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Parola P.,Aix - Marseille University | Paddock C.D.,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Socolovschi C.,Aix - Marseille University | Labruna M.B.,University of Sao Paulo | And 8 more authors.
Clinical Microbiology Reviews | Year: 2013

Tick-borne rickettsioses are caused by obligate intracellular bacteria belonging to the spotted fever group of the genus Rickettsia. These zoonoses are among the oldest known vector-borne diseases. However, in the past 25 years, the scope and importance of the recognized tick-associated rickettsial pathogens have increased dramatically, making this complex of diseases an ideal paradigm for the understanding of emerging and reemerging infections. Several species of tick-borne rickettsiae that were considered nonpathogenic for decades are now associated with human infections, and novel Rickettsia species of undetermined pathogenicity continue to be detected in or isolated from ticks around the world. This remarkable expansion of information has been driven largely by the use of molecular techniques that have facilitated the identification of novel and previously recognized rickettsiae in ticks. New approaches, such as swabbing of eschars to obtain material to be tested by PCR, have emerged in recent years and have played a role in describing emerging tick-borne rickettsioses. Here, we present the current knowledge on tick-borne rickettsiae and rickettsioses using a geographic approach toward the epidemiology of these diseases. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

van den Biggelaar A.H.J.,University of Western Australia | Pomat W.S.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research
Vaccine | Year: 2013

Bacterial conjugate vaccines are based on the principle of coupling immunogenic bacterial capsular polysaccharides to a carrier protein to facilitate the induction of memory T-cell responses. Following the success of Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccines in the 1980s, conjugate vaccines for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis infections were developed and proven to be effective in protecting children against invasive disease. In this review, the use of conjugate vaccines in human newborns is discussed. Neonatal Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcal conjugate vaccination schedules have been trialed and proven to be safe, with the majority of studies demonstrating no evidence for the induction of immune tolerance. Whether their neonatal administration also results in an earlier induction of clinical protection in the first 2-3 critical months of life is still to be demonstrated. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Maraga S.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research
Papua and New Guinea medical journal | Year: 2011

As the last part of a program to survey the extent of malaria transmission in the Papua New Guinea highlands, a series of rapid malaria surveys were conducted in 2003-2004 and 2005 in different parts of Southern Highlands Province. Malaria was found to be highly endemic in Lake Kutubu (prevalence rate (PR): 17-33%), moderate to highly endemic in Erave (PR: 10-31%) and moderately endemic in low-lying parts (< 1500 m) of Poroma and Kagua (PR: 12-17%), but was rare or absent elsewhere. A reported malaria epidemic prior to the 2004 surveys could be confirmed for the Poroma (PR: 26%) but not for the lower Kagua area. In Kutubu/Erave Plasmodium falciparum was the most common cause of infection (42%), followed by P. vivax (39%) and P. malariae (16%). In other areas most infections were due to P. vivax (63%). Most infections were of low density (72% < 500/ microl) and not associated with febrile illness. Overall, malaria was only a significant source of febrile illness when prevalence rates rose above 10%, or in epidemics. However, concurrent parasitaemia led to a significant reduction in haemoglobin (Hb) level (1.2 g/dl, CI95: [1.1-1.4.], p < 0.001) and population mean Hb levels were strongly correlated with overall prevalence of malarial infections (r = -0.79, p < 0.001). Based on the survey results, areas of different malaria epidemiology are delineated and options for control in each area are discussed.

Davis T.M.E.,University of Western Australia | Mueller I.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research | Rogerson S.J.,University of Melbourne
Future Microbiology | Year: 2010

Malaria in pregnancy is a substantial public health issue in many tropical countries. However, its prevention and treatment have been hindered because of fears of adverse drug effects in pregnant women recruited to intervention studies. This article details the pharmacological agents and management strategies currently or potentially available for use in pregnant women with or at risk of malaria. There are deficiencies in pharmacokinetic, tolerability, safety and efficacy data for even well-established drugs and combinations. This can have serious implications for the design of rational dose regimens. Approaches such as intermittent preventive treatment are increasingly employed in endemic areas with proven benefits, but the emergence of parasite drug resistance means that new strategies and drug regimens should be continually evaluated. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.

Phuanukoonnon S.,Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research
Papua and New Guinea medical journal | Year: 2010

Infants in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are at a high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease, and a substantial burden of this falls on children less than six months old. PNG is planning to introduce a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine for infants in the near future, but to make the maximum impact neonatal immunization will have to be considered. To provide evidence on safety and immunogenicity for neonatal and early infant immunization, we undertook an open randomized controlled trial of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (7vPCV). 318 children received 7vPCV at ages 0, 1 and 2 months or at 1, 2 and 3 months or not at all. All children received 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine at age 9 months. This was a large and complex trial: village reporters visited participants weekly during the first year and fortnightly for a further 6 months and nurses monitored self-reported morbidity and collected many thousands of biological samples. The study team was remarkably successful in achieving the study aims, with 18-month follow-up completed on 77% of enrolled children and over 80% of scheduled samples collected. While the results of the trial will be reported elsewhere, this paper discusses the design of the study and dissects out some of the main reasons for its successful completion. Strong community engagement was an essential factor in success and the principles of equitable partnership and service provision led to a strong research partnership. A two-stage consent process, comprising primary assent followed by later informed consent, led to a high drop-out before initial enrolment, but an outstanding retention of those enrolled in the study. We conclude that factors such as strong community participation, reciprocity and a good relationship between the study team and participants are just as important as the technical elements of laboratory testing and data handling in ensuring the success of a vaccine trial in PNG.

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