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1.  Aetiology, antimicrobial therapy and outcome of patients with community acquired severe sepsis: a prospective study in a Norwegian university hospital 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:121.
Background
Severe sepsis is recognized as an inflammatory response causing organ dysfunction in patients with infection. Antimicrobial therapy is the mainstay of treatment. There is an ongoing demand for local surveillance of sepsis aetiology and monitoring of empirical treatment recommendations. The present study was established to describe the characteristics, quality of handling and outcome of patients with severe sepsis admitted to a Norwegian university hospital.
Methods
A one year prospective, observational study of adult community acquired case-defined severe sepsis was undertaken. Demographics, focus of infection, microbiological findings, timing and adequacy of empirical antimicrobial agents were recorded. Clinical diagnostic practice was evaluated. Differences between categorical groups were analysed with Pearson’s chi-squared test. Predictors of in-hospital mortality were identified in a multivariate stepwise backward logistic regression model.
Results
In total 220 patients were identified, yielding an estimated annual incidence of 0.5/1000 inhabitants. The focus of infection was established at admission in 69%. Respiratory tract infection was present in 52%, while genitourinary, soft tissue and abdominal infections each were found in 12-14%. Microbiological aetiology was identified in 61%; most prevalent were Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Independent predictors of in-hospital mortality were malignancy, cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, abdominal infections, undefined microbiological aetiology, delay in administration of empirical antimicrobial agents ≥ 6 hours and use of inadequate antimicrobial agents. In patients ≥ 75 years, antimicrobial therapy was less in compliance with current recommendations and more delayed.
Conclusions
Community acquired severe sepsis is common. Initial clinical aetiology is often revised. Compliance with recommendations for empirical antimicrobial treatment is lowest in elderly patients. Our results emphasizes that quick identification of correct source of infection, proper sampling for microbiological analyses, and fast administration of adequate antimicrobial agents are crucial points in the management of severe sepsis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-121
PMCID: PMC3975934  PMID: 24588984
Severe sepsis; Epidemiology; Aetiology; Antimicrobial therapy; Compliance; Outcome
2.  Stability of glycoprotein gene sequences of herpes simplex virus type 2 from primary to recurrent human infection, and diversity of the sequences among patients attending an STD clinic 
Background
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is sexually transmitted, leading to blisters and ulcers in the genito-anal region. After primary infection the virus is present in a latent state in neurons in sensory ganglia. Reactivation and production of new viral particles can cause asymptomatic viral shedding or new lesions. Establishment of latency, maintenance and reactivation involve silencing of genes, continuous suppression of gene activities and finally gene activation and synthesis of viral DNA. The purpose of the present work was to study the genetic stability of the virus during these events.
Methods
HSV-2 was collected from 5 patients with true primary and recurrent infections, and the genes encoding glycoproteins B,G,E and I were sequenced.
Results
No nucleotide substitution was observed in any patient, indicating genetic stability. However, since the total number of nucleotides in these genes is only a small part of the total genome, we cannot rule out variation in other regions.
Conclusions
Although infections of cell cultures and animal models are useful for studies of herpes simplex virus, it is important to know how the virus behaves in the natural host. We observed that several glycoprotein gene sequences are stable from primary to recurrent infection. However, the virus isolates from the different patients were genetically different.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-63
PMCID: PMC3924402  PMID: 24502528
Primary and recurrent infections of humans; Genetic stability of HSV-2
3.  Fever in the tropics: aetiology and case-fatality - a prospective observational study in a tertiary care hospital in South India 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:355.
Background
The objective of this study was to describe aetiology and case fatality of fever among inpatients in a tertiary care hospital in South India.
Methods
This was an observational, prospective study conducted in a tertiary care hospital in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India. Between July 2nd 2007 and August 2nd in 2007, adult patients admitted to the hospital with temperature ≥ 38.0°C were included consecutively and followed during the hospitalisation period. Demographic and clinical data were collected and analysed for each patient. Associations were sought between death and various clinical and demographic variables.
