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Journal: Acta tropica


Sound and its reception are crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals. In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics and hosts. Despite evidence that mosquitoes respond to sound frequencies beyond fundamental ranges, including songs, and that males and females need to struggle to harmonize their flight tones, the behavioral impacts of music as control targets remain unexplored. In this study, we examined the effects of electronic music (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex) on foraging, host attack, and sexual activities of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti. Adults were presented with two sound environments (music-off or music-on). Discrepancies in visitation, blood feeding, and copulation patterns were compared between environments with and without music. Ae. aegypti females maintained in the music-off environment initiated host visits earlier than those in the music-on environment. They visited the host significantly less often in the music-on than the music-off condition. Females exposed to music attacked hosts much later than their non-exposed peers. The occurrence of blood feeding activity was lower when music was being played. Adults exposed to music copulated far less often than their counterparts kept in an environment where there was no music. In addition to providing insight into the auditory sensitivity of Ae. aegypti to sound, our results indicated the vulnerability of its key vectorial capacity traits to electronic music. The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding, and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases.


Human landing catch studies were conducted in a semi-field setting to determine the efficacy of seven commercial products used for personal protection against mosquitoes. Experiments were conducted in two empty, insecticide free, mesh-enclosed greenhouses, in Israel, with either 1500 Aedes albopictus or 1500 Culex pipiens released on consecutive study nights. The products tested in this study were the OFF!(®) Clip-On™ Mosquito Repellent (Metofluthrin 31.2%) and the Terminix(®) ALLCLEAR(®) Sidekick Mosquito Repeller (Cinnamon oil 10.5%; Eugenol 13%; Geranium oil 21%; Peppermint 5.3%; Lemongrass oil 2.6%), which are personal diffusers; Super Band™ Wristband (22% Citronella oil) and the PIC(®) Citronella Plus Wristband (Geraniol 15%; Lemongrass oil 5%, Citronella oil 1%); the Sonic Insect Repeller Keychain; the Mosquito Guard Patch (Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus 80mg), an adhesive-backed sticker for use on textiles; and the Mosquito Patch (vitamin B1 300mg), a transdermal patch. It was determined that the sticker, transdermal patch, wristbands and sonic device did not provide significant protection to volunteers compared with the mosquito attack rate on control volunteers who were not wearing a repellent device. The personal diffusers: - OFF!(®) Clip-On™ and Terminix(®) ALLCLEAR(®) Sidekick - provided superior protection compared with all other devices in this study. These diffusers reduced biting on the arms of volunteers by 96.28% and 95.26% respectively, for Ae. albopictus, and by 94.94% and 92.15% respectively, for Cx. pipiens. In a second trial conducted to compare these devices directly, biting was reduced by the OFF!(®) Clip-On™ and the Terminix(®) ALLCLEAR(®) by 87.55% and 92.83%, respectively, for Ae. albopictus, and by 97.22% and 94.14%, respectively, for Cx. pipiens. There was no significant difference between the performances of the two diffusers for each species.

Concepts: Mosquito, Cinnamon, Aedes, Culicidae, Insect repellent, Citronella oil, Citronellol, Cymbopogon


Solid evidence regarding the epidemiology of intestinal helminth infections in Tajikistan is currently lacking. As such information is essential for the evidence-based design, implementation and evaluation of control interventions, a national intestinal helminth survey was conducted with the following objectives: i) to assess the prevalence of intestinal helminth infections among school-aged children nationally and stratified by region; ii) to identify locally relevant risk factors for infection; and iii) to better understand the children’s knowledge and perception of intestinal helminth infections, and asses their haemoglobin status. Standard field and laboratory procedures including the Kato-Katz thick smear and tape test were employed. Complete data was obtained for 1642 children from 33 randomly selected primary schools from different parts of the country. Across the country, prevalences of E. vermicularis, A. lumbricoides, H. nana and T. trichiura were 26.5%, 16.9%, 15.5% and 2.7% respectively. The prevalence of common soil-transmitted helminth (A. lumbricoides and T. trichiura) infections was 19.4%. No hookworm infections were detected, and prevalences of various infections differed significantly between administrative districts (all P<0.05). Hand washing after toilet usage (OR=0.78; P=0.047) and handling animals (OR=0.66; P=0.009) were identified as significant protective factors against E. vermicularis infections. H. nana infection was associated with a 2.85g/L decrease in haemoglobin levels (P<0.001) despite already low average haemoglobin levels. The proportions of children with knowledge about intestinal helminths and protective hygiene practices varied significantly between regions (both P<0.001). Mass albendazole administration to school-aged children and women of child-bearing age against intestinal helminths has now been initiated in Tajikistan, to be followed by mass albendazole and praziquantel distribution to school-aged children. In the longer term, an integrated approach including chemotherapy, provision of safe water and proper sanitation as well as targeted health education will be necessary to achieve sustainable control.

