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1.  Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec in MRSA, Taiwan 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(3):494-497.
To determine the predominant staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec element in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, we typed 190 isolates from a hospital in Taiwan. We found a shift from type IV to type III SCCmec element during 1992–2003, perhaps caused by selective pressure from indiscriminate use of antimicrobial drugs.
doi:10.3201/eid1303.060247
PMCID: PMC2725918  PMID: 17552111
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; multilocus sequence typing; SCCmec; dispatch
2.  Clinical Manifestations, Laboratory Findings, and Treatment Outcomes of SARS Patients 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):818-824.
Clinical and laboratory data on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), particularly on the temporal progression of abnormal laboratory findings, are limited. We conducted a prospective study on the clinical, radiologic, and hematologic findings of SARS patients with pneumonia, who were admitted to National Taiwan University Hospital from March 8 to June 15, 2003. Fever was the most frequent initial symptom, followed by cough, myalgia, dyspnea, and diarrhea. Twenty-four patients had various underlying diseases. Most patients had elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and lymphopenia. Other common abnormal laboratory findings included leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated levels of aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, and creatine kinase. These clinical and laboratory findings were exacerbated in most patients during the second week of disease. The overall case-fatality rate was 19.7%. By multivariate analysis, underlying disease and initial CRP level were predictive of death.
doi:10.3201/eid1005.030640
PMCID: PMC3323212  PMID: 15200814
severe acute respiratory syndrome; C-reactive protein; intravenous immunoglobulin
3.  SARS in Hospital Emergency Room 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(5):782-788.
Thirty-one cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) occurred after exposure in the emergency room at the National Taiwan University Hospital. The index patient was linked to an outbreak at a nearby municipal hospital. Three clusters were identified over a 3-week period. The first cluster (5 patients) and the second cluster (14 patients) occurred among patients, family members, and nursing aids. The third cluster (12 patients) occurred exclusively among healthcare workers. Six healthcare workers had close contact with SARS patients. Six others, with different working patterns, indicated that they did not have contact with a SARS patient. Environmental surveys found 9 of 119 samples of inanimate objects to be positive for SARS coronavirus RNA. These observations indicate that although transmission by direct contact with known SARS patients was responsible for most cases, environmental contamination with the SARS coronavirus may have lead to infection among healthcare workers without documented contact with known hospitalized SARS patients.
doi:10.3201/eid1005.030579
PMCID: PMC3323223  PMID: 15200809
Severe acute respiratory syndrome; healthcare workers; environmental contamination; real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction
4.  Early Defervescence and SARS Recovery 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(3):544-545.
doi:10.3201/eid1003.030500
PMCID: PMC3322783  PMID: 15116707
SARS; atypical presentation; temporary defervescence
5.  Complete Sequences of Two Plasmids in a blaNDM-1-Positive Klebsiella oxytoca Isolate from Taiwan 
Genetic determinants of a blaNDM-1-positive, multidrug-resistant bacterial isolate that caused active infection was investigated by DNA sequencing. Two plasmids, pKOX_NDM1 and pKOX-R1, were identified for the Klebsiella oxytoca strain E718. Sequence annotation revealed a blaNDM-1 gene in pKOX_NDM1 and two extended-spectrum β-lactamase producers (blaCTX-M-3 and blaSHV-12) and a wide array of resistance genes in pKOX-R1. These findings highlight the difficulty in treating multidrug-resistant bacterial infections and the potential danger of emerging resistant enterobacteria.
doi:10.1128/AAC.02266-12
PMCID: PMC3719732  PMID: 23752513
6.  Serologic response to primary vaccination with 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is better than with 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in HIV-infected patients in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy 
Objectives: The objectives of this study were to compare the serologic responses at week 48 to primary vaccination with 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) vs. 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV); and to identify factors associated with serologic response in HIV-infected adult patients with access to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART).
