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Infect. Dis. Rep., Volume 13, Issue 3 (September 2021) – 22 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We previously investigated the role of Nitazoxanide (NTZ) in HIV-1 infection. NTZ treatment in primary PBMCs was able to reduce HIV-1 infection in vitro by inducing the expression of type-I interferon-stimulated genes. Among them, CH25H is involved in cholesterol metabolism. In the present study, we wanted to deepen our knowledge on the antiviral mechanism of action of NTZ. Indeed, by inducing CH25H, NTZ treatment repressed cholesterol biosynthetic pathways and promoted cholesterol mobilization and efflux from the cell. Such effects were even more pronounced upon stimulation with FLU antigens in combination. It is already well known how tightly interconnected lipid metabolism and virus replication are. Indeed, NTZ was able to modulate cholesterol metabolism and, by doing so, enhance the antiviral response. View this paper
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Article
Inadequate Cerebrospinal Fluid Concentrations of Available Salvage Agents Further Impedes the Optimal Treatment of Multidrug-Resistant Enterococcus faecium Meningitis and Bacteremia
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 843-854; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030076 - 08 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3102
Abstract
Background: Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) in particular has evolved as an important cause of hospital acquired infection, especially in immunocompromised hosts. Methods: We present a complex case of a patient with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia who underwent allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation complicated [...] Read more.
Background: Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) in particular has evolved as an important cause of hospital acquired infection, especially in immunocompromised hosts. Methods: We present a complex case of a patient with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia who underwent allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation complicated by persistent VRE bacteremia and meningitis. To optimize therapy, various blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were sent to a research laboratory for extensive susceptibility testing, pharmacokinetic analyses, and time-kill experiments. Results: In vitro testing revealed resistance to all first-line treatment options and CSF sampling demonstrated sub-optimal central nervous system concentrations achieved by each antimicrobial agent administered in relation to their respective MIC value. Time-kill analyses at observed CSF concentrations confirmed the lack of bactericidal activity despite use of a four-drug combination regimen. Conclusions: This work is the first to report CSF concentrations of oritavancin and tedizolid in humans and adds to the limited data regarding in vitro susceptibility of new antimicrobial agents such as eravacycline, omadacycline, and lefamulin against VRE. Our study provides new insights into various aspects of treatment of extensively drug-resistant Enterococcus faecium meningitis and bacteremia and supports the continued pursuit of precision medicine for these challenging cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Diseases)
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Brief Report
Post-COVID-19 Necrotizing Pneumonia in Patients on Invasive Mechanical Ventilation
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 835-842; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030075 - 08 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2103
Abstract
(1) Background: Few reports of necrotizing pneumonia in patients with COVID-19 have been published. We have observed an elevated incidence at two hospitals in our city, suggesting this complication is not uncommon, and may have been overlooked. (2) Methods: This article presents a [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Few reports of necrotizing pneumonia in patients with COVID-19 have been published. We have observed an elevated incidence at two hospitals in our city, suggesting this complication is not uncommon, and may have been overlooked. (2) Methods: This article presents a retrospective, descriptive cohort study that was undertaken from 22 March 2020 to 15 June 2021 in two tertiary care hospitals in Medellín, Colombia. All adult patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for respiratory failure related to confirmed COVID-19, on invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), with imaging or surgical findings documenting necrotizing pneumonia (NP) were included. (3) Results: Of 936 patients with COVID-19 that required IMV, 42 (4.5%) developed NP. Overall mortality was 57% and in-hospital mortality was 71%, occurring 15–79 days after COVID-19 diagnosis. NP was diagnosed at a median of 27 days after COVID-19 symptom onset and 15.5 days after initiation of IMV. Infections were polymicrobial in 52.4% of patients. Klebsiella pneumoniae (57%) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (33%) were the most common etiologic agents. Pulmonary embolism (PE) was documented in 13 patients overall (31%), and in 50% of patients who underwent an angioCT. Drainage and/or surgical procedures were performed on 19 patients (45.2%) with a 75% mortality rate. (4) Conclusions: In our experience, NP is a relatively common, albeit neglected, complication in mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients, possibly originating in poorly vascularized areas of lung parenchyma. Associated mortality is high. Although drainage procedures did not seem to favorably impact patient outcomes, diagnosis and treatment were late events in the overall disease course, suggesting that early recognition and timely treatment could have a positive impact on prognosis. Full article
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Review
Review of the Effectiveness of Various Adjuvant Therapies in Treating Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 821-834; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030074 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1911
Abstract
Tuberculosis disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is estimated that 10 million people have developed tuberculosis disease globally, leading to 1.4 million deaths in 2019. Treatment of tuberculosis has been especially challenging due to the rise of multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) [...] Read more.
