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1.  Cluster analysis for identifying sub-groups and selecting potential discriminatory variables in human encephalitis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:364.
Background
Encephalitis is an acute clinical syndrome of the central nervous system (CNS), often associated with fatal outcome or permanent damage, including cognitive and behavioural impairment, affective disorders and epileptic seizures. Infection of the central nervous system is considered to be a major cause of encephalitis and more than 100 different pathogens have been recognized as causative agents. However, a large proportion of cases have unknown disease etiology.
Methods
We perform hierarchical cluster analysis on a multicenter England encephalitis data set with the aim of identifying sub-groups in human encephalitis. We use the simple matching similarity measure which is appropriate for binary data sets and performed variable selection using cluster heatmaps. We also use heatmaps to visually assess underlying patterns in the data, identify the main clinical and laboratory features and identify potential risk factors associated with encephalitis.
Results
Our results identified fever, personality and behavioural change, headache and lethargy as the main characteristics of encephalitis. Diagnostic variables such as brain scan and measurements from cerebrospinal fluids are also identified as main indicators of encephalitis. Our analysis revealed six major clusters in the England encephalitis data set. However, marked within-cluster heterogeneity is observed in some of the big clusters indicating possible sub-groups. Overall, the results show that patients are clustered according to symptom and diagnostic variables rather than causal agents. Exposure variables such as recent infection, sick person contact and animal contact have been identified as potential risk factors.
Conclusions
It is in general assumed and is a common practice to group encephalitis cases according to disease etiology. However, our results indicate that patients are clustered with respect to mainly symptom and diagnostic variables rather than causal agents. These similarities and/or differences with respect to symptom and diagnostic measurements might be attributed to host factors. The idea that characteristics of the host may be more important than the pathogen is also consistent with the observation that for some causes, such as herpes simplex virus (HSV), encephalitis is a rare outcome of a common infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-364
PMCID: PMC3022837  PMID: 21192831
2.  Faecal pharmacokinetics of orally administered vancomycin in patients with suspected Clostridium difficile infection 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:363.
Background
Oral vancomycin (125 mg qid) is recommended as treatment of severe Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Higher doses (250 or 500 mg qid) are sometimes recommended for patients with very severe CDI, without supporting clinical evidence. We wished to determine to what extent faecal levels of vancomycin vary according to diarrhoea severity and dosage, and whether it is rational to administer high-dose vancomycin to selected patients.
Methods
We recruited hospitalized adults suspected to have CDI for whom oral vancomycin (125, 250 or 500 mg qid) had been initiated. Faeces were collected up to 3 times/day and levels were measured with the AxSYM fluorescence polarization immunoassay.
Results
Fifteen patients (9 with confirmed CDI) were treated with oral vancomycin. Patients with ≥4 stools daily presented lower faecal vancomycin levels than those with a lower frequency. Higher doses of oral vancomycin (250 mg or 500 mg qid) led to consistently higher faecal levels (> 2000 mg/L), which were 3 orders of magnitude higher than the MIC90 of vancomycin against C. difficile. One patient receiving 125 mg qid had levels below 50 mg/L during the first day of treatment.
Conclusions
Faecal levels of vancomycin are proportional to the dosage administered and, even in patients with increased stool frequency, much higher than the MIC90. Patients given the standard 125 mg qid dosage might have low faecal levels during the first day of treatment. A loading dose of 250 mg or 500 mg qid during the first 24-48 hours followed by the standard dosage should be evaluated in larger studies, since it might be less disruptive to the colonic flora and save unnecessary costs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-363
PMCID: PMC3022836  PMID: 21192802
3.  The burden and treatment of HIV in tuberculosis patients in Papua Province, Indonesia: a prospective observational study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:362.
Background
New diagnoses of tuberculosis (TB) present important opportunities to detect and treat HIV. Rates of HIV and TB in Indonesia's easternmost Papua Province exceed national figures, but data on co-infection rates and outcomes are lacking. We aimed to measure TB-HIV co-infection rates, examine longitudinal trends, compare management with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, and document progress and outcome.
Methods
Adults with newly-diagnosed smear-positive pulmonary TB managed at the Timika TB clinic, Papua Province, were offered voluntary counselling and testing for HIV in accordance with Indonesian National Guidelines, using a point-of-care antibody test. Positive tests were confirmed with 2 further rapid tests. Study participants were assessed using clinical, bacteriological, functional and radiological measures and followed up for 6 months.
Results
Of 162 participants, HIV status was determined in 138 (85.2%), of whom 18 (13.0%) were HIV+. Indigenous Papuans were significantly more likely to be HIV+ than Non-Papuans (Odds Ratio [OR] 4.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.38-14.23). HIV prevalence among people with TB was significantly higher than during a 2003-4 survey at the same TB clinic, and substantially higher than the Indonesian national estimate of 3%. Compared with HIV- study participants, those with TB-HIV co-infection had significantly lower exercise tolerance (median difference in 6-minute walk test: 25 m, p = 0.04), haemoglobin (mean difference: 1.3 g/dL, p = 0.002), and likelihood of cavitary disease (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.12-1.01), and increased occurrence of pleural effusion (OR 3.60, 95% CI 1.70-7.58), higher rates of hospitalisation or death (OR 11.80, 95% CI 1.82-76.43), but no difference in the likelihood of successful 6-month treatment outcome. Adherence to WHO guidelines was limited by the absence of integration of TB and HIV services, specifically, with no on-site ART prescriber available. Only six people had CD4+ T-cell counts recorded, 11 were prescribed co-trimoxazole and 4 received ART before, during or after TB treatment, despite ART being indicated in 14 according to 2006 WHO guidelines.
