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emerging infectious diseases - Top 30 Publications

Invasive mould infections in the ICU setting: complexities and solutions.

Infections caused by filamentous fungi represent a major burden in the ICU. Invasive aspergillosis is emerging in non-neutropenic individuals with predisposing conditions, e.g. corticosteroid treatment, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, liver cirrhosis, solid organ cancer, HIV infection and transplantation. Diagnosis is challenging because the signs and symptoms are non-specific, and initiation of additional diagnostic examinations is often delayed because clinical suspicion is low. Isolation of an Aspergillus species from the respiratory tract in critically ill patients, and tests such as serum galactomannan, bronchoalveolar lavage 1-3-β-d-glucan and specific PCR should be interpreted with caution. ICU patients should start adequate antifungal therapy upon suspicion of invasive aspergillosis, without awaiting definitive proof. Voriconazole, and now isavuconazole, are the drugs of choice. Mucormycosis is a rare, but increasingly prevalent disease that occurs mainly in patients with uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunocompromised individuals or previously healthy patients with open wounds contaminated with Mucorales. A high proportion of cases are diagnosed in the ICU. Rapidly progressing necrotizing lesions in the rhino-sinusal area, the lungs or skin and soft tissues are the characteristic presentation. Confirmation of diagnosis is based on demonstration of tissue invasion by non-septate hyphae, and by new promising molecular techniques. Control of underlying predisposing conditions, rapid surgical resection and administration of liposomal amphotericin B are the main therapeutic actions, but new agents such as isavuconazole are a promising alternative. Patients with mucormycosis receive a substantial part of their care in ICUs and, despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, mortality remains very high.

Clinical and microbiological features of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella associated with HIV-infected patients, Gauteng Province, South Africa.

The aim of this study was to define factors associated with HIV-infected versus uninfected patients with invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) and factors associated with mortality, which are inadequately described in Africa.Laboratory-based surveillance for iNTS was undertaken. At selected sentinel sites, clinical data (age, sex, HIV status, severity of illness, and outcome) were collected.Surveillance was conducted in Gauteng, South Africa, from 2003 to 2013. Clinical and microbiological differences between HIV-infected and uninfected patients were defined and risk factors for mortality established.Of 4886 iNTS infections in Gauteng from 2003 to 2013, 3106 (63.5%) were diagnosed at sentinel sites. Among persons with iNTS infections, more HIV-infected persons were aged ≥5 years (χ = 417.6; P < 0.001) and more HIV-infected children were malnourished (χ = 5.8; P = 0.02). Although 760 (30.6%) patients died, mortality decreased between 2003 [97/263 (36.9%)] and 2013 [926/120 (21.7%)]. On univariate analysis, mortality was associated with patients aged 25 to 49 years [odds ratio (OR) = 2.2; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.7-2.7; P < 0.001 and ≥50 years (OR = 3.0; 95% CI = 2.2-4.1; P < 0.001) compared with children < 5 years, HIV-infected patients (OR = 2.4; 95% CI = 1.7-3.4; P < 0.001), and severe illness (OR = 5.4; 95% CI = 3.6-8.1; P < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, mortality was associated with patients aged ≥50 years [adjusted OR (AOR) = 3.6, 95% CI = 2.1-6.1, P < 0.001] and severe illness (AOR = 6.3; 95% CI = 3.8-10.5; P < 0.001).Mortality due to iNTS in Gauteng remains high primarily due to disease severity. Interventions must be aimed at predisposing conditions, including HIV, other immune-suppressive conditions, and malignancy.

Ebola Preparedness in the Netherlands: The Need for Coordination Between the Public Health and the Curative Sector.

During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, close cooperation between the curative sector and the public health sector in the Netherlands was necessary for timely identification, referral, and investigation of patients with suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD).

Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus, another re-emerging arbovirus: a literature review of worldwide research.

Not available.

An overview of the epidemiology and emergence of influenza A infection in humans over time.

