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1.  vanG Element Insertions within a Conserved Chromosomal Site Conferring Vancomycin Resistance to Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus anginosus 
mBio  2014;5(4):e01386-14.
Three vancomycin-resistant streptococcal strains carrying vanG elements (two invasive Streptococcus agalactiae isolates [GBS-NY and GBS-NM, both serotype II and multilocus sequence type 22] and one Streptococcus anginosus [Sa]) were examined. The 45,585-bp elements found within Sa and GBS-NY were nearly identical (together designated vanG-1) and shared near-identity over an ~15-kb overlap with a previously described vanG element from Enterococcus faecalis. Unexpectedly, vanG-1 shared much less homology with the 49,321-bp vanG-2 element from GBS-NM, with widely different levels (50% to 99%) of sequence identity shared among 44 related open reading frames. Immediately adjacent to both vanG-1 and vanG-2 were 44,670-bp and 44,680-bp integrative conjugative element (ICE)-like sequences, designated ICE-r, that were nearly identical in the two group B streptococcal (GBS) strains. The dual vanG and ICE-r elements from both GBS strains were inserted at the same position, between bases 1328 and 1329, within the identical RNA methyltransferase (rumA) genes. A GenBank search revealed that although most GBS strains contained insertions within this specific site, only sequence type 22 (ST22) GBS strains contained highly related ICE-r derivatives. The vanG-1 element in Sa was also inserted within this position corresponding to its rumA homolog adjacent to an ICE-r derivative. vanG-1 insertions were previously reported within the same relative position in the E. faecalis rumA homolog. An ICE-r sequence perfectly conserved with respect to its counterpart in GBS-NY was apparent within the same site of the rumA homolog of a Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis strain. Additionally, homologous vanG-like elements within the conserved rumA target site were evident in Roseburia intestinalis.
These three streptococcal strains represent the first known vancomycin-resistant strains of their species. The collective observations made from these strains reveal a specific hot spot for insertional elements that is conserved between streptococci and different Gram-positive species. The two GBS strains potentially represent a GBS lineage that is predisposed to insertion of vanG elements.
PMCID: PMC4120198  PMID: 25053786
2.  SARS Surveillance during Emergency Public Health Response, United States, March–July 2003 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(2):185-194.
In response to the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the United States established national surveillance using a sensitive case definition incorporating clinical, epidemiologic, and laboratory criteria. Of 1,460 unexplained respiratory illnesses reported by state and local health departments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from March 17 to July 30, 2003, a total of 398 (27%) met clinical and epidemiologic SARS case criteria. Of these, 72 (18%) were probable cases with radiographic evidence of pneumonia. Eight (2%) were laboratory-confirmed SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infections, 206 (52%) were SARS-CoV negative, and 184 (46%) had undetermined SARS-CoV status because of missing convalescent-phase serum specimens. Thirty-one percent (124/398) of case-patients were hospitalized; none died. Travel was the most common epidemiologic link (329/398, 83%), and mainland China was the affected area most commonly visited. One case of possible household transmission was reported, and no laboratory-confirmed infections occurred among healthcare workers. Successes and limitations of this emergency surveillance can guide preparations for future outbreaks of SARS or respiratory diseases of unknown etiology.
PMCID: PMC3322912  PMID: 15030681
severe acute respiratory syndrome; United States; surveillance; incidence; SARS virus; Coronaviridae; pneumonia; travel; respiratory tract infections
3.  Adherence to Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Prevention Guidelines 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2010;115(6):1217-1224.
To estimate compliance with the 2002 revised perinatal group B streptococci (GBS) prevention guidelines in Tennessee, which recommend universal GBS screening of pregnant women at 35–37 weeks of gestation and, when indicated, administration of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis.
Active Bacterial Core surveillance conducts active, population-based surveillance for invasive GBS disease in 11 Tennessee counties. A retrospective case–cohort study was conducted using a stratified random sample of all live births in surveillance hospitals during 2003–2004, including all early-onset GBS cases. Factors associated with GBS screening and lack of optimal GBS chemoprophylaxis were analyzed using logistic regression.
