Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis in developing countries, particularly among children and HIV-infected persons. Pneumococcal oropharyngeal (OP) or nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization is a precursor to development of invasive disease. New conjugate vaccines hold promise for reducing colonization and disease.
Prior to introduction of 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV10), we conducted a cross-sectional survey among HIV-infected parents of children <5 years old in rural Kenya. Other parents living with an HIV-infected adult were also enrolled. After broth enrichment, NP and OP swabs were cultured for pneumococcus. Serotypes were identified by Quellung. Antimicrobial susceptibility was performed using broth microdilution.
We enrolled 973 parents; 549 (56.4 %) were HIV-infected, 153 (15.7 %) were HIV-uninfected and 271 (27.9 %) had unknown HIV status. Among HIV-infected parents, the median age was 32 years (range 15-74) and 374/549 (68 %) were mothers. Pneumococci were isolated from 237/549 (43.2 %) HIV-infected parents and 41/153 (26.8 %) HIV-non-infected parents (p = 0.0003). Colonization with PCV10 serotypes was not significantly more frequent in HIV-infected (12.9 %) than HIV-uninfected parents (11.8 %; p = 0.70). Among HIV-infected parents, cooking site separate from sleeping area and CD4 count >250 were protective (OR = 0.6; 95 % CI 0.4, 0.9 and OR = 0.5; 95 % CI 0.2, 0.9, respectively); other associations were not identified. Among 309 isolates tested from all parents, 255 (80.4 %) were penicillin non-susceptible (MIC ≥0.12 μg/ml).
Prevalence of pneumococcal colonization is high among HIV-infected parents in rural Kenya. If young children are the pneumococcal reservoir for this population, PCV10 introduction may reduce vaccine-type colonization and disease among HIV-infected parents through indirect protection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Pneumococcus; Nasopharyngeal colonization; HIV; Kenya; Africa; PCV
Background. A group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, PsA-TT, was licensed in 2010 and was previously studied in a phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate its safety and immunogenicity in African children 12–23 months of age.
Methods. Subjects received either PsA-TT; meningococcal group A, C, W, Y polysaccharide vaccine (PsACWY); or Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (Hib-TT). Forty weeks following primary vaccination, the 3 groups were further randomized to receive either PsA-TT, one-fifth dose of PsACWY, or Hib-TT. Group A–specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass response was characterized using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results. The predominant IgG subclass response, regardless of vaccine, was IgG1. One month following primary vaccination, the geometric mean concentrations (GMCs) of IgG1 and IgG2 in the PsA-TT group were 21.73 µg/mL and 6.27 µg/mL, whereas in the PsACWY group the mean GMCs were 2.01 µg/mL and 0.97 µg/mL, respectively (P < .0001). Group A–specific IgG1 and IgG2 GMCs remained greater in the PsA-TT group than in the PsACWY group 40 weeks following primary vaccination (P < .0001). One week following revaccination, those given 2 doses of PsA-TT had the greatest IgG1 and IgG2 GMCs of 125.23 µg/mL and 36.12 µg/mL, respectively (P = .0008), and demonstrated a significant increase in IgG1:IgG2 mean ratio, indicative of the T-cell–dependent response associated with conjugate vaccines.
Conclusions. Vaccination of African children aged 12–24 months with either PsA-TT or PsACWY elicited a predominantly IgG1 response. The IgG1:IgG2 mean ratio decreased following successive vaccination with PsACWY, indicating a shift toward IgG2, suggestive of the T-cell–independent immune response commonly associated with polysaccharide antigens.
Clinical Trials Registration. SRCTN78147026.
meningococcal; vaccination; IgG subclass; Neisseria meningitidis
Background. Mass vaccination campaigns of the population aged 1–29 years with 1 dose of group A meningococcal (MenA) conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT, MenAfriVac) in African meningitis belt countries has resulted in the near-disappearance of MenA. The vaccine was tested in clinical trials in Africa and in India and found to be safe and highly immunogenic compared with the group A component of the licensed quadrivalent polysaccharide vaccine (PsACWY). Antibody persistence in Africa and in India was investigated.
