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1.  Evaluation of Mycoplasma Inactivation during Production of Biologics: Egg-Based Viral Vaccines as a Model▿  
Although mycoplasmas are generally considered to be harmless commensals, some mycoplasma species are able to cause infections in pediatric, geriatric, or immunocompromised patients. Thus, accidental contamination of biologics with mycoplasmas represents a potential risk for the health of individuals who receive cell-derived biological and pharmaceutical products. To assess the efficiency of inactivation of mycoplasmas by the agents used in the manufacture of egg-derived influenza vaccines, we carried out a series of experiments aimed at monitoring the viability of mycoplasmas spiked into both chicken allantoic fluid and protein-rich microbiological media and then treated with beta-propiolactone, formalin, cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, Triton X-100, and sodium deoxycholate, which are agents that are commonly used for virus inactivation and disruption of viral particles during influenza vaccine production. Twenty-two mycoplasma species (with one to four strains of each species) were exposed to these inactivating agents at different concentrations. The most efficient inactivation of the mycoplasmas evaluated was observed with either 0.5% Triton X-100 or 0.5% sodium deoxycholate. Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide at concentrations of ≥0.08% was also able to rapidly inactivate (in less than 30 min) all mycoplasmas tested. In contrast, negligible reductions in mycoplasma titers were observed with 0.0125 to 0.025% formaldehyde. However, increasing the concentration of formaldehyde to 0.1 to 0.2% improved the mycoplasmacidal effect. Incubation of mycoplasmas with 0.1% beta-propiolactone for 1 to 24 h had a marked mycoplasmacidal effect. A comparison of the mycoplasma inactivation profiles showed that strains of selected species (Mycoplasma synoviae, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Mycoplasma orale, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Acholeplasma laidlawii) represent a set of strains that can be utilized to validate the effectiveness of mycoplasma clearance obtained by inactivation and viral purification processes used for the manufacture of an inactivated egg-based vaccine.
doi:10.1128/AEM.02776-09
PMCID: PMC2863464  PMID: 20228111
2.  A multi-laboratory profile of Mycoplasma contamination in Lawsonia intracellularis cultures 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:78.
Background
During the routine laboratory cultivation of Lawsonia intracellularis, Mycoplasma contamination has been a frequent problem. When Mycoplasma contamination occurs in laboratories that study L. intracellularis, the cultures must be discarded for 4 reasons: 1) Mycoplasma is inevitably concentrated along with L. intracellularis during the passage of L. intracellularis; 2) Mycoplasma inhibits the growth of L. intracellularis; and 3) it is impossible to selectively eliminate Mycoplasma in L. intracellularis cultures. In this study, we observed the contamination of Mycoplasma species during L. intracellularis cultivation among multiple laboratories.
Results
The presence of a Mycoplasma infection in the L. intracellularis cultures was verified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and a sequence analysis of the partial 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA genes was performed. A PCR-based assay using genus-specific universal primers revealed that 29 (85.3%) of the 34 cultures were contaminated with Mycoplasma, including 26 with M. hyorhinis (89.2%), 2 with M. orale (6.9%), and 1 with M. fermentans (3.4%). The Mycoplasma contamination was not the result of infection with material of pig origin. McCoy cells, which are required for the cultivation of L. intracellularis, were also ruled out as the source of the Mycoplasma contamination.
Conclusions
In this study, M. hyorhinis was identified as the most common mollicute that contaminated L. intracellularis cultures. Whether L. intracellularis enhances the biological properties of Mycoplasma to promote infection in McCoy cells is not known. Because the McCoy cell line stocks that were used simultaneously were all negative for Mycoplasma, and the same worker handled both the McCoy cells to maintain the bacteria and the L. intracellularis cultures, it is possible that the L. intracellularis cultures are more vulnerable to Mycoplasma contamination. Taken together, these results suggest that continuous cultures of L. intracellularis must be tested for Mycoplasma contamination at regular intervals.
The GenBank accession numbers for the sequences reported in this paper are JN689375 to JN689377.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-78
PMCID: PMC3284386  PMID: 22284165
3.  Diagnoses and factors associated with medical evacuation and return to duty among nonmilitary personnel participating in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan 
Background
Nonmilitary personnel play an increasingly critical role in modern wars. Stark differences exist between the demographic characteristics, training and missions of military and nonmilitary members. We examined the differences in types of injury and rates of returning to duty among nonmilitary and military personnel participating in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Methods
We collected data for nonmilitary personnel medically evacuated from military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2007. We compared injury categories and return-to-duty rates in this group with previously published data for military personnel and identified factors associated with return to duty.
Results
Of the 2155 medically evacuated nonmilitary personnel, 74.7% did not return to duty. War-related injuries in this group accounted for 25.6% of the evacuations, the most common causes being combat-related injuries (55.4%) and musculoskeletal/spinal injuries (22.9%). Among individuals with non–war-related injuries, musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 17.8% of evacuations. Diagnoses associated with the highest return-to-duty rates in the group of nonmilitary personnel were psychiatric diagnoses (15.6%) among those with war-related injuries and noncardiac chest or abdominal pain (44.0%) among those with non–war-related injuries. Compared with military personnel, nonmilitary personnel with war-related injuries were less likely to return to duty (4.4% v. 5.9%, p = 0.001) but more likely to return to duty after non–war-related injuries (32.5% v. 30.7%, p = 0.001).
Interpretation
Compared with military personnel, nonmilitary personnel were more likely to be evacuated with non–war-related injuries but more likely to return to duty after such injuries. For evacuations because of war-related injuries, this trend was reversed.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.100244
PMCID: PMC3060214  PMID: 21324873
4.  Cost-Effectiveness Comparison of Response Strategies to a Large-Scale Anthrax Attack on the Chicago Metropolitan Area: Impact of Timing and Surge Capacity 
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality. However, there is uncertainty about the optimal cost-effective response strategy based on timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities. We conducted a decision analytic study to compare response strategies to a theoretical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area beginning either Day 2 or Day 5 after the attack. These strategies correspond to the policy options set forth by the Anthrax Modeling Working Group for population-wide responses to a large-scale anthrax attack: (1) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, (2) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination, (3) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, and (4) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination. Outcomes were measured in costs, lives saved, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). We estimated that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis of all 1,390,000 anthrax-exposed people beginning on Day 2 after attack would result in 205,835 infected victims, 35,049 fulminant victims, and 28,612 deaths. Only 6,437 (18.5%) of the fulminant victims could be saved with the existing critical care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Mortality would increase to 69,136 if the response strategy began on Day 5. Including postattack vaccination with antibiotic prophylaxis of all exposed people reduces mortality and is cost-effective for both Day 2 (ICER=$182/QALY) and Day 5 (ICER=$1,088/QALY) response strategies. Increasing ICU bed availability significantly reduces mortality for all response strategies. We conclude that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination of all exposed people is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for a large-scale anthrax attack. Our findings support the US government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack. Future policies should consider expanding critical care capacity to allow for the rescue of more victims.