In recent years multiple novel influenza A strains have emerged in humans. We reviewed publically available data to summarise epidemiological characteristics of distinct avian influenza viruses known to cause human infection and describe changes over time. Most recently identified zoonotic strains have emerged in China (H7N9, H5N6, H10N8) - these strains have occurred mostly in association with visiting a live bird market. Most zoonotic AIVs and swine influenza variants typically cause mild infections in humans however severe illness and fatalities are associated with zoonotic H5N6, H10N8, H7N9 and H5N1 serotypes, and the H1N1 1918 Spanish Influenza. The changing landscape of avian influenza globally indicates a need to reassess the risk of a pandemic influenza outbreak of zoonotic origin.

Comparing nonpharmaceutical interventions for containing emerging epidemics.

Strategies for containing an emerging infectious disease outbreak must be nonpharmaceutical when drugs or vaccines for the pathogen do not yet exist or are unavailable. The success of these nonpharmaceutical strategies will depend on not only the effectiveness of isolation measures but also the epidemiological characteristics of the infection. However, there is currently no systematic framework to assess the relationship between different containment strategies and the natural history and epidemiological dynamics of the pathogen. Here, we compare the effectiveness of quarantine and symptom monitoring, implemented via contact tracing, in controlling epidemics using an agent-based branching model. We examine the relationship between epidemic containment and the disease dynamics of symptoms and infectiousness for seven case-study diseases with diverse natural histories, including Ebola, influenza A, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We show that the comparative effectiveness of symptom monitoring and quarantine depends critically on the natural history of the infectious disease, its inherent transmissibility, and the intervention feasibility in the particular healthcare setting. The benefit of quarantine over symptom monitoring is generally maximized for fast-course diseases, but we show the conditions under which symptom monitoring alone can control certain outbreaks. This quantitative framework can guide policymakers on how best to use nonpharmaceutical interventions and prioritize research during an outbreak of an emerging pathogen.

Contribution of the Purinergic Receptor P2X7 to Development of Lung Immunopathology during Influenza Virus Infection.

An exacerbated immune response is one of the main causes of influenza-induced lung damage during infection. The molecular mechanisms regulating the fate of the initial immune response to infection, either as a protective response or as detrimental immunopathology, are not well understood. The purinergic receptor P2X7 is an ionotropic nucleotide-gated ion channel receptor expressed on immune cells that has been implicated in induction and maintenance of excessive inflammation. Here, we analyze the role of this receptor in a mouse model of influenza virus infection using a receptor knockout (KO) mouse strain. Our results demonstrate that the absence of the P2X7 receptor results in a better outcome to influenza virus infection characterized by reduced weight loss and increased survival upon experimental influenza challenge compared to wild-type mice. This effect was not virus strain specific. Overall lung pathology and apoptosis were reduced in virus-infected KO mice. Production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines such as interleukin-10 (IL-10), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), and CC chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2) was also reduced in the lungs of the infected KO mice. Infiltration of neutrophils and depletion of CD11b(+) macrophages, characteristic of severe influenza virus infection in mice, were lower in the KO animals. Together, these results demonstrate that activation of the P2X7 receptor is involved in the exacerbated immune response observed during influenza virus infection.IMPORTANCE A hallmark of influenza virus infection is the development of lung pathology induced by an exacerbated immune response. The mechanisms shared by the antiviral host defense required for viral clearance and those required for development of immunopathology are not clearly understood. Purinergic receptors, and in particular the purinergic receptor P2X7 (P2X7r), are involved in activation of the immune response. We used mice lacking the P2X7r (P2X7r KO mice) to better understand the mechanisms that lead to development of lung pathology during influenza virus infection. In our studies, we observed that P2X7r KO mice developed less lung immunopathology and had better survival than the wild-type mice. These results implicate P2X7r in the induction of an exacerbated local immune response to influenza virus and help us to better understand the mechanisms leading to the lung immunopathology observed during severe viral infections.

Cognitive testing to evaluate revisions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reporting form.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the spontaneous (passive) reporting system CDC and FDA use to monitor vaccine safety. We used cognitive testing to evaluate proposed revisions to the current VAERS form.

Advancing Diagnostics to Address Antibacterial Resistance: The Diagnostics and Devices Committee of the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group.

