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2.  Case report: Infective endocarditis caused by Brevundimonas vesicularis 
Background
There are few reports in the literature of invasive infection caused by Brevundimonas vesicularis in patients without immunosuppression or other predisposing factors. The choice of antimicrobial therapy for bacteremia caused by the pathogen requires more case experience to be determined.
Case presentation
The case of a 40-year-old previously healthy man with subacute endocarditis proposed to be contributed from an occult dental abscess is described. The infection was found to be caused by B. vesicularis on blood culture results. The patient recovered without sequelae after treatment with ceftriaxone followed by subsequent ciprofloxacin therapy owing to an allergic reaction to ceftriaxone and treatment failure with ampicillin/sulbactam.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first report of B. vesicularis as a cause of infective endocarditis. According to an overview of the literature and our experience, we suggest that third-generation cephalosporins, piperacillin/tazobactam, and ciprofloxacin are effective in treating invasive B. vesicularis infections, while the efficacy of ampicillin-sulbactam needs further evaluation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-179
PMCID: PMC1780062  PMID: 17194310
3.  Seroepidemiology of Toxoplasma gondii infection in psychiatric inpatients in a northern Mexican city 
Background
Patients with psychiatric disorders were found to show a high seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii infection. There is scarce information about the epidemiology of T. gondii infection in psychiatric patients in Mexico. Therefore, we sought to determine the prevalence of T. gondii infection and associated socio-demographic, clinical and behavioural characteristics in a population of psychiatric patients in Durango City, Mexico. Seroprevalence in patients was compared with that obtained in a control population.
Methods
One hundred and thirty seven inpatients of a public psychiatric hospital and 180 controls were examined for the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies against T. gondii by enzyme-linked immunoassay (Diagnostic Automation Inc., Calabasas, CA, USA). The control population consisted of blood donors of a public blood bank and elderly persons attending a senior center in the same city. Age in controls (42 years +/- 20.2) was comparable with that of the psychiatric patients (43.7 years +/-13.8) (p = 0.42). Socio-demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics from the patients were also obtained.
Results
Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies indicating latent infection with T. gondii was found in 25 (18.2%) of 137 psychiatric inpatients and 16 (8.9%) of 180 controls (p = 0.02). Ten (26.3%) of 38 schizophrenic patients had latent infection and this prevalence was also significantly higher than that observed in controls (p = 0.005). Prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies was comparable among patients and controls (4.4% vs 2.2%, respectively, p = 0.22). Multivariate analysis showed that T. gondii infection in inpatients was positively associated with sexual promiscuity (adjusted OR = 15.8; 95% CI: 3.8–64.8), unwashed raw fruit consumption (adjusted OR = 5.19; 95% CI: 2.3–11.3), and a history of surgery (adjusted OR = 6.5; 95% CI: 2.6–16), and negatively associated with lamb meat consumption (adjusted OR = 0.26; 95% CI: 0.10–0.63).
Conclusion
In the present study, psychiatric inpatients in Durango, Mexico, in general and schizophrenia inpatients in particular had a significantly higher prevalence of T. gondii infection than the control group. Results suggest that unwashed raw fruit consumption might be the most important route of T. gondii transmission in our psychiatric inpatients while lamb meat consumption the less important. Additional studies will have to elucidate the causative relation between infection with T. gondii and psychiatric disorders.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-178
PMCID: PMC1764421  PMID: 17178002
4.  Leishmania infantum leishmaniasis in corticosteroid – treated patients 
Background
The number of leishmaniasis cases associated with immunosuppression has increased regularly over the past 20 years. Immunosuppression related to HIV infection, immunosuppressive treatment, organ transplantation, and neoplastic diseases increases the risk for Leishmania-infected people to develop visceral illness.
Case presentation
Three cases of Leishmania infantum leishmaniasis in corticosteroid (CS)-treated patients are reported: an isolated lingual leishmaniasis in a farmer treated with CS for asthma, a severe visceral leishmaniasis associated with cutaneous lesions in a woman with myasthenia gravis, and a visceral involvement after cutaneous leishmaniasis in a man receiving CS.
Conclusion
Physicians should recognise CS-treated patients as a population likely to be immunesuppressed. In immunodeficiency conditions, unusual forms of leishmaniasis can develop and foster the risk of a diagnostic delay and of poor response to therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-177
PMCID: PMC1764017  PMID: 17176478
5.  Disease burden and related medical costs of rotavirus infections in Taiwan 
Background
The disease burden and associated medical costs of rotavirus infections in inpatient and outpatient sectors in Taiwan were examined in anticipation of the availability of new rotavirus vaccines.
Methods
The yearly national case number and medical costs for all for inpatients and outpatients with acute gastroenteritis (AGE) were extracted from the Bureau of National Health Insurance database in Taiwan according to ICD-9-CM codes. A retrospective study was also performed using records of children with AGE seen at three hospitals in Taiwan in 2001 to identify laboratory confirmed rotavirus infection cases. The annual incidence and related medical costs of AGE due to rotavirus infection were then estimated.
