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1.  Fatal meningitis in a previously healthy young adult caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 38: an emerging serotype? 
Background
In December 2001, a fatal case of pneumococcal meningitis in a Marine Corps recruit was identified. As pneumococcal vaccine usage in recruit populations is being considered, an investigation was initiated into the causative serotype.
Case presentation
Traditional and molecular methods were utilized to determine the serotype of the infecting pneumococcus. The pneumococcal isolate was identified as serotype 38 (PS38), a serotype not covered by current vaccine formulations. The global significance of this serotype was explored in the medical literature, and found to be a rare but recognized cause of carriage and invasive disease.
Conclusion
The potential of PS38 to cause severe disease is documented in this report. Current literature does not support the hypothesis that this serotype is increasing in incidence. However, as we monitor the changing epidemiology of pneumococcal illness in the US in this conjugate era, PS38 might find a more prominent and concerning niche as a replacement serotype.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-38
PMCID: PMC1156897  PMID: 15943886
2.  Risk factors for fatal candidemia caused by Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida species 
Background
Invasive fungal infections, such as candidemia, caused by Candida species have been increasing. Candidemia is not only associated with a high mortality (30% to 40%) but also extends the length of hospital stay and increases the costs of medical care. Sepsis caused by Candida species is clinically indistinguishable from bacterial infections. Although, the clinical presentations of the patients with candidemia caused by Candida albicans and non-albicans Candida species (NAC) are indistinguishable, the susceptibilities to antifungal agents of these species are different. In this study, we attempted to identify the risk factors for candidemia caused by C. albicans and NAC in the hope that this may guide initial empiric therapy.
Methods
A retrospective chart review was conducted during 1996 to 1999 at the Veterans General Hospital-Taipei.
Results
There were 130 fatal cases of candidemia, including 68 patients with C. albicans and 62 with NAC. Candidemia was the most likely cause of death in 55 of the 130 patients (42.3 %). There was no significant difference in the distribution of Candida species between those died of candidemia and those died of underlying conditions. Patients who had one of the following conditions were more likely to have C. albicans, age ≧ 65 years, immunosuppression accounted to prior use of steroids, leukocytosis, in the intensive care unit (ICU), and intravascular and urinary catheters. Patients who had undergone cancer chemotherapy often appeared less critically ill and were more likely to have NAC.
Conclusion
Clinical and epidemiological differences in the risk factors between candidemia caused by C. albicans and NAC may provide helpful clues to initiate empiric therapy for patients infected with C. albicans versus NAC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-22
PMCID: PMC1090575  PMID: 15813977
3.  The changing epidemiology of pediatric aseptic meningitis in Daejeon, Korea from 1987 to 2003 
Background
Aseptic meningitis is a relatively frequent childhood disease and virologic data suggest that enteroviruses are the commonest etiologic agents. We evaluated the epidemiologic characteristics of aseptic meningitis in Daejeon, South Korea from 1987 to 2003.
Methods
2201 medical records of children with aseptic meningitis admitted to The Catholic University of Korea, Daejeon St Mary's Hospital were retrospectively analyzed.
Results
Outbreaks of aseptic meningitis were observed in 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2002. The age distribution of cases was relatively uniform, with a higher incidence in those aged < 1 year and 4–7 years. The male-to-female ratio was 2:1. There was a higher incidence of disease in the summer (May to August, 74.1% of total). Comparison of the largest epidemics in 1997 and 2002 showed significant differences in the incidence in those < 1 year (11.8% vs. 4.4%, respectively; P = 0.001). Neurologic sequelae were observed in 0.7% of the patients.
Conclusion
Aseptic meningitis, rare before the 1980s in Korea, has since become a common clinical entity. Since 1990, outbreaks of aseptic meningitis have occurred every 1 to 3 years in Daejeon in keeping with Korea-wide epidemics. The frequency of disease affecting children less than one year of age may reflect herd immunity to the epidemic strain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-97
PMCID: PMC1295587  PMID: 16262909
4.  Clinical presentation of pertussis in fully immunized children in Lithuania 
Background
In Lithuania, the vaccination coverage against pertussis is high. Nevertheless, there is a significant increase in pertussis cases in fully immunized children. The aim of our study was to determine the frequency of classical symptoms of laboratory confirmed pertussis and describe its epidemiology in children fully vaccinated against pertussis.
