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1.  Sub-Typing of Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase-Producing Isolates from a Nosocomial Outbreak: Application of a 10-Loci Generic Escherichia coli Multi-Locus Variable Number Tandem Repeat Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83030.
Extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-E. coli) were isolated from infants hospitalized in a neonatal, post-surgery ward during a four-month-long nosocomial outbreak and six-month follow-up period. A multi-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), using 10 loci (GECM-10), for ‘generic’ (i.e., non-STEC) E. coli was applied for sub-species-level (i.e., sub-typing) delineation and characterization of the bacterial isolates. Ten distinct GECM-10 types were detected among 50 isolates, correlating with the types defined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), which is recognized to be the ‘gold-standard’ method for clinical epidemiological analyses. Multi-locus sequence typing (MLST), multiplex PCR genotyping of blaCTX-M, blaTEM, blaOXA and blaSHV genes and antibiotic resistance profiling, as well as a PCR assay specific for detecting isolates of the pandemic O25b-ST131 strain, further characterized the outbreak isolates. Two clusters of isolates with distinct GECM-10 types (G06-04 and G07-02), corresponding to two major PFGE types and the MLST-based sequence types (STs) 131 and 1444, respectively, were confirmed to be responsible for the outbreak. The application of GECM-10 sub-typing provided reliable, rapid and cost-effective epidemiological characterizations of the ESBL-producing isolates from a nosocomial outbreak that correlated with and may be used to replace the laborious PFGE protocol for analyzing generic E. coli.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083030
PMCID: PMC3877011  PMID: 24391735
2.  Comparison of rectal swabs and faeces for real-time PCR detection of enteric agents in Rwandan children with gastroenteritis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:447.
Background
Molecular diagnostics have emerged as an efficient and feasible alternative for broad detection of pathogens in faeces. However, collection of stool samples is often impractical in both clinical work and in epidemiology studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic performance of rectal swabs as compared with traditional faeces samples for detection of enteric agents by PCR.
Method
Three hundred twenty-six pairs of rectal swab and stool samples, obtained from Rwandan children aged 0.5-4.99 years, with or without diarrhoea, were analysed by multiple real-time PCR amplifying 3 viral, 6 bacterial and one protozoan target.
Results
For all agents there was a significant correlation (R2 0.31-0.85) between Ct values in faeces and rectal swabs. For most agents the Ct values, a marker for target concentration, were significantly lower (by 1–3 cycles) in faeces, indicating pathogen content up to ten times higher than in rectal swabs. Despite this, there was no significant difference in detection rate between faeces and rectal swabs for any agent, reflecting that pathogen concentration was far above the limit of detection in the majority of cases.
Conclusion
The similar detection rates and the Ct value correlations as compared with traditional faeces samples indicate that rectal swabs are accurate for real-time PCR-based identification of enteric agents and may be used also for quantitative estimation of pathogen load.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-447
PMCID: PMC3850680  PMID: 24073740
3.  Multiplex quantitative PCR for detection of lower respiratory tract infection and meningitis caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and Neisseria meningitidis 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:310.
Background
Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae cause pneumonia and as Neisseria meningitidis they are important agents of meningitis. Although several PCR methods have been described for these bacteria the specificity is an underestimated problem. Here we present a quantitative multiplex real-time PCR (qmPCR) for detection of S. pneumoniae (9802 gene fragment), H. influenzae (omp P6 gene) and N. meningitidis (ctrA gene). The method was evaluated on bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) samples from 156 adults with lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and 31 controls, and on 87 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from meningitis patients.
Results
The analytical sensitivity was not affected by using a combined mixture of reagents and a combined DNA standard (S. pneumoniae/H. influenzae/N. meningitidis) in single tubes. By blood- and BAL-culture and S. pneumoniae urinary antigen test, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae were aetiological agents in 21 and 31 of the LTRI patients, respectively. These pathogens were identified by qmPCR in 52 and 72 of the cases, respectively, yielding sensitivities and specificities of 95% and 75% for S. pneumoniae, and 90% and 65% for H. influenzae, respectively. When using a cut-off of 105 genome copies/mL for clinical positivity the sensitivities and specificities were 90% and 80% for S. pneumoniae, and 81% and 85% for H. influenzae, respectively. Of 44 culture negative but qmPCR positive for H. influenzae, 41 were confirmed by fucK PCR as H. influenzae. Of the 103 patients who had taken antibiotics prior to sampling, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae were identified by culture in 6% and 20% of the cases, respectively, and by the qmPCR in 36% and 53% of the cases, respectively.