Results
Children <5 years old comprised 83.6% of inpatient and 62.0% of outpatient pediatric AGE cases in Taiwan in 2001. Rotavirus was the most common agent detected among AGE patients in this age group in the three hospitals, and was detected in 32.9% (221/672) of inpatient and 24% (23/96) of outpatient stool specimens tested for microbial etiologies. An estimated 277,400 to 624,892 cases of rotavirus infections sought medical care in Taiwan in 2001, equaling one in 2 to 5 children <5 years old required medical care due to rotavirus infection. The incidence of hospitalization due to rotavirus infections was 1,528–1,997/100,000 for children <5 years old. The total associated medical costs due to rotavirus infection were estimated at US $10–16 millions in Taiwan in 2001. Although the per-capita medical cost of rotavirus infection was lower in Taiwan than in the United States or Hong Kong, the personal economic burden was similar among the three places when normalized for gross national incomes per capita.
Conclusion
Infections caused by rotavirus constitute an important human and economic burden among young children in Taiwan. A safe and effective vaccine is urgently needed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-176
PMCID: PMC1764884  PMID: 17173677
6.  Whole blood gene expression in infants with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis 
Background
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of viral bronchiolitis in infants worldwide, and environmental, viral and host factors are all of importance for disease susceptibility and severity. To study the systemic host response to this disease we used the microarray technology to measure mRNA gene expression levels in whole blood of five male infants hospitalised with acute RSV, subtype B, bronchiolitis versus five one year old male controls exposed to RSV during infancy without bronchiolitis. The gene expression levels were further evaluated in a new experiment using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (QRT-PCR) both in the five infants selected for microarray and in 13 other infants hospitalised with the same disease.
Results
Among the 30 genes most differentially expressed by microarray nearly 50% were involved in immunological processes. We found the highly upregulated interferon, alpha-inducible protein 27 (IFI27) and the highly downregulated gene Charcot-Leyden crystal protein (CLC) to be the two most differentially expressed genes in the microarray study. When performing QRT-PCR on these genes IFI27 was upregulated in all but one infant, and CLC was downregulated in all 18 infants, and similar to that given by microarray.
Conclusion
The gene IFI27 is upregulated and the gene CLC is downregulated in whole blood of infants hospitalised with RSV, subtype B, bronchiolitis and is not reported before. More studies are needed to elucidate the specificity of these gene expressions in association with host response to this virus in bronchiolitis of moderate severity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-175
PMCID: PMC1713240  PMID: 17166282
7.  Cohort effects in dynamic models and their impact on vaccination programmes: an example from Hepatitis A 
Background
Infection rates for many infectious diseases have declined over the past century. This has created a cohort effect, whereby older individuals experienced a higher infection rate in their past than younger individuals do now. As a result, age-stratified seroprevalence profiles often differ from what would be expected from constant infection rates.
Methods
Here, we account for the cohort effect by fitting an age-structured compartmental model with declining transmission rates to Hepatitis A seroprevalence data for Canadian-born individuals. We compare the predicted impact of universal vaccination with and without including the cohort effect in the dynamic model.
Results
We find that Hepatitis A transmissibility has declined by a factor of 2.8 since the early twentieth century. When the cohort effect is not included in the model, incidence and mortality both with and without vaccination are significantly over-predicted. Incidence (respectively mortality) over a 20 year period of universal vaccination is 34% (respectively 90%) higher than if the cohort effect is included. The percentage reduction in incidence and mortality due to vaccination are also over-predicted when the cohort effect is not included. Similar effects are likely for many other infectious diseases where infection rates have declined significantly over past decades and where immunity is lifelong.
Conclusion
Failure to account for cohort effects has implications for interpreting seroprevalence data and predicting the impact of vaccination programmes with dynamic models. Cohort effects should be included in dynamic modelling studies whenever applicable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-174
PMCID: PMC1702544  PMID: 17147828
8.  Fluconazole for empiric antifungal therapy in cancer patients with fever and neutropenia 
Background
Several clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of fluconazole as empiric antifungal therapy in cancer patients with fever and neutropenia. Our objective was to assess the frequency and resource utilization associated with treatment failure in cancer patients given empiric fluconazole antifungal therapy in routine inpatient care.
Methods
We performed a retrospective cohort study of cancer patients treated with oral or intravenous fluconazole between 7/97 and 6/01 in a tertiary care hospital. The final study cohort included cancer patients with neutropenia (an absolute neutrophil count below 500 cells/mm3) and fever (a temperature above 38°C or 100.4°F), who were receiving at least 96 hours of parenteral antibacterial therapy prior to initiating fluconazole. Patients' responses to empiric therapy were assessed by reviewing patient charts.
