Andrea Nuñez

National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Managua, Μανάγκουα, Managua, Nicaragua

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Publications (11)45.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Analogous to observations in RNA viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus, genetic variation associated with intrahost dengue virus (DENV) populations has been postulated to influence viral fitness and disease pathogenesis. Previous attempts to investigate intrahost genetic variation in DENV characterized only a few viral genes or a limited number of full-length genomes. We developed a whole-genome amplification approach coupled with deep sequencing to capture intrahost diversity across the entire coding region of DENV-2. Using this approach, we sequenced DENV-2 genomes from the serum of 22 Nicaraguan individuals with secondary DENV infection and captured ∼75% of the DENV genome in each sample (range, 40 to 98%). We identified and quantified variants using a highly sensitive and specific method and determined that the extent of diversity was considerably lower than previous estimates. Significant differences in intrahost diversity were detected between genes and also between antigenically distinct domains of the Envelope gene. Interestingly, a strong association was discerned between the extent of intrahost diversity in a few genes and viral clade identity. Additionally, the abundance of viral variants within a host, as well as the impact of viral mutations on amino acid encoding and predicted protein function, determined whether intrahost variants were observed at the interhost level in circulating Nicaraguan DENV-2 populations, strongly suggestive of purifying selection across transmission events. Our data illustrate the value of high-coverage genome-wide analysis of intrahost diversity for high-resolution mapping of the relationship between intrahost diversity and clinical, epidemiological, and virological parameters of viral infection.
    Journal of Virology 05/2012; 86(16):8546-58. DOI:10.1128/JVI.00736-12 · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The rapid spread of dengue is a worldwide public health problem. In two clinical studies of dengue in Managua, Nicaragua, we observed an abrupt increase in disease severity across several epidemic seasons of dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) transmission. Waning DENV-1 immunity appeared to increase the risk of severe disease in subsequent DENV-2 infections after a period of cross-protection. The increase in severity coincided with replacement of the Asian/American DENV-2 NI-1 clade with a new virus clade, NI-2B. In vitro analyses of viral isolates from the two clades and analysis of viremia in patient blood samples support the emergence of a fitter virus in later, relative to earlier, epidemic seasons. In addition, the NI-1 clade of viruses was more virulent specifically in children who were immune to DENV-1, whereas DENV-3 immunity was associated with more severe disease among NI-2B infections. Our data demonstrate that the complex interaction between viral genetics and population dynamics of serotype-specific immunity contributes to the risk of severe dengue disease. Furthermore, this work provides insights into viral evolution and the interaction between viral and immunological determinants of viral fitness and virulence.
    Science translational medicine 12/2011; 3(114):114ra128. DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3003084 · 14.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue is a major public health problem worldwide and continues to increase in incidence. Dengue virus (DENV) infection leads to a range of outcomes, including subclinical infection, undifferentiated febrile illness, Dengue Fever (DF), life-threatening syndromes with fluid loss and hypotensive shock, or other severe manifestations such as bleeding and organ failure. The long-standing World Health Organization (WHO) dengue classification and management scheme was recently revised, replacing DF, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF), and Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) with Dengue without Warning Signs, Dengue with Warning Signs (abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, fluid accumulation, mucosal bleeding, lethargy, liver enlargement, increasing hematocrit with decreasing platelets) and Severe Dengue (SD; dengue with severe plasma leakage, severe bleeding, or organ failure). We evaluated the traditional and revised classification schemes against clinical intervention levels to determine how each captures disease severity using data from five years (2005-2010) of a hospital-based study of pediatric dengue in Managua, Nicaragua. Laboratory-confirmed dengue cases (n = 544) were categorized using both classification schemes and by level of care (I-III). Category I was out-patient care, Category II was in-patient care that did not meet criteria for Category III, which included ICU admission, ventilation, administration of inotropic drugs, or organ failure. Sensitivity and specificity to capture Category III care for DHF/DSS were 39.0% and 75.5%, respectively; sensitivity and specificity for SD were 92.1% and 78.5%, respectively. In this data set, DENV-2 was found to be significantly associated with DHF/DSS; however, this association was not observed with the revised classification. Among dengue-confirmed cases, the revised WHO classification for severe dengue appears to have higher sensitivity and specificity to identify cases in need of heightened care, although it is no longer as specific for a particular pathogenic entity as was the traditional schema.