The new enterovirus C strain EV-C118 belongs to the human enterovirus C species of the Picornaviridae family. We report the complete genome sequence of this strain, which was identified in respiratory specimens of two children hospitalized in Israel because of acute otitis media and community-acquired pneumonia who were enrolled in the Community-Acquired Pneumonia Pediatric Research Initiative (CAP-PRI) study.
Hemophagocytic syndrome (HPS) is clinically defined as a combination of fever, liver dysfunction, coagulation abnormalities, pancytopenia, progressive macrophage proliferation throughout the reticuloendothelial system, and cytokine over-production, and may be primary or secondary to infectious, auto-immune, and tumoral diseases. The most consistent association is with viral infections but, as it is still debated whether any micro-organisms are involved in its pathogenesis, we critically appraised the literature concerning HPS and its relationship with infections.
Infection-dependent HPS has been widely observed, but there are no data concerning its incidence in children. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of HPS may clarify the interactions between the immune system and the variously implicated potential infectious agents. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection has been prominently associated with HPS, with clonal proliferation and the hyperactivation of EBV-infected T cells. However, a number of other viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections have been reported in association with HPS. In the case of low-risk HPS, corticosteroids and/or intravenous immunoglobulin or cyclosporine A may be sufficient to control the biological process, but etoposide is recommended as a means of reversing infection-dependent lymphohistiocytic dysregulation in high-risk cases.
HPS is a potential complication of various infections. A polymerase chain reaction search for infectious agents including EBV, cytomegalovirus and Leishmania is recommended in clinical settings characterised by non-remitting fever, organomegaly, cytopenia and hyperferritinemia.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) form an essential part of the innate immune system, which plays a fundamental role in rapidly and effectively controlling infections and initiating adaptive immunity. There are no published data concerning the importance of polymorphisms of TLRs in conditioning susceptibility to influenza or the severity of the disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether selected polymorphisms of TLR2, TLR3 and TLR4 influence the incidence and clinical picture of pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza.
The study involved 272 healthy children attending our Emergency Room for influenza-like illness (ILI), including 51 (18.8%) with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza as revealed by real-time polymerase chain reaction, and 164 healthy controls examined after minor surgery. Genomic DNA was extracted from whole blood samples and five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were studied: TLR2 rs5743708, TLR3 rs5743313, TLR3 rs5743315, TLR4 rs4986790 and TLR4 rs4986791. The TLR3 rs5743313/CT polymorphism was found in all of the children with pneumonia and influenza infection, but in a significantly smaller number of those with A/H1N1/2009 influenza without pneumonia (<0.0001). TLR2, TLR3 rs5743315/AC and TLR4 polymorphisms were equally distributed in all of the groups regardless of the presence of the pandemic A/H1N1/2009 virus and clinical diagnosis. Viral load was comparable in all of the study groups.
There is a close relationship between the presence of TLR3 rs5743313/CT and an increased risk of pneumonia in children infected by the pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus.
Children; Innate immunity; Influenza; Pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus; TLR3; Toll-like receptors
community-acquired pneumonia; pneumonia; enterovirus; enterovirus C; Picornaviridae; respiratory infection; respiratory virus; viruses; child
In several European Countries, by the end of 2012, CLSI guidelines will be replaced by EUCAST. We compared antimicrobial susceptibility results of a large number of respiratory pathogens using both EUCAST and previously adopted CLSI criteria to evaluate the impact on susceptibility patterns and the possible consequences that could occur in clinical practice due to this replacement.
For S. pyogenes and S. aureus, the interpretation of susceptibility data using the EUCAST criteria did not produce relevant changes in comparison to CLSI.
Against S. pneumoniae, more restrictive EUCAST breakpoints could lead to increased benzylpenicillin and/or amoxicillin-clavulanate resistance rates, which in turn could translate in increased dosages of these antibiotics or usage of alternative agents for respiratory tract infections.
Against S. pneumoniae, M. catarrhalis and H. influenzae, cefuroxime-axetil and cefaclor produced the most divergent results depending on the breakpoints adopted and these striking differences could lead to the revision of those guidelines suggesting these two cephalosporins as alternatives in the management of upper respiratory tract infections.
Many differences exist between CLSI and EUCAST breakpoints. However, only in a few cases do these differences translate in major interpretive category discrepancies. In countries adopting more restrictive EUCAST breakpoints, clinicians should be aware of these discrepancies and that they could be faced with antibiotic-resistant respiratory pathogens more frequently than before.
