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1.  Determination of Vancomycin Pharmacokinetics in Neonates To Develop Practical Initial Dosing Recommendations 
Variability in neonatal vancomycin pharmacokinetics and the lack of consensus for optimal trough concentrations in neonatal intensive care units pose challenges to dosing vancomycin in neonates. Our objective was to determine vancomycin pharmacokinetics in neonates and evaluate dosing regimens to identify whether practical initial recommendations that targeted trough concentrations most commonly used in neonatal intensive care units could be determined. Fifty neonates who received vancomycin with at least one set of steady-state levels were evaluated retrospectively. Mean pharmacokinetic values were determined using first-order pharmacokinetic equations, and Monte Carlo simulation was used to evaluate initial dosing recommendations for target trough concentrations of 15 to 20 mg/liter, 5 to 20 mg/liter, and ≤20 mg/liter. Monte Carlo simulation revealed that dosing by mg/kg of body weight was optimal where intermittent dosing of 9 to 12 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.) every 8 h (q8h) had the highest probability of attaining a target trough concentration of 15 to 20 mg/liter. However, continuous infusion with a loading dose of 10 mg/kg followed by 25 to 30 mg/kg per day infused over 24 h had the best overall probability of target attainment. Initial intermittent dosing of 9 to 15 mg/kg i.v. q12h was optimal for target trough concentrations of 5 to 20 mg/liter and ≤20 mg/liter. In conclusion, we determined that the practical initial vancomycin dose of 10 mg/kg vancomycin i.v. q12h was optimal for vancomycin trough concentrations of either 5 to 20 mg/liter or ≤20 mg/liter and that the same initial dose q8h was optimal for target trough concentrations of 15 to 20 mg/liter. However, due to large interpatient vancomycin pharmacokinetic variability in neonates, monitoring of serum concentrations is recommended when trough concentrations between 15 and 20 mg/liter or 5 and 20 mg/liter are desired.
PMCID: PMC3993213  PMID: 24614381
2.  Modeling the economic impact of linezolid versus vancomycin in confirmed nosocomial pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Critical Care  2014;18(4):R157.
We compared the economic impacts of linezolid and vancomycin for the treatment of hospitalized patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)–confirmed nosocomial pneumonia.
We used a 4-week decision tree model incorporating published data and expert opinion on clinical parameters, resource use and costs (in 2012 US dollars), such as efficacy, mortality, serious adverse events, treatment duration and length of hospital stay. The results presented are from a US payer perspective. The base case first-line treatment duration for patients with MRSA-confirmed nosocomial pneumonia was 10 days. Clinical treatment success (used for the cost-effectiveness ratio) and failure due to lack of efficacy, serious adverse events or mortality were possible clinical outcomes that could impact costs. Cost of treatment and incremental cost-effectiveness per successfully treated patient were calculated for linezolid versus vancomycin. Univariate (one-way) and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted.
The model allowed us to calculate the total base case inpatient costs as $46,168 (linezolid) and $46,992 (vancomycin). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio favored linezolid (versus vancomycin), with lower costs ($824 less) and greater efficacy (+2.7% absolute difference in the proportion of patients successfully treated for MRSA nosocomial pneumonia). Approximately 80% of the total treatment costs were attributed to hospital stay (primarily in the intensive care unit). The results of our probabilistic sensitivity analysis indicated that linezolid is the cost-effective alternative under varying willingness to pay thresholds.
These model results show that linezolid has a favorable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio compared to vancomycin for MRSA-confirmed nosocomial pneumonia, largely attributable to the higher clinical trial response rate of patients treated with linezolid. The higher drug acquisition cost of linezolid was offset by lower treatment failure–related costs and fewer days of hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC4220084  PMID: 25053453
3.  Elevator buttons as unrecognized sources of bacterial colonization in hospitals 
Open Medicine  2014;8(3):e81-e86.
