register interest

Professor Guy Thwaites

Research Area: Clinical Epidemiology
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health and Immunology & Infectious Disease
Keywords: clinical trials, tuberculosis, meningitis, Staphylococcus aureus, pathophysiology, genetics and antimicrobial pharmacology
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Guy Thwaites is an academic infectious diseases physician and clinical microbiologist. He has been Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit/Wellcome Programme in Vietnam since October 2013. He is responsible for the scientific strategy of the programme, with its major research themes of emerging viral infections, dengue, brain infections, tuberculosis, malaria, enteric infections, antimicrobial drug resistance and care of the critically ill. His personal research interests focus on severe bacterial infections, including meningitis and Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection, and tuberculosis. He has a longstanding research interest in the diagnosis, treatment and pathophysiology of tuberculous meningitis. Much of his research has been centred on large, pragmatic, randomized controlled trials which have addressed questions of key clinical importance, but have also provided the framework for providing unique insights into disease pathogenesis, antimicrobial pharmacology, and host and bacterial genetics.

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Sir Nicholas J White FRS Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor Nicholas PJ Day FMedSci FRCP Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Professor Benedikt M Kessler Target Discovery Institute Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
Professor Derrick Crook Experimental Medicine Division Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital United Kingdom
Professor (Ann) Sarah Walker Experimental Medicine Division Oxford University, John Radcliffe Hospital United Kingdom
Dr Climent Casals-Pascual Centre for Cellular and Molecular Physiology Oxford University, Henry Wellcome Building for Molecular Physiology United Kingdom
Professor Lallita Ramakrishnan University of Cambridge United Kingdom
Professor Mary-Claire King University of Washington United States
Professor Paul Turner Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Siem Reap Cambodia
Professor Thomas Hawn University of Washington United States
Professor James Wood University of Cambridge United Kingdom
Professor Mark Woolhouse Univerisity of Edinburgh United Kingdom
Dr Graham Cooke Imperial College London United Kingdom
Professor Paul Kellam Imperial College United Kingdom
Professor Andres Floto Cambridge University United Kingdom
Professor Reinout van Crevel Nijmegen Netherlands
Van Toi P, Pouplin T, Tho NDK, Phuong PN, Chau TTH, Thuong Thuong NT, Heemskerk D, Hien TT, Thwaites GE. 2017. High-performance liquid chromatography with time-programmed fluorescence detection for the quantification of Levofloxacin in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 1061-1062 pp. 256-262. | Show Abstract | Read more

An accurate and reliable high-performance liquid chromatography with time-programmed fluorescence detection was developed and validated to measure levofloxacin in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). After solid phase extraction process using Evolute(®) ABN 96 fixed well plate; levofloxacin and internal standard-enoxacin were separated using a mobile phase consisting of phosphate buffer 10mM with 0.025% triethylamine pH 3.0 - acetonitrile (88:12, v/v) on a Purosphere RP-8e column (5μm, 125×4.0mm) at a flow rate of 1.2mL/min at 35°C. The excitation/emission wavelengths were set to 269/400nm and 294/500nm, for enoxacin and levofloxacin, respectively. The method was linear over the concentration range of 0.02 to 20.0μg/mL with a limit of detection of 0.01μg/mL. The relative standard deviation of intra-assay and inter-assay precision for levofloxacin at four quality controls concentrations (0.02, 0.06, 3.0 and 15.0μg/mL) were less than 7% and the accuracies ranged from 96.75% to 101.9% in plasma, and from 93.00% to 98.67% in CSF. The validated method was successfully applied to quantify levofloxacin in a considerable quantity of plasma (826) and CSF (477) samples collected from 232 tuberculous meningitis patients, and the preliminary intensive pharmacokinetics analysis from 14 tuberculous meningitis patients in Vietnam is described in this paper.

The HC, Florez de Sessions P, Jie S, Pham Thanh D, Thompson CN, Nguyen Ngoc Minh C, Chu CW, Tran TA, Thomson NR, Thwaites GE et al. 2017. Assessing gut microbiota perturbations during the early phase of infectious diarrhea in Vietnamese children. Gut Microbes, pp. 1-17. | Show Abstract | Read more

Diarrheal diseases remain the second most common cause of mortality in young children in developing countries. Efforts have been made to explore the impact of diarrhea on bacterial communities in the human gut, but a thorough understanding has been impeded by inadequate resolution in bacterial identification and the examination of only few etiological agents. Here, by profiling an extended region of the 16S rRNA gene in the fecal microbiome, we aimed to elucidate the nature of gut microbiome perturbations during the early phase of infectious diarrhea caused by various etiological agents in Vietnamese children. Fecal samples from 145 diarrheal cases with a confirmed infectious etiology before antimicrobial therapy and 54 control subjects were analyzed. We found that the diarrheal fecal microbiota could be robustly categorized into 4 microbial configurations that either generally resembled or were highly divergent from a healthy state. Factors such as age, nutritional status, breastfeeding, and the etiology of the infection were significantly associated with these microbial community structures. We observed a consistent elevation of Fusobacterium mortiferum, Escherichia, and oral microorganisms in all diarrheal fecal microbiome configurations, proposing similar mechanistic interactions, even in the absence of global dysbiosis. We additionally found that Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum was significantly depleted during dysenteric diarrhea regardless of the etiological agent, suggesting that further investigations into the use of this species as a dysentery-orientated probiotic therapy are warranted. Our findings contribute to the understanding of the complex influence of infectious diarrhea on gut microbiome and identify new opportunities for therapeutic interventions.

Hong Chau TT, Chau NNM, Hoang Le NT, The HC, Voong Vinh P, To NTN, Ngoc NM, Tuan HM, Ngoc TLC, Kolader ME et al. 2017. A Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Lactobacillus acidophilus for the Treatment of Acute Watery Diarrhea in Vietnamese Children. Pediatr Infect Dis J, pp. 1-1. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Probiotics are the most frequently prescribed treatment for children hospitalized with diarrhea in Vietnam. We were in uncertain of the benefits of probiotics for the treatment of acute watery diarrhea in Vietnamese children. METHODS: We conducted a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of children hospitalized with acute watery diarrhea in Vietnam. Children meeting the inclusion criteria (acute watery diarrhea) were randomized to receive either two daily oral doses of 2 × 10 CFUs of a local probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus or placebo for 5 days as an adjunct to standard-of-care. The primary endpoint was time from the first dose of study medication to the start of the first 24-hour period without diarrhea. Secondary outcomes included the total duration of diarrhea and hospitalization, daily stool frequency, treatment failure, daily fecal concentrations of rotavirus and norovirus, and Lactobacillus colonization. RESULTS: 150 children were randomized into each study group. The median time from the first dose of study medication to the start of the first 24-hour diarrhea free period was 43 hours (inter-quartile range (IQR) 15-66 hours) in the placebo group and 35 hours (IQR 20-68 hours) in the probiotic group (acceleration factor 1.09 (95% confidence interval 1.78-1.51); p=1.62). There was also no evidence that probiotic treatment was efficacious in any of the pre-defined subgroups nor significantly associated with any secondary endpoint. CONCLUSIONS: This was a large double blind, placebo-controlled trial in which the probiotic underwent longitudinal quality control. We found that under these conditions that Lactobacillus acidophilus was not beneficial in treating children with acute watery diarrhea.

Tran Vu Thieu N, Trinh Van T, Tran Tuan A, Klemm EJ, Nguyen Ngoc Minh C, Voong Vinh P, Pham Thanh D, Ho Ngoc Dan T, Pham Duc T, Langat P et al. 2017. An evaluation of purified Salmonella Typhi protein antigens for the serological diagnosis of acute typhoid fever. J Infect, 75 (2), pp. 104-114. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: The diagnosis of typhoid fever is a challenge. Aiming to develop a typhoid diagnostic we measured antibody responses against Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi) protein antigens and the Vi polysaccharide in a cohort of Bangladeshi febrile patients. METHODS: IgM against 12 purified antigens and the Vi polysaccharide was measured by ELISA in plasma from patients with confirmed typhoid fever (n = 32), other confirmed infections (n = 17), and healthy controls (n = 40). ELISAs with the most specific antigens were performed on plasma from 243 patients with undiagnosed febrile disease. RESULTS: IgM against the S. Typhi protein antigens correlated with each other (rho > 0.8), but not against Vi (rho < 0.6). Typhoid patients exhibited higher IgM against 11/12 protein antigens and Vi than healthy controls and those with other infections. Vi, PilL, and CdtB exhibited the greatest sensitivity and specificity. Specificity and sensitivity was improved when Vi was combined with a protein antigen, generating sensitivities and specificities of 0.80 and >0.85, respectively. Applying a dynamic cut-off to patients with undiagnosed febrile disease suggested that 34-58% had an IgM response indicative of typhoid. CONCLUSIONS: We evaluated the diagnostic potential of several S. Typhi antigens; our assays give good sensitivity and specificity, but require further assessment in differing patient populations.

Nhat NTD, Todd S, de Bruin E, Thao TTN, Vy NHT, Quan TM, Vinh DN, van Beek J, Anh PH, Lam HM et al. 2017. Structure of general-population antibody titer distributions to influenza A virus. Sci Rep, 7 (1), pp. 6060. | Show Abstract | Read more

Seroepidemiological studies aim to understand population-level exposure and immunity to infectious diseases. Their results are normally presented as binary outcomes describing the presence or absence of pathogen-specific antibody, despite the fact that many assays measure continuous quantities. A population's natural distribution of antibody titers to an endemic infectious disease may include information on multiple serological states - naiveté, recent infection, non-recent infection, childhood infection - depending on the disease in question and the acquisition and waning patterns of immunity. In this study, we investigate 20,152 general-population serum samples from southern Vietnam collected between 2009 and 2013 from which we report antibody titers to the influenza virus HA1 protein using a continuous titer measurement from a protein microarray assay. We describe the distributions of antibody titers to subtypes 2009 H1N1 and H3N2. Using a model selection approach to fit mixture distributions, we show that 2009 H1N1 antibody titers fall into four titer subgroups and that H3N2 titers fall into three subgroups. For H1N1, our interpretation is that the two highest-titer subgroups correspond to recent and historical infection, which is consistent with 2009 pandemic attack rates. Similar interpretations are available for H3N2, but right-censoring of titers makes these interpretations difficult to validate.

Campbell JI, Lan NPH, Phuong PM, Chau LB, Trung Pham Duc, Guzmán-Verri C, Ruiz-Villalobos N, Minh TPT, Muñoz Álvaro PM, Moreno E et al. 2017. Human Brucella melitensis infections in southern Vietnam. Clin Microbiol Infect, | Read more

Le T, Kinh NV, Cuc NTK, Tung NLN, Lam NT, Thuy PTT, Cuong DD, Phuc PTH, Vinh VH, Hanh DTH et al. 2017. A Trial of Itraconazole or Amphotericin B for HIV-Associated Talaromycosis. N Engl J Med, 376 (24), pp. 2329-2340. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Talaromyces marneffei infection is a major cause of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related death in South and Southeast Asia. Guidelines recommend initial treatment with amphotericin B deoxycholate, but this drug has substantial side effects, a high cost, and limited availability. Itraconazole is available in oral form, is associated with fewer unacceptable side effects than amphotericin, and is widely used in place of amphotericin; however, clinical trials comparing these two treatments are lacking. METHODS: In this open-label, noninferiority trial, we randomly assigned 440 HIV-infected adults who had talaromycosis, confirmed by either microscopy or culture, to receive either intravenous amphotericin B deoxycholate (amphotericin) (219 patients), at a dose of 0.7 to 1.0 mg per kilogram of body weight per day, or itraconazole capsules (221 patients), at a dose of 600 mg per day for 3 days, followed by 400 mg per day, for 11 days; thereafter, all the patients received maintenance therapy with itraconazole. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality at week 2. Secondary outcomes included all-cause mortality at week 24, the time to clinical resolution of talaromycosis, early fungicidal activity, relapse of talaromycosis, development of the immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), and the side-effect profile. RESULTS: The risk of death at week 2 was 6.5% in the amphotericin group and 7.4% in the itraconazole group (absolute risk difference, 0.9 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -3.9 to 5.6; P<0.001 for noninferiority); however, the risk of death at week 24 was 11.3% in the amphotericin group and 21.0% in the itraconazole group (absolute risk difference, 9.7 percentage points; 95% CI, 2.8 to 16.6; P=0.006). Treatment with amphotericin was associated with significantly faster clinical resolution and fungal clearance and significantly lower rates of relapse and IRIS than itraconazole. The patients who received amphotericin had significantly higher rates of infusion-related reactions, renal failure, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, and anemia than patients in the itraconazole group. CONCLUSIONS: Amphotericin was superior to itraconazole as initial treatment for talaromycosis with respect to 6-month mortality, clinical response, and fungicidal activity. (Funded by the Medical Research Council and others; IVAP Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN59144167 .).

Day JN, Qihui S, Thanh LT, Trieu PH, Van AD, Thu NH, Chau TTH, Lan NPH, Chau NVV, Ashton PM et al. 2017. Comparative genomics of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii associated with meningitis in HIV infected and uninfected patients in Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (6), pp. e0005628. | Show Abstract | Read more

The vast burden of cryptococcal meningitis occurs in immunosuppressed patients, driven by HIV, and is caused by Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. We previously reported cryptococcal meningitis in Vietnam arising atypically in HIV uninfected, apparently immunocompetent patients, caused by a single amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) cluster of C. neoformans var. grubii (VNIγ). This variant was less common in HIV infected individuals; it remains unclear why this lineage is associated with apparently immunocompetent patients. To study this host tropism we aimed to further our understanding of clinical phenotype and genomic variation within Vietnamese C. neoformans var. grubii. After performing MLST on C. neoformans clinical isolates we identified 14 sequence types (STs); ST5 correlated with the VNIγ cluster. We next compared clinical phenotype by lineage and found HIV infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis caused by ST5 organisms were significantly more likely to have lymphadenopathy (11% vs. 4%, p = 0.05 Fisher's exact test) and higher blood lymphocyte count (median 0.76 versus 0.55 X109 cells/L, p = 0.001, Kruskal-Wallis test). Furthermore, survivors of ST5 infections had evidence of worse disability outcomes at 70 days (72.7% (40/55) in ST5 infections versus 57.1% (52/91) non-ST5 infections (OR 2.11, 95%CI 1.01 to 4.41), p = 0.046). To further investigate the relationship between strain and disease phenotype we performed genome sequencing on eight Vietnamese C. neoformans var. grubii. Eight genome assemblies exhibited >99% nucleotide sequence identity and we identified 165 kbp of lineage specific to Vietnamese isolates. ST5 genomes harbored several strain specific regions, incorporating 19 annotated coding sequences and eight hypothetical proteins. These regions included a phenolic acid decarboxylase, a DEAD-box ATP-dependent RNA helicase 26, oxoprolinases, a taurine catabolism dioxygenase, a zinc finger protein, membrane transport proteins and various drug transporters. Our work outlines the complexity of genomic pathogenicity in cryptococcal infections and identifies a number of gene candidates that may aid the disaggregation of the pathways associated with the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii.

Berto A, Pham HA, Thao TTN, Vy NHT, Caddy SL, Hiraide R, Tue NT, Goodfellow I, Carrique-Mas JJ, Thwaites GE et al. 2017. Hepatitis E in southern Vietnam: Seroepidemiology in humans and molecular epidemiology in pigs. Zoonoses Public Health, | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral pathogens account for a significant proportion of the burden of emerging infectious diseases in humans. The Wellcome Trust-Vietnamese Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (WT-VIZIONS) is aiming to understand the circulation of viral zoonotic pathogens in animals that pose a potential risk to human health. Evidence suggests that human exposure and infections with hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotypes (GT) 3 and 4 results from zoonotic transmission. Hypothesising that HEV GT3 and GT4 are circulating in the Vietnamese pig population and can be transmitted to humans, we aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of HEV exposure in a population of farmers and the general population. We additionally performed sequence analysis of HEV in pig populations in the same region to address knowledge gaps regarding HEV circulation and to evaluate if pigs were a potential source of HEV exposure. We found a high prevalence of HEV GT3 viral RNA in pigs (19.1% in faecal samples and 8.2% in rectal swabs) and a high HEV seroprevalence in pig farmers (16.0%) and a hospital-attending population (31.7%) in southern Vietnam. The hospital population was recruited as a general-population proxy even though this particular population subgroup may introduce bias. The detection of HEV RNA in pigs indicates that HEV may be a zoonotic disease risk in this location, although a larger sample size is required to infer an association between HEV positivity in pigs and seroprevalence in humans.

Näsström E, Parry CM, Vu Thieu NT, Maude RR, de Jong HK, Fukushima M, Rzhepishevska O, Marks F, Panzner U, Im J et al. 2017. Reproducible diagnostic metabolites in plasma from typhoid fever patients in Asia and Africa. Elife, 6 | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhi is the causative agent of typhoid. Typhoid is diagnosed by blood culture, a method that lacks sensitivity, portability and speed. We have previously shown that specific metabolomic profiles can be detected in the blood of typhoid patients from Nepal (Näsström et al., 2014). Here, we performed mass spectrometry on plasma from Bangladeshi and Senegalese patients with culture confirmed typhoid fever, clinically suspected typhoid, and other febrile diseases including malaria. After applying supervised pattern recognition modelling, we could significantly distinguish metabolite profiles in plasma from the culture confirmed typhoid patients. After comparing the direction of change and degree of multivariate significance, we identified 24 metabolites that were consistently up- or down regulated in a further Bangladeshi/Senegalese validation cohort, and the Nepali cohort from our previous work. We have identified and validated a metabolite panel that can distinguish typhoid from other febrile diseases, providing a new approach for typhoid diagnostics.

Thwaites GE, Day NPJ. 2017. Approach to Fever in the Returning Traveler REPLY NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 376 (18), pp. 1798-1798.

Thwaites GE, Day NPJ. 2017. Approach to Fever in the Returning Traveler. N Engl J Med, 376 (18), pp. 1798. | Read more

Heemskerk AD, Nguyen MTH, Dang HTM, Vinh Nguyen CV, Nguyen LH, Do TDA, Nguyen TTT, Wolbers M, Day J, Le TTP et al. 2017. Clinical Outcomes of Patients With Drug-Resistant Tuberculous Meningitis Treated With an Intensified Antituberculosis Regimen. Clin Infect Dis, 65 (1), pp. 20-28. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background.: Drug-resistant tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is difficult to diagnose and treat. Mortality is high and optimal treatment is unknown. We compared clinical outcomes of drug-resistant and -susceptible TBM treated with either standard or intensified antituberculosis treatment. Methods.: We analyzed the influence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance on the outcomes of patients with TBM enrolled into a randomized controlled trial comparing a standard, 9-month antituberculosis regimen (containing rifampicin 10 mg/kg/day) with an intensified regimen with higher-dose rifampicin (15 mg/kg/day) and levofloxacin (20 mg/kg/day) for the first 8 weeks. The primary endpoint of the trial was 9-month survival. In this subgroup analysis, resistance categories were predefined as multidrug resistant (MDR), isoniazid resistant, rifampicin susceptible (INH-R), and susceptible to rifampicin and isoniazid (INH-S + RIF-S). Outcome by resistance categories and response to intensified treatment were compared and estimated by Cox regression. Results.: Of 817 randomized patients, 322 had a known drug resistance profile. INH-R was found in 86 (26.7%) patients, MDR in 15 (4.7%) patients, rifampicin monoresistance in 1 patient (0.3%), and INH-S + RIF-S in 220 (68.3%) patients. Multivariable regression showed that MDR (hazard ratio [HR], 5.91 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 3.00-11.6]), P < .001), was an independent predictor of death. INH-R had a significant association with the combined outcome of new neurological events or death (HR, 1.58 [95% CI, 1.11-2.23]). Adjusted Cox regression, corrected for treatment adjustments, showed that intensified treatment was significantly associated with improved survival (HR, 0.34 [95% CI, .15-.76], P = .01) in INH-R TBM. Conclusions.: Early intensified treatment improved survival in patients with INH-R TBM. Targeted regimens for drug-resistant TBM should be further explored.

Graustein AD, Horne DJ, Fong JJ, Schwarz F, Mefford HC, Peterson GJ, Wells RD, Musvosvi M, Shey M, Hanekom WA et al. 2017. The SIGLEC14 null allele is associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis- and BCG-induced clinical and immunologic outcomes. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 104 pp. 38-45. | Show Abstract | Read more

Humans exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) have variable susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) and its outcomes. Siglec-5 and Siglec-14 are members of the sialic-acid binding lectin family that regulate immune responses to pathogens through inhibitory (Siglec-5) and activating (Siglec-14) domains. The SIGLEC14 coding sequence is deleted in a high proportion of individuals, placing a SIGLEC5-like gene under the expression of the SIGLEC14 promoter (the SIGLEC14 null allele) and causing expression of a Siglec-5 like protein in monocytes and macrophages. We hypothesized that the SIGLEC14 null allele was associated with Mtb replication in monocytes, T-cell responses to the BCG vaccine, and clinical susceptibility to TB. The SIGLEC14 null allele was associated with protection from TB meningitis in Vietnamese adults but not with pediatric TB in South Africa. The null allele was associated with increased IL-2 and IL-17 production following ex-vivo BCG stimulation of blood from 10 week-old South African infants vaccinated with BCG at birth. Mtb replication was increased in THP-1 cells overexpressing either Siglec-5 or Siglec-14 relative to controls. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate an association between SIGLEC expression and clinical TB, Mtb replication, or BCG-specific T-cell cytokines.

Dung TTN, Duy PT, Sessions OM, Sangumathi UK, Phat VV, Tam PTT, To NTN, Phuc TM, Hong Chau TT, Chau NNM et al. 2017. A universal genome sequencing method for rotavirus A from human fecal samples which identifies segment reassortment and multi-genotype mixed infection. BMC Genomics, 18 (1), pp. 324. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Genomic characterization of rotavirus (RoV) has not been adopted at large-scale due to the complexity of obtaining sequences for all 11 segments, particularly when feces are used as starting material. METHODS: To overcome these limitations, we developed a novel RoV capture and genome sequencing method combining commercial enzyme immunoassay plates and a set of routinely used reagents. RESULTS: Our approach had a 100% success rate, producing >90% genome coverage for diverse RoV present in fecal samples (Ct < 30). CONCLUSIONS: This method provides a novel, reproducible and comparatively simple approach for genomic RoV characterization and could be scaled-up for use in global RoV surveillance systems. TRIAL REGISTRATION (PROSPECTIVELY REGISTERED): Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN88101063 . Date of registration: 14/06/2012.

Berto A, Anh PH, Carrique-Mas JJ, Simmonds P, Van Cuong N, Tue NT, Van Dung N, Woolhouse ME, Smith I, Marsh GA et al. 2017. Detection of potentially novel paramyxovirus and coronavirus viral RNA in bats and rats in the Mekong Delta region of southern Viet Nam. Zoonoses Public Health, | Show Abstract | Read more

Bats and rodents are being increasingly recognized as reservoirs of emerging zoonotic viruses. Various studies have investigated bat viruses in tropical regions, but to date there are no data regarding viruses with zoonotic potential that circulate in bat and rat populations in Viet Nam. To address this paucity of data, we sampled three bat farms and three wet markets trading in rat meat in the Mekong Delta region of southern Viet Nam. Faecal and urine samples were screened for the presence of RNA from paramyxoviruses, coronaviruses and filoviruses. Paramyxovirus RNA was detected in 4 of 248 (1%) and 11 of 222 (4.9%) bat faecal and urine samples, respectively. Coronavirus RNA was detected in 55 of 248 (22%) of bat faecal samples; filovirus RNA was not detected in any of the bat samples. Further, coronavirus RNA was detected in 12 of 270 (4.4%) of rat faecal samples; all samples tested negative for paramyxovirus. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the bat paramyxoviruses and bat and rat coronaviruses were related to viruses circulating in bat and rodent populations globally, but showed no cross-species mixing of viruses between bat and rat populations within Viet Nam. Our study shows that potentially novel variants of paramyxoviruses and coronaviruses commonly circulate in bat and rat populations in Viet Nam. Further characterization of the viruses and additional human and animal surveillance is required to evaluate the likelihood of viral spillover and to assess whether these viruses pose a risk to human health.

Thuong NTT, Heemskerk D, Tram TTB, Thao LTP, Ramakrishnan L, Ha VTN, Bang ND, Chau TTH, Lan NH, Caws M et al. 2017. Leukotriene A4 Hydrolase Genotype and HIV Infection Influence Intracerebral Inflammation and Survival From Tuberculous Meningitis. J Infect Dis, 215 (7), pp. 1020-1028. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most devastating form of tuberculosis, yet very little is known about the pathophysiology. We hypothesized that the genotype of leukotriene A4 hydrolase (encoded by LTA4H), which determines inflammatory eicosanoid expression, influences intracerebral inflammation, and predicts survival from TBM. Methods: We characterized the pretreatment clinical and intracerebral inflammatory phenotype and 9-month survival of 764 adults with TBM. All were genotyped for single-nucleotide polymorphism rs17525495, and inflammatory phenotype was defined by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocyte and cytokine concentrations. Results: LTA4H genotype predicted survival of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-uninfected patients, with TT-genotype patients significantly more likely to survive TBM than CC-genotype patients, according to Cox regression analysis (univariate P = .040 and multivariable P = .037). HIV-uninfected, TT-genotype patients had high CSF proinflammatory cytokine concentrations, with intermediate and lower concentrations in those with CT and CC genotypes. Increased CSF cytokine concentrations correlated with more-severe disease, but patients with low CSF leukocytes and cytokine concentrations were more likely to die from TBM. HIV infection independently predicted death due to TBM (hazard ratio, 3.94; 95% confidence interval, 2.79-5.56) and was associated with globally increased CSF cytokine concentrations, independent of LTA4H genotype. Conclusions: LTA4H genotype and HIV infection influence pretreatment inflammatory phenotype and survival from TBM. LTA4H genotype may predict adjunctive corticosteroid responsiveness in HIV-uninfected individuals.

Berto A, Day J, Van Vinh Chau N, Thwaites GE, My NN, Baker S, Darton TC. 2017. Current challenges and possible solutions to improve access to care and treatment for hepatitis C infection in Vietnam: a systematic review. BMC Infect Dis, 17 (1), pp. 260. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis C infection is a major public health concern in low- and middle-income countries where an estimated 71.1 million individuals are living with chronic infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released new guidance for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment programs, which include improving the access to new direct-acting antiviral agents. In Vietnam, a highly populated middle-income country, the seroprevalence of HCV infection is approximately 4% and multiple genotypes co-circulate in the general population. Here we review what is currently known regarding the epidemiology of HCV in Vietnam and outline options for reducing the significant burden of morbidity and mortality in our setting. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of the currently available literature to evaluate what has been achieved to date with efforts to control HCV infection in Vietnam. RESULTS: This search retrieved few publications specific to Vietnam indicating a significant gap in baseline epidemiological and public health data. Key knowledge gaps identified included an understanding of the prevalence in specific high-risk groups, characterization of circulating HCV genotypes in the population and likely response to treatment, and the extent to which HCV treatment is available, accessed and utilized. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that there is an urgent need to perform up to date assessments of HCV disease burden in Vietnam, especially in high-risk groups, in whom incidence is high and cross infection with multiple genotypes is likely to be frequent. Coordinating renewed surveillance measures with forthcoming HCV treatment studies should initiate the traction required to achieve the WHO goal of eliminating HCV as a public health threat by 2030, at least in this region.

Marais BJ, Heemskerk D, Thwaites GE, Tuberculous Meningitis International Research Consortium. 2017. Reply to Dhawan and Sankhyan. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (12), pp. 1805. | Read more

Anh NT, Thanh TT, Van HMT, Ngoc NM, Nhu LNT, Thanh LTM, Qui PT, Khanh TH, Nhan LNT, Viet HL et al. 2017. A52 Development and evaluation of a viral-specific random PCR and next-generation sequencing based assay for detection and sequencing of hand, foot, and mouth disease pathogens. Virus Evol, 3 (Suppl 1), | Read more

Thao VP, Quang VM, Vinh Chau NV, Day J, Thwaites G, Le T. 2017. A4 The transmission dynamics over ten years of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in Vietnam. Virus Evol, 3 (Suppl 1), | Read more

Trung NV, Matamoros S, Carrique-Mas JJ, Nghia NH, Nhung NT, Chieu TT, Mai HH, van Rooijen W, Campbell J, Wagenaar JA et al. 2017. Zoonotic Transmission of mcr-1 Colistin Resistance Gene from Small-Scale Poultry Farms, Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 23 (3), pp. 529-532. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the consequences of colistin use in backyard chicken farms in Vietnam by examining the prevalence of mcr-1 in fecal samples from chickens and humans. Detection of mcr-1-carrying bacteria in chicken samples was associated with colistin use and detection in human samples with exposure to mcr-1-positive chickens.

Thompson CN, Karkey A, Dongol S, Arjyal A, Wolbers M, Darton T, Farrar JJ, Thwaites GE, Dolecek C, Basnyat B, Baker S. 2017. Treatment Response in Enteric Fever in an Era of Increasing Antimicrobial Resistance: An Individual Patient Data Analysis of 2092 Participants Enrolled into 4 Randomized, Controlled Trials in Nepal. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (11), pp. 1522-1531. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background.: Enteric fever, caused by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A, is the leading cause of bacterial febrile disease in South Asia. Methods.: Individual data from 2092 patients with enteric fever randomized into 4 trials in Kathmandu, Nepal, were pooled. All trials compared gatifloxacin with 1 of the following comparator drugs: cefixime, chloramphenicol, ofloxacin, or ceftriaxone. Treatment outcomes were evaluated according to antimicrobial if S. Typhi/Paratyphi were isolated from blood. We additionally investigated the impact of changing bacterial antimicrobial susceptibility on outcome. Results.: Overall, 855 (41%) patients had either S. Typhi (n = 581, 28%) or S. Paratyphi A (n = 274, 13%) cultured from blood. There were 139 (6.6%) treatment failures with 1 death. Except for the last trial with ceftriaxone, the fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin was associated with equivalent or better fever clearance times and lower treatment failure rates in comparison to all other antimicrobials. However, we additionally found that the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) against fluoroquinolones have risen significantly since 2005 and were associated with increasing fever clearance times. Notably, all organisms were susceptible to ceftriaxone throughout the study period (2005-2014), and the MICs against azithromycin declined, confirming the utility of these alternative drugs for enteric fever treatment. Conclusion.: The World Health Organization and local government health ministries in South Asia still recommend fluoroquinolones for enteric fever. This policy should change based on the evidence provided here. Rapid diagnostics are urgently required given the large numbers of suspected enteric fever patients with a negative culture.

Nguyen Thi Hoang M, Nguyen Hoan P, Le Van T, McBride A, Ho Dang Trung N, Tran Tan T, Nguyen Thi Thu H, Heemskerk D, Day J, Vincent A et al. 2017. First reported cases of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis in Vietnamese adolescents and adults. J Neurol Sci, 373 pp. 250-253. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is increasingly recognised as an important differential diagnosis in patients with encephalitis of unknown aetiology. We report the first case series of patients diagnosed in Vietnam. METHODS: Samples of CSF from patients with presumed encephalitis but negative microbiological investigations, who exhibited dyskinesia, autonomic instability or psychosis were tested for antibodies against the NR1 subunit of the glutamate (type-NMDA) receptor using an indirect immunofluorescence assay. RESULTS: Of 99 patients admitted with all-cause encephalitis over an 18month period, 9.1% (n=9 patients, 5 female, median age 28years) had confirmed NMDAR encephalitis. All patients were admitted from one mental health hospital, and the incidence may therefore be an underestimate. Common features included reduction in speech (n=9), catatonia (n=9), convulsions (n=7), dyskinesia (n=9), rigidity (n=9) and autonomic dysfunction (n=7). Aside from a modest lymphocytic pleocytosis, routine CSF analysis was usually normal. No female patient had ovarian teratoma detected by abdominal ultrasound. Most patients were treated with high dose corticosteroids, and one patient received intravenous immunoglobulin. The median duration of hospitalization was 75days and no patient died during admission. CONCLUSIONS: Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is an important differential diagnosis to consider for patients presenting with acute onset psychiatric symptoms, who develop ensuing seizures, movement or autonomic disorder in Vietnam. A stronger evidence base for management and access to second line immunotherapy agents may help to reduce morbidity from this disease.

Thwaites GE, Day NP. 2017. Approach to Fever in the Returning Traveler. N Engl J Med, 376 (6), pp. 548-560. | Read more

McBride A, Chau TTH, Hong NTT, Mai NTH, Anh NT, Thanh TT, Van TTH, Xuan LT, Sieu TPM, Thai LH et al. 2017. Angiostrongylus cantonensis Is an Important Cause of Eosinophilic Meningitis in Southern Vietnam. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (12), pp. 1784-1787. | Show Abstract | Read more

We utilized polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to demonstrate that Angiostrongylus cantonensis was responsible for 67.3% of 55 cases of eosinophilic meningitis from a cohort of 1,690 adult patients with CNS infection at a tertiary hospital in southern Vietnam. Longer duration of illness, depressed consciousness, and peripheral blood eosinophilia were associated with PCR positivity.

Sudarmono P, Aman AT, Arif M, Syarif AK, Kosasih H, Karyana M, Chotpitayasunondh T, Vandepitte WP, Boonyasiri A, Lapphra K et al. 2017. Causes and outcomes of sepsis in southeast Asia: a multinational multicentre cross-sectional study LANCET GLOBAL HEALTH, 5 (2), pp. E157-E167.

Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NK, Tong NT, Vy NT, Thanh NV, Van HT, Huong-Thu P, Quang HH, Boni MF, Dolecek C et al. 2017. K13 Propeller Mutations in Plasmodium falciparum Populations in Regions of Malaria Endemicity in Vietnam from 2009 to 2016. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 61 (4), pp. e01578-16-e01578-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

The spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum compromises the therapeutic efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) and is considered the greatest threat to current global initiatives to control and eliminate malaria. This is particularly relevant in Vietnam, where dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is the recommended ACT for P. falciparum infection. The propeller domain gene of K13, a molecular marker of artemisinin resistance, was successfully sequenced in 1,060 P. falciparum isolates collected at 3 malaria hot spots in Vietnam between 2009 and 2016. Eight K13 propeller mutations (Thr474Ile, Tyr493His, Arg539Thr, Ile543Thr, Pro553Leu, Val568Gly, Pro574Leu, and Cys580Tyr), including several that have been validated to be artemisinin resistance markers, were found. The prevalences of K13 mutations were 29% (222/767), 6% (11/188), and 43% (45/105) in the Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan, and Gia Lai Provinces of Vietnam, respectively. Cys580Tyr became the dominant genotype in recent years, with 79.1% (34/43) of isolates in Binh Phuoc Province and 63% (17/27) of isolates in Gia Lai Province carrying this mutation. K13 mutations were associated with reduced ring-stage susceptibility to dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in vitro and prolonged parasite clearance in vivo An analysis of haplotypes flanking K13 suggested the presence of multiple strains with the Cys580Tyr mutation rather than a single strain expanding across the three sites.

