Helda L Alfonso

University of São Paulo, San Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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Publications (7)17.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Hantavirus (Family Bunyaviridae) are mostly associated to rodents and transmitted to man by inhalation of aerosolized infected excreta of these animals. The human infection by hantaviruses can lead to severe diseases such as hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in Asia and Europe, and pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the Americas. To determine the origin, spreading and evolutionary dynamics of rodent-borne hantaviruses, 190 sequences of nucleoprotein (N) of hantaviruses isolated in 30 countries, from 1985 to 2010, were retrieved from the GenBank and analyzed using the BEAST program. Our evolutionary analysis indicates that current genetic diversity of N gene of rodent-borne hantaviruses probably was originated around 2,000 years ago. Hantavirus harbored by Murinae and Arvicolinae subfamilies, probably, were originated in Asia 500-700 years ago and later spread toward Siberia, Europe, Africa and North America. Hantavirus carried by Neotominae subfamily, probably, emerged 500-600 years ago in Central America and spread toward North America. Finally, hantaviruses associated to Sigmodontinae occurred in Brazil 400 years ago and were, probably, originated from Neotominae-associated virus from northern South America. These data offer subsidies to understand the time-scale and worldwide dissemination dynamics of rodent-borne hantaviruses.
    Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 11/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Dengue epidemics have been reported in Brazil since 1981. In Manaus, a large city in the Amazon region, dengue is endemic with all four-virus serotypes (DENV-1, -2, -3, and -4) simultaneously causing human disease. In 2008, during a surveillance of dengue virus in mosquitoes in the district of Tancredo Neves in Manaus, 260 mosquitoes of Aedes genus were captured, identified and grouped into pools of 10 mosquitoes. FINDINGS: RNA extracts of mosquito pools were tested by a RT-Hemi-Nested-PCR for detection of flaviviruses. One amplicon of 222 bp, compatible with dengue virus serotype 4, was obtained from a pool of Aedes aegypti. The nucleotide sequence of the amplicon indicated that the mosquitoes were infected with DENV-4 of genotype I. This virus of Asian origin has been described in Manaus in 2008 infecting acute febrile illness patients. CONCLUSION: This is the first report of dengue virus serotype 4 genotype I infecting Aedes aegypti in the Americas.
    Virology Journal 02/2013; 10(1):60. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human Parvovirus B19 (B19V) is a recognized cause of life-threatening conditions among patients with hemoglobinopathies. This study investigates B19V infection in patients with sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia using different experimental approaches. A total of 183 individuals (144 with sickle cell disease and 39 with β-thalassemia major) and 100 healthy blood donors were examined for B19V using anti-B19V IgG enzyme immunoassay, quantitative PCR, DNA sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis. Viremia was documented in 18.6% of patients and 1% of donors, and was generally characterized by low viral load (VL); however, acute infections were also observed. Anti-B19V IgG was detected in 65.9% of patients with sickle cell disease and in 60% of donors, whereas the patients with thalassemia exhibited relatively low seroreactivity. The seroprevalence varied among the different age groups. In patients, it progressively increased with age, whereas in donors it reached a plateau. Based on partial NS1 fragments, all isolates detected were classified as subgenotype 1A with a tendency to elicit genetically complex infections. Interestingly, quasispecies occurred in the plasma of not only patients but also donors with even higher heterogeneity. The partial NS1 sequence examined did not exhibit positive selection. Quantitation of B19V with a conservative probe is a technically and practically useful approach. The extensive spread of B19V subgenotype 1A in patients and donors and its recent introduction into the countryside of the São Paulo State, Brazil were demonstrated; however, it is difficult to establish a relationship between viral sequences and the clinical outcomes of the infection.
