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1.  Predictors and outcomes of mycobacteremia among HIV-infected smear- negative presumptive tuberculosis patients in Uganda 
Sputum smear microscopy for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis lacks sensitivity in HIV-infected symptomatic patients and increases the likelihood that mycobacterial infections particularly disseminated TB will be missed; delays in diagnosis can be fatal. Given the duration for MTB growth in blood culture, clinical predictors of MTB bacteremia may improve early diagnosis of mycobacteremia. We describe the predictors and mortality outcome of mycobacteremia among HIV-infected sputum smear-negative presumptive TB patients in a high prevalence HIV/TB setting.
Between January and November 2011, all consenting HIV-infected adults suspected to have TB (presumptive TB) were consecutively enrolled. Diagnostic assessment included sputum smear microscopy, urine Determine TB lipoarabinomannan (LAM) antigen test, mycobacterial sputum and blood cultures, chest X-ray, and CD4 cell counts in addition to clinical and socio-demographic data. Patients were followed for 12 months post-enrolment.
Of 394 sputum smear-negative participants [female, 63.7%; median age (IQR) 32 (28–39) years], 41/394 (10.4%) had positive mycobacterial blood cultures (mycobacteremia); all isolates were M. tuberculosis (MTB). The median CD4 cell count was significantly lower among patients with mycobacteremia when compared with those without (CD4 31 versus 122 cells/μL, p < 0.001). In a multivariate analysis, male gender [OR 3.4, 95%CI (1.4-7.6), p = 0.005], CD4 count <100 cells/μL [OR 3.1, 95% CI (1.1-8.6), p = 0.030] and a positive lateral flow urine TB LAM antigen test [OR 15.3, 95%CI (5.7-41.1), p < 0.001] were significantly associated with mycobacteremia. At 12 months of follow-up, a trend towards increased mortality was observed in patients that were MTB blood culture positive (35.3%) compared with those that were MTB blood culture negative (23.3%) (p = 0.065).
Mycobacteremia occurred in 10% of smear-negative patients and was associated with higher mortality compared with smear-negative patients without mycobacteremia. Advanced HIV disease (CD4 < 100 cells/mm3), male gender and positive lateral flow urine TB LAM test predicted mycobacteremia in HIV-infected smear-negative presumptive TB patients in this high prevalence TB/HIV setting.
PMCID: PMC4332438
Predictors; Mortality; Mycobacterial infections; Bacteremia; Smear- negative; HIV; LAM; Sub-Saharan Africa
2.  The T2 Mycobacterium tuberculosis Genotype, Predominant in Kampala, Uganda, Shows Negative Correlation with Antituberculosis Drug Resistance 
Surveillance of the circulating Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) strains in a given locality is important for understanding tuberculosis (TB) epidemiology. We performed molecular epidemiological studies on sputum smear-positive isolates that were collected for anti-TB drug resistance surveillance to establish the variability of MTC lineages with anti-TB drug resistance and HIV infection. Spoligotyping was performed to determine MTC phylogenetic lineages. We compared patients' MTC lineages with drug susceptibility testing (DST) patterns and HIV serostatus. Out of the 533 isolates, 497 (93.2%) had complete DST, PCR, and spoligotyping results while 484 (90.1%) participants had results for HIV testing. Overall, the frequency of any resistance was 75/497 (15.1%), highest among the LAM (34.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 18.5 to 53.2) and lowest among the T2 (11.5%; 95% CI, 7.6 to 16.3) family members. By multivariate analysis, LAM (adjusted odds ratio [ORadj], 5.0; 95% CI, 2.0 to 11.9; P < 0.001) and CAS (ORadj, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.4.0 to 6.3; P = 0.006) families were more likely to show any resistance than was T2. All other MTC lineages combined were more likely to be resistant to any of the anti-TB drugs than were the T2 strains (ORadj, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0 to 2.9; P = 0.040). There were no significant associations between multidrug resistance and MTC lineages, but numbers of multidrug-resistant TB strains were small. No association was established between MTC lineages and HIV status. In conclusion, the T2 MTC lineage negatively correlates with anti-TB drug resistance, which might partly explain the reported low levels of anti-TB drug resistance in Kampala, Uganda. Patients' HIV status plays no role with respect to the MTC lineage distribution.
PMCID: PMC4068514  PMID: 24777100
3.  An Early Morning Sputum Sample Is Necessary for the Diagnosis of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Even with More Sensitive Techniques: A Prospective Cohort Study among Adolescent TB-Suspects in Uganda 
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends collection of two sputum samples for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis, with at least one being an early morning (EM) using smear microscopy. It remains unclear whether this is necessary even when sputum culture is employed. Here, we determined the diagnostic yield from spot and the incremental yield from the EM sputum sample cultures among TB-suspected adolescents from rural Uganda. Sputum samples (both spot and early-morning) from 1862 adolescents were cultured by the Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) and Mycobacterium Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) methods. For spot samples, the diagnostic yields for TB were 19.0% and 57.1% with LJ and MGIT, respectively, whereas the incremental yields (not totals) of the early-morning sample were 9.5% and 42.9% (P < 0.001) with LJ and MGIT, respectively. Among TB-suspected adolescents in rural Uganda, the EM sputum culture has a high incremental diagnostic yield. Therefore, EM sputum in addition to spot sample culture is necessary for improved TB case detection.
PMCID: PMC3529437  PMID: 23304491
4.  Clinical Utility of a Novel Molecular Assay in Various Combination Strategies with Existing Methods for Diagnosis of HIV-Related Tuberculosis in Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107595.
