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1.  Serotype-specific mortality from invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae disease revisited 
Background
Invasive infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci) causes significant morbidity and mortality. Case series and experimental data have shown that the capsular serotype is involved in the pathogenesis and a determinant of disease outcome.
Methods
Retrospective review of 464 cases of invasive disease among adults diagnosed between 1990 and 2001. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analysis.
Results
After adjustment for other markers of disease severity, we found that infection with serotype 3 was associated with an increased relative risk (RR) of death of 2.54 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22–5.27), whereas infection with serotype 1 was associated with a decreased risk of death (RR 0.23 (95% CI, 0.06–0.97)). Additionally, older age, relative leucopenia and relative hypothermia were independent predictors of mortality.
Conclusion
Our study shows that capsular serotypes independently influenced the outcome from invasive pneumococcal disease. The limitations of the current polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine warrant the development of alternative vaccines. We suggest that the virulence of pneumococcal serotypes should be considered in the design of novel vaccines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-21
PMCID: PMC455681  PMID: 15228629
2.  Regional risks and seasonality in travel-associated campylobacteriosis 
Backgound
The epidemiology of travel-associated campylobacteriosis is still largely unclear, and various known risk factors could only explain limited proportions of the recorded cases.
Methods
Using data from 28,704 notifications of travel-associated campylobacteriosis in Sweden 1997 to 2003 and travel patterns of 16,255 Swedish residents with overnight travel abroad in the same years, we analysed risks for travel-associated campylobacteriosis in 19 regions of the world, and looked into the seasonality of the disease in each of these regions.
Results
The highest risk was seen in returning travellers from the Indian subcontinent (1,253/100,000 travellers), and the lowest in travellers from the other Nordic countries (3/100,000 travellers). In Africa, large differences in risk between regions were noted, with 502 /100,000 in travellers from East Africa, compared to 76/100,00 from West Africa and 50/100,000 from Central Africa. A distinct seasonal pattern was seen in all temperate regions with peaks in the summer, while no or less distinct seasonality was seen in tropical regions. In travellers to the tropics, the highest risk was seen in children below the age of six.
Conclusions
Data on infections in returning travellers together with good denominator data could provide comparable data on travel risks in various regions of the world.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-54
PMCID: PMC539239  PMID: 15569393
3.  Effect of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in experimental methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus sepsis 
Background
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the leading pathogenic cause of nosocomial infections, especially in bacteraemia and sepsis. The essential therapy for MRSA infection is glycopeptides. Therapeutic failure can be seen with this therapy and the mortality is still high. The aim of this study was to evaluate the additional effect of G-CSF on the traditional antibiotic treatment in an experimental MRSA sepsis.
Methods
Experimental sepsis was performed in mice by intraperitoneal injection of MRSA isolate. Inoculum dose was estimated as 6 × 109/ml. Mice were randomised for the study into four group; control group (not receive any therapy), G-CSF group (1000 ng/daily, subcutaneously for 3 d), antibiotic group (vancomycin 25 or 50 mg/kg intraperitoneally every 12 hours for 7 d), and vancomycin+G-CSF group (at the same concentrations and duration). Autopsy was done within one hour after mice died. If mice was still alive at the end of seventh day, they were sacrificed, and autopsy was done. In all groups, the effect of G-CSF therapy on the survival, the number of the MRSA colonies in the lung, liver, heart, spleen, and peritoneal cultures, the histopathology of the lung, liver, heart and spleen was investigated.
Results
One hundred and six mice were used. There were no significant differences in survival rates and bacterial eradication in G-CSF group compared with control group, and also in antibiotic +G-CSF group compared with antibiotic alone group. These parameters were all significantly different in antibiotic alone group compared with control group. Histopathologically, inflammation of the lung and liver were significantly reduced in vancomycin (25 mg/kg)+G-CSF and vancomycin (50 mg/kg)+G-CSF subgroups, respectively (p < 0.01). The histopathological inflammation of the other organs was not significantly different in antibiotic+G-CSF group compared with antibiotic group and, also G-CSF group compared with control group.
Conclusion
G-CSF treatment had no additional effect on survival and bacterial eradication in MRSA sepsis in nonneutropenic mice; and only a little effect on histopathology. G-CSF treatment is very expensive, likewise glycopeptides. The more interest in infection control measures, and prevent the spread of MRSA infections is more rational.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-43
PMCID: PMC526191  PMID: 15491501
4.  Third generation cephalosporin use in a tertiary hospital in Port of Spain, Trinidad: need for an antibiotic policy 
Background
Tertiary care hospitals are a potential source for development and spread of bacterial resistance being in the loop to receive outpatients and referrals from community nursing homes and hospitals. The liberal use of third-generation cephalosporins (3GCs) in these hospitals has been associated with the emergence of extended-spectrum beta- lactamases (ESBLs) presenting concerns for bacterial resistance in therapeutics. We studied the 3GC utilization in a tertiary care teaching hospital, in warded patients (medical, surgical, gynaecology, orthopedic) prescribed these drugs.