Elevators are ubiquitous and active inside hospitals, potentially facilitating bacterial transmission. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of bacterial colonization on elevator buttons in large urban teaching hospitals.
A total of 120 elevator buttons and 96 toilet surfaces were swabbed over separate intervals at 3 tertiary care hospitals on weekdays and weekends in Toronto, Ontario. For the elevators, swabs were taken from 2 interior buttons (buttons for the ground floor and one randomly selected upper-level floor) and 2 exterior buttons (the "up" button from the ground floor and the "down" button from the upper-level floor). For the toilet surfaces, swabs were taken from the exterior and interior handles of the entry door, the privacy latch, and the toilet flusher. Samples were obtained using standard bacterial collection techniques, followed by plating, culture, and species identification by a technician blind to sample source.
The prevalence of colonization of elevator buttons was 61% (95% confidence interval 52%–70%). No significant differences in colonization prevalence were apparent in relation to location of the buttons, day of the week, or panel position within the elevator. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were the most common organisms cultured, whereas Enterococcus and Pseudomonas species were infrequent. Elevator buttons had a higher prevalence of colonization than toilet surfaces (61% v. 43%, p = 0.008).
Hospital elevator buttons were commonly colonized by bacteria, although most pathogens were not clinically relevant. The risk of pathogen transmission might be reduced by simple countermeasures.
PMCID: PMC4242253  PMID: 25426176
4.  Characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from patients with persistent or recurrent bacteremia 
Bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus represent a considerable risk for the patient, particularly when the infection is persistant or recurrent. The authors of this study aimed to determine whether methicillin-resistant S aureus isolated from patients with persistant or recurrent infections differed from those isolated from patients with bloodstream infections that were not persistent or recurrent.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSI) are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, especially with persistent (PB) or recurrent bacteremia (RB).
To determine the frequency of PB and RB in patients with MRSA BSI, and to characterize the isolates from these patients.
Surveillance for MRSA BSI was performed for one year in 13 Canadian hospitals. PB was defined as a positive blood culture that persisted for ≥7 days; RB was defined as the recurrence of a positive blood culture ≥14 days following a negative culture. Isolates were typed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Vancomycin susceptibility was determined using Etest.
A total of 183 patients with MRSA BSI were identified; 14 (7.7%) had PB and five (2.7%) had RB. Ten (5.5%) patients were known to have infective endocarditis, and five of these patients had PB or RB. Initial and subsequent MRSA isolates from patients with PB and RB had the same PFGE type. There were no significant differences in the distribution of PFGE types in patients with PB or RB (37% CMRSA-2/USA100; 37% CMRSA-10/USA300) compared with that in other patients (56% CMRSA-2/USA100; 32% CMRSA-10/USA300). All isolates were susceptible to vancomycin, but patients with PB or RB were more likely to have initial isolates with vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration = 2.0 μg/mL (26% versus 10%; P=0.06).
Persistent or recurrent MRSA bacteremia occurred in 10.4% of patients with MRSA BSIs. Initial isolates from patients with persistent or recurrent MRSA BSIs were more likely to exhibit reduced susceptibility to vancomcyin, but were not associated with any genotype.
PMCID: PMC4028673  PMID: 24855475
Bacteremia; Bloodstream infection; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA
5.  Increased Incidence of Tuberculosis in Zimbabwe, in Association with Food Insecurity, and Economic Collapse: An Ecological Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e83387.
Zimbabwe underwent a socioeconomic crisis and resultant increase in food insecurity in 2008–9. The impact of the crisis on Tuberculosis (TB) incidence is unknown.
Prospective databases from two mission hospitals, which were geographically widely separated, and remained open during the crisis, were reviewed.