Results
One hundred patients were included, 61 male and 39 female. Mean age was 37.5 (range: 16 to 84) years. Mean fever duration was 5.4 (range: 0.1 to 42.9) weeks.
The following infectious aetiologies were recorded: tuberculosis (19%), lower respiratory infection (11%) including three with sepsis, urinary tract infection (10%) including three with E. coli sepsis, Plasmodium falciparum malaria (5%) including three patients with mixed P. vivax infection, scrub typhus (5%), typhoid fever (4%), cryptococcal meningitis (4%) including three HIV positive patients, endocarditis (3%) including two patients with Staphylococcus aureus sepsis, spleen abscess (2%), amoebic liver abscess (2%), sepsis undefined focus (1%), HIV infection (1%), hepatitis B (1%), rubella (1%), peritonitis (1%) and cholecystitis (1%).
Non-infectious causes of fever were diagnosed in 15%, including systemic lupus erythematosus in four and malignancy in six patients. Cause of fever remained unknown in 13%.
Case fatality during hospitalisation was 7% (7/100). Six of those who died were male. Five fatalities had bacterial sepsis, one spleen abscess and malignancy, and one had lymphomalignant disorder.
Diabetes and increasing age were significant risk factors for fatal outcome in unadjusted analyses, but only increasing age was a risk factor for death in adjusted analysis.
Conclusions
A high number of tuberculosis and bacterial infections and a high case fatality rate from sepsis were found in this cohort, underlining the importance of microbiological diagnostics and targeted antimicrobial treatment in the management of fever. P. falciparum was identified in all malaria cases, and this rapidly fatal infection should be considered in patients with acute undifferentiated fever in India.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-355
PMCID: PMC3750507  PMID: 23899336
Fever; Aetiology; Tropics; Case-fatality; Sepsis; Malaria; Tuberculosis
4.  CD64 as a potential biomarker in septic arthritis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:278.
Background
Traditional inflammatory markers are generally unhelpful in discerning septic arthritis from inflammatory joint disease due to their lack of specificity. We wished to explore the discriminatory power of the novel inflammatory marker, Fc-gamma-receptor type 1, CD64, in patients presenting with acute arthritis.
Methods
Patients were recruited prospectively in the time period June 2009 to December 2011. Thirty-six patients presenting with an acute flare of chronic rheumatic arthritis, 31 with crystal-induced arthritis and 23 with septic arthritis were included. Traditional inflammatory markers, CD64 and procalcitonin (PCT) were measured and their diagnostic abilities were compared.
Results
CD64 and PCT both demonstrated a specificity of 98%, but poor sensitivities of 59% and 52%, respectively. White blood cell count (WBC), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) did not have significant discriminatory power, while C-reactive protein (CRP) proved to have the best diagnostic accuracy as measured by area under the ROC curve (AUC 0.92, 95% confidence-interval 0.87-0.98). Subgroup analysis excluding patients with septic arthritis without concurrent bacteremia, and likewise exclusion of the patients with septic arthritis caused by coagulase negative staphylococci, both improved the diagnostic accuracy of CD64 and PCT, but not of WBC and CRP.
Conclusions
CD64 and PCT are highly specific for infectious disease, but they predominantly measure bacteremia. Their use in hospital practice has yet to be defined, and especially so in localized infections.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-278
PMCID: PMC3689602  PMID: 23783182
CD64; Procalcitonin; Septic arthritis; Biomarker
5.  Immunophenotyping in post-giardiasis functional gastrointestinal disease and chronic fatigue syndrome 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:258.
Background
A Giardia outbreak was associated with development of post-infectious functional gastrointestinal disorders (PI-FGID) and chronic fatigue syndrome (PI-CFS). Markers of immune dysfunction have given conflicting results in CFS and FGID patient populations. The aim of this study was to evaluate a wide selection of markers of immune dysfunction in these two co-occurring post-infectious syndromes.