Results
Among 103 cancer admissions with fever and neutropenia, treatment failure after initiating empiric fluconazole antifungal therapy occurred in 41% (95% confidence interval (CI) 31% – 50%) of admissions. Patients with a diagnosis of hematological malignancy had increased risk of treatment failure (OR = 4.6, 95% CI 1.5 – 14.8). When treatment failure occurred the mean adjusted increases in length of stay and total costs were 7.4 days (95% CI 3.3 – 11.5) and $18,925 (95% CI 3,289 – 34,563), respectively.
Conclusion
Treatment failure occurred in more than one-third of neutropenic cancer patients on fluconazole as empiric antifungal treatment for fever in routine clinical treatment. The increase in costs when treatment failure occurs is substantial.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-173
PMCID: PMC1702543  PMID: 17147804
9.  Male circumcision, religion, and infectious diseases: an ecologic analysis of 118 developing countries 
Background
Both religious practices and male circumcision (MC) have been associated with HIV and other sexually-transmitted infectious diseases. Most studies have been limited in size and have not adequately controlled for religion, so these relationships remain unclear.
Methods
We evaluated relationships between MC prevalence, Muslim and Christian religion, and 7 infectious diseases using country-specific data among 118 developing countries. We used multivariate linear regression to describe associations between MC and cervical cancer incidence, and between MC and HIV prevalence among countries with primarily sexual HIV transmission.
Results
Fifty-three, 14, and 51 developing countries had a high (>80%), intermediate (20–80%), and low (<20%) MC prevalence, respectively. In univariate analyses, MC was associated with lower HIV prevalence and lower cervical cancer incidence, but not with HSV-2, syphilis, nor, as expected, with Hepatitis C, tuberculosis, or malaria. In multivariate analysis after stratifying the countries by religious groups, each categorical increase of MC prevalence was associated with a 3.65/100,000 women (95% CI 0.54-6.76, p = 0.02) decrease in annual cervical cancer incidence, and a 1.84-fold (95% CI 1.36-2.48, p < 0.001) decrease in the adult HIV prevalence among sub-Saharan African countries. In separate multivariate analyses among non-sub-Saharan African countries controlling for religion, higher MC prevalence was associated with a 8.94-fold (95% CI 4.30-18.60) decrease in the adult HIV prevalence among countries with primarily heterosexual HIV transmission, but not, as expected, among countries with primarily homosexual or injection drug use HIV transmission (p = 0.35).
Conclusion
Male circumcision was significantly associated with lower cervical cancer incidence and lower HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa, independent of Muslim and Christian religion. As predicted, male circumcision was also strongly associated with lower HIV prevalence among countries with primarily heterosexual HIV transmission, but not among countries with primarily homosexual or injection drug use HIV transmission. These findings strengthen the reported biological link between MC and some sexually transmitted infectious diseases, including HIV and cervical cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-172
PMCID: PMC1764746  PMID: 17137513
10.  Methods for identifying surgical wound infection after discharge from hospital: a systematic review 
Background
Wound infections are a common complication of surgery that add significantly to the morbidity of patients and costs of treatment. The global trend towards reducing length of hospital stay post-surgery and the increase in day case surgery means that surgical site infections (SSI) will increasingly occur after hospital discharge. Surveillance of SSIs is important because rates of SSI are viewed as a measure of hospital performance, however accurate detection of SSIs post-hospital discharge is not straightforward.
Methods
We conducted a systematic review of methods of post discharge surveillance for surgical wound infection and undertook a national audit of methods of post-discharge surveillance for surgical site infection currently used within United Kingdom NHS Trusts.
Results
Seven reports of six comparative studies which examined the validity of post-discharge surveillance methods were located; these involved different comparisons and some had methodological limitations, making it difficult to identify an optimal method. Several studies evaluated automated screening of electronic records and found this to be a useful strategy for the identification of SSIs that occurred post discharge. The audit identified a wide range of relevant post-discharge surveillance programmes in England, Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland; however, these programmes used varying approaches for which there is little supporting evidence of validity and/or reliability.
Conclusion
In order to establish robust methods of surveillance for those surgical site infections that occur post discharge, there is a need to develop a method of case ascertainment that is valid and reliable post discharge. Existing research has not identified a valid and reliable method. A standardised definition of wound infection (e.g. that of the Centres for Disease Control) should be used as a basis for developing a feasible, valid and reliable approach to defining post discharge SSI. At a local level, the method used to ascertain post discharge SSI will depend upon the purpose of the surveillance, the nature of available routine data and the resources available.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-170
PMCID: PMC1697816  PMID: 17129368
11.  Novel mutation of the PRNP gene of a clinical CJD case 
Background
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), a group of neurodegenerative diseases, are thought to be caused by an abnormal isoform of a naturally occurring protein known as cellular prion protein, PrPC. The abnormal form of prion protein, PrPSc accumulates in the brain of affected individuals. Both isoforms are encoded by the same prion protein gene (PRNP), and the structural changes occur post-translationally. Certain mutations in the PRNP gene result in genetic TSEs or increased susceptibility to TSEs.