The interpretive discrepancies between EUCAST and CLSI suggest that the discussion on the management of community-acquired respiratory tract infections is still open and further studies are desirable to better define the role of some antibiotics.
CLSI; Interpretive criteria; Resistance; Antibiotics; S. pneumoniae; H. influenzae; S. aureus; M. catarrhalis
In infants, vitamin B12 deficiency may be due to an inborn error of absorption and metabolism, or nutritional problems.
An exclusively breastfed 5-month-old Italian male infant, who was born after a normal full-term pregnancy to a vegan mother who was apparently daily treated with a multivitamin oral preparation during the second and third trimester, was hospitalised because of poor weight gain, feeding difficulties, severe pallor, muscle hypotonia and somnolence. Upon admission, his weight, length and head circumference were below the third percentile, he had an enlarged liver and spleen, and showed a significant delay in developmental milestones and communicative reactions. He had a hemoglobin level of 4.7 g/dL with an MCV of 84.2 fL, a white blood cell count of 4,680/mm3, and a platelet count of 45,000/mm3. His serum vitamin B12 level was 57 pg/mL (normal value 180–500 pg/mL) and serum folate level 12.8 ng/mL (normal value >3 ng/mL). The results of metabolic examinations excluded a cobalamin C disorder, whereas nutritional screening showed a serum iron concentration of 9 μg/dL and serum ferritin of 4 ng/mL. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain showed mild dilatation of the lateral ventricles with diffuse delayed myelination. The child was diagnosed as having vitamin B12 and iron deficiency due to nutritional inadequacy and was immediately treated with packed red blood cells, intramuscular vitamin B12 injections, and iron supplementation. A few days after the start of therapy, his hemoglobin levels and other hematological parameters rapidly improved, and a clinical improvement was observed within few weeks. There was an increase in his achievement of developmental milestones, but his development was still retarded seven months after the start of therapy.
This case underlines the importance of adequately controlling maternal vitamin B12 intake during pregnancy by means of supplementation which, in the case of vegan mothers, should be significantly greater than that usually given. Moreover, the supplementation should be continued during lactation in order to avoid the development of signs of deficiency that may be associated with persistent neurological problems in infants. The case also highlights the need to consider vitamin B12 deficiency in infants with severe anemia even if their hematological parameters do not indicate megaloblastic anemia because the concomitant presence of substantial iron deficiency may modify the characteristics of the anemia.
Anemia; Iron deficiency; Neurological problems; Vegan diet; Vegan mothers; Vitamin B12 deficiency
Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is one of the leading causes of human morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases, predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical countries. As genetic variations in the toll-like receptors (TLRs)-signalling pathway have been associated with either susceptibility or resistance to several infectious and inflammatory diseases, the supposition is that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) and FCGR2A could modulate malaria susceptibility and severity.
This study was planned to make a further contribution to solving the problem of the real role of the most common polymorphisms of TLR4, TLR9, TIRAP and FCGR2A genes in modulating the risk of malaria and disease severity in children from Burundi, Central Africa. All the paediatric patients aged six months to 10 years admitted to the hospital of Kiremba, Burundi, between February 2011 and September 2011, for fever and suspicion of acute malaria were screened for malaria parasitaemia by light microscopy of thick and thin blood smears. In children with malaria and in uninfected controls enrolled during the study period in the same hospital, blood samples were obtained on filter paper and TLR4 Asp299Gly rs4986790, TLR9 G1174A rs352139, T-1486 C rs187084 TLR9 T-1237 C rs5743836, TIRAP Ser180Leu rs8177374 and the FCGR2A His131Arg rs1801274 polymorphisms were studied using an ABI PRISM 7900 HT Fast Real-time instrument.
A total of 602 patients and 337 controls were enrolled. Among the malaria cases, 553 (91.9 %) were considered as suffering from uncomplicated and 49 (8.1 %) from severe malaria. TLR9 T1237C rs5743836CC was associated with an increased risk of developing malaria (p = 0.03), although it was found with the same frequency in uncomplicated and severe malaria cases. No other differences were found in all alleles studied and in genotype frequencies between malaria cases and uninfected controls as well as between uncomplicated and severe malaria cases.