Thanh NV, Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NT, Tong NT, Nha-Ca NT, Dong LT, Quang HH, Farrar J, Thwaites G, White NJ et al. 2017. Rapid decline in the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in the south of Vietnam. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 27. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in the countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region posing a serious threat to global malaria elimination efforts. The relationship of artemisinin resistance to treatment failure has been unclear. METHODS: In annual studies conducted in three malaria endemic provinces in the south of Vietnam (Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai) between 2011 and 2015, 489 patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria were enrolled in detailed clinical, parasitological and molecular therapeutic response assessments with 42 days follow up. Patients received the national recommended first-line treatment dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for three days. RESULTS: Over the 5 years the proportion of patients with detectable parasitaemia on day 3 rose steadily from 38 to 57% (P < 0.001). In Binh Phuoc province, the parasite clearance half-life increased from 3.75 h in 2011 to 6.60 h in 2015 (P < 0.001), while treatment failures rose from 0% in 2012 and 2013, to 7% in 2014 and 26% in 2015 (P < 0.001). Recrudescence was associated with in vitro evidence of artemisinin and piperaquine resistance. In the treatment failures cases of 2015, all 14 parasite isolates carried the C580Y Pfkelch 13 gene, marker of artemisinin resistance and 93% (13/14) of them carried exoE415G mutations, markers of piperaquine resistance. CONCLUSIONS: In the south of Vietnam recent emergence of piperaquine resistant P. falciparum strains has accelerated the reduced response to artemisinin and has led to treatment failure rates of up to 26% to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, Vietnam's current first-line ACT. Alternative treatments are urgently needed.

Dyson ZA, Thanh DP, Bodhidatta L, Mason CJ, Srijan A, Rabaa MA, Vinh PV, Thanh TH, Thwaites GE, Baker S, Holt KE. 2017. Whole Genome Sequence Analysis of Salmonella Typhi Isolated in Thailand before and after the Introduction of a National Immunization Program. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (1), pp. e0005274. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccines against Salmonella Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid fever, are commonly used by travellers, however, there are few examples of national immunization programs in endemic areas. There is therefore a paucity of data on the impact of typhoid immunization programs on localised populations of S. Typhi. Here we have used whole genome sequencing (WGS) to characterise 44 historical bacterial isolates collected before and after a national typhoid immunization program that was implemented in Thailand in 1977 in response to a large outbreak; the program was highly effective in reducing typhoid case numbers. Thai isolates were highly diverse, including 10 distinct phylogenetic lineages or genotypes. Novel prophage and plasmids were also detected, including examples that were previously only reported in Shigella sonnei and Escherichia coli. The majority of S. Typhi genotypes observed prior to the immunization program were not observed following it. Post-vaccine era isolates were more closely related to S. Typhi isolated from neighbouring countries than to earlier Thai isolates, providing no evidence for the local persistence of endemic S. Typhi following the national immunization program. Rather, later cases of typhoid appeared to be caused by the occasional importation of common genotypes from neighbouring Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. These data show the value of WGS in understanding the impacts of vaccination on pathogen populations and provide support for the proposal that large-scale typhoid immunization programs in endemic areas could result in lasting local disease elimination, although larger prospective studies are needed to test this directly.

Ny NTH, Anh NT, Hang VTT, Nguyet LA, Thanh TT, Ha DQ, Minh NNQ, Ha DLA, McBride A, Tuan HM et al. 2017. Enterovirus D68 in Viet Nam (2009-2015). Wellcome Open Res, 2 pp. 41. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Since 1962, enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has been implicated in multiple outbreaks and sporadic cases of respiratory infection worldwide, but especially in the USA and Europe with an increasing frequency between 2010 and 2014. We describe the detection, associated clinical features and molecular characterization of EV-D68 in central and southern Viet Nam between 2009 and 2015. METHODS: Enterovirus/rhinovirus PCR positive respiratory or CSF samples taken from children and adults with respiratory/central nervous system infections in Viet Nam were tested by an EV-D68 specific PCR. The included samples were derived from 3 different observational studies conducted at referral hospitals across central and southern Viet Nam between 2009 and 2015. Whole-genome sequencing was carried out using a MiSeq based approach. Phylogenetic reconstruction and estimation of evolutionary rate and recombination were carried out in BEAST and Recombination Detection Program, respectively. RESULTS: EV-D68 was detected in 21/625 (3.4%) enterovirus/rhinovirus PCR positive respiratory samples but in none of the 15 CSF. All the EV-D68 patients were young children (age range: 11.8 - 24.5 months) and had moderate respiratory infections. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the Vietnamese sequences clustered with those from Asian countries, of which 9 fell in the B1 clade, and the remaining sequence was identified within the A2 clade. One intra sub-clade recombination event was detected, representing the second reported recombination within EV-D68. The evolutionary rate of EV-D68 was estimated to be 5.12E (-3) substitutions/site/year. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the virus was imported into Viet Nam in 2008. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated for the first time EV-D68 has been circulating at low levels in Viet Nam since 2008, associated with moderate acute respiratory infection in children. EV-D68 in Viet Nam is most closely related to Asian viruses, and clusters separately from recent US and European viruses that were suggested to be associated with acute flaccid paralysis.

Mai NTH, Phu NH, Nhu LNT, Hong NTT, Hanh NHH, Nguyet LA, Phuong TM, McBride A, Ha DQ, Nghia HDT et al. 2017. Central Nervous System Infection Diagnosis by Next-Generation Sequencing: A Glimpse Into the Future? Open Forum Infect Dis, 4 (2), pp. ofx046. | Show Abstract | Read more

Japanese encephalitis virus was detected by deep sequencing for the first time in urine of a 16-year-old boy with encephalitis. Seroconversion and polymerase chain reaction analysis confirmed the metagenomics finding. Urine is useful for diagnosis of flaviviral encephalitis, whereas deep sequencing can be a panpathogen assay for the diagnosis of life-threatening infectious diseases.

Thuong NTT, Thwaites GE. 2017. Treatment-Associated Inflammatory Deterioration in Tuberculous Meningitis: Unpicking the Paradox. J Infect Dis, 215 (5), pp. 665-667. | Read more

Seshadri C, Thuong NT, Mai NT, Bang ND, Chau TT, Lewinsohn DM, Thwaites GE, Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR. 2017. A polymorphism in human MR1 is associated with mRNA expression and susceptibility to tuberculosis. Genes Immun, 18 (1), pp. 8-14. | Show Abstract | Read more

The MR1 antigen-presenting system is conserved among mammals and enables T cells to recognize small molecules produced by bacterial pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb). However, it is not known whether MR1-mediated antigen presentation is important for protective immunity against mycobacterial disease. We hypothesized that genetic control of MR1 expression correlates with clinical outcomes of tuberculosis infection. We performed an MR1 candidate gene association study and identified an intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs1052632) that was significantly associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis in a discovery and validation cohort of Vietnamese adults with tuberculosis. Stratification by site of disease revealed that rs1052632 genotype GG was strongly associated with the development of meningeal tuberculosis (odds ratio=2.99; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.64-5.43; P=0.00006). Among patients with meningeal disease, absence of the G allele was associated with an increased risk of death (hazard ratio=3.86; 95% CI 1.49-9.98; P=0.005). Variant annotation tools using public databases indicate that rs1052632 is strongly associated with MR1 gene expression in lymphoblastoid cells (P=0.004) and is located within a transcriptional enhancer in epithelial keratinocytes. These data support a role for MR1 in the pathogenesis of human tuberculosis by revealing that rs1052632 is associated with MR1 gene expression and susceptibility to tuberculosis in Vietnam.

Thuong NT, Tram TT, Dinh TD, Thai PV, Heemskerk D, Bang ND, Chau TT, Russell DG, Thwaites GE, Hawn TR et al. 2016. MARCO variants are associated with phagocytosis, pulmonary tuberculosis susceptibility and Beijing lineage. Genes Immun, 17 (7), pp. 419-425. | Show Abstract | Read more

Macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO) has an important role in the phagocytosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). We hypothesized that MARCO polymorphisms are associated with phagocytosis, tuberculosis (TB) disease susceptibility and presentation, and infecting lineage. We used a human cellular model to examine how MARCO genotype mediates the immune response; a case-control study to investigate tuberculosis host genetic susceptibility; and a host-pathogen genetic analysis to study host-pathogen interactions. Two MARCO heterozygous (AG) genotypes (single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs2278589 and rs6751745) were associated with impaired phagocytosis of M. tuberculosis trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate-cord factor and β-glucan-coated beads in macrophages. The heterozygous genotypes of rs2278589 and rs6751745 were also associated with increased risk of pulmonary TB (PTB; rs2278589, P=0.001, odds ratio (OR)=1.6; rs6751745, P=0.009, OR=1.4), and with severe chest X-ray abnormalities (P=0.007, OR=1.6). These two genotypes were also associated with the Beijing lineage (rs2278589, P=0.001, OR=1.7; rs6751745, P=0.01, OR=1.5). Together, these results suggest that MARCO polymorphisms may regulate phagocytosis of M. tuberculosis and susceptibility and severity of PTB. They also suggest MARCO genotype and Beijing strains may interact to increase the risk of PTB.

Thanh TT, Van HM, Hong NT, Nhu LN, Anh NT, Tuan HM, Hien HV, Tuong NM, Kien TT, Khanh TH et al. 2016. The first genome sequences of human bocaviruses from Vietnam. Wellcome Open Res, 1 pp. 16. | Show Abstract | Read more

As part of an ongoing effort to generate complete genome sequences of hand, foot and mouth disease-causing enteroviruses directly from clinical specimens, two complete coding sequences and two partial genomic sequences of human bocavirus 1 (n=3) and 2 (n=1) were co-amplified and sequenced, representing the first genome sequences of human bocaviruses from Vietnam. The sequences may aid future study aiming at understanding the evolution of the pathogen.

Marais BJ, Heemskerk AD, Marais SS, van Crevel R, Rohlwink U, Caws M, Meintjes G, Misra UK, Mai NTH, Ruslami R et al. 2017. Standardized Methods for Enhanced Quality and Comparability of Tuberculous Meningitis Studies. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (4), pp. 501-509. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) remains a major cause of death and disability in tuberculosis-endemic areas, especially in young children and immunocompromised adults. Research aimed at improving outcomes is hampered by poor standardization, which limits study comparison and the generalizability of results. We propose standardized methods for the conduct of TBM clinical research that were drafted at an international tuberculous meningitis research meeting organized by the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam. We propose a core dataset including demographic and clinical information to be collected at study enrollment, important aspects related to patient management and monitoring, and standardized reporting of patient outcomes. The criteria proposed for the conduct of observational and intervention TBM studies should improve the quality of future research outputs, can facilitate multicenter studies and meta-analyses of pooled data, and could provide the foundation for a global TBM data repository.

Nhung NT, Cuong NV, Thwaites G, Carrique-Mas J. 2016. Antimicrobial Usage and Antimicrobial Resistance in Animal Production in Southeast Asia: A Review. Antibiotics (Basel), 5 (4), pp. 37-37. | Show Abstract | Read more

Southeast Asia is an area of great economic dynamism. In recent years, it has experienced a rapid rise in the levels of animal product production and consumption. The region is considered to be a hotspot for infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We reviewed English-language peer-reviewed publications related to antimicrobial usage (AMU) and AMR in animal production, as well as antimicrobial residues in meat and fish from 2000 to 2016, in the region. There is a paucity of data from most countries and for most bacterial pathogens. Most of the published work relates to non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Campylobacter spp. (mainly from Vietnam and Thailand), Enterococcus spp. (Malaysia), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (Thailand). However, most studies used the disk diffusion method for antimicrobial susceptibility testing; breakpoints were interpreted using Clinical Standard Laboratory Institute (CSLI) guidelines. Statistical models integrating data from publications on AMR in NTS and E. coli studies show a higher overall prevalence of AMR in pig isolates, and an increase in levels of AMR over the years. AMU studies (mostly from Vietnam) indicate very high usage levels of most types of antimicrobials, including beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, macrolides, and quinolones. This review summarizes information about genetic determinants of resistance, most of which are transferrable (mostly plasmids and integrons). The data in this review provide a benchmark to help focus research and policies on AMU and AMR in the region.

Harris PNA, McNamara JF, Lye DC, Davis JS, Bernard L, Cheng AC, Doi Y, Fowler VG, Kaye KS, Leibovici L et al. 2017. Proposed primary endpoints for use in clinical trials that compare treatment options for bloodstream infection in adults: a consensus definition. Clin Microbiol Infect, 23 (8), pp. 533-541. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To define standardized endpoints to aid the design of trials that compare antibiotic therapies for bloodstream infections (BSI). METHODS: Prospective studies, randomized trials or registered protocols comparing antibiotic therapies for BSI, published from 2005 to 2016, were reviewed. Consensus endpoints for BSI studies were defined using a modified Delphi process. RESULTS: Different primary and secondary endpoints were defined for pilot (small-scale studies designed to evaluate protocol design, feasibility and implementation) and definitive trials (larger-scale studies designed to test hypotheses and influence clinical practice), as well as for Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative BSI. For pilot studies of S. aureus BSI, a primary outcome of success at day 7 was defined by: survival, resolution of fever, stable/improved Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score and clearance of blood cultures, with no microbiologically confirmed failure up to 90 days. For definitive S. aureus BSI studies, a primary outcome of success at 90 days was defined by survival and no microbiologically confirmed failure. For pilot studies of Gram-negative BSI, a primary outcome of success at day 7 was defined by: survival, resolution of fever and symptoms related to BSI source, stable or improved SOFA score and negative blood cultures. For definitive Gram-negative BSI studies, a primary outcome of survival at 90 days supported by a secondary outcome of success at day 7 (as previously defined) was agreed. CONCLUSIONS: These endpoints provide a framework to aid future trial design. Further work will be required to validate these endpoints with respect to patient-centred clinical outcomes.

Mai NT, Thwaites GE. 2017. Recent advances in the diagnosis and management of tuberculous meningitis. Curr Opin Infect Dis, 30 (1), pp. 123-128. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Tuberculous meningitis is a devastating infection that is hard to diagnose and treat. We have reviewed tuberculous meningitis original research published within the past 18 months, selecting studies which we consider have most advanced knowledge. RECENT FINDINGS: We review advances in diagnostic methods, anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy, and the common complications of tuberculous meningitis. New commercial molecular diagnostic tests, such as GeneXpert MTB/RIF, have an important role in tuberculous meningitis diagnosis, but as with all other available tests, they lack sensitivity and cannot rule out the disease. Recent trials and pharmacokinetic studies have advanced understanding of the best anti-tuberculosis drug regimens for tuberculous meningitis, although optimal doses and duration remain uncertain, especially for young children. Good outcomes depend upon the careful management of the common complications (brain infarcts, tuberculomas, hydrocephalus and hyponatraemia) and controlling intracranial pressure. New tools, such as point-of-care ultrasound, may assist in the management, especially in the assessment of intravascular volume and raised intracranial pressure. SUMMARY: Disability-free survival from tuberculous meningitis depends upon rapid diagnosis, starting anti-tuberculosis drugs before the onset of coma and managing complications. Progress is slow and threatened by emerging drug-resistant bacteria, but new drugs and diagnostic technologies offer hope to future patients.

Bang ND, Caws M, Truc TT, Duong TN, Dung NH, Ha DT, Thwaites GE, Heemskerk D, Tarning J, Merson L et al. 2016. Clinical presentations, diagnosis, mortality and prognostic markers of tuberculous meningitis in Vietnamese children: a prospective descriptive study. BMC Infect Dis, 16 (1), pp. 573. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis in adults is well characterized in Vietnam, but there are no data on the disease in children. We present a prospective descriptive study of Vietnamese children with TBM to define the presentation, course and characteristics associated with poor outcome. METHODS: A prospective descriptive study of 100 consecutively admitted children with TBM at Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City. Cox and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with risk of death and a combined endpoint of death or disability at treatment completion. RESULTS: The study enrolled from October 2009 to March 2011. Median age was 32.5 months; sex distribution was equal. Median duration of symptoms was 18.5 days and time from admission to treatment initiation was 11 days. Fifteen of 100 children died, 4 were lost to follow-up, and 27/81 (33 %) of survivors had intermediate or severe disability upon treatment completion. Microbiological confirmation of disease was made in 6 %. Baseline characteristics associated with death included convulsions (HR 3.46, 95CI 1.19-10.13, p = 0.02), decreased consciousness (HR 22.9, 95CI 3.01-174.3, p < 0.001), focal neurological deficits (HR 15.7, 95CI 1.67-2075, p = 0.01), Blantyre Coma Score (HR 3.75, 95CI 0.99-14.2, p < 0.001) and CSF protein, lactate and glucose levels. Neck stiffness, MRC grade (children aged >5 years) and hydrocephalus were also associated with the combined endpoint of death or disability. CONCLUSIONS: Tuberculous meningitis in Vietnamese children has significant mortality and morbidity. There is significant delay in diagnosis; interventions that increase the speed of diagnosis and treatment initiation are likely to improve outcomes.

Wong VK, Baker S, Connor TR, Pickard D, Page AJ, Dave J, Murphy N, Holliman R, Sefton A, Millar M et al. 2016. An extended genotyping framework for Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the cause of human typhoid. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 12827. | Show Abstract | Read more

The population of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), the causative agent of typhoid fever, exhibits limited DNA sequence variation, which complicates efforts to rationally discriminate individual isolates. Here we utilize data from whole-genome sequences (WGS) of nearly 2,000 isolates sourced from over 60 countries to generate a robust genotyping scheme that is phylogenetically informative and compatible with a range of assays. These data show that, with the exception of the rapidly disseminating H58 subclade (now designated genotype 4.3.1), the global S. Typhi population is highly structured and includes dozens of subclades that display geographical restriction. The genotyping approach presented here can be used to interrogate local S. Typhi populations and help identify recent introductions of S. Typhi into new or previously endemic locations, providing information on their likely geographical source. This approach can be used to classify clinical isolates and provides a universal framework for further experimental investigations.

Veringa A, van der Elst KC, Day JN, Thwaites GE, Alffenaar JW. 2016. Sertraline for HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (10), pp. 1111. | Read more

International Typhoid Consortium, Wong VK, Holt KE, Okoro C, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Marks F, Page AJ, Olanipekun G, Munir H et al. 2016. Molecular Surveillance Identifies Multiple Transmissions of Typhoid in West Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (9), pp. e0004781. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of typhoid in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries has been difficult to estimate, in part, due to suboptimal laboratory diagnostics. However, surveillance blood cultures at two sites in Nigeria have identified typhoid associated with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) as an important cause of bacteremia in children. METHODS: A total of 128 S. Typhi isolates from these studies in Nigeria were whole-genome sequenced, and the resulting data was used to place these Nigerian isolates into a worldwide context based on their phylogeny and carriage of molecular determinants of antibiotic resistance. RESULTS: Several distinct S. Typhi genotypes were identified in Nigeria that were related to other clusters of S. Typhi isolates from north, west and central regions of Africa. The rapidly expanding S. Typhi clade 4.3.1 (H58) previously associated with multiple antimicrobial resistances in Asia and in east, central and southern Africa, was not detected in this study. However, antimicrobial resistance was common amongst the Nigerian isolates and was associated with several plasmids, including the IncHI1 plasmid commonly associated with S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that typhoid in Nigeria was established through multiple independent introductions into the country, with evidence of regional spread. MDR typhoid appears to be evolving independently of the haplotype H58 found in other typhoid endemic countries. This study highlights an urgent need for routine surveillance to monitor the epidemiology of typhoid and evolution of antimicrobial resistance within the bacterial population as a means to facilitate public health interventions to reduce the substantial morbidity and mortality of typhoid.

Do NT, Ta NT, Tran NT, Than HM, Vu BT, Hoang LB, van Doorn HR, Vu DT, Cals JW, Chandna A et al. 2016. Point-of-care C-reactive protein testing to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics for non-severe acute respiratory infections in Vietnamese primary health care: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Glob Health, 4 (9), pp. e633-e641. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Inappropriate antibiotic use for acute respiratory tract infections is common in primary health care, but distinguishing serious from self-limiting infections is difficult, particularly in low-resource settings. We assessed whether C-reactive protein point-of-care testing can safely reduce antibiotic use in patients with non-severe acute respiratory tract infections in Vietnam. METHOD: We did a multicentre open-label randomised controlled trial in ten primary health-care centres in northern Vietnam. Patients aged 1-65 years with at least one focal and one systemic symptom of acute respiratory tract infection were assigned 1:1 to receive either C-reactive protein point-of-care testing or routine care, following which antibiotic prescribing decisions were made. Patients with severe acute respiratory tract infection were excluded. Enrolled patients were reassessed on day 3, 4, or 5, and on day 14 a structured telephone interview was done blind to the intervention. Randomised assignments were concealed from prescribers and patients but not masked as the test result was used to assist treatment decisions. The primary outcome was antibiotic use within 14 days of follow-up. All analyses were prespecified in the protocol and the statistical analysis plan. All analyses were done on the intention-to-treat population and the analysis of the primary endpoint was repeated in the per-protocol population. This trial is registered under number NCT01918579. FINDINGS: Between March 17, 2014, and July 3, 2015, 2037 patients (1028 children and 1009 adults) were enrolled and randomised. One adult patient withdrew immediately after randomisation. 1017 patients were assigned to receive C-reactive protein point-of-care testing, and 1019 patients were assigned to receive routine care. 115 patients in the C-reactive protein point-of-care group and 72 patients in the routine care group were excluded in the intention-to-treat analysis due to missing primary endpoint. The number of patients who used antibiotics within 14 days was 581 (64%) of 902 patients in the C-reactive protein group versus 738 (78%) of 947 patients in the control group (odds ratio [OR] 0·49, 95% CI 0·40-0·61; p<0·0001). Highly significant differences were seen in both children and adults, with substantial heterogeneity of the intervention effect across the 10 sites (I(2)=84%, 95% CI 66-96). 140 patients in the C-reactive protein group and 137 patients in the routine care group missed the urine test on day 3, 4, or 5. Antibiotic activity in urine on day 3, 4, or 5 was found in 267 (30%) of 877 patients in the C-reactive protein group versus 314 (36%) of 882 patients in the routine treatment group (OR 0·78, 95% CI 0·63-0·95; p=0·015). Time to resolution of symptoms was similar in both groups. Adverse events were rare, with no deaths and a total of 14 hospital admissions (six in the C-reactive protein group and eight in the control group). INTERPRETATION: C-reactive protein point-of-care testing reduced antibiotic use for non-severe acute respiratory tract infection without compromising patients' recovery in primary health care in Vietnam. Health-care providers might have become familiar with the clinical picture of low C-reactive protein, leading to reduction in antibiotic prescribing in both groups, but this would have led to a reduction in observed effect, rather than overestimation. Qualitative analysis is needed to address differences in context in order to implement this strategy to improve rational antibiotic use for patients with acute respiratory infection in low-income and middle-income countries. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, UK, and Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership, USA.

Phu Huong Lan N, Le Thi Phuong T, Nguyen Huu H, Thuy L, Mather AE, Park SE, Marks F, Thwaites GE, Van Vinh Chau N, Thompson CN, Baker S. 2016. Invasive Non-typhoidal Salmonella Infections in Asia: Clinical Observations, Disease Outcome and Dominant Serovars from an Infectious Disease Hospital in Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (8), pp. e0004857. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) infections are now a well-described cause of morbidity and mortality in children and HIV-infected adults in sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast, the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of iNTS disease in Asia are not well documented. We retrospectively identified >100 cases of iNTS infections in an infectious disease hospital in Southern Vietnam between 2008 and 2013. Clinical records were accessed to evaluate demographic and clinical factors associated with iNTS infection and to identify risk factors associated with death. Multi-locus sequence typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed on all organisms. Of 102 iNTS patients, 71% were HIV-infected, >90% were adults, 71% were male and 33% reported intravenous drug use. Twenty-six/92 (28%) patients with a known outcome died; HIV infection was significantly associated with death (p = 0.039). S. Enteritidis (Sequence Types (ST)11) (48%, 43/89) and S. Typhimurium (ST19, 34 and 1544) (26%, 23/89) were the most commonly identified serovars; S. Typhimurium was significantly more common in HIV-infected individuals (p = 0.003). Isolates from HIV-infected patients were more likely to exhibit reduced susceptibility against trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole than HIV-negative patients (p = 0.037). We conclude that iNTS disease is a severe infection in Vietnam with a high mortality rate. As in sub-Saharan Africa, HIV infection was a risk factor for death, with the majority of the burden in this population found in HIV-infected adult men.

Chung The H, Rabaa MA, Pham Thanh D, De Lappe N, Cormican M, Valcanis M, Howden BP, Wangchuk S, Bodhidatta L, Mason CJ et al. 2016. South Asia as a Reservoir for the Global Spread of Ciprofloxacin-Resistant Shigella sonnei: A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS Med, 13 (8), pp. e1002055. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance is a major issue in the Shigellae, particularly as a specific multidrug-resistant (MDR) lineage of Shigella sonnei (lineage III) is becoming globally dominant. Ciprofloxacin is a recommended treatment for Shigella infections. However, ciprofloxacin-resistant S. sonnei are being increasingly isolated in Asia and sporadically reported on other continents. We hypothesized that Asia is a primary hub for the recent international spread of ciprofloxacin-resistant S. sonnei. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We performed whole-genome sequencing on a collection of 60 contemporaneous ciprofloxacin-resistant S. sonnei isolated in four countries within Asia (Vietnam, n = 11; Bhutan, n = 12; Thailand, n = 1; Cambodia, n = 1) and two outside of Asia (Australia, n = 19; Ireland, n = 16). We reconstructed the recent evolutionary history of these organisms and combined these data with their geographical location of isolation. Placing these sequences into a global phylogeny, we found that all ciprofloxacin-resistant S. sonnei formed a single clade within a Central Asian expansion of lineage III. Furthermore, our data show that resistance to ciprofloxacin within S. sonnei may be globally attributed to a single clonal emergence event, encompassing sequential gyrA-S83L, parC-S80I, and gyrA-D87G mutations. Geographical data predict that South Asia is the likely primary source of these organisms, which are being regularly exported across Asia and intercontinentally into Australia, the United States and Europe. Our analysis was limited by the number of S. sonnei sequences available from diverse geographical areas and time periods, and we cannot discount the potential existence of other unsampled reservoir populations of antimicrobial-resistant S. sonnei. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that a single clone, which is widespread in South Asia, is likely driving the current intercontinental surge of ciprofloxacin-resistant S. sonnei and is capable of establishing endemic transmission in new locations. Despite being limited in geographical scope, our work has major implications for understanding the international transfer of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, with S. sonnei acting as a tractable model for studying how antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacteria spread globally.

Hien HT, Thanh TT, Thu NT, Nguyen A, Thanh NT, Lan NP, Simmons C, Shikuma C, Chau NV, Thwaites G, Le T. 2016. Development and evaluation of a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay for the rapid detection of Talaromyces marneffei MP1 gene in human plasma. Mycoses, 59 (12), pp. 773-780. | Show Abstract | Read more

Penicilliosis caused by Talaromyces marneffei is a common AIDS-defining illness in South and Southeast Asia. Diagnosis is based on culture which can take up to 14 days for identification, leading to treatment delay and increased mortality. We developed a TaqMan real-time PCR assay targeting the MP1 gene encoding an abundant cell wall protein specific to T. marneffei. The assay's performance was evaluated in MP1-containing plasmids, clinical isolates, and plasma from HIV-infected patients with and without penicilliosis. The assay consistently detected 10 copies of MP1-containing plasmids per reaction and 100 T. marneffei yeast cells per millilitre plasma. There were no amplification with seven other Penicillium species and six other HIV-associated fungal pathogens tested. The assay was evaluated in 70 patients with AIDS: 50 patients with culture-confirmed penicilliosis and 20 patients with opportunistic infections other than penicilliosis. The diagnostic sensitivity was 70.4% (19/27, 95% CI: 51.5-84.1%) and 52.2% (12/23, 95% CI: 33.0-70.8%) in plasma samples collected prior to and within 48 h of antifungal therapy respectively. The diagnostic specificity was 100% (20/20, 95% CI: 83.9-100%). This assay provides a useful tool for the rapid diagnosis of T. marneffei infection and has the potential to improve the management of patients with penicilliosis.

Nguyen AT, Tran TT, Hoang VM, Nghiem NM, Le NN, Le TT, Phan QT, Truong KH, Le NN, Ho VL et al. 2016. Development and evaluation of a non-ribosomal random PCR and next-generation sequencing based assay for detection and sequencing of hand, foot and mouth disease pathogens. Virol J, 13 (1), pp. 125. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) has become a major public health problem across the Asia-Pacific region, and is commonly caused by enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) and coxsackievirus A6 (CV-A6), CV-A10 and CV-A16. Generating pathogen whole-genome sequences is essential for understanding their evolutionary biology. The frequent replacements among EV serotypes and a limited numbers of available whole-genome sequences hinder the development of overlapping PCRs for whole-genome sequencing. We developed and evaluated a non-ribosomal random PCR (rPCR) and next-generation sequencing based assay for sequence-independent whole-genome amplification and sequencing of HFMD pathogens. A total of 16 EV-A71/CV-A6/CV-A10/CV-A16 PCR positive rectal/throat swabs (Cp values: 20.9-33.3) were used for assay evaluation. RESULTS: Our assay evidently outperformed the conventional rPCR in terms of the total number of EV-A71 reads and the percentage of EV-A71 reads: 2.6 % (1275/50,000 reads) vs. 0.1 % (31/50,000) and 6 % (3008/50,000) vs. 0.9 % (433/50,000) for two samples with Cp values of 30 and 26, respectively. Additionally the assay could generate genome sequences with the percentages of coverage of 94-100 % of 4 different enterovirus serotypes in 73 % of the tested samples, representing the first whole-genome sequences of CV-A6/10/16 from Vietnam, and could assign correctly serotyping results in 100 % of 24 tested specimens. In all but three the obtained consensuses of two replicates from the same sample were 100 % identical, suggesting that our assay is highly reproducible. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, we have successfully developed a non-ribosomal rPCR and next-generation sequencing based assay for sensitive detection and direct whole-genome sequencing of HFMD pathogens from clinical samples.

Phan MVT, Anh PH, Cuong NV, Munnink BBO, van der Hoek L, My PT, Tri TN, Bryant JE, Baker S, Thwaites G et al. 2016. Unbiased whole-genome deep sequencing of human and porcine stool samples reveals circulation of multiple groups of rotaviruses and a putative zoonotic infection. Virus Evol, 2 (2), pp. vew027. | Show Abstract | Read more

Coordinated and synchronous surveillance for zoonotic viruses in both human clinical cases and animal reservoirs provides an opportunity to identify interspecies virus movement. Rotavirus (RV) is an important cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans and animals. In this study, we document the RV diversity within co-located humans and animals sampled from the Mekong delta region of Vietnam using a primer-independent, agnostic, deep sequencing approach. A total of 296 stool samples (146 from diarrhoeal human patients and 150 from pigs living in the same geographical region) were directly sequenced, generating the genomic sequences of sixty human rotaviruses (all group A) and thirty-one porcine rotaviruses (thirteen group A, seven group B, six group C, and five group H). Phylogenetic analyses showed the co-circulation of multiple distinct RV group A (RVA) genotypes/strains, many of which were divergent from the strain components of licensed RVA vaccines, as well as considerable virus diversity in pigs including full genomes of rotaviruses in groups B, C, and H, none of which have been previously reported in Vietnam. Furthermore, the detection of an atypical RVA genotype constellation (G4-P[6]-I1-R1-C1-M1-A8-N1-T7-E1-H1) in a human patient and a pig from the same region provides some evidence for a zoonotic event.

Van Pham T, Pham Nguyen P, Nguyen Duc Khanh T, Nguyen Thanh Thuy N, Nguyen Thuy Nha C, Pouplin T, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, Tran Tinh H. 2016. An HPLC method with diode array detector for the simultaneous quantification of chloroquine and desethylchloroquine in plasma and whole blood samples from Plasmodium vivax patients in Vietnam, using quinine as an internal standard. Biomed Chromatogr, 30 (7), pp. 1104-1111. | Show Abstract | Read more

A sensitive, simple method for quantification of chloroquine (CQ) and desethylchloroquine (MCQ) in whole blood and plasma from Plasmodium vivax patients has been developed using HPLC with diode array detection (DAD). Solid-phase extraction on Isolute-96-CBA was employed to process 100 μL of plasma/whole blood samples. CQ, MCQ and quinine were separated using a mobile phase of phosphate buffer 25 mm, pH 2.60-acetonitrile (88:12, v/v) with 2 mm sodium perchlorate on a Zorbax SB-CN 150 × 4.6 mm, 5 μm column at a flow rate of 1.2 mL/min, at ambient temperature in 10 min, with the DAD wavelength of 343 nm. The method was linear over the range of 10-5000 ng/mL for both CQ and MCQ in plasma and whole blood. The limit of detection was 4 ng/mL and limit of quantification was 10 ng/mL in both plasma and blood for CQ and MCQ. The intra-, inter- and total assay precision were <10% for CQ and MCQ in plasma and whole blood. In plasma, the accuracies varied between 101 and 103%, whereas in whole blood, the accuracies ranged from 97.0 to 102% for CQ and MCQ. The method is an ideal technique with simple facilities and instruments, bringing about good separation in comparison with previous methods. © 2016 The Authors Biomedical Chromatography Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Pham Thanh D, Thompson CN, Rabaa MA, Sona S, Sopheary S, Kumar V, Moore C, Tran Vu Thieu N, Wijedoru L, Holt KE et al. 2016. The Molecular and Spatial Epidemiology of Typhoid Fever in Rural Cambodia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (6), pp. e0004785. | Show Abstract | Read more

Typhoid fever, caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi, is an endemic cause of febrile disease in Cambodia. The aim of this study was to better understand the epidemiology of pediatric typhoid fever in Cambodia. We accessed routine blood culture data from Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap province between 2007 and 2014, and performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) on the isolated bacteria to characterize the S. Typhi population. The resulting phylogenetic information was combined with conventional epidemiological approaches to investigate the spatiotemporal distribution of S. Typhi and population-level risk factors for reported disease. During the study period, there were 262 cases of typhoid within a 100 km radius of AHC, with a median patient age of 8.2 years (IQR: 5.1-11.5 years). The majority of infections occurred during the rainy season, and commune incidences as high as 11.36/1,000 in children aged <15 years were observed over the study period. A population-based risk factor analysis found that access to water within households and increasing distance from Tonle Sap Lake were protective. Spatial mapping and WGS provided additional resolution for these findings, and confirmed that proximity to the lake was associated with discrete spatiotemporal disease clusters. We confirmed the dominance of MDR H58 S. Typhi in this population, and found substantial evidence of diversification (at least seven sublineages) within this single lineage. We conclude that there is a substantial burden of pediatric typhoid fever in rural communes in Cambodia. Our data provide a platform for additional population-based typhoid fever studies in this location, and suggest that this would be a suitable setting in which to introduce a school-based vaccination programme with Vi conjugate vaccines.