Case presentation
A 70 year old woman was admitted to the hospital with severe confusion and inability to walk. Relatives recognized memory loss, gait and behavioral disturbances over a six month period prior to hospitalization. Neurological examination revealed Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) related symptoms such as incontinence, Babinski sign and myoclonus. EEG showed periodic sharp waves typical of sporadic CJD and cerebrospinal fluid analysis (CSF) was positive for the presence of the 14-3-3-protein. As the disease progressed the patient developed akinetic mutism and died in the tenth month after onset of the disease symptoms. Unfortunately, no autopsy material was available. PRNP sequencing showed the occurrence of a point mutation on one allele at codon 193, which is altered from ACC, coding for a threonine, to ATC, encoding an isoleucine (T193I).
Conclusion
Here we report a novel mutation of the PRNP gene found in an elderly female patient resulting in heterozygosity for isoleucine and threonine at codon 193, in which normally homozygosity for threonine is expected (T193). The patient presented typical clinical symptoms of CJD. EEG findings and the presence of the 14-3-3 protein in the CSF, contributed to CJD diagnosis, allowing the classification of this case as a probable CJD according to the World Health Organization (WHO) accepted criteria.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-169
PMCID: PMC1693557  PMID: 17129366
12.  Surgical wound infection: epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and management 
Surgical wound infection remains a significant problem following an operation, although surveillance for such infections remains a challenge exacerbated by early discharge and outpatient surgery. The riskof such infections isdetermined by technical problems with the operation, particularly bleeding, the amount of devitalized tissue created, and the need for drains within the wound, as well as such metabolic factors as obesity and diabetes. Perioperative antibiotic prophylaxis can decrease the incidence of such infections further, but a technically perfect operation is even more important.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-171
PMCID: PMC1687193  PMID: 17129369
13.  Antibacterial resistance and their genetic location in MRSA isolated in Kuwait hospitals, 1994-2004 
Background
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continues to be a major cause of serious infections in hospitals and in the community worldwide. In this study, MRSA isolated from patients in Kuwait hospitals were analyzed for resistance trends and the genetic location of their resistance determinants.
Methods
Between April 1994 and December 2004, 5644 MRSA isolates obtained from different clinical samples were studied for resistance to antibacterial agents according to guidelines from the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards and the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. The genetic location of their resistance determinants was determined by curing and transfer experiments.
Results
They were resistant to aminoglycosides, erythromycin, tetracycline, trimethoprim, fusidic acid, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, rifampicin, mupirocin, cadmium acetate, mercuric chloride, propamidine isethionate and ethidium bromide but susceptible to vancomycin, teicoplanin and linezolid. The proportion of the isolates resistant to erythromycin, ciprofloxacin and fusidic acid increased during the study period. In contrast, the proportion of isolates resistant to gentamicin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol and trimethoprim declined. High-level mupirocin resistance increased rapidly from 1996 to 1999 and then declined. They contained plasmids of 1.9, 2.8, 3.0, 4.4, 27 and 38 kilobases. Genetic studies revealed that they carried plasmid-borne resistance to high-level mupirocin resistance (38 kb), chloramphenicol (2.8 – 4.4 kb), erythromycin (2.8–3.0 kb) and cadmium acetate, mercuric chloride, propamidine isethionate and ethidium bromide (27 kb) and chromosomal location for methicillin, the aminoglycosides, tetracycline, fusidic acid, ciprofloxacin and trimethoprim resistance. Thus, the 27 kb plasmids had resistance phenotypes similar to plasmids reported in MRSA isolates in South East Asia.
Conclusion
The prevalence of resistance to erythromycin, ciprofloxacin, high-level mupirocin and fusidic acid increased whereas the proportion of isolates resistant to gentamicin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol and trimethoprim declined during the study period. They contained 27-kb plasmids encoding resistance to cadmium acetate, mercuric chloride, propamidine isethionate and ethidium bromide similar to plasmids isolated in MRSA from South East Asia. Molecular typing of these isolates will clarify their relationship to MRSA from South East Asia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-168
PMCID: PMC1684259  PMID: 17125522
14.  Molecular evidence of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Ureaplasma parvum colonization in preterm infants during respiratory distress syndrome 
Background
Ureaplasma urealyticum and U. parvum have been associated with respiratory diseases in premature newborns, but their role in the pathogenesis of the respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is unclear. The aim of this study was to detect, using molecular techniques, the role of Mycoplasma spp. and Ureaplasma spp. in respiratory secretion and blood specimens of preterm newborns with or without RDS and to evaluate the prevalence of perinatal U. urealyticum or U. parvum infection. The influence of chemotherapy on the clinical course was also evaluated.
Methods
Tracheal aspirate or nasopharingeal fluid samples from 50 preterm babies with (24) or without RDS (26) were analysed for detection of U. urealyticum and U. parvum by culture identification assay and PCR. Sequencing analysis of amplicons allowed us to verify the specificity of methods. Clarithromycin (10 mg kg-1 twice a day) was administered in ureaplasma-positive patients who presented clinical signs of RDS.
