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1.  Is It Time to Replace Vancomycin in the Treatment of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections? 
The role of vancomycin has been challenged by the availability of alternative antibiotics, increased reports of vancomycin failure, and uncertainties in dosing. This manuscript considers the optimal treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections.
For more than 4 decades, vancomycin has been the antibiotic of choice for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Recently, infections due to isolates with high but susceptible vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentrations have been associated with additional treatment failures and patient mortality. These poorer outcomes may in part be explained by the inability of attaining appropriate vancomycin levels in these patients. However, assumptions that these poor outcomes are solely due to failure to achieve optimal serum levels of vancomycin are premature. The availability of effective alternatives further erodes the position of vancomycin as first-line therapy. The emergence of resistance and cost considerations, however, favor a more measured approach when using alternative antimicrobials. Collectively, the current available data suggest that the optimal therapy for MRSA infections remains unclear. In the absence of further data, the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines remain relevant and inform clinicians of best practice for treating patients with MRSA infections.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit178
PMCID: PMC3658366  PMID: 23511300
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA, hVISA, VISA; vancomycin; AUC/MIC targets; minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC)
2.  Epidemiology and outcome of major postoperative infections following cardiac surgery: Risk factors and impact of pathogen type 
Background
Major postoperative infections (MPIs) are poorly understood complications of cardiac surgery. We examined the epidemiology, microbiology, and outcome of MPIs occurring after cardiac surgery.
Methods
The study cohort was drawn from the Society of Thoracic Surgeon National Cardiac Database and comprised adults who underwent cardiac surgery at 5 tertiary hospitals between 2000 and 2004. We studied the incidence, microbiology, and risk factors of MPI (bloodstream or chest wound infections within 30 days after surgery), as well as 30-day mortality. We used multivariate regression analyses to evaluate the risk of MPI and mortality.
Results
MPI was identified in 341 of 10,522 patients (3.2%). Staphylococci were found in 52.5% of these patients, gram-negative bacilli (GNB) in 24.3%, and other pathogens in 23.2%. High body mass index, previous coronary bypass surgery, emergency surgery, renal impairment, immunosuppression, cardiac failure, and peripheral/cerebrovascular disease were associated with the development of MPI. Median postoperative duration of hospitalization (15 days vs 6 days) and mortality (8.5% vs 2.2%) were higher in patients with MPIs. Compared with uninfected individuals, odds of mortality were higher in patients with S aureus MPIs (adjusted odds ratio, 3.7) and GNB MPIs (adjusted odds ratio, 3.0).
Conclusions
Staphylococci accounted for the majority of MPIs after cardiac surgery. Mortality was higher in patients with Staphylococcus aureus- and GNB-related MPIs than in patients with MPIs caused by other pathogens and uninfected patients. Preventive strategies should target likely pathogens and high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2012.01.012
PMCID: PMC3535474  PMID: 22609237
Wound infection; Sepsis; Cardiac surgical procedures; Morbidity; Mortality
3.  Delays in Appropriate Antibiotic Therapy for Gram-Negative Bloodstream Infections: A Multicenter, Community Hospital Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76225.
Background
Gram-negative bacterial bloodstream infection (BSI) is a serious condition with estimated 30% mortality. Clinical outcomes for patients with severe infections improve when antibiotics are appropriately chosen and given early. The objective of this study was to estimate the association of prior healthcare exposure on time to appropriate antibiotic therapy in patients with gram-negative BSI.
Method
We performed a multicenter cohort study of adult, hospitalized patients with gram-negative BSI using time to event analysis in nine community hospitals from 2003-2006. Event time was defined as the first administration of an antibiotic with in vitro activity against the infecting organism. Healthcare exposure status was categorized as community-acquired, healthcare-associated, or hospital-acquired. Time to appropriate therapy among groups of patients with differing healthcare exposure status was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analyses and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models.
Results
The cohort included 578 patients with gram-negative BSI, including 320 (55%) healthcare-associated, 217 (38%) community-acquired, and 41 (7%) hospital-acquired infections. 529 (92%) patients received an appropriate antibiotic during their hospitalization. Time to appropriate therapy was significantly different among the groups of healthcare exposure status (log-rank p=0.02). Time to first antibiotic administration regardless of drug appropriateness was not different between groups (p=0.3). The unadjusted hazard ratios (HR) (95% confidence interval) were 0.80 (0.65-0.98) for healthcare-associated and 0.72 (0.63-0.82) for hospital-acquired, relative to patients with community-acquired BSI. In multivariable analysis, interaction was found between the main effect and baseline Charlson comorbidity index. When Charlson index was 3, adjusted HRs were 0.66 (0.48-0.92) for healthcare-associated and 0.57 (0.44-0.75) for hospital-acquired, relative to patients with community-acquired infections.