Tuberculosis disease is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is estimated that 10 million people have developed tuberculosis disease globally, leading to 1.4 million deaths in 2019. Treatment of tuberculosis has been especially challenging due to the rise of multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensive drug-resistant (XDR-TB) tuberculosis. In addition to drug-resistant genotypes, the standard treatment of tuberculosis by first-line agents is also challenging due to toxicity and costs. In the last four decades, there have only been two new anti-tuberculosis agents—bedaquiline and delamanid. Therefore, shorter, safer, and more cost-effective therapies are needed to adequately treat tuberculosis. In this review, we explore various adjuvants such as glutathione, everolimus, vitamin D, steroid, aspirin, statin, and metformin and their usefulness in reducing the burden of tuberculosis. Glutathione, everolimus, aspirin, and metformin showed the most promise in alleviating the burden of tuberculosis. Despite their potential, more clinical trials are needed to unequivocally establish the effectiveness of these adjuvants as future clinical therapies. Methods: The journals for this review were selected by conducting a search via PubMed, Google Scholar, and The Lancet. Our first search included keywords such as “tuberculosis” and “adjuvant therapy.” From the search, we made a list of adjuvants associated with tuberculosis, and this helped guide us with our second online database search. Using the same three online databases, we searched “tuberculosis” and “respective therapy.” The adjuvants included in the paper were selected based on the availability of sufficient research and support between the therapy and tuberculosis. Adjuvants with minimal research support were excluded. There were no specific search criteria regarding the timing of publication, with our citations ranging between 1979 to 2021. Full article
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Review
Update on the Epidemiology of Macrolide-Resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae in Europe: A Systematic Review
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 811-820; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030073 - 02 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
Macrolide-resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MR-MP) infections cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections in both children and adults, and are characterized by a longer duration of symptoms. Here, we undertook a systematic review of studies on MR-MP in Europe. The review meets PRISMA guidelines. [...] Read more.
Macrolide-resistant Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MR-MP) infections cause upper and lower respiratory tract infections in both children and adults, and are characterized by a longer duration of symptoms. Here, we undertook a systematic review of studies on MR-MP in Europe. The review meets PRISMA guidelines. The PubMed, Scopus, and Science Direct databases were searched using suitable keywords to identify relevant studies published from 2010 to 2021; 21 studies were included. Overall, a low level of MR-MP spread was reported in Europe. MR-MP spread increased during epidemic waves registered in Europe, particularly in Italy and Scotland, where the highest MR-MP infection rates were registered during the 2010–2011 epidemic. By contrast, no MR-MP infections were reported in Finland and the Netherlands. Continued monitoring of MR-MP in Europe is needed to maintain the low rates of infection. Moreover, a coordinated and structured pan-European surveillance program adequate for public health surveillance is advisable, with the purpose of containing the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Variables Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Hesitancy Amongst Patients with Neurological Disorders
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 763-810; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030072 - 30 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2339
Abstract
Introduction: Given that the success of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relies on herd immunity, identifying patients at risk for vaccine hesitancy is imperative—particularly for those at high risk for severe COVID-19 (i.e., minorities and patients with neurological disorders). Methods: Among patients [...] Read more.