Diagnostics are a cornerstone of the practice of infectious diseases. However, various limitations frequently lead to unmet clinical needs. In most other domains, diagnostics focus on narrowly defined questions, provide readily interpretable answers, and use true gold standards for development. In contrast, infectious diseases diagnostics must contend with scores of potential pathogens, dozens of clinical syndromes, emerging pathogens, rapid evolution of existing pathogens and their associated resistance mechanisms, and the absence of gold standards in many situations. In spite of these challenges, the importance and value of diagnostics cannot be underestimated. Therefore, the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group has identified diagnostics as 1 of 4 major areas of emphasis. Herein, we provide an overview of that development, highlighting several examples where innovation in study design, content, and execution is advancing the field of infectious diseases diagnostics.

A cardiac implantable device infection by Raoultella planticola in an immunocompromized patient.

Introduction. Infection of cardiac implantable electronic devices is a severe condition associated with high mortality, particularly in patients who are dependent upon heart-pacing devices. Staphylococci are found in 70 % of reported cases. Case presentation. We report the case of a cardiac-pacemaker infection in a 79-year-old man, cumulating a history of rheumatoid arthritis treated by corticosteroids and methotrexate by a recently identified micro-organism: Raoultella planticola. He presented local signs of infection on his VVI pacemaker implantation site and underwent urgent pocket device replacement under cefamandole antibioprophylaxis. On incision thick pus oozed out. It was necessary to perform a complete hardware extraction comprising the pulse generator and the ancient lead. Pus was inoculated into aerobic and anaerobic culture vials and Gram staining unveiled Gram-negative rods. Microbiology analysis identified the organism as R. planticola. A new pacing device was inserted on the contrlateral pectoral region. Ciprofloxacin enabled full recovery. A literature review concerning this pathogen revealed that it is involved in severe infections such as bloodstream infections, peritonitis, cellulitis, pneumonia and lung abscesses, and urinary tract infections. In these case reports, underlying co-morbidities were identified such as solid active neoplasia, recent chemotherapy, corticosteroids, solid-organ-recipient patients and recent open surgery. Conclusion.R. planticola is a serious emerging pathogen and contributes to the burden of various infectious conditions. Its pathogenicity and occurrence should be known by clinicians and a high level of awareness is necessary to precisely identify it provide the correct antibiotic regimen.

Zika and Chikungunya virus co-infection in a traveller returning from Colombia, 2016: virus isolation and genetic analysis.

Zikavirus (ZIKV) and Chikungunyavirus (CHIKV) can share the same mosquito vector, and co-infections by these viruses can occur in humans. While infections with these viruses share commonalities, CHIKV is unique in causing arthritis and arthralgias that may persist for a year or more. These infections are commonly diagnosed by RT-PCR-based methods during the acute phase of infection. Even with the high specificity and sensitivity characteristic of PCR, false negatives can occur, highlighting the need for additional diagnostic methods for confirmation.

Streptococcus suis serotype 2 strains isolated in Argentina (South America) are different from those recovered in North America and present a higher risk for humans.

Streptococcus suis serotype 2 is an important swine pathogen and emerging zoonotic agent causing meningitis and septicemia/septic shock. Strains are usually virulent (Eurasia) or of intermediate/low virulence (North America). Very few data regarding human and swine isolates from South America are available.

Evolutionary Constraints on the Norovirus Pandemic Variant GII.4_2006b over the Five-Year Persistence in Japan.

Norovirus GII.4 is a major cause of global outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis in humans, and has evolved by antigenic changes under the constantly changing human herd immunity. Major shift in the pandemic GII.4 strain periodically occurs concomitant with changes in the antigenic capsid protein VP1. However, how the newly emerged strain evolves after the onset of pandemic remains unclear. To address this issue, we examined molecular evolution of a pandemic lineage, termed the GII.4_2006b, by using the full-length viral genome and VP1 sequences (n = 317) from stools collected at 20 sites in Japan between 2006 and 2011. Phylogenetic tree showed a radial diversification of the genome sequences of GII.4_2006b, suggesting a rapid genetic diversification of the GII.4_2006b population from a few ancestral variants. Impressively, amino acid sequences of the variable VP1 in given seasons remained as homogeneous as those of viral enzymes under annual increase in the nucleotide diversity in the VP1 coding region. The Hamming distances between the earliest and subsequent variants indicate strong constraints on amino acid changes even for the highly variable P2 subdomain. These results show the presence of evolutionary constraints on the VP1 protein and viral enzymes, and suggest that these proteins gain near maximal levels of fitness benefits in humans around the onset of the outbreaks. These findings have implications for our understanding of molecular evolution, mechanisms of the periodic shifts in the pandemic NoV GII.4 strains, and control of the NoV GII.4 pandemic strain.

