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1.  Cost-effectiveness analysis of PCR for the rapid diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis 
Background
Tuberculosis is one of the most prominent health problems in the world, causing 1.75 million deaths each year. Rapid clinical diagnosis is important in patients who have co-morbidities such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. Direct microscopy has low sensitivity and culture takes 3 to 6 weeks [1-3]. Therefore, new tools for TB diagnosis are necessary, especially in health settings with a high prevalence of HIV/TB co-infection.
Methods
In a public reference TB/HIV hospital in Brazil, we compared the cost-effectiveness of diagnostic strategies for diagnosis of pulmonary TB: Acid fast bacilli smear microscopy by Ziehl-Neelsen staining (AFB smear) plus culture and AFB smear plus colorimetric test (PCR dot-blot).
From May 2003 to May 2004, sputum was collected consecutively from PTB suspects attending the Parthenon Reference Hospital. Sputum samples were examined by AFB smear, culture, and PCR dot-blot. The gold standard was a positive culture combined with the definition of clinical PTB. Cost analysis included health services and patient costs.
Results
The AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot require the lowest laboratory investment for equipment (US$ 20,000). The total screening costs are 3.8 times for AFB smear plus culture versus for AFB smear plus PCR dot blot costs (US$ 5,635,760 versus US$ 1,498, 660). Costs per correctly diagnosed case were US$ 50,773 and US$ 13,749 for AFB smear plus culture and AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot, respectively. AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot was more cost-effective than AFB smear plus culture, when the cost of treating all correctly diagnosed cases was considered. The cost of returning patients, which are not treated due to a negative result, to the health service, was higher in AFB smear plus culture than for AFB smear plus PCR dot-blot, US$ 374,778,045 and US$ 110,849,055, respectively.
Conclusion
AFB smear associated with PCR dot-blot associated has the potential to be a cost-effective tool in the fight against PTB for patients attended in the TB/HIV reference hospital.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-216
PMCID: PMC2811112  PMID: 20043842
2.  Clinical presentation, demographics and outcome of Tuberculosis (TB) in a low incidence area: a 4-year study in Geneva, Switzerland 
Background
The incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in developed countries has decreased since the 1990s, reflecting worldwide efforts to identify and treat TB according to WHO recommendations. However TB remains an important public health problem in industrialized countries with a high proportion of cases occurring among subjects originating from high prevalence countries. The aim of this study was to describe clinical and social characteristics of patients with TB and their outcome in a low incidence area with a high immigration rate.
Methods
Four-year retrospective study based on a computerized database and subsequent review of medical records of all patients with TB followed at the outpatient section of the Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland.
Results
252 patients (84% foreigners, 25% asylum seekers) aged 38 ± 19 yrs were studied (11% co-infected with HIV). TB was intrapulmonary (TBP) in 158 cases (63%), extrapulmonary (TBE) in 137 (54%), and both in 43 cases (17%). TBP was smear (S)+/culture (C)+ in 59%, S-/C+ in 37%, S-/C- in 4%. Smoking was significantly associated with cavitary disease.
Time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 2.1 ± 3.1 months. Initially, 10% were asymptomatic; 35% had no general symptoms. Despite systematic sputum analysis (induced or spontaneous), TBP was confirmed only by bronchoscopy in 38 subjects (24% of TBP). Side effects requiring changes in treatment occurred in 38 cases (11%).
Treatment was completed in 210 (83%) patients. In 42 cases, follow up was unsuccessful; causes were: failure (n = 2; 0.8%), defaulters (n = 8; 3%), transfer out (n = 28; 11%) and death (n = 4; 1.6%). Relapse rate was 0.24 per 100 patient-years. Considering S+ TBP only, success rate was 87%.
Conclusion
TB in our area is predominantly a disease of young foreign-born subjects. Smoking appears as a possible risk factor for cavitary TBP. Time to diagnosis remains long. Compliance to treatment is satisfactory. Success rate for S+ TBP is within WHO objectives.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-217
PMCID: PMC2807871  PMID: 20043847
3.  HIV-1 subtype and viral tropism determination for evaluating antiretroviral therapy options: an analysis of archived Kenyan blood samples 
Background
Infection with HIV-1 is characterized by genetic diversity such that specific viral subtypes are predominant in specific geographical areas. The genetic variation in HIV-1 pol and env genes is responsible for rapid development of resistance to current drugs. This variation has influenced disease progression among the infected and necessitated the search for alternative drugs with novel targets. Though successfully used in developed countries, these novel drugs are still limited in resource-poor countries. The aim of this study was to determine HIV-1 subtypes, recombination, dual infections and viral tropism of HIV-1 among Kenyan patients prior to widespread use of antiretroviral drugs.
Methods
Remnant blood samples from consenting sexually transmitted infection (STI) patients in Nairobi were collected between February and May 2001 and stored. Polymerase chain reaction and cloning of portions of HIV-1 gag, pol and env genes was carried out followed by automated DNA sequencing.