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality, but what is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities? Using a hypothetical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area, this study compared response strategies that would begin either 2 days or 5 days after the attack and would consist of administering prophylaxis and vaccine in various combinations. The findings support the government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack.
doi:10.1089/bsp.2011.0105
PMCID: PMC3440066  PMID: 22845046
5.  Susceptibilities of Mycoplasma fermentans and Mycoplasma hyorhinis to Membrane-Active Peptides and Enrofloxacin in Human Tissue Cell Cultures 
Mycoplasmas, which are bacteria that are devoid of a cell wall and which belong to the class Mollicutes, are pathogenic for humans and animals and are frequent contaminants of tissue cell cultures. Although contamination of cultures with mycoplasma can easily be monitored with fluorescent dyes that stain DNA and/or with molecular probes, protection and decontamination of cultures remain serious challenges. In the present work, we investigated the susceptibilities of Mycoplasma fermentans and Mycoplasma hyorhinis to the membrane-active peptides alamethicin, dermaseptin B2, gramicidin S, and surfactin by growth inhibition and lethality assays. In the absence of serum, the four peptides killed mycoplasmas at minimal bactericidal concentrations that ranged from 12.5 to 100 μM, but in all cases the activities were decreased by the presence of serum. As a result, under standard culture conditions (10% serum) only alamethicin and gramicidin S were able to inhibit mycoplasma growth (MICs, 50 μM), while dermaseptin B2 and surfactin were ineffective. Furthermore, 8 days of treatment of HeLa cell cultures experimentally contaminated with either mycoplasma species with 70 μM enrofloxacin cured the cultures of infection, whereas treatment with alamethicin and gramicidin S alone was not reliable because the concentrations and treatment times required were toxic to the cells. However, combination of alamethicin or gramicidin S with 70 μM enrofloxacin allowed mycoplasma eradication after 30 min or 24 h of treatment, depending on the mycoplasma and peptide considered. HeLa cell cultures experimentally infected with mycoplasmas should prove to be a useful model for study of the antimycoplasma activities of antibiotics and membrane-active peptides under conditions close to those found in vivo.
doi:10.1128/AAC.46.5.1218-1225.2002
PMCID: PMC127185  PMID: 11959548
6.  HEPA/Vaccine Plan for Indoor Anthrax Remediation 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(1):69-76.
A mathematical model suggests that a HEPA/vaccine approach is viable for most buildings after a large-scale anthrax attack.
We developed a mathematical model to compare 2 indoor remediation strategies in the aftermath of an outdoor release of 1.5 kg of anthrax spores in lower Manhattan. The 2 strategies are the fumigation approach used after the 2001 postal anthrax attack and a HEPA/vaccine plan, which relies on HEPA vacuuming, HEPA air cleaners, and vaccination of reoccupants. The HEPA/vaccine approach leads to few anthrax cases among reoccupants if applied to all but the most heavily contaminated buildings, and recovery is much faster than under the decades-long fumigation plan. Only modest environmental sampling is needed. A surge capacity of 10,000 to 20,000 Hazmat workers is required to perform remediation within 6 to 12 months and to avoid permanent mass relocation. Because of the possibility of a campaign of terrorist attacks, serious consideration should be given to allowing or encouraging voluntary self-service cleaning of lightly contaminated rooms by age-appropriate, vaccinated, partially protected (through masks or hoods) reoccupants or owners.
doi:10.3201/eid1101.040635
PMCID: PMC3294362  PMID: 15705325
research; HEPA filter; anthrax; mathematical model; bioterrorism; remediation; vaccine
7.  Estimates of Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe, 2009–2010: Results of Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe (I-MOVE) Multicentre Case-Control Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(1):e1000388.
Results from a European multicentre case-control study reported by Marta Valenciano and colleagues suggest good protection by the pandemic monovalent H1N1 vaccine against pH1N1 and no effect of the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine on H1N1.
Background
A multicentre case-control study based on sentinel practitioner surveillance networks from seven European countries was undertaken to estimate the effectiveness of 2009–2010 pandemic and seasonal influenza vaccines against medically attended influenza-like illness (ILI) laboratory-confirmed as pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1).
Methods and Findings
Sentinel practitioners swabbed ILI patients using systematic sampling. We included in the study patients meeting the European ILI case definition with onset of symptoms >14 days after the start of national pandemic vaccination campaigns. We compared pH1N1 cases to influenza laboratory-negative controls. A valid vaccination corresponded to >14 days between receiving a dose of vaccine and symptom onset. We estimated pooled vaccine effectiveness (VE) as 1 minus the odds ratio with the study site as a fixed effect. Using logistic regression, we adjusted VE for potential confounding factors (age group, sex, month of onset, chronic diseases and related hospitalizations, smoking history, seasonal influenza vaccinations, practitioner visits in previous year). We conducted a complete case analysis excluding individuals with missing values and a multiple multivariate imputation to estimate missing values. The multivariate imputation (n = 2902) adjusted pandemic VE (PIVE) estimates were 71.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 45.6–85.5) overall; 78.4% (95% CI 54.4–89.8) in patients <65 years; and 72.9% (95% CI 39.8–87.8) in individuals without chronic disease. The complete case (n = 1,502) adjusted PIVE were 66.0% (95% CI 23.9–84.8), 71.3% (95% CI 29.1–88.4), and 70.2% (95% CI 19.4–89.0), respectively. The adjusted PIVE was 66.0% (95% CI −69.9 to 93.2) if vaccinated 8–14 days before ILI onset. The adjusted 2009–2010 seasonal influenza VE was 9.9% (95% CI −65.2 to 50.9).
Conclusions
Our results suggest good protection of the pandemic monovalent vaccine against medically attended pH1N1 and no effect of the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. However, the late availability of the pandemic vaccine and subsequent limited coverage with this vaccine hampered our ability to study vaccine benefits during the outbreak period. Future studies should include estimation of the effectiveness of the new trivalent vaccine in the upcoming 2010–2011 season, when vaccination will occur before the influenza season starts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Following the World Health Organization's declaration of pandemic phase six in June 2009, manufacturers developed vaccines against pandemic influenza A 2009 (pH1N1). On the basis of the scientific opinion of the European Medicines Agency, the European Commission initially granted marketing authorization to three pandemic vaccines for use in European countries. During the autumn of 2009, most European countries included the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine and the pandemic vaccine in their influenza vaccination programs.
The Influenza Monitoring Vaccine Effectiveness in Europe network (established to monitor seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness) conducted seven case-control and three cohort studies in seven European countries in 2009–2010 to estimate the effectiveness of the pandemic and seasonal vaccines. Data from the seven pilot case-control studies were pooled to provide overall adjusted estimates of vaccine effectiveness.
Why Was This Study Done?
After seasonal and pandemic vaccines are made available to populations, it is necessary to estimate the effectiveness of the vaccines at the population level during every influenza season. Therefore, this study was conducted in European countries to estimate the pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness and seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness against people presenting to their doctor with influenza-like illness who were confirmed (by laboratory tests) to be infected with pH1N1.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a multicenter case-control study on the basis of practitioner surveillance networks from seven countries—France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, and Spain. Patients consulting a participating practitioner for influenza-like illness had a nasal or throat swab taken within 8 days of symptom onset. Cases were swabbed patients who tested positive for pH1N1. Patients presenting with influenza-like illness whose swab tested negative for any influenza virus were controls.
Individuals were considered vaccinated if they had received a dose of the vaccine more than 14 days before the date of onset of influenza-like illness and unvaccinated if they were not vaccinated at all, or if the vaccine was given less than 15 days before the onset of symptoms. The researchers analyzed pandemic influenza vaccination effectiveness in those vaccinated less than 8 days, those vaccinated between and including 8 and 14 days, and those vaccinated more than 14 days before onset of symptoms compared to those who had never been vaccinated.
The researchers used modeling (taking account of all potential confounding factors) to estimate adjusted vaccine effectiveness and stratified the adjusted pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness and the adjusted seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness in three age groups (<15, 15–64, and ≥65 years of age).