Introduction: Given that the success of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relies on herd immunity, identifying patients at risk for vaccine hesitancy is imperative—particularly for those at high risk for severe COVID-19 (i.e., minorities and patients with neurological disorders). Methods: Among patients from a large neuroscience institute in Hawaii, vaccine hesitancy was investigated in relation to over 30 sociodemographic variables and medical comorbidities, via a telephone quality improvement survey conducted between 23 January 2021 and 13 February 2021. Results: Vaccine willingness (n = 363) was 81.3%. Univariate analysis identified that the odds of vaccine acceptance reduced for patients who do not regard COVID-19 as a severe illness, are of younger age, have a lower Charlson Comorbidity Index, use illicit drugs, or carry Medicaid insurance. Multivariable logistic regression identified the best predictors of vaccine hesitancy to be: social media use to obtain COVID-19 information, concerns regarding vaccine safety, self-perception of a preexisting medical condition contraindicated with vaccination, not having received the annual influenza vaccine, having some high school education only, being a current smoker, and not having a prior cerebrovascular accident. Unique amongst males, a conservative political view strongly predicted vaccine hesitancy. Specifically for Asians, a higher body mass index, while for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (NHPI), a positive depression screen, both reduced the odds of vaccine acceptance. Conclusion: Upon identifying the variables associated with vaccine hesitancy amongst patients with neurological disorders, our clinic is now able to efficiently provide ancillary COVID-19 education to sub-populations at risk for vaccine hesitancy. While our results may be limited to the sub-population of patients with neurological disorders, the findings nonetheless provide valuable insight to understanding vaccine hesitancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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Brief Report
Determinants of Influenza Vaccination Coverage among Greek Health Care Workers amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 757-762; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030071 - 28 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1766
Abstract
In the context of the evolving current COVID-19 pandemic, influenza vaccination among the public and health care workers is of particular importance. There are sparse data on the influenza vaccination coverage among health care workers amid COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to study possible [...] Read more.
In the context of the evolving current COVID-19 pandemic, influenza vaccination among the public and health care workers is of particular importance. There are sparse data on the influenza vaccination coverage among health care workers amid COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to study possible factors associated with influenza vaccination coverage among Greek physicians, dentists, and pharmacists during the flu season 2020–2021. We formulated the hypothesis that COVID-19 pandemic exerted a positive impact on the influenza vaccination coverage of health care workers. An online survey was conducted among the members of the Larissa, (Thessaly, Central Greece) Medical, Dentists, and Pharmacists Associations. The influenza vaccination coverage was 74% (251/340). Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination coverage was the only factor independently associated with the likelihood of influenza vaccination coverage. In conclusion, we report here a considerable improvement of the influenza vaccination coverage among HCWs and especially among physicians. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination was the only predictor of influenza vaccination coverage. This finding provides public health workers and policymakers with useful policy-relevant evidence in order to maintain and even further improve the gains of increased vaccination coverage achieved during the flu season 2020–2021. Full article
Article
Longitudinal Projection of Herd Prevalence of Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 Virus Infection in the Norwegian Pig Population by Discrete-Time Markov Chain Modelling
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 748-756; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030070 - 25 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1479
Abstract
In order to quantify projections of disease burden and to prioritise disease control strategies in the animal population, good mathematical modelling of infectious disease dynamics is required. This article investigates the suitability of discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC) as one such model for forecasting [...] Read more.
In order to quantify projections of disease burden and to prioritise disease control strategies in the animal population, good mathematical modelling of infectious disease dynamics is required. This article investigates the suitability of discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC) as one such model for forecasting disease burden in the Norwegian pig population after the incursion of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus (H1N1pdm09) in Norwegian pigs in 2009. By the year-end, Norway’s active surveillance further detected 20 positive herds from 54 random pig herds, giving an estimated initial population prevalence of 37% (95% CI 25–52). Since then, Norway’s yearly surveillance of pig herd prevalence has given this study 11 years of data from 2009 to 2020 to work with. Longitudinally, the pig herd prevalence for H1N1pdm09 rose sharply to >40% in three years and then fluctuated narrowly between 48% and 49% for 6 years before declining. This initial longitudinal pattern in herd prevalence from 2009 to 2016 inspired this study to test the steady-state discrete-time Markov chain model in forecasting disease prevalence. With the pig herd as the unit of analysis, the parameters for DTMC came from the initial two years of surveillance data after the outbreak, namely vector prevalence, first herd incidence and recovery rates. The latter two probabilities formed the fixed probability transition matrix for use in a discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC) that is quite similar to another compartmental model, the susceptible–infected–susceptible (SIS) model. These DTMC of predicted prevalence (DTMCP) showed good congruence (Pearson correlation = 0.88) with the subsequently observed herd prevalence for seven years from 2010 to 2016. While the DTMCP converged to the stationary (endemic) state of 48% in 2012, after three time steps, the observed prevalence declined instead from 48% after 2016 to 25% in 2018 before rising to 29% in 2020. A sudden plunge in H1N1pdm09 prevalence amongst Norwegians during the 2016/2017 human flu season may have had a knock-on effect in reducing the force of infection in pig herds in Norway. This paper endeavours to present the discrete-time Markov chain (DTMC) as a feasible but limited tool in forecasting the sequence of a predicted infectious disease’s prevalence after it’s incursion as an exotic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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Brief Report
Performance of Qualitative and Quantitative Antigen Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Using Saliva
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 742-747; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030069 - 24 Aug 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1996
Abstract
The rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for the prevention of disease outbreaks. Antigen tests such as immunochromatographic assay (ICA) and chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) can yield results more quickly than PCR. We evaluated the performance of ICA and CLEIA using 34 frozen [...] Read more.
The rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for the prevention of disease outbreaks. Antigen tests such as immunochromatographic assay (ICA) and chemiluminescent enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) can yield results more quickly than PCR. We evaluated the performance of ICA and CLEIA using 34 frozen PCR-positive (17 saliva samples and 17 nasopharyngeal swabs [NPS]) and 309 PCR-negative samples. ICA detected SARS-CoV-2 in only 14 (41%) samples, with positivity rates of 24% in saliva and 59% in NPS. Notably, ICA detected SARS-CoV-2 in 5 of 6 samples collected within 4 days after symptom onset. CLEIA detected SARS-CoV-2 in 31 (91%) samples, with a positivity of 82% in saliva and 100% in NPS. These results suggest that the use of ICA should be limited to an earlier time after symptom onset and CLEIA is more sensitive and can be used in situations where quick results are required. Full article
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Article
Characteristics and Epidemiology of Discharged Pneumonia Patients in South Korea Using the Korean National Hospital Discharge In-Depth Injury Survey Data from 2006 to 2017
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 730-741; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030068 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1863
Abstract
Despite the use of vaccines and various antibiotics, approximately 30% of the South Korean population is treated for pneumonia each year, and the number of deaths from pneumonia continues to increase. The present study used information on discharged patients in South Korea to [...] Read more.
Despite the use of vaccines and various antibiotics, approximately 30% of the South Korean population is treated for pneumonia each year, and the number of deaths from pneumonia continues to increase. The present study used information on discharged patients in South Korea to investigate the number and characteristics of discharged pneumonia patients across 12 years. Using the Korean National Hospital Discharge In-Depth Injury Survey data, information on discharged patients from 2006 to 2017 were collected. The number of discharged pneumonia patients for each year and their age group was assessed, and the Charlson Comorbidity Index was used to assess the risk of comorbidities in these patients. The number of discharged pneumonia patients varied every year in South Korea. In particular, the total number of patients increased substantially in 2011, with a large increase in the number of infants and children. In addition, the number of discharged pneumonia patients increased in the elderly group compared to the other age groups. Moreover, a recent increase in the severity of comorbidities in pneumonia patients was noted. Given the continued increase in the number of elderly patients with pneumonia, chronic diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, should be managed first in the elderly. Moreover, appropriate treatment methods should be selected based on the presence of comorbidities. Full article
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Article
Risk Groups for SARS-CoV-2 Infection among Healthcare Workers: Community Versus Hospital Transmission
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 724-729; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030067 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2244
Abstract
Background: We aimed to detect the risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers (HCWs) in 2020 before the vaccination era. Methods: We surveyed SARS-CoV-2 infection among the HCWs in a hospital through screening for antibody levels and the detection of viral RNA [...] Read more.
Background: We aimed to detect the risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers (HCWs) in 2020 before the vaccination era. Methods: We surveyed SARS-CoV-2 infection among the HCWs in a hospital through screening for antibody levels and the detection of viral RNA by RT-PCR between May 2020 and December 2020. Occupational and non-occupational potential predictors of disease were surveyed for the HCWs included in this study. Results: Among 1925 personnel in the hospital, 1732 were included to the study with a response rate of 90%. The overall infection rate of HCWs was 16.3% at the end of 2020, before vaccinations started. In the multivariate analysis, being janitorial staff (OR: 2.24, CI: 1.21–4.14, p = 0.011), being a medical secretary (OR: 4.17, CI: 2.12–8.18, p < 0.001), having at least one household member with a COVID-19 diagnosis (OR: 8.98, CI: 6.64–12.15, p < 0.001), and number of household members > 3 (OR: 1.67, CI: 1.26–2.22, p < 0.001) were found to be significantly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Conclusions: Medical secretaries and janitorial staff were under increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The community-hospital gradient can explain the mode of transmission for infection among HCWs. In the setting of this study, community measures were less strict, whereas hospital infection control was adequate and provided necessary personal protective equipment. Increasing risk in larger households and households with diagnosed COVID-19 patient indicates the community-acquired transmission of the infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infection Prevention and Control)
Article
Vaccine Hesitancy towards COVID-19 Vaccination: Investigating the Role of Information Sources through a Mediation Analysis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 712-723; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030066 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 5438
Abstract
Mass vaccination campaigns have been implemented worldwide to counteract the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, however their effectiveness could be challenged by vaccine hesitancy. The tremendous rise in the use of social media have made them acquire a leading role as an information source, thus representing [...] Read more.
