In Italy, Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase producing K. pneumoniae (KPC-Kp) strains are highly endemic and KPC producing CC258 is reported as the widely predominating clone. In Palermo, Italy, previous reports have confirmed this pattern. However, recent preliminary findings suggest that an epidemiological change is likely ongoing towards a polyclonal KPC-Kp spread. Here we present the results of molecular typing of 94 carbapenem non susceptible K. pneumoniae isolates detected during 2014 in the three different hospitals in Palermo, Italy.
Methods and Results
Ninety-four consecutive, non replicate carbapenem non susceptible isolates were identified in the three largest acute general hospitals in Palermo, Italy, in the six-month period March-August 2014. They were characterized by PCR for β-lactam, aminoglycoside and plasmid mediated fluoroquinolone resistance genetic determinants. The mgrB gene of the colistin resistant isolates was amplified and sequenced. Clonality was assessed by pulsed field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. Eight non-CC258 sequence types (STs) were identified accounting for 60% of isolates. In particular, ST307 and ST273 accounted for 29% and 18% of isolates. CC258 isolates were more frequently susceptible to gentamicin and non-CC258 isolates to amikacin. Colistin non susceptibility was found in 42% of isolates. Modifications of mgrB were found in 32 isolates.
Concurrent clonal expansion of some STs and lateral transmission of genetic resistance determinants are likely producing a thorough change of the KPC-Kp epidemiology in Palermo, Italy. In our setting mgrB inactivation proved to substantially contribute to colistin resistance. Our findings suggest the need to continuously monitor the KPC-Kp epidemiology and to assess by a nationwide survey the possible shifting towards a polyclonal epidemic.
A new web-based food frequency questionnaire (the ASSO–FFQ) was developed within the ASSO Project funded by the Italian Ministry of Health.
The aim of the present study is to assess the validity of the ASSO–FFQ at food groups, energy, and nutrients level.
Design and subjects
The validation study compared the ASSO–FFQ against a weighted food record (WFR) measuring foods, beverages and supplements intake, compiled during the week following the ASSO–FFQ administration. Ninety-two subjects aged 14–17, recruited from secondary schools in Palermo (Italy), completed the ASSO–FFQ and WFR. The intake of 24 food groups, energy, and 52 nutrients were taken as main outcomes. Tests for paired observations, Spearman and Pearson’s correlation coefficients (cc), kappa statistics and classification in quintiles, Bland–Altman plots and multiple regressions, on untransformed and transformed data were used for the statistical analysis.
High cc (≥0.40) were found for soft drinks, milk, tea/coffee, vegetables, and lactose; fair energy-adjusted cc (0.25–0.40) for water, alcoholic drinks, breakfast cereals, fishery products, savory food, fruit juice, eggs, and 19 nutrients. The subjects classified in the same or adjacent quintile for food groups ranged from 40% (alcoholic drinks) to 100% (dried fruit); for energy and nutrients from 43% (phosphorus, thiamin, niacin) to 77% (lactose). Mean differences were not significant for water, soft drinks, meat, sweets, animal fats, milk and white bread, and vitamin B12 and folate. Limits of Agreement were broad for all food groups and nutrients. School, gender, alcohol consumption and between meals mainly affected most food groups’ intake differences. Gender stratification showed females had increased Pearson’s cc for energy and 28 nutrients, such as almost all fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
The ASSO–FFQ could be applied in epidemiological studies for the assessment of dietary consumption in adolescents to adequately rank food, energy and nutrient intakes at a group level.
food frequency questionnaire; intake; nutrient; adolescent; validation; validity
Fresh produce occupies an increasingly important place in the human food supply because of its health-promoting nutritional properties. Most fresh produce is eaten raw or after minimal processing and, consequently, pathogen contamination can represent a serious health risk. There has been an increase in foodborne outbreaks and cases associated with fresh produce, but literature data about the prevalence of pathogen contamination are inconsistent. This study was undertaken to assess the hygienic quality and the prevalence of the most common bacterial pathogens in fresh produce sold in retail markets in Sicily. A total of 125 samples of different types of vegetables were examined by standardized microbiological methods.