Results
15/24 neonates with RDS (p < 0.001) and 4/26 without RDS were found PCR-positive for U. urealyticum or U. parvum. Culture identification assay was positive in 5/50 newborns, three of which with RDS. Sequencing analyses confirmed the specificity of these methods. Association of patent ductus arteriosus with ureaplasma colonization was more statistically significant (p = 0.0004) in patients with RDS than in those without RDS.
Conclusion
Colonization of the lower respiratory tract by Ureaplasma spp. and particularly by U. parvum in preterm newborns was related to RDS. The routine use of molecular methods could be useful to screen candidate babies for etiologic therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-166
PMCID: PMC1679810  PMID: 17118199
15.  A prospective study comparing quantitative Cytomegalovirus (CMV) polymerase chain reaction in plasma and pp65 antigenemia assay in monitoring patients after allogeneic stem cell transplantation 
Background
Low levels of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) viral load are frequently detected following allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) and CMV disease may still develop in some allogeneic SCT patients who have negative pp65-antigenemia (pp65-Ag) or undetectable DNA. Pp65Ag is a sensitive method to diagnose CMV infection. Quantitative CMV-DNA PCR assay in plasma has been proposed to monitor CMV infection in SCT patients. We evaluated the clinical utility of pp65Ag and PCR assay in plasma of SCT recipients.
Methods
In a prospective longitudinal study, 38 consecutive patients at risk of CMV infection (donor and/or recipient CMV seropositive) were weekly monitored for CMV infection by both quantitative CMV-PCR in plasma (COBAS AMPLICOR CMV MONITOR) and pp65 Ag, during the first 100 days after SCT.
Results
A total of 534 blood samples were simultaneously analysed for pp65Ag and PCR. Overall, 28/38 patients (74%) had active CMV infection within 100 days from SCT. In 16 patients, CMV was first detected by pp65 Ag alone; in 5 patients by both methods and in 6 by PCR assay alone; one patient had CMV biopsy-proven intestinal disease without pp65Ag and PCR assays positivity before CMV disease. Overall, three patients developed intestinal CMV disease (7.9%): one had negative both pp65Ag and PCR assays before CMV disease, one had disease and concomitant positivity of both methods, while in the remaining patient, only pp65Ag was positive before CMV disease.
Conclusion
Plasma PCR(COBAS AMPLICOR CMV MONITOR) and pp65Ag assays were effective in detecting CMV infection, however, discordance between both methods were frequently observed. Plasma PCR and pp65Ag assays may be complementary for diagnosis and management of CMV infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-167
PMCID: PMC1664570  PMID: 17118205
16.  HIV-1 subtype A infection in a community of intravenous drug users in Pakistan 
Background
Data on the subtypes of HIV in a population help in predicting the potential foci of epidemic, tracking the routes of infection and following the patterns of the virus' genetic divergence. Globally, the most prevalent HIV infection is the HIV-1 subtype C. In Asia, predominant subtypes of HIV-1 are B, C, and CRF-01AE. During the last few years, HIV prevalence in Pakistan has taken the form of a concentrated epidemic in at least two high risk groups, namely, Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs) and Male Sex Workers (MSWs). Factors that have facilitated the proliferation of HIV infection include transmission through a large number of repatriates and needle-sharing intravenous drug users, unscreened blood transfusions, and sexual illiteracy. The HIV subtypes infecting Pakistani populations have not been explored to date. In this study, we analyzed HIV-1 subtypes from in a high-risk community of IDUs in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan.
Methods
Samples were collected from 34 IDUs after their informed consent. In addition, the study subjects were administered a questionnaire regarding their sexual behavior and travel history. For HIV analysis, DNA was extracted from the samples and analyzed for HIV types and subtypes using subtype-specific primers in a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The results from this PCR were further confirmed using the Heteroduplex Mobility Assay (HMA).
Results
We found HIV-1 subtype A in all the 34 samples analyzed. A few of the study subjects were found to have a history of travel and stay in the United Arab Emirates. The same subjects also admitted to having contact with commercial sex workers during their stay abroad.
Conclusion
Our study therefore shows clade A HIV-1 to be prevalent among the IDUs in Karachi. As the prevalence of HIV in Pakistan continues to rise, more work needs to be done to track the infection, and to analyze the strains of HIV spreading through the country.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-164
PMCID: PMC1654165  PMID: 17105667
17.  Serologic indices of hepatitis B virus infection in military recruits in Greece (2004–2005) 
Background
The prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection in Greece has been decreasing over the last decades. However, recent epidemiological data are lacking.
Methods
We studied 1,840 Army recruits from 05/2004 until 10/2005, and performed serological testing for HBsAg, anti-HBsAg, and anti-HBcAg. We also examined their association with several factors, including age, residential area, socioeconomic class, and educational level.