Conclusions
Patients with healthcare-associated or hospital-acquired BSI experienced delays in receipt of appropriate antibiotics for gram-negative BSI compared to patients with community-acquired BSI. This difference was not due to delayed initiation of antibiotic therapy, but due to the inappropriate choice of antibiotic.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076225
PMCID: PMC3789716  PMID: 24098449
4.  Discriminative Value of Inflammatory Biomarkers for Suspected Sepsis 
Background
Circulating biomarkers can facilitate sepsis diagnosis enabling early management and improved outcomes. Procalcitonin (PCT) has been suggested to have superior diagnostic utility compared to other biomarkers.
Methods
Adults with suspected sepsis in the Emergency Department were enrolled. PCT, CRP, and IL-6 were correlated with infection likelihood, sepsis severity, and septicemia. Multivariable models were constructed for length-of-stay and discharge to a higher level of care.
Results
Of 336 enrolled subjects, 60% had definite infection, 13% possible infection and 27% no infection. Of those with infection, 202 presented with sepsis, 28 with severe sepsis, and 17 with septic shock. Overall, 21% of subjects were septicemic. PCT, IL6, and CRP levels were significantly higher in septicemia (median PCT 2.3 vs. 0.2ng/mL; IL-6 178 vs. 72pg/mL; CRP 106 vs. 62mg/dL, p<0.001). Biomarker concentrations increased with greater likelihood of infection and sepsis severity. Using ROC analysis, PCT best predicted septicemia (0.78 vs. IL-6 0.70 and CRP 0.67) but CRP better identified clinical infection (0.75 vs. PCT 0.71 and IL-6 0.69). A PCT cut-off of 0.5ng/mL had 72.6% sensitivity and 69.5% specificity for bacteremia as well as 40.7% sensitivity and 87.2% specificity for diagnosing infection. A combined clinical-biomarker model revealed that CRP was marginally associated with length-of-stay (p=0.015), but no biomarker independently predicted discharge to a higher level of care.
Conclusions
In adult Emergency Department patients with suspected sepsis, PCT, IL-6, and CRP highly correlate with several infection parameters, but do not meaningfully predict length-of-stay or need for discharge to a higher level of care.
doi:10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.05.072
PMCID: PMC3740117  PMID: 22056545
Sepsis; Procalcitonin; Interleukin-6; C-Reactive Protein; Sensitivity and Specificity
5.  Chelating agents exert distinct effects on biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus depending on strain background: role for clumping factor B 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2012;61(Pt 8):1062-1070.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of catheter infections, and biofilm formation plays a key role in the pathogenesis. Metal ion chelators inhibit bacterial biofilm formation and viability, making them attractive candidates as components in catheter lock solutions. The goal of this study was to characterize further the effect of chelators on biofilm formation. The effect of the calcium chelators ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA) and trisodium citrate (TSC) on biofilm formation by 30 S. aureus strains was tested. The response to subinhibitory doses of EGTA and TSC varied dramatically depending on strain variation. In some strains, the chelators prevented biofilm formation, in others they had no effect, and they actually enhanced biofilm formation in others. The molecular basis for this phenotypic variability was investigated using two related strains: Newman, in which biofilm formation was inhibited by chelators, and 10833, which formed strong biofilms in the presence of chelators. It was found that deletion of the gene encoding the surface adhesin clumping factor B (clfB) completely eliminated chelator-induced biofilm formation in strain 10833. The role of ClfB in biofilm formation activity in chelators was confirmed in additional strains. It was concluded that biofilm-forming ability varies strikingly depending on strain background, and that ClfB is involved in biofilm formation in the presence EGTA and citrate. These results suggest that subinhibitory doses of chelating agents in catheter lock solutions may actually augment biofilm formation in certain strains of S. aureus, and emphasize the importance of using these agents appropriately so that inhibitory doses are achieved consistently.
doi:10.1099/jmm.0.040758-0
PMCID: PMC3542134  PMID: 22516131
6.  Health Care–Associated Native Valve Endocarditis in Patients with no History of Injection Drug Use: Current Importance of Non-Nosocomial Acquisition 
Annals of internal medicine  2009;150(9):586-594.
Background
The clinical profile and outcome of nosocomial and non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis are not well defined.
Objective
To describe the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of nosocomial and non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis.
Design
Prospective observational study.
Setting
61 hospitals in 28 countries.
Patients
Patients with definite native valve endocarditis and no history of injection drug use who were enrolled in the International Collaboration on Endocarditis–Prospective Cohort Study from June 2000 to August 2005.
Measurements
Characteristics of nosocomial and non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis cases were described and compared with those cases acquired in the community.
