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1.  Prevalence and incidence of hepatitis C virus in hemodialysis patients in British Columbia: Follow-up after a possible breach in hemodialysis machines 
A possible breach of the transducer protector in specific dialysis machines was reported in June 2004 in British Columbia (BC), which led to testing of hemodialysis patients for hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV. This testing provided an opportunity to examine HCV incidence, prevalence and coinfection with HBV and HIV, and to compare anti-HCV and HCV polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
The results of hemodialysis patients who were dialyzed on the implicated machines (65% of BC dialysis patients), and tested for HCV, HBV and HIV, between June 1, 2004, and December 31, 2004, were reviewed and compared with available previous results.
Of 1286 hemodialysis patients with anti-HCV and/or HCV-PCR testing, 69 (5.4%) tested positive. Two HCV genotype 4 seroconversions were identified. HCV incidence rate on dialysis was 78.8 cases per 100,000 person-years. Younger age, history of renal transplant and past HBV infection were associated with HCV infection. No occult infection was identified using HCV-PCR.
Hemodialysis patients had three times the HCV prevalence rate of the general BC population, and more than 20 times the incident rate of the general Canadian population. One of the two seroconversions occurred before the testing campaign; the patient was likely infected during hemodialysis in South Asia. The other was plausibly a late seroconversion following renal transplant in South Asia. Nosocomial transmission cannot be ruled out because both patients were dialyzed in the same centre. Baseline and annual anti-HCV testing is recommended. HCV-PCR should be considered at baseline for persons with HCV risk factors, and for returning travellers who received dialysis in HCV-endemic countries to identify HCV infection occurring outside the hemodialysis unit.
PMCID: PMC2706400  PMID: 20514154
Hemodialysis; Hepatitis C; HCV; Incidence; Prevalence
4.  Canadian consensus guidelines for the optimal use of etravirine in the treatment of HIV-infected adults 
A group of five Canadian physicians with significant experience in HIV management was convened. Their goal was to develop guidance specifically for Canadian HIV-treating physicians on the appropriate use of etravirine (TMC125, Intelence, Tibotec BVBA, Belgium) in adult HIV-infected patients.
Evidence from the published literature, conference presentations and expert opinions of the group members were used to develop the recommendations. Feedback on the draft recommendations was obtained from this core group, and from seven other physicians across Canada with clinical HIV treatment expertise and experience in the use of etravirine, as well as two Canadian scientists with HIV expertise. The final recommendations represent the core group’s consensus agreement, taking all feedback into consideration.
The recommendations were developed to guide physicians in the optimal use of etravirine. The issues considered included HIV disease status, antiretroviral treatment history, drug resistance profiles, predictors of response to etravirine, background antiretroviral regimen and drug-drug interactions.
PMCID: PMC2706403  PMID: 20514155
Etravirine; HIV; NNRTI; Recommendations; Resistance; TMC125; Treatment
5.  Tuberculosis screening and active tuberculosis among HIV-infected persons in a Canadian tertiary care centre 
HIV infection increases the risk of reactivation of latent tuberculosis (TB). The present study evaluates how latent TB is detected and treated to determine the effectiveness of screening in HIV-infected patients with diverse risk profiles.
A retrospective medical record database review (1988 to 2007) was conducted at a tertiary care HIV clinic. The proportion of patients receiving tuberculin skin tests (TSTs) and the rate of active TB at each stage of screening and prevention were estimated. Predictors of receiving a TST at baseline, testing positive by TST and developing active TB were evaluated.
In the present study, 2123 patients were observed for a total of 9412 person-years. Four hundred seventy-six (22.4%) patients were tested by TST within 90 days of first clinic visit. Having a first clinic visit during the highly active antiretroviral therapy era (OR 3.64; 95% CI 2.66 to 4.99), country of birth (ORs: Africa 3.11, Asia 2.79, Haiti 3.14, and Latin America and the Caribbean 2.38), time between HIV diagnosis and first visit (OR per one-year change 0.97; 95% CI 0.94 to 0.99) and previous antiretroviral exposure (OR 0.61; 95% CI 0.45 to 0.81) were independent predictors of receiving a TST at baseline. Of the 17 patients who developed active TB during follow-up, nine (53%) had no documented TSTs at baseline or during follow-up. Forty-one per cent of all TB patients and 56% of TB patients who were not screened were born in Canada.
