Gary J Weil

Washington University in St. Louis, San Luis, Missouri, United States

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Publications (134)440.48 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Paragonimiasis is a food-borne trematode infection acquired by eating raw or undercooked crustaceans. It is a major public health problem in the far East, but it also occurs in South Asia, Africa, and in the Americas. Paragonimus worms cause chronic lung disease with cough, fever and hemoptysis that can be confused with tuberculosis or other non-parasitic diseases. Treatment is straightforward, but diagnosis is often delayed due to a lack of reliable parasitological or serodiagnostic tests. Hence, the purpose of this study was to use a systems biology approach to identify key parasite proteins that may be useful for development of improved diagnostic tests.
    PLoS neglected tropical diseases. 10/2014; 8(10):e3242.
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    ABSTRACT: Implementation of mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis (LF) has been delayed in central Africa because of incomplete mapping and coendemic loiasis. We mapped two regions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that were suspected to have LF. Night blood samples were collected from 2,724 subjects in 30 villages. Filarial antigenemia rates by card test exceeded 1% in 28 villages (range = 0-14%). Prevalence rates for large sheathed microfilariae (Mf) ranged from 4% to 40%; Mansonella perstans rates ranged from 22% to 98%. Large Mf were exclusively Loa loa by microscopy, and only 1 of 337 samples tested by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was positive for Wuchereria bancrofti DNA. Filarial antigen positivity was strongly associated with high L. loa Mf counts. Periodicity studies revealed atypical patterns, with no significant diurnal periodicity in some individuals. Thus, methods routinely used for LF mapping may not be reliable in areas in central Africa that are highly endemic for loiasis.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 09/2014; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known regarding risk factors for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Central Africa. We studied the epidemiology of LF in an endemic village in the Republic of Congo.
    Parasites & Vectors 07/2014; 7(1):300. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We explored the practicality of integrating surveillance for soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH, assessed by Kato-Katz) with transmission assessment surveys for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in two evaluation units (EUs) in Gampaha district, Sri Lanka (population 2.3 million). The surveys were performed 6 years after five annual rounds of mass drug administration with diethylcarbamazine and albendazole. Each transmission assessment survey tested children (N = 1,462 inland EU; 1,642 coastal EU) were drawn from 30 primary schools. Low filarial antigenemia rates (0% and 0.1% for the inland and coastal EUs) suggest that LF transmission is very low in this district. The STH rates and stool sample participation rates were 0.8% and 61% (inland) and 2.8% and 58% (coastal). Most STH detected were low or moderate intensity Trichuris trichiura infections. The added cost of including STH testing was ~$5,000 per EU. These results suggest that it is feasible to integrate school-based surveillance for STH and LF.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 02/2014; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Wolbachia α-proteobacteria are essential for growth, reproduction and survival for many filarial nematode parasites of medical and veterinary importance. Endobacteria were discovered in filarial parasites by transmission electron microscopy in the 1970's using chemically fixed specimens. Despite improvements of fixation and electron microscopy techniques during the last decades, methods to study the Wolbachia/filaria interaction on the ultrastructural level remained unchanged and the mechanisms for exchange of materials and for motility of endobacteria are not known. We used high pressure freezing/freeze substitution to improve fixation of Brugia malayi and its endosymbiont, and this led to improved visualization of different morphological forms of Wolbachia. The three concentric, bilayer membranes that surround the endobacterial cytoplasm were well preserved. Vesicles with identical membrane structures were identified close to the endobacteria, and multiple bacteria were sometimes enclosed within a single outer