Leung JM, Hong CT, Trung NH, Thi HN, Minh CN, Thi TV, Hong DT, Man DN, Knowles SC, Wolbers M et al. 2016. The impact of albendazole treatment on the incidence of viral- and bacterial-induced diarrhea in school children in southern Vietnam: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 17 (1), pp. 279. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Anthelmintics are one of the more commonly available classes of drugs to treat infections by parasitic helminths (especially nematodes) in the human intestinal tract. As a result of their cost-effectiveness, mass school-based deworming programs are becoming routine practice in developing countries. However, experimental and clinical evidence suggests that anthelmintic treatments may increase susceptibility to other gastrointestinal infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or protozoa. Hypothesizing that anthelmintics may increase diarrheal infections in treated children, we aim to evaluate the impact of anthelmintics on the incidence of diarrheal disease caused by viral and bacterial pathogens in school children in southern Vietnam. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the effects of albendazole treatment versus placebo on the incidence of viral- and bacterial-induced diarrhea in 350 helminth-infected and 350 helminth-uninfected Vietnamese school children aged 6-15 years. Four hundred milligrams of albendazole, or placebo treatment will be administered once every 3 months for 12 months. At the end of 12 months, all participants will receive albendazole treatment. The primary endpoint of this study is the incidence of diarrheal disease assessed by 12 months of weekly active and passive case surveillance. Secondary endpoints include the prevalence and intensities of helminth, viral, and bacterial infections, alterations in host immunity and the gut microbiota with helminth and pathogen clearance, changes in mean z scores of body weight indices over time, and the number and severity of adverse events. DISCUSSION: In order to reduce helminth burdens, anthelmintics are being routinely administered to children in developing countries. However, the effects of anthelmintic treatment on susceptibility to other diseases, including diarrheal pathogens, remain unknown. It is important to monitor for unintended consequences of drug treatments in co-infected populations. In this trial, we will examine how anthelmintic treatment impacts host susceptibility to diarrheal infections, with the aim of informing deworming programs of any indirect effects of mass anthelmintic administrations on co-infecting enteric pathogens. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02597556 . Registered on 3 November 2015.

Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Thwaites GE. 2016. Therapy for Tuberculous Meningitis REPLY NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 374 (22), pp. 2188-2189.

Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Thwaites GE. 2016. Therapy for Tuberculous Meningitis. N Engl J Med, 374 (22), pp. 2188-2189. | Read more

Pham Thanh D, Thanh Tuyen H, Nguyen Thi Nguyen T, Chung The H, Wick RR, Thwaites GE, Baker S, Holt KE. 2016. Inducible colistin resistance via a disrupted plasmid-borne mcr-1 gene in a 2008 Vietnamese Shigella sonnei isolate. J Antimicrob Chemother, 71 (8), pp. 2314-2317. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to assess the presence of mcr-1 in Shigella sonnei isolated in Vietnam. METHODS: WGS data were analysed for the presence of the mcr-1 gene sequence. The association of mcr-1 with a plasmid was assessed by PCR and by conjugation. RESULTS: Through genome sequencing we identified a plasmid-associated inactive form of mcr-1 in a 2008 Vietnamese isolate of Shigella sonnei. The plasmid was conjugated into Escherichia coli and mcr-1 was activated upon exposure to colistin, resulting in highly colistin-resistant transconjugants. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first description of the mcr-1 gene in Shigella, which is atypical given that colistin is not ordinarily used to treat diarrhoea. Our data suggest the mcr-1 gene has been circulating in human-restricted pathogens for some time but likely carries a selective fitness cost.

Van Cuong N, Nhung NT, Nghia NH, Mai Hoa NT, Trung NV, Thwaites G, Carrique-Mas J. 2016. Antimicrobial Consumption in Medicated Feeds in Vietnamese Pig and Poultry Production. Ecohealth, 13 (3), pp. 490-498. | Show Abstract | Read more

Antimicrobials are extensively used as growth promoters in animal feeds worldwide, but reliable estimates are lacking. We conducted an internet-based survey of commercial chicken and pig feed products officially approved for sale in Vietnam over the period March-June 2015. Information on the antimicrobial contents in feed products, alongside animal production data, was used to estimate in-feed antimicrobial consumption to produce one kilogram of live animal (chicken, pig), as well as to estimate country-wide antimicrobial consumption through animal feeds. A total of 1462 commercial feed formulations were examined. The survey-adjusted estimated antimicrobial contents were 25.7 and 62.3 mg/kg in chicken and pig feeds, respectively. Overall, it was estimated that 77.4 mg [95% CI 48.1-106.8] and 286.6 mg [95% CI 191.6-418.3] of in-feed antimicrobials were used to raise 1 kg of live chicken and pig, respectively. Bacitracin (15.5% feeds), chlortetracycline (11.4%), and enramycin (10.8%) were the most common antimicrobials present in chicken feed formulations, whereas bacitracin (24.8%), chlortetracycline (23.9%), and florfenicol (17.4%) were the most common in pig feed formulations. Overall, 57% of the total quantitative usage consisted of antimicrobials regarded by WHO of importance for human medicine, including amoxicillin, colistin, tetracyclines, neomycin, lincomycin, and bacitracin. These figures confirm a very high magnitude of in-feed consumption of antimicrobials, especially in pig production. Results from this study should encourage further monitoring of antimicrobials used in animal production, and foster discussion about existing policies on inclusion of antimicrobials in animal feed rations.

Nguyen NT, Nguyen HM, Nguyen CV, Nguyen TV, Nguyen MT, Thai HQ, Ho MH, Thwaites G, Ngo HT, Baker S, Carrique-Mas J. 2016. Use of Colistin and Other Critical Antimicrobials on Pig and Chicken Farms in Southern Vietnam and Its Association with Resistance in Commensal Escherichia coli Bacteria. Appl Environ Microbiol, 82 (13), pp. 3727-3735. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health problem, and emerging semi-intensive farming systems in Southeast Asia are major contributors to the AMR burden. We accessed 12 pig and chicken farms at key stages of production in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam, to measure antimicrobial usage and to investigate the prevalence of AMR to five critical antimicrobials (β-lactams, third-generation cephalosporins, quinolones, aminoglycosides, and polymyxins) and their corresponding molecular mechanisms among 180 Escherichia coli isolates. Overall, 94.7 mg (interquartile range [IQR], 65.3 to 151.1) and 563.6 mg (IQR, 398.9 to 943.6) of antimicrobials was used to produce 1 kg (live weight) of chicken and pig, respectively. A median of 3 (out of 8) critical antimicrobials were used on pig farms. E. coli isolates exhibited a high prevalence of resistance to ampicillin (97.8% and 94.4% for chickens and pigs, respectively), ciprofloxacin (73.3% and 21.1%), gentamicin (42.2% and 35.6%), and colistin (22.2% and 24.4%). The prevalence of a recently discovered colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, was 19 to 22% and had strong agreement with phenotypic colistin resistance. We conducted plasmid conjugation experiments with 37 mcr-1 gene-positive E. coli isolates and successfully observed transfer of the gene in 54.0% of isolates through a plasmid of approximately 63 kb, consistent with one recently identified in China. We found no significant correlation between total use of antimicrobials at the farm level and AMR. These data provide additional insight into the role of mcr-1 in colistin resistance on farms and outline the dynamics of phenotypic and genotypic AMR in semi-intensive farming systems in Vietnam. IMPORTANCE: Our study provides accurate baseline information on levels of antimicrobial use, as well as on the dynamics of phenotypic and genotypic resistance for antimicrobials of critical importance among E. coli over the different stages of production in emerging pig and poultry production systems in Vietnam. E. coli isolates showed a high prevalence of resistance (>20%) to critically important antimicrobials, such as colistin, ciprofloxacin, and gentamicin. The underlying genetic mechanisms identified for colistin (the mcr-1 gene) and quinolone (gyrA gene mutations) are likely to play a major role in AMR to those compounds. Conjugation experiments led to the identification of a 63-kb plasmid, similar to one recently identified in China, as the potential carrier of the mcr-1 gene. These results should encourage greater restrictions of such antimicrobials in Southeast Asian farming systems.

Nguyen AT, Nghiem N, Tran T, Hoang V, Le N, Phan Q, Le N, Ho V, Do V, Ha T et al. 2016. Development and evaluation of a vral-specific random PCR and next-generation sequencing based assay for detection and sequencing of hand, foot, and mouth disease pathogens INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 45 pp. 187-187. | Read more

Thuan PD, Ca NTN, Toi PV, Nhien NTT, Thanh NV, Anh ND, Phu NH, Thai CQ, Thai LH, Hoa NT et al. 2016. A Randomized Comparison of Chloroquine versus Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine for the Treatment of Plasmodium vivax Infection in Vietnam AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 94 (4), pp. 879-885. | Read more

Bahr NC, Marais S, Caws M, van Crevel R, Wilkinson RJ, Tyagi JS, Thwaites GE, Boulware DR, Tuberculous Meningitis International Research Consortium. 2016. GeneXpert MTB/Rif to Diagnose Tuberculous Meningitis: Perhaps the First Test but not the Last. Clin Infect Dis, 62 (9), pp. 1133-1135. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of tuberculous with substantial mortality. In May 2015, 54 researchers from 10 countries met in Da Lat, Vietnam, to discuss advances in TBM. Among the attendees were researchers involved in pivotal studies on the use of Xpert MTB/Rif for TBM diagnosis. Attendees discussed the 2014 World Health Organization strong recommendation favoring the use of Xpert "in preference to conventional microscopy and culture as the initial diagnostic test for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) if the sample volume is low or if additional specimens cannot be obtained to make a quick diagnosis." Attendees were concerned that the limitations of Xpert testing for TBM are not emphasized. Clear guidance is needed for the investigational pathway for TBM, including recommendations on the diagnostic package of investigations, which does not stop with Xpert testing. Second, emphasis on the large CSF volumes (ideally 8-10 mL) needed for Xpert testing is required. Guidelines should also emphasize that TBM is a medical emergency and early treatment reduces mortality.

Schultz MB, Pham Thanh D, Tran Do Hoan N, Wick RR, Ingle DJ, Hawkey J, Edwards DJ, Kenyon JJ, Phu Huong Lan N, Campbell JI et al. 2016. Repeated local emergence of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in a single hospital ward. Microb Genom, 2 (3), pp. e000050. | Show Abstract | Read more

We recently reported a dramatic increase in the prevalence of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii infections in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a Vietnamese hospital. This upsurge was associated with a specific oxa23-positive clone that was identified by multilocus VNTR analysis. Here, we used whole-genome sequence analysis to dissect the emergence of carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii causing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in the ICU during 2009-2012. To provide historical context and distinguish microevolution from strain introduction, we compared these genomes with those of A. baumannii asymptomatic carriage and VAP isolates from this same ICU collected during 2003-2007. We identified diverse lineages co-circulating over many years. Carbapenem resistance was associated with the presence of oxa23, oxa40, oxa58 and ndm1 genes in multiple lineages. The majority of resistant isolates were oxa23-positive global clone GC2; fine-scale phylogenomic analysis revealed five distinct GC2 sublineages within the ICU that had evolved locally via independent chromosomal insertions of oxa23 transposons. The increase in infections caused by carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii was associated with transposon-mediated transmission of a carbapenemase gene, rather than clonal expansion or spread of a carbapenemase-harbouring plasmid. Additionally, we found evidence of homologous recombination creating diversity within the local GC2 population, including several events resulting in replacement of the capsule locus. We identified likely donors of the imported capsule locus sequences amongst the A. baumannii isolated on the same ward, suggesting that diversification was largely facilitated via reassortment and sharing of genetic material within the localized A. baumannii population.

Nguyen TH, Thwaites GE. 2016. The current pharmacological landscape of tuberculous meningitis: where to next? Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol, 9 (5), pp. 625-627. | Read more

Beardsley J, Wolbers M, Kibengo FM, Ggayi AB, Kamali A, Cuc NT, Binh TQ, Chau NV, Farrar J, Merson L et al. 2016. Adjunctive Dexamethasone in HIV-Associated Cryptococcal Meningitis. N Engl J Med, 374 (6), pp. 542-554. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causes more than 600,000 deaths each year worldwide. Treatment has changed little in 20 years, and there are no imminent new anticryptococcal agents. The use of adjuvant glucocorticoids reduces mortality among patients with other forms of meningitis in some populations, but their use is untested in patients with cryptococcal meningitis. METHODS: In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, we recruited adult patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Uganda, and Malawi. All the patients received either dexamethasone or placebo for 6 weeks, along with combination antifungal therapy with amphotericin B and fluconazole. RESULTS: The trial was stopped for safety reasons after the enrollment of 451 patients. Mortality was 47% in the dexamethasone group and 41% in the placebo group by 10 weeks (hazard ratio in the dexamethasone group, 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.84 to 1.47; P=0.45) and 57% and 49%, respectively, by 6 months (hazard ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.53; P=0.20). The percentage of patients with disability at 10 weeks was higher in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group, with 13% versus 25% having a prespecified good outcome (odds ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.69; P<0.001). Clinical adverse events were more common in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group (667 vs. 494 events, P=0.01), with more patients in the dexamethasone group having grade 3 or 4 infection (48 vs. 25 patients, P=0.003), renal events (22 vs. 7, P=0.004), and cardiac events (8 vs. 0, P=0.004). Fungal clearance in cerebrospinal fluid was slower in the dexamethasone group. Results were consistent across Asian and African sites. CONCLUSIONS: Dexamethasone did not reduce mortality among patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis and was associated with more adverse events and disability than was placebo. (Funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development and others through the Joint Global Health Trials program; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN59144167.).

Duong VT, Phat VV, Tuyen HT, Dung TT, Trung PD, Minh PV, Tu LETP, Campbell JI, Le Phuc H, Ha TT et al. 2016. Evaluation of Luminex xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel Assay for Detection of Multiple Diarrheal Pathogens in Fecal Samples in Vietnam. J Clin Microbiol, 54 (4), pp. 1094-1100. | Show Abstract | Read more

Diarrheal disease is a complex syndrome that remains a leading cause of global childhood morbidity and mortality. The diagnosis of enteric pathogens in a timely and precise manner is important for making treatment decisions and informing public health policy, but accurate diagnosis is a major challenge in industrializing countries. Multiplex molecular diagnostic techniques may represent a significant improvement over classical approaches. We evaluated the Luminex xTAG gastrointestinal pathogen panel (GPP) assay for the detection of common enteric bacterial and viral pathogens in Vietnam. Microbiological culture and real-time PCR were used as gold standards. The tests were performed on 479 stool samples collected from people admitted to the hospital for diarrheal disease throughout Vietnam. Sensitivity and specificity were calculated for the xTAG GPP for the seven principal diarrheal etiologies. The sensitivity and specificity for the xTAG GPP were >88% for Shigellaspp.,Campylobacterspp., rotavirus, norovirus genotype 1/2 (GI/GII), and adenovirus compared to those of microbiological culture and/or real-time PCR. However, the specificity was low (∼60%) for Salmonella species. Additionally, a number of important pathogens that are not identified in routine hospital procedures in this setting, such as Cryptosporidiumspp. and Clostridium difficile, were detected with the GPP. The use of the Luminex xTAG GPP for the detection of enteric pathogens in settings, like Vietnam, would dramatically improve the diagnostic accuracy and capacity of hospital laboratories, allowing for timely and appropriate therapy decisions and a wider understanding of the epidemiology of pathogens associated with severe diarrheal disease in low-resource settings.

Thuan PD, Ca NT, Van Toi P, Nhien NT, Thanh NV, Anh ND, Phu NH, Thai CQ, Thai LH, Hoa NT et al. 2016. A Randomized Comparison of Chloroquine Versus Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine for the Treatment of Plasmodium vivax Infection in Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 94 (4), pp. 879-885. | Show Abstract | Read more

A total of 128 Vietnamese patients with symptomatic Plasmodium vivax mono-infections were enrolled in a prospective, open-label, randomized trial to receive either chloroquine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ). The proportions of patients with adequate clinical and parasitological responses were 47% in the chloroquine arm (31 of 65 patients) and 66% in the DHA-PPQ arm (42 of 63 patients) in the Kaplan-Meier intention-to-treat analysis (absolute difference 19%, 95% confidence interval = 0-37%), thus establishing non-inferiority of DHA-PPQ. Fever clearance time (median 24 versus 12 hours,P= 0.02), parasite clearance time (median 36 versus 18 hours,P< 0.001), and parasite clearance half-life (mean 3.98 versus 1.80 hours,P< 0.001) were all significantly shorter in the DHA-PPQ arm. All cases of recurrent parasitemia in the chloroquine arm occurred from day 33 onward, with corresponding whole blood chloroquine concentration lower than 100 ng/mL in all patients. Chloroquine thus remains efficacious for the treatment of P. vivax malaria in southern Vietnam, but DHA-PPQ provides more rapid symptomatic and parasitological recovery.

Van Vinh Chau N, Buu Chau L, Desquesnes M, Herder S, Phu Huong Lan N, Campbell JI, Van Cuong N, Yimming B, Chalermwong P, Jittapalapong S et al. 2016. A Clinical and Epidemiological Investigation of the First Reported Human Infection With the Zoonotic Parasite Trypanosoma evansi in Southeast Asia. Clin Infect Dis, 62 (8), pp. 1002-1008. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Trypanosomais a genus of unicellular parasitic flagellate protozoa.Trypanosoma bruceispecies and Trypanosoma cruziare the major agents of human trypanosomiasis; other Trypanosomaspecies can cause human disease, but are rare. In March 2015, a 38-year-old woman presented to a healthcare facility in southern Vietnam with fever, headache, and arthralgia. Microscopic examination of blood revealed infection with Trypanosoma METHODS: Microscopic observation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of blood samples, and serological testing were performed to identify the infecting species. The patient's blood was screened for the trypanocidal protein apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), and a field investigation was performed to identify the zoonotic source. RESULTS: PCR amplification and serological testing identified the infecting species as Trypanosoma evansi.Despite relapsing 6 weeks after completing amphotericin B therapy, the patient made a complete recovery after 5 weeks of suramin. The patient was found to have 2 wild-type APOL1 alleles and a normal serum APOL1 concentration. After responsive animal sampling in the presumed location of exposure, cattle and/or buffalo were determined to be the most likely source of the infection, with 14 of 30 (47%) animal blood samples testing PCR positive forT. evansi. CONCLUSIONS: We report the first laboratory-confirmed case ofT. evansiin a previously healthy individual without APOL1 deficiency, potentially contracted via a wound while butchering raw beef, and successfully treated with suramin. A linked epidemiological investigation revealed widespread and previously unidentified burden ofT. evansiin local cattle, highlighting the need for surveillance of this infection in animals and the possibility of further human cases.

McGill F, Heyderman RS, Michael BD, Defres S, Beeching NJ, Borrow R, Glennie L, Gaillemin O, Wyncoll D, Kaczmarski E et al. 2016. The UK joint specialist societies guideline on the diagnosis and management of acute meningitis and meningococcal sepsis in immunocompetent adults. J Infect, 72 (4), pp. 405-438. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacterial meningitis and meningococcal sepsis are rare conditions with high case fatality rates. Early recognition and prompt treatment saves lives. In 1999 the British Infection Society produced a consensus statement for the management of immunocompetent adults with meningitis and meningococcal sepsis. Since 1999 there have been many changes. We therefore set out to produce revised guidelines which provide a standardised evidence-based approach to the management of acute community acquired meningitis and meningococcal sepsis in adults. A working party consisting of infectious diseases physicians, neurologists, acute physicians, intensivists, microbiologists, public health experts and patient group representatives was formed. Key questions were identified and the literature reviewed. All recommendations were graded and agreed upon by the working party. The guidelines, which for the first time include viral meningitis, are written in accordance with the AGREE 2 tool and recommendations graded according to the GRADE system. Main changes from the original statement include the indications for pre-hospital antibiotics, timing of the lumbar puncture and the indications for neuroimaging. The list of investigations has been updated and more emphasis is placed on molecular diagnosis. Approaches to both antibiotic and steroid therapy have been revised. Several recommendations have been given regarding the follow-up of patients.

Makendi C, Page AJ, Wren BW, Le Thi Phuong T, Clare S, Hale C, Goulding D, Klemm EJ, Pickard D, Okoro C et al. 2016. A Phylogenetic and Phenotypic Analysis of Salmonella enterica Serovar Weltevreden, an Emerging Agent of Diarrheal Disease in Tropical Regions. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (2), pp. e0004446. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovar Weltevreden (S. Weltevreden) is an emerging cause of diarrheal and invasive disease in humans residing in tropical regions. Despite the regional and international emergence of this Salmonella serovar, relatively little is known about its genetic diversity, genomics or virulence potential in model systems. Here we used whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics analyses to define the phylogenetic structure of a diverse global selection of S. Weltevreden. Phylogenetic analysis of more than 100 isolates demonstrated that the population of S. Weltevreden can be segregated into two main phylogenetic clusters, one associated predominantly with continental Southeast Asia and the other more internationally dispersed. Subcluster analysis suggested the local evolution of S. Weltevreden within specific geographical regions. Four of the isolates were sequenced using long read sequencing to produce high quality reference genomes. Phenotypic analysis in Hep-2 cells and in a murine infection model indicated that S. Weltevreden were significantly attenuated in these models compared to the classical S. Typhimurium reference strain SL1344. Our work outlines novel insights into this important emerging pathogen and provides a baseline understanding for future research studies.

Arjyal A, Basnyat B, Nhan HT, Koirala S, Giri A, Joshi N, Shakya M, Pathak KR, Mahat SP, Prajapati SP et al. 2016. Gatifloxacin versus ceftriaxone for uncomplicated enteric fever in Nepal: an open-label, two-centre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (5), pp. 535-545. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Because treatment with third-generation cephalosporins is associated with slow clinical improvement and high relapse burden for enteric fever, whereas the fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin is associated with rapid fever clearance and low relapse burden, we postulated that gatifloxacin would be superior to the cephalosporin ceftriaxone in treating enteric fever. METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, controlled, superiority trial at two hospitals in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Eligible participants were children (aged 2-13 years) and adult (aged 14-45 years) with criteria for suspected enteric fever (body temperature ≥38·0°C for ≥4 days without a focus of infection). We randomly assigned eligible patients (1:1) without stratification to 7 days of either oral gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg per day) or intravenous ceftriaxone (60 mg/kg up to 2 g per day for patients aged 2-13 years, or 2 g per day for patients aged ≥14 years). The randomisation list was computer-generated using blocks of four and six. The primary outcome was a composite of treatment failure, defined as the occurrence of at least one of the following: fever clearance time of more than 7 days after treatment initiation; the need for rescue treatment on day 8; microbiological failure (ie, blood cultures positive for Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, or Paratyphi A, B, or C) on day 8; or relapse or disease-related complications within 28 days of treatment initiation. We did the analyses in the modified intention-to-treat population, and subpopulations with either confirmed blood-culture positivity, or blood-culture negativity. The trial was powered to detect an increase of 20% in the risk of failure. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01421693, and is now closed. FINDINGS: Between Sept 18, 2011, and July 14, 2014, we screened 725 patients for eligibility. On July 14, 2014, the trial was stopped early by the data safety and monitoring board because S Typhi strains with high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin had emerged. At this point, 239 were in the modified intention-to-treat population (120 assigned to gatifloxacin, 119 to ceftriaxone). 18 (15%) patients who received gatifloxacin had treatment failure, compared with 19 (16%) who received ceftriaxone (hazard ratio [HR] 1·04 [95% CI 0·55-1·98]; p=0·91). In the culture-confirmed population, 16 (26%) of 62 patients who received gatifloxacin failed treatment, compared with four (7%) of 54 who received ceftriaxone (HR 0·24 [95% CI 0·08-0·73]; p=0·01). Treatment failure was associated with the emergence of S Typhi exhibiting resistance against fluoroquinolones, requiring the trial to be stopped. By contrast, in patients with a negative blood culture, only two (3%) of 58 who received gatifloxacin failed treatment versus 15 (23%) of 65 who received ceftriaxone (HR 7·50 [95% CI 1·71-32·80]; p=0·01). A similar number of non-serious adverse events occurred in each treatment group, and no serious events were reported. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that fluoroquinolones should no longer be used for treatment of enteric fever in Nepal. Additionally, under our study conditions, ceftriaxone was suboptimum in a high proportion of patients with culture-negative enteric fever. Since antimicrobials, specifically fluoroquinolones, are one of the only routinely used control measures for enteric fever, the assessment of novel diagnostics, new treatment options, and use of existing vaccines and development of next-generation vaccines are now a high priority. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust and Li Ka Shing Foundation.

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Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Mai NTH, Chau TTH, Phu NH, Loc PP, Chau NVV, Hien TT, Dung NH, Lan NTN et al. 2016. Intensified Antituberculosis Therapy in Adults with Tuberculous Meningitis NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 374 (2), pp. 124-134. | Read more

Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Mai NT, Chau TT, Phu NH, Loc PP, Chau NV, Hien TT, Dung NH, Lan NT et al. 2016. Intensified Antituberculosis Therapy in Adults with Tuberculous Meningitis. N Engl J Med, 374 (2), pp. 124-134. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis is often lethal. Early antituberculosis treatment and adjunctive treatment with glucocorticoids improve survival, but nearly one third of patients with the condition still die. We hypothesized that intensified antituberculosis treatment would enhance the killing of intracerebral Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms and decrease the rate of death among patients. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults and HIV-uninfected adults with a clinical diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis who were admitted to one of two Vietnamese hospitals. We compared a standard, 9-month antituberculosis regimen (which included 10 mg of rifampin per kilogram of body weight per day) with an intensified regimen that included higher-dose rifampin (15 mg per kilogram per day) and levofloxacin (20 mg per kilogram per day) for the first 8 weeks of treatment. The primary outcome was death by 9 months after randomization. RESULTS: A total of 817 patients (349 of whom were HIV-infected) were enrolled; 409 were randomly assigned to receive the standard regimen, and 408 were assigned to receive intensified treatment. During the 9 months of follow-up, 113 patients in the intensified-treatment group and 114 patients in the standard-treatment group died (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.22; P=0.66). There was no evidence of a significant differential effect of intensified treatment in the overall population or in any of the subgroups, with the possible exception of patients infected with isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis. There were also no significant differences in secondary outcomes between the treatment groups. The overall number of adverse events leading to treatment interruption did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (64 events in the standard-treatment group and 95 events in the intensified-treatment group, P=0.08). CONCLUSIONS: Intensified antituberculosis treatment was not associated with a higher rate of survival among patients with tuberculous meningitis than standard treatment. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Li Ka Shing Foundation; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN61649292.).

Vu BN, Jafari AJ, Aardema M, Tran HK, Nguyen DN, Dao TT, Nguyen TV, Tran TK, Nguyen CK, Fox A et al. 2016. Population structure of colonizing and invasive Staphylococcus aureus strains in northern Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 65 (4), pp. 298-305. | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcus aureus is an important global health problem worldwide. There is still scarce information on the population structure of S. aureus strains in Asia, where the majority of the world population lives. This study characterizes the diversity of S. aureus strains in northern Vietnam through multilocus sequence typing (MLST). 85 carriage isolates from community and 77 invasive isolates from the clinical setting were selected and tested for methicillin resistance and the presence of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL). MLST was performed on these isolates, of which CC59 (25.4%), CC188 (17.3%), and CC45 (16.7%) were the predominant clonal complexes (CC). CC59-carriage isolates were significantly lower in rates of MRSA than their corresponding clinical group isolates (32% vs. 83%). There were no significant differences in rates of MRSA between carriage isolates and clinical isolates of CC45 and CC188. CC59-carriage isolates were significantly lower in rates of PVL+ than CC59-clinical isolates (32% vs. 83%), but the converse was shown in CC45 isolates (14% vs. 0% respectively). This study reveals vast differences in the molecular epidemiology and population structure of S. aureus in community and clinical settings in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the data underline the spread of virulent and/or resistant strains (MRSA and/or PVL+) in the community, suggesting the necessity of further surveillance to determine the reasoning of transmission of these strains (i.e. MRSA/PVL+) outside clinical settings.

Cuong NV, Truc VN, Nhung NT, Thanh TT, Chieu TT, Hieu TQ, Men NT, Mai HH, Chi HT, Boni MF et al. 2016. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus A/H5N1 Infection in Vaccinated Meat Duck Flocks in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Transbound Emerg Dis, 63 (2), pp. 127-135. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated episodes of suspected highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)-like illness among 12 meat duck flocks in two districts in Tien Giang province (Mekong Delta, Vietnam) in November 2013. In total, duck samples from 8 of 12 farms tested positive for HPAI virus subtype A/haemagglutinin 5 and neuraminidase 1 (H5N1) by real-time RT-PCR. Sequencing results confirmed clade of 2.3.2.1.c as the cause of the outbreaks. Most (7/8) laboratory-confirmed positive flocks had been vaccinated with inactivated HPAI H5N1 clade 2.3.4 vaccines <6 days prior to onset of clinical signs. A review of vaccination data in relation to estimated production in the area suggested that vaccination efforts were biased towards larger flocks and that vaccination coverage was low [21.2% ducks vaccinated with two shots (range by district 7.4-34.9%)]. The low-coverage data, the experimental evidence of lack of cross-protection conferred by the currently used vaccines based on clade 2.3.4 together with the short lifespan of meat duck flocks (60-70 days), suggest that vaccination is not likely to be effective as a tool for control of H5N1 infection in meat duck flocks in the area.

Oude Munnink BB, Phan MVT, van der Hoek L, Kellam P, Cotten M. 2016. Genome Sequences of a Novel Vietnamese Bat Bunyavirus Genome Announcements, 4 (6), pp. e01366-16-e01366-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2016 Oude Munnink et al. To document the viral zoonotic risks in Vietnam, fecal samples were systematically collected from a number of mammals in southern Vietnam and subjected to agnostic deep sequencing. We describe here novel Vietnamese bunyavirus sequences detected in bat feces. The complete L and S segments from 14 viruses were determined.

Oude Munnink BB, Phan MVT, Kellam P, Cotten M. 2016. Complete Genome Characterization of Two Wild-Type Measles Viruses from Vietnamese Infants during the 2014 Outbreak Genome Announcements, 4 (2), pp. e00250-16-e00250-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2016 Oude Munnink et al. A large measles virus outbreak occurred across Vietnam in 2014. We identified and obtained complete measles virus genomes in stool samples collected from two diarrheal pediatric patients in Dong Thap Province. These are the first complete genome sequences of circulating measles viruses in Vietnam during the 2014 measles outbreak.

Thi Khanh Nhu N, Riordan DW, Do Hoang Nhu T, Thanh DP, Thwaites G, Huong Lan NP, Wren BW, Baker S, Stabler RA. 2016. The induction and identification of novel Colistin resistance mutations in Acinetobacter baumannii and their implications. Sci Rep, 6 (1), pp. 28291. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acinetobacter baumannii is a significant cause of opportunistic hospital acquired infection and has been identified as an important emerging infection due to its high levels of antimicrobial resistance. Multidrug resistant A. baumannii has risen rapidly in Vietnam, where colistin is becoming the drug of last resort for many infections. In this study we generated spontaneous colistin resistant progeny (up to >256 μg/μl) from four colistin susceptible Vietnamese isolates and one susceptible reference strain (MIC <1.5 μg/μl). Whole genome sequencing was used to identify single nucleotide mutations that could be attributed to the reduced colistin susceptibility. We identified six lpxACD and three pmrB mutations, the majority of which were novel. In addition, we identified further mutations in six A. baumannii genes (vacJ, pldA, ttg2C, pheS and conserved hypothetical protein) that we hypothesise have a role in reduced colistin susceptibility. This study has identified additional mutations that may be associated with colistin resistance through novel resistance mechanisms. Our work further demonstrates how rapidly A. baumannii can generate resistance to a last resort antimicrobial and highlights the need for improved surveillance to identified A. baumannii with an extensive drug resistance profile.

Pouplin T, Bang ND, Toi PV, Phuong PN, Dung NH, Duong TN, Caws M, Thwaites GE, Tarning J, Day JN. 2016. Naïve-pooled pharmacokinetic analysis of pyrazinamide, isoniazid and rifampicin in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of Vietnamese children with tuberculous meningitis. BMC Infect Dis, 16 (1), pp. 144. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Among the various forms of TB, tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe, with about 30% mortality and 50% of survivors left with neurological sequelae. Children suffer more frequently from TBM than adults and outcomes are often poor due to difficulties in making the diagnosis and uncertainty regarding the best anti-tuberculosis drug regimen. The aim of this prospective study was to describe the pharmacokinetics of pyrazinamide, isoniazid and rifampicin in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of children with tuberculous meningitis treated with the standard TBM regimen. METHODS: We performed a prospective observational study of 100 consecutively treated children (≤ 15 years of age) with tuberculous meningitis in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Children were treated according to the 2006 WHO recommended pediatric treatment regimen consisting of isoniazid (5 mg/kg), rifampicin (10 mg/kg) and ethambutol (15 mg/kg) for 8 months, with the addition of pyrazinamide (25 mg/kg) for the first 3 months and streptomycin (15 mg/kg) for the first 2 months. Pyrazinamide, isoniazid and rifampicin concentrations were measured in plasma at day 14 and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at 1 month by HPLC-UV. A naïve-pooled non-compartmental data analysis was used to describe the pharmacokinetic properties of drugs in the two-age groups of children ≤ 4 years or > 4 years of age. RESULTS: Younger children, when compared to older children, presented a higher body weight-normalized clearance and volume of distribution, and lower median total plasma exposures for the three studied drugs with -14%, -22% and -16% for Pyrazinamide, Isoniazid and Rifampicin, respectively. In CSF, individual concentrations of isoniazid and pyrazinamide were comparable to that in plasma in both age groups; but rifampicin concentrations were lower than the minimum inhibitory concentration of susceptible bacteria in all but two children. CONCLUSIONS: There is an age-dependent variation in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid pharmacokinetics of rifampicin, isoniazid and pyrazinamide. The safety and efficacy of higher doses of rifampicin should be investigated for the treatment of childhood tuberculous meningitis.

Pham Thanh D, Karkey A, Dongol S, Ho Thi N, Thompson CN, Rabaa MA, Arjyal A, Holt KE, Wong V, Tran Vu Thieu N et al. 2016. A novel ciprofloxacin-resistant subclade of H58 Salmonella Typhi is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), pp. e14003. | Show Abstract | Read more

The interplay between bacterial antimicrobial susceptibility, phylogenetics and patient outcome is poorly understood. During a typhoid clinical treatment trial in Nepal, we observed several treatment failures and isolated highly fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi). Seventy-eight S. Typhi isolates were genome sequenced and clinical observations, treatment failures and fever clearance times (FCTs) were stratified by lineage. Most fluoroquinolone-resistant S. Typhi belonged to a specific H58 subclade. Treatment failure with S. Typhi-H58 was significantly less frequent with ceftriaxone (3/31; 9.7%) than gatifloxacin (15/34; 44.1%)(Hazard Ratio 0.19, p=0.002). Further, for gatifloxacin-treated patients, those infected with fluoroquinolone-resistant organisms had significantly higher median FCTs (8.2 days) than those infected with susceptible (2.96) or intermediately resistant organisms (4.01)(pS. Typhi clade internationally, but there are no data regarding disease outcome with this organism. We report an emergent new subclade of S. Typhi-H58 that is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure.