Results
Health care–associated native valve endocarditis was present in 557 (34%) of 1622 patients with native valve endocarditis and no history of injection drug use (nosocomial native valve endocarditis 303 patients [54%]; non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis 254 patients [46%]). Staphylococcus aureus was the most common cause of health care-associated native valve endocarditis (nosocomial native valve endocarditis, 47%; non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis, 42%; p=0.3), with a notable proportion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (nosocomial native valve endocarditis, 57%; non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis, 41%; p=0.014). Patients with health care–associated native valve endocarditis had lower rates of cardiac surgery (41% health care–associated native valve endocarditis vs 51% community-acquired native valve endocarditis, p<0.001) and higher in-hospital mortality rates than patients with community-acquired native valve endocarditis (25% health care–associated native valve endocarditis vs. 13% community-acquired native valve endocarditis vs., p<0.001). Multivariable analysis confirmed a higher mortality associated with health care–associated native valve endocarditis (incidence risk ratio=1.20 (CI 95%, 1.03–1.61).
Limitations
This study involves tertiary hospitals with cardiac surgery programs. The results may not be generalized to patient populations receiving care in other types of facility.
Conclusions
More than one-third of all cases of native valve endocarditis in non-drug users involve contact with health care. S. aureus is the leading cause of health care–associated native valve endocarditis. Non-nosocomial health care–associated native valve endocarditis is common, especially in the US. Patients with health care-associated and community-acquired native valve endocarditis differ in their presentation, microbiology, and outcome. By contrast, patients with nosocomial and non-nosocomial healthcare-associated endocarditis are similar.
PMCID: PMC3625649  PMID: 19414837
infective endocarditis; healthcare-associated endocarditis; nosocomial endocarditis; non-nosocomial healthcare-associated endocarditis; community-acquired endocarditis; Staphylococcal aureus endocarditis; MRSA endocarditis; Coagulase-negative staphylococcal endocarditis; Surgery; Outcome
7.  Clinical Presentation, Etiology and Outcome of Infective Endocarditis in the 21st Century: The International Collaboration on Endocarditis-Prospective Cohort Study 
Archives of internal medicine  2009;169(5):463-473.
Background
The aim of this study was to provide a contemporary picture of the presentation, etiology and outcome of infective endocarditis (IE) in a large patient cohort from multiple locations worldwide.
Methods
Prospective cohort study of 2781 adults with definite IE admitted to 58 hospitals in 25 countries between June 2000 and September 2005.
Results
The median age of the cohort was 57.9 (IQR 43.2–71.8) years and 72% had native valve IE. Most (77%) patients presented early in the disease (<30 days) with few of the classic clinical hallmarks of IE. Recent health-care exposure was found in one quarter of patients. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (31%). Mitral (41%) and aortic (38%) valves were infected most commonly. Complications were common: stroke (17%); embolization other than stroke (23%); heart failure (32%) and intracardiac abscess (14%). Surgical therapy was common (48%) and in-hospital mortality remained high (18%). Prosthetic valve involvement (OR 1.47, 95%CI 1.13–1.90), increasing age (OR 1.30, 95%CI 1.17–1.46 per 10-year interval), pulmonary edema (OR 1.79, 95%CI 1.39–2.30), S. aureus infection (OR 1.54, 95%CI 1.14–2.08), coagulase-negative staphylococcal infection (OR 1.50, 95%CI 1.07–2.10), mitral valve vegetation (OR 1.34, 95%CI 1.06–1.68), and paravalvular complications (OR 2.25, 95%CI 1.64–3.09) were associated with increased risk of in-hospital death, while viridans streptococcal infection (OR 0.52, 95%CI 0.33–0.81) and surgery (OR 0.61, 95%CI 0.44–0.83) were associated with decreased risk.
Conclusions
In the early 21st century, IE is more often an acute disease, characterized by a high rate of S. aureus infection. Mortality remains relatively high.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.603
PMCID: PMC3625651  PMID: 19273776
8.  Analysis of the Impact of Early Surgery on In-hospital Mortality of Native Valve Endocarditis: Use of Propensity Score and Instrumental Variable Methods to Adjust for Treatment Selection Bias 
Circulation  2010;121(8):1005-1013.
Background
The impact of early surgery on mortality in patients with native valve endocarditis (NVE) is unresolved. This study seeks to evaluate valve surgery compared to medical therapy for NVE, and to identify characteristics of patients who are most likely to benefit from early surgery.
Methods and Results
Using a prospective, multinational cohort of patients with definite NVE, the effect of early surgery on in-hospital mortality was assessed using propensity-based matching adjusting for survivor bias, and instrumental variable analysis. Patients were stratified by propensity quintile, paravalvular complications, valve perforation, systemic embolization, stroke, Staphylococcus aureus infection and congestive heart failure.
