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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Dengue and Pregnancy; Protection Against B. pseudomallei; Bacterial VOC Diagnostics; H1N1 Antigenic Change; and more

Karagiannis-Voules D-A, Scholte RGC, Guimarães LH, Utzinger J, Vounatsou P (2013) Bayesian Geostatistical Modeling of Leishmaniasis Incidence in Brazil. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(5): e2213. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002213

New articles publishing in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases:

The occurrence of dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever has increased in Brazil, in part due to the simultaneous circulation of DENV-1, DENV-2 and DENV-3, with severe outcomes being reported with some pregnant patients. Dr. Carolina Machado and colleagues analyzed available data compiled between 2007 and 2008 and discovered that pregnant women are 3-4 times more prone to developing severe dengue symptoms than non-pregnant patients.

Understanding the transmission of leishmaniasis in Brazil is essential to prevention and control efforts. Dr. Dimitrios-Alexios Karagiannis-Voules and colleagues used reported leishmaniasis incidence data in Brazil covering the period between 2001 and 2010 to explore the association of the disease with climatic, environmental, and socioeconomic variables, and to predict its spatial distribution using Bayesian geostatistical models.

Burkholderia pseudomallei is the etiologic agent of melioidosis and classified as a Tier 1 select agent due to the threat of malicious use of the organism. In the face of inherent multidrug resistance new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed to improve patient survival and to protect against a deliberate release. In this article, Dr. Saja Asakrah and colleagues identify the PGE2 pathway as an immunotherapeutic target in pulmonary melioidosis and show that post-exposure COX-2 inhibition provides significant protection against lethal B. pseudomallei lung infection in mice.

New articles published in PLOS Pathogens:

Bacteria have a distinct metabolism, part of which results in the production of bacteria-specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which might be used for diagnostic purposes. In this review, Dr. Lieuwe Bos and colleagues argue that goal-targeted studies should be performed to identify potential sets of volatile biological markers and evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of these markers in critically ill patients.

Surveillance data indicate that most circulating A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza viruses have remained antigenically similar since they emerged in humans yet antigenic drift is likely to occur in response to increasing population immunity. Dr. Teagan Guarnaccia and colleagues demonstrate this virus’s ability to undergo rapid antigenic change to evade a low level vaccine response, while remaining fit in a ferret transmission model of immunization and infection.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that grows within red blood cells, eventually rupturing them to release invasive merozoites in a process known as egress. Inhibition of the Plasmodium falciparum cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PfPKG) prevents egress, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here Dr. Christine Collins and colleagues clarify egress and show that both malarial PKG and parasite phosphodiesterases are potential targets for new antimalarial drugs.

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