While studying chronic verruga peruana infections in Peru from 2003, we isolated a novel Bartonella agent, which we propose be named Candidatus Bartonella ancashi. This case reveals the inherent weakness of relying solely on clinical syndromes for diagnosis and underscores the need for a new diagnostic paradigm in developing settings.
The typical clinical presentation of several spotted fever group Rickettsia infections includes eschars. Clinical diagnosis of the condition is usually made by analysis of blood samples. We describe a more sensitive, noninvasive means of obtaining a sample for diagnosis by using an eschar swab specimen from patients infected with Rickettsia parkeri.
In its 15th year, the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (GEIS) continued to make significant contributions to global public health and emerging infectious disease surveillance worldwide. As a division of the US Department of Defenses Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center since 2008, GEIS coordinated a network of surveillance and response activities through collaborations with 33 partners in 76 countries. The GEIS was involved in 73 outbreak responses in fiscal year 2011. Significant laboratory capacity-building initiatives were undertaken with 53 foreign health, agriculture and/or defense ministries, as well as with other US government entities and international institutions, including support for numerous national influenza centers. Equally important, a variety of epidemiologic training endeavors reached over 4,500 individuals in 96 countries. Collectively, these activities enhanced the ability of partner countries and the US military to make decisions about biological threats and design programs to protect global public health as well as global health security.
Delayed match-to-sample (DMTS) procedures are among the most commonly used attention and memory tasks in behavioral pharmacology and have been utilized in a variety of species. Although macaque species such as the rhesus and cynomolgus macaque are often used for such studies, availability and disease transmission raise concerns over their use. The present study investigated whether the African green monkey might function as a suitable alternative by evaluating operant performance on a DMTS task and comparing this species response to some commonly used drugs (0.025-0.075 mg/kg physostigmine, 0.0033-0.03 mg/kg scopolamine, 0.014-0.44 mg/kg atropine, 0.125-1.0 mg/kg midazolam, and 0.125-2.0 mg/kg diazepam) to the responses previously reported in macaques. Results demonstrated that African green monkeys are capable of learning and performing a DMTS task, and dose-effect functions for behavioral pharmacology were quite similar to those reported for rhesus macaques and other nonhuman primate species. Thus, the African green monkey may function as a suitable alternative to macaque species in behavioral pharmacology research.
A 6-y-old male cynomolgus macaque presented with noticeable swelling of the left forearm and signs of discomfort, as indicated by nonuse of the arm even in a behavioral task that he previously had been well-motivated to perform. Examination under anesthesia revealed lacerations to the arm. Radiography of the forearm showed no fractures, indicating that the damage was limited to soft tissue. The daily operant behavioral session assessed the amount of force the monkey emitted when touching the screen with the affected arm and how long each touch was sustained. We then used these parameters (force and duration of touch) as objective measures of putative pain relief and recovery of function to guide the medical treatment. The affected monkey received ketoprofen, buprenorphine, or their combination but continued to perform poorly during daily operant behavioral sessions. Only after treatment with dexamethasone did performance return to preinjury levels, suggesting inflammation near the radial or ulnar nerve. These findings indicate that performance of a trained operant task performance can be useful in guiding medical treatment, evaluating pain relief, and objectively monitoring health in laboratory animals.