Low income, high-tuberculosis burden, countries are considering selective deployment of Xpert MTB/RIF assay (Xpert) due to high cost per test. We compared the diagnostic gain of the Xpert add-on strategy with Xpert replacement strategy for pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosis among HIV-infected adults to inform its implementation.
The first diagnostic sputum sample of 424 HIV-infected adults (67% with CD4 counts ≤200/mm3) suspected for tuberculosis was tested by direct Ziehl-Neelsen (DZN) and direct fluorescent microscopy (DFM); concentrated fluorescent microscopy (CFM); Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) and Mycobacterial Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) culture; and Xpert. Overall diagnostic yield and sensitivity were calculated using MGIT as reference comparator. The sensitivity of Xpert in an add-on strategy was calculated as the number of smear negative but Xpert positive participants among MGIT positive participants.
A total of 123 (29.0%) participants were MGIT culture positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The sensitivity (95% confidence interval) was 31.7% (23.6–40.7%) for DZN, 35.0% (26.5–44.0%) for DFM, 43.9% (34.9–53.1%) for CFM, 76.4% (67.9–83.6) for Xpert and 81.3% (73.2–87.7%) for LJ culture. Add-on strategy Xpert showed an incremental sensitivity of 44.7% (35.7–53.9%) when added to DZN, 42.3% (33.4–51.5%) to DFM and 35.0% (26.5–44.0%) to CFM. This translated to an overall sensitivity of 76.4%, 77.3% and 79.0% for add-on strategies based on DZN, DFM and CFM, respectively, compared to 76.4% for Xpert done independently. From replacement to add-on strategy, the number of Xpert cartridges needed was reduced by approximately 10%.
Among HIV-infected TB suspects, doing smear microscopy prior to Xpert assay in add-on fashion only identifies a few additional TB cases.
PMCID: PMC4164637  PMID: 25222866
5.  Evaluation of Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF Test on Pleural Fluid in the Diagnosis of Pleural Tuberculosis in a High Prevalence HIV/TB Setting 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102702.
Diagnosis of pleural tuberculosis (TB) using routinely available diagnostic methods is challenging due to the paucibacillary nature of the disease. Histopathology and pleural tissue TB culture involves an invasive procedure which requires expertise and appropriate equipment, both often unavailable in many health units. Xpert MTB/Rif test has been widely evaluated in sputum specimens but data on its performance in pleural TB is scarce. We evaluated the accuracy of Cepheid's Xpert MTB/Rif test on pleural fluid in the diagnosis of pleural TB in Uganda.
Consenting adult patients with exudative pleural effusions underwent pleural biopsy and the tissue obtained subjected to Lowenstein-Jensen and mycobacterial growth indicator tube MTB cultures and histopathology. Pleural fluid for Xpert MTB/Rif testing was also collected. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, clinical symptoms, HIV status and CD4 count were also collected. Sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values of Xpert MTB/Rif test on pleural fluid in pleural TB diagnosis were calculated using pleural tissue MTB culture and/or histopathology as the reference standard.
Of the 116 participants [female 50%, mean age 34 (SD ±13], 87/116 (75%) had pleural TB confirmed on pleural tissue culture and/or histopathology. The Xpert MTB/Rif test identified 25 (28.7%) of the 87 confirmed pleural TB cases. The sensitivity and specificity of Xpert MTB/Rif test were 28.7% and 96.6% respectively while the positive and negative predictive values were 96.1% and 31.1% respectively.
Xpert MTB/Rif test on pleural fluid does not accurately diagnose pleural TB and therefore cannot be used as an initial evaluation test in patients with suspected pleural TB. New, rapid and accurate tests for the diagnosis of pleural TB are still warranted.
PMCID: PMC4106856  PMID: 25051491
6.  Sensititre MYCOTB MIC Plate for Testing Mycobacterium tuberculosis Susceptibility to First- and Second-Line Drugs 
For Mycobacterium tuberculosis, phenotypic methods for drug susceptibility testing of second-line drugs are poorly standardized and technically challenging. The Sensititre MYCOTB MIC plate (MYCOTB) is a microtiter plate containing lyophilized antibiotics and configured for determination of MICs to first- and second-line antituberculosis drugs. To evaluate the performance of MYCOTB for M. tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing using the Middlebrook 7H10 agar proportion method (APM) as the comparator, we conducted a two-site study using archived M. tuberculosis isolates from Uganda and the Republic of Korea. Thawed isolates were subcultured, and dilutions were inoculated into MYCOTB wells and onto 7H10 agar. MYCOTB results were read at days 7, 10, 14, and 21; APM results were read at 21 days. A total of 222 isolates provided results on both platforms. By APM, 106/222 (47.7%) of isolates were resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampin. Agreement between MYCOTB and APM with respect to susceptibility or resistance was ≥92% for 7 of 12 drugs when a strict definition was used and ≥96% for 10 of 12 drugs when agreement was defined by allowing a ± one-well range of dilutions around the APM critical concentration. For ethambutol, agreement was 80% to 81%. For moxifloxacin, agreement was 83% to 85%; incorporating existing DNA sequencing information for discrepant analysis raised agreement to 91% to 96%. For MYCOTB, the median time to plate interpretation was 10 days and interreader agreement was ≥95% for all drugs. MYCOTB provided reliable results for M. tuberculosis susceptibility testing of first- and second-line drugs except ethambutol, and results were available sooner than those determined by APM.
PMCID: PMC3910714  PMID: 24100497
7.  Clinical and epidemiological characteristics of individuals resistant to M. tuberculosis infection in a longitudinal TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:352.
Despite sustained exposure to a person with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), some M. tuberculosis (Mtb) exposed individuals maintain a negative tuberculin skin test (TST). Our objective was to characterize these persistently negative TST (PTST-) individuals and compare them to TST converters (TSTC) and individuals who are TST positive at study enrollment.
