Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
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MVD is clinically indistinguishable from Ebola virus disease (EVD), and it can also easily be confused with many other diseases prevalent in Equatorial Africa, such as other viral hemorrhagic fevers, falciparum malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, rickettsial diseases such as typhus, cholera, gram-negative septicemia, borreliosis such as relapsing fever or EHEC enteritis. Other infectious diseases that ought to be included in the differential diagnosis include leptospirosis, scrub typhus, plague, Q fever, candidiasis, histoplasmosis, trypanosomiasis, visceral leishmaniasis, hemorrhagic smallpox, measles, and fulminant viral hepatitis. Non-infectious diseases that can be confused with MVD are acute promyelocytic leukemia, hemolytic uremic syndrome, snake envenomation, clotting factor deficiencies/platelet disorders, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, Kawasaki disease, and even warfarin intoxication. The most important indicator that may lead to the suspicion of MVD at clinical examination is the medical history of the patient, in particular the travel and occupational history (which countries and caves were visited?) and the patient's exposure to wildlife (exposure to bats or bat excrements?). MVD can be confirmed by isolation of marburgviruses from or by detection of marburgvirus antigen or genomic or subgenomic RNAs in patient blood or serum samples during the acute phase of MVD. Marburgvirus isolation is usually performed by inoculation of grivet kidney epithelial Vero E6 or MA-104 cell cultures or by inoculation of human adrenal carcinoma SW-13 cells, all of which react to infection with characteristic cytopathic effects. Filovirions can easily be visualized and identified in cell culture by electron microscopy due to their unique filamentous shapes, but electron microscopy cannot differentiate the various filoviruses alone despite some overall length differences. Immunofluorescence assays are used to confirm marburgvirus presence in cell cultures. During an outbreak, virus isolation and electron microscopy are most often not feasible options. The most common diagnostic methods are therefore RT-PCR in conjunction with antigen-capture ELISA, which can be performed in field or mobile hospitals and laboratories. Indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFAs) are not used for diagnosis of MVD in the field anymore.
Diagnosis relies on viral isolation from tissues, or serological testing with an ELISA. Other methods of diagnosis include Nucleic Acid Testing (NAT), cell culture, and IgM antibody assays. As of September 2016, the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has developed a product called Immunoline, designed to diagnose the disease in humans much faster than in previous methods.
The CDC recommends screening some pregnant women even if they do not have symptoms of infection. Pregnant women who have traveled to affected areas should be tested between two and twelve weeks after their return from travel. Due to the difficulties with ordering and interpreting tests for Zika virus, the CDC also recommends that healthcare providers contact their local health department for assistance. For women living in affected areas, the CDC has recommended testing at the first prenatal visit with a doctor as well as in the mid-second trimester, though this may be adjusted based on local resources and the local burden of Zika virus. Additional testing should be done if there are any signs of Zika virus disease. Women with positive test results for Zika virus infection should have their fetus monitored by ultrasound every three to four weeks to monitor fetal anatomy and growth.
A vaccine has been conditionally approved for use in animals in the US. It has been shown that knockout of the NSs and NSm nonstructural proteins of this virus produces an effective vaccine in sheep as well.
A number of various diseases may present with symptoms similar to those caused by a clinical West Nile virus infection. Those causing neuroinvasive disease symptoms include the enterovirus infection and bacterial meningitis. Accounting for differential diagnoses is a crucial step in the definitive diagnosis of WNV infection. Consideration of a differential diagnosis is required when a patient presents with unexplained febrile illness, extreme headache, encephalitis or meningitis. Diagnostic and serologic laboratory testing using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and viral culture of CSF to identify the specific pathogen causing the symptoms, is the only currently available means of differentiating between causes of encephalitis and meningitis.
Preliminary diagnosis is often based on the patient's clinical symptoms, places and dates of travel (if patient is from a nonendemic country or area), activities, and epidemiologic history of the location where infection occurred. A recent history of mosquito bites and an acute febrile illness associated with neurologic signs and symptoms should cause clinical suspicion of WNV.
Diagnosis of West Nile virus infections is generally accomplished by serologic testing of blood serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is obtained via a lumbar puncture. Initial screening could be done using the ELISA technique detecting immunoglobulins in the sera of the tested individuals.
Typical findings of WNV infection include lymphocytic pleocytosis, elevated protein level, reference glucose and lactic acid levels, and no erythrocytes.