It was previously demonstrated that diet potently modulates the toxic effects of an acute lethal dose of the nerve agent soman. The current investigation was undertaken to examine the influence of diet on the cumulative toxicity of repeated soman administration. Rats were fed one of four distinct diets (standard, choline-enriched, glucose-enriched, or ketogenic) for four weeks prior to and throughout a repeated soman dosing and recovery regimen. Each diet group included animals exposed to an equivalent volume of saline that served as negative controls. In exposure Week 1, animals received three consecutive daily doses of 0.4 LD(50) soman. In exposure Week 2, animals received four consecutive daily doses of 0.5 LD(50) soman. In exposure Week 3, animals received five consecutive daily doses of 0.5 LD(50) soman. Week 4 constituted a post-exposure recovery evaluation. Throughout the experiment, behavioral function was assessed by a discriminated avoidance test that required intact sensory and motor function. Survival and body weight changes were recorded daily. Differences in toxicity as a function of diet composition became apparent during the first week. Specifically, rats fed the glucose-enriched diet showed pronounced intoxication during Week 1, resulting in imperfect survival, weight loss, and deteriorated avoidance performance relative to all other groups. All rats fed the glucose-enriched diet died by the end of exposure Week 2. In contrast, only 10% of animals fed the standard diet died by the end of Week 2. Also in Week 2, weight loss and disrupted avoidance performance were apparent for all groups except for those fed the ketogenic diet. This differential effect of diet composition became even more striking in Week 3 when survival in the standard and choline diet groups approximated 50%, whereas survival equaled 90% in the ketogenic diet group. Avoidance performance and weight loss measures corroborated the differential toxicity observed across diet groups. Upon cessation of soman exposure during the final week, recovery of weight and avoidance performance in survivors was comparable across diet groups. These results systematically replicate previous findings demonstrating that diet composition exacerbates or attenuates toxicity in rodents exposed acutely to organophosphorus compounds.
The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System Operations (AFHSC-GEIS) initiated a coordinated, multidisciplinary program to link data sets and information derived from eco-climatic remote sensing activities, ecologic niche modeling, arthropod vector, animal disease-host/reservoir, and human disease surveillance for febrile illnesses, into a predictive surveillance program that generates advisories and alerts on emerging infectious disease outbreaks. The programs ultimate goal is pro-active public health practice through pre-event preparedness, prevention and control, and response decision-making and prioritization. This multidisciplinary program is rooted in over 10 years experience in predictive surveillance for Rift Valley fever outbreaks in Eastern Africa. The AFHSC-GEIS Rift Valley fever project is based on the identification and use of disease-emergence critical detection points as reliable signals for increased outbreak risk. The AFHSC-GEIS predictive surveillance program has formalized the Rift Valley fever project into a structured template for extending predictive surveillance capability to other Department of Defense (DoD)-priority vector- and water-borne, and zoonotic diseases and geographic areas. These include leishmaniasis, malaria, and Crimea-Congo and other viral hemorrhagic fevers in Central Asia and Africa, dengue fever in Asia and the Americas, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and chikungunya fever in Asia, and rickettsial and other tick-borne infections in the U.S., Africa and Asia.
International infectious disease surveillance has been conducted by the United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) for many years and has been consolidated within the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Division of Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (AFHSC-GEIS) since 1998. This includes activities that monitor the presence of antimicrobial resistance among pathogens. AFHSC-GEIS partners work within DoD military treatment facilities and collaborate with host-nation civilian and military clinics, hospitals and university systems. The goals of these activities are to foster military force health protection and medical diplomacy. Surveillance activities include both community-acquired and health care-associated infections and have promoted the development of surveillance networks, centers of excellence and referral laboratories. Information technology applications have been utilized increasingly to aid in DoD-wide global surveillance for diseases significant to force health protection and global public health. This section documents the accomplishments and activities of the network through AFHSC-GEIS partners in 2009.
To evaluate the role of diet composition on nerve agent toxicity, rats were fed four distinct diets ad libitum for 28 d prior to challenge with 110 ?g/kg (1.0 LD(50), sc) soman. The four diets used were a standard rodent diet, a choline-enriched diet, a glucose-enriched diet, and a ketogenic diet. Body weight was recorded throughout the study. Toxic signs and survival were evaluated at key times for up to 72 h following soman exposure. Additionally, acquisition of discriminated shuttlebox avoidance performance was characterized beginning 24h after soman challenge and across the next 8 d (six behavioral sessions). Prior to exposure, body weight was highest in the standard diet group and lowest in the ketogenic diet group. Upon exposure, differences in soman toxicity as a function of diet became apparent within the first hour, with mortality in the glucose-enriched diet group reaching 80% and exceeding all other groups (in which mortality ranged from 0 to 6%). At 72 h after exposure, mortality was 100% in the glucose-enriched diet group, and survival approximated 50% in the standard and choline-enriched diet groups, but equaled 87% in the ketogenic diet group. Body weight loss was significantly reduced in the ketogenic and choline-enriched diet groups, relative to the standard diet group. At 1 and 4h after exposure, rats in the ketogenic diet group had significantly lower toxic sign scores than all other groups. The ketogenic diet group performed significantly better than the standard diet group on two measures of active avoidance performance. The exacerbated soman toxicity observed in the glucose-enriched diet group coupled with the attenuated soman toxicity observed in the ketogenic diet group implicates glucose availability in the toxic effects of soman. This increased glucose availability may enhance acetylcholine synthesis and/or utilization, thereby exacerbating peripheral and central soman toxicity.