At the Howard Hospital (HH) in northern Zimbabwe, TB incidence increased 35% in 2008 from baseline rates in 2003–2007 (p<0.01) and remained at that level in 2009. Murambinda Hospital (MH) in Eastern Zimbabwe also demonstrated a 29% rise in TB incidence from 2007 to 2008 (p<0.01) and remained at that level in 2009. Data collected post-crisis at HH showed a decrease of 33% in TB incidence between 2009 to 2010 (p<0.001) and 2010/2011 TB incidence remained below that of the crisis years of 2008/2009 (p<0.01). Antenatal clinic HIV seroprevalence at HH decreased between 2001(23%) to 2011(11%) (p<0.001). Seasonality of TB incidence was analyzed at both MH and HH. There was a higher TB incidence in the dry season when food is least available (September-November) compared to post harvest (April-June) (p<0.001).
This study suggests that an epidemic of TB mirrored socioeconomic collapse and recovery in Zimbabwe. The seasonal data suggests that food security may have been associated with TB incidence both annually and during the crisis in this high HIV prevalence country.
PMCID: PMC3914787  PMID: 24505245
7.  Cost-Effectiveness and Efficacy of spa, SCCmec, and PVL Genotyping of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus as Compared to Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79149.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) is a valuable molecular typing assay used for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) surveillance and genotyping. However, there are several limitations associated with PFGE. In Alberta, Canada, the significant increase in the number of MRSA isolates submitted to the Provincial Laboratory for Public Health (ProvLab) for PFGE typing led to the need for an alternative genotyping method. In this study, we describe the transition from PFGE to Staphylococcus protein A (spa), Staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCCmec), and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) typing. A total of 1915 clinical MRSA isolates collected from 2005 to 2009 were used to develop and validate an algorithm for assigning PFGE epidemic types using spa, SCCmec, and PVL typing and the resulting data was used to populate a new Alberta MRSA typing database. An additional 12620 clinical MRSA isolates collected from 2010 to 2012 as part of ongoing routine molecular testing at ProvLab were characterized using the new typing algorithm and the Alberta MRSA typing database. Switching to spa, SCCmec, and PVL from PFGE typing substantially reduced hands-on and turn-around times while maintaining historical PFGE epidemic type designations. This led to an approximate $77,000 reduction in costs from 2010 to 2012. PFGE typing is still required for a small subset of MRSA isolates that have spa types that are rare, novel, or associated with more than one PFGE epidemic type.
PMCID: PMC3828336  PMID: 24244440
8.  Surveillance Definitions of Infections in Long-Term Care Facilities: Revisiting the McGeer Criteria 
(See the commentary by Moro, on pages 978–980.)
Infection surveillance definitions for long-term care facilities (ie, the McGeer Criteria) have not been updated since 1991. An expert consensus panel modified these definitions on the basis of a structured review of the literature. Significant changes were made to the criteria defining urinary tract and respiratory tract infections. New definitions were added for norovirus gastroenteritis and Clostridum difficile infections.
PMCID: PMC3538836  PMID: 22961014
10.  Epidemiology and Outcome of Pneumonia Caused by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Canadian Hospitals 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75171.
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3775759  PMID: 24069391
11.  A Caenorhabditis elegans host model correlates with invasive disease caused by Staphylococcus aureus recovered during an outbreak in neonatal intensive care 
Caenorhabditis elegans has previously been used as a host model to determine the virulence of clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates. In the present study, methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) strains associated with an outbreak in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) were investigated using the C elegans model.
Two distinct outbreak clones, MSSA type-C and MSSA type-G, were identified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis in a MSSA outbreak during a seven-month period in the NICU of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Toronto, Ontario). MSSA type-C was associated with severe infection, while type-G was associated with less invasive disease. Four representative type-C isolates, three type-G and three infant-colonized isolates unrelated to the outbreak, were sent to Calgary (Alberta), for the double-blinded virulence tests in the C elegans host model and for further molecular characterization.