TLR9 T1237C seems to condition susceptibility to malaria in Burundian children but not its severity, whereas none of the assessed SNPs of TLR4, TIRAP and FCGR2A seem to influence susceptibility to malaria and disease severity in this population.
Children; cerebral malaria; FCGR2A; malaria; SNPs; toll-like receptors; TIRAP; TLR4; TLR9; uncomplicated malaria.
Background: Pertussis occurs in older children, adolescents and adults due to waning immunity after primary vaccination. Booster vaccination for pre-school children has been recommended in Italy since 1999. In this study (NCT00871000), the immunogenicity, safety and reactogenicity of a booster dose of reduced-antigen content diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-inactivated poliovirus vaccine (dTpa-IPV; GSK Biologicals Boostrix™-Polio; 3-component pertussis) vs. full-strength DTPa-IPV vaccine (sanofi-pasteur—MSD Tetravac™; 2-component pertussis) was evaluated in pre-school Italian children.
Methods: Healthy children aged 5–6 y primed in a routine vaccination setting with three doses of DTPa-based vaccines were enrolled and randomized (1:1) in this phase IIIb, booster study to receive a single dose of dTpa-IPV or DTPa-IPV; the MMRV vaccine was co-administered. Antibody concentrations/titers against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliovirus 1–3 were measured before and one month post-booster. Reactogenicity and safety was assessed.
Results: 305 subjects were enrolled of whom 303 (dTpa-IPV = 151; DTPa-IPV = 152) received booster vaccination. One month post-booster, all subjects were seroprotected/seropositive for anti-diphtheria, anti-tetanus, anti-PT, anti-FHA and anti-poliovirus 1–3; 99.3% of dTpa-IPV and 60.4% of DTPa-IPV subjects were seropositive for anti-PRN; 98–100% of subjects were seropositive against MMRV antigens post-booster. Pain at the injection site (dTpa-IPV: 63.6%; DTPa-IPV: 63.2%) and fatigue (dTpa-IPV: 26.5%; DTPa-IPV: 23.7%) were the most commonly reported solicited local and general symptoms, during the 4-d follow-up period. No SAEs or fatalities were reported.
Conclusions: The reduced-antigen-content dTpa-IPV vaccine was non-inferior to full-strength DTPa-IPV vaccine with respect to immunogenicity. The vaccine was well-tolerated and can be confidently used as a booster dose in pre-school children.
pre-school; MMRV; diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-inactivated poliovirus vaccine; Italy; 2 + 1 schedule
Little is known about the proportion of pediatric pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza cases who showed seroconversion, the magnitude of this seroconversion, or the factors that can affect the antibody level evoked by the pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza. Aims of this study were to analyse antibody responses and the factors associated with high antibody titres in a cohort of children with naturally acquired A/H1N1/2009 influenza infection confirmed by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).
Demographic, clinical and virologic data were collected from 69 otherwise healthy children with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza (27 females, mean age ± SD: 5.01 ± 4.55 years). Their antibody levels against pandemic A/H1N1/2009 and seasonal A/H1N1 influenza viruses were evaluated by measuring hemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies using standard assays. Sixty-four patients (92.8%) with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza had A/H1N1/2009 antibody levels of ≥40, whereas only 28/69 (40.6%) were seroprotected against seasonal A/H1N1 influenza virus. Those who were seroprotected against seasonal A/H1N1 virus were significantly older, significantly more often hospitalised, had a diagnosis of pneumonia significantly more frequently, and were significantly more often treated with oseltamivir than those who were not seroprotected (p < 0.05). The children with the most severe disease (assessed on the basis of a need for hospitalisation and a diagnosis of pneumonia) had the highest antibody response against pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus.
Otherwise healthy children seem to show seroprotective antibody titres after natural infection with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus. The strength of the immune response seems to be related to the severity of the disease, but not to previous seasonal A/H1N1 influenza immunity.
Children; Immune response; Influenza; Pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus; Pediatric infectious diseases
There are few and debated data regarding possible differences in the clinical presentations of influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B viruses in children. This study evaluates the clinical presentation and socio-economic impact of laboratory-confirmed influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 or B infection in children attending an Emergency Room because of influenza-like illness.