Hyperferritinemia as a Diagnostic Marker for Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome.

Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging viral disease in East Asia with high mortality. Few studies have examined markers that suggest SFTS in febrile patients. To determine useful biochemical markers for SFTS, patients aged 18 years or older with SFTS or microbiologically confirmed community-onset bacteremia with thrombocytopenia (BT) at presentation between June 2013 and December 2015 were included from two tertiary university hospitals in Republic of Korea retrospectively. Eleven patients with SFTS and 62 patients with bacteremia and thrombocytopenia were identified in the study period. Age and sex did not show significant difference among two groups. Fever was more commonly observed but comorbidities were less common in SFTS than in BT (P < 0.05, each). The areas under the curves of serum ferritin, C-reactive protein, white blood cell count, serum procalcitonin, and fibrinogen were above 0.9, indicating the discriminative power of these biomarkers (1.000, 0.991, 0.963, 0.931, and 0.934, resp., all P < 0.05). The optimal cutoff value of serum ferritin was 3,822 ng/mL in this study. These results suggest that hyperferritinemia is a typical laboratory feature of SFTS, and the serum ferritin level can be used as a marker for clinicians suspecting SFTS.

Quantification of circulating Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen peptides allows rapid diagnosis of active disease and treatment monitoring.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health threat, resulting in an urgent unmet need for a rapid, non-sputum-based quantitative test to detect active Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infections in clinically diverse populations and quickly assess Mtb treatment responses for emerging drug-resistant strains. We have identified Mtb-specific peptide fragments and developed a method to rapidly quantify their serum concentrations, using antibody-labeled and energy-focusing porous discoidal silicon nanoparticles (nanodisks) and high-throughput mass spectrometry (MS) to enhance sensitivity and specificity. NanoDisk-MS diagnosed active Mtb cases with high sensitivity and specificity in a case-control study with cohorts reflecting the complexity of clinical practice. Similar robust sensitivities were obtained for cases of culture-positive pulmonary TB (PTB; 91.3%) and extrapulmonary TB (EPTB; 92.3%), and the sensitivities obtained for culture-negative PTB (82.4%) and EPTB (75.0%) in HIV-positive patients significantly outperformed those reported for other available assays. NanoDisk-MS also exhibited high specificity (87.1-100%) in both healthy and high-risk groups. Absolute quantification of serum Mtb antigen concentration was informative in assessing responses to antimycobacterial treatment. Thus, a NanoDisk-MS assay approach could significantly improve the diagnosis and management of active TB cases, and perhaps other infectious diseases as well.

Tracking zoonotic pathogens using blood-sucking flies as 'flying syringes'.

About 60% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are of zoonotic origin. Their increasing number requires the development of new methods for early detection and monitoring of infectious agents in wildlife. Here, we investigated whether blood meals from hematophagous flies could be used to identify the infectious agents circulating in wild vertebrates. To this aim, 1230 blood-engorged flies were caught in the forests of Gabon. Identified blood meals (30%) were from 20 vertebrate species including mammals, birds and reptiles. Among them, 9% were infected by different extant malaria parasites among which some belonged to known parasite species, others to new parasite species or to parasite lineages for which only the vector was known. This study demonstrates that using hematophagous flies as 'flying syringes' constitutes an interesting approach to investigate blood-borne pathogen diversity in wild vertebrates and could be used as an early detection tool of zoonotic pathogens.

A novel in vitro model reveals distinctive modulatory roles of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax on naïve cell-mediated immunity.

To date, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) have been used mainly in immune stimulation assays and the interpretation of data can be influenced by the previous immunological history of donors and cross reactivity with other infectious agents. Resolving these limitations requires an alternative in vitro model to uncover the primary response profiles.

Dengue virus NS2B protein targets cGAS for degradation and prevents mitochondrial DNA sensing during infection.