The aerobic mesophilic count ranged between 2 log and 7 log cfu g−1 and the Enterobacteriaceae counts between < 1 log and 6 log cfu g−1, with statistically significant differences between unprocessed and minimally processed products (p < 0.05). Escherichia coli was detected only in leaf vegetables at a concentration of 2 log - 3 log cfu g−1. Enterococci were found at a concentration of 2 log - 4 log cfu g−1. Coagulase positive Staphylococci and sulphite-reducing Clostridia were not detected in any sample. Three samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica and Salmonella veneziana.
Our study provides updated data on the microbiological quality of retail vegetables and confirms the need to implement strategies to increase microbial safety of fresh produce.
Fresh produce; Vegetables; Food safety; Hygiene quality; Foodborne pathogens
A new food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) has been recently developed within the Italian Adolescents and Surveillance System for the Obesity prevention (ASSO) Project; it was found to be appropriate for ranking adolescents in food and nutrient levels of intake. The aim of this study was to assess the relative and absolute reproducibility of the ASSO-FFQ for 24 food groups, energy and 52 nutrients.
A test-retest study was performed on two ASSO-FFQs administered one month apart of each other to 185 adolescents, aged 14–17 and attending secondary schools in Palermo (Italy). Wilcoxon test assessed differences in median daily intakes between the two FFQs. Agreement was evaluated by quintiles comparison and weighted kappa. Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman method assessed the relative and absolute reliability respectively.
Significant difference (p < 0.05) in median intakes was found only for bread substitutes, savoury food, water, soft drinks, carbohydrates and sugar. The subjects classified into the same or adjacent quintiles for food groups ranged from 62% (white bread) to 91% (soft drinks); for energy and nutrients from 64% (polyunsaturated fatty acids) to 90% (ethanol). Mean values of weighted kappa were 0.47 and 0.48, respectively for food groups and nutrients. Fair to good ICC values (>0.40) were assessed for thirteen food groups, energy and forty-three nutrients. Limits of Agreement were narrow for almost all food groups and all nutrients.
The ASSO-FFQ is a reliable instrument for estimating food groups, energy and nutrients intake in adolescents.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-119) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Food frequency questionnaire; Reproducibility; Adolescent; Nutrient; Intake
We aimed to investigate the molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) isolates in the province of Palermo, Sicily, Italy, by characterizing 183 isolates identified in the years 2004–2012. A comparison with 104 MTBC strains identified in the same geographic area in the years 1994–2000 was also carried out.
One hundred eighty-three MTBC isolates identified in Palermo, Italy, in the years 2004–2012 were analyzed by spoligotyping and the 24 mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit (MIRU)-variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) method typing. Susceptibility testing to streptomycin, isoniazid, rifampin and ethambutol was also performed. Furthermore, the spoligotyping dataset obtained from 104 MTBC isolates identified from 1994 to 2000 was reanalyzed. Distribution into lineages and clustering of isolates in the two periods was compared.
One hundred seventy-seven out of the 183 isolates of MTBC submitted to molecular typing were fully characterized. Of these, 108 were from Italian-born and 69 from foreign-born individuals. Eleven different lineages and 35 families-subfamilies were identified with the most represented lineages being Haarlem (26.5%), T (19.2%), LAM (13.6%) and S (8.5%). Except for the Haarlem lineage, where isolates from foreign-born patients were overrepresented, the distribution of isolates in the families belonging to the Euro-American clone reflected the proportions of the two subpopulations. A total of 27 (15.2%) strains were clustered and three clusters were mixed. Approximately 25% of the 183 MTBC isolates under study proved to be resistant to at least one antiTB drug, with only three isolates categorized as multidrug resistant (MDR). When MTBC isolates identified in the years 1994–2000 were reanalyzed, lineages T (30.8%), LAM (29.8%), Haarlem (16.3%) and S (13.5%) proved to be predominant. No MTBC isolates belonging to CAM, U, CAS, Turkish and Ural lineages were identified.
