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1.  Simulation Study of the Effect of Influenza and Influenza Vaccination on Risk of Acquiring Guillain-Barré Syndrome 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2015;21(2):224-231.
Under typical conditions, such as influenza incidence rates of >5% and vaccine effectiveness >60%, vaccination reduced risk.
It is unclear whether seasonal influenza vaccination results in a net increase or decrease in the risk for Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). To assess the effect of seasonal influenza vaccination on the absolute risk of acquiring GBS, we used simulation models and published estimates of age- and sex-specific risks for GBS, influenza incidence, and vaccine effectiveness. For a hypothetical 45-year-old woman and 75-year-old man, excess GBS risk for influenza vaccination versus no vaccination was −0.36/1 million vaccinations (95% credible interval −1.22 to 0.28) and −0.42/1 million vaccinations (95% credible interval, –3.68 to 2.44), respectively. These numbers represent a small absolute reduction in GBS risk with vaccination. Under typical conditions (e.g. influenza incidence rates >5% and vaccine effectiveness >60%), vaccination reduced GBS risk. These findings should strengthen confidence in the safety of influenza vaccine and allow health professionals to better put GBS risk in context when discussing influenza vaccination with patients.
doi:10.3201/eid2102.131879
PMCID: PMC4313628  PMID: 25625590
seasonal influenza; influenza vaccination; Guillain-Barré syndrome; risk modeling; decision tree modeling; viruses; vaccination; influenza; modeling
2.  Respiratory syncytial virus infection-associated hospitalization in adults: a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):665.
Background
Once considered primarily a pediatric concern, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is gaining recognition as a cause of significant morbidity and mortality in adults. A better understanding of RSV epidemiology and disease in adults is needed to guide patient management and to assess the need for prophylaxis, vaccines, and treatments.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adults admitted to four hospitals in Toronto, Canada, between September 2012 and June 2013 with RSV identified by a qualitative real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay in nasopharyngeal swab or bronchoscopy specimens. Main outcomes were hospital length of stay, need for intensive care unit (ICU) or mechanical ventilation, and all-cause mortality.
Results
Eighty-six patients were identified as requiring hospitalization for RSV infection (56% female). Median age was 74 (range 19–102) years; 29 (34%) were < 65 years. Eighty-three (97%) had underlying chronic medical conditions; 27 (31%) were immunosuppressed, and 10 (12%) known smokers. The most common symptoms and signs were cough in 73 (85%), shortness of breath in 68 (79%), sputum production in 54 (63%), weakness in 43 (50%), fever in 41 (48%), and wheezing in 33 (38%). Lower respiratory tract complications occurred in 45 (52%), cardiovascular complications occurred in 19 (22%), and possible co-pathogens were identified in 11 (13%). Sixty-seven (78%) were treated with antibiotics and 31 (36%) with anti-influenza therapy. Thirteen (15%) required ICU care and 8 (9%) required mechanical ventilation. Five (6%) died during hospitalization. Need for ICU and mechanical ventilation were associated with mortality (P ≤ 0.02). Median hospital length of stay was 6 days (mean 10.8 days).
Conclusions
RSV infection is associated with the need for extended hospital stay, ICU care and mortality in adults of all ages with chronic underlying conditions. Presenting signs and symptoms are nonspecific, co-infections occur, and patients often receive antibiotics and anti-influenza therapy. There is need for ongoing research and development of RSV prophylaxis, vaccines and treatments for adults.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0665-2
PMCID: PMC4269936  PMID: 25494918
Respiratory syncytial virus; Hospitalization; Adults
3.  Prevalence and incidence of antimicrobial-resistant organisms among hospitalized inflammatory bowel disease patients 
BACKGROUND:
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) experience frequent hospitalizations and use of immunosuppressive medications, which may predispose them to colonization with antimicrobial-resistant organisms (ARO).
OBJECTIVE:
To determine the prevalence of ARO colonization on admission to hospital and the incidence of infection during hospitalization among hospitalized IBD patients.
METHODS:
A chart review comparing the prevalence of colonization and incidence of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL) in hospitalized IBD patients with those of non-IBD controls was performed.