Screening was performed for 84.7% of pregnant women, but 26.3% of prenatal tests with documented test dates were performed before 35 weeks of gestation. Among women with an indication for GBS prophylaxis, 61.2% received optimal chemoprophylaxis, defined as initiation of a recommended antibiotic 4 hours or more before delivery. When the analysis was restricted to women who were admitted 4 hours or more before delivery, 70.9% received optimal chemoprophylaxis. Women not receiving optimal chemoprophylaxis were more likely to have penicillin allergy (11.7% compared with 2.5%, adjusted odds ratio [OR] 8.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.57–47.04) or preterm delivery (45.5% compared with 13.2%, adjusted OR 5.52, 95% CI 2.29–13.30) and were less likely to have received the recommended prenatal serologic testing for other infectious diseases (77.9% compared with 91.1%, adjusted OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.09–0.98). Forty cases of early-onset GBS were identified (0.36 per 1,000 live births); 25% of these neonates were born to women who received screening at 35 weeks of gestation or later and, when indicated, optimal chemoprophylaxis.
Universal prenatal GBS screening was implemented widely in Tennessee, although the timing of screening and administration of chemoprophylaxis often were not optimal. A substantial burden of early-onset GBS disease occurs despite optimal prenatal screening and chemoprophylaxis, suggesting that alternative strategies, such as vaccination, are needed.
PMCID: PMC3773817  PMID: 20502293
4.  Optimization of Multiple Pathogen Detection Using the TaqMan Array Card: Application for a Population-Based Study of Neonatal Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66183.
Identification of etiology remains a significant challenge in the diagnosis of infectious diseases, particularly in resource-poor settings. Viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens, as well as parasites, play a role for many syndromes, and optimizing a single diagnostic system to detect a range of pathogens is challenging. The TaqMan Array Card (TAC) is a multiple-pathogen detection method that has previously been identified as a valuable technique for determining etiology of infections and holds promise for expanded use in clinical microbiology laboratories and surveillance studies. We selected TAC for use in the Aetiology of Neonatal Infection in South Asia (ANISA) study for identifying etiologies of severe disease in neonates in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Here we report optimization of TAC to improve pathogen detection and overcome technical challenges associated with use of this technology in a large-scale surveillance study. Specifically, we increased the number of assay replicates, implemented a more robust RT-qPCR enzyme formulation, and adopted a more efficient method for extraction of total nucleic acid from blood specimens. We also report the development and analytical validation of ten new assays for use in the ANISA study. Based on these data, we revised the study-specific TACs for detection of 22 pathogens in NP/OP swabs and 12 pathogens in blood specimens as well as two control reactions (internal positive control and human nucleic acid control) for each specimen type. The cumulative improvements realized through these optimization studies will benefit ANISA and perhaps other studies utilizing multiple-pathogen detection approaches. These lessons may also contribute to the expansion of TAC technology to the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC3689704  PMID: 23805203
5.  Methicillin-Resistant and Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia and Meningitis in Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;129(4):e914-e922.
Data are limited on the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with S aureus (SA) bacteremia and/or meningitis (B/M).
Neonatal data for VLBW infants (birth weight 401–1500 g) born January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008, who received care at centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were collected prospectively. Early-onset (≤72 hours after birth) and late-onset (>72 hours) infections were defined by blood or cerebrospinal fluid cultures and antibiotic treatment of ≥5 days (or death <5 days with intent to treat). Outcomes were compared for infants with MRSA versus methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) B/M.
Of 8444 infants who survived >3 days, 316 (3.7%) had SA B/M. Eighty-eight had MRSA (1% of all infants, 28% of infants with SA); 228 had MSSA (2.7% of all infants, 72% of infants with SA). No infant had both MRSA and MSSA B/M. Ninety-nine percent of MRSA infections were late-onset. The percent of infants with MRSA varied by center (P < .001) with 9 of 20 centers reporting no cases. Need for mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other morbidities did not differ between infants with MRSA and MSSA. Mortality was high with both MRSA (23 of 88, 26%) and MSSA (55 of 228, 24%).
Few VLBW infants had SA B/M. The 1% with MRSA had morbidity and mortality rates similar to infants with MSSA. Practices should provide equal focus on prevention and management of both MRSA and MSSA infections among VLBW infants.