Definitive diagnosis of WNV is obtained through detection of virus-specific antibody IgM and neutralizing antibodies. Cases of West Nile virus meningitis and encephalitis that have been serologically confirmed produce similar degrees of CSF pleocytosis and are often associated with substantial CSF neutrophilia.
Specimens collected within eight days following onset of illness may not test positive for West Nile IgM, and testing should be repeated. A positive test for West Nile IgG in the absence of a positive West Nile IgM is indicative of a previous flavavirus infection and is not by itself evidence of an acute West Nile virus infection.
If cases of suspected West Nile virus infection, sera should be collected on both the acute and
convalescent phases of the illness. Convalescent specimens should be collected 2–3 weeks after acute specimens.
It is common in serologic testing for cross-reactions to occur among flaviviruses such as dengue virus (DENV) and tick-borne encephalitis virus; this necessitates caution when evaluating serologic results of flaviviral infections.
Four FDA-cleared WNV IgM ELISA kits are commercially available from different manufacturers in the U.S., each of these kits is indicated for use on serum to aid in the presumptive laboratory diagnosis of WNV infection in patients with clinical symptoms of meningitis or encephalitis. Positive WNV test results obtained via use of these kits should be confirmed by additional testing at a state health department laboratory or CDC.
In fatal cases, nucleic acid amplification, histopathology with immunohistochemistry, and virus culture of autopsy tissues can also be useful. Only a few state laboratories or other specialized laboratories, including those at CDC, are capable of doing this specialized testing.
Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox. The people who have been infected can be vaccinated up to 14 days after exposure.
As in humans, the sensitivity of testing methods for rodents contributes to the accuracy of diagnosis. LCMV is typically identified through serology. However, in an endemically infected colony, more practical methods include MAP (mouse antibody production) and PCR testing. Another means of diagnosis is introducing a known naïve adult mouse to the suspect rodent colony. The introduced mouse will seroconvert, allowing use of immunofluorescence antibody (IFA), MFIA or ELISA to detect antibodies.
Marburgviruses are World Health Organization Risk Group 4 Pathogens, requiring Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment, laboratory researchers have to be properly trained in BSL-4 practices and wear proper personal protective equipment.
The above signs, especially fever, respiratory signs, neurological signs, and thickened footpads occurring in unvaccinated dogs strongly indicate canine distemper. However, several febrile diseases match many of the signs of the disease and only recently has distinguishing between canine hepatitis, herpes virus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis been possible. Thus, finding the virus by various methods in the dog's conjunctival cells or foot pads gives a definitive diagnosis. In older dogs that develop distemper encephalomyelitis, diagnosis may be more difficult, since many of these dogs have an adequate vaccination history.
An additional test to confirm distemper is a brush border slide of the bladder transitional epithelium of the inside lining from the bladder, stained with Dif-Quick. These infected cells have inclusions which stain a carmine red color, found in the paranuclear cytoplasm readability. About 90% of the bladder cells will be positive for inclusions in the early stages of distemper.
A number of vaccines against canine distemper exist for dogs (ATCvet code: and combinations) and domestic ferrets (), which in many jurisdictions are mandatory for pets. Infected animals should be quarantined from other dogs for several months owing to the length of time the animal may shed the virus. The virus is destroyed in the environment by routine cleaning with disinfectants, detergents, or drying. It does not survive in the environment for more than a few hours at room temperature (20–25 °C), but can survive for a few weeks in shady environments at temperatures slightly above freezing. It, along with other labile viruses, can also persist longer in serum and tissue debris.
Despite extensive vaccination in many regions, it remains a major disease of dogs.
To prevent canine distemper, puppies should begin vaccination at six to eight weeks of age and then continue getting the “booster shot” every two to four weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. Without the full series of shots, the vaccination will not provide protection against the virus. Since puppies are typically sold at the age of eight to ten weeks, they typically receive the first shot while still with their breeder, but the new owner often does not finish the series. These dogs are not protected against the virus and so are susceptible to canine distemper infection, continuing the downward spiral that leads to outbreaks throughout the country.
Although infection of avian reovirus is spread worldwide, it is rarely the sole cause of a disease. For chickens, the most common manifestation of the disease is joint/limb lameness. Confirming infection of avian reovirus can be detected through an ELISA test by using and observing the expression of σC and σB proteins. However, isolating and identifying reoviruses from tissue samples is very time consuming. Isolation is most successfully attained through inoculation of material into chick embryo cultures or fertile chicken eggs. Inoculation of embryonic eggs through the yolk sac has shown that the virus usually kills the embryos within 5 or 6 days post inoculation. Analyzing the samples, the embryos appeared hemorrhagic and necrotic lesions on the liver were present. (Jones, Onunkwo, 1978). There have also been approaches to identify avian reoviruses molecularly by observing infected tissues with dot-blot hybridization, PCR, and a combination of PCR and RFLP. This combination allows for the reovirus strain to be typed.