Of the 1552 patients with NVE, 720 (46%) underwent early surgery and 832 (54%) were treated with medical therapy. Compared to medical therapy, early surgery was associated with a significant reduction in mortality in the overall cohort (12.1% [87/720] vs. 20.7% [172/832]) and after propensity-based matching and adjustment for survivor bias (absolute risk reduction (ARR) = -5.9 %; p<0.001). Using a combined instrument, the instrumental variable adjusted ARR in mortality associated with early surgery was -11.2% (p<0.001). In sub-group analysis, surgery was found to confer a survival benefit compared to medical therapy among patients with a higher propensity for surgery (ARR= -10.9% for quintiles 4 and 5; p=0.002); those with paravalvular complications (ARR= -17.3 %; p<0.001), systemic embolization (ARR= -12.9%; p=0.002), S aureus NVE (ARR= -20.1%; p<0.001) and stroke (ARR= -13%; p=0.02) but not with valve perforation or congestive heart failure.
Conclusions
Early surgery for NVE is associated with an in-hospital mortality benefit compared to medical therapy alone.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.864488
PMCID: PMC3597944  PMID: 20159831
early surgery; infective endocarditis; medical therapy; in hospital mortality
9.  Colonization, Pathogenicity, Host Susceptibility and Therapeutics for Staphylococcus aureus: What is the Clinical Relevance?1 
Seminars in Immunopathology  2011;34(2):185-200.
Staphylococcus aureus is a human commensal that can also cause a broad spectrum of clinical disease. Factors associated with clinical disease are myriad and dynamic and include pathogen virulence, antimicrobial resistance and host susceptibility. Additionally, infection control measures aimed at the environmental niches of S. aureus and therapeutic advances continue to impact upon the incidence and outcomes of staphylococcal infections. This review article focuses on the clinical relevance of advances in our understanding of staphylococcal colonization, virulence, host susceptibility and therapeutics.
Over the past decade key developments have arisen. First, rates of nosocomial methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections have significantly declined in many countries. Second, we have made great strides in our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of S. aureus in general and community-associated MRSA in particular. Third, host risk factors for invasive staphylococcal infections, such as advancing age, increasing numbers of invasive medical interventions, and a growing proportion of patients with healthcare contact, remain dynamic. Finally, several new antimicrobial agents active against MRSA have become available for clinical use.
Humans and S. aureus co-exist and the dynamic interface between host, pathogen and our attempts to influence these interactions will continue to rapidly change. Although progress has been made in the past decade, we are likely to face further surprises such as the recent waves of community-associated MRSA.
doi:10.1007/s00281-011-0300-x
PMCID: PMC3272122  PMID: 22160374
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin-resistant; MRSA; epidemiology; pathogenesis; treatment
11.  Identifying and Aligning Expectations in a Mentoring Relationship 
The mentoring relationship between a scholar and their primary mentor is a core feature of research training. Anecdotal evidence suggests this relationship is adversely affected when scholar and mentor expectations are not aligned. We examined three questions: (1) What is the value in assuring that the expectations of scholars and mentors are mutually identified and aligned? (2) What types of programmatic interventions facilitate this process? (3) What types of expectations are important to identify and align? We addressed these questions through a systematic literature review, focus group interviews of mentors and scholars, a survey of Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) KL2 program directors, and review of formal programmatic mechanisms used by KL2 programs. We found broad support for the importance of identifying and aligning the expectations of scholars and mentors and evidence that mentoring contracts, agreements, and training programs facilitate this process. These tools focus on aligning expectations with respect to the scholar’s research, education, professional development and career advancement as well as support, communication, and personal conduct and interpersonal relations. Research is needed to assess test the efficacy of formal alignment activities.
doi:10.1111/j.1752-8062.2011.00356.x
PMCID: PMC3476480  PMID: 22212226
mentors; mentoring; career development; faculty development; staff development
12.  Presence of Genes Encoding Panton-Valentine Leukocidin Is Not the Primary Determinant of Outcome in Patients with Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia Due to Staphylococcus aureus 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(3):848-856.
