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Sherif Zaki - Top 30 Publications

Painful Papules on the Hand: A Quiz.

Low dosing of gonadotropins in in vitro fertilization cycles for women with poor ovarian reserve: systematic review and meta-analysis.

To evaluate the effectiveness of low doses of gonadotropins and gonadotropins combined with oral compounds compared with high doses of gonadotropins in ovarian stimulation regimens in terms of ongoing pregnancy per fresh IVF attempt in women with poor ovarian reserve undergoing IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment.

Postmortem Findings in Patient with Guillain-Barré Syndrome and Zika Virus Infection.

Postmortem examination results of a patient with Guillain-Barré syndrome and confirmed Zika virus infection revealed demyelination of the sciatic and cranial IV nerves, providing evidence of the acute demyelinating inflammatory polyneuropathy Guillain-Barré syndrome variant. Lack of evidence of Zika virus in nervous tissue suggests that pathophysiology was antibody mediated without neurotropism.

Diagnostic accuracy of serum miR-122 and miR-199a in women with endometriosis.

To evaluate the value of serum microRNA-122 (miR-122) and miR-199a as reliable noninvasive biomarkers in the diagnosis of endometriosis.

A Microbiomic Analysis in African Americans with Colonic Lesions Reveals Streptococcus sp.VT162 as a Marker of Neoplastic Transformation.

Increasing evidence suggests a role of the gut microbiota in colorectal carcinogenesis (CRC). To detect bacterial markers of colorectal cancer in African Americans a metabolomic analysis was performed on fecal water extracts. DNA from stool samples of adenoma and healthy subjects and from colon cancer and matched normal tissues was analyzed to determine the microbiota composition (using 16S rDNA) and genomic content (metagenomics). Metagenomic functions with discriminative power between healthy and neoplastic specimens were established. Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (q-PCR) using primers and probes specific to Streptococcus sp. VT_162 were used to validate this bacterium association with neoplastic transformation in stool samples from two independent cohorts of African Americans and Chinese patients with colorectal lesions. The metabolomic analysis of adenomas revealed low amino acids content. The microbiota in both cancer vs. normal tissues and adenoma vs. normal stool samples were different at the 16S rRNA gene level. Cross-mapping of metagenomic data led to 9 markers with significant discriminative power between normal and diseased specimens. These markers identified with Streptococcus sp. VT_162. Q-PCR data showed a statistically significant presence of this bacterium in advanced adenoma and cancer samples in an independent cohort of CRC patients. We defined metagenomic functions from Streptococcus sp. VT_162 with discriminative power among cancers vs. matched normal and adenomas vs. healthy subjects' stools. Streptococcus sp. VT_162 specific 16S rDNA was validated in an independent cohort. These findings might facilitate non-invasive screening for colorectal cancer.

N-acetylcysteine versus progesterone on the cisplatin-induced peripheral neurotoxicity.

Cisplatin-induced peripheral nerve neurotoxicity (CIPN) is the main obstacle in cisplatin treatment. The aim of this study was to compare the modulatory effects of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and progesterone on CIPN; up to knowledge, the protective effect of the progesterone on the CIPN is scarce in the literature.

International travelers with infectious diseases determined by pathology results, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - United States, 1995-2015.

The failure to consider travel-related diagnoses, the lack of diagnostic capacity for specialized laboratory testing, and the declining number of autopsies may affect the diagnosis and management of travel-related infections. Pre- and post-mortem pathology can help determine causes of illness and death in international travelers.

Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure - United States (Including U.S. Territories), July 2017.

