• First Complete Genome Sequences of Zika Virus Isolated from Febrile Patient Sera in Ecuador.

    3 January 2018

    Here, we present the complete genome sequences of two Zika virus (ZIKV) strains, EcEs062_16 and EcEs089_16, isolated from the sera of febrile patients in Esmeraldas City, in the northern coastal province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, in April 2016. These are the first complete ZIKV genomes to be reported from Ecuador.

  • Epidemiological and ecological determinants of Zika virus transmission in an urban setting.

    12 December 2017

    The Zika virus has emerged as a global public health concern. Its rapid geographic expansion is attributed to the success of Aedes mosquito vectors, but local epidemiological drivers are still poorly understood. Feira de Santana played a pivotal role in the Chikungunya epidemic in Brazil and was one of the first urban centres to report Zika infections. Using a climate-driven transmission model and notified Zika case data, we show that a low observation rate and high vectorial capacity translated into a significant attack rate during the 2015 outbreak, with a subsequent decline in 2016 and fade-out in 2017 due to herd-immunity. We find a potential Zika-related, low risk for microcephaly per pregnancy, but with significant public health impact given high attack rates. The balance between the loss of herd-immunity and viral re-importation will dictate future transmission potential of Zika in this urban setting.

  • Role of HIV-specific CD8+ T cells in pediatric HIV cure strategies after widespread early viral escape.

    16 January 2018

    Recent studies have suggested greater HIV cure potential among infected children than adults. A major obstacle to HIV eradication in adults is that the viral reservoir is largely comprised of HIV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) escape variants. We here evaluate the potential for CTL in HIV-infected slow-progressor children to play an effective role in "shock-and-kill" cure strategies. Two distinct subgroups of children were identified on the basis of viral load. Unexpectedly, in both groups, as in adults, HIV-specific CTL drove the selection of escape variants across a range of epitopes within the first weeks of infection. However, in HIV-infected children, but not adults, de novo autologous variant-specific CTL responses were generated, enabling the pediatric immune system to "corner" the virus. Thus, even when escape variants are selected in early infection, the capacity in children to generate variant-specific anti-HIV CTL responses maintains the potential for CTL to contribute to effective shock-and-kill cure strategies in pediatric HIV infection.

  • Cross-border spread, lineage displacement and evolutionary rate estimation of rabies virus in Yunnan Province, China.

    9 January 2018

    BACKGROUND: Rabies is an important but underestimated threat to public health, with most cases reported in Asia. Since 2000, a new epidemic wave of rabies has emerged in Yunnan Province, southwestern China, which borders three countries in Southeast Asia. METHOD: We estimated gene-specific evolutionary rates for rabies virus using available data in GenBank, then used this information to calibrate the timescale of rabies virus (RABV) spread in Asia. We used 452 publicly available geo-referenced complete nucleoprotein (N) gene sequences, including 52 RABV sequences that were recently generated from samples collected in Yunnan between 2008 and 2012. RESULTS: The RABV N gene evolutionary rate was estimated to be 1.88 × 10-4 (1.37-2.41 × 10-4, 95% Bayesian credible interval, BCI) substitutions per site per year. Phylogenetic reconstructions show that the currently circulating RABV lineages in Yunnan result from at least seven independent introductions (95% BCI: 6-9 introductions) and represent each of the three main Asian RABV lineages, SEA-1, -2 and -3. We find that Yunnan is a sink location for the domestic spread of RABV and connects RABV epidemics in North China, South China, and Southeast Asia. Cross-border spread from southeast Asia (SEA) into South China, and intermixing of the North and South China epidemics is also well supported. The influx of RABV into Yunnan from SEA was not well-supported, likely due to the poor sampling of SEA RABV diversity. We found evidence for a lineage displacement of the Yunnan SEA-2 and -3 lineages by Yunnan SEA-1 strains, and considered whether this could be attributed to fitness differences. CONCLUSION: Overall, our study contributes to a better understanding of the spread of RABV that could facilitate future rabies virus control and prevention efforts.

  • Demographic, lifestyle, and other factors in relation to antimüllerian hormone levels in mostly late premenopausal women.

    9 January 2018

    OBJECTIVE: To identify reproductive, lifestyle, hormonal, and other correlates of circulating antimüllerian hormone (AMH) concentrations in mostly late premenopausal women. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Not applicable. PATIENT(S): A total of 671 premenopausal women not known to have cancer. INTERVENTION(S): None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Concentrations of AMH were measured in a single laboratory using the picoAMH ELISA. Multivariable-adjusted median (and interquartile range) AMH concentrations were calculated using quantile regression for several potential correlates. RESULT(S): Older women had significantly lower AMH concentrations (≥40 [n = 444] vs. <35 years [n = 64], multivariable-adjusted median 0.73 ng/mL vs. 2.52 ng/mL). Concentrations of AMH were also significantly lower among women with earlier age at menarche (<12 [n = 96] vs. ≥14 years [n = 200]: 0.90 ng/mL vs. 1.12 ng/mL) and among current users of oral contraceptives (n = 27) compared with never or former users (n = 468) (0.36 ng/mL vs. 1.15 ng/mL). Race, body mass index, education, height, smoking status, parity, and menstrual cycle phase were not significantly associated with AMH concentrations. There were no significant associations between AMH concentrations and androgen or sex hormone-binding globulin concentrations or with factors related to blood collection (e.g., sample type, time, season, and year of blood collection). CONCLUSION(S): Among premenopausal women, lower AMH concentrations are associated with older age, a younger age at menarche, and currently using oral contraceptives, suggesting these factors are related to a lower number or decreased secretory activity of ovarian follicles.