Methods
From May to December 2001, 70 children aged 1 month to 15 years, suffering from prolonged cough were investigated in the Centre of Paediatrics, Vilnius University Children's Hospital. The collected information included personal data, vaccination history, clinical symptoms of the current illness, and treatment before hospitalization. At the admission to the hospital blood samples were taken from all studied children for Bordetella pertussis IgM and IgA.
Results
A total of 53 (75.7%) of the 70 recruited patients with prolonged cough showed laboratory evidence of pertussis. 32 of them were fully vaccinated with whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP). The age of fully vaccinated patients varied from 4 to 15 years (average 10.9 ± 3.1; median 11). The time period between the last vaccination dose (fourth) and the clinical manifestation of pertussis was 2.6–13 years (average 8.9 ± 3.0; median 9). More than half of the children before the beginning of pertussis were in contact with persons suffering from long lasting cough illness in the family, school or day-care center. The mean duration from onset of pertussis symptoms until hospitalization was 61.4 ± 68.3 days (range, 7 to 270 days; median 30). For 11 patients who had had two episodes (waves) of coughing, the median duration of cough was 90 days, and for 21 with one episode 30 days (p < 0.0002). Most of the children (84.4%) had paroxysmal cough, 31.3% had post-tussive vomiting, 28.1% typical whoop, and 3.1% apnea. Only 15.6% children had atypical symptoms of pertussis.
Conclusion
Fully vaccinated children fell ill with pertussis at the median of 11 years old, 9 years following pertussis vaccination. More than half of the children could catch pertussis at home, at school or day-care center. Clinical picture of pertussis in previously immunized children is usually characterized by such classical symptoms as prolonged and paroxysmal cough, rarely by whopping and post-tussive vomiting, and very rarely by apnea.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-40
PMCID: PMC1177947  PMID: 15918913
5.  Could flies explain the elusive epidemiology of campylobacteriosis? 
Background
Unlike salmonellosis with well-known routes of transmission, the epidemiology of campylobacteriosis is still largely unclear. Known risk factors such as ingestion of contaminated food and water, direct contact with infected animals and outdoor swimming could at most only explain half the recorded cases.
Discussion
We put forward the hypothesis that flies play a more important role in the transmission of the bacteria, than has previously been recognized. Factors supporting this hypothesis are: 1) the low infective dose of Campylobacter; 2) the ability of flies to function as mechanical vectors; 3) a ubiquitous presence of the bacteria in the environment; 4) a seasonality of the disease with summer peaks in temperate regions and a more evenly distribution over the year in the tropics; 5) an age pattern for campylobacteriosis in western travellers to the tropics suggesting other routes of transmission than food or water; and finally 6) very few family clusters.
Summary
All the evidence in favour of the fly hypothesis is circumstantial and there may be alternative explanations to each of the findings supporting the hypothesis. However, in the absence of alternative explanations that could give better clues to the evasive epidemiology of Campylobacter infection, we believe it would be unwise to rule out flies as important mechanical vectors also of this disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-11
PMCID: PMC555947  PMID: 15752427
6.  Pneumomediastinum as initial presentation of paralytic rabies: A case report 
Background
Rabies is readily diagnosed when it presents as the classic furious form. Paralytic and atypical forms can pose significant problems in diagnosis. Catastrophic incidents included 7 organ transplant recipients who died of rabies recently in United States and Germany. Although rabies remains top in the lists of differential diagnosis of encephalitis in rabies endemic area, its complication may divert physicians from making a relevant management. We encountered an unusual case of paralytic rabies who presented with spontaneous pneumomediastinum.
Case Presentation
A young male presented with fever and dysphagia. There was a history of fluctuating consciousness and aerophobia but they were absent or could not be demonstrated at the time of admission. He exhibited subcutaneous chest wall emphysema and was found to have pneumomediastinum which resulted in surgical intervention. He developed paralysis followed by seizures during postoperative period. Diagnosis was confirmed by demonstration of rabies RNA in saliva during the preterminal phase and by the autopsy. Over 200 hospital staff subsequently received rabies postexposure prophylaxis.