During a TB household contact study in Kampala, Uganda, PTST-, TSTC, and TST + individuals were identified. PTST- individuals maintained a negative TST over a 2 year observation period despite prolonged exposure to an infectious tuberculosis (TB) case. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics were compared, a risk score developed by another group to capture risk for Mtb infection was computed, and an ordinal regression was performed.
When analyzed independently, epidemiological risk factors increased in prevalence from PTST- to TSTC to TST+. An ordinal regression model suggested age (p < 0.01), number of windows (p < 0.01) and people (p = 0.07) in the home, and sleeping in the same room (p < 0.01) were associated with PTST- and TSTC. As these factors do not exist in isolation, we examined a risk score, which reflects an accumulation of risk factors. This compound exposure score did not differ significantly between PTST-, TSTC, and TST+, except for the 5–15 age group (p = 0.009).
Though many individual factors differed across all three groups, an exposure risk score reflecting a collection of risk factors did not differ for PTST-, TSTC and TST + young children and adults. This is the first study to rigorously characterize the epidemiologic risk profile of individuals with persistently negative TSTs despite close exposure to a person with TB. Additional studies are needed to characterize possible epidemiologic and host factors associated with this phenotype.
PMCID: PMC4091673  PMID: 24970328
Transmission risk factors; Latent Mtb infection; Exposure; Household characteristics; PPD test
8.  A metabolic biosignature of early response to anti-tuberculosis treatment 
The successful treatment of tuberculosis (TB) requires long-term multidrug chemotherapy. Clinical trials to evaluate new drugs and regimens for TB treatment are protracted due to the slow clearance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection and the lack of early biomarkers to predict treatment outcome. Advancements in the field of metabolomics make it possible to identify metabolic profiles that correlate with disease states or successful chemotherapy. However, proof-of-concept of this approach has not been provided for a TB-early treatment response biosignature (TB-ETRB).
Urine samples collected at baseline and during treatment from 48 Ugandan and 39 South African HIV-seronegative adults with pulmonary TB were divided into discovery and qualification sets, normalized to creatinine concentration, and analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify small molecule molecular features (MFs) in individual patient samples. A biosignature that distinguished baseline and 1 month treatment samples was selected by pairwise t-test using data from two discovery sample sets. Hierarchical clustering and repeated measures analysis were applied to additional sample data to down select molecular features that behaved consistently between the two clinical sites and these were evaluated by logistic regression analysis.
Analysis of discovery samples identified 45 MFs that significantly changed in abundance at one month of treatment. Down selection using an extended set of discovery samples and qualification samples confirmed 23 MFs that consistently changed in abundance between baseline and 1, 2 and 6 months of therapy, with 12 MFs achieving statistical significance (p < 0.05). Six MFs classified the baseline and 1 month samples with an error rate of 11.8%.
These results define a urine based TB-early treatment response biosignature (TB-ETRB) applicable to different parts of Africa, and provide proof-of-concept for further evaluation of this technology in monitoring clinical responses to TB therapy.
PMCID: PMC3918231  PMID: 24484441
Tuberculosis; Metabolomics; Biomarker; Mass spectrometry; Small molecule biosignature; Anti-tuberculosis therapy; Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Urine
9.  Aetiology of Pulmonary Symptoms in HIV-Infected Smear Negative Recurrent PTB Suspects in Kampala, Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82257.
Previously treated TB patients with pulmonary symptoms are often considered recurrent TB suspects in the resource-limited settings, where investigations are limited to microscopy and chest x-ray. Category II anti-TB drugs may be inappropriate and may expose patients to pill burden, drug toxicities and drug-drug interactions.
To determine the causes of pulmonary symptoms in HIV-infected smear negative recurrent pulmonary tuberculosis suspects at Mulago Hospital, Kampala.
Between March 2008 and December 2011, induced sputum samples of 178 consented HIV-infected smear negative recurrent TB suspects in Kampala were subjected to MGIT and LJ cultures for mycobacteria at TB Reference Laboratory, Kampala. Processed sputum samples were also tested by PCR to detect 18S rRNA gene of P.jirovecii and cultured for other bacteria.
Bacteria, M. tuberculosis and Pneumocystis jirovecii were detected in 27%, 18% and 6.7% of patients respectively and 53.4% of the specimens had no microorganisms. S. pneumoniae, M. catarrhalis and H. influenzae were 100% susceptible to chloramphenicol and erythromycin but co-trimoxazole resistant.
At least 81.5% of participants had no microbiologically-confirmed TB. However our findings call for thorough investigation of HIV-infected smear negative recurrent TB suspects to guide cost effective treatment.
PMCID: PMC3849471  PMID: 24312650
10.  Long-term dominance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Uganda family in peri-urban Kampala-Uganda is not associated with cavitary disease 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:484.
Previous studies have shown that Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) Uganda family, a sub-lineage of the MTB Lineage 4, is the main cause of tuberculosis (TB) in Uganda. Using a well characterized patient population, this study sought to determine whether there are clinical and patient characteristics associated with the success of the MTB Uganda family in Kampala.
A total of 1,746 MTB clinical isolates collected from1992-2009 in a household contact study were genotyped. Genotyping was performed using Single Nucleotide Polymorphic (SNP) markers specific for the MTB Uganda family, other Lineage 4 strains, and Lineage 3, respectively. Out of 1,746 isolates, 1,213 were from patients with detailed clinical data. These data were used to seek associations between MTB lineage/sub-lineage and patient phenotypes.
