Alok Kumar Deb

National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata, Bengal, India

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Publications (8)17.25 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Group A rotaviruses are the major cause of childhood gastroenteritis worldwide. Due to close proximity of human and cattle in rural areas of developing countries like India, interspecies transmission or zoonotic transmission is a major source of rapid generation of reassortants and genetic or antigenic variants. Previously, many human group A rotaviruses were found with porcine or bovine characteristics from eastern and north-eastern India. In this study, four unusual human G8P[4] strains were identified which had artiodactyl-like origins. During an ongoing community based surveillance for epidemiological profiling of diarrheal pathogens, these unusual human group A rotavirus G8P[4] strains were detected from the stool samples of 3-14 months old children with acute diarrhea in Sonarpur, eastern India. Analysis of eleven complete and/or partial gene segments of these unusual G8P[4] strains were done by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) followed by nucleotide sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. The VP7 nucleotide sequences revealed a close phylogenetic relationship to the G8P[7] porcine strain D-1 and bovine strain KJ59-2 from South Korea. Whereas the VP4 gene segments were also related closely to human rotavirus prototype strain DS-1. Other nine gene segments of these G8P[4] rotaviruses were related closely to either animal or animal-derived rotavirus members of the DS-1-like family. These results suggest that origin of these G8P[4] strains might have been resulted from multiple reassortment events between artiodactyls and ruminant-derived reassortant human rotaviruses. To date, this is the first report of G8P[4] rotavirus from India and the first genomic analysis of G8P[4] strains from Asian continent. J. Med. Virol. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 12/2012; · 2.37 Impact Factor
  • The Indian Journal of Medical Research 02/2011; 133:128-30. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Severe clinical pneumonia and meningitis caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b in children less than 5 yr old is preventable by use of Hib vaccine. However, data on Hib burden in India are limited. To support an evidence-based decision for Hib vaccine introduction in India, a vaccine probe study was planned. This paper presents the results of the preparatory phase for such a study, which aimed to determine the feasibility of conducting a randomized vaccine probe study and to estimate the incidence of all causes of pneumonia and meningitis. The preparatory study included population- based, hospital-based and carriage surveillance. Children aged 18-24 months and were enrolled at PGIMER, Chandigarh, CMC, Vellore and NICED, Kolkata, from July 2005 to December 2006. At the time of enrollment, parents were informed about the signs and symptoms of pneumonia and meningitis, and were encouraged to take the child to study hospitals for treatment. Hospitalized children less than two years of age suspected of having pneumonia and/or meningitis were enrolled in study hospitals, whether or not they were from the cohort population. Patients were examined clinically and received chest radiograph for suspected cases of pneumonia or lumbar puncture for suspected cases of meningitis. Blood culture was done for both pneumonia and meningitis patients. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was tested for biochemistry, culture, latex agglutination test and polymerase chain reaction. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from healthy children less than 2 yr of age at immunization clinics to estimate Hib carriage. A cohort of 17,951 children were recruited for the population-based arm. The incidence of severe clinical pneumonia ranged from 2717 to 7890 per 100,000 child-years of observation; suspected meningitis ranged from 1971 to 2433 per 100,000 child-years of observation. In the hospital-based study 7/90 (7.8%), 29/98 (29.6%) and 38/181 (21.0%) of CSF samples with cell count > or =100 WBCs/mm(3); were purulent at Chandigarh, Kolkata and Vellore respectively. Of these purulent CSF samples, Hib was detected in 2, 6 and 11 cases, respectively. The Hib nasopharyngeal carriage prevalence ranged from 6.0 - 7.6 per cent. Incidence of severe clinical pneumonia is comparable with other studies from India but that of suspected meningitis is higher. Although rates of Hib meningitis cannot be calculated from a hospital-based study, there is evidence of Hib meningitis in these study settings. Hib carriage prevalence indicates that Hib is present and circulating in these study areas. There is a significant burden of pneumonia and meningitis among children in India. Continued strengthening of laboratory capacity and bacterial surveillance systems are necessary.
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research 05/2010; 131:649-58. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Migrant workers in India play a key role in the spread of HIV. Kolkata is a common destination for workers, who may acquire infection and transmit it to their wives and/or other sexual partners. We investigated sexual relations and condom use by factory workers. Migrant and local factory workers were randomly selected from five wards of Kolkata. Information was collected about demographic and socio-economic characteristics, sexual relationships, condom usage, and perceptions and intent to use condoms. Condom use was very low in both groups of workers, particularly among migrants. Many married workers visited female sex workers but never used condoms. Few intended to use condoms, and if they did, it did not always translate into actual usage. There is great potential for transmission of HIV/sexually transmitted infections by these workers. Carefully designed intervention and education programs in the context of low literacy and cultural norms are urgently needed.