For infants with suspected congenital Zika virus disease, the CDC recommends testing with both serologic and molecular assays such as RT-PCR, IgM ELISA and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). RT-PCR of the infants serum and urine should be performed in the first two days of life. Newborns with a mother who was potentially exposed and who have positive blood tests, microcephaly or intracranial calcifications should have further testing including a thorough physical investigation for neurologic abnormalities, dysmorphic features, splenomegaly, hepatomegaly, and rash or other skin lesions. Other recommended tests are cranial ultrasound, hearing evaluation, and eye examination. Testing should be done for any abnormalities encountered as well as for other congenital infections such as syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus infection, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection, and herpes simplex virus. Some tests should be repeated up to 6 months later as there can be delayed effects, particularly with hearing.
Vaccination against smallpox is assumed to provide protection against human monkeypox infection considering they are closely related viruses and the vaccine protects animals from experimental lethal monkeypox challenge. This has not been conclusively demonstrated in humans because routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued following the apparent eradication of smallpox and due to safety concerns with the vaccine.
Smallpox vaccine has been reported to reduce the risk of monkeypox among previously vaccinated persons in Africa. The decrease in immunity to poxviruses in exposed populations is a factor in the prevalence of monkeypox. It is attributed both to waning cross-protective immunity among those vaccinated before 1980 when mass smallpox vaccinations were discontinued, and to the gradually increasing proportion of unvaccinated individuals. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons investigating monkeypox outbreaks and involved in caring for infected individuals or animals should receive a smallpox vaccination to protect against monkeypox. Persons who have had close or intimate contact with individuals or animals confirmed to have monkeypox should also be vaccinated.
CDC does not recommend preexposure vaccination for unexposed veterinarians, veterinary staff, or animal control officers, unless such persons are involved in field investigations.
Immunosuppressive therapy has been effective in halting the disease for laboratory animals.
Japanese encephalitis is diagnosed by commercially available tests detecting JE virus-specific IgM antibodies in serum and /or cerebrospinal fluid, for example by IgM capture ELISA.
JE virus IgM antibodies are usually detectable 3 to 8 days after onset of illness and persist for 30 to 90 days, but longer persistence has been documented. Therefore, positive IgM antibodies occasionally may reflect a past infection or vaccination. Serum collected within 10 days of illness onset may not have detectable IgM, and the test should be repeated on a convalescent sample. For patients with JE virus IgM antibodies, confirmatory neutralizing antibody testing should be performed.
Confirmatory testing in the US is only available at CDC and a few specialized reference laboratories. In fatal cases, nucleic acid amplification, and virus culture of autopsy tissues can be useful. Viral antigen can be shown in tissues by indirect fluorescent antibody staining.
A blood test is the only way to confirm a case of Ross River Fever. Several types of blood tests may be used to examine antibody levels in the blood. Tests may either look for simply elevated antibodies (which indicate some sort of infection), or specific antibodies to the virus.
Diagnosis of the oropouche infection is done through classic and molecular virology techniques. These include:
1. Virus isolation attempt in new born mice and cell culture (Vero Cells)
2. Serological assay methods, such as HI (hemagglutination inhibition), NT (neutralization test), and CF (complement fixation test) tests and in-house-enzyme linked immunosorbent assay for total immunoglobulin, IgM, and IgG detection using convalescent sera (this obtained from recovered patients and is rich in antibodies against the infectious agent)
3. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real time RT-PCR for genome detection in acute samples (sera, blood, and viscera of infected animals)
Clinical diagnosis of oropouche fever is hard to perform due to the nonspecific nature of the disease, in many causes it can be confused with dengue fever or other arbovirus illness.
Antiviral drugs, that target infections with RRV. Patients are usually managed with simple analgesics, anti-inflammatories, anti-pyretics and rest while the illness runs its course.
The diagnosis of dengue fever may be confirmed by microbiological laboratory testing. This can be done by virus isolation in cell cultures, nucleic acid detection by PCR, viral antigen detection (such as for NS1) or specific antibodies (serology). Virus isolation and nucleic acid detection are more accurate than antigen detection, but these tests are not widely available due to their greater cost. Detection of NS1 during the febrile phase of a primary infection may be greater than 90% sensitive however is only 60–80% in subsequent infections. All tests may be negative in the early stages of the disease. PCR and viral antigen detection are more accurate in the first seven days. In 2012 a PCR test was introduced that can run on equipment used to diagnose influenza; this is likely to improve access to PCR-based diagnosis.
