• Antiviral susceptibility profile of influenza A viruses; keep an eye on immunocompromised patients under prolonged treatment.

      Kossyvakis, A; Mentis, A-F A; Tryfinopoulou, K; Pogka, V; Kalliaropoulos, A; Antalis, E; Lytras, T; Meijer, A; Tsiodras, S; Karakitsos, P; et al. (2017-02)
      There was an increase in severe and fatal influenza cases in Greece during the 2011-2015 post-pandemic period. To investigate causality, we determined neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor susceptibility and resistance-conferring NA and hemagglutinin (HA) mutations in circulating influenza type A viruses during the pandemic (2009-2010) and post-pandemic periods in Greece. One hundred thirty-four influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 and 95 influenza A(H3N2) viruses submitted to the National Influenza Reference Laboratory of Southern Greece were tested for susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir. Antiviral resistance was assessed by neuraminidase sequence analysis, as well as the fluorescence-based 50 % inhibitory concentration (IC50) method. Five influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses (2.2 %) showed significantly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir (average IC50 300.60nM vs. 1.19nM) by Gaussian kernel density plot analysis. These viruses were isolated from immunocompromised patients and harbored the H275Y oseltamivir resistance-conferring NA substitution. All A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were zanamivir-susceptible, and all A(H3N2) viruses were susceptible to both drugs. Oseltamivir-resistant viruses did not form a distinct cluster by phylogenetic analysis. Permissive mutations were detected in immunogenic and non immunogenic NA regions of both oseltamivir- resistant and susceptible viruses in the post-pandemic seasons. Several amino acid substitutions in the HA1 domain of the HA gene of post-pandemic viruses were identified. This study indicated low resistance to NAIs among tested influenza viruses. Antiviral resistance emerged only in immunocompromised patients under long-term oseltamivir treatment. Sequential sample testing in this vulnerable group of patients is recommended to characterise resistance or reinfection and viral evolution.
    • Association between genotype and drug resistance profiles of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains circulating in China in a national drug resistance survey.

      Zhou, Yang; van den Hof, Susan; Wang, Shengfen; Pang, Yu; Zhao, Bing; Xia, Hui; Anthony, Richard; Ou, Xichao; Li, Qiang; Zheng, Yang; et al. (2017)
      We describe the population structure of a representative collection of 3,133 Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates, collected within the framework of a national resistance survey from 2007 in China. Genotyping data indicate that the epidemic strains in China can be divided into seven major complexes, of which 92% belonged to the East Asian (mainly Beijing strains) or the Euro-American lineage. The epidemic Beijing strains in China are closely related to the Beijing B0/W148 strain earlier described in Russia and a large cluster of these strains has spread national wide. The density of Beijing strains is high in the whole of China (average 70%), but the highest prevalence was found North of the Yellow river. The Euro-American lineage consists of three sublineages (sublineage_1, 2, and 3) and is more prevalent in the South. Beijing lineage showed the highest cluster rate of 48% and a significantly higher level of resistance to rifampicin (14%, p<0.001), ethambutol (9%, p = 0.001), and ofloxacin (5%, p = 0.011). Within the Euro-American Lineage, sublineage_3 revealed the highest cluster rate (28%) and presented a significantly elevated level of resistance to streptomycin (44%, p<0.001). Our findings suggest that standardised treatment in this region may have contributed to the successful spread of certain strains: sublineage_3 in the Euro-American lineage may have thrived when streptomycin was used without rifampicin for treatment, while later under DOTS based treatment, in which rifampicin plays a key role, Beijing lineage appears to be spreading.
    • The first isolation and molecular characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from horses in Serbia.

      Klun, Ivana; Uzelac, Aleksandra; Villena, Isabelle; Mercier, Aurélien; Bobić, Branko; Nikolić, Aleksandra; Rajnpreht, Irena; Opsteegh, Marieke; Aubert, Dominique; Blaga, Radu; et al. (2017-04-04)
      Consumption of undercooked or insufficiently cured meat is a major risk factor for human infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Although horsemeat is typically consumed rare or undercooked, information on the risk of T. gondii from infected horse meat to humans is scarce. Here, we present the results of a study to determine the presence of T. gondii infection in slaughter horses in Serbia, and to attempt to isolate viable parasites.
    • Interactions Between Genome-Wide Significant Genetic Variants and Circulating Concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in Relation to Prostate Cancer Risk in the National Cancer Institute BPC3.

