Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Ophthalmology / 13.04.2016 Interview with: Kimberly D Tran, MD Bascom Palmer Eye Institute What is the background and purpose for this study?  Dr. Tran: Approximately 30% of the population will suffer from herpes zoster (also known as shingles) at some point in their lifetime, with an estimated 1 million cases in the U.S. each year (1).  The most common long term complication of  herpes zoster is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), or persistent neuropathic pain lasting beyond three months after initial presentation of  herpes zoster. PHN can negatively affect quality of life to a degree similar to congestive heart failure, depression, acute myocardial infarction,diabetes. Postherpetic neuralgia is a leading cause of suicide in patients over 70 with chronic pain.(3,4) Of all the cases of herpes zoster, an estimated 10-20% will have herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), which is defined as shingles in the area of the face near the eye, and sometimes the eye itself becomes involved.  Approximately 50% of individuals with HZO will develop ocular complications without antiviral treatment, while antiviral induction within the first 72 hours of rash onset reduces this number to 20-30% (2). Randomized control trial has demonstrated the efficacy antiviral therapy in the treatment of herpes zoster on first presentation.(6) What is less understood is the course of HZ after its initial presentation. Traditionally studied and treated in the acute phase,(5-7) recent data suggest that some patients experience a chronic or recurrent disease course. Based on this data, it is clear that more information is needed on the long term clinical course of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. The purpose of this study was to characterize the epidemiology of recurrent and chronic HZO in a unique South Florida population, with an ethnically and racially mixed, predominately male population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, HIV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 13.04.2016 Interview with: Odile Launay MD, PhD Paris Descartes University Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, Cochin Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Launay: In patients with HIV infection, responses to standard HBV vaccination regimens remain suboptimal compared with responses in HIV seonegative individuals. We previously reported that alternative regimens (a 4 injection IMdouble dose regimen and a 4 injection intradermal low dose regimen) improve antibody response compared with the standard HBV vaccination regimen (ANRS HB03 VIHVAC-B study). Further precision on the duration of response achieved with alternative HBV vaccination regimes was needed. We report in this paper the results from the follow-up of the study. The results of this study show that the 4 dose IM regimen induces higher seroconversion rate but also higher long term seroprotection in HIV infected patients (more…)
Author Interviews, Hand Washing, Hospital Acquired / 12.04.2016 Interview with: Professor Jacqui Reilly PhD Institute for Applied Health Research Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Reilly: Hand hygiene is the single most important intervention to reduce avoidable illness and prevent infections. Two techniques have been reported for hand hygiene use with alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) in international guidance:  6 step by the WHO and 3 step by the Center for Disease Control. Neither of these techniques have an evidence base to support their effectiveness. The study provides the first evidence in a RCT that the 6 step technique is superior in reducing residual bacterial load on the hands. The reduction was not related to coverage, type of organism or staff group. The 6 step technique was microbiologically more effective at reducing the median log10 bacterial count (3.28  to 2.58)than the 3 step (3.08  to 2.88), (p=0.02), but did not increase the total hand coverage area (98.8% versus 99.0%, p=0.15) and required 25% (95% CI: 6%-24%) more time (42.50 seconds  vs 35.0 seconds, p=0.002). Total hand coverage was not related to the reduction in bacterial count. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research / 12.04.2016 Interview with: Christina A. Minami, MD Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center Department of Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Center for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois What is the background for this study? Dr. Minami: An earlier study by our group demonstrated a seemingly paradoxical relationship between hospital quality and hospital penalization in the Hospital-Acquired Condition, or HAC, Reduction Program. Basically, of those hospitals that were penalized more frequently were those that were major teaching hospitals, had more quality accreditations, and had better performance on process and outcome measures. When CMS released that surgical-site infections were going to be added to the HAC scoring, we decided to see if these additional measures might exhibit the same paradoxical association between quality and penalization. What are the main findings? Dr. Minami: The SSI measures follow the same trend as was previously illustrated. Basically, the hospitals who were in the bottom 25% (that is, those who were the worst performers) were more often those that were major teaching hospitals, with more quality accreditations, and