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2.  Chikungunya as a Cause of Acute Febrile Illness in Southern Sri Lanka 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82259.
Background
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) re-emerged in Sri Lanka in late 2006 after a 40-year hiatus. We sought to identify and characterize acute chikungunya infection (CHIK) in patients presenting with acute undifferentiated febrile illness in unstudied rural and semi-urban southern Sri Lanka in 2007.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We enrolled febrile patients ≥ 2 years of age, collected uniform epidemiologic and clinical data, and obtained serum samples for serology, virus isolation, and real-time reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Serology on paired acute and convalescent samples identified acute chikungunya infection in 3.5% (28/797) patients without acute dengue virus (DENV) infection, 64.3% (18/28) of which were confirmed by viral isolation and/or real-time RT-PCR. No CHIKV/DENV co-infections were detected among 54 patients with confirmed acute DENV. Sequencing of the E1 coding region of six temporally distinct CHIKV isolates (April through October 2007) showed that all isolates posessed the E1-226A residue and were most closely related to Sri Lankan and Indian isolates from the same time period. Except for more frequent and persistent musculoskeletal symptoms, acute chikungunya infections mimicked DENV and other acute febrile illnesses. Only 12/797 (1.5%) patients had serological evidence of past chikungunya infection.
Conclusions/Significance
Our findings suggest CHIKV is a prominent cause of non-specific acute febrile illness in southern Sri Lanka.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082259
PMCID: PMC3846738  PMID: 24312651
3.  The host response to infection: advancing a novel diagnostic paradigm 
Critical Care  2012;16(6):168.
Capturing the host response by using genomic technologies such as transcriptional profiling provides a new paradigm for classifying and diagnosing infectious disease and for potentially distinguishing infection from other causes of serious respiratory illness. This strategy has been used to define a blood-based RNA signature as a classifier for pandemic H1N1 influenza infection that is distinct from bacterial pneumonia and other inflammatory causes of respiratory disease. To realize the full potential of this approach as a diagnostic test will require additional independent validation of the results and studies to examine the specificity of this signature for viral versus bacterial infection or co-infection.
doi:10.1186/cc11685
PMCID: PMC3672566  PMID: 23134694
4.  Arbovirus Diseases, Southeastern United States 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(11):e130650.
doi:10.3201/eid1911.130650
PMCID: PMC3837680
arbovirus; southeastern United States; arbovirus diseases; mosquitoes; viruses
5.  Quantitative Models of the Dose-Response and Time Course of Inhalational Anthrax in Humans 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003555.
Anthrax poses a community health risk due to accidental or intentional aerosol release. Reliable quantitative dose-response analyses are required to estimate the magnitude and timeline of potential consequences and the effect of public health intervention strategies under specific scenarios. Analyses of available data from exposures and infections of humans and non-human primates are often contradictory. We review existing quantitative inhalational anthrax dose-response models in light of criteria we propose for a model to be useful and defensible. To satisfy these criteria, we extend an existing mechanistic competing-risks model to create a novel Exposure–Infection–Symptomatic illness–Death (EISD) model and use experimental non-human primate data and human epidemiological data to optimize parameter values. The best fit to these data leads to estimates of a dose leading to infection in 50% of susceptible humans (ID50) of 11,000 spores (95% confidence interval 7,200–17,000), ID10 of 1,700 (1,100–2,600), and ID1 of 160 (100–250). These estimates suggest that use of a threshold to human infection of 600 spores (as suggested in the literature) underestimates the infectivity of low doses, while an existing estimate of a 1% infection rate for a single spore overestimates low dose infectivity. We estimate the median time from exposure to onset of symptoms (incubation period) among untreated cases to be 9.9 days (7.7–13.1) for exposure to ID50, 11.8 days (9.5–15.0) for ID10, and 12.1 days (9.9–15.3) for ID1. Our model is the first to provide incubation period estimates that are independently consistent with data from the largest known human outbreak. This model refines previous estimates of the distribution of early onset cases after a release and provides support for the recommended 60-day course of prophylactic antibiotic treatment for individuals exposed to low doses.
