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1.  Viral hemorrhagic fevers: advancing the level of treatment 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:31.
The management of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) has mainly focused on strict infection control measures, while standard clinical interventions that are provided to patients with other life-threatening conditions are rarely offered to patients with VHFs. Despite its complexity, a proper clinical case management of VHFs is neither futile nor is it lacking in scientific rationale. Given that patient outcomes improve when treatment is started as soon as possible, development and implementation of protocols to promptly identify and treat patients in the earliest phases of diseases are urgently needed. Different pharmacological options have been proposed to manage patients and, as for other life-threatening conditions, advanced life support has been proved effective to address multiorgan failure. In addition, high throughput screening of small molecular libraries has emerged as a novel promising way to find new candidates drugs for VHFs therapy and a relevant number of new molecules are currently under investigation. Here we discuss the current knowledge about VHF clinical management to propose a way to step up the approach to VHFs beyond the mere application of infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC3325866  PMID: 22458265
clinical management; innovative therapeutics; viral hemorrhagic fever
2.  Risk of infection in patients with lymphoma receiving rituximab: systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Medicine  2011;9:36.
The addition of Rituximab (R) to standard chemotherapy (C) has been reported to improve the end of treatment outcome in patients affected by CD-20 positive malignant lymphomas (CD20+ ML). Nevertheless, given the profound and prolonged immunosuppression produced by R there are concerns that severe infections may arise. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to determine whether or not the addition of R to C may increase the risk of severe infections in adults undergoing induction therapy for CD20+ ML.
Only randomised controlled trials comparing R-C to C standard alone in adult patients with CD20+ ML were included. Meta-analysis was performed on overall incidence of severe infection, risk of dying as the consequence of infection, risk of febrile neutropenia, risk of severe leucopenia, risk of severe granulocytopenia and overall response assuming a fixed effect model. Heterogeneity was investigated, if present and I2 >20%, according to several predefined baseline characteristics of the study populations.
Several relevant results have emerged. First, the addition of R to standard C does not increase the overall risk of severe infections (RR = 1.00; 95% CI 0.87 to 1.14) nor does it increase the risk of dying as a consequence of infection (RR = 1.60; 95% CI 0.68 to 3.75). Second, we confirmed that the addition of R to standard C increases the proportion of overall response (RR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.15), but it also increases the risk of severe leucopenia (RR = 1.24; 95% CI 1.12 to 1.37) and granulocytopenia (RR = 1.07; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.12).
R-C is superior to standard C in terms of overall response and it does not increase the overall incidence of severe infection. However, data on special groups of patients (for example, HIV positive subjects and HBV carriers) are lacking. In our opinion more studies are needed to explore the potential effect of R on silent and chronic viral infections.
PMCID: PMC3094236  PMID: 21481281
3.  Patient to patient transmission of hepatitis B virus: a systematic review of reports on outbreaks between 1992 and 2007 
BMC Medicine  2009;7:15.
Hepatitis B outbreaks in healthcare settings are still a serious public health concern in high-income countries. To elucidate the most frequent infection pathways and clinical settings involved, we performed a systematic review of hepatitis B virus outbreaks published between 1992 and 2007 within the EU and USA.
The research was performed using two different databases: the PubMed Database and the Outbreak Database, the worldwide database for nosocomial outbreaks. Selection of papers was carried out using the Quorom algorithm, and to avoid selection biases, the inclusion criteria were established before the articles were identified.
Overall, 30 papers were analyzed, reporting on 33 hepatitis B virus outbreaks that involved 471 patients, with 16 fatal cases. Dialysis units accounted for 30.3% of outbreaks followed by medical wards (21.2%), nursing homes (21.2%), surgery wards (15.2), and outpatient clinics (12.1%). The transmission pathways were: multi-vial drugs (30.3%), non-disposable multi-patient capillary blood sampling devices (27.2%), transvenous endomyocardial biopsy procedures (9.1%), and multiple deficiencies in applying standard precautions (9.1%).
The analysis of transmission pathways showed that some breaches in infection control measures, such as administration of drugs using multi-vial compounds and capillary blood sampling, are the most frequent routes for patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis B virus. Moreover some outbreak reports underlined that heart-transplant recipients are at risk of contracting hepatitis B virus infection during the transvenous endomyocardial biopsy procedure through indirect contact with infected blood as a result of environmental contamination. To prevent transmission, healthcare workers must adhere to standard precautions and follow fundamental infection control principles, such as the use of sterile, single-use, disposable needles and avoiding the use of multi-vial compounds in all healthcare settings including outpatient settings.
PMCID: PMC2676313  PMID: 19356228

Results 1-3 (3)