Conclusions
TB-HIV co-infection in southern Papua, Indonesia, is a serious emerging problem especially among the Indigenous population, and has risen rapidly in the last 5 years. Major efforts are required to incorporate new WHO recommendations on TB-HIV management into national guidelines, and support their implementation in community settings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-362
PMCID: PMC3022835  PMID: 21605474
4.  Incidence of anogenital warts in Germany: a population-based cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:360.
Background
Human papilloma virus (HPV) types 6 and 11 account for 90 percent of anogenital warts (AGW). Assessment of a potential reduction of the incidence of AGW following introduction of HPV vaccines requires population-based incidence rates. The aim of this study was to estimate incidence rates of AGW in Germany, stratified by age, sex, and region. Additionally, the medical practitioner (gynaecologist, dermatologist, urologist etc.) who made the initial diagnosis of AGW was assessed.
Methods
Retrospective cohort study in a population aged 10 to 79 years in a population-based healthcare insurance database. The database included more than 14 million insurance members from all over Germany during the years 2004-2006. A case of AGW was considered incident if a disease-free period of twelve months preceded the diagnosis. To assess regional variation, analyses were performed by federal state.
Results
The estimated incidence rate was 169.5/100,000 person-years for the German population aged 10 to 79 years. Most cases occurred in the 15 to 40 years age group. The incidence rate was higher and showed a peak at younger ages in females than in males. The highest incidence rates for both sexes were observed in the city-states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. In females, initial diagnosis of AGW was most frequently made by a gynaecologist (71.7%), whereas in males, AGW were most frequently diagnosed by a dermatologist (44.8%) or urologist (25.1%).
Conclusions
Incidence of AGW in Germany is comparable with findings for other countries. As expected, most cases occurred in the younger age groups. The frequency of diagnoses of AGW differs between sexes and women and men receive treatment by doctors of different specialties.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-360
PMCID: PMC3022833  PMID: 21182757
5.  Trends in CD4 counts in HIV-infected patients with HIV viral load monitoring while on combination antiretroviral treatment: results from The TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:361.
Background
The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between trends in CD4 counts (slope) and HIV viral load (VL) after initiation of combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) in Asian patients in The TREAT Asia HIV Observational Database (TAHOD).
Methods
Treatment-naive HIV-infected patients who started cART with three or more and had three or more CD4 count and HIV VL tests were included. CD4 count slopes were expressed as changes of cells per microliter per year. Predictors of CD4 count slopes from 6 months after initiation were assessed by random-effects linear regression models.
Results
A total of 1676 patients (74% male) were included. The median time on cART was 4.2 years (IQR 2.5-5.8 years). In the final model, CD4 count slope was associated with age, concurrent HIV VL and CD4 count, disease stage, hepatitis B or C co-infection, and time since cART initiation. CD4 count continues to increase with HIV VL up to 20 000 copies/mL during 6-12 months after cART initiation. However, the HIV VL has to be controlled below 5 000, 4 000 and 500 copies/mL for the CD4 count slope to remain above 20 cells/microliter per year during 12-18, 18-24, and beyond 24 months after cART initiation.
Conclusions
After cART initiation, CD4 counts continued to increase even when the concurrent HIV VL was detectable. However, HIV VL needed to be controlled at a lower level to maintain a positive CD4 count slope when cART continues. The effect on long-term outcomes through the possible development of HIV drug resistance remains uncertain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-361
PMCID: PMC3022834  PMID: 21182796
6.  Herpes simplex virus type 2 seropositivity and relationship status among U.S. adults age 20 to 49: a population-based analysis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:359.
Background
U.S. population studies show herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) seroprevalence levelling by approximately age 30, suggesting few new infections after that age. It is unclear whether this pattern is driven by greater percentages in stable relationships, and to what extent adults who initiate new relationships may be at risk of incident HSV-2 infection.
Methods
Survey and laboratory data from the 1999-2008 waves of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were combined for 12,862 adults age 20-49. Weighted population estimates of self-reported genital herpes, HSV-2 seroprevalence, and past-year sexual history were calculated, stratified by age, sex, race, and relationship status. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess whether relationship status provided additional information in predicting HSV-2 over age, race and sex, and whether any such associations could be accounted for through differences in lifetime number of sex partners.
Results
Those who were unpartnered had higher HSV-2 prevalence than those who were married/cohabitating. Among unpartnered 45-49 year olds, seroprevalence was 55.3% in women and 25.7% in men. Those who were married/cohabitating were more likely to have had a past-year sex partner, and less likely to have had two or more partners. The effect of age in increasing the odds of HSV-2 was modified by race, with higher HSV-2 prevalence among Black Americans established by age 20-24 years, and the effect of race decreasing from age 30 to 49. Relationship status remained an independent predictor of HSV-2 when controlling for age, race, and sex among those age 30 to 49; married/cohabitating status was protective for HSV-2 in this group (OR = 0.69)
Conclusions
Whereas sexually transmitted infections are often perceived as issues for young adults and specific high-risk groups, the chronic nature of HSV-2 results in accumulation of prevalence with age, especially among those not in married/cohabitating relationships. Increased odds of HSV-2 with age did not correspond with increases in self-reported genital herpes, which remained low. Adults who initiate new relationships should be aware of HSV-2 in order to better recognize its symptoms and prevent transmission.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-359
PMCID: PMC3020161  PMID: 21176214
7.  Five years follow-up following two or three doses of a hepatitis B vaccine in adolescents aged 11-15 years: a randomised controlled study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:357.
