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1.  Vaccination against human papillomavirus among 865 female students from the health professions in central Greece: a questionnaire-based cross-sectional study 
There are still sparse data on vaccination coverage against human papillomavirus (HPV) among students in the health professions. The aim of this study was to investigate HPV vaccination coverage in female students from the health professions in Greece.
A self-administered, anonymous questionnaire was distributed to second-year and third-year female students pursuing degrees in medicine, nursing, and paramedical health disciplines in central Greece.
Overall vaccination coverage was 44.3%. The major reason for lack of vaccination was fear about safety of the vaccine. Participants who had received information about safety of the vaccine from the mass media and paramedical students had lower vaccination coverage in comparison with students who had received information about vaccine safety from alternative sources.
Further quantitative and qualitative research is needed to design educational activities targeting female students in the health professions in order to create a positive domino effect and improve HPV vaccination coverage levels in Greece.
PMCID: PMC3855014  PMID: 24324338
human papillomavirus; vaccination; coverage; students; health professions; mass media; Greece
2.  Seven-Year Surveillance of emm Types of Pediatric Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis Isolates in Western Greece 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71558.
An experimental 26-valent M protein Group A streptococcal (GAS) vaccine has entered clinical studies. Pharyngeal GAS emm type surveillances in different areas and time-periods enhance the understanding of the epidemiology of GAS pharyngitis. Moreover, these surveillances, combined with the data on GAS invasive disease, can play a significant role in the formulation of multivalent type-specific vaccines.
During a 7-year period (1999–2005), 2408 GAS isolates were recovered from consecutive children with pharyngitis in Western Greece. The overall macrolide resistance rate was 22.8%. Along the study period we noted a tendency towards significantly decreased rates of resistance, with the lowest rates occurring in 2002 (15.3%), 2003 (15%) and 2004 (16.7%). A random sample of isolates from each year, 338 (61.7%) of the 548 macrolide-resistant and 205 (11%) of the macrolide-susceptible, underwent molecular analysis, including emm typing.
The 543 typed isolates had 28 different emm types. A statistically significant association was found between macrolide resistance and emm4, emm22 and emm77, whereas emm1, emm3, emm6, emm12, emm87 and emm89 were associated with macrolide susceptibility. A significant yearly fluctuation was observed in emm4, emm28 and emm77. The most common macrolide-resistant GAS were emm77 isolates harboring erm(A), either alone or in combination with mef(A), emm4 carrying mef(A), emm28 possessing erm(B), emm75 carrying mef(A), emm12 harboring mef(A) and emm22 carrying erm(A). We estimated that 82.8% of the isolates belonged to emm types included in the novel 26-valent M protein vaccine. The vaccine coverage rate was determined mainly by the increased frequency of nonvaccine emm4 isolates.
A limited number of emm types dominated among macrolide-susceptible and macrolide-resistant GAS isolates. We observed seasonal fluctuations, which were significant for emm4, emm28 and emm77. This type of data can serve as baseline information if the novel 26-valent M protein GAS vaccine is introduced into practice.
PMCID: PMC3747210  PMID: 23977078
3.  Macrolide resistance determinants among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from carriers in Central Greece 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:255.
We sought to characterize the temporal trends in nasopharyngeal carriage of macrolide-resistant pneumococci during a period with increased heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) coverage in Central Greece.
Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were recovered from 2649 nasopharyngeal samples obtained from day-care center attendees in Central Greece during 2005–2009. A phenotypic and genotypic analysis of the isolates was performed, including the identification of macrolide resistance genes mef(A), subclasses mef(A) and mef(E), as well as erm(B).
Of the 1105 typeable S. pneumoniae isolates, 265 (24%) were macrolide-resistant; 22% in 2005, 33.3% in 2006, 23.7% in 2007, and 20.5% in 2009 (P=0.398). Among these macrolide-resistant pneumococci, 28.5% possessed erm(B), 24.3% erm(B)+mef(E), 41.8% mef(E), and 5.3% mef(A). A mef gene as the sole resistance determinant was carried by 31% of macrolide-resistant isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes and 75.8% of the non-PCV7 serotypes. Across the 4 annual surveillances, pneumococci carrying mef(A) gradually disappeared, whereas serotype 19F isolates carrying both erm(B) and mef(E) persisted without significant yearly fluctuations. Among isolates belonging to non-PCV7 serotypes, macrolide-resistance was observed in those of serotypes 6A, 19A, 10A, 15A, 15B/C, 35F, 35A, and 24F. In 2009, ie 5 years after the introduction of PCV7 in our country, 59% of macrolide-resistant pneumococci belonged to non-PCV7 serotypes.
