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Top picks in Infectious Diseases

Earlier this week we published an interview with Adam Ratner, PLoS ONE Section Editor responsible for Infectious Diseases. We also asked him to choose his top five papers from those he has edited and provide brief explanations about why he picked them. Here are his choices and reasons. We welcome more submissions from this community.

Surprisingly High Specificity of the PPD Skin Test for M.tuberculosis Infection from Recent Exposure in The Gambia. Hill PC, Brookes RH, Fox A, Jackson-Sillah D, Lugos MD, et al. This paper is a perfect example of the importance of open access to international health. Hill et al. studied a common tuberculosis test (the PPD skin test) on the ground in a high-prevalence area. These data are valuable for practitioners and researchers all over the world and can be most widely available through PLoS ONE.

RNA-Containing Cytoplasmic Inclusion Bodies in Ciliated Bronchial Epithelium Months to Years after Acute Kawasaki Disease. Rowley AH, Baker SC, Shulman ST, Garcia FL, Fox LM, et al. This manuscript uses analysis of samples from patients who died of Kawasaki Disease (KD) in order to explore the hypothesis that an unidentified RNA virus may be the inciting agent of this KD. The etiology of KD has been a topic of great controversy for decades, and this paper adds valuable data. KD occurs worldwide, and the wide dissemination of information gained from autopsy studies of KD fatalities is important.

Evolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Its Close Commensal Relatives. Kilian M, Poulsen K, Blomqvist T, Håvarstein LS, Bek-Thomsen M, et al. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a tremendously important cause of disease worldwide, accounting for approximately 1 million deaths in children under 5 annually. Kilian et al. performed a detailed evolutionary analysis of S. pneumoniae and closely related species, many of which are rarely pathogenic. This sets the stage for a more detailed understanding of S. pneumoniae pathogenesis and is important information for researchers all over the world.

Phase 1 Trial of Malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccine Candidates Pfs25 and Pvs25 Formulated with Montanide ISA 51.Wu Y, Ellis RD, Shaffer D, Fontes E, Malkin EM, et al. This is a Phase I trial of candidate malaria vaccines in which there was an unexpectedly high rate of adverse reactions to the adjuvant used. I chose this article because this is the kind of study that might have difficulty finding a "home" without a forum such as PLoS ONE. There is a tremendous amount to be learned from early stage trials, even those in which the intervention tested is a "failure," in this case as a result of reactogenicity. PLoS ONE publishes work such as this, allowing it to inform future studies.

Microbial Prevalence, Diversity and Abundance in Amniotic Fluid During Preterm Labor: A Molecular and Culture-Based Investigation. DiGiulio DB, Romero R, Amogan HP, Kusanovic JP, Bik EM, et al. Preterm birth is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and is often of unclear etiology. DiGiuio et al. took a broad, culture-independent approach to understanding the population of microorganisms in the amniotic fluid of women with and without preterm birth. Their findings reveal surprising microbial diversity in this site and are an important foundation for future work in this area.

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