Background
The standard three-dose schedule of hepatitis B vaccines is frequently not completed, especially in adolescents. A primary study has confirmed the equivalence of a two-dose schedule of an Adult formulation of hepatitis B vaccine [Group HBV_2D] to a three-dose schedule of a Paediatric formulation in adolescents (11-15 years) [Group HBV_3D]. This follow-up study evaluated the five year persistence of antibody response and immune memory against the hepatitis B surface (anti-HBs) antigens five years after completion of primary vaccination.
Methods
A total of 234 subjects returned at the Year 5 time point, of which 144 subjects received a challenge dose of hepatitis B vaccine. Blood samples were collected yearly and pre- and post-challenge dose to assess anti-HBs antibody concentrations.
Results
At the end of five years, 79.5% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 71.7 - 86.1) and 91.4% (95% CI: 82.3 - 96.8) of subjects who received the two-dose and three-dose schedules, respectively had anti-HBs antibody concentrations ≥10 mIU/mL. Post-challenge dose, all subjects had anti-HBs antibody concentration ≥10 mIU/mL and >94% subjects had anti-HBs antibody concentration ≥100 mIU/mL. All subjects mounted a rapid anamnestic response to the challenge dose. Overall, the challenge dose was well-tolerated.
Conclusion
The two-dose schedule of hepatitis B vaccine confers long-term immunogenicity and shows evidence of immune memory for at least five years following vaccination.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials NCT00343915, NCT00524576
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-357
PMCID: PMC3016379  PMID: 21171982
8.  High levels of T lymphocyte activation in Leishmania-HIV-1 co-infected individuals despite low HIV viral load 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:358.
Background
Concomitant infections may influence HIV progression by causing chronic activation leading to decline in T-cell function. In the Americas, visceral (AVL) and tegumentary leishmaniasis (ATL) have emerged as important opportunistic infections in HIV-AIDS patients and both of those diseases have been implicated as potentially important co-factors in disease progression. We investigated whether leishmaniasis increases lymphocyte activation in HIV-1 co-infected patients. This might contribute to impaired cellular immune function.
Methods
To address this issue we analyzed CD4+ T absolute counts and the proportion of CD8+ T cells expressing CD38 in Leishmania/HIV co-infected patients that recovered after anti-leishmanial therapy.
Results
We found that, despite clinical remission of leishmaniasis, AVL co-infected patients presented a more severe immunossupression as suggested by CD4+ T cell counts under 200 cells/mm3, differing from ATL/HIV-AIDS cases that tends to show higher lymphocytes levels (over 350 cells/mm3). Furthermore, five out of nine, AVL/HIV-AIDS presented low CD4+ T cell counts in spite of low or undetectable viral load. Expression of CD38 on CD8+ T lymphocytes was significantly higher in AVL or ATL/HIV-AIDS cases compared to HIV/AIDS patients without leishmaniasis or healthy subjects.
Conclusions
Leishmania infection can increase the degree of immune system activation in individuals concomitantly infected with HIV. In addition, AVL/HIV-AIDS patients can present low CD4+ T cell counts and higher proportion of activated T lymphocytes even when HIV viral load is suppressed under HAART. This fact can cause a misinterpretation of these laboratorial markers in co-infected patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-358
PMCID: PMC3022832  PMID: 21171992
9.  Performance of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFTGIT) for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in Afar Pastoralists, Ethiopia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:354.
Background
Currently, T-cell based gamma interferon (IFNγ) release assays (IGRAs) are acknowledged as the best methods available for the screening of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and also as aid for the diagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB). To our information, the performance of these diagnostic tests has not been evaluated in Ethiopia. Therefore, the intent of this study was to evaluate the performance of QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFTGIT) in patients clinically suspected of active pulmonary TB (PTB) as well as in healthy subjects prior to its utilization for the epidemiological study of active TB and LTBI in Afar pastoralists.
Methods
The sensitivity of QFTGIT was evaluated in 140 subjects who were clinically suspected of PTB using the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer (≥ 0.35 IU/ml) and disease-specific cut-off value. Sputum culture result was used as a gold standard. The specificity of the test was evaluated both in patients and in 55 tuberculin skin test (TST) negative healthy subjects.
Results
Out of the 140 study participants, 37 (26.4%) were positive for active PTB by culture. Out of the 37 subjects who had positive results by culture, 6 individuals were HIV-seropositive. Out of the 103 subjects who were negative by culture, 6 subjects had indeterminate results and 21 were HIV-seropositive. The performance of the test was assessed using data from 107 (31 culture positive and 76 culture negative) individuals who were clinically suspected of PTB and HIV-seronegatives. Using the manufacturer recommended cut-off value, the sensitivity of the test was 64.5% (20/31), while its specificity was 36.8% (28/76). The sensitivity of the test was increased to 77.4%, while the specificity was reduced to 23.7% using a cut-off value ≥ 0.1 IU/ml of IFNγ as disease-specific cut-off value. In TST negative healthy subjects, the specificity of the test was 58.2%.
