• Mandatory Notification of Chronic Chagas Disease: Confronting the Epidemiological Silence in the State of Goiás, Brazil

      da Rocha Siriano, L; Marchiol, A; Pereira Certo, M; Cubides, JC; Forsyth, C; Augusto de Sousa, F (MDPI, 2020-06-05)
      Objectives: This paper presents the results of the design and implementation process for the policy of compulsory notification of chronic Chagas disease in the Brazilian state of Goiás (Resolution No. 004/2013-GAB/SES-GO). Methods: The narrative was based on information provided by key actors that were part of the different stages of the process, built on contextual axes based on participants’ reflections about the establishment of the most accurate and coherent notification mechanisms. Results: The notification policy addressed the absence of historical data from patients in the state Chagas program, an increase in cases identified through serology, and weaknesses in vector control. Two key challenges involved human resources capacity and dissemination to public agencies and health care workers. Effective training and communication processes were key ingredients for successful implementation. Conclusions: The lack of public health measures aimed at the epidemiological surveillance of chronic Chagas cases constitutes a significant barrier for patients to access appropriate diagnosis, management and follow-up, and hampers the planning of necessary activities within health systems. The implementation of the notification policy in Goiás allows authorities to determine the real magnitude of Chagas disease in the population, so that an appropriate public health response can be mounted to meet the needs of affected people, thereby ending the epidemiological silence of Chagas disease.
    • No Evidence Known Viruses Play a Role in the Pathogenesis of Onchocerciasis-Associated Epilepsy. An Explorative Metagenomic Case-Control Study.

      Roach, M; Cantu, A; Vieri, MK; Cotten, M; Kellam, P; Phan, M; Hoek, LV; Mandro, M; Tepage, F; Mambandu, G; et al. (MDPI, 2021-06-22)
      Despite the increasing epidemiological evidence that the Onchocerca volvulus parasite is strongly associated with epilepsy in children, hence the name onchocerciasis-associated epilepsy (OAE), the pathophysiological mechanism of OAE remains to be elucidated. In June 2014, children with unprovoked convulsive epilepsy and healthy controls were enrolled in a case control study in Titule, Bas-Uélé Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to identify risk factors for epilepsy. Using a subset of samples collected from individuals enrolled in this study (16 persons with OAE and 9 controls) plasma, buffy coat, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were subjected to random-primed next-generation sequencing. The resulting sequences were analyzed using sensitive computational methods to identify viral DNA and RNA sequences. Anneloviridae, Flaviviridae, Hepadnaviridae (Hepatitis B virus), Herpesviridae, Papillomaviridae, Polyomaviridae (Human polyomavirus), and Virgaviridae were identified in cases and in controls. Not unexpectedly, a variety of bacteriophages were also detected in all cases and controls. However, none of the identified viral sequences were found enriched in OAE cases, which was our criteria for agents that might play a role in the etiology or pathogenesis of OAE.