membrane. Immunogold electron microscopy using a monoclonal antibody directed against Wolbachia surface protein-1 labeled the membranes that enclose Wolbachia and Wolbachia-associated vesicles. High densities of Wolbachia were observed in the lateral chords of L4 larvae, immature, and mature adult worms. Extracellular Wolbachia were sometimes present in the pseudocoelomic cavity near the developing female reproductive organs. Wolbachia-associated actin tails were not observed. Wolbachia motility may be explained by their residence within vacuoles, as they may co-opt the host cell's secretory pathway to move within and between cells. High pressure freezing/freeze substitution significantly improved the preservation of filarial tissues for electron microscopy to reveal membranes and sub cellular structures that could be crucial for exchange of materials between Wolbachia and its host.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86383. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • 01/2014: pages 737-765; , ISBN: 9780702051012
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    Ben Wen Li, Amy C. Rush, Gary J. Weil
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    ABSTRACT: Glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCl) are targets for avermectin/milbemycin (A/M) anthelmintics such as ivermectin that cause paralysis of somatic and pharyngeal muscles in gastrointestinal nematodes. Ivermectin is useful for onchocerciasis control programs because of its activity against microfilariae that often cause ocular disease and severe dermatitis. However, mechanisms responsible for reduced microfilaria production by adult worms following ivermectin treatment are poorly understood. We synthesized subunit-specific RNA probes for the Brugia malayi GluCl gene avr-14 (BmAVR-14) to localize expression of this gene in adult filarial worms. Both subunits of BmAVR-14 exhibited very similar expression patterns. In female worms, strong expression signals were detected in the ovary, developing embryos and lateral hypodermal chords, with moderate expression in the uterus wall adjacent to stretched microfilariae. These genes were also highly expressed in adult male worms (in spermatogonia, in the wall of the vas deferens, and in the lateral chords, but not in mature spermatozoa). In addition, avr-14 was highly expressed in somatic muscles adjacent to the terminal end of the vas deferens which contains mature sperm. These results show that avr-14 is highly expressed in B. malayi developing embryos and reproductive tissues, and they provide evidence for the involvement of GluCl in gamete production and embryogenesis in filarial worms. This may explain the observed suppression of microfilaria (Mf) production by female worms following treatment with avermectin/milbemycin anthelmintics.
    International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The value of a semi-quantitative scoring of the filarial antigen test (Binax Now Filariasis card test, ICT) results was evaluated during a field survey in the Republic of Congo. One hundred and thirty-four (134) of 774 tests (17.3%) were clearly positive and were scored 1, 2, or 3; and 11 (1.4%) had questionable results. Wuchereria bancrofti microfilariae (mf) were detected in 41 of those 133 individuals with an ICT test score ≥ 1 who also had a night blood smear; none of the 11 individuals with questionable ICT results harbored night mf. Cuzick's test showed a significant trend for higher microfilarial densities in groups with higher ICT scores (P < 0.001). The ICT scores were also significantly correlated with blood mf counts. Because filarial antigen levels provide an indication of adult worm infection intensity, our results suggest that semi-quantitative reading of the ICT may be useful for grading the intensity of filarial infections in individuals and populations.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 09/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) has been targeted for global elimination by 2020. The primary tool for the program is mass drug administration (MDA) with antifilarial medications to reduce the source of microfilariae required for mosquito transmission of the parasite. This strategy requires high MDA compliance rates. Egypt initiated a national filariasis elimination program in 2000 that targeted approximately 2.7 million persons in 181 disease-endemic localities. This study assessed factors associated with MDA compliance in year three of the Egyptian LF elimination program. 