• A link between virulence and ecological abundance in natural populations of Staphylococcus aureus.

    17 July 2018

    Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of severe infection in humans and yet is carried without symptoms by a large proportion of the population. We used multilocus sequence typing to characterize isolates of S. aureus recovered from asymptomatic nasal carriage and from episodes of severe disease within a defined population. We identified a number of frequently carried genotypes that were disproportionately common as causes of disease, even taking into account their relative abundance among carriage isolates. The existence of these ecologically abundant hypervirulent clones suggests that factors promoting the ecological fitness of this important pathogen also increase its virulence.

  • Loop-mediated isothermal amplification for Rickettsia typhi (the causal agent of murine typhus): problems with diagnosis at the limit of detection.

    17 July 2018

    Murine typhus is a flea-borne disease of worldwide distribution caused by Rickettsia typhi. Although treatment with tetracycline antibiotics is effective, treatment is often misguided or delayed due to diagnostic difficulties. As the gold standard immunofluorescence assay is imperfect, we aimed to develop and evaluate a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay. LAMP assays have the potential to fulfill the WHO ASSURED criteria (affordable, sensitive, specific, user friendly, robust and rapid, equipment free, deliverable to those who need them) for diagnostic methodologies, as they can detect pathogen-derived nucleic acid with low technical expenditure. The LAMP assay was developed using samples of bacterial isolates (n=41), buffy coat specimens from R. typhi PCR-positive Lao patients (n=42), and diverse negative controls (n=47). The method was then evaluated prospectively using consecutive patients with suspected scrub typhus or murine typhus (n=266). The limit of detection was ∼40 DNA copies/LAMP reaction, with an analytical sensitivity of <10 DNA copies/reaction based on isolate dilutions. Despite these low cutoffs, the clinical sensitivity was disappointing, with 48% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 32.5 to 62.7%) (specificity, 100% [95% CI, 100 to 100%]) in the developmental phase and 33% (95% CI, 9.2 to 56.8%) (specificity, 98.5% [95% CI, 97.0% to 100%]) in the prospective study. This low diagnostic accuracy was attributed to low patient R. typhi bacterial loads (median, 210 DNA copies/ml blood; interquartile range, 130 to 500). PCR-positive but LAMP-negative samples demonstrated significantly lower bacterial loads than LAMP-positive samples. Our findings highlight the diagnostic challenges for diseases with low pathogen burdens and emphasize the need to integrate pathogen biology with improved template production for assay development strategies.

  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the Toll-like receptor 3 and CD44 genes are associated with persistence of vaccine-induced immunity to the serogroup C meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

    17 July 2018

    The rate of decay of antibody concentration following serogroup C meningococcal (MenC) polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccination varies between individuals. This depends partly on vaccination age but may be influenced by human genetics. We studied 721 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 131 candidate genes in a first cohort of 905 Caucasians (11 to 21 years old; mean time after vaccination, 4.9 years) and 30 SNPs across 17 genes in a replication study using 155 children, aged 6 to 12 years (mean time after vaccination, 6.7 years), and 196 infants (1 year old; mean time after vaccination, 8 months). Individuals were classified as responders or nonresponders for total MenC IgG concentration and MenC serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) measurements. Associated genes were examined further for quantitative outcome measures. Fifty-nine SNPs in 37 genes were associated with IgG persistence (adjusted for age at measurement), and 56 SNPs in 36 genes were associated with SBA persistence (adjusted for age at measurement and vaccine used). Three SNPs each within the Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) (rs3775291, rs3775292, and rs5743312) and CD44 (rs11033013, rs353644, and rs996076) genes were associated with IgG (adjusted for age at measurement) or SBA (adjusted for age at measurement and vaccine used) persistence in the initial genetic study (P, 0.02 to 0.04). Single SNPs within the TLR3 (rs7657186) (P = 0.004 [unadjusted]) and CD44 (rs12419062) (P = 0.01 [unadjusted]) genes were associated with IgG persistence in the replication study. These results suggest that genetic polymorphisms in the TLR3 and CD44 genes are associated with the persistence of the immune response to MenC vaccines 1 to 6 years after vaccination.

  • Risk factors for hematogenous complications of intravascular catheter-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia.

    17 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: The role of both host and pathogen characteristics in hematogenous seeding following Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia is incompletely understood. METHODS: Consecutive patients with intravascular catheter-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia were prospectively recruited over a 91-month period. The corresponding bloodstream isolates were examined for the presence of 35 putative virulence determinants. Patient and bacterial characteristics associated with the development of hematogenous complications (HCs) (i.e., septic arthritis, vertebral osteomyelitis, or endocarditis) were defined. RESULTS: HC occurred in 42 (13%) of 324 patients. Patient characteristics at diagnosis that were associated with HC included community onset (relative risk [RR], 2.25; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.24-4.07; P=.007), increased symptom duration (odds ratio for each day, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.06-1.2; P<.001), presence of a long-term intravascular catheter or noncatheter prosthesis (RR, 4.02; 95% CI, 1.74-9.27; P<.001), hemodialysis dependence (RR, 3.84; 95% CI, 2.08-7.10; P<.001), and higher APACHE II score (P=.02). Bacterial characteristics included sea (RR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.16-3.55; P=.011) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) (RR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.19-3.67; P=.015). Subsequent failure to remove a catheter was also associated with HC (RR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.22-4.27; P=.011). On multivariable analysis, symptom duration, hemodialysis dependence, presence of a long-term intravascular catheter or a noncatheter device, and infection with MRSA remained significantly associated with HC. CONCLUSIONS: This investigation identifies 4 host- and pathogen-related risk factors for hematogenous bacterial seeding and reaffirms the importance of prompt catheter removal.