The adjusted results suggest that the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine did not protect against pH1N1 illness. However, one dose of the pandemic vaccines used in the participating countries conferred good protection (65.5%–100% according to various stratifications performed) against pH1N1 in people who attended their practitioner with influenza-like illness, especially in people aged <65 years and in those without any chronic disease. Furthermore, good pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness was observed as early as 8 days after vaccination.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of this study provide early estimates of the pandemic influenza vaccine effectiveness suggesting that the monovalent pandemic vaccines have been effective. The findings also give an indication of the vaccine effectiveness for the Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 strain included in the 2010–2011 seasonal vaccines, although specific vaccine effectiveness studies will have to be conducted to verify if similar good effectiveness are observed with 2010–2011 trivalent vaccines. However, the results of this study should be interpreted with caution because of limitations in the pandemic context (late timing of the studies, low incidence, low vaccine coverage leading to imprecise estimates) and potential biases due the study design, confounding factors, and missing values. The researchers recommend that in future season studies, the sample size per country should be enlarged in order to allow for precise pooled and stratified analyses.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000388.
The World Health Organization has information on H1N1 vaccination
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a fact sheet on the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus
The US Department of Health and Human services has a comprehensive website on flu
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides information on 2009 H1N1 pandemic
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control presents a summary of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in Europe and elsewhere
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000388
PMCID: PMC3019108  PMID: 21379316
8.  Evidence of Local Persistence of Human Anthrax in the Country of Georgia Associated with Environmental and Anthropogenic Factors 
Background
Anthrax is a soil-borne disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis and is considered a neglected zoonosis. In the country of Georgia, recent reports have indicated an increase in the incidence of human anthrax. Identifying sub-national areas of increased risk may help direct appropriate public health control measures. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the spatial distribution of human anthrax and identify environmental/anthropogenic factors associated with persistent clusters.
Methods/Findings
A database of human cutaneous anthrax in Georgia during the period 2000–2009 was constructed using a geographic information system (GIS) with case data recorded to the community location. The spatial scan statistic was used to identify persistence of human cutaneous anthrax. Risk factors related to clusters of persistence were modeled using a multivariate logistic regression. Areas of persistence were identified in the southeastern part of the country. Results indicated that the persistence of human cutaneous anthrax showed a strong positive association with soil pH and urban areas.
Conclusions/Significance
Anthrax represents a persistent threat to public and veterinary health in Georgia. The findings here showed that the local level heterogeneity in the persistence of human cutaneous anthrax necessitates directed interventions to mitigate the disease. High risk areas identified in this study can be targeted for public health control measures such as farmer education and livestock vaccination campaigns.
Author Summary
Anthrax is a zoonotic bacterial disease that occurs nearly worldwide. Despite a large number of countries reporting endemic anthrax, persistence of the disease appears to be associated with specific ecological factors related to soil composition and climatic conditions. Human cases are most often associated with handling infected livestock or contaminated meat and most cases are in cutaneous form (skin infections). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country of Georgia has undergone major restructuring in land management and livestock handling and anthrax remains a serious public health risk. Few studies have evaluated the local spatial patterns of human anthrax. Here we identify areas on the landscape where human cutaneous anthrax persisted over the last decade. Persistence was found to be associated with both anthropogenic and environmental factors including soil pH and livestock density. These findings aid in the establishment of spatial baseline estimates of the disease and allow public health officials to adopt targeted anthrax control strategies, such as livestock vaccination campaigns and farmer education.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002388
PMCID: PMC3764226  PMID: 24040426
9.  Sensitive and Specific Detection of Mycoplasma species by Consensus Polymerase Chain Reaction and Dot Blot Hybridization 
Laboratory Animal Research  2011;27(2):141-145.
Mycoplasmas are highly fastidious bacteria, difficult to culture and slow growing. Many species of mycoplasmas are important pathogens that cause respiratory infection in laboratory animals and that are known to affect experimental results obtained with contaminated animals. The aim of the present study was to develop a sensitive and specific assay for the detection of mycoplasma species. To this end, we developed a polymerase chain reaction and dot blot hybridization assay (PCR/DBH) for detecting mycoplasma DNA and evaluated it for its sensitivity and specificity. Mycoplasma consensus primer pairs were used for the amplification of target DNA. When PCR product was visually detected, the limit of detection of the PCR test was 102 pg of mycoplasma purified DNA. For DBH, the amplified DNA was labeled by incorporation of digoxigenin (DIG). This DIG-labeled probe was capable of detecting 104 pg of purified mycoplasma DNA by DBH. PCR/DBH was more sensitive than PCR or DBH alone and was also very specific. Our PCR/DBH assay can be applied efficiently to confirm the presence of mycoplasma species on clinical samples and to differentiate between mycoplasma species infection and other bacterial infections.
doi:10.5625/lar.2011.27.2.141
PMCID: PMC3145997  PMID: 21826174
Polymerase chain reaction; Dot blot hybridization; PCR/DBH; Mycoplasma
10.  Evaluation of the House Fly Musca domestica as a Mechanical Vector for an Anthrax 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12219.
Anthrax is a disease of human beings and animals caused by the encapsulated, spore-forming, Bacillus anthracis. The potential role of insects in the spread of B. anthracis to humans and domestic animals during an anthrax outbreak has been confirmed by many studies. Among insect vectors, the house fly Musca domestica is considered a potential agent for disease transmission. In this study, laboratory-bred specimens of Musca domestica were infected by feeding on anthrax-infected rabbit carcass or anthrax contaminated blood, and the presence of anthrax spores in their spots (faeces and vomitus) was microbiologically monitored. It was also evaluated if the anthrax spores were able to germinate and replicate in the gut content of insects. These results confirmed the role of insects in spreading anthrax infection. This role, although not major, given the huge size of fly populations often associated with anthrax epidemics in domestic animals, cannot be neglected from an epidemiological point of view and suggest that fly control should be considered as part of anthrax control programs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012219
PMCID: PMC2923185  PMID: 20808920
11.  Comparison of the new Mycofast Revolution assay with a molecular assay for the detection of genital mycoplasmas from clinical specimens 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:453.
Background
Genital mycoplasmas are opportunistic bacteria that are associated with undesirable gynaecologic and reproductive events. Mycoplasmas are fastidious bacteria with increasing resistance to routine antimicrobials and often fail to grow on conventional culture methods. The commercial Mycofast Revolution assay permits the phenotypic detection and identification of genital mycoplasmas. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing against five antimicrobial agents with MICs corresponding to the CLSI guidelines can also be performed. This study aimed to compare the new commercially available Mycofast Revolution assay with a multiplex PCR assay.
Methods
Self-collected swabs were obtained from pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of a tertiary academic hospital in Pretoria, South Africa from October 2012 to November 2012. These swabs were used to seed UMMt and modified Amies transport media. The seeded UMMt transported medium was used to inoculate the Mycofast Revolution assay for the identification, enumeration and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of genital mycoplasmas. Following DNA extraction from the modified Amies transport medium, specimens were subjected to a multiplex PCR assay for the detection of genital mycoplasmas.