Methods: One hundred and four CD4-matched pairs of HIV-infected patients who underwent primary pneumococcal vaccination with 23-valent PPV or 7-valent PCV were enrolled for determinations of anti-capsular antibody responses against four serotypes (6B, 14, 19F and 23F) at baseline, 24 weeks and 48 weeks following vaccination. Significant antibody responses were defined as 2-fold or greater increase of antibody levels at week 48 compared with baseline. The logistic regression model was used to determine the factors associated with serologic response to at least one and two serotypes.
Results: At week 48, patients who received PCV demonstrated a statistically significantly higher response rate to at least 2 serotypes than those who received PPV (37.5% vs. 20.2%, p = 0.006). In multivariate analysis, factors associated with significant antibody responses to at least one or two serotypes included receipt of PCV (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.42 [95% CI, 1.23–4.78] and 3.58 [95% CI. 1.76–7.28], respectively), and undetectable plasma HIV RNA load (< 400 copies/ml) at vaccination (AOR, 1.47 [95% CI, 0.60–3.64] and 3.62 [95% CI, 1.11–11.81], respectively).
Conclusions: Primary vaccination with 7-valent PCV achieved a significantly better serologic responses to one or two out of the four serotypes studied at week 48 than with 23-valent PPV in HIV-infected patients in the cART era. Suppression of HIV replication when primary vaccination was administered was associated with better serologic responses.
doi:10.4161/hv.22836
PMCID: PMC3859763  PMID: 23291936
Streptococcus pneumoniae; pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine; HIV infection; immunogenicity; combination antiretroviral therapy
7.  Slow immunological progression in HIV-1 CRF07_BC-infected injecting drug users 
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) circulating recombinant form (CRF) 07_BC has caused serious HIV-1 epidemics among injecting drug users (IDUs) in East Asia. Little is known about the characteristics of the virus and its impact on disease progression among the infected individuals. In this study, we compared immunological progression between 423 IDUs infected with CRF07_BC and 194 men who have sex with men (MSM) with primary subtype B infection, and a representative full-length CRF07_BC molecular clone, pCRF07_BC, was constructed to characterize the virus. We found that IDUs infected with CRF07_BC had significantly slower immunological progression in the Cox proportional hazards model (hazard ratio: 0.30; 95% confidence interval: 0.13–0.69; P=0.004). The constructed recombinant CRF07_BC viruses had a reduced processing of the Gag/Gag-Pol polyproteins, a decreased incorporation of Vpr in the virus particle, tethering of virus particles on the plasma membrane and decreased virus growth kinetics. These phenotypes are related to the unique 7-amino acid deletion in the p6 of CRF07_BC, since complementation of the 7-amino acid in pCRF07_BC could improve the defective phenotypes. In summary, compared with MSM infected with HIV-1 subtype B, IDUs infected with CRF07_BC had slower immunological progression, which is likely correlated with interference of virus particle maturation by the 7-amino acid deletion in p6.
doi:10.1038/emi.2013.83
PMCID: PMC3880871
disease progression; growth kinetics; HIV subtype; injecting drug use; men who have sex with men; primary HIV infection
8.  Excess Mortality and Long-Term Disability from Healthcare-Associated Staphylococcus aureus Infections: A Population-Based Matched Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71055.
Background
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), but the impact of S. aureus HAIs on the long-term survival and functional status of hospitalized patients remain unknown. This study aimed to examine whether S. aureus HAIs increase the risks for long-term mortality and disability.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective population-based matched cohort study of inpatients at 8 medical centers, 43 regional hospitals, and 63 local hospitals which participated in the Taiwan Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (TNIS). We individually matched 3070 patients with S. aureus HAIs to 6140 inpatients without HAIs at a 1∶2 ratio by age, gender, hospital, specialty, underlying diseases, and the length of stay before onset of the S. aureus HAI. Main outcome measures are one-year excess risks for mortality, new-onset chronic ventilator dependence, and new-onset dialysis-dependent end-stage renal disease.