A wide heterogeneity was detected among the MTBC strains isolated in the years 2004–2012. Six lineages were not present among the isolates of the period 1994–2000. Comparison between distribution of lineages in the two consecutive periods depicts rapid and deep changes in the TB epidemiology in Palermo, Italy. An universal and continued laboratory-based surveillance of TB in Sicily is required.
Tuberculosis; Sicily; Epidemiology; Spoligotyping; MIRU-VNTR
Protein supplements are extensively used among commercial gym users and athletes. Although demographic information amongst such consumption has been poorly investigated. The aim of this study is to compare protein supplement consumption in commercial gym users, both from the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy.
A face-to-face questionnaire has been administered to 561 subjects. 207 from the city centre (CC) and 354 from the suburbs (SB) of Palermo, Italy. Protein supplement consumption, frequency of use and association with other dietary supplements has been investigated. Subsequently frequency distribution has been used for demographic assessment.
30% of commercial gym users from the CC and 28.8% from the SB use protein supplements. The majority of these subjects are men (69.5% from the CC and 93.1 from the SB). Frequency of use differs from the two areas showing a mode of 7 days per week consumption for the CC while a mode of 5 days per week consumption is showed for the SB. Interestingly, the association between protein supplements and other dietary supplements also differs between CC and SB. A combined use between proteins, amino acids and creatine is showed in the CC whilst proteins and amino acids or creatine are used alone in the SB.
A considerable number of commercial gym users take protein supplements alone or combined (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Demographic differences are shown between frequency of use and combined use of other dietary supplements. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment.
Protein consumption; Dietary supplements; Demographic assessment
It is anecdotally recognized that commercial gym users assume supplements in order to improve performance or health. However, dietary behaviours of people and athletes attending commercial gyms have been poorly studied. The exact amount and frequency of dietary supplements consumption are still needed to be investigated. The main purpose of this study is to understand the quantity and quality of food intake, as well as dietary supplementation in people attending commercial gyms. Secondly to compare the city centre and the suburbs of Palermo, Italy.
A face-to-face questionnaire was administered to 561 subjects, 207 from the city centre (CC) and 354 from the suburbs (SB) of Palermo, Italy. Frequency of protein supplements use and association with dietary behaviours were investigated. Subsequently, the frequency distribution was used for demographic assessment.
Frequency of protein consumption was similar in both groups (30% for CC and 28.8% for SB). Males show greater consumption percentages than females (30.5% in males and 6.9% in females). Milk and chicken are the most frequently consumed foods. Data show that non-supplement users (NSU) consume significantly more snacks and bakery products than supplement users (SU) (P < 0.001). While, SU consume significantly higher quantities of vegetables, nuts, fresh fish, eggs and canned tuna (P < 0.001). SU consume less low protein food and higher protein foods than NSU. No differences were found between CC and SB.
Protein consumption among commercial gym users is 30% for the CC and 28.8% for the SB. Significant differences were found between CC and SB females, underlining an interesting discrepancy, indicating to dietary supplement industries regarding regional implications. Subjects that use protein supplements also consume larger quantities of high protein food compared to NSU. NSU also eat higher proportions of unhealthy food compared to SU.
Dietary behaviour; Protein project; Protein supplements; Questionnaire; Gym
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major etiological agent of infection in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Routes of entry of this organism can be different and the transmission pathway complex. Colonized neonates are the main endogenous reservoir.