Conclusion
Our findings revealed a low sensitivity of QFTGIT in the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in the present study area using the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer. Nevertheless, the sensitivity increased from 64.5% to 77.4% by lowering the cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer to ≥ 0.1 IU/ml of IFNγ level. Hence, it is of practical importance to evaluate the performance of QFTGIT in population under different settings prior to its application either for the diagnosis of active TB or LTBI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-354
PMCID: PMC3009640  PMID: 21162756
10.  Corynebacterium mucifaciens in an immunocompetent patient with cavitary pneumonia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:355.
Background
Corynebacterium mucifaciens has been mainly isolated from skin, blood and from other normally-sterile body fluids. It has rarely been described as a human pathogen since its description.
Case presentation
We herein report the first case of cavitary pneumonia due to C. mucifaciens in an immunocompetent man returning from Maghreb.
Conclusion
C. mucifaciens should be considered as important human pathogen in patients with severe illness and compatible history of exposure even in individuals with no clearly identified immunosuppression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-355
PMCID: PMC3009641  PMID: 21162757
11.  Acute dengue virus 2 infection in Gabonese patients is associated with an early innate immune response, including strong interferon alpha production 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:356.
Background
Dengue is now a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the tropics. We conducted the first ex vivo study of dengue fever (DF) in African patients infected during the first Gabonese dengue virus 2 (DENV-2) outbreak in 2007, in order to investigate cytokine production, including the antiviral cytokine IFN-α, reported to be a potent inhibitor of DENV replication in vitro.
Methods
Levels of 50 cytokines, chemokines and growth factors were measured in plasma from 36 patients with DENV-2 infection, and in uninfected controls, using Luminex multiplex technology. The results were interpreted according to the day of sampling after symptom onset. PBMC from six patients were also studied for T lymphocyte cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry.
Results
Acute DENV-2 infection elicited high levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-17), chemokines (MIF, RANTES, IP-10 and MCP-1) and growth factors (G-CSF, GM-CSF and VEGF-A). We also observed high levels of IFN-α for the first time in adult DF patients, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation at symptom onset.
Conclusion
Acute DENV-2 infection in African patients elicits a strong innate response involving IFN-α production, as well as an adaptive immune response.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-356
PMCID: PMC3013083  PMID: 21167041
12.  Erythema caused by a localised skin infection with Arthrobacter mysorens 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:352.
Background
Skin erythemas of unknown origin are a frequent reason for consulting the general practitioner or dermatologist.
Case presentation
Here we report a case of an erythema resembling the erythema migrans manifestation of Lyme disease, but with atypical symptoms like persistent pruritus. The patient had no history of a recent tick-bite but displayed a positive serology for an advanced stage of Lyme borreliosis, which stood in contrast to the clinical manifestation of erythema migrans as a symptom of early Lyme disease. Three skin swabs and soil samples, collected in the area where the patient possibly acquired the infection, were examined by bacterial and fungal culture methods. Microorganisms were identified by using 16 S rRNA gene sequencing and bioinformatics. The patient and soil isolates were compared by employing RAPD analysis. The serum samples of the patient were examined by immunoblotting. Arthrobacter mysorens, a soil bacterium, was isolated from the collected skin and soil samples. The identity of both isolates was determined by molecular fingerprinting methods. A. mysorens was proven to be causative for the erythema by direct isolation from the affected skin and a positive serology, thus explaining the atypical appearance of the erythema compared to erythema migrans caused by Borrelia infection.
Conclusions
Infections with A.mysorens might be underreported and microbiological diagnostic techniques should be applied in cases of patients with unclear erythemas, resembling erythema migrans, without a history of tick bites.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-352
PMCID: PMC3018437  PMID: 21159172
13.  Should there be a standardised approach to the diagnostic workup of suspected adult encephalitis? a case series from Australia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:353.
Background
The clinical diagnosis of encephalitis is often difficult and identification of a causative organism is infrequent. The encephalitis syndrome may herald the emergence of novel pathogens with outbreak potential. Individual treatment and an effective public health response rely on identifying a specific pathogen. In Australia there have been no studies to try to improve the identification rate of encephalitis pathogens. This study aims to review the diagnostic assessment of adult suspected encephalitis cases.
Methods
A retrospective clinical audit was performed, of all adult encephalitis presentations between July 1998 and December 2007 to the three hospitals with adult neurological services in the Hunter New England area, northern New South Wales, Australia. Case notes were examined for evidence of relevant history taking, clinical features, physical examination, laboratory and neuroradiology investigations, and outcomes.
Results
A total of 74 cases were included in the case series. Amongst suspected encephalitis cases, presenting symptoms and signs included fever (77.0%), headache (62.1%), altered consciousness (63.5%), lethargy (32.4%), seizures (25.7%), focal neurological deficits (31.1%) and photophobia (17.6%). The most common diagnostic laboratory test performed was cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis (n = 67, 91%). Herpes virus polymerase chain reaction (n = 53, 71.6%) and cryptococcal antigen (n = 46, 62.2%) were the antigenic tests most regularly performed on CSF. Neuroradiological procedures employed were computerized tomographic brain scanning (n = 68, 91.9%) and magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (n = 35, 47.3%). Thirty-five patients (47.3%) had electroencephalograms. The treating clinicians suspected a specific causative organism in 14/74 cases (18.9%), of which nine (12.1%) were confirmed by laboratory testing.
