Real-time PCR shows the widespread presence of Coxiella burnetii DNA in a broad range of commercially available milk and milk products. MLVA genotyping shows that this is the result of the presence of a predominant C. burnetii genotype in the dairy cattle population.
Since the separation of Pseudallescheria boydii and P. apiosperma in 2010, limited data on species-specific susceptibility patterns of these and other species of Pseudallescheria and its anamorph Scedosporium have been reported. This study presents the antifungal susceptibility patterns of members affiliated with both entities. Clinical and environmental isolates (n = 332) from a wide range of sources and origins were identified down to species level and tested according to CLSI M38-A2 against eight antifungal compounds. Whereas P. apiosperma (geometric mean MIC/minimal effective concentration [MEC] values of 0.9, 2.4, 7.4, 16.2, 0.2, 0.8, 1.5, and 6.8 μg/ml for voriconazole, posaconazole, isavuconazole, itraconazole, micafungin, anidulafungin, caspofungin, and amphotericin B, respectively) and P. boydii (geometric mean MIC/MEC values of 0.7, 1.3, 5.7, 13.8, 0.5, 1.4, 2.3, and 11.8 μg/ml for voriconazole, posaconazole, isavuconazole, itraconazole, micafungin, anidulafungin, caspofungin, and amphotericin B, respectively) had similar susceptibility patterns, those for S. aurantiacum, S. prolificans, and S. dehoogii were different from each other. Voriconazole was the only drug with significant activity against S. aurantiacum isolates. The MIC distributions of all drugs except voriconazole did not show a normal distribution and often showed two subpopulations, making a species-based prediction of antifungal susceptibility difficult. Therefore, antifungal susceptibility testing of all clinical isolates remains essential for targeted antifungal therapy. Voriconazole was the only compound with low MIC values (MIC90 of ≤2 μg/ml) for P. apiosperma and P. boydii. Micafungin and posaconazole showed moderate activity against the majority of Scedosporium strains.
A rapid emergence of azole resistance has been observed in Aspergillus fumigatus in The Netherlands over the past decade. The dominant resistance mechanism appears to be of environmental origin and involves the TR34/L98H mutations in cyp51A. This resistance mechanism is now also increasingly being found in other countries. Therefore, genetic markers were used to gain more insights into the origin and spread of this genotype. Studies of 142 European isolates revealed that those with the TR34/L98H resistance mechanism showed less genetic variation than azole-susceptible isolates or those with a different genetic basis of resistance and were assigned to only four CSP (putative cell surface protein) types. Sexual crossing experiments demonstrated that TR34/L98H isolates could outcross with azole-susceptible isolates of different genetic backgrounds, suggesting that TR34/L98H isolates can undergo the sexual cycle in nature. Overall, our findings suggest a common ancestor of the TR34/L98H mechanism and subsequent migration of isolates harboring TR34/L98H across Europe.
As the frequency of antifungal drug resistance continues to increase, understanding the genetic structure of fungal populations, where resistant isolates have emerged and spread, is of major importance. Aspergillus fumigatus is a ubiquitously distributed fungus and the primary causative agent of invasive aspergillosis (IA), a potentially lethal infection in immunocompromised individuals. In the last few years, an increasing number of A. fumigatus isolates has evolved resistance to triazoles, the primary drugs for treating IA infections. In most isolates, this multiple-triazole-resistance (MTR) phenotype is caused by mutations in the cyp51A gene, which encodes the protein targeted by the triazoles. We investigated the genetic differentiation and reproductive mode of A. fumigatus in the Netherlands, the country where the MTR phenotype likely originated, to determine their role in facilitating the emergence and distribution of resistance genotypes. Using 20 genome-wide neutral markers, we genotyped 255 Dutch isolates including 25 isolates with the MTR phenotype. In contrast to previous reports, our results show that Dutch A. fumigatus genotypes are genetically differentiated into five distinct populations. Four of the five populations show significant linkage disequilibrium, indicative of an asexual reproductive mode, whereas the fifth population is in linkage equilibrium, indicative of a sexual reproductive mode. Notably, the observed genetic differentiation among Dutch isolates does not correlate with geography, although all isolates with the MTR phenotype nest within a single, predominantly asexual, population. These results suggest that both reproductive mode and genetic differentiation contribute to the structure of Dutch A. fumigatus populations, and are likely shaping the evolutionary dynamics of drug resistance in this potentially deadly pathogen.
A set of 300 Dutch Cryptococcus neoformans isolates, obtained from 237 patients during 1977 to 2007, was investigated by determining the mating type, serotype, and AFLP and microsatellite genotype and susceptibility to seven antifungal compounds. Almost half of the studied cases were from HIV-infected patients, followed by a patient group of individuals with other underlying diseases and immunocompetent individuals. The majority of the isolates were mating type α and serotype A, followed by αD isolates and other minor categories. The most frequently observed genotype was AFLP1, distantly followed by AFLP2 and AFLP3. Microsatellite typing revealed a high genetic diversity among serotype A isolates but a lower diversity within the serotype D set of isolates. One patient was infected by multiple AFLP genotypes. Fluconazole and flucytosine had the highest geometric mean MICs of 2.9 and 3.5 μg/ml, respectively, while amphotericin B (0.24 μg/ml), itraconazole (0.08 μg/ml), voriconazole (0.07 μg/ml), posaconazole (0.06 μg/ml), and isavuconazole (0.03 μg/ml) had much lower geometric mean MICs. One isolate had a high flucytosine MIC (>64 μg/ml), while decreased susceptibility (≥16 μg/ml) for flucytosine and fluconazole was found in 9 and 10 C. neoformans isolates, respectively.
Dormant infections can become reactivated years after having been acquired on another continent.
Until recently, Cryptococcus gattii infections occurred mainly in tropical and subtropical climate zones. However, during the past decade, C. gattii infections in humans and animals in Europe have increased. To determine whether the infections in Europe were acquired from an autochthonous source or associated with travel, we used multilocus sequence typing to compare 100 isolates from Europe (57 from 40 human patients, 22 from the environment, and 21 from animals) with 191 isolates from around the world. Of the 57 human patient isolates, 47 (83%) were obtained since 1995. Among the 40 patients, 24 (60%) probably acquired the C. gattii infection outside Europe; the remaining 16 (40%) probably acquired the infection within Europe. Human patient isolates from Mediterranean Europe clustered into a distinct genotype with animal and environmental isolates. These results indicate that reactivation of dormant C. gattii infections can occur many years after the infectious agent was acquired elsewhere.
Cryptococcus gattii; multilocus sequence typing; amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis; epidemiology; genotyping; Europe; yeast; fungi
The genotypic diversity of Coxiella burnetii in clinical samples obtained from the Dutch Q fever outbreak episodes of 2007-2010 was determined by using a 6-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis panel. The results are consistent with the introduction of one founder genotype that is gradually diversifying over time while spreading throughout The Netherlands.
Aspergillus fumigatus is the most frequent fungus found in the sputum of cystic fibrosis (CF) subjects. Itraconazole is prescribed for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) or Aspergillus bronchitis in CF subjects. We hypothesized that A. fumigatus isolates in the sputum of CF subjects with previous exposure to itraconazole was associated with higher prevalence of azole resistance. From June 2010 to April 2011, sputum samples from adult CF subjects at Cochin University Hospital (France) were examined systematically for the detection of A. fumigatus. MICs of A. fumigatus isolates against azoles were screened using Etest, and reduced susceptibility to azoles was confirmed using the CLSI broth microdilution method. A. fumigatus was isolated from the sputum of 131/249 (52.6%) adult CF subjects, and 47/131 (35.9%) subjects had received previous treatment with itraconazole. Reduced A. fumigatus susceptibility to itraconazole (MIC, ≥2 mg/liter) was confirmed in 6/131 (4.6%) subjects. All 6 isolates also had reduced susceptibility to posaconazole (MIC, ≥0.5 mg/liter), and 3/6 isolates had reduced susceptibility to voriconazole (MIC, ≥2 mg/liter). Mutations in the cyp51A gene were detected at positions previously implicated to cause resistance in 5 isolates. Azole-resistant A. fumigatus isolates were found in 5/25 (20%) subjects exposed to itraconazole within the previous 3 years. High rates of azole-resistant A. fumigatus isolates were present in adult CF subjects and were associated with recent itraconazole exposure. Although the clinical implications of these findings will require further studies, the cautious use of itraconazole in adult CF subjects can be recommended.
the Netherlands; Q fever; outbreak; Coxiella burnetii; MST; MLVA; bacteria; ruminants. goats; sheep; humans; multilocus variable-number tandem repeats analysis; multispacer sequence typing; genotypes; epidemic
We recently reported an outbreak of invasive aspergillosis in the major heart surgery unit of Hospital Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain (T. Peláez, P. Muñoz, J. Guinea, M. Valerio, M. Giannella, C. H. W. Klaassen, and E. Bouza, Clin. Infect. Dis., in press). Aspergillus fumigatus was isolated from clinical samples from 10 patients admitted to the unit during the outbreak period (surgical wound invasive aspergillosis, n = 2; probable pulmonary invasive aspergillosis, n = 4; colonization, n = 4). In the study described here, we have studied the genotypic diversity of the A. fumigatus isolates found in the air and clinical samples. We used short tandem repeats of A. fumigatus (STRAf) typing to analyze the genotypes found in the 168 available A. fumigatus isolates collected from the clinical samples (n = 109) from the patients and from the environmental samples taken from the air of the unit (n = 59). The genotypic variability of A. fumigatus was higher in environmental than in clinical samples. Intrasample variability was also higher in environmental than in clinical samples: 2 or more different genotypes were found in 26% and 89% of clinical and environmental samples, respectively. We found matches between environmental and clinical isolates in 3 of the 10 patients: 1 patient with postsurgical invasive aspergillosis and 2 patients with probable pulmonary invasive aspergillosis. A total of 7 genotypes from 3 different patients and the air grouped together in 2 clusters. Clonally related genotypes and microvariants were detected in both clinical and environmental samples. STRAf typing proved to be a valuable tool for identifying the source of invasive aspergillosis outbreaks and for studying the genotypic diversity of clinical and environmental A. fumigatus isolates.
Azoles play an important role in the management of Aspergillus diseases. Azole resistance is an emerging global problem in Aspergillus fumigatus, and may develop through patient therapy. In addition, an environmental route of resistance development has been suggested through exposure to 14α-demethylase inhibitors (DMIs). The main resistance mechanism associated with this putative fungicide-driven route is a combination of alterations in the Cyp51A-gene (TR34/L98H). We investigated if TR34/L98H could have developed through exposure to DMIs.
Methods and Findings
Thirty-one compounds that have been authorized for use as fungicides, herbicides, herbicide safeners and plant growth regulators in the Netherlands between 1970 and 2005, were investigated for cross-resistance to medical triazoles. Furthermore, CYP51-protein homology modeling and molecule alignment studies were performed to identify similarity in molecule structure and docking modes. Five triazole DMIs, propiconazole, bromuconazole, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole and difenoconazole, showed very similar molecule structures to the medical triazoles and adopted similar poses while docking the protein. These DMIs also showed the greatest cross-resistance and, importantly, were authorized for use between 1990 and 1996, directly preceding the recovery of the first clinical TR34/L98H isolate in 1998. Through microsatellite genotyping of TR34/L98H isolates we were able to calculate that the first isolate would have arisen in 1997, confirming the results of the abovementioned experiments. Finally, we performed induction experiments to investigate if TR34/L98H could be induced under laboratory conditions. One isolate evolved from two copies of the tandem repeat to three, indicating that fungicide pressure can indeed result in these genomic changes.
Our findings support a fungicide-driven route of TR34/L98H development in A. fumigatus. Similar molecule structure characteristics of five triazole DMIs and the three medical triazoles appear the underlying mechanism of cross resistance development. Our findings have major implications for the assessment of health risks associated with the use of triazole DMIs.
A high-resolution amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) methodology was developed to achieve the delineation of closely related Lactococcus lactis strains. The differentiation depth of 24 enzyme-primer-nucleotide combinations was experimentally evaluated to maximize the number of polymorphisms. The resolution depth was confirmed by performing diversity analysis on 82 L. lactis strains, including both closely and distantly related strains with dairy and nondairy origins. Strains clustered into two main genomic lineages of L. lactis subsp. lactis and L. lactis subsp. cremoris type-strain-like genotypes and a third novel genomic lineage rooted from the L. lactis subsp. lactis genomic lineage. Cluster differentiation was highly correlated with small-subunit rRNA homology and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) studies. Additionally, the selected enzyme-primer combination generated L. lactis subsp. cremoris phenotype-specific fragments irrespective of the genotype. These phenotype-specific markers allowed the differentiation of L. lactis subsp. lactis phenotype from L. lactis subsp. cremoris phenotype strains within the same L. lactis subsp. cremoris type-strain-like genomic lineage, illustrating the potential of AFLP for the generation of phenotype-linked genetic markers.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an increasing problem in the Caribbean. We investigated the molecular epidemiology of MRSA isolates on Cuba.
The predominant clone was of the spa type t149, followed by community-associated MRSA USA300.
We report the first molecular typing results of MRSA isolates from Cuba.
MRSA; Cuba; Caribbean; Infection control; Hospital-associated-infection; Low-resource setting
Cryptococcus gattii; the Netherlands; Europe; fungi; climate
By performing genotyping, a laboratory contamination involving Q fever was traced back to the antigen preparation used in a commercially available complement fixation test. It was established that such antigen preparations contain relatively high loads of DNA/RNA, making them potential sources of contamination but also convenient preparations for control material.
The in vitro susceptibilities of a worldwide collection of 350 Cryptococcus gattii isolates to seven antifungal drugs, including the new triazole isavuconazole, were tested. With amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting, human, veterinary, and environmental C. gattii isolates were subdivided into seven AFLP genotypes, including the interspecies hybrids AFLP8 and AFLP9. The majority of clinical isolates (n = 215) comprised genotypes AFLP4 (n = 76) and AFLP6 (n = 103). The clinical AFLP6 isolates had significantly higher geometric mean MICs for flucytosine and fluconazole than the clinical AFLP4 isolates. Of the seven antifungal compounds examined in this study, isavuconazole had the lowest MIC90 (0.125 μg/ml) for all C. gattii isolates, followed by a 1 log2 dilution step increase (MIC90, 0.25 μg/ml) for itraconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole. Amphotericin B had an acceptable MIC90 of 0.5 μg/ml, but fluconazole and flucytosine had relatively high MIC90s of 8 μg/ml.
Contamination of an in-house diagnostic real-time PCR for Q fever was traced back to a commercially obtained PCR Master Mix. It was established that this Master Mix contained DNA from Coxiella burnetii, probably as a result of the use of compounds of animal origin such as bovine serum albumin.
In the Netherlands, there is an ongoing and unparalleled outbreak of Q fever. Rapid and reliable methods to identify patients infected with Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, are urgently needed. We evaluated the performance of different DNA extraction methods and real-time PCR assays that are in use in seven diagnostic or reference laboratories in the Netherlands. A low degree of variation in the sensitivities of most of the developed real-time PCR assays was observed. However, PCR assays amplifying short DNA fragments yielded better results than those producing large DNA fragments. With regard to DNA extraction, the automated MagNA Pure Compact system and the manual QIAamp DNA mini kit consistently yielded better results than either the MagNA Pure LC system and NucliSens EasyMag (both automated) or the High Pure viral nucleic acid kit (manual). The present study shows that multiple combinations of DNA extraction kits and real-time PCR assays offer equivalent solutions to detect C. burnetii DNA in serum samples from patients suspected to have Q fever.
Q fever is a zoonosis caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii. One of the largest reported outbreaks of Q fever in humans occurred in the Netherlands starting in 2007; epidemiologic investigations identified small ruminants as the source. To determine the genetic background of C. burnetii in domestic ruminants responsible for the human Q fever outbreak, we genotyped 126 C. burnetii–positive samples from ruminants by using a 10-loci multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analyses panel and compared them with internationally known genotypes. One unique genotype predominated in dairy goat herds and 1 sheep herd in the human Q fever outbreak area in the south of the Netherlands. On the basis of 4 loci, this genotype is similar to a human genotype from the Netherlands. This finding strengthens the probability that this genotype of C. burnetii is responsible for the human Q fever epidemic in the Netherlands.
Q fever; Coxiella burnetii; molecular epidemiology; bacteria; zoonoses; goat; sheep; cattle; the Netherlands; research
Worldwide, Aspergillus flavus is the second leading cause of allergic, invasive and colonizing fungal diseases in humans. However, it is the most common species causing fungal rhinosinusitis and eye infections in tropical countries. Despite the growing challenges due to A. flavus, the molecular epidemiology of this fungus has not been well studied. We evaluated the use of microsatellites for high resolution genotyping of A. flavus from India and a possible connection between clinical presentation and genotype of the involved isolate.
A panel of nine microsatellite markers were selected from the genome of A. flavus NRRL 3357. These markers were used to type 162 clinical isolates of A. flavus. All nine markers proved to be polymorphic displaying up to 33 alleles per marker. Thirteen isolates proved to be a mixture of different genotypes. Among the 149 pure isolates, 124 different genotypes could be recognized. The discriminatory power (D) for the individual markers ranged from 0.657 to 0.954. The D value of the panel of nine markers combined was 0.997. The multiplex multicolor approach was instrumental in rapid typing of a large number of isolates. There was no correlation between genotype and the clinical presentation of the infection.
There is a large genotypic diversity in clinical A. flavus isolates from India. The presence of more than one genotype in clinical samples illustrates the possibility that persons may be colonized by multiple genotypes and that any isolate from a clinical specimen is not necessarily the one actually causing infection. Microsatellites are excellent typing targets for discriminating between A. flavus isolates from various origins.
Microsatellite-based genotyping for Candida albicans can give discrepant results between laboratories when expressed in fragment sizes, because their determination depends on electrophoretic conditions. The interlaboratory reproducibility was assessed in six laboratories provided with an allelic ladder. Despite variations in size determinations, alleles were correctly assigned, making data transportable between laboratories.
The amplified fragment length polymorphism technique has been applied to identify neurotropic chaetothyrialean black yeasts and relatives from clinical sources. Cladophialophora bantiana, C. emmonsii, C. arxii, C. devriesii, and C. modesta, previously identified on the basis of sequencing and phenotypic and physiological criteria, were confirmed by cluster analysis, demonstrating the clear separation of C. bantiana as a rather homogeneous group from the other species. C. bantiana is a neurotropic fungus causing cerebral abscesses with a mortality of up to 70%. Successful therapy consists of neurosurgical intervention and optimal antifungal therapy. Since the latter is not clearly defined in a large series, we tested the in vitro activities of eight antifungal drugs against clinical isolates of C. bantiana (n = 37), C. modesta (n = 2), C. arxii (n = 1), C. emmonsii (n = 1), and C. devriesii (n = 1), all of which had caused invasive infections. The resulting MIC90s for all neurotropic C. bantiana strains were as follows, in increasing order: posaconazole, 0.125 μg/ml; itraconazole, 0.125 μg/ml; isavuconazole, 0.5 μg/ml; amphotericin B, 1 μg/ml; voriconazole, 2 μg/ml; anidulafungin, 2 μg/ml; caspofungin, 4 μg/ml; and fluconazole, 64 μg/ml. On the basis of these in vitro results and the findings of previous clinical and animal studies, posaconazole seems to be a good alternative to the standard treatment, amphotericin B, for C. bantiana cerebral infections. The new agent isavuconazole, which is also available as an intravenous preparation, has adequate activity against C. bantiana.
Human cryptococcal infections have been associated with bird droppings as a likely source of infection. Studies toward the local and global epidemiology of Cryptococcus spp. have been hampered by the lack of rapid, discriminatory, and exchangeable molecular typing methods.
We selected nine microsatellite markers for high-resolution fingerprinting from the genome of C. neoformans var. grubii. This panel of markers was applied to a collection of clinical (n = 122) and environmental (n = 68; from pigeon guano) C. neoformans var. grubii isolates from Cuba. All markers proved to be polymorphic. The average number of alleles per marker was 9 (range 5–51). A total of 104 genotypes could be distinguished. The discriminatory power of this panel of markers was 0.993. Multiple clusters of related genotypes could be discriminated that differed in only one or two microsatellite markers. These clusters were assigned as microsatellite complexes. The majority of environmental isolates (>70%) fell into 1 microsatellite complex containing only few clinical isolates (49 environmental versus 2 clinical). Clinical isolates were segregated over multiple microsatellite complexes.
A large genotypic variation exists in C. neoformans var. grubii. The genotypic segregation between clinical and environmental isolates from pigeon guano suggests additional source(s) of human cryptococcal infections. The selected panel of microsatellite markers is an excellent tool to study the epidemiology of C. neoformans var. grubii.
Coxiella burnetii; DNA fingerprinting; epidemiology; outbreak; letter
Broad-spectrum analysis for pathogens in patients with respiratory tract infections is becoming more relevant as the number of potential infectious agents is still increasing. Here we describe the new multiparameter RespiFinder assay, which is based on the multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) technology. This assay detects 15 respiratory viruses in one reaction. The MLPA reaction is preceded by a preamplification step which ensures the detection of both RNA and DNA viruses with the same specificity and sensitivity as individual monoplex real-time reverse transcription-PCRs. The RespiFinder assay was validated with 144 clinical samples, and the results of the assay were compared to those of cell culture and a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-specific immunochromatography assay (ICA). Compared to the cell culture results, the RespiFinder assay showed specificities and sensitivities of 98.2% and 100%, respectively, for adenovirus; 96.4% and 100%, respectively, for human metapneumovirus; 98.2% and 100%, respectively, for influenza A virus (InfA); 99.1% and 100%, respectively, for parainfluenza virus type 1 (PIV-1); 99.1% and 80%, respectively, for PIV-3; 90.1% and 100%, respectively, for rhinovirus; and 94.6% and 100%, respectively, for RSV. Compared to the results of the RSV-specific ICA, the RespiFinder assay gave a specificity and a sensitivity of 82.4% and 80%, respectively. PIV-2, PIV-4, influenza B virus, InfA H5N1, and coronavirus 229E were not detected in the clinical specimens tested. The use of the RespiFinder assay resulted in an increase in the diagnostic yield compared to that obtained by cell culture (diagnostic yields, 60% and 35.5%, respectively). In conclusion, the RespiFinder assay provides a user-friendly and high-throughput tool for the simultaneous detection of 15 respiratory viruses with excellent overall performance statistics.