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1.  Cost-Effectiveness Comparison of Response Strategies to a Large-Scale Anthrax Attack on the Chicago Metropolitan Area: Impact of Timing and Surge Capacity 
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality. However, there is uncertainty about the optimal cost-effective response strategy based on timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities. We conducted a decision analytic study to compare response strategies to a theoretical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area beginning either Day 2 or Day 5 after the attack. These strategies correspond to the policy options set forth by the Anthrax Modeling Working Group for population-wide responses to a large-scale anthrax attack: (1) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, (2) postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination, (3) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis, and (4) preattack vaccination with postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination. Outcomes were measured in costs, lives saved, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). We estimated that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis of all 1,390,000 anthrax-exposed people beginning on Day 2 after attack would result in 205,835 infected victims, 35,049 fulminant victims, and 28,612 deaths. Only 6,437 (18.5%) of the fulminant victims could be saved with the existing critical care facilities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Mortality would increase to 69,136 if the response strategy began on Day 5. Including postattack vaccination with antibiotic prophylaxis of all exposed people reduces mortality and is cost-effective for both Day 2 (ICER=$182/QALY) and Day 5 (ICER=$1,088/QALY) response strategies. Increasing ICU bed availability significantly reduces mortality for all response strategies. We conclude that postattack antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination of all exposed people is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for a large-scale anthrax attack. Our findings support the US government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack. Future policies should consider expanding critical care capacity to allow for the rescue of more victims.
Rapid public health response to a large-scale anthrax attack would reduce overall morbidity and mortality, but what is the optimal cost-effective response strategy for timing of intervention, public health resources, and critical care facilities? Using a hypothetical large-scale anthrax attack on the Chicago metropolitan area, this study compared response strategies that would begin either 2 days or 5 days after the attack and would consist of administering prophylaxis and vaccine in various combinations. The findings support the government's plan to provide antibiotic prophylaxis and vaccination for all exposed people within 48 hours of the recognition of a large-scale anthrax attack.
PMCID: PMC3440066  PMID: 22845046
2.  Granulomatous hepatitis due to Bartonella henselae infection in an immunocompetent patient 
Bartonella henselae (B. henselae) is considered a rare cause of granulomatous hepatitis. Due to the fastidious growth characteristics of the bacteria, the limited sensitivity of histopathological stains, and the non-specific histological findings on liver biopsy, the diagnosis of hepatic bartonellosis can be difficult to establish. Furthermore, the optimal treatment of established hepatic bartonellosis remains controversial.
Case presentation
We present a case of hepatic bartonellosis in an immunocompetent woman who presented with right upper quadrant pain and a five cm right hepatic lobe mass on CT scan. The patient underwent a right hepatic lobectomy. Surgical pathology revealed florid necrotizing granulomatous hepatitis, favoring an infectious etiology. Despite extensive histological and serological evaluation a definitive diagnosis was not established initially. Thirteen months after initial presentation, hepatic bartonellosis was diagnosed by PCR studies from surgically excised liver tissue. Interestingly, the hepatic granulomas persisted and Bartonella henselae was isolated from the patient's enriched blood culture after several courses of antibiotic therapy.
The diagnosis of hepatic bartonellosis is exceedingly difficult to establish and requires a high degree of clinical suspicion. Recently developed, PCR-based approaches may be required in select patients to make the diagnosis. The optimal antimicrobial therapy for hepatic bartonellosis has not been established, and close follow-up is needed to ensure successful eradication of the infection.
PMCID: PMC3287964  PMID: 22269175
Granulomatous hepatitis; Bartonella henselae; Diagnosis; Treatment
3.  Mupirocin Resistance among Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus-Colonized Patients at Admission to a Tertiary Care Medical Center▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(7):2279-2280.
All patients admitted to our tertiary care hospital from 1 December 2007 to 10 June 2008 were screened for methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal colonization, and the isolates were tested for mupirocin susceptibility by using Etest. Mupirocin resistance (MR) was noted to occur in 3.4% of MRSA carriers, and high-level MR was noted to occur in 0.62% of carriers.