Results
Twenty HIV-1 positive samples (from 11 females and 9 males) were analyzed. The average age of males (32.5 years) and females (26.5 years) was significantly different (p value < 0.0001). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 90% (18/20) were concordant HIV-1 subtypes: 12 were subtype A1; 2, A2; 3, D and 1, C. Two samples (10%) were discordant showing different subtypes in the three regions. Of 19 samples checked for co-receptor usage, 14 (73.7%) were chemokine co-receptor 5 (CCR5) variants while three (15.8%) were CXCR4 variants. Two had dual/mixed co-receptor use with X4 variants being minor population.
Conclusion
HIV-1 subtype A accounted for majority of the infections. Though perceived to be a high risk population, the prevalence of recombination in this sample was low with no dual infections detected. Genotypic co-receptor analysis showed that most patients harbored viruses that are predicted to use CCR5.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-215
PMCID: PMC2804586  PMID: 20040114
4.  Evidence and rationale for the World Health Organization recommended standards for Japanese encephalitis surveillance 
Background
Japanese encephalitis (JE) is the most important form of viral encephalitis in Asia. Surveillance for the disease in many countries has been limited. To improve collection of accurate surveillance data in order to increase understanding of the full impact of JE and monitor control programs, World Health Organization (WHO) Recommended Standards for JE Surveillance have been developed. To aid acceptance of the Standards, we describe the process of development, provide the supporting evidence, and explain the rationale for the recommendations made in the document.
Methods
A JE Core Working Group was formed in 2002 and worked on development of JE surveillance standards. A series of questions on specific topics was initially developed. A literature review was undertaken and the findings were discussed and documented. The group then prepared a draft document, with emphasis placed on the feasibility of implementation in Asian countries. A field test version of the Standards was published by WHO in January 2006. Feedback was then sought from countries that piloted the Standards and from public health professionals in forums and individual meetings to modify the Standards accordingly.
Results
After revisions, a final version of the JE surveillance standards was published in August 2008. The supporting information is presented here together with explanations of the rationale and levels of evidence for specific recommendations.
Conclusion
Provision of the supporting evidence and rationale should help to facilitate successful implementation of the JE surveillance standards in JE-endemic countries which will in turn enable better understanding of disease burden and the impact of control programs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-214
PMCID: PMC2809064  PMID: 20038298
5.  Co-infection by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1): does immune activation lead to a faster progression to AIDS? 
Background
Recent data have shown that HTLV-1 is prevalent among HIV positive patients in Mozambique, although the impact of HTLV-1 infection on HIV disease progression remains controversial. Our aim was to determine the phenotypic profile of T lymphocytes subsets among Mozambican patients co-infected by HIV and HTLV-1.
Methods
We enrolled 29 patients co-infected by HTLV-1 and HIV (co-infected), 59 patients mono-infected by HIV (HIV) and 16 healthy controls (HC), respectively.
For phenotypic analysis, cells were stained with the following fluorochrome-labeled anti-human monoclonal antibodies CD4-APC, CD8-PerCP, CD25-PE, CD62L-FITC, CD45RA-FITC. CD45RO-PE, CD38-PE; being analysed by four-colour flow cytometry.
Results
We initially found that CD4+ T cell counts were significantly higher in co-infected, as compared to HIV groups. Moreover, CD4+ T Lymphocytes from co-infected patients presented significantly higher levels of CD45RO and CD25, but lower levels of CD45RA and CD62L, strongly indicating that CD4+ T cells are more activated under HTLV-1 plus HIV co-infection.
Conclusion
Our data indicate that HTLV-1/HIV co-infected patients progress with higher CD4+ T cell counts and higher levels of activation markers. In this context, it is conceivable that in co-infected individuals, these higher levels of activation may account for a faster progression to AIDS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-211
PMCID: PMC2813852  PMID: 20028500
6.  Diagnostic and prognostic value of procalcitonin among febrile critically ill patients with prolonged ICU stay 
Background
Procalcitonin (PCT) has been proposed as a diagnostic and prognostic sepsis marker, but has never been validated in febrile patients with prolonged ICU stay.
Methods
Patients were included in the study provided they were hospitalised in the ICU for > 10 days, were free of infection and presented a new episode of SIRS, with fever >38°C being obligatory. Fifty patients fulfilled the above criteria. PCT was measured daily during the ICU stay. The primary outcome was proven infection.
Results
Twenty-seven out of 50 patients were diagnosed with infection. Median PCT on the day of fever was 1.18 and 0.17 ng/ml for patients with and without proven infections (p < 0.001). The area under the curve for PCT was 0.85 (95% CI; 0.71-0.93), for CRP 0.65 (0.46-0.78) and for WBC 0.68 (0.49-0.81). A PCT level of 1 ng/mL yielded a negative predictive value of 72% for the presence of infection, while a PCT of 1.16 had a specificity of 100%. A two-fold increase of PCT between fever onset and the previous day was associated with proven infection (p 0.001) (OR = 8.55; 2.4-31.1), whereas a four-fold increase of PCT of any of the 6 preceding days was associated with a positive predictive value exceeding 69.65%. A PCT value less than 0.5 ng/ml on the third day after the advent of fever was associated with favorable survival (p 0.01).