CDC has updated the interim guidance for U.S. health care providers caring for pregnant women with possible Zika virus exposure in response to 1) declining prevalence of Zika virus disease in the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas (Americas) and 2) emerging evidence indicating prolonged detection of Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. Zika virus cases were first reported in the Americas during 2015-2016; however, the incidence of Zika virus disease has since declined. As the prevalence of Zika virus disease declines, the likelihood of false-positive test results increases. In addition, emerging epidemiologic and laboratory data indicate that, as is the case with other flaviviruses, Zika virus IgM antibodies can persist beyond 12 weeks after infection. Therefore, IgM test results cannot always reliably distinguish between an infection that occurred during the current pregnancy and one that occurred before the current pregnancy, particularly for women with possible Zika virus exposure before the current pregnancy. These limitations should be considered when counseling pregnant women about the risks and benefits of testing for Zika virus infection during pregnancy. This updated guidance emphasizes a shared decision-making model for testing and screening pregnant women, one in which patients and providers work together to make decisions about testing and care plans based on patient preferences and values, clinical judgment, and a balanced assessment of risks and expected outcomes.

Evaluation of Placental and Fetal Tissue Specimens for Zika Virus Infection - 50 States and District of Columbia, January-December, 2016.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital microcephaly and brain abnormalities (1), and detection of Zika virus RNA in clinical and tissue specimens can provide definitive laboratory evidence of recent Zika virus infection. Whereas duration of viremia is typically short, prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA in placental, fetal, and neonatal brain tissue has been reported and can provide key diagnostic information by confirming recent Zika virus infection (2). In accordance with recent guidance (3,4), CDC provides Zika virus testing of placental and fetal tissues in clinical situations where this information could add diagnostic value. This report describes the evaluation of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue specimens tested for Zika virus infection in 2016 and the contribution of this testing to the public health response. Among 546 live births with possible maternal Zika virus exposure, for which placental tissues were submitted by the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC), 60 (11%) were positive by Zika virus reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Among 81 pregnancy losses for which placental and/or fetal tissues were submitted, 18 (22%) were positive by Zika virus RT-PCR. Zika virus RT-PCR was positive on placental tissues from 38/363 (10%) live births with maternal serologic evidence of recent unspecified flavivirus infection and from 9/86 (10%) with negative maternal Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) where possible maternal exposure occurred >12 weeks before serum collection. These results demonstrate that Zika virus RT-PCR testing of tissue specimens can provide a confirmed diagnosis of recent maternal Zika virus infection.

Pregnancy Outcomes After Maternal Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy - U.S. Territories, January 1, 2016-April 25, 2017.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas with local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission are at risk for Zika virus infection, which can lead to severe fetal and infant brain abnormalities and microcephaly (1). In February 2016, CDC recommended 1) routine testing for Zika virus infection of asymptomatic pregnant women living in areas with ongoing local Zika virus transmission at the first prenatal care visit, 2) retesting during the second trimester for women who initially test negative, and 3) testing of pregnant women with signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease (e.g., fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis) at any time during pregnancy (2). To collect information about pregnant women with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection* and outcomes in their fetuses and infants, CDC established pregnancy and infant registries (3). During January 1, 2016-April 25, 2017, U.S. territories† with local transmission of Zika virus reported 2,549 completed pregnancies§ (live births and pregnancy losses at any gestational age) with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection; 5% of fetuses or infants resulting from these pregnancies had birth defects potentially associated with Zika virus infection¶ (4,5). Among completed pregnancies with positive nucleic acid tests confirming Zika infection identified in the first, second, and third trimesters, the percentage of fetuses or infants with possible Zika-associated birth defects was 8%, 5%, and 4%, respectively. Among liveborn infants, 59% had Zika laboratory testing results reported to the pregnancy and infant registries. Identification and follow-up of infants born to women with laboratory evidence of recent possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy permits timely and appropriate clinical intervention services (6).

Clinical and Pathological Risk Factors Associated with Liver Fibrosis and Steatosis in African-Americans with Chronic Hepatitis C.

Several factors involved in the development of liver fibrosis in African-American patients with chronic hepatitis C have not been well studied. We aimed to evaluate some of these risk factors.

Effect of subchronic intake of Green Tea Extract on liver of albino rat Histomorphometric, ultrastructural and biochemical study.