Conclusions
The diagnostic assessment of patients with suspected encephalitis was not standardised. Appropriate assessment is necessary to exclude treatable agents and identify pathogens warranting public health interventions, such as those transmitted by mosquitoes and those that are vaccine preventable. An algorithm and guidelines for the diagnostic workup of encephalitis cases would assist in optimising laboratory testing so that clinical management can be best tailored to the pathogen, and appropriate public health measures implemented.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-353
PMCID: PMC3018438  PMID: 21159185
14.  Fusidic acid and clindamycin resistance in community-associated, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in children of Central Greece 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:351.
Introduction
In Greece, fusidic acid and clindamycin are commonly used for the empiric therapy of suspected staphylococcal infections.
Methods
The medical records of children examined at the outpatient clinics or admitted to the pediatric wards of the University General Hospital of Larissa, Central Greece, with community-associated staphylococcal infections from January 2003 to December 2009 were reviewed.
Results
Of 309 children (0-14 years old), 21 (6.8%) had invasive infections and 288 (93.2%) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). Thirty-five patients were ≤30 days of age. The proportion of staphylococcal infections caused by a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) isolate increased from 51.5% (69 of 134) in 2003-2006 to 63.4% (111 of 175) in 2007-2009 (P = 0.037). Among the CA-MRSA isolates, 88.9% were resistant to fusidic acid, 77.6% to tetracycline, and 21.1% to clindamycin. Clindamycin resistance increased from 0% (2003) to 31.2% (2009) among the CA-MRSA isolates (P = 0.011). Over the 7-year period, an increase in multidrug-resistant CA-MRSA isolates was observed (P = 0.004). One hundred and thirty-one (93.6%) of the 140 tested MRSA isolates were Panton-Valentine leukocidin-positive. Multilocus sequence typing of 72 CA-MRSA isolates revealed that they belonged to ST80 (n = 61), ST30 (n = 6), ST377 (n = 3), ST22 (n = 1), and ST152 (n = 1). Resistance to fusidic acid was observed in ST80 (58/61), ST30 (1/6), and ST22 (1/1) isolates.
Conclusion
In areas with high rate of infections caused by multidrug-resistant CA-MRSA isolates, predominantly belonging to the European ST80 clone, fusidic acid and clindamycin should be used cautiously as empiric therapy in patients with suspected severe staphylococcal infections.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-351
PMCID: PMC3019191  PMID: 21144056
15.  Identification of an N-terminal 27 kDa fragment of Mycoplasma pneumoniae P116 protein as specific immunogen in M. pneumoniae infections 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:350.
Background
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an important cause of respiratory tract infection and is increasingly being associated with other diseases such as asthma and extra-pulmonary complications. Considerable cross-reactivity is known to exist between the whole cell antigens used in the commercial serological testing assays. Identification of specific antigens is important to eliminate the risk of cross-reactions among different related organisms. Adherence of M. pneumoniae to human epithelial cells is mediated through a well defined apical organelle to which a number of proteins such as P1, P30, P116 and HMW1-3 have been localized, and are being investigated for adhesion, gliding and immunodiagnostic purposes.
Methods
A 609 bp fragment P116(N-27), corresponding to the N-terminal region of M. pneumoniae P116 gene was cloned and expressed. A C-terminal fragment P1(C-40), of P1 protein of M. pneumoniae was also expressed. Three IgM ELISA assays based on P116(N-27), P1(C-40) and (P116 (N-27) + P1(C-40)) proteins were optimized and a detailed analysis comparing the reactivity of these proteins with a commercial kit was carried out. Comparative statistical analysis of these assays was performed with the SPSS version 15.0.
Results
The expressed P116(N-27) protein was well recognized by the patient sera and was immunogenic in rabbit. P1(C-40) of M. pneumoniae was also immunogenic in rabbit. In comparison to the reference kit, which is reported to be 100% sensitive and 75% specific, ELISA assay based on purified P116(N-27), P1(C-40) and (P116(N-27) + P1(C-40)) proteins showed 90.3%, 87.1% and 96.8% sensitivity and 87.0%, 87.1% and 90.3% specificity respectively. The p value for all the three assays was found to be < 0.001, and there was a good correlation and association between them.
Conclusion
This study shows that an N-terminal fragment of P116 protein holds a promise for serodiagnosis of M. pneumoniae infection. The IgM ELISA assays based on the recombinant proteins seem to be suitable for the use in serodiagnosis of acute M. pneumoniae infections. The use of short recombinant fragments of P116 and P1 proteins as specific antigens may eliminate the risk of cross-reactions and help to develop a specific and sensitive immunodiagnostic assay for M. pneumoniae detection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-350
PMCID: PMC3022831  PMID: 21144026
16.  Detection of multiple strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis using MIRU-VNTR in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in Kampala, Uganda 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:349.
Background
Many studies using DNA fingerprinting to differentiate Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) strains reveal single strains in cultures, suggesting that most disease is caused by infection with a single strain. However, recent studies using molecular epidemiological tools that amplify multiple targets have demonstrated simultaneous infection with multiple strains of MTB. We aimed to determine the prevalence of MTB multiple strain infections in Kampala, and the impact of these infections on clinical presentation of tuberculosis (TB) and response to treatment.
