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Infect. Dis. Rep., Volume 13, Issue 4 (December 2021) – 21 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Multiple safe and effective vaccines exist against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. However, newer, more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 viral strains, as well as the possibility of fading immunity following vaccination, have prompted an investigation into the necessity for additional immunization (boosters). COVID-19 vaccine boosters may potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, especially in immunocompromised individuals or individuals with underlying comorbidities or who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission. However, it is vital to exercise appropriate use criteria for COVID-19 vaccine boosters without further jeopardizing global vaccine inequity. This article reviews the current literature and guidelines on COVID-19 vaccine boosters in the target populations. View this paper.
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Article
A Sensitive, Portable Microfluidic Device for SARS-CoV-2 Detection from Self-Collected Saliva
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1061-1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040097 - 14 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2224
Abstract
Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in December 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV2 infection has been escalating rapidly around the world. In order to provide more timely access to medical intervention, including diagnostic tests and medical [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic in December 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV2 infection has been escalating rapidly around the world. In order to provide more timely access to medical intervention, including diagnostic tests and medical treatment, the FDA authorized multiple test protocols for diagnostic tests from nasopharyngeal swab, saliva, urine, bronchoalveolar lavage and fecal samples. The traditional diagnostic tests for this novel coronavirus 2019 require standard processes of viral RNA isolation, reverse transcription of RNA to cDNA, then real-time quantitative PCR with the RNA templates extracted from the patient samples. Recently, many reports have demonstrated a direct detection of SARS-Co-V2 genomic material from saliva samples without any RNA isolation step. To make the rapid detection of SARS-Co-V2 infection more accessible, a point-of-care type device was developed for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Herein, we report a portable microfluidic-based integrated detection-analysis system for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids detection directly from saliva samples. The saliva cartridge is self-contained and capable of microfluidic evaluation of saliva, from heating, mixing with the primers to multiplex real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, detecting SARS-CoV-2 with different primer sets and internal control. The approach has a detection sensitivity of 1000 copies/mL of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or virus, with consistency and automation, from saliva sample-in to result-out. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Neck Circumference Predicts Mortality in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1053-1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040096 - 10 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3905
Abstract
We aimed to determine whether neck circumference predicts mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. We performed a prospective multicenter (Italy and Brasil) study carried out from March to December 2020 on 440 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. Baseline neck circumference [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine whether neck circumference predicts mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. We performed a prospective multicenter (Italy and Brasil) study carried out from March to December 2020 on 440 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure. Baseline neck circumference was measured. The study outcome was 30- and 60-days mortality. Female and male participants were classified as “large neck” when exceeding fourth-quartile. Patients had a median age of 65 years (IQR 54–76), 68% were male. One-quarter of patients presented with grade-1 or higher obesity. The median neck circumference was 40 cm (IQR 38–43): 38 cm (IQR 36–40) for female and 41 cm (IQR 39–44) for male subjects. “Large neck” patients had a significantly higher prevalence of hypertension (63 vs. 48%), diabetes (33 vs. 19%), obesity (26 vs. 14%), and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) (98 vs. 88%). The cumulative mortality rate was 13.1% (n = 52) and 15.9% (n = 63) at 30 and 60 days, respectively. After adjusting for age, BMI, relevant comorbidities, and high C-reactive protein to albumin ratio, “large neck” patients showed a significantly increased risk of death at 30- (adjusted HR 2.50; 95% CI 1.18–5.29; p = 0.017) and 60-days (adjusted HR 2.26; 95% CI 1.14–4.46; p = 0.019). Neck circumference is easy to collect and provides additional prognostic information to BMI. Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure, those with large neck phenotype had a more than double risk of death at 30 and 60 days. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Infections)
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Article
Inducible Clindamycin Resistance and Biofilm Production among Staphylococci Isolated from Tertiary Care Hospitals in Nepal
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1043-1052; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040095 - 07 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2143
Abstract
Resistance to antibiotics, biofilm formation and the presence of virulence factors play important roles in increased mortality associated with infection by staphylococci. The macrolide lincosamide streptogramin B (MLSB) family of antibiotics is commonly used to treat infections by methicillin-resistant isolates. Clinical [...] Read more.