Methods and Results
We conducted a prospective three-year study on MRSA colonization recruiting 722 neonates admitted between 2009 and 2012. Nasal swabs were cultured weekly and MRSA isolates were submitted to molecular typing. The annual incidence density of acquisition of MRSA ranged from a maximum of 20.2 cases for 1000 patient-days during the first year to a minimum of 8.8 cases in the second one to raise again up to 13.1 cases during the third year. The mean weekly colonization pressure fluctuated from 19.1% in the first year to 13.4% in the second year and 16.8% in the third year. It significantly correlated with the number of MRSA acquisitions in the following week. Overall, 187 (25.9%) subjects tested positive for MRSA. A non multiresistant, tst positive, ST22-MRSA-IVa spa t223 strain proved to be endemic in the NICU, being identified in 166 (88.8%) out of 187 colonized neonates. Sporadic or epidemic occurrence of other strains was detected.
An MRSA strain belonging to the tst1 positive, UK-EMRSA-15/ “Middle Eastern Variant” appeared to be endemic in the NICU under investigation. During the three-year period, substantial changes occurred in case-mix of patients moving towards a higher susceptibility to MRSA colonization. The infection control procedures were able to decrease the colonization rate from more than 40% to approximately 10%, except for an outbreak due to a CA-MRSA strain, ST1-MRSA-IVa, and a transient increase in the colonization prevalence rate coincident with a period of substantial overcrowding of the ward. Active surveillance and molecular typing contributed to obtain a reliable picture of the MRSA dissemination in NICU.
Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex 398 (CC398) isolates cluster into two distinct phylogenetic clades based on single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) revealing a basal human clade and a more derived livestock clade. The scn and tet(M) genes are strongly associated with the human and the livestock clade, respectively, due to loss and acquisition of mobile genetic elements. We present canonical single-nucleotide polymorphism (canSNP) assays that differentiate the two major host-associated S. aureus CC398 clades and a duplex PCR assay for detection of scn and tet(M). The canSNP assays correctly placed 88 S. aureus CC398 isolates from a reference collection into the human and livestock clades and the duplex PCR assay correctly identified scn and tet(M). The assays were successfully applied to a geographically diverse collection of 272 human S. aureus CC398 isolates. The simple assays described here generate signals comparable to a whole-genome phylogeny for major clade assignment and are easily integrated into S. aureus CC398 surveillance programs and epidemiological studies.
Abdominal surgery carries significant morbidity and mortality, which is in turn associated with an enormous use of healthcare resources. We describe the clinical course of 30 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients who underwent abdominal surgery and showed severe infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae sequence type (ST) 258 producing K. pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC-Kp). The aim was to evaluate risk factors for mortality and the impact of a combination therapy of colistin plus recommended regimen or higher dosage of tigecycline.
A prospective assessment of severe monomicrobial KPC-Kp infections occurring after open abdominal surgery carried out from August 2011 to August 2012 in the same hospital by different surgical teams is presented. Clinical and surgical characteristics, microbiological and surveillance data, factors associated with mortality and treatment regimens were analyzed. A combination regimen of colistin with tigecycline was used. A high dose of tigecycline was administered according to intra-abdominal abscess severity and MICs for tigecycline.
The mean age of the patients was 56.6 ± 15 and their APACHE score on admission averaged 22.72. Twenty out of 30 patients came from the surgical emergency unit. Fifteen patients showed intra-abdominal abscess, eight anastomotic leakage, four surgical site infection (SSI) and three peritonitis. The overall crude ICU mortality rate was 40% (12 out of 30 patients). Twelve of the 30 patients were started on a combination treatment of high-dose tigecycline and intravenous colistin. A significantly lower mortality rate was observed among those patients compared to patients treated with approved dose of tigecycline plus colistin. No adverse events were reported with high doses of tigecycline.
Critically-ill surgical patients are prone to severe post-surgical infectious complications caused by KPC-Kp. Timely microbiological diagnosis and optimizing antibiotic dosing regimens are essential to prevent worse outcomes. Further studies and well-controlled clinical trials are needed to define the optimal treatment of infections by KPC-Kp and, more generally, carbapenem-resistant bacteria.