Methods. A total of 900 subjects aged 2–29 years were followed up for 4 years in Senegal, Mali, and The Gambia (study A). A total of 340 subjects aged 2–10 years were followed up for 1 year in India (study B). In study A, subjects were randomized in a 2:1 ratio, and in study B a 1:1 ratio to receive either PsA-TT or PsACWY. Immunogenicity was evaluated by measuring MenA serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) with rabbit complement and by a group A–specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results. In both studies, substantial SBA decay was observed at 6 months postvaccination in both vaccine groups, although more marked in the PsACWY group. At 1 year and 4 years (only for study A) postvaccination, SBA titers were relatively sustained in the PsA-TT group, whereas a slight increasing trend, more pronounced among the youngest, was observed in the participants aged <18 years in the PsACWY groups. The SBA titers were significantly higher in the PsA-TT group than in the PsACWY group at any time point, and the majority of subjects in the PsA-TT group had SBA titers ≥128 and group A–specific IgG concentrations ≥2 µg/mL at any point in time in both the African and Indian study populations.
Conclusions. Four years after vaccination with a single dose of PsA-TT vaccine in Africa, most subjects are considered protected from MenA disease.
Clinical Trials Registration. PsA-TT-003 (ISRCTN87739946); PsA-TT-003a (ISRCTN46335400).
MenA conjugate vaccine; antibody persistence; African meningitis belt; India
Background. A meningococcal group A conjugate vaccine, PsA-TT (MenAfriVac), developed through the Meningitis Vaccine Project and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Ltd, was tested in multiple clinical trials conducted mainly in Africa. The impact of age at which subjects were vaccinated on immune response and persistence postimmunization with PsA-TT was the main focus of the current analysis.
Methods. Subjects who were vaccinated with a single dose of 10 µg of PsA-TT at 12–23 months or 22–33 months of age in study A conducted in Mali and The Gambia; at 2–10 years, 11–17 years, or 18–29 years of age in study B conducted in Mali, The Gambia, and Senegal; and at 14–18 weeks, 9–12 months, or 12–18 months of age in study C conducted in Ghana are included in the current analysis. Immunogenicity was measured by group A serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) titer with baby rabbit complement.
Results. Significant differences in SBA titers were found among the age groups in studies B and C both 28 days and 1 year postimmunization. A significant difference in SBA titers between age groups 12–23 months and 22–33 months was only observed 1 year postimmunization in study A. Antibody titers remained at similar levels from 1 to 2 years postimmunization for subjects vaccinated at 12–23 months in study A and at 9–12 months or 12–18 months of age in study C.
Conclusions. Subjects immunized at different ages had different postimmunization immune responses as measured by SBA titers. Toddlers tended to have higher immune responses than infants. This pattern persisted at least 1 year postimmunization.
Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN78147026 (study A), ISRCTN87739946 (study B), and ISRCTN82484612 (study C).
meningococcal group A conjugate vaccine; MenAfriVac; serum bactericidal antibody; age
Background. Yellow fever (YF) is still a major public health problem in endemic regions of Africa and South America. In Africa, one of the main control strategies is routine vaccination within the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI). A new meningococcal A conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT) is about to be introduced in the EPI of countries in the African meningitis belt, and this study reports on the immunogenicity of the YF-17D vaccines in infants when administered concomitantly with measles vaccine and PsA-TT.
Methods. Two clinical studies were conducted in Ghana and in Mali among infants who received PsA-TT concomitantly with measles and YF vaccines at 9 months of age. YF neutralizing antibody titers were measured using a microneutralization assay.
Results. In both studies, the PsA-TT did not adversely affect the immune response to the concomitantly administered YF vaccine at the age of 9 months. The magnitude of the immune response was different between the 2 studies, with higher seroconversion and seroprotection rates found in Mali vs Ghana.
Conclusions. Immunogenicity to YF vaccine is unaffected when coadministered with PsA-TT at 9 months of age. Further studies are warranted to better understand the determinants of the immune response to YF vaccine in infancy.
Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN82484612 (PsA-TT-004); PACTR201110000328305 (PsA-TT-007).
yellow fever vaccine; group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine; coadministration; microneutralization assay; Africa
Background. A safe, affordable, and highly immunogenic meningococcal A conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT, MenAfriVac) was developed to control epidemic group A meningitis in Africa. Documentation of the safety specifications of the PsA-TT vaccine was warranted, with sufficient exposure to detect potential rare vaccine-related adverse reactions.
Methods. This phase 3, double-blind, randomized, active controlled clinical study was designed to evaluate the safety—primarily vaccine-related serious adverse events (SAEs)—up to 3 months after administration of a single dose of the PsA-TT vaccine to subjects aged 1–29 years in Mali. Safety outcomes were also compared to those following a single dose of a licensed meningococcal ACWY polysaccharide vaccine (PsACWY).
Results. No vaccine-related SAEs occurred during the 3 months of follow-up of 4004 subjects vaccinated with a single dose of PsA-TT. When compared to PsACWY (1996 subjects), tenderness at the injection site appeared to be more frequent in the PsA-TT group. However, rates of local induration, systemic reactions, adverse events (AEs), and SAEs were similar in both groups, and unsolicited AEs and SAEs were all unrelated to the study vaccines.
Conclusions. The study confirmed on a large scale the excellent safety profile of a single dose of PsA-TT when administered to its entire target population of 1–29 years of age.
Clinical Trials Registration. PACTR ATMR201003000191317.
MenAfriVac; vaccine safety; randomized clinical trial; active control; Africa
Background. Following mass vaccination campaigns in the African meningitis belt with group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine, MenAfriVac (PsA-TT), disease due to group A meningococci has nearly disappeared. Antibody persistence in healthy African toddlers was investigated.
Methods. African children vaccinated at 12–23 months of age with PsA-TT were followed for evaluation of antibody persistence up to 5 years after primary vaccination. Antibody persistence was evaluated by measuring group A serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) with rabbit complement and by a group A–specific IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results. Group A antibodies measured by SBA and ELISA were shown to decline in the year following vaccination and plateaued at levels significantly above baseline for up to 5 years following primary vaccination.
Conclusions. A single dose of PsA-TT induces long-term sustained levels of group A meningococcal antibodies for up to 5 years after vaccination.
Clinical Trials Registration. ISRTCN78147026.
MenAfriVac; group A meningococcal conjugate vaccine; antibody persistence; African meningitis belt
Humoral and cell-mediated immune correlates of protection (COP) for inhalation anthrax in a rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) model were determined. The immunological and survival data were from 114 vaccinated and 23 control animals exposed to Bacillus anthracis spores at 12, 30, or 52 months after the first vaccination. The vaccinated animals received a 3-dose intramuscular priming series (3-i.m.) of anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) (BioThrax) at 0, 1, and 6 months. The immune responses were modulated by administering a range of vaccine dilutions. Together with the vaccine dilution dose and interval between the first vaccination and challenge, each of 80 immune response variables to anthrax toxin protective antigen (PA) at every available study time point was analyzed as a potential COP by logistic regression penalized by least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) or elastic net. The anti-PA IgG level at the last available time point before challenge (last) and lymphocyte stimulation index (SI) at months 2 and 6 were identified consistently as a COP. Anti-PA IgG levels and lethal toxin neutralization activity (TNA) at months 6 and 7 (peak) and the frequency of gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-secreting cells at month 6 also had statistically significant positive correlations with survival. The ratio of interleukin 4 (IL-4) mRNA to IFN-γ mRNA at month 6 also had a statistically significant negative correlation with survival. TNA had lower accuracy as a COP than did anti-PA IgG response. Following the 3-i.m. priming with AVA, the anti-PA IgG responses at the time of exposure or at month 7 were practicable and accurate metrics for correlating vaccine-induced immunity with protection against inhalation anthrax.