Resistance to antibiotics, biofilm formation and the presence of virulence factors play important roles in increased mortality associated with infection by staphylococci. The macrolide lincosamide streptogramin B (MLSB) family of antibiotics is commonly used to treat infections by methicillin-resistant isolates. Clinical failure of clindamycin therapy has been reported due to multiple mechanisms that confer resistance to MLSB. This study aims to find the incidence of different phenotypes of MLSB resistance and biofilm production among staphylococci. A total of 375 staphylococci were isolated from different clinical samples, received from two tertiary care hospitals in Nepal. Methicillin resistance was detected by cefoxitin disc diffusion method and inducible clindamycin resistance by D test, according to CLSI guidelines. Biofilm formation was detected by the tissue culture plate method and PCR was used to detect ica genes. Of the total staphylococci isolates, 161 (42.9%) were Staphylococcus aureus, with 131 (81.4%) methicillin-resistant strains, and 214 (57.1%) isolates were coagulase-negative staphylococci, with 143 (66.8%) methicillin-resistant strains. The overall prevalence of constitutive MLSB (cMLSB) and inducible MLSB (iMLSB) phenotypes was 77 (20.5%) and 87 (23.2%), respectively. Both iMLSB and cMLSB phenotypes predominated in methicillin-resistant isolates. The tissue culture plate method detected biofilm formation in 174 (46.4%) isolates and ica genes in 86 (22.9%) isolates. Among biofilm producing isolates, cMLSB and iMLSB phenotypes were 35 (20.1%) and 27 (15.5%), respectively. The cMLSB and iMLSB were 11 (12.8%) and 19 (22.1%), respectively, in isolates possessing ica genes. Clindamycin resistance in the form of cMLSB and iMLSB, especially among MRSA, emphasizes the need for routine D tests to be performed in the lab. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Diseases)
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Article
Hepatitis B Vaccination in Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease: A Quality Improvement Project at a Veteran Affairs Chronic Kidney Disease Clinic
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1036-1042; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040094 - 06 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1660
Abstract
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended in all patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). However, only 50–60% of these patients achieve protective antibody levels if immunized after starting dialysis. Strategies to overcome this low seroconversion rate include a 6-month vaccination schedule starting earlier [chronic [...] Read more.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended in all patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). However, only 50–60% of these patients achieve protective antibody levels if immunized after starting dialysis. Strategies to overcome this low seroconversion rate include a 6-month vaccination schedule starting earlier [chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 and 5] to ensure immunity when patients progress to ESKD. We conducted a quality improvement program to immunize pre-dialysis patients. Patients who were found to have a negative baseline serology with a negative hepatitis B surface antibody level (HBsAb) were offered vaccination on a 6-month schedule (0, 1 and 6 months) with one of two available vaccines within the VA system (Recombivax™ or Engerix™). HBsAb titers were checked 3–4 months later, and titers ≥ 12 mIU/mL were indicative of immunity at VA. Patients who did not seroconvert were offered a repeat schedule of three more doses. We screened 198 patients (187 males and 11 females) with CKD 4 and 5 [glomerular filtration rate (GFR) < 29 mL/min/1.73 m2]. The median age of this cohort was 72 years (range 38–92 years). During the study period of 5 years (2015–2020), 10 patients were excluded since their GFR had improved to more than 30 mL/min/1.73 m2, 24 others had baseline immunity and 2 refused vaccination. The hepatitis B vaccination series was not started on 106 patients. Of the remaining 56, 12 patients progressed to ESKD and started dialysis before completion of the vaccination schedule, 6 expired and 1 did not come to clinic in 2020 due to the pandemic. Of the 37 patients who completed the vaccination schedule, 16 achieved seroconversion with adequate HBsAb titers, 10 did not develop immunity despite a second hepatitis B vaccination series, while 11 did not get a second series. Given the low seroconversion rate, albeit in a small cohort, vaccination should be considered in patients with earlier stages of CKD. Other options include studies on FDA approved vaccines of shorter duration. We plan to increase awareness among nephrologists, patients and nursing staff about the importance of achieving immunity against hepatitis B. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Review
Root Causes of Fungal Coinfections in COVID-19 Infected Patients
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1018-1035; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040093 - 04 Dec 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2969
Abstract
COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and has infected over 200 million people, causing over 4 million deaths. COVID-19 infection has been shown to lead to hypoxia, immunosuppression, host iron depletion, hyperglycemia secondary to diabetes mellitus, as well [...] Read more.