Among the 4,726 children involved, 662 had influenza A (143 A/H1N1 and 519 A/H3N2) and 239 influenza B infection detected by means of real-time polymerase chain reaction. Upon enrolment, systematic recordings were made of the patients' demographic characteristics and medical history using standardised written questionnaires. The medical history of the children was re-evaluated 5-7 days after enrolment and until the resolution of their illness by means of interviews and a clinical examination by trained investigators using standardised questionnaires. During this evaluation, information was also obtained regarding illnesses and related morbidity among households.
Children infected with influenza A/H1N1 were significantly younger (mean age, 2.3 yrs) than children infected with influenza A/H3N2 (mean age, 4.7 yrs; p < 0.05)) or with influenza B (mean age, 5.2 yrs; p < 0.05). Adjusted for age and sex, children with influenza A/H3N2 in comparison with those infected by either A/H1N1 or with B influenza virus were more frequently affected by fever (p < 0.05) and lower respiratory tract involvement (p < 0.05), showed a worse clinical outcome (p < 0.05), required greater drug use (p < 0.05), and suffered a worse socio-economic impact (p < 0.05). Adjusted for age and sex, children with influenza B in comparison with those infected by A/H1N1 influenza virus had significantly higher hospitalization rates (p < 0.05), the households with a disease similar to that of the infected child (p < 0.05) and the need for additional household medical visits (p < 0.05).
Disease due to influenza A/H3N2 viral subtype is significantly more severe than that due to influenza A/H1N1 subtype and influenza B virus, which indicates that the characteristics of the different viral types and subtypes should be adequately considered by health authorities when planning preventive and therapeutic measures.
A/H1N1 influenza virus; children; influenza; pediatrics; viral types; viral subtypes
Late onset neonatal sepsis (LOS) with the mortality of 17 to 27% is still a serious disease. Meropenem is an antibiotic with wide antibacterial coverage. The advantage of it over standard of care could be its wider antibacterial coverage and thus the use of mono-instead of combination therapy.
NeoMero-1, an open label, randomised, comparator controlled, superiority trial aims to compare the efficacy of meropenem with a predefined standard of care (ampicillin + gentamicin or cefotaxime + gentamicin) in the treatment of LOS in neonates and infants aged less than 90 days admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.
A total of 550 subjects will be recruited following a 1:1 randomisation scheme. The trial includes patients with culture confirmed (at least one positive culture from normally sterile site except coagulase negative staphylococci in addition to one clinical or laboratory criterion) or clinical sepsis (at least two laboratory and two clinical criteria suggestive of LOS in subjects with postmenstrual age < 44 weeks or fulfilment of criteria established by the International Pediatric Sepsis Consensus Conference in subjects with postmenstrual age ≥ 44 weeks). Meropenem will be given at a dose of 20 mg/kg q12h or q8h depending on the gestational- and postnatal age. Comparator agents are administered as indicated in British National Formulary for Children. The primary endpoint measured at the test of cure visit (2 days after end of study therapy) is graded to success (all baseline symptoms and laboratory parameters are resolved or improved with no need to continue antibiotics and the baseline microorganisms are eradicated and no new microorganisms are identified and the patient has received allocated treatment for 11 ± 3 days with no modification) or a failure (all remaining cases). Secondary outcome measures include comparison of survival, relapse rates or new infections by Day 28, clinical response at Day 3 and end of therapy, duration of hospitalisation, population pharmacokinetic analysis of meropenem and effect of antibiotics on mucosal colonisation and development of antibacterial resistance.
The study will start recruitment in September 2011; the total duration is of 24 months.
randomised controlled trial; neonate; premature neonate; FP7
The aim of this study was to investigate viral shedding in otherwise healthy children with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza in order to define how long children with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza shed the virus, and also plan adequate measures to control the spread of the disease within households.
In 74 otherwise healthy children with pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza, nasopharyngeal swabs were taken for virus detection upon hospital admission and every two days until negative. The nasopharyngeal swabs of all of the children were positive for pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus in the first three days after the onset of infection, and only 21.6% and 13.5% remained positive after respectively 11 and 15 days. No child was positive after more than 15 days. Viral load also decreased over time, and was not associated with patient age or the risk of pneumonia. Those who shed the virus for ≥ 9 days were not at any increased risk of suffering from more severe disease in comparison with those who shed the virus for a shorter time, but their households experienced a significantly higher number of influenza-like illness during the two weeks after the onset of the initial disease (72.3% vs 41.4%; p < 0.05).