Methods
A total of 113 consecutive smear and culture positive patients who previously enrolled in a house-hold contact study were included in this study. To determine whether infection with multiple MTB strains has a clinical impact on the initial presentation of patients, retrospective patient data (baseline clinical, radiological and drug susceptibility profiles) was obtained. To determine presence of infections with multiple MTB strains, MIRU-VNTR (Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Unit-Variable-Number Tandem Repeats) -PCR was performed on genomic DNA extracted from MTB cultures of smear positive sputum samples at baseline, second and fifth months.
Results
Of 113 patients, eight (7.1%) had infection with multiple MTB strains, coupled with a high rate of HIV infection (37.5% versus 12.6%, p = 0.049). The remaining patients (105) were infected with single MTB strains. The proportions of patients with MTB smear positive cultures after two and five months of treatment were similar. There was no difference between the two groups for other variables.
Conclusion
Infection with multiple MTB strains occurs among patients with first episode of pulmonary tuberculosis in Kampala, in a setting with high TB incidence. Infection with multiple MTB strains had little impact on the clinical course for individual patients. This is the first MIRU-VNTR-based study from in an East African country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-349
PMCID: PMC3004912  PMID: 21143966
17.  IFN-γ response on T-cell based assays in HIV-infected patients for detection of tuberculosis infection 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:348.
Background
Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have an increased risk of progression to active tuberculosis following Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. The objective of the study was to determine IFN-γ responses for the detection of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) with QuantiFERON-TB GOLD In Tube (QFT-G-IT) and T-SPOT.TB in HIV patients, and evaluate the influence of CD4 cell count on tests performance.
Methods
We studied 75 HIV patients enrolled for ongoing studies of LTBI with T-SPOT.TB, QFN-G-IT and TST. Mean CD4 cell counts ± standard deviation was 461.29 ± 307.49 cells/μl. Eight patients had a BCG scar.
Results
T-SPOT.TB, QFN-G-IT and TST were positive in 7 (9.3%), 5 (6.7%) and 9 (12%) cases, respectively. Global agreement between QFN-G-IT and T-SPOT.TB was 89% (κ = 0.275). The overall agreement of T-SPOT.TB and QFN-G-IT with TST was 80.8% (κ = 0.019) and 89% (κ = 0.373), respectively. We have found negative IFN-γ assays results among 2 BCG-vaccinated HIV-infected individuals with a positive TST. In non BCG-vaccinated patients, QFN-G-IT and TST were positive in 5 cases (7.5%) and T-SPOT.TB in 7 (10.4%). In contrast, in BCG-vaccinated patients, only TST was positive in 4/8 (50%) of the cases. The differences obtained in the number of positive results between TST and both IFN-γ assays in BCG vaccinated patients were significant (95% CI 3-97%, p = 0.046), however, the confidence interval is very wide given the small number of patients. In patients with CD4< 200, we obtained only one (5%) positive result with T-SPOT.TB; however, QFN-G-IT and TST were negative in all cases. On the contrary, percentages of positive results in patients with CD4> 200 were 10.9% (6/55), 9.1% (5/55) and 16.4% (9/55) with T-SPOT.TB, QFN-G-IT and TST, respectively.
Conclusions
IFN-γ tests have the benefit over TST that are less influenced by BCG vaccination, consequently they are more specific than TST. Although our number of patients with advance immunosuppression is limited, our study suggests that IFN-γ assays are influenced with level of immunosuppression. The use of IFN-γ assays could be a helpful method for diagnosing LTBI in HIV population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-348
PMCID: PMC3016378  PMID: 21143955
18.  The changing pattern of human brucellosis: clinical manifestations, epidemiology, and treatment outcomes over three decades in Georgia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:346.
Background
Brucellosis is an endemic infection in Georgia. We conducted a review of patient records with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of brucellosis over three decades at the central referral hospital for brucellosis cases, the Institute of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine (IPTM) in Tbilisi. The purpose was to describe the demographic profile and clinical characteristics as well as diagnostic and treatment strategies in patients with brucellosis.
Methods
Data were abstracted from randomly selected patient records at the IPTM. In total, 300 records were reviewed from three time periods: 1970-73, 1988-89, and 2004-2008.
Results
The age distribution of patients shifted from a median age of 40 years in the first time period to 20 years in the third time period. Azeri ethnicity was an increasing proportion of the total number of cases. The frequency of relapsed infection was 14.7% (44 cases). A total of 50 patients received vaccine therapy, and although the vaccine produced immune responses, demonstrated by an increase in agglutination titers, it was not associated with improved outcome.
Conclusion
The demographics of brucellosis in Georgia fit a profile of persons that tend sheep. Osteoarticular complications were commonly detected, especially in children. The changing pattern of brucellosis in Georgia suggests clinicians should be updated about different trends in brucellosis in their country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-346
PMCID: PMC3004911  PMID: 21143881
19.  Immunity status of adults and children against poliomyelitis virus type 1 strains CHAT and Sabin (LSc-2ab) in Germany 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:347.
Background
In October 2007, the working group CEN/TC 216 of the European Committee for standardisation suggested that the Sabin oral poliovirus vaccine type 1 strain (LSc-2ab) presently used for virucidal tests should be replaced by another attenuated vaccine poliovirus type 1 strain, CHAT. Both strains were historically used as oral vaccines, but the Sabin type 1 strain was acknowledged to be more attenuated. In Germany, vaccination against poliomyelitis was introduced in 1962 using the oral polio vaccine (OPV) containing Sabin strain LSc-2ab. The vaccination schedule was changed from OPV to an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) containing wild polio virus type 1 strain Mahoney in 1998. In the present study, we assessed potential differences in neutralising antibody titres to Sabin and CHAT in persons with a history of either OPV, IPV, or OPV with IPV booster.
