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1.  Results of a 25 Year Longitudinal Analysis of the Serologic Incidence of Syphilis in a Cohort of HIV Infected Patients with Unrestricted Access to Care 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2012;39(6):10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318249d90f.
Background
The well described biological and epidemiologic associations of syphilis and HIV are particularly relevant to the military, as service members are young and at risk for sexually transmitted infections. We therefore used the results of serial serologic testing to determine the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for incident syphilis in a cohort of HIV-infected Department of Defense beneficiaries.
Methods
Participants with a positive non-treponemal test at HIV diagnosis that was confirmed on treponemal testing were categorized as prevalent cases, whereas participants with an initial negative non-treponemal test who subsequently developed a confirmed positive non-treponemal test as incident cases.
Results
At HIV diagnosis the prevalence of syphilis was 5.8% (n=202). 4239 participants contributed 27,192 person years (PY) to the incidence analysis and 347 (8%) developed syphilis (rate 1.3/100 PY; [1.1, 1.4]). Syphilis incidence was highest during the calendar years 2006 - 2009 (2.5/100 PY; [2.0, 2.9]). In multivariate analyses, younger age (per 10 year increase HR 0.8;[0.8-0.9]); male gender (HR 5.6; [2.3-13.7]); non European-American ethnicity (African-American (HR 3.2; [2.5-4.2]; Hispanic HR 1.9; [1.2-3.0]); history of hepatitis B (HR 1.5; [1.2-1.9]) or gonorrhea (HR 1.4; [1.1 −1.8]) were associated with syphilis.
Conclusions
The significant burden of disease both at and after HIV diagnosis, observed in this cohort, suggests that the cost-effectiveness of extending syphilis screening to at risk military members should be assessed. In addition, HIV infected persons continue to acquire syphilis, emphasizing the continued importance of prevention for positive programs.
doi:10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318249d90f
PMCID: PMC3846570  PMID: 22592829
Seroincidence; Seroprevalence; Risk Factors; Syphilis; HIV infected persons
2.  HACEK Infective Endocarditis: Characteristics and Outcomes from a Large, Multi-National Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63181.
The HACEK organisms (Haemophilus species, Aggregatibacter species, Cardiobacterium hominis, Eikenella corrodens, and Kingella species) are rare causes of infective endocarditis (IE). The objective of this study is to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with HACEK endocarditis (HE) in a large multi-national cohort. Patients hospitalized with definite or possible infective endocarditis by the International Collaboration on Endocarditis Prospective Cohort Study in 64 hospitals from 28 countries were included and characteristics of HE patients compared with IE due to other pathogens. Of 5591 patients enrolled, 77 (1.4%) had HE. HE was associated with a younger age (47 vs. 61 years; p<0.001), a higher prevalence of immunologic/vascular manifestations (32% vs. 20%; p<0.008) and stroke (25% vs. 17% p = 0.05) but a lower prevalence of congestive heart failure (15% vs. 30%; p = 0.004), death in-hospital (4% vs. 18%; p = 0.001) or after 1 year follow-up (6% vs. 20%; p = 0.01) than IE due to other pathogens (n = 5514). On multivariable analysis, stroke was associated with mitral valve vegetations (OR 3.60; CI 1.34–9.65; p<0.01) and younger age (OR 0.62; CI 0.49–0.90; p<0.01). The overall outcome of HE was excellent with the in-hospital mortality (4%) significantly better than for non-HE (18%; p<0.001). Prosthetic valve endocarditis was more common in HE (35%) than non-HE (24%). The outcome of prosthetic valve and native valve HE was excellent whether treated medically or with surgery. Current treatment is very successful for the management of both native valve prosthetic valve HE but further studies are needed to determine why HE has a predilection for younger people and to cause stroke. The small number of patients and observational design limit inferences on treatment strategies. Self selection of study sites limits epidemiological inferences.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063181
PMCID: PMC3656887  PMID: 23690995
3.  Detecting Rickettsia parkeri Infection from Eschar Swab Specimens  
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(5):778-780.