Three MTB lineages were found to dominate the MTB population in Kampala during the last two decades. Overall, MTB Uganda accounted for 63% (1,092/1,746) of all cases, followed by other Lineage 4 strains accounting for 22% (394/1,746), and Lineage 3 for 11% (187/1,746) of cases, respectively. Seventy-three (4 %) strains remained unclassified. Our longitudinal data showed that MTB Uganda family occurred at the highest frequency during the whole study period, followed by other Lineage 4 strains and Lineage 3. To explore whether the long-term success of MTB Uganda family was due to increased virulence, we used cavitary disease as a proxy, as this form of TB is the most transmissible. Multivariate analysis revealed that even though cavitary disease was associated with known risk factors such as smoking (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 3.33-6.84) and low income (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.47-3.01), no association was found between MTB lineage and cavitary TB.
The MTB Uganda family has been dominating in Kampala for the last 18 years, but this long-term success is not due to increased virulence as defined by cavitary disease.
PMCID: PMC3853102  PMID: 24134504
Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Lineage; Single nucleotide polymorphism; Mycobacteria; Strain family; Cavitation; Virulence; Epidemiology; Evolution
12.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteremia in a Cohort of HIV-Infected Patients Hospitalized with Severe Sepsis in Uganda–High Frequency, Low Clinical Sand Derivation of a Clinical Prediction Score 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70305.
When manifested as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteremia, disseminated MTB infection clinically mimics other serious blood stream infections often hindering early diagnosis and initiation of potentially life-saving anti-tuberculosis therapy. In a cohort of hospitalized HIV-infected Ugandan patients with severe sepsis, we report the frequency, management and outcomes of patients with MTB bacteremia and propose a risk score based on clinical predictors of MTB bacteremia.
We prospectively enrolled adult patients with severe sepsis at two Ugandan hospitals and obtained blood cultures for MTB identification. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to determine predictors of MTB bacteremia and to inform the stratification of patients into MTB bacteremia risk categories based on relevant patient characteristics.
Among 368 HIV-infected patients with a syndrome of severe sepsis, eighty-six (23%) had MTB bacteremia. Patients with MTB bacteremia had a significantly lower median CD4 count (17 vs 64 lymphocytes/mm3, p<0.001) and a higher 30-day mortality (53% vs 32%, p = 0.001) than patients without MTB bacteremia. A minority of patients with MTB bacteremia underwent standard MTB diagnostic testing (24%) or received empiric anti-tuberculosis therapy (15%). Independent factors associated with MTB bacteremia included male sex, increased heart rate, low CD4 count, absence of highly active anti-retroviral therapy, chief complaint of fever, low serum sodium and low hemoglobin. A risk score derived from a model containing these independent predictors had good predictive accuracy [area under the curve = 0.85, 95% CI 0.80–0.89].
Nearly 1 in 4 adult HIV-infected patients hospitalized with severe sepsis in 2 Ugandan hospitals had MTB bacteremia. Among patients in whom MTB was suspected, standard tests for diagnosing pulmonary MTB were inaccurate for correctly classifying patients with or without bloodstream MTB infection. A MTB bacteremia risk score can improve early diagnosis of MTB bacteremia particularly in settings with increased HIV and MTB co-infection.
PMCID: PMC3734073  PMID: 23940557
13.  Anti-Tuberculosis Drug Resistance among New and Previously Treated Sputum Smear-Positive Tuberculosis Patients in Uganda: Results of the First National Survey 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70763.
Multidrug resistant and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (TB) have become major threats to control of tuberculosis globally. The rates of anti-TB drug resistance in Uganda are not known. We conducted a national drug resistance survey to investigate the levels and patterns of resistance to first and second line anti-TB drugs among new and previously treated sputum smear-positive TB cases.
Sputum samples were collected from a nationally representative sample of new and previously treated sputum smear-positive TB patients registered at TB diagnostic centers during December 2009 to February 2011 using a weighted cluster sampling method. Culture and drug susceptibility testing was performed at the national TB reference laboratory.
A total of 1537 patients (1397 new and 140 previously treated) were enrolled in the survey from 44 health facilities. HIV test result and complete drug susceptibility testing (DST) results were available for 1524 (96.8%) and 1325 (85.9%) patients, respectively. Of the 1209 isolates from new cases, resistance to any anti-TB drug was 10.3%, 5% were resistant to isoniazid, 1.9% to rifampicin, and 1.4% were multi drug resistant. Among the 116 isolates from previously treated cases, the prevalence of resistance was 25.9%, 23.3%, 12.1% and 12.1% respectively. Of the 1524 patients who had HIV testing 469 (30.7%) tested positive. There was no association between anti-TB drug resistance (including MDR) and HIV infection.
The prevalence of anti-TB drug resistance among new patients in Uganda is low relative to WHO estimates. The higher levels of MDR-TB (12.1%) and resistance to any drug (25.3%) among previously treated patients raises concerns about the quality of directly observed therapy (DOT) and adherence to treatment. This calls for strengthening existing TB control measures, especially DOT, routine DST among the previously treated TB patients or periodic drug resistance surveys, to prevent and monitor development and transmission of drug resistant TB.
PMCID: PMC3731251  PMID: 23936467
14.  Antimicrobial resistance in hospitalized surgical patients: a silently emerging public health concern in Uganda 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:298.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) are difficult to treat and are associated with substantially longer hospital stay, higher treatment cost, morbidity and mortality, particularly when the etiological agent is multidrug-resistant (MDR). To address the limited data in Uganda on SSIs, we present the spectrum of bacteria isolated from hospitalized patients, the magnitude and impact of MDR bacterial isolates among patients with SSIs.
A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted from September 2011 through April 2012 involving 314 patients with SSIs in the obstetrics & gynecology, general surgery and orthopedic wards at Mulago National Hospital in Kampala, Uganda. Wound swabs were taken and processed using standard microbiological methods. Clinico-demographic characteristics of patients were obtained using structured questionnaires and patients’ files.
