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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Dams and Disease Triggers, Insights into Disease Transmission Models, African vs. Eurasian Leishmania Genus, P. vivax Vaccine Development, and More

Muñoz J, Aldasoro E, Pinazo MJ, Arguis P, Gascon J (2013) PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(6): e2201. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002201
Muñoz J, Aldasoro E, Pinazo MJ, Arguis P, Gascon J (2013) PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(6): e2201. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002201

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS NTDs this week:

Most concern over controversial dam building on the Mekong River focuses on river ecology and food security, with limited attention given to the potential threat dams pose to public health via disease ecology and food safety. In this perspective Dr. Alan Ziegler and colleagues show how cascades of dams can trigger the incidence of some water-associated diseases, potentially leading to epidemics. Finally the authors propose alternative strategies for energy generation by working with the monsoon climate regime.

Dr. Jose Muñoz and colleagues explore a clinical case through high-resolution radiological images that highlight the difficult diagnosis of Katayama syndrome in travelers, the clinical and radiological features of pulmonary acute schistosomiasis, and the controversial use of praziquantel and steroids in the management of this infection.

The mechanisms of genomic and genetic evolution in the Leishmania order, a protozoan group that contains about 20 pathogenic species, are the focus of much debate. In this work Dr. Fouad El Baidouri and colleagues used a MultiLocus Sequence Analysis approach to analyze 222 Leishmania strains that belong to different species and were isolated in African and Eurasian foci. This analysis classified the different strains in seven robust genetic clusters that showed remarkable congruence of the phylogenetic message between them.

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

The models used to describe epidemics among human populations have been quite successful at describing epizootics in many animal populations, including forest and crop-defoliating insect pests whose population dynamics are often driven by baculoviruses. In this Pearl, Dr. Bret Elderd discusses the transmission of baculoviruses, the advantages of using them for studying disease and what their transmission can teach us about human diseases.

Glycan masking is an emerging vaccine design strategy that has mostly been evaluated on HIV gp120 envelope glycoprotein but it has never been tested on eukaryotic pathogens, such as Plasmodium. Drs. Sowmya Sampath, Chris Carrico and colleagues show that glycan resurfacing is an attractive and feasible tool to investigate protein structure-function, and that glycan-masked Plasmodium (P.) vivax Duffy Binding Protein immunogens might contribute to P. vivax vaccine development.

Over the last 20 years, continuous efforts have been undertaken to develop new immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, but there have been few satisfactory results. Dr. Anna Kosinska and colleagues demonstrate that the combined antiviral and vaccination approach efficiently elicit sustained immunological control of chronic hepadnaviral infection in woodchucks and may be a new promising therapeutic strategy.

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