Conclusion
Spontaneous pneumomediastinum can be a rare complication of rabies. It may lead clinicians to perform inappropriate treatment, particularly when phobic spasms are not present and agitation is not prominent. High level of awareness of rabies in any patient with confusion albeit subtle or with any obscure neurological presentations such as difficulty swallowing with no identifiable causes must be borne in mind.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-92
PMCID: PMC1282576  PMID: 16248896
7.  Bartonella seropositivity in children with Henoch-Schonlein purpura 
Background
An association between Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP) and seropositivity for Bartonella henselae (BH) has been described. The objective of this study was to see if such an association exists in northern Alberta.
Methods
Immunofluorescent antibody testing utilizing an antigen prepared from B. henselae was undertaken on sera from six children with current HSP, 22 children with remote HSP, and 28 controls that were matched for age. Blood from the six children with current HSP was analysed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay with primers derived from the citrate synthase (gltA) gene for the detection of Bartonella DNA.
Results
The seropositivity rate for BH was 61% in cases versus 21% in controls (p < 0.03). The PCR assay was negative in all six current cases.
Conclusion
There is an increased seropositivity rate for BH in children with HSP. However, it is not clear if infection with B. henselae or a related Bartonella species can result in HSP, or if the increased seropositivity is from non-specific or cross-reacting antibodies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-21
PMCID: PMC1274276  PMID: 15807903
8.  Enterococcal meningitis caused by Enterococcus casseliflavus. First case report 
Background
Enterococcal meningitis is an uncommon disease usually caused by Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium and is associated with a high mortality rate. Enterococcus casseliflavus has been implicated in a wide variety of infections in humans, but never in meningitis.
Case presentation
A 77-year-old Italian female presented for evaluation of fever, stupor, diarrhea and vomiting of 3 days duration. There was no history of head injury nor of previous surgical procedures. She had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years, for which she was being treated with steroids and methotrexate. On admission, she was febrile, alert but not oriented to time and place. Her neck was stiff, and she had a positive Kernig's sign. The patient's cerebrospinal fluid was opalescent with a glucose concentration of 14 mg/dl, a protein level of 472 mg/dl, and a white cell count of 200/μL with 95% polymorphonuclear leukocytes and 5% lymphocytes. Gram staining of CSF revealed no organisms, culture yielded E. casseliflavus. The patient was successfully treated with meropenem and ampicillin-sulbactam.
Conclusions
E. casseliflavus can be inserted among the etiologic agents of meningitis. Awareness of infection of central nervous system with Enterococcus species that possess an intrinsic vancomycin resistance should be increased.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-3
PMCID: PMC547911  PMID: 15649336
9.  Failure of levofloxacin treatment in community-acquired pneumococcal pneumonia 
Background
Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). High global incidence of macrolide and penicillin resistance has been reported, whereas fluoroquinolone resistance is uncommon. Current guidelines for suspected CAP in patients with co-morbidity factors and recent antibiotic therapy recommend initial empiric therapy using one fluoroquinolone or one macrolide associated to other drugs (amoxicillin, amoxicillin/clavulanate, broad-spectrum cephalosporins). Resistance to fluoroquinolones is determined by efflux mechanisms and/or mutations in the parC and parE genes coding for topoisomerase IV and/or gyrA and gyrB genes coding for DNA gyrase. No clinical cases due to fluoroquinolone-resistant S. pneumoniae strains have been yet reported from Italy.
Case presentation
A 72-year-old patient with long history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and multiple fluoroquinolone treatments for recurrent lower respiratory tract infections developed fever, increased sputum production, and dyspnea. He was treated with oral levofloxacin (500 mg bid). Three days later, because of acute respiratory insufficiency, the patient was hospitalized. Levofloxacin treatment was supplemented with piperacillin/tazobactam. Microbiological tests detected a S. pneumoniae strain intermediate to penicillin (MIC, 1 mg/L) and resistant to macrolides (MIC >256 mg/L) and fluoroquinolones (MIC >32 mg/L). Point mutations were detected in gyrA (Ser81-Phe), parE (Ile460-Val), and parC gene (Ser79-Phe; Lys137-Asn). Complete clinical response followed treatment with piperacillin/tazobactam.