The invasive outbreak strains (type-C) demonstrated highly nematocidal activity, the noninvasive outbreak strains (type-G) an intermediate virulence, and the outbreak-unrelated colonization isolates demonstrated avirulence or low virulence in the C elegans model, with mean killing rates of 93.0%, 61.0% and 14.4% by day 9, respectively, for these three group strains. Different group MSSA strains had their own unique genetic profiles and virulence gene profiles, but all isolates within the same group (type-C or type-G) shared identical genetic characteristics and virulence gene patterns.
The present blinded evaluation demonstrated that the nematocidal activities of MSSA strains correlated well with the clinical manifestation in an MSSA outbreak in the NICU, supporting C elegans as a robust host model to study the pathogenesis of S aureus.
PMCID: PMC3476557  PMID: 23997780
Caenorhabditis elegans; Double-blinded test; Methicillin-suseptible Staphylococcus aureus outbreak; MSSA; Neonatal intensive care unit; NICU; Staphylococcus aureus; Virulence host model
12.  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.
PMCID: PMC3647716  PMID: 23631831
Influenza; virus; viruses; pandemic; health care worker; risk; hand hygiene; transmission; respiratory; ventilation; aerosol; Canada
13.  MupB, a New High-Level Mupirocin Resistance Mechanism in Staphylococcus aureus 
Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic used for the treatment of skin infections and the eradication of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage. It inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by interfering with isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase activity. High-level mupirocin resistance (MIC of ≥512 μg/ml) is mediated by the expression of mupA (ileS2), which encodes an alternate isoleucyl-tRNA synthetase. In this study, we describe high-level mupirocin resistance mediated by a novel locus, mupB. The mupB gene (3,102 bp) shares 65.5% sequence identity with mupA but only 45.5% identity with ileS. The deduced MupB protein shares 58.1% identity (72.3% similarity) and 25.4% identity (41.8% similarity) with MupA and IleS, respectively. Despite this limited homology, MupB contains conserved motifs found in class I tRNA synthetases. Attempts to transfer high-level mupirocin resistance via conjugation or transformation (using plasmid extracts from an mupB-containing strain) were unsuccessful. However, by cloning the mupB gene into a shuttle vector, it was possible to transfer the resistance phenotype to susceptible S. aureus by electroporation, proving that mupB was responsible for the high-level mupirocin resistance. Further studies need to be done to determine the prevalence of mupB and to understand risk factors and outcomes associated with resistance mediated by this gene.
PMCID: PMC3318397  PMID: 22252810
16.  Risk of infection following a visit to the emergency department: a cohort study 
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.
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.
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).
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.
PMCID: PMC3291696  PMID: 22271915
17.  Distribution of Antiseptic Resistance Genes qacA, qacB, and smr in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolated in Toronto, Canada, from 2005 to 2009▿ 
Decreased susceptibility to chlorhexidine gluconate (CHDN) in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with the qacA, qacB, and smr genes, encoding efflux pumps. A total of 334 MRSA isolates were collected from two Canadian intensive care units between 2005 and 2009. We identified the qacAB genes in 7 strains (2%; 2 qacA genes and 5 qacB genes) and the smr gene in 23 (7%) strains. CHDN minimal bactericidal concentrations were slightly higher for strains harboring smr genes.
PMCID: PMC3101426  PMID: 21402848
18.  Genotypic and Phenotypic Characterization of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Isolates Misidentified as Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus by the BD GeneOhm MRSA Assay▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(4):1240-1244.
