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Gail Bolan - Top 30 Publications

Syphilis Elimination: Lessons Learned Again.

It is estimated that approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year in the United States. The federally-funded STD prevention program implemented by CDC is primarily focused on the prevention and control of the three most common bacterial STIs: syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. A range of factors facilitate the transmission and acquisition of sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis. In 1999 CDC launched the National Campaign to Eliminate Syphilis from the United States. The strategies were familiar to public health in general and to STD control in particular: 1) enhanced surveillance, 2) expanded clinical and laboratory services, 3) enhanced health promotion, 4) strengthened community involvement and partnerships, and 5) rapid outbreak response. This national commitment to syphilis elimination was not the first effort, and like others before it too did not succeed. However, the lessons learned from this most recent campaign can inform the way forward to a more comprehensive approach to the prevention and control of STIs and improvement in the nation's health.

Use of National Syphilis Surveillance Data to Develop a Congenital Syphilis Prevention Cascade and Estimate the Number of Potential Congenital Syphilis Cases Averted.

Recent increases in reported congenital syphilis have led to an urgent need to identify interventions that will have the greatest impact on congenital syphilis prevention. We sought to create a congenital syphilis prevention cascade using national syphilis surveillance data to (1) estimate the proportion of potential congenital syphilis cases averted with current prevention efforts, and (2) develop a classification framework to better describe why reported cases were not averted.

Re-emerging and newly recognized sexually transmitted infections: Can prior experiences shed light on future identification and control?

How do we spot the next sexually transmitted infection? Kyle Bernstein and colleagues look for lessons from past discovery.

Developing a Public Health Response to Mycoplasma genitalium.

Although Mycoplasma genitalium is increasingly recognized as a sexually transmitted pathogen, at present there is no defined public health response to this relatively newly identified sexually transmitted infection. Currently available data are insufficient to justify routinely screening any defined population for M. genitalium infection. More effective therapies, data on acceptability of screening and its impact on clinical outcomes, and better information on the natural history of infection will likely be required before the value of potential screening programs can be adequately assessed. Insofar as diagnostic tests are available or become available in the near future, clinicians and public health agencies should consider integrating M. genitalium testing into the management of persons with sexually transmitted infection (STI) syndromes associated with the infection (ie urethritis, cervicitis, and pelvic inflammatory disease) and their sex partners. Antimicrobial-resistant M. genitalium is a significant problem and may require clinicians and public health authorities to reconsider the management of STI syndromes in an effort to prevent the emergence of ever more resistant M. genitalium infections.

Antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Global surveillance and a call for international collaborative action.

In a Policy Forum, Teodora Wi and colleagues discuss the challenges of antimicrobial resistance in gonococci.

Screening for Syphilis and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections in Pregnant Women - Guam, 2014.

Prenatal screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can prevent adverse perinatal outcomes. In Guam, the largest of the three U.S. territories in the Pacific, primary and secondary syphilis rates among women increased 473%, from 1.1 to 6.3 per 100,000 during 2009-2013 (1). In 2013, the first congenital syphilis case after no cases since 2008 was reported (1,2). Little is known about STI screening coverage and factors associated with inadequate screening among pregnant women in Guam. This study evaluated the prevalence of screening for syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), chlamydia, and gonorrhea, and examined correlates of inadequate screening among pregnant women in Guam. Data came from the medical records of a randomly selected sample of mothers with live births in 2014 at a large public hospital. Bivariate analyses and multivariable models using Poisson regression were conducted to determine factors associated with inadequate screening for syphilis and other STIs. Although most (93.5%) women received syphilis screening during pregnancy, 26.8% were not screened sufficiently early to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many women were not screened for HIV infection (31.1%), chlamydia (25.3%), or gonorrhea (25.7%). Prenatal care and insurance were important factors affecting STI screening during pregnancy. Prenatal care providers play an important role in preventing congenital infections. Policies and programs increasing STI and HIV services for pregnant women and improved access to and use of prenatal care are essential for promoting healthy mothers and infants.

The global roadmap for advancing development of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections: Update and next steps.

In 2014, the World Health Organization, the US National Institutes of Health, and global technical partners published a comprehensive roadmap for development of new vaccines against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Since its publication, progress has been made in several roadmap activities: obtaining better epidemiologic data to establish the public health rationale for STI vaccines, modeling the theoretical impact of future vaccines, advancing basic science research, defining preferred product characteristics for first-generation vaccines, and encouraging investment in STI vaccine development. This article reviews these overarching roadmap activities, provides updates on research and development of individual vaccines against herpes simplex virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Treponema pallidum, and discusses important next steps to advance the global roadmap for STI vaccine development.

Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015.