Regardless of their age, healthy children can shed pandemic A/H1N1/2009 influenza virus for up to two weeks after illness onset, and the households of the children who shed the virus for ≥ 9 days suffered a higher number of influenza-like illness in the two weeks following the onset of the first disease. This could suggest that when a completely unknown influenza virus is circulating, isolation period of infected children has to be longer than the 7 days recommended for the infections due to seasonal influenza viruses.
To evaluate the administration of antipyretics to children with upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) by their parents or guardians without consultation with physicians, and compare epidemiological and clinical characteristics of patients who received antipyretics and of untreated patients.
A prospective observational study was performed in three pediatric clinics in Zagreb, Croatia, from March to June 2002. A total of 171 children aged from 2 to 14 years with symptoms and signs of URTI lasting more than 2 days and fever above 38°C lasting more than 2 days were included in the study. Data were collected on the usage of antipyretics, patients’ demographic and epidemiological characteristics, and clinical signs and symptoms.
Antipyretics, predominantly paracetamol, were used in 29.8% of patients. Their usage was less frequent in children attending day-care centers (49% of treated and 70% of untreated children, P = 0.014) and in children with reiterated URTIs (33.3% of treated and 55.8% of untreated children, P = 0.008). However, it was more frequent in children with recent URTIs in the family (33.3% of treated and 7.5% of untreated children, P < 0.001). Overall, most clinical signs and symptoms of URTI were notably less pronounced in patients treated with antipyretics.
Antipyretics use correlated with less pronounced clinical signs and symptoms of infection, which indicates their anti-inflammatory activity, but also with negative effects such as lethargy. It is necessary to educate parents on the positive and negative aspects of antipyretics use and on the optimal choice of an antipyretic drug.
Although the most frequent extra-pulmonary manifestations of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection involve the cardiovascular system, no data regarding heart function in infants with bronchiolitis associated with RSV infection have yet been systematically collected. The aim of this study was to verify the real frequency of heart involvement in patients with bronchiolitis associated with RSV infection, and whether infants with mild or moderate disease also risk heart malfunction.
A total of 69 otherwise healthy infants aged 1-12 months with bronchiolitis hospitalised in standard wards were enrolled. Pernasal flocked swabs were performed to collect specimens for the detection of RSV by real-time polymerase chain reaction, and a blood sample was drawn to assess troponin I concentrations. On the day of admission, all of the infants underwent 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring and a complete heart evaluation with echocardiography. Patients were re-evaluated by investigators blinded to the etiological and cardiac findings four weeks after enrolment.
Regardless of their clinical presentation, sinoatrial blocks were identified in 26/34 RSV-positive patients (76.5%) and 1/35 RSV-negative patients (2.9%) (p < 0.0001). The blocks recurred more than three times over 24 hours in 25/26 RSV-positive patients (96.2%) and none of the RSV-negative infants. Mean and maximum heart rates were significantly higher in the RSV-positive infants (p < 0.05), as was low-frequency power and the low and high-frequency power ratio (p < 0.05). The blocks were significantly more frequent in the children with an RSV load of ≥100,000 copies/mL than in those with a lower viral load (p < 0.0001). Holter ECG after 28 ± 3 days showed the complete regression of the heart abnormalities.
RSV seems associated with sinoatrial blocks and transient rhythm alterations even when the related respiratory problems are mild or moderate. Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms of these rhythm problems and whether they remain asymptomatic and transient even in presence of severe respiratory involvement or chronic underlying disease.
A resistance of A/H1N1 influenza viruses to oseltamivir has recently emerged in a number of countries. However, the clinical and socioeconomic importance of this resistance has not been precisely defined. As children have the highest incidence of influenza infection and are at high risk of severe disease, the aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical importance and the impact on the households of oseltamivir-resistant seasonal A/H1N1 influenza virus in an otherwise healthy pediatric population. A total of 4,726 healthy children younger than 15 years with influenza-like illness were tested for influenza viruses by real-time polymerase chain reaction in the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in Italy. The influenza A virus-positive samples underwent neuraminidase gene analysis using pyrosequencing to identify mutations H275Y and N294 S in A/H1N1, and E119V, R292K, and N294 S in A/H3N2. Among the A/H1N1 subtypes, the H275Y mutation was found in 2/126 samples taken in 2007-2008 (1.6%) and in all 17 samples (100%; p < 0.0001) taken in 2008-2009. No other mutation was identified in any of the A/H1N1 or A/H3N2 influenza viruses. No significant differences were found in terms of clinical importance or impact on the households between the children with oseltamivir-resistant seasonal A/H1N1 influenza virus and those with the wild-type. The spread of H275Y-mutated A/H1N1 seasonal influenza virus is a common phenomenon and the clinical importance and impact on the households of the mutated virus is similar to that of the wild-type in an otherwise healthy pediatric population.