Author Summary
Anthrax poses a potential community health risk due to accidental or intentional aerosol release. We address the need for a transparent and defensible quantitative dose-response model for inhalational anthrax that is useful for risk assessors in estimating the magnitude and timeline of potential public health consequences should a release occur. Our synthesis of relevant data and previous modeling efforts identifies areas of improvement among many commonly cited dose-response models and estimates. To address those deficiencies, we provide a new model that is based on clear, transparent assumptions and published data from human and non-human primate exposures. Our resulting estimates provide important insight into the infectivity to humans of low inhaled doses of anthrax spores and the timeline of infections after an exposure event. These insights are critical to assessment of the impacts of delays in responding to a large scale aerosol release, as well as the recommended course of antibiotic administration to those potentially exposed.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003555
PMCID: PMC3744436  PMID: 24058320
6.  Discriminative Value of Inflammatory Biomarkers for Suspected Sepsis 
Background
Circulating biomarkers can facilitate sepsis diagnosis enabling early management and improved outcomes. Procalcitonin (PCT) has been suggested to have superior diagnostic utility compared to other biomarkers.
Methods
Adults with suspected sepsis in the Emergency Department were enrolled. PCT, CRP, and IL-6 were correlated with infection likelihood, sepsis severity, and septicemia. Multivariable models were constructed for length-of-stay and discharge to a higher level of care.
Results
Of 336 enrolled subjects, 60% had definite infection, 13% possible infection and 27% no infection. Of those with infection, 202 presented with sepsis, 28 with severe sepsis, and 17 with septic shock. Overall, 21% of subjects were septicemic. PCT, IL6, and CRP levels were significantly higher in septicemia (median PCT 2.3 vs. 0.2ng/mL; IL-6 178 vs. 72pg/mL; CRP 106 vs. 62mg/dL, p<0.001). Biomarker concentrations increased with greater likelihood of infection and sepsis severity. Using ROC analysis, PCT best predicted septicemia (0.78 vs. IL-6 0.70 and CRP 0.67) but CRP better identified clinical infection (0.75 vs. PCT 0.71 and IL-6 0.69). A PCT cut-off of 0.5ng/mL had 72.6% sensitivity and 69.5% specificity for bacteremia as well as 40.7% sensitivity and 87.2% specificity for diagnosing infection. A combined clinical-biomarker model revealed that CRP was marginally associated with length-of-stay (p=0.015), but no biomarker independently predicted discharge to a higher level of care.
Conclusions
In adult Emergency Department patients with suspected sepsis, PCT, IL-6, and CRP highly correlate with several infection parameters, but do not meaningfully predict length-of-stay or need for discharge to a higher level of care.
doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.05.072
PMCID: PMC3740117  PMID: 22056545
Sepsis; Procalcitonin; Interleukin-6; C-Reactive Protein; Sensitivity and Specificity
7.  Heterogeneous Vancomycin-Intermediate Susceptibility Phenotype in Bloodstream Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from an International Cohort of Patients with Infective Endocarditis: Prevalence, Genotype, and Clinical Significance 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;200(9):1355-1366.
Background
The significance of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) is unknown. Using a multinational collection of isolates from methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infective endocarditis (IE), we characterized IE patients with and without hVISA, and genotyped the infecting strains.
Methods
MRSA bloodstream isolates from 65 patients with definite IE from 8 countries underwent PCR for 31 virulence genes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing. hVISA was defined using population analysis profiling (PAP).
Results
Nineteen (29.2%) of 65 MRSA IE isolates exhibited hVISA by PAP. Isolates from Oceania and Europe were more likely to exhibit hVISA than isolates from the United States (77.8% vs. 35.0% vs. 13.9%; P < .001). The prevalence of hVISA was higher among isolates with a vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of 2 mg/L (P = .026). hVISA-infected patients were more likely to have persistent bacteremia (68.4% vs. 37.0%; P = .029) and heart failure (47.4% vs. 19.6%; P = .033). Mortality of hVISA- and non-hVISA-infected patients did not differ (42.1% vs. 34.8%, P = .586). hVISA and non-hVISA isolates were genotypically similar.
Conclusions
In these analyses, hVISA occurred in over one-quarter of MRSA IE isolates, was associated with certain IE complications, and varied in frequency by geographic region.
doi:10.1086/606027
PMCID: PMC3600359  PMID: 19811099
hVISA; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; endocarditis; genotype
8.  A Host Transcriptional Signature for Presymptomatic Detection of Infection in Humans Exposed to Influenza H1N1 or H3N2 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e52198.