These guidelines for the treatment of persons who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were updated by CDC after consultation with a group of professionals knowledgeable in the field of STDs who met in Atlanta on April 30-May 2, 2013. The information in this report updates the Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010 (MMWR Recomm Rep 2010;59 [No. RR-12]). These updated guidelines discuss 1) alternative treatment regimens for Neisseria gonorrhoeae; 2) the use of nucleic acid amplification tests for the diagnosis of trichomoniasis; 3) alternative treatment options for genital warts; 4) the role of Mycoplasma genitalium in urethritis/cervicitis and treatment-related implications; 5) updated HPV vaccine recommendations and counseling messages; 6) the management of persons who are transgender; 7) annual testing for hepatitis C in persons with HIV infection; 8) updated recommendations for diagnostic evaluation of urethritis; and 9) retesting to detect repeat infection. Physicians and other health-care providers can use these guidelines to assist in the prevention and treatment of STDs.

Cost-effectiveness of Chlamydia vaccination programs for young women.

We explored potential cost-effectiveness of a chlamydia vaccine for young women in the United States by using a compartmental heterosexual transmission model. We tracked health outcomes (acute infections and sequelae measured in quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) and determined incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) over a 50-year analytic horizon. We assessed vaccination of 14-year-old girls and catch-up vaccination for 15-24-year-old women in the context of an existing chlamydia screening program and assumed 2 prevaccination prevalences of 3.2% by main analysis and 3.7% by additional analysis. Estimated ICERs of vaccinating 14-year-old girls were $35,300/QALY by main analysis and $16,200/QALY by additional analysis compared with only screening. Catch-up vaccination for 15-24-year-old women resulted in estimated ICERs of $53,200/QALY by main analysis and $26,300/QALY by additional analysis. The ICER was most sensitive to prevaccination prevalence for women, followed by cost of vaccination, duration of vaccine-conferred immunity, and vaccine efficacy. Our results suggest that a successful chlamydia vaccine could be cost-effective.

Toward global prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs): the need for STI vaccines.

An estimated 499 million curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs; gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and trichomoniasis) occurred globally in 2008. In addition, well over 500 million people are estimated to have a viral STI such as herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) or human papillomavirus (HPV) at any point in time. STIs result in a large global burden of sexual, reproductive, and maternal-child health consequences, including genital symptoms, pregnancy complications, cancer, infertility, and enhanced HIV transmission, as well as important psychosocial consequences and financial costs. STI control strategies based primarily on behavioral primary prevention and STI case management have had clear successes, but gains have not been universal. Current STI control is hampered or threatened by several behavioral, biological, and implementation challenges, including a large proportion of asymptomatic infections, lack of feasible diagnostic tests globally, antimicrobial resistance, repeat infections, and barriers to intervention access, availability, and scale-up. Vaccines against HPV and hepatitis B virus offer a new paradigm for STI control. Challenges to existing STI prevention efforts provide important reasons for working toward additional STI vaccines. We summarize the global epidemiology of STIs and STI-associated complications, examine challenges to existing STI prevention efforts, and discuss the need for new STI vaccines for future prevention efforts.

Dual contraceptive use among adolescents and young adults: correlates and implications for condom use and sexually transmitted infection outcomes.

Simultaneous condom and hormonal contraception usage ('dual method use') maximises protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI), although there is concern that promotion of this strategy could result in diminished condom use and inadvertently increase STI risk. In this study, we (1) assessed how the use of dual methods, versus condoms alone, related to STI and consistency of condom use and (2) described the correlates of dual use.

Trends in antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the USA: the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP), January 2006-June 2012.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae has progressively developed resistance to sulfonamides, penicillin, tetracycline and fluoroquinolones, and gonococcal susceptibility to cephalosporins has been declining worldwide.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae outbreak: unintended consequences of electronic medical records and using an out-of-state laboratory-California, July 2009-February 2010.

Twenty of 37 gonorrhea cases identified during an outbreak were diagnosed at one health care organization that used an out-of-state laboratory. The results were transmitted into electronic medical records without provider notification. Delays in treatment and reporting were identified. Systems should be implemented to ensure provider notification of electronic laboratory results.

Cephalosporin resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections--reply.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae antimicrobial resistance among men who have sex with men and men who have sex exclusively with women: the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, 2005-2010.

Gonorrhea treatment has been complicated by antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal fluoroquinolone resistance emerged more rapidly among men who have sex with men (MSM) than men who have sex exclusively with women (MSW).

A Trich-y question: should Trichomonas vaginalis infection be reportable?

Cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea in North America.

Sex, drugs (methamphetamines), and the Internet: increasing syphilis among men who have sex with men in California, 2004-2008.

We examined primary and secondary syphilis cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in California, and the association of methamphetamine use and Internet use to meet sex partners (Internet use) with number of sex partners.

Tackling multidrug-resistant gonorrhea: how should we prepare for the untreatable?

Syphilis outbreak at a California men's prison, 2007-2008: propagation by lapses in clinical management, case management, and public health surveillance.