Conclusion
This is the first Italian case of community-acquired pneumonia due to a fluoroquinolone-resistant S. pneumoniae isolate where treatment failure of levofloxacin was documented. Molecular analysis showed a group of mutations that have not yet been reported from Italy and has been detected only twice in Europe. Treatment with piperacillin/tazobactam appears an effective means to inhibit fluoroquinolone-resistant strains of S. pneumoniae causing community-acquired pneumonia in seriously ill patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-106
PMCID: PMC1308815  PMID: 16307682
10.  The trend of susceptibilities to amphotericin B and fluconazole of Candida species from 1999 to 2002 in Taiwan 
Background
Candida species have various degrees of susceptibility to common antifungal drugs. The extent of resistance to amphotericin B and fluconazole of Candida glabrata isolates causing candidemia has been reported. Active surveillance may help us to monitor the trend of susceptibility to antifungal drugs and to determine if there is an emerging co-resistance to both drugs of Candida species, specifically, of C. glabrata in Taiwan.
Methods
The susceptibilities to amphotericin B and fluconazole of Candida species collected in 1999 and 2002 of the Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance of Yeasts (TSARY) were determined by the microdilution method.
Results
The antifungal susceptibilities of 342 and 456 isolates collected from 11 hospitals participating in both TSARY 1999 and TSARY 2002, respectively, have been determined. The resistance rate to amphotericin B has increased from 0.3% in the TSARY1999 to 2.2% in the TSARY 2002. In contrast, the resistance rate to fluconazole has decreased from 8.8% to 2.2%. Nevertheless, significantly more C. glabrata isolates were not susceptible to fluconazole in the TSARY 2002 (47.4%) than that in the TSARY 1999 (20.8%). There were 9.8% and 11% of C. glabrata isolates having susceptible-dose dependent and resistant phenotype to fluconazole in the TSARY 1999, verse 45.3% and 2.1% in the TSARY 2002.
Conclusion
There was an increase of resistance rate to amphotericin B in C. glabrata. On the other hand, although the resistance rate to fluconazole has decreased, almost half of C. glabrata isolates were not susceptible to this drug. Hence, continuous monitoring the emerging of co-resistance to both amphotericin B and fluconazole of Candida species, specifically, of C. glabrata, will be an important early-warning system.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-99
PMCID: PMC1298299  PMID: 16266438
11.  Mortality following Campylobacter infection: a registry-based linkage study 
Background
Campylobacteriosis is one of the most commonly identified causes of bacterial diarrheal disease and a common cause of gastroenteritis in travellers from developed nations. Despite the widespread occurrence, there is little information on Campylobacter mortality.
Methods
Mortality among a cohort of Campylobacter cases were compared with the general population 0–1, 1–3, 3–12 and more than 12 month after the onset of the illness. The cases were sub-grouped according to if they had been infected domestically or abroad.
Results
The standardized mortality ratio for cases infected domestically was 2.9 (95% CI: 1.9–4.0) within the first month following the illness. The risk then gradually diminished and approached 1.0 after one year or more have passed since the illness. This initial excess risk was not attributable to any particular age group (such as the oldest).
In contrast, for those infected abroad, a lower standardized mortality ratio 0.3 (95% CI: 0.04–0.8) was shown for the first month after diagnosis compared to what would be expected in the general population.
Conclusion
Infection with Campylobacter is associated with an increased short-term risk of death among those who were infected domestically. On the contrary, for those infected abroad a lower than expected risk of death was evident. We suggest that the explanation behind this is a "healthy traveler effect" among imported cases, and effects of a more frail than average population among domestic cases.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-70
PMCID: PMC1236927  PMID: 16162289
12.  Defining the timing of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) outbreaks: an epidemiological study 
Background
Seasonal RSV infections occur every year and affect particularly children under six months of age. Passive immunoprophylaxis with monoclonal antibody Palivizumab is recommended in the period with high risk of RSV infection. This study aims to define the period for the southern part of Germany (Stuttgart area).