Results
Mean age (± SD) of the recruits was 20.5 (± 2.1) years. Antibodies to HBV core antigen [anti-HBcAg (+)] were found in 31 (1.68%) of 1,840 participants. Only 6 (0.32%) were HBsAg (+)/anti-HBsAg (-)/anti-HBcAg (+), while 21 (1.14%) were HBsAg (-)/anti-HBsAg (+)/anti-HBcAg (+), and 4 (0.22%) were HBsAg (-)/anti-HBsAg (-)/anti-HBcAg (+). Overall, 1,144 recruits (62.17%) had antibodies against HBsAg [HBsAg (-)/anti-HBsAg (+)/anti-HBcAg (-)]; 665 recruits (36.14%) had undetectable anti-HBsAg levels. Multivariable analysis showed that younger age (OR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.82–0.92) and advanced educational level (OR: 1.59; 95% CI: 1.32–1.93) were independently associated with serologic evidence suggestive of previous HBV vaccination.
Conclusion
We document a further decline of the prevalence of chronic HBV infection among Greek military recruits, a fact that may support the effectiveness of the ongoing immunization programme.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-163
PMCID: PMC1654164  PMID: 17105648
18.  Uniform distribution of three Candida albicans microsatellite markers in two French ICU populations supports a lack of nosocomial cross-contamination 
Background
The nosocomial acquisition of Candida albicans is a growing concern in intensive care units (ICUs) and understanding the route of contamination is relevant for infection control guidelines.
Methods
To analyze whether there is a specific ecology for any given hospital, we genotyped C. albicans isolates of the ICU of Versailles hospital (Hospital A) and compared the results with those previously obtained in another ICU in Henri Mondor hospital (Hospital B) using three polymorphic microsatellite markers (PMM).
Results
Among 36 patients with at least one positive culture for C. albicans, 26 had a specific multilocus genotype, two shared a common multilocus genotype, and 8 had the most common multilocus genotype found in the general population. The time interval between periods of hospitalization between patients with common genotypes differed by 13 to 78 days, thus supporting a lack of direct contamination. To confirm this hypothesis, the multilocus genotypic distributions of the three PMM were compared between the two hospitals. No statistically significant difference was observed. Multiple correspondences analysis did not indicate the association of a multilocus genotypic distribution with any given hospital.
Conclusion
The present epidemiological study supports the conclusions that each patient harbours his/her own isolate, and that nosocomial transmission is not common in any given ICU. This study also supports the usefulness and practicability of PMM for studying the epidemiology of C. albicans.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-162
PMCID: PMC1660576  PMID: 17101036
19.  Quantifying behavioural interactions between humans and mosquitoes: Evaluating the protective efficacy of insecticidal nets against malaria transmission in rural Tanzania 
Background
African malaria vectors bite predominantly indoors at night so sleeping under an Insecticide-Treated Net (ITN) can greatly reduce malaria risk. Behavioural adaptation by mosquitoes to increasing ITN coverage could allow vector mosquitoes to bite outside of peak sleeping hours and undermine efficacy of this key malaria prevention measure.
Methods
High coverage with largely untreated nets has been achieved in the Kilombero Valley, southern Tanzania through social marketing programmes. Direct surveys of nightly biting activity by An. gambiae Giles were conducted in the area before (1997) and after (2004) implementation of ITN promotion. A novel analytical model was applied to estimate the effective protection provided by an ITN, based on published experimental hut trials combined with questionnaire surveys of human sleeping behaviour and recorded mosquito biting patterns.
Results
An. gambiae was predominantly endophagic and nocturnal in both surveys: Approximately 90% and 80% of exposure occurred indoors and during peak sleeping hours, respectively. ITNs consistently conferred >70% protection against exposure to malaria transmission for users relative to non-users.
Conclusion
As ITN coverage increases, behavioural adaptation by mosquitoes remains a future possibility. The approach described allows comparison of mosquito biting patterns and ITN efficacy at multiple study sites and times. Initial results indicate ITNs remain highly effective and should remain a top-priority intervention. Combined with recently developed transmission models, this approach allows rapid, informative and cost-effective preliminary comparison of diverse control strategies in terms of protection against exposure before more costly and intensive clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-161
PMCID: PMC1657018  PMID: 17096840
20.  Bacteraemia among severely malnourished children infected and uninfected with the human immunodeficiency virus-1 in Kampala, Uganda 
Background
To establish the magnitude of bacteraemia in severely malnourished children, and describe the types of bacteria and antimicrobial sensitivity by HIV status.
Method
Isolates were recovered from 76 blood specimens. Antibiotic susceptibility tests were performed using commercial antibiotic disks and demographic and clinical findings were recorded.
