Institute of Parasitic Disease

Chengdu, China

Institute of Parasitic Disease

Chengdu, China
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Hsiang M.S.,University of California at San Francisco | Carlton E.J.,University of California at Berkeley | Zhang Y.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Zhong B.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | And 4 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2010

Liver ultrasonography is a convenient way to evaluate Schistosoma japonicum-related morbidity; however, no consensus standards exist, and data on use in Chinese children are scant. We describe 7 years of ultrasound findings in a prospective cohort of 151 children from an endemic area in Sichuan Province, China and evaluate technical aspects of the ultrasound methodology. Although prevalence of infection decreased over time, prevalence of hepatomegaly increased, which was likely caused by re-infections. The prevalence of late findings such as parenchymal fibrosis and splenomegaly were rare and did not increase over time; however, when present, they were associated with stunting. The use of adult thresholds versus height-adjusted standards underestimated pathology in children. Reliability of all measures except parenchymal grade was poor to fair. Our findings highlight the importance of early intervention and screening. We also suggest methodological refinements to improve reliability of ultrasonography for large-scale assessment of S. japonicum-related subclinical morbidity in children. Copyright © 2010 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Dhingra R.,Emory University | Christensen E.R.,Emory University | Liu Y.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Zhong B.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

Anaerobic digesters provide clean, renewable energy (biogas) by converting organic waste to methane, and are a key part of China's comprehensive rural energy plan. Here, experimental and modeling results are used to quantify the net greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction from substituting a household anaerobic digester for traditional energy sources in Sichuan, China. Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy and radial plume mapping were used to estimate the mass flux of fugitive methane emissions from active digesters. Using household energy budgets, the net improvement in GHG emissions associated with biogas installation was estimated using global warming commitment (GWC) as a consolidated measure of the warming effects of GHG emissions from cooking. In all scenarios biogas households had lowerGWCthan nonbiogas households, by as much as 54%. Even biogas households with methane leakage exhibited lower GWC than nonbiogas households, by as much as 48%. Based only on the averted GHG emissions over 10 years, the monetary value of a biogas installation was conservatively estimated at US$28.30 ($16.07 ton -1 CO 2- eq), which is available to partly offset construction costs. The interaction of biogas installation programs with policies supporting improved stoves, renewable harvesting of biomass, and energy interventions with substantial health cobenefits are discussed. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Remais J.V.,Emory University | Xiao N.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Akullian A.,University of California at Berkeley | Qiu D.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Blair D.,James Cook University
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2011

For many pathogens with environmental stages, or those carried by vectors or intermediate hosts, disease transmission is strongly influenced by pathogen, host, and vector movements across complex landscapes, and thus quantitative measures of movement rate and direction can reveal new opportunities for disease management and intervention. Genetic assignment methods are a set of powerful statistical approaches useful for establishing population membership of individuals. Recent theoretical improvements allow these techniques to be used to cost-effectively estimate the magnitude and direction of key movements in infectious disease systems, revealing important ecological and environmental features that facilitate or limit transmission. Here, we review the theory, statistical framework, and molecular markers that underlie assignment methods, and we critically examine recent applications of assignment tests in infectious disease epidemiology. Research directions that capitalize on use of the techniques are discussed, focusing on key parameters needing study for improved understanding of patterns of disease. © 2011 Remais et al.

Remais J.,Emory University | Akullian A.,University of California at Berkeley | Ding L.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Seto E.,University of California at Berkeley
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2010

The sustained transmission and spread of environmentally mediated infectious diseases is governed in part by the dispersal of parasites, disease vectors and intermediate hosts between sites of transmission. Functional geospatial models can be used to quantify and predict the degree to which environmental features facilitate or limit connectivity between target populations, yet typical models are limited in their geographical and analytical approach, providing simplistic, global measures of connectivity and lacking methods to assess the epidemiological implications of fine-scale heterogeneous landscapes. Here, functional spatial models are applied to problems of surveillance and control of the parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma japonicum and its intermediate snail host Oncomelania haupensis in western China. We advance functional connectivity methods by providing an analytical framework to (i) identify nodes of transmission where the degree of connectedness to other villages, and thus the potential for disease spread, is higher than is estimated using Euclidean distance alone and (ii) (re)organize transmission sites into disease surveillance units based on second-order relationships among nodes using non-Euclidean distance measures, termed effective geographical distance (EGD). Functional environmental models are parametrized using ecological information on the target organisms, and pair-wise distributions of internode EGD are estimated. A Monte Carlo rank product analysis is presented to identify nearby nodes under alternative distance models. Nodes are then iteratively embedded into EGD space and clustered using a k-means algorithm to group villages into ecologically meaningful surveillance groups. A consensus clustering approach is taken to derive the most stable cluster structure. The results indicate that novel relationships between nodes are revealed when non-Euclidean, ecologically determined distance measures are used to quantify connectivity in heterogeneous landscapes. These connections are not evident when analysing nodes in Euclidean space, and thus surveillance and control activities planned using Euclidean distance measures may be suboptimal. The methods developed here provide a quantitative framework for assessing the effectiveness of ecologically grounded surveillance systems and of control and prevention strategies for environmentally mediated diseases. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Worrell C.,Emory University | Xiao N.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | Vidal J.E.,Emory University | Chen L.,Institute of Parasitic Disease | And 2 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2011

A species-specific quantitative PCR (qPCR) assay was combined with two novel water-sampling methods and compared with the mouse bioassay for the quantitative detection of S. japonicum in surface waters. The novel methods were capable of capturing cercariae and, with subsequent analysis through qPCR, detecting the presence of a minimum of 1 cercaria. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

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