Methods
Epidemiological analysis of the RSV situation in southern Germany from 1996 to 2004 and comparison of results with literature was made. The respiratory tract specimens were sent in for the detection of RSV mainly by paediatric clinics. Detection of RSV was carried out mainly by real-time RT-PCR or by ELISA "Pathfinder". RSV outbreaks were depicted as an absolute number and as a percentage of RSV diagnoses in a month. Onsets, offsets, peaks, duration and severity of RSV seasons were defined and analysed.
Results
An early season with strong RSV activity (early-high phase) was followed by a weaker late season (late-low phase) in a regular biennial rhythm. However, onsets, offsets and durations of outbreaks varied significantly from year to year. RSV epidemics in southern Germany were found to oscillate in an antiphase with RSV epidemics in Finland and Sweden.
Conclusion
The long-term regular biennial rhythm allows predicting whether the next outbreak will be late or early and whether RSV activity will be strong or weak. Not foreseeable, however, is the precise time of increase and decrease of RSV activity. Moreover, the regular seasonal pattern may be disrupted by irregular outbreaks. Thus, activity of RSV has to be monitored every year to define the period with high risk of infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-20
PMCID: PMC1084247  PMID: 15801975
13.  GB virus-C – a virus without a disease: We cannot give it chronic fatigue syndrome 
Background
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness in search of an infectious etiology. GB virus-C (GBV-C) virus is a flavivirus with cell tropism and host defense induction qualities compatible with a role in producing the syndrome. The GBV-C genome is detectable in 4% of the population and 12% of the population is seropositive. The present study evaluated the association between infection with GBV and CFS.
Methods
We used a commercial EIA to detect antibodies against the GBV-C E2 protein and a quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay to detect active GBV-C infection. Sera were from a case control study of CFS in Atlanta, Georgia. The Fisher's exact two-tailed test was used for statistical analysis.
Results
Two of 12 CFS patients and one of 21 controls were seropositive for prior GBV-C infection and one control had viral RNA detected, indicating active infection. The results are not statistically different.
Conclusion
We found no evidence that active or past infection with GBV is associated with CFS.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-78
PMCID: PMC1262718  PMID: 16191201
14.  Treatment failure in a typhoid patient infected with nalidixic acid resistant S. enterica serovar Typhi with reduced susceptibility to Ciprofloxacin: a case report from Cameroon 
Background
Fluoroquinolones or third generation cephalosporins are the drugs of choice for the treatment of typhoid fever. Treatment failure with fluoroquinolones has been reported in Asia and Europe. We report a case of ciprofloxacin treatment failure in typhoid fever in Cameroon.
Case presentation
A 29-year-old female patient with suspected typhoid fever from Kumba, Cameroon, yielded growth of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi in blood culture. The isolate was resistant to nalidixic acid but sensitive to ciprofloxacin by disc diffusion test. However, the patient did not respond to treatment with ciprofloxacin, although the isolate was apparently susceptible to ciprofloxacin.
Conclusion
Treatment failure with ciprofloxacin in our case indicates the presence of nalidixic acid resistant S. enterica serovar Typhi (NARST) with reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin in Cameroon (Central Africa).
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-49
PMCID: PMC1184073  PMID: 15969764
15.  Echinococcal disease in Alberta, Canada: more than a calcified opacity 
Background
Most cases of echinococcal disease (ED) acquired in Canada are thought to be due to the sylvatic form of Echinococcus granulosus, which may be more benign than ED due to either Echinococcus multilocularis or the pastoral form of E. granulosus. There are limited descriptions of the clinical course and outcome of Canadian patients with ED in the modern era.
Methods
A retrospective chart review was performed of patients hospitalized with echinococcal disease (ED) from 1991 to 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta.
Results
Forty-two cases of ED were identified of which 19 were definite, 3 probable, and 20 possible. Further analysis was limited to the 22 definite and probable cases, of which 77% were female and 41% aboriginal, with an age range of 5 to 87 years. Nine patients (40%) had pulmonary involvement and 11 (50%) hepatic involvement. One patient had an intracardiac mass presenting as a cerebrovascular event and one had a splenic cyst. Seven of the 22 patients had combined surgical resection and medical treatment, six had surgical resection of the cyst alone, four had cyst aspiration, one had medical treatment alone and four had no specific treatment. There was no mortality attributable to ED but three patients died of unrelated illnesses.
