Antibiotic Resistance, Author Interviews, CDC, Infections / 04.11.2015

Dr. Bob Kirkcaldy MD, MPH Epidemiologist, Division of STD Prevention CDC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Bob Kirkcaldy MD, MPH Epidemiologist, Division of STD Prevention CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kirkcaldy: Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease that, if untreated, can cause severe reproductive health complications. While gonorrhea is very common, it is often symptomless and many may not realize they have it. 333,004 cases were diagnosed in 2013, but more than 820,000 are estimated to occur annually. Because antibiotic resistance has jeopardized treatment for gonorrhea, CDC’s Gonoccocal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP) monitors antimicrobial susceptibility and tracks patterns of resistance among antibiotics currently used to treat gonorrhea. From 2006-2009, susceptibility to the oral cephalosporin antibiotic cefixime declined in GISP, threatening the effectiveness of this drug. Continued use of cefixime in the face of declining susceptibility could theoretically foster broad resistance to the cephalosporin class (including ceftriaxone, the last treatment option). So in 2012, CDC changed its treatment recommendations to recommend only dual gonorrhea treatment with injectable ceftriaxone plus oral azithromycin. The most recent data from GISP analyzed urethral gonorrhea samples of men from STD clinics in 34 cities from 2006-2014 and found resistance to cefixime increased in 2014 after two years of dramatic decreases. While CDC’s STD Treatment Guidelines suggest cefixime should only be considered as an alternative treatment for gonorrhea when ceftriaxone is not available, trends of cefixime susceptibility have historically been a precursor to trends in ceftriaxone so it’s important to continue monitoring cefixime to be able to anticipate what might happen with other drugs in the future. GISP data also found that resistance remained stable for ceftriaxone and resistance levels remain highest among men who have sex with men (MSM). We’re concerned about the increase in resistance for cefixime; however, more years of data are needed to know if the 2014 increase is the beginning of a new trend. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Flu - Influenza, Vaccine Studies / 02.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Saad Omer MBBS MPH PhD Associate Professor Emory Vaccine Center Associate Professor Global Health and Epidemiology Rollins School of Public Health Emory University MedicalResearch: Can you give us a little background on this study? Dr. Omer: My background is in global health, epidemiology and pediatrics and I have been fortunate to conduct field and clinical vaccine trials in a number of countries and with multiple infectious diseases including influenza, polio, measles and pneumococcal vaccines. We were familiar with the data on investigating the potential effects of statins on other infections i.e. sepsis and community acquire pneumonia including Dr. Vandermeer’s study in 2012 suggesting that “statin use may be associated with reduced mortality in patients hospitalized with influenza”. Statins have lipid-lowering effects but they also exhibit anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. For lack of a better image, I think of statins as acting like a ‘big hammer made of Jell-O’: they have a broad, small dampening effect on immune response (as opposed to a narrow or deep effect). (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 30.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shannon Stokley, MPH Epidemiologist in the CDC Immunization Services Division Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To determine whether the recommended HPV vaccination series is currently being administered to adolescents with health insurance, CDC and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) assessed 2013 data from the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). The HEDIS HPV Vaccine for Female Adolescents performance measure evaluates the proportion of female adolescent members in commercial and Medicaid health plans who complete the recommended HPV vaccination series by age 13 years. In 2013, in the United States, the median HPV vaccination coverage level for female adolescents among commercial and Medicaid plans was 12% and 19%, respectively (ranges = 0%–34% for commercial plans, 5%–52% for Medicaid plans). The results of this study indicate that there are significant opportunities for improvement as HPV vaccination coverage among female adolescents was low for both commercial and Medicaid plans. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Infections, Surgical Research / 29.10.2015

Emily Toth Martin, Ph.D. MPH Assistant Professor, Epidemiology University of Michigan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Toth Martin, Ph.D. MPH Assistant Professor, Epidemiology University of Michigan School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Surgical site infections are responsible for billions in health care costs in the U.S. We are working to identify groups of people who are particularly impacted by surgical site infections. By looking at the results of 94 studies, we were able to take a 60,000 foot view of the connection between diabetes and surgical site infection. We found that diabetes raises the risk of infection across many types of surgeries. (more…)