RESULTS:
On admission, there were no significant differences between IBD inpatients and controls in the prevalence of colonization of methicillin-resistant S aureus (1.0% versus 1.2%; P=0.74), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (0.2% versus 0%; P=1.0) or ESBL (4.1% versus 5.5%; P=0.33). Pooling data from historical clinic-based cohorts, IBD patients were more likely than controls to have ESBL colonization (19% versus 6.6%; P<0.05). Antibiotic use on admission was associated with ESBL colonization among IBD inpatients (OR 4.2 [95% CI 1.4 to 12.6]). The incidence of ARO infections during hospitalization was not significantly different between IBD patients and controls. Among IBD patients who acquired ARO infections during hospitalizations, the mean time interval from admission to infection was shorter for those who were already colonized with ARO on admission.
CONCLUSIONS:
This particular population of hospitalized IBD patients was not shown to have a higher prevalence or incidence of ARO colonization or infection compared with non-IBD inpatients.
PMCID: PMC3905012  PMID: 24489571
Crohn disease; Extended spectrum beta-lactamase; Inflammatory bowel disease; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Ulcerative colitis; Vancomycin-resistant enterococci
4.  Outbreak of Vancomycin-Susceptible Enterococcus faecium Containing the Wild-Type vanA Gene 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(5):1682-1686.
Accurate detection of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is essential in preventing transmission in health care settings. Chromogenic media are widely used for screening VRE because of fast turnaround times (TAT) and high sensitivity. We report an outbreak of Enterococcus faecium bearing vanA yet susceptible to vancomycin (vancomycin-variable Enterococcus [VVE]). Between October 2009 to March 2011, clinical and screening specimens (n = 14,747) were screened for VRE using VRE-selective medium and/or PCR. VVE isolates were genotyped to determine relatedness. Plasmids from these isolates were characterized by sequencing. Overall, 52 VVE isolates were identified, comprising 15% of all VRE isolates identified. Isolates demonstrated growth on Brilliance VRE agar (Oxoid) at 24 h of incubation but did not grow on brain heart infusion agar with 6 μg/ml vancomycin (Oxoid) or bile esculin azide agar with 6 μg/ml vancomycin (Oxoid) and were susceptible to vancomycin. Genotyping of 20 randomly selected VVE isolates revealed that 15/20 were identical, while 5 were highly related. PCR of the VVE transposon confirmed the presence of vanHAXY gene cluster; however, vanS (sensor) and vanR (regulator) genes were absent. The outbreak was controlled through routine infection control measures. We report an emergence of a fit strain of E. faecium containing vanA yet susceptible to vancomycin. Whether this new strain represents VRE has yet to be determined; however, unique testing procedures are required for reliable identification of VVE.
doi:10.1128/JCM.03563-13
PMCID: PMC3993680  PMID: 24523464
5.  Characterization of Invasive Group B Streptococcus Strains from the Greater Toronto Area, Canada 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(5):1441-1447.
We determined the capsular polysaccharide (CPS) type of 600 group B Streptococcus (GBS) (also known as Streptococcus agalactiae) strains recovered from patients with invasive infections in the greater Toronto area, Canada, between 2009 and 2012. GBS strains of CPS type III were the most prevalent among infants (44% in those with early-onset disease, 75% in those with late-onset disease), while type V strains were most frequently isolated from adult patients (26% in patients ≥19 years old). We next investigated the presence in our collection of GBS strains belonging to the hypervirulent multilocus sequence typing clonal complex 17 (CC17). We used a PCR test described as specific for the detection of CC17 strains, which targets the gene encoding the major virulence factor HvgA. We identified 91 hvgA-positive strains; of these, 88 were CPS type III, 2 were CPS type IV, and 1 was CPS type V. Using whole-genome sequencing, we showed that the two hvgA-positive CPS type IV strains are CC17 strains which underwent capsular switching. However, sequence analysis revealed that the hvgA-positive CPS type V strain does not belong to CC17 but instead is a bona fide CC1 strain which acquired hvgA, probably by recombination from a CC17 donor. Our findings underline the importance of recombination in GBS pathogenesis and caution against the use of single-gene-based PCR tests to detect CC17 GBS strains.
doi:10.1128/JCM.03554-13
PMCID: PMC3993709  PMID: 24554752
6.  Vancomycin-Variable Enterococcus faecium: In Vivo Emergence of Vancomycin Resistance in a Vancomycin-Susceptible Isolate 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(5):1766-1767.