Concepts: Disease, Intestinal parasite, Hygiene, Hookworm, Parasitic worm, Parasitic animals, Pinworm, Helminthology


The anthelminthic drug tribendimidine has been approved by Chinese authorities for human use in 2004, and a first comprehensive review was published in Acta Tropica in 2005. Here, we summarise further advances made through additional clinical trials and laboratory investigations. Two phase IV trials have been conducted in the People’s Republic of China, the first one enrolling 1,292 adolescents and adults aged 15-70 years and the second one conducted with 899 children aged 4-14 years who were infected with one or multiple species of soil-transmitted helminths. Oral tribendimidine (single 400mg enteric-coated tablet given to adolescents/adults and 200mg to children) showed high cure rates against Ascaris lumbricoides (90.1-95.0%) and moderate-to-high cure rates against hookworm (82.0-88.4%). Another trial done in school-aged children using a rigorous diagnostic approach found a cure rate against hookworm of 76.5%. A single oral dose of tribendimidine showed only low cure rates against Trichuris trichiura (23.9-36.8%) confirming previous results. Tribendimidine administered to children infected with Enterobius vermicularis (two doses of 200mg each on consecutive days) resulted in a high cure rate (97.1%). Importantly, a series of randomised, exploratory trials revealed that tribendimidine shows interesting activity against the liver flukes Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis, the tapeworm Taenia spp. and the threadworm Strongyloides stercoralis with respective cure rates of 70.0%, 40.0%, 53.3% and 36.4%. Pharmacokinetic studies in healthy Chinese volunteers indicated that after oral administration of tribendimidine, no parent drug was detected in plasma, but its primary metabolite, p-(1-dimethylamino ethylimino) aniline (aminoamidine, deacylated amidantel) (dADT), was found in plasma. dADT is then further metabolized to acetylated dADT (AdADT). dADT exhibits activity against several species of hookworm and C. sinensis in experimental studies, similar to that of tribendimidine. First studies elucidating the mechanism of action suggested that tribendimidine is an L-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist. Additional experimental studies revealed that the anti-parasite spectrum of tribendimidine is very broad. Indeed, to date, activity has been documented against 20 different nematode, trematode and cestode species. Taken together, tribendimidine warrants further scientific inquiry, including more comprehensive toxicity appraisals mechanism of action studies and clinical investigation as it holds promise as a broad spectrum anthelminthics.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Parasites, Digenea, Nematodes, Acetylcholine, Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Pinworm, Mebendazole


The liver fluke Opisthorchis felineus is one of the few zoonotic trematodes that circulates in the European Union (EU). It is transmitted from freshwater snails to fish and then to fish-eating mammals, including humans, in which it causes opisthorchiasis. In the 20th century, the majority of infections in humans have been reported in Eastern Europe (e.g., Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine) and Asia (Siberia). In EU in the last fifty years, the parasite has been detected in humans of Germany and Greece, and in red foxes, polecats, cats, dogs, fish and mollusks of Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain. In Italy, six individual cases and eight outbreaks of opisthorchiasis were reported from 2003 to 2011, for a total of 211 confirmed infections in humans. All infected persons had consumed raw fillets of tench (Tinca tinca) fished from two lakes in central Italy, but some of infected people were tourists who developed the disease in their respective home-countries. In the past decade, it has become increasingly popular to consume raw marinated fillets of fish. The objective of this review is to show how a change in human food habits have caused an increased the transmission of O. felineus, which has probably been circulating in the EU yet in a silent form for many years.