Klebsiella pneumoniae; Carbapenemase; Abdominal surgery
Background and Objectives
The emergence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Shigella spp. is of increasing clinical concern specially in children worldwide. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Shigella spp. in Tehran, Iran
Materials and Methods
The study included all Shigella isolates recovered from pediatric patients aged less than 12 years admitted to a major pediatric hospital in Tehran, Iran, from 2008 to 2010. Bacterial identification, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) screening and confirmatory tests were performed according to the standard guidelines. Conjugal transfer experiments and plasmid analysis were also carried out. Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing were used to identify the genetic determinants responsible for ESBL production.
Four out of 55 Shigella isolates, including three S. sonnei and one S. flexneri, showed an ESBL-positive phenotype. Plasmid transfer of the ESBL phenotype was successful for the S. flexneri isolate only. By PCR and sequencing, one S. sonnei isolate tested positive for the CMY-59 gene, while the other two S. sonnei and the S. flexneri isolates tested positive for the bla
TEM-1 and bla
We found the prevalence of ESBL producing Shigella isolates was higher than detection rates observed in many other countries. Our finding raise concerns about the dissemination of ESBL among the strains of endemic S. sonnei throughout the country, because this species is now the most frequently isolated Shigella species in Iran and shigellosis by such strains in the community can pose a significant threat to patients and presents a challenge for disease management.
ESBLs; Shigella spp; Antibiotic resistance
The present study aimed to assess seroprevalence of and risk factors for Toscana (TOSV) and Sicilian (SFSV) virus infections in a sample of Sicilian subjects.
A cross-sectional seroepidemiological study was conducted on 271 individuals. Each participant completed a self-administrated questionnaire and provided a serum sample which was analyzed for the presence of IgG specific anti-TOSV and anti-SFSV viruses.
Overall, 90 subjects (33.2%) were positive for TOSV IgG, 25 (9.2%) were positive for SFSV IgG and 11 (4%) were positive for both the viruses. A higher risk for TOSV seropositivity was found in participants who were older (adjOR=1.02 per year; 95% CI=1.01–1.03), having a pet living outdoors (adjOR=2.62; 95% CI=1.42–4.83) and being obese (adjOR=2.37; 95% CI=1.06–5.30).
TOSV seroprevalence appears to be relatively high in Sicilian general population, especially in older adults, representing a potential public health concern. The observations that seropositivity for TOSV was not significantly associated with SFSV seropositivity, and none of the risk factors associated with TOSV were associated with SFSV seem to suggest that these two phleboviruses may have different ecology and transmission pathways.
Toscana virus; Sicilian virus; re-emergence; Italy
Invasive listeriosis is a rare, life-threatening foodborne disease. Lombardy, an Italian region accounting for 16% of the total population, reported 55% of all listeriosis cases in the years 2006-2010. The aim of our study was to provide a snapshot of listeriosis epidemiology in this region after the implementation of a voluntary laboratory-based surveillance system.
We characterized by serotyping, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing and detection of epidemic clone markers, 134 isolates from 132 listeriosis cases, including 15 pregnancy-related cases, occurring in the years 2006-2010 in Lombardy. Demographic and clinical characteristics of cases have also been described.
The mean age of non pregnancy-associated cases was 64.7 years, with 55.9% of cases being older than 65 years. Cases having no underlying medical conditions accounted for 11.6%. The all-cause fatality rate of 83 cases with a known survival outcome was 25.3%.
Serotypes 1/2a and 4b comprised 52.2% and 38.8% of isolates, respectively. Seventy-three AscI pulsotypes and 25 sequence types assigned to 23 clonal complexes were recognized. Moreover, 53 (39.5%) isolates tested positive for the epidemic clone markers. Twelve molecular subtype clusters including at least three isolates were detected, with cluster 11 (1/2a/ST38) including 31 isolates identified during the entire study period. No outbreaks were notified to public health authorities during this period.
The findings of our study proved that epidemiology of listeriosis in Lombardy is characterized by a high prevalence of major clones and the increasing role of serotype 1/2a. Molecular subtyping is an essential tool in the epidemiology and surveillance of listeriosis. Rapid molecular cluster detection could alert about putative outbreaks, thus increasing the chance of detecting and inactivating routes of transmission.