Methods
48 patients, reporting chronic fatigue in a questionnaire study, were clinically evaluated five years after the outbreak and grouped according to Fukuda criteria for CFS (n=19) and idiopathic chronic fatigue (n=5) and Rome II criteria for FGIDs (n=54). 22 Giardia exposed non-fatigued individuals and 10 healthy unexposed individuals were recruited as controls. Peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry.
Results
In peripheral blood we found significantly higher CD8 T-cell levels in PI-FGID, and significantly lower NK-cell levels in PI-CFS patients. Severity of abdominal and fatigue symptoms correlated negatively with NK-cell levels. A tendency towards lower T-cell CD26 expression in FGID was seen.
Conclusion
Patients with PI-CFS and/or PI-FGID 5 years after Giardia lamblia infection showed alterations in NK-cell and CD8-cell populations suggesting a possible immunological abnormality in these conditions. We found no significant changes in other markers examined in this well-defined group of PI-CFS and PI-FGID elicited by a gastrointestinal infection. Controlling for co-morbid conditions is important in evaluation of CFS-biomarkers.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-258
PMCID: PMC3553045  PMID: 23061432
Giardia lamblia; Functional gastrointestinal disorder; Chronic fatigue syndrome; Irritable bowel syndrome; NK-cells; CD8 T-cells
6.  Severity of Giardia infection associated with post-infectious fatigue and abdominal symptoms two years after 
Background
A high rate of post-infectious fatigue and abdominal symptoms two years after a waterborne outbreak of giardiasis in Bergen, Norway in 2004 has previously been reported. The aim of this report was to identify risk factors associated with such manifestations.
Methods
All laboratory confirmed cases of giardiasis (n = 1262) during the outbreak in Bergen in 2004 received a postal questionnaire two years after. Degree of post-infectious abdominal symptoms and fatigue, as well as previous abdominal problems, was recorded. In the statistical analyses number of treatment courses, treatment refractory infection, delayed education and sick leave were used as indices of protracted and severe Giardia infection. Age, gender, previous abdominal problems and symptoms during infection were also analysed as possible risk factors. Simple and multiple ordinal logistic regression models were used for the analyses.
Results
The response rate was 81% (1017/1262), 64% were women and median age was 31 years (range 3-93), compared to 61% women and 30 years (range 2-93) among all 1262 cases. Factors in multiple regression analysis significantly associated with abdominal symptoms two years after infection were: More than one treatment course, treatment refractory infection, delayed education, bloating and female gender. Abdominal problems prior to Giardia infection were not associated with post-infectious abdominal symptoms. More than one treatment course, delayed education, sick leave more than 2 weeks, and malaise at the time of infection, were significantly associated with fatigue in the multiple regression analysis, as were increasing age and previous abdominal problems.
Conclusion
Protracted and severe giardiasis seemed to be a risk factor for post-infectious fatigue and abdominal symptoms two years after clearing the Giardia infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-206
PMCID: PMC2808308  PMID: 20003489
7.  Evaluation of immune responses in HIV infected patients with pleural tuberculosis by the QuantiFERON® TB-Gold interferon-gamma assay 
Background
Diagnosis of tuberculous (TB) pleuritis is difficult and better diagnostic tools are needed. New blood based interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) tests are promising, but sensitivity could be low in HIV positive patients. The IFN-γ tests have not yet been validated for use in pleural fluid, a compartment with higher level of immune activation than in blood.
Methods
The QuantiFERON TB®-Gold (QFT-TB) test was analysed in blood and pleural fluid from 34 patients presenting with clinically suspected pleural TB. Clinical data, HIV status and CD4 cell counts were recorded. Adenosine deaminase activity (ADA) analysis and TB culture were performed on pleural fluid.
