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Host Cell Tropism and Adaptation of Blood-Stage Malaria Parasites: Challenges for Malaria Elimination.

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      Abstract

      Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax account for most of the mortality and morbidity associated with malaria in humans. Research and control efforts have focused on infections caused by P. falciparum and P. vivax, but have neglected other malaria parasite species that infect humans. Additionally, many related malaria parasite species infect nonhuman primates (NHPs), and have the potential for transmission to humans. For malaria elimination, the varied and specific challenges of all of these Plasmodium species will need to be considered. Recent advances in molecular genetics and genomics have increased our knowledge of the prevalence and existing diversity of the human and NHP Plasmodium species. We are beginning to identify the extent of the reservoirs of each parasite species in humans and NHPs, revealing their origins as well as potential for adaptation in humans. Here, we focus on the red blood cell stage of human infection and the host cell tropism of each human Plasmodium species. Determinants of tropism are unique among malaria parasite species, presenting a complex challenge for malaria elimination.

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      Global trends in emerging infectious diseases.

      Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are a significant burden on global economies and public health. Their emergence is thought to be driven largely by socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors, but no comparative study has explicitly analysed these linkages to understand global temporal and spatial patterns of EIDs. Here we analyse a database of 335 EID 'events' (origins of EIDs) between 1940 and 2004, and demonstrate non-random global patterns. EID events have risen significantly over time after controlling for reporting bias, with their peak incidence (in the 1980s) concomitant with the HIV pandemic. EID events are dominated by zoonoses (60.3% of EIDs): the majority of these (71.8%) originate in wildlife (for example, severe acute respiratory virus, Ebola virus), and are increasing significantly over time. We find that 54.3% of EID events are caused by bacteria or rickettsia, reflecting a large number of drug-resistant microbes in our database. Our results confirm that EID origins are significantly correlated with socio-economic, environmental and ecological factors, and provide a basis for identifying regions where new EIDs are most likely to originate (emerging disease 'hotspots'). They also reveal a substantial risk of wildlife zoonotic and vector-borne EIDs originating at lower latitudes where reporting effort is low. We conclude that global resources to counter disease emergence are poorly allocated, with the majority of the scientific and surveillance effort focused on countries from where the next important EID is least likely to originate.
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        Risk factors for human disease emergence.

        A comprehensive literature review identifies 1415 species of infectious organism known to be pathogenic to humans, including 217 viruses and prions, 538 bacteria and rickettsia, 307 fungi, 66 protozoa and 287 helminths. Out of these, 868 (61%) are zoonotic, that is, they can be transmitted between humans and animals, and 175 pathogenic species are associated with diseases considered to be 'emerging'. We test the hypothesis that zoonotic pathogens are more likely to be associated with emerging diseases than non-emerging ones. Out of the emerging pathogens, 132 (75%) are zoonotic, and overall, zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than non-zoonotic pathogens. However, the result varies among taxa, with protozoa and viruses particularly likely to emerge, and helminths particularly unlikely to do so, irrespective of their zoonotic status. No association between transmission route and emergence was found. This study represents the first quantitative analysis identifying risk factors for human disease emergence.
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          A large focus of naturally acquired Plasmodium knowlesi infections in human beings.

          About a fifth of malaria cases in 1999 for the Kapit division of Malaysian Borneo had routinely been identified by microscopy as Plasmodium malariae, although these infections appeared atypical and a nested PCR assay failed to identify P malariae DNA. We aimed to investigate whether such infections could be attributable to a variant form of P malariae or a newly emergent Plasmodium species. We took blood samples from 208 people with malaria in the Kapit division between March, 2000, and November, 2002. The small subunit ribosomal RNA and the circumsporozoite protein genes were sequenced for eight isolates that had been microscopically identified as P malariae. All blood samples were characterised with a genus-specific and species-specific nested PCR assay together with newly designed P knowlesi-specific primers. All DNA sequences were phylogenetically indistinguishable from those of P knowlesi, a malaria parasite of long-tailed macaque monkeys, but were significantly different from other malaria parasite species. By PCR assay, 120 (58%) of 208 people with malaria tested positive for P knowlesi, whereas none was positive for P malariae. P knowlesi parasites in human erythrocytes were difficult to distinguish from P malariae by microscopy. Most of the P knowlesi infections were in adults and we did not note any clustering of cases within communities. P knowlesi infections were successfully treated with chloroquine and primaquine. Naturally acquired P knowlesi infections, misdiagnosed by microscopy mainly as P malariae, accounted for over half of all malaria cases in our study. Morphological similarities between P knowlesi and P malariae necessitate the use of molecular methods for correct identification. Further work is needed to determine whether human P knowlesi infections in the Kapit division are acquired from macaque monkeys or whether a host switch to human beings has occurred.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ] Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
            Journal
            Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
            Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine
            Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
            2157-1422
            2157-1422
            Feb 17 2017
            28213436
            cshperspect.a025494
            10.1101/cshperspect.a025494

            Comments

            Malaria vaccine development collection topic 5) Identifying and developing the new generation of malaria vaccines - Unraveling host-parasite interactions. See https://www.scienceopen.com/collection/malariavaccine

            We are only beginning to identify the extent of the reservoirs of P. vivax (as well as P. falciparium) in humans and other primates. Here, Lim and collaborators focus on the host cell tropism of each human Plasmodium spp. species. 

            2018-10-09 23:53 UTC
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