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, Infections / 28.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christian Hammer, PhD École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics Lausanne, Switzerland Clinical Neuroscience Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine Göttingen, Germany Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hammer: The immune response after viral infection or vaccination varies considerably from person to person, which is important because these differences can account for clinical outcome or vaccine effectiveness. It has been shown before that part of this variability is heritable, indicating the possibility that differences in our genes might be involved. To test this, we performed a genome-wide association study in more than 2,300 individuals, using high-performance computing to analyze whether differences in the abundance of antibodies against 14 common viruses are caused by variable sites in our genome. We looked at about 6 million of these variants and found that a region on chromosome 6 that harbors many genes involved in immune regulation showed highly significant associations with immune response to influenza A virus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), JC polyomavirus, and Merkel Cell polyomavirus. The genetic variants result in structural differences in proteins whose job it is to present fragments of pathogens that have been taken up by cells to the immune system. Interestingly, a given variant can lead to an increased immune response to one virus, e.g. influenza A, and at the same time to a decreased immune response to another, e.g. EBV, which is likely due to an altered ability of the protein to bind and present specific viruses, depending on the genetic background. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Electronic Records, Infections, Mayo Clinic / 26.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pablo Moreno Franco MD Assistant Professor of Medicine MAYO Clinic Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Pablo Franco: Early alerts and prompt management of patient with severe sepsis and septic shock (SS/S) starting in the emergency department (ED) have been shown to improve mortality and other pertinent outcomes. With this in mind, we formed a multidisciplinary sepsis and shock response team (SSRT) in September 2013. Automated electronic sniffer alerted ED providers for possible sepsis and when S/SS was identified, they were encouraged to activate SSRT. SSRT-Compliance-Study-Cohort Two blinded reviewers retrospectively abstracted data on clinical trajectory and outcomes of all patients with sepsis and SS/S admitted at a single academic medical center between September 2013 and September 2014. Given importance of timely recognition and interventions in S/SS, we specifically focused on 2 periods: 0-4 hours and 4-12 hours after hospital admission. Additionally, we compared the compliance to “standard of care” between the SSRT pre-implementation period and the study period. There were 167 patients admitted with sepsis, among which there were 3 SSRT activations and sepsis mortality was 3.6%. There were 176 patients with SS, SSRT was called in 42 (23%) and SS mortality was 8.5%. CCS was involved in 66 patients and mortality was 6.9% if SSRT was activated, versus 21.6% if SSRT was not activated. There were 76 patients with septic shock, SSRT was called in 44 (57%) and septic shock mortality was 25%. Critical Care Service (CCS) was involved in 68 patients and mortality rates with and without SSRT were 30.9% and 15.4%, respectively. The all-or-none compliance with applicable goals of resuscitation improved from the baseline 0% to over 50% at the study period end. Overall observed/expected sepsis mortality index improved from 1.38 pre-SSRT to 0.68 post-SSRT implementation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Infections / 24.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Johannes Kettunen Computational Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki NMR Metabolomics Laboratory, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kettunen: The initial discovery of the mortality biomarkers was made 1.5 years ago when we published the first paper describing four biomarkers indicative of 5-year mortality in two cohorts totaling over 17 000 population based samples (http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001606). We wanted to understand the molecular background of the strongest mortality predictor and this is how the current study was started. Here, The network was enriched with defense response genes and we had an idea to test if the biomarker was predictive of future severe infections. We were able to show that chronic inflammation creates extra stress to immune system and predisposes to future infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM, OBGYNE / 24.10.2015

Alfredo Mayor Aparicio PhD Associate Research Professor Barcelona Institute for Global Health MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alfredo Mayor Aparicio PhD Associate Research Professor Barcelona Institute for Global Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mayor: The malaria parasite is a well-adapted pathogen which can persist and reappear in areas where infection is no longer circulating or at very low levels. Prevention of such reinfections and resurgences is critical for the current goal of malaria eradication. However, little is known about the determinants and consequences of malaria declines and resurgences. For this reason, understanding the relationship between malaria transmission, immunity and disease burdens is essential to rationalise malaria interventions aimed at reducing host-parasite encounters. We have described changes in prevalence among pregnant women delivering between 2003 and 2012 at antenatal clinics in Southern Mozambique, and showed that a reduction of malaria-specific immunity associated with drops in transmission is accompanied with an increase the severity of malaria infection among those women becoming infected. These results suggest that success of control and elimination activities may lead through a transitional period where infrequent infections will likely slowdown the rate of acquisition of host defenses and will be thus associated with more deleterious effects during pregnancy, thus requiring more precise diagnosis and surveillance methods, as well as improved prevention. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Transplantation / 22.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Monika Fischer, MD, MSCR Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Indiana University Indianapolis, IN 46202 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fischer: Cumulative evidence based upon case series and randomized trials suggest high success rate with 10-20 % failing a single FMT (fecal microbiota transplant). Predictors of failures are not known. In a collaborative study between Indiana and Brown Universities we aimed to identify clinical predictors of FMT failure. Results were the following:
