Serologic evidence for an epizootic dengue virus infecting toque macaques (Macaca sinica) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka.
Dengue is one of the most rapidly emerging diseases in the tropics. Humans are the principal reservoir of dengue viruses. It is unclear if nonhuman primates also serve as a reservoir of human dengue viruses under certain conditions. In this study, a cross-sectional serologic survey was carried out to characterize the pattern of transmission of a recently identified dengue virus among toque macaques in Sri Lanka. The results indicated that an epizootic dengue virus was active among the macaques. A single epizootic had taken place between October 1986 and February 1987 during which 94% of the macaques within the 3 km2 study site were exposed to the virus. The epizootic was highly focal in nature because macaques living 5 km from the study population were not exposed to the virus. The transmission of dengue viruses among macaques in the wild may have important public health implications. (+info)
Multicentric origin of hemochromatosis gene (HFE) mutations.
Genetic hemochromatosis (GH) is believed to be a disease restricted to those of European ancestry. In northwestern Europe, >80% of GH patients are homozygous for one mutation, the substitution of tyrosine for cysteine at position 282 (C282Y) in the unprocessed protein. In a proportion of GH patients, two mutations are present, C282Y and H63D. The clinical significance of this second mutation is such that it appears to predispose 1%-2% of compound heterozygotes to expression of the disease. The distribution of the two mutations differ, C282Y being limited to those of northwestern European ancestry and H63D being found at allele frequencies>5%, in Europe, in countries bordering the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, and in the Indian subcontinent. The C282Y mutation occurs on a haplotype that extends +info)
Wuchereria bancrofti antigenaemia in Sri Lanka.
The prevalence of Wuchereria bancrofti antigenaemia determined in 353 subjects in Matara, Sri Lanka by Og4C3 ELISA was 20.7%. Positive rates obtained with the same subjects by 1 ml Nuclepore filtration and 60 microl thick blood smear were 11.3% and 7.9%, respectively. Antigen levels were positively associated with microfilaria counts. Two-thirds of antigen-positive and microfilaria-negative (Ag+/Mf-) individuals were > 25-year-old, but younger age groups (< or = 25-year-old) tended to have proportionally more Ag+/Mf- cases. Possible origins of the Ag+/Mf- status are discussed. (+info)
Cost of malaria control in Sri Lanka.
The study provides estimates of the cost of various malaria control measures in an area of North-Central Province of Sri Lanka where the disease is endemic. We assumed that each measure was equally effective. In these terms, impregnating privately purchased bednets with insecticide was estimated to cost Rs 48 (US(40.87) per individual protected per year, less than half the cost of spraying houses with residual insecticides. Larviciding of vector breeding sites and especially the elimination of breeding habitats by flushing streams through seasonal release of water from upstream reservoirs was estimated to be cheaper than other preventive measures (Rs 27 (US$ 0.49) and Rs 13 (US$ 0.24) per individual protected, respectively). Inclusion of both operational and capital costs of treatment indicates that the most cost-effective intervention for the government was a centrally located hospital with a relatively large catchment area (Rs 71 (US$ 1.29) per malaria case treated). Mobile clinics (Rs 153 (US$ 2.78) per malaria case treated) and a village treatment centre (Rs 112 (US$ 2.04)) per malaria case treated) were more expensive options for the government, but were considerably cheaper for households than the traditional hospital facilities. This information can guide health planners and government decision-makers in choosing the most appropriate combination of curative and preventive measures to control malaria. However, the option that is cheapest for the government may not be so for the householders, and further studies are needed to estimate the effectiveness of the various preventive measures. (+info)
Epidemic of self-poisoning with seeds of the yellow oleander tree (Thevetia peruviana) in northern Sri Lanka.