Twenty-three nasal swab samples that tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on initial testing by the BD GeneOhm MRSA assay (BD-MRSA PCR; BD GeneOhm, San Diego, CA) were culture positive only for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) from an enrichment broth. The 23 recovered isolates were confirmed as MSSA by a variety of phenotypic methods, including the BD Phoenix automated microbiology system (BD Diagnostics, Sparks, MD), oxacillin screening agar (BD Diagnostics), BBL CHROMagar MRSA (BD Diagnostics), and a PBP2′ assay (Denka Seiken Co., Tokyo, Japan); susceptibilities were determined by using Mueller-Hinton agar with oxacillin. All were positive by nuc PCR, specific for S. aureus, but negative for mecA with one exception. Isolates were characterized by using multiplex PCR methodology to determine structural types and variants (SCCmec typing); additional PCRs were performed for the detection of the ccr and mec complexes, the junkyard regions as well as the Panton-Valentine leukocidin. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis was used to determine clonality. One phenotypic MSSA isolate contained an intact SCCmec. Twelve MSSA isolates tested positive for MRSA by the BD-MRSA PCR because of amplification of the mec priming site flanking the SCC insertion point, although these isolates lacked mecA. The 10 remaining isolates were not MRSA and tested as MSSA by phenotypic and genotypic assays. In our patient population, diagnostic and surveillance testing and subsequent infection control practices may be impacted by the frequency of these excision events when using the BD-MRSA PCR for MRSA detection.
PMCID: PMC3122879  PMID: 21307210
19.  New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1: local acquisition in Ontario, Canada, and challenges in detection 
New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1) is a recently identified metallo-β-lactamase that confers resistance to carbapenems and all other β-lactam antibiotics, with the exception of aztreonam. NDM-1 is also associated with resistance to many other classes of antibiotics. The enzyme was first identified in organisms isolated from a patient in Sweden who had previously received medical treatment in India, but it is now recognized as endemic throughout India and Pakistan and has spread worldwide. The gene encoding NDM-1 has been found predominantly in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. We describe the isolation NDM-1–producing organisms from two patients in Toronto, Ontario. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of an organism producing NDM-1 that was locally acquired in Canada. We also discuss the evidence that NDM-1 can affect bacterial species other than E. coli and K. pneumoniae, the limited options for treatment and the difficulty laboratories face in detecting organisms that produce NDM-1.
PMCID: PMC3153514  PMID: 21624908
20.  When should a diagnosis of influenza be considered in adults requiring intensive care unit admission? Results of population-based active surveillance in Toronto 
Critical Care  2011;15(4):R182.
There is a paucity of data about the clinical characteristics that help identify patients at high risk of influenza infection upon ICU admission. We aimed to identify predictors of influenza infection in patients admitted to ICUs during the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 influenza seasons and the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic as well as to identify populations with increased likelihood of seasonal and pandemic 2009 influenza (pH1N1) infection.
Six Toronto acute care hospitals participated in active surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza requiring ICU admission during periods of influenza activity from 2007 to 2009. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from patients who presented to our hospitals with acute respiratory or cardiac illness or febrile illness without a clear nonrespiratory aetiology. Predictors of influenza were assessed by multivariable logistic regression analysis and the likelihood of influenza in different populations was calculated.
In 5,482 patients, 126 (2.3%) were found to have influenza. Admission temperature ≥38°C (odds ratio (OR) 4.7 for pH1N1, 2.3 for seasonal influenza) and admission diagnosis of pneumonia or respiratory infection (OR 7.3 for pH1N1, 4.2 for seasonal influenza) were independent predictors for influenza. During the peak weeks of influenza seasons, 17% of afebrile patients and 27% of febrile patients with pneumonia or respiratory infection had influenza. During the second wave of the 2009 pandemic, 26% of afebrile patients and 70% of febrile patients with pneumonia or respiratory infection had influenza.
The findings of our study may assist clinicians in decision making regarding optimal management of adult patients admitted to ICUs during future influenza seasons. Influenza testing, empiric antiviral therapy and empiric infection control precautions should be considered in those patients who are admitted during influenza season with a diagnosis of pneumonia or respiratory infection and are either febrile or admitted during weeks of peak influenza activity.
