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1.  Microbiology and Treatment of Acute Apical Abscesses 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):255-273.
Acute apical abscess is the most common form of dental abscess and is caused by infection of the root canal of the tooth. It is usually localized intraorally, but in some cases the apical abscess may spread and result in severe complications or even mortality. The reasons why dental root canal infections can become symptomatic and evolve to severe spreading and sometimes life-threatening abscesses remain elusive. Studies using culture and advanced molecular microbiology methods for microbial identification in apical abscesses have demonstrated a multispecies community conspicuously dominated by anaerobic bacteria. Species/phylotypes commonly found in these infections belong to the genera Fusobacterium, Parvimonas, Prevotella, Porphyromonas, Dialister, Streptococcus, and Treponema. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and computational biology have substantially enhanced the knowledge of the microbiota associated with acute apical abscesses and shed some light on the etiopathogeny of this disease. Species richness and abundance and the resulting network of interactions among community members may affect the collective pathogenicity and contribute to the development of acute infections. Disease modifiers, including transient or permanent host-related factors, may also influence the development and severity of acute abscesses. This review focuses on the current evidence about the etiology and treatment of acute apical abscesses and how the process is influenced by host-related factors and proposes future directions in research, diagnosis, and therapeutic approaches to deal with this disease.
PMCID: PMC3623375  PMID: 23554416
2.  Human Infections and Detection of Plasmodium knowlesi 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):165-184.
Plasmodium knowlesi is a malaria parasite that is found in nature in long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques. Naturally acquired human infections were thought to be extremely rare until a large focus of human infections was reported in 2004 in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. Human infections have since been described throughout Southeast Asia, and P. knowlesi is now recognized as the fifth species of Plasmodium causing malaria in humans. The molecular, entomological, and epidemiological data indicate that human infections with P. knowlesi are not newly emergent and that knowlesi malaria is primarily a zoonosis. Human infections were undiagnosed until molecular detection methods that could distinguish P. knowlesi from the morphologically similar human malaria parasite P. malariae became available. P. knowlesi infections cause a spectrum of disease and are potentially fatal, but if detected early enough, infections in humans are readily treatable. In this review on knowlesi malaria, we describe the early studies on P. knowlesi and focus on the epidemiology, diagnosis, clinical aspects, and treatment of knowlesi malaria. We also discuss the gaps in our knowledge and the challenges that lie ahead in studying the epidemiology and pathogenesis of knowlesi malaria and in the prevention and control of this zoonotic infection.
PMCID: PMC3623376  PMID: 23554413
3.  Antimicrobial Resistance and Virulence: a Successful or Deleterious Association in the Bacterial World? 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):185-230.
Hosts and bacteria have coevolved over millions of years, during which pathogenic bacteria have modified their virulence mechanisms to adapt to host defense systems. Although the spread of pathogens has been hindered by the discovery and widespread use of antimicrobial agents, antimicrobial resistance has increased globally. The emergence of resistant bacteria has accelerated in recent years, mainly as a result of increased selective pressure. However, although antimicrobial resistance and bacterial virulence have developed on different timescales, they share some common characteristics. This review considers how bacterial virulence and fitness are affected by antibiotic resistance and also how the relationship between virulence and resistance is affected by different genetic mechanisms (e.g., coselection and compensatory mutations) and by the most prevalent global responses. The interplay between these factors and the associated biological costs depend on four main factors: the bacterial species involved, virulence and resistance mechanisms, the ecological niche, and the host. The development of new strategies involving new antimicrobials or nonantimicrobial compounds and of novel diagnostic methods that focus on high-risk clones and rapid tests to detect virulence markers may help to resolve the increasing problem of the association between virulence and resistance, which is becoming more beneficial for pathogenic bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3623377  PMID: 23554414
4.  Importance of Relating Efficacy Measures to Unbound Drug Concentrations for Anti-Infective Agents 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):274-288.
For the optimization of dosing regimens of anti-infective agents, it is imperative to have a good understanding of pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD). Whenever possible, drug efficacy needs to be related to unbound concentrations at the site of action. For anti-infective drugs, the infection site is typically located outside plasma, and a drug must diffuse through capillary membranes to reach its target. Disease- and drug-related factors can contribute to differential tissue distribution. As a result, the assumption that the plasma concentration of drugs represents a suitable surrogate of tissue concentrations may lead to erroneous conclusions. Quantifying drug exposure in tissues represents an opportunity to relate the pharmacologically active concentrations to an observed pharmacodynamic parameter, such as the MIC. Selection of an appropriate specimen to sample and the advantages and limitations of the available sampling techniques require careful consideration. Ultimately, the goal will be to assess the appropriateness of a drug and dosing regimen for a specific pathogen and infection.