Results
The Mycofast Revolution kit had a sensitivity and specificity of 77.3% (95% CI: 62.15% to 88.51%) and 80% (95% CI: 28.81% to 96.70%), respectively, against the PCR assay. The positive and negative predictive values were 97.1% (95% CI: 85.03% to 99.52%) and 28.6% (95% CI: 8.57% to 58.08%). Genital mycoplasmas were detected in 71.4% (35/49) of samples with the Mycofast Revolution assay with 49% (24/49) being Ureaplasma spp. and 22.4% (11/49) mixed strains. The multiplex PCR assay had a positivity rate of 89.8% (44/49) for genital mycoplasmas; mixed strains were present in 51% (25/49) of samples, Ureaplasma spp. in 16.3% (8/49) and M. hominis in 22.4% (11/49) of samples.
Conclusions
There was a fair agreement (κ = 0.319) between the Mycofast Revolution assay and the mPCR assay. With the high prevalence rates of genital mycoplasmas, fast and efficient diagnostic methods are imperative to treat infections and minimise complications. The Mycofast Revolution assay is simple to use, has a short turn-around time and interpretation of results are straightforward. This assay circumvents common problems experienced with conventional culture and molecular methods in diagnostic laboratories where skilled personnel are limited and can be used as an alternative diagnostic assay.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-453
PMCID: PMC3849776  PMID: 24079603
Mycoplasma hominis; Ureaplasma spp; Mycofast; Antimicrobial susceptibilities; Multiplex PCR assay
12.  Evaluation of Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed for Postexposure Prophylaxis 
Antimicrobials administered postexposure can reduce the incidence or progression of anthrax disease, but they do not protect against the disease resulting from the germination of spores that may remain in the body after cessation of the antimicrobial regimen. Such additional protection may be achieved by postexposure vaccination; however, no anthrax vaccine is licensed for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). In a rabbit PEP study, animals were subjected to lethal challenge with aerosolized Bacillus anthracis spores and then were treated with levofloxacin with or without concomitant intramuscular (i.m.) vaccination with anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) (BioThrax; Emergent BioDefense Operations Lansing LLC, Lansing, MI), administered twice, 1 week apart. A significant increase in survival rates was observed among vaccinated animals compared to those treated with antibiotic alone. In preexposure prophylaxis studies in rabbits and nonhuman primates (NHPs), animals received two i.m. vaccinations 1 month apart and were challenged with aerosolized anthrax spores at day 70. Prechallenge toxin-neutralizing antibody (TNA) titers correlated with animal survival postchallenge and provided the means for deriving an antibody titer associated with a specific probability of survival in animals. In a clinical immunogenicity study, 82% of the subjects met or exceeded the prechallenge TNA value that was associated with a 70% probability of survival in rabbits and 88% probability of survival in NHPs, which was estimated based on the results of animal preexposure prophylaxis studies. The animal data provide initial information on protective antibody levels for anthrax, as well as support previous findings regarding the ability of AVA to provide added protection to B. anthracis-infected animals compared to antimicrobial treatment alone.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00099-13
PMCID: PMC3697458  PMID: 23658392
13.  A case of septicaemic anthrax in an intravenous drug user 
Background
In 2000, Ringertz et al described the first case of systemic anthrax caused by injecting heroin contaminated with anthrax. In 2008, there were 574 drug related deaths in Scotland, of which 336 were associated with heroin and or morphine. We report a rare case of septicaemic anthrax caused by injecting heroin contaminated with anthrax in Scotland.
Case Presentation
A 32 year old intravenous drug user (IVDU), presented with a 12 hour history of increasing purulent discharge from a chronic sinus in his left groin. He had a tachycardia, pyrexia, leukocytosis and an elevated C-reactive protein (CRP). He was treated with Vancomycin, Clindamycin, Ciprofloxacin, Gentamicin and Metronidazole. Blood cultures grew Bacillus anthracis within 24 hours of presentation. He had a computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) of his abdomen, pelvis and thighs performed. These showed inflammatory change relating to the iliopsoas and an area of necrosis in the adductor magnus.
He underwent an exploration of his left thigh. This revealed chronically indurated subcutaneous tissues with no evidence of a collection or necrotic muscle. Treatment with Vancomycin, Ciprofloxacin and Clindamycin continued for 14 days. Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) device was applied utilising the Venturi™ wound sealing kit. Following 4 weeks of treatment, the wound dimensions had reduced by 77%.
Conclusions
Although systemic anthrax infection is rare, it should be considered when faced with severe cutaneous infection in IVDU patients. This case shows that patients with significant bacteraemia may present with no signs of haemodynamic compromise. Prompt recognition and treatment with high dose IV antimicrobial therapy increases the likelihood of survival. The use of simple wound therapy adjuncts such as NPWT can give excellent wound healing results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-21
PMCID: PMC3033829  PMID: 21251266
14.  Efficacy of Neonatal HBV Vaccination on Liver Cancer and Other Liver Diseases over 30-Year Follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(12):e1001774.
In a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, Yawei Zhang and colleagues examine the effects of neonatal vaccination on liver diseases.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Neonatal hepatitis B vaccination has been implemented worldwide to prevent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. Its long-term protective efficacy on primary liver cancer (PLC) and other liver diseases has not been fully examined.
Methods and Findings
The Qidong Hepatitis B Intervention Study, a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial between 1985 and 1990 in Qidong, China, included 39,292 newborns who were randomly assigned to the vaccination group in which 38,366 participants completed the HBV vaccination series and 34,441 newborns who were randomly assigned to the control group in which the participants received neither a vaccine nor a placebo. However, 23,368 (67.8%) participants in the control group received catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. By December 2013, a total of 3,895 (10.2%) in the vaccination group and 3,898 (11.3%) in the control group were lost to follow-up. Information on PLC incidence and liver disease mortality were collected through linkage of all remaining cohort members to a well-established population-based tumor registry until December 31, 2013. Two cross-sectional surveys on HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence were conducted in 1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The participation rates of the two surveys were 57.5% (21,770) and 50.7% (17,204) in the vaccination group and 36.3% (12,184) and 58.6% (17,395) in the control group, respectively. Using intention-to-treat analysis, we found that the incidence rate of PLC and the mortality rates of severe end-stage liver diseases and infant fulminant hepatitis were significantly lower in the vaccination group than the control group with efficacies of 84% (95% CI 23%–97%), 70% (95% CI 15%–89%), and 69% (95% CI 34%–85%), respectively. The estimated efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was 21% (95% CI 10%–30%), substantially weaker than that of the neonatal vaccination (72%, 95% CI 68%–75%). Receiving a booster at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence if participants were born to HBsAg-positive mothers (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.68, 95% CI 0.47–0.97). Limitations to consider in interpreting the study results include the small number of individuals with PLC, participants lost to follow-up, and the large proportion of participants who did not provide serum samples at follow-up.
Conclusions
Neonatal HBV vaccination was found to significantly decrease HBsAg seroprevalence in childhood through young adulthood and subsequently reduce the risk of PLC and other liver diseases in young adults in rural China. The findings underscore the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. Our results also suggest that an adolescence booster should be considered in individuals born to HBsAg-positive mothers and who have completed the HBV neonatal vaccination series.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV, which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, can cause both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver infections. Acute infections rarely cause any symptoms and more than 90% of adults who become infected with HBV (usually through sexual intercourse with an infected partner or through the use of contaminated needles) are virus-free within 6 months. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, and other regions where HBV infection is common, HBV is usually transmitted from mother to child at birth or between individuals during early childhood and, unfortunately, most infants who are infected with HBV during the first year of life and many children who are infected before the age of 6 years develop a chronic HBV infection. Such infections can cause liver cancer, liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and other fatal liver diseases. In addition, HBV infection around the time of birth can cause infant fulminant hepatitis, a rare but frequently fatal condition.