There is great potential for host-based gene expression analysis to impact the early diagnosis of infectious diseases. In particular, the influenza pandemic of 2009 highlighted the challenges and limitations of traditional pathogen-based testing for suspected upper respiratory viral infection. We inoculated human volunteers with either influenza A (A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1) or A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2)), and assayed the peripheral blood transcriptome every 8 hours for 7 days. Of 41 inoculated volunteers, 18 (44%) developed symptomatic infection. Using unbiased sparse latent factor regression analysis, we generated a gene signature (or factor) for symptomatic influenza capable of detecting 94% of infected cases. This gene signature is detectable as early as 29 hours post-exposure and achieves maximal accuracy on average 43 hours (p = 0.003, H1N1) and 38 hours (p-value = 0.005, H3N2) before peak clinical symptoms. In order to test the relevance of these findings in naturally acquired disease, a composite influenza A signature built from these challenge studies was applied to Emergency Department patients where it discriminates between swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 (2009) infected and non-infected individuals with 92% accuracy. The host genomic response to Influenza infection is robust and may provide the means for detection before typical clinical symptoms are apparent.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052198
PMCID: PMC3541408  PMID: 23326326
9.  Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Endocarditis Isolates Are Associated With Clonal Complex 30 Genotype and a Distinct Repertoire of Enterotoxins and Adhesins 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(5):704-713.
Background. Using multinational collections of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) isolates from infective endocarditis (IE) and soft tissue infections (STIs), we sought to (1) validate the finding that S. aureus in clonal complex (CC) 30 is associated with hematogenous complications and (2) test the hypothesis that specific genetic characteristics in S. aureus are associated with infection severity.
Methods. IE and STI isolates from 2 cohorts were frequency matched by geographic origin. Isolates underwent spa typing to infer CC and multiplex polymerase chain reaction for presence of virulence genes.
Results. 114 isolate pairs were genotyped. IE isolates were more likely to be CC30 (19.5% vs 6.2%; P = .005) and to contain 3 adhesins (clfB, cna, map/eap; P < .0001 for all) and 5 enterotoxins (tst, sea, sed, see, and sei; P ≤ .005 for all). CC30 isolates were more likely to contain cna, tst, sea, see, seg, and chp (P < .05 for all).
Conclusions. MSSA IE isolates were significantly more likely to be CC30 and to possess a distinct repertoire of virulence genes than MSSA STI isolates from the same region. The genetic basis of this association requires further study.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jir389
PMCID: PMC3156104  PMID: 21844296
10.  Unsuspected Rickettsioses among Patients with Acute Febrile Illness, Sri Lanka, 2007 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(5):825-829.
We studied rickettsioses in southern Sri Lanka. Of 883 febrile patients with paired serum samples, 156 (17.7%) had acute rickettsioses; rickettsioses were unsuspected at presentation. Additionally, 342 (38.7%) had exposure to spotted fever and/or typhus group rickettsioses and 121 (13.7%) scrub typhus. Increased awareness of rickettsioses and better tests are needed.
doi:10.3201/eid1805.111563
PMCID: PMC3358078  PMID: 22516455
Rickettsial infection; rickettsia; serologic tests; Sri Lanka; fever; scrub typhus; bacteria
11.  Hallucinations, Sensory Neuropathy, and Peripheral Visual Deficits in a Young Woman Infected with Bartonella koehlerae ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(9):3415-3417.
A young woman experiencing depression, anxiety, mood swings, severe headaches, muscle spasms, interphalangeal joint stiffness, decreased peripheral vision, diminished tactile sensation, and hallucinations was persistently Bartonella koehlerae seroreactive and bacteremic. Following antibiotic treatment, B. koehlerae antibodies and DNA were not detected and all symptoms resolved.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00833-11
PMCID: PMC3165616  PMID: 21734026
12.  Unsuspected Dengue and Acute Febrile Illness in Rural and Semi-Urban Southern Sri Lanka 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(2):256-263.
Acute dengue may be under-recognized in other regions because of limited studies and tools for rapid diagnosis.