COVID-19 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and has infected over 200 million people, causing over 4 million deaths. COVID-19 infection has been shown to lead to hypoxia, immunosuppression, host iron depletion, hyperglycemia secondary to diabetes mellitus, as well as prolonged hospitalizations. These clinical manifestations provide favorable conditions for opportunistic fungal pathogens to infect hosts with COVID-19. Interventions such as treatment with corticosteroids and mechanical ventilation may further predispose COVID-19 patients to acquiring fungal coinfections. Our literature review found that fungal coinfections in COVID-19 infected patients were most commonly caused by Aspergillus, Candida species, Cryptococcus neoformans, and fungi of the Mucorales order. The distribution of these infections, particularly Mucormycosis, was found to be markedly skewed towards low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of this review is to identify possible explanations for the increase in fungal coinfections seen in COVID-19 infected patients so that physicians and healthcare providers can be conscious of factors that may predispose these patients to fungal coinfections in order to provide more favorable patient outcomes. After identifying risk factors for coinfections, measures should be taken to minimize the dosage and duration of drugs such as corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and antibiotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Case Report
Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation in the Treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Related P. jirovecii Pneumonia
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 1009-1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040092 - 02 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1550
Abstract
Despite the undeniable complexity one may encounter while managing critically ill patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), intensive care unit-related mortality has declined in recent years, not only because of more efficacious antiretroviral therapy (ART) but also due to the advances in [...] Read more.
Despite the undeniable complexity one may encounter while managing critically ill patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), intensive care unit-related mortality has declined in recent years, not only because of more efficacious antiretroviral therapy (ART) but also due to the advances in critical support. However, the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in these patients remains controversial. We report four cases of HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PJP) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) treated with ECMO support and discuss its indications and possible role in the prevention of barotrauma and ventilator- induced lung injury (VILI). The eventually favorable clinical course of the patients that we present suggests that although immune status is an important aspect in the decision to initiate ECMO support, this technology can provide real benefit in some patients with severe HIV-related refractory ARDS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV/AIDS: Transmission, Prevention and Treatment)
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Review
SARS-CoV-2 and the Immune Response in Pregnancy with Delta Variant Considerations
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 993-1008; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040091 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2619
Abstract
As of September 2021, there has been a total of 123,633 confirmed cases of pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US according to the CDC, with maternal death being 2.85 times more likely, pre-eclampsia 1.33 times more likely, preterm birth 1.47 times [...] Read more.
As of September 2021, there has been a total of 123,633 confirmed cases of pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US according to the CDC, with maternal death being 2.85 times more likely, pre-eclampsia 1.33 times more likely, preterm birth 1.47 times more likely, still birth 2.84 times more likely, and NICU admission 4.89 times more likely when compared to pregnant women without COVID-19 infection. In our literature review, we have identified eight key changes in the immunological functioning of the pregnant body that may predispose the pregnant patient to both a greater susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, as well as a more severe disease course. Factors that may impede immune clearance of SARS-CoV-2 include decreased levels of natural killer (NK) cells, Th1 CD4+ T cells, plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), a decreased phagocytic index of neutrophil granulocytes and monocytes, as well as the immunomodulatory properties of progesterone, which is elevated in pregnancy. Factors that may exacerbate SARS-CoV-2 morbidity through hyperinflammatory states include increases in the complement system, which are linked to greater lung injury, as well as increases in TLR-1 and TLR-7, which are known to bind to the virus, leading to increased proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-α, which are already elevated in normal pregnant physiology. Other considerations include an increase in angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the maternal circulation, leading to increased viral binding on the host cell, as well as increased IL-6 and decreased regulatory T cells in pre-eclampsia. We also focus on how the Delta variant has had a concerning impact on SARS-CoV-2 cases in pregnancy, with an increased case volume and proportion of ICU admissions among the infected expecting mothers. We propose that the effects of the Delta variant are due to a combination of (1) the Delta variant itself being more transmissible, contagious, and efficient at infecting host cells, (2) initial evidence pointing to the Delta variant causing a significantly greater viral load that accumulates more rapidly in the respiratory system, (3) the pregnancy state being more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as discussed in-depth, and (4) the lower rates of vaccination in pregnant women compared to the general population. In the face of continually evolving strains and the relatively low awareness of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women, it is imperative that we continue to push for global vaccine equity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Assessing the Impact of (Self)-Quarantine through a Basic Model of Infectious Disease Dynamics
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 978-992; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040090 - 24 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1653
Abstract
We introduce a system of differential equations to assess the impact of (self-)quarantine of symptomatic infectious individuals on disease dynamics. To this end we depart from using the classic bilinear infection process, but remain within the framework of the mass-action assumption. From the [...] Read more.