Why Was This Study Done?
HBV infections kill about 780,000 people worldwide annually but can be prevented by neonatal vaccination—immunization against HBV at birth. A vaccine against HBV became available in 1982 and many countries now include HBV vaccination at birth followed by additional vaccine doses during early childhood in their national vaccination programs. But, although HBV vaccination has greatly reduced the rate of chronic HBV infection, the protective efficacy of neonatal HBV vaccination against liver diseases has not been fully examined. Here, the researchers investigate how well neonatal HBV vaccination protects against primary liver cancer and other liver diseases by undertaking a 30-year follow-up of the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study (QHBIS). This cluster randomized controlled trial of neonatal HBV vaccination was conducted between 1983 and 1990 in Qidong County, a rural area in China with a high incidence of HBV-related primary liver cancer and other liver diseases. A cluster randomized controlled trial compares outcomes in groups of people (towns in this study) chosen at random to receive an intervention or a control treatment (here, vaccination or no vaccination; this study design was ethically acceptable during the 1980s when HBV vaccination was unavailable in rural China but would be unethical nowadays).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The QHBIS assigned nearly 80,000 newborns to receive either a full course of HBV vaccinations (the vaccination group) or no vaccination (the control group); two-thirds of the control group participants received a catch-up vaccination at age 10–14 years. The researchers obtained data on how many trial participants developed primary liver cancer or died from a liver disease during the follow-up period from a population-based tumor registry. They also obtained information on HBsAg seroprevalence—the presence of HBsAg (an HBV surface protein) in the blood of the participants, an indicator of current HBV infection—from surveys undertaken in1996–2000 and 2008–2012. The researchers estimate that the protective efficacy of vaccination was 84% for primary liver cancer (vaccination reduced the incidence of liver cancer by 84%), 70% for death from liver diseases, and 69% for the incidence of infant fulminant hepatitis. Overall, the efficacy of catch-up vaccination on HBsAg seroprevalence in early adulthood was weak compared with neonatal vaccination (21% versus 72%). Notably, receiving a booster vaccination at age 10–14 years decreased HBsAg seroprevalence among participants who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The small number of cases of primary liver cancer and other liver diseases observed during the 30-year follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the availability of incomplete data on seroprevalence all limit the accuracy of these findings. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that neonatal HBV vaccination greatly reduced HBsAg seroprevalence (an indicator of current HBV infection) in childhood and young adulthood and subsequently reduced the risk of liver cancer and other liver diseases in young adults. These findings therefore support the importance of neonatal HBV vaccination. In addition, they suggest that booster vaccination during adolescence might consolidate the efficacy of neonatal vaccination among individuals who were born to HBsAg-positive mothers, a suggestion that needs to be confirmed in randomized controlled trials before booster vaccines are introduced into vaccination programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774.
The World Health Organization provides a fact sheet about hepatitis B (available in several languages) and information about hepatitis B vaccination
The World Hepatitis Alliance (an international not-for-profit, non-governmental organization) provides information about viral hepatitis, including some personal stories about hepatitis B from Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Malawi
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about hepatitis B
The not-for-profit British Liver Trust provides information about hepatitis B, including Hepatitis B: PATH B, an interactive educational resource designed to improve the lives of people living with chronic hepatitis B
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about hepatitis B (in English and Spanish)
Information about the Qidong Hepatitis B intervention Study is available
Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides links about hepatitis B prevention in Chinese
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001774
PMCID: PMC4280122  PMID: 25549238
15.  Infections with Spore-forming Bacteria in Persons Who Inject Drugs, 2000–2009 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(1):29-34.
Clusters of almost 300 cases in time and location might be the result of contamination of specific heroin batches.
Since 2000 in the United Kingdom, infections caused by spore-forming bacteria have been associated with increasing illness and death among persons who inject drugs (PWID). To assess temporal and geographic trends in these illnesses (botulism, tetanus, Clostridium novyi infection, and anthrax), we compared rates across England and Scotland for 2000–2009. Overall, 295 infections were reported: 1.45 per 1,000 PWID in England and 4.01 per 1,000 PWID in Scotland. The higher rate in Scotland was mainly attributable to C. novyi infection and anthrax; rates of botulism and tetanus were comparable in both countries. The temporal and geographic clustering of cases of C. novyi and anthrax into outbreaks suggests possible contamination of specific heroin batches; in contrast, the more sporadic nature of tetanus and botulism cases suggests that these spores might more commonly exist in the drug supply or local environment although at varying levels. PWID should be advised about treatment programs, injecting hygiene, risks, and vaccinations.
doi:10.3201/eid1901.120044
PMCID: PMC3557973  PMID: 23260795
Substance abuse; intravenous; clostridium; botulism; tetanus; anthrax; spores; bacteria; persons who inject drugs; PWID
16.  A Multiplex real-time PCR for detection of Mycoplasma gallisepticum and Mycoplasma synoviae in clinical samples from Brazilian commercial poultry flocks 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2013;44(2):505-510.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MS) and Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) are important avian pathogens and cause economic losses to the poultry industry. Molecular biology techniques are currently used for a rapid detection of these pathogens and the adoption of control measures of the diseases. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a technique for simultaneous detection of MG and MS by multiplex real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The complete assay (Multiplex MGMS) was designed with primers and probes specific for each pathogen and developed to be carried out in a single tube reaction. Vaccines, MG and MS isolates and DNA from other Mycoplasma species were used for the development and validation of the method. Further, 78 pooled clinical samples from different poultry flocks in Brazil were obtained and used to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the technique in comparison to 2 real time PCR assays specific for MG (MG PCR) and MS (MS PCR). The results demonstrated an agreement of 100% (23 positive and 44 negative samples) between Multiplex MGMS and MG PCR in the analysis of 67 samples from MG positive and negative poultry flocks, and an agreement of 96.9% between Multiplex MGMS and MS PCR in the analysis of 64 samples from MS positive and negative poultry flocks. Considering the single amplification tests as the gold standard, the Multiplex MGMS showed 100% of specificity and sensitivity in the MG analysis and 94.7% sensitivity and 100% specificity in the MS analysis. This new assay could be used for rapid analysis of MG and MS in the poultry industry laboratories.
doi:10.1590/S1517-83822013000200028
PMCID: PMC3833153  PMID: 24294247
real-time PCR; Mycoplasma gallisepticum; Mycoplasma synoviae
17.  RNAs in the Sera of Persian Gulf War Veterans Have Segments Homologous to Chromosome 22q11.2 
Reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) was used for polyribonucleotide assays with sera from deployed Persian Gulf War veterans with the Gulf War Syndrome and a cohort of nonmilitary controls. Sera from veterans contained polyribonucleotides (amplicons) that were obtained by RT-PCR and that ranged in size from 200 to ca. 2,000 bp. Sera from controls did not contain amplicons larger than 450 bp. DNA sequences were derived from two amplicons unique to veterans. These amplicons, which were 414 and 759 nucleotides, were unrelated to each other or to any sequence in gene bank databases. The amplicons contained short segments that were homologous to regions of chromosome 22q11.2, an antigen-responsive hot spot for genetic rearrangements. Many of these short amplicon segments occurred near, between, or in chromosome 22q11.2 Alu sequences. These results suggest that genetic alterations in the 22q11.2 region, possibly induced by exposures to environmental genotoxins during the Persian Gulf War, may have played a role in the pathogenesis of the Gulf War Syndrome. However, the data did not exclude the possibility that other chromosomes also may have been involved. Nonetheless, the detection of polyribonucleotides such as those reported here may have application to the laboratory diagnosis of chronic diseases that have a multifactorial etiology.