Conclusion
The reported data support that serial serum PCT may be a valuable diagnostic and prognostic marker in febrile chronic critically ill patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-213
PMCID: PMC2803794  PMID: 20028533
7.  The role of virulence factors in the outcome of staphylococcal peritonitis in CAPD patients 
Background
Peritonitis continues to be the most frequent cause of peritoneal dialysis (PD) failure, with an important impact on patient mortality. Gram-positive cocci such as Staphylococcus epidermidis, other coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), and Staphylococcus aureus are the most frequent etiological agents of PD-associated peritonitis worldwide. The objective of the present study was to compare peritonitis caused by S. aureus and CoNS and to evaluate the factors influencing outcome.
Methods
Records of 86 new episodes of staphylococcal peritonitis that occurred between 1996 and 2000 in the Dialysis unit of a single university hospital were studied (35 due to S. aureus, 24 to S. epidermidis and 27 to other CoNS). The production of slime, lipase, lecithinase, nuclease (DNAse), thermonuclease (TNAse), α- and β-hemolysin, enterotoxins (SEA, SEB, SEC, SED) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) was studied in S. aureus and CoNS. Antimicrobial susceptibility was evaluated based on the minimal inhibitory concentration determined by the E-test. Outcome predictors were evaluated by two logistic regression models.
Results
The oxacillin susceptibility rate was 85.7% for S. aureus, 41.6% for S. epidermidis, and 51.8% for other CoNS (p = 0.001). Production of toxins and enzymes, except for enterotoxin A and α-hemolysin, was associated with S. aureus episodes (p < 0.001), whereas slime production was positive in 23.5% of CoNS and 8.6% of S. aureus strains (p = 0.0047). The first model did not include enzymes and toxins due to their association with S. aureus. The odds of resolution were 9.5 times higher for S. epidermidis than for S. aureus (p = 0.02) episodes, and were similar for S. epidermidis and other CoNS (p = 0.8). The resolution odds were 68 times higher for non-slime producers (p = 0.001) and were not influenced by oxacillin resistance among vancomycin-treated cases (p = 0.89). In the second model, the resolution rate was similar for S. aureus and S. epidermidis (p = 0.70), and slime (p = 0.001) and α-hemolysin (p = 0.04) production were independent predictors of non-resolution.
Conclusion
Bacterial species and virulence factors rather than antibiotic resistance influence the outcome of staphylococcal peritonitis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-212
PMCID: PMC2807432  PMID: 20028509
8.  Epidemiological investigations of human rabies in China 
Background
The epidemic of rabies showed a rising trend in China in recent years. To identify the potential factors involved in the emergence, we investigated and analyzed the status and characteristics of human rabies between 1996 and 2008. Moreover, the status of rabies infection and vaccination in dogs, and prophylaxis of humans after rabies exposure were analyzed.
Methods
Human rabies data in China between 1996 and 2008 collected from the annual reports of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) were analyzed. To investigate the status of dogs and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) of humans, brain specimens of domestic dogs were collected and detected, and the demographic details, exposure status and PEP of rabies patients were obtained in 2005 and 2006 in Guangxi, Hunan and Guizhou provinces.
Results
The results showed 19,806 human rabies cases were reported in China from 1996 to 2008, with an average of 1,524 cases each year, and the incidence almost was rising rapidly, with the peak in 2007 (3,300 cases). It was notable that nearly 50% of the total rabies cases nationwide were reported in Guangxi, Hunan and Guizhou provinces. In these three provinces, the rabies infection rate in dogs was 2.3%, and 60% investigated cities had a dog vaccination rate of below 70%; among the 315 recorded human cases, 66.3% did not receive any PEP at all, 27.6% received inadequate PEP, and only 6.0% received a full regime of PEP.
Conclusions
In recent years, rabies is reemerging and becoming a major public-health problem in China. Our analysis showed that unsuccessful control of dog rabies and inadequate PEP of patients were the main factors leading to the high incidence of human rabies in China, then there are following suggestions: (1) Strict control of free-ranging dogs and mandatory rabies vaccination should be enforced. (2)Establishing national animal rabies surveillance network is imperative. (3) PEP should be decided to initiate or withhold according to postmortem diagnosis of the biting animal. (4) The cost of PEP should be decreased or free, especially in rural areas. (5)Education of the public and health care staff should be enhanced.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-210
PMCID: PMC2803182  PMID: 20025742
9.  Serum macrophage migration inhibitory factor reflects adrenal function in the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis of septic patients: an observational study 
Background
The hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis modulates the inflammatory response during sepsis. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), which counteracts the anti-inflammatory activity of glucocorticoid (GC), is one of the mediators of the development of inflammation. An inflammatory imbalance involving GC and MIF might be the cause or result of adrenal insufficiency. Our objective was to clarify the relationship between serum MIF and adrenal function in the HPA axis of sepsis patients using the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test.
Methods
An observational study was performed in a university intensive care unit over a two-year period. Of 64 consecutive sepsis patients, 41 were enrolled. The enrolled patients underwent an ACTH stimulation test within 24 h of the diagnosis of severe sepsis or septic shock. Clinical and laboratory parameters, including serum MIF and cortisol, were measured.
