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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLOS Pathogens and PLOS NTDs: Cultural Issues in Global Health Research, Human Genetic Susceptibility to Invasive Aspergillosis, SIGIRR and Resistance to Colonization by Enteric Bacterial Pathogens, and More

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

Sham HP, Yu EYS, Gulen MF, Bhinder G, Stahl M, et al. (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(8): e1003539. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003539
Sham HP, Yu EYS, Gulen MF, Bhinder G, Stahl M, et al. (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(8): e1003539. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003539

Dr. James Lavery and colleagues draw on lessons learned during their experiences with the ESC (Ethical, Social and Cultural) Program of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to propose key features of consultation services in research ethics (CSRE). Their goal is to encourage reflection among the global health research community and the research ethics community about how a wide range of ESC influences on the conduct, success, and impact of global health research can best be addressed by CSRE.

In order to target resources and drugs to reach trachoma elimination targets by the year 2020, data on the burden of disease are required. Here Dr. Jennifer Smith and colleagues present the maps and information that demonstrate the GAT as an important open-access planning and advocacy tool for efforts to finalize trachoma mapping and assist national programs in planning interventions.

The theoretical basis that supports the culling of Leishmania infected dogs is the assumption that the incidence of human infection is directly related to the number of infectious dogs, but no consensus among researchers on the effectiveness of this strategy exists. In this paper, Dr. Danielle Costa and colleagues highlight the imperfect diagnosis of this infection and the time gap between laboratory diagnosis and culling and the presence of asymptomatic infections.

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

Invasive aspergillosis is a common and serious fungal disease affecting immunocompromised individuals. Its prevention, diagnosis, and therapy are difficult, and, ideally, efforts would focus on high-risk patients. The Pearl by Agostinho Carvalho and colleagues discusses current efforts to identify such patients through discovery of genetic factors associated with susceptibility to invasive aspergillosis.

Creating an environment that nurtures the trillions of beneficial microbes in our gut and, at the same time, protects us against invasion by food-borne pathogens is a challenge. Bruce Vallance, Xiaoxia Li, and colleagues report that SIGIRR function in mice (and presumably also in humans) is necessary to protect the gut against “hostile takeover” by bacteria that cause serious food poisoning and bowel inflammation.

Chlamydial elementary bodies have mostly been thought of as dormant, spore-like particles. However, Matthias Horn and colleagues now demonstrate metabolic activity in chlamydial elementary bodies that is linked to infectivity. Challenging textbook knowledge, these results suggest that the infective stage is much more dependent on its environment (and thus potentially vulnerable) than previously recognized.

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