Results
We found that patients with S. aureus HAIs had an excess one-year mortality of 20.2% compared with matched uninfected inpatients (P<0.001). The excess risk for new-onset chronic ventilator dependence and dialysis-dependent end-stage renal disease was 7.3% and 2.6%, respectively (Ps<0.001). S. aureus HAIs were also associated with an excess hospital stay of 12 days and an extra cost of $5978 (Ps<0.001).
Conclusion
S. aureus HAIs have substantial negative effect on the long-term outcome of hospitalized patients in terms of both mortality and disability, which should be taken into consideration in future cost-effectiveness studies of the control and prevention interventions for S. aureus HAIs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071055
PMCID: PMC3735502  PMID: 23940689
9.  Complete Genome Sequence of Klebsiella oxytoca E718, a New Delhi Metallo-β-Lactamase-1-Producing Nosocomial Strain 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(19):5454.
We report the complete genome sequence of Klebsiella oxytoca E718, a New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1)-producing strain isolated from a renal transplant patient. The genome contains a 6,097,032-bp chromosome and two multidrug resistance plasmids with sizes of 324,906 bp and 110,781 bp.
doi:10.1128/JB.01216-12
PMCID: PMC3457199  PMID: 22965083
10.  Recent Hepatitis C Virus Infections in HIV-Infected Patients in Taiwan: Incidence and Risk Factors 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(3):781-787.
Outbreaks of sexually transmitted hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections have been recently reported in HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in Europe, Australia, and North America. Little is known concerning whether this also occurs in other Asia-Pacific countries. Between 1994 and 2010, a prospective observational cohort study was performed to assess the incidence of recent HCV seroconversion in 892 HIV-infected patients (731 MSM and 161 heterosexuals) who were not injecting drug users. A nested case-control study was conducted to identify associated factors with recent HCV seroconversion, and phylogenetic analysis was performed using NS5B sequences amplified from seroconverters. During a total followup duration of 4,270 person-years (PY), 30 patients (3.36%) had HCV seroconversion, with an overall incidence rate of 7.03 per 1,000 PY. The rate increased from 0 in 1994 to 2000 and 2.29 in 2001 to 2005 to 10.13 per 1,000 PY in 2006 to 2010 (P < 0.05). After adjustment for age and HIV transmission route, recent syphilis remained an independent factor associated with HCV seroconversion (odds ratio, 7.731; 95% confidence interval, 3.131 to 19.086; P < 0.01). In a nested case-control study, seroconverters had higher aminotranferase levels and were more likely to have CD4 ≥ 200 cells/μl and recent syphilis than nonseroconverters (P < 0.05). Among the 21 patients with HCV viremia, phylogenetic analysis revealed 7 HCV transmission clusters or pairs (4 within genotype 1b, 2 within genotype 2a, and 1 within genotype 3a). The incidence of HCV seroconversion that is associated with recent syphilis is increasing among HIV-infected patients in Taiwan.
doi:10.1128/JCM.06014-11
PMCID: PMC3295121  PMID: 22189113
11.  Emergence of extensively drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii complex over 10 years: Nationwide data from the Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (TSAR) program 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:200.
Background
Acinetobacter baumannii complex (ABC) has emerged as an important pathogen causing a variety of infections. Longitudinal multicenter surveillance data on ABC from different sources in Taiwan have not been published. Using data from the Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (TSAR) conducted biennially, we investigated the secular change in resistance of 1640 ABC from 2002 to 2010 (TSAR period III to VII) to different antimicrobial agents and identified factors associated with imipenem-resistant and extensively drug-resistant ABC (IRABC and XDRABC).
Methods
Isolates were collected by TSAR from the same 26 hospitals located in all 4 regions of Taiwan. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) were determined by reference broth microdilution method. Isolates nonsusceptible to all tested aminoglycosides, fluoroquinolones, β-lactam, β-lactam/β-lactam inhibitors, and carbapenems were defined as extensively drug-resistant (XDR). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between predictor variables among patients with resistant ABC and patients with non-resistant ABC.