Results
Based on their responses to the ACTH stimulation test, the patients were divided into a normal adrenal response (NAR) group (n = 22) and an adrenal insufficiency (AI) group (n = 19). The AI group had significantly more septic shock patients and higher prothrombin time ratios, serum MIF, and baseline cortisol than did the NAR group (P < 0.05). Serum MIF correlated significantly with the SOFA (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment) score, prothrombin time ratio, and delta max cortisol, which is maximum increment of serum cortisol concentration after ACTH stimulation test (rs = 0.414, 0.355, and -0.49, respectively, P < 0.05). Serum MIF also correlated significantly with the delta max cortisol/albumin ratio (rs = -0.501, P = 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis identified the threshold serum MIF concentration (19.5 ng/mL, P = 0.01) that segregated patients into the NAR and AI groups.
Conclusions
The inverse correlation between serum MIF and delta max cortisol or the delta max cortisol/albumin ratio suggests that high serum MIF reflects an insufficient adrenal response in the HPA axis. Serum MIF could be a valuable clinical marker of adrenal insufficiency in sepsis patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-209
PMCID: PMC2807431  PMID: 20021698
10.  Development of a reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) system for a highly sensitive detection of enterovirus in the stool samples of acute flaccid paralysis cases 
Background
In the global eradication program for poliomyelitis, the laboratory diagnosis plays a critical role by isolating poliovirus (PV) from the stool samples of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases. In this study, we developed a reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) system for a rapid and highly sensitive detection of enterovirus including PV to identify stool samples positive for enterovirus including PV.
Methods
A primer set was designed for RT-LAMP to detect enterovirus preferably those with PV-like 5'NTRs of the viral genome. The sensitivity of RT-LAMP system was evaluated with prototype strains of enterovirus. Detection of enterovirus from stool extracts was examined by using RT-LAMP system.
Results
We detected at least 400 copies of the viral genomes of PV(Sabin) strains within 90 min by RT-LAMP with the primer set. This RT-LAMP system showed a preference for Human enterovirus species C (HEV-C) strains including PV, but exhibited less sensitivity to the prototype strains of HEV-A and HEV-B (detection limits of 7,400 to 28,000 copies). Stool extracts, from which PV, HEV-C, or HEV-A was isolated in the cell culture system, were mostly positive by RT-LAMP method (positive rates of 15/16 (= 94%), 13/14 (= 93%), and 4/4 (= 100%), respectively). The positive rate of this RT-LAMP system for stool extracts from which HEV-B was isolated was lower than that of HEV-C (positive rate of 11/21 (= 52%)). In the stool samples, which were negative for enterovirus isolation by the cell culture system, we found that two samples were positive for RT-LAMP (positive rates of 2/38 (= 5.3%)). In these samples, enterovirus 96 was identified by sequence analysis utilizing a seminested PCR system.
Conclusions
RT-LAMP system developed in this study showed a high sensitivity comparable to that of the cell culture system for the detection of PV, HEV-A, and HEV-C, but less sensitivity to HEV-B. This RT-LAMP system would be useful for the direct detection of enterovirus from the stool extracts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-208
PMCID: PMC2803793  PMID: 20015403
11.  Performance of the tuberculin skin test and interferon-γ release assay for detection of tuberculosis infection in immunocompromised patients in a BCG-vaccinated population 
Background
Interferon-γ release assay (IGRA) may improve diagnostic accuracy for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). This study compared the performance of the tuberculin skin test (TST) with that of IGRA for the diagnosis of LTBI in immunocompromised patients in an intermediate TB burden country where BCG vaccination is mandatory.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective observational study of patients given the TST and an IGRA, the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-IT), at Severance Hospital, a tertiary hospital in South Korea, from December 2006 to May 2009.
Results
Of 211 patients who underwent TST and QFT-IT testing, 117 (55%) were classified as immunocompromised. Significantly fewer immunocompromised than immunocompetent patients had positive TST results (10.3% vs. 27.7%, p 0.001), whereas the percentage of positive QFT-IT results was comparable for both groups (21.4% vs. 25.5%). However, indeterminate QFT-IT results were more frequent in immunocompromised than immunocompetent patients (21.4% vs. 9.6%, p 0.021). Agreement between the TST and QFT-IT was fair for the immunocompromised group (κ = 0.38), but moderate agreement was observed for the immunocompetent group (κ = 0.57). Indeterminate QFT-IT results were associated with anaemia, lymphocytopenia, hypoproteinemia, and hypoalbuminemia.
Conclusion
In immunocompromised patients, the QFT-IT may be more sensitive than the TST for detection of LTBI, but it resulted in a considerable proportion of indeterminate results. Therefore, both tests may maximise the efficacy of screening for LTBI in immunocompromised patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-207
PMCID: PMC2801508  PMID: 20003535
12.  Early severe morbidity and resource utilization in South African adults on antiretroviral therapy 
Background
High rates of mortality and morbidity have been described in sub-Saharan African patients within the first few months of starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). There is limited data on the causes of early morbidity on HAART and the associated resource utilization.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted of medical admissions at a secondary-level hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Patients on HAART were identified from a register and HIV-infected patients not on HAART were matched by gender, month of admission, and age group to correspond with the first admission of each case. Primary reasons for admission were determined by chart review. Direct health care costs were determined from the provider's perspective.