Dengue virus (DENV), a globally emerging cause of undifferentiated fever, has been documented in the heavily urbanized western coast of Sri Lanka since the 1960s. New areas of Sri Lanka are now being affected, and the reported number and severity of cases have increased. To study emerging DENV in southern Sri Lanka, we obtained epidemiologic and clinical data and acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples from patients >2 years old with febrile illness. We tested paired serum samples for DENV IgG and IgM and serotyped virus by using isolation and reverse transcription PCR. We identified acute DENV infection (serotypes 2, 3, and 4) in 54 (6.3%) of 859 patients. Only 14% of patients had clinically suspected dengue; however, 54% had serologically confirmed acute or past DENV infection. DENV is a major and largely unrecognized cause of fever in southern Sri Lanka, especially in young adults.
doi:10.3201/eid1802.110962
PMCID: PMC3310451  PMID: 22304972
dengue; dengue virus; viruses; acute dengue; secondary dengue; recurrent dengue; acute febrile illness; young adults; pandemic; rural; semi-urban; Sri Lanka. dengue hemorrhagic fever; vector-borne diseases; mosquitoes; Aedes aegypti
13.  H3N2 Influenza Infection Elicits More Cross-Reactive and Less Clonally Expanded Anti-Hemagglutinin Antibodies Than Influenza Vaccination 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25797.
Background
During the recent H1N1 influenza pandemic, excess morbidity and mortality was seen in young but not older adults suggesting that prior infection with influenza strains may have protected older subjects. In contrast, a history of recent seasonal trivalent vaccine in younger adults was not associated with protection.
Methods and Findings
To study hemagglutinin (HA) antibody responses in influenza immunization and infection, we have studied the day 7 plasma cell repertoires of subjects immunized with seasonal trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and compared them to the plasma cell repertoires of subjects experimentally infected (EI) with influenza H3N2 A/Wisconsin/67/2005. The majority of circulating plasma cells after TIV produced influenza-specific antibodies, while most plasma cells after EI produced antibodies that did not react with influenza HA. While anti-HA antibodies from TIV subjects were primarily reactive with single or few HA strains, anti-HA antibodies from EI subjects were isolated that reacted with multiple HA strains. Plasma cell-derived anti-HA antibodies from TIV subjects showed more evidence of clonal expansion compared with antibodies from EI subjects. From an H3N2-infected subject, we isolated a 4-member clonal lineage of broadly cross-reactive antibodies that bound to multiple HA subtypes and neutralized both H1N1 and H3N2 viruses. This broad reactivity was not detected in post-infection plasma suggesting this broadly reactive clonal lineage was not immunodominant in this subject.
Conclusion
The presence of broadly reactive subdominant antibody responses in some EI subjects suggests that improved vaccine designs that make broadly reactive antibody responses immunodominant could protect against novel influenza strains.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0025797
PMCID: PMC3198447  PMID: 22039424
14.  Leptospirosis as Frequent Cause of Acute Febrile Illness in Southern Sri Lanka 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(9):1678-1684.
TOC summary: Clinical impression and serologic tests of acute-phase specimens are insensitive, and rapid, pathogen-based tests are needed.
To determine the proportion of fevers caused by leptospirosis, we obtained serum specimens and epidemiologic and clinical data from patients in Galle, Sri Lanka, March–October 2007. Immunoglobulin M ELISA was performed on paired serum specimens to diagnose acute (seroconversion or 4-fold titer rise) or past (titer without rise) leptospirosis and seroprevalence (acute). We compared (individually) the diagnostic yield of acute-phase specimens and clinical impression with paired specimens for acute leptospirosis. Of 889 patients with paired specimens, 120 had acute leptosoirosis and 241 had past leptospirosis. The sensitivity and specificity of acute-phase serum specimens were 17.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.2%–25.5%) and 69.2% (95% CI 65.5%–72.7%), respectively, and of clinical impression 22.9% (95% CI 15.4%–32.0%) and 91.7% (95% CI 89.2%–93.8%), respectively. For identifying acute leptospirosis, clinical impression is insensitive, and immunoglobulin M results are more insensitive and costly. Rapid, pathogen-based tests for early diagnosis are needed.
doi:10.3201/eid1709.100915
PMCID: PMC3322050  PMID: 21888794
leptospirosis; serologic tests; Sri Lanka; fever; bacteria; acute febrile illness; Leptospira; research
15.  Automated detection of influenza-like illness using clinical surveillance markers at a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center 
Emerging Health Threats Journal  2011;4:10.3402/ehtj.v4i0.7108.