  • N= 345 patients
    • Brown: N=166
    • IU: N=179
  • Average age: 62 years
  • Females: 72%
  • IBD: 18%
  • Immunosuppression: 24%
  • Indication for FMT
    • Recurrent CDI: 74%
    • Refractory CDI: 26%
    • Severe/complicated CDI: 13%
  • Inpatient FMT: 17%
  • Patient directed donor: 40%
Overall failure rate was 23.7%. Broken down by fecal microbiota transplant indication, while only 18% of patients failed and needed further therapy in the non-severe category, 1 in 2 (50%) severe C. difficile infection (CDI) patients failed a single fecal microbiota transplant and needed further therapy for cure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet, Outcomes & Safety, Respiratory / 22.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuichiro Shindo, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine Showa-ku, Nagoya Japan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Shindo: Appropriate initial antibiotic treatment is essential for the treatment of pneumonia. However, many patients may develop adverse outcomes, even if they receive appropriate initial antibiotics. To our knowledge, there have been no studies that clearly demonstrated the risk factors in patients who receive appropriate antibiotic treatment. If these factors are clarified, we can identify those patients with pneumonia for whom adjunctive therapy other than antibiotic treatment can prove beneficial in terms of improved outcomes. This study aimed to clarify the risk factors for 30-day mortality in patients who received appropriate initial antibiotic treatment and elucidate potential candidates for adjunctive therapy. In this study, the 30-day mortality in 579 pneumonia patients who received appropriate initial antibiotics was 10.5%. The independent risk factors included albumin < 3.0 mg/dL, nonambulatory status, pH < 7.35, respiration rate ≥ 30/min, and blood urea nitrogen ≥ 20 mg/dL. The 30-day mortality for the number of risk factors was 0.8% (0), 1.2% (1), 16.8% (2), 22.5% (3), and 43.8% (4–5). (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Mayo Clinic, Microbiome, Transplantation / 22.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sahil Khanna MBBS Assistant Professor of Medicine Mayo Clinic Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: C. difficile infection patients are at a high risk of complications such as treatment failure. Gut microbiota signatures associated with CDI have been described but it is unclear if differences in gut microbiota play a role in response to therapy. No studies have identified predictors of treatment failure and we aimed to identified gut microbiota signatures to predict response to treatment for primary C. difficile . While there were no clinical predictors of treatment response, there were increases in certain genera in patients with successful treatment response in the fecal samples at initial diagnosis compared to non-responders. A risk index built from this panel of microbes highly differentiated between patients based on response and ROC curve analysis showed that this risk index was a strong predictor of treatment response, with a high area under the curve of 0.83.. (more…)
Anemia, Author Interviews, Infections, Kidney Disease, UCSF / 21.10.2015

Dr. Julie H. Ishida MD San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center Nephrology Section San Francisco, CA MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julie H. Ishida MD San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center Nephrology Section San Francisco, CA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ishida: Intravenous iron is important in the treatment of anemia of end-stage renal disease, but it is biologically plausible that iron may increase infection risk. While results from epidemiologic studies evaluating the association between intravenous iron and infection in hemodialysis patients have been conflicting, guidelines for the treatment of anemia of chronic kidney disease have recommended caution in prescribing, avoidance and withholding of intravenous iron in the setting of active infection. However, no data specifically support the recommendation to withhold intravenous iron during active infection. Our study observed that among hemodialysis patients hospitalized for bacterial infection who had been receiving intravenous iron as an outpatient, continued receipt of intravenous iron was not associated with higher all-cause mortality, readmission for infection, or longer hospital stay. (more…)
Author Interviews, Case Western, Hand Washing, Infections / 17.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Curtis J. Donskey, MD Professor of Medicine Case Western Reserve University Staff Physician, Infectious Diseases Section, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Donskey: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is intended to protect healthcare personnel by preventing them from acquiring an infection and to protect patients by preventing pathogen transmission. This study focused on gloves and gowns which are designed to reduce contamination of the skin and clothing of personnel. There are several concerns about the effectiveness of gloves and gowns.