Deliberate self-harm is an important problem in the developing world. Ingestion of yellow oleander seeds (Thevetia peruviana) has recently become a popular method of self-harm in northern Sri Lanka -- there are now thousands of cases each year. These seeds contain cardiac glycosides that cause vomiting, dizziness, and cardiac dysrhythmias such as conduction block affecting the sinus and AV nodes. This paper reports a study of the condition's mortality and morbidity conducted in 1995 in Anuradhapura General Hospital, a secondary referral centre serving 750 000 people in Sri Lanka's north central province. 415 cases were admitted to the hospital during 11 months; 61% were women and 46% were less than 21 years old. A prospective study of 79 patients showed that 6% died soon after admission. 43% presented with marked cardiac dysrhythmias which necessitated ther transfer to the coronary care unit in Colombo for prophylactic temporary cardiac pacing. The reasons for the acts of self-harm were often relatively trivial, particularly in children; most denied that they wished to die. Unfortunately, the case fatality rate for oleander poisoning in Sri Lanka is at least 10%. This epidemic is not only causing many unnecessary deaths, it is also putting immense stress on the already stretched Sri Lankan health services. There is an urgent need for an intervention which could be used in rural hospitals, thus preventing the hazardous and expensive emergency transfer of patients to the capital. (+info)
A new monospecific ovine Fab fragment antivenom for treatment of envenoming by the Sri Lankan Russell's viper (Daboia Russelii Russelii): a preliminary dose-finding and pharmacokinetic study.
Russell's viper is the most important cause of life-threatening snake bite and acute renal failure in Sri Lanka. Only equine polyspecific antivenoms imported from India are available. They have not proved effective clinically or in clearing venom antigenemia and they frequently cause reactions. In an attempt to reduce mortality and morbidity, a new monospecific ovine Fab fragment antivenom (PolongaTab; Therapeutic Antibodies, Inc., London, United Kingdom) was raised against Sri Lankan Russell's viper venom. In a preliminary dose-finding study in 35 patients, an initial dose of 3-4 g restored blood coagulability permanently and stopped systemic bleeding, even in severely envenomed patients. Venom antigenemia disappeared within 1 hr of antivenom treatment but recurred, probably as a result of continued absorption of venom from the site of the bite, after the rapid clearance of therapeutic antibody. Twelve patients (34%) experienced early reactions that were usually mild and always responded to epinephrine. (+info)
Malaria vectors in a traditional dry zone village in Sri Lanka.
Malaria transmission by anopheline mosquitoes was studied in a traditional tank-irrigation-based rice-producing village in the malaria-endemic low country dry zone of northcentral Sri Lanka during the period August 1994-February 1997. Adult mosquitoes were collected from human and bovid bait catches, bovid-baited trap huts, indoor catches, and pit traps. Mosquito head-thoraces were tested for the presence of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, and blood-engorged abdomens for the presence of human blood by ELISAs. House surveys were done at two-day intervals to record cases of blood film-confirmed malaria among the villagers. A total of 7,823 female anophelines representing 14 species were collected. Trends in anopheline abundance were significantly correlated with rainfall of the preceding month in An. annularis, An. barbirostris, An. subpictus, An. vagus, and An. varuna, but were not significant in An. culicifacies and An. peditaeniatus. Malaria parasite infections were seen in seven mosquito species, with 75% of the positive mosquitoes containing P. falciparum and 25% P. vivax. Polymorph PV247 was recorded from a vector (i.e., An. varuna) for the first time in Sri Lanka. Computations of mean number of infective vector (MIV) rates using abundance, circumsporozoite (CS) protein rate, and human blood index (HBI) showed the highest rate in An. culicifacies. A malaria outbreak occurred from October 1994 to January 1995 in which 45.5% of village residents experienced at least a single disease episode. Thereafter, malaria incidence remained low. Anopheles culicifacies abundance lagged by one month correlated positively with monthly malaria incidence during the outbreak period, and although this species ranked fifth in terms of abundance, infection was associated with a high MIV rate due to a high CS protein rate and HBI. Abundance trends in other species did not correlate significantly with malaria. It was concluded that An. culicifacies was epidemiologically the most important vector in the study area. (+info)
Polymorphism at the merozoite surface protein-3alpha locus of Plasmodium vivax: global and local diversity.
Allelic diversity at the Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein-3alpha (PvMsp-3alpha) locus was investigated using a combined polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR/RFLP) protocol. Symptomatic patient isolates from global geographic origins showed a high level of polymorphism at the nucleotide level. These samples were used to validate the sensitivity, specificity, and reproducibility of the PCR/RFLP method. It was then used to investigate PvMsp3alpha diversity in field samples from children living in a single village in a malaria-endemic region of Papua New Guinea, with the aim of assessing the usefulness of this locus as an epidemiologic marker of P. vivax infections. Eleven PvMsp-3alpha alleles were distinguishable in 16 samples with single infections, revealing extensive parasite polymorphism within this restricted area. Multiple infections were easily detected and accounted for 5 (23%) of 22 positive samples. Pairs of samples from individual children provided preliminary evidence for high turnover of P. vivax populations. (+info)