There are conflicting reports on the effect of Green tea extract (GTE) on the liver of animals. Some studies failed to show any adverse hepatic effects following administration of GTE to mice, rats, and dogs. Others reported severe hepatic necrosis, resulting in death; in female Swiss-Webster mice following its administration. The aim of the study was to study the subchronic toxicity of GTE on the liver of the adult male albino rats.

Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in Humanized Mice Reveals Glial Cells as Primary Targets of Neurological Infection.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic disease seen exclusively in humans. Central nervous system (CNS) infection and neurological involvement have also been reported in CCHF. In the current study, we inoculated NSG-SGM3 mice engrafted with human hematopoietic CD34+ stem cells with low-passage CCHF virus strains isolated from human patients. In humanized mice, lethal disease develops, characterized by histopathological change in the liver and brain. To date, targets of neurological infection and disease have not been investigated in CCHF. CNS disease in humanized mice was characterized by gliosis, meningitis, and meningoencephalitis, and glial cells were identified as principal targets of infection. Humanized mice represent a novel lethal model for studies of CCHF countermeasures, and CCHF-associated CNS disease. Our data suggest a role for astrocyte dysfunction in neurological disease and identify key regions of infection in the CNS for future investigations of CCHF.

Protective Role of N-Acetylcysteine on Isoprenaline-Induced Myocardial Injury: Histological, Immunohistochemical and Morphometric Study.

Several researchers studied the protective effect of the N-acetylcysteine (NAC) when it was given before the induction of myocardial infarction (MI). Other researchers studied such protective effect when it was before done and after done of the MI. The missing data are the comparison between the protective effect of NAC before myocardial injury with its protective effect both before and after myocardial injury. The aim of the study was to compare the cardioprotective effect of NAC on the isoprenaline-induced myocardial injury before the isoprenaline (ISP) injection with its protective effect both before and after the ISP injection. This study was applied over both short and long time periods. A total of 90 male adult Wistar albino rats were used in the study. The rats were divided into four groups: control group, ISP-treated group, NAC-pretreated group and NAC-pre-& posttreated group. Based on the duration of the experiment, the second and third groups were further subdivided into a and b groups. Histological, immunohistochemical and histomorphometric analysis were used. The myocytes in the ISP-treated groups were fragmented, disrupted with karyolysis. The blood vessels were dilated, congested and associated with blood extravasation, interstitial edema and cellular inflammatory infiltration. Much improvement was observed in the NAC-pretreated group. Focal degeneration was detected in the muscle fibers. The capillaries were normal. Minimal blood extravasation and cellular infiltration were seen. The cardiac muscle fibers in the NAC-pre-& posttreated group were regularly arranged. The mean collagen fiber area percent of the ISP-treated groups was significantly higher by 8.3-folds and 10.1-folds as compared with that of the control group and was also higher by 5.5-folds and 6.8-folds as compared with that of the NAC-pre-&posttreated groups. The α-SMA area percent in the ISP-treated groups was significantly higher by 12.2-folds and 23.9-folds as compared with that of the control group and was higher by 7.5-folds and 15-folds as compared with that of the NAC-pre-& posttreated groups. The mean PCNA area percent of the ISP-treated groups was significantly higher by 126.2 and 164.8% as compared with that of the control group and was higher by 106.3 and 141.5% as compared with that of NAC-pre-& posttreated groups. ISP had deleterious effects on the heart. Administration of NAC before ISP injection could largely reduce the ISP-induced short- and long-term alterations. The protection was maximum with the use of NAC before the ISP injection and continued after the injection for 12 days.

Unique Case of Disseminated Plague With Multifocal Osteomyelitis.

Plague is a disease caused by Yersinia pestis. Septicemic and pneumonic plague have a high mortality rate if untreated. Here we describe the challenges of accurately diagnosing a nonfatal pediatric case of septicemic plague with involvement of multiple organs; to our knowledge, the first documented case of multifocal plague osteomyelitis.