PMCID: PMC3623378  PMID: 23554417
5.  Editorial Board 
PMCID: PMC3623379
6.  Transmission of Infection by Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Bronchoscopy 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):231-254.
Flexible endoscopy is a widely used diagnostic and therapeutic procedure. Contaminated endoscopes are the medical devices frequently associated with outbreaks of health care-associated infections. Accurate reprocessing of flexible endoscopes involves cleaning and high-level disinfection followed by rinsing and drying before storage. Most contemporary flexible endoscopes cannot be heat sterilized and are designed with multiple channels, which are difficult to clean and disinfect. The ability of bacteria to form biofilms on the inner channel surfaces can contribute to failure of the decontamination process. Implementation of microbiological surveillance of endoscope reprocessing is appropriate to detect early colonization and biofilm formation in the endoscope and to prevent contamination and infection in patients after endoscopic procedures. This review presents an overview of the infections and cross-contaminations related to flexible gastrointestinal endoscopy and bronchoscopy and illustrates the impact of biofilm on endoscope reprocessing and postendoscopic infection.
PMCID: PMC3623380  PMID: 23554415
7.  Epidemiological Interpretation of Studies Examining the Effect of Antibiotic Usage on Resistance 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):289-307.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing clinical problem and public health threat. Antibiotic use is a known risk factor for the emergence of antibiotic resistance, but demonstrating the causal link between antibiotic use and resistance is challenging. This review describes different study designs for assessing the association between antibiotic use and resistance and discusses strengths and limitations of each. Approaches to measuring antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance are presented. Important methodological issues such as confounding, establishing temporality, and control group selection are examined.
PMCID: PMC3623381  PMID: 23554418
8.  Insights into the Origin, Emergence, and Current Spread of a Successful Russian Clone of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):342-360.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis variant Beijing B0/W148 is regarded as a successful clone of M. tuberculosis that is widespread in the former Soviet Union and respective immigrant communities. Understanding the pathobiology and phylogeography of this notorious strain may help to clarify its origin and evolutionary history and the driving forces behind its emergence and current dissemination. I present the first review and analysis of all available data on the subject. In spite of the common perception of the omnipresence of B0/W148 across post-Soviet countries, its geographic distribution shows a peculiar clinal gradient. Its frequency peaks in Siberian Russia and, to a lesser extent, in the European part of the former Soviet Union. In contrast, the frequency of B0/W148 is sharply decreased in the Asian part of the former Soviet Union, and it is absent in autochthonous populations elsewhere in the world. Placing the molecular, clinical, and epidemiological features in a broad historical, demographic, and ecological context, I put forward two interdependent hypotheses. First, B0/W148 likely originated in Siberia, and its primary dispersal was driven by a massive population outflow from Siberia to European Russia in the 1960s to 1980s. Second, a historically recent, phylogenetically demonstrated successful dissemination of the Beijing B0/W148 strain was triggered by the advent and wide use of modern antituberculosis (anti-TB) drugs and was due to the remarkable capacity of this strain to acquire drug resistance. In contrast, there is some indication, but not yet systematic proof, of an enhanced virulence of this strain.
PMCID: PMC3623382  PMID: 23554420
9.  Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Skills To Succeed in the Host: Virulence and Regulation 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(2):308-341.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a primary enteric pathogen infecting both humans and animals. Infection begins with the ingestion of contaminated food or water so that salmonellae reach the intestinal epithelium and trigger gastrointestinal disease. In some patients the infection spreads upon invasion of the intestinal epithelium, internalization within phagocytes, and subsequent dissemination. In that case, antimicrobial therapy, based on fluoroquinolones and expanded-spectrum cephalosporins as the current drugs of choice, is indicated. To accomplish the pathogenic process, the Salmonella chromosome comprises several virulence mechanisms. The most important virulence genes are those located within the so-called Salmonella pathogenicity islands (SPIs). Thus far, five SPIs have been reported to have a major contribution to pathogenesis. Nonetheless, further virulence traits, such as the pSLT virulence plasmid, adhesins, flagella, and biofilm-related proteins, also contribute to success within the host. Several regulatory mechanisms which synchronize all these elements in order to guarantee bacterial survival have been described. These mechanisms govern the transitions from the different pathogenic stages and drive the pathogen to achieve maximal efficiency inside the host. This review focuses primarily on the virulence armamentarium of this pathogen and the extremely complicated regulatory network controlling its success.
PMCID: PMC3623383  PMID: 23554419
11.  Transmission and Epidemiology of Zoonotic Protozoal Diseases of Companion Animals 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):58-85.