PMCID: PMC2708468  PMID: 19474267
4.  Hepatotoxicity Associated with Long-versus Short-Course HIV-Prophylactic Nevirapine Use 
Background and objective
The antiretroviral nevirapine can cause severe hepatotoxicity when used ‘off-label’ for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), newborn post-exposure prophylaxis and for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis among non-HIV-infected individuals. We describe the incidence of hepatotoxicity with short- versus long-course nevirapine-containing regimens in these groups.
We reviewed hepatotoxicity cases among non-HIV-infected individuals and HIV-infected pregnant women and their offspring receiving short- (≤4 days) versus long-course (≥5 days) nevirapine prophylaxis. Sources included adverse event reports from pharmaceutical manufacturers and the US FDA, reports from peer-reviewed journals/scientific meetings and the Research on Adverse Drug events And Reports (RADAR) project. Hepatotoxicity was scored using the AIDS Clinical Trial Group criteria.
Toxicity data for 8216 patients treated with nevirapine-containing regimens were reviewed. Among 402 non-HIV-infected individuals receiving short- (n = 251) or long-course (n = 151) nevirapine, rates of grade 1–2 hepatotoxicity were 1.99%versus 5.30%, respectively, and rates of grade 3–4 hepatotoxicity were 0.00% versus 13.25%, respectively (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). Among 4740 HIV-infected pregnant women receiving short- (n = 3031) versus long-course (n = 1709) nevirapine, rates of grade 1–2 hepatotoxicity were 0.62% and 7.04%, respectively, and rates of grade 3–4 hepatotoxicity were 0.23% versus 4.39%, respectively (p < 0.001 for both comparisons). The rates of grade 3–4 hepatotoxicity among 3074 neonates of nevirapine-exposed HIV-infected pregnant women were 0.8% for those receiving short-course (n = 2801) versus 1.1%for those receiving long-course (n = 273) therapy (p < 0.72).
Therapy duration appears to significantly predict nevirapine hepatotoxicity. Short-course nevirapine for HIV prophylaxis is associated with fewer hepatotoxic reactions for non-HIV-infected individuals or pregnant HIV-infected women and their offspring, but administration of prophylactic nevirapine for ≥2 weeks appears to be associated with high rates of hepatotoxicity among non-HIV-infected individuals and HIV-infected pregnant mothers. When full highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens are not available, single-dose nevirapine plus short-course nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors to decrease the development of HIV viral resistance is an essential therapeutic option for PMTCT and these data support the safety of single-dose nevirapine in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2768573  PMID: 19236121
5.  Corynebacterium endocarditis species-specific risk factors and outcomes 
Corynebacterium species are recognized as uncommon agents of endocarditis, but little is known regarding species-specific risk factors and outcomes in Corynebacterium endocarditis.
Case report and Medline search of English language journals for cases of Corynebacterium endocarditis. Inclusion criteria required that cases be identified as endocarditis, having persistent Corynebacterium bacteremia, murmurs described by the authors as identifying the affected valve, or vegetations found by echocardiography or in surgical or autopsy specimens. Cases also required patient-specific information on risk factors and outcomes (age, gender, prior prosthetic valve, other prior nosocomial risk factors (infected valve, involvement of native versus prosthetic valve, need for valve replacement, and death) to be included in the analysis. Publications of Corynebacterium endocarditis which reported aggregate data were excluded. Univariate analysis was conducted with chi-square and t-tests, as appropriate, with p = 0.05 considered significant.
129 cases of Corynebacterium endocarditis involving nine species met inclusion criteria. Corynebacterium endocarditis typically infects the left heart of adult males and nearly one third of patients have underlying valvular disease. One quarter of patients required valve replacement and one half of patients died. Toxigenic C. diphtheriae is associated with pediatric infections (p < 0.001). Only C. amycolatum has a predilection for women (p = 0.024), while C. pseudodiphtheriticum infections are most frequent in men (p = 0.023). C. striatum, C. jeikeium and C. hemolyticum are associated with nosocomial risk factors (p < 0.001, 0.028, and 0.024, respectively). No species was found to have a predilection for any particular heart valve. C. pseudodiphtheriticum is associated with a previous prosthetic valve replacement (p = 0.004). C. jeikeium infections are more likely to require valve replacement (p = 0.026). Infections involving toxigenic C. diphtheriae and C. pseudodiphtheriticum are associated with decreased survival (p = 0.001 and 0.032, respectively).