Of the 314 enrolled patients with SSIs (mean age 29.7 ±13.14 years), 239 (76.1%) were female. More than half of the patients were from obstetrics and gynecology (62.1%, 195/314). Of 314 wound swabs taken, 68.8% (216/314) were culture positive aerobically, yielding 304 bacterial isolates; of which 23.7% (72/304) were Escherichia coli and 21.1% (64/304) were Staphylococcus aureus. More than three quarters of Enterobacteriaceae were found to be extended spectrum beta lactamase (ESBL) producers and 37.5% of S. aureus were Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA). MDR occurred in 78.3% (238/304) of the isolates; these were more among Gram-negative bacteria (78.6%, 187/238) compared to Gram-positive bacteria (21.4%, 51/238), (p-value < 0.0001, χ2 = 49.219). Amikacin and imepenem for ESBL-producing Enterobacteriacea and vancomycin for MRSA showed excellent performance except that they remain expensive drugs in Uganda.
Most SSIs at Mulago National Hospital are due to MDR bacteria. Isolation of MRSA and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in higher proportions than previously reported calls for laboratory guided SSIs- therapy and strengthening of infection control surveillance in this setting.
PMCID: PMC3729663  PMID: 23890206
Antimicrobial resistance; Surgical patients; Uganda
15.  Burden of tuberculosis disease among adolescents in a rural cohort in Eastern Uganda 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:349.
The world health organization (WHO) declared tuberculosis (TB) a global emergency, mainly affecting people in sub-Saharan Africa. However there is little data about the burden of TB among adolescents. We estimated the prevalence and incidence of TB and assessed factors associated with TB among adolescents aged 12–18 years in a rural population in Uganda in order to prepare the site for phase III clinical trials with novel TB vaccines among adolescents.
In a prospective cohort study, we recruited 5000 adolescents and followed them actively, every 6 months, for 1–2 years. Participants suspected of having TB were those who had any of; TB signs and symptoms, history of TB contact or a positive tuberculin skin test (TST) of ≥10 mm. Laboratory investigations included sputum smear microscopy and culture.
Of the 5000 participants, eight culture confirmed cases of TB were found at baseline: a prevalence of 160/100,000 (95% confidence interval (CI), 69–315). There were 13 incident TB cases detected in an average of 1.1 person years: an incidence of 235/100,000 person years (95% CI, 125–402). None of the confirmed TB cases were HIV infected. Predictors for prevalent TB disease were: a history of TB contact and a cough ≥ 2 weeks at baseline and being out of school, while the only predictor for incident TB was a positive TST during follow-up.
The TB incidence among adolescents in this rural part of Uganda seemed too low for a phase III TB vaccine trial. However, the study site demonstrated capability to handle a large number of participants with minimal loss to follow-up and its suitability for future clinical trials. Improved contact tracing in TB program activities is likely to increase TB case detection among adolescents. Future studies should explore possible pockets of higher TB incidence in urban areas and among out of school youth.
PMCID: PMC3735406  PMID: 23890464
16.  Molecular Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus from Patients with Surgical Site Infections at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66153.
The prevalence of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is progressively increasing globally with significant regional variation. Understanding the Staphylococcus aureus lineages is crucial in controlling nosocomial infections. Recent studies on S. aureus in Uganda have revealed an escalating burden of MRSA. However, the S. aureus genotypes circulating among patients are not known. Here, we report S. aureus lineages circulating in patients with surgical site infections (SSI) at Mulago National hospital, Kampala, Uganda.
A cross-sectional study involving 314 patients with SSI at Mulago National Hospital was conducted from September 2011 to April 2012. Pus swabs from the patients’ SSI were processed using standard microbiological procedures. Methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and MRSA were identified using phenotypic tests and confirmed by PCR-detection of the nuc and mecA genes, respectively. SCCmec genotypes were determined among MRSA isolates using multiplex PCR. Furthermore, to determine lineages, spa sequence based-genotyping was performed on all S. aureus isolates.
Of the 314 patients with SSI, S. aureus accounted for 20.4% (64/314), of which 37.5% (24/64) were MRSA. The predominant SCCmec types were type V (33.3%, 8/24) and type I (16.7%, 4/24). The predominant spa lineages were t645 (17.2%, 11/64) and t4353 (15.6%, 10/64), and these were found to be clonally circulating in all the surgical wards. On the other hand, lineages t064, t355, and t4609 were confined to the obstetrics and gynecology wards. A new spa type (t10277) was identified from MSSA isolate. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, cancer and inducible clindamycin resistance remained as independent predictors of MRSA-SSI.
SCCmec types I and V are the most prevalent MRSA mecA types from the patients’ SSI. The predominant spa lineages (t645 and t4353) are clonally circulating in all the surgical wards, calling for strengthening of infection control practices at Mulago National Hospital.
PMCID: PMC3688721  PMID: 23840416
17.  Evaluation of the Xpert MTB/RIF test for the diagnosis of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis in Uganda: a cross-sectional diagnostic study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:133.
The diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis remains a challenge worldwide. The Xpert MTB/RIF test, a rapid mycobacteria tuberculosis diagnostic tool, was recommended for use in children based on data from adult studies. We evaluated the performance of the Xpert MTB/RIF test for the diagnosis of childhood pulmonary tuberculosis using one induced sputum sample and described clinical characteristics associated with a positive Xpert MTB/RIF test. The sputum culture on both Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) and Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) was the gold standard.
We consecutively enrolled 250 Ugandan children aged 2 months to 12 years with suspected pulmonary tuberculosis between January 2011 and January 2012 into a cross-sectional diagnostic study at a tertiary care facility in Uganda.