Concepts: European Union, Portugal, Europe, Spain, Eastern Europe, Italy, Russia, Poland


Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a leading cause of morbidity in the tropical world. It is caused by the filarial parasites Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori and transmitted by vector mosquitoes. Currently a programme for the elimination of LF, Global Lympahtic Filariasis Elimination Programme (GPELF), is underway with the strategy of mass administration of single dose of diethylcarbamazine or ivermectin, in combination with an antihelminthic drug, albendazole. However, antifilarial drugs used in the progarmme are only microfilaricidal but not or only partially macrofilaricidal. Hence, there is a need to identify new targets for developing antifilarial drugs. Filarial parasites harbour rickettsial endosymbionts, Wolbachia sp., which play an important role in their biology and hence are considered as potential targets for antifilarial chemotherapy development. In this study, one of the cell division proteins of Wolbachia of the major lymphatic filarial parasite, Wuchereria bancrofti, viz., filamentation temperature-sensitive protein Z (FtsZ), was explored as a drug target. The gene coding for FtsZ protein was amplified from the genomic DNA of W. bancrofti, cloned and sequenced. The derived amino acid sequence of the gene revealed that FtsZ protein is 396 amino acids long and contained the tubulin motif (GGGTGTG) involved in GTP binding and the GTP hydrolyzing motif (NLDFAD). The FtsZ gene of endosymbiont showed limited sequence homology, but exhibited functional homology with β-tubulin of its host, W. bancrofti, as it had both the functional motifs and conserved amino acids that are critical for enzymatic activity. β-tubulin is the target for the anti-helminthic activity of albendazole and since FtsZ shares the functional homology with it may also be sensitive to albendazole. Therefore, the effect of albendazole was tested against Wolbachia occurring in mosquitoes instead of filarial parasites as the drug has lethal effect on the latter. Third instar larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus were treated with 0.25mg/ml of albendazole (test) or tetracycline (positive control) in the rearing medium for different intervals and tested for the presence of Wolbachia by FtsZ PCR. All the treated larvae were negative for the presence of the FtsZ band, whereas all the control larvae were positive. The findings of the study thus indicated that FtsZ is sensitive to albendazole. In view of this albendazole appears to have dual targets; FtsZ in Wolbachia and β- tubulin in W. bancrofti. Further, the functional domain of the gene was assessed for polymorphism among recombinant clones representing 120W. bancrofti parasites, prevalent across wide geographic areas of India and found to be highly conserved among them. Since it is highly conserved and plays an important role in Wolbachia cell division it appears to be a potential target for anti-filarial chemotherapy development.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Amino acid, Diethylcarbamazine, Filariasis, Brugia timori, Brugia malayi, Wuchereria bancrofti


Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite and its infection in human can induce toxoplasmic encephalitis in immune disorders. In this study, astroglia were infected with the TS-4 strain of T. gondii tachyzoite in vitro to investigate the changes of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9 and their substrate fibronectin. MMP-2 and MMP-9 were significantly increased at 1h, 6h and 12h post-infection (PI) in the cell homogenates, and increased at 6h, 12h, 24h and 48h PI in the cell-cultured supernatants. Fibronectin degradation also occurred at the same time points. In addition, immunocytochemistry showed that MMP-2 and MMP-9 localized in the cytoplasm, and confocal scanning laser microscopy revealed co-labeled patterns of MMP-2 and MMP-9 with fibronectin. MMP-2 and MMP-9 interacted with fibronectin, respectively. These results suggest that MMP-2 and MMP-9 induction from astroglia may contribute to extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation occurring in toxoplasmosis. Thus, we hypothesize that MMP-2 and MMP-9 cleave fibronectin and may contribute to the astroglia reaction and leukocyte migration to the sites of T. gondii replication during toxoplasmic encephalitis.