offered more advanced services. It’s possible that this is due in part to surveillance bias, or “the more you look, the more you find” phenomenon. Also, what do we really call an infection? The National Healthcare Safety Network has specific definitions and guidelines, but there are still different data collections used by different hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 09.04.2016 Interview with: Dr Ramiz Boulos PhD School of Chemical and Physical Sciences Flinders University, Bedford Park Chief Executive Officer Boulos & Cooper Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd Port Adelaide, SA, Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Boulos: Zolav® is a first generation antibiotic belonging to a novel class of small molecule synthetic antibiotics that was developed using in-silico modelling. It targets the mechanosensitive ion channel of large conductance, a highly conserved ion channel in bacteria not found in the human genome, making it a well sought after target. The channels have evolved to rescue bacteria from a high osmotic environment by acting as an emergency valve, opening up, and preventing bacteria from lysis. Our antibiotics reduce the threshold at which the channels open and elongate their opening times, in essence causing bacteria to "vomit". Acne affects about 650 million people worldwide making it one of the top ten most common diseases.  Isotretinoin, a vitamin A derivative, is currently the standard of care for treatment. However, it has a number of side effects among which a well-established teratogenic activity is the most serious, a reason for the development of novel and low-risk treatment options for acne. Zolav®,like other antibiotics in this new class, have low cytotoxicity, antioxidant properties and high chemical stability. The very low concentrations needed to yield a therapeutic effect and reduce inflammation in the mouse intradermal acne infection model, and the low risk nature of a topical administration of the drug, makes Zolav® a potentially very attractive option for the treatment of acne. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HPV, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 07.04.2016 Interview with: Natalie L. McCarthy, MPH Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recently, deaths immediately following 4vHPV vaccination have garnered intense media attention.  Often, these media stories do not take into account the background rates of death in older children and young adults or disclose the potential for non-vaccine related causes of death.  The publicity surrounding deaths temporally associated with HPV and the paucity of studies examining deaths in adolescents following vaccination, was the basis for our evaluation of deaths following vaccines administered to individuals 9 through 26 years of age in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). The VSD is a collaborative project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several integrated healthcare systems, which monitors the safety of vaccines in the U.S. This study assessed the risk of death in the first 30 days following vaccination, described the causes of death, and included an evaluation of the potential association of vaccination and death among older children and young adults. The risk of death was not increased during the 30 days following vaccination, and no deaths were found to be causally associated with vaccination. The causes of death were consistent with what would be expected for this age group. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Prof. Ciccozzi Massimo Clinical Pathology and Microbiology Laboratory University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy; Department of Infectious, Parasitic, and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Epidemiology Unit, Reference Centre on Phylogeny, Molecular Epidemiology, and Microbial Evolution (FEMEM), National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy. Prof. Ciccozzi Massimo Clinical Pathology and Microbiology Laboratory University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy; Department of Infectious, Parasitic, and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Epidemiology Unit, Reference Centre on Phylogeny, Molecular Epidemiology, and Microbial Evolution (FEMEM), National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy. What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Prof. Massimo: In the spring 2011 civil war becoming in Syria providing condition for diseases outbreaks In the Syrian Arab Republic before the crisis, the access to health services increased since the 1980s, with better equity between the rural populations and the middle class. the capacity of the health system, so as the quality of care, were not sufficient to improve the decrease the inequity. As normally happens the onset of civil war can led to the complete deterioration of the health infrastructure through the destruction of facilities. We describe a group of 48 Syrian migrants arrived in the second week of October 2015 in the asylum seekers centre (ASC) in Rome (Italy) where they receive social, legal and health assistance. An internal healthcare facility (IHF) is operative where specialized personnel (e.g. infectivologist, nurses and psychologist) was prompt to receive the Syrian people making them all the tests for microbial agents presence (bacterial and virus agents). This group is of importance not only because refugee from the tremendous civil