We report the emergence of vancomycin resistance in a patient colonized with a vanA-containing, vanRS-negative isolate of Enterococcus faecium which was initially vancomycin susceptible. This is a previously undescribed mechanism of drug resistance with diagnostic and therapeutic implications.
doi:10.1128/JCM.03579-13
PMCID: PMC3993649  PMID: 24523476
7.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization among health care workers in a downtown emergency department in Toronto, Ontario 
BACKGROUND:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acquired in the community, otherwise known as community-acquired MRSA, has emerged rapidly in recent years. Colonization with MRSA has been associated with an increased risk of symptomatic and serious infections and, in some settings, health care workers (HCWs) exhibit a higher prevalence of MRSA colonization.
OBJECTIVE:
To determine MRSA colonization in emergency department (ED) HCWs in the setting of a moderate prevalence of MRSA in skin and soft tissue infections.
METHODS:
The present study was conducted at a downtown ED in Toronto, Ontario. ED HCWs completed a brief questionnaire and swabs were taken from one anterior nare, one axilla and any open wounds (if present). Swabs were processed using standard laboratory techniques.
RESULTS:
None of the 89 staff (registered nurses [n=55], physicians [n=15], other [n=19]) were MRSA positive and 25 (28.1%) were colonized with methicillin-susceptible S aureus.
CONCLUSIONS:
Contrary to common belief among HCWs and previous studies documenting MRSA colonization of HCWs, MRSA colonization of this particular Canadian ED HCW cohort was very low and similar to that of the local population.
PMCID: PMC3852458  PMID: 24421831
Emergency department; Health care workers; MRSA colonization
8.  In Vitro Activity of New Cephalosporins vs Streptococcus pneumoniae from the Canadian Bacterial Surveillance Network: 2008–2011 
Current Microbiology  2014;69(5):763-767.
Between 2008 and 2011, 6,895 Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates were submitted to the Canadian Bacterial Surveillance Network and underwent in vitro susceptibility testing. Fifteen percent of S. pneumoniae isolates were collected from pediatric patients (0–15 years old), 48.6 % of isolates were collected from adults between 16 and 64 years of age, and 36.1 % from adults aged ≥65 years; age data were not available for 11 patients. Forty-five percent of S. pneumoniae isolates were recovered from sterile specimens, and 55 % of isolates were from nonsterile specimens. Overall, 0.4 % of isolates were resistant to penicillin, 0.4 % to ceftriaxone, 3 % to amoxicillin, 25 % to erythromycin, and 13 % to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole; 6.6 % of isolates were multidrug resistant (MDR). Among MDR isolates, resistance rates exceeded 95 % for erythromycin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The MIC90 of cethromycin, ceftaroline, and ceftobiprole against MDR isolates were 0.12, 0.25, and 1 mg/L, respectively. Ceftaroline, the active form of the prodrug ceftaroline fosamil, exhibited potent in vitro activity against the tested S. pneumoniae including all 456 multidrug-resistant strains. No ceftaroline-resistant isolates were identified.
doi:10.1007/s00284-014-0622-8
PMCID: PMC4201750  PMID: 25023636
9.  Hospital Outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(5):407-416.
BACKGROUND
In September 2012, the World Health Organization reported the first cases of pneumonia caused by the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We describe a cluster of health care–acquired MERS-CoV infections.
METHODS
Medical records were reviewed for clinical and demographic information and determination of potential contacts and exposures. Case patients and contacts were interviewed. The incubation period and serial interval (the time between the successive onset of symptoms in a chain of transmission) were estimated. Viral RNA was sequenced.
RESULTS
Between April 1 and May 23, 2013, a total of 23 cases of MERS-CoV infection were reported in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Symptoms included fever in 20 patients (87%), cough in 20 (87%), shortness of breath in 11 (48%), and gastrointestinal symptoms in 8 (35%); 20 patients (87%) presented with abnormal chest radiographs. As of June 12, a total of 15 patients (65%) had died, 6 (26%) had recovered, and 2 (9%) remained hospitalized. The median incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9 to 14.7), and the serial interval was 7.6 days (95% CI, 2.5 to 23.1). A total of 21 of the 23 cases were acquired by person-to-person transmission in hemodialysis units, intensive care units, or in-patient units in three different health care facilities. Sequencing data from four isolates revealed a single monophyletic clade. Among 217 household contacts and more than 200 health care worker contacts whom we identified, MERS-CoV infection developed in 5 family members (3 with laboratory-confirmed cases) and in 2 health care workers (both with laboratory-confirmed cases).