The administration of TSTs to newly diagnosed HIV patients was inconsistent and differential according to country of birth, among other factors, resulting in missed opportunities for TB prevention.
PMCID: PMC2706404  PMID: 20514160
HIV; Prevention; Risk profile; Screening; Tuberculosis
7.  A single-centre 10-year experience with Candida bloodstream infections 
To describe the clinical and microbiological features associated with Candida bloodstream infections observed at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (Montreal, Quebec) between August 1996 and July 2006.
Episodes were retrieved from the microbiology laboratory. Different patient episodes and different isolate episodes in the same patient were selected. Antifungal susceptibility was determined by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute’s (USA) M27A2 method.
A total of 190 different episodes of candidemia in 185 patients were identified. Eleven (6%) episodes occurred in outpatients. Candida albicans was identified in the majority of episodes (57%). Its frequency remained stable over the years. The proportion of Candida krusei candidemia episodes increased between 2003 and 2006, but this was not statistically significant. A central venous indwelling catheter or a peripherally inserted central catheter line was present in the majority of patients (167 [88%]). Of the indwelling catheters removed at the time of diagnosis, 39% were positive for Candida species on culture. Overall, voriconazole was the most active agent (the minimum inhibitory concentration required to inhibit the growth of 90% of organisms was 0.5 mg/L). Resistance to fluconazole was observed in 26 (14%) isolates (C albicans, 4%; versus non-albicans Candida species, 27%; P<0.001). Being on the hematology-oncology unit at the time of diagnosis (adjusted OR 7.8; 95% CI 2.3 to 27.1; P=0.001) and having received fluconazole or itraconazole within the past three months (adjusted OR 8.3; 95% CI 2.8 to 24.4; P<0.001) were significantly associated with resistance to fluconazole in multivariate analysis.
At Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, the frequency and species distribution of blood isolates of Candida remained stable over the past decade. In vitro resistance of C albicans to fluconazole and itraconazole remained minimal; resistance of non-albicans Candida species to fluconazole did not increase significantly. The new antifungal agents all had high in vitro activity against the bloodstream Candida isolates.
PMCID: PMC2706406  PMID: 20514159
Antifungals; Bloodstream infections; Canada; Candida infections
8.  A case of disseminated infection caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus 
Human infections with Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus, a group C streptococcus, are very rare and are generally associated with contact with horses, and consumption of unpasteurized milk products, goat cheese or pork. In most cases S zooepidemicus leads to fulminant infections. The case of a middle-aged woman who had sporadic contact with horses is described in the present report. She developed a bacteremia with severe and extensive complications that included meningitis, mitral endocarditis and blindness due to bilateral endophthalmitis. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of an endophthalmitis due to S zooepidemicus. Because of a penicillin allergy, the patient was treated with ceftriaxone and rifampin over six weeks and survived. The present case report highlights the severe complications associated with S zooepidemicus infection.
PMCID: PMC2706407  PMID: 20514161
Cerebral septic emboli; Endocarditis; Endophthalmitis; Group C streptococcus; Meningitis; Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus
10.  Errata 
PMCID: PMC2690527  PMID: 20190884
12.  Severe skin rash associated with atazanavir 
Three cases of severe rash associated with the use of atazanavir are described. In all cases, the rash was maculopapular and pruritic. Rash onset occurred eight to 11 days after initiation of therapy, and resolved with atazanavir discontinuation. Clinicians prescribing atazanavir should be aware of this potential adverse effect.
PMCID: PMC2690525  PMID: 20190882
Atazanavir; Rash
14.  Left out but not forgotten: Should closer attention be paid to coinfection with herpes simplex virus type 1 and HIV? 
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) are among the most common coinfections seen in individuals infected with HIV-1. Most research on HSV-HIV coinfection has focused on HSV-2, and in particular, on its impact on HIV transmission. HSV-2 is associated with micro- and macroulcerations in genital mucosal surfaces, increased numbers of HIV target cells in genital mucosal tissue and increases in plasma HIV viral load of up to 0.5 log10 copies/mL, such that HSV-2 infection increases the risk of both HIV acquisition and transmission. Because plasma HIV RNA levels are a major determinant of rates of CD4 cell decline, HSV-2 coinfection may also adversely affect the progression of HIV disease. Anti-HSV medications have in fact been associated with reciprocal decreases in HIV viral load in short-term studies. These findings have led to the development of several clinical trials of HSV-2 suppression as strategies for preventing HIV transmission and slowing the rate of HIV disease progression. HSV-1 coinfection has largely been ignored from this growing body of research, yet there are several reasons that this coinfection remains an important issue for study. First, the seroprevalence of HSV-1 is consistently higher than that of HSV-2 among both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected populations, underscoring the relevance of HSV-1 coinfection to the majority of HIV-infected persons. Second, pre-existing HSV-1 antibodies in individuals may modulate the course of subsequently acquired HSV-2 infection; the implications of such changes on HSV-HIV coinfection remain unexplored. Third, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are closely related viruses that share 83% genetic homology. Their virological and pathobiological similarities suggest that their implications on HIV pathogenesis may be similar as well. Finally, HSV-1 is becoming increasingly relevant because the incidence of genital HSV-1 has risen. Although genital herpes is traditionally associated with HSV-2, recent studies have shown that the majority of serologically confirmed primary genital herpes in some settings is attributable to HSV-1. Because the genital tract is an important site of biological interaction between HSV and HIV, this epidemiological change may be clinically important.
PMCID: PMC2690523  PMID: 20190881
Coinfection; Genital herpes; HIV; HSV; Orolabial herpes
15.  Clinical presentation, diagnosis and management of Cryptococcus gattii cases: Lessons learned from British Columbia 
The environmental fungus Cryptococcus gattii emerged on Vancouver Island, British Columbia (BC), in 1999. By the end of 2006, it led to 176 cases and eight deaths – one of the highest burdens of C gattii disease worldwide. The present paper describes three cases, and the BC experience in the diagnosis and management of this infection. All three cases presented with pulmonary findings, including cryptococcomas and infiltrates. One also presented with brain cryptococcomas. Cases were diagnosed by chest and brain imaging, and laboratory evidence including serum or cerebrospinal fluid cryptococcal antigen detection and culture of respiratory or cerebrospinal fluid specimens. Genotyping of fungal isolates confirmed infection with C gattii VGIIa. Pulmonary cases were treated with fluconazole. One patient with central nervous system disease was treated with amphotericin B followed by fluconazole. Although this infection remains rare, clinicians should be aware of it in patients with a compatible clinical presentation who are either living in or returning from a trip to BC.
PMCID: PMC2690522  PMID: 20190892
Case series; Cryptococcus gattii; Diagnosis; Treatment
17.  The impact of requiring completion of an online infection control course on health professionals’ intentions to comply with infection control guidelines: A comparative study 
Ensuring good infection control practice in health care facilities is a constant concern, yet evidence shows that the compliance of health care professionals with proper procedures is lacking, despite the existence of guidelines and training programs. An online infection control module was developed to provide ready access to training. Controversy exists about whether successfully completing such a course should be mandatory or strongly encouraged for all health care professionals. The objective of the present study was to compare the perception of safety culture and intention to comply with infection control guidelines in professionals who were required by their supervisors to take the course, and those who did so voluntarily.
Survey responses on learning environment, safety climate and intention to comply with infection control guidelines in health care professionals who were required to take the course (supervisor-required group [n=143]) and those who took the same course voluntarily (voluntary group [n=105]) were compared. Because randomization was thought to be too difficult to implement in the policy context in which the study was conducted, significant differences between the two groups were taken into account in the analysis.
Those required to take the course had a significantly better perception of the institutional safety climate (P<0.001), and had a higher reported intention to comply with infection control guidelines (P=0.040) than those who took the course voluntarily.
Requiring that staff complete a 30 min interactive online infection control module increased their intention to comply with infection control guidelines compared with those who voluntarily accessed this material based on promotional material. Consideration should be given to making the successful completion of an online infection control module a requirement for all health care professionals.
PMCID: PMC2690520  PMID: 20190890
Compliance; Hand hygiene; Infection control; Online education; SARS; Training

Results 1-25 (811)