      Dimitrakopoulou, Vasiliki I; Travis, Ruth C; Shui, Irene M; Mondul, Alison; Albanes, Demetrius; Virtamo, Jarmo; Agudo, Antonio; Boeing, Heiner; Bueno-de-Mesquita, H Bas; Gunter, Marc J; et al. (2017-03-15)
      Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 100 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with prostate cancer. However, information on the mechanistic basis for some associations is limited. Recent research has been directed towards the potential association of vitamin D concentrations and prostate cancer, but little is known about whether the aforementioned genetic associations are modified by vitamin D. We investigated the associations of 46 GWAS-identified SNPs, circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), and prostate cancer (3,811 cases, 511 of whom died from the disease, compared with 2,980 controls-from 5 cohort studies that recruited participants over several periods beginning in the 1980s). We used logistic regression models with data from the National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium (BPC3) to evaluate interactions on the multiplicative and additive scales. After allowing for multiple testing, none of the SNPs examined was significantly associated with 25(OH)D concentration, and the SNP-prostate cancer associations did not differ by these concentrations. A statistically significant interaction was observed for each of 2 SNPs in the 8q24 region (rs620861 and rs16902094), 25(OH)D concentration, and fatal prostate cancer on both multiplicative and additive scales (P ≤ 0.001). We did not find strong evidence that associations between GWAS-identified SNPs and prostate cancer are modified by circulating concentrations of 25(OH)D. The intriguing interactions between rs620861 and rs16902094, 25(OH)D concentration, and fatal prostate cancer warrant replication.
    • Porcine blood used as ingredient in meat productions may serve as a vehicle for hepatitis E virus transmission.

      Boxman, Ingeborg L A; Jansen, Claudia C C; Hägele, Geke; Zwartkruis-Nahuis, Ans; Cremer, Jeroen; Vennema, Harry; Tijsma, Aloys S L (2017-09-18)
      The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the use of porcine blood(products) in food could be a risk for a hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. HEV RNA was detected in 33/36 batches of (non-heated) liquid products and in 7/24 spray dried powder products. Contamination levels varied among the products, but were highest in liquid whole blood, plasma and fibrinogen reaching levels of 2.2×102 to 2.8×102 HEV genome copies per 0.2g. Sequence analyses revealed genotype 3 strains, of which two were 100% (493nt) identical to recently diagnosed HEV cases, although no direct epidemiological link was established. The industry provided information on processing of blood products in (ready-to-eat)-meat. From this, it was concluded that blood products as an ingredient of processed meat may not be sufficiently heated prior to consumption, and therefore could be a vehicle for transmission.
    • Pyrazinamide resistance-conferring mutations in pncA and the transmission of multidrug resistant TB in Georgia.

      Sengstake, Sarah; Bergval, Indra L; Schuitema, Anja R; de Beer, Jessica L; Phelan, Jody; de Zwaan, Rina; Clark, Taane G; van Soolingen, Dick; Anthony, Richard M (2017-07-12)
      The ongoing epidemic of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in Georgia highlights the need for more effective control strategies. A new regimen to treat MDR-TB that includes pyrazinamide (PZA) is currently being evaluated and PZA resistance status will largely influence the success of current and future treatment strategies. PZA susceptibility testing was not routinely performed at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Tbilisi between 2010 and September 2015. We here provide a first insight into the prevalence of PZA resistant TB in this region.
    • Temporal and spatial analysis of psittacosis in association with poultry farming in the Netherlands, 2000-2015.

      Hogerwerf, Lenny; Holstege, Manon M C; Benincà, Elisa; Dijkstra, Frederika; van der Hoek, Wim (2017-07-26)
      Human psittacosis is a highly under diagnosed zoonotic disease, commonly linked to psittacine birds. Psittacosis in birds, also known as avian chlamydiosis, is endemic in poultry, but the risk for people living close to poultry farms is unknown. Therefore, our study aimed to explore the temporal and spatial patterns of human psittacosis infections and identify possible associations with poultry farming in the Netherlands.