Phu VD, Wertheim HF, Larsson M, Nadjm B, Dinh QD, Nilsson LE, Rydell U, Le TT, Trinh SH, Pham HM et al. 2016. Burden of Hospital Acquired Infections and Antimicrobial Use in Vietnamese Adult Intensive Care Units. PLoS One, 11 (1), pp. e0147544. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vietnam is a lower middle-income country with no national surveillance system for hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). We assessed the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial use in adult intensive care units (ICUs) across Vietnam. METHODS: Monthly repeated point prevalence surveys were systematically conducted to assess HAI prevalence and antimicrobial use in 15 adult ICUs across Vietnam. Adults admitted to participating ICUs before 08:00 a.m. on the survey day were included. RESULTS: Among 3287 patients enrolled, the HAI prevalence was 29.5% (965/3266 patients, 21 missing). Pneumonia accounted for 79.4% (804/1012) of HAIs Most HAIs (84.5% [855/1012]) were acquired in the survey hospital with 42.5% (363/855) acquired prior to ICU admission and 57.5% (492/855) developed during ICU admission. In multivariate analysis, the strongest risk factors for HAI acquired in ICU were: intubation (OR 2.76), urinary catheter (OR 2.12), no involvement of a family member in patient care (OR 1.94), and surgery after admission (OR 1.66). 726 bacterial isolates were cultured from 622/1012 HAIs, most frequently Acinetobacter baumannii (177/726 [24.4%]), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (100/726 [13.8%]), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (84/726 [11.6%]), with carbapenem resistance rates of 89.2%, 55.7%, and 14.9% respectively. Antimicrobials were prescribed for 84.8% (2787/3287) patients, with 73.7% of patients receiving two or more. The most common antimicrobial groups were third generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, and carbapenems (20.1%, 19.4%, and 14.1% of total antimicrobials, respectively). CONCLUSION: A high prevalence of HAIs was observed, mainly caused by Gram-negative bacteria with high carbapenem resistance rates. This in combination with a high rate of antimicrobial use illustrates the urgent need to improve rational antimicrobial use and infection control efforts.

Karkey A, Jombart T, Walker AW, Thompson CN, Torres A, Dongol S, Tran Vu Thieu N, Pham Thanh D, Tran Thi Ngoc D, Voong Vinh P et al. 2016. The Ecological Dynamics of Fecal Contamination and Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A in Municipal Kathmandu Drinking Water. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (1), pp. e0004346. | Show Abstract | Read more

One of the UN sustainable development goals is to achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030. It is locations like Kathmandu, Nepal, a densely populated city in South Asia with endemic typhoid fever, where this goal is most pertinent. Aiming to understand the public health implications of water quality in Kathmandu we subjected weekly water samples from 10 sources for one year to a range of chemical and bacteriological analyses. We additionally aimed to detect the etiological agents of typhoid fever and longitudinally assess microbial diversity by 16S rRNA gene surveying. We found that the majority of water sources exhibited chemical and bacterial contamination exceeding WHO guidelines. Further analysis of the chemical and bacterial data indicated site-specific pollution, symptomatic of highly localized fecal contamination. Rainfall was found to be a key driver of this fecal contamination, correlating with nitrates and evidence of S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A, for which DNA was detectable in 333 (77%) and 303 (70%) of 432 water samples, respectively. 16S rRNA gene surveying outlined a spectrum of fecal bacteria in the contaminated water, forming complex communities again displaying location-specific temporal signatures. Our data signify that the municipal water in Kathmandu is a predominant vehicle for the transmission of S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A. This study represents the first extensive spatiotemporal investigation of water pollution in an endemic typhoid fever setting and implicates highly localized human waste as the major contributor to poor water quality in the Kathmandu Valley.

Thompson CN, Le TP, Anders KL, Nguyen TH, Lu LV, Nguyen VV, Vu TD, Nguyen NM, Tran TH, Ha TT et al. 2016. The transfer and decay of maternal antibody against Shigella sonnei in a longitudinal cohort of Vietnamese infants. Vaccine, 34 (6), pp. 783-790. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigella sonnei is an emergent and major diarrheal pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine. We aimed to quantify duration of maternal antibody against S. sonnei and investigate transplacental IgG transfer in a birth cohort in southern Vietnam. METHODS AND RESULTS: Over 500-paired maternal/infant plasma samples were evaluated for presence of anti-S. sonnei-O IgG and IgM. Longitudinal plasma samples allowed for the estimation of the median half-life of maternal anti-S. sonnei-O IgG, which was 43 days (95% confidence interval: 41-45 days). Additionally, half of infants lacked a detectable titer by 19 weeks of age. Lower cord titers were associated with greater increases in S. sonnei IgG over the first year of life, and the incidence of S. sonnei seroconversion was estimated to be 4/100 infant years. Maternal IgG titer, the ratio of antibody transfer, the season of birth and gestational age were significantly associated with cord titer. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal anti-S. sonnei-O IgG is efficiently transferred across the placenta and anti-S. sonnei-O maternal IgG declines rapidly after birth and is undetectable after 5 months in the majority of children. Preterm neonates and children born to mothers with low IgG titers have lower cord titers and therefore may be at greater risk of seroconversion in infancy.

Li HK, Scarborough M, Zambellas R, Cooper C, Rombach I, Walker AS, Lipsky BA, Briggs A, Seaton A, Atkins B et al. 2015. Oral versus intravenous antibiotic treatment for bone and joint infections (OVIVA): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 16 (1), pp. 583. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Bone and joint infection in adults arises most commonly as a complication of joint replacement surgery, fracture fixation and diabetic foot infection. The associated morbidity can be devastating to patients and costs the National Health Service an estimated £20,000 to £40,000 per patient. Current standard of care in most UK centres includes a prolonged course (4-6 weeks) of intravenous antibiotics supported, if available, by an outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy service. Intravenous therapy carries with it substantial risks and inconvenience to patients, and the antibiotic-related costs are approximately ten times that of oral therapy. Despite this, there is no evidence to suggest that oral therapy results in inferior outcomes. We hypothesise that, by selecting oral agents with high bioavailability, good tissue penetration and activity against the known or likely pathogens, key outcomes in patients managed primarily with oral therapy are non-inferior to those in patients treated by intravenous therapy. METHODS: The OVIVA trial is a parallel group, randomised (1:1), un-blinded, non-inferiority trial conducted in thirty hospitals across the UK. Eligible participants are adults (>18 years) with a clinical syndrome consistent with a bone, joint or metalware-associated infection who have received ≤7 days of intravenous antibiotic therapy from the date of definitive surgery (or the start of planned curative therapy in patients treated without surgical intervention). Participants are randomised to receive either oral or intravenous antibiotics, selected by a specialist infection physician, for the first 6 weeks of therapy. The primary outcome measure is definite treatment failure within one year of randomisation, as assessed by a blinded endpoint committee, according to pre-defined microbiological, histological and clinical criteria. Enrolling 1,050 subjects will provide 90 % power to demonstrate non-inferiority, defined as less than 7.5 % absolute increase in treatment failure rate in patients randomised to oral therapy as compared to intravenous therapy (one-sided alpha of 0.05). DISCUSSION: If our results demonstrate non-inferiority of orally administered antibiotic therapy, this trial is likely to facilitate a dramatically improved patient experience and alleviate a substantial financial burden on healthcare services. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN91566927 - 14/02/2013.

Thompson CN, Thieu NT, Vinh PV, Duc AN, Wolbers M, Vinh H, Campbell JI, Ngoc DT, Hoang NV, Thanh TH et al. 2016. Clinical implications of reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in paediatric Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri infections. J Antimicrob Chemother, 71 (3), pp. 807-815. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to quantify the impact of fluoroquinolone resistance on the clinical outcome of paediatric shigellosis patients treated with fluoroquinolones in southern Vietnam. Such information is important to inform therapeutic management for infections caused by this increasingly drug-resistant pathogen, responsible for high morbidity and mortality in young children globally. METHODS: Clinical information and bacterial isolates were derived from a randomized controlled trial comparing gatifloxacin with ciprofloxacin for the treatment of paediatric shigellosis. Time-kill experiments were performed to evaluate the impact of MIC on the in vitro growth of Shigella and Cox regression modelling was used to compare clinical outcome between treatments and Shigella species. RESULTS: Shigella flexneri patients treated with gatifloxacin had significantly worse outcomes than those treated with ciprofloxacin. However, the MICs of fluoroquinolones were not significantly associated with poorer outcome. The presence of S83L and A87T mutations in the gyrA gene significantly increased MICs of fluoroquinolones. Finally, elevated MICs and the presence of the qnrS gene allowed Shigella to replicate efficiently in vitro in high concentrations of ciprofloxacin. CONCLUSIONS: We found that below the CLSI breakpoint, there was no association between MIC and clinical outcome in paediatric shigellosis infections. However, S. flexneri patients had worse clinical outcomes when treated with gatifloxacin in this study regardless of MIC. Additionally, Shigella harbouring the qnrS gene are able to replicate efficiently in high concentrations of ciprofloxacin and we hypothesize that such strains possess a competitive advantage against fluoroquinolone-susceptible strains due to enhanced shedding and transmission.

Thao VP, Quang VM, Day JN, Chinh NT, Shikuma CM, Farrar J, Van Vinh Chau N, Thwaites GE, Dunstan SJ, Le T. 2016. High prevalence of PI resistance in patients failing second-line ART in Vietnam. J Antimicrob Chemother, 71 (3), pp. 762-774. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There are limited data from resource-limited settings on antiretroviral resistance mutations that develop in patients failing second-line PI ART. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional virological assessment of adults on second-line ART for ≥6 months between November 2006 and December 2011, followed by a prospective follow-up over 2 years of patients with virological failure (VF) at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Vietnam. VF was defined as HIV RNA concentrations ≥1000 copies/mL. Resistance mutations were identified by population sequencing of the pol gene and interpreted using the 2014 IAS-USA mutation list and the Stanford algorithm. Logistic regression modelling was performed to identify predictors of VF. RESULTS: Two hundred and thirty-one patients were enrolled in the study. The median age was 32 years; 81.0% were male, 95.7% were on a lopinavir/ritonavir-containing regimen and 22 (9.5%) patients had VF. Of the patients with VF, 14 (64%) carried at least one major protease mutation [median: 2 (IQR: 1-3)]; 13 (59%) had multiple protease mutations conferring intermediate- to high-level resistance to lopinavir/ritonavir. Mutations conferring cross-resistance to etravirine, rilpivirine, tipranavir and darunavir were identified in 55%, 55%, 45% and 27% of patients, respectively. Higher viral load, adherence <95% and previous indinavir use were independent predictors of VF. The 2 year outcomes of the patients maintained on lopinavir/ritonavir included: death, 7 (35%); worsening virological/immunological control, 6 (30%); and virological re-suppression, 5 (25%). Two patients were switched to raltegravir and darunavir/ritonavir with good HIV control. CONCLUSIONS: High-prevalence PI resistance was associated with previous indinavir exposure. Darunavir plus an integrase inhibitor and lamivudine might be a promising third-line regimen in Vietnam.

Carrique-Mas JJ, Tue NT, Bryant JE, Saylors K, Cuong NV, Hoa NT, An NN, Hien VB, Lao PV, Tu NC et al. 2015. The baseline characteristics and interim analyses of the high-risk sentinel cohort of the Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic InfectiONS (VIZIONS). Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 17965. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Vietnam Initiative for Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS) includes community-based 'high-risk sentinel cohort' (HRSC) studies investigating individuals at risk of zoonotic infection due to occupational or residential exposure to animals. A total of 852 HRSC members were recruited between March 2013 and August 2014 from three provinces (Ha Noi, Dak Lak, and Dong Thap). The most numerous group (72.8%) corresponded to individuals living on farms, followed by slaughterers (16.3%) and animal health workers (8.5%). Nasal/pharyngeal and rectal swabs were collected from HRSC members at recruitment and after notifying illness. Exposure to exotic animals (including wild pigs, porcupine, monkey, civet, bamboo rat and bat) was highest for the Dak Lak cohort (53.7%), followed by Ha Noi (13.7%) and Dong Thap (4.0%). A total of 26.8% of individuals reported consumption of raw blood over the previous year; 33.6% slaughterers reported no use of protective equipment at work. Over 686 person-years of observation, 213 episodes of suspect infectious disease were notified, equivalent of 0.35 reports per person-year. Responsive samples were collected from animals in the farm cohort. There was noticeable time and space clustering of disease episodes suggesting that the VIZIONS set up is also suitable for the formal epidemiological investigation of disease outbreaks.

Chung The H, Rabaa MA, Thanh DP, Ruekit S, Wangchuk S, Dorji T, Tshering KP, Nguyen TN, Vinh PV, Thanh TH et al. 2015. Introduction and establishment of fluoroquinolone-resistant Shigella sonnei into Bhutan. Microb Genom, 1 (6), pp. e000042. | Show Abstract | Read more

Shigella sonnei is a major contributor to the global burden of diarrhoeal disease, generally associated with dysenteric diarrhoea in developed countries but also emerging in developing countries. The reason for the recent success of S. sonnei is unknown, but is likely catalysed by its ability to acquire resistance against multiple antimicrobials. Between 2011 and 2013, S. sonnei exhibiting resistance to fluoroquinolones, the first-line treatment recommended for shigellosis, emerged in Bhutan. Aiming to reconstruct the introduction and establishment of fluoroquinolone-resistant S. sonnei populations in Bhutan, we performed whole-genome sequencing on 71 S. sonnei samples isolated in Bhutan between 2011 and 2013.We found that these strains represented an expansion of a clade within the previously described lineage III, found specifically in Central Asia. Temporal phylogenetic reconstruction demonstrated that all of the sequenced Bhutanese S. sonnei diverged from a single ancestor that was introduced into Bhutan around 2006. Our data additionally predicted that fluoroquinolone resistance, conferred by mutations in gyrA and parC, arose prior to the introduction of the founder strain into Bhutan. Once established in Bhutan, these S. sonnei had access to a broad gene pool, as indicated by the acquisition of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-encoding plasmids and genes encoding type IV pili. The data presented here outline a model for the introduction and maintenance of fluoroquinolone-resistant S. sonnei in a new setting. Given the current circulation of fluoroquinolone-resistant S. sonnei in Asia, we speculate that this pattern of introduction is being recapitulated across the region and beyond.

Nhung NT, Thuy CT, Trung NV, Campbell J, Baker S, Thwaites G, Hoa NT, Carrique-Mas J. 2015. Induction of Antimicrobial Resistance in Escherichia coli and Non-Typhoidal Salmonella Strains after Adaptation to Disinfectant Commonly Used on Farms in Vietnam. Antibiotics (Basel), 4 (4), pp. 480-494. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Vietnam, commercial disinfectants containing quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) are commonly used in pig and poultry farms to maintain hygiene during production. We hypothesized that sustained exposure to sub-bactericidal concentrations of QAC-based disinfectants may result in increased levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among Enterobacteriacea due to the increase of efflux pump expression. To test this hypothesis we exposed six antimicrobial-susceptible Escherichia coli (E. coli) and six antimicrobial-susceptible non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) isolates to increasing concentrations of a commonly used commercial disinfectant containing a mix of benzalkonium chloride and glutaraldehyde. Over the 12-day experiment, strains exhibited a significant change in their minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the disinfectant product (mean increase of 31% (SD ± 40)) (p = 0.02, paired Wilcoxon test). Increases in MIC for the disinfectant product were strongly correlated with increases in MIC (or decreases in inhibition zone) for all antimicrobials (Pearson's correlation coefficient 0.71-0.83, all p < 0.01). The greatest increases in MIC (or decreases in inhibition zone) were observed for ampicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol, and the smallest for gentamicin, trimethoprim/sulphamethoxazole. The treatment of 155 representative E. coli isolates from farmed and wild animals in the Mekong Delta (Vietnam) with phenyl-arginine beta-naphthylamide (PAβN), a generic efflux pump inhibitor, resulted in reductions in the prevalence of AMR ranging from 0.7% to 3.3% in these organisms, indicating a small contribution of efflux pumps on the observed prevalence of AMR on farms. These results suggest that the mass usage of commercial disinfectants, many of which contain QACs, is potentially a contributing factor on the generation and maintenance of AMR in animal production in Vietnam.

Hoang TT, Nguyen NV, Dinh SN, Nguyen HB, Cobelens F, Thwaites G, Nguyen HT, Nguyen AT, Wright P, Wertheim HF. 2015. Challenges in detection and treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis patients in Vietnam. BMC Public Health, 15 (1), pp. 980. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Vietnam is ranked 14(th) among 27 countries with high burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). In 2009, the Vietnamese government issued a policy on MDR-TB called Programmatic Management of Drug-resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT) to enhance and scale up diagnosis and treatment services for MDR-TB. Here we assess the PMDT performance in 2013 to determine the challenges to the successful identification and enrollment for treatment of MDR-TB in Vietnam. METHODS: In 35 provinces implementing PMDT, we quantified the number of MDR-TB presumptive patients tested for MDR-TB by Xpert MTB/RIF and the number of MDR-TB patients started on second-line treatment. In addition, existing reports and documents related to MDR-TB policies and guidelines in Vietnam were reviewed, supplemented with focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with MDR-TB key staff members. RESULTS: 5,668 (31.2 %) of estimated 18,165 MDR-TB presumptive cases were tested by Xpert MTB/RIF and second-line treatment was provided to 948 out of 5100 (18.7 %) of MDR-TB patients. Those tested for MDR-TB were 340/3224 (10.5 %) of TB-HIV co-infected patients and 290/2214 (13.1 %) of patients who remained sputum smear-positive after 2 and 3 months of category I TB regimen. Qualitative findings revealed the following challenges to detection and enrollment of MDR-TB in Vietnam: insufficient TB screening capacity at district hospitals where TB units were not available and poor communication and implementation of policy changes. Instructions for policy changes were not always received, and training was inconsistent between training courses. The private sector did not adequately report MDR-TB cases to the NTP. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of MDR-TB patients diagnosed and enrolled for second-line treatment is less than 20 % of the estimated total. The low enrollment is largely due to the fact that many patients at risk are missed for MDR-TB screening. In order to detect more MDR-TB cases, Vietnam should intensify case finding of MDR-TB by a comprehensive strategy to screen for MDR-TB among new cases rather than targeting previously treated cases, in particular those with HIV co-infection and contacts of MDR-TB patients, and should engage the private sector in PMDT.

Rabaa MA, Tue NT, Phuc TM, Carrique-Mas J, Saylors K, Cotten M, Bryant JE, Nghia HD, Cuong NV, Pham HA et al. 2015. The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS): A Strategic Approach to Studying Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Ecohealth, 12 (4), pp. 726-735. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effect of newly emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin in human populations can be potentially catastrophic, and large-scale investigations of such diseases are highly challenging. The monitoring of emergence events is subject to ascertainment bias, whether at the level of species discovery, emerging disease events, or disease outbreaks in human populations. Disease surveillance is generally performed post hoc, driven by a response to recent events and by the availability of detection and identification technologies. Additionally, the inventory of pathogens that exist in mammalian and other reservoirs is incomplete, and identifying those with the potential to cause disease in humans is rarely possible in advance. A major step in understanding the burden and diversity of zoonotic infections, the local behavioral and demographic risks of infection, and the risk of emergence of these pathogens in human populations is to establish surveillance networks in populations that maintain regular contact with diverse animal populations, and to simultaneously characterize pathogen diversity in human and animal populations. Vietnam has been an epicenter of disease emergence over the last decade, and practices at the human/animal interface may facilitate the likelihood of spillover of zoonotic pathogens into humans. To tackle the scientific issues surrounding the origins and emergence of zoonotic infections in Vietnam, we have established The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS). This countrywide project, in which several international institutions collaborate with Vietnamese organizations, is combining clinical data, epidemiology, high-throughput sequencing, and social sciences to address relevant one-health questions. Here, we describe the primary aims of the project, the infrastructure established to address our scientific questions, and the current status of the project. Our principal objective is to develop an integrated approach to the surveillance of pathogens circulating in both human and animal populations and assess how frequently they are exchanged. This infrastructure will facilitate systematic investigations of pathogen ecology and evolution, enhance understanding of viral cross-species transmission events, and identify relevant risk factors and drivers of zoonotic disease emergence.

Nguyen TD, Olliaro P, Dondorp A, Baird JK, Lam HM, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, White NJ, Boni MF. 2015. Optimal population-level deployment of artemisinin combination therapies TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 20 pp. 182-182.

Thompson CN, Zelner JL, Nhu TDOH, Phan MV, Hoang Le P, Nguyen Thanh H, Vu Thuy D, Minh Nguyen N, Ha Manh T, Van Hoang Minh T et al. 2015. The impact of environmental and climatic variation on the spatiotemporal trends of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Health Place, 35 pp. 147-154. | Show Abstract | Read more

It is predicted that the integration of climate-based early warning systems into existing action plans will facilitate the timely provision of interventions to diarrheal disease epidemics in resource-poor settings. Diarrhea remains a considerable public health problem in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam and we aimed to quantify variation in the impact of environmental conditions on diarrheal disease risk across the city. Using all inpatient diarrheal admissions data from three large hospitals within HCMC, we developed a mixed effects regression model to differentiate district-level variation in risk due to environmental conditions from the overarching seasonality of diarrheal disease hospitalization in HCMC. We identified considerable spatial heterogeneity in the risk of all-cause diarrhea across districts of HCMC with low elevation and differential responses to flooding, air temperature, and humidity driving further spatial heterogeneity in diarrheal disease risk. The incorporation of these results into predictive forecasting algorithms will provide a powerful resource to aid diarrheal disease prevention and control practices in HCMC and other similar settings.

Le V, Nhu NT, Cerdeno-Tarraga A, Campbell JI, Tuyen HT, Nhu TDOH, Tam PT, Schultsz C, Thwaites G, Thomson NR, Baker S. 2015. Genetic characterization of three qnrS1-harbouring multidrug-resistance plasmids and qnrS1-containing transposons circulating in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (8), pp. 869-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) refers to a family of closely related genes that confer decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. PMQR genes are generally associated with integrons and/or plasmids that carry additional antimicrobial resistance genes active against a range of antimicrobials. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, we have previously shown a high frequency of PMQR genes within commensal Enterobacteriaceae. However, there are limited available sequence data detailing the genetic context in which the PMQR genes reside, and a lack of understanding of how these genes spread across the Enterobacteriaceae. Here, we aimed to determine the genetic background facilitating the spread and maintenance of qnrS1, the dominant PMQR gene circulating in HCMC. We sequenced three qnrS1-carrying plasmids in their entirety to understand the genetic context of these qnrS1-embedded plasmids and also the association of qnrS1-mediated quinolone resistance with other antimicrobial resistance phenotypes. Annotation of the three qnrS1-containing plasmids revealed a qnrS1-containing transposon with a closely related structure. We screened 112 qnrS1-positive commensal Enterobacteriaceae isolated in the community and in a hospital in HCMC to detect the common transposon structure. We found the same transposon structure to be present in 71.4 % (45/63) of qnrS1-positive hospital isolates and in 36.7 % (18/49) of qnrS1-positive isolates from the community. The resulting sequence analysis of the qnrS1 environment suggested that qnrS1 genes are widely distributed and are mobilized on elements with a common genetic background. Our data add additional insight into mechanisms that facilitate resistance to multiple antimicrobials in Gram-negative bacteria in Vietnam.

Fitzpatrick JM, Biswas JS, Edgeworth JD, Islam J, Jenkins N, Judge R, Lavery AJ, Melzer M, Morris-Jones S, Nsutebu EF et al. 2016. Gram-negative bacteraemia; a multi-centre prospective evaluation of empiric antibiotic therapy and outcome in English acute hospitals. Clin Microbiol Infect, 22 (3), pp. 244-251. | Show Abstract | Read more

Increasing antibiotic resistance makes choosing antibiotics for suspected Gram-negative infection challenging. This study set out to identify key determinants of mortality among patients with Gram-negative bacteraemia, focusing particularly on the importance of appropriate empiric antibiotic treatment. We conducted a prospective observational study of 679 unselected adults with Gram-negative bacteraemia at ten acute english hospitals between October 2013 and March 2014. Appropriate empiric antibiotic treatment was defined as intravenous treatment on the day of blood culture collection with an antibiotic to which the cultured organism was sensitive in vitro. Mortality analyses were adjusted for patient demographics, co-morbidities and illness severity. The majority of bacteraemias were community-onset (70%); most were caused by Escherichia coli (65%), Klebsiella spp. (15%) or Pseudomonas spp. (7%). Main foci of infection were urinary tract (51%), abdomen/biliary tract (20%) and lower respiratory tract (14%). The main antibiotics used were co-amoxiclav (32%) and piperacillin-tazobactam (30%) with 34% receiving combination therapy (predominantly aminoglycosides). Empiric treatment was inappropriate in 34%. All-cause mortality was 8% at 7 days and 15% at 30 days. Independent predictors of mortality (p <0.05) included older age, greater burden of co-morbid disease, severity of illness at presentation and inflammatory response. Inappropriate empiric antibiotic therapy was not associated with mortality at either time-point (adjusted OR 0.82; 95% CI 0.35-1.94 and adjusted OR 0.92; 95% CI 0.50-1.66, respectively). Although our study does not exclude an impact of empiric antibiotic choice on survival in Gram-negative bacteraemia, outcome is determined primarily by patient and disease factors.

Le Minh V, Thi Khanh Nhu N, Vinh Phat V, Thompson C, Huong Lan NP, Thieu Nga TV, Thanh Tam PT, Tuyen HT, Hoang Nhu TD, Van Hao N et al. 2015. In vitro activity of colistin in antimicrobial combination against carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia in Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (10), pp. 1162-1169. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acinetobacter baumannii has become one of the major infection threats in intensive care units (ICUs) globally. Since 2008, A. baumannii has been the leading cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in our ICU at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. The emergence of this pathogen in our setting is consistent with the persistence of a specific clone exhibiting resistance to carbapenems. Antimicrobial combinations may be a strategy to treat infections caused by these carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii. Therefore, we assessed potential antimicrobial combinations against local carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii by measuring in vitro interactions of colistin with four antimicrobials that are locally certified for treating VAP. We first performed antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) genotyping on 74 A. baumannii isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates from patients with VAP over an 18-month period. These 74 isolates could be subdivided into 21 main clusters by MLVA and >80 % were resistant to carbapenems. We selected 56 representative isolates for in vitro combination synergy testing. Synergy was observed in four (7 %), seven (13 %), 20 (36 %) and 38 (68 %) isolates with combinations of colistin with ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, imipenem and meropenem, respectively. Notably, more carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii isolates (36/43; 84 %) exhibited synergistic activity with a combination of colistin and meropenem than carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolates (2/13; 15 %) (P = 0.023; Fisher's exact test). Our findings suggest that combinations of colistin and meropenem should be considered when treating carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii infections in Vietnam, and we advocate clinical trials investigating combination therapy for VAP.

Parry CM, Thieu NTV, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and Microbiologically Derived Azithromycin Susceptibility Breakpoints for Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A (vol 59, pg 2756, 2015) ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 59 (7), pp. 4364-4364. | Read more

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Erratum for Parry et al., Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (7), pp. 4364. | Read more

Anh PH, Van Cuong N, Son NT, Tue NT, Kosoy M, Woolhouse ME, Baker S, Bryant JE, Thwaites G, Carrique-Mas JJ, Rabaa MA. 2015. Diversity of Bartonella spp. in Bats, Southern Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 21 (7), pp. 1266-1267. | Read more

Geoghegan JL, Tan LEV, Kühnert D, Halpin RA, Lin X, Simenauer A, Akopov A, Das SR, Stockwell TB, Shrivastava S et al. 2015. Phylodynamics of Enterovirus A71-Associated Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease in Viet Nam. J Virol, 89 (17), pp. 8871-8879. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) is a major cause of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) and is particularly prevalent in parts of Southeast Asia, affecting thousands of children and infants each year. Revealing the evolutionary and epidemiological dynamics of EV-A71 through time and space is central to understanding its outbreak potential. We generated the full genome sequences of 200 EV-A71 strains sampled from various locations in Viet Nam between 2011 and 2013 and used these sequence data to determine the evolutionary history and phylodynamics of EV-A71 in Viet Nam, providing estimates of the effective reproduction number (Re) of the infection through time. In addition, we described the phylogeography of EV-A71 throughout Southeast Asia, documenting patterns of viral gene flow. Accordingly, our analysis reveals that a rapid genogroup switch from C4 to B5 likely took place during 2012 in Viet Nam. We show that the Re of subgenogroup C4 decreased during the time frame of sampling, whereas that of B5 increased and remained >1 at the end of 2013, corresponding to a rise in B5 prevalence. Our study reveals that the subgenogroup B5 virus that emerged into Viet Nam is closely related to variants that were responsible for large epidemics in Malaysia and Taiwan and therefore extends our knowledge regarding its associated area of endemicity. Subgenogroup B5 evidently has the potential to cause more widespread outbreaks across Southeast Asia. IMPORTANCE: EV-A71 is one of many viruses that cause HFMD, a common syndrome that largely affects infants and children. HFMD usually causes only mild illness with no long-term consequences. Occasionally, however, severe infection may arise, especially in very young children, causing neurological complications and even death. EV-A71 is highly contagious and is associated with the most severe HFMD cases, with large and frequent epidemics of the virus recorded worldwide. Although major advances have been made in the development of a potential EV-A71 vaccine, there is no current prevention and little is known about the patterns and dynamics of EV-A71 spread. In this study, we utilize full-length genome sequence data obtained from HFMD patients in Viet Nam, a geographical region where the disease has been endemic since 2003, to characterize the phylodynamics of this important emerging virus.

Le V, Khanh Nhu NT, Cerdeno-Tarraga A, Campbell JI, Tuyen HT, Hoang Nhu TD, Thanh Tam PT, Schultsz C, Thwaites G, Thomson NR, Baker S. 2015. The genetic characterization of three qnrS1 harbouring multi-drug resistance plasmids and qnrS1-containing transposons circulating in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (8), pp. 869-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) refers to a family of closely related genes that confer decreased susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. The PMQR genes are generally associated with integrons and/or plasmids that carry additional antimicrobial resistance genes active against a range of antimicrobials. In Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) we have previously shown a high frequency of PMQR genes within commensal Enterobacteriaceae. However, there is limited available sequence data detailing the genetic context in which the PMQR genes reside, and a lack of understanding of how these genes spread across the Enterobacteriaceae. Here, we aimed to determine the genetic background facilitating the spread and maintenance of qnrS1, the dominant PMQR gene circulating in HCMC. We sequenced three qnrS1-carrying plasmids in their entirety to understand the genetic context of these qnrS1-embedded plasmids and also the association of qnrS1 mediated quinolone resistance with other antimicrobial resistance phenotypes. Annotation of the three qnrS1-containing plasmids revealed a qnrS1 containing transposon with a closely related structure. We screened 112 qnrS1 positive commensal Enterobacteriaceae isolated in the community and a hospital in HCMC to detect the common transposon structure. We found the same transposon structure to be present in 71.4% (45/63) of qnrS1 positive hospital isolates and in 36.7% (18/49) of qnrS1 positive isolates from the community. The resulting sequence analysis of the qnrS1 environment suggests that qnrS1 are widely distributed and are mobilised on elements with a common genetic background. Our data adds additional insight into mechanisms that facilitate resistance to multiple antimicrobials in Gram-negative bacteria in Vietnam.

Thanh TT, Anh NT, Tham NT, Van HMT, Sabanathan S, Qui PT, Ngan TT, Van TTM, Nguyet LA, Ny NTH et al. 2015. Validation and utilization of an internally controlled multiplex Real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection of enteroviruses and enterovirus A71 associated with hand foot and mouth disease Positive-strand RNA viruses Virology Journal, 12 (1), | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 Thanh et al. Background: Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a disease of public health importance across the Asia-Pacific region. The disease is caused by enteroviruses (EVs), in particular enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). In EV-A71-associated HFMD, the infection is sometimes associated with severe manifestations including neurological involvement and fatal outcome. The availability of a robust diagnostic assay to distinguish EV-A71 from other EVs is important for patient management and outbreak response. Methods: We developed and validated an internally controlled one-step single-tube real-time RT-PCR in terms of sensitivity, linearity, precision, and specificity for simultaneous detection of EVs and EV-A71. Subsequently, the assay was then applied on throat and rectal swabs sampled from 434 HFMD patients. Results: The assay was evaluated using both plasmid DNA and viral RNA and has shown to be reproducible with a maximum assay variation of 4.41 % and sensitive with a limit of detection less than 10 copies of target template per reaction, while cross-reactivity with other EV serotypes was not observed. When compared against a published VP1 nested RT-PCR using 112 diagnostic throat and rectal swabs from 112 children with a clinical diagnosis of HFMD during 2014, the multiplex assay had a higher sensitivity and 100 % concordance with sequencing results which showed EVs in 77/112 (68.8 %) and EV-A71 in 7/112 (6.3 %). When applied to clinical diagnostics for 322 children, the assay detected EVs in throat swabs of 257/322 (79.8 %) of which EV-A71 was detected in 36/322 (11.2 %) children. The detection rate increased to 93.5 % (301/322) and 13.4 % (43/322) for EVs and EV-A71, respectively, when rectal swabs from 65 throat-negative children were further analyzed. Conclusion: We have successfully developed and validated a sensitive internally controlled multiplex assay for rapid detection of EVs and EV-A71, which is useful for clinical management and outbreak control of HFMD.

Thompson CN, Phan MV, Hoang NV, Minh PV, Vinh NT, Thuy CT, Nga TT, Rabaa MA, Duy PT, Dung TT et al. 2015. A prospective multi-center observational study of children hospitalized with diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 1045-1052. | Show Abstract | Read more

We performed a prospective multicenter study to address the lack of data on the etiology, clinical and demographic features of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. Over 2,000 (1,419 symptomatic and 609 non-diarrheal control) children were enrolled in three hospitals over a 1-year period in 2009-2010. Aiming to detect a panel of pathogens, we identified a known diarrheal pathogen in stool samples from 1,067/1,419 (75.2%) children with diarrhea and from 81/609 (13.3%) children without diarrhea. Rotavirus predominated in the symptomatic children (664/1,419; 46.8%), followed by norovirus (293/1,419; 20.6%). The bacterial pathogens Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shigella were cumulatively isolated from 204/1,419 (14.4%) diarrheal children and exhibited extensive antimicrobial resistance, most notably to fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins. We suggest renewed efforts in generation and implementation of policies to control the sale and prescription of antimicrobials to curb bacterial resistance and advise consideration of a subsidized rotavirus vaccination policy to limit the morbidity due to diarrheal disease in Vietnam.

Tu LT, Hoang NV, Cuong NV, Campbell J, Bryant JE, Hoa NT, Kiet BT, Thompson C, Duy DT, Phat VV et al. 2015. High levels of contamination and antimicrobial-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars on pig and poultry farms in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Epidemiol Infect, 143 (14), pp. 3074-3086. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the prevalence, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) and associated risk factors on 341 pig, chicken, and duck farms in Dong Thap province (Mekong Delta, Vietnam). Sampling was stratified by species, district (four categories), and farm size (three categories). Pooled faeces, collected using boot swabs, were tested using ISO 6575: 2002 (Annex D). Isolates were serogrouped; group B isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction to detect S. Typhimurium and (monophasic) serovar 4,[5],12:i:- variants. The farm-level adjusted NTS prevalence was 64·7%, 94·3% and 91·3% for chicken, duck and pig farms, respectively. Factors independently associated with NTS were duck farms [odds ratio (OR) 21·2], farm with >50 pigs (OR 11·9), pig farm with 5-50 pigs (OR 4·88) (vs. chickens), and frequent rodent sightings (OR 2·3). Both S. Typhimurium and monophasic S. Typhimurium were more common in duck farms. Isolates had a high prevalence of resistance (77·6%) against tetracycline, moderate resistance (20-30%) against chloramphenicol, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, ampicillin and nalidixic acid, and low resistance (<5%) against ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins. Multidrug resistance (resistance against ⩾3 classes of antimicrobial) was independently associated with monophasic S. Typhimurium and other group B isolates (excluding S. Typhimurium) and pig farms. The unusually high prevalence of NTS on Mekong Delta farms poses formidable challenges for control.