Mass vaccination campaigns have been implemented worldwide to counteract the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic, however their effectiveness could be challenged by vaccine hesitancy. The tremendous rise in the use of social media have made them acquire a leading role as an information source, thus representing a crucial factor at play that could contribute to increase or mitigate vaccine hesitancy, as information sources play a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and perceptions. The aims of the study were to investigate if information sources could affect the attitude towards COVID-19 vaccination and if they could act as a mediator in the relationship between individual characteristics and vaccine hesitancy. A cross-sectional online survey was conducted by a professional panellist on a representative sample of 1011 citizens from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy in January 2021. A mediation analysis using structural equation modelling was performed. Our results show how social media directly or indirectly increases vaccine hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccination, while the opposite effect was observed for institutional websites. Given the global widespread use of social media, their use should be enhanced to disseminate scientifically sound information to a greater audience to counteract vaccine hesitancy, while at the same time continuing to promote and update institutional websites that have proven to be effective in reducing vaccine hesitancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Unusually High Risks of COVID-19 Mortality with Age-Related Comorbidities: An Adjusted Meta-Analysis Method to Improve the Risk Assessment of Mortality Using the Comorbid Mortality Data
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 700-711; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030065 - 08 Aug 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3664
Abstract
Background: The pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a threat to global health. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed 12 comorbidities within the first tier that increase with the risk of severe illness from [...] Read more.
Background: The pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a threat to global health. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed 12 comorbidities within the first tier that increase with the risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including the comorbidities that are common with increasing age (referred to as age-related comorbidities) and other comorbidities. However, the current method compares a population with and without a particular disease (or disorder), which may result in a bias in the results. Thus, comorbidity risks of COVID-19 mortality may be underestimated. Objective: To re-evaluate the mortality data from the US and estimate the odds ratios of death by major comorbidities with COVID-19, we incorporated the control population with no comorbidity reported and assessed the risk of COVID-19 mortality with a comorbidity. Methods: We collected all the comorbidity data from the public health websites of fifty US States and Washington DC (originally accessed on December 2020). The timing of the data collection should minimize bias from the COVID-19 vaccines and new COVID-19 variants. The comorbidity demographic data were extracted from the state public health data made available online. Using the inverse variance random-effects model, we performed a comparative analysis and estimated the odds ratio of deaths by COVID-19 with pre-existing comorbidities. Results: A total of 39,451 COVID-19 deaths were identified from four States that had comorbidity data, including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New York. 92.8% of the COVID-19 deaths were associated with a pre-existing comorbidity. The risk of mortality associated with at least one comorbidity combined was 1113 times higher than that with no comorbidity. The comparative analysis identified nine comorbidities with odds ratios of up to 35 times higher than no comorbidities. Of them, the top four comorbidities were: hypertension (odds ratio 34.73; 95% CI 3.63–331.91; p = 0.002), diabetes (odds ratio 20.16; 95% CI 5.55–73.18; p < 0.00001), cardiovascular disease (odds ratio 18.91; 95% CI 2.88–124.38; p = 0.002), and chronic kidney disease (odds ratio 12.34; 95% CI 9.90–15.39; p < 0.00001). Interestingly, lung disease added only a modest increase in risk (odds ratio 6.69; 95% CI 1.06–42.26; p < 0.00001). Conclusion: The aforementioned comorbidities show surprisingly high risks of COVID-19 mortality when compared to the population with no comorbidity. Major comorbidities were enriched with pre-existing comorbidities that are common with increasing age (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension). The COVID-19 deaths were mostly associated with at least one comorbidity, which may be a source of the bias leading to the underestimation of the mortality risks previously reported. We note that the method has limitations stemming primarily from the availability of the data. Taken together, this type of study is useful to approximate the risks, which most likely provide an updated awareness of age-related comorbidities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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Review
COVID-19 Vaccine in Pregnant and Lactating Women: A Review of Existing Evidence and Practice Guidelines
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 685-699; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030064 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 14149
Abstract
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global pandemic that is devastating human lives, public healthcare systems, and global economies. Multiple effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines have been developed at an unprecedented speed due to the efforts of the scientific community, and collaboration between [...] Read more.