The impact of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) on the outcome in Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia is controversial. We genotyped S. aureus isolates from patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) enrolled in two registrational multinational clinical trials for the genetic elements carrying pvl and 30 other virulence genes. A total of 287 isolates (173 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA] and 114 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus [MSSA] isolates) from patients from 127 centers in 34 countries for whom clinical outcomes of cure or failure were available underwent genotyping. Of these, pvl was detected by PCR and its product confirmed in 23 isolates (8.0%) (MRSA, 18/173 isolates [10.4%]; MSSA, 5/114 isolates [4.4%]). The presence of pvl was not associated with a higher risk for clinical failure (4/23 [17.4%] versus 48/264 [18.2%]; P = 1.00) or mortality. These findings persisted after adjustment for multiple potential confounding variables. No significant associations between clinical outcome and (i) presence of any of the 30 other virulence genes tested, (ii) presence of specific bacterial clone, (iii) levels of alpha-hemolysin, or (iv) delta-hemolysin production were identified. This study suggests that neither pvl presence nor in vitro level of alpha-hemolysin production is the primary determinant of outcome among patients with HAP caused by S. aureus.
doi:10.1128/JCM.06219-11
PMCID: PMC3295120  PMID: 22205797
13.  Influence of Host Genetics and Environment on Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in Danish Middle-Aged and Elderly Twins 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(8):1178-1184.
Background. Nasal carriage is a major risk factor for Staphylococcus aureus infection. Approximately, one-quarter of adults carry S. aureus. However, the role of host genetics on S. aureus nasal carriage is unknown.
Methods. Nasal swabs were obtained from a national cohort of middle-aged and elderly Danish twins. Subjects colonized with S. aureus were identified by growth on selective plates and spa typing. A second sample was obtained from twins initially concordant for carriage. Twins found to again be colonized with S. aureus were defined as persistent carriers.
Results. The prevalence of S. aureus carriage among 617 twin pairs (monozygotic/dizygotic pairs: 112/505) was 26.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.0%–28.9%). The concordance rate for carriage did not differ significantly between pairs of monozygotic (37.5%; 95% CI, 22.3%–53.8%) twins and same sex (24.2%; 95% CI, 15.4%–34.5%), and opposite sex (21.4%; 95% CI, 12.0%–33.4%) dizygotic twins. Despite shared childhoods, only 1 of 617 pairs was concordant with respect to lineage. Although heritability increased for S. aureus and lineage persistency, no significant heritability was detected.
Conclusion. In this study, host genetic factors exhibited only a modest influence on the S. aureus carrier state of middle-aged and elderly individuals.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis491
PMCID: PMC3448969  PMID: 22872733
14.  Use of a Simple Criteria Set for Guiding Echocardiography in Nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia 
A set of simple clinical prediction criteria for patients with nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia was developed to identify patients at low risk of infective endocarditis in whom transesophageal echocardiography might be dispensable and was validated with two independent cohorts.
(see the editorial commentary and Soriano and Mensa, on pages 10–12.)
Background. Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe complication in patients with nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB). We sought to develop and validate criteria to identify patients at low risk for the development of IE in whom transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) might be dispensable.
Methods. Consecutive patients with nosocomial SAB from independent cohorts in Europe (Invasive S. aureus Infection Cohort [INSTINCT]) and North America (S. aureus Bacteremia Group [SABG]) were evaluated for the presence of clinical criteria predicting an increased risk for the development of IE (ie, prolonged bacteremia of >4 days' duration, presence of a permanent intracardiac device, hemodialysis dependency, spinal infection, and nonvertebral osteomyelitis). Patients were observed closely for clinical signs and symptoms of IE during hospitalization and a 3-month follow-up period.
Results. IE was present in 13 (4.3%) of 304 patients in the INSTINCT cohort and in 40 (9.3%) of 432 patients in the SABG cohort. Within 14 days after the first positive blood culture result, echocardiography was performed in 39.8% and 57.4% of patients in the INSTINCT and SABG cohorts, respectively. In patients with IE, the most common clinical prediction criteria present were prolonged bacteremia (69.2% vs 90% for INSTINCT vs SABG, respectively) and presence of a permanent intracardiac device (53.8% vs 32.5%). In total, 13 of 13 patients in the INSTINCT cohort and 39 of 40 patients in the SABG cohort with documented IE fulfilled at least 1 criterion (sensitivity, 100% vs. 97.5%; negative predictive value, 100% vs 99.2%).
Conclusions. A simple criteria set for patients with nosocomial SAB can identify patients at low risk of IE. Patients who meet these criteria may not routinely require TEE.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir320
PMCID: PMC3149212  PMID: 21653295
15.  Coagulase-negative Staphylococcal Infections in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 
Background
Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are the most commonly isolated pathogens in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). CoNS infections are associated with increased morbidity including neurodevelopmental impairment.
Objective
Describe the epidemiology of CoNS infections in the NICU. Determine mortality among infants with definite, probable, or possible CoNS infections.
Methods
We performed a retrospective cohort study of all blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid cultures from infants <121 postnatal days.