Results
There were 53 in the HAART group with 70 admissions and 53 in the no-HAART group with 60 admissions. The median duration of HAART was 1 month (interquartile range 1-3 months). Median baseline CD4 count in the HAART group was 57 × 106 cells/L (IQR 15-115). The primary reasons for admission in the HAART group were more likely to be due to adverse drug reactions and less likely to be due to AIDS events than the no-HAART group (34% versus 7%; p < 0.001 and 39% versus 63%; p = 0.005 respectively). Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome was the primary reason for admission in 10% of the HAART group. Lengths of hospital stay per admission and inpatient survival were not significantly different between the two groups. Five of the 15 deaths in the HAART group were due to IRIS or adverse drug reactions. Median costs per admission of diagnostic and therapeutic services (laboratory investigations, radiology, intravenous fluids and blood, and non-ART medications) were higher in the HAART group compared with the no-HAART group (US$190 versus US$111; p = 0.001), but the more expensive non-curative costs (overhead, capital, and clinical staff) were not significantly different (US$1199 versus US$1128; p = 0.525).
Conclusions
Causes of early morbidity are different and more complex in HIV-infected patients on HAART. This results in greater resource utilization of diagnostic and therapeutic services.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-205
PMCID: PMC2803481  PMID: 20003472
13.  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
14.  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
15.  Hepatic profile analyses of tipranavir in Phase II and III clinical trials 
Background
The risk and course of serum transaminase elevations (TEs) and clinical hepatic serious adverse event (SAE) development in ritonavir-boosted tipranavir (TPV/r) 500/200 mg BID recipients, who also received additional combination antiretroviral treatment agents in clinical trials (TPV/r-based cART), was determined.
Methods
Aggregated transaminase and hepatic SAE data through 96 weeks of TPV/r-based cART from five Phase IIb/III trials were analyzed. Patients were categorized by the presence or absence of underlying liver disease (+LD or -LD). Kaplan-Meier (K-M) probability estimates for time-to-first US National Institutes of Health, Division of AIDS (DAIDS) Grade 3/4 TE and clinical hepatic SAE were determined and clinical actions/outcomes evaluated. Risk factors for DAIDS Grade 3/4 TE were identified through multivariate Cox regression statistical modeling.
Results
Grade 3/4 TEs occurred in 144/1299 (11.1%) patients; 123/144 (85%) of these were asymptomatic; 84% of these patients only temporarily interrupted treatment or continued, with transaminase levels returning to Grade ≤ 2. At 96 weeks of study treatment, the incidence of Grade 3/4 TEs was higher among the +LD (16.8%) than among the -LD (10.1%) patients. K-M analysis revealed an incremental risk for developing DAIDS Grade 3/4 TEs; risk was greatest through 24 weeks (6.1%), and decreasing thereafter (>24-48 weeks: 3.4%, >48 weeks-72 weeks: 2.0%, >72-96 weeks: 2.2%), and higher in +LD than -LD patients at each 24-week interval. Treatment with TPV/r, co-infection with hepatitis B and/or C, DAIDS grade >1 TE and CD4+ > 200 cells/mm3 at baseline were found to be independent risk factors for development of DAIDS Grade 3/4 TE; the hazard ratios (HR) were 2.8, 2.0, 2.1 and 1.5, respectively. Four of the 144 (2.7%) patients with Grade 3/4 TEs developed hepatic SAEs; overall, 14/1299 (1.1%) patients had hepatic SAEs including six with hepatic failure (0.5%). The K-M risk of developing hepatic SAEs through 96 weeks was 1.4%; highest risk was observed during the first 24 weeks and decreased thereafter; the risk was similar between +LD and -LD patients for the first 24 weeks (0.6% and 0.5%, respectively) and was higher for +LD patients, thereafter.
Conclusion
Through 96 weeks of TPV/r-based cART, DAIDS Grade 3/4 TEs and hepatic SAEs occurred in approximately 11% and 1% of TPV/r patients, respectively; most (84%) had no significant clinical implications and were managed without permanent treatment discontinuation. Among the 14 patients with hepatic SAE, 6 experienced hepatic failure (0.5%); these patients had profound immunosuppression and the rate appears higher among hepatitis co-infected patients. The overall probability of experiencing a hepatic SAE in this patient cohort was 1.4% through 96 weeks of treatment. Independent risk factors for DAIDS Grade 3/4 TEs include TPV/r treatment, co-infection with hepatitis B and/or C, DAIDS grade >1 TE and CD4+ > 200 cells/mm3 at baseline.