We introduce a system of differential equations to assess the impact of (self-)quarantine of symptomatic infectious individuals on disease dynamics. To this end we depart from using the classic bilinear infection process, but remain within the framework of the mass-action assumption. From the mathematical point of view, the model we propose is interesting due to the lack of continuous differentiability at disease-free steady states, which implies that the basic reproductive number cannot be computed following established mathematical approaches for certain parameter values. However, we parametrise our mathematical model using published values from the COVID-19 literature, and analyse the model simulations. We also contrast model simulations against publicly available COVID-19 test data, focusing on the first wave of the pandemic during March–July 2020 in the UK. Our simulations indicate that actual peak case numbers might have been as much as 200 times higher than the reported positive test cases during the first wave in the UK. We find that very strong adherence to self-quarantine rules yields (only) a reduction of 22% of peak numbers and delays the onset of the peak by approximately 30–35 days. However, during the early phase of the outbreak, the impact of (self)-quarantine is much more significant. We also take into account the effect of a national lockdown in a simplistic way by reducing the effective susceptible population size. We find that, in case of a 90% reduction of the effective susceptible population size, strong adherence to self-quarantine still only yields a 25% reduction of peak infectious numbers when compared to low adherence. This is due to the significant number of asymptomatic infectious individuals in the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Step In, Step Out from the First Lockdown: An Exploration of COVID-19 Perceptions in France and Quebec
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 965-977; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040089 - 22 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2442
Abstract
Objective. The objective of this research was to describe and analyze the role of psychological and behavioral factors on perceptions of COVID-19 in France and Quebec at three different times during the pandemic. Design. We conducted three qualitative and quantitative studies (Study 1 [...] Read more.
Objective. The objective of this research was to describe and analyze the role of psychological and behavioral factors on perceptions of COVID-19 in France and Quebec at three different times during the pandemic. Design. We conducted three qualitative and quantitative studies (Study 1 N = 255, Study 2 N = 230, Study 3 N = 143). Participants were asked to evaluate psychological and behavioral measures: at the beginning of lockdown (Study 1), during lockdown (Study 2), and during lockdown exit (Study 3). Results. Results of Study 1 show that perceptions of COVID-19 are organized around fear and a sense of threat. During the lockdown, participants mentioned for the first time the health practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Study 2). Psychological and social impacts constitute a central theme in participants’ discourse (Study 2 and 3). Conclusions. The results show that perceptions of risk during a pandemic are socially constructed. Perceptions seem to be influenced by the political and health management of a territory and by the evolution of behavioral and psychological responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Longitudinal Rise in Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Children in Western Germany—A Blind Spot in Epidemiology?
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 957-964; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040088 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1897
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children and adolescents are often underestimated due to asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infections. Seroprevalence studies can reveal the magnitude of “silent” infections in this age group and help to assess the risk of infection for children but also their role [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children and adolescents are often underestimated due to asymptomatic or oligosymptomatic infections. Seroprevalence studies can reveal the magnitude of “silent” infections in this age group and help to assess the risk of infection for children but also their role in spreading the disease. In total, 2045 children and their parents from the Ruhr region were finally included after the exclusion of drop-outs. Seroconversion rates among children of all age groups increased from 0.5% to 8% during the study period and were about three to fourfold higher than the officially registered PCR-based infection rates. Only 41% recalled symptoms of infection; 59% were asymptomatic. In 51% of the infected children, at least one parent also developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Depending on local incidences, the rates of seroconversion rose to different levels during the study period. Although the dynamics of infection within the study cohort mirrors local incidence, the figure of SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and adolescents appears to be high. Reported contact with SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals in the same household carries a high risk of infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Brief Report
A SWOT Analysis of the Guidelines on Prevention of HIV/AIDS in Japan in the Context of COVID-19
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 949-956; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040087 - 05 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3973
Abstract
In January 2018, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, released an amended Guideline on the Prevention of Specified Infectious Diseases on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to propose measures to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. Content analysis was performed to examine [...] Read more.