Methods
Clinical data of patients (≥ 13 years) admitted to the General Hospital, Port of Spain (POSGH) from January to June 2000, and who had received 3GCs based on the Pharmacy records were studied. The Sanford Antibiotic Guide 2000, was used to determine appropriateness of therapy. The agency which procures drugs for the Ministry of Health supplied the cost of drugs.
Results
The prevalence rate of use of 3GCs was 9.5 per 1000 admissions and was higher in surgical and gynecological admissions (21/1000) compared with medical and orthopedic (8 /1000) services (p < 0.05). Ceftriaxone was the most frequently used 3GC. Sixty-nine (36%) patients without clinical evidence of infection received 3Gcs and prescribing was based on therapeutic recommendations in 4% of patients. At least 62% of all prescriptions were inappropriate with significant associations for patients from gynaecology (p < 0.003), empirical prescribing (p < 0.48), patients with undetermined infection sites (p < 0.007), and for single drug use compared with multiple antibiotics (p < 0.001). Treatment was twice as costly when prescribing was inappropriate
Conclusions
There is extensive inappropriate 3GC utilization in tertiary care in Trinidad. We recommend hospital laboratories undertake continuous surveillance of antibiotic resistance patterns so that appropriate changes in prescribing guidelines can be developed and implemented. Though guidelines for rational antibiotic use were developed they have not been re-visited or encouraged, suggesting urgent antibiotic review of the hospital formulary and instituting an infection control team. Monitoring antibiotic use with microbiology laboratory support can promote rational drug utilization, cut costs, halt inappropriate 3GC prescribing, and delay the emergence of resistant organisms. An ongoing antibiotic peer audit is suggested.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-59
PMCID: PMC545064  PMID: 15601475
5.  Autoimmune inflammatory disorders, systemic corticosteroids and pneumocystis pneumonia: A strategy for prevention 
Background
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an increasing problem amongst patients on immunosuppression with autoimmune inflammatory disorders (AID). The disease presents acutely and its diagnosis requires bronchoalveolar lavage in most cases. Despite treatment with intravenous antibiotics, PCP carries a worse prognosis in AID patients than HIV positive patients. The overall incidence of PCP in patients with AID remains low, although patients with Wegener's granulomatosis are at particular risk.
Discussion
In adults with AID, the risk of PCP is related to treatment with systemic steroid, ill-defined individual variation in steroid sensitivity and CD4+ lymphocyte count. Rather than opting for PCP prophylaxis on the basis of disease or treatment with cyclophosphamide, we argue the case for carrying out CD4+ lymphocyte counts on selected patients as a means of identifying individuals who are most likely to benefit from PCP prophylaxis.
Summary
Corticosteroids, lymphopenia and a low CD4+ count in particular, have been identified as risk factors for the development of PCP in adults with AID. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (co-trimoxazole) is an effective prophylactic agent, but indications for its use remain ill-defined. Further prospective trials are required to validate our proposed prevention strategy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-42
PMCID: PMC526257  PMID: 15488151
6.  Association of Atopobium vaginae, a recently described metronidazole resistant anaerobe, with bacterial vaginosis 
Background
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a polymicrobial syndrome characterized by a change in vaginal flora away from predominantly Lactobacillus species. The cause of BV is unknown, but the condition has been implicated in diverse medical outcomes. The bacterium Atopobium vaginae has been recognized only recently. It is not readily identified by commercial diagnostic kits. Its clinical significance is unknown but it has recently been isolated from a tuboovarian abcess.
Methods
Nucleotide sequencing of PCR amplified 16S rRNA gene segments, that were separated into bands within lanes on polyacrylamide gels by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), was used to examine bacterial vaginal flora in 46 patients clinically described as having normal (Lactobacillus spp. predominant; Nugent score ≤ 3) and abnormal flora (Nugent score ≥ 4). These women ranged in age from 14 to 48 and 82% were African American.
Results
The DGGE banding patterns of normal and BV-positive patients were recognizably distinct. Those of normal patients contained 1 to 4 bands that were focused in the centre region of the gel lane, while those of BV positive patients contained bands that were not all focused in the center region of the gel lane. More detailed analysis of patterns revealed that bands identified as Atopobium vaginae were present in a majority (12/22) of BV positive patients, while corresponding bands were rare (2/24) in normal patients. (P < 0.001) Two A. vaginae isolates were cultivated from two patients whose DGGE analyses indicated the presence of this organism. Two A. vaginae 16S rRNA gene sequences were identified among the clinical isolates. The same two sequences were obtained from DGGE bands of the corresponding vaginal flora. The sequences differed by one nucleotide over the short (~300 bp) segment used for DGGE analysis and migrated to slightly different points in denaturing gradient gels. Both isolates were strict anaerobes and highly metronidazole resistant.