  • First, several studies have demonstrated that personnel may acquire pathogens such as Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on their hands and clothing during patient care activities despite wearing gloves and gowns.
  • Second, some studies involving simulations have suggested that contamination of the skin and clothing occurs frequently during removal of gloves and gowns.
  • Finally, lapses in technique for PPE removal may contribute to acquisition of potentially fatal pathogens such as Ebola virus. These concerns highlight the urgent need for improved strategies to prevent contamination of personnel during PPE removal.
We had 3 goals in the study.
  • First, we wanted to determine if contamination with a fluorescent lotion during glove and gown removal would correlate well with contamination with a benign virus. We did this because the fluorescent lotion method could potentially be very useful for training personnel because you can easily visualize contamination with a black light and provide immediate feedback.
  • Second, we used the fluorescent lotion method to evaluate contamination of the skin and clothing of personnel from 4 hospitals during removal of contaminated gloves or gowns.
  • Finally, we tested whether an intervention would reduce contamination in one of the 4 hospitals. The intervention included practice in removal of contaminated gloves and gowns with immediate visual feedback based on fluorescent lotion contamination of skin and clothing.
Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Donskey: Our first key finding was that contamination with the fluorescent lotion correlated well with contamination with the benign virus. This was an important finding because it suggests that the fluorescent lotion method is a useful surrogate method to assess pathogen contamination during Personal protective equipment removal. Our second key finding was that contamination of the skin and clothing of personnel occurred frequently during removal of contaminated gloves or gowns. For 435 total simulations, contamination occurred 46% of the time, with similar results for each the 4 study hospitals (43%-50%). Incorrect donning or doffing technique was common and was associated with an increase in contamination (70% of the time with incorrect technique versus 30% with correct technique). Our final key finding was that the intervention was very effective in reducing contamination during PPE removal. Immediately after the training session, the frequency of contamination decreased from 60% to 20% and then was 12% at 1 and 3 months after the intervention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lymphoma / 16.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthieu Million, MD, PhD Assistant of Professor RAOULT French National referral center for Q fever Service de Maladies Infectieuses du Professeur BROUQUI Chemin des Bourrely Marseille Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Million: Human lymphomas have been associated with many infectious agents including viruses (HCV, HIV) but also bacteria (Helicobacter pylori). Q fever, the infection by Coxiella burnetii, mainly acquired from domestic (cattle, sheep, goats but also dog and cats) or wild animals (deer), has been associated with many lymphoproliferative disorders (hyperlymphocytosis, mononucleosic syndrome). We observed a lymphoma developing in a patient followed up for Q fever that prompted us to investigate the association between the two diseases. In this study, we reported 11 cases of B-cell lymphoma developing after Coxiella burnetii primary-infection, we found an increased incidence of lymphoma in Q fever patients, particularly those with persistent focalized infection, and we detected the viable bacterium within lymphoma tissues. More specifically, we found that this bacterium infect the plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in patients with C. burnetii-related lymphoma. This is particularly important since these cells are critical modulating their immune microenvironment including the natural antitumoral activity. Moreover, we found that peripheral blood mononuclear cells of these patients overproduce interleukin-10 even in the absence of the bacterium. This suggests that a persistent reprogramming of their immune cells have been triggered by the infection. Finally, we showed that these patients have very high levels of the anti-inflammatory Interleukin-10 in their serum, suggesting a systemic immune escape favoring the development of cancer. Coxiella burnetii is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma, its presence in the tumor microenvironment may favor lymphomagenesis. C. burnetii should be added to the list of bacteria that promote human B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Frailty, Geriatrics, Infections / 12.10.2015

Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Inpatient Clinician Educator, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Inpatient Clinician Educator, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Manian: Falls are a leading cause of injury and death, afflicting about one-third of adults over 65 years of age annually. Although there are many potential causes for falls, infections have received very little attention, with previous published reports primarily revolving around institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection. We found that the spectrum of patients at risk for falls precipitated by infections goes far beyond the institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection. In fact, the majority of our patients fell at home and did not have a diagnosis of dementia. In addition, besides urinary tract infections which accounted for 44.1% of cases, bloodstream (40.0%) and lower respiratory tract infections (23.0%) were also frequently represented. Although the mean age of our patients was 76 years, 18% were younger than 65 years. We also found that the signs and symptoms of these infections at the time of the presentation for the fall were often non-specific (e.g. weakness or mental status changes) or absent, with only 44% of patients meeting the criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome and only 20% having fever or abnormal temperature possibly related in part to advanced age. These factors may make it difficult for the patient, family members and healthcare providers to readily consider infections contributing to the fall. In fact a coexisting systemic infection was not initially suspected by providing clinicians in 40% of our patients and 31% of those who were later diagnosed with a bloodstream infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Health Care Systems, Infections, Outcomes & Safety / 12.