Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, STD / 16.09.2016 Interview with: Noah Kojima David Geffen School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the most exciting new methods to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection is through the use of chemical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which has been shown to be safe and effective in randomized-controlled trials and “real world” studies among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, reports of high incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condomless sex in PrEP trials has led clinicians and public health advocates to be concerned that the use of PrEP for HIV might lead to higher STI incidence due to increased sexual risk behavior. We found that PrEP for HIV infection is associated with increased risk of STI acquisition among MSM in a meta-analysis of prior studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics / 14.09.2016 Interview with: Johanna M. Uitti, MD Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine Turku University Hospital Turku, Finland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: According to several national guidelines, close follow-up is required if initial observation without antimicrobial agents is chosen for the management of acute otitis media (AOM) in children. The aim of this study was to examine whether close follow-up with reexamination is needed for children with AOM initially managed without antimicrobial agents who have symptomatic improvement during the first week after diagnosis, as assessed by their parents. Of the 104 children with symptomatic improvement, 3 (2.9%) developed worse signs or perforation of the tympanic membrane as seen on otoscopy. In contrast, of the 54 children with symptomatic failure, 16 (29.6%) developed worse signs or perforation of the tympanic membrane as seen on otoscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Surgical Research / 14.09.2016 Interview with: Josep Rodés-Cabau, MD Director, Catheterization and Interventional Laboratories Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University Quebec City, Quebec, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infectious endocarditis (IE) is one of the most serious complications after surgical prosthetic valve replacement. There are however scarce data regarding the incidence, predictive factors, treatment, and outcomes of IE post-TAVR. To date, the present study represents the largest series of IE post-TAVR, and the main findings can be summarized as follows: (1) the incidence of infective endocarditis (IE) post-TAVR is similar to that reported for IE after surgical prosthetic valve replacement; (2) among patients undergoing TAVR, younger age, male sex, a history of diabetes mellitus, and moderate-to-severe residual aortic regurgitation were associated with a higher risk of IE, (3) Enterococci species was the most frequently isolated pathogen, (4) IE post-TAVR was associated with a very high rate of in-hospital complications and mortality during index hospitalization and at follow-up. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections / 12.09.2016 Interview with: Anita D. Sircar, MD Epidemic Intelligence Service Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria Center for Global Health CDC What is the background for this study? Response: Baylisascaris procyonis is a roundworm commonly found in raccoons. It can be found anywhere in the United States where raccoons live. People, especially children, can be infected by this roundworm when they accidentally ingest contaminated raccoon feces. Infection with Baylisascaris procyonis can have severe outcomes in people such as blindness and even death if not treated promptly. Despite expansion of the geographic distribution of Baylisascaris procyonis in the last 14 years and probable increasing human exposure, baylisascariasis is likely an underreported disease: only 22 documented cases were reported in the United States during 1973–2010. During May 2013–December 2015, seven additional cases of baylisascariasis were identified among patients in the United States through testing at CDC, including six cases of central nervous system disease and one of ocular disease. Laboratory and clinical information for each patient was gathered and reviewed in a case series to contribute to knowledge about Baylisascaris procyonis infection. All seven patients survived, although approximately half had residual neurologic sequelae. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 08.09.2016 Interview with: Dr. Francisco García M.D. M.P.H. Task Force member and Director and Chief medical officer at Pima County Department of Health Tucson, AZ What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Tuberculosis infection is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. Although less common in the United States, many people still become infected every year and are at risk of getting sick and spreading the infection to others. We know there are effective screening tests that can detect latent tuberculosis infection before people become sick with active tuberculosis disease. Additionally, there are effective treatments to prevent people from progressing from latent tuberculosis infection to active tuberculosis disease. Thus, for people with increased risk of contracting tuberculosis, the Task Force recommends screening for latent tuberculosis infection. People who are considered at increased risk include those who were born in or have lived in countries where tuberculosis is highly prevalent, or who have lived in congregate settings where exposure to tuberculosis is more likely, such as homeless shelters or