• Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A.

    17 July 2018

    Azithromycin is an effective treatment for uncomplicated infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi A (enteric fever), but there are no clinically validated MIC and disk zone size interpretative guidelines. We studied individual patient data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever in Vietnam, with azithromycin used in one treatment arm, to determine the relationship between azithromycin treatment response and the azithromycin MIC of the infecting isolate. We additionally compared the azithromycin MIC and the disk susceptibility zone sizes of 1,640 S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A clinical isolates collected from seven Asian countries. In the RCTs, 214 patients who were treated with azithromycin at a dose of 10 to 20 mg/ml for 5 to 7 days were analyzed. Treatment was successful in 195 of 214 (91%) patients, with no significant difference in response (cure rate, fever clearance time) with MICs ranging from 4 to 16 μg/ml. The proportion of Asian enteric fever isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml was 1,452/1,460 (99.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.9 to 99.7) for S. Typhi and 207/240 (86.3%; 95% CI, 81.2 to 90.3) (P < 0.001) for S. Paratyphi A. A zone size of ≥ 13 mm to a 5-μg azithromycin disk identified S. Typhi isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 99.7%. An azithromycin MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml or disk inhibition zone size of ≥ 13 mm enabled the detection of susceptible S. Typhi isolates that respond to azithromycin treatment. Further work is needed to define the response to treatment in S. Typhi isolates with an azithromycin MIC of >16 μg/ml and to determine MIC and disk breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.

  • Burkholderia pseudomallei detection in surface water in southern Laos using Moore's swabs.

    17 July 2018

    The causal agent of melioidosis, Burkholderia pseudomallei, has been cultured from paddy fields in the Lao PDR. We carried out a pilot study to examine the relationship between bacterial soil contamination and that of nearby surface waters in Saravane Province. Soil sampling was conducted at a depth of 30 cm (100 holes in a 45 × 45 m grid) at two sites, East and West Saravane. Moore's swabs were used for water sampling of paddy fields, lakes, rivers, boreholes, and storage tanks within 2 km of the two soil sampling sites. B. pseudomallei from soil and water were cultured on Ashdown's agar. Thirty-six percent and 6% of water samples collected around East and West Saravane, respectively, were culture positive for B. pseudomallei. Low pH and high turbidity were independently associated with culture of B. pseudomallei. Most positive water samples were from the Sedone River, downstream of the East Saravane site. Moore's swabs are simple and inexpensive tools for detecting B. pseudomallei in surface waters.

  • Functional polymorphisms in the FCN2 gene are not associated with invasive pneumococcal disease.

    17 July 2018

    L-ficolin is a pattern-recognition molecule which binds lipoteichoic acid and Gram-positive bacteria and activates the lectin pathway of complement. Five common functional polymorphisms have recently been identified in the FCN2 gene which encodes L-ficolin: three promoter polymorphisms (at positions -986, -602 and -4) which affect serum L-ficolin concentration, and two non-synonymous polymorphisms (Thr236Met and Ala258Ser) which influence carbohydrate binding. We studied the frequencies of these polymorphisms in individuals with invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and a control group. Although the five FCN2 polymorphisms were each present in the UK Caucasian population studied, no significant associations were observed between the FCN2 polymorphisms and susceptibility to IPD. This is in contrast to mannose-binding lectin deficiency, which we have previously shown to be associated with increased susceptibility to IPD. Although we are unable to exclude small effects of FCN2 genetic variation on susceptibility to IPD, the result suggests that L-ficolin may not be critical for host defence against pneumococcal infection.

  • MBL genotype and risk of invasive pneumococcal disease: a case-control study.

    17 July 2018

    Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in developed and developing countries. No common genetic determinants of susceptibility have been defined. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key mediator of innate host immunity that activates the complement pathway and directly opsonises some infectious pathogens. Mutations in three codons in the MBL gene have been identified, and individuals homozygous for a mutant genotype have very little or no serum MBL. We did a case-control study in the UK to assess whether these mutant genotypes were associated with invasive pneumococcal disease.The frequencies of genotypes defined by the three mutations in codons 52, 54, and 57, and a functional promoter polymorphism at -221, were compared in a two-stage study of 337 patients with invasive pneumococcal disease and 1032 controls. All individuals were recruited from an ethnically homogeneous white population in Oxfordshire, UK. Patients had S pneumoniae isolated from a normally sterile site.In our initial set of participants, 28 (12%) of 229 patients and 18 (5%) of 353 controls were homozygotes for MBL codon variants (odds ratio 2.59 [95% CI 1.39-4.83], p=0.002). Neither heterozygosity for these codon variants nor the promoter polymorphism was associated with susceptibility. In a confirmatory study, 11 (10%) of 108 patients were MBL homozygotes compared with 36 (5%) of 679 controls (p=0.046).Homozygotes for MBL codon variants, who represent about 5% of north Europeans and north Americans and larger proportions of populations in many developing countries, could be at substantially increased risk of invasive pneumococcal disease.