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Baggs, PhD Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Baggs: The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria calls for annual reporting of antibiotic use in inpatient settings as well as the identification of variations at the provider or patient level that can assist in developing interventions. Antibiotic use varies among hospitals, but some portion of that variability is related to the type of patients admitted to the hospital and other hospital characteristics. We evaluated factors in a large cohort of US hospitals that may account for inter-facility variability in antibiotic use, so that we can more appropriately monitor antibiotic use in hospitals. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Baggs: We utilized data from the Truven Health MarketScan Hospital Drug Database (HDD), which contains detailed administrative records, including inpatient drug utilization data based on billing records, for all patients discharged from a convenience sample of over 500 US hospitals. We retrospectively estimated days of therapy (DOT)/1,000 patient days (PDs) by year from 2006-2012, and created a multivariable model that adjusts for hospital-specific location of antibiotic use (ICU vs. other), average patient age, average patient co-morbidity score, number of hospital beds, teaching status, urban or rural location, proportion of discharges with a surgical diagnosis related code, case mix index, and proportion of patient days with an infectious disease primary ICD-9-CM discharge code. We observed that DOT varied significantly between hospitals; the 10th to 90th percentile values for hospital days of therapy ranged from 546 to 998/1,000 PDs. The variables included in our model accounted for 47-53% of the inter-facility variability, depending on year. However, nearly all of this variability was explained by two predictors: proportion of PDs with an infectious disease diagnosis code and hospital location (ICU vs. other). (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Respiratory, Vaccine Studies, Vanderbilt / 11.10.2015

Annabelle de St. Maurice MD, MPH Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellow Vanderbilt Children's Hospita MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Annabelle de St. Maurice MD, MPH Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellow Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. de St. Maurice: Susceptibility to certain infectious diseases appears to vary by gender. For example, males may be at increased risk of certain infections in childhood, including lower respiratory tract infections such as RSV, however females may have more severe infections, such as influenza, during pregnancy. Some early studies have suggested that males may be at increased risk of pneumococcal infections but this has not been confirmed. Furthermore, whether those potential gender differences remain after introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines is unknown. Invasive pneumococcal disease, which includes meningitis, bacteremic pneumonia and bacteremia/septicemia, is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States in children and adults. The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) and the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) led to declines in invasive pneumococcal disease rates as well as eliminated racial disparities in regards to invasive pneumococcal disease rates. Our study sought to identify potential gender differences in the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease, and to determine the impact of vaccines on gender differences in the susceptibility to these diseases. We conducted a large study that used data from a population-based surveillance system of invasive pneumococcal diseases in Tennessee. This is part of a large CDC funded network of surveillance sites for these diseases. For our study, we identified patients with laboratory-confirmed invasive pneumococcal disease, and calculated the incidence of invasive pneumococcal diseases from 1998-2013 by gender. We also stratified the calculations by age groups and race, both well-known factors that affect the occurrence of invasive pneumococcal disease. Our study found that males had generally higher rates of invasive pneumococcal disease than females across age groups, regardless of race. Although introduction of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines led to a significant decrease in invasive pneumococcal disease rates, males continued to have higher rates than females in several age groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, JAMA, Vanderbilt / 05.10.2015

Carlos G. Grijalva, MD MPH Associate Professor Department of Health Policy Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN 37212 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carlos G. Grijalva, MD MPH Associate Professor Department of Health Policy Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN 37212 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Grijalva: Influenza is an important cause of disease. Every year influenza causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the US. The most effective strategy to prevent influenza infections is vaccination. Several studies have shown that influenza vaccines can prevent fever or respiratory symptoms caused by influenza. However, whether influenza vaccines can prevent more serious complications of influenza such as pneumonia, remains unclear This was a multicenter collaboration between academic institutions and the centers for disease control and prevention. We used data from the Etiology of Pneumonia in the community or EPIC study, a large prospective study of hospitalizations for pneumonia conducted between 2010 and 2012. The EPIC study enrolled patients from Chicago, IL, Salt Lake City, UT, and Memphis and Nashville, TN. The