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1.  Genotypes and serotype distribution of macrolide resistant invasive and non- invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from Lebanon 
This study determined macrolide resistance genotypes in clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from multiple medical centers in Lebanon and assessed the serotype distribution in relation to these mechanism(s) of resistance and the source of isolate recovery.
Forty four macrolide resistant and 21 macrolide susceptible S. pneumoniae clinical isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility according to CLSI guidelines (2008) and underwent molecular characterization. Serotyping of these isolates was performed by Multiplex PCR-based serotype deduction using CDC protocols. PCR amplification of macrolide resistant erm (encoding methylase) and mef (encoding macrolide efflux pump protein) genes was carried out.
Among 44 isolates resistant to erythromycin, 35 were resistant to penicillin and 18 to ceftriaxone. Examination of 44 macrolide resistant isolates by PCR showed that 16 isolates harbored the erm(B) gene, 8 isolates harbored the mef gene, and 14 isolates harbored both the erm(B) and mef genes. There was no amplification by PCR of the erm(B) or mef genes in 6 isolates. Seven different capsular serotypes 2, 9V/9A,12F, 14,19A, 19F, and 23, were detected by multiplex PCR serotype deduction in 35 of 44 macrolide resistant isolates, with 19F being the most prevalent serotype. With the exception of serotype 2, all serotypes were invasive. Isolates belonging to the invasive serotypes 14 and 19F harbored both erm(B) and mef genes. Nine of the 44 macrolide resistant isolates were non-serotypable by our protocols.
Macrolide resistance in S. pneumoniae in Lebanon is mainly through target site modification but is also mediated through efflux pumps, with serotype 19F having dual resistance and being the most prevalent and invasive.
PMCID: PMC3371826  PMID: 22248318
Antimicrobials; Macrolides; Resistance; Genes; Serotyping
2.  Frequency of conjugative transfer of plasmid-encoded ISEcp1 - blaCTX-M-15 and aac(6')-lb-cr genes in Enterobacteriaceae at a tertiary care center in Lebanon - role of transferases 
The frequency of transfer of genes encoding resistance to antimicrobial agents was determined by conjugation in ESBL-producing and/or fluoroquinolone or aminoglycoside resistant Enterobacteriaceae clinical isolates at a tertiary care center in Lebanon. In addition, the role of tra genes encoding transferases in mediating conjugation was assessed.
Conjugation experiments were done on 53 ESBL-producing and/or fluoroquinolone resistant E. coli and K. pneumoniae and ESBL-producing S. sonnei isolates. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing on parent and transconjugant isolates, and PCR amplifications on plasmid extracts of the resistance-encoding genes: blaCTX-M-15 with the ISEcp1 insertion sequence, the aac(6')-lb-cr and qnrS genes, as well as tra encoding transferases genes were done. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis was performed to demonstrate whether conjugative isolates are clonal and whether they are linked epidemiologically to a particular source.
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing on transconjugants revealed that 26 out of 53 (49%) ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae were able to transfer antimicrobial resistance to the recipients. Transfer of high-level resistance to the transconjugants encoded by the blaCTX-M-15 gene downstream the ISEcp1 insertion sequence against 3rd generation cephalosporins, and of low-level resistance against ciprofloxacin, and variable levels of resistance against aminoglycosides encoded by aac(6')-lb-cr gene, were observed in transconjugants. tra encoding transferase genes were detected exclusively in conjugative isolates.
In conclusion, the frequency of transfer of antimicrobial resistance in non clonal Enterobacteriaceae at the tertiary care center by conjugation was 49%. Conjugation occurred in isolates expressing the tra encoding transferase genes. Multiple conjugative strains harboring the plasmid encoded antimicrobial resistant genes were circulating in the medical center. Molecular epidemiology analysis showed that conjugative isolates are neither clonal nor linked to a particular site and transfer of antimicrobial resistance is by horizontal transfer of plasmids.
PMCID: PMC2919444  PMID: 20646305
3.  Correlation between Group B Streptococcal Genotypes, Their Antimicrobial Resistance Profiles, and Virulence Genes among Pregnant Women in Lebanon 
The antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of 76 Streptococcus agalactiae (Group B Streptococci [GBS]) isolates from vaginal specimens of pregnant women near term were correlated to their genotypes generated by Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA analysis and their virulence factors encoding genes cylE, lmb, scpB, rib, and bca by PCR. Based on the distribution of the susceptibility patterns, six profiles were generated. RAPD analysis detected 7 clusters of genotypes. The cylE gene was present in 99% of the isolates, the lmb in 96%, scpB in 94.7%, rib in 33%, and bca in 56.5% of isolates. The isolates demonstrated a significant correlation between antimicrobial resistance and genotype clusters denoting the distribution of particular clones with different antimicrobial resistance profiles, entailing the practice of caution in therapeutic options. All virulence factors encoding genes were detected in all seven genotypic clusters with rib and bca not coexisting in the same genome.
PMCID: PMC2817894  PMID: 20148175
4.  Evaluation of a Multilocus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Analysis Scheme for Typing Human Brucella Isolates in a Region of Brucellosis Endemicity▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(12):3935-3940.
Brucellosis remains an important anthropozoonosis worldwide. Brucella species are genetically homogeneous, and thus, the typing of Brucella species for epidemiological purposes by conventional molecular typing methods has remained elusive. Although many methods could segregate isolates into the phylogenetically recognized taxa, limited within-species genetic diversity has been identified. Recently, multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) was found to have a high degree of resolution when it was applied to collections of Brucella isolates from geographically widespread locations, and an assay comprising 16 such loci (MLVA-16) was proposed. This scheme includes eight minisatellite loci (panel 1) and eight microsatellites (panel 2, which is subdivided into panels 2A and 2B). The utility of MLVA-16 for the subtyping of human Brucella isolates from geographically restricted regions needs to be further evaluated, and genotyping databases with worldwide coverage must be progressively established. In the present study, MLVA-16 was applied to the typing of 42 human Brucella isolates obtained from 41 patients recovered from 2002 to 2006 at a tertiary-care center in Lebanon. All isolates were identified as Brucella melitensis by MLVA-16 and were found to be closely related to B. melitensis isolates from neighboring countries in the Middle East when their genotypes were queried against those in the web-based Brucella2007 MLVA database ( Panel 2B, which comprised the most variable loci, displayed a very high discriminatory power, while panels 1 and 2A showed limited diversity. The most frequent genotype comprised seven isolates obtained over 7 weeks in 2002, demonstrating an outbreak from a common source. Two isolates obtained from one patient 5 months apart comprised another genotype, indicating relapsing disease. These findings confirm that MLVA-16 has a good discriminatory power for species determination, typing of B. melitensis isolates, and inferring their geographical origin. Abbreviated panel 2B could be used as a short-term epidemiological tool in a small region of endemicity.
PMCID: PMC2593282  PMID: 18923007
5.  Evaluation of the PANBIO Brucella Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays for Diagnosis of Human Brucellosis 
PANBIO Brucella immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were assessed against Brucella standard agglutination tube and Coombs tests. The sensitivities of ELISA IgG and IgM were 91% and 100%, respectively, while the specificity was 100% for both. These ELISAs are simple, rapid, and reliable for the diagnosis of human brucellosis.
PMCID: PMC1287770  PMID: 16275951
6.  Detection of a highly prevalent and potentially virulent strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from nosocomial infections in a medical center 
BMC Microbiology  2005;5:29.
We correlated genotypes, virulence factors and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of nosocomially identified Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from clinical specimens to those of environmental isolates encountered in the same units of a medical center. Antibiotic susceptibility testing, RAPD analysis and detection of enzymatic activities of extracellular virulence factors, were done on these isolates.
Data showed that most of the clinical and environmental isolates were susceptible to tested antimicrobial agents. RAPD analysis determined the presence of 31 genotypes, with genotype 1 detected in 42% of the clinical isolates and 43% of the environmental isolates. Enzymatic activity testing showed that genotype 1 produced all virulence factors tested for.
In conclusion, our data demonstrated the predominant prevalence of a potentially virulent P. aeruginosa genotype, circulating in a number of units of the medical center and emphasize the need to reinforce infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC1168898  PMID: 15907204
7.  Recent developments in β lactamases and extended spectrum β lactamases 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;327(7425):1209-1213.
Resistance to β lactam antibiotics is an increasing problem worldwide. This review describes the classification and mechanism of action of β lactamases and the options available for detecting, treating, and controlling extended spectrum β lactamases
PMCID: PMC274061  PMID: 14630759
8.  Detection of Antibodies to Brucella Cytoplasmic Proteins in the Cerebrospinal Fluid of Patients with Neurobrucellosis 
The diagnosis of human neurobrucellosis usually relies on the detection of antibodies to Brucella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by agglutination tests or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Here we describe the detection of immunoglobulin G (IgG) to cytoplasmic proteins (CP) of Brucella spp. by ELISA and Western blotting in seven CSF samples from five patients with neurobrucellosis. While IgG to CP (titers of 200 to 12,800) and IgG to LPS (800 to 6,400) were found in the CSF of these patients, these antibodies were not detected in CSF samples from two patients who had systemic brucellosis without neurological involvement. The latter, however, had serum IgG and IgM to both LPS and CP. No reactivity to these antigens was found in CSF samples from 14 and 20 patients suffering from nonbrucellar meningitis and noninfectious diseases, respectively. These findings suggest that, in addition to its usefulness in the serological diagnosis of human systemic brucellosis, the ELISA with CP antigen can be used for the specific diagnosis of human neurobrucellosis.
PMCID: PMC95768  PMID: 10473531

Results 1-8 (8)