High Toscana virus (TOSV) antibody seropositivity rates have been documented in the last decade, especially in the Mediterranean area. It is unclear if these rates are associated with a recent or past exposure to the virus. This is of importance, as primary infection can cause neurologic complications, especially in adults. The aim of the present study was to assess the current active TOSV circulation in western Sicily.
A cross-sectional seroprevalence study was conducted on 271 individuals aged 4–92 years, sampled from the general population of a small city. Each participant completed a self-administered questionnaire and provided serum, which was analyzed for the presence of specific anti-TOSV IgM and IgG.
Anti-TOSV IgM was detected in eight (3.0%) participants, of whom only three had anti-TOSV IgG. The prevalence of anti-TOSV IgM was highest in subjects aged 25–34 and 35–44 years (7.1% and 4.8%, respectively). All subjects positive for anti-TOSV IgM were resident in the suburban area.
The detection of IgM documented the circulation of TOSV, a Phlebovirus, in a random population sample of Sicilian adults. The highest risk of TOSV seroconversion in subjects living in the suburbs appears to suggest a high density of TOSV vectors in peri-urban areas.
Toscana virus; IgM seropositivity; Sicily
Extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) often associated with resistance to aminoglycosides and fluoroquinolones have recently emerged in community-associated Escherichia coli. The worldwide clonal dissemination of E. coli sequence type (ST)131 is playing a prominent role.
We describe an outbreak of colonizations by ESBL-producing E. coli (ESBL-E. coli) in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the University Hospital, Palermo, Italy.
An epidemiological investigation was conducted with the support of molecular typing. All children admitted to the NICU and colonized by ESBL-E. coli between January and June 2012, were included in the study. Cases were defined as infants colonized by E. coli resistant to third generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. A case–control study was also performed to identify possible risk factors.
During the outbreak period, 15 infants were found to be colonized by ESBL-E. coli. The epidemic strain demonstrated continuous transmission throughout the outbreak period. Case–control study identified a lower birth weight as the only risk factor for colonization. The strain belonged to the sequence-type 131 community-associated clone. Transmission control interventions, including contact precautions and cohorting, restriction of the new admissions, sanitization of surfaces and equipment and targeted training sessions of the NICU staff, were successful in interrupting the outbreak.
Although invasive infections did not develop in any of the 15 colonized neonates, our report highlights the need to strictly monitor the spill in the NICU setting of multidrug resistant community-associated organisms. Our findings confirm also the role of active surveillance in detecting the silent spread of ESBL-producing Gram negatives in a critical healthcare setting and trigging the implementation of infection control measures. As β-lactam and fluoroquinolone resistant E. coli strains are increasingly spreading in the community, this event could become a more serious challenge.
ESBL-Escherichia coli; ST131; NICU; Epidemiology
Two genetically unrelated OXA-163-carrying Klebsiella pneumoniae strains were identified from two infection cases in June 2009 and May 2010 in Cairo, Egypt. OXA-163-producing Enterobacteriaceae had been previously reported in Argentina only. Both patients had no history of travel abroad. The emergence of this newly recognized OXA-48-related β-lactamase able to hydrolyze cephalosporins and carbapenems is especially worrying in a geographic area where OXA-48 is endemic and effective surveillance for antibiotic resistance is largely unaffordable.
Rapidly growing mycobacteria are opportunistic pathogens in patients with underlying risk factors. Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. bolletii is a newly recognized member of rapidly growing mycobacteria, isolated from respiratory tract and cutaneous infections.
We describe a case of chronic disseminated infection caused by M. abscessus subsp. bolletii in a 38-year-old Sri Lankan man with idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia. Idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia is a rare cause of immunodysfunction that, similar to human immunodeficiency virus infection, causes a depletion of CD4+ T lymphocytes. M. abscessus subsp. bolletii infection was diagnosed by culture isolation from two sputum samples.