PMCID: PMC3313632  PMID: 22412036
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
6.  The Burden of Invasive Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis in the United States, 2005–2008 
Sepsis in the first 3 days of life is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among infants. Group B Streptococcus (GBS), historically the primary cause of early-onset sepsis, has declined through widespread use of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. We estimated the national burden of invasive early-onset sepsis (EOS) cases and deaths in the era of GBS prevention.
Population-based surveillance for invasive EOS was conducted in 4 of CDC’s Active Bacterial Core surveillance (ABCs) sites from 2005–2008. We calculated incidence using state and national live birth files. Estimates of the national number of cases and deaths were calculated, standardizing by race and gestational age.
ABCs identified 658 cases of EOS; 72 (10.9%) were fatal. Overall incidence remained stable during the three years (2005:0.77 cases/1,000 live births; 2008:0.76 cases/1,000 live births). GBS (~38%) was the most commonly reported pathogen followed by Escherichia coli (~24%). Black preterm infants had the highest incidence (5.14 cases/1,000 live births) and case fatality (24.4%). Non-black term infants had the lowest incidence (0.40 cases/1,000 live births) and case fatality (1.6%). The estimated national annual burden of EOS was approximately 3,320 cases (95% CI: 3,060–3,580) including 390 deaths (95% CI: 300–490). Among preterm infants, 1,570 cases (95% CI: 1,400–1,770; 47.3% of the overall) and 360 deaths (95% CI: 280–460; 92.3% of the overall) occurred annually.
The burden of invasive early-onset sepsis remains substantial in the era of GBS prevention and disproportionately affects preterm and black infants. Identification of strategies to prevent preterm births is needed to reduce the neonatal sepsis burden.
PMCID: PMC3193564  PMID: 21654548
early-onset; neonatal sepsis; group B Streptococcus; disease burden
7.  Early Onset Neonatal Sepsis: The Burden of Group B Streptococcal and E. coli Disease Continues 
Pediatrics  2011;127(5):817-826.
Guidelines for prevention of group B streptococcal (GBS) infection have successfully reduced early onset (EO) GBS disease. Study results suggest that Escherichia coli is an important EO pathogen.
To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers.
Infants with EO infection were identified by prospective surveillance at Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Network centers. Infection was defined by positive culture results for blood and cerebrospinal fluid obtained from infants aged ≤72 hours plus treatment with antibiotic therapy for ≥5 days. Mother and infant characteristics, treatments, and outcomes were studied. Numbers of cases and total live births (LBs) were used to calculate incidence.
Among 396 586 LBs (2006–2009), 389 infants developed EO infection (0.98 cases per 1000 LBs). Infection rates increased with decreasing birth weight. GBS (43%, 0.41 per 1000 LBs) and E coli (29%, 0.28 per 1000 LBs) were most frequently isolated. Most infants with GBS were term (73%); 81% with E coli were preterm. Mothers of 67% of infected term and 58% of infected preterm infants were screened for GBS, and results were positive for 25% of those mothers. Only 76% of mothers with GBS colonization received intrapartum chemoprophylaxis. Although 77% of infected infants required intensive care, 20% of term infants were treated in the normal newborn nursery. Sixteen percent of infected infants died, most commonly with E coli infection (33%).
In the era of intrapartum chemoprophylaxis to reduce GBS, rates of EO infection have declined but reflect a continued burden of disease. GBS remains the most frequent pathogen in term infants, and E coli the most significant pathogen in preterm infants. Missed opportunities for GBS prevention continue. Prevention of E coli sepsis, especially among preterm infants, remains a challenge.
PMCID: PMC3081183  PMID: 21518717
neonatal sepsis; group B streptococcal disease; Escherichia coli infection
8.  Application of TaqMan Low-Density Arrays for Simultaneous Detection of Multiple Respiratory Pathogens▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(6):2175-2182.