Setting
248 NICUs managed by the Pediatrix Medical Group from 1997 to 2009.
Results
We identified 16,629 infants with 17,624 episodes of CoNS infection: 1734 (10%) definite, 3093 (17%) probable, and 12,797 (73%) possible infections. Infants with lower gestational age and birth weight had a higher incidence of CoNS infection. Controlling for gestational age, birth weight, and 5-minute Apgar score, infants with definite, probable, or possible CoNS infection had lower mortality—OR=0.74 (95% confidence interval; 0.61, 0.89), OR= 0.68 (0.59, 0.79), and OR=0.69 (0.63, 0.76)—compared to infants with negative cultures (P<0.001). No significant difference in overall mortality was found in infants with definite CoNS infection compared to those with probable or possible CoNS infection—OR=0.93 (0.75, 1.16) and OR=0.85 (0.70, 1.03), respectively.
Conclusions
CoNS infection was strongly related to lower gestational age and birth weight. Infants with clinical sepsis and culture-positive CoNS infection had lower mortality rates than infants with clinical sepsis and negative blood culture results. No difference in mortality between infants diagnosed with definite, probable, or possible CoNS infection was observed.
doi:10.1086/660361
PMCID: PMC3238054  PMID: 21666399
nosocomial infection; infant; prematurity; Staphylococcus
16.  Prevalence of infective endocarditis in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: the value of screening with echocardiography 
Aims
Staphylococcus aureus infective endocarditis (IE) is a critical medical condition associated with a high morbidity and mortality. In the present study, we prospectively evaluated the importance of screening with echocardiography in an unselected S. aureus bacteraemia (SAB) population.
Methods and results
From 1 January 2009 to 31 August 2010, a total of 244 patients with SAB at six Danish hospitals underwent screening echocardiography. The inclusion rate was 73% of all eligible patients (n= 336), and 53 of the 244 included patients (22%; 95% CI: 17–27%) were diagnosed with definite IE. In patients with native heart valves the prevalence was 19% (95% CI: 14–25%) compared with 38% (95% CI: 20–55%) in patients with prosthetic heart valves and/or cardiac rhythm management devices (P= 0.02). No difference was found between Main Regional Hospitals and Tertiary Cardiac Hospitals, 20 vs. 23%, respectively (NS). The prevalence of IE in high-risk patients with one or more predisposing condition or clinical evidence of IE were significantly higher compared with low-risk patients with no additional risk factors (38 vs. 5%; P < 0.001). IE was associated with a higher 6 months mortality, 14(26%) vs. 28(15%) in SAB patients without IE, respectively (P < 0.05).
Conclusion
SAB patients carry a high risk for development of IE, which is associated with a worse prognosis compared with uncomplicated SAB. The presenting symptoms and clinical findings associated with IE are often non-specific and echocardiography should always be considered as part of the initial evaluation of SAB patients.
doi:10.1093/ejechocard/jer023
PMCID: PMC3117467  PMID: 21685200
Infective endocarditis; Echocardiography; Staphylococcus aureus; Screening
17.  Haplotype Association Mapping Identifies a Candidate Gene Region in Mice Infected With Staphylococcus aureus 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(6):693-700.
Exposure to Staphylococcus aureus has a variety of outcomes, from asymptomatic colonization to fatal infection. Strong evidence suggests that host genetics play an important role in susceptibility, but the specific host genetic factors involved are not known. The availability of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data for inbred Mus musculus strains means that haplotype association mapping can be used to identify candidate susceptibility genes. We applied haplotype association mapping to Perlegen SNP data and kidney bacterial counts from Staphylococcus aureus-infected mice from 13 inbred strains and detected an associated block on chromosome 7. Strong experimental evidence supports the result: a separate study demonstrated the presence of a susceptibility locus on chromosome 7 using consomic mice. The associated block contains no genes, but lies within the gene cluster of the 26-member extended kallikrein gene family, whose members have well-recognized roles in the generation of antimicrobial peptides and the regulation of inflammation. Efficient mixed-model association (EMMA) testing of all SNPs with two alleles and located within the gene cluster boundaries finds two significant associations: one of the three polymorphisms defining the associated block and one in the gene closest to the block, Klk1b11. In addition, we find that 7 of the 26 kallikrein genes are differentially expressed between susceptible and resistant mice, including the Klk1b11 gene. These genes represent a promising set of candidate genes influencing susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus.
doi:10.1534/g3.112.002501
PMCID: PMC3362298  PMID: 22690378
host genetic susceptibility; infectious disease; kallikrein gene family
18.  Genetic Variability in Beta-Defensins Is Not Associated with Susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32315.
Introduction
Human beta-defensins are key components of human innate immunity to a variety of pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus. The aim of the present study was to investigate a potential association between gene variations in DEFB1 and DEFB103/DEFB4 and the development of S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) employing a case-control design.