Results
The patients were categorised as 'confirmed TB' (n = 12), 'probable TB' (n = 16) and 'non-TB' pleuritis (n = 6) based on TB culture results and clinical and biochemical criteria. The majority of the TB patients were HIV infected (82%). The QFT-TB in pleural fluid was positive in 27% and 56% of the 'confirmed TB' and 'probable TB' cases, respectively, whereas the corresponding sensitivities in blood were 58% and 83%. Indeterminate results in blood (25%) were caused by low phytohemagglutinin (PHA = positive control) IFN-γ responses, significantly lower in the TB patients as compared to the 'non-TB' cases (p = 0.02). Blood PHA responses correlated with CD4 cell count (r = 0.600, p = 0.028). In contrast, in pleural fluid indeterminate results (52%) were caused by high Nil (negative control) IFN-γ responses in both TB groups. Still, the Nil IFN-γ responses were lower than the TB antigen responses (p < 0.01), offering a conclusive test for half of the patients. We did not find any correlation between blood CD4 cell count and IFN-γ responses in pleural fluid.
Conclusion
The QFT-TB test in blood could contribute to the diagnosis of TB pleuritis in the HIV positive population. Still, the number of inconclusive results is too high to recommend the commercial QFT-TB test for routine use in pleural fluid in a TB/HIV endemic resource-limited setting.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-8-35
PMCID: PMC2279134  PMID: 18366633
8.  Identification of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli isolated from infants and children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
Background
Relatively few studies have been done in Tanzania to detect and classify diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) strains among children with diarrhea. This study aimed at investigating DEC among children in Dar es Salaam aged less than five years hospitalized due to acute/persistent diarrhea.
Methods
DEC were isolated from stool samples collected from two hundred and eighty children with acute/persistent diarrhea at Muhimbili National Hospital and Ilala and Mwananyamala Municipal Hospitals in Dar es Salaam. A multiplex PCR system method was used to detect a species specific gene for E.coli and ten different virulence genes for detection of five pathogroups of DEC namely enteroaggregative- (EAEC), enteropathogenic- (EPEC), enterotoxigenic- (ETEC), enteroinvasive- (EIEC) and enterohemorghagic- Escherichia coli (EHEC).
Results
Sixty-four patients (22.9%) harbored DEC. Forty-one of them (14.6%) were categorized as EAEC. Most of the EAEC (82.9%) were classified as typical EAEC possessing the aggR gene, and 92.6% carried the aat gene. Isolates from thirteen patients were EPEC (4.6%) and most of these (92.3%) were typical EPEC with both eae and bfpA genes. Ten isolates were identified as ETEC (3.6%) with only the heat stable toxin; either st1a or st1b but not both. Age wise, EAEC and EPEC were significantly more prevalent among the age group 0–6 months (p < 0.05). Genes for EHEC (stx1 and stx2) and EIEC (ial) were not detected in this study group.
Conclusion
The results show a high proportion of DEC among Tanzanian children with diarrhea, with typical EAEC and typical EPEC predominating. The use of primers for both variants of ST1 (st1a and st1b) increased the sensitivity for detection of ETEC strains.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-92
PMCID: PMC1976321  PMID: 17688682
9.  Antimicrobial resistance predicts death in Tanzanian children with bloodstream infections: a prospective cohort study 
Background
Bloodstream infection is a common cause of hospitalization, morbidity and death in children. The impact of antimicrobial resistance and HIV infection on outcome is not firmly established.
Methods
We assessed the incidence of bloodstream infection and risk factors for fatal outcome in a prospective cohort study of 1828 consecutive admissions of children aged zero to seven years with signs of systemic infection. Blood was obtained for culture, malaria microscopy, HIV antibody test and, when necessary, HIV PCR. We recorded data on clinical features, underlying diseases, antimicrobial drug use and patients' outcome.
Results
The incidence of laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection was 13.9% (255/1828) of admissions, despite two thirds of the study population having received antimicrobial therapy prior to blood culture. The most frequent isolates were klebsiella, salmonellae, Escherichia coli, enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus. Furthermore, 21.6% had malaria and 16.8% HIV infection. One third (34.9%) of the children with laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection died. The mortality rate from Gram-negative bloodstream infection (43.5%) was more than double that of malaria (20.2%) and Gram-positive bloodstream infection (16.7%). Significant risk factors for death by logistic regression modeling were inappropriate treatment due to antimicrobial resistance, HIV infection, other underlying infectious diseases, malnutrition and bloodstream infection caused by Enterobacteriaceae, other Gram-negatives and candida.
