Acute Chagas' disease in western Venezuela: a clinical, seroparasitologic, and epidemiologic study.
A clinical, parasitologic, and serologic study carried out between 1988 and 1996 on 59 acute-phase patients in areas of western Venezuela where Chagas' disease is endemic showed 19 symptomatic patterns or groups of symptoms appearing in combination with different frequencies. The symptomatic pattern with the highest frequency was that showing simultaneously fever, myalgia, headache, and Romana's sign, which was detected in 20% of the acute-phase patients. Asymptomatic individuals and patients with fever as the only sign of the disease made up 15% and 11.9% of the total acute cases, respectively. Statistical correlation analysis revealed that xenodiagnosis and hemoculture were the most reliable and concordant of the five parasitologic methods used; these two methods also showed the highest proportions in detecting any clinical symptomatic pattern in acute-phase patients. A similar high reliability and concordance was obtained with a direct agglutination test, an indirect immunofluorescent antibody test, and an ELISA as serologic tests, which also showed a higher proportion of positive detection of clinical patterns than parasitologic methods (P < 0.001). It is recommended that individuals coming from endemic areas showing mild and/or severe clinical manifestations should be suspected of being in contact or having been in contact with Trypanosoma cruzi, be referred for parasitologic and serologic evaluations to confirm the presumptive clinical diagnosis of acute Chagas' disease, and start specific treatment. The epidemiologic implications of the present findings are discussed and the use of similar methodology to evaluate other areas where Chagas' disease is endemic is suggested. (+info)
Abbreviated measures of food sufficiency validly estimate the food security level of poor households: measuring household food security.
This study was designed to develop an abbreviated method that captures both the qualitative and quantitative dimensions of household food security (HFS). Women in poor and very poor households (n = 238) in a peri-urban barrio in Caracas, Venezuela, provided data on food availability and their perception of food resource constraints and hunger experiences within the home. Socioeconomic data and food-related behavior that may predict HFS levels were gathered. On average, the top 12 food contributors of energy provided 81% and predicted more than 90% of the variation in households' total energy availability using stepwise regression analysis. On the other hand, a 4-point 12-item scale was shown to have face, content and construct validity with reiterative testing, factor analysis and a Chronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.92. Assessing predictors of energy availability together with a self-perceived HFS scale may provide a valid and reliable method for identifying and monitoring food security levels among poor urban households. (+info)
A group of alpha-1,4-glucan lyases and their genes from the red alga Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis: purification, cloning, and heterologous expression.
We present here the first report of a group of alpha-1,4-glucan lyases (EC 184.108.40.206) and their genes. The lyases produce 1, 5-anhydro-D-fructose from starch and related oligomers and polymers. The enzymes were isolated from the red alga Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis from the Pacific coasts of China and USA, and the Atlantic Coast of Venezuela. Three lyase isozymes (GLq1, GLq2 and GLq3) from the Chinese subspecies, two lyase isozymes (GLs1 and GLs2) from the USA subspecies and one lyase (GLa1) from the Venezuelan subspecies were identified and investigated. GLq1, GLq3, GLs1 and GLa1 were purified and partially sequenced. Based on the amino acid sequences obtained, three lyase genes or their cDNAs (GLq1, GLq2 and GLs1) were cloned and completely sequenced and two other genes (GLq3 and GLs2) were partially sequenced. The coding sequences of the lyase genes GLq1, GLq2 and GLs1 are 3267, 3276 and 3279 bp, encoding lyases of 1088, 1091 and 1092 amino acids, respectively. The deduced molecular masses of the mature lyases from the coding sequences are 117030, 117667 and 117790 Da, respectively, close to those determined by mass spectrometry using purified lyases. The amino acid sequence identity is more than 70% among the six algal lyase isozymes. The algal GLq1 gene was expressed in Pichia pastoris and Aspergillus niger, and the expression product was identical to the wild-type enzyme. (+info)
Differential perpetuation of malaria species among Amazonian Yanomami Amerindians.
To determine whether malaria perpetuates within isolated Amerindian villages in the Venezuelan Amazon, we surveyed malaria infection and disease among 1,311 Yanomami in three communities during a 16-month period. Plasmodium vivax was generally present in each of these small, isolated villages; asymptomatic infection was frequent, and clinical disease was most evident among children less than five years of age (odds ratio [OR] = 6.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4-29.2) and among persons experiencing parasitemias > or = 1,000 parasites/mm3 of blood (OR = 45.0, 95% CI = 5.5-370.7). Plasmodium falciparum, in contrast, was less prevalent, except during an abrupt outbreak in which 72 infections resulted in symptoms in all age groups and at all levels of parasitemia, and occasionally were life-threatening. The observed endemic pattern of P. vivax infection may derive from the capacity of this pathogen to relapse, while the epidemic pattern of P. falciparum infection may reflect occasional introductions of strains carried by immigrants or residents of distant villages and the subsequent disappearance of this non-relapsing pathogen. (+info)
Detection of specific antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum in blood bank donors from malaria-endemic and non-endemic areas of Venezuela.