Concepts: Extracellular matrix, Apicomplexa, Rat, Matrix metalloproteinase, Toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii


Water samples of 0, 5, and 100 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) spiked with Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts were exposed to natural sunlight in 2.5l static borosilicate solar reactors fitted with two different compound parabolic concentrators (CPCs), CPC1 and CPC1.89, with concentration factors of the solar radiation of 1 and 1.89, respectively. The global oocyst viability was calculated by the evaluation of the inclusion/exclusion of the fluorogenic vital dye propidium iodide and the spontaneous excystation. Thus, the initial global oocyst viability of the C. parvum isolate used was 95.3 ± 1.6%. Using the solar reactors fitted with CPC1, the global viability of oocysts after 12h of exposure was zero in the most turbid water samples (100 NTU) and almost zero in the other water samples (0.3 ± 0.0% for 0 NTU and 0.5 ± 0.2% for 5 NTU). Employing the solar reactors fitted with CPC1.89, after 10h exposure, the global oocyst viability was zero in the non-turbid water samples (0 NTU), and it was almost zero in the 5 NTU water samples after 8h of exposure (0.5 ± 0.5%). In the most turbid water samples (100 NTU), the global viability was 1.9 ± 0.6% after 10 and 12h of exposure. In conclusion, the use of these 2.5l static solar reactors fitted with CPCs significantly improved the efficacy of the SODIS technique as these systems shorten the exposure times to solar radiation, and also minimize the negative effects of turbidity. This technology therefore represents a good alternative method for improving the microbiological quality of household drinking water in developing countries.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Apicomplexa, Water pollution, Sunlight, Cryptosporidium parvum, Solar water disinfection, Turbidity, Nephelometer


Plasmodium knowlesi was initially identified in the 30s as a natural Plasmodium of Macaca fascicularis monkey also capable of experimentally infecting humans. It gained a relative notoriety in the mid-30s as an alternative to Plasmodium vivax in the treatment of the general paralysis of the insane (neurosyphilis). In 1965 the first natural human infection was described in a US military surveyor coming back from the Pahang jungle of the Malaysian peninsula. P. knowlesi was again brought to the attention of the medical community when in 2004, Balbir Singh and his co-workers reported that about 58% of malaria cases observed in the Kapit district of the Malaysian Borneo were actually caused by P. knowlesi. In the following years several reports showed that P. knowlesi is much more widespread than initially thought with cases reported across Southeast Asia. This infection should also be considered in the differential diagnosis of any febrile travellers coming back from a recent travel to forested areas of Southeast Asia. P. knowlesi can cause severe malaria with a rate of 6-9% and with a case fatality rate of 3%. Respiratory distress, acute renal failure, shock and hyperbilirubinemia are the most frequently observed complications of severe P. knowlesi malaria. Chloroquine is considered the treatment of choice of uncomplicated malaria caused by P. knowlesi.

Concepts: Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium, Southeast Asia, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Malaysia, Plasmodium knowlesi


The three curcuminoid components commonly isolated from Curcuma longa, curcumin (1), demethoxycurcumin (2), and bis-demethoxycurcumin (3) were separated and isolated from a commercially available turmeric extract product in high purity and sufficient amounts. Three more derivatives of curcumin, the di-O-demethylcurcumin (4), di-O-methylcurcumin (5) and the di-O-acetylcurcumin (6) were also synthesized and characterized. All six compounds were evaluated for their larvicidal effect against the mosquito Culex pipiens. Curcumin (1) exhibited highly potent larvicidal activity with LC(50) value of 19.07mgL(-1). Moreover, di-O-demethylcurcumin (4), was found to be equally active with LC(50) value of 12.42mgL(-1). Based on the LC(90) values of the two compounds, di-O-demethylcurcumin (4) was the most active of all, resulting in an LC(90) value of 29.40mgL(-1), almost half of the LC(90) value 61.63mgL(-1) found for compound 1. The rest of the compounds were inactive at concentrations even as high as 150mgL(-1) indicating a dependence of the larvicidal activity upon the substitution patent and the presence of aromatic hydroxyl and methoxy moieties. These results show for the first time the potential of this valuable natural product regarding its use as vector control agent.

Concepts: Mosquito, Value, Curcuma, Turmeric, Curcumin, Zingiberaceae, Culex, Curcuminoid