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1.  Antibiotic susceptibility of Clostridium difficile is similar worldwide over two decades despite widespread use of broad-spectrum antibiotics: an analysis done at the University Hospital of Zurich 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14(1):607.
Background
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) remains a major health problem worldwide. Antibiotic use, in general, and clindamycin and ciprofloxacin, in particular, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of CDI. Here, we hypothesized that antibiotics that are highly active in vitro against C. difficile are less frequently associated with CDI than others. The primary goals of our study were to determine if antibiotic susceptibility and CDI are associated and whether the antimicrobial susceptibility of C. difficile changed over the years.
Methods and results
We examined a large panel of C. difficile strains collected in 2006–2008 at the University Hospital of Zurich. We found that the antimicrobial susceptibilities to amoxicillin/clavulanate, piperacillin/tazobactam, meropenem, clindamycin, ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, metronidazole and vancomycin were similar to those reported in the literature and that they are similar to those reported in other populations over the last two decades. Antibiotic activity did not prevent CDI. For example, thre use of meropenem, which is highly active against all strains tested, was a clear risk factor for CDI. Most of the antibiotics tested also showed a higher minimum inhibitory concentration distribution than that of EUCAST. All strains were susceptible to metronidazole. One strain was resistant to vancomycin.
Conclusions
Antibiotic susceptibilities of the collection of C. difficile from the University Hospital of Zurich are similar to those reported by others since the 1980. Patients treated with carbapenems and cephalosporins had the highest risk of developing CDI irrespective of the antimicrobial activity of carbapenems.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0607-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12879-014-0607-z
PMCID: PMC4247760  PMID: 25425433
Clostridium difficile; Antibiotic susceptibility; Diarrhea; EUCAST
2.  Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Kyrgyzstan: Seroprevalence, Risk Factor Analysis, and Estimate of Congenital and AIDS-Related Toxoplasmosis 
Background
HIV-prevalence, as well as incidence of zoonotic parasitic diseases like cystic echinococcosis, has increased in the Kyrgyz Republic due to fundamental socio-economic changes after the breakdown of the Soviet Union. The possible impact on morbidity and mortality caused by Toxoplasma gondii infection in congenital toxoplasmosis or as an opportunistic infection in the emerging AIDS pandemic has not been reported from Kyrgyzstan.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We screened 1,061 rural and 899 urban people to determine the seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in 2 representative but epidemiologically distinct populations in Kyrgyzstan. The rural population was from a typical agricultural district where sheep husbandry is a major occupation. The urban population was selected in collaboration with several diagnostic laboratories in Bishkek, the largest city in Kyrgyzstan. We designed a questionnaire that was used on all rural subjects so a risk-factor analysis could be undertaken. The samples from the urban population were anonymous and only data with regard to age and gender was available. Estimates of putative cases of congenital and AIDS-related toxoplasmosis in the whole country were made from the results of the serology. Specific antibodies (IgG) against Triton X-100 extracted antigens of T. gondii tachyzoites from in vitro cultures were determined by ELISA. Overall seroprevalence of infection with T. gondii in people living in rural vs. urban areas was 6.2% (95%CI: 4.8–7.8) (adjusted seroprevalence based on census figures 5.1%, 95% CI 3.9–6.5), and 19.0% (95%CI: 16.5–21.7) (adjusted 16.4%, 95% CI 14.1–19.3), respectively, without significant gender-specific differences. The seroprevalence increased with age. Independently low social status increased the risk of Toxoplasma seropositivity while increasing numbers of sheep owned decreased the risk of seropositivity. Water supply, consumption of unpasteurized milk products or undercooked meat, as well as cat ownership, had no significant influence on the risk for seropositivity.
Conclusions
We present a first seroprevalence analysis for human T. gondii infection in the Kyrgyz Republic. Based on these data we estimate that 173 (95% CI 136–216) Kyrgyz children will be born annually to mothers who seroconverted to toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. In addition, between 350 and 1,000 HIV-infected persons are currently estimated to be seropositive for toxoplasmosis. Taken together, this suggests a substantial impact of congenital and AIDS-related symptomatic toxoplasmosis on morbidity and mortality in Kyrgyzstan.
Author Summary
A serological study on toxoplasmosis was undertaken in a rural and urban population in Kyrgyzstan. The observed seroprevalence was adjusted because of differences between age and gender stratifications in the study group compared to population census figures. This gave an estimated seroprevalence in rural and urban populations of 5.1% and 16.4% respectively. In our analysis we determined the risk-factors for infection in the rural population to be age, low social-status and low number of sheep owned. While the seroprevalence in this rural population was relatively low, the seroprevalence found in the urban population of Bishkek correlated better with international data. Extrapolating from our data, about 173 seroconversions during pregnancy may be expected annually in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, considering a prevalence of HIV-Toxoplasma-co-infection between 7/100,000 (official HIV-prevalence data) and 19.4/100,000 (UNAIDS-estimates), 350–1,000 people are at risk for AIDS-related toxoplasmosis. Therefore, in the face of the rising prevalence of HIV infection education of medical personnel on treatment and prevention of toxoplasmosis is recommended.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002043
PMCID: PMC3566989  PMID: 23409201
3.  Livestock-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Humans, Europe 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(3):502-505.
To estimate the proportion of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates from humans that were sequence type (ST) 398, we surveyed 24 laboratories in 17 countries in Europe in 2007. Livestock-associated MRSA ST398 accounted for only a small proportion of MRSA isolates from humans; most were from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Austria.
doi:10.3201/eid1703.101036
PMCID: PMC3166010  PMID: 21392444
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; humans; livestock; domestic animals; Europe; cross-sectional studies; bacteria; dispatch
4.  Human Alveolar Echinococcosis after Fox Population Increase, Switzerland 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2007;13(6):878-882.
An increase in fox population has led to an increase in incidence of human alveolar echinococcosis.
We analyzed databases spanning 50 years, which included retrospective alveolar echinococcosis (AE) case-finding studies and databases of the 3 major centers for treatment of AE in Switzerland. A total of 494 cases were recorded. Annual incidence of AE per 100,000 population increased from 0.12– 0.15 during 1956–1992 and a mean of 0.10 during 1993–2000 to a mean of 0.26 during 2001–2005. Because the clinical stage of the disease did not change between observation periods, this increase cannot be explained by improved diagnosis. Swiss hunting statistics suggested that the fox population increased 4-fold from 1980 through 1995 and has persisted at these higher levels. Because the period between infection and development of clinical disease is long, the increase in the fox population and high Echinococcus multilocularis prevalence rates in foxes in rural and urban areas may have resulted in an emerging epidemic of AE 10–15 years later.
doi:10.3201/eid1306.061074
PMCID: PMC2792858  PMID: 17553227
Alveolar echinococcosis; Echinococcus multilocularis; epidemiology; fox (Vulpes vulpes); zoonosis; incidence; Switzerland; research

Results 1-4 (4)