The typical clinical presentation of several spotted fever group Rickettsia infections includes eschars. Clinical diagnosis of the condition is usually made by analysis of blood samples. We describe a more sensitive, noninvasive means of obtaining a sample for diagnosis by using an eschar swab specimen from patients infected with Rickettsia parkeri.
doi:10.3201/eid1905.120622
PMCID: PMC3647493  PMID: 23647926
Rickettsia; Swab; Eschar; R. parkeri; diagnostic; diagnosis; bacteria; vector-borne infections
4.  Analysis of the Impact of Early Surgery on In-hospital Mortality of Native Valve Endocarditis: Use of Propensity Score and Instrumental Variable Methods to Adjust for Treatment Selection Bias 
Circulation  2010;121(8):1005-1013.
Background
The impact of early surgery on mortality in patients with native valve endocarditis (NVE) is unresolved. This study seeks to evaluate valve surgery compared to medical therapy for NVE, and to identify characteristics of patients who are most likely to benefit from early surgery.
Methods and Results
Using a prospective, multinational cohort of patients with definite NVE, the effect of early surgery on in-hospital mortality was assessed using propensity-based matching adjusting for survivor bias, and instrumental variable analysis. Patients were stratified by propensity quintile, paravalvular complications, valve perforation, systemic embolization, stroke, Staphylococcus aureus infection and congestive heart failure.
Of the 1552 patients with NVE, 720 (46%) underwent early surgery and 832 (54%) were treated with medical therapy. Compared to medical therapy, early surgery was associated with a significant reduction in mortality in the overall cohort (12.1% [87/720] vs. 20.7% [172/832]) and after propensity-based matching and adjustment for survivor bias (absolute risk reduction (ARR) = -5.9 %; p<0.001). Using a combined instrument, the instrumental variable adjusted ARR in mortality associated with early surgery was -11.2% (p<0.001). In sub-group analysis, surgery was found to confer a survival benefit compared to medical therapy among patients with a higher propensity for surgery (ARR= -10.9% for quintiles 4 and 5; p=0.002); those with paravalvular complications (ARR= -17.3 %; p<0.001), systemic embolization (ARR= -12.9%; p=0.002), S aureus NVE (ARR= -20.1%; p<0.001) and stroke (ARR= -13%; p=0.02) but not with valve perforation or congestive heart failure.
Conclusions
Early surgery for NVE is associated with an in-hospital mortality benefit compared to medical therapy alone.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.864488
PMCID: PMC3597944  PMID: 20159831
early surgery; infective endocarditis; medical therapy; in hospital mortality
5.  DURABILITY OF ANTIBODY RESPONSES AFTER RECEIPT OF THE MONOVALENT 2009 INFLUENZA A (H1N1) VACCINE AMONG HIV-INFECTED AND HIV-UNINFECTED ADULTS 
Vaccine  2011;29(17):3183-3191.
Background
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons are at risk for severe influenza infections. Although vaccination against the H1N1 pandemic influenza strain is recommended, currently, there are no data on the durability of post-vaccination antibody responses in this population.
Methods
HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults (18–50 years old) received a single dose of monovalent 2009 influenza A (H1N1) vaccine (strain A/California/7/2009H1N1). Antibody levels to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain were determined at day 0, day 28, and 6 months by hemagglutination-inhibition assay. A seroprotective response was a post-vaccination titer of ≥1:40 among those with a pre-vaccination level of ≤1:10. Geometric mean titers (GMT) and factors associated with higher levels were also evaluated.
Results
We studied 127 participants with a median age of 35 (interquartile range (IQR) 28, 42) years. Among the HIV-infected arm (n=63), the median CD4 count was 595 (IQR 476, 819) cells/mm3 and 83% were receiving HAART. Thirty-five percent of all participants had a pre-vaccination level of >1:10. HIV-infected compared to HIV-uninfected adults were less likely to generate a seroprotective response at day 28 (54% vs. 75%, adjusted OR 0.23, p=0.021) or have a durable response at 6 months post-vaccination (28% vs. 56%, adjusted OR 0.19, p=0.005). Additionally, although pre-vaccination GMT were similar in both arms (median 7 vs. 8, p=0.11), the GMT at 6 months was significantly lower among HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected adults (median 20 vs. 113, p=0.003). Among HIV-infected persons, younger age (p=0.035) and receipt of HAART (p=0.028) were associated with higher GMTs at 6 months.
