This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Gender and NTD Treatment in Uganda, the Psp Response, a Prevalence Map of Strongyloides, Next-gen Plague Vaccines, and More

Montresor A, Gabrielli AF, Engels D, Daumerie D, Savioli L (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(7): e2299. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002299

Montresor A, Gabrielli AF, Engels D, Daumerie D, Savioli L (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(7): e2299. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002299

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

Reports indicate that cysticercosis, the tissue infection spread by Taenia solium, while endemic in much of Latin America, has not made effective headway into the Caribbean, with the exception of Haiti. Dr. Kirezi Kanobana and colleagues discuss the case of cycsticercosis in Cuba, where health policy makers are taking no chances and have created a national program dedicated to controlling T. solium.

A number of studies point to community-based mass-treatment programs as an effective strategy to treat populations, but qualitative data from district health workers, community leaders and members suggest that socio-behavioral and structural barriers to treatment access may exist for both genders. In this study, Heather Rilkoff and colleagues explore gender-related factors that may influence community member access and adherence to treatment programs for NTDs in Uganda.

The threadworm Strongyloides stercoralis is among the most neglected soil-transmitted helminths, with country-specific prevalence estimates lacking. In this paper, Dr. Schär and colleagues present results from a Bayesian meta-analysis that obtained country-specific prevalence estimates and to compare disease odds ratios in different risk groups.

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

Inducible extracytoplasmic stress responses (ESRs) help to maintain the integrity and function of the bacterial cell envelope in unfavorable conditions. One of the most intriguing and yet enigmatic examples is the widely conserved phage shock protein (Psp) response. In this Pearls article, Andrew Darwin outlines the significance of envelope stress and the roles of the Psp response in supporting bacterial virulence.

The current vaccines against both bubonic and pneumonic plague, which are based on the capsular antigen (F1) and the low calcium response V antigen, are promising. However, the polymeric nature of F1 can aggregate, thus affecting vaccine efficacy. Dr. Pan Tao and colleagues show that highly efficacious new generation plague vaccines are easily manufactured, and that the potent T4 platform provides a convenient way for mass vaccination of humans against multiple pathogens.

Fungal pathogens, such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Fusarium oxysporum, in addition to causing life-threatening systemic disease, can also invade the cornea and cause blindness and visual impairment. Dr. Sixto Leal and colleagues demonstrate that combined treatment with the iron chelator deferiprone and statins had an additive effect on reduced fungal infection, and thereby showing therapeutic inhibition of fungal iron acquisition can be utilized to treat topical fungal infections.

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