  • The epidemiology of pediatric bone and joint infections in Cambodia, 2007-11.

    17 July 2018

    There are limited data on osteoarticular infections from resource-limited settings in Asia. A retrospective study of patients presenting to the Angkor Hospital for Children, Cambodia, January 2007-July 2011, identified 81 cases (28% monoarticular septic arthritis, 51% single-limb osteomyelitis and 15% multisite infections). The incidence was 13.8/100 000 hospital attendances. The median age was 7.3 years, with a male/female ratio of 1.9:1; 35% presented within 5 days of symptom onset (median 7 days). Staphylococcus aureus was cultured in 29 (36%) cases (52% of culture-positive cases); one isolate was methicillin-resistant (MRSA). Median duration of antimicrobial treatment was 29 days (interquartile range 21-43); rates of surgical intervention were 96%, and 46% of children had sequelae, with one fatality. In this setting osteoarticular infections are relatively common with high rates of surgical intervention and sequelae. Staphylococcus aureus is the commonest culturable cause, but methicillin-resistant S. aureus is not a major problem, unlike in other Asian centers.

  • Retraction.

    17 July 2018

  • Characterisation of Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae Isolated from Cambodian Children between 2007 - 2012.

    17 July 2018

    The 13-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13) was introduced in Cambodia in January 2015. There are limited data concerning the common serotypes causing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Knowledge of the circulating pneumococcal serotypes is important to monitor epidemiological changes before and after vaccine implementation.All episodes of IPD defined by the isolation of Streptococcus pneumoniae from blood, cerebrospinal fluid or other sterile site in Cambodian children admitted to the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Northwestern Cambodia, between 1st January 2007 and 1st July 2012 were retrospectively studied. Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates that could be retrieved underwent phenotypic typing and whole genome sequencing.There were 90 Cambodian children hospitalized with IPD with a median (IQR) age of 2.3 years (0.9-6.2). The case fatality was 15.6% (95% CI 8-23). Of 50 Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates available for further testing, 46% were penicillin non-susceptible and 8% were ceftriaxone non-susceptible, 78% were cotrimoxazole resistant, 30% were erythromycin resistant and 30% chloramphenicol resistant. There were no significant changes in resistance levels over the five-year period. The most common serotypes were 1 (11/50; 22%), 23F (8/50; 16%), 14 (6/50; 12%), 5 (5/50; 10%) and 19A (3/50; 6%). Coverage by PCV7, PCV10 and PCV13 was 44%, 76% and 92% respectively. We identified novel multilocus sequence types and resistotypes using whole genome sequencing.This study suggests IPD is an important disease in Cambodian children and can have a significant mortality. PCV13 coverage of the serotypes determined in studied strains was high and consistent with another recent study. The phenotypic resistance patterns observed were similar to other regional studies. The use of whole genome sequencing in the present study provides additional typing and resistance information together with the description of novel sequence types and resistotypes.

  • Intestinal parasite infections in symptomatic children attending hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

    17 July 2018

    Infections with helminths and other intestinal parasites are an important but neglected problem in children in developing countries. Accurate surveys of intestinal parasites in children inform empirical treatment regimens and can assess the impact of school based drug treatment programmes. There is limited information on this topic in Cambodia.In a prospective study of intestinal parasites in symptomatic children attending Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia, April-June 2012, samples were examined by microscopy of a direct and concentrated fecal sample. Two culture methods for hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were employed when sufficient sample was received. Demographic, clinical and epidemiological data were collected.We studied 970 samples from 865 children. The median (inter-quartile range) age of the children was 5.4 (1.9-9.2) years, 54% were male. The proportion of children with abdominal pain was 66.8%, diarrhea 34.9%, anemia 12.7% and malnutrition 7.4%. 458 parasitic infections were detected in 340 (39.3%) children. The most common parasites using all methods of detection were hookworm (14.3%), Strongyloides stercoralis (11.6%) and Giardia lamblia (11.2%). Giardia lamblia was most common in children aged 1-5 years, hookworm and Strongyloides stercoralis were more common with increasing age. Hookworm, Strongloides stercoralis and Giardia lamblia were more common in children living outside of Siem Reap town. In a multivariate logistic regression increasing age was associated with all three infections, defecating in the forest for hookworm infection, the presence of cattle for S. stercoralis and not using soap for handwashing for G. lamblia.This study confirms the importance of intestinal parasitic infections in symptomatic Cambodian children and the need for adequate facilities for laboratory diagnosis together with education to improve personal hygiene and sanitation.

  • Urinary antibiotic activity in paediatric patients attending an outpatient department in north-western Cambodia.

    17 July 2018

    Antibiotic resistance is a prominent public and global health concern. We investigated antibiotic use in children by determining the proportion of unselected children with antibacterial activity in their urine attending a paediatric outpatient department in Siem Reap, Cambodia.Caregiver reports of medication history and presence of possible infection symptoms were collected in addition to urine samples. Urine antibiotic activity was estimated by exposing bacteria to urine specimens, including assessment against multiresistant bacteria previously isolated from patients in the hospital (a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a multiresistant Salmonella typhi and an extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli isolate).Medication information and urine were collected from 775 children. Caregivers reported medication use in 69.0% of children in the preceding 48 h. 31.7% samples showed antibacterial activity; 16.3% showed activity against a local multiresistant organism. No specimens demonstrated activity against an ESBL-producing E. coli.Antibiotics are widely used in the community setting in Cambodia. Parents are often ill-informed about drugs given to treat their children. Increasing the regulation and training of private pharmacies in Cambodia may be necessary. Regional surveillance of antibiotic use and resistance is also essential in devising preventive strategies against further development of antibiotic resistance, which would have both local and global consequences.