Conclusions
Despite vaccination, most HIV-infected adults do not have durable seroprotective antibody responses to the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus, and hence may remain vulnerable to infection. In addition to HAART use, more immunogenic vaccines are likely needed for improving protection against influenza in this population.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.02.040
PMCID: PMC3078993  PMID: 21371580
influenza; pandemic 2009 H1N1; vaccine responses; HIV; durability; long-term immunity
6.  Hepatitis B Vaccine Antibody Response and the Risk of Clinical AIDS or Death 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33488.
Background
Whether seroresponse to a vaccine such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine can provide a measure of the functional immune status of HIV-infected persons is unknown.This study evaluated the relationship between HBV vaccine seroresponses and progression to clinical AIDS or death.
Methods and Findings
From a large HIV cohort, we evaluated those who received HBV vaccine only after HIV diagnosis and had anti-HBs determination 1–12 months after the last vaccine dose. Non-response and positive response were defined as anti-HBs <10 and ≥10 IU/L, respectively. Participants were followed from date of last vaccination to clinical AIDS, death, or last visit. Univariate and multivariable risk of progression to clinical AIDS or death were evaluated with Cox regression models. A total of 795 participants vaccinated from 1986–2010 were included, of which 41% were responders. During 3,872 person-years of observation, 122 AIDS or death events occurred (53% after 1995). Twenty-two percent of non-responders experienced clinical AIDS or death compared with 5% of responders (p<0.001). Non-response to HBV vaccine was associated with a greater than 2-fold increased risk of clinical AIDS or death (HR 2.47; 95% CI, 1.38–4.43) compared with a positive response, after adjusting for CD4 count, HIV viral load, HAART use, and delayed type hypersensitivity skin test responses (an in vivo marker of cell-mediated immunity). This association remained evident among those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3 (HR 3.40; 95% CI, 1.39–8.32).
Conclusions
HBV vaccine responses may have utility in assessing functional immune status and risk stratificating HIV-infected individuals, including those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033488
PMCID: PMC3310879  PMID: 22457767
7.  Immunogenicity of a Monovalent 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in an Immunocompromised Population: A Prospective Study Comparing HIV-Infected Adults with HIV-Uninfected Adults 
Background. Limited data exist on the immunogenicity of the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) vaccine among immunocompromised persons, including those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Methods. We compared the immunogenicity and tolerability of a single dose of the monovalent 2009 influenza A (H1N1) vaccine (strain A/California/7/2009H1N1) between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults 18–50 years of age. The primary end point was an antibody titer of ≥1:40 at day 28 after vaccination in those with a prevaccination level of ≤1:10, as measured by hemagglutination-inhibition assay. Geometric mean titers, influenza-like illnesses, and tolerability were also evaluated.
Results. One hundred thirty-one participants were evaluated (65 HIV-infected and 66 HIV-uninfected patients), with a median age of 35 years (interquartile range, 27–42 years). HIV-infected persons had a median CD4 cell count of 581 cells/mm3 (interquartile range, 476–814 cells/mm3) , and 82% were receiving antiretroviral medications. At baseline, 35 patients (27%) had antibody titers of >1:10. HIV-infected patients (29 [56%] of 52), compared with HIV-uninfected persons (35 [80%] of 44), were significantly less likely to develop an antibody response (odds ratio, .20; P = .003). Changes in the median geometric mean titer from baseline to day 28 were also significantly lower in HIV-infected patients than in HIV-uninfected persons (75 vs 153; P = .001). Five influenza-like illnesses occurred (2 cases in HIV-infected persons), but none was attributable to the 2009 influenza H1N1 virus. The vaccine was well tolerated in both groups.
Conclusions. Despite high CD4 cell counts and receipt of antiretroviral medications, HIV-infected adults generated significantly poorer antibody responses, compared with HIV-uninfected persons. Future studies evaluating a 2-dose series or more-immunogenic influenza A (H1N1) vaccines among HIV-infected adults are needed (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00996970).
doi:10.1093/cid/ciq019
PMCID: PMC3060889  PMID: 21148532
8.  Pairing QuantiFERON Gold In-Tube with Opt-Out HIV Testing in a Tuberculosis Contact Investigation in the Southeastern United States 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2010;24(9):539-543.
