Semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction for detection of human malaria parasites and evidence of Plasmodium vivax infection in Equatorial Guinea.
A semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on the amplification of the sequences of the 18S small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) gene was tested in a field trial in Equatorial Guinea (a hyperendemic focus of malaria in west central Africa). The method uses a primary PCR amplification reaction with a universal reverse primer and two forward primers specific for the genus Plasmodium and to mammals (the mammalian-specific primer was included as a positive control to distinguish uninfected cases from inhibition of the PCR). The second amplification is carried out with the same Plasmodium genus-specific forward primer and four specific reverse primers for each human Plasmodium species. The PCR amplified products are differentiated by fragment size after electrophoresis on a 2% agarose gel. Four villages from three regions of the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) and two suspected Plasmodium vivax-P. ovale infections from the hospital of Malabo were tested by microscopy and PCR. The PCR method showed greater sensitivity and specificity than microscopic examination and confirmed the existence of a focus of P. vivax infections in Equatorial Guinea suspected by microscopic examination. It also provided evidence of several mixed infections, mainly P. falciparum and P. malariae, the two predominant species causing malaria in Equatorial Guinea. (+info)
Prevalence of intestinal parasite infections with special reference to Entamoeba histolytica on the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea).
The prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections was assessed (1993 through 1995) among two different groups of persons on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. In the first group, parasitologic examinations were performed on stool specimens from a household-based sample of 557 dwellers from the rural area of the island. In the second group, 1,633 inpatients and outpatients at the General Hospital of Malabo (the capital of the country) were studied. All age groups were represented in both groups. The average prevalence of the most common protozoan and helminthic intestinal infections in rural and urban areas, respectively, was as follows: Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar (14.9% and 32.7%, respectively), Giardia lamblia (7.2% and 8.6%), Ascaris lumbricoides (45.8% and 31.4%), and Trichuris trichiura (25.7% and 36.4%). Seventy-nine sera from patients with amebic liver abscess (suspected by ultrasonography) were studied by an immunohemagglutination assay, with 44 (56%) showing anti-E. histolytica titers > or = 1:32. Of these 79 sera, 71 were studied by an enzyme immunoassay, 86% of which were positive with titers > or = 1:64. This study showed that parasitic infections in Equatorial Guinea represent a major health problem. (+info)
The cost-effectiveness of forty health interventions in Guinea.
Addressing diseases of a high burden with the most cost-effective interventions could do much to reduce disease in the population. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of 40 health interventions in Guinea, a low-income country in sub-Saharan Africa, using local data. Interventions were selected from treatment protocols at health centres, first referral hospitals and national programmes in Guinea, based upon consultation with health care providers and government plans. For each intervention, we calculated the costs (comprising labour, drugs, supplies, equipment, and overhead) in relation to years of life saved, discounted at 3%. The results show that the per capita costs and effectiveness of any intervention vary considerably. Average costs show no clear pattern by level of care, but effectiveness is generally highest for curative hospital interventions. Several interventions have a cost-effectiveness of US$100 per year of life saved (LYS) or less, and address more than 5% of total years of life lost. These include health centre interventions such as: treatment of childhood pneumonia ($3/LYS); rehydration therapy for diarrhoea ($7/LYS); integrated management of childhood pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea ($8/LYS); short-course treatment of tuberculosis ($12/LYS); treatment of childhood malaria ($13/LYS), and childhood vaccination ($25/LYS). Outreach programmes for impregnated bed nets against malaria cost $43/LYS. Maternal and perinatal diseases, have slightly less cost-effective interventions: integrated family planning, prenatal and delivery care at health centres ($109/LYS) or outreach programmes to provide prenatal and delivery care ($283/LYS). A minimum package of health services would cost approximately $13 per capita, and would address a large proportion (69%) of major causes of premature mortality. This minimum package would cost about three times the current public spending on health, suggesting that health spending needs to rise to achieve good health outcomes. (+info)
Nematode intestinal parasites of children in rural Guinea, Africa: prevalence and relationship to geophagia.