PMCID: PMC3387625  PMID: 21798012
21.  Efficacy and Safety of CVT-E002, a Proprietary Extract of Panax quinquefolius in the Prevention of Respiratory Infections in Influenza-Vaccinated Community-Dwelling Adults: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Trial 
CVT-E002 (a proprietary extract) was found to be effective in the prevention of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in healthy adults, and institutionalized and community-dwelling seniors. A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was carried out to determine effects of CVT-E002 in the prevention of URIs in influenza-vaccinated community-dwelling adults. 783 community-dwelling adults were randomized to receive placebo, 400 mg or 800 mg treatment/d (1 : 1 : 1) for 6 months. Primary analysis on the incidence of laboratory-confirmed-clinical URIs (LCCUs), including influenza A and B, was performed on those receiving at least one dose. Secondary analysis was performed on study completers and included incidence, severity, and duration of URIs meeting a Jackson-based criteria and safety of CVT-E002. The incidence of LCCUs in the ITT group was 5.5%, 5.2%, and 4.6% in the placebo, 400 mg and 800 mg groups, respectively (P = 0.89). Jackson-confirmed URIs were significantly lower in the treated groups (P < 0.04). CVT-E002 supplementation reduced the severity and duration of Jackson-confirmed URIs. The results indicate that CVT-E002 can be safely used by similar groups and may prevent symptoms of URIs; larger sample size is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3447298  PMID: 23074661
22.  Impact of accessory gene regulator (agr) dysfunction on vancomycin pharmacodynamics among Canadian community and health-care associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
The accessory gene regulator (agr) is a quorum sensing cluster of genes which control colonization and virulence in Staphylococcus aureus. We evaluated agr function in community- (CA) and healthcare-associated (HA) MRSA, to compare the pharmacodynamics and bactericidal activity of vancomycin against agr functional and dysfunctional HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA.
40 clinical isolates of MRSA from the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program were evaluated for delta-haemolysin production, as a surrogate marker of agr function. Time kill experiments were performed for vancomycin at 0 to 64 times the MIC against an initial inoculum of 106 and 108 cfu/ml of agr functional and dysfunctional CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA and these data were fit to a hill-type pharmacodynamic model.
15% isolates were agr dysfunctional, which was higher among HA-MRSA (26.3%) versus CA-MRSA (4.76%). Against a low initial inoculum of 106 cfu/ml of CA-MRSA, vancomycin pharmacodynamics were similar among agr functional and dysfunctional strains. However, against a high initial inoculum of 108 cfu/ml, killing activity was notably attenuated against agr dysfunctional CA-MRSA (USA400) and HA-MRSA (USA100). CA-MRSA displayed a 20.0 fold decrease in the maximal reduction in bacterial counts (Emax) which was 3.71 log10 CFU/ml for agr functional vs. 2.41 log10 CFU/ml for agr dysfunctional MRSA (p = 0.0007).
Dysfunction in agr was less common among CA-MRSA vs. HA-MRSA. agr dysfunction demonstrated an impact on vancomycin bactericidal activity and pharmacodynamics against a high initial inoculum of CA-MRSA and HA-MRSA, which may have implications for optimal antimicrobial therapy against persistent, difficult to treat MRSA infections.
PMCID: PMC3120648  PMID: 21599878
23.  Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus Isolates with a Partial or Complete Absence of Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome Elements▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(10):3525-3531.
Detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by single-locus PCR assays that target the extremity of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome-mec (SCCmec) and part of the adjacent S. aureus-specific open reading frame gene (orfX) is a significant diagnostic advancement, since it provides real-time detection directly from screening specimens. However, isolates harboring mecA deletions within SCCmec may result in false-positive identification of MRSA in these assays. We characterized 24 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates that tested positive in one such assay to investigate this phenomenon. Seven isolates resembled USA100 and carried SCCmec II elements with mecA deletions that spanned 20 to 46 kbp. The mecA excisions in USA100-resembling isolates appeared to be linked with IS431 transposable elements present in SCCmec II. For 17 isolates that resembled USA400 and/or MSSA476, the identity and possible excision of SCC elements could not be confirmed. The downstream common sequence (dcs) shared by SCCmec I, II, and IV elements was detected in these isolates. Sequence analysis of the chromosomal regions flanking the missing SCC element revealed an intact SCC integration site, a duplicate dcs, and the enterotoxin gene cluster downstream of orfX. An annealing sequence for one of the SCCmec-specific primers (mecii574) in the single-locus PCR assay was identified in the duplicate dcs. In the absence of SCC, a 176-bp amplicon can be generated from this mecii574 annealing sequence to yield a false-positive result. In conclusion, partial SCCmec II excisions via IS431 elements in strains that resembled USA100 and the presence of a duplicate mecii574 annealing sequence in strains that resembled USA400/MSSA476 were identified as causes for false-positive results in a single-locus PCR assay that targets the SCCmec/orfX junction.