Conclusion
Echinococcal disease in northern Alberta has a marked diversity of clinical presentations, and generally has a good prognosis despite a wide variety of therapeutic interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-34
PMCID: PMC1156894  PMID: 15904502
16.  Investigation of Staphylococcus strains with heterogeneous resistance to glycopeptides in a Turkish university hospital 
Background
The hetero-glycopeptide intermediate staphylococci is considered to be the precursor of glycopeptide intermediate staphylococci especially vancomycin intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA). For this purpose, we aimed to investigate the heterogeneous resistance to glycopeptide and their frequencies in 135 Staphylococcus strains.
Methods
Heterogeneous resistance of Staphylococcus strains was detected by inoculating the strains onto Brain Heart Infusion agar supplemented with 4 mg/L of vancomycin (BHA-V4). Agar dilution method was used for determining MICs of glycopeptides and population analysis profile was performed for detecting frequency of heterogeneous resistance for the parents of selected strains on BHA-4.
Results
Eight (6%) out of 135 Staphylococcus strains were exhibited heterogeneous resistance to at least one glycopeptide. One (1.2%) out of 81 S. aureus was found intermediate resistance to teicoplanin (MIC 16 mg/L). Other seven strains were Staphylococcus haemolyticus (13%) out of 54 coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS). Six of the seven strains were detected heterogeneously reducing susceptibility to vancomycin (MICs ranged between 5–8 mg/L) and teicoplanin (MICs ranged between 32–64 mg/L), and one S. haemolyticus was found heterogeneous resistance to teicoplanin (MIC 32 mg/L). Frequencies of heterogeneous resistance were measured being one in 106 – 107 cfu/ml. MICs of vancomycin and teicoplanin for hetero-staphylococci were determined as 2–6 folds and 3–16 folds higher than their parents, respectively. These strains were isolated from six patients (7%) and two (4%) of health care wokers hands. Hetero-VISA strain was not detected.
Conclusion
Heterogeneous resistance to glycopeptide in CoNS strains was observed to be significantly more emergent than those of S. aureus strains (vancomycin P 0.001, teicoplanin, P 0.007). The increase MICs of glycopeptide resistance for subpopulations of staphylococci comparing with their parents could be an important clue for recognizing the early steps in the appearance of VISA strains. We suggested to screen clinical S. aureus and CoNS strains, systematically, for the presence of heterogeneously resistance to glycopeptide.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-31
PMCID: PMC1156892  PMID: 15871748
17.  Adjunctive corticosteroids for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia in patients with HIV infection: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
Background
The objective of this study was to review the effects of adjunctive corticosteroids on overall mortality and the need for mechanical ventilation in HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) and substantial hypoxemia (arterial oxygen partial pressure <70 mmHg or alveolar-arterial gradient >35 mmHg on room air).
Methods
We conducted a systematic search of the literature for randomised trials published up to December 2004. Selected trials compared adjunctive corticosteroids with placebo or usual care in HIV-infected patients with PCP and reported mortality data. Two teams of reviewers independently evaluated the methodology and extracted data from each primary study.
Results
Six studies were included in the meta-analysis. Risk ratios for overall mortality for adjunctive corticosteroids were 0.54 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38–0.79) at 1 month and 0.67 (95% CI, 0.49–0.93) at 3–4 months of follow-up. Numbers needed to treat, to prevent 1 death, are 9 patients in a setting without highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) available and 22 patients with HAART available. Only the 3 largest trials provided data on the need for mechanical ventilation with a risk ratio of 0.37 (95% CI, 0.20–0.70) in favour of adjunctive corticosteroids.
Conclusion
The number and size of trials investigating adjunctive corticosteroids for HIV-infected patients with PCP is small, but our results suggest a beneficial effect for patients with substantial hypoxemia.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-101
PMCID: PMC1309617  PMID: 16271157
18.  Arcanobacterium haemolyticum associated with pyothorax: case report 
Arcanobacterium haemolyticum has an established role in the etiology of human pharyngitis. There are increasing reports of systemic infections caused by this organism. From India, we report the first case of Arcanobacterium haemolyticum causing pyothorax in an immunocompetent adolescent male patient. The probable mode of infection is also discussed. The role of A. hemolyticum as an animal pathogen needs further study.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-68
PMCID: PMC1236925  PMID: 16144543
19.  Salivary antibodies induced by the seven-valent PncOMPC conjugate vaccine in the Finnish Otitis Media Vaccine Trial 
Background
Mucosal antibodies have been suggested to have a role in defence against pneumococcal infections. We investigated here the ability of a seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PncOMPC, to induce mucosal immune response.