    AIDS and Behavior 10/2009; 13(5):928-938. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kolkata and its suburbs in eastern India are known to be endemic for typhoid fever. The objective of this study was to determine phage types, biotypes and antimicrobial resistance patterns of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi isolated during the period 2003-2005 from a prospective surveillance for typhoid fever in two urban slums in Kolkata. A total of 195 Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi isolated from blood cultures were phage typed, biotyped and tested for their antimicrobial susceptibility profile. Phage type E1 was the most common (60.3%) followed by phage type A among five phage types identified. Biotype I (95%) was predominant, 28 isolates were multidrug resistant (MDR) and most of the MDR strains belonged to phage type E1 and biotype I. A single phage type and biotype were prevalent among the Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi isolates studied from Kolkata, India.
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research 06/2007; 125(5):685-8. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although typhoid fever is confirmed by culture of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, rapid and simple diagnostic serologic tests would be useful in developing countries. We examined the performance of Widal test in a community field site and compared it with Typhidot and Tubex tests for diagnosis of typhoid fever. Blood samples were collected from 6697 patients with fever for > or =3 days for microscopy, culture, and serologic testing and from randomly selected 172 consenting healthy individuals to assess the baseline Widal anti-Typhi O lipopolysaccharide antibody (anti-TO) and anti-Typhi H flagellar antibody (anti-TH) titers. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of the 3 serologic tests were calculated using culture-confirmed typhoid fever cases as "true positives" and paratyphoid fever and malaria cases as "true negatives". Comparing cutoff values for the Widal test, an anti-TO titer of 1/80 was optimal with 58% sensitivity, 85% specificity, 69% PPV, and 77% NPV. Sensitivity was increased to 67% when the Widal test was done on the 5th day of illness and thereafter. The sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV of Typhidot and Tubex were not better than Widal test. There is a need for more efficient rapid diagnostic test for typhoid fever especially during the acute stage of the disease. Until then, culture remains the method of choice.
    Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 01/2007; 56(4):359-65. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research has indicated that the malaria burden in Asia may have been vastly underestimated. We conducted a prospective community-based study in an impoverished urban site in Kolkata, India, to estimate the burden of malaria and typhoid fever and to identify risk factors for these diseases. In a population of 60452 people, 3605 fever episodes were detected over a 12-month period. The blood films of 93 febrile patients contained Plasmodium (90 P. vivax, 2 P. falciparum and 1 P. malariae). Blood cultures from 95 patients grew Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi. Malaria patients were found to be significantly older (mean age 29 years) compared with patients with typhoid fever (15 years; P<0.001) but had similar clinical features on presentation. Having a household member with malaria, illiteracy, low household income and living in a structure not built of bricks were associated with an increased risk for malaria. Having a household member with typhoid fever and poor hygiene were associated with typhoid fever. A geographic analysis of the spatial distribution of malaria and typhoid fever cases detected high-risk neighbourhoods for each disease. Focal interventions to minimise human-vector contact and improved personal hygiene and targeted vaccination campaigns could help to prevent malaria and typhoid fever in this site.
    Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 08/2006; 100(8):725-33. · 1.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an urban slum in eastern Kolkata, India, reported diarrhoea rates, healthcare-use patterns, and factors associated with reported diarrhoea episodes were studied as a part of a diarrhoea-surveillance project. Data were collected through a structured interview during a census and healthcare-use survey of an urban slum population in Kolkata. Several variables were analyzed, including (a) individual demographics, such as age and educational level, (b) household characteristics, such as number of household members, religious affiliation of the household head, building material, expenditure, water supply and sanitation, and (c) behaviour, such as hand-washing after defecation and healthcare use. Of 57,099 study subjects, 428 (0.7%) reported a diarrhoea episode sometime during the four weeks preceding the interview. The strongest independent factors for reporting a history of diarrhoea were having another household member with diarrhoea (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=3.8; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.3-4.4) and age less than 60 months (adjusted OR=3.7; 95% CI 3.0-4.7). The first choice of treatment by the 428 subjects was as follows: 151 (35%) had self- or parent-treatment, 150 (35%) consulted a private allopathic practitioner, 70 (16%) went directly to a pharmacy, 29 (7%) visited a hospital, 14 (3%) a homoeopathic practitioner, 2 (0.5%) an ayurvedic practitioner, and 12 (3%) other traditional healers. The choices varied significantly with the age of patients and their religion. The findings increase the understanding of the factors and healthcare-use patterns associated with diarrhoea episodes and may assist in developing public-health messages and infrastructure in Kolkata.
    Journal of Health Population and Nutrition 07/2004; 22(2):130-8. · 1.12 Impact Factor