During the last few decades, the global incidence of dengue virus (DENV) has increased dramatically, and it is now endemic in more than 100 countries. To establish a productive infection in humans, DENV uses different strategies to inhibit or avoid the host innate immune system. Several DENV proteins have been shown to strategically target crucial components of the type I interferon system. Here, we report that the DENV NS2B protease cofactor targets the DNA sensor cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) for lysosomal degradation to avoid the detection of mitochondrial DNA during infection. Such degradation subsequently results in the inhibition of type I interferon production in the infected cell. Our data demonstrate a mechanism by which cGAS senses cellular damage upon DENV infection.

Bacterial bloodstream infections in the allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant patient: new considerations for a persistent nemesis.

Bacterial bloodstream infections (BSI) cause significant transplant-related morbidity and mortality following allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). This manuscript reviews the risk factors for and the bacterial pathogens causing BSIs in allo-HCT recipients in the contemporary transplant period. In addition, it offers insight into emerging resistant pathogens and reviews clinical management considerations to treat and strategies to prevent BSIs in allo-HCT patients.Bone Marrow Transplantation advance online publication, 27 March 2017; doi:10.1038/bmt.2017.14.

Decision making in the face of uncertainty: the challenge of emerging infectious diseases.

Escherichia coli ST131: a multidrug-resistant clone primed for global domination.

A single extra-intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) clone, named sequence type (ST) 131, is responsible for millions of global antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) infections annually. Population genetics indicate that ST131 consists of different clades (i.e. A, B, and C); however, clade C is the most dominant globally. A ST131 subclade, named C1-M27, is emerging in Japan and has been responsible for the recent increase in AMR ExPEC in that country. The sequential acquisition of several virulence and AMR genes associated with mobile genetic elements during the 1960s to 1980s primed clade C (and its subclades C1 and C2) for success in the 1990s to 2000s. IncF plasmids with F1:A2:B20 and F2:A1:B replicons have shaped the evolution of the C1 and C2 subclades. It is possible that ST131 is a host generalist with different accessory gene profiles. Compensatory mutations within the core genome of this clone have counterbalanced the fitness cost associated with IncF plasmids. ST131 clade C had dramatically changed the population structure of ExPEC, but it still remains unclear which features of this clade resulted in one of the most unprecedented AMR successes of the 2000s.

Emerging from the database shadows: characterizing undocumented immigrants in a large cohort of HIV-infected persons.

Little is known about how HIV affects undocumented immigrants despite social and structural factors that may place them at risk of poor HIV outcomes. Our understanding of the clinical epidemiology of HIV-infected undocumented immigrants is limited by the challenges of determining undocumented immigration status in large data sets. We developed an algorithm to predict undocumented status using social security number (SSN) and insurance data. We retrospectively applied this algorithm to a cohort of HIV-infected adults receiving care at a large urban healthcare system who attended at least one HIV-related outpatient visit from 1997 to 2013, classifying patients as "screened undocumented" or "documented". We then reviewed the medical records of screened undocumented patients, classifying those whose records contained evidence of undocumented status as "undocumented per medical chart" (charted undocumented). Bivariate measures of association were used to identify demographic and clinical characteristics associated with undocumented immigrant status. Of 7593 patients, 205 (2.7%) were classified as undocumented by the algorithm. Compared to documented patients, undocumented patients were younger at entry to care (mean 38.5 years vs. 40.6 years, p < 0.05), less likely to be female (33.2% vs. 43.1%, p < 0.01), less likely to report injection drug use as their primary HIV risk factor (3.4% vs. 18.0%, p < 0.001), and had lower median CD4 count at entry to care (288 vs. 339 cells/mm(3), p < 0.01). After medical record review, we re-classified 104 patients (50.7%) as charted undocumented. Demographic and clinical characteristics of charted undocumented did not differ substantially from screened undocumented. Our algorithm allowed us to identify and clinically characterize undocumented immigrants within an HIV-infected population, though it overestimated the prevalence of patients who were undocumented.

Unusual severe case of hemolytic uremic syndrome due to Shiga toxin 2d-producing E. coli O80:H2.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is one of the most common causes of acute renal failure in children, with the majority of cases caused by an infection with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Whereas O157 is still the predominant STEC serotype, non-O157 serotypes are increasingly associated with STEC-HUS. However, little is known about this emerging and highly diverse group of non-O157 serotypes. With supportive therapy, STEC-HUS is often self-limiting, with occurrence of chronic sequelae in just a small proportion of patients.

