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The diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has improved with the search of novel antigens; however, their performance is limited when samples from VL/human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-coinfected patients are tested. In this context, studies conducted to identify more suitable antigens to detect both VL and VL/HIC coinfection cases should be performed. In the current study, phage display was performed using serum samples from healthy subjects and VL, HIV-infected and VL/HIV-coinfected patients; aiming to identify novel phage-exposed epitopes to be evaluated with this diagnostic purpose. Nine non-repetitive and valid sequences were identified, synthetized and tested as peptides in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay experiments. Results showed that three (Pep2, Pep3 and Pep4) peptides showed excellent performance to diagnose VL and VL/HIV coinfection, with 100% sensitivity and specificity values. The other peptides showed sensitivity varying from 50.9 to 80.0%, as well as specificity ranging from 60.0 to 95.6%. Pep2, Pep3 and Pep4 also showed a potential prognostic effect, since specific serological reactivity was significantly decreased after patient treatment. Bioinformatics assays indicated that Leishmania trypanothione reductase protein was predicted to contain these three conformational epitopes. In conclusion, data suggest that Pep2, Pep3 and Pep4 could be tested for the diagnosis of VL and VL/HIV coinfection.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
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