A 3-dose (0, 1, and 6 months) intramuscular (3-IM) priming series of a human dose (HuAVA) and dilutions of up to 1:10 of anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) provided statistically significant levels of protection (60 to 100%) against inhalation anthrax for up to 4 years in rhesus macaques. Serum anti-protective antigen (anti-PA) IgG and lethal toxin neutralization activity (TNA) were detectable following a single injection of HuAVA or 1:5 AVA or following two injections of diluted vaccine (1:10, 1:20, or 1:40 AVA). Anti-PA and TNA were highly correlated (overall r2 = 0.89 for log10-transformed data). Peak responses were seen at 6.5 months. In general, with the exception of animals receiving 1:40 AVA, serum anti-PA and TNA responses remained significantly above control levels at 28.5 months (the last time point measured for 1:20 AVA), and through 50.5 months for the HuAVA and 1:5 and 1:10 AVA groups (P < 0.05). PA-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) CD4+ cell frequencies and T cell stimulation indices were sustained through 50.5 months (the last time point measured). PA-specific memory B cell frequencies were highly variable but, in general, were detectable in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by 2 months, were significantly above control levels by 7 months, and remained detectable in the HuAVA and 1:5 and 1:20 AVA groups through 42 months (the last time point measured). HuAVA and diluted AVA elicited a combined Th1/Th2 response and robust immunological priming, with sustained production of high-avidity PA-specific functional antibody, long-term immune cell competence, and immunological memory (30 months for 1:20 AVA and 52 months for 1:10 AVA). Vaccinated animals surviving inhalation anthrax developed high-magnitude anamnestic anti-PA IgG and TNA responses.
Although cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture is the diagnostic reference standard for bacterial meningitis, its sensitivity is limited, particularly when antibiotics were previously administered. CSF Gram staining and real-time PCR are theoretically less affected by antibiotics; however, it is difficult to evaluate these tests with an imperfect reference standard.
Methods and findings
CSF from patients with suspected meningitis from Salvador, Brazil were tested with culture, Gram stain, and real-time PCR using S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, and H. influenzae specific primers and probes. An antibiotic detection disk bioassay was used to test for the presence of antibiotic activity in CSF. The diagnostic accuracy of tests were evaluated using multiple methods, including direct evaluation of Gram stain and real-time PCR against CSF culture, evaluation of real-time PCR against a composite reference standard, and latent class analysis modeling to evaluate all three tests simultaneously.
Among 451 CSF specimens, 80 (17.7%) had culture isolation of one of the three pathogens (40 S. pneumoniae, 36 N. meningitidis, and 4 H. influenzae), and 113 (25.1%) were real-time PCR positive (51 S. pneumoniae, 57 N. meningitidis, and 5 H. influenzae). Compared to culture, real-time PCR sensitivity and specificity were 95.0% and 90.0%, respectively. In a latent class analysis model, the sensitivity and specificity estimates were: culture, 81.3% and 99.7%; Gram stain, 98.2% and 98.7%; and real-time PCR, 95.7% and 94.3%, respectively. Gram stain and real-time PCR sensitivity did not change significantly when there was antibiotic activity in the CSF.
Real-time PCR and Gram stain were highly accurate in diagnosing meningitis caused by S. pneumoniae, N. meningitidis, and H. influenzae, though there were few cases of H. influenzae. Furthermore, real-time PCR and Gram staining were less affected by antibiotic presence and might be useful when antibiotics were previously administered. Gram staining, which is inexpensive and commonly available, should be encouraged in all clinical settings.
Bacterial meningitis; Diagnostic test evaluation; Real-time PCR; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Neisseria meningitidis; Haemophilus influenzae
The meningococcal antigen typing system (MATS) sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was designed to measure the immunologic cross-reactivity and quantity of antigens in target strains of a pathogen. It was first used to measure the factor H-binding protein (fHbp), neisserial adhesin A (NadA), and neisserial heparin-binding antigen (NHBA) content of serogroup B meningococcal (MenB) isolates relative to a reference strain, or “relative potency” (RP). With the PorA genotype, the RPs were then used to assess strain coverage by 4CMenB, a multicomponent MenB vaccine. In preliminary studies, MATS accurately predicted killing in the serum bactericidal assay using human complement, an accepted correlate of protection for meningococcal vaccines. A study across seven laboratories assessed the reproducibility of RPs for fHbp, NadA, and NHBA and established qualification parameters for new laboratories. RPs were determined in replicate for 17 MenB reference strains at laboratories A to G. The reproducibility of RPs among laboratories and against consensus values across laboratories was evaluated using a mixed-model analysis of variance. Interlaboratory agreement was very good; the Pearson correlation coefficients, coefficients of accuracy, and concordance correlation coefficients exceeded 99%. The summary measures of reproducibility, expressed as between-laboratory coefficients of variation, were 7.85% (fHbp), 16.51% (NadA), and 12.60% (NHBA). The overall within-laboratory measures of variation adjusted for strain and laboratory were 19.8% (fHbp), 28.8% (NHBA), and 38.3% (NadA). The MATS ELISA was successfully transferred to six laboratories, and a further laboratory was successfully qualified.