Conclusion
The results suggest that A. vaginae may be an important component of the complex bacterial ecology that constitutes abnormal vaginal flora. This organism could play a role in treatment failure if further studies confirm it is consistently metronidozole resistant.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-5
PMCID: PMC362875  PMID: 15018635
7.  Nosocomial outbreak of neonatal Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis meningitis in a rural hospital in northern Tanzania 
Background
Clinicians at Haydom Lutheran Hospital, a rural hospital in northern Tanzania noted an unusually high case-fatality rate of pediatric meningitis and suspected an outbreak of an unknown agent or an organism resistant to the empirical therapy.
Methods
We established a provisional microbiology laboratory to investigate the suspected outbreak. Blood and spinal fluid specimens were taken from children below the age of seven years with suspected meningitis. The blood and spinal fluid specimens were inoculated in commercial blood culture bottles and locally prepared Thayer-Martin medium in slanted tubes, respectively. The bacterial isolates were sent to Norway for further investigation, including susceptibility testing and pulsed-field gel-electrophoresis (PFGE).
Results
Among 24 children with suspected meningitis and/or septicemia, five neonates had meningitis caused by Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis, all of whom died. Two children had S. Enteritidis septicemia without meningitis and both survived. Genotyping with PFGE suggested a clonal outbreak. The salmonella strain was resistant to ampicillin and sensitive to gentamicin, the two drugs commonly used to treat neonatal meningitis at the hospital.
Conclusion
The investigation reminds us that nontyphoidal salmonellae can cause meningitis associated with very high case-fatality rates. Resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents increases the risk of treatment failure and may have contributed to the fatal outcome in all of the five patients with salmonella meningitis. The investigation indicated that the outbreak was nosocomial and the outbreak subsided after hygienic measures were instituted. Establishing a provisional microbiological laboratory is a valuable and affordable tool to investigate and control outbreaks even in remote rural areas.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-35
PMCID: PMC521073  PMID: 15367335
8.  AIDS-defining illnesses among patients with HIV in Singapore, 1985 to 2001: results from the Singapore HIV Observational Cohort Study (SHOCS) 
Background
The objective was to describe the causes of initial and overall AIDS-defining disease episodes among HIV patients in Singapore.
Methods
A retrospective observational cohort study was performed of all adult patients seen at the national HIV referral center between 1985 and 2001. Data were extracted from the patients' records by ten trained healthcare workers. AIDS-defining conditions were established using predefined criteria.
Results
Among 1504 patients, 834 had experienced one or more AIDS-defining diseases. The most frequent causes of the initial AIDS-defining episode were Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (35.7%), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (22.7%) and herpes simplex (7.4%). In total 1742 AIDS-defining episodes occurred. The most frequent causes were Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (25.1%), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (16.2%) and cytomegalovirus retinitis (9.5%).
Conclusions
The most frequent causes of AIDS-defining illnesses in Singapore are similar to those reported in the West, prior to the introduction of anti-retroviral therapy. Opportunistic infections remain the most frequent AIDS-defining illnesses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-47
PMCID: PMC535553  PMID: 15538953
9.  Gastro-enteritis outbreak among Nordic patients with psoriasis in a health centre in Gran Canaria, Spain: a cohort study 
Background
Between November 2 and 10, 2002 several patients with psoriasis and personnel staying in the health centre in Gran Canaria, Spain fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting or both. Patient original came from Norway, Sweden and Finland. The patient group was scheduled to stay until 8 November. A new group of patients were due to arrive from 7 November.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study was conducted to assess the extent of the outbreak, to identify the source and mode of transmission and to prevent similar problems in the following group.
Results
Altogether 41% (48/116) of persons staying at the centre fell ill. Norovirus infection was suspected based on clinical presentations and the fact that no bacteria were identified. Kaplan criteria were met. Five persons in this outbreak were hospitalised and the mean duration of diarrhoea was 3 days. The consequences of the illness were more severe compared to many other norovirus outbreaks, possibly because many of the cases suffered from chronic diseases and were treated with drugs reported to affect the immunity (methotrexate or steroids).
During the two first days of the outbreak, the attack rate was higher in residents who had consumed dried fruit (adjusted RR = 3.1; 95% CI: 1.4–7.1) and strawberry jam (adjusted RR = 1.9; 95% CI: 0.9–4.1) than those who did not. In the following days, no association was found. The investigation suggests two modes of transmission: a common source for those who fell ill during the two first days of the outbreak and thereafter mainly person to person transmission. This is supported by a lower risk associated with the two food items at the end of the outbreak.
