harboring a combination of blaKPC and MBL genes. Molecular typing was analyzed by PFGE and MLST. Modified double-disk synergy (MDDS) tests were used for phenotypic studies. Results. Isolates were submitted from 28 hospitals located in seven provinces and Buenos Aires City, including 77 K. pneumoniae, 2 K. oxytoca, 2 C. freundii, and 1 E. coli. Almost half of K. pneumoniae isolates (n = 38; 49.4%), detected in 15 hospitals, belong to the CC307 clone. CC11 was the second clone, including 29 (37.7%) isolates (22, ST11 and 7, ST258) from five cities and 12 hospitals. Three isolates belonging to CC45 were also detected. The carbapenemase combinations observed were as follows: 55% blaKPC-2 plus blaNDM-5; 32.5% blaKPC-2 plus blaNDM-1; 5% blaKPC-3 plus blaNDM-1; 5% blaKPC-2 plus blaIMP-8; and 2.5% strain with blaKPC-2 plus blaNDM-5 plus blaOXA-163. Aztreonam/avibactam and aztreonam/relebactam were the most active combinations (100% and 91% susceptible, respectively), followed by fosfomycin (89%) and tigecycline (84%). Conclusions. The MDDS tests using ceftazidime-avibactam/EDTA and aztreonam/boronic acid disks improved phenotypic classification as dual producers. The successful high-risk clones of K. pneumoniae, such as hyper-epidemic CC307 and CC11 clones, drove the dissemination of double carbapenemase-producing isolates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Lactamases-Producing Gram-Negative Bacteria in the 21st Century)
7 pages, 964 KiB  
Communication
Migratory Wild Birds as Potential Long-Distance Transmitters of Toxoplasma gondii Infection
by Filippo Maria Dini, Giulia Graziosi, Caterina Lupini, Elena Catelli and Roberta Galuppi
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 478; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030478 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Toxoplasma gondii is a worldwide distributed zoonotic protozoan capable of infecting a wide range of mammals (including humans) and birds as intermediate hosts. Migratory wild birds, through interconnecting countries along their flyways, can play a role in the spatial spread of T. gondii [...] Read more.
Toxoplasma gondii is a worldwide distributed zoonotic protozoan capable of infecting a wide range of mammals (including humans) and birds as intermediate hosts. Migratory wild birds, through interconnecting countries along their flyways, can play a role in the spatial spread of T. gondii and could contribute to its sylvatic cycle. Additionally, hunted wild birds used for meat consumption could represent a further source of human infection. To determine the presence of T. gondii in wild birds, a total of 50 individuals belonging to the Anseriformes and Charadriiformes orders were sampled during the 2021–2022 hunting season in Northern Italy. Cardiac muscle samples of three Northern shovelers (Anas clypeata), two wild mallards (A. platyrhynchos), one Eurasian teal (A. crecca), and one Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) were positive for the molecular detection of T. gondii based on a targeted amplification of the B1 gene. A 14% (7/50) overall positivity was observed in the sampled population. Results from this study suggest a moderate exposure of wild aquatic birds to T. gondii, highlighting the importance of a further characterization of T. gondii in its wildlife hosts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surveillance of Zoonotic Pathogens Carried by Wildlife)
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20 pages, 739 KiB  
Review
Bioactive Antimicrobial Peptides from Food Proteins: Perspectives and Challenges for Controlling Foodborne Pathogens
by Jessica Audrey Feijó Corrêa, Tiago de Melo Nazareth, Giovanna Fernandes da Rocha and Fernando Bittencourt Luciano
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030477 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2281
Abstract
Bioactive peptides (BAPs) derived from food proteins have been extensively studied for their health benefits, majorly exploring their potential use as nutraceuticals and functional food components. These peptides possess a range of beneficial properties, including antihypertensive, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and antibacterial activities, and are [...] Read more.
Bioactive peptides (BAPs) derived from food proteins have been extensively studied for their health benefits, majorly exploring their potential use as nutraceuticals and functional food components. These peptides possess a range of beneficial properties, including antihypertensive, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and antibacterial activities, and are naturally present within dietary protein sequences. To release food-grade antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), enzymatic protein hydrolysis or microbial fermentation, such as with lactic acid bacteria (LAB), can be employed. The activity of AMPs is influenced by various structural characteristics, including the amino acid composition, three-dimensional conformation, liquid charge, putative domains, and resulting hydrophobicity. This review discusses the synthesis of BAPs and AMPs, their potential for controlling foodborne pathogens, their mechanisms of action, and the challenges and prospects faced by the food industry. BAPs can regulate gut microbiota by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria or by directly inhibiting pathogenic microorganisms. LAB-promoted hydrolysis of dietary proteins occurs naturally in both the matrix and the gastrointestinal tract. However, several obstacles must be overcome before BAPs can replace antimicrobials in food production. These include the high manufacturing costs of current technologies, limited in vivo and matrix data, and the difficulties associated with standardization and commercial-scale production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews of Infectious Diseases)
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6 pages, 223 KiB  
Case Report
Syndrome of Transient Headache and Neurologic Deficits with Cerebrospinal Fluid Lymphocytosis (HaNDL): HHV-7 Finding in Cerebrospinal Fluid Challenges Diagnostic Criteria
by Anna Sundholm, Rasmus Gustafsson and Virginija Karrenbauer
Pathogens 2023, 12(3), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12030476 - 17 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1445
Abstract
The syndrome of transient headache and neurologic deficits with cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis (HaNDL) is a rare, self-limiting condition with severe headaches combined with neurological symptoms. However, evidence-based recommendations on diagnostics and treatments are unavailable due to the condition’s rarity and unknown pathophysiology. A [...] Read more.
The syndrome of transient headache and neurologic deficits with cerebrospinal fluid lymphocytosis (HaNDL) is a rare, self-limiting condition with severe headaches combined with neurological symptoms. However, evidence-based recommendations on diagnostics and treatments are unavailable due to the condition’s rarity and unknown pathophysiology. A young man experiencing severe headache attacks fulfilled the HaNDL diagnostic criteria according to the third edition of the International Classification of Headache Disorders (ICHD-3). We present the dynamics of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers related to low human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7) load and anti-inflammatory treatment outcomes. Low HHV-7 load may be an immunological trigger of HaNDL, such that elevated levels of CSF- chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 13 open a new way to interpret the role of B cells in HaNDL pathogenesis. We discuss the diagnostic challenge of HaNDL, according to the ICHD-3, in the case of pathogen presence at low load in CSF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Pathogens)
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