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1.  Close Geographic Association of Human Neoehrlichiosis and Tick Populations Carrying “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” in Eastern Switzerland 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(1):169-176.
Neoehrlichiosis caused by “Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” is an emerging zoonotic disease. In total, six patients have been described in Europe, with the first case detected in 2007. In addition, seven patients from China were described in a report published in October 2012. In 2009, we diagnosed the first human case of “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” infection in the Zurich area (Switzerland). Here, we report two additional human cases from the same region, which were identified by broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR. Both patients were immunocompromised and presented with similar clinical syndromes, including fever, malaise, and weight loss. A diagnostic multiplex real-time PCR was developed for specific detection of “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” infections. The assay is based on the signature sequence of a 280-bp fragment of the “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” 16S rRNA gene and incorporates a “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” species, a “Ca. Neoehrlichia” genus, and an Anaplasmataceae family probe for simultaneous screening. The analytical sensitivity was determined to be below five copies of the “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” 16S rRNA gene. Our results show that the assay is suitable for the direct detection of “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” DNA in clinical samples from, for example, blood and bone marrow. In addition, it allows for monitoring treatment response during antibiotic therapy. Using the same assay, DNA extracts from 1,916 ticks collected in four forests in close proximity to the patients' residences (<3 km) were screened. At all sampling sites, the minimal prevalence of “Ca. Neoehrlichia mikurensis” was between 3.5 to 8% in pools of either nymphs, males, or females, showing a strong geographic association between the three patients and the assumed vector.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01955-12
PMCID: PMC3536216  PMID: 23115262
2.  Streptococcus tigurinus, a Novel Member of the Streptococcus mitis Group, Causes Invasive Infections 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(9):2969-2973.
We recently described the novel species Streptococcus tigurinus sp. nov. belonging to the Streptococcus mitis group. The type strain AZ_3aT of S. tigurinus was originally isolated from a patient with infective endocarditis. According to its phenotypic and molecular characteristics, S. tigurinus is most closely related to Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae, Streptococcus oralis, and Streptococcus infantis. Accurate identification of S. tigurinus is facilitated by 16S rRNA gene analysis. We retrospectively analyzed our 16S rRNA gene molecular database, which contains sequences of all clinical samples obtained in our institute since 2003. We detected 17 16S rRNA gene sequences which were assigned to S. tigurinus, including sequences from the 3 S. tigurinus strains described previously. S. tigurinus originated from normally sterile body sites, such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or heart valves, of 14 patients and was initially detected by culture or broad-range 16S rRNA gene PCR, followed by sequencing. The 14 patients had serious invasive infections, i.e., infective endocarditis (n = 6), spondylodiscitis (n = 3), bacteremia (n = 2), meningitis (n = 1), prosthetic joint infection (n = 1), and thoracic empyema (n = 1). To evaluate the presence of Streptococcus tigurinus in the endogenous oral microbial flora, we screened saliva specimens of 31 volunteers. After selective growth, alpha-hemolytic growing colonies were analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) and subsequent molecular methods. S. tigurinus was not identified among 608 strains analyzed. These data indicate that S. tigurinus is not widely distributed in the oral cavity. In conclusion, S. tigurinus is a novel agent of invasive infections, particularly infective endocarditis.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00849-12
PMCID: PMC3421813  PMID: 22760039
3.  Recognition of Potentially Novel Human Disease-Associated Pathogens by Implementation of Systematic 16S rRNA Gene Sequencing in the Diagnostic Laboratory▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(9):3397-3402.
Clinical isolates that are difficult to identify by conventional means form a valuable source of novel human pathogens. We report on a 5-year study based on systematic 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. We found 60 previously unknown 16S rRNA sequences corresponding to potentially novel bacterial taxa. For 30 of 60 isolates, clinical relevance was evaluated; 18 of the 30 isolates analyzed were considered to be associated with human disease.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01098-10
PMCID: PMC2937732  PMID: 20631113
4.  Detection of a Mixed Infection in a Culture-Negative Brain Abscess by Broad-Spectrum Bacterial 16S rRNA Gene PCR ▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(6):2250-2252.
We describe the identification of two bacterial pathogens from a culture-negative brain abscess by the use of broad-spectrum 16S rRNA gene PCR. Simultaneous detection of Fusobacterium nucleatum and Porphyromonas endodontalis was possible due to a 24-bp length difference of their partially amplified 16S rRNA genes, which allowed separation by high-resolution polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01922-09
PMCID: PMC2884506  PMID: 20392909
5.  Septicemia Caused by Tick-borne Bacterial Pathogen Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2010;16(7):1127-1129.
We have repeatedly detected Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, a bacterium first described in Rattus norvegicus rats and Ixodes ovatus ticks in Japan in 2004 in the blood of a 61-year-old man with signs of septicemia by 16S rRNA and groEL gene PCR. After 6 weeks of therapy with doxycycline and rifampin, the patient recovered.
doi:10.3201/eid1607.091907
PMCID: PMC3358111  PMID: 20587186
Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis; septicemia; human infection; 16S rRNA gene PCR; therapy; tick-borne pathogen; bacteria; dispatch

Results 1-5 (5)