Conclusions
We believe that the food items were contaminated by foodhandlers who reported sick before the outbreak started. Control measures were successfully implemented; food buffets were banned, strict hygiene measures were implemented and sick personnel stayed at home >48 hours after last symptoms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-45
PMCID: PMC529448  PMID: 15511300
10.  A comparative ultrastructural and molecular biological study on Chlamydia psittaci infection in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and non-alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency emphysema versus lung tissue of patients with hamartochondroma 
Background
Chlamydiales are familiar causes of acute and chronic infections in humans and animals. Human pulmonary emphysema is a component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a condition in which chronic inflammation manifested as bronchiolitis and intra-alveolar accumulation of macrophages is common. It is generally presumed to be of infectious origin. Previous investigations based on serology and immunohistochemistry indicated Chlamydophila pneumoniae infection in cases of COPD. Furthermore, immunofluorescence with genus-specific antibodies and electron microscopy suggested involvement of chlamydial infection in most cases of pulmonary emphysema, but these findings could not be verified by PCR. Therefore, we examined the possibility of other chlamydial species being present in these patients.
Methods
Tissue samples from patients having undergone lung volume reduction surgery for advanced alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD, n = 6) or non-alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency emphysema (n = 34) or wedge resection for hamartochondroma (n = 14) were examined by transmission electron microscopy and PCR.
Results
In all cases of AATD and 79.4% of non-AATD, persistent chlamydial infection was detected by ultrastructural examination. Intra-alveolar accumulation of macrophages and acute as well as chronic bronchiolitis were seen in all positive cases. The presence of Chlamydia psittaci was demonstrated by PCR in lung tissue of 66.7% AATD vs. 29.0% non-AATD emphysema patients. Partial DNA sequencing of four positive samples confirmed the identity of the agent as Chlamydophila psittaci. In contrast, Chlamydophila pneumoniae was detected only in one AATD patient. Lung tissue of the control group of non-smokers with hamartochondroma was completely negative for chlamydial bodies by TEM or chlamydial DNA by PCR.
Conclusions
These data indicate a role of Chlamydophila psittaci in pulmonary emphysema by linking this chronic inflammatory process to a chronic infectious condition. This raises interesting questions on pathogenesis and source of infection.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-38
PMCID: PMC521078  PMID: 15383149
11.  Meningitis due to Fusobacterium necrophorum in an adult 
Background
Fusobacterium necrophorum may cause a number of clinical syndromes, collectively known as necrobacillosis. Meningitis is a significant cause of mortality, rarely reported in the adult population.
Case presentation
We report a fatal case of meningitis, caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum, secondary to otitis media in an alcoholic male. Diagnosis was delayed due to the typical slow growth of the organism. The clinical course was complicated by encephalitis and by hydrocephalus. The patient failed to respond to metronidazole and penicillin. The patient died on day 12 from increased intracranial pressure and brain stem infarction.
Conclusions
This case emphasizes the need for a high index of clinical suspicion to make the diagnosis of Fusobacterium necrophorum meningitis. We recommend the use of appropriate anaerobic culture techniques and antimicrobial coverage for anaerobic organisms when the gram stain shows gram negative bacilli.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-24
PMCID: PMC512287  PMID: 15296514
12.  Streptococcal necrotising fasciitis from diverse strains of Streptococcus pyogenes in tropical northern Australia: case series and comparison with the literature 
Background
Since the mid-1980's there has been a worldwide resurgence of severe disease from group A streptococcus (GAS), with clonal clusters implicated in Europe and the United States. However GAS associated sepsis and rheumatic fever have always remained at high levels in many less developed countries. In this context we aimed to study GAS necrotising fasciitis (NF) in a region where there are high background rates of GAS carriage and disease.
Methods
We describe the epidemiology, clinical and laboratory features of 14 consecutive cases of GAS NF treated over a seven year period from tropical northern Australia.
Results
Incidence rates of GAS NF in the Aboriginal population were up to five times those previously published from other countries. Clinical features were similar to those described elsewhere, with 7/14 (50%) bacteremic and 9/14 (64%) having associated streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. 11/14 (79%) had underlying chronic illnesses, including all four fatalities (29% mortality overall). Important laboratory differences from other series were that leukocytosis was absent in 9/14 (64%) but all had substantial lymphopenia. Sequence typing of the 14 NF-associated GAS isolates showed no clonality, with only one emm type 1 and two emm type 3 strains.
Conclusions
While NF clusters can occur from a single emergent GAS clone, this was not evident in our tropical region, where high rates of NF parallel high overall rates of GAS infection from a wide diversity of strains. The specific virulence factors of GAS strains which do cause NF and the basis of the inadequate host response in those patients who develop NF on infection with these GAS require further elucidation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-60
PMCID: PMC544349  PMID: 15601476
13.  Chronological changes of incidence and prognosis of children with asymptomatic congenital cytomegalovirus infection in Sapporo, Japan 
Background
Chronological changes of the incidence of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and the longitudinal prognosis in children with asymptomatic congenital infection were investigated.
Methods
Congenital CMV infection, as demonstrated by isolation of the virus within the first week of life, was diagnosed in infants born in Sapporo, Japan, during the 26-year period between 1977 and 2002.