2,859 subjects were interviewed in six villages. The surveyed compliance rate for MDA in these villages was 85.3% (95% confidence interval = 83.9-86.5%). Compliance with MDA was positively associated with LF knowledge scores, male sex, and older age. Adverse events reported by 18.4% of participants were mild and more common in females. This study has provided new information on factors associated with MDA compliance during Egypt's successful LF elimination program.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 06/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (GPELF) guidelines call for using filarial antigen testing to identify endemic areas that require mass drug administration (MDA) and for post-MDA surveillance. We compared a new filarial antigen test (the Alere Filariasis Test Strip) with the reference BinaxNOW Filariasis card test that has been used by the GPELF for more than 10 years. Laboratory testing of 227 archived serum or plasma samples showed that the two tests had similar high rates of sensitivity and specificity and > 99% agreement. However, the test strip detected 26.5% more people with filarial antigenemia (124/503 versus 98/503) and had better test result stability than the card test in a field study conducted in a filariasis-endemic area in Liberia. Based on its increased sensitivity and other practical advantages, we believe that the test strip represents a major step forward that will be welcomed by the GPELF and the filariasis research community.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 05/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We studied the value of an IgG Western blot (WB) with Paragonimus kellicotti (Pk) antigen for diagnosis of North American paragonimiasis. The test was evaluated with sera from patients with Pk and Paragonimus westermani infections, with control sera from patients with other helminth infections, and sera from healthy Americans. All 11 proven Pk infection sera and two samples from suspected cases that were negative by P. westermani WB at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contained antibodies to antigens at 34 kDa and at 21/23 kDa. Seven of 7 P. westermani sera contained antibodies to the 34 kDa antigen, but only 2 recognized the 21/23 kDa doublet. No control samples were reactive with these antigens. Antibody reactivity declined after praziquantel treatment. Thus, the P. kellicotti WB appears to be superior to P. westermani WB for diagnosing Pk infections, and it may be useful for assessing responses to treatment.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 04/2013; · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    Dataset: 286.full
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Most filarial species in the genus Onchocerca depend on Wolbachia endobacteria to successfully carry out their life cycle. O. flexuosa is a Wolbachia-free species, but its genome contains Wolbachia-like sequences presumably obtained from Wolbachia via horizontal gene transfer. Proteogenomic studies have shown that many of these Wolbachia-like sequences are expressed in adult worms. METHODS: Six Wolbachia-like sequences in O. flexuosa were chosen for further study based on their sequence conservation with Wolbachia genes, length of predicted open reading frames, and expression at the RNA and/or protein levels. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical labeling were used to localize Wolbachia-like transcripts and peptides in adult worm tissues. RESULTS: RNA probes representing three of the six target sequences produced hybridization signals in worm tissues. These probes bound to transcripts in the intestine and lateral chords of both sexes, in the hypodermis, median chords and uteri in females, and in sperm precursor cells in males. Antibodies raised to three peptides corresponding to these transcripts bound to specific bands in a soluble extract of adult O. flexuosa by Western blot that were not labeled by control antibodies in pre-immune serum. Two of the three antibodies produced labeling patterns in adult worm sections that were similar to those of the RNA probes, while the third produced a different pattern. CONCLUSIONS: A subset of the Wolbachia-like sequences present in the genome of the Wolbachia-free filarial species O. flexuosa are transcribed in tissues where Wolbachia reside in infected filarial species. Some of the peptides and/or proteins derived from these transcripts appear to be concentrated in these same tissues while others may be exported to other regions of the worm. These results suggest that horizontally transferred Wolbachia genes and gene products may replicate important Wolbachia functions in uninfected filarial worms.