war but also because stopped in this Centre for only twenty days. Our aim was the knowledge of their health status, this is important for people that have to travel in north Europe facing many kilometers again. Rectal, nasal and pharyngeal swabs were collected from all refugees, whereas serum samples were available from 30/48 subjects. Eighteen refugees refused phlebotomy for blood collection for religious reasons. All refugees resulted negative for HBV, HBC and HIV infections. Bacterial microorganism and fungi isolated from surveillance swabs were found with Gram-negative bacteria representing by a larger number of species than Gram-positive and fungi microorganisms. These reports enforce the hypothesis that circulation of new emerging pathogens found, can be source of infection in susceptible patients or nosocomial settings. Interestingly, in some subjects, polymicrobial colonization was found and in some cases until to six different microorganisms, potentially pathogens, were isolated in the same individual. The microbiological surveillance performed in this group of Syrian migrants upon their arrival in Italy evidenced the carriage of unusual microorganism, potentially pathogens and carriers of antimicrobial resistance in some cases, that could be introduced in the country giving asylum. These migrants moving from a country to another could promote the diffusion of these microorganisms within different settings during their traveling around the world. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Infections / 01.04.2016 Interview with: Loren G. Miller, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of Infectious Diseases Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Torrance CA 90502 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Miller: We know that medication adherence (compliance) by patients to all sort of treatments for a variety of diseases is suboptimal. Adherence to medication varies a lot by disease state (e.g. it is typically high in cancer and low in hypertension), but adherence to antibiotics for skin infection is unstudied. We wanted to find out what adherence is to antibiotics for patients with skin infections is and whether it was associated with important clinical outcomes. We measured patients adherence to antibiotic dosing by using medication containers fitted with electronic caps that reported when the patient opened the antibiotic container. We followed 87 patients who had been hospitalized and suffered S. aureus associated skin and soft tissue infections We found that patients with S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections, on average, took just 57% of their prescribed antibiotic doses after leaving the hospital. Lower antibiotic adherence was associated with a higher chance of skin infection relapse or recurrence. Interestingly, we also found a large discrepancy in patient reports and the electronic measurement. Patients reported taking, on average, 96% of their medication, or nearly twice the 57% reported by the electronic caps. This suggests that asking patients how well they took their medication is highly problematic as non-adherent patients will typically vastly overstate their medication adherence. We also found higher rates of non-adherence to antibiotic regimens among patients who were prescribed more than one antibiotic after leaving the hospital, didn’t see the same healthcare provider for follow-up visits or felt they didn’t have a regular healthcare provider (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, OBGYNE / 29.03.2016 Interview with: Andrew Combs MD Alan Fishman MD Obstetrix Medical Group San Jose, California What is the background for this study? Response: Vaginal ultrasound is a common procedure in gynecology and obstetrics. To perform vaginal ultrasound, an ultrasound probe is placed in the vagina in order to get a close-up view of a woman’s pelvic organs. In non-pregnant women, this is the preferred method for ultrasound of the uterus and ovaries. In early pregnancy, vaginal ultrasound often yields better images of the developing embryo than abdominal ultrasound. In later pregnancy, vaginal ultrasound gives more accurate pictures of the cervix and placenta than abdominal ultrasound. In order to prevent transmission of disease from patient to patient, it is mandatory to clean and disinfect the probe after each vaginal exam. The FDA has a list of “high level” disinfectants that neutralize or kill a variety of bacteria and viruses. Several manufacturers make disinfectant systems that are approved for disinfection of ultrasound probes. It is also mandatory to cover the probe with a barrier during each exam. Various companies manufacture ultrasound probe covers intended to be barriers against infection. What are the main findings? Response: Recent studies found that two widely-used disinfectants (glutaraldehyde and ortho-ophthalaldehyde) do not neutralize human papilloma virus (HPV) even though they are on the FDA list of high level disinfectants. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the USA, affecting over 8 million women of reproductive age. HPV is responsible for 60% of cervical cancer worldwide. Clearly, it is critical to neutralize this virus on vaginal ultrasound probes. A different high-level disinfectant system, sonicated hydrogen peroxide, was found to be highly effective at neutralizing HPV. Other studies show that commercial ultrasound probe covers have a high rate of leakage, 8-81%. Condoms are safer probe covers, with leakage rates of 0.9 to 2%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Respiratory, Vaccine Studies / 28.03.2016 Interview with: Tasnee Chonmaitree, M.D. Professor, Pediatrics and Pathology Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Department of Pediatrics University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555-0371 What is the background for this study? Dr. Chonmaitree: Respiratory infections are common in infants and young children; they are caused by viruses and/or bacteria. Viral upper respiratory tract infection or the common cold is exceedingly common and leads to bacterial complications such as ear infection, which the leading cause of antibiotic prescription in the US and the most common reason children undergo surgery (ear tube placement). In the past few decades, some bacterial and viral vaccines have become available aiming to reduce respiratory infections in children. What are the main findings? Dr. Chonmaitree: Our study looked to update information on how often infants in the first year of life acquired the common cold, and ear infection in the new vaccine era. The study was performed between 2009 and 2014 and included 367 infants followed closely from near birth up to one year of age. We found that on average, an infant had about 3 colds in the first year of life, and almost half of infants had ear infection by age 1 year. This was less than what happened in the past few decades. The reduction of ear infection may have been the result of many factors from bacterial and viral vaccine use, to increased breastfeeding rate and reduction in household smoking. Risk factors for ear infection included carriage of bacteria in the nose, frequencies of common cold and lack of breastfeeding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Vaccine Studies / 28.03.2016 Interview with: Zeena Y. Nawas, MD Clinical Research Fellow Center for Clinical Studies Houston, TX, 77004 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nawas: T cell immunity is believed to be particularly critical to the control of genital herpes, an incurable, lifelong sexually transmitted disease that affects roughly 500 million people worldwide. Genital herpes is characterized by recurrent, painful genital lesions and can be transmitted to sexual partners, even when there is no visible sign of the infection. Current genital herpes therapies only partially control the infection in some patients. These individuals continue to experience clinical symptoms and viral shedding, which drives disease transmission. Incomplete control of genital lesions and transmission risk, and the inconvenience of taking a daily medication are hurdles for effective long-term disease management. GEN-003, is a first-in-class immunotherapy developed by Genocea Biosciences and is intended to treat genital herpes by inducing both a T cell and B cell (antibody) immune response. GEN-003 has demonstrated promising results to date by showing statistically significant reductions in the clinical signs of genital herpes and viral shedding, as well as safety and tolerability in its Phase 1/2 and Phase 2 clinical studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections / 28.03.2016 Interview with: Meghan Weinberg PhD Epidemic Intelligence Service CDC Michigan Department of Health and Human Services What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Weinberg: Tuberculosis (TB) is a deadly disease. Once a leading killer in the United States, national, state, and local TB program efforts have dramatically reduced cases. With fewer cases occurring each year in the United States, health care providers might not consider TB when a patient has symptoms of TB disease. Every year, temporary visa holders come to the United States to work in a variety of tourist locations including amusement parks, ski lodges, national parks, and cultural or historical sites. TB testing is not required for persons entering the United States on a temporary visa. This report documents three cases of infectious TB disease among temporary workers in the tourism industry. Increased Tuberculosis awareness is needed among employers, health care providers, and public health officials. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, Outcomes & Safety / 28.03.2016 Interview with: Peggy Luebbert, MS, MT, CIC, CHSP, CBSPD; Infection Preventionist at Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital; Owner and Consultant at Healthcare Interventions, Inc.; and Brian Heimbuch, MS, Associate Division Manager/Sr. Bioaerosol Scientist, Applied Research Associates MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Mr. Heimbuch: The purpose of the study was to examine the ability of sterilization packaging systems to maintain sterility of surgical instruments and devices from the time of sterilization until use. Ms. Luebbert: Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room is essential for preventing the estimated 300,000 surgical site infections (SSIs) that occur annually in U.S. hospitals and result in approximately 9,000 deaths.[i]-iii Sterilization packaging systems are designed to maintain the sterility of surgical instruments and devices from the time of sterilization until use in the operating room. The two primary types of sterilization packaging systems include trays covered in sterilization wrap and rigid containers. Sterilization wrap is composed of polypropylene or cloth and is disposed of after use. Rigid containers are reusable and come in a variety of materials (including metals, aluminum and polymers) and sizes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS / 27.