correctional facilities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Inflammation / 07.09.2016 Interview with: David Underhill, PhD Professor of Biomedical Sciences Research scientist, F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute Cedars-Sinai Los Angeles, CA What is the background for this study? Response: “Innate immunity” is the body’s natural resistance to microbial infection and stands in contrast to “adaptive immunity,” which is the body’s learned response to infection (e.g. antibodies and vaccines). In the standard model of innate immunity that has emerged over the last several decades, scientists have come to understand that the human genome encodes many “receptors” that have evolved as sensors for specific common microbial molecules, such as bacterial or viral DNA or components of bacterial or fungal cell walls. The job of these receptors is to survey the environment (skin, blood, etc.) for potentially dangerous microbes and initiate inflammatory responses if they are found. These activities are essential for defense against infection, and people and animals with defects in these sensors or the responses they trigger can be susceptible to infection. My laboratory has been interested for more than a decade in identifying these innate sensors and the microbial targets that they recognize. In this study, we were looking for the sensor that allows white blood cells (e.g. macrophages and dendritic cells) to detect Gram-positive bacterial cell walls and trigger a specific inflammatory response: secretion of the potent inflammatory mediator interleukin-1β (IL-1β). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections, Pediatrics / 07.09.2016 Interview with: William Ryan B.V.Sc. Ryan Mitchell Associates LLC Westfield, NJ and Bernard Cohen, MD Professor Dermatology and Ellen Koch, MD Division of Pediatric Dermatology Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As a group we were concerned about the misinformation that continues to be promulgated on the internet and through other sites. Importantly, the group consisted of experts with specific experience in the management of head louse infestations, from pediatric dermatology, pediatrics, school nursing and head louse research fields. Even information sources that we would have expected to be credible are outdated, unreliable or both, often continuing myths about head louse infestations and how they can be controlled.  We wanted to provide a balanced and informed perspective that would help physicians and parents recognize that head louse infestations do not present a serious problem, and can be well managed with an informed approach to treatment. The main findings are that over the counder products (permethrin/pyrethrins) are unlikely to be effective, and that that there are safe and effective products that are available by prescription. Interestingly, head lice do affect Indian and African children in their home countries, but virtually nonexistent in African Americans in North America. There has been speculation about hair grooming regimen or structure of African American hair but the cause is unknown.  In a study we performed assessing resistance to over the counter pediculicide components over a decade ago in Baltimore, we were not able to find a single African American child with head lice. We were not able to recruit any patients from the Baltimore City Schools. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections, Pediatrics / 07.09.2016 Interview with: Prof. Alan Irvine DSc Consultant Dermatologist Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Associate Professor of Dermatology Trinity College Dublin What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background is that atopic dermatitis (AD) has a close relationship with staphylococcus aureus (SA) colonisation, and this is known to drive flares or exacerbations of AD but before our report it was not known which came first-AD colonisation or atopic dermatitis? By following a cohort pf patients very carefully over a 1 year period and regularly sampling their skin microbiome we were able to show that SA colonisation did not precede development of AD and in fact that several non SA species of staphylococcus actually appeared to be protective for developing atopic dermatitis. This is an important new finding in the complex relationship between the microbiome and skin inflammation, suggesting that some commensal bacterial are anti-inflammatory or protective. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lyme / 31.08.2016 Interview with: Audun Aase, PhD Department Director, Infectious Disease Immunology Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway What is the background for this study? Response: Controversies related to Lyme disease and tick transmitted diseases have gained much attention in the public media in Norway, both regarding treatment regimens and diagnostics. People with long-lasting disease may relate their symptoms to previous tick bite and/or suboptimal-treated Lyme disease and have adopted the diagnosis chronic Lyme disease. As many of these patients lack objective proof of Lyme disease, they look for alternative test to signify their suspicion. A modified microscopy method for detection of the Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. (the causative agent of Lyme disease) in human blood was published in 2013. The authors behind the method examined blood from suspected chronic Lyme disease patients, and the results showed presence of Borrelia spirochetes in most of the specimens. Using the same method, they also claimed to detect the Babesia parasites in many of the samples. The method gained much publicity and the patients advocated strongly for