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1.  Short Communication: New HIV Infections at Southern New England Academic Institutions: Implications for Prevention 
New HIV infections among younger men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States are escalating. Data on HIV infections in college students are limited. In 2010, three MSM college students presented to our clinic with primary HIV infection (PHI) in a single month. To determine the number of college students among new HIV diagnoses, we reviewed clinical characteristics and molecular epidemiology of HIV-diagnosed individuals from January to December 2010 at the largest HIV clinic in Southern New England. PHI was defined as acute HIV infection or seroconversion within the last 6 months. Of 66 individuals diagnosed with HIV in 2010, 62% were MSM and 17% were academic students (12% college or university, 5% other). Seventy-three percent of students were MSM. Compared to nonstudents, students were more likely to be younger (24 versus 39 years), born in the United States (91% versus 56%), have another sexually transmitted disease (45% versus 11%), and present with PHI (73% versus 16%, all p-values<0.05). Thirty percent of individuals formed eight transmission clusters including four students. MSM were more likely to be part of clusters. Department of Health contact tracing of cluster participants allowed further identification of epidemiological linkages. Given these high rates of PHI in recently diagnosed students, institutions of higher education should be aware of acute HIV presentation and the need for rapid diagnosis. Prevention strategies should focus on younger MSM, specifically college-age students who may be at increased risk of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3537304  PMID: 22724920
4.  Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotype 15A in Psychiatric Unit, Rhode Island, USA, 2010–2011 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(11):1889-1893.
During a pneumococcal disease outbreak in a pediatric psychiatric unit in a hospital in Rhode Island, USA, 6 (30%) of 20 patients and staff were colonized with Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 15A, which is not included in pneumococcal vaccines. The outbreak subsided after implementation of antimicrobial drug prophylaxis and enhanced infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC3559171  PMID: 23092658
Streptococcus pneumoniae; pneumococcal infections; pneumonia; pneumococcal; serotype 15A; bacteria; antibiotic; antibacterial; disease outbreak; antimicrobial drugs
6.  The Changing Face of HIV in Pregnancy in Rhode Island 2004–2009 
Meeting the needs of HIV-infected pregnant women requires understanding their backgrounds and potential barriers to care and safe pregnancy. Foreign-born women are more likely to have language, educational, and economic barriers to care, but may be even more likely to choose to keep a pregnancy. Data from HIV-infected pregnant women and their children in Rhode Island were analyzed to identify trends in demographics, viral control, terminations, miscarriages, timing of diagnosis, and adherence to followup. Between January 2004 and December 2009, 76 HIV-infected women became pregnant, with a total of 95 pregnancies. Seventy-nine percent of the women knew their HIV status prior to becoming pregnant. Fifty-four percent of the women were foreign-born and 38 percent of the 16 women who chose to terminate their pregnancies were foreign-born. While the number of HIV-infected women becoming pregnant has increased only slightly, the proportion that are foreign-born has been rising, from 41 percent between 2004 and 2005 to 57.5 percent between 2006 and 2009. A growing number of women are having multiple pregnancies after their HIV diagnosis, due to the strength of their desire for childbearing and the perception that HIV is a controllable illness that does not preclude the creation of a family.
PMCID: PMC3385607  PMID: 22778535
7.  Public Health and the Epidemic of Incarceration 
An unprecedented number of Americans have been incarcerated in the past generation. In addition, arrests are concentrated in low-income, predominantly nonwhite communities where people are more likely to be medically underserved. As a result, rates of physical and mental illnesses are far higher among prison and jail inmates than among the general public. We review the health profiles of the incarcerated; health care in correctional facilities; and incarceration’s repercussions for public health in the communities to which inmates return upon release. The review concludes with recommendations that public health and medical practitioners capitalize on the public health opportunities provided by correctional settings to reach medically underserved communities, while simultaneously advocating for fundamental system change to reduce unnecessary incarceration.
PMCID: PMC3329888  PMID: 22224880
prisons; war on drugs; health disparities; underserved communities; medical training
8.  Distribution of lag-1 Alleles and Sequence-Based Types among Legionella pneumophila Serogroup 1 Clinical and Environmental Isolates in the United States▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(8):2525-2535.
Approximately 84% of legionellosis cases are due to Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. Moreover, a majority of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 clinical isolates react positively with monoclonal antibody 2 (MAb2) of the international standard panel. Over 94% of the legionellosis outbreaks investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are due to this subset of L. pneumophila serogroup 1. To date, there is no complete explanation for the enhanced ability of these strains to cause disease. To better characterize these organisms, we subtyped 100 clinical L. pneumophila serogroup 1 isolates and 50 environmental L. pneumophila serogroup 1 isolates from the United States by (i) reactivity with MAb2, (ii) presence of a lag-1 gene required for the MAb2 epitope, and (iii) sequence-based typing analysis. Our results showed that the MAb2 epitope and lag-1 gene are overrepresented in clinical L. pneumophila serogroup 1 isolates. MAb2 recognized 75% of clinical isolates but only 6% of environmental isolates. Similarly, 75% of clinical isolates but only 8% of environmental isolates harbored lag-1. We identified three distinct lag-1 alleles, referred to as Philadelphia, Arizona, and Lens alleles, among 79 isolates carrying this gene. The Arizona allele is described for the first time in this study. We identified 59 different sequence types (STs), and 34 STs (58%) were unique to the United States. Our results support the hypothesis that a select group of STs may have an enhanced ability to cause legionellosis. Combining sequence typing and lag-1 analysis shows that STs tend to associate with a single lag-1 allele type, suggesting a hierarchy of virulence genotypes. Further analysis of ST and lag-1 profiles may identify genotypes of L. pneumophila serogroup 1 that warrant immediate intervention.
PMCID: PMC2725700  PMID: 19553574
9.  Prolonged Survival in 2 Nonagenarians with Heart Failure and Severe Aortic Stenosis 
Texas Heart Institute Journal  2008;35(3):321-322.
The prevalence of severe aortic stenosis is 6% in persons 85 to 86 years of age according to a Finnish population-based report. In the United States, the population over 80 years old is projected to rise from the current 7 million to 25 million by the year 2050. Thus, aortic stenosis in aging adults, and the management questions it poses, will be increasingly common. We report herein the cases of 2 nonagenarian patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis who far outlived the natural history of this disease. We suspect that we are seeing a change in the prognosis of senile aortic stenosis as a result of advances in the geriatric care and management of advanced heart failure. Furthermore, the unusual longevity of these patients was made possible by the remarkable holistic care given by a dedicated, altruistic caregiver who had training in psychology, theology, and nursing.
PMCID: PMC2565531  PMID: 18941592
Aortic valve stenosis/mortality; attitude of health personnel; heart failure; home care services; life expectancy/trends; nonagenarians

Results 1-9 (9)