Methods
Cases were unique patients with documented SAB, identified with the National S. aureus Bacteremia Register, a comprehensive dataset of all episodes of community associated-SABs (CA-SAB) occurring in children (≤20 yrs) in Denmark from 1990 to 2006. Controls were age-matched healthy individuals with no history of SAB. DNA obtained from cases and controls using the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank were genotyped for functional polymorphisms of DEFB1 by Sanger sequencing and copy number variation of the DEFB103 and DEFB4 genes using Pyrosequencing-based Paralogue Ratio Test (P-PRT).
Results
193 ethnic Danish SAB cases with 382 age-matched controls were used for this study. S. aureus isolates represented a variety of bacterial (i.e., different spa types) types similar to SAB isolates in general. DEFB1 minor allele frequencies of rs11362 (cases vs. controls 0.47/0.44), rs1800972 (0.21/0.24), and rs1799946 (0.32/0.33) were not significantly different in cases compared with controls. Also, DEFB4/DEFB103 gene copy numbers (means 4.83/4.92) were not significantly different in cases compared with controls.
Conclusions
Using a large, unique cohort of pediatric CA-SAB, we found no significant association between DEFB1 genetic variation or DEFB4/DEFB103 gene copy number and susceptibility for SAB.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032315
PMCID: PMC3285211  PMID: 22384213
19.  Future challenges and treatment of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia with emphasis on MRSA 
Future microbiology  2011;6(1):43-56.
Summary
Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB) is an urgent medical problem due to its growing frequency and its poor associated outcome. As healthcare delivery increasingly involves invasive procedures and implantable devices, the number of patients at risk for SAB and its complications is likely to grow. Compounding this problem is the growing prevalence of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and the dwindling efficacy of vancomycin, long the treatment of choice for this pathogen. Despite the recent availability of several new antibiotics for S. aureus, new strategies for treatment and prevention are required for this serious, common cause of human infection.
doi:10.2217/fmb.10.155
PMCID: PMC3031962  PMID: 21162635
Staphylococcus aureus; bacteremia; MRSA; epidemiology; infective endocarditis; treatment
20.  Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus between Human and Hamster▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(4):1679-1680.
Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) between humans and animals is increasingly recognized. We newly document that the transmission of MRSA between human and hamster is possible.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02469-10
PMCID: PMC3122837  PMID: 21325561
21.  Combinatorial Phenotypic Signatures Distinguish Persistent from Resolving Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Isolates ▿  
Persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (PB) (positive blood cultures after ≥7 days of therapy) represents a clinically challenging subset of invasive MRSA infections. In this investigation, we examined the potential correlation of specific virulence signatures with PB versus resolving MRSA bacteremia (RB) (negative blood cultures within 2 to 4 days of therapy) strains. Thirty-six MRSA isolates from patients enrolled in a recent multinational clinical trial were studied for (i) susceptibility to host defense cationic peptides (HDPs) (i.e., thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins [tPMPs] and human neutrophil peptide 1 [hNP-1]); (ii) adherence to host endovascular ligands (fibronectin) and cells (endothelial cells); and (iii) biofilm formation. We found that PB isolates exhibited significantly reduced susceptibilities to tPMPs and hNP-1 (P < 0.001 and P = 0.023, respectively). There was no significant association between the PB outcome and fibronectin binding, endothelial cell binding, or biofilm formation (P = 0.25, 0.97, and 0.064 versus RB strains, respectively). However, multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the PB outcome was significantly associated with the combination of reduced susceptibilities to HDPs and extent of biofilm formation (P < 0.0001). Similar results were obtained in a second analysis using days of bacteremia as a continuous outcome, showing that reduced HDP susceptibilities and increased biofilm formation cocontributed to predict the duration of bacteremia. Our data indicate that PB isolates have specific pathogenic signatures independent of conventional antimicrobial susceptibility. These combinatorial mosaics can be defined and used to prospectively distinguish PB from RB strains in advance and potentially to predict ultimate clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01028-10
PMCID: PMC3028773  PMID: 21098242
22.  Development of Pooled Suppression Subtractive Hybridization to analyze the Pangenome of Staphylococcus aureus 
We describe the development and application of a pooled Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (PSSH) method to describe differences between the genomic content of a pool of clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates and a sequenced reference strain. In comparative bacterial genomics, Suppression Subtractive Hybridization (SSH) is normally utilized to compare genomic features or expression profiles of one strain versus another, which limits its ability to analyze communities of isolates. However, a PSSH approach theoretically enables the user to characterize the entirety of gene content unique to a related group of isolates in a single reaction. These unique fragments may then be linked to individual isolates through standard PCR. This method was applied to examine the genomic diversity found in pools of Staphylococcus aureus isolates associated with complicated bacteremia infections leading to endocarditis and osteomyelitis. Across four pools of 10 isolates each, four hundred and twenty nine fragments not found in or significantly divergent from the S. aureus NCTC 8325 reference genome were detected. These fragments could be linked to individual strains within its pool by PCR. This is the first use of PSSH to examine the S. aureus pangenome. We propose that PSSH is a powerful tool for researchers interested in rapidly comparing the genomic content of multiple unstudied isolates.
doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2010.01.022
PMCID: PMC2843094  PMID: 20138093
Staphylococcus aureus; pangenome; subtractive hybridization
23.  Determination of an Inoculum Effect with Various Cephalosporins among Clinical Isolates of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus▿  
Using 98 clinical methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus isolates of known β-lactamase (Bla) type, we found a pronounced inoculum effect for cephalexin (mostly Bla type A and C strains), a mild inoculum effect for cephalothin (especially types B and C), and no inoculum effects for ceftriaxone and cefuroxime. Ceftobiprole showed the lowest MICs at a high inoculum but with a slight increase for Bla-positive versus Bla-negative strains. Since a potential therapeutic effect associated with a cephalosporin inoculum effect has been described, further studies are warranted.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01325-09
PMCID: PMC2863656  PMID: 20211890
24.  Multiplex PCR To Diagnose Bloodstream Infections in Patients Admitted from the Emergency Department with Sepsis ▿  
Sepsis is caused by a heterogeneous group of infectious etiologies. Early diagnosis and the provision of appropriate antimicrobial therapy correlate with positive clinical outcomes. Current microbiological techniques are limited in their diagnostic capacities and timeliness. Multiplex PCR has the potential to rapidly identify bloodstream infections and fill this diagnostic gap. We identified patients from two large academic hospital emergency departments with suspected sepsis. The results of a multiplex PCR that could detect 25 bacterial and fungal pathogens were compared to those of blood culture. The results were analyzed with respect to the likelihood of infection, sepsis severity, the site of infection, and the effect of prior antibiotic therapy. We enrolled 306 subjects with suspected sepsis. Of these, 43 were later determined not to have infectious etiologies. Of the remaining 263 subjects, 70% had sepsis, 16% had severe sepsis, and 14% had septic shock. The majority had a definite infection (41.5%) or a probable infection (30.7%). Blood culture and PCR performed similarly with samples from patients with clinically defined infections (areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves, 0.64 and 0.60, respectively). However, blood culture identified more cases of septicemia than PCR among patients with an identified infectious etiology (66 and 46, respectively; P = 0.0004). The two tests performed similarly when the results were stratified by sepsis severity or infection site. Blood culture tended to detect infections more frequently among patients who had previously received antibiotics (P = 0.06). Conversely, PCR identified an additional 24 organisms that blood culture failed to detect. Real-time multiplex PCR has the potential to serve as an adjunct to conventional blood culture, adding diagnostic yield and shortening the time to pathogen identification.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01447-09
PMCID: PMC2812289  PMID: 19846634
25.  Presence of Genes Encoding the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin Exotoxin Is Not the Primary Determinant of Outcome in Patients with Complicated Skin and Skin Structure Infections Due to Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Results of a Multinational Trial▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(12):3952-3957.
The role of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) in determining the severity and outcome of complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI) caused by methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is controversial. We evaluated potential associations between clinical outcome and PVL status by using MRSA isolates from patients enrolled in two large, multinational phase three clinical trials assessing telavancin for the treatment of cSSSI (the ATLAS program). MRSA isolates from microbiologically evaluable patients were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR for pvl and 31 other putative virulence determinants. A single baseline pathogen of MRSA was isolated from 522 microbiologically evaluable patients (25.1%) among 2,079 randomized patients. Of these MRSA isolates, 83.2% (432/519) exhibited the USA300 PFGE genotype and 89.1% (465/522) were pvl positive. Patients with pvl-positive MRSA were more likely than those with pvl-negative MRSA to be young, to be North American, and to present with major abscesses (P < 0.001 for each). Patients were significantly more likely to be cured if they were infected with pvl-positive MRSA than if they were infected with pvl-negative MRSA (91.6% versus 80.7%; P = 0.015). This observation remained statistically significant after adjustment for presence of abscess, fever, or leukocytosis; infection size; diabetes; patient age; and study medication received. The fnbA, cna, sdrC, map-eap, sed, seg, sei, sej, SCCmec type IV, and agr group II genes were also associated with clinical response (P < 0.05). This contemporary, international study demonstrates that pvl was not the primary determinant of outcome in patients with MRSA cSSSI.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01643-09
PMCID: PMC2786648  PMID: 19846653

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