This study examined whether pro-2-PAM, a pro-drug dihydropyridine derivative of the oxime 2-pralidoxime (2-PAM) that can penetrate the brain, could prevent or reverse the central toxic effects of three nerve agents; sarin, cyclosarin, and VX. The first experiment tested whether pro-2-PAM could reactivate guinea pig cholinesterase (ChE) in vivo in central and peripheral tissues inhibited by these nerve agents. Pro-2-PAM produced a dose-dependent reactivation of sarin- or VX-inhibited ChE in both peripheral and brain tissues, but with substantially greater reactivation in peripheral tissues compared to brain. Pro-2-PAM produced 9-25% reactivation of cyclosarin-inhibited ChE in blood, heart, and spinal cord, but no reactivation in brain or muscle tissues. In a second experiment, the ability of pro-2-PAM to block or terminate nerve agent-induced electroencephalographic seizure activity was evaluated. Pro-2-PAM was able to block sarin- or VX-induced seizures (16-33%) over a dose range of 24-32 mg/kg, but was ineffective against cyclosarin-induced seizures. Animals that were protected from seizures showed significantly less weight loss and greater behavioral function 24 h after exposure than those animals that were not protected. Additionally, brains were free from neuropathology when pro-2-PAM prevented seizures. In summary, pro-2-PAM provided modest reactivation of sarin- and VX-inhibited ChE in the brain and periphery, which was reflected by a limited ability to block or terminate seizures elicited by these agents. Pro-2-PAM was able to reactivate blood, heart, and spinal cord ChE inhibited by cyclosarin, but was not effective against cyclosarin-induced seizures.
Huperzine A is potentially superior to pyridostigmine bromide as a pretreatment for nerve agent intoxication because it inhibits acetylcholinesterase both peripherally and centrally, unlike pyridostigmine, which acts only peripherally. Using rhesus monkeys, we evaluated the time course of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibition following four different doses of -(-)huperzine A: 5, 10, 20, and 40 microg/kg. Acetylcholinesterase inhibition peaked 30 min after intramuscular injection and varied dose dependently, ranging from about 30% to 75%. Subsequently, cognitive-behavioral functioning was also evaluated at each dose of huperzine A using a six-item serial-probe recognition task that assessed attention, motivation, and working memory. Huperzine did not impair performance, but physostigmine did. The results demonstrate that huperzine A can selectively and reversibly inhibit acetylcholinesterase without cognitive-behavioral side effects, thus warranting further study.
Acquisition and maintenance of touch-screen responding was examined in naïve cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) under automaintenance and classical conditioning arrangements. In the first condition of Experiment 1, we compared acquisition of screen touching to a randomly positioned stimulus (a gray square) that was either stationary or moving under automaintenance (i.e., banana pellet delivery followed an 8-s stimulus presentation or immediately upon a stimulus touch). For all subjects stimulus touching occurred within the first session and increased to at least 50% of trials by the end of four sessions (320 trials). In the subsequent condition, stimulus touching further increased under a similar procedure in which pellets were only delivered if a stimulus touch occurred (fixed ratio 1 with 8-s limited hold). In Experiment 2, 6 naive subjects were initially exposed to a classical conditioning procedure (8-s stimulus preceded pellet delivery). Despite the absence of a programmed response contingency, all subjects touched the stimulus within the first session and responded on about 50% or more of trials by the second session. Responding was also sensitive to negative, neutral, and positive response contingencies introduced in subsequent conditions. Similar to other species, monkeys engaged in stimulus-directed behavior when stimulus presentations were paired with food delivery. However, stimulus-directed behavior quickly conformed to response contingencies upon subsequent introduction. Video recordings of sessions showed topographies of stimulus-directed behavior that resembled food acquisition and consumption.