Conclusion
Bloodstream infection was less common than malaria, but caused more deaths. The frequent use of antimicrobials prior to blood culture may have hampered the detection of organisms susceptible to commonly used antimicrobials, including pneumococci, and thus the study probably underestimates the incidence of bloodstream infection. The finding that antimicrobial resistance, HIV-infection and malnutrition predict fatal outcome calls for renewed efforts to curb the further emergence of resistance, improve HIV care and nutrition for children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-43
PMCID: PMC1891109  PMID: 17519011
10.  Extended Spectrum β-Lactamases among Gram-negative bacteria of nosocomial origin from an Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary health facility in Tanzania 
Background
Resistance to third generation cephalosporins due to acquisition and expression of extended spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) enzymes among Gram-negative bacteria is on the increase. Presence of ESBL producing organisms has been reported to significantly affect the course and outcome of an infection. Therefore infections due to ESBL isolates continue to pose a challenge to infection management worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the existence and to describe phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of ESBLs in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting in Tanzania.
Methods
Between October 2002 and April 2003, clinical information and samples were collected from patients suspected to have nosocomial infections in an Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary hospital in Tanzania. The isolates were identified, tested for antimicrobial susceptibility and analysed for presence of ESBL genes.
Results
Thirty-nine Gram-negative bacteria were isolated from clinical samples of 39 patients. These isolates included 13 Escherichia coli, 12 Enterobacter spp, 5 Pseudomonas spp, 4 Proteus spp, 2 Klebsiella. pneumoniae, 2 Citrobacter freundii and 1 Chryseomonas luteola. Eleven (28.2%) of these isolates were ESBL producing. The ESBL genes characterised were SHV-12, SHV-28 and CTX-M-15. The ESBL producing isolates were more resistant to gentamicin and ciprofloxacin than non-ESBL producing isolates.
Conclusion
This study shows the presence of ESBL genes among Gram-negative bacteria in the ICU setting in Tanzania. There is a need to institute strict hospital infection control policy and a regular surveillance of resistance to antimicrobial agents.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-86
PMCID: PMC1274314  PMID: 16225701
11.  Nosocomial outbreak of neonatal Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis meningitis in a rural hospital in northern Tanzania 
Background
Clinicians at Haydom Lutheran Hospital, a rural hospital in northern Tanzania noted an unusually high case-fatality rate of pediatric meningitis and suspected an outbreak of an unknown agent or an organism resistant to the empirical therapy.
Methods
We established a provisional microbiology laboratory to investigate the suspected outbreak. Blood and spinal fluid specimens were taken from children below the age of seven years with suspected meningitis. The blood and spinal fluid specimens were inoculated in commercial blood culture bottles and locally prepared Thayer-Martin medium in slanted tubes, respectively. The bacterial isolates were sent to Norway for further investigation, including susceptibility testing and pulsed-field gel-electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results
Among 24 children with suspected meningitis and/or septicemia, five neonates had meningitis caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis, all of whom died. Two children had S. Enteritidis septicemia without meningitis and both survived. Genotyping with PFGE suggested a clonal outbreak. The salmonella strain was resistant to ampicillin and sensitive to gentamicin, the two drugs commonly used to treat neonatal meningitis at the hospital.
Conclusion
The investigation reminds us that nontyphoidal salmonellae can cause meningitis associated with very high case-fatality rates. Resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents increases the risk of treatment failure and may have contributed to the fatal outcome in all of the five patients with salmonella meningitis. The investigation indicated that the outbreak was nosocomial and the outbreak subsided after hygienic measures were instituted. Establishing a provisional microbiological laboratory is a valuable and affordable tool to investigate and control outbreaks even in remote rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-35
PMCID: PMC521073  PMID: 15367335

Results 1-11 (11)