This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Malaria Immunity in Papua New Guinean Children, What We Know About MERS-CoV, the AFM Revolution and More

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

Palha N, Guivel-Benhassine F, Briolat V, Lutfalla G, Sourisseau M, et al. (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(9): e1003619. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003619

Palha N, Guivel-Benhassine F, Briolat V, Lutfalla G, Sourisseau M, et al. (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(9): e1003619. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003619

Migration is thought to be a factor associated with continued leprosy transmission in Brazil, where the disease remains a continuing public health issue. Dr. Christine Murto and colleagues analyzed five years of internal migration and leprosy data as part of a larger epidemiological study in the northeastern state of Maranhão. The data reveals a significant association between leprosy transmission and migration, even after controlling for household and familial contact.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country of Georgia underwent major restructuring in land management and livestock handling, and anthrax remains a serious public health risk. Few studies have evaluated the local spatial patterns of human anthrax. Here Dr. Ian Kracalik and colleagues identify areas on the landscape where human cutaneous anthrax persisted over the last decade, associated with both anthropogenic and environmental factors including soil pH and livestock density.

Dr. Cristian Koepfli and colleagues explore the question of why, in areas where P. vivax and P. falciparum parasite species co-occur, immunity to P. vivax seems to be acquired more rapidly. They hypothesize this difference could be caused either by generic differences in the way immunity is acquired or by a relatively higher exposure to P. vivax bloodstage infections in early life.

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

MERS-CoV was first reported in September 2012. In their pearl, Drs. Christopher Coleman and Matthew Frieman summarize what we know about the virus after a year of intense research, and discuss the many open questions researchers and public health officials in the Middle East and the rest of the world have yet to answer.

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has revolutionized the analysis of the cell surface. AFM can reveal the localization and mechanical properties of individual cell surface molecules. In their pearl, Dr. Yves Dufrêne and colleagues provide a flavor of the many applications offered by AFM in microbiology and highlight some of the key breakthroughs in pathogen research that were enabled by the technology.

Studying mice infected with murine noroviruses, Dr. Stephanie Karst and colleagues report that individual viral strains differ significantly in their interactions with the host immune system and their immunogenicity. This could explain discordant results regarding protective immunity to human norovirus and suggests challenges and opportunities for developing an efficacious human norovirus vaccine.

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