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- The niche reduction approach: an opportunity for optimal control of infectious diseases in low-income countries? [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- BMC Public Health 2014 Jul 25; 14(1):753.
During the last century, WHO led public health interventions that resulted in spectacular achievements such as the worldwide eradication of smallpox and the elimination of malaria from the Western world. However, besides major successes achieved worldwide in infectious diseases control, most elimination/control programs remain frustrating in many tropical countries where specific biological and socio-economical features prevented implementation of disease control over broad spatial and temporal scales. Emblematic examples include malaria, yellow fever, measles and HIV. There is consequently an urgent need to develop affordable and sustainable disease control strategies that can target the core of infectious diseases transmission in highly endemic areas.Meanwhile, although most pathogens appear so difficult to eradicate, it is surprising to realize that human activities are major drivers of the current high rate of extinction among upper organisms through alteration of their ecology and evolution, i.e., their "niche". During the last decades, the accumulation of ecological and evolutionary studies focused on infectious diseases has shown that the niche of a pathogen holds more dimensions than just the immune system targeted by vaccination and treatment. Indeed, it is situated at various intra- and inter- host levels involved on very different spatial and temporal scales. After developing a precise definition of the niche of a pathogen, we detail how major advances in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology of infectious diseases can enlighten the planning and implementation of infectious diseases control in tropical countries with challenging economic constraints.We develop how the approach could translate into applied cases, explore its expected benefits and constraints, and we conclude on the necessity of such approach for pathogen control in low-income countries.
- [Epidemics in the news in Portugal: cholera, plague, typhus, influenza and smallpox, 1854-1918]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Hist Cienc Saude Manguinhos 2014 Jun; 21(2):687-708.
In severe health crisis like those of 1854-1856, 1899 and 1918, especially in Porto, where cholera morbus, the bubonic plague, typhus fever, pneumonic influenza and smallpox killed high percentages of the population, the images of the epidemics in the press enable us to identify the scientific knowledge in a country considered peripheral, but which had studies and personnel specialized at the most advanced levels for the time. A database of 6,700 news items and announcements reveals the medical and pharmaceutical knowledge of the second half of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the way it was transmitted and disclosed to the public and the solutions offered by the health authorities. Hygiene was consistently highlighted in the news and announcements.
- Smallpox Vaccines and Eczema. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Biosecur Bioterror 2014 July/August; 12(4):218.
- The Role of Small RNAs in Vaccination. [Journal Article]
- Methods Mol Biol 2014.:479-501.
The concept of vaccination came to light following Edward Jenner's classical observation on milkmaids who were protected against smallpox. However, plants lack the cellular based immunity system and thus it was not appreciated earlier that plants can also be protected from their pathogens. But phenomena like cross-protection, pathogen derived resistance (PDR), viral recovery, etc. in plants suggested that plants have also evolved immunity against their pathogens. The further advances in the field revealed that an endogenous defense system could have multiple prongs. With the advent of RNAi, it was clear that the antiviral immune responses are related to the induction of specific small RNAs. The detection of virus specific small RNAs (vsiRNA) in immunized plants confirmed their roles in the immunity against pathogens. Although many issues related to antiviral mechanisms are yet to be addressed, the existing tools of RNAi can be efficiently used to control the invading viruses in transgenic plants. It is also possible that the microRNA(s) induced in infected plants impart immunity against viral pathogens. So the small RNA molecules play a vital role in defense system and these can be engineered to enhance the immunity against specific viral pathogens.
- [Sanitary and epidemiological supply for the Russian Army during the First World War (1914-1918)]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Voen Med Zh 2014 Feb; 335(2):74-8.
At the beginning of the First World War the most typical diseases in the Russian Army were typhoid, typhus, diphtheria, cholera, smallpox and other infectious diseases. At the beginning of the First World War the level of infectious morbidity was significantly low, but further increased and pandemic risk arose. Servicemen were mostly ill with typhus, relapsing fever, flux, cholera, smallpox and typhoid. The highest mortality rate was registered in patients with cholera, typhus and typhoid. According the prewar deployment program of the Russian Army anti-epidemiologic facilities were established. By the end of war were established 110 sanitary-and-hygienic and 90 disinfection units. However, organization of anti-epidemiologic security was unsatisfactory. Due to lack of specialists and equipment anti-epidemiologic facilities of units were under strength. Commanders of sanitary units and sanitary service had not enough resources for operational service in the Forces and facilities of rear area.