These laboratory tests are only of diagnostic value during the acute phase of the illness with the exception of serology. Tests for dengue virus-specific antibodies, types IgG and IgM, can be useful in confirming a diagnosis in the later stages of the infection. Both IgG and IgM are produced after 5–7 days. The highest levels (titres) of IgM are detected following a primary infection, but IgM is also produced in reinfection. IgM becomes undetectable 30–90 days after a primary infection, but earlier following re-infections. IgG, by contrast, remains detectable for over 60 years and, in the absence of symptoms, is a useful indicator of past infection. After a primary infection, IgG reaches peak levels in the blood after 14–21 days. In subsequent re-infections, levels peak earlier and the titres are usually higher. Both IgG and IgM provide protective immunity to the infecting serotype of the virus. In testing for IgG and IgM antibodies there may be cross-reactivity with other flaviviruses which may result in a false positive after recent infections or vaccinations with yellow fever virus or Japanese encephalitis. The detection of IgG alone is not considered diagnostic unless blood samples are collected 14 days apart and a greater than fourfold increase in levels of specific IgG is detected. In a person with symptoms, the detection of IgM is considered diagnostic.
The presence of an upper respiratory tract infection in a dog that has been vaccinated for the other major causes of kennel cough increases suspicion of infection with canine influenza, especially in areas where the disease has been documented. A serum sample from a dog suspected of having canine influenza can be submitted to a laboratory that performs PCR tests for this virus.
In June 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the first canine influenza vaccine. This vaccine must be given twice initially with a two-week break, then annually thereafter.
The clinical definition of smallpox is an illness with acute onset of fever equal to or greater than followed by a rash characterized by firm, deep seated vesicles or pustules in the same stage of development without other apparent cause. If a clinical case is observed, smallpox is confirmed using laboratory tests.
Microscopically, poxviruses produce characteristic cytoplasmic inclusions, the most important of which are known as Guarnieri bodies, and are the sites of viral replication. Guarnieri bodies are readily identified in skin biopsies stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and appear as pink blobs. They are found in virtually all poxvirus infections but the absence of Guarnieri bodies cannot be used to rule out smallpox. The diagnosis of an orthopoxvirus infection can also be made rapidly by electron microscopic examination of pustular fluid or scabs. All orthopoxviruses exhibit identical brick-shaped virions by electron microscopy. If particles with the characteristic morphology of herpesviruses are seen this will eliminate smallpox and other orthopoxvirus infections.
Definitive laboratory identification of variola virus involves growing the virus on chorioallantoic membrane (part of a chicken embryo) and examining the resulting pock lesions under defined temperature conditions. Strains may be characterized by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Serologic tests and enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), which measure variola virus-specific immunoglobulin and antigen have also been developed to assist in the diagnosis of infection.
Chickenpox was commonly confused with smallpox in the immediate post-eradication era. Chickenpox and smallpox can be distinguished by several methods. Unlike smallpox, chickenpox does not usually affect the palms and soles. Additionally, chickenpox pustules are of varying size due to variations in the timing of pustule eruption: smallpox pustules are all very nearly the same size since the viral effect progresses more uniformly. A variety of laboratory methods are available for detecting chickenpox in evaluation of suspected smallpox cases.
A combination of clinical signs, symptoms, and laboratory tests can confirm the likelihood of having CTF. Some tests include complement fixation to Colorado tick virus, immunofluorescence for Colorado tick fever, and some other common laboratory findings suggestive of CTF, including leucopenia, thrombocytopenia, and mildly elevated liver enzyme levels.
Detection of viral antibodies on red blood cells is possible.
One study has focused on identifying OROV through the use of RNA extraction from reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. This study revealed that OROV caused central nervous system infections in three patients. The three patients all had meningoencephalitis and also showed signs of clear lympho-monocytic cellular pattern in CSF, high protein, and normal to slightly decreased glucose levels indicating they had viral infections. Two of the patients already had underlying infections that can effect the CNS and immune system and in particular one of these patients has HIV/AIDS and the third patient has neurocysticercosis. Two patients were infected with OROV developed meningitis and it was theorized that this is due to them being immunocompromised. Through this it was revealed that it's possible that the invasion of the central nervous system by the oropouche virus can be performed by a pervious blood-brain barrier damage.