We excluded data from 15 children (13 contaminated culture and 2 indeterminate MTB/RIF test results) and analysed 235 records. The Xpert MTB/RIF test had a sensitivity of 79.4% (95% CI 63.2 - 89.7) and a specificity of 96.5% (95% CI 93 – 98.3). The Xpert MTB/RIF test identified 13 of the 14 (92.9%) smear positive-culture positive and 14 of the 20 (70%) smear negative -culture positive cases. The Xpert MTB/RIF identified twice as many cases as the smear microscopy (79.4% Vs 41.2%). Age > 5 years (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.4 – 7.4, p value 0.005), a history of Tuberculosis (TB) contact (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1 – 5.2, p value 0.03), and a positive tuberculin skin test (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.7 – 10, p value 0.02) was associated with a positive Xpert MTB/RIF test. The median time to TB detection was 49.5 days (IQR 38.4-61.2) for LJ, and 6 days (IQR 5 – 11.5) for MGIT culture and 2 hours for the Xpert MTB/RIF test.
The Xpert MTB/RIF test on one sputum sample rapidly and correctly identified the majority of children with culture confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis with high specificity.
PMCID: PMC3602671  PMID: 23497044
Children; Pulmonary tuberculosis; Sensitivity; Specificity; Xpert MTB/RIF
18.  Species and genotypic diversity of non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolated from children investigated for pulmonary tuberculosis in rural Uganda 
Smear microscopy, a mainstay of tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in developing countries, cannot differentiate M. tuberculosis complex from NTM infection, while pulmonary TB shares clinical signs with NTM disease, causing clinical and diagnostic dilemmas. This study used molecular assays to identify species and assess genotypic diversity of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) isolates from children investigated for pulmonary tuberculosis at a demographic surveillance site in rural eastern Uganda.
Children were investigated for pulmonary tuberculosis as part of a TB vaccine surveillance program (2009–2011). Two cohorts of 2500 BCG vaccinated infants and 7000 adolescents (12–18 years) were recruited and followed up for one to two years to determine incidence of tuberculosis. Induced sputum and gastric aspirates were processed by the standard N-acetyl L-cysteine (NALC)-NaOH method. Sediments were cultured in the automated MGIT (Becton Dickson) liquid culture system and incubated at 37°C for at least six weeks. Capilia TB assay was used to classify mycobacteria into MTC and NTM. The GenoType CM/AS assays were performed to identify species while Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus (ERIC) PCR genotyping was used to assess genetic diversity of the strains within each species.
Among 2859 infants and 2988 adolescents screened, the numbers of TB suspects were 710 and 1490 infants and adolescents respectively. The prevalence of NTM in infant suspects was 3.7% (26/710) (95% CI 2.5–5.2) while that in adolescent suspects was 4.6% (69/1490) (95% CI 3.6–5.8). On culture, 127 isolates were obtained, 103 of which were confirmed as mycobacteria comprising of 95 NTM and eight M. tuberculosis complex. The Genotype CM/AS assay identified 63 of the 95 NTM isolates while 32 remained un-identified. The identified NTM species were M. fortuitum (40 isolates, 63.5%), M. szulgai (9 isolates, 14.3%), M. gordonae (6 isolates, 9.5%), M. intracellulare (3 isolates, 4.7%), M. scrofulaceum (2 isolates, 3.2%), M. lentiflavum (2 isolates, 3.2%), and M. peregrinum (1 isolate, 1.6%). Genotyping did not reveal any clustering in M. intracellulare, M. gordonae and M. szulgai species. M. fortuitum, on the other hand, had two clusters, one with three isolates of M. fortuitum 1 and the other with two isolates of M. fortuitum 2 subspecies. The remaining 35 of the 40 isolates of M. fortuitum had unique fingerprint patterns.
M. fortuitum is the most common cause of infection by NTM among Infants and adolescents in rural Uganda. There is a varied number of species and genotypes, with minimal clustering within species, suggesting ubiquitous sources of infection to individuals in this community.
PMCID: PMC3599115  PMID: 23413873
19.  Evaluation of in-house PCR for diagnosis of smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis in Kampala, Uganda 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:487.
Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) have offered hope for rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB). However, their efficiency with smear-negative samples has not been widely studied in low income settings. Here, we evaluated in-house PCR assay for diagnosis of smear-negative TB using Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) culture as the baseline test. Two hundred and five pulmonary TB (PTB) suspects with smear-negative sputum samples, admitted on a short stay emergency ward at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, were enrolled. Two smear-negative sputum samples were obtained from each PTB suspect and processed simultaneously for identification of MTBC using in-house PCR and LJ culture.
Seventy two PTB suspects (35%, 72/205) were LJ culture positive while 128 (62.4%, 128/205) were PCR-positive. The sensitivity and specificity of in-house PCR for diagnosis of smear-negative PTB were 75% (95% CI 62.6-85.0) and 35.9% (95% CI 27.2-45.3), respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 39% (95% CI 30.4-48.2) and 72.4% (95% CI 59.1-83.3), respectively, while the positive and negative likelihood ratios were 1.17 (95% CI 0.96-1.42) and 0.70 (95% CI 0.43-1.14), respectively. One hundred and seventeen LJ culture-negative suspects (75 PCR-positive and 42 PCR-negative) were enrolled for follow-up at 2 months. Of the PCR-positive suspects, 45 (60%, 45/75) were still alive, of whom 29 (64.4%, 29/45) returned for the follow-up visit; 15 (20%, 15/75) suspects died while another 15 (20%, 15/75) were lost to follow-up. Of the 42 PCR-negative suspects, 22 (52.4%, 22/42) were still alive, of whom 16 (72.7%, 16/22) returned for follow-up; 11 (26.2%, 11/42) died while nine (21.4%, 9/42) were lost to follow-up. Overall, more PCR-positive suspects were diagnosed with PTB during follow-up visits but the difference was not statistically significant (27.6%, 8/29 vs. 25%, 4/16, p = 0.9239). Furthermore, mortality was higher for the PCR-negative suspects but the difference was also not statistically significant (26.2% vs. 20% p = 0.7094).