In order to be widely accepted by users, the implementation of a new health intervention requires them to be adequately informed about its clinical importance, benefits and risks. The aim of this study was to provide data on the knowledge of Italian adolescents and parents concerning human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and its prevention in order to allow the development of adequate training programmes.
Between 2 May and 15 June 2008, we made a cross-sectional survey of 863 high school students and 2,331 parents of middle and high school students using two anonymously completed questionnaires covering the knowledge of HPV infection and related diseases, and attitudes to vaccinations. The approached schools were a convenience sample of the schools of the greater Milan area, Northern Italy.
More mothers than fathers were aware that HPV infection could concern their children (58% vs 53%; p = 0.004) and were favourable towards vaccinating their children against HPV (68% vs 65%; p = 0.03); among the students, more females than males were aware that HPV infection could concern themselves (45% vs 26%; p < 0.001) and would undergo vaccination against HPV (68% vs 40%; p < 0.001). The parents' propensity to vaccinate their children against HPV was significantly associated with professing the Catholic religion (odds ratio - OR = 0.61, 95% confidence interval - CI 0.46-0.82, being atheist), the gender of the offspring (OR = 1.88, 95% CI 1.53-2.30, having at least one daughter), a propensity to vaccinations in general (OR = 23.1, 95% CI 13.7-38.8), a knowledge that HPV vaccine is aimed at preventing cervical cancer (OR = 2.31, 95% CI 1.69-3.16), and an awareness that HPV could affect their own children (OR = 3.52, 95% CI 2.89-4.29). The students who were aware that HPV infection could affect themselves were more in favour of to HPV vaccination, regardless of whether they were male (OR = 5.73, 95% CI 2.85-11.5) or female (OR = 2.39, 95% CI 1.66-3.46).
Both students and parents seem to underestimate the likelihood of HPV infection, and this is associated with a lower propensity for vaccination. This is an important indication for future training programmes concerning HPV prevention designed to increase the acceptance of HPV vaccine in families.
This study evaluated the efficiency of pediatric mid-turbinate nasal flocked swabs used by parents in 203 children aged 6 months to 5 years with signs and symptoms of respiratory disease. Two nasal samples were collected from each child in a randomised sequence: one by a trained pediatrician and one by a parent. The real-time polymerase chain reaction influenza virus detection rates were similar in the samples collected using the two methods (Cohen's kappa = 0.86), as were the cycle threshold values. In comparison with the pediatrician-collected samples, the sensitivity and specificity of the parental collections were respectively 89.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 77.8-100%) and 97.7% (95% CI: 95.5-100%), and the positive and negative predictive values were respectively 86.2% (95% CI: 73.7-95.1%) and 98.2% (95% CI: 96.4-100%). The children were significantly more satisfied with the parental collections (median values ± standard deviation, 1.59 ± 0.55 vs 3.51 ± 0.36; p < 0.0001). These findings show that mid-turbinate nasal flocked swabs specifically designed for infants and children can be used by parents without reducing the influenza virus detection rate. Moreover, the direct involvement of parents significantly increases patient acceptance, thus simplifying collection and suggesting that this novel swab design should be considered for epidemiological surveys and vaccine efficacy studies.