Results
Congenital infection was diagnosed in 37 (0.31%) of 11,938 infants. Thirty-two infants were (86.5%) asymptomatic and 5 (13.5%) were symptomatic at birth.
Conclusions
Although a decrease in the total incidence of congenital CMV infection has been seen in recent years, screening of congenital infection at birth seems to be necessary to detect late-onset neurodevelopmental sequelae.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-22
PMCID: PMC481070  PMID: 15236662
cytomegalovirus; congenital infection; sensorineural hearing loss; intracellular cytokine
14.  Catheter-related bacteremia due to Kocuria rosea in a patient undergoing peripheral blood stem cell transplantation 
Background
Micrococcus species may cause intracranial abscesses, meningitis, pneumonia, and septic arthritis in immunosuppressed or immunocompetent hosts. In addition, strains identified as Micrococcus spp. have been reported recently in infections associated with indwelling intravenous lines, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis fluids, ventricular shunts and prosthetic valves.
Case presentation
We report on the first case of a catheter-related bacteremia caused by Kocuria rosea, a gram-positive microorganism belonging to the family Micrococcaceae, in a 39-year-old man undergoing peripheral blood stem cell transplantation due to relapsed Hodgkin disease. This uncommon pathogen may cause opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients.
Conclusions
This report presents a case of Kocuria rosea catheter related bacteremia after stem cell transplantation successfully treated with vancomycin and by catheter removal.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-62
PMCID: PMC545057  PMID: 15615593
15.  Comparison of nested PCR and real time PCR of Herpesvirus infections of central nervous system in HIV patients 
Background
Molecular detection of herpesviruses DNA is considered as the reference standard assay for diagnosis of central nervous system infections. In this study nested PCR and real time PCR techniques for detection of Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in cerebrospinal fluid of HIV patients were compared.
Methods
Forty-six, 85 and 145 samples previously resulted positive for HSV-1, CMV and EBV by nested PCR and 150 randomly chosen negative samples among 1181 collected in the period 1996–2003 were retrospectively reassessed in duplicate by real time PCR and nested PCR.
Results
Samples giving positive results for CMV, HSV-1 and EBV with nested PCR were positive also with real time PCR. One of the negative samples resulted positive for HSV and one for EBV. Real time PCR showed comparable sensitivity and specificity vs nested PCR.
Conclusion
Real time PCR proved to be a suitable method for diagnosis of herpesvirus infections in CNS, showing comparable sensitivity and being less time consuming than nested PCR.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-55
PMCID: PMC535941  PMID: 15571633
16.  Norovirus gastroenteritis general outbreak associated with raw shellfish consumption in South Italy 
Background
Despite Noroviruses (NV, previously "Norwalk-like viruses") being a leading cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks, the impact of NV infection is at present unknown and little information is available about strains circulating in Italy. In April 2002 an outbreak of gastroenteritis occurred in the province of Bari (South-east Italy), involving several households.
Methods
A retrospective cohort study was performed in order to assess risk factors associated with illness. All households where a case occurred were included in the study. Faecal specimens were collected from ill individuals. NV-specific RT-PCR was performed. Eleven samples of mussels were collected from fish-markets involved in the outbreak. A nested PCR was used for mussel samples.
Results
One hundred and three cases, detected by means of active surveillance, met the case definition. Raw shellfish eating was the principal risk factor for the disease, as indicated by the analytic issues (Risk Ratio: 1.50; IC 95%: 1.18 – 1.89; p < 0.001). NVs were found by means of RT-PCR of all the stool specimens from the 24 patients tested. Eleven samples of shellfish from local markets were tested for the presence or NVs; six were positive by nested PCR and genotypes were related to that found in patients' stools.
Conclusion
This is the first community outbreak caused by NVs related to sea-food consumption described in Italy. The study confirms that the present standards for human faecal contamination do not seem to be a reliable indicator of viral contaminants in mussels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-37
PMCID: PMC522816  PMID: 15383150
17.  Suboptimal clinical response to ciprofloxacin in patients with enteric fever due to Salmonella spp. with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility: a case series 
Background
Salmonella spp. with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones have higher than usual MICs to these agents but are still considered "susceptible" by NCCLS criteria. Delayed treatment response to fluoroquinolones has been noted, especially in cases of enteric fever due to such strains. We reviewed the ciprofloxacin susceptibility and clinical outcome of our recent enteric fever cases.
Methods
Salmonella enterica Serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) and Serotype Paratyphi (S. Paratyphi) blood culture isolates (1998–2002) were tested against nalidixic acid by disk diffusion (DD) and agar dilution (AD) and to ciprofloxacin by AD using NCCLS methods and interpretive criteria. Reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility was defined as a ciprofloxacin MIC of 0.125–1.0 mg/L. The clinical records of patients treated with ciprofloxacin for isolates with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility were reviewed.