This field report describes an investigation to identify cases to control a syphilis outbreak in a prison and determine whether clinical, case management, and surveillance practices influenced the outbreak occurrence, detection, or management. Key performance measures were assessed to evaluate timeliness and quality of clinical and case management activities and surveillance practices. Thirty cases were found. Prior to the investigation, median times for clinical and reporting/surveillance measures were 15 days from primary and secondary (P&S) symptom onset to exam, 7 days from P&S exam to treatment, and 63 days from serologic test to the state's receipt of case. After the investigation, these measures improved to 8, 4.5, and 28 days, respectively. Lack of adherence to surveillance and clinical management protocols likely contributed to this outbreak, which was curtailed by aggressive control measures.

The emerging threat of untreatable gonococcal infection.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae with high-level resistance to azithromycin: case report of the first isolate identified in the United States.

We report on the first Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolate in the United States identified with high-level resistance to azithromycin. This report discusses the epidemiologic case investigation, the molecular studies of resistance-associated mutations and N. gonorrhoeae multiantigen sequence typing, and challenges posed by emerging gonococcal antimicrobial resistance.

Repeating low-positive nucleic acid amplification test results for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: assessment of current practice in selected california public- and private-sector laboratories.

Repeat syphilis among men who have sex with men in California, 2002-2006: implications for syphilis elimination efforts.

We examined rates of and risk factors for repeat syphilis infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) in California.

Chlamydia partner services for females in California family planning clinics.

Prompt treatment of exposed partners is critical for preventing further transmission of chlamydia, reinfection, and sequelae among females. Patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) has been allowable in California since 2001; however, few data are available regarding PDPT use and treatment outcomes.

Screening for syphilis with the treponemal immunoassay: analysis of discordant serology results and implications for clinical management.

Screening for syphilis with treponemal chemiluminescence immunoassays (CIA) identifies patients with discordant serology who are not identified with traditional screening methods (eg, CIA-positive, rapid plasma regain (RPR)-negative). We sought to describe the clinical characteristics and management of patients with discordant syphilis serology.

The role of Medicaid managed care interventions in Chlamydia screening by physicians.

Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) guidelines call for annual screening of all sexually active young females. In previous studies, Medicaid health maintenance organizations (HMOs) did not consistently recommend CT and other sexually transmitted disease guidelines, but physicians with HMO practices were more likely to comply with guidelines than those without HMO practices. This study examines the relationship between HMO interventions and physician adherence to annual (CT) screening guidelines for sexually active young (ages 15-25) females.

Socioeconomic gradients in sexually transmitted diseases: a geographic information system-based analysis of poverty, race/ethnicity, and gonorrhea rates in California, 2004-2006.

We quantified the relationship between gonorrheal infection rates in California and a measure of poverty status and investigated how this relationship and the spatial dispersion of cases varied among the 4 dominant racial/ethnic groups in the state.

A closer look at age: deconstructing aggregate gonorrhea and chlamydia rates, California, 1998-2007.

Risk of gonorrheal (GC) and chlamydial (CT) infection is highly associated with age. Case rates typically are reported in 5-year categories. Highest rates are seen consistently in the 15- to 19-year and 20- to 24-year age groups for both genders. It is not clear how aggregate, age-specific rates mask finer differences in risk by single age across and within racial/ethnic groups.

Strain typing and antimicrobial resistance of fluoroquinolone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae causing a California infection outbreak.

Antimicrobial-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae is an emerging public health problem as a result of the alarming limitation in treatment options. We examined an outbreak in California of fluoroquinolone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae (QRNG) by evaluation of a combination of routine isolates from the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project and isolates collected by expanded surveillance performed between April 2000 and June 2002. QRNG isolates were characterized by two methods: (i) determination of a combination of antibiogram, auxotype, serovar, Lip type, and patterns of amino acid alteration in the quinolone resistance-determining region of GyrA and ParC (ASLGP) and (ii) pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Strain typing was used to describe the QRNG outbreak strains and the associated antimicrobial resistance profiles. Among 79 isolates that were completely characterized, we identified 20 different ASLGP strain types, and 2 of the types were considered to belong to outbreak strains that comprised 65% (51/79) of the isolates. By PFGE typing, there were 24 different strain types, and 4 of these were considered outbreak types and comprised 66% (52/79) of the isolates. The overall agreement between the typing methods in distinguishing outbreak strains and non-outbreak strains was 84% (66/79). The most common QRNG ASLGP strain type had chromosomally mediated resistance to penicillin and tetracycline and an azithromycin MIC of 0.5 microg/ml. The occurrence of an outbreak caused by QRNG strains that could fail to be eradicated by most antibiotic classes reinforces the serious problem with antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae that the public health system faces. Adherence to a regimen with the recommended antibiotics at the appropriate dose is critical, and monitoring for antimicrobial susceptibility needs to be actively maintained to adapt treatment guidelines appropriately.