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1.  Streptococcus suis Infection in Hospitalized Patients, Nakhon Phanom Province, Thailand 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(2):345-348.
In Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, we identified 38 hospitalized patients with Streptococcus suis infection during 2006–2012. Deafness developed in 12 patients; none died. Thirty-five reported recent exposure to pigs/pork. Annual incidence was 0.1–2.2 cases/100,000 population (0.2–3.2 in persons >20 years of age). Clinicians should consider S. suis infection in areas where pig exposure is common.
PMCID: PMC4313644  PMID: 25625540
Streptococcus suis; meningitis; sepsis; Thailand; bacteria; zoonoses
2.  Melioidosis Diagnostic Workshop, 20131 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(2):e141045.
Melioidosis is a severe disease that can be difficult to diagnose because of its diverse clinical manifestations and a lack of adequate diagnostic capabilities for suspected cases. There is broad interest in improving detection and diagnosis of this disease not only in melioidosis-endemic regions but also outside these regions because melioidosis may be underreported and poses a potential bioterrorism challenge for public health authorities. Therefore, a workshop of academic, government, and private sector personnel from around the world was convened to discuss the current state of melioidosis diagnostics, diagnostic needs, and future directions.
PMCID: PMC4313648  PMID: 25626057
melioidosis; Burkholderia pseudomallei; diagnosis; bacteria
3.  Economic Burden of Bacteremic Melioidosis in Eastern and Northeastern, Thailand 
Melioidosis is among the most common causes of septicemia in Thailand, but data on economic burden are limited. We describe the economic impact of bacteremic melioidosis hospitalizations in two Thailand provinces during 2006–2008. Costs are presented in US dollars ($1 = 30.49 Thai Baht). The average annual incidence of bacteremic melioidosis cases per 100,000 persons in Sa Kaeo and Nakhon Phanom was 4.6 and 14.4, respectively. The annual cost of bacteremic melioidosis hospitalizations from the societal perspective, including direct and indirect costs, was $152,159 in Sa Kaeo and $465,303 in Nakhon Phanom. The average cost per fatal case was $14,182 and $14,858 in Sa Kaeo and Nakhon Phanom, respectively. In addition to the high morbidity and mortality, the substantial economic burden of melioidosis further supports the need for investments to identify improved prevention and control strategies for melioidosis.
PMCID: PMC3741263  PMID: 23798583
4.  Effectiveness of the 2010 and 2011 Southern Hemisphere trivalent inactivated influenza vaccines against hospitalization with influenza-associated acute respiratory infection among Thai adults aged ≥50 years 
Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) effectiveness has been evaluated among older adults in high-income countries, but data on IIV effectiveness in low- and middle-income countries remain sparse. We conducted a test-negative case–control analysis to estimate 2010 and 2011 trivalent IIV effectiveness against hospitalization with influenza-associated acute respiratory infection (ARI) among persons aged ≥50 years in rural Thailand.
During 2010–2011, active surveillance for ARI hospitalization was conducted in two provinces; patients were tested for influenza viruses by real-time RT-PCR. Vaccination status was obtained from vaccine registries. Case and control patients were patients with nasopharyngeal swabs positive and negative for influenza viruses, respectively. Vaccine effectiveness (VE) was estimated for the 6 months after vaccination began. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between case status and vaccination while adjusting for age, province, medical conditions, and time.
During 2010–2011, there were 1545 patients with ARI, of whom 279 (18%) were influenza-positive case patients and 1266 (82%) were influenza-negative control patients. Of the 279 case patients, 247 (89%) had influenza A and 32 (11%) had influenza B. Fourteen of 279 (5%) case patients and 108 of 1266 (9%) control patients were vaccinated against influenza. The unadjusted IIV effectiveness against hospitalization with influenza-associated ARI was 43% (95% CI: 0–68%); adjusted VE was 47% (95% CI: 5–71%).
The 2010 and 2011 IIVs were moderately effective against hospitalization with influenza-associated ARI among Thais aged ≥50 years, but IIV coverage was low. Additional efforts are warranted in Thailand to improve IIV uptake in this target group.
PMCID: PMC4181806  PMID: 24490684
Case–control studies; elderly; flu vaccines; hospitalization; influenza vaccine
5.  Antibiotic Use in Thailand: Quantifying Impact on Blood Culture Yield and Estimates of Pneumococcal Bacteremia Incidence 
No studies have quantified the impact of pre-culture antibiotic use on the recovery of individual blood-borne pathogens or on population-level incidence estimates for Streptococcus pneumoniae. We conducted bloodstream infection surveillance in Thailand during November 2005–June 2008. Pre-culture antibiotic use was assessed by reported use and by serum antimicrobial activity. Of 35,639 patient blood cultures, 27% had reported pre-culture antibiotic use and 24% (of 24,538 tested) had serum antimicrobial activity. Pathogen isolation was half as common in patients with versus without antibiotic use; S. pneumoniae isolation was 4- to 9-fold less common (0.09% versus 0.37% by reported antibiotic use; 0.05% versus 0.45% by serum antimicrobial activity, P < 0.01). Pre-culture antibiotic use by serum antimicrobial activity reduced pneumococcal bacteremia incidence by 32% overall and 39% in children < 5 years of age. Our findings highlight the limitations of culture-based detection methods to estimate invasive pneumococcal disease incidence in settings where pre-culture antibiotic use is common.
PMCID: PMC2911175  PMID: 20682872
6.  Infective Endocarditis in Northeastern Thailand 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(3):473-476.
Despite rigorous diagnostic testing, the cause of infective endocarditis was identified for just 60 (45.5%) of 132 patients admitted to hospitals in Khon Kaen, Thailand, during January 2010–July 2012. Most pathogens identified were Viridans streptococci and zoonotic bacteria species, as found in other resource-limited countries where underlying rheumatic heart disease is common.
PMCID: PMC3944839  PMID: 24572588
Infective endocarditis; congestive heart failure; Thailand; zoonoses; Bartonella; Q fever; Viridans streptococci; Coxiella burnetii; bacteria; antimicrobial drugs; rheumatic heart disease; heart valve
7.  Pneumococcal Bacteremia Requiring Hospitalization in Rural Thailand: An Update on Incidence, Clinical Characteristics, Serotype Distribution, and Antimicrobial Susceptibility, 2005–2010 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66038.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Southeast Asia, but regional data is limited. Updated burden estimates are critical as pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) is highly effective, but not yet included in the Expanded Program on Immunization of Thailand or neighboring countries.
We implemented automated blood culture systems in two rural Thailand provinces as part of population-based surveillance for bacteremia. Blood cultures were collected from hospitalized patients as clinically indicated.
From May 2005– March 2010, 196 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia were confirmed in hospitalized patients. Of these, 57% had clinical pneumonia, 20% required mechanical ventilation, and 23% (n = 46) died. Antibiotic use before blood culture was confirmed in 25% of those with blood culture. Annual incidence of hospitalized pneumococcal bacteremia was 3.6 per 100,000 person-years; rates were higher among children aged <5 years at 11.7 and adults ≥65 years at 14.2, and highest among infants <1 year at 33.8. The median monthly case count was higher during December–March compared to the rest of the year 6.0 vs. 1.0 (p<0.001). The most common serotypes were 23F (16%) and 14 (14%); 61% (74% in patients <5 years) were serotypes in the 10-valent PCV (PCV 10) and 82% (92% in <5 years) in PCV 13. All isolates were sensitive to penicillin, but non-susceptibility was high for co-trimoxazole (57%), erythromycin (30%), and clindamycin (20%).
We demonstrated a high pneumococcal bacteremia burden, yet underestimated incidence because we captured only hospitalized cases, and because pre-culture antibiotics were frequently used. Our findings together with prior research indicate that PCV would likely have high serotype coverage in Thailand. These findings will complement ongoing cost effectiveness analyses and support vaccine policy evaluation in Thailand and the region.
PMCID: PMC3694083  PMID: 23840395
8.  Global and regional burden of hospital admissions for severe acute lower respiratory infections in young children in 2010: a systematic analysis 
Lancet  2013;381(9875):1380-1390.
The annual number of hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths due to severe acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in young children worldwide is unknown. We aimed to estimate the incidence of admissions and deaths for such infections in children younger than 5 years in 2010.
We estimated the incidence of admissions for severe and very severe ALRI in children younger than 5 years, stratified by age and region, with data from a systematic review of studies published between Jan 1, 1990, and March 31, 2012, and from 28 unpublished population-based studies. We applied these incidence estimates to population estimates for 2010, to calculate the global and regional burden in children admitted with severe ALRI in that year. We estimated in-hospital mortality due to severe and very severe ALRI by combining incidence estimates with case fatality ratios from hospital-based studies.
We identified 89 eligible studies and estimated that in 2010, 11·9 million (95% CI 10·3–13·9 million) episodes of severe and 3·0 million (2·1–4·2 million) episodes of very severe ALRI resulted in hospital admissions in young children worldwide. Incidence was higher in boys than in girls, the sex disparity being greatest in South Asian studies. On the basis of data from 37 hospital studies reporting case fatality ratios for severe ALRI, we estimated that roughly 265 000 (95% CI 160 000–450 000) in-hospital deaths took place in young children, with 99% of these deaths in developing countries. Therefore, the data suggest that although 62% of children with severe ALRI are treated in hospitals, 81% of deaths happen outside hospitals.
Severe ALRI is a substantial burden on health services worldwide and a major cause of hospital referral and admission in young children. Improved hospital access and reduced inequities, such as those related to sex and rural status, could substantially decrease mortality related to such infection. Community-based management of severe disease could be an important complementary strategy to reduce pneumonia mortality and health inequities.
PMCID: PMC3986472  PMID: 23369797
9.  Comparison of DNA Extraction Kits for Detection of Burkholderia pseudomallei in Spiked Human Whole Blood Using Real-Time PCR 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e58032.
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the etiologic agent of melioidosis, is endemic in northern Australia and Southeast Asia and can cause severe septicemia that may lead to death in 20% to 50% of cases. Rapid detection of B. pseudomallei infection is crucial for timely treatment of septic patients. This study evaluated seven commercially available DNA extraction kits to determine the relative recovery of B. pseudomallei DNA from spiked EDTA-containing human whole blood. The evaluation included three manual kits: the QIAamp DNA Mini kit, the QIAamp DNA Blood Mini kit, and the High Pure PCR Template Preparation kit; and four automated systems: the MagNAPure LC using the DNA Isolation Kit I, the MagNAPure Compact using the Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit I, and the QIAcube using the QIAamp DNA Mini kit and the QIAamp DNA Blood Mini kit. Detection of B. pseudomallei DNA extracted by each kit was performed using the B. pseudomallei specific type III secretion real-time PCR (TTS1) assay. Crossing threshold (CT) values were used to compare the limit of detection and reproducibility of each kit. This study also compared the DNA concentrations and DNA purity yielded for each kit. The following kits consistently yielded DNA that produced a detectable signal from blood spiked with 5.5×104 colony forming units per mL: the High Pure PCR Template Preparation, QIAamp DNA Mini, MagNA Pure Compact, and the QIAcube running the QIAamp DNA Mini and QIAamp DNA Blood Mini kits. The High Pure PCR Template Preparation kit yielded the lowest limit of detection with spiked blood, but when this kit was used with blood from patients with confirmed cases of melioidosis, the bacteria was not reliably detected indicating blood may not be an optimal specimen.
PMCID: PMC3583986  PMID: 23460920
10.  Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-Associated Pneumonia Deaths in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e54946.
The first human infections with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus were confirmed in April 2009. We describe the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-associated pneumonia deaths in Thailand from May 2009-January 2010.
We identified influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-associated pneumonia deaths from a national influenza surveillance system and performed detailed reviews of a subset.
Of 198 deaths reported, 49% were male and the median age was 37 years; 146 (73%) were 20–60 years. Among 90 deaths with records available for review, 46% had no identified risk factors for severe influenza. Eighty-eight patients (98%) received antiviral treatment, but only 16 (18%) initiated therapy within 48 hours of symptom onset.
Most influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pneumonia fatalities in Thailand occurred in adults aged 20–60 years. Nearly half lacked high-risk conditions. Antiviral treatment recommendations may be especially important early in a pandemic before vaccine is available. Treatment should be considered as soon as influenza is suspected.
PMCID: PMC3563645  PMID: 23390508
11.  Incidence and Epidemiology of Hospitalized Influenza Cases in Rural Thailand during the Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 Pandemic, 2009–2010 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48609.
Data on the burden of the 2009 influenza pandemic in Asia are limited. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was first reported in Thailand in May 2009. We assessed incidence and epidemiology of influenza-associated hospitalizations during 2009–2010.
We conducted active, population-based surveillance for hospitalized cases of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) in all 20 hospitals in two rural provinces. ALRI patients were sampled 1∶2 for participation in an etiology study in which nasopharyngeal swabs were collected for influenza virus testing by PCR.
Of 7,207 patients tested, 902 (12.5%) were influenza-positive, including 190 (7.8%) of 2,436 children aged <5 years; 86% were influenza A virus (46% A(H1N1)pdm09, 30% H3N2, 6.5% H1N1, 3.5% not subtyped) and 13% were influenza B virus. Cases of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 first peaked in August 2009 when 17% of tested patients were positive. Subsequent peaks during 2009 and 2010 represented a mix of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, H3N2, and influenza B viruses. The estimated annual incidence of hospitalized influenza cases was 136 per 100,000, highest in ages <5 years (477 per 100,000) and >75 years (407 per 100,000). The incidence of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was 62 per 100,000 (214 per 100,000 in children <5 years). Eleven influenza-infected patients required mechanical ventilation, and four patients died, all adults with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (1) or H3N2 (3).
Influenza-associated hospitalization rates in Thailand during 2009–10 were substantial and exceeded rates described in western countries. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 predominated, but H3N2 also caused notable morbidity. Expanded influenza vaccination coverage could have considerable public health impact, especially in young children.
PMCID: PMC3490866  PMID: 23139802
12.  Incidence of Bacteremic Melioidosis in Eastern and Northeastern Thailand 
Burkholderia pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is endemic in northeastern Thailand. Population-based disease burden estimates are lacking and limited data on melioidosis exist from other regions of the country. Using active, population-based surveillance, we measured the incidence of bacteremic melioidosis in the provinces of Sa Kaeo (eastern Thailand) and Nakhon Phanom (northeastern Thailand) during 2006–2008. The average annual incidence in Sa Kaeo and Nakhon Phanom per 100,000 persons was 4.9 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.9–6.1) and 14.9 (95% CI = 13.3–16.6). The respective population mortality rates were 1.9 (95% CI = 1.3–2.8) and 4.4 (95% CI = 3.6–5.3) per 100,000. The case-fatality proportion was 36% among those with known outcome. Our findings document a high incidence and case fatality proportion of bacteremic melioidosis in Thailand, including a region not traditionally considered highly endemic, and have potential implications for clinical management and health policy.
PMCID: PMC3122354  PMID: 21734135
13.  The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health Project: A 21st Century Childhood Pneumonia Etiology Study 
The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health (PERCH) project is a 7-country, standardized, comprehensive evaluation of the etiologic agents causing severe pneumonia in children from developing countries. During previous etiology studies, between one-quarter and one-third of patients failed to yield an obvious etiology; PERCH will employ and evaluate previously unavailable innovative, more sensitive diagnostic techniques. Innovative and rigorous epidemiologic and analytic methods will be used to establish the causal association between presence of potential pathogens and pneumonia. By strategic selection of study sites that are broadly representative of regions with the greatest burden of childhood pneumonia, PERCH aims to provide data that reflect the epidemiologic situation in developing countries in 2015, using pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines. PERCH will also address differences in host, environmental, and/or geographic factors that might determine pneumonia etiology and, by preserving specimens, will generate a resource for future research and pathogen discovery.
PMCID: PMC3297546  PMID: 22403238
14.  The first reported cases of Q fever endocarditis in Thailand 
We describe the first two reported cases of Q fever endocarditis in Thailand. Both patients were male, had pre-existing heart valve damage and had contact with cattle. Heightened awareness of Q fever could improve diagnosis and case management and stimulate efforts to identify risk factors and preventive measures.
PMCID: PMC3892650  PMID: 24470937
Coxiella burnetii; endocarditis; Q fever; Thailand.
15.  Evaluation of a Newly Developed Lateral Flow Immunoassay for the Diagnosis of Cryptococcosis 
This study, evaluating the performance of a novel cryptococcal lateral flow immunoassay, shows that the assay performs as well as available diagnostic methods is economical, rapid, and easy to perform; and as such can be a point of care test in resource limited settings.
Background. Cryptococcosis is a common opportunistic infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected individuals mostly occurring in resource-limited countries. This study compares the performance of a recently developed lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) to blood culture and enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for the diagnosis of cryptococcosis.
Methods. Archived sera from 704 HIV-infected patients hospitalized for acute respiratory illness in Thailand were tested for cryptococcal antigenemia using EIA. All EIA-positive and a subset of EIA-negative sera were tested by LFA, with results recorded after 5 and 15 minutes incubation. Urine from patients with LFA- and EIA-positive sera was tested by LFA. Antigen results from patients with positive cryptococcal blood cultures were compared.
Results. Of 704 sera, 92 (13%) were positive by EIA; among the 91 EIA-positive sera tested by LFA, 82 (90%) and 87 (96%) were LFA positive when read after 5 and 15 minutes, respectively. Kappa agreement of EIA and LFA for sera was 0.923 after 5 minutes and 0.959 after 15 minutes, respectively. Two of 373 EIA-negative sera were LFA positive at both time points. Of 74 urine specimens from EIA-positive patients, 52 (70.3%) were LFA positive. EIA was positive in 16 of 17 sera from blood culture–positive patients (94% sensitivity), and all sera were positive by LFA (100% sensitivity).
Conclusions. A high level of agreement was shown between LFA and EIA testing of serum. The LFA is a rapid, easy-to-perform assay that does not require refrigeration, demonstrating its potential usefulness as a point-of-care assay for diagnosis of cryptococcosis in resource-limited countries.
PMCID: PMC3148258  PMID: 21810743
16.  Rabies-Related Knowledge and Practices Among Persons At Risk of Bat Exposures in Thailand 
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Thailand to assess rabies-related knowledge and practices among persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats. The objectives were to identify deficiencies in rabies awareness, describe the occurrence of bat exposures, and explore factors associated with transdermal bat exposures.
A survey was administered to a convenience sample of adult guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. The questionnaire elicited information on demographics, experience with bat exposures, and rabies knowledge. Participants were also asked to describe actions they would take in response to a bat bite as well as actions for a bite from a potentially rabid animal. Bivariate analysis was used to compare responses between groups and multivariable logistic regression was used to explore factors independently associated with being bitten or scratched by a bat.
Of 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a potential source of rabies. A history of a bat bite or scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) stated either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of rabies transmission (68% vs. 90%, p = 0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p = 0.003). Guano mining, bat hunting, and being in a bat cave or roost area more than 5 times a year were associated with history of a bat bite or scratch.
These findings indicate the need for educational outreach to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure appropriate health-seeking behaviors for bat-inflicted wounds, particularly among at-risk groups in Thailand.
Author Summary
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. We surveyed persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats in Thailand to assess rabies‐related knowledge and practices. Targeted groups included guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. Of the 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a source of rabies. History of a bat bite/scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) expressed either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of transmission (68% vs. 90%, p=0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p=0.003). These findings indicate a need for educational outreach in Thailand to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure health‐seeking behaviors for bat‐inflicted wounds, particularly among at‐risk groups.
PMCID: PMC3125144  PMID: 21738801
17.  Human Rhinovirus Infections in Rural Thailand: Epidemiological Evidence for Rhinovirus as Both Pathogen and Bystander 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17780.
We describe human rhinovirus (HRV) detections in SaKaeo province, Thailand.
From September 1, 2003–August 31, 2005, we tested hospitalized patients with acute lower respiratory illness and outpatient controls without fever or respiratory symptoms for HRVs with polymerase chain reaction and molecularly-typed select HRVs. We compared HRV detection among hospitalized patients and controls and estimated enrollment adjusted incidence.
HRVs were detected in 315 (16%) of 1919 hospitalized patients and 27 (9.6%) of 280 controls. Children had the highest frequency of HRV detections (hospitalized: <1 year: 29%, 1–4 year: 29%, ≥65 years: 9%; controls: <1 year: 24%, 1–4 year: 14%, ≥65 years: 2.8%). Enrollment adjusted hospitalized HRV detection rates were highest among persons aged <1 year (1038/100,000 persons/year), 1–4 years (457), and ≥65 years (71). All three HRV species were identified, HRV-A was the most common species in most age groups including children aged <1 year (61%) and all adult age groups. HRV-C was the most common species in the 1–4 year (51%) and 5–19 year age groups (54%). Compared to controls, hospitalized adults (≥19 years) and children were more likely to have HRV detections (odds ratio [OR]: 4.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5, 15.8; OR: 2.0, CI: 1.2, 3.3, respectively) and hospitalized children were more likely to have HRV-A (OR 1.7, CI: 0.8, 3.5) or HVR-C (OR 2.7, CI: 1.2, 5.9) detection.
HRV rates were high among hospitalized children and the elderly but asymptomatic children also had substantial HRV detection. HRV (all species), and HRV-A and HRV-C detections were epidemiologically-associated with hospitalized illness. Treatment or prevention modalities effective against HRV could reduce hospitalizations due to HRV in Thailand.
PMCID: PMC3066183  PMID: 21479259
18.  The Burden of Hospitalized Lower Respiratory Tract Infection due to Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Rural Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15098.
We describe the epidemiology of hospitalized RSV infections for all age groups from population-based surveillance in two rural provinces in Thailand.
From September 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007, we enrolled hospitalized patients with acute lower respiratory tract illness, who had a chest radiograph ordered by the physician, from all hospitals in SaKaeo and Nakhom Phanom Provinces. We tested nasopharyngeal specimens for RSV with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays and paired-sera from a subset of patients with IgG enzyme immunoassay. Rates were adjusted for enrollment.
Among 11,097 enrolled patients, 987 (8.9%) had RSV infection. Rates of hospitalized RSV infection overall (and radiographically-confirmed pneumonia) were highest among children aged <1 year: 1,067/100,000 (534/100,000 radiographically-confirmed pneumonia) and 1–4 year: 403/100,000 (222/100,000), but low among enrolled adults aged ≥65 years: 42/100,000. Age <1 year (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]  = 13.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7.7, 22.5) and 1–4 year (aOR = 8.3, 95% CI 5.0, 13.9) were independent predictors of hospitalized RSV infection.
The incidence of hospitalized RSV lower respiratory tract illness among children <5 years was high in rural Thailand. Efforts to prevent RSV infection could substantially reduce the pneumonia burden in children aged <5 years.
PMCID: PMC2994907  PMID: 21152047
19.  Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Carriage and Risk Factors for Skin Infections, Southwestern Alaska, USA 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(5):797-803.
Skin infection risk was increased among MRSA nasal carriers.
Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are common in southwestern Alaska. Outbreak strains have been shown to carry the genes for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). To determine if carriage of PVL-positive CA-MRSA increased the risk for subsequent soft tissue infection, we conducted a retrospective cohort study by reviewing the medical records of 316 persons for 3.6 years after their participation in a MRSA nasal colonization survey. Demographic, nasal carriage, and antimicrobial drug use data were analyzed for association with skin infection risk. Skin infections were more likely to develop in MRSA carriers than in methicillin-susceptible S. aureus carriers or noncarriers of S. aureus during the first follow-up year, but not in subsequent years. Repeated skin infections were more common among MRSA carriers. In an area where PVL-containing MRSA is prevalent, skin infection risk was increased among MRSA nasal carriers compared with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus carriers and noncarriers, but risk differential diminished over time.