The large and growing number of viral and bacterial pathogens responsible for respiratory infections poses a challenge for laboratories seeking to provide rapid and comprehensive pathogen identification. We evaluated a novel application of the TaqMan low-density array (TLDA) cards for real-time PCR detection of 21 respiratory-pathogen targets. The performance of the TLDA was compared to that of individual real-time PCR (IRTP) assays with the same primers and probes using (i) nucleic acids extracted from the 21 pathogen strains and 66 closely related viruses and bacteria and (ii) 292 clinical respiratory specimens. With spiked samples, TLDA cards were about 10-fold less sensitive than IRTP assays. By using 292 clinical specimens to generate 2,238 paired individual assays, the TLDA card exhibited 89% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI], 86 to 92%; range per target, 47 to 100%) and 98% specificity (95% CI, 97 to 99%; range per target, 85 to 100%) overall compared to IRTP assays as the gold standard with a threshold cycle (CT) cutoff of 43. The TLDA card approach offers promise for rapid and simultaneous identification of multiple respiratory pathogens for outbreak investigations and disease surveillance.
PMCID: PMC3122721  PMID: 21471348
9.  Serotype Distribution and Invasive Potential of Group B Streptococcus Isolates Causing Disease in Infants and Colonizing Maternal-Newborn Dyads 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e17861.
Serotype-specific polysaccharide based group B streptococcus (GBS) vaccines are being developed. An understanding of the serotype epidemiology associated with maternal colonization and invasive disease in infants is necessary to determine the potential coverage of serotype-specific GBS vaccines.
Colonizing GBS isolates were identified by vaginal swabbing of mothers during active labor and from skin of their newborns post-delivery. Invasive GBS isolates from infants were identified through laboratory-based surveillance. GBS serotyping was done by latex agglutination. Serologically non-typeable isolates were typed by a serotype-specific PCR method. The invasive potential of GBS serotypes associated with sepsis within seven days of birth was evaluated in association to maternal colonizing serotypes.
GBS was identified in 289 (52.4%) newborns born to 551 women with GBS-vaginal colonization and from 113 (5.6%) newborns born to 2,010 mothers in whom GBS was not cultured from vaginal swabs. The serotype distribution among vaginal-colonizing isolates was as follows: III (37.3%), Ia (30.1%), and II (11.3%), V (10.2%), Ib (6.7%) and IV (3.7%). There were no significant differences in serotype distribution between vaginal and newborn colonizing isolates (P = 0.77). Serotype distribution of invasive GBS isolates were significantly different to that of colonizing isolates (P<0.0001). Serotype III was the most common invasive serotype in newborns less than 7 days (57.7%) and in infants 7 to 90 days of age (84.3%; P<0.001). Relative to serotype III, other serotypes showed reduced invasive potential: Ia (0.49; 95%CI 0.31–0.77), II (0.30; 95%CI 0.13–0.67) and V (0.38; 95%CI 0.17–0.83).
In South Africa, an anti-GBS vaccine including serotypes Ia, Ib and III has the potential of preventing 74.1%, 85.4% and 98.2% of GBS associated with maternal vaginal-colonization, invasive disease in neonates less than 7 days and invasive disease in infants between 7–90 days of age, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3061872  PMID: 21445302
10.  Invasive Group B Streptococcal Disease in the Elderly, Minnesota, USA, 2003–2007 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(8):1279-1281.
In Minnesota, incidence of invasive group B streptococcal disease was 3 times greater in older adults in long-term care facilities than in older adults in community settings (67.7/100,000 vs. 21.4/100,000) during 2003–2007. The overall case-fatality rate was 6.8%, and concurrent conditions were common among both groups.
PMCID: PMC2815956  PMID: 19751591
Streptococcus agalactiae; streptococci; long-term care; antimicrobial resistance; elderly; microbial; Minnesota; USA; dispatch
11.  Antibiotic Resistance Patterns in Invasive Group B Streptococcal Isolates 
Antibiotics are used for both group B streptococcal (GBS) prevention and treatment. Active population-based surveillance for invasive GBS disease was conducted in four states during 1996–2003. Of 3813 case-isolates, 91.0% (3471) were serotyped, 77.1% (2937) had susceptibility testing, and 46.6% (3471) had both. All were sensitive to penicillin, ampicillin, cefazolin, cefotaxime, and vancomycin. Clindamycin and erythromycin resistance was 12.7% and 25.6%, respectively, and associated with serotype V (P < .001). Clindamycin resistance increased from 10.5% to 15.0% (X2 for trend 12.70; P < .001); inducible clindamycin resistance was associated with the erm genotype. Erythromycin resistance increased from 15.8% to 32.8% (X2 for trend 55.46; P < .001). While GBS remains susceptible to beta-lactams, resistance to alternative agents such as erythromycin and clindamycin is an increasing concern.