    Journal of Medical Virology 10/2012; 84(10):1652-65. · 2.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease worldwide. Dengue virus comprises four antigenically related viruses named dengue virus type 1 to 4 (DENV1-4). DENV-3 was re-introduced into the Americas in 1994 causing outbreaks in Nicaragua and Panama. DENV-3 was introduced in Brazil in 2000 and then spread to most of the Brazilian States, reaching the neighboring country, Paraguay in 2002. In this study, we have analyzed the phylogenetic relationship of DENV-3 isolated in Brazil and Paraguay with viruses isolated worldwide. We have also analyzed the evolutionary divergence dynamics of DENV-3 viruses. RESULTS: The entire open reading frame (ORF) of thirteen DENV-3 isolated in Brazil (n= 9) and Paraguay (n= 4) were sequenced for phylogenetic analysis. DENV-3 grouped into three main genotypes (I, II and III). Several internal clades were found within each genotype that we called lineage and sub-lineage. Viruses included in this study belong to genotype III and grouped together with viruses isolated in the Americas within the lineage III. The Brazilian viruses were further segregated into two different sub-lineage, A and B, and the Paraguayan into the sub-lineage B. All three genotypes showed internal grouping. The nucleotide divergence was in average 6.7% for genotypes, 2.7% for lineages and 1.5% for sub-lineages. Phylogenetic trees constructed with any of the protein gene sequences showed the same segregation of the DENV-3 in three genotypes. CONCLUSION: Our results showed that two groups of DENV-3 genotypes III circulated in Brazil during 2002-2009, suggesting different events of introduction of the virus through different regions of the country. In Paraguay, only one group DENV-3 genotype III is circulating that is very closely related to the Brazilian viruses of sub-lineage B. Different degree of grouping can be observed for DENV-3 and each group showed a characteristic evolutionary divergence. Finally, we have observed that any protein gene sequence can be used to identify the virus genotype.
    Virology Journal 06/2012; 9(1):124. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early diagnosis of dengue virus (DENV) infection is important for patient management and control of dengue outbreaks. The objective of this study was to analyze the usefulness of urine and saliva samples for early diagnosis of DENV infection by real time RT-PCR. Two febrile patients, who have been attended at the General Hospital of the School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo University were included in the study. Serum, urine and saliva samples collected from both patients were subjected to real time RT-PCR for DENV detection and quantification. Dengue RNA was detected in serum, urine and saliva samples of both patients. Patient 1 was infected with DENV-2 and patient 2 with DENV-3. Data presented in this study suggest that urine and saliva could be used as alternative samples for early diagnosis of dengue virus infection when blood samples are difficult to obtain, e.g., in newborns and patients with hemorrhagic syndromes.
    Virology Journal 01/2010; 7:22. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background Dengue is the most important arbovirus disease in tropical and subtropical countries. The viral envelope (E) protein is responsible for cell receptor binding and is the main target of neutralizing antibodies. The aim of this study was to analyze the diversity of the E protein gene of DENV-3. E protein gene sequences of 20 new viruses isolated in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, and 427 sequences retrieved from GenBank were aligned for diversity and phylogenetic analysis. Results Comparison of the E protein gene sequences revealed the presence of 47 variable sites distributed in the protein; most of those amino acids changes are located on the viral surface. The phylogenetic analysis showed the distribution of DENV-3 in four genotypes. Genotypes I, II and III revealed internal groups that we have called lineages and sub-lineages. All amino acids that characterize a group (genotype, lineage, or sub-lineage) are located in the 47 variable sites of the E protein. Conclusion Our results provide information about the most frequent amino acid changes and diversity of the E protein of DENV-3.
    Virology Journal 01/2009; · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue type 3 genotype V viruses have been recently detected in Brazil and Colombia. In this study, we described another Brazilian isolate belonging to this genotype. Phylogenetic analysis including dengue type 3 viruses isolated worldwide showed that Brazilian and Colombian viruses were closely related to viruses isolated in Asia more than two decades ago. The characteristic evolutionary pattern of dengue type 3 virus cannot explain the close similarity of new circulating viruses with old viruses. Further studies are needed to confirm the origin of the new dengue type III genotype circulating in Brazil and Colombia.
    PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(10):e7299. · 3.73 Impact Factor