Background:
Using demographic and clinical measures from emergency department evaluations, we developed an automated surveillance system for influenza-like illness (ILI).
Methods:
We selected a random sample of patients who were seen at the Durham, NC Veterans Affairs Medical Center between May 2002 and October 2009 with fever or a respiratory ICD-9 diagnosis code and divided this into subsets for system development and validation. Comprehensive chart reviews identified patients who met a standard case definition for ILI. Logistic regression models predicting ILI were fit in the development sample. We applied the parameter estimates from these models to the validation sample and evaluated their utility using receiver-operator characteristic analysis.
Results:
The models discriminated ILI very well in the validation sample; the C-statistics were >0.89.
Conclusions:
Risk estimates based on statistical models can be incorporated into electronic medical records systems to assist clinicians and could be used in real-time surveillance for disease outbreaks.
doi:10.3402/ehtj.v4i0.7108
PMCID: PMC3166878  PMID: 24149026
influenza-like illness; population surveillance; predictive modeling
16.  Impact of Strain Type on Detection of Toxigenic Clostridium difficile: Comparison of Molecular Diagnostic and Enzyme Immunoassay Approaches ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(10):3719-3724.
A multicenter clinical trial assessed the performance of the Cepheid Xpert C. difficile assay on stool specimens collected from patients suspected of having Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). A total of 2,296 unformed stool specimens, collected from seven study sites, were tested by Xpert C. difficile enrichment culture followed by cell culture cytotoxicity testing of the isolates (i.e., toxigenic culture with enrichment) and the study sites' standard C. difficile test methods. The methods included enzyme immunoassay (EIA), direct cytotoxin testing, and two- and three-step algorithms using glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) screening followed by either EIA or EIA and an in-house PCR assay. All C. difficile strains were typed by PCR-ribotyping. Compared to results for toxigenic culture with enrichment, the sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of the Xpert assay were 93.5, 94.0, 73.0, and 98.8%, respectively. The overall sensitivity of the EIAs compared to that of enrichment culture was 60.0%, and the sensitivity of combined GDH algorithms was 72.9%; both were significantly lower than that of Xpert C. difficile (P < 0.001 and P = 0.03, respectively). The sensitivity of the EIA was significantly lower than that of the Xpert C. difficile assay for detection of ribotypes 002, 027, and 106 (P < 0.0001, P < 0.0001, and P = 0.004, respectively, Fisher's exact test), and the sensitivity of GDH algorithms for ribotypes other than 027 was lower than that for Xpert C. difficile (P < 0.001). The Xpert C. difficile assay is a simple, rapid, and accurate method for detection of toxigenic C. difficile in unformed stool specimens and is minimally affected by strain type compared to EIA and GDH-based methods.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00427-10
PMCID: PMC2953097  PMID: 20702676
17.  Multicenter Evaluation of the LightCycler Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Advanced Test as a Rapid Method for Detection of MRSA in Nasal Surveillance Swabs ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1661-1666.
The rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection continues to rise in many health care settings. Rapid detection of MRSA colonization followed by appropriate isolation can reduce transmission and infection. We compared the performance of the new Roche LightCycler MRSA advanced test to that of the BD GeneOhm MRSA test and culture. Double-headed swabs were used to collect anterior nasal specimens from each subject. For both tests, DNA was extracted and real-time PCR was performed according to manufacturer's instructions. For culture, one swab of the pair was plated directly to CHROMagar MRSA. The swab paired with the BD GeneOhm MRSA test was also placed into an enrichment broth and then plated to CHROMagar MRSA. Colonies resembling staphylococci were confirmed as S. aureus by standard methods. Discrepant specimens had further testing with additional attempts to grow MRSA as well as sample amplicon sequencing. Agreement between results for the two swabs was 99.3% for those with valid results. A total of 1,402 specimens were tested using direct culture detection of MRSA as the gold standard; 187 were culture positive for MRSA. The LightCycler MRSA advanced test had relative sensitivity and specificity of 95.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 91.1% to 97.8%) and 96.4% (95% CI: 95.2% to 97.4%), respectively. The BD GeneOhm assay had relative sensitivity and specificity of 95.7% (95% CI: 91.7% to 98.1%) and 91.7% (95% CI: 90.0% to 93.2%), respectively. Following discrepancy analysis, the relative sensitivities of the LightCycler MRSA advanced test and the BD GeneOhm MRSA assay were 92.2 and 93.2%, respectively; relative specificities were 98.9 and 94.2%, respectively. Specificity was significantly better (P < 0.001) with the LightCycler MRSA advanced test. The sensitivity of direct culture was 80.4%. The LightCycler MRSA advanced test is a useful tool for sensitive and rapid detection of MRSA nasal colonization.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00003-10
PMCID: PMC2863939  PMID: 20335423
18.  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
19.  Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii and Bartonella henselae bacteremia in a father and daughter with neurological disease 
Parasites & Vectors  2010;3:29.