In an effort to improve the reliability and reproducibility of serological assays for Bordetella pertussis, a collaborative study was conducted to compare four different sources of pertussis toxin (PT) as coating antigens in the immunoglobulin G (IgG) anti-PT enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Four sources of PT were used as coating antigens in the IgG anti-PT ELISA in four different testing laboratories (labs A to D) to determine whether the different antigen preparations and different laboratories influenced assay results. A panel of 60 sera consisting of deidentified human specimens from previous vaccination trials of healthy adults and infants and clinical specimens from outbreak settings was tested. In the four laboratories, each sample was tested three times with the four PT antigens according to the standard coating optimization and IgG anti-PT ELISA testing procedures used in that laboratory. Differences among the antigens, as well as intra- and interlaboratory variability, were evaluated. Excellent agreement was observed with the test panel results among the four antigens within each laboratory. Concordance correlation coefficient (rc) measurements among the different antigens ranged from 0.99, 0.99 to 1.00, 1.00, and 0.97 to 1.00 for labs A to D, respectively. The comparisons between pairs of laboratories also indicated a high degree of concordance for each PT preparation, with rc measurements between 0.90 and 0.98, 0.93 and 0.99, 0.92 and 0.98, and 0.93 and 0.99 for antigens 1 to 4, respectively. Relatively minor differences in results were observed among laboratories or among antigens, suggesting that the four PT antigens are quite similar and could be considered for acceptance in harmonized immunoassays used for serodiagnosis or vaccine evaluation.
Antibody-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) by phagocytes is an important mechanism of protection of the human host against pneumococcal infections. Measurement of opsonophagocytic antibodies by use of a standardized opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) is important for the evaluation of candidate vaccines and required for the licensure of new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine formulations. We assessed agreement among six laboratories that used their own optimized OPAs on a panel of 16 human reference sera for 13 pneumococcal serotypes. Consensus titers, estimated using an analysis-of-variance (ANOVA) mixed-effects model, provided a common reference for assessing agreement among these laboratories. Agreement was evaluated in terms of assay accuracy, reproducibility, repeatability, precision, and bias. We also reviewed four acceptance criterion intervals for assessing the comparability of protocols when assaying the same reference sera. The precision, accuracy, and concordance results among laboratories and the consensus titers revealed acceptable agreement. The results of this study indicate that the bioassays evaluated in this study are robust, and the resultant OPA values are reproducible for the determination of functional antibody titers specific to 13 pneumococcal serotypes when performed by laboratories using highly standardized but not identical assays. The statistical methodologies employed in this study may serve as a template for evaluating future multilaboratory studies.