    Parasites & Vectors 01/2013; 6(1):2. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) has a target date of 2020. This program is progressing well in many countries. However, progress has been slow in some countries, and others have not yet started their mass drug administration (MDA) programs. Acceleration is needed. We studied how increasing MDA frequency from once to twice per year would affect program duration and costs by using computer simulation modeling and cost projections. We used the LYMFASIM simulation model to estimate how many annual or semiannual MDA rounds would be required to eliminate LF for Indian and West African scenarios with varied pre-control endemicity and coverage levels. Results were used to estimate total program costs assuming a target population of 100,000 eligibles, a 3% discount rate, and not counting the costs of donated drugs. A sensitivity analysis was done to investigate the robustness of these results with varied assumptions for key parameters. Model predictions suggested that semiannual MDA will require the same number of MDA rounds to achieve LF elimination as annual MDA in most scenarios. Thus semiannual MDA programs should achieve this goal in half of the time required for annual programs. Due to efficiency gains, total program costs for semiannual MDA programs are projected to be lower than those for annual MDA programs in most scenarios. A sensitivity analysis showed that this conclusion is robust. Semiannual MDA is likely to shorten the time and lower the cost required for LF elimination in countries where it can be implemented. This strategy may improve prospects for global elimination of LF by the target year 2020.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2013; 7(1):e1984. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The success of programs to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) depends in large part on their ability to achieve and sustain high levels of compliance with mass drug administration (MDA). This paper reports results from a comprehensive review of factors that affect compliance with MDA. Papers published between 2000 and 2012 were considered, and 79 publications were included in the final dataset for analysis after two rounds of selection. While results varied in different settings, some common features were associated with successful programs and with compliance by individuals. Training and motivation of drug distributors is critically important, because these people directly interact with target populations, and their actions can affect MDA compliance decisions by families and individuals. Other important programmatic issues include thorough preparation of personnel, supplies, and logistics for implementation and preparation of the population for MDA. Demographic factors (age, sex, income level, and area of residence) are often associated with compliance by individuals, but compliance decisions are also affected by perceptions of the potential benefits of participation versus the risk of adverse events. Trust and information can sometimes offset fear of the unknown. While no single formula can ensure success MDA in all settings, five key ingredients were identified: engender trust, tailor programs to local conditions, take actions to minimize the impact of adverse events, promote the broader benefits of the MDA program, and directly address the issue of systematic non-compliance, which harms communities by prolonging their exposure to LF. This review has identified factors that promote coverage and compliance with MDA for LF elimination across countries. This information may be helpful for explaining results that do not meet expectations and for developing remedies for ailing MDA programs. Our review has also identified gaps in understanding and suggested priority areas for further research.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2013; 7(11):e2447. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is targeted for global elimination through treatment of entire at-risk populations with repeated annual mass drug administration (MDA). Essential for program success is defining and confirming the appropriate endpoint for MDA when transmission is presumed to have reached a level low enough that it cannot be sustained even in the absence of drug intervention. Guidelines advanced by WHO call for a transmission assessment survey (TAS) to determine if MDA can be stopped within an LF evaluation unit (EU) after at least five effective rounds of annual treatment. To test the value and practicality of these guidelines, a multicenter operational research trial was undertaken in 11 countries covering various geographic and epidemiological settings. The TAS was conducted twice in each EU with TAS-1 and TAS-2 approximately 24 months apart. Lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) formed the basis of the TAS survey design but specific EU characteristics defined the survey site (school or community), eligible population (6-7 year olds or 1(st)-2(nd) graders), survey type (systematic or cluster-sampling), target sample size, and critical cutoff (a statistically powered threshold below which transmission is expected to be no longer sustainable). The primary diagnostic tools were the immunochromatographic (ICT) test for W. bancrofti EUs and the BmR1 test (Brugia Rapid or PanLF) for Brugia spp. EUs. In 10 of 11 EUs, the number of TAS-1 positive cases was below the critical cutoff, indicating that MDA could be stopped. The same results were found in the follow-up TAS-2, therefore, confirming the previous decision outcome. Sample sizes were highly sex and age-representative and closely matched the target value after factoring in estimates of non-participation. The TAS was determined to be a practical and effective evaluation tool for stopping MDA although its validity for longer-term post-MDA surveillance requires further investigation.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 01/2013; 7(12):e2584. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphatic filariasis is caused by three closely related nematode parasites: Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. These species have many ecological variants that differ in several aspects of their biology such as mosquito vector species, host range, periodicity, and morphology. Although the genome of B. malayi (the first genome sequenced from a parasitic nematode) has been available for more than five years, very little is known about genetic variability among the lymphatic dwelling filariae. The genetic diversity among these worms is not only interesting from a biological perspective, but it may have important practical implications for the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, as the parasites may respond differently to diagnostic tests and/or medical interventions. Therefore, better information on their genetic variability is urgently needed. With improved methods for nucleic acid extraction and recent advances in sequencing chemistry and instrumentation, this gap can be filled relatively inexpensively. Improved information on filarial genetic diversity may increase the chances of success for lymphatic filariasis elimination programs.
    Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 11/2012; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Paragonimiasis is an infection caused by lung flukes of the genus Paragonimus. In Asia, P. westermani infections are relatively common because of dietary practices. However, in North America, cases of paragonimiasis, which are caused by P. kellicotti flukes, are rare. Only 7 autochthonous cases of paragonimiasis were reported during 1968-2008. In 2009, we reported 3 new case-patients with paragonimiasis who had been seen at our medical center over an 18-month period. Six additional case-patients were identified in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, and treated at Washington University-affiliated health centers in 2009-2010. We report detailed descriptions of these case-patients, which includes unusual clinical manifestations. We also describe public health interventions that were undertaken to inform the general public and physicians about the disease and its mode of transmission.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 08/2012; 18(8):1263-7. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA sequence comparisons are useful for characterizing proposed new parasite species or strains. Microfilariae with an atypical arrangement of nuclei behind the cephalic space have been recently described in human blood samples from the Amazon region of Peru. Three blood specimens containing atypical microfilariae were genetically characterized using three DNA markers (5S ribosomal DNA, 12S ribosomal DNA, and cytochrome oxidase I). All atypical microfilariae were clustered into the Mansonella group and indistinguishable from M. ozzardi based on these DNA markers.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 07/2012; 87(3):491-4. · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gender-associated (GA) genes are important for the development and reproduction of filarial nematodes. Identification and characterization of GA genes may provide insight into major pathways and processes involved in development and reproduction. The recent completion of the Brugia malayi genome has provided a good foundation for proteomics studies. Multiplex protein labelling and two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) combined with MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem MS were used to identify GA proteins. Thirty male and 32 female associated proteins were identified in this study. Many of these GA genes have homologues in Caenorhabditis elegans (83% male and 69% female), and most of the homologues have severe RNA interference (RNAi) phenotypes (72% male and 55% female) in C. elegans. Functional analysis showed that the male-associated genes are enriched for energy production, metabolic processes and cytoskeleton, while the female-associated genes are enriched for RNA modification and transcription. GA genes encode many excreted/secreted proteins. In situ localization studies showed that GA genes are mainly expressed in reproductive organs, and this is further evidence for their involvement in reproduction. Improved understanding of the basic biology of filarial nematodes may lead to improved tools for prevention and treatment of filarial infections. This study combined proteomics, in situ hybridization (ISH) and bioinformatics in a systems biology approach to improve understanding of gender differences and key proteins involved in reproduction in filarial worms. Advanced proteomics methods and bioinformatics led to the identification of 62 GA proteins for B. malayi. ISH revealed that most of those GA genes are expressed during embryogenesis or spermatogenesis. ISH results were consistent with RNAi data for C. elegans that linked the homologues of the B. malayi proteins to gamete production and embryogenesis.
    International journal for parasitology 07/2012; 42(9):841-50. · 3.39 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
440.48 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1993–2014
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • • Department of Genetics
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 1991–2013
    • Ain Shams University
      • • Ain Shams Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases
      • • Department of Entomology
      Al Qāhirah, Al Qāhirah, Egypt
  • 2012
    • Ministerio de Salud del Perú
      Λίμα, Provincia de Lima, Peru
  • 1988–2012
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • • Division of General Internal Medicine
      • • Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
      • • Department of Medicine
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • Smith College
      • Biological Sciences
      Northampton, MA, United States
  • 2006
    • University of Indonesia
      • Parasitology
      Depok, West Java, Indonesia
  • 1989–2002
    • Barnes Jewish Hospital
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 1994
    • Saint Louis University
      • Department of Biology
      Saint Louis, MI, United States
  • 1992–1993
    • University of Ibadan
      • • Department of Veterinary Microbiology & Parasitology
      • • College of Medicine
      Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria