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1.  Introduction of Monochloramine into a Municipal Water System: Impact on Colonization of Buildings by Legionella spp. 
Legionnaires' disease (LD) outbreaks are often traced to colonized potable water systems. We collected water samples from potable water systems of 96 buildings in Pinellas County, Florida, between January and April 2002, during a time when chlorine was the primary residual disinfectant, and from the same buildings between June and September 2002, immediately after monochloramine was introduced into the municipal water system. Samples were cultured for legionellae and amoebae using standard methods. We determined predictors of Legionella colonization of individual buildings and of individual sampling sites. During the chlorine phase, 19 (19.8%) buildings were colonized with legionellae in at least one sampling site. During the monochloramine phase, six (6.2%) buildings were colonized. In the chlorine phase, predictors of Legionella colonization included water source (source B compared to all others, adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 6.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0 to 23) and the presence of a system with continuously circulating hot water (aOR, 9.8; 95% CI, 1.9 to 51). In the monochloramine phase, there were no predictors of individual building colonization, although we observed a trend toward greater effectiveness of monochloramine in hotels and single-family homes than in county government buildings. The presence of amoebae predicted Legionella colonization at individual sampling sites in both phases (OR ranged from 15 to 46, depending on the phase and sampling site). The routine introduction of monochloramine into a municipal drinking water system appears to have reduced colonization by Legionella spp. in buildings served by the system. Monochloramine may hold promise as community-wide intervention for the prevention of LD.
doi:10.1128/AEM.72.1.378-383.2006
PMCID: PMC1352249  PMID: 16391067
2.  Reducing Legionella Colonization of Water Systems with Monochloramine 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(4):588-596.
Monochloramine reduced colonization in building hot water systems.
Monochloramine disinfection of municipal water supplies is associated with decreased risk for Legionnaires' disease. We conducted a 2-year, prospective, environmental study to evaluate whether converting from chlorine to monochloramine for water disinfection would decrease Legionella colonization of hot water systems. Water and biofilm samples from 53 buildings were collected for Legionella culture during 6 intervals. Prevalence ratios (PRs) comparing Legionella colonization before and after monochloramine disinfection were adjusted for water system characteristics. Legionella colonized 60% of the hot water systems before monochloramine versus 4% after conversion (PR 0.07, 95% confidence interval 0.03–0.16). The median number of colonized sites per building decreased with monochloramine disinfection. Increased prevalence of Legionella colonization was associated with water heater temperatures <50°C, buildings taller than 10 stories, and interruptions in water service. Increasing use of monochloramine in water supplies throughout the United States may reduce Legionella transmission and incidence of Legionnaires' disease.
doi:10.3201/eid1204.051101
PMCID: PMC3294698  PMID: 16704806
Legionella; Legionnaires’ disease; water supply; disinfection; chloramines; research
3.  Impact of Statewide Program To Promote Appropriate Antimicrobial Drug Use 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(6):912-920.
The Wisconsin Antibiotic Resistance Network (WARN) was launched in 1999 to educate physicians and the public about judicious antimicrobial drug use. Public education included radio and television advertisements, posters, pamphlets, and presentations at childcare centers. Physician education included mailings, susceptibility reports, practice guidelines, satellite conferences, and presentations. We analyzed antimicrobial prescribing data for primary care physicians in Wisconsin and Minnesota (control state). Antimicrobial prescribing declined 19.8% in Minnesota and 20.4% in Wisconsin from 1998 to 2003. Prescribing by internists declined significantly more in Wisconsin than Minnesota, but the opposite was true for pediatricians. We conclude that the secular trend of declining antimicrobial drug use continued through 2003, but a large-scale educational program did not generate greater reductions in Wisconsin despite improved knowledge. State and local organizations should consider a balanced approach that includes limited statewide educational activities with increasing emphasis on local, provider-level interventions and policy development to promote careful antimicrobial drug use.
doi:10.3201/eid1106.050118
PMCID: PMC3367605  PMID: 15963287
Keywords: Drug resistance; drug utilization/trends; health education; outcome and process assessment; respiratory tract infections/drug therapy; physician
4.  Clinician Knowledge and Beliefs after Statewide Program to Promote Appropriate Antimicrobial Drug Use 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(6):904-911.
In 1999, Wisconsin initiated an educational campaign for primary care clinicians and the public to promote judicious antimicrobial drug use. We evaluated its impact on clinician knowledge and beliefs; Minnesota served as a control state. Results of pre- (1999) and post- (2002) campaign questionnaires indicated that Wisconsin clinicians perceived a significant decline in the proportion of patients requesting antimicrobial drugs (50% in 1999 to 30% in 2002; p<0.001) and in antimicrobial drug requests from parents for children (25% in 1999 to 20% in 2002; p = 0.004). Wisconsin clinicians were less influenced by nonpredictive clinical findings (purulent nasal discharge [p = 0.044], productive cough [p = 0.010]) in terms of antimicrobial drug prescribing. In 2002, clinicians from both states were less likely to recommend antimicrobial agent treatment for the adult case scenarios of viral respiratory illness. For the comparable pediatric case scenarios, only Wisconsin clinicians improved significantly from 1999 to 2002. Although clinicians in both states improved on several survey responses, greater overall improvement occurred in Wisconsin.
doi:10.3201/eid1106.050144
PMCID: PMC3367606  PMID: 15963286
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; reducing antimicrobial resistance; Drug resistance
5.  Knowledge, attitudes, and reported practices among obstetrician-gynecologists in the USA regarding antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections. 
BACKGROUND: Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding antibiotic prescribing for upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) have not been well described among obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs). This information is useful for determining whether an OB/GYN-specific program promoting appropriate antibiotic use would significantly contribute to the efforts to decrease inappropriate antibiotic use among primary care providers. METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire asking about the treatment of URIs was sent to 1031 obstetrician-gynecologists. RESULTS: The overall response rate was 46%. The majority of respondents (92%) were aware of the relationship between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, and respondents estimated that 5% of their patients had URI symptoms at their office visits. Overall, 56% of respondents reported that they would prescribe an antibiotic for uncomplicated bronchitis and 43% for the common cold. OB/GYNs with the fewest years of experience were less likely than those with the most years of experience to report prescribing for uncomplicated bronchitis (Odds ratio (OR) 0.46, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.23 to 0.91) or the common cold (OR 0.44, CI 0.22 to 0.89). The majority of respondents (60%) believed that most patients wanted an antibiotic for URI symptoms, with male OB/GYNs being more likely than female OB/GYNs (OR 2.1, CI 1.2 to 3.8) to hold this belief. Both male OB/GYNs (OR 1.9, CI 1.1 to 3.4) and rural practitioners (OR 2.1, CI 1.1 to 4.0) were more likely to believe that it was hard to withhold antibiotics for URI symptoms because other physicians prescribe antibiotics for these symptoms. OB/GYNs who believed that postgraduate training prepared them well for primary care management were more likely than those who did not (OR 2.1, CI 1.1 to 4.2) to believe that they could reduce antibiotic prescribing without reducing patient satisfaction. CONCLUSION: Multiple demographic factors affect attitudes and reported practices regarding antibiotic prescribing. However, in view of the low proportion of office visits for URIs, an OB/GYN-specific program is not warranted.
doi:10.1080/10647440400025579
PMCID: PMC1784550  PMID: 16040323
6.  Demand for Prophylaxis after Bioterrorism-Related Anthrax Cases, 2001 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(1):42-47.
In 1991, most physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin managed patients concerns about anthrax without dispensing prophylactic antimicrobial agents.
Media reports suggested increased public demand for anthrax prophylaxis after the intentional anthrax cases in 2001, but the magnitude of anthrax-related prescribing in unaffected regions was not assessed. We surveyed a random sample of 400 primary care clinicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin to assess requests for and provision of anthrax-related antimicrobial agents. The survey was returned by 239 (60%) of clinicians, including 210 in outpatient practice. Fifty-eight (28%) of those in outpatient practice received requests for anthrax-related antimicrobial agents, and 9 (4%) dispensed them. Outpatient fluoroquinolone use in both states was also analyzed with regression models to compare predicted and actual use in October and November 2001. Fluoroquinolone use as a proportion of total antimicrobial use was not elevated, and anthrax concerns accounted for an estimated 0.3% of all fluoroquinolone prescriptions. Most physicians in Minnesota and Wisconsin managed anthrax-related requests without dispensing antimicrobial agents.
doi:10.3201/eid1101.040272
PMCID: PMC3294341  PMID: 15705321
research, anthrax, fluoroquinolone, prophylaxis; drug resistance; bioterrorism
7.  Consumer Attitudes and Use of Antibiotics 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(9):1128-1135.
Recent antibiotic use is a risk factor for infection or colonization with resistant bacterial pathogens. Demand for antibiotics can be affected by consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices. In 1998–1999, the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet) conducted a population-based, random-digit dialing telephone survey, including questions regarding respondents’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices of antibiotic use. Twelve percent had recently taken antibiotics; 27% believed that taking antibiotics when they had a cold made them better more quickly, 32% believed that taking antibiotics when they had a cold prevented more serious illness, and 48% expected a prescription for antibiotics when they were ill enough from a cold to seek medical attention. These misguided beliefs and expectations were associated with a lack of awareness of the dangers of antibiotic use; 58% of patients were not aware of the possible health dangers. National educational efforts are needed to address these issues if patient demand for antibiotics is to be reduced.
doi:10.3201/eid0909.020591
PMCID: PMC3016767  PMID: 14519251
antibiotic use; antimicrobial resistance; KAP survey
8.  Antimicrobial-Drug Prescription in Ambulatory Care Settings, United States, 1992–2000 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(4):432-437.
During the 1990s, as antimicrobial resistance increased among pneumococci, many organizations promoted appropriate antimicrobial use to combat resistance. We analyzed data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual sample survey of visits to office-based physicians, and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual sample survey of visits to hospital emergency and outpatient departments, to describe trends in antimicrobial prescribing from 1992 to 2000 in the United States. Approximately 1,100–1,900 physicians reported data from 21,000–37,000 visits; 200–300 outpatient departments reported data for 28,000–35,000 visits; ~400 emergency departments reported data for 21,000–36,000 visits each year. In that period, the population- and visit-based antimicrobial prescribing rates in ambulatory care settings decreased by 23% and 25%, respectively, driven largely by a decrease in prescribing by office-based physicians. Antimicrobial prescribing rates changed as follows: amoxicillin and ampicillin, –43%; cephalosporins, –28%; erythromycin, –76%; azithromycin and clarithromycin, +388%; quinolones, +78%; and amoxicillin/clavulanate, +72%. This increasing use of azithromycin, clarithromycin, and quinolones warrants concern as macrolide- and fluoroquinolone-resistant pneumococci are increasing.
doi:10.3201/eid0904.020268
PMCID: PMC2957974  PMID: 12702222
antimicrobial drugs; prescribing; antimicrobial resistance; physician offices; emergency departments; outpatient departments; research
9.  Legionella and Legionnaires' Disease: 25 Years of Investigation 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2002;15(3):506-526.
There is still a low level of clinical awareness regarding Legionnaires' disease 25 years after it was first detected. The causative agents, legionellae, are freshwater bacteria with a fascinating ecology. These bacteria are intracellular pathogens of freshwater protozoa and utilize a similar mechanism to infect human phagocytic cells. There have been major advances in delineating the pathogenesis of legionellae through the identification of genes which allow the organism to bypass the endocytic pathways of both protozoan and human cells. Other bacteria that may share this novel infectious process are Coxiella burnetti and Brucella spp. More than 40 species and numerous serogroups of legionellae have been identified. Most diagnostic tests are directed at the species that causes most of the reported human cases of legionellosis, L. pneumophila serogroup 1. For this reason, information on the incidence of human respiratory disease attributable to other species and serogroups of legionellae is lacking. Improvements in diagnostic tests such as the urine antigen assay have inadvertently caused a decrease in the use of culture to detect infection, resulting in incomplete surveillance for legionellosis. Large, focal outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease continue to occur worldwide, and there is a critical need for surveillance for travel-related legionellosis in the United States. There is optimism that newly developed guidelines and water treatment practices can greatly reduce the incidence of this preventable illness.
doi:10.1128/CMR.15.3.506-526.2002
PMCID: PMC118082  PMID: 12097254

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