Malaria antibody detection is valuable in providing retrospective confirmation of an attack of malaria. Blood bank screening is another area were malaria serology is potentially useful. In the present study, we tested the presence of antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum in sera from blood bank donors of non-endemic and malaria-endemic areas of Venezuela. Sera from 1,000 blood donors were tested by an indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) assay and an IgG-ELISA for the presence of malaria antibodies using a synchronized in vitro-cultured Venezuelan isolate of P. falciparum as the antigen source. A selected group of positive and negative sera (n = 100) was also tested by a dot-IgG-ELISA. Positive results (reciprocal titer > or = 40) were found in 0.8% and 3.8% of blood donors when tested by the IFA assay and in 0.8% and 2% (optical density > or = 0.2) when tested by the IgG-ELISA in Caracas (non-endemic area) and Bolivar City (endemic area), respectively. The presence of anti-malarial antibodies in some sera from non-endemic areas such as Caracas reflects the increased potential risk of post-transfusional malaria in those areas due to the mobility of the blood donors. The data obtained indicate the need to implement new blood donor policy in blood banks in developing areas. Our results also indicate that the IFA assay is the most reliable test to use in malaria serodiagnosis. (+info)
Localization of a gene for familial patella aplasia-hypoplasia (PTLAH) to chromosome 17q21-22.
Patella aplasia-hypoplasia (PTLAH) is a rare genetic defect characterized by congenital absence or marked reduction of the patella. PTLAH can occur either as an isolated defect or in association with other malformations, and it characteristically occurs in the nail-patella syndrome and in some chromosome imbalances. We report the first evidence of linkage for isolated PTLAH in an extended Venezuelan family. After exclusion of the candidate chromosome regions where disorders associated with PTLAH have been mapped, a genomewide scan was performed that supported mapping of the disease locus within a region of 12 cM on chromosome 17q22. Two marker loci (D17S787 and D17S1604) typed from this region gave maximum LOD scores >3. Accordingly, multipoint analysis gave a maximum LOD score of 3.39, with a most likely location for the disease gene between D17S787 and D17S1604. Sequencing of the noggin gene, a candidate mapping between these markers, failed to reveal any mutation in affected subjects. (+info)
Chemotherapy of malaria and resistance to antimalarial drugs in Guayana area, Venezuela.
Resistance to antimalarial chemotherapy is one of the greatest difficulties for the control of malaria transmission. Seventy patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria were included in a study of resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine therapy. Resistance levels RI, RII, and RIII were established. Eighteen infections (51%) cleared after chloroquine treatment and did not recur within 28 days of follow-up; these were classified as sensitive. Ten infections (29%) were resistant at the RI level. Resistance at level RII was observed in 5 (14%) cases, and RIII resistance was demonstrated in 2 infections (6%). With sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, 28 (80%) infections were classified as sensitive. Six infections (17%) showed resistance at level RII, and 1 (3%) infection was resistant at the RI level. Resistance at level RIII was not observed. In a microtest for chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine sensitivity in vitro, schizont development was accomplished successfully in 70 blood samples. In vitro resistance to chloroquine was demonstrated in 15 of 70 (21%) of all isolates. Eight of 70 (11%) of all isolates showed resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Diversity of response of P. falciparum to the studied antimalarial drugs in the Guayana area of Venezuela is considered a problem restricting the control of malaria in this geographical area. A constant evaluation program monitoring P. falciparum drug sensitivity is necessary for preserving the efficacy of the established treatment. (+info)
Natural rodent host associations of Guanarito and pirital viruses (Family Arenaviridae) in central Venezuela.
The objective of this study was to elucidate the natural rodent host relationships of Guanarito and Pirital viruses (family Arenaviridae) in the plains of central Venezuela. Ninety-two arenavirus isolates from 607 animals, representing 10 different rodent species, were characterized to the level of serotype. The 92 isolates comprised 19 Guanarito virus strains and 73 Pirital virus strains. The 19 Guanarito virus isolates were from Zygodontomys brevicauda; 72 (98.6%) of the 73 Pirital virus isolates were from Sigmodon alstoni. These results indicate that the natural rodent associations of these 2 sympatric arenaviruses are highly specific and that Z brevicauda and S. alstoni are the principal rodent hosts of Guanarito and Pirital viruses, respectively. (+info)