Methods
Healthy Finnish children (n = 111), a subcohort of the Finnish Otitis Media Vaccine Trial, were recruited and 56 of them were immunised with the PncOMPC at the age of 2, 4, and 6 months. At 12 months of age, 49 of them received the PncOMPC and 7 were vaccinated with the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PncPS) as a booster. The control group of 55 children received a hepatitis B vaccine at the same ages. Salivary anti-Pnc IgG, IgA, IgA1, and IgA2 antibodies to serotypes 6B, 14, 19F, and 23F were measured in both groups at the age of 7 and 13 months.
Results
Salivary anti-Pnc IgG and IgA were detected more often in the PncOMPC than in the control group. However, the difference between groups was significant only for 19F and 23F IgA concentrations at the age of 7 months. At the age of 13 months, antibody concentrations did not differ between PncOMPC and control groups. The rises in IgA concentrations between 7 and 13 months of age were mainly of subclass IgA1. Further, there is a clear trend that PncPS booster induces higher salivary anti-Pnc PS antibody concentrations than the PncOMPC.
Conclusion
We found that PncOMPC can induce a mucosal IgA response. However, the actual impact of mucosal antibodies in protection against pneumococcal infections is not clear.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-41
PMCID: PMC1185537  PMID: 15921511
20.  Coxiella burnetii vascular graft infection 
Background
Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of Q fever, may cause culture-negative vascular graft infections. Very few cases of C. burnetii infection of a vascular graft have been reported. All were diagnosed by serology.
Case presentation
We report the first case of Coxiella burnetii vascular graft infection diagnosed by broad-range PCR and discuss the diagnostic approaches and treatment strategies of chronic C. burnetii infection.
Conclusion
C. burnetii should be considered as etiological agent in patients with a vascular graft and fever, abdominal pain, and laboratory signs of inflammation, with or without exposure history. Broad-range PCR should be performed on culture-negative surgical samples in patients with suspected infection of vascular graft.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-109
PMCID: PMC1325236  PMID: 16336642
21.  Cardiac involvement in a patient with clinical and serological evidence of African tick-bite fever 
Background
Myocarditis and pericarditis are rare complications of rickettsiosis, usually associated with Rickettsia rickettsii and R. conorii. African tick-bite fever (ATBF) is generally considered as a benign disease and no cases of myocardial involvement due to Rickettsia africae, the agent of ATBF, have yet been described.
Case presentation
The patient, that travelled in an endemic area, presented typical inoculation eschars, and a seroconversion against R. africae, was admitted for chest pains and increased cardiac enzymes in the context of an acute myocarditis.
Conclusion
Our findings suggest that ATBF, that usually presents a benign course, may be complicated by an acute myocarditis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-90
PMCID: PMC1274315  PMID: 16242016
22.  Does age acquired immunity confer selective protection to common serotypes of Campylobacter jejuni? 
Background
Campylobacter infection is a major cause of bacterial gastrointestinal disease. Exposure to Campylobacter is known to produce an immune response in humans that can prevent future symptomatic infections. Further, studies of the general population have shown that seroprevalence to Campylobacter increases with age.
Methods
A large collection of serotyped Campylobacter isolates, obtained from human clinical faecal samples, were analysed by comparing the ratio of uncommon to common serotypes by different age groups, using χ2 tests.
Results
We have identified that older age groups, as well as having generally lower incidence, are significantly less likely to be infected by the more common serotypes.