Parry CM, Thieu NT, Dolecek C, Karkey A, Gupta R, Turner P, Dance D, Maude RR, Ha V, Tran CN et al. 2015. Clinically and microbiologically derived azithromycin susceptibility breakpoints for Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 59 (5), pp. 2756-2764. | Show Abstract | Read more

Azithromycin is an effective treatment for uncomplicated infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and serovar Paratyphi A (enteric fever), but there are no clinically validated MIC and disk zone size interpretative guidelines. We studied individual patient data from three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever in Vietnam, with azithromycin used in one treatment arm, to determine the relationship between azithromycin treatment response and the azithromycin MIC of the infecting isolate. We additionally compared the azithromycin MIC and the disk susceptibility zone sizes of 1,640 S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A clinical isolates collected from seven Asian countries. In the RCTs, 214 patients who were treated with azithromycin at a dose of 10 to 20 mg/ml for 5 to 7 days were analyzed. Treatment was successful in 195 of 214 (91%) patients, with no significant difference in response (cure rate, fever clearance time) with MICs ranging from 4 to 16 μg/ml. The proportion of Asian enteric fever isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml was 1,452/1,460 (99.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 98.9 to 99.7) for S. Typhi and 207/240 (86.3%; 95% CI, 81.2 to 90.3) (P < 0.001) for S. Paratyphi A. A zone size of ≥ 13 mm to a 5-μg azithromycin disk identified S. Typhi isolates with an MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 99.7%. An azithromycin MIC of ≤ 16 μg/ml or disk inhibition zone size of ≥ 13 mm enabled the detection of susceptible S. Typhi isolates that respond to azithromycin treatment. Further work is needed to define the response to treatment in S. Typhi isolates with an azithromycin MIC of >16 μg/ml and to determine MIC and disk breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.

Boyles TH, Thwaites GE. 2015. Appropriate use of the Xpert® MTB/RIF assay in suspected tuberculous meningitis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 19 (3), pp. 276-277. | Show Abstract | Read more

We disagree with the recommendation by the World Health Organization to use Xpert(®) MTB/RIF on cerebrospinal fluid for the initial diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM). TBM is a devastating disease requiring empirical treatment even when the probability of disease is low. We suggest that a useful TBM diagnostic test needs a negative predictive value (NPV) of ⩾ 99% so that empirical treatment can be stopped safely. The NPV of Xpert is around 84%, making a negative test of limited value. While better tests are awaited, a composite score, possibly combining Xpert with clinical variables and with high NPV, should be constructed and validated prospectively.

Tan LEV, Tuyen NT, Thanh TT, Ngan TT, Van HM, Sabanathan S, Van TT, Thanh LETM, Nguyet LA, Geoghegan JL et al. 2015. A generic assay for whole-genome amplification and deep sequencing of enterovirus A71. J Virol Methods, 215-216 pp. 30-36. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) has emerged as the most important cause of large outbreaks of severe and sometimes fatal hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) across the Asia-Pacific region. EV-A71 outbreaks have been associated with (sub)genogroup switches, sometimes accompanied by recombination events. Understanding EV-A71 population dynamics is therefore essential for understanding this emerging infection, and may provide pivotal information for vaccine development. Despite the public health burden of EV-A71, relatively few EV-A71 complete-genome sequences are available for analysis and from limited geographical localities. The availability of an efficient procedure for whole-genome sequencing would stimulate effort to generate more viral sequence data. Herein, we report for the first time the development of a next-generation sequencing based protocol for whole-genome sequencing of EV-A71 directly from clinical specimens. We were able to sequence viruses of subgenogroup C4 and B5, while RNA from culture materials of diverse EV-A71 subgenogroups belonging to both genogroup B and C was successfully amplified. The nature of intra-host genetic diversity was explored in 22 clinical samples, revealing 107 positions carrying minor variants (ranging from 0 to 15 variants per sample). Our analysis of EV-A71 strains sampled in 2013 showed that they all belonged to subgenogroup B5, representing the first report of this subgenogroup in Vietnam. In conclusion, we have successfully developed a high-throughput next-generation sequencing-based assay for whole-genome sequencing of EV-A71 from clinical samples.

Thompson CN, Blacksell SD, Paris DH, Arjyal A, Karkey A, Dongol S, Giri A, Dolecek C, Day N, Baker S et al. 2015. Undifferentiated febrile illness in Kathmandu, Nepal. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (4), pp. 875-878. | Show Abstract | Read more

Undifferentiated febrile illnesses (UFIs) are common in low- and middle-income countries. We prospectively investigated the causes of UFIs in 627 patients presenting to a tertiary referral hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. Patients with microbiologically confirmed enteric fever (218 of 627; 34.8%) randomized to gatifloxacin or ofloxacin treatment were previously reported. We randomly selected 125 of 627 (20%) of these UFI patients, consisting of 96 of 409 (23%) cases with sterile blood cultures and 29 of 218 (13%) cases with enteric fever, for additional diagnostic investigations. We found serological evidence of acute murine typhus in 21 of 125 (17%) patients, with 12 of 21 (57%) patients polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive for Rickettsia typhi. Three UFI cases were quantitative PCR-positive for Rickettsia spp., two UFI cases were seropositive for Hantavirus, and one UFI case was seropositive for Q fever. Fever clearance time (FCT) for rickettsial infection was 44.5 hours (interquartile range = 26-66 hours), and there was no difference in FCT between ofloxacin or gatifloxacin. Murine typhus represents an important cause of predominantly urban UFIs in Nepal, and fluoroquinolones seem to be an effective empirical treatment.

Aryee A, Thwaites G. 2015. Viral encephalitis in travellers. Clin Med (Lond), 15 (1), pp. 86-90. | Show Abstract | Read more

Viral infections are the commonest cause of encephalitis, and the purpose of this article is to inform UK clinicians of the presentation, diagnosis and management of viral encephalitis in travellers returning to the UK. The classical presentation is as a triad of fever, headache and altered mental state. There may be other findings either on examination or on imaging which, together with a travel history, may give clues as to the aetiology. It is important to note that in high- and middle-income countries the commonest cause of viral encephalitis is herpes simplex. This, coupled with the fact that untreated herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) has a mortality of over 70%, means that aciclovir should always be included in the treatment of patients with suspected encephalitis, regardless of their history of travel. In the UK, the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory (RIPL) at Public Health England can perform specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses on blood and CSF samples for many imported causes of viral encephalitis.

Nguyen TD, Olliaro P, Dondorp AM, Baird JK, Lam HM, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, White NJ, Boni MF. 2015. Optimum population-level use of artemisinin combination therapies: a modelling study. Lancet Glob Health, 3 (12), pp. e758-e766. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are used worldwide as first-line treatment against confirmed or suspected Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Despite the success of ACTs at reducing the global burden of malaria, emerging resistance to artemisinin threatens these gains. Countering onset of resistance might need deliberate tactics aimed at slowing the reduction in ACT effectiveness. We assessed optimum use of ACTs at the population level, specifically focusing on a strategy of multiple first-line therapies (MFT), and comparing it with strategies of cycling or sequential use of single first-line ACTs. METHODS: With an individual-based microsimulation of regional malaria transmission, we looked at how to apply a therapy as widely as possible without accelerating reduction of efficacy by drug resistance. We compared simultaneous distribution of artemether-lumefantrine, artesunate-amodiaquine, and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (ie, MFT) against strategies in which these ACTs would be cycled or used sequentially, either on a fixed schedule or when population-level efficacy reaches the WHO threshold of 10% treatment failure. The main assessment criterion was total number of treatment failures per 100 people per year. Additionally, we analysed the benefits of including a single non-ACT therapy in an MFT strategy, and did sensitivity analyses in which we varied transmission setting, treatment coverage, partner-drug half-life, fitness cost of drug resistance, and the relation between drug concentration and resistance evolution. FINDINGS: Use of MFT was predicted to reduce the long-term number of treatment failures compared with strategies in which a single first-line ACT is recommended. This result was robust to various epidemiological, pharmacological, and evolutionary features of malaria transmission. Inclusion of a single non-ACT therapy in an MFT strategy would have substantial benefits in reduction of pressure on artemisinin resistance evolution, delaying its emergence and slowing its spread. INTERPRETATION: Adjusting national antimalarial treatment guidelines to encourage simultaneous use of MFT is likely to extend the useful therapeutic life of available antimalarial drugs, resulting in long-term beneficial outcomes for patients. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, Li Ka Shing Foundation.

Tu LTP, Hoang NVM, Cuong NV, Campbell J, Bryant JE, Hoa NT, Kiet BT, Thompson C, Duy DT, Phat VV et al. 2015. High levels of contamination and antimicrobial-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella serovars on pig and poultry farms in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam Epidemiology and Infection, 143 (14), pp. 3074-3086. | Show Abstract | Read more

Copyright © 2015 Cambridge University Press. We investigated the prevalence, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) and associated risk factors on 341 pig, chicken, and duck farms in Dong Thap province (Mekong Delta, Vietnam). Sampling was stratified by species, district (four categories), and farm size (three categories). Pooled faeces, collected using boot swabs, were tested using ISO 6575: 2002 (Annex D). Isolates were serogrouped; group B isolates were tested by polymerase chain reaction to detect S. Typhimurium and (monophasic) serovar 4,[5],12:i:- variants. The farm-level adjusted NTS prevalence was 64.7%, 94.3% and 91.3% for chicken, duck and pig farms, respectively. Factors independently associated with NTS were duck farms [odds ratio (OR) 21.2] , farm with > 50 pigs (OR 11.9), pig farm with 5-50 pigs (OR 4.88) (vs. chickens), and frequent rodent sightings (OR 2.3). Both S. Typhimurium and monophasic S. Typhimurium were more common in duck farms. Isolates had a high prevalence of resistance (77.6%) against tetracycline, moderate resistance (20-30%) against chloramphenicol, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, ampicillin and nalidixic acid, and low resistance ( < 5%) against ciprofloxacin and third-generation cephalosporins. Multidrug resistance (resistance against ≥3 classes of antimicrobial) was independently associated with monophasic S. Typhimurium and other group B isolates (excluding S. Typhimurium) and pig farms. The unusually high prevalence of NTS on Mekong Delta farms poses formidable challenges for control.

Thanh TT, Anh NT, Tham NT, Van HM, Sabanathan S, Qui PT, Ngan TT, Van TT, Nguyet LA, Ny NT et al. 2015. Validation and utilization of an internally controlled multiplex Real-time RT-PCR assay for simultaneous detection of enteroviruses and enterovirus A71 associated with hand foot and mouth disease. Virol J, 12 (1), pp. 85. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hand foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a disease of public health importance across the Asia-Pacific region. The disease is caused by enteroviruses (EVs), in particular enterovirus A71 (EV-A71). In EV-A71-associated HFMD, the infection is sometimes associated with severe manifestations including neurological involvement and fatal outcome. The availability of a robust diagnostic assay to distinguish EV-A71 from other EVs is important for patient management and outbreak response. METHODS: We developed and validated an internally controlled one-step single-tube real-time RT-PCR in terms of sensitivity, linearity, precision, and specificity for simultaneous detection of EVs and EV-A71. Subsequently, the assay was then applied on throat and rectal swabs sampled from 434 HFMD patients. RESULTS: The assay was evaluated using both plasmid DNA and viral RNA and has shown to be reproducible with a maximum assay variation of 4.41 % and sensitive with a limit of detection less than 10 copies of target template per reaction, while cross-reactivity with other EV serotypes was not observed. When compared against a published VP1 nested RT-PCR using 112 diagnostic throat and rectal swabs from 112 children with a clinical diagnosis of HFMD during 2014, the multiplex assay had a higher sensitivity and 100 % concordance with sequencing results which showed EVs in 77/112 (68.8 %) and EV-A71 in 7/112 (6.3 %). When applied to clinical diagnostics for 322 children, the assay detected EVs in throat swabs of 257/322 (79.8 %) of which EV-A71 was detected in 36/322 (11.2 %) children. The detection rate increased to 93.5 % (301/322) and 13.4 % (43/322) for EVs and EV-A71, respectively, when rectal swabs from 65 throat-negative children were further analyzed. CONCLUSION: We have successfully developed and validated a sensitive internally controlled multiplex assay for rapid detection of EVs and EV-A71, which is useful for clinical management and outbreak control of HFMD.

Wong VK, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Parkhill J, Page AJ, Feasey NA, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, Keane JA, Weill FX et al. 2015. Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 632-639. | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.

Chung The H, Karkey A, Pham Thanh D, Boinett CJ, Cain AK, Ellington M, Baker KS, Dongol S, Thompson C, Harris SR et al. 2015. A high-resolution genomic analysis of multidrug-resistant hospital outbreaks of Klebsiella pneumoniae. EMBO Mol Med, 7 (3), pp. 227-239. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae has become a leading cause of nosocomial infections worldwide. Despite its prominence, little is known about the genetic diversity of K. pneumoniae in resource-poor hospital settings. Through whole-genome sequencing (WGS), we reconstructed an outbreak of MDR K. pneumoniae occurring on high-dependency wards in a hospital in Kathmandu during 2012 with a case-fatality rate of 75%. The WGS analysis permitted the identification of two MDR K. pneumoniae lineages causing distinct outbreaks within the complex endemic K. pneumoniae. Using phylogenetic reconstruction and lineage-specific PCR, our data predicted a scenario in which K. pneumoniae, circulating for 6 months before the outbreak, underwent a series of ward-specific clonal expansions after the acquisition of genes facilitating virulence and MDR. We suggest that the early detection of a specific NDM-1 containing lineage in 2011 would have alerted the high-dependency ward staff to intervene. We argue that some form of real-time genetic characterisation, alongside clade-specific PCR during an outbreak, should be factored into future healthcare infection control practices in both high- and low-income settings.

Graustein AD, Horne DJ, Arentz M, Bang ND, Chau TT, Thwaites GE, Caws M, Thuong NT, Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR. 2015. TLR9 gene region polymorphisms and susceptibility to tuberculosis in Vietnam. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 95 (2), pp. 190-196. | Show Abstract | Read more

Humans exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) show variation in susceptibility to infection and differences in tuberculosis (TB) disease outcome. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is a pattern recognition receptor that mediates recognition of Mtb and modulates Mtb-specific T-cell responses. Using a case-population design, we evaluated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TLR9 gene region are associated with susceptibility to pulmonary or meningeal TB as well as neurologic presentation and mortality in the meningeal TB group. In a discovery cohort (n = 352 cases, 382 controls), three SNPs were associated with TB (all forms, p < 0.05) while three additional SNPs neared significance (0.05 < p < 0.1). When these six SNPs were evaluated in a validation cohort (n = 339 cases, 367 controls), one was significant (rs352142) while another neared significance (rs352143). When the cohorts were combined, rs352142 was most strongly associated with meningeal tuberculosis (dominant model; p = 0.0002, OR 2.36, CI 1.43-3.87) while rs352143 was associated with pulmonary tuberculosis (recessive model; p = 0.006, OR 5.3, CI 1.26-31.13). None of the SNPs were associated with mortality. This is the first demonstration of an association between a TLR9 gene region SNP and tuberculous meningitis. In addition, this extends previous findings that support associations of TLR9 SNPs with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Dunstan SJ, Tram TT, Thwaites GE, Chau TT, Phu NH, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Wolbers M, Mai NT. 2015. LTA4H genotype is associated with susceptibility to bacterial meningitis but is not a critical determinant of outcome. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0118789. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adjunctive dexamethasone saves lives in the treatment of tuberculous meningitis but this response is influenced by the patient's LTA4H genotype. Despite less certain benefit, adjunctive dexamethasone is also frequently used in the treatment of pyogenic bacterial meningitis, but the influence of LTA4H genotype on outcomes has not been previously investigated. We genotyped the LTA4H promoter region SNP (rs17525495) in 390 bacterial meningitis patients and 751 population controls. rs17525495 was associated with susceptibility to bacteriologically confirmed bacterial meningitis (P = 0.01, OR 1.27 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.54) but did not influence clinical presentation, disease severity or survival following dexamethasone treatment.

Schreiber F, Kay S, Frankel G, Clare S, Goulding D, van de Vosse E, van Dissel JT, Strugnell R, Thwaites G, Kingsley RA et al. 2015. The Hd, Hj, and Hz66 flagella variants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi modify host responses and cellular interactions. Sci Rep, 5 (1), pp. 7947. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhi, the causative agent of typhoid fever, is a monophyletic, human-restricted bacterium that exhibits limited phenotypic variation. S. Typhi from Indonesia are a notable exception, with circulating strains expressing diverse flagella antigens including Hj, Hd and Hz66. Hypothesizing that S. Typhi flagella plays a key role during infection, we constructed an S. Typhi fliC mutant and otherwise isogenic S. Typhi strains expressing the Hj, Hd, Hz66 flagella antigens. Phenotyping revealed differences in flagellum structure, strain motility and immunogenicity, but not in the ability of flagellated isolates to induce TLR5 activity. Invasion assays using epithelial and macrophage cell lines revealed differences in the ability of these S. Typhi derivatives to invade cells or induce cellular restructuring in the form of ruffles. Notably, the Hj variant induced substantial ruffles that were not fully dependent on the GTPases that contribute to this process. These data highlight important differences in the phenotypic properties of S. Typhi flagella variation and how they impact on the pathogenesis of S. Typhi.

Thompson CN, Anders KL, Nhi LETQ, Tuyen HT, Van Minh P, Tu LETP, Nhu TDOH, Nhan NT, Ly TT, Duong VT et al. 2014. A cohort study to define the age-specific incidence and risk factors of Shigella diarrhoeal infections in Vietnamese children: a study protocol. BMC Public Health, 14 (1), pp. 1289. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigella spp. are one of the most common causes of paediatric dysentery globally, responsible for a substantial proportion of diarrhoeal disease morbidity and mortality, particularly in industrialising regions. Alarming levels of antimicrobial resistance are now reported in S. flexneri and S. sonnei, hampering treatment options. Little is known, however, about the burden of infection and disease due to Shigella spp. in the community. METHODS/DESIGN: In order to estimate the incidence of this bacterial infection in the community in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam we have designed a longitudinal cohort to follow up approximately 700 children aged 12-60 months for two years with active and passive surveillance for diarrhoeal disease. Children will be seen at 6 month intervals for health checks where blood and stool samples will be collected. Families will also be contacted every two weeks for information on presence of diarrhoea in the child. Upon report of a diarrhoeal disease episode, study nurses will either travel to the family home to perform an evaluation or the family will attend a study hospital at a reduced cost, where a stool sample will also be collected. Case report forms collected at this time will detail information regarding disease history, risk factors and presence of disease in the household.Outcomes will include (i) age-specific incidence of Shigella spp. and other agents of diarrhoeal disease in the community, (ii) risk factors for identified aetiologies, (iii) rates of seroconversion to a host of gastrointestinal pathogens in the first few years of life. Further work regarding the longitudinal immune response to a variety of Shigella antigens, host genetics and candidate vaccine/diagnostic proteins will also be conducted. DISCUSSION: This is the largest longitudinal cohort with active surveillance designed specifically to investigate Shigella infection and disease. The study is strengthened by the active surveillance component, which will likely capture a substantial proportion of episodes not normally identified through passive or hospital-based surveillance. It is hoped that information from this study will aid in the design and implementation of Shigella vaccine trials in the future.

My PVT, Rabaa MA, Donato C, Cowley D, Phat VV, Dung TTN, Anh PH, Vinh H, Bryant JE, Kellam P et al. 2014. Novel porcine-like human G26P[19] rotavirus identified in hospitalized paediatric diarrhea patients in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Journal of General Virology, 95 pp. 2727-2733. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2014 The Authors. During a hospital-based diarrhoeal disease study conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from 2009 to 2010, we identified four symptomatic children infected with G26P[19] rotavirus (RV)-an atypical variant that has not previously been reported in human gastroenteritis. To determine the genetic structure and investigate the origin of this G26P[19] strain, the whole genome of a representative example was characterized, revealing a novel genome constellation: G26-P[19]-I5-R1-C1-M1-A8-N1-T1-E1-H1. The genome segments were most closely related to porcine (VP7, VP4, VP6 and NSP1) and Wa-like porcine RVs (VP1-3 and NSP2-5). We proposed that this G26P[19] strain was the product of zoonotic transmission coupled with one or more reassortment events occurring in human and/or animal reservoirs. The identification of such strains has potential implications for vaccine efficacy in south-east Asia, and outlines the utility of whole-genome sequencing for studying RV diversity and zoonotic potential during disease surveillance.

Nhung NT, Cuong NV, Campbell J, Hoa NT, Bryant JE, Truc VN, Kiet BT, Jombart T, Trung NV, Hien VB et al. 2015. High levels of antimicrobial resistance among escherichia coli isolates from livestock farms and synanthropic rats and shrews in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Appl Environ Microbiol, 81 (3), pp. 812-820. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Mekong Delta farms (Vietnam), antimicrobials are extensively used, but limited data are available on levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among Escherichia coli isolates. We performed a structured survey of AMR in E. coli isolates (n = 434) from 90 pig, chicken, and duck farms. The results were compared with AMR among E. coli isolates (n = 234) from 66 small wild animals (rats and shrews) trapped on farms and in forests and rice fields. The isolates were susceptibility tested against eight antimicrobials. E. coli isolates from farmed animals were resistant to a median of 4 (interquartile range [IQR], 3 to 6) antimicrobials versus 1 (IQR, 1 to 2) among wild mammal isolates (P < 0.001). The prevalences of AMR among farmed species isolates (versus wild animals) were as follows: tetracycline, 84.7% (versus 25.6%); ampicillin, 78.9% (versus 85.9%); trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, 52.1% (versus 18.8%); chloramphenicol, 39.9% (versus 22.5%); amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, 36.6% (versus 34.5%); and ciprofloxacin, 24.9% (versus 7.3%). The prevalence of multidrug resistance (MDR) (resistance against three or more antimicrobial classes) among pig isolates was 86.7% compared to 66.9 to 72.7% among poultry isolates. After adjusting for host species, MDR was ∼8 times greater among isolates from wild mammals trapped on farms than among those trapped in forests/rice fields (P < 0.001). Isolates were assigned to unique profiles representing their combinations of susceptibility results. Multivariable analysis of variance indicated that AMR profiles from wild mammals trapped on farms and those from domestic animals were more alike (R(2) range, 0.14 to 0.30) than E. coli isolates from domestic animals and mammals trapped in the wild (R(2) range, 0.25 to 0.45). The results strongly suggest that AMR on farms is a key driver of environmental AMR in the Mekong Delta.

Day J, Imran D, Ganiem AR, Tjahjani N, Wahyuningsih R, Adawiyah R, Dance D, Mayxay M, Newton P, Phetsouvanh R et al. 2014. CryptoDex: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of adjunctive dexamethasone in HIV-infected adults with cryptococcal meningitis: study protocol for a randomised control trial. Trials, 15 (1), pp. 441. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a severe AIDS-defining illness with 90-day case mortality as high as 70% in sub-Saharan Africa, despite treatment. It is the leading cause of death in HIV patients in Asia and Africa.No major advance has been made in the treatment of CM since the 1970s. The mainstays of induction therapy are amphotericin B and flucytosine, but these are often poorly available where the disease burden is highest. Adjunctive treatments, such as dexamethasone, have had dramatic effects on mortality in other neurologic infections, but are untested in CM. Given the high death rates in patients receiving current optimal treatment, and the lack of new agents on the horizon, adjuvant treatments, which offer the potential to reduce mortality in CM, should be tested.The principal research question posed by this study is as follows: does adding dexamethasone to standard antifungal therapy for CM reduce mortality? Dexamethasone is a cheap, readily available, and practicable intervention. METHOD: A double-blind placebo-controlled trial with parallel arms in which patients are randomised to receive either dexamethasone or placebo, in addition to local standard of care. The study recruits patients in both Asia and Africa to ensure the relevance of its results to the populations in which the disease burden is highest. The 10-week mortality risk in the control group is expected to be between 30% and 50%, depending on location, and the target hazard ratio of 0.7 corresponds to absolute risk reductions in mortality from 30% to 22%, or from 50% to 38%. Assuming an overall 10-week mortality of at least 30% in our study population, recruitment of 824 patients will be sufficient to observe the expected number of deaths. Allowing for some loss to follow-up, the total sample size for this study is 880 patients. To generate robust evidence across both continents, we aim to recruit roughly similar numbers of patients from each continent. The primary end point is 10-week mortality. Ethical approval has been obtained from Oxford University's Tropical Research Ethics Committee (OxTREC), and as locally mandated at each site. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number: ISRCTN59144167 26-July-2012.

My PV, Rabaa MA, Donato C, Cowley D, Phat VV, Dung TT, Anh PH, Vinh H, Bryant JE, Kellam P et al. 2014. Novel porcine-like human G26P[19] rotavirus identified in hospitalized paediatric diarrhoea patients in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Gen Virol, 95 (Pt 12), pp. 2727-2733. | Show Abstract | Read more

During a hospital-based diarrhoeal disease study conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from 2009 to 2010, we identified four symptomatic children infected with G26P[19] rotavirus (RV)--an atypical variant that has not previously been reported in human gastroenteritis. To determine the genetic structure and investigate the origin of this G26P[19] strain, the whole genome of a representative example was characterized, revealing a novel genome constellation: G26-P[19]-I5-R1-C1-M1-A8-N1-T1-E1-H1. The genome segments were most closely related to porcine (VP7, VP4, VP6 and NSP1) and Wa-like porcine RVs (VP1-3 and NSP2-5). We proposed that this G26P[19] strain was the product of zoonotic transmission coupled with one or more reassortment events occurring in human and/or animal reservoirs. The identification of such strains has potential implications for vaccine efficacy in south-east Asia, and outlines the utility of whole-genome sequencing for studying RV diversity and zoonotic potential during disease surveillance.

Lan NP, Nga TV, Yen NT, Dung LET, Tuyen HT, Campbell JI, Whitehorn J, Thwaites G, Chau NV, Baker S. 2014. Two cases of bacteriemia caused by nontoxigenic, non-O1, non-O139 Vibrio cholerae isolates in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. J Clin Microbiol, 52 (10), pp. 3819-3821. | Show Abstract | Read more

The toxigenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae belonging to the O1 and O139 serogroups is commonly associated with epidemic diarrhea in tropical settings; other diseases caused by this environmental pathogen are seldom identified. Here we report two unassociated cases of nonfatal, nontoxigenic V. cholerae non-O1, non-O139 bacteremia in patients with comorbidities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, that occurred within a 4-week period.

Tan LEV, Thai LEH, Phu NH, Nghia HD, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Phong ND, Mai NT, Man DN, Hien VM et al. 2014. Viral aetiology of central nervous system infections in adults admitted to a tertiary referral hospital in southern Vietnam over 12 years. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (8), pp. e3127. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Central nervous system (CNS) infections are important diseases in both children and adults worldwide. The spectrum of infections is broad, encompassing bacterial/aseptic meningitis and encephalitis. Viruses are regarded as the most common causes of encephalitis and aseptic meningitis. Better understanding of the viral causes of the diseases is of public health importance, in order to better inform immunization policy, and may influence clinical management. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Study was conducted at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, a primary, secondary, and tertiary referral hospital for all southern provinces of Vietnam. Between December 1996 and May 2008, patients with CNS infections of presumed viral origin were enrolled. Laboratory diagnostics consisted of molecular and serological tests targeted at 14 meningitis/encephalitis-associated viruses. Of 291 enrolled patients, fatal outcome and neurological sequelae were recorded in 10% (28/291) and 27% (78/291), respectively. Mortality was especially high (9/19, 47%) amongst those with confirmed herpes simplex encephalitis which is attributed to the limited availability of intravenous acyclovir/valacyclovir. Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue virus, herpes simplex virus, and enteroviruses were the most common viruses detected, responsible for 36 (12%), 19 (6.5%), 19 (6.5%) and 8 (2.7%) respectively, followed by rubella virus (6, 2%), varicella zoster virus (5, 1.7%), mumps virus (2, 0.7%), cytomegalovirus (1, 0.3%), and rabies virus (1, 0.3%). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Viral infections of the CNS in adults in Vietnam are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Despite extensive laboratory testing, 68% of the patients remain undiagnosed. Together with our previous reports, the data confirm that Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue virus, herpes simplex virus, and enteroviruses are the leading identified causes of CNS viral infections in Vietnam, suggest that the majority of morbidity/mortality amongst patients with a confirmed/probable diagnosis is preventable by adequate vaccination/treatment, and are therefore of public health significance.

Campo M, Randhawa AK, Dunstan S, Farrar J, Caws M, Bang ND, Lan NN, Hong Chau TT, Horne DJ, Thuong NT et al. 2015. Common polymorphisms in the CD43 gene region are associated with tuberculosis disease and mortality. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, 52 (3), pp. 342-348. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD43, a surface glycoprotein, regulates Mycobacterium tuberculosis macrophage binding, replication, and proinflammatory cytokine induction in a murine model. We hypothesized that single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CD43 gene region are associated with human tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility. We performed a case-population study in discovery (352 TB cases and 382 control subjects) and validation cohorts (339 TB cases and 376 control subjects). We examined whether 11 haplotype-tagging SNPs in the CD43 gene region were associated with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and pulmonary TB (PTB) in Vietnam. Three SNPs from the CD43 gene region were associated with TB susceptibility with a genotypic model. The association fit a recessive genetic model and was greater for TBM than for PTB (for TBM: rs4788172, odds ratio [OR], 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-2.59, rs17842268 [OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.29-3.76, and rs12596308 [OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.47-3.89]). Among TBM cases, rs17842268 was associated with decreased survival (hazard ratio, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.1-6.5; P = 0.011). In addition, rs12596308 and rs17842268 were associated with focal neurologic deficit at TBM presentation. Our data suggest that CD43 polymorphisms are associated with TB susceptibility, disease manifestations, and worse outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the first report that links CD43 genetic variants with susceptibility and outcome from a disease.

Nhu NT, Lan NP, Campbell JI, Parry CM, Thompson C, Tuyen HT, Hoang NV, Tam PT, Le VM, Nga TV et al. 2014. Emergence of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii as the major cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care unit patients at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 63 (Pt 10), pp. 1386-1394. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious healthcare-associated infection that affects up to 30 % of intubated and mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. The bacterial aetiology and corresponding antimicrobial susceptibility of VAP is highly variable, and can differ between countries, national provinces and even between different wards in the same hospital. We aimed to understand and document changes in the causative agents of VAP and their antimicrobial susceptibility profiles retrospectively over an 11 year period in a major infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. Our analysis outlined a significant shift from Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Acinetobacter spp. as the most prevalent bacteria isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates in patients with VAP in this setting. Antimicrobial resistance was common across all bacterial species and we found a marked proportional annual increase in carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp. over a 3 year period from 2008 (annual trend; odds ratio 1.656, P = 0.010). We further investigated the possible emergence of a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clone by multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis, finding a blaOXA-23-positive strain that was associated with an upsurge in the isolation of this pathogen. We additionally identified a single blaNDM-1-positive A. baumannii isolate. This work highlights the emergence of a carbapenem-resistant clone of A. baumannii and a worrying trend of antimicrobial resistance in the ICU of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Näsström E, Vu Thieu NT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Voong Vinh P, Ha Thanh T, Johansson A, Arjyal A, Thwaites G, Dolecek C et al. 2014. Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A elaborate distinct systemic metabolite signatures during enteric fever. Elife, 3 | Show Abstract | Read more

The host-pathogen interactions induced by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A during enteric fever are poorly understood. This knowledge gap, and the human restricted nature of these bacteria, limit our understanding of the disease and impede the development of new diagnostic approaches. To investigate metabolite signals associated with enteric fever we performed two dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) on plasma from patients with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections and asymptomatic controls, identifying 695 individual metabolite peaks. Applying supervised pattern recognition, we found highly significant and reproducible metabolite profiles separating S. Typhi cases, S. Paratyphi A cases, and controls, calculating that a combination of six metabolites could accurately define the etiological agent. For the first time we show that reproducible and serovar specific systemic biomarkers can be detected during enteric fever. Our work defines several biologically plausible metabolites that can be used to detect enteric fever, and unlocks the potential of this method in diagnosing other systemic bacterial infections.

Cited:

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Scopus

Kaasch AJ, Barlow G, Edgeworth JD, Fowler VG, Hellmich M, Hopkins S, Kern WV, Llewelyn MJ, Rieg S, Rodriguez-Baño J et al. 2014. Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection: A pooled analysis of five prospective, observational studies Journal of Infection, 68 (3), pp. 242-251. | Show Abstract | Read more

Objectives: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia is a common, often fatal infection. Our aim was to describe how its clinical presentation varies between populations and to identify common determinants of outcome. Methods: We conducted a pooled analysis on 3395 consecutive adult patients with S. aureus bacteraemia. Patients were enrolled between 2006 and 2011 in five prospective studies in 20 tertiary care centres in Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Results: The median age of participants was 64 years (interquartile range 50-75 years) and 63.8% were male. 25.4% of infections were associated with diabetes mellitus, 40.7% were nosocomial, 20.6% were caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), although these proportions varied significantly across studies. Intravenous catheters were the commonest identified infective focus (27.7%); 8.3% had endocarditis. Crude 14 and 90-day mortality was 14.6% and 29.2%, respectively. Age, MRSA bacteraemia, nosocomial acquisition, endocarditis, and pneumonia were independently associated with death, but a strong association was with an unidentified infective focus (adjusted hazard ratio for 90-day mortality 2.92; 95% confidence interval 2.33 to 3.67, p < 0.0001). Conclusion: The baseline demographic and clinical features of S. aureus bacteraemia vary significantly between populations. Mortality could be reduced by assiduous MRSA control and early identification of the infective focus. © 2013 The British Infection Association.

Price JR, Golubchik T, Cole K, Wilson DJ, Crook DW, Thwaites GE, Bowden R, Walker AS, Peto TE, Paul J, Llewelyn MJ. 2014. Whole-genome sequencing shows that patient-to-patient transmission rarely accounts for acquisition of Staphylococcus aureus in an intensive care unit. Clin Infect Dis, 58 (5), pp. 609-618. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND:  Strategies to prevent Staphylococcus aureus infection in hospitals focus on patient-to-patient transmission. We used whole-genome sequencing to investigate the role of colonized patients as the source of new S. aureus acquisitions, and the reliability of identifying patient-to-patient transmission using the conventional approach of spa typing and overlapping patient stay. METHODS: Over 14 months, all unselected patients admitted to an adult intensive care unit (ICU) were serially screened for S. aureus. All available isolates (n = 275) were spa typed and underwent whole-genome sequencing to investigate their relatedness at high resolution. RESULTS: Staphylococcus aureus was carried by 185 of 1109 patients sampled within 24 hours of ICU admission (16.7%); 59 (5.3%) patients carried methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Forty-four S. aureus (22 MRSA) acquisitions while on ICU were detected. Isolates were available for genetic analysis from 37 acquisitions. Whole-genome sequencing indicated that 7 of these 37 (18.9%) were transmissions from other colonized patients. Conventional methods (spa typing combined with overlapping patient stay) falsely identified 3 patient-to-patient transmissions (all MRSA) and failed to detect 2 acquisitions and 4 transmissions (2 MRSA). CONCLUSIONS: Only a minority of S. aureus acquisitions can be explained by patient-to-patient transmission. Whole-genome sequencing provides the resolution to disprove transmission events indicated by conventional methods and also to reveal otherwise unsuspected transmission events. Whole-genome sequencing should replace conventional methods for detection of nosocomial S. aureus transmission.