CONCLUSIONS
Person-to-person transmission of MERS-CoV can occur in health care settings and may be associated with considerable morbidity. Surveillance and infection-control measures are critical to a global public health response.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1306742
PMCID: PMC4029105  PMID: 23782161
11.  Trends in antiviral therapy of adults hospitalized with influenza in Canada since the end of the 2009 pandemic 
Background
Multiple observational studies have associated antiviral treatment of patients hospitalized with influenza with improved outcome, including reduced mortality. During the 2009–2010 H1N1 pandemic increased use of antiviral treatment of hospital patients was reported. We have carried out prospective surveillance for influenza in patients in a large network of Canadian hospitals since 2006. We wished to assess trends in antiviral use in the two seasons (2010–2011 and 2011–2012) since the end of the pandemic.
Findings
Adults (>16 years) testing positive for influenza at the time of or during admission to participating Canadian hospitals were prospectively reviewed. In 2009–2010 there were 1132 confirmed cases, 1107 in 2010–2011 and 631 in 2011–2012. Information on antiviral therapy was available in >95% in each year. Rising to 89.6% in 2009, the proportion of adult patients treated with antiviral therapy fell to 79.9% and 65.7% in the two subsequent seasons (p < 0.001). Oseltamivir was the antiviral agent used in >98% of cases in each year. The median time from onset of symptoms to initiation of antiviral therapy was three days. The treatment proportion fell across all age groups, co-morbid conditions and disease severity.
Conclusion
Despite evidence for benefit of antiviral therapy, and clinical practice guidelines recommending treatment of this population, antiviral therapy of Canadian adults hospitalized with influenza has progressively fallen in the two seasons since the end of the 2009–2010 influenza pandemic.
doi:10.1186/2047-2994-3-2
PMCID: PMC3895698  PMID: 24405855
13.  Epidemiology and Outcome of Pneumonia Caused by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Canadian Hospitals 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75171.
Background
MRSA remains a leading cause of hospital-acquired (HAP) and healthcare-associated pneumonia (HCAP). We describe the epidemiology and outcome of MRSA pneumonia in Canadian hospitals, and identify factors contributing to mortality.
Methods
Prospective surveillance for MRSA pneumonia in adults was done for one year (2011) in 11 Canadian hospitals. Standard criteria for MRSA HAP, HCAP, ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) were used to identify cases. MRSA isolates underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) gene detection. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality at 30 days. A multivariable analysis was done to examine the association between various host and microbial factors and mortality.
Results
A total of 161 patients with MRSA pneumonia were identified: 90 (56%) with HAP, 26 (16%) HCAP, and 45 (28%) CAP; 23 (14%) patients had VAP. The mean (± SD) incidence of MRSA HAP was 0.32 (± 0.26) per 10,000 patient-days, and of MRSA VAP was 0.30 (± 0.5) per 1,000 ventilator-days. The 30-day all-cause mortality was 28.0%. In multivariable analysis, variables associated with mortality were the presence of multiorgan failure (OR 8.1; 95% CI 2.5-26.0), and infection with an isolate with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.0-6.3).
Conclusions
MRSA pneumonia is associated with significant mortality. Severity of disease at presentation, and infection caused by an isolate with elevated MIC to vancomcyin are associated with increased mortality. Additional studies are required to better understand the impact of host and microbial variables on outcome.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075171
PMCID: PMC3775759  PMID: 24069391
14.  Indeterminate tcdB using a Clostridium difficile PCR assay: a retrospective cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:324.
Background
C. difficile (CD) real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for toxin B gene (tcdB) is more sensitive, and reduces turnaround time when compared to toxin immunoassay. We noted typical amplification curves with high tcdB cycle thresholds (Ct) and low endpoints (Ept) that are labeled negative by the Xpert® C. difficile assay (Cepheid) and undertook this study to determine their significance.
Methods
We defined an indeterminate CD assay result as detection of a typical PCR amplification curve with an Ept >10 that was interpreted as negative by the Xpert® assay. Samples with indeterminate Xpert® result were collected for 5 months and retested by Xpert®, cultured for toxigenic CD, and isolates subjected to PCR ribotyping, detection of toxin genes and multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) typing. Chart reviews were completed to assess if patients met the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Infectious Diseases Society of America CD infection (CDI) clinical case definition. Illness severity was compared with tcdB Ct and culture results.