Over 77 million dogs and 93 million cats share our households in the United States. Multiple studies have demonstrated the importance of pets in their owners' physical and mental health. Given the large number of companion animals in the United States and the proximity and bond of these animals with their owners, understanding and preventing the diseases that these companions bring with them are of paramount importance. Zoonotic protozoal parasites, including toxoplasmosis, Chagas' disease, babesiosis, giardiasis, and leishmaniasis, can cause insidious infections, with asymptomatic animals being capable of transmitting disease. Giardia and Toxoplasma gondii, endemic to the United States, have high prevalences in companion animals. Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruzi are found regionally within the United States. These diseases have lower prevalences but are significant sources of human disease globally and are expanding their companion animal distribution. Thankfully, healthy individuals in the United States are protected by intact immune systems and bolstered by good nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene. Immunocompromised individuals, including the growing number of obese and/or diabetic people, are at a much higher risk of developing zoonoses. Awareness of these often neglected diseases in all health communities is important for protecting pets and owners. To provide this awareness, this review is focused on zoonotic protozoal mechanisms of virulence, epidemiology, and the transmission of pathogens of consequence to pet owners in the United States.
PMCID: PMC3553666  PMID: 23297259
12.  Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization–Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) Mass Spectrometry for Detection of Antibiotic Resistance Mechanisms: from Research to Routine Diagnosis 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):103-114.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been successfully applied as an identification procedure in clinical microbiology and has been widely used in routine laboratory practice because of its economical and diagnostic benefits. The range of applications of MALDI-TOF MS has been growing constantly, from rapid species identification to labor-intensive proteomic studies of bacterial physiology. The purpose of this review is to summarize the contribution of the studies already performed with MALDI-TOF MS concerning antibiotic resistance and to analyze future perspectives in this field. We believe that current research should continue in four main directions, including the detection of antibiotic modifications by degrading enzymes, the detection of resistance mechanism determinants through proteomic studies of multiresistant bacteria, and the analysis of modifications of target sites, such as ribosomal methylation. The quantification of antibiotics is suggested as a new approach to study influx and efflux in bacterial cells. The results of the presented studies demonstrate that MALDI-TOF MS is a relevant tool for the detection of antibiotic resistance and opens new avenues for both clinical and experimental microbiology.
PMCID: PMC3553667  PMID: 23297261
13.  Microbial Translocation in the Pathogenesis of HIV Infection and AIDS 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):2-18.
In pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections, the translocation of microbial products from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to portal and systemic circulation has been proposed as a major driver of the chronic immune activation that is associated with disease progression. Consistently, microbial translocation is not present in nonpathogenic SIV infections of natural host species. In vivo studies demonstrated that HIV/SIV-associated microbial translocation results from a series of immunopathological events occurring at the GI mucosa: (i) early and severe mucosal CD4+ depletion, (ii) mucosal immune hyperactivation/persistent inflammation; (iii) damage to the integrity of the intestinal epithelium with enterocyte apoptosis and tight junction disruption; and (iv) subverted the gut microbiome, with a predominance of opportunistic bacteria. Direct in situ evidence of microbial translocation has been provided for SIV-infected rhesus macaques showing translocated microbial products in the intestinal lamina propria and distant sites. While the mechanisms by which microbial translocation causes immune activation remain controversial, a key pathogenic event appears to be innate immunity activation via Toll-like receptors and other pathogen recognition receptors. Accumulating clinical observations suggest that microbial translocation might affect HIV disease progression, response to therapy, and non-AIDS comorbidities. Given its detrimental effect on overall immunity, several interventions to prevent/block microbial translocation are currently under investigation as novel therapeutic agents for HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC3553668  PMID: 23297256
14.  Human Rhinoviruses 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):135-162.
Human rhinoviruses (HRVs), first discovered in the 1950s, are responsible for more than one-half of cold-like illnesses and cost billions of dollars annually in medical visits and missed days of work. Advances in molecular methods have enhanced our understanding of the genomic structure of HRV and have led to the characterization of three genetically distinct HRV groups, designated groups A, B, and C, within the genus Enterovirus and the family Picornaviridae. HRVs are traditionally associated with upper respiratory tract infection, otitis media, and sinusitis. In recent years, the increasing implementation of PCR assays for respiratory virus detection in clinical laboratories has facilitated the recognition of HRV as a lower respiratory tract pathogen, particularly in patients with asthma, infants, elderly patients, and immunocompromised hosts. Cultured isolates of HRV remain important for studies of viral characteristics and disease pathogenesis. Indeed, whether the clinical manifestations of HRV are related directly to viral pathogenicity or secondary to the host immune response is the subject of ongoing research. There are currently no approved antiviral therapies for HRVs, and treatment remains primarily supportive. This review provides a comprehensive, up-to-date assessment of the basic virology, pathogenesis, clinical epidemiology, and laboratory features of and treatment and prevention strategies for HRVs.