In January 2018, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan, released an amended Guideline on the Prevention of Specified Infectious Diseases on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) to propose measures to control the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. Content analysis was performed to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the guidelines in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus aiming to promote discussions on the guideline itself and the national HIV/AIDS strategy in Japan in the years ahead. The strengths included the incorporation of the latest scientific advancements, clarification of high-risk populations, an alignment with measures against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and willingness towards international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. The weaknesses that were exposed included a lack of explicit targets for controlling and containing HIV/AIDS, insufficient descriptions about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and aggregated discussions on HIV/AIDS among foreign residents. Although several opportunities for re-energizing the discussions around HIV/AIDS were recognized, insufficient political will and funding, along with the emergence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, could operate as threats. Addressing barriers that were recognized before 2019 and exposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and tackling underlying health inequalities through the concept of social determinants of health will be critical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
Human Toxocariasis in Portugal—An Overview of a Neglected Zoonosis over the Last Decade (2010–2020)
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 938-948; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040086 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1661
Abstract
Toxocariasis is one of the most widespread and important zoonotic parasitic diseases, although neglected. Data regarding human Toxocara infection in Portugal are almost absent. This article gives an overview of the situation of toxocariasis in Portugal over the last decade based on casuistic [...] Read more.
Toxocariasis is one of the most widespread and important zoonotic parasitic diseases, although neglected. Data regarding human Toxocara infection in Portugal are almost absent. This article gives an overview of the situation of toxocariasis in Portugal over the last decade based on casuistic data. A total of 846 serum samples from individuals suspected of toxocariasis, collected from 2010 to 2020, were analyzed at the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sera were tested for IgG antibodies to Toxocara canis excreted–secreted larval antigens by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and counterimmunoelectrophoresis. Positivity was detected in 18.8% (159/846) [CI 95%: 16.3–21.6], with positives detected throughout continental Portugal. Overall, 59.7% of the positives were diagnosed in younger than 20 years (35.2% aged 0–9 years and 24.5% aged 10–19 years). Eosinophilia was the most frequent feature reported (27.7%). Pediatrics (41.5%) and Infectiology (25.8%) were the specialties with the highest number of positives. An average of 77 samples/year were received, recording a maximum positivity in 2012 (41.5%, n = 27/65) and a minimum in 2020 (6.4%, n = 3/47). These numbers may reflect the effectiveness of current preventive measures, highlighting the need to maintain public awareness to control this helminthozoonosis and promote a higher public health standard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Parasitological Diseases)
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Article
Prognostic Role of Anemia in COVID-19 Patients: A Meta-Analysis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 930-937; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040085 - 31 Oct 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1863
Abstract
Introduction. The prevalence and prognostic implications of anemia in patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence and mortality risk in COVID-19 patients with anemia. Methods. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and [...] Read more.
Introduction. The prevalence and prognostic implications of anemia in patients infected by the SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the prevalence and mortality risk in COVID-19 patients with anemia. Methods. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed in abstracting data and assessing validity. We searched MEDLINE and Scopus to locate all the articles published up to 1 September 2021, reporting data on the adjusted OR (aOR) for mortality among COVID-19 patients with anemia. The pooled prevalence of anemia among COVID-19 patients was calculated using a random effects model and presenting the related 95% confidence interval (CI), while the mortality risk was estimated using the Mantel-Haenszel random effects models with odds ratio (aOR) and related 95% CI. Statistical heterogeneity was measured using the Higgins I2 statistic. Results. Five studies, enrolling 9.623 COVID-19 patients [3.707 males (38.5%)], met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final analysis. The pooled prevalence of anemia was 25.6% of cases (95% CI: 8.3–56.5%), with high heterogeneity (I2 = 98.9%). Meta-regression showed that the anemia prevalence was influenced by a direct correlation with age (p = 0.007) and chronic kidney disease (p = 0.004) as moderating variables. Conversely, an inverse relationship was observed with male gender (p < 0.0001). Anemia was significantly associated with higher risk of short-term mortality (aOR: 1.69, 95% CI: 1.28–2.24, p < 0.001), with low heterogeneity (I2 = 0%). Conclusions. Anemia represents a major comorbidity in about 25% of COVID-19 patients and it is associated with about 70% higher risk of short-term mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster: To Boost or Not to Boost
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 924-929; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040084 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 38 | Viewed by 11987
Abstract
Developing safe and effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at a breakneck speed has been an exceptional human achievement. It remains our best hope of containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, newer, more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 viral strains, [...] Read more.