A fast and efficient purification platform for cell-based influenza viruses by flow-through chromatography.

Since newly emerging influenza viruses with pandemic potentials occurred in recent years, the demand for producing pandemic influenza vaccines for human use is high. For the development of a quick and efficient vaccine production, we proposed an efficient purification platform from the harvest to the purified bulk for the cell-based influenza vaccine production. This platform based on flow-through chromatography and filtration steps and the process only involves a few purification steps, including depth filtration, inactivation by formaldehyde, microfiltration, ultrafiltration, anion-exchange and ligand-core chromatography and sterile filtration. In addition, in the proposed chromatography steps, no virus capture steps were employed, and the purification results were not affected by the virus strain variation, host cells and culturing systems. The results from different virus strains which produced by Vero or MDCK cells in different culturing systems also obtained 33-46% HA recovery yields by this platform. The overall removal rates of the protein and DNA concentration in the purified bulk were over 96.1% and 99.7%, respectively. The low residual cellular DNA concentrations were obtained ranged from 30 to 130pg per human dose (15µg/dose). All influenza H5N1 purified bulks met the regulatory requirements for human vaccine use.

Epidemiology of infectious encephalitis causes in 2016.

We performed a literature search in the Medline database, using the PubMed website. The incidence of presumably infectious encephalitis is estimated at 1.5-7 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year, excluding epidemics. Infectious encephalitis and immune-mediated encephalitis share similar clinical signs and symptoms. The latter accounts for a significant proportion of presumably infectious encephalitis cases without any established etiological diagnosis; as shown from a prospective cohort study where 21% of cases were due to an immune cause. Several infectious agents are frequently reported in all studies: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the most frequent pathogen in 65% of studies, followed by Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in several studies. Enteroviruses are also reported; being the most frequent viruses in two studies, and the 2nd or 3rd viruses in five other studies. There are important regional differences, especially in case of vector-borne transmission: Asia and the Japanese encephalitis virus, Eastern and Northern Europe/Eastern Russia and the tick-borne encephalitis virus, Northern America and Flavivirus or Alphavirus. Bacteria can also be incriminated: Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Listeria monocytogenes are the most frequent, after HSV and VZV, in a French prospective study. The epidemiology of encephalitis is constantly evolving. Epidemiological data may indicate the emergence and/or dissemination of new causative agents. The dissemination and emergence of causative agents are fostered by environmental, social, and economical changes, but prevention programs (vaccination, vector controls) help reduce the incidence of other infectious diseases and associated encephalitis (e.g., measles).

Detection of Polish clinical Aspergillus fumigatus isolates resistant to triazoles.

We studied the presence of triazole resistance of 121 Aspergillus fumigatus clinical isolates collected in two Polish cities, Warsaw and Wrocław, to determine if resistance is emerging in our country. We identified five itraconazole resistant isolates (4.13%) carrying the TR34/L98H alteration in Cyp51A gene, four of which were cross-resistant to posaconazole and one to voriconazole. One isolate was intermediate susceptible to itraconazole and harbored no Cyp51A alterations. The study confirms the presence of azole resistant A. fumigatus strains in Poland at a level that is comparative to other European countries.

Characterization of a hypervirulent fowl adenovirus 4 with the novel genotype newly prevalent in China and establishment of reproduction infection model of hydropericardium syndrome in chickens.

Severe hydropericardium syndrome (HPS) has been present in layers in the northeast of China since June 2015, with mortality rates varying from 30 to 90%. Dead layers had severe hydropericardium with pericardial volumes of 5 to 20 mL, as well as inclusion body hepatitis. Laboratory investigations led to the isolation of a fowl adenovirus strain, HLJFAd15, from the liver tissue of dead layers. Natural deletions of ORF19 and ORF27 were found in this clinical strain by complete genome sequencing, which was identified with the novel genotype recently prevalent in China. The pathogenicity characterization was conducted in 35-day-old SPF chickens using HLJFAd15 with novel genotype of fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4). The reproduction disease cases of HPS with mortality rates of 76.9% by oral administration and 100% by intramuscular injection were induced successfully by challenging SPF chickens, respectively. Non-enveloped viral particles with a mean diameter of approximately 80 nm were found in the livers of virus-infected SPF chickens. Our study revealed that HLJFAd15 was identified with the novel genotype strains recently emerging in China by complete genome sequencing, and the strain was capable of causing HPS by the pathogenicity analysis. However, although there is currently no commercial vaccine against the novel genotype FAdV-4, the animal infection model established in this study was valuable for vaccine evaluation and development.