BACKGROUND: Intestinal parasitism is common among children in developing countries, but the risk factors for infection are not well characterized. METHODS: A stool examination was performed on 286 randomly selected children aged 1-18 years from three rural villages in Guinea, Africa. Information collected by questionnaire was used to examine the relationship between geophagia and infection with intestinal nematodes acquired by ingestion versus skin penetration. RESULTS: Fifty-three per cent of children were infected by at least one type of soil-transmitted nematode. Geophagia was reported by parents to occur in 57%, 53%, and 43%, of children ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-18 years, respectively. The pattern of geophagia by age and gender of the children more closely resembled the infection pattern for the two orally acquired and soil-transmitted nematodes (Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura) than it did the infection pattern for the two soil-transmitted nematodes that infect by skin penetration (hookworm, Strongyloides stercoralis). CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that geophagia is an important risk factor for orally acquired nematode infections in African children. Education regarding geophagia prevention should be an integral component of any soil-transmitted parasite control programme. (+info)
Induction of histamine release in parasitized individuals by somatic and cuticular antigens from Onchocerca volvulus.
The host immune response in onchocerciasis is believed to contribute to the clinical manifestations of infection. Mazzotti and chronic inflammatory reactions might be mediated by mechanisms involving specific IgE and reactivity of mast cells and basophils to the parasite antigens. In this report, we show that Onchocerca volvulus antigens are capable of inducing histamine release. Three types of extracts were prepared from the parasite: soluble total, surface, and cuticular collagen. Soluble extracts released histamine in all individuals with onchocerciasis at significantly higher levels (P < 0.05) than those found in endemic controls, but similar levels to those found in patients with mansonellosis. However, cuticular collagen induced significantly (P < 0.01) higher histamine release in patients with onchocerciasis than in those with mansonellosis. No reactivity against human type IV collagen was observed. Implications derived from the presence of sensitized basophils in the pathogenesis of onchocerciasis are discussed. (+info)
Analysis of renal function in onchocerciasis patients before and after therapy.
The occurrence of renal abnormalities was investigated in patients with onchocerciasis in comparison to individuals without onchocerciasis in Guinea. Serum creatinine levels, excretion of urinary marker proteins, and kidney size by ultrasound were determined. A high prevalence of glomerular as well as tubular dysfunctions was observed; however, no association with onchocerciasis could be detected. We also hypothesized that patients with hyperreactive onchocerciasis might be prone to develop immune-mediated glomerular disorders; however, this could not be verified. Following treatment with ivermectin, a slight but significant increase in the excretion of urinary albumin and alpha1-microglobulin was seen five days after treatment in all treated patients, whereas levels of proteinuria were significantly higher five days after treatment only in patients with high microfilarial densities. Our results indicate that ivermectin can cause glomerular and tubular disturbances in patients with onchocerciasis; however, these are minor and do not seem to be clinically relevant. (+info)
Detection of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense in sleeping sickness suspects by PCR amplification of expression-site-associated genes 6 and 7.
We have developed a sensitive and specific method to identify Trypanosoma brucei ssp. using PCR to amplify conserved expression-site-associated gene 6 and 7 DNA target sequences. Amplification of 10% of the DNA in a single trypanosome produced sufficient PCR product to be visible as a band in an agarose gel stained with ethidium bromide. We analysed 59 blood samples of serologically positive cases of sleeping sickness by PCR, and directed parasitological examination of tissue fluids. The PCR test detected 87% of the parasitologically positive cases, with a specificity of 97%. In 5 cases, the parasite was demonstrated by the PCR test 4-6 months prior to parasitological detection. This result shows the potential of the assay in early diagnosis of actual T. b. gambiense infections in apparently aparasitaemic sleeping sickness patients. (+info)
Quantitation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 group O load in plasma by measuring reverse transcriptase activity.
We have evaluated the use of an ultrasensitive reverse transcriptase (RT) activity assay to monitor plasma viremia in two human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) group O-infected patients treated with stavudine, lamivudine, and indinavir. After a initial decline in RT levels observed at 4 weeks of therapy, RT-based plasma viremia returned to baseline values at 28 or 44 weeks of treatment. The rebound in levels of RT activity was associated with the detection of phenotypic resistance to lamivudine and with the Met184Val mutation. Analysis of RT activity in plasma provides a sequence-independent means of monitoring virus loads in HIV-1 group O-infected patients. (+info)