In 87 CSF samples S. pneumoniae and N. meningitidis were identified by culture and/or 16 S rRNA in 14 and 10 samples and by qmPCR in 14 and 10 samples, respectively, giving a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 100% for both bacteria.
Conclusions
The PCR provides increased sensitivity and the multiplex format facilitates diagnosis of S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae and N. meningitidis and the assay enable detection after antibiotic treatment has been installed. Quantification increases the specificity of the etiology for pneumonia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-310
PMCID: PMC3016321  PMID: 21129171
4.  First Case of Human “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” Infection in a Febrile Patient with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1956-1959.
An immunocompromised patient presented with febrile episodes, an erysipelas-like rash, and thromboembolic complications. Amplification of 16S rRNA gene sequences from blood and sequence analysis revealed “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis.” We report the first case of human disease caused by “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis.”
doi:10.1128/JCM.02423-09
PMCID: PMC2863919  PMID: 20220155
5.  Clinical severity of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) infection is associated with bacterial load in oropharyngeal secretions but not with MP genotype 
Background
Disease severity in Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) infection could potentially be related to bacterial factors such as MP genotype (MP1 or MP2; distinguished by different adhesions proteins) or bacterial load in airway secretions. We have compared these parameters in patients who were hospitalized for MP pneumonia, with outpatients with mild MP disease.
Methods
MP bacterial load was measured by real-time PCR in 45 in- and outpatients ("clinical study group") in whom MP DNA had been detected in oropharyngeal secretions by PCR. In addition, genotype and phylogenetic relationships were determined. The phylogenetical assessment was done by partial DNA sequencing of the P1 gene on isolates from 33 patients in the clinical study-group where sufficient DNA was available. The assessment was further extended to isolates from 13 MP-positive family members and 37 unselected MP positive patients from the two subsequent years and two different geographical locations. In total 83 strains were molecular characterized.
Results
Mean MP loads were significantly higher in 24 hospitalized patients than in 21 outpatients (1600 vs. 170 genomic equivalents/μL, p = 0.009). This difference remained significant after adjustment for age and days between disease onset and sampling. Hospitalized patients also had higher C-reactive protein levels. Mean levels were 188 vs 20 mg/L (p = 0,001). The genotype assessment showed MP genotype 1 in 17 of the 33 sequenced strains from the clinical study-group, and type 2 in 16 of these patients. Within each genotype, sequence differences were minimal. No association between disease severity and MP genotype was observed. In the extended genotype assessment, MP1 was found in similar proportions. In family contacts it was found in 53% and among patients from the two subsequent years 53% and 40%.
Conclusions
A higher MP bacterial load in throat secretions at diagnosis was associated with more advanced respiratory disease in patients, but MP genotype did not influence disease severity. Both MP genotypes co-circulated during recent outbreaks in Sweden.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-39
PMCID: PMC2837002  PMID: 20184731
6.  Infection with Panton-Valentine Leukocidin–Positive Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus t034 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(8):1271-1272.
Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)–positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), sequence type 398 is believed to be of animal origin. We report 2 cases of infection due to PVL–positive MRSA, spa type t034, in patients in Sweden who had had no animal contact.
doi:10.3201/eid1408.071427
PMCID: PMC2600383  PMID: 18680653
MRSA; t034; PVL; ST398; dispatch
7.  Molecular Epidemiology of Mycobacterium abscessus, with Focus on Cystic Fibrosis▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(5):1497-1504.
Mycobacterium abscessus has been isolated increasingly often from the respiratory tracts of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. It is not known whether these organisms are transmitted from person to person or acquired from environmental sources. Here, colony morphology and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern were examined for 71 isolates of M. abscessus derived from 14 CF patients, three non-CF patients with chronic respiratory M. abscessus infection or colonization, one patient with mastoiditis, and four patients with infected wounds, as well as for six isolates identified as environmental contaminants in various clinical specimens. Contaminants and wound isolates mainly exhibited smooth colony morphology, while a rough colony phenotype was significantly associated with chronic airway colonization (P = 0.014). Rough strains may exhibit increased airway-colonizing capacity, the cause of which remains to be determined. Examination by PFGE of consecutive isolates from the same patient showed that they all represented a single strain, even in cases where both smooth and rough isolates were present. When PFGE patterns were compared, it was shown that 24 patients had unique strains, while four patients harbored strains indistinguishable by PFGE. Two of these were siblings with CF. The other two patients, one of whom had CF, had not had contact with each other or with the siblings. Our results show that most patients colonized by M. abscessus in the airways have unique strains, indicating that these strains derive from the environment and that patient-to-patient transmission rarely occurs.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02592-06
PMCID: PMC1865885  PMID: 17376883
8.  Detection of bacterial DNA in painful degenerated spinal discs in patients without signs of clinical infection 
European Spine Journal  2004;13(8):702-706.