To the best of our knowledge this is the first report of M. abscessus subsp. bolletii disseminated infection in a patient affected by idiopathic CD4+ T lymphocytopenia. In contrast to previous reports, the isolate of M. abscessus subsp. bolletii presented intermediate resistance to clarithromycin and was susceptible to cefoxitin and imipenem.
CD4+ T lymphocytopenia; Clarithromycin; Disseminated infection; Mycobacterium abscessus subsp. bolletii rapidly growing mycobacteria
Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, initially considered as having a poor clinical relevance, is frequently isolated from infection cases in intensive care units. We describe the epidemiology of carbapenem resistant A. baumannii (CRAB) in a general ICU in Palermo, Italy, from October 2010 to March 2011.
58 of 61 isolates exhibited MICs for meropenem or imipenem ≥16 mg/L. Forty-nine carried blaOXA-23 and two blaOXA-58 genes.
Five subtype clusters were detected by rep-PCR. Clusters D and E included 10 isolates that tested negative for the carbapenem resistance genes. MLST attributed all isolates, but two, with sequence type (ST)2, whereas the two remaining isolates with ST78.
The respiratory tract was the most common site of infection (26 out of 36 cases. 72.2%). A high infection related mortality rate was observed (18 out of 35 patients, 51.4%). Nineteen patients tested positive for other multidrug resistant organisms in addition to CRAB. In eight cases isolates belonging to distinct subtype clusters and/or with distinct carbapenemase profiles were identified.
Carbapenem resistance was prominently driven by the dissemination of CRAB isolates belonging to ST2, carrying the carbapenemase gene blaOXA-23. The colonization/infection of some patients by multiple strains is suggestive of an endemic circulation of CRAB.
The evolving epidemiology of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is characterized by the emergence of infections caused by non multiresistant MRSA carrying staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCC)mec IV or V in the healthcare settings. A molecular epidemiological analysis of non multiresistant MRSA isolates from four acute general hospitals was performed in Palermo, Italy, during a one year period.
For the purpose of the study, MRSA isolates were defined as non multiresistant when they were susceptible to at least three classes of non β-lactam antibiotics. Seventy-five isolates were submitted to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for SCCmec, accessory gene regulator (agr) groups, arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) and Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) toxin genes. For epidemiological typing, Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem Repeat Fingerprinting (MLVF) was performed on all isolates and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) on ST8 isolates.
Non multiresistant MRSA isolates were isolated from all hospitals. Resistances to ciprofloxacin, macrolides and tetracycline were the most prevalent. MLST attributed 46 isolates with ST22, 13 with ST8, eight with ST1, three with ST50 and three with ST398. SCCmec type IV was found in all isolates. PVL was detected in one ST22 isolate. All isolates tested negative for the ACME element. MLVF identified 31 different patterns, some subtype clusters ranging in size between two and 22 isolates. The closely related PFGE patterns of the ST8 isolates differed from USA300.
A polyclonal circulation of non multiresistant MRSA along with blurring of boundaries between healthcare associated (HA)-MRSA and community associated (CA)-MRSA appear to be occurring in our epidemiological setting. A better understanding of spread of MRSA with the support of molecular typing can provide invaluable information in the epidemiological, microbiological and clinical fields.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has recently emerged as an important pathogen in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The purposes of this study were to characterize methicillin-resistant isolates from an outbreak in a NICU, to examine the genetic traits and clonality of CA-MRSA, and to review the characteristics and outcomes of the neonatal cases and investigate the routes of entry and transmission of the MRSA outbreak strain in the NICU under study.
The study NICU practiced an active surveillance program for multidrug-resistant organisms, including weekly cultures for detection of MRSA from nasal swabs among all the admitted neonates. All first isolates from surveillance cultures and all clinical isolates were submitted for susceptibility testing and genotyping. Data from each infant’s medical records were prospectively included in a database, and the clinical features and outcomes of the colonized/infected infants were assessed.