Results
The prevalence of IRABC increased from 3.4% in 2002 to 58.7% in 2010 (P < 0.001; odds ratio [OR], 2.138; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.947 to 2.347) and that of XDRABC increased from 1.3% in 2002 to 41.0% in 2010 (P < 0.001; OR, 1.970; 95% CI, 1.773-2.189). The rates of non-susceptibility to other antimicrobial agents remained high (>55%) over the years with some fluctuations before and after TSAR V (2006) on some agents. Multivariate analysis revealed that recovery from elderly patients, origins other than blood, from ICU settings, or geographic regions are independent factors associated with IRABC and XDRABC. Although the prevalence of XDRABC increased in all four regions of Taiwan over the years, central Taiwan had higher prevalence of XDRABC starting in 2008. Susceptibility to polymyxin remained high (99.8%).
Conclusions
This longitudinal multicenter surveillance program revealed significant increase and nationwide emergence of IRABC and XDRABC in Taiwan over the years. This study also identified factors associated with IRABC and XDRABC to help guide empirical therapy and at-risk groups requiring more intense interventional infection control measures with focused surveillance efforts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-200
PMCID: PMC3462144  PMID: 22929085
Extensively drug-resistant; Acinetobacter baumannii complex; Antimicrobial resistance
12.  Amebiasis among Persons Who Sought Voluntary Counseling and Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: A Case-Control Study 
This case-control study aimed to characterize the factors associated with amebiasis, defined as presence of anti-Entamoeba histolytica antibody titers of ≧ 128 by indirect hemagglutination assay, among persons seeking voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Between April 2006 and September 2009, 57 of 4,802 persons (1.2%) seeking VCT services were seropositive for E. histolytica infection. Compared with 228 seronegative controls, case subjects were older (odds ratio [OR] for per 1-year increase, 1.098; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.036, 1.165), less likely to hold bachelor degree or higher (OR, 0.359; 95% CI, 0.152, 0.846), and were more likely to be men who have sex with men (MSM) (OR, 8.382; 95% CI, 2.050, 34.266) and have oral-anal sex (OR, 4.016; 95% CI, 1.711, 9.427) in multiple logistic regression analysis. The MSM, fecal-oral contamination, lower educational achievement, and older age were associated with increased risk for amebiasis among persons seeking VCT for HIV infection.
doi:10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0238
PMCID: PMC3005504  PMID: 21212204
13.  Genome Sequence of a Dominant, Multidrug-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii Strain, TCDC-AB0715▿ 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(9):2361-2362.
Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a significant nosocomial pathogen worldwide. The increasing trend of carbapenem and fluoroquinolone resistance in A. baumannii severely limits the usage of therapeutic antimicrobial agents. Here we report the genome sequence of a multidrug-resistant A. baumannii strain, TCDC-AB0715, harboring both blaOXA-23 and blaOXA-66.
doi:10.1128/JB.00244-11
PMCID: PMC3133099  PMID: 21398540
14.  Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis D Virus Infection among Injecting Drug Users with and without Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Taiwan▿† 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(3):1083-1089.
An outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection occurred among injecting drug users (IDU) in Taiwan between 2003 and 2006, when an extremely high prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was also detected. To determine whether clusters of hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection occurred in this outbreak, 4 groups of subjects were studied: group 1, HIV-infected IDU (n = 904); group 2, HIV-infected non-IDU (n = 880); group 3, HIV-uninfected IDU (n = 211); and group 4, HIV-uninfected non-IDU (n = 1,928). The seroprevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was 19.8%, 18.4%, 17.1%, and 6.7%, and HDV seroprevalence among HBV carriers was 75.4%, 9.3%, 66.7%, and 2.3%, for groups 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Ninety-nine of 151 (65.6%) HDV-seropositive IDU had HDV viremia: 5 were infected with HDV genotype I, 41 with genotype II, 51 with genotype IV, and 2 with genotypes II and IV. In the phylogenetic analysis, only one cluster of 4 strains within the HDV genotype II was identified. Among patients with HCV viremia, a unique cluster within genotype 1a was observed; yet, patients within this cluster did not overlap with those observed in the HDV phylogenetic analysis. In summary, although IDU had a significantly higher HDV seroprevalence, molecular epidemiologic investigations did not support that HDV was introduced at the same time as HCV among IDU.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01154-10
PMCID: PMC3067682  PMID: 21191061
15.  Incidence of and Risk Factors for Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Acquired Infection or Colonization in Intensive-Care-Unit Patients▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(12):4439-4444.
