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author:("kan, souza S")
1.  Emergence of MERS-CoV in the Middle East: Origins, Transmission, Treatment, and Perspectives 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(12):e1004457.
PMCID: PMC4256428  PMID: 25474536
2.  War and Infectious Diseases: Challenges of the Syrian Civil War 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(11):e1004438.
PMCID: PMC4231133  PMID: 25393545
3.  Surgical Site Infections Following Spine Surgery: Eliminating the Controversies in the Diagnosis 
Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery is a dreaded complication with significant morbidity and economic burden. SSIs following spine surgery can be superficial, characterized by obvious wound drainage or deep-seated with a healed wound. Staphylococcus aureus remains the principal causal agent. There are certain pre-operative risk factors that increase the risk of SSI, mainly diabetes, smoking, steroids, and peri-operative transfusions. Additionally, intra-operative risk factors include surgical invasiveness, type of fusion, implant use, and traditional instead of minimally invasive approach. A high level of suspicion is crucial to attaining an early definitive diagnosis and initiating appropriate management. The most common presenting symptom is back pain, usually manifesting 2–4 weeks and up to 3 months after a spinal procedure. Scheduling a follow-up visit between weeks 2 and 4 after surgery is therefore necessary for early detection. Inflammatory markers are important diagnostic tools, and comparing pre-operative with post-operative levels should be done when suspecting SSIs following spine surgery. Particularly, serum amyloid A is a novel inflammatory marker that can expedite the diagnosis of SSIs. Magnetic resonance imaging remains the diagnostic modality of choice when suspecting a SSI following spine surgery. While 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography is not widely used, it may be useful in challenging cases. Despite their low yield, blood cultures should be collected before initiating antibiotic therapy. Samples from wound drainage should be sent for Gram stain and cultures. When there is a high clinical suspicion of SSI and in the absence of superficial wound drainage, computed tomography-guided aspiration of paraspinal collections is warranted. Unless the patient is hemodynamically compromised, antibiotics should be deferred until proper specimens for culture are secured.
PMCID: PMC4335387
post-surgical spine infection; post-procedural discitis; imaging; risk factors; Staphylococcus aureus; inflammatory markers
4.  Heterogeneous Vancomycin-Intermediate Susceptibility Phenotype in Bloodstream Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from an International Cohort of Patients with Infective Endocarditis: Prevalence, Genotype, and Clinical Significance 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;200(9):1355-1366.
The significance of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) is unknown. Using a multinational collection of isolates from methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infective endocarditis (IE), we characterized IE patients with and without hVISA, and genotyped the infecting strains.
MRSA bloodstream isolates from 65 patients with definite IE from 8 countries underwent PCR for 31 virulence genes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing. hVISA was defined using population analysis profiling (PAP).
Nineteen (29.2%) of 65 MRSA IE isolates exhibited hVISA by PAP. Isolates from Oceania and Europe were more likely to exhibit hVISA than isolates from the United States (77.8% vs. 35.0% vs. 13.9%; P < .001). The prevalence of hVISA was higher among isolates with a vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of 2 mg/L (P = .026). hVISA-infected patients were more likely to have persistent bacteremia (68.4% vs. 37.0%; P = .029) and heart failure (47.4% vs. 19.6%; P = .033). Mortality of hVISA- and non-hVISA-infected patients did not differ (42.1% vs. 34.8%, P = .586). hVISA and non-hVISA isolates were genotypically similar.
In these analyses, hVISA occurred in over one-quarter of MRSA IE isolates, was associated with certain IE complications, and varied in frequency by geographic region.
PMCID: PMC3600359  PMID: 19811099
hVISA; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; endocarditis; genotype
5.  Prophylactic Administration of Doxycycline Reduces Central Venous Catheter Infections in Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation 
Hematopoietic stem cells are generally transfused through a central venous catheter (CVC), which also facilitates administration of medications and intravenous fluids. We had observed a high rate of CVC infections at our Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) unit. Accordingly, we evaluated the impact of administration of doxycycline as a prophylactic strategy to reduce CVC infection rates. Data was collected retrospectively on 54 consecutive patients, 26 who received doxycycline (doxycycline group), and we compared their outcomes to a previous cohort of 28 subjects who did not receive doxycycline (comparison group). The groups were comparable in regards to age, gender, transplant type, and CD34 cell dose. No (0%) CVC infection was observed in the doxycycline group, while 5 infection episodes (18%) occurred in 4 patients in the comparison group (p<0.001). Isolated organisms included: Escherichia-coli (EC)=1, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus-spp (CNSS)=2, both EC & CNSS=1. Notwithstanding the non-randomized comparative nature of our study, results suggest that CVC infection rate was reduced significantly after adding doxycycline for prophylaxis. A randomized controlled study is warranted to confirm these findings.
PMCID: PMC3591294  PMID: 23505603
6.  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
7.  “Ten Commandments” for the Appropriate use of Antibiotics by the Practicing Physician in an Outpatient Setting 
A multi-national working group on antibiotic stewardship, from the International Society of Chemotherapy, put together ten recommendations to physicians prescribing antibiotics to outpatients. These recommendations are: (1) use antibiotics only when needed; teach the patient how to manage symptoms of non-bacterial infections; (2) select the adequate ATB; precise targeting is better than shotgun therapy; (3) consider pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics when selecting an ATB; use the shortest ATB course that has proven clinical efficacy; (4) encourage patients’ compliance; (5) use antibiotic combinations only in specific situations; (6) avoid low quality and sub-standard drugs; prevent prescription changes at the drugstore; (7) discourage self-prescription; (8) follow only evidence-based guidelines; beware those sponsored by drug companies; (9) rely (rationally) upon the clinical microbiology lab; and (10) prescribe ATB empirically – but intelligently; know local susceptibility trends, and also surveillance limitations.
PMCID: PMC3225075  PMID: 22164154
antibiotic stewardship; antibiotic resistance; guidelines; generic antibiotics; self-prescription; treatment compliance
8.  Current Concepts in Antimicrobial Therapy Against Resistant Gram-Negative Organisms: Extended-Spectrum β-Lactamase–Producing Enterobacteriaceae, Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Mayo Clinic Proceedings  2011;86(3):250-259.
The development of antimicrobial resistance among gram-negative pathogens has been progressive and relentless. Pathogens of particular concern include extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, and multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Classic agents used to treat these pathogens have become outdated. Of the few new drugs available, many have already become targets for bacterial mechanisms of resistance. This review describes the current approach to infections due to these resistant organisms and elaborates on the available treatment options.
PMCID: PMC3046948  PMID: 21364117
9.  Endemic Gastrointestinal Anthrax in 1960s Lebanon: Clinical Manifestations and Surgical Findings 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(5):520-525.
Anthrax is an ancient disease caused by the gram-positive Bacillus anthracis; recently, it has gained much attention because of its potential use in biologic warfare. Anthrax infection occurs in three forms: cutaneous, inhalational, and gastrointestinal. The last type results from ingestion of poorly cooked contaminated meat. Intestinal anthrax was widely known in Lebanon in the 1960s, when a series of >100 cases were observed in the Bekaa Valley. We describe some of these cases, introduce the concept of the surgical management of advanced intestinal anthrax, and describe some of the approaches for treatment.
PMCID: PMC2972760  PMID: 12737733
anthrax; intestinal; Lebanon; ascites; spore-forming organisms; synopsis

Results 1-9 (9)