Abstract
Knowing one's HIV status is particularly important in the setting of recent tuberculosis (TB) exposure. Blood tests for assessment of tuberculosis infection, such as the QuantiFERON Gold in-tube test (QFT; Cellestis Limited, Carnegie, Victoria, Australia), offer the possibility of simultaneous screening for TB and HIV with a single blood draw. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of all contacts to a highly infectious TB case in a large meatpacking factory. Twenty-two percent were foreign-born and 73% were black. Contacts were tested with both tuberculin skin testing (TST) and QFT. HIV testing was offered on an opt-out basis. Persons with TST ≥10 mm, positive QFT, and/or positive HIV test were offered latent TB treatment. Three hundred twenty-six contacts were screened: TST results were available for 266 people and an additional 24 reported a prior positive TST for a total of 290 persons with any TST result (89.0%). Adequate QFT specimens were obtained for 312 (95.7%) of persons. Thirty-two persons had QFT results but did not return for TST reading. Twenty-two percent met the criteria for latent TB infection. Eighty–eight percent accepted HIV testing. Two (0.7%) were HIV seropositive; both individuals were already aware of their HIV status, but one had stopped care a year previously. None of the HIV-seropositive persons had latent TB, but all were offered latent TB treatment per standard guidelines. This demonstrates that opt-out HIV testing combined with QFT in a large TB contact investigation was feasible and useful. HIV testing was also widely accepted. Pairing QFT with opt-out HIV testing should be strongly considered when possible.
doi:10.1089/apc.2010.0102
PMCID: PMC2958451  PMID: 20731612
9.  Virologic outcomes of HAART with concurrent use of cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing antiepileptics: a retrospective case control study 
Background
To evaluate the efficacy of highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in individuals taking cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing antiepileptics (EI-EADs), we evaluated the virologic response to HAART with or without concurrent antiepileptic use.
Methods
Participants in the US Military HIV Natural History Study were included if taking HAART for ≥6 months with concurrent use of EI-AEDs phenytoin, carbamazepine, or phenobarbital for ≥28 days. Virologic outcomes were compared to HAART-treated participants taking AEDs that are not CYP450 enzyme-inducing (NEI-AED group) as well as to a matched group of individuals not taking AEDs (non-AED group). For participants with multiple HAART regimens with AED overlap, the first 3 overlaps were studied.
Results
EI-AED participants (n = 19) had greater virologic failure (62.5%) compared to NEI-AED participants (n = 85; 26.7%) for the first HAART/AED overlap period (OR 4.58 [1.47-14.25]; P = 0.009). Analysis of multiple overlap periods yielded consistent results (OR 4.29 [1.51-12.21]; P = 0.006). Virologic failure was also greater in the EI-AED versus NEI-AED group with multiple HAART/AED overlaps when adjusted for both year of and viral load at HAART initiation (OR 4.19 [1.54-11.44]; P = 0.005). Compared to the non-AED group (n = 190), EI-AED participants had greater virologic failure (62.5% vs. 42.5%; P = 0.134), however this result was only significant when adjusted for viral load at HAART initiation (OR 4.30 [1.02-18.07]; P = 0.046).
Conclusions
Consistent with data from pharmacokinetic studies demonstrating that EI-AED use may result in subtherapeutic levels of HAART, EI-AED use is associated with greater risk of virologic failure compared to NEI-AEDs when co-administered with HAART. Concurrent use of EI-AEDs and HAART should be avoided when possible.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-8-18
PMCID: PMC3119192  PMID: 21575228
10.  Telavancin versus Vancomycin for Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia due to Gram-positive Pathogens 
The results from two methodologically identical double-blind studies indicate that telavancin is noninferior to vancomycin based on clinical response in the treatment of hospital-acquired pneumonia due to Gram-positive pathogens.
Background. Telavancin is a lipoglycopeptide bactericidal against gram-positive pathogens.
Methods. Two methodologically identical, double-blind studies (0015 and 0019) were conducted involving patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) due to gram-positive pathogens, particularly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Patients were randomized 1:1 to telavancin (10 mg/kg every 24 h) or vancomycin (1 g every 12 h) for 7–21 days. The primary end point was clinical response at follow-up/test-of-cure visit.