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has created a global pandemic that is devastating human lives, public healthcare systems, and global economies. Multiple effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines have been developed at an unprecedented speed due to the efforts of the scientific community, and collaboration between the federal government and pharmaceutical companies. However, the continued exclusion of pregnant and lactating women from the COVID anti-viral and vaccine trials has created the paradox of a lack of empirical evidence in a high-risk population. Based on the experience of similar prior vaccines, animal developmental and reproductive toxicology studies, and preliminary findings from human studies, various healthcare professional advisory committees (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine) have issued guidance supporting COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and lactating women. In this article, we summarize the available data on the efficacy and safety profile of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and lactating women, review the challenges of vaccine hesitancy, and include recommendations for healthcare providers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Vaccines)
Article
Forecasting the Long-Term Trends of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Epidemic Using the Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) Model
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 668-684; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030063 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2682
Abstract
A simple model for predicting Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is presented in this study. The prediction model is presented based on the classic Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) model, which has been widely used to describe the epidemic time evolution of infectious diseases. The original [...] Read more.
A simple model for predicting Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is presented in this study. The prediction model is presented based on the classic Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) model, which has been widely used to describe the epidemic time evolution of infectious diseases. The original version of the Kermack and McKendrick model is used in this study. This included the daily rates of infection spread by infected individuals when these individuals interact with a susceptible population, which is denoted by the parameter β, while the recovery rates to determine the number of recovered individuals is expressed by the parameter γ. The parameters estimation of the three-compartment SIR model is determined through using a mathematical sequential reduction process from the logistic growth model equation. As the parameters are the basic characteristics of epidemic time evolution, the model is always tested and applied to the latest actual data of confirmed COVID-19 cases. It seems that this simple model is still reliable enough to describe the dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic, not only qualitatively but also quantitatively with a high degree of correlation between actual data and prediction results. Therefore, it is possible to apply this model to predict cases of COVID-19 in several countries. In addition, the parameter characteristics of the classic SIR model can provide information on how these parameters reflect the efforts by each country to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is clearly seen from the changes of the parameters shown by the classic SIR model. Full article
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Article
A COVID-19 Epidemic Model Predicting the Effectiveness of Vaccination in the US
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 654-667; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030062 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2729
Abstract
A model of a COVID-19 epidemic is used to predict the effectiveness of vaccination in the US. The model incorporates key features of COVID-19 epidemics: asymptomatic and symptomatic infectiousness, reported and unreported cases data, and social measures implemented to decrease infection transmission. The [...] Read more.
A model of a COVID-19 epidemic is used to predict the effectiveness of vaccination in the US. The model incorporates key features of COVID-19 epidemics: asymptomatic and symptomatic infectiousness, reported and unreported cases data, and social measures implemented to decrease infection transmission. The model analyzes the effectiveness of vaccination in terms of vaccination efficiency, vaccination scheduling, and relaxation of social measures that decrease disease transmission. The model demonstrates that the subsiding of the epidemic as vaccination is implemented depends critically on the scale of relaxation of social measures that reduce disease transmission. Full article
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Systematic Review
Viral Load Difference between Symptomatic and Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 645-653; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030061 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3695
Abstract
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the possible difference in the SARS-CoV-2 viral load between asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed in abstracting data and assessing validity. We searched MEDLINE, [...] Read more.
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the possible difference in the SARS-CoV-2 viral load between asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed in abstracting data and assessing validity. We searched MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar for all investigations in the English language, reporting data on the threshold cycle (Ct) from real-time RT-PCR assays for the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), envelope (E) and nucleocapsid (N) SARS-CoV-2 genes in asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Results: Overall, 703 COVID-19 patients (553 symptomatic and 150 asymptomatic) were analyzed. Five investigations reported the mean age of patients, evidencing that asymptomatic patients were younger than symptomatic patients (34.0 vs. 40.3 years, respectively). Pooled data regarding the levels of expression of the RdRp gene revealed no significant difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic subjects. Similarly, no differences were observed comparing the mean Ct values for the E and N genes. Based on real-time RT-PCR data, no differences exist in the viral load between symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 subjects considering Ct values for RdRp, E and N genes’ expression. Asymptomatic subjects may represent a reservoir of the infection and significantly contribute to the maintenance of the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
The Modulation of Cholesterol Metabolism Is Involved in the Antiviral Effect of Nitazoxanide
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 636-644; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030060 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2554
Abstract
We previously investigated the role of Nitazoxanide (NTZ), a thiazolide endowed with antiviral and antiparasitic activity, in HIV-1 infection. NTZ treatment in primary isolated PBMCs was able to reduce HIV-1 infection in vitro by inducing the expression of a number of type-I interferon-stimulated [...] Read more.