Feng GD, Shi M, Ma L, Chen P, Wang BJ, Zhang M, Chang XL, Su XC, Yang YN, Fan XH et al. 2014. Diagnostic accuracy of intracellular mycobacterium tuberculosis detection for tuberculous meningitis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 189 (4), pp. 475-481. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous meningitis saves lives, but current laboratory diagnostic tests lack sensitivity. OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether the detection of intracellular bacteria by a modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain and early secretory antigen target (ESAT)-6 in cerebrospinal fluid leukocytes improves tuberculous meningitis diagnosis. METHODS: Cerebrospinal fluid specimens from patients with suspected tuberculous meningitis were stained by conventional Ziehl-Neelsen stain, a modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain involving cytospin slides with Triton processing, and an ESAT-6 immunocytochemical stain. Acid-fast bacteria and ESAT-6-expressing leukocytes were detected by microscopy. All tests were performed prospectively in a central laboratory by experienced technicians masked to the patients' final diagnosis. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two hundred and eighty patients with suspected tuberculous meningitis were enrolled. Thirty-seven had Mycobacterium tuberculosis cultured from cerebrospinal fluid; 40 had a microbiologically confirmed alternative diagnosis; the rest had probable or possible tuberculous meningitis according to published criteria. Against a clinical diagnostic gold standard the sensitivity of conventional Ziehl-Neelsen stain was 3.3% (95% confidence interval, 1.6-6.7%), compared with 82.9% (95% confidence interval, 77.4-87.3%) for modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain and 75.1% (95% confidence interval, 68.8-80.6%) for ESAT-6 immunostain. Intracellular bacteria were seen in 87.8% of the slides positive by the modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain. The specificity of modified Ziehl-Neelsen and ESAT-6 stain was 85.0% (95% confidence interval, 69.4-93.8%) and 90.0% (95% confidence interval, 75.4-96.7%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced bacterial detection by simple modification of the Ziehl-Neelsen stain and an ESAT-6 intracellular stain improve the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis.

Seshadri C, Thuong NT, Yen NT, Bang ND, Chau TT, Thwaites GE, Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR. 2014. A polymorphism in human CD1A is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis. Genes Immun, 15 (3), pp. 195-198. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD1 proteins are antigen-presenting molecules that evolved to present lipids rather than peptides to T cells. However, unlike major histocompatibility complex genes, CD1 genes show low rates of polymorphism and have not been clearly associated with human disease. We report that an intronic polymorphism in CD1A (rs411089) is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis in two cohorts of Vietnamese adults (combined cohort odds ratio 1.78; 95% confidence interval: 1.24-2.57; P=0.001). These data strengthen the hypothesis that CD1A-mediated lipid antigen presentation is important for controlling tuberculosis in humans.

Graustein A, Horne DJ, Arentz M, Bang ND, Chau TTH, Thwaites G, Thuong NTT, Dunstan S, Hawn TJ. 2014. A Polymorphism In The Tlr9 Gene Region Is Associated With Susceptibility To Tuberculosis In Vietnam AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 189

Campo M, Randhawa AK, Dunstan S, Farrar J, Caws M, Bang ND, Lan NN, Chau TTH, Horne DJ, Thuong NT et al. 2014. Common Polymorphisms In The Cd43 Gene Region Are Associated With Tuberculosis Susceptibility And Mortality AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE, 189

Kaasch AJ, Barlow G, Edgeworth JD, Fowler VG, Hellmich M, Hopkins S, Kern WV, Llewelyn MJ, Rieg S, Rodriguez-Baño J et al. 2014. Corrigendum to Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection: A pooled analysis of five prospective, observational studies [J Infect, 68, (2014) 242-251] DOI:10.1016/j.jinf.2013.10.015 Journal of Infection, 69 (3), pp. 306-307. | Read more

Kaasch AJ, Barlow G, Edgeworth JD, Fowler VG, Hellmich M, Hopkins S, Kern WV, Llewelyn MJ, Rieg S, Rodriguez-Bano J et al. 2014. Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection: A pooled analysis of five prospective, observational studies (vol 68, pg 242, 2014) JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 69 (3), pp. 306-307. | Read more

Seshadri C, Thuong NTT, Yen NTB, Bang ND, Chau TTH, Thwaites GE, Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR. 2014. A polymorphism in human CD1A is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis Genes and Immunity, 15 (3), pp. 195-198. | Show Abstract | Read more

CD1 proteins are antigen-presenting molecules that evolved to present lipids rather than peptides to T cells. However, unlike major histocompatibility complex genes, CD1 genes show low rates of polymorphism and have not been clearly associated with human disease. We report that an intronic polymorphism in CD1A (rs411089) is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis in two cohorts of Vietnamese adults (combined cohort odds ratio 1.78; 95% confidence interval: 1.24-2.57; P=0.001). These data strengthen the hypothesis that CD1A-mediated lipid antigen presentation is important for controlling tuberculosis in humans. Copyright © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Thwaites GE. 2014. Brain infections in 2013: good drugs and bad bugs. Lancet Neurol, 13 (1), pp. 20-21. | Read more

Hope R, Blackburn RM, Verlander NQ, Johnson AP, Kearns A, Hill R, Hopkins S, Sheridan E, Livermore DM, Vancomycin Outcome Study Group, UK Clinical Infection Research Group. 2013. Vancomycin MIC as a predictor of outcome in MRSA bacteraemia in the UK context. J Antimicrob Chemother, 68 (11), pp. 2641-2647. | Show Abstract | Read more

UNLABELLED: Received 29 November 2012; returned 20 February 2013; revised 16 May 2013; accepted 18 May 2013 OBJECTIVES: Raised vancomycin MICs have been associated with poor outcomes for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia in the USA and mainland Europe. We investigated if this also applies in the UK, where EMRSA-15 (clonal complex 22) dominates. METHODS: Isolates from UK patients receiving vancomycin therapy for MRSA bacteraemia in 2008-10 were collected, along with clinical details. Outcomes (i.e. patient survival or bacteraemia resolution) were reported 28 days after vancomycin therapy ended. The relationship between clinical outcome and MIC--as determined by CLSI and BSAC agar dilution methods--was assessed. RESULTS: Among 228 MRSA bacteraemias, 82% were caused by EMRSA-15; 65% of the patients were male and the median age was 70.5 years. MICs correlated between methods, but CLSI agar dilution testing gave a mode at 1 mg/L with only 12% of results either side, whereas the BSAC method gave a mode straddling 0.7-1 mg/L with <4% outliers. Twenty-three percent of patients died, with MRSA contributory in half; another 17% had unresolved bacteraemia at 28 days. Neither death nor unresolved bacteraemia was significantly associated with higher vancomycin MICs by either method. Rifampicin co-therapy had no quantifiable effect on outcome. The patient's age was the only significant correlate of patient outcome (P < 0.01); the underlying medical condition of the patient was important for the resolution of bacteraemia (P < 0.01), though not for overall mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Subtle vancomycin MIC differences did not correlate with worse outcomes for vancomycin monotherapy or for vancomycin/rifampicin co-therapy in MRSA bacteraemia. Regardless of the exact MIC-outcome relationship, detecting such small MIC differences seems unlikely to be reliable in routine laboratories.

Comas I, Coscolla M, Luo T, Borrell S, Holt KE, Kato-Maeda M, Parkhill J, Malla B, Berg S, Thwaites G et al. 2013. Out-of-Africa migration and Neolithic coexpansion of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with modern humans. Nat Genet, 45 (10), pp. 1176-1182. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculosis caused 20% of all human deaths in the Western world between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries and remains a cause of high mortality in developing countries. In analogy to other crowd diseases, the origin of human tuberculosis has been associated with the Neolithic Demographic Transition, but recent studies point to a much earlier origin. We analyzed the whole genomes of 259 M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) strains and used this data set to characterize global diversity and to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this pathogen. Coalescent analyses indicate that MTBC emerged about 70,000 years ago, accompanied migrations of anatomically modern humans out of Africa and expanded as a consequence of increases in human population density during the Neolithic period. This long coevolutionary history is consistent with MTBC displaying characteristics indicative of adaptation to both low and high host densities.

Thwaites GE, van Toorn R, Schoeman J. 2013. Tuberculous meningitis: more questions, still too few answers. Lancet Neurol, 12 (10), pp. 999-1010. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis is especially common in young children and people with untreated HIV infection, and it kills or disables roughly half of everyone affected. Childhood disease can be prevented by vaccination and by giving prophylactic isoniazid to children exposed to infectious adults, although improvements in worldwide tuberculosis control would lead to more effective prevention. Diagnosis is difficult because clinical features are non-specific and laboratory tests are insensitive, and treatment delay is the strongest risk factor for death. Large doses of rifampicin and fluoroquinolones might improve outcome, and the beneficial effect of adjunctive corticosteroids on survival might be augmented by aspirin and could be predicted by screening for a polymorphism in LTA4H, which encodes an enzyme involved in eicosanoid synthesis. However, these advances are insufficient in the face of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV co-infection. Many questions remain about the best approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat tuberculous meningitis, and there are still too few answers.

Krishnan N, Robertson BD, Thwaites G. 2013. Pathways of IL-1β secretion by macrophages infected with clinical Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 93 (5), pp. 538-547. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β is a key mediator of inflammation and plays an important role in the host resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. To date, most studies have examined the mechanisms of IL-1β secretion using laboratory strains of M. tuberculosis and the findings may not be widely applicable to contemporary clinical strains. Here, we investigated the primary pathways of IL-1β secretion in macrophages infected with a panel of 17 clinical M. tuberculosis isolates, representing Euro-American, Indo-Oceanic and East-Asian/Beijing lineages. Our aim was to dissect the pathways involved in M. tuberculosis induced IL-1β secretion and to determine whether they are common to all clinical isolates. We found that the isolates were capable of eliciting variable concentrations of IL-1β from infected murine macrophages, but this phenomenon could not be attributed to differential IL-1β mRNA transcription or pro-IL-1β accumulation. We demonstrate that viable bacteria are required to induce IL-1β secretion from macrophages, but IL-1β secretion was only partially abrogated by caspase-1 inhibition. Almost complete IL-1β secretion inhibition was produced with combined caspase-1 and some serine protease inhibitors. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that clinical strains of M. tuberculosis employ a unique caspase-1 independent pathway to stimulate IL-1β secretion from macrophages.

Thwaites GE. 2013. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous meningitis. Curr Opin Neurol, 26 (3), pp. 295-300. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) saves lives, but current laboratory diagnostic tests lack sensitivity and the best treatment regimens are uncertain. This article reviews the advances towards better TBM diagnosis and treatments made over the last 2 years. RECENT FINDINGS: A modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain, interferon-gamma release assays and Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen detection assays have all shown promise as new TBM diagnostic tests. HIV-associated TBM carries an especially grave prognosis and there are new data describing the optimal timing of antiretroviral treatment initiation and the clinical predictors of TBM immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of different fluoroquinolones for TBM treatment have been compared, and there are intriguing new data to suggest higher doses of rifampicin given intravenously may improve the survival. Finally, there are preliminary data to suggest that the beneficial effect of adjunctive corticosteroids on TBM survival may be augmented by aspirin and predicted by a polymorphism in a gene responsible for eicosanoid synthesis. SUMMARY: Much remains to be done to improve the outcome from TBM. There have been important advances in the treatment, which may influence treatment guidelines in the near future, but there remains an urgent need for better diagnostic tests.

Thwaites GE. 2013. Adjunctive corticosteroids for all forms of tuberculosis? Lancet Infect Dis, 13 (3), pp. 186-188. | Read more

Kaasch AJ, Barlow G, Edgeworth JD, Fowler VG, Hellmich M, Hopkins S, Kern WV, Llewelyn MJ, Rieg S, Rodriguez-Baño J et al. 2014. Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection: a pooled analysis of five prospective, observational studies. J Infect, 68 (3), pp. 242-251. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia is a common, often fatal infection. Our aim was to describe how its clinical presentation varies between populations and to identify common determinants of outcome. METHODS: We conducted a pooled analysis on 3395 consecutive adult patients with S. aureus bacteraemia. Patients were enrolled between 2006 and 2011 in five prospective studies in 20 tertiary care centres in Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. RESULTS: The median age of participants was 64 years (interquartile range 50-75 years) and 63.8% were male. 25.4% of infections were associated with diabetes mellitus, 40.7% were nosocomial, 20.6% were caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), although these proportions varied significantly across studies. Intravenous catheters were the commonest identified infective focus (27.7%); 8.3% had endocarditis. Crude 14 and 90-day mortality was 14.6% and 29.2%, respectively. Age, MRSA bacteraemia, nosocomial acquisition, endocarditis, and pneumonia were independently associated with death, but a strong association was with an unidentified infective focus (adjusted hazard ratio for 90-day mortality 2.92; 95% confidence interval 2.33 to 3.67, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: The baseline demographic and clinical features of S. aureus bacteraemia vary significantly between populations. Mortality could be reduced by assiduous MRSA control and early identification of the infective focus.

Thwaites GE, Thwaites CL. 2012. Tetanus pp. 508-510. | Read more

van de Beek D, Brouwer MC, Thwaites GE, Tunkel AR. 2012. Advances in treatment of bacterial meningitis. Lancet, 380 (9854), pp. 1693-1702. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacterial meningitis kills or maims about a fifth of people with the disease. Early antibiotic treatment improves outcomes, but the effectiveness of widely available antibiotics is threatened by global emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria. New antibiotics, such as fluoroquinolones, could have a role in these circumstances, but clinical data to support this notion are scarce. Additionally, whether or not adjunctive anti-inflammatory therapies (eg, dexamethasone) improve outcomes in patients with bacterial meningitis remains controversial; in resource-poor regions, where the disease burden is highest, dexamethasone is ineffective. Other adjunctive therapeutic strategies, such as glycerol, paracetamol, and induction of hypothermia, are being tested further. Therefore, bacterial meningitis is a substantial and evolving therapeutic challenge. We review this challenge, with a focus on strategies to optimise antibiotic efficacy in view of increasingly drug-resistant bacteria, and discuss the role of current and future adjunctive therapies.

Brouwer MC, Thwaites GE, Tunkel AR, van de Beek D. 2012. Dilemmas in the diagnosis of acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis. Lancet, 380 (9854), pp. 1684-1692. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rapid diagnosis and treatment of acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis reduces mortality and neurological sequelae, but can be delayed by atypical presentation, assessment of lumbar puncture safety, and poor sensitivity of standard diagnostic microbiology. Thus, diagnostic dilemmas are common in patients with suspected acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis. History and physical examination alone are sometimes not sufficient to confirm or exclude the diagnosis. Lumbar puncture is an essential investigation, but can be delayed by brain imaging. Results of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination should be interpreted carefully, because CSF abnormalities vary according to the cause, patient's age and immune status, and previous treatment. Diagnostic prediction models that use a combination of clinical findings, with or without test results, can help to distinguish acute bacterial meningitis from other causes, but these models are not infallible. We review the dilemmas in the diagnosis of acute community-acquired bacterial meningitis, and focus on the roles of clinical assessment and CSF examination.

Thwaites GE. 2012. The management of suspected encephalitis. BMJ, 344 (jun06 2), pp. e3489. | Read more

Whitehorn J, Rodriguez Roche R, Guzman MG, Martinez E, Gomez WV, Nainggolan L, Laksono IS, Mishra A, Lum L, Faiz A et al. 2012. Prophylactic platelets in dengue: survey responses highlight lack of an evidence base. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (6), pp. e1716. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most important arboviral infection of humans. Thrombocytopenia is frequently observed in the course of infection and haemorrhage may occur in severe disease. The degree of thrombocytopenia correlates with the severity of infection, and may contribute to the risk of haemorrhage. As a result of this prophylactic platelet transfusions are sometimes advocated for the prevention of haemorrhage. There is currently no evidence to support this practice, and platelet transfusions are costly and sometimes harmful. We conducted a global survey to assess the different approaches to the use of platelets in dengue. Respondents were all physicians involved with the treatment of patients with dengue. Respondents were asked that their answers reflected what they would do if they were the treating physician. We received responses from 306 physicians from 20 different countries. The heterogeneity of the responses highlights the variation in clinical practice and lack of an evidence base in this area and underscores the importance of prospective clinical trials to address this key question in the clinical management of patients with dengue.

Thwaites G, Auckland C, Barlow G, Cunningham R, Davies G, Edgeworth J, Greig J, Hopkins S, Jeyaratnam D, Jenkins N et al. 2012. Adjunctive rifampicin to reduce early mortality from Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (ARREST): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 13 (1), pp. 241. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia is a common and serious infection, with an associated mortality of ~25%. Once in the blood, S. aureus can disseminate to infect almost any organ, but bones, joints and heart valves are most frequently affected. Despite the infection's severity, the evidence guiding optimal antibiotic therapy is weak: fewer than 1,500 patients have been included in 16 randomised controlled trials investigating S. aureus bacteraemia treatment. It is uncertain which antibiotics are most effective, their route of administration and duration, and whether antibiotic combinations are better than single agents. We hypothesise that adjunctive rifampicin, given in combination with a standard first-line antibiotic, will enhance killing of S. aureus early in the treatment course, sterilise infected foci and blood faster, and thereby reduce the risk of dissemination, metastatic infection and death. Our aim is to determine whether adjunctive rifampicin reduces all-cause mortality within 14 days and bacteriological failure or death within 12 weeks from randomisation. METHODS: We will perform a parallel group, randomised (1:1), blinded, placebo-controlled trial in NHS hospitals across the UK. Adults (≥ 18 years) with S. aureus (meticillin-susceptible or resistant) grown from at least one blood culture who have received ≤ 96 h of active antibiotic therapy for the current infection and do not have contraindications to the use of rifampicin will be eligible for inclusion. Participants will be randomised to adjunctive rifampicin (600-900 mg/day; orally or intravenously) or placebo for the first 14 days of therapy in combination with standard single-agent antibiotic therapy. The co-primary outcome measures will be all-cause mortality up to 14 days from randomisation and bacteriological failure/death (all-cause) up to 12 weeks from randomisation. 940 patients will be recruited, providing >80% power to detect 45% and 30% reductions in the two co-primary endpoints of death by 14 days and bacteriological failure/death by 12 weeks respectively. DISCUSSION: This pragmatic trial addresses the long-standing hypothesis that adjunctive rifampicin improves outcome from S. aureus bacteraemia through enhanced early bacterial killing. If proven correct, it will provide a paradigm through which further improvements in outcome from S. aureus bacteraemia can be explored.

Thuong NT, Hawn TR, Chau TT, Bang ND, Yen NT, Thwaites GE, Teo YY, Seielstad M, Hibberd M, Lan NT et al. 2012. Epiregulin (EREG) variation is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis. Genes Immun, 13 (3), pp. 275-281. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although host genetics influences susceptibility to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the human genes regulating pathogenesis remain largely unknown. We used M. tuberculosis-stimulated macrophage gene expression profiling in conjunction with a case-control genetic association study to discover epiregulin (EREG), as a novel candidate tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility gene. Using a genome-wide association study dataset, we found that among the 21 genes with greater than 50-fold induction, EREG had the most polymorphisms associated with TB. We genotyped haplotype-tagging polymorphisms in discovery (N = 337 cases, N = 380 controls) and validation (N = 332 cases) datasets and an EREG polymorphism (rs7675690) was associated with susceptibility to TB (genotypic comparison; corrected P = 0.00007). rs7675690 was also associated more strongly with infections caused by the Beijing lineage of M. tuberculosis when compared with non-Beijing strains (controls vs Beijing, OR 7.81, P = 8.7 × 10(-5); non-Beijing, OR 3.13, P = 0.074). Furthermore, EREG expression was induced in monocytes and peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with M. tuberculosis as well as TLR4 and TLR2/1/6 ligands. In murine macrophages, EREG expression induced by M. tuberculosis was MYD88- and TLR2-dependent. Together, these data provide the first evidence for an important role for EREG as a susceptibility gene for human TB.

Tobin DM, Roca FJ, Oh SF, McFarland R, Vickery TW, Ray JP, Ko DC, Zou Y, Bang ND, Chau TT et al. 2012. Host genotype-specific therapies can optimize the inflammatory response to mycobacterial infections. Cell, 148 (3), pp. 434-446. | Show Abstract | Read more

Susceptibility to tuberculosis is historically ascribed to an inadequate immune response that fails to control infecting mycobacteria. In zebrafish, we find that susceptibility to Mycobacterium marinum can result from either inadequate or excessive acute inflammation. Modulation of the leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA4H) locus, which controls the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, reveals two distinct molecular routes to mycobacterial susceptibility converging on dysregulated TNF levels: inadequate inflammation caused by excess lipoxins and hyperinflammation driven by excess leukotriene B(4). We identify therapies that specifically target each of these extremes. In humans, we identify a single nucleotide polymorphism in the LTA4H promoter that regulates its transcriptional activity. In tuberculous meningitis, the polymorphism is associated with inflammatory cell recruitment, patient survival and response to adjunctive anti-inflammatory therapy. Together, our findings suggest that host-directed therapies tailored to patient LTA4H genotypes may counter detrimental effects of either extreme of inflammation.

Schut ES, Brouwer MC, Scarborough M, Mai NT, Thwaites GE, Farrar JJ, Reitsma JB, van de Beek D. 2012. Validation of a Dutch risk score predicting poor outcome in adults with bacterial meningitis in Vietnam and Malawi. PLoS One, 7 (3), pp. e34311. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have previously developed and validated a prognostic model to predict the risk for unfavorable outcome in Dutch adults with bacterial meningitis. The aim of the current study was to validate this model in adults with bacterial meningitis from two developing countries, Vietnam and Malawi. Demographic and clinical characteristics of Vietnamese (n = 426), Malawian patients (n = 465) differed substantially from those of Dutch patients (n = 696). The Dutch model underestimated the risk of poor outcome in both Malawi and Vietnam. The discrimination of the original model (c-statistic [c] 0.84; 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 0.86) fell considerably when re-estimated in the Vietnam cohort (c = 0.70) or in the Malawian cohort (c = 0.68). Our validation study shows that new prognostic models have to be developed for these countries in a sufficiently large series of unselected patients.

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Toeroek ME, Bang ND, Chau TTH, Yen NTB, Thwaites GE, Quy HT, Dung NH, Hien TT, Chinh NT, Hoang HTT et al. 2011. Dexamethasone and Long-Term Outcome of Tuberculous Meningitis in Vietnamese Adults and Adolescents PLOS ONE, 6 (12), | Read more

Krishnan N, Malaga W, Constant P, Caws M, Tran TH, Salmons J, Nguyen TN, Nguyen DB, Daffé M, Young DB et al. 2011. Mycobacterium tuberculosis lineage influences innate immune response and virulence and is associated with distinct cell envelope lipid profiles. PLoS One, 6 (9), pp. e23870. | Show Abstract | Read more

The six major genetic lineages of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are strongly associated with specific geographical regions, but their relevance to bacterial virulence and the clinical consequences of infection are unclear. Previously, we found that in Vietnam, East Asian/Beijing and Indo-Oceanic strains were significantly more likely to cause disseminated tuberculosis with meningitis than those from the Euro-American lineage. To investigate this observation we characterised 7 East Asian/Beijing, 5 Indo-Oceanic and 6 Euro-American Vietnamese strains in bone-marrow-derived macrophages, dendritic cells and mice. East Asian/Beijing and Indo-Oceanic strains induced significantly more TNF-α and IL-1β from macrophages than the Euro-American strains, and East Asian/Beijing strains were detectable earlier in the blood of infected mice and grew faster in the lungs. We hypothesised that these differences were induced by lineage-specific variation in cell envelope lipids. Whole lipid extracts from East Asian/Beijing and Indo-Oceanic strains induced higher concentrations of TNF-α from macrophages than Euro-American lipids. The lipid extracts were fractionated and compared by thin layer chromatography to reveal a distinct pattern of lineage-associated profiles. A phthiotriol dimycocerosate was exclusively produced by East Asian/Beijing strains, but not the phenolic glycolipid previously associated with the hyper-virulent phenotype of some isolates of this lineage. All Indo-Oceanic strains produced a unique unidentified lipid, shown to be a phenolphthiocerol dimycocerosate dependent upon an intact pks15/1 for its production. This was described by Goren as the 'attenuation indictor lipid' more than 40 years ago, due to its association with less virulent strains from southern India. Mutation of pks15/1 in a representative Indo-Oceanic strain prevented phenolphthiocerol dimycocerosate synthesis, but did not alter macrophage cytokine induction. Our findings suggest that the early interactions between M. tuberculosis and host are determined by the lineage of the infecting strain; but we were unable to show these differences are driven by lineage-specific cell-surface expressed lipids.

Thwaites GE. 2011. Bacterial meningitis: frapper fort ou frapper doucement? Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (8), pp. 582-583. | Read more

Harrop T, Aird J, Thwaites G. 2011. How to minimise risk of acquiring tuberculosis when working in a high prevalence setting: a guide for healthcare workers. BMJ, 342 (mar16 2), pp. d1544. | Show Abstract | Read more

The risk of healthcare workers contracting tuberculosis while working in a high incidence area is real; all workers must be aware of the precautions needed to minimise risk.

Davies N, Thwaites G. 2011. Infections of the nervous system. Pract Neurol, 11 (2), pp. 121-131. | Read more

Thwaites GE, Gant V. 2011. Are bloodstream leukocytes Trojan Horses for the metastasis of Staphylococcus aureus? Nat Rev Microbiol, 9 (3), pp. 215-222. | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia remains very difficult to treat, and a large proportion of cases result in potentially lethal metastatic infection. Unpredictable and persistent bacteraemia in the face of highly active, usually bactericidal antibiotics is the strongest predictor of death or disseminated disease. Although S. aureus has conventionally been considered an extracellular pathogen, much evidence demonstrates that it can survive intracellularly. In this Opinion article, we propose that phagocytes, and specifically neutrophils, represent a privileged site for S. aureus in the bloodstream, offering protection from most antibiotics and providing a mechanism by which the bacterium can travel to and infect distant sites. Furthermore, we suggest how this can be experimentally confirmed and how it may prompt a change in the current paradigm of S. aureus bacteraemia and identify better treatment options for improved clinical outcomes.

Thwaites GE, Edgeworth JD, Gkrania-Klotsas E, Kirby A, Tilley R, Török ME, Walker S, Wertheim HF, Wilson P, Llewelyn MJ, UK Clinical Infection Research Group. 2011. Clinical management of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia. Lancet Infect Dis, 11 (3), pp. 208-222. | Show Abstract | Read more

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia is one of the most common serious bacterial infections worldwide. In the UK alone, around 12,500 cases each year are reported, with an associated mortality of about 30%, yet the evidence guiding optimum management is poor. To date, fewer than 1500 patients with S aureus bacteraemia have been recruited to 16 controlled trials of antimicrobial therapy. Consequently, clinical practice is driven by the results of observational studies and anecdote. Here, we propose and review ten unanswered clinical questions commonly posed by those managing S aureus bacteraemia. Our findings define the major areas of uncertainty in the management of S aureus bacteraemia and highlight just two key principles. First, all infective foci must be identified and removed as soon as possible. Second, long-term antimicrobial therapy is required for those with persistent bacteraemia or a deep, irremovable focus. Beyond this, the best drugs, dose, mode of delivery, and duration of therapy are uncertain, a situation compounded by emerging S aureus strains that are resistant to old and new antibiotics. We discuss the consequences on clinical practice, and how these findings define the agenda for future clinical research.

Green JA, Thi Hong Chau T, Farrar JJ, Friedland JS, Thwaites GE. 2011. CNS infection, CSF matrix metalloproteinase concentrations, and clinical/laboratory features. Neurology, 76 (6), pp. 577-579. | Read more

Török ME, Nguyen DB, Tran TH, Nguyen TB, Thwaites GE, Hoang TQ, Nguyen HD, Tran TH, Nguyen TC, Hoang HT et al. 2011. Dexamethasone and long-term outcome of tuberculous meningitis in Vietnamese adults and adolescents. PLoS One, 6 (12), pp. e27821. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dexamethasone has been shown to reduce mortality in patients with tuberculous meningitis but the long-term outcome of the disease is unknown. METHODS: Vietnamese adults and adolescents with tuberculous meningitis recruited to a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive dexamethasone were followed-up at five years, to determine the effect of dexamethasone on long-term survival and neurological disability. RESULTS: 545 patients were randomised to receive either dexamethasone (274 patients) or placebo (271 patients). 50 patients (9.2%) were lost to follow-up at five years. In all patients two-year survival, probabilities tended to be higher in the dexamethasone arm (0.63 versus 0.55; p = 0.07) but five-year survival rates were similar (0.54 versus 0.51, p = 0.51) in both groups. In patients with grade 1 TBM, but not with grade 2 or grade 3 TBM, the benefit of dexamethasone treatment tended to persist over time (five-year survival probabilities 0.69 versus 0.55, p = 0.07) but there was no conclusive evidence of treatment effect heterogeneity by TBM grade (p = 0.36). The dexamethasone group had a similar proportion of severely disabled patients among survivors at five years as the placebo group (17/128, 13.2% vs. 17/116, 14.7%) and there was no significant association between dexamethasone treatment and disability status at five years (p = 0.32). CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive dexamethasone appears to improve the probability of survival in patients with TBM, until at least two years of follow-up. We could not demonstrate a five-year survival benefit of dexamethasone treatment which may be confined to patients with grade 1 TBM. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01317654.

Thwaites GE, Bhavnani SM, Chau TT, Hammel JP, Török ME, Van Wart SA, Mai PP, Reynolds DK, Caws M, Dung NT et al. 2011. Randomized pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic comparison of fluoroquinolones for tuberculous meningitis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (7), pp. 3244-3253. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most lethal form of tuberculosis, and new treatments that improve outcomes are required. We randomly assigned adults with TBM to treatment with standard antituberculosis treatment alone or in combination with ciprofloxacin (750 mg/12 h), levofloxacin (500 mg/12 h), or gatifloxacin (400 mg/24 h) for the first 60 days of therapy. Fluoroquinolone concentrations were measured with plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens taken at predetermined, randomly assigned times throughout treatment. We aimed to describe the pharmacokinetics of each fluoroquinolone during TBM treatment and evaluate the relationship between drug exposure and clinical response over 270 days of therapy (Controlled Trials number ISRCTN07062956). Sixty-one patients with TBM were randomly assigned to treatment with no fluoroquinolone (n = 15), ciprofloxacin (n = 16), levofloxacin (n = 15), or gatifloxacin (n = 15). Cerebrospinal fluid penetration, measured by the ratio of the plasma area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC(0-24)) to the cerebrospinal fluid AUC(0-24), was greater for levofloxacin (median, 0.74; range, 0.58 to 1.03) than for gatifloxacin (median, 0.48; range, 0.47 to 0.50) or ciprofloxacin (median, 0.26; range, 0.11 to 0.77). Univariable and multivariable analyses of fluoroquinolone exposure against a range of different treatment responses revealed worse outcomes among patients with lower and higher plasma and CSF exposures than for patients with intermediate exposures (a U-shaped exposure-response). TBM patients most likely to benefit from fluoroquinolone therapy were identified, along with exposure-response relationships associated with improved outcomes. Fluoroquinolones add antituberculosis activity to the standard treatment regimen, but to improve outcomes of TBM, they must be started early, before the onset of coma.

Krishnan N, Robertson BD, Thwaites G. 2010. The mechanisms and consequences of the extra-pulmonary dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis (Edinb), 90 (6), pp. 361-366. | Show Abstract | Read more

The dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the primary focus of infection is central to the pathogenesis of tuberculosis. Trafficking of bacteria to the regional lymph nodes is essential to the development of a protective T-cell mediated immune response, but bacteria trafficked within the bloodstream can lead to extra-pulmonary dissemination and some of the most devastating clinical consequences of tuberculosis. Yet how M. tuberculosis leaves the lungs is poorly understood. Here, we review the potential pathways and molecular mechanisms behind the dissemination of M. tuberculosis and consider the consequences to both host and bacteria. To disseminate M. tuberculosis must breach the alveolar epithelium and various bacterial factors have been implicated in this process. Heparin binding haemagglutinin adhesin (HBHA) enables M. tuberculosis to bind to sulphated glycoconjugates on epithelial cells; disruption of its synthesis severely impairs the ability of bacteria to disseminate from the lungs to the spleen. Two products of the M. tuberculosis RD1 gene locus, early secretory antigenic target 6 kDa (ESAT-6) and culture filtrate protein 10 kDa (CFP-10), have been linked to cell lysis and may enable bacteria to invade and spread within the alveolar epithelium. Recent studies in embryonic zebrafish indicate ESAT-6 may also stimulate the trafficking of infected macrophages within granulomas, thereby promoting the early dissemination of bacteria. These findings challenge conventional notions of the protective role of granulomas in mycobacterial infection and indicate M. tuberculosis has evolved specific mechanisms which utilise granulomas as foci of macrophage recruitment, infection, and subsequent bacterial dissemination. Further understanding of the pathways, mechanisms and consequences of M. tuberculosis dissemination could have a major impact in designing novel vaccines and therapeutic strategies.

Marais S, Thwaites G, Schoeman JF, Török ME, Misra UK, Prasad K, Donald PR, Wilkinson RJ, Marais BJ. 2010. Tuberculous meningitis: a uniform case definition for use in clinical research. Lancet Infect Dis, 10 (11), pp. 803-812. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis causes substantial mortality and morbidity in children and adults. More research is urgently needed to better understand the pathogenesis of disease and to improve its clinical management and outcome. A major stumbling block is the absence of standardised diagnostic criteria. The different case definitions used in various studies makes comparison of research findings difficult, prevents the best use of existing data, and limits the management of disease. To address this problem, a 3-day tuberculous meningitis workshop took place in Cape Town, South Africa, and was attended by 41 international participants experienced in the research or management of tuberculous meningitis. During the meeting, diagnostic criteria were assessed and discussed, after which a writing committee was appointed to finalise a consensus case definition for tuberculous meningitis for use in future clinical research. We present the consensus case definition together with the rationale behind the recommendations. This case definition is applicable irrespective of the patient's age, HIV infection status, or the resources available in the research setting. Consistent use of the proposed case definition will aid comparison of studies, improve scientific communication, and ultimately improve care.

van de Beek D, Farrar JJ, de Gans J, Mai NT, Molyneux EM, Peltola H, Peto TE, Roine I, Scarborough M, Schultsz C et al. 2010. Adjunctive dexamethasone in bacterial meningitis: a meta-analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Neurol, 9 (3), pp. 254-263. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dexamethasone improves outcome for some patients with bacterial meningitis, but not others. We aimed to identify which patients are most likely to benefit from dexamethasone treatment. METHODS: We did a meta-analysis of individual patient data from the randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of dexamethasone for bacterial meningitis in patients of all ages for which raw data were available. The pre-determined outcome measures were death at the time of first follow-up, death or severe neurological sequelae at 1 month follow-up, death or any neurological sequelae at first follow-up, and death or severe bilateral hearing loss at first follow-up. Combined odds ratios (ORs) and tests for heterogeneity were calculated using conventional Mantel-Haenszel statistics. We also did exploratory analysis of hearing loss among survivors and other exploratory subgroup analyses by use of logistic regression. FINDINGS: Data from 2029 patients from five trials were included in the analysis (833 [41.0%] aged <15 years). HIV infection was confirmed or likely in 580 (28.6%) patients and bacterial meningitis was confirmed in 1639 (80.8%). Dexamethasone was not associated with a significant reduction in death (270 of 1019 [26.5%] on dexamethasone vs 275 of 1010 [27.2%] on placebo; OR 0.97, 95% CI 0.79-1.19), death or severe neurological sequelae or bilateral severe deafness (42.3%vs 44.3%; 0.92, 0.76-1.11), death or any neurological sequelae or any hearing loss (54.2%vs 57.4%; 0.89, 0.74-1.07), or death or severe bilateral hearing loss (36.4%vs 38.9%; 0.89, 0.73-1.69). However, dexamethasone seemed to reduce hearing loss among survivors (24.1%vs 29.5%; 0.77, 0.60-0.99, p=0.04). Dexamethasone had no effect in any of the prespecified subgroups, including specific causative organisms, pre-dexamethasone antibiotic treatment, HIV status, or age. Pooling of the mortality data with those of all other published trials did not significantly change the results. INTERPRETATION: Adjunctive dexamethasone in the treatment of acute bacterial meningitis does not seem to significantly reduce death or neurological disability. There were no significant treatment effects in any of the prespecified subgroups. The benefit of adjunctive dexamethasone for all or any subgroup of patients with bacterial meningitis thus remains unproven. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust UK.