Trial registration
US-NIH Trial registration number: NCT00144170
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-203
PMCID: PMC2803791  PMID: 20003457
16.  The role of beta-lactamase-producing-bacteria in mixed infections 
Beta-lactamase-producing bacteria (BLPB) can play an important role in polymicrobial infections. They can have a direct pathogenic impact in causing the infection as well as an indirect effect through their ability to produce the enzyme beta-lactamase. BLPB may not only survive penicillin therapy but can also, as was demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo studies, protect other penicillin-susceptible bacteria from penicillin by releasing the free enzyme into their environment. This phenomenon occurs in upper respiratory tract, skin, soft tissue, surgical and other infections. The clinical, in vitro, and in vivo evidence supporting the role of these organisms in the increased failure rate of penicillin in eradication of these infections and the implication of that increased rate on the management of infections is discussed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-202
PMCID: PMC2804585  PMID: 20003454
17.  Association of HLA-A, B, DRB1 alleles and haplotypes with HIV-1 infection in Chongqing, China 
Background
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV-1) epidemic in Chongqing, China, is increasing rapidly with the dominant subtype of CRF07_BC over the past 3 years. Since human leukocyte antigen (HLA) polymorphisms have shown strong association with susceptibility/resistance to HIV-1 infection from individuals with different ethnic backgrounds, a recent investigation on frequencies of HLA class I and class II alleles in a Chinese cohort also indicated that similar correlation existed in HIV infected individuals from several provinces in China, however, such information is unavailable in Chongqing, southwest China.
Methods
In this population-based study, we performed polymerase chain reaction analysis with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (PCR-SSOP) for intermediate-low-resolution HLA typing in a cohort of 549 HIV-1 infected individuals, another 2475 healthy subjects from the Han nationality in Chongqing, China, were selected as population control. We compared frequencies of HLA-A, B, DRB1 alleles, haplotypes and genotypes between the two groups, and analyzed their association with HIV-1 susceptibility or resistance.
Results
The genetic profile of HLA (A, B, DRB1) alleles of HIV-1 infected individuals from Chongqing Han of China was obtained. Several alleles of HLA-B such as B*46 (P = 0.001, OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 1.13-1.68), B*1501G(B62) (P = 0.013, OR = 1.42, 95%CI = 1.08-1.88), B*67 (P = 0.022, OR = 2.76, 95%CI = 1.16-6.57), B*37 (P = 0.014, OR = 1.93, 95%CI = 1.14-3.28) and B*52 (P = 0.038, OR = 1.64, 95%CI = 1.03-2.61) were observed to have association with susceptibility to HIV-1 infection in this population. In addition, the haplotype analysis revealed that A*11-B*46, A*24-B*54 and A*01-B*37 for 2-locus, and A*11-B*46-DRB1*09, A*02-B*46-DRB1*08, A*11-B*4001G-DRB1*15, A*02-B*4001G-DRB1*04, A*11-B*46-DRB1*08 and A*02-B*4001G-DRB1*12 for 3-locus had significantly overrepresented in HIV-1 infected individuals, whereas A*11-B*1502G, A*11-B*1502G-DRB1*12 and A*33-B*58-DRB1*13 were underrepresented. However, the low-resolution homozygosity of HLA-A, B, DRB1 loci and HLA-Bw4/Bw6 genotypes did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Conclusion
These results may contribute to the database of HLA profiles in HIV-1 infected Chinese population, consequently, the association of certain HLA alleles with susceptibility or resistance to HIV-1 infection would provide with clues in choosing proper preventive strategies against HIV-1 infection and developing effective HIV-1 vaccines in Chinese population, especially for those in southwest China.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-201
PMCID: PMC2797796  PMID: 20003377
18.  Cryptic Leishmania infantum infection in Italian HIV infected patients 
Background
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a protozoan diseases caused in Europe by Leishmania (L.) infantum. Asymptomatic Leishmania infection is more frequent than clinically apparent disease. Among HIV infected patients the risk of clinical VL is increased due to immunosuppression, which can reactivate a latent infection. The aims of our study were to assess the prevalence of asymptomatic L. infantum infection in HIV infected patients and to study a possible correlation between Leishmania parasitemia and HIV infection markers.
Methods
One hundred and forty-five HIV infected patients were screened for the presence of anti-Leishmania antibodies and L. infantum DNA in peripheral blood. Statistical analysis was carried out by using a univariate regression analysis.
Results
Antibodies to L. infantum were detected in 1.4% of patients. L. infantum DNA was detected in 16.5% of patients. Significant association for PCR-Leishmania levels with plasma viral load was documented (p = 0.0001).
Conclusion
In our area a considerable proportion of HIV infected patients are asymptomatic carriers of L. infantum infection. A relationship between high HIV viral load and high parasitemic burden, possibly related to a higher risk of developing symptomatic disease, is suggested. PCR could be used for periodic screening of HIV patients to individuate those with higher risk of reactivation of L. infantum infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-199
PMCID: PMC2797011  PMID: 20003257
19.  Destructive arthritis in a patient with chikungunya virus infection with persistent specific IgM antibodies 
Background
Chikungunya fever is an emerging arboviral disease characterized by an algo-eruptive syndrome, inflammatory polyarthralgias, or tenosynovitis that can last for months to years. Up to now, the pathophysiology of the chronic stage is poorly understood.
Case presentation
We report the first case of CHIKV infection with chronic associated rheumatism in a patient who developed progressive erosive arthritis with expression of inflammatory mediators and persistence of specific IgM antibodies over 24 months following infection.