We report the first analysis of species-specific risk factors and outcomes in Corynebacterium endocarditis. In addition to species-specific associations with age, gender, prior valvular diseases, and other nosocomial risk factors, we found differences in rates of need for valve replacement and death. This review highlights the seriousness of these infections, as up to 28% of patients required valve replacement and 43.5% died.
PMCID: PMC1804271  PMID: 17284316
6.  Effects of type and level of training on variation in physician knowledge in the use and acquisition of blood cultures: a cross sectional survey 
Blood culture (BCX) use is often sub-optimal, and is a user-dependent diagnostic test. Little is known about physician training and BCX-related knowledge. We sought to assess variations in caregiver BCX-related knowledge, and their relation to medical training.
We developed and piloted a self-administered BCX-related knowledge survey instrument. Expert opinion, literature review, focus groups, and mini-pilots reduced > 100 questions in multiple formats to a final questionnaire with 15 scored content items and 4 covariate identifiers. This questionnaire was used in a cross-sectional survey of physicians, fellows, residents and medical students at a large urban public teaching hospital. The responses were stratified by years/level of training, type of specialty training, self-reported practical and theoretical BCX-related instruction. Summary scores were derived from participant responses compared to a 95% consensus opinion of infectious diseases specialists that matched an evidence based reference standard.
There were 291 respondents (Attendings = 72, Post-Graduate Year (PGY) = 3 = 84, PGY2 = 42, PGY1 = 41, medical students = 52). Mean scores differed by training level (Attending = 85.0, PGY3 = 81.1, PGY2 = 78.4, PGY1 = 75.4, students = 67.7) [p ≤ 0.001], and training type (Infectious Diseases = 96.1, Medicine = 81.7, Emergency Medicine = 79.6, Surgery = 78.5, Family Practice = 76.5, Obstetrics-Gynecology = 74.4, Pediatrics = 74.0) [p ≤ 0.001]. Higher summary scores were associated with self-reported theoretical [p ≤ 0.001] and practical [p = 0.001] BCX-related training. Linear regression showed level and type of training accounted for most of the score variation.
Higher mean scores were associated with advancing level of training and greater subject-related training. Notably, house staff and medical students, who are most likely to order and/or obtain BCXs, lack key BCX-related knowledge. Targeted education may improve utilization of this important diagnostic tool.
PMCID: PMC1261264  PMID: 16164757
7.  HIV-related Pneumocystis carinii Pneumonia in Older Patients Hospitalized in the Early HAART Era 
To determine whether older age continues to influence patterns of care and in-hospital mortality for hospitalized persons with HIV-related Pneumocustis carinii pneumonia (PCP), as determined in our prior study from the 1980s.
Retrospective chart review.
Patients (1,861) with HIV-related PCP at 78 hospitals in 8 cities from 1995 to 1997.
Medical record notation of possible HIV infection; alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient; CD4 lymphocyte count; presence or absence of wasting; timely use of anti-PCP medications; in-hospital mortality.
Compared to younger patients, patients ≥50 years of age were less likely to have HIV mentioned in their progress notes (70% vs 82%, P < .001), have mild or moderately severe PCP cases at admission (89% vs 96%, P < .002), receive anti-PCP medications within the first 2 days of hospitalization (86% vs 93%, P <.002), and survive hospitalization (82% vs 90%, P < .003). However, age was not a significant predicator of mortality after adjustment for severity of PCP and timeliness of therapy.
While inpatient PCP mortality has improved by 50% in the past decade, 2-fold age-related mortality differences persist. As in the 1980s, these differences are associated with lower rates of recognition of HIV, increased severity of illenss at admission, and delays in initiation of PCP-specific treatments among older individuals—factors suggestive of delayed recognition of HIV infection, pneumonia, and PCP, respectively. Continued vigilance for the possibility of HIV and HIV-related PCP among persons ≥50 years of age who present with new pulmonary symptoms should be encouraged.
PMCID: PMC1495267  PMID: 11556938
HIV; Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia; age; quality of care; outcomes

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