The incidence of and risk factors for acquiring community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) among patients staying in intensive care units (ICUs) remain unclear. We enrolled patients staying in two ICUs at the Far Eastern Memorial Hospital during the period of 1 September 2008 to 30 September 2009 to clarify this issue. Surveillance cultures for MRSA were taken from nostril, sputum or throat, axillae, and the inguinal area in all enrolled patients upon admission to the ICU, every 3 days thereafter, and on the day of discharge from the ICU. For each MRSA isolate, we performed multilocus sequence typing, identified the type of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec, detected the presence of the Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene, and conducted drug susceptibility tests. Among the 1,906 patients who were screened, 203 patients were carriers of MRSA before their admission to the ICU; 81 patients acquired MRSA during their stay in the ICU, including 31 who acquired CA-MRSA. The incidence rates of newly acquired MRSA and CA-MRSA during the ICU stay were 7.9 and 3.0 per 1,000 patient-days, respectively. Prior usage of antipseudomonal penicillins and antifungals and the presence of a nasogastric tube were found to be independent risk factors for acquiring CA-MRSA during the ICU stay when data for CA-MRSA carriers and patients without carriage of MRSA were compared (P = 0.0035, 0.0330, and 0.0262, respectively). Prior usage of carbapenems was found to be a protective factor against acquiring CA-MRSA when data for patients with CA-MRSA and those with health care-associated MRSA acquired during ICU stay were compared (P = 0.0240).
doi:10.1128/JCM.00784-10
PMCID: PMC3008468  PMID: 20926713
16.  High and Increasing Oxa-51 DNA Load Predict Mortality in Acinetobacter baumannii Bacteremia: Implication for Pathogenesis and Evaluation of Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14133.
Background
While quantification of viral loads has been successfully employed in clinical medicine and has provided valuable insights and useful markers for several viral diseases, the potential of measuring bacterial DNA load to predict outcome or monitor therapeutic responses remains largely unexplored. We tested this possibility by investigating bacterial loads in Acinetobacter baumannii bacteremia, a rapidly increasing nosocomial infection characterized by high mortality, drug resistance, multiple and complicated risk factors, all of which urged the need of good markers to evaluate therapeutics.
Methods and Findings
We established a quantitative real-time PCR assay based on an A. baumannii-specific gene, Oxa-51, and conducted a prospective study to examine A. baumannii loads in 318 sequential blood samples from 51 adults patients (17 survivors, 34 nonsurvivors) with culture-proven A. baumannii bacteremia in the intensive care units. Oxa-51 DNA loads were significantly higher in the nonsurvivors than survivors on day 1, 2 and 3 (P = 0.03, 0.001 and 0.006, respectively). Compared with survivors, nonsurvivors had higher maximum Oxa-51 DNA load and a trend of increase from day 0 to day 3 (P<0.001), which together with Pitt bacteremia score were independent predictors for mortality by multivariate analysis (P = 0.014 and 0.016, for maximum Oxa-51 DNA and change of Oxa-51 DNA, respectively). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed significantly different survival curves in patients with different maximum Oxa-51 DNA and change of Oxa-51 DNA from day 0 to day 3.