A 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) has been developed to improve protection against pneumococcal disease beyond that possible with the licensed 7-valent vaccine (PCV7). This study compared the safety and immunogenicity of PCV13 with those of PCV7 when given as part of the pediatric vaccination schedule recommended in Italy. A total of 606 subjects were randomly assigned to receive either PCV13 or PCV7 at 3, 5, and 11 months of age; all subjects concomitantly received diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis-hepatitis B-inactivated polio-Haemophilus influenzae type B (DTaP-HBV-IPV/Hib) vaccine. Vaccine reactions were monitored. Antibody responses to DTaP-HBV-IPV/Hib antigens, serotype-specific anticapsular polysaccharide IgG responses, and antipneumococcal opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) activity were measured 1 month after the two-dose primary series and 1 month after the toddler dose. Overall, the safety profile of PCV13 was similar to that of PCV7. The response to DTaP-HBV-IPV/Hib antigens was substantially the same with both PCV13 and PCV7. PCV13 elicited antipneumococcal capsular IgG antibodies to all 13 vaccine serotypes, with notable increases in concentrations seen after the toddler dose. Despite a lower immunogenicity for serotypes 6B and 23F after the primary series of PCV13, responses to the seven common serotypes were comparable between the PCV13 and PCV7 groups when measured after the toddler dose. PCV13 also elicited substantial levels of OPA activity against all 13 serotypes following both the infant series and the toddler dose. In conclusion, PCV13 appeared comparable to PCV7 in safety profile and immunogenicity for common serotypes, demonstrated functional OPA responses for all 13 serotypes, and did not interfere with immune responses to concomitantly administered DTaP-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccine.
These viruses should be closely monitored to prevent spread of virulent strains.
The isolation of the coronavirus (CoV) identified as the cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome and the detection of 2 new human CoVs (HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1) have led to studies of the epidemiology and clinical and socioeconomic effects of infections caused by all HCoVs, including those known since the late 1960s (HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43). HCoV infections can be associated with respiratory and extrarespiratory manifestations, including central nervous system involvement. Furthermore, unlike other RNA viruses, HCoVs can easily mutate and recombine when different strains infect the same cells and give rise to a novel virus with unpredictable host ranges and pathogenicity. Thus, circulating HCoVs should be closely monitored to detect the spread of particularly virulent strains in the community at an early stage and to facilitate the development of adequate preventive and therapeutic measures.
Human coronaviruses; emerging viruses; respiratory viruses; SARS; childhood; viruses; perspective
Early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), started within the first months of age, has been proven to be the optimal strategy to prevent immunological and clinical deterioration in perinatally HIV-infected children. Nevertheless, data about long-term follow-up of early treated children are lacking.
We report data from 40 perinatally HIV-infected-children receiving early HAART, with a median follow-up period of 5.96 years (interquartile range [IQR]:4.21–7.62). Children were enrolled at birth in the Italian Register for HIV Infection in Children. Comparison with 91 infected children born in the same period, followed-up from birth, and receiving deferred treatment was also provided.
Nineteen children (47.5%) were still receiving their first HAART regimen at last follow-up. In the remaining children the first regimen was discontinued, after a median period of 3.77 years (IQR: 1.71–5.71) because of viral failure (8 cases), liver toxicity (1 case), structured therapy interruption (3 cases), or simplification/switch to a PI-sparing regimen (9 cases). Thirty-nine (97.5%) children showed CD4+ T-lymphocyte values>25%, and undetectable viral load was reached in 31 (77.5%) children at last visit. Early treated children displayed significantly lower viral load than not-early treated children, until 6 years of age, and higher median CD4+ T-lymphocyte percentages until 4 years of age. Twenty-seven (29.7%) not-early treated vs. 0/40 early treated children were in clinical category C at last follow-up (P < 0.0001).
Our findings suggest that clinical, virologic and immunological advantages from early-HAART are long-lasting. Recommendations indicating the long-term management of early treated children are needed.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers (HCWs) in order to reduce the morbidity associated with influenza in healthcare settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the current vaccination status of the HCWs in one of Italy's largest multidisciplinary University Hospitals.
Between February 1 and March 31, 2006, we carried out a cross-sectional study of influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs at the University Hospital Fondazione IRCCS "Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena", Milan, Italy. After receiving a brief description of the aim of the study, 2,143 (95%: 1,064 physicians; 855 nurses; 224 paramedics) of 2,240 HCWs self-completed an anonymous questionnaire.
Influenza vaccination coverage was very low in all specialties, varying from 17.6% in the Emergency Department to 24.3% in the Surgery Department, and knowledge of influenza epidemiology and prevention was poor. The factors positively associated with being vaccinated were an age of ≥ 45 years, considering influenza a potentially severe disease, and being aware of the high-risk categories for which influenza vaccination is strongly recommended; those that negatively associated with being vaccinated were being female, working in the Medicine Department, and being a nurse or paramedic.