Results. A total of 1503 patients were randomized and received study medication (the all-treated population). In the pooled all-treated population, cure rates with telavancin versus vancomycin were 58.9% versus 59.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] for the difference, –5.6% to 4.3%). In the pooled clinically evaluable population (n = 654), cure rates were 82.4% with telavancin and 80.7% with vancomycin (95% CI for the difference, –4.3% to 7.7%). Treatment with telavancin achieved higher cure rates in patients with monomicrobial S. aureus infection and comparable cure rates in patients with MRSA infection; in patients with mixed gram-positive/gram-negative infections, cure rates were higher in the vancomycin group. Incidence and types of adverse events were comparable between the treatment groups. Mortality rates for telavancin-treated versus vancomycin-treated patients were 21.5% versus 16.6% (95% CI for the difference, –0.7% to 10.6%) for study 0015 and 18.5% versus 20.6% (95% CI for the difference, –7.8% to 3.5%) for study 0019. Increases in serum creatinine level were more common in the telavancin group (16% vs 10%).
Conclusions. The primary end point of the studies was met, indicating that telavancin is noninferior to vancomycin on the basis of clinical response in the treatment of HAP due to gram-positive pathogens.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciq031
PMCID: PMC3060890  PMID: 21148517
11.  Multiplex PCR To Diagnose Bloodstream Infections in Patients Admitted from the Emergency Department with Sepsis ▿  
Sepsis is caused by a heterogeneous group of infectious etiologies. Early diagnosis and the provision of appropriate antimicrobial therapy correlate with positive clinical outcomes. Current microbiological techniques are limited in their diagnostic capacities and timeliness. Multiplex PCR has the potential to rapidly identify bloodstream infections and fill this diagnostic gap. We identified patients from two large academic hospital emergency departments with suspected sepsis. The results of a multiplex PCR that could detect 25 bacterial and fungal pathogens were compared to those of blood culture. The results were analyzed with respect to the likelihood of infection, sepsis severity, the site of infection, and the effect of prior antibiotic therapy. We enrolled 306 subjects with suspected sepsis. Of these, 43 were later determined not to have infectious etiologies. Of the remaining 263 subjects, 70% had sepsis, 16% had severe sepsis, and 14% had septic shock. The majority had a definite infection (41.5%) or a probable infection (30.7%). Blood culture and PCR performed similarly with samples from patients with clinically defined infections (areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves, 0.64 and 0.60, respectively). However, blood culture identified more cases of septicemia than PCR among patients with an identified infectious etiology (66 and 46, respectively; P = 0.0004). The two tests performed similarly when the results were stratified by sepsis severity or infection site. Blood culture tended to detect infections more frequently among patients who had previously received antibiotics (P = 0.06). Conversely, PCR identified an additional 24 organisms that blood culture failed to detect. Real-time multiplex PCR has the potential to serve as an adjunct to conventional blood culture, adding diagnostic yield and shortening the time to pathogen identification.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01447-09
PMCID: PMC2812289  PMID: 19846634
12.  Associations between the Genotypes of Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Isolates and Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes of Bacteremic Patients ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(9):2890-2896.
We investigated associations between the genotypic and phenotypic features of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream isolates and the clinical characteristics of bacteremic patients enrolled in a phase III trial of S. aureus bacteremia and endocarditis. Isolates underwent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, PCR for 33 putative virulence genes, and screening for heteroresistant glycopeptide intermediate S. aureus (hGISA). A total of 230 isolates (141 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus and 89 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]) were analyzed. North American and European S. aureus isolates differed in their genotypic characteristics. Overall, 26% of the MRSA bloodstream isolates were USA 300 strains. Patients with USA 300 MRSA bacteremia were more likely to be injection drug users (61% versus 15%; P < 0.001), to have right-sided endocarditis (39% versus 9%; P = 0.002), and to be cured of right-sided endocarditis (100% versus 33%; P = 0.01) than patients with non-USA 300 MRSA bacteremia. Patients with persistent bacteremia were less likely to be infected with Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene (pvl)-constitutive MRSA (19% versus 56%; P = 0.005). Although 7 of 89 MRSA isolates (8%) exhibited the hGISA phenotype, no association with persistent bacteremia, daptomycin resistance, or bacterial genotype was observed. This study suggests that the virulence gene profiles of S. aureus bloodstream isolates from North America and Europe differ significantly. In this study of bloodstream isolates collected as part of a multinational randomized clinical trial, USA 300 and pvl-constitutive MRSA strains were associated with better clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00905-08
PMCID: PMC2546778  PMID: 18596141

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