Methods
Neutralisation poliovirus antibodies against CHAT and Sabin 1 were measured in sera of 41 adults vaccinated with OPV. Additionally, sera from 28 children less than 10 years of age and immunised with IPV only were analysed. The neutralisation assay against poliovirus was performed according to WHO guidelines.
Results
The neutralisation activity against CHAT in adults with OPV vaccination history was significantly lower than against Sabin poliovirus type 1 strains (Wilcoxon signed-rank test P < 0.025). In eight sera, the antibody titres measured against CHAT were less than 8, although the titre against Sabin 1 varied between 8 and 64. Following IPV booster, anti-CHAT antibodies increased rapidly in sera of CHAT-negative adults with OPV history. Sera from children with IPV history neutralised CHAT and Sabin 1 strains equally.
Conclusion
The lack of neutralising antibodies against the CHAT strain in persons vaccinated with OPV might be associated with an increased risk of reinfection with the CHAT polio virus type 1, and this implies a putative risk of transmission of the virus to polio-free communities. We strongly suggest that laboratory workers who were immunised with OPV receive a booster vaccination with IPV before handling CHAT in the laboratory.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-347
PMCID: PMC3022830  PMID: 21143885
20.  The central region of the msp gene of Treponema denticola has sequence heterogeneity among clinical samples, obtained from patients with periodontitis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:345.
Background
Treponema denticola is an oral spirochete involved in the pathogenesis and progression of periodontal disease. Of its virulence factors, the major surface protein (MSP) plays a role in the interaction between the treponeme and host. To understand the possible evolution of this protein, we analyzed the sequence of the msp gene in 17 T. denticola positive clinical samples.
Methods
Nucleotide and amino acid sequence of MSP have been determined by PCR amplification and sequencing in seventeen T. denticola clinical specimens to evaluate the genetic variability and the philogenetic relationship of the T. denticola msp gene among the different amplified sequence of positive samples. In silico antigenic analysis was performed on each MSP sequences to determined possible antigenic variation.
Results
The msp sequences showed two highly conserved 5' and 3' ends and a central region that varies substantially. Phylogenetic analysis categorized the 17 specimens into 2 principal groups, suggesting a low rate of evolutionary variability and an elevated degree of conservation of msp in clinically derived genetic material. Analysis of the predicted antigenic variability between isolates, demonstrated that the major differences lay between amino acids 200 and 300.
Conclusion
These findings showed for the first time, the nucleotide and amino acids variation of the msp gene in infecting T. denticola, in vivo. This data suggested that the antigenic variability found in to the MSP molecule, may be an important factor involved in immune evasion by T. denticola.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-345
PMCID: PMC3004910  PMID: 21138575
21.  Blood cultures for the diagnosis of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis among HIV-infected patients from rural South Africa: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:344.
Background
The yield of mycobacterial blood cultures for multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) among drug-resistant TB suspects has not been described.
Methods
We performed a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis to determine the yield of mycobacterial blood cultures for MDR-TB and XDR-TB among patients suspected of drug-resistant TB from rural South Africa. Secondary outcomes included risk factors of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteremia and the additive yield of mycobacterial blood cultures compared to sputum culture.
Results
From 9/1/2006 to 12/31/2008, 130 patients suspected of drug-resistant TB were evaluated with mycobacterial blood culture. Each patient had a single mycobacterial blood culture with 41 (32%) positive for M. tuberculosis, of which 20 (49%) were XDR-TB and 8 (20%) were MDR-TB. One hundred fourteen (88%) patients were known to be HIV-infected. Patients on antiretroviral therapy were significantly less likely to have a positive blood culture for M. tuberculosis (p = 0.002). The diagnosis of MDR or XDR-TB was made by blood culture alone in 12 patients.
Conclusions
Mycobacterial blood cultures provided an additive yield for diagnosis of drug-resistant TB in patients with HIV from rural South Africa. The use of mycobacterial blood cultures should be considered in all patients suspected of drug-resistant TB in similar settings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-344
PMCID: PMC3016377  PMID: 21134279
22.  Two Legionnaires' disease cases associated with industrial waste water treatment plants: a case report 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:343.
Background
Finnish and Swedish waste water systems used by the forest industry were found to be exceptionally heavily contaminated with legionellae in 2005.
Case presentation
We report two cases of severe pneumonia in employees working at two separate mills in Finland in 2006. Legionella serological and urinary antigen tests were used to diagnose Legionnaires' disease in the symptomatic employees, who had worked at, or close to, waste water treatment plants. Since the findings indicated a Legionella infection, the waste water and home water systems were studied in more detail. The antibody response and Legionella urinary antigen finding of Case A indicated that the infection had been caused by Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. Case A had been exposed to legionellae while installing a pump into a post-clarification basin at the waste water treatment plant of mill A. Both the water and sludge in the basin contained high concentrations of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1, in addition to serogroups 3 and 13. Case B was working 200 meters downwind from a waste water treatment plant, which had an active sludge basin and cooling towers. The antibody response indicated that his disease was due to Legionella pneumophila serogroup 2. The cooling tower was the only site at the waste water treatment plant yielding that serogroup, though water in the active sludge basin yielded abundant growth of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 5 and Legionella rubrilucens. Both workers recovered from the disease.