Three Cases of Neurologic Syndrome Caused by Donor-Derived Microsporidiosis.

In April 2014, a kidney transplant recipient in the United States experienced headache, diplopia, and confusion, followed by neurologic decline and death. An investigation to evaluate the possibility of donor-derived infection determined that 3 patients had received 4 organs (kidney, liver, heart/kidney) from the same donor. The liver recipient experienced tremor and gait instability; the heart/kidney and contralateral kidney recipients were hospitalized with encephalitis. None experienced gastrointestinal symptoms. Encephalitozoon cuniculi was detected by tissue PCR in the central nervous system of the deceased kidney recipient and in renal allograft tissue from both kidney recipients. Urine PCR was positive for E. cuniculi in the 2 surviving recipients. Donor serum was positive for E. cuniculi antibodies. E. cuniculi was transmitted to 3 recipients from 1 donor. This rare presentation of disseminated disease resulted in diagnostic delays. Clinicians should consider donor-derived microsporidial infection in organ recipients with unexplained encephalitis, even when gastrointestinal manifestations are absent.

Frequent Zika Virus Sexual Transmission and Prolonged Viral RNA Shedding in an Immunodeficient Mouse Model.

Circulation of Zika virus (ZIKV) was first identified in the Western hemisphere in late 2014. Primarily transmitted through mosquito bite, ZIKV can also be transmitted through sex and from mother to fetus, and maternal ZIKV infection has been associated with fetal malformations. We assessed immunodeficient AG129 mice for their capacity to shed ZIKV in semen and to infect female mice via sexual transmission. Infectious virus was detected in semen between 7 and 21 days post-inoculation, and ZIKV RNA was detected in semen through 58 days post-inoculation. During mating, 73% of infected males transmitted ZIKV to uninfected females, and 50% of females became infected, with evidence of fetal infection in resulting pregnancies. Semen from vasectomized mice contained significantly lower levels of infectious virus, though sexual transmission still occurred. This model provides a platform for studying the kinetics of ZIKV sexual transmission and prolonged RNA shedding also observed in human semen.

Influenza virus exploits tunneling nanotubes for cell-to-cell spread.

Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) represent a novel route of intercellular communication. While previous work has shown that TNTs facilitate the exchange of viral or prion proteins from infected to naïve cells, it is not clear whether the viral genome is also transferred via this mechanism and further, whether transfer via this route can result in productive replication of the infectious agents in the recipient cell. Here we present evidence that lung epithelial cells are connected by TNTs, and in spite of the presence of neutralizing antibodies and an antiviral agent, Oseltamivir, influenza virus can exploit these networks to transfer viral proteins and genome from the infected to naïve cell, resulting in productive viral replication in the naïve cells. These observations indicate that influenza viruses can spread using these intercellular networks that connect epithelial cells, evading immune and antiviral defenses and provide an explanation for the incidence of influenza infections even in influenza-immune individuals and vaccine failures.

Zika Virus RNA Replication and Persistence in Brain and Placental Tissue.

Zika virus is causally linked with congenital microcephaly and may be associated with pregnancy loss. However, the mechanisms of Zika virus intrauterine transmission and replication and its tropism and persistence in tissues are poorly understood. We tested tissues from 52 case-patients: 8 infants with microcephaly who died and 44 women suspected of being infected with Zika virus during pregnancy. By reverse transcription PCR, tissues from 32 (62%) case-patients (brains from 8 infants with microcephaly and placental/fetal tissues from 24 women) were positive for Zika virus. In situ hybridization localized replicative Zika virus RNA in brains of 7 infants and in placentas of 9 women who had pregnancy losses during the first or second trimester. These findings demonstrate that Zika virus replicates and persists in fetal brains and placentas, providing direct evidence of its association with microcephaly. Tissue-based reverse transcription PCR extends the time frame of Zika virus detection in congenital and pregnancy-associated infections.

Novel Clinical and Pathologic Findings in a Heartland Virus-Associated Death.