Serotype-specific IgG, as quantified by a standardized WHO enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), is a serologic end point used to evaluate pneumococcal polysaccharide-based vaccine immunogenicity. Antibodies to each vaccine polysaccharide in licensed multivalent vaccines are quantified separately; this is laborious and consumes serum. We compared three bead-based immunoassays: a commercial assay (xMAP Pneumo14; Luminex) and two in-house assays (of the Health Protection Agency [HPA] and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), using the WHO-recommended standard reference and reference sera (n = 11) from vaccinated adults. Multiple comparisons of the IgG concentrations for seven conjugate vaccine serotypes were performed by sample (percent error), serotype (equivalency testing), and laboratory (concordance correlation coefficient [CCC]). When comparing concentrations by sample, bead-based immunoassays generally yielded higher antibody concentrations than the ELISA and had higher variability for serotypes 6B, 18C, and 23F. None of the three assays met the current WHO recommendation of 75% of sera falling within 40% of the assigned antibody concentrations for all seven serotypes. When compared by serotype, the CDC and HPA tests were equivalent for five of seven serotypes, whereas the Luminex assay was equivalent for four of seven serotypes. When overall mean IgG concentrations were compared by laboratory, a higher level of agreement (CCC close to 1) was found among bead-based immunoassays than between the assays and WHO assignments. When compared to WHO assignments, the HPA assay outperformed the other assays (r = 0.920; CCC = 0.894; coefficient of accuracy = 0.972). Additional testing with sera from immunogenicity studies should demonstrate the applicability of this methodology for vaccine evaluation.
Systemic anthrax manifests as toxemia, rapidly disseminating septicemia, immune collapse, and death. Virulence factors include the anti-phagocytic γ-linked poly-d-glutamic acid (PGA) capsule and two binary toxins, complexes of protective antigen (PA) with lethal factor (LF) and edema factor. We report the characterization of LF, PA, and PGA levels during the course of inhalation anthrax in five rhesus macaques. We describe bacteremia, blood differentials, and detection of the PA gene (pagA) by PCR analysis of the blood as confirmation of infection. For four of five animals tested, LF exhibited a triphasic kinetic profile. LF levels (mean ± standard error [SE] between animals) were low at 24 h postchallenge (0.03 ± 1.82 ng/ml), increased at 48 h to 39.53 ± 0.12 ng/ml (phase 1), declined at 72 h to 13.31 ± 0.24 ng/ml (phase 2), and increased at 96 h (82.78 ± 2.01 ng/ml) and 120 h (185.12 ± 5.68 ng/ml; phase 3). The fifth animal had an extended phase 2. PGA levels were triphasic; they were nondetectable at 24 h, increased at 48 h (2,037 ± 2 ng/ml), declined at 72 h (14 ± 0.2 ng/ml), and then increased at 96 h (3,401 ± 8 ng/ml) and 120 h (6,004 ± 187 ng/ml). Bacteremia was also triphasic: positive at 48 h, negative at 72 h, and positive at euthanasia. Blood neutrophils increased from preexposure (34.4% ± 0.13%) to 48 h (75.6% ± 0.08%) and declined at 72 h (62.4% ± 0.05%). The 72-h declines may establish a “go/no go” turning point in infection, after which systemic bacteremia ensues and the host's condition deteriorates. This study emphasizes the value of LF detection as a tool for early diagnosis of inhalation anthrax before the onset of fulminant systemic infection.
One hundred seven Candida bloodstream isolates (51 C. albicans, 24 C. glabrata, 13 C. parapsilosis, 13 C. tropicalis, 2 C. dubliniensis, 2 C. krusei, and 2 C. lusitaniae strains) from patients treated with amphotericin B alone underwent in vitro susceptibility testing against amphotericin B using five different methods. Fifty-four isolates were from patients who failed treatment, defined as death 7 to 14 days after the incident candidemia episode, having persistent fever of ≥5 days' duration after the date of the incident candidemia, or the recurrence of fever after two consecutive afebrile days while on antifungal treatment. MICs were determined by using the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (formally National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards) broth microdilution procedure with two media and by using Etest. Minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) were also measured in two media. Broth microdilution tests with RPMI 1640 medium generated a restricted range of MICs (0.125 to 1 μg/ml); the corresponding MFC values ranged from 0.5 to 4 μg/ml. Broth microdilution tests with antibiotic medium 3 produced a broader distribution of MIC and MFC results (0.015 to 0.25 μg/ml and 0.06 to 2 μg/ml, respectively). Etest produced the widest distribution of MICs (0.094 to 2 μg/ml). However, none of the test formats studied generated results that significantly correlated with therapeutic success or failure.