Conclusions
Understanding the specific features of chikungunya virus as well as how the virus interacts with its host are essential for the prevention, treatment or cure of chikungunya disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-200
PMCID: PMC2803790  PMID: 20003320
20.  Combination antiretroviral drugs in PLGA nanoparticle for HIV-1 
Background
Combination antiretroviral (AR) therapy continues to be the mainstay for HIV treatment. However, antiretroviral drug nonadherence can lead to the development of resistance and treatment failure. We have designed nanoparticles (NP) that contain three AR drugs and characterized the size, shape, and surface charge. Additionally, we investigated the in vitro release of the AR drugs from the NP using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Methods
Poly-(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs) containing ritonavir (RTV), lopinavir (LPV), and efavirenz (EFV) were fabricated using multiple emulsion-solvent evaporation procedure. The nanoparticles were characterized by electron microscopy and zeta potential for size, shape, and charge. The intracellular concentration of AR drugs was determined over 28 days from NPs incubated with PBMCs. Macrophages were imaged by fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry after incubation with fluorescent NPs. Finally, macrophage cytotoxicity was determined by MTT assay.
Results
Nanoparticle size averaged 262 ± 83.9 nm and zeta potential -11.4 ± 2.4. AR loading averaged 4% (w/v). Antiretroviral drug levels were determined in PBMCs after 100 μg of NP in 75 μL PBS was added to media. Intracellular peak AR levels from NPs (day 4) were RTV 2.5 ± 1.1; LPV 4.1 ± 2.0; and EFV 10.6 ± 2.7 μg and continued until day 28 (all AR ≥ 0.9 μg). Free drugs (25 μg of each drug in 25 μL ethanol) added to PBMCs served as control were eliminated by 2 days. Fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry demonstrated phagocytosis of NP into monocytes-derived macrophages (MDMs). Cellular MTT assay performed on MDMs demonstrated that NPs are not significantly cytotoxic.
Conclusion
These results demonstrated AR NPs could be fabricated containing three antiretroviral drugs (RTV, LPV, EFV). Sustained release of AR from PLGA NP show high drug levels in PBMCs until day 28 without cytotoxicity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-198
PMCID: PMC2807870  PMID: 20003214
21.  Transmission dynamics of pulmonary tuberculosis between autochthonous and immigrant sub-populations 
Background
The overall incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in Western Europe has been declining since the 19th Century. However, immigrant sub-groups from high-prevalence countries are slowing down this trend. The aim of this study was to describe how immigration influences TB transmission in Germany. For that we prospectively investigated the dynamics of TB transmission between TB high-prevalence immigrant and TB low-prevalence local populations with molecular epidemiological methods and conventional contact investigations. Besides, we assessed transmission in relation to social mixing using an innovative tool that measures the integration of immigrants into the local social environment.
Methods
A prospective study of confirmed culture positive cases of pulmonary TB and their contacts was carried out in a German federal state from 2003 to 2005. Data for the study included: 1) case data routinely collected by the local public health staff and transmitted to the state health office and the national surveillance centre, 2) a study questionnaire designed to capture social interactions of relevance for TB transmission and 3) molecular genotyping data (IS6110 DNA fingerprint and spoligotyping). The proportion of German cases caused by foreign-born cases, and vice versa, was estimated and an integration index was computed using a selected set of questions from the study questionnaire.
Results
A total of 749 cases of culture-positive pulmonary tuberculosis voluntarily enrolled in the study, representing 57.8% of all registered cases diagnosed over the study period. Data that included study questionnaire and DNA fingerprinting were available for 41% (n = 308) of the study participants. Forty-seven clusters, defined as a least two cases infected by the same TB strains, were identified by molecular methods and included 132 (17%) of the study participants. Epidemiological links were identified for 28% of the clusters by conventional epidemiological data. In mixed clusters, defined as clusters including German and foreign-born individuals, the probability of cases to be caused by foreign-born cases was estimated at 18.3%. We observed a trend to mixed clusters with increasing time spent by immigrants in the host country. This group also presented comparatively higher integration indexes than immigrants in immigrant-only clusters.
Conclusion
Our results confirm the findings of other studies that there is no significant TB transmission from TB high-prevalence immigrant to TB low-prevalence autochthonous population. This may be explained by the good performance of tuberculosis screening programmes for certain groups arriving in Germany from high- prevalence countries, by a low degree of mixing of immigrants with the local population or by a combination of both.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-197
PMCID: PMC3224697  PMID: 19961606
22.  Let the sun shine in: effects of ultraviolet radiation on invasive pneumococcal disease risk in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Background
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common cause of community acquired pneumonia and bacteremia. Excess wintertime mortality related to pneumonia has been noted for over a century, but the seasonality of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) has been described relatively recently and is poorly understood. Improved understanding of environmental influence on disease seasonality has taken on new urgency due to global climate change.
Methods
We evaluated 602 cases of IPD reported in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, from 2002 to 2007. Poisson regression models incorporating seasonal smoothers were used to identify associations between weekly weather patterns and case counts. Associations between acute (day-to-day) environmental fluctuations and IPD occurrence were evaluated using a case-crossover approach. Effect modification across age and sex strata was explored, and meta-regression models were created using stratum-specific estimates for effect.