Checkley AM, Chiodini PL, Dockrell DH, Bates I, Thwaites GE, Booth HL, Brown M, Wright SG, Grant AD, Mabey DC et al. 2010. Eosinophilia in returning travellers and migrants from the tropics: UK recommendations for investigation and initial management. J Infect, 60 (1), pp. 1-20. | Show Abstract | Read more

Eosinophilia is a common finding in returning travellers and migrants, and in this group it often indicates an underlying helminth infection. Infections are frequently either asymptomatic or associated with non-specific symptoms, but some can cause severe disease. Here the British Infection Society guidelines group reviews common and serious infectious causes of eosinophilia, and outlines a scheme for investigating returning travellers and migrants. All returning travellers and migrants with eosinophilia should be investigated with concentrated stool microscopy and strongyloides serology, in addition to tests specific to the region they have visited. Terminal urine microscopy and serology for schistosomiasis should also be performed in those returning from Africa. Eosinophilia is also a feature of significant non-infective conditions, which should be considered.

Thwaites GE, United Kingdom Clinical Infection Research Group (UKCIRG). 2010. The management of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia in the United Kingdom and Vietnam: a multi-centre evaluation. PLoS One, 5 (12), pp. e14170. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia is a common and serious infection worldwide and although treatment guidelines exist, there is little consensus on optimal management. In this study we assessed the variation in management and adherence to treatment guidelines of S. aureus bacteremia. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We prospectively recorded baseline clinical characteristics, management, and in-hospital outcome of all adults with S. aureus bacteremia treated consecutively over one year in eight centres in the United Kingdom, three in Vietnam and one in Nepal. 630 adults were treated for S. aureus bacteremia: 549 in the UK (21% methicillin-resistant), 80 in Vietnam (19% methicillin-resistant) and 1 in Nepal. In the UK, 41% had a removable infection focus (50% intravenous catheter-related), compared to 12% in Vietnam. Significantly (p<0.001) higher proportions of UK than Vietnamese patients had an echocardiogram (50% versus 28%), received more than 14 days antibiotic therapy (84% versus 44%), and received >50% of treatment with oral antibiotics alone (25% versus 4%). UK centres varied significantly (p<0.01) in the proportions given oral treatment alone for >50% of treatment (range 12-40%), in those treated for longer than 28 days (range 13-54%), and in those given combination therapy (range 14-94%). 24% died during admission: older age, time in hospital before bacteremia, and an unidentified infection focus were independent predictors of in-hospital death (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The management of S. aureus bacteremia varies widely between the UK and Vietnam and between centres in the UK with little adherence to published guidelines. Controlled trials defining optimal therapy are urgently required.

Thwaites GE, Schoeman JF. 2009. Update on tuberculosis of the central nervous system: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment. Clin Chest Med, 30 (4), pp. 745-ix. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis is the most dangerous form of tuberculosis, yet our understanding of disease pathogenesis is based upon studies performed in the 1920s, our diagnostic methods are dependent upon those developed in the 1880 s, and our treatment has advanced little since the introduction of isoniazid in the 1950s. The authors focus this review on three important questions. First, how does Mycobacterium tuberculosis reach the brain? Second, what is the best way of identifying patients who require early empiric antituberculosis therapy? Third, what is the best way of managing tuberculous hydrocephalus?

Thwaites G, Fisher M, Hemingway C, Scott G, Solomon T, Innes J, British Infection Society. 2009. British Infection Society guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis of the central nervous system in adults and children. J Infect, 59 (3), pp. 167-187. | Show Abstract | Read more

SUMMARY AND KEY RECOMMENDATIONS: The aim of these guidelines is to describe a practical but evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system tuberculosis in children and adults. We have presented guidance on tuberculous meningitis (TBM), intra-cerebral tuberculoma without meningitis, and tuberculosis affecting the spinal cord. Our key recommendations are as follows: 1. TBM is a medical emergency. Treatment delay is strongly associated with death and empirical anti-tuberculosis therapy should be started promptly in all patients in whom the diagnosis of TBM is suspected. Do not wait for microbiological or molecular diagnostic confirmation. 2. The diagnosis of TBM is best made with lumbar puncture and examination of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Suspect TBM if there is a CSF leucocytosis (predominantly lymphocytes), the CSF protein is raised, and the CSF:plasma glucose is <50%. The diagnostic yield of CSF microscopy and culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis increases with the volume of CSF submitted; repeat the lumbar puncture if the diagnosis remains uncertain. 3. Imaging is essential for the diagnosis of cerebral tuberculoma and tuberculosis involving the spinal cord, although the radiological appearances do not confirm the diagnosis. A tissue diagnosis (by histopathology and mycobacterial culture) should be attempted whenever possible, either by biopsy of the lesion itself, or through diagnostic sampling from extra-neural sites of disease e.g. lung, gastric fluid, lymph nodes, liver, bone marrow. 4. Treatment for all forms of CNS tuberculosis should consist of 4 drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, ethambutol) for 2 months followed by 2 drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin) for at least 10 months. Adjunctive corticosteroids (either dexamethasone or prednisolone) should be given to all patients with TBM, regardless of disease severity. 5. Children with CNS tuberculosis should ideally be managed by a paediatrician with familiarity and expertise in paediatric tuberculosis or otherwise with input from a paediatric infectious diseases unit. The Children's HIV Association of UK and Ireland (CHIVA) provide further guidance on the management of HIV-infected children (www.chiva.org.uk). 6. All patients with suspected or proven tuberculosis should be offered testing for HIV infection. The principles of CNS tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment are the same for HIV infected and uninfected individuals, although HIV infection broadens the differential diagnosis and anti-retroviral treatment complicates management. Tuberculosis in HIV infected patients should be managed either within specialist units by physicians with expertise in both HIV and tuberculosis, or in a combined approach between HIV and tuberculosis experts. The co-administration of anti-retroviral and anti-tuberculosis drugs should follow guidance issued by the British HIV association (www.bhiva.org).

Green JA, Tran CT, Farrar JJ, Nguyen MT, Nguyen PH, Dinh SX, Ho ND, Ly CV, Tran HT, Friedland JS, Thwaites GE. 2009. Dexamethasone, cerebrospinal fluid matrix metalloproteinase concentrations and clinical outcomes in tuberculous meningitis. PLoS One, 4 (9), pp. e7277. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Adjunctive dexamethasone reduces mortality from tuberculous meningitis, but how it produces this effect is not known. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are important in the immunopathology of many inflammatory CNS diseases thus we hypothesized that that their secretion is important in TBM and might be influenced by dexamethasone. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The kinetics of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) MMP and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) concentrations were studied in a subset of HIV uninfected adults (n = 37) with TBM recruited to a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of adjuvant dexamethasone. Analysis followed a pre-defined plan. Dexamethasone significantly reduced CSF MMP-9 concentrations in early follow up samples (median 5 days (range 3-8) of treatment), but had no significant influence on other MMPs/TIMPs. Additionally CSF MMP-9 concentration was strongly correlated to concomitant CSF neutrophil count. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Dexamethasone decreased CSF MMP-9 concentrations early in treatment and this may represent one mechanism by which corticosteroids improve outcome in TBM. The strong correlation between CSF MMP-9 and neutrophil count suggests that polymorphonuclear leukocytes may play a central role in the early pathogenesis of TBM.

Thuong NT, Dunstan SJ, Chau TT, Thorsson V, Simmons CP, Quyen NT, Thwaites GE, Thi Ngoc Lan N, Hibberd M, Teo YY et al. 2008. Identification of tuberculosis susceptibility genes with human macrophage gene expression profiles. PLoS Pathog, 4 (12), pp. e1000229. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of >38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by >2- and >5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB.

Grant A, Gothard P, Thwaites G. 2008. Managing drug resistant tuberculosis BMJ, 337 (7669), pp. 564-569. | Read more

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Cordon SM, Thwaites GE, Loan HT, Thuy TT, White NJ, Soni N, Macdonald IA, Farrar JJ. 2008. Effect of magnesium sulphate on urinary catecholamine excretion in severe tetanus. Anaesthesia, 63 (7), pp. 719-725. | Show Abstract | Read more

Severe tetanus is characterised by muscle spasms and autonomic dysfunction. We recently reported the results of a randomised placebo controlled trial of magnesium sulphate infusions for the treatment of severe tetanus which showed magnesium was associated with improved muscle spasm and cardiovascular control. We hypothesised that magnesium controlled autonomic dysfunction by reducing catecholamine release and thus urinary excretion. Urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations were measured during the first 24 h of therapy in 180 adults with severe tetanus randomised to treatment with magnesium (n = 92) or placebo (n = 88). Magnesium therapy was associated with lower urinary adrenaline excretion and higher urinary noradrenaline excretion. High urinary adrenaline concentrations were associated with documented autonomic dysfunction. Patients given magnesium had significantly less autonomic dysfunction, required less cardiovascular stabilising drugs, and had lower urinary concentrations of adrenaline. These findings suggest adrenaline is important in the pathophysiology of severe tetanus and magnesium controls autonomic dysfunction by reducing adrenaline release.

Scarborough M, Thwaites GE. 2008. The diagnosis and management of acute bacterial meningitis in resource-poor settings. Lancet Neurol, 7 (7), pp. 637-648. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acute bacterial meningitis is more common in resource-poor than resource-rich settings. Survival is dependent on rapid diagnosis and early treatment, both of which are difficult to achieve when laboratory support and antibiotics are scarce. Diagnostic algorithms that use basic clinic and laboratory features to distinguish bacterial meningitis from other diseases can be useful. Analysis of the CSF is essential, and simple techniques can enhance the yield of diagnostic microbiology. Penicillin-resistant and chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria are a considerable threat in resource-poor settings that go undetected if CSF and blood can not be cultured. Generic formulations of ceftriaxone are becoming more affordable and available, and are effective against meningitis caused by penicillin-resistant or chloramphenicol-resistant bacteria. However, infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae with reduced susceptibility to ceftriaxone is reported increasingly, and alternatives are either too expensive (eg, vancomycin) or can not be widely recommended (eg, rifampicin, which is the key drug to treat tuberculosis) in resource-poor settings. Additionally, improved access to affordable antibiotics will not overcome the problems of poor access to hospitals and the fatal consequences of delayed treatment. The future rests with the provision of effective conjugate vaccines against S pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitides to children in the poorest regions of the world.

Thwaites G, Caws M, Chau TT, D'Sa A, Lan NT, Huyen MN, Gagneux S, Anh PT, Tho DQ, Torok E et al. 2008. Relationship between Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotype and the clinical phenotype of pulmonary and meningeal tuberculosis. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (4), pp. 1363-1368. | Show Abstract | Read more

We used large sequence polymorphisms to determine the genotypes of 397 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected Vietnamese adults with pulmonary (n = 235) or meningeal (n = 162) tuberculosis. We compared the pretreatment radiographic appearances of pulmonary tuberculosis and the presentation, response to treatment, and outcome of tuberculous meningitis between the genotypes. Multivariate analysis identified variables independently associated with genotype and outcome. A higher proportion of adults with pulmonary tuberculosis caused by the Euro-American genotype had consolidation on chest X-ray than was the case with disease caused by other genotypes (P = 0.006). Multivariate analysis revealed that meningitis caused by the East Asian/Beijing genotype was independently associated with a shorter duration of illness before presentation and fewer cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytes. Older age, fewer CSF leukocytes, and the presence of hemiplegia (but not strain lineage) were independently associated with death or severe disability, although the East Asian/Beijing genotype was strongly associated with drug-resistant tuberculosis. The genotype of M. tuberculosis influenced the presenting features of pulmonary and meningeal tuberculosis. The association between the East Asian/Beijing lineage and disease progression and CSF leukocyte count suggests the lineage may alter the presentation of meningitis by influencing the intracerebral inflammatory response. In addition, increased drug resistance among bacteria of the East Asian/Beijing lineage might influence the response to treatment. This study suggests the genetic diversity of M. tuberculosis has important clinical consequences.

Mai NTH, Thwaites G, Farrar JJ. 2008. Dr. Mai and Colleagues reply New England Journal of Medicine, 358 (13), pp. 1400-1401.

Caws M, Thwaites G, Dunstan S, Hawn TR, Lan NT, Thuong NT, Stepniewska K, Huyen MN, Bang ND, Loc TH et al. 2008. The influence of host and bacterial genotype on the development of disseminated disease with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS Pathog, 4 (3), pp. e1000034. | Show Abstract | Read more

The factors that govern the development of tuberculosis disease are incompletely understood. We hypothesized that some strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) are more capable of causing disseminated disease than others and may be associated with polymorphisms in host genes responsible for the innate immune response to infection. We compared the host and bacterial genotype in 187 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and 237 Vietnamese adults with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis. The host genotype of tuberculosis cases was also compared with the genotype of 392 cord blood controls from the same population. Isolates of M. tuberculosis were genotyped by large sequence polymorphisms. The hosts were defined by polymorphisms in genes encoding Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) and Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2). We found a significant protective association between the Euro-American lineage of M. tuberculosis and pulmonary rather than meningeal tuberculosis (Odds ratio (OR) for causing TBM 0.395, 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) 0.193-0.806, P = 0.009), suggesting these strains are less capable of extra-pulmonary dissemination than others in the study population. We also found that individuals with the C allele of TLR-2 T597C allele were more likely to have tuberculosis caused by the East-Asian/Beijing genotype (OR = 1.57 [95% C.I. 1.15-2.15]) than other individuals. The study provides evidence that M. tuberculosis genotype influences clinical disease phenotype and demonstrates, for the first time, a significant interaction between host and bacterial genotypes and the development of tuberculosis.

Maskey AP, Basnyat B, Thwaites GE, Campbell JI, Farrar JJ, Zimmerman MD. 2008. Emerging trends in enteric fever in Nepal: 9124 cases confirmed by blood culture 1993-2003. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 102 (1), pp. 91-95. | Show Abstract | Read more

This was a retrospective study in an urban hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal to determine the changing burden of salmonella septicaemia, the proportion of Salmonella paratyphi A, and the emergence of drug-resistant organisms. The participants were outpatients and inpatients over the period 1993-2003, and the main outcome measures were blood culture isolates and antibiotic sensitivity testing. The results showed that of 82467 blood cultures performed, a bacterium was isolated from 12252. Salmonella accounted for 9124 (74.5%) of the positive blood cultures: 6447 (70.7%) were Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi (S. typhi) and 2677 (29.3%) were Paratyphi A (S. paratyphi A). In comparing the period 1997-2000 to the period 2001-2003, we found that, as a proportion of total blood cultures taken, salmonella septicaemia more than doubled, from 6.2 to 13.6% (P<0.001). From the first half of the study (1993-1998) to the second half (1999-2003), S. paratyphi A as a proportion of all salmonella isolates rose from 23 to 34% (P<0.001), which paralleled its increased resistance to ciprofloxacin. Despite the introduction of new antibiotics, enteric fever continues to grow as a cause for hospital presentation in Nepal. Salmonella paratyphi A contributes an increasingly large proportion of cases, and ciprofloxacin resistance is also emerging more rapidly in S. paratyphi A.

Cited:

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Scopus

Thuong NTT, Dunstan SJ, Chau TTH, Thorsson V, Simmons CP, Quyen NTH, Thwaites GE, Lan NTN, Hibberd M, Teo YY et al. 2008. Identification of tuberculosis susceptibility genes with human macrophage gene expression profiles PLoS Pathogens, 4 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of > 38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by > 2- and > 5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB. © 2008 Thuong et al.

Grant A, Gothard P, Thwaites G. 2008. Managing drug resistant tuberculosis. BMJ, 337 (aug28 1), pp. a1110. | Read more

Thuong NT, Hawn TR, Thwaites GE, Chau TT, Lan NT, Quy HT, Hieu NT, Aderem A, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Dunstan SJ. 2007. A polymorphism in human TLR2 is associated with increased susceptibility to tuberculous meningitis. Genes Immun, 8 (5), pp. 422-428. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) results from the haematogenous dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the lung to the brain. Dissemination is believed to occur early during infection, before the development of adaptive immunity. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) mediates recognition of M. tuberculosis and initiates the innate immune response to infection. We hypothesized that polymorphisms in the TLR2 gene influence bacterial dissemination and the development of TBM. A case-control study was designed to test the hypothesis. Cases of bacteriologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) (n=183) and TBM (n=175), and cord blood controls (n=389) were enrolled in Vietnam. TLR2 genotype 597CC was associated with susceptibility to TB (odds ratio (OR)=2.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.23-3.99). The association was found with meningeal rather than pulmonary TB (TBM vs control, OR=3.26, 95% CI: 1.72-6.18), and was strongest when miliary TB was found on chest radiography (controls vs TBM with miliary TB, OR=5.28, 95% CI: 2.20-12.65). Furthermore, the association increased with the severity of neurologic symptoms (grade I TBM, OR=1.93, 95% CI: 0.54-6.92; grade II, OR=3.32, 95% CI: 0.84-13.2; and grade III, OR=5.70, 95% CI: 1.81-18.0). These results demonstrate a strong association of TLR2 SNP T597C with the development of TBM and miliary TB and indicate that TLR2 influences the dissemination of M. tuberculosis.

Thwaites GE, Macmullen-Price J, Tran TH, Pham PM, Nguyen TD, Simmons CP, White NJ, Tran TH, Summers D, Farrar JJ. 2007. Serial MRI to determine the effect of dexamethasone on the cerebral pathology of tuberculous meningitis: an observational study. Lancet Neurol, 6 (3), pp. 230-236. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Adjunctive dexamethasone increases survival from tuberculous meningitis, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. We aimed to determine the effect of dexamethasone on cerebral MRI changes and their association with intracerebral inflammatory responses and clinical outcome in adults treated for tuberculous meningitis. METHODS: Cerebral MRI was undertaken, when possible, at diagnosis and after 60 days and 270 days of treatment in adults with tuberculous meningitis admitted to two hospitals in Vietnam. Patients were randomly assigned either dexamethasone (n=24) or placebo (n=19) and received 9 months of treatment with standard first-line antituberculosis drugs. We assessed associations between MRI findings, treatment allocation, and resolution of fever, coma, cerebrospinal fluid inflammation, and neurological outcome. FINDINGS: 83 scans were done for 43 patients: 19 given placebo, 24 given dexamethasone. Basal meningeal enhancement (82%) and hydrocephalus (77%) were the most common presenting findings. Fewer patients had hydrocephalus after 60 days of treatment with dexamethasone than after placebo treatment (p=0.217). Tuberculomas developed in 74% of patients during treatment and in equal proportions in the treatment groups; they were associated with long-term fever, but not relapse or poor clinical outcome. The basal ganglia were the most common site of infarction; the proportion with infarction after 60 days was halved in the dexamethasone group (27%vs 58%, p=0.130). INTERPRETATION: Dexamethasone may affect outcome from tuberculous meningitis by reducing hydrocephalus and preventing infarction. The effect may have been under-estimated because the most severe patients could not be scanned.

Caws M, Thwaites GE, Duy PM, Tho DQ, Lan NT, Hoa DV, Chau TT, Huyen MN, Anh PT, Chau NV et al. 2007. Molecular analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis causing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis meningitis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 11 (2), pp. 202-208. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Tertiary referral hospitals in southern Vietnam. OBJECTIVE: Molecular characterisation of multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculous meningitis (TBM). DESIGN: Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 198 Vietnamese adults were compared with 237 isolates from patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) matched for age, sex and residential district. Isolates resistant to isoniazid or rifampicin (RMP) were sequenced in the rpoB and katG genes, inhA promoter and oxyR-ahpC intergenic regions. RESULTS: While drug resistance rates were lower in the CSF (2.5% MDR) than pulmonary isolates (5.9% MDR), the difference was not significant. The most commonly mutated codons were 531, 526 and 516 in rpoB and 315 in katG. Four novel triple mutants in rpoB were identified. CONCLUSION: RMP resistance is a good surrogate marker for MDR-TBM in this setting. However, probes directed against these three codons would have a maximum sensitivity of only 65%. A rapid phenotypic detection test may be more applicable for the diagnosis of MDR-TBM.

Hawn TR, Misch EA, Dunstan SJ, Thwaites GE, Lan NT, Quy HT, Chau TT, Rodrigues S, Nachman A, Janer M et al. 2007. A common human TLR1 polymorphism regulates the innate immune response to lipopeptides. Eur J Immunol, 37 (8), pp. 2280-2289. | Show Abstract | Read more

Toll-like receptors (TLR) are critical mediators of the immune response to pathogens and human polymorphisms in this gene family regulate inflammatory pathways and are associated with susceptibility to infection. Lipopeptides are present in a wide variety of microbes and stimulate immune responses through TLR1/2 or TLR2/6 heterodimers. It is not currently known whether polymorphisms in TLR1 regulate the innate immune response. We stimulated human whole blood with triacylated lipopeptide, a ligand for TLR1/2 heterodimers, and found substantial inter-individual variation in the immune response. We sequenced the coding region of TLR1 and found a non-synonymous polymorphism, I602S (base pair T1805G), that regulated signalling. In comparison to TLR1_602S, the 602I variant mediated substantially greater basal and lipopeptide-induced NF-kappaB signalling in transfected HEK293 cells. These signalling differences among TLR1 variants were also found with stimulation by extracts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, individuals with the 602II genotype produced substantially more IL-6 than those with the 602SS variant in a lipopeptide-stimulated whole-blood cytokine assay. Together, these observations demonstrate that variation in the inflammatory response to bacterial lipopeptides is regulated by a common TLR1 transmembrane domain polymorphism that could potentially impact the innate immune response and clinical susceptibility to a wide spectrum of pathogens.

Nguyen TH, Tran TH, Thwaites G, Ly VC, Dinh XS, Ho Dang TN, Dang QT, Nguyen DP, Nguyen HP, To SD et al. 2007. Dexamethasone in Vietnamese adolescents and adults with bacterial meningitis. N Engl J Med, 357 (24), pp. 2431-2440. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: It is uncertain whether all adults with bacterial meningitis benefit from treatment with adjunctive dexamethasone. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone in 435 patients over the age of 14 years who had suspected bacterial meningitis. The goal was to determine whether dexamethasone reduced the risk of death at 1 month and the risk of death or disability at 6 months. RESULTS: A total of 217 patients were assigned to the dexamethasone group, and 218 to the placebo group. Bacterial meningitis was confirmed in 300 patients (69.0%), probable meningitis was diagnosed in 123 patients (28.3%), and an alternative diagnosis was made in 12 patients (2.8%). An intention-to-treat analysis of all the patients showed that dexamethasone was not associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death at 1 month (relative risk, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45 to 1.39) or the risk of death or disability at 6 months (odds ratio, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.17). In patients with confirmed bacterial meningitis, however, there was a significant reduction in the risk of death at 1 month (relative risk, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.94) and in the risk of death or disability at 6 months (odds ratio, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.98). These effects were not found in patients with probable bacterial meningitis. Results of multivariate analysis indicated that dexamethasone treatment for patients with probable bacterial meningitis was significantly associated with an increased risk of death at 1 month, an observation that may be explained by cases of tuberculous meningitis in the treatment group. CONCLUSIONS: Dexamethasone does not improve the outcome in all adolescents and adults with suspected bacterial meningitis; a beneficial effect appears to be confined to patients with microbiologically proven disease, including those who have received prior treatment with antibiotics. (Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN42986828 [controlled-trials.com] .).

Thwaites GE, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2007. Reply to "Dr D Dhasmana and Dr R Davidson: Multi-drug resistant tuberculous meningitis" JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 54 (2), pp. 206-206. | Read more

Török ME, Nghia HD, Chau TT, Mai NT, Thwaites GE, Stepniewska K, Farrar JJ. 2007. Validation of a diagnostic algorithm for adult tuberculous meningitis. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 77 (3), pp. 555-559. | Show Abstract

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) remains difficult to diagnose. We prospectively evaluated a diagnostic algorithm for TBM in 205 HIV-negative patients with meningitis and a low CSF glucose. Patients were classified as having TBM or bacterial meningitis (BM) by two diagnostic methods: logistic regression method (LRM) and classification and regression tree (CART). We performed analyses of TBM versus BM and TBM versus non-TBM in all patients and in patients with microbiologically confirmed diagnoses. Diagnostic sensitivities for TBM were 99% (LRM) and 87% (CART). For BM, diagnostic sensitivities were 81.5% (LRM) and 86.5% (CART) in the primary analysis and 86.5% (LRM) and 74% (CART) in the secondary analysis. In microbiologically confirmed cases, similar rates were achieved. These figures are superior to microbiological confirmation rates in routine laboratories and support the use of this algorithm in high-prevalence TB settings with limited diagnostic facilities. Validation in an HIV-endemic setting is required.

Caws M, Thwaites G, Stepniewska K, Nguyen TN, Nguyen TH, Nguyen TP, Mai NT, Phan MD, Tran HL, Tran TH et al. 2006. Beijing genotype of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is significantly associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection and multidrug resistance in cases of tuberculous meningitis. J Clin Microbiol, 44 (11), pp. 3934-3939. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant tuberculous meningitis is fatal without rapid diagnosis and use of second-line therapy. It is more common in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients. Beijing genotype strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are associated with drug resistance, particularly multidrug resistance, and their prevalence is increasing worldwide. The prevalence of Beijing genotype strains among Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from the cerebrospinal fluid of HIV-positive (n = 35) and HIV-negative (n = 187) patients in Ho Chi Minh City was determined. The Beijing genotype was significantly associated with HIV status (odds ratio [OR] = 2.95 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.38 to 6.44]; P = 0.016), resistance to any drug (OR = 3.34 [95% CI, 1.87 to 5.95]; P < 0.001) and multidrug resistance (Fisher's exact test; P = 0.001). The association of the Beijing genotype with drug resistance was independent of HIV status. This is the first report of Beijing genotype association with HIV status, which may be an association unique to tuberculous meningitis.

Alifrangis C, Thompson P, Thwaites G, Churchill D. 2006. Primary pneumococcal peritonitis as a presenting feature of HIV infection. Int J STD AIDS, 17 (11), pp. 779-780. | Show Abstract | Read more

We report a case of primary pneumococcal peritonitis in a 28-year old previously healthy woman. There are no previously reported associations between this rare form of spontaneous peritonitis and HIV infection, and it is usually associated with underlying cirrhosis, ascites or other immune compromise. In this case this was the presenting illness of HIV infection. When atypical infections such as this arise in previously healthy adults the clinician must have a high index of suspicion of HIV or other underlying immunodeficiency.

Thwaites G. 2006. Tuberculosis: where are we going? Clin Med (Lond), 6 (6), pp. 523-525. | Read more

Thwaites CL, Yen LM, Loan HT, Thuy TT, Thwaites GE, Stepniewska K, Soni N, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2006. Magnesium sulphate for treatment of severe tetanus: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet, 368 (9545), pp. 1436-1443. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The most common cause of death in individuals with severe tetanus in the absence of mechanical ventilation is spasm-related respiratory failure, whereas in ventilated patients it is tetanus-associated autonomic dysfunction. Our aim was to determine whether continuous magnesium sulphate infusion reduces the need for mechanical ventilation and improves control of muscle spasms and autonomic instability. METHODS: We did a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial in 256 Vietnamese patients over age 15 years with severe tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Medicine, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Participants were randomly assigned magnesium sulphate (n=97) or placebo solution (n=98) intravenously for 7 days. The primary outcomes were requirement of assisted ventilation and of drugs to control muscle spasms and cardiovascular instability within the 7-day study period. Analyses were done by intention to treat. This trial is registered as an International Standard Randomised Clinical Trial, number ISRCTN74651862. FINDINGS: No patients were lost to follow-up. There was no difference in requirement for mechanical ventilation between individuals treated with magnesium and those receiving placebo (odds ratio 0.71, 95% CI 0.36-1.40; p=0.324); survival was also much the same in the two groups. However, compared with the placebo group, patients receiving magnesium required significantly less midazolam (7.1 mg/kg per day [0.1-47.9] vs 1.4 mg/kg per day [0.0-17.3]; p=0.026) and pipecuronium (2.3 mg/kg per day [0.0-33.0] vs 0.0 mg/kg per day [0.0-14.8]; p=0.005) to control muscle spasms and associated tachycardia. Individuals receiving magnesium were 4.7 (1.4-15.9) times less likely to require verapamil to treat cardiovascular instability than those in the placebo group. The incidence of adverse events was not different between the groups. INTERPRETATION: Magnesium infusion does not reduce the need for mechanical ventilation in adults with severe tetanus but does reduce the requirement for other drugs to control muscle spasms and cardiovascular instability.

Hawn TR, Dunstan SJ, Thwaites GE, Simmons CP, Thuong NT, Lan NTN, Quy HT, Chau TTH, Hieu NT, Rodrigues S et al. 2006. A polymorphism in Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein is associated with susceptibility to meningeal tuberculosis. J Infect Dis, 194 (8), pp. 1127-1134. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Although meningitis is the most severe form of infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the immunopathogenesis of this disease is poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that polymorphisms in Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP), an adaptor protein that mediates signals from Toll-like receptors activated by mycobacteria, are associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB). METHODS: We used a case-population study design in Vietnam with cord-blood control samples (n = 392) and case patients (n = 358) who had either pulmonary (n = 183) or meningeal (n = 175) TB. RESULTS: The TIRAP single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) C558T was associated with increased susceptibility to TB, with a 558T allele frequency of 0.035 in control samples versus 0.074 in case patients (odds ratio [OR], 2.25; P < .001). Subgroup analysis revealed that SNP 558T was more strongly associated with susceptibility to meningeal TB (OR, 3.02; P < .001) than to pulmonary TB (OR, 1.55; P = .22). In comparison to the 558CC genotype, the 558TT genotype was associated with decreased whole-blood interleukin-6 production, which suggests that TIRAP influences disease susceptibility by modulating the inflammatory response. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide the first evidence of an association of a TIRAP SNP with the risk of any disease and also suggest that the Toll-like receptor pathway influences susceptibility to meningeal and pulmonary TB by different immune mechanisms.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NT, Torok E, Hoang DM, Chau TT, Mai PP, Lan NT, Dung NH, Quy HT et al. 2006. Pretreatment intracerebral and peripheral blood immune responses in Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis: diagnostic value and relationship to disease severity and outcome. J Immunol, 176 (3), pp. 2007-2014. | Show Abstract

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most devastating form of tuberculosis. Both intracerebral and peripheral blood immune responses may be relevant to pathogenesis, diagnosis, and outcome. In this study, the relationship between pretreatment host response, disease phenotype, and outcome in Vietnamese adults with TBM was examined. Before treatment, peripheral blood IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ags ESAT-6, CFP-10, and purified protein derivative (PPD) were a poor diagnostic predictor of TBM. Cerebrospinal fluid IL-6 concentrations at presentation were independently associated with severe disease presentation, suggesting an immunological correlate of neurological damage before treatment. Surprisingly however, elevated cerebrospinal fluid inflammatory cytokines were not associated with death or disability in HIV-negative TBM patients at presentation. HIV coinfection attenuated multiple cerebrospinal fluid inflammatory indices. Low cerebrospinal fluid IFN-gamma concentrations were independently associated with death in HIV-positive TBM patients, implying that IFN-gamma contributes to immunity and survival. Collectively, these results reveal the effect of HIV coinfection on the pathogenesis of TBM and suggest that intracerebral immune responses, at least in HIV-negative cases, may not be as intimately associated with disease outcome as previously thought.

Maskey AP, Day JN, Phung QT, Thwaites GE, Campbell JI, Zimmerman M, Farrar JJ, Basnyat B. 2006. Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A and S. enterica serovar Typhi cause indistinguishable clinical syndromes in Kathmandu, Nepal. Clin Infect Dis, 42 (9), pp. 1247-1253. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Enteric fever is a major global problem. Emergence of antibacterial resistance threatens to render current treatments ineffective. There is little research or public health effort directed toward Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A, because it is assumed to cause less severe enteric fever than does S. enterica serovar Typhi. There are few data on which to base this assumption, little is known of the serovar's antibacterial susceptibilities, and there is no readily available tolerable vaccination. METHODS: A prospective study was conducted of 609 consecutive cases of enteric fever (confirmed by blood culture) to compare the clinical phenotypes and antibacterial susceptibilities in S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections. Variables independently associated with either infection were identified to develop a diagnostic rule to distinguish the infections. All isolates were tested for susceptibility to antibacterials. RESULTS: Six hundred nine patients (409 with S. Typhi infection and 200 with S. Paratyphi A infection) presented during the study period. The infections were clinically indistinguishable and had equal severity. Nalidixic acid resistance, which predicts a poor response to fluoroquinolone treatment, was extremely common (75.25% of S. Paratyphi A isolates and 50.5% of S. Typhi isolates; P < .001). S. Paratyphi A was more likely to be resistant to ofloxacin (3.6% vs. 0.5%; P = .007) or to have intermediate susceptibility to ofloxacin (28.7% vs. 1.8%; P < .001) or ciprofloxacin (39.4% vs. 8.2%; P < .001). MICs for S. Paratyphi A were higher than for S. Typhi (MIC of ciprofloxacin, 0.75 vs. 0.38 microg/mL [P < .001]; MIC of ofloxacin, 2.0 vs. 0.75 microg/mL [P < .001]). CONCLUSIONS: The importance of S. Paratyphi A has been underestimated. Infection is common, the agent causes disease as severe as that caused by S. Typhi and is highly likely to be drug resistant. Drug resistance and lack of effective vaccination suggest that S. Paratyphi A infection may become a major world health problem.

Thwaites GE, Duc Bang N, Huy Dung N, Thi Quy H, Thi Tuong Oanh D, Thi Cam Thoa N, Quang Hien N, Tri Thuc N, Ngoc Hai N, Thi Ngoc Lan N et al. 2005. The influence of HIV infection on clinical presentation, response to treatment, and outcome in adults with Tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 192 (12), pp. 2134-2141. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis occurs more commonly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals than in HIV-uninfected individuals, but whether HIV infection alters the presentation and outcome of tuberculous meningitis is unknown. METHODS: We performed a prospective comparison of the presenting clinical features and response to treatment in 528 adults treated consecutively for tuberculous meningitis (96 were infected with HIV and 432 were uninfected with HIV) in 2 tertiary-care referral hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Logistic regression was used to model variables associated independently with HIV infection, 9-month survival, and the likelihood of having a relapse or an adverse drug event. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to compare survival rates and times to fever clearance, coma clearance, relapse, and adverse events. RESULTS: HIV infection did not alter the neurological presentation of tuberculous meningitis, although additional extrapulmonary tuberculosis was more likely to occur in HIV-infected patients. The 9-month survival rate was significantly decreased in HIV-infected patients (relative risk of death from any cause, 2.91 [95% confidence interval, 2.14-3.96]; P < .001), although the times to fever clearance and coma clearance and the number or timing of relapses or adverse drug events were not significantly different between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: HIV infection does not alter the neurological features of tuberculous meningitis but significantly reduces the survival rate.