The plasmid profiles of 619 cultures of Bacillus anthracis which had been isolated and stored between 1954 and 1989 were analyzed using the Laboratory Response Network real-time PCR assay targeting a chromosomal marker and both virulence plasmids (pXO1 and pXO2). The cultures were stored at ambient temperature on tryptic soy agar slants overlaid with mineral oil. When data were stratified by decade, there was a decreasing linear trend in the proportion of strains containing both plasmids with increased storage time (P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in the proportion of strains containing only pXO1 or strains containing only pXO2 (P = 0.25), but there was a statistical interdependence between the two plasmids (P = 0.004). Loss of viability of B. anthracis cultures stored on agar slants is also discussed.
In response to the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the United States established national surveillance using a sensitive case definition incorporating clinical, epidemiologic, and laboratory criteria. Of 1,460 unexplained respiratory illnesses reported by state and local health departments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from March 17 to July 30, 2003, a total of 398 (27%) met clinical and epidemiologic SARS case criteria. Of these, 72 (18%) were probable cases with radiographic evidence of pneumonia. Eight (2%) were laboratory-confirmed SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infections, 206 (52%) were SARS-CoV negative, and 184 (46%) had undetermined SARS-CoV status because of missing convalescent-phase serum specimens. Thirty-one percent (124/398) of case-patients were hospitalized; none died. Travel was the most common epidemiologic link (329/398, 83%), and mainland China was the affected area most commonly visited. One case of possible household transmission was reported, and no laboratory-confirmed infections occurred among healthcare workers. Successes and limitations of this emergency surveillance can guide preparations for future outbreaks of SARS or respiratory diseases of unknown etiology.
severe acute respiratory syndrome; United States; surveillance; incidence; SARS virus; Coronaviridae; pneumonia; travel; respiratory tract infections
Opsonophagocytosis is a correlate of protection that measures the functional activity of vaccine-induced antibodies. A standardized opsonophagocytosis assay (OPA) should be used as part of the evaluation of current and future pneumococcal (Pnc) polysaccharide (Ps)-based vaccines. We enrolled five laboratories to evaluate a previously standardized viability OPA. Each laboratory was provided with a detailed OPA protocol, seven target Pnc strains (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F), two quality control sera and 12 paired sera (blinded) from adult donors who received one dose of the 23-valent Pnc Ps vaccine. Laboratories sent their results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis. Sera were tested in duplicate (single run), and the results were averaged to yield a single OPA titer (≥50% killing) for each serum sample. The percentage of sera within one or two dilutions of the calculated median OPA titer was determined for each laboratory and for each serotype. In general, laboratories were capable of detecting OPA titers within one or two dilutions of the median for at least 75 and 88%, respectively, of the sera tested. The level of agreement with the median OPA titers varied depending on the participating laboratory (overall agreement = 0.8 [99% confidence interval = 0.75 to 0.85]). All OPA median titers reported for quality control sera were within one dilution of the expected titer. We conclude that this OPA can be done in multiple laboratories with a high degree of interlaboratory reproducibility.
Four rapid tests for the serologic diagnosis of leptospirosis were evaluated, and the performance of each was compared with that of the current standard, the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The four rapid tests were a microplate immunoglobulin M (IgM)-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), an indirect hemagglutination assay (IHA), an IgM dipstick assay (LDS), and an IgM dot-ELISA dipstick test (DST). A panel of 276 sera from 133 cases of leptospirosis from four different geographic locations was tested as well as 642 sera from normal individuals or individuals with other infectious or autoimmune diseases. Acute-phase sera from cases (n = 148) were collected ≤14 days (median = 6.0) after the onset of symptoms, and convalescent-phase sera (n = 128) were collected ≥15 days after onset (median = 29.1). By a traditional method (two-by-two contingency table), the sensitivities for detection of leptospirosis cases were 93.2% by LDS, 92.5% by DST, 86.5% by ELISA, and 79.0% by IHA. Specificity was 98.8% by DST, 97% by ELISA and MAT, 95.8% by IHA, and 89.6% by LDS. With a latent class analysis (LCA) model that included all the rapid tests and the clinical case definition, sensitivity was 95.5% by DST, 94.5% by LDS, 89.9% by ELISA, and 81.1% by IHA. The sensitivity and specificity estimated by the traditional methods were quite close to the LCA estimates. However, LCA allowed estimation of the sensitivity of the MAT (98.2%), which traditional methods do not allow. For acute-phase sera, sensitivity was 52.7% by LDS, 50.0% by DST, 48.7% by MAT and ELISA, and 38.5% by IHA. The sensitivity for convalescent-phase sera was 93.8% by MAT, 84.4% by DST, 83.6% by LDS, 75.0% by ELISA, and 67.2% by IHA. A good overall correlation with the MAT was obtained for each of the assays, with the highest concordance being with the DST (kappa value, 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8 to 0.90). The best correlation was between ELISA and DST (kappa value, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.81 to 0.91). False-positive LDS results were frequent (≥20%) in sera from individuals with Epstein-Barr virus, human immunodeficiency virus, and periodontal disease and from healthy volunteers. The ease of use and significantly high sensitivity and specificity of DST and ELISA make these good choices for diagnostic testing.