Across the study period, the annual frequency of macrolide-resistant isolates did not change significantly, but in 2009 a marked shift to non-PCV7 serotypes occurred. Overall, more than half of the macrolide-resistant isolates possessed erm(B) either alone or in combination with mef(E). erm(B) dominated among isolates belonging to PCV7 serotypes, but not among those of non-PCV7 serotypes.
PMCID: PMC3484024  PMID: 23057516
4.  European ST80 community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus orbital cellulitis in a neonate 
BMC Ophthalmology  2012;12:7.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality in hospital environment, but also, lately, in the community. This case report is, to our knowledge, the first detailed description of a community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus ST80 orbital cellulitis in a previously healthy neonate. Possible predisposing factors of microbial acquisition and treatment selection are also discussed.
Case presentation
A 28-day-old Caucasian boy was referred to our hospital with the diagnosis of right orbital cellulitis. His symptoms included right eye proptosis, periocular edema and redness. Empirical therapy of intravenous daptomycin, rifampin and ceftriaxone was initiated. The culture of pus yielded a methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolate and the molecular analysis revealed that it was a Panton-Valentine leukocidine-positive ST80 strain. The combination antimicrobial therapy was continued for 42 days and the infection was successfully controlled.
Clinicians should be aware that young infants, even without any predisposing condition, are susceptible to orbital cellulitis caused by community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Prompt initiation of the appropriate empirical therapy, according to the local epidemiology, should successfully address the infection, preventing ocular and systemic complications.
PMCID: PMC3352026  PMID: 22490061
Neonatal orbital cellulitis; Methicillin-resistant; Staphylococcus aureus; Daptomycin
5.  Fusidic acid and clindamycin resistance in community-associated, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in children of Central Greece 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:351.
In Greece, fusidic acid and clindamycin are commonly used for the empiric therapy of suspected staphylococcal infections.
The medical records of children examined at the outpatient clinics or admitted to the pediatric wards of the University General Hospital of Larissa, Central Greece, with community-associated staphylococcal infections from January 2003 to December 2009 were reviewed.
Of 309 children (0-14 years old), 21 (6.8%) had invasive infections and 288 (93.2%) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). Thirty-five patients were ≤30 days of age. The proportion of staphylococcal infections caused by a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) isolate increased from 51.5% (69 of 134) in 2003-2006 to 63.4% (111 of 175) in 2007-2009 (P = 0.037). Among the CA-MRSA isolates, 88.9% were resistant to fusidic acid, 77.6% to tetracycline, and 21.1% to clindamycin. Clindamycin resistance increased from 0% (2003) to 31.2% (2009) among the CA-MRSA isolates (P = 0.011). Over the 7-year period, an increase in multidrug-resistant CA-MRSA isolates was observed (P = 0.004). One hundred and thirty-one (93.6%) of the 140 tested MRSA isolates were Panton-Valentine leukocidin-positive. Multilocus sequence typing of 72 CA-MRSA isolates revealed that they belonged to ST80 (n = 61), ST30 (n = 6), ST377 (n = 3), ST22 (n = 1), and ST152 (n = 1). Resistance to fusidic acid was observed in ST80 (58/61), ST30 (1/6), and ST22 (1/1) isolates.
In areas with high rate of infections caused by multidrug-resistant CA-MRSA isolates, predominantly belonging to the European ST80 clone, fusidic acid and clindamycin should be used cautiously as empiric therapy in patients with suspected severe staphylococcal infections.