Thwaites GE, Lan NT, Dung NH, Quy HT, Oanh DT, Thoa NT, Hien NQ, Thuc NT, Hai NN, Bang ND et al. 2005. Effect of antituberculosis drug resistance on response to treatment and outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 192 (1), pp. 79-88. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to 1 or more antituberculosis drugs is an increasingly common clinical problem, although the impact on outcome is uncertain. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 180 Vietnamese adults admitted consecutively for TBM. M. tuberculosis was cultured from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of all patients and was tested for susceptibility to first-line antituberculosis drugs. Presenting clinical features, time to CSF bacterial clearance, clinical response to treatment, and 9-month morbidity and mortality were compared between adults infected with susceptible and those infected with drug-resistant organisms. RESULTS: Of 180 isolates, 72 (40.0%) were resistant to at least 1 antituberculosis drug, and 10 (5.6%) were resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin. Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance was associated with slower CSF bacterial clearance but not with any differences in clinical response or outcome. Combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance was strongly predictive of death (relative risk of death, 11.63 [95% confidence interval, 5.21-26.32]) and was independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance probably has no detrimental effect on the outcome of TBM when patients are treated with first-line antituberculosis drugs, but combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance is strongly predictive of death.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NT, Chau TT, Mai PP, Dung NT, Stepniewska K, White NJ, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2005. The clinical benefit of adjunctive dexamethasone in tuberculous meningitis is not associated with measurable attenuation of peripheral or local immune responses. J Immunol, 175 (1), pp. 579-590. | Show Abstract

Outcome from tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is believed to be dependent on the severity of the intracerebral inflammatory response. We have recently shown that dexamethasone improved survival in adults with TBM and postulated that the clinical effect would be associated with a measurable systemic and intracerebral impact on immunological markers of inflammation. Prolonged inflammatory responses were detected in all TBM patients irrespective of treatment assignment (placebo or dexamethasone). The inflammatory response in the cerebrospinal fluid was characterized by a leukocytosis (predominantly CD3(+)CD4(+) T lymphocytes, phenotypically distinct from those in the peripheral blood), elevated concentrations of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and evidence of prolonged blood-brain barrier dysfunction. Dexamethasone significantly modulated acute cerebrospinal fluid protein concentrations and marginally reduced IFN-gamma concentrations; other immunological and routine biochemical indices of inflammation were unaffected. Peripheral blood monocyte and T cell responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ags were also unaffected. Dexamethasone does not appear to improve survival from TBM by attenuating immunological mediators of inflammation in the subarachnoid space or by suppressing peripheral T cell responses to mycobacterial Ags. These findings challenge previously held theories of corticosteroid action in this disease. An understanding of how dexamethasone acts in TBM may suggest novel and more effective treatment strategies.

Thwaites GE, Quy HT, Farrar JJ. 2005. Dexamethasone for tuberculous meningitis - Reply NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 352 (6), pp. 629-630.

Marras TK. 2005. Dexamethasone for tuberculous meningitis. N Engl J Med, 352 (6), pp. 628-630. | Read more

Thwaites GE. 2005. Pyrexia of unknown origin. Acute Med, 4 (1), pp. 10-14. | Show Abstract

Classical pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO), defined as fever of >38 °C on several occasions for greater than three weeks despite investigation in hospital (>3 days) or out of hospital (>2 visits), is an uncommon but challenging problem. The incidence and aetiology vary according to the geographic region, the age structure of the population, and the immune status of the patient; alternative definitions of PUO exist for immune compromised individuals. Preliminary investigations should be determined by detailed history and repeated examination. Biopsy of abnormal tissues should be performed early. If uncertainty persists, abdominal computerised tomography (CT), radiolabeled white cell scans, and the Duke endocarditis criteria carry the highest diagnostic yield. Blind bone marrow biopsy is probably only useful in immunocompromised patients.

Thwaites GE, Tran TH. 2005. Tuberculous meningitis: many questions, too few answers. Lancet Neurol, 4 (3), pp. 160-170. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TM) is difficult to diagnose and treat; clinical features are non-specific, conventional bacteriology is widely regarded as insensitive, and assessment of newer diagnostic methods is not complete. Treatment includes four drugs, which were developed more than 30 years ago, and prevents death or disability in less than half of patients. Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to these drugs threatens a return to the prechemotherapeutic era in which all patients with TM died. Research findings suggest that adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids improve survival but probably do not prevent severe disability, although how or why is not known. There are many important unanswered questions about the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of TM. Here we review the available evidence to answer some of these questions, particularly those on the diagnosis and treatment of TM.

Thwaites GE, Nguyen DB, Nguyen HD, Hoang TQ, Do TT, Nguyen TC, Nguyen QH, Nguyen TT, Nguyen NH, Nguyen TN et al. 2004. Dexamethasone for the treatment of tuberculous meningitis in adolescents and adults. N Engl J Med, 351 (17), pp. 1741-1751. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis kills or disables more than half of those affected with the disease. Previous studies have been too small to determine whether adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids can reduce the risk of disability or death among adults with tuberculous meningitis, and the effect of coinfection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is unclear. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Vietnam in patients over 14 years of age who had tuberculous meningitis, with or without HIV infection, to determine whether adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone reduced the risk of death or severe disability after nine months of follow-up. We conducted prespecified subgroup analyses and intention-to-treat analyses. RESULTS: A total of 545 patients were randomly assigned to groups that received either dexamethasone (274 patients) or placebo (271 patients). Only 10 patients (1.8 percent) had been lost to follow-up at nine months of treatment. Treatment with dexamethasone was associated with a reduced risk of death (relative risk, 0.69; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.92; P=0.01). It was not associated with a significant reduction in the proportion of severely disabled patients (34 of 187 patients [18.2 percent] among survivors in the dexamethasone group vs. 22 of 159 patients [13.8 percent] in the placebo group, P=0.27) or in the proportion of patients who had either died or were severely disabled after nine months (odds ratio, 0.81; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.58 to 1.13; P=0.22). The treatment effect was consistent across subgroups that were defined by disease-severity grade (stratified relative risk of death, 0.68; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.91; P=0.007) and by HIV status (stratified relative risk of death, 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.59 to 1.04; P=0.08). Significantly fewer serious adverse events occurred in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group (26 of 274 patients vs. 45 of 271 patients, P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone improves survival in patients over 14 years of age with tuberculous meningitis but probably does not prevent severe disability.

Thwaites GE, Caws M, Chau TT, Dung NT, Campbell JI, Phu NH, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2004. Comparison of conventional bacteriology with nucleic acid amplification (amplified mycobacterium direct test) for diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis before and after inception of antituberculosis chemotherapy. J Clin Microbiol, 42 (3), pp. 996-1002. | Show Abstract | Read more

The role of nucleic acid amplification techniques in the rapid diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis remains uncertain. We compared the performance of Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining, the Gen-Probe amplified Mycobacterium tuberculosis direct test (MTD), and culture with 341 cerebrospinal fluid specimens from 152 adults (73 with and 79 without tuberculous meningitis) before and after inception of antituberculosis chemotherapy. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of ZN staining before treatment were 34/66 (52%), 79/79 (100%), 34/34 (100%), and 79/111 (71%), compared with 25/66 (38%), 78/79 (99%), 25/26 (96%), and 79/120 (66%) for MTD. The sensitivity of combined ZN staining and MTD (either positive) was 45/66 (68%). The sensitivity of staining and culture fell more rapidly than that of MTD after the start of treatment: after 5 to 15 days of treatment, MTD was more sensitive than ZN staining (12/43 [28%] versus 2/43 [2%]; P = 0.013). Slower bacterial clearance was observed if M. tuberculosis was resistant to isoniazid and/or streptomycin: resistant organisms were more likely to be cultured from cerebrospinal fluid after 2 to 5 days of treatment than fully sensitive organisms (P < 0.001). The sensitivities of ZN staining, MTD, and the two tests combined were improved by repeated sampling to 38/59 (64%), 35/59 (59%), and 49/59 (83%), respectively. In conclusion, ZN staining of the cerebrospinal fluid is at least as good as MTD for the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis and is much faster and less expensive. However, the combination of these methods on serial samples detects more cases. Alternative tests are still urgently required.

Thwaites GE, Chau TT, Farrar JJ. 2004. Improving the bacteriological diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis. J Clin Microbiol, 42 (1), pp. 378-379. | Show Abstract | Read more

We made a bacteriological diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis in 107 of 132 (81%) adults with clinical tuberculous meningitis: acid-fast bacilli were seen in 77 of 132 (58%) and cultured from 94 of 132 (71%). Volume of cerebrospinal fluid, duration of symptoms, cerebrospinal fluid neutrophils, lactate, and glucose were all independently associated with bacteriological confirmation.

Thwaites G, Thwaites L, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2003. Ethics of large clinical trials in rapidly lethal diseases. Lancet, 361 (9365), pp. 1296. | Read more

Thwaites G, Thwaites L, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2003. Ethics of large clinical trials in rapidly lethal diseases. Lancet, 361 (9365), pp. 1296.

Chau TT, Thwaites GE, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Farrar JJ. 2003. Headache and confusion: the dangers of a raw snail supper. Lancet, 361 (9372), pp. 1866. | Read more

Thwaites GE, Simmons CP, Than Ha Quyen N, Thi Hong Chau T, Phuong Mai P, Thi Dung N, Hoan Phu N, White NP, Tinh Hien T, Farrar JJ. 2003. Pathophysiology and prognosis in vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 188 (8), pp. 1105-1115. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of tuberculous meningitis remains unclear, and there are few data describing the kinetics of the immune response during the course of its treatment. We measured concentrations of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in serial blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 21 adults who were being treated for tuberculous meningitis. CSF concentrations of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors and of matrix metalloprotein-9 and its tissue inhibitor were also measured, and blood-brain barrier permeability was assessed by the albumin and IgG partition indices. CSF concentrations of lactate, interleukin-8, and interferon-gamma were high before treatment and then decreased rapidly with antituberculosis chemotherapy. However, significant immune activation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction were still apparent after 60 days of treatment. Death was associated with high initial CSF concentrations of lactate, low numbers of white blood cells, in particular neutrophils, and low CSF glucose levels.

Thwaites GE, Chau TT, Stepniewska K, Phu NH, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, White NJ, Parry CM, Farrar JJ. 2002. Diagnosis of adult tuberculous meningitis by use of clinical and laboratory features. Lancet, 360 (9342), pp. 1287-1292. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis is difficult. Discrimination of cases from those of bacterial meningitis by clinical features alone is often impossible, and current laboratory methods remain inadequate or inaccessible in developing countries. We aimed to create a simple diagnostic aid for tuberculous meningitis in adults on the basis of clinical and basic laboratory features. METHODS: We compared the clinical and laboratory features on admission of 251 adults at an infectious disease hospital in Vietnam who satisfied diagnostic criteria for tuberculous (n=143) or bacterial (n=108) meningitis. Features independently predictive of tuberculous meningitis were modelled by multivariate logistic regression to create a diagnostic rule, and by a classification-tree method. The performance of both diagnostic aids was assessed by resubstitution and prospective test data methods. FINDINGS: Five features were predictive of a diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis: age, length of history, white-blood-cell count, total cerebrospinal fluid white-cell count, and cerebrospinal fluid neutrophil proportion. A diagnostic rule developed from these features was 97% sensitive and 91% specific by resubstitution, and 86% sensitive and 79% specific when applied prospectively to a further 42 adults with tuberculous meningitis, and 33 with bacterial meningitis. The corresponding values for the classification tree were 99% and 93% by resubstitution, and 88% and 70% with prospective test data. INTERPRETATION: This study suggests that simple clinical and laboratory data can help in the diagnosis of adults with tuberculous meningitis. Although the usefulness of the diagnostic rule will vary depending on the prevalence of tuberculosis and HIV-1 infection, we suggest it be applied to adults with meningitis and a low cerebrospinal fluid glucose, particularly in settings with limited microbiological resources.

Thwaites GE, Chau TT, Caws M, Phu NH, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Drobniewski F, White NJ, Parry CM, Farrar JJ. 2002. Isoniazid resistance, mycobacterial genotype and outcome in Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 6 (10), pp. 865-871. | Show Abstract

SETTING: Centre for Tropical Diseases, a 500-bed hospital for infectious diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. OBJECTIVE: The factors that determine outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis are poorly understood. The objective of the study was to investigate the relationship between admission clinical features, HIV infection, drug resistance, mycobacterial genotype and outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis. DESIGN: Clinical and laboratory data were recorded prospectively for 56 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis confirmed by culture of cerebrospinal fluid. Variables associated with in-hospital mortality, IV infection, drug resistance and microbial genotype were assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis. RESULTS: Admission coma score independently predicted death in hospital (OR 0.73, 95%CI 0.61-0.87, P = 0.001). HIV-infected adults with tuberculous meningitis were more likely to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to isoniazid (P = 0.011) and streptomycin (P = 0.002). Isoniazid resistance, streptomycin resistance, HIV infection and microbial genotype were not associated with increased in-hospital mortality. CONCLUSION: Treatment of tuberculous meningitis before the onset of coma saves lives. Resistance to isoniazid and/or streptomycin does not appear to affect outcome.

Thwaites GE, Farrar JJ. 2002. Miliary tuberculosis with meningitis Practical Neurology, 2 (4), pp. 230-231. | Read more

Thwaites GE. 2002. The Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculous Meningitis Practical Neurology, 2 (5), pp. 250-261. | Read more

Thwaites G, Chau TT, Mai NT, Drobniewski F, McAdam K, Farrar J. 2000. Tuberculous meningitis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 68 (3), pp. 289-299. | Show Abstract | Read more

Uncertainty and doubt dominate all aspects of tuberculous meningitis (TBM). The variable natural history and accompanying clinical features of TBM hinders the diagnosis. Ziehl-Neelsen staining lacks sensitivity and culture results are often insufficiently timely to aid clinical judgement. New rapid diagnostic methods are incompletely evaluated, and many are not suitable for laboratories in low income countries. The duration of chemotherapy for TBM is unclear and the benefits of adjuvant corticosteroids remain in doubt. The only uncomfortable certainties lie in the fatal consequences of missed diagnoses and delayed treatment. This review will discuss the current uncertainties surrounding TBM. More attention will be given to diagnosis and management, as these areas have a direct bearing on patient outcome.

Taviner M, Thwaites G, Gant V. 1998. The English sweating sickness, 1485-1551: a viral pulmonary disease? Med Hist, 42 (1), pp. 96-98. | Read more

Thwaites G, Taviner M, Gant V. 1997. The English sweating sickness, 1485 to 1551. N Engl J Med, 336 (8), pp. 580-582. | Read more

Bui TTT, Tran TT, Nghiem MN, Rahman P, Tran TTT, Dinh MNH, Le MH, Nguyen VVC, Thwaites G, Rahman M. 2017. Molecular characterization of hepatitis B virus in Vietnam. BMC Infect Dis, 17 (1), pp. 601. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public health problem globally. HBV genotypes and subgenotypes influence disease transmission, progression, and treatment outcome. A study was conducted among treatment naive chronic HBV patients in southern Vietnam to determine the genotypes and subgenotypes of HBV. METHODS: A prospective, exploratory study was conducted among treatment naïve chronic HBV patients attending at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam during 2012, 2014 and 2016. HBV DNA positive samples (systematically selected 2% of all treatment naïve chronic patients during 2012 and 2014, and 8% of all treatment naïve chronic patients during 2016) were subjected to whole genome sequencing (WGS) either by Sanger or Illumina sequencing. WGS was used to define genotype, sub-genotype, recombination, and the prevalence of drug resistance and virulence-associated mutations. RESULTS: One hundred thirty five treatment naïve chronic HBV patients including 18 from 2012, 24 from 2014, and 93 from 2016 were enrolled. Of 135 sequenced viruses, 72.6% and 27.4% were genotypes B and C respectively. Among genotype B isolates, 87.8% and 12.2% were subgenotypes B4 and B2 respectively. A G1896A mutation in the precore gene was present in 30.6% of genotype B isolates. The genotype C isolates were all subgenotype C1 and 78.4% (29/37) of them had at least one basal core promoter (BCP) mutation. A1762T and G1764 T mutations and a double mutation (A1762T and G1764 T) in the BCP region were significantly more frequent in genotype C1 isolates (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: HBV genotype B including subgenotype B4 is predominant in southern Vietnam. However, one fourth of the chronic HBV infections were caused by subgenotype C1.

Arjyal A, Basnyat B, Nhan HT, Koirala S, Giri A, Joshi N, Shakya M, Pathak KR, Mahat SP, Prajapati SP et al. 2016. Gatifloxacin versus ceftriaxone for uncomplicated enteric fever in Nepal: an open-label, two-centre, randomised controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis, 16 (5), pp. 535-545. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Because treatment with third-generation cephalosporins is associated with slow clinical improvement and high relapse burden for enteric fever, whereas the fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin is associated with rapid fever clearance and low relapse burden, we postulated that gatifloxacin would be superior to the cephalosporin ceftriaxone in treating enteric fever. METHODS: We did an open-label, randomised, controlled, superiority trial at two hospitals in the Kathmandu valley, Nepal. Eligible participants were children (aged 2-13 years) and adult (aged 14-45 years) with criteria for suspected enteric fever (body temperature ≥38·0°C for ≥4 days without a focus of infection). We randomly assigned eligible patients (1:1) without stratification to 7 days of either oral gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg per day) or intravenous ceftriaxone (60 mg/kg up to 2 g per day for patients aged 2-13 years, or 2 g per day for patients aged ≥14 years). The randomisation list was computer-generated using blocks of four and six. The primary outcome was a composite of treatment failure, defined as the occurrence of at least one of the following: fever clearance time of more than 7 days after treatment initiation; the need for rescue treatment on day 8; microbiological failure (ie, blood cultures positive for Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi, or Paratyphi A, B, or C) on day 8; or relapse or disease-related complications within 28 days of treatment initiation. We did the analyses in the modified intention-to-treat population, and subpopulations with either confirmed blood-culture positivity, or blood-culture negativity. The trial was powered to detect an increase of 20% in the risk of failure. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01421693, and is now closed. FINDINGS: Between Sept 18, 2011, and July 14, 2014, we screened 725 patients for eligibility. On July 14, 2014, the trial was stopped early by the data safety and monitoring board because S Typhi strains with high-level resistance to ciprofloxacin and gatifloxacin had emerged. At this point, 239 were in the modified intention-to-treat population (120 assigned to gatifloxacin, 119 to ceftriaxone). 18 (15%) patients who received gatifloxacin had treatment failure, compared with 19 (16%) who received ceftriaxone (hazard ratio [HR] 1·04 [95% CI 0·55-1·98]; p=0·91). In the culture-confirmed population, 16 (26%) of 62 patients who received gatifloxacin failed treatment, compared with four (7%) of 54 who received ceftriaxone (HR 0·24 [95% CI 0·08-0·73]; p=0·01). Treatment failure was associated with the emergence of S Typhi exhibiting resistance against fluoroquinolones, requiring the trial to be stopped. By contrast, in patients with a negative blood culture, only two (3%) of 58 who received gatifloxacin failed treatment versus 15 (23%) of 65 who received ceftriaxone (HR 7·50 [95% CI 1·71-32·80]; p=0·01). A similar number of non-serious adverse events occurred in each treatment group, and no serious events were reported. INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that fluoroquinolones should no longer be used for treatment of enteric fever in Nepal. Additionally, under our study conditions, ceftriaxone was suboptimum in a high proportion of patients with culture-negative enteric fever. Since antimicrobials, specifically fluoroquinolones, are one of the only routinely used control measures for enteric fever, the assessment of novel diagnostics, new treatment options, and use of existing vaccines and development of next-generation vaccines are now a high priority. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust and Li Ka Shing Foundation.

Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Mai NT, Chau TT, Phu NH, Loc PP, Chau NV, Hien TT, Dung NH, Lan NT et al. 2016. Intensified Antituberculosis Therapy in Adults with Tuberculous Meningitis. N Engl J Med, 374 (2), pp. 124-134. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis is often lethal. Early antituberculosis treatment and adjunctive treatment with glucocorticoids improve survival, but nearly one third of patients with the condition still die. We hypothesized that intensified antituberculosis treatment would enhance the killing of intracerebral Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms and decrease the rate of death among patients. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults and HIV-uninfected adults with a clinical diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis who were admitted to one of two Vietnamese hospitals. We compared a standard, 9-month antituberculosis regimen (which included 10 mg of rifampin per kilogram of body weight per day) with an intensified regimen that included higher-dose rifampin (15 mg per kilogram per day) and levofloxacin (20 mg per kilogram per day) for the first 8 weeks of treatment. The primary outcome was death by 9 months after randomization. RESULTS: A total of 817 patients (349 of whom were HIV-infected) were enrolled; 409 were randomly assigned to receive the standard regimen, and 408 were assigned to receive intensified treatment. During the 9 months of follow-up, 113 patients in the intensified-treatment group and 114 patients in the standard-treatment group died (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.22; P=0.66). There was no evidence of a significant differential effect of intensified treatment in the overall population or in any of the subgroups, with the possible exception of patients infected with isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis. There were also no significant differences in secondary outcomes between the treatment groups. The overall number of adverse events leading to treatment interruption did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (64 events in the standard-treatment group and 95 events in the intensified-treatment group, P=0.08). CONCLUSIONS: Intensified antituberculosis treatment was not associated with a higher rate of survival among patients with tuberculous meningitis than standard treatment. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Li Ka Shing Foundation; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN61649292.).

Pham Thanh D, Karkey A, Dongol S, Ho Thi N, Thompson CN, Rabaa MA, Arjyal A, Holt KE, Wong V, Tran Vu Thieu N et al. 2016. A novel ciprofloxacin-resistant subclade of H58 Salmonella Typhi is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), pp. e14003. | Show Abstract | Read more

The interplay between bacterial antimicrobial susceptibility, phylogenetics and patient outcome is poorly understood. During a typhoid clinical treatment trial in Nepal, we observed several treatment failures and isolated highly fluoroquinolone-resistant Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi). Seventy-eight S. Typhi isolates were genome sequenced and clinical observations, treatment failures and fever clearance times (FCTs) were stratified by lineage. Most fluoroquinolone-resistant S. Typhi belonged to a specific H58 subclade. Treatment failure with S. Typhi-H58 was significantly less frequent with ceftriaxone (3/31; 9.7%) than gatifloxacin (15/34; 44.1%)(Hazard Ratio 0.19, p=0.002). Further, for gatifloxacin-treated patients, those infected with fluoroquinolone-resistant organisms had significantly higher median FCTs (8.2 days) than those infected with susceptible (2.96) or intermediately resistant organisms (4.01)(pS. Typhi clade internationally, but there are no data regarding disease outcome with this organism. We report an emergent new subclade of S. Typhi-H58 that is associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure.

Nguyen TD, Olliaro P, Dondorp AM, Baird JK, Lam HM, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, White NJ, Boni MF. 2015. Optimum population-level use of artemisinin combination therapies: a modelling study. Lancet Glob Health, 3 (12), pp. e758-e766. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are used worldwide as first-line treatment against confirmed or suspected Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Despite the success of ACTs at reducing the global burden of malaria, emerging resistance to artemisinin threatens these gains. Countering onset of resistance might need deliberate tactics aimed at slowing the reduction in ACT effectiveness. We assessed optimum use of ACTs at the population level, specifically focusing on a strategy of multiple first-line therapies (MFT), and comparing it with strategies of cycling or sequential use of single first-line ACTs. METHODS: With an individual-based microsimulation of regional malaria transmission, we looked at how to apply a therapy as widely as possible without accelerating reduction of efficacy by drug resistance. We compared simultaneous distribution of artemether-lumefantrine, artesunate-amodiaquine, and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (ie, MFT) against strategies in which these ACTs would be cycled or used sequentially, either on a fixed schedule or when population-level efficacy reaches the WHO threshold of 10% treatment failure. The main assessment criterion was total number of treatment failures per 100 people per year. Additionally, we analysed the benefits of including a single non-ACT therapy in an MFT strategy, and did sensitivity analyses in which we varied transmission setting, treatment coverage, partner-drug half-life, fitness cost of drug resistance, and the relation between drug concentration and resistance evolution. FINDINGS: Use of MFT was predicted to reduce the long-term number of treatment failures compared with strategies in which a single first-line ACT is recommended. This result was robust to various epidemiological, pharmacological, and evolutionary features of malaria transmission. Inclusion of a single non-ACT therapy in an MFT strategy would have substantial benefits in reduction of pressure on artemisinin resistance evolution, delaying its emergence and slowing its spread. INTERPRETATION: Adjusting national antimalarial treatment guidelines to encourage simultaneous use of MFT is likely to extend the useful therapeutic life of available antimalarial drugs, resulting in long-term beneficial outcomes for patients. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, Li Ka Shing Foundation.

Wong VK, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Parkhill J, Page AJ, Feasey NA, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, Keane JA, Weill FX et al. 2015. Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 632-639. | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.

Chung The H, Karkey A, Pham Thanh D, Boinett CJ, Cain AK, Ellington M, Baker KS, Dongol S, Thompson C, Harris SR et al. 2015. A high-resolution genomic analysis of multidrug-resistant hospital outbreaks of Klebsiella pneumoniae. EMBO Mol Med, 7 (3), pp. 227-239. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) Klebsiella pneumoniae has become a leading cause of nosocomial infections worldwide. Despite its prominence, little is known about the genetic diversity of K. pneumoniae in resource-poor hospital settings. Through whole-genome sequencing (WGS), we reconstructed an outbreak of MDR K. pneumoniae occurring on high-dependency wards in a hospital in Kathmandu during 2012 with a case-fatality rate of 75%. The WGS analysis permitted the identification of two MDR K. pneumoniae lineages causing distinct outbreaks within the complex endemic K. pneumoniae. Using phylogenetic reconstruction and lineage-specific PCR, our data predicted a scenario in which K. pneumoniae, circulating for 6 months before the outbreak, underwent a series of ward-specific clonal expansions after the acquisition of genes facilitating virulence and MDR. We suggest that the early detection of a specific NDM-1 containing lineage in 2011 would have alerted the high-dependency ward staff to intervene. We argue that some form of real-time genetic characterisation, alongside clade-specific PCR during an outbreak, should be factored into future healthcare infection control practices in both high- and low-income settings.

Näsström E, Vu Thieu NT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Voong Vinh P, Ha Thanh T, Johansson A, Arjyal A, Thwaites G, Dolecek C et al. 2014. Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A elaborate distinct systemic metabolite signatures during enteric fever. Elife, 3 | Show Abstract | Read more

The host-pathogen interactions induced by Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi A during enteric fever are poorly understood. This knowledge gap, and the human restricted nature of these bacteria, limit our understanding of the disease and impede the development of new diagnostic approaches. To investigate metabolite signals associated with enteric fever we performed two dimensional gas chromatography with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) on plasma from patients with S. Typhi and S. Paratyphi A infections and asymptomatic controls, identifying 695 individual metabolite peaks. Applying supervised pattern recognition, we found highly significant and reproducible metabolite profiles separating S. Typhi cases, S. Paratyphi A cases, and controls, calculating that a combination of six metabolites could accurately define the etiological agent. For the first time we show that reproducible and serovar specific systemic biomarkers can be detected during enteric fever. Our work defines several biologically plausible metabolites that can be used to detect enteric fever, and unlocks the potential of this method in diagnosing other systemic bacterial infections.

Feng GD, Shi M, Ma L, Chen P, Wang BJ, Zhang M, Chang XL, Su XC, Yang YN, Fan XH et al. 2014. Diagnostic accuracy of intracellular mycobacterium tuberculosis detection for tuberculous meningitis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 189 (4), pp. 475-481. | Show Abstract | Read more

RATIONALE: Early diagnosis and treatment of tuberculous meningitis saves lives, but current laboratory diagnostic tests lack sensitivity. OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether the detection of intracellular bacteria by a modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain and early secretory antigen target (ESAT)-6 in cerebrospinal fluid leukocytes improves tuberculous meningitis diagnosis. METHODS: Cerebrospinal fluid specimens from patients with suspected tuberculous meningitis were stained by conventional Ziehl-Neelsen stain, a modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain involving cytospin slides with Triton processing, and an ESAT-6 immunocytochemical stain. Acid-fast bacteria and ESAT-6-expressing leukocytes were detected by microscopy. All tests were performed prospectively in a central laboratory by experienced technicians masked to the patients' final diagnosis. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two hundred and eighty patients with suspected tuberculous meningitis were enrolled. Thirty-seven had Mycobacterium tuberculosis cultured from cerebrospinal fluid; 40 had a microbiologically confirmed alternative diagnosis; the rest had probable or possible tuberculous meningitis according to published criteria. Against a clinical diagnostic gold standard the sensitivity of conventional Ziehl-Neelsen stain was 3.3% (95% confidence interval, 1.6-6.7%), compared with 82.9% (95% confidence interval, 77.4-87.3%) for modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain and 75.1% (95% confidence interval, 68.8-80.6%) for ESAT-6 immunostain. Intracellular bacteria were seen in 87.8% of the slides positive by the modified Ziehl-Neelsen stain. The specificity of modified Ziehl-Neelsen and ESAT-6 stain was 85.0% (95% confidence interval, 69.4-93.8%) and 90.0% (95% confidence interval, 75.4-96.7%), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced bacterial detection by simple modification of the Ziehl-Neelsen stain and an ESAT-6 intracellular stain improve the laboratory diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis.

Thwaites GE, van Toorn R, Schoeman J. 2013. Tuberculous meningitis: more questions, still too few answers. Lancet Neurol, 12 (10), pp. 999-1010. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis is especially common in young children and people with untreated HIV infection, and it kills or disables roughly half of everyone affected. Childhood disease can be prevented by vaccination and by giving prophylactic isoniazid to children exposed to infectious adults, although improvements in worldwide tuberculosis control would lead to more effective prevention. Diagnosis is difficult because clinical features are non-specific and laboratory tests are insensitive, and treatment delay is the strongest risk factor for death. Large doses of rifampicin and fluoroquinolones might improve outcome, and the beneficial effect of adjunctive corticosteroids on survival might be augmented by aspirin and could be predicted by screening for a polymorphism in LTA4H, which encodes an enzyme involved in eicosanoid synthesis. However, these advances are insufficient in the face of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV co-infection. Many questions remain about the best approaches to prevent, diagnose, and treat tuberculous meningitis, and there are still too few answers.

Tobin DM, Roca FJ, Oh SF, McFarland R, Vickery TW, Ray JP, Ko DC, Zou Y, Bang ND, Chau TT et al. 2012. Host genotype-specific therapies can optimize the inflammatory response to mycobacterial infections. Cell, 148 (3), pp. 434-446. | Show Abstract | Read more

Susceptibility to tuberculosis is historically ascribed to an inadequate immune response that fails to control infecting mycobacteria. In zebrafish, we find that susceptibility to Mycobacterium marinum can result from either inadequate or excessive acute inflammation. Modulation of the leukotriene A(4) hydrolase (LTA4H) locus, which controls the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, reveals two distinct molecular routes to mycobacterial susceptibility converging on dysregulated TNF levels: inadequate inflammation caused by excess lipoxins and hyperinflammation driven by excess leukotriene B(4). We identify therapies that specifically target each of these extremes. In humans, we identify a single nucleotide polymorphism in the LTA4H promoter that regulates its transcriptional activity. In tuberculous meningitis, the polymorphism is associated with inflammatory cell recruitment, patient survival and response to adjunctive anti-inflammatory therapy. Together, our findings suggest that host-directed therapies tailored to patient LTA4H genotypes may counter detrimental effects of either extreme of inflammation.

Thwaites GE, Bhavnani SM, Chau TT, Hammel JP, Török ME, Van Wart SA, Mai PP, Reynolds DK, Caws M, Dung NT et al. 2011. Randomized pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic comparison of fluoroquinolones for tuberculous meningitis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (7), pp. 3244-3253. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most lethal form of tuberculosis, and new treatments that improve outcomes are required. We randomly assigned adults with TBM to treatment with standard antituberculosis treatment alone or in combination with ciprofloxacin (750 mg/12 h), levofloxacin (500 mg/12 h), or gatifloxacin (400 mg/24 h) for the first 60 days of therapy. Fluoroquinolone concentrations were measured with plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens taken at predetermined, randomly assigned times throughout treatment. We aimed to describe the pharmacokinetics of each fluoroquinolone during TBM treatment and evaluate the relationship between drug exposure and clinical response over 270 days of therapy (Controlled Trials number ISRCTN07062956). Sixty-one patients with TBM were randomly assigned to treatment with no fluoroquinolone (n = 15), ciprofloxacin (n = 16), levofloxacin (n = 15), or gatifloxacin (n = 15). Cerebrospinal fluid penetration, measured by the ratio of the plasma area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC(0-24)) to the cerebrospinal fluid AUC(0-24), was greater for levofloxacin (median, 0.74; range, 0.58 to 1.03) than for gatifloxacin (median, 0.48; range, 0.47 to 0.50) or ciprofloxacin (median, 0.26; range, 0.11 to 0.77). Univariable and multivariable analyses of fluoroquinolone exposure against a range of different treatment responses revealed worse outcomes among patients with lower and higher plasma and CSF exposures than for patients with intermediate exposures (a U-shaped exposure-response). TBM patients most likely to benefit from fluoroquinolone therapy were identified, along with exposure-response relationships associated with improved outcomes. Fluoroquinolones add antituberculosis activity to the standard treatment regimen, but to improve outcomes of TBM, they must be started early, before the onset of coma.

Caws M, Thwaites G, Dunstan S, Hawn TR, Lan NT, Thuong NT, Stepniewska K, Huyen MN, Bang ND, Loc TH et al. 2008. The influence of host and bacterial genotype on the development of disseminated disease with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS Pathog, 4 (3), pp. e1000034. | Show Abstract | Read more

The factors that govern the development of tuberculosis disease are incompletely understood. We hypothesized that some strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) are more capable of causing disseminated disease than others and may be associated with polymorphisms in host genes responsible for the innate immune response to infection. We compared the host and bacterial genotype in 187 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and 237 Vietnamese adults with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis. The host genotype of tuberculosis cases was also compared with the genotype of 392 cord blood controls from the same population. Isolates of M. tuberculosis were genotyped by large sequence polymorphisms. The hosts were defined by polymorphisms in genes encoding Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) and Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2). We found a significant protective association between the Euro-American lineage of M. tuberculosis and pulmonary rather than meningeal tuberculosis (Odds ratio (OR) for causing TBM 0.395, 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) 0.193-0.806, P = 0.009), suggesting these strains are less capable of extra-pulmonary dissemination than others in the study population. We also found that individuals with the C allele of TLR-2 T597C allele were more likely to have tuberculosis caused by the East-Asian/Beijing genotype (OR = 1.57 [95% C.I. 1.15-2.15]) than other individuals. The study provides evidence that M. tuberculosis genotype influences clinical disease phenotype and demonstrates, for the first time, a significant interaction between host and bacterial genotypes and the development of tuberculosis.

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