  • Recommendations for enterovirus diagnostics and characterisation within and beyond Europe.

    17 July 2018

    Enteroviruses (EV) can cause severe neurological and respiratory infections, and occasionally lead to devastating outbreaks as previously demonstrated with EV-A71 and EV-D68 in Europe. However, these infections are still often underdiagnosed and EV typing data is not currently collected at European level. In order to improve EV diagnostics, collate data on severe EV infections and monitor the circulation of EV types, we have established European non-polio enterovirus network (ENPEN). First task of this cross-border network has been to ensure prompt and adequate diagnosis of these infections in Europe, and hence we present recommendations for non-polio EV detection and typing based on the consensus view of this multidisciplinary team including experts from over 20 European countries. We recommend that respiratory and stool samples in addition to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood samples are submitted for EV testing from patients with suspected neurological infections. This is vital since viruses like EV-D68 are rarely detectable in CSF or stool samples. Furthermore, reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) targeting the 5'noncoding regions (5'NCR) should be used for diagnosis of EVs due to their sensitivity, specificity and short turnaround time. Sequencing of the VP1 capsid protein gene is recommended for EV typing; EV typing cannot be based on the 5'NCR sequences due to frequent recombination events and should not rely on virus isolation. Effective and standardized laboratory diagnostics and characterisation of circulating virus strains are the first step towards effective and continuous surveillance activities, which in turn will be used to provide better estimation on EV disease burden.

  • The value of intermittent point-prevalence surveys of healthcare-associated infections for evaluating infection control interventions at Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    17 July 2018

    There are limited data on the epidemiology of paediatric healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and infection control in low-income countries. We describe the value of intermittent point-prevalence surveys for monitoring HCAI and evaluating infection control interventions in a Cambodian paediatric hospital.Hospital-wide, point-prevalence surveys were performed monthly in 2011. Infection control interventions introduced during this period included a hand hygiene programme and a ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) care bundle.Overall HCAI prevalence was 13.8/100 patients at-risk, with a significant decline over time. The highest HCAI rates (50%) were observed in critical care; the majority of HCAIs were respiratory (61%). Klebsiella pneumoniae was most commonly isolated and antimicrobial resistance was widespread. Hand hygiene compliance doubled to 51.6%, and total VAP cases/1000 patient-ventilator days fell from 30 to 10.Rates of HCAI were substantial in our institution, and antimicrobial resistance a major concern. Point-prevalence surveys are effective for HCAI surveillance, and in monitoring trends in response to infection control interventions.

  • Intrinsic fluoroquinolone resistance in Orientia tsutsugamushi.

    17 July 2018

    Scrub typhus is a public health concern for a population of over a billion humans, with an estimated incidence of one million cases/year in endemic areas. Although doxycycline remains the standard therapy, fluoroquinolones have been used successfully in a few patients. However, there is also clinical evidence that fluoroquinolones are ineffective in the treatment of scrub typhus. To clarify this matter, we determined the in vitro susceptibility of Orientia tsutsugamushi strain Kato to ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin and sequenced the quinolone resistance-determining region (QRDR) of the gyrA gene, the target of fluoroquinolones, of 18 fresh isolates from the Lao PDR. Orientia tsutsugamushi strain Kato was resistant to ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin in vitro (minimum inhibitory concentration=8 microg/mL). All sequences obtained, including those from the two available genomes of O. tsutsugamushi (strains Boryong and Ikeda), had a Ser83Leu mutation in their QRDR domain that is known to be associated with fluoroquinolone resistance. These findings re-emphasise the usefulness of in silico analysis for the prediction of antibiotic resistance and suggest that fluoroquinolones should not be used in the treatment of scrub typhus.