PMCID: PMC2637368  PMID: 19223967
12.  Estimating Influenza Hospitalizations among Children 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(1):103-109.
Two surveillance systems gave a better estimate of influenza hospitalizations in children <5 years of age than either system alone.
Although influenza causes more hospitalizations and deaths among American children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, deriving accurate population-based estimates of disease impact is challenging. Using 2 independent surveillance systems, we performed a capture-recapture analysis to estimate influenza-associated hospitalizations in children in Davidson County, Tennessee, during the 2003–2004 influenza season. The New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) enrolled children hospitalized with respiratory symptoms or fever and tested them for influenza. The Tennessee Emerging Infections Program (EIP) identified inpatients with positive influenza diagnostic test results through review of laboratory and infection control logs. The hospitalization rate estimated from the capture-recapture analysis in children <5 years of age was 2.4 per 1,000 (95% confidence interval 1.8–3.8). When NVSN estimates were compared with capture-recapture estimates, NVSN found 84% of community-acquired cases, EIP found 64% of cases in which an influenza rapid test was performed, and the overall sensitivity of NVSN and EIP for influenza hospitalizations was 73% and 38%, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3372368  PMID: 16494725
Influenza; children; surveillance; epidemiologic methods; research
13.  Emergence of Streptococcus pneumoniae with Very-High-Level Resistance to Penicillin 
Penicillin resistance threatens the treatment of pneumococcal infections. We used sentinel hospital surveillance (1978 to 2001) and population-based surveillance (1995 to 2001) in seven states in the Active Bacterial Core surveillance of the Emerging Infections Program Network to document the emergence in the United States of invasive pneumococcal isolates with very-high-level penicillin resistance (MIC ≥ 8 μg/ml). Very-high-level penicillin resistance was first detected in 1995 in multiple pneumococcal serotypes in three regions of the United States. The prevalence increased from 0.56% (14 of 2,507) of isolates in 1995 to 0.87% in 2001 (P = 0.03), with peaks in 1996 and 2000 associated with epidemics in Georgia and Maryland. For a majority of the strains the MICs of amoxicillin (91%), cefuroxime (100%), and cefotaxime (68%), were ≥8 μg/ml and all were resistant to at least one other drug class. Pneumonia (50%) and bacteremia (36%) were the most common clinical presentations. Factors associated with very highly resistant infections included residence in Tennessee, age of <5 or ≥65 years, and resistance to at least three drug classes. Hospitalization and case fatality rates were not higher than those of other pneumococcal infection patients; length of hospital stay was longer, controlling for age. Among the strains from 2000 and 2001, 39% were related to Tennessee23F-4 and 35% were related to England14-9. After the introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the incidence of highly penicillin resistant infections decreased by 50% among children <5 years of age. The emergence, clonality, and association of very-high-level penicillin resistance with multiple drug resistance requires further monitoring and highlights the need for novel agents active against the pneumococcus.
PMCID: PMC478489  PMID: 15273115
14.  Screening and Counseling Practices Reported by Obstetrician–Gynecologists for Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Infection 
Background: Obstetrician—gynecologists are important providers of primary health care to women, and the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection screening practices and recommendations provided by obstetrician—gynecologists for HCV-infected patients are unknown.
Methods: We surveyed American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Fellows, including 413 Fellows who were participating in the Collaborative Ambulatory Research Network (CARN) and 650 randomly sampled Fellows, about HCV screening and counseling practices.
Results: In total, 74% of CARN members and 44% of non-CARN members responded. Demographics and practice structure were similar between the two groups. More than 80% of providers routinely collected drug use and blood transfusion histories from their patients. Of the respondents, 49% always screened for HCV infection when patients had a history of injection drug use, and 35% screened all patientswho had received a blood transfusion before 1992. For HCV-infected patients, 47% of the physicians always advised against breastfeeding, 70% recommended condom use with a long-term steady partner, and 64% advised against alcohol consumption. Respondents who considered themselves to be primary care providers were no more likely to screen or provide appropriate counseling messages than were other providers.