Developing safe and effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) at a breakneck speed has been an exceptional human achievement. It remains our best hope of containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, newer, more aggressive SARS-CoV-2 viral strains, as well as the possibility of fading immunity following vaccination, have prompted health officials to investigate the necessity for additional immunization. This has put further pressure on disregarded human life in lower-income countries that already have minimal access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a third COVID-19 vaccine dose in immunocompromised individuals in a recent announcement. Governments and health care officials need to develop usage guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses while considering the dangers of potential waning immunity and new viral strains and prioritizing vulnerable populations everywhere, including those living in lower-income countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Vaccines)
Case Report
Autochthonous North American Leprosy: A Second Case in Canada
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 917-923; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040083 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1793
Abstract
Autochthonous leprosy was reported in the Southern USA in 2011 and has comprised an average of 34% of new cases from 2015 to 2020 in that country. We report a similar case in a patient from Western Canada. A 50-year old male patient [...] Read more.
Autochthonous leprosy was reported in the Southern USA in 2011 and has comprised an average of 34% of new cases from 2015 to 2020 in that country. We report a similar case in a patient from Western Canada. A 50-year old male patient presented with a four-year history of a chronic rash. Pathology stains revealed acid-fast bacilli prompting specialist referral. Examination was suspicious for leprosy, which was confirmed on slit skin smears and molecular testing. The patient responded well to treatment. Genotypic testing mapped the organism to the 3I-2 SNP type, which is of European origin and is the type found in implicated armadillo species in North America. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Serology Testing in an Asymptomatic, At-Risk Population: Methods, Results, Pitfalls
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 910-916; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040082 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1711
Abstract
The primary aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a population of pediatric healthcare workers (HCWs). This study was conducted 14 May–13 July 2020. Study participants included pediatric HCWs at a pediatric hospital with either direct patient [...] Read more.
The primary aim of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a population of pediatric healthcare workers (HCWs). This study was conducted 14 May–13 July 2020. Study participants included pediatric HCWs at a pediatric hospital with either direct patient contact or close proximity to patient-care areas. SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were assessed via the Wytcote Superbio SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG Antibody Fast Detection Kit and the Abbott Architect SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. Participants underwent RT-PCR testing upon entry to the study and following rapid IgM+/IgG+ results; respiratory panel PCR (RP-PCR) was performed following IgM+ results. A total of 57 of 289 (19.7%) of participants demonstrated positive serology as assessed by the Wytcote rapid kit (12 on Day 1 and 45 throughout the study). However, only one of these participants demonstrated IgG+ serology via the Abbott assay. Two participants tested SARS-CoV-2+ via RT-PCR testing. One individual was adenovirus+ and enterovirus/rhinovirus+. In our study population, we observed a seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies of 0.35%. The lack of concordance between antibody tests suggests that the Wytcote rapid test kit may not be of use as a screening tool. However, the feasibility of the overall process indicates that a similar methodology may have potential for future epidemiologic surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Infectious Diseases)
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Brief Report
Emerging Role of Neuropilin-1 and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 in Renal Carcinoma-Associated COVID-19 Pathogenesis
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 902-909; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040081 - 16 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2163
Abstract
Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a recently identified glycoprotein that is an important host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) acts as a receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, both NRP1 and ACE2 express in the kidney and are associated with various [...] Read more.
Neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is a recently identified glycoprotein that is an important host factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) acts as a receptor for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, both NRP1 and ACE2 express in the kidney and are associated with various renal diseases, including renal carcinoma. Therefore, the expression profiles of NRP1 and ACE2 in kidney renal clear cell carcinoma (KIRC) and kidney renal papillary cell carcinoma (KIRP) patients from the various cancer databases were investigated along with their impact on patients’ survivability. In addition, coexpression analysis of genes involved in COVID-19, KIRC, and KIRP concerning NRP1 and ACE2 was performed. The results demonstrated that both t NRP1 and ACE2 expressions are upregulated in KIRC and KIRP compared to healthy conditions and are significantly correlated with the survivability rate of KIRC patients. A total of 128 COVID-19-associated genes are coexpressed, which are positively associated with NRP1 and ACE2 both in KIRC and KIRP. Therefore, it might be suggested that, along with the ACE2, high expression of the newly identified host factor NRP1 in renal carcinomas may play a vital role in the increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and survivability of COVID-19 patients suffering from kidney cancers. The findings of this investigation will be helpful for further molecular studies and prevention and/or treatment strategies for COVID-19 patients associated with renal carcinomas. Full article
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Article
Side Effects Following Administration of the First Dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield Vaccine in Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 888-901; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040080 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3576
Abstract
In response to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh started its vaccine administration in early 2021; however, due to the rapid development and launch of the vaccines in the market, many people had concerns regarding the safety of these vaccines. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
In response to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh started its vaccine administration in early 2021; however, due to the rapid development and launch of the vaccines in the market, many people had concerns regarding the safety of these vaccines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the side effects that were experienced by the Bangladeshi residents after receiving the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine (ChAdOx1nCoV-19). The study was conducted using both online and printed questionnaires and the data were analysed using SPSS. The results included the responses of 474 vaccine recipients from March–April 2021. Pain at the site of injection, fever, myalgia, fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported symptoms, and the overall side effects were found to be significantly more prevalent in the younger population (p ≤ 0.05). These findings were consistent with the results indicated by the clinical trial of ChAdOx1nCoV-19. Logistic regression analysis further revealed that compared to people aged 70 years or above, the incidence of reported side effects was significantly higher in people aged 18–30 years (odds ratio (OR) = 8.56), 31–40 years, (OR = 5.05), 41–50 years (OR = 4.08), 51–60 years (OR = 3.77) and 61–70 years (OR = 3.67). In addition, a significantly higher percentage of female participants suffered from post-vaccination side effects compared to males (OR = 1.51). It was concluded that the Covishield vaccine was well-tolerated among people of different age groups. Nevertheless, further long-term follow-up study with a larger sample size is warranted to establish the long-term safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. Full article
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Systematic Review
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in the LGBTQ+ Population: A Systematic Review
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 872-887; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040079 - 07 Oct 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4835
Abstract
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately impacted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) people. Despite developing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, LGBTQ+ communities still faces challenges due to inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in the acceptance or [...] Read more.
The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately impacted lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) people. Despite developing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, LGBTQ+ communities still faces challenges due to inequitable access and vaccine hesitancy. Vaccine hesitancy is a delay in the acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination services. Various studies have explored and tried to address factors influencing vaccine hesitancy. However, the LGBTQ+ population remains under- and misrepresented in many of these studies. According to the few studies that have focused on the LGBTQ+ population, several factors influencing vaccine hesitancy have been identified, with the most common factors in studies being concern about vaccine safety, vaccine efficacy, and history of bad experiences with healthcare providers. In order to rebuild the confidence of LGBTQ+ people in vaccines, governments, healthcare policymakers, and healthcare providers need to start by acknowledging, and then resolving, these disparities; building trust; dismantling systemic suppression and discrimination; and prioritizing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in research studies and public health policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Vaccines)
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Editorial
The COVID-19 Pandemic Seen from a Syndemic Perspective: The LGBTQIA2SP+ Community
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 865-871; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040078 - 03 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2108
Abstract
An adverse condition or a disease can (either directly or indirectly) interact in a synergistic fashion with other adverse conditions or diseases/maladies, and co-cluster together with them: this fundamental observation is at the basis of the term “syndemic” (a portmanteau for “synergistic epidemic”) [...] Read more.
An adverse condition or a disease can (either directly or indirectly) interact in a synergistic fashion with other adverse conditions or diseases/maladies, and co-cluster together with them: this fundamental observation is at the basis of the term “syndemic” (a portmanteau for “synergistic epidemic”) [...] Full article
Case Report
Convalescent Plasma in a Patient with Protracted COVID-19 and Secondary Hypogammaglobulinemia Due to Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Buying Time to Develop Immunity?
Infect. Dis. Rep. 2021, 13(4), 855-864; https://doi.org/10.3390/idr13040077 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
It is not exactly clear yet which type of immune response prevails to accomplish viral clearance in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Studying a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hypogammaglobulinemia who suffered from COVID-19 provided insight in the immunological responses after treatment with [...] Read more.
It is not exactly clear yet which type of immune response prevails to accomplish viral clearance in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Studying a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and hypogammaglobulinemia who suffered from COVID-19 provided insight in the immunological responses after treatment with COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP). Treatment consisted of oxygen, repeated glucocorticosteroids and multiple dosages of CCP guided by antibody levels. Retrospectively performed humoral and cellular immunity analysis made clear that not every serological test for COVID-19 is appropriate for follow-up of sufficient neutralizing antibodies after CCP. In retrospect, we think that CCP merely bought time for this patient to develop an adequate cellular immune response which led to viral clearance and ultimately clinical recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Infection Prevention and Control)
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