PMCID: PMC2953136  PMID: 20668131
24.  Multicenter Study To Determine Disk Diffusion and Broth Microdilution Criteria for Prediction of High- and Low-Level Mupirocin Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(7):2469-2475.
Mupirocin susceptibility testing of Staphylococcus aureus has become more important as mupirocin is used more widely to suppress or eliminate S. aureus colonization and prevent subsequent health care- and community-associated infections. The present multicenter study evaluated two susceptibility testing screening methods to detect mupirocin high-level resistance (HLR), broth microdilution (BMD) MICs of ≥512 μg/ml, and a 6-mm zone diameter for a disk diffusion (DD) test with a 200-μg disk. Initial testing indicated that with Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute methods for BMD and DD testing, the optimal conditions for the detection of mupirocin HLR were 24 h of incubation and reading of the DD zone diameters with transmitted light. Using the presence or absence of mupA as the “gold standard” for HLR, the sensitivity and specificity of a single-well 256 μg/ml BMD test were 97 and 99%, respectively, and those for the 200-μg disk test were 98 and 99%, respectively. Testing with two disks, 200 μg and 5 μg, was evaluated for its ability to distinguish HLR isolates (MICs ≥ 512 μg/ml), low-level-resistant (LLR) isolates (MICs = 8 to 256 μg/ml), and susceptible isolates (MICs ≤ 4 μg/ml). Using no zone with both disks as an indication of HLR and no zone with the 5-μg disk plus any zone with the 200-μg disk as LLR, only 3 of the 340 isolates were misclassified, with 3 susceptible isolates being classified as LLR. Use of standardized MIC or disk tests could enable the detection of emerging high- and low-level mupirocin resistance in S. aureus.
PMCID: PMC2897470  PMID: 20444971
25.  Mortality in a heterogeneous population of low-risk febrile neutropenic patients treated initially with cefazolin and tobramycin 
At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario, the recommended empiric regimen for febrile neutropenia has been cefazolin and tobramycin for at least 25 years. However, we had no objective data to reassure us that patient mortality had not increased over the past five years.
A retrospective chart review of 48 episodes occurring in 44 patients admitted for the treatment of febrile neutropenia secondary to chemotherapy in 2002, and initially managed with cefazolin and tobramycin was conducted. Prospective data from 48 episodes in 2007 had previously been collected. Patients who developed febrile neutropenia while in hospital were excluded. The primary objective of the present study was to compare the all-cause mortality in 2007 with that from 2002.
There were no statistically significant differences between the groups (P>0.05). All-cause mortality in 2007 was 8.3% (four of 48) compared with 10.4% (five of 48) in 2002 (P=1). All deaths occurred in patients considered to be at high risk according to the Talcott score.
Mortality has not increased in the past five years with the use of empiric cefazolin and tobramycin for the treatment of patients admitted with febrile neutropenia at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Rates are comparable with those reported in the literature for similar patients. The results of the present study provide reassurance that the regimen continues to be effective for lower-risk febrile neutropenic patients.
PMCID: PMC2807246  PMID: 21119792
Cefazolin; Fever; Mortality; Neutropenia; Tobramycin

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