In-house PCR correlates poorly with LJ culture for diagnosis of smear-negative PTB. Therefore, in-house PCR may not be adopted as an alternative to LJ culture.
PMCID: PMC3497582  PMID: 22947399
Pulmonary tuberculosis; Smear-negative TB; HIV-infected; HIV-TB co-infection; CD4 cell counts; Nucleic acid amplification tests; In-house PCR; Lowenstein-Jensen culture; Sensitivity; Specificity; Resource limited settings
20.  A Novel Metabolite of Antituberculosis Therapy Demonstrates Host Activation of Isoniazid and Formation of the Isoniazid-NAD+ Adduct 
One of the most effective and widely used antituberculosis (anti-TB) drugs is isoniazid (INH), a prodrug activated via oxidation that forms an adduct with NAD+ to inhibit NADH-dependent targets of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, such as enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase (InhA). The metabolic by-products and potentially toxic intermediates resulting from INH therapy have been identified through a large body of work. However, an INH-NAD adduct or structures related to this adduct have not been identified in specimens from human TB patients or animal models of TB. Analyses by mass spectrometry of urine collected from TB patients in a study conducted by the NIAID-funded Tuberculosis Research Unit identified 4-isonicotinoylnicotinamide (C12H9N3O2) as a novel metabolite of INH therapy. This compound was formed by M. tuberculosis strains in a KatG-dependent manner but could also be produced by mice treated with INH independent of an M. tuberculosis infection. Thus, the 4-isonicotinoylnicotinamide observed in human urine samples is likely derived from the degradation of oxidized INH-NAD adducts and provides direct evidence of host INH activation.
PMCID: PMC3256082  PMID: 22037847
21.  Isolation of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis from Ugandan cattle and strain differentiation using optimised DNA typing techniques 
The occurrence of paratuberculosis in Ugandan cattle has recently been reported but there is no information on the strains of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) responsible for the disease. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterise MAP from seropositive cattle and paratuberculosis lesions in tissues obtained from slaughtered cattle in Uganda.
Twenty one isolates of MAP were differentiated into 11 genotype profiles using seven genotyping loci consisting of Insertion Sequence 1311(IS1311), Mycobacterial interspersed repeat units (MIRU) (loci 2, 3), Variable number tandem repeats (VNTR) locus 32 and Short sequence repeats (SSR) (loci 1, 2 and 8). Three different IS1311 types and three MIRU 2 profiles (7, 9, 15 repeats) were observed. Two allelic variants were found based on MIRU 3 (1, 5 repeats), while VNTR 32 showed no polymorphism in any of the isolates from which it was successfully amplified. SSR Locus 1 revealed 6 and 7 G1 repeats among the isolates whereas SSR locus 2 revealed 10, 11 and 12 G2 repeats. SSR locus 8 was the most polymorphic locus. Phylogenetic analysis of SSR locus 8 sequences based on their single nucleotide polymorphisms separated the isolates into 8 genotypes. We found that the use of Ethylene glycol as a PCR additive improved the efficiency of the PCR reactions for MIRUs (2, 3), VNTR 32 and SSR (loci 1 and 2).
There is a high strain diversity of MAP in Uganda since 21 isolates could be classified into 11 genotypes. The combination of the seven loci used in this study results into a very precise discrimination of isolates. However analysis of SNPs on locus alone 8 is very close to this combination. Most of the genotypes in this study are novel since they differed in one or more loci from other isolates of cattle origin in different studies. The large number of MAP strains within a relatively small area of the country implies that the epidemiology of paratuberculosis in Uganda may be complicated and needs further investigation. Finally, the use of Ethylene glycol as a PCR additive increases the efficiency of PCR amplification of difficult templates.
PMCID: PMC3416654  PMID: 22747670
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis; Cattle; Uganda; SSR; MIRUs; Genotyping; IS1311 PCR-REA
22.  Incremental Yield of Serial Sputum Cultures for Diagnosis of Tuberculosis among HIV Infected Smear Negative Pulmonary TB Suspects in Kampala, Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37650.
Sputum culture is the gold standard for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). Although mostly used for research, culture is recommended by the World Health Organization for TB diagnosis among HIV infected smear negative PTB suspects. Even then, the number of sputum samples required remains unspecified. Here, we determined the Incremental Yield (IY) and number of samples required to diagnose an additional PTB case upon second and third serial sputum culture.
This was a cross sectional study done between January and March 2011. Serial sputum samples were provided by participants within two days and cultured using Lowenstein Jensen (LJ) and Mycobacteria Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT) methods. A PTB case was defined as a positive culture on either one or both methods. The IY from the second and third serial cultures was determined and the reciprocal of the product of the fractions of IY provided the number of samples required for an additional PTB case. Of the 170 smear negative PTB suspects, 62 (36.5%) met the case definition. The IY of the second sample culture was 12.7%, 23.6% and 12.6% and for the third sample culture was 6.8%, 7.5% and 7.3% with LJ, MGIT and LJ or MGIT, respectively. The number of samples required for an additional PTB case and 95% CI upon the second sample culture were 29.9 (16.6, 156.5), 11.3 (7.6, 21.9) and 20.8 (12.5, 62.7); while for the third sample culture were 55.6 (26.4, 500.4), 35.7 (19.0, 313.8) and 36.1 (19.1, 330.9) by LJ, MGIT and LJ or MGIT respectively.
