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1.  Risk factors for the development of severe typhoid fever in Vietnam 
Background
Typhoid fever is a systemic infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Age, sex, prolonged duration of illness, and infection with an antimicrobial resistant organism have been proposed risk factors for the development of severe disease or fatality in typhoid fever.
Methods
We analysed clinical data from 581 patients consecutively admitted with culture confirmed typhoid fever to two hospitals in Vietnam during two periods in 1993–1995 and 1997–1999. These periods spanned a change in the antimicrobial resistance phenotypes of the infecting organisms i.e. fully susceptible to standard antimicrobials, resistance to chloramphenicol, ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (multidrug resistant, MDR), and intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (nalidixic acid resistant). Age, sex, duration of illness prior to admission, hospital location and the presence of MDR or intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility in the infecting organism were examined by logistic regression analysis to identify factors independently associated with severe typhoid at the time of hospital admission.
Results
The prevalence of severe typhoid was 15.5% (90/581) and included: gastrointestinal bleeding (43; 7.4%); hepatitis (29; 5.0%); encephalopathy (16; 2.8%); myocarditis (12; 2.1%); intestinal perforation (6; 1.0%); haemodynamic shock (5; 0.9%), and death (3; 0.5%). Severe disease was more common with increasing age, in those with a longer duration of illness and in patients infected with an organism exhibiting intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. Notably an MDR phenotype was not associated with severe disease. Severe disease was independently associated with infection with an organism with an intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (AOR 1.90; 95% CI 1.18-3.07; p = 0.009) and male sex (AOR 1.61 (1.00-2.57; p = 0.035).
Conclusions
In this group of patients hospitalised with typhoid fever infection with an organism with intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin was independently associated with disease severity. During this period many patients were being treated with fluoroquinolones prior to hospital admission. Ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin should be used with caution in patients infected with S. Typhi that have intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-73
PMCID: PMC3923984  PMID: 24512443
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi; Severe typhoid; Antimicrobial resistance; Multidrug resistance; Intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility
2.  A successful antimicrobial regime for Chromobacterium violaceum induced bacteremia 
Background
Chromobacterium violaceum is a proteobacterium found in soil and water in tropical regions. The organism rarely causes infection in humans, yet can cause a severe systemic infection by entering the bloodstream via an open wound.
Case presentation
We recently identified a case of severe bacteremia caused by Chromobacterium violaceum at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, we describe how rapid microbiological identification and a combination of antimicrobials was used to successfully treat this life threatening infection in a four-year-old child.
Conclusions
This case shows the need for rapid diagnosis when there is the suspicion of a puncture wound contaminated with water and soil in tropical regions. We suggest that the aggressive antimicrobial combination used here is considered when this infection is suspected.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-4
PMCID: PMC3543835  PMID: 23286235
3.  The antimicrobial resistance patterns and associated determinants in Streptococcus suis isolated from humans in southern Vietnam, 1997-2008 
Background
Streptococcus suis is an emerging zoonotic pathogen and is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in Vietnam. Systematic data on the antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of S. suis strains isolated from human cases are lacking. We studied antimicrobial resistance and associated resistance determinants in S. suis isolated from patients with meningitis in southern Vietnam.
Methods
S. suis strains isolated between 1997 and 2008 were investigated for their susceptibility to six antimicrobial agents. Strains were screened for the presence and expression of tetracycline and erythromycin resistance determinants and the association of tet(M) genes with Tn916- like transposons. The localization of tetracycline resistance gene tet(L) was determined by pulse field gel electrophoresis and Southern blotting.
Results
We observed a significant increase in resistance to tetracycline and chloramphenicol, which was concurrent with an increase in multi-drug resistance. In tetracycline resistance strains, we identified tet(M), tet(O), tet(W) and tet(L) and confirmed their expression. All tet(M) genes were associated with a Tn916-like transposon. The co-expression of tet(L) and other tetracycline resistance gene(s) encoding for ribosomal protection protein(s) was only detected in strains with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of tetracycline of ≥ 64 mg/L
Conclusions
We demonstrated that multi-drug resistance in S. suis causing disease in humans in southern Vietnam has increased over the 11-year period studied. We report the presence and expression of tet(L) in S. suis strains and our data suggest that co-expression of multiple genes encoding distinct mechanism is required for an MIC ≥ 64 mg/L to tetracycline.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-6
PMCID: PMC3022717  PMID: 21208459
4.  A prospective descriptive study of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV uninfected patients in Vietnam - high prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii in the absence of underlying disease 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:199.
Background
Most cases of cryptococcal meningitis occur in patients with HIV infection: the course and outcome of disease in the apparently immunocompetent is much more poorly understood. We describe a cohort of HIV uninfected Vietnamese patients with cryptococcal meningitis in whom underlying disease is uncommon, and relate presenting features of patients and the characteristics of the infecting species to outcome.
Methods
A prospective descriptive study of HIV negative patients with cryptococcal meningitis based at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. All patients had comprehensive clinical assessment at baseline, were cared for by a dedicated study team, and were followed up for 2 years. Clinical presentation was compared by infecting isolate and outcome.
Results
57 patients were studied. Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii molecular type VN1 caused 70% of infections; C. gattii accounted for the rest. Most patients did not have underlying disease (81%), and the rate of underlying disease did not differ by infecting species. 11 patients died while in-patients (19.3%). Independent predictors of death were age ≥ 60 years and a history of convulsions (odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals 8.7 (1 - 76), and 16.1 (1.6 - 161) respectively). Residual visual impairment was common, affecting 25 of 46 survivors (54.3%). Infecting species did not influence clinical phenotype or outcome. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of flucytosine and amphotericin B were significantly higher for C. neoformans var grubii compared with C. gattii (p < 0.001 and p = 0.01 respectively).