Conclusions
High Oxa-51 DNA load and its initial increase could predict mortality. Moreover, monitoring Oxa-51 DNA load in blood may provide direct parameters for evaluating new regimens against A. baumannii in future clinical studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014133
PMCID: PMC2994729  PMID: 21152436
17.  Genetic Basis of Multidrug Resistance in Acinetobacter Clinical Isolates in Taiwan▿  
Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter spp. have emerged as a threat to public health. We investigated the various genes involved in resistance to fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides, cephalosporins, and carbapenems in 75 clinical Acinetobacter isolates from a Taiwanese hospital. All isolates were tested for the gyrA mutations, the presence of integrons, blaAmpC, and carbapenem resistance genes. The Ser83Leu mutation in GyrA accounted for fluoroquinolone resistance. The presence of integrons containing aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes was associated with resistance to gentamicin and tobramycin but not with resistance to amikacin. The presence of an ISAba1 element upstream of blaAmpC was correlated with cephalosporin resistance. Although most Acinetobacter baumannii isolates with ISAba1-blaOXA-51-like were resistant to carbapenems, several isolates remained susceptible to carbapenems. Transformation by the introduction of ISAba1-blaOXA-23 or ISAba1-blaOXA-66 into A. baumannii ATCC 15151 (CIP 70.10), resulting in the overexpression of OXA-23 or OXA-66, respectively, suggested the role of the ISAba1 element as a strong promoter. The two transformants showed significantly increased resistance to piperacillin-tazobactam, imipenem, and meropenem. The cefepime resistance conferred by ISAba1-blaOXA-23 and the impact of ISAba1-blaOXA-66 on carbapenem resistance in A. baumannii are reported here for the first time. Continuous surveillance of antibiotic resistance genes in MDR Acinetobacter spp. and elucidation of their antibiotic resistance mechanisms are crucial for the development of therapy regimens and for the prevention of further dissemination of these antibiotic resistance genes.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01398-09
PMCID: PMC2863617  PMID: 20194701
18.  Nosocomial methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia in Taiwan: Mortality analyses and the impact of vancomycin, MIC = 2 mg/L, by the broth microdilution method 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:159.
Background
Previous studies regarding the prognosis of patients infected with MRSA isolates characterized by a high minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for vancomycin have generally used a commercial Etest. Little research has been conducted on determining the vancomycin susceptibility of MRSA using a reference microdilution. Additionally, there is discordance between the MIC result from an Etest and the value determined using the reference microdilution method.
Methods
Using a reference microdilution method, we determined the MIC of vancomycin for isolates from 123 consecutive patients with nosocomial MRSA bacteremia. The clinical features and outcome for these patients were recorded and the MRSA isolates were genotyped.
Results
Among the 123 non-duplicated isolates, 21.1% had a MIC = 2 mg/L, 76.4% had a MIC = 1 mg/L and 2.4% had MIC = 0.5 mg/L. Patients with MRSA bacteremia in the ICU or those who had been hospitalized for a long time were more likely to be infected with strains of high vancomycin MIC MRSA (MIC = 2 mg/L; p < 0.05). Cox regression analysis demonstrated that the high MIC group had a significantly higher 30-day mortality than the low MIC group (HR: 2.39; 95% CI: 1.20-4.79; p = 0.014). Multivariate analyses indicated that the presence of high MIC isolates, pneumonia, post-cardiothoracic surgery and a high Charlson comorbidity index were all independent predictors of a 30-day mortality. Genotyping of these high vancomycin MIC isolates demonstrated that SCCmec III, spa type037, was the predominant strain (> 80%). The rates of resistance to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, gentamicin, levofloxacin, rifampin and tetracycline were also higher in the high MIC group than in the isolates belonging to low MIC group (p < 0.05).
Conclusions
In a high vancomycin MIC group in Taiwan, SCCmec III, spa type t037, was the predominant strain of MRSA identified. Patients with MRSA bacteremia in the ICU or who had prolonged hospitalization were more likely to be infected with S. aureus strains with high vancomycin MICs. The mortality rate was higher among patients infected with these strains compared to patients infected with low MIC strains.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-159
PMCID: PMC2890009  PMID: 20529302
19.  Association between Contaminated Faucets and Colonization or Infection by Nonfermenting Gram-Negative Bacteria in Intensive Care Units in Taiwan▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(10):3226-3230.