Conclusions: Most obstetrician—gynecologists are routinely collecting information that can be used to assess HCV infection risk, but HCV screening practices and counseling that are provided for those with HCV infection are not always consistent with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ACOG recommendations.
PMCID: PMC1852263  PMID: 12839631
15.  Sentinel Surveillance: A Reliable Way To Track Antibiotic Resistance in Communities? 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2002;8(5):496-502.
We used population-based data to evaluate how often groups of randomly selected clinical laboratories accurately estimated the prevalence of resistant pneumococci and captured trends in resistance over time. Surveillance for invasive pneumococcal disease was conducted in eight states from 1996 to 1998. Within each surveillance area, we evaluated the proportion of all groups of three, four, and five laboratories that estimated the prevalence of penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci (%PNSP) and the change in %PNSP over time. We assessed whether sentinel groups detected emerging fluoroquinolone resistance. Groups of five performed best. Sentinel groups accurately predicted %PNSP in five states; states where they performed poorly had high between-laboratory variation in %PNSP. Sentinel groups detected large changes in prevalence of nonsusceptibility over time but rarely detected emerging fluoroquinolone resistance. Characteristics of hospital-affiliated laboratories were not useful predictors of a laboratory’s %PNSP. Sentinel surveillance for resistant pneumococci can detect important trends over time but rarely detects newly emerging resistance profiles.
PMCID: PMC2732493  PMID: 11996685
Streptococcus pneumoniae; antimicrobial resistance; surveillance
16.  Limiting the Spread of Resistant Pneumococci: Biological and Epidemiologic Evidence for the Effectiveness of Alternative Interventions 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2000;13(4):588-601.
Streptococcus pneumoniae infections are a leading cause of respiratory illness in young children, the elderly, and persons with chronic medical conditions. The emergence of multidrug-resistant pneumococci has compromised the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy for pneumococcal infections. As antibiotic-resistant strains increase in prevalence, there is a need for interventions that minimize the spread of resistant pneumococci. In this review we provide a framework for understanding the spread of pneumococcal resistance and evaluate proposed interventions to reduce this spread. Pneumococci differ from many drug-resistant pathogens because asymptomatic carriers play a key role in transmission of resistant strains and the genes encoding resistance are spread primarily by transformation and conjugative transposons. Evidence suggests that modifications of treatment regimens that have proved effective at limiting resistance in other pathogens may not prevent the spread of pneumococcal resistance. In contrast, programs encouraging more judicious antibiotic use have been shown to be effective. Additionally, a newly developed conjugate pneumococcal vaccine holds great potential as an “antiresistance vaccine” that simultaneously reduces the burden of invasive disease and the prevalence of resistant strains. Several areas of future epidemiologic and laboratory research hold promise to contribute to the reduced spread of pneumococcal resistance.
PMCID: PMC88951  PMID: 11023959
17.  Spontaneous Mutation Rate of Measles Virus: Direct Estimation Based on Mutations Conferring Monoclonal Antibody Resistance 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(1):51-54.
High mutation rates typical of RNA viruses often generate a unique viral population structure consisting of a large number of genetic microvariants. In the case of viral pathogens, this can result in rapid evolution of antiviral resistance or vaccine-escape mutants. We determined a direct estimate of the mutation rate of measles virus, the next likely target for global elimination following poliovirus. In a laboratory tissue culture system, we used the fluctuation test method of estimating mutation rate, which involves screening a large number of independent populations initiated by a small number of viruses each for the presence or absence of a particular single point mutation. The mutation we focused on, which can be screened for phenotypically, confers resistance to a monoclonal antibody (MAb 80-III-B2). The entire H gene of a subset of mutants was sequenced to verify that the resistance phenotype was associated with single point mutations. The epitope conferring MAb resistance was further characterized by Western blot analysis. Based on this approach, measles virus was estimated to have a mutation rate of 9 × 10−5 per base per replication and a genomic mutation rate of 1.43 per replication. The mutation rates we estimated for measles virus are comparable to recent in vitro estimates for both poliovirus and vesicular stomatitis virus. In the field, however, measles virus shows marked genetic stability. We briefly discuss the evolutionary implications of these results.
PMCID: PMC103807  PMID: 9847306

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