Results
Seven of 21 (33%) S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi isolates had reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones (MIC range 0.125–0.5 mg/L). All 7 were nalidixic acid resistant by DD (no zone) and by AD (MIC 128- >512 mg/L). The other 14 isolates were nalidixic acid susceptible and fully susceptible to ciprofloxacin (MIC range 0.015–0.03 mg/L).
Five of the 7 cases were treated initially with oral ciprofloxacin. One patient remained febrile on IV ciprofloxacin until cefotaxime was added, with fever recurrence when cefotaxime was discontinued. Two continued on oral or IV ciprofloxacin alone but had prolonged fevers of 9–10 days duration, one was switched to IV beta-lactam therapy after remaining febrile for 3 days on oral/IV ciprofloxacin and one was treated successfully with oral ciprofloxacin. Four of the 5 required hospitalization.
Conclusions
Our cases provide further evidence that reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility of S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi is clinically significant. Laboratories should test extra-intestinal Salmonella spp. for reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-36
PMCID: PMC521077  PMID: 15380025
18.  Hepatitis B virus variants in an HIV-HBV co-infected patient at different periods of antiretroviral treatment with and without lamivudine 
Background
Lamivudine inhibits replication of both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is commonly used as part of antiretroviral therapy. The main limitation in the use of lamivudine is resistant mutation selection. Most of these mutations affect the YMDD motif of the HBV DNA polymerase. The resistance occurs through M550V or M550I aminoacid replacements. The M550V variation may be accompanied by L526M mutation, notably in HIV-HBV co-infected patients. The aim of this study was to investigate mutations associated with lamivudine resistance in a hemodialysis patient chronically co-infected with HIV-1 and HBV, who was submitted to several antiretroviral treatments.
Methods
HBV isolates derived from three blood samples collected at different times of antiretroviral therapies with and without lamivudine, were titred and submitted to nucleotide sequencing.
Results
HBV isolate derived from a sample collected in 1999 during an antiretroviral treatment with lamivudine showed the lamivudine resistant double mutation (L526M, M550V). However, no mutation associated with lamivudine resistance was observed in the HBV genome derived from the sample collected during a period of treatment without lamivudine (2001). After reinstitution of lamivudine (2002), the predominant HBV population exhibited a rare triple mutation (V519L, L526M, M550V), which has previously been associated with an in vitro reduction of virus antigenicity (escape mutant). HBV DNA was detected at high levels (108–109 copies/ml) in the three blood samples.
Conclusions
Reintroduction of lamivudine as part of antiretroviral treatment in a patient who had developed lamivudine resistant HBV strains favored the predominance of an HBV isolate with reduced antigenicity. The absence of hepatitis acute exacerbation in this patient may be correlated to the absence of significant variations of the viral load, which was independent of the presence of mutations in the HBV DNA polymerase.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-29
PMCID: PMC516776  PMID: 15339340
19.  Ofloxacin plus Rifampicin versus Doxycycline plus Rifampicin in the treatment of brucellosis: a randomized clinical trial [ISRCTN11871179] 
Background
The combination therapies recommended by the World Health Organization for treatment of brucellosis are doxycycline plus rifampicin or doxycycline plus streptomycin. Although highly successful results have been obtained with these two regimens, relapse rates as high as 14.4%. The most effective and the least toxic chemotherapy for human brucellosis is still undetermined. The aim of the present study was to investigate the efficacy, adverse effects and cost of ofloxacin plus rifampicin therapy, and doxycycline plus rifampicin therapy and evaluate in the treatment of brucellosis.
Methods
The open trial has been carried out prospectively by the two medical centers from December 1999 to December 2001 in Duzce region Turkey. The diagnosis was based on the presence of signs and symptoms compatible with brucellosis including a positive agglutination titre (≥1/160) and/or a positive culture. Doxycycline and rifampicin group consisted of 14 patients who were given doxycycline 200 mg/day plus rifampicin 600 mg/day during 45 days and this group Ofloxacin plus rifampicin group was consisted of 15 patients who were given ofloxacin 400 mg/day plus rifampicin 600 mg/day during 30 days.
Results
Regarding clinical and/or demographic characteristics no significant difference was found between two groups of patients that underwent two different therapeutic regimens. At the end of the therapy, two relapses were seen in both groups (p = 0.695). Although duration of therapy was two weeks shorter in group treated with rifampicin plus ofloxacin, the cure rate was similar in both groups of examinees. Fever dropped more rapidly in the group that treated with rifampicin plus ofloxacin, 74 ± 30 (ranges 48–216) vs. 106 ± 26 (ranges 48–262) hours (p = 0.016).