Results
IPD incidence was greatest in the wintertime, and spectral decomposition revealed a peak at 51.0 weeks, consistent with annual periodicity. After adjustment for seasonality, yearly increases in reporting, and temperature, weekly incidence was found to be associated with clear-sky UV index (IRR per unit increase in index: 0.70 [95% CI 0.54-0.91]). The effect of UV index was highest among young strata and decreased with age. At shorter time scales, only an association with increases in ambient sulphur oxides was linked to disease risk (OR for highest tertile of exposure 0.75, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.93).
Conclusion
We confirmed the wintertime predominance of IPD in a major urban center. The major predictor of IPD in Philadelphia is extended periods of low UV radiation, which may explain observed wintertime seasonality. The mechanism of action of diminished light exposure on disease occurrence may be due to direct effects on pathogen survival or host immune function via altered 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin-D metabolism. These findings may suggest less diminution in future IPD risk with climate change than would be expected if wintertime seasonality was driven by temperature.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-196
PMCID: PMC2797517  PMID: 19961583
23.  Abscess of adrenal gland caused by disseminated subacute Nocardia farcinica pneumonia. A case report and mini-review of the literature 
Background
Infections caused by Nocardia farcinica are uncommon and show a great variety of clinical manifestations in immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. Because of its unspecific symptoms and tendency to disseminate it may mimic the clinical symptoms and radiologic findings of a tumour disease and the diagnosis of nocardiosis can easily be missed, because there are no characteristic symptoms.
Case presentation
We present a case of an adrenal gland abscess caused by subacute disseminated N. farcinica pneumonia.
Conclusion
An infection with N. farcinica is potentially lethal because of its tendency to disseminate -particularly in the brain- and its high resistance to antibiotics. Awareness of this differential diagnosis allows early and appropriate treatment to be administered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-194
PMCID: PMC2792227  PMID: 19954528
24.  Evidence for predilection of macrophage infiltration patterns in the deeper midline and mesial temporal structures of the brain uniquely in patients with HIV-associated dementia 
Background
HIV-1 penetrates the central nervous system, which is vital for HIV-associated dementia (HAD). But the role of cellular infiltration and activation together with HIV in the development of HAD is poorly understood.
Methods
To study activation and infiltration patterns of macrophages, CD8+ T cells in relation to HIV in diverse CNS areas of patients with and without dementia. 46 brain regions from two rapidly progressing severely demented patients and 53 regions from 4 HIV+ non-dementia patients were analyzed. Macrophage and CD8+ T cell infiltration of the CNS in relation to HIV was assessed using immuno-histochemical analysis with anti-HIV (P24), anti-CD8 and anti-CD68, anti-S-100A8 and granzyme B antibodies (cellular activation). Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS 12.0 with Student's t test and ANOVA.
Results
Overall, the patterns of infiltration of macrophages and CD8+ T cells were indiscernible between patients with and without dementia, but the co-localization of macrophages and CD8+ T cells along with HIV P24 antigen in the deeper midline and mesial temporal structures of the brain segregated the two groups. This predilection of infected macrophages and CD8+ T cells to the middle part of the brain was unique to both HAD patients, along with unique nature of provirus gag gene sequences derived from macrophages in the midline and mesial temporal structures.
Conclusion
Strong predilection of infected macrophages and CD8+ T cells was typical of the deeper midline and mesial temporal structures uniquely in HAD patients, which has some influence on neurocognitive impairment during HIV infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-192
PMCID: PMC2792226  PMID: 19951441
25.  High dose prolonged treatment with nitazoxanide is not effective for cryptosporidiosis in HIV positive Zambian children: a randomised controlled trial 
Background
Treatment of cryptosporidiosis in HIV infected children has proved difficult and unsatisfactory with no drugs having demonstrable efficacy in controlled trials except nitazoxanide. We hypothesised that a prolonged course of treatment with high dose nitazoxanide would be effective in treating cryptosporidiosis in HIV positive Zambian children.
Methods
We performed a double-blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial in paediatric patients in the UTH in Lusaka. The study included HIV positive children between one and eleven years of age if 2 out of 3 stool samples were positive for oocysts of Cryptosporidium spp. Children were given nitazoxanide suspension in a dose of 200 mg twice daily (bid) for 28 days (if 1-3 years old) or 400 mg bid for 28 days (if 4-11 years old), or matching placebo.
Results
Sixty children were randomised and 52 were fully evaluated. Only five children were 4 years of age or over and received the higher dose. In the primary efficacy analysis, 11 out of 26 (42%) in the active treatment group achieved a 'Well' clinical response compared to 8 out of 26 (35%) in the placebo group. Parasitological response was declared as 'Eradicated' in 27% in the active group and 35% in the placebo group. Mortality (16/52, 31%) did not differ by treatment allocation.
Conclusion
We found no significant benefit in children with cryptosporidiosis despite high dose and longer treatment duration. This is the second randomised controlled trial to suggest that in Zambian children with HIV-related immunosuppression nitazoxanide does not eradicate this infection nor provide clinical symptom reduction.
Trial Registration
The trial was registered as ISRCTN41089957.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-9-195
PMCID: PMC2794874  PMID: 19954529

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