We describe an investigation into a Heartland virus (HRTV)-associated death in Tennessee with novel clinical and pathologic findings. HRTV can cause rapidly fatal, widely disseminated infection with multisystem organ failure in patients without substantial comorbidities. We identified viral antigen in multiple organ tissues where it was not detected previously.

Surveillance for Chikungunya and Dengue During the First Year of Chikungunya Virus Circulation in Puerto Rico.

After chikungunya virus (CHIKV) transmission was detected in Puerto Rico in May 2014, multiple surveillance systems were used to describe epidemiologic trends and CHIKV-associated disease. Of 28 327 cases reported via passive surveillance, 6472 were tested for evidence of CHIKV infection, and results for 4399 (68%) were positive. Of 250 participants in household cluster investigations, 70 (28%) had evidence of recent CHIKV infection. Enhanced surveillance for chikungunya at 2 hospitals identified 1566 patients who tested positive for CHIKV, of whom 10.9% were hospitalized. Enhanced surveillance for fatal cases enabled identification of 31 cases in which CHIKV was detected in blood or tissue specimens. All surveillance systems detected a peak incidence of chikungunya in September 2014 and continued circulation in 2015. Concomitant surveillance for dengue demonstrated low incidence, which had decreased before CHIKV was introduced. Multifaceted chikungunya surveillance in Puerto Rico resolved gaps in traditional passive surveillance and enabled a holistic description of the spectrum of disease associated with CHIKV infection.

Vertebrate Host Susceptibility to Heartland Virus.

Heartland virus (HRTV) is a recently described phlebovirus initially isolated in 2009 from 2 humans who had leukopenia and thrombocytopenia. Serologic assessment of domestic and wild animal populations near the residence of 1 of these persons showed high exposure rates to raccoons, white-tailed deer, and horses. To our knowledge, no laboratory-based assessments of viremic potential of animals infected with HRTV have been performed. We experimentally inoculated several vertebrates (raccoons, goats, chickens, rabbits, hamsters, C57BL/6 mice, and interferon-α/β/γ receptor-deficient [Ag129]) mice with this virus. All animals showed immune responses against HRTV after primary or secondary exposure. However, neutralizing antibody responses were limited. Only Ag129 mice showed detectable viremia and associated illness and death, which were dose dependent. Ag129 mice also showed development of mean peak viral antibody titers >8 log10 PFU/mL, hemorrhagic hepatic lesions, splenomegaly, and large amounts of HRTV antigen in mononuclear cells and hematopoietic cells in the spleen.

Enhanced Surveillance for Fatal Dengue-Like Acute Febrile Illness in Puerto Rico, 2010-2012.

Dengue is a leading cause of morbidity throughout the tropics; however, accurate population-based estimates of mortality rates are not available.

Zika Virus: Pathology From the Pandemic.

-As the number of Zika virus (ZIKV) infections continues to grow, so, too, does the spectrum of recognized clinical disease, in both adult and congenital infections. Defining the tissue pathology associated with the various disease manifestations provides insight into pathogenesis and diagnosis, and potentially future prevention and treatment, of ZIKV infections.