A previous surveillance study of human pathogens within ticks collected in the country of Georgia showed a relatively high infection rate for Rickettsia raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii. These 3 spotted fever group rickettsiae are human pathogens: R. raoultii and R. slovaca cause tick-borne lymphadenopathy (TIBOLA), and R. aeschlimannii causes an infection characterized by fever and maculopapular rash. Three quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays, Rraoul, Rslov, and Raesch were developed and optimized to detect R. raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii, respectively, by targeting fragments of the outer membrane protein B gene (ompB) using species-specific molecular beacon or TaqMan probes. The 3 qPCR assays showed 100% specificity when tested against a rickettsiae DNA panel (n=20) and a bacteria DNA panel (n=12). The limit of detection was found to be at least 3 copies per reaction for all assays. Validation of the assays using previously investigated tick nucleic acid preparations, which included Rickettsia-free tick samples, tick samples that contain R. raoultii, R. slovaca, R. aeschlimannii, and other Rickettsia spp., gave 100% sensitivity for all 3 qPCR assays. In addition, a total of 65 tick nucleic acid preparations (representing 259 individual ticks) collected from the country of Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2009 was tested using the 3 qPCR assays. R. raoultii, R. slovaca, and R. aeschlimannii were not detected in any ticks (n=31) from the Republic of Azerbaijan, but in the ticks from the country of Georgia (n=228) the minimal infection rate for R. raoultii and R. slovaca in Dermacentor marginatus was 10% and 4%, respectively, and for R. aeschlimannii in Haemaphysalis sulcata and Hyalomma spp. it was 1.9% and 20%, respectively.
Since 1997, the absence of a global, DoD public health laboratory system has been identified as a vulnerability in the U.S. militarys effort to identify and quickly respond to emerging infections. The AFHSC Division of GEIS Operations has attempted to mitigate this vulnerability by supporting initiatives such as the DoD Global Influenza Surveillance Program and the DoD Directory of Public Health Laboratory Services. AFHSC continues to be engaged in identifying and addressing diagnostics needed to protect deployed forces. The GASI and the enhanced capability for identification of MDROs and threatening influenza strains in deployed areas are recent examples of GEIS utilizing its financial resources and position as a DoD organization to coordinate the efforts of the military services and other U.S. government organizations to improve preparedness for EID agents. However, the absence of a defined, comprehensive public health system that contains surveillance systems, reference laboratories, and public health communication systems functioning in unison to provide reach back and reference laboratory support to the global MHS remains a significant gap.
The effects of a large dose of human serum butyrylcholinesterase (HuBChE) were evaluated in rhesus monkeys using a serial-probe recognition (SPR) task designed to assess attention and short-term memory. Each monkey received an intravenous injection of 150 mg (105,000 U or 30 mg/kg) of HuBChE 60 min prior to testing on the SPR task. Concurrent with the cognitive-behavioral assessment, blood was collected at various time points throughout the study and was analyzed for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activities, anti-BChE antibody production and gross clinical pathology (i.e., complete blood count and clinical chemistry panel). HuBChE revealed a peak blood activity of 227 U/ml at 5 min after intravenous injection and a mean residence time of approximately 72 h. No cognitive-behavioral decrements of any kind in SPR performance and no toxic signs in clinical pathology were detected in any of the blood assays during the 5 weeks of observation. Anti-HuBChE antibodies peaked at about 14 days after injection, with no concomitant behavioral changes. These results demonstrate the behavioral and physiological safety of HuBChE in rhesus monkeys and support its development as a bioscavenger for the prophylaxis of chemical warfare agent toxicity in humans.
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