main goal of the EPIC study was to determine the causes of pneumonia in children and adults hospitalized with pneumonia. Medical Research:? What are the main findings? Dr. Grijalva: We conducted a case-control study using data from EPIC. Our study included more than 2700 patients hospitalized for pneumonia, including both children and adults. Approximately 6% of these patients had influenza pneumonia and were identified as cases. Other patients hospitalized for pneumonia that was not caused by influenza were the controls. We compared the history of influenza vaccination between cases and controls. We found that influenza vaccination was associated with a reduced risk of influenza pneumonia that required hospitalization. The estimated vaccine effectiveness was 57%. This means that about 57% of hospitalizations due to influenza-associated pneumonia could be prevented through influenza vaccination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Transplantation / 28.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wilfried Gwinner Div. of Nephrology and Hypertension University of Hanover Medical School Hannover Dr. Wilfried Gwinner Div. of Nephrology and Hypertension University of Hanover Medical School Hannover and Dr. Uta Erdbruegger Div. Nephrology and Hypertension Division University of Virginia, Charlottesville Dr. Uta Erdbruegger Div. Nephrology and Hypertension Division University of Virginia, Charlottesville   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Erdbruegger: Controversy exists whether CMV infections or viremia after kidney transplantation affect patient and graft survival. We aimed to explore the role of CMV in a retrospective study on almost 600 patients followed at our transplant center over a period of up to 10 years post-transplant. The analysis included protocol biopsy findings and causes for graft failure and death. We observed reduced patient and graft survival in patients with CMV as reported in some of the previous studies. However, we found that patients with CMV had an inferior kidney function and significant chronic allograft changes in the biopsies very early after transplantation – even before the CMV infection. Also, CMV infection was not specifically related to a progression of chronic changes. On the other hand, we confirmed well-established factors like inferior graft function early on, delayed graft function, and higher donor and recipient age as important for patient and graft survival. In none of these analyses, CMV was a significant factor. In summary, this suggests that CMV is rather an epiphenomenon. Alternatively, we might have missed a possible small effect of CMV in our statistics. In any case, our results do not support a significant role of CMV in patient and graft outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 28.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daihai He, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Applied Mathematics Hong Kong Polytechnic University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We studied the patterns of MERS-CoV cases and influenza cases from May 1, 2012 to May 31, 2015 in the Middle East. Our key findings are that the three waves of MERS appear to follow the waves of influenza A in the Middle East during the period. The influenza A(H1N1)pdm wave which occurred in Egypt in early 2014 closely led to the first major MERS wave in May 2014, while the H3N2 wave in late 2014 in Egypt closely led to the third MERS wave in early 2015. The second MERS wave in late 2014 and third MERS wave in early 2015 appeared to be split off by a H3N2 and/or A(H1N1)pdm waves in the region. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Sexual Health / 25.09.2015

Philip J. Peters MD DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene) Medical Officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention US Centers for Disease Control and Preventio Atlanta Georgia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip J. Peters MD DTM&H (Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene) Medical Officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Peters: We recruited participants from the STOP project, an existing multi-site study in North Carolina, New York City, and San Francisco, to analyze self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM). We found that newly diagnosed HIV-positive gay and bisexual men in North Carolina (predominately young and African American) did not always report male sex partners at the time of HIV testing. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Flu - Influenza, Vaccine Studies / 25.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carla L. Black PhD Immunization Services Division National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC Carla L. Black PhD Immunization Services Division National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Black: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all health-care personnel (HCP) be vaccinated annually against influenza. Vaccination of health-care personnel can reduce influenza-related morbidity and mortality among HCP and their patients. Overall, 77.3% of HCP reported receiving an influenza vaccination in the 2014-15 season, similar to the 75.2% coverage among HCP reported in the 2013-14 season. Coverage was highest among health-care personnel working in hospitals (90.4%) and lowest among HCP working in long-term care (LTC) settings (63.9%). Flu vaccination coverage was highest in settings with employer flu vaccination requirements and promotion of flu vaccination. Vaccination coverage was 96% among HCP with an employer requirement for vaccination. Among HCP without an employer requirement for vaccination, vaccination coverage was higher for HCP working in settings where vaccination was offered on-site at no cost for one day (73.6%) or multiple days (83.9%) compared with health-care personnel working in settings where vaccination was promoted but not offered on-site (59.5%) or not promoted in any manner (44.0%). (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, PLoS / 25.