Background
Bartonella vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii is an important, emerging, intravascular bacterial pathogen that has been recently isolated from immunocompetent patients with endocarditis, arthritis, neurological disease and vasoproliferative neoplasia. Vector transmission is suspected among dogs and wild canines, which are the primary reservoir hosts. This investigation was initiated to determine if pets and family members were infected with one or more Bartonella species.
Methods
PCR and enrichment blood culture in Bartonella alpha Proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) was used to determine infection status. Antibody titers to B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotypes I-III and B. henselae were determined using a previously described indirect fluorescent antibody test. Two patients were tested sequentially for over a year to assess the response to antibiotic treatment.
Results
Intravascular infection with B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotype II and Bartonella henselae (Houston 1 strain) were confirmed in a veterinarian and his daughter by enrichment blood culture, followed by PCR and DNA sequencing. Symptoms included progressive weight loss, muscle weakness, lack of coordination (the father) and headaches, muscle pain and insomnia (the daughter). B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii genotype II was also sequenced from a cerebrospinal fluid BAPGM enrichment culture and from a periodontal swab sample. After repeated courses of antibiotics, post-treatment blood cultures were negative, there was a decremental decrease in antibody titers to non-detectable levels and symptoms resolved in both patients.
Conclusions
B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii and B. henselae are zoonotic pathogens that can be isolated from the blood of immunocompetent family members with arthralgias, fatigue and neurological symptoms. Therapeutic elimination of Bartonella spp. infections can be challenging, and follow-up testing is recommended. An increasing number of arthropod vectors, including biting flies, fleas, keds, lice, sandflies and ticks have been confirmed or are suspected as the primary mode of transmission of Bartonella species among animal populations and may also pose a risk to human beings.
doi:10.1186/1756-3305-3-29
PMCID: PMC2859367  PMID: 20377863
20.  Risk Factors for and Estimated Incidence of Community-associated Clostridium difficile Infection, North Carolina, USA1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(2):198-204.
Antimicrobial drug exposure is the most common modifiable risk factor for infection.
We determined estimated incidence of and risk factors for community-associated Clostridium difficile infection (CA-CDI) among patients treated at 6 North Carolina hospitals. CA-CDI case-patients were defined as adults (>18 years of age) with a positive stool test result for C. difficile toxin and no hospitalization within the prior 8 weeks. CA-CDI incidence was 21 and 46 per 100,000 person-years in Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatients and Durham County populations, respectively. VA case-patients were more likely than controls to have received antimicrobial drugs (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 17.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.6–48] and to have had a recent outpatient visit (aOR 5.1, 95% CI 1.5–17.9). County case-patients were more likely than controls to have received antimicrobial drugs (aOR 9.1, 95% CI 2.9–28.9), to have gastroesophageal reflux disease (aOR 11.2, 95% CI 1.9–64.2), and to have cardiac failure (aOR 3.8, 95% CI 1.1–13.7). Risk factors for CA-CDI overlap with those for healthcare-associated infection.
doi:10.3201/eid1602.090953
PMCID: PMC2958012  PMID: 20113547
Clostridium difficile; enteric infections; incidence; risk factors; community; bacteria; research
21.  Early versus Delayed Fixed Dose Combination Abacavir/Lamivudine/Zidovudine in Patients with HIV and Tuberculosis in Tanzania 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2009;25(12):1277-1285.