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Cameron Stewart PhD Team Leader within the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program CSIRO Biosecurity Flagship Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Stewart: Hendra and Nipah viruses (referred to jointly as henipaviruses) are deadly cousins of the more common mumps, measles, and respiratory syncytial viruses, all members of the paramyxovirus family. Henipavirus outbreaks are on the rise, but little is known about the viruses, partly because research has to be undertaken under extreme containment conditions.  Our team performs research at the largest high containment facility in the Asia-Pacific region, the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Australia. To understand the henipavirus infection cycle and to identify targets for new antiviral therapies, we performed a genome-wide screen to identify the host molecules required by henipaviruses for infection. The host gene with the largest impact, called fibrillarin, codes for a protein present in the nucleolus. Inhibiting fibrillarin impaired henipavirus infection greater than 1,000-fold in human cells.  We examined closely which step of the viral life cycle was blocked by interfering with fibrillarin function, and found it was required for the early synthesis of viral RNA. Results from our study suggest that fibrillarin could be targeted therapeutically to combat henipavirus infections. This research was undertaken by an international team of researchers from CSIRO, the Victorian Centre for Functional Genomics, Duke-NUS, the University of Georgia and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, UCSD / 24.03.2016 Interview with: Ryan K. Orosco, MD Division of Head and Neck Surgery Department of Surgery University of California, San Diego What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Orosco: Our group at UC San Diego is interested in HPV as it relates to diseases of the head and neck.  HPV is a well-publicized cause of cervical cancer, and awareness about its link to throat (oropharynx) cancer is rapidly increasing. Less well-known, is the relationship between HPV and benign (non-cancerous) diseases such as genital warts and papilloma of the throat.  As we strive to understand how to best care for patients with HPV-related disorders, it is important to understand the entire process of disease progression, which begins with HPV infection. Our group wanted to explore the relationship between HPV infection in the two most commonly infected body sites: oral and vaginal. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Kaiser Permanente, Surgical Research, Vaccine Studies / 16.03.2016 Interview with: Sara Y. Tartof, PhD, MPH Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tartof: The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, hospitalizations and, in some cases, even death. Some people, such as older adults, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious complications. In addition to recommending annual flu vaccination for people 6 months of age and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hospitalized patients who are eligible receive the flu vaccine before discharge. Historically, inpatient rates of vaccination have been low. There has been concern among surgeons that vaccinating patients while they are in the hospital can contribute to increased risk of vaccine-related fever or muscle pain, which might be incorrectly attributed to surgical complications. However, there have been no data to support that concern. The objective of this study was to provide clinical evidence that would either substantiate or refute concerns about the safety of perioperative vaccination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Urinary Tract Infections / 16.03.2016 Interview with: Maureen Maurer, MS  American Institute for Research Makawao, HI What is the background for this study? Response: Complications from UTIs are a serious medical problem for many people with neurological impairment such as spinal cord injuries. Detection is often difficult in these patients, resulting in delayed diagnosis and more serious infections such as pyelonephritis and sepsis.  UTIs are also the most common hospital acquired infection for all patients. Given the prevalence of UTIs, their complications, and increasing drug therapy resistance, improved early detection methods are needed. The olfactory acuity of dogs is over 100,000 times stronger than humans. Dogs’ superior olfactory capabilities have been employed to assist humans by detecting bombs, drugs, and more recently, cancer. Trained dogs may present a novel method for early UTI detection. Our objective was to determine whether canines could be trained to discriminate culture-positive from culture-negative urine samples.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Hand Washing, Hospital Acquired, JAMA, University of Michigan / 15.03.2016 Interview with: Lona Mody, MD, MS Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, School of Public Health University of Michigan, Ann Arbor What is the background for this study? Dr. Mody: Hand hygiene is considered to be the most important strategy to prevent infections and spread of drug resistant organisms. Surprisingly, all strategies and efforts have predominantly involved healthcare workers and that too mainly in acute care hospitals.  