this method as most other laboratory tests had failed to prove their diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lyme / 29.08.2016 with Senior Author: Tara Moriarty, Ph.D. University of Toronto, Canada Faculty of Dentistry, Matrix Dynamics Group Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology Lead Author: Rhodaba Ebady, Ph.D. student University of Toronto, Canada Faculty of Dentistry, Matrix Dynamics Group What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The spread of microbes via the bloodstream (dissemination) is responsible for most of the mortality associated with bacterial infection. Even though this is a clinically important step of many infectious diseases, and likely an important target for disease treatment, we don’t know how most microbes disseminate. One of the key steps in this process is adhesion of bacteria to the inner surfaces of blood vessels. This allows bacteria to slow down enough to grab onto vessel surfaces, then escape from the blood stream into tissues where it’s easier for them to live. It’s a bit like the problem faced by a person being carried down a fast-flowing river who needs to grab onto something on the banks to get out onto dry land. A big problem for bacteria, and any other cells which must stick to blood vessel walls (like white blood cells travelling to a site of infection or inflammation), is that they have to be able to stick to vessel walls without being ripped off by the flow of blood. They have to have adhesion mechanisms strong enough to overcome forces due to flow. It’s also really helpful to be able to hang on but keep moving along walls until they reach a good spot to get out. This is important for white blood cells too, which have to “sample” their environment to get to the right place to get out of blood flow. Even though the problem of how bacteria stick to blood vessel walls is so important clinically, the mechanisms bacteria use to do this are not widely understood. Part of this gap in our knowledge arises because we haven’t had good tools to study this process as it happens, and to understand how force affects bacterial interaction with vessel walls. The process of bacteria sticking to blood vessel walls is very fast, and hard to observe. The methods to observe this have already been developed, but the major technical innovations of our paper were to figure out how to identify and track the movement of the individual bacteria which stuck to vessel walls among millions flowing past, and to figure out how to set up a flow chamber system which replicated certain conditions in human blood vessels. Figuring out how to do this allowed us to figure out a lot about how the bacteria moved, and the forces and mechanisms involved in adhesion. It took a couple of years just to figure out the common patterns in the thousands of tracks of bacteria interacting with blood vessels, after the initial technical innovation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Outcomes & Safety, Pediatrics / 29.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Cohen Regev, M.D Head of the infectious diseases and infection control units Sanz Medical Center, Laniado hospital Netanya, Israel What is the background for this study? Response: During 3 months in 2012 we had a number of clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a high incidence of colonization among ventilated patients in our medical-surgical intensive care unit (MSICU). The origin of PA may be from various environmental sources (‘exogenous’), from the patients’ own microbiome (‘endogenous’), or from both. Since in NICUs the origin is usually exogenous, we investigated the sources of the bacteria, focusing on the faucets of these units, as they were previously incriminated as causes of outbreaks in ICUs. The study was conducted in Sanz medical center, a 400-bed community hospital located in central Israel. In the NICU we obtained several environmental cultures from faucets using a bacterial swab by rubbing the tip into the distal part of the faucet. Aerators were dismantled from all faucets, cultured from their inner part using a swab and were not repositioned. Contaminated faucets were occasionally replaced or treated with enzymatic fluid and sterilization by Ethylene Oxide. During the intervention and since, neonates were bathed only with warmed sterile water, and tap water was allowed only for hand hygiene practices. In the MSICU tap water was used only for bathing the patients. All other uses of tap water, such as drinking, moistening and mouth treatments, were allowed using only sterile water. The units' faucets were sampled on two different days concurrently with surveillance cultures of pharyngeal, sputum and urine from the patients. Bacteria were identified with VITEK 2 (Biomerieux®) and typing was done by Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus (ERIC) PCR. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Infections, Science / 29.08.2016 Interview with: Mary K. Estes, Ph.D. Distinguished Service Professor Cullen Endowed Chair of Human and Molecular Virology Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 77030 What is the background for this study? Response: Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) worldwide and the leading cause of food-borne gastroenteritis. They also can cause chronic (long-lasting) illness in immunocompromised patients. These viruses are highly contagious and spread rapidly among people. The first report of an outbreak caused by a norovirus was in an elementary school in Norwalk, Ohio in 1968. Since that time, it became known that the virus damaged cells in the small intestine of infected people but attempts by many research groups to grow human noroviruses in the laboratory in a variety of intestinal cancer cells lines failed. This inability to grow human norovirus has been considered the single greatest barrier to norovirus research because it limited studies to understand how the virus makes people sick and how to inactivate the virus to prevent infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Infections / 26.08.2016 Interview with: Lin Op De Beeck, PhD student Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation University of Leuven Leuven, Belgium What is the background for this study? Response: Mosquitoes transmit quite a few deadly diseases, including West Nile Virus. Around the world, therefore, the fight against these insects is high on the agenda. Existing strategies for mosquito control often involve the use of chemical pesticides that harm the environment. These pesticides are increasingly less effective as well, as insects can become resistant to existing products relatively quickly. Biopesticides are a possible alternative. The most commonly used biological pesticide is the Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) bacteria. Unfortunately, mosquitoes are already developing resistance to this pesticide as well. This means we have to keep increasing the dose of Bti to kill mosquitoes, so that this biological substance, too, is beginning to harm the environment. Therefore we set out to find a new strategy in the fight against mosquitoes. We already knew that chemical substances emitted by the backswimmer – a natural enemy of mosquito larvae in the water – trigger a stress response in mosquitoes. This stress response, in turn, suppresses the mosquito’s immune system. What makes the use of these predator cues even more interesting for mosquito control is that scientists recently found a way to produce a synthetic version of these chemical substances. We discovered that this synthetic version triggers a stress response in the mosquitoes and impairs their immune system, just like the natural predator cues. This gave us the idea to combine these synthetic predator cues with the biological pesticide Bti. (more…)
Author Interviews, Radiology, Zika / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Fernanda Tovar Moll, MD, PhD Vice president of the D'Or Institute for Research and Education Professor,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil What is the background for this study? Response: The consequences of congenital zika virus infection are still under investigation. Recent studies suggest microcephaly as one of the consequences, but we wanted to go deeper in investigating what other kinds of neurological changes could happen in the developing central nervous system. Based on that, we performed a cohort study with multimodal images exams and longitudinal follow up (pre and post natal analyses) of some cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease, HIV, Vanderbilt / 25.08.2016 Interview with: Matthew S Freiberg, MD, MSc Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Nashville  TN Tasneem Khambaty, PhD Department of Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida Jesse C. Stewart, PhD Department of Psychology, Indiana University–Purdue University , Indianapolis, Indianapolis What is the background for this study? Response: Due to highly effective antiretroviral therapy, people with HIV are living longer. Unfortunately, these HIV-infected individuals remain at a higher risk for other chronic diseases, with cardiovascular disease (CVD) being one of the leading cause of death in this population. In the general population, depressive disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymic disorder, are associated with increased risk of new-onset CVD. Given that roughly 24-40% of HIV-infected individuals have a depressive disorder, we examined whether MDD and dysthymic disorder are also associated with an increased risk of new-onset CVD in people with HIV. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Infections / 23.08.2016 Interview with: Emily L. Heil, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID Assistant Professor Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science University of Maryland School of Pharmacy 20 N Pine St Baltimore, Maryland 21201 What is the background for this study? Response: As many as nine out of ten people who think they are allergic to penicillin are, in fact, not allergic when penicillin allergy skin testing is performed. This mistaken belief, confirmed in multiple other studies and a matter of concern of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has widespread implications given that patients who report penicillin allergies tend to get suboptimal antibiotic therapy compared with patients who do not. Penicillin skin testing (PST) can clarify allergy histories but is often limited by access to testing. We aimed to implement an infectious disease (ID) fellow managed PST program and to assess the need for PST via national survey. Our study found that inpatient Penicillin skin testing can be successfully managed by ID fellows, thereby promoting optimal antibiotic use. Our study showed that by testing patients for penicillin allergy via skin test, we could improve their care: 80 percent of patients were able to switch to more effective antibiotic therapy once they were tested. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Genetic Research, Infections / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Charles Darkoh, Ph.D., MS., MSc. Assistant Professor University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences Center for Infectious Diseases Houston, Texas 77030 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridium difficile (Cdiff) is a multidrug-resistant pathogen that takes over the colon after the good bacteria in the colon have been wiped out by antibiotic therapy. As a result, antibiotic treatment is a major risk factor for C. diff infections. Because of the ability of C. diff to inactivate the majority of the antibiotics currently available, it has become necessary to urgently develop a non-antibiotic therapy for this life-threatening infection. We know that C. diff causes disease by producing toxins, designated toxin A and B. During infection, the toxins are released into the colon resulting in diarrhea and inflammation of the colon as well as other diarrhea-associated illnesses. We also know that C. diff strains that are unable to produce toxins cannot cause disease. Therefore, the toxins are promising targets for a non-antibiotic therapy. We reported last year that C. difficile regulates toxin production using quorum sensing — a system that allows bacteria to coordinate their biological activities as a group. Two sets of quorum-sensing genes (agr1 and agr2) were identified. These genes form part of a signaling communication system that makes a small peptide, which serves as a cue for the infecting bacterial population to turn on their toxin genes. In this study we used genetic analysis to identify which of these two sets of genes is responsible for regulating the toxins. Our results demonstrates that agr1 is the culprit. This is because Cdiff agr1 mutant cannot produce toxins and unable to cause disease in mice, whereas the agr2 mutant can cause disease just like the wild type C.diff. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 16.08.2016 Interview with: Dr. Mark Loeb BSc (McGill), MD (McGill), MSc (McMaster), FRCPC Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Joint Member, Dept of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics Division Director, Infectious Diseases, McMaster University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that in the U.S, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the committee that advises the CDC on vaccination policy, decided this June not to recommend LAIV (nasal live vaccine) for children. This is because of non-randomized studies conducted in the U.S suggesting that the vaccine was ineffective. This was an unprecedented decision in influenza vaccine policy making for children. Our study, a randomized, blinded, controlled trial, which is the most rigorous type of study design, conducted over 3 years (2012-13, 2013-2014, 2014-2015 influenza seasons), showed in fact very similar protection for children and their communities for the live and inactivated vaccines. We conducted the study in the Hutterite community of Western Canada which allowed us to compare the effect of the vaccines in entire communities. That is, we were able to study the direct effect and the indirect effect of these vaccines. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Pediatrics / 12.08.2016 Interview with: Marieke de Hoog Assistant Professor Julius Centrum voor Gezondheidswetenschappen en Eerstelijnsgeneeskunde UMC Utrecht The Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: Acute otitis media (AOM) is a prime reason for doctor consultations and antibiotic use in children. Although symptoms of AOM may resolve spontaneously, these infections have a significant impact on child and family life and carry a considerable health care and economic burden.  Acute otitis media occurring early in life, also called early-onset AOM, has been suggested as a risk factor for subsequent  Acute otitis media episodes during childhood and could therefore also impact health care resource use. Identifying the critical age-period and quantifying the long-term consequences of early-onset AOM is important to guide future management and prevention programs aiming to reduce the burden of AOM. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 11.08.2016 Interview with: Helene Lund-Sørensen BM Department of Biomedical Sciences Section of Cellular and Metabolic Research University of Copenhagen What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Accumulating research has shown that inflammation and infections are associated with psychiatric diagnoses and interactions between infectious agents, known to affect the brain, and suicidal behavior have been reported. We find an increased risk of death by suicide among individuals hospitalized with infections. The risk of suicide increased in a dose-response relationship with the number of hospitalizations with infections and with the number of days hospitalized with infections. We also examined the risk of suicide association with the time since the last hospitalization with infection and found that infection was linked to an elevated risk with the strongest effect after 1 and 2 years compared with those without infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS / 05.08.2016 Interview with: Dr Peter Monk BSc PhD Faculty Director of International Affairs Reader in Immunology Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease Sheffield University Medical School What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The tetraspanin proteins are found on the surface of all mammalian cells. The cell surface is the place where cells 'socialise': they talk to each other to coordinate activities, stick to each other to form tissues and sometimes crawl across each other to get to where they need to go. Tetraspanins have an important job to do in the organisation of the cell surface, amongst other things enabling the formation of 'sticky patches' (tetraspanin-enriched microdomains or TEM) that cause cells to adhere together or provide traction to allow movement. Some