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christine Bourgeois Unité UMR 1184 / Centre IMVA CR1 INSERM, Coordinatrice site Bicêtre Le Kremlin-Bicêtre Cedex Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment in HIV infected patients had successfully reduced the development of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). However, chronic HIV infection in ART treated patients exhibit rapid uprising of viral load following ART interruption indicating that the virus is not eradicated and persist in some cellular or anatomical sites that are called “reservoir”. Secondly, ART controlled HIV-infected patients exhibit low grade inflammation developing despite efficient viral control. This low grade inflammation has been associated with non AIDS related pathologies. The aim of our work was to identify site that may combine viral persistence and inflammatory potential. We believed that adipose tissue was a very promising candidate because it included the major targets of HIV infection (CD4 T cells, and macrophages) and exhibited a highly pro-inflammatory potential. Although adipose tissue has been extensively studied as a target of antiretroviral toxicity, we readdress the role of adipose tissue as a reservoir and a site of inflammation. We demonstrated that indeed, adipose tissue from Antiretroviral therapy controlled HIV-infected patients contained infected CD4 T cells that upon in vitro reactivation were able to produce HIV RNA. These results are extremely important because adipose tissue represents 15%-20% of body weight and is diffusely located. We thus identify a large new reservoir. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Cost of Health Care, Herpes Viruses, Vaccine Studies / 24.09.2015

Phuc Le, Ph.D., M.P.H. Center for Value-Based Care Research, Medicine Institute Cleveland, OH MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Phuc Le, Ph.D., M.P.H. Center for Value-Based Care Research, Medicine Institute Cleveland, OH Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Phuc Le: The live attenuated herpes zoster vaccine is approved by the FDA for persons aged 50 years and above. However, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends it for only persons aged 60 years and older. Therefore, we aimed to analyze the vaccine’s cost-effectiveness among persons aged 50-59 years to see if ACIP’s recommendation is reasonable. We found that the vaccine is not cost-effective among people at aged 50 years, having an incremental costs of $323,000 per QALY gained, which is 3 times more than a commonly accepted threshold ($100,000/QALY). (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Pediatrics / 24.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gayatri Mirani MD and Tulane University School of Medicine New Orleans, Louisiana Paige L. Williams, PhD Department of Biostatistics Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study Response: Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has resulted in a dramatic decrease in HIV-related opportunistic infections and deaths in US youth, but both continue to occur. IMPAACT P1074, a long-term US-based prospective multicenter cohort study funded through NIH was conducted from April 2008 to June 2014. We reviewed complications and mortality rates in HIV-infected US youth enrolled in this study. Comparisons were made with a previous observational cohort study, P219C. While P219C was conducted from 2000 to 2007, we restricted our analysis to 2004-2007 in order to evaluate changes over the past decade. A total of 1201 HIV-infected youth were enrolled in the IMPAACT P1074 study, with most (1040, or 90%) infected with HIV at birth. The overall study population was 52% female, 58% black non-Hispanic and 28% Hispanic. Their mean age at the first chart abstraction was 17.4 (±5.4 Std. Dev.) years. The majority were on cART, had a stable CD4 count (baseline mean > 500 cells/mm3) and a suppressed viral load over a median follow-up of 3.7 years. The P219C group was younger, with a mean age of 11.9 (±5.0 Std. Dev.) years at the start of the 2004-2007 follow-up period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Flu - Influenza, Geriatrics, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 20.09.2015

Dr Ayman Chit PhD Sanofi Pasteur Swiftwater, PA 18370 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ayman Chit PhD Sanofi Pasteur Swiftwater, PA 18370 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chit: Our analysis used data from a large-scale, multi-center efficacy trial, in which a higher-dose split-virus inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV-HD, Fluzone® High-Dose vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur) was compared to a standard-dose split-virus inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV-SD, Fluzone vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur) in persons 65 years of age and older. These data were supplemented with US healthcare cost data. In the efficacy trial, a total of 31,989 adults 65 years of age and older were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either IIV-HD or IIV-SD and followed for six to eight months post-vaccination for the occurrence of influenza, serious adverse events, and medical encounters. Healthcare utilization (HCU) data were captured for all participants through a surveillance program that covered each influenza season, including the following events occurring within 30 days after any respiratory illness: use of prescription and non-prescription medications (limited to antipyretics/analgesics/non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antivirals and antibiotics), emergency room visits, non-routine or urgent care visits, and hospitalizations. In addition, all hospitalizations were captured for participants for the entire duration of the study. The primary results from the efficacy trial were published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that IIV-HD was 24.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.7% to 36.5%) more effective in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza-like illness compared to IIV-SD.1 In the current supplemental analysis of the trial, we used US healthcare cost data to evaluate economic impacts of using IIV-HD compared to IIV-SD within the efficacy trial participants. In this analysis, total healthcare payer costs (the combined costs of study vaccine, prescription drugs, emergency room visits, non-routine and urgent-care visits, and hospital admissions) were about $116 less per person.