We are now facing a tsunami of an aging population in our hospitals, post-acute care facilities and long-term care facilities.  Hand hygiene falls off when patients are hospitalized compared to when they are at home.  So, we were very interested, first, in hand colonization in older patients who have recently been transferred from the acute care hospital to a post-acute care (PAC) facility for rehabilitation or other medical care before fully returning home. We were also interested in evaluating whether these organisms persisted. What are the main findings? Dr. Mody: We recruited and followed 357 patients (54.9 percent female with an average age of 76 years). The dominant hands of patients were swabbed at baseline when they were first enrolled in a post-acute care facility, at day 14 and then monthly for up to 180 days or until discharge. The study found:
  • To our surprise, nearly one-quarter (86 of 357) of patients had at least one multi-drug resistant organism on their hands when they were transferred from the hospital to the post-acute care facility
  • During follow-up, 34.2 percent of patients’ hands (122 of 357) were colonized with a resistant organism and 10.1 percent of patients (36 of 357) newly acquired one or more resistant organisms.
  • Overall, 67.2 percent of colonized patients (82 of 122) remained colonized at discharge from PAC.
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 14.03.2016 Interview with: Elaine Tuomanen, MD Chair and Full Member Dept of Infectious Diseases St Jude Children’s Research Hospital 262 Danny Thomas Place Memphis, TN 38105 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tuomanen: While investigating mechanisms of brain repair during infection in a mouse model system, we found that components from the surfaces of bacteria could traffic from the mother to the fetus. The bacterial components moved across the placenta and into the fetal brain. To our surprise, the fetal brain did not respond with neuronal death like we see in children with meningitis. Rather, fetal neurons proliferated. This response involved the innate immune system (TLR2) inducing the neuronal transcription factor, FoxG1, which is known to drive proliferation. The newly born neurons migrated appropriately to the cortical plate, the area on the surface of the fetal brain that forms the cortex, a major part of the adult brain. Although the neurons moved to the right place in the brain, there were too many and they crowded together in the cortex, changing the architecture of the brain. At birth, affected mice seemed to have no abnormalities. However, when we tested if this change in architecture would affect brain function after birth, mice were shown to progressively develop defects in learning, memory and other cognitive functions. This indicates there is a window during pregnancy where components of bacteria from the mother can change fetal brain architecture and subsequent postnatal behavior (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Lyme, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Christina Nelson, MD, MPH, FAAP Medical Epidemiologist Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Vector-Borne Diseases | Bacterial Diseases Branch Fort Collins, CO What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nelson: Since Lyme disease is a nationally notifiable disease, state and local health departments collect reports of Lyme disease cases in their jurisdictions then share this data with CDC. This surveillance data is very informative and can be used to track disease patterns. Hispanics comprise roughly 45% of the U.S. workforce in outdoor jobs such as grounds maintenance, farming, fishing, and forestry, so they potentially have an increased risk of Lyme disease. Since information on Lyme disease in Hispanics is very limited, we decided to look into this topic further by analyzing surveillance data. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Outcomes & Safety, Pulmonary Disease, Respiratory / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Gary Garber MD Chief of infection prevention and control Public Health Ontario Professor of medicine University of Ottawa What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Garber: There are conflicting recommendations regarding the use of respirators vs face masks to protect healthcare workers against acute respiratory infections. Our systematic review and meta-analysis show that although N95 respirators have improved efficiency in reducing filter penetration under laboratory conditions, there is insufficient data to show a protective advantage compared to surgical mask in clinical settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dengue, Lancet, OBGYNE / 07.03.2016 Interview with: Mrs Enny S Paixão London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Dengue is a vector borne disease endemic in more than 100 countries (mainly in South America and southeast Asia) and is spreading to new areas, with outbreaks of increasing magnitude and severity. It is estimated that each year, 390 million people are infected with dengue and 96 million develop clinical symptoms. Despite of the importance of this disease, the effects of disease during pregnancy on fetal outcomes remain unclear. Using the published scientific literature, we investigated the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, preterm birth, and low birth weight for women who had dengue infection during pregnancy. This study showed some evidence that dengue infection