Results
During the 5-month study period, 48/3620 (1%) of specimens were indeterminate and 387/3620 (11%) were positive. Of the 48 patients with indeterminate results, 39 (81%) met the clinical case definition of CDI, and 7 of these (18%) met criteria for severe CDI. Toxigenic stool cultures were positive for 86% (6/7) of patients with severe CDI, 19% (6/32) of patients with non-severe CDI, and 44% (4/9) of patients who did not meet the clinical case definition of CDI (p = 0.002). Lower tcdB Ct and higher Ept were associated with greater likelihood of toxigenic culture positivity (p = 0.03) and more severe symptoms (p = 0.06). Indeterminate results were not associated with a particular technologist or instrument module, or CD strain type.
Conclusions
A subset of specimens (1%) using the Xpert® C. difficile assay have typical amplification curves and are interpreted as negative. At least one-third of these results are associated with positive CD culture. The mechanism of these indeterminate results is not technique-related, equipment-related, or due to particular CD strains. Clinicians should be aware that even PCR testing has the potential to miss CDI cases and further highlights the importance of clinical context when interpreting results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-324
PMCID: PMC3718660  PMID: 23865713
Clostridium difficile; Polymerase chain reaction; Toxin B gene; False negative results
15.  An observational study of the hand hygiene initiative: a comparison of preintervention and postintervention outcomes 
BMJ Open  2013;3(5):e003018.
Objectives
To evaluate the impact of implementing a simple, user-friendly eLearning module on hand hygiene (HH) compliance and infection rates.
Design
Preintervention and postintervention observational study.
Participants
All neonates admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over the study period were eligible for participation and were included in the analyses. A total of 3422 patients were admitted over a 36-month span (July 2009 to June 2012).
Interventions
In the preintervention and postintervention periods (phases I and II), all healthcare providers were trained on HH practices using an eLearning module. The principles of the ‘4 moments of HH’ and definition of ‘baby space’ were incorporated using interactive tools. The intervention then extended into a long-term sustainability programme (phase III), including the requirement of an annual recertification of the module and introduction of posters and screensavers throughout the NICU.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcome was HH compliance rates among healthcare providers in the three phases. The secondary outcome was healthcare-associated infection rates in the NICU.
Results
HH compliance rates declined initially in phase II then improved in phase III with the addition of a long-term sustainability programme (76%, 67% and 76% in phases I, II and III, respectively (p<0.01). Infection rates showed an opposing, but concomitant trend in the overall population as well as in infants <1500 g and were 4%, 6% and 4% (p=0.02), and 11%, 21% and 16% (p<0.01), respectively, during the three phases.
Conclusions
Interventions to improve HH compliance are challenging to implement and sustain with the need for ongoing reinforcement and education.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003018
PMCID: PMC3664348  PMID: 23793705
Healthcare-associated infection; Nosocomial infection; Baby space; Hand hygiene compliance
16.  Risk Factors for Influenza among Health Care Workers during 2009 Pandemic, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(4):606-615.
Influenza was associated with household exposure, aerosol-generating procedures, and lower adherence to hand hygiene recommendations.
doi:10.3201/eid1904.111812
PMCID: PMC3647716  PMID: 23631831
Influenza; virus; viruses; pandemic; health care worker; risk; hand hygiene; transmission; respiratory; ventilation; aerosol; Canada
17.  Decreased Susceptibility to Noncarbapenem Antimicrobials in Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae Isolates in Toronto, Canada 
Retrospective review from 11 Canadian hospitals showed increasing incidence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae from 0.12 per 1,000 inpatient days during 2005 to 0.47 per 1,000 inpatient days during 2009. By 2009, susceptibility rates of ESBL-positive E. coli/K. pneumoniae were as follows: ciprofloxacin, 12.8%/9.0%; TMP/SMX, 32.9%/12.2%; and nitrofurantoin, 83.8%/10.3%. Nosocomial and nonnosocomial ESBL-producing E. coli isolates had similar susceptibility profiles, while nonnosocomial ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae was associated with decreased ciprofloxacin (P = 0.03) and nitrofurantoin (P < 0.001) susceptibilities.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00260-12
PMCID: PMC3393431  PMID: 22508296
18.  The Impact of Infection on Population Health: Results of the Ontario Burden of Infectious Diseases Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44103.