Results
Of the 450 children 63% were male; median age 17.0 months (inter quartile range, IQR 12–24) and 57% had oedema. 151 (36.7 %) of 411 tested HIV-positive; 76 (17.1%) of 445 blood specimens grew bacterial isolates; 58% were Gram negative – S. typhimurium (27.6%) and S. enteriditis (11.8%). Staph. aureus (26.3%) and Strep. pneumoniae (13.2%) were the main Gram positive organisms. There was no difference in the risk of bacteraemia by HIV status, age < 24 months, male sex, or oedema, except for oral thrush (OR 2.3 CI 1.0–5.1) and hypoalbuminaemia (OR 3.5 CI 1.0–12.1). Isolates from severely immuno-suppressed children (CD4% <15%) were more likely to grow Salmonella enteriditis (OR 5.4; CI 1.6 – 17.4). The isolates were susceptible (≥ 80%) to ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone and gentamicin; with low susceptibility to chlorampenicol, ampicillin (< 50%) and co-trimoxazole (<25%). Suspicion of bacteraemia had 95.9% sensitivity and 99.2% specificity. Among bacteraemic children, mortality was higher (43.5% vs 20.5%) in the HIV-positive; OR 3.0 (95%CI 1.0, 8.6).
Conclusion
Bacteraemia affects 1 in every 6 severely malnourished children and carries high mortality especially among the HIV-positive. Given the high level of resistance to common antibiotics, there is need for clinical trials to determine the best combinations of antibiotics for management of bacteraemia in severely malnourished children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-160
PMCID: PMC1660577  PMID: 17090299
21.  Epidemiological and clinical features, response to HAART, and survival in HIV-infected patients diagnosed at the age of 50 or more 
Background
Over the last years, the mean age of subjects with HIV infection and AIDS is increasing. Moreover, some epidemiological and clinical differences between younger and older HIV-infected individuals have been observed. However, since introduction of HAART therapy, there are controversial results regarding their response to HAART. The aim of the present study is to evaluate epidemiological and clinical features, response to HAART, and survival in elderly HIV-infected patients with regard to younger HIV-infected patients.
Methods
A prospective cohort study (1998–2003) was performed on patients from Sabadell Hospital, in Northeast of Spain. The cohort includes newly attended HIV-infected patients since January 1, 1998. For the purpose of this analysis, data was censured at December 31, 2003. Taking into account age at time of diagnosis, it was considered 36 HIV-positive people aged 50 years or more (Group 1, G1) and 419 HIV-positive people aged 13–40 years (Group 2, G2). Epidemiological, clinical, biological and therapy data are recorded. Statistical analysis was performed using Chi-squared test and Fisher exact test, Mann-Whitney U test, Kaplan-Meier, Log Rank test, and Two-Way ANOVA from random factors.
Results
G1 showed higher proportion of men than G2. The most common risk factors in G1 were heterosexual transmission (P = 0.01) and having sex with men or women (P < 0.001). G1 and G2 show parallel profiles through the time regarding immunological response (P = 0.989) and virological response (P = 0.074). However, older people showed lower CD4 cell counts at first clinic visit (P < 0.001) and, eventually, they did not achieve the same counts as G2. G1 presented faster progression to AIDS (P < 0.001) and shorter survival (P < 0.001).
Conclusion
Older patients have different epidemiological features. Their immunological and virological responses are good. However, older patients do not achieve the same CD4 cell counts likely due to they have lower counts at first clinic visit. Thus, it is essential physicians know older HIV-infected patients features to consider the possibility of HIV infection in these patients with the aim of treatment would not be delayed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-159
PMCID: PMC1654166  PMID: 17087819
22.  In vivo activity of terpinen-4-ol, the main bioactive component of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree) oil against azole-susceptible and -resistant human pathogenic Candida species 
Background
Recent investigations on the antifungal properties of essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (Tea Tree Oil, TTO) have been performed with reference to the treatment of vaginal candidiasis. However, there is a lack of in vivo data supporting in vitro results, especially regarding the antifungal properties of TTO constituents. Thus, the aim of our study was to investigate the in vitro and the in vivo anti-Candida activity of two critical bioactive constituents of TTO, terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole.
Methods
Oophorectomized, pseudoestrus rats under estrogen treatment were used for experimental vaginal infection with azole (fluconazole, itraconazole) -susceptible or -resistant strains of C. albicans. All these strains were preliminarily tested for in vitro susceptibility to TTO, terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole for their antifungal properties, using a modification of the CLSI (formerly NCCLS) reference M27-A2 broth micro-dilution method.
Results
In vitro minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC90) values were 0.06% (volume/volume) for terpinen-4-ol and 4% (volume/volume) for 1,8-cineole, regardless of susceptibility or resistance of the strains to fluconazole and itraconazole. Fungicidal concentrations of terpinen-4-ol were equivalent to the candidastatic activity. In the rat vaginal infection model, terpinen-4-ol was as active as TTO in accelerating clearance from the vagina of all Candida strains examined.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that terpinen-4-ol is a likely mediator of the in vitro and in vivo activity of TTO. This is the first in vivo demonstration that terpinen-4-ol could control C. albicans vaginal infections. The purified compound holds promise for the treatment of vaginal candidiasis, and particularly the azole-resistant forms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-158
PMCID: PMC1637110  PMID: 17083732
23.  Serum neopterin levels in patients with replicative and nonreplicative HBV carriers 
Background
Infection by hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes complicated biochemical, immunological and histological changes in host immune response against the virus which can be specific or non-specific. Recent attention has focused on neopterin as a marker for the activation of cell mediated immunity. The aim of this study was to define the pattern of neopterin levels in replicative and nonreplicative HBV carriers.