PMCID: PMC103718  PMID: 10225831
18.  Mucosal or Parenteral Administration of Microsphere-Associated Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen Protects against Anthrax Infection in Mice  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(4):2022-2028.
Existing licensed anthrax vaccines are administered parenterally and require multiple doses to induce protective immunity. This requires trained personnel and is not the optimum route for stimulating a mucosal immune response. Microencapsulation of vaccine antigens offers a number of advantages over traditional vaccine formulations, including stability without refrigeration and the potential for utilizing less invasive routes of administration. Recombinant protective antigen (rPA), the dominant antigen for protection against anthrax infection, was encapsulated in poly-l-lactide 100-kDa microspheres. Alternatively, rPA was loosely attached to the surfaces of microspheres by lyophilization. All of the microspheric formulations were administered to A/J mice with a two-dose schedule by either the intramuscular route, the intranasal route, or a combination of these two routes, and immunogenicity and protective efficacy were assessed. An intramuscular priming immunization followed by either an intramuscular or intranasal boost gave optimum anti-rPA immunoglobulin G titers. Despite differences in rPA-specific antibody titers, all immunized mice survived an injected challenge consisting of 103 median lethal doses of Bacillus anthracis STI spores. Immunization with microencapsulated and microsphere-associated formulations of rPA also protected against aerosol challenge with 30 median lethal doses of STI spores. These results show that rPA can be encapsulated and surface bound to polymeric microspheres without impairing its immunogenicity and also that mucosal or parenteral administration of microspheric formulations of rPA efficiently protects mice against both injected and aerosol challenges with B. anthracis spores. Microspheric formulations of rPA could represent the next generation of anthrax vaccines, which could require fewer doses because they are more potent, are less reactogenic than currently available human anthrax vaccines, and could be self-administered without injection.
doi:10.1128/IAI.70.4.2022-2028.2002
PMCID: PMC127835  PMID: 11895967
19.  Decontamination of mycoplasma-contaminated Orientia tsutsugamushi strains by repeating passages through cell cultures with antibiotics 
BMC Microbiology  2013;13:32.
Background
Mycoplasmas-contamination of Orientia tsutsugamushi, one of the obligated intracellular bacteria, is a very serious problem in in vitro studies using cell cultures because mycoplasmas have significant influence on the results of scientific studies. Only a recommended decontamination method is to passage the contaminated O. tsutsugamushi strains through mice to eliminate only mycoplasmas under influence of their immunity. However, this method sometimes does not work especially for low virulent strains of O. tsutsugamushi which are difficult to propagate in mice. In this study, we tried to eliminate mycoplasmas contaminants from both high virulent and low virulent strains of the contaminated O. tsutsugamushi by repeating passage through cell cultures with antibiotics in vitro.
Results
We cultured a contaminated, high virulent strain of O. tsutsugamushi using a mouse lung fibroblasts cell line, L-929 cell in the culture medium containing lincomycin at various concentrations and repeated passages about every seven days. At the passage 5 only with 10 μg/ml of lincomycin, we did not detect mycoplasmas by two PCR based methods whereas O. tsutsugamushi continued good growth. During following four passages without lincomycin, mycoplasmas did not recover. These results suggested that mycoplasmas were completely eliminated from the high virulent strain of O. tsutsugamushi. Furthermore, by the same procedures with 10 μg/ml of lincomycin, we also eliminated mycoplasmas from a contaminated, low virulent strain of O. tsutsugamushi. Our additional assay showed that 50 μg/ml of lyncomycin did not inhibit the growth of O. tsutsugamushi, although MICs of many mycoplasmas contaminants were less than 6 μg/ml as shown previously.
Conclusion
Our results showed an alternative method to eliminate mycoplasmas from the contaminated O. tsutsugamushi strains in place of in vivo passage through mice. Especially this notable method works for the decontamination not only from the high virulent strain also from the low virulent strain of O. tsutsugamushi. For further elimination, lincomycin at the limit concentration, which does not inhibit the growth of O. tsutsugamushi, can possibly eliminate most mycoplasmas from contaminated O. tsutsugamushi strains.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-32
PMCID: PMC3598641  PMID: 23394970
Orientia tsutsugamushi; Intracellular bacteria; Mycoplasma; Contamination; Elimination; Cell culture; Antibiotics
20.  Vaccination of children with a live-attenuated, intranasal influenza vaccine – analysis and evaluation through a Health Technology Assessment 
Background: Influenza is a worldwide prevalent infectious disease of the respiratory tract annually causing high morbidity and mortality in Germany. Influenza is preventable by vaccination and this vaccination is so far recommended by the The German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) as a standard vaccination for people from the age of 60 onwards. Up to date a parenterally administered trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV) has been in use almost exclusively. Since 2011 however a live-attenuated vaccine (LAIV) has been approved additionally. Consecutively, since 2013 the STIKO recommends LAIV (besides TIV) for children from 2 to 17 years of age, within the scope of vaccination by specified indications. LAIV should be preferred administered in children from 2 to 6 of age. The objective of this Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is to address various research issues regarding the vaccination of children with LAIV. The analysis was performed from a medical, epidemiological and health economic perspective, as well as from an ethical, social and legal point of view.
Method: An extensive systematic database research was performed to obtain relevant information. In addition a supplementary research by hand was done. Identified literature was screened in two passes by two independent reviewers using predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Included literature was evaluated in full-text using acknowledged standards. Studies were graded with the highest level of evidence (1++), if they met the criteria of European Medicines Agency (EMA)-Guidance: Points to consider on applications with 1. meta-analyses; 2. one pivotal study.
Results: For the medical section, the age of the study participants ranges from 6 months to 17 years. Regarding study efficacy, in children aged 6 months to ≤7 years, LAIV is superior to placebo as well as to a vac-cination with TIV (Relative Risk Reduction – RRR – of laboratory confirmed influenza infection approx. 80% and 50%, respectively). In children aged >7 to 17 years (= 18th year of their lives), LAIV is superior to a vaccination with TIV (RRR 32%). For this age group, no studies that compared LAIV with placebo were identified. It can be concluded that there is high evidence for superior efficacy of LAIV (compared to placebo or TIV) among children aged 6 months to ≤7 years. For children from >7 to 17 years, there is moderate evidence for superiority of LAIV for children with asthma, while direct evidence for children from the general population is lacking for this age group. Due to the efficacy of LAIV in children aged 6 months to ≤7 years (high evidence) and the efficacy of LAIV in children with asthma aged >7 to 17 years (moderate evidence), LAIV is also very likely to be efficacious among children in the general population aged >7 to 17 years (indirect evidence). In the included studies with children aged 2 to 17 years, LAIV was safe and well-tolerated; while in younger children LAIV may increase the risk of obstruction of the airways (e.g. wheezing).
In the majority of the evaluated epidemiological studies, LAIV proved to be effective in the prevention of influenza among children aged 2–17 years under everyday conditions (effectiveness). The trend appears to indicate that LAIV is more effective than TIV, although this can only be based on limited evidence for methodological reasons (observational studies). In addition to a direct protective effect for vaccinated children themselves, indirect protective ("herd protection") effects were reported among non-vaccinated elderly population groups, even at relatively low vaccination coverage of children. With regard to safety, LAIV generally can be considered equivalent to TIV. This also applies to the use among children with mild chronically obstructive conditions, from whom LAIV therefore does not have to be withheld. In all included epidemiological studies, there was some risk of bias identified, e.g. due to residual confounding or other methodology-related sources of error.
In the evaluated studies, both the vaccination of children with previous illnesses and the routine vaccination of (healthy) children frequently involve cost savings. This is especially the case if one includes indirect costs from a societal perspective. From a payer perspective, a routine vaccination of children is often regarded as a highly cost-effective intervention. However, not all of the studies arrive at consistent results. In isolated cases, relatively high levels of cost-effectiveness are reported that make it difficult to perform a conclusive assessment from an economic perspective. Based on the included studies, it is not possible to make a clear statement about the budget impact of using LAIV. None of the evaluated studies provides results for the context of the German healthcare setting.
The efficacy of the vaccine, physicians' recommendations, and a potential reduction in influenza symptoms appear to play a role in the vaccination decision taken by parents/custodians on behalf of their children. Major barriers to the utilization of influenza vaccination services are a low level of perception and an underestimation of the disease risk, reservations concerning the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and potential side effects of the vaccine. For some of the parents surveyed, the question as to whether the vaccine is administered as an injection or nasal spray might also be important.
Conclusion: In children aged 2 to 17 years, the use of LAIV can lead to a reduction of the number of influenza cases and the associated burden of disease. In addition, indirect preventive effects may be expected, especially among elderly age groups. Currently there are no data available for the German healthcare setting. Long-term direct and indirect effectiveness and safety should be supported by surveillance programs with a broader use of LAIV.
Since there is no general model available for the German healthcare setting, statements concerning the cost-effectiveness can be made only with precaution. Beside this there is a need to conduct health eco-nomic studies to show the impact of influenza vaccination for children in Germany. Such studies should be based on a dynamic transmission model. Only these models are able to include the indirect protective effects of vaccination correctly.
With regard to ethical, social and legal aspects, physicians should discuss with parents the motivations for vaccinating their children and upcoming barriers in order to achieve broader vaccination coverage.
The present HTA provides an extensive basis for further scientific approaches and pending decisions relating to health policy.
doi:10.3205/hta000119
PMCID: PMC4219018  PMID: 25371764
Health Technology Assessment; HTA; LAIV; live attenuated vaccine; TIV; trivalent inactivated vaccine
21.  Mycoplasma corogypsi associated polyarthritis and tenosynovitis in black vultures (Coragyps atratus) 
Veterinary pathology  2012;50(2):291-298.
Three wild American black vultures (Coragyps atratus) were presented to rehabilitation centers with swelling of multiple joints, including elbows, stifles, hocks, and carpal joints, and of the gastrocnemius tendons. Cytological examination of the joint fluid exudate indicated heterophilic arthritis. Radiographic examination in 2 vultures demonstrated periarticular soft tissue swelling in both birds and irregular articular surfaces with subchondral bone erosion in both elbows in 1 bird. Prolonged antibiotic therapy administered in 2 birds did not improve the clinical signs. Necropsy and histological examination demonstrated a chronic lymphoplasmacytic arthritis involving multiple joints and gastrocnemius tenosynovitis. Articular lesions varied in severity and ranged from moderate synovitis and cartilage erosion and fibrillation to severe synovitis, diffuse cartilage ulceration, subchondral bone loss and/or sclerosis, pannus, synovial cysts, and epiphyseal osteomyelitis. No walled bacteria were observed or isolated from the joints. However, mycoplasmas polymerase chain reactions were positive in at least 1 affected joint from each bird. Mycoplasmas were isolated from joints of 1 vulture that did not receive antibiotic therapy. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from joint samples and the mycoplasma isolate identified Mycoplasma corogypsi in 2 vultures and was suggestive in the third vulture. Mycoplasma corogypsi identification was confirmed by sequencing the 16S-23S intergenic spacer region of mycoplasma isolates. This report provides further evidence that M. corogypsi is a likely cause of arthritis and tenosynovitis in American black vultures. Cases of arthritis and tenosynovitis in New World vultures should be investigated for presence of Mycoplasma spp, especially M. corogypsi.
doi:10.1177/0300985812457791
PMCID: PMC3701021  PMID: 22903399
avian; arthritis; black vulture; Coragyps atratus; Mycoplasma corogypsi; polymerase chain reaction; bacterial isolation; tenosynovitis
22.  Trends in Meningococcal Disease in the United States Military, 1971–2010 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(9):1430-1437.
When you consider the risks undertaken by US military personnel, do you include risk for disease? Public health officials do. Military personnel are at risk for infectious disease because of crowding, the rigors of physical training, and sometimes unhygienic field conditions. Meningococcal disease (usually manifested as bacterial meningitis or blood-borne infection) can be rapidly fatal. It has historically affected the military more than the general US population. One hundred years' worth of data support this trend from as long ago as World War I. However, in 1970, a policy requiring vaccination of military recruits started lowering the rate of infection, although the rate remained higher than that for the general population. Since 1982, improvements in vaccines have lowered rates even further. As a result of these vaccination efforts, the meningococcal disease rate among military personnel has reached a historic low, which now matches that of the general population.
Meningococci have historically caused extensive illness among members of the United States military. Three successive meningococcal vaccine types were used from 1971 through 2010; overall disease incidence dropped by >90% during this period. During 2006–2010, disease incidence of 0.38 (cases per 100,000 person-years) among members of the US military was not significantly different from the incidence of 0.26 among the age-matched US general population. Of the 26 cases in the US military, 5 were fatal, 15 were vaccine failures (e.g., illness in a person who had been vaccinated), and 9 were caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup Y. Incidences among 17- to 19-year-old basic trainees and among US Marines were significantly higher than among comparison military populations (p<0.05). No apparent change in epidemiology of meningococcal disease was observed after replacement of quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine with conjugate vaccine in 2007. The data demonstrate that vaccination with meningococcal vaccine is effective.
doi:10.3201/eid1809.120257
PMCID: PMC3437735  PMID: 22932005
Neisseria meningitidis; meningococcal disease; infectious disease epidemiology; vaccines; military personnel; bacteria; United States; serogroups; vaccine effectiveness; conjugate; polysaccharide; meningococci; Suggested citation for this article: Broderick MP; Faix DJ; Hansen CJ; Blair PJ. Trends in meningococcal disease in the United States military; 1971–2010. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the internet]. 2012 Sep [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1809.120257
23.  The percentage of CD133+ cells in human colorectal cancer cell lines is influenced by Mycoplasma hyorhinis infection 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:120.
Background
Mollicutes contamination is recognized to be a critical issue for the cultivation of continuous cell lines. In this work we characterized the effect of Mycoplasma hyorhinis contamination on CD133 expression in human colon cancer cell lines.
Methods
MycoAlert® and mycoplasma agar culture were used to detect mycoplasma contamination on GEO, SW480 and HT-29 cell lines. Restriction fragment length polymorphism assay was used to determine mycoplasma species. All cellular models were decontaminated by the use of a specific antibiotic panel (Enrofloxacin, Ciprofloxacin, BM Cyclin 1 and 2, Mycoplasma Removal Agent and MycoZap®). The percentage of CD133 positive cells was analyzed by flow cytometry on GEO, SW480 and HT-29 cell lines, before and after Mycoplasma hyorhinis eradication.
Results
Mycoplasma hyorhinis infected colon cancer cell lines showed an increased percentage of CD133+ cells as compared to the same cell lines rendered mycoplasma-free by effective exposure to antibiotic treatment. The percentage of CD133 positive cells increased again when mycoplasma negative cells were re-infected by Mycoplasma hyorhinis.