Molecular diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia in dogs.

Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a life-threatening fungal disease that can occur in dogs. The aim of this study was to provide a preliminary genetic characterisation of Pneumocystis carinii f.sp.'canis' (P. canis) in dogs and thereby develop a reliable molecular protocol to definitively diagnose canine PCP. We investigated P. canis in a variety of lung specimens from dogs with confirmed or strongly suspected PCP (Group 1, n = 16), dogs with non-PCP lower respiratory tract problems (Group 2, n = 65) and dogs not suspected of having PCP or other lower respiratory diseases (Group 3, n = 11). Presence of Pneumocystis DNA was determined by nested PCR of the large and small mitochondrial subunit rRNA loci and by a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay developed using a new set of primers. Molecular results were correlated with the presence of Pneumocystis morphotypes detected in cytological/histological preparations. Pneumocystis DNA was amplified from 13/16 PCP-suspected dogs (Group 1) and from 4/76 dogs of control Groups 2 and 3 (combined). The latter four dogs were thought to have been colonized by P. canis. Comparison of CT values in 'infected' versus 'colonized' dogs was consistent with this notion, with a distinct difference in molecular burden between groups (CT ≤ 26 versus CT range (26 <CT < 35), respectively). Phylogenetic analyses showed that P. canis is specifically 'canine' associated, being separated from other mammalian Pneumocystis species, thereby confirming the accuracy of qPCR amplicon for Pneumocystis in dogs. Using qPCR, Pneumocystis DNA can be detected in specimens from the respiratory tract and a CT value can be interpreted to distinguish infection versus colonization.

Arm Paralysis After Routine Childhood Vaccinations: Application of Advanced Molecular Methods to the Causality Assessment of an Adverse Event After Immunization.

Post-licensure surveillance for adverse events following immunizations (AEFI) can identify rare complications of vaccinations and rigorous vaccine adverse event causality assessments can help to identify possible causal relationships. We report the development of arm paralysis after varicella vaccination in a 1-year-old child. Paralysis was initially presumed to be due to vOka because of the temporal relationship between vaccination and onset of arm weakness; however, molecular studies identified wild-type varicella zoster virus VZV (WT-VZV) in the CSF, leading the authors to conclude that WT-VZV was the probable cause. This case illustrates the complexity of assessing AEFI causality, and the importance of careful and complete evaluations when determining the most likely cause of an AEFI.

Viral and host factors associated with outcomes of hepatitis C virus infection (Review).

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major health issue globally. Owing to the progress made in host genetics and HCV molecular virology, emerging data have suggested that the natural course and treatment response in patients with HCV infection are largely determined by complex host‑viral interactions. HCV genotype is the most important viral factor predicting the response to pegylated interferon‑α plus ribavirin therapy. The subtype of HCV genotype 1 is the key viral factor that predicts the efficacy of direct‑acting antiviral therapy. HCV genome heterogeneity and baseline viral load are additionally associated with the treatment response. Multiple host genetic variants localized in genes associated with the immune response have been identified as predictors of spontaneous disease course and therapy outcome in chronic HCV. However, most findings from candidate gene association studies have not been proven universal for all investigated populations and independent studies. Previous findings in independent large genome wide association studies confirmed that interferon‑λ3 gene polymorphisms are associated with spontaneous clearance and treatment responsiveness. A polymorphism of the inosine triphosphatase gene has been identified as a protective factor against ribavirin‑induced anemia and dose reductions. Another genetic variant in the patatin‑like phospholipase domain containing 3 genes is associated with hepatic steatosis and fibrosis in patients with HCV. The present review focused on the identified viral and host factors associated with outcomes of patients with HCV, and assessed the involvement of viral and host genetics in the natural history and treatment outcomes of HCV infection. This will provide novel ideas concerning personalized prevention and individualized clinical management.