Methods
Thirty HBV replicative carriers and 25 nonreplicative HBV carriers and 30 healthy adult patients were included this study. Hepatitis markers were determined by commercial kit based on chemilumminesans assay. HBV DNA was quantified by hybrid capture system. Serum neopterin levels were measured by the method of competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results were expressed as mean ± SD and ranges.
Results
In the nonreplicative group, except for one patient, all the patients' HBeAg were negative and anti-HBe were positive. That particular patient was HBeAg positive and anti-HBe negative. In the replicative group, 23 out of 30 patients have positive HBeAg and negative anti-HBe; 7 out of 30 patients have negative HBeAg and positive anti-HBe. Serum neopterin concentrations were 14.5 ± 10.0 (4.2–41) nmol/L in replicative HBV carriers, 8.9 ± 4.3 (2.1–22) nmol/L in nonreplicative HBV carriers and 7.1 ± 2.2 (4.0–12) nmol/L in the control group. Serum neopterin levels and the rates of abnormal serum neopterin levels in the replicative group were higher than the control group (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05). In the nonreplicative group, serum neopterin levels were not different from those of the control. There was a difference between replicative and nonreplicative groups in the respect of neopterin levels.
Conclusion
In the hepatitis B infected carriers, elevated neopterin levels may be an indicator of the presence of replication.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-157
PMCID: PMC1635703  PMID: 17076882
24.  Emergence of vancomycin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) from a tertiary care hospital from northern part of India 
Background
Glycopeptides such as vancomycin are frequently the antibiotics of choice for the treatment of infections caused by methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). For the last 7 years incidence of vancomycin intermediate S. aureus and vancomycin resistant S. aureus (VISA and VRSA respectively) has been increasing in various parts of the world. The present study was carried out to find out the presence of VISA and VRSA in the northern part of India.
Methods
A total 1681 staphylococcal isolates consisting of 783 S. aureus and 898 coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS) were isolated from different clinical specimens from various outpatient departments and wards. All S. aureus and 93 CoNS were subjected to MIC testing (against vancomycin, teicolplanin and oxacillin); Brain Heart Infusion (BHI) vancomycin screen agar test; disc diffusion testing, and PCR for mecA, vanA and vanB genes detection.
Results
Out of 783 S. aureus two S. aureus strains were found to be vancomycin and teicoplanin resistant (one strain with MIC 32 μg/ml and the other strain with MIC 64 μg/ml); six strains of S. aureus have shown to be vancomycin intermediate (two strains with MIC 16 μg/ml and four strains with MIC 8 μg/ml); and two strains with teicoplanin intermediate (MIC 16 μg/ml). One CoNS strain was resistant to vancomycin and teicoplanin (MIC 32 μg/ml), and two CoNS strains were intermediate to vancomycin and teicoplanin (MIC 16 μg/ml). All VRSA, VISA and vancomycin resistant CoNS had shown growth on BHI vancomycin screen agar (vancomycin 6 μg/ml) and were mecA PCR positive. None of these isolates have demonstrated vanA/vanB gene by PCR.
Conclusion
The present study reveals for the first time emergence of VISA/VRSA from this part of world and indicates the magnitude of antibiotic resistance in and around the study area. The major cause of this may be unawareness and indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-156
PMCID: PMC1634751  PMID: 17067393
25.  Patterns of antimicrobial resistance in a surgical intensive care unit of a university hospital in Turkey 
Background
Several studies have reported higher rates of antimicrobial resistance among isolates from intensive care units than among isolates from general patient-care areas. The aims of this study were to review the pathogens associated with nosocomial infections in a surgical intensive care unit of a university hospital in Turkey and to summarize rates of antimicrobial resistance in the most common pathogens. The survey was conducted over a period of twelve months in a tertiary-care teaching hospital located in the south-eastern part of Turkey, Gaziantep. A total of 871 clinical specimens from 615 adult patients were collected. From 871 clinical specimens 771 bacterial and fungal isolates were identified.
Results
Most commonly isolated microorganisms were: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (20.3%), Candida species (15%) and Staphylococcus aureus (12.9%). Among the Gram-negative microorganisms P. aeruginosa were mostly resistant to third-generation cephalosporins (71.3–98.1%), while Acinetobacter baumannii were resistant in all cases to piperacillin, ceftazidime and ceftriaxone. Isolates of S. aureus were mostly resistant to penicillin, ampicillin, and methicillin (82–95%), whereas coagulase-negative staphylococci were 98.6% resistant to methicillin and in all cases resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline.
Conclusion
In order to reduce the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in ICUs, monitoring and optimization of antimicrobial use in hospitals are strictly recommended. Therefore local resistance surveillance programs are of most value in developing appropriate therapeutic guidelines for specific infections and patient types.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-155
PMCID: PMC1633736  PMID: 17064415

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