Conclusion
These results are indicative of acquired immunity, however, further studies are needed to rule out the confounding effects of the variations in exposure pathways experienced by different age groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-66
PMCID: PMC1208888  PMID: 16117832
23.  Immunomodulatory intervention in sepsis by multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa with thalidomide: an experimental study 
Background
Thalidomide is an inhibitor of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) that has been proven effective for the treatment of experimental sepsis by Escherichia coli. It was tested whether it might behave as an effective immunomodulator in experimental sepsis by multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Methods
Sepsis was induced by the intraperitoneal injection of 1 × 108 cfu/kg inoculum of the test isolate in a total of 109 Wistar rats divided in three groups as follows: group A controls; group B administered seed oil 30 minutes before bacterial challenge; and group C administered 50 mg/kg of thalidomide diluted in seed oil 30 minutes before bacterial challenge. Blood was sampled for estimation of endotoxins (LPS), TNFα, interferon-gamma (IFNγ), nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA). LPS was measured by the QCL-1000 LAL assay, TNFα and IFNγ by ELISA, NO by a colorimetric assay and MDA by the thiobarbiturate assay.
Results
Mean (± SE) survival of groups A, B and C were 18.60 ± 1.84, 12.60 ± 0.60 and 30.50 ± 6.62 hours (p of comparisons A to C equal to 0.043 and B to C equal to 0.002). Decreased TNFα and NO levels were found in sera of animals of group C compared to group A. Plasma levels of LPS, MDA and IFNγ did not differ between groups.
Conclusion
Intake of thalidomide considerably prolonged survival in experimental sepsis by MDR P.aeruginosa an effect probably attributed to decrease of serum TNFα.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-51
PMCID: PMC1185538  PMID: 15978135
24.  Blood cultures in ambulatory outpatients 
Background
Blood cultures are a gold standard specific test for diagnosing many infections. However, the low yield may limit their usefulness, particularly in low-risk populations. This study was conducted to assess the utility of blood cultures drawn from ambulatory outpatients.
Methods
Blood cultures drawn at community-based collection sites in the Calgary Health Region (population 1 million) in 2001 and 2002 were included in this study. These patients were analyzed by linkages to acute care health care databases for utilization of acute care facilities within 2 weeks of blood culture draw.
Results
3102 sets of cultures were drawn from 1732 ambulatory outpatients (annual rate = 89.4 per 100,000 population). Significant isolates were identified from 73 (2.4%) sets of cultures from 51 patients, including Escherichia coli in 18 (35%) and seven (14%) each of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Compared to patients with negative cultures, those with positive cultures were older (mean 49.6 vs. 40.1 years, p < 0.01), and more likely to subsequently receive care at a regional emergency department, outpatient antibiotic clinic, or hospital (35/51 vs. 296/1681, p < 0.0001). Of the 331 (19%) patients who received acute care treatment, those with positive cultures presented sooner after community culture draw (median 2 vs. 3 days, p < 0.01) and had longer median treatment duration (6 vs. 2 days, p < 0.01).
Conclusion
Blood cultures drawn in outpatient settings are uncommonly positive, but may define patients for increased intensity of therapy. Strategies to reduce utilization without excluding patients with positive cultures need to be developed for this patient population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-35
PMCID: PMC1156895  PMID: 15904503
25.  Prevalence of oropharyngeal beta-lactamase-producing Capnocytophaga spp. in pediatric oncology patients over a ten-year period 
Background
The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of beta-lactamase-producing Capnocytophaga isolates in young children hospitalized in the Pediatric Oncology Department of Hôpital Sud (Rennes, France) over a ten-year period (1993–2002).
Methods
In neutropenic children, a periodic survey of the oral cavity allows a predictive evaluation of the risk of systemic infections by Capnocytophaga spp. In 449 children with cancer, 3,053 samples were collected by oral swabbing and plated on TBBP agar. The susceptibility of Capnocytophaga isolates to five beta-lactams was determined.
Results
A total of 440 strains of Capnocytophaga spp. were isolated, 309 (70%) of which were beta-lactamase producers. The beta-lactamase-producing strains were all resistant to cefazolin, 86% to amoxicillin, and 63% to ceftazidime. The proportion of strains resistant to third-generation cephalosporins remained high throughout the ten-year study, while susceptibility to imipenem and amoxicillin combined with clavulanic acid was always conserved.
Conclusion
These results highlight the risk of antibiotic failure in Capnocytophaga infections and the importance of monitoring immunosuppressed patients and testing for antibiotic susceptibility and beta-lactamase production.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-5-32
PMCID: PMC1131902  PMID: 15882453

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