A total of 14 infants were colonized or infected by a strain of ST1-MRSA-IVa between April and August 2011. The CA-MRSA strain appeared to have been introduced to the NICU by an infected infant transferred from another hospital. The outbreak was successfully contained by multifaceted infection control interventions.
The results of this study confirm that NICU is a healthcare setting with a critical permeability to CA-MRSA. Active surveillance including molecular typing can help to detect and monitor the spread of antimicrobial drug-resistant organisms, and thus trigger timely control interventions.
CA-MRSA; NICU; Epidemiology; Infection control
It is known that supplement use is a widespread and accepted practice by athletes and people who attend commercial gyms. Little is known about protein supplement amongst people undertaking strength training in commercial gyms in Italy when compared to the US.
The purpose of this study was to examine the use of protein supplementation, alone or in association with other supplements, and dietary behavior amongst regular fitness center attendees in Palermo, Italy.
Resistance training information have been collected from 800 regular fitness center attendees for the initial analysis. A specific questionnaire was generated for the experimentation. Data were collected using a face-to-face interview method. Supplement users were then compared to the non users and analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, Kruskall-Wallis, chi-square test or exact test of Fisher when appropriate.
30.1% of the respondents use dietary supplements during their training as a believe it is the "way to gain muscles and strength". Whey protein shakes (50.0%) mixed with creatine and amino-acids (48.3%) were the most frequent choices amongst the users. A majority of the subjects (34.0%) appeared to rely on their gym instructors' advice for their intake; a lower proportion (13.0%) consulted physicians, while none of them consulted nutritionists. A high consumption of milk has been noticed in both users (67,7%) and non-users (52,8%); supplement non-users consumed significantly more snacks and bakery products than users per week (P < 0.001), while users consumed significantly more protein-rich foods (P < 0.01) with a particular preference for meat (48.0%).
A considerable number of regular strength training adepts consume protein supplements mixed with other products (mainly creatine and amino-acids). Limited numbers consult "dietary specialists" and rely mainly on their instructors. We emphasize on the importance of the dissemination of scientifically based information about supplementation in this environment and the promotion of updated educational programs for the instructors.
Studies of the apoptosis mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis have suggested that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can actively interfere with the apoptosis of infected cells. In vivo studies have been performed in adult populations but have not focused on this process in children. In the present study, we analyzed spontaneous T lymphocyte (PBT) apoptosis in the peripheral blood of children with central nervous system tuberculosis (CNS TB), before and after chemotherapy, and compared the results with healthy controls.
A case-control study was conducted from January 2002 to June 2009. It included 18 children with CNS TB and 17 healthy controls. Spontaneous apoptosis of PBTs, including CD4+, CD8+ and CD8+/CD28+ T cells, was evaluated after 24 and 72 h of culture in complete medium, using the Annexin V detection test. Analysis was conducted before and after chemotherapy, and expression of the apoptotic markers CD95 (Fas) and Fas ligand (FasL) was evaluated.
Higher percentages of apoptotic T cells and CD4 lymphocytes were isolated from children with acute phase CNS TB than from children in the control group (p < 0.05). This difference significantly decreased after 60 days of specific treatment. In children with CNS TB, high levels of Fas ligand expression were detected in lymphocyte populations, associated with a high percentage of Fas positive cells, before and after treatment. In contrast to the CD4+ apoptosis profile, we did not find any significant difference in total CD8+ cell apoptosis between children with acute phase disease and the control group. However, the percentage of apoptotic CD8+/CD28+ T cells was significantly higher in the children with acute phase disease than in the healthy controls.
Our findings indicate that CNS TB in pediatric patients increases the sensitivity of CD4 and CD8+/CD28+ T cells to apoptosis, suggesting a hypoergic status of this infection. This could play a key role in the immunopathogenesis of this complicated form of TB. Interestingly, specific chemotherapy is able to normalize both apoptosis sensitivity and T-cell activation.