alone, in the absence of clinical symptoms, does not affect the outcome of pregnancy, but also that clinical dengue during pregnancy seems to increase the frequency of stillbirth, prematurity, and low birthweight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Heart Disease, Infections, JAMA / 04.03.2016 Interview with: Thomas Pilgrim, Prof. Dr. med. Oberarzt, Invasive Kardiologie Universitätsspital Bern Bern Switzerland What is the background for this study? Dr. Pilgrim: Three quarters of all children worldwide grow up in regions endemic for rheumatic heart disease. Clinically manifest rheumatic heart disease represents only the tip of the iceberg: only one in in 5 to 8 children with valvular lesions consistent with rheumatic heart disease have a heart murmur or clinical symptoms; the remaining children have clinically silent disease that goes undetected unless echocardiography is performed. An understanding of incidence, prevalence, and progression of disease is an important prerequisite to guide active surveillance and secondary prevention. We therefore performed a school-based cross-sectional study among more than 5000 children from 26 schools in Nepal. The objective of the study was to assess prevalence of clinically silent and manifest rheumatic heart disease as a function of age, gender and socioeconomic status and to estimate the age-specific incidence from available prevalence data. What are the main findings? Dr. Pilgrim: In our population-based observational cross-sectional study, the prevalence of borderline or definite rheumatic heart disease among schoolchildren in Eastern Nepal amounted to 10.2 (95% CI 7.5-13.0) per 1000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 years, and was more common in girls as compared to boys. The prevalence increased across age categories in a nearly linear fashion from 5.5 (95% CI 3.5-7.5) per 1000 in children 5 years of age to 16.0 (95% CI 14.9-17.0) in children 15 years of age, while the average incidence remained stable at 1.1 per 1000 children per year. The prevalence of clinically silent rheumatic heart disease was 5 times higher compared to manifest disease and the ratio of manifest to subclinical disease increased with increasing age. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hand Washing, Hospital Acquired, Infections / 04.03.2016 Interview with: Dr Laurence Senn, médecin associée Service de médecine préventive hospitalière Mont Paisible Lausanne What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Senn: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a ubiquitous environmental bacterium that can cause infection in patients severely ill, and is thus a major cause of nosocomial infections in intensive care units. During an environmental investigation on potential reservoirs of P. aeruginosa, the liquid hand soap was found highly contaminated with this pathogen. The fact that unopened soap containers were found contaminated with P. aeruginosa proved that the contamination occurred during product manufacturing. Contaminated batches had been used in our hospital over the previous 5 months. In order to evaluate the burden of this contamination on patients, our infection control team conducted an epidemiological investigation combining two molecular methods. First, we analyzed with a classical molecular typing method all P. aeruginosa isolated from patients during the period of exposition to the contaminated soap. Secondly, we targeted the analysis on some isolates sharing the same genotype that the one found in the soap with a modern, recently developed tool which consists in sequencing the whole genome of the bacteria. This method allowed us to have the "fingerprint" of each isolate. Our investigation ruled out any impact of the contaminated soap on patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Esophageal, Infections / 02.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Huizhi Wang Assistant Professor Department of Oral Immunology and Infectious Diseases University of Louisville School of Dentistry Louisville, KY What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: Esophageal cancer is the eighth most frequent tumor and sixth leading cause of cancer death worldwide, characterized by rapid development and poor prognosis, including high mortality. Whereas the majority of cases occur in Asia, particularly in central China, recent data suggest that the frequency of new cases is rising in Western Europe and the USA. Mounting evidence suggests a causal relationship between specific bacterial infections and the development of certain malignancies. However, the possible role of the keystone periodontal pathogen, Porphyromonas gingivalis, in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) was unknown before our study. We found P. gingivalis infects epithelium of cancerous tissues up to 61%, as compared with 12% of adjacent tissues and non-infected in normal esophageal mucosa. A similar distribution of lysine-specific gingipain, a catalytic endoprotease uniquely secreted by P. gingivalis, and P. gingivalis DNA was observed. Moreover, we found infection of P. gingivalis was positively associated with the multiple clinicopathologic characteristics, including differentiation status, metastasis, and overall survival rate.