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 11/2011; 5(11):e1397. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001397 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The four dengue virus serotypes (DENV1-4) cause the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans worldwide. In 2009, Nicaragua experienced the largest dengue epidemic in over a decade, marked by unusual clinical presentation, as observed in two prospective studies of pediatric dengue in Managua. From August 2009-January 2010, 212 dengue cases were confirmed among 396 study participants at the National Pediatric Reference Hospital. In our parallel community-based cohort study, 170 dengue cases were recorded in 2009-10, compared to 13-65 cases in 2004-9. In both studies, significantly more patients experienced "compensated shock" (poor capillary refill plus cold extremities, tachycardia, tachypnea, and/or weak pulse) in 2009-10 than in previous years (42.5% [90/212] vs. 24.7% [82/332] in the hospital study (p<0.001) and 17% [29/170] vs. 2.2% [4/181] in the cohort study (p<0.001). Signs of poor peripheral perfusion presented significantly earlier (1-2 days) in 2009-10 than in previous years according to Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. In the hospital study, 19.8% of subjects were transferred to intensive care, compared to 7.1% in previous years - similar to the cohort study. DENV-3 predominated in 2008-9, 2009-10, and 2010-11, and full-length sequencing revealed no major genetic changes from 2008-9 to 2010-11. In 2008-9 and 2010-11, typical dengue was observed; only in 2009-10 was unusual presentation noted. Multivariate analysis revealed only "2009-10" as a significant risk factor for Dengue Fever with Compensated Shock. Interestingly, circulation of pandemic influenza A-H1N1 2009 in Managua was shifted such that it overlapped with the dengue epidemic. We hypothesize that prior influenza A H1N1 2009 infection may have modulated subsequent DENV infection, and initial results of an ongoing study suggest increased risk of shock among children with anti-H1N1-2009 antibodies. This study demonstrates that parameters other than serotype, viral genomic sequence, immune status, and sequence of serotypes can play a role in modulating dengue disease outcome.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 11/2011; 5(11):e1394. DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001394 · 4.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In view of the long term discussion on the appropriateness of the dengue classification into dengue fever (DF), dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), the World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined in its new global dengue guidelines a revised classification into levels of severity: dengue fever with an intermediary group of "dengue fever with warning sings", and severe dengue. The objective of this paper was to compare the two classification systems regarding applicability in clinical practice and surveillance, as well as user-friendliness and acceptance by health staff. A mix of quantitative (prospective and retrospective review of medical charts by expert reviewers, formal staff interviews), semi-quantitative (open questions in staff interviews) and qualitative methods (focus group discussions) were used in 18 countries. Quality control of data collected was undertaken by external monitors. The applicability of the DF/DHF/DSS classification was limited, even when strict DHF criteria were not applied (13.7% of dengue cases could not be classified using the DF/DHF/DSS classification by experienced reviewers, compared to only 1.6% with the revised classification). The fact that some severe dengue cases could not be classified in the DF/DHF/DSS system was of particular concern. Both acceptance and perceived user-friendliness of the revised system were high, particularly in relation to triage and case management. The applicability of the revised classification to retrospective data sets (of importance for dengue surveillance) was also favourable. However, the need for training, dissemination and further research on the warning signs was highlighted. The revised dengue classification has a high potential for facilitating dengue case management and surveillance.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 04/2011; 11:106. DOI:10.1186/1471-2334-11-106 · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report on 4 hospitalized patients with dengue-influenza virus coinfections. All patients were RT-PCR positive for dengue virus and pandemic influenza A H1N1. Clinical findings at presentation ranged from influenza-like illness to severe dengue. Clinical progression of the infections varied, but all developed dengue symptoms and had interstitial infiltrates. Three cases required intensive care management and 1 case was fatal.