  1. DiazGranados et al, NEJM, 2014;14;371(7):635-45
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Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS / 16.09.2015

Dr Mark Webber PhD, MSc, BSc Senior Research Fellow School of Immunity and Infection University of Birmingham and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC) MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Mark Webber PhD, MSc, BSc Senior Research Fellow School of Immunity and Infection University of Birmingham and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre (SRMRC) Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Webber: Infection is a major problem for patients who suffer burn injuries and these are vary hard to treat with traditional antibiotics which struggle to effectively reach the wound and kill the bugs. One alternative which has been used in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for some time is the use of acetic acid, basically vinegar. Acetic acid has long been known to be a useful antimicrobial but clinicians in Birmingham have found it to be effective in treating wounds infected, particularly with Pseudomonas. There is though very little science about what concentration of acetic acid would work best and how it kills bugs. We have shown the acetic acid works well against lots of different bugs and at much lower concentrations than are used in practice. Importantly we showed that the acetic acid works well against bugs stuck to a surface - in what's known as a 'Biofilm'. Biofilms are typically highly drug resistant. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, MRSA / 15.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Lauren Epstein M.D., M.S. Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion Epidemic Intelligence Service Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA, USA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Epstein: Nearly 80% of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections occurs outside of the hospitals and mostly among individuals with a recent hospitalization. However, risk factors for MRSA infections among patients recently discharged from an acute care hospital have not been well explored. The goal of this study was to identify modifiable risk factors associated with MRSA infections among recently discharged patients to target future prevention efforts. We found that patients with a history of MRSA colonization, chronic wounds, invasive devices at discharge such as central lines and surgical drains, and those discharged from a hospital to a nursing home are at increased risk of invasive MRSA infections within 12 weeks after hospital discharge. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Epstein: MRSA infections are a significant public health concern and patients remain at risk for MRSA infections following acute care hospitalizations, especially in the 3 months following discharge from an acute care facility. Patients with a prior history of MRSA colonization are at increased risk for MRSA infections following an acute care hospitalization. In addition, patients who have an invasive device (such as a central line or surgical drain) or a chronic wound at the time of discharge from a hospitalization are at increased risk of MRSA infection following discharge. Finally, patients who are discharged to a long term care facility, regardless of other risk factors, are at increased risk of MRSA infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Flu - Influenza, Vaccine Studies / 11.09.2015

Dr. Glen Taksler, PhD Medicine Institute Cleveland Clinic Main Campus MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Glen Taksler, PhD Medicine Institute Cleveland Clinic Main Campus Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Taksler: Although young, healthy adults who develop influenza are usually able to recover, they may spread the flu to other people in the community who have a higher risk of hospitalization or other serious complications. These higher-risk people have a limited ability to protect themselves from influenza, because flu vaccines are less effective in the elderly and in people with weakened immune systems. To better understand whether young, healthy adults could help the community-at-large by getting a flu vaccine, we looked at data on more than 3 million Medicare beneficiaries across 8 influenza seasons. We found that the elderly had 21% lower odds of developing influenza if they lived in areas where more nonelderly adults (people aged 18-64 years old) got a flu vaccine. Importantly, we found these benefits even in elderly adults who obtained an influenza vaccine, perhaps because flu vaccines are less effective in the elderly. This means that elderly adults who were proactive to try to prevent influenza still benefited from communitywide vaccination. (more…)