bacteria have evolved ways of hijacking the TEM for their own ends, adhering to tightly to these structures so that the normal things that sweep bacteria away (such as blood, sweat and tears!) are no longer effective. At this point, infection begins. We have found that the TEM can be partly disrupted, by adding small parts of tetraspanins (peptides) to cells. The peptides seem to work by weakening the tetraspanin glue that holds the TEM together and causing the other components that give the 'stickiness' to the TEM to become more spaced out. We use the analogy of Velcro(TM), where the fabric hooks and loops are held together in woven material; loosen the weave and the hooks and loops fall apart, no longer able to engage strongly with the loops in the opposing piece of fabric. Using reconstructed human skin, we were able to show that the tetraspanin peptides were both safe and effective; they did not affect wound healing in burned skin, but they could lower the bacterial load in the wound by 50%. This would allow the immune system (including the fluid that 'weeps' from wounds) to deal with the remaining bacteria more easily. Unlike conventional antibiotics that tend to kill bacteria, our peptides simply cause them to get washed away, so not invoking the evolutionary selective mechanisms that lead to resistance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Infections / 05.08.2016 Interview with: Stephanie S. Momeni, MS, MBA Doctoral Candidate, Department of Biology DART Trainee, Department of Pediatric Dentistry & IOHR UAB School of Dentistry Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0007 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was a small part of a large scale of S. mutans in a group of high-caries risk children and their household family members in Perry County, Alabama, USA. Overall dental caries is a dietary and infectious disease that we seek to understand better. We found only 34 rep-PCR genotypes for over 13,000 bacterial isolates from over 594 individual subjects. With so much commonality we wanted to determine if any conclusions could be made about transmission. The key findings are: • Children having multiple S. mutans genotypes were 2.3 times more likely to have dental caries. • Analysis for transmission performed from two perspectives (by child and by genotype) indicating 63% of children shared at least 1 genotype with their mother, but 72% of children had at least 1 genotype not shared with any household family members. • Child-to-child transmission of some genotypes is highly probable. • About 1/3 of isolates observed were transient, and may confound the search for strains associated with tooth decay. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Zika / 04.08.2016 Interview with: Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Increased access to birth control may lead to reductions in unintended pregnancies, which may result in fewer adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in the context of a Zika virus outbreak. A new report from CDC estimates that use of highly effective, reversible forms of birth control, called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), which includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, remains lower than use of moderate or less effective methods such as oral contraceptive pills and condoms, although contraception use varied across states and by age group and race/ethnicity. CDC scientists used data from four state-based surveillance systems to estimate contraception use for non-pregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students who live in states with the potential for local Zika virus transmission. Less than one in four sexually active women of reproductive age and fewer than one in 10 sexually active female high school students reported using LARC. A higher percentage of postpartum women reported LARC use. Moderately effective and less effective contraceptive methods, including pills, patches, rings, injections, condoms and other barrier methods, were used more frequently than highly effective methods. These estimates are of concern because the most commonly used methods of contraception are not as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Lancet, Methamphetamine, OBGYNE, STD / 29.07.2016 Interview with: N. Saman Wijesooriya Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The article Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems modeling study by Wijesooriya, et al published in the August 2016 issue of The Lancet Global Health (Open source - estimates the incidence and prevalence of maternal and congenital syphilis for both time periods and identifies gaps antenatal care access and syphilis testing and treatment services to assess progress in the global elimination of congenital syphilis, or mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, as a public health problem. Untreated maternal syphilis is understood to be transmitted from mother-to-child in utero in 50% of cases resulting in tragic adverse pregnancy outcomes, or congenital syphilis infections, including early fetal death, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birthweight, neonatal death, and congenital infections in infants. Since most maternal syphilis infections are asymptomatic, it is recommended that screening for syphilis use a combination of serological tests for pregnant women and treatment of syphilis seropositive women with at least 2.4 million units of benzathine penicillin intramuscularly early in pregnancy to prevent most congenital syphilis infections. In 2007, the World Health Organization responded to estimates indicating 2 million maternal and 1.5 congenital syphilis infections would occur annually without treatment and launched the global initiative for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis (ECS). The strategy includes reducing the prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. The objective is for countries to achieve high performing antenatal care systems providing access to antenatal care to more than 95% of pregnant women, syphilis testing for more than 95% of pregnant women, and treatment for more than 95% of seropositive women to attain a congenital syphilis rate of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 live births. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PNAS / 27.07.2016 Interview with: Adam Hayward PhD Impact Research Fellow University of Stirling What is the background for this study? Response: Adult life expectancies in industrialized countries have increased dramatically in the last 150 years, even once we’ve accounted for the fact that previously common deaths in childhood and now very rare. One hypothesis seeking to explain this increase is that childhood infections cause chronic inflammation, which are then linked with heart disease and stroke in later life, reducing lifespan. Since such childhood infections were previously common but are now, thanks to vaccine and sanitation, much rarer, chronic inflammation should be lower and people should live longer and be less likely to die from early-onset heart disease. If this hypothesis is correct, we should see that higher exposure to infections in early life leads to increased adult mortality and deaths from heart disease and stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 25.07.2016 Interview with: Dr. Ane Uranga MD Department of Pneumology, Galdakao-Usansolo Hospital Galdakao, Bizkaia, Spain What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Despite clear benefits of shorter antibiotic treatments, reducing the duration of treatment remains challenging in daily clinical practice. Actually, IDSA/ATS recommendations for Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP) suggested a minimum of 5 days of treatment based on clinical stability criteria. However, in our study the median of duration of antibiotic treatment in the control group was as high as 10 days. The main finding is that receiving 5 days antibiotic treatment in hospitalized patients suffering from CAP is not inferior to arbitrary treatment schedules in terms of clinical success. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV / 22.07.2016 Interview with: Zhe Yuan MS. MS. PhD Candidate Nebraska Center for Virology University of Nebraska-Lincoln What is the background for this study? Response: AIDS causes millions of infections and deaths each year. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of this detrimental disease of humans. Just like Ebola and Zika, AIDS is also a zoonotic disease at the beginning. For the origins of HIV, people believed that HIV originated from simian immunodeficiency virus from wild chimpanzees (SIVcpz). But until now, there has been no direct in vivo evidence for this assumption. Further, people cannot explain why only certain SIVcpz strains are thought to be the ancestors of already discovered HIV strains in humans. There is also a need to clarify what transmission risks might exist for those SIVcpz strains that have not already been found to infect humans. The answers to these questions are essential for a better understanding of cross-species transmission and predicting the likelihood of additional cross-species transmission events of SIV into humans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 20.07.2016 Interview with: Prof. Andrea Endimiani, MD, PhD Institute for Infectious Diseases University of Bern What is the background for this study? Response: The spread of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria represents a serious issue for the healthcare system worldwide because our antibiotic armamentarium is becoming too limited. These «superbugs» may cause serious infections with high morbidity and mortality rates – there are already 700,000 estimated deaths per year worldwide because common antimicrobial therapies have become ineffective. In this scenario, colistin has represented the last active antibiotic option able to cure many infected people. Unfortunately, in November 2015 a new mechanism of resistance against colistin was found with a high prevalence in Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains detected in China among humans, food animals, and chicken meat; more recently, it has also been found in other countries. This mechanism is encoded by a gene (named mcr-1) that is plasmid-mediated, thus assuring its great ability to mobilize and spread between different enterobacteria, including those normally present in the human and animal intestinal tracts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM, Vaccine Studies / 20.07.2016 Interview with: Nicole E. Basta, PhD MPhil Assistant Professor Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota What is the background for this study? Response: Meningococcal disease is a serious and often life-threatening condition. In the past several years, multiple outbreaks caused by meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) have occurred on college campuses in the US. Recently, a new meningococcal B vaccine known as 4CMenB or Bexsero was developed. The FDA granted special approval to use the vaccine to control an outbreak at a University in New Jersey prior to its licensure. We took advantage of this unique opportunity to investigate the impact of Bexsero during the outbreak. In doing so, we conducted the first clinical study of Bexsero among teens and young adults in the US. (more…)