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2.  Early-Onset Neonatal Sepsis 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):21-47.
Early-onset sepsis remains a common and serious problem for neonates, especially preterm infants. Group B streptococcus (GBS) is the most common etiologic agent, while Escherichia coli is the most common cause of mortality. Current efforts toward maternal intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis have significantly reduced the rates of GBS disease but have been associated with increased rates of Gram-negative infections, especially among very-low-birth-weight infants. The diagnosis of neonatal sepsis is based on a combination of clinical presentation; the use of nonspecific markers, including C-reactive protein and procalcitonin (where available); blood cultures; and the use of molecular methods, including PCR. Cytokines, including interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 8 (IL-8), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and cell surface antigens, including soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM) and CD64, are also being increasingly examined for use as nonspecific screening measures for neonatal sepsis. Viruses, in particular enteroviruses, parechoviruses, and herpes simplex virus (HSV), should be considered in the differential diagnosis. Empirical treatment should be based on local patterns of antimicrobial resistance but typically consists of the use of ampicillin and gentamicin, or ampicillin and cefotaxime if meningitis is suspected, until the etiologic agent has been identified. Current research is focused primarily on development of vaccines against GBS.
PMCID: PMC3910904  PMID: 24396135
3.  The Endemic Treponematoses 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):89-115.
The agents of human treponematoses include four closely related members of the genus Treponema: three subspecies of Treponema pallidum plus Treponema carateum. T. pallidum subsp. pallidum causes venereal syphilis, while T. pallidum subsp. pertenue, T. pallidum subsp. endemicum, and T. carateum are the agents of the endemic treponematoses yaws, bejel (or endemic syphilis), and pinta, respectively. All human treponematoses share remarkable similarities in pathogenesis and clinical manifestations, consistent with the high genetic and antigenic relatedness of their etiological agents. Distinctive features have been identified in terms of age of acquisition, most common mode of transmission, and capacity for invasion of the central nervous system and fetus, although the accuracy of these purported differences is debated among investigators and no biological basis for these differences has been identified to date. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially set a goal for yaws eradication by 2020. This challenging but potentially feasible endeavor is favored by the adoption of oral azithromycin for mass treatment and the currently focused distribution of yaws and endemic treponematoses and has revived global interest in these fascinating diseases and their causative agents.
PMCID: PMC3910905  PMID: 24396138
4.  Tissue Penetration of Antifungal Agents 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):68-88.
Understanding the tissue penetration of systemically administered antifungal agents is critical for a proper appreciation of their antifungal efficacy in animals and humans. Both the time course of an antifungal drug and its absolute concentrations within tissues may differ significantly from those observed in the bloodstream. In addition, tissue concentrations must also be interpreted within the context of the pathogenesis of the various invasive fungal infections, which differ significantly. There are major technical obstacles to the estimation of concentrations of antifungal agents in various tissue subcompartments, yet these agents, even those within the same class, may exhibit markedly different tissue distributions. This review explores these issues and provides a summary of tissue concentrations of 11 currently licensed systemic antifungal agents. It also explores the therapeutic implications of their distribution at various sites of infection.
PMCID: PMC3910906  PMID: 24396137
5.  Editorial Board 
PMCID: PMC3910907
6.  Gamma Interferon Release Assays for Detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):3-20.
Identification and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) can substantially reduce the risk of developing active disease. However, there is no diagnostic gold standard for LTBI. Two tests are available for identification of LTBI: the tuberculin skin test (TST) and the gamma interferon (IFN-γ) release assay (IGRA). Evidence suggests that both TST and IGRA are acceptable but imperfect tests. They represent indirect markers of Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposure and indicate a cellular immune response to M. tuberculosis. Neither test can accurately differentiate between LTBI and active TB, distinguish reactivation from reinfection, or resolve the various stages within the spectrum of M. tuberculosis infection. Both TST and IGRA have reduced sensitivity in immunocompromised patients and have low predictive value for progression to active TB. To maximize the positive predictive value of existing tests, LTBI screening should be reserved for those who are at sufficiently high risk of progressing to disease. Such high-risk individuals may be identifiable by using multivariable risk prediction models that incorporate test results with risk factors and using serial testing to resolve underlying phenotypes. In the longer term, basic research is necessary to identify highly predictive biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3910908  PMID: 24396134
7.  Laboratory Identification of Arthropod Ectoparasites 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):48-67.
The collection, handling, identification, and reporting of ectoparasitic arthropods in clinical and reference diagnostic laboratories are discussed in this review. Included are data on ticks, mites, lice, fleas, myiasis-causing flies, and bed bugs. The public health importance of these organisms is briefly discussed. The focus is on the morphological identification and proper handling and reporting of cases involving arthropod ectoparasites, particularly those encountered in the United States. Other arthropods and other organisms not of public health concern, but routinely submitted to laboratories for identification, are also briefly discussed.