This study was designed to determine the strength of the association between the isolation of nonfermentative gram-negative bacilli (NFGNB) from tap water faucet aerators and the prevalence of colonization or infection of patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Surveillance cultures were obtained during a 4-month period from 162 faucet aerators located in seven different ICUs. The prevalence of colonization or infection of ICU patients with NFGNB was determined by prospective surveillance during the same period. Fifty four (33%) of the faucet aerators contained NFGNB. Among the 66 NFGNB isolated from faucet aerators, the most frequently encountered ones were Sphingomonas paucimobili (26 isolates), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (14 isolates), Chryseobacterium meningosepticum (13 isolates), Achromobacter xylosoxidans (6 isolates), Burkholderia cepacia (4 isolates), and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (3 isolates). Acinetobacter baumannii was not recovered. The most common NFGNB isolated from ICU patients were P. aeruginosa and A. baumannii. There was a significant correlation between the overall prevalence of NFGNB in faucet aerators and their prevalence in exposed ICU patients (Spearman r = 0.821, P = 0.02). There was also a significant correlation between the prevalence of C. meningosepticum in faucet aerators and its prevalence among ICU patients (Spearman r = 0.847, P = 0.016). The electrokaryotypes of four clinical isolates of C. meningosepticum were similar to those of faucet isolates. Measures directed at making the water supply safe may prevent infection by C. meningosepticum and other waterborne pathogens.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00034-09
PMCID: PMC2756896  PMID: 19587299
20.  Distribution of Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome mec Types and Correlation with Comorbidity and Infection Type in Patients with MRSA Bacteremia 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9489.
Background
Molecular epidemiological definitions that are based on staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing and phylogenetic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates are considered a reliable way to distinguish between healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). However, there is little information regarding the clinical features and outcomes of bacteremia patients with MRSA carrying different SCCmec types.
Methods
From January 1 through December 31, 2006, we recorded the demographic data and outcomes of 159 consecutive adult MRSA bacteremia patients from whom isolates for SCCmec analysis were collected. All participants were patients at a tertiary care center in Taiwan.
Principal Findings
The following SCCmec types were identified in MRSA isolates: 30 SCCmec II (18.9%), 87 SCCmec III (54.7%), 22 SCCmec IV (13.8%), and 20 SCCmec V (12.6%). The time from admission to the first MRSA-positive blood culture for patients infected with isolates with the SCCmec III element (mean/median, 50.7/26 days) was significantly longer than for patients infected with isolates carrying SCCmec IV or V (mean/median, 6.7/3 days for SCCmec IV; 11.1/10.5 days for SCCmec V) (P<0.05). In univariate analysis, community onset, soft tissue infection, and deep-seated infection were predictors for SCCmec IV/V. In multivariate analysis, length of stay before index culture, diabetes mellitus, and being bedridden were independent risk factors associated with SCCmec II/III.
Conclusions
These findings are in agreement with previous studies of the genetic characteristics of CA-MRSA. MRSA bacteremia with SCCmec II/III isolates occurred more among patients with serious comorbidities and prolonged hospitalization. Community onset, skin and soft tissue infection, and deep-seated infection best predicted SCCmec IV/V MRSA bacteremia.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009489
PMCID: PMC2832693  PMID: 20221428
21.  Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Colonization by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus among Adults in Community Settings in Taiwan ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(9):2957-2963.
In order to determine the prevalence of methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization among adults in community settings in Taiwan and identify its risk factors, we conducted the present study. For a 3-month period, we enrolled all adults who attended mandatory health examinations at three medical centers and signed the informed consent. Nasal swabs were taken for the isolation of S. aureus. For each MRSA isolate, we performed multilocus sequence typing, identification of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec, tests for the presence of the Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene, and tests for drug susceptibilities. Risk factors for MRSA colonization were determined. The results indicated that the MRSA colonization rate among adults in the community settings in Taiwan was 3.8% (119/3,098). Most MRSA isolates belonged to sequence type 59 (84.0%). Independent risk factors for MRSA colonization included the presence of household members less than 7 years old (P < 0.0001) and the use of antibiotics within the past year (P = 0.0031). Smoking appeared to be protective against MRSA colonization (P < 0.0001).
doi:10.1128/JCM.00853-09
PMCID: PMC2738089  PMID: 19625471
23.  Genome Sequencing and Comparative Analysis of Klebsiella pneumoniae NTUH-K2044, a Strain Causing Liver Abscess and Meningitis ▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(14):4492-4501.