Conclusion
In HIV uninfected individuals in Vietnam, cryptococcal meningitis occurs predominantly in people with no clear predisposing factor and is most commonly due to C. neoformans var grubii. The rates of mortality and visual loss are high and independent of infecting species. There are detectable differences in susceptibility to commonly used antifungal drugs between species, but the clinical significance of this is not clear.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-199
PMCID: PMC2910700  PMID: 20618932
5.  High-throughput bacterial SNP typing identifies distinct clusters of Salmonella Typhi causing typhoid in Nepalese children 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:144.
Background
Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) causes typhoid fever, which remains an important public health issue in many developing countries. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is an area of high incidence and the pediatric population appears to be at high risk of exposure and infection.
Methods
We recently defined the population structure of S. Typhi, using new sequencing technologies to identify nearly 2,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that can be used as unequivocal phylogenetic markers. Here we have used the GoldenGate (Illumina) platform to simultaneously type 1,500 of these SNPs in 62 S. Typhi isolates causing severe typhoid in children admitted to Patan Hospital in Kathmandu.
Results
Eight distinct S. Typhi haplotypes were identified during the 20-month study period, with 68% of isolates belonging to a subclone of the previously defined H58 S. Typhi. This subclone was closely associated with resistance to nalidixic acid, with all isolates from this group demonstrating a resistant phenotype and harbouring the same resistance-associated SNP in GyrA (Phe83). A secondary clone, comprising 19% of isolates, was observed only during the second half of the study.
Conclusions
Our data demonstrate the utility of SNP typing for monitoring bacterial populations over a defined period in a single endemic setting. We provide evidence for genotype introduction and define a nalidixic acid resistant subclone of S. Typhi, which appears to be the dominant cause of severe pediatric typhoid in Kathmandu during the study period.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-144
PMCID: PMC2897797  PMID: 20509974
6.  The sensitivity of real-time PCR amplification targeting invasive Salmonella serovars in biological specimens 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:125.
Background
PCR amplification for the detection of pathogens in biological material is generally considered a rapid and informative diagnostic technique. Invasive Salmonella serovars, which cause enteric fever, can be commonly cultured from the blood of infected patients. Yet, the isolation of invasive Salmonella serovars from blood is protracted and potentially insensitive.
Methods
We developed and optimised a novel multiplex three colour real-time PCR assay to detect specific target sequences in the genomes of Salmonella serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. We performed the assay on DNA extracted from blood and bone marrow samples from culture positive and negative enteric fever patients.
Results
The assay was validated and demonstrated a high level of specificity and reproducibility under experimental conditions. All bone marrow samples tested positive for Salmonella, however, the sensitivity on blood samples was limited. The assay demonstrated an overall specificity of 100% (75/75) and sensitivity of 53.9% (69/128) on all biological samples. We then tested the PCR detection limit by performing bacterial counts after inoculation into blood culture bottles.
Conclusions
Our findings corroborate previous clinical findings, whereby the bacterial load of S. Typhi in peripheral blood is low, often below detection by culture and, consequently, below detection by PCR. Whilst the assay may be utilised for environmental sampling or on differing biological samples, our data suggest that PCR performed directly on blood samples may be an unsuitable methodology and a potentially unachievable target for the routine diagnosis of enteric fever.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-125
PMCID: PMC2886058  PMID: 20492644
7.  Searching for the elusive typhoid diagnostic 
Typhoid (enteric) fever is still a common disease in many developing countries but current diagnostic tests are inadequate. Studies on pathogenesis and genomics have provided new insight into the organisms that cause enteric fever. Better understanding of the microorganisms explains, in part, why our current typhoid methodologies are limited in their diagnostic information and why developing new strategies may be a considerable challenge. Here we discuss the current position of typhoid diagnostics, highlight the need for technological improvements and suggest potential ways of advancing this area.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-45
PMCID: PMC2846943  PMID: 20205702
8.  A changing picture of shigellosis in southern Vietnam: shifting species dominance, antimicrobial susceptibility and clinical presentation 
Background
Shigellosis remains considerable public health problem in some developing countries. The nature of Shigellae suggests that they are highly adaptable when placed under selective pressure in a human population. This is demonstrated by variation and fluctuations in serotypes and antimicrobial resistance profile of organisms circulating in differing setting in endemic locations. Antimicrobial resistance in the genus Shigella is a constant threat, with reports of organisms in Asia being resistant to multiple antimicrobials and new generation therapies.
Methods
Here we compare microbiological, clinical and epidemiological data from patients with shigellosis over three different periods in southern Vietnam spanning14 years.
Results
Our data demonstrates a shift in dominant infecting species (S. flexneri to S. sonnei) and resistance profile of the organisms circulating in southern Vietnam. We find that there was no significant variation in the syndromes associated with either S. sonnei or S. flexneri, yet the clinical features of the disease are more severe in later observations.
Conclusions
Our findings show a change in clinical presentation of shigellosis in this setting, as the disease may be now more pronounced, this is concurrent with a change in antimicrobial resistance profile. These data highlight the socio-economic development of southern Vietnam and should guide future vaccine development and deployment strategies.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN55945881
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-204
PMCID: PMC2803792  PMID: 20003464

Results 1-8 (8)