The bioterrorism-associated human anthrax epidemic in the fall of 2001 highlighted the need for a sensitive, reproducible, and specific laboratory test for the confirmatory diagnosis of human anthrax. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed, optimized, and rapidly qualified an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in human serum. The qualified ELISA had a minimum detection limit of 0.06 µg/mL, a reliable lower limit of detection of 0.09 µg/mL, and a lower limit of quantification in undiluted serum specimens of 3.0 µg/mL anti-PA IgG. The diagnostic sensitivity of the assay was 97.8%, and the diagnostic specificity was 94.2%. A competitive inhibition anti-PA IgG ELISA was also developed to enhance diagnostic specificity to 100%. The anti-PA ELISAs proved valuable for the confirmation of cases of cutaneous and inhalational anthrax and evaluation of patients in whom the diagnosis of anthrax was being considered.
Bacillus anthracis; anthrax; antibody; assay; toxin; bioterrorism; ELISA; serology
The intra- and interlaboratory variabilities of the molecular size measurements of each DNA fragment contributing to three pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles were assessed, as were the reproducibilities of the entire PFGE profiles for three Bordetella pertussis strains. The major source of variability within a laboratory occurred between subcultures rather than within gels or between gels. Each PFGE profile was generated reproducibly and was objectively defined by the molecular sizes of its composite fragments. A strain or profile most suitable for use as an internal reference standard was identified.
Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C (NMSC) isolates of electrophoretic type 24 (ET-24), as identified by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis, are the main cause of serogroup C meningococcal disease outbreaks and sporadic meningococcal disease in the United States. We evaluated a random amplified polymorphic DNA assay as a rapid tool to screen for isolates of ET-24 by testing 199 NMSC isolates of 51 different ETs. A sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 87% was achieved in identification of ET-24 isolates when the patterns obtained by two primers, P1 and P5, were analyzed together.
Since 1990, the frequency of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C (NMSC) outbreaks in the United States has increased. Based on multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MEE), the current molecular subtyping standard, most of the NMSC outbreaks have been caused by isolates of several closely related electrophoretic types (ETs) within the ET-37 complex. We chose 66 isolates from four well-described NMSC outbreaks that occurred in the United States from 1993 to 1995 to evaluate the potential of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) to identify outbreak-related isolates specific for each of the four outbreaks and to differentiate between them and 50 sporadic isolates collected during the outbreak investigations or through active laboratory-based surveillance from 1989 to 1996. We tested all isolates collected during the outbreak investigations by four other molecular subtyping methods: MEE, ribotyping (ClaI), random amplified polymorphic DNA assay (two primers), and serotyping and serosubtyping. Among the 116 isolates, we observed 11 clusters of 39 NheI PFGE patterns. Excellent correlation between the PFGE and the epidemiological data was observed, with an overall sensitivity of 85% and specificity of 71% at the 95% pattern relatedness breakpoint using either 1.5 or 1.0% tolerance. For all four analyzed outbreaks, PFGE would have given public health officials additional support in declaring an outbreak and making appropriate public health decisions.