Among HIV infected smear negative PTB suspects in Kampala, 93% of PTB cases are diagnosed upon the second serial sputum culture. The number of cultures needed to diagnose an additional PTB case, ranges from 11–30 and 35–56 by the second and third sputum samples, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3358271  PMID: 22629439
23.  Evaluation of Capilia TB assay for rapid identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in BACTEC MGIT 960 and BACTEC 9120 blood cultures 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:44.
Capilia TB is a simple immunochromatographic assay based on the detection of MPB64 antigen specifically secreted by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC). Capilia TB was evaluated for rapid identification of MTC from BACTEC MGIT 960 and BACTEC 9120 systems in Kampala, Uganda. Since most studies have mainly dealt with respiratory samples, the performance of Capilia TB on blood culture samples was also evaluated.
One thousand samples from pulmonary and disseminated tuberculosis (TB) suspects admitted to the JCRC clinic and the TB wards at Old Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda, were cultured in automated BACTEC MGIT 960 and BACTEC 9120 blood culture systems. BACTEC-positive samples were screened for purity by sub-culturing on blood agar plates. Two hundred and fifty three (253) samples with Acid fast bacilli (AFB, 174 BACTEC MGIT 960 and 79 BACTEC 9120 blood cultures) were analyzed for presence of MTC using Capilia TB and in-house PCR assays.
The overall Sensitivity, Specificity, Positive and Negative Predictive values, and Kappa statistic for Capilia TB assay for identification of MTC were 98.4%, 97.6%, 97.7%, 98.4% and 0.96, respectively. Initially, the performance of in-house PCR on BACTEC 9120 blood cultures was poor (Sensitivity, Specificity, PPV, NPV and Kappa statistic of 100%, 29.3%,7%, 100% and 0.04, respectively) but improved upon sub-culturing on solid medium (Middlebrook 7H10) to 100%, 95.6%, 98.2%, 100% and 0.98, respectively. In contrast, the Sensitivity and Specificity of Capilia TB assay was 98.4% and 97.9%, respectively, both with BACTEC blood cultures and Middlebrook 7H10 cultured samples, revealing that Capilia was better than in-house PCR for identification of MTC in blood cultures. Additionally, Capilia TB was cheaper than in-house PCR for individual samples ($2.03 vs. $12.59, respectively), and was easier to perform with a shorter turnaround time (20 min vs. 480 min, respectively).
Capilia TB assay is faster and cheaper than in-house PCR for rapid identification of MTC from BACTEC MGIT 960 and BACTEC 9120 culture systems in real-time testing of AFB positive cultures.
PMCID: PMC3282630  PMID: 22260090
24.  High prevalence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the surgical units of Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:326.
There is limited data on Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Uganda where, as in most low income countries, the routine use of chromogenic agar for MRSA detection is not affordable. We aimed to determine MRSA prevalence among patients, healthcare workers (HCW) and the environment in the burns units at Mulago hospital, and compare the performance of CHROMagar with oxacillin for detection of MRSA.
One hundred samples (from 25 patients; 36 HCW; and 39 from the environment, one sample per person/item) were cultured for the isolation of Staphylococcus aureus. Forty one S. aureus isolates were recovered from 13 patients, 13 HCW and 15 from the environment, all of which were oxacillin resistant and mecA/femA/nuc-positive. MRSA prevalence was 46% (41/89) among patients, HCW and the environment, and 100% (41/41) among the isolates. For CHROMagar, MRSA prevalence was 29% (26/89) among patients, HCW and the environment, and 63% (26/41) among the isolates. There was high prevalence of multidrug resistant isolates, which concomitantly possessed virulence and antimicrobial resistance determinants, notably biofilms, hemolysins, toxin and ica genes. One isolate positive for all determinants possessed the bhp homologue which encodes the biofilm associated protein (BAP), a rare finding in human isolates. SCCmec type I was the most common at 54% prevalence (22/41), followed by SCCmec type V (15%, 6/41) and SCCmec type IV (7%, 3/41). SCCmec types II and III were not detected and 10 isolates (24%) were non-typeable.
Hyper-virulent methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus is prevalent in the burns unit of Mulago hospital.
PMCID: PMC3184088  PMID: 21899769
25.  Comparison of transformation frequencies among selected Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes 
Although there are over 90 serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae, antimicrobial resistance is predominantly found in a limited number of serotypes/serogroups, namely 6, 9, 14, 19 and 23. There is no compelling mechanism to account for this restriction. We aimed to determine whether serotypes commonly associated with drug resistance have higher transformation frequencies than those that are susceptible to antimicrobial agents. An in vitro investigation of the genetic transformation frequency of drug-resistant serotypes compared with that of susceptible serotypes under the influence of synthetic competence-stimulating peptides was performed. The transforming DNA was genomic DNA carrying a Tn916-like transposon containing the mefE gene that confers resistance to erythromycin. It was observed that serotypes 6, 9, 14, 19 and 23, which are highly associated with drug resistance, do not exhibit a higher degree of transformation efficiency than other serotypes. These findings suggest that the association of serotype with drug resistance is likely due to prolonged exposure to transforming DNA resulting from longer nasopharyngeal carriage and to a greater selective pressure from antimicrobials, particularly in children. This is the first study to compare the transformation frequencies of pneumococcal clinical isolates using genomic DNA that carries the composite Tn916-like element.
PMCID: PMC2902549  PMID: 20472405
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Drug-resistant serotypes/serogroups; Transformation frequency; Tn916 transposon; mefE gene

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