Abstract
Fixed dose combination abacavir/lamivudine/zidovudine (ABC/3TC/ZDV) among HIV-1 and tuberculosis (TB)-coinfected patients was evaluated and outcomes between early vs. delayed initiation were compared. In a randomized, pilot study conducted in the Kilimanjaro Region of Tanzania, HIV-infected inpatients with smear-positive TB and total lymphocyte count <1200/mm3 were randomized to initiate ABC/3TC/ZDV either 2 (early) or 8 (delayed) weeks after commencing antituberculosis therapy and were followed for 104 weeks. Of 94 patients screened, 70 enrolled (41% female, median CD4 count 103 cells/mm3), and 33 in each group completed 104 weeks. Two deaths and 12 serious adverse events (SAEs) were observed in the early arm vs. one death, one clinical failure, and seven SAEs in the delayed arm (p = 0.6012 for time to first grade 3/4 event, SAE, or death). CD4 cell increases were +331 and +328 cells/mm3, respectively. TB-immune reconstitution inflammatory syndromes (TB-IRIS) were not observed in any subject. Using intent-to-treat (ITT), missing = failure analyses, 74% (26/35) vs. 89% (31/35) randomized to early vs. delayed therapy had HIV RNA levels <400 copies/ml at 104 weeks (p = 0.2182) and 66% (23/35) vs. 74% (26/35), respectively, had HIV RNA levels <50 copies/ml (p = 0.6026). In an analysis in which switches from ABC/3TC/ZDV = failure, those receiving early therapy were less likely to be suppressed to <400 copies/ml [60% (21/35) vs. 86% (30/35), p = 0.030]. TB-IRIS was not observed among the 70 coinfected subjects beginning antiretroviral treatment. ABC/3TC/ZDV was well tolerated and resulted in steady immunologic improvement. Rates of virologic suppression were similar between early and delayed treatment strategies with triple nucleoside regimens when substitutions were allowed.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0100
PMCID: PMC2858925  PMID: 20001518
22.  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
23.  Phylogenetic Analysis of Viridans Group Streptococci Causing Endocarditis ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(9):3087-3090.
Identification of viridans group streptococci (VGS) to the species level is difficult because VGS exchange genetic material. We performed multilocus DNA target sequencing to assess phylogenetic concordance of VGS for a well-defined clinical syndrome. The hierarchy of sequence data was often discordant, underscoring the importance of establishing biological relevance for finer phylogenetic distinctions.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00920-08
PMCID: PMC2546745  PMID: 18650347
24.  Murine Typhus and Febrile Illness, Nepal 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(10):1656-1659.
Murine typhus was diagnosed by PCR in 50 (7%) of 756 adults with febrile illness seeking treatment at Patan Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Of patients with murine typhus, 64% were women, 86% were residents of Kathmandu, and 90% were unwell during the winter. No characteristics clearly distinguished typhus patients from those with blood culture–positive enteric fever.
doi:10.3201/eid1410.080236
PMCID: PMC2609894  PMID: 18826840
Murine typhus; Rickettsia typhi; PCR; Nepal; typhoid; dispatch
25.  An integrated clinico-metabolomic model improves prediction of death in sepsis 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(195):195ra95.
Sepsis is a common cause of death, but outcomes in individual patients are difficult to predict. Elucidating the molecular processes that differ between sepsis patients who survive and those who die may permit more appropriate treatments to be deployed. We examined the clinical features, and the plasma metabolome and proteome of patients with and without community-acquired sepsis, upon their arrival at hospital emergency departments and 24 hours later. The metabolomes and proteomes of patients at hospital admittance who would die differed markedly from those who would survive. The different profiles of proteins and metabolites clustered into fatty acid transport and β-oxidation, gluconeogenesis and the citric acid cycle. They differed consistently among several sets of patients, and diverged more as death approached. In contrast, the metabolomes and proteomes of surviving patients with mild sepsis did not differ from survivors with severe sepsis or septic shock. An algorithm derived from clinical features together with measurements of seven metabolites predicted patient survival. This algorithm may help to guide the treatment of individual patients with sepsis.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3005893
PMCID: PMC3924586  PMID: 23884467

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