A local inflammatory and potentially painful response, of which the ultimate cause is unknown, has been described in nervous tissues in contact with degenerated disc material in patients with low back and leg pain. With the rationale that a possible cause of such inflammation could be bacterial infection, we utilized PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification of the 16S rRNA (ribosomal RNA) gene followed by gene sequencing, to investigate whether bacterial DNA might be detected in the degenerative discs of 10 patients operated for disc herniation or post-discectomy syndrome. One patient with disc hernia harbored DNA homologous to Bacillus cereus, and in one patient suffering from post-discectomy syndrome, Citrobacter braaki/freundii DNA was detected. The finding demonstrates that 16S rRNA PCR can be a useful tool in search of bacterial DNA in degenerated discs, which in turn may be indicative of low-grade infection, manifesting itself only as pain rather than as clinical infection.
doi:10.1007/s00586-004-0719-z
PMCID: PMC3454053  PMID: 15138861
Low back pain; Herniated disc; Discitis; Polymerase chain reaction; Bacterial DNA
9.  Genetic Profiling of Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli Strains in Relation to Clonality and Clinical Signs of Infection 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2002;40(3):959-964.
Sixty-seven human strains of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) (from patients with more or less severe symptoms) were serogrouped and arranged according to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns. We used PCR to investigate the strains according to known or putative virulence factors, and associations with disease were studied. All EHEC strains with the same PFGE pattern belonged to the same serogroup. On the contrary, two serogroups (O157 and O8) included strains with different PFGE patterns. We found several different combinations of chromosomal and plasmid-borne determinants, encoding the putative virulence factors, among the strains. As judged from clinical symptoms, there was no marked difference in pathogenicity among the strains and their combinations of virulence traits. All strains of O157 had the genes coding for verocytotoxin (VT) 2, intimin (eaeA), E. coli hemolysin (E-hly), and secreted serine protease (espP). Among EHEC non-O157 strains, the genes coding for VT1 and VT2 were equally dispersed. EaeA positivity was just as common among VT1- as VT2-positive strains. Among the plasmid-borne determinants, E-hly and espP were the most common and E-hly might be a pathogenicity marker among EHEC non-O157 strains. The conclusion is that PFGE is a very useful tool in epidemiological studies. The EHEC plasmids are heterogeneous in their gene composition, with the four plasmid-borne determinants found in many combinations. There was no reliable correlation between chromosomal and plasmid-borne virulence factors and human disease.
doi:10.1128/JCM.40.3.959-964.2002
PMCID: PMC120270  PMID: 11880423
10.  Evaluation of PCR for Diagnosis of Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis Infections 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(3):679-683.
PCR, using primers PIp1 and PIp2, was evaluated for the detection of DNA from Bordetella pertussis in bacterial strains and in nasopharyngeal samples from patients with a cough lasting at least 7 days. The assay could detect DNA from 6 CFU of B. pertussis/10 μl of sample. Results of the PCR assay were compared with those of cultures, a determination of serum antibodies against pertussis toxin and filamentous hemagglutinin, and a clinical evaluation of 2,442 coughing episodes. The overall sensitivity of PCR was 65% (623 of 956), which was higher than the sensitivity of cultures (58%) (P < 0.001). Factors influencing the sensitivity of PCR were the interval between the onset of symptoms and sampling and the vaccination status of the patient. The specificity of PCR was 98% (1,451 of 1,486). The positive and negative predictive values were 95 and 81%, respectively. Parapertussis PCR, using primers BPPA and BPPZ, was positive in 11 of 18 culture-positive cases and was confirmed by serology in another 4 cases. In conclusion, PCR is a valuable complement to cultures and can probably replace cultures for diagnosis of B. pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis infections.
PMCID: PMC104608  PMID: 9508295

Results 1-10 (10)