Nosocomial infections caused by antibiotic-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae are emerging as a major health problem worldwide, while community-acquired K. pneumoniae infections present with a range of diverse clinical pictures in different geographic areas. In particular, an invasive form of K. pneumoniae that causes liver abscesses was first observed in Asia and then was found worldwide. We are interested in how differences in gene content of the same species result in different diseases. Thus, we sequenced the whole genome of K. pneumoniae NTUH-K2044, which was isolated from a patient with liver abscess and meningitis, and analyzed differences compared to strain MGH 78578, which was isolated from a patient with pneumonia. Six major types of differences were found in gene clusters that included an integrative and conjugative element, clusters involved in citrate fermentation, lipopolysaccharide synthesis, and capsular polysaccharide synthesis, phage-related insertions, and a cluster containing fimbria-related genes. We also conducted comparative genomic hybridization with 15 K. pneumoniae isolates obtained from community-acquired or nosocomial infections using tiling probes for the NTUH-K2044 genome. Hierarchical clustering revealed three major groups of genomic insertion-deletion patterns that correlate with the strains' clinical features, antimicrobial susceptibilities, and virulence phenotypes with mice. Here we report the whole-genome sequence of K. pneumoniae NTUH-K2044 and describe evidence showing significant genomic diversity and sequence acquisition among K. pneumoniae pathogenic strains. Our findings support the hypothesis that these factors are responsible for the changes that have occurred in the disease profile over time.
doi:10.1128/JB.00315-09
PMCID: PMC2704730  PMID: 19447910
24.  Brain Abscess Caused by Tsukamurella tyrosinosolvens in an Immunocompetent Patient▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(5):1602-1604.
We describe a previously healthy patient with chronic otitis media complicated with cerebellar abscess caused by Tsukamurella tyrosinosolvens. The organism was identified based on conventional biochemical identification methods, PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the hsp65 gene, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The patient was treated successfully with debridements and prolonged antibiotic therapy.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01932-08
PMCID: PMC2681870  PMID: 19297591
25.  High Levels of mecA DNA Detected by a Quantitative Real-Time PCR Assay Are Associated with Mortality in Patients with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(5):1443-1451.
Persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia is known to be a poor prognostic factor. While several PCR assays for the detection of MRSA in various clinical samples were recently reported, the possibility that a quantitative PCR assay could be used to quantify and monitor MRSA bacteremia has not been explored. In this study, we established a quantitative real-time PCR assay for the mecA gene using known copy numbers of a plasmid containing mecA DNA as a standard and the previously described mecA-specific primers and probe (P. Francois et al., J. Clin. Microbiol. 41:254-260, 2003). We employed this assay to examine 250 sequential whole-blood samples from 20 adult patients, including 13 survivors and 7 nonsurvivors, with culture-proven MRSA bacteremia at the intensive care units of National Taiwan University Hospital between 1 July 2006 and 31 January 2007. The levels of mecA DNA in the nonsurvivors were significantly higher than those in the survivors during the three periods of bacteremia examined (days 0 to 2, 3 to 5, and 6 to 8) (P = 0.003 by two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test). Moreover, the nonsurvivors had higher mecA DNA levels than the survivors after 3 days and 7 days of anti-MRSA therapy (medians for nonsurvivors and survivors at 3 days, 5.86 and 4.30 log copies/ml, respectively; medians for nonsurvivors and survivors at 7 days, 5.21 and 4.36 log copies/ml, respectively; P = 0.02 and P = 0.04, respectively, by two-tailed Mann-Whitney U test). Together, these findings suggest that the level of mecA DNA in blood could potentially be used to monitor MRSA bacteremia and evaluate responses to therapy.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01197-08
PMCID: PMC2681853  PMID: 19279177

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