PMCID: PMC3019191  PMID: 21144056
6.  Resistance to Erythromycin and Telithromycin in Streptococcus pyogenes Isolates Obtained between 1999 and 2002 from Greek Children with Tonsillopharyngitis: Phenotypic and Genotypic Analysis 
Since the late 1990s, the prevalence of erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pyogenes has significantly increased in several European countries. Between January 1999 and December 2002, 1,577 isolates of S. pyogenes were recovered from children with tonsillopharyngitis living in various areas of Western Greece. Erythromycin resistance was observed in 379 (24%) of the 1,577 isolates. All erythromycin-resistant strains along with 153 randomly selected erythromycin-susceptible S. pyogenes isolates were tested for their antimicrobial susceptibility, resistance phenotypes, and genotypes. Representative isolates underwent emm gene sequence typing. Isolates with reduced susceptibility to telithromycin (MIC, ≥2 μg/ml) were studied for multilocus sequence type, L22, L4, and 23S rRNA mutations. Of the total 379 erythromycin-resistant isolates, 193 (50.9%) harbored the mef(A) gene, 163 (43%) erm(A), 1 (0.3%) mef(A) plus erm(A), and 22 (5.8%) the erm(B) gene. Among the erythromycin-susceptible isolates, emm 1 (25%), emm 2 (12.5%), and emm 77 (12.5%) predominated. Furthermore, among the erythromycin-resistant isolates, emm 4 (30.6%), emm 28 (22.2%), and emm 77 (12.5%) prevailed. Resistance to telithromycin was observed in 22 (5.8%) of the erythromycin-resistant isolates. Sixteen (72.7%) of the 22 isolates appeared to be clonally related, since all of them belonged to emm type 28 and multilocus sequence type 52. One of the well-known mutations (T2166C) in 23S rRNA, as well as a new one (T2136C), was detected in erythromycin- and telithromycin-resistant isolates. High incidence of macrolide resistance and clonal spread of telithromycin resistance were the characteristics of the Greek S. pyogenes isolates obtained from 1999 to 2002.
PMCID: PMC1346824  PMID: 16377695
7.  Antimicrobial Susceptibility and Macrolide Resistance Inducibility of Streptococcus pneumoniae Carrying erm(A), erm(B), or mef(A) 
Erythromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from young carriers were tested for their antimicrobial susceptibility; additionally, inducibility of macrolide and clindamycin resistance was investigated in pneumococci carrying erm(A), erm(B), or mef(A). Of 125 strains tested, 101 (81%) were multidrug resistant. Different levels of induction were observed with erythromycin, miocamycin, and clindamycin in erm(B) strains; however, in erm(A) strains only erythromycin was an inducer. Induction did not affect macrolide MICs in mef(A) strains.
PMCID: PMC166089  PMID: 12878546
8.  Identification of an erm(A) Erythromycin Resistance Methylase Gene in Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolated in Greece 
In a serotype 11A clone of erythromycin-resistant pneumococci isolated from young Greek carriers, we identified the nucleotide sequence of erm(A), a methylase gene previously described as erm(TR) in Streptococcus pyogenes. The erm(A) pneumococci were resistant to 14- and 15-member macrolides, inducibly resistant to clindamycin, and susceptible to streptogramin B. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of resistance to erythromycin in S. pneumoniae attributed solely to the carriage of the erm(A) gene.
PMCID: PMC90289  PMID: 11120994
9.  Molecular Epidemiology of Penicillin-Nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae among Children in Greece 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(12):4361-4366.
A total of 145 penicillin-nonsusceptible Streptococcus pneumoniae strains were isolated from young carriers in Greece and analyzed by antibiotic susceptibility testing, serotyping, restriction fragment end labeling (RFEL), and penicillin-binding protein (PBP) genotyping. The serotypes 23A and 23F (54%), 19A and 19F (25%), 9V (5%), 15A, 15B, and 15C (4%), 6A and 6B (4%), and 21 (4%) were most prevalent in this collection. Fifty-three distinct RFEL types were identified. Sixteen different RFEL clusters, harboring 2 to 32 strains each, accounted for 82% of all strains. Eight of these genetic clusters representing 60% of the strains were previously identified in other countries. A predominant lineage of 66 strains (46%) harboring five RFEL types and the serotypes 19F and 23F was closely related to the pandemic clone Spain23F-1 (genetic relatedness of ≥85%). Another lineage, representing 11 strains, showed close genetic relatedness to the pandemic clone France9V-3. Another lineage of 8 serotype 21 strains was Greece specific since the RFEL types were not observed in an international collection of 193 genotypes from 16 different countries. Characterization of the PBP genes pbp1a, pbp2b, and pbp2x revealed 20 distinct PBP genotypes of which PBP type 1-1-1, initially observed in the pandemic clones 23F and 9V, was predominantly present in 11 RFEL types in this Greek collection of penicillin-nonsusceptible strains (55%). Sixteen PBP types covering 52 strains (36%) were Greece specific. This study underlines the strong contribution of penicillin-resistant international clones to the prevalence and spread of penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci among young children in Greece.
PMCID: PMC87606  PMID: 11101565

Results 1-9 (9)