We previously investigated the role of Nitazoxanide (NTZ), a thiazolide endowed with antiviral and antiparasitic activity, in HIV-1 infection. NTZ treatment in primary isolated PBMCs was able to reduce HIV-1 infection in vitro by inducing the expression of a number of type-I interferon-stimulated genes. Among them, NTZ was able to induce cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (CH25H), which is involved in cholesterol metabolism. In the present study, we wanted to deepen our knowledge about the antiviral mechanism of action of NTZ. Indeed, by inducing CH25H, which catalyzes the formation of 25-hydroxycholesterol from cholesterol, NTZ treatment repressed cholesterol biosynthetic pathways and promoted cholesterol mobilization and efflux from the cell. Such effects were even more pronounced upon stimulation with FLU antigens in combination. It is already well known how lipid metabolism and virus replication are tightly interconnected; thus, it is not surprising that the antiviral immune response employs genes related to cholesterol metabolism. Indeed, NTZ was able to modulate cholesterol metabolism in vitro and, by doing so, enhance the antiviral response. These results give us the chance to speculate about the suitability of NTZ as adjuvant for induction of specific natural immunity. Moreover, the putative application of NTZ to alimentary-related diseases should be investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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Article
Cardiac Implantable Electronic Device Infections; Long-Term Outcome after Extraction and Antibiotic Treatment
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 627-635; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030059 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 2602
Abstract
Background: The aim of the study was to examine the treatment outcome for patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED) infections after extraction. Methods: Patients who underwent CIED extractions due to an infection at Karolinska University Hospital 2006–2015 were analyzed. Results: In total, [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of the study was to examine the treatment outcome for patients with cardiovascular implantable electronic device (CIED) infections after extraction. Methods: Patients who underwent CIED extractions due to an infection at Karolinska University Hospital 2006–2015 were analyzed. Results: In total, 165 patients were reviewed, 104 (63%) with pocket infection and 61 (37%) with systemic infection. Of the patients with systemic infection, 34 and 25 patients fulfilled the criteria for definite and possible endocarditis, respectively. Complications after extraction occurred only in one patient. Reimplantation was made after a mean of 9.5 days and performed in 81% of those with pocket infection and 44.3% in systemic infection. Infection with the new device occurred in 4.6%. The mean length of hospital stay for patients with pocket infection was 5.7 days, compared to 38.6 days in systemic infection. One-year mortality was 7.7% and 22.2% in pocket infection and systemic infection, respectively. Patients with Staphylococcus aureus infection had a higher mortality. Conclusions: In this study, the majority of the patients had a pocket CIED infection, with a short hospital stay. Patients with a systemic infection, and S. aureus etiology, had a prolonged hospital stay and a higher mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Diseases)
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Case Report
Pica (Allotriophagy): An Underestimated Risk Factor for Severe Leptospirosis (Weil’s Diseases)? Report of a Leptospira Septic Shock Successfully Managed with ECMO
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 619-626; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030058 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3099
Abstract
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by infection with pathogenic strains of the bacterium Leptospira. The disease can be complicated by pulmonary hemorrhages and acute respiratory distress syndrome, with the mortality rate increasing to 51–100%. We report the case of a 37-year-old man who [...] Read more.