Conclusion
These are the first reported cases of Legionnaires' disease in Finland associated with industrial waste water systems.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-343
PMCID: PMC3014939  PMID: 21126333
23.  A canine leishmaniasis pilot survey in an emerging focus of visceral leishmaniasis: Posadas (Misiones, Argentina) 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:342.
Background
An increasing number of reports are calling our attention to the worldwide spread of leishmaniasis. The urbanization of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has been observed in different South American countries, due to changes in demographic and ecological factors. In May 2006, VL was detected for the first time in the city of Posadas (Misiones, Argentina). This event encouraged us to conduct a clinical and parasitological pilot survey on domestic dogs from Posadas to identify their potential role as reservoirs for the disease.
Methods
One hundred and ten dogs from the city of Posadas were included in the study. They were selected based on convenience and availability. All dogs underwent clinical examination. Symptomatology related to canine leishmaniasis was recorded, and peripheral blood and lymph node aspirates were collected. Anti-Leishmania antibodies were detected using rK39-immunocromatographic tests and IFAT. Parasite detection was based on peripheral blood and lymph node aspirate PCR targeting the SSUrRNA gene. Molecular typing was addressed by DNA sequence analysis of the PCR products obtained by SSUrRNA and ITS-1 PCR.
Results
According to clinical examination, 69.1% (76/110) of the dogs presented symptoms compatible with canine leishmaniasis. Serological analyses were positive for 43.6% (48/110) of the dogs and parasite DNA was detected in 47.3% (52/110). A total of 63 dogs (57.3%) were positive by serology and/or PCR. Molecular typing identified Leishmania infantum (syn. Leishmania chagasi) as the causative agent.
Conclusions
This work confirms recent findings which revealed the presence of Lutzomyia longipalpis, the vector of L. infantum in this area of South America. This new VL focus could be well established, and further work is needed to ascertain its magnitude and to prevent further human VL cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-342
PMCID: PMC3002360  PMID: 21122107
24.  Ampicillin/Sulbactam versus Cefuroxime as antimicrobial prophylaxis for cesarean delivery: a randomized study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:341.
Background
The efficacy and safety of a single dose of ampicillin/sulbactam compared to a single dose of cefuroxime at cord clamp for prevention of post-cesarean infectious morbidity has not been assessed.
Methods
Women scheduled for cesarean delivery were randomized to receive a single dose of either 3 g of ampicillin-sulbactam or 1.5 g of cefuroxime intravenously, after umbilical cord clamping. An evaluation for development of postoperative infections and risk factor analysis was performed.
Results
One hundred and seventy-six patients (median age 28 yrs, IQR: 24-32) were enrolled in the study during the period July 2004 - July 2005. Eighty-five (48.3%) received cefuroxime prophylaxis and 91 (51.7%) ampicillin/sulbactam. Postoperative infection developed in 5 of 86 (5.9%) patients that received cefuroxime compared to 8 of 91 (8.8%) patients that received ampicillin/sulbactam (p = 0.6). In univariate analyses 6 or more vaginal examinations prior to the operation (p = 0.004), membrane rupture for more than 6 hours (p = 0.08) and blood loss greater than 500 ml (p = 0.018) were associated with developing a postoperative surgical site infection (SSI). In logistic regression having 6 or more vaginal examinations was the most significant risk factor for a postoperative SSI (OR 6.8, 95% CI: 1.4-33.4, p = 0.019). Regular prenatal follow-up was associated with a protective effect (OR 0.04, 95% CI: 0.005-0.36, p = 0.004).
Conclusions
Ampicillin/sulbactam was as safe and effective as cefuroxime when administered for the prevention of infections following cesarean delivery.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01138852
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-341
PMCID: PMC3009979  PMID: 21118502
25.  Flocked nasal swab versus nasopharyngeal aspirate for detection of respiratory tract viruses in immunocompromised adults: a matched comparative study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:340.
Background
Several studies have compared nasal swabs to the more invasive nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA) for detection of respiratory viruses. Mostly, the comparisons have been performed on immunocompetent children with upper respiratory tract symptoms. The results range from a relatively poor sensitivity for the swabs to an even higher sensitivity than for the NPA. We aimed to investigate the sensitivity of a flocked nasal swab (fNS) on immunocompromised adults with febrile neutropenia.
Methods
During 16 months, adults with a hematological disorder presenting with febrile neutropenia were enrolled in the study. Paired samples of the fNS and NPA were collected in the outer part of the nasal cavity and the nasopharynx, respectively. The samples were analyzed regarding a panel of 15 respiratory viruses by means of quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Furthermore, as an indirect measure of cell yield by either method, the copy number of the human beta actin gene was also determined. Cohen's kappa was calculated as a measure of agreement of the results obtained from either method. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for comparison of cell yield.
Results
A total of 98 paired samples from a total of 89 patients were collected. Twenty of the pairs had virus detected in at least one of the specimens; 11 in both, 7 in NPA only, and 2 in fNS only. For the fNS, the overall sensitivity for any virus and for rhinovirus only was 65% and 78%, respectively. NPA was significantly superior to the fNS in collecting epithelial cells.
Conclusion
We found the overall sensitivity of 65% to be too low to replace NPA with this sampling technique in this patient category.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-340
PMCID: PMC3001728  PMID: 21110854

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