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, HIV / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Igho Ofotokun MD MSc Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia Grady Healthcare System, Atlanta, Georgia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ofotokun:  This work is focused on preventing further bone loss in HIV-infected patients and thus reducing the risk of future bone fractures. HIV infection is associated with a state of enhanced bone loss. HIV treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) further worsens rather than improve bone loss. Almost all HAART regimens that have been examined have been associated with bone loss. The consequence of this skeletal assualt is markedly elevated fracture prevalence among individuals living with HIV across a wide age range. It turns that the predominance of HAART associated bone loss occur within the first year of initiating therapy. In this study, we administered a single dose of 5 mg IV zoledronic acid, a long-acting bisphosphonate at the same time of HAART initiation to prevent HAART associated bone loss. At this dose, zoledronic acid prevented enhance bone resorption in all participants and completely blunted bone mineral density loss over the 48 weeks study follow up period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics, Pulmonary Disease, Respiratory / 29.02.2016 Interview with: Suzanne Schuh, MD, FRCP(C), ABPEM The Hospital for Sick Children affiliated with the University of Toronto Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Schuh: Routine measurement of oxygen saturation in bronchiolitis is sometimes used as a proxy for illness severity, despite poor correlation between these parameters. This focus on oximetry may in part relate to lack of evidence on the natural history of desaturations in bronchiolitis which are often transient, and frequently not accompanied by increased respiratory distress. Desaturations occurring in infants with mild bronchiolitis in an ED often result in hospitalizations or prolonged hospital stay. They occur in healthy infants and may also occur in infants with mild bronchiolitis at home. The main objective of this study of infants with acute bronchiolitis was to determine if there is a difference in the proportion of unscheduled medical visits within 72 hours of ED discharge in infants who desaturate during home oximetry monitoring versus those without desaturations. Our study shows that the majority of infants with mild bronchiolitis experience desaturations after discharge home. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV / 26.02.2016 Interview with: Wim Parys MD Global Head R&D Global Public Health Janssen  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Parys: In collaboration with ViiV Healthcare, we are working to develop the first long acting all-injectable combination regimen of Janssen’s rilpivirine and ViiV’s cabotegravir. Yesterday, we have announced promising Phase 2b data of this combination regimen which when given together every 4 or 8 weeks was able to maintain viral suppression with similar efficacy to a daily oral regimen of three HIV medicines. The results show that the combination met its primary endpoint at week 32. The study will now continue in its randomized controlled design for another 64 weeks enabling us to assess longer term outcomes. In parallel to this we will work to initiate the next stages of clinical development. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dengue, Zika / 25.02.2016 Interview with: Prof Paul Dyson Institute of Life Science Swansea University Medical School Singleton Park Swansea UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Dyson: The spread of insect-vectored viruses such as Dengue and, more recently, Zika, underline the urgent necessity to develop new technologies to control insect disease vectors that, due to human activity, are spreading globally. The concept of using RNAi in insects is not new and is widely used as a research tool in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. However, adapting RNAi for use in non-model insects has been slow, almost entirely due to the problem of delivering interfering RNA to the insect. Manual injection is a less than optimal means of delivery for larger insects, while including interfering RNA in a food source can be effective in smaller insects in the laboratory. But neither delivery system is suited for field applications of RNAi as a biocide. Faced with this challenge, we (myself and Dr Miranda Whitten) conceived the concept of symbiont-mediated RNAi and have advanced it with support from the UK BBSRC and the Gates Foundation, establishing it as a viable mechanism of delivery of RNAi in (a) a tropical disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus, a vector of Chagas disease, exemplified by targeting insect fertility, and (b) a globally invasive vector of plant disease, Western Flower Thrips, targeting larval growth. Interfering RNA is actively produced by symbiotic insect bacteria that multiply within the host. Critical to the technology is to ensure the stability of RNA synthesis by these bacteria. The interfering RNA is then released by the bacteria, absorbed and systemically circulated within the host, thereby causing knock-down of gene expression in specific tissues. We have exploited this technology to severely impair fertility of Rhodnius prolixus, and to cause mortality of developing larvae of Western Flower Thrips. As a biocide, the technology offers exquisite specificity due to the co-evolution and co-dependencies of the symbiont and its insect host, combined with the sequence-specificity of the RNAi. Moreover, development of resistance is highly improbable. (more…)