Conclusions
Ofloxacin plus rifampicin therapy has advantages of shorter treatment duration and provided shorter course of fever with treatment than in doxycycline plus rifampicin therapy. However, cost of ofloxacin plus rifampicin treatment is higher than doxycycline plus rifampicin treatment. Because of the similar effects, adverse effects and relapses rates between two regimens, we still advice doxycycline plus rifampicin for the treatment of brucellosis for countries, which have limited resources.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-18
PMCID: PMC459220  PMID: 15214959
Brucellosis; ofloxacin; rifampicin; doxycycline; quinolone; fever
20.  Stampidine prevents mortality in an experimental mouse model of viral hemorrhagic fever caused by lassa virus 
Background
The potential use of microorganisms as agents of biological warfare (BW) is a growing concern. Lassa virus, a member of the Arenavirus class of Hemorrhagic fever (HF) viruses has emerged as a worldwide concern among public health officials. The purpose of the present study was to further elucidate the antiviral activity spectrum of stampidine, a novel nucleoside analog with potent anti-viral activity against the immunodeficiency viruses HIV-1, HIV-2, and FIV, by examining its effects on survival of mice challenged with Lassa virus.
Methods
We examined the therapeutic effect of Stampidine in CBA mice inoculated with intracerebral injections of the Josiah strain of Lassa virus. Mice were treated either with vehicle or nontoxic doses of stampidine administered intraperitoneally 24 hours prior to, 1 hour prior to, and 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, and 96 hours after virus inoculation.
Results
The probability of survival following the Lassa challenge was significantly improved for stampidine treated mice (Kaplan Meier, Chi-squared = 11.7, df = 2, Log-Rank p-value = 0.003).
Conclusion
Therefore, stampidine shows clinical potential as a new agent for treatment of viral hemorrhagic fevers caused by Lassa virus.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-1
PMCID: PMC331410  PMID: 14720304
21.  First documented cure of a suggestive exogenous reinfection in polymyositis with same but multidrug resistant M. tuberculosis 
Background
MDR Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the major cause of treatment failure in tuberculosis patients, especially in immunosuppressed. We described a young polymyositis patient on immunosuppressive therapy who was started with antituberculosis therapy as a susceptible strain of M. tuberculosis was isolated from a single cutaneous abscess in his neck and from regional lymph nodes.
Case presentation
He had non-reactive miliary tuberculosis and multiple cutaneous abscesses 6 months later with the same strain, which was resistant this time to 9 antituberculosis drugs. We described clinical presentation, radiological and laboratory work-up, treatment and follow-up as the patient was cured after 1.5 years with 6 antituberculosis drugs.
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first reported case where an immunosuppressed patient with suggestive exogenous reinfection within 6 months with the same but MDR strain of M. tuberculosis was cured. Intense management and regular follow up were important since the patient was a potent source of MDR M. tuberculosis infection and there was limited choice for therapy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-63
PMCID: PMC548298  PMID: 15617569
22.  The unmasking of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia during reversal of immunosuppression: case reports and literature review 
Background
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection among immunosuppressed patients, especially in those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The clinical presentation of PCP in immunosuppressed patients have been well-reported in the literature. However, the clinical importance of PCP manifesting in the setting of an immunorestitution disease (IRD), defined as an acute symptomatic or paradoxical deterioration of a (presumably) preexisting infection, which is temporally related to the recovery of the immune system and is due to immunopathological damage associated with the reversal of immunosuppressive processes, has received relatively little attention until recently.
Case presentation
We aim to better define this unique clinical syndrome by reporting two cases of PCP manifesting acutely with respiratory failure during reversal of immunosuppression in non-HIV infected patients, and reviewed the relevant literature. We searched our databases for PCP cases manifesting in the context of IRD according to our predefined case definition, and reviewed the case notes retrospectively. A comprehensive search was performed using the Medline database of the National Library of Medicine for similar cases reported previously in the English literature in October 2003. A total of 28 non-HIV (excluding our present case) and 13 HIV-positive patients with PCP manifesting as immunorestitution disease (IRD) have been reported previously in the literature. During immunorestitution, a consistent rise in the median CD4 lymphocyte count (28/μL to 125/μL), with a concomitant fall in the median HIV viral load (5.5 log10 copies/ml to 3.1 log10 copies/ml) was observed in HIV-positive patients who developed PCP. A similar upsurge in peripheral lymphocyte count was observed in our patients preceding the development of PCP, as well as in other non-HIV immunosuppressed patients reported in the literature.
Conclusions
PCP manifesting as IRD may be more common than is generally appreciated. Serial monitoring of total lymphocyte or CD4 count could serve as a useful adjunct to facilitate the early diagnosis and pre-emptive treatment of this condition in a wide range of immunosuppressed hosts, especially in the presence of new pulmonary symptoms and/or radiographic abnormalities compatible with the diagnosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-57
PMCID: PMC539247  PMID: 15588295
23.  Spectrum of clinical disease in a series of 135 hospitalised HIV-infected patients from north India 
Background
Literature on the spectrum of opportunistic disease in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients from developing countries is sparse. The objective of this study was to document the spectrum and determine the frequency of various opportunistic infections (OIs) and non-infectious opportunistic diseases, in hospitalised HIV-infected patients from north India.