    The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 11/2010; 29(11):1052-5. DOI:10.1097/INF.0b013e3181e6c69b · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization (WHO) dengue classification scheme for dengue fever (DF) and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF)/dengue shock syndrome (DSS) has been adopted as the standard for diagnosis, clinical management and reporting. In recent years, difficulties in applying the WHO case classification have been reported in several countries. A multicenter study was carried out in Asia and Latin America to analyze the variation and utility of dengue clinical guidelines (DCGs) taking as reference the WHO/PAHO guidelines (1994) and the WHO/SEARO guidelines (1998). A document analysis of 13 dengue guidelines was followed by a questionnaire and Focus Group discussions (FGDs) with 858 health care providers in seven countries. Differences in DCGs of the 13 countries were identified including the concept of warning signs, case classification, use of treatment algorithms and grading into levels of severity. The questionnaires and FGDs revealed (1) inaccessibility of DCGs, (2) lack of training, (3) insufficient number of staff to correctly apply the DCGs at the frontline and (4) the unavailability of diagnostic tests. The differences of the DCGs and the inconsistency in their application suggest a need to re-evaluate and standardise DCGs. This applies especially to case classification and case management.
    International Health 12/2009; 1(2):133-140. DOI:10.1016/j.inhe.2009.08.006 · 1.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue is the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease in humans and a major urban public health problem worldwide. A prospective cohort study of approximately 3800 children initially aged 2-9 years was established in Managua, Nicaragua, in 2004 to study the natural history of dengue transmission in an urban pediatric population. Blood samples from healthy subjects were collected annually prior to the dengue season, and identification of dengue cases occurred via enhanced passive surveillance at the study health center. Over the first four years of the study, seroprevalence of anti-dengue virus (DENV) antibodies increased from 22%-40% in the 2-year-old cohort and 90%-95% in the 9-year-old cohort. The incidence of symptomatic dengue cases and the ratio of inapparent to symptomatic DENV infection varied substantially from year to year. The switch in dominant transmission from DENV-1 to DENV-2 was accompanied by an increase in disease severity but, paradoxically, a decrease in transmission. Phylogeographic analysis of full-length DENV-2 sequences revealed strong geographic clustering of dengue cases. This large-scale cohort study of dengue in the Americas demonstrates year-to-year variation of dengue within a pediatric population, revealing expected patterns in transmission while highlighting the impact of interventions, climate, and viral evolution.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 11/2009; 201(1):5-14. DOI:10.1086/648592 · 5.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is a major public health problem worldwide. In 2004, the Pediatric Dengue Cohort Study was established in Managua, Nicaragua, to study the natural history and transmission of dengue in children. Here, the authors describe the study design, methods, and results from 2004 to 2008. Initially, 3,721 children 2-9 years of age were recruited through door-to-door visits. Each year, new children aged 2 years are enrolled in the study to maintain the age structure. Children are provided with medical care through the study, and data from each medical visit are recorded on systematic study forms. All participants presenting with suspected dengue or undifferentiated fever are tested for dengue by virologic, serologic, and molecular biologic assays. Yearly blood samples are collected to detect inapparent dengue virus infections. Numerous information and communications technologies are used to manage study data, track samples, and maintain quality control, including personal data assistants, barcodes, global information systems, and fingerprint scans. Close collaboration with the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health and use of almost entirely local staff are essential components for success. This study is providing critical data on the epidemiology and transmission of dengue in the Americas needed for future vaccine trials.
    American journal of epidemiology 06/2009; 170(1):120-9. DOI:10.1093/aje/kwp092 · 4.98 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

285 Citations
45.67 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2012
    • National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Managua
      Μανάγκουα, Managua, Nicaragua
  • 2011
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology
      Berkeley, CA, United States