PMCID: PMC3553670  PMID: 23297263
15.  Cryptosporidium Pathogenicity and Virulence 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):115-134.
Cryptosporidium is a protozoan parasite of medical and veterinary importance that causes gastroenteritis in a variety of vertebrate hosts. Several studies have reported different degrees of pathogenicity and virulence among Cryptosporidium species and isolates of the same species as well as evidence of variation in host susceptibility to infection. The identification and validation of Cryptosporidium virulence factors have been hindered by the renowned difficulties pertaining to the in vitro culture and genetic manipulation of this parasite. Nevertheless, substantial progress has been made in identifying putative virulence factors for Cryptosporidium. This progress has been accelerated since the publication of the Cryptosporidium parvum and C. hominis genomes, with the characterization of over 25 putative virulence factors identified by using a variety of immunological and molecular techniques and which are proposed to be involved in aspects of host-pathogen interactions from adhesion and locomotion to invasion and proliferation. Progress has also been made in the contribution of host factors that are associated with variations in both the severity and risk of infection. Here we provide a review comprised of the current state of knowledge on Cryptosporidium infectivity, pathogenesis, and transmissibility in light of our contemporary understanding of microbial virulence.
PMCID: PMC3553671  PMID: 23297262
16.  The “Silent” Global Burden of Congenital Cytomegalovirus 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):86-102.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a leading cause of congenital infections worldwide. In the developed world, following the virtual elimination of circulating rubella, it is the commonest nongenetic cause of childhood hearing loss and an important cause of neurodevelopmental delay. The seroprevalence of CMV in adults and the incidence of congenital CMV infection are highest in developing countries (1 to 5% of births) and are most likely driven by nonprimary maternal infections. However, reliable estimates of prevalence and outcome from developing countries are not available. This is largely due to the dogma that maternal preexisting seroimmunity virtually eliminates the risk for sequelae. However, recent data demonstrating similar rates of sequelae, especially hearing loss, following primary and nonprimary maternal infection have underscored the importance of congenital CMV infection in resource-poor settings. Although a significant proportion of congenital CMV infections are attributable to maternal primary infection in well-resourced settings, the absence of specific interventions for seronegative mothers and uncertainty about fetal prognosis have discouraged routine maternal antibody screening. Despite these challenges, encouraging results from prototype vaccines have been reported, and the first randomized phase III trials of prenatal interventions and prolonged postnatal antiviral therapy are under way. Successful implementation of strategies to prevent or reduce the burden of congenital CMV infection will require heightened global awareness among clinicians and the general population. In this review, we highlight the global epidemiology of congenital CMV and the implications of growing knowledge in areas of prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and management for both low (50 to 70%)- and high (>70%)-seroprevalence settings.
PMCID: PMC3553672  PMID: 23297260
17.  Evidence and Implications of Mortality Associated with Acute Plasmodium vivax Malaria 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):36-57.
Vivax malaria threatens patients despite relatively low-grade parasitemias in peripheral blood. The tenet of death as a rare outcome, derived from antiquated and flawed clinical classifications, disregarded key clinical evidence, including (i) high rates of mortality in neurosyphilis patients treated with vivax malaria; (ii) significant mortality from zones of endemicity; and (iii) the physiological threat inherent in repeated, very severe paroxysms in any patient, healthy or otherwise. The very well-documented course of this infection, with the exception of parasitemia, carries all of the attributes of “perniciousness” historically linked to falciparum malaria, including severe disease and fatal outcomes. A systematic analysis of the parasite biomass in severely ill patients that includes blood, marrow, and spleen may ultimately explain this historic misunderstanding. Regardless of how this parasite is pernicious, recent data demonstrate that the infection comes with a significant burden of morbidity and associated mortality. The extraordinary burden of malaria is not heavily weighted upon any single continent by a single species of parasite—it is a complex problem for the entire endemic world, and both species are of fundamental importance. Humanity must rally substantial resources, intellect, and energy to counter this daunting but profound threat.
PMCID: PMC3553673  PMID: 23297258
18.  Acknowledgment of Reviewers 
PMCID: PMC3553674
19.  Phaeohyphomycoses, Emerging Opportunistic Diseases in Animals 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(1):19-35.
Emerging fungal diseases due to black yeasts and relatives in domestic or wild animals and in invertebrates or cold- and warm-blooded vertebrates are continually being reported, either as novel pathogens or as familiar pathogens affecting new species of hosts. Different epidemiological situations can be distinguished, i.e., occurrence as single infections or as zoonoses, and infection may occur sporadically in otherwise healthy hosts. Such infections are found mostly in mammals but also in cold-blooded animals, are frequently subcutaneous or cerebral, and bear much similarity to human primary disorders. Infections of the nervous system are mostly fatal, and the source and route of infection are currently unknown. A third epidemiological situation corresponds to pseudoepidemics, i.e., infection of a large host population due to a common source. It is often observed and generally hypothesized that the susceptible animals are under stress, e.g., due to poor housing conditions of mammals or to a change of basins in the case of fishes. The descriptions in this article represent an overview of the more commonly reported and recurring black fungi and the corresponding diseases in different types of animals.
PMCID: PMC3553675  PMID: 23297257
20.  Melanized Fungi in Human Disease 
PMCID: PMC3485748
22.  Adaptive and Mutational Resistance: Role of Porins and Efflux Pumps in Drug Resistance 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2012;25(4):661-681.
Summary: The substantial use of antibiotics in the clinic, combined with a dearth of new antibiotic classes, has led to a gradual increase in the resistance of bacterial pathogens to these compounds. Among the various mechanisms by which bacteria endure the action of antibiotics, those affecting influx and efflux are of particular importance, as they limit the interaction of the drug with its intracellular targets and, consequently, its deleterious effects on the cell. This review evaluates the impact of porins and efflux pumps on two major types of resistance, namely, mutational and adaptive types of resistance, both of which are regarded as key phenomena in the global rise of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic microorganisms. In particular, we explain how adaptive and mutational events can dramatically influence the outcome of antibiotic therapy by altering the mechanisms of influx and efflux of antibiotics. The identification of porins and pumps as major resistance markers has opened new possibilities for the development of novel therapeutic strategies directed specifically against these mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3485749  PMID: 23034325
23.  Eosinophilic Pneumonias 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2012;25(4):649-660.
Summary: This review starts with discussions of several infectious causes of eosinophilic pneumonia, which are almost exclusively parasitic in nature. Pulmonary infections due specifically to Ascaris, hookworms, Strongyloides, Paragonimus, filariasis, and Toxocara are considered in detail. The discussion then moves to noninfectious causes of eosinophilic pulmonary infiltration, including allergic sensitization to Aspergillus, acute and chronic eosinophilic pneumonias, Churg-Strauss syndrome, hypereosinophilic syndromes, and pulmonary eosinophilia due to exposure to specific medications or toxins.
PMCID: PMC3485750  PMID: 23034324
24.  New Approaches to Sepsis: Molecular Diagnostics and Biomarkers 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2012;25(4):609-634.
Summary: Sepsis is among the most common causes of death in hospitals. It arises from the host response to infection. Currently, diagnosis relies on nonspecific physiological criteria and culture-based pathogen detection. This results in diagnostic uncertainty, therapeutic delays, the mis- and overuse of antibiotics, and the failure to identify patients who might benefit from immunomodulatory therapies. There is a need for new sepsis biomarkers that can aid in therapeutic decision making and add information about screening, diagnosis, risk stratification, and monitoring of the response to therapy. The host response involves hundreds of mediators and single molecules, many of which have been proposed as biomarkers. It is, however, unlikely that one single biomarker is able to satisfy all the needs and expectations for sepsis research and management. Among biomarkers that are measurable by assays approved for clinical use, procalcitonin (PCT) has shown some usefulness as an infection marker and for antibiotic stewardship. Other possible new approaches consist of molecular strategies to improve pathogen detection and molecular diagnostics and prognostics based on transcriptomic, proteomic, or metabolic profiling. Novel approaches to sepsis promise to transform sepsis from a physiologic syndrome into a group of distinct biochemical disorders and help in the development of better diagnostic tools and effective adjunctive sepsis therapies.
PMCID: PMC3485751  PMID: 23034322
25.  Mixed-Strain Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infections and the Implications for Tuberculosis Treatment and Control 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2012;25(4):708-719.
Summary: Numerous studies have reported that individuals can simultaneously harbor multiple distinct strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. To date, there has been limited discussion of the consequences for the individual or the epidemiological importance of mixed infections. Here, we review studies that documented mixed infections, highlight challenges associated with the detection of mixed infections, and discuss possible implications of mixed infections for the diagnosis and treatment of patients and for the community impact of tuberculosis control strategies. We conclude by highlighting questions that should be resolved in order to improve our understanding of the importance of mixed-strain M. tuberculosis infections.
PMCID: PMC3485752  PMID: 23034327

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