Despite strong recommendations, influenza vaccination coverage seemed to be very low among HCWs of all specialties, with differences between areas and types of employment. Specific continuous educational and vaccination programs for different targets should be urgently organized to reduce morbidity and mortality in high-risk patients, contain nosocomial outbreaks, and ensure an appropriate socioeconomic impact.
This study was planned to investigate the prevalence and clinical features of the illnesses associated with human bocavirus (hBoV) in children with acute disease. We prospectively enrolled all subjects aged less than 15 years attending an emergency room in Milan, Italy, on Wednesdays and Sundays between 1 November 2004 and 31 March 2005 for any acute medical reason, excluding surgical diseases and trauma. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected at admission to detect hBoV; influenza A and B viruses; respiratory syncytial virus; human metapneumovirus; parainfluenza viruses 1, 2, 3, and 4; rhinovirus; adenovirus; and coronaviruses 229E, OC43, NL63, and HKU1 by real-time PCR. Among the 1,332 enrolled children, hBoV was the fifth most frequently detected virus (7.4%). The rate of hBoV coinfections with other viruses was significantly higher than for the other viruses (50.5% versus 27.5%; P < 0.0001). Eighty-nine of the 99 hBoV-positive children (89.9%) had a respiratory tract infection, and 10 (10.1%) had gastroenteritis. hBoV coinfections had a significantly greater clinical and socioeconomic impact on the infected children and their households than hBoV infection alone. In conclusion, these findings show that the role of hBoV infection alone seems marginal in children attending an emergency room for acute disease; its clinical and socioeconomic importance becomes relevant only when it is associated with other viruses.
The tonsils and adenoids of 44 children were analyzed for the detection of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Viruses were detected in 47.7% of the children and 37.3% of the specimens, with adenovirus and parainfluenza viruses being the most frequently detected microorganisms.
Medical and public health importance of pneumococcal infections justifies the implementation of measures capable of reducing their incidence and severity, and explains why the recently marketed heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) has been widely studied by pediatricians. This study was designed to evaluate the impact of PCV-7 administered at 3, 5 and 11 months of age on respiratory tract infections in very young children.
A total of 1,571 healthy infants (910 males) aged 75–105 days (median 82 days) were enrolled in this prospective cohort trial to receive a hexavalent vaccine (DTaP/IPV/HBV/Hib) and PCV-7 (n = 819) or the hexavalent vaccine alone (n = 752) at 3, 5 and 11 months of age. Morbidity was recorded for the 24 months following the second dose by monthly telephone interviews conducted by investigators blinded to the study treatment assignment using standardised questionnaires. During these interviews, the caregivers and the children's pediatricians were questioned about illnesses and the use of antibiotics since the previous telephone call. All of the data were analysed using SAS Windows v.12.
Among the 1,555 subjects (98.9%) who completed the study, analysis of the data by the periods of follow-up demonstrated that radiologically confirmed community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) was significantly less frequent in the PCV-7 group during the follow-up as a whole and during the last period of follow-up. Moreover, there were statistically significant between-group differences in the incidence of acute otitis media (AOM) in each half-year period of follow-up except the first, with significantly lower number of episodes in children receiving PCV-7 than in controls. Furthermore, the antibiotic prescription data showed that the probability of receiving an antibiotic course was significantly lower in the PCV-7 group than in the control group.
Our findings show the effectiveness of the simplified PCV-7 schedule (three doses administered at 3, 5 and 11–12 months of age) in the prevention of CAP and AOM, diseases in which Streptococcus pneumoniae plays a major etiological role. A further benefit is that the use of PCV-7 reduces the number of antibiotic prescriptions. All of these advantages may also be important from an economic point of view.
Global evaluation of influenza vaccination in children indicates that current recommendations are not followed. Most children at high risk for influenza-related complications do not receive the vaccine, and increased efforts are needed to protect them. Furthermore, immunizing healthy infants 6–23 months of age and their close contacts should be strongly encouraged. Vaccinations are recommended for children with recurrent acute otitis media or recurrent respiratory tract infections and possibly for healthy daycare and school-age children because of the potential socioeconomic implications of influenza. Issues that need to be addressed include educating physicians and parents concerning influenza-related illness and complications, cost-effectiveness and safety of licensed vaccines, adequate vaccine supply, and availability of intranasal products.
Influenza; vaccine; prevention; children; socioeconomic problems