Leptospirosis is a zoonosis caused by infection with pathogenic strains of the bacterium Leptospira. The disease can be complicated by pulmonary hemorrhages and acute respiratory distress syndrome, with the mortality rate increasing to 51–100%. We report the case of a 37-year-old man who was admitted to the emergency department with a 6-day history of fever, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by jaundice. On admission, he presented leukocytosis, thrombocytopenia and acute liver and kidney injuries. His clinical course was critical, as it was immediately complicated by sepsis and severe respiratory failure, requiring haemodialysis, mechanical ventilation and broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy. In the following days, a veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) was started due to a dramatic deterioration in respiratory function; 20 h later, it was switched to veno-arterial ECMO because of refractory cardiogenic shock. Hantavirus or Leptospira infection etiology was suspected, so penicillin G and methylprednisolone were initiated as an empirical therapy and subsequently confirmed after a laboratory diagnosis of leptospirosis. Although the clinical course was further complicated by hemorrhagic pneumonia, a gradual, full recovery occurred, and the patient was discharged from the hospital. After excluding other sources of contact with Leptospira-infected material, an unsuspected abnormal eating behavior was identified as the most probable cause of the patient’s Leptospira infection. Full article
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Case Report
Granulomatous Hepatitis Following Intra-Vesical Instillation of Bacillus Calmette–Guérin for Treatment of Bladder Cancer
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 611-618; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030057 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2349
Abstract
Intra-vesical instillation of bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) is an important treatment modality of superficial bladder cancer. It is usually well tolerated, although some adverse reactions can occur. One possible yet rare complication is granulomatous hepatitis, that is thought to be caused either by BCG [...] Read more.
Intra-vesical instillation of bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) is an important treatment modality of superficial bladder cancer. It is usually well tolerated, although some adverse reactions can occur. One possible yet rare complication is granulomatous hepatitis, that is thought to be caused either by BCG infection or a hypersensitivity reaction to the bacillus. We present a case of a 79-year-old apparently immunocompetent patient who developed granulomatous hepatitis a few months after BCG administration for bladder cancer immunotherapy. It is important to notice that acid-fast smears and cultures are often negative, and these should not exclude diagnosis nor delay treatment. Our case highlights the importance of clinical suspicion and prompt initiation of appropriate treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Tuberculosis and Mycobacteriosis)
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Article
Use of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis to Determine the Source of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 602-610; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030056 - 25 Jun 2021
Viewed by 2991
Abstract
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) has historically been considered the gold standard in fingerprinting bacterial strains in epidemiological studies and outbreak investigations; little is known regarding its use in individual clinical cases. The current study detailed two clinical cases in which PFGE helped to [...] Read more.
Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) has historically been considered the gold standard in fingerprinting bacterial strains in epidemiological studies and outbreak investigations; little is known regarding its use in individual clinical cases. The current study detailed two clinical cases in which PFGE helped to determine the source of their methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia. Patient A was found to have MRSA bacteremia after trauma in her pelvic area. MRSA was also found in her groin but not in her nostril and rectum. PFGE was performed that showed variable bands of her MRSA isolates from blood and groin, suggestive of different strains of MRSA. Her MRSA bacteremia was determined to be unrelated to her pelvic trauma. Patient B was found to have MRSA bacteremia after colonoscopy. MRSA was also found in his nostril and rectum. PFGE was performed that showed variable bands of his MRSA isolates from blood and rectum but identical bands of MRSA isolates from his blood and nostril. His MRSA bacteremia was determined to be unrelated to his colonoscopy procedure. The current study demonstrates the use of PFGE to rule out the source of bacteremia in individual clinical cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Antimicrobial Stewardship)
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Brief Report
Virus-Negative Necrotizing Coronary Vasculitis with Aneurysm Formation in Human SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(3), 597-601; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13030055 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2613
Abstract
We report a case of myopericarditis associated to SARS-CoV-2 infection with necrotizing coronary vasculitis of intramural vessels, giving rise to biventricular apical microaneurysms and to electrical instability. Negativity of myocardial polymerase chain reaction for the most common cardiotropic viruses and for SARS-CoV-2 suggested [...] Read more.
We report a case of myopericarditis associated to SARS-CoV-2 infection with necrotizing coronary vasculitis of intramural vessels, giving rise to biventricular apical microaneurysms and to electrical instability. Negativity of myocardial polymerase chain reaction for the most common cardiotropic viruses and for SARS-CoV-2 suggested an immune-mediated myocardial and pericardial inflammatory disease. High dose (1 mg/Kg daily) prednisone and anti-viral (Remdesivir, IDA Business, Carrigtohill, County Cork, T45 DP77, Ireland) therapy led to resolution of cardiac inflammation and ventricular arrhythmias. Morpho-molecular characterization of endomyocardial tissue may improve the outcome in subjects with SARS-CoV-2-associated myopericarditis and coronary vasculitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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