Conclusions
Mycoplasma hyorhinis infection has an important role on the quality of cultured human colon cancer cell lines giving a false positive increase of cancer stem cells fraction characterized by CD133 expression. Possible explanations are (i) the direct involvement of Mycoplasma on CD133 expression or (ii) the selective pressure on a subpopulation of cells characterized by constitutive CD133 expression.
In keeping with United Kingdom Coordinating Committee on Cancer Research (UKCCCR) guidelines, the present data indicate the mandatory prerequisite, for investigators involved in human colon cancer research area, of employing mycoplasma-free cell lines in order to avoid the production of non-reproducible or even false data.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-120
PMCID: PMC2854114  PMID: 20353562
24.  Association between the 2008–09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring–Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000258.
In three case-control studies and a household transmission cohort, Danuta Skowronski and colleagues find an association between prior seasonal flu vaccination and increased risk of 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu.
Background
In late spring 2009, concern was raised in Canada that prior vaccination with the 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) was associated with increased risk of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness. Several epidemiologic investigations were conducted through the summer to assess this putative association.
Methods and Findings
Studies included: (1) test-negative case-control design based on Canada's sentinel vaccine effectiveness monitoring system in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; (2) conventional case-control design using population controls in Quebec; (3) test-negative case-control design in Ontario; and (4) prospective household transmission (cohort) study in Quebec. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for TIV effect on community- or hospital-based laboratory-confirmed seasonal or pH1N1 influenza cases compared to controls with restriction, stratification, and adjustment for covariates including combinations of age, sex, comorbidity, timeliness of medical visit, prior physician visits, and/or health care worker (HCW) status. For the prospective study risk ratios were computed. Based on the sentinel study of 672 cases and 857 controls, 2008–09 TIV was associated with statistically significant protection against seasonal influenza (odds ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.33–0.59). In contrast, estimates from the sentinel and three other observational studies, involving a total of 1,226 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,505 controls, indicated that prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009, with estimated risk or odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 2.5. Risk of pH1N1 hospitalization was not further increased among vaccinated people when comparing hospitalized to community cases.
Conclusions
Prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009 in Canada. The occurrence of bias (selection, information) or confounding cannot be ruled out. Further experimental and epidemiological assessment is warranted. Possible biological mechanisms and immunoepidemiologic implications are considered.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza—a viral infection of the airways—and hundreds of thousands of people die as a result. These seasonal epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the influenza virus mean that an immune response produced one year through infection or vaccination provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual vaccination with killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains can greatly reduce a person's risk of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs. In most of Canada, vaccination with a mixture of three inactivated viruses (a trivalent inactivated vaccine or TIV) is provided free to children aged 6–23 months, to elderly people, to people with long-term conditions that increase their risk of influenza-related complications, and those who provide care for them; in Ontario, free vaccination is offered to everyone older than 6 months.
In addition, influenza viruses occasionally emerge that are very different and to which human populations have virtually no immunity. These viruses can start global epidemics (pandemics) that can kill millions of people. Experts have been warning for some time that an influenza pandemic is long overdue and, in March 2009, the first cases of influenza caused by a new virus called pandemic A/H1N1 2009 (pH1N1; swine flu) occurred in Mexico. The virus spread rapidly and on 11 June 2009, the World Health Organization declared that a global pandemic of pH1N1 influenza was underway. By the end of February 2010, more than 16,000 people around the world had died from pH1N1.
Why Was This Study Done?
During an investigation of a school outbreak of pH1N1 in the late spring 2009 in Canada, investigators noted that people with illness characterized by fever and coughing had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza more often than individuals without such illness. To assess whether this association between prior vaccination with seasonal 2008–09 TIV and subsequent pH1N1 illness was evident in other settings, researchers in Canada therefore conducted additional studies using different methods. In this paper, the researchers report the results of four additional studies conducted in Canada during the summer of 2009 to assess this possible association.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted four epidemiologic studies. Epidemiology is the study of the causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations.
Three of the four studies were case-control studies in which the researchers assessed the frequency of prior vaccination with the 2008–09 TIV in people with pH1N1 influenza compared to the frequency among healthy members of the general population or among individuals who had an influenza-like illness but no sign of infection with an influenza virus. The researchers also did a household transmission study in which they collected information about vaccination with TIV among the additional cases of influenza that were identified in 47 households in which a case of laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 influenza had occurred. The first of the case-control studies, which was based on Canada's vaccine effectiveness monitoring system, showed that, as expected, the 2008–09 TIV provided protection against seasonal influenza. However, estimates from all four studies (which included about 1,200 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,500 controls) showed that prior recipients of the 2008–09 TIV had approximately 1.4–2.5 times increased chances of developing pH1N1 illness that needed medical attention during the spring–summer of 2009 compared to people who had not received the TIV. Prior seasonal vaccination was not associated with an increase in the severity of pH1N1 illness, however. That is, it did not increase the risk of being hospitalized among those with pH1N1 illness.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Because all the investigations in this study are “observational,” the people who had been vaccinated might share another unknown characteristic that is actually responsible for increasing their risk of developing pH1N1 illness (“confounding”). Furthermore, the results reported in this study might have arisen by chance, although the consistency of results across the studies makes this unlikely. Thus, the finding of an association between prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV and an increased risk of pH1N1 illness is not conclusive and needs to be investigated further, particularly since some other observational studies conducted in other countries have reported that seasonal vaccination had no influence or may have been associated with reduced chances of pH1N1 illness. If the findings in the current study are real, however, they raise important questions about the biological interactions between seasonal and pandemic influenza strains and vaccines, and about the best way to prevent and control both types of influenza in future.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258.
This article is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Lone Simonsen
FightFlu.ca, a Canadian government Web site, provides access to information on pH1N1 influenza
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about influenza for patients and professionals, including specific information on H1N1 influenza
Flu.gov, a US government website, provides access to information on H1N1, avian and pandemic influenza
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza and has detailed information on pH1N1 influenza (in several languages)
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on pandemic influenza and on pH1N1 influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258
PMCID: PMC2850386  PMID: 20386731
25.  The Early Humoral Immune Response to Bacillus anthracis Toxins in Patients Infected with Cutaneous Anthrax 
Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, elaborates a tripartite toxin composed of two enzymatically active subunits, lethal factor (LF) and edema factor (EF) which, when associated with a cell-binding component, protective antigen (PA), form lethal toxin (LT) and edema toxin (ET), respectively. In this preliminary study we characterised the toxin-specific antibody responses observed in 17 individuals infected with cutaneous anthrax. The majority of the toxin-specific antibody responses observed following infection were directed against LF with IgG detected as early as 4 days after onset of symptoms in contrast to the later and lower EF- and PA-specific IgG responses. Unlike the case with infection, the predominant toxin-specific antibody response of those immunized with the US AVA and UK AVP licensed anthrax vaccines was directed against PA.. We observed that the LF-specific human antibodies were, like anti-PA antibodies, able to neutralize toxin activity, suggesting the possibility that they may contribute to protection. We conclude that an antibody response to LF might be a more sensitive diagnostic marker of anthrax than to PA. The ability of human LF-specific antibodies to neutralize toxin activity supports the possible inclusion of LF in future anthrax vaccines.
doi:10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00800.x
PMCID: PMC3605738  PMID: 21401726
anthrax; lethal factor; edema factor; protective antigen

Results 1-25 (1114800)