PMCID: PMC3910909  PMID: 24396136
8.  Hepatitis E Virus Infection 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):116-138.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection is a worldwide disease. An improved understanding of the natural history of HEV infection has been achieved within the last decade. Several reservoirs and transmission modes have been identified. Hepatitis E is an underdiagnosed disease, in part due to the use of serological assays with low sensitivity. However, diagnostic tools, including nucleic acid-based tests, have been improved. The epidemiology and clinical features of hepatitis E differ between developing and developed countries. HEV infection is usually an acute self-limiting disease, but in developed countries it causes chronic infection with rapidly progressive cirrhosis in organ transplant recipients, patients with hematological malignancy requiring chemotherapy, and individuals with HIV. HEV also causes extrahepatic manifestations, including a number of neurological syndromes and renal injury. Acute infection usually requires no treatment, but chronic infection should be treated by reducing immunosuppression in transplant patients and/or the use of antiviral therapy. In this comprehensive review, we summarize the current knowledge about the virus itself, as well as the epidemiology, diagnostics, natural history, and management of HEV infection in developing and developed countries.
PMCID: PMC3910910  PMID: 24396139
9.  Acknowledgment of Reviewers 
PMCID: PMC3910911
10.  Host Immune Status and Response to Hepatitis E Virus Infection 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2014;27(1):139-165.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV), identified over 30 years ago, remains a serious threat to life, health, and productivity in developing countries where access to clean water is limited. Recognition that HEV also circulates as a zoonotic and food-borne pathogen in developed countries is more recent. Even without treatment, most cases of HEV-related acute viral hepatitis (with or without jaundice) resolve within 1 to 2 months. However, HEV sometimes leads to acute liver failure, chronic infection, or extrahepatic symptoms. The mechanisms of pathogenesis appear to be substantially immune mediated. This review covers the epidemiology of HEV infection worldwide, the humoral and cellular immune responses to HEV, and the persistence and protection of antibodies produced in response to both natural infection and vaccines. We focus on the contributions of altered immune states (associated with pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], and immunosuppressive agents used in cancer and transplant medicine) to the elevated risks of chronic infection (in immunosuppressed/immunocompromised patients) and acute liver failure and mortality (among pregnant women). We conclude by discussing outstanding questions about the immune response to HEV and interactions with hormones and comorbid conditions. These questions take on heightened importance now that a vaccine is available.
PMCID: PMC3910912  PMID: 24396140
11.  A Current Perspective on Daptomycin for the Clinical Microbiologist 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):759-780.
Daptomycin is a lipopeptide antimicrobial with in vitro bactericidal activity against Gram-positive bacteria that was first approved for clinical use in 2004 in the United States. Since this time, significant data have emerged regarding the use of daptomycin for the treatment of serious infections, such as bacteremia and endocarditis, caused by Gram-positive pathogens. However, there are also increasing reports of daptomycin nonsusceptibility, in Staphylococcus aureus and, in particular, Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis. Such nonsusceptibility is largely in the context of prolonged treatment courses and infections with high bacterial burdens, but it may occur in the absence of prior daptomycin exposure. Nonsusceptibility in both S. aureus and Enterococcus is mediated by adaptations to cell wall homeostasis and membrane phospholipid metabolism. This review summarizes the data on daptomycin, including daptomycin's unique mode of action and spectrum of activity and mechanisms for nonsusceptibility in key pathogens, including S. aureus, E. faecium, and E. faecalis. The challenges faced by the clinical laboratory in obtaining accurate susceptibility results and reporting daptomycin MICs are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3811228  PMID: 24092854
12.  Editorial Board 
PMCID: PMC3811229
13.  Pathogenesis and Current Approaches to Control of Varicella-Zoster Virus Infections 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):728-743.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) was once thought to be a fairly innocuous pathogen. That view is no longer tenable. The morbidity and mortality due to the primary and secondary diseases that VZV causes, varicella and herpes zoster (HZ), are significant. Fortunately, modern advances, including an available vaccine to prevent varicella, a therapeutic vaccine to diminish the incidence and ameliorate sequelae of HZ, effective antiviral drugs, a better understanding of VZV pathogenesis, and advances in diagnostic virology have made it possible to control VZV in the United States. Occult forms of VZV-induced disease have been recognized, including zoster sine herpete and enteric zoster, which have expanded the field. Future progress should include development of more effective vaccines to prevent HZ and a more complete understanding of the consequences of VZV latency in the enteric nervous system.
PMCID: PMC3811230  PMID: 24092852
14.  Salivary Biomarkers: Toward Future Clinical and Diagnostic Utilities 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):781-791.
The pursuit of timely, cost-effective, accurate, and noninvasive diagnostic methodologies is an endeavor of urgency among clinicians and scientists alike. Detecting pathologies at their earliest stages can significantly affect patient discomfort, prognosis, therapeutic intervention, survival rates, and recurrence. Diagnosis and monitoring often require painful invasive procedures such as biopsies and repeated blood draws, adding undue stress to an already unpleasant experience. The discovery of saliva-based microbial, immunologic, and molecular biomarkers offers unique opportunities to bypass these measures by utilizing oral fluids to evaluate the condition of both healthy and diseased individuals. Here we discuss saliva and its significance as a source of indicators for local, systemic, and infectious disorders. We highlight contemporary innovations and explore recent discoveries that deem saliva a mediator of the body's physiological condition. Additionally, we examine the current state of salivary diagnostics and its associated technologies, future aspirations, and potential as the preferred route of disease detection, monitoring, and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3811231  PMID: 24092855
15.  Trends in Human Fecal Carriage of Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamases in the Community: Toward the Globalization of CTX-M 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):744-758.
In the last 10 years, extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing enterobacteria (ESBL-E) have become one of the main challenges for antibiotic treatment of enterobacterial infections, largely because of the current CTX-M enzyme pandemic. However, most studies have focused on hospitalized patients, though today it appears that the community is strongly affected as well. We therefore decided to devote our investigation to trends in ESBL-E fecal carriage rates and comprehensively reviewed data from studies conducted on healthy populations in various parts of the world. We show that (i) community ESBL-E fecal carriage, which was unknown before the turn of the millennium, has since increased significantly everywhere, with developing countries being the most affected; (ii) intercontinental travel may have emphasized and globalized the issue; and (iii) CTX-M enzymes, especially CTX-M-15, are the dominant type of ESBL. Altogether, these results suggest that CTX-M carriage is evolving toward a global pandemic but is still insufficiently described. Only a better knowledge of its dynamics and biology will lead to further development of appropriate control measures.
PMCID: PMC3811232  PMID: 24092853
16.  Recent Advances in Understanding Enteric Pathogenic Escherichia coli 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):822-880.
Although Escherichia coli can be an innocuous resident of the gastrointestinal tract, it also has the pathogenic capacity to cause significant diarrheal and extraintestinal diseases. Pathogenic variants of E. coli (pathovars or pathotypes) cause much morbidity and mortality worldwide. Consequently, pathogenic E. coli is widely studied in humans, animals, food, and the environment. While there are many common features that these pathotypes employ to colonize the intestinal mucosa and cause disease, the course, onset, and complications vary significantly. Outbreaks are common in developed and developing countries, and they sometimes have fatal consequences. Many of these pathotypes are a major public health concern as they have low infectious doses and are transmitted through ubiquitous mediums, including food and water. The seriousness of pathogenic E. coli is exemplified by dedicated national and international surveillance programs that monitor and track outbreaks; unfortunately, this surveillance is often lacking in developing countries. While not all pathotypes carry the same public health profile, they all carry an enormous potential to cause disease and continue to present challenges to human health. This comprehensive review highlights recent advances in our understanding of the intestinal pathotypes of E. coli.
PMCID: PMC3811233  PMID: 24092857
17.  Investigational Antimicrobial Agents of 2013 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):792-821.
New antimicrobial agents are always needed to counteract the resistant pathogens that continue to be selected by current therapeutic regimens. This review provides a survey of known antimicrobial agents that were currently in clinical development in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. Data were collected from published literature primarily from 2010 to 2012, meeting abstracts (2011 to 2012), government websites, and company websites when appropriate. Compared to what was reported in previous surveys, a surprising number of new agents are currently in company pipelines, particularly in phase 3 clinical development. Familiar antibacterial classes of the quinolones, tetracyclines, oxazolidinones, glycopeptides, and cephalosporins are represented by entities with enhanced antimicrobial or pharmacological properties. More importantly, compounds of novel chemical structures targeting bacterial pathways not previously exploited are under development. Some of the most promising compounds include novel β-lactamase inhibitor combinations that target many multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria, a critical medical need. Although new antimicrobial agents will continue to be needed to address increasing antibiotic resistance, there are novel agents in development to tackle at least some of the more worrisome pathogens in the current nosocomial setting.
PMCID: PMC3811234  PMID: 24092856
18.  Clinical Utility of Viral Load in Management of Cytomegalovirus Infection after Solid Organ Transplantation 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):703-727.
The negative impact of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection on transplant outcomes warrants efforts toward improving its prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. During the last 2 decades, significant breakthroughs in diagnostic virology have facilitated remarkable improvements in CMV disease management. During this period, CMV nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) evolved to become one of the most commonly performed tests in clinical virology laboratories. NAT provides a means for rapid and sensitive diagnosis of CMV infection in transplant recipients. Viral quantification also introduced several principles of CMV disease management. Specifically, viral load has been utilized (i) for prognostication of CMV disease, (ii) to guide preemptive therapy, (iii) to assess the efficacy of antiviral treatment, (iv) to guide the duration of treatment, and (v) to indicate the risk of clinical relapse or antiviral drug resistance. However, there remain important limitations that require further optimization, including the interassay variability in viral load reporting, which has limited the generation of standardized viral load thresholds for various clinical indications. The recent introduction of an international reference standard should advance the major goal of uniform viral load reporting and interpretation. However, it has also become apparent that other aspects of NAT should be standardized, including sample selection, nucleic acid extraction, amplification, detection, and calibration, among others. This review article synthesizes the vast amount of information on CMV NAT and provides a timely review of the clinical utility of viral load testing in the management of CMV in solid organ transplant recipients. Current limitations are highlighted, and avenues for further research are suggested to optimize the clinical application of NAT in the management of CMV after transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3811235  PMID: 24092851
19.  Update on Tick-Borne Rickettsioses around the World: a Geographic Approach 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(4):657-702.
Tick-borne rickettsioses are caused by obligate intracellular bacteria belonging to the spotted fever group of the genus Rickettsia. These zoonoses are among the oldest known vector-borne diseases. However, in the past 25 years, the scope and importance of the recognized tick-associated rickettsial pathogens have increased dramatically, making this complex of diseases an ideal paradigm for the understanding of emerging and reemerging infections. Several species of tick-borne rickettsiae that were considered nonpathogenic for decades are now associated with human infections, and novel Rickettsia species of undetermined pathogenicity continue to be detected in or isolated from ticks around the world. This remarkable expansion of information has been driven largely by the use of molecular techniques that have facilitated the identification of novel and previously recognized rickettsiae in ticks. New approaches, such as swabbing of eschars to obtain material to be tested by PCR, have emerged in recent years and have played a role in describing emerging tick-borne rickettsioses. Here, we present the current knowledge on tick-borne rickettsiae and rickettsioses using a geographic approach toward the epidemiology of these diseases.
PMCID: PMC3811236  PMID: 24092850
20.  Antianaerobic Antimicrobials: Spectrum and Susceptibility Testing 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):526-546.
Susceptibility testing of anaerobic bacteria recovered from selected cases can influence the choice of antimicrobial therapy. The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) has standardized many laboratory procedures, including anaerobic susceptibility testing (AST), and has published documents for AST. The standardization of testing methods by the CLSI allows comparisons of resistance trends among various laboratories. Susceptibility testing should be performed on organisms recovered from sterile body sites, those that are isolated in pure culture, or those that are clinically important and have variable or unique susceptibility patterns. Organisms that should be considered for individual isolate testing include highly virulent pathogens for which susceptibility cannot be predicted, such as Bacteroides, Prevotella, Fusobacterium, and Clostridium spp.; Bilophila wadsworthia; and Sutterella wadsworthensis. This review describes the current methods for AST in research and reference laboratories. These methods include the use of agar dilution, broth microdilution, Etest, and the spiral gradient endpoint system. The antimicrobials potentially effective against anaerobic bacteria include beta-lactams, combinations of beta-lactams and beta-lactamase inhibitors, metronidazole, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, macrolides, tetracyclines, and fluoroquinolones. The spectrum of efficacy, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, and resistance patterns against these agents are described.
PMCID: PMC3719496  PMID: 23824372
21.  β-Lactamase Production in Key Gram-Negative Pathogen Isolates from the Arabian Peninsula 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):361-380.
Infections due to Gram-negative bacilli (GNB) are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The extent of antibiotic resistance in GNB in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), namely, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, has not been previously reviewed. These countries share a high prevalence of extended-spectrum-β-lactamase (ESBL)- and carbapenemase-producing GNB, most of which are associated with nosocomial infections. Well-known and widespread β-lactamases genes (such as those for CTX-M-15, OXA-48, and NDM-1) have found their way into isolates from the GCC states. However, less common and unique enzymes have also been identified. These include PER-7, GES-11, and PME-1. Several potential risk factors unique to the GCC states may have contributed to the emergence and spread of β-lactamases, including the unnecessary use of antibiotics and the large population of migrant workers, particularly from the Indian subcontinent. It is clear that active surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in the GCC states is urgently needed to address regional interventions that can contain the antimicrobial resistance issue.
PMCID: PMC3719487  PMID: 23824364
22.  A Comprehensive, Model-Based Review of Vaccine and Repeat Infection Trials for Filariasis 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):381-421.
Filarial worms cause highly morbid diseases such as elephantiasis and river blindness. Since the 1940s, researchers have conducted vaccine trials in 27 different animal models of filariasis. Although no vaccine trial in a permissive model of filariasis has provided sterilizing immunity, great strides have been made toward developing vaccines that could block transmission, decrease pathological sequelae, or decrease susceptibility to infection. In this review, we have organized, to the best of our ability, all published filaria vaccine trials and reviewed them in the context of the animal models used. Additionally, we provide information on the life cycle, disease phenotype, concomitant immunity, and natural immunity during primary and secondary infections for 24 different filaria models.
PMCID: PMC3719488  PMID: 23824365
23.  Paragonimiasis Acquired in the United States: Native and Nonnative Species 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):493-504.
Paragonimiasis is a parasitic lung infection caused by lung flukes of the genus Paragonimus, with most cases reported from Asia and caused by P. westermani following consumption of raw or undercooked crustaceans. With the exception of imported P. westermani cases in immigrants, in travelers returning from areas of disease endemicity, and in clusters of acquired cases following consumption of imported Asian crabs, human paragonimiasis caused by native lung flukes is rarely described in the United States, which has only one indigenous species of lung fluke, Paragonimus kellicotti. Clinicians should inquire about the consumption of raw or undercooked freshwater crabs by immigrants, expatriates, and returning travelers, and the consumption of raw or undercooked crayfish in U.S. freshwater river systems where P. kellicotti is endemic when evaluating patients presenting with unexplained fever, cough, rales, hemoptysis, pleural effusions, and peripheral eosinophilia. Diagnostic evaluation by specific parasitological, radiological, serological, and molecular methods will be required in order to differentiate paragonimiasis from tuberculosis, which is not uncommon in recent Asian immigrants. All cases of imported and locally acquired paragonimiasis will require treatment with oral praziquantel to avoid any potential pulmonary and cerebral complications of paragonimiasis, some of which may require surgical interventions.
PMCID: PMC3719489  PMID: 23824370
24.  Clinical Application of Volatile Organic Compound Analysis for Detecting Infectious Diseases 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):462-475.
This review article introduces the significance of testing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in clinical samples and summarizes important features of some of the technologies. Compared to other human diseases such as cancer, studies on VOC analysis in cases of infectious diseases are limited. Here, we have described results of studies which have used some of the appropriate technologies to evaluate VOC biomarkers and biomarker profiles associated with infections. The publications reviewed include important infections of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, and nasal cavity. The results highlight the use of VOC biomarker profiles resulting from certain infectious diseases in discriminating between infected and healthy subjects. Infection-related VOC profiles measured in exhaled breath as well as from headspaces of feces or urine samples are a source of information with respect to disease detection. The volatiles emitted in clinical matrices may on the one hand represent metabolites of the infecting pathogen or on the other hand reflect pathogen-induced host responses or, indeed, a combination of both. Because exhaled-breath samples are easy to collect and online instruments are commercially available, VOC analysis in exhaled breath appears to be a promising tool for noninvasive detection and monitoring of infectious diseases.
PMCID: PMC3719490  PMID: 23824368
25.  Recent Advances in Our Understanding of the Environmental, Epidemiological, Immunological, and Clinical Dimensions of Coccidioidomycosis 
Clinical Microbiology Reviews  2013;26(3):505-525.
Coccidioidomycosis is the endemic mycosis caused by the fungal pathogens Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii. This review is a summary of the recent advances that have been made in the understanding of this pathogen, including its mycology, genetics, and niche in the environment. Updates on the epidemiology of the organism emphasize that it is a continuing, significant problem in areas of endemicity. For a variety of reasons, the number of reported coccidioidal infections has increased dramatically over the past decade. While continual improvements in the fields of organ transplantation and management of autoimmune disorders and patients with HIV have led to dilemmas with concurrent infection with coccidioidomycosis, they have also led to advances in the understanding of the human immune response to infection. There have been some advances in therapeutics with the increased use of newer azoles. Lastly, there is an overview of the ongoing search for a preventative vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3719491  PMID: 23824371

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