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1.  Methicillin-Resistant and Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia and Meningitis in Preterm Infants 
Pediatrics  2012;129(4):e914-e922.
BACKGROUND:
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).
METHODS:
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.
RESULTS:
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%).
CONCLUSIONS:
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.
doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0966
PMCID: PMC3313632  PMID: 22412036
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
2.  Clostridium difficile Infections among Hospitalized Children, United States, 1997–2006 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(10):604-9.
doi:10.3201/eid1610.100637
PMCID: PMC3294400  PMID: 20875309
Clostridium difficile; epidemiology; infection; bacteria; hospitalized children; diarrhea; letter
3.  Guide to designing, conducting, publishing and communicating results of clinical studies involving probiotic applications in human participants 
Gut Microbes  2010;1(4):243-253.
The heterogeneity of human clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of probiotics presents challenges regarding interpretation and comparison. Evidence obtained from clinical trials among a population with a disease or specific risk factors may not be generalizable to healthy individuals. The evaluation of interventions in healthy persons requires careful selection of outcomes due to the absence of health indicators and the low incidence of preventable conditions. Given the tremendous resources invested in such trials, development of consistent approaches to assessing the effectiveness of probiotics would be beneficial. Furthermore, the reporting, presentation and communication of results may also affect the validity of the scientific evidence obtained from a trial. This review outlines the challenges associated with the design, implementation, data analysis and interpretation of clinical trials in humans involving probiotics. Best practices related to their design are offered along with recommendations for enhanced collaboration to advance research in this emerging field.
doi:10.4161/gmic.1.4.12707
PMCID: PMC3023606  PMID: 21327031
probiotics; clinical trials; human; guidelines; study design
4.  The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(9):1540.
doi:10.3201/eid1509.090668
PMCID: PMC2819853
Sanitation; toilet; international health; book review
5.  Inhibitory Effect of Breast Milk on Infectivity of Live Oral Rotavirus Vaccines 
Background
Live oral rotavirus vaccines have been less immunogenic and efficacious among children in poor developing countries compared with middle income and industrialized countries for reasons that are not yet completely understood. We assessed whether the neutralizing activity of breast milk could lower the titer of vaccine virus and explain this difference in vitro.
Methods
Breast milk samples were collected from mothers who were breast-feeding infants 4 to 29 weeks of age (ie, vaccine eligible age) in India (N = 40), Vietnam (N = 77), South Korea (N = 34), and the United States (N = 51). We examined breast milk for rotavirus-specific IgA and neutralizing activity against 3 rotavirus vaccine strains—RV1, RV5 G1, and 116E using enzyme immunoassays. The inhibitory effect of breast milk on RV1 was further examined by a plaque reduction assay.
Findings
Breast milk from Indian women had the highest IgA and neutralizing titers against all 3 vaccine strains, while lower but comparable median IgA and neutralizing titers were detected in breast milk from Korean and Vietnamese women, and the lowest titers were seen in American women. Neutralizing activity was greatest against the 2 vaccine strains of human origin, RV1 and 116E. This neutralizing activity in one half of the breast milk specimens from Indian women could reduce the effective titer of RV1 by ~2 logs, of 116E by 1.5 logs, and RV5 G1 strain by ~1 log more than that of breast milk from American women.
Interpretation
The lower immunogenicity and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in poor developing countries could be explained, in part, by higher titers of IgA and neutralizing activity in breast milk consumed by their infants at the time of immunization that could effectively reduce the potency of the vaccine. Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e3181e232ea
PMCID: PMC3704726  PMID: 20442687
rotavirus; RV1; RV5; neutralizing activity; breast milk
6.  Oral Rotavirus Vaccines: How Well Will They Work Where They Are Needed Most? 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;200(0 1):S39-S48.
Rotavirus vaccines hold promise to decrease the burden of severe diarrhea in the poorest countries, where 85% of deaths due to rotavirus occur. However, the potency of live oral vaccines is lower in these challenging settings than in middle- and upper-income countries. Many hypotheses have been suggested to explain these differences that could provide clues to improve the ultimate success of these novel vaccines. Although introduction today of even moderately effective vaccines will decrease the morbidity and mortality associated with rotavirus in low-income settings, research is urgently needed to understand why these differences in efficacy occur and what could be done to improve vaccine performance to maximize the life-saving benefits of vaccination.
doi:10.1086/605035
PMCID: PMC3673012  PMID: 19817613
7.  Red Book: 2006 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 27th Edition 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(12):2003-2004.
doi:10.3201/eid1212.061045
PMCID: PMC3291376
Red Book; L.K. Pickering; C.J. Baker; S.S. Long; J.A. McMillan; Committee on Infectious Diseases
8.  The Burden of Invasive Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis in the United States, 2005–2008 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e318223bad2
PMCID: PMC3193564  PMID: 21654548
early-onset; neonatal sepsis; group B Streptococcus; disease burden
9.  Early Onset Neonatal Sepsis: The Burden of Group B Streptococcal and E. coli Disease Continues 
Pediatrics  2011;127(5):817-826.
BACKGROUND:
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.
OBJECTIVE:
To determine EO infection rates, pathogens, morbidity, and mortality in a national network of neonatal centers.
METHODS:
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.
RESULTS:
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%).
CONCLUSION:
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.
doi:10.1542/peds.2010-2217
PMCID: PMC3081183  PMID: 21518717
neonatal sepsis; group B streptococcal disease; Escherichia coli infection

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