Anti-rheumatoid Activity of Secondary Metabolites Produced by Endophytic Chaetomium globosum.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the anti-rheumatoid activity of secondary metabolites produced by endophytic mycobiota in Egypt. A total of 27 endophytic fungi were isolated from 10 dominant medicinal plant host species in Wadi Tala, Saint Katherine Protectorate, arid Sinai, Egypt. Of those taxa, seven isolates of Chaetomium globosum (CG1-CG7), being the most frequent taxon, were recovered from seven different host plants and screened for production of active anti-inflammatory metabolites. Isolates were cultivated on half - strength potato dextrose broth for 21 days at 28°C on a rotatory shaker at 180 rpm, and extracted in ethyl acetate and methanol, respectively. The probable inhibitory effects of both extracts against an adjuvant induced arthritis (AIA) rat model were examined and compared with the effects of methotrexate (MTX) as a standard disease-modifying anti-rheumatoid drug. Disease activity and mobility scoring of AIA, histopathology and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to evaluate probable inhibitory roles. A significant reduction (P < 0.05) in the severity of arthritis was observed in both the methanolic extract of CG6 (MCG6) and MTX treatment groups 6 days after treatment commenced. The average arthritis score of the MCG6 treatment group was (10.7 ± 0.82) compared to (13.8 ± 0.98) in the positive control group. The mobility score of the MCG6 treatment group (1.50 ± 0.55) was significantly lower than that of the positive control group (3.33 ± 0.82). In contrast, the ethyl acetate extract of CG6 (EACG6) treatment group showed no improvements in arthritis and mobility scores in AIA model rats. Histopathology and TEM findings confirmed the observation. Isolate CG6 was subjected to sequencing for confirmation of phenotypic identification. The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) 1-5.8 s - ITS2 rDNA sequences obtained were compared with those deposited in the GenBank Database and registered with accession number KC811080 in the NCBI Database. The present study revealed that the methanol extract of endophytic fungus C. globosum (KC811080) recovered from maidenhair fern has an inhibitory effect on inflammation, histopathology and morphological features of rheumatoid arthritis in an AIA rat model.

NT-proBNP in Children With Left to Right Shunt and Dilated Cardiomyopathy.

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels are elevated in children with congenital heart disease involving a left-to-right shunt (LRS) and are also raised in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). As far as we know, there are few reports in the literature comparing the change of the NT-proBNP in LRS and DCM especially in the pediatric age group.

Update: Interim Guidance for the Evaluation and Management of Infants with Possible Congenital Zika Virus Infection - United States, August 2016.

CDC has updated its interim guidance for U.S. health care providers caring for infants born to mothers with possible Zika virus infection during pregnancy (1). Laboratory testing is recommended for 1) infants born to mothers with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy and 2) infants who have abnormal clinical or neuroimaging findings suggestive of congenital Zika syndrome and a maternal epidemiologic link suggesting possible transmission, regardless of maternal Zika virus test results. Congenital Zika syndrome is a recently recognized pattern of congenital anomalies associated with Zika virus infection during pregnancy that includes microcephaly, intracranial calcifications or other brain anomalies, or eye anomalies, among others (2). Recommended infant laboratory evaluation includes both molecular (real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction [rRT-PCR]) and serologic (immunoglobulin M [IgM]) testing. Initial samples should be collected directly from the infant in the first 2 days of life, if possible; testing of cord blood is not recommended. A positive infant serum or urine rRT-PCR test result confirms congenital Zika virus infection. Positive Zika virus IgM testing, with a negative rRT-PCR result, indicates probable congenital Zika virus infection. In addition to infant Zika virus testing, initial evaluation of all infants born to mothers with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy should include a comprehensive physical examination, including a neurologic examination, postnatal head ultrasound, and standard newborn hearing screen. Infants with laboratory evidence of congenital Zika virus infection should have a comprehensive ophthalmologic exam and hearing assessment by auditory brainstem response (ABR) testing before 1 month of age. Recommendations for follow-up of infants with laboratory evidence of congenital Zika virus infection depend on whether abnormalities consistent with congenital Zika syndrome are present. Infants with abnormalities consistent with congenital Zika syndrome should have a coordinated evaluation by multiple specialists within the first month of life; additional evaluations will be needed within the first year of life, including assessments of vision, hearing, feeding, growth, and neurodevelopmental and endocrine function. Families and caregivers will also need ongoing psychosocial support and assistance with coordination of care. Infants with laboratory evidence of congenital Zika virus infection without apparent abnormalities should have ongoing developmental monitoring and screening by the primary care provider; repeat hearing testing is recommended. This guidance will be updated when additional information becomes available.

The effect of epigenetic silencing and TP53 mutation on the expression of DLL4 in human cancer stem disorder.

The Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS), a genetically rare heterogeneous cancer syndrome, is characterized primarily by a germline p53 (TP53) gene mutation. We recently discovered a balanced reciprocal chromosomal translocation t(11;15)(q23;q15) in the non-cancerous skin fibroblasts of a bilateral breast cancer patient in LFS family. This prompted us to investigate the breakpoint region of the translocation, which uncovered a gene that encodes a Notch ligand, DLL4, (locus at 15q15.1), a key target in tumor vasculature. We analyzed DLL4 gene expression and protein level in LFS non-cancerous skin fibroblast cell lines and non-LFS cancer cell lines. DLL4 is abrogated in all the LFS cells and drastically down-regulated in breast (MCF7) and brain (IMR32) cancer cells and tumor tissue samples. However, DNA methylation studies revealed that DLL4 promoter is silenced only in MCF7 but not in LFS cells. We further investigated the regulation of DLL4 gene expression by ChIP assays, which demonstrated that p53 binds to DLL4 promoter through its association with CTCF, a chromosomal networking protein CCCTC binding factor. This implies a possible karyotype-phenotype correlation with respect to DLL4 in LFS and breast cancer initiation and progression. The drastic reduction or absence in the expression of DLL4 in LFS as well as breast and brain cancer cells is significant and supports the concept that this ligand may also play a role in cancer immune-surveillance; and its resuscitation in the tumor microenvironment may stimulate T-cell immunity and suppress tumor growth. Therefore, DLL4 may provide a strong platform as an immuno-therapeutic target in LFS and cancer patients.

Update: Ongoing Zika Virus Transmission - Puerto Rico, November 1, 2015-July 7, 2016.

Zika virus is a flavivirus transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, and infection can be asymptomatic or result in an acute febrile illness with rash (1). Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other severe birth defects (2). Infection has also been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) (3) and severe thrombocytopenia (4,5). In December 2015, the Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) reported the first locally acquired case of Zika virus infection. This report provides an update to the epidemiology of and public health response to ongoing Zika virus transmission in Puerto Rico (6,7). A confirmed case of Zika virus infection is defined as a positive result for Zika virus testing by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for Zika virus in a blood or urine specimen. A presumptive case is defined as a positive result by Zika virus immunoglobulin M (IgM) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (MAC-ELISA)* and a negative result by dengue virus IgM ELISA, or a positive test result by Zika IgM MAC-ELISA in a pregnant woman. An unspecified flavivirus case is defined as positive or equivocal results for both Zika and dengue virus by IgM ELISA. During November 1, 2015-July 7, 2016, a total of 23,487 persons were evaluated by PRDH and CDC Dengue Branch for Zika virus infection, including asymptomatic pregnant women and persons with signs or symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease or suspected GBS; 5,582 (24%) confirmed and presumptive Zika virus cases were identified. Persons with Zika virus infection were residents of 77 (99%) of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities. During 2016, the percentage of positive Zika virus infection cases among symptomatic males and nonpregnant females who were tested increased from 14% in February to 64% in June. Among 9,343 pregnant women tested, 672 had confirmed or presumptive Zika virus infection, including 441 (66%) symptomatic women and 231 (34%) asymptomatic women. One patient died after developing severe thrombocytopenia (4). Evidence of Zika virus infection or recent unspecified flavivirus infection was detected in 21 patients with confirmed GBS. The widespread outbreak and accelerating increase in the number of cases in Puerto Rico warrants intensified vector control and personal protective behaviors to prevent new infections, particularly among pregnant women.

Prolonged Detection of Zika Virus RNA in Pregnant Women.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain abnormalities. Reports indicate that the duration of detectable viral RNA in serum after symptom onset is brief. In a recent case report involving a severely affected fetus, Zika virus RNA was detected in maternal serum 10 weeks after symptom onset, longer than the duration of RNA detection in serum previously reported. This report summarizes the clinical and laboratory characteristics of pregnant women with prolonged detection of Zika virus RNA in serum that were reported to the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry.