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1.  Vancomycin Revisited – 60 Years Later 
Vancomycin is one of the older antibiotics that has been now in clinical use close to 60 years. Earlier on, vancomycin was associated with many side effects including vestibular and renal, most likely due to impurities contained in early vancomycin lots. Over the years, the impurities have been removed and the compound has now far less vestibular adverse effects, but still possesses renal toxicity if administered at higher doses rendering trough serum levels of >15 mcg/mL or if administered for prolonged periods of time. Vancomycin is effective against most Gram-positive cocci and bacilli with the exception of rare organisms as well as enterococci that became vancomycin resistant, mostly Enterococcus faecium. The major use of vancomycin today is for infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) and amoxicillin-resistant enterococci. In its oral form, vancomycin is used to treat diarrhea caused by Clsotridium difficile. With S. aureus, there are only a handful of vancomycin-resistant strains. Nevertheless, a “vancomycin creep” that is slow upward trending of vancomycin MIC from <1 mcg/mL to higher values has been noted in several parts of the world, but not globally, and strains that have MIC’s of 1.5–2 mcg/mL are associated with high therapeutic failure rates. This phenomenon has also been recently recognized in methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). While vancomycin is relatively a safe agent adverse events include the “red man” syndrome, allergic reactions, and various bone marrow effects as well as nephrotoxicity. Vancomycin has been a very important tool in our therapeutic armamentarium that remained effective for many years, it is likely remain effective as long as resistance to vancomycin remains controlled.
doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00217
PMCID: PMC4215627  PMID: 25401098
vancomycin; MRSA; VRE; “red man” syndrome; nephrotoxicity; oral-vancomycin; safety; dose
2.  Feasibility and success of HIV point-of-care testing in an emergency department in an urban Canadian setting 
BACKGROUND:
Approximately 26% of Canadians living with HIV are unaware of their status. Point-of-care (POC) HIV tests have been introduced to simplify and expand HIV testing.
OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of POC testing in an emergency department (ED) setting in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
METHODS:
A cross-sectional study of unselected adults presenting to the ED at the Health Sciences Centre Hospital (Winnipeg, Manitoba) was performed. Study procedures included pre- and post-test counselling, administration of the INSTI HIV-1/HIV-2 Antibody Test (bioLytical Laboratories, Canada) and a brief questionnaire. Venous blood samples were collected from participants for confirmatory testing on all reactive and indeterminate specimens.
RESULTS:
In total, 501 adults participated in the study. The majority of participants were younger than 40 years of age, approximately one-half (48.5%) were women and 53% self-identified as Aboriginal. Nearly one-half (49.1%) of the participants had undergone previous HIV testing, although 63% of these tests were performed more than a year earlier. A total of seven individuals tested reactive with the POC test, all of whom were confirmed positive using serological testing (1.4%) and were linked to an HIV specialist within 24 h. Nearly all of the participants (96%) reported satisfaction with the test and believed it belonged in the ED (93%).
CONCLUSIONS:
Of the participants tested, 1.4% tested reactive for HIV, which is significantly higher than the reported prevalence in Manitoba and in other similar studies conducted in North America. Furthermore, all individuals were linked to timely care. The present study demonstrated that this particular busy tertiary care ED is an important and feasible location for HIV POC testing.
PMCID: PMC3630025  PMID: 24421789
Emergency departments; HIV; Testing
4.  Serological survey of the novel influenza A H1N1 in inner city Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2009 
INTRODUCTION:
Little is known about the determinants of pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) infection in Canada among low-income, inner city populations. To inform future influenza planning, the seroprevalence of pH1N1 antibodies among inner city clinic attendees in Winnipeg (Manitoba) according to sociodemographic and risk factor characteristics were estimated and vaccination rates were explored.
METHODS:
Adults presenting to three inner city community clinics in Winnipeg from October 2009 to December 2009 were recruited as study participants (n=458). A questionnaire was administered to collect demographic, risk factor and symptom information, and a venous blood sample was collected for hemagglutination inhibition assay testing to detect the presence of antibodies against pH1N1.
RESULTS:
Approximately one-half (53%) of the study participants reported an annual household income of <$10,000/year, and 65% identified as Aboriginal. pH1N1 positivity was 5.7% among those enrolled early in the study and 15.5% among those enrolled later in the study. Positivity was higher among participants who were female, Aboriginal and in contact with children ≤5 years of age. The overall pH1N1 vaccination rate was 28%.
DISCUSSION:
pH1N1 positivity was high among low-income adults accessing clinics in Winnipeg’s inner city compared with the general population. Of further concern were the low rates of uptake of both seasonal and pH1N1 influenza vaccinations. When planning for future influenza outbreaks, it is important to incorporate strategies for the prevention, control, and care of influenza among low-income and inner city adults.
PMCID: PMC3403663  PMID: 23730311
Epidemiology; Hemagglutination inhibition assay; Inner city; Pandemic Influenza A H1N1; pH1N1; Serological survey
5.  Legionella pneumophila Serotype 1 Pneumonia in Patient Receiving Adalimumab 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(11):1872-1874.
We describe a case of severe pneumonia caused by Legionella pneumophila serotype 1 in a woman receiving the tumor necrosis factor–α antagonist to treat rheumatoid arthritis. As use of tumor necrosis factor–α inhibitors increase, clinicians should consider their possible association with legionellosis.
doi:10.3201/eid1811.111505
PMCID: PMC3559148  PMID: 23092579
Legionella; Legionella pneumophila; serotype 1; lung abscess; adalimumab; anti-inflammatory agents; bacteria
6.  Responses to pandemic ASO3-adjuvanted A/California/07/09 H1N1 influenza vaccine in human immunodeficiency virus-infected individuals 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:49.
Background
Influenza infection may be more serious in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals, therefore, vaccination against seasonal and pandemic strains is highly advised. Seasonal influenza vaccines have had no significant negative effects in well controlled HIV infection, but the impact of adjuvanted pandemic A/California/07/2009 H1N1 influenza hemaglutinin (HA) vaccine, which was used for the first time in the Canadian population as an authorized vaccine in autumn 2009, has not been extensively studied.
Objective
Assess vaccine-related effects on CD4+ T cell counts and humoral responses to the vaccine in individuals attending the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial HIV clinic.
Methods
A single dose of ArepanrixTM split vaccine including 3.75 μg A/California/07/2009 H1N1 HA antigen and ASO3 adjuvant was administered to 81 HIV-infected individuals by intramuscular injection. Plasma samples from shortly before, and 1–5 months after vaccination were collected from 80/81 individuals to assess humoral anti-H1N1 HA responses using a sensitive microbead-based array assay. Data on CD4+ T cell counts, plasma viral load, antiretroviral therapy and patient age were collected from clinical records of 81 individuals.
Results
Overall, 36/80 responded to vaccination either by seroconversion to H1N1 HA or with a clear increase in anti-H1N1 HA antibody levels. Approximately 1/3 (28/80) had pre-existing anti-H1N1 HA antibodies and were more likely to respond to vaccination (22/28). Responders had higher baseline CD4+ T cell counts and responders without pre-existing antibodies against H1N1 HA were younger than either non-responders or responders with pre-existing antibodies. Compared to changes in their CD4+ T cell counts observed over a similar time period one year later, vaccine recipients displayed a minor, transient fall in CD4+ T cell numbers, which was greater amongst responders.
Conclusions
We observed low response rates to the 2009 pandemic influenza vaccine among HIV-infected individuals without pre-existing antibodies against H1N1 HA and a minor transient fall in CD4+ T cell numbers, which was accentuated in responders. A single injection of the ArepanrixTM pandemic A/California/07/2009 H1N1 HA split vaccine may be insufficient to induce protective immunity in HIV-infected individuals without pre-existing anti-H1N1 HA responses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-13-49
PMCID: PMC3482569  PMID: 22937824
HIV; influenza; pandemic; A/California/07/2009 H1N1 HA antigen; AS03 oil in water adjuvant; inflammation; CD4+ T cells; age
7.  Invariant NKT Cells: Regulation and Function during Viral Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(8):e1002838.
Natural killer T cells (NKT cells) represent a subset of T lymphocytes that express natural killer (NK) cell surface markers. A subset of NKT cells, termed invariant NKT cells (iNKT), express a highly restricted T cell receptor (TCR) and respond to CD1d-restricted lipid ligands. iNKT cells are now appreciated to play an important role in linking innate and adaptive immune responses and have been implicated in infectious disease, allergy, asthma, autoimmunity, and tumor surveillance. Advances in iNKT identification and purification have allowed for the detailed study of iNKT activity in both humans and mice during a variety of chronic and acute infections. Comparison of iNKT function between non-pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection models and chronic HIV-infected patients implies a role for iNKT activity in controlling immune activation. In vitro studies of influenza infection have revealed novel effector functions of iNKT cells including IL-22 production and modulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, but ex vivo characterization of human iNKT cells during influenza infection are lacking. Similarly, as recent evidence suggests iNKT involvement in dengue virus pathogenesis, iNKT cells may modulate responses to a number of emerging pathogens. This Review will summarize current knowledge of iNKT involvement in responses to viral infections in both human and mouse models and will identify critical gaps in knowledge and opportunities for future study. We will also highlight recent efforts to harness iNKT ligands as vaccine adjuvants capable of improving vaccination-induced cellular immune responses.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002838
PMCID: PMC3420949  PMID: 22916008
8.  Evaluation of influenza-specific humoral response by microbead array analysis 
RATIONALE:
Quantitation and determination of antigen specificity of systemic and mucosal immune responses to influenza vaccination is beneficial for future vaccine development. Previous methods to acquire this information were costly, time consuming and sample exhaustive. The benefits of suspension microbead array (MBA) analysis are numerous. The multiplex capabilities of the system conserve time, money and sample, while generating statistically powerful data.
OBJECTIVE:
To demonstrate the use of the assay by comparing the humoral influenza-specific responses of two cohorts from two countries that differed in circulating influenza strains and rates of influenza vaccination.
METHODS:
Influenza hemagglutinin (HA) from different strains were coated on microbeads and incubated with serum samples to capture immunoglobulin (Ig) A1 and IgG1 host antibodies.
RESULTS:
Statistically significant differences in IgA1 and IgG1 exist between the serum samples from Winnipeg (Manitoba) donors and those from Kenyan (Africa) donors. Data were compared using Mann-Whitney nonparametric tests. The Winnipeg donors had higher mean fluorescence intensity values, with significant P values for anti-HA IgA1 to A/Wyoming/3/2003 (P=0.044), A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (P=0.0179), A/New Caledonia/20/99 (P<0.0001) and B/Tokyo/53/99 (P=0.0002). No differences were seen between the groups in their response to B/Jilin/20/2003. The Winnipeg donors had higher mean fluorescence intensity values, with significant P values for anti-HA IgG1 to A/Wyoming/3/2003 (P=0.0135), B/Tokyo/53/99 (P=0.006) and B/Jilin20/2003 (P=0.026).
CONCLUSION:
Influenza-specific IgA1 and IgG1 antibodies were successfully detected using MBA technology. A significant difference in antibody response was observed between Winnipeg and Kenyan donor serums. MBA analysis is a relatively quick and cost-effective method for serum antibody analysis. The potential to simultaneously assay small sample volumes for a multitude of antigens makes this method invaluable for future vaccine response monitoring.
PMCID: PMC3076152  PMID: 22379485
Hemagglutinin; Immunoglobulin; Influenza; Microbead array
9.  Genetic Polymorphisms and Drug Susceptibility in Four Isolates of Leishmania tropica Obtained from Canadian Soldiers Returning from Afghanistan 
Background
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne parasitic disease characterized by the presence of one or more lesions on the skin that usually heal spontaneously after a few months. Most cases of CL worldwide occur in Southwest Asia, Africa and South America, and a number of cases have been reported among troops deployed to Afghanistan. No vaccines are available against this disease, and its treatment relies on chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to characterize parasites isolated from Canadian soldiers at the molecular level and to determine their susceptibility profile against a panel of antileishmanials to identify appropriate therapies.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Parasites were isolated from skin lesions and characterized as Leishmania tropica based on their pulsed field gel electrophoresis profiles and pteridine reductase 1 (PTR1) sequences. Unusually high allelic polymorphisms were observed at several genetic loci for the L. tropica isolates that were characterized. The drug susceptibility profile of intracellular amastigote parasites was determined using an established macrophage assay. All isolates were sensitive to miltefosine, amphotericin B, sodium stibogluconate (Pentostam) and paromomycin, but were not susceptible to fluconazole. Variable levels of susceptibility were observed for the antimalarial agent atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone). Three Canadian soldiers from this study were successfully treated with miltefosine.
Conclusions/Significance
This study shows high heterogeneity between the two L. tropica allelic versions of a gene but despite this, L. tropica isolated from Afghanistan are susceptible to several of the antileishmanial drugs available.
Author Summary
Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of sandflies, resulting in sores on the skin. No vaccines are available, and treatment relies on chemotherapy. CL has been frequently diagnosed in military personnel deployed to Afghanistan and returning from duty. The parasites isolated from Canadian soldiers were characterized by pulsed field gels and by sequencing conserved genes and were identified as Leishmania tropica. In contrast to other Leishmania species, high allelic polymorphisms were observed at several genetic loci for the L. tropica isolates that were characterized. In vitro susceptibility testing in macrophages showed that all isolates, despite their genetic heterogeneity, were sensitive to most antileishmanial drugs (antimonials, miltefosine, amphotericin B, paromomycin) but were insensitive to fluconazole. This study suggests a number of therapeutic regimens for treating cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. tropica among patients and soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Canadian soldiers from this study were successfully treated with miltefosine.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001463
PMCID: PMC3260320  PMID: 22272366
11.  Immunogenetic Factors Associated with Severe Respiratory Illness Caused by Zoonotic H1N1 and H5N1 Influenza Viruses 
Following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and ongoing sporadic avian-to-human transmission of H5N1 viruses, an emphasis has been placed on better understanding the determinants and pathogenesis of severe influenza infections. Much of the current literature has focused on viral genetics and its impact on host immunity as well as novel risk factors for severe infection (particularly within the H1N1 pandemic). An understanding of the host genetic determinants of susceptibility and severe respiratory illness, however, is currently lacking. By better defining the role of genetic variability in influenza infection and identifying key polymorphisms that impair the host immune response or correlate with protection, we will be able to better identify at-risk populations and new targets for therapeutic interventions and vaccines. This paper will summarize known immunogenetic factors associated with susceptibility or severity of both pH1N1 and H5N1 infections and will also identify genetic pathways and polymorphisms of high relevance for future study.
doi:10.1155/2012/797180
PMCID: PMC3216312  PMID: 22110538
12.  Estimated cumulative incidence of pandemic (H1N1) influenza among pregnant women during the first wave of the 2009 pandemic 
Background
Hospitalization and lab confirmed cases of H1N1 have been reported during the first wave of the 2009 pandemic but these are not accurate measures of influenza incidence in the population. We estimated the cumulative incidence of pandemic (H1N1) influenza among pregnant women in the province of Manitoba during the first wave of the 2009 pandemic.
Methods
Two panels of stored frozen serum specimens collected for routine prenatal screening were randomly selected for testing before (March 2009, n = 252) and after (August 2009, n = 296) the first wave of the pandemic. A standard hemagglutination inhibition assay was used to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus. The cumulative incidence of pandemic (H1N1) influenza was calculated as the difference between the point prevalence rates in the first and second panels.
Results
Of the specimens collected in March, 7.1% were positive for the IgG antibodies (serum antibody titre ≥ 1:40). The corresponding prevalence was 15.7% among the specimens collected in August. The difference indicated a cumulative incidence of 8.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.2%–13.7%). The rate differed geographically, the highest being in the northern regions (20.8%, 95% CI 7.9%–31.8%), as compared with 4.0% (95% CI 0.0%–11.9%) in Winnipeg and 8.9% (95% CI 0.0%–18.8%) in the rest of the province.
Interpretation
We estimated that the cumulative incidence of pandemic (H1N1) influenza among pregnant women in Manitoba during the first wave of the 2009 pandemic was 8.6%. It was 20.8% in the northern regions of the province.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.100488
PMCID: PMC2950183  PMID: 20823167
13.  Chemokine Receptor 5 Δ32 Allele in Patients with Severe Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(10):1621-1622.
Because chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) may have a role in pulmonary immune response, we explored whether patients with severe pandemic (H1N1) 2009 were more likely to carry the CCR5Δ32 allele than were members of the general population. We found a large proportion of heterozygosity for the CCR5Δ32 allele among white patients with severe disease.
doi:10.3201/eid1610.100108
PMCID: PMC3294998  PMID: 20875295
Influenza; CCR5; pandemic (H1N1) 2009; viruses; dispatch
14.  Use of oral miltefosine for cutaneous leishmaniasis in Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan 
Old world cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is caused by Leishmania major and Leishmania tropica, and is endemic to several Asian and Middle-Eastern countries where the rates of infection can be substantial. CL is one of the most common vector-transmitted parasitic infections in Afghanistan. Six cases of CL in Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan are reported in the present study. Their lesions did not improve with fluconazole therapy, and the organism demonstrated in vitro resistance. Oral miltefosine seemed effective.
PMCID: PMC2663468  PMID: 19436567
Cutaneous leishmaniasis; Leishmaniasis; Phlebotomus
15.  Capsular Polysaccharide Synthesis Regions in Klebsiella pneumoniae Serotype K57 and a New Capsular Serotype▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(7):2231-2240.
Community-acquired pyogenic liver abscess caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae is an emerging infectious disease. We explored the capsular polysaccharide synthesis (cps) regions of three non-K1, non-K2 K. pneumoniae strains, A1142, A7754, and A1517, from Taiwanese patients experiencing pyogenic liver abscess. Two of the strains, A1142 and A7754, belonged to capsular serotype K57, while the third belonged to a new capsular serotype, different from the previously reported 77 serotypes. Deletion and complementation experiments suggested that a unique K57 gene, a homologue of wzy, was essential for K57 capsular synthesis and confirmed that this gene cluster was a genetic coding region for K57. Compared to K1 and K2 strains, the three strains were all serum sensitive, suggesting that host factors might also be involved in the three patients. PCR using primers from specific genes for K57 was more sensitive and specific than traditional serotyping. The remaining strain, A1517, did not react to the antisera from any of the 77 serotypes, and none of the 77 reference strains reacted to the serum against this strain. Moreover, PCR analyses using various primer pairs from the serotype-specific open reading frames did not reveal cross-reactivity to any of the 77 reference strains, suggesting that this strain likely represents a new capsular type. We conclude that sequences from these two cps regions are very useful in detecting K57 and the new cps genotype.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01716-07
PMCID: PMC2446917  PMID: 18508935

Results 1-15 (15)