Methods
One hundred and thirty five consecutive, HIV-infected patients (age 34 ± 10 years, females 17%) admitted to a tertiary care hospital in north India, for the evaluation and management of an OI or HIV-related disorder between January 2000 and July 2003, were studied.
Results
Fever (71%) and weight loss (65%) were the commonest presenting symptoms. Heterosexual transmission was the commonest mode of HIV-acquisition. Tuberculosis (TB) was the commonest OI (71%) followed by candidiasis (39.3%), Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) (7.4%), cryptococcal meningitis and cerebral toxoplasmosis (3.7% each). Most of the cases of TB were disseminated (64%). Apart from other well-recognised OIs, two patients had visceral leishmaniasis. Two cases of HIV-associated lymphoma were encountered. CD4+ cell counts were done in 109 patients. Majority of the patients (82.6%) had CD4+ counts <200 cells/μL. Fifty patients (46%) had CD4+ counts <50 cells/μL. Only 50 patients (37%) received antiretroviral therapy. Twenty one patients (16%) died during hospital stay. All but one deaths were due to TB (16 patients; 76%) and PCP (4 patients; 19%).
Conclusions
A wide spectrum of disease, including both OIs and non-infectious opportunistic diseases, is seen in hospitalised HIV-infected patients from north India. Tuberculosis remains the most common OI and is the commonest cause of death in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-52
PMCID: PMC535567  PMID: 15555069
24.  Molecular and epidemiologic analysis of a county-wide outbreak caused by Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis traced to a bakery 
Background
An increase in the number of attendees due to acute gastroenteritis and fever was noted at one hospital emergency room in Taiwan over a seven-day period from July to August, 2001. Molecular and epidemiological surveys were performed to trace the possible source of infection.
Methods
An epidemiological investigation was undertaken to determine the cause of the outbreak. Stool and blood samples were collected according to standard protocols per Center for Disease Control, Taiwan. Typing of the Salmonella isolates from stool, blood, and food samples was performed with serotyping, antibiotypes, and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) following XbaI restriction enzyme digestion.
Results
Comparison of the number of patients with and without acute gastroenteritis (506 and 4467, respectively) during the six weeks before the outbreak week revealed a significant increase in the number of patients during the outbreak week (162 and 942, respectively) (relative risk (RR): 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22–1.70, P value < 0.001). During the week of the outbreak, 34 of 162 patients with gastroenteritis were positive for Salmonella, and 28 of these 34 cases reported eating the same kind of bread. In total, 28 of 34 patients who ate this bread were positive for salmonella compared to only 6 of 128 people who did not eat this bread (RR: 17.6, 95%CI 7.9–39.0, P < 0.001). These breads were produced by the same bakery and were distributed to six different traditional Chinese markets., Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) was isolated from the stool samples of 28 of 32 individuals and from a recalled bread sample. All S. Enteritidis isolates were of the same antibiogram. PFGE typing revealed that all except two of the clinical isolates and the bread isolates were of the same DNA macrorestriction pattern.
Conclusions
The egg-covered bread contaminated with S. Enteritidis was confirmed as the vehicle of infection. Alertness in the emergency room, surveillance by the microbiology laboratory, prompt and thorough investigation to trace the source of outbreaks, and institution of appropriate control measures provide effective control of community outbreaks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-48
PMCID: PMC535566  PMID: 15541186
25.  Adjuvant interferon gamma in patients with drug – resistant pulmonary tuberculosis: a pilot study 
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) is increasing in the world and drug-resistant (DR) disease beckons new treatments.
Methods
To evaluate the action of interferon (IFN) gamma as immunoadjuvant to chemotherapy on pulmonary DR-TB patients, a pilot, open label clinical trial was carried out in the Cuban reference ward for the management of this disease. The eight subjects existing in the country at the moment received, as in-patients, 1 × 106 IU of recombinant human IFN gamma intramuscularly, daily for one month and then three times per week up to 6 months as adjuvant to the indicated chemotherapy, according to their antibiograms and WHO guidelines. Sputum samples collection for direct smear observation and culture as well as routine clinical and thorax radiography assessments were done monthly.
Results
Sputum smears and cultures became negative for acid-fast-bacilli before three months of treatment in all patients. Lesion size was reduced at the end of 6 months treatment; the lesions disappeared in one case. Clinical improvement was also evident; body mass index increased in general. Interferon gamma was well tolerated. Few adverse events were registered, mostly mild; fever and arthralgias prevailed.
Conclusions
These data suggest that IFN gamma is useful and well tolerated as adjunctive therapy in patients with DR-TB. Further controlled clinical trials are encouraged.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-4-44
PMCID: PMC529257  PMID: 15500691

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