PMCID: PMC2953982  PMID: 20409369
Carrier state; skin infections; antimicrobial resistance; bacteria; Staphylococcus aureus; community-acquired infections; MRSA; Alaska; research
20.  Bartonella spp. Infections, Thailand 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(4):743-745.
PMCID: PMC3321940  PMID: 20350414
Bartonella; bacteria; Thailand; letter
21.  Incidence, Seasonality and Mortality Associated with Influenza Pneumonia in Thailand: 2005–2008 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e7776.
Data on the incidence, seasonality and mortality associated with influenza in subtropical low and middle income countries are limited. Prospective data from multiple years are needed to develop vaccine policy and treatment guidelines, and improve pandemic preparedness.
During January 2005 through December 2008, we used an active, population-based surveillance system to prospectively identify hospitalized pneumonia cases with influenza confirmed by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction or cell culture in 20 hospitals in two provinces in Thailand. Age-specific incidence was calculated and extrapolated to estimate national annual influenza pneumonia hospital admissions and in-hospital deaths.
Influenza was identified in 1,346 (10.4%) of pneumonia patients of all ages, and 10 influenza pneumonia patients died while in the hospital. 702 (52%) influenza pneumonia patients were less than 15 years of age. The average annual incidence of influenza pneumonia was greatest in children less than 5 years of age (236 per 100,000) and in those age 75 or older (375 per 100,000). During 2005, 2006 and 2008 influenza A virus detection among pneumonia cases peaked during June through October. In 2007 a sharp increase was observed during the months of January through April. Influenza B virus infections did not demonstrate a consistent seasonal pattern. Influenza pneumonia incidence was high in 2005, a year when influenza A(H3N2) subtype virus strains predominated, low in 2006 when A(H1N1) viruses were more common, moderate in 2007 when H3N2 and influenza B co-predominated, and high again in 2008 when influenza B viruses were most common. During 2005–2008, influenza pneumonia resulted in an estimated annual average 36,413 hospital admissions and 322 in-hospital pneumonia deaths in Thailand.
Influenza virus infection is an important cause of hospitalized pneumonia in Thailand. Young children and the elderly are most affected and in-hospital deaths are more common than previously appreciated. Influenza occurs year-round and tends to follow a bimodal seasonal pattern with substantial variability. The disease burden varies significantly from year to year. Our findings support a recent Thailand Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) decision to extend annual influenza vaccination to older adults and suggest that children should also be targeted for routine vaccination.
PMCID: PMC2777392  PMID: 19936224
22.  Immunologic Response to Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) Conjugate Vaccine and Risk Factors for Carriage among Hib Carriers and Noncarriers in Southwestern Alaska 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(6):620-626.
Continued Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) carriage in rural Alaska contributes to the ongoing risk of invasive disease. Community-wide Hib carriage surveys were conducted in three villages in southwestern Alaska. Sixteen carriers and 32 age- and village-matched controls were enrolled and were vaccinated with Hib oligosaccharide-CRM197 conjugate vaccine. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration, antibody avidity, and serum bactericidal activity (SBA) were measured prior to Hib vaccination and 2 and 12 months after vaccination. We identified no demographic or behavioral factors associated with Hib colonization. Prior to vaccination, Hib carriers had a higher IgG geometric mean concentration than controls did (8.2 versus 1.6 μg/ml; P < 0.001) and a higher SBA geometric mean titer (7,132 versus 1,235; P = 0.006). Both groups responded to vaccination with increased IgG and SBA. These data illustrate the role of Hib colonization as an immunizing event and show that Hib carriers in communities with ongoing transmission have no evidence of reduced immune responsiveness that may have put them at risk for colonization.
PMCID: PMC1489551  PMID: 16760318

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