Background
Evidence-based priority setting is increasingly important for rationally distributing scarce health resources and for guiding future health research. We sought to quantify the contribution of a wide range of infectious diseases to the overall infectious disease burden in a high-income setting.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We used health-adjusted life years (HALYs), a composite measure comprising premature mortality and reduced functioning due to disease, to estimate the burden of 51 infectious diseases and associated syndromes in Ontario using 2005–2007 data. Deaths were estimated from vital statistics data and disease incidence was estimated from reportable disease, healthcare utilization, and cancer registry data, supplemented by local modeling studies and national and international epidemiologic studies. The 51 infectious agents and associated syndromes accounted for 729 lost HALYs, 44.2 deaths, and 58,987 incident cases per 100,000 population annually. The most burdensome infectious agents were: hepatitis C virus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, human papillomavirus, hepatitis B virus, human immunodeficiency virus, Staphylococcus aureus, influenza virus, Clostridium difficile, and rhinovirus. The top five, ten, and 20 pathogens accounted for 46%, 67%, and 75% of the total infectious disease burden, respectively. Marked sex-specific differences in disease burden were observed for some pathogens. The main limitations of this study were the exclusion of certain infectious diseases due to data availability issues, not considering the impact of co-infections and co-morbidity, and the inability to assess the burden of milder infections that do not result in healthcare utilization.
Conclusions/Significance
Infectious diseases continue to cause a substantial health burden in high-income settings such as Ontario. Most of this burden is attributable to a relatively small number of infectious agents, for which many effective interventions have been previously identified. Therefore, these findings should be used to guide public health policy, planning, and research.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044103
PMCID: PMC3433488  PMID: 22962601
19.  Outbreak of Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase–producing Klebsiella oxytoca Infections Associated with Contaminated Handwashing Sinks1 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(8):1242-1247.
Sinks are a potential reservoir for environment-to-patient and patient-to-patient transmission.
Klebsiella oxytoca is primarily a health care–associated pathogen acquired from environmental sources. During October 2006–March 2011, a total of 66 patients in a hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, acquired class A extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing K. oxytoca with 1 of 2 related pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns. New cases continued to occur despite reinforcement of infection control practices, prevalence screening, and contact precautions for colonized/infected patients. Cultures from handwashing sinks in the intensive care unit yielded K. oxytoca with identical pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns to cultures from the clinical cases. No infections occurred after implementation of sink cleaning 3×/day, sink drain modifications, and an antimicrobial stewardship program. In contrast, a cluster of 4 patients infected with K. oxytoca in a geographically distant medical ward without contaminated sinks was contained with implementation of active screening and contact precautions. Sinks should be considered potential reservoirs for clusters of infection caused by K. oxytoca.
doi:10.3201/eid1808.111268
PMCID: PMC3414015  PMID: 22841005
Klebsiella oxytoca; outbreak; ICU; sink; extended-spectrum β-lactamase; ESBL; antimicrobial resistance; handwashing; bacteria
20.  Short and Long-Term Safety of the 2009 AS03-Adjuvanted Pandemic Vaccine 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e38563.
Background
This study assessed the short and the long term safety of the 2009 AS03 adjuvanted monovalent pandemic vaccine through an active web-based electronic surveillance. We compared its safety profile to that of the seasonal trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) for 2010–2011.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Health care workers (HCW) vaccinated in 2009 with the pandemic vaccine (Arepanrix ® from GSK) or HCW vaccinated in 2010 with the 2010–2011 TIV were invited to participate in a web-based active surveillance of vaccine safety. They completed two surveys the day-8 survey covered the first 7 days post-vaccination and the day-29 survey covered events occurring 8 to 28 days after vaccination. Those who reported a problem were called by a nurse to obtain details. The main outcome was the occurrence of a new health problem or the worsening of an existing health condition that resulted in a medical consultation or work absenteeism. For the pandemic vaccine, a six-month follow-up for the occurrence of serious adverse events (SAE) was conducted. Among the 6242 HCW who received the pandemic vaccine, 440 (7%) reported 468 events compared to 328 of the 7645 HCW (4.3%) who reported 339 events after the seasonal vaccine. The 2009 pandemic vaccine was associated with significantly more local reactions than the 2010–2011 seasonal vaccine (1% vs. 0.03%, p<0.001). Paresthesia was reported by 7 HCW (0.1%) after the pandemic vaccine but by none after the seasonal vaccine. For the pandemic vaccine, no clustering of SAE was found in the 6 month follow-up.
Conclusion
The 2009 pandemic vaccine seems to have a good safety profile, similar to the 2010–2011 TIV, with the exception of local reactions. This surveillance was adequately powered to identify AE associated with an excess risk ≥1 per 1000 vaccinations but is insufficient to detect rare AE.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01289418, NCT01318876
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038563
PMCID: PMC3389012  PMID: 22802929
22.  Risk of infection following a visit to the emergency department: a cohort study 
Background:
The risk of infection following a visit to the emergency department is unknown. We explored this risk among elderly residents of long-term care facilities.
Methods:
We compared the rates of new respiratory and gastrointestinal infections among elderly residents aged 65 years and older of 22 long-term care facilities. We used standardized surveillance definitions. For each resident who visited the emergency department during the study period, we randomly selected two residents who did not visit the emergency department and matched them by facility unit, age and sex. We calculated the rates and proportions of new infections, and we used conditional logistic regression to adjust for potential confounding variables.
Results:
In total, we included 1269 residents of long-term care facilities, including 424 who visited the emergency department during the study. The baseline characteristics of residents who did or did not visit the emergency department were similar, except for underlying health status (visited the emergency department: mean Charlson Comorbidity Index 6.1, standard deviation [SD] 2.5; did not visit the emergency department: mean Charlson Comorbidity index 5.5, SD 2.7; p < 0.001) and the proportion who had visitors (visited the emergency department: 46.9%; did not visit the emergency department: 39.2%; p = 0.01). Overall, 21 (5.0%) residents who visited the emergency department and 17 (2.0%) who did not visit the emergency department acquired new infections. The incidence of new infections was 8.3/1000 patient-days among those who visited the emergency department and 3.4/1000 patient-days among those who did not visit the emergency department. The adjusted odds ratio for the risk of infection following a visit to the emergency department was 3.9 (95% confidence interval 1.4–10.8).
Interpretation:
A visit to the emergency department was associated with more than a threefold increased risk of acute infection among elderly people. Additional precautions should be considered for residents following a visit to the emergency department.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.110372
PMCID: PMC3291696  PMID: 22271915
23.  Susceptibility of Streptococcus pneumoniae to Fluoroquinolones in Canada▿ 
Ciprofloxacin, the first fluoroquinolone to be used to treat lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), demonstrates poor potency against Streptococcus pneumoniae, and its use has been associated with the emergence of resistance. During the last decade, fluoroquinolones with enhanced in vitro activity against S. pneumoniae have replaced ciprofloxacin for the treatment of LRTI. Here, we analyzed the impact of more active fluoroquinolone usage on pneumococci by examining the fluoroquinolone usage, prevalence of fluoroquinolone resistance, and mutations in the genes that encode the major target sites for the fluoroquinolones (gyrA and parC) in pneumococcal isolates collected in Canada-wide surveillance. A total of 26,081 isolates were collected between 1998 and 2009. During this time period, total per capita outpatient use of fluoroquinolones increased from 64 to 96 prescriptions per 1,000 persons per year. The proportion of prescriptions for respiratory tract infection that were for fluoroquinolones increased from 5.9% to 10.7%, but the distribution changed: the proportion of prescriptions for ciprofloxacin decreased from 5.3% to 0.5%, and those for levofloxacin or moxifloxacin increased from 1.5% in 1999 to 5.9% in 2009. The prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance (MIC ≥ 4 μg/ml), levofloxacin resistance, and moxifloxacin resistance remained unchanged at <2%. Multivariable analyses showed that prevalence of mutations known to be associated with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones did not change during the surveillance period. If fluoroquinolone therapy is required, the preferential use of fluoroquinolones with enhanced pneumococcal activity to treat pneumococcal infections may slow the emergence of resistance in S. pneumoniae.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00237-11
PMCID: PMC3147653  PMID: 21628545
25.  Novel Mutations in a Patient Isolate of Streptococcus agalactiae with Reduced Penicillin Susceptibility Emerging after Long-Term Oral Suppressive Therapy▿ 
Penicillin nonsusceptibility has been demonstrated in group B streptococci (GBS), but there is limited information regarding mechanisms of resistance. We report a case of GBS with reduced susceptibility to penicillin emerging after long-term suppressive oral penicillin therapy for a prosthetic joint infection. Molecular characterization of the isolate before and after long-term penicillin therapy revealed 5